Chapter 57: Stupidity can't be cured, but I like to think I have something to stave it away. It's roughly 3 feet long and used in baseball… I really need to work on my batting average…
I don't own Naruto, any of its characters, or any references in this story. If I did, horrible things would happen. I do own all OCs and new jutsu in the story.
o. o. o.
Segment from the Sky Mother's Wings…
He stood unrivaled despite his fears,
Wielding his own, and the holiest of tears.
A giant to all except to himself,
He desired for little and cared naught for wealth,
Yet despite his strength, his soul still suffered cracks,
He is unable to look at his bloody foot tracks.
So heed these words, for it is no ploy,
In his presence, never harm no small girl nor boy.
For these actions will unstable his mind's great throne,
Beware, beware, the eyes of stone…
o. o. o.
He stood alone, surrounded by red. His breath was ragged and heavy as he looked at his bloodstained hands…
It still wasn't enough. He didn't know if he was still hunting because he wanted absolute closure, or because he wanted to be covered in so much blood that the original stains on his hands that still haunted him couldn't be seen anymore. He had long since stopped attempting to try and tell the difference. All he wanted at the moment was to keep on killing those related to what brought this nightmare on him in the first place. It was the only thing that seemed to dull the pain now…
The bodies of his loved ones, of all the children he'd cared for, lying butchered, maimed, raped, and disfigured all over his home… seeing the lifeless eyes of his wife and adopted granddaughter as they breathed their last few gasps of air… his inability to help them, despite all the power he possessed… but it was the eyes that haunted him the most. Those cold, empty eyes that defied logic and remained in the body that still somehow possessed life… yet no life at all…
That memory had possessed him for years now, and did so again when he heard the sound of movement. He could have sworn he'd slaughtered everyone in the building… bits and pieces of his recent victims were still clinging to his clothes and hair. Oh well. It is not like they had a chance to escape anyway…
Slowly the monster turned to the source of the sound… and looked at his next target in the eyes…
And he screamed in absolute fear…
o. o. o.
"All right, guys! Remember to do that homework stuff that Iruka-sensei was talking about earlier and we'll talk some more about why chakra control is actually important. As always, expect my reasons to be better and cooler than Iruka-sensei's." Naruto grinned as he stood on the ceiling of the classroom over his students before walking around the fan on the ceiling to the front of the room.
"Yes, Naruto-sensei!" The children replied as they got their things and started to exit the room. They had long since gotten used to the blonde's antics, so getting lectures from a person standing on the walls or on the ceiling wasn't anything new to them anymore. If anything, it only motivated them to learn as much as they could from the boy since he seemed to be less restrictive about the practical teachings of ninjutsu than Iruka was.
"Naruto. Do you really have to show off so much?" Iruka sighed as his assistant dropped down next to him. "Because of your lack of control, we're only just now catching up to what the curriculum says we should be at…"
"Yeah, theory wise." Naruto rolled his eyes. "But you've seen the brats on the field, Sensei. They're soaking up the taijutsu lessons and chakra control lessons like sponges. I only hinted that half the things I do are related to chakra control, and in a week they're already halfway through with what we planned for the entire semester. Sure, half of them didn't do their history homework… but seriously, history homework? On the pre-nation era?" The boy stuck out his tongue. "No one's gonna actually use that in the field. Any and all paperwork assignments we assign the brats should be based on other villages, battle strategies, cultures of the places we are going to deal with in the future, and other things like that."
Iruka sighed. "I know, Naruto. Believe me, I am skeptical about the curriculum too at times, but we need to make sure that the academy students realize how the foundation of their home was established. Plus, there are divisions of shinobi here that are specialized in recording information for the Hokage's records, so teaching the subject early at least manages to route some of our future genin down that path."
The blonde rolled his eyes. "Yeah, but that doesn't mean you have to spend freaking 8 hours a week on the subject for 4 years, Sensei. We're training ninja here, not historians. Hell, I almost fell asleep and fell off the ceiling during that long ass lecture of yours…"
"You nearly fell off because you let the blood pool in your head when you were on the ceiling for too long, Naruto." Iruka deadpanned.
"Oi Boss! What's keeping you? You promised to play ninja today!" Konohamaru yelled from the doorway as he pouted with his group standing behind him waiting anxiously.
"Ugh… I forgot… that was today…" Naruto groaned as he slumped over, progressively losing much of the energy he was showing before.
"You might want to take it easy, Naruto. I've heard you've been taking late night guard duty shifts 3 nights a week. Even you have your limits, you know." Iruka advised worriedly as he handed the boy the folder full of homework he needed graded by tomorrow.
"You forgot that I'm also helping out with the… festival next week…" The blonde sighed feebly as he made a shadow clone, which grabbed the folder for him and disappeared with a shunshin. Iruka winced, remembering that Naruto's birthday was around the corner. The blonde had never been that welcome to the public on that day. The day of the Kyūbi festival was in reality a day of mourning, but there was still a festival when the sun went down. According to the Third, he had set it up like that because the Fourth wouldn't have wanted people to be so depressed about his death, but Iruka had a suspicion that it was really so that the festivities would give Naruto a reason to look forward to his birthday… not that it worked, really, but it was definitely a good attempt. "Don't worry about it. I have clones to get most of the boring work done for me, and tonight's one of my days off, so I can get some sleep…" He yawned before walking towards the Third's grandson. "Man Konohamaru, would it kill you to forget these things just once?"
Hanabi frowned and crossed her arms in a way that would authoritative if it weren't for the fact that she was 8; thus, it merely made her look cute. "How are we supposed to become decent shinobi if we forget or are late to everything we are assigned, Sensei?"
Naruto snorted and patted the girl on the head as he left the room. "Ah, Hanabi. So young… so naive…"
Iruka chuckled as he watched the group of kids walk out of the room, noting that he wasn't the only one as several students from other classes were busy watching them too. Naruto had become somewhat of a celebrity in the academy due to the fact that he was a teacher at the age of 13, and because his lessons were actually interesting and fun to participate in. "No one's watching…" He said to seemingly no one in the room, just before the clone the boy had hidden there dispelled itself.
Despite the initial complaints he had received from the parents that were obviously prejudiced against the boy, as he walked back to his desk, the scarred man had to admit that this year of teaching was a lot more fun and interesting than he had expected…
As soon as he opened the drawer to his desk, a paint bomb exploded in the man's face, coating the top half of him with blue paint.
"God, I want this semester to end…"
o. o. o.
"So we couldn't talk about this earlier, but how do you think he's progressing?" Tsunade asked Jiraiya as she leaned back in her chair.
The Sage snorted as he ogled his teammate's cleavage for a good few seconds. "You kidding? When Kakashi told us Naruto could hold his own against him, he wasn't saying the brat could only take a hit. He would be on our level already if he wasn't stuck in that tiny ass body of his. Sticking him on anything less than a B-ranked mission when he's done teaching would be a waste. Hell, I'm surprised that you're still sending the rest of the brat's group on D-ranked missions…"
"You know as well as I do that there needs to be some extra sessions for Kin and Sai to fully integrate into our group, Jiraiya." Tsunade mused. "And then there's the fact that sending Naruto on a D-ranked mission will be pointless, because something will happen to bump it up two ranks at least."
Jiraiya laughed. "We could use him to test our other chūnin for extreme situations for evaluations. Stick him on a team and see how they manage themselves. If they die, we just write it off as due to false information. If they live, we consider them for promotion."
"True." Tsunade joined in. "Naruto can be their secret jōnin exam proctor. He can have a speech and everything."
"I heard he tried to copy Anko's Chūnin Exam entrance on the first day he taught at the academy and ended up slamming himself into the wall." The Sage chuckled. "Imagine having him do something like that every few weeks…"
"Please don't…" Tsunade wheezed holding her sides. "We finally have the idiot getting some brain cells. I don't want to stall his chances getting this damn hat so I can be free again…hahaha…"
The two spent several minutes laughing before calming down again. "So have you taken precautions about Han yet? I remember hearing about him stir all kinds of hell back in the Third War." The Sage asked tiredly as he sagged into his chair.
"Mmm." Tsunade sighed. "All low ranked missions that take place near or outside the border are required to have 4 man teams now, with one of the members being at least an experienced chūnin. This… for better or for worse… means that Naruto, Shikamaru, and Sakura will be leading teams outside of the country soon since they have already qualified for the part, and the rest that have been promoted won't be that far behind…" She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Do you really think that someone busted Han out?"
Jiraiya nodded solemnly. "Yeah. If I remember correctly, he was let out for good behavior last time, slightly before he was reported missing. We both know we would have heard by now if Akatsuki started moving early, so the only thing that could have been different is if someone else moved differently… which is bad, since we don't know who they are and they could possibly screw up the timeline big time. We wouldn't be able to predict what would happen in the future…"
"So in short, we're back where we started the last time, only we actually know more about Akatsuki and we're stronger… but one of the people we are supposed to be protecting happens to be a homicidal maniac with a grudge against us that's now running rampant around the Elemental Nations." Tsunade grunted. "Great. We can't even actively go after him because Iwa will misinterpret what we're trying to do as trying to get our hands on their OTHER jinchūriki and possibly start a war… and we can't ask Suna to get him either, because Suna HATES Iwa and they'd probably just try and kill Han…"
"At least he'll be harder to track down now." Jiraiya suggested, hoping to relieve some of the stress in his friend. "I mean, he is a shinobi after all…"
"He's as tall as you, wearing with blood red armor and has a FURNACE of all things stuck to his back." Tsunade deadpanned. "Even you don't naturally stick out that much."
The sage sagged. "Point taken… but that was a low blow, hime…" He suddenly struck a pose. "Too low! For there is no mortal man upon this blessed earth that stands out and glows more brilliantly that the infamous Toad Sage Jiraaaaaaaaa!" His long winded speech was cut short as Tsunade had walked around her desk and punched the man into a seemingly random wall. Seemingly random wall was not actually random as it had been secretly reinforced for the sole purpose of keeping the Toad Sage's body inside the room after sent flying into it via Tsunade's fist.
It had done wonders for the town's repair and renovation budget.
"Jiraiya, if you try to do that horrible introduction of yours again, I'll remind you why you really do fear my low blows." The Slug Sanin grunted as she walked back to her seat and assumed a thoughtful pose. "So, have you thought up of another way to deal with Han other than the 'leave everything alone and see how things end up' plan?"
The white haired man grunted as he picked himself off of the floor. "Damn… I swear, that wall is just giving you an excuse to hit me harder these days… I'm starting to understand why the crazy Ōgakari hates the floor so much… I think…"
"THE FLOOOOOORRRRR!" Roared a familiar insane voice from a fair distance away.
"Well, at least we know that Waltz and Crypt are back…" The two muttered at the same time while sweatdropping.
"To answer your question…" Jiraiya continued with a sigh. "No, I don't. I can go around later and gather some more info, but that's it. As much as I hate to say it, we can't touch Han. If we get too many of the jinchūriki directly connected to Konoha, we might as well put up a giant sign for the entirety of Akatsuki to attack us, and as prepared as we are, it would not be in our best interests to have 10 S-class missing-nin banging on our door, even if one of them is secretly on our side." He took out a bottle of expensive looking sake and took a swig out of it before handing it to the woman in front of him. "Plus, it might force our mystery enemy in the mask to make a move faster than we are prepared to handle… and from what our helpful friends have told us, that would be very, very bad."
"So that means that we have two thirds of the jinchūriki linked to us in one way or another with Scabbard in Kumo, and one third of them are running around doing whatever they like and will most likely be captured." Tsunade muttered as she took a swig of the alcohol. "Wonderful."
"I don't like it as much as you do, leaving giant chakra monsters to be targeted by those guys without any backup." Jiraiya nodded somberly. "But you know as well as I do that it will cause Akatsuki to drop their guard. If all the jinchūriki were that much harder to get, they might try to get desperate… and we both know that a desperate S-class shinobi is one of the worst things to go up against."
Tsunade snorted. "You don't have to remind me. I'm looking at one who's been desperate to get in my pants for the past 40 years."
"And for a damn good reason, too." The perverted author grinned before barely managing to catch the sake bottle thrown at him. "Hey! Be careful with that bottle! The high class stuff always has ridiculously expensive containers! I could sell the bottle alone for a small fortune!"
"You don't have to tell me that, Jiraiya. I just felt that you in pain was more valuable to me that the bottle." The Hokage rolled her eyes before sagging in her chair. "I guess we just have to wait and see how things change…" She looked up at the man curiously. "… How's that secret project of yours going?"
The toad sage sobered quickly. "It's… progressing…" He sighed as he leaned back in his seat and put his hands over his face. "It's not like I don't have any inspiration or material to work off of, but it's still proving to be harder to make than I thought. You're talking to the man who's written nothing but Icha-Icha for over 15 years, Tsunade. It's hard for me to write a different kind of book after all this time. I hate to admit it, but this truly is one of those times where I wish I wasn't such a pervert. I can't write a damn chapter without trying to sex it up in some way…"
"I don't believe it." Tsunade laughed. "You… the self-proclaimed mega pervert of the Elemental Nations… admit to being too perverted." She sniggered. "You must have slipped something in that drink, because I'm clearly hearing things…"
"Ha, ha. Very funny." The sage rolled his eyes and took a lottery ticket. "I bet you were going to make another end of the world joke in a few seconds, so I came prepared."
The 50 year old beauty raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Oh? Another lottery ticket? You are a suave bastard, aren't you? Same rules as last time then?" She asked in a deep and somewhat lustful tone.
