Chapter 10: Invasion of Juraran

A/N: Sorry, sorry for the long wait. I'm not on hiatus, I just have things in my personal life that take priority. I try to update ALL my active fics but I can't give any promises on the time table. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy this chapter.

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CHAPTER BEGIN

Naruto walked on the bridge, looking at the green planet front of them. "Is everything ready?"

"Yeah." Colonel Shikamaru nodded. "Based on what you told me, I've devised a swift plan to end any possible struggle we may face." He light the holoboard. "I've revised their defenses, political and economical strengths etc. and decided that best way to subdue their planet was to take over their capital and eight biggest cities after that, all with space ports and militia barracks. Everything begins though after we take the capital and their king and his council who are only people who can arrange any real resistance. After which we lock the city down before moving our forces into secondary targets." He turned towards Naruto. "Everything relies in your success taking the royal palace with the task force."

Naruto nodded. "Don't worry. You just concentrate on taking this planet swiftly before Republic sends reinforcements. We cannot let them draw this battle out. Faster we win this, lesser the causalities there will be on both sides."

AD appeared suddenly next to the board. "Master, there is a signal coming from Rattaki from Mistress Ventress."

"Put it through." He nodded and turned towards the table where the planetary invasion plans disappeared and was replaced by a standing ball woman. "Master." She bowed quickly. "Obi-Wan Kenobi has escaped."

That was not unexpected. That man is after all one of the strongest Jedi I know. I was surprised it took him this long."

Ventress couldn't take his masters calm reaction. "I failed you master! Let me go and chase after him! I will finish him myself!" She stopped when Naruto raised his hand to silence her. He closed his eyes bit his lip annoyed. Ever since the battle royal where General Grievous was appointed the supreme commander of droid forces, Ventress had been on the edge. Which said a lot considering her personality. And surprise surprise, she wanted to chase after Obi-Wan. He opened his eye. "No."

"But maste-"

"I have other duties for you!" He snapped forcefully and she silenced immediately. "Go to Arkanian and kill their leaders. That has been hanging over their heads for far too long. That's an order! After you're done, contact me. And Ventress, there will be no mistakes this time."

She looked disheartened but nodded. "Yes, master." She disappeared when she closed the connection.

"You've become quite heartless over the years." Shikamaru noted slightly humored after witnessing the exchange. "Just telling a person to kill some people just like that."

"When it's Ventress, only that can calm her mind." He looked at his friend. "Are you okay with this?"

"With what?"

"In ten minutes our first landing ships will reach their destination. After that, there is no return."

Shikamaru looked at him for a moment. "Nah, I know." He shrugged. "Let's just get this over with."

"All right." He left the bridge. "It's time for my part in this battle." He smirked. "I have a little reunion ahead of me." He walked away, joined by eight MagnaGuards. "Just wait you fat ass. I will skin you."

((A))

"Juraran? Uzumaki is moving on Juraran?" Chancellor Palpatine asked. "This is most worrying."

"It appears that his actions are becoming more and more straightforward as the time passes." Vice Chairman of the Galactic Senate, Mas Amedda stated. "He must feel arrogant after his successful invasion of the Jedi Temple."

Mace Windus face grew considerably darker, which was an accomplishment, considering how dark it was at first. He had not been really composed since he had found out about Narutos last antics. "That he has." He said darkly.

"And?" Chancellor continued, leaning on his hands. "Have you managed to locate that girl he kidnapped from the Temple?"

"No we have not." Windu replied.

Deep within his mind, Palpatine was angry for what had happened at the Tempple. He hated when his pawns stepped out of line. He had no idea the boy even planned anything like this nor would he have ever thought he would succeed in this manner. Now, Palpatine had been reported by his own apprentice Tyranus that the boy had hidden the child somewhere.

Palpatine knew about the Yakumos ability and harvesting that for himself would be an incredible asset. As he continued to act interested on Jedis reports on how they had found out about this and what they were planning, he was starting to think that perhaps this boy needed to be restrained somehow. The scale was turning too much in favor of the Separatists with his every act. In the worst case, he would need to get rid of him before he became a too much of a trouble.

'It would be a shame.' He thought as he went through plausible scenarios. 'He is strong and willingly embraces the Dark Side. He carries every needed quality of a Sith Lord. But he is unpredictable and wild. And he might grow even stronger as the time passes. But if he would ever turn out to be a failure…' He needed to calm his mind in order to stay in control of his emotions but it was trouble when he thought of all the possibilities the substitute made possible.

Narutos unborn child. That child would one day be a perfect apprentice, taught from young age in arts of the Sith to overcome his father, his seniors, everyone who dared to step on his way. Yes… he had big plans for the future…

"We need to mobilize an army fast." Plo Koon said.

"I understand." Chancellor nodded and pushed thoughts for the future to the future. "We must protect Juraran at all cost. How long will it take until you're ready to departure?"

"We were in luck." Plo Koon stated. "Master Windus victory in the Outer Rim has given us his fleet to use. All we need to do is resupply them and they can move forward. That would be within two hours."

((A))

Over the capital of Juraran, Separatists ships were making bombing rounds while landing ships were ready. "Landing force is on its way, general!" Captain informed quickly and Shikamaru looked at the map.

"Do they have anti-air artillery?" He asked quickly.

"Our intelligence says that they only have light cannon batteries on designated locations."

"Route our bombers on these locations. I want minimal casualties on our landing parties."

"Yes sir!" Captain nodded and turned to give the orders.

Shikamaru took a deep breath. He had done everything he could. He had divided the fleet, placed the landing sites, given the protocols under certain circumstances and given the order to move in.

"The first landing craft will land in… one minute." Captain informed quickly.

"It's all on you now, Naruto."

((A))

Down at the Royal Palace, things were not great. They had hardly noticed the huge Separatists Fleet appearing right next to their planet when a wave after wave of droid fighters started bombing the planet. It didn't took more than five minutes to all defense lasers to be neutralized in the Capital and fighters flew into other cities to continue their raids. Meanwhile, Trade Federation landing crafts were already in their atmosphere making their way to the ground without any troubles.

General in charge had already stated that long as they could hold the Royal Palace, things wouldn't be bad. They had and army of twenty thousand men ready to die for their king. Unfortunately, things went from bad to disastrous when something started falling from the sky. At first, they seemed something like missiles or bombs.

They crashed into different parts the Royal Palace. One of them, on the Court Yard where their general was leading the defenses. "What are those?" This pompous old Juraran man demanded to know from his men but received no answer as no one knew. "Probably duds. Ignore them! Where are the king and his family?"

"They are on the escape speeders, ready to leave."

"That won't do." Was a voice from the 'dud missiles'. "I can't let him escape." Then that thing seemed to open and something landed under its feet. A very dark figure. "Order the surrender of your forces immediately!"

"Kill him!" General ordered and soldiers pulled their guns and started blasting.

