Shikamaru and Ino pressed against the wall on either side of the mansion's main door and readied flash-bangs while Chouji prepared to smash through the ornate wood, but before Team Ten could breach, Naruto burst out of the forest while waving his arms and screaming, "Hold on, don't go in yet." The blonde put on an extra burst of speed and pulled up in front of the Konoha-nin, "You need to find Shabadaba and get him to cancel the Edo Tensei. Kinkaku and Ginkaku will keep fighting until they are commanded to stop, and if he accidentally dies then there's no way to end the jutsu."
"So you're a clone, is it bad over there?"
The bunshin winced as he faced Shikamaru, "Well, it's not particularly good, those two guys are really strong and will be almost impossible to capture. You need to cancel the Edo Tensei."
The Nara looked at the Daimyo's summer home while saying, "Ino scouted the mansion and said Shabadaba is in a panic room underneath the east wing. There are a decent number of guards inside, but the real defense is the room itself. If Ino didn't leave the rat's body after stepping into the hallway she probably would've died, I think it's protected by fuuinjutsu."
The Naruto clone nodded as he remembered Jiraiya's lesson on fortification seals, "There's probably a master array somewhere in the mansion, but I doubt it's near the room. Where were most of the guards concentrated?"
Ino chewed her bottom lip for a moment before responding, "Most of them were spread throughout the east wing, but I did find a random group in the coatroom behind the foyer. I thought they were waiting to ambush us."
The clone nodded and backed away from the three, "You may be right, but we should check there first. If nothing is there you guys will have to clear the house as fast as possible and find it after. Time is a factor."
Instead of going in the main entrance Team Ten entered through a window in the western wing and snuck down the hallway until they were outside the foyer. Shikamaru silently killed the four guards inside using his Kage Nui while Chouji rushed to block the door off. Ino pulled out a flash bang as her chubby teammate cracked the door open and she tossed the grenade in before closing it gently. A loud crack went off in the room before the Akimichi pulled the door open and let his teammates slip by to slit the remaining guards throats with their kunai.
Ino whistled loudly before going into the coatroom, and a few moments later the Naruto clone walked in. Chouji watched the foyer as the other three searched the closet for a hidden room or compartment, but they found nothing. Shikamaru sighed as he scanned the area once more and noticed that a small patch of rug next to the counter was pushed into a crack. The lazy chunin walked over and found the desk wiggled slightly, despite being attached to the floor. After lifting up on the counter it pivoted ninety degrees on a hinge, revealing a small staircase with a door at the bottom.
The Kage Bunshin went down first and picked the lock before carefully pushing the door open, "I have a spare waiting outside the mansion just in case." He entered the dark room and flipped on the light switch before finding a small indent in the wall at his eyelevel. The clone put his finger in the notch and channeled chakra into the spot before a sealing array appeared on the far wall, "Somebody channel chakra into this spot here." Ino replaced her fellow blonde while he walked over to the wall. The bunshin ran his hands over the seal when it appeared and observed the complex design for a few minutes before cursing, "Shit, I can't break the seal. The only way to nullify this is to physically disrupt the array, but it's been carved into granite and there is a chakra draining seal so ninjutsu won't damage the wall."
Shikamaru narrowed his eyes while staring at the ink, trying to comprehend how fuuinjutsu could be so powerful, "Is there a way to temporarily drain its chakra by adding new seals."
"Don't be stupid, there's a closed circuit loop keeping this one active and it won't be disrupted unless it gets damaged. If I added new seals they couldn't access the circuit, and powering them myself is impossible because of the chakra-draining feature. There's no way for me to tap into it, and it's pointless to tamper with the power source because you'd need to break through the wall anyways, which would destroy the seal. I guess we'll have to clear the mansion and find something to break this."
Chouji walked over and pulled out a sealing scroll before unrolling it, "Relax Naruto, you're making this more complicated than it has to be." The blonde's eye widened when Kongo's halberd appeared in the Akimichi's hands. The chubby ninja used the Bubun Baika to increase his strength before smashing the butt of the weapon's shaft into the wall. Less than a minute later a large crack spread across the granite, which made the seal glow a brilliant white as it struggled to keep functioning, but when the chunin smashed the wall once more it shattered, "See, that was pretty easy."
"Where did you get that thing Chouji? It's badass."
The plump shinobi smiled at the amazement in Naruto's voice, but Shikamaru began talking before he could answer, "Did that disable the security seal?"
The bunshin nodded absently while staring at the intimidating weapon, "Yeah, but more importantly, when did Chouji start using a halberd?"
The Akimichi shrugged, "I haven't yet, it belonged to the guy I just beat. Honestly, it's not a great weapon." He let the clone take the halberd and swing it, which caused the bunshin to stumble forwards, "It's too hard to control because of the size, and that makes it predictable."
Naruto nodded as he handed it back, "I see that, so why keep it?"
The Nara groaned and used his Kagemane to lead the two up the stairs as Chouji answered, "Well I was thinking about cutting the handle and turning it into an axe."
Shikamaru let them go and the Akimichi handed held the halberd up near its head while pointing to a spot three feet below his hand, "Right here please." The bunshin pulled out a kunai and coated it with wind chakra before cleanly slicing through the indicated spot, "Thanks man."
Chouji held the weapon aloft to inspect it as his lazy teammate sighed while talking to the two shinobi, "Can we go get Shabadaba so Asuma-sensei and the original you don't die now?"
The bunshin rubbed the back of his head embarrassedly, "Sure."
Ino looked down the long hallway leading to the hidden panic room, "There's probably around forty guards down the hall."
