Naruto: The Hope of the Senju Clan
Chapter Thirty-seven: Sword
This story was inspired by the Story Senju Naruto by Baal of Yarns
"Animal talk/Thinking Jutsu"
Previously on Hope of the Senju Clan
"It was a pleasure meeting you again Naruto-kun."
"Likewise Kimiko-sama" replied Naruto as he took the elder Fire Princess's hand and shook it, but as he did he suddenly felt her hand tighten around his, nearly crushing it as did.
"You will of course take good care of my niece?" asked Kimiko, smiling kindly down at the young Senju heir. But as she smiled down at him, a dark menacing aura began form and hover around her, turning her kind smile into something sinister.
"Of course!" said Naruto quickly, while sweating up a storm, as he got underline warning within Kimiko's words. But his nervousness only grew worse as Kimiko held his hand tighter, and moved down closer to him.
"Good, as I would hate to hear of something happening to her when I return to visit" replied Kimiko, where when she said this, her dark aura took on the form of a devil, true to her moniker, making her that more intimating.
Not trusting his mouth, Naruto gulped audibly and fervently nodded his head, after which Kimiko let go of Naruto and joined her parents, where he then watched them board their palanquins and begin their journey back to the capital.
As Naruto watched the royal family and their entourage walk away, the blonde boy could not help but wonder what sort of mess he had gotten himself into this time.
Inside one of the treatment rooms of Konoha hospital, a young blonde spikey haired boy was busy healing a young sic year old girl, who had seemly fallen off a tree while trying to rescue her pet kitten and injured her left arm.
The young blonde wore a long white sleeveless coat with decorated flames-like motifs on the edges and the symbol of the Senju Clan on the back, on his back he carried a medium size Katana with a sling accross the chest.
Underneath the coat he wore a pair of simple black Shinob pants with a bandage around his right leg and a brown Shinobi utility belt around his waist, along with a pair of black boots. On his upper body he wore a Chunin flak jacket with a short sleeve fishnet shirt and an open short sleeve black top underneath. On his right hand he wore a black fingerless glove and white bandages wrapped around his left. He wore a typical Shinobi headband around his head with the symbol of the Hidden Leaf on it, although his cloth was black instead of the typical blue colour that most Shinobi had.
The young blonde also wore an assortment of jewellery which had been gifts from various people. The jewellery consisted of a Crystal Gem around his neck, a sliver ring with a phoenix design on his right ring finger, a chain earring on his right ear and a bracelet made out leather robe, with a large dog's tooth and beads attached to it, on his right wrist. (1)
This boy was Senju Naruto, only son and heir to Senju Tsunade, the Slug Princess, and now Godaime Hokage of Konohagakure.
After finishing treating the small girl and bandaging her injured arm, he looked up at the girl and smiled kindly at her. "Now then, all better, and here something for being so brave." Naruto then took out a small red lollipop from his coat pocket, and give it to the girl, who happily took it.
"Thank you Naruto-san" said the girl as he hopped off the exam table.
"No problem, just next time when Ginger climbs up a tree again, call your mom or dad, okay?"
"I will" promised the girl, before racing over to her mother, showing her the lollipop Naruto had given her.
"Thank you Naruto-san" said the mother, after taking her daughter's hand.
"It's okay" replied Naruto, waving the woman off, before handing her a few rolls of bandages. "Just make sure to change the bandages every night before she goes to bed and make sure she doesn't over exert herself. By the end of the week, she'll be climbing trees again."
"Let's hope not" said the mother as she smiled down at the young girl before thanking Naruto again as they left the room together.
"Bye, bye Naruto-san, thank you for making my arm feel better" said the girl as she and her mother walked away.
"Bye!" said Naruto, smiling and waving back at the girl. It was times like these that made him glad he started training to be a medic. It always made him happy seeing the happy looks on people's faces, when he helped heal them or someone they cared about.
"My, my Naruto-kun, still charming every girl you meet, what ever will we do with you?" spoke a mocking voice from behind.
Recognising, the voice, Naruto smirked and turned around to see his Godmother/elder sister standing behind him, holding a clipboard in her hand.
"Hah, hah, very funny Nee-chan" retorted Naruto, "I was simply being nice, that's all."
"Yes, and yet that does seem to be the reason why you have so many female admirers, doesn't it?" replied Shizune, smiling, which grew when she saw Naruto glaring mockingly at her.
Eventually the teasing was set aside and Shizune got back to the matter at hand. "So how was she?"
"Nothing serious" said Naruto, "Just a sprained arm from falling off a tree, when she climbed it to rescue her pet kitten."
"Good" replied Shizune, "Now that you're finished here, you can report the Hokage's mansion, Tsunade-sama has asked for you."
"Kaa-chan? What for?"
"She did not say, only that she would want to talk to you about something."
"Maybe she's actually going to let me go out on a mission at last?" Naruto remarked with an excited look on his face, since he hadn't been allowed to go on an official mission since before the invasion.
"Oh are you getting bored with working here already?" asked Shizune, raising her left eyebrow.
"You've almost caught up on your medical studies, which you have clearly been ignoring ever since you came to Konoha," stated the dark haired woman with a stern look, causing Naruto to look slightly embarrassed and somewhat ashamed, since it was true. He had been so preoccupied with settling into Konoha and training for the Chunin exam, he had fallen behind in his medical studies.
"Yea, sorry about that" replied Naruto, smiling embarrassingly. "But a lot has happen in the past couple of months, and it's not like I don't enjoy helping the people here. It's just that I haven't been allowed to leave the village since before the Chunin examand if I want to get any stronger, I need to get more experience."
Letting out a tired sigh and shaking her head, Shizune could only smile at Naruto, he had always been an active and outgoing boy. The fact that he had gone this long at staying in the village without driving everyone crazy was miraculous to say the least. But even so, she knew it would be only a matter of time before Naruto would start demanding to be sent out on a mission, especially now that he had been made Chunin.
"It's fine" said Shizune, as she smiled down at him before placing her hand on his head and ruffling it up his hair, much to his annoyance. "Now go on, you know how Tsunade-sama doesn't like to be kept waiting."
Nodding his head, the young blonde quickly bid goodbye to his elder sister and took off to the Hokage mansion,
After traveling through the village, Naruto soon arrived at the Hokage's office, and upon hearing "Enter" from his mother when he knocked on the double doors, he entered the office. But to his surprise, instead of finding just his mother in the office, he also found Jiraiya, who was sitting on the windowsill of an open window, with his usual silly grin.
"Heya Ero-Sennin!" said Naruto, which immediately caused Jiraiya grin to fade.
"Dammnit brat, when the hell are you ever going stop to calling me that?"
"Same time when you stop being a pervert, which is never" replied Naruto, smiling cheekily at his godfather, who then started grumbling about kids today having no respect for their elders, nor appreciating genius.
Ignoring the Toad Sage's grumbling, Naruto turned to his mother. "So Kaa-chan, what's the problem? Are you finally going to let me go out on a mission?"
"Actually yes" answered Tsunade, "The pervert over here…" looking at Jiraiya. "Has just told me that it seems that the Akatsuki have moved you off their priority list for the time being."
"Why's that?" asked Naruto, at which point Jiraiya answered.
"Well I have two guesses; the first would be that the Akatsuki know the sort of attention they would attract by taking you, and that is something they would like to avoid happening for the time being. Right now most of the major villages are ignoring them and are focusing on their own affairs. But if they took you, the other villages would instantly take this as a sign that they are targeting jinchūriki and believe that they are going to use you to help them capture the remaining other jinchūriki, which would cause the other villages to tighten security on their own jinchūriki."
"And the other possibility?"
"The Akatsuki know that at your currently level, you won't be of much use to them, so they are waiting until you learn to use your Mokuton abilities better, and be of actually use to them."
"But wouldn't it make more sense to take me and then train me themselves?" asked Naruto.
"Not necessarily, it's not like there are many Mokuton users or instruction manuals that help improve you Mokuton powers. Plus from what I can gather, the Akatsuki are in no big hurry in capturing the remaining other jinchūriki."
"What do you mean?"
"According to my Intel, the technique that the Akatsuki use to extract the Biju from their hosts, takes time to prepare, in fact it takes a few years. Meaning that for the time being, they will hold off on their mission in capturing jinchūriki and focus on other matters, so until then you're in the clear" explained Jiraiya, at which point Tsunade spoke up.
"But even with this, that does not mean that we will let our guard down, just because you are no their primary target, doesn't mean they will not make another attempt to capture you. Nor does it mean that the other villages won't make a move on you as well."
"So what does that mean for me in regards to going on missions?"
"Given our limited manpower at this time, I can't afford to have Kushina or Yamato, let alone both of them, accompany you on every mission, since I need them for other high priority missions. I had thought about having you join one of the other teams, but right now they are all on standby, given how their Jonin sensei's are all on their own missions. So I have decided to give you your own mission."
"You mean this will be a solo mission?" Naruto asked with some excitement in his voice, since he didn't think his first mission as a Chunin would be also his first solo mission.
"Yes" replied Tsunade, smiling at little at her son's excitement. "It's a C rank mission, meaning that it shouldn't be too difficult, nor should it take too long for you to complete."
"What does it involve?" Naruto asked, while trying to keep his excitement at bay.
"It's a simple bodyguard mission in Cha no Kuni (Tea Country), the mission was requested by an old friend of mine, Wasabi Jirōchō, who is head of the Wasabi Clan. He will explain the full details of the mission to you when you arrive at his home."
Nodding his head in understanding, Naruto then excused himself from the office, so that he could begin packing for the mission.
Once Naruto had left the room, Jiraiya turned to his former team-mate. "You sure you want to send him off on his own like that?"
"Not really, but he needs to" answered Tsunade with a sigh.
"Oh?" replied Jiraiya who was curious by what Tsinade meant.
"It's just something Sarutobi-sensei told me recently, about how I can't protect Naruto forever and how I need to let him grow and experience things for himself. Otherwise he can never get stronger and may later resent me for controlling his life so much."
"Heh" laughed Jiraiya, "Yea the old man is usually right when it comes to these sorts of things. But don't worry; from what you told me about the mission, it should be a piece of cake for him, he'll back in a couple of days without so much as a hair out of place."
"I hope your right" said Tsunade, sighing a little, since she still couldn't help but worry.
"I am" assured Jiraiya, seeing how worried Tsunade was, "The brat is already the strongest person in his age group and he is as tough as they come, so don't worry."
"I suppose…" replied Tsunade, sighing again, "It's just that it's so hard…he's not my little Naru-chan anymore, he growing up."
"Ah don't worry hime, in a few years' time you'll be up to your neck in little grandkids, probably sooner at the rate of girls the brat is attracting" replied Jiraiya, smiling proudly over how popular his godson was with the ladies.
"Over my dead drunken corpse that will happen!" roared Tsunade, where for the next hour Jiraiya listened to the angry rants of Tsunade about how she wouldn't let those little "harlots" get their claws into her "baby" boy.
Jiraiya although just laughed and smiled throughout the whole rant, as despite her new found acceptance that Naruto was growing up. He knew his old team-mate would remain overly protective of her son, "especially" when it comes to girls.
-A few Days later in Cha no Kuni -
After making good time across Hi no Kuni (Fire Country), and being less than a day away from the Wasabi Clan estate, Naruto decided to stop and have a snack at a local Tea shop.
Accompany him was Kurimaru, who Naruto decided to take with him, given how Kurimaru was a Ninken (Ninja Dog) and would need not only training in how to fight but experience. He also figured that if they needed to track or find someone, Kurimaru would be of great help.
"So boy, how about we take a break, huh?" Naruto asked, after receiving a bark of approval from the small half-wolf, they ended the shop.
Moments after Naruto had taken a table, the shop owner came over to take his order, where he ask for some Oshiruko (Sweet Red Bean Soup with a rice cake), along with some Odangos (dumplings) and tea.
As Naruto wait for his order, a young boy, wearing a dark green cloak and straw hat, who seemed to be just leaving, walked over to him. "To be drinking Oshiruko so carelessly on a beautiful day like this…Being a Shinobi must be an easy occupation."
"I don't seem to remember asking your opinion" Naruto retorted coldly.
Smirking arrogantly, the boy continued his taunt, "Konohagakure no sato (The Village Hidden in the Leaves) must be a really peaceful place, especially when they're all stupid looking like y-OW!"
Having heard enough of the arrogant boy's insults to his owner, Kurimaru walked over to the boy and bit his right leg.
