It's been far to long, but finally the much anticipated next chapter of Kumo's Black Fox is ready and posted! I hope everyone enjoys and leaves a nice review. Also, this chapter is a little shorter than normal, but with what I have planned for the next chapter, this felt like the best stopping point. Also, any who notice the referrence later in the chapter, I am merely borrowing the name, and their general purpose, nothing else. Well enough of my blabber, on to the story!
I own nothing related to Naruto or Attack on Titan
The first rays of sunlight were just cresting the edge of the horizon as Naruto quietly returned to the hotel room he had booked. He was mildly surprised when he found his godfather sprawled out on a futon. Even without looking, the blonde chuunin could easily tell that the man had been drinking and had passed out drunk after his late night escapades, which probably involved some, bought pleasurable company. 'How the hell can someone like that be one of the Legendary Sannin? So far all he's proved he's good for is acquiring information and burning his money on cheap whores,' thought Naruto in disgust as he quietly went about making it look like he had been in the room all night.
'Your guess is as good as mine kit,' said Kurama as he stretched himself out inside the seal, 'But you might as well take advantage of the situation and see if the toad has anything with him that might be useful to you.' Mentally nodding in agreement with his tenant, Naruto began looking through everything the Toad Sage had with him. Despite his drunk state, the man was at least able to somewhat prepare for bed before the alcohol in his system caused him to pass out. This just made it all the easier for Naruto to sort through all of his belongings. While most of what he found wasn't of use to him, he did find a few scrolls containing information on different types of seals and immediately set a handful of clones to copying the information as quickly as possible. He also found out that Jiraiya was quite well off by a small stack of financial reports the man had on him, so with a small flick of the wrist, the blonde relieved the man of the impressive amount of money he still had on him, certain he could easily pass off the loss as the man going a little overboard at the bars and whore houses.
Knowing that there was nothing else he could do at the moment without drawing the suspicious gaze of his spy master godfather, Naruto simply decided to meditate for a little bit. Removing his blood red cloak and folding it so as to conceal the multiple storage seals on the inside, the blonde chuunin set it at on the left side of his futon, away from Jiraiya. He pulled his ninjato off his back and set it next to his cloak, absentmindedly stroking the sheath. 'You know something Kurama, I haven't really had the chance to use this sword as much as I would have liked lately. I kind of feel like I'm neglecting my skills with kenjutsu and my heritage in a way, you know?'
'I can understand how you would feel like you're neglecting your skills in the art, but as I have never had to rely on a sword, I don't really understand the link between a swordsman and his blade,' spoke the Kyuubi honestly. During his youth, he had felt he had somewhat neglected some of the abilities he received when the Sage and his youngest son gave him his power. 'All the advice I can offer is to find the drive that first got you started on the art, and try and rekindle it. Other than that, seek out Hayate's advice, he did study kenjutsu under your mother, maybe he will have something to say that can help you re-spark your drive.'
Naruto smiled slightly at his partner's wise words, 'Thanks Kurama,' he thought before relaxing into the lotus position and beginning to meditate.
This was the scene that greeted the Toad Sage as he groggily woke up an hour later. Blinking to try and clear his blurry vision, Jiraiya slowly sat up and noticed his blonde godson sitting on the futon next to him, meditating. Glancing out the window to check the position of the sun, Jiraiya's eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw that it was barely past six in the morning. "What the hell, gaki," he blurted out, knocking Naruto out of his meditation, much to the blondes ire, "How long have you been up? It's barely past six for kami's sake!"
Naruto scowled at the Sannin's apparent laziness, 'Seriously, how can someone like this be one of the Legendary Three Ninja that fought Hanzo to a standstill?' "I am well aware of the time, kyoufu; and for your information, I always wake up at five every morning to meditate and do some morning training." Though his facial expression suggested otherwise, Naruto managed to adjust his tone to be less hostile and something more akin to a teenager smart mouthing an adult.
