Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. Kishimoto better change his name to Santa Claus and fork over the rights or his ass is grass.
Chapter 2: Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers
It had only been one day since Naruto had learned Chakura Hankyouteii no Jutsu (Chakra Echolocation Jutsu) and he had barely stopped using it for the entire day before. Once he ate and bragged about his graduation to Teuchi and Ayame at Ichiraku Ramen he went straight home and pretty much sat on his roof for hours just sending out pulse after pulse, scouting for anything he could sense. It was unarguably the stillest Naruto had ever sat for the longest period of time. Why didn't more people take the time to learn this jutsu from Iruka-sensei? As a matter of fact why not teach it in the academy? It was so cool.
Anyway, after doing that for a few hours of mindless entertainment, funny though, Iruka said it was wasteful on chakra, he didn't feel like he had been doing anything but that was a whole different matter, after he was done playing with his new jutsu he headed inside. He still had a week to wait out before he was to be at orientation and he had nothing to do. He promised he wouldn't pull anymore pranks and he wasn't going to be able to top painting the Hokage Monument anyway.
He had absolutely nothing to do that night. There was no need to go to bed early or anything, he didn't have to be anywhere the next morning for an entire week, but he still didn't have a thing to do for that period of time.
"You need to get all of the Academy katas down and finish learning the taijutsu."
Iruka told him he needed to finish learning the taijutsu. Naruto always assumed he was passable in taijutsu because he was. It was the only thing he decisively passed no matter what in the academy because it didn't require him to learn anything or pay too much attention. All the attention he paid was in the beginning when they went over the most simple basics provided, how to punch and kick. That was it. He knew nothing else formal about it. Not how to dodge and parry, not even how to properly block. He never even really got reprimanded in taijutsu class because more often than not when they would spar he would win. He couldn't beat kids like Kiba or that asshole Sasuke, but pretty much everyone else he was able to at the very least hang tough against, because he launched an assault right when the fight would start, even when he got hit he would just work on through it, counting on the fact that he could take more punches than his opponents. His style was no style, he was a hard-nosed brawler and it had suited him fine to this point.
But he promised that he would try… that and he didn't have anything to do and it was too late to go out and run amok. What he forgot however, was that he had never bothered to even keep his stuff together from the Academy. When he got homework or some other handout that he didn't do right there on the spot it usually got forgotten among some clutter, and he hadn't touched anything on taijutsu in forever. Hence the rest of his night awake was spent with him digging all over the apartment for his stuff on Academy taijutsu.
When he had woken up the next morning two hours were spent with him retrieving the rest of his scrolls on taijutsu, and by the time he had finished that and had some breakfast he was too bored to just sit in his apartment a read them. Deciding to kill two birds with one stone he left the house in search of somewhere interesting that could help him hold his attention long enough to get to the practical application of the academy taijutsu because after learning basic stance and punches and kicks Iruka went into lecture mode for about a month after that, killing Naruto's buzz so to speak and letting his attention on the matter drop.
'At least this time I can skip all of the boring stuff and just learn the cool moves in the scroll.' Naruto thought to himself as he walked through the village. He held the scroll in his hand, looking at it as he navigated the village streets on auto-pilot.
He didn't really need to keep his eyes ahead of him, people usually always gave him a wide berth when he was going anywhere, something he didn't really understand, but that was the way it had been for as long as he could remember. That was okay, all he had to do was show them how awesome he was and then everything would change, which was going to happen any day now that he was finally a ninja. Kids would be asking him for autographs, he'd hear people reference his greatness even in conversations where his name wasn't even in the topic, appraising eyes would be on him every time he went into public. Yep, he couldn't wait.
'I can't wait to show everyone how much ass I kick! I've got to go learn this taijutsu so I can get started!' With a huge grin on his face, Naruto sped off towards the verdant forests of Konoha to find somewhere to get to work.
Naruto was incredibly disappointed when he finally reached his spot in the forest he had chosen to train at. The Academy taijutsu scroll only had a few basics; how to throw textbook punches, kicks, how to block to minimize damage, how to notice your opponent telegraphing an attack, just those basics. The most advanced thing in the scroll he found was how to trap a limb and that was where that little hint of instruction stopped with the words 'from here utilize advanced grappling knowledge.' When the hell had they gone over that? And why didn't he have a scroll on it?
Naruto growled and stood up to go through the motions that were actually provided in instruction on the scroll as he really didn't know those things actually except for the punches and kicks. Blocking was harder to get seeing as he needed a training partner. And then he proceeded to slam his head off of a tree as he realized that he had a built in training partner from the jutsu he had learned from the Scroll of Seals.
With a clone made via Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Jutsu) Naruto had him play living dummy as he directed the clone to hold its hands out and catch his punches and kicks so that Naruto didn't have to smash them up on a tree. It would always dispel after blocking a few, but he could always bring out another one no matter how irksome it was. This went on for thirty minutes before Naruto decided to drill his defense.
Making a clone that was grinning at the potential prospect brought along by his order, which was to punch and kick the original Naruto while he tried blocking, parrying, and eventually catching the punches in his grasp, he set himself in his basic stance and prepared for practicing his blocking… which didn't really work out too well for him right off the bat.
