Nataro: (Holds up a bag in the air triumphantly) I've managed to repack!

Kazemaru: Me, too!

Hanzo: Me, three.

Nataro: Well, let's get outta here before the fic's deleted off the site. (Starts to walk off casually until Hanzo grabs his arm.)

Hanzo: Wait… Something's off.

Kaze: Again?

Blu: Yeah… The fic's not gonna be rewritten.

Nataro: Say what? B-but you said—!

Kaze: I should've known it would be a hassle to go through this AGAIN!

Hanzo: So, what exactly compelled you to redo this chapter over and add some stuff?

Blu: Oh, I dunno… Maybe it's because of I'm starting to like the series again… The current chapters aren't making me facepalm…the anime episode fillers actually amuse me…plus there's Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations coming out sometime this year, I think, so I can kick Part 2 Sasuke's psychotic ass with the more tolerable Part 1 Sasuke's angsty ass.

Hanzo: Ah… So…no rewrite?

Blu: No rewrite.

Kazemaru: No reboot?

Blu: No reboot.

Nataro: No retcon?

Blu: …No retcon.

Nataro: *Sigh* And I was coming up with some nice new names for myself…

Kazemaru: Please! You were gonna be renamed Naruto! And you didn't have a choice in the first place, idiot!

Blu: (Ignores the fighting in the background) I'd also like to point out that I'm thinking of ceasing Naruto Gakuenden X and replacing them with simple in-universe chapter-length omake. That may make some of you happy. (You know who you are.)

Disclaimer: Blu Rose doesn't own Naruto or any of its characters. She only owns her OCs and this fic.

X-X-X

#71: Battle on the Beachfront

(Several months ago in Nami no Kuni…)

It is nighttime in a small town in Nami no Kuni by the sea coast. The mist is covering a small area out at sea in particular. A small canoe departed from a dock, carrying three young men.

"Alright, let's see your so-called 'monster'," said the one who was rowing.

"I'm telling you—I heard something when I was out last night!"

"Were you, by any chance, drinking last night?"

While the other two laughed, the alcoholic's face turned red from anger and shouted, "No, ya idiots! I think I saw something in the water!"

The other two looked at each other with half-lidded eyes before they stated flatly, "Beer goggles."

"Now look here—!" The trio stopped speaking as something rocked their boat from underneath, almost making it capsize. "Ah! Wh-what was that…?"

"Uh… I dunno… Manatee?"

"There are no manatees in these waters!"

"Well, no fish can make a boat rock like that!" The one who had been rowing said seconds before the mist became thicker. The young men gulped and bunched closer together, two holding up oars as if they were weapons as a low growl could be heard. "O-okay! I think we've had enough for one night! Let's get back to dock! Uh… Wh-which way did we come from?"

"Wasn't it over there?"

"I thought it was over there!"

"Hell, let's go somewhere!" The man shouted as he put an oar in the water, but it was suddenly pulled out of his hands and into the water. He looked over the side of the boat in fear and watched as bubbles rose up to the water's surface. Seconds later, the broken up oar rose to the surface as well.

"Aw, hell…! I can't believe he's right…! Now we're gonna die because ofthis idiot!" The other man shouted as he punched the alcoholic in the arm, but he was too busy staring at something in the distance. "What do you got to say for yourself? Well?"

The alcoholic pointed at something in the distance. A beastly-looking shadow with glowing red eyes, floating in the water. "ROOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAARRRRR!" The beastly shadow roared before a large tidal wave rose up in front of it, coming right towards the small boat.

"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

X-X-X

Several days later in Konohagakure…

"I missed you, Tsuki-sensei…" Kazemaru spoke contentedly while he hugged Tsuki. "You have no idea how awful it was going on missions without you leading us!"

Hanzo looked at him out of the corner of his eye and sweatdropped. "They're only awful because you make them out to be awful. You and Nataro…"

"That's nice, Kaze. But let's not have any sentimental stuff in front of the Hokage," the purple-haired jonin spoke flatly while she looked at Naruto, who was sitting behind his desk arching an eyebrow.

"O-of course." The orange-haired teen blushed in embarrassment before he stepped back into line with his arms folded across his chest.

"…Now that we've gotten that out of the way, for the last couple of days, there have been reports of strange happenings near waterfronts in Hi no Kuni and a few neighboring countries. People going onto the water at night and not showing up until morning with several injuries. They all claim the same thing… That it was a monster that did it."

"Monster?" Tsuki asked skeptically. "You can't be serious…"

"It might sound ridiculous, but damage caused is real," the Rokudaime spoke as he bridged his fingers and leaned back in his seat. "And it's getting worse with each attack. Before, people weren't attacked when they saw the creature—they just woke up unharmed. Gradually, it appears to have gotten more aggressive, leaving damage along the shores and working up to hurting people. The last attack took place in a town on the coast… One was gravely injured, and two are missing and presumed dead."

"And this guy thinks…a monster did it?" Hanzo asked.

"He thinks that's so. However, I'm not so sure myself." Naruto held out a folder to Tsuki and she took it from him. As she thumbed through the papers inside, he continued, "The target appears to be moving along the coast. It seems it's going into Cha no Kuni. Whether or not the target is human or demon, it needs to be stopped."

