Chapter 11: Midori no Naegi-tachi (Green Saplings)
Gennin Tenten was annoyed. No, not annoyed, she was pissed off. Not just pissed off either, she was 'I want to stab someone repeatedly where it hurts the most but bleeds little' pissed off. The reason? She had lost.
She had lost her chance at a promotion even when her teacher had held her back for a year... Not only did she loose badly either, but other gennin passed, despite not being held back!
No, she hadn't just lost; she had been steamrolled, she had been dominated, she had been owned. That Suna bitch had owned her ass and done it easily.
So, understandably, Tenten was now looking for a clear Training Ground in which she could engage in some creative destruction therapy.
She had drawn her sealing scroll out of her pocket even, when she realized that the thudding sounds weren't from her imagination, but rather from someone practicing. So, using her ninja skills, she snuck over to see who it was.
'Oh! Oh my... Oh, very nice... Very nice indeed! Tenten would fiercely advocate she most definitely did not drool, but the truth is a harsh mistress.
A few meters ahead, there was a figure practicing against one of the many mannequin opponents that littered the area, and the major reason she had gone there. A figure that lacked any form of garment on his upper body, sans a very tight and sweaty shirt, which in turn revealed the toned and muscled physique, despite the otherwise young age.
Blonde hair whipped over bright blue eyes as the figure danced around the mannequine. A kick-back on the chest pushed him away and he dashed forward, sliding the last few meters, right kick raised before unleashing a dozen kicks, all in the space of a few seconds. Kicks turned to a high jump that had the user spin behind the enem and place the inside of his foot at his target's throat and pull himself on his back while kicking with the other, a combination that would crush the throat and neck of a human easily. But it did not end there as the figure quickly twirled away, landing on his hands and spinning like a top, unleashing a few quick hits before coiling and leaping off again in an acrobatic spinning leap that brought the inside of a shin ready to go down on the wooden head, but changed direction at the last minute and continuing the spin to give a mighty heel drop kick over the top of the wooden head.
Not being able to take any more, the wooden doll was decapitated.
The figure, Naruto, landed lightly and sighed, first tensing and then relaxing his muscles with a drawn out breath. Then, he took a small bottle of water, drank a sip, and emptied the rest over his head, making his clothes stick to his skin even more.
And causing poor Tenten to gulp uncomfortably.
Being the sole girl of a team of men, two of which wearing spandex every day, had given her a pretty good idea of how most men look. During her time as a member of Team Gai, she had quickly changed herself cfrom a Neji fan-girl to one wondering how she could get Lee to change his wardrobe so she could snatch him for herself. Aristocratic, dark features are cute. A body that can do a hundred pushups on his tongue is...
So yes, Tenten had a very good idea of how men looked and what she wanted from a boy. She had never thought that runt had it in him, what with his ridiculous orange jumpsuit getting in the way, but he was built. He was no adult and yet he had clearly defined muscles, a wiry yet strong physique and quite plainly every sexy thing that Lee's body had without the problem of bug-eyes, bowl-hair and an obsessive personality (besides his apparent insanity, but she suspected it was more a way to unsettle people).
Taking a step back, wondering if she should find another training spot or just go to her appartment and the solitude it offered, Tenten forgot to step over a branch behind her. The resulting crack made her cringe at her lack of focus and the blonde to turn at her curiously. Realizing she had no way out of it, she took a deep breath and walked out of her cover.
'Damn! He looks better up close! Look at those abs!' She gulped and tried to focus her eyes into his own.
Not much success there either. 'They're so... blue... Like a slightly clouded sky, or a frothing sea or... Oh, dammit girl, focus here!'
"Umm... hi there, Naruto-san." She greeted, after managing to collect herself.
Realizing that the girl was distracted, and probably also distraught, Naruto decided to make a small joke, So he looked curiously around him, as if searching for someone.
"Umm... Naruto-san? What are you looking for?"
"Eh? Oh, the other two of me, I'm Naruto-three, so where is Naruto-two and Naruto-one?" He asked playing with the suffix '-san', which also meant 'three'.
"Naruto-three... San..." Tenten blinked a bit surprised before giggling at it.
"Yup, yup, unless there's another two of me here, just call me Naruto. So, how have you been? How did you escape prison so quickly?"
"The Hospital." He shuddered dramatically. "I tell them but no one listens! Hospitals are part of a continent-wide conspiracy to suck our souls! They hate the Ramen!" He looked a bit faint as well as horrified there, causing Tenten to break down in laughing until her ribs hurt. "So? What brings you here, want to vent some too?" He asked after she recovered.
"Y-Yeah... wait, you were venting too? What for? I mean... I mean you passed, right?" She asked, somewhat angry at not doing the same, though most of it was against her own weakness.
"Passed... Yeah, I did... No, I'm not venting because of that." He seemed to be getting angrier by the second here. "It's thanks to your team-mate, Hyuuga Neji." The name was snarled out, lips curling up to reveal larger than normal incissors. "That bastard... Just winning against Hinata wasn't good enough for him... He had to demean her, berate her, insult her, he found it necessary to try and destroy her own determination to abide by her nindo... and then he tried to kill her. His own cousin!"
"W-what? N-Neji did? B-But... I... I mean, I know he's angry about the whole Main Branch thing but... but to kill, to actually kill, his cousin?" She was horrified, Neji wouldn't have done something like that... would he? No matter how much of an arrogant, cold jerk he was, he wouldn't... his own cousin, his own blood...
"He did. The medics barely saved her, we almost lost her for a bit and... I'm sorry, Tenten, but when I meet him in the third part, I'm going to destroy that arrogant son of a bitch." There was not hate there, there was fury, anger and a rage barely held back. "Nothing against you of course, but I'm an orphan and... hurting your own flesh and blood just doesn't sit right with me."
"You... won't kill him right? He's an ass, but killing him would make you just as bad as him."
"No, not kill him. But I'm going to hurt him. I'm going break him. I'm going to absolutely shatter his pride and arrogance and show that jerk just how good it feels to be totally outclassed by someone." It was a cold statement, like a judgement. Naruto wasn't discussing a point, he was stating a fact. "But, that's not important, I'm here because I'm bored really, my teacher's been late in coming, so I decided to practice a little bit. What about you?"
By now the girl had sat down on the grass, trying to put the fate of Neji (oh how ironic, she thought) behind her. "Yeah... I... well, I lost, badly. So, I want to improve but... Gai-sensei's fretting over Lee and Neji... He's an ass, a royal ass. Not just because of what he did to his cousin, but even before that, he never cared for us, his team. As long as he got to advance, as long as he got the reward, it didn't matter about us. As long as he got stronger, me and Lee could just die. I couldn't go to anyone for training, so I thought I could train here for a bit... and vent, too."
"Yeah, that Suna girl really did destroy you, huh? It was a bad match-up though, I'm a wind user too so I know how easy it is to make a barrier of wind to deflect projectiles. She's more proficient than me, but yeah, I can do it too. Or... I could anyway... Can't do much jutsu lately, some snake-using bastard hit me with a seal and my control's shot."
"A seal? What seal? Maybe I know about it?" Tenten was curious and willing to help the blonde, not only was he friendly, but he was also hot, and would only get sexier as he got older. Best to get started in winning the future hunk's affections from early on. Get a head start before the other girls got to see him.
"He called it... Gogyo Fuuin... If I recall... It hurt like hell too, almost knocked me out. Dunno how to get it off though... Maybe once my teacher shows up I'll go to the old-man Hokage, he'll at least know someone who can help."
"Gogyo Fuuin... No, can't say I've heard of it... Who applied it?"
"I think, no I believe, it was Orochimaru of the Sannin. Snake-related jutsu, slippery as hell, yellow slitted eyes and snake summons. No, I'm sure it was Orochimaru, he even felt wrong, like his chakra was... I dunno, purple rather than blue. Anyway, my problem will be solved soon, I think. But what about you? How do you intend to get stronger?"
"Orochimaru of the Sannin, but, how do you care about me if you have an S-rank ninja after you?" She was incredulous now, and a little bit touched.
"Oro-teme got to me in order to get to Sasuke, my team-mate you know. I'm not his target and Sasuke is... well, he's safe. He won't be found, much less approached, not even I know where he is. But he's alright. Orochimaru won't come after me and, even if he does, I don't have anyone I'd need to protect right now, so I can just run the freaking hell away from that freak." He gave her a grin. "But we're talking about you, Tenten-chan. So, what were you thinking about?"
"B-but... Ugh, you won't change your mind, will you?" After a happy 'nope!', she sighed and smiled at him. "Well... I was trying to get better generally... Fire more ninja weapons, get better accuracy, things like that."
"Hm... so what about jutsu? You have that Soushouryu thing, which was amazingly awesome by the way, but I didn't see any other. What else do you have?" He was met with a sheepish look.
"Umm... that... that was actually it... Soushouryu is my strongest and, well only, jutsu. I just... don't know what else I could do. I mean, I don't have a clan to teach me and Gai-sensei never teaches us jutsu so..."