"OW! What the fuck, let go of my leg you stupid mutt, let go!" yelled the boy, as he waved his leg around, trying to throw Kurimaru off. But the young pup held on and bit harder into the boy's leg, causing him yell even louder.
"Kurimaru let him go!" ordered Naruto.
Heeding Naruto's command, the young pup quickly let go of the boy's leg and walked back to Naruto, who petted the pup head gently, "Good boy."
"That damn mutt, you should put that thing on a leash" yelled the boy as he held his bleeding leg and glared at the half-wolf cub.
"Kurimaru doesn't need a leash."
"He bit me!" rounded the boy.
"I suppose you do have a point there" said Naruto, smiling down at little friend. "Now Kurimaru, you shouldn't have done that, you don't know where he's been, who knows what kind of germs he might have, so be more careful from now on okay."
In response the young pup nodded it's head and barked, indicating that it understood. The boy on the other hand looked murderous, as he hadn't missed Naruto insults towards him.
"This is exactly why I hate Shinobi" said the angry boy. "If you know what's good for you leave Cha no Kuni now, because if I catch you wandering around much long, I won't let you or your miserable mutt leave unharmed."
"Tsk, tough talk…" scoffed Naruto, "But if you think I can be intimidated my some loud mouth punk like you, then your sadly mistakes. So I suggest, you scram while you still can, otherwise my little friend here might decide to make you his chew toy again. In fact he might even aim a little higher next time, if you get my meaning?"
Getting the hint, which was only made more apparent by the evil looking smirk Naruto was giving him, the boy wisely choose to take his leave. But not before giving Naruto and Kurimaru one last glare.
Shortly after the boy left, the lady arrived back with Naruto's order, along with two receipts.
Curious, Naruto looked at the receipts, the first one was his own order, but the second one had a completely different order.
"Eh excuse ma'am, but I think you made a mistake, why are you giving me two receipts?"
"Oh, that boy that just left said that you were a friend of his and that you would pay for his order."
"What?!" yelled Naruto in anger. "That damn bastard that was his plan all along!"
Furious at how he had been tricked, Naruto quickly paid for the orders, despite having ate nothing, and raced after the boy.
"Which way did he go boy?" Naruto asked, trusting his canine friend to find their target.
After sniffing the air for a moment, Kurimaru quickly caught on to the boy's scent and indicated the direction he went.
Wasting no time Naruto quickly took after the boy with Kurimaru following closely behind him.
As Naruto pursued his target, he was surprised by how much ground the boy had covered so quickly, and figured he had some sort of special physical training.
"Hah, what a moron" laughed the boy, pleased with how he tricked Naruto into paying for his meal.
But as the boy continued to congratulate himself, a small tree branch suddenly sprung out of the ground. Causing him to trip and fall into a bush and down a small hill before crashing into a tree.
"OOOOwwww, god damnit…" moaned the boy as he painfully lifted himself up "What the hell did I trip over…Just my luck."
"Ha, some would call that Karmic payback" recognising the voice, the boy looked up the tree he had crashed into and was surprised to see Naruto and Kurimaru standing atop it. Unaware of the fact that Naruto was the cause of him tripping. "You sure have got a lot of nerve trying to pull a stunt like that on me."
Realizing he had been caught, the boy quickly fell to his knees and began to cry "I'm sorry, I was just in a bind, my wallet was stolen a while ago and I was so hungry. So when I saw you I decided to take advantage of you, please forgive me!"
Hearing the story, Naruto and Kurimaru jumped down the tree, and started feeling sorry for him. That was until the boy suddenly flipped back onto his feet and removed his leg warmer, revealing training weight, which he then removed.
"Heh catch you later loser" smirked the boy before he took off with incredible speed.
"Shit this is guy is just like Bushy-brow, hell he could probably give Bushy-brow a run for his money. But he's still not getting away" Naruto thought before forming some hand-seals.
"Heh, there's no way he'll catch me now" the boy said to himself. But just when he thought he was safe, a large Earth wall suddenly appeared out of the ground in front of him, causing him to crash into it.
"Ow!" the boy cried as he ran into the wall and fell to the ground, holding his head in pain."God damnit, I didn't think that dimwit would know Doton Ninjutsu…I better get out of her before he catches up to me." But before he could move around the Earth wall, he suddenly felt a pair of hands grab his legs and pull him underground, leaving only his head above it.
"What the…?" cried the boy, who couldn't understand what happened, but quickly got his answer when a smirking Naruto popped out of the ground, tossing a small wallet up and down in his hand.
Recognising the wallet, the boy glared angrily at Naruto, "Give that back, that's my wallet you damn thief!"
"Huh, the only thief here is you!" retorted Naruto before taking some money out from the wallet. But don't worry, I just taking what you owe me, nothing more."
Glaring at Naruto, the boy was about to retort, but before he could, he felt a warm trickle fall down the side of his head.
Turning, the boy then got a face full of urine, courtesy of Kurimaru, who took it upon himself to punish the boy further.
"GGGAAAAHH!" screamed the boy in revulsion, when he realized that Kurimaru was relieving himself on his head, some of which even ended up in his mouth when he screamed.
"YOU DAMN MUTT I'LL KILL YOU!" roared the boy as futilely struggled to free himself from the ground.
Once he was finished, Kurimaru then barked happily and walked back to Naruto, who smiled down at pup and petted him on the head again, saying "Good Boy."
He then tossed back the boy's wallet and gave him a cheeky wave goodbye before disappear in whirl of leaves with Kuirmaru, leaving the boy to stew in his anger and humiliation.
The following day after the incident at the Tea shop, Naruto arrived at Wasabi Clan estate, where he was brought to a large room to meet the head of the Clan.
"Greetings, my name is Wasabi Jirōchō, and on behalf of my Clan I want to thank you for coming here and accepting the mission."
"Not a problem, I was happy to take it, my name is Senju Naruto and this is my friend Kurimaru" replied Naruto, where he then indicated to his small friend who barked in greeting.
Upon hearing Naruto's surname, Jirōchō raised his left eyebrow.
"Senju Naruto, so your Tsunade-sama's son, I had heard rumours that she had a son, but did not know if they were true or not."
"I am, and my mother also sends her respects."
Nodding in acceptance, the elderly man then decided to move on to the reason he has hired Naruto and had him sit down and rest.
"Tell me Naruto-san, do you know of Todoroki Taisha dedication ceremony?"
"Todo…what?" asked Naruto, never hearing of the ceremony.
"It a ceremony that began long ago due to a legend. According to the legend when we dedicate the treasure balls of Ryuko to the Todoroki Taisha, the storms will settle. Now it has become a customary event that happens once every four years. Initially, it started out as an event to dedicate the treasure balls, but over time, it became a festival race, where the person who comes in first will dedicate them" explained Jirōchō before a serious look appeared on his face. "But recently, it has begun to take on another form. In this port city, Degarashi, there are two Clans. There is our Clan, the Wasabi Clan, and the other is the Wagarashi Clan, and though this is embarrassing to say, our two Clans have been feuding with each other for many years and constantly fought over the city boundaries. Sadly even the civilian population got caught up in our battles, where many were hurt. Things got so bad that eventually even the feudal lords and the Tea Daimyo got involved, and forced both Clans to halt the fighting, after which a bargain was struck to keep the peace."
"What sort of bargain?" Naruto asked
"The bargain was that instead of fighting, the boss of the city would be decided through events."
Upon hearing this realization then dawned on Naruto, as he began to understand what was going on. "Then that means the event to decide who the boss of the city would be…"
"Yes…" answered the Wasabi Clan head, "Todoroki Taisha dedication ceremony. Four years ago the Wagarashi Clan won the last race by hiring a Shinobi, and this year again they have hired a Shinobi. That is why I sent word to your mother the Godaime Hokage-sama, requesting that she would send someone here to help us."
Once he had finished, to the surprise of Naruto and Kurimaru, Jirōchō then kneeled down to the floor. "Please, I beg you led us your strength, my Clan cannot afford to lose this race again to the Wagarashi Clan."
"Don't worry old man, leave it to us, besides it wouldn't look go if I let an old friend of my mom's down" said Naruto, reassuring the older man.
Grateful to Naruto for taking the mission, Jirōchō thanked the blonde boy and smiled back at him.
"So who is it that we have to guard?" Naruto, asked, but as soon as he did, he saw Jirōchō frown.
"His name is Morino Idate, I had planned to have him here with me when I met you, but he has yet to return from an errand I sent him on."
Learning of this, Naruto also frowned, "Do you think that the Wagarashi Clan is somehow responsible?" while at the same time thinking "Morino? Where have I heard that name before, its sounds familiar."
"That is indeed possible and I would not put it past them" said Jirōchō, whose frown deepened. "I have sent some of my men to search for him, although I have…" but before the Wasabi Clan head could finish, he was interrupted by a knock on the shōji door that led out to the garden.
"Yes!" answered Jirōchō, turning to the silhouette that was behind the door.
"Boss it's me Idate, I've returned" answered the person behind the door, who sounded very familiar to both Naruto and Kurimaru.
"Where have you been? I sent men looking for you" berated Jirōchō, who seemed angry, but at the same time relieved to hear Idate.
"I'm sorry boss, I got into a little trouble on my way back, and I was held up for a while."
"Its fine, now come in, there is someone here I want you to meet" said Jirōchō waving his subordinate in, who then slide the door open.
When the door opened to reveal Idate, Naruto was shocked to see that Idate was in fact the same boy he and Kurimaru had met earlier on.
In turn, Idate was also shocked to find that the person who was supposed to guard him, was the same person who buried him up to neck in the ground and left him there.
"You!" cried Idate, glaring angrily Naruto and Kurimaru, who simply glared right back, or in Kurimaru's case, growled.
"Oh, so you know each other, that certainly saves time" remarked Jirōchō, who seemed pleased, ignoring the fact that the two boys were glaring at one another.
"Yea, we know each other, but I wouldn't say our meeting was congenial or anything" replied Naruto.
"You buried me in the ground and then had your dog piss on me!" yelled Idate. "Do you know how long it took me to dig myself out? Not to mention I still can't get the smell of your dog's piss off me."
"Heh, well maybe that will teach you from trying to scam the next person" Naruto retorted. "As for the smell, well if you ask me, I think it's an improvement."
Angered by Naruto's retort, Idate turned to Jirōchō. "With all due respects Boss, I don't believe we need to bring in this outsider here. I can win this race and handle whatever Wagarashi Clan throw at me by myself."
"Heh, just like how you handled things yesterday?" Naruto sneered, causing Idate to go red with anger and glare at him. "If I had known that I would be protecting you, I wouldn't have taken the job. But luckily for you I have already agreed to the old man's request, and I never go back on my word, that is my Nindo (Ninja Code)."
"Old man?" repeated Idate. "How dare you! Boss Jirōchō is a very, very, very great man who'd put his life on the line to protect this city anytime! You will address him with proper respect."
"That is alright Idate, I don't mind" assured Jirōchō. "I'm sure Naruto-san, met no harm" where Naruto simply nodded.
"But still Boss, how can we trust him, he is not of the Clan, for all we know he could turn on us at any time."
"That is enough Idate, you will show him respect, this is Senju Naruto, son of the now Godaime Hokage Senju Tsunade, who also happens to be an old friend of mine, so his trust with without approach."
"He's the son of the famed Slug Princess of Konoha!" Idate thought in surprise, knowing exactly who Tsunade was. But after a moment or two, he quickly got over his surprise and turned to his leader.
"Very well Boss, if that is your decision, I will accept it" said Idate, before excusing himself, saying he needed to clean himself up and prepare for the coming race tomorrow.
Once Idate had left, Jirōchō turned to Naruto, "I apologises for him, Idate, is a good a loyal subordinate, he just sometimes become to overprotective."
"Its fine" said Naruto, waving off Jirōchō, since he didn't really care what Idate thought of him.
Shortly after, Naruto excused himself and decided to talk a walk around the city, and maybe get a souvenir for his mother and Shizune.
After leaving the Wasabi Clan estate, Naruto toured around the city, looking around at the stands and shops. But wherever he looked he saw that many of the shops and stands were charging very high prices.
"I know this place is popular spot for traders and tourist, but the stuff here is pretty expensive" Naruto thought as he picked up a small charm that he thought his sister would like.
"They're expensive, I know, I apologise for that" said the stand woman, who saw Naruto frowning at the prices. "I don't like selling things at prices like that, but ever since the Wagarashi Clan Boss took charge of the city, I have had little choice."
"How so?" asked Naruto, but before the woman could answer him, they suddenly turned to the sound of a large crash.
