Naruto: Making of a Hokage
The Gathering Arc
Ch.32 Prelude to Destruction
Like he had thought, traveling via a toad was anything but comfortable. It wasn't like it was cramped inside or anything, to be honest it was quite accommodating, but just the fact that he was inside of a large toad kept him from being comfortable. He had thought that he would just be summoned to where Fu was but it turned out that it couldn't be done unless she had signed the Toad contract, that's why the messenger Toads summoned themselves to her and not the other way around.
Thankfully, it wasn't long before the Toad's massive mouth opened to reveal the edge of a lake with tall mountains looming over it. Naruto did not waste time in stepping out of the summon which nodded at him before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. Naruto took in a deep breath, taking in the crisp night air gladly after having been deprived of it for several moments.
"You weren't kidding when you said that a Toad would take you here."
"Unfortunately I wasn't," he smiled in response at the voice and turned to meet an amused looking Fu leaning against a nearby tree. "Did you wait long?"
"Not really," she shrugged nonchalantly. "How are things on your end?"
He shook his head in response, "Not too bad I guess. I just moved to a new place, turns out I've saved up a lot of money from the missions I took back when I was training."
"Really?" Fu asked, more than a little surprised that someone like Naruto actually had money saved up. "We really should have asked you for money back when we needed it..." she mused silently before shaking her head and moving to more serious manners, "In any case, whey did you want to meet with me before you could see the others?"
"I want to know what you think of them first. You've spent time with them, tell me what their strengths are since I won't be here long enough to find out myself."
"Well, Utakata can be offensive but he's more of a defensive type of guy. He uses some weird bubbles to attack or defend, they're really weird..." Fu trailed off with a hand on her chin in a thinking position, "As for Yugito, well, she's fast. I thought I was fast before but moving side by side with her makes me look slow. Let's see... What else...? Oh! She can also grow freaking claws. Freaking claws, Naruto!"
Said ninja had a look of awe on his face, "That's freaking cool."
Naruto chuckled before clearing his throat, "Anyway, we should probably get back to business." His expression grew serious, mirrored by Fu who knew this would be important. "Now that the Akatsuki saw you guys together things will get more dangerous. They'll start looking for us in groups rather than pairs now."
"What's so bad about that? We can hold our own against them. You're just being paranoid."
"We can never be too careful when it comes to them," he responded with a grim expression, "Just think about it. You've seen first hand what they can do, now imagine more than one attacking you at the same time. That's not all though, how strong do you think their leader, someone that is able to have several powerful shinobi work together, is. If they get serious and send their strongest members then I'm sure none of us will stand a chance."
Fu nodded in acceptance. Naruto had a really good point and she hadn't forgotten her fight with Deidara either, if there were people stronger than him attacking them at the same time then their chances at surviving were slim.
"What are we supposed to do then?" Fu asked, "Stop trying to find the others."
"Not exactly," he answered, "I'll tell you all about it once we're with the others, they should hear this."
"All right then, follow me," she turned on her heels and walked off towards the forest with Naruto following behind her.
An empty living room was the sight what greeted Ino upon leaving her bedroom. The floor cold at her feet, she glanced around in confusion. Having woken up alone in bed, she thought that Naruto might have gone to get a midnight snack...
Tsunade could not have called him for a mission, not so soon after that happened. So why had he seemingly disappeared from the apartment on their first night together.
A piece of paper on their coffee table caught her attention. She took it on hand and read its contents, her face going from confusion to worry.
No wonder he had disappeared so suddenly, the jinchuuriki had gotten into some sort of fight with the Akatsuki. The note explained that he had gone to meet with them to make sure they were okay and to go over some things he could not explain over messages. The more she thought about it, the more she wished he had woken her up so that she could go.
Maybe that's why he hadn't woken her up. He knew that she could push until he gave out and brought her along. Still, if he thought a simple note was sufficient in making up for his sudden disappearance, he was dead wrong. When he got back she would make sure to give him an earful for acting so rashly.
Fu led Naruto into a small clearing and placed her hands on her hips confidently.
"You guys can come out now!"
In an instant, two people dropped down from the shadows, one a male and the other female. Naruto took in their appearances and noticed the headband of the older female. He groaned in his head when seeing that it was a Cloud Village headband, those guys were a big problem, often almost starting wars because of some attempt at gaining more power. They even infiltrated Konoha once in a failed attempt at gaining the Byakugan.
"I am the jinchuuriki of the Six-Tails, Utakata." The male jinchuuriki interrupted Naruto's train of thought.
The older woman stepped forward, "My name's Yugito Nii, I'm the jinchuuriki of the Two-Tails."