Now Naruto sat down next to her and picked up a leaf, showing it to her. Then, with a ram seal to help focus his chakra, and cursing that Orochimaru guy to Hell and beyond for doing this to him, Naruto made the leaf levitate, spin and surround itself with a distortion in the wind. "You have everything you need, Tenten-chan. You just have to find out different ways to use it. See this leaf? I know where it is, no matter where it's placed, my chakra will always tell me where it is. Also, I can replace myself with this leaf in an instant." Finally, he simply waved with his hand and had it cut right into the fallen wooden head nearby. "Or I can use it as a projectile. And all that comes from just using wind chakra. With more leaves, I can do more things, like a shield or sword, or even spin hundreds of them around me to create a smokescreen, or leafscreen in this case, or just all-out cut my enemies to ribbons." He gave her a smug grin at her awed look. "I can do that with just a leaf. What can you do with actual blades? I saw your accuracy, it's great, but, that's just it. You need to branch out, not get away from your major advantages, but use something to multiply the power of your advantages."
Now Tenten was pensive, and thoughtful as well. "Well... I'm good with weapons... that's just it really..."
"That's it? No, Tenten-chan, that's most definitely not 'it'. Weapons, weapons... let's see, how about tieing them up with ninja wire, and changing their path mid-flight?" Tenten waved it off, she'd done it before. "Then how about... wait, what chakra nature are you, anyway?"
"Umm... I, I don't know?" She gave a sheepish look. "When Gai-sensei tested us, I refused. I just don't want to use regular ninjuttsu. I just... I just want to be me, I want to be original."
"So did I, which led to me making my Leaf Ninja Arts, which you can learn too, by the way, but it's going to take some time, they're not that easy. Besides, when making a new technique, not everything has to be high-level; one of my best jutsu combines the Kawarimi with a B-rank concealing, and it's good enough to slow down Momochi Zabuza of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. And before you start, yeah, his sword's awesome, but I don't think he'd hand it over for more than a few minutes. Anyway, what I'm saying is use ninjutsu in new an cool way, supplement your existing skills with your weaponry..."
"Like what? No family scrolls here, remember? No high-power jutsu like everybody else has." She was quite bitter over that fact, one of the reasons her crush on Neji had died quickly. It is rather hard to keep liking a boy that ignores your existence on the grounds that you have no family scrolls. Oh, how she wished that she was in fact the last survivor of a powerful clan, one that even the Hyuuga would be jealous of... "I don't even know my chakra element..."
Naruto hummed a bit. Chakra paper was ridiculously expensive and forbidden to gennin, since it had so many more properties than just testing chakra type. But of course, it was nothing special, as paper anyway, no seals or special stuff into it... Maybe if he could... "Hm... Tell me, Tenten-chan, what if you met me here tomorrow, say, seven in the morning? I might have something I could use to help determine your affinity. Until then though, we can brainstorm anyway. How about using the Bunshin no Jutsu (Clone technique) on your weapons? You could confuse your enemy on which is real! Or, I could see if I could alter the Kage Bunshin no Jutsu, which is like the normal Bunshin, but actually corporeal. Oh, you use seals right? Can you create, or buy, a seal that stores chakra? If we could attach them to your weapons, then you would be able to Kawarimi right next to them, rather than in their place. And we have to find you a way into melee!"
Keeping up his mumbles, muttering about pretties, swords and overlapping things, Naruto produced one of the many small scrolls he carried on his pouch, always there to record his most recent ideas. It had many scribblings on it, but he opened it a bit further, making space.
"Let's see... How good are you in chakra control? Alright, water-walking's good enough, so we could give you gloves with smaller seals on them that conceal weeapons and changing each one mid-strike, so people wouldn't be able to predict you." Tenten nodded, it made sense and it would be more handy than her regular scroll, at least when it came to close-range combat. "Then we have seals specifically for replacement or movement jutsu... Hmm, how about a technique that makes your weapons gravitate to your hand as you move somewhere near it?" He grinned at her thoughtful look. "On that matter, how about a huge chakram? And I mean big enough for you to fit inside." Now Tenten had a maniacal look in her face, her eyes glinting at the idea. "And rounding it up with an innocent, geisha-like dress, maybe one of those long, bare-legged chinese dresses! They're awesome and would make you look really pretty, not to mention how people would look at the dress rather than the cloud of death you're about to bring!"
"W-well, that'd be correct, but I don't want to come across as a... a slut." She grumbled. "Women are not just pretty faces! We can be just as strong as men!"
"Just as strong? No, I don't think so." Naruto replied absent-mindedly, ignoring her hurt look and angry glare. "You're weaker and with lower stamina, that much is genetics." Now Tenten was making to get up, but Naruto still hadn't stopped talking. "But, I guess, that's natural, women are much more flexible than men and possess a greater pain tolerance. Huh, must be balance or something like that."
'W-what? I... I thought he was underestimating us kunoichi, but can he be this naive?' "Naruto, you... You don't look down on kunoichi, at all?"
"Eh, why would I? Sakura-chan used to beat me on the head every time I so much as looked at her wrong. Ayame-nee-chan cooks the best ramen in the world, better than her father and that's almost impossible. Then there's Amiko-chan, she's the kunoichi placed as Sandaime-jii-chan's secretary, but she's an ANBU Commander actually. No, kunoichi are physically weaker than men, but I know they make up in other areas. Chakra control for example; Sakura-chan got the tree-walking excercise in her first try, me and Sasuke had to work on it for a week to get it right."
"O-Oh..." She was quite surprised, not the least of which at finding out that the smiling, young secretary outside the Hokage's office was in fact an ANBU Commander. Go girl power!
"So anyway, that's that, but, what weapon do you prefer to use in close combat?"
"Umm... I'm good with the spear, staff and tonfa? I can also use swords, I prefer them really, but I haven't had much time to-"
"No, no, no!" Naruto interrupted her quickly. "Not which you've trained the most in! The one you're most comfortable in using. Like, when you were still a little girl, and thought of how you'd be fighting ninja, how did you place your body? What did you think you wielded? Your imagination is your greatest weapon! Even if it's never been made before, we can create it! A new weapon, imagine it! One no one else has ever wielded before, marking you as 'unique' even amongst other weapon users!" There was a fire in Naruto's eyes, a contagious willpower that seemed to pass over onto the girl herself.
Tenten quickly found herself standing and thinking back in time, before she had learned how to fight for real, when she had daydreamed about fighting bad guys like the tomboy she was. "Well... I think... It was something like this..." She raised her right hand next to her head, as if holding a thin saber, best for stabbing, her left leg a bit ahead of her right and bent at the knee so only her toes touched the ground. "Yes, my right hand went there and my left... It was something like... this..." Her left hand had come to rest in front of her stomach, almost as if clutching something, more like claws. "Yeah, I remember now!" She began moving, first by slashing with the imaginary sword and then finishing with powerful swipes and thrusts from her clawed hand. "It was exactly like this! I'd flow and then, WHAM!, strike! Parry rather than block, move my entire body like this, bend my waist and just claw right into my enemy!" She was flushed now, not by fatigue but by excitement, like her body was flowing just as it should while she reminisced memories so long forgotten.
Eventually, she stopped, with a sad sigh, and turned to her new friend. She did not expect to see him drawing her own starting pose or any other of the next poses, a couple clones having appeared to fill in the drawing portions.
"Yes, yes! That's it!" He muttered, getting agreements from his clones. "See how she flows here, from each stance to the next? Her entire body moves, not just a single part. She just sort of, flows like wind, or maybe waves of water, and then, just turns it around and charges like a bolt of lightning, no a roaring flame! Oh, look at this, magnificent, see how she goes from gentle dancer to ferocious tiger? It's like she maintains a balance that only she can perceive, each side being completely devoted either to grace or to brutality and switching at any point in time!" Weirder was the fact that the original would stop at the middle of a sentence and a clone would pick up seamlessly, without even stopping, like a three-sided game of ping-pong.
Seeing the three so deep into their mutterings, and enjoying their compliments on her grace very much, thank you, she let them go on for a bit more before finally coughing to stop them. They had managed to fill up more than a few meters of scroll paper, her stances barely taking up one third of it, the rest filled with notes, signs, diagrams, various words that she couldn't really understand what code they were in (seriously, blue was supposed to mean something when over her head?). "Ahem, Naruto-kun, is there something you'd like to share with little, young and sexy, me?" She giggled at his surprised look, almost as if he had lost himself somewhere.
After shaking himself to get out of his creation-happy-land, Naruto focused on the matter at hand, Tenten. "Yes, yes, sorry. I was just thinking of what weapons would best suit your instincts... I've made a few basic diagrams, but I'm not exactly a master of weapons, maybe you have a better idea?" And then he had turned his own scroll over to her, so she could see the drawings.
What stunned Tenten wasn't his ideas; it was how he somehow knew how to expertly draw such obscure weapons, weapons he had never seen before apparently, going only by what he learned from her stance! There, that sword first up, straight, thin, narrow but also extremely sharp, with a crossguard rather than a katana's circle, that's a Tai-chi sword, or Philosopher's sword, a blade meant for quick, precise cuts and stabs. He had even added his opinion that she could use a flashy bit of cloth on the hilt to distract enemies, but that's a regular tassel, or dragon tail as some call them, a known trick of such weapon users! And then there was the assortment of weapons that could be placed on her left arm, all of them some form of bracer or gauntlet. And they were drawn with amazing detail for someone who had never seen one before!
