Chapter 4 – Tough opponent
After dropping Tsunami in Wave Country, Naruto was now seated on the beach contemplating his next target in the bingo book. However memories of dropping Tsunami came in full view and he knew now that his chosen path was the right one for him. He couldn't afford to be seen anywhere that might endanger his plan of being blown.
After Tsunami and Naruto had their way together, Tsunami went to the shower so as to get cleaned up. Between the raping in the woods and the sweat sex making with the blond, she could say a bath was needed. However as she entered, memories of the one to whom she just had sex with, be nothing more than a child three years earlier. Tsunami, never in her life, saw someone change from child to grownup in just three years and this scared her a little bit. When the water came down, though, Tsunami smiled upon being able of doing this yet again; however because of her savior, she would be able to see her family again and do all the things she most treasured in life.
When she got out, she was surprised to see that the blond was already dressed and wearing his mask, while telling her to speed things up. "Tsunami, we have to go. I can't stay any longer than this. I need to be on the move and I need to take you back to Tazuna's house" – Whispered Naruto to which the woman nodded and then the two went out of the room. Once Naruto paid for the room, he and Tsunami were on the way to Tazuna's house.
After a while, the Great Naruto Bridge was upon them and Naruto couldn't help but show his surprise at the name while Tsunami giggled. "I told you are our hero, Naruto. My father dedicated this bridge to you in sign for your efforts in beating Gato as well as returning light into Inari's eyes, thus the villagers. Come, our house is no longer where you thought it was" – Shouted Tsunami to which Naruto complied and followed the woman to Tazuna's house. "Tsunami, when we are inside, please don't tell Tazuna or Inari, who I am" – Said Naruto, earning a look of surprise from the woman who didn't see that coming. "Why not? Inari would be thrilled to see you. What's the matter?" – Asked Tsunami, though shocked by hearing what Naruto said to her.
"I can't let your family be submitted to interrogation just so that my enemies can find me and trust me they have eyes everywhere" - Said Naruto to which Tsunami sighed but complied with the request. When the woman knocked the door, Tazuna was the one who answered and immediately hugged his daughter. "Tsunami-chan, you're home. I was so worried about you leaving, was your trip okay? Who is this fellow with the mask? Is he a ninja?" – Asked Tazuna to which Tsunami responded. "Unfortunately, father, a missing-nin captured me and tried raping me. This hunter-nin here saved me and brought me back here" – Said Tsunami while pointing to Naruto who in turn, turned to study the drunk in front of him to see if he would be able to recognize the blond.
Tazuna looked at the man and hugged him while screaming words of appreciation over and over. "Tsunami-chan, I'm sorry but the next time you travel, I'll be calling Konoha for an escort mission. We can't let that happen again. Ah, hunter-nin don't you want to come in and have something?" – Asked Tazuna showing his hospitality to which Naruto waved if off. "No thanks Tazuna-san, I believe I would be interrupting your privacy. Also, I have some business to attend to" – Said Naruto to which the old man nodded and said his good bye to the shinobi. Naruto greeted everyone goodbye and fixed his eyes on Tsunami to say a silent thank you to which the woman acknowledged and nodded in response.
Naruto was able to recognize some people looking at him in suspicion while in Wave, so he needed to vanish. After that, he appeared on the beach and took his bingo book for his next target. Using a red pen, he made a huge cross on Nara Shishio's page indicating that he was already killed, thus moving onto the next page. C ranked missing-nin called Makoto Shinji was banned from Konoha because of the murder of his genin comrade on a mission near Tea Country. At the time, Shinji blamed the enemy for casting a genjutsu on him, thus manipulating him to kill his comrade. However, according to the report made by the responsible jounin at the time, stated that no genjutsu was ever casted, and thus eliminating the man's only line of defense. As for his location, his last whereabouts were near Suna Village, where he tried establishing himself within one of their villages.
Huh, I think I'll pay a visit to Gaara, maybe he has some information about the man – Thought Naruto as he got up and left Wave Country by once again passing through the bridge that was nominated after him, even though if it wasn't for Kakashi, Zabuza would have killed all of them without even breaking a sweat. However there was something he wouldn't ever say it to the silver man's face. After stepping his foot on Fire Country, he picked up a map and draw his trip to Suna. From where he stood, he would have to cross the entire Fire Country, then passing by River Country, thus enter the desert that is Wind Country. After a day perhaps a day and a half, he would reach the hidden village. "Remember that you're not supposed to be seen, so you'll need to contact the Kazekage without anyone from the village seeing you" – Advised Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded and thought. I know that, I'll just have to figure something out when I arrive there, Wind Country is very big; I'd be searching for Shinji endlessly. – Thought Naruto to which the Kyuubi turned to think. "Presenting yourself as a hunter-nin from Konoha would draw suspicions, however if you try getting in by using henge than I believe it's safer" – Said the fox.
