BIG NEWS! I've got what is quite possibly the biggest news since humans learned the earth was not flat!
Okay, so it's not that big, but I do have pretty important news for you guys.
By now I'm sure you know that I've been working on publishing a novel. Well, guess what? That novel is now officially published! That's right, the novel is now available in both paperback and Kindle eBook on Amazon. This is the first step into a new journey that I hope all of you will join me on. I know this is asking a lot, but I was hoping all of you would support me by ordering a copy (or if you're too young to have a credit card, getting your parents to order a copy), either Kindle or paperback, and reading it. There is a link to my books Amazon page on my profile. If you don't want to use the link just type in American Kitsune or A Fox's Love on Amazon's main webpage and it should take you right to it.
If you need any incentive to order yourself a copy, then tomorrow is my birthday, I'll be turning 25 if any of you are curious, and no gift could be greater than knowing that the people who have read my fanfictions are now reading my first original novel.
Thank you all for supporting me!
P.S. I know some of you may be worried that I'll stop writing fanfiction now that I'm a published author. You can stop. There are only a few ways I would ever stop writing fanfiction and publishing a book isn't one of them.
Chapter 31: The Start of Chaos
If there was one thing Naruto actually thought humans had done right, it was building their cities. Throughout the history of humanity the architectural styles used to build these centers of community and commerce had progressed and grew more and more magnificent; and the styles of the different eras and countries were always so varied that it was impossible to lose interest. It was one of the few parts about human history that involved creating something as opposed to destroying something.
Having lived for as long as he had, Naruto had seen the many architectural changes of each era; the large temples of Greece, with their Corinthian columns, open ceiling and holding the appearance of a sculptural entity within the landscape; the large cathedrals and halls of Gothic architecture, whose characteristics evoked powerful emotions within those who saw them; the traditional style of Japanese architecture, so different from other styles, with their gently curved roofs and paper-thin walls. He had seen them all, and it always filled him with pleasure to see new styles emerge.
Shinto Teito was a perfect example of this beauty. The large metropolis of steel and glass at night was a beautiful sight; the twinkling of a million lights created a brilliant luminescence that outshone even the stars. Large, towering structures so tall they appeared as monoliths to spear the very heavens themselves rose up in great pillars, reaching into the sky like gigantic collosai.
Standing on the highest point in the northern district of Shinto Teito that he could find (a large skyscraper that was about three-fourths the size of MBI's clock tower), Uzumaki Naruto looked down at the city beneath his feet. His sharp eyes could pick out the lights from thousands of cars as they drove down the streets and freeways, like tiny mice scurrying about; they could see the bright glow of neon signs that advertised the many products and services available in this city during the night. And all around him, on the walls of buildings and attached to large columns he could see a number of giant televisions that currently displayed the most recent news. It was all very pretty.
Too bad that beauty was going to be marred this night.
Naruto raised a hand to his ear, pressing a single finger against the small bud inside of it. "Everyone, this is Naruto; check in."
"Hey bro! This is Uzume, in case you couldn't tell."
"Believe me, I could tell," Naruto replied dryly.
"He heh, yeah, I guess so. Anyway, I'm here with Haruka, Kuku―" Naruto could have sworn he heard a wail of "its Kuno!" over the speaker, but played it off as his imagination. Uzume continued. "―The bondage twins and the lazy perv."
"Bondage twins! I dare you to call me that again, you cloth wearing skank!"
"C-Calm down, sis! We're in the middle of a mission! And besides, our costumes do kind of look like, well, that..."
"I don't care! No one insults my style of dress and get's away with it!"
"Oi! Who're you calling a lazy perv!?"
"So yeah, we're all ready," Uzume concluded as the background noise descended into a cacophony of voices that became nearly indistinguishable.
Naruto sighed. These people...they really knew nothing of covert operations. He had known as much when he asked for their help, but couldn't they at least act a little more professional?
"Good," he decided to ignore the groups lack of decorum in a potential combat situation. They would have to learn how dangerous such things were the hard way. "Tsukiumi, Musubi, are you two ready?"
"Of course, husband," Naruto could almost hear the scoff in her voice, as if disappointed that he would even need to ask such an obvious question. For some reason, the imagery that tone evoked made him smile. "I have been ready for hours now." Which was funny, considering the mission hadn't truly started until about an hour ago.
"Musubi's ready too! I can't wait to fight a strong opponent!"
"Calm down, Musubi!" Tsukiumi scolded across the line. Once more, he smiled. Naruto could just imagine the blond-haired water user assuming a lecturing pose as she dressed Musubi down. "This is an important mission that my husband has asked us to do! Don't screw it up because you got overtly excited!"
"Mu~! Musubi won't," there was a pout clear in her voice. "And Naruto-sama is Musubi's husband too!"
As the two began to bring up that nearly age old argument about who the proper wife was between them, Naruto switched channels. He really didn't want to listen to them argue, especially over something like that. Especially on a mission.
Onto the next group then.
"Akitsu, Homura, are you two ready?"
"Yes," at least Homura was concise. It seemed the fire user was, at the very least, a consummate professional. Or she could be when she wanted too.
"Ah..." A pause. Naruto waited for several seconds. During this time waiting, he checked his watch, just to make sure their operation was still within mission time parameters. "I'm ready."
