Rise of the Demon King
Author's Note: I don't in any way own Naruto or anything contained within the Naruto universe.
I am only borrowing the characters for the duration of this story so please don't sue me.
Sorry for the long absence and I know had promised to have this out a few weeks after the last chapter but unfortunately writing has to take a back seat to real life.
As usual feedback good or bad is always welcome.
Thank you all for your continued interest in my humble offerings.
Chapter 15: Plots, plans, and an ass kicking
"Neji-san, I'm sure you're curious as too why we asked you here today." Saburo stated as he and the gathered members of the Hyūga council observed the young man standing before them. "But, rest assured that this informal inquiry is not directed at you. Rather, given your participation in the recent Chūnin Exams we felt that you might be in the position to answer several questions we have concerning those events."
Considering the Elder's words and the fact that not all of the elders were in attendance Neji realized right away that something was off. Whatever the gathered elders were after he had not been their first choice for gaining information. "I will try to answer any questions you may have to the best of my knowledge."
"We never considered that you would not." Shigeko stated leveling her aged eyes on Neji.
Coughing into his hand in order to gain the attention of the room Kenzo begin the inquisition by saying, "Let us begin by confirming what we already know."
"Meaningless and a waste of time!" Saburo interrupted. "What is the point of confirming what is known? We should just ask the boy what we want to know and move ahead."
Giving his fellow councilman look of disapproval Kenzo cleared his throat before mumbling to himself and continuing.
Neji-san, it is our understanding that the second part of the Chūnin Exams was a survival exercise held in Training Ground Forty-four. We are also aware that both your team and Lady Hinata's completed the exercise but due to the number of remaining competitors there was a need for some sort of intermediate competition.
From here we have been unable to gather any reliable information. Based solely on the rumors that have reached us we have concluded that the competition consisted of single combat between the remaining competitors. However, we have yet to learn anything about those matches. It is because of this that we now turn to you to provide us with an explanation of those events." Kenzo explained.
Still unsure of the Elder's motives Neji paused for a moment before saying; "As you have said Lord Kenzo after the completion of the second exam Lord Hokage informed the remaining teams that there were too many shinobi to move on to the finale round. Therefore it was decided that preliminary matches would be held between randomly chosen shinobi. The winners would then move on the final competition which is to be held next month." Neji explained.
"Yes, yes. We understand that much boy. What we want to know is the circumstances of those matches." Saburo admonished before pausing and going on to say; "Specifically, we want to know about Lady Hinata's match and the techniques, jutsu, and your personal observations of her performance."
Understanding, at last, what the elders were after Neji could not hide his disgust. Where it was true that he held no love for the main house even he would never allow his hatred to grow so strong as to betray his fellow clansmen.
"And you can wipe that look from your face. We all know how you truly feel about the main houses and how you blame Hiashi for your father's death."
Allowing his posture to relax Neji smirked as he said; "Regardless of how I feel about Lord Hiashi and the main houses I am remain loyal."
"No one is questioning your loyalty boy nor have we asked you to do anything that would cause anyone else to question it. We simply want to learn of the girls abilities." Kenzo said confident that Neji would see things as he wished him too.
Thinking over what he had been told Neji could not deny the ring of truth in the old man's words.
"Very well, I will tell you what you wish to know. However, just so that we are clear, I am not doing this to help you. I am doing this because I know you will use it to hurt them." Neji calmly said.
"Your motivation means little and your words even less. However you justify your actions when the final tally is taken your hands will be no more clean then our own." Retorted Saburo causing Neji to sharply glare at the man before telling the Elders what they wanted to know.
"Lady Hinata was matched against her teammate Kiba Inuzuka. A pairing that at first glance seemed to heavily favored the Inuzuka. However, as is often the case in the shinobi world appearances can be deceiving." Neji began.
Training Ground Forty-four Tower, Three days ago
Hinata's heart ached as she looked into Kiba's eyes. Even from across the arena floor she could clearly see her teammates intent. Before her time among the Vulpine she might never have understood Kiba's intentions but after a year under the tutelage of Yukiko and Tadao she all to familiar with the look her teammate held.