"Nice to meet you. My name's Naruto Uzumaki, jinchuuriki of the Nine-Tails," he introduced himself with a grin before noticing the amused grin on Yugito's face.
"You've been the talk of a certain loud kunoichi," Yugito began to explain once seeing his confused expression. "A couple of Cloud Ninja fought you not too long ago, right?"
"Oh yeah," Naruto recalled with a smile, "It was on a mission to Wave."
Yugito laughed quietly, "Yes, and let me tell you that having her mad at you is not a good thing."
He chuckled nervously in return. While not really worried about fighting those two again, the kunoichi from back then had reminded him of a more violent version of Sakura.
"I should tell you guys why I came," Naruto changed the subject, his expression growing serious. "Since you guys ran into the Akatsuki we have to be a lot more careful from now on. Those guys are strong and having to face more than two of them at the same time will be a big problem. I'm sure you've all seen how strong they are."
Utakata nodded, "While they didn't have a chance to retaliate, they proved to be more than versatile."
"That's right," Naruto agreed before continuing, "But there's something good about this development. I'm sure word will get out that the Akatsuki were spotted fighting Cloud ninja, that added to Yugito's disappearance will make the rest of the villages assume that you were all captured by the Akatski. We'll use this to our advantage. If we ever spot an Akatsuki member, we should spread the word, that way we'll have nearby villages turn their attention to them and give us time to get away. From now on you will need to wear something that can hide your appearance."
He paused briefly before continuing. "If you are spotted or there's not enough time to avoid conflict then you will return to Whirlpool," Naruto crossed his arms as a grin played on his lips, "There's this jutsu that works through the use of special seals. I will place these seals in Whirlpool and give you a scroll with matching ones. This will give you the ability to teleport to Whirlpool in just a few minutes."
Yugito held a bit of recognition on her features before speaking, "This wouldn't happen to be the Flying Thunder God Jutsu, would it?"
"A much weaker version than what the Fourth Hokage used," Naruto answered, "While he could teleport in an instant, the one we'll be using will take the aid of more than one person and take a few minutes to work."
"I see," Utakata muttered to himself before addressing Naruto, "When can you teach us how to use this jutsu?"
"Soon," he responded, "You guys should head straight to Whirlpool after I leave, once you make it there I'll go see you. It shouldn't take me more than a week to teach it to you, I can tell that you guys will have no problem learning something like this."
With that said, Naruto looked between the three jinchuuriki, "That's all I needed to say, anything you guys want to ask before I go?"
Utakata nodded as a frown etched on his face, "We haven't discussed this yet but some time ago Fu and I were approached by a ninja wearing Akatsuki robes, he appeared out of thin air to tell us that he was a spy."
"You too?" Yugito let out in surprise, "That happened to me and the jinchuuriki of the Eight-Tails too."
"Anything else you know about this guy?" Naruto asked with a look of worry.
"He wore an orange mask and had the ability to disappear in mere seconds," Utakata answered with Yugito and Fu nodding in agreement.
Naruto visually paled at this. For someone to approach them so easily...
"All right, I'll try to look into it as soon as I can. For now just focus on getting to Whirlpool and if the guy appears again be on your guard, he could be dangerous."
"Quit your worrying already," Fu broke in with a grin, "We'll make it to Whirlpool in no time and I can tell you that it won't take us that long to learn that jutsu."
Naruto chuckled, "Let's hope so."
"It appears that I have misjudged the way in which events have played out," started the leader of the Akatsuki. His rippled eyes looked between the two members he had called for.
One of them had blue hair with a large light blue paper flower at the side. Her expression was neutral, ever the stoic member of the organization.
The other member chose to keep the Akatsuki straw hat on, always being shrouded in mystery.
Rippled eyes glanced briefly at dark and empty throne room of the Uchiha Hideout, which was mostly used for when he had something particularly important to say to a select few. First made known by Itachi Uchiha, the place had served them for years.
"Not only have the Jinchuuriki decided to get together, but some villages deem us responsible for it." Though this greatly affected their plans, the leader remained stoic, "Only the masked man is capable of disrupting our plans to such a degree. With the villages looking for us, the Jinchuuriki posing a greater threat in a group, and Orochimaru building an army of deformities; we will have to be more aggressive."
"Aggressive you say?" The member with blue hair repeated, "I suppose this means that we will need to capture the Jinchuuriki that remain in their villages."
The leader looked at her briefly before turning his attention to the other member, "You are my most trusted members, it is why I have called you here today... Kakuzu, Hidan, and Kisame will retrieve the Eight-Tails, they are already on their way there. The others cannot be trusted."