Naruto's clone immediately took to pummeling his creator, per his orders, not even letting Naruto reset himself to try again, and then it basically devolved into Naruto rolling around and brawling with himself on the forest floor.
"Ow! You bit me!" The original Naruto shouted before dispelling his unruly clone with a hard smash over the head, "Stupid troublemaking Kage Bunshin!" Naruto stood back up and smashed his fist against a tree, forcing the leaves to shake violently. A kunai then deposited itself right above where his hand was against the tree forcing Naruto to turn around and let out a pulse to determine his attacker's exact location.
Naruto turned in the exact direction he felt a living presence with a serious look, "Who's there? You might as well come out, I can find you no matter what!" Naruto sounded pretty tough, but that kunai came close to pinning him to a tree and the other night while playing with his new jutsu he had gotten used to sensing distance. He sensed the person that did that from about 500 feet away, that was scary aim even though they missed… and he hoped that they had missed on purpose.
After a few seconds a brown eyed girl with brown hair put up into buns came out, looking over Naruto warily, the favor being returned right back to her. She had on a sleeveless pink Chinese top and dark green pants. The thing Naruto noted was that she had on her own headband signifying her as a ninja of the village, and he had left his at home, only planning to wear it once orientation took place.
Naruto pulled at the kunai she had thrown into the tree trunk out with quite a bit of effort as he kept his eyes on her, 'How hard did she throw this thing?' Finally he managed to pull the kunai out and held it out in front of him suspiciously, "Why did you throw that at me?" He finally asked.
The girl spoke up with conviction in her voice, "For the last forty-five minutes all I hear from my spot training in the forest is a lot of yelling and shouting, and then a bunch of cursing and finally someone starts sounding like they're going to tear the forest apart. Let's just say I don't like leaving things unsolved and leave it at that. Now who are you?"
Naruto still didn't really drop his guard, Mizuki wasn't supposed to try and kill him either and that still happened, "Uzumaki Naruto. Future Hokage, dattebayo."
"You have to be a ninja first before you can try being Hokage kid." Naruto got a tick mark on his head from how she was talking to him.
Naruto snapped at her, "I am a ninja! I'm no different than you!"
The girl didn't verbally respond she simply audibly tapped the metal of her headband, "You need one of these to distinguish yourself as a ninja of this village. So where's yours?"
Damn it, so most of this could have been avoided if he had just worn the headband. He wasn't leaving that thing home ever again, "I didn't bring it, I didn't know I would need to actually identify myself today… I don't even have orientation until next week."
The girl's distrustful look switched over to one of amusement as her seemingly hostile posture straightened up. She walked over to Naruto and ruffled his hair, "Aww, you're just a baby rookie huh?" She grinned as him as he shook her hand off of his head.
"Oi!" Naruto replied crossly, "You're treating me like a five year old! I'm a legal adult now, a fully-fledged ninja!"
"Of course you are…" The girl pinched Naruto's cheek, taking pride in the twitching eyebrow signifying his ire at the current predicament, "Such a big tough ninja that hasn't even put his headband on yet or even gone on a mission. So precious."
Naruto's voice came out distorted due to the girl's grabbing of his cheek, "You know you're not any older than me so you can't be that much farther advanced."
She raised an eyebrow, "I've been a genin for a little over a year. That's an eternity compared to a newbie like you. I'd squash you if we were ever to fight."
"Oh yeah?" Naruto felt insulted. Who did this girl think she was? Why did everyone think they could just walk all over him all of the time? Even when people don't know him at all it still happened, "How about you put your money where your mouth is?"
The girl once again looked sufficiently amused by his statement, "Alright then. You're lucky that my team broke off for the day so that we could all train on our own, so now I've got some time to play with you. Follow me." She finished by taking her kunai back out of Naruto's grasp.
Naruto flexed his fingers in anticipation as he followed this new girl into a clearing to fight. This was his first legitimate fight against a ninja since Mizuki and he was going to make her eat her words. The girl stood out in front of him with a confident look on her face, "I'll go easy on you and wrap this up in 3 minutes Naruto-chan." She taunted.
Naruto grit his teeth, she was seriously messing with him now, "Oh yeah? I don't know who you are, so I know damn well that you don't know me! I'll tell you this though, don't underestimate me!" Naruto broke out in a rush right at the kunoichi planning to just knock her block off and be done here so he could be productive again.
The girl's jaw almost dropped at how straightforward this guy was. The space between them was thirty yards, thirty yards that he had to cover before he could even think of taking a swing at her, and he wasn't even that fast. Hell, one of her teammates hopping towards her on one leg would probably be faster than this kid was moving. She had to refrain from shaking her head as she pulled out a set of shuriken, she really didn't want to hurt this kid.
Naruto ended up falling onto his face as sharp pains hit him in multiple places on his body. Naruto rolled over and looked at his legs to see multiple shuriken sticking out the front of them going down. He looked up in surprise at his female opponent who had a displeased look on her face, "If that's all you've got then go home. I could have killed you right there and been done with it if this were an actual battle."
