REVISED AS OF 8/31/15
STORY REVISION NEARLY DONE, FINALLY!
Although I was saying I'm going to change one part of this chapter a bit...when I tried to do it, it just felt totally wrong to try anything, so I decided to keep this chapter mostly the way it was. It'll be a little changed, but not enough to warrant big news. I'll also add I've worked out kinks and grammar in the rest of the chapter too. Hopefully this'll be a better read for the veterans. As for the rest of you, enjoy!
By the way, this will be the last revision note. The next two chapters will only get very minor corrections whenever I can find them, so they're not really worth noting. So the next update you get from me will be when I replace the Chapter 25 A/N with something soon.
This story's subscribers should get a notification for that...and chapter 26 should follow eventually. :-)
Hazel: A new chapter...nice and finished only a couple weeks after the last one. (Posts it)
(Loud banging at the front door)
Hazel: The hell?
Lemon: Open the door! I know you're in there, you imposter! What the hell have you done with Hazel!? He would never have updated this story so soon after the last chapter!
Hazel: (Opens door) Oi! I'm not that bad, am I?
Lemon: (Stares at Hazel blankly)
Hazel: Alright, fine! Yeah, I'm that bad! Is it so hard to believe I wanted to improve my update schedule a bit?
Lemon: We'll see if you keep this up...imposter.
Hazel: Seriously..the shit I have to put up with...
Here's a fresh update for all of you out there! Hope you enjoy and stay tuned for a special omake at the end.
Thanks goes to LoverofLemon for his excellent help as usual.
WARNING: This story has mature language, sexual themes, and graphic depictions of violence and gore.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Naruto or any of its characters.
Chapter 22: Hell of a Night
Late evening at the edge of Konohagakure's farming area
Compared to when he fought the unknown masked shinobi in near pitch-black darkness a couple weeks ago, Uzumaki Naruto was glad for the full moon out tonight as he emerged from the perimeter forest separating the farms from the village proper.
Even though he wasn't using his Sharingan or Fox Eye, his normal vision easily made out the massive expanses of farmland spreading out before him all the way right up to the fifty-meter-tall perimeter wall a little more than fifteen kilometers from his position. To free up as much space as they could for farming in this undeveloped section of the village, the farmers were asked to live within the village proper itself and come out here only for work. To that end, only barns were built here for livestock and storage, and only patrols came by here at this time of the night.
As a result, this area was truly sparse to the sharp eyes of one Uzumaki Naruto, even as he understood the necessity of Konoha growing its own crops and livestock.
With strict control over who were allowed into the village, and the fact normal supply routes from outside could easily be disrupted for any reason due to the strained relations between all the major powers in the Nations, it became essential for any large hidden village to at least produce its own food supply and be self-sustaining in cases of war or siege. It had the added benefit of helping the local economy by keeping food prices down since merchants from outside the village didn't have the leverage to charge the citizens higher prices on the food they would have desperately needed otherwise.
In other words, this was an important part of the village and if Mizuki was doing something suspicious here, then it wasn't any good.
Naruto quickly put his hands into the familiar cross-shape seal with a whisper on his lips.
"Tajú Kage Bushin!"
Fifteen clones formed instantly out of puffs of smoke around their creator. They nodded to him silently, already given their orders when they were created, then scattered in different directions immediately to check all the barns, wells, and important features of the farmland like streams and ponds. It was highly likely Mizuki would have gone to one of these places for whatever he was going to do.
So what's the status on our wayward assistant sensei? Naruto quizzed inwardly as he began walking calmly down a path weaving its way through the crops toward the wall. He had to take it slow and wait for one of his clones to report back, lest he overshot a potential trail and had to waste time turning back. With his heightened sense of smell and the tracking skills he learned from Jiraiya, Anko, and Kakashi, there was little chance his clones wouldn't find any trance of Mizuki passing by here; especially when he had been around the assistant long enough to memorize his scent.
There was silence for a long moment as he felt Kurama's puzzlement.
It's strange. I clearly sensed him in this area until a few minutes ago. However, he just disappeared. There's absolutely no way he's competent enough to evade my senses…not with the malice he was emitting. she replied, sounding seriously offended at the notion of that moron being able to hide from her senses.
Naruto frowned. He did not like where this was going, since it was clear Mizuki was way too suspicious to be acting on orders. He would have to consider the possibility of treason, and act accordingly.
There is interference in the area, though. I cannot sense anything beyond that wall. I think it's because of the detection barrier and the wall made from that wood asshole's mokuton. It's one of the few things in this world that could inhibit my powers, even if it's been more than a hundred years since its creation.
You mean to tell me he found a way outside from here?
That's the likely course. Kurama affirmed. She would've accepted many others having the potential to evade her senses somewhat using their own skills, but not Mizuki. Therefore, the only reason for his elusiveness was some outside interference.
Naruto nodded, deciding to just trust his friend's word on this matter. If she said Mizuki made it to the other side without alerting anyone, then that was the case. He created one more clone and dispelled it, sending new orders to his active clones to focus their search on areas located near the base of the perimeter wall. He then picked up speed and broke into a sprint toward the wall, carefully weaving through orchards and crops to avoid damaging them.
Finally, a clone dispelled, giving him some good news. It found Mizuki's scent trail not far from his position, so he quickly adjusted his heading in the new direction while running at top speed.
Naruto soon appeared in a blur of speed in front of a large but unassuming barn near the base of the wall. A few seconds later, he was joined by the rest of his clones. Sniffing deeply, he confirmed Mizuki's scent was leading right up to the barn, and it was recent. He went ahead and dispelled the clones on his left and glanced at the remaining six on his right.
"Go ahead and check for traps."
The clones nodded and quietly made their way inside. Meanwhile, the original decided to turn off his resistance seal and deactivate his eyepatch for his Sharingan to be fully utilized.
Best to be prepared for anything.
He frowned when he heard a light thud from inside the barn and tensed for a moment. However, nothing further happened. It was only thirty seconds later when the clones called out the all clear from inside the building.
He's in a hurry if he's not even bothering with the basic principle of leaving traps for possible pursuers.
Either that, or he's too stupid and arrogant to believe no one noticed him leaving. I'm sure you'll understand when I say I'm sticking with the latter viewpoint.
Walking closer now that it was clear, Naruto noted the 'Condemned for Demolition' signs plastered all over the open front doors. However, the barn itself seemed to be in only a mild state of disrepair, and deduced it was abandoned over only the past year. Stepping inside, he found himself facing down a wide aisle lined with three empty livestock pesn on each side. A strong smell of dried hay and goats permeated the air and it was clear this barn had been used for milk production. A thick carpet of dried and withered hay covered every inch of the floor from the door to the back, and cobwebs covered everything and everywhere, denoting this barn's abandoned state.
His observation done, he moved to where all of his remaining clones stood in the middle pen on his right. He then casually leaned against the pen's fencing, making it creak slightly under his weight, and took a peek over the top.
"We surprised his doton clone trying to cover this up, boss. It didn't even see us coming." one of the clones reported as it pointed down to an hidden wooden hatch left wide open for anyone to see. Naruto noted one of his other clones pointing at a pile of earth on the floor on the other side of the pen that had some chakra slowly fading to nothingness inside. In addition, there were some shifted hay and loose floorboards near the hatch. He realized this secret entrance was double-layered to prevent the hatch being easily found by anyone who might have searched this barn in the past.
So, the thud he heard earlier was because of the earth clone being terminated.
Good thing only shadow clones transferred knowledge back to their creator. He did not need Mizuki to realize there was someone coming up behind him just yet.
"We're sure he went through here?" Naruto quizzed, and the clones confirmed with silent nods. He took a quick moment to think before nodding decisively.
"I'll be right behind you guys."
The clones quickly hopped into the open hatch to scout ahead for possible traps. Meanwhile, Naruto stepped back outside the barn and held his hands together in a ram seal. After whispering a quiet apology to Kana and Ino for temporarily scrambling their internal sensors a bit with this blunt-force technique, he quickly built up a good chunk of chakra within and released it in an invisible but powerful pulse wave spreading out in all direction that would continue onward throughout the entire village. At the very least, it should alert the Hokage himself to this general location.