Turning, Naruto saw three thugs standing over the shopkeeper of a small tea shop directly opposite them. The shopkeeper was on the ground, seemly apologising to them for some reason.
"I-I-I'm sorry, b-but it's just that I need you to pay or else, I can't pay Boss Kyūroku later on" pleaded the man.
"Heh, you don't get it old man, "said one of the thugs,who was cracking his knuckles. "We are of the Wagarashi Clan, which means we don't have to pay for anything."
"Hey, how about we teach this old guy a lesson, and make sure he knows his place" said another one of the thugs.
"Yea, I think your right, let's!" said the first thug, who then lifted up the shopkeeper by his shirt and prepared to punch him. But before his fist could even hit the elderly man, it was stopped by Naruto, who appeared between the two men and caught the punch in his right hand.
"W-Who are you?" asked the thug in surprise, while he struggled to pull his fist back, but Naruto's grip was iron tight.
"Someone who doesn't like bullies, now I suggest you pay this guy what you owe him and the get lost, before you get hurt."
"No please get away, they're from Wagarashi Clan, you'll get hurt!" warned the stand woman."
"You damn bastard!" cried the third thug as he and his partner moved forward to help their leader.
Unwilling to watch the brave blonde boy being beaten up by the three thugs, the stand woman and the shopkeeper closed their eyes, where they could only hear the sounds of fighting and screams.
Shortly afterwards, the man and woman opened their eyes and were stunned to find Naruto standing over the three thugs, without so much as a scratched, while the three thugs were on the ground covered in bruises and blood.
After taking their wallets, Naruto then told the two other thugs to pick up there unconscious leader, and to get lost.
"You damn, brat, you got lucky today, but we let you off easy" said the second thug, as he lifted his leader up.
"Yea, that's right!" said the third thug, as he helped his partner up with their leader. "The next time we see you, we'll beat you to a pulp."
Having heard enough of the two men's trash talk, Naruto simply cracked his knuckle, in the exact same manner as his mother, causing the two men to get scared and run away, shouting that they would get him back for this.
"Here" said Naruto as he helped the shopkeeper up off the ground and handed him the three men's wallets. "This should more than cover their bill."
"Thank you young man, I owe you my life" said the old shopkeeper, who was truly grateful to Naruto for saving him.
"Don't sweat it, I was happy to do it, I can't stand thugs like those guys" replied Naruto, waving the old man off.
"But still, that was amazing, you're a very strong young man" said the stand woman who had walked over to them.
"I'm guessing those guys are part of the reason why things seems so bad here?" Naruto remarked, where the woman simply nodded.
"Yes, Boss Kyūroku has everyone in the city pay protection money, if we don't pay, he sends his men to destroy our homes, our shops and threaten or assault us and our families. He also lets his men run around to do whatever they want without any kind of punishment" explained the woman, who frowned as she remembered all she had seen.
"Extortion huh…?" Naruto thought, liking the Wagarashi Clan less and less.
"Hopefully though…"continued the woman, "We'll have Boss Jirōchō of the Wasabi Clan win this year's race, allowing him to take charge of the city."
After saying goodbye to the stand woman and the shopkeeper, Naruto headed back to the Wasabi Clan estate. But not before silently promising, that he would make sure that the Wasabi Clan won the race. He may not like Idate, but would make sure he would win, so that Boss Jirōchō could take charge of the city and free the people from the Wagarashi Clan's hold.
The following morning, before dawn, Naruto accompanied Jirōchō, Idate and the rest of the Wasabi Clan to the temple, where the race would begin.
As they made their way to the temple, Naruto learned from Boss Jirōchō, that the race would begin at Degarashi port. Idate and the Wagarashi Clan representative would then have to make their way by boat to Modoroki shrine on Nagi Island, which was also the half-way point of the race.
Once there, they would then have to get one of the two Ryuko treasure balls, and then race down to the neighbouring island Oouzu, and to Todoroki shrine.
Those were of course the only rules, meaning anything else was allowed, such as shortcuts, interception and manoeuvres behind the scenes, like hiring Shinobi to protect or attack runners.
During the explanation, Idate had again stated that he didn't need Naruto's help or protection and that he could win this race himself, stating that Naruto and Kurimaru would only get in his way.
In response, Naruto simply told Idate, that he didn't take orders from him and he would do what he wants, which of course annoyed the elder boy further.
Once everyone had gathered at the shrine, Idate and his opponent Hikyakuya Fukusuke lined up at the starting point. But when the announcer began the race, to the surprise of everyone, instead of heading for the boats that were made readied for the runners, Idate turned and began to run away from the boats and started to run north.
With no time to waste, Naruto and Kurimaru quickly took after Idate, wondering at the same time what the elder boy was doing. "Damnit what the hell is he thinking, why is he going in a completely different direction?"
After chasing after Idate for almost two hours straight, Naruto finally caught up to the elder boy.
"Idate, hold on, what are you doing, why aren't you following the course? Don't you want to win for the old man?"
"Leave me alone I know what I am doing!" said Idate before speeding off again, with Naruto and Kurimaru following closely behind.
After a while though Idate notice that he was under some kind of Genjutsu, making him go circles, when he noticed that he passed the same tree twice.
"Damnit, someone placed a strong Genjutsu here" Idate, realized "But it's still nothing I can't handle" where he formed the hand sign for Genjutsu Kai (Illusion Technique Release) to dispel the Illusion.
But just when he dispelled the technique, he heard Naruto cry "Hold on, Idate Wait!"
Ignoring the blonde Konoha-nin, Idate continued on, moments after doing this, Idate suddenly lost his footing, and found himself falling off a cliff and into the sea.
Fortunately though, before he could hit the water below, Idate, felt something grab his left leg and stop him.
Looking up, Idate saw that the person who had saved him was Naruto, he was even more surprised to see vines coming out of his arm, which had grabbed hold of his leg.
"Jeeze, this guy is so much trouble" Naruto muttered as he pulled Idate up.
Once Naruto had finished pulling him back up, he then retracted his vines, unerving Idate a little.
"Tsk, we lost a lot of time now, because of all this" grumbled Idate.
"A little gratitude would be nice" Naruto scoffed, receiving a bark of agreement from Kurimaru. "We wouldn't be in this mess if you hadn't been so cocky and listen to me when I tried to warn you about the Magen: Nijū Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: Double False Surroundings Technique)."
"The only reason you even saved me is because it's your mission to protect me, so I don't need to say thanks!" yelled Idate, who was furious at what Naruto said, which was made even worse since Naruto was right.
Annoyed by how infuriating the boy could be, Naruto was beginning to wish he had just let him drop. But that wouldn't look good for his first solo mission, so after taking a deep calming breath, Naruto stared right back at Idate and spoke. "You right it is my job to protect you, so if you don't want to die and if you want to have a chance of winning this race. Then I suggest that you stick close to me."
"Also…" continued Naruto, "If you don't mind, maybe could fill me in and why exactly you runing in this direction instead of boarding the boat like you were supposed to."
"It's because it's the fastest way to Nagi Island…moron"
But no sooner had Idate said this, the boy suddenly felt a sharp pain from the rear causing Idate to scream out in pain.
Turing around, Idate saw Kurimaru, with his teeth imbedded deeply into his exterior,
"AAAHHHH! Get him off! Get him off!" cried Idate as he tried to shake the dog off.
"Kurimaru let him go we don't have time for this" said Naruto, although secretly he was congratulating his little friend.
Once Kurimaru had let go, Idate turned around and glared at the small pup, which was less imitating given how he was still hold his rear in pain.
"Now then, if you don't mind, perhaps you can fill us in your grand plan to win the race…that is unless you want to insult us again?" asked Naruto.
Sparing one last glare at Kurimaru, Idate huffed in annoyance, knowing that he was wasting time the longer he fought with Naruto and his dog, the elder boy decided to fill the two in.
"Right around this season, a seasonal wind blows in this area. I noticed it when I saw the cloud movements at the starting time and realized that the winds were coming. Moreover, there's a current that moves straight towards Nagi Island at the northern port, which will allow us to get ahead of Fukusuke's boat."
"Heh I have to admit that pretty smart" Naruto remarked, who was actually impressed.
"Heh, unlike you I actually have some brains" replied Idate, although as soon as he said this, Kurimaru began to growl again, causing Idate to hold his rear and move back. "Keep that mutt away from me."
"I'll try, but it would help if you tone down the arrogance, and maybe insult me a little less, since as you can guess, Kurimaru doesn't like it when people bad mouth me in front of him" Naruto explained, where Kurimaru barked in agreement.
"Fine" Idate said, before taking off with Naruto and Kurimaru.
After about another hour of running, Idate, Naruto and Kurimaru arrived at a small fishing hut and borrowed a small fishing boat from an old fisherman.
Once boarded, the three set sail for Nagi Island, as they sailed to the island, Naruto decided to ask Idate something that had been on his mind for a long time.
"Since we still got a little time, how about you answer a question I have?"
"And what would that be?" asked Idate, not looking back at
"What village are you from, you obvious have had Shinobi training, given your speed and how you detected the first layer of the Nijū Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu and freed yourself from it."
Becoming nervous, Idate kept his sights focuse on the island ahead of them, "It was just a small village, you've probably never heard of it."
"Really?" said Naruto, becoming more suspicious of the elder boy, "Tell me it, I might know?"
"What does it matter, where I am from, I'm part of the Wasabi Clan now, my past isn't worth mentioning."
"I suppose" replied Naruto, although was now certain that Idate was hiding something.
Hoping to change the topic of discussion, Idate spoke again, "This year's Chunin exam must have been pretty easy."
"What do you mean?" asked Naruto.
"Well given the flak jacket that you're wearing, and how you're by yourself, you must have made Chunin" answered Idate. "Which means the exam this year must have been a joke for you to make it, or maybe it was because of your mom, must be nice, having such a big shot for a mother."
Upon hearing the insulation, Naruto glared at the boy and gripped the steering rudder tightly, nearly breaking it.
"There was nothing about the Chunin exam that was easy, and I earned my rank" Naruto spat angrily, furious at what Idate had insinuated, where he thought back to the events of the Chunin exam, and remembered the various battles and challenges he had faced.
But that was when he was hit by a sudden realization, where he then stared back at Idate.
"Idate, your surname is Morino, right?"
"Yea, what of it?" asked the boy, still not bothering to even look back at Naruto.
"You wouldn't happen to be related to Morino Ibiki would you?"
At the mention Ibiki, Idate, suddenly turned to look at Naruto in shock, and before he could even stop himself, he shouted "How the hell do you know my older brother?!"
Realizing what he had said, Idate covered his mouth, but the damage had already been down, as he had just confirmed what Naruto had figured out.
"Hah, so you are from Konoha…and Morino Iibiki is your older brother."
Furious at how he let it slip that Ibiki was his brother, Idate decided to come clean. "Fine you got me, I'm from Konoha like you, now tell me how do you know my brother?"
"Your brother was the first examiner in the Chunin exam, and from what I know, he is also the Head of the Konoha's Torture and Interrogation Force."
"So he is alive?" asked Idate, who seemed relieved as he walked over to Naruto.
"Of course" replied Naruto, but just as he was about to say more, an arrow suddenly hit the deck of the ship.
"It's an ambush!" yelled Naruto, where he saw another boat heading towards them from behind, firing arrows.
As the boat drew next to them, a familiar team of Ame Shinobi jumped on board.
"So it's you guys again!"
"Nice to see you too, brat" said Kagari.
"You know these guys?" Idate asked, while moving next to Naruto.
"Yea sort of, back during the second part of the Chunin exam, my team and I met with them, they tried to ambush us but we beat them."
"Yes, but now it seems we have a chance to pay you back, not only for defeating us, but for also stealing our chance at becoming Chunin" spat Kagari.
"Huh, like you three armatures would have made Chunin, believe me I did you guys a favour, even if you had made it into the preliminaries, you would have been creamed, if not killed."
"We'll see about that!" said the Ame Genin, where he used Oboro Bunshin no Jutsu (Haze Clone Technique) to make copies of himself and his team-mates.
"This technique again" thought Naruto, "Idate, Kurimaru stay behind me!"
"I don't want any help from a Shinobi" spat Idate as he pulled out his knife to defend himself.
"Are you really that thick-headed?!" cried Naruto, not believing how stubborn and foolish Idate was being.
"Kurimaru, I needed you to find the real one" said Naruto, knowing that his canine friend could smell out the real one.
Barking in acknowledge, the young pup began to use its keen sense of smell to locate the real Ame-nin hidden among the clones, who were slowly moving toward Naruto and Idate.