"He intends to kill me." Hinata whispered as she readied herself.
However disturbing, Kiba's intentions towards her were they came as no surprise to Hinata. She had begun to suspect his true motivations during Team Eight's time in the Forest of Death. Repeated failed warnings of incoming dangers, kunai being thrown too close to her person during skirmishes with other teams, and other ill timed events might on their own been written off but taken together painted a vivid picture of betrayal. If truth be told had it not been for Shino's timely interventions she might have been either seriously injured or dead already.
"Although killing is allowed should your opponent surrender or I declare them unable to continue the match will immediately end." The proctor, Hayate Gekkō, declared before signaling for the match to begin.
"Looks like it just you and me Hinata." Kiba said as he tossed a food pill to Akamaru.
"It doesn't have to be this way Inuzuka-san. If you would just let go of your..."
"Oh, we're way past that Bitch!" Kiba growled interrupting Hinata. "Let's go Akamaru! Transformation Jutsu, Man Beast Mimicry!" Yelled the feral boy as his companion leapt upon his back before transforming into a his twin.
Understanding that diplomacy was no longer an option and being fully aware of the damage Kiba could cause Hinata slipped into a defensive posture.
Dashing forward Kiba was determined not to allow Hinata a chance to use her clan's signature style of taijutsu. Deciding instead to quickly neutralize her before dishing out as much punishment as possible before delivering the final blow.
"All right Akamaru, remember what I said, no mercy! Fang Passing Fang!" Kiba screamed as he and the transformed Akamaru leaped forward and began to rapidly spin.
Being well aware with exactly how devastating Kiba's attack could be Hinata knew she had to act quickly.
Watching as the twin spirals of destruction came ever closer Hinata waited to the last possible moment before swiftly performing several signs before slapping the ground and calling out 'Earth Style, Enclosing Wall!'
With the completion of the jutsu a large earthen wall sprung up to serve as Hinata's shield against the incoming attack.
"Damn it!" Kiba mentally hissed know that neither he nor Akamaru could avoid the newly formed obstetrical but hoping that it's destruction would cause Hinata some injury.
"Did we get her?" Kiba questioned looking back at the rubble left after his attack.
"Not even close!" Hinata yelled as she burst from the arena floor directly below the transformed Akamaru causing him to leap back to avoid her initial attack.
Landing a few feet away from the pair and taking advantage of their momentary surprise Hinata quickly performed several signs before sinking her hands to the ground and saying 'Earth Style, Fist of Stone!'
Above the arena Kurenai was amazed to see the vast improvement her student had made in such a relatively short time. And if truth be told a little frightened. Never in her time as a shinobi had she ever heard of anyone increasing their abilities in so little time.
"Do not worry Sensei. Although she had grown significantly stronger she is still the same person that she was before." Shino assured after reading Kurenai's perplexed expression.
Knowing in her heart that Shino was correct Kurenai returned her attention to the match below while silently vowing to have a long talk with Hinata in the very near future.
"Round two." Hinata said as she ripped her stone encased fist from the floor and vanished from sight only to reappear before a bewildered Akamaru.
"Akamaru!" Kiba yelled in warning only to watch in horror as Hinata grasped the ninken by the head and brutally smash him into the arena wall before delivering a powerful uppercut to the stomach causing him to revert to his original form.
Not wishing to cause the ninken and further harm Hinata carefully lowered Akamaru to the ground before trading places with rubble from the damaged wall just as Kiba attempted to strike her from behind.
Realizing that she had evaded him Kiba quickly turned to find his opponent only to see Hinata's smiling face before hearing her say 'You are within my deviation!'
From the observation deck nearly all the Konoha shinobi were shocked by the direction the match had taken. For them to witness Hinata, the shy Hyūga heiress, so easily defeat one of the strongest of their class was unimaginable.
In the end it had only taken a few seconds for Hinata to deliver the deciding blows to end the match.