Naruto simply activated his lightsaber and deflected laser into their senders. In the middle of the Court yard, blasts were coming from all directions and he needed to use both lightsabers to protect himself. "I don't have time for this! Guards! On me!" He yelled and the top of the craft opened and four Magnaguards and eight droid commandos jumped out and the hell broke loose.

General meanwhile had found some cover behind a desk and not believing his eyes. He needed to call for help from other parts of the Palace and the city when he heard the distress codes from everywhere in the palace.

"Droids area appearing from the pods! They are overrunning us-ZZarhg."

"This is the main gate! We are overrun-"

"We need reinforcements at the residence wing!"

"This is the palace hangar, we are waiting for the Royal Family. Where are they?"

General couldn't understand the situation. It hadn't been twenty minutes since the fleet was noticed and now the Royal Palace was overrun already. The figure that had leading the attack on the Court yard noticed him and suddenly charged on him, his lightsabers making a way for him. "Help! I need help! Where are my men!" He screamed when he raised his blaster but it was taken away by the Witchcraft of the Jedi. It flew away.

"They are dead." Naruto said coldly and pointed his lightsaber on the man's chest. Droids took defensive positions around the yard while MagnaGuard formed a circle to defend their leader. "Give the order to surrender now or I will kill you!"

"T-t-then kill me!" He screamed with some attempted thread in his voice. "Juraran man never surrenders!"

Naruto simply raised his hand. "You will order the surrender of your forces immediately!"

"I will order the surrender of our forces immediately." The man nodded suddenly with empty voice and reached for the communications board and pressed the order. Naruto looked at the city when it suddenly became very silent.

He checked his watch. "Twenty-three minutes flat. Must be a new record." He laughed and reached his communicator. "Shikamaru! Do you read me?"

"Loud and clear? What's the situation?"

"We won." Naruto answered with a smirk. "Their commander has ordered the surrender. Turn your ships around and prepare for the Republic reinforcements."

"This was… fast." Shikamaru muttered. "What about the King?"

"They are still inside the Royal Palace with the remaining forces. I will head in and do what must be done."

"Roger."

Naruto looked around when more and more small landing ships invaded the court yard and tens of battle droids swarmed the place. "Guard them!" He pointed at the surrendered troops and their leader. "If anyone moves, kill them!"

"Roger roger." Droid captain nodded and ordered his units around, replacing the commandos who gathered around Naruto.

"Let's go, you rust buckets." He said and turned towards the castle doors. "Let's blow this thing up!"

((A))

"Over? What do you mean, it's over?" Windu asked angrily.

"The signal from Juraran has ceased, general." Trooper informed. "Just until few moments ago, we were coordinating defense strategies with Juraran troops when the signal stopped."

"Could their communications be jammed?" Plo Koon answered.

Another trooper stepped forward and saluted before giving a databoard. Commander received it.

"What is it?" Aayla asked quickly.

"We managed to capture a message from their internal communications before it stopped completely." He pressed few buttons and a hologram of the general ordering the complete surrender of Juraran troops before it disappeared.

"They surrendered? So quickly? This makes no sense." Aayla pointed out confused. "It's impossible to conquer a planet in a time it takes to finish a snack."

"It was Naruto." Windu muttered. "That menace keeps taking us by surprise!"

"What do we do now?" Aayla asked.

"Invading a planet is completely different matter than helping to prevent an invasion." Plo Koon stated. "We cannot move on Juraran hastily."

Mace Windu grinned angrily. "Someone needs to inform the Chancellor."

((A))

Naruto was making his way through the Palace, deflecting random laser shots coming and pushing any possible obstacles away with Force whatever they were barricades, portable cannons or people, without even slowing his pace, his droid guards coming right behind him. "Kings signal is coming from there!" He said and pointed the heavily guarded door at the end of the long hallway, filled with remaining Juraran troopers. "How many are there?"

A commando droid made few calculations quickly. "I count ninety-two life forms in this hallway alone." He answered.

Naruto stepped forward and cracked his neck. "I will be enough. You be ready to charge in after I open the road. And remember, I want him alive!"

"Roger roger!" Commando nodded.

"Freeze!" Some guard in the front screamed while pointing his blaster at Naruto. "Surrender now! Or die!"

"Right back at you." Naruto smirked as he dropped his jacket on the floor and held his lightsabers in his hands. "Step aside and you won't get hurt!"

The answer he got was a blaster fire from three different guns. He simply deflected them with his lightsaber. "Suit yourself." He cracked his neck once before taking his stance. "I guess I try it." He first lowered himself into the ground and pointed his lightsaber back. Style of the Rat and charged in with his lightsaber.

The first line had seven Jurarans with blasters blazing. He simply run forward and used Force to throw them to the walls. One person was crazy enough to try to charge forward and punch Naruto. He simply cut mans leg in two and moved on.

Then he felt a blaster fire coming from his blind spot. It was by pure training and instinct that he leaped away just before he would have an extra hole in the back of his head. Then he twirled and deflected couple of shots. There were Jurarans hanging from the ceiling by their tails. Naruto leaped away and used Force to bring them down. Just when the couple of Jurarans fell to the floor, people started throwing thermal bombs at him. "Oh great pile of s-" His words were cut off by massive explosion that covered all of him.

It became quiet. Soldiers prepared each other, not sure if the blast got him. Then they heard a loud coughing inside the smoke and something moving. "Cough cough! Damn it. What are you? Idiots?" He used Force to push the smoke away. "You just managed to get me angry." His eyes flared as he stood straight up. "You have just earned a right to witness my new style in action." He took his stance. First he crawled like a rat and soldiers prepared for attack from below like before but then, Naruto stood up again, expect his legs were in more prepared state. He pointed his purple lightsaber behind him, like a tail when he pointed his red lightsaber front of him. "Feel honored."

((A))

Meanwhile in Coruscant, in Palpatines offices the door was opened. "Aah, I'm so glad to have met you." He smiled widely.

((A))

Juraran king was going crazy. How was this possible! Only half an hour ago, he had been warned that his world was under attack by separatists! And now his army had already surrendered! And the Sith was behind this door! He could only wish his elites could hold him off until his escape pod was ready.

And then the doors were blown apart. Everyone halted what they were doing. Some remaining guards pointed their guns. When the smoke cleared, the King gulped.

"Hello, your highness." Naruto smiled. "It has been a while." He pointed his lightsabers at him.

"I-I surrend-" Words were stuck in his mouth when he saw the destruction in the hallway. Not one soldier was standing. The hallway was ruined. Pillars were smashed, craters on the wall and in the ground. Some weird body parts all around.

"I know you will." Naruto whispered and stepped closer. Droids came in right after him and detained those few who had remained standing up while he slowly made his way to the man.

"L-lord Uzumaki… I presume. I, Royal King of Juraran will surrender my people and world to the Se-" The king started to address Naruto.

But suddenly, he started circling the room. "Where is the king?"

"What?" The king asked.

Naruto looked at each person in the room. "Where – is – the – king?"

"How dare you!" The 'king' screamed. "I am the royal-" His words were stuck in his mouth again when his head detached itself from him.