"Roger that, sir!" Tsuki said with a salute. "Alright, boys. We meet at the gates in half an hour."

"Huh? But, Tsuki-sempai…Nataro's not even here," said Hanzo.

"Yeah, I mean… Shouldn't one of us go and get him before we prep?" Kaze asked as he scratched the back of his head.

"I've already got that covered," the purple-haired woman said with a nod.

Seconds later, the office door was kicked open and Kira stood in the doorway, holding two pieces of rope. "Well, it was a doozy, but I did it." He walked inside, pulling along Akasha, who had her hands tied up, and dragging Nataro, who was on the ground hogtied. "I've always wanted to try hogtying, and I got to! All thanks to Tsu-Tsu!" He looked at the jonin with a broad grin. "I really did miss you, you know. It gets old picking on this kid all the time."

"UNTIE ME, YOU SONNUVA—GUH!" The blonde stopped speaking when Kira kicked him hard in the ribs.

"Now what did we say about language in front of ladies? Speaking that way in front of your roommate…! Oh, and Tsuki, I guess."

"You're late," Tsuki spoke as she folded her arms across her chest.

"He put up a fight. Luckily, Red was more consenting."

"Which makes me say: and why the hell did you tie her up? I just asked you to bring Nataro!"

Kira's closed his eyes and looked lax as he said, "I got into it. But as a gentleman, I refused to hogtie her. I just tied her up with a difficult knot and it won't come undone."

"…And you did that because…?"

The mad genius shrugged. "I got into it."

"Of course you did," the purple-haired woman spoke flatly with half-lidded eyes. She bent over to look at Nataro as he was trying to lean forward to bite off the rope. "Nataro, we've got a mission. After you get out of that, you have 30 minutes to prepare and get to the gate."

The young chunin had managed to get a strand of the rope in-between his teeth and was trying to loosen it when he finally heard her. "A mission…?" He spoke with his mouth full. "That's why you got him to tie me up for?"

"Well, we couldn't find you and you weren't in any of your usual hang out spots. I had no choice." 'I might have still been a bit tipsy from my last drink off-duty, but I'm not going to say that my first day back…' The purple-haired woman added mentally as she looked out of the corner of her eye. "Just untie him, Kira…"

X-X-X

A short while later at Nataro's apartment…

"Man… The first day she comes back and I get hogtied. Tsuki-sensei… Why'd you have to send that guy after me?" The black-clad blonde grumbled with half-lidded eyes as he stood by his bed, packing his equipment and spare clothes into his bag. "Being dragged through town like that… Hopefully, they'll forget everything they saw when I come back." He gave a sigh as he zipped the bag close before picking it up and walking out into the living room. Akasha was sitting on a chair, reading a book. "I'm off!"

"Good luck! Be careful! I'll miss you! I'll cry if you die!" The redhead called as the blonde walked towards the door, her last sentence making him stop before he could grab the doorknob. "Huh? Aren't you going now?"

Nataro turned around and looked at Akasha with half-lidded eyes. "Y'know…you don't have to say that thing about crying when I die… At least not as part of a farewell."

"I just thought you'd want to hear that. Is that too depressing?"

"Kinda. At least you didn't say 'I'll cry when you die'," he said with a shrug. "See ya later!" He grinned before he opened the door and walked out.

A few seconds later, Akasha got a somber look on her face. "Which one of us will die first, I wonder…?"

X-X-X

At the same time, somewhere along the seacoast in Hi no Kuni, Ichinisan, Tetsuotome and Hitsuke walked as the waves crashed against the rock walls, the first cloak-wearing figure looking at a photo in his hand.

"Our target this time is the Sanbi no Kyodaigame. The species it imitates alone can tell you that it has an advantage in the water," Ichinisan spoke.

"And we're stepping right into its territory by fighting it near the sea," said Tetsuotome. "How annoying…"

"What's even worse is its skin. It supposedly has resilience towards physical attacks—ninjutsu included. Plus, there's supposed to be something about its chakra…"

"Tch! It doesn't matter! I'm gonna take care of the bijuu and then… Uh… What comes after that?" The iron maiden asked with half-lidded eyes. "The Sanbi is our last target. What's to do after that?"

"The leader will give us orders on what to do next. Until then, we have to do as we're told and find the tailed beast while you have to mark it."

"Yeah, yeah. I know the drill." Tetsuotome looked out of the corner of her eye at Hitsuke. "You're being awfully quiet. Not that I don't mind."

Hitsuke scratched the back of his head. "…I've been thinking about something. The Sanbi was reborn in my Kirigakure. There's a chance that the Undertaker Squad is going to be looking for it if it's running around outside of the village."

"So? If they try to drag the beast back, we'll beat them red, black and blue before they can interfere!" Tetsuotome said with a disturbing smile.

"Fuck the Sanbi! I don't care about that! I care about the damn Oinin finding me and annoying me once more! It's bad enough we gotta deal with Konoha shinobi while we're here, but now Kiri shinobi are gonna be coming after us? This is bull…!"

"Well, cry me a river! It's not like you can't take care of anyone from that pesky village!"

"I ain't weak! They just annoy me… They're like freaking ghosts with the way they seem to fade in and try to kill me."

"Hmph… I suppose hunter-ninja can be irritating from time to time, but you better not run off at the first sight of them!"

