Please note, that this is, without a doubt, lie or exaggeration, the LAST chapter of Leaf Style Maelstrom to be published in this site. This choice has been made for some time now, and it will NOT change. This update is made to notify my readers of this event. In truth, this chapter has been published in its new home for quite some time. For following chapters, look for me in Y-O-U-R-F-A-N-F-I-C-T-I-O-N ( removes it...) and, later on, in Archive of Our Own. This is not a joke. This is not a trick. This is my choice, a choice that some of you might have ignored or thought was fake. It is not. As I have stated in every single chapter of this story; this site's actions have forced me to do such a move.
On a happier note; Guild Wars 2 has been launched, and I am on it, of course. You can look for me and my guild 'Semper Enim Imaginatio' as 'Lord Soulblazer', 'Artun Lansherr', 'Illuviatar' and 'Skadi Thrymson'. Feel free to join a guild for all us Authors. Currently, I am in Aurora Glade, an EU Server, usually online between 01:00 and 11:00 p.m. GMT. Naturally, I'm looking for lieutenants that'll take care for the other servers, as a guild CAN exist in more than one server, not to mention each character (the whole account in fact) can belong to more than one guild, but represent only one at a time.
Anyway, that's all, hope to see you and hear from you all. My apologies for your inconvenience.
Chapter 17: Homesick Trees
"Naruto-kun, do you understand your mission?" Sarutobi asked his favourite gennin from his place on the bed. They had spent quite a few hours talking and explaining things to the blonde.
Namely that Sarutobi was in no way able to continue on being Hokage. Truth be told, he had been far from being a prime candidate for some time now, but with the last fight on Orochimaru, it became painfully obvious that a replacement had to be found -and that wasn't Naruto, not yet anyway.
The young nature-lover of course apologized for putting his 'jii-chan' through it all, but the tired man simply waved it off and said that it was already time to 'get all those days off racked up after sixty years of constant service, and a nice bottle of sake too, darn it!'.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it..." Naruto shuffled his feet from the seat he was still too short to sit on. "Don't mean I like it! You said I'd get the had from you, old man! Don't back on your promises now, you get it? It has to be you who gives me the hat, not just any Hokage'll do!" He declared with an accusing finger and an enthusiasm he wasn't really feeling.
For his part, the still-recovering old man laughed. That boy never failed to relieve him of his many burdens. Whether it was a prank, a new insanity or just the way he treated him like a normal human being, it was always so refreshing to get to talk to the boy. "Oh, don't worry about the hat, Naruto-kun, I'm sure the new Hokage will have another one made, so I guess you can keep mine." He knew it wasn't what the blonde was talking about, but he had to understand that, often, things didn't go as we want them to. That, sometimes, bonds break even when no one wants them to.
The boy had recovered well, truth be told, but he wasn't all there yet. Sometimes, it just seemed as if Naruto would black out, mumbling incoherently, before, just as suddenly, snapping back and continuing his previous avenue of actions as if no time had passed. Quite frankly it was scary, but Inoichi had assured them that it was to be expected; Naruto still suffered from freak occurences even now, where his brain's very synapses would misfire thanks to the sheer trauma he went through.
Still, the Sandaime supposed, things were going better than he had feared when the invasion occured. As a Hokage, he looked not only into how he would fight through that fight with Orochimaru, but also how his village would fair after it. And it had not been promising. It was his ongoing tenure as Hokage alone that had kept many enemies of Konoha from encroaching into their lands, or some of Konoha's greedier people from trying to bite off more than they could chew. Not just that, but the many Councils of Konoha would be in unrest had he died, which would have indubitably caused undue strain in their relations and more than a few attempts at usurping or eliminating power bases.
In short; it would have been Hell for the next Hokage, to the point that, if it were Tsunade, it would never be fixed.
In times of great stress, people and organizations tend to go berserk, requiring a single, all-powerful figure to manage them. Had the Hokage fallen, there would have been chaos, and not of the kind Naruto usually unleashed with his pranks.
So now, there he was sending poor little Naruto off, not even fully healed yet, in a mission that should by all means be considered impossible, if not an S-ranked. Mission Objective; locate Senju Tsunade and have her return to Konoha to take up the mantle as Hokage. Three impossibles in one measly sentence. Tsunade was every bit a Sannin; she might not be sneaky like Orochimaru or slippery like Jiraiya, but she had her fair share of ways to avoid detection. She also had a hatred for her home village, living a vagrant's life to avoid going back, so many years after the tragedies of her life. And lastly, she detested the very position of Hokage, an extremely ironic fact considering that her Grandfather and Great Uncle had taken the mantle as Shodai and Nidaime. Even more ironic since it was what her little brother Nawaki and lover Dan had dreamed of.