"Matsu's ready, Naru-tan! Just say the word."
"Excellent," Naruto smiled to himself. Everything was coming together nicely. Now they just had to survive the night and complete their respective missions. "The parties about to start soon. All we're waiting for is my guy on the inside to give me the signal and we'll start the mission. Remember your roles, follow your mission perimeters, don't get overconfident and we'll all get through this."
A chorus of "hai's!" came across the line. Naruto felt a bit nostalgic as he listened to the chatter on the comm. It reminded him of the many times he had been in a situation similar to this, only back then he was usually the muscle, not the leader.
With everyone having called in and confirmed their ready status, Naruto sat down on the edge of the building, his legs dangling off the side.
All that was left to do was wait.
Takami was a bundle of nerves as she slowly walked to the elevator. Each step she took sounded like a death knell to her...okay, maybe she was exaggerating a little, but she was still pretty damn nervous. Every bone in her body was jittering like never before; there was a shaking inside of her, a strange shiver that was unlike anything she had ever known. Whether this was from anticipation of what was to come, fear of what was coming, or something else entirely was unknown. It had been like this for nearly a week.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, tonight, all this would come to a head. Takami was unsure of whether she should feel grateful or not.
Tonight was the night Naruto's little operation would take place, and she was quickly running out of options, or more like she had finally realized there were no options to begin with. For the entirety of this five day period she had searched through all the employee profiles and interviewed as many people that worked under her who might have had access to any kind of highly classified information as she could. It had all been for naught. She had not been able to find out who among MBI's staff could be the security leak; every person, even the new employees, had come up clean.
She had considered telling Minaka about Naruto's plan and her suspicions that there was a security risk among their employees, but without evidence that there was someone on the inside leaking information about their operation, there really wasn't much he would be able to do.
Not that Minaka was likely to do anything even if he did know who was responsible. He would probably say something to the effect that it was all just "another part of the game" or something equally stupid.
Really, sometimes that man frustrated her to no end.
A soft "ding" alerted her to the elevator door opening. Her mind clearing as she shook her thoughts away, she glanced up. There was already someone inside, a youthful looking male with gravity defying white hair, a headband that was tilted to cover his right eye and a mask over the lower half of his face. He was reading something and giggling every so often. A small glance at the book in question made her nose wrinkle in disgust. Great, so she would be sharing the elevator with a pervert.
Sighing, she stepped inside and pressed the button for the first basement. MBI's headquarters had a number of basements, but only the first one was accessible to those who did not have authorization. This man, Hatake Kakashi if she was correct (she had done a profile check on him as well), did not have authorization to the lower levels. He was simply a janitor, his job was to clean the facilities that the other employees used. Regardless of what she planned on doing about Naruto, she could not act with this man inside of the elevator with her.
The door soon shut, leaving the pair closed off to the world. An awkward silence ensued, at least for Takami. Kakashi didn't seem to mind at all, busy as he was giggling and flipping the pages of his book. A small vein throbbed on her forehead as she was forced to endure the lecherous noises this man made. Didn't he know that reading while on the clock was a violation of the rules!?
She was so preoccupied with thinking up ways to punish the lecher for this blatant violation of MBI policy that she didn't even hear the sound of a book snapping shut.
She did feel when something sharp and deadly pressed against her jugular, however.
Takami's eyes widened.
"Good evening, Takami-san," the man's voice was mild and pleasant, a complete contradiction from the sharp blade caressing her throat. "I trust you won't make any sudden movements. It would be a shame if my hand slipped."
"You..." Takami swallowed the bile that threatened to rise in her throat. "You're working for Naruto..." But that was impossible! She had done a thorough background check on everyone working under her! Kakashi had come up completely clean!
"In a manner of speaking," Kakashi eye smiled at the woman, even though she could not see it.
"I've already agreed to help him," Takami spoke as calmly as anyone could when they had a very sharp cutting implement caressing their jugular. "There's no need for this."
"Unfortunately for you, I'm afraid Naruto does not trust easily," Kakashi said, his voice completely calm. He might as well be talking about the weather for all the emotion he put into it. "He asked me to make sure you don't try to pull a fast one on him. Consider me an insurance policy to make sure you do only what you were told to do."
Gritting her teeth, Takami was forced to admit the man had a point. Several times throughout this past week she had thought of betraying Naruto and simply using her command overrides to shut down all of his Sekirei instead of disabling the tracking chip and deadmans switch on Kuno. The only reasons she hadn't was because she had no clue what he would do in return, and he had already proven how dangerous he could be when needed.
"There are cameras in here," Takami tried a different approach. "Security has probably already seen what's happening. They'll..."
"Do nothing," Kakashi replied easily. He sounded almost bored. "Because they don't know what's going on. All the security cameras in the elevator have been shut down for routine maintenance, you see."
"Routine maintenance?" Takami blinked, "but that's not scheduled until next week..." she trailed off, causing Kakashi to smile.
"It's an unscheduled maintenance. There's been a tiny glitch in the security cameras, you see. We think it might have something to do with the unusual electrical discharge that passed through the building awhile ago, but we're not completely sure." The rustling of cloth made Takami think the man was shrugging. "Of course, I suppose it doesn't matter why the cameras shut down matter in the end, does it?"