Once he had found the real Ame-nin, Kurimaru then raced over and bite the real Kagari in the leg.
"Owww! You mangy runt!" roared the Ame Genin in pain, while trying to shake Kurimaru off his leg.
But by the time he did, Naruto was right in front of him, and hit him with a strong kick to the face, sending the Genin flying off the boat and into the water, causing the clones to disappear.
"Good work boy" Naruto said as he smiled down a Kurimaru, who simply barked back, telling Naruto that he was welcome.
On board the Ame boat, Kagari, quickly jumped out of the water and back onto the boat, joining the rest of his team, who were far from pleased by what happened, especially since Naruto and Idate were getting away on their boat.
"Damn that Senju punk" growled Oboro, before turning to Kagari and Mubi, who simply nodded.
After preforming several hand-seals Oboro then yelled "Suiton: Kokuu no Jutsu (Water Style: Black Rain)" causing oil to rain down on top of Naruto and Idate's boat. After which Mubi then used his crossbow to fire a flaming arrow onto the boat, lighting the oil, and engulfing the boat in flames.
Upon seeing the fire, Idate suddenly froze for a moment, but quickly snapped out of it when he heard Naruto call him.
"Idate, did you hear me?!"
"I asked you do you know how to swim?"
"Good" said Nauro, "Because if we don't leave the boat now, we're finished."
"Give me a break; you're probably planning on making me a decoy."
"What the hell are you talking about?!"
"You're probably planning on using me to draw the enemies' attention so that you and your stupid dog can escape."
"God damnit, we don't have time for this shit!" yelled Naruto, where he then grabbed hold of Idate's shirt.
"W-W-Wh-What are you doing? Let me go!"
"I'm, saving your miserable life whether your appreciate it or not!" Naruto shouted and used his super human-like strength to throw Idate high into the air and into the water.
"Kurimaru, you go as well, and make sure that idiot doesn't drown or anything!" Naruto shouted, receiving a bark of acknowledgement from the pup, who jumped into the water after Idate.
Shortly afterwards, Naruto jumped into the water himself, and watched as their boat burned and sunk beneath the sea.
With little time to waste, Naruto began to make his way to Nagi Island, but just as he was nearing the island. He suddenly felt someone grab his leg and pull him down underneath the water.
After being pulled underwater, Naruto found himself restrained by Oboro and his team, who then began to pull him down to the bottom of the water, where he would drown.
Knowing he needed to escape quickly, Naruto used his enhance strength to break free of Oboro's hold and then punch and kick the other two away.
Before the Ame Genin could grab him again, Naruto then formed a single hand seal and thought "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Technique)!" causing the surrounding space to be covered in bubbles, blocking the Ame Genin's view. But once they had settled, there were now a dozen clones around Naruto.
At the same time, Oboro and his team created several Mizu Bunshin (Water Clone) of themselves and surrounded Naruto and his clones.
"Heh, idiot" Oboro thought, "Kage Bunshin is meaningless in an environment like this. When under the water, there is no better technique than the Mizu Bunshin no Jutsu. Even if you try to fight, we specialise in underwater combat and will easily outlast you thanks to our breathing masks."
But just before Oboro and his team could attack, Naruto used Bunshin Daibakuha (Great Clone Explosion) to detonate the clones.
After the clones exploded, the surrounding space became covered in bubbles again, blinding Oboro and his team and destroying the clones.
At the same time, Naruto was shot up to the surface by the force of the explosion, where he then channelled Chakra to his feet, so that he could stand atop the water.
Knowing he didn't have long before Oboro and his team recovered and pulled him back into the water. Naruto created a dozen more clones, where they then drew their Katana's and began to spin around, using the Senkai no Mizu (Swirling Water) technique to create several large water spouts, drawing the Ame Genin out from water and up to the surface and into the air.
Once they were out of the water, Naruto's clones stopped their spinning, causing the water spouts to end, allowing the three Ame Genin to fall back down, who could do nothing while in mid-air. But before any of them could hit the water, Naruto and his two remaining clones appeared above them and finished them all off with his Gekikyaku (Hammer Kick) move, enhanced by his super strength, sending the three Genin crashing to the water below, knocking them out. (2)
With the Ame Genin defeated, Naruto then deactivated his clones and quickly made his way to the island to find Kurimaru and Idate.
Shortly after Naruto had thrown him off the boat, Idate made his way to the island.
"Bhuh!...Damn bastard, he could have killed me when he threw me like that!" Idate said as he crawled out of the water and onto the rocky shore, where it was now raining.
But as soon as he was out of the water, he noticed someone standing over him, when he looked up, he was surprised by who he saw "Rokushō Aoi…!"
Aoi was of average height, with short green hair and wore a grey and blue sleeveless jumpsuit that matched his eyes and a pair of black Shinobi sandals. He carried a large umbrella on his back that was held up by a large belt that went across his chest and a black glove with bandages on his left hand and an arm warmer with bandages on his right. He also wore a standard Shinobi headband around his head, complete with the symbol of Amegakure (Hidden Rain) on it.
"Well hello Idate, it's been a while hasn't it?" said Aoi with a sinister looking grin.
"Aoi, what are you doing here?" Idate asked, not believing out of the people he had to meet it would be Aoi.
"I would think that would be obvious; I'm here to make sure that the Wagarashi Clan wins the race" answered Aoi. "But I will admit I was a little surprised when I learned that you were with the Wasabi Clan. Last time I saw you were running away, which is what you do after all."
"Shut up…!" yelled Idate, "I'm nothing like you!"
"Oh no, you're the same kind of person as I am" replied Aoi. "Not only did you betray your village, but you also betrayed your own brother. You're the lowest kind of person, who believes in no-one and thinks of nobody but himself…a traitor."
"And like all traitors…" continued Ao, where he tossed his umbrella up into the air and took out a set Senbon needles and threw them at Idate, "You must die!"
But before the needles could hit, a brown blur appeared in front of Idate and blocked the needles.
Realizing he hadn't been hit by the needles, Idate opened his eyes and was shocked to see Kurimaru in front of him, now lying on the rocky shore whining in pain from the needles that pierced his body.
"Kurimaru! You dumb mutt what were you thinking?!" cried Idate, not believing what had just happened.
"Well now that is a surprise, what a stupid thing to do, sacrificing yourself for a worthless piece of trash like him" Aoi remarked. Smiling cruelly at the injured pup and then at Idate, who was still staring at Kurimaru in shock.
Seeing that Idate was distracted, Aoi then threw another set of Senbon needles and hit Idate in his arms and legs.
Once the needles hit their targets, Idate could already feel the effect of the poison, which coated the needles, taking effect, preventing him from moving.
"I see that you still as worthless as eve Idate" Aoi remarked, smirking coldly at young boy.
"Shut up!" Idate yelled angrily, as he tried to stand up, but was kicked in the face by Aoi, causing it to bleed.
"Heh, it seems that you don't quite understand your place yet, cowardly trash like you, are not allowed to have even the slightest bit of pride."
Turning back to Kurimaru, Aoi decided to get rid of the small pup and kicked the poor half-wolf several meters away, across the rocky shore.
"Kurimaru…Ack!" cried Idate, before crying out in pain when Aoi turned back to him and kicked him again.
"Heh, you should be more worried about yourself instead of that mutt" said Aoi with a sadistic grin as he stomped on Idate's stomach.
After about another minute or so kicking and stomping on Idate, Aoi decided to finish the boy off.
Seeing this, Idate closed his eyes in acceptance, knowing he was finished "Sorry Boss…I failed you."
But just before Aoi could stomped his foot down on Idate's neck, several wooded spikes sprung from the ground around Idate, forcing Aoi to jump back.
Moments after doing this, Aoi was forced to jump into the air to avoid a fast moving arc of Wind that was came from the right, causing him to move further away from Idate. When he landed back on the ground, he was surprised to see Naruto standing in front of Idate, with his sword drawn.
"N-Naruto?!" said Idate in surprise, when he opened his eyes. Naruto of course did not respond and glared coldly at Aoi.
At the same, said Shinobi smirked in amusement, "Hmmm, blonde hair, white coat with red flames and the ability to use Mokuton, you must be Senju Naruto."
"So you know me huh?"
"Of course" replied Aoi, "You've already made quite the impression in the Shinobi world, given your performance in the Chunin exam and the recent invasion of Konoha. Son of the famed Namekuji Tsunade-hime (Slug Princess Tsunade), who is also now the new Godaime Hokage of Konohagkure (Hidden Leaf), and heir to the renowned Senju Clan. Not to mention, the first natural born Mokuton user since your esteem ancestor the Shodai Hokage. You're especially famous in my village given your recent victory over Hattori Mai, the granddaughter of our leader, Sanshōuo no Hanzō (Hanzo the Slamander)."
When Aoi finished, Naruto showed no reaction, although Idate looked stunned by the news, having no clue that Naruto was so famous in the Shinobi world.
"Since I know who you are, I suppose it is only right I should introduce myself as well, my name is…"
But before Aoi could finish Naruto suddenly spoke, "I already know who you are Rokushō Aoi!" spatting out his name as if it was flit.
"You're Rokushō Aoi, former Chunin and instructor in Konoha, accused of selling secrets to Amegakure (Hidden Rain) and later fleeing the village after stealing a forbidden scroll and a valuable relic."
"Huh, I'm impressed, you know quite a bit about me, in fact I'm a little flattered."
"Don't be, the only reason I even bother knowing the name of trash like you is because you're on my list."
"Really?" said Aoi, smirking a little, "And why is that?"
"You know damn well why…the relic that you stole was the Raijin no Ken (Sword of the Thunder God), the Nidaime Hokage's sword, my Great Granduncle's. The fact that trash like you has it, and is using it, is not only an insult to him and my village, but to our entire family, and I intend to take it back!"
"Heh, that's pretty big talk for a brat" mocked Aoi.
Angered by this, Naruto was about to attack, but then realized something, and glanced back at Idate. "Idate, where's Kurimaru? I sent him after you, he should've been here before me."
Before Idate could answer, Aoi spoke. "If you're talking about the mangy mutt, he's over there…" where he then pointed to where Kurimaru was. "He got in the way and so I taught him how to behave."
When Naruto turned to where Kurimaru was, he could see the small injured form of the pup laying on the ground, unmoving."
"You bastard…! You hurt Kurimaru!" Naruto roared, ready to kill the former Konoha-nin.
"You only have yourself to blame, bringing in a little runt like him on a mission like this?" Aoi remarked, while smiling mockingly at Naruto. "But don't worry, he won't suffer long, those needles in his and Idate's bodies are Amegakure's special poison needles. No matter how strong their bodies may be, they'll leave this world in minutes."
"Damnit that means I don't have time to fight him" Naruto thought, knowing if what Aoi said was true, he needed get away from the Ame-nin and treat Kurimaru and Idate before it was too late.
With no time to waste, Naruto quickly took out several smoke bombs and threw them at Aoi.
Not wanting to get caught up in the smoke, Aoi quickly jumped back, "What's he up too, is he trying to run away?"
But just as he was thinking this, three more Naruto's bust out of the smoke and charged Aoi with their Katana's.
After skilfully dodging several of their slashes, Aoi quickly jumped up into the air and took out his umbrella and channelled his Chakra into it before swinging it, creating a large shockwave of water. That hit the three Naruto's and caused them to revert into water and blow away the smoke.
"Mizu Bunshin" realized Aoi, as he landed back on the ground. He also then noticed that the real Naruto was gone, along with Idate and Kurimaru.
"Tsk, Tricky brat" the Ame-nin remarked, when he realized that the smoke and the water clones were all diversions, so that Naruto could escape with the other two.
Aoi had considered following after the two, but then decided that it wasn't worth it, believing that Idate would be dead shortly and with him gone, so were the Wasabi Clan's chances of winning.
-With Naruto and the others-
After escaping Aoi, Naruto carried the unconscious Idate and Kurimaru through the nearby forestry.
Once they were safely hidden, Naruto carefully pulled out the needles, but as he was doing this he noticed that Idate was looking extremely pale and that both his and Kurimaru's breathing was rapid, indicating that they were short of breath.
Unsure of the poison that Aoi had used, and given how he didn't have enough time to preform and proper diagnosis. Naruto knew he would have to try something risky if he wanted to save them in time.
Taking out one of his own poisoned Senbon needles, Naruto remembered one of his lessons with Shizune.
"Okay Naruto…" said Shizune while holding a large medical book in her hand. "Let's see how good you are at poisons. We'll start off with Amatoxins."
