Kuchiyose no Jutsu!
Chapter One – Mori no Suzaku
Hello everyone! For those who have forgotten this fic had ever been written, it was originally titled "Grandma's Girl, I Don't Think So!". After an eon of lack of motivation and writer's block, I thought it was high time to work on this again. It was originally a request from Green Sea Blossom. Since it's been forever, I forgot my original idea for this story, so I changed it a bit.
Hope you guys like it! :)
As far as afternoons go, this was by far the most uneventful afternoon she has had in a while. The young girl stared out the carriage window, taking in the countryside view that rolled by slowly.
'This trip would go by so much faster if I was allowed to go by foot.' she thought for the millionth time that day.
- Konoha Info Bank -
Name: Haruno Sakura
DOB: March 28
Place of Birth: Konoha, Fire Country
Family: Mother (Haruno Kana), Father (Haruno Kaoru)
Tutelage: Hatake Kakashi, Godaime Hokage.
- End -
In her 15 years of existence, Sakura rarely saw or interacted with her parent's parents. But as far as she knew, only her mother's mother (grandmother) is still around. Naturally, it came as a surprise when her mother requested her to go take care of her grandmother, who had fallen ill. It wasn't that they were on bad terms or anything, she just doesn't know her grandmother very well. This was due to the fact that her grandmother lived on the borders of Konoha, in the remote countryside with nothing but farm land for miles around.
That was precisely where she was being carted off to now. Being the good child she was, and medic in training, she wasn't in much of a position to refuse the request. Tsunade was not opposed to this, since she would still be able to hone her medic skills while she was away. Although her teammates didn't say it out loud, she knew they were probably thanking the heavens she won't be around for a while to ruin all the training grounds with her "monstrous strength", as Naruto kindly termed it.
As to why she was stuck riding a horse drawn carriage for the trip is because she will be staying with her grandmother for an indefinite amount of time, so a lot of her belongings were packed with her, as well as all the goods her parents were sending to her grandmother. So in the end, she was thankful she didn't have to carry all the luggage herself, despite having super strength.
Once arriving at her grandmother's place, she quickly settled in and got reacquainted with the old woman. Sakura's grandmother was a small woman with wispy, fly away hair. Her vision was already half gone, but at least her hearing was still good. After being told her grandmother's osteoporosis had been steadily getting worse, her overall health was gradually deteriorating.
"Don't worry grandma, I'll have you better in no time." Sakura assured her confidently, as she helped her grandmother take her medicine.
"I'm sure you will too." she responded with a wide smile on her face. "Now run along and go explore the place. It may not have as much to do as Konoha, but it has nice scenery." she suggested kindly.
Giving a smile of her own, Sakura responded, "I'm sure there's going to be lots of interesting things to look at."
And indeed, there will be lots of interesting to look at.
She's met many strange people in her lifetime, either through missions or outings with her friends. But she has never met another person who could rival Gai-sensei's eyebrow thickness and fashion sense (or lack of), until she met Rock Lee that is. Barely even leaving the front steps of her grandmother's house, she was approached (more like assailed) by the strange boy.
"It is such a pleasure to meet you Sakura-san! You are a once in a life time beauty indeed! It would be such an honour if you would allow me to be your escort for your exploration!" Lee exclaimed enthusiastically, while striking a pose that also reminded her too much of Gai.
A sweatdrop ran down the back of her head. "Ano... I don't think that's really necessary-"
"Nonsense! A maiden such as yourself shouldn't wander alone in unfamiliar territory! For I, Rock Lee, am a gentleman, and it would be incredibly unchivalrous of me to overlook such a thing!" he professed, intense flames burning in his overly round eyes. But once Lee started to pay attention to his surroundings again, he realized he no longer had an audience, and Sakura had long ignored his mini-speech and continued on her merry way.
"Sakura-san! Please wait for me!" Lee cried as he desperately tried to catch up to the girl.
"Heeyy Nej, what do you think of the new girl?"
"Hey Nej, did you hear what I just said?"
"I heard you the first time." a disgruntled voice responded.
