Team 7: A Retelling
By: Tellemicus Sundance
#12: Escape in Style
The warehouse was about as unassuming as it could get in a military-governed citadel. It was one of nearly a dozen such buildings that lined both sides of the narrow river at equally spaced intervals. But where the other buildings were open with a visible interior from a distance, exposing various foodstuffs, clothing, farming equipment, and numerous other luxuries reserved for the wealthy, the target building was firmly closed and locked tight with a pair of guards standing protectively in front of the two entrances.
Dressed back in their normal ninja attire, Sasuke and Sakura approached the building from the rooftops. Balancing upon a strong connecting rope that was used in part with a crane between the warehouses and unloading transport boats, the pair of ninja silently snuck across the open space for the warehouse. Due to their slow and casual movement, silent approach, and the deepening shadows cast from the descending red sun, the pair made it across without either of the guards noticing their presence.
Reaching the warehouse roof safely, the two of them glanced briefly down at the guards. Sasuke raised a questioning eyebrow to Sakura, silently asking her opinion. The pink-haired kunoichi merely shook her head silently and gestured to the side, further down the roof to where there were a series of windows. Glancing between the windows and the guards, Sasuke nodded in agreement. It would be better to leave the common guards stationed and untouched, especially since the Shogun had put the citadel into high-alert after Naruto's escape earlier that morning. In fact, both of them were suspicious of the abundant lack of guards surrounding the warehouse. It was probably a trap, but one that they had little choice but to step into in order to complete their mission.
Prying open the large windows without breaking them was a chore since not only were they rusty and filthy from lack of use, but they were also surprisingly heavy. Still, Sasuke had managed to hoist up one enough for Sakura to slip through, who quickly braced the window for him to do so as well. Sticking to the wall, the pair turned around to better survey the interior.
Most of the large building was open space with a large, layered structure off to the far left side that was practically overflowing with numerous odds and ends. Though, if he had to guess, Sasuke would say that that structure was some type of weapons rack because he could see many of the guards' firearm weapons lined up in neat patterns over there. But that structure took up only a fourth of the total space. The rest of the floor was filled with numerous large shapes that were hidden under large, heavy tarps. Though there were some differences in the shapes the tarps warped to, the most generic shape were conical and the size of a small house or hut. Others off to the side and closest to the portion of the wall by the river were more of a cylindrical shape and were held slightly suspended off the ground.
But it was the mess off in the center of the room that quickly attracted his attention. Not just because the unique circular floor design and the array of the storage that circled around it, but because he could easily recognize the gang of identical blondes that were scurrying to and fro about one of the unmasked conical objects. Just from a glance, Sasuke could see that the thing Naruto was inspecting was some type of self-propelled vehicle.
Dropping to the ground, he and Sakura quickly moved over to the blondes. Spotting them coming, one of the blondes walked away from the others and stopped near the three unique metallic plates in the center of tiled floor.
"You guys are early," Naruto greeted easily as he held up the stolen Captain of the Guard's key. "Did you guys check out of the motel already?"
"No, we simply didn't want to miss the after-party," Sakura answered, holding up the concubine's key.
"Though the room service is terrible," Sasuke finished the code, holding up the Shogun's key. Glancing pointedly over towards the other blondes, he asked, "Did you find anything interesting?"
"I'll tell you later," Naruto answered, smiling cheekily as they all crouched down and inserted their keys into the lock plates. "Ichi…Ni…San," On command, all three turned their keys. Underneath them, numerous metallic grunts, thuds, and creaks sounded as a faint tremor ran through the floor. Moments later, the floor in front of them began descending into a spiral staircase. Pulling out the keys, they began their descent.
At the bottom of the staircase, they found a doorway with a long, narrow hallway leading towards a heavy bolted door at the far end. The entire hallway and entrance chamber smelled of oil. Taking one of the two unlit torches that were resting in their cradles at the hall's entrance, Sasuke idly lit it with a small burst of Katon chakra. Reaching over, he dipped it slightly into the narrow canal of liquid that lined both sides of the hallway. With a slight flare, the oil ignited and immediately spread, bathing the hallway with light. Thanks to the golden, reflective metals that lined portions of the walls, the entire hallway gleamed in a rather beautiful light that seemed to beckon the trio forward into its expanses.