"Okay, eehhh, Amatoxins is a deadly poison extracted from certain types of mushrooms, most notably Amanita phalloides. It can be absorbed through the skin ingested or inhaled and attacks, the liver, kidney and even the heart. It can cause respiratory tract, headaches, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, coughing, insomnia, diarrhea, gastrointestinal disturbances, back pain, urinary frequency, and several other things including death" answered Naruto.
"Good and the antidote?"
"Correct" said Shizune before turning to the next page. "Alright then let's try Aconite."
"Aconite comes from a plant called Devil's Helmet. It can be absorbed through the skin or ingested. It can take affect within twenty minutes to two hours, it can cause vomiting, colicky diarrhea, intense pain and then paralysis of the skeletal muscles and eventually death if left untreated.
"And the antidote?"
"Lidocaine is considered an effective treatment."
"Very good… now what about Strychnine?"
"Strychnine, comes from the strychnine tree or poison nut, and can be inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the eyes or mouth and takes effect within ten to twenty minutes of exposure. It can cause severe nausea, vomiting, convulsions of muscles, spasms, loss of consciousness, immense reflex sensitivity and eventually death."
"Tric question since there is no specific antidote for strychnine. But the treatment of strychnine poisoning involves an oral application of an activated charcoal infusion which serves to absorb any poison within the digestive tract that has not yet been absorbed into the blood."
"Correct again" said Shizune who was pleased by Naruto's answers. "But tell me, what if you were in a situation, where you were dealing with an unknown poison, in an unfamiliar terrain and you didn't have time to perform a proper diagnosis of it before it killed your patient."
"Ehhh, I don't know."
"Well the best course of action in a situation like that is to use poison."
"Huh? But wouldn't that make things worse?" asked Naruto.
"Not necessarily" replied Shizune, "It has been known that certain types of poison can counteract other types of poisons. At the very least it can slow the other poison down long enough for you to cure it, now of course it is not without risk and it should only be used under dire situations.
Given the situation he was under now, Naruto knew that this was the best possible chance he had in saving Kurimaru and Idate.
After placing the needles in specific spots in their bodies, Naruto then waited to see if anything would happen.
Within minutes of putting the poisoned needles in, the two started convulsing, forcing Naruto to restrain them.
Thankfully though it didn't last very long, where after a few minutes they began settle and after several minutes their breathing became more relaxed and colour slowly began to return to Idate's face.
Seeing that they were pass the worse of it, Naruto decided to perform a full diagnosis of the two, ensuring that there was no lasting damage.
Once he had finished and made sure the two were well enough to move, Naruto brought them to a nearby cave to hide from the rain and lit a fire, so that he could finish treating them and allow them to recover.
After about two hours, Idate slowly began to wake and found himself staring at the cave ceiling.
"So you're awake?" said Naruto, who was sitting opposite Idate, staring into the fire, with a still sleeping Kurimaru lay next to him.
Slowly, Idate began to lift himself up, but found it difficult due how stiff and sore his body felt.
"Easy" said Naruto, when he saw Idate trying to move. "You're still pretty banged up, and your body still hasn't recovered from the effect of the poison.
"What happened to Aoi?"
"Gone" replied Naruto, "After he poisoned you, I managed to escape with you and Kurimaru. Luckily for you I'm a medic, so I was able to treat you and Kurimaru in time. If I hadn't the two of you would probably be long dead by now."
"I see" said Idate, who then looked away from Naruto and Kurimaru, feeling somewhat ashamed of himself.
After a minute or two of silence, Naruto spoke again. "How do you know Aoi?
Upon hearing Naruto's question, Idate turned to the Senju heir, and at first thought about not answering. But given how Naruto had now saved him for the third time, not to mention what Kurimaru did for him. The boy figured it was time to come clean about his past sins, he owed Naruto and Kurimaru that much at least.
"He was my sensei back when I was in Konoha, and as you already know he betrayed Konoha and became a Jonin in Amegakure no sato (The Village Hidden in The Rain)" answered Idate. He then went on to explain how after he failed the Chunin exam, Aoi had tricked him into stealing the Rajin no Ken and a forbidden scroll that held several powerful Jutsu, at the promise of becoming a Chunin.
When Idate finished his story, Naruto could not help but remark on how similar the story was to what happened with Mizuki and Kiba several months back.
"You do know that by telling me this, I am obligated to take you back to Konoha, where you will probably be imprisoned for several years, as technically you're a Missing-nin."
"Yea I figured as much" replied Idate, as he was resigned to his fate, as not only had he let his leader down in losing the race. But had let his brother down when he helped Aoi and abandoned Konoha.
"Good, now before that let's go" said Naruto as he stood up.
"What do you mean?" asked Idate, looking up at Naruto in surprise.
"The race of course idiot!"
"But the race is over, by now Fukusuke has already gotten his ball from Modoroki shrine and probably half way to Todoroki shrine by now. There's no way we'll be able to catch up to him now."
"We won't know until we try!" said Naruto, as he stood up, "The race isn't over until the last person crosses the line."
"It's only impossible, if you don't even try" Naruto retorted. "You told me you failed the exam, because your brother failed you, do you want to know why?"
"You failed because you don't value those around you, and think of only yourself."
"What?" asked Idate, not understanding Naruto.
"The answer to the question, it wasn't to see if you had the courage to do the question, it was to see how you valued your comrades lives. When you stayed for the question it showed that you were willing to sacrifice one of them for personal gain. That is your problem Idate, you don't value those around."
When Naruto said this, Idate remembered his brother words after he, (Idate), failed the Chunin exam, which were all starting to make sense now.
Seeing that he was starting to get through to Idate, Naruto decided to keep going. "You have a chance now to make up for your mistakes, and repay old man Jirōchō, who placed his fate in you, back. Not to mention Kurimaru, who risked his life to protect you. But you can't do that if you simply give up and let those bastards from the Wagarashi Clan win!"
"But how can I?" asked Idate, "I can barely move let alone run."
"I'll carry you" said Naruto, who then stood up and offered his hand to Idate.
"Yea, after what happened to Kurimaru, there's no way in hell, I'm going to let the Wagarashi Clan win this, all you have to do is trust me."
Looking up at Naruto and seeing how confident he was, Idate could not help but be encouraged by the blonde boy's words, which seemed to fill him up with a resolve, that he had never had before.
"Alright then!" said Idate, decided to trust and believe in Naruto, where he took the blonde boy's hand, who then lifted him up onto his feet.
After creating a shadow clone to watch over Kurimaru, Naruto then deactivated his Fūinjutsu: Shishi Omomizuke Shīru (Sealing Technique: Four Limbs Weighting Seal) before lifting Idate onto his back and racing off to Modoroki shrine.
Thanks to increased speed, it didn't take Naruto long to reach the Modoroki shrine, and after ascending the long flight of stairs to the Shrine. Idate, who had now recovered from the effect so the poison, grabbed the orb and headed out on his own two feet, with Naruto following closely behind.
About an hour after leaving Modoroki Shrine, Naruto and Idate reached the bridge that connected Nagi Island and Oouzu Island, and at the same time saw Fukusuke crossing it.
But just as they were about to cross it, Aoi appeared in front of them.
"You've gone far enough" said Aoi, who then took out a Kunai and used it to cut the robe lines to the bridge, causing it to fall, and prevent Idate and Naruto from crossing.
"No!" cried Idate.
"Damn you!" cried Naruto, as he charged forward and attacked Aoi, who quickly jumped into the air and flipped over Naruto and Idate, landing several feet behind them.
"It seems I have underestimated you, I thought for sure Idate would be dead by now" remarked Aoi, as he turned to face the two boys.
Knowing they didn't have time to waste on Aoi, Naruto created another shadow clone of himself, and then had it use Vine whip to fire several vines from its arm across the gap, and wrap onto the truck of a tree.
"Idate grab onto my clone, he'll swing you over to the other side!" ordered Naruto, as he drew his Katana from his back and watched Aoi.
"But what about you? I can't leave you here to fight Aoi by yourself!"
"Don't worry about me, I can take him" replied Naruto. "Besides like I told you, I have business with this trash. Now go, the old man is counting on you!"
Knowing that Naruto was right, and deciding to trust him, Idate quickly went over to the clone and grabbed hold of him.
"You're not going anywhere!" said Aoi as he threw several poisoned top Senbon needles at Idate.
Seeing this, Naruto quickly intercepted the Senbon needles and skilfully deflected them with his Katana.
"Kick his ass Naruto!" yelled Idate, before the clone swung them over to the other side.
"Don't worry I intend to" replied the blonde, after seeing his clone and Idate had safely reach the other side and taken off after Fukusuke.
With Idate now safely away, Naruto then turned to Aoi, who surprisingly didn't look upset with Idate getting away, in fact he looked generally pleased.
"For someone who has just failed in their mission, you don't look to be very upset?"
"Whether, I fail in this mission matters little, as I have gained a much greater prize…you!" replied Aoi, as he stared at Naruto with an evil looking smirk. "If I return to Amegakure with you, I will be hailed as a hero."
"Perhaps even the lovely Mai-chan will turn her affection toward me once she learns that I defeated you" finished the smiling Ame-nin.
At the mention of Mai, Naruto suddenly started to laughing, "Hah! If you actually believe that, then you're an bigger idiot than I thought. Even if you did defeat me, there's no way Mai-chan would even look at slime ball like you, she'd beat the living crap out of you first."
Annoyed by Naruto's taunts, Aoi sneered back at the blonde boy. "Watch your month brat; you may think you hot shit because you did reasonably well in the Chunin exam and because your mother is the new Hokage. But you're still just a pawn to Konoha, a commodity to be used for the village, nothing more, so why don't you just do yourself a favour and surrender?"
"Tsk, no way in hell would I ever surrender to traitorous scum like you!"
"I rethink that if I were you brat, your just a lowly Chunin, while I'm a Jonin, an elite Shinobi, you don't stand a chance against me."
Scoffing at Aoi's remark, Naruto stared directly into the Ame-nin eyes. "Give me a break! Rank means squat, it's what a person is capable of that matters most. Besides the only reason you're a Jonin is because you knew you couldn't hack it in Konoha, and so you ran off to a second rate Shinobi village like Ame …Hell you couldn't even steal the Raijin no Ken and the forbidden scroll yourself, you had to get Idate to steal it for you. The fact is Aoi; you're just a pitiful, small minded man, who sold out his village and comrades, simply because you're not as "special" as you thought you were."
Furious by what Naruto said, Aoi leaped forward and yelled "YOU LITTLE SHIT!" as he went to strike Naruto, who was more than ready for him and dodged the punch and then slashed Aoi in the side, forcing the Ame-nin to move back.
Realizing that Naruto was playing on his emotions, Aoi began to calm himself down, and then pulled out his umbrella and opened it up before throwing it into the air and yelled "Jouro Senbon (Senbon Shower)!" releasing a hail of Senbon needles from the umbrella.
"Try and dodge these!" cried Aoi.
Acting fast, Naruto jumped back and preformed three quick one handed hand-seals and shouted "Mokuton: Mokujōheki (Wood Release: Wood Locking Wall)!" creating a large thick wooden dome around himself, protecting him from the needles.
Moments after creating the dome, Naruto burst out of the ground underneath him and slashed him with his Katana.
"Gah! You dam brat, you'll pay for that!" roared Aoi, as he held his now bleeding chest. Although he had been able to react quickly, and avoid the sword, he still received a diagonal slash across his chest, which was bleeding lightly.
"Then bring it!" retorted Naruto, as he took a basic sword stance.
Angered by how he was losing to a mere "brat," the former Konoha Shinobi decided to get serious and took out the Raijin no Ken activating it, where it hissed loudly as the yellow energy blade appeared.
"You want this sword brat, well here it is...so come and take it!"
"Gladly" yelled Naruto and help leaped forward and attacked.
For the next few minutes, the two Shinobi fought each other in a fierce sword fight, trying to gain the upper hand over the other.
As the fight dragged on, it became apparent to Naruto that defeating Aoi would more difficult than he thought, thanks to the Rajin', which withstood all his strikes and slashes. Even when he used Hien no Jutsu (Flying Swallow Technique) to increase the cutting power of his Katana, the Raijin cut right through his Chakra.
Realizing he needed to change tactics, Naruto jumped back and began to gather the moisture from the surrounding air and the grass around his sword.
Once he had enough Water, Naruto then lifted his sword up and shouted "Bunkatsu Mizu (Splitting Water)!" as he swung his sword down, creating a high speed arc shape blade of Water, which flew straight for Aoi.
