Earth Style: Earthquake Slam (C-Rank Earth Style Ninjutsu): This technique causes the ground surrounding the enemy to spiral inwards on itself, burying them alive or crushing them. This technique is capable of causing quite a bit of damage to the area. This technique is much more damaging if used in rocky mountainous areas, or inside a cave.
Chapter 7 – Captive
The first thing Akua was aware of was the blinding headache that felt like ten one man elephant bands were warming up in her head. She tried to move, but something stopped her. Her wrists and ankles had been bound together by ninja wire. All around her was dark. The girl was aware of the cold floor beneath her.
The door in front of her slammed open. Akua winced at the sudden light. "Awake are we?" a gravelly voice sneered.
Realization swept through her. I've been captured by the enemy.
The man approached her. His face was shrouded by darkness. He reached out and took her chin. Akua flinched away from his rough calloused hands. "Tch," the man scoffed. He slammed her against the cold ground. Akua winced as she tasted blood in her mouth.
She remained on the floor long after the door had slammed shut.
Linlin turned the note over again. There was nothing she could detect that showed any sign of a genjutsu, or trap. Tōhō had come to them the night before, with a note that had been delivered by the Rock ANBU. They had his apprentice, and she would only be set free if he accompanied them back to the Hidden Rock.
Naruto had immediately left for a scouting mission. Now Linlin sat in the room, dressed for battle, and in deep discussion with Tōhō.
The room door suddenly swung open, both occupants looked up to see Naruto walking in. The blonde boy shook his head. "The trail is cold. Whoever captured her, they weren't your average shinobi, ANBU at the very least." He opened his palm to present a ring to Tōhō. "I did find this though."
Tōhō quickly took the ring and examined it carefully. "It's hers," he breathed. "It's a ring I gave to her. This is excellent."
"Oh?" Linlin raised an eyebrow.
"This ring is linked to her chakra," Tōhō explained. "It's a simple tracking jutsu that allows me to pinpoint her location through deep meditation."
"Well, that means we can storm the place," Linlin commented.
"Bad idea," Naruto cut in. "We don't know the enemy's strength, but if we…" Naruto's eyes suddenly glazed over for a moment.
"Naruto?" Tōhō asked, a trace of concern slipping into his voice.
Then Naruto's face cleared. "The Leader wants to talk," he said to Linlin.
"The Leader?" Tōhō questioned. "You mean the Leader of Akatsuki."
It was Linlin who explained. "Yes, through means of advanced telepathy, Akatsuki members are able to communicate to each other through our rings." She displayed her hand for Tōhō to see her trademark Akatsuki ring, on her left middle finger. "Each Akatsuki member wears a different ring on a different finger, which is why there are only ever ten of us. Mine is gai, the sign of the boar, while Naruto's is kū, or void."
"Perhaps the Leader can shed some light onto this matter," Naruto commented.
"Then I want to talk to him," Tōhō stared fiercely at the Leaf missing-nin.
"That's not possible," Naruto said softly. "When we enter meditation, we are drawn into a world that lies in a different dimension that is impossible to physically reach, for it does not truly exist in reality. Only a member of Akatsuki can reach this."
"Then let me join Akatsuki."
Both members looked at him sharply. "Do you understand the gravity of what you have just said?"
"If and after we successfully rescue Akua, you are not allowed to leave as you so please," Naruto said. "Even if the rescue proves unsuccessful, you will have a duty to follow through with your promise. Think carefully on this."
"I have," Tōhō said. "To be honest I'm tired of running, and if this Akatsuki is as powerful as you say, it might finally give Akua the chance to have a normal, or as normal as can be, life."
Linlin's lips twitched. "Very well," she reached into her cloak and retrieved an object. Tōhō watched as the object was presented to him. "This is your ring, bya, or white. Its place is on your right middle finger."
Tōhō opened his eyes to find himself on what look liked like an enormous finger. He looked around at the members, and saw only silhouettes. "Welcome, Naruto, Linlin," a voice sounded. "And it appears you have a guest. I presume you were successful."
Naruto's silhouette nodded. "Tōhō Fuhai of the Hidden Rock has agreed to join us, under one condition."