Jiraiya grinned. "Yep. You win… and we can both start to freak out and prepare the village for war. You lose, we start to drink some more, see what happens from there, and most likely spend the next morning debating if we should tell the brat all the details to get back at him for some of the crap he's put us through."
"Either way I win." The Senju sighed blissfully with a slight blush on her face. Slowly turning around so her teammate wouldn't see her make some seals, the woman grinned mischievously. "They announce the winning numbers at 11 tonight… and I'm done with all my paperwork for the day…" The drapes around the windows dropped all at once. "Since we both know how things are going to turn out, I guess we could get to the prize right now…" Jiraiya's eyes widened considerably before a very wide grin plastered itself on his face. "Let's see if I, with my considerable… medical skills can't help you deal with that bad naughty problem of yours…"
o. o. o.
Naruto looked up at the sky. "For some reason… I feel like crying right now… and I feel like I have to throw up with a religious passion that rivals the monks at the Temple of Fire, too… why? Why do I hurt so much?"
"Naruto-nii! You promised us you weren't going to be crazy this time!" Konohamaru yelled angrily as he stuck his head out of some bushes nearby.
"Does he do this a lot?" Hanabi asked Moegi and Udon from their hiding spots.
"Only when he thinks something really bad has happened." Udon sniffed. "Ones that he thinks are things that should never be known to the rest of humanity."
"Pretty much once every few weeks." Moegi summarized. "He normally gets back to normal after he dry heaves a little…" They paused as they saw the blonde hunch over and lean next to a tree. "Just like that…"
"And this guy is supposed to be teaching us?" Hanabi asked in pain as she felt a headache coming. She probably would have considered going home if she didn't hear a small rumble from nearby. "Huh? What's that?" She mused as she turned to try and find the source. She didn't have to look far as she saw a familiar giant frame sitting slumped over on a familiar bench on one of the largest hills in the park. "He's back!" The girl squealed in joy as she took off to the seemingly monstrous shape in the distance. "Old Man is back!"
"Old Man?" Udon asked as he followed the girl. "You mean Waltz Ōgakari? The Giant?"
"Let's go see him!" Moegi said excitedly as she ran forward. "He always has the best stories!"
"Old Man!" Hanabi yelled as she ran to the slumped figure, catching his attention.
"Ah?" The tired man asked as he looked at the girl as she approached him. "Oh, Hanabi. I did not expect to see you so soon after getting back." He chuckled lightly as he patted a spot on the bench next to him. "Come. Sit and tell this geezer how life has been…" He turned to see the girl's followers. "Moegi. Udon. It is good to see you two as well. Where is young Konohamaru?"
"He's still with Naruto-nii-san, waiting for him to stop acting crazy again." Udon sniffed. "He'll find us soon enough."
"Of course." Waltz chuckled as he leaned back, causing the wood to crack on his spine. "You'll get used to that eventually. Have you three been studying hard in the academy? You haven't been causing your family any trouble, have you?"
All three shook their head in denial. "No sir. Naruto-sensei makes class actually fun, and we're learning a lot." Moegi replied.
"Good. Good. You have to prepare and train hard if you want to be ninja." Waltz nodded as he closed his eyes, revealing that the bags under them were significantly darker and deeper than normal. "I would be in a lot of pain if you got hurt on your first real mission after getting headbands…." He paused and looked far off into the distance, as if he was remembering something.
"Old Man? Is something wrong?" Hanabi asked curiously. "You seem tired."
"Hm? Oh, you don't have to worry about me…" The Ōgakari sighed almost reluctantly. "I just haven't had much sleep…" He nodded his head to a large hole next to the bench that the children had not noticed before. "Crypt has been more active than normal lately, and it's starting to take its toll on me…"
"I WILL NOT REST UNTIL I FIND THE LAIR OF THE MAN-BEAR-PIG PEOPLE!" Shouted a familiar insane voice from the hole. A few moments later, a large and menacing roar rose from the hole, scaring the children, but didn't cause the old man to flinch in the slightest. "CURSES! IT'S JUST ANOTHER HIDDEN CAVE OF PREHISTORIC NEWCOMERS CLUB KITCHEN MITTS! I WILL NOT BE DETERRED IN MY MISSION! THE SHRUBBERY SHALL PREVAIL!"
"You might want to step away from the hole…" Waltz advised as a small rumbling became apparent. Just as the children moved back, a plume of blood red fire shot up from the hole and several meters into the air before it died. "Same rules that apply to Crypt's mouth apply with holes in the ground that Crypt's made while he's in them. Stay away at all times unless advised otherwise."
"S-scary…" Udon shivered as he retreated to the non-fire prone portion of the bench.
"Old Man, where were you?" Moegi asked curiously. "You haven't been to the park for a while and mommy says that you haven't been at the hospital either."
The Ōgakari smiled gently. "Ah. I'm sorry little ones, but I had to do some secret ninja things with my family for a while. Young Shadow is still off managing some things for us, so Crypt and I came back early." He winked at them slyly. "Don't worry. Hopefully, by the time you reach my age, you will be strong enough to do these things too."
"Hey! There's no way it will take me that long to get strong." Hanabi pouted. "Watch. I will become as strong as Nee-san when I'm her age. I train a lot and I can tell that I'm getting stronger every day! Don't underestimate a Hyūga."
"Don't forget about us, Hanabi! We're gonna be strong too!" Moegi crossed her arms. "I'm gonna be one of the most beautiful and strongest kunoichi in Konoha…"
"I just don't want anyone to get hurt or get into anything too dangerous." Udon sniffed before getting death glares from the two girls next to him, causing Waltz to laugh.
"Well, you certainly chose an interesting profession then." A new voice commented, drawing all of their attention to Naruto and Konohamaru as they walked up to the group. "What up old old man? When did you get back? You look like crap."
"Nothing much, punching bag." Waltz shrugged. "I just returned with Crypt a little while ago and wanted to rest here for a little while…"
"Punching bag?" Hanabi asked curiously.
"He trained me… and it hurt… me… a lot…" The boy admitted with a small shiver.
"Aw. And here I thought we were bonding the entire time…" The Ōgakari grinned mischievously, which looked somewhat evil due to the large number of wrinkles on his face.
"Just as a precaution, any time an Ōgakari says the word 'bonding' and is talking about themselves and another person… it really means that they are going to torture or humiliate said person in a grotesque fashion." Naruto lectured irritably.
"Come now, it wasn't that bad." Waltz tried to defend himself.
"You almost directly hit me with an attack that made a crater the size of the lake there and almost killed me even WITH my healing factor." The boy grunted, clearly trying not re-live the experience and pointed to the lake in front of them.
"No way!" Moegi gaped. "I don't believe you could do something like that!"
"Well, I am old…" Waltz looked away childishly. "… but it is true."
"Prove it, you geezer!" Konohamaru grinned. "I bet you're bluffing!"
"Oh dear… it seems as if I'm being called out…" Waltz chuckled as he looked around to see what he could do. It was early October and it was starting to get chilly and late, so nobody was swimming, or nearby for that matter. The hills next to the lake made it so that it could swell a decent size before anyone would actually get trapped. It had been a while since he himself actually did something that his family would… approve of. "Hmm… well… tell you what…" He grinned gently as he hunched his massive frame over more. "If you promise me you won't tell anyone that I did this, I'll show you something cool…"
"We promise." All 4 children said at once, excited as to what amazing thing the old man was going to do.
"Please don't pin this on me…" Naruto wept. "I actually want to get some sleep tonight."
"Don't worry." The old man chuckled as he pointed to the lake and stretched out one of his massive arms. "I'll make sure that no one will know I did this but us…" He calmed down a bit before his hand made a small and slow grasping gesture, slowly forming his hand into a fist. Naruto shifted uneasily as he felt the old man's Presence, though he was the only one to do so since only a tiny amount of power was leaking out and no one else around was sensitive to that sort of power. Even in small quantities, the geezer's power was impossibly potent to those who knew what to look for. The blonde tracked the old man's focus to the direct center of the lake, but he couldn't tell what he was doing because it was happening underneath the surface of the water.
"Bang." The old man grinned as he clenched his fist for a split second. In the next, a massive explosion in the center of the lake took everyone by surprise, since they had no warning that that was going to happen. The plume of water shot over 50 feet into the air as a massive wave widened in all directions, eventually surging onto the beach and drenching a decent portion of the park with a small flood. Luckily, no one was close enough to the lake to get hit by the wave, but it still shocked and scared the people who could see what just happened.
"Ah! Is sister here already?!" Crypt's voice echoed from the hole he was in. "I haven't obtained the mystical subwoofer of fish oil lamp posts for her yet! She will remove my spleen through my googolplex for this travesty!"
"You don't have a googolplex, Crypt, you sold it to that man a few years back for a half-eaten chicken sandwich with a sock in it." Waltz rolled his eyes.
"Exactly!" Replied the man in the lord knows how deep hole.
"Cool!" Konohamaru gaped. "How did you do that? You didn't even use seals!"
The old man grinned as he patted the boy on the head gently. "Sorry. It's a secret. If you want to learn how to do it, you'll have to train really hard and figure it out for yourself… well, that and hope you are a water element like me… otherwise, it might just be a bit out of your reach." He glanced at the other children and saw their slightly depressed faces. "Well…" He mused and put on a thoughtful look, stroking his beard in a comical fashion. "I guess I can give you all a small hint…" He didn't have to look as the children looked at him hopefully. "But I'm not sure you're ready for such important information…"
"Yes we are!" Konohamaru and Hanabi yelled as they ran towards the laughing immortal and clung to his coat. "Tell us!"
"I'm not too sure…" The old man grinned. "That's not really how respected shinobi of the future are supposed to ask for favors if they are trying to get something from an ally…"
"Please Ōgakari-sama." Moegi asked with big teary eyes. "May we learn your special secret so we can become stronger?"
Waltz sweatdropped. "Not exactly something an experienced shinobi would normally do… but I'll let it pass this once." Naruto slapped his forehead. "The key to using all forms of powerful techniques… including my families is…" He paused for dramatic effect. "Hard work and chakra control…"
"Oh come on!" Konohamaru pouted. "That's obvious!"
"Oh really?" The old man raised an eyebrow. "You didn't let me finish. I was going to explain that by working your body and mind hard, your chakra reserves will increase, and the quality of your chakra will too if you work at it hard enough. With enough chakra control, no technique will be outside your grasp except for maybe a small handful that require special conditions." He held up a finger. "I worked hard as a child, and I still do. Because of that, even though my reserves have gone down in my old age, the quality of my chakra has not diminished one bit. Mix that with my exceptional control, and you have an old man that can still take on the rest of his family without that much trouble." He leaned back in his seat. "Now… since you are all young, you should train hard… but you should also learn about yourselves as well. Learn about your strengths, your weaknesses… what element you are aligned to. The teachers say it's best to not train you in your element until you are chūnin… buuuut…" He grinned and winked at them. "I find it's best to teach those things at early ages… the basics, at least."
"Um… you know the reason why we don't teach the people element stuff anymore 'til they reach chūnin rank is because we're in the Land of Fire…" Naruto deadpanned. "Too many cases of kids burning their lungs by accident and killing themselves trying to do the big stuff too early… and arson…lots and lots of arson…" He shrugged. "But what the heck. If the brats want to give themselves third degrees for the sake of looking cool, who am I to judge?"
"I don't look cool, I am cool!" Konohamaru countered defiantly.
"Says the idiot who has a helmet on his head." Hanabi rolled her eyes sarcastically.
"You weren't saying that when I head butted you with this baby last time we fought!" Konohamaru grinned.
Waltz winced. "Ow. Maybe you children should have some more supervisors when you are off playing…" He paused and looked up. "Okay…" He whispered. "I think some ANBU are coming. Remember, we don't know anything… wait… new plan… it's all Crypt's fault."
"I don't know what you just said but I like it! Hey! I found a nickel!" Said patsy agreed from the hole.
o. o. o.
It was 2:30 in the morning, and the guards were in the middle of their shift change. Normally it would have been done by now, but since there were so many prisoners of war from the invasion and roughly a quarter of the Hyūga ex-Main house was still locked up there, there had to be more guards stationed in the compound until Konoha could figure out what to do with them all. Some of the POWs had been released for cooperating and giving information, but for the most part the prison was crammed, and the guards were having one hell of a time trying to keep everything on a timetable…
Unfortunately for them, that only made the upcoming events easier to pull off for the opposing side.
"I heard that the Uzumaki kid's been doing both guard duty on the wall and teaching at the academy lately…" Mused one of the guards that was just switched in to another. "I don't know whether to pity or be jealous of the brats he's teaching…"
"No kidding?" Snorted the other guard. "I heard that the kid's traded his stupidity for insanity, almost like he's become a mini-Ōgakari. I only hope he ends up like the old one. He actually seemed nice and had a decent head on his shoulders."
"Damn good medic, too." The first guard nodded. "He helped out with my sister's operation and had her out in record time." He cracked his neck. "But still, back to Uzumaki. I still can't believe he's gotten so strong. I heard that he makes his clones do a lot of his work for him so the areas he works with get their stuff done in record time, lucky bastards. Yoshi claims the kid was a godsend on guard duty on the wall last week. The clones did all the work and they spent half the time playing poker… though at that point, Yoshi also said that he learned to never bet against the kid when the stakes were high for some reason. Anyways… I'm halfway willing to ask for him to do shifts here to lessen the load we get. It's hard to believe we're talking about the same idiot who painted the Hokage's monument now that he's already pretty much mastered two elements and is almost a special jōnin already. We haven't seen anyone go up through the ranks that quickly in a while…"
The other guard grunted. "True, but when you think of the guys who have and their personalities…" The two paused as they thought of Gai, Kakashi, Itachi, and several other… 'prominent' shinobi. "Well… at least we know what we're in for." He sighed… just before a kunai lodged itself in his skull, killing him instantly.