"I don't mind them. I think they're irritating when they pop up, but…" Hitsuke smirked underneath the hood of his cloak. "I like it when they burst into flames…! Heh-heh-heh…!"

"We've already got ninja from Suna, Kumo, and Konoha who are on the lookout for us. Adding one more village to the list isn't so bad… Besides, it's been a while since I've fought a Kiri ninja."

"The Sanbi is the top priority in this mission. Understand?" Ichinisan spoke flatly. 'I personally don't mind the prospect of not seeing another bijuu again for a while…' "Lucky for us, it's leaving an easy trail to follow…"

X-X-X

"So our target is a sea monster? Has Gramps finally lost it?" Nataro asked flatly as he and the rest of Team 14 jumped through the treetops.

"It can't possibly be a real monster!" Tsuki exclaimed.

"Sempai… Do I have to remind you about the incident with Suna, and the Asura, and the Oni, and the Nibi that Nataro said he fought a while ago…?" Hanzo trailed off.

"You can't blame me for trying to be hopeful…after my last run-in with a demon left me with a broken back... Either way, we were sent to investigate, and if possible, stop the attacks that have been happening. The attacks only happen near large bodies of water: the sea, the ocean, what have you. They also seem to be going down further into the peninsula leading to the ocean."

"Maybe our sea monster is trying to find its home in the sea again," said Kazemaru. This got him skeptical looks from Hanzo and Nataro. "What? Can't I be hopeful, too? The last thing I want's to go to the sea…! Why'd it have to be us? After the last mission we had near the ocean…!"

'Here he goes again…' The blonde and raven thought at the same time before their pyromanic teammate began his tirade.

"Damn nukenin with his damn giant crabs that hold you under the damn water until you almost FUCKING BLACK OUT!"

"KAZEMARU!" Tsuki shouted. "Get a grip!"

"S-sorry…!" The orange-haired teen spoke meekly.

"Well…look on the bright side. If you drown again, there's a chance Tsuki-sensei can give you CPR again. The downside is, there's a chance that Hanzo's lips will be on yours instead," said Nataro.

"Now why'd you have to go and say that, you freaking sicko?" Kaze shouted as a small vein throbbed on his forehead.

"Seriously, Nataro…" Hanzo mumbled under his breath as a sweatdrop ran down the side of his head.

"What? It could happen!"

X-X-X

A few days later, Team Tsuki arrived outside of a town settled near a beach that stretched out for several miles in Cha no Kuni. Nataro and Kazemaru watched in awe while several people walked around, chatting happily.

"You know what I said about the ocean? I take it back…! I take it all back," the orange-haired teen said with a slight blush on his cheeks as he caught sight of a group of girls dressed in bikinis and beach wear. "We can't let such a wonderful place be destroyed by whatever bastard is causing all this trouble!"

"Focus, Kaze," said Nataro as he grabbed the taller boy's face and made him look at him. Kaze pushed Nataro back and folded his arms across his chest with a huff. "We gotta find the creep that's responsible for all of these attacks! Whether it's a bijuu or an Asura, they're going down!" The blonde exclaimed as he pounded his fist into his open palm.

'I swear he's getting obsessive with this Asura thing…' Hanzo thought with half-lidded eyes as he looked out of the corner of his eye. "I'd much prefer for it to be something closer to the ordinary, but with our kind of luck, we're sure to run into either one of those things." The medic looked at their squad leader. "So, should we split up now?"

Tsuki nodded. "Mm. Remember to ask for information similar to the descriptions of the incidents: odd mist, monsters, people disappearing, while also keeping an eye out for odd occurrences."

"Got it!" The boys exclaimed before they all disappeared in the blink of an eye.

A few seconds later, a young man of 15 stopped in front of the entrance of the beachside town. "Ugh! I'm finally here!" He groaned as he dropped his traveling bag and slumped over, placing his hands on his knees. The boy had short, blue-tinted white hair that had a few short spikes sticking up on the left and black eyes, and wore a sleeveless black vest with a sleeveless gray shirt, fingerless black gloves with metal outlining the back of the hand, and white and black pants. On his back was a large blue aged scroll. "That beach resort town! Nadeshiko? Nareshiko? I can't remember what the guy told me it was called, I don't care! I need a break! I haven't been able to get a decent night's sleep in forever." The white-haired boy stretched and yawned. "First things first: find a place to stay. Then I can find a spot to train!" He picked up his bag and walked off.

"There he is…" Said Ichinisan. He, Hitsuke and Tetsuotome were several feet away from the white-haired boy. "Ringo Myoujou—the Sanbi."

"Alright!" Tetsuotome said with a smirk as she pounded her fist into her open palm. "Let's—!"

"Wait," said the dark-skinned man.

"What now?"

"We need to be smart in this case. Not only is there a chance that we could encounter Kiri ninja, but I sensed the Kyuubi."

"God, this makes the third time! That thing just likes to pop up every-damn-where, doesn't it?" Hitsuke spoke, sucking his teeth in disdain. "I've got an idea. How about if one of us leads the Leaf away while the other two mark the Sanbi? I'd be happy to volunteer—"

"Forget it. We need all the manpower we can get when facing a bijuu," Ichinisan spoke flatly as he folded his arms across his chest. "We will deal with the Leaf and the Mist if we happen to see them together."