"I'm pretty sure on the sword one, that or a bit longer, heavier, single-edged version could suit you better..." Naruto's voice made Tenten look at him in surprise, that's a basic description of the Dao sword, an easy, finessed weapon that was excellent of full-body cutting. "But the other one confused me a bit... You seem to use the bracer to block and just swipe enemies to attack for the most part, so I thought, something like panther claws? But, you also use many palm attacks, it wouldn't suit that style, just as you use quite a few elbow drives after you fake an attack. So, I turned to gauntlets... They are better, covering all your arm, giving excellent protection and you could place some tricks on them too. I think that a clawed gauntlet suits you best; a small blade at the elbow protector and several others at the end of each finger, they'd leave some pretty nasty wounds." He sat back to watch at the clouds, ignoring Tenten turning from himself to the scroll and back again, mouth slightly agape.
He was right, he was right! She was always good with staves and spears, but that came from practicing for hours while moping the house. And swords and claws, she had never heard of anyone using such a combination, so, like a fool, she had discarded it. But she shouldn't, because they fit. The sword for parrying and quick slashes, able to maneuvre inside the enemy's space, changing its attacks like a gust of wind, the sharp edge cutting easily and without much strength, only requiring she uses her great dexterity rather than a strength she would never have. The claw, charging up her entire body for full-strength tackles channeled into five small blades, moving quickly to deflect and block attacks with the metal plates, the elbow blade enabling her to turn even a miss into a sneaky blow...
"N-Naruto... This... this is perfect, thank you!" She tossed the scroll to the side and gave him a tight hug, causing him to splutter and blush. "I'll get on to a weaponsmith I know, he'll be able to make me at least a couple of prototypes quickly, and if it works, it's going to be awesome! My own style, Blade and Claw! Haha, imagine that, Tenten, weapons mistress!"
She would have happily stayed there, and Naruto wouldn't have removed her off him, oh no he wouldn't, but someone chose just that moment to show up. A black suit wearing someone, with a stylized cat mask on her face. "Gennin Uzumaki. This is a command under Hokage-sama. Your teacher has been sighted at the onsen side. You are to meet him there. Immidiately." The last word was delivered with a distasteful look at the now-blushing Tenten as she realized she had just glomped her fellow gennin. "Ready yourself. I shall transport you in the assigned location."
"Aww, why so harsh, Koneko-chan?" Naruto giggled (in a manly, if insane, way). "Did your fiancee forget to get you flowers? You could adopt one of my pretties, if you wanted!" Then his face was only a centimeter away from the backpedaling girl, a greepy grin on his face. "They like hugs. They like hugs a lot. You will hug them, won't you, Koneko-chan. Because you mustn't anger my pretties, they throw veeery nasty tantrums!" Turning his head to his new friend, he winked to show her it was a game and let the thoroughly creeped out ANBU take him away in the whirlwind-like transportation that is the Shunshin no Jutsu.
Heh, he thought as he watched the ANBU slightly sweat under just a hint of his crazies, they don't make ANBU like they used to. Maybe he shoud look around for Kuma-chan, the Hokage's secretary, ask her if her dear ANBU needed some emotional hardening. Oh, nothing like a few good Naru-pranks to make the ANBU stop being frightened, ever again! Though, he had to admit, creating the kind of prank-chains he did, using a prank to relieve the previous one's side effects but only to give new, even worse ones, could probably be classified as torture techniques.
Hmm, torturing, maybe he could visit that cool Scarhead-kun, he'd know where to find Anko-chan, she looked like a good accomplice for some pranks!
The completely insane look in his face and his mutters about 'paint', 'tar and feathers' and 'Anko-chan' (especially that last one) were enough for people to give him a wide berth; one about as long as half the village, if they could!
"Now, if I were a powerful, cool, shinobi master, on the way to meeting my new, bright, prodigy of a student, where would I be?" He asked himself ashe wandered around aimlessly. His eyes fell on a white-haired man with extravagant clothes in red and green, painting an even bigger target than his own orange ensemble, if that was even possible. "Well, I wouldn't be that guy. I mean, look at that old geezer, he's probably a looser."
That was when Naruto realized just where the so-called 'looser' was looking at, or rather, which wall he was looking through!
The women's baths! That man was a pervert!
Now, Naruto had very few things against perverts, he was one too if one considered his many uses of his Oiroke no Jutsu. But that guy, he was so old it was like pedophilia if the women on the other side were younger than thirty! When he heard Sakura-chan's unmistakeable voice, Naruto saw red. He might not be crushing on her any more, but he did find her very pretty still and, even more, she was his team-mate! He couldn't allow some no-name pathetic looser disgrace her like that! "Hey, you! Yeah, you, the white-haired pervert! Stop perving at Sakura-chan, you letch!" He yelled, pointing at the man, who turned around quite annoyed-looking and revealing the large metal headband on his forehead, with the kanji for 'Oil' on it.
"Oi, oi, gaki," The man grumbled, trieing to placate the blonde so the girls wouldn't run away. Too late; their screams and sounds of rushing bodies indicated that they had vacated the premises. "Now look what you've done! You ruined my research!"
"Research my ass, you're just a perv! What are you, a virgin, peeping on teenaged girls? You're like fifty, you damn pedophile! Shame on you, shaaame!"
"Hey, I'm no normal pervert! I'm a SUPER pervert!" He grinned proudly at the face-palm Naruto went through. "And I'm no pedophile, that's Orochimaru's domain. I prefer a more... mature woman."
"A mature woman to you would be my damn grandomother, and she's dead! Didn't your mother teach you manners?"
"Psh, the old witch should be happy her son gets some. Anyway, say kid, what's your name?"
"What's it to ya, looking to peep on young boys too?" Naruto snarked with a smirk but turned serious. "Name's Naruto Uzumaki and don't you forget it-tebbayo. You?"
"I am the man who tames the North! The hero to walk the South! Lover of women both East and West! I am the Toad Sage of Myobokuzan, Jiraiya-sama!" The man seemed to launch himself into an improptu Kabuki dance.
"Aha. Right, and I'm a pureblood Uzumaki. And you're also a looser." Naruto replied coldly, making Jiraiya fall on his face at the sheer lack of reaction. "Anyway, say, have you seen a ninja walk around here? Got told that my teacher forgot to come to the Training Grounds he told me to and now I had to come all the way here. Gee, what a looser."
"Hm, oh that, I'm your supposed teacher." Jiraiya replied nonchalantly, rejoicing at the surprised look. "But since you ruined my research, I don't think I'll be teaching you much. Damn brat!"
"You're my teacher? Right, as if I'd believe that." Naruto scoffed dismissively. "You're probably some look-alike that goes around perving and annoying people, dumping it on the poor man. Last time I heard, the real Toad Sage was a strong shinobi, you look weaker than jii-chan, and he's ancient-tebbayo." So, convinced this man wasn't his teacher, Naruto turned around to leave.
"Kakashi sent you to me. You have a seal on your navel." The man said, suddenly serious. "And I am the Toad Sage." Then a large hand was on Naruto's shoulder and the two were flying. Not shunshin; the man had leaped, but that leap alone was more like flight.
Of course, Naruto screamed bloody murder. "HEY! LEMME GO YOU PERV! HELP! HELP! A PEDOPHILE'S KIDNAPPING ME! HEEELP!" But despite his struggling, Naruto couldn't break free, or even disrupt the flight and that was saying something.
When they landed, Jiraiya tossed the boy forward, making him roll. "Hah! That'll teach ya to call me a pedophile! Besides, why would I care for that Sakura girl when there were beauties like Anko and Kurenai in that bath?"
For just a bit, their expressions were identical, both blushing and their noses bleeding as they imagined aforementioned girls wearing nothing and posing sexily for their enjoyment.
But Naruto was not so easily swayed (or maybe he was hardened against such attacks thanks to his pretties). Shaking his head, he cleared his mind of the images and refocused on the matter at hand. "Whatever, that just proves you're a pervert and a looser. I'm outta here, now I have to walk all the way back to the onsen, dammit, annoying useless old men..." He grumbled, hands in his pockets and pouting.
At least until a large frog, no toad he identified it, landed in front of him. "Rrribit." It croaked at him. It was an obvious summon, wearing clothes and even a knife on it. "Iiii'm Gamanosuke. Rrrribit."
"Still don't believe when I say I'm the Toad Sage? Or do you think someone could have stolen the Toad Contract without me ripping them a new one?"
"Well, what do you want from me? Congratulations or something? Besides, your style's too old, I mean, seriously, kabuki-paint? Did the local circus loose you somewhere? Then, green and red, green and red? Are you freakin' serious, old man? You need style and class to wear green and red, they clash, didn't anybody teach you that? I mean, I wear orange and blue, praise be to the Orange, not orange and green, can you imagine that? Now, lemme go, I need to find my teacher, if he hasn't left the place already, dammit!" Naruto mouthed off to the Sannin with pure obstinance.
