Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
A/N: As promised, a quicker update than the last one which took a little over three weeks. Hehe. Anyways, hope you like it.
The Maelstrom and the Water Princess
Infiltrating the Belly of the Beast
Naruto watched as three men played with a deck of cards, all of them obviously drunk from the numerous amounts of sake bottles around them. He had traveled all night, covering roughly about half the distance towards his destination. He had met no resistance until now and it seemed like these three weren't going to be much. Maybe he could keep one for interrogation, but they were drunk as skunks so he didn't know if he could rattle any of them for information.
Putting the binoculars away, he carefully palmed two of his special assassination kunai. Each had elongated blades, ending in a sharp point, each edge bladed and honed to cut with a touch. They were about fifty meters away, two of them facing away from him. He would have to kill the one facing towards him first then kill one. He would keep one for interrogation.
He closed in on twenty-five meters and readied himself as their images drew nearer. He could hear their voices, all of them laughing boisterously in a drunken haze.
Easy targets, he thought and closed in on ten meters.
A twig cracked beneath his feet and he moved before they could turn and see him. Just like he predicted, two of the drunken men stood up and looked behind him, kunai in their left hands. They were held carelessly, like a child holding a knife.
As two of the men went to go check it out, the third one stayed at the table, his eyes looking around for any sign of dangers. Naruto stalked out of the shadow behind him and wrapped his hand over the man's mouth and neck, preventing any sound from escaping. He snapped the man's neck with a crippling twist and dragged him back into the shadows.
The other two split up in different directions, one to the east and one to the west. Naruto watched the one moving towards the east and as he passed by, Naruto hopped down into a crouch. The man turned around, only to feel cold steel slice into his stomach and dislodge a couple of his ribs. A silent scream escaped his mouth as he fell to the floor, lifeless. Naruto picked up the body and dragged it into the surrounding thicket.
The man to the west felt a being behind him and he turned around to find nothing but the shadows of the tree and forests. He stepped into a big pool of moonlight and then he felt a pinprick at his neck and then everything went black. Naruto hopped down from his perch and pulled the senbon needle from the man's neck, recoating it with some paralysis poison and stowed it away for later use.
He picked up the man's paralyzed body in a fireman's carry and walked back towards the campground. A roaring fire sat off to the side and Naruto dropped him next to the fire, not to close as to burn him, but close enough to keep him warm.
Naruto surveyed the ground and saw the two tents at the edge of the clearing. The table still sat intact and Naruto saw the radio on top of it. He carefully stalked over and picked it up when he heard, "Outpost 19, Report."
Kuso, he thought, I need to answer.
He did his best to mimic the voices of one of the men and said, "All clear here, Outpost 19 out."
His voice came out as raspy and he hoped that the man would take it at face value. He got lucky as the man acknowledged the information and moved on to another outpost. Now though, Naruto knew that there were at least nineteen outposts with how many more he did not know.
He listened intently to the radio, pressing it to his ear as he listened. By the end, he learned that there were twenty-four outposts in all, all of them scattered around the main ground. Quickly, he pulled out a scroll and jotted down the information and slipped it back into his back.
He then changed gears and watched as two of his clones came out of the two tents, bundles of what seemed like food and packages in their hand. The food he would need in case if he ran out; it was always good to have extras.
One of them ran over, a scroll in his hand and shouted, "Boss, there's a patrol change coming in two hours!"
"Kuso," he said and contemplated what to do.
Putting his hand into another ram seal, another cloned appeared next to him. With another handseal, he had each of them henged into the three men. With a tiger seal, he changed their voices and he inspected them and he could barely feel the wave of chakra coming off of them.
When he finished, he began to give them instructions, "Okay, you're all to go into the camp under the henges of the three men you are portraying. Gather any information you can and if any of you are found out, all of you find a safe spot and disperse. If not, gather any information you can for the week and then disperse as I leave. Understood? Now, do you have a map of the outposts?"
One of the clones handed him a scroll, "Good, now go get in your positions. I'll be interrogating our prisoner." Naruto grabbed the man by the fire and walked into the forest.
When the man woke, he noticed that he wasn't in the same clearing as before. His mind was foggy and his eyes were cloudy as he looked around. He was tied to a tree stump and a man sat in a metal chair across from him. He began to struggle against the bonds that held him, but could do nothing; the rope was too tight. His eyes were alight with fear as the man stood up and approached him.
Naruto walked towards the man, long powerful strides that brought him to about two feet from the man.
Naruto's menacing voice chilled the man to the bones, "Yell and you die. Tell me what I want and you live. You understand that?"
The man almost pissed himself in fear and he could only nod, his voice unable to work.
"Good, we have an understanding," Naruto said, "Now tell me your name and those of your buddies please? Remember, you can still live if you tell me."
The man gulped as a sadistic smile stretched across Naruto's face and he shakily answered, "My name is Rai, the man with black hair was Chi, and the man with blond hair was Lee."