"Damn…" The scarlet-haired nukenin grumbled. "All this tension's got me itching to hurt someone…!"

X-X-X

On the beach, several people were spending their time relaxing in the water and on the sand. The most appealing being the girls dressed in bikinis, which didn't escape the watchful eye of one young ninja.

'Tsuki-sensei said I had to ask for information. She never implied where…' Kazemaru thought with shifty eyes and a slight blush on his cheeks as he stood amongst the beach crowd, sticking out like a sore thumb. 'While my common sense tells me not to toe the line with Tsuki-sensei on her first day back, I just can't resist!' He watched a woman with an hourglass figure in a two-piece string bikini pass by and sighed in enjoyment. "It's like heaven~!" He suddenly slapped himself in the face. "Come on, Kaze! Focus! You can stare at bikini chicks later!" 'Of course, it doesn't help that no one's seemed to have noticed anything strange…'

The orange-haired teen looked down the long stretch of beach. 'Wonder if anything's happened down there?' He blinked and swore he saw a pair of blurs out of the corner of his eye.

"AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" A woman's shrill scream broke Kazemaru out of his thoughts. "My baby! Where's my baby?"

"C-calm down! He's probably in the water!" A man tried to calm the woman down.

"But he knows he's supposed to tell me before he goes and does things like that!"

"He's a big boy, dear. You should stop treating him like a baby," the man muttered as he went back to reading his book. "He's fine."

X-X-X

Further down the beach, away from the resort town, was a cave where the tide came in. Within the shaded recesses of the cave, a large lump appeared in the sand. The sand trickled down slowly until it revealed a large yellow toad that was the size of a human being with a white and yellow Oni's mask on its back. The Oni toad's cheeks were puffed up and something appeared to be struggling within it. The mutant creature spat out a small child in swimming trunks.

"This is all you've brought me?" Asura no Apsaras grumbled with her arms folded across her chest as she glared down at the now crying child. "This brat won't even serve as a decent appetizer!" The blonde Asura growled under her breath as the child cried even louder. Eventually, her tongue stretched out of her mouth and struck the boy, paralyzing him with a viscous fluid. "Now look here… I demand something that's at least bigger! Can you do me that?"

The Oni toad gave a croak before it sank down into the sand once more. Apsaras rolled the paralyzed child onto his back and raised her foot over his neck. The boy tried to cry out, but all that came out was a squeak before the Asura's foot stomped down on his neck.

X-X-X

Back on the beach, Kazemaru was walking down to the unpopulated area. 'I'm pretty sure I saw something come down this way… And like Hanzo said, with our luck, it'll probably be an Asura hoard or a giant bijuu.' "Would it be too much to ask for a normal mission every once in a while? Like once a month! Here I am at the beach and I'm spending my time tracking down would-be sea monsters. …Somebody, remind me why I wanted to be a ninja in the first place…"

As the orange-haired chunin continued to talk to himself, he appeared to be unaware of the lump in the sand that was behind him. After a while, it sank back down into the sand. Kaze looked over his shoulder, but upon, seeing nothing, he shrugged and continued on. Just then, his foot sank deep into the sand and was pulled down into it.

"What the hell?" He shouted as he tried to pull out his foot. But something underneath the sand was pulling him further down, after a few seconds of tug of war with his leg, the pyromanic ninja was pulled down into the sand entirely. Seconds after that, he jumped out of the sand, flames radiating from his body as a vein throbbed on his forehead. "I repeat: what the hell?"

The cause, the Oni toad, was waving its prehensile tongue in the air, burned and scorched from when Kazemaru activated his kekkei genkai while still in its grasp. However, it soon recovered and tried to attack the teen with its tongue once more. Kaze tried to grab it, but the creature managed to divert its tongue and make it move down to his leg, where it wrapped around the boy's left leg.

"Let go of me, ya stinkin' frog!" The chunin winced as he felt something dig into his leg and felt a slight bit woozy. He almost stumbled back into the shallow water until the toad retracted its tongue and made him fall on his back. 'Shit… I can't move…!' Kaze thought as he struggled in vain.

The frog hopped forward and opened its mouth once more and in a flash, its tongue flew forward, wrapping around the paralyzed redhead's leg. It began to hop down the beach, dragging Kaze along with it when…

"RASENGAN!" A sphere of spiraling chakra hit the Oni toad in the back, right in the mask. The force of the Rasengan was enough to make the porcelain oni mask break before the mutant amphibian collapsed in the small hole that was made in the sand in the process. Nataro and a Kage Bunshin landed on their feet next to the Oni and pumped their fists in the air. "Got 'em!"

"Yeah. Good for you. NOW HELP ME OUT HERE!" Kazemaru screamed at the top of his lungs.

"What do you mean? You look fine to me…" The blonde spoke as he and his clone stared down at the redhead in confusion.

"That thing paralyzed me. I can't move!"

"Oh! Well, hang on! I'll just take you to see Hanzo," said Nataro. He bent over and carefully pulled off the Oni toad's tongue before picking up the redhead with some effort. The blonde held his teammate bridal style.

"This…is uncomfortable," Kaze spoke flatly.

