Chapter Ten: … Were you expecting something witty written here?
I don't own Naruto, any of its characters, or any references in this story. If I did, horrible things would happen. Neither do I own any other anime that I reference. I do own all OC's and new Jutsu in the story as well as every ounce of pure awesome spawned by this.
o. o. o.
"I can't believe it." Tenten muttered for the hundredth time as she paced back and forth. "He did it. He actually did it. Sensei fucking broke Naruto. I mean, sure, we joked about it all the time sure. It's not like our training consisted of rainbows and sunshine and puppies… excluding Akamaru… and rational thinking either. Hell I don't think any of us are completely right in the head at this point, but we didn't think that he'd go over the line…"
"Tenten." Shino interrupted his teammate's ranting. "That's enough. You don't have to say it every five minutes. We are well aware of the irony…"
The weapon user grimaced as she glanced back to where Hinata was sitting on the ground and soothingly petting the still very much petrified fox in her lap. The progress was slow, but there was a noticeable difference in the fox. His eyes were half open and less alert than they had been, giving everyone the impression that he wouldn't tear them apart if they accidentally caught his attention now.
Naruto's unnatural reaction to the attempted assassination had caught everyone off guard understandably. So much so that by the time anyone remembered that there was an assassin still out there it had been too late to try and track him. It wouldn't have made a difference even if they had though. Shino had been poisoned and needed medical treatment regardless of how well the insects in his body were stagnating the progression.
It had taken almost all of Hinata's self-control to remain calm as she constantly switch between treating Shino and ordering Shion to not do anything stupid and provoke another reaction from the borderline hyperventilating fox in her shirt. She would have used a bit of presence or killing intent to drive the point home, and she was very much tempted to, however it would have been counterproductive since Naruto would have been affected as well and she sure as hell wasn't willing to risk triggering another violent reaction.
Thankfully the priestess had quickly understood that something was wrong with Naruto and left the matter alone. However, it did not stop her from at least trying to comfort him slightly and whisper comforting things to him in order to calm him down. Whatever minute effect it had on the fox, it clearly wasn't doing the Hyuuga's temperament any favors.
Needless to say, the three of them nearly had a heart attack when Chouji and Tenten loudly arrived just as Hinata was slowly attempting to remove the fox from their charge's shirt.
"Sensei did warn us about not reaching for his head, but I didn't think it would be this bad." Chouji shook his head.
"Sensei says a lot of things…" Hinata grumbled under her breath while petting the fox in her lap. The simple action was probably the only thing that was calming her down enough to prevent her from radiating killing intent everywhere. "We are going to have to… fix, that issue when we get back so that he says only important things from now on…"
o. o. o.
"What is it this time?" Tsunade sighed as she walked up to Asuma who was watching the show from the top of a building.
"No clue." The chain smoker shrugged as Ghost Oogakari, still in the middle of a busy street, screamed that "it wasn't his fault this time damn it" for the hundredth time before going back to crying and feebly punching the ground like a child. "Pretty sad to watch really."
"I would make a comment about you having nothing better to do, but considering who it is we're talking about, there unfortunately isn't." The Hokage shook her head in depression.
She had heard the Raikage complain about his brother's behavior on multiple occasions… she wanted to smack him senseless with super strength and switch positions with him for a day every time he did so. The man would probably finally clam up if she did it, but she never mentioned her thoughts to the Oogakari. They'd no doubt do something to make it happen just for laughs.
She had learned her lesson after the last three times, thank you very much.
"So how should we get him out of the streets this time?" The Sarutobi asked curiously while scratching his beard in a thoughtful manner. Apparently he had adapted the habit from his father recently. "If memory serves, that team you sent out should have Tora by now..."
The blonde woman smirked knowingly. "I suppose I could have them go on a small detour before returning with their objective…"
o. o. o.
"As much as your friend's outburst is concerning can someone please explain why we are not leading Shion-sama to the temple?" Taruho asked sternly as he reappeared with the priestess, having taken time to attend to her so that she would no longer be covered in the remains of a completely torn apart human arm. "Time is of the essence."
"And only the stupid rush in blind." Tenten snorted as if talking to a child. "We are all that's keeping her alive on this trip correct? One of us is poisoned. Our furry tag along, who I have no doubt holds more destructive potential than the rest of us combined, is one jolt away from accidentally killing anyone in his field of vision. Our leader, who is also our medic, is busy making sure both are recovering as fast as possible. On the other side of the field, the enemy will no doubt they will be desperate to pull out ALL the stops now that we've killed a majority of his assassination force, meaning that when we do finally get to the end of the line, they will be throwing everything they have at us out of sheer desperation."
Chouji nodded. "If we go now, it will be just with Tenten and I. We are very strong yes, but we would also have to focus on protecting Shion-sama in the process. It would not be to our advantage to do that.
"Do not be concerned Taruho-san. Why? Because of Hinata's treatment and my insects, I will be ready to fight in a few hours." Shino grunted as he shifted from where he was resting against a tree. His glasses flashed in the fading light in the sky. "In addition to that, I am also working on a counter strategy to the enemy's unique chakra thanks to Chouji's contributions."
The Akimichi smirked as he recalled the head and gel of the corrupted creature he brought back to the group. It was a shame that he couldn't give it to Tsunade to study, but he couldn't argue against handing his spoils to Shino…
… Shino held grudges like no one else, and he could get the most out of the crushed insect like head.
There was no doubt about it to those that knew him over the years. The Aburame was out for blood after getting put down so easily on a mission that he had been looking forward to… and he would get it by the end of the mission.
"And what about Naruto-san?" Taruho glanced down at the fox. "If he should not recover soon, he would only be a risk to the task at hand."
Hinata kept her temper in check. The aid, while a bit blunt, was correct in his statement. To him the biggest issue at hand was getting Shion to the temple containing Moryo's body so she can reinforce the seal and prevent the demon from completely reawakening…
Personally, she highly doubted the monster was as powerful as the Kyubi, as did the others, but the higher ups in Konoha had taken the situation seriously enough that they were sent regardless with explicit orders to get the job done.
"… Despite his less than ideal behavior, Naruto is an exceptionally important asset to Konoha." Hinata spoke politically. "Leaving him alone in unknown territory would do us no favors. Even if it will make the mission more difficult, he is staying with us."
"If he's so important, then why did he show up so unexpectedly by himself?" The aid frowned.
"He was out training for a few years, and something happened on the way back and he got separated from his master." Tenten shrugged casually. She had been dating Neji for over a year now, so she had practice coming up with half-truth answers to fool Byakugan users. "He probably got lost trying to get back to Konoha and here we are. Like we said when he first showed up, things tend to happen when he's around."
"We noticed." The aid deadpanned.
"What happened to him?" Shion asked, having rarely turned her eyes off of the small fox on Hinata's lap since the incident. As much as the Hyuuga was seething at the mere idea that the priestess had the nerve of making out with her boyfriend right in front of her, the kunoichi could at least appreciate the fact that the client seemed to be genuinely concerned for his wellbeing.
"Speaking from personal experience… sometimes training as a shinobi can literally be too much and lead to unfortunate consequences." Chouji sighed before nodding to the weapon master of the group. "In my case, I'm still terrified of the idea of Tenten here unleashing her cache of explosives on me after she did just that when we were younger."
The accused snorted as the Akimichi began to shiver and relive the terrifying experience. "Don't worry big guy. You know I learned my lesson. I'll only try to destroy you by gutting you in our spars. I save my explosives for everyone else now."
"Naruto's master is… eccentric, even by shinobi standards. Powerful certainly, however his behavior is… unreliable, at times." Shino elaborated, taking the civilian's minds off of Tenten's and Chouji's awkward conversation. "We did not expect Naruto to return with an ideal sense of self control, nor did we expect him to as a raving lunatic… however this," he nodded his head to the fox, "is unfortunately something that we can believe, albeit in an exceptionally extreme case."
Taruho shook his head, clearly tired of trying to reason out the situation. "That still doesn't explain how we are to deal with the situation should he not recover."
"You make it sound as if I have been doing nothing this entire time." Hinata's eyes narrowed as she casually stroked the fox in her lap before lifting the limb and channeling enough chakra to make it glow. "I've been soothing Naruto's pathways and forcing him to calm down since we decided to rest here. As a medic trained by Hokage-sama herself, and as the Hyuuga heiress, I am more than capable of handling this sort of situation."