"Then why didn't you answer my question?" the other voice shot back, sounding annoyed.
"Because your question was pointless, and I've told you many times before to not call me that." the voice replied monotonously.
"So like I was saying Sakura-san, although we are a very small village, everyone is like family here, and we often hold celebrations!" Lee exclaimed happily.
'This guy... I don't know if I should praise him for catching up to me that quickly, or be annoyed that he's so persistent.' Sakura thought to herself, eye-brow twitching in annoyance while politely replying to Lee's questions. He had given her explanations of everything they've passed by, from a tree the village children planted however many years ago to the new ranch that was just built.
"Hey Lee, are there any empty fields that aren't in use right now?" Sakura asked as they walked on a long stretch of road with wheat fields on either side of it.
"Most definitely! We rotate our fields every few years so the land will have time to regenerate it's nutrients." Lee responded quickly, feeling happy Sakura was finally starting to talk.
"Great! Would you mind showing them to me?"
"Of course not! Anything for you Sakura-san! But if you don't mind me asking, why do want to see the empty fields?" Lee answered enthusiastically before wondering about her strange request.
"Oh you know, so I can do my training without bothering anyone else." Sakura replied with a smile of her face.
'Although their fields might get a little destroyed.' Sakura thought with a little bit of guilt.
"Ah yes! Sakura-san did mention you were a ninja. I myself, have studied ninjutsu, but unfortunately I have no skill in that area." Lee admitted, his cheeks tinged slightly pink in embarrassment. Sakura was a little surprised at Lee's confession and even felt a little sorry for him. She knew how it felt to be useless, as she had no particular talent when she was younger either.
"However, with some guidance from a very kind man, I was able to master taijutsu! If you ever need a sparring partner, please don't hesitate to ask!" Lee offered before giving her an eye blinding smile, to which she accepted reluctantly.
"Thank you for your kind off Lee-san, I'll keep that in mind."
During the walk back to her grandmother's house, it was the first time she ever noticed the dark forest around the outskirts of the village. The setting sun caused huge shadows to stretch across the vegetable fields they were passing.
"Lee-san, what's on the other side of the forest?" Sakura asked curiously. Lee's steps faltered for a moment, but it was enough that Sakura still noticed.
"To be honest Sakura-san, no one knows." he replied, his answer sounding somewhat dodgy. Her eyebrow rose slightly.
"Why? Has no one ever been through the forest?" she pressed.
"Sakura-san, that forest is known as Mori no Suzaku. We are forbidden from ever entering that forest." Lee explained, his expression unreadable.
'Forbidden forest? Reminds me of the Chuunin exams already.' Sakura thought before shuddering slightly, remembering the close encounters she's had with the beasts in there.
"What's so forbidden about that forest? Does it have huge beasts in it or something?" Sakura asked, her curiosity getting the better of her now.
"I'm sorry Sakura-san, but I do not know the details myself. All I know is, once you enter the forest, you will never come back out." Lee replied, a hint of finality in his tone, letting Sakura know he wasn't going to say anymore on the topic.
After bidding Lee a goodnight and making promises to go exploring the next day, Sakura was finally alone and left to her devices.
'I feel like rising to that challenge. Let's explore it.' Inner Sakura proposed, sounding quite confident.
'Where the hell were you for the entire day?' Sakura grumbled back while taking a quick peek at her grandmother, who was still sleeping.
'I took a nap since I didn't want to deal with Fuzzy Brows Jr.' her Inner replied bluntly.
'He's a good guy! And he wasn't even that bad!'
'Okay, so maybe he was a little over enthusiastic, but he was just being nice.' Sakura said, trying to defend the strange boy.
'Whatever you saaayy. But regardless, I say we do some midnight training.' Inner Sakura suggested, sounding almost devilish.
'I don't know, Lee said anyone that's ever gone in never came back out...'
'Am not! I just want to find out more about that forest before I go sticking my head in there.'
"Morning grandma! Did you have a good sleep last night?" Sakura said cheerfully as she entered her grandmother's room, breakfast on a tray in hand.