Her chubby teammate grinned while swinging around his new weapon experimentally, "I'll take care of that." He ran through the archway leading to the east wing and jumped up to the balcony on the second level where he cleaved a pair of archers in half with two effortless swings. The Akimichi lifted the modified halberd above his head and threw it towards a group of five bandits running down the hallway below him before dropping down while using his Baika no Jutsu. The giant ball bounced slightly before speeding towards remaining the guards, crushing all four before they could mount a defense.
Chouji returned to his normal size before ripping the axe out of a corpse and using the blade to block incoming arrows. He jumped back onto the balcony to confront the archers and stabbed one through the chest with the spear before tossing his corpse into the other three so they fell off the balcony. One died from the fall, but the other two wished it killed them when the heavy shinobi dropped down on them and crushed their ribcages seconds later.
Seven bandits emerged from the doorways surrounding the Akimichi and eyed him nervously for a moment before charging towards the oversized teen as a group. Chouji deflected a spear out wide before catching an axe head in the right angle between the spike and his shaft. The shinobi twisted his wrist to disarm the man before spinning around to deflect a sword stabbing at his back. He continued the swing and cleaved the attacker in half before pivoting to stab the disarmed man through his neck with the spear on the end of the makeshift axe.
The spear wielding man stabbed towards the chunin's legs, but he kicked the wooden shaft and sent the weapon flying away before cutting off the bandit's arm near the shoulder. The soldier fell to the ground in shock and clasped his bleeding stump while Chouji parried a sword slash out wide before performing a backhand swing that cut off the guard's head. The chunin spun around while swinging the axe, and the force behind it sent the mace heading towards his chest back at its wielder, crushing the man's head. The remaining two bandits turned and ran away, but the Akimichi launched his modified halberd towards one before extending his left arm with the Bubun Baika. The weapon spun through the air and pierced the man's spine while Chouji grabbed the other bandit and crushed him against the wall.
The guards still in the hallway jumped out the windows after watching the shinobi take out half of them in under two minutes, and the other chunin walked in moments later. Ino led them to the end of the hallway and into a large maintenance closet before pointing to the far wall, "Break that down please."
Chouji easily shattered the wood with his Bubun Baika before Naruto's clone hopped down the twenty foot drop on the other side. Nothing happened and he quickly walked over to the steel door while forming an Odama Rasengan. A loud groaning sound was heard as the thick metal twisted around itself multiple times before shredding completely, which allowed the shinobi to casually walk through the massive hole left behind. Shabadaba pushed himself into a corner where he curled up into himself while begging, "Please don't kill me, I'll do whatever you say."
"Dispel the Edo Tensei and let the Daimyo go free."
The cowering noble looked up at Shikamaru when he finished and nodded, "Okay, I'll bring you to Kakeru, but the jutsu won't dispel until they kill you. You'll have to take him and run."
The bunshin picked up Shabadaba and growled, "Don't lie to us, the only way to make those two disappear is for the caster to dispel the jutsu or die, so you'll be doing one or the other."
The terrified noble stuttered so bad his response wasn't comprehendible, and Ino sighed before gently touching Naruto's arm, "He's wrong, but the fool believes what he told you."
Shabadaba shook his head rapidly while continuing, "N-no, O-"
The man gagged when a snake made of water slithered across the floor and leapt into his mouth before sliding down his trachea, filling his lungs with water. The coup's leader fell to the ground and clutched at his throat while futilely trying to vomit the jutsu out. Ino reacted first and rushed towards the drowning man before the other three ran back to find the shinobi responsible. Her hands glowed blue as she tried to extract the liquid, but the water seemed to have a mind of its own and wouldn't move despite her best efforts. "Dammit, I can't save him."
The other chunin ran back into the room moments later and the bunshin shook his head, "We didn't find anything except for a trail of water leading to a vent, the attacker left no trace. I'll dispel and let them know what's going on, but you guys have to get Michiru and Hikaru before going back to Konoha. We can't win and these guys will come after you next, so me and Asuma will buy some time before retreating."
Team Ten's frustration was easily visible and Ino was the first to respond, "No way, Asuma is our sensei and you're our friend Naruto, we won't leave you guys."
The bunshin shook his head, "Listen, if it gets bad I'll use six tails and give Asuma time to escape before the toads reverse summon me and Jiraiya to Myoboku so he can suppress the Kyuubi. We won't die, so don't worry. You guys need to get back to the village with them so the Kingin Kyodai can be captured."
Shikamaru put his hand over Ino's shoulder and nodded, "Alright, we'll see you later Naruto."
The bunshin nodded and dispelled before Ino looked over at Shikamaru, "We're not really going to go, right?"
The Nara nodded determinedly while looking at his teammates, "Right, we'll keep an eye on the battle and intervene if we have to. There's no difference between Naruto going six tails to buy Asuma time or all of us time." Shikamaru looked at his oldest friend, "When we get outside summon a big enough butterfly to carry Michiru and Hikaru to the nearest port so they can catch a boat to the mainland. Make sure it finds out where they're going and tells them to stay there." Chouji nodded and the Nara started running up the stairs, "Hurry up guys, we can't waste time." Ino and Chouji stared at each other mutely for a few moments before Shikamaru's voice echoed down the steel hallway, "Get a move on."
Orochimaru smirked and watched Naruto wipe blood away from his mouth while staring at the revived shinobi warily. The Uzumaki cursed silently like he received some bad news seconds before Kinkaku rushed towards him and sent a jab at his throat. The younger blonde managed to duck under the strike, however, the Kumo-nin anticipated his dodge and delivered a kick that sent the boy rolling away. Naruto pushed himself off the earth and completed a barrel-roll in the air while performing handseals, "Futon: Daitoppa."