Stopping Naruto as he was about to start moving, Sakura shook her head as she pulled out a kunai. "It's too easy." Tossing the kunai down the hallway, they watched as the blade bounced about before coming to a stop. A fraction of a second later, the flooring beneath it jolted and sank slightly. At the same instant, a savage volley of shuriken shot out of hidden crevices in the walls, shattering and crumbling the stone walls.
"Pressure plates under the floor," Naruto realized, unnecessarily verbalizing his thoughts for his teammates. Glancing at the walls, he noted that they were patterned in much the same manner as the floor between stone and tiles. "The walls use metallic tiles equally spaced apart, probably booby-trapped too." He demonstrated this by using one of his own kunai for greater reach and pressing against the farthest wall tile he could. As he yanked his hand back, a brief rain of senbon shot out of the ceiling, impacting the floor so powerfully that they remained stuck upright.
"And the ceiling is lined with grease," Sasuke finished, glaring at the aforementioned substance. While grease wouldn't cause a ninja to lose his grip if he applied chakra to his feet, it did have the annoying ability to stick to whatever it touched and would disrupt their footing, even after they finally crossed the hall. Not only was it unsanitary, but it offered a potential threat to their footing that could be lethal in a fight.
"Only one way to do this then," Sakura said, clapping her hands together to focus her chakra. Forming a large ball of ice before her, she grabbed it and rolled it down the center of the hallway like a bowling ball. As it went, every single floor tile trap was tripped, causing a deafening series of explosions, shrapnel, and dust to fill the hallway briefly. Smiling at her handiwork, she said, "Just don't touch the walls."
Rushing forward with care, they found that the door at the opposite end contained three locks, equally spaced to prevent a single person from being to open it. Inserting their keys into the holes, they again synchronized their timing and the door opened without any further surprises.
Up in the large storage area of the warehouse, the Kage Bunshin that was responsible for keeping a lookout frowned slightly at what it was seeing. Marching into view from around the corner of one of the other warehouses was at least fifty fully armed and armored samurai. Watching the group closely, he spotted Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Captain of the Guard at the head of the column. Seeing that Toyotomi was glaring at the building he was in, the clone's eyes narrowed dangerously.
Turning to the group of eight clones who were busy studying one of those conical devices, the lookout let out a short, sharp whistle. The group reacted quickly by throwing the tarp back over the device, securing it, and disappearing under it and into the vehicle's interior within moments. Glancing back out at the column of samurai, the lookout smirked at the thought of what kinds of chaos the hiding clones could possibly unleash.
Bringing his hands into a seal, he vanished into smoke with a soft "Kai!"
"The samurai are right outside the building!" Naruto said suddenly, flinching as he stood upright and turning to stare in the direction of the vault's exit. "We better hurry!"
"How do you know that, Naruto-kun?" Sakura asked, not looking away from her own station as she dug through the numerous rolls of parchment and paper.
They had already found two of the desired scrolls, only two were left now. The vault closely resembled a library by having ceiling-high shelves overflowing with parchment and scrolls. There was a large stand in the center of the room that also contained many scrolls. Finishing up the room was a large desk and drawing board in the back that had numerous candles, writing utensils, and paperweights. Looking for four specific scrolls in all that was a pretty close comparison to finding a needle in a haystack.
"I…don't know," Naruto muttered, quite confused for a moment before regaining his urgency. "I just do!"
"It's part of the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu," Sasuke spoke from his spot at the drawing board, also sifting through numerous scrolls. "The jutsu was originally developed for scouting. Think about it." After several moments of careful thought, the blonde and pinkette both blinked as understanding dawned on them. "We better hurry, nonetheless. I don't have any worthwhile ideas of how we could get out of here unscathed, especially with the samurai's new weapons."
"Don't worry, guys," Sakura said, a slightly devious hint in her voice. "I got the escape plan from here covered. Just get those last two scrolls!"