Naruto's eyes widened. She was right. He barely even saw anything coming at him and she hit him flush. Ignoring this, Naruto pulled the shuriken out of his legs and stood back up, she hadn't hit him anywhere vital or even anywhere important. So she was using weapons was she? Naruto reached into his own supply pouch and let off a barrage of shuriken at the girl who simply smirked and threw more of her own, hitting each of Naruto's and knocking them out of the air.
She was looking too smug for him to just quit and leave. Not without hitting her once, not without just giving her one good one to prove he wasn't pathetic. Naruto lifted his hands and made a cross seal with his fingers, "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Jutsu)!"
The young girl's eyes widened as she saw one Naruto multiply into twelve. She was so surprised she almost missed his shout of 'Go!' that spurned all of them into action. The sight of so many Naruto's charging in at her and the realization that they weren't regular Bunshin and were real almost made her run away, but she got herself under control and focused. It didn't matter if there were twelve of him; twelve times zero was still zero.
Naruto planned on giving her the old Mizuki special, but he figured she was a genin and Mizuki was an elite, sending that many would be complete overkill so twelve was enough. He thought that right until a bo staff appeared in her hands in a puff of smoke and she began decimating his clones.
Seeing a girl his age masterfully handle a six-foot long staff so effectively, his clones weren't even getting close enough to mount an offense, was disheartening. What did he have? What? Was he going to just flood the field with clones like against Mizuki and beat her to a bloody pulp because she had skill that he didn't have? He didn't even think that teme Sasuke could beat this girl.
"Who are you?" Naruto asked once she finished mowing his Kage Bunshin down.
The girl set the head of her staff on the ground in her hand and wiped her brow, "It took you long enough to ask, how rude. My name is Tenten. So are we done?"
Naruto frowned. What did he have other than the Kage Bunshin? That was his trump card, his best technique, the strongest thing he had. He could have kept making them for as long as he wanted, but she would have just kept killing them off, and he didn't like his own chances of getting close to her the way his replicas had been put out of commission.
No. A win was a win and he would be damned if he was just going to lay down and let this girl beat him without at least trying to triumph. Naruto channeled his chakra and formed his hand-seal again, "Tajuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Multiple Shadow Clone Jutsu)!"
Okay, seeing a rookie that hadn't even had a day on the job make solid clones was an eye-opener for Tenten, but this was ridiculous. She was surrounded on all sides by Naruto's clones that were giving her a wide berth to avoid the staff, but it was only a matter of time before he sent them in, she knew this, it was only logical.
Tenten quickly pulled out two scrolls and set them on the ground while making a short set of hand-seals.
"Go!" Naruto shouted, ordering his Kage Bunshin to put Tenten down hard.
"Soushouryuu (Twin Rising Dragons)!" Tenten's scrolls unraveled upwards in a swirling pattern of smoke as she jumped between them and began unsealing weapons from the scrolls surrounding her. She then proceeded to mercilessly bombard Naruto's hoard of copies with every single weapon she had amassed inside of her scrolls. Not just the standard fare of kunai and shuriken, Tenten pelted the poor clones with fuuma shuriken, a mace, sickles, senbon, katanas, she even threw out a few broadswords… and everything she threw hit. Nothing she flung at the Kage Bunshin missed its mark.
All of them forgot about attacking and simply focused on surviving, but there was nowhere to go. They were in the middle of a clearing, the closest cover was sixty yards away and Tenten wasn't taking prisoners. In a matter of moments Tenten had cleared the field of every single image of Naruto she had been aiming at. She landed back on the ground and her scrolls went slackas the field was covered in the leftover smoke from all of the clones.
Tenten grimaced at her handiwork. She knew she hadn't missed a single one, they were far too slow for her to miss on her worst day. She looked around for the real Naruto, she hoped she hadn't injured him too badly with all of that, she might have gone a little overboard, "Kid are you still alive? Say something!" She began walking and looking about the field that was hazy from all of the Kage Bunshin smoke that was steadily dispersing.
The area finally cleared up and Tenten couldn't see Naruto anywhere, there was no blood or anything either, signifying if he ran away or not. A poof sound directed her attention behind her where all she saw upon turning was a flash of yellow and orange before a fist closed in on her face.
A green blur came from out of nowhere and plowed a flying kick into the side of Naruto's face, sending him flying off from his surprise attack on Tenten and sending him sliding through the amassed weapons from Tenten's jutsu.
The blur turned out to be a boy their age in a green bodysuit, orange leg-warmers, bandaged hands, and a red headband around his waist as a belt. He had a black bowl-cut hairstyle and large eyebrows over round black eyes. He stood protectively in front of Tenten in a fighting stance, "I cannot allow you to harm my teammate. Such an underhanded attack on my youthful female comrade."
"Lee?" Tenten said questioningly as she saw Naruto struggling and failing to pick himself up off of the ground. Her mood turned from confusion to annoyance, "Lee that was what he was supposed to do! We were sparring, he was supposed to try and hit me!"
The boy now identified as Lee stood up out of his stance and looked at Tenten in a puzzled manner before his face turned apologetic, "Ah, I am sorry Tenten. I simply saw him appear and attack you from behind and I just acted. I apologize."
