Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or Fairy Tail. I also have no idea why the material for my own native language is so stupid at this point. How the hell is knowing the names of the ways the spelling of words changed over the times supposed to be useful to anyone but a Portuguese teacher? Seriously, does this happen in any other language?
First off, I'm sure a few of you realized that I took away Naruto's Sharingan and Byakugan. I apologize to those of you who were looking forward to that, but it was never something I wanted in the first place. You see, I only put in there because, really, after the idea that the current death toll of the Fourth War combined with two others over ten years would make it impossible for them to win without something like the eye vaults. That combined with the fact that there's no way Tobi could have taken all the eyes during the massacre without anyone noticing led to the idea of Danzo taking them, Sai pointing them out and Kakashi being forced to order their use. Since I couldn't find a reason for Naruto to not get them both, considering he's the best army killer left, I felt compelled to put that in even though I didn't like it. However, when I started writing the battle with Jura it was clear that seeing in every direction+anticipating movements+enhanced reflexes from Sage Mode was just too much so I grew a pair and started using my author privilieges. Nevertheless, I am sorry for that bit of ridiculously poor planning. Hope you guys can look past that and stick around.
On another note that I feel needs to be stated here, Hitomi is not the she that kept being mentioned. Hitomi is Kurenai and Asuma's daughter whom Naruto, Ino and Karin have been helping care for after Shikamaru's death seven years before the current storyline (the fact that it coincides with the Tenrou Incident is merely a coincidence by the way) and she's alive and well in Konoha. The she is an unrevealed character who'll be explored in the future.
With that out of the way, enjoy Naruto vs Jura.
'So either the crowd really wants to see me beaten for winning Hidden or the higher ups want to get a good reading on our strength. If that's the case, then they couldn't have found a better way.' Naruto thought immediately.
"Damnit Namikaze, stop hogging the fights!" Kurotsuchi yelled out immediately, Karui voicing out her agreement seconds later.
"It's a shame that our first opponent is someone like that. No way we'll be able to lay low now." Kankuro stated, not even reacting to the women's outburst. It was routine by now, their own way of coping with the stress. Naruto's understanding of everyone's struggles as the only one who'd fought for all villages was one of the reasons he'd been named team leader and, thus, the recipient of everyone's complaints. No one else would be able to do it like that.
The other reason being that he was the strongest.
"It's not like I chose to fight again or anything, especially since Kankuro is right. No one will underestimate us after this. We'll actually have to work now." The blonde stated.
"Still, Naruto-san, since he's an earth user you should be able to defeat him with just Raiton (Lightning Release) techniques, right? That should still allow us some surprises, right?" Chojuro asked.
"I'll do my best, but I doubt one of the ten strongest mages in Fiore can be defeated by elemental advantages alone. Plus, there's the magic shield." He answered, stepping towards the arena, nodding at his team mates' words of encouragement as he left.
The magic shield was one of the biggest differences between mages and ninjas. While shinobi, despite their powers, were just as durable as any civilian, mages had a cloak of Eternano around their bodies that made them much, much harder to kill. It was rather similar to his chakra cloak while in Sage Mode, but more concentrated around their bodies, owing to a mage's deeper connection with natural energy, or Eternano as it was called here. Nevertheless, since their cloak so concentrated around their bodies, they didn't get the abillity to treat it as an extension of their physical being like he could, but were much more durable instead. This also gave all of them minor sensory abilities, but not to the extent he had. What took minutes of absolute concentration in the Elemental Nations was as natural as breathing to a mage, and even he felt the difference in the time it took to gather nature energy. Nearly any jutsu of C-rank or higher was deadly to a ninja but not a mage. Nearly everything mages did to each other was also deadly to ninja.
That had been a major point of contention. The minute he'd found that out he'd immediately requested that his team mates be removed from the mission since, unlike him, they wouldn't be able to survive nearly anything thrown at them.
He still remembered the argument that had led to.
(One month earlier)
"You can't expect us to just go back on the mission!" Kurotsuchi yelled in outrage. Her voice echoed in the extremely cramped Hokage's Office.
Kitsuchi flinched, probably experiencing a few flashbacks to his daughter's earlier years.
"She's right! There's no reason for that!" Karui yelled as well. Darui sighed.
"You will withdraw because it's too risky. You are all among the most powerful of your respective villages. Considering how things are, we can't risk losing you just because that king wants to see you fight." He explained.
"Naruto is the only one who can fight in this tournament without risking his life." Kakashi added. "Fights in the tournament are one on one with relatively even opponents, something none of you are used to anymore. Since killing is not allowed, you won't be able to use your best techniques while they will have no such problems."
"It is very unlikely that you will be able to avoid getting hit throughout the whole competition. If you do get hit and die because of something that wouldn't do as much damage to a mage, it will be easy for them to deduce something is wrong and expose our main weakness against them. From that to an invasion is only a short step." The Tsuchikage finished.
"Even so, we don't know for sure if the king can control mages like that." Kurotsuchi countered in a much more even tone, realising yelling wouldn't help her cause.
"They're still his subjects. They'll do whatever he tells them or be charged for treason, just like here. We fought a war over that, if you'd recall." Mei answered calmly, none of the ditzyness she sometimes showed being visible. It was no time for that.
"Not to mention those 'dark guilds' you reported about would no doubt jump at the chance of moving here." Darui added.
"Regardless, we've already made promises to the king. Going back on them now would stain the reputation of the Elemental Nations as a whole, and our villages in particular." Kankuro answered in the same tone, although a note of anger was noticeable. It seemed like he wasn't pleased at being told to withdraw, either.
"Our reputations are not worth the lives of five S-ranked ninjas." Gaara countered in his usual monotone, although his eyes showed concern. He really had changed.
"But what about those sailors?" Karui pressed. "At least one of them has to have babled about the way to cross the sea. We all know drunken sailors like to brag to any skirts around."
"Even more of a reason for the five of you to return permanently." The Mizukage answered.
"The king may see our leaving has an insult and use that information to attack as retaliation. We all know politicians can be petty like that." Kurotsuchi tried again.
"Your leaving can be spun as a war breaking out. No one can question that." Kakashi answered.
"I thought we weren't supposed to even hint at the continent's weakening? Why is it suddenly okay? And what if the king offers aid?" Karui asked in frustration.
"It's okay because it's your lives at stake. Losing five of the strongest warriors we have left would crush morale and make a rehash of the Fifth War basically guaranteed. Especially when one of those five is the 'Monster Hidden in the Leaves'. And the king hasn't even signed the treaty, so there's no reason for him to offer help." Kitsuchi answered. Kankuro, Karui and Kurotsuchi seemed out of ideas.
"Why aren't you talking, Naruto?" The puppeteer asked, hoping his friend could turn the argument around.
"I'm not talking because I agree with the kages." The blonde said in a calm voice. This simple declaration of conformism from someone who was usually so unruly was enough to silence his team. "Kankuro, Kurotsuchi, Karui, you all have families who would be devastated at losing you. Chojuro is the hero of the Mist. You're all too important to risk on a situation like this, with so little to gain. I'm staying in Fiore, however. You know you can't stop me from doing it either, even if you banish me." The last part was directed at the leaders, who seemed more resigned than anything else.
"That was part of the plan actually, since you can escape whenever you need to." Darui said.
That seemed to clinch it. Being reminded of their families stroke a chord. Kankuro's head dropped while the women averted their eyes and clenched their fists, struggling between the desire of completing a mission of such importance and the price their families would pay in the likely event of their deaths.
They were forgetting someone, however.
"I won't do it either." Chojuro's decided tone broke the silence that had set since the Raikage's declaration.
"What do you mean you won't do it?" Mei asked, shocked at her subordinate's first ever bout of insubordination.
"I won't do it. I'm sorry, Mizukage-sama, but I won't leave Naruto-san alone like that."
"You do realize you're talking about risking your life for flimsy reasons, right?" Darui's question seemed to put a damper on his mood.
"And how is that any different from what we've been doing for the last ten years? Or since we left the academy, for that matter?" Kankuro's acute reasoning lifted his spirits again, however.
"Kankuro is right. This tournament is no different from the usual parts of our lifestyle. I don't see why you're being so dramatic." Kurotsuchi added, having regained her spunk.
"It's simple, really: we're finishing the mission wether you approve or not. So either get on board or get out of the way." Karui finished.
"I don't like it, but it's their choice, so I won't oppose." Naruto stated, standing beside his team mates.
"So you are all willing to be banished for what? The glory of completing the mission?" Gaara asked, having noticeable difficulty in mantaining his tone. His eyes spoke of obvious worry.
"No, Kazekage-sama," Kankuro started, his tone biting at his brother's implication, "We are risking our lives, as we have done from the moment we graduated from the academy, for the sake of ensuring a superior force does not attack us. Not to mention this is an actual joint effort authorized by the collective daimyo despite the last ten years. If we withdraw we'll never get an opportunity like this again. Your concern, while touching, is not helpful. The completion of this mission is vital, so we will accomplish it with or without your approval."
"You can't stop us. This is too important. Banish us if you have to, but we're seeing this mission through." Naruto finished as the team looked at their leaders with determined expressions.
The kage really hadn't had a choice. Transporting five people with Hiraishin over such a distance twice had been exhausting, however.