"Found another!" Sasuke called, placing the aforementioned scroll down on the sealing scroll with the other two.
A sudden explosion at the end of the hall and a ricocheting metal ball impacting the center scroll stand near the Uchiha's head quickly caused all three ninja to draw back and out of sight of the door. Activating his Sharingan, Sasuke cast a quick glance down the hall to count the number of aggressors they'd have to deal with. He quickly had to withdraw as two more gunshots came, sending their deadly projectiles bouncing randomly down the hall and into the vault.
"There're six at the entrance," Sasuke informed his teammates. "Two are ready to fire at any time, two are loading their weapons, and the last two are on standby. And there's probably quite a few more up top, so they can keep us pinned in here for quite a while…It's a good system." Glancing at Sakura, he said, "You ready to use that escape plan yet?"
Sakura looked at the Uchiha with surprise. "Already? But we haven't found the last scroll yet! If we abandoned our mission now—"
"We're trapped in a vault," Sasuke pointed out, a little more harshly than he probably needed to. "One way in, one way out. Against a large number of enemies who have long-range weapons that can fire in rapid succession of one another. Not even my Goukakyuu can reach them at this distance yet. And in this enclosed space, it'd be more dangerous to us than them."
Sakura only nodded mutely, her eyes hardening as she regained her ninja calm. As she stalked off to one corner of the room, Sasuke looked over at Naruto and was relieved to see him in the process of sealing the three collected scrolls. Stuffing the sealing scroll into his weapons pouch, the blonde blinked in surprise as he and Sasuke spotted what Sakura was up to.
"Sakura-chan!" Naruto called out, a little nervously. "You do know what's out there, right?"
"Just hold your breath," Sakura answered, grinning a little conceitedly at the nervous blonde as she finished her hand seals. A split second later, a massive stake of ice punctured the wall of the vault, sending debris, scrolls, and ice flying as water came flooding in, lot and lots of water.
Moments later, a large geyser of water erupted out of the staircase with tremendous force, spewing out the six samurai guards who'd been unable to escape in time. The rest of the samurai who'd collected around the staircase scrambled away from the unexpected upsurge, but it was for naught as the tidal wave washed over them and carried them away. The water was not the least bit caring or remorseful as it slammed the soldiers bodily and ruthlessly into several of the conical devices, some of the men slumped in awkward positions that suggested broken limbs, bones, and even death upon impact. The other samurai who were more fortunate had merely been swept off their feet and knocked away from the flooded hidden vault.
As the geyser settled down, a large splash came from under the surface as three smaller bodies climbed out. Trying to futilely shake the water from the sleeves of his shirt, Naruto turned an annoyed glare at Sakura. "And you call my plans stupid? That was just crazy, Sakura-chan!"
"Be that as it may," Sakura said dismissively. "I got us out safely. So—" She looked pointedly at the boys. "What now, oh great leaders?"
"The samurai probably have the building surrounded and are preparing to attack, especially after that," Sasuke remarked, calmly gesturing towards the flooded vault entrance. "We can either fight our way out or do you have some brilliant plan, Naruto?"
"As a matter of fact, I do!" Naruto answered, grinning impishly as he turned slightly and let out a loud whistle.
Mere seconds later, one of the tarp-covered vehicles sprung to life. As it swerved towards the startled trio of ninja, several armored panels suddenly swung open and three pairs of hands drew them inside.
"What just happened?!" Sakura shrieked in fright, trying to gain her bearings in her new environment. "Where are we? What is this thing?"
"We call it the 'Totally Awesome Luxury Interceptor'," Naruto called back cheerfully as he moved over towards a ladder at the front. Just before he disappeared up it, he barked out, "Step on it, boys!"
"Yes, boss!" six Kage Bunshin answered as they once again began peddling the bicycle-like stations that turned the massive interior wheels. Almost immediately, the wooden and metal vehicle began to roll forward at considerable speeds. Though they couldn't see where they were going, numerous bumps and crashes informed Sasuke and Sakura that the driver was having a less than easy time at steering the vehicle.