Takami grit her teeth. She did not know what was more galling; the fact that Naruto had truly covered every angle she could think of, or the fact that she could not help but admire Naruto's foresight and ruthlessness when planning an operation like this.
More and more she was beginning to wonder about that man and his unknown origins. It was becoming blatantly obvious that he was a threat, though a threat to who remained to be seen so far.
The soft "ding" of the door reaching it's intended destination snapped Takami out of her thoughts. The door tried to open, but Kakashi reached over her shoulder to press the close button. For a moment, she thought about trying to overpower this man. It was only for a brief second, however, because he seemed to sense her intention―or was just being cautious―and applied more pressure to the object in his hand that threatened to slit her throat should she make any hostile moves.
"Now, Takami-san, if you would please..."
Sighing in resignation, Takami pulled her card key out of her lab coat and slid through the small slot near the elevator buttons. A soft, female voice soon spoke up.
Takami grimaced. "Minaka the Game Master is the one who shall determine who among those in the Sekirei Plan will get to ascend."
"...Voice recognition confirmed. Welcome, Sahashi Takami."
"That's one hell of a password," Kakashi muttered with amusement.
"Don't remind me," Takami looked as if she had swallowed something truly unpleasant as she pressed the button for the last basement floor.
"Access to the fifteenth basement temporarily denied," the robotic female voice spoke up again. "An unauthorized presence has been confirmed within the cabin. Please confirm that you wish to continue?"
"I wish to continue," Takami stated, "Access command override 3325B12, allow Hatake Kakashi temporary access to basement level 15."
"Confirming..." There was a soft "bing" that echoed in the small chamber before the voice spoke again. "Confirmed, Hatake Kakashi now has temporary access to basement level 15."
The elevator soon began moving down again. Unable to stand the silence, Takami spoke again.
"Does Naruto really think he can get away with this?"
"Do you think he can't?"
Kakashi's amused smile was hidden completely behind his mask. Only the crinkling of his one eye was visible. "I believe you will find that there is very little Naruto can't get away with. And I'm not exactly sure why you're complaining anyway; I have it on good authority that you hate what Minaka is doing. I'd think you'd be happy someone was finally sticking it to him."
"He threatened me. I'm not a big fan of being threatened."
"Ah. I see..."
When Kakashi trailed off, Takami waited several seconds to see if the man would say anymore. When it became apparent that he wouldn't, she opened her mouth to speak again...when the elevator softly chimed with a light "ding" and the door opened up.
"Well...I guess this is our stop."
Kakashi urged Takami out of the elevator. The cavernous room opened up before them. It was a truly vast space, larger even than the building it was built under as far as width was concerned. This place must have been at least as large as one of Shinto Teito's city blocks.
Kakashi kept one eye on Takami while the other took note of all the machines standing on either side of them like small pillars. Most of them were boxy, had dozens of wires sticking out of them, and flashing panels. A few were cylindrical, however, and looked much more steamlined, with a network of glowing blue lines and several tubes sticking out of them.
They soon enough made it to the center of the room where a monstrous, mechanical apparatus of blinking lights and flashing screens stood like a mountainous giant that overshadowed the land before it.
"So that's the computer that controls the Sekirei Crests?" Kakashi looked up at the giant machine, which stood so tall he couldn't actually see the top before it was cast into unfathomable darkness. It certainly had the appearance of an alien apparatus that could control the advanced computer chips located within 110 different sentient beings at the same time.
"Yes," Takami answered simply.
"And you know what to do?"
"Of course I know what to do!" Takami snapped at her knowledge being questioned. She helped create this damn thing, much as she may have regretted doing so. "However, I can't do it with you holding that knife to my neck."
"Kunai," Kakashi corrected, pulling the "knife" away from the woman. "It's a kunai, not a knife, and I've pulled it away. Just remember, if I even suspect you of trying to betray Naruto, I won't hesitate to stick this kunai in your back."
"If you did that you'd never make it out of this building alive," Takami informed him. When Kakashi just shrugged she grit her teeth and marched up to the machine that controlled every single chip within the Sekirei crests. It was an extremely large apparatus, monstrous even. Nearly twenty times larger than Takami was tall and reaching all the way up to the ceiling. What parts of it weren't covered by flashing lights, blinking screens with scrolling data, and innumerable buttons was bright, silvery metal that reflected all the light hitting it with a nearly blinding radience. It was especially bright in contrast to the rest of room.
With a sigh, Takami slid her card into a small slot. A few seconds passed. The machine beeped, then a small panel with a black lens slid open.
"Confirmation of Sahashi Takami needed before access can be given. Please confirm identity."
Takami bent over and placed her head in front of the lens, closing her left eye. A red beam shot out from behind the lens, hitting her face. It moved up, then down, scanning her right eye.
Two seconds later the panel slid closed.
"Identification confirmed. Welcome, Sahashi Takami."
A slight hiss of hydraulics was the only warning they received as the small square section Takami and Kakashi were standing on was raised into a platform. They were soon taken high above their original position. The man with white hair and more than half his face hidden saw that they had reached what appeared to be the heart of this mechanical monstrosity. Situated before them was a small entrance that led into the machine itself.