Turning back inside the barn and hopping over the fence into the pen with the hatch, Naruto was stopped by Kurama's grim voice.
Naruto…you're not going to like this.
After some testing, the powerful vixen found she could briefly extend her consciousness to any active clone if it was close enough, and she knew what the clones had discovered down the hatch. She was enraged for a brief moment, but knew she had to keep her container calm enough to carry out this self-imposed mission without losing himself.
Kurama, what's going on?
You'd better dispel your clones. They're about to make it out the other side, and they will hunt down and tear apart that despicable bastard; even with you commanding them otherwise. Kurama continued in a calming voice, with the exception of the venom she spat out upon mentioning Mizuki. Naruto was bewildered, now worried about what that blue-haired asshole had done to send his clones into uncontrollable rage.
Taking his tenant's suggestion, he willed all his clones to dispel.
In the next instant, their combined rage and knowledge hit him all at once and he immediately understood why. His right eye instantly changing to crimson, long fangs shooting out of his snarling lips quickly, and his fingernails growing into claws, it took Naruto all of his remaining self-control not to let Kurama's chakra get any more wild within him.
However, he couldn't hold back a deep and terrifying roar that blasted all the hanging cobwebs away, cracked the wood planks of the pens and walls around him with its sheer force, and rattled the entire barn into near collapse. Growling ferociously, his trembling right hand clenched into a fist and, with one swing,-
-he smashed the fencing he had just hopped over into oblivion with tiny splinters and dust flying everywhere, filling up the still-shaking barn.
I know. I'm pissed too, but you need to calm down. You must think rationally in order to catch and make him pay slowly for what he did years ago. Kurama's cool tone was enough to cut through her container's red haze, and he did manage to rein himself in now.
With the debris cloud clearing away as he took several calming breaths, Naruto's more feral features slowly receded, and he returned to normal for the most part. His hot and raw rage now gave way to cold fury with his visible eye turning icy to almost match the color of the Sharingan under his eyepatch.
Not wasting any more time, he quickly hopped down the hatch into pitch-black darkness for about thirty feet before landing.
Upon first glance, it was an unlit underground passage heading in the direction of the wall, and definitely under it considering it took his clones about two kilometers to almost reach the other end. His active Sharingan took care of the lighting issue for him as he easily sprinted at full speed down the long and narrow tunnel. What he found odd about this passage was that all four sides were made out of hardened and smooth red clay with strange swirl markings covering every inch of the tunnel. Someone must have used a technique to build this tunnel, and he strongly doubted Mizuki did this.
He'd have to leave that question for others who knew more about this strange building technique.
Thanks for calming me down. I'm surprised you're angry over this, though.
Baka, you really shouldn't be surprised I may actually like a few more humans other than you by now. Even without that, anything that dares to harm those important to my partner will earn my ire as well.
Naruto nodded, then scowled when his Sharingan picked up something lying on the dusty floor of the tunnel near the midway point. This was where his clones found it.
He skidded to a stop and crouched to slowly pick it up, feeling a mixture of dread and hope as he finally confirmed an answer to a question left dormant for so long.
It was a torn and dirty piece of white silk, and he held it open with both hands to see what he would find on it. He growled menacingly upon seeing the decayed but familiar flame symbol of a certain clan sewn onto it.
This proved it; Hyuuga Hanabi had been through here.
She had been somehow taken out of the village while being briefly abducted by Kiri missing-nin a few years ago. When Naruto and the Hokage rescued her, they noticed her white clan robe had a large hole on her back for some reason even though she was completely unharmed. It was now clear one of the missing-nin ripped the well-known symbol off and dumped it here in an attempt to cover up her relation with the famous clan while escaping outside the village.
Finally, after all this time, Naruto had just stumbled onto where and how Konoha's impressive defenses were breached in that incident.
He clenched the piece of silk in his hands with a cold expression. This meant Mizuki was likely the one responsible for letting the Kiri party in. Therefore, he was also responsible for Hanabi's life being in danger. Finally, he was the cause of her trauma in which she still occasionally had nightmares to this day of being successfully abducted.
Naruto was just about ready to go full transformation to wipe this miserable cockroach's existence off the planet.
"Bastard…you're not getting away." he hissed, promising to put an end to all of this one way or another tonight. It boggled his mind to consider the damages this blue-haired idiot might have caused by allowing all kinds of enemies into the village over the years. Just how many lives did he ruin, both directly and indirectly? Was this for money, resentment, fun, or any other insignificant reason?
Naruto was going to find that out one way or another.
Tucking the piece of silk into his waist pouch, the blonde ran at full speed to the other end of the tunnel. He then quickly ran up the wall using tree-walking, carefully pushed through a new hatch, and found himself inside a large hollow tree trunk with its interior overgrown with green moss everywhere. Glancing back at where he came out, he was impressed to see the hatch was covered by the moss as well. Closing it would have rendered it practically invisible to the eyes if any passerby ever felt inclined to check inside the trunk.
Glancing around, he noted a small exit at the ground that he had to crouch to pass through.
I'm picking him up again now that we're outside past the wall. He's not far from here; in fact, he's stopped for some reason.
Mentally nodding, Naruto ducked through the small exit to find himself standing in overgrown grass that loomed over him even at his height, and it completely covered the tree trunk's entrance.
This secret passage into the village was very well-hidden. Anyone would have had to be rather lucky to stumble onto this place, even if they knew they were searching for a hidden passageway in the general area. Otherwise, only an Inuzuka might have found this place if foreign scents just happened to be still lingering around.
Making his way out of the tall grass, the blonde found himself in a dense forest with enormous trees dominating the scenery all around him. The canopy overhead was so thick the bright moonlight barely broke through the leaves in thin beams to spread some meager lighting at the ground level. Peering between the massive trees behind the hollow trunk he came out of, he made out the dark silhouette of the large perimeter wall looming over him. Kurama was right; they were now outside the village.
Naruto then focused on the task of catching his prey when his nose picked up the scent again. At this point, he just couldn't help but allow his anger to burn slowly but surely, and some of his feral features began to manifest themselves as he moved closer to the latest object of his ire.
Only a few kilometers away
Meanwhile, Mizuki, Konoha's newest missing-nin, was hurriedly rummaging through a shabby wooden shack sitting alone at the edge of a clearing. He was searching for an hidden stash Kabuto had told him about.
Flashback a few weeks ago
"I can't take this bullshit anymore! No matter how much I try to sabotage that demon, it keeps turning in passing grades and never uses any of the wrong kata I 'taught' that thing in sparring tests! It even had the nerve to attack Sasuke-kun for saying exactly what it deserved to hear!" Mizuki ranted as he paced back and forth in Kabuto's school health office. The gray-haired medic sitting at his desk rolled his eyes when his 'comrade' weren't looking.
"And it knows I was trying to get in its way! He was sending me those goddamn smug expressions whenever anything I tried didn't work. I just want to bash that fucking face in! To make this even worse, he's going to graduate with no issue at this rate! How could this godforsaken village have allowed this thing to live, and even learn how to kill? That old man must be going senile!" the assistant teacher spat out, spittle flying due to the insane hatred overwhelming him. Kabuto frowned in annoyance.
He's been letting his hatred control him lately, and he is becoming a liability. Not that he was much use to us before, but I can't just have him disappear anywhere near here. It'd draw unnecessary attention, even if I made it an obvious suicide. I'll have to give him an incentive to betray this village and leave on his own for no particular reason. This way, they shouldn't think to investigate his workplace and associates too much. he thought emotionlessly.
"Now…Mizuki-san, what did I say about discussing that out here where anyone can overhear you?" he warned calmly, his tone laced with danger. The blue-haired man stiffened, before swallowing silently. Kabuto sighed wearily as he nonchalantly put up a privacy barrier to seal his office.