The figure turned to Tōhō. He blinked when he saw the strange concentric eyes. "It is good to see you, Tōhō Fuhai, I am Nagato Uzumaki. The others are Deidara of the Rock, Itachi Uchiha of the Leaf, Kisame Hoshigaki, the Monster of the Hidden Mist, Sasori of the Red Sand, Kakuzu of the Five Hearts and Hidan the Immortal. You have already met Linlin of the Bloody Mist and Naruto Namikaze of the Leaf."
Tōhō gave a low whistle. "Quite a group you've got there," he surveyed the congregation gathered in front of him. They were all S-Rank shinobi. Well, all except Naruto, Tōhō had no idea how powerful he was. But the kid had to be something to expect to hold his own against S-Rank missing-nin.
"Naruto," the voice of Itachi Uchiha sounded. "You mentioned conditions?"
"Yes," Naruto nodded, "Tōhō's apprentice, Akua Shuzen has been taken hostage by a group of Rock hunter-nin. The three of us are staging a rescue mission."
"Hmm, a Shuzen, huh?" Kisame spoke, been a while. "I didn't even know they still existed. How do you plan to proceed?"
"We were hoping that perhaps you could shed some light onto this," Linlin spoke. "We are unsure of the enemy's number, only to meet them in a few days' time at a pre-designated point. We also have means to track the girls."
There was a moment of silence. Then Sasori spoke. "I believe an ambush would be in order, a frontal attack on the ones at the extraction point, which will have to be quick and clean, then a secondary attack against any remaining members."
"I'll carry out the ambush along with Tōhō, then," Linlin spoke. "Quick kills are my specialty."
"Then I shall take care of the rear guard," Naruto inclined his head. "I've been itching to test my new eyes." He turned to Itachi. "Speaking of which, how are yours."
Itachi gave a gracious nod. "They are adjusting nicely. Once again, I must thank you, Naruto."
"Don't mention it."
Nagato cleared his throat. "Now that pleasantries are out of the way, how goes the plan?"
"Kisame and I have made contact with rebels," Itachi spoke in a monotonous voice. "They are agreeable to our terms."
"Yeah, and it would seem their leader is none other than the Three-Tails jinchūriki, Yagura," Kisame spoke out.
"We have also found some disturbing information," Itachi continued. "It would seem that the Third Mizukage may very well be influenced by an unknown force."
Nagato glanced at Itachi. "Are you sure?"
The stoic Uchiha shrugged. "They are merely rumours. However, I believe that it is best to look into these. The only one person I can think of that could control the Mizukage would be him."
Nagato nodded. "Excellent, what of you two, Hidan, Kakuzu? How goes your mission?"
Kakuzu shook his head. "Tracking that snake's a lot harder than we anticipated."
Deidara rolled his eyes. "Why the hell are you complaining? You probably got the easiest mission. No diplomacy whatsoever, hm."
"Why do you think that is?" Naruto smirked. "This is the Zombie Combo we're talking about. Those two wouldn't know diplomacy if it was shoved up their asses."
"Oi," Hidan protested vehemently, "I can negotiate."
"All negotiating means to you is holding someone at scythe-point until they concede to your demands," Sasori gave him a pointed look.
"So?" Hidan snorted. "It works."
There were collective sighs and groans that sounded throughout the space. "Idiot," Linlin shook her head.
"As I was saying," Kakuzu rolled his eyes, "the snake continues to elude us."
"Continue with your search," Nagato replied. "What of you, Sasori, Deidara, any luck?"
"We have made contact with the One-Tail's jinchūriki," Sasori replied.
Naruto shot him a look. "Is that wise? We agreed not to make contact with the jinchūriki's yet. Yagura was the only exception."
"The kid was being abused," Sasori replied. "I had to do something. The original plan was to wait for you, Naruto, to become available, but seeing as it is, it would be best for us to act fast."
"How bad is it?" Kakuzu asked.
It was Deidara who replied. "Hm, the kid has had two attempts on his life, both by the village council. The Kazekage, the boy's father is apparently unable, or unwilling, to do anything."
