Inari Kaiza was thirteen, and he was already tired of all the work he had to do. He had started out with being his grandfathers apprentice, and Wave was doing rather well, Inari's grandfather had headed into Capitol City within the Land of Fire to hopefully acquire their small builders' company some more work to expand and try to bring in some more business to Wave, and help get the small country some more business and to build their economy, so that everyone capable of earning a good living can. Wave Country was already fast becoming a holiday destination, and they had built some amazing hotels and resorts in the past few years for Uzi Industries, which was a company that seemed to enjoy investing in the people, but they still needed to expand their horizons as they couldn't and shouldn't rely on one huge company.
The city was nothing like his little village – well town, even with all the expansion the city made Irani's town look like a tiny model, and even their largest towns were small compared to this city. The city had massive buildings reaching into the sky higher and higher the closer to the central business hub you went with the Uzi Industries building towering over them all. They had only been in town for around three weeks, and Inari hadn't expected to be recruited into going to Highschool, but apparently it was a mandatory requirement for kids these days living in Fire Country, and it was paid for with taxed funds, so they didn't have to pay for more than his uniforms and books and other necessary supplies, and lunches. It was his second day and he sighed as he waved a couple of new friends' bye as they parted ways on their way home.
He smiled as he continued his way home where his mother would be waiting for him at their new apartment. Their house back home was much bigger, but they would be renting that out for the next few years as they weren't using it and it could earn them some money for their rent. He paused his walk home as he frowned when he realised, he wasn't sure where he was and must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. He had ended up at a large and busy food court area leading into the local shopping district. It all smelt so good that he couldn't choose what kind of snack he should grab before continuing home, as since he was there, maybe his stomach led him.
Inari hadn't seen this part of the shopping district before, so it was a marvel to him. He would have to bring his mother and grandpa next time. The city had a few heroes around the place so it was relatively peaceful and safe from ninja or villainy in general, but it was a shame that nobody had seen Superman in three years. That would have been something epic to see, but then he hadn't seen any of the heroes in person either, just a few pictures here and there in the newspapers.
However, he almost dropped his school backpack from his right shoulder as he walked into someone and staggered backwards. He looked up and his eyes widened to see a tall man with neat cut blonde hair, and bright blue eyes and a deep blue suit with white shirt and the top few buttons undone.
"Naruto-sama!" It was a woman, older than the blonde man who seemed, very early twenties, but she only looked like she was in her mid-twenties maybe and wearing a lady's business suit in blue with a white blouse, and glasses over her green eyes, and long carmine red hair tied back to her shoulders. "Please, sir, don't rush off like that."
"Don't be such a stick in the mud, Karin-chan!" he said while turning a grin on her. "Lets just grab something to eat and then head back to the office."
"But what if…" she began but trailed off with a sigh as he wasn't listening as he turned his curious expression to the young boy to his side.
"Inari-chan?!" Naruto declared with a megawatt grin as he almost snapped the boy in half as he pulled him in for a huge hug before letting him go. "Damn, look at you, buddy, all grown up… well, kinda, going to school and everything," he said looking over the boys' uniform. "How is your mother, and grandfather?" he asked looking around to find them, but they weren't in his radius.
"G-grandpa is at work, and mums at home," he said sheepishly as his cheeks flamed up. "I just finished school for the day, and I think I took a wrong turn. We've only been here for a few weeks. I was just going to grab a snack before finding my way home."
"Awesome!" Naruto said with a grin. "Come on, I'll buy you some ramen! Ichiraku Ramen is the best!" he declared happily leading the boy across the pavilion where a large restaurant was set up, and almost completely full, inside and out, but Naruto found them a table inside by the window.
"Okay," Karin sighed as she stayed standing. "You want your usual, Naruto-sama?" she asked while he nodded with a grin, she turned her cool green eyes on Inari. "And you… Inari-chan?"
Inari was startled and shyly and franticly grabbed the menu and looking it over. "Um… er… a beef bowel," he said as the small picture next to it looked delicious.
Karin sighed. "I'll bring you some soda too, and I suppose you would like a beer, Naruto-sama?"
"You know it," he agreed with his grin still in place while she shook her head and went over to where she could put in their order with table number. "Don't mind my older cousin. Karin is a good girl. She just worries a little too much some times."
"Are you on a ninja mission or something?" Inari asked.
Naruto laughed while shaking his head. "Na, dude, I'm not a ninja anymore. I resigned about four and a half years ago," he answered with a shrug.
"B-but what about your dream of being Hokage?" he declared in shock.
"I had a new dream take its place," Naruto answered. "I dreamed bigger. Anyway, I kind of have family members who have had the job… it, kind of turned out to be overrated."
"Food will be here soon, Naruto-sama," Karin interrupted as she took the bench opposite while placing down a tray with three drinks on it, passing Naruto his pint of amber liquid and Inari a glass full of black liquid and herself a glass of wine. "Ayame-san will bring it personally. As usual, you get spoilt," she said but with a small smile to her lips here. "So where do you know this boy from, Naruto-sama?" she asked as she watched the boy picking up the straw from the tray and using it in his coke.
Naruto laughed loudly. "His grandfather built The Great Naruto Bridge, named for my awesomeness!"
"Wait, Hinata-sama wasn't joking when she said you have a bridge named after you?" Karin said with a look of surprise, and turning to the blushing boy in question.
"Yeah, Naruto-nii helped save our country," he said readily. "There was this bad man who had lots of money who was starving our country and had a private army and even ninja and everything to stop other people selling us things we needed for reasonable prices, and so Grandpa started building the bridge to Fire Country, but well… Grandpa hired Konoha ninja to protect the bridge and him, but lied to get a cheaper mission and if it wasn't for Naruto-nii the mission would have been cancelled, and we likely would be dead. Nii-san saved all of our lives."
"That sounds like something, Naruto-kun would do!" Karin said with a small smirk as she used kun for him when she was feeling more affectionate towards her younger cousin.
Naruto drunk some of his beer while he chuckled sheepishly. "It was the right thing to do."
"There you are, Naruto-kun!" They were interrupted as a young woman with ruffled black hair and dark eyes scooted in next to Karin with her own drink. "Trust you to be so predictable. You should be more careful with those divs after you, for the vixen!"
Naruto only smiled and shrugged sheepishly. "Shark-boy has been spotted near the city. I'm getting tired of waiting, Suki-chan."
"I've tried talking some sense into him, but," Karin shrugged.
"Naruto-kun can take Shark-boy," Suki said confidently. "Naruto killed that immortal heart stealing guy with the dodgy scythe and he was stronger than Shark-boy."
"He wasn't that immortal if he could die," Kirin replied while shrugging. "But Shark-boy was with that Twit-bomber guy and that Puppet-prick, so… can you beat all three at once?"
Naruto frowned in thought. "Maybe Shark-boy and Twit-bomber," he said thoughtfully. "But I've read the Puppet-pricks profile too. One on one it wouldn't be in question, but from my analysis he is in league with the other two combined, and even then, our intel is likely incomplete, so who knows?"
"Why do these people have such stupid names?" Inari asked, which startled the others into looking at him and his cheeks lit up pink.
Naruto however burst out laughing. "Because they're a bunch of arseholes so we're taking the piss out of them."
"Oh," he said impishly.
"Oh, who is your little friend, Naruto-kun?" Suki asked eagerly. "I'm Suki Uchiha."
"Oh, my name is Inari K…"
"He's so cute!" interrupted an older woman with long brown hair and wearing white chief robes as she effortlessly slid bowls of ramen before all four of her customers with cutlery and condiments. She smiled while Inari blushed before she gave Naruto a kiss to the cheek in greeting. "I thought you forgot where my shop was since I haven't seen you in over a week."
Naruto chuckled impishly as he unwrapped his chopsticks and snaped them apart. "I can't eat ramen every day, Ayame-chan. Karin-chan and Hinata-chan, and Ino-chan, and ten-chan, and… well, everyone says it is healthy to have a varied diet."
It was later that evening, and the sun had gone down. Inari had gone home, and been reprimanded by his mother for being out so late. However, once he mentioned Naruto and having some ramen with him, she was quite interested in hearing all about his day. Inari's grandpa would arrive home shortly after Inari and he was excited to hear that Naruto lived in the city, and planned on tracking him down the next day.
However, while they were all talking and Inari's mother finished a light tea for herself, her father, and her son they didn't know that they had three sets of eyes on them from on heigh. They were across the street on the opposite apartment roof, which was slightly higher than Inari's apartment. They waited, hidden within their dark cloaks as they could hear and sense much too many people nearby and they didn't need for the police to get involved, because some of the police these days were trained ninja, and they would know to call in actual ninja and samurai to their aid, and that would certainly alert some of the cities annoying heroes, and they were sure that they might not complete their mission having to deal with all of that.
"You sure this kid knows, Uzumaki?!" the gravelly voice of the taller of the men demanded under his breath while showing off huge dagger like teeth glowing through the dark as he glared at the huge lumpy spider like being hidden within his cloak.