But, as the old man knew, hate him or love him, everyone eventually fell to the endless charisma his lovable if insane adopted grandson had.
Maybe that boy would finally set fire once more to the smouldering coals of Tsunade's soul.
"Anyway, jiji! There's something I need to show you, at my warehouse." Naruto piped up, interrupting the old ninja's thoughts. "But it's a secret, can you keep a secret? 'Cause, jiji, love you an' all, but I don't want no other ninja snoopin' around in my greenhouse, dattebayo! It's bad for my pretties! Makes them all worried and yellow!"
Well, taking a mild walk in the veritable jungle that was Naruto's greenhouses would be just what the doctors ordered. After all, clean air, greenery, calming scents and all that, right? What could go wrong?
For an unknown reason, Sarutobi felt an odd chill down his back at that thought. Oh, great, he thought, he just had to jinx it, didn't he?
A few minutes later found Naruto in front of the heavy, wooden doors that served as entrance to the Grove. Now that he thought about it, it had been many years since he last came around, he supposed the last time was when he handed over the deed and had the workers set up the large walls. The doors opened without Naruto even touching them but there was no one to do it, and Sarutobi used all his senses to detect any personnel.
But as soon as Naruto closed the doors behind them, this time by hand, the boy turned to look at his leader with a serious eye. "We're going to see my pretties, ji-chan. You are going to see my pretties for the very first time. Now, listen properly! Adress the Queen of Thorns as 'Queen' or 'Majesty'. She is the only one who sits on a throne. Do not rush Hawthorn or Oberon, be patient and wait for them to finish talking and never interrupt them. Whatever Titania-chan does, take it with many pinches of salt and laugh with it, don't curse or try to hurt her, you will not like the results. There might be Thrall and his Orks there too, but I'm not sure 'cause they don't like the council. If they are; do not look down at them, do not conceal all your weapons, do not show obvious weakness, and for all that is holy, do not show all your teeth; they consider it a challenge actually."
"Wait, wait a second Naruto-kun!" The old man stopped the blonde from his roll, even as they walked. "You are talking about your pretties, right? Plants, yes? So, forgive this senile old man, but, last time I heard, plants... do not make conversations..."
They had stopped outside what seemed as a naturally-formed globe made out of a single, curled leaf, with what appeared to be a door and handle in the form of a circular, yellow-colored wooden portal, it even seemed to be formed of many swirling blocks of wood that made up the Uzumaki swirl, if a bit more complicated.
"That's because, jiji, I am the most surprising person in Konoha for a reason." Naruto spoke and pressed the yellow orb in the center of the door, causing the wooden parts to retreat to the sides and 'open' the door.
It was a throne room.
Made of wood and moss rather than stone and cloth, but it was a throne room none the less. Sarutobi realized that it wasn't a sphere so much as a cylinder; the top was open to let the sunlight in, refracted around magnificently through colored lenses that hung in the air by gossamer strings, the lenses themselves even seemed to be of plant origin, as if someone had taken the cells of a leaf and magnified it hundreds of times over.
To either side of the throne were two giant trees, but Sarutobi could tell they were not trees, after all, trees don't have eyes! One had bright green and the other deep blue, both large and wise and with a brilliant intellect shining through them. Even the bark seemed to take after a face, after a little bit he could discern a nose, lips and even cheekbones. The one on the right had even arms, gnarly and thick-barked, a large walking stick in one of them. The walking stick alone was more than a dozen feet long.
And upon the center, when Sarutobi laid his eyes upon it, sat one of the, if not outright the, most beautiful woman he had ever beheld. Aristocratic, sharp lines on her face, yet full characteristics. Lips as red as fresh blood, yet a touch darker, as if hinting to something deeper. Black hair, artfully decorated with jewelry that seemed to sparkle like stars in her night-sky mane. Dark, entrancing eyes, almost as if windows to an abyss warm and all-encompassing. Dark skin, though not black, but more that of carefully oiled wood, aged to perfection. Her form, covered by a long, see-through gown that somehow managed to cling to her every curve and yet still flutter as if to an invisible wind. On her wrists, ankles and brow were jewelry that glinted as if silver, but he could tell it was not.
"So... you bring him... at... last..." The left 'tree' spoke slowly, breezily and with a tone that spoke of many hours of thought upon even a simple greeting. "I... am... Hawthorn... Oldest of the Ents... and it is... an honor... to meet you... Hokage Sarutobi Hiruzen..."
"I am honored as well, Hawthorn-dono." Sarutobi replied almost mechanically, still unable to fully comprehend what his eyes were telling him they saw. 'I wonder if Inoichi-kun would believe me if he mind-dived, or if he made an altar to Naruto-kun...' "And... you must be Oberon-dono," He nodded towards the tree to his right this time, seeing its features distort to a smile. "And you, my lady, must be the Queen of Thorns."