There was a long moment of silence. Then Nagato spoke, "Deidara, I want you to make contact with the boy's father without revealing our true intentions. See what he thinks of Gaara before we make our next move."
Deidara nodded. "Will do."
"Events are moving apace," Nagato commented. "We must begin to initiate the second phase."
Everyone gave Nagato an alarmed stare, except for Tōhō who just stood watch. "Are you sure Nagato?" Naruto asked. "The second phase was not planned to initiate for another few years."
"I am aware," Nagato replied, "but we must act fast, since we are spread so thin. Kakuzu, Hidan, I want you to go to the Land of Water and assist in the rebellion. That will give Itachi and Kisame a new responsibility. You two are to proceed to the Land of Lightning and establish contact with the Raikage." Nagato turned to Tōhō. "I know you must have many questions, but now is not the time for answers. After you have finished, you and your apprentice are to proceed to the Village Hidden in the Rain. I shall await you there and all questions shall be answered."
"I understand," Tōhō nodded.
"And what of us?" Linlin questioned.
"After you have succeeded in freeing Tōhō, you are to immediately head to the Hidden Waterfall, the Seven-Tails jinchūriki is there. A girl by the name of Fū. Judging from our reports, she is…less than well liked. You are to attempt to extract her post-haste. I wish you all the best of luck."
Tōhō snapped out of his meditation to find that Naruto and Linlin were already moving. They pulled on their Akatsuki cloaks and began to unseal their equipment. "What's the plan?" Linlin looked at her partner.
Naruto rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "We'll go through with Sasori's plan. We don't have time to draw up any intricate battle plans. Tōhō will rendezvous with them, as per planned, then you will move in and take them out quickly. Best thing would be the Silent Killing technique. Hit them before they can react. I'll move and finish off any stragglers."
"Sounds like a plan," Linlin muttered.
Three of the hunter-nin stood in the clearing, next to them was a figure kneeled on the ground, a duffel bag over her head. "You think he's gonna come?"
"He'll show," the other ANBU said. "And even if he doesn't, we've got a Shuzen here with us. Reckon that's enough to let us back into the village with or without him."
"Yeah, but what if…"
"Quiet," the captain hissed. "I hear someone coming."
A few moments later, a tall figure emerged out of the woods. Tōhō was wearing a black cloak embroiled with red clouds. "I've come, just like you said. Now where is she?"
The ANBU captain smirked and yanked the duffel bag of the figure kneeling on the ground. Tōhō winced as he saw her.
"Sensei," Akua gasped. "You must run."
"Quiet bitch," the ANBU snarled and gave her side a kick. A low growl slipped from Tōhō's throat.
"It's very simple," the man said. "You come with us, and we'll let her go. If not," he hauled her up to her feet and pressed a kunai to her neck. "She dies."
Tōhō tilted his head casually. "It does have some merit; however, there is one small problem."
"Yeah?" a hunter-nin growled. "And what would that be?"
Tōhō laughed lightly. "You seem to assume that I'll come quietly."
The ANBU Captain hissed as the tendons on his arms were slit. Akua vanished from his arms, reappearing in Tōhō's. A second later, the mist rolled in.
"What the hell," the captain cursed.
"Sir," a man said in alarm. "The mist is laced with chakra."
No sooner had he said this that a disembodied voice resonated throughout the clearing. "Eight points, larynx, spine, lungs, liver, jugular, subclavian artery, kidneys, heart. Eight points, all causing fatal wounds, the only difference is how fast you die."
Then the screaming began.
Naruto watched from the bush to see two ANBU crouched over the fire. From what he could sense, using Kurama's sensor abilities, they were alone.
Right, he thought to himself, time to a page from Hidan's book. Headlong charge and Kami damn the consequences. He straightened and casually walked towards them.
The ANBU straightened into defensive position. Naruto continued forward not listening to the guard's calls for him to identify himself. Slowly he pushed chakra to his eyes. Rinnegan. Naruto made eye contact. The ANBU stiffened beneath their masks as they caught a glimpse of Naruto's ringed eyes.
Then the boy disappeared in a burst of speed.