"Awesome! It's Cooler-Laxus against the rock guy!" Natsu Dragneel yelled excitedly.
"Cooler-Laxus? Why do you call him that?" Elfman wondered.
" Well, he's got the same hair and powers as Laxus, except he's cooler beceuse he tried to help Lucy and he won that game. So, he's Cooler-Laxus." The Dragon Slayer stated simply as if it were obvious.
Erza didn't acknowledge the exchange, focusing on the foreigner as he dissapeared from his team's waiting area into the halls that led to the arena.
'Just who are you? And why did you help us?'
"What's happening?" A voice from behind them asked, causing them to turn around.
"Lucy, are you alright?" Erza asked.
"Yeah, no problem!" The blonde answered with a smile, giving her a thumbs up. It wasn't really convincing, but at least she was well enough to pretend she was fine. The redhead hated to do this, but that would have to do for the moment. They needed to scout the two fighters, especially considering they knew very little about the foreigners. Besides, the battle might even cheer the celestial mage up.
"That guy who tried to help you is fighting the bald guy from Lamia Scale!" Natsu explained. The blonde seemed surprised at that before rushing to the edge of the balcony to get a better look. Erza couldn't help but smile. It seemed the battle really would cheer her up.
'He doesn't seem bothered at all by facing one of the Ten Wizard Saints. Could that Jura be his target? Is he trying to disguise the assassination of one of Fiore's strongest as an accident?' Mavis Vermillion, recently returned from her bathroom break, thought as she stared at the blonde man who'd finally emerged from the hallways that led to the field. 'It won't do any good to expose him when I don't know everything. I'll have to stay attentive for anything suspicious.'
'I hope you don't get too injured here, Uzumaki-san.' Her successor's successor thought. 'I still have much to ask you.' In private, however. Makarov Dreyar knew that many of his children wouldn't be as understanting or accepting of an assassin as he was.
Jura Neekis stood with his arms resting on his sleeves as he observed his opponent. The blonde man seemed to be in his mid twenties with long spiky hair held by a blue headband with a metallic front decorated with a swirl resembling a leaf, and blue eyes. An odd detail were the six lines on his cheeks, three on each side, which resembled whiskers. Markings of magic, perhaps? Something exclusive to a very specific kind of training, just like Dragon Slayers had sharper canines? Some sort of 'Lion Slayer', maybe? Regardless, from what he could see, the man's build was solid yet also rather lean, the mark of someone who could take punishment yet also show remarkable agility if necessary. His clothes were rather odd: a thick green flak jacket with three pouches on each side of the chest, a neck guard and extra padding over the shoulders. Under that he wore a black undershirt and pants of the same colour. He had a small pouch on each side of his waist. A short sleeved red coat with black flame patterns on the hemline obscured everything else about the outfit except for the black sandals and fingerless gloves with metalic guards in the back which completed the ensemble.
The Wizard Saint was curious, however. He'd held his position for nearly ten years, so he knew an assassin when he saw one. While he wasn't one to judge, especially considering he didn't know how things were done in the other man's lands, the fact that his opponent didn't react at all to facing someone of his reputation left him wary. Could he be targetting him? Part of an effort to prepare for an invasion, perhaps?
Regardless, 'Iron Rock Jura' would not let his guard down.
The crowd's reception hadn't gotten any warmer, not that he expected it too. Still, with him as the only target, the combined effect of millions of spectators yelling out chants such as 'Jura's gonna kill you!', 'You're gonna gonna get your fucking head kicked in!' and 'Go cry back to your own country!' was actually almost intimidating from down in the field. Emphasis on almost.
The blonde had more important things to worry about. His gaze was focused on his opponent.
Jura Neekis was tall and massive man with a heavily muscular figure, a bald head, a pair of oval-shaped black marks just above his black eyes, a long thin, wavy black goatee and mustache and seemingly lacking eyebrows. He wore a dark kimono, with the collar and the sleeves adorned by a dark motif consisting of many squares placed in succession, linked together by a dark line and similarly flanked by two more lines, striped, traditional hakama and geta sandals paired with light tabi. He also sported a dark mantle draped over his shoulders. A master of Tsuchi Maho (Earth Magic), 'Iron Rock Jura' was, on paper, the strongest fighter in the tournament. Naruto may have acted confident in front of his team, but he was actually worried. Mages may be ridiculously more durable than ninjas, but he still wouldn't risk using any jutsu above B-rank, aside from certain exceptions, nor chakra-reinforced blades of any kind, as cutting and piercing damage wasn't as covered by the shield and he didn't know how to use them without meaning to kill. Not to mention that he hadn't actually faced anyone of his level since the Fourth War. The Fifth and Sixth wars were all about more numerous but much less skilled enemies, to the point where he wasn't used to one on one fights lasting more than a few seconds anymore. He was severely handicapped, something which was never good against an opponent of the ace of Lamia Scale's caliber. This would be tough.
"Naruto Uzumaki gets unlucky enough to not only be chosen for both the challenge and battle portions of today, but also to have the sole member of the Ten Wizard Saints as an opponent!" The announcer yelled. "What do you think is going through his mind right now Yajima-san, Jenny-san?"
"I wouldn't know for sure, but I'd imagine he is going through his whole skillset, comparing what he has to what his opponent has and trying to come up with a gameplan. He looked too calm and professional during Hidden to be panicking like most would." The former councilman answered.
"Not to mention that he didn't seem to have any problems during Hidden and won pretty confortably." Jenny added. "This should be a good match."
Both competitors had reached the middle of the field, standing around twenty steps away from each other. Naruto, however surprised everyone by continuing to advance until he stood in front of his opponent and extended his arm for a handshake.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Jura-san." He said.
Jura seemed surprised for a moment before giving a satisfied smile and returning the gesture, "Same to you, Naruto-dono. It is an honor to be able to experience your strenght first hand."
"I look forward to seeing your power as well." The blonde replied, letting go and returning to his previous spot after a few more pleasantries. 'He definitely has some sort of earth armor similar to Gaara's sand armor, I could feel it. That means the smaller snakes can't hurt him while the larger ones will just be beaten before they can even get to him. Same with the toads, aside from Ma and Pa, but they dislike fighting so what's basically a spar won't interest them. I'm on my own here.' He had truly inhitiaded the handshake as a show of respect, but he wasn't about to complain that it had gotten him precious information. Knowing that the contingency plan of sending snakes underground to paralyze his opponent with their toxins wouldn't work was always a good thing.
"And the two combatants have just shaken hands in an incredible show of sportsmanship! This is what the Grand Magic Games are all about!"
Naruto reached his spot. Jura looked eager for the match to start. The blonde felt the same. Just as he had told Chojuro, it was easier do your best if you enjoyed. And he had a feeling he was going to enjoy this. Maybe even a little more than should.
"Lamia Scale, Jura Neekis vs United Shadows, Naruto Uzumaki. Today's final match... Start!"
The crowd was silenced. Both competitors stood still. Eagerness oozed from the spectators.
Naruto moved, going through a quick chain of handseals. "Raiton: Shichū Shibari (Lightning Release: Four Pillar Bind)!" Four rock pillars rose from the floor, each over twice as tall as the average house. Jura was briefly surprised, but that quickly faded when the pillars started sparking. The mage had already started trying to manipulate the pillars, and so was able to elongate them and send them after their creator before the lightning was released. Said creator soon found himself surrounded. Having stopped the jutsu the minute control over the pillars was usurped, thus stoping the electricity's release, his hands were free for another jutsu to defend.
"Raiton: Jibashi (Lightning Release: Electromagnetic Murder)!" A large wave of blue electricity erupted from his hands, eradicating the pillars and forcing the earth user to jump backwards outside the technique's range.
Both competitors stood as they had in the beginning, only farther apart.
'So he can control even earth charged with electricity. He's much faster with it than I expected, too. And his movements show he knows taijutsu as well.' Naruto thought.
'It seems those hand signs are indeed necessary to use those abilities, but I felt no magic from him. Just how is he doing this? And how can he use blue lightning? I have only ever heard of yellow and black.' Jura wondered before deciding to just ask rather than waste time on trying to figure out something he probably couldn't. He'd never heard of anyone using magic without any Eternano. "How did you that? That was clearly some sort of magic, yet I felt no Eternano on you. That should not be possible, so how are you doing this?" The crowd had been silenced at that, clearly interested in the answer as well.
Naruto wanted to keep that secret, but the Wizard Saint's respectful tone made it impossible to do in good conscious, so he decided to be courteous. Besides, going the whole tournament without answering that question wouldn't help them anyway. "Simple, really: I'm not using magic." That simple statement shocked everyone. "Magic is used through Eternano, the energy of nature which you absorb from the atmosphere into your bodies in special containers which get larger with use. In the Elemental Nations, however, Eternano is much harder to reach, so our people have used an alternate energy source for centuries now. This energy, called chakra, is actually produced in the body, meaning it isn't part of the natural world, so it requires handseals to knead. Also, since it is so conneccted to our being, running out of chakra can kill us." He explained.
"I see..." Jura muttered. "So can people in Fiore use chakra as well?"