Following after where Naruto had disappeared towards, Sasuke climbed the ladder and found himself upon the second level of the siege machine. This level was clearly the armory and assault deck since it contained numerous weapons, including four large cannons with multiple sacks of black powder and boxes of heavy iron balls. There were two more blondes looking over these weapons, peering through the opened hatches that the cannons would poke through in order to see what was happening. Towards the front, he found two more blondes. One was driving by using a large wheel and several levers. The other blonde was clearly coaching the other in how the manual stated it was supposed to be driven.
"Boss, we've got a problem!" a tenth clone called down from a lookout station at the top of the vehicle.
"Yeah, that is a problem alright," Naruto commented idly from the driver's seat as he too spotted it.
Rushing up to Naruto, Sasuke peered through the window to see what the problem was. It was the front doors of the warehouse, closed and locked tight. "Lockdown, eh?" With a grin, the Uchiha climbed up into the lookout post with the clone, satisfied to find it was all open area with no windows. Superheating his chakra as he formed his hand seals, he breathed out a massive fireball that blew out the doors with relative ease.
Before the smoke had even cleared, the armored vehicle lurched forward with a large surge of speed. The sudden attack and appearance of one of their own weapons must've surprised the gathered samurai outside the warehouse since many of them didn't quite manage to respond in time to stop, attack, or otherwise hinder the large vehicle. Naruto ignored the stunned samurai as he maneuvered the vehicle, turning onto one of the streets and heading in the general direction of the closest exit gate from the citadel.
The large moving pyramid caused quite a ruckus in the streets. People and animals were scrambling to get out of its way. Merchant stands were overturned, small dividing fences between properties and buildings were crushed, porches and decks were demolished. General destruction inflicted simply because of its overwhelming size since it took up most of the road.
"We've got company, behind us!" the lookout clone called out, spotting an approaching group of horse-mounted samurai
"Arigato, Jyuu!" Naruto answered. "Shichi, Hachi, battle stations! Everyone else, put your backs into it!"
"Yes, boss!" most of the blondes yelled.
"Paparazzi!" one particularly stupid clone yelled, deciding that he didn't want to peddle anymore. Quickly climbing off his station, he moved to the back and threw open the doors to start making silly poses. "Don't take any photos, please! Hi! I'm Uzumaki Naruto, future Hokage!"
As the blonde was talking, Toyotomi Hideyoshi grabbed his preloaded flintlock pistol and fired. Thanks in large part to his unstable firing position on his horse and the general inability for accurate aiming of the weapon, his shot would've gone slightly too wide. But because of the silly poses the clone was doing, the shot actually struck true, hitting the blonde in his protruding ass.
"Baka!" Sakura and all the other clones yelled. Sakura and another clone were quick to jump forward and slide the open doors closed again, deflecting a quick series of shots from the other pursuing samurai. Once the door was safely locked, Sakura took the empty seat and added her considerable might to the peddling.
Turning onto a different road, Naruto let out a loud cheer as he felt the g-forces pulling at his body. "I love this thing! Sasuke, I know what I want for my birthday this year!"
"Not a chance, Naruto!" Sasuke yelled, rubbing his head from where he'd slammed into Jyuu's head and accidentally dispelled the clone. Growling in annoyance, he quickly took the clone's job and started looking around. Catching an unsettling sight, he called down, "We still haven't lost our pursuers!"
"The Omega-3 Slick will take 'em down!" Kyuu called back, turning to one of the clones. "Hachi! Activate!"
Looking behind them, Sasuke watched as a large puddle of oily water was ejected from the vehicle. At surprising speeds, the fluid had covered the whole width of the street for at least an entire block. No normal person or animal could possibly cross that mess without falling on their asses. Rather than be deterred, the samurai climbed out of their saddles and readied themselves. When their horses predictably slipped and collapsed in the muck, the samurai jumped off and, most of them landing safely on their feet, went sliding across the oil. Upon reaching the other side, they took off at a run after the escaping tank, grabbing the random horse if there was one close by.
"Impressive," Sasuke acknowledged, his brow arching in surprise. Maybe he'd been underestimating some of these samurai?
No sooner had he considered that than the tank lurched sharply as a deafening crash of metal on metal sounded. Looking down at the hull section, Sasuke saw a surprisingly large hole blown into the metal from the side. Down in the interior, he saw that one of the clones had been destroyed when the hole was created and there was smoking ball rolling around on the floor. Thanks to a slight bounce in the road, the ball bounced and turned just enough for Sasuke to see an ominously glowing patch of red in the metal ball. Given all the other weird things and weapons that the Shogun had created, he wasn't about to ignore this one. Dropping down from the lookout, he grabbed the ball and quickly threw it out of the hole it made. Only a few moments later did he hear a loud explosion from where he'd thrown the smoking ball.
Climbing back up to the lookout, he returned his attention to where they were heading, he noticed something wrong. The closest section of the outer wall was off to the left, he could see it slightly between the passing buildings. "You're going the wrong way, Naruto! Head left!"
"What'd you say?" Naruto asked, his ecstatic grin noticeable in his voice. "Which direction should we go?"
Growling, knowing that Naruto had heard him but was ignoring him, he yelled, "LEFT!"
"You're supposed to say 'port', Sasuke!" Naruto chirped, still not changing direction. "That's what they say in the movies!"
"We're not in the movies, Naruto!" Sasuke yelled, abandoning his post to drop down behind the blonde. "If you won't drive us right, I will!"
Fending the Uchiha's attempts with one hand, Naruto yelled, "Hey! Hey! Don't you remember it's my turn to drive?! Sakura got to on the last mission!"
"This isn't a game, Naruto!" Sasuke yelled, moving forward to try and bodily shove the blonde from the driver's seat. "And if you won't try to help us escape, you don't deserve to drive! Now hand over the wheel!"
"It's not a wheel, it's my baby!" Naruto yelled, gluing his body to the seat with liberal amounts of chakra.
The tank smashing partially into the side of a building as it passed reminded Sasuke of the important fact that they were still in a large, moving vehicle. "Don't look at me, baka! Watch the road!"
As he was yelling at the blonde, Naruto caught a glimpse of something out of the newly-made 'window'. Swatting Sasuke slightly to the side, he snapped out, "Be cool! Be cool!" Turning back to the window, he calmly and even casually said, "Hello, officer, is there a problem?"
Despite the overwhelming ridiculousness of the situation, Sasuke actually leaned backward slightly to see whom the blonde was speaking to. It was a Toyotomi Hideyoshi again, once again standing upon his new horse's saddle as he glared into the interior through the hole in the armor. Just as the Hideyoshi was leveling his flintlock pistol at the blonde, Naruto jerked the tank to the side, startling the horse the samurai was riding and sending it swerving far to the side. As that was happening, the blonde finally decided to turn left onto an adjacent street. It was a long, mostly straight stretch of road with a steep incline at the end of it. Just barely within sight beyond the hill was the outer wall, its gates already long shut and locked tight.
"We need more power!" Naruto barked, jumping out of the driver's seat and dropping down to the 'engine room' of the tank. To prevent the tank from turning to the side and crashing, Sasuke quickly took up Naruto's post.
Down in the engine room, Naruto kicked open a large metal box in the center of the room and pushed a button. As rods extended out of the chest and connected to the axles of the wheels, he continued speaking, "Time to try out the Shogun's internalized chakra-powered engine."
"That's a what engine?!" Sakura shrieked staring at the strange box with unease.
"Chakra!" Naruto chirped, grinning at the girl as he brought his hands together and started molding a large amount of chakra. "Put some chakra into it, and it'll run for hours."
"But, sir, it's not ready!" Kyuu shouted down from where he was poking his head through the hatch. "The control rods still need to calibrated, the engine hasn't been fully tested, and don't even ask me what the hell the Uranium-238 blanket does!"
"Okay," Naruto acknowledged, placing his chakra-loaded hand upon the hand plate at the top of the engine.
Within seconds, the Mujounium steel upon the hand plate absorbed the large amount of chakra, channeling it into the interior of the engine. The faint glowing green of the engine suddenly turned a blinding yellow and the tank shot forward at speeds no previous land vehicle had ever been able to achieve before. Everyone let out surprised shrieks as they blasted forward, all gripping tightly to whatever strong, stable surface they had immediate access to.
"Sasuke! Stop this crazy thing!" Sakura screamed, closer to full-on panic-mode than the others. To her, the overwhelming speeds and g-forces recreated her worst memories and nightmares tenfold. It felt they were flying!
"I can't!" Sasuke yelled down, his voice distorted by the wind shear. "There's no brakes!"
"No brakes?!" Naruto asked, honestly not having known that little detail. He glanced accusingly at his upside-down ninth clone, who shrugged embarrassedly. Smirking at the ridiculous position, Naruto said, "Well, way to commit, soldier."
Then, within only a few moments, the tank hit the hill incline. Combined with the tremendous speeds they were moving at, the incline acted like a ramp and sent the entire vehicle flying up and high through the air, passing over the outer wall by several meters. Everyone, most especially Sakura, was screaming as this took place, bracing themselves for the fast-approaching impact with the unforgiving ground.
The tank was smashed and shattered like fine china dishes. All of the Kage Bunshins were destroyed upon impact. Sasuke had managed to shield himself from the worst of it by using a section of the armor and wore off his momentum by riding it like a sled. Naruto, in arguably the worst position of the three, get smacked in the face by a heavy wood pillar and sent bouncing across the ground like a ragdoll before getting planted several inches into a tree. Sakura was mostly protected thanks to her cowering in a small corner at the rear. The metal corner buried itself into the ground as it hit and broke off from the tank, shielding Sakura from the flying shrapnel and splinters as the vehicle disintegrated ahead of her.
Jumping off his impromptu sled, Sasuke turned and raced back to the crash site to find his teammates. "Sakura! Naruto! You alright?!"
"Tha wash da bess rida eva!" Naruto slurred out from where he was hanging upside-down from the tree, spirals dancing in his eyes. "Les's do tha agon!"
Giving the blonde a once over, Sasuke saw he'd be fine once he came down from his adrenaline high. Of course, that'd probably happen sooner if he first pried himself out of the tree. Turning around, he called out for Sakura and quickly found her stumbling out from behind a small upright section of metal. Moving forward, he looked her over as he asked, "Sakura, are you alright?"
"Sasuke!" she shrieked, shooting forward and embracing him at speeds he didn't know she had. Everything about her was radiating overwhelming panic and fear as she clutched his body into a painfully tight hug while hysterically yelling out. "PLEASE DON'T MAKE ME DO THAT AGAIN! I DON'T WANNA!"
"It's okay…Sakura," he gasped out, futilely trying to get her to let go. "It's over…We can go…home now." Sasuke swore to himself to never ever let Naruto drive anything ever again! It was hazardous to everyone's health and safety, especially his own.
(Author's Note) Big thanks to animefan29 for editing this chapter!
Sorry about the long wait. I've been getting my ass kicked by the neverending drama we call 'life'. If it's not bills, it's a loss of income, not enough work, or just bad weather days. I have to admit that my inspiration and drive were sorely lacking these past two weeks especially, and it's still fairly low. Thus, I apologize if the quality of this chapter is a bit sub-par to my usual standards.
I have to admit that I'm surprised that no one seems to have figured out, or at least commented on, what had inspired most of the previous chapter and the beginning half of this one. I based most of it off of the new 'Three Musketeers' movie. On the other hand, I'm pretty confident that many more people will guess what inspired the escape scenes here. I must admit to having had a lot of fun writing that part!
Before I go, I'd like to offer up a little shameless advertisement. It's a story that I had originally thought up but requested the current author to write. It's hopefully what I suppose you could call a third branch of the well-known series 'Superwomen of Eva'. I say 'third branch' because it doesn't use a hero power or the mind set of one, unlike the majority of the other two series (DC-verse, Marvel-verse). The story itself is called SOE Alterverse: Duality by Archdruid-Sephiroth. Please enjoy!