Thank you all so much for the reviews, you've convinced me. Here's a preview to the next story just to whet your appetites. It should be posted within the week so if you want to Author Alert me or just search for the fic later it's up to you. It won't be posted here, I'll start a brand new story for this one. This tiny tiny preview is taken from the beginning of the first chapter Sorry it's so small, but rest assured that the proper first chapter will be much longer.
Update - Chapter 1 in it's complete form has been posted as a new story now. Just check my profile page for the completed chapter. Thanks!
I Need You To Need To
Preview of Part I
So this mission sucked.
Naruto figured that Granny Tsunade had been just trying to placate him when she said that this was a B Rank mission. Go to the temple in the in the Land of the Sun and acquire the gold Orb before enemy ninja got it first. So far he hadn't seen any of these supposed enemy ninja and he'd been on the road for three nights already. It was getting boring.
He supposed he should be grateful, getting to go on a mission like this on his own. But he knew deep down that it was just because things in the village were so tight at the moment. There were too many missions and not enough ninja and without missions no money would come into the village. He wouldn't be totally on his own though. As soon as Sai finished up with his current mission he was going to rendezvous with Naruto and then both of them would complete the mission and fly back home. Getting back would be much quicker than Naruto had gotten here with the aid of Sai's ninjutsu. But the rendezvous was still more than four days away and he hoped to get the mission completed before Sai's arrival.
There was no way he needed help on this mission. Well that's what he'd thought.
He'd gotten to the village on the morning of the fourth day out on the road -still three nights shy of Sai's arrival- and been met by one of the men responsible for hiring him for the mission.
"Let's go to the new Temple so my Master can tell you the details," the monk had told him.
Walking with the monk through the village, Naruto was taken back by his surroundings. This village was a minor village in a very small land but his surroundings looked rich. The village itself was about a quarter of the size of Konoha but the houses were large lavish looking affairs and the businesses looked busy and profitable. They passed quite a few hotels that all looked luxuriant, not one little dive amongst them. There were a lot of people walking around.
"Wow," Naruto commented looking around as they walked, "This place sure is popular."
The monk smiled at him, "Akemi is a vacation town. We have hot springs because of the mountain and the weather is perfect during our tourist season. It's a very popular place and we get people from all around spending time here every year."
Okay so that explained a lot. And walking past the hot springs spa Naruto wondered if he might have enough money to stay there a night if he got finished with the mission early and still had time left before Sai showed up. The thought suddenly made Naruto a little impatient to get the mission started.
It still took them ten more minutes to reach the Temple and another twenty before he got showed into a lavish looking chamber in the back of the temple.
The monk with him bowed before the only other man in the room.
"Master this is the ninja from The Hidden Leaf…"
Then monk paused and reddened slightly when he realized he hadn't gotten Naruto's name. Naruto didn't mind.
"Uzumaki Naruto." Naruto supplied with pride.
The monk nodded his thanks and introduced, "This is Master Takahiro. He is responsible for safeguarding the Old Temple."
Naruto nodded to him.
"If you would prefer to fresh up before we get started, we have-" Takahiro began but Naruto waved him off.
"I'd like to get started right away if that's alright."
The Master seemed pleased by his response. "I am a little ashamed to admit that we need help with this," The Master started with a wry smile, "But since we haven't had a security issue like this in more than a hundred years, it's taken us a little off guard. How much information did Lady Hokage give you before you left?"
"Not a lot." Naruto admitted. "She said that the letter you sent with the messenger got damaged and he didn't notice till he got to the village. All she could make out was that you needed something taken back to the Hidden Leaf for protection."
"Oh, that's unfortunate. I'm afraid there's a little more to it than that."
Rather than make him uneasy, Naruto was happy with the news. Maybe this mission would turn out to be more interesting than he'd thought it would be.
"I'm sure I can handle it," Naruto told him confidently.
The Master seemed pleased by his response and motioned for Naruto to come and look at a nearby map spread out on a table.
"The object that we want you to take back to Konoha is located in the Old Temple."
"That's right. Unfortunately the Old Temple where our ancestors used to protect the Orb has been abandoned for centuries. There was a big war that wiped out all of the Master monks at the time but one. This monk spent the rest of his life setting up the temple security systems. He taught his apprentice the secret of how to navigate the temple, but the apprentice himself died before he could pass the knowledge on. Since that time some monks have tried to get into the temple but none have ever come out again."
"Traps killed them?" Naruto guessed uncertainly.
"Yes, that's exactly right. We have a map of the trap system, but knowing where they are and being able to actually get past them are two different things. We just don't have the skills unfortunately. And it compounds matters that the entire temple has a permanent darkness cast over it that can't be overcome by any mundane methods. We've taken torches there, but it doesn't seem to have an effect. The torch wouldn't illuminate anything but itself I'm afraid. We thought if we could show a ninja the map he might be able to get into the temple and retrieve the Orb in order to protect it."
This news wasn't good for Naruto. He wasn't really suited to this sort of a mission. But it was still a challenge and Naruto could get into that.
"Granny Tsunade mentioned enemy ninja?" Naruto asked after peering at the map for a while.
"Yes, this is the reason we are even contemplating sending anyone in there after so long. A week ago we caught a ninja sneaking around the temple. He killed himself before we could capture him, but it has us worried that someone may be thinking of stealing the Orb. We haven't spotted anymore since then, but it might just be a matter of time."
"What's so special about the Orb anyway?"
The Master frowned slightly at the question. "You might find this a little hard to believe, but it is said that the Orb is responsible for our land's perfect weather. We have perfect rainfall for crops, sunshine throughout most of the year and it never gets very cold. It is why our village has such a large tourist trade. Our weather earns this village a lot of money for the traders here. Something like that could be worth a lot to another village."
"Aren't you afraid that if I take it away, the good weather will stop?"
"We have reason to believe that it doesn't matter where it is kept. The Orb is currently tuned in to our land, it should keep working even from the Fire Country."
Naruto found it hard to believe that an Orb could influence the weather, but whatever, a mission was a mission.
"Okay. Where is the temple?"
"It's behind the village. There is a path from the back of this Temple that will lead you to the entrance to the Old Temple in the mountainside. It takes about a day to walk there from here."
For Naruto that meant it was more like half a day's travel.
"I would suggest," The Master said watching Naruto's expression, "That you spend the rest of the day and night memorizing this map. You will not get far into the temple without it. You must remember that once you are inside you will not be able to see where you are going. The traps are all deadly so you must be prepared."
He had a point. Studying wasn't really Naruto's strong point either so he tended not to try. But then again, his life hadn't depended on it before.
"Okay. I'll set out first thing tomorrow."