"It's apparent you're growing too impatient and emotional to be of any use here." he continued, his black eyes boring into Mizuki's alarmed ones. He then raised a hand to forestall the coming protestation.
"Outside the village to the northeast, there is a large clearing with a wooden shack. Inside, you'll find a stash I've left for anyone who wishes to defect to our master. In it, you'll find your next destination and something special to help you get accepted into our ranks easily. You'll need it since you're nowhere near strong enough as you are right now." he spoke calmly, ignoring Mizuki's fuming expression at being called weak.
"You have a month, and be sure to do something that'll draw their attention solely onto you. You're getting to be uncontrollable here, and I will not risk having you blow my cover. It's either leave here willingly or I will personally take care of this. That also goes for if you get caught. You know I have ways of silencing you even in a well-guarded cell." Kabuto finished coldly, his dull black eyes narrowing threateningly. Mizuki flinched, and gulped with cold sweat coming down his face. He nodded nervously; too afraid to utter any word in response.
Despite his all-consuming obsession with the demon as of late, he had a rather strong preference for living.
After a minute of searching, Mizuki finally found what he was looking for in a secret compartment underneath a floorboard in the far corner. He took out a small fabric-wrapped bundle and replaced the floorboard. After removing the fabric, he now had a folded piece of paper and a small wooden flask in his hands.
After a quick check, the flask was filled with some light purple fluid inside. Putting the flask aside for the moment, Mizuki unfolded the paper to reveal a small map denoting a location in a small port town on the coast to the east, and a note next to it.
'Follow the map. Inside the flask is a mixture that will help you reach your full potential in an instant and join our ranks. Wait until you've passed the borders and hid yourself to drink it. If you're discovered, you must drink it and destroy the flask immediately. It will provide you with more than enough power to defeat your enemies, and escape.'
Mizuki grinned greedily, his thoughts completely focused on how much power he would have after drinking this special mixture. In addition, he was bringing Orochimaru something extraordinary that should give him an instant status boost in the new village his new master was building in secret.
The Scroll of Seals should do very nicely with its collection of forbidden jutsu, items, and seals.
It was no easy feat sneaking in and stealing this without the patrols noticing. He bet Kabuto didn't expect him to have done something like snatching the large scroll right from under the Hokage's nose; and eagerly hoped his latest achievement would knock that arrogant medic's ego down a few notches.
Snapping himself out of his latest flight of fancy, Mizuki memorized the directions and destroyed the paper, before picking up the flask to slip it into one of his flak vest's pockets. Picking up the stolen scroll, he turned to the shack's lone door, prepared to run all night until he reached his next destination. He grinned smugly at making fools out of his former comrades so easily.
He was so assured in his escape, but his only regret was that he didn't get to kill the demon somehow.
As if prove what he wished for was never what he was going to get, a familiar yet terrifying presence of the great demon fox hit Mizuki like a sledgehammer, followed by a large tremor shaking the entire shack. He shrieked slightly like a frightened child and scrambled backward to the back wall, dropping the large scroll in the process. He crouched into a trembling ball and it felt like the walls of the tiny shack was closing in on him, threatening to suffocate him. He whimpered piteously, wishing with all his might for that terrible feeling to go away!
But it wouldn't go away as the pressure from outside only grew even more imposing and malicious while inching closer to the shack. Flashbacks of the Kyuubi's attack on the village were running through the former assistant sensei's head. He wasn't in the shack anymore. He was a young child standing on a demolished street staring numbly up at the massive visage of the Kyuubi no Kitsune, with all of its nine long tails swaying ominously in the dark sky behind it, as it roared and destroyed an entire block of buildings with one swipe of its claw.
It roared once again with the billowing flames of the destroyed buildings surrounding it, and it turned its head to lock its crimson eyes directly with the young boy's.
Mizuki managed to shake himself out of that nightmare. This wasn't the same giant fox that attacked Konoha that night! This was just a reincarnated demon in a boy's skin. While he didn't understand how it followed him here, he knew it was greatly weakened, even with that terrible presence! He confirmed this for himself at today's exams. This was his chance!
He was going to finally kill the demon now, and nothing was going to stop him.
Reaching into his vest for the wooden flask he had just put away, he removed the stopper and hesitated only for a second, before drinking all of its light purple content in one gulp. Using a small katon jutsu, he burned the wooden flask to ashes. He knew Kabuto and Orochimaru preferred to leave behind as little trace of any of their research as possible.
Mizuki only had to wait a moment before his entire body began twitching and pulsing violently, and he immediately felt like he was growing stronger and faster already. He grimaced in slight pain as he could see and feel his muscles expanding and bulging underneath his clothes. At this moment, it felt like he could take on the entire world! It was so intoxicating. How dare that demon startle him with its weak presence just a moment ago!
Rising out of his crouch, he noticed he was growing taller and his chest was still expanding with even more muscles. Small but sharp fangs grew in his mouth, his fingernails sharpened into claws, and all of his senses seemed to improve exponentially as his eyes, nose, and ears changed to become feline-like. Soon, his flak vest popped open from the extra girth, his shirt ripped under the sheer bulk of his still-expanding muscles, and he was growing dark orange fur all over mixed with some light gray on his torso. He noticed some black stripes appearing as well, and he recognized the fur colors and pattern as being similar to a tiger. When the changes ceased and his body stopped twitching and pulsing, he had grown a foot and gained an extra hundred pounds of pure muscles.
To anyone, he now looked like a powerful hybrid of tiger and human.
After Mizuki removed the ruined vest and shirt leaving him bare-chested, he stared down at his clawed hands, flexing them for a long moment, before grinning excitedly at such power coursing through his veins now! His new master Orochimaru was the greatest ever for giving him power in minutes that his years in service to Konoha never got him! He chuckled evilly as he stepped up to the shack's lone door.
Yes! This much new power should be more than enough to crush that demon once and for all!
Mizuki's false sense of supremacy was the reason he was so flabbergasted when a giant crimson chakra claw plowed through the old wooden door just as he was about to open it. He just stood still while gaping like a dumbass even when the hand easily wrapped around his now thick torso and yanked.
He was pulled through the now wide-open doorway and flung into the clearing with little effort.
"Knock knock, motherfucker!"
A rough and deep voice followed him while he was still sailing through the air, before landing harshly and rolling to a stop in the middle of the clearing. Surprisingly, that didn't hurt him at all.
Whatever he drank apparently made him much more durable as well. He quickly rose from the ground into a crouch, ready for any follow-up from his opponent. It didn't come though, and he took a moment to gaze toward the shack, expecting to find the demon boy trembling upon seeing the terrifying visage of a large tiger/human hybrid.
Instead, it was nowhere to be found. A quick glance around the clearing revealed no sign of that demon, but he could still feel its presence nearby. The hybrid monster growled deeply.
"Coward! You attack me out of nowhere and then disappear! That didn't even hurt one bit! You must've realized you got in over your head as soon you saw my new form!" Mizuki laughed insanely as he shifted his gaze all over the clearing for any sign of that thing.
"You know what that tells me? You're still pathetically weak! They tell me you're a force of nature; never to be underestimated! I say screw them! Mankind is superior to everything else on this planet, and I'll prove that by finally giving you the death you deserve for even existing, you fucking demon! Witness this form…this is mankind's true strength; the power Orochimaru-sama has given me! I'll find you and rip you apart with my bare hands!" he spat out insanely as he began to flail around the clearing wildly, desperately looking for any sign of that thing.
He stiffened upon feeling a small displacement in the air around him, as if something suddenly appeared nearby.
"Oh really? Let's just see how your 'mankind's true strength' do against her 'force of nature'." a deep and gravely voice spoke from behind Mizuki. He had to admit that sound made him shiver, despite his newfound confidence. He shook it off and quickly turned around, his right arm raised and poised to strike.
He froze at once.
Four chakra tails.