"Yes!" came the rattled reply. "The boy met with Uzumaki… they seemed close. Uzumaki will leave his guards to protect the boy… to retrieve him unharmed. Uzumaki is not like most ninja. He actually cares – this is what we call the… easy part."
"Oh, and you think there's going to be a hard part?" the last man asked. He seemed relatively normal compared to his companions and sounded quite jovial.
"Do you think that 'he' would send all three of us if he thought, Uzumaki would be that simple to overcome?!" the large bumpy spider-ish man with a rattly voice demanded. "Uzumaki is in league with our power. He has killed some of ours already, and we should not try to convince ourselves that it was some kind of fluke. We must take Uzumaki seriously or he will kill us – he also has some extremely dangerous and powerful friends. His father is Minato Namikaze and he overcame deaths hold. If we do not die by Uzumaki's hands we shall not just be missing-nin, but we be missing-nin with some of the most powerful ninja in the world hunting us till our deaths."
"They haven't caught us yet!" the jovial one responded with a disturbing lack of concern. "But it has gotten quiet and… I need to liven the place up with my art!" he giggled as he was lifted as it turned out they were all standing on the back of a huge clay bird.
The other two men jumped clear, and back to their roof as they looked up and watched as the clay bird lifted their friend higher while his hood blew off to show he seemed to be young with blonde hair falling into his right eye and tied back into a pony tail. He giggled some more as he reached into pouches either side on his thighs and pulled out some clay. Then the gross happened as the man had mouths on his palms and started 'eating' the clay.
"He knows not to blow the kid up, right?" the gravelly voiced man said as he pulled his hood back to reveal grey skin and a sharklike face with dangerous teeth.
"He should-." The other started, but stopped as the blondes soft gleeful giggling stopped sharply as he raised his hands to his face in clear confusion as long deep coloured arrows; two of them; one in each hand stuck up to the base through their mouths and out the back with rounded heads and a blinking blue light with blood splatter.
It happened on the fourth blink of light. It was a blue splash of heat so intense that when the light faded to nothing, all that remained of the blonde man's hands were bloodied stumps up to his wrists, burnt enough to almost completely cauterize the wounds. The blonde dropped to his knees on his clay bird in horror and screamed for less than a second before a third arrow landed between his eyes and he fell to his left and flopped off the clay creation and fell with a dull thud before his two companions while they could only stare in shock.
"Oh, fuck!" the sharklike man could only mutter before he drew out from within his cloak a huge shark fin razor like sword while looking around the dark and quiet rooftop in horror. He swiped round towards his back and slapped an arrow away with his sword, but he had to cry out in pain with his remaining colleague as the arrow tip flashed bright white as it fell away, and they moved back while trying to blink away the spots from their eyes.
"Wait – the?!" the spider thing looked up as the clay bird was slowly coming apart as it was drained of energy with three arrows having penetrated it at some point and chakra was being disbursed into the air behind them like blue steam, but the two missing-nin both dodged and weaved to avoid getting hit with any clay in case it could still hold some explosive force.
However, huge slabs and sploshes of clay hit the rooftops and showed to be inert. The shark man and his arachnid friend were almost back to back and they looked around, trying to sense for him, for the one who had chosen to kill them.
"Worse than the cops or heroes!" the shark guy said angrily. "A fucking assassin."
"Worse than that!" his bumpy companion replied as the two of them dodged a set of arrows, one of which exploded and blast the two missing-nin back towards the far end of the roof where they landed and looked up to a doorway coming up from the building and to the roof for maintenance purposes.
The man watched them with nonchalant ease. He wore dark armoured leather, tight, but breathable with belt around his waist with pouches and pockets down his thighs with some kind of small weapons. His sleeves lead down to full finger gloves, and he wore boots. He had a hood hiding his face in shadow but they could see the mask around his dark eyes. He had no quiver on his back but he held a bow that didn't even seem to have any string. It was strangely designed flat at the front with three plastic looking disks like barrels with flat edges, and with shimmering coloured dashed around within slots at the front, one of them in the centre seeming to have only one dash of colour left.
"I've been looking for you!" the man said with a distorted voice as he stood within the shadows of the taller building to his side.
"Is-is that who I think it is?" the shark man demanded as he gripped his sword tightly as the man before them stood tall and fierce.
"I believe so," his companion agreed slowly. "The Green Arrow!"
"What do we do?" the shark guy asked uncertainly.
"I don't know."