There were some women screaming but Naruto silenced them with raising his hand. "WHERE IS THE KING!"

((A))

"I'm so glad that you and your family are safe." Chancellor Palpatine smiled to his guests, the Royal Family of Juraran. "If you had left any later, you would have been caught by the Separatists invaders."

The true king of Juraran nodded arrogantly to the elected leader of the Republic. "I thank you, Chancellor. We would have been caught if it was not the tip from their own camps."

"Yes, quite." Chancellor nodded. "Who was the source, if I might ask? We ourselves had no such warning."

The king sneered somewhat arrogantly. "Well, I have few well placed sources of my own. No need to worry. I might even tip you in the future."

"Isn't that wonderful." Palpatine smiled and bowed respectfully. "You must be awfully tired. I'll let you go to rest."

The Royal family left without much of thanks or respect towards the leader of the Galaxy. 'I must make sure that that boy deals with this load of garbage.' He thought safely inside his mind when the doors were opened again and group of Jedi entered. They had been refused entry while the family was present due the 'incident' years ago. "Master Windu. What can I do for you? I heard that your plans for reinvasion have been stalled due Uzumakis swift victory over the world."

"That's true." He muttered angrily. "Until we are fully prepared, we must put the reinvasion on hold."

"So, what is Uzumakis next move? Do we have any ideas?" He looked around the masters in the room when Jiraiya snorted loudly. Every eye turned on him. "Yes, master Jiraiya?"

"Isn't it obvious?" He looked around the room and started to receive annoyed glares from all around.

"Care to elaborate, Jiraiya? Like now!" Tsunade said annoyed.

"Think about it." Jiraiya poked his forehead. "That idiot starts suddenly take more active role in politics? Yeah right. And I stop staring Tsunade in the shower. 'Hey!' He obviously wants that fatty's head on a plate." He shrugged. "That's a good thing and a bad thing."

"Why you say that?" Tsunade asked. "We know what he wants-"

"But we don't know how he wants it." Windu added agitated. "Had this been a simple revenge, he could have just gone into the Palace himself and do it. But he chose to invade the planet."

"And he wouldn't be that stupid to try to come and assassinate them himself." Sakura agreed. "Would he? Master?"

"There is no way of telling what he will do next." Tsunade answered.

This left a bad feeling to linger around the Chancellors office.

((A))

"They had already escaped?" Shikamaru asked shocked. They were in Narutos private quarters. His dragon was sleeping soundly on Narutos punk. "How? Not one ship passed our blockade once we arrived."

"They must have escaped before we arrived then." He muttered angrily.

"What do we do then? Long as the King is alive, he is an idol people will use to rise against us."

"I'm more worried how they knew were coming. I made sure that no one outside our fleet knew our plans."

"They must have a spy inside among us." Shikamaru answered. "But who and how?"

Naruto rubbed his forehead. "I can't think of anyone stupid enough to actually betray me." He muttered and sighed. "Anyway, that's your problem." He smiled and patted his friend to shoulders.

"What? What the hell!"

"What I said." Naruto answered. "While I'll deal with the king, you deal with this traitor. Thanks for doing this for me." He jumped out of his room, leaving stunned Shikamaru to deal with the problem. Which wasn't, how to find the spy, but how to get out of the room with all parts of his body still intact. Narutos lizard was eyeing him like he was something to eat.

((A))

"…and colonies of Argepa have surrendered to the Republic." Shaak Ti reported to the council during the meeting. "We have taken several important leaders as our captives."

"That's good to hear. Argepa is key point controlling that sector." Ki-Adi Mundi nodded. "Now we must turn our attention to our newest guest on Coruscant."

"You mean Juraran royal family?" Plo Koon asked. "They escaped the invasion in the nick of time yet they refuse the Jedi protection. They even refuse to be in a same room with one."

"Juraran delegation has been very anti-Jedi ever since the incident over four year ago." Ki-Adi pointed out. "Senator of Juraran, younger sister of late senator and current king, Sar-Ri has been important part in many movements in attempt to take away our position in the Republic."

"But they still shouldn't be that foolish to not to accept any Jedi protection especially now." Kit Fisto said. "We should be ready to fight against the Sith when the time comes. He obviously wishes to end what he started all those years ago."

"But not necessary by his own hand." Jiraiya interrupted him and all eyes turned on him. "I just received news from the bounty hunter guilds all over the Galaxy."

"He turned to the bounty hunters?" Plo Koon asked. "I would have thought he would want to finish the job himself."

"He knows that we are protecting the family, even if not in close range. Even he is not that stupid to try to sneak to the Coruscant twice in such a short time."

"How much, Master Jiraiya?" Windu asked coolly.

Jiraiya cleared his throat. "That guy means business. It's hundred thousand for any member of the family. Twice that for the king."

"He has Dookus deep pockets in his use." Ki-Adi Mundi sighed.

"That's not the best news." Jiraiya said. "There was a special opportunity attached. He is offering one million credits for the King of Juraran alive."

There was a stunned silence. "That Sith…" Plo Koon said. "For one million credits, every thug and petty criminal will try their luck. Especially if the word gets out that they are not under our protection."

"I'm not worried about them." Jiraiya pointed out. "But before Separatist, Naruto was a smuggler. He must know some serious people." He chuckled sadly. "I guess it's a good thing Windu cut Jango Fetts head when he did that."

"That's not funny." Mace muttered darkly.

"I'm not laughing."

((A))

Naruto was meditating in his chamber. As he had expected, Jedi had not appeared anywhere near Juraran system so they had good time fortifying the planet. Little militia that still resisted their presence was swiftly dealt with.

Everything was going according the plan when his communicator light up. Naruto cracked his one eye open. "Arkania?" He recognized the signals origins. "Ventress? Open the link."

Ventress appeared on the holoboard next to him. She was bowing down. "Master, it is done. I have taken the head of a head of Arkanian goverement."

Naruto didn't look at her. "Good work, my apprentice. That out of the way, I can move forward."

"Is there anything else you wish me to accomplish?"

"The matter with Kenobi made me think." He began. "I thought I need to give you a chance for you to redeem yourself." Naruto narrowed his eyes. "I need you to get something for me from Coruscant."

((A))

Barrisss was meditating in the infirmary of the Temple. She was completely fine in any possible way but she was still held in observation and carotened until further notice. Just in case that Sithspit had implanted any chemical weapons on Barriss after returning her with only a minor concussion from the time Narutos droid dropped her to the ground.

"How are you feeling?" She heard her master's voice from the communicator and she opened her eyes.

She looked at the window at the other end of the room where her master was standing. "I feel completely fine and I feel nothing wrong with my body."

Luminara frowned. "We cannot know for sure. And besides, I think little meditation is good for you after such experience."

"But I am all right, master. I should be released here soon, master."

Luminara narrowed her eyes. "I feel anxiety from you, Barriss. What is going on?"

"I am sorry master." She bowed her head. "But I just… wish to go out and… save him."