Those were the first things he saw. They were sinisterly dark blood red, long, and swaying ominously in the air. Gulping, his feline eyes followed them down to find them attached to the back of a humanoid form the size of who should have been Uzumaki Naruto standing ten feet from him, only this one was clad from top to feet in the same ominous dark red chakra as the tails. That intimidating chakra seemed to be swirling and twitching, as if it was almost alive, while the demon slouched over slightly with its arms hanging lazily between its legs. What frightened him the most was its face.
Long rabbit-like ears that instantly reminded Mizuki of the Kyuubi twitched slightly. A glowing white right eye was staring at him unflinchingly, while the left seemed to be permanently closed with a white jagged diagonal scar cutting through it. A glowing white sharp-toothed maw that was impossibly large for a human twitched open and closed, as if it was refraining from biting into something soft and fleshy.
Seeing that the petrified Mizuki wasn't going to do anything to make good on his 'mankind's true strength', Naruto chuckled ominously, which was made even more chilling by his cloak's deep voice.
"To be honest, I wasn't even planning on bringing out this much of my partner's power to crush you, even if you've turned into a big ugly son of a bitch. It just leaked out while I was making my way here, because I'm fucking pissed that you've allowed Hyuuga Hanabi to be in harm's way when you let in those Kiri missing-nin years ago."
Mizuki's eyes widened in recognition as he remembered the Kiri missing-nin. They were so incompetent they screwed up his side business when the incident bought down the heat on how they got into the village. It was earning him a good amount of money opening up that secret passage for enemy shinobi all these years as long as they didn't draw attention. Unexplained disappearances and missing information were usually because of these instances, and he didn't care as long as he had cash in hand.
Allowing this slight reaction was a mistake for Mizuki when Naruto got his confirmation and growled menacingly.
The blue-haired tiger hybrid let out an unearthly shriek when an extended chakra tail exploded out of the ground in front of him and wrapped around one of his legs to pick him up into the air upside down. He hadn't noticed Naruto sneaking one of his tails underground during that short speech. The next thing he knew, he was being repeatedly slammed onto the ground like a ragdoll. Before he could even gasp in pain, the tail hoisted him high into the air and spun him around at dizzying speeds for what felt like eternity. A terrifying roar accompanied his trip.
"I DON'T TAKE ANY OF MY PRECIOUS ONES BEING NEEDLESSLY PUT IN DANGER TOO WELL!"
Pure agony. That was all that registered on Mizuki's entire body the moment he realized he had been flung down to the ground at an ungodly speed and created a deep crater. He was sure he'd have had broken bones at best and died at worst if he hadn't been transformed by Orochimaru's potion. He cursed his new resilient form for keeping him conscious, therefore making him experience the full brunt of this pain. That cloaked demon hopped into the crater to land in front of him, and it seemed somewhat surprised, before grinning.
"Oh goody…you're durable. That means I can keep this up for a while longer and I only need to keep you alive for interrogation later. Now, I'm sure you didn't realize it at that moment, but you've babbled out another reason for me to make sure you hurt even more." the mini-Kyuubi pointed its left thumb at the scarred left eye.
"You see, that snake bastard cost me my left eye and nearly killed me. There's also this matter of him causing Mitarashi Anko -another person who's also important to me- so much suffering. The fact you're even remotely associated with Orochimaru would have put you firmly at the top of my shit list right next to him…if your hand in Hanabi-chan's kidnapping hadn't done it already!" he growled with the shroud's terrifying face changing into a menacing frown.
He then lazily held his left hand out in front of him, and the sinister red chakra around it stretched and enlarged into a giant clawed hand that suddenly shot out and slammed into a surprised Mizuki. It pushed him into the softened ground, creating a deep trench with his body as he was painfully driven up the slope of the crater to its lip, and then launched into the air spinning wildly. His latest aerial trip ended abruptly when his back slammed into a tree sitting in his flight trajectory. Feeling the air knocked out of his lungs, Miziki slid down and barely managed to stay standing when his feet touched the ground and held on to the tree for support. Gulping for breaths, he realized after a moment the area around him was lighting up in bright red .
Snapping his attention in the direction of the crater he was flung out of, Mizuki gasped as he watched a small ball of fire scream toward him. He barely had time to dodge out of the way as the tree he was using for support, and the surrounding ones, were suddenly toppled over in a large explosion.
Blown forward, the hybrid monster flailed wildly in midair before being slapped to the ground facedown with a flick from one of the demon's damnable tails. He let out a pained groan upon slamming into the ground in front of the cloaked demon.
There was a long moment of silence as nothing was said between the two, and Mizuki took this time to recover a little and struggle to his fours. It felt like Naruto's awful presence was bearing down on him even more, telling him to just give up struggling.
"I…I can't believe this…shitty luck. I was supposed to…just get away and...present the scroll…to Orochimaru-sama. He would have been…so pleased at this unexpected gift and would have…given me a nice position." Mizuki mumbled between pained pants, angry at his sudden change in luck and at the demon for interfering. Naruto still remained silent, though one could tell he was still displeased by the aggressive twitching of his four tails.
Mizuki's body, despite its increased durability, just would not move in this hopeless situation. He wanted to run as far and fast away from this as possible, but his instincts were telling him it was pointless; that he was supposed to just curl into a ball and wait for his execution from a much superior predator.
"H-h-how were you even able to hide your true power all this time, you damn demon?" he forced himself to growl out as he struggled to his feet. All of a sudden, his new bulky form seemed to hamper him now, and his heightened thought processes and reflexes weren't at their peak anymore for some reason. The cloaked Naruto cocked his head for a moment, before lazy and deep laughter bubbled forth from his open maw.
The gravely sound would have been frightening to a kage.
"You make it sound like this was all I could use. This is just something to access quickly and easily, though it's not exactly practical in the long run. As pissed as I am, you're nowhere near worth the hassle of fully transforming. To quote a clichéd line from those kids' mangas…" the dark red shroud's glowing white maw stretched impossibly all the way across Naruto's face in a sinister grin, and his glowing white right eye narrowed in sadistic delight at the sight of utter horror registering on Mizuki's ugly face.
It seemed the former Konoha chunin had just realized he never had any speck of chance from the moment he was discovered; even with his new and much stronger form. His despair became complete as soon as Naruto growled out his next statement.
"This isn't even my final form."
With a ferocious roar, the mini-Kyuubi shot forward with his right hand outstretched, about to slam it into his prey's terrified face.
Five minutes later, a short distance from
the now one-sided beat-down
Yugao was used to her surrogate little sister's bad moods from the time spent under that damnable curse mark. Despite that, she could tell this one was especially atrocious as she observed Anko's vicious scowl while they slipped and weaved between large trees with their search party in a rush toward where they were feeling large amounts of chakra being thrown around.
Fifteen minutes earlier when they felt Naruto's powerful chakra pulse even with their basic sensor training, the purple-haired sisters knew something serious was happening tonight. He never would have done that lightly and risk incurring the wrath of Kana and Ino. As it were, the Yamanaka women would be nursing some migraines tonight and Naruto had better found a damn good reason for doing it.
After the pulse hit, there were some confusion on why it came from the farms, and it took a long moment to get organized at the Tower with the other ANBU and shinobi. Finally, the Hokage issued firm orders to help Uzumaki Naruto capture the chunin Mizuki quickly for questioning. The quick-response ANBU team already found their way to the general area where the chakra pulse originated only a minute after it hit, but had to wait on an Inuzuka to sniff out exactly where Naruto and Mizuki went. The chakra pulse was never a precise method of pinpointing anyone's location; it was usually used to raise an alarm to the general area instead.
It was just a coincidence that Yugao and Anko's search team had an Inuzuka and they were the first to arrive. They quickly found the scent trail, made their way into an abandoned barn, and hopped down the still-open hatch. That was when the air around the search party became frigid when Anko only took one look at the swirling patterns on the walls of the tunnel as they lit it up. She then snarled viciously before falling silent with her mood taking a nosedive, and Yugao's heart went out to her little surrogate sister.