"Would you prefer it if I carried you like a sack over my shoulder?"

"…Just get going before I lose all feeling in my body."

X-X-X

In the beachside cavern, Apsaras was biting down on her lip while doubled over, holding onto her stomach. Behind her were the remains of the kidnapped child, amazingly nothing now but a pile of bones with traces of bloody meat still on them. She shook her head as her stomach continued to growl. 'Hun…hungry…! It's not enough…! I…need…more…!'

X-X-X

Back with Team Tsuki, the Konoha squad was gathered in a room at a local inn that they were lucky to reserve. Kazemaru was lying down on one of the futons while Hanzo held his hands out over the orange-haired chunin's body, hands surrounded by a transparent glowing green bubble that appeared to be filled with a clear, viscous liquid.

"That should be it," the raven said as he held his hands out over a dishpan that the inn staff was nice enough to give them. The bubble faded and the paralyzing liquid dropped into the water-filled pan. He turned around and punched his teammate on the knee.

"Ow!"

"Can you feel that?"

"Of course I can feel that! You hit me hard!" Kazemaru exclaimed as he got up and pulled down his pants leg. 'First I get carried around by Nataro and now Fan Boy's abusing his rights as a medic!' He thought sourly.

Hanzo rolled down the sleeves of his jacket as he said, "I was only testing you. No need to get sour, Kaze. Anyway…it looks like I was right. Luck deals us a bad hand once more, and we have to fight more Oni." The Uchiha sighed. "Just once…I'd like a normal run-of-the-mill mission."

"It figures that our 'monster' is an Asura," Tsuki said with a sigh. 'Oh, well. I hope I'm not too rusty.'

"Why are you guys complaining like this? This is great! One less Asura means the world's a safer place," Nataro spoke as he folded his arms across his chest and nodded knowingly.

"Oh, please! Cut the heroics! We know that you'd just love to kill everyone of those Asura!" The pyromanic chunin shouted.

"No way!"

"In case you've forgotten, Nataro, we were told to try and keep the Asura intact and alive if we can," Hanzo explained. "Remember: it's for Akasha's sake—whatever that means."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah…" The blonde said with a pout.

The ground suddenly shook and people could be heard screaming from outside. "That can't be good," the purple-haired woman spoke with a sharp look in her eyes.

X-X-X

Outside on the beachfront, Ichinisan, Hitsuke and Tetsuotome were watching the chaos that took place. A large yellow frog with green markings, glowing yellow eyes with slits for pupils, and several rows of sharp teeth was eating up the people on the shore. The only thing that seemed out of place on the creature was a humanoid figure on its back from the waist up, with the same eyes and teeth, the skin a pale shade of yellow with green markings along its arms and its long blonde hair covering the front of its breasts. Those that weren't lucky enough to escape in time were stuck to the end of a long prehensile tongue and pulled into its mouth, body and limbs sliced to bloody pieces while red stained the white sand.

"Whoa. Don't see that every day. It's a carnivorous frog!" Hitsuke said with an arched eyebrow.

"Where'd that freak of nature come from?" Tetsuotome asked. "That's not the water demon we're looking for!"

"Exactly. So it's best to avoid it for the time being," said Ichinisan. "Let's go."

As the hooded trio disappeared in the blink of an eye, Team 14 appeared on the scene.

"HOLY SHIT! It's a bigger one of those frogs!" Kazemaru shouted with his eyes bugging out comically.

"You mean fr— …No, wait. You're right, it's a frog," said Hanzo.

"But…frogs don't have teeth!"

"Sure they do. They just aren't so big."

"The frogs or the teeth?"

"Both."

"FOOOOOOD! I need more food!" The transformed Apsaras screamed. "Eh?" She noticed the Konoha shinobi in the distance and both parts of her being licked their lips. "Shinobi…!" She hissed with a glint of hunger in her eyes. With one grand hop, the Asura landed in front of Team 14, easily towering over them. "C'MERE!" She shrieked as she swung at the group, but they only jumped out of harm's way. Her eyes locked onto Hanzo and her tongue flew out of her mouth, aiming to snatch him. The raven jumped to the side to avoid being hit, but the prehensile tongue bent to the right and stuck to his arm.

"Whoa!" He was immediately pulled back into Apsaras' mouth along with her tongue. The monster frog closed its teeth into an unsettling grin, showing off its bloody-stained teeth until it suddenly jolted.

"Argh! H…hurts…!" Apsaras whined before spitting Hanzo back out. The raven landed on his feet in front of his team, coughing and covered in saliva. "My tongue hurts…!"

"Gross. Giant things seem to like eating you…" Nataro commented while the Uchiha continued coughing. "You okay?

Hanzo took a deep breath before he spoke, "Toxic…inside…mouth…!" He held his hand over his mouth and coughed.

"Grrr…! Why don't you just behave like good little meals and get in my mouth?" Apsaras bellowed before she reared back, took a deep breath and puffed out her chest. She blew out a breath burst of wind that raised some sand, forcing the ninja to cover their eyes.

"I…feel funny…" Kazemaru mumbled as he and Nataro began to sweat, their pupils dilating.

"Me, too…" The blonde muttered, his vision blurring. He suddenly doubled over and fell to his knees, holding onto his stomach. He started to vomit red bile as rats crawled out of his mouth and landed in what appeared to be blood. Kazemaru was doing the same, but snakes were slithering out of his mouth instead.