"Well… what do you know?" Chuckled a sadistic voice down the hall from the guards. "He didn't know after all…" There was more dark laughter. "I apologize for the crude timing, but I just couldn't help myself…"
"Who's there? Show yourself!" The guard yelled loudly as he edged towards the emergency seal that would immediately lock down the place and send word outside that something had gone wrong.
"Oh, don't bother with the emergency switch." Sighed the smooth voice of the assailant as he and several other bodies walked towards the clearly outmatched man. "The prison by this point has already been cut off from the outside, and if memory serves, many of the guards in the observation areas have been dealt with by this point…" The speaker walked into the light, revealing himself to be a Hyūga, followed by several more of his kinsman, and oddly enough some Oto prisoners.
"Hyūga?" The guard stammered in shock. "How did you manage to get out? And why are you teaming up with the Oto prisoners of all people?"
The Hyūga smirked and shrugged sympathetically. "Normally I would not bother explaining such mundane details to commoners such as yourself, but I feel generous, and it is the least I can do for a soon to be dead man…" He paused as the sound of someone screaming echoed through the halls. "Hm. I guess it was too much to ask for our new help to try and do things quietly, I suppose… now about our escape…" Before the guard could react, the speaker rushed forward and shut off the chakra system in his arms and legs, causing the man to collapse.
"Ah yes. Well, it was quite simple, really. Despite your claims to be diligent, you paltry guards seemed to have forgotten that many of our clansmen are rather skilled in the sealing arts. It did not take long for them to make some counterseals to the restraints that block our chakra and our bloodline. As for our new allies… well, they were just dying for the chance to get back at Konoha again for their humiliating loss and wanted out, so we came to an agreement. We free them, and they cause a little commotion for us and take our orders for a small while. As for what we want? We simply want to get our family back to the way it is supposed to be. Rather simple, don't you think?"
"You won't get away with this." The guard growled. "Whatever you're up to, it won't gack!" The guard gasped before he slumped over dead, several rusted kunai and shuriken embedded in his stomach and chest.
"Sorry. Couldn't help it." Snorted one of the Oto escapees. "I always get twitchy when someone spews out overused crap like that."
"I wouldn't have minded if there wasn't a chance the flying blood could have gotten onto me." Frowned the lead Hyūga. "Next time, be more careful."
"Yes, Mom." The ninja rolled his eyes condescendingly, not at all guilty that he'd just murdered a man in cold blood. "So, just going over the plan again. Most of us are allowed to go nuts so long as we draw attention away from you guys. A couple of squads go with one group, and those four weird guys protect you guys, right?"
"I would have used different words, but yes. That is correct." The Hyūga nodded with a slightly irritated look. "So long as you ensure that Konoha's forces are looking away from the Hyūga compound, you are free to do as you wish…"
The Oto shinobi smirked. "Raise some hell for those bastards in return for our freedom? Yeah, I think that'll work for us."
o. o. o.
Later that morning:
Jiraiya yawned as he picked himself off of Tsunade's desk and looked around for his shirt. "If only she let me use her for my books…" He chuckled to himself, remembering what happened the previous night. "She'd never have to worry about gambling debts again…"
The man froze as a firm hand gripped his arm tightly. "1. Never. 2. I'm surprised you never used that argument to try and get to me when we were younger." Tsunade's muffled voice from his side, lying down on her desk and preventing the man from getting another look at her naked upper body.
The sage snorted. "Heh. I didn't want you to think that I thought of you as some kind of prostitute… albeit a very expensive and worthwhile one…"
"Well, it's nice to know that the twins were worth the trouble of lugging them around for all these years." Tsunade groaned as she picked herself up and grabbed her undershirt that she wore under her vest. The woman found early on that bras were unreliable for combat when dealing with breasts of her size, so she just used her obscene chakra control to keep her equally obscene assets in place. She laughed to herself, thinking how the entire shinobi populace would react if they found out one of the keys to getting perfect breasts was a chakra control exercise...
She had a feeling that Sakura would try to kill her if she let that secret out now, especially after that time she'd tried to calm the girl down after one minor breakdown about not being as developed as Ino or Hinata shortly before Naruto came back from his training trip with Jiraiya…
"More than you will ever know…" Jiraiya sniggered as he picked up his pants and kissed his secret lover on the cheek before reaching for his shirt and vest. "You know, we never did listen to the lottery numbers last night." He mused as he picked up the ticket.
"Oh come off it, pervert." The woman sighed, stretching her arms as her shirt slipped over her head. "You know I never win these things."
"True. But it would be nice to know if I accidentally knocked you up or something…" The man giggled childishly, only to barely dodge one of the woman's high heeled sandals flying through the air. He landed near to the front door, his clothes put on in the process. "Hold that thought for a moment, hime…" He grinned and slid out the door. "Excuse me, do you have the morning paper? It should have last night's lottery numbers."
"Sure, Jiraiya-sama." Replied the early morning secretary. Tsunade heard the shuffling of papers. "What's that smell?"
"Greatness! Greatness and an unusual amount of toad oil!" The man replied almost too happily as a hand reached out from the office and dragged the pervert back inside rather violently and closed the door.
"Give me one reason why I shouldn't give you a vasectomy without any anesthetic right now." The Slug Sannin growled angrily at the grinning man as he casually flipped through the paper.
"Well I could give you a… load… of reasons really…" The white haired man giggled childishly as he stopped at the page he was looking for. "But I think the main reason why you wouldn't want to do that is because you won…" His face seemed to stay in its happy form, but the color drained rapidly from it all the same.
"Jiraiya, I know that you put yourself on a high pedestal and think you are the best thing to happen to women since sex, but I am not considerate enough to allow you to use that as an excuse." The woman growled, slightly too irritated to note the change in color in his face.
"T-Tsunade…" The man stammered as he took out the lottery ticket and handed it and the paper to the woman. "You won. The entire pot. All 100 million ryō of it…"
Tsunade froze for only a brief moment before she looked at both pieces of paper carefully. The numbers matched. "… Oh… fuck… me…"
There was a frantic knocking on Tsunade's door. "Tsunade-sama! It's an emergency!"
o. o. o.
In a nearby training field:
"As many times as I see you guys in action, I can still never believe it." Kin sighed as she watched Tenten and Sasuke slash and weave around each other with their katana in hand. "I mean, you guys are my age, but you're all pretty much as strong as Orochimaru's Sound Four despite not going through the hell we had in Oto. I admit that Gai-sensei is a nut, but still other than forcing us to exercise into the ground, there isn't much actual practice of shinobi skills…"
Neji sighed as he looked up from his scroll on muscle memory. "That is only due to the fact that we have not received much attention from the Ōgakari lately. Their training methods are a bit more… unique."
"Indeed. Before the exams, we were frequently tasked with overcoming many challenges!" Lee said in an upbeat tone as he sat to the other side of the girl. According to him, it was one of his 'Youthful days of rest'.
"Whatever." Kin sighed as she twirled a senbon in her fingers, a habit she had done before her conversion that she'd only recently picked up again due to her control being high enough that she wouldn't break the small needles anymore. "It's nicer than back home… even if I have to deal with those horrible… HORRIBLE D-ranked missions…" They all shivered. "We left those to the academy students. By the time we made genin rank in Oto, we were sent headfirst into C-ranks."
Clang! Sasuke just barely managed to block Tenten's recreation of Zangetsu with his own sword, his knees buckled under the pressure before he managed to jump away from the next attack from its wielder.
"Be grateful Naruto wasn't from your village, then." Neji commented, not at all distracted by the fight in front of him. "According to his group, at least half the missions he goes on end up being mislabeled and end up at least a rank higher than they were originally classified."
"Two ranks higher!" Sasuke corrected as he channeled lightning chakra through his sword and attempted to counter Tenten's onslaught.
"I stand corrected." Neji replied in a disinterested tone as he closed his book and turned to Kin. "Think of a color." He ordered bluntly. Rolling her eyes, Kin nodded, knowing exactly what he was asking. "Blue." He said after a couple of seconds.
"Right." She sighed.
"Think of a number." He continued. Another few seconds of looking at her later he nodded. "16."
"2 for 2." Kin replied. "You know, you should do birthday parties."
"Not a chance in hell. Think of a card." The prodigy said in a non-comical tone before pausing for a good 10 seconds. "Three of spades."
"Three of clubs, but close." The girl smirked.
"You're lying, I was right." Neji countered without blinking.
"Damn it." Kin pouted.
"A youthful attempt, Kin-chan! It is unfortunate that you are not as skilled as I am at hiding information." Lee sniggered.
"Lee, the only reason why you still get away with it is because your eyebrows are the second most distracting body part on a human face I have ever seen… second to Gai-sensei's eyebrows." Neji grunted before he paused and quickly activated his eyes without seals.
"What's up?" Kin whispered, not betraying the slight nervous feeling she'd suddenly gotten.
"How many?" Lee asked, instinctively picking up what his teammate was feeling just a moment before.
"8… armed and not wearing and headbands…" Neji frowned, noting that Sasuke and Tenten were slowing down their spar noticeably, indicating that they knew something was off too. "They're all shinobi… and one of them looks like he might be a problem… they don't seem to know that we know about them yet…"
"Hey guys, having fun lounging about? It almost seems out of place for me to be doing the heavy stuff while you two do all the light exercises." Tenten asked as she and Sasuke walked to them with a wide grin. Translation: I get the leader while you take on the small fry.
Neji shook his head, his eyes still on. "No, Tenten. We're just taking our time. Right now, you and Sasuke have used up a bit of your stamina while the rest of us are still fully rested. It's still early and we should pace ourselves. Apparently, getting promoted has slightly gotten to your head." Translation: You've been sparring with Sasuke for a while, so you aren't at your best. Wait and see what these guys want and what they can do before we act. Apparently, getting promoted has slightly gotten to your head.
Sasuke snorted in amusement, though he too could tell that something was not right.
Tenten pouted. "Humph. Fine, jerk. Like it or not though, I still outrank you, so you still have to do what I say on missions." Translation: You're paying for dinner tonight for that jab.
Neji smirked briefly before putting his book back into his weapons pouch. "Whatever you say, Tenten-sama…" He stood up and took a kunai from his pouch, prompting the other two to get up as well. "You can come out now. I can tell there are 8 of you hiding there."
There was a brief pause before a group of deep laughs made their way through the trees. "Heh. Well, ain't this ironic. We get busted out by the white eyed freaks, only to have to take on another one to escape." Soon all 8 soon to be assailants appeared from the woods, each one grinning sadistically despite the fact that they were all dirty and clothed lightly. The biggest member was a man who stood a head taller than the rest with a scar going over one eye and a thick mop of brown hair.
Warning sirens sounded in Neji's head. "Care to repeat that?" The Hyūga asked coldly. Despite what he wanted to believe, he was already connecting the dots rapidly in his head.
"N-No way…" Kin stammered as she stepped back nervously. "Tsubasa? What the hell are you doing here?"
"Kin? We could ask you the same damn thing!" The apparent leader replied defiantly. "The fuck are you doing with a Leaf headband after all the shit they did to us?!"
"These unyouthful individuals appear to be from Sound…" Lee commented as he slid into the Gōken stance. "And from the manner they were speaking, it seems that they were among the ones we captured during the invasion…"
"Heh. This makes things better…" Chuckled a scantily clad, yet rather flat, woman licking the kunai in her hand. "Kin, come back with us and we'll butcher these tree huggers. Fuck Konoha and Oto. We'll just go around and kill and steal from whoever we want…"
For a brief moment, everyone's attention turned to the frozen stiff girl whose eyes were wide in fear. "Kin-chan…" Lee whispered worriedly.
"Why… the hell would I do that, you BASTARDS?!" The girl exploded angrily, whipping out several senbon in the process. "Half of you pricks used to torture me for fun and the other half just thought it was some big joke! Tsubasa, you were the one to get Dosu and Zaku to start raping me soon after our team was formed!" The girl fumed angrily. "I have a decent life for once staying here, and I'm not giving it up for you pricks!"
"A bit too much information, but otherwise well said." Sasuke snorted as he stepped up and shifted his shirt over to reveal his modified Curse Seal. "Recognize this?" He grinned as the Oto shinobi stopped in their tracks. "I thought so."
"A Curse Seal?" Hissed one of the 8. "Why the fuck does a brat like him have that?"
"I'm starting to have doubts about taking them on…" Whispered another.
"Calm down." Tsubasa snorted. "The brat probably doesn't even know how to use it correctly. Besides, we still outnumber the snots and we're a good distance away from the village, so we can be as rough as we want." He grinned as he glanced at Kin. "Too bad, little bitch. You had your chance to live, but you wasted it."
"Hm. You make it sound like I actually need to use it to beat you weaklings…" Sasuke snorted before glaring forward in general. "Neji and Lee. Tenten, Kin, and myself." The rest of the Konoha shinobi nodded, instantly knowing that Sasuke had just told them who was going short range and who was doing mid/long range combat.