It was the same pattern she had seen all over the old underground laboratory complex where she discovered Anko restrained and left for dead so long ago.
The party had already gotten out the other end of the tunnel quickly when the air became thick with lingering chakra from a battle somewhere up ahead. That was why they were rushing through the forest at this time.
Yugao wasn't bothered by the imposing presence of the great demon fox's chakra, but the other one…she sneered in disgust. That foul chakra she was feeling made her skin crawl, and gave her a bad case of déjà vu as she was reminded of Anko's lapses in her control over that damned curse mark. Speaking of the young jounin, she looked about ready to slice whoever had that foul chakra into tiny pieces and feed them to her snakes with the way she was squeezing a pair of kunai tightly in her hands.
"Anko-chan…" Yugao whispered quietly behind her mask so only her best friend heard. The snake mistress's expression lightened a little upon hearing clear concern in the whisper.
"I'm okay." was all she muttered pointedly while still facing forward, her light brown eyes searching for any sign of Naruto. Yugao swallowed and gave a small nod. This wasn't the time for that. They'd talk afterward.
The search party then felt a shift in the atmosphere and was suddenly blown back a few feet by a massive gust of wind followed by a small tremor in the ground just as the familiar feel of Kurama's chakra disappeared instantly. The surrounding forest fell completely silent; not even an insect uttered a single sound. The members of the search party, with the exception of Anko, shifted nervously, before forcing themselves to push onward past this strange occurrence.
"Naruto-kun." Yugao muttered quietly, concerned enough about the sudden disappearance of the fox's chakra that she forgot her professional demeanor. Anko did the opposite by grinning victoriously.
"Is he okay?" Yugao whispered, making sure to keep the conversation from prying ears.
"Oh, that's right. You haven't seen him really use the fox's power. That's just him releasing it, since he's apparently done wiping the floor with whoever pissed him off enough to use it. I'd hate to be the one facing him just then. It'd be exhausting for me to have to stay on full retreat out of his reach until he can't handle the shroud's corrosion anymore." Anko whispered back.
"Y-you mean…there's something beyond what I've seen him use?"
Anko let out an uneasy chuckle.
"Yeah...I doubt you've seen him go up to four tails, his highest manageable level, yet. It's not really practical against smart and fast enemies who can evade, since he only barely keeps it under control for about fifteen minutes and it leaves him tired afterward. However, that doesn't mean it isn't scary as fuck to witness. Makes me wonder what he'd be like when he fully transforms."
That made Yugao shiver. Naruto's three tails she saw in one spar was enough to make her nervous, and Anko was apparently implying four tails was a significant jump in power! Just how much of a leap forward was this rumored 'full power' he obtained in Iron? She was so glad Naruto was completely loyal to Konoha. If they ever came looking for a fight, the other jinchuuriki were going to find a nasty surprise waiting for them.
Just then, the search party burst out of the trees into a devastated clearing. There were massive gouges in the ground, burning fallen trees everywhere, and deep craters peppering the entire area. The wooden shack at the edge of the clearing somehow got through all of this barely intact, however.
Strolling toward the stunned search party was Uzumaki Naruto, looking normal and a little tired. A barely recognizable and unconscious lump of flesh and bones called Mizuki was being dragged behind in the blonde's grip.
"From the looks of all this destruction and that bloody lump behind you, I'd have to say this is utter and total overkill…and I love it!" Anko's gleeful voice was the first to break the long silent moment. The search party sweatdropped and sighed at the jounin's well-known exuberance for anything to do with over-the-top violence. Yugao also noted with some amusement that Anko's bad mood from a moment ago was long gone upon seeing her favorite blonde. Naruto grinned happily upon seeing a pair of familiar faces in the party.
"You're rather special, Anko-chan." he teased but frowned the next second as he nonchalantly tossed Mizuki at the feet of the party with a dull thump.
"Inside that shack is a giant important-looking scroll I think Hokage-jiji should know about. Also…is any one of you a medic? Bastard just fell unconscious suddenly, and something's happening to his body. It looks like he's getting old fast."
Everyone looked down at the body to see Naruto was right. Mizuki's lumpy and bloodied face was becoming even more unrecognizable as it seemed to grow wrinkles upon wrinkles, and his light-blue hair was whitening, withering, and falling out. All attention snapped back to Naruto, who put his hands up in defense at their clear suspicion.
"As much as I'd like to say I kicked his ass so hard it made him shrivel up and die, I'm pretty sure I didn't cause that!"
In the Hokage's office a little while later
"Thank you for stopping the traitor's actions this night, Naruto-kun." the Third Hokage spoke with a nod toward his surrogate grandson standing next to Anko in front of his desk, which had the large scroll sitting on it. Yugao already split up to do a separate report at the ANBU HQ. Naruto nodded his acceptance with a grin, before frowning.
"I didn't mind the extra time I took with knocking that bastard around, but you guys took a while finding us. What's up with that? I asked Shika to get here and tell everyone of Mizuki's suspicious behavior as quickly as possible."
Hiruzen sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Yes, our response would have been quicker if it wasn't for a rather overzealous guard downstairs. He stubbornly refused to allow Shikamaru-kun in to see me, thinking it was the glory of being a shinobi getting to a new graduate's head."
Naruto let out a brief laugh and Anko smirked. They were imagining Shikamaru's irritated expression at being ignored for such an idiotic reason.
"Lemme guess, he then trapped the guy in his Shadow Possession jutsu and marched him upstairs to find you."
Hiruzen blinked a few times at Naruto's deduction. He vividly remembered the guard's panicked expression as he unwillingly barged into the office with an annoyed Shikamaru behind him, connected by their shadows.
"Ah…yes, that is precisely what he did shortly after we felt your chakra pulse. How did you know?"
Naruto checked the office's clock.
"It's late and that guy was keeping him from his precious sleep."
"That's the only reason he was annoyed?"
"He went straight home after telling you, didn't he?"
Hiruzen had to smirk in amusement. It looked like the Nara clan's legendary laziness was going to continue with the newest heir. Naruto then became serious.
"What happened with Mizuki? I know I didn't go easy on him, but he shouldn't have been so close to death already when I was done."
Anko shook her head.
"I'm pretty sure it wasn't you that caused that. It was something else." she stated with a scowl as she touched the spot on her neck where her curse mark was. Naruto's eye widened at that implication. Hiruzen also understood the gesture and nodded for her to continue.
"I recognized the nasty chakra coming out of that guy as being somewhat similar to my own whenever my curse mark acted up back then. Only this one was crude and much more destructive to the user."
Naruto squinted his eyes in thought.
"Kurama was telling me there was an odd change in Mizuki's chakra just before we found him. He was babbling like crazy about how drinking his 'gift' from Orochimaru should have been enough to crush me while I was slapping his face around, so I guess that's what caused the change. Fat lot of good it did him though...it only made him a better punching bag."
Anko nodded her affirmation but raised an eyebrow along with the Third's.
"You literally bitch-slapped him nonstop?"
"Yup, with all four tails included too. You have no idea how much I wanted to do it every time the bastard stared at me as if I'm lower than trash over the last year in academy."
The two adults had to smirk at the image in their heads before Anko cleared her throat.
"That snake bastard hates the idea of his experiments being failures and had a particular tendency to dispose of his 'failed' potions by dosing subjects he considered expendable. He'd then wait and observe the results for any unexpected discovery. Most of the time, the subjects just died painfully. I honestly think he'd do the same with his underperforming subordinates just to see if something different happens from what he expected."
"You're saying Mizuki didn't realize he 'poisoned' himself. Though, it makes sense now because my Sharingan saw his entire chakra network was rapidly and completely burning itself out from the moment I found him. There was no coming back from that one, and I doubt he'd drink whatever this was if he knew it would kill him in the end."
"I'm not sure if Orochimaru did this himself; it's more likely a trusted spy he somehow snuck in here. I wouldn't put it past him to have some eyes and ears here."
"Nor would I." the Third interjected.