The Jinchuuriki thrust his palms at the ground and was launched into the air as Kinkaku appeared underneath him. The wide area jutsu left several cuts in his ashy skin, but the man wasn't deterred by the otherwise lethal wounds and nonchalantly coated his right arm in lightning while watching a massive swirling ball of chakra form in the Konoha-nin's palms. Electricity crackled as the dead Kumo-nin jumped towards his opponent, but when he got close the Rasengan exploded outwards and sent him hurtling towards the ground. Naruto flashed through a series of hand-seals and pointed his palms down as Kinkaku smashed into the earth, "Futon: Kami Oroshi."
The chunin funneled some of Kyuubi's chakra into the jutsu and watched a thirty-foot wide twister explode towards the earth, but as it was about to hit the revived shinobi he vanished, and Naruto reflexively performed a substitution with a chunk of rock right before his opponent's fist smashed it into pebbles. The Jinchuuriki looked up and saw Kinkaku's hand pointed towards the ground while a blue glow outlined his body, "Rairyu no Tatsumaki."
The revived shinobi's lightning dragon tornado was nearly ten times larger than Raiga's and moving twice as fast. The Sharingan saw the jutsu's chakra flow and the Jinchuuriki knew his opponent could split the dragon into dozens of smaller bolts that would cover the entire battlefield, he had no place to dodge, "Futon: Sensougouheki." Naruto didn't expect the sphere of wind to hold up for long, but it did buy him enough time to slap his palm into the ground, creating a barrier seal. A blue dome formed under the swirling wind and was able to defend the blonde from the Raiton jutsu, but when he dropped the barrier Kinkaku appeared next to him and grabbed his throat.
The Kumo-nin smirked condescendingly as he started squeezing the chunin's neck harder, but the sharingan morphed into a six-pointed star and the man loosened his grip for a moment in surprise as Naruto raspily whispered, "Amaterasu." The Mangekyou spun rapidly and black flames emerged that ran up Kinkaku's arm, and though the man had not felt a physical sensation since being revived, he screamed in agony and dropped the Konoha-nin before cutting his arm off at the shoulder. The dead shinobi grit his teeth in pain while watching the dark fire consume his arm, never realizing the amputated limb had not reforming until he tried to grab Naruto's wrist with it. The chunin grinned as blood poured out of his left eye and swung his wind coated saber, cutting the man's head off and causing his body to collapse lifelessly to the ground. The shinobi stayed limp until the Amaterasu finished devouring his arm, then his head reconnected itself to his body and Kinkaku let out a piercing scream while the dirt around his left arm reformed the severed limb.
Orochimaru watched as the boy prepared a seal and chuckled, "Not bad Naruto-kun, but you don't dictate what happens in a test. Let's see how much you've grown as a Jinchuuriki." The chunin finished molding the most powerful binding seal he knew and placed it on his wailing opponent's chest, but black and red chakra exploded out of the revived man's body right after he finished healing. Naruto gasped after it dissolved the inkless seal and jumped backwards while pulling down his hitai-ate. Orange chakra began to spread from the Konoha-nin's stomach and quickly encased his body before taking on the shape of a fox with three tails, one more than his opponent possessed.
The Jinchuuriki's whiskers darkened and his hair became wilder as he crouched down on all fours and exploded forward. The earth around the two juggernauts shattered when they collided and locked hands. It was a stalemate for a few moments, but despite using fewer tails Kinkaku managed to take advantage of his size and pick up the smaller blonde before smashing him into the earth repeatedly. The revived shinobi continued slamming Naruto into the ground until his three tails wrapped around Kinkaku's torso and pulled them closer together. The chunin pushed a Rasengan into the man's chest before it exploded outward and sent him spinning away.
An orange chakra claw grabbed the Kumo-nin as he flew through the air, but the older shinobi easily broke free and landed on all fours before dashing towards Naruto. Kinkaku crashed into the chunin and sent him tumbling away, but one of the teenager's chakra tails managed to wrap around the revived blonde and use him as an anchor. The Konoha-nin came flying back towards Kinkaku and staggered the man with a head butt before delivering a brutal jab that sent him tumbling away, however, the undead shinobi quickly recovered and sat on all fours while staring at the younger shinobi. Two black claws emerged at Naruto's feet and tried to grab him him, but the Uzumaki's orange chakra cloak began spinning rapidly and deflected the attack.
The giant sphere disappeared and the feral blonde rushed forward as his own chakra claw flew towards Kinkaku while holding an orange Rasengan four feet wide. The Kumo-nin quickstepped backwards and realized his opponent only had two chakra tails as the third burst out of the ground at his feet and wrapped around his waist. The massive Rasengan smashed into the revived shinobi and drilled him into the ground until it imploded and collapsed. The boulders flew through the air when Kinkaku roared and the pseudo-Jinchuuriki jumped up with four tails waving behind him while Orochimaru's yellow eyes focused on the chunin, "It seems you can control three tails effectively Naruto-kun, but is that your limit?" The serpentine man watched as the undead Kumo-nin began pummeling the other blonde and chuckled, "It appears so."
Kinkaku moved faster than the chunin could see and knocked him around like a pinball. Naruto grunted after another powerful kick landed, but he managed to gather himself and rotate Kyuubi's chakra around him to deflect the next blow. The orb of chakra skipped across the ground until the chunin cancelled it and quickly jumped aside before the pseudo-Jinchuuriki shattered the earth beneath him. The transformed Kumo-nin sped towards Naruto while his tails formed a drill, but the Uzumaki hooked a chakra claw to the earth behind his opponent and pulled himself away before the drill impaled him. When the teen landed he gathered an orb of Kyuubi's chakra in front of his mouth and quickly compressed it before a concentrated orange beam shot towards Kinkaku, who had already recovered and renewed his relentless charge.
