Sorry for the delay. Since I have 2 days off from work (weekend, yay!), I am going to work on my pending stories. Here's the newest chapter of HBofKonoha. Chapter 24!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Ruroni Kenshin.
Chapter 24: Outburst
After the upgraded mission with Team 8, Naruto spent the rest of the week doing chakra control exercises since Hayate made do with his promise to give him a Jounin-level exercise to master.
The Jounin-level control exercise was called Waterfall Walking, a variation of Tree Climbing and Water Walking. The exercise was difficult since the basic requirement was to apply the concept of sticking to the waterfall using a solid platform created by chakra using Water Walking and climbing up as you maintain it using Tree Walking.
Thanks to his judicious use of shadow clones, Naruto was halfway up the waterfall when the week ended. It was a good exercise too since it tested his body strength, focus, and chakra control at the same time.
Not all the time was spent with chakra control though. Naruto would often bring out Kurama and spar like crazy in a secluded S-rank portion of the Forest of the Death. They stayed there since no one in their right mind would enter that area without a skilled army in tow. However, the powerful creatures in that part of the forest stayed away thanks to Naruto blanketing the area with spirit pressure and Kyuubi pitching in with his malevolent presence.
All in all, Naruto was satisfied with his week though he braced himself for the experience of joining Team 10 in one of their joint training session. He has no problems with Shikamaru and Chouji but Ino was a different matter to deal with.
Like Sakura, Ino hated him because of their worship of the last Uchiha of Konoha.
He just hoped Asuma made do with his promise to beat the fan girl out of her or he would be doing that himself and it won't be pretty.
Naruto entered the boundary of Training Ground 10 where Team Asuma usually holds their meetings and training. He was rather early since he didn't have anything better to do and there weren't that many missions available so the teams were either training or relaxing. For him, it was either D-rank or self-training. Considering that he already promised to train with Asuma's team, he decided to forego anymore D-ranks since he didn't need the money and he already has a number of them under his belt.
Thanks to his shadow clones, he acquired a total of 326 D-ranks under his shinobi profile. He didn't need the money but did them all the same due to the Hokage's request as an active shinobi of the Leaf. The D-ranks were piling up and they didn't have that much manpower to deal with them so Naruto grudgingly accepted the request. After all, he was the only one who could provide untold amounts of manpower through his shadow clones.
Besides, it would look good on his 'Genin' mission profile even if it was D-ranks so he wasn't complaining.
When he got there, Naruto was surprised to see Shikamaru and Chouji already in the middle of the training ground doing warm-up exercises.
"Hi, guys!" Naruto greeted the sweaty pair. He was quite proud of the two since it was obvious that they kept up with their daily training regime after graduating from the Academy.
"Yo, Naruto. I heard of the C-turned-B-rank mission. Great job, man." congratulated Chouji with a thumbs up while his other hand continued with the push-ups, a testament to his strength thanks to his training with the group.
"You heard of that I see. Let me guess, you heard it from Kiba?" Naruto asked with a chuckle with Chouji doing the same.
"Troublesome secretive blonde." said Shikamaru after finishing his warm up set. "Kiba told us about the mission though he only said that it was upped from C to B-rank thanks to the bandit group attacking the client. I know there's something else since Kiba hinted it and I have this feeling that he won't be saying anything else without your permission."
Naruto nodded in affirmative. He was quite happy and relieved that the loudmouthed Kiba kept his promise. However, he would have to tell Shikamaru and Chouji soon since between the two of them, they could read their friends like an open book. Well, maybe except Shino since it was almost impossible to get a read on him in his worst day.
"I'm more than happy to tell you two about it but maybe when we're alone. I think you already know one of my secrets," he emphasized his point by pointing to his whisker marks and patting his stomach. The two gave a discreet nod, telling him that they knew about Kyuubi. "There is another secret that Shino, Kiba, and Hinata found out thanks to Kurenai-sensei. I'll tell you all about it later, alright?"
"That's cool." agreed Chouji with Shikamaru nodding that he understood. "So, what are we going to do today?"
Naruto shrugged. "I'm not really sure. Asuma-sensei told me that he scheduled a joint training session between your team and me. I think he already knows that I trained the heirs except for Ino and Sasuke. Speaking of which, how is Ino coming along as your teammate? For that matter, where is she anyway?" he asked while looking around, looking for the blonde of Team 10.
Chouji winced telling Naruto all he needed to know but Shikamaru supplied the details.