"Mizuki was also babbling it was his own idea to steal the scroll. He might've pissed off someone here–no surprise there- so he might have been trying to get on the snake traitor's good side when he left." Naruto mused.
"Unfortunately, we likely will never know now." a distorted voice crackled from behind Naruto and Anko, making them tense for a moment until they realized the voice belonged to the ANBU Commander. All attention turned to the dark corner of the office where Dragon slowly faded into existence out of the shadows.
"He perished just half a minute ago due to total destruction of his chakra pathways. Nothing we tried came close to stabilizing him at all, and all that's left is a wrinkled husk and liquefied organs. It wouldn't have mattered if Uzumaki-san had killed him with his own hands since he was going to die either way."
Anko and Naruto shrugged while the Hokage looked thoughtful at the news.
"Good riddance. Aside from the betrayal, he was a pain in the ass at the academy with his favoritism and he put Hanabi-chan in danger." the blonde muttered as he pulled out the piece of silk with the Hyuuga clan symbol he found in the tunnel and showed it to everyone with a quick explanation.
"Well, discovering that tunnel certainly answers our long-dormant question of how our defenses were breached in that kidnapping incident. Not to mention this also strengthens the link between Mizuki and Orochimaru even more." the Third mused. At Naruto's tilted head, he continued.
"You must have noticed the odd markings on the walls of that tunnel, Naruto-kun. Orochimaru has a preference for using that pattern when building underground passageways with his earth affinity."
Anko scowled at the explanation, but said nothing.
"I'll get started on collapsing the tunnel and search the surrounding area with my men for any more possible surprises. If you'll excuse me." Dragon inclined her head before fading into the shadows to leave the room. The Third leaned back into his chair with a tired sigh.
"It's been a rather eventful night. It's a good thing Kurama-san picked up on Mizuki's actions. I fear to think about what would come as a result of this scroll being in my former student's hands, so please give her my heartfelt thanks." he stated as he patted a hand on the scroll. Naruto nodded.
"She says it wasn't a big deal. It sounds like this one's important."
"It is. After all, this contains powerful and deadly jutsu, seals, and items declared forbidden by the Hokages over the past century. In fact, information on one of your jutsu, Kage Bushin, is in here."
The blonde blinked a few times.
"I've noticed lately that jutsu isn't really good at staying forbidden. I mean…Anko-chan, Ero-sennin, and Kakashi-sensei was using it too. I learned it because Kurama got the information from her time within my mom."
"The main similarity between all the people you just mentioned is our large chakra reserves. Even then, just because you can do a hundred clones at once without breaking a sweat doesn't mean we can. We barely handle between ten and twenty, so believe me when I say that we don't just teach this to anyone. Take Kurenai-chan as an example; she just made jounin recently but she wouldn't have been able to make more than one or two clones without getting depleted quickly because of her small reserves." Anko interjected.
"She's correct. Please refrain from teaching that jutsu to anyone if it's not needed." the Third requested. Naruto nodded his acceptance.
"Now, I'd want a more detailed report, but it's been a long day with the graduation and now this. I propose we put this off for another time. Have a good night." the old man muttered as he rose out of his seat tiredly.
Somewhere else in the Hokage Tower
Two chunin were walking together down a long and dark hallway after being dismissed by their squad commander for the evening.
"Been a while since there were some excitement, huh?" one of them muttered.
"I wouldn't exactly call one of ours turning traitor exciting." the other replied with a disapproving frown.
"You know I didn't mean that part. At least the son of a bitch died, though."
"Yeah…it was that Uzumaki kid, right? The one who found him first."
"Hah! Don't bullshit me. No way a brand-new baby genin could beat a chunin. That info has to be wrong."
They continued onward, unaware of one of the shadows in the hallway shifting shapes behind them. A human head poked out.
Kabuto smirked as he got confirmation that he successfully tricked Mizuki into killing himself. It was never anyone's intention for that idiot to make it to Otogakure, and he was looking for a way to try one of his potions based on some of Orochimaru's masterful works. He knew it was going to kill whoever drank it, but a perfectly expendable test subject made himself available at the right time. Now all the twisted medic needed to do now was to find his way to the body and gather data before they disposed of it.
Even if Mizuki had escaped by some miracle and made it to the port town indicated on the map, all he would have found there was a popular gathering point for hunter nins who'd likely have gotten news about him turning missing-nin by then. They'd kill him first before asking questions.
Kabuto pushed his glasses up his nose before disappearing back into the shadow, frowning with one last thought.
That Uzumaki Naruto might require more observation. I always thought what I've heard happened in Iron was a bit off.
Soon outside on the streets
"You caught a traitor on the very first night of your shinobi career. Good job, rookie!" Anko exclaimed as she slapped a hand on Naruto's back hard, making him wince.
"It's part of the job. It's what we've been training for after all." he replied with a smile as they began walking to their apartment building.
"Good! I'd hate to see the time I've wasted helping you turn out to be for nothing." she teased. The blonde's expression turned deadpan.
"You've been kicking my ass all over the place with a giddy expression. If you've actually been thinking you were wasting your time, you've been enjoying it way too much with that attitude then."
She grinned playfully and waved it off.
"I'm just giving you some shit, but I have to admit it's been a great two years. Definitely the best since the snake fucker took me in." it was a testament to her trust in Naruto that she was openly talking about her traitorous ex-sensei with him without feeling defensive or angry.
"Does it have to be only two years?" Naruto replied with a smirk that made Anko's stomach do a little flip. It also didn't help that he was nearly the same height as her now; he definitely hadn't been a 'gaki' for a good while. She recovered with a warm grin.
"No, it doesn't. Let's work for year three and beyond." she replied softly, deciding to straighten out her feelings about the blonde next to her this very moment. Thinking back to the dinner at the ramen stand earlier tonight, she saw how much Naruto cared for Hinata and Ino just from the warm expressions he displayed while interacting with them.
Oh, how she wished she had that look directed at her, to know how hot his kisses would make her, and to feel how his rough and calloused hands on her soft skin would fill her entire being with bliss!
Remembering what Yugao had said about Naruto definitely liking her, it made her heart race knowing that, despite her age and rather humble background compared to the rich and noble heiresses, he wanted her just as much he did Ino and Hinata. She also appreciated that he was giving her all the space she needed to figure this out without any pressure. Was she ready to take this chance now?
She knew she began to feel attracted to Naruto while she spent that summer training with him. That he protected her last silver of innocence and removed her curse seal without any ulterior motive beforehand admittedly added a lot to that infatuation. It was so easy to have fun and be friends with him, so easy to relate to him because of their similar backgrounds, and, most importantly, he didn't care one bit about her past and saw her for what she truly was.
As soon as Anko realized what she felt for Naruto to be the onset of love, she ignored it outright at first because of the age difference. However, it didn't take her long to realize he was mature and he was going to grow up physically before she even knew it, so she decided to wait this out instead; like a long one-sided courtship. It wasn't like there were any other man even remotely close to him in potential and appeal. As she waited for Naruto to grow up enough, her attraction to him continued to flourish in the background with their bonds deepening even more.
When Naruto suddenly returned to Konoha broken and nearly dead this past summer, all the emotions brewing within her came to the surface at once. She knew she was hopelessly in love with him the moment she felt her entire being shatter from within upon hearing he was holding on to his life by a thread. Only her ingrained habit of being a tough-as-nails kunoichi kept her from breaking down sobbing in public like Hinata and Ino did.
The horrific and constant effects of her curse mark were bad enough to make her contemplate taking her own life many times, but she never let it beat her in the end. However, the idea of living her life without Naruto in any capacity from that point onward likely would have succeeded where the curse mark failed; mostly because she would have abandoned everything she had, including her own life, into finding and taking Orochimaru down with her for causing this. She had this impression deep within her very soul that she was never going to find happiness remotely close to what she would have had with Naruto. The moment she heard Naruto was going to survive, she truly did want to shed tears, but in relief this time. It took all she had to hold it in until she was alone, and swore to herself at that time that she was going to take her shot with him when the chance came up.