In his hung-over state of mind, Jiraiya didn't seem to notice the contradicting emotions and simply waved off his reply. "Yeah, yeah that's great and all Naruto, but don't you ever spend time with that girl of yours? I mean you're a couple, don't you ever just spend some time alone together, not training?" Before Naruto had a chance to answer, Jiraiya waved him off again, "Never mind, I don't want to know," he paused for second before a perverse grin spread across his face, "Unless of course you have some stories to share that could help my research."
Jiraiya never even had a chance to let out his customary perverted giggle before the sheath of Naruto's sword cracked him over the head, sending him back into the world of blissful unconsciousness. Said blondes eyebrow was twitching dangerously as he valiantly fought the urge to filet the white haired shinobi. Taking several deep breaths to help him calm down, Naruto relaxed back into his meditation, waiting for Jiraiya to wake up again.
Just Outside of Tanzaku Gai- Two Hours Later
"Jeez Naruto, did you really have to hit me over the head this morning?" asked Jiraiya as he redirected a punch to his stomach and countered with an open palm to Naruto's solar plexus. The blonde chuunin grunted ever so slightly as he brushed off the hit and dropped down with a leg sweep, which Jiraiya jumped over. Expecting as much, Naruto rose while continuing his spin and nailed the veteran Konoha shinobi with a powerful thrust kick to the midsection. Jiraiya's limp body impacted hard with a nearby tree, ending the spar and leaving the fabled Sage groaning in pain against the tree.
Naruto simply lowered his outstretched leg and gave the Sannin a half-hearted glare, though he was sorely tempted to give the man a full force one. "You deserved it after that perverted comment you made," he said as he watched Jiraiya slowly get to his feet and walk back over to him.
"Whatever," the Toad Sage grunted once he was standing in front of Naruto again, "How my godson ended up not appreciating my research is beyond me. Even Minato joined me for research from time to time." Naruto raised an eyebrow at that little piece of information and made a note to ask Kakashi about that when he got back to Kumo. "Oh well, I'm sure sooner or later you'll see the beauty that is my research and join me."
'Like hell I will,' thought Naruto.
"Anyway," continued Jiraiya, "Let's get back to training. Your taijutsu is good and from what Sarutobi-sensei told me your ninjutsu is phenomenal. That doesn't leave me much option in the realm of things to teach you, although there is one thing that I definitely can." Biting his right thumb and swiping some of the blood on his left hand, Jiraiya formed five all too familiar hand seals before slamming his hand on the ground, "Summoning Jutsu!"
The customary cloud of smoke cleared to reveal a toad the size of a large boulder. Its orange skin was covered in blue markings with bandages wrapped around its body and left foreleg. Around its neck was a necklace with seven large beads on it, with the kanji for 'Loyalty' on the central, largest bead. It was currently holding a large green scroll with red edges with its tongue, though it passed the scroll to Jiraiya when he noticed who was on his back. "Thanks Gama," Jiraiya said as he jumped off the toads back, getting a silent nod from the keeper of the Toad Contract. "Now Naruto, this here, is the Toad Summoning Contract," as he said this he dramatically held out the scroll for Naruto to take, almost like it was kami's gift to mankind.
Naruto gave the man a deadpanned expression, "I know what a summoning contract is Jiraiya, I hold the Fox Contract, remember?" Judging by the expression that formed on the Sannin's face, it was obvious that he had indeed forgotten about that little detail. "You're kidding me, right? I told you that only a few days ago!" said the irritated blonde chuunin.
Jiraiya's expression hardened slightly at his godson's words, "I had honestly been hoping that you were lying about that, but I guess that was wishful thinking on my part." Ignoring the glare that Naruto was giving him, he continued, "It doesn't matter though, as the toads are the most powerful summons known to shinobi kind. The diversity of their skills and the knowledge they possess is unmatched by any other race. Not to mention, they are by far the most adept summons when it comes to combat. I don't know what those pathetic foxes are capable of, but I know it can't possibly match what the toads can offer you."