Tenten shook her head, "Whatever. I'm not the one you need to apologize to. I'm not the one that got blindsided and knocked senseless." She turned her head towards Naruto who had finally pulled himself into a sitting position.
Naruto sat on the ground rubbing his face and clearing the mass amounts of weapons around him so that he didn't get cut or stabbed by anything. What the hell hit him? One second he was so close to nailing that Tenten chick right on the chin he could see the fear in her eyes and then he was over here forty feet away and feeling like chewing would be a pipe-dream in the near future. He stopped thinking when he saw the object of his last attack kneel down in front of him with an apologetic look on her face, "I'm sorry about that. My hot-headed teammate jumped the shark and interrupted the fight."
Naruto looked at her eyes exuding remorse for his appearance. He dabbed at his face with his hand and pulled it away. When he was hit his face must have dragged across the ground quite a bit from the blood he saw when he touched it. He must have cut it up on any of Tenten's myriad of weaponry, "Are you alright?"
A smirk crossed Naruto's face suddenly, "I told you I'd last more than 3 minutes." Naruto then noticed how concerned she sounded and gave her a reassuring grin, "Sure I'll be fine. This will all heal up by tomorrow!" He said loudly before clutching his jaw, he had opened it too far to talk. He looked over and saw a strange guy in green, ah, he must have been the douche that hit him… he probably fractured his jaw.
"I am terribly sorry for kicking you." The green guy said frantically, "It's just I was not aware that it was a spar, I thought you were trying to harm my teammate and I just jumped right in, and-."
"Lee!" Tenten cut him off from speaking any further, "I think he gets it. You're sorry."
Lee stopped moving around and spazzing out, "Yes, Tenten is correct. I apologize for harming you." The boy bowed to him before straightening out and giving him a smile, "I am Konoha's Beautiful Green Beast, Rock Lee!" Did his teeth just sparkle?
Naruto figured he must have been concussed or something and shook it off, "Well then I'm Uzumaki Naruto, the next Hokage, dattebayo!"
"What a youthful goal!" Lee shouted to the skies, "I myself have high dreams as does our dear Tenten. I wish to be a world-famous ninja known only for my taijutsu, and Tenten wishes to be a ninja on par both strength and reputation-wise with Tsunade!"
Naruto just nodded once he heard Tenten's dream, he had no idea who that was. He rubbed his jaw again once Lee's goal registered with him, "Well you're off to a good start… both of you actually." Naruto looked at the weapons surrounding him, "You didn't miss once!"
Tenten smiled at him before it fell, "Wait, I missed you."
Naruto shook his head, "No, you never threw anything at me. You just destroyed all of my clones. After you cut down a few I hid in the smoke and henged into one of the weapons that you threw. That was really scary though."
Tenten held out a hand and helped Naruto to his feet, "You almost got me. If Lee hadn't kicked you I would probably be face up looking at the clouds right now wondering what happened."
Naruto grinned at her widely, "Henge no Jutsu (Transformation Jutsu) is super useful. I was never going to get close enough to do anything to you the way you were fighting."
Rubbing the back of her head sheepishly she laughed a little, "What can I say? I like weapons." She then let out a sigh, "But now I have to pick up and reseal all of these."
Lee gave her a rigid salute, "I will help you retrieve all of your ninja tools Tenten." With that he ran off around the entire clearing, picking up the weaponry.
Naruto was shocked at his speed and then turned to Tenten, "So that's why it looked so easy for you to hit me if he's your teammate. That guy is insane fast!"
"You have no idea." Tenten agreed, "But you weren't bad."
"Yes I was." Naruto looked down, "You said it yourself that you could have killed me right at the start. And even then the only way I could even get close was with that trick."
"Well duh." Tenten said with a roll of her eyes, "That's what a shinobi is supposed to do, catch their opponent off guard and finish them off. It's not like you had any weapon to get near me with anyway, you had to fight like that or you would have never gotten near me."
Naruto's face lit up at that, "Actually I did have a weapon. A weapon more dangerous than any of yours." Tenten looked at him anticipating his answer, "My mind."
Tenten blinked at him before bursting into laughter forcing her to double over and hold herself up on her knees, "Your mind? Okay then whatever you say." She finished with a giggle.
"Yosh!" Lee deposited all of Tenten's weapons in a neat pile by her two scrolls and saluted her, "Tenten, Gai-sensei sent me here to retrieve you so that we could take a mission. You should hurry and get back to our training ground." Lee turned his attention to Naruto, "It was nice to meet you Naruto-san. I hope I will see you around the village one day." With that, Lee ran out of the clearing away from Naruto and Tenten.
Tenten sighed and walked over to her scrolls, quickly sealing her tools back inside of them.
She looked at Naruto oddly, getting him to continue, "That was cool! How did you do that?"
Tenten almost face-faulted, "That was just me sealing my weapons back up. I learned how to do that in the Academy, didn't you?" Naruto looked away sheepishly and mumbled, "What was that?" She asked him.