"Nataro, Kaze, snap out of it! It's not real!" Hanzo shouted at the two. 'No hand signs… It must be a hallucinogen she breathed.'

"I'm done with being played with!" Tsuki shouted before she bit down on her thumb and pressed it against her fingers. She quickly wove a chain of hand signs before pressing her palm against the sand. Smoke surrounded the purple-haired kunoichi for a moment before it faded away, revealing a large white hawk standing next to her, roughly taller than Apsaras.

"Oho…! So you weren't affected by my poison, hmmm? You have no idea how much that ticks me off…!" Apsaras said with a snarl. "No matter what you do, you'll wind up inside of me!"

"You talk pretty big despite the obstacle before you."

"Obstacle?"

"Hawks eat frogs, y'know?"

A vein throbbed on the transformed Asura's head. "How dare you think that that rat with wings is superior to me?" She took a deep breath, prompting the hawk to take flight before she breathed out another cloud of poisonous smoke. The hawk began to flap its wings to blow back the smoke. The monstrous frog began to spit out gobs of viscous yellow liquid at the hawk, but it evaded each shot with ease. The vein on Apsaras' head became more profound before she gave an angry shout and snapped her tongue up at the bird, aiming for its leg. But it swooped down and grabbed her tongue. "AAAAAHHHH!"

'It shouldn't have insulted her…!' Tsuki thought as the hawk continued to rise upwards, lifting Apsaras off the ground by her tongue. She looked over at Hanzo, who was busy trying to tend to Nataro and Kaze. "Hanzo! We need to move!"

"B-but…!" The raven trailed off as the blonde chunin spat up. "Uh…! I'm sorry. This will hurt you two more than it hurts me to do it." He suddenly punched both of his teammates at the same time, making them spit up a bit more before they were knocked out. He grabbed hold of Kaze while Tsuki grabbed Nataro and they ran off seconds before Apsaras was dropped from high above in the sky, forming a large hole in the sand. "That wasn't so bad. I don't see why we had to move just for that," said Hanzo as they stood on the spot where sand became ground.

"Wait for it," the purple-haired woman stated.

From its place up in the sky, the hawk dove down towards Apsaras and began spinning around until it resembled a blur. Apsaras had rolled over onto her stomach seconds before the hawk's beak made impact, somehow causing sand to rise up in a pillar before falling all over the beach. Seconds later, the hawk emerged from the hole with its beak stained in blood, screeching loudly before it disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"Is it dead…?" Hanzo asked.

"It must be. Once she's insulted, Shiroyuki pretty much becomes dead set on killing the one who did it," Tsuki explained.

"Hmmm… Hokage-sama won't like this. That's another Asura that we killed."

"The body should still be intact…hopefully. So long as Shiroyuki didn't peck the meat off its bones…" Tsuki mumbled to herself as she walked over to the hole left behind. She bent over to peer inside and arched an eyebrow…

X-X-X

Meanwhile, somewhere on the rocky coast far from the resort town, Ringo Myoujou, the supposed Sanbi, stood facing the ocean. He rolled his head and sighed with satisfaction. "Ah…! Finally! I can't hear the people in town anymore!" He took his scroll off his back and held it in front of him. "Maybe now I can train in peace." Just as he started to open the scroll, a rope made of water lashed out and wrapped around his neck tightly. "Huh?" Two more ropes lashed out of nowhere and wrapped around his legs, and two more at his arms.

A foursome of shinobi suddenly faded in, surrounding the white-haired boy and each holding a rope of water. They all wore gray armor over black long-sleeved shirts and pants and white masks that had the Kiri symbol on the foreheads, each with a unique swirl or stripe. On the water, a fifth appeared with a blue streak going along the bottom of their mask.

"You've gotten sloppy, Myoujou," the oinin on the water, a man, spoke. "But that works in our favor. Now you'll be coming with us."

"I don't think so…" Ichinisan spoke as he stepped out from behind a set of rocks with Hitsuke and Tetsuotome, the latter two wielding their weapons with ill-contented smirks. "It would be too much of a hassle to go all the way to the Mist and have their shinobi on our backs as well. So we will silence you and mark the bijuu while we're at it."

"Hope you had a nice life~!" Tetsuotome said with a wink.

"Because you're gonna have a fucking painful death!" Hitsuke added with a disturbing smirk.

X-X-X

Somewhere outside of the beach resort town, a small crack formed in the middle of the dirt path leading to it. The crack grew bigger until a large yellow frog bearing an Oni mask on its back poked its head out with a low croak. It slowly crawled out of the earth before suddenly collapsing. The mask on its back shattered as the light left its eyes, and something appeared to be moving underneath the seemingly dead frog's skin. It grew larger and taller until the Oni's skin ripped apart, revealing Apsaras standing in its corpse drenched in blood and bodily fluids with narrowed eyes.

"That thupid bird! I'll kill those bathards!" The blonde Asura lisped as a result of her injured tongue. "All I wanted wath for them to give up and thubmit to me, and they had to play hard to get…!" She looked down and stared at the hole in her stomach, courtesy of Shiroyuki. "Ugh…! I can't fight them in this state…!" Apsaras stepped out of the Oni's corpse with a look of distaste. "I don't wanna have to eat this thing…! Human meat tastes so much better than anything from vermin…! But without anymore cannon fodder, I'll just be bird food for that winged rat… I hate going home without the spoils…!"