The revived shinobi was only pushed back momentarily, but once again it bought the Konoha-nin another second to escape. Orochimaru watched the two blurs as his undead pawn continued chasing the young Jinchuuriki around and frowned, "It seems you won't go any farther than this Naruto-kun." Two more tails formed behind the transformed Kumo-nin and the traitorous member of the Sannin observed the Jinchuuriki's reaction, "Let's see what happens when you're completely outmatched."
The chunin cursed silently as he watched the six tails wave behind Kinkaku and wondered what to do next, the younger shinobi could barely keep up at four. If the man's brother proved capable of this too it would be impossible to stall them both without giving into the Kyuubi completely. Naruto wiped his finger over some blood and prepared to call on a toad to reverse summon Jiraiya, but Orochimaru realized what he was doing and ordered Kinkaku to attack. The pseudo-Jinchuuriki seemed to vanish and the Konoha-nin looked up before getting shoulder checked across the ground. He regained his feet and tried to perform the jutsu again, but the revived Kumo-nin smashed him into the earth.
The man began pummeling him into the ground with oversized chakra claws and Naruto felt the Kyuubi's power begin to fade along with his grip on consciousness. Suddenly, he was in front of the Bijuu's cage and staring up at the enraged creature as it forced streams of chakra through the bars, "I will not let these two imposters kill us, you will take more of my power."
The Uzumaki raised his hand and used the sharingan to dispel the bubbling energy before glaring at his tenant, "You don't call the shots here fuzzball."
The Kyuubi snorted as he looked down at the young blonde deridingly, "Your false arrogance amuses me, but we both know it only hides the fear holding you back. Let me show you the true definition of power, take my chakra."
The blonde shook his head, "It won't do any good, I'll just lose myself and he'll take advantage."
"Pathetic weak willed mortal," roared the fox, "If you don't we both die. Focus on the pain and your opponent, not the rage."
"Fine, just one more tail." Naruto's blue eye stared at the Kyuubi as he closed the sharingan, "Any more and I put you to sleep."
The fox smiled savagely and darkness overtook the blonde's vision for a moment before he felt Kinkaku's blows raining down on him. The Konoha-nin roared as an orange orb surrounded his body and power surged through his chakra coils. His skin started to peel before blood mixed with the tainted chakra and turned it black as the area pulsed with power. The revived shinobi squinted his white eyes and looked at the sphere vibrating with pure energy until it exploded in a flash of light. When it faded Naruto stood across from him with a matching cloak, and even though the Jinchuriki was visibly smaller and only had four tails, Kinkaku could still feel the power radiating off the boy. Despite the difference in tails he was almost putting out as much as the pseudo-Jinchuuriki, and the chakra's potency kept rising.
The transformed Konoha-nin hissed with pain, but instead of ignoring the sensation he embraced it and used the feeling to clear his thoughts and focus on the fight ahead. A rush of new abilities he could access flooded his mind and the chunin grinned ferociously before disappearing. Kinkaku barely managed to block the kick, but a chakra claw quickly grabbed him and started dragging the man across the ground. The pseudo-Jinchuuriki realized he was flying back towards his opponent and launched a small orb of black chakra that shattered the ground at the Uzumaki's feet, causing him to lose balance.
The revived shinobi crashed into Naruto and they rolled across the ground until he pinned the chunin. A larger sphere of black chakra formed in front of Kinkaku's mouth and he prepared to launch it at the prone Konoha-nin, but one of Naruto's chakra tails hit the man's chin and sent the attack straight up before he copied the Kumo-nin's move. A larger orb sent the older blonde into the air and the Jinchuuriki vanished before reappearing below the revived shinobi. The Uzumaki grabbed his opponent's leg before performing a flip, then, he heaved the undead ninja towards the earth and sent a chakra claw after him.
Kinkaku created a crater when he landed and the Konoha-nin's claw grabbed the earth to pull him down towards the ground. The revived shinobi looked up and prepared another orb of chakra that grew until it was eight feet wide. He launched it towards the descending blonde as the red and black cloak swirled around him like an oversized Rasengan. The two dense chakras collided, but the rotation deflected the Kumo-nin's attack out wide and Naruto crashed into him.
The force of the impact sent Kinkaku deeper into the earth and the chunin hissed in pain as his chakra cloak faded, but he ignored the discomfort, there was no telling how much time that move bought him. The Konoha-nin knew he couldn't keep using four tails and maintain control much longer, his only hope was to get Jiraiya here, so the blonde swiped his thumb over a patch of blood and performed the required seals, but Kinkaku burst out of the earth and pinned the chunin to the ground before the jutsu was complete. Naruto watched the pseudo-Jinchuuriki grin viciously before passing out, but the revived Kumo-nin glowed briefly and dissolve into dust before he could launch an attack.
The serpentine man created the hand-seal that ended the Edo Tensei and watched the Kingin Kyodai disperse. He was satisfied with the blonde's growth after watching him use four tails, when the Akatsuki came to retrieve him in a few years they would have a handful. Now Orochimaru felt confident he could focus less-resources on his old associates, which freed up Oto's elite shinobi.
The legendary traitor looked around the scenic landscape of Tsuki no Kuni while slowly sinking into the earth. He may have lost his bid for control, but it was of no real importance. Even if the coup succeeded the island nation never would have been a major factor in his plans. Orochimaru chuckled when Asuma lit a cigarette while scanning the area cautiously. The only thing tying him to this was the Edo Tensei, and for Konoha to use that as evidence they would have to admit he stole it, a pointless move since it was such a weak connection. The only thing his old village could do is sit back and wonder why he supported Shabadaba. The serpentine man let out a hissing laugh before disappearing into the earth, as if he needed a reason.
Asuma looked over at his team hiding well outside the battlefield and waved them over while exhaling a lungful of smoke. The teenagers' skin was pale and they were visibly shaken after watching two shinobi use the Kyuubi's chakra, "Why did you guys come out here? Getting involved would've done more harm than good."
Shikamaru nodded dumbly while trying to wipe traces of vomit away from his mouth, "That's obvious now, but how was I supposed to know the fighting would've been like this? Nobody ever mentioned crap like this in the academy."
Ino walked over to her fellow blonde and gasped when she saw his prone body, "W-what happened? Where's his skin?"
Chouji winced and looked at the small patches of skin over the muscle while recalling the side-effects of the red chili pill. He walked over to Ino and placed a comforting hand on his teammate's shoulder before she looked away, "There are side-effects to using power like this."
Asuma walked past his students and gingerly picked up the unconscious Jinchuuriki before heading back to the mansion, "Two of you get Michiru and Hikaru back to the summer home, the third can come back now and check on the Daimyo. I'm going to keep watch over Naruto"
All three followed their sensei as Chouji said, "I have a butterfly carrying them right now, I'll summon another and have it relay the message."
The jounin nodded as he continued towards the summerhouse while remembering the way Ginkaku toyed with him. Asuma only managed to land blows when the revived shinobi let him, and the jounin knew he could've been killed at any moment, a feeling he didn't like at all. The man wondered about trying to patch things up with his father and getting some advice, the last time they really talked was when Naruto came over for tea, but ever since then they haven't interacted outside of shinobi business. Maybe it was time to have that conversation about the king now that he had grown up a little bit.
Naruto looked up at Michiru and started clapping with the hordes of people standing in the streets. It had been ten days since Shabadaba's death and the former prince was in the middle of his public coronation as Daimyo of Tsuki no Kuni. If you asked the blonde what kind of ruler Michiru would've been two weeks ago he would've laughed and walked away, but the fat noble had changed significantly after watching his father pass away.
Naruto looked over silently from his hospital bed as Michiru and Hikaru burst into the room to see the Daimyo. The two of them approached the dying man and he cracked a smile, "Ah, my favorite people in the world. It is good to see you're both safe, apparently the trip worked like I planned."
The two of them gave Kakeru worried looks when he entered a coughing fit, and the prince lifted a glass of water to his lips while saying, "Rest Otou-sama, you need to save your strength to recover faster."
The old Daimyo shook his head after he finished drinking, "I'm not long for this world, the medics say my organ systems have shut down and are too far gone to restart. Time is short, so please be patient and let me talk. I was beginning to suspect Shabadaba of something so I organized a trip to keep the two of you out of his plans."
Kakeru coughed a few times and turned down another sip of water before continuing, "When he finally confronted me I asked what his motives were. He talked about you Michiru. Shabadaba wanted to live your life and organized the coup to fulfill his rapacious desire for wealth, nothing else." The prince looked shocked as his father reached for his wrist and weakly clutched it, "A great ruler must care about the people more than himself. Their hopes, dreams, fears, and sorrows must take precedent over everything else."
Another coughing fit cut Kakeru off, and Michiru kneeled down to clasp his father's hand. Without him Hikaru would be the only person in the prince's life, and he wouldn't burden the child with his problems, despite all his possessions Michiru would have nothing left. The man's eyes shot open as he understood what his wife was trying to say. All the material objects in the world meant nothing without somebody to share with, which was why he felt so lonely since Amayo left.
Kakeru finished coughing and weakly squeezed his son's hand, "Michiru, you must protect the people's happiness, realize what is truly important in life and teach Hikaru. That is my final request as your father."
The Daimyo's eyes closed while his breaths grew weaker, and tears streamed down his progenies' cheeks as the prince responded, "I understand papa, but please don't leave." Michiru felt the man's hand go weak and sobbed into his sheets for a few moments before crying out, "Papa, papa, I love you so much. I promise that I'll change. I'll go on a diet and get Amayo back, but most importantly I'll rule like you, I will care about the people of this country and protect them. I'll-"
"I'll fight for your dreams and do my best to protect all of you from sorrow, I will cherish your smiles and share your pain, I will treasure your laughter and anguish over your tears. I, Michiru, will do everything in my power to honor my father's legacy, to make him, and you, proud of me." The new Daimyo waited patiently while the crowd cheered for several minutes, and when they stopped he ended the speech, "Thank you for coming to celebrate my coronation and honor my father's legacy, however, he would not appreciate this being a day of mourning. Go out and enjoy the festival with your loved ones, it is what Kakeru-sama would have wanted."
Naruto cheered while the chubby man walked inside the building before looking over at Team Ten as the crowd rushed towards the fairgrounds set up on the meadow outside the capitol. Shikamaru sighed as people parted around Chouji like a boulder in a river, "There's too many people here, trying to navigate that fair will be troublesome. I'm just going back to the hotel to nap before the banquet."
The Nara jumped over the crowd and headed down an empty side street while Chouji inhaled deeply through his nose and stared at the scores of food vendors from all over the country, "See you guys later, I need to take this opportunity to sample the local cuisine before dinner."
The Akimichi mindlessly walked towards his destination as Asuma looked at the central building. "I have to deliver a response to Tsuki's council so they can deliberate it tomorrow. After that I'm heading back to the hotel, don't be late to the banquet because we're the guests of honor there."
Ino nodded after the jounin finished, "Okay Asuma-sensei, see you later." The man cut through the crowd on his way to the building as the Yamanaka took Naruto's left arm between hers, "Let's go to the festival, a new Daimyo doesn't get coronated often so I bet it will be huge."
A wide grin split Naruto's face as the kunoichi pulled him towards the celebration, "Sounds troublesome if you ask me."
Ino stuck her tongue out at the Uzumaki before replying, "Well nobody did, besides, how often do you get to spend the afternoon with an attractive woman?" After a few moments of silence the kunoichi smiled victoriously, "That's what I thought, now stop complaining. The two blondes slowly walked with the crowd before the Yamanaka asked, "Where did you and Jiraiya go to this past week?"
A small smile formed as the chunin remembered his godfather's reaction after hearing what happened with the Kingin Kyodai from Asuma. The man was furious that Naruto didn't summon him, and after the teenager recovered took him away to train so he couldn't relax. Instead of lounging in the Daimyo's summerhouse the chunin had to run wind sprints, swim against the ocean's current, do pushups with bags of sand on his back, and carry boulders over the hot sand for miles as a warm-up. When Jiraiya ran out of exercises the man increased the resistance on his weights and made the blonde start over. "Ero-sennin just wanted to make sure I 'recognized the depths of my stupidity.'"
Ino poked the chunin's side, "Jiraiya just ran you into the ground all week, didn't he?"
Naruto's smile never left his face as he remembered the brutal training and Ino sighed, somewhat jealous that he was thinking about an old man while hanging out with her, even though it was obvious how important Jiraiya was to him. The kunoichi rested her head on the Jinchuuriki's arm while remembering all the things he endured in the academy, 'It's no wonder he cherishes those close to him… If only we saw how extraordinary you were back then.' "I'm sorry Naruto."
Ino blushed when he looked over at her curiously, the mind reader didn't realize she said that last part out loud, although, the Uzumaki deserved to hear it. "What for, did you steal my ramen scroll or something?"
The Yamanaka shook her head awkwardly, "No, just thinking about all the crappy things I did to you as a kid."
Naruto smiled softly at the girl as he wiggled his left arm to rub her back, "Don't worry about it Ino, that was a long time ago and I don't blame anybody. Besides, with how I acted it's not surprising people thought I was a loser." He could see the kunoichi was still upset and realized they were nearing the festival, "Let's grab something to eat now so we're not getting something closer to the banquet." The Yamanaka looked up at Naruto as he started dragging her by her wrist, "C'mon Ino, they don't coronate a Daimyo every day. Besides, how often do you get to hang out with a movie star and future Hokage for an afternoon?"
A smile split the kunoichi's face after having her words thrown back at her, and she was still grinning when Naruto pulled her into a tempura stand a few minutes later. The two blondes sat at a makeshift bar and the patrons let out a quick cheer when the owner called out, "The heroes of Tsuki no Kuni are here." Naruto sighed when more people walked into the stand after hearing the announcement and waved as a waitress placed a large sampler platter in front of them while her boss said, "Please, enjoy this on the house. We would never charge somebody that saved our new Daimyo's life." The two of them smiled and started eating fried seafood until the waitress came back and placed two saucers of Sake down with a small jar, "Compliments of the house as well, our finest rice wine."
Naruto easily threw his cup back, but he noticed the Yamanaka choke up a little bit after hers and laughed while refilling their saucers, "That's alright if it's a little too much for you Ino-tan, they probably have juice in back." The kunoichi grabbed both the dishes and drank them before giving him a triumphant look, but a few seconds later she coughed a few times while tearing up. The Uzumaki chuckled and poured himself another saucer while her face turned red," Slow down, you won't make a good impression at the banquet if you're hammered."
The Yamanaka took a few deep breaths before responding, "Don't talk down to me Naruto, I've only seen you sip your Sake like an old man." The Uzumaki raised an eyebrow as he downed his rice wine before refilling both saucers and throwing them back, "That's more like it pussy."
"I think you've been hanging out with Tayuya-chan too much." The kunoichi blushed as Naruto filled the saucers up again and gave her one, "I've been training with Jiraiya so you won't outdrink me, but if you want to try I'm one cup ahead."
The more experienced chunin drank his first and Ino finished hers a few seconds after. She filled the two saucers up with the remaining rice wine and frowned for a moment, but when she placed the empty jar on the table their waitress came over with another one, "Compliments of that family over there."
She walked away as the blondes waved to the friendly couple that bought their Sake, and the kunoichi finished her saucer before refilling it right away, "Now we're even," but before she could take the lead Naruto held a plate up with several pieces of shrimp and eel tempura.
"Don't get ahead of yourself, if you end up puking neither of us will have fun." The Jinchuuriki grinned when she started eating the food and picked up a chunk of fried lobster, "We'll eat this and take more Sake out to the fair with us, I want to see what's out there."
The two Konoha-nin finished the meal before ordering another jug of rice wine, which was also on the house, then, they headed out into the festival and walked around while sipping their alcohol, playing games, watching shows, going on crappy rides, and buying more Sake whenever they ran out. Naruto realized the sun had dipped below the ocean and realized the banquet was in less than an hour before poking Ino's side, making her look up at him, "We need to get back to the hotel and change for dinner or we'll be late."
The Yamanaka shook her head cheekily, "I don't wanna."
The Jinchuuriki rolled his eyes and tossed their remaining Sake into a nearby trash can while rubbing the girl's back, "Do you not feel good?"
Naruto sighed when she put her head into his chest, "Then why don't you wanna go." Ino's looked up at the chunin with half-lidded eyes for a few seconds before grabbing his head and pulling his lips into hers. The Uzumaki was surprised at first, but when she pushed her tongue against his lips the teen recovered and pulled her body against his while opening his mouth. When they stopped to take a breath of air he put his forehead against hers while asking, "Should I send clones instead." Ino responded by kissing him again and the two shunshined away from the busy street moments later.
Naruto groaned and pushed himself up while his blue eye looked out the window. After a few moments the hangover became manageable and he realized this wasn't his room, then the teenager glanced down to see Ino in the bed next to him, "Shit." The Yamanaka was attractive, but this was the last thing he wanted to happen. His relationship with Sakura was already strained, and the blonde didn't think she'd appreciate the fact that he just slept with her best friend and rival. The Uzumaki tried to recall last night and could only pick out pieces, "She probably won't remember either, if I can slip out of here it'll be like it never happened."
The chunin slowly shifted and tried to get out of bed, but quickly learned a disadvantage of having sex with a kunoichi after hearing, "Where are you going Naruto?"
He rolled off the mattress and headed for the door across the room, "Umm, I have to pee."
Ino lifted cracked open one of her blue eyes and looked at the boy, "Good, I thought you were trying to sneak out or something."
The Jinchuuriki laughed nervously, "Heh, I'd never to that."
"I must've been dreaming when you just said it then."
Naruto sighed in relief when her head fell back onto the pillows, "Yes, this is all a dream, I was never here."
"Leave and I'll rip your balls off. You're not the only one who drank alcohol before, I remember most of last night." The chunin accepted his fate and entered the bathroom, worse things could happen. He walked back over to the bed and got under the covers before wrapping his arms around the Yamanaka, "That's better." The Uzumaki closed his eyes while enjoying the warmth of Ino's body and trying to ignore the lingering effects of his hangover. They stayed like that for a while until she mumbled, "You know, Sakura can't really get mad about this considering she's dating Kiba."
"What, why doesn't anybody tell me these things?"
The kunoichi laughed as she turned around before resting her head against his chest, "Because you never asked, but if you want to know about relationships then Temari and Shikamaru started dating too. Tenten and Neji went out for like two weeks, but it didn't work out."
Naruto sighed and started rubbing his fellow blonde's back, "I just can't believe Kiba didn't tell me he was dating Sakura, I was just on a mission with his team."
Ino looked up at him with her blue eyes, "I've been meaning to ask you about that, what are the chances of you running into two Konoha teams across the continent within two weeks of each other? Doesn't that seem weird?"
The Jinchuuriki frowned while thinking about it, but he was quickly distracted when the Yamanaka got up from the bed, revealing her naked body. He watched the kunoichi's toned legs and butt as she hurried across the room and shut the bathroom door. The chunin laid there as more of last night's escapades became clearer to him, and when the bathroom door moved he looked up at Ino's breasts, watching them as she jumped onto the bed from across the room. Naruto moved the blankets as the kunoichi glided through the air and pulled them back over her while she cuddled up next to him and breathed into his face, "Couldn't let you be the only one with fresh breath. Thanks for asking before using my toothbrush by the way."
The Jinchuuriki grinned suggestively, "Considering what we did last night I thought you wouldn't mind." The Yamanaka put her face into his chest once more and mumbled something inaudibly, "What was that?"
A soft blush spread across Ino's cheeks when she looked up, "You know, last night was my first time and I can't really remember it that well."
"I thought you said you did?"
The blushing kunoichi turned away from the whiskered chunin, "I remembered we slept together, the details are hazy though."
The Jinchuuriki rolled over and pinned the girl to the bed before kissing her chastely. Ino's blue eyes looked up at Naruto pleadingly and he smiled, "I wouldn't want you saying you couldn't remember our time together."
Naruto leaned against the railing of a ship and looked back at the capitol city of Tsuki no Kuni. It had been two days since the festival, but as soon as Jiraiya and Asuma finished negotiating the details of a new Hi no Kuni naval base that would be installed the older man said it was time to go. Apparently Michiru felt so grateful towards Konoha he pushed the old request through despite its unpopularity among the government, mostly so he would have access to the foreign shinobi stationed there because the three ninja working for Shabadaba were active shinobi of Getsugakure. The village claimed they had no knowledge of the trio's actions, saying they were listed as MIA from their last mission, however, the new Daimyo didn't fully trust his shinobi village and wanted another source of ninja to balance their power.
The blonde looked over at Jiraiya as he furiously scribbled in a notebook that contained a rough draft of the next Icha Icha book. He tried asking the man why they kept running into teams from Konoha several times, but only received shrugs or evasive responses for answers. Naruto figured the sennin was arranging it somehow, but didn't really care if it meant he would see his friends. The Uzumaki walked over to his godfather and stood in the sunlight illuminating his notebook, which made the man look up in irritation, "Teach me something Ero-sennin."
The hermit grumbled as he closed the literary gold and brushed himself off while standing up, he could never get any peace or quiet. "Go work on the chakra projection thing you were talking about, the one that busty Hyuuga showed you." The man waggled his eyebrows suggestively while continuing, "You should've slept with her too. Quiet ones always scream the loudest, and the things you could do with her body. If only I was twenty years younger."
"More like forty you pedophile."
The legendary shinobi glowered at his ungrateful godson, "Fine, show me the laser thing and I'll try to give you some advice, but I'm not promising anything. Afterwards you have to leave me alone."
Naruto figured that would be the best he'd get and rolled his eye, "Fine." The Uzumaki pointed his index finger towards starboard edge before concentrating the chakra at the tip. A dense blue ball glowed at the end of his finger before a thin chakra laser shot out over the open sea.
Jiraya whistled, slightly impressed by the display, "Not bad kid, that almost reminds me of the chakra chains your mother used. Except her technique was better because she wasn't a dumbass."
The chunin's blue eye widened for a moment before he took a deep breath in an attempt to quell his rising anger, "Why didn't you ever tell me about this technique."
The man shrugged, "You never asked, besides, it's not like I know how she did it so telling you wouldn't have made a difference."
The blonde growled, "Still, the idea could've helped."
Jiraiya patted the Jinchuuriki on his back, "I know that I'm really amazing, but this isn't my technique so there's not much I can really help you with. Why don't you read your father's notes again?"
Naruto shook his head, "I already read over the technique description recently, but I've progressed farther than he took it already."
The sennin looked at the sun climbing over the horizon while thinking of his first blonde student, 'Minato, you were like this rising sun when you sacrificed yourself, not even at your zenith.' Jiraiya looked at the Yondaime's son and smiled, "Listen kid, your dad was definitely a genius, but once in awhile he could be a little spacey. Like how you're a total idiot but occasionally have a smart moment." The silver haired shinobi smiled when his pupil frowned at him, "So, it's possible that he put a note about seal projection in an entirely different section when it popped into his head."
Naruto ran towards their cabin and fished through his things until he pulled out a black leather bound book. The chunin started reading through sections he thought would relate to seal projection, but found nothing in shape manipulation, seal theory, raw chakra manipulation, or chakra-based seal application. The blonde let out a sigh and figured he might as well start from the beginning. He opened up to the first page before scanning it with his blue eye, and after a minute it widened while he read a familiar passage.
This is what I theorized. Fuuinjutsu at its core is using ink to channel chakra into a shape. The seal's creator uses the ink as a medium, like hand seals, to dictate where the chakra will go. Once the circuit is complete and the chakra density sufficient the seal will activate and will react depending on how the chakra is being molded. I wanted to take the ink out of the equation completely and just mold my chakra into the seal. Despite not going anywhere it helped lead to the Rasengan, and my ability to apply seals simply by making contact was a step I created to learn it.
Naruto closed the book and narrowed his eye while trying to figure out how seal projection helped lead to the Rasengan. They both involved molding chakra outside of the body, but that couldn't have been the main reason, Jiraiya said the Rasengan was inspired by something his mother could do when she used the Kyuubi's chakra. The chunin's mind raced as he tried to make the connection, but nothing came. He walked back onto deck and went to the back of the ship and looked over the ocean once more, wondering what linked his father's techniques. He formed a Rasengan over his right palm while his left index finger glowed with chakra before his eye shot open, Hinata said he shouldn't spin the chakra because it wouldn't be as dense, but that would make it easier to bend.
The Rasengan above Naruto's hand faded as he focused on the tiny sphere of chakra on his index finger and started to rotate it. Like Hinata said the spinning motion decreased density and small strands of chakra began to leak out. As the chunin watched the chakra swirl around itself he realized this was different than the Rasengan. To form his father's jutsu the blonde would randomly rotate the chakra inside of a shell, but this was just concentrated chakra spinning in one direction with nothing holding it together. Naruto began feeding more chakra into the ball and watched the escaping chakra strands thicken, but as he sped up the rotation they got smaller once more. The shinobi pointed his finger out over the ocean before trying to create a chakra laser, but it only went six inches before dissipating.
Naruto smiled as the chakra faded, it may not have worked but it was a start. Now he had to make his bunshins test out different rotation speeds, chakra densities, and shapes. Different factors flashed through the Uzumaki's mind as he spun chakra down the length of his finger, the technique that was out of reach for so long finally seemed possible.
Jiraiya grinned as he watched the blonde stand on the ship's railing and try to make the chakra strand longer each time. The sennin looked down at the page he was on and finished writing the sentence before turning to the last page of his notebook. He slid his finger into a hidden folder on the back cover and pulled a picture out. A much younger—although just as handsome—him stood between Kushina and Minato when they were only a few years older than Naruto. The man had just caught the two on a secret date and spent the whole day following and teasing them. The hermit's face softened for a moment as he remembered the times he spent with Minato, but after hearing Naruto shout in frustration the sage smiled and looked up at the boy as he almost fell into the ocean, it was hard to wallow in melancholy with his new apprentice hanging around. Jiraiya looked at the picture a little longer before sliding it back into the folder and saying, "You two would be proud of Naruto, I think's he's almost ready to learn that move."
If you think the next chapter will come out as quickly as this one then put that thought on hold. These last two were pre-written at the end of summer and had a decent amount of editing done. My goal is to release two more chapters that total 15,000 words before school restarts and hopefully jumpstart the next arc, because writing from scratch after a long break is hard. I really hate pointing things out that I'm trying to get across or hint at as I feel a good author shouldn't have too, but since I'm trying to improve criticism is necessary. These last two chapters I've really been trying to do something with Shikamaru (although I obviously try to develop and explore all characters that appear, for instance, Naruto never summoned Jiraiya because he wanted to test himself, a little Sasukeish) and it would help if you guys dropped me a review and let me know what you think it is.
-Operaman bye bye
Bubun Baika no Jutsu
Kagemane no Jutsu
Baika no Jutsu
Futon: Kami Oroshi
Rairyu no Tatsumaki