"Bad. Not only is she weaker despite belonging to a clan, she wouldn't train because it's her mindset that training would destroy her figure, thus lowering her chance of getting her 'Sasuke-kun'" explained the young Nara while Chouji rolled his eyes. "I think Asuma-sensei plans for you to break her out of her fan girl stage. If you can't do it, no one can."
"And why does it have to be me to break her out of her funk? I mean, she is your teammate and Asuma-sensei is the one in charge of you guys so why the heck do I have to face the blonde terror?" Naruto asked incredulously.
"You're blonde too." Chouji pointed out, grinning when Naruto pouted. "Anyway, Asuma-sensei thinks that if you can train us to be stronger than your run-on-the-mill Genin, then maybe you can entice her to do the same. Besides, you got Shikamaru to train and he is as lazy as can be when it comes to hard work."
"Traitor." Shikamaru muttered under his breath.
"Just stating the obvious, Shika. So yeah, maybe you could give it a try. Who knows?" Chouji said with a grin before fishing out a packet of chips from his pocket. He opened it with practiced ease and grabbed a handful before shovelling it into his mouth. He offered some to Naruto who was giving him an amused look. "Chips?"
"Nah, I'm quite full from breakfast." said Naruto before shrugging. "Fine, if you think that I can break Ino out of her funk then I'll try. I can't make any promises though. Anyway, since we are quite early, how about a 2-on-1 spar?"
Naruto laughed when he got a groan from the two.
Ino couldn't help but gape at the sight in front of her. Training ground 10 was like an active warzone and the reason for that was right in front of her trying to kill each other.
She couldn't believe her eyes that Shikamaru, the lazy idiot she knew him to be, was in a fierce taijutsu match with the person he never would have thought to see in front of her, Uzumaki Naruto. Despite how deadly their fight was, the smile on their faces said otherwise.
She was brought out of her staring when she heard a crash coming from the trees and saw a large rolling mass coming out of it with the strength of a bulldozer headed towards the fighting duo. But before the two were hit by the oversized human bowling ball, the two jumped away from each other to dodge. However, Chouji changed course as he was now barrelling towards Naruto who grinned.
Her jaw dropped at what happened next.
Naruto kicked Chouji like a ball towards the gaping Shikamaru who barely managed to dive out of the way. Chouji in his meat-tank mode crashed into the foliage, destroying anything it its path before one of the sturdier trees stopped him. She was about to scream at Naruto but was surprised when Chouji, still in meat-tank mode, came rolling out again for another attack. This time, however, he got some assistance from Shikamaru who appeared behind the Akimichi in a burst of speed before kicking Chouji that added to his speed, carefully aiming the attack would go straight for Naruto who was calmly waiting without any hint of fear in his posture.
Naruto saw Ino at the edge of the training ground watching them so he decided to stick to the shinobi arts to avoid revealing his secrets to the number one gossip queen in Konoha. He started doing hand seals at a rapid place before slamming both of his hands on the ground.
"Doton: Mighty Earth Wall."
A very thick wall of chakra-coated earth rose up from the ground in front of him that easily stopped Chouji in his tracks. It was a good thing that he opted for a stronger version of the technique since the standard one wouldn't stand a chance considering the crack on its face, a testament to the power behind Chouji's attack. He flipped through a few more seals before clapping his hands together as his chakra surged to insane levels.
"Suiton: Violent Water Shockwave!" shouted Naruto as the water in the river near him started acting up. Without warning, the water jumped out to surround Naruto before it burst outward like a shockwave, washing away everything in its path. Chouji and Shikamaru weren't prepared for such a counterattack that the force of the violent water practically pushed them off their feet and carried them over to the trees, smacking into them painfully.
Smirking, Naruto ended the technique, stopping the pressurized water from buffeting his friends. Deciding to end the match, he pulled out a spool of ninja wire from his coat and dashed forward at top speed, disappearing in a blur. It was a few seconds later that Chouji and Shikamaru were gagged and tied, their hands on their sides to stop them from doing any jutsus to get out of their binds.
"I win." Naruto said cheerfully as he made a show of cleaning the nonexistent dirt on his shoulder as he eyed the two squirming Genins glaring at him.
Ino was about to approach the smug-looking Naruto to berate him for hurting her teammates when a hand on her shoulder stopped her. She turned to shout at the intruder but stopped when she saw who it was.