Neji frowned. "Just makes sure that we keep some of them alive. I fear my clan is in danger and I need all the information I can get…" He paused before smirking. "I see that Uzumaki has been influencing you, Uchiha…"
"Fire Style! Grand Fireball Technique!" Roared a familiar voice from behind the soon to be assailants, causing them to freeze and move their asses away from the massive fireball that was barreling down on them from behind.
"What can I say? Shadow clones are damn useful…" The Uchiha grinned as he readied some shuriken and ninja wire to take down the distracted opponents. Next to him, he saw Kin throw multiple senbon while Tenten took out her bow…
o. o. o.
At the Academy:
"Class, today we have some surprise guests with us." Iruka said with a somewhat strained smile in front of his class while the fans hanging from the ceiling rotated lazily. "Will you please welcome Waltz Ōgakari and… Crypt Ōga… Where is he?" The man looked around curiously.
The giant man sighed and pointed to the area behind Iruka's desk, where the insane man was laying on the ground with his head plowed through a wall. "I apologize for the damages, but I believe it is safer for everyone this way…"
"He was planning on biting Hanabi's head to see what kind of flavor she was…" Naruto whispered to the twitching scarred teacher as if it was nothing out of the ordinary… which it was, considering this was Crypt they were talking about.
"Right… so, please welcome Waltz Ōgakari, class." The teacher wept.
"It's the giant…" Whispered one student.
"I heard he's really strong…" Whispered another.
"My cousin told me he's as powerful as Hokage-sama…" A girl said in awe.
"Do you think he'll show us something cool?" Asked another boy.
"It's good to be the king…" Chuckled Waltz as he rested his eyes on the curious gazes of the children. So full of life and innocence… it was times like this that made him feel not as old as he really was… and yet…
"Does anyone have any questions for Ōgakari-sama?" Iruka asked, gaining composure. "Not you, Naruto… okay, Yuki."
Naruto pouted as the girl stood up. "Ōgakari-sama, what is it like being a clan elder?"
Waltz smiled gently. "Ah. That is an interesting question, young one. You see, there are many different answers to that question depending on which clan you ask… however, I can give you the general idea of what it is like. As an elder, you tend to stay away from the field of battle. You are more valuable at home, using your experiences to aid and advise those in your clan. There are some things that you can never simply learn from books, which is where we come in, to moan and complain that everyone else is wrong and stupid while looking for our false teeth." The children giggled at the small comment. "But in reality, the reason why those in my position tend to be rather rude and abrupt is because we are tired. We have seen many things that have made life rather tiring and stressful, and simply don't want to deal with the new issues that almost seem childish… so if you live in a clan, try to remember your elder's next birthday. They'll be less likely to bore you to death with those stories we like to use. Don't let us fool you, we know very well how boring we really are…"
The children giggled again before they raised their hands again eagerly. "Yes, Kobayashi." Iruka pointed to a boy this time.
"Where is your clan from?" The boy asked curiously. "I've heard people say that your clan just popped from nowhere. Your name doesn't show up in history books or anything."
Waltz chuckled. "Well young one, my family and I have no real place of origin. For a very long time we have traveled from country to country, trading and interacting with the locals, making friends and enemies alike… we've even unfortunately fought in a few wars due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time…"
"Kawa." Iruka indicated, pointing to a young Inuzuka girl.
"What kind of ninjutsu do you use and what do you specialize in?" Kawa asked curiously
Waltz stroked his beard in a comical fashion and pretended to ponder that statement. "Hmmm. An interesting question. Normally, I would like to keep my abilities a secret from people… but you all look trustworthy so I think I can tell you…" He grinned, getting excited looks from his listeners. "As many of you do or don't know, I do most of my work at the hospital. I am very experienced in the medical arts, so much so that I am considered second only to Tsunade-sama when it comes to medical knowledge." 'And that's because I hold back a bit.' The old man mentally chuckled. "I can, to a certain extent, replicate her strength technique as well due to my very high chakra control. If you can't tell already… I am a taijutsu based fighter." He pulled back one of his sleeves to show his very large and muscular arm, flexing it for the class. "In addition to those skills though, I am also very adept at using Water Style ninjutsu… though I cannot produce any of my own. I prefer to use the water I control to make very strong barriers to attack and defend with…" The man's body momentarily went ridged and his eyes seemed to look in various directions before he took out a scroll. "How about an example? I don't have much time left before my services are required elsewhere, so if you would all hide under your desks quickly…"
"6 of them… and it looks like they have gas canisters…" Naruto frowned; ignoring Iruka's confused looks and the eager students climbing under their desks.
"Naruto? What's wrong?" Iruka asked nervously as Waltz took out a scroll and sprayed water over the desks the children were hiding on. Within moments, the wooden frames were shining and the entrances were sealed off by hexagonal crystal plates.
"We're about to find out." Naruto frowned as the windows of the classroom burst in, causing many of the class members to scream in fear. The gas canisters that were thrown in exploded, causing the entire room to fill up with smog. Naruto and Waltz were of course unaffected and the blonde quickly used his Seventh Sense to blow the smog back out quickly while deflecting all the kunai that were thrown in his and Iruka's direction.
"Heheh…" Chuckled an overconfident voice as the thick air was cleaned again. "So the rumors were true. The demon is teaching at the academy… what on earth was the Hokage thinking?"
Naruto deadpanned. "I could ask you the same thing, dumbass. What the hell are you doing attacking a building that's within spitting distance of the Hokage's tower?" (A/N: It's true. The academy is really freaking close to the tower.) 'I have to take things in stride and not overreact. The brats could be in danger if I overdo things. I can't hurt them…' The blonde mused to himself before he paused in fear. 'Wait… risking the kids' lives when WALTZ is around… oh FUCK!'
"We won't be long." Sighed the speaker as the rest of the smoke disappeared, revealing that he was a Hyūga surrounded by several rather ragged looking men and women armed with kunai. "I'm just here for Hiashi's daughter, and then I'll be on my way. There seems to be quite a commotion back at the compound…"
"Hinata…" The blonde growled worriedly.
"Father…" Hanabi whimpered.
"So if you don't mind, demon, I'll just be leaving with young Hanabi-sama…" The man grinned before pausing. "Interesting, a barrier…" He turned to Waltz. "I assume that this is your doing… Ōgakari." The man's eyes grew cold.
"And if it is?" Waltz asked lazily, completely in character if not for the empty look in his cold blue eyes.
Naruto could feel that Crypt was shivering. That was not a good sign.
The Hyūga shrugged. "Well then, I'll have to ask you to please remove it, otherwise we may have to get a little violent… and we wouldn't want any of these children… accidentally… getting hurt in the process now… do we?"
"Stop talking… please stop talking… you really want to stop talking now…" Naruto whimpered as he edged away from Waltz, feeling the slow rise of the old man's monstrous Presence.
"Naruto, what's wrong?" Iruka asked, also feeling something was off but didn't know what.
"These guys are dead." The boy whispered back, having trouble keeping his body under control. "Very… very… dead…"
Waltz glared at the man for a few seconds before he started to smile and took a step forward. "Oh, don't underestimate me so much. I'm old, I admit, but my barrier technique is still quite potent, Hyūga… speaking of barriers, how was prison? Was it up to your high standards? You weren't taken advantage of, were you? I hear that it gets a bit rough in the showers occasionally, especially for those as soft as yourself."
All the invading shinobi could have sworn their hearts just skipped a beat when the man took that single step, but they ignored it for the time being and focused on the insults. Many of the Oto shinobi snorted and glanced at the Hyūga, remembering the several times that a few of the clan members got in over their heads inside the prison and were forced to learn their place in the food chain.
And then they heard a child scream from nearby.
Almost instantly the door to the room burst open, and a 7th shinobi holding a girl hostage burst into the room. "Heheh. Always plan ahead. Nice thinking, Hyūga." The sadistic woman grinned as she held a kunai under the frightened girl's neck. "No one comes into the room or the girl gets a red smile!" She roared, prompting the running teachers from outside to stop in their tracks.
Said Hyūga smirked confidently. "Did you honestly expect me not to have a backup when I saw that two Ōgakari and the Demon were in this room?" His smile dropped as his eyes activated. "The insane one. If you even try to make your seals, we will kill this girl."
"I take back what I said before…" Naruto said with wide eyes. "These guys are going to be butchered into little chunks of meat… KIDS! CLOSE YOUR EYES AND EARS NOW! DO AS I SAY!"
"He wasn't going to anyways. He actually knows better." Waltz growled as he took another step forward, causing everyone's hearts to skip again. "You fools made several stupid mistakes and one hell of a retarded mistake today." The man's posture slowly straightened, causing the deep hollow cracking of his spine to be heard by everyone in the room. "First of all, you called the boy a demon, knowing full well what will happen to you if you do. Your pathetic eyes should have seen by now that he is simply a very, very, crafty and clever little bastard." Naruto frowned, slowly translating what the old man had just hinted. "Next, you assume that you and your pathetic group of followers can even stand a chance against me, let alone all of us… I almost feel sorry for you little shits…" He took another step forward. Everyone in the room could tell that something was seriously wrong now.
"Third mistake…" He grinned sadistically as he turned to the woman holding the girl hostage. "Is that you only have one hostage. Everyone who even has some experience in the trade knows that you want to have at least 3 hostages on hand when things go bad. If you have two, you can kill one of them to show that you are serious, but then you have only one hostage left, and it is never a good thing to put all your eggs in one basket. Because you only have one person under your control, you have to keep her alive at all times; otherwise, you'll quickly find yourself backed into a corner with no way out." The air was cold as everyone listening could not believe what they were hearing from the pacifist of the Ōgakari clan. "Fourth… you forgot that the building is air conditioned."
Everyone paused in confusion, wondering what the hell the old man was talking about… when they remembered that there were several fans on the ceiling. Before anyone could react, wind chakra blades shot down from above and killed 3 of the Oto shinobi instantly, including the woman that had previously been holding the girl at knifepoint. With several explosions of smoke, the fans all transformed into the clones of Naruto that he had hidden before class had started for his small side game.
Iruka managed to catch the girl that was taken hostage before the woman's body fell on her. The child had passed out due to the stress she was put under.
"Hah! I was right!" Konohamaru shouted excitedly before he screamed in horror as one of the bodies fell near where he was hiding.
"Look at me, Hyūga…" Waltz ordered darkly, but also frightfully calmly as his unwavering gaze hypnotized his opponents. "Look into my eyes… and tell everyone what I am thinking… surely you can do that with those special pearls in your skull…"
"You…" The Hyūga growled, before pausing and swallowing heavily, unable to move an inch as the rest of the Oto-nin dispelled the clones with their kunai. All Main house Hyūga were trained to read a person's body movement in order to tell what they were thinking… but in addition to that, they were also taught specific warning signs and what they meant.
The Hyūga could tell that the old geezer in front of him wasn't thinking about killing him… he was planning on outright torturing and butchering him… and slaughtering his associates like livestock. That number of warning signs were only supposed to be found on madmen and the clinically deranged. "My god…" He whispered as he took a step back before realizing what he had done and attempted to regain his composure. "D-Despite what you think, I still have the advantage. You are held back by these brats." He turned to his remaining 4 shinobi. "Stall them! Remember that we are here for the girl!"
"'Bout time!" Yelled one anxious man as he charged ahead of the others at Waltz, unaware of the horrific end he was about to meet.
Without even hesitating, Waltz grabbed the man's arm and ripped it out of his shoulder socket in a single gesture, then seamlessly twirling the disembodied arm in his hand and impaling the arm through the shocked man's chest, hoisting his body up and literally nailing it to the rafters above his head.
All with one arm.
Naruto had distanced himself as far from Waltz as he could, and for good reason. Waltz was the only member of the Ōgakari that was truly afraid of something other than eternal life in the multiverse. Any time someone threatened to bring that something up, he would completely lose it and became an unstoppable juggernaut that slaughtered anything that he deemed to be an enemy until he calmed down again. All because of this one thing that still plagued the old man's dreams…
The dead eyes of a living child…
"Fifth mistake you made…" The old man growled, not at all caring that he was slowly being drenched in his victim's blood. His hands were red again. "You threatened to end a child's life in front of me…" He took another step forward, and several of the floorboards around him snapped instantly. "You threatened to show me those eyes again…"
o. o. o.
In another training ground nearby…
"Dodge!" Shino yelled as he and Chōji backed away from the legendary stupid brothers' attacks, just before the area they were in was mauled by the two massive men. "These men are certainly irksome. Despite their childish personalities, they have large amounts of chakra and physical strength, and their fat protects them from a lot of physical damage…"
"Then I'll just have to hit them harder then, won't I?" Chōji growled as he made some seals. "Partial Expansion technique!" He yelled as he punched out with his rapidly enlarging right arm in the direction of the right brother… only to barely miss just as it looked like it was going to hit.
"Whoa!" Raijin chuckled as he barely missed the attack. "That move hurts! Good thing the little boy doesn't know how to punch right! He's really sill…"
WHAM! Whatever the incredibly stupid man was going to say next was interrupted as Chōji's body flew towards him with his other arm, which was now expanding, and decked the man incredibly hard, launching him a significant distance back into the forest.
"Hidden Art: Broken Scales technique." The Akimichi grinned as his arm returned to its normal size.
"Brother!" Fūjin yelled, completely distracted from his own opponent and charged Chōji. "You hurt him!"