"Not as far as I know. Chakra is basically Eternano modified to be closer to the human body through the generations when people's Eternano receptors atrophied during the centuries the Ten-Tailed Beast lived after it sucked all the Eternano from the atmosphere when it arrived."
"The Ten-Tailed Beast?" Jura asked, confused.
"An incredibly powerful creature created by Zeref." The blonde said, shocking everyone once again. "From what we pieced together from the Crocus library and our own historical records, it seems to have been the first great demon Zeref created but he couldn't control it, so he sent it away. It ended up in the Elemental Nations, where magic had yet to be discovered. It's power was so great that it managed to eat all the Eternano in the continent's atmosphere, increasing it's power so much that it practically became made of super condensed energy that was even harmful to the touch. With no more Eternano in the atmosphere, the energy in people's bodies became stale and through the generations eventually became so connected with the organism that it couldn't be recognized as Eternano anymore, thus becoming chakra. It wasn't until a few centuries of living in fear of the beast, however, that chakra was finally discovered by a man history knows as the Sage of the Six Paths. His chakra pathways around the eyes had evolved to the point where they had changed, giving him the abillity to see the chakra pathways in the body. Using the great powers given to him by the eyes, the Sage fought the Beast and managed to seal it's power, and with it the Beast's soul as well, inside of himself and the body inside a rock construct which he launched into space, becoming the moon. The Sage then spent his days wandering the continent, teaching people how to use chakra. In his final years, sensing his imminent death and knowing that the Beast would be released when he died, he separated the Beast's power and consciousness into nine weaker ones. After teaching the nine beasts the ways of peace and wishing them the best, the Sage died. They're currently somewhere were no one can get to them." He finished, not mentioning that the theory had actually been pieced together by a team of scholars from every nation from what they'd sent in their reports.
"I see..." The mage said slowly, still processing the story. The crowd seemed to have the same problems.
'So you managed to influence even another continent entirely, huh, Zeref-sama?' A muscular, well-built man of average height and wearing heavy armor which noted obvious importance, thought. He had a deep set eyes and high cheekbones, a small scar running from his left temple to the edge of his thick eyebrows, a snub, square-shaped nose, dark and wavy hair sticking up around his head, with prominent sideburns that joined into a curved and pointed beard. 'And you didn't even know this continent existed, too. Or didn't you? Regardless, you truly are an incredible man.' His gaze focused on Naruto. 'I wonder if those foreigners would be wiling to help with the eclipse plan.'
"Where are the nine beasts, then? They sound like fascinating creatures." Jura asked sincerely. After all, centuries old peaceful beasts one can have an actual conversation with? Who wouldn't want to meet them?
"In another dimension similar to the one Celestial Spirits inhabit after the last time someone tried to use them to revive the Ten Tails. Anyway, shouldn't we get back to fighting?" He asked impatiently, not wanting to give any more information to potential enemies. Especially considering there were probably dark mages watching who wouldn't hesitate to try to revive one of Zeref's creations.
"Ah, yes. A shame, however. Having a conversation with such wizened creatures would no doubt be an incredible experience."
"Depends on the one, really. Overall, though, you just find yourself wondering how something so old can be so childish." The blonde said with a sweatdrop, thinking back to all the times he'd seen the beasts drunk or high or losing at gambling against the toads or snakes. Or whenever Shukaku got in trouble for flirting with Matatabi. At least Gyuki hadn't picked up Kirabi's rapping habit.
Thank the Sage for small miracles.
"What are you doing Jura? Stop talking and win already!" Lamia Scale's guildmaster yelled.
"Damnit Namikaze, stop yapping and end this already." Kurotsuchi yelled as well.
Both Naruto and Jura looked embarassed at that.
"They have a point. It's been nearly eight minutes now and we haven't really done anything." The blonde said, focusing back on the battle. Although he was definitely going to tease the Iwa nin about how much she sounded like the old lady.
"Yes. Still, I would enjoy continuing this conversation later."
"Sure, why not."
"Oh? It seems as if a friendship is being forged right here! This is what the Grand Magic Games are all about!" The announcer yelled, apparently forgetting that he'd said nearly the exact same thing just before the match started.
Jura had decided to go on the offensive this time, sending a rock fist at his opponent.
Naruto was ready, preparing his counterattack in a blur of handseals.
"Raijū Hashiri no Jutsu (Lightning Beast Running Technique)!" Electricity condensed around his hand and then expanded until it formed a hound which immediately jumped at the fist.
Jura was better than that, however. Knowing his attack had the elemental disadvantage, he had the fist curve around the hound and head straight for the opponent. The blonde felt the pain of being a generalist rather than a specialist. Since he knew so many techniques, he had one for almost every situation, but he wasn't very experienced with most of them. Controllable techniques were foremost in this. His hound may have the elemental advantage but he couldn't control it as well as his opponent could.
Hence why he currently had a fist made of solid rock headed towards him while his dog made of electricty stood in the middle of the rock spiral, too far away to save him. Luckily, the base of the fist was in sight, so his hound managed to hit it and destroy it just as the fist was closing in on the ninja, causing it to go off course and smash into the ground behind him. Naruto took the chance to retaliate.
"Raiton: Gian (Lightning Release: False Darkness)!" A spear of electricty was fired from his mouth, homing in on Jura.
Or it would have, if he hadn't defended. "Gan Tetsu Heki (Iron Rock Wall)!" Numerous pillars of earth formed in front of the mage, obscuringhim from view. The lightning spear went through the pillars in seconds, yet the Wizard Saint was nowhere to be seen.
'He must be using his ability to move in the ground. Damnit, I don't have the time to activate the Kagura Shingan and he'll strike the minute he senses me charging up for Sage mode. I'll have to stay on my toes.' The blonde thought, charging up a Chidori with only one hand as he looked around for his opponent. Sadly, it wasn't enough as the bald man appeared right in front of him with his fist encased in rock, giving a bone rattling punch to the torso.
"Chidori Nagashi (One Thousand Birds Current)!" Just as rock fist and squishy human flesh separated, the Chidori was released in every direction, shocking the Wizard Saint and destroying the rocks around his fist. The fact that the current split the power of an A-rank technique in many made it safe for use here, even though it was an A-rank technique as well.
Still, it wasn't fast enough to avoid the punch, which sent him flying away quite a few feet and land on his back.
'Fuck! Fuck fuckity fuck!' He thought as he got up, clutching his torso. 'I haven't gotten hit this hard in years!' The padding in his jacket had taken the brunt of the damage, but only to the point where it didn't break anything. It would definately leave a bruise.
Jura, thanks to the magic shield, had already recovered and used his magic to split the nearby surface into boulders of various sizes and send them at the blonde.
"Chidori Senbon (One Thousand Birds Senbon)!" A large quantity of electricity was gathered around Naruto's hand, making a sound reminescent of birds chirping. Suddenly, the aglomerate dissolved into countless sharp senbon that turned the boulder onslaught into dust. Both fighters stood still as the dust settled around them.
"Both competitors keep testing each other and we are at the ten minute mark! What an incredible match it's been so far!" The announcer yelled (or was that just his normal way of speaking at this point?).
The gloves had come off. They were now done testing each other. It was time to get serious.
Jura immediately made pillars rise from the ground as Naruto unleashed another lightning spear. The spear missed and the pillars went after Naruto, who used another Chidori Nagashi to destroy them. All according to plan.
"Haō Gan Sai (Supreme King Rock Crush )!" He yelled. The debris from the previous exchange flew at Naruto and surrounded him. However, before the usual followup to that step could be reached, Naruto was forced to use Chidori Nagashi again, freeing himself. He was starting to feel slightly tired, however. He'd already used Chidori five times that day, always with only one hand. Combined with everything else, it was starting to catch up. Not even close to being a problem yet, but something to be attentive too.
Jura's hands moved again, bringing another set of pillars to strike his opponent. Hoping to save chakra, Naruto opted to dodge rather then destroy them. The first pillar smashed into the ground just to his left. He then attached himself to another coming from his right and climbed up, being followed by three other pillars. After ten steps, he focused chakra to his legs and leaped at the floor through the minute gaps , creating a crater upon landing on the floor. He immediately started forming handseals before the pillars could change direction.
"Chidori Eisō (One Thousand Birds Sharp Spear )!" For the sixth time that day, electricity condensed around Naruto's fist and the sound of chirping birds was heard.He willed it to extend, forming a spear which he used to chop the pillars at the bottom. Jura's attacks fell around the shinobi, kicking up a cloud of dust.
'I see. He planned on using the dust as cover. Nevertheless, I can still sense him.' Jura thought. His sensing ability pointed towards his opponent being in the same place. Suddenly, two giant shuriken appeared from the dust cloud.
'He wasted the cover on something my magic can stop?!' The mage thought in surprised. 'No, wait, those shuriken are not aimed at me at all.' His eyes then widened. 'Wait, those aren't objects!'
The fuma shuriken on the left, having been thrown first, got past Jura earlier and thus was surrounded by white smoke before it's compatriot, turning into Naruto.
'Transformation? Used in battle?' Jura thought in wonder.
The now untransformed Naruto quickly landed and produced a chain from another smoke cloud which it threw at Jura.
Or so it seemed. The chain went confortably behind the Wizard Saint, nowhere close to actually hit him.