"I believe we already finished discussing this. He is beyond saving. He has given in to the Dark Side and embraces it. There is only one way to help him."

Barriss nodded. She knew that arguing would do no good. Now, she needed to wait patiently, get out before she could set off on her quest. What she wanted… what she needed to do was obvious. Before that she couldn't move on. But for now, she would play nicely. 'Oh my Force! I'm starting to think like Minato!' "Yes, master." She nodded.

"You should continue your meditation."

"Yes, master."

Luminara gave her padawan one last look and closed the link. She left the infirmary with frustration in her mind. That sithspit was reason to this all. Even when he was still a Padawan he would cause utter destruction around himself. Why her Padawan couldn't be sensible like she was? That man would bring ruin to the Republic if he was not dealt with.

"Troubles?" She looked up and saw master of all trouble grinning front of her. "Anything I can help with?"

"If you had dealt with your failed apprentice long ago, I would not have a problem, Master Jiraiya."

"Ooh, that…" Jiraiya grinned uncomfortably. "What's the problem now?"

"Apart from barging into the Jedi Temple, kidnapping one of our most guarded secrets and escaping without much of a scratch on him. And let us not forget my Padawan who was kidnapped by said person." Luminara explained. "And now he has invaded Juraran within twenty minutes."

"What can I say? He is a hard worker." Jiraiya smirked.

"Do you not feel any shame for all your former student has caused?"

Jiraiya sighed and smiled surprisingly serene way. "I had an epiphany not too long ago and do you wanna know what I found out?" He didn't wait for an answer. "Something that many in our Order have yet to discover. Masters are not responsible for their student's mistakes."

Luminara looked at him with a very doubting look. "That is the most – do not mind me saying it – feeble excuse I could imagine. Pardon me, master." She bowed her head and left Jiraiya alone in the corridor.

"Some people might never understand it." He sighed depressed.

"Understand what, Master Jiraiya?" He looked over his shoulder and saw Depa standing there.

"That we masters might and try to guide and teach our students best we can but in the end, it's them who decide what to do with the knowledge they gained from us."

"That actually makes sense." She admitted. "But isn't it like washing your hands from responsibility?"

"Depends how you look at it." Jiraiya shrugged and looked out of the window at the endless lines of speeders and starships and traffic. "But in the end, anyone could have taught them, Minato and Naruto but I know that they would have walked away from the Order before long." He smirked. "I think that I finally understand Sithhood a bit."

Depas eyes shot up in shock. "That is a very dangerous thing to say."

"Don't worry." Jiraiya laughed. "I'm too old to switch sides like that." He patted her shoulder. "And besides, there is only one real difference between a Jedi and a Sith."

"What is that?"

Jiraiya smirked before he turned around and started walking away. "Now that would be telling."

Depa stayed watching the traffic with empty eyes. She for one was not even half convinced about what Jiraiya had said. If she had stepped forward sooner and been there for him when he obviously needed, Minato… or Naruto as he himself called now, how things would have turned out…

It was something she needed to find out.

((A))

Naruto met with all clan leaders, top members of the Juraran parliament and anyone who seemed to have some kind of influence among the people who didn't need to be dragged by droids and held down by Force. Unfortunate thing was, out of everyone gathered in the Council Hall, there were probably only two who didn't fear for their lives. And those two probably should be held down with Force.

"Why have you gathered us?" One of the two asked. He was current leader of the opposition Ikimi-Ka. He was once the prime minister until the 'Incident' when he resigned and followed in the footsteps of the former opposition leader Chiri-Ku. "Lord Naruto?"

"I'm no lord." Naruto waved his hand dismissively. "But I do like the sound of that." He added quietly. "Or… count? Count Naruto? Count Uzumaki? Lord Naruto? Lord Uzumaki?" He tasted the phrases in his mouth for a while. "Or… or! Or Vice-count Naruto." He nodded satisfied before he shook his head again. "Nah… sounds… prissy. Something else. Just Naruto will do. Or Uzumaki if you please." Then he noticed the tension in the room was gone and replaced by dumbfound. "Anyway, there was a reason to call you and that was to ask you, leaders of Juraran to pacify your people."

"You want to enslave them!" The second person asked. She was the matriarch of another clan. Sarar-Ma. They weren't actually against the Royal Family but they weren't their followers either. "I'll have you know that our people are born warriors and will not bow to anyone!"

"You misunderstood my meaning." Naruto calmed everyone down raising his hands. "I have no intension of enslaving even a single Juraran nor exterminate anyone. I came here to free you."

This left a stunned silence in the room until Sarar-Ma snorted loudly. "Free us! You think us for fools!"

Naruto stood up from his seat and stepped forward. People instinctively moved back a step, but not the matriarch. She held her ground even while being stared down by a Sith. "What about tyranny of the Royal Family? Dictatorship of 'his highness'? Corruption on every level of government and agency and election? Unlawful rule and unjust decision made in this hall?" His voice echoed in the hall and some people seemed to start understand what he meant. "The tragedy on the Assarai Plains?" He turned his attention back on others. "All these act were by the hands of the so called 'royal family' who tyrannized this planet! And I saved you from them!" He yelled and looked directly at the old woman who was taken back by the force of his words. "I didn't come here to enslave or kill anyone! Those who surrendered are alive! I have not killed civilians, damaged anyone's property, taken prisoners or even interrupted people's lives long as they don't try to fight our presence here!" He allowed Dark Side to take over for a second and his eyes flamed like suns. "Don't you dare to insult me, because even I have limits!" His voice echoed in the hall and people were practically running were not the doors blocked by droids. Even noble and wise Sarar-Mas knees were failing her front of the Sith.

Naruto blinked once and his eyes had returned to normal bright blue. "I am not going to hurt anyone of you without a reason. I give you my word." He sat back down and smiled happily. "Now, we can move on to the business."

"What do you want?"

"To bring true democracy and justice to your world." He answered. "Soon, as your people have calmed down, you will hold an election under Separatist protection. Fair and uncorrupt. Free of kings influence and if that summit wishes, my fleet will pack its things and leave."

The hall was stunned with silence.

"You are serious?" Ikimi-Ka asked.

"I give you my word. No matter what lies the corrupt Senate and Republic spreads, Separatists are not monsters. We wish only to clean this galaxy from corruption that has infested the Republic." Naruto assured them. Then he raised his hand. "This meeting has ended. I want you go and spread the news among your people. Let them know this. We are not your enemies. We are here to help you."

The hall was quickly emptied.

A side door to the hall opened and a droid stepped in. "Excellent speech, master." AD walked to him carrying a tray with bottle and cups. "Master Dooku will be so proud of your success."

"Yes." He muttered and took a cup of wine right when Shikamaru appeared from the same door accompanied by the dragon. "So, you dealt with the spy?" He asked as he offered wine to his friend.

"More or less." He nodded. "I have indentified him. He is actually officer in your ship. I thought we shouldn't expose him right away but use him. It is troublesome but I think is wiser than just capturing him." He took the cup.