The first ANBU didn't even know what hit him before a blade of wind sheared him in two. The second ANBU was faster to react. He yanked his sword out of its sheath and slashed at them. Naruto back-flipped and landed on the ground a while away.
"Earth Style: Earthquake Slam!"
Naruto leapt upwards and landed in front of the ANBU. The man made for a slash at Naruto's ribs, only for the boy to disperse in a cloud of pink petals. The man barely had time to blink before he felt Naruto grab his head. With a yank, the young boy tore the man's soul from his body. The boy let the limp body collapse onto the ground.
Naruto staggered back as the backlash hit him. Well, Naruto thought, that wasn't so hard. The Tsuchikage really needs to up his standards. I swear to Kami, those guys were barely jōnin level. He then proceeded to dispose of the bodies.
Linlin wiped Kiba off the dead bodies of one of the ANBU. That was easy, the former Mist-nin thought. She looked over at Tōhō who was hovering over Linlin. "How is she?"
Tōhō looked up and nodded. "She'll be fine. I owe you, the both of you."
"Does that mean you'll come back with us?" Both turned to see Naruto walking out of the treeline.
"Yes," Tōhō nodded. "I'll come with you."
Naruto smiled as he watched the Akua and Tōhō talk from the windowsill of the hotel. Akua had woken up a few hours after the rescue. She had been surprised, to say the least, to find that Naruto was involved. However the news of finally being able to settle down made her ecstatic. Naruto watched the duo for a moment, then he leapt out of the window, he had one more task.
Zaku rummaged through the garbage cans. The dinner he had had with Naruto already a distant memory. "Damn," he muttered as he found nothing.
"That cannot be healthy for you," a familiar voice sounded behind them.
Zaku whipped his head around to find Naruto with his arms crossed. The boy was wearing a black cloak with red clouds. Whisker marks adorned his cheeks and on his forehead was a headband with a horizontal slash through the symbol.
"Yo, Naruto," Zaku grinned. "What are you doing here?"
Naruto shrugged. "Oh, just wandering." He laughed to himself. "Actually, I came with a proposition for you."
"Tell me Zaku," Naruto looked at him. "Do you want to become a shinobi?"
"What's taking him?" Linlin wondered idly. "He's not usually late."
"Where do you think he could've gone?" Akua asked.
Linlin merely shrugged.
"You think the brat could've been captured?" Tōhō raised an eyebrow.
"I find your lack of faith a tad insulting, old man."
All eyes turned to see Naruto approaching, Linlin raised an eyebrow at the boy tagging along next to him. "Who's the kid?"
"This is Zaku Abumi," Naruto gestured at the boy. "Zaku, this is Linlin Wong, Tōhō Fuhai and of course, you know Akua Shuzen."
Zaku gave a hesitant nod.
"He's an orphan," Naruto explained, "I've already talked briefly with Yahiko, and he's allowed him to return to the Rain with Tōhō and Akua."
"We'll take care of him," Tōhō nodded.
Naruto gave a gesture of thanks and turned to Zaku. "Well, I guess this is good bye."
"Where will you go?" Zaku asked.
Naruto shrugged. "Maybe chill out here for a while, then head of to our next mission." He laid a hand on his newfound friend. "Get stronger, okay? Use your powers to protect those that you cherish."
Zaku nodded with a determined gaze. "I will, and once I do, I'm going to kick your ass."
Naruto laughed. "Get in line kid; you're not the only one."
He pair of Akatsuki watched the trio depart. Naruto smiled to himself. Yet another mission accomplished.
"So what now?" Linlin asked.
"Well," Naruto sighed, "there's a hot spring resort not too far from here, and I'd welcome the chance to cool off."
"Then, we head to the Hidden Waterfall."
Yeah, I know I'm late. In my defense, finals are in a weeks so it's a wonder I got this all out. Sorry if it seems a little rushed.
Before any of you ask, yes the Rinnegan won by popular demand (I didn't get a single comment voting against it, actually) and no Naruto will not be godlike, he'll just be as you all commonly dub a BAMF. The story behind the Rinnegan will be explained.
Next chapter will be the one you've all been waiting for, when Naruto meets Fu. I won't be writing during the exams so the earliest it can come out is after next week.
Till then, ciao.