"It seems... our Maker... spoke to you... of us... We were... half-afraid... he would forget... again."
"O-Oberon! I didn't really mean to do it that time! It was a mistake! And we had Titania-chan!" Naruto pouted indignantly at the teasing tone.
"Yes, yes it was, My King," The woman spoke and her lilting tone would have made Sarutobi in the height of his love to his wife look at the Queen again. "and you are correct, Hokage-dono, we are as you identified us."
Before she could say anything more, or rather before she was even half-way through, a tiny being shot up from underneath Oberon's many moss-covered branches. It was small, only a few inches tall, and female. She wore a long white sundress but no shoes that he could discern. Not that she would need them; she had wings instead, four, thin, gossamer wings that beat incessantly. Her large bright-gold eyes and golden hair made the little thing as bright as Naruto. "Someone call my name? I'm Titania the Great! Tricks and Pranks are my mate! Oh! The pervy old man!" She tittered as she flitted, very fast for such a small crreature, around a stupefied Sarutobi. "Tell me! Did you like your signing time? Did you?"
"T-That was you?!" Sarutobi spluttered before he could stop himself, that damn prank had caused the Hokage Tower endless misery! Someone had placed ink-proof crayon on the signing area of his paperwork, making the ink slide off! He was forced to do his paperwork a second time! Still, remembering Naruto's cautioning, and not really wanting to know how dangerous a creature that could sneak into the Hokage Tower's archives undetected could be, he forced himself to think it from a prankster's perspective and laugh. "Yes, it was very funny, Titania-dono, but next time, do it on Tuesdays; Mondays have way too much paperwork, I don't want to be forced to sit inside longer than I have to." Guilt-tripping, with a small allowance for controlled pranking, always seemed to work on Naruto.
"Ah!" The little being slammed a fist onto her palm. "So I made you stay in? Aaaah! And here I had thought you'd have told all those other guys to do it for you, you know the ones you actually hire to do it! I mean, they sit inside all day anyway, why do you let them read naughty books and play card games?"
And so Sarutobi was introduced to Titania's unique sense of showing people when they make a mistake; prank them and then tell them how they could have avoided it. Don't be tricked; it wasn't to make the lesson stick, but because Titania wanted to have fun.
Sarutobi on the other hand coughed uncomfortably, at least, judging by the sympathetic look the Queen sent him, he hadn't been the only one to be caught in such a trap. "Y-You are correct it seems, Titania-dono, I will fix that problem quickly." And indeed he would, he was the Hokage darn it!
"Two!" Titania giggled loudly, holding up two fingers.
"Two! Two pranks!" She gave him a wide smile that, despite being cheerful, somehow made Sarutobi fear for his sanity. "You call me '-dono'! That's respectful! Respect means responcibility!" The little being shuddered comically, she seemed to buzz in place. "I don't like responcibility, that's why I gave mine to the old hag over there!" And, of course, she pointed to the Queen of Thorns.
If there was ever a woman that could appear at the same time hauntingly beautiful and absolutely, totally willing to inflict grievous torture, the Queen was that woman.
Jiraiya would have loved to meet her!
"I... see, then how should I adress you, Titania-san?" The old Hokage knew to be respectful, even when hinted that he shouldn't be. Unknowingly, it increased the respect the tiny being had for him; Titania might hate titles and posturing, but on the other hand, unless specifically stated that she allowed someone to call her in a friendly way, it aroused her anger. In short; she might keep the doors unlocked, but you did not want to enter unless invited.
"Titania-chan's fine! And don't worry, I'll wait a bit for my pranks, don't want you all ready and waiting for them!" Her declaration was rather obviously not calming for the old man's poor heart pressure.
"Yes, be that as it may," The Queen stopped the hyperactive little being. "there is a very particular reason why Hokage-dono has been presented before us, even if Thrall and his... kin are not here." There was a disdain in her voice about Thrall's kin, but as he had not met them, the Sandaime made a note not to tread on that little part of things.
"Yep, yep, yep!" Naruto agreed, nodding fast enough to make his ears flap, before hopping up next to the Queen. "See, old man, you wanted to know about my pretties! So I brought you here so you can properly meet them!"
"And that is a very good thing, my King." The Queen agreed. "But first you must explain what we are, before he can understand who we are."
"Right! So, I guess I start in chruno... chronu... chro... In the order I made them anyway!" Naruto laughed off his own inability to say 'chronological' and sat down. "First, you probably know I've been in the Forest of Death, right? Ah, no, it's not a dangerous place, when you avoid trouble rather than head towards it! And there was this crazy snake lady who helped out when some animals wouldn't leave me alone. Anyway! Deep, deep in the forest, further than even the tower, there's this weird place, it had a very strange feeling, but it was cool! It glowed all green and had these amazing flowers and trees! It was kinda hard to find though, 'cause it kept changing doors and stuff, and sometimes you'd get lost. But it was great!"