"I trust your judgment on this one." Naruto smiled. "You are the smart one. I'm the handsome one."

"… yeah… that's one way to look at it." Shikamaru muttered and shot a glare at the lizard that was hissing at him from its master's side. It was already size of a large dog and its teeth were sharper than knife made out of cortosis. And it hated Shikamaru openly and showed it in every turn. It flapped its wings and turned to beg for a compliment which he received when Naruto absentmindedly patted its head. "Anyway, I will let him operate for now."

"Just tell your ideas to your subordinate and we shall be on our way."

"What? We are leaving? Where?"

"Juraran has been invaded and pacified. We will leave fleet here to protect it and continue with our new mission."

"So… I don't have to spend my days doing some troublesome plots like so far but we are actually going to move on?"

Naruto nodded satisfied. "My master has just informed about a situation that has risen in Lahara sector in the Mid Rim. There is something happening in Kalarba that we should check out."

"Kalarba?"

"A planet on Hevvrol system. Its Republic world and its inhabitance are mostly refugees from Coruscant and other worlds for years now. After the war began, their numbers have increased exponentially."

"What interest could Separatists have to a world like that?"

"Well, actually we don't. I do. And my master does. This is why were not taking a fleet with us. We hope to deal with this ourselves."

Shikamaru looked at him suspiciously. "You… this… sounds awfully more troublesome than just leading an army. Will this mission include running, dodging blasters, screaming and escaping from Jedi?"

"If we are lucky." Naruto shrugged excited. "I mean, it was good work out, but these 'invasions' aren't really my thing. I miss the open road, being chased and all that and narrow escape." He stood up. "But first, I need to make a visit." He added darkly.

((A))

Shikamaru watched as scene that opened before him. Narutos droid, AD had piloted their ship to a large plain but it was… weird. There were no animals. No people. Not even grass. It was like everything was dead. What could Naruto possibly want from here?

Naruto stood in the middle of these plains wearing his breathing mask a very dark look in his face. He had been standing there for a quite a while, not moving even an inch. Only his jacket flapped in the wind.

"What happened here?" Shikamaru asked from the droid who turned to look at him.

"This is locations known as the 'Tragedy of Juraran' where over thirty thousand people perished in a blink of an eye. Master Naruto was here at the time and was the only survivor. It was his last mission in the Republic."

Shikamaru nodded quietly. "I think I get it."

Then, Naruto turned around and returned to the ship.

"Everything all right?" Shikamaru asked when he took his breathing mask off and sat in his chair.

"Yes…" He whispered and gulped slightly. "I just… wondered if… if she were pleased with me?"

"Who?"

Naruto smiled sadly. "The woman who wanted to save her world but was killed before she could."

He didn't want to elaborate and Shikamaru didn't push it. "So, Kalarba?" He asked.

"Kalarba." He nodded. "AD, take us there."

"Certainly, master." The droid nodded and pressed few buttons and ship took off and flew into space. Naruto watched from the cockpits window as the atmosphere was left behind and they entered the space. In the distance, he saw the Separatists ships floating peacefully over the world.

"I still can't believe how easily we won." Shikamaru said as he looked out of the window as well. "In few days, the whole system completely under our control. I thought invading worlds would be harder than this."

"Well, you had the privilege working with me." Naruto said quietly. "All warfare is based on deception."

"I've been meaning to ask you, where does that catchphrase come from?"

Naruto leaned back on his chair when they made the jump to hyperspace. "When I was still a Youngling, Dooku taught me many things. Things that you shouldn't teach children who grow up to be Jedi. And I'm not talking about ways to use Force or handle the lightsaber but mental things. Great battles, important people, politics, historical events but most importantly the Art of War."

"Art of War?" Shikamaru asked curiously.

"Long ago, a Jedi named Sun Tzu wrote a book of how to fight a war."

"Long ago? How long ago exactly?"

"If I remember correctly…twenty thousand years ago."

"That long! Then they can hardly be up to date." Shikamaru said quickly. "I mean, with technology and all that."

Naruto smiled. "You'd think that, I know. But the truth is, even with the latest doomsday device and techniques and strategies we know, there are elements that have NOT changed. Us. The humans. Ones who fight the war." Shikamaru had a dumb look on his face and Naruto sighed. "You are no doubt the smartest guy I know and little experience, you will be a man whose skills will be remembered."

"That… sounds dangerous." He muttered. "And troublesome."

Naruto laughed. "You'll do fine."

((A))

"Kalarba?" Asked Jedi knight Bultar from the Council after hearing her newest assignment. "What's there, master?"

"We have just found out that a group of bounty hunters have been gathering there." Her former master, Plo answered. "Considering that the world is full of refugees who wish to escape this war, we find it worrying."

"Do you think refugees are gathering them for some reason? For protection?"

"That's possible that some local authorities might be backing them up, but clearly not the majority." Jiraiya joined the conversation. "A woman called Mei Terumi is creating a new illegal organization and using Kalarba as a base for his operation."

"Refugees have asked us for help." Plo Koon agreed. "They wished to escape the war so they do not wish to attract any attention with this type of guests. But they think that clones could attract the Separatists so they don't want clones but Jedi to help them. They wish that you would disband them by force if you have to. Unfortunately, we don't have enough Jedi for a mission like this so you need to be careful. Kit Fisto will be joining you and your Padawan with Aayla Secura and Sakura Haruno who will arrive trough another route."

"Yes. Master. I shall leave immediately." She bowed her head and was about to leave when she stopped in a middle of the step.

"Something in your mind, Master Swan?" Ki-Adi asked seeing her standing there.

"If you allow it, masters, I would like someone else to take my Padawan from me." She said with a sad voice.

"Is there a problem with you two?" He asked surprised.

"No, she is treating me respectfully and we are getting to know each other. But I fear that I'm failing her."

"Failing her?"

"Ever since… facing the Sith, she has harbored dark thoughts and I fear that she might lose herself any moment."

Masters of the Council all shared worried looks. "We hear your worries, Master Swan." Plo Koon nodded. "But she was assigned to you for a reason. Taking her away and reassigning could be even worse."

"I understand. Thank you for your time." She bowed her head and left.

She rushed through the Temple and found her Padawan, Zule where she had left her, meditating in the Gardens. It was kind of relaxing to know that she wasn't training her lightsaber. Perhaps she wasn't a lost cause. When she stepped next to her, she opened her eyes. "Master? Do we have a mission."

"Yes. We are going to disband a group of bounty hunters that have infested a refugee world of Kalarba."

"I am ready to leave at any moment."

Bultar nodded. "Shall we then?"

((A))

Kalarba. Calm, agricultural world that survived through farms and small communities of refugees all over the Republic. It had a steady increase in its population years before but after the Clone Wars began more and more refugees came every day. Many escaping the war fronts or fear of their formers homes turning into ones.

Unfortunately, as did many civilians and innocents, so did many not so innocents such as bounty hunters and thugs came to the world to make a fortune on usual roughing and stealing from already broke farmers and refugees.