In order for that to work, though, I'll have to sneak in the village from another way other than the gate. I'll need to stay in a hotel and then reach Gaara - Thought Naruto to which the kyuubi manifested his consent and proceeded on his trip. Crossing Fire Country would take a day if he uses chakra to give a little push. That being said, Naruto channeled some chakra through his feet and started the trip. Along the way, he was focusing chakra on his nose as well in order to sense when danger would arise.
Tsunade was reading some report about a mission when Kakashi arrived to talk. "What can I do for you, Kakashi" – Said Tsunade to which Kakashi took his eyes off his book and looked at the blonde hokage. "Are we going on that line, Tsunade-sama? I need to know the fake story so Sakura won't ask. Also, I believe that we need to contact Kurenai and Shikamaru, seeing that he is now the one responsible for Team 10" – Asked Kakashi to which Tsunade sighed and nodded with the jounin. Also call Jiraya, he'll need to run some counter-intelligence on this one" – Said Tsunade.
After all were gathered in the room, Tsunade addressed them all at once. "Greeting everyone, I called this meeting to discuss Naruto's situation inside of Konoha. Shikamaru, even though you're not a jounin yet, you are here as responsible for Team 10. Some of you know and some of you don't, but Naruto, since two days ago, became a hunter-nin for Konoha. Also, yesterday I received his first victim. Nara Shishio was expelled from Konoha from being responsible of many rapes throughout Konoha, Naruto caught him trying to rape yet another girl and he was eliminated" – Said Tsunade, before earning a look of surprise from Shikamaru who could only mean that he knew the man. "Before you ask, Shikamaru, he was your half uncle. Also, I'm here to tell all the ones who don't yet know that he chose this job so as to take Akatsuki off Konoha. However, in order for them not to know about Naruto, he proposed ensuring him a mission to meet the pervert here's spy network. Now as to his real documentation, it will be locked inside this office at all times. As of this moment, Naruto's whereabouts will be labeled as a B ranked level secret, only until he returns to being a regular shinobi, any questions?" – Asked Tsunade, but surprisingly Kurenai only nodded and Shikamaru was silent.
"Kurenai-san, I understand if you're uncomfortable talking about h…" – Said Tsunade but was interrupted by the woman who smiled and addressed everyone. "It's not that Hokage-sama. I realized that the death of Asuma was what drove me to say all those things to Naruto and I apologized to him. Also, he told me of the hunter-nin position. However, I'm afraid to say I tried to convince him to back off the position, but he didn't even listen to me. That kid only bother going forward, thus not dwelling on the past. I thought that he would have trouble but I guess I was wrong" – Said Kurenai to which Tsunade smiled and turned to explain a little thing about Naruto's job. "Only for your knowledge, I'll be explaining some aspects of Naruto's job. First, Naruto received two books, one being the bingo book of our missing-nins and another that all hunter-nins and Anbus have it as well that is a gathering of missing-nins from all of the elemental nations. His targets are the one from the bingo book and he receives the reward that anyone would receive by killing the man. So far, Naruto is on the C ranked pages, thus killing only the ones he can beat. After a while, he'll start taking on B ranked, then A ranked. However, I intend to revoke his hunter-nin license when he reaches the S ranked ones. As of right now, only three ninjas are listed as S ranked missing-nin and those are Uchiha Sasuke, Uchiha Itachi and Orochimaru" – Said Tsunade to which Kakashi nodded and this time Jiraya moved in.
"I wouldn't agree with you on this point Tsunade-hime. You forgot that you're not talking about Naruto anymore. This new being has the body of Uzumaki Naruto, but the mind of both him and the fox, thus he is now proficient in fighting against any type of enemy. My guess is that the fox wouldn't want a weak vessel, so he will stop at nothing to bring Naruto into shape in order to battle against the S ranked level missing-nins. According to Naruto himself, he used the two month training in order to improve his fuuton affinity and also learn the katon affinity that is peculiar to the fox. Also, I found that Naruto was caring a katana, so Kyuubi must be teaching him a kenjutsu style that could help him. Now, I'll be running some counter-intelligence and be constantly filling his mission report with fake locations of my spy network. This way we'll be able to keep Akatsuki from capturing Naruto and also find who is spying for Akatsuki, within these walls" – Said Jiraya, earning surprised looks from Kurenai and Shikamaru. "How can you know that someone is passing information to Akatsuki?" – Asked Shikamaru to which Tsunade choose to answer.