'Secret place that changed place, inside the Forest of Death? Is it... is it possible Naruto-kun found out the Shodai's resting place? The one place in Konoha that none could find?' As one of the Shodai's students, even if it was through his younger brother, Sarutobi had been one of the many who had looked for the entrance to the fabled 'Eternal Grove', the place where the Shodai was reputed to have learned how to use his Mokuton. The place he was also interred by his own wife, Uzumaki Mito, she too, entering that tomb on her own to get to her final sleep.
The 'Eternal Grove' was also supposed to be the same as another mythological place... Shikkotsurin. A place of Natural Chakra, where one could become a sage, and only a sage could find his way to it. A shard of the original 'Rin'ne Tenkyuuden', the 'Heavenly Palace Of The Circle Of Life'. A spiritual place where the Rikkudo Sennin had, mythologically, trained in, shattered in three different parts so that no one would ever again hold the power to reshape reality and offend the Kami.
So many had scoured Konoha and all the lands around the village, trying to find the Eternal Grove, but none ever found it. And yet, Naruto probably had.
"Anyway!" The blonde continued unabashed. "I took many samples from there and crossed them with plants I could find from here, and it was great! I made so many new plants! They were all so pretty! But..." Now the boy looked downcast, getting a gentle pat on his shoulder from the stunning Queen. "I didn't have any friends and... as much as I might have talked to my plants and flowers and bushes... I... they never talked back... So... So I tried harder! I gave my chakra, my blood, everything I could! Watered them in my blood and fed them my chakra, carefully crossbreeding each and every plant I had, using the many plants I found in that cave that could actually move. It... It took me three years, but I had done it!"
"And thus... I... was... born..." Hawthorn stated. "I... and... Oberon... are the... oldest... of the... Greenborn... We are... but... four years... old..." The gigantic tree spoke slowly, its deep voice making the earth rumble beneath the old man's feet.
"F-Four years? Excuse my ignorance, but... Hawthorn-dono, you appear to be much bigger than a four-year tree."
"Indeed... and... I keep... my body... small... so as... to not... frighten you... Hokage... dono..." The tree crinkled its wooden face in a genial smile. "I can... be... over... two... hundred... feet... tall... when I... want to..."
"Yup, yup! Hawthorn-kun here can become big or small, or even from a different plant altogether when he wants!" Naruto nodded, explaining it to the stunned Hokage. "But he usually keeps to this size; he'd be too big otherwise! After Hawthorn-kun was rooted," Rooted probably meant 'born', the old man surmized. "came Oberon-kun!" He waved towards the walking stick-bearing tree. "Oberon-kun is a Treant! The first Treant! Ents and Treants are pretty much the same, but Treants can walk! And Oberon-kun can also change his size, but not his shape. That's why he's so small, he can be almost as big as Hawthorn-kun!"
'Small... he calls a fourty-feet-tall tree 'small'... Okay, I knew that Naruto had a few problems with comparisons, what with thinking his chakra reserves were 'normal' for his age, but this is a bit too much, ain't it?' "I... I see, Naruto-kun... This is truly a... a miracle!" And it was! If Konoha's citizens could just see what Naruto had done, the miracle that he had uniquely brought to reality, how could they ever claim that he was anything but a great person?
'But of course they wouldn't believe Naruto-kun... They would say that the Kyuubi used its powers to corrupt Nature or somesuch idiocy...Oh, Naruto-kun, how can I help them open their eyes to the wonderful person that you are?'
"When Oberon-kun started walking, I knew I was on the right track! So I worked harder and harder, and in the end, I did it! The Queen was born!" He jumped for joy, remembering the day the large, red flower had bloomed and his first Dryad had walked out.
"It was truly a magnificent day..." Even the Queen had a look of absolute rapture on her face. "Do you know how it is to perceive a world out there, but unable to interact? To listen to your fellow beings telling you 'patience, be patient', and having been forced to live isolated from the world, unable to see, taste or feel? And then... beauty! Magnificence! Light! Green and blue and red and everything in-between! Scents, sweet and bitter, musky and flowery! Taste, so strong that it resounds in your mind like a thousand myriad dawns all at the same time! Sounds, hearing the rustle of leaves and teetering of birds and buzzing of insects after an eternity of absolute silence! And touch!" She almost shook at that moment, shivering violently. "To feel, to touch, your very body singing at every sensation, so strong that even the worst of pain would be absolute pleasure after an existence inside that void!" The woman calmed herself down quickly, but a hint of that rapture, of the first waking, remained in her eyes. "No, Hokage-dono, you do not, you cannot, understand the gift our King has given us. For that, we are all his most loyal subjects."