"Oh yeah. I forgot you could do that." Tenten blinked in realization. "Just like the time Lee was going nuts and he needed help closing one of his gates a year ago. You think that will be enough with Naruto though? I mean, given how much chakra he must have these days…"
"Tenten, this is Naruto and Hinata we are talking about." Chouji snorted as he watched their team leader place her glowing hand softly onto the fox's head. "I doubt Tsunade-sama knows his body better than she does."
"I'm going to see if I can go a bit deeper." The Hyuuga slowly closed her eyes and controlled her breathing. "Please wake me up if something happens or I take too long…"
"Deeper?" Shion blinked in confusion.
"It's a shinobi thing." Tenten casually answered with the universal vague answer that all ninja gave civilians whenever they wanted to keep a secret.
The excuse has been around for centuries and it still works on most civilians. Obviously, shinobi loved it, and the rest of the world had a tendency of pulling out their hair in frustration whenever it was slapped across their face.
"I didn't know she was good enough to do that by herself." Chouji looked at Hinata, impressed. "I thought Naruto, Sasuke and Ino were the only ones our age able to do it."
"I believe this is a special case." Shino spoke up. "Why? Because Hinata and Naruto are very close and have a strong bond with one another. Also because Naruto's mind is a bit different than most."
"A strong bond…" The priestess looked at the peaceful looking kunoichi with the half paralyzed fox on her lap.
"Well if everyone's done with twenty questions, I think now is a good time to plan out how to not screw the rest of the day up." Tenten clapped her hands together and rubbed them eagerly. "So, let's start planning on how to murder a demon, shall we?"
"We're supposed to prevent him from being resurrected." Taruho frowned.
"And its small time thinking like that that will keep you perpetually in the little leagues." The weapon master grinned. "Ok. Idea number one. We hit him with lots of explosives. Idea two. We hit him with more explosives. Idea three. All the explosives. At once."
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't emulate anymore of Scabbard-sensei. Having one of him around is hard enough as it is."
"Tenten, please stop fooling around." Chouji sighed. "None of us would ever survive plan three and you know it."
"It's our backup plan." The Faker pouted. "Going out in a blaze of beautiful exploding glory that will no doubt be remembered for generations to come."
"I thought relying on Naruto would be our final stand plan."
"He's our backup backup. I don't want him taking the credit this time. This is my… our, our time to shine."
"Of course it is."
"Regardless, I think it's safe to say that anything wrong we do we blame on Naruto on the report. No one would ever question us with that excuse. Ever."
"I concur with Tenten."
"See? Even Shino agrees with me."
"Shino. You're recovering from being poisoned. We can't trust you to be in your right mind at the moment."
"I can't help but feel we've hit a new low if you're our current voice of reason."
"Owch. That was harsh Shino."
"And I'll pretend I didn't hear that. Now then, can we please focus on ways to kill the enemy instead of goading ourselves to off one another?"
"But this is fun! Why can't we do both?"
Taruho and Shion merely blinked and stared at the three banter in a dazed silence. They would have argued that their bickering would have gotten them killed, but Shion wasn't getting any visions, so they must have done something right in the near future… hopefully.
o. o. o.
Hinata opened her eyes and found herself standing in a long corridor.
The flooring was made of weathered hard stone, though most of it was covered by the fine crimson rug that ran up the entirety of the walkway. The floor itself never met the walls. Instead it dropped off a few feet short to form trenches, allowing what appeared to be glowing water flow in undetermined amounts down from one end to the other. Small bridges went over them wherever there was a door breaking the otherwise monotonous dull red walls. Light was provided by the occasional electrical fixtures in the stone ceiling and the glowing fluid to her sides.
All in all it wasn't a very comforting setting. Not ominous, but not truly soothing either.
Looking at the nearest doors, the Hyuuga could not help but express some curiosity. Not a single one was the same as the next. The one closest to her appeared to be made of some heavy wood and other material, and over the top was a wooden plaque that read "Ryuzanpaku" in kanji.
Not only that but she could hear a great deal of muffled frantic screaming of various brands coming from the other side that eerily reminded her of her training with the Oogakari. The random shouts of "Apapapapapapapa" only further enforced her ideas.
"Categorized memories…" The girl muttered as she looked around curiously at the other doors. She was too far to hear anything coming from them, but it didn't stop her from noting what they looked like…
… One stone door with seven balls around the borders with stars on them.
… Another that had a straw hat hanging from the top.
… Yet another surrounded by symbols of a skull, a sun, a tree, a fireball, and a drop of water, with an odd triangular insignia on the door itself.
… A standard looking traditional wooden sliding door with carvings of cicadas and seagulls around the frames.
… A warped door that was sealed off with a salvo of black chains.
… A vault like door with a crimson insignia shaped like a circle with an arch inside.
… A wooden worn set of doors with a shattered mask carved on the front and a wing of bone on fire jutting from its right side.
... And many more.
On a side note, she pretended to ignore the doorway with the frame consisting of naked female marble busts, soft fabric likely from bedding, and a peculiar multicolored haze that hovered around it…
…For now. She didn't pay attention at all to the decorations or the large breasts and body shape of the décor… or how when she passed by she heard the moans of more than one clearly female voice…
… Really. She totally didn't.
… Just like she didn't walk to it and seriously ponder opening it to see what was on the other side, or futilely try to use her bloodline to see past the door when some of the female voices all but screamed out Naruto's name in euphoric bliss.
Nope. No one could prove that it had happened, so it clearly didn't.
Instead, she (eventually) walked to the end of the hallway where the source of the glowing water originated. It wasn't until she felt like she had been walking for half an hour before she heard something other than the constant bubbling of flowing water.
o. o. o.
"I still think it's a bad idea." A female voice sighed. "I mean yes we have to keep an eye on that priestess girl, but this? This will cause more problems than solve and you know it."
"And here we thought your spawn had actually gotten smarter. Silly us." An inhuman voice grunted, so heavy with sarcasm that it had a tone in itself. "It's foolish emotional decisions that are the reason why humans are always at one another's throats. The more your kind tries to force balance, the easier it is to fall apart. It makes for an interesting show…"
"Yes yes. We all know you thrive on watching our kind enjoys screwing things up, but can we focus on our original topic?" A young but mature male voice sighed.
"Ah yes. My favorite entertainment of all. Much more interesting than my soaps. Better acting too."
"We should never have let Ghost set up cable in here with Korean dramas." The female voice sighed.
"Fine then. I just won't let you watch tomorrow's season finale."
"Like hell you won't!"
Without warning the hairs on the back of everyone's necks stood on end as they felt as if they were about to be stabbed everywhere on her body at a speed so fast that it might as well have been at once…
"Focus." The human male voice sternly ordered the other two. "Naruto's had enough trouble as it is. His return to Konoha won't be an easy one the way he is now with the current political situation mixed with what he's done and his current mindset, and Shion's just making things more complex. The Oogakari could play the apathetic card to the village issues to get in and out of everything because they are outsiders and their personalities allow it, but Naruto isn't in the same position. He's expected to be more than just a tool now that everyone knows we are his parents, and any major decisions he makes are going to be extremely scrutinized. Naruto can't go into such an environment as he is now and he knows it. We were quiet about it before, but the priestess revealing what she did is too much. She's a new factor that we have to keep in mind."
"Mmm." The female voice sighed. "We have to keep an eye on her now, but simply bringing her back to Konoha, even if Naruto doesn't come with, is still going to cause us a slew of headaches even if she doesn't mean to. If that was it then I'd suggest using a Yamanaka to wipe her memories when she slept… but she did save Naruto's life that one time, and her powers are the real deal. Having her around could really help us get out of some big jams.
"Damn it! But that idiot son of mine is genuinely considering the option that it might be ok to have her as a wife alongside Hinata too!" Frustration was clearly the greatest emotion the woman was experiencing at the moment. "I knew having that perverted Oogakari teach him about Harems, why they rarely work, their mechanics, and the fundamentals behind the ones that do work would bite us in the ass! But NOOOO! I thought that he was smarter than that! I mean sure the girl seems to truly like him, and she does seem to be putting in an effort but come on!"