Momentarily stunned by the blonde's rant, and lost in recollection on how similar it was to another Uzumaki's ranks, Jiraiya tried to calm down. "So why don't I teach you? As... reparations for loosing your original teacher. I doubt there's many things a random jounin would teach you over me."
"Ugh, fine. Do you even know what I can do? Let's see, I need some help with fuuinjutsu, sounds really awesome, but I can't find many good books. Sure, I've memorized quite a few, but they don't explain anything! How can I make my own seals if I don't understand how they work? Not even my pretties have found anything!"
"Hah! Then you came to the right man, boy! I am Konoha's greatest seal master!" Jiraiya boasted, getting a ribbit from the still lingering frog. "I could teach you whatever you want to know, but you'd have to bring me..."
"A shrubbery?" Naruto's eyes glinted.
"Yeah, a shrubbery- what no!" Jiraiya tried to refute. "Not a shrubbery! What am I going to do with a shrubbery?"
"Dunno, what is a shrubbery anyway? But, since you asked, I'll get you one!" And Naruto was off, leaving a gaping, stunned and quite disturbed man behind.
Moments later, the same man was looking down at, yes, you guessed it, a shrubbery; a small square-shaped shrub. "I am sure I want to know but... how on earth did you manage to get a shrubbery... already planted?"
"Hm? Oh, my pretties helped me! They're so pretty and nice! I just love them!"
"Your... Your pretties? What 'pretties'?"
"You know, my pretties! They're awesome! They're the only ones who like me! They like to hug and cuddle and dance and they really like me! They're the best! As good as Sandaime-jii-chan!" Naruto, in his traditional overacting way, spoke of his dear 'pretties', arms gesturing widely and eyes alight.
"But... who are they?"
"My pretties are what they are; my pretties! You can find them at my warehouse, well, usually anyway. Sometimes they take walks, but I keep trying to tell them to stay there or people will be frightened. Just the nature of you humans; always frightened with what you can't understand and control."
"We... humans?" Jiraiya muttered. Then, he decided he would bring it up to the old man. Maybe the villagers went too far and broke the boy? He had seemed pretty normal at first but... "So... anyway... As your teacher, I'm offering you a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!" He quickly made handseals and slapped his hand down, creating a puff of smoke to reveal himself standing on a large toad with a scroll on its chest. A scroll it put on the ground and let unfurl, coming to end at a blank square, almost as if to write something there. Other squares had names on them. The previous one read 'Namikaze Minato'. "You have the rare honor to... Sign the summoning contract for the Toads!"
"No, thanks." The deadpan voice made even the toad stumble, but thanks to having four legs avoided the fate of its summoner, namely meeting the cold, hard earth.
"What? Why not!"
"Because toads are boring. I mean, you just hop around and croak, ribbit, ribbit, big deal!"
"Big deal? Big deal? Are you an idiot? The Toad summons are one of the top three summons in the world!"
"Psh, semantics!" Naruto waved him off. "Besides, I prefer frogs, not toads."
"You little brat! I offer you the BEST summoning contract in the world and this is what you say? I have half a mind to feed you to 'Bunta!" Jiraiya yelled, at the same time as his summon.
"Ribbit, what, ribbit?" The toad spoke up. "We, Toads, are vastly superior to frogs! We are amphibian, ribbit!"
"Amphibian my orange-and-ramen-garbed butt, you die in salt water! Besides, I'm a Konoha ninja, smack-down in the middle of a forest country! What need would I have of amphibians? No, frogs are better; poisonous skin, natural climbers, just as good jumpers. To me, Toads are useless."
"Buttsex?" There was a twinkle in his blue eyes.
"Yes, wait, NO!" Jiraiya sputtered, the blonde had gotten him, again. "But, the last signer is Namikaze Minato! The Fourth Hokage! Surely you'd want to be like him!" He pleaded with the boy, guessing that he would want to be like the idol, just like every other boy would.
He guessed wrong. "What? Why would I want to do that for? Not like I'm his long lost son, given a different name to protect me from his enemies, or something, now am I?"
Jiraiya felt his breath hitch in his chest and his heart stop beating for several moments as he realized that Naruto thought it was simply impossible. He really did think about murdering Sarutobi for a bit there.
"Besides, I don't like the man." Naruto glared at the name written on the scroll. "He's a hero, I won't deny that, and he saved everyone... But... He did something worse than killing to me. He took it from me, my humanity, my chance to be normal, whatever sense of family I might have ever had." Then he shrugged, as if he didn't care much about it any more. "If not for him, I might have had a chance at being adopted, that would have been awesome, I guess, but then I wouldn't have had my pretties. Speaking of which, I really need to go back to them. They get lonely when I'm gone for too long."
"But... the summoning contract... It... You have to sign it! You have to!"
"Have to? Have to? I have to do nothing! Nothing! Zero, zip, nil! NIHILISM IS THE END! IT'S COMING! THE ENDLESS ABYSS! REPENT! REPEEENT I SAY! TURN YOUR VOICES TO THE DIVINE TRINITY, THE ORANGE, THE RAMEN AND THE LOG! REPEEEENT!" Going from a normal boy to a screaming demagogue made Jiraiya take quite a few steps back at the boy's flaming eyes when, suddenly, he was all too calm again. "Yeah, what were we talking about again? Oh, right, I gotta go soon, so, do you have anything else to teach me? Something that's not useless? Like fuuinjutsu, since you say you're so good at it?"
"Oh... err... Yeah, I... I guess I can... Why so focused on it anyway?" Still trying to get the conversation back on track, Jiraiya tried to go slow rather than his usual approach of kicking the door down.
"Well, because it's awesome! It can make exposions! I could make many, many explosions! Like, clones that throw kunai with explosive tags on them! That would be AWESOME-DATTEBAYO!" The boy seemed to drool as it imagined explosions of all kinds and sizes and colors erupting. Jiraiya shivered. "Then, there's also my leaves, maybe I could use seals to carry many of them, it's kind of wasteful to make a seal for a single leaf, if there's one that can hold a dozen or a hundred, it would be really cool, but there's nothing like that in the texts, damn it!" Then he turned pensive. "Now that I think about it, that other pedophile, Orochimaru, or at least one of his right-hand men anyway, did something to me... Messed my chakra up real good. It's still wonky and regenerates so slowly, it's like it's blocked somehow."
Now that picked Jiraiya's interest, and it was something that he couldn't get from the old man anyway. So, lifting an eyebrow, he asked the boy to show him. And show him he did, much to the amazement of the shinobi burried somewhere very deep inside the pervert that was Jiraiya. There was the Kyuubi-holding seal, still as perfect as the day it was formed. But there was also something over it; another seal, placed recently, made with chakra rather than ink, heh, hasty job. Well, hasty, but well made and it fulfilled its purpose. But, it was easy enough to deal with. He gathered his chakra and grinned maliciously.
Seconds later, he was laughing at Naruto's rather inventive expletives (really, he would think that it would be impossible to do all these things, but it didn't deter the boy). "Hah! Serves ya right, brat! At least I removed it, good job holding down the fox by the way, seems you took good care of the seal, you called on its power maybe once?"
"Twice, but really close together, I think the second one was the fox's own volition though." He panted as he got up, but he could feel the change, even without using chakra. It was back, his power was back. He laughed.
Jiraiya looked at the boy as he laughed when his finely-tuned senses told him of a rising chakra. A chakra that seemed to seep outwards and meld with the wind and, more astoundingly, the plants around him, going into the leaves and tearing them off, swirling them like a tornado around the laughing blonde...
'T-that boy, does he have the Mokuton? B-But, Uzumaki never showed such a skill, they're only supposed to have longevity, vitality and chakra potency! Sure, they all had a green thumb, I still remember Kushina-chan's gardens, but... but this is unheard of! How can he use the Mokuton? Wait, no, that's no Mokuton! That's... he's melding it? Filling it? He's imbuing them with his own chakra, but the Kyuubi's toxicity should... no, he screens that, he has that kind of control? And... and... how can he move so many leaves, anyway? Each leaf possesses its own storage of nature chakra, very small individually, but he's moving a hundred of them without problem, while suppressing the nature chakra?'
Finally, the wind died down and the leaves fluttered back to the ground, as if nothing had happened. Only Naruto seemed revitalized, even with a chakra expenditure that would have knocked out many chuunin. Truth be told, the sole imperfection of Konohagakure, and the reason he still lacked that damn seal to cut down the chakra cost, was simply the Nature chakra inside each leaf. All this time, he had been fighting against the leaf's nature because he didn't know, nor could even perceive, the presence of that chakra, so different from his own. It was that exact reason why Naruto still couldn't perfect his core technique. Admittedly, Jiraiya was somewhat hesitant of teaching him.
"Alright old man, you've proven yourself to me! So, I've decided! I'm giving you the honor of being my teacher!"
"What? You give me the honor? Ungrateful brat! I'm the one who asked you to be my student!"
Naruto just shoved out a tongue at the older man. "Yeah, you asked me to be your student, that means you needed my help, so I'm actually superior! Haha!"
Jiraiya just had to laugh at that. It was just so funny, looking at the boy's exaggerated arrogant stance, as if he now commanded the world. "You're alright, kid. You're alright. Now, let's get down to business, fuuinjutsu takes up a lot of time, learning diagrams and stuff's the quick part, the rest will take a long time to put to practical use."