"I don't need subjects, and you know it! I wanted friends! Family! And you're all that! And more!" Naruto turned indignantly to the woman and she gently, calmingly caressed his face, much like Kushina herself would have done, had she lived long enough to do it.
"I know my King," She soothed him. "but regardless of if you had merely wanted us as slaves or possessions, we would still have been loyal to you, forever."
"And then we came!" Titania interjected, all this mushy-mushy, look-into-each-other's-eyes scenes were getting to her! Celebrations are meant to be with drinks and stories and, mostly, pranks, not looking at someone's eyes for ages! That was boring!
Luckily, and as expected from the little being, Naruto's attention was quickly brought to the next part of the tale. "Yeah! After the Queen was born from that tree, she and Oberon-kun and Hawthorn-kun helped me experiment more, and make me more friends and more family!" The Sandaime looked down at this, realizing how far Naruto would have gone for even a hint of family or friendship. He had truly failed the boy, hadn't he? "With their help, Titania-chan was born from the blossom of a lily flower!"
"We're the Trixies! And don't you forget it!" The little trixie piped up in a manner way too similar to Naruto's.
"I... I see... And the Orks?"
This time, he saw the same disdain in the Queen's eyes as when she spoke of Thrall and his kin, but also, since he had been paying attention this time, a great sadness and dissapointment.
"My people, Hokage-dono, are only female." The Queen spoke. "There are no men, no males, to polinate our ovaries and procreate. Of all my children, I am the only one who can reproduce, the only one who can keep our race alive... Long-lived we might be, owing to our inanimate roots, but eternal we are not... Only I can reproduce with the help of my King, only he can pollinate my ovaries, because it was his blood that birthed me, and I am able to embrace his genes into mine, to bring forth a new Dryad."
"Yeah, like Bereth-chan said," The name was different, but judging by her, it was probably another name for 'Queen' or something like that. At any rate, the old man wouldn't use it unless expressedly allowed. Even if he had been in his prime, he had the feeling that this place was alive and beating and conscious. It would not be smart to challenge someone who can absolutely control the environment to their will. Especially not when you're right in the middle of that environment. "there are no male Dryads. Dunno why, maybe because the tree Bereth-chan came from was female, maybe because Iam male, but there are no male Dryads. So I need to give my blood and a lot of chakra for Bereth-chan to make a new Dryad."
"So they are like your daughters?" The old man inquired, getting a lilting laugh from the Dryad Queen, quickly followed by the rest of the plant-based beings. And a blush from Naruto.
"Absolutely not, Hokage-dono..." She spoke amidst giggles after she calmed down a bit. "Not unless you would believe that a daughter would try molest her father on an hourly basis." The giggles finally stopped, but the smile remained. "You cannot understand what touch means to us Dryads; it is our greatest pleasure. So we constantly seek to engage in it, to push the feelings even higher." Her smile turned sultry in a way that made even his old body shudder in remembered times. "We are Dryads, we do not have your pointless laws and taboos. And what pleasure is there that sings louder than the very reason your body was built for?"
"S-S-So Naruto-kun is...?" The old man stuttered as he looked at the blushing boy.
"E-Ero-jiji..." He mumbled. "How do you think I got that good in avoiding your ninja? Neira-chan and the others can transport themselves from tree to tree in an instant, do you have any idea how hard it is to maintain my... v-v-virginity?!"
The old man was torn between feeling sorry or feeling jealous of the boy.
Then someone happened and he made up his mind.
Because, apparently having heard her name, a stunning girl appeared from the side, running towards the boy and promptly glomping him. "Naruto-kuuuun!" Her voice was befit for angels, so much like the Queen's but warm and bubbly where hers was court and aristocratic. Sparing a better look at her, Sarutobi saw the wild, fire-red mane of hair cascading down the Dryad's back, her perfectly proportioned, fair-colored body, with just a hint of light green on the skin. And when she turned, her face was just as beautiful, with blood-red, full lips and bright green, almost glowing, eyes. "Come with me, I've prepared my room especially for today-mmmh!"
Vines seemed to come alive from all around the red-haided girl and quickly wrapped around her body, pulling her back as she struggled to get a grip back on the still-dizzy Naruto.
"Aaaah... when will this girl finally learn to control herself..." A gruff, growling voice came from behind the Hokage, making him turn to look at the speaker, and promptly gape. "Then I could just go back to taking tiger-naps in peace and quiet..."