The pair walked inside. As their footsteps echoed off the walls due to the acoustics, Kakashi eyed his new surroundings. They were in a tiny, cylindrical chamber. Running the length of the interior was a large screen that scrolled through millions of gigahertz of coded data. Symbols of an alien language flashed on the screens. Kakashi could not make heads or tails of those symbols, they were not any kind of code he was familiar with.
Takami walked further into the chamber, Kakashi following closely behind with his kunai gently poking her back. The woman in the lab coat walked over to one particular section of the computer. This part of the screen was scrolling through all the data on various Sekirei. It appeared to be giving constant updates on their status: where they were, blood levels, anxiety levels, heartrate, their physical condition, everything. Kakashi deduced correctly that this was the program where the tracking chip and deadmans switch was located.
A few keys being pressed by Takami caused the screen to go black for a second. A few more seconds had it show off Kuno's Sekirei data, and a few more keys after that caused it to beep several times in warning.
"Sahashi Takami is attempting to shut down the tracking chip and deadmans switch for Sekirei number ninety-five, Kuno. Are you sure you wish to continue."
"Yes," Takami pressed a couple more buttons.
"Tracking chip for Sekirei number ninety-five, Kuno, has been deactivated. Deadman's switch for Sekirei number ninety-five, Kuno, has been deactivated."
Takami turned to look at Kakashi, a scowl on her face. "There, it's done."
"Good," Kakashi eye-smiled at her. Just how the man's single visible eye could actually form the shape of an upside down "u" was beyond her. All she knew was it did, and it was kind of freaky. "I would thank you for this, but considering you won't remember this event ever happening, I won't bother."
Takami didn't even have time to blink as Kakashi lifted the small bandana covering his right eye and her world went black.
Naruto's eyes snapped open as auditory, visual, and sensory information that was not his own entered his mind. His head tilted to ever so slightly to the left at the influx of knowledge and awareness. Less then a second passed when, in a single, swift motion, the young-looking man with spiky blond locks stood to his feet.
He took a small moment to gaze out at the city. A brisk breeze caused his hair to flutter in the wind. Down below, the people went about their business, completely ignorant of what was to come.
It was time.
Without waiting another second, his hands came up to form a single hand-sign; a cross, to be precise.
"What was it Deadeira always said? Art is a bang?" Naruto smiled a bone chilling smile. "I think I'm finally beginning to understand what that explosion freak meant. Katsu."
Nothing could have prepared the people within Shinto Teito for what happened next. Even if they had been forewarned, they would have still been caught with their figurative pants down as all around the large metropolitan city, several explosions went off simultaneously. Around two dozen in total.
Naruto stood there, his face mask covering the satisfied smile he wore as he watched the large pillars of flame rise into the sky. The earth shook something fierce, rumbling like an entire horde of angry frost giants stampeding across the city. Each explosion on their own was enough to destroy everything within a 100 square meter radius; taking out the factories and weapons depots the seals had been placed near was child's play.
Overkill? Maybe, but Naruto didn't care.
As the loud "booms!" from the explosions died down, and the gouts of flames shot into the air to form mushroom like clouds of fire and smoke, the screeching of sirens from numerous firetrucks and emergency response vehicles could be heard all over the city. If MBI followed standard procedure, Emergency Response teams would be heading to each site in order to save whoever and whatever they could, as well as ascertain what had exactly had caused the explosions. They wouldn't find anything, of course; paper bombs left no evidence, but they didn't know that.
And with that the first phase of this plan was complete. Now came the hard part, for Naruto.
Closing his eyes, the immortal reached deep within himself, feeling the chaotic maelstrom that was his chakra. Even after all the exercises he had done, his control was still notoriously awful. His chakra had grown since the last time he'd had to use it seriously (just how many thousands of years ago was that?), it seemed.
That was okay. He wouldn't need control, not for this. All he needed was power.
His eyes snapping open, Naruto looked up. The night sky filled his vision. With most of the city lights having gone out―several of those paper bombs had been set in power plants―he could now see the stars.
Not that the stars mattered. All he cared about was the object currently flying over his head, invisible to the naked eye. It was one of MBI's many surveillance satellites.
Raising his hand to the sky, his fingers splayed out, Naruto reached out with his power. His chakra surged, feeling out the space above him, extending far beyond the atmosphere of this planet; past the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and into the thermosphere. There he found the satellite he was looking for. He could feel it, or the electricity it was using to power itself. Electricity was just another form of energy, after all.
His eyes glowing brightly within the now dark night, lit only by the fires his explosions had caused and the lights from the helicopters overhead, Naruto reached out and grabbed a hold of the satellite. He could feel it struggle, could feel it trying to correct it's course as he began to pull on it. It's engines were likely blasting at their maximum capacity to keep from being yanked out of the sky.
He wondered: had it managed to capture his image yet? Well, whatever. Time to finish this.
His chakra now surging so powerfully it had physically manifested as a bright blue flame that surrounded his body, Naruto's raised hand clenched into a fist.
Several thousand miles in the sky, the surveillance satellite in the grip of Naruto's immensely powerful chakra groaned and strained. The metal began to buckle, creaking and bending inwards as the gravity shifted, twisted. It was as if the satellite had suddenly gained an epicenter, and the centrifugal force of that epicenter had suddenly increased by a factor of two hundred. With that kind of force pushing down on it from all sides, the satellite did not stand a ghost of a chance.
