NOTE: If you haven't read chapter eight yet, go back and do so, otherwise you probably won't understand what's going on. I've uploaded two chapters today.
The Samurai Ninja
Chapter 9: Samurai Ninja and First Mission
"Daddy! Can I go practice with Chiriku-sensei yet?" a blonde haired child moaned in a begging voice.
"Not until you finish cleaning your room. Your mother told you to do so when she left this morning. So get to it," the boy's father responded in a somewhat ordering tone.
The child grumbled. "But I just cleaned it last weekend! It didn't get dirty that quickly... unless Maui-chan got to it! Why can't she leave my room alone for more than a day?" the boy complained.
Asuma chuckled. "If I recall correctly, you were the one who wanted her the most when we got her. You need to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions."
"But she's so cute! How could something like her be that troublesome?" the little boy wondered out loud.
"Kami, you sound like my friend from the Nara clan, Naruto," Asuma mumbled to himself. The blonde tilted his head to the side because he couldn't hear what his father had said. The taller man shook his head. "Just clean your room to make your mother happy, okay? Then, you can go do whatever you would like with Chiriku-san."
Naruto grumbled, but nodded. He was fighting a losing battle, and there was no point in going on. He turned around and wandered up the stairs and into his room, in a slumped position. He was only five years old! He already had to do enough chores as it was... but cleaning his room on what seemed like a daily basis was getting on his nerves. He really liked Maui, but she could cause problems for him that just seemed to constantly build up and never go away.
Just before he entered his room, he heard a barking noise and turned his head. Speak of the devil. The furry animal came running up to him and panted with its tongue hanging out the side of its mouth. The animal stood at a fairly tall height... just under Naruto's shoulder.
"Hey, Maui-chan!" Naruto said with a smile on his face as he rubbed the top of the animal's head. Maui was a somewhat large dog. She was a Husky that had two bright blue eyes that were similar to the color of Naruto's, only a little bit lighter. The dog had come from Yuki no Kuni as a present to the Daimyo to show their appreciation for an alliance between their countries. One had also been sent to Konoha, but that was a different matter.
When the dog arrived, the Daimyo found that he had to give it away. Apparently, Yuki no Kuni hadn't known that his wife was allergic to furry animals, which was pretty much why there were hardly any in the temple. The only ones that lived there were kept away from Yanahi, usually in the owner's home. The Husky had been offered to any of the members of the Guard, and no one seemed interested... except for Naruto.
As soon as the child had laid eyes on the animal, he seemed to form some attachment to it. He had asked his parents if they could get her, and they eventually caved in after a bit of persuasion. They had compromised that Naruto would help take care of the animal, at least until he was older, when he would have to take just about full responsibility.
That had apparently included cleaning up after any messes the animal made of his room. It didn't seem fair in his opinion. Why should he have to clean up his stuff if his dog was the one who ruined how it was set up in the first place? He sighed. That seemed to be how life worked.
He decided to clean up as quickly as he could so he could go train with Chiriku. For just under six months, he had been allowed to join in some of his father's very light training exercises. He had thought that his father's trench knives were the coolest thing ever and anted to learn how to use something like them. Asuma had told him that he would have to train first, and the blonde had eagerly accepted... until he figured out how boring training could be.
It was sometimes fun to do... but it got so repetitive after a while. However, he didn't let that get in the way of things. No matter how long it took, he would learn how to do was his father could. He just couldn't pass the opportunity up. Ooh, big word! he thought to himself.
Over the few years that had gone by, his mother had taught him a few large words. He was working on incorporating them into his thought process. It wasn't that easy, but he would get the hang of it sooner or later... preferably sooner.
Speaking of his mother, he had overheard something about the word 'engagement' from her and his father. He didn't know what it meant, but she seemed to be very happy when she told Yanahi about it. The Daimyo's wife had been keeping an eye on him for the day, and when his mother had come to pick him up, they had gone off into conversation. That was when she told her about it, and when Naruto overheard. What did it mean anyway? It had to be something good. Well, at least, he hoped it was. If his mommy and daddy were happy, then he was too.