It was a being... a being he could not identify. It was large, as large as a tiger and shaped much the same. But instead of black and yellow fur, he had green and black-brown. Green eyes, almost swirling as if they were liquid, but shining with a bright cunning and intellect. Even the claws were wood; he could see the roots bury into the ground with each step. What was even more unexpected, was that it was... familiar... As if he had seen the being somewhere else...
"Ah! Tora-chan! How have you been!" Naruto exclaimed and Sarutobi made a double-take. 'That's the long-lost Daimyo's pet, Tora? As in Demon Cat Tora? What in the Kamis happened?!'
"Humph... Busy, babysitting this girl takes up all my time... I should not have shown my ability to track her down regardless of her tricks, then I would be sleeping in my chair instead of running after her..."
"And that is my firstborn daughter, Neira." The Queen interjected the Hokage before he could get a word in. "She is... most taken with our king... I think this is already the tenth try to bed him, today only... She still has her record to break; that was about fifteen tries in an hour, though if I were to read your eyes correctly, my dear daughter, you seem more than determined to break that record..." She smiled at her daughter, who was still struggling to free herself.
"Of course I am!" The girl spoke as she finally freed her mouth from a pestering vine. "Naruto-kun will be mine and I will share him with all my sisters and we will feel pleasure beyond pleasure and we will keep him among us forever and no one will hurt him or hog him again and-mmmph! MMMH! MMPHH!"
'Where have I seen that again? Oh, right, she's just like Konohamaru-kun, I'd better make sure those two never meet or...' He couldn't even finish his thoughts, so horrible they were.
Meanwhile, Tora had taken a lie-down in front of the Queen's legs, like a large, furry (or in this case leaf-y) carpet. Privately, the Sandaime felt that he'd gladly take the tiger's place if he could be that close to the Queen...
"Now calm yourself, daughter, do you not see we have guests? Behave yourself for now, please."
Finally the girl noticed the old man and, freeing herself from another moving vine, greeted him happily. "Hiii! I'm Neira! Say, can you untie me so I can get Naruto-kun to my chambers and-mmMMPH! MMMH! MM-No fair! You never let me seduce anyone, Mother!"
"Mostly because if Hokage-dono was seduced by you daughter and all your... renowned... self-control, he wouldn't make the day." The Queen deadpanned, stopping her daughter's struggles, as if Neira had just realized the age of the guest. "Now, we were talking about my peoples' inability to procreate, yes?"
Naruto, having finally managed to get his bearings back, along with a chair that seemed to have spontaneously grown from the ground while Sarutobi wasn't looking, shook his head. "Uhh... yeah, yeah we were... Umm... Orks... Yeah, orks, orks were rooted when we tried to make male Dryads." Naruto began, getting interrupted by Neira's promise that 'you're the only one for us Naruto-kun, no other man would ever touch us as deep-mmmh!' before continuing, uncomfortable at the twinkle in the older man's eyes. He had seen that twinkle before, and every time the old man made someone have a mental break down. "But, no matter what tree we tried, it was always a female Dryad that was born so... so we tried something else..."
"Fungi." The Queen stated, distastefully. "Genetically removed from us so that my biology would not lock their gender and allow for our King's gender to take... Unfortunately... it didn't work as we expected..."
"Orks are much like the Dryads, but they are all male." Naruto stated. "And angry. Really angry, all the time."
"Orks cannot survive without their anger, in fact." The Queen spoke again. "Their bodies need the, well, plant-based adrenaline equivalent, they generate from fighting. If they cannot fight, they wilt and die. But, even in death they do not really die."
"All my pretties have very strong genetic memories, jiji." Naruto explained. "Genetic memory is when you remember something that your ancestor did, without you ever experiencing it. All Greenborn can do it, but in the case of Orks it's... it's much, much stronger..."
"And they are also much, much less smart than you and I." The Queen interrupted, her tone annoyed and angry. "They end up not quite identifying the difference between their current life and their previous one... They actually think they are immortal, even if you kill one, those born of its body will have all the memories, and think themselves the same person."
"Usually that means they kill each other, but, you see, Orks are like mushrooms; they reproduce by spores. They always shed spores, but when they die, they shed even more. So, even if you kill one, there are probably dozens of others that will eventually take root."
"Are they dangerous?" The old man asked, worried what a race of berserking warrior horde that never ended could do. It would make a war to end all wars, a war they might not survive, as a race!
"Umm... no, not really... Orks generally kill each other all the time." Naruto stated, uncomfortable. "Also, they're really strong, but they don't have any ambitions beyond fighting strong enemies. And Thrall-kun is different from other Orks, so he keeps them together."
"Yes... Thrall is at least smarter than his... kin." The Queen came back. "He understands that, if his people keep up like that, they will either destroy each other or they will band everyone else to destroy them. Regardless of their strength, not even all the orks as one would be able to take on all the villages, especially since we would be aiding them. So he is trying to... civilize them, for a lack of better word. Thrall is... admirable, in maintaining his position and strength, even as he tries to shape his people into something more than cunning animals with tools and a bad disposition..."