X-X-X

"What do you mean that it wasn't in there?" Nataro shouted back on the beach.

"Seriously? We endured all that trouble for nothing? I got eaten by a frog and then poisoned by a freak of nature for nothing?" Kazemaru shouted.

"We gotta go after it!"

"Yeah! I'm not gonna let that thing get away with this!"

"I don't think you guys are in any condition to be giving chase. It's not good for your health," said Hanzo, who the two were leaning on. Each boy was leaning limply on one of the raven's shoulders with aggravated looks. "Besides, we don't even know if the Asura is still in the area. The most we can do for the moment is look around town, but we have no idea if it will sprout up on the beach or in the town… It could be anywhere."

"Right!" The blonde chunin stood up straight, stumbling back a bit before he formed a hand sign. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu! …Nothing's happening. Why is nothing happening?"

"Because that's not the hand sign for Kage Bunshin no Jutsu," Tsuki spoke flatly as a drop of sweat ran down the side of her head. Nataro, instead of the typical hand sign for the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, had his fingers shaping a heart."Not even close… You two will have to sit this search out."

"I-I can get it right!" Nataro insisted. He wound up successfully making the proper hand sign, but in a puff of smoke, a joke of a clone was laying on the ground, blank-eyed and white as paper with its tongue sticking out.

"I wanna laugh…but I get the feeling I'd do the same thing, too," said Kaze.

"You can't go anywhere near that Asura until the effects of that gas wears off. Otherwise, you'd be easy targets!"

His bunshin disappeared in a puff of smoke and Nataro dropped to the ground, frowning. "Man… Talk about unfair…! Our second Asura and I won't be there when we get it cornered…?"

"Maybe it's for the best, seeing as how you burnt the last one to dust," Kaze grumbled.

Tsuki looked at Hanzo. "Hanzo, you'll take southwest and northwest, and I'll take southeast and northeast."

"W-wait a second! What about if that thing comes back around here? We'll be sitting ducks!" Said Kaze.

"Let that thing come around here. It'll wish that hawk had killed it off when I get my hands on it!" Nataro boasted.

"That might actually be a problem…" Tsuki mumbled. "Are you two well enough to move?" Nataro and Kazemaru nodded. "Go back to the hotel and rest. We'll come back after we comb the area." She looked at Hanzo and nodded, which the raven returned before they both disappeared in the blink of an eye.

"Mmm…" The orange-clad blonde grumbled under his breath as he got to his feet. He squinted his eyes in thought and folded his arms across his chest.

"Uh-oh… I know that look. I know you're not the sharpest knife in the set, but you're not dumb enough to fight an Asura when you can't even create a decent clone!"

"Who says I'm going looking for it? I'm…going for a walk," Nataro spoke nonchalantly as he put his hands behind the back of his head and started walking away

"Ohhhh, no you don't! I'm smart enough to know what you're trying to do!" The orange-haired chunin shouted as he got to his feet, stumbling forward a bit. "I don't care if you can heal fast, I'm not gonna let you get yourself killed so I can get in trouble! Nuh-uh!" He briskly walked over to the blonde and grabbed his arm tightly. "You can't run off, dumbass!"

"Then you're leaving me no choice." The blonde formed a hand sign. "Henge no Jutsu!"

"Huh?" In a puff of smoke, standing in Nataro's place was a naked fat girl. Kazemaru's eyes became large and blank. "Gr…GROSS!" He let go of the blonde and covered his eyes. "I think I've gone blind!"

In a puff of smoke, Nataro transformed back to normal, sweatdropping. "That…wasn't what I was aiming for, but okay!"

"I'LL KILL YOU FOR THAT, YOU SON OF A…!" Kazemaru shouted as his Houka no Seirei activated and flames began to rise from his body.

"N-no fair! Your kekkei genkai still works when you get angry!"

"C'mere!" The redhead screamed as he ran after his teammate towards the coast.

X-X-X

Back on the coast, the black-clad shinobi and the Kirigakure hunter ninja were having a stare down. Ringo was still restrained by the hunters' water ropes, so he couldn't see the interrupters. 'Who are these guys…? Bounty hunters? Talk about being shoved between a rock and a hard place!' The white-haired boy thought with a gulp as a bead of sweat trailed down the side of his face.

"…Tatsujin Hitsuke. What could a wanted arsonist want with a fellow nukenin?" The leader of the oinin asked, breaking the silence.

Hitsuke gave a lopsided smirk as he got a dangerous glint in his eye. "None…of your BUSINESS!" The blade of his sword caught on fire and he ran forward. He spun around, aiming to slash some of the oinin's heads off, but they all moved out onto the water, pulling Ringo along with them. The white-haired boy reacted in time to channel his chakra to allow him to walk on water—otherwise, he'd drown with the way the hunter ninja were dragging him along the water. "Where're you going? I thought you wanted me!"

