"There are not many women with chivalrous spirits matching those of men…"
-Chiyo to Sakura Chapter 279 page 10 of "Naruto"
A/N: You guys' oughtta know me by now. No canon for this fanfic author. Oh and if you don't like lots of blood, fighting, decapitation ect, then this IS NOT the fic for you… The backspace button is in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
ADDED NOTE AS OF 6/17/2010: I have had a few people compare this work to Tamora Pierce's stories, and universe. I find that interesting as I have never read any of her works as far as I can remember. The idea of a warrior Sakura came to me because at the time this story was started - I had just made a warrior class draenei in World of Warcraft, and when I started to RP with my character, the plot started to build and grow further in my mind. Hence Blacksmith's Daughter was born.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters there in. I just borrow them to torture them for my own amusement from time to time.
Summery: There once was a pink haired woman who was nothing more than a simple blacksmith's daughter. Yet none could match the ferocity of her spirit once the hilt of a blade was held within her grasp. An arrogant, cocky, self-assured dragon prince was certainly no exception.
- Sakura/Neji - -AU –
Rated -M- Because there will be lots of blood, violence, gore, and swearing. Ect. Ect. And possibly some erotic scenes here and there.
Neji the crown prince of Konoha gazed out over the valley below with a superior smirk over the motley armies of the Grasslands. He stood at the forefront of his nation's forces. His uncle, King Hiashi would approve of his decision to go ahead and finally push to take over the Grasslands, it was the last territory without a true leader. The lands were rich in resources, and it would nearly double their borders.
As pearly eyes caught the sight of the Independent Tribal leaders urging their mounts forward to the middle of the field, Prince Neji decided that by nightfall the neutral territory would belong to Konoha. He smirked once again, the corner of his lips curling up. He wouldn't annihilate them but he would crush their feeble, weak human spirits beneath the iron fist of a dragon. The feral look about him would have made his advisors nervous if they had witnessed it.
Sakura's green eyes roamed over the opposing nation's forces with the sensation of dread pooling low in her stomach. They had fought skirmishes with Konoha for the past six months and were no longer able to keep the enemy armies at the borders. Sakura could already see her kinsmen growing uncomfortable at the sight of the well-trained massive forces in front of them. The Grassland's didn't have a hope. Her gloved fingers tightened on the reigns of her sable mare. Her lips thinned. She'd be damned if she'd concede the to the damned dragon's iron rule without a good fight.
The young woman pulled her helm on, the leather covering her vibrant pink hair. The green and purple war paint slashed over sun kissed skin denoting her rank covered most of her facial features. Sakura studied the well-dressed nobility with distaste watching as the nations leaders met in the center of the waiting forces. Viridian orbs narrowed irritably. The Konoha nobles were just sitting all high and mighty on their fancy well-bred mounts like piranhas; waiting to feed off the sweat of her kinsman. Grinding her teeth, she grasped the reigns of her mount. Gently she urged the equine forward down to the awaiting nobles.
As she approached they glanced up at her interference.
"What in the hell do you think you're doing Captain Haruno!" General Bishamon growled at the woman in warning.
Deliberately her green eyes went into a half-lidded, calculating stare, "I was only curious General," malachite orbs flicked upwards to meet the milky, near pupil-less eyes of the leader as she continued haughtily, "Don't they look well fed and pampered… it's a good thing they have that many troops behind them…" Her sneer did not go unnoticed by the head noble.
The leader's pallid eyes narrowed perceptibly from her snide barb.
"Haruno," Hiroshi the tribe leader's son hissed in warning. He reached across and grabbed the reigns of her mount, "What are you doing?" The vixen was going to get herself killed.
"What? It's nothing but the truth," a pink eyebrow arched arrogantly as she yanked the reigns back and moved her mount away, "I detest the idea of such soft men leading the Independent Tribes. It would be laughable if it didn't make me sick," Sakura spat in the dirt to show exactly what she thought of Konoha, "The only thing that makes them strong is the numbers behind them…"
Hiroshi started to sag against his mount, wanting to face palm himself at the vivacious warrior's stupidly brave words. Sakura glared at him ferociously, "And here you are taking all the scraps you can get. Pathetic!"
All of her nation's leaders were looking at the young woman caught between pride and horror. Half of them wanted to marry her as it was, and didn't want to see her dead.