"Asuma-sensei! Glad you're here. Naruto just attacked Chouji and Shika!" Ino exclaimed in anger. She was surprised however when Asuma merely smirked and nodded in pride.
"What do you expect? They were sparring so it's only normal for them to attack each other. In fact, I am quite proud of the two since they lasted 10 minutes with Naruto as their opponent." Asuma said proudly.
"Huh?" Ino said dumbly.
"I won't say anything since Naruto's strength is his secret to tell but all I can say that no Genin, hell, no Chuunin in Konoha could stand a chance against him even if they ban together to take him out."
Ino couldn't believe her ears. Naruto was stronger than any Genin and Chuunin. This has to be a dream or a nightmare.
"I find that hard to believe, Asuma-sensei." Ino said in total disbelief.
"You're still saying that even with the evidence in front of you?" Asuma asked rhetorically as he waved a lazy hand over the trio in the middle of the clearing.
Ino didn't say anything. After all, with what she saw, how could she?
Naruto untied a grumbling Shikamaru and Chouji while totally oblivious to the conversation between Asuma and Ino.
"The two of you definitely improved. I'm proud." the blonde swordsman told the duo. They didn't show it but their eyes revealed how happy they were by the praise.
"You still beat us though." grumbled the Akimichi heir.
"Too true but both of you lasted for more than 5 minutes compared to last time." Naruto pointed out. "Besides, it would seem that both of you came up with new attack patterns outside our training. This is the first time I ever saw an Akimichi meat tank being kicked around like a ball. Very versatile since it would allow Chouji to switch enemies according to the situation."
Shikamaru winced as he wiggled his right foot.
"True but it hurts to kick him around when he's in meat tank mode. Chouji has this nasty habit in coating himself with chakra after you showed him how to fine tune his control. It's like kicking a large boulder!" complained the Nara heir.
"Suck it up." said Naruto as he patted the boy on the back before tilting his head to the side in confused manner. "Why don't you just coat your foot with chakra before kicking? That would act as a buffer between you and Chouji, lessening the effect of his chakra reacting to your foot."
Silence reigned for a few seconds before a string of curses came out of the Nara's mouth much to Naruto and Chouji's amusement. The three were so engrossed in their discussion that they failed to notice Ino upon them.
"How dare you hurt my teammates, you monster!" screamed Ino as she let lose a punch that would have given Naruto a concussion. However, she didn't except Naruto to catch her fist easily. She was about to berate him for defending himself when she saw the blonde's face. She felt cold fear grip her being as Naruto's smouldering anger-filled gaze settle down on her.
"I'm a monster?" whispered Naruto as spiritual pressure blanketed the area. "Are you calling me a monster Ino?" he asked the girl, his voice in a whisper.
Asuma, Shikamaru, and Chouji realized right there and then that Ino finally managed to push Naruto too far. This was not going to be good. The intense spiritual pressure that blanketed the area was a testament to that.
Ino managed to get a hold of herself despite the fear that gripped her being. She mustered up whatever courage she has in her body and answered him.
"You are! No Konoha shinobi would hurt their comrades. No human would hurt my Sasuke-kun!" she screamed.
As if a dam broke, the spiritual pressure intensified causing Asuma, Chouji, and Shikamaru to drop kneeling on the ground as a heavy weight settled down on their bodies. They were doing everything in their power to stand but to no avail.
In truth, it was worst for Ino. Majority of Naruto's spiritual pressure was on her but with Naruto's hand gripping her fist, there was no way for her to fall to the ground the same as her sensei and teammates.
"Tell me, Ino. What did I do to merit such a statement from you? Did I hurt you in any way? Did I maim your teammates? Did they end up in the hospital getting treated for life-threatening wounds? Did I purposely hurt your 'dear Sasuke-kun'?"
Ino was about to answer but she couldn't since the pressure, much to her disbelief, intensified. She and the rest of the group in the training ground didn't know it but Naruto's spiritual pressure encompassed half of the village, making civilians fall to the ground and shinobi sweating bullets. The Hokage also felt the same and immediately honed in on Naruto's location through his crystal ball. He wanted to butt in but something inside him held him in place. He continued to watch the confrontation with dread, sensing that something was going to happen that would spell more paperwork for him in the future.
"I think that answer to that is a big fat no. Face it, Ino. You are a disgrace to the Yamanaka Clan. You sacrificed your career just to woo the last Uchiha who doesn't even look at you. You have this crazy vendetta over me because I beat him in a spar! A SPAR!" Naruto told the girl coldly, ignoring the tears of fear running down the girl's face.