Before he realized it, he had finished cleaning up the mess that was made in his room. He gave a silent cheer and stood up and walked over to the mirror. He looked into the reflective object and nodded to himself. He was in the right outfit. That was good. A black short sleeved shirt, and a pair of black sweatpants. He looked like a miniature version of his father on his training days.
But today wasn't going to be any old training day. No. Today was the day he was going to get to try using a sword for the first time! He had done all of the training that Chiriku had wanted him to do, and was now ready to put it to use. He quickly turned to his dog that was standing in his doorway.
"See ya later, Maui-chan!" he called out before running past her and down the hall. The dog's head turned to watch him run, and when he made it to the stairs, she entered his room. It was too nice to pass up the opportunity of sleeping on his bed when his mother would never allow it. So, what better time to do it than when no one was home? She wandered on over to the boy's bed and hoped up onto it. She just had to make sure she woke up before he came back. Shouldn't be too hard considering Naruto slamming the door sounding like an atomic bomb going off. The dog gave a sort of sigh and fell to sleep.
Chiriku heard something along the lines of 'I'm here!' coming from the direction that Asuma's house was in. So, they finally let Naruto go, huh? He would have to help the boy in the future with learning how to remain at least a bit quieter when coming over to someone. But hey, how much could you expect out of a five year old? In his opinion, the child was doing great as it was. He didn't usually come across a five year old who was already training in things that would help lead to becoming a ninja in the future. Naruto was probably one of the first... and he was doing a great job of it.
"Good morning, Chiriku-sensei," the child called in an overly happy voice. Apparently he remembered what today was. He also remembered to use 'good morning' rather than 'hi' or something along those lines. That had been one of the rules that Chiriku had drilled into his brain. He never thought 'hi' was an appropriate way to greet the person that was training you, at least not if you were in actual training. More informal events could be spent like that, but not when your teacher was trying to teach you a lesson.
Asuma had always said that Chiriku took some things way too seriously... like training on a five year old. Chiriku had always come back with something, but it would never stop Asuma from bugging him. And then there was Kurenai. That woman had taken forever for them to persuade her to let Naruto do some training. She didn't want the child to get badly injured at such a young age. They still thought one of the winning arguments had been that Naruto needed something to do around the temple since there were no other children his age. Sure, he had Maui, but the dog seemed to like to sleep during certain parts of the day, and could only play with Naruto for so long before she got bored. Kurenai had tried to come back with the fact that he was always able to see the Daimyo's wife, except for when she was out of town, but there still remain the fact that the Daimyo didn't have any children that were his age. He had one grandson that Naruto met twice, but aside from that, there wasn't anyone.
The red eyed woman had finally caved in, but made sure that any chores Naruto had were completed before he went off to have fun. Naruto had grumbled in response, but had agreed since it was the only way his mother would compromise on it.
Over the years that had gone by, Kurenai had found a job in the nearest town. It was a three mile walk from the temple, but if she took to the trees she could make it their within ten to fifteen minutes. It all depended on how much chakra she pumped into her legs, and how close to being late she was.
One morning had cut it far too close for her taste. It had happened about a month ago on a Friday night. She had forgotten that she had work in the morning because of something to do with the inventory, and had gone out with Asuma, at his request. He was acting a little nervous all evening, and she couldn't help but wonder why. He never behaved like that... he was always an easy going guy, but could take charge of something if need be.
Toward the end of the date, she had figured out precisely why he had been acting weirdly all night. He had taken her to one of the largest lakes in Hi no Kuni, and they had enjoyed a long walk around it under the sun setting sky. She had been able to see stars in one direction, and the sun in the other, and in her opinion, it was one of the most beautiful sights she had ever seen. When they finished their long walk, well just before the end, he had taken her to the top of an over look and they had watched the sun go down a bit, the bright colors reflecting off the water.
Just before it had gone down completely, Asuma had stood up, making Kurenai think that they were leaving. She hadn't wanted to leave that quickly, but agreed. After she had stood up all the way, and had taken one step forward, she had turned back to see what was holding Asuma up. He held her hand in his and was down on one knee. She remembered how wide her eyes had been and had almost forgotten to listen to what he was saying.
He had asked her what any woman that had been dating a guy for so long and really loved wanted to hear. She had said yes immediately and moved forward to kiss him. She had almost pushed too far, all the way to the point where they were on the edge of the cliff. She had blushed in embarrassment as she went to help Asuma off the ground. He hadn't seemed to care one bit and had pulled her into a kiss while lying on his back.
They had stayed on the cliff for what seemed like hours before they finally decided to return home. They would have to get Naruto from Chiriku in the morning since he allowed the blonde to sleep over, but they weren't too worried about that. When they arrived at the temple, they immediately went home. Kurenai was exhausted from the day and just wanted to curl up in her bed and fall asleep. Asuma pretty much went with anything Kurenai wanted to do since he was still shocked that he had managed to pop the question to her like that. They had both quickly fallen asleep after that.
The next morning hadn't been so nice to them. Since they had stayed out so late, both of them had slept in. Kurenai was the first to wake up out of the duo. When she had looked at the clock in the room, she had nearly jumped out of bed. She had immediately shook Asuma awake and told him to go get Naruto. He had almost left the room in nothing but his boxers, and she had to yell at him to change his clothes before leaving. She had taken the quickest shower of her life, and was in a new pair of clothes, almost before Asuma even made it to the closet. How he survived on missions, she would never know.
Staying out that late, while it had been nice, had caused her to make her jump to her work in record time. Chiriku could still remember seeing how dead Asuma looked that morning when he came to get Naruto. He and Kurenai had spent way too much time out the night before.
Chiriku shook his head clear of those memories when he felt someone tugging on his pants. He looked down to see Naruto standing there with a somewhat concerned expression on his face. The member of the Guard shook his head.
"Sorry about that, Naruto. Let's get started, shall we?" the man asked, knowing exactly which buttons to press to make Naruto get back on topic. The blonde responded with a large grin and a nod. He was ready. Chiriku nodded back and pulled out a storage scroll.
Naruto had seen them many times before from his parents, so he wasn't surprised when Chiriku used one. What did surprise him was what came out of the scroll. When Chiriku moved his hands away from the parchment, Naruto could see a somewhat small wooden sword in on top of it.
Chiriku turned his head. "You didn't think I would let you use a real sword on the first day of training, did you?" Naruto grumbled, but shook his head. The older man chuckled and picked up the small sword before rolling up the scroll and putting it back in his pocket. "This is the sword you will be using until you master some of the techniques I will show you with it." The blonde nodded and took the wooden weapon from his sensei. He held it by the handle with both of his hands before looking toward Chiriku for further instruction.
The Guard member shook his head, and used his hand to pull Naruto's left hand away from the sword. "This weapon is not meant to be used with two hands – just one." Naruto fumbled around with the sword for a minute to hold it still, but nodded.
"Before we begin, what was the rule you learned when facing someone as a samurai?" Chiriku questioned the blonde boy in front of him. He had taught Naruto long ago that the members of the Guard were not ninja, but samurai. The child hadn't known the difference between the two, and had questioned his sensei immediately about it. His mother had taught him several things about ninja, while Chiriku had explained what a samurai was briefly, but he could never quite figure out what the difference was. Chiriku had explained to him that a ninja was someone who quite frequently attacked their enemies from the darkness and snuck up on them, while samurai...
"Samurai never attack an unarmed opponent."
That was it. That was the difference between a samurai and a ninja. The codes that they followed. Ninja could care less whether their enemy was armed or not, but samurai were expected to follow a more honorable code in which they waited for their opponent to have a chance to raise their sword to fight back.
Chiriku gave a small smile and nodded briefly. "That is correct." He pulled out a wooden sword of his own, one that was far longer than Naruto's, and motioned for the child to come over to him. The blonde did as instructed as was soon right in front of his sensei. Chiriku began to go through a motion which he told Naruto to follow, but was slightly surprised when the child just stood there. He gave the blonde a questioning look.
"Chiriku-sensei, before we begin, I wanted to ask you something. How is it that you and daddy were both able to go from being ninja to being samurai if the two follow different codes?" Naruto tilted his head to the side in confusion.
The older man chuckled and stood up from his stance. "I was wondering when you would ask that." The blonde pouted. "While it is true that the code of the ninja goes against the code of the samurai... there are ways to go around that and still manage to follow both. Your father and I have both managed to accomplish it, and if you desire to be a ninja in the future, you can too. The people who do accomplish this are sometimes called 'samurai ninja,' for obvious reasons. You are on the road of the samurai right now, and the moment when you take your katana in the future, if you make it that far, you will be expected to follow the code of the samurai. The same goes for a ninja who receives his or her forehead protector. If you wish to do both, then you must find your own way to follow both codes. Everyone who has done it has gone through with it in different ways. I will not tell you the way I went through with it because it is something you need to learn on your own."
Naruto nodded slightly. It sort of made sense when he thought about it. His confused expression still remained.
Chiriku sighed. "I'll tell you one thing: the samurai who wields his katana, wields his code." Naruto continued to look confused. "I do not expect you to understand this right now, Naruto. Just remember this for the future, understood?" The blonde nodded. His sensei's quote was short enough to remember. It wouldn't be too hard.
"Now that your question is answered, let us get started." Naruto snapped his attention back to his sensei and prepared the wooden sword in his right hand like his sensei had instructed earlier. He followed Chiriku's motions as he shifted into the first stance. Chiriku turned his head to Naruto. "Pay close attention to this, because from now on, we will be ending practice with a short spar based on what I've taught you that day."
The blonde gulped. This wouldn't turn out well. He soon realized his sensei was moving on, and quickly began to follow it. He couldn't fall behind... especially not if he was going to get his ass kicked by his sensei in the next hour or so.
The blonde five year old trudged home with several bruises on various places of his body. Had today been a real sword fight, he would have been killed over a thousand times by his sensei. Chiriku was excellent with a real sword to begin with, but when he got his hands on one made of wood, he entered an entirely new world... one where his opponent wouldn't want to be if he did. Sadly, Naruto happened to be that opponent.
All he knew was that he had a long way to go if he was going to become a good swordsman like his father and Chiriku. He knew it would take long, but he had underestimated the amount of injuries that he had been given. His sensei hadn't given him too many... most of the time, he could tell that the Guard member was going out of his way not to hurt Naruto. There were times though when he would intentionally hit the blonde pretty hard. He didn't want the training to be made out easy for the five year old, but he also didn't want it to be made out as impossibly hard.
The fact that he healed quickly was another bonus. He didn't know why he was like that, but ever since he had started training, whenever he was injured, his wound would be gone before anyone had time to get him anything to make it better. Chiriku used this to go out a little bit more against the child. Naruto took it as using an unfair advantage, but Chiriku had responded that any advantages that one found in a battle were never unfair, and could be used against your opponent whenever you needed to.
It still didn't stop Naruto from complaining.
He shook his head clear and went up to the door to his house and opened it. He called out to his father, who came walking into the room.
"How did training go?" he asked the child with a smirk. The blonde grumbled and went to the stairs. Asuma chuckled. "Might want to hurry up there. I think Maui stayed in your room the entire time you were gone. You don't want to have to clean it again, do you?" Asuma almost went into full blown laughter at the look of horror Naruto had on his face. It was priceless.