The leader of the Konoha army was looking at her furiously. One couldn't tell he was angry by looking at his face for his visage was stone cold. However being a well-trained soldier and swordswoman, she could tell by the burning eyes that were now piercing her, and also by the tense posture of his shoulders that he was not very pleased with her assertions.
"I'll see you on the battlefield," she smirked, her eyes meeting the head noble's, "Well, maybe not. You're obviously far too… err… what my people like to call squishy for such a thing."
Gripping the reigns of her horse, she turned the beast's nose in the direction of the awaiting Grassland Army.
Her shoulders stiffened as he laughed, the smooth rich baritone covering his anger,"That is an interesting assertion coming from an obviously untried lad."
Lad? That was just too much. He thought she was male. Sakura hid a smile as she turned back around to face the noble. She noticed that his eyes were beginning to look more dragon-like in their fury as a golden hue began to seep into the milky orbs.
"Also you should show more respect for your future liege," his chest rumbled half between a growl and speech.
"Captain Haruno of the Fourteenth Division I would like you to meet Prince Neji Hyuuga, the Crown Prince of Konoha," General Bishamon's lips were twitching with mirth which he was doing his best to smother. Sakura shot him a glance, realizing with some amusement that he had left her first name out, intentionally allowing the prince to believe she was male. The onyx haired general continued ignoring the silent laughter being exchanged between the tribe leaders, "There will be no war today. We have lost too many of our kinsman these past six months. The Grassland's has officially surrendered to Konoha. We are amidst a treaty…"
Green eyes widened in unadulterated shock, which was soon replaced by fury, "What?" the snarl that left her mouth caused all the males in hearing vicinity to flinch, "I don't believe this! I don't give a rat's ass who this iguana says he is!"
"Have you absolutely no fear?" Neji's half hooded gaze was more than enough warning to the other nobles at his side. One by one they began to edge their mounts away from the dragon prince to give him space.
Behind the captain's back, several of the tribal leader's shook their heads indicating a 'no' to the prince, which caused his lips to press into a thin irritated line.
"If you mean I do not fear a pampered little rich boy who has never had to do real work his entire life? I'm shaking in my boots," she mocked him, the corner of her mouth threatening to turn into a contemptuous sneer.
Prince Neji's inner beast roared for absolute dominance. He hungered to tear the diminutive impertinent brat to pieces. This human dare defy him. He bared his elongating fangs at the captain in a purely domineering maneuver warning him to stand down, "You dare much human…"
"Having a temper tantrum are we?" Sakura cast him a look of boredom, "Ah well, I guess I should haven't expected much from some stuffy lizard prince of Konoha…" She urged her mount away, her back held erect, her head tilted with innate pride.
The fierce order had her glancing back at the fuming prince, an uninterested look on her face.
"I will prove to you humans that I am more than adequate to rule this pathetic little country," The prince asserted fiercely.
Sakura kept her facial features schooled into a mask of indifference even though he had just insulted her beloved homeland, "And how will you do something like that lizard breath?"
"I will simply humiliate you - human..." the dragon smiled coldly, the look in his eyes was finally beginning to alarm the young woman. Perhaps she went a bit too far in poking fun at him, "I will fight you here and now, first blood."
"What's the point in silly games?" she tilted her head, a true look of confusion coloring her features.
"If I win," he continued pointedly, "you will owe me a lifetime of servitude."
"Haruno?" Hiroshi tried to intervene, not at all liking how this was snowballing.
She silenced him with an angry glare. She turned her attention back to the prince speaking loud enough for all the nobles in the vicinity to hear, "And if I win, you shall make me lord over all of Grasslands. I want the irrefutable right to tax and pass laws how I see fit."
"I can't believe you're so delusional that you honestly think that you will win," the dragon prince scoffed at the human captain, "I will show you your place. It is after all your destiny to lose to me."
"If you're done fawning over yourself you over grown lizard," Sakura bit out fiercely, deeply annoyed at his arrogance, "You must agree to the terms before I accept such a challenge. Otherwise I will not waste my time."
Her fellow tribesmen were all looking at her with awe. She was truly a brave woman. An honorable captain of the Grasslands. To accept the challenge of an angry dragon with so much indifference was a heroic thing to do, but it was possibly also considered stupid. Hiroshi grabbed at her brown leather-clad arm desperately, "Haruno, you've gone far enough. Let it be. The decision to surrender won't change."
"Fine. I accept your ridiculous terms," Prince Neji dismounted his coal black stallion and stood to face the belligerent captain, "Let it be known, these are the terms of first blood. All of you stand as witnesses."