"But still our best attempts at creating male Dryads failed, so it's kind of a sore spot for them..."
"Not like we wanted ta be one o' ya damn panzees!" A deep, baritone voice filled the dome, making the Sandaime tense as he turned to see the newcomer.
It was green. Deep green, vaguely humanoid in shape, but the proportions... they were all wrong. Its muscles were too thick, bulging and with popping veins. Nails that were more like broken claws. Biceps as thick as Sandaime's torso. A small head with a sloping forehead, jutting jaw and, damn, those were some big tusks! He wore mis-matched armor of bark
A/N: Finally an update, damn, there had been days where I couldn't get even a single line out. Damn I hate working! Why can't we all just spend days watching anime, playing games and having fun? All ye underage people; trust me, enjoy it while it lasts! Highschool's the greatest time of your life, I made the mistake of not taking advantage of it and now I wish life had Save/Load routines!
On us going for Guild Wars 2: I promote the use of the Jade Sea server as a tribute to Factions. However, I have no problem regardless of which server I go in. Just, keep in mind, that since I'm in Europe, I can't join an American one. Though I might be able to come over and visit; I actually did that in Factions, I think. So, who's up for making a guild full of RP'ing story-tellers that also kick their fair share of centaur behinds? Once the characters are set, don't forget to PM each other so we can meet and set up our friend lists!
Also, as you saw, I'm slowly introducing the Greenborn to the world. So far there have been very little signs of them, but soon they'll take a more active role.
On the characters; Naruto and Sasuke were hopefully realistic, even as Naruto recovers from his insanity. The whole 'See sound, hear sight' thing is a state called 'synesthesia', which you can read up in Wikipedia. In Naruto's case, instead of melding two senses, he swapped them. Also, Sakura is finally getting some limelight, even if it's not all that much and Hanabi's plans begin to grow! What will the terrible pint-sized Hyuuga do next? And why does everyone keep underestimating her?
One Small Change
Jiraiya sighed as he looked over the recovering Uchiha boy. Damn the kid had suffered, it was really unfair for a child to go through all that shit in his life. Hadn't been exactly that the reason why he, himself, had fought so hard for? So that no one else would be forced to have their family ripped from them, their dreams shattered, their lives ruined?
And now, Jiraiya the Gallant, as he tries to convince everyone that he is, looks down on yet another tragic figure. A figure so much like his own former best friend.
'Orochimaru... Why? What made you change like that, betray us like that? Had we meant nothing to you, was everything we went through together nothing but a lie? Why 'Rochi? I know you were my friend once, I know you called me your friend and meant it... I could see it in your eyes, back then... What was it that changed you? What... what was it that hurt you so much...' Jiraiya wonders as he looks over the barely-breathing boy. 'Heh, were it the old days, I'd have told you to go get laid or something to send away all the stress and loneliness...- wait, what!?'
Suddenly startled by his own thoughts, Jiraiya looks as if enlightenment had hit him with a sledgehammer. 'Get laid, of course! It always helps out, works out all the emo-ness right out of ya! But who? Who could I trust... Of course, that girl Naruto told me about, Haku! And I know how to find her... Hehehe, poor boy, if what I saw of the way she looked at you was right, you're in for a very wild time!'
And with that, Jiraiya the Gallant, often called 'ero-sennin', leapt off into the shadows, after calling a few ANBU to look over the kid. He had a missing-nin to find, and it had already been a couple of days since she left, best to follow the trail before the 'rain' washes it away completely.
Opening his eyes felt like swimming through molasses; it was slow, painful and absolutely exhausting, but he had to.
There had been no way for him to know how much time had passed, how many hours,days,weeks,months,years,decades,eons,millenia- ok, so it hadn't been millenia, but still...
So he opened his eyes and, like the seasoned shinobi hat he was, he began to evaluate his environment.
Large, unadorned windows with white curtains. Unfomfortably hard bed. Annoying beeping sounds. Completely white walls. Stale stench of medicine and blood and white spirits.
He was in a hospital. Judging by the branches of the tree next to his window, he was not higher than the fourth floor, but higher than the first. Going by the rule of the middle, he was probably in the second floor. It was midday, the shadows were too short, but whether it was before or after, he couldn't tell.
The door opened slowly and a figure entered quietly before closing it slowly.
And Sasuke felt his body freeze up.
Low, soft-soled shoes. White panty-hose and garterbelt that came up long, smooth, toned legs. A very, very short white mini-skirt, with a slit to the side that showed part of the garterbelt. A tight, white blouse with buttons undone top and bottom, revealing a perfectly toned tummy and growing cleavage. A white cap with a red cross sitting on midnight-black hair on an angelic face.