"Before we start, can you answer me a question?" After getting the 'Sure' from the old man, Naruto continued. "How did we get our Summoning Contracts? I mean, this one looks kind of new, definintely after the Sage of the Six Paths, if he even existed. And it's not like gods came down and handed them out or something, nor were they just 'born' somehow. They're all made, right? So, how does one make something like that?"
"Why interested in getting your own? The good ones have already been taken boy, you may find some really weak or unwanted ones, but I doubt you'd find one free."
"Yeah, but what if I wanted to make one from scratch? One that links to here, in Konoha, not some other plane. That's what I want to know."
"Hm... well, that would be easier, theoretically, and cost less chakra too. Summoning scrolls have been in use for quite some time, but they'd need a great deal of alteration to change them from summoning a single person to a wider selection based on genetics and stuff like that. It would take a lot of work, hell, I'd need a couple of years at least to get one done. Why, what's on your mind?"
"Eh... nothing, forget I asked."
"Now, now, brat, I can't do that, not after you awaken my curiocity!" Jiraiya gave him an encouraging grin.
Naruto looked abashed, but continued. "I... I just want to be near my pretties, always, all the time! And... well, they want to help me, but people don't understand them, see? 'Cause they're different, they're not humans so... So I just want to be able to call them over when I want to have an extra hug or to go to them when they need me so I can take care of them... I can't leave them alone, I just can't! They'd die without me!"
"Well, yes, I see. No worries kiddo, I won't talk to anyone about your pretties, except maybe the old man Hokage. Now, sit down, shut up and focus, we're gonna start with that multi-seal you wanted to learn. It's a bit complicated, so you need to pay attention and not mess it up, at all. Alright? Now watch..."
It was several hours (and a quick Shadow Clone to fetch them ramen) later that Naruto was finally wiped out enough for Jiraiya to leave him and go interrogate the Hokage. There were many questions, besides the kid thinking it impossible that the Uzumaki were his real clan or that line about being the long-lost son of the Yondaime. Then there were these 'pretties' whatever they were. He'd have to find out everything he could, he had given a promise after all!
To say that the Hokage was worried about the boy was an understatement. Massive chakra expenditures into plants that even herbal specialists couldn't recognize. Talks about being a pureblood Uzumaki or the son of the Yondaime. Could it be that the boy had such great insight or were they flukes? Had Naruto found out the truth of his heritage, or was it just a joke? The old man shuddered to think that Naruto could have played them all for fools. Considering how insane he acter some times, it was a scary prospect.
In the end, Naruto took well to seals, or as well as any boy is expected too, but that was more due to him having already memorized a hundred of them, rather than any true understanding of the art.
The next day, Naruto met Tenten first, after all, why go after the pervert, he was late first! Time to show him how it feels! Him and Kakashi, but he wouldn't dare be late to Kakashi, the man was scary when serious, who knew what he'd have them do next time?
The bun-haired girl was there already by the time Naruto got to their meeting, a sword much like the one he had drawn for her in her hand as she practiced.
Now, Naruto was no pervert, nor did he have powerful hormones, but there's something seriously attractive at a slender woman wielding dangerous weapons.
Not far from there, Jiraiya was feeling proud at the boy; as if soon, another would be converted to the Icha-Icha!
As soon as she felt Naruto's presence, which was a surprisingly long time for a ninja thanks to her focus, Tenten quickly stopped and jogged to him, waving. Pleasantries were exchanged, but quickly she steered the conversation to a big leather pouch he was holding. "So what's this anyway? Never seen you holding something like this before."
Naruto grinned and he opened it to show a largish fruit inside. It was quite curious; it was oval-shaped like an egg, but was transparent. Most of its insides looked like liquid, and there was no fleshy part to it, only a large seed pod at the center of it. "This? Oh, this is something I made, sometime ago! It's one of my pretties, really, but from a long time ago! See this fruit? It's been grown with great quantities of chakra being seeped into it daily. But, the great part about it is, that it's filled not with 'just chakra', but elemental chakra! Elemental chakra, split and divided amongst the five elements, held in perfect balance! So here's what I thought; why don't we mess with that balance?"
"And turn it unbalanced? Kind of like you are?" She teased, getting a grin in return. She was catching on quickly!
"Nah, I'm worse; I change balances every time I wiggle my big toe. No, I was thinking, this plant is really sensitive to chakra, you could probably channel some inside and, I dunno, guess we'll see!" At her question on what he was expecting to see, he grinned wider. "It's already imbued with chakra held in a very delicate balance. All it takes is a bit of a nudge to mess with it, I'm guessing we'll find out what elemental type you are by whatever side effects come off! And no, I have no idea what those side effects might be! Isn't it exciting?"
Tenten could only giggle at the blonde's antics. She decided to trust him so, taking the little weird fruit on her hand, she channeled her chakra into it.
The results began immidiately, but she let if flow a few more seconds to confirm it. 'It' started with some bubbles appearing inside, multiplying quickly until it frothed, the little black-green seed in the center began to glow red until finally... The thin membrane ruptured and scalding fluid fell to the ground, the rest of the fruit shrivelling up as if burned. At least she was quick in dropping it, avoiding getting burned.
"Well, I guess that's that. You caused the fire element inside it to overload until it boiled." Naruto appraised in an almost scientific mode. "At least, that's what I think, but I think I'm right. Now, this plant's really sensitive, it picked up the residual heat in your chakra, the potential to easily turn to fire, but that doesn't mean you can start lobbing fire jutsu. Nor should you really, we need to find you a different way to use it."
Using the happiness at finding out what element she was attuned to, Tenten happily babbled with Naruto, trying to find new and inventive uses of fire-chakra and fire-mimicking chakra. Admittedly, most of it was augmenting her weapons, which wasn't really all that efficient considering that she lacked chakra-conductive weaponry to use. In return, she trained with him, using rapid-fired senbon to count as Neji's taijutsu attacks. It wasn't perfect, but it was good dodge training (and she secretly loved the way his body contorted -she wasn't crushing on him, but she did enjoy a good show, so sue her!).
As he would train at mornings with Tenten, helping her find her own style, afternoons were devoted to Jiraiya. The old pervert often tried to gauge the boy, but never really could.
Case in point this.
"So you're saying you defeated Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime Hokage, the freakin' God Of Shinobi... with ONE freaking jutsu? I'd like to see that brat!" Jiraiya stood disbelieving, not that anyone could blame him. It was a ludicrus claim, and he had yet to calm down after the damn brat refused the Summoning Contract!
"Yeah, I did, what of it? I could so kick your ass with it too! Damn ero-sennin!" Naruto was indignat in his reply, dropping the calligraphy kit Jiraiya had forced him to use in favor of pouting (in a manly way!) with his arms crossed.
Naturally, the claim and image were so completely ridiculous that Jiraiya busted his ass off laughing. It didn't matter what Naruto said or tried to do, Jiraiya was still rolling on the floor laughing.
So, deciding to shut him up for good, he used the one jutsu he hadn't used since graduation. "Oiroke no Jutsu (Sexy Jutsu)" Of course, that was delivered in a low, sultry, feminine voice and finalized with a long, drawn out 'aaahn', just to top off the effect.
Now, most men, at seeing a statuesque blonde teen with perfect curves and only a bit of smoke tantalizingly hiding her most secret and forbidden areas... they would all erupt into a nosebleed, which would lead to an anemic-derived coma.
But Jiraiya isn't like most men, he's not just a pervert, he's a SUPER PERVERT! As he himself would loudly proclaim, of course. So, instead of fainting like a coward, he quickly hoped back onto his feet, panting steam and his arms groping as he approached the transformed boy. "Ahahaha... very good, yes, veeeery good Naruto... Now just stay there for a bit, I need to confirm you have all the... anatomical parts transformed right... ahahaha"
Inwardly cringing at the approaching letch (and the female hormones he had taken up at the moment) he pushed it all down and instead made his (her?) favourite handseal. Clones appeared all around the pervert, blonde women, redheads, brunettes, a hundred breath-taking teens appeared all around him, their curvaceous bodies taking up all his eyesight, their low, sultry voices echoing in his ears, their smiles calling to him-
Naruto dispelled his Harem no Jutsu, now upgraded to take on the form of his pretties, and grinned down. "I told you, but did you listen to me? Nooo, now you get to pay, ero-sennin!" And he promptly doodled on the Sannin's face before happily skipping off to find some poor soul (read; Hyuuga sans Hinata) to torment.
Meanwhile, Sasuke was not as happy or jovial, he was too focused in wrestling his own demons, now coming to life.
"So what's eating you, Sasuke? Tired already?" Kakashi mocked after kicking his ass, once again. Of course, the boy was quite well aware that he was improving rapidly, as evident by the fact that it took Kakashi more than two seconds to pin him to the ground. It still hurt his pride, but Kakashi was a legendary ninja, with a Sharingan too.
"No." His reply was curt and cold, as he got up. He just didn't seem capable of... bothering... to feel much these days. "Just thinking."