Shrugging off Hiroshi's irksome fingers, she easily slid off the tall mount and nodded at the prince, "Let it be known to all present. I accept the honorable challenge of first blood."
The dragon prince smirked at the young captain. The boy in front of him looked no more than fourteen summers at most. His build was slight and the boy's voice was obviously still undeveloped giving away his age. The dragon prince estimated the fight being over in a few seconds. Neji scoffed mentally, the terms were utterly ridiculous. It mattered not because the alpha male knew without a doubt that he would win this pathetic fight otherwise he would never have made such terms.
The boy had put him in a tough position. After speaking to one such as he so rude and callously, the dragon prince knew he would have lost face with the tribe leaders of the Grasslands if he had not stepped up to put the little bastard in his place. It was possible that even his own nobles would have considered him a coward for not dealing with the whelp. They had just signed a peace treaty and killing some random boy would not have bode well for the surrender he had worked so hard for. He would show not only the Grasslands, but he would also reiterate to his troops the iron strength of his noble family.
The Konoha nobles and generals at his side laughed coldly. The Grasslanders were more foolish than they had previously thought. The superior smirks of the various dragons and elves caused the Grassland leadership to bristle and tensions to spiral higher than even before.
Sakura felt a streak of satisfaction course through her as she removed her helm and tossed it on the ground. Taking the ribbon tied at her wrist she ignored the incredulous look of the prince as she tied her nearly waist length hair into a quick high ponytail. Sakura kept her face blank, but the huge wide eyed look Prince Neji was giving her made her want to laugh in his arrogant face.
He glanced at the Grassland Chief, the leader of the Ixion Tribe, "Is this some sort of pathetic joke? Do you think to mock one such as myself?" The prince's tone was ice cold, "Because if that is so… I am not at all amused…"
Chief Jiro raised an eyebrow at the prince, "What do you mean my prince?"
"T…this little girl! Did you put her up to this in an attempt to humiliate me?" Prince Neji bit out fiercely.
"What's the problem lizard breath? Are you afraid that a girl might just kick your scaly pompous ass?" Sakura's hands hovered over the hilt of her sword, more than ready to unsheathe it at a moment's notice.
The prince didn't even bother to look at her. Chief Jiro fixed him with a sharp stare raising a dusky white brow over old water brown eyes, "Is she correct Prince Hyuuga? Do you fear fighting a woman? I assure you, there was no insult intended. Captain Haruno is a highly respected Captain on the battlefield. Nothing more, nothing less. The words exchanged between the two of you, are indeed your own business…"
Prince Neji glanced at the woman and then back at the chief, disbelief still etched into his hawk like features, "You allow the females to fight in the wars of your country?"
"Not normally no. Captain Haruno has been our only exception," Chief Jiro tilted his chin proudly, "However all of our women are at least taught how to defend themselves and their honor. This country was built upon agreements between the Independent Tribes. We have been raided many times by bandits and roaming barbarians over the years. It would be stupid not to do so."
After that disclosure, the prince knew he could not back out of such a fight without losing face. It was unheard of in his country for a woman to bear arms. Male dragons were notoriously defensive of their mates and there was no such need. He'd have to take such things into consideration concerning the human territory.
Unsheathing her sword, her hand gripping the hilt, her feet slid into position. She quietly waited for the prince's decision. Sakura mused mentally, if he chose not to do so, he would be labeled a coward. However it would be even worse for him if he lost, she knew, especially if he didn't keep his word.
The coffee colored ponytail swayed in the breeze several moments as both armies watched the combatants curiously. In a swift, precise motion the prince unsheathed his sword and fell into a fighting stance of his own.
Sakura smirked at him, "Bring it!"
The thin blades glinted in the sun for several moments. Sakura held her ground as he came straight at her. His eyes were fierce as their blades clashed in a fury of sparks. Her booted feet slid in the sand as he used his draconic strength to thrust her back. To his amazement, the woman did not lose her footing, nor did the look of concentration slip from her features.
Her eyes met his and this time she rushed him. His sword came out to meet hers, but just as she was a mere few feet away from him, she span agilely on the balls of her heels in a counter clockwise motion, the tip of her sword pointed down. Bringing the blade up hard she thrust it upwards and heard his grunt as he caught the metal and their eyes met across the crossed weapons for several moments.