The fact he had other women vying for his attention annoyed Anko at first, but she came to accept the situation pretty quickly. She also realized she wouldn't have had a chance with Naruto at all if Hinata hadn't allowed and encouraged this. On the other hand, she could have tried dirty tactics to ensnare him for herself, but she knew he would not have approved at all if he found out. The idea sickened her anyway.
As strong as Naruto was going to become along with his desire for a large family in the future, polygamy was practically a foregone conclusion for him in this society, especially with his heritage. Anko likely would complain some and be a little competitive for her man's affection sometimes, but she was not going to stubbornly stand in the way. She came to trust Hinata and Ino with him, and would have faith in Naruto's judgment on any other possible woman in the future. After all, he easily saw past all of her defenses to her true self.
Glancing over at her secret love, her stomach did another flip when she noted Naruto was eyeing her with a bemused smile before shifting his gaze forward down the street to avoid giving the impression he wanted to pry. She had been deep in thought and he apparently was concerned. That small act of thoughtfulness was enough to erase the last trace of hesitation within her.
This was it. After all the internal debate she was having over this issue for the past few months, Mitarashi Anko was finally going to tell Uzumaki Naruto how utterly in love she was with him. Then kiss him for all he was worth to see just what was getting Ino and Hinata so giddy lately.
Stopping suddenly in her track, her right hand shot out to gently tug on Naruto's left jacket sleeve, making him stop half a step later in the middle of an empty street.
Naruto was wondering why they stopped when he glanced back at Anko, and was surprised to find her acting somewhat nervous. Not to mention also undeniably cute, since she was tugging on his jacket sleeve like a shy little girl.
"Anko-chan?' he whispered, not realizing he had just made her weak in the knees from the way he called her name so softly and caringly. If hearing him whisper her name like that made her feel this good just after she had fully accepted her love for him, she should have done this long ago!
"N-naruto…" she stuttered with pink cheeks as she averted her gaze, quite aware of what it meant when she called him by his name. He would know it was something serious. He turned to face her directly, his gaze steady as he gently removed Anko's hand off his sleeve to grip it reassuringly in his right hand. She bit back a low moan at how warm his hand felt wrapped around hers. Was it always this hot? Why hadn't she noticed until now?
"There's…something I need to say." she whispered while barely keeping her eyes level with Naruto's concerned blue eye.
Seeing her this unsure, which was very rare for this confident and straightforward woman, Naruto had a feeling whatever she was going to say would change things between them, and he found himself anticipating that coming moment. He also understood that she had only shown this side of her to those she trusted explicitly, and this just made her even more attractive and amazing to him, if that was possible. He tightened his grip on her hand encouragingly and she unconsciously inched close enough to him that their slightly anxious breaths tickled each other's face.
"It's ok. You can tell me anything, Anko-chan." he whispered soothingly with a warm smile. Anko smiled back gratefully and nodded, before taking a shuddering breath.
Hearing such an unexpected sound, both Naruto and Anko jumped back a few feet as if they were shocked, breathing heavily and hearts racing. They then angrily snapped their heads toward a man who appeared out of a Shunshin a few meters down the street from them.
Hyuuga Kõ was a trusted Branch member guard for the main family who would lay his life on the line without blinking for them, especially Hinata and Hanabi. He feared absolutely nothing for the sake of the two heiresses. However, right now, he gulped and sweated buckets when he came out of the Shunshin to find himself on the receiving end of two death glares and a large dose of killing intent from the Snake Mistress. And did the young man's single eye flash red for an instant there?
"I apologize if I have interrupted anything, but I was sent to find you, Uzumaki-sama." he said quickly and sincerely with a bow, hoping to placate the blonde and jounin. He really hoped they followed the adage 'don't kill the messenger' at this moment.
The purple-haired woman growled and was about to let out an angry retort, before Naruto gently laid a hand on her shoulder, silencing her immediately. He then leaned in near her ear.
"We can talk about this as soon as we're alone, Anko-chan. You know there's no hurry." he whispered, knowing his breath on her earlobe would be pleasant and help her calm down a bit. It worked as expected when Anko shivered and visibly relaxed, before nodding silently. She was still glaring at Kõ for interrupting her chance at getting Naruto's kisses, though.
"Thanks for taking the trouble to come out here, Kõ-san. What's wrong, though? It's pretty late, you know." Naruto replied neutrally.
"Lady Hanabi has woken up from another terrible nightmare about her attempted abduction. She has requested your presence if you are able to come, Uzumaki-sama." Kõ explained with another sincere bow. Naruto's expression softened at the mention of the young heiress and her traumatic nightmares. She would be happy to hear all responsible parties in that abduction attempt were finally found and eliminated, and would never do anything like this again.
"Go on. She needs you." Anko encouraged softly, understanding the need to feel safe after nightmares. She relied constantly on Yugao's presence when she was dealing with her own brand of nightmares from her cursed mark back then. Naruto turned to her with a conflicted expression.
"Are you sure? I can take a few minutes to hear you out on whatever you have to say, Anko-chan."
The Snake Mistress shook her head.
"This can wait for another time, rookie." she replied with an assured grin before hugging him, enjoying the brief warmth this action provided.
"Congratulations again on becoming shinobi. I'm proud of you and I hope to work with you soon."
Naruto smiled his acceptance before saying his good nights. He then turned to Kõ and nodded seriously. They then left in a pair of Shunshin.
Now left alone, Mitarashi Anko suddenly growled fiercely and –
- heel-kicked a nearby metal lamppost hard enough to bend it almost forty-five degrees at the kink.
Sighing dejectedly as she stared at her latest handiwork while ignoring the minor ache in her right foot, she then resumed walking to her apartment with every intention of drinking at least a few cups of sake to drown her disappointment. She would have to take a few days to work up some more courage to try again, and if there was another interruption…
Blood was going to spill.
The omake coming up next has nothing to with the story and won't be considered part of its 'canon', which is too bad because it's a nice tribute to a movie I've seen over the weekend. Only one guess what that movie is. :-)
Omake: Run! It's…!
That made Uzumaki Naruto freeze. After spending most of his young years dealing with life and death situations and the hellish training under the thumb of his partner and sensei, only few things filled him with absolute dread.
A certain dark-skinned vixen uttering that phrase was one of them.
He became short of breath as his hand stopped petting Kurama's head on his lap. This was one of her mandated 'cuddle times' after their usual training.
"Oi, keep that hand moving or I break it." the beautiful vixen grumbled with an annoyed frown, displeased she wasn't being spoiled right at this moment. Naruto started at the sound of her voice and absentmindedly resumed his petting by raking his fingers through her long black and curly hair, making her almost purr. He swallowed to wet his suddenly dry mouth and put on a faraway expression as he remembered a particularly traumatic experience from the last time Kurama said she was bored.
"And I know what you're thinking. Last time was an accident, you know." she defended before almost purring again under his ministrations.
"How the hell is intentionally setting my hair on fire, leaving me somehow bald here for months -no matter how hard I tried to restore my astral body to its original form- an accident?"
Kurama chuckled at the memory; she couldn't help it if the sight of a bald and grumpy Naruto was hilarious.
"I was aiming for your clothes."
Naruto let out an annoyed sigh as his part-time tormentor decided the petting was enough and sat up to lean back against her container's chest between his legs. She hummed in delight while she got comfortable with his arms wrapped around her waist. Her petite frame made it easy for her to get warm inside the larger blonde's embrace.
"So what do you want to do now?" Naruto muttered, resignation clear in his tone. When his long-time friend got bored, he never had any choice but to get dragged into her crazy scenarios and pranks.
Clearly reading his thoughts, Kurama gave one of his thighs a lazy swat.
"Don't be a pussy, Naruto. I just feel like 'letting my tails out' and doing some mindless destruction, that's all."
"We can set up the urban area for you to rampage through. You always liked doing that."
She shook her head.