It did, however, land dead on the hands of a second Naruto, freshly untransformed as well.
'He used the cover from our attacks to have his doppelgangers hold a chain behind me?' Jura thought in bewilderment, being unsure of how to act for one of the few times in his life.
Those few seconds cost him as Naruto had come charging out of the dust cloud the moment his first clone untransformed, charging up an attack with both hands. By the time the mage had noticed him, the faster combatant was already upon him with the fully formed technique in his right hand. "Raiton: Rasengan (Lightning Release: Spiralling Sphere)!" A sphere of pure chakra with what appeared to be an arrowhead made of electricy sticking out of it's equator was rammed into the center of the bald man's chest. The clones holding the chain stepped backwards until Jura's back was in contact with the object. The opposing force applied by the chain to the one applied by the Rasengan allowed the technique to hurt even more. After barely over one second of the technique drilling and piercing into Jura, the clones let go of the chain and the original released the technique, unleashing all the built-up electricity into Jura's system and blowing him away at the same time. The jutsu was strong enough to blow the Wizard Saint all the way from just around forty feet away from the center of the field to the arena wall. The impact was strong enough to obscure the mage's body in a cloud of dust.
Naruto wiped his forehead with his right hand, signaling the clone on that side to dispel as he had planned before summoning it. It wouldn't do to have even a light headache right now. Still, it was a shame that he'd been forced to reveal that not all his clones were of the elemental kind, but it had to be done. Elementally charged shadow clones could only use jutsu of their nature, since that was the only kind of chakra they had, so they couldn't have been used in that plan.
"Incredible! Naruto Uzumaki just combined three diferent kinds of chakra usage to deal a heavy blow to one of the Ten Wizard Saints! Could this be the end of the match?" The announcer wondered excitedly. The crowd, on the other hand, had gone completely silent.
"Hey Lyon, is Jura-san okay?" Chelia asked her cousin's former crush, looking worriedly at the spot where their leader had fallen.
"It was a pretty strong hit." Yuka said matter-of-factly, although there was some worry in his voice as well.
"Calm down you two." Lyon Vastia ordered. "Jura-san would never be defeated so easily." He said with certainty, hoping to tranquilize his team mates.
It seemed to work to an extent, if their expressions were anything to go by.
'Although, to be able to outmaneuver Jura-san like that speaks of great skill and power. I'm starting to feel better about my loss.'
Lyon's words rang true as a tall shadow soon rose in the fading dust, revealing itself as Jura Neekis. However, the attack had clearly left a mark.
Literally, as the skin in the spot where the A-rank technique had hit was now adorned with a large spiral-shaped scar, deeper in the center and surroundee by eletrical burns. The white hakama had been completely erased in that spot and there was dust in the edges of the wound, which was noticeably deeper than the surrounding skin.
'He really had an armor like Gaara's.' Naruto thought, not very surprised that the match wasn't over. Rasengan was an a A-rank technique, yes, but it depended on time. Given enough time, it could drill through anything, being lethal after three seconds of contact with the average human body, as by then even just releasing the chakra caused fatal internal injuries. The elemental variations shortened that time to just one second, hence why he'd felt that it was safe to use without intending to kill. Still, something that wouldn't be immediately lethal to a shinobi didn't have much of a chance of defeating someone of Jura's level.
It did, however, rattle a quite a few organs if the man's errant footsteps were any indication.
"You don't seem surprised that your attack didn't defeat me." The tall man commented.
"I'd be disapointed if this match ended without me making you use your full strength." His opponent answered.
"Oh? A bold proclamation from our guest! Can he match up to it or is he doomed to fail after his showcase of three new abilities failed to net him the win?" The announcer wondered.
Naruto decided to answer that by pulling out three tri-pronged kunai with special seals on the handle from the pouch attached to the back of his waist. Using the same tricks his opponent had already countered wasn't going to work. It was time for a few more abilities to be shown.
Damnit, he'd hoped to lay low. Why'd his first opponent have to be someone this strong?
He had to hand it to the man. He didn't have many tricks, but they were so effective he didn't really need any more.
One kunai was thrown, the others quickly following on either side of it. He had to act fast before Jura recovered enough to disappear into the ground again.
'Only three of those kunai? And only one of them is actually coming my way? What could he be planning?' The mage wondered. He got his answer a few seconds later when, in numerous poofs of smoke, three kunai became thirty, all headed towards him.
"Gan Tetsu Heki (Iron Rock Wall)!" A blocky rectangular wall rose in front of the earth specialist, blocking every single blade before it could reach him. All except one turned to smoke on contact.
The other two originals ended up far from Jura, behind the wall.
'Perfect.' Naruto thoughtbefore both he and his clone blinked out of existence, appearing near the kunai. "Raiton: Gian (Lightning Release: False Darkness)!" Jura didn't even have time to think before twin spears of electricity hit him, sending thousands of volts through his system.
"Naruto Uzumaki outmaneuvers Jura yet again with a new ability, landing another heavy hit! Could this be the end?"
After two seconds of torture, the spears faded and the clone dispelled. Naruto was starting to feel the drain of so many techniques. He still had a lot of energy, though. Now was the time to capitalize on the latest hits.
Or it would have been, had it not been for the Wizard Saint's incredible will. One second he was screaming in pain, the next he'd sent two pillars at... The Hiraishin kunai?
'No way...' Naruto thought, shocked that anyone had been able to figure out the technique after only seeing it once. So shocked was he that he didn't even react when the kunai were smashed into the wall and destroyed. He did, however, react when the remains of the pillars separated into cubes and shot towards him. Since he had no chance of dodging the cage of rocky death that surrounded him on all sides, there was only one option. So, he used Hiraishin to appear next to the kunai behind the wall.
Right into Jura's hands.
The moment he felt the same energy he had from the other two kunai before the pain came, the mage ordered his wall to split into it's components, sending them smashing right into the surprised blonde.
"Oh! Jura Neekis just got a heavy hit in in return as well! Naruto Uzumaki was just hit by those rocks point blank! Can he recover or is this it?"
Naruto barely heard the announcer, too absorbed in trying to remember where he was. He'd been caught completely unaware by the rocks and only had time to protect his head from the onslaught. He was just lucky Jura was still feeling the effects of the electricity and thus hadn't been able to control the rocks as well as he usually could, otherwise he'd have some broken bones at the very least.
Not that it made the pain everywhere any easier to bear.
Slowly, he got up, just as his opponent seemed to pull himself together after the desperation move, dust from the earth armor sliding off him, unable to mantain it's cohesion after the powerful electrical shock. Both were feeling the effects of the previous exchange. They stared at each other. The clock marked fifteen minutes.
"How did you figure it out?" Naruto asked.
"A burst of energy came from the kunai just before you disappeared. Reminded of the use of lacrima." His opponent answered.
With nothing else to say, the two fighters looked at each other, waiting for the opponent to make the first move.
Jura's left leg rose, was covered in rock and came down on the last kunai, destroying it.
A fourth spear of lightning was the response. It was dodged and replaced an avalanche of rocks. A kunai got thrown through the horde, bringing Naruto with it once it got past the rocks. Jura had expected that, however, and had sent another fist of rock to meet Naruto the moment he materialized. Naruto had the breath taken out of him, yet he knew he couldn't let this hit go unanswered, otherwise it was over. So he did his best to ignore the pain and retaliate.
"Raiton: Kuropansa (Lightning Release: Black-Spotted Difference)!" He yelled as the black lightning he'd painstainkingly learnt from Darui emerged from his body and formed into a panther, which leapt at Jura and bit him, releasing the discharge. Black lightning was stronger and, more importantly, faster than the regular blue, so it was the only thing he could use in that situation. It was also much more draining, however, to the point were a simple B-rank technique had just taken as much out of him as the Chidori.
None of this was on his mind, however. The cracked ribs that the jacket hadn't been able to protect him from that time were. The fall onto the rocks he'd previously dodged wasn't helpful, either.
"Naruto Uzumaki has just revealed the ability to use black lightning as well! And now both competitors are down!"
"What is that idiot doing?" Kurotsuchi asked in a rage, although her concern was obvious. "Why hasn't he used that damn Sage Mode yet? Is he trying to get himself killed?"
"No." Kankuro said calmly, although the others knew him well enough by now to see he was worried as well. "By not using Sage Mode against such a powerful opponent, he's showing us what we can expect when it's our turn, since we didn't get the chance to fight any mages before the labyrinth."
"That idiot." Karui said after a long silence, but her expression of thankfulness contradicted her words. "He really is too nice for his own good sometimes. He better not die."
The silence that followed her words spoke more about her team mates' agreement than any words could.
"Hey Orga, how do you feel about having someone else use black lightning?" Sting Eucliffe asked his team mate with a mocking smile. It was all joking, of course. The muscled musician's jaw was as firmly unhinged as it had been when the foreigner first revealed that ability.
'Well, that settles it. I'm done holding back.' Naruto thought as he used his average medical abilities to heal himself as best as he could. Cracked bones mended themselves as the green chakra spread through them, allowing to try to get up. After Shikamaru's death, which had only happened because there hadn't been a medic around, Naruto had asked Shizune to teach him some healing techniques, not wanting to have another comrade die in his arms. While doubtful at first, she'd eventually agreed, but only on the condition that he not question her orders. He'd agreed, and as a result spent eighteen goddamn months perfecting his chakra control until she declared him good enough to start practising on animals. He'd been cleared to treat humans for only three years now. Although much of that was owed to Hana taking pity on him and helping him out with roadblocks in his training whenever they had missions together. It almost made up for all the teasing. Almost.