Seconds later, Naruto's hand lowered as he felt the object in his grasp was no more. His eyes, once glowing with the power his body could scarcely contain, were now back to his normal, azure blue gaze. A soft sigh, like the gentle breeze of autumn escaped his mouth. It was done.
He raised his left hand to his ear. "Matsu..."
"What the hell was that!?" the red head spoke before Naruto could even finish. The blond winced at how loud she was. "Naruto! What's going on!? What was that...that surge of energy just now!? Was that you!? What happened to the―"
"Matsu!" Naruto snapped, silencing the normally childish and lecherous red head. "What you saw is not something I'll be discussing right now." While he could not see her, he could almost imagine the way her mouth opened to release another string of questions. "Did the satellite manage to get an image of me before it was destroyed?"
There was silence on the other end for a second. Then...
"Good," Naruto nodded to himself. Channeling his chakra, he switched to an open channel so everyone could hear him speak now, not just Matsu. "Alright everyone, operation Escape from Shinto Teito is a go. I repeat, operation Escape from Shinto Teito is a go."
"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!?"
Karasuba winced at the obnoxious shriek Benitsubasa unleashed. The sound was reminiscent of a banshi: loud, shrill and annoying. The Black Sekirei was tempted to gut her younger subordinate just for the headache the noise issuing from her mouth caused. Too bad she wasn't allowed to just off the girl.
Still, the pink head did have a point. The sword wielding woman had been woken up from her light slumber when the nearly two-dozen or so explosions had rocked MBI headquarters like a level five earthquake. The sound had startled her just like it had Benitsubasa (though she was much better at hiding her surprise...and not nearly as loud). Even now she could hear the threnody of sirens as emergency response teams were sent to each location in an effort to put out the fire and determine what had caused all this destruction.
The two members of the discipline squad plus Haihane were in the small lounge that was their briefing room. They had been ordered there as soon as the explosions happened and had been waiting there ever since.
"The city...it's on fire," Haihane pointed out the obvious.
"I know that!" Benitsubasa shouted, glaring at the white-haired Sekirei with the large claws on her hands. Karasuba twitched. "What I meant was how did this happen!?"
"I don't know..."
Haihane looked as clueless as the pink-haired Sekirei did. The woman raised her hand to scratch her head...
"Uwag! Blood! I'm bleeding!"
...And promptly began running around as blood spurted out her head like a fountain.
"Ugh," Benitsubasa face palmed. "You're an idiot, Haihane!" After dragging her hand down her face, she glared at the woman running around the room. "Keep it down, you damn―oof!"
"Too loud," Karasuba complained right before she smacked Benitsubasa in the back of the head hard enough to make the girl stumble forward. Because they were standing near the window, the pink-head's face planted itself into the glass panel that separated the room from the sky. It was only thanks to the glass being heavily reinforced and nearly five inches thick that kept the fist fighter's head from smashing straight through it. The glass still rattled something fierce though. "Keep your voice down..." The girl with light pink hair pried her face from the glass and glared at her leader. She opened her mouth to speak, but Karasuba's next words stopped her cold. "...or I'll have to kill you."
Yes, Benitsubasa did just go "meep."
Karasuba moved back over to the couch, where she sat down, picked up her blade and a small cleaning ball and restarted the process of cleaning her sword. It was an activity she took far too much pleasure in, and did far too often in the opinions of her teammates.
While the silver-haired dog of MBI began cleaning her sword, Benitsubasa began pacing back and forth across the room while Haihane just continued staring out the window with her normal slumped posture. The waiting was clearly getting to all of them. Even Karasuba, who despite being the least sane of the three had unparalleled focus when required, was unfocused and impatient.
Thankfully, they did not have to wait long. The hiss of an opening door made them all stop what they were doing and turn their heads to see their Ashikabi walk into the room. As always, the young man was immaculately dressed, despite looking a little frazzled.
"Natsuo!" Benitsubasa squealed. Karasuba twitched. If that bitch got any louder... "Are you okay? What's going on? What were all those explosions about? What―"
Natsuo cut off Benitsubasa before she could continue by raising his right hand. The girl with pink hair went silent, always the obedient dog whenever it came to her "beloved Natsuo." Karasuba was just grateful the girl had finally shut up. "We don't yet know what caused the explosions. Response teams are at the sights right now trying to ascertain what happened."
Which basically meant they knew nothing. Karasuba had expected as much. Whoever had done this had obviously done extensive planning.
"While we don't know what had caused the explosions, we do have a clue as to 'who' caused them." Karasuba perked up. "All of the Sekirei currently living at Maison Izumo have left the premise and split off into groups. Two are making things very difficult for our response teams by attacking their escorts. Another two are actually heading this way right now."
"Heading this way?" Benitsubasa blinked. "You mean their coming to MBI HQ?"
"Are they idiots?"
"I believe they are issuing a challenge to us. The Sekirei heading our way are number zero-nine, Tsukiumi, and number eighty-eight, Musubi." Now THAT caused Karasuba to really pay attention. So her little bird was coming to her, was she? How...nice. Absolutely lovely. "What's more, a surveillance satellite was just destroyed through unknown means. Before it went offline, it managed to get an image of the person we believe is responsible for all this."