Now Naruto was a patient person, able to remain calm and collected under most any circumstances and retain the ability to think with a level head. Though he tended to be a little quicker to anger than his host, Kurama also had an impressive amount of patience, something that came with living for over two millennia. Ever since they met the man, Jiraiya had been testing their profound amounts of patience with his useless babbling and constant perverted comments. However, Jiraiya's blatant mocking, criticizing and outright insulting of the fox's pushed the pair to the utmost edge of their patience and it was taking everything they had not to go berserk and turn the white haired Sannin into paste. "You're right, kyoufu," said Naruto, though the words nearly chocked him, "If what you're telling me is true, then the toads are definitely a better summons to have for combat purposes."
A wide grin spread across Jiraiya's face at that, "I knew you would understand, Naruto; now go ahead and sign the contract so you can test out the technique." Nodding his consent, though reluctantly, Naruto took the offered scroll and unrolled it to the first blank space. Despite his anger smoldering just beneath the surface of his conscious, the blonde felt a small, imperceptible smile spread across his face when he caught sight of his father's name on the scroll. He had almost forgotten that his father was a summoner of the toads. Though he couldn't forgive Konoha for what it had done to him, maybe he could give the toads the benefit of the doubt and a chance to prove themselves. It was the least he could do as a way to honor his father's memory.
Nicking his right thumb on one of his sharper than usual fangs, he made quick work of signing the contract and returning the scroll to Gama. The toad inclined his head to Naruto as a sign of respect for his clan's newest summoner before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. "Alright Naruto, you know what to do," said Jiraiya before he jumped away from his godson in case he managed to summon one of the larger toads. Using the blood still on his finger from signing the contract, Naruto formed the five hand seals necessary for the technique. Molding a moderate amount of chakra for the technique, the Kumo shinobi slammed his hand on the ground, a sealing array spreading beneath his palm, "Summoning Jutsu."
A massive cloud of smoke filled the clearing and a good portion of the forest surrounding it. Jiraiya had a split second to be shocked that his godson had managed to summon one of the three largest toads of Myouboku, before a booming voice let him know exactly which one he summoned. "Jiraiya, why the hell did you summon me!?"
'You have got to be fucking shitting me. Of all the toads he could've summoned, he just had to summon Bunta!' thought the Toad Sage before he jumped up to the top of one of the trees, putting him even with the large toad's mouth. "Actually Bunta, it wasn't me that summoned you," he began only to be cut off by the Chief Toad.
"Don't lie to me Jiraiya! There is no one else who has a contract with us besides you. Now tell me what the hell it is you want from me, so I can go home and finish my drink."
Getting tired of being ignored, Naruto leaped from his position on Gamabunta's head and landed in front of the toads eyes. "He's not lying you overgrown tadpole," said Naruto, much to Jiraiya's shock and horror and Gamabunta's ire, "I'm the one who summoned you. I just signed the contract a few moments ago and I was just testing the technique."
Gamabunta's only response to that was to start laughing, a sound that caused a miniature earthquake to rock the clearing. "You summoned me? Don't make me laugh you runt. There is no way someone like you was able to summon me on your first attempt. Now get off of my head before I do it for you." Naruto's right eye was twitching uncontrollably by the time Gamabunta had finished speaking. Not one to take such insults sitting down, the blonde held out his right hand and began forming one of his father's signature techniques. The Chief Toad's eyes widened as he watched the boy he had just insulted perform one of his last summoner's original techniques. 'He knows the Rasengan? Just who exactly is this boy?' "What's your name runt?"
Still maintaining the spiraling ball of chakra in his hand, Naruto fixed the large amphibian with a glare. "My name is Naruto Uzumaki Namikaze, son of Minato Namikaze and Kushina Uzumaki."