Still, he was pissed. Not only had Hiraishin been countered again, but his healing abilities had been revealed, he was lucky to have survived this much and, worst of all, his sage coat was full of tears! Shiima was gonna have his head!
It was time to bring out Sage Mode. He'd already pushed his luck as it was.
Better check on his opponent first, though. With that in mind, the blonde slowly got up, his right hand still surrounded by green chakra, healing his battered back.
"You can heal yourself as well? Just how many abilities do you possess, Naruto-dono?" Jura asked. The wizard saint was still wincing from the panther's attack, his muscles twitching ocasionally. Naruto could understand. Whenever he used that in spars with his larger summons, it usually knocked them out.
"Hopefully you won't find out. You've already forced me to use much more than I wanted to."
"Is that a challenge?" The bald man asked again, giving him a challenging smirk despite the pain. Respect had already begun to bud between the fighters.
"Maybe." Naruto replied teasingly, smirking as well.
"Look at that! These two men have already put each other through hell and back these past twenty minutes, yet they're talking like old friends! What incredible sportsmanship!" Chapati Lola might have needed new vocal chords at that rate.
Naruto was already planning on how to get the necessary three seconds to absorb Eternano for Sage Mode when three voices rang out.
"What are you doing Jura? Stop playing around and finish him off already! Send him spinning!"
"Damnit Namikaze, stop holding back and beat him already!"
"Damnit masochist, stop testing him, win now!"
Naruto couldn't help but facepalm. Did Karui really have to call him that out loud? How the hell was anyone gonna take them seriously after that? Really, he was almost tempted to bring up that night they spent together during one of his visits to Kumo, but figured turnabout wasn't really fairplay in this case. Jura had already beaten him up enough. No need to pile another beating on top of that.
"Overbearing as they seem, they have a point. It doesn't seem that either of us can win without using our full strength." The Wizard Saint said.
Soon, the earth user's presence became overbearing as his full magical presence was unleashed, forming what vaguely appeared to be some sort of shogun.
"Incredible! Jura Neekis's immense magical power has just been fully accessed! Such a massive surge can probably be felt all the way across the city!"
'Just as strong as your position indicates. You really are incredible Jura-san.' Naruto thought before spreading his arms and closing his eyes.
Suddenly, another immense presence was felt, matching Jura's. Sage Mode, technically using Eternano even though the natural energy was turned to chakra before entering the body, was extra susceptible to a mage's innate sensing abilities. The pressure immediately took a vague shape as well through some light Killing Intent, this one more matching of a demon. A little nod to Zabuza, whose actions taught the blonde one of the most important lessons of his life. Shaping Killing Intent had been very hard, but it was worth it.
"Incredible... They're both as strong as Gildarts..." Makarov Dreyar muttered in disbelief.
"Wow, Cooler-Laxus really is cooler than Laxus! He's as strong as Gildarts! I really want to fight one of those guys." Natsu yelled out.
"Those two are men! Real men!" Elfman added.
"I feel like I want to punch Natsu for some reason..." Laxus Dreyar muttered as he observed the two titans on the field.
"Damn, those guys are monsters." Gajeel commented, although the bloodthirsty smile on his face said otherwise.
Jellal remained silent. His mind, on the other hand, was buzzing. 'Why would anyone this strong be sent in a diplomatic mission? Something else is going on here.' Not to mention the man had apparently come in contact with creatures related to Zeref. That didn't usually preclude anything good.
"What's happening?" A voice behind them asked. Turning, they identified the speaker as their remaining team mate, who still looked rather depressed at her loss. Mirajane could understand. Even Jellal's quick victory hadn't really gotten them any fans, considering it happened against someone who was clearly exausted from the challenge. They may have more points than most teams, but they weren't as well regarded.
"The guy who beat you is fighting the Wizard Saint from Lamia Scale, and they've just stopped holding back." Gajeel answered, still smiling. The bluenette looked surprised at that before rushing to the edge of the balcony to get a better look.
"Oh man, that guy is really strong." Sting commented. He then turned towards his fellow blonde. "Aren't you happy, Rufus? I mean, now that we know the guy who beat you is this good, the master probably won't punish you." He really enjoyed getting on his team mates nerves.
A few steps away, a red bipedal talking cat seemed to be having a nervous breakdown over there being two people stronger than 'Sting-kun'.
"I thought your people couldn't absorb Eternano." Jura commented, also taking note that his opponent's eyes now resembled a frog's and he appeared to be using orange eye-shadow.
"No. I said we couldn't use it. Through special training, however, we can learn to absorb it. It turns into chakra before entering the body, so it doesn't allow us to use magic, unfortunately." The ninja explained.
"I see..." The mage said, dismissing the physical changes as side-effects of the absorption.
"In-Incredible! Naruto Uzumaki's presence is just as imposing as Jura's! This is a fight between two men with the power of Wizard Saints!" The announcer yelled, his voice starting to crack from all the shouting he'd done that day.
Both combatants were in a standoff for the seventh time, both their auras still active.
Naruto moved first again, seeing as Sage Mode still had a timer. He blurred through another chain of handseals.
"Raiton: Denki Shokku (Lightning Release: Electric Shock)!" He yelled as his chakra was kneaded into black electricity which was quickly directed at Jura in order to eletrocute him. The mage, however, wasn't holding back anymore either, so he showed a level of earth manipulation he hadn't felt he needed to use yet by hardening the ground below him into another pillar which he moved a few inches to the left, getting himself out of the line of fire. A quick gesture turned the pillar into debris that was sent around the electrity and at the blonde, who was already forming a new chain of handseals.
"Raiton: Dengekiha (Lightning Release: Electric Shock Wave)!" Numerous bolts of black electricity travelled horizontaly from Naruto's body, cut through the spell and homed in on Jura. The jutsu was too widespread for the previous way of dodging to work again, so the mage had to get creative. Using pillars to get himself upwards would just leave him vulnerable to further attacks and there wasn't enough time to blend into the ground. The lightning would just pierce through whatever defenses he could summon and he didn't trust his agility to be able to dodge all of them. So overpowering them was the answer.
"Daichi no Chikara (Earth Power)!" After a movement of his arms and a few seconds of charging up, the ground before parted due to an eruption of magical power that reached around the mage's height and then spread forward in a straight line towards Naruto, causing large explosions when it encoutered the lightning. The lower part of the column continued moving despite that, forcing the blonde to jump to the side.
The jonin was tired of playing games, however. Long-range fighting had already failed, so he decide to try things up close. Getting within range was going to be a problem, but he had ways around that. Ways he was going to put in practice right now.
In quick bursts of white smoke, two swords he'd painstainkly learned how to wield with average skill under his frequent partner Uzuki Yugao's tutelage appeared in his hands from the storage seals written on his gloves. He had no idea how to actually use two swords in battle, but that wasn't what he had brought them out for. Much like Sarutobi Asuma's, and now Sarutobi Konohamaro's, trench knives, these were special swords with actual chakra networks inserted into them during the welding process. He had no idea how that was possible, although fuinjutsu was his main theory, but he did know that, while normal weapons could be charged with chakra, they usually didn't survive repeated applications. These especially welded weapons, made only in Kumo and the Land of Iron and so coveted everywhere else that Asuma's theft of the trench knives during the Third War had earned him a hefty monetary bonus, however, suffered no drawbacks from being charged with chakra. They weren't quite at the level of the famed Kiba Omoi now wielded, which generated its own chakra through processes that had to be complex enough to make his head hurt, but they were enough to do what he was about to. And they were also ridiculously expensive. Kumo merchants were thieving bastards.
"Rairyū no Tatsumaki (Lightning Dragon Tornado)!" Lightning was charged into the swords as their wielder jumped and started spinning. Wind gathered around him and mixed with the lightning, forming a typhoon in the shape of a serpentine dragon with red eyes whose own momentum forced forwards. While it wasn't as impressive as it would have been if all the usual conditions had been met, the construct was still able to quickly close in on the Wizard Saint, who sent another rock fist at the blonde located at the base of it's neck. The attack shifted, dodging the fist, and the blonde stopped spinning, gathering the condensed typhoon around his swords and swinging it at Jura, whose hasty defense didn't have enough power to stand in the face of the jutsu. The taller man screamed in pain as Naruto returned the swords to their seals, landed and tried shake off the dizzyness. Barely a second later, he'd recovered and was running towards his opponent. Seeing this, the mage momentarily shook off the pain, knowing that letting the blonde gain any kind of momentum was accepting defeat, and ordered a small pillar to rise just as Naruto had closed in. The ninja was hit right in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him, and driving him to one knee just as the same happened to the bald man.
Neither of them stayed down for long, however, as Naruto wasn't willing to let the distance he'd gained be nullified while Jura wasn't interested in moving the battle to close range when long range had served him so well.