"Bah. You humans always overcomplicate things. How is it that your so called leader is the strongest warrior in the village, yet you always seem to be pushed around by your pack more often than you are giving orders? How irrational." The deep voice yawned before a rumbling that was later determined to be a dark chuckling could be heard. "And this is why none of my shows will ever top this shit."
"Don't jump the gun." The male voice sighed. "You know that Naruto's only considering it as an option at the moment. Even he knows that it's a risky plan at best. Having her become a second wife would, if it worked, be the best outcome for everyone. It would provide a shield around Shion in multiple ways and give us a reason to keep her always in eyesight. Really I think just having her in the village after this will be a good enough sign."
"She's a weakling and a liability." The fox yawned. "Unlike your other comrades, she doesn't have training in the art of war. At best she will be an annoyance to the enemy as she rewrites fate to avoid them, which will cause her to become a larger target down the line."
"Don't downplay her." The Hokage chided. "Even if her chakra wasn't set to counter yours in particular, it was still potent enough to make you feel uncomfortable earlier. It is likely that she is capable of affecting Demonic entities, not just Moryo. It could come in handy if Akatsuki somehow start using the captured biju later. Plus she has gotten considerably stronger since the last time."
"I think she might actually have some Uzumaki blood in her." Kushina mused. "An extremely distant relative perhaps, but when you put the facts together it makes sense. I mean, she has strong chakra for someone that has never undergone shinobi training. Her family is known for its powerful seals that are particularly effective against demons. Convenient power like that doesn't come from nowhere after all."
"A pity that all things have to go somewhere regardless." The biju yawned before the air around him changed slightly. "Our guest has finally arrived."
Hinata walked out of the seemingly endless hallway to enter what was likely the largest room she had ever been in her life. Even without looking up she could see that the ceiling seemed to not exist, the walls and occasional pillars extending upward to near infinity.
The side of the room she came out of reached far to either side of her, and it was only because of her advanced eyes that she was able to see the distant ends on either side. To her estimation, they were nearly five miles in both directions.
However what caught her attention the most were the three individuals before her. She had recognized all three at once. The Fourth Hokage Minato Namikaze, his wife, Kushina Uzumaki… and the Nine tailed fox itself…
… Only the beast was vastly larger compared to the first and only time she had laid eyes on him three years ago. Multiple times the size he was back then, the biju lying down was still taller than the few Boss Summons she had been in the presence of over the years. Each one of his lazily swaying titanic nine tails moved as if they had minds of their own, never getting in the other's way and each so massive that any question about the stories of them destroying mountains and causing tsunamis were instantly put to rest.
She was less than an ant in front of this existence in the form of a creature. She could feel the power radiating off of its very breath and she wasn't even that close to the thing. The mere idea of trying to fight it was laughable, and the supposed "facts" that there were individuals that had managed to subdue such a thing in the past even more so.
"You…" Hinata swallowed as she attempted to regain control over herself. "You have certainly gotten larger since the last time we've met Kyubi-sama."
"Awww. Did you hear that?" Kuchina smirked while talking to the fox as if it was a child. "You're a big boy now Kurama."
Hinata's eyes widened as one of the fox's immense tails suddenly lashed out at the human standing in front of him and attempted to crush her… only to be stopped and reflected back by a glowing blue barrier that materialized around his target. Despite the failed attempt, the mere collision and movement of the two forces was tremendous, the whiplash more than enough to push the girl back a good dozen meters or so.
"So strong…" The Hyuuga grimaced before she noticed the glowing chains that were coming out of the woman's back and creating the outline of the shield.
"Humph." The fox grunted in mild annoyance as his titanic tail returned to its ambient swaying, clearly not at all expecting his attempted murder to actually work. "And you are still a dead insect to me."
"Calm down you two." The former Hokage sighed, somehow not at all moved from his original spot from the whiplash. "We all know why she's here. Why don't we talk to her first before you start fighting again."
"I would greatly appreciate that Hokage-sama." Hinata laughed nervously as she let her arms down. She had a new amount of respect for anyone that could survive in such a situation with such ease.
"I guess we can do that." Kushina pouted as the chains around her faded away. "She's worried sick about Naruto after all…"
"Someone has to." Kurama yawned. "His irrational reactions have been more annoying and amusing than concerning to us for almost a year now. By human standards, that would make you two fairly poor parents."
"Yes well, we've crossed that line a while ago unfortunately." Minato sighed in mocking defeat. "By human standards, we're also kinda dead because of said actions, so I'm certain it evens out at some point."
"I'm starting to think that having these three in his head at once only made things worse for Naruto over time… my head's hurting just listening to them." Hinata's eyebrow twitched in irritation. "Where's Naruto? Shouldn't you be with him if he's withdrawn himself this much?"
The fox chuckled. "The Oogakari must be slipping if one of their students cannot figure out such a simple task."
Hinata risked glaring at the monstrosity in front of her in annoyance before taking his hint to heart and activated her eyes…
And suppressed a tremendous shudder as she turned to the invisible, silent, and sickeningly powerful monsoon that was taking place to the right of everyone. The only reason why she didn't feel the storm before was simply because the biju in front of her was naturally generating so much chakra and power that the dregs of the air being kicked up could not even get close to where she was, or the other half of the tremendous room for that matter.
It was honestly a frightening thing to witness. There was no dust in this realm. No ambient steam or debris. No rain, clouds or lightning… so the storm for all intents and purposes was impossible to detect via normal means…
"Wh-what?" The girl took a step back in surprise as she took the unnatural phenomena in.
"Yeah. That's what normally happens when he has an episode." Kushina sighed and scratched the side of her head. "Took us a while to figure out how to calm him down, but at least he doesn't react this way in the middle of a fight anymore. That really scared us for a while."
"Why haven't you done anything to help him?" The girl turned to the woman half stunned half angry.
The Uzumaki rolled her eyes. "Hinata. We've seen this over a dozen times now, and in situations far worse than the one you are currently in. To be perfectly honest it's lost its shock value from our perspective. We can calm him down if we want, but he's not alone or in any need to quickly recover this time. He'll probably get better from the whole thing faster if more people start helping him out."
"They expected me to come…" The girl frowned before reluctantly agreeing with the woman's argument and turned to the invisible storm. Try as she might, she couldn't see anyone where the center was. "What happened that made him act this way?"
"Something vastly above his ability to handle." The Biju snorted, his head still lying on his paws. "And something that knows better than to show up anywhere near here."
"It's best to leave it at that Hinata." The Hokage sighed and shook his head. "There are some parts of Naruto's training that are better off forgotten. Even we didn't come out unscathed by some of his adventures these past few years. The only problem is that forgetting or dealing with them is proving to be a bit of a chore."
"I noticed." The girl muttered as she used a few shunshin to reach the edge of where the Kyubi's chakra reigned dominant and where the monsoon took over. Slowly she reached out with her right hand… only to pull it back quickly to look at the small slew of cuts that laced her palm and fingers.
"I'm fairly sure I made comments that hinted that it wouldn't be easy to get close to him." Kushina sighed as she watched the girl's hand glow and slowly healed itself. "Fuzzy here nearly lost his right claw the first time he attempted to force his way in."
"Only after you nearly got yourself decapitated woman." The biju yawned. "I was rather amused at the improvised haircut you had obtained from your efforts. It suited you. Like a rabid monkey."
"I'll show you rabid monkey…" The woman grunted before Hinata caught her attention by slowly raising her presence, giving the girl a soothing glow. "Hmmm. She's gotten better at least. Figured out how to get to Naruto as well."
"She has an interesting presence." Minato nodded as he took the feeling in. "It's definitely a familiar sensation, but not one with a genuine physical representation. I can't put my finger on it…"
"Mmmm. Whatever it is, I recognize it as well. It's an old sensation, ancient and very basic, even to me." One of the fox's eyes opened curiously to observe the girl. "Not unlike those light elementals we encountered during our travels… but something distinctly different at the same time. More specific."
"She's that out there huh?" Kushina sighed. "Should have figured. My son sure knows how to pick them."
The three watched as her power seemed to mesh with the invisible storm for what seemed like minutes before she seemed to be slowly pulled into it without resistance. Unlike before though, Hinata did not suffer any injuries as she walked calmly towards the source. Had any of them been a chakra sensor, they would have noted that the wild wind seemed to accept, for lack of a better word, the girl and embrace her instead of tearing her apart like a piece of paper made of meat.