"You're not important right now," the oinin leader spoke flatly. He held up his free hand and showed a ball wrapped up in explosion tags. He threw the ball up into the air over the black-clad shinobi and formed a hand sign. The ball exploded and unleashed a shower of gray powder upon the black-cloaked shinobi.

"What's this supposed to be?" Tetsuotome asked.

Ichinisan looked out to the water and narrowed his eyes. "A distraction." The Kiri shinobi and Ringo had disappeared.

"They think they can just run off with my target and let that be that?" The silver-haired kunoichi said with a smirk. "Like hell! I have a quota to fill~!" She exclaimed before she and the others disappeared in the blink of an eye.

X-X-X

Meanwhile, with Nataro and Kazemaru, the black-clad blonde was running away from the orange-haired pyro along the beach coast, dodging kunai and shuriken that were thrown.

"This is a waste of equipment, Kaze!" Nataro shouted over his shoulder.

"And you're a waste of space! Now stay the fuck still!" Kaze screamed as he threw a shuriken at the blonde, the projectile hitting him in the butt.

"AAAAAAHHHHH!" Nataro slowed down to pull the shuriken out of his behind, giving Kazemaru enough time to catch up and tackle him the ground. They both started to wrestle, throwing sand all over until it ended with Kazemaru on top and holding Nataro's arm behind his back.

"Say you're sorry before I either dislocate your arm from its socket or burn it off!" The redhead growled under his breath, the air around them getting hotter by the second.

"Geez, I'm sorry, I'm sorry! You think it was good for me?" The blonde chunin muttered as he crawled out from under his teammate. "We shouldn't be playing around! We should be out looking for that Asura!" He started to walk off, but Kaze grabbed the back of his collar and held him back.

"HOLD IT! Tsuki-sensei said we had to get some rest! And besides, if we did find that Asura, we're not really in top condition to fight it! I ain't gonna risk my life just because you've got an obsession with those things, and I won't let you, either! So let's just GO!" As soon as he said that, a large plume of water rose up from the sea in the distance. "What was that?" Once the water fell again, they were able to see the source of the explosion: a collection of vaguely human-shaped beings. "Something's going on…"

"Out there?" The black-clad blonde leaned forward to try and see what was going on. "…It looks like somebody's fighting! It might be Tsuki-sensei and Hanzo!" He shouted as he began to run onto the water, only to fall in. 'Damn it! I still can't channel my chakra properly enough!'

Out on the water, Tetsuotome held a giant kusarigama in her hands. She spun around, seemingly trying to slash the remaining oinin, who still held Ringo under the grasp of his rope of water. He jumped back, trying to avoid the attack and further choking his young target, but wound up being wrapped up in the chain attached to the end of the scythe.

"Grrr…!" The oinin growled as he struggled to get free. His mask now had a crack in it, a part having shattered off to reveal one of his eyes.

'Damn it! This is bad! Oinin are bad enough, but I don't wanna be left alone with…whoever the hell these freaks are!' Ringo thought as he struggled to remove the water rope tied around his neck. 'If they wind up killing him, I have to move just as soon as he dies…'

"Y'know, we would've let you live if you had only given up without a fight. But just because you had to make my job a little harder than it already was,I'm gonna screw you up so bad, not even the best medics'll be able to identify you…!" The silver-haired kunoichi spoke in a cold tone. And then, in the blink of an eye, she beheaded the oinin, returning the water bindings to mere water and allowing the white-haired nukenin to dart towards the land. "Damn it! Running away's only going to make me madder!" The iron maiden complained as her weapon disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"I can stop him in his tracks," Hitsuke said with a disturbing grin as he held up his sword. The blade burst into flames, and with a swing, the scarlet-haired nukenin sent a wave of fire running across the water towards Ringo. The flames seemingly engulfed the white-haired teen and were large enough to be seen from the resort town. When the flames faded, however, Ringo was nowhere to be seen. "Ah, great. Where'd he disappear to?"

"Thanks a lot for the help…moron!" Tetsuotome said with a frown.

Beneath the ocean surface was Ringo, looking up at the cloak-clad trio as he swam in place 'Crap…! Things are looking bad…!'

"Are you serious?" A voice echoed in the teen's head. He closed his eyes and found himself standing in front of a large grey-green creature that resembled a turtle standing in the dark beneath a spotlight. It had a spiky crab-like shell, a pair of human-like hands with no hind legs and three long tails moving around behind it that resembled shrimp tails. The Sanbi no Kyodaigame (Three-tailed Giant Turtle). "You haven't even laid a finger on that lot, let alone showed them our power!"

"I'm just being cautious. I remember that sword that one guy has…" The white-haired boy closed his eyes as the image of Hitsuke's sword appeared in his mind. "It's made of a special metal that fell from the sky and landed in Kiri no Kuni. It has a special quality to automatically change the chakra channeled through it into the wielder's chakra affinity… But there's also something of a side-effect to it."

"Hm? Ah, of course. It was because of one of those accursed weapons that I first awoke within you…"

"I'll never forget that day…" Ringo clenched his fists and opened his eyes to glare at the Sanbi in its single working eye. "The day my life went to hell."

X-X-X

NOTES!

As per Kiri ninja naming theme tradition, the name Ringo means "apple"—a fruit, while Myoujou means "morning star".

Shiroyuki means "White (Shiro) Snow (Yuki)".

X-X-X

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