The blonde's speed fortunately came through for him again when he quickly managed to close in on his opponent and throw a punch. His aim was true as his right fist buried itself in his opponents gut. Before he could follow up on that, however, his opponent's massive fist hit him in the chin. Another massive punch was dodged and countered with an uppercut. The earth user leaned back to void it, yet the invisible chakra cloak was another matter entirely.
'What was that?' He though as his head snapped back from the blow. Wasting no time, the blode used the momentum to spin and drive his left elbow into the taller man's abdomen, knocking the wind out of him. Smelling blood in the water, he prepared another heavy blow.
"Rasengan (Spiraling Sphere)!" A sphere a pure chakra was formed in his right hand, ready to be driven into the mage. Said man, sensing the move's power, forced his body to comply with his wishes and cast the one spell that would save him
"Ganzan (Rock Mountain)!" The native joined his palms together, prompting a large rock formation to emerge from the ground and surround him, taking the shape of a human clad in an Eastern-looking armor, complete with an helmet and with stone protrusions jutting out, with a frowning look and bright lights visible in the holes acting as its eyes. The sphere slammed into the defense and started drilling into it, but not fast enough to stop the mage from conterattacking. Naruto was about to put his other hand over the sphere in order to add lightning chakra to it when the formation abruptly broke apart, the pieces all being sent at him. The kunai he'd used before being forced to reveal the black lightning was his only salvation, allowing to Hiraishin to safety.
As Jura recovered from the elbow strike, Naruto was getting annoyed. Long range had already failed repeatedly, especially considering that manipulating the earth was much less tiring than generating and manipulating electricity, as it was just manipulating what already existed instead and producing something new entirely. It was so little taxing, in fact, that one of Iwa's main war tactics was stalling with walls of earth for hours and then strike when the enemy was exhausted. This meant that his opponent had used up a lot less energy than he had. And now he'd just been forced to waste the first close combat exchange they'd had!
"I thought your techniques required handseals?" Jura asked, noticeably out of breath.
"Only those that involve turning chakra into something else, the kneading I mentioned. Not the ones that use it in its pure form." The blonde answered, feeling proud of the way he'd outsmarted the other man. Not that said outsmarting had gotten any tangible results.
Damnit, he doubted he'd have a chance to summon any snakes at this point.
Any further thoughts had to be discarded as another wave of debris came at him from all sides. Damnit, it seemed like he'd have to start using more elements. Hopefully just one more would do it. Still, there were a few more things he wanted to try.
"Raiton: Dengekiha (Lightning Release: Electric Shock Wave)!" Bursts of black electricity emerged from him, travelling inj front of him, destroying any debris in their path and shielding him from any rocks that came in his direction. Jura turned the ground below him into a pillar and forced it to sink into the floor until his knees were below ground level, making the lightning miss him. Naruto had ways around that.
"Raiton: Denki Shokku (Lightning Release: Electric Shock)!" Another spear of black electricity was launched from the blonde's mouth at a seemingly defenceless mage. Sadly, things weren't always as they appeared.
Yet again, the ground below the taller combatant hardened into a pillar that pushed him into safety, with what little was left of the pillar after being hit by the lightning getting fired at him. Naruto was undeterred.
"Raiton: Kuropansa (Lightning Release: Black-Spotted Difference)!" For the second time, black electricity took the shape of a panther that stood in front of his creator, anhialating the debris and rushing at Jura, who was still recovering from his flight.
"Daichi no Chikara (Earth Power)!" Once again, a burst of magical power reaching up to his forehead appeared in front of the Wizard Saint and rushed at the panther. Naruto, unable to move while using his technique, had his attack avoid the wave, knowing his construct was the faster technique and assuming the pain from his attack would break his opponent's concentration and thus dispel the wave before it could hit him.
He had underestimated his opponent's will. The panther reached its target and unleashed it's payload, but Jura refused to let his opponent get an advantage, so he grit his teeth and forced his attack to travel faster until it reached his opponent.
Pain was all Naruto knew as the burst of magical power reached his shocked form. Sage Mode wasn't enough to protect him from the brunt of the blast.
Both combatants were on the floor, trying to recover from the previous exchange.
"What a match! Ever since their full power was revealed, there hasn't even been time to breathe!"
'I have to admit, I was not very interested in this match at first.' Jura thought as he struggled to his knees. 'But now, after seeing his power, I find myself not wanting to lose. My pride as a Wizard Saint... My pride as the ace of Lamia Scale... My pride as a mage... They demand victory!' He thought with determination, shakily getting to his feet.
'When was the last time I was beaten this badly?' Naruto wondered, barely getting to a knee. 'Damnit, that last one was a hard hit. Still, I can't give up. I have to win. For my pride as a kage-level ninja. For my team. And for the continent. Jura-san, you're powerful, and I respect you a lot, but I can't let you stand in my way. I'll take you down. I have too.' He thought as he finally got up.
One thing he'd immediately noticed was the breeze. He was feeling a lot more of it than he should. The reason soon became clear: Jura's attack had destroyed his outfit. To be specific, the left pant leg below the knee, the left sleeve and a rather large triangle on the bottom of the coat, jacket and shirt, leaving his skin exposed from around the middle of the waist to a quarter of his torso. Worst of all, in his own mind at least, his coat was now just a piece of cloth that covered his right arm and just a little bit of his back.
Everyone else was focused on other things about him. Namely, the various burns caused by the previous spell. And also his scars. A slash from a sword on his gut, a stab a little lower which had gotten through his lower intestine, various cuts across his arm, the bruises caused by Jura's earlier strikes and numerous scars on his leg from when he'd nearly lost it to shrapnel from an explosion. Even so, he was one of the combat specialists with the least amount of scars due to having Kurama to heal him during the beginning of his career, the time when one usually made the most mistakes and didn't normally have a medic nearby to heal the scars away. Ten years of war had still left their mark on both his body and mind, of course.
Jura didn't focus on the scars, however. He was surprised, yes, but he'd expected something like this when he noticed one of the man's team mates was missing an ear. Not to mention the scar another one had that meant they'd been very lucky to keep their eye. No, what he was focused on was the stylized kanji character for lightning on the blonde's left shoulder.
"Is that kanji... A symbol of the element you use?" He asked, out of breath.
"No... It's a symbol of those who can use... Black lightning." Naruto answered, also panting.
Both panting men stared at each other. Naruto shrugged off his now useless coat.
A rock fist started the eighth round of hostilities. A dog made of electricity destroyed it. The blonde then rushed at his opponent, Hiraishin kunai in hand. Jura countered by making two pillars rise besides him and turning them into debris which was sent at the blonde. The target threw the kunai past the onslaught and made a few hand seals while dodging the first few rocks thanks to the enhanced reflexes from Sage Mode.
"Raiton: Jibashi (Lightning Release: Electromagnetic Murder)!" He yelled out, kneading his chakra into blue electricity which was released all around and in front of him, destroying the rocks and anhialating the pillar Jura had used to attempt to crush the kunai, the mage barely making another pillar below him to escape. The blonde then blinked out of existence, appearing next to the kunai in the air, throwing it on the floor closer to Jura and unleashing another round of bursts of black electricity. Unlike before, from this position only moving horizontally would allow him to dodge.
Jura was able to make yet another pillar to move forward. Naruto quickly used Hiraishin again, appearing around sixty steps away from his opponent, who had recovered his balance after his abrupt ride and had once again sent debris after him. Naruto appeared to get hit, only to suddenly turn into his discarded coat in a puff of smoke.
'What?' The taller man though before turning to his left, where he sensed his opponent.
He wasn't fast enough, and was met by a punch to the cheek followed by a kick to the knee. Another punch landed on his torso followed by a knee to the gut. Jura fell to one knee and took the opportunity to raise another small pillar, striking the jonin in the chin, forcing him to take a step back. It was clear that, while Naruto had the advantage of speed and agility, the mage had the advantage in strength.
Jura got up and swung at Naruto, his fist surrounded by rock. The blonde dodged and created a shadow clone which punched Jura in the head before dispelling, the smoke allowing Naruto to land yet another punch in the gut. Naruto mentally grinned as he landed another punch to the face. Now that he had the advantage, he was never letting it go.
His opponent, unfortunately, did not agree, and thus forced another small pillar to rise and hit the ANBU in the stomach just as he was looking for a fifth punch.
"Haō Gan Sai (Supreme King Rock Crush )!" Debris formed a rocky formation around Naruto. Usually, that would be followed by the Wizard Saint clapping his hands, causing the stones to explode in their basic components, dealing massive damage to an enemy. However, since Naruto had used Hiraishin to escape the moment he was encased, it would just be a waste of time.
Naruto, on the other hand, was seething at having yet another perfect opportunity ruined. That was it. It was time to reveal another element.
"Katon: Zukokku (Fire Release: Intelligent Hard Work)!" A small fireball was fired from his mouth at the opponent, who, while surprised at seeing the blonde use another element, quickly raised another pillar, already planning to split it and use the pieces against the blonde. However, he was completely unprepared when the small fireball became a firestorm the moment it touched the wall. The fire got past the wall, burning one of the mage's hands before he could avoid it completely. Naruto wasn't willing to let that be it, however. He'd use all five elements if he had to.
