"Is it a bad thing we're letting Shino do all the battling?" asked Obito.
"Considering these idiots are bug-type trainers and don't even bother to properly train their Pokémon before looking for new ones, no."
"I thought he was creepy before. Now he's just strange," said Mamoru, watching Shino dismantle yet another bug-hunter in Ilex forest.
Apparently word had gotten out that someone had beaten Bugsy after his team was already weakened two days prior, and now thought Shino was easy game to show their bug-pokemon's superiority.
Shino did not suffer fools, especially when clan pride was on the line.
Either way they couldn't go ten feet without some idiot bug-catcher trying to challenge him, or demand a rematch.
It was kinda funny to watch Shino lose his cool for a change.
By the time the moon came up, Naruto healed Shino's team without being asked.
"This is a most enjoyable vacation."
"You're welcome buddy," said Naruto amused.
Shino had this amused air around him.
"So how much farther until we're out? Cause I don't know about you Shino, but I'm getting tired of being in the forest."
Naruto had to concede his agreement. Besides, Bugsy wasn't exactly happy with how badly Shino had called him out as a Gym Leader, never mind as a Bug-type trainer. And they had the distinct feeling he wanted a rematch if he found them.
The sooner they were in Olivine, the better off they would be.
Naruto and Obito turned to look at Mamoru seriously.
"How good are you at tree hopping?" asked Naruto.
"The 'leap frog' thing as you called it."
"No. No, no, no! I can barely climb, let alone do that kind of crap!"
"Well then magic-boy, you have two options. Either learn fast...or be carried. Because at this rate we'll never make it to Olivine before that Gym leader comes after us for the curb-stomping Shino did."
Mamoru stared at the trio, before he finally said "Anything but Princess-style."
Naruto snickered and bent down.
"Climb on my back and I'll carry you piggy-back so long as you hold Shifter," he said.
Once Mamoru was securely on Naruto's back, holding an amused Shifter tightly, they took off like a squirrel on far too much sugar and caffiene.
They barely missed an incensed Bugsy, who was after Shino for a rematch.
Primarily because he had finally evolved Kakuna and Metapod after having them for so long. He didn't like the way Shino had upstaged him and then called him weak, at all.
Mamoru was kissing the ground like there was no tomorrow. Naruto and the other shinobi snickered.
"I hate you so much right now."
"I could have gone faster and farther with those jumps you know."
"And now I'm hating you even more."
"Look at the bright side...at least now we get to watch Naruto decimate yet another casino."
"I heard Celadon actually has Larvitar as one of the prizes," said Mamoru eagerly.
"Larvitar?" said Naruto, immediately thinking of Gaara's Chomper. Then he remembered something "Wait. I never saw Larvitar as one of the prizes last time I was there."
"I heard they updated the prize list since the Magnet train was opened up."
"Okay, I am so hitting that later if only to give Gaara a breeding pair of Tyranitar," said Naruto grinning. He was sure Gaara would love it and so would Chomper. He still got a laugh out of the fact people were terrified Chomper would go back to his old habits of biting people.
Besides, he might be able to bribe Gaara with Larvitar in exchange for more rare wind-style scrolls.
"So how good is his luck anyway?" asked Mamoru.
"He literally paid for one of those Pokémon center healing machine thingies in a single day after hitting one," said Obito.
"Don't those things cost several million?" said Mamoru, wide-eyed.
"I guess. He got the best one available at the time."
"Then I'm betting on whatever you're betting on," said Mamoru.
"That's the plan," said Shino in amusement.
"You each get a clone," deadpanned Naruto. "Coincidentally this place might be run by Team Rocket again so don't feel sorry about cleaning them out of cash."
"Wait, if you think it's being run by Team Rocket then why not close it down?"
"Because generally people won't care if I clean the idiots out of their available funds and then beat the shit out of them after," came Naruto's immediate response. Then he noticed something on the shore, "Obito, if you look real quick you'll see a Chinchou. Why don't you catch it for your team since it's a water/electric type?"