"You're Minato's son?" Gamabunta blurted out in surprise, getting a crisp nod from the still angered blonde. "I guess I was wrong about you, if you're the son of those two it's no wonder you managed to summon me on the first try. Feel free to summon me anytime you need help or to share a drink." Nodding in understanding, Naruto let his Rasengan dissipate before jumping off of Gamabunta's head and landing on a tree near the one Jiraiya was on. "Oh, and give Jiraiya a good ass kicking if he ever tries to convince you to become a pervert." Laughing at the smile that could only be described as evil on Naruto's face, Gamabunta disappeared in another cloud of smoke, leaving his clans two summoner's to continue their training/sparring.
Tanzaku Gai- Crouching Tiger Inn
Tsunade sighed for what felt like the millionth time that morning as she thought over her grandson's words the previous night.
'You can easily exact any form of revenge you see fit and also weaken the village greatly if you strike them at their core, and the best way for you to do that, is to become the Hokage.'
His words rang loud and clear, over and over in her mind as she silently weighed the pros and cons of such a move. While it was true she could exact her vengeance more effectively, she would also be putting herself in the heart of what could be considered enemy territory and if she were to be discovered escape would be incredibly difficult. Though that situation wouldn't be one she wasn't inexperienced with, even she had to admit the thought of fighting her way through the entirety of Konoha's military force wasn't an appealing one. She also had to consider Shizune's safety as well; she knew that even if she ordered the young woman to go with Naruto back to Kumo, she would refuse and follow her back to Konoha. Sometimes she cursed her apprentice's loyalty.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the very woman who had remained by her side since the death of her lover. "Have you decided on what you are going to do, Tsunade-sama?" asked Shizune, kneeling beside her master.
Tsunade shook her head, "No I haven't, but I am leaning more towards taking Naru-chan up on his idea."
"If you don't mind my asking, why is that?" Truth be told, she herself was partial to Naruto's idea of Tsunade taking the title of Hokage to strike back against the village that had betrayed someone she hoped to one day call her little brother. Not only that, but if what Naruto had told them last night was true, Konoha had also betrayed the hopes and dreams her uncle and Naruto's parents had for it and in her mind, that was reason enough for her to make her own decision. But even if Tsunade ended up not agreeing with the idea and instead wanting to go with Naruto back to Kumo, she would follow her master no matter her decision.
"I've been going over possible outcomes of either decision, and as much as my heart doesn't agree with it, taking over as Hokage is the safest choice at the moment," said Tsunade her face becoming downcast at the thought of leaving her grandson so soon after getting him back.
"I guess I know which side of the family I get my analytical mind from now," both kunoichi turned to see Naruto sitting on the windowsill of their room. Not a second after laying eyes on him, Tsunade was across the room and wrapping her poor grandson in a hug that would have left him as nothing more than a stain on her cloths if it weren't for Kurama.
After the overzealous grandmother finally released her now lightheaded grandson, the three sat down so they could continue the discussion they'd begun the night before. "Baa-chan," Naruto began, "I know I said you could have some time to think over my offer, but Jiraiya told me this morning that you had gone off the grid again. He plans on leaving and returning me to Kumo as soon as he and the original me are finished sparring. My guess is he doesn't want to stay in town much longer and risk the chance I will find you on my own."
Tsunade frowned at that, but knowing Jiraiya like she did it didn't surprise her. The man may have been a complete pervert, but no one could deny that he was the greatest spy master out there, and one doesn't earn that title without being careful. "I understand," she said after a moment of silence, "I'll do what I can to weaken Konoha as much as possible, but when the time comes for Shizune and I to leave and join you in Kumo, I expect you to greet us as the new Raikage. Got it young man?" Despite the sting she felt at their approaching separation, she knew her decision was for the best. The confident smirk that spread across her grandsons face did help ease the pain in her heart a little bit, knowing that she would be doing her best to help him reach his goal, even if it was indirectly.