Slowly, the pale girl walked outside of where the Kyubi's chakra reigned supreme and through the storm. She didn't rush her progress. Even if she wasn't a wind elemental, she had spent enough time with Naruto to know that it was always better to allow the wind to take you rather than force your will over it.
Within minutes she was practically gliding through the storm, being carried by the seemingly natural air currents around her and through the otherwise harsh and monsoon like conditions. She could practically feel Naruto's mindset and emotions through the wind and see how bad it was with her eyes. It was if Naruto was the storm itself rather than its source.
And the closer she got to the center, the more intense everything was. She had to turn off her byakugan simply because all she could see at that point were the chakra supersaturated wind streams that glowed so brightly that she couldn't tell what three feet in front of her was.
That comment about the Kyubi nearly losing a claw earlier seemed a great deal more likely now.
And yet the air around her still accepted her existence, embracing her gently and pulling her closer to the center as if she was the only thing that this cataclysmic phenomena would accept.
She didn't have a good way to measure time here, but she knew that she had been floating for a while before she finally managed to see where her target was. She didn't notice him immediately as she approached because the air around him seemed to ripple like a mirage on a hot day, but as she got within a few dozen feet of him or so, the distortion began to clear up…
He was kneeling on one knee, facing the ground. One hand was used to prop himself up, and the other seemed to have a death grasp on his face. His fingers were spread apart, and while he wasn't facing anyone, Hinata could tell that his haunted eyes were wide open and glowing with power. His breathing was forced. Not labored, but deep and he was clearly putting in an effort to control it. Every other exhale he gave came with a shiver, whether it was due to exhaustion or fear was anyone's guess.
The amount of chakra coming off of him was absurd.
Hinata had assumed that she had gotten used to being near individuals with high levels of chakra, the Oogakari, Kurama, Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Naruto himself as prime examples, but she had never actually seen Naruto FORCE out this much power at once before.
She was inside of his mindscape, so he and the Kyubi were two separate existences here… and yet despite not having that link, the blonde was exerting enough chakra that even she would mistake him for a Biju like entity at first glance if she didn't know him instinctively. She knew deep down that he was capable of doing this outside in the real world if he wished to. It would no doubt exhaust him, but this insane demonstration of power, this phenomena in human form…
… This broken and utterly exhausted person was what had come out of those three years of training… what he genuinely believed he needed to achieve in order to stay alive.
"Naruto..." Hinata spoke up as she slowly urged herself forward through the core of the storm. Even if the wind had accepted her, there was still a good deal of resistance and raw pressure emanating from the source. "Naruto, please. I'm here now. Let me in. I'm not angry. You know that. No one is going to hurt you."
She felt a slight drop in the pressure pushing her away, but nowhere near enough to allow her to get closer. Seeing that she needed a little extra something to calm him down, the girl put more power into her presence. It didn't push back against the wind, but it did seem to shine through with its soothing aura, both reaching the source and the power around it.
"I was scared when I heard you didn't come back. I wanted to see you so badly after so long… but then when I heard that you willingly ran away from everyone… that Sensei actually did go too far… you were alone out there with so many strong people after you, you knew how I was going to react. Please. Let me in so I can help. You need rest."
The force pushing her back slowly began to weaken more at a faster rate. Step by step she managed to push forward, never going further than she thought she needed to… until she was finally within arm's reach of him.
She didn't reach out though. She couldn't risk triggering another reaction, so instead she slowly circled around him, going with the airflow until she was at his side and gently rested her hand on his back, rubbing his stiff shoulders and whispering calm words to him so that he knew she was there. There was a brief tenseness in his body when she first made contact, however that almost instantly went away. The chakra emanating from his body began to die off at a much faster rate as well.
"There there." She spoke in a gentle tone. It was how she occasionally talked to Hanabi when the girl had undergone a particularly rough day of training or was just tired of the world. "It's ok. I'm here now."
"… Tired." The blonde muttered out in a dry voice. It was less the voice of a child complaining from a long day, and more the voice of an old man just weary of the world itself. Slowly his body began to lose its balance and lean to the Hyuuga's direction.
This was not the Naruto that seemed to be a perpetual source of energy, chaos, and amusement. This was not the Naruto that would murder half a country to save his friends. This was not the Naruto that had big dreams and constantly believed himself.
This was the Naruto underneath all of that. The one that Hinata fell in love with. The simple person that was just tired of a crappy life and just wanted something better for himself. The one that didn't break under all the pressure that came from the world and his own behavior. The boy that reminded her of herself…
"Anyone would be after spending so much time with Sensei without a break." Hinata smiled as she slowly began to guide his body down while moving herself in the process. "You just hit your limit later than everyone else."
A dry snort escaped Naruto's mouth as he slowly looked up at her. "Everyone has a limit. Even Ero-Nii."
Hinata paused as she looked into the two slit blue eyes that she had always been enamored with. They were still as sharp as ever, however their color were dulled by exhaustion. She had noticed the bags under his eyes from just before he had turned into a fox, but she didn't get a good enough look to notice just how bad they were. She had never seen him so exhausted outside of a fight before, and it looked as if he had been like this for a while.
"Well Sensei has Hana and Anko." The girl smiled as she sat on her legs and began to prop the blonde's upper body on her thighs. "I have you all to myself."
A small tired smile made its way onto his face as his eyes slowly began to close. "I missed you."
"And I missed you." She replied as she leaned forward and gave him a brief kiss on the lips. "Rest. You look terrible."
The jinchuriki's eyes softened. "Nightmares…"
"I'm here now. Don't worry." The girl began to play with his hair and rub his head with her fingers. She didn't even bother to notice that monstrously huge storm that she had traveled through was all but gone now. "You won't have any with me around. I promise."
The blonde's eyes closed more as his head laid on her thighs. "Warm… soft…"
"That's right. I'm here now." The girl whispered soothingly while helping him relax.
"… Save everyone this time…" The dazed teen muttered, clearly not at all paying attention to what he was saying. "… I promise…"
The Hyuuga's eyes narrowed momentarily before relaxing again. Now wasn't the time to focus on such concerning things. "I know you will."
o. o. o.
Somewhere west of the land of Earth:
"Ok. I can understand why we avoided the first five or so villages that we came across in order to make sure that no one would be able to trace our entry point when we were finally seen…" The raver began slowly as his group traveled through the trees. It was an excessively tedious and slow method of travelling, however sacrifices had to be made in order to not get immediately spotted by the monsters that had found and blocked off this universe in the first place.
Granted, they had cheated a tad bit when they were away from the bulk of society and half flew off of the tops of the trees themselves to speed things up, but still they were moving at a far slower pace than they would normally prefer.
"That's fine, I'm cool with that. The thing is I draw the line when we've been constantly moving for over a week with barely any rest, save snack and shit breaks."
"I've told you. We are moving to an area where the density of high level individuals is significantly smaller." The businessman didn't bother to look back. "The less of them there are…"
"The less of a shot we'll have to fight someone and risk exposing ourselves. I'm not a rookie you know." The tired man snapped. "Still I get a bit peeved when I notice that in your wonderful idea to keep us away from danger, we have yet to actually come across anything resembling, oh I don't know… human civilization for the past twelve hours."
"I don't know about you guys, but I prefer to go to the bathroom in places that have plumbing whenever possible." Their female companion sighed. "… It also means we don't have to use our own toilet paper whenever we go too."
"Rule number sixteen girl. There are three things you can never bring too much of when on the road that will benefit you no matter what world you are in. Medical supplies. Socks. And toilet paper." The eldest of their group chuckled.
"If you go on that lecture on how to kill a person with all three of those things again, I will hide away your stash for a week old man." The sensor of the group apparently was clearly familiar and annoyed with the particular subject.
"And the moral of the story is to never give old people prune juice. Wonderful conversation lady and gentleman, now not to be rude, but can we finally FIND SOMEPLACE TO STAY ALREADY?!"
"Can you speak a bit louder? I believe the Sky Mother didn't hear you that time." The Spaniard yawned.
"No seriously. We have someone with one of the most broken sensory abilities in existence with us." The man grunted as he nodded his head to the cleanest one there. "Even our ride, the ever so annoying Stained Glass, wouldn't be able to get the drop on us with him around. Finding a decent place to crash shouldn't be exactly difficult for him."
The group was silent for a good fifteen seconds before the old man began to chuckle, clearly amused.
"Are you fucking for real?!"
"What my dear descendant is trying to elaborate is that while his abilities are indeed impressive… well, let's just say that he hasn't ironed out all the bugs when it comes to utilizing them yet. In other terms, that he still hasn't managed a way to see past the… "fog of war", I believe it's called in gamer terms, but he can still see enemy units… when they fight."
"… So we're lost." Their female companion summed up their situation in three words.
"Pretty much." The elder agreed, not at all concerned with the truth.
"Oh come on!"
"Where's your sense of adventure?" The most confident of the group asked with a mocking pout.
"I used it all up when I realized we were trespassing on claimed God Class territory while knowing that said God Class was still there." The others could almost hear him gritting his teeth in frustration. "I might be useful against some of the lower ranking ones, but anything higher than the weakest ones and I'd be best on the sidelines. Hell the only one of us that wouldn't be wiped out by a sneeze from those monsters is you old man."
"Oh well I'm glad to know you put such faith in my prowess."
"Is there anything else you may have neglected to inform the rest of us since we seem to be on a magnificent role at the moment?" Their female companion was enjoying the show greatly. She really didn't care much about their situation, but watching her old friend freak out like this was always fun to watch.
"… Well we are somewhat near where I felt a few minor fights a few hours ago." The sensor stated. "Two of them were minor presence users, and for a moment I may have felt a third but it had only been for an instant, and erratic at that…"
"And how long ago was this?" The elderly man asked before the third male blew a blood vessel.
"Roughly four hours ago. They should be clear of the area by now."
"Describe the fighters." Despite the pleasant tone in the leader's voice, it was clear he wasn't asking.
"One was fighter. Male. Close range, body mass and earth element manipulation. Capable of enough raw physical power to be of some concern but otherwise nothing special." The sensor stated as if looking at a book. "The other one… was a bit peculiar. Weapon and tool oriented, but more along the blacksmith variety. There was more to the user's power than that, but she hasn't mastered or explored the full scope her abilities yet so I was unable to get a clear reading. Both in their mid-teens, so we can expect them to at best be only mildly experienced."
"A blacksmith eh?" The woman's interest was clearly perked as she licked her lips out of habit. "Those are pretty rare. Think she might be capable of making us some pretty trinkets that are worth something if we, ah… ask her?"
"Who knows?" The elderly man shrugged, not at all missing what his companion was hinting at. "She was taught by someone who knew what they were doing, else she wouldn't be sensed in the first place. Wouldn't get my hopes up though. Most blacksmith oriented fighters work with what they know and understand. If you haven't noticed, this world doesn't exactly scream interesting and valuable trinkets. It's probably not worth the trouble."
"It's nice that you are keeping in mind that we came here to find something of value, but I don't think going after one of the people that is in contact with the owners of this territory is a wise idea." The sensor's patronizing tone was so thick they could practically feel it.
"Then again, they might be our only lead to anything decent on this boring universe. We didn't come here for sightseeing massive trees here you know." The woman's counter made sense. So far nothing really struck out at them as particularly interesting or valuable to bring back home save for the fact that the natural forestry was unusually large and the existence of the occasional rather large woodland animal.
"How about we put that idea on hold until we have an idea of where the hell we are." The most irritated of the group snarked. "As it stands, that plan has as much chance working as Carmen here does getting through a metal detector without the thing spamming out."
The sound of heavy objects rustling about mechanically from under the smiling woman's poncho was heard. "Yes, but I'm generally too much for standard mall cop security."
"That's not what I heard…"
"One time. One time I was checking out a dystopia world where every bloody corner had a damn cop armed to the teeth with antimatter artillery and every other lamppost had either a camera or miniturret set up on it…" The grunted under her breath. "Why can't anyone ever just lay off that one bloody fuck up…?"
"If memory serves that fuckup led that dystopia to knowledge to travel the multiverse and attempted to conquer everyone." The elderly man chuckled. "I seem to recall a good number of universes fell before multiple God classes got involved and… corrected, the issue."
"Rumor has it the Legacy's Prophet had a hand in the operations." The sensor shrugged. "Probably the reason why the event was dealt with so quickly. Poor idiots likely fell apart from the inside out without knowing what had happened in the first place… wouldn't be surprised if all their finances disappeared "mysteriously" too."
"Well that explains that moderate sized bounty on your head." The Raver's mood was slightly lightened by the misery of one of his companions. "Takes real skill to mess up so badly that a Family member had to get involved."
"Fuck it. If I'm stuck on this boring planet, I'd rather not be stuck with little boys who won't take a hint." Jumping away from the group, the woman tossed a small metal trinket to each of the three men. "I'm looking for someplace to crash away from you. The markers will let me know where you scrubs are. Try not to use them unless something actually important happens."
"Only if you don't accidentally fuck us over cannon tits." The physically strongest of the group smirked as he caught his beacon just as she disappeared. "On that note, I'm going to take a page from her book and go looking around myself. Since our guide has been exposed as useless, we might as well start exploring for stuff now."
The other two paused for a moment before sighing and shaking their heads at the same time as their second comrade left on his own.
"Might as well." The businessman readjusted his glasses and began to look around bored.
"Make sure to get help if you get into any trouble." The elder warned. "You're not suited for battle."
The look that the younger one conveyed barely indicated his annoyance. "Please don't insult my intelligence and capabilities. I'm still more than enough for the vast bulk of this mundane world."
o. o. o.
"Ahh. Another day. Another beer with good friends with the kids out of the house." Chouza grinned as he sat at the bar with Inoichi, Shiba, and Shikaku.
"Out of your house maybe." Inoichi snorted. "Ino still keeps her experiments at home. She's been breeding plants to try and find the most dangerous ones lately. Hell last month I caught her trying to smuggle some class seven banned plants from Kusa. We argued past midnight on that one."
"Well at least you aren't bitching about her and Chouji keeping you up at night anymore." Shikaku yawned. "Guess they finally took the hint after all the times you yelled at them to keep it down."
Shibi's glasses shined in amusement as he watched Inoichi and Chouza blush and grumble while attempting to not recall that their kids were "enjoying the real life in darkness". "Our children are certainly growing up."
"Special jonin at minimum and they're barely sixteen." The Naara shook his head with a dry grin. "All have bounties and reasonably respected members of the village. All already nuts." He took a drink of beer. "I don't know whether to pat myself on the back or cry and wonder where I went wrong."
"Please. We all know you think crying is too much effort." Inoichi snorted before looking at his drink with a new thirst. "Plus if any of us have a reason to bawl their eyes out of frustration because of their kids it's me."
"Come on Inoichi. She's nowhere near as bad as she used to be." Chouza grinned without shame as he watched his friend suddenly finish his bottle in a single go. "Ino's shooting up the ranks in both the medical field and in T/I division. Plus you said it yourself that her sensory abilities are nothing short of outstanding now."
"Chouji's no slouch either." Shikaku smirked. "That kid of yours has made some real interesting tricks over the past few years. They certainly would have helped us out in a few situations during our younger days."
"Look who's talking." The Yamanaka drawled with a slightly red face. "Shikamaru's got the biggest name out of all of our kids. Jonin. Ambassador to Suna. Not to mention those techniques under his belt. Give him a few more years to flesh out and I wouldn't be surprised if he reaches S rank." He paused as another beer was delivered and began to go to town on it. "Well… so long as his girl from Suna and your wife keep the fire under his ass lit at least."
"The Naara curse." Chouza shook his head in amusement as he recalled the temperament that Shikamaru's mother and girlfriend shared. "As certain as death and taxes."
"Oi." The Naara grunted, paused, drank some of his booze, slammed the bottle down and shook his head. "Fuck it. Might as well come clean. Angry sex is amazing."
"I knew it!" Inoichi shouted before turning to Choza. "Didn't I call it years ago when he and Yoshino refused to split up when we were young?"
"The apple does seem to not fall far from the tree in this case." Shibi shook his head in amusement.
"Hmm." The largest one there grinned. "You've been quiet when it comes to Shino Shibi. Come on. Spill it. All our kids have been making our jaws drop for years now. What sort of absurd things has Shino been doing under our noses? All I got from Chouji about him was…"
"Never fight Shino twice." All the members of the Ino-Shika-Cho combo said at the same time.
Shibi smirked under his large collar and allowed himself to drink some of his beer. The fact that all of his son's friends had said the exact same thing only supported his confidence in his son. "You are aware that my clan's insects have short life spans. This enables them to reproduce rather quickly, and thus evolve at exceptional rates. My clan has used this trait to obtain us the upper hand in many battles over the years, cultivating our hives to slowly grow more efficient and adapt to our preferred battle styles. Some of us have mastered chakra absorption. Others can actually develop nests so large that they can encompass entire buildings and villages. I have seen some hives eat through metal, and one hive in particular acted more like a deadly neurotoxin…"
"Hmmm." Shikaku frowned as he closed his eyes and nodded. "I get it now. Scary. Very scary. That's some kid you have there Shibi. I'm guessing what he does isn't something that comes by often."
"Huh?" Chouza blinked in confusion. "You figured it out already?"
The man shrugged. "Probably off on the specifics, but all in all I have the general idea pegged."
"Not often is quite an understatement." Shibi nodded. "There has not been an Aburame with that ability in generations. I have no doubt that he will surpass me in the clan's craft within the decade. All he lacks is growth and experience that only full maturation can provide."
The Jounin Commander of Konoha whistled, clearly impressed. "Not bad. Remind me to test him out later. I would be more impressed, but then most of us are in the same boat. Shikamaru and Chouji really paved the way for our clan techniques lately. Honestly I'm not sure how long I can convince some of my clan members that I'm still stronger in our arts than Shikamaru is."
Inoichi rolled his eyes and snorted. It was well known within their circle that Shikamaru had long outstripped everyone in his clan when it came to their ninjutsu. "Like it or not, we all know who to really thank for our kid's progress."
"Attention!" A female voice outside magnified by a loudspeaker pierced their eardrums as if on cue. "I have an important announcement to make!"
"Honestly, do you think she was listening in on us and waiting for this moment?" Chouza groaned.
"I am currently missing my vagina!" The voice continued without shame or hesitation, causing everyone who wasn't gaping or laughing to blush like crazy. "It seems I have been too cruel to it lately and it's run off somewhere. I need your assistance tracking down the annoying cunt down as soon as possible. I need to pee with EXTREME FEROCITY!"
"I don't know how, but I feel more ashamed than I believe she should feel right now." Inoichi groaned as he slammed his skull down on the table.
"I have set up a map of places my vagina may be hiding!" Shadow continued, clearly showing no remorse for herself or to anyone that was unfortunate enough to be within hearing range. "My pussy enjoys dark damp places, preferably close to where large amounts of human suffering can be found, or hardware stores for some reason for some reason that I still have yet to unravel. Also I have reason to believe that it enjoys haunting Gai Maighto's place at three seventeen in the morning, which likely explains why his lights have been frequently flickering on and off in the middle of the night for the past few months! My apologies! Be very careful though! It's been known to lash out at others, and has a mean streak that has ended the lives of countless electronic devices!"
"Probably because anything with blood running through its veins knows better than to try and get anywhere close to it." Shibi snorted, causing the other men at his table to either gape at him in awe, struggle to hold in their laughter, or both.
"My vagina has many weaknesses! Do not go for the obvious ones! They are traps! I have seen many body parts lost due to these tempting false targets! Its greatest weakness is peanut butter and marshmallows! This is followed by chainsaws, bacon, snowboards, bacon, the sounds of children frantically screaming in fear, and any paraphernalia of Robert Downey Jr, which I will be handing out momentarily! Also more bacon!"
"Just keep on drinking and pretend not to hear her boys." Shikaku sighed as he grabbed his bottle. "And whatever you do, don't hurt yourself trying to process what she is saying or how she will mangle those twisted words."
"Do not try to handle my vagina by yourselves!" The woman was not giving up without a fight. "Greater men than you have tried and failed spectacularly! I will show you the videos later once we have succeeded in this noble quest! They are hilarious!"
"Odds are they really are." Chouza sighed before groaning in frustration. "Ah damn it. I'm trying to imagine what the hell they have recorded now."
"Porn gone horribly, horribly wrong." Shibi summed up their thoughts quite accurately.
"You must be on guard! My vagina can smell fear! More so when it is on the hunt! It thrives on the hunt like a moist pink tiger with a hole in it! A hole of DEATH!"
"That's it." Inoichi grunted as he walked to the bar. "I clearly too sober for this. I'm getting another five beers. If my wife asks I'll just say Oogakari and she'll understand."
"Sad thing is I think all of our wives would accept that as an excuse these days." Shikaku sighed as he followed his friend.
"Why are you complaining?" Chouza grinned. "We have a legit reason to get utterly smashed and get away with it with our wives."
"I will now demonstrate to everyone the proper techniques required should you engage in hand to labia combat against my vagina! On a side note, if you should see it armed with a piece of fruit, run away immediately!"
"Because that's genuinely our excuse." Shibi pointed out factually.
"Please note that playing dead will not work on my vagina! It only aggravates it! Few things are more terrifying than my vagina when it is agitated!"
o. o. o.
Back with the plot:
"What is it about my powers that is so important that you needed to speak to me away from everyone else?" Shion asked as she addressed Shino, who was now well enough to travel small distances without issue. Just a short while ago, the Aburame had, in his standard stoic manner, requested to have a private conversation with her.
Taruho had been against it for a good number of reasons, but the other shinobi there had shot him down without hesitation. According to them, if Shino needed to talk to someone about something in private, then it was no doubt important. It was somewhat impressive for the almost constantly bickering teens to instantly switch mindsets at the drop of a hat and become serious like that without any prior notice. It spoke much about how much they trusted one another and how much faith they put into the insect user.
"I have two things I need to speak to you about." The Aburame leaned his elbows on his knees, his sunglasses pointed straight at her. "The first is a request. I wish to see you exert your chakra, the one that the demon is so adamant on destroying."
"My power?" Shion blinked in confusion. "Why do you want me to do that? It's very tiring to bring out enough to accomplish anything significant."
"I do not need you to perform anything grand." Shino shook his head as a small cloud of kikaichu leaked from his thick clothing, causing her to back a step in surprise. "I simply wish to analyze some of your chakra with my insects. My abilities enable me to be more… adaptive to opponents with distinct powers and chakra. I simply wish to increase that advantage by analyzing your chakra to see how it is so strong against the demonic powers we faced earlier and will face later. Do not be afraid. They will not bite or harm you. They survive off of chakra. If you feel more comfortable, I will order them to only land on your clothes should you allow me to sample your power."
The priestess nervously looked at the buzzing cloud. She had never been good with insects, being a priestess and living in a predominantly clean environment. However despite her looks, she was older now. More mature and willing to crush her feelings to clearly see the task ahead of her. A few moments of being uncomfortable was well worth having another advantage over Moryo, even if she was certain that Naruto could handle the situation easily by himself.
"I admit, this is not exactly how I foresaw myself when I was told I needed to defeat Moryo, however the future is rarely what we wish it to be." She sighed before nodding her head and granting Shino to command his insects.
Less than a second later, the small buzzing cloud had flown widely around her before latching onto the jacket on her back, thankfully avoiding her hair in the process.
"Humans and certain other species of animals naturally generate chakra inside their bodies." Shino elaborated. "However with some, when they utilize their chakra, their bodies process it in unique ways and they gain unique traits. You are one such example Shion-sama, and I suspect a rather extreme case at that. Please begin. I will let you know when you can stop. It will not take much."
The noble paused for just a moment in hesitation before closing her eyes to focus. She normally didn't use her powers for more than her sealing and barrier techniques, so she wasn't used to drawing anything less than that from her body. Slowly. Carefully. She began to pull out her power, barely noticing as the insects on her back ate away at what she generated and…
"That is enough. You may stop now."
"Eh?" The prophet's eyes opened in confusion as she heard the buzzing of the insects on her back return to their host. She had barely even begun to produce anything. "That… that was it? I barely made anything."
"My insects are rather small." Shino elaborated as the mini swarm disappeared under his clothes. "They get filled up rather quickly if they are not actively attacking someone and processing the chakra they intake. My apologies if I have misled you in some way Shion-sama."
"I… no, it is me that should apologize." The priestess stumbled on her words. "I had underestimated you Aburame-san. I did not think you, or anyone for that matter, could do so much with so little."
The shinobi's hooded head nodded as he lifted a finger to inspect an insect walking on the tip. "As an insect user, one could say that doing just that should be expected of me."
The albino giggled, growing more comfortable in his presence. "I will keep that in mind. Now then, you said that you had two things you wished to speak to me about. What was the latter of the two?"
Shino let his hand drop and remained quiet for several seconds. "Tell me what you know of our activities during the previous timeline."
The priestess wasn't smiling now and her face became paler than her hair. "Wh-what? I don't understand what you are talking about…"
Shino didn't budge. "You put Naruto in a very rocky position by informing him that you remember the previous timeline. One that he does not need given his current situation. You are the only individual outside of a very select group that is even aware of what has happened. As his friend, I am obligated to help him in any way I can, especially given what is at stake. Since he is currently in no position or condition to question you, I have undertaken this important responsibility. Now again, please tell me what you learned of the Shinobi world's activities before you came back in time. We cannot even begin to trust you with anything until we know what you do. "
The priestess' eyes narrowed while taking another step back. "And how do I know that I can trust you? How do I know that you aren't a spy that will turn on Naruto with this information?"
The teen's eyeglasses reflected off of the evening sun's light, and Shion could have almost sworn she saw him smile in amusement. "… You didn't answer my question and instead questioned my legitimacy despite my approach… you are suspicious of me. Good. Very good. Why? Because you are trying to push yourself into a dangerous world. At the very least you are not doing so blindly. You are sharper than I had initially suspected. Nowhere near strong enough to take care of yourself… but not completely helpless either."
"You still didn't answer my question." Shion glared.
Shino shook his head. "If I was indeed a spy and had come back with Naruto, then I would have killed him when he was still young and not as strong. I had years to do it then too. The way he is now though…" He shivered, recalling just how much chakra his insects claimed was being emitted from his body to support his seventh sense. "No, Naruto is certainly far too strong to believe anyone could kill him easily."
"That doesn't prove anything." The priestess countered. She and her predecessors have spent a LONG time contemplating time paradoxes and the like with their powers and how to tell when someone was trying to use the same excuses against them. "You could have come back at a later point."
The Aburame stared directly into her eyes. "There are two things incorrect with that statement. The first is that I did not come back. I am one of the few in my group that does not have my memories. There are limitations on how many of us can return, and who we are willing to bring back at all. Everything I know is second hand information from those that have returned. I am trusted enough that they allow me this."
"This doesn't help your case."
"And the second reason is that I am very much aware that it is impossible for me to have come back at a later point than Naruto." Shino continued. "I know of the black fire and some of its origins, I know that four years ago was the latest any of us could have returned, and I know why it appeared at all in the first place, as does everyone in our group. Hence, I cannot claim that I was unable to go back far enough to kill Naruto when he was weak as an excuse."
Shion grit her teeth in frustration. The shinobi had made persuasive arguments, however she was still not sold. "Tell me something that would prove that you are on Naruto's side without question. Something that I cannot argue against."
The insect user paused for a moment before sighing deeply. "He has informed me that in the previous timeline, a point that we both are aware that he was exceptionally less intelligent than… well most individuals, he had unknowingly agreed to marry you. All of us are more than aware enough to know that he wasn't thinking back then. And anyone can tell that he does not share the same feelings for you as you still do for him."
The priestess' eyes dilated as Shino spoke the truth, knowing he was correct.
"What you are not aware of is that due to your revelation, he and the rest of us cannot ignore your existence. You know too much and apparently you appear to be more competent and powerful than in the last time line. No doubt due to your additional experience and training. He is genuinely considering having you come to Konoha as a potential wife, which is simply his way of putting you under a more comfortable house arrest and protection."
The Aburame leaned forward, his face donning a frown. "What you also don't know is that he and Hinata, my teammate who I consider a sister in all but blood, are in an extremely strong relationship. They DO love one another. They WOULD die for one another. And their bonds are without a doubt stronger than what you have with him. Because of Naruto's genealogy, he is of high enough birth to have more than one wife, however this will no doubt put a great strain on their relationship should you go through with it. Hinata has loved, and I do mean loved, Naruto for years now, and I highly doubt that she would appreciate the idea of sharing him with someone she has literally just met or even heard of."
The soft sound of insects buzzing actively was heard from the stoic shinobi. "Convince me why on earth I should believe Naruto's insane plan can work without destroying everything around him instead of having you hidden away with your memories erased. I have seen your powers activate once already. Should you attempt to go back and inform yourself of any additional information to cheat your way through this, I will deny you instantly."
Shion stared wide eyed at Shino for a good half a minute… before she began to laugh sadly.
"Haha. I knew it. I should have known he had someone else by now." She shook her head before taking a deep breath to calm herself down. "Please, allow me to elaborate a few things Aburame-san."
She walked over to a nearby tree and leaned against it. "As the priestess of Demon country, I have essentially two obligations. Three if you include maintaining my people's morale and faith. The first obligation is obviously what we are doing now: Preventing Moryo from returning to power. He is a large enough threat that even the major shinobi nations have never attempted to attack our rather small and weak nation during the Shinobi World Wars. So long as we maintained our responsibility, we were essentially left alone."
Shino nodded slowly in understanding, vaguely recalling that Demon country was indeed avoided during wartime when he studied history.
"My second obligation is also rather obvious." The albino continued bitterly. "My power is hereditary, and I am a woman." She shrugged casually as if she had just said two plus two equals four. "I am nearing the age, physically, where I will have to take a suitor and ensure that my line is continued, even if I do not approve of my chosen or do not wish a child at all. I believe one of my ancestors was faced with that hard truth. She preferred the company of women you see and… from my understanding in the end she had to be placed under constant surveillance for a multitude of reasons. Her husband was not a savory individual either from what I was told, although that may simply have been an additional punishment for her going against "tradition"."
"You were matched when the previous timeline ended." Shino quickly put the pieces together.
"Matched yes. But not married and consummated. Thankfully." Shion admitted without shame. "I had met far worse nobility over the years, however there was nothing worth talking about the one that was chosen for me. A boring man who saw me only as an obligation and nothing else. A loveless marriage to a man who I doubt I would have seen more than a few times a year, very likely less than his favored concubines that he had stowed away in one of his villas. Not an uncommon tale among those of noble birth sadly. Though I suspect you already knew that."
The male did. Part of the training regarding high profile individuals and nobles was to be able to resist temptation should the one they were guarding try to hit on them or worse, actually develop genuine romantic feelings for them. There had been many, and that was not an exaggeration, MANY close calls where war had almost broken out because some noble's all but abandoned wife tried to, or actually DID elope with one of their shinobi guards.
Regrettably, but not surprisingly, execution of at least one of the related parties was frequently seen as an answer to these sort of issues. Once they were captured of course. Shinobi were kinda good at hiding after all.
From the shinobi standpoint, the true guilty party in these issues were frequently either the husband of the whimsical wife for being an insensitive ass who ignored his wife in the first place, or the idiots who set up the pairing in the first place for political reasons, even if it was CLEARLY OBVIOUS that the two being married got along like oil and water.
Well, them, or the idiot shinobi that couldn't keep his bloody pants on for the duration of the mission.
It was the main reason why most ninja married for love, or at least after making sure that they genuinely liked, trusted, and tolerated one another after a reasonable amount of time. They were TRAINED KILLERS with abnormal powers. Hidden villages couldn't afford to just have random warriors forced to have babies for the power game. The number of domestic issues would have skyrocketed if that was the case, and mixing in their powers left nobody happy. Their entire system (much less all the villages themselves) would be wrecked within a decade if they allowed something as stupid as that to be the norm.
On the other side of the argument, clans were a bit pickier about the process, but that was to be expected with their guarded secrets that could get them all killed if released to the public and such. Still, it was only the Hyuuga and, until they had been wiped out, the Uchiha and the Senju that were genuinely traditional about the whole process.
"One of the few interesting things about the man who I was to wed, who may I add was nearly twice my age, was that he was fairly high up in the Land of Fire's political ranks." Shion continued after seeing the small indications that Shino was fully aware of what she was talking about. "Among the hand full of times I did speak to him, I did manage to steer our conversations to shinobi and Konoha related topics. The poor man must have had an inferiority complex, as he seemed to not have the slightest inclination of holding back classified information in our one sided conversations."