Obito went off to catch the oddball lantern Pokémon. At the moment the only Pokémon on his team was Blaziken (it had evolved after a spar with Naruto's Pokémon), Gabby (who also evolved), and a baby Houndour that hatched.
Naruto's team had Shifter, Shogi, Hachimitsu, Homura (the Growlithe egg hatched), and of course Drifter in case of a quick getaway.
He would have kept Lapras, but there wasn't much point carrying around a Pokémon that could only fight in deep water areas. Especially since it would be detrimental to the Pokémon's health and when they could walk on water anyway.
Mamoru was in awe. Naruto made more money than he would see in five years.
"Wait...what are you going to do with the cash once you leave?"
"What else? Dump it in the clan treasury for you to use however you want."
Mamoru grinned. The Uzumaki clan was going to love the kid for that. To be fair, the money he had from the Elemental Countries wasn't any good in the past, just like the money from the past wasn't any good except for the oddball coin collectors.
"So what are we going to do with the coins since you already went in and cleaned the place out of actual cash?"
"Get any Pokémon you want from the place. I'm getting a Wobbufet myself," said Naruto shrugging. He was also clearing out their TM machines...those thing sold like crazy in the village.
Obito's eyes glinted. He had been meaning to get a Fire Blast one for his Blaziken. He could also get Blizzard for his new Chinchou.
Obito made sure to hit the counter before Naruto did, trading in his coins for two Fire Blast machines, one Blizzard and an Abra with what he had left. Those things were a pain in the ass to catch.
Mamoru traded in for a Wobbuffet, a Cubone, and a Thunder machine.
Then Naruto went up and cleaned them out of every Technical Machine they had, along with a Wobbuffet.
Shino went in the next day to clean them out twice of the machines.
"So what next?" asked Mamoru, feeling rather pleased with the day.
"Well we have two choices. Either we hit the Magnet train and clear out Celadon's Game Corner of the machines and get the Pokémon we want...or we go shopping."
"Celadon, because then we can come back a second time and do it all over again," said Obito. Shino nodded in agreement.
Naruto looked at Mamoru.
"If you want a Pokémon in there, let me know which ones and I'll front the coins. We're going in under henge to clean the place out."
"Just get me a Porygon," said Mamoru.
One quick trip on the train, a disguise later...and Celadon Game Corner didn't know what hit it.
They took the train back to Johto with evil grins on their faces.
"We're going to be suuuuper rich once we sell these babies," said Obito with cash in his eyes. Hyper Beam was beyond difficult to teach a Pokémon, so the TM would sell for a buttload of cash. Hell, Anko might even part with one of her rare Dratini eggs for one!
"I know right? I make a lot from my books, but these are going to get me extra scrolls I couldn't get otherwise," agreed Naruto.
"My clan will definitely support you once you earn the other badges Naruto," said Shino, his glasses glinting. "Especially since you fronted the cash to buy all those evolution stones we normally have to import."
"Be sure to share them with the others once you made a decent stock pile Shino. No point holding back on our comrades after all," said Naruto.
"Shall we hit the Game Corner again next time we visit?" asked Mamoru, grinning.
"In the meantime I'll start looking for underground poker tournaments," said Mamoru.
"But first...shopping!" said Naruto.
"You go on ahead. There's an underground market if you know where to look," said Mamoru.
"Count me in for that," said Shino. Crowded malls weren't his cup of tea.
"Meh. Hey Obito, want to help me clear out Goldenrod's department store?"
"Only if you agree to let me pick the clothes. You're in dire need of replacements," said Obito. Naruto made a face.
"Let me have my orange and we'll talk," he said.
"Deal. Besides, orange is awesome!"
"Wow. Major upgrade...but why do you look like you're something the cat dragged in?" asked Mamoru.
Obito looked like hell. Naruto looked smug.