"Oh? What about? A girl? Nah, you don't have to tell me, if you don't want to. Sometimes, it's good to just sit down and think, just relax and let your thoughts wander. But, remember Sasuke, me, Naruto, even Sakura, all of Team Seven is here with you and for you."
The boy seemed think about it for a while and gave him a forced smile before turning grim once again. "Kakashi... have you ever... lost someone?"
Kakashi seemed to hunch foward before sitting down, looking older than he used to. Even his ever-spiky hair seemed to droop a bit. "Up until a few months ago? Only everyone who ever mattered to me." He ignored Sasuke's surprised look and drilled his lone visible eye into Sasuke's own. "This Sharingan of mine, it was given to me by my best friend, who died because I was too stupid and arrogant. It was placed there by my other team-mate, a bright girl that was to me what Sakura is to you. She died a few weeks later, saving my life, ruining the oath I had given to Obito to protect her. My sensei, the only person to care for me after my father performed seppuku, was killed at the Kyuubi's rampage." Then he grinned and ruffled Sasuke's hair, just like he knew the boy hated it. "So, yeah, I've lost many people. But now I've gained two new important people in my life, you and Naruto."
"Hn..." But he was more sceptical this time than before, still looking out to the setting sun.
Elsewhere, Naruto was poking at his teacher. "Come on already, ero-sennin! What's taking you so long in peeping girls? I need to train! Train! Train! Train! Train! Train! Train! Train! Traaaaaiiiiinnn!"
"Oh, shut up you little brat! Can't you read the emotion?" The older man snapped back at his student. Really, was it too much to ask for a few hours of quiet peeping? Was it too much?
Apparently, when one has a hyperactive, ADHD-afflicted, bat-shit crazy student, yes. Yes, it is.
"Emotion?" Naruto's innocent, crazies-filled voice made Jiraiya cringe. "E..mooooow-tion! E-motion! E in the motion? Or motion in the e? Is it an e-motion? A motion in a yet-undiscovered counter-anacrhonism we should have no idea about? Does the 'emotion' have motion? Much less in the e? Is it-"
"SHUT UP!" Ten minutes of insane rambling make Jiraiya easily pissed off. "Just shut the freakin' hell up already!"
"NAY!" Came the shouted reply. "I SHALL NOT BE SILENCED, KNAVE! I SPEAK THE WORDS OF THE TRIAD, THE LOG, THE RAMEN AND THE ORANGE! YOU CANNOT SILENCE ME! YOU CANNOT SILENCE MEEE!"
Naruto was in fact quite promptly silenced when Jiraiya who bonked him on the head. Really, that brat was making all the babes run away. "Shut up already!"
"Then train me already!"
"Damn proud of it, you geriatric, menopaused pervert!" Naruto yelled back, somehow having dressed himself in extremely loose clothes with flower patterns. The long stem of a mushroom was on his hand and he bonked the Sannin with it. Weird, there was a bite-shaped part missing on it. "Now back off! I shall chew this mushroom and become twice as large! Then I shall proceed to stomp on your back until you pop away! It'sa me! Naruto!"
Yes, some days, Jiraiya did indeed wonder what gods he had pissed off lately.
With Tenten on the other hand, the blonde was much more controlled. The girl had helped him greatly in manual dexterity in return for his ideas and Kage Bunshin training.
But really, the girl was having a lot of trouble keeping a clear head especially when she realized how flexible all of his body parts were and how many Kage Bunshins he could make. Poor Naruto almost thought she was sick by how red her face would get or the way her eyes seemed to sort of glaze over with something he didn't quite recognize (but felt he should) while a little bit of drool escaped her lips. She would quickly recover and deny anything however, so he left it all alone.
In a short while, just over three weeks really, the girl had become the darling of the local crazed-inventor weaponsmith, a man named Tetsuhi Ryoga, who apparently had nothing better to do than try out all the insane weapon designs Naruto had come up with. His favourites included a giant chakram, wide enough for the user to stand in it comfortably, and a new form of blades that Naruto called 'sakabaken' or 'reverse blades'. They had a long, double edged, triangular blade on a curved hilt, meant to be wielded in reverse grip, with the hilt curving away from the body. Tenten wasn't exactly skilled in their use yet, but she did love how unconventional they were. At the moment, she and Naruto were working on a three-pronged fuuma shuriken that would be placed on the back of the hand, hopefully with a small mechanism to cause it to spin and a catch-release to throw it at range.
So now they were discussing dress code.
"I'm telling you Naruto! Wear the damn clothes!" Tenten roared in a way that would have reminded many of the Kyuubi.
Of course, Naruto wasn't smart enough to cring, cry 'meep' and do whatever the angry girl in front of him wanted -or he was just that clueless about girls. "But I'm telling you Ten-chan! I like orange! This has no orange! I can't betray the Orange! What will the Log and the Ramen say?"
Tenten tried to ignore the headache, and the staring from every single customer in the shop. "But it looks better on you! It's more functional! Wear orange when off duty!"
"Nay! I shall not hide my allegiance to the Orange, for it is awesome!"
As much as she liked her friend's eccentricity (or insanity, depending on the point of view), Tenten was growing more and more exasperated by the minute. They didn't even have all that long left to debate his outfit, they had to inscribe the seals today as they would need a few days to acclimate themselves to his chakra and a couple more to learn how not to mix them up.
It was a few hours later (and several comments from many women who threatened to cut him apart if he wore that much orange again) that Naruto left, but he made everyone cringe by wondering if he could get someone to pain seals on the outside of his clothing to change its colors, keeping the same motif of course. A few scrupulous merchants immidiately scurried off to secure as many sunglasses as possible; they were going to become very sought-after goods.
So, there stood Naruto, looking at his future ninja clothes. It started with black leather boots, lined with a few tricks, such as hidden blades and lockpicks, with very soft soles to make as little noice as possible. He had forest-camouflage colored pants that widened out a lot at his calves, where he would store a few hundred leaves in special seals made by Jiraiya. Over that, he wore a light brown, almost beige, colored shirt with darker and lighter tribal spiral and forest markings that seemed to move as he did. The shirt was in fact much thicker than it looked, being made to be worn over light body armor that would protect his more vulnerable areas. He placed a jacket with long, wide sleeves over it, again in forest-camouflage colors, it too lined with storage seals, and a dark orange colored bandana on his arms, just under his shoulder, with a spiral mark on them. He even changed his headband's cloth, choosing a brown-colored one with green and orange geometric shapes.
All of this ensemble would receive seals to change the colors to yellow, orange and red on command for when the blonde was off duty (or, as Jiraiya and Tenten believed, when he just wanted to eye-rape someone).
While Tenten was working on the appropriate seals, Naruto was more concerned with his ninja pouch. Thanks to the successful polination and rapid growth of his pretties, he now would have to carry a lot more items than normal, so he had to adapt. Gone was the blue thigh-holster and common ninja pouch. Instead, he acquired a larger, wider one that would be placed on his orange-studded, black belt right under the small of his back, complete with hooks to place a small weapon over it. In the new pouch he placed classic shuriken and kunai but also explosive tags, smoke pellets (spiked with pepper), ninja wire, a few scrolls with a pocket calligraphy kit and a few vials with plant-based poisons, just in case. Over the pouch, he placed a pair of collapsible fuuma shuriken, complements of Tenten, to go with his new Weapon Shadow Clone, who knew when a moving wall of sharp steel would come in useful?
As for the seals Tenten was writing, he had already gathered the leaves. He decided that apart from the general (generic even) leaves found in most forests, he would give a try to pine needles and similarly different types to see what changes they would bring. Some would be faster but others might be tougher to break. Naruto was even working on a tree that would produce fire-resistant leaves and another with leaves lined with natural plant oil to the point they would burst into flames.
The pair was so devoted into their pursuits (Naruto having to make several restarts to get out his scrolls to write a few ideas or silly rhymes -though they were possibly one and the same to him) that they lost account of time, making Jiraiya come to them once he realized he hadn't heard the annoying comments of his disciple for so long. Tenten was initially extremely excited to meet a friend of her idol, but quickly turned sour once she realized that Naruto wasn't lieing when he called the man 'ero-sennin'.
She did wonder though if the man really knew how to please women and, if he did, how she could get him to teach that to Naruto. For a runt, he showed great signs of developing into a hunk in a few years. Best call dibs from now, rather than wait for some hussy to get the benefits of her hard work.
On the last night before the third part began, Naruto entered his meditation chamber. It had a small pool filled with ramen, orange-colored walls and a large log in the middle. There, he prayed to the Log, beheld the Orange and ate enough Ramen to give salt poisoning to an army. When he was done, he went to sleep, wondering if he could get Teuchi to make orange-flavored log ramen, or was it log-flavored orange ramen?
At least the Sandaime had accepted his gift that day...
"Naruto-kun!" The aged leader of Konohagakure called from outside the boy's grove. He knew he had permission to enter, but last time he did without the blonde with him, he had gotten treesap all over him and tripped on roots he could have sworn weren't there. Heck, even then he could feel someone watching him, observing his every movement, like a large predator, only lacking the killer intent. "Naruto-kun! Come out!"
