Ch16. "More than anything" (Hinata's Rescue Pt.2)
As Hinata struggles against the leader, amongst the clearing smoke appears a figure.
Hinata whispers, staring with tears in her eyes.
The leader, wearing a mask and black fully covering clothes, lets out a growl-like sound at Naruto's entrance. Black eyes stare back at Naruto through the mask. The leader hesitates a moment. It never occurred to them that the Hokage himself would come for the Hyuuga. Yet, here he stood, readied for a fight. And boy- did Naruto look pissed off.
Lunging forward, Naruto forms Kurama's cloak into a claw that grips around the leaders head. As Naruto falls forward, following through; the leaders head is pinned against the far wall. Hinata dropped by the leader as a last moment ditch in an attempt to try and dodge Naruto's lunge. The leaders cloth mask is torn from the ferocity of the chakra cloak. Naruto felt rage almost encompass him. Naruto bared his teeth. He would rip the assailants throat out had Hinata not cried out.
Naruto stopped still in his tracks ad he turned to face Hinata. She was unharmed, only a little dusty from the ground as she rose. She walked over to the two, her Byakugan activated and blazing. Naruto backed up a few paces from the downed leader. Hinata leaned down to the leader. Her face staring straight into the black pit eyes of her captor.
"We could let her live" She stated coldly and in a voice that was so unlike her it send a chill down even Naruto's spine she finished.
"But only barely…"
"Her?..." Naruto asked. Hinata replied with a fluid motion, barely visible even to the trained eye, as she tore the damaged mask off the woman the others had called 'the leader'. For a moment this stunned Naruto a little. The woman's red hair was short at the back, like Hinata's when she was young, but had much longer bangs at the front, and a short side fringe.
"What is your name?" Hinata stared straight into the woman's eyes, causing her to gulp with some fear. Naruto still wanted to take revenge, but held back for Hinata's sake.
"I'm Taphii." She said her voice slightly shaken and confused.
"I'm a descendant from the Uzumaki clan, too." She added, daring to steer her gaze away from Hinata's she looked to Naruto, hoping to find reason, forgiveness maybe even understanding. She found none of these in him, as his gaze was entirely fixed on Hinata. In turn, Hinata's gaze still fixed on Taphii. Slowly, hesitantly; Hinata began to deactivate her Byakugan before turning to Naruto. Satisfied the woman didn't lie, Hinata walked back to be beside Naruto.
Naruto, however; was unsatisfied.
With Naruto's back to the door and Hinata's Byakugan deactivated, neither of them noticed one of Taphii's minions send three kunai's flying through the open door.
Hinata dodged one with her quick reaction time, but only just managed to make it miss her chest. It still left a deep wound to her left side. Naruto was not as lucky. While the chakra cloak had protected him to some extent, one of the kunai had managed to penetrate the back of his thigh, damaging vital leg muscles. The other kunai pierced his shoulder, damaging surrounding tissue and if the chakra cloak had not set the kunai off course it could very well have gotten his heart.
Naruto's body responded by coughing blood. Taphii stood as Naruto slowly began to slump. Hinata's Byakugan re-activated as she assessed the damage. Taphii's chakra gathered as she performed the summoning technique. As the smoke cleared, a large double-headed, winged lion roared, Hinata had no time to deal with the summoned beast, as she noticed the wound from the kunai that had pierced Naruto's shoulder had reached his lung. It was filling with blood fast, and even though she knew she had to stop Taphii from escaping, she had to tend to Naruto's wounds before he bled out too much.
It is as she reaches down to assist Naruto that she is surprised when Naruto's backpack transforms in a puff of smoke. Hinata readies herself for an attack only to be caught off guard as a small figure leaps towards the winged, two-headed lion. Hinata stares a moment, before terrorizing realization sets in.
"Hana! What are you doing?!" Hinata screams. Hana had activated her bloodline limit as she deactivated the transformation. She turns to face her mother, before grinning.
"Leave this beast to me!" In that moment Hinata felt Hana's words echo Naruto's promises. It frightened her that she had never noticed how strong her daughter had become. Hinata nodded, tears building in her eyes. For the moment she would need to trust in Hana's ability, just long enough for her to save Naruto.
"Don't you dare die, young lady!" A tear fell down Hinata's cheek. Quickly she turned, focusing as much of her chakra to heal Naruto's wounds as she could. She wasn't as good as Sakura was at healing, but she could still stop the bleeding at least until reinforcement arrived.
Hana stares, the veins around her blue eyes surfacing. Her bloodline does not go unnoticed to Taphii and her minion beside her. Hana readies herself, moving into the 8 trigrams, 64 palms strike stance. She'd still not yet perfected it but could reach between 50 to 60 on average after her training with Hinata and Sakura. Taphii smirks and nods to her minion to go after her. She wanted to test Hana's ability.
As the minion grew closer, Hana pictured the target range, the centre being the ying and yang of the circle where she stood prepared. The moment Taphii's minion crossed the line he was in reach of Hana's attack.
With chakra gathered at her fingertips, Hana thrust forward, sending her chakra flying from her fingertips to pierce through the minion's chakra points. She began to count.
"6" The minion was stunned by her speed.
"14" She hit the more vital points of the minions limbs.
"26" Finishing a lot of points on the man's limbs he began to fall backwards from the combined impacts.
"32" It started to get a little more difficult for Hana now, but still remained manageable.
"46" Now it grew hard as she had to rotate her body more to reach points that were closer together with each pivot.