"Morning Sakura. I haven't slept that well in a long time! Thank you dear." the old woman replied, a gentle smile on her face. While she ate, Sakura took the opportunity to ask about the forest.
"Grandma, do you know anything about the forest at the edge of the village?" Sakura asked casually, not wanting to sound too interested. Her grandmother paused mid chew, before quickly recovering and putting down her spoon and turning to look at Sakura fully.
"That forest used to be a treasure trove for doctors and merchants to collect medicinal plants, but fifty years ago, strange things started to happen. One day, a doctor couple went in to collect some herbs, but they never came back out of the forest.
Usually, they would be out in a day or two, but we never saw them again. The village sent some men to investigate, but they too never came back. As far as we knew, there weren't any man eating animals in the forest, so we were all confused." she took a pause, turning to look out the window. The woods can be seen from their house, since they were on a hill.
"Your grandfather was one of the men that went in to investigate and never came back." she said so quietly Sakura almost didn't catch it.
'How come mom and dad never mentioned this?'
"I never told your parents this. I just told them he passed away from illness. The last thing I want is more people going in and never coming back out."
Sakura felt her heart strings being tugged at as she stared at the old woman's saddened expression.
"Does anyone have any idea what was happening?" Sakura asked softly.
Her grandma shook her head solemnly. "A few days after all the disappearances, a strange group came and told us the forest is dangerous and forbade us to ever enter it. We didn't question it because we were all afraid. They promised as long as we avoided the forest, we would be safe."
Sakura nodded in understanding before getting up to take the breakfast tray away. As she was about the exit the room, her grandmother's voice stopped her.
"Sakura-chan, I know you're a ninja, but please don't put yourself into dangerous situations." she said, a sad smile on her face.
"Don't worry grandma, it's a medic-nin's duty to avoid danger at all costs." Sakura replied before giving her grandma a big smile.
'Strange group came huh..?'
'Let's see if they have any answers for us.'
After asking around the entire village and even a little old fashioned sleuthing, Sakura didn't know anymore about the "strange group" than she did when she first arrived. Nothing.
'It's a shame this place doesn't even have a library.'
'Oh, how I long for Konoha's library right now.' Sakura thought longing, already picturing the rows and rows of books it contained. Sakura's favourite place was the library, since it was a fountain of knowledge. There are some that drink from this fountain, while others only gargle. Sakura (figuratively) bathes in it.
'Well, since this mysterious group doesn't seem to exist anymore, let's just explore the darn forest.'
'Right, and disappear to no where land?'
'You know you want to.'
'No I don't.'
'Yes you do!'
'No I don't!'
'What about grandpa? Don't you want to know what got to him?' her inner got her there. She definitely wanted to pummel whatever had gotten to her grandpa. She may not have known him very well (or at all), but family was still family.
'Alright, let's give this a shot.'
Waiting until the sun had set, and all signs of life was behind doors, Sakura set out towards the forest. Just as a precaution, Sakura took the long route towards the forest to avoid the eyes of any villagers. The last thing she wanted was to have one of them haul her back home. Or worse, tell her grandma and make her worry.
'Forgive me grandma, but I swear I'm doing it in the name of justice!' Sakura thought inwardly as she approached the entrance of the forest. As she got closer, she noticed her surroundings became quieter. Looking around, she saw there wasn't a bird in sight, and not even the hum of insects can be heard. Heightening her senses, she spread her chakra out like a web and probed her surroundings.
And just as she did so, an arm struck out of nowhere, dangerously close to making contact with her shoulder. Due to her heightened reflexes, she was able to back flip out of the way. Quickly slipping a kunai from her pouch, she threw it at her assailant though they quickly dodged. The kunai lodged into the tree behind them with a thunk.
Sakura stood in a defensive stance as she surveyed the stranger. They had long brown hair that was tied into a low ponytail and wore white robes. But what stuck out the most to her was the pearly eyes.
'A Hyuuga?' Sakura thought, shocked to see a Hyuuga clan member out in no-where village.