Mere moments later, a dirt-covered but excited Naruto came out. After a full-speed tackle-glomp. "Jii-chan! Hi Jii-chan! How are you Jii-chan! Why did your waist make a cracking sound, Jii-chan?" He babbled, eyes twinkling.
Getting of the ground, grumbling about his clothes having been just cleaned, the 'jii-chan' smiled at the boy. He was always so energetic, though he used to be much less insane. But, he pressed on. "Naruto-kun, remember when Inoichi-san had come here with a clone of yours to help take care of your pretties?" The boy nodded so fast that the Sandaime only saw a blur and wondered if his head would fall off at some point. "He said that you channeled a lot of chakra into a tree, could you show me the tree? I'm really curious."
A few seconds later, the old man was still having trouble re-orienting himself as the boy had grabbed him by the hand and pulled him inside the grove, moving fast enough that he was almost horizontal. Keeping his hat on with an arm, Sarutobi wondered if it had been a bad idea to give the boy sugar when he was younger.
Several moments later, and Sarutobi would have sworn he had seen some trees wave at him as he passed them, but he must still be disoriented he reminded himself, they entered the center of the grove, or at least he thought it was.
Well, he was no plant expert, but he had been a student of the Shodai... and he had never seen trees like that. Some were small, others were large, so large they must be at least as old as him, but they were all so different, with garish colors or weird patterns on their barks. Naruto pulled him to a specific one however. It was... impressive.
Almost ten feet it stood, with bark that looked like several smaller joined together, even small lines of bright green going up in a way that reminded of the man of some drawings of chakra circulation systems as drawn by Hyuuga. It had many branches and many fruits on them, large, transparent, violet in color, like a grape, but with a spark inside, like something he was familiar with but couldn't ident..ify..
"Ch-chakra? Naruto-kun, this tree... where did you get it?" He asked, voice full of surprise.
"Oh, I grew it myself! Was pretty hard to get the right combination of breeding, but I made it! Isn't she great?" The blonde gushed as he ran a hand over the bark. "I grew her specifically for this, her fruit." He picked a ripe one and gave it to the old man.
Sarutobi smelled at the fruit and it smelled alright, if a bit unique. He poked at it and saw that the flesh of the fruit, while transparent, wasn't in fact water or even remotely fluid. With a look at a beaming Naruto, he brought it to his mouth and tried to have a bite, not that it was large enough to last for more than a couple.
Naruto's hand lashed out quickly and took it away, his face worried as he yelled at the old man. "No! Bad jii-chan! Don't eat it!" He quickly took out a small woven bag and placed it inside before handing it back. "I infused a lot of my chakra into it, each fruit has about as much chakra as I do when I'm full." The old man's eyes bugged out as he looked back at it with a great deal more respect than commonly afforded to fruit. "The tree takes my chakra and filters it through the bark, then stores it into her fruit. It's done in a way to make chakra... edible."
"E-edible? But chakra's... chakra is an energy, it can't be edible!"
"Why? Because no one managed it before? Bah-ttebayo! I did it, so there! Chakra is stored inside the fruit in a way to make it compatible with whomever eats it!" He looked very proud, and with good reason the Sandaime surmised. Then he looked downcast. "But it's imperfect and I can't fix it. It doesn't release the chakra slowly, it kind of spills it all over inside." He winced remembering the pain of having his chakra system almost torn apart. "It's good and it works, but you must have your chakra almost run out before eating it, or it hurts like hell. Well, hurts me like hell, so I dunno what it does to others. I mean, I am kind of special, right?" He finished with a hand over his navel.
"N-Naruto... this is... this plant is..."
"Well, dunno about her, but her fruit is yours." He interrupted the Hokage. "I didn't make it for me after all, I got more chakra than I know what to do for. But other people don't. So... so I thought that maybe I could make something to help them, know what I mean, jii-chan? It's like a chakra battery!"
The old man was then escorted out of the grove, still looking at the fruit in wonder. He would have to run a test on it, but he trusted Naruto and the boy wouldn't lie. And if he was telling the truth...
Back in the center of the grove, a tree's trunk turned to look at Naruto, a large, green eye opening and looking at him. "Was it... the right... thing to... do?" It asked in a very slow voice.
"Yeah, I trust him, Hawthorn... He's saved me many times. He believes in me."
Two long, delicate arms draped over him, covered in thin, see-through silk, as a voice more seductive than any temptation purred into his ear. "We believe in you too... My King..."
The boy smiled and leaned back into the embrace. "I know, my Queen, I know..."
A small creature, that looked like a winged human but only a few inches tall, buzzed around. "He's nice, he's nice, is he perverted? I want to prank him! Can I? CanICanICanI?" The high-pitched voice of the trixie blurted out quickly and her Maker laughed.
"Go ahead, Titania-chan! Just not too much, he's an old man, maybe you can prank someone else and have it fall on him? Jii-chan definitely needs some laughs, eh? What do you say, Oberon?"
A large tree, opposite of Hawthorn, turned and nodden slowly, its deep voice booming. "He is wise... He is kind... It was a good choice, Maker."
Naruto grinned. Tomorrow was the day. The day he would show them just who the hell they have been messing with.
"Time to kick ass and eat ramen, and I'm all outta ramen!" And he laughed.
A/N: Another chapter down, this one took a bit of time to get and it wasn't as good as I wanted it to, but I have to move on to the next one some time. Besides, the next chapter will feature home-made rap, beatdowns, pwnage, crazily overpowered jutsu and quite a bit of crack.
Of course, you could just decide to adopt the fic and do it yourself *wink wink-pout-pleading puppy eyes*
After popular demand, or at least the most popular one at this time of writing, Naruto will gain the Greenborn summoning contract, which will be about his pretties, or living/bioengineered plants. The next chapter (which will published immidiately) is some details on the Greenborn. It will be replaced when it's time. Please keep your reviews here for both chapters to avoid confusion.
This contract includes the following: Dryads (with the following castes: Petaldancers/Seducers, Thornstrikers/Warriors, Woodshapers/Plantshaping Specialists, Fruitbearers/Healers and Rootcreepers/Assassins), Trixies (small Tinkerbelle-like pixies with mischievous personalities and a great talent for poisons and pranks), Ents (living, yet immobile trees that can tower over the Whomping Willow), Treants (huge tree-men, take a look at LotR's Ents) and the 'grunts' or non-intelligent ones; assassin vines (vines with hand-shaped leaves that like to strangle people, very cuddly too), shambling mounts (golem-like masses of roots, bark and rotting-looking foliage that can combine into greater and greater beings) and topiary guardians (animal-shaped animated bushes). There will be the following bosses: the Queen Of Thorns, leader of Dryads (riding on a chariot of thorned vines, with a large flower bund as her throne), Titania, Queen of Trixies (manic-obsessive pixie with more bravery than an Ent has size), Oberon, King of Treants (wise old man with a large stuff and pray you never piss him off) and Hawthorn, Wise One of the Ents (imagine an animated tree that looks like Yggrasil... no further comments needed).
Naruto will NOT gain the summoning contract early on, probably at some point during the time-skip or shortly before it. He will work for it and bust his ass for it, because, quite simply, summoning a whole squadron of Thornstrikers in a wooded, or plant-heavy, area just screams 'overkill'; imagine dead-eyed longbow-women that can meld into trees for ambushing. Consider the havok five Treants could wreak; there are few things more dangerous in sieging than a pissed-off treant. Consider the danger of annoying the pixies, their small size and illusionary tactics combined with an almost unparalleled (except for Fruitbearer Dryads) knowledge of poisons, they could destroy an invading army through its provisions. Consider what would happen if bushes suddenly came to life, turning to huge tigers and then gutting everything in sight, springing to life amongst the enemy's ranks. Consider unfeeling, unrelenting, unstoppable golems of hard vines, able to change their bodies to be thick or thin, tall or short, combining into one to increase their size or breaking down to innocent-looking foliage to hide or play dead... As I've proven in this fic; it's not the size of your gun, it's knowing how to curve the fuckin' bullet -or throw a grenade at'em.
Also, I hoped you like the parts with Tenten, as I find it sad that she was never developed further. She's the single respectable kunoichi in Konoha Twelve, pre-time skip, but she is just delegated to last place after it, it's like she never improved, at all! I, for one, love Tenten, she's different, fights different and doesn't always use flashy jutsu; a single senbon between the eyes is just as lethal as a Raikiri, and much less tiring. It's a pity she was never developed. She's definitely more deserving than Ino and Sakura who, at least in cannon and most of this fic, cared more about looks than training. Especially with how Sakura seemed to get so strong in three years but even Naruto seemed the same, stupid Kishi. Anyway, this can end up in a Naru/Ten, but right now she's not romantically interested, it's simply physical attraction. And possibly repressed sexuality, which seems to plague the Naruto world (like, seriously, Kishi's such a prude! Ecchi drawings in one page, everyone blushing at the thought of kissing on the next). The 'Blade and Claw' style is developed by me irl, by the way. It's real fun!