"You're lying!" screamed Ino. "Sasuke-kun is not like that. Let me go now! If you don't, he will come here and kick your ass?"
Naruto's face morphed into one bloodthirsty grin that made Ino piss her pants.
"Really? You really think that he will come here to save you?" Naruto whispered before raising his free hand to the side. Answering to his summons, Kenshin appeared without it's sheathe. Naruto let go of Ino which caused her to slump to the ground. "Let's put that to the test, shall we?"
Ino watched as Naruto raised the weapon over his head. Despite the fear and pressure bearing down on her, she wasn't afraid of Naruto striking her since she could see that the blade had no edge to it. She was about to smirk and taunt him but was shocked when the blonde adjusted his grip that the bladed edge was at the front. The fear in her intensified that she wet herself.
"You want to see a monster, Ino? Well, let me show you before you meet Shinigami in the afterlife." Naruto said coldly before he slashed downwards to cleave Ino in two.
Ino wanted to scream but her voice caught in her throat. She watched the blade descend to end her life. Her mind brought forth memories of the past. The truth to Naruto's words was quite obvious as she watched these memories as if watching a movie.
Asuma, Shikamaru, and Chouji couldn't believe what was happening. They thought that Naruto would teach Ino a lesson to bring out the kunoichi in her. They couldn't believe that the blonde was now trying to off her in the most efficient way to stop her. What's worst? They couldn't do anything to stop it with the spiritual pressure from Naruto pulling them with no way of getting up.
Ino was shocked, however, when the katana that was about to end her life stopped a hairsbreadth from her face. Tears caused by fear, shock, and regret continued to fall down on her face. A slight relief passed her face when Naruto reigned in the pressure.
"Where is your Sasuke-kun now, Ino? Did he come to save you when you were about to die? If I was a monster, why would I stop from myself from killing you?" Naruto asked the tear-stricken girl. He sighed and sent Kenshin back to his pocket dimension before kneeling in front of the girl. Ino was surprised when she was suddenly engulfed in a tight hug courtesy of the blonde who was about to end her life. She flinched and tried to get away but Naruto held her still. She didn't know why but she suddenly felt comfortable and safe in the blonde's arms.
"W-why?" Ino stuttered out as she continued to sob on Naruto's chest as the swordsman continued to hold her, totally oblivious to the dumbstruck look on Asuma, Shikamaru, and Chouji's face.
"Why did I stop?" Naruto asked with a chuckle as he rubbed circles on Ino's back to comfort her. "The answer is quite simple, Ino. I am not a monster despite what you may think. I did that to show you that life as a shinobi is not an easy thing and your delusion of Sasuke rescuing you would result in your death. This is a hard life we chose which is the reason why your teammates and I are training hard, to make sure that we survive and see another day. What I did was to teach you a lesson. If you don't change now and take your careers seriously, when would you do so? When you are dead?"
Ino continued to sob as Naruto held her close, totally oblivious to the proud Asuma and the smiling male members of Team 10.
"Don't you think you were extreme in handling the girl?" asked the Sandaime when he called for Naruto. Quite a lot of shinobi and civilians were running around like headless chicken thinking that they were being attacked due to the spiritual pressure that blanketed half of the village. It took a mobilization of some of his Jounins and ANBU to calm the populace down. "Not to mention the fact that you let your Reiryoku run wild causing half of the village to think that Konoha is under attack."
"I'm sorry about that, jiji, but being called a monster struck a chord in me that made me lose control." Naruto replied in embarrassment. He was a trained shinobi, an S-rank shinobi, him losing his temper was a big no-no in his book.
"I arrived at that conclusion." the aged leader said with a sigh before gesturing the crystal ball on the other side of his table when he saw the confused look on his surrogate grandson's face. "I hope this doesn't happen again in the future?"
Naruto shook his head while looking sheepish.
"It won't. This is a one-time thing. Besides, everything was worth it since I know I knocked some sense into the girl. She should be taking her career a bit seriously now."
"Considering that she was facing her death at that time, I daresay she would be focused on her training now." Sarutobi said dryly before a smirk appeared on his face that made Naruto nervous. "You might want to lie low for a few days though."
"Why is that?"
"Inoichi is on the warpath since Asuma would be informing him everything that happened today."
End of Chapter 24!
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