A photograph was tossed onto the desk. Before anyone else could claim it, Karasuba snatched it up and took a look.
The photo was...not very informative. The image was perfectly clear, but the person was cloaked from head to toe in black: black pants, black long-sleeved shirt, and a black facemask completely covered the person's head almost entirely. The only thing visible on this person were their eyes: two purple orbs that glowed so brightly Karasuba could not actually see their irises or pupil at all. Just the glow.
"Where was this image taken?" asked Karasuba so abruptly that everyone else blinked at her. It took Natsuo several seconds of staring to respond.
"Point Alpha of the Nothern District. It's near the very border that connects the North to central Teito. He was last seen standing on the tallest building in that vicinity."
Karasuba stood up. Her coat billowed as she walked towards the door.
"H-Hey!" Benitsubasa called out, startled by the peculiar behavior of her leader. "Where the hell are you going, Karasuba!?"
Karasuba did not answer the girl, her mind was off to places none of the people in this room would ever go. She was intrigued by this new variable. Who was this new masked person? Were they the ones responsible for all this chaos? Were they in league with that intriguing Naruto character? Or was it Naruto in disguise? So many questions, so much...potential. Not even the chance at meeting Musubi on the battlefield was enough to deflect her from wanting to meet this person.
A predatory smile crossed her face.
She had a feeling the next few hours were going to contain some of the most fun she'd had in a long time. And her feelings were almost always right.
Homura glared at nothing even as she proceeded to launch a fireball at the tank that had been traveling with the response team they had intercepted. She hit the war machine's barrel, causing it to melt before they even had a chance to turn it on her. After that she melted their treads and sealed the vehicle shut by melting the top, ensuring they would be stuck inside until the mission was done. Now they wouldn't be able to even think of attacking her or Akitsu.
She was effective like that.
"I can't believe Naruto did that!" She growled, blasting several other vehicles with her fire. This time, her flames were cool enough that they would only melt the rubber. With only the metal left of their tires, the emergency vehicles all spun out of control, crashing into walls and street lamps. "Doesn't he realize an explosion of that magnitude could seriously harm or even kill innocent civilians!?"
Beside him, Akitsu did not speak. Her eyes were turned skyward, watching for any approaching aircraft; several MBI helicopters had come within her range already, and the ice user had used her powers to freeze the motors that caused the rotors to spin, making them to crash into the ground. Thankfully for the people inside, the fuel had also been frozen over, so it was unlikely that any of them had been killed unless they landed wrong and ended up snapping their necks or something.
"He and I are going to have some serious words when this is all over!" Several more tanks came their way, the large gun barrels pointed at the pair. Homura worked her magic. It wasn't more than a second later that the large barrels were nothing more than a red hot heap of slag. With the tanks main weapon no longer operable, the soldiers decided to disembark and use their guns instead.
The guns were also melted courtesy of Homura's fire.
Homura looked over at Akitsu to see the woman take out two more helicopters. The snow woman had decided to be creative this time, creating several large walls of ice that converged on the helicopters to block them in. She would then compressing the "cube" of ice until the rotors broke on the frozen substance and the aircraft were too damaged to continue working. After that she would simply let them drop, cube of ice and all. There was likely to be more than few injuries from that.
"Doesn't it bother you that Naruto doesn't seem to care about hurting innocent people?"
"Not really," there was no hesitation in the snow woman's voice as she shredded apart the nearest downed helicopter beyond repair. Now they wouldn't be able to reuse it ever again. As far as she was concerned, that could only be a good thing.
"What do you mean 'not really?'" Homura scowled even as she used her power over fire to destroy more weapons. It seemed a good deal of the soldiers were beginning to disembark their vehicles now. A smart choice, but it still wouldn't be enough to stop her unless they decided to come en masse. "Don't you care that he's killing innocent people?"
"Ashikabi-Sama's desires are the only things that matters to me," Akitsu informed the former male. "And getting in his pants."
Homura blinked. Akitsu blinked. Several crows could be heard, cawing in the distance most obnoxiously. This was, of course, in spite of the explosions happening all around them.
"Did I say that out loud?"
"Yes, you did," Homura said dryly, a very faint blush on her cheeks.
Deciding there was no point arguing with the woman (she was far too loyal to Naruto for Homura's opinion to change anything), the fire user went back to her task of destroying enemy weapons so they could not use them against her and her fellow sisters.
However, not before muttering softly to herself, "Perv."
"Would you stop that!?"
"That! Stop bouncing around like that! It's annoying!"
"I can't help it! I'm just so excited! I'm finally going to fight a strong opponent!"
Tsukiumi's right eye twitched violently at her "sister's" enthusiasm. While the water user enjoyed proving herself in combat and also craved the rush that could only come from battling strong opponents as much as the next Sekirei, Musubi took things to a new, unprecedented and completely unnecessary level. The girl was the biggest battle maniac she had ever met!
"While I understand your...ardor, please remember that we must hurry if we are to intercept those two before they can find out what our comrades are doing," the water user said dryly, in a manner that was very similar to a certain fire user just a few seconds earlier. Had Tsukiumi known who she sounded like, she would have probably flipped. "It would not do if they were to realize what was really going on. You must remain calm."