"I said I was the dead-last!" He shouted before going silent, expecting her to start making fun of him, laugh at him, or just start treating him like everyone else did, ignoring him.
Tenten gave him a warm smile, "But you graduated didn't you? Graduating last is better than not graduating at all, right?" She pocketed her scrolls and patted him on the shoulder, "You know, Lee was the dead-last of our class last year too." Naruto looked up at her with bulging eyes, "Yep. He can't do any ninjutsu and barely passed and now look at him. I would rather have him on my side than any of those others from our year. So don't worry about it."
Naruto couldn't believe it. That guy had been the dobe too? "How did he get so good? He was so fast I don't think anyone in my class could even touch him."
Tenten put up one finger, "He trained, trained very hard." She then turned to leave the field, "See you around Naruto. If you ever want a rematch you can usually find me here on days where my team doesn't meet."
Naruto watched her leave and waved at her, getting a wave back. He looked at the field he had just used to more or less get his ass kicked, 'So that's how strong a genin is after one year of being a ninja?' His face formed a small grin, 'Well it looks like I'm just going to have to get better than that won't I?'
After getting bored with the monotony of just going through taijutsu katas for hours, Naruto headed back into town. The cuts he had suffered from his little scuffle were steadily healing, but he still had to head home to grab some bandages, making him look like he had lost a fight. He basically had, but he still didn't like looking like he did in public.
He simply kept to himself and wandered about, thinking on what he had done today, 'Tenten kicked my ass, all those Kage Bunshin were useless when it came to getting close to her. She was really good with those weapons! I almost got her though… after I did that trick with Henge. Huh, so that's what Iruka-sensei meant by my brain is my most dangerous weapon.'
Naruto's wandering had taken him from the business and residential districts of Konoha he normally found himself frequenting and brought him over to the side of the village that was more focused on military matters. He hadn't been here much because there was never really any need to do anything except go and hang out with the Sandaime Hokage for a bit.
That actually didn't sound like a half-bad idea come to think of it.
With a new course of action set in his mind, Naruto headed towards the Hokage Tower where once he arrived, the guards game him a cautious look. He got that look more often than not, but in this case he figured they had some reason to look at him like that, he had just broken in two days ago and stolen a scroll full of village secrets.
As he headed towards the office he greeted the pretty secretary that let him go inside where he found the old kage sitting at his desk with a lit pipe in hand, "You shouldn't smoke that stuff Sarutobi-jiji. You're already old enough, don't let the smoke kill you faster."
The old man chuckled at Naruto and put his pipe out for the boy's benefit, "Naruto-kun. What can I do for you today?" He then got a good look at his face, "What on earth happened to you?"
Naruto grinned awkwardly, "I kind of got into a fight with an older genin a little while ago."
The old man frowned disapprovingly, "You shouldn't be picking fights with your comrades Naruto-kun. You should know better than that. I'm disappointed."
Naruto looked down ashamedly. He didn't even bother telling him that Tenten more or less started it as he didn't think that would go over so well as an excuse even if he had, "I'm sorry jiji. I learned a lesson though. She kind of handed me my ass for most of it."
Hiruzen's mood improved and he let out another aged chuckle, "Well you are just a fresh genin Naruto. She's been at this for at least a year if she's older than you from the way you sound. A year of hard training and field experience while you were still in the Academy makes her a better shinobi just out of principle."
"About the Academy…" Naruto figured he might as well ask while it was fresh on his brain before he forgot, "I was going over some stuff about the Academy taijutsu. All it had was the basic stuff, and the only thing it said on anything else was something I didn't even had. I checked later and I couldn't find it. Something about advanced grappling knowledge, but I don't have anything on that."
The old man stood up and rested his hand on Naruto's shoulder as he led him out of his office, "I'll show you this now since you're a shinobi now Naruto-kun, come with me." The Sandaime Hokage led Naruto out to the roof of the tower where he proceeded to use Shunshin no Jutsu (Body Flicker Jutsu) to take them to a building at the top of the Hokage Monument.
Naruto looked at Sarutobi who started walking ahead of Naruto towards the building, "Can you teach me how to do that jiji?" Naruto asked excitedly.
"Maybe you can teach it to yourself Naruto-kun." The Hokage motioned for Naruto to catch up with him. After the boy caught up, he proceeded to open a massive set of double doors. Behind the set of doors lay a massive room with row after row of books and scrolls.
"Where are we Sarutobi-jiji?" Naruto wondered. He had never been anywhere near this place before. When he went to the top of the Hokage Monument all he ever did was go to look off over the edge at the village
Hiruzen smiled, "This is the Konoha Archive Library. Located here is tons of information on things like village history, ninja both past and current, and all sorts of other things."
Naruto deflated, "Aww… I thought this was going to be cool. All this place has are a bunch of musty books and scrolls."
Hiruzen shrugged, "Oh, I was going to say that I thought a few ninja techniques were here as well, but if you aren't interested…" He baited Naruto, and he didn't let him down.
"Hold on." Naruto stopped Hiruzen, "You say that there are all kinds of stuff here like jutsu too right?"