"Fūton: Atsugai (Wind Release: Pressure Damage)!" A tornado-like mass was compressed and than released from his mouth. The pressure was released when it colided with the pillar, destroying it and combining with the fire to encase the mage in a flaming tornado. Just as he'd planned when he'd first used the fire.
"Oh! Naruto Uzumaki just used two more elements to overwhelm Jura yet again! Will he never stop surprising us?"
Naruto didn't pay attention to that, focusing on getting to his opponent before he recovered. He was successful, landing another three punches before the bald man managed to retaliate with yet another small pillar which quickly buried itself on his gut.
"Chidori Nagashi (One Thousand Birds Current)!" A quick chain of one-handed handseals had his right hand surrounded by electricity which was soon released in every direction. The mage was hit by the technique yet again, allowing the blonde to follow up with a few more punches. Jura eventually managed to retaliate, and pressed his advantage with a fist covered in rock moving downwards. A sickening crack was heard all around the arena as Naruto's shoulder gave out under the pressure. Jura froze in surprise as his opponent screamed in pain.
"Rasengan (Spiraling Sphere)!" He never saw the rotating sphere of pure chakra that slamed into him until it was too late. Four seconds of torture later, as that was all Naruto would risk even in this state, and the bald man was sent flying into the wall again. Naruto dropped to one knee, trying desperately to heal his dislocated shoulder.
He succeed, mostly. It was good enough to not be much of and hindrance for the rest of the match at least. Kankuro could take care of it afterwards. He was the better medic among them.
Any further dwelling on that subject had to be dropped as he felt his opponent blend into the ground. One thing a battle between two experienced sensors such as them did not have was the suspense of wondering wether your attack took out the opponent or not. They always knew the answer to that.
Nevertheless, while that trick had worked once, the blonde had figured out a way to get past it now.
Another Chidori was formed and then stuck beneath the earth right in front of him. The energy was then released, upturning the ground as it went, bringing with it a shocked mage who was sent flying through the air.
Right above the chain.
A few one handed handseals later and he had replaced himself with the chain, right below his opponent, ready to put into motion his plan for finishing the match.
"Katon: Ryūen Hōka no Jutsu (Fire Release: Dragon Flame Release Song Technique )!" A huge amount of chakra was condensed on his body and then released as five dragon head-shaped fireballs which flew at the airborn Jura. As a testament to his skill and determination, the man managed to shift his body in midair, dodging two of the fireballs, which flew into the sky. The other three, however, hit him, sending him into the floor. That was it.
Or so it seemed. The mage used his powers over the earth to smother the flames upon landing. It didn't make the landing any softer, or take away the burns he'd already gotten from the explosion. His mantle had been completely burnt away, as well as a large part of his hakama.
Naruto wasn't going to give him any time to recover, however. Running fast, he managed to connect with an axe kick followed by a few more punches. He wasn't letting this chance go, so he made sure to make one handed shadow clones for support with the hand he wasn't using to punch, constantly battering his opponent with heavy strikes.
"After a flurry of heavy blows, Jura seems to be weakening! Is this the end?"
Naruto was so focused on pummeling his opponent that he never noticed when the man put his palms together.
"Ganzan (Rock Mountain)!" A rock formation modelled after a samurai, which looked very similar to the man's aura of power, surrounded the man again just as Naruto's fist came at him again. The pain from having his hand hit solid rock distracted him long enough for the formation to break apart, with all the pieces hitting him, knocking away from the panting mage.
Both men were on their knees, bruised and battered from the prolonged contest.
"Both men are struggling to get up, feeling the effects of this extremely physical matchup! What an incredible show they've provided for us!" The crowd seemed to agree, cheering wildly at the combatants to 'Keep it up!'. There even a few cheering for Naruto, too.
Both men slowly struggled to their feet, wobbling unsteadily.
Thunder rumbled in the skies.
Naruto smiled and sent a few kunai with exploding tags attached at his opponent, activating the tags just as they struck the earth wall his opponent had hastily put up. He then used yet another Chidori, sending the electric a charge at the sky. Natural lightning started gathering above his form as he kept his hand raised.
"I don't remember there being a thunderstorm in the weather forecast." Jura commented. "It was the fire dragons, wasn't it?"
"You figured it out already? I'm even more impressed." The blonde answered.
"What are they talking about? Do you undertstand, Yajima-san, Jenny-san?" The announcer wondered.
"Uzumaki-san is very smart." Yajima started. "Those dragon-shaped fireballs Jura-san dodged earlier were hot enough to form an upward movement of air currents which generated thunder clouds."
"The possibility of that happening is probably why he used that attack instead of any of the potencially more damaging ones we've seen him use." Jenny added. "It seems power is not all he has."
As that was said, an enormous dragon-like creature made of lightning descended from the clouds, floating above Naruto.
"I didn't expect to need this, Jura-san." He started. "It took me nearly two years to get the hang of this, but its never failed to end a fight before."
"Then it seems I will have to counter it with a spell that's also never failed me before." The Wizard Saint replied as he joined his hands together, beginning to charge up power.
"We'll see which one is stronger, then." The blonde said, unable to keep the smirk off his face. He could have simply unleashed Kirin the moment the electric charge reched the sky, probably defeating his opponent. However, the technique's main weakness then reared its ugly head: Kirin was one of the best techniques around, but it was so ridiculously hard to master that once you did you couldn't help but brag about it. Plus, he really wanted to see how it matched up against a the best spell of one of Fiore's best. Lastly, even though he made sure to aim away from Jura to make sure the blunt of the technique missed him, thus allowing him to survive, clashing with the man's counter move practically insured that.
Thus he waited until Jura was ready, only a second after Kirin was revealed. Even if he didn't win, such a show of power should discourage any dark mages from paying a visit to the Elemental Nations.
The mage opened his eyes. The construct floated back to the clouds.
It was time.
"Kirin!" Naruto kneeled, bringing his lightning-covered hand to the ground, the dragon-like construct quickly following.
"Meidō Fugaku (Rumbling Mt. Fuji)!" A huge burst of magical power rose up in front of Jura, towering over the stadium.
The power of the earth rose up to meet the descending fury of the heavens.
A thunderous explosion was caused by the clash, electricity and pure magic sweeping all over the stadium as debris was lifted up and strong winds swept over the field. The mages mantaining the barriers that kept the crowd safe were worked to their limits to contain the surge. The very earth rumbled in an earthquake that took nearly every rune knight present to stop from spreading to the rest of the capital. Even so, a few of the closer buildings still shook slightly.
"Naruto!" Kankuro shouted, protecting his eyes with his arms, barely heard over the noise from the explosion. Similar cries echoed from his team mates, all equally woried about their team leader.
"Jura-san!" Lyon shouted, turning his back to the field in an effort to protect his face and Chelia from any debris that may get past the barriers.
"What the hell kind of monsters are these guys?" Natsu shouted over the noise as he and his team tried their best to stand against the wind.
'Someone this powerful seems interested in Fairy Tail?' Laxus Dreyar thought. 'I don't like it. Things like that don't usually men anything good.'
"Hey Laxus, how come you can't use lightning like that?" Gajeel asked once the wind quieted down.
"Because that wasn't regular lightning." He explained, getting blank looks in response. "Usually, lightning spells are performed by vibrating your own magic to generate electricity. However, you also have to direct the electricity a the opponent, which makes it slower. What that guy did was use his electricity as a lightning rod to direct natural lightning at his opponent. Not having to direct every step meant his attack with the full power and speed of a lightning strike. It's incredibly complex. That guy is really powerful."
As the dust settled, the spectators were treated to a sight that was more fitting for a battlefield than a friendly competition. Huge chunks of soil had been upturned and the remains of Jura's attacks that had led to him being hit by the Raiton: Rasengan had turned to rubble. Naruto was lying facedown in the ground, half buried and missing the rest of his jacket and shirt. An odd orange spiral eleongate into a vertical upwards line connected with a downwards line was tattooed on the back of his left shoulder. Jura was lying on his back a little ways away, as motionless as his opponent.
"And with that thunderous clash, it seems as if this incredible match ends in a tie! Lets give it up for these two incredible warriors!" The announcer yelled out, only to be denied by two more yells.
"NO!" Said yells had come from the field, where, shockingly, both combatants were picking themselves up, despite their numerous burns and bruises and the fact that neither of them had anything covering their torsos and arms anymore. More cuts were seen along Naruto's right arm, along with what appeared to be wounds caused by arrows on his left shoulder, torso and right arm. And old burn was also on bhis forearm. Jura, on the other hand, had two spiral shaped scars thanks to the two Rasengan he'd been hit with. Both were bleeding from the mouth, a sign of possible internal injuries. Both their auras had faded.
In short, neither of them seemed to be in condition to move for the next few days, nevermind continue partaking in the most violent match in the history of the games.
The crowd didn't care about that, however, cheering wildly at the thought of the match continuing.
The competitors rushed at each other again, landing punches on each other's faces. Naruto quickly used another Chidori Nagashi as yet another pillar smashed itself on his chin. Unwilling to lose after having come so far, both shrugged off the hits and punched each other again. The hand to hand struggle continued, Naruto being too tired to properly use shadow clones with only one hand as he had done before, each collision between their arms sending out shockwaves that further destroyed the stadium, both warriors putting all they had left into their blows.