Since you have disabled PMs, I feel it necessary to reply here. So here goes:
*Start Of Reply*
First of all; thanks for the big, juicy, filling review. It always makes me happy to see such reviews, it shows that you care more for the fic than just a couple of words of enouragement (which are also appreciated, of course). I especially like to hear the opinions of all my readers, their criticism, even just plain joking. The community is what makes this work, otherwise, I'd just be writing on my home PC and you wouldn't have heard of me. So major thanks to you for taking the time to write such a big review :D
Now, to the points in discussion; Apparently, since everyone likes the idea of plant-summons (yes, the dryads are plants, not animals or humans), that's what I'll be using. Hope you liked rebuffing Jiraiya like that, I was tempted to have the old perv have a heart attack from all these lines :D
The summoning contract won't come into play for quite some time, I'm thinking time-skip, but at least after Sasuke's Retrieval arc (or its equivalent *grin*). I've already highlighted the reasons why up in the A/N. Your idea about the writhing vine monsters will be implemented in Shambling mounts; unintelligent golems of pure pwnage. Some of the dryads will even be able to make them spontaneously grow from surrounding flora (especially their Queen), but these will only be temporary as the plant burns itself out rather than the usual more permanent ones. By the way, have you played Plants vs Zombies? Think Doom Shrooms, jalapenos, potato mines, chompers... Need I go on? Not all of the summons will be intelligent or even mobile. They won't have to, mwahahaha!
The whole birthing sequence of a shambling mount is pretty ICK, it looks like a fruit that looks like an orange several times in size just rapidly rots away, bits of it falling apart and just spewing out masses and after masses of thick, dark vines that wrap themselves around a single core-root system before standing upright and groaning threateningly. Yes, I guess that's kind of creepy if you're not ready, especially since the fruit itself looks rather pretty until just a few seconds before it erupts...
Since I'll be using some 'elemental' plants (as I've done this chapter for Tenten's affinity test), the Dryads will be able to grow them from scratch if they have enough knowledge. Naruto will NOT have Mokuton or a similar ability beyond his already-stated natural, instinctive understanding of flora. And yeah, people won't look at a rose the same way again.
Naruto's summoning contract won't be completed by him; it's one thing to memorize the knowledge, a whole different story actually comprehending and using it. Ask any kid to memorize the rules for Quantum physics, does that mean they can actually use them? Another example is Einstein; he knew NOTHING of maths or physics, he actually had friends of his proving his theories, instead, he was able to combine what they proved and smack them in the face with his theories and making them wonder 'why didn't I think of that?'. No, Naruto will learn fuuinjutsu, he will use them through his leaves (in many ways, hehe), but he won't be able to create the contract, that'll be Jiraiya's job. I'm also kind of iffy on who will sign it besides Naruto and his descendants (which may appear in an epilogue or something)... Was thinking about Sasuke, but he's a pyro... Maybe Tsunade? I'll see.
Anyway, hope you like reading this fic as much as I like writing it. Catch your reviews another day :D
*End Of Reply*
Review Reply: CyberDragonEX
You have also turned off PMs so I've got to reply here.
*Start Of Reply*
You're the only person to suggest the Gurahl, and for that alone I like you already. If anyone's read up on them must agree that they're awesome.
Unfortunately, as you saw in the fic, I can't give them to Naruto since his 'Greenborn' summoning will be pretty much the same. Which sucks because I don't know who else to give it too. Also, your idea of using chlorofyl is AWESOME. That's a great, believable and quite logical way of using Mokuton (or at least something similar to it) without having to go into overtures about awakening bloodlines, time travel or 'Madara decides he's bored with life and gives Naruto all his power' things. I absolutely love it and am still wondering why the hell that didn't cross my mind! It's such a good idea I'm half thinking about messing up the fic by doing it anyway.
As that is practically impossible (my inner perfectionist can't shut up), I could give you the details on the Gurahl summoning so you could adopt this fic (or write a parallel to it) using that idea. I would be delighted to help.
*End Of Reply*
Visiting Naruto's Greenhouse Scene Six:
Jiraiya was very concerned.
Had he spent so much time outside the village that he had no intelligence in his own home? Where was the world coming to?
After the green men aided Konoha in the invasion, he paid a bit more attention to rumours, who knew what other dangerous elements hid in his peaceful home? That was how he heard... of The Warehouse. A building at the edge of Konoha, a place that is now not patroled at all. There is no need; whomever goes into the Warehouse is never seen again and no one from outside Konoha can resist going in there, as if a sweet scent is drawing them in there.
Jiraiya might play the idiot very well, but he is not stupid. Whatever was there, it called people in via some sort of airborne scent, pheromones maybe? In that case, the people of Konoha had already immunized themselves to it since the scent would be everywhere and therefore undetectable. As for Jiraiya himself, he had long since trained himself to resist such methods of control.
Even so, he had to go there. The fact that The Warehouse was owned by one Uzumaki Naruto was even more worrying; the child had bouts of insanity that made Orochimaru seem the epitome of sanity. He had asked the child, of course, but he had only gotten the reply of 'It's just my pretties there, nothing to worry about'.
The mere fact that whatever was inside had such hold on him was even scarier.
So, this night, Jiraiya strapped on his heavy scroll and readied himself for one of the most dangerous nights in his life. He had even abstained from all forms of his usual pleasures to spiritually ready himself.
He had to persevere.
So off does the Gallant Jiraiya leaps, forward into the unknown. Worry fills his mind but determination steels his soul.
Finding the back door was easy, opening it easier still.
A quick sniff confirms his theories, the sweet scent, vaguely reminiscent of wine and honey, was heavily laden with pheromones.
A steady hand pushes the door open and he prowls his way in. Laughter, merry and happy and a few cries of pleasure reach his ears and Jiraiya the Gallant is now more curious than worried.
Then he makes a turn and his body freezes though his blood boils.
In a pool made out of a single leaf, filled to the brim with sweetly scented water, laugh and play several of the most beautiful and stunning women the man has ever laid eyes on. They laugh and joke in a language that he does not understand, they kiss and touch and paw at each other and Jiraiya contains himself no longer.
Brave as ever he raises himself and stands high! Eyes home in on him but his face does not soften!
Then a thud signifies that his scroll is now on the ground and his hands remove his jacket, revealing the highly toned muscle hidden behind it. Even in his fifties, he retains a physique that would make Gai envious.
The women seem at first worried then curious and then happy as he removes his shirt and then his pants.
For Jiraiya decided to purge this place of whatever was that took so many people! And he would do it with no help! Man to woman he would fight!
The next morning, Naruto was frantically trying to open the front door. He had heard that Jiraiya would go to the Warehouse at night, that was when the dryads came out to play! He couldn't allow them to take the sannin away, he was supposed to teach him some more dammit!
Imagine then his shock as the door creaks open to find no package of carefully wrapped gifts, remnants of the once-great ninja.
Instead, he finds all of his dryads unconscious on the floor, not even their shawls on them but without any wounds on them either. Instead, they have a goofy smile on their faces and drool their nectar-like juice carelessly.
"Hahaha! Welcome, welcome Naruto!" Laughed Jiraiya from the leaf pool as soon as he saw his shocked apprentice walk in. "How have you been?"
"F-fine but... but how? The dryads should have..."
Jiraiya only laughs harder as he gets up, seemingly invigorated and stronger than the blonde had ever seen him, a cup of sake in his hand of which he takes a small sip. "Well, let me tell you my boy, it's been almost thirty years since I've been this satisfied!" Another thunderous laugh and Naruto twitches, there are some things that no child should see, and the man was naked.
As Jiraiya kneels to pick up his discarded clothes, a pale, feminine hand, Neira's if he remembers the dryad's name correctly, grabs his own with a powerful grip. He could still break free if he so wished, but he looks at the exhausted, and nearly glowing dryad, curious.
"Please... teach master all that!"
Jiraiya laughs boisterously; there has yet to be a woman to share his bed and leave dissapointed, regardless of when, where or the circumstances. He didn't pay to visit brothels; they paid him! "When I'm done with him, he's going to be as good as I am." He makes his promise. Wouldn't do to upset a lady now, would it? Must be such a torture to spend all these nights alone...
The smile sent back at him reminds him that no matter what suicidal mission he may go to, he would still have a very warm welcome if he returned. And if that wasn't an incentive to come back from Hell itself, then he didn't know what could be. Those girls could bring the dead back to life!
"So, Jiraiya-sensei, how did you make them not kill you? Could you teach me that? I need to teach it to others if someone wants to be adopted by my pretties." He asked, not yet realizing what that trick was all about.
Well, time to fix that. "I'll teach you, but it's a super-secret jutsu only taught to my disciple, no one may learn of it! Keep it a secret and I'll teach you everything I know."
Poor Naruto agreed too fast, much to the future pleasure of whomever he would bed. It took the blonde a day to realize what the trick was and call Jiraiya 'ero-sennin' ever since.
And though many would ask what terrifying monstrocities hid inside that warehouse, Jiraiya would only somberly say that they were beings that no one but a Sennin like himself had a hope of subduing, and even then for a day at best. That warning was enough to ward the 'magical' Warehouse from would-be intruders.
Today, on this 9/6/2012, I, Soulblazer87, do hereby leave this site, possibly forever.
I shall not update this, or any other story.
I shall leave them on, however. Should you desire to follow my stories, do so in my new site of residence: www dot yourfanfiction dot com.