"There are a few if you actually comb through and look." Hiruzen knew he had him now. Just the prospect at learning a new jutsu had Naruto ready to go.
"Well then let's get going then!" Naruto yelled before a harsh shush sounded out from the man seated at the front desk. A middle-aged man with close-cut black hair and a small, high, ponytail, a goatee, glasses, and a long white jacket, open to show a dark orange shirt and black pants.
The man sighed, "You can't just yell in the middle of this place you know. This is a facility for quiet study, please don't disrupt the shinobi here to work."
Naruto blushed and rubbed the back of his head, "Sorry oji-san. It won't happen again."
Hiruzen chuckled and patted Naruto on the head, "Naruto this is Ikeda Atsuto. He is the head of Konoha's Cryptanalysis Squad."
"Wow." Naruto said as he looked at the average looking man, "You must be a really important guy then huh?"
"I'm just a basic librarian when I'm not needed to work." The man smiled slightly, "Heh, a bookworm's good for something in a hidden village after all. Now what can I do for you Hokage-sama?"
Hiruzen led Naruto closer to his desk, "Well Uzumaki Naruto-kun here just graduated and he would like to go through your library to see if he could find something on advanced grappling techniques to bolster his Academy taijutsu."
"-And some cool jutsu!" Naruto cut in loudly before covering his mouth suddenly, "Sorry, I forgot."
Atsuto waved it off, "It's alright, but I'm kind of iffy on exactly where the volumes on taijutsu are." He looked at Naruto appraisingly, "He is a shinobi isn't he?"
"Yes, yes. He is a recent graduate." Hiruzen assured him, "I most certainly wouldn't have brought him if he weren't. He simply neglected to wear his headband today. Isn't that right Naruto-kun?"
Naruto was sure there was a lesson in that comment somewhere. It was the second time today that he almost got himself into trouble for not wearing that thing. He just wanted to keep it looking good for orientation. If he had worn it he would have gotten it all scuffed in his little scrap with Tenten or it would have gotten all sweaty, or he could have lost it. He was trying to be responsible, "Yes jiji…" Naruto said as if he had just been lightly scolded.
Atsuto nodded, "Alright then, next time make sure you wear it. Only shinobi of Konoha or those with express permission from the Hokage can come in here and examine our archives. Now let me get someone to help you. Shiho!" He shouted out into the mostly still library, getting Naruto and Hiruzen to sweatdrop at the hypocrisy.
A surprised yelp came before some swift rummaging noises. Seconds later a girl with blonde hair darker than Naruto's tied back in a ponytail with a red hairband and glasses that looked like swirls were in them where her eyes should have gone on her face came out and stood in front of Atsuto's desk. Her hair had occasional strands sticking up, making her look slightly disheveled. She had on a long dark red dress and a long white coat like Atsuto, only she held her coat together with a black headband worn like a backwards sash around her waist.
"Yes sensei? What can I do for you?" Shiho said once she had gotten to the front.
Atsuto smiled at the girl and turned to Naruto, "This is my genin apprentice Shiho. If you'd like I'm certain she'd help you find anything it is that you are looking for here. Shiho go ahead and say hello to the Hokage and meet Uzumaki Naruto."
The girl turned around and saw Naruto who gave her a tentative wave. The girl returned it with a smile, "Hello Hokage-sama, and hello Uzumaki-kun. I'd be happy to help out. All I was doing before this was just putting back some of the books those other lazy ninja didn't bother with."
"Speaking of which, did you finish that?" Atsuto said with a look that had a dangerous gleam in his eye.
Shiho recoiled slightly, "Uh I was almost done, but then you called me to meet Uzumaki-kun. Sorry sensei."
The man laughed, "It's alright Shiho as long as it gets done before you head home for the day. Now if you would, please help Naruto here get situated."
Hiruzen sighed, "Well I have to get back to the office and complete my work. Please take good care of Naruto-kun here if you could Shiho-chan." With that the old man bade everyone farewell and returned to the Hokage Tower.
Atsutu waved for the two youngsters to leave him to his busy work, "Now both of you go on and show Naruto what the library has for a young ninja like him. You can finish your work later Shiho."
Shiho nodded and motioned for Naruto to follow her into the archives, "Come with me please." After they started walking for a bit, Shiho started talking, "So this is your first time here?"
Naruto laughed and placed his hands behind his head, "Yeah, I just graduated the other day and jiji brought me here so I could figure out something that I couldn't find on taijutsu from the Academy stuff."
"Well the Academy taijutsu is more of something that was used as a building block to help keep students in shape and give them a base in learning more advanced styles later." Shiho replied succinctly as they kept walking.
"Yeah." Naruto said, squinting, "Iruka-sensei said that too."
Shiho nodded and smiled, "Well you graduated. That's good for you. I graduated last year but I wasn't able to actually become a ninja due to… well related circumstances. I shouldn't say."
Naruto looked at her sorrowfully, "Oh, that's terrible. I'm sorry, I'm probably making you feel bad with all of this aren't I?"