"Okay then… Rai, what's your job out here? I can't imagine that you sit here and drink the whole time. I suppose your superior wouldn't be happy about that now would he?" Naruto asked, leaning forward a bit.
Another audible gulp and he answered, "We guard the border and stop anybody trying to get in or out."
"Interesting enough," Naruto said, "Now, who's your superior if you would be so kind?"
"General Ichigo," the man answered.
"General Ichigo… if I'm not mistaken, there are four of them?" Naruto asked, leaning just a tad closer.
The man could feel Naruto's breath on his cheek, "General Sau, General Wei, and General Tsu."
"Good, good, you're keeping up your side of the bargain. Now, a few more questions to go before I let you go. Are there any planned attacks set for any time in the future?" Naruto asked the man.
"Yes, Yagura planned to attack two weeks from today. He is amassing his troops at the moment," the man answered Naruto's question.
"Okay, last question. What do you know about Yagura?"
"He' a recluse; we rarely see him unless he orders an attack. When he does, he always seems like he's in a daze rather. Almost like someone is controlling him," the man said.
Naruto contemplated that and nodded, "Okay, you kept up your side of the bargain." Naruto pulled out a kunai… and one of his clones ran up to him.
"The patrol will be here in thirty minutes," he said and ran back towards the camp.
Naruto looked at the man and shrugged, "Oops, I guess I can't keep up mine."
"Wait! What?! We had a deal! WE HAD A DEAL!" his shouting was silenced as Naruto stabbed him in the neck with the kunai, piercing his jugular with a perfect cut.
"I told you. You scream you die. See you in the afterlife."
A dollop of blood oozed from the gash and it slowly turned into a red stream of crimson liquid. It seeped onto the forest floor, staining the dead leaves with blood. Naruto's kunai retracted from his throat and it gleamed in the firelight as he cleaned the life giving liquid on the man's smock.
Lifting the man's limp body, Naruto weaved his way through the thicket of trees towards the gurgling of a stream. The white froth of the water bounced softly as they traveled down the current and out into the ocean. Naruto heaved the body into the water, the lifeless form of Rai floating ominously in the water. It dyed the water and froth red as the limp form made its silent way towards the ocean. The stream was his deathbed.
Naruto looked as his clothes and sighed, noticing the trace amounts of blood on them; anybody experienced enough to see it could tell it wasn't his. Ripping his clothes off, he tossed those into the stream and grabbed a spare set from the storage scroll in his coat.
The morning sun peered over the horizon as Naruto made his way back towards the camp. He had a little less than half an hour to figure out where to go and get out. It wouldn't do to compromise the infiltration by killing the new arrivals.
Naruto stepped out of the bushes and into the small clearing that was made for the camp and made his way over to the table. His clones rushed over, having a map of all the outposts already marked out. With a swipe of his arm, the sake bottles fell to the floor with a large crash, the glass rupturing and splintering into tiny pieces.
Naruto quickly ripped the scroll out of the clone's hand and unrolled it on the table. Naruto examined it carefully, compartmentalizing and remembering the exact location of each incase he lost the map. When he finished, he looked into the sky and noted that the sun had risen just a bit more and he figured that he had less than fifteen minutes before the new patrol came.
"Gamakichi," Naruto said out loud and the toad correspondent of Jiraiya appeared to him.
"What's up?" Gamakichi said, punctuating the sentence with a yawn.
"I need the name. Now!" Naruto growled and gripped the frog in his hands.
"I got it! I got it! Let go of me Naruto!" Naruto assented and let the toad hop onto the table where it let out a test croak.
"Jeez, you could be a little gentler you know…" the toad grumbled.
"Okay! Okay! Hold your horses. You're even more impatient than Jiraiya when he gets to peek at an onsen…"
"I swear to Kami…"
"Alright, alright. Jiraiya's contact within Yagura's men is Shin Megami. Your sign is "Simon." If he doesn't answer back with the counter-sign "simple," then you flee on sight. He is too valuable an asset for you to kill… and with the way you do things…" the toad trailed off as Naruto shot it a look.
"What does he look like?"
"Short, dirty blond hair like your old one, brown eyes, scar above his left eyes," the toad explained.
"Southeast side of the camp. Lives in a rather big mansion that he had inherited from his father. Anyways, he became one of Jiraiya's spies when Jiraiya saved his life back in the day. That's a story from another time though. Anything else you need?
"No. Thank you Gamakichi. Send my regards to Jiraiya will you?" Naruto said, dismissing the toad who disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Naruto put the map in his coat and said, "Alright, remember what I said. Find any information you can and if you are found out, disappear. If you're okay for another week, then disappear. I will be there in a day; I will be walking among you. Good luck."
Naruto hopped off with that towards the central area of Yagura's forces.
Shin's eyes flickered open as he heard the lock on his window click closed. Reaching for the hidden kunai under his pillow, he scanned the darkness to find the figure, but he didn't have to look long.
Naruto stepped out of the shadows next to Shin, giving himself to full view. Shin studied him carefully before he whispered, "You must be Namikaze then?"