'The first punch was just a fake. He used it as an anchor and grabbed the ground behind his opponent, then canceled the technique in that arm to pull his body forward while he attacked with the other arm, giving him more attack power by doubling the speed at which his massive fist came in. Clever…' Shino mused as he commanded his swarm into action. 'However, I do not want to be outdone…' "Hidden Art… Black Swarm…" Shino stated simply as a cloud of his insects surrounded his simplistic opponent, enveloping him so well that almost no one could see him.
"Argh! Stupid bugs! Leave me alone! I have to help brother!" Fūjin yelled as he tried to swat the insects away. His yelling increased as steams of the bugs scraped around him, cutting deeply into his skin and tearing at his clothes. "I said STOP IT!" He roared, slamming his fists onto the ground and creating a shockwave that blasted almost all the bugs away.
"Hmm…" Shino mused as he jumped back. "Unfortunate…" He glanced a bit to his side where the other brother was picking himself up and walking forward, albeit clearly dazed.
"Ugh. I'm dizzy and hungry brother…" Raijin moaned. "… and for some reason, my belly really hurts, but I don't think I have a tummy ache…"
"You must be really hungry then, Raijin." Fūjin replied as he stumbled to his sibling, bleeding a fair amount from his wounds but still clearly able to fight… though due to his wounds, he never noticed the bugs crawling from the back of his head down to his vest. "Hey I know! That kid has bugs living in him! We can kill him and eat the bugs! That fat kid also looks like he has lots of food on him too!"
"Any bright ideas, Shino?" Chōji panted. Despite his training, he still had some trouble using his new techniques for long amounts of time.
"We both have done some damage, so we know that they are not completely beyond our ability to overcome…." The Aburame mused. "You apparently broke some of your opponents' ribs, and I drained mine of a substantial amount of chakra and did damage to his joints and limbs…" He paused as he noted Chōji's condition. "Do you still have enough chakra for one of your infamous combos?" The Akimichi paused before nodding. "Then here is what we'll do… it is fortunate that I asked Hinata some of the specifics of how a person's chakra system works…"
o. o. o.
"What the hell is going on?" Kiba roared as he and Akamaru jumped back to Sai and Ino, who prevented the oncoming shinobi from advancing with their ink ninjutsu and poisoned weapons.
"It is obvious that there has been a breach of security, dickless…" Sai frowned as half of his lions were taken out in seconds while the rest managed to route the 3 oncoming shinobi away. The irregular team had just started training when 6 raggedly dressed shinobi came out of nowhere and decided to try and kill them. Ino had managed to stick a couple of them with slow acting poisonous kunai, but the rest were proving to be tricky to deal with since they kept on moving. "I will admit that our teamwork is far more effective than it normally is, though…"
"Life or death situations will do that to a person…" Ino grunted as she took out more sharp instruments in one hand and several pellets in the other. "We'll use Devil's Breath to lessen their numbers… thankfully, there aren't as many or as strong as they could be. Otherwise, we might be in trouble…"
"Be sure to keep one or two of them alive to practice with." Sai stated as he began drawing again. "From the way they are fighting, it seems like they are just buying time or simply don't care about winning or losing… which means it is likely that there is a main group somewhere else in the village."
"Well, isn't this a day of surprises…" Kiba snorted sarcastically as he took out some smoke bombs. "We get to test out all of our training in a real live scenario, and get stuck in some stupid conspiracy against the village…"
"Just another day in the life of a ninja, I guess…" Chuckled Ino as Sai's remaining ink lions managed to barely cluster the remaining shinobi before they were defeated. "After all this is settled, let's try and squeeze some cash from Tsunade-sama for our troubles…" And with that, several pellets began to fly through the air…
o. o. o.
Near the Academy:
Tsume Inuzuka was frantic as she bolted to the academy where her nephews were supposedly still in class. Word of the prison break only barely got out before things went to hell and fighting broke out all over the village. Random areas were being assaulted at once, thinning out the troops that were inside the village, and even though the village was supposed to be prepared for these kinds of situations, the woman had little doubt that they wouldn't be able to completely protect an entire academy's worth of students against a sudden assault.
Following the woman was an Akimichi couple and several other shinobi parents who were concerned with protecting their children. The woman had to smirk. Inuzuka or not, whenever a person's pup was threatened, even a Kage would be helpless before the wrath of its parents…
Before Tsume could think any further, however, she had to doge to the side quickly as something human sized flew through the air at incredible speeds, skimming off of the ground once before crashing into a distant building… and most likely through it.
"What in the world?" Whispered the Akimichi husband as he turned to see that the object had originated from a sizeable hole in the school. "Shit! They've gotten into the academy!"
"Wait!" Kuromaru growled as he looked at the spot where the object hit the ground… which was stained red. "That's blood…" He sniffed. "It was a human… a very bloody human…" His eyes suddenly widened. "What… it… what is he doing… why…?"
"Kuromaru? What is the matter?" Tsume asked worriedly as she looked around and expanded her senses… only to shiver as she felt what her partner was feeling.
"My god… such killing intent…" Shivered one of the more experienced shinobi parents. "Who on earth is in there?"
"Tsume… it's…" Kuromaru stated, extremely unnerved…
"This isn't good…" The Inuzuka leader shivered, remembering the only other time she had felt the old man truly express his displeasure. "Everyone! Be extremely careful! And do exactly as I say." She ordered. "Inside the building right now is something just as, if not even more dangerous than, several dozen platoons of enemy shinobi armed to the teeth and waiting to fight you."
"What?" Hissed an unnerved mother. "What on earth is in there?"
"A truly… truly… pissed off Ōgakari…" The woman replied, nodding to the human projectile and letting her words sink in. "I made the mistake once of saying the wrong thing in front of them… and I almost ended up like that dead idiot… though I was lucky and they pulled their punches..." She froze as a blood curdling scream reached their ears from the building, the scream of a man being tortured. "Really… really lucky…" She said to herself as she took in a deep breath. "Just shut up and follow my lead…" She repeated as she jumped towards the building and slowly climbed through the front hole, preparing herself for a massacre. Too bad it was nowhere near the level she should have braced herself for.
Blood. Lots and lots of blood. That was Tsume's first thought as her nose and eyes were assaulted by the room. She saw a body in several pieces strewn against the floor, in several corners of the room. One was, somehow, pinned to the ceiling by what appeared to be its own dismembered arm, and a fourth was… well, it couldn't be considered a body at that point… more like a limbless carcass and several large red chunks of meat and organs, bleeding over a good portion of the floor and ceiling. Three bodies were still pretty much untouched other than the stab wound at the top of their heads, probably meaning that someone else had taken them down. She was thankful for that… otherwise, Tsume would have guessed (correctly) that the perpetrator of the violent killings would have managed to paint all the walls and ceiling completely red.
Said blood covered genocide specialist was grinning insanely in front of a still alive Hyūga, pinned to the back wall with several wooden splinters, and holding a mirror in one massive bloody hand in front of his victim's face, twirling one of his victim's eyeballs in the other. "Now then… since I have sufficiently shown you how much your eyes matter to me… I expect you to answer some questions I have. If you don't… well… let's just say that as a medic, I am aware of exactly what can kill you… and what can't… I really could keep on doing this to you all day long…" He chuckled in a dark and gleeful tone, almost hoping the fool in front of him would try to hold out on him as he poked a massive finger through one of his victim's many wounds.
"I'll tell you! I'll tell you! Just stop!" The once clean and pristine man screamed hysterically. "Just stop for the love of god stoooop!"
"My god…" Whispered one of the parents as they took everything in. "This is…" He had to pause to prevent himself from throwing up.
"The idiots broke one of the major rules of the Ōgakari…" Naruto said in a dead tone, drawing everyone's attention to the blonde, who was slumped in the closest corner to the group and was shivering uncontrollably. "They almost killed a kid in front of the old man. I-I was told he would react like this… I even saw pictures of what happened to people that broke that rule… but…" He shivered again. "To actually see it happen… he… forced that guy to watch as he pulled out his own eyeball…"
"And… the children?" Tsume swallowed heavily, praying that none of the blood was from the students.
"Under their desks and protected by the old man's barrier…" The blonde answered. "I managed to get them to close their eyes and close their ears before… this… happened, but odds are that they've passed out from being so close to Waltz when he was flaring his Presence… hell, I almost passed out a few times and I'm used to this kind of stuff…" He nodded his head to the hallway. "Iruka-sensei had a girl who was held hostage earlier… he managed to get her out before things got too… messy."
"G-good…" The leader of the Inuzuka stammered before an inhuman pressure made itself known again for a moment. Turning around, she saw that the old man was walking calmly towards the group.
"Tsume." The man acknowledged coldly with eyes that nearly made her pass out, and caused some of the parents to indeed fall unconscious before turning to Naruto. "The arrested Main house members of the Hyūga have escaped from the village's prison and taken control of their clan compound along with several POWs from the Oto invasion. They were planning on solidifying their hold on the entire clan by ensuring that they had Hiashi's entire family, which is why they came for Hanabi. While this is happening, the rest of the escaped prisoners are causing trouble in and around Konoha to make their escape, dividing our focus and forces. Obviously, sneaking into the compound to rescue the prisoners is useless against a force of enemies with the Byakugan, and charging in with a large force is equally faulty, so we will have to take a different approach…" The old man grabbed the front of Naruto's sweater and picked the boy up, walking outside the building.
"Wh-what the hell are you doing, old man?" The blonde shouted, scared on many levels and for many reasons.
"I'm sending you into the lion's den to rescue the sheep." Waltz replied. "Sometimes the best plan is no plan at all. You're Ghost's student… so you should survive… just try not to do anything too stupid…"
"Sending? What the hell do you mean by sendIIIIIIIIINNNNNGGGG?" The boy screamed as the massive old man chucked him incredibly hard in what seemed like the general direction of the Hyūga compound, soon disappearing from sight.
Waltz looked at where he threw the boy for a few seconds before turning around. "Crypt..."
"Crypt will finish everything on his plate. Crypt is a good boy…" The insane man whimpered as he took his head out of the ground and whipped his head, causing the Third Fang to appear. Almost instantly, all the blood that had painted the room began to move towards the red pulsing blade. Within seconds, a red whirlpool surrounded the thirsty weapon, the red blood melding with metal rapidly as if it were drinking the contents. Soon enough, the room was clean with the exception of the body parts littered all over the room, the shattered wall outside, and the whimpering man speared to the wall. "Fang says blood is nasty… tastes like weaklings…"
"Obviously…" Waltz grunted as he whipped out his scroll and retracted the water barriers that protected the children. "I'm going to the hospital. They are going to need help soon." He muttered in a dead tone as he walked out of the grounds. "It is best if you protect them… I am not in the best condition to do so right now… nor am I the one they will feel most comfortable with…"
Without even waiting for a response, the old man began to walk down the road in the direction of the hospital… leaving the shocked parents gaping in his wake.
"Dead people lucky…" Crypt giggled nervously as he began to follow his family member. "They still look like people…"
o. o. o.
Scabbard sighed as he relaxed in one of Kumogakure's famous hot springs. He was almost hoping that he wouldn't get some kind of 'special' treatment while staying in the village for a few more days before leaving for Suna, but obviously, that was mere wishful thinking. Kumo was not exactly a fan of Konoha, despite being in semi-peaceful relationship at the moment. Everywhere he went, he was given the silent treatment and people avoided him… well, other than that annoying blonde guard from the Raikage's office that seemed to be stalking him all over the place… and Bee, for obvious reasons… though that just made it easier to talk to the man about rather important things….
Oh yeah… then there was that small spike of power that Waltz had let out earlier. While he wasn't much of a sensor, all the Ōgakari were pretty much always in tune with each other, so any major flux in change wasn't that hard to notice so long as they were on the same planet. Something must have seriously tweaked the old man… but it wasn't like there wasn't anyone to snap him out of his rage if it got too bad… hopefully… Waltz did hold the titles of largest kill count and creator of most gruesome deaths in the family, which was ironic since he was the one tasked to keep Crypt in line…
"You know… if you don't start putting more distance between us… I'm going to assume that you are homosexual and that you find me attractive." The man sighed, not bothering to look in the direction C was hiding, which was behind some rocks bordering the male side of the springs.
Moments later, the man walked into view, fully clothed and glaring at the visitor. "How long have you known?" He asked in a stern voice.
"That you were checking me out? When you followed me into that bathroom a few hours back…" The genius replied casually with a straight face. Ghost wasn't the only one that could make people look like complete morons on a whim.
"I'd prefer if you wouldn't play games, dog…" Frowned C, getting a snort from Scabbard for the irony of what he had just said. "I don't trust you Konoha scum in my village. The fact that you tried to do some deals with A-sama in private only makes me more suspicious of you. I'm going to be keeping an eye on you the entire time you are here…"
"Once again… if you are attracted to me, just say it. I'll even pretend I'll be flattered if it makes you feel better." Yawned the immortal.
"For the last time, I'm not gay!" Yelled the man irritably… only to pause as both of them heard the giggling of women on the other side of the divider.
"But you are too… too easy." Smirked the Ōgakari. "You might want to do something about that temper of yours… it's unbecoming of a shinobi of your supposed caliber."
Taking in a deep breath, C calmed himself down. "Joke all you want. Raikage-sama told me that your deal hasn't been made yet, so you still have no power here. The moment you slip up, I'll have you locked away. You'll never see your family again…"
"You're only tempting me even more by saying that." Scabbard rolled his eyes. "Look. Do what you want. Say what you want. Stalk who you want… just not me. Okay? I enjoy my privacy, and if you don't respect that, well… let's just say that unfortunate things will start to happen to you…"
C frowned. "Did you just threaten me, dog of Konoha?"