Shiho waved off his concern, "Oh no don't worry about it. Because of sensei I'm still technically an active shinobi and I still do missions from time to time, but I'm here more often than not. It actually might have been the best thing to happen to me. Atsuto-sensei found me after it happened and extended an invitation to be his apprentice in the Cryptanalysis Squad. I actually like doing that more than I would have liked being a shinobi. Fighting never really was my strong suit in the Academy, I wasn't too good at the practical parts. If I hit you it would probably feel like a paper bag brushed against your face." She said with a slight laugh as she threw a fake punch at Naruto that brushed against his cheek jokingly.
Naruto let out a laugh himself, "Heh, you never know. I'm not too good myself, I just got a bit of a beatdown today myself, but it's going to be alright. A Hokage never lets a little setback stop him!"
Shiho liked this Naruto kid. There weren't too many shinobi around her age heading to the library for her to talk to and he didn't treat her like a useless nerd so far. It didn't seem to bother him that she wasn't a real ninja at all, "You want to be Hokage Uzumaki-kun?"
Naruto grinned at her, "You'd better believe it Shiho-chan. I'm going to be the best Hokage there ever was! You'll see, then when you're the head of this department we can run this village, dattebayo!"
Both of them turned down an aisle as directed by Shiho, "That sounds good, just make sure you give me a raise okay?" She said as she trailed her finger along the edges of the books to find her place, "Okay, here's a book on basics of shinobi combat." She said as she placed it in his hands, "It's a good read and it's pretty helpful."
Naruto looked at the book; Essential Knowledge on Shinobi Tactics, Styles, and Skills, "Aww, Shiho-chan I just wanted the taijutsu scroll on the grappling stuff or some cool looking style so I could see if I could learn it before orientation so that I have more cool moves to show off." Naruto whined, "Why are you making me read this?"
Shiho rolled her eyes, "Because all of that stuff you want is all well and good but if you don't know how or when to use it then it's not going to help is it?" She questioned, "If you did end up getting a new style from out of here and then somehow learned it well enough to use it by orientation you still wouldn't have any knowledge on what to do with it. Like if you wanted to engage from one hundred feet away, how would you get there, run right at them and hope they stand still and wait for you?"
Naruto blushed as he realized that little plan of action didn't exactly work out today against Tenten, "Okay…" He said begrudgingly, "I'll read this then, I promise." He gave a defeated sigh as Shiho gave him a victorious smile and a 'v' sign before taking him to a table to sit and read at.
Shiho seated him and patted him on the back, "Okay Uzumaki-kun. Get started reading this and I'll see if I can find the stuff on taijutsu that you want." She looked back towards the archives and slumped her shoulders, "I really wish there was someone else working today other than me and sensei though… help would be nice."
"You need help?" Naruto vacantly made the seal for his strongest jutsu after cracking the book open with a bored look, "I can do that, Tajuu Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Multiple Shadow Clone Jutsu)." A puff of smoke surrounded Naruto and Shiho before revealing a dozen Narutos all looking around blankly, "There you go, help Shiho-chan find what she's looking for. I'll just stay here and… *sigh* read." He said distastefully.
The clones looked at each other before shrugging, better to do this than to read, 'Poor boss.' The clones thought before one turned to Shiho, "Okay Shiho-chan, where do we start?"
Shiho stared at them in disbelief before poking the one closest to her, "They're all real? That move must be so complex? What is he doing here then? He must be a genius or something!"
The clones all blushed in embarrassment, "Actually we were the dead-last this year… But that doesn't mean anything!"
Shiho nodded, "Not if this jutsu you have here has anything to say about it. Now come on, let's go find the real Uzumaki-kun his scrolls."
Naruto simply read along while his clones and Shiho went searching through the place for what he asked for. He promised her he would read this and she was a nice enough girl. He didn't want to upset his new friend right after meeting her just because he was too much of a blockhead to try and crack a book for once.
A ninja's style is an approach to combat that makes use of that ninja's strengths and talents.
It then proceeded to give off a list of different catalogued styles and the direct page number to skip to, something Naruto was thankful for as he didn't have to read the whole thing if he found something he liked.
'Long-range, mid-range, and close-range styles.' Remembering how Tenten fought he flipped to the section on long-range, 'Marksman, that sounds like her alright. Marksman; a style more suited for support than for direct attack. Is most useful in events of surprise attack to take down multiple foes before they can react, weakening an enemy's defenses, and diverting their attention away from the main attack. A marksman's best bet in a fight is to stay at a distance from an opponent to keep out of the enemy's range and safely bombard them with accurate attacks. Good reflexes and impeccable hand-eye coordination are the hallmark of a good marksman. Marksmen are usually weak against wind-type ninjutsu as their weapons must fly through the air to reach the target'
Naruto sighed, "Man if only I was a wind-type… or even knew how to be one. Then Tenten would have been done for." He laughed to himself at the thought of a chibi Tenten throwing stuff at him and Naruto just lifting one hand and blowing it away like paper.