Naruto nodded his head and Shin quickly got up and opened the door, checking the corridor before retracting his head.
"Come, I have a safe place where we can speak. It is not far from here; the abandoned church tower. Be there in ten minutes," he said as he retreated into the darkness of the room.
Naruto left the same way he came in and quickly hopped out onto the ground. Not many trees encompassed the area so Naruto would have to make out on foot. The night was still new, the moon almost perpendicular to the horizon.
Naruto fell to the ground with a small crunch, the grass beneath his feet failing and giving way to his weight. Naruto could make out the shadowed figure of the tower in the distance to the east and he quickly set off.
He hopped the gate and stuck to the wall, pressing himself flat as he looked around the corner.
A troupe of four shinobi stalked through the night, their cigarette buts lighting up the night as they stalked closer and closer. Naruto quickly retreated from the corner and he knew he had to find another way in; it would be too troublesome to hide bodies in a place like this.
Ducking around another corner, he found the street clear and proceeded to move. He walked down the streets in a low crouch, his movement smooth and silent. He passed an ally, only to retreat back into the shadows casted by the walls as he found three shinobi move by.
When the coast was clear, Naruto sprinted out of the alley and into the moonlight, trailing in front of closed and rundown stores. They were boarded up, abandoned when the war started. Some had stayed, yet many fled the area towards the more terrestrial areas of Fire Country and Wind Country.
The tower soon loomed over him as he stepped around the corner. It was located in a rather rural area where homes still stood. Naruto could see one guard, but he quickly disappeared around a corner, leaving Naruto's advance to the tower clear.
A few moments later, he was in and noticed the figure in the middle of the room. He gestured for Naruto to follow and Naruto quickly did, stalking the man through a set of doors and down another corridor into a large room. It was a study from what Naruto could see, books of religion cropping their walls.
"This place is one of the only things left standing from the twenty first century," Naruto vaguely remembered something that Kyuubi had told him about it, but couldn't recall anything.
"This city used to be boisterous and booming. We had the best seaport in the whole of the Elemental Nations and we held a monopoly of sea trade. Years ago, Yagura had been a gentle Mizukage, virtually loving everybody. Everybody loved him, but as the years went by people noticed the change in him. He wouldn't be seen for long stretches of time and when he was seen, it was only the briefest of moments to talk to the people."
"A few months later and the blood purges began. I, being his advisor, tried to reason with him about it, but he snapped at me and told me that it wasn't any of his business. Yagura was the Mizukage so I was forced to leave. From then on, the village was cut in two by this blood purge and I hate to see this. The only reason I'm here is because I feel a loyalty to my father."
"Your father?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Yagura… is my father," he answered, turning his face away from Naruto.
"My mother died at a young age and from there, it was just me and my father. He trained me himself. He raised me to be who I am now and I sadden to see my father become this… tyrant for a lack of a better word."
"What can you tell me about him?"
"My father is the container of the three-tailed turtle. He has no special bloodline, but the bijuu he contains gifts him with enhanced water manipulation as well as an increase of speed when he utilizes its chakra. He has a wide array of water jutsu and he is able to manipulate each element to kage level," Shin said.
Naruto nodded, "What about the generals?"
"General Ichigo heads the outposts scattered around the outskirts of the camp. He specializes in tactical command and ninjutsu with General Wu. General Sau and General Tsu both specialize in close quarter combat as well as inflicting damage on a large scale."
General Sau and Tsu… front line fighters… General Ichigo and Wu… support…
"Are there any large buildings full of food and supplies?" Naruto asked and looked out through the window. The moon was now high in the sky, reaching its apex just as Naruto took his eyes off it.
"Do you plan on attacking it?"
"I do," Naruto said truthfully.
"That's a hard endeavor my friend," Shin said wistfully, "There are three food silos located to the northeast towards the ocean and another three in the opposite corner. They are patrolled at all times, about thirty guards watch each set of silos day and night."
"Will a distanced attack work?"
"Most guards are prepared for that and will be able to neutralize anything small to medium sized and range. If you can pull it off from a long distance as well as create the jutsu large enough, it should do the trick. But that brings up other problems like getting out unscathed which will not happen."
"Those are risks I must take," Naruto said solemnly, resigned to do what he can.
"Understand this, if you attack, you will bring the wrath of every single shinobi in the camp towards you," he said.
The man studied Naruto carefully, the blank eyes and posture already telling him that Naruto was resolved. With a sigh, the man reached into his pocket and retrieved a scroll, "This is a blueprint of the food silos located at the northeast corner. They are the exact same as those located in the southwest corner…"
A/N: See, quicker update! Naruto gets to blow up shit next chapter! Hope you enjoyed and remember to review!
A/N 2: Thank you to those who pointed out that Yagura is the Mizukage. :0 I fucked up there. Also, to another who says Yagura doesn't look old enough to have a kid. A person can have a kid at 16 in real life so why does it matter? Yagura is probably older than Mei anyways. Just because he "looks" young doesn't mean he actually is. Example: Tsunade!