Scabbard yawned as he got up and walked inside, giving the man a good look at the deep scars that ran parallel to his spine. "No. Things of that nature just tend to happen that way. If you want to test that theory, by all means keep bothering me and see what happens…" He paused at the door for a moment and grabbed the handle. "Ah yes… one last thing…" He cleared his throat, getting a confused look from the Kumo shinobi. "WHAT? WITH ENOUGH TRAINING, SENSOR TYPES CAN TELL WHAT A WOMAN'S 3 SIZES ARE WHEN THEY ARE NAKED? NO WONDER YOU WERE HIDING IN THE ROCKS INSTEAD OF TAKING A BATH! YOU LUCKY BLONDE BASTARD!"
C paled dramatically as the door shut in front of his face quickly and he heard several women scream from the neighboring bath. It was then that he realized that he was currently in one of the more popular baths in Kumo… frequented by many of the kunoichi there…
Scabbard sighed as he heard the screams of pain and agony of his tail and put his clothes back on. He would have left the man alone if he had actually done a competent job of following him, but the paranoid idiot had dropped his guard simply because he was a foreigner. A stupid mistake that had cost him dearly.
Scabbard hoped the idiot would continue to tail him. He had a few more interesting ideas to pull on the man before he left in a few days.
"Man, you are so chill. That foo C lacked the will and the skill to try and get a slab of the big bad Scab." Rapped B as Scabbard walked out of the main building.
"You're still doing it." The immortal sighed as he walked alongside the large man to a place they could talk in private. "Your technique hasn't changed a bit. If you don't try different styles, someone else is eventually going to catch onto that weakness of yours. Like I said before, it isn't uncommon for musically inclined fighters to have their bodies subconsciously follow the beat of the music they use most frequently… and since you only have that overused train wreck you call a beat, it wouldn't be that hard for someone else to figure it out if they bothered to look…"
Bee frowned as he remembered the last time he and the shorter man had a quick spar. Despite the originality of his fighting style, the genius had immediately and efficiently picked him apart by striking at him between his moves and countering every attack he made. After he had the living shit beaten out of him, the immortal explained that he had known how Bee was going to fight from the first time they had exchanged words. The pattern of his speaking was exactly the same as the timing of the jinchūriki's movements, hence it was easy to predict exactly when the man was going to move, so all Scab had to do was look for where the man was going to attack from, which was a simple task. Granted, the big man was deceivingly fast when he wanted to be, but said speeds were still manageable if put up against an expert.
"Man, why do you have to be so tight? Do you always have to be right?" Bee pouted as the pair walked through the village, getting mixed looks for obvious reasons.
"Yes… yes I do." Scabbard nodded. "It makes embarrassing people more amusing because they can't argue against someone who's right. Eventually, they break and never argue against my wishes… heh…"
"Whatever floats your boat, you crazy old goat." Bee muttered under his breath.
"Best not say stuff like that near my sister." The electron specialist warned casually. "She has a habit of killing people who bring that up in conversation. Zuzushi too."
"That will be a check… I don't want to die a wreck…" The jinchūriki shivered.
"A wreck… you are vastly underestimating what she would do to you…" Muttered the immortal.
"That aside, I heard that your deal's been put to the side. Bro won't even tell me, but Darui said that there was something you were going to do that he had to see…" Bee asked inquisitively.
The Ōgakari smirked as he took out the flier he had been carrying with him for a while and passed it to the swordsman. "I believe you are familiar with this event. I plan on demonstrating some of my wares during the festivities…"
Bee's eyes widened as he looked at the poster. "You're not lyin'? I swear I'm cryin'! I've been beggin' my bro to let me bust my moves, in the Land of Iron, the home of the 3 wolves!"
The jinchūriki was looking at a promotion poster for the twice-a-decade swordsman tourney hosted by the Land of Iron, an event rumored to attract the greatest, noblest, strongest, and also the most foul and underhanded swordsmen in the Elemental Nations. Registered and missing-nin were protected while in the Land of Iron under international law, but that still did not prevent bounty hunters and hunter-nin from coming every year to try and pick up a few heads as soon as people began to leave. Still, the event could and was seen by many as the Land of Iron's response to the Chūnin Exams hosted by the countries under the influence of the shinobi system… and it worked. The next tourney was supposedly in two months.
"Indeed. Your brother is going to send some people to watch the fights and determine whether my… more costly products are enough to seal the deal… just in case, I'm bringing Zabuza along as well to show off what I did to his sword. That alone should warrant many people's interest…" Scabbard smirked as he saw some local shinobi and civilians blink in surprise and start to talk avidly among themselves. The message was sent. "The real question is really where I should curb the power of my wares… I don't want to scare away any potential customers after all…"
"Scab, I don't know what to tell ya… other than that you are already one scary fella…" Bee chuckled nervously.
"I deal with big boy toys, Bee." The immortal sighed. "You don't let children play with the big boy toys… they tend to do stupid things with them…"
o. o. o.
In front of the Hyūga compound:
"Looks like we weren't the only ones that had trouble…" Anko mused as she stood in front of the Hyūga compound with Hana right behind her. Instead of the normal 2 guards there to 'greet' her, there were a very large number of shinobi stationed around the wall of the compound. Most were ANBU, but there were some random chūnin, and surprisingly enough, all of the Konoha 12 related shinobi, minus Naruto, Sakura, Shikamaru, and Hinata, as well.
"I assume that you found out about this from interrogating the idiots that tried to outnumber you?" Tsunade asked as she made herself known to the pair.
"Poor dickless chumps didn't know how to treat a real woman…" Anko sighed haughtily.
"Or a large snake summon either…" Hana rolled her eyes. "So I'm guessing from the way everyone's parked outside the gates that everything is FUBAR at the moment…"
"I wish." Tsunade growled. "There's been significant damage to the village and many of our shinobi have been injured, though thankfully most cases were not that severe. I don't know what you did to train the brats, but they surprised me. Chōji and Shino managed to take down the Legendary Stupid Brothers by themselves, which is quite a feat even for experienced shinobi. Kurenai's tracking slash I.T. team managed to take down 6 of them. After getting up to date on everything rather quickly, they managed to spread the word to the rest of the genin on where to go next. Sasuke and all of Gai's students had to take down even more shinobi, including one of the leading Oto generals during the invasion, which is just as impressive as Chōji's and Shino's accomplishment. It should be noted that according to Gai's original team, our new addition 'brimmed with the will of fire and the flames of youth'… so I think we can start to trust her with larger roles in the village now. Ah yes, and Haku managed to recapture her ex-comrades, the Demon Brothers. All our forces are in questionable condition, but we need everyone we can get our hands on at the moment… so much so that Jiraiya and Sarutobi-sensei had to leave in order to round up some of our more dangerous escapees…"
Hana raised an eyebrow. "Wait… what about Naruto and Hinata…" She paused as she sniffed the air carefully and turned to the Hyūga clan compound. "Oh no…"
"Unfortunately." The Hokage growled. "Hinata was taken hostage when everything had started this morning… no doubt other members of the family were put in harm's way in order to stop her, considering that she's one of the strongest Hyūga in the clan. As for Naruto… well, APPARANTLY after he and Waltz Ōgakari protected Hanabi and her class from a kidnapping team, the old bastard chucked the idiot straight into the middle of the clan compound. We haven't had any word from him since. As for the raisin, he and Crypt are currently stationed in the Hospital and taking care of the injured so that I can focus on our forces."
Anko winced. "Ouch. I wonder what the hell the old man was… wait, did you say that a bunch of homicidal criminals tried to kidnap a girl in front of Waltz?" She paled drastically, as did Hana.
The eldest woman nodded darkly. "Yes, and I can show you the pictures later if you want confirmation… Tsume had a good look at the scene of the crime too…"
"No… no. We're good." Hana waved her hands in front of her before calming down and turning to the compound. "So have they made any demands?"
Tsunade shook her head. "No, and we know better than to try and sneak in with over a couple dozen Hyūga on high alert in the area and several more Oto shinobi helping them out. The prisoners would be dead before we would even get a chance to make a seal. They said that they were going to announce something soon though…"
"Hey guys! What did I miss?" Asked a completely out of place voice from below, shocking the three women and forcing them to see Ghost drag himself across the ground to where they were. Looking up, the three could see the path the man had made by dragging himself.
"What… the hell are you doing?" Tsunade asked with a twitching eyebrow.
"I can't feel my legs right now, so I had to get here via alternative methods." The man shrugged and he approached the wall they were standing next to. "Speaking of which, I am surprised how little of the village is handicapped accessible. You should really do something about that, Tsunade."
"There are so many things wrong with that statement coming out of your mouth that it isn't funny…" Hana sighed as she rubbed her forehead. "Where the hell were you, anyway? You've been missing for three days and no one's heard anything from you."
"It's a very interesting story." He sighed as he dragged himself up the wall via chakra control and slowly brought himself to the top of the structure.
"And?" Tsunade asked expectantly.
"And what?" Ghost replied with a raised eyebrow. "This doesn't really look like the time for stories, does it? Besides, you haven't told me what the hell is going on yet."
"In a nutshell: There was a mass prison break. The prisoners have caused chaos everywhere. The arrested main house members were responsible. Said masterminds are holding pretty much the entirety of the rest of the clan at knife point, and your idiot of an apprentice is among the taken." Anko summarized irritably.
"Ah." The blind immortal replied as he laid his body on the top of the wall. "That does suck. No wonder everyone's going nuts right now… paranoid Hyūga held up and holding others hostage… they are probably alternating who has their eyes on, so odds are no one can get in without causing the hostages getting killed… well, except for me, but I'm not in any condition to do that." He yawned. "Still… it's not completely hopeless. The brat's in there. Even if he is a prisoner… it's these kinds of situations that types like me and the kid excel in. Let's just wait and see what happens for now…"
"Your student is being held prisoner and you aren't even going to try to help him or the hostages out?" Tsunade growled darkly.
"Nope." He shrugged. "Though, if I may suggest something? When they start making demands, you might want to ask to make sure that all of the hostages are alive and to take them out so you can see them for yourself… might make things easier for everyone in the long run…"
Before anyone could ask why the man suggested that, one of the few Hyūga that had been on duty when things went wrong spoke up. "They're coming out… and they have Uzumaki with them…"
"Ah. The standard faceoff between opposing groups… does anyone know any techniques that make tumbleweeds roll between our sides without any wind blowing?" The immortal mused offhandedly as Tsunade walked to the main entrance and stopped at the main doorway to see two Hyūga dragging a beaten and bloody Naruto to a wide empty spot roughly 10 meters away from everyone.
"His tenketsu are closed…" Neji growled with his eyes active.
"Ah. Hokage-sama." Bowed the apparent leader of the rogue Hyūga, who Ghost noted was the guy who tried to get his family to make the warped bloodline seal earlier. He was a reasonably aged and experienced man, probably from the same generation as the parents of the Konoha 12. "I don't believe we have met yet, seeing as I was so wrongfully imprisoned before you came into office. I am Hideki Hyūga…"
"Cut the crap and tell me what you want already." Tsunade growled. "I have a village to run and people to protect from those homicidal bastards you set loose."
"Let Hinata and Naruto go, you bastards…" Kiba growled angrily as he strained to keep himself in check.
Hideki shook his head. "Such a shame. Your predecessor was a much more patient and reasonable man to speak to…" He sighed. "But I digress. I did not come here to negotiate our terms of returning our clan to its proper position…"
"Excuse me?" Tsunade asked. "You fools wanted to enslave more than half your family under the excuse that it would protect your clan, and when a better alternative was presented, you attempted to stage a coup in order to maintain you control over others. Sympathy, I have not."
"It was an alternative made by outsiders who didn't know their place." Growled the man as he glared at Ghost picking his nose on the wall. "Outsiders who fraternize with demons and have no pride. They will bring this village down in flames if left to their own devices."
"Hey. We may get a bit lively when we play with pyrotechnics, but we never forget the importance of fire safety. I'm really good friends with Smokey the bear." Ghost pouted in his defense.
"Demons, Hokage-sama. You allow demons to live in this village." He growled, jabbing at Naruto with his foot, getting an irritated look from the boy. He paused before putting a cold look on his face. "Against the wishes of the populace, the Kyūbi was kept alive inside this… boy… since it was sealed away by the Fourth and kept alive by that sentimental fool Hiruzen." Many people gaped at the man's audacity to leak such confidential information. Those in the Konoha 12's teams who didn't know were dumbstruck, unable to comprehend such information right off the bat.
"Damn…" Sasuke growled as he looked at the genin and chūnin around him, and for the most part, they were all suffering from a case of shock. He was going to have a hard time dealing with explaining it to the others in a bit considering most of the teachers were gone. Exchanging a quick look with Haku, both realized that they were going to work fast as soon as things calmed down otherwise Naruto was going to be down a few precious people in a few minutes…
"You do realize you just sentenced yourself to death by releasing that information…" Tsunade grunted, trying to glare at the idiot to death.
"Not if my amnesty from any and all previous crimes is part of my negotiation… Tsunade-sama." Hideki grinned confidently, assured that he had just destabilized and unnerved his opposition's forces as he turned to see one of his prized hostages… sleeping, because he looked bored out of his mind.
"Eh?" Naruto yawned as he apparently woke up. "Sorry. Your speech was boring and you hit me a couple of times on the head, so I fell asleep. Did anyone tell you that you are boring as fuck? Honestly, that was like… the 5th drawn out self-glorifying speech you've done today… and I've only been your prisoner for 2 hours!"