"We have reasons to believe that Akatsuki is receiving information regarding the village's situations. It was strange how just after Konoha was victorious after the Sound/Sand invasion, Itachi and Kisame was here and try to capture Naruto. Also, Jiraya's spy network warned him about Akatsuki mobilizing towards Fire Country after leaving Kumo where they managed to capture the two tailed jinchuuriki. We don't know if Orochimaru also has a spy inside Konoha as well, but we are sure Akatsuki has one and we'll use Naruto's fake mission in order to find him" – Said Tsunade, before earning a nod from Shikamaru. "Tsunade-sama, how did he go on his first one? I mean, although I wasn't around much, he's still my student" – Asked Kakashi with his head down to which Tsunade recognized it as guilt. "Kakashi, I don't know if you'll be proud of him or disgusted, but according to the Hunter-nin in charge of the program, Naruto severed the man's head by using his sword, also he was admired by the clean cut of the man's head. To a hunter-nin, Naruto was efficient, to a human being, I would say he was vicious" – Said Tsunade to which Kakashi nodded.
"I'd say he was more human than you think Tsunade-sama. As you said, Shishio was raping someone when Naruto caught him, so he had it coming. Naruto doesn't kill just for the kill, at least from what I know of him" – Said Kakashi to which Tsunade nodded. "I just hope you're right Kakashi. Being a hunter-nin for so long can really change a man and even though the missing-nin deserves punishment, a hunter-nin won't take anything to consideration and just kill him should the opportunity arise" – Said Tsunade to which everyone nodded except Shikamaru. "This was the path he chose by himself for himself. Maybe he'll become a vicious killer, maybe he'll become the only capable of dealing against our toughest opponents. It's too troublesome but as Kurenai-san said so herself, Naruto only looks forward and won't stop at nothing so that his goal, whatever that is, can be fulfilled" – Said Shikamaru, once again receiving nods from the group. "We all hope so, Shikamaru" – Concluded Jiraya.
Back to the hunter-nin, he was already half away from reaching River Country, so he decided to take a rest. While resting for a bit, Naruto was considering his next step for training. Even with the two months training, he knew he could take a B level missing-nin, however A and S ones were obviously ten times as tough, so he needed to train and gain more knowledge. "You needn't worry about kenjutsu and katon ninjutsu training; I have plenty of material for us to practice. However, we have to do something about your affinity. As of right now, I believe you have the equivalent of fuuton chakra control as of a Suna chunnin. You need to be on pair with a jounin in terms of skill to be able to beat A ranked missing-nins. Maybe you could ask this Gaara person if we would share some exercises or at least two high leveled fuuton techniques" – Told Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded but was somewhat uncomfortable with simply entering and asking for the Kazekage to share his village's secrets, thus sending the impression of espionage.
However, he thought that asking wouldn't hurt to ask. After 30 minutes have passed, Naruto got up and continued his trip. While travelling, he was considering the last time he was in River Country and the time Gaara was captured by Akatsuki. He knew that River Country was famous for its hot springs. So he would find a hotel near one and simply relax a bit, even If he has to do it under a henge. A couple hours later, he was crossing the border of River Country and out to find a place to stay for the night. Camping outside was out of the question, since he, then, needed to be on guard for possible threats and wouldn't be able to rest at all. After finding a hotel with hot springs, Naruto asked for a room.
Quickly shutting the drapes, so as not to call attention, he took his mask off together with his clothes so as to take a nice long bath. He let go of the idea of joining the hot springs simply because it would be extremely tiring to use henge, thus not being able to rest. "All you need is a couple hours of sleeping while I take away the strain on your muscles from the trip" – Said Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded and proceeded with the shower. After that, he summoned some sleeping clothes and just let his eyes slowly close as he got accustomed to a nice bed.
---The next day---
The next day, Naruto woke up and without further delay; he changed into his hunter-nin clothes and checked out of the hotel, not even bothering to have breakfast. Quickly finding a dango stand, Naruto bought a few and eat while on the way to Wind Country. Unfortunately, Naruto wasn't aware of how large River Country actually was, so he couldn't know how much time he would take to cross the country. However, he knew that he needed all his rest to cross the desert and reach Suna, so he chose to find another place to stay near the border between River and Wind Country. "Take your time, Naruto and let's get some practice before you proceed with your trip. Find an open and secure place. When you find it, summon ten clones to learn a new katon jutsu that I remembered seeing it once. Also, I'll be adding five more pounds on each of your limbs so it will be kenjutsu training combined with strength and speed as well" – Said Kyuubi to which Naruto at first complained, however he complied in the end since he would have to see a place at the end of the day anyway.