"Kiba Inuzuka is unable to continue. Winner, Hinata Hyūga!" Hayate declared as he signaled for a medical team to attend to Kiba.
Being declared the victor Hinata allowed herself an appreciative smile before turning to rejoin the remainder of Team Eight. However, before leaving Hinata decided to leave Kiba with a final thought.
"You and I have been teammates from the very beginning and despite the misunderstanding between us I would have never thought that your anger towards me would have led to this. But knowing what you had planned for me today only confirms what I have suspected for some time.
You can't be trusted and because of that everyone knows now exactly what kind of person you are. But that aside, I have no doubt that even after what has passed today you won't leave well enough alone. So next time you decide to come after me just know that what you felt today was only an inkling of what I'm capable of. Come after me again and I won't hesitate to put you down like the mangy cur you are."
Standing Hinata offered Kiba a sickly sweet smile before moving to where Akamaru lay. Lifting the injured pup into her arms Hinata carefully held him close to her body. "I'm so sorry for hurting you Akamaru. None of this was your fault." Hinata whispered to the ninken taking a food pill from her pouch. "Try to eat this. It will make you feel better."
Despite his master's feelings towards her Akamaru considered Hinata to be part of his extended pack and trusted her completely. Whining slightly the ninken accepted the offered pill which instantly began to flood his body with its' healing properties.
"Now just rest and you'll be feeling better than ever before you know it." Hinata said as she gently passed the ninken to a medic before walking towards the observation deck.
"... afterwards the next match was called." Neji concluded.
"It's seems that we have been underestimating Hiashi's whelp." Saburo said turning his attention onto Neji. "After seeing her fight first hand how would you rate the girls abilities, Neji-san?"
"It would be a lie if I were to say that Lady Hinata's improvement was not surprising. However, considering her age and training it really shouldn't be. As far as the jutsu she used they were both low level and would not be that difficult for a genin to learn given the time and proper attention. As to extent she displayed in using the Gentle Fist it was barely above the level of fourth year practitioner.
But, to answer your question, I suspect that the only reason she was able to win was because she was able to learn her new skills while training away from her team and had the element of surprise on her side. Against a more seasoned and prepared foe she would have easily fallen."
"So if she had faced you instead of the Inuzuka..." Kenzo began.
"I would have crushed her."
Smiling at Neji confident response Shigeko chose that moment to stroke boys ego. "A bold statement. One that I believe you have been given the opportunity to back up in the upcoming finals."
"There is nothing bold about it. What I have said is not a boast but a simple statement of fact. In this world fate determines everything we do. It was fate that my father was born second to the clan head. It was fate that forced him to start a branch house. It was fate that demanded his death in the place of his brother and it is by fates hand that I will avenge that travesty." Neji confidently replied never allowing his eyes to fall from the gathered elders.
"With such an ally you can not lose. But what is your plan for Hiashi's heir? Do you simply wish too defeat her and prove yourself the stronger? Would that be enough to quench your thirst for vengeance?" Shigeko snidely asked.
"Simply defeating her could never be enough. But, for the time being it will serve my purposes." Neji replied before bowing and leaving Shigeko and the others.
"This puts our plans in doubt Shigeko." Kenzo said.
"You worry to much my friend. The plan will not fail simply because one small piece is out of place." Saburo returned. "When all is said and done we will achieve all of our goals and the Hyūga will reap the benefits of our efforts."
With those word the assembled elders adjourned for the evening never knowing that their secret meeting had not been as secret as they had hoped it to be.
Setting atop the head of the fourth Naruto felt the subtle pull summoning him to Kurama's side.
"You summoned Father?" Naruto asked as he appeared before the Demon King.
"My son, your training in the sage arts has progressed faster than any other in clan history. Beyond that since joining the Vulpine you have embraced our traditions and teachings with a zeal that many of our own people have never shown.
To this end, I believe that you are ready to begin training in the demon arts. Through which, if successful, an entirely new world of techniques and abilities will be opened to you. However, to study the arts is not for the faint of heart or weak of will.