Acting fast, Aoi quickly brought up the Raijin and used it to cut right through the high speed water attack. "Heh, not bad brat, it seems the rumours about you being good were true after all. But it still doesn't change the fact that you can't beat me, since the wielder of the Raijin, is basically invincible."
"Pff, you're deluding yourself if you believe that, it doesn't matter how strong a weapon is, my sensei told me that a weapon is only as good as the person who's using it."
"Well then, if that's the case, let's see who's right, your sensei or me!" retorted Aoi, as he raced towards Naruto.
At the same time, Naruto took out several small smoke bombs and threw them at Aoi, where they then exploded and covered the surrounding area with smoke.
"Damn him" thought Aoi as he fell into a defensive stance and watched for any disturbance in the smoke.
He of course didn't have to wait long, where he notice some movement to his left, out of the corner of his eye and blocked a deadly sword slash from Naruto.
"Not good enough!" sneered Aoi, where he then used the Raijin's electric power to produce electrical rings of energy to envelope Naruto and lift him up into the air, while continuously shocking them.
"What's wrong, where all that bravado you just had?!" Aoi laughed, as he listened to Naruto's screams of pain, before throwing him away.
Shortly after doing this, Aoi emerged from the smoke, which was beginning to dissipate and slowly walked over to the barely conscious Naruto.
"I told you were no match for me" said Aoi, smiling maliciously at Naruto, who then smiled back at Aoi, before exploded into a puff of smoke, revealing him to be a Kage Bunshin.
At the same time, the real Naruto emerged from the smoke and raced towards Aoi, who after realizing he had be tricked, turned around and barely managed to avoid the blonde boy's slash by jumping away. But for his trouble, he received a light slash on his right arm.
"Who's not a match for whom now? Unlike you, I actually earned my rank" Naruto mocked, causing Aoi to glare angrily at him. "You relay too much on the Raijin and its power, but then again it was the only reason why they made you a Jonin in Ame."
"SHUT UP!" yelled Aoi, as he threw several Senbon needles at Naruto, which he evaded by jumping away. But as soon as his feet touched the ground, Aoi appeared and swung the Raijin down on Naruto, who barely blocked the attack with his Katana.
But when he did, Aoi began to push down even harder, allowing the Raijin to slice right through Naruto's sword, cutting it in half.
It was only thanks to his quick reactions, that Naruto was able to avoid being cut in half himself, where all he received was a cut on his Chunin vest when he jumped back.
After dodging the slash, Naruto looked down and his now ruined katana, with a mixture of shock and sadness.
Seeing this Aoi grinned, "What's wrong, are you upset that I destroyed your sword? Are you going to cry?"
Ignoring Aoi taunts, Naruto continued to stare down at his destroyed Katana, but after a moment or two, he dropped the remains of the sword and glared angrily at Aoi.
-Enter Bleach OST Hollowed-
"You just made a big mistake teme, that sword you just destroyed was a precious gift from some friends of mine. And for that, I'm going to make you regret ever taking this mission!" Naruto yelled before channelling an immense amount of Chakra into his fist and slamming it into the ground, causing it to explode from the excess shock, forcing Aoi to jump into the air.
"Shit, so the stories are true! He really does possess his mother's inhuman strength" Aoi thought, as doubt at being able to beat Naruto started to fill him. But as soon as his feet had touched the ground, Aoi found himself forced on the defensive as Naruto appeared above him, holding a long wooden sword in his hand, which Aoi figured he made using his Mokuton Bloodline limit. (A)
Acting quickly, Aoi brought up the Raijin to block the downward slash, but was forced to his knees by the force of the attack when Naruto combined the momentum of the slash with his immense strength. He then followed up with a enhance reverse spinning heel kick to Aoi's right side, breaking several of his ribs and sending crashing into a nearby tree.
"Guah!" cried Aoi as he coughed up some blood, before he was force to move to avoid a deadly arc shaped blade of Wind from Naruto, that sliced right through the tree.
For the next few minutes, Aoi was unable to do anything but dodge attack after attack, as Naruto used his super human-like strength and Surasshu-fū (Wind Slash) technique, to keep the Ame-nin completely on the defensive.
Eventually Aoi found himself cornered, as Naruto manoeuvred him to the cliff edge, leaving him no room to retreat.
Gathering his Chakra to the tip of his wooden sword and converting it into Wind, Naruto then swung his wooden sword down and yelled "Idaina Surasshu-fū (Great Wind Slash)!" creating a large crescent shape blade of Wind, which flew straight for Aoi.
Seeing the powerful technique, and knowing he couldn't avoid the fast moving attack in time. Aoi brought up the Raijin to block the attack.
When Naruto's attack and the Raijin made contact, Aoi struggled to hold the powerful Futon technique at bay, and was pushed back closer and closer to the cliffs edge. But after about a moment or two of struggling, Aoi was finally able to cut through the Wind blade using the Raijin.
"Hah, I told you its useless…as long as I wield this sword, I'm invincible!" cried Aoi, as he smiled in jubilation, which was abruptly halted when Naruto appeared right underneath him, with his sword in hand.
"And I told you that you relay too much on that sword!" Naruto retorted. Right before he swung his wooden sword into Aoi's stomach, shattering it, and sending Aoi flying off the cliff.
-End Bleach OST Hollowed-
After sending Aoi flying off the ledge, Naruto quickly channelled his Chakra to his feet to help him stick to the ground, and then used Vine Whip to catch both Aoi and the Raiju no Ken before they hit the water below and pull them back up.
Once Aoi was safely back up, Naruto created several wood binds to restrain Aoi, before picking up the Raiju no Ken and placing it in his pouch.
At the same time, the now captured Aoi, coughed up some blood and glared at Naruto. "Cough…Why did you save me?"
Upon hearing Aoi's question, Naruto looked down at the former Konoha-nin. "I'm a medic; I don't like taking lives, and only kill when I have to."
Hearing this, Aoi just sneered back at the blonde boy, "Heh, guess those stories about you being a soft-hearted fool were true after all, you may have the talent and skill, but you don't have what it takes to become a Shinobi."
But to Aoi's surprise, Naruto did not get angry at his insults, in fact he smiled. "I wouldn't be so sure of that if I were you, in fact you're going to wish I had killed you."
"What do you mean?" asked Aoi, getting a bad feeling, since there was something menacing behind Naurto's smile.
"Death is too good for trash like you, I'm taking you back to Konoha" Naruto explained, at which point his smile grew. "Since there is someone there who I am sure would "love" to see you again, you might remember him, Idate's older brother, Ibiki?"
At the mention of Ibiki, Aoi turned chalk white, and began to struggle against his binds knowing exactly what would happen to him once he reached Konoha. Especially since Ibiki was the head of Konoha's Torture and Integration Division, and would no doubt make him his personal plaything.
Seeing Aoi struggle against his binds, Naruto gave the Ame Jonin a sharp punch to the face, knocking him out, before picking up the remains of his broken sword and making his way to Todoroki shrine
Standing at the dock of the northern port of Nagi Island, Naruto waited patiently for any sign of his transport. Standing next to him was Aoi, who was sleeping, (courtesy of some sleeping pills Naruto gave him), and being held up by two members of the Wasabi Clan. Also standing next to him was Kurimaru, who thankfully made a complete recovery.
Looking down at his little friend, Naruto couldn't help put smirk when he saw the small pup "relieve" himself on both of Aoi's legs.
It had been several days since the Shrine race had ended, and Naruto was eager to return home.
When he reached Todoroki shrine, dragging the still unconscious Aoi, Naruto had been greeted by Idate and the Wasabi Clan, who were pleased to see that he had won his fight with Aoi without injury.
Naruto in turn was happy to learn that Idate had won the race. He was also pleased to hear that the Wagarashi Clan were to be disbanded by order of the Tea Daimyo himself. He had been secretly investigating of them, and learned of their corruption, which included bribing the Tea Daimyo's minister to help them keep control of the port.
The minister of course had now been removed from his position and was ordered by the Daimyo to renounce all his wealth and was force to become a monk, leaving the port city in the capable hands of Boss Jirocho and the Wasabi Clan.
After the race, Naruto joined the Wasabi Clan in their celebration, following which he sent word to his mother reporting that he had successfully accomplished his mission, and had captured Aoi and needed an escort to bring him back to Konoha.
As Naruto waited, his attention was soon drawn to a familiar voice calling out to him.
Turning, Naruto saw Idate, along with Boss Jirocho and the rest of the Wasabi Clan, walking towards him.
"Hey Idate!" greeted Naruto, "Have you come to see us off?"
With a sombre look, Idate shook his head, "No, actually I have decided to accompany you back to Konoha and turn myself in."
"Idate…you know what will happen once you return to Konoha?"
"I do" replied Idate, "I've caused you a lot of trouble, and I've been running for too long, it's time I stopped and faced the consequences for my actions."
Looking at the elder boy's face, Naruto could see the determination in Idate's eyes, which told Naruto that he was serious. He was no longer the cowardly arrogant boy he had met at the tea house; he had changed, and become a better person.
Knowing that Idate would not change his mind, Naruto nodded his head in understanding.
Shortly after, Naruto and the others caught sight of the Konoha ship and when it docked, they saw Morino Ibiki, along with two other Shinobi, walking off the ship and down the boarding plank.
Seeing his brother, Idate was of course stunned. But before he could say another, his elder Shinobi walked over to Naruto and spoke.
"As requested, we've come to help you escort your prisoner back to Konoha."
"He's right here" said Naruto, handing Aoi to the two Shinobi accompany Ibiki.
"Just him?" the scared man asked, glancing at his younger brother for just a moment.
"Yep, just him" replied Naruto, where he then glanced at Idate, (who was surprised by what Naruto had said), and winked at him.
"Very well" said the scared man before he turned around to his men, "Let's hurry up and go."
As Ibiki and the others made their way back to the ship, Idate suddenly stepped forward and called out to him.
"Is this kid related to you Ibiki-san?" asked one of the Shinobi, carrying Aoi.
"No" replied Ibiki, who didn't even glance back at his younger sibling. "I had only one brother and he died three years ago. He's mistaking me for someone else."
Shrugging, the two Shinobi simply accepted their leader's answer and carried the sleeping Aoi onto their ship.
When Ibiki glanced back, the two eyes meet for a moment, where Idate nodded and smiled, understanding what his brother was doing. Ibiki in turn, showed no such acknowledgement, where he simply turned around and boarded the Ship.
Smiling at this, Naruto and Kurimaru, quickly bid goodbye to Idate and other others, before boarding the transport ship.
Shortly after the ship left, Ibiki, who was leaning against the mast of the ship, spoke "Hey kid, thanks?"
"For calling me here to collect Aoi, I've had a score to settle with him for a while now."
Smiling, Naruto nodded, knowing what Ibiki was really thanking him for, "Not a prob."
Nodding his head again, Ibiki then made his way down into the ship, where his men were holding Aoi.
But before going down the stairs, Ibiki glanced back at Naruto again, who was now looking out into the sea.
"The Hokage's son, is certainly an interesting kid" the man though with a small smile, remembering how his younger brother no longer had the eyes of a coward. They had changed, he had changed, and he now had the look of a man.
After a moment or two, Ibiki turned around and then climbed down the stairs, where a now fully awake and terrified Aoi waited for him, tied to a small chair with the two Konoha Shinobi flanking him.
Seeing this, a sadistic smile slowly formed on Ibiki libs, making the scarred man look even more frightening.
"So Aoi, Where shall we start first?"
-Several Days Later-
It was another beautiful day in the village hidden in the leaves. The sun was shining down on the village, the birds were singing, children laughing and playing.
But that all can to abrupt halt by a sudden loud "NO!" that echoed across the village from the Hokage's mansion.
The source of the cry came from none other than the new Godaime Hokage, Senju Tsunade, who was currently glaring at a group of men standing in front of her.
These were of course no ordinary men, they were the council of elders from the Hyuga Clan, and were led by the retired head of the Hyuga Clan, Hyuga Hiruma, father to the current head of the Hyuga Clan, Hyuga Hiashi.
Glaring furiously at the five Hyuga elders, the Senju Matriarch couldn't believe the sheer audacity of the men. They had simply walked into her office, without so much as an appointment, and handed her a marriage contract for her son with the Hiashi's eldest daughter Hinata.
"With all due respect Hokage-sama…" said one of the Hyuga elders, but before he could finish. He was interrupted by Tsunade, "I said NO!"
"Surely Hokage-sama you can see the benefits of a union between our two respected families?" said Hiruma.
"Benefits?!" Tsunade sneered, "The only benefits I see in this arrangement are for you!"