"54" By now many of the main chakra lines had been halted, severing their connection with his limbs. It became even more of a challenge as each strike required more chakra to send deeper through the man's body.
"59" Hana was nearing her limit by now, but she pushed. If she couldn't reach 64 she knew she would not be able to take him down. She needed the final blow to the heart.
"60" Each hit was beginning to tax on her. It's one thing to send chakra a short distance, but to send it penetrating through a fully grown man's torso and to send it strong enough to sever his chakra's connection was another thing entirely.
"61" She was close to cutting off his heart now."
"62" Hana was pushing herself, beads of sweat formed on her forehead. As worn as she was the man was going to be defeated. That was her resolve. Though he looked damaged and surprised still, she had to continue, to finish the stance, otherwise she may damage herself in the process.
"63" No stopping now. If she did, she may just end up sending the 64th blow backwards to herself. It would do her well to finish him. Just one more blow to go.
"Eight Trigrams! 64 Palms! The 64th strike!" She yelled, sending a final burst of her chakra through the man's chest, straight to his heart.
As Hana finished the final strike, she pulled back into a standing position. Gripping her lung she was exhausted, and it showed on her face. She was drained of energy, but even so, she grinned and the minion she'd sent flying was now lying still, unconscious on the floor in front of her. She'd done it. She'd reached the 64th strike when it counted.
As the dust cleared, Hinata looked up from Naruto to see Hana stood, panting while gripping her left lung with her right hand. During Hana's performance Hinata had managed to stop Naruto's bleeding and patch up a bit of the wound. Naruto sat stunned, staring at Hana. But it was only moments after she'd finished that she slumped to the floor. Hana knew she was too weak to fight again. She had used too much chakra in the last blow, and was now depleted, too weak to even stand. Taphii smirked as she climbed onto the summoned beast. She would definitely remember Hana's ability, no doubt about that. However, her smile did not last long as she had to dodge a kunai that aimed for her head. Her dodge missed the kunai but not the chakra blade encasing its edges that slashed at her cheek. She frowned as reinforcements arrived.
First on the scene was Shikamaru and Neji, Sakura followed close behind. Shikamaru took in the scene, Hinata was left to look after a wounded Naruto, and Hana sat in front of an unconscious ninja, while a woman sat atop a large summoned beast. Neji had used his Byakugan to locate the three of them, and through his bloodline limit he witnessed Hana's performance of the gentle fist techniques on the minion ninja. Sakura arrived moments after Neji and Shikamaru and made a bee line for Naruto, Hinata, being relieved of looking after Naruto, joined Shikamaru and Neji by Hana's side. As Hinata joined them, Shikamaru and Neji could then turn their attention to the big problem at hand- The woman that was sat on top of a beast. Immediately, Shikamaru sends a shadow out to perform the shadow binding technique.
Only he is too late.
Taphii is already in the air, flying over him.
Out the door.
"I'll see you again soon, kiddo." She says before she disappears into the sky.
Shikamaru had underestimated the beats speed.
Neji could do nothing to help other than watch over everyone, and scan the area for any remaining enemies. To which, there were none. It seemed in Naruto's frantic search for the leader and Hinata's location lead him to destroy most of their hideout. Neji realized that to get on Naruto's bad side would be a foolish decision on anyone's part. He wondered momentarily why his uncle had been so foolish to threaten him in the first place, but that idea was dismissed quickly.
"I'm sorry.." Shikamaru says solemnly.
"She got away" Hinata held Hana in her arms as she fell asleep. Naruto, still being healed by Sakura, had been observing the two girls. A small smile ran across his face. He hadn't really noticed the others until Shikamaru had spoken. His smile faded and his face grew sorrowful. Neji spoke up.
"We will get her, do not worry." He reassured them. Turning to face Naruto, he continued.
"In any case, we should really be focusing on the matter at hand."
Shikamaru nods in agreement. Everyone looks to Naruto and Sakura.
"I've done what I can for now but he really needs to be taken to the hospital for further examination" Sakura says in a professional manner. She'd been trying to keep her cool ever since she heard it was Hinata that was kidnapped, and Naruto that had lead the rescue operation. She never expected to find Naruto in such a condition. The kunai that had hit his leg had sliced through a main artery in his thigh and had bled a lot. That combined with the kunai that hit his lung she was surprised he had not passed out from blood loss or suffocation. Hinata's emergency first aid had kept the bleeding at bay but it did not stop the bleeding completely. She would still have to run tests too, to check for any poisons, though he was in the clear for the time being.
"Naruto?" Sakura said.
"Yeah?" Naruto said through a weary voice.
"Can you do that jutsu from before?"
"The Thunder god lightning technique?"
"I think so. Where am I going?"
"Konoha hospital. Can you do it?"
"It's possible, but do they have the kunai in place?"
"Yes, they placed it in a room ready for you to use if needed. Just like you requested, just in case." Sakura smiled softly then followed Naruto's gaze to Hana and Hinata.
"They go first." He gestured to Hana and Hinata. Sakura was about to protest before she realised the look on Naruto's face. She smiled softly, sighed and said.
"I guess I can't say no to that. But you need to go straight after them." Naruto nods. He is weary from blood loss, but reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out two seals, handing them to Sakura he says.
"Give one to each of them." Sakura does as asked, and Naruto begins the jutsu. As the two are being transported off, Naruto smiles.
"Before you go.." Neji says. Naruto looks to Neji.
"Can you answer me something?" Naruto nods.
"Do you… Do you love them?" Naruto just smiles.
"More than anything." Before he too, disappears in front of them.
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