"Right, now that you found the place, the jutsu is called Katon Kasumi Enbu no Jutsu (Fire Style: Mist Waltz Jutsu) and what it does is create a large combustible mist that when in contact with fire, it will ignite in an explosion. I'll send the hand seals sequence through your brain and some explanations for you to practice on, however this jutsu must require some flame to ignite, otherwise it won't do any good" – Said Kyuubi to which Naruto complied, thus summoning the needed clones to perform the technique. "Now, it's time to raise the weights a little bit" – Said Kyuubi.
After the process was completed, Naruto kneeled down a bit because of the extra-weight and slowly lifted. When he got accustomed to the weight, he took his katana and travelled through the katas that Kyuubi taught him. While he was doing that, the clones were trying the new jutsu; however none of them were getting even closer to perfecting the technique. One clone did manage to blow a thin layer that resembled combustion mist, but other than that no such luck. "For this jutsu to work, you have to do the seals perfectly and then gather the most amount of air inside your lungs as you can and simply blow it"- Said Kyuubi as he instructed the clones to try it once again.
While the clones were going at it, Naruto was dancing with his sword as he viciously slashed through every single imaginary opponent that went to face him. By now, Naruto's proficiency with the sword was enough to be a chunnin level, however in order for him to become a jounin in terms of skill with the sword; experience would be the only training method available.
After a while of slashes, Naruto stopped to rest a little bit and looked at his clones when suddenly a huge combustion mist appeared from the mouth of one clone and the other threw an exploding tag in it, thus creating a rather large explosion in front of the clones. "Jutsu mastered, Naruto. Now rest for 10 minutes and then let's head to the desert" - Ordered Kyuubi, making Naruto snort at the fox for acting like he was the boss or something like that. "You'll learn to respect me, pathetic imbecile, I'm teaching you all these and I expect that you treat me with respect" – Shouted Kyuubi to which Naruto sighed and explained to the fox.
Never had I disrespected you, baka kitsune. It was just that the last thing you said sounded more like an order - Thought Naruto to which Kyuubi ignored and cut off the link, leaving Naruto to talk to himself. Ignoring the fox's bitching, Naruto rest for a little while and then got up to head towards Wind Country. On the way, Naruto was considering how he could improve the control of his fuuton chakra, since he already made the two exercises required for being able to perform fuuton ninjutsu.
"Why not controlling the air?" – Asked Kyuubi as in barging in Naruto's thinking. How can someone control the air? There just isn't possible, is it? – Thought Naruto as in wondering if fuuton users could somehow manipulate the air molecules to the point of molding it. "A few ancient fuuton users in the past were able to control the air to an extent, but I never put my hand in this, because it's not within my elemental limits. Nevertheless, imagine the possibilities of being able to control the air. You can make the air thicker by adding chakra or make it lighter where you can flow. You could also control it to the point of being able to increase air pressure or even gravity if you concentrate hard enough" – Mumbled Kyuubi some of his knowledge to which Naruto smiled at the prospect of being able to do such a thing.
However, as you know or do not know, air molecules are consisted of oxygen and hydrogen, thus being the molecules that, while together, generate water. I believe that the Nidaime Hokage was able to use suiton ninjutsu just by using the air molecules, thus generating water. I don't know if you have to learn suiton manipulation in order to be able to control air" – Thought Kyuubi to which Naruto asked a question. If what you're saying its right, then I wouldn't need to worry about hydrogen, since my interest wouldn't be generating water. My interest would be to control the wind that travels throughout the air, thus don't need to gather air inside my lungs. – Thought Naruto to which Kyuubi nodded. "You are on to something here, Naruto. If you were able to use the wind around us instead of gathering it in your lungs, then the attacks will be much faster and precise. Not to mention that chakra won't be an issue here since you got plenty to use" – Said the fox.
Well, what can I do to sense the wind around me, then? – Asked Naruto before hearing the noise of the fox thinking. "You pathetic humans can't feel it like I do; otherwise your control would much better by now. You'd have to try meditation. Only by closing your eyes and relaxing your chakra flow, can you sense the wind passing by. However, to attain such form of relaxation, you'd have to be patient. It's not just that close your eyes; you'll need some time standing still, with a clear mind and a clear spirit. Only then, can you feel it" – Said Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded and already envisioned himself standing still. Won't work, fox. I have too much chakra to just ease the chakra circulation – Complained Naruto.
"That's why I say it isn't easy, imbecile. Air is a force of nature; therefore, you have to be one with the air. Only then, can you feel the air around you" – Concluded Kyuubi, earning a nod from Naruto who didn't even notice he was staring at the River/Wind Country Border in front of him. Looking around, he was glad he found an inn right on his left.