"He doesn't have the energy of a squirrel on too much coffee and sugar," said Naruto.
"I'm not the one with a freaking demon in my gullet supplying me with enough chakra to supply an entire ANBU's worth of jounin!" said Obito tired.
"So how was the underground market?" asked Naruto.
"Interesting. They had a parlor that teaches massage if you pay, and there was a small stand that sold several herbal remedies," said Shino.
"Herbal remedies?" said Naruto, having a sense of dread.
Shino brought out some roots, and Naruto backed away with a gesture universally used by all shinobi to ward off evil. Obito wasn't far behind him.
Shino was confused.
"Foul, evil root..." hissed Naruto.
Shino and Mamoru stared at them both.
"What is so bad about a root?" asked Mamoru finally.
"Those things are the most bitter healing plant you can get your hands on, and it would take a master iryonin like Tsunade or her apprentice Shizune to mix it up so that it doesn't leave the worst aftertaste. I would rather spend hours looking for berries than use even one of those things. Pokémon hate them and only use them as a last resort," explained Naruto, glaring at the thing.
"Those things are horrible. Minato-sensei used to make us try them so we knew what they tasted like in case we were in the wilds and couldn't get to a medic nin or village that sold healing products in time. It took weeks for the taste to fade," said Obito, shuddering from remembrance.
Shino was silent, before he asked "So if I slipped this into an Akimichi's food or an Inuzuka hound's kibble...?"
"They would maul you without hesitation. Akimichi hate those things and even I've never dared to use them in pranks. There are somethings you don't do except to your most hated enemies, and using those particular roots in food is one of them," said Naruto.
Shino's eyebrows shot up. Naruto was a major prankster, so for him to openly admit he would never used something in a prank except to people he really, really hated...it spoke volumes of his opinion of them.
"Let's change the topic. The bug catching contest isn't for another two days, and the gym is run by a Normal-type trainer by the name of Whitney. Or we could scope out the park early," said Mamoru.
"Scope out the park. We're ninja...if we're not cheating, then we're not trying," said Naruto. Shino and Obito nodded in agreement.
Mamoru snorted in amusement.
"Let me guess...you cleaned out the department store of all their TM's."
"Naturally. Do you have any idea how much we could make off selling them, or trading them for that matter?" said Naruto.
The ability to make the machines had been lost, and training scrolls weren't nearly as effective. Strangely, Hidden Machines were still around, but they were so rare that it was rumored that only the most loyal Jounin-level shinobi and the Kages had accessed to the remaining ones.
Tsunade in particular supposedly had the HM for "Strength", which she found a way to use on herself. It was how many explained her absurd strength and her ability to cave in skulls simply by flicking her finger.
Naruto had yet to confirm or deny that rumor.
"So Mamoru, what's the deal behind these bug-catching contests?"
"Supposedly the idea of a rich Kanto billionaire. Winner gets to keep the Pokémon they catch and you only get to present one bug-type you've caught in the park as your entry. Winner gets a Sun Stone, second place is an Everstone, third place is a Gold Berry and anyone who participates is guaranteed a berry as a consolation prize."
"So what sort of bug-types are we looking at?" asked Shino.
"Caterpie, Metapod, Butterfree, Weedle, Kakuna, Beedrill, Paras, Venonat, Scyther and Pinsir. All of them under level twenty but no lower than level 7."
"About the only Pokémon we don't have are Pinsir, Paras and Venonat. Scyther is harder to come by because they're so fiercely territorial. Only clan heirs or members who have distinguished themselves in the clan are allowed to try their luck at catching one since they protect the rest of the hive," said Shino.
"We can catch a breeding pair for your clan later," said Naruto.
"I think my father would prefer Paras, Pinsir and Venonat. Though some new blood wouldn't be remiss," said Shino. Having a breeding pair of Scyther, or even a female one to breed with his Scizor would be a major boon and a bargaining chip for later.