"That's fine, but I'm not in the mood to do it all by myself."
Naruto raised an eyebrow.
"So you want an opponent around the same size as you?"
"You're catching on."
"I suppose you want to see if -since this is my mindscape- I could create a large enough apparition to fight you one-on-one."
"I'll try. Is it one of the bijuu you want me to bring up? You'll have to show me images and some information."
Kurama hesitated for a brief moment before turning her head to him, and blushed slightly. It was quite cute on her.
"Actually, I was hoping if you could bring one of my favorite fictional creatures from my past to life. It's actually one of my fantasies to fight him in my fox form in the middle of a large city." she spoke shyly with a small pout and her imploring eyes boring into her container's blue eye. She just went from cute to adorable. He'd have done anything for her with that expression.
"Alright, show me."
Kurama lit up in delight and snapped her fingers to bring up a holographic screen in front of the duo. As Naruto scanned through the images and information, he understood why his tenant would have loved to take on this creature if it ever existed.
"Any of those 'movies' about this?"
Kurama's beautiful golden eyes flashed mischievously as she smirked.
"Yep…over thirty in my memory."
It was a busy day in an enormous city. Countless people of various ages, colors, and sizes were walking on the streets heading toward unknown destinations. Great skyscrapers towered over them as if they were walling them in. No one paid this any mind, since they were used to the sight from the countless trips they made through the downtown area before this day.
The droning of this endless commute was abruptly shattered by a thunderous roar that cracked every window in every building for blocks from its sheer force. All the people froze in their tracks with dread filling them as they remembered that sound from so long ago. They all stared in the direction the roar came from, desperately hoping that it wasn't…that.
A lone crimson tail punched through a massive skyscraper above them as if it was nothing, before eight other tails also punched through in quick successions to bring the building crumbling down faster with a loud crash, causing a massive dust cloud that blanket the streets for blocks.
Thudding footsteps were felt and heard, and yet the people were still frozen in terror as they made out a massive silhouette with long swaying tails in the large dust cloud. Finally, the dust cleared away enough to reveal the massive and terrifying visage of the Kyuubi no Kitsune. As the giant crimson demon fox glared down at the population menacingly, one of them found his voice long enough to scream as he pointed at the ancient entity.
"RUN! It's the Kyuubi!"
And that was the trigger for every person on the streets to scatter and run in every conceivable direction while screaming in panic. The great fox roared in delight at the chaos going on underneath her and allowed her nine deadly tails to thrash around, bringing down everything within their range. She then breathed a massive stream of fire down the street before her, engulfing countless people in it.
Unnoticed, those same people popped instantly into puffs of smoke in the flames.
After a long scene of horrific destruction, the Kyuubi roared intensely skyward in a clear declaration of certain victory with a third of the city already lying in ruins around her.
That was when she was interrupted by a challenge; a loud and deep screeching roar that shook the entire city and sent chills down the spine of every person somehow still alive. They also recognized that sound too, and their despair suddenly found new depths as they realized there was another one coming here!
The Kyuubi snarled and snapped her head toward the direction of the roar to find an enormous dark gray lizard-like bipedal creature, with huge and intimidating spikes running down the length of its back and tail almost as long as one of the Kyuubi's, rising out of the water in the bay bordering the city. As it slowly lumbered onto the shore with thundering footsteps, it was clear this new creature's substantial bulk and its estimated height of one hundred and ten meters almost loomed over the more leaner Kyuubi's ninety. However, it didn't mean she was any less deadly than the new creature as she growled with her hackle rising and her long tails swaying threateningly.
"It's Godzilla! Godzilla!" one of the survivors stuck between the two monsters chanted almost feverishly as he pointed tremblingly up at the enormous lizard-like creature. The population then screamed in panic and scattered once again to get as far from the two monsters as possible.
Godzilla let out another screeching roar as if responding to the name and plowed forward toward the smaller Kyuubi, knocking down buildings in his path as if they were mere annoyances.
Kurama grinned briefly.
Naruto…you've made me a happy gal!
She roared loudly, and struck first by nimbly hopping high up to the side of a nearby tall building that barely held her mass long enough for her to leap off it and slam into the large lizard's chest feet first. The building she used blew apart easily from the tremendous force.
Godzilla's feet slid back a bit from the impact but otherwise withstood it easily. He then tried to push the coiled form of the great fox off with his arms even though her feet were still firmly planted on his chest. That was her intention when her nine long tails quickly wrapped around almost every inch of his massive body. She then tightened them to immobilize him and broke free of his grips to get into the perfect position to pummel him. Godzilla roared angrily into the Kyuubi's face, and she roared right back in reply as she reared her arms back to swipe at his defenseless head with her powerful claws.
However, her eyes caught a flash of bright blue and she immediately untangled all of her tails and pushed off Godzilla forcefully to get away from his sudden Atomic Breath that shot through where her head was just an instant ago into the sky.
She smashed through some buildings and slid to a stop on all fours, snarling ferociously at Godzilla who growled right back at her challengingly. Dark red and blue blobs of chakra began leaking out of the Kyuubi's body for her to collect them in front of her wide-open maw to charge her Bijuudama. In response, Godzilla growled as the spikes on his tail began to glow, and it was slowly moving up his back until his mouth glowed bright blue menacingly. He was apparently charging up another Atomic Breath.
High up on top of the tallest building in the city's downtown district stood a lone figure holding his hands together in a snake seal for concentration to keep Godzilla in existence.
Uzumaki Naruto was grinning widely as he was treated to a spectacle never seen by anyone else ever. As he watched his friend and his apparition prepare to exchange their strongest attacks, he knew he just made Kurama the happiest she had been in a long time.
There was a bright flash ,and a massive explosion engulfed a large portion of the city that plowed through every building for miles with its powerful shockwave, and it rattled the skyscraper he was standing on, making him nearly fall off. After regaining his balance, he shook his head exasperatingly at the mass destruction going on down below as another exchange of roars were heard through the huge dust cloud that resulted.
He might be helping her relieve one of her fantasies, but who was going to clean up the mess after this? He knew the answer already when another large explosion shook the building once again. It was going to be a pain in the ass for him to restore all of this area back to normal.
"Now...I kinda want to join in on the fun." he muttered dejectedly.
Omake 2: Alternate ending
"You know what? This is my world, and I can!" Naruto declared loudly, before he leapt off the top of the building.
As he fell through the air spread-eagle, he thought back to a robot design he saw in one of the movies from Kurama's memories and concentrated on it. Appearing out of thin air around him, massive metal pieces quickly began to assemble around him until an enormous hundred-meter-tall humanoid robot was now falling in his place.
The massive machine then moved so it could activate its booster rockets to soften its landing. Even then, the entire city still shook under the roar of the rockets and the impact when the large robot touched down in front of the two fighting kaiju.
"Huh?" was the simultaneous grunts from both Godzilla and Kurama as they stared at the new challenger.
It was huge, bulky with armor, painted top to bottom in blindingly bright orange with black accents, and its head was modeled after a kistune mask with long pointy ears.
Its squinted 'eyes' glowed white ominously.
"Mind if I join?" a familiar voice boomed from the humanoid robot. Kurama grinned toothily and Godzilla growled deeply, as if accepting the new addition.
"Jaeger 'Prank King' and its badass pilot Uzumaki Naruto at your service!" the blonde announced as he slammed the jaeger's right fist into its left palm with a loud metallic crash.
Now that the crazy stuff is over with, we'll move along.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter. It's brief compared to my recent chapters, but I'm trying to cut down on the word count to make faster updates for you readers. You should likely see a new chapter once or twice every couple weeks instead of every few months. We'll see how this works out.
As for the omake, I enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed seeing Godzilla 2014 in the theater this past weekend. Also I give thanks to Lemon for the jaeger idea. He got the basic idea from a youtube video.
Just use google search on above and it should take you to a youtube link first in the results.
Go to the 46 second mark and see what he meant. :-)
Read and review please, and ja ne!