"Excuse me?" said Hiruma, pretending to not know what Tsunade was talking about.
"I may be blonde Hiruma-san, but I'm not stupid, you're afraid that the Hyuga will lose status in the village, should Naruto marry and succeed in rebuilding our Clan. That's why you're doing this…you believe that having the new Senju Clan rebuilt from the union of your granddaughter and my son will allow you to keep your Clan's precious status."
"I find you allegation highly insulting Hokage-sama…" said Hiruma, who was seemed rather annoyed by what Tsunade said, especially since it was true. "I can assure you, we have nothing but the best intentions at heart. Our proposition is simply to strengthen Konoha, a union between both our families could only make us stronger. Our Clan can even help and support you in many different matters, especially when rebuilding your Clan."
"Furthermore…" added another Hyuga elder, "after the humiliation and insult your son has done to our Clan in the Chunin exam, I would think this would be ideal solution. Not only did he reveal some of our Clans weakness, but he also stole one of our Clan's most prized techniques."
"Stole!" repeated Tsunade, who still couldn't believe the arrogance of the five men, "My son stole nothing! The Kaze no Bōseki (Spinning Wind) technique he created, may have been based on your Kaiten (Revolving Heaven) technique, but it is a "WIND" technique, and last I checked, your Clan doesn't use Wind techniques. Also in case you have forgotten, that match was watched by countless Shinobi from various different villages, from just watching that match they would have seen the same weaknesses my son saw. So if you don't want your weaknesses being revealed or seen, then maybe you should stop having your Clan members from entering the Chunin exam, or at least do something to cover those weaknesses up!"
Angered by Tsunade's words, several of the Hyuga elders looked like they wanted to say something. But before any of them could, the female Hokage spoke again. "Furthermore, I find it rather odd that you five are all here trying to arrange a marriage between your heiress and my son instead of Hiashi? He is after all the girl's father and is the "official" head of "your" Clan."
Ignoring Tsunade's subtle insult, Hiruma calmly stared back at the younger woman, showing no emotion what's so ever. "Yes, well as you're no doubt aware, as head of our Clan, my son Hiashi has many duties which he must perform, and they take a great deal of his time. As such, we have the authority to act on his behalf."
"I see" Tsunade replied, while silently scoffing at the Hyuga elder's obvious lie. "Like I'd believe that."
"Well even so, I still will not agree to this arrangement" said Tsunade as she took up the marriage contract and ripped it in half, right in front of the Hyuga elders. "When my son does choose to marry, it will be his choice and it will be with someone "he" chooses."
"That is rather hypocritical of you to say Tsunade-sama-" one of the Hyuga elders remarked, "given how you accepted an arrange marriage between the late Yondaime Kazekage's daughter and your son."
"That arrangement is simply symbolic, once Naruto is eighteen the marriage will be called off, also I did not agree to it. Naruto agreed to it himself, and even then he only did it so prevent a war between Suna and us" stated Tsunade.
When Tsunade finished, the Hyuga elders were preparing to argue further, but before they could say anything, Tsunade cut them off. "I think I've enterained your suggestions long enough, and will respectfully refused them, so if you don't mind, please leave as I still have much work to do."
Angered by how Tsunade had just dismissed them, the five Hyuga looked like they wanted to argue. But after a moment or two, they wisely decided leave the office without incident.
Once they had left the office, and exited the Hokage's mansion, one of the other elders turned to Hiruma. "That did not go as well as we had hoped."
"Yes, but it was not unexpected, I had hoped the Hokage would've seen the wisdom of forming a union between our two Clans. But that now seems impossible at this given time" said the former Hyuga Clan head before turning to another one of the elders. "Send word to Danzo that we agree to his terms and we will assist him in his plans, so long as he assists us in return."
"Can we really trust Danzo?" asked the elder, knowing Danzo's reputation.
"Danzo wants to become Hokage, and to do that he needs the support of the Hyuga, I don't see much of a problem" spoke another Hyuga elder. "He's already aided us with re-establishing the Clan Restoration Act, which improves our chances in forming a union between Hinata and the Senju heir."
Scoffing Hiruma glanced back at his fellow elder. "Danzo only does what is best for him or what "he" believes is best for Konoha, therefore he cannot be trusted. The only reason he helped in re-establishing the Clan Restoration Act is because he is hoping that the boy will produce more Mokuton users like himself, he did not do it to help us. In fact this makes things more difficult."
"Agreed" spoke a different elder, "With the Clan Restoration Act now in play, even if Hinata does succeed in marrying the boy, she will still have to contend with any other girls the boy marries. Our best chance right now is to have Hinata become his first wife, that way we could form some type of control over the boy. But to do that we will need Danzo's assistance and he needs us to become Hokage."
"Yes, but there is one problem with this plan" spoke the final elder who had remained silent throughout most of the conversation. "Tsunade-sama…she will not be easily deposed as Hokage and will have her son be on guard around Hinata. She will also watch any girl who tries to get close to him closely, and stop any union that she does not like. Furthermore, the boy is quite clever and seems to be just as stubborn and wilful as his mother, he will not be easily manipulated."
"That is indeed true" Hiruma agreed. "But anything worth having is not easily attained; we will simply have to be careful. I will talk to Hiashi again later, and have him "encourage" Hinata into furthering her relationship with the boy… Knowing her it may take some time, but that is probably for the best, for if we move too quickly, everything we have planned could be ruined."
"Indeed" said one of the other elders, "Even if Danzo becomes Hokage, he will only be in term for a few years. If we succeed, the future of Konoha will belong to the Hyuga."
Nodding all in agreement, the five Hyuga elders then made their way back to their Clan compound, where they would plan out their next move.
After the Hyuga elders left her office, Tsunade closed her eyes to calm herself down. Her meeting with the elderly men had tested her patience to the limits, where on more than one occasion she had been tempted throw each of them out her office window.
Yet despite her irritation with the elders, the meeting had not been a total lost, since the Hyuga elders had inadvertently revealed a possible ally to her, Hiashi.
The fact that they had come here without the Hyuga Clan head, and lied about why he had not come with them, told Tsunade that they did not fully trust him. If that was true, and if she could convince Hiashi to assist her, she would have an inside man on the Hyuga elders plans, who could keep her a step ahead of them.
But at the same time, she needed to take things slowly, and plan her moves carefully, since the Hyuga were a tightknit Clan, even with their internal disputes. She knew that convincing Hiashi to spy on the Hyuga elders for her would not be easy, especially since Hiashi's own father was one of them.
There was also the strong possibility that Hiashi would have his own goals, and not knowing them made things even more difficult for her, since he could easily mislead her with false information.
After a few minutes, Tsunade was suddenly brought out of her musing buy a knock on her door, answering with an "Enter!" The female Hokage was pleased to see her son, (who had just returned to the village), enter the room.
"Hey Kaa-chan, you asked for me?"
"Yes I did" Tsunade replied and she placed the letter down. "It seems your mission was more eventful than I had anticipated, capturing a B ranked missing-nin, recovering the Raijin no Ken, all on the same mission."
Grinning, Naruto nodded and scratched the back of his head, a habit of his whenever he was nervous or embarrassed. "Yea, I guess I'm lucky that way."
"So I've notice" Tsunade remarked, frowning slightly, since her son did indeed have a talent for finding trouble, even when he was sent on a simply C-rank escort mission. "Perhaps you can fill me in on what exactly happened?"
Nodding, Naruto spent the next twenty minutes recounting the events of his mission. When he finished, Tsunade was quite pleased with how well Naruto had handled himself on the mission, especially since he had recovered her Granduncles sword."
"I trust that the traitor Aoi is safely detained?"
Smiling Naruto nodded again, "Yea, Ibiki-san was really eager to get him to the interrogation centre."
"I can imagine" Tsunade remarked, where a small smirked formed on her lips, knowing the history between Ibiki and Aoi. But before she could comment further on it, Naruto took out the Raijin no Ken and placed it on her desk. "Here Kaa-chan, this belongs here, where it'll be safe."
But to Naruto's surprise, instead of taking it the sword, Tsunade shook her hand and pushed the sword back to him. "No, it's yours now, you earned it."
"You were the one who defeated Aoi and recovered it, and from what I understand you need a replacement sword, given how your previous one was destroyed in the fight, so you should have it."
"Really?" asked Naruto with some awe, not believing that his mother was actually going to let him keep the Raijin no Ken.
"Really" said the smiling Tsunade. "The sword should stay within the family, and I think the Nidaime would approve of you having it."
Ecstatic at being allowed to keep the sword, Naruto quickly picked it up before moving around her desk and hugged his mother tightly, thanking her repeatedly.
Smiling, the Senju matriarch hugged him back and told him he was welcome.
-In Ame no Kuni (Rain Country) -
In an old abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Amegakure, a group of Rebel Ame Shinobi were gathered together in the large open space of the warehouse, planning their next move against their village's tyrannical leader, Hattori Hanzo more commonly know as Sanshōuo no Hanzō.
But as they were going over their plans, a hail of Shuriken and Kunai suddenly shattered through the windows of the old warehouse, causing the group to duck for cover.
At the same time, several smoke bombs were thrown in and exploded, filling the building with smoke, blinding the group of Shinobi and causing further confusion.
Moments later, a large company of Shinobi entered the building by jumping through the broken windows and engaged the Rebel Shinobi.
"It's a raid!" cried one of the Rebel Shinobi.
"Take defensive measure and force them back out!" ordered the Rebel leader, rallying his men to him, and engaging the enemy Shinobi.
Shortly after the smoke began to dissipate, revealing that their enemy were not only Shinobi loyal to Hanzo, but many of them were also from the Hattori Clan…Hanzo's Clan.
As the fight continued, several Rebels felt the ground beneath them tremble, but before they could even wonder what was causing it. A giant mouth suddenly burst out of the ground underneath them and swallowed them up whole.
Turning to the direction of the three Shinobi, the Rebels were shocked to see a giant reptile emerge from the hole.
"Is that a giant Salamander?" asked one rebel.
"That isn't just any Salamander that's Ibusa!" turning to his men, the Rebel leader quickly started shouting out orders to his men. "Quickly, all of you put your masks back on, if Ibusa releases his poison gas in here, we're all finished!"
While putting his breathing mask back on, the Rebel leader began to curse silently. "Damnit, if Ibusa is here, so Hanzo!"
As if hearing his name, the leader of Amegakure burst through the warehouse roof, and landed on the ground, accompanied two other Shinobi. The first was his right hand man Kandachi and the second was a hooded figure carrying a massive broadsword on his back.
No sooner had Hanzo and his companions arrived, the famed Shinobi took out his trademark Kusarigama and immediately went into action, wrapping his chain around a Rebel Shinobi, and cutting said Shinobi's head off with his sickle.
"It's Hanzo, RUN!" cried another Rebel Shinobi, before he was stabbed in the back by Kandachi
After removing the Rebel Shinobi's head, Hanzo caught sight of another Rebel racing towards him from behind.
"Now you die HANZO!" roared the Rebel Shinobi. But before he could reach the masked man, he was intercepted by the hooded figured who accompanied Hanzo and Kandachi and blocked the Rebel Shinobi's kunai stab with his massive sword, while holding it with just one hand.
"That's as far as you go" said the hooded figure.
"Who the hell are you?!" growled the Ame-nin, before he looked underneath the mysterious figure's hood and saw his face.
"You're…" but before the Rebel Shinobi could even finish his sentence, the hooded figure pushed the man back, and with one mighty swing of his sword, cut the man in half.
"Huh, Trash like you aren't fit to even speak my name."
After dealing with the Rebel-nin, the hooded swordsman turned and saw three more enemy Shinobi heading towards him.
Lifting up his massive sword with his one hand, the hooded swordsman channeled his Chakra into it and with yet another swing of his sword, created a powerful shockwave that blasted the three Shinobi away, and into the building wall.
Before any of the men could recover from the attack, the hooded swordsman formed a single hand-seal and spat out a massive stream superheated fire, turning all three men to ash.
Seeing three of his men being burnt alive by the hooded figure, while the rest were being slaughter by Hanzo and his followers, the Rebel leader knew that any further fighting was pointless. "Everyone, fight your way through and make a break for it, meet up at the emergency escape point!"
After hearing their leader's orders the remaining Rebel Shinobi attempted to fight their way to freedom. Most though were ruthlessly cut down by Hanzo and his forces, including the Rebel leader, who was killed by the hooded swordsman.
Not long after, the battle ended, and Kandachi walked over to lord.
"Sitrep" growled the elderly man, while he put away his Kusarigama.
"Twenty-four Rebels dead, four capture" reported Kandachi.