"Right. Calm." Musubi did her best to settle down and keep a calm facade, much like Tsukiumi was currently doing. It didn't last more than a few seconds before she was bouncing down the road again. "I'm going to fight a strong opponent~!"
Tsukiumi grit her teeth in frustration. "Are you singing?"
"Strong opponent~! Strong opponent~!"
"You are singing!"
"This is gonna be so much fun~!"
"Stop singing, dammit!"
"Well, well, well, what do we have here..."
At the sound of the unknown voice, the two Sekirei bound to Naruto stopped walking and looked up. There, standing on the roof of one of the many buildings were two people. The most visible of the duo was a young woman with pink hair and pink eyes. The single sleeve of her Kimono-like shirt fluttered slightly as she placed the glove covered hand to the arm it was covering on her left knee, which was propped on the lip of the building. The large red bow to the obi she wore also rustled slightly in the soft breeze, along with her hair, which was tied into a ponytail with just a few bangs framing her face. Tsukiumi could see the girl's thighs as the skin-tight, stretchy black shorts she wore only covered up to mid thigh, maybe not even that.
"AH!" Musubi gasped, then pointed at Benitsubasa. "It's you!"
"Me?" Benitsubasa blinked...then scowled. "What do you mean by that!? Huh!?"
"You're my opponent!" Musubi exclaimed, grinning a childlike grin. "Naruto-Sama showed me your picture! You're the one I'm supposed to fight!"
"You wanna fight me?" Benitsubasa actually looked perplexed for a moment. It only lasted for a second, however, before her scowl was back in place and a large tic formed on her head. "Are you an idiot?"
"Hey!" Musubi's cheeks puffed up in childish anger. "Don't call me an idiot!"
"Hehehe...you called her an idiot...this girl...she is kinda dumb..." the other woman snickered. A quick glance revealed her to be much different than the pink-haired one; she was slender, not like Benitsubasa but still quite thin. Her body was wrapped up in white bandages, which was covered by a tattered black kimono that fluttered in the wind. Her disheveled gray hair and narrowed eyes gave her a wicked appearance. The claws on her hands did not help to rid her of this image.
"Quiet, Haihane," Benitsubasa glared at her companion. "You're ruining my pre-battle banter."
"Whatever you say...hehehe...washboard."
"What was that!?" Benitsubasa shrieked angrily. She fully turned to glare at her partner in crime, completely ignoring the duo down below now that someone else had earned her ire. "I'll have you know that Natsuo happens to like my smaller chest!"
"Yeah, because it makes you look like a man, and Natsuo likes hotdogs instead of tacos."
"How dare you insult my Natsuo like that!" Benitsubasa shrieked in outrage. "Just you watch! One of these days I'm going to get Natsuo to love me!"
"Yeah...it's not gonna happen, like, ever," Haihane shrugged, "Face it, you're never going to make him love you."
"Grrr! Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up! You don't know what you're talking about!"
"I don't know what they're talking either," Musubi declared, turning to Tsukiumi. "Ne, Tsukiumi-san, what are they talking about?"
"I believe they are speaking about a man," Tsukiumi determined, her head cocked to the side as she listened to the argument going on above. "Their Ashikabi, perhaps? That is my guess at any rate..." she trailed off, a tic forming on her head and her left eye twitching as she realized something. "And why am I even listening to this!? How dare they ignore me!"
Raising her hand towards the pair, Tsukiumi quickly shot out several dozen condensed balls of water. The water spheres shot forward at a remarkable speed. They moved so fast that a loud thunderclap resounded as they shot forth like bullets fired from a gun.
The two Sekirei of the Disciplinary Squad narrowed their eyes as they sensed the attack headed their way. With incredible swiftness they jumped part, allowing the water spheres to shoot between them. Once on their feet again, the duo looked back down at ground level to see Tsukiumi glaring up at them.
"Enough of this bickering!" The blond-haired woman shouted. With her traditional stance of feet spread shoulder-width apart and a single hand on her hip taken, the water user pointed a single digit of her left hand at the two members of the Discipline Squad. "I did not come here to listen to you two argue! I came here to challenge you!" She directed her finger to Haihane. "To a fight!"
"Me?" Haihane pointed at herself with a single clawed finger.
Haihane raised her hand to scratch her head. Too bad she forgot she was wearing claws on her hands.
"Ugwa! I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!"
Musubi and Tsukiumi stared at the gray-haired female as she ran around the roof of the building, a fountain of red spraying out of her head like a miniature fountain.
Benitsubasa facepalmed. "Haihane, you're just so..." Her eyes narrowed before she could even finish her sentence. Not even a second later, she was forced to leap backwards to avoid getting a fist buried into her gut. She glared at the young woman with the large knockers who had just jumped onto the building as said female pulled her fist out of the small crater she had made.
"I'm number eighty-eight, Musubi!" the girl in Shrine Maiden garb said in her usual bright and cheerful voice. "Let's battle!"
'So this is Musubi,' Benitsubasa narrowed her eyes. 'The girl that Karasuba keeps talking about.' She looked the other woman up and down, then snorted. 'Hmph. I don't see what's so special about her. She just looks like some kind of large-breasted bimbo.'
"You really are stupid if you're picking a fight with me."