"You got it, Tsunade-baachan," said Naruto, "But since you're going back to Konoha, I better give you a rundown of what all to expect and explain a few things that happened during the Chuunin Exams." For the next hour, Naruto's clone told Tsunade and Shizune about everything that had happened during the Exams; including Danzo's death and his siblings' subsequent escape after the failed invasion. The two medics couldn't contain their surprise at the already significant blows Naruto dealt to Konoha in his short time within the village walls. When he told the two that, with the help of his siblings, he had managed to create complete copies of everything within the Hokage's personal library, and left those behind while he took all of the original scrolls with him for further study had shocked the two to their cores. Shizune was amazed Naruto had managed such a task with relative ease, while Tsunade was shaking her head at how far her former village had fallen. All too soon, the clone felt his chakra begin to fade, and with one last tearful goodbye from Tsunade and Shizune, the cloned dispelled.
Naruto's body stiffened for a split second as the memories from his clone entered his mind. Seamlessly recovering, the blonde shinobi continued tree hopping alongside his godfather. They had departed from Tanzaku Gai only a short while ago, but they had already made considerable time. Though he knew the real reason for their hasty and fast paced departure, he had continued with his role as a double agent flawlessly and questioned Jiraiya on why they were moving at speeds more suited for shinobi instead of walking as they had originally. His godfather's response was some half-assed excuse he had probably made up on the spot, but he let the subject drop as he would soon be back within the walls of his home.
A small twister of wind forming forced the two shinobi to halt their progress. Moments later, the emerald green form of Harukaze appeared across from them, a scroll held gently in her small jaws. Jiraiya was immediately on guard, understanding that the fox kit was likely one of Naruto's summons. Despite being told by Naruto numerous times that he could summon foxes, in a small part of the sages mind, he had sincerely hoped it was all a lie. The fox moving over to his godson and depositing the scroll in his outstretched hand tarnished that hope.
Uncaring of the small spike in negative emotions he managed to sense from his godfather, Naruto took the scroll from Harukaze. "It's an order from the Raikage; he needs you to meet up with your team at the border for an urgent mission," said the small fox kit before her summoner could say anything.
Smiling, the blonde chuunin reached down and scratched the young fox behind the ears, getting a soft purr from her. "Thank you for delivering this to me, return home and take a good long rest ok?" yipping in acknowledgement, Harukaze disappeared in a small cloud of smoke.
"I thought the Raikage gave you a week off, why is he calling you to partake in a mission?" Naruto had to fight to stop his body from stiffening in response. For the entire time he had been with his godfather, the man had shown no signs of suspecting any kind of foul play. Now though, his voice easily made his suspicion known, but it was mixed with a healthy amount of disgust as well. Naruto could only guess that the disgust was at the Raikage's disregard for honoring his full amount of leave, but the suspicion, he couldn't discern the cause of. All he could hope for was that it wasn't suspicion of his loyalties.
"We are shinobi, kyoufu, soldiers for our village. Even if we are on leave, we must be ready in the event we are called to duty. This is just one of those times," said Naruto, playing it off with the most convincing argument he could think of. It seemed his reasoning had the desired effect as Jiraiya let the subject drop, though his facial features still betrayed his displeasure.
Taking to the trees again, Naruto lagged far enough behind the white haired sage to look over the scrolls contents privately, but near enough so that Jiraiya didn't question it. Like his faithful summons had said, it was an official order from his kage. Along with the order, were the details of the mission he would be partaking in; now that all of the members of team 20 were chuunin, A wasn't wasting time in assigning them a B-ranked mission.
At the council meeting before his departure, there had been some talk of expanding the Land of Lightning's borders, but he didn't think it had gotten any farther then simple speculation. The scroll he now held proved he was wrong; he and his team had been temporarily assigned as part of a new task force the Raikage had created, the Scout Regiment. The regiments express purpose was to scout out potential lands to extend the Land of Lightning's influence, as well as grant them potential strongholds in any future wars. The scroll was rather bland in details, and it seemed A wasn't taking any chances with the specific and sensitive information regarding the mission. A small blood seal was located in the bottom corner of the scroll and a small, coded portion of the information revealed that everything he needed to know was sealed inside and he was only to access it once he was away from Jiraiya.
Once he was finished going over the basic information for his newest mission, Naruto secured the scroll in one of the many invisible storage seals that he had woven into his pants. Refocusing his gaze ahead of him, the blonde chuunin noticed the sour look that still graced his godfathers face, and he had to suppress the smirk that tried to form on his lips. While it was still possible that Jiraiya may be suspicious of his loyalties, he couldn't help but enjoy seeing the man sulk over discovering that the toads were indeed not the only summons he had a contract with.
At their current pace, it only took a few hours for the two shinobi to reach the border that divided the two great nations. The sun was just starting to sink below the horizon when Naruto and Jiraiya passed by the last of Konoha's outposts unseen. "Kyoufu," said Naruto as the border came in sight. Jiraiya stopped on a nearby branch and waited for his godson to land next to him. "I know you want to come with me and make sure I'm safe, but the moment I cross the border, I will be considered an active Kumo shinobi again. If we are seen associating while I'm on duty, things could go south for us fast. I'm just a few months away from being ready to defect; I can't risk blowing my cover now."
Reluctantly, Jiraiya nodded, "I understand," he said with a sigh, "But why are you so set on finishing this task? From what sensei told me, you've already accumulated most of Kumogakure's knowledge, why not leave now and bring that with you? All of that knowledge will be more than enough to bolster Konoha; you don't need to put yourself in unnecessary danger."
"I know that," said Naruto, "But things are more complicated than that. I can't go into detail about it, but there is something else I have to do before I leave and I need time to do it. Please kyoufu, just have a little more faith in me, we'll be together again soon, I promise." Knowing that if he didn't get away soon, Jiraiya was likely to try and come up with some other way to convince him or worse yet start asking more question, Naruto gave the man one last smile, before leaping away and across the border. Safely back within the embrace of his homeland, Naruto started making his way towards the outpost that served as the main command station for the southern outposts of the Land of Lightning.
The white haired Sannin's frown deepened as he watched his godson's figure disappear off into the distance. As the head of Konoha's spy network, he had an extensive network of informants all across the Elemental Nations, including Kumogakure. When he had first arrived in the militaristic village, he had immediately met with one of his informants to get as much information as he possibly could on the things that had been going on. And some of the things he had learned disturbed and worried him greatly, especially some of the information his informant had regard Naruto. Some of the things his spy told him contradicted greatly with what Sarutobi had said regarding Naruto. The one that worried him the most was that, according to his spy, a high ranking official within Kumo, Naruto had never shown any signs of being manipulated by any kind of seal.
It wasn't something that could easily be noticed, and it was only the fact that the informant was one of his oldest and most reliable, that he was even considering that fact. Also, during his short amount of time with the boy, Jiraiya noticed a few things that didn't add up concerning Naruto. They were subtle, and he did a good job of hiding them, but Jiraiya was on a level all his own, it took a lot to pull the wool over his eyes. One of the things that stood out the most was when Naruto would address him as 'kyoufu.' While he was very good at disguising the tone of his voice, he couldn't hide it completely. The underlying traces of hate, disgust and malice had been noticed by the sage each time the boy spoke the title.
As a spy master, Jiraiya had to admit that Naruto possessed great skill in the art of espionage and infiltration. In fact, within a few years, and with the proper guidance, the boy could easily become one of the best agents at infiltration. Unfortunately, it would seem that those skill were currently being used against Konoha, of the blondes on free will. 'Naruto, I don't know what exactly you're playing at, but I hope for your sake that I'm wrong about it.'
Yeah, this felt like a good spot to end this chapter, anything else would have stretched the chapter to far and made it unbalanced. I hope the little bit of info I gave concerning the next part of the story intrigued some of you, and I hope you enjoy the next chapter when it's ready.
Till next time,