He kept reading through styles such as puppeteering, which sounded cool but they were all from Sunagakure, and Naruto couldn't even find that place on an unlabeled map, let alone actually know someone from there so no dice whatsoever there. He read about sensor ninja, a type of ninja able to detect the presence of others through their chakra. He was pretty new at that as he couldn't really use Chakura Hankyouteii no Jutsu (Chakra Echolocation Jutsu) far enough for it to be effective enough to call him a proper sensor yet. He eventually lost himself in the book, jumping around and reading parts that he found cool enough to pay attention to… for the better part of an hour.
"Uzumaki-kun." Shiho ran back to his table with a scroll in hand, "I found the scrolls you were looking for." She placed three scrolls on the table, "This is what me and your clones worked out as what you might like to use."
Naruto looked up from his book, "Oh, I know."
Shiho looked at him strangely, "How would you know? You were here the whole time, why would you possibly know what I had done with your clones?" That thought caused Naruto to pause. Why did he know? He remembered doing stuff with Shiho before climbing the bookcase to grab the scrolls at the top, it almost tipping over and Shiho screaming causing him to lose his balance and fall. That was what jumped into his head about two minutes ago. Shiho had a thought, "I'll be right back Uzumaki-kun."
While Shiho left to head back into the archives, Naruto looked over what she had left. Three scrolls; Yawa-ashi (Soft Foot), Oomi-te (Long-Blade Hand), and Nebaiken (Sticky Fist).
Yawa-ashi (Soft Foot) was out almost immediately when Naruto read it. Not only did the name turn him off as it made him sound like a ballerina, it didn't seem like his kind of style. It revolved around using your legs for feints and neglecting the use of your hands to deal damage in exchange for kicks. The hands were never used, even when it came to blocking. Head movement and simply being elusive were the touted defenses of the style. It required good coordination and fast feet. Naruto didn't even know how to train to get fast feet and he tripped on his own feet walking down the street from time to time. He wasn't too coordinated.
Oomi-te (Long-Blade Hand) was a cool concept, but the practice turned Naruto off from learning it. It required you to build up the hardness of the tips of your fingers and the knife-edge of your hand for powerful chops and straight-hand thrusts that could be shoved right through an opponent. It sounded cool in practice, but the training to get your hands that strong in the first place however was to repeatedly break your fingertips and pinky side of your hand enough times while learning the strikes that the bones would calcify and harden over time to increase hardness. The only good thing about that style to Naruto was that he would have to drink more milk.
The last style hooked him in. Nebaiken (Sticky Fist) went right along with what he had caught notice of in the Academy taijutsu text of advanced grappling. It basically compounded on what to do after you had trapped a limb on your opponent. After grabbing an enemy's arm or leg you would either pull them in and deliver shockingly powerful punches, forearm and elbow strikes, knees, shoulder shots, headbutts, and short joint attacks powered by physical strength and momentum to disable your opponent and keep them close or keep them literally at arm's reach and pick apart their open defenses with fast looping kicks. It was also the simplest to train. All it required was someone willing to take a beating in order to learn its nuances due to how close one had to remain to an opponent to launch attacks and willing partners to be training dummies. Naruto had an abundance of both as this fit in best with his 'take three to give one' brawling style and he had Kage Bunshin to beat on for as long as he needed.
Naruto's head snapped up suddenly, "Shiho-chan what was that all about? You've got to be joking!" He cried suddenly.
He left his book and scrolls on the table and rushed through the archives to find Shiho standing with a smile on her face. Naruto dropped to his knees in front of her, "Please tell me you're joking Shiho-chan. I can't afford that." Shiho was fighting hard to keep from laughing out loud, "I can't afford a 30000 ryo fee for library use!"
Shiho broke down and started laughing, "I'm sorry Uzumaki-kun it was a joke. But it did end up proving my theory right, how did you know I said that? I was all the way over here."
"You told my clone didn't you?" Naruto said plainly as if it was unimportant. Shiho just stood there counting the seconds until it hit him what he had just said and realizing that him being his year's dead-last might not be so unfounded, "Wait, you told my clone! How did I know about it?"
"Shh." Shiho said trying to settle him down, "I don't know, but you obviously get your clone's memories after they get dispelled. Do you know what this means?" Naruto shook his head and a shine reflected off of the girl's glasses, "You could read like seven books at once as long as you use you clones and still get the information they got from it."
Naruto's face lit up, "So I can make my clones read these books while I train and do actual cool stuff?" Shiho nodded, "Yatta!"
The sounds of others audibly shushing Naruto erupted from all around the library, breaking Shiho into a mess of giggles as Naruto apologized quietly, "Make some more of those Kage Bunshin Uzumaki-kun, there's so much you need to know before you become an active ninja. You won't be a dead-last by the time I'm through with you!" Shiho grabbed onto Naruto's wrist and swiftly dragged him through different aisles, loading him up with books. He had to wonder what part of her wasn't conditioned to be a field ninja, because she was dragging him and half a dozen books around the place like they were weightless.
Bliggety blaow! And I'm back from outer space with chapter 2. I have not jack to say worth listening to so I will simply leave it at that.
You all know the drill, so simply proceed and I will be checking back in some time later with something else for you all to read sooner rather than later. Any questions in the realm of me answering (i.e. No blatant spoilers) and I will attempt to do so. I hope you enjoyed.
Until next time, Kenchi out.