The demon arts are like nothing you have ever experienced. The toll they demand upon ones soul can be crippling. Of those that have attempted to embrace them only a handful have ever completed the training.
The choice therefore must be yours my son. I will not force this path upon you. But considering the task you have undertaken I would advise you that can never have too little power." Kurama explained as looked upon his son.
Considering both Kurama's advice and warning Naruto arrived at his decision easily.
"When do you begin."
"Are you sure the information is correct?" Questioned Sarutobi while continuing to read over the reports before him.
"I'm afraid so. My agents took great care to ensure the accuracy of the information before relaying it." Replied Danzō while shuffling through several additional reports.
"Then it seems that we have little choice but to prepare for the worst.
Inform the Shinobi Council, Anbu Commander, Ibiki Morino, Kakashi and the Elders that we will assemble for an emergency meeting within the hour. If Sand and Sound wish for war then we will oblige them." Sarutobi said standing and turning his gaze upon the village.
"I will have them summoned right away Hokage-sama." Danzō replied before bowing and leaving to carry out the Third's command."
With Danzō's departure Sarutobi returned his attention to the piles of papers littering his desk. Given what might result from the upcoming meeting the ideal of doing routine paperwork somehow seemed relaxing to the village leader.
"Oh well." The Third mumbles as he began to read through one of Team Kakashi's recently completed mission reports. Caring as he did for Kakashi's second Sarutobi could not help but chuckle as he read though some of the comments of the secondary team-members before an ideal started to form.
"Ox!" Called out the Professor as the desired Anbu appeared and knelt before his leader.
"Locate Naruto Uzumaki and have him report to me immediately." Sarutobi commanded.
"By your will Lord Hokage." Ox replied before vanishing in order to carry out the Third's orders.
Returning to the mission report still in his hand Sarutobi spared a small smile before setting it aside. "He's grown so much. I can only hope that it will be enough for the task ahead."
The council chamber was filled with speculations as the gathered shinobi waited for the Hokage's arrival.
"What do you think this all about Shikaku?" Chōza asked his longtime friend.
"I'm not sure but whatever is going on it can't be good considering the people here." Replied the Nara clan head causing the larger man to take note of the gathered company.
"I see what you mean. I can somewhat understand having only half the council and the elders here... but the others." Acknowledged Chōza just as the door to the chamber opened and the Third entered the room.
"Thank you all for coming on such short notice. But what we need to discuss could very well effect the future of the village so please take your seats so that we might begin." Sarutobi said as he moved to his place at the council table.
"Several weeks ago our intelligence network learned that the Kazekage had entered into secret talks with representatives from Otogakure.
Understandably this in itself was not necessarily a reason to be concerned. However, with the Wind Daimyo's reduction of Suna's budget and his sending of high level mission to other villages our agents were advised to look further into the situation.
Earlier today we received word that our concerns were justified. Our agents in Sunagakure have verified that the Sand and Sound have entered into a military alliance and plan to attack Konohagakure sometime within the next month." Sarutobi explained causing murmurs of concern to fill the room.
"Excuse me Lord Hokage but is all the information we have?" Shikaku asked.
"Unfortunately it is." Sarutobi began. "However, the lack of intelligence only means that we must be that much more diligent in planning our response."
Around the room the gathered shinobi nodded in agreement.
"Where do we begin?" Tsume asked.
Appearing in a burst of purple flames a small fox found herself in the presence of the current head of the Vulpine. Wasting no time in showing the proper respect the small creature lowered its head and waited for her presence to be acknowledged.
"You have returned Mika-chan. What do you have to report?" Yukiko asked of her young spy.
Lifting her face toward the eight-tails Mika worriedly replied; "It is as you predicted Mistress. Hinata-neechan's clans is making plans against her."
"Do not worry yourself little one. When the time comes Naruto-kun and I will be ready." Replied the snow fox flicking her tongue across her maw.
To be continued