After getting out of Tsunade's office, Jiraya initiated his counter-intelligence mission towards Naruto. He already gave false information about Naruto being in Tea Country meeting some people and then would head straight to Marsh Country where he would meet another group. However, Jiraya wasn't counting on Naruto actually being where he informed. Being that, he summoned Gamakichi in order to see where the gaki was located right now.
"Hey where's bro? Why do you summon me pervert?" – Shouted Gamakichi as he looked down at the sannin. Gamakichi, just like Naruto, grew up and now stood a great 20 feet of height. Of course, that didn't mean Jiraya wasn't offended and found the lack of respect to be rather infuriating. "You better treat me with respect Gaki, or else I'll tell your father" – Shouted Jiraya as he crossed his arms. "My dad? I wouldn't do that if I were you. He was the one who taught me what a pervert you really are and the bro just confirmed the story" – Laughed Gamakichi before seeing the look of surprise by the sannin.
"Forget about that. I need you to inform me of Naruto's whereabouts? Where is he now and where is he heading?" – Asked Jiraya to which Gamakichi promptly answered. "Right now, he is at the border between River and Wind Country. He'll be heading to a village near Suna in order to capture the second missing-nin in the bingo book, named Shinji something, I don't know" – Said Gamakichi to which Jiraya nodded and smiled since his counter-intelligence was in full force. Now, the only thing left to do was to spread the counter-intelligence information so that his spy network can spread the false information. Jiraya would never think of such plan and he actually enjoyed this counter-intelligence position.
---The next day---
The next day, Naruto checked out of the inn and was not stepping on the desert when his fellow toad appeared. Gamakichi appeared in his mini-form and informed of Jiraya's conversation yesterday and him asking where Naruto was at the moment. Gamakichi also informed that for Jiraya's counter-intelligence to work, Naruto would have to inform the pervert where he would be heading so that Jiraya could spread the information that Naruto's located on the other side of the elemental nations.
Upon hearing this, Naruto nodded and appreciated the info. Before leaving, though, Gamakichi extended a question made by his father Gamabunta as to why he wasn't summoned in a while. Naruto, then, informed that because of his identity being a secret, summoning the toad boss would ruin everything. Naruto, then, assured Gamakichi that once he has the ability to face Akatsuki, he'd summon the boss.
Satisfied with the answer, Gamakichi vanished, thus leaving Naruto to begin his travel towards Suna. The desert was tricky to pass by because of some sand storms that seems to appear out of nowhere, however as he travelled, Naruto channeled chakra through his ears in order to hear some loud manifestations of wind so as to know when a hurricane is coming his way. He remembered the last time he went to the place and figured that it would take at least two or three hours before the village is visible.
After a while of travelling, Naruto stopped to see the valley where the village was located right in front of him. Focusing chakra through his eyes so as to see any traps that may pinpoint his location, Naruto frowned as his eyes caught sight of several seals in front of him which could only be chakra detection seals or a trap of sort to catch the infiltrator. "For you to be able to pass these seals undetected, you'll need some teachings in the art of fuuinjutsu, Naruto. Although it's kind of a lost art to you humans, fuuinjutsu masters are feared throughout the elemental nations from being unpredictable. Maybe you can ask that sannin you call him Ero-Sennin to lend you some material" – Explained Kyuubi.
Okay, but if I were to pass by this without fuuinjutsu knowledge, what should I do? – Asked Naruto, before hearing the fox speaking. "Oh it's pretty easy once you realize the seal's location. Just mold chakra towards the seal's direction and disrupt the chakra that happens to make the seal work. It's kind of like dispelling genjutsu, however instead of disrupting the flow of chakra all over your body, you'll have to focus on a certain point, say the seal" – Taught Kyuubi to which Naruto turned to think about it for a moment. The blond was beating himself right now over not worrying to learn more about disrupting genjutsu when he could and now he had to improvise.
Reaching a conclusion, Naruto sighed and started counting how much seals there were to be dispelled. When he counted the last one, he was surprised that only five of them were positioned on this side of the valley. "I don't think they'd realize that someone would enter the village through the top of the valley. Now, focus on the seal and say Fuuin Kai (Seal Release)" – Explained Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded and began the seal dispelling. After breaking the first one, Naruto realized his mistake as all the four started to glow which indicated a trap. "Quick Naruto, the seals are linked with each other. You have to disrupt all four of them as quickly as possible" – Shouted the fox.
Not wanting to lose one of them, Naruto summoned three kage bunshins and sent them to disrupt the other three while he would disrupt the forth one. Letting the air he didn't know he was holding Naruto looked at the village from above for a place to land until he could reach the ground. Observing the village for a while, he found that he was right in front of a dead alley that practically no one would see him land. Quickly dashing to the nearest landing point, Naruto began his movements down the valley until he reached the ground safely. Looking around for any shinobi or kunoichi that could spot him, he found that no one was around.
He could say he was lucky to spot a hotel nearby, but considering what he's been through his whole life; luck wouldn't be the word to describe it. So, he went into the hotel, while in a henge and picked up a room. After he entered the room, he went to the balcony and turned to investigate the distance to get to the Kazekage tower undetected. He knew that Gaara was a night person from not being able to sleep when Shukaku was inside of him, so he knew he could sneak into the tower undetected at night and have a nice conversation with his friend, the kazekage.
Looking at the village at night, he was surprised to see quite a lot of shinobi doing some patrols around the village; however he knew the reason to this. Deidara of Akatsuki was able to pretty much approach the kazekage tower without anyone seeing him, so Gaara must have tightened security so that no one can come in here. "Foxes are the most cunning of animals, Naruto. Why do you think you were able to get in placed undetected or escape jounins and Anbus before starting to learn about being a shinobi" – Said Kyuubi to which Naruto nodded and turned to leave the building and charge towards the kazekage tower.
As Naruto quickly dashed around, avoiding security, he found that the ones doing patrol, wasn't all experienced since they only turned when Naruto was already far away from such place. However, because of this being like second nature to him, Naruto didn't need any chakra, therefore, being quite difficult to detect his presence, except by actually seeing him. After a while of evading security, he was now in front of the kazekage tower. Looking up, he jumped towards the roof in order to reach Gaara's office through the window.
Landing on the roof presumably unseen, he was surprised to see that Gaara was in front of him with his arms crossed. So much for infiltration - Thought Naruto as he looked at his friend. "What are you doing here Naruto?" – Asked Gaara with a monotone voice to which Naruto lifted from the ground. "I wanted to talk to you for a little bit. Mind giving me a minute of a kage's time?" – Asked Naruto, earning a simple nod from Gaara.
After Gaara nodded, began explaining what happened since they last seen each other and his decision towards Akatsuki. Upon hearing this, Gaara was actually surprised for the first time in his life. However he let Naruto continue his story so that afterwards he could ask questions. When Naruto finished saying that he was after Shinji, Gaara lifted his eyebrow at the mention of the name and told that Suna was after this man as well. To say that Naruto was surprised it would be an understatement. He thought about talking to Gaara about the man for some information about his more precise whereabouts, but never would he guess that the man was wanted in Suna as well.
"In Konoha, he's considered a C level missing-nin; however I have the feeling that he's more than that, since you guys want him too. What did he do to earn Suna's trail?" – Asked Naruto to which Gaara crossed his arms and turned to answer. "Shinji broke in recently and stole one of the village's most precious scrolls. The scroll was created by Nidaime Kazekage who was a legend in wind manipulation. Some said that he could control the air, but that was never proved since none of the enemies he presumably used, lived to tell. The scroll related the third exercise needed to fully manipulate fuuton ninjutsu. Since you're hunting him, I'll come with you since the scroll is Suna's possession and quite frankly, I'm quite bored with doing paperwork all the time" – Said Gaara.
"Do you happen to know where he is, then?" – Asked Naruto to which Gaara nodded. However, Gaara was already forgetting something and extremely important about the blonds' presence. Gaara forgot that Naruto didn't enter through the door nor was he escorted here which meant that he sneaked in. "Yes I know where he is, however I'm not sure as to why and how you were able to reach this place undetected." – Said Gaara before seeing Naruto scratch his head in annoyance, indicating that he didn't have much of a choice, which he in fact didn't.
"In case you didn't listen, I can't be seen by anyone, so I had to sneak in without anyone seeing me. As to how, I'll leave it up to you to figure out" – Mumbled Naruto as he shrugged his shoulders as in not his problem, earning quite the angry face from Gaara, which resembled that of Shukaku. "Okay, I'll tell you. First, I entered the village from the top and then dashed towards the non-populated area of the village. After that, I hide inside a nearby hotel and waited for night to appear. When said time approached, I came here without any of your guard noticing me" – Explained Naruto as though it was the simplest thing in the world.
However, the kazekage wasn't so thrilled since his village once again suffered a breach in security, which meant that no matter how much trouble he had coming up with a solution to this problem, once again one man was able to sneak in and once again reach the Kazekage's office without anyone noticing. Naruto, after noticing that Gaara was in deep thinking, sighed and turned to question the man about the missing-nin. "Naruto, I'm afraid I won't be able to guide you through this hunting because of your little breaking in. So, I'll be asking you a favor and return the scroll that is rightfully Suna's possession" – Asked Gaara to which made Naruto think.
"I'll do it. Also, seeing that my affinity is wind, I am in need of further perfecting such manipulation. I've already done the two exercises needed, but I know I don't have what it takes to fully control it. Could you offer me some advice?" – Asked Naruto to which Gaara turned to think. Being the Wind Shadow of his village, he was well aware of how fuuton ninjutsu worked and how could a person increase its control, however such information would be limited to Suna, thus sharing with the blond would act as treason. "Sorry Naruto, but such information is considered Suna's secret, thus I can't reveal it. I'm well aware of your problem with your new fuuton technique and how much pain was caused, since every aspect of Akatsuki is shared between the villages. So, I can't help you" – Said Gaara to which Naruto nodded as in dismissing the issue.
"Okay, just tell me where the guy is and tell me where and who should I deliver the scroll?" – Asked the blond before seeing Gaara vanish for a while and then appear. "This first scroll contains the map of the man's location. After you retrieve the scroll, just send it here via summon as I'm sure you have a contract with the toads" – Said Gaara, earning a nod from Naruto who in turn said his goodbye and jumped back to the ground in order to leave Suna through the same way he entered, thus leaving Gaara to analyze the blonds' escape for future references, regarding security.
After getting some safe distance from the village, Naruto looked at the map in order to find Shinji's location and perhaps the scroll containing fuuton ninjutsu training. Looking at the direction needed, he stored the map inside his weapon holster and charged towards the destination. It wasn't long until he stood in front of what appeared to be a deserted village in the middle of the desert.
According to the bingo book, the man was quite proud of a peculiar line of cloth that consisted of a vest that resembled a Konoha chunnin vest, although in black color. However, upon looking at the handful of people that appeared on the streets, Naruto sighed seeing that the man wouldn't simply be walking around, waiting for someone to kill him. After all, he isn't a missing-nin for nothing. Another aspect of the job of being a hunter-nin is understand what a missing-nin thinks; what he does to stay out of trouble and what he doesn't. Even though this man was Naruto's second hunt, the blond was already catching a few hints regarding C ranked missing-nins at least.
He knew now that this type of missing-nins are in a lot ways compared to criminals with shinobi training, simply because a criminal doesn't stop committing crimes, so it would be easy to spot them out of the crowd. However, as the rank was higher, the more difficult it would be to find a missing-nin. The B ones and higher know how to avoid giving signals of his presence and some are able to cast genjutsu to trick the pursuer into believing that the person isn't there. Luckily, the blond had another pair of eyes to see in case he didn't see. Of course, Naruto wasn't seeing this as an advantage, seeing that the damn fox is in favor of sometimes make fun of its host. "Don't blame me meat bag, just your presence is enough for me to fall on the ground from laughing so much" – Laughed Kyuubi to which Naruto snorted at the fox.
I swear, one of these days I'll get in there and shove a rasengan right up your ass – Thought Naruto before hearing laughter from the fox; however it was more because of the impossible threat by the blond. "I'd like to see you try, Naruto. Also, I'm inside of you, moron; either I or you can't hurt the other physically. So that being said, the only thing you can do to me is either having a stronger killer intent or winning on a verbal discussion between us. Since it will be virtually impossible for the first to happen, I'd say you stick to the second and we'll go from there" – Said Kyuubi before realizing that the damn brat stopped listening before he finished the explanation. Stupid brat, no respect.
Outside the mental link, Naruto sighed seeing that it will be a long time before he accomplishes to win an argument against a 10.000 years old demon fox. Focusing on the task in hand, he turned left only to stop in front of the village's bar. Quickly using a henge as not to arouse suspicion, Naruto entered the bar disguised as a samurai with long hair and an eye patch, wearing a white kimono. Upon entering, he gauged the crowd that turned their attention to see the newcomer. Not wanting to draw attention to him, Naruto quickly went to the bartender and ordered some hot sake. Naruto wasn't fond of drinking, simply because of having to drag the stupid toad sannin from almost every bar they went because the man couldn't even carry himself.
While the water was preparing Naruto's beverage, he turned to study the public so as to look for his prey. Suddenly, he saw a man that was drinking his third bottle of sake that happen to wear a black vest. Looking once again at the picture from the bingo book, Naruto recognized the man as being the one who is wanted dead in Konoha. After zipping the sake down his throat, he paid the man and called him to ask a question about the man on the other side of the balcony. The bartender, first, looked at Naruto with suspicion, but quickly dismissed from being extra paranoid and turned to reply. According to the man, he didn't know the man's name; however upon hearing that the man came from Kumo, the blond realized that the man wasn't who he was looking for.
However, when Naruto asked if the man came alone, Naruto was satisfied to know that the man had a twin brother who was expelled from Konoha from murdering a fellow ninja. Also, Naruto learned that the man would be arriving soon since he likes to wait a bit of time before starting to get drunk. Thanking the man, Naruto got up and left the bar so as to wait for the man to approach. However, he didn't need to wait long as a man identical to the one in the bar appeared some distance away. Seeing that the street was now empty except for the two of them, Naruto stopped the henge and charged the man while making hand signs in order to push him away from the commotion. Fuuton Daitoppa (Wind Style: Great Breakthrough Jutsu).
By the time the man sensed fuuton chakra, he was already caught by the strong gust of wind, thus flying backwards. While flying, the man was mentally cursing himself from lowering his defenses and gets caught by the technique. Although the landing was quite rough, Shinji got up and started to assess this time's opponent. "Konoha again bothering me, don't you people have more to do?" – Shouted Shinji to which Naruto lifted his shoulders and answered. "I can't help it, you know. It's my job to hunt you people, you understand that right. Trust me, they are plenty stuff for me to do than having to track you down and kill you. Do you know how hard it is for us to travel all around just to find one imbecile who chose to leave the village" – Said Naruto.
After hearing this, the man was taken by surprise. Most hunter-nins he faced always came with the same crap about dealing with the ones that threaten the village's well being. "So you don't care about the village and all that crap you people say?" – Asked Shinji to which Naruto lifted his eyebrow in surprise at the question. "Considering your rank, I wouldn't be concerned about Konoha's well being. An elite chunnin could neutralize you in seconds" – Said Naruto, taunting the man who in turn gritted his teeth after being downsized by his opponent.
"Ok man, you managed to piss me off, now suffer the consequences" – Said the man before starting some hand seals for Fuuton Kamaitachi no Jutsu (Wind Style: Cutting Whirlwind Jutsu). Suddenly, Shinji sent waves of cutting winds at Naruto who barely jumped in time to avoid the technique and then look at the man. The bingo book didn't say anything about him being a wind user; however Naruto figured that the man leaned it after seeing Suna's scroll. "Fire beats wind, Naruto. Channel some of my chakra and deal with this man" – Said Kyuubi, not even bothering to watch the fight.
You don't need to tell me that, I was already thinking about it – Thought Naruto as he focused a bit of the fox's chakra and took his sword in order to charge against the man. Because of the extra-chakra in Naruto's chakra coils, his speed doubled, thus taken Shinji by surprise who in turn took a kunai and was barely able to hold itself against the Furiseirei. However, Shinji was surprised when the hunter's sword was surrounded by fire, thus shattering the kunai into pieces. Taking advantage of the man's surprise, Naruto landed a powerful kick on the man's chest, sending the man flying. While the man was flying, Naruto took the time and started the long series of hand seals needed for Fuuton Suidou no Tatsumaki (Wind Style: Tornado Tunnel Jutsu).
Although the attack landed,Shinji, at the last minute, switched places with a nearby rock, thus evading the attack and appearing side by side with the hunter. Fuuton Kaze no Yaiba (Wind Style: Wind Sword Jutsu). Not having time to evade and not enough chakra control to do a kawarimi, Naruto made his trademark seal for Bunshin Danmaku no Jutsu (Clone Barrage Jutsu). Instantly, four kage bunshins appeared and blocked the attack with their lives, thus protecting the real one. Feeling the need to end the fight right now, Naruto picked his sword and charged against the surprised man who was taken aback after seeing someone use a kinjutsu for defensive purposes, thus cutting the man's head off before the man could even move a muscle.
After the man fell on the ground, Naruto searched his jacket and smiled upon finding Suna's scroll. After putting the man's head inside a scroll, he labeled it for Konoha and summoned Gamakichi who took both scrolls and nodded. Quickly vanishing, the toad went to Gaara's office and delivered him the scroll. The kazekage was surprised to see the toad in his office, but then remembered about Naruto's mission, so he thanked Gamakichi and handed him a scroll to give Naruto.
Once Gamakichi was back, he handed a scroll for Naruto who unrolled it began to read.
Naruto, thanks for retrieving the scroll. Once again I'm in gratitude towards you for helping the people of Suna. As reward for your trouble, below there is a hint to the next phase of fuuton ninjutsu training. I decided to give this to you, seeing that you could've looked this information at the scroll Shinji stole, but didn't. See you soon my friend.
Third step: Kaze Saishuu (Wind gathering)
After reading the letter, Naruto smiled and then asked Gamakichi to go to Konoha with the head and the report on Shinji's false status as C ranked missing-nin, simply because of his ability in fuuton ninjutsu.
(AN: A little message to all of my readers: This will be my last update in 2008. I'll be studying like hell for a test that will happen in January 10th; therefore I won't be able to update more this year. I'll see you all after said date, though. I wish to thank you all who had the chance to read my stories and also wish everyone happy holidays. See you in 2009)