Jura managed to take adavantage of Naruto's still tender left arm to score a combination of punches that ended in yet another one covered in rock. Unwilling to let that be the end, Naruto slammed another Rasengan into the man's side. Both were sent flying quite a few feet, yet got up just as fast, fueled by a final adrenaline rush that virtually ensured they would be in quite a lot of pain once the match ended.
They clashed yet again, cracks being heard when another fist covered in rock slammed into Naruto's ribs while a a fireball washed over Jura.
"Someone stop this match before those two kill each other!" Yajima shouted in worry, seeing how much damage both fighters had taken. He was ignored, however, as Naruto healed himself as best as he could while Jura smothered the flames with what little energy he had left. The blonde then created a clone with both hands and rushed at his opponent alongside his doppelganger, punching right after it, performing quite a few combinations before a wall rose between them and separated, dispelling the clone and seriously injuring the blonde. The taller man pressed his advantage, pummeling his opponent with punishing fists, knowing that giving him even a little breathing room could easily allow him to use that teleporting technique again. That would definitely spell his end.
Another fireball prepared with only one hand was fired in his face, causing him to drop to his knees just as his opponent did as well. They didn't let that stop them, however, as soon yet another small rock pillar and lightning spear homed in on their respective creator's opponent, sending to the ground.
Both laid there, backs to the floor, panting in exhaustion and pain.
"You really are powerful, Jura-san." Naruto said. "I haven't been beaten this badly in years."
"You as well, Naruto-dono." The mage replied. "Were we younger, you would have made a good rival."
"You're never too old to have a rival, especially if it's a powerful one."
"Then I guess you are my rival now. I will not allow myself to lose to you." The Wizard Saint said, starting to get up.
"Same here." The jonin said, getting up as well.
Both rushed at each other after a brief moment of rest on their feet. They were both nearly out of energy, so there was no point on using any magic or jutsu. Naruto landed an uppercut as Jura connected with a knee to the gut. The exchange continued, both gaining many more bruises.
"What incredible spirit! Even after twenty-nine minutes of violent combat and despite being out of magical power, these two warriors refuse to give up!"
With the last of their strength, a rock fist and a Rasengan connected yet again with the opponent, sending both flying back yet again. However, the exhaustion both were feeling was obvious as neither attack was anywhere near as strong as it had been previously. The crowd kept cheering them on.
After a few more seconds of struggle, both made it to their feet and punched each other again, unwilling to let such trivial things as lack of magic or chakra defeat them.
Exhaustion and pain were a different matter however, as after a few more blows both took a few steps back, panting and wobbling unsteadily.
They seemed ready to rush at each other again when the gong rung yet again.
"And that's it!" The announcer yelled out. "We' ve reached the thirty minute time limit! This incredible match ends in a tie by time out!"
"We'll have to do this again." Naruto said, his vision getting dark.
"Indeed." Jura agreed, much in the same condition.
Both warriors then passed out due to pain and exhaustion, falling face down at the same time.
Both Team Lamia Scale and Team United Shadows jumped into the field and rushed at their aces, calling their names hurriedly. All eight quickly reached their targets, the medics checking on their momentary patients and healing them accordingly.
"He's got a cracked jaw, two broken ribs, bit his tongue not to mention all the bruises. There's nothing life threatning, but he'll be very sore for the next couple of days" Kankuro reported, his hands covered in green chakra. Considering how little chakra puppeteering required and the fact that he himself mostly stayed in the rear while his puppets did the fighting, honing his control for medical chakra was the next logical step.
"He bit his tongue, has three broken ribs, a few second and third degree burns and his muscles are spasming from all the electric shocks. He'll be fine in a few days, but he shouldn't fight in the meantime." Chelia said as she healed the Wizard Saint, something she never thought she would have to do. The man always seemed so strong, effortlessly winning every battle she'd seen him in, that she had never thought it was possible for anyone to leave him in such a state.
"I guess we'll have Sherry replace in the meantime." Lyon sighed, relieved that the man he respected so much was out of danger.
"And this is the end of the first day of the X791 Grand Magic Games! Here are the scores!" The scoreboard rose from the floor yet again, revealing the standings for the first day: Sabertooth in first place with nineteen points, Raven Tail in second with eighteen points, Blue Pegasus in third with sixteen points, United Shadows in fourth with fifteen points, Lamia Scale in fifth with twelve points, Fairy Tail B in sixth also with twelve points, Mermaid Heel in seventh with five points, Quatro Cerberus in eighth with four points, Titan Nose in ninth with one point and lastly Fairy Tail A with zero points.
After looking at the score, Kankuro picked up Naruto and team left among a chorus of cheers. They may have only managed fourth place, but thanks to Naruto they had proven their power. It was clear that, had his opponent been anyone else, they would have gotten first place. And that counted for something.
The less travelled members of the guild were still trying to digest the fact that there was now someone on the tournament whom had repeatedly matched Erza when a rather familiar voice spoke. "So that's Quatro Cerberus's Bacchus The Drunken Falcon? Somehow, he's exactly what I expected."
Turning, the members of Fairy Tail saw Team United Shadows, with the speaker, Naruto Uzumaki, standing in the middle, bandages all over his body and face, his left arm in a sling. He was wearing a much more casual outfit, with pants identical to the ones he had been wearing before but now wearing just a simple orange t-shirt rather than the rather elaborate ensemble he'd donned during the games.
"So you saw what he did?" Makarov asked, surprising everyone with how relaxed he seemed to be.
"No, we just passed him on the street and recognized him from the recordings of previous years."
"I see. Is this the time for you to ask those questions you mentioned earlier?" He wondered, getting curious looks from nearly everyone else.
"If that's not too much of a problem." The blonde answered politely, discreetly eying the topless brunette drinking a mug of beer while keeping an arm between her chest and the world. 'Bacchus must have taken that top he was holding from her. Probably without her wanting him to.' He thought, fighting down the rage that the thought started filling him with. Things like that had stopped being funny after he saw what often happened to female (and sometimes male) war prisioners. After the first time he'd seen it, everyone who served with him knew that relieving their frustrations on prisioners was a good way to get a savage beatdown. The bastard was just lucky Shino had been there to pull Naruto off him. Before those injuries became permanent.
"No problem at all, my boy! Ask away!" Usually, he would have been wary of assassins asking him questions, but there was no way the boy currently speaking with him could be at even a quarter of his usual strength after the battle he'd been in earlier. Besides, even if he was, no assassin would dare try anything in such a public place. Even so, he noticed that quite a few of his children, namely Erza, Laxus, Fried and Gajeel, weren't anywhere near as relaxed as he was.
"We heard you've fought the black dragon." Naruto started, wishing there was a better way to ease into the question.
"Yes?" The elder asked, sobering up slightly.
"We were hoping you could tell us all you know about it." Naruto finished, already dreading the reaction to his question.
He was correct to. Erza ,Laxus Fried and Gajeel went from wary to agressive, as did the rest of the Tenrou group. Bisca and Alzack were no longer glad at seeing their daughter's savior. Everyone else looked ready to fight as well.
"And why do you want us to do that?" The current guildmaster asked, trying to keep his calm.
"It's the reason we arrived in Fiore in the first place."
Author's note: I apologize for the delay, but I had exams and projects until last Wednesday. Combine that with procrastination and a killer hangover on Sunday, and you have nearly a month between updates. Still, I should be able to get back to one chapter per week now.
About shadow clones - Unless it happened in a movie or in one of the recent fillers since Deidara's second defeat in the war, which I haven't been able to watch since Crunchyroll got serious about licensing rights, we've never seen anyone but Naruto dispel more than one clone at once, even those who make more than one. Combine that with the fact that having a ridiculous amount of chakra shouldn't allow you to instantly physically be able absorb the memories of dozens of clones dispelling at once without at least a little pain and you have my theory- Kurama protected him from the memory backlash until even his healing was overwhelmed, which was when Naruto blacked out. Notice that every time Kakashi uses shadow clones he's nowhere to be seen for a little while. In my view, he's processing the memories since he isn't as used to the technique. Memories are a tricky thing and they involve a lot. I doubt it could be as simple as canon makes it seem Also, as this chapter showed, it's not that he will never use them, it's just that he will rarely use more than two at a time.
Team 8, Neji, Tenten, many other unmentioned - They will only be mentioned when it's relevant. I can't just drop them in out of context. Rest assured, you will find out what happened to them, but only when it fits with the story.
Naruto and Ino's relationship - It wasn't really anything special that brought them together. They were the most affected by Sakura's death, so grieving together brought them closer. From there they started interacting with each other more often until they became friends with benefits since both were too busy for an actual relationship. From there it jumped into room mates with benefits and then an actual relationship after eight years, two years before the current story arc. Still, it will be explored a little more of course, considering how important it is for the main character.
Jura's non-canon abilities - Azuma, Juvia, Laxus and Kurohebi can blend into their elements, so why shouldn't Jura? As for the rock-covered punches, not only does nearly everyone in Fairy Tail use them, but I honestly though they were canon, only finding out they weren't when I checked Fairy Tail wiki, and I already had most of the match planned by then, so it stuck. As form Earth Power, think of it as Rumbling Mt. Fuji, only not as tall and capable of travelling in a straight line.
Peace out fellas.