"Hey! You called me stupid again!" Musubi cheeks puffed up in comical anger. "That's not very nice."
Benitsubasa just snorted again. "Whatever. Still, if it's a fight you're looking for..." Her legs spread shoulder-width apart and she brought her hands up in a guard position. "I can oblige you. Just don't come crying to me when I kick your ass."
"Yay!" Musubi threw her hands up in the air. "I'm FINALLY fighting a strong opponent!" Her excitement finally getting the best of her, Musubi blasted off the ground, charging towards the woman at speed.
Seeing this, Benitsubasa also charged forward, the pair meeting in the center of the roof. As their fists clashed a small shockwave was unleashed, causing the air around them to whip up in a frenzy and buffet their hair.
The battle was on.
Naruto stood where he had been standing since the very start of this mission: on the edge of the towering skyscraper in the Northern section of the city that bordered the center of Shinto Teito, staring down at the chaos his plan had unleashed below. There were fires everywhere in the city; not just the north but the south, east, and west as well. From where he stood he could see numerous helicopters traveling towards each fire, as well as tanks and trucks filled with medical personnel and soldiers moving along on the ground.
A number of those helicopters were felled by Akitsu, who was in the exact epicenter of the destruction, an equal distance from each explosion. From his vantage point, Naruto could see as she unleashed icy death upon her opponents. Some would survive, no doubt, but unlike the other Sekirei who had no desire to kill humans, the ice user had no real compunction against it. She would not go out of her way to kill them, but she would not stymy her own power to not kill them.
She would keep them from getting organized, and Homura would keep the ground forces from attacking her. For using elements that nearly opposed each other, they made a very good team.
Scanning the streets revealed the citizens were in a panic. Many were running every which way, unsure of where to go or what to do; they screamed and cried and yelled, unable to comprehend what was happening, like sheep without a shepherd.
Just as many had hunkered down, hiding under whatever cover they could find. Naruto had to snort at their stupidity.
His arms crossed over his black-clad chest, the immortal shinobi watched everything happening down below with his unnaturally sharp eyes. Strapped across his back was Kubikiriboucho. He had thought about using one of the other seven swordsman weapons for the coming battle (Nubari was a much faster blade, being a katana), but had decided on this one in the end. It was the weapon he was most comfortable with, probably because of the past he shared with it.
As Naruto stood there he appeared completely unaware of the shadow that descended upon him until the sharp end of a katana was sticking out of his chest...or so the shadow thought.
A second later Naruto's form wavered, like a ghost or hologram that had been disrupted, before vanishing altogether. The person holding onto the katana grinned a savage, bloodthirsty grin as she saw her prey had escaped.
"You're pretty fast," Karasuba complimented, turning around to face Naruto, who was now standing behind her. The woman with gray hair tied into a ponytail quickly noticed that Naruto had not even uncrossed his arms. That caused her to grin to widen, making her look even more deranged.
"And you're pretty rude," Naruto's voice was muffled by his mask. Even if it wasn't there was no way she would be able to tell who he was by voice recognition alone. The jutsu he was using that deepened and distorted the sound of his voice would make sure of that. "I happened to be enjoying the view."
"I see, I see," Karasuba nodded, "enjoying your handiwork. I can understand that." The grin on her face had yet to fade. "I just don't care." She pointed her sword at him. "The only thing I want is to see if you're the one who's going to finally give me a good time."
Really..." Naruto sighed. "You're such a rude child." His right hand reached up and gripped the hilt of Kubikiriboucho, the weight and feel of the handle was comfortingly familiar in his hand. He pulled it out of the sheath in a single, fluid motion, like it weighed less than a feather. Then he swung it around several times, once more showing off his incredible muscle strength before finally setting the blunt edge against his shoulder, much like Zabuza had often done. "Didn't anyone ever tell you to respect your elders, girl?"
"Stop talking like an old man," Karasuba's grin remained fixed in place as she brought her sword into a traditional two-handed grip. "You can't be any older than I am." Naruto snorted, but said nothing. "Now shut up and give me a good fight, pretty please?"
Karasuba did not wait for Naruto to respond as she launched herself at him, her physical form moving so quickly it seemed to disappear from the eyes of most mortals and even most Sekirei. Unlike the other three Sekirei he had fought, Karasuba was fast. Really fast. She was quite possibly the fastest person he had ever seen in a long, long time.
She was still too slow for him. His eyes could keep up with her movements easily.
"Tch! What an impatient girl." The young looking man wrapped in black lifted the large head cleaving blade off his shoulder and raised it into the air. Just as Karasuba came within range he brought it down against the Black Sekirei's own sword. A loud "clang!" rang out like thunder, signifying a start to would be the final battle of the night.
Before I end this chapter I would like to just say a few first.
First, I want to thank everyone who reads my fanfictions. Very few things give me greater joy than knowing you like reading my stories.
Second, I would like to thank everyone who plans on going onto Amazon and ordering a copy of "A Fox's Love." There are absolutely no words in the existence of man that can describe how grateful I am for your support.
And finally, I would like to mention the SOPA. Apparently it's back again. If you want to sign the petition to stop Obama and the government from trying to make fanfics illegal in America, please go onto google, type SOPA petition and sign it.
I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter.