"What's so great about being lazy, you ask? What if war were declared and nobody showed?" Garfield
"Oi, hurry up, you three." called the man in the cloak, "Naruto-sama is waiting and if he's going to fight against Tsunade of the Sannin, he will need our assistance."
The former Oto-nin ran to him without hesitation and he smirked, this was a good thing, they were learning how to properly follow orders. He needed such at this pressured time… both him and Naruto-sama…
It's an interesting thing, really. I met Naruto-sama when I was but a small boy. My Clan had only recently destroyed a clan that was smaller than us. It was a clan of Samurai that were sent at us from Kiri in hopes of ending all our lives.
They succeeded in diminishing our forces ton such a point that only a hundred of us lived, the rest of us were slaughtered. I don't know how many died, but we were now roughly a tenth as strong as before. Our chances of winning against Kiri were too low to consider. We were going to die…
Then he came. Then I saw Naruto-sama for the first time. At first, I thought nothing of him. He was a boy, much like me, who was about a year or two younger. He had a deformed right arm and he twitched a lot. But he never spoke.
After three days, we made eye contact. The first thing he asked me wasn't something dramatic. Nothing of the sort, he wasn't the type to ask philosophical questions like in some kind of cheesy film. No, he asked me my name and grinned. For a moment, I didn't know how to react.
"My name is…"
It seemed to easy to say those words. In reality, years of being chained and locked up in a cell like this to be used as the clan's secret weapon had done its toll on me. I could barely speak… and I didn't remember my name. Was I ever given a name in the first place, I wondered. Did I ever get that small right to be human or was I left to rot like a dying, vicious animal?
It was quite clearly the latter.
Naruto-sama frowned and shook his head before introducing himself.
"My name is Uzumaki Naruto. I'm sure you've never heard of me, nor of my sister…"
I asked him about his sister.
"She's a nice enough girl. I don't have all that many problems with her…" he turned away from the subject and innocently asked me something… again, "What's your name? You trailed off…"
I told him of my predicament and he smiled and nodded, listening to all I had to say. For the first time in my life, I felt relaxed… pleased, even. I felt I had a friend. Sometimes, however, I wonder how it's possible that a dream as simple as finding a sister or any family to love would turn into a dream of murder and bloodshed. I follow Naruto-sama for three reasons. I repay my debt to him for taking me out of that prison… I repay my debt to him as he is my first friend and precious person… and I follow him so one day I may watch him die.
The cloaked man shook his head, "What were you three doing back there, anyway?"
"Kin got her foot stuck in a pile of…" the cloaked man tuned out Zaku's vivid description of Kin stumbling into horse feces.
I've been through everything with him, thick and thin. My Kekkei-Genkai was a big help, in actuality. During our brief time in Kiri, I had to keep it a secret as Naruto-sama and I used subterfuge and espionage and sabotage on the non-Clan side. We did everything we could to try and make Kiri more peaceful.
That resulted in yet another spectacular coup de tat spearheaded by the Kiri no Shinobigatana Nananin Shu. Naturally, it was mostly a failure. Though the Kage was forced to retreat and plunged Kiri into yet another state of civil war, it was still a failure. Most revolutions are… for what are revolutions but dreams made into a reality? And isn't it true that in any dream, a nightmare may be born?
The cloaked man stood on the side and watched as Naruto began talking with the Slug Sannin, egging her on. It was like he was begging for death. Idly, he was aware of the other two men with him. The ones who wore black trench coats with blood-colored clouds… One had blue skin; the other was an Uchiha as identified by his clearly activated Sharingan. What could this cloaked man do other than watch with a slight smirk?
"Zaku, Dosu, Kin… prepare to enter battle. We are going to help Naruto-sama today." he stated.
They didn't need to be told a second time.
As time passed on, the little and innocent boy I knew grew uncaring, sadistic, and cold. I miss his old, naive self. It's unsettling, knowing I now no longer work with a pleasant and happy individual but rather a cold and twisted one. He's killing civilians now… and I recognize that he needs to be stopped. But I cannot beat him.
There's only one person who can… and he no longer wishes to love her.
Tsunade attacked Naruto with a punch that he simply caught with his right hand. It wasn't to the cloaked man's surprise that she felt pain at that moment, even as Zaku, Kin, and Dosu began making a storm… or at least, enough smoke to cover out the sun.
His eyes narrowed slightly. What was Naruto-sama planning?
A blur of red and white signified the arrival of the Toad Sannin, Jiraiya, as he attacked mercilessly. Well, now people knew Naruto-sama was alive and kicking. But knowing him, having brought two S-Class criminals, he predicted this. As such, it was no surprise when Kisame, the blue-skinned one, brought down his bandaged sword to knock away Jiraiya. Itachi grabbed hold of him and put him in a silent Genjutsu to put him to sleep.
So that meant one opponent was dealt with- A sword found a new home as it impaled the Uchiha while Jiraiya burst into smoke and revealed a log. The Uchiha dispersed himself into a group of crows that promptly swarmed Narumi, the wielder of the blade.
The cloaked man pointed to Narumi's neck with his finger and there was a slight burst of chakra followed by a speedy, bullet-like projectile. He grinned when it hit and she fell, bleeding.
…He never missed.
I remember my first mission with Naruto-sama. A simple assassination. It was a rogue Feudal Lord making deals with a foreign Daimyo. They planned to overthrow the country. Naturally, we couldn't let this happen. This is the day that Naruto snapped.
When we found the Feudal Lord, we were intercepted. We refused to tell the Shinobi hired by the Lord who hired us, they presumed it to be the townspeople and attacked them…
Naruto begged them to stop. And then one of them came over to me and put a kunai to my neck…
"Don't kill him! Please! Show mercy!" cried Naruto as he looked at the hundreds of people being killed in the streets of the small town.
"Mercy? Boy, these insects don't deserve mercy!" shouted the shinobi at him.
The entire town almost immediately exploded… And Naruto's eyes turned a malicious red. His arm suddenly gained a mind of its own as it tore the person who was holding him apart. He unsealed his sword and impaled the Shinobi who held me captive, though his blade left a thin cut on my neck.
It wasn't deep enough to kill me, but it would scar.
The Shinobi whimpered as Naruto lifted him into the air, his red eyes glaring at the man.
"P-Please… stop… show mercy…" he said.
Rage unlike any other sparked upon Naruto's face, "Mercy?" he asked, "Did you show those people mercy?! I…" he lifted the sword higher and put his right hand onto the man's head as he coughed up blood, "I shall show you the mercy you have shown others today…" his hand glowed and he grinned maniacally, it was a Cheshire Grin that threatened to split his face in half, "And since you showed no mercy…"
I dully realized it was the grin of an insane man bent on naught but destruction and all it took for me to realize this was watching as Naruto killed a man easily twice his size, pulverizing every square inch of him to nothing but a crimson paste that stained the world…
…Oh, how that man screamed as he was killed.
The cloaked man frowned as Narumi stood up, healing quickly. The Kyuubi didn't want to die, this much was clear. He glared at Naruto… he was taking too long with Jiraiya… too long.
"Zaku, destroy one of her legs. If she interferes with Naruto-sama's fight, he may not win."
Zaku complied and released a blast of hyper-compressed air that shot through everything in its way… only, it didn't hit Narumi. Rather, she blocked it.
"…So she knows we're here?" he asked.
"Hai." she responded from behind.
He was unsurprised to hear her voice so close now, he knew of her speed… instead, a long, white blade popped out of his wrist and he swung at her with it. The former Oto-nin who followed him attacked in unison.
The cloaked man grinned...
He sent a message, as usual, by sending out a stone hawk. It brought us a map, instructions, anything to help us not only to find him but also to assist him in some way, shape, or form. Our most recent mission was to assist Naruto-sama in the attempted assassination of not one, but two Sannin. He wanted to cripple Konoha by killing the other two remaining Sannin. But in order to do this, he would deeply need both my personal assistance and the assistance of the team I've gathered. We exist as the only means of destroying Konoha's two finest.
What wasn't in the report he sent us was that Narumi would be there... though, it was implied. I knew that Naruto would never have us go against two S-Class opponent's like that... he has a heart, too. Unless, of course, it involves Narumi. He is willing to kill a thousand people, sacrifice a nation, and annihilate anybody who may care for him if it meant Narumi would die. His obsession... is unhealthy. But I? I am a single man who leads a group too terrified to leave him. If it was up to me, he would stop this nonsense and come back to his senses... he would return to the old Naruto- The Naruto I loved like a brother.
Every day, my hopes and dreams for things becoming simple again fade and wither...
Naruto looked at the cloaked man and almost sighed with relief, "What took you so long?!" he shouted.