The child pivoted on one foot and ran up the stairs as fast as he could. He shot into his room, and sighed in relief when he saw Maui, asleep on his bed. Good. She hadn't made any kind of mess for him to clean up. Truth be told, neither Asuma nor Naruto cared if Maui slept on the blonde's bed. It was Kurenai who had made the rule, and they had an unofficial agreement that she would be the only on to enforce it. So, Maui had been allowed to sleep on Naruto's bed as long as Kurenai wasn't home.
Naruto pet the dog's head as he walked by, and watched as her eyes slowly drifted open. When she realized who it was, she yawned. Apparently, she hadn't been able to wake up before Naruto got back because she hadn't heard the loud noise. His father had closed the door, so it didn't make any noise. She let her tongue fall out the side of her mouth as Naruto continued to scratch her ears. She eventually wound up lying on her back on the bed and let Naruto rub her stomach. It felt really nice after a good hour or two long nap.
The blonde stopped rubbing her belly a few minutes after he started to go get changed. He was really sweaty and didn't always like to where the clothes he trained in around the house. Yes, they were comfortable, but when he became sweaty, it slowly became annoying. He walked over to his closet and changed into an orange short sleeved shirt and another pair of black sweatpants. It was almost the exact same thing as his training outfit, but it was a lot more comfortable.
He could still remember how annoyed his mother had been when he had chosen the shirt from a clothing store in the town that she worked in. She really hadn't wanted to get it for him, because the color was too bright, but she had eventually agreed to buy him a darker shade of orange. He had been sad that he couldn't get the bright one, but found himself liking the darker one better. It was easier for people to look at him without getting blinded.
He gave a sigh. He didn't want to think about clothes right then. His dad said something about having to go on a mission earlier that morning, and he was probably holding him up. Maybe he would be sent to his 'grandma's' house, as he put it, while his father was gone. Grandma Yanahi was really nice to him. Her grandson was also nice, but he didn't see much of him, so that usually left her. His 'grandpa' was usually away since every time his father was sent on a mission, it would be with his grandpa. That only left him to see his grandma or 'Uncle Chiriku,' who was usually gone with his father. This time he was sure he would be seeing his grandma, and he couldn't wait!
"Naruto! Are you done yet?" he heard his father call him from downstairs.
"Just a minute!" he called back. He ran over to Maui and gave her one last pet. "Make sure you're out of my room the next time you hear the front door open. Mommy won't be happy if she finds you in here," he said in a quieter voice. The dog seemed to understand him and jerked her head up and down once. That was new. He shook his head. "Love you," he said and hugged her quickly, before darting out of the room.
He ran down the stairs and met his father in the front room again. His father was wearing the outfit he wore to go on missions with the Daimyo. It reminded him of a man's kimono... but it was one meant for battle. It was white, just like all of the other members of the Guard. Underneath the somewhat large battle robe, he wore a black skintight t-shirt, along with a pair of matching black sweatpants. His outfit was completed with a sash tied around his waist with the kanji for 'fire,' which marked him as one of the Guard, and a pair of black ninja sandals... one of the few things ninja and samurai had in common. The last thing Naruto noticed was a katana in its sheath that was tied to his father's waist by his sash. His father hardly ever pulled out his katana. Most of the time he only used his trench knives. It was really big.
His father smiled and helped him put his sandals on so they could get going. They didn't have much time before he had to report to the Daimyo.
When everyone was ready, Asuma handed Naruto and light jacket to put on. He did so, and watched as his father opened to door. They both went through and Asuma closed it behind them before they started heading through the training area.
Naruto soon realized that they had passed Yanahi's house, and were on their way to somewhere else. "Where are we going?" the blonde asked in a curious voice.
Asuma looked down and smiled. "You get to go with me on my mission today. Daiichi-sama requested that you come." The blonde tilted his head in confusion. Asuma sighed. "We're going on a mission that involves a few children that he thinks you will be able to help feel at home here."