Everyone listening sweatdropped as the boy ranted. The jinchūriki had almost instantly removed the tenseness of the situation… before one of the Hyūga there jabbed him in the stomach, causing him to cough up blood. "You think you're so clever, Kyūbi brat? Well, let me just inform you that we just told all your friends all about your demon friend. How many of them do you think will still be friends with you now that they know?" He asked in a homicidal tone.
Naruto coughed up more blood before smirking at the man who caused him so much pain. "More than you have now… that much is obvious…"
Spectators would have burst out laughing at that statement if Hideki didn't immediately send a more powerful jūken strike to the boy's body, immediately knocking him out and caused more blood to spew out of his body. Many of the shinobi watching yelled or made some other notion of anger at what they had seen as Hideki turned to Tsunade again. "It would please you to know that the demon is still alive. He has proven on multiple occasions that his healing ability and his endurance enable him to survive such damage… unfortunately…" He gathered himself up again. "As for my demands, they are all quite simple. In return for the lives of these Hyūga traitors and the demon, you will order the Ōgakari to create a modified version of the seal they have applied to the Hyūga… followed by their immediate banishment or execution. Previously arrested Main house members will be recognized as the true Hyūga of Konoha and will be exempt from any and all previous accusations. Furthermore, the Hyūga representative on the council will be granted the voting power of 2 seats on the council to further represent our importance to this village. Furthermore, you Hokage-sama will agree to subject yourself to a seal that dictates that should you go against any of these changes at a further point in time, your life will end…"
A roar of outrage and anger claimed everyone's ears as all the shinobi there cried in protest. The exchange was simply unbalanced and could easily distort the way the entire village was run. Everyone knew this… yet deep down everyone also knew the repercussions of not agreeing to the terms as well…
"Silence!" Roared Hideki. "Should you not agree, then I shall execute the demon, followed by that pathetic excuse for a Hyūga that is Hiashi's daughter, followed by Hiashi himself! Our clan is a pillar of power that is a part of Konoha's foundation that you all have carelessly left to rot under these weak willed traitors, influenced by outsiders that do not know their place! We who have been wrongfully accused are fighting back for the glory of Konoha and the sanctity of our home! Only our untainted eyes see the true nature of this corrupted world! The sooner you see this, the sooner our village shall once again shine above the others as the strongest!"
"And most likely to get attacked by all the other villages at once…" Ghost muttered, seemingly rolling his eyes.
"I will be back in one hour for your response. There is no negotiating the terms. I hope you choose wisely…" Hideki stated bluntly as he turned to move away.
"Hold it!" Tsunade ordered in a commanding tone, not a negotiating one, causing everyone to freeze. "I will consider your terms… but only if you swear to bring out each and every hostage you have in front of me to ensure that you are not trying to go back on your side of the deal either."
The leader of the opposition paused for a moment before nodding. "So long as you understand that any wrong moves done on your end will result in their deaths… it will be done."
The area was quiet as the group disappeared from sight again before Konoha's forces began to mutter and gossip rapidly.
"I hope you know what you are doing…" Tsunade growled as she glared at Ghost who was reading a magazine on the wall. "I'm taking a huge risk here…"
"As if you weren't before…" The immortal replied in a non-caring tone. "It'll all work out in the end now… you'll see… ooh, there's a half off on Nara brand deer meat and high quality beef at the market this week… I hope I can use my legs again by then… depends what day of the week it is…"
"I can't believe it…" Ino mused absently. "Naruto has… a demon sealed in him?"
"You know… he always did smell a bit like foxes… though most of the time that was covered up by ramen…" Kiba mused before thinking of something else. "Sasuke, you're his teammate. Did you know of this?"
Sasuke sighed as he crossed his arms and rested against the boundary wall. "Yeah. I did, and honestly… I'm glad that he does." He paused to let his words sink in for a moment. "The idiot is many things, but a traitorous bastard isn't one of them. He used the fox's power to get me and Sakura out of the Forest of Death as soon as he could after we encountered Orochimaru. It did a number on his body… you guys saw what it did to him after his fight with Lee after all…"
Lee's eyes widened. "So that was the reason behind Naruto's youthful increase in power… I had always wondered if it was some sort of technique Ghost-sensei had taught him…"
Shino shifted his glasses his non-broken arm. He had injured the other one while he was distracting the Legendary Stupid Brothers to create an opening for Chōji to finish them off and he had gotten careless at the last moment. "Be that as it may… I must ask… is there any way for the demon to escape or influence Uzumaki?" He paused as looks of fear crept onto the faces of his friends. "It is not because I do not trust him." He added stoically. "I trust him with my life. I don't, however, trust the Kyūbi with that same responsibility."
Sasuke blinked for a moment before smirking. "Hell if I know. The seal was made by the Fourth, so odds are it's able to handle pretty much anything, but it was also fixed and tweaked out by three of the Ōgakari… so odds are the only way the Kyūbi can get out are if Naruto or the Ōgakari make it that way." He sighed. "Dobe said that the more of its power he uses, the bigger influence the fox has on his decision making… but he also said that there were some additional fail-safes the Ōgakari added that would make sure that things wouldn't go too far. Given that they have a demon of their own that they screw around with… I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt." He turned to Lee. "Remember, he could have easily killed you at the end of your fight if he shifted his blade a little, but he didn't. You guys know as well as I do that he would rather die that cause any of us permanent damage… without good reason, of course."
Haku smiled. "You know… I do believe that this is the most we have ever heard you talk at once, Sasuke…"
The Uchiha glared at Haku. "Not now, Haku…"
Neji frowned as he processed everything Sasuke told him and looked around. Many of the older shinobi weren't talking about Naruto as much as the whole situation in general. He remembered what Naruto had told him about seals… and was finally beginning to understand what his friend was talking about. "Sasuke…" He started. "How many people know about Naruto containing the Kyūbi… and how did it affect his life?"
Sasuke frowned for a moment before sighing. "Pretty much everyone who was a shinobi during the time the Kyūbi attacked and a few years younger know about it. There's a rule set up by the Third that says pretty much says if you talk to anyone about the Kyūbi in public, you die. It was supposed to give him a shot at having friends when we were younger…" He saw the looks of recognition progressively dawning on everyone's face as they began to remember what people had told them about Naruto when they were kids. "I can tell you guys remembered that it didn't work out that way." He sighed. "I won't go into the details, but I will say that the dobe has had it harder than pretty much all of us, hands down… and it's a big part of the reason why he was, and is, still a loud mouthed idiot that can't shut up or know any better at times." He picked himself up. "But right now, we have to think of a way to get the moron out of trouble… again."
"He's right." Kiba nodded. "We can talk to him about the fox later when people aren't being held hostage… but what the hell can we do? The second we step into the grounds, the bastards will instantly know."
"Shika would probably figure something out by now." Chōji grumbled. "I've heard from dad that he's one of the best tacticians he's ever seen…"
"Isn't there some kind of secret passageway into the compound?" Ino asked Neji. "I mean, no offence, but your clan is pretty creepy and secretive at times… and those kind of people with a lot of money tend to make secret passages…"
Everyone sweatdropped… including Neji. "Well…" He coughed. "We might have one or two of those… but it wouldn't do us any good. They know about those entrances and that they don't have all the Hyūga hostage, so they'll have those passages guarded…"
"Would it be illogical to use Ino's Mind-Body Switch technique?" Shino asked. "Surely they cannot tell that technique is being used…"
"If it was my dad or one of the more experienced members of my clan, maybe." Ino groaned. "But I can't do it. I can possess them, sure, but even if I played along with everything, they would be able to tell something is off by the way I carry my body. Dad told me that the Hyūga are great at reading body language and telling when something's off, especially if their eyes are active…"
"Just calm down, brats." Ghost yawned without turning around, catching the children's attention. "Everything will work out just fine…"
"How can we calm down when two of our friends are being held hostage and their lives are in danger?" Tenten asked, nearly enraged at how the man was dealing with the situation. "Your own prized pupil has been tortured right in front of you, yet you still don't do anything about it!"
"Because panicking and going nuts over a situation like this gets people killed." The immortal answered casually, getting everyone's attention. "I've been torturing the dumbass for almost 2 years now. His current state is nothing to worry myself over, and I know what he looks like when he wants help… or a swift death. They're pretty much the same thing when I'm training him…"
"Tch. Should have known the dobe already had something planned…" Sasuke snorted.
"Do you know what sort of youthful strategy he could be using?" Lee asked curiously.
"I have a few ideas of what he could do in the situation he's in… but for what he's actually got in mind… nope. I don't have the slightest idea." Ghost yawned. "Should be pretty entertaining, though…"
"I shudder to think of this but is this how you've dealt with hostage situations in the past?" Tsunade asked skeptically. "Throw random children into the line of fire and hope they figure something out?"
"Of course not." Ghost snorted before turning back to his magazine. "We throw in childish idiots who have absurd amounts of dumb luck. If things turn out bad, THEN we step in during the confusion and bail everyone's asses out… but surprisingly enough, we don't have to take that route as often as you'd think. It's the most logical course of action…" He shook his head. "Throwing random children into hostage situations… that's just silly…"
Everyone listening sweatdropped.
"I feel sorry for any children you ever have…" Kin said bluntly, inadvertently getting unsettled looks from Anko and Hana.
"Should we set some rules for when we actually do…" Hana whispered to Anko nervously.
"Hell, I'm planning on having Scab write up the document, regardless of how much it sets me back." Anko replied, shivering at what the future could hold for the threesome.
"So what do we do now?" Tenten asked worriedly.
"We have no other choice but to wait." Neji grunted irritably.
"So who did you guys come across before you came here?" Ino asked curiously, trying to break some of the tension. "My group came across these 6 guys from the invasion. They were tough, but we managed to beat them by trapping them in a large cloud of poison and smoke while Sai's lions and Kiba kept them in the dark… afterwards, I just screwed with their heads until they fessed up on what was going on."
"Poor idiot should have just told us right off the bat." Kiba shook his head. "Ino shoved three different kinds of poisonous senbon under this one guy's nails before he finally snapped. It was… horrifying."
"Hah. And you said that I shouldn't train her!" Anko grinned to Hana. "I told you, the girl's a natural!"
"Chōji and I had the misfortune of fighting two rather irritating men apparently called the Legendary Stupid Brothers…" Shino mused. "Their lack of intelligence was only matched by their sheer raw strength. We achieved victory when I distracted one of them and caused the other to lose control of his arms via my insects on certain points of their chakra system, allowing Chōji to finish them off with his Pulse Quake Expansion combinations… I must thank Hinata when I come across her again for giving me that scroll on the human chakra circulatory system…" He sighed. "We discovered we had to come here after Chōji offered to give them some of his chips… they did not hesitate at all in divulging the information…"
"So that explosion was you? Should have known." Sasuke sighed. "Tenten's group and I got stuck with a jōnin and two squads of chūnin. It was pretty much a free for all, but Kin impressed us… and the jōnin she fought, by crushing the poor guy's ribcage. They knew her from before, so they weren't expecting her to have enhanced strength… as for how we found out… well, they were talkative even before we started fighting…"
"What can I say… those taijutsu lessons from Gai-sensei helped… all I had to do was imagine punching through his chest when he came in close… and I did…" Kin shrugged sheepishly, causing everyone else to laugh nervously. "It kinda helped that he didn't know about my strength as well, though…"
"I encountered my old teammates…" Haku sighed, depressed that her story was nowhere near as interesting as the others. "They were foolish enough to try and kill me while I was training on one of the lake areas… the fighting didn't last long… they will be thawing for a good week before they can move again."
"You'd think they would plan things more carefully after my team took them out so easily…" Sasuke deadpanned.
"Honestly, Zabuza-sama and I thought that they should have died on the job a long time ago… we just kept them with us because they would at least be suitable to be cannon fodder if we needed them to play the role…" The girl sweatdropped.
"The depressing thing is that those two apparently managed to get their jobs done with those tactics…" Neji sighed…
Tsunade smiled gently as she saw the teens talk and laugh, albeit somewhat nervously as they all waited to see how things were going to turn out…
o. o. o.
Inside the compound…
Naruto grunted as he was thrown into his personal little dungeon by his tormentors. "Watch it!" He groaned as the Hyūga smirked.
"Careful, demon. You don't want anyone else to get hurt because of you, do you?" Hideki snorted. "Be quiet for the next hour and you might even get to see tomorrow… so long as you behave…"
"Woof, woof." The blonde replied sarcastically, getting a scowl from the man.
"Humph. I have no time to play with your kind. All of you have your chakra sealed in place with our jūken strikes, as well as sealed the Kyūbi's power, and even if you do manage to complete a jutsu, all that will do is prompt us to kill the hostages… so laugh while you can, demon. Because we have already won…" Hideki growled as he walked out of the room.
"Poor idiot can't take a joke." Sighed the blonde, getting glares from the other two guards, before he lay down and apparently took a nap…
Only for him to wake up inside in his mindscape.
"Dad, how's getting rid of the Hyūga's seal going?" Naruto asked casually as he walked up to the Kyūbi's gate, which was really more like a plastered wall with some air holes at this point.
"I can take it down whenever we need to." Minato replied as he leaned up against the gate, appearing bored. "It's sad, really. I'm the one who helped teach some of those Hyūga the basis of chakra sealing techniques, and yet their seals are even worse than they used to be…"
"It does not matter to me which insignificant ant you have taught when you were alive! Remove this blasted seal at once! It makes existing in your unbearable body even more irritating than it already is!" The Kyūbi's enraged voice roared from the other side of the wall.