"And we are here to do what exactly?" Shikamaru asked as they sat on a recently opened ramenshop. He was eyeing suspiciously the weird noodle soup. "To get rid of them or to employ them?"

Naruto, who was about to launch all out attack on his bowl, stopped and looked at him strangely. "How you came to those conclusions?"

Shikamaru shrugged. "Just thought and considered. Why else would we come here, if our reason involves them? I doubt we are here to join them."

"So, what do you think we are here for?"

"I would say we are here to employ them." Shikamaru muttered and took up the chopsticks. "Kalarba is in excellent location stating between New Cov and Triffis, so to launch raids on Corellian Run all the way to the Coruscant, this would be ideal for such crew to exist. The reason we didn't use droids was to avoid Republics eyes. As long as they think it's just another criminal syndicate, they have no choice but to give it a secondary importance."

Naruto smiled. "I knew you could do it when you put your head into it. By buying them we will gain a foothold here and in this system as well. We will meet with them soon as we have eaten."

"Do you think they will be easy to buy? They might turn you down?"

"They might. But I was a smuggler before a Separatist and I have dealt with this lady before."

"Lady? Their leader is a woman?"

Naruto snorted. "You better not act disrespectfully with her. I knew her when she was but a hired gun to some smuggler at Tantooine and I knew her to be very skillful. Now she has gathered a group of very capable people around her and starting her own group. When we meet with her, try to keep your mother-issues out of the table."

Shikamarus face grumbled angrily but he didn't say anything.

They left the restaurant one of them completely satisfied.

"What's her name?"

"Mei. Mei Terumi. A total knock out babe. If I didn't have Hiina I would jump on her the moment I see her."

"I… I didn't ask that."

((A))

It appeared that Naruto wasn't wrong about the appearance of Mei Terumi. The boss of recently founded Hidden Mist Group. She was a beauty. But in her seductive eyes there was something that made him make sure that his blaster was strapped to his belt. It had been easy to find her base as it was behind what seemed a legitimate company. Expect after the front desk (behind which a busty Twilek was smiling to the guests. Naruto spend half an hour openly flirting with the lady until he managed to drag him away) the company's employees lost their snappy uniforms and were replaced by very suspicious looking characters.

"Sorry, that isn't for the public." That was the line these well dressed guards had said until Naruto had simply lifted them into the air with a wave of his hand and slammed their heads to the ceiling before stepping to the elevator.

"That's handy." Shikamaru admitted as they rode the elevator all the way up. When they stopped, he knew to step behind the doors for cover. Another push from his friend and he could walk a hallway full of knocked out guards.

Then it was just a steel door which wasn't even a match for Narutos lightsaber (why did he bring me along anyway were his thoughts when the door was sliced in halves) and they stepped inside the office.

"Yo!" Naruto exclaimed loudly as he stepped into the middle of the office Shikamaru on tow who noticed how they were currently surrounded by armed thugs. "Aren't you a bit too cold, my beautiful Mei?" He smiled to the woman standing behind her desk. "I come all across the galaxy just to see you and I have to fight my way up? You break my heart." He shook his head dramatically.

"All you needed to do was tell my cute boys that you knew me." She licked her lips and sat back on her chair. Guards put away their weapons but didn't let go of them. "You didn't need to go through destroying my home."

Naruto shrugged. "I needed to make an entrance. After all, I wanted to know if you actually had something here just an empty building with a busty twilek. You were a hired gun, last time we met."

This caused a bit of anger flow through the guards and Shikamaru found it harder and harder to stay calm but his friend only smiled widely like there had been no harm meant at all, which probably was.

"And you were just a smuggler hanging around with that twilek of yours." She said back. "And here we are. I have finally established my own group and you… well, you aimed slightly higher going for the galaxy in the full."

"This? This is just a temp job. An old friend asked for a favor."

"Thinking that you're the second most wanted man in galaxy is a pretty big favor if you ask me." Mei pointed out and smirked. "Perhaps I should take you and bring your corpse to the Republic. I wonder how much they would give me."

"Two shiny cuffs around your wrists." He answered with a laugh. "Republic isn't known for its leniency against common criminals. Senators and dictators yes, criminals like you? Never."

"But in comparison, a man who actually killed a Republic Senator? I'm sure that would give me some bargain with them."

Naruto shrugged. "Maybe you know them better than me. But whatever they would give you, wouldn't be enough."

Mei raised her eyebrow suspiciously. "What do you mean?"

He shrugged. "Sure, they could give you even million credits if you played your chips right. But after they had given you the million, they would send Jedi and clones to hunt your down and bring this 'enterprise' of yours to the ruble before you knew it. After all, they might consider dealing with you but you will always be a criminal to them."

"So no Republic then. But what about your people? Separatists would definitely pay handsomely, even more so than Republic if I took you as a hostage." She licked her lips. "I could guarantee that your time here wouldn't be painful, too much." She added with a wink.

"Well, that could work. If you wish to be satisfied with one payment." Naruto smirked as he finally reached the heart of the matter. "Or you could go behind door number two where you find yourself in a very profitable relationship with the Separatists. Who, I might add have very deep pockets."

Shikamaru knew Naruto had been a sly person but this was completely new to him.

Naruto told his proposition about raiding the Republic supply lines and informing about any movement on Corellian Run. In exchange, he would promise to buy anything they stole from those runs with additional stable income and if it got too hot for them, safe haven in any Separatists controlled world.

"Are you sure you don't want add any other 'benefits' to this 'relationship'?" She asked. "If you have finally gotten tired of that girlfriend of yours, I could show you what a real woman can do. After all, you didn't mind last time."

Naruto laughed uncomfortably. "Sorry but I'm still going steady with Hiina. So no."

Mei smiled. "Too bad. I would have rocked your world."

"Oh I know you would have." He smiled and leaned over the table. "Maybe, someday, I will take you on that offer."

"Ooh. Can't wait."

Shikamaru cleared his throat. "Naruto. Sorry to break your date but we are receiving a communication from Coruscant. You might want to take it."

Naruto looked at Mei before bowing his head. "We will take our leave, if you don't mind."

"Until next time." She shifted her legs giving her guests a look of her long, long legs. "Don't keep me waiting."

Naruto bowed his head and they left the company quickly. "Can she be trusted?" Shikamaru asked almost as soon as they were out of the front door. "She could just sell us out to the Republic."

Naruto glanced over his shoulder. "She might." He agreed as they entered the stream of people that walked around this city. "But I don't think so. Mei and I have a history and even if I don't trust her, I think I know her well enough. She will not betray me without a good cause and money isn't one of them. But now, we need to concentrate on other matters. We need to find ourselves somewhere private."

They managed to find another restaurant with a cabinet for themselves where Naruto activated his holodisk. "I wonder what my apprentice has to report for me."