With a fierce snarl, he shoved his weapon out, his massive strength pushing her back. He rushed her once more, his body was a blur as his speed picked up, the tip of his sword aimed for her neck. Sakura easily moved aside and turned just in time to meet his blade as he had realized he had missed his target and had turned to catch her off guard.
They went back and forth like this for some time. His strength and speed were beginning to wear down her stamina but she did not yield beneath his furious onslaught. Although he would never admit such a thing out loud, the depth of her skill amazed him.
Sakura made a dash for him, her sword down and low to her right side, both sweat slicked hands gripping the hilt. Perspiration streaked her temples, but she didn't notice her own fatigue as she once more whipped the blade up in a furious arc, aiming to nick his thigh. He caught it with his own and once again pushed her well away from him.
Lifting his left hand, fire formed on his fingertips, a smirk touching the edges of his lips. He sent the fireball at her unprotected chest. It hit Sakura hard. Stumbling she fell losing the grip on her sword. Prince Neji was there in a blurred flash, bringing his sword down, more than ready to finish this tedious fight.
Sakura rolled aside, the tip of his sword barely nicking her leather sleeve. Fortunately it did not pierce her skin. Quickly she was on her feet, and surprising the prince with her fierce audacity, she ran for her fallen blade. He went to intercept her, but to his shock, just as he brought down his blade to slice at her unprotected arm, the girl fell to the ground and slid under the opening between his widespread legs, grabbing her sword as she did so.
Ignoring the stench of the burnt leather wafting from her now ruined chest piece, she did her best not to gag. That attack had taken more out of her than she first thought as she stumbled slightly. The prince could see that exhaustion was beginning to take its toll on the obstinate woman. Even still she blocked his next attack.
Sakura glared at him and their eyes met and locked for several moments. This time they charged one another at the same time. Just as he was about to reach her, he spun about, and the Captain of the Grasslands let out a fierce war cry as she went to meet his blade. Pain pierced the young woman as his sword grated across her own the tip efficiently slicing her arm. However at the same time Sakura had pushed the tip of her blade forward and had also cut his arm a mere couple seconds after he had drawn first blood.
The sword of her father pierced the ground as she fell to one knee. Her breath was leaving her in gasps. Blood dripped from her wound but she paid it no mind. The prince on the other hand was looking at the wound she had inflicted on him merely a second or so after he had injured her. If his guard had dropped for any reason the woman would have bested him. The thought stung his pride.
Hiroshi cut in, "Please… she's just a…"
"Hiroshi!" Sakura's voice was sharp, and she lifted her head meeting his concerned brown eyes, "I gave my word. Do not shame me that way…" Using the hilt of her sword, she pushed herself to her feet.
Pride was all that held her erect as she met the eyes of the prince who was now by all rights her master.
He waved a dismissive hand at the young woman, "I will deal with you later. Remove yourself from my sight."
Sakura dipped her head and turning on her dusty heel, she strode over to her mount and by force of will heaved herself onto the mare's back. Grabbing up the animal's reigns she clucked her tongue in a sharp sound and the beast beneath her surged into a furious gallop.
The prince watched as she took off in the opposite direction of the Konoha camp. His eyes narrowed a moment. An advisor asked tentively, "Do you wish to send someone to retrieve her…?"
The prince lifted his hand, "Let her be. I will deal with the matter later."
"That damn woman will be the death of me," Hiroshi muttered before running a nervous hand through his hair.
The white eyes of the prince roamed over the younger male, "Do not worry yourself. I will be taking her off your hands…"
"Well to be honest, I was looking to marry Ms. Haruno," Hiroshi paused and took a deep breath, "Is there any way that you could?"
Prince Neji's voice was sharp as he said, "You could not handle a woman with that kind of spirit."
Hiroshi's eyes flashed angrily at the prince but he said nothing.
"Who is that girl?" The prince averted his attention to Chief Jiro. For the young woman to hold such high esteem amongst the prideful leaders of the Grasslands spoke volumes.
"Enough talk about such things. Let us move onto more important matters," the old man nodded at the prince curtly. Grasslanders did not speak about their kinsmen to foreigners so freely.
Neji's lips thinned a moment but he said nothing as his silvery eyes subconsciously fixed themselves in the direction the woman went.
A/N: Me and my AU's right? Well you know me. Even my canon tends to be odd, (see to "Wild Horses") I've decided to give this fandom a bit of love and have posted 2 fics. One in first person, this one in normal story format. They're both experiments. Enjoy.