"I do," The Green Arrow interrupted as they had blinked and he had moved in close and the shark man looked down as Green Arrow skidded to a stop on one knee and foot, and pulled back a shimmering 'string' of energy and with it an arrow materialised and built itself as matter pulled from the centre disk in the bow before that disk dissolved and crumbled away into black flakes of nothing.
The arrow sliced through the shark beings chest with a buzz of energy causing him to screech as his chest was blown out and he shot back by the force, dropping his sword he crashed down to the other side of the roof while gasping for breathe and holding his bloodied wound and whimpering as he couldn't move as blood trailed from his teeth and his eyes were out of focus, but he could still see well enough to watch as Arrow moved and dodged at nonchalant intervals as a huge metal and bone scorpion tail lashed out from the other missing-nin and destroyed his cloak to reveal himself.
Arrow stopped a little way back out of range of that tail thing as it seemed to be dripping poison. The man before him seemed old and decrepit as it was hunched over on what could possibly be legs. Arrow tilted his head to one side as he let a frown grace his shadowed face.
"What the hell have you done to yourself?" Arrow asked but he didn't expect any kind of answer so he continued. "You're nothing but a puppet… pulling your own strings, or is there someone else?" he asked as he kept facing the thing while his eyes flicked from side to side for a moment.
However, the puppet master could only show some slight surprise, but that was mostly hidden by paper seals over his face. "I will make you into-!" he went to reply when three arrows flew so fast he lost his head and it shattered into shards of bone and broken flesh, and another arrow smashed into the centre of the tail and cables burst out and snapped into the roof with hooks and automated pullies, pulling the tail down and crushing into the metal and bone and pinning it fast to the roof.
The puppet master struggled for a moment, even without his head before it moved its left hand and arm quickly taking an arrow meant for his chest. The arm smashed into pieces, and exploded sending shards of bone everywhere. Then all around was an explosion of chakra releasing and covering the roof, and when it slowly disbursed, the roof was covered with collapsed puppets in varying states and sizes, and some of them still made the odd creak as they finished collapsing as their chakra strings drifted away into nothing.
Green Arrow was standing in the middle of them with his right arm sticking through the back and out of the chest of a red haired one while its hair was fading back to brown. Arrow held a thick bone and metal tube in the hand that had travelled through the puppet. The tube had seals and markings made out of blood.
Arrow's bow folded and he slid it onto a clip within a thigh pouch on his left leg, and used his then free hand to tear the puppet from his arm and bring the tube closer. "So, this is what you've become," Arrow said with a hint of sadness to his voice. "So much wasted potential. You could have done anything. You could have been better than this."
The runes lit up as Arrow heard his voice. "I heard you were talented," the tube said with a resigned air. "I thought you had given up the life of a hero."
Arrow chuckled. "I'm not a hero," he said coolly as he crushed the tube without a second thought. He heard no more as blood dribbled from the shattered bone and the energy in the runes broke and disbursed the life that it once held. "I'm more like a garbage man… I get rid of the trash," he said before he drew out three white plastic cards and thanked the universe that nobody heard him say that.
The Green Arrow dropped down one card on the nearest puppet and with a flood of released chakra it sucked up every single puppet and left a black card in its place with a disturbing picture of a puppet. Next, he moved over to the sword while the shark man tried to drag himself closer, but could only wince as the card landed on it and sucked it up leaving a picture of the sword with a blue coloured card.
Arrow picked up both cards before he used the final card to pick up the broken bone tube, and placed that in his pocket with the other two.
"Y-you, b-bastard!" the shark missing-nin coughed out while spitting up blood as he struggled to look up at Arrow.
Turning back to the shark man, Arrow showed a look of pity as he drew his bow and it unfolded before he drew back a standard arrow, and with barely more thought, the final missing-nin had an arrow in his forehead.
Arrow turned his head slightly a moment later as he looked towards the apartment where a young brown-haired boy of thirteen stared out of his open window at The Green Arrow in shock and awe. Arrow had turned at the sound of the gasp of the boy's beautiful mother entering his room and she quickly rushed to the window and pulled it closed and drew the curtains.
"You should-should be in bed… sleeping… not," the woman whimpered.
"But mum!" the boy complained. "That was THE Green Arrow, mum! I actually got to see THE Green Arrow! The real Green Arrow hasn't been seen in years, mum! He's here, in the Capitol, not even Konoha; this is so awesome!"
"Nonsense, Inari, we were just seeing things!" she replied as she pulled the curtain slightly to peer out, and sighed in relief as the man in tight green leather was gone.
There wasn't even a sign of any fighting. If she didn't know better, she would have believed that she had drunk too much, but she hadn't had anything stronger than a cup of tea.
to be continued…