A miniature Assajj appeared kneeling position. "Greetings, master. I'm giving you my report. Your plan to assassinate Juraran king is going according to your plan. He already had to fend against two assassination attempts, but unfortunately his guards were able to detect them before it was too late. But, those were only some thugs from some local bar. I'm sure that soon serious bounty hunters will appear and this royal highness will be at your mercy. I'm to inform you that Jedi are keeping close eyes on their family, which restricts my moves. I'm waiting for your orders. End of transmission." Assajj disappeared.

"What you planned for this king then?" Shikamaru asked. "It can't be simple 'go and kill him'."

"Assajj could have slaughtered the whole family in a blink of an eye if I wanted." Naruto smirked. "As what I really have planned, now that would be spoiling it."

"You know, that's really annoying." He muttered right when an explosion filled their ears.

They rushed to the streets and saw a battle on the streets between bounty hunters and... "Sakura!" Narutos eyes widened. He remembered his pain in his backside during his days as a Padawan deflecting lasershots with her ligthsaber which was conveniently pink. Then he suddenly felt familiar presences from Meis building.

"What's going on?" Shikamaru asked.

"Jedi arrived sooner than I thought." He answered angrily. He wasn't angry about that, but about the fact that any Jedi could have entered the planet without him noticing. And they were all whom he knew. But now he needed to think what he should do? He reached for his communicator. "AD, prepare the ship for immediate takeoff. Come and pick us up from our location."

"Right away, master." The droids voice answered dutifully.

"We're leaving?" Shikamaru asked surprised. "I thought we would be helping your friend?"

"If I go there now I would only bring their attention on us." He answered while following how skillfully Sakura, a healer simply defeated all the opponents without even killing even one of them. "And to be honest I don't think Mei would look too kindly at us at the moment. She would most likely not differentiate between us or the Jedi."

"So, we are going to leave without doing anything?"

Naruto sighed. "I suppose you're right." He pulled his lightsaber. "You stay here wait for the ship. I think we will need a quick exit soon enough."

He stepped away from cowering crowds, into the middle of the street just in time when Sakura finished with her 'warm up'.

When the Jedis had arrived into this world, they had made simple plan. Kit and Aayla would go through the front. Bultar and Zule through back, leaving Sakura to secure the street front of the building, in case reinforcements would arrive or anything else. From the looks of the building, it was going well inside. She was just about to put her lightsaber away when she felt very dark presence right behind her. Turning around she saw... "Minato." She yelled surprised and raised her lightsaber again.

"Not again..." He sighed disappointed. "It's Naruto! I mean! It's not that hard to remember! Na-Ru-To."

"Whatever." Sakura muttered angrily. "You got the balls to appear front of me like this!"

"And you are more and more like your master every day." Naruto said back to his childhood friend. It was kind of funny how, like their masters, they had been childhood friends she keeping him on the line. "How is everyone at the Temple? Still angry of how I managed to waltz right through the front door and right out with Yakumo?"

"Where is she? Tell where you've hidden her, and I will let you go."

"Do lines like that ever work?" Naruto snorted. "C'mon, Sakura! You know me better than anyone with only very few exceptions. Do you really really think I would answer to a threat?"

"I guess you wouldn't." She said and took a step forward. She didn't want to engage in to a fight with him. She knew that she was strong herself, but she was no match to him. Never was. But if she could hold him back long enough for others to arrive... "It was awful."

"What was?" Naruto asked curiously.

"What happened in Juraran. Our last mission together." She said. "Remember, I was in kings shuttle when you were..."

"Being poisoned with thirty thousand Jurarans by their own senator who wished to take over the throne." He nodded. "I've already paid my debt to them by freeing their world from their tyrannical rule."

"By changing one tyrant with another."

"Believe what you want." Just then, behind Sakura, the front door was opened and Mei with last two guards who had survived rushed through, throwing bombs into their own building. Sakura turned around just in time to see the first floor go up in flames. She just hoped that no one else was there at the moment. And just like in cue, right before the building started to collapse, Kit Fisto and Aayla Secura jumped through a window above the floor and landed on the ground. Right behind them, Bultar Swan and Zule Xiss.

"It's over!" Aayla yelled and pointed her lightsaber at Mei when Kit simply threw the guards away. "Surrender!"

Mei grunted her face angrily, cursing all the Jedi and Force and the universe alike when she suddenly felt something grabbing her and pulling her away, out of Jedis reach. She saw a blur of pink and heard: "Shikamaru!"

Naruto saw Mei being disarmed and acted on instinct. He used Force to pull her away and yelled for his friend who was right on time to grab her almost comically.

The Jedi all saw Naruto standing there and quickly resumed their stances. "What are you doing here, Sith!" Aayla yelled.

"Nothing." He answered simply before he activated his lightsaber right before Zules would have cut his head off. "Hasty, aren't you."

"This time you won't escape!" She screamed and jumped back and attacked him before he blocked it.

"Zule!" Bultar screamed at her Padawan and hurried with her lightsaber activated to half assist her and half to stop her. Kit and Aayla also charged into fight and Sakura joined them.

Meanwhile, Naruto saw them coming and kicked Zule into her stomach before raised his ligthsaber to deflect Aaylas attack. He pushed her back but Bultar took her place and Kit jumped over him. He summoned his lightsaber from his sleeve and leaped back to cross block Nautolan Jedis lightsaber between. "What? No sneak attack? Through my back?"

Kit smiled excitedly. "Turn around I will give it to you from behind."

"Sorry. I don't swing that way." He aimed a kick on Nautolans chin but he leaped back and dodged it. He quickly looked for Shikamaru who was aiming random shots at the Jedi with Mei, trying to at least even the odds. Naruto jumped to a nearby roof and pressed his wrist control at the same time.

((A))

AD who was peacefully guiding his master's personal shuttle over the houses, when he felt something move in the cargo pit. He turned his head and saw four MagnaGuards activated and ready. "Oh dear." One of the Guards let out a series of sounds and coded messages which the droid understood as a plan.

((A))

Back on the ground, Naruto was engaging four Jedi on the rooftop. His first opponent was Kit who was indeed worthy of being called a member of the Council. Just then he swirled around, giving Naruto an opening on his side which he took only to be blocked by Aayla. He then used his other lightsaber to block Sakura who was trying to come from his blind spot which left Zule who doing more harm to her comrades than good by charging in like a headless chicken.

He pushed Aayla away and deactivated his lightsaber which he used against Sakuras and turned around quickly to block her with his other lightsaber while using his free hand to throw the enraged Padawan off the roof top. "Down girl!" He yelled annoyed when she flew up into the air and flew back and over the rooftop. Then he somersaulted over Sakura so all his opponents were now front of him.