"Kids are coming here? I thought I was the only one," he pondered out loud.
Asuma nodded. "You were the only one here. A few more are coming."
Naruto grinned. Maybe he could become friends with them. They would be his first friends, aside from Maui. Maybe he could show the Maui! They would have to live her just as much as he did. Who couldn't like the fuzz ball? No one, that's who.
Asuma smiled slightly at the blonde's enthusiasm. He hoped the mission would go over easily enough. It was also a matter of how friendly the children would be, given the circumstances that they were under. He didn't know if they would want to have anything to do with anyone once they got to the temple. This would be hard. At least he had packed a few storage scrolls with some food and extra changes of clothes in them if need be for on the way back. He didn't know how far it would be to their destination, so he had packed for a few days worth of a trip. He sighed and followed the eager child as they made their way to the Daimyo's office. I hope this goes over well...
The Daimyo stood near the window in his office as he waited for the members of the Guard to arrive. So far, Chiriku, and one other by the name of Haido had shown up, but the other two he was waiting on were nowhere to be seen. Not that they were late, but he wanted to get going as soon as possible. It would be interesting to have Naruto coming along on the mission. Naruto seemed to love going outside of the temple with his mother and father, so this was just taking it to the next level.
They were almost a hundred percent guaranteed that they wouldn't run into any trouble on the mission, just for the fact that it was a diplomatic meeting. The Hokage would be there, too, and he wondered what Naruto would think by seeing his 'grandfather' again for the first time since he was a baby. It would be interesting. He would probably take to him fairly quickly, but still, being the one to provide the opportunity made him feel good.
Naruto was also needed for several other reasons. The main one being helping the children feel welcome. He had such a bright personality, that he doubted anyone could resist being friends with the child, but that was more important for when they got there. What he needed to think about right now was when the hell Asuma, Naruto, and Karuki were going to get there.
Just as the thought went through his mind he heard the door to the room open. In walked the three people that he had been thinking about only moments prior. That was an odd coincidence. He shrugged it off and waited for the group to come over to him. He greeted them when they nodded, and decided that it was time to begin the mission explanation. He hoped it wouldn't take too long. He really wanted to get on the road as soon as possible to avoid being late.
"So, here is what we need to do..."
"So," an older man in a white robe sighed. "You two will take care of business around here for the next few days, correct?" The two people before him nodded. "Very well, then. Is everyone else ready to go? We need to head out within the next hour or so." The others in the room nodded.
"We are ready, Hokage-sama," the man in the front spoke with a nod. He had on almost all black clothes. The only thing that distinguished him from the rest of the group was a mask that looked somewhat similar to the design of a dog.
"Very well then, Inu-san," the Hokage responded. He turned back to the two that were off to his right. "Thank you, Homura, Koharu, for taking care of things while I settle the terms of this alliance."
They both nodded. "No thanks are needed, Hokage-dono," Koharu stated. "We are just doing our duty to the village." Hiruzen nodded. Even after all these years, it still felt weird being called 'Hokage' by his old two teammates. Whenever it was just them, they would call him 'Hiruzen,' but if it had to do with business, it was 'Hokage.'
He sighed and stood up from his seat. "Let us go, then." The group of ANBU nodded to each other and, at the same time as Hiruzen, they all used Shunshin to teleport to the front gate of the village.
Homura sighed. "I swear Hiruzen was hiding a smile the entire time. He loves going on these kinds of missions." Koharu nodded.
"Well, we cannot just leave this here. We need to get at least some of it done. I think that stack is due today," she said in frustration, while pointing to the large mounds of paperwork on their teammate's desk. Homura grumbled something along the lines of 'so not fair.' "You sound like a child," Koharu said in an annoyed voice. She walked over to the chair and began to work on some of the paper. Homura sighed and soon joined her. At least there were two of them to do it. It was a lot better than one person because they could get a lot more done in the same time span.
It also made it twice as fun to get revenge on the Hokage when he came back...