"Five dead, six wounded, three of them are serious, the rest are minor, our medics are taking care of them."
"The group leader?"
"Here" spoke hooded swordsman, while throwing the severed head of the Rebel leader at Hanzo's feet.
Nodding in satisfaction, Hanzo looked around the ruined warehouse, littered with dead Shinobi.
"Where is Mai?"
"I'm here Hanzo-sama" spoke the girl, dragging two unconscious Rebels into the warehouse. "These two attempted to escape after they fought their way out."
Nodding his head, Hanzo then took another look around the carnage before him, as if looking for something.
"With this now destroyed, the Rebels have lost all their major bases and their ability to fight has has been severely crippled" said Kandachi, who seemed rather pleased with everything.
"Perhaps" said Hazno, "But we have yet to find their leader, their true leader, the one they call Pain."
"I'm beginning to believe that he does not exist, and is just something these Rebels tell one another to give them false hope" the hooded swordsman remarked. "For the past month we have hit over a dozen of their bases and inflicted heavy losses on them, and he has yet to make even one appearance. Furthermore, none of the prisoners we have taken have ever met him, or even know what he looks like, all they do is go on and on about how powerful and great he is, like he is some sort of god."
"But we do have a description of his lieutenant" interceded Mai, who decided to join the conversation, ignoring the annoyed looking stares she received from Kandachi. The hooded swordsman on the other hand seemed somewhat amused by her brazen attitude, Hanzo though did not seem to care, and choose to say nothing about it
"Huh" scoffed Kandachi, "You're referring to this Tenshi (Angel)? A woman with beauty that cannot be compared, with hair as blue as the sky, and white wings that allow her to soar up into the heavens…If you ask me, she just something else these Rebel scum made up."
"Possible" remarked Mai, "But even so, we cannot simply ignore the possibility that she does exist."
Before Kandachi could respond to Mai's comment, her grandfather suddenly spoke, "Mai is correct, we cannot take that chance, you will both continue your search for this Pain."
Nodding his head in acknowledgement, the hooded swordsman spoke again. "If this Pain really does exist, he is either a coward or a weakling, letting his followers do all the fighting, never showing his face to us or them."
"Perhaps" said Hanzo, "But even if the stories of him and this Tenshi are nothing but fantasies dreamt up by the Rebels. The fact is, someone is behind this new faction of fanatical Rebels, controlling them and filling their heads with dreams of peace and of a better life. So as long they're alive, they're a threat to us and this village."
Acknowledging their leader's words, the three Shinobi nodded, after which Hanzo decided to head back to his tower, and was accompanied by Mai, Kandachi, the hooded swordsman, and some of his guards, leaving the remaining Shinobi to clean up the mess.
When Hanzo and his company arrived back his tower, a young Ame Chunin made his way over to him.
Seeing him, two of Hanzo's guards stepped in front of their leader, blocking the young man's path.
"Report!" ordered Hanzo, as he stared down at the young Chunin, who was now kneeling, with his head looking down.
"Hanzo-sama, Aoi's Genin team has just returned from their mission in Cha no Kuni without him."
"Was he killed?"
"No, he was captured, according to Oboro, the Genin team leader. The Wasabi Clan hired a Konoha Shinobi to guard their runner from Aoi and his team during the race."
"A single Shinobi defeated Aoi and his team, was he a Jonin?" Kandachi asked.
"No, he was a young Chunin according to the Genin report."
"Hah, I always knew that fool Aoi was nothing but talk!" sneered Mai, she had never liked the arrogant Ame Shinobi, who only became a Jonin because of the Raijin no Ken's power.
"And what of the Raijin no Ken?" Hanzo asked
"That was also retrieved by the Konoha Shinobi" answered the Ame Chunin.
After hearing this, Hanzo frowned; the news of Aoi's capture was no great lose to the Ame leader. At best Aoi's skill level was average, the loss of the Raijin no Ken was more severe, since it was a powerful weapon.
Scoffing at the news of Aoi's capture, the hooded swordsman spoke. "Tsk, that fool got what he deserved, he relied too much on the Raijin no Ken. I don't know why you even let him keep a weapon like that?"
"It was part of the agreement when he agreed to spy for us" Hanzo growled out, now regretting his decision in letting Aoi keep the sword.
"Do you know the name of the Chunin who defeated Aoi?" Kandachi asked, thinking that if they knew who it was, they might be able to recover the Raijin no Ken from him.
"Hai" replied the Ame Chunin, "Senju Naruto."
"Naruto-kun?!" said Mai, whose mood brightened up at the mention of her "fiancé."
"That brat again" Kandachi silently cursed.
"So he defeated Aoi, not bad for a newly promoted Chunin" the hooded swordsman remarked.
"What would you expect?" replied Mai. "There's no way my Naruto-kun would lose to a weakling like Aoi."
Kandach of course was about to remark on this, but before he could say anything, Hanzo intervened, dismissing both Mai and the hooded swordsman, while having Kandachi accompany him to his office with his guards.
After arriving in office, Hanzo took his usual seat facing the entrance to his office, while his guards took their positions around the room, Kandachi in turn stat on a small mat directly in front of his lord.
Looking at Kandachi, Hanzo could tell that there was something bothering his subordinate, and decided to let him speak.
"Something concerns you Kandachi, tell me."
"Hanzo-sama, given what happened with Aoi, I believe it would be prudent for us to act against Tsunade-sama's son. Given his achievements during both the Chunin exam and in the recent Konoha invasion, we cannot afford to leave him alone, especially now that he has the Raijin no Ken."
When Kandachi finished, the Lord of Amegakure nodded in agreement. "What you say is true; the boy has already surpassed even my wildest expectations of him. If he is left alone to fully mature, he will no doubt become a formable foe in the future."
"Then should we send some men to eliminate him?"
"No, with his mother now the new Godaime Hokage, such actions would no doubt cause war between us and Konoha, and given our current internal conflicts, we would not survive."
"But we must do something!"
"I have already taken steps towards dealing with the boy."
"My Lord?" asked Kandachi, not fully understanding what Hanzo was talking about.
"Kandachi, do you know why I sent my Granddaughter to try and eliminate the boy?"
"Well ignoring that she was the right age to enter the exam wihout drawing suspicion, Mai is also one of our most prominent and skilled Shinobi, and was trained personally by you."
"True, but I also sent her because she is Granddaughter" answered Hanzo. But seeing that Kandachi still did not understand what he was planning, he explained further.
"When I sent Mai to kill the boy during the Chunin exam, I knew there was still a possibility that she might lose to him. Given that possibility, I had a contingency plan in place, using one of the old traditions of my Clan."
"You're referring to tradition, where the Kunoichi of your Clan marry only men who can defeat them in battle" said Kandachi, remembering what Mai had said after her fight with Naruto.
"Yes" Hanzo answered, "The plan was to use that tradition, to put political pressure on Konoha, and threaten war if the boy refused. Knowing how eager Sarutobi is to avoid war, I was certain Konoha would agree to the arrangement. Once they were married, Mai would kill the boy quietly, making it look natural and then return to us. But now that the boy has revealed that he has Mokuton, I have decided to change the plan slightly, where I will have Mai impregnate herself with his child before killing him. Allowing Ame and out Clan to attain the Shodai Hokages legendary Mokuton Bloodline limit."
"An excellent plan my lord" said Kandachi, as he bowed to his village leader. "But if I may, what of his mother? Now that she is the Godaime Hokage, she will no doubt resist the union, and will be suspicious of our motives."
"That is indeed possible…but with the right incentive, we may be able to find a way around her. The fact that Mai declared our Clan's tradition during the Chunin preliminaries helps us, since Konoha will be less suspicious of our true motives, and believe we are just following our Clan's traditions."
"Hanzo-sama, if I may, can we actually trust Mai to follow up with your plan?" Kandachi asked. But as soon as hehad said this, the vertain Jonin received a dangerous glare from his lord, indicating that he has crossed a dangerous line.
"Are you saying that "my" Granddaughter would betray me?" Hanzo asked in threatening tone.
Suppressing a cold shiver, Kandachi gathered his courage and spoke, "N-N-Never my Lord, Mai's loyalty is without question. I-I was just suggesting that she may be too infatuated with boy and may hesitate that is all. During the preliminaries she was rather taken in with the boy, and when Oto and Suna attacked Konoha, she got involved in the invasion and assisted him."
"Mai is a loyal Kunoichi, and she will do what she is told, regardless of her personally feelings towards the boy. She wouldn't dare disobey me, and she will come to understand that this is what is best for our village."
Not wanting to anger his leader any further, Kandachi remained silent and simply nodded his head.
Shortly after, Hanzo took out a scroll from a small cabinet behind him and handed it to Kandachi. "Have our fastest messenger Hawk take this to Konoha, it is a letter to Tsunade, telling her that I wish to meet with her to discuss a possible alliance between Konoha and our village."
"You are going to meet her yourself?!" Kandachi said in shock, since Hanzo had not left the Ame in almost twenty years.
"Yes, by going to these talks personally, Tsunade is more likely to accept the meeting."
Nodding his head in understanding, Kandachi quickly left the room to deliver the scroll to the messenger's office.
When Kandachi left the room, Hanzo found himself looking forward to the meeting, and seeing the young Senju heir with his own two eyes. Believing it would be an interesting meeting.
Well that's it for another instalment for Hope of the Senju Clan, hoped you all enjoyed it.
Now I know what many are asking, where was Temari and what about Naruto's first date? Sadly I am afraid, as I was writing this chapter; I realized that there wouldn't enough room in for all that, so I have decided to delay Temari's arrival and Naruto's first date for a short time.
But on the upside, in the next chapter Mai and Naruto will meet again, and Naruto will meet her family, which is something I know many of you are looking forward to, so expect some interesting things to happen.
As always please read and review, as I like to hear all your opinions on the chapter or on the story in general. Please note that I will answer all your reviews to the best of my abilities, since I believe that authors should reply to their reviewers. Also note that any suggestions for the story are welcome and will be listen to and I will tell you what I think of them.
Now in regards of my grammar and spelling mistakes, I am aware that they may be a problem for people. But I'm afraid they cannot be helped and I am doing the best I can with what I got.
Another thing to note is that flames are not welcome here, as I force no-one to read my stories and if you don't like them then don't read them. Also please note that all flames will be ignored, deleted or the flamers will be flamed back.
Again I hope everyone enjoyed today's Chapter and I will update again as soon as humanly possible.
(1). For images of Naruto's clothing a jewellery, please go to the Hope of the Senju Clan Section and of my profile and go to numbers 2 (The Ring), 11 (Naruto's outfit), 17 (The Chain Earring) and 20 (The Bracelet) to find the links for the images.
(2). For further details on the Gekikyaku (Hammer Kick), please go to the bottom of Chapter 21
Mokuton: Bokken (Wood Release: Wood Sword): A Mokuton technique that Naruto recently developed, where he produces a long wooden sword from his body. This is a useful technique for whenever he is in a situation where he is without a weapon. The sword is very durable and can withstand attacks from metal weapons, but can be broken if enough force is applied, it can also be used for Chakra flow techniques.
After Hearing Naruto's reason for saving him, Aoi just sneered back at the blonde boy, "Heh, guess those stories about you being a soft-hearted fool were true after all, you may have the talent and skill, but you don't have what it takes to become a Shinobi."
But to Aoi's surprise, Naruto did not get angry at his insults, in fact he smiled. "I wouldn't be so sure of that if I were you, in fact you're going to wish I had killed you."
"What do you mean?" asked Aoi, getting a bad feeling, since there was something menacing behind Naurto's smile.
Deciding to show Aoi instead of telling him, Naruto created two Shadow clones, and had them both hold up the Ame Jonin high into the air.
"W-W-Wh-What are you planning to do?" Aoi asked fearfully.
"Oh you'll see" Naruto chuckled darkly, as he moved around behind the former Konoha Shinobi and activated the Raijin no Ken, where the yellow blade hissed loudly.
Once he was in position, Naruto brought the legendary sword up and yelled "Hidden leaf's Hidden Secret Sword Technique: Thunder from Down Under!" as he trusted the Raijin no Ken upwards into Aoi rear.
The instant the sword made contact with the now screaming/crying butt clenching Ame Jonin's anus, it sent the poor, though deserving, Jonin flying high through into the sky. The technique was made even more devastating thanks to the Raijin no Ken's lightning, which magnified the pain of the attack tenfold.
As Naruto watch Aoi soar into the sky, the only think that went through the blonde's head was "Damn, now I have to disinfect the sword!"