The Akatsuki leader looked between the two members sternly, "We will depart to the Hidden Leaf Village in just five days, their Nine-Tails will be ours." He glanced at the member wearing the straw hat, "You may have your revenge once we get there, Konan should be able to handle their ninja, while I retrieve the Nine-Tails."
"Very well," the unnamed Akatsuki member replied with quite a bit of thirst for vengeance dripping from the two words.
"Why didn't you wake me up?!"
That was the question that greeted Naruto upon getting back to his and Ino's apartment. While he had hoped that she was still asleep by the time he made it back, he knew better than to really hope for it and had to remind himself that even if he did get away with it, she would figure it out in a short time. In a way, it was better to get this conversation out of the way now rather than later.
"You read the note..." Naruto muttered to himself sheepishly while standing awkwardly in the living room. Thinking back on it, maybe he should have made up an excuse, like going out to train or leaving for a walk.
"Of course I did," Ino responded with her hands on her hips, "Tell me why you didn't wake me up. I know you had to leave tonight but you could've at least told me yourself instead of leaving a note behind."
"You're right," he hung his head slightly. "I'm really sorry Ino but I didn't want to worry you."
He winced at her bluntness but walked over to her and pulled her into a hug. "Listen," he began, feeling her relax in his arms, "I was only there for less than an hour and didn't want to wake you just for that, it was just a small talk with them. I didn't even take any ninja stuff besides the scroll I used to get there, so please forgive me. I promise to take you with me the next time I meet with them."
Ino fought to remain mad at him but finally melted in his arms, "Fine. But if you don't, a small talk won't fix things, got it?"
Naruto smiled, "Sorry I was an idiot."
"Don't worry, I'm used to it," she teased.
He laughed in response.
Sasuke did not like to think that he was some sort of evil monster with only destruction in his mind. There were people who he wanted to get revenge on but was he not justified? One of those two had murdered his entire clan, his whole family, and was running around with an evil group of people. The other had belittled him on several occasions and, most importantly, cost him his right eye. He liked to think that his actions were justified.
However, at this very moment he did not think that there was any justification for what he was doing.
Orochimaru, having told him that he needed experience in the art of killing, had sent him along with a couple of the odd ninja dressed in Anbu clothing on a mission. There was a campt of mercenaries nearby, his mission was to kill them all. While killing wasn't something new to him, these were not corrupted Root ninja who abused their strength more than often.
So, as his Chidori impaled, as his blade mutilated several men, and as many were killed by a giant fireball jutsu; Sasuke thought that he might be an evil monster after all.
Kabuto watched the scene from the shadows, a smirk playing on his lips as the slaughter played out in front of him. Lord Orochimaru was truly terrifying in the way in which he manipulated people. Be it just a few hours before and Sasuke would have refused to do something like this but the older man had picked the exact moment in which the Uchiha would have agreed. How Orochimaru knew when to ask was beyond him and led to him witnessing, not for the first time, that every single thing the older man did was with a purpose.
The impending war with Konoha.
Killing off two Konoha ninja to prove a point to a single one.
Pulling the strings so that Sasuke would slaughter a camp of simple travelers armed with weapons to fight off wild animals, as he would find out later.
Kabuto smirked as Sasuke cut through another person. Whatever it was that Orochimaru was planning, there was no doubt that it would be a spectacle.
Naruto got off the bed with a yawn while rubbing his eyes sleepily. The smell of something cooking hit his nostrils as he wandered out of the room in a daze. What he saw made him stop dead on his tracks with a gasp.
"Ah. Naruto, you're awake!" Ino smiled from the kitchen.
If this is what he last saw before death, Naruto was sure he would die in peace.
Ino wearing an apron with her hair in a messy bun... It took an incredible amount of restraint not to take her in his arms.
"Go sit down," she giggled, not at all bothered by the way he was looking at her, mostly because she wanted this reaction out of him.
Not trusting himself to answer properly, he nodded and sat down at the counter of their kitchen. "You know, those guys probably reached Whirlpool by now," he decided to change the subject to calm himself down.
Receiving a hum in reply, he continued, "I'm going to be teaching them a jutsu for the next few days and wanted to take you with me."
"Really?" Ino looked up at him in surprise.
"I did promise."
She smiled in response, "When are we leaving?"
"Probably around noon but keep this a secret from Granny."
"You don't have to tell me that," she rolled her eyes and placed a plate of waffles in front of Naruto who held a look of curiosity. "You'll like them, trust me."
Naruto hummed to himself as he took a bite, "It's good!"