Down at the street, Bultar was trying to apprehend Shikamaru and Mei who knew better than to aim blaster fire at a person who could just send it back at them. But Shikamaru had a plan. He always had a plan and he was hoping it would work. The plan was to first separate from Mei which they did at one street corner. The second part was the ensure the Jedi would chase Shikamaru which he ensured by aiming random looking blaster fire too close to some civilians. Jedi seemed outraged that he was willing to involve others on their fight, but that wasn't his intent at all. He was after all one of the best blaster users when he was a detective on Coruscant. He knew exactly where he was aiming and wasn't disappointed. And the Jedi was chasing after him. Now came the hardest part of the plan because if involved Mei keeping her word and doing her part while he kept running fast as he could. Which was right before something came crashing down right on top of him and everything went black. "Perhaps I should just surrender? Going to prison might not be that bad..." were his words he mumbled before giving into it.

Back on the rooftop, Naruto was being pushed to the corner. Kit and Aayla worked in perfect unison and Sakura improvised well in between. And he really couldn't bring himself to harm a Twilek because every moment he saw those headtentacles, he was reminded of Hiina. He just hoped AD would come soon and that Shikamaru was alright.

He used Force to send Aayla flying back while blocked Sakuras attack and countered with a stab which she tried to dodge but it still scratched her side. "Aah!" She let out a scream and collapsed.

Naruto smirked. "Two down, two to go."

"Freeze, Sith!" He halted and looked over his shoulder. On a neighboring rooftop, Bultar was holding Shikamaru as a captive. He was lying on the roof unconscious. "We have taken you accomplice. Surrender now and he won't be harmed."

"Ha! You expect me to believe that a Jedi would harm a hostage? Especially you. I'm not stupid Bultar."

"But I would!" Shakily walking Zule screamed. She was holding her lightsaber and pointed it at Shikamaru but there was still some way to go.

"Zule! Stop!" Her master yelled.

"No, master! I will not stop!" Zule yelled. "That Sith killed my friends! Killed my master! Slaughtered innocents! And then he dared to set his feet on to Jedi Temple! I cannot let him live any longer!"

The things had taken turn for worse for everyone. Every Jedi, even Sakura who was using her hand to heal herself saw how Zule was being engulfed by the Dark Side. "Oh great, another Dark Jedi." She heard Naruto muttered to her surprise. Then she saw something glitter in the distance.

((A))

Mei might not have been match against Jedi, but she had prepared for everything. One of them was a sniper rifle hidden in this small apartment which she was using at this moment to aim at that one armed monster girl who had slaughtered her personal guard.

((A))

"Zule! Watch out!" Sakura screamed when a laser went right through her chest. Everyone else leaped into action. Kit jumped forward and pushed Naruto over the edge while Aayla grabbed Sakura who couldn't move by herself and followed them. Bultar saw her Padawan to collapse and tried to go and save her when another shot came which was aimed at her. She instinctively blocked it with her ligthsaber but the strength of the shot pushed her over the edge with everyone else.

During their short free fall, Naruto managed to tangle free from Nautolans grip and grab on an edge. Kit, Sakura and Aayla landed safely but Naruto was still hanging from the wall. Somehow Bultar managed grab another edge.

Naruto didn't lie in wait. He kicked his boots off and to everyone's amazement, he started climbing the wall like a... "Rat." Aayla cursed as she witnessed the inhuman abilities to find even smallest of cracks and edges from the wall and use them on his advantage to climb practically straight wall in no time he managed to disappear over the edge.

"Aayla! To the roof! We mustn't let him escape!" Kit yelled. "Sakura, will you manage?"

"I will. Go!" She yelled and continued to heal herself. "Help Zule, masters!"

They found a doorway, and hurried forward.

Bultar tried to copy Naruto, but she couldn't do it half as fast. Instead, she managed to kick the wall to gain some strength into her jump and leaped over and over again to the roof. Just when her hand reached the edge, she saw a ship appearing over them. She didn't waste any time and pulled her over the edge and activated her lightsaber. Just then, four strange droids dropped front of her. She saw Naruto standing behind them, carrying his friend over his shoulder like some sack of grain. "I'll see you later." He smiled widely which confused her when the ship lowered and he threw his friend inside and was about to enter the ship when he stopped in middle of thought. "You! Bring her with me!" He pointed at Zules body and MagnaGuard sprung into action.

"No!" Bultar screamed and charged but other three Guards charged at her.

She could hardly fight back, little own stop Naruto from taking Zules body into his arms and the ship started to gain speed and disappear. Last thing she saw was Narutos eyes looking down on him while holding her while the last MagnaGuard joined the fight against her.

"Bultar!" Kit yelled and used Force to throw that one over the edge and he and Ayala evened the odds. But it was too late. Narutos ship flew into distance, picking up Mei with him and leaving the planet.

The Jedi managed to defeat the MagnaGuards, but they knew that it was all too late. Sith had escaped again but Zule Xiss was taken. Bultar Swan felt like she had been stuck into guts with a lightsaber. "Padawan…"

((A))

"And so our merry band grew." Shikamaru muttered while holding an icepack on his forehead. "This was complete waste of our time." He shot a glare at Mei who was holding a knife in her hand and glaring the Padawan who was currently under care of a medical droid.

Naruto was meditating peacefully and acted like hadn't heard him. "Keep her sedated." He said with clear voice.

"Yes, sir." Droid continued his work uninterrupted. "It is my professional medical opinion that we should keep her completely sedated until we can transfer him to a bacta tank." Then it studied the wound. "She was lucky. If the shot had been any closer to the heart, she would have died."

"It wasn't luck. It was skill." Mei whispered bitterly. "I knew exactly where I was aiming. I was hoping to lure other Jedi there so I could pick them up one boy one."

"That turned out well." Shikamaru snorted. "You didn't even kill one of them."

"I will change that." She whispered and stepped up.

"Hold!" Naruto said without even turning his head. "You will not touch her."

Something in his voice made the former successful boss of a criminal group to sat back down.

Shikamaru sat a bit more straight when he looked at his friends turned back. "Naruto, I don't have any idea what you're thinking half of the time. And the other I'm just in denial. But, now I don't have any idea what goes in your mind."

Naruto turned his head annoyed. "I'm not that hard to read."

"Oh yes you are and you like that." Shikamaru muttered. "Anyway, what do you think you get from this girl?"

But Naruto didn't answer. "We will meet up with Dooku soon. Mei, if you wish to be dropped somewhere, feel free to tell now."

She was glaring daggers into his back. "Just drop me at the nearest spaceport. I will deal with everything else myself."

"If you wish."

They stopped at some random spaceport used for smuggling where Mei eagerly jumped ships. "Before I go, I want to know, what do you plan to do next?" She asked as he leaned in the doorway.

"I think I will retreat from public life for a while and concentrate on these few projects I have around the galaxy. What about you?"

Mei shrugged. "I will begin from the bottom one more time. Everyone would want a sniper with my skills."

"Well, if you ever get bored, Separatists will have use for you."

"I might remember that." She winked. "Until next time."

Narutos ship left the spaceport quietly, leaving Mei looking at their leaving. "Like hell I will." She pulled out a communicator and waited for a while. "Codename: Perverted toad. Message: I have placed the tracker on his ship. You owe me very very much. Remember that."

CHAPTER END

A/N: AND SCENE! Sorry for the long wait, I hope this made up something. See you later.