"I believe you've been warned that this forest is forbidden." the stranger said, his voice stern and cold.
Sakura stayed silent and continued to analyze the boy. Since he was a Hyuuga, it wasn't a surprise he knew some ninja techniques. But the way he attacked her earlier, showed that he had to be at least a Chuunin or higher.
"Yes, but that only applies to locals. I'm from Konoha, so I should be allowed." Sakura responded, raising her head just a little bit.
The other boy's eyes narrowed. "This rule applies to everyone. No one is allowed to set foot in the forest unless you have a death wish." he told her strictly. If it was as cold as the way he spoke, Sakura was sure she would've froze over. However, she only smirked and continued to provoke him.
"So? What if I do? Is it your job to stop me from committing suicide too?" she said haughtily. If the boy was unfriendly before, he was definitely antagonistic now. He returned the smirk with one of his own before getting into a stance she was familiar with.
'If I get caught in his range, I'm done for.' Sakura noted. Having trained with a Hyuuga herself, she knew how the technique worked.
'And not to mention it hurts like a bitch afterwards.' her inner self added.
"It's not my job to stop you from carrying out your death wish, but it's still my job to prevent you from going into the forest." he said before launching from his spot.
Quick as lightning, Sakura jumped back before his fingers made contact with her body. With precision, she built up her chakra before quickly releasing it through her fist as it connected with ground, cracking it into huge chunks of earth. The impact stretched far enough that it uprooted several trees on the outer edge of the forest. The boy had just barely escaped the miniature earthquake.
'What monstrous strength.' he thought as he studied the damage that had been done.
"I'll admit, you've got some skill." he told her offhandedly. He could tell he hit a nerve, as her chakra flared suddenly.
"Is that so? Well, I guess you should see the rest of my skills then!" Sakura snapped in irritation, charging her fists with chakra before launching towards the boy. He easily dodged all the punches and kicks she threw at him.
"You may be strong, but it doesn't matter if you can't hit your opponents." he taunted her, causing her to narrow her eyes. Suddenly, the chakra around her hands extended, making them almost claw like. She took a swipe at his arm, but he quickly twirled left to avoid it.
Skidding to a stop several meters from away, he quickly assessed the damage.
"What's wrong? Can't feel your fingers?" she taunted, a confident smirk on her lips.
'I see. She's a medic-nin.'
Deactivating his byakuugan, he turned away from Sakura and slowly started making his way towards home. Sakura was confused at first before feeling outright enraged.
"Hey you! Where do you think you're going?" she yelled after him angrily.
"Since you were so keen on dying, I thought I might as well do you favour." was his blunt reply as he continued on his way.
'Oh yeah, after saying all this shit about preventing people from entering, he basically tells us to go to hell?' Why I outta-'
'Ugh, it's morning already! He was only stalling for time until the sun came up!' Sakura thought, feeling frustrated and angry. She knew as soon as the sun came up, there would be too many people out and about to sneak into the forest inconspicuously.
'Pftt- are you a ninja are not?' her inner spluttered in outrage.
'Aren't you forgetting someone?'
'Oh yeah, I forgot about Fuzzy Brows.' her inner said lamely. Lee followed her everywhere, to the point it was almost stalkerish.
'Let's just go home and get some sleep.' she thought tiredly.
"Hmmm, not bad for someone with some skill huh?" a female voice said in a teasing voice.
"Just heal it for me." the boy said in a irritated voice.
"Is that really how you should talk to someone who'd going to mend your nerves back together?" the girl shot back, purposefully jabbing him in a spot she knew would hurt. However he didn't give her the satisfaction of seeing him wince in pain.
"Geez Hyuuga, you're all so emotionless. And jerks." the girl grumbled.
"Back to last names again are we Yoruno?"
"Another word and I'm leaving your fingers useless."
And so not another word was spoken.
To be continued...
So there you have it, the first chapter re-written. To those who've read the previous version, you probably know who those mysterious speakers are, but to those who're new, you'll find out real soon!
Tell me what you think via review! :)