"Well, when you put it that way… I'm not sure I want to get rid of the seal now." The boy grinned…
"Naruto…" Kushina spoke up in a more concerned tone. "Are you sure you can handle this? If you make one mistake, a lot of innocent blood will be spilled…"
Naruto sighed. "Yes, mom. I'm sure. Thanks to the old hag, the idiot Hideki is going to have all the hostages out in one place at the same time, which is the best thing I could hope for, otherwise we really might have been in big trouble. But even if someone does get hurt, the old lady is there, so there shouldn't be much to worry about…"
"Naruto, you do know that being too optimistic can get you killed…" Minato stated firmly.
"Yeah, but it's still better than second guessing yourself just before everything is about to happen." Naruto rolled his eyes. "You know as well as I do that this is our best shot at getting everyone out." He sighed and stretched. "Just remember to go nuts when I give the signal and things should just work out from there…" He grinned childishly as if there weren't any problems in the world at all before he regained consciousness.
Minato paused before turning to Kushina. "He gets that from you, you know…"
The man's red headed wife smiled sweetly in kind. Too sweetly. "Why Minato-kun… you almost sound as if that was a bad thing…"
"Damn it!" The Kyūbi roared as he heard screams of pain from the other side of the wall. "I cannot even enjoy one of the few forms of entertainment I can get in here because of this blasted seal!"
o. o. o.
One hour later…
Hinata frowned as she and the rest of the hostages were brought outside by their captors. Her body still hurt from having most of her tenketsu shut off, as well as the small beatings the ex-Hyūga had given her for 'being weak' as they had put it. What worried her most though, was that she knew that Naruto was among the captives as well… something about falling out of the sky…
Regardless, she knew that the situation was now direr because of it. The bastards were more concerned about their prestige than the village's stability, so they were likely to try and kill Naruto first the moment they felt that something was off. They had told her all about the Kyūbi in an attempt to weaken her resolve since everyone knew about her crush on her secret boyfriend. Knowing better than to fight back, she played the part of the confused little girl… until they left the room she was being held in. As soon as her captors left, she began to practice focusing her chakra.
For the Hyūga, there are key tenketsu that must be shut down in order to cause full body, limb, or chakra paralysis, the latter of the three requiring the least number of points… or so many are lead to believe.
Instead, the points pressed simply shut off the main 'veins' of the chakra circulatory system. The majority of the secondary veins are left intact. The only reason why people claim they can't feel their chakra when they are put under was because most shinobi train using only their main chakra routes and can't train using the others, leaving them to decay unless the user has obscene levels of chakra…
She, on the other hand, had enough practice that she could use basic jūken strikes without much difficulty using her secondary veins… though that was still not enough to work with at the moment.
She winced as she saw one of the sons of the ex-Main house bastards look at her lecherously. That bastard had been feeling her up every damn hour on the hour ever since she had been captured. She was lucky that the sick pervert was not her guard, otherwise she would have had to explain to her captors why there was a body in her room…
She glanced at Naruto, who had been held in a different part of the compound… and from the looks of things, was in just as bad of shape as she was. He seemed to have a bit of a spark of energy left in him still… but his eyes were calm and not darting around wildly as if he was looking for help. The princess had trouble holding in a smile. He was up to something. Their eyes met for a moment before the girl gave him a quick gentle smile as if to say 'I'll leave everything up to you' before they continued to play the part of the irritated hostages. Soon enough, they were all lined up facing the main entrance of the compound…
"As you can see…" Hideki smirked. "All of those with Hyūga blood in my care are here to watch as you determine their fates. Should you make any suspicious movements, my men will not hesitate to dispatch of some of their tainted blood… starting with the demon's…" Many of the Oto POWs chuckled as they pressed their kunai against the necks of their victims. Hiashi and Hinata had the honor of having a Hyūga hold the knife to the necks. "Now, if you would please sign this document…"
"I'm sorry, but there's a bit of a problem with your request that has recently come up." Tsunade interrupted, causing everyone listening to freeze. "You recall that part of your demand was that the Ōgakari make a new seal for you? Well, unfortunately they are being rather… stubborn about the task…"
"We're not making it! You can't make us! Save the whales! Suck my balls! I still can't feel my legs!" Ghost ranted from the wall he was still sitting on.
"Care to repeat that filth? Please remember that your… student's…" Hideki spat out in disgust. "… life is in our hands…"
"You must not have heard me." The immortal sighed as he took out a megaphone. "Suck. My balls. You sad, strange little man. If it makes you feel any better, I have heard from many sources that they are quite delicious…"
Everyone listening was hypnotized by the man's sheer audacity to do something so blatantly stupid during a hostage situation. Everyone…
'NOW!' Naruto roared into his mindscape, seeing that this was his best shot…
"If my family weren't in immediate mortal danger, I swear I would kill him right now…" Neji growled before everything went to hell…
Within half a second, the seal on Naruto's body shattered and he was flooded with enough of the Kyūbi's chakra for the cloak to start forming. 'God damn it this hurts like hell!' The blonde mentally roared as he seallessly triggered his favorite technique. Instantly, hundreds of copies of Naruto stood in the compound. Luckily, he had used enough chakra to get rid of the cloak, but all of them still had blood red eyes.
"Shit!" Hideki yelled as he ran back to the hostages. "The demon's gotten loose! Kill the hostages!"
Ghost raised an eyebrow and smirked as the knives plunged into the men, women, and children of the Hyūga clan. "Why use something complicated when the basics work just fine? You used the safest and most efficient route you could possibly use… right in front of everyone's eyes…" He chuckled as he stared up at the sky again… letting go of his control of the air around him that he had set up as a precautionary measure… "Well… it wasn't like I didn't expect this to happen."
BOOM! All the hostages exploded in the hands of their oppressors with so much force that a good portion of the main building they were standing in front of collapsed from the shockwave, causing almost everyone to take shelter behind the wall and yell in shock, surprise and worry.
"What the hell just happened?" Ino shouted as the dust began to clear.
"Damn it dobe!" Sasuke yelled. "I don't know why, but I know that this is your fault!"
"Who care's whose fault it is! What about the hostages!" Kiba yelled as he jumped over the wall to look at the damage… only to gape. "Oh… you have got to be shitting me…"
The rest of the Konoha teams jumped over the roof to see… each and every one of the hostages almost right up against the wall and perfectly safe… albeit a bit dirty from the kicked up dust, while almost all the enemy forces were either dead or completely unfit for battle with missing limbs all over the place.
"What… in the world?" Tenten whispered as she surveyed the damage, and the craters that perfectly indicated where each hostage was once held…
"Naruto-kun's clones replaced themselves with the hostages immediately after they were made while everyone was distracted…" Hinata coughed from underneath them as she took off her bindings… she had loosened them to such a state almost immediately after they were put on. "Because my family had all their chakra sealed off, it was a simple task for him to do so with so much chakra running in his system again…"
"Hinata!" All of her friends shouted in worry as they jumped down to see her smile tiredly back at them.
"I'm fine, guys. I'm more worried about my family…" She replied as she turned to see Tsunade and many ANBU rushing to the discovered hostages and checking up on them.
"Honestly, Hinata…" Kiba sighed. "You should really stop to worry about yourself once in a while…"
"But I'm fine…" The girl pouted before looking around. "Where's Naruto-kun?"
The group paused before looking around curiously. "That is a bit odd…" Sasuke mused. "Normally this is the part where he jumps out and starts bragging about how awesome he is or starts talking about something stupid…"
"Knowing him from what I've seen he probably blew himself up when he took out the bastards." Kin sighed before they all paused. "… You don't think that…"
"It… wouldn't be unimaginable…" Shino replied slowly, not wanting to believe such a possibility himself.
"Sometimes Naruto-kun is a bit too youthful to think of everything…" Lee considered…
"I see him…" Neji stated in a serious tone as he pointed to an area close to where the explosions happened. "He doesn't look good…"
Hinata wasted no time and ran to Naruto's unconscious body. 'You focused so much on rescuing everyone else that you forgot about saving yourself… didn't you?' The girl wept as she slid to his body. It was clear the boy had taken some decent damage as a good portion of his clothes were burnt off and his body was charred in some places. The blonde was knocked out cold as Hinata began to desperately heal his wounds. "You idiot…" She sniffed. "You stupid… stupid idiot…"
"I don't believe I have ever seen Uzumaki in such a state…" Neji winced as he got closer…
"I haven't either… and I was there when we first tried our first Firestorm combo went wrong…" Sasuke growled…
"It appears that flaring the Kyūbi's chakra through his system so soon after he cleared his chakra system, combined with taking on damage from a Kyūbi-chakra fueled explosion temporarily impaired his healing abilities… he's also suffering from a small case of demonic chakra poisoning…" Haku mused as she made a diagnostic scan of his body.
"Let me have a look..." Ino stepped forward, her hands glowing now. "Poisons are kind of my thing…"
Tsunade smirked as she saw Naruto's friends huddle around him as she tended to Hiashi, who was suffering from some severe internal wounds from the beatings he had received from his rogue family members. "Honestly… that kid never ceases to surprise me…"
"I believe I could do without any more surprises for a while, Tsunade-sama…" The clan head winced. "What of Hanabi? My youngest. I have not seen or heard of her since she left this morning shortly before the incident…"
"She is safe and protected, Hiashi." The Hokage smiled. "Apparently there were a couple of guests that came to her class that day that were more than capable of protecting the class… though they could have done a cleaner job…"
The man sighed and relaxed. "That is… comforting. Thank you, Hokage-sama…"
"YOU TRAITOROUS DEMON! I SHOULD HAVE KILLED YOU THE SECOND I HAD YOU!" Roared a hysterically angry voice, catching everyone's attention. Hideki, along with half a dozen somewhat injured Hyūga stood near where Naruto's group was, all poised to attack. "WE MAY HAVE LOST THE CLAN, BUT AT LEAST OUR NAMES WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE ONES WHO RID THE WORLD OF THE ABOMINATION!"
"Damn… they must have snuck around everyone while the dust was kicked up despite being hit by the explosions…" Hiashi growled.
"No!" Hana, Anko, and Tsunade yelled as time seemed to slow down. The women were too far away to help in time and the children were in no shape to take on so many experienced shinobi at once. Their bodies flew to the unprepared children at incredible speed.
"No…" Whispered a voice in the wind. "You will all die in the manner that pathetic trash like you deserve… nameless…"
In an instant and without any prior warning, the entire area that the charging force was located in flashed under the illusion of countless thick blades gouging out everything in and touching the air in a single arcing slash, including the earth, the nearby ruined building, and the men themselves. Within half a second, this event took place, and in the next the bodies of the attackers fell down in bloody pieces on top of the gouged ground that had just appeared to have been the site of an intense battle.
"What… the fuck… was that…?" Kin breathed heavily as she stumbled back, completely unprepared for what she had just seen… nor to look at the butchered bodies in front of her.
"That technique… was certainly made… to kill… absolutely…" Sai stated, unnerved himself at the efficiency of the move he had just seen.
"They all died… so quickly…" Neji stated. "The air… tore them to shreds and returned to normal… in less than a second…"
"That… that was…" Sasuke gasped, recognizing the pattern of the gouge marks on the victims instantly. It was the same technique that had killed the businessman Gatō back in the Land of Waves. "The only ninjutsu… classified under mass assassination… Wind style… War Scars…" The Uchiha turned to the wall behind him… only to see that Ghost was gone…
o. o. o.
Omake: Ghost's Interesting Story:
3 days before the prison break…
Ghost stood on the pad in front of him and bounced from left to right, waiting for the screen to turn on. It was time for him to train again… train under some of the most grueling and inhumane circumstances to ever be conceived…
The background picked up and he flipped through the modes of the modified device until he was near the end. Beginner mode… light mode… standard mode… heavy mode… challenge mode… Ghost mode. O.k.
The music began and the first of over 2000 consecutive songs started playing.
Ghost glared at the screen in front of him as he positioned himself on the DDR mat, preparing for the hell that awaited him.
"Bring. It. OOOOOOOONNNNNNNN!"
o. o. o.
Before anyone complains, I have been working like a bastard these past few weeks in college and I am sorry that the chapter couldn't get out sooner, but my schedule forces me to work more over the weekend than during the actual week which pisses me off. I'll probably work on this chapter more later on to fix things and in general make it smoother, but I just want to post it now and get it over with so I can think clearly again. My head is killing me.
With that said… holy fuck I made the 2k mark already. I mean…seriously, that's almost 150 reviews since I last posted. Thank you everyone who reviewed and helped me get here, ESPECIALLY Kagebiju and Draco Namikaze, who have since my last post have reviewed almost EVERY chapter they have come across. Seriously everyone, thanks.
Another shout out to Talhos, who has been making fanart of my OC's lately and I have to say… they are NICE… and in color too.
I'll try and be faster with my next chapter, which will most certainly be shorter than this monster, but odds are it will be out by around Christmas.
As for the real manga… in a nutshell… I loved the fight between the skirmish teams, I thought it was interesting how the Rasengan was inspired by the bijū attacks… and I'm pissed off that Naruto will probably never learn any decent generic ninja moves in the series that will improve his fundamentals that he needs desperately.
So that's all I have to say for now guys. Review! Worship the log! Apologize to the log for the ones you will burn over the Christmas season! Review again! And for god's sake put on some pants damn you!