"Good morning, Uchiha-kun, I am nurse Haku and you will be in my care for the day." She purred at the still-shocked boy, a dainty hand softly running along the edge of the door, freezing it solid and closed.
When she stalked forward like a predator, hips swaying left and right to reveal parts of her creamy legs, eyes half-lidded and darkening by the second, Sasuke found himself frozen, in a whole new way.
He went no further as Haku bent forward, nose touching his. "Shhh, you should not say anything more, just let Nurse Haku take care of you... Besides, you're going to need every bit of scream you still have in you... I intend to coax it all out..."
The next day, Sasuke was found skipping along the street, whistling a happy tune, waving happily at everyone.
"Dude, Sasuke, what the hell has you so happy!" Naruto cried out, in one of his few moments of lucidity, ero-senning standing next to him with a scroll in hand and a wide grin on his face. "Are you sick or something?!"
Sasuke gave him a wide, toothy grin and a dreamy sigh. "What's not to be happy about, my best friend? The sky is blue, the birds are singing and the flowers..." He took in a deep inhalation of a large rose. "... smell so beautiful!"
Jiraiya couldn't help but jump in and interrupt the boy. "And you got laid."
Impossibly, Sasuke's smile got wider, much like Naruto's face-splitting grins, and seemed to sparkle in the sun. "And I got laid!"
Inoichi would never find if the following catatonia of Naruto was caused because of his recovering mind or if something else had happened.
"That's why I told you, live a miserably, small life! Run, run and cling to life if you want to live-" Itachi's well-practiced monologue would have gone on for longer, but Sasuke had other plans.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, can we get this on, I'm getting late to my date with Haku-chan, do you even know how she gets when Jiraiya-sama releases a new Icha-Icha? I tell you, this woman can bend herself into a knot!"
Seeing a dribble of blood going down Sasuke's nose, Itachi was worried! After all, how could he redeem his clan and his own sins if his little brother wasn't absolutely focused on his death? So, using his Sharingan, he dove into Sasuke's mind and used the Tsukiyomi, the greatest genjutsu, to trap Sasuke into a world of his own imagining.
A world where, instead of Sasuke, Haku was being the one tortured.
"In this world, I will torture your lover for the next seventy-two hours, mercylessly tearing her apart and raping her until she begins to enjo-" A sudden, powerful burst of chakra interrupted the Uchiha Traitor.
Itachi had a small second of time to wonder where the Snake Sannin's seal had gone, since he knew his brother had been marked.
"HAKU! NOOOOOOOOO!" The world exploded into white.
Just like the soul fragment inside Sasuke found out first-hand, love does have a power of its own, especially one enhanced by the greatest pleasure that is known to any living species.
In a burst of power from the newly-activated Mangekyo Sharingan, fused with the most powerful emotion Sasuke could harness, Itachi found himself trapped into a Tsukiyomi of his brother's creation; a world filled with crystal skyscrappers and... a crescent moon?!
"How dare you get between our love! By the power of our love combined, I will punish you, in the name of Venus!" Sasuke, in an extremely high-pitched voice declared and, before the S-ranked nuke-nin had time to react, an army of Sasuke-clones dressed in the most ridiculous, ludicrous and girly sailor fuku descended on him, bearing chains made of golden hearts of all things.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!" Was the sound of Itachi's mind breaking.
Seeing his brother fall twitching to the ground, brain matter oozing out of his nostrils, Sasuke grinned maliciously at his brother. "Now you know what I go through every time Haku-chan gets an addiction that requires role-play." Then his expression softened to one of pity. "Though, you poor, poor bastard, I got to admit that at least in my case, she's the one to wear them."
"And you say I'm the insanely cruel guy..." Naruto commented off-handedly over Kisame's torn up body; without Itachi there to support him, even Samehada couldn't drain the entirety of the chakra Naruto's Kyuubi-enhanced Sensatsu Haken technique. As a result, the arrogant fish-nin found out how exactly being shaved apart feels like, this time from a different perspective than his usual.
When Madara came to Sasuke in the middle of the night, hoping to kill his young lover and twist the boy to his own machinations, he miscalculated one, very minor thing.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Imagine a sex-deprived woman who finally got her chosen husband for some one-on-one time after three years of waiting.
And imagine it during that time of her month.
Then multiply by a dozen to account for the just-as-frustrated husband of said woman.
'Tobi' learned a whole new way to put his name to the test; Sasuke used him as a test subject for his new "Ultimate Hidden Forbidden Secret Uchiha Fire Technique: Intestinal Track Ignition".
The fireworks was a nice touch.
A/N: My mind's very disturbing, isn't it?