"A little of this..." trailed the cloaked man, dodging a Doton Jutsu launched from Jiraiya, "And a little of that. You know... stuff."
Naruto felt his eye twitch before he calmed down and grinned, looking at Narumi, "I suppose that you were the one taking shots at her from the cover?" it was phrased more as a statement than a question.
Naruto sighed, "You know she's mine to kill..." he whined, "I mean, I've been training for years and learning everything I could from whenever I fall asleep! Her memories are like a buffet!"
"I wonder why that's the case!" shouted Jiraiya as he came from behind and delivered a vicious right hook to Naruto's face, cracking his mask, "There aren't many ways for a connection like that to be established, meaning you must have some type of seal on you that's reminiscent to a seal on Narumi... a seal that had to have been on you both, is almost totally identical, and was placed almost immediately after birth."
Naruto frowned as his mask fell apart, revealing his face to the world. Jiraiya flinched slightly at the sight of it, but said nothing.
"...Hoho?" Naruto finally chuckled out, "I suppose there's a very good reason you're the best Seal Expert in Konoha. To be able to realize that... remarkable. What gave it away?"
"Two things. First, when Orochimaru put the Gogyo Fuuin on Narumi, she had her chakra sealed. You openly admitted to not having as many dreams about her not once, but three times. You think that the Jonin there didn't hear you? They're seasoned vets, kid. They know how to interpret what a person says no matter how softly. Or at least... Morino Ibiki, head of Konoha Torture and Interrogation can."
"Well there's reason one. What's the second?" inquired Naruto, he really wanted to know... it wasn't common knowledge, after all.
"You gave yourself away." Jiraiya smiled and Naruto watched him turn to mud.
He swore and turned around to face his opponent, realizing he was fighting a clone, when he suddenly felt a pain in his gut...
"Gogyo Fuuin!" Jiraiya shouted when he struck Naruto in the gut, rocketing him away and sending him sprawling across the earth.
He spat out blood and climbed to his feet, "What the hell did that accompli-?!" his right arm suddenly turned to dust.
Dully, realization set in... 'Oh shit.'
"I figured that if I sealed you, you would be limited just like Narumi-chan was. In this case, you've lost your right arm."
"And without your right arm, you shouldn't be able to last all that long against two Sannin."
'Triple- wait... is this guy for real? He's still outnumbered and I was able to last a good while against the Yondaime, his wife, and the Ichibi Jinchuuriki... and he thinks this will be easy?!'
Naruto suddenly lost the smirk that was on his face when Jiraiya disappeared and reappeared in front of him with a Rasengan, aiming for his face.
'...Where was I? Oh, right... Triple shit.'
Naruto... I know you're in there somewhere, if I have to die to bring it out... then I will.
"Kawarime no Jutsu!" hissed the cloaked man quickly... suddenly, the Rasangan was closer to his face.
He felt his it harden, the bones becoming like steel.
"Oi, I get it... you don't have a name!" Naruto said, shocked.
I couldn't blame him.
"I know, I'll give you a name... yeah! I'll do that!" he grinned happily and laughed.
"From this day forwards... your name will be..."
"Kimimaro!" Naruto shouted as he watched the Rasengan tear away half of the cloaked man's face, leaving nothing but gleaming bone... and an eye that glared defiantly at Jiraiya.
Bones spiked out from all over the cloaked man, forcing Jiraiya back. Kimimaro, the cloaked man, pointed a finger at him... and fired a bone bullet.
"Yeah... Kimimaro... Kaguya Kimimaro. It fits."
End Ch. 24
Well, that was exciting. Though we have made no headway with 'The Fourteen', we at least know the Cloaked Man's name... and it's Kimimaro! I certainly gave enough hints at this point. I was kind of hoping that people would have figured it out sooner... but hey, whatcha gonna do?
Anyway, my next update will be on the 24th!
...Am I the only one who sees how annoying it is that chapter 24 is released on the 14th instead of the 24th? Ah well, that's the way things work, I suppose. On a side note! For some inexplicable reason, I can't open word right now. I think it may very well be a corrupted program, in which case, I might have to delete it. So, my updates might not be as certain seeing as how I'm using GoogleDocs to do my stories right now... but if it worked for "The Kitsune Hollow", then it'll work here. So... yeah. Don't get your hopes up for the 24th, I may have to skip it because of computer troubles.
Anyway... I'm off! I'll try to update on the given date. Until then, signing off!
Forever Signed in Blood,