"At the very least, she isn't a blindly prideful idiot like most nobles." Shino mused, slowly gaining more respect for the girl.
"To answer your first question though Aburame-san, I am completely aware of Naruto's status as a Jinchuriki, just as I am aware of his fight against Akatsuki, and of how dire the situation was prior to the event that landed us in our current situation. And quite frankly I could not care less about them."
"You say that now, but your actions may be different should you encounter the enemy in person." Shino frowned. People, especially prideful ones, tended speak before thinking about major things like this. "You will be a target if you go through with this. Many of these men are capable of destroying entire villages in a single attack, or eroding your mind to nothing with genjutsu."
"I watched my mother sacrifice herself to reseal Moryo in person when I was eight, and lived the rest of my life knowing that it was exceptionally likely that I would suffer the same fate." The priestess retorted without hesitation and stood up tall. "I was willing to sacrifice myself for Naruto, and nearly did in the previous timeline after he saved me from myself, only to have him rescue me again. As far as I'm concerned, I owe him everything. I spent these past four years preparing for our reunion, training my abilities to the fullest so that I would be more than dead weight, I would be an irreplaceable asset that cannot be ignored."
Her smile became more confident. "Tell me Aburame, how well has your knowledge of the future served you recently? Are things still as accurate to the original timeline as they were when this first started? Would it not be a bit more convenient should your friends have a… refreshing glimpse, every now and then?"
She stepped forward, despite seeing the shinobi in front of her frown noticeably. "I was actually there for the chunin exams three years ago, did you know that? I was sitting with the other nobles. You have no idea how many strings and games I had to play to make that happen, given that it is normally unthinkable for my people to imagine me outside of the village around the temple. I saw how much Naruto, Sakura, Lee, and Neji have changed. I saw how the Third Hokage did not die and that Orochimaru did. That was quite a big move you all pulled there. No doubt there would be consequences to your actions… you know, I don't seem to recall your current issues with Iwa the last time around. Or that little event in Iron…"
"You may be better fighters and killers than me, but when it comes to this little time game, I am the one that is looking down on everyone."
Shino gripped his hands into fists as he attempted to control himself. Normally he was used to pompous individuals lording their so called power over him, but in this case the one doing the lording had the powers and the experience to back her words up. Not only that, but she had already pegged out their current issues, caused by their own changes and actions, with natural ease, and a way that they could become HEAVILY dependent on her abilities.
Shinobi as a rule, didn't like to be cornered. They tend to lash out when they are, only with fire, or water, or something else destructive along those lines.
Shinobi as practically a species, DESPISED being cornered by civilians. If it happened, it was if the world was saying to them, "Wow, you must really suck at this."
"And what of Naruto? You claim to love him and owe him everything, but you barely know him." Shino pressed. "He is different from before as you have seen. He and Hinata are also in a strong relationship. Pushing yourself in will not do anyone any favors."
"You make it sound as though I did not expect or plan for such a thing to happen." The noble snorted. "I do not mind being a concubine so long as it is Naruto's. Better be second place for an attentive lover than first prize to a fool that will barely pay attention to you. I have already gathered enough information on him to know that he will not mistreat me. All things considered, I prefer the way he is now compared to how he was. He is far more intelligent than he was before, which will make dealing with what is to come more manageable."
"Trust me, I've heard more stories than you about the very subject. I am more relieved than you are." Shino sighed. Really, beating Kiba in the prelims by farting in his face was just… ugh. He could have gone without that knowledge. "… I am surprised that you are willing to take such a low position though. Hinata, while of significant birth herself, does not come close to your status."
"My position consists of me sitting in uncomfortable clothing for extended periods of time, putting on makeup, and making predictions while looking pretty for overweight middle aged men that make no attempt to hide the fact that they are undressing me with their eyes every other minute. Should I do nothing, then I shall remain in that position for the rest of my life." The girl shook her head. "I am no fool, raised and tricked into existing like a doll. I will be losing power and status by doing this, likely even risking myself in the process, but I will be gaining a life by doing so as well. One that I chose for myself and one that I am certain will be of benefit to the few that I care for and myself. Naruto may never truly love me, but he will never claim that I did not earn my place beside him."
The two glared at one another quietly for minutes, neither allowing themselves to show any signs of what they were thinking underneath. They were both too experienced to let such a thing slip through.
"… You will speak no more of this until you enter Konoha. To anyone." Shino ordered coldly. "Even then, the only person you will even consider bringing this up with is Tsunade-sama herself. She is one of the ones that has received her memories. I will not reveal any of the others. She will have final say in this matter. I will not endorse this reckless scheme of yours, but I see that trying to dissuade you from it now will only cause more issues. If you cause problems, we will address them as we see fit. Do you understand?"
"Of course." The priestess smiled genuinely. "I figured that Tsunade-sama was in the loop anyways. From what I gathered, she was far more difficult to track down and convince to become Hokage the last time compared to this iteration."
Shino's eyebrow twitched in annoyance as he slowly picked himself up and began walking to the camp. By his estimates he would be good to fight in another hour or so. Hopefully by then Hinata would have woken up and Naruto would be safe to move…
The shinobi and the priestess walked to the camp ground to see Hinata beaming happily with a familiar fox's head clearly asleep and poking out from between her breasts.
Shino's eyebrow twitched more. "I should have seen this coming."
Shion managed to maintain her polite demeanor, but it was clear that she wasn't exactly thrilled by the image in front of her, evident by the non-existing lightning bolts that met between her and Hinata's eyes. "Excuse me, but from what I understand, wouldn't having Naruto there distract you from your duty?"
Hinata's smile didn't falter as the lightning between them intensified. "Oh it's no problem at all. You see I just remembered a rather easy and simple trick to keep my Naruto nice and safe while I fight." She jutted out her impressive chest, not at all worried about awaking the fox. "Chakra control."
o. o. o.
Jiraiya looked up to the sky in a random direction.
"Something wonderful just happened."
o. o. o.
Shizune glanced at Tsunade as her boss giggled childishly while reading a medical text and her clones did more paperwork. "Is something the matter? I don't see how research on stage three cancer can possibly amuse you."
"I honestly don't know." The leader of Konoha chuckled as she looked away from the paper with a grin on her face. "I just all of a sudden feel very amused at the moment."
Shizune looked at her boss skeptically. "… Are you certain that it doesn't have anything to do with cancer?"
The Master frowned. "Cancer? Heaven's no that's terrible! What kind of sick person is entertained by that? Are you ok Shizune?"
The brunette opened and closed her mouth several times before shaking her head, began to talk, paused, then smiled innocently. "I believe I may have been working a bit too hard lately Tsunade-sama. Would it be ok if I took the rest of the day off? It's getting late after all."
The Hokage frowned momentarily as she looked outside and saw that it was getting dark. "Huh. You're right. I suppose you do need a break." She stuck her nose in the document again. "You've been working nonstop for a while now. Tell you what. Have the rest of the week off Shizune. Paid. You'll need the rest once Naruto gets back anyway. Well… once he gets back, and recovers from the ass kicking we're going to give him at least… that should keep him down for another week at most, two if we're lucky."
"R-right." The assistant laughed nervously, completely not believing her luck that she just got a well needed break. "I'll come by every now and then to check up on you regardless."
"Do whatever you want Shizune. It's your vacation time, not mine." The world's strongest woman lazily waved as she looked at a new section and began giggling again. "'Bout time…"
Unfortunately, due to her paranoia, Shizune ended up working every day during her vacation out of fear that Tsunade was finally losing it.
The ANBU watching didn't bother pointing out to her the irony of the situation.
There was on the other hand, a good deal of bets made regarding Tsunade's sanity made that week.
Black market gambling waits for no man, woman, or shinobi. Hiruzen knew this all too well as he casually slipped away his ticket…
… He also wondered how he could play the system in his favor this time. He had made a killing off of all the wagers he put on himself after all. Poor novices didn't think he was aware of the pools… shows what they know.
He was the one that organized their setup in the first place back when Hashirama was still in charge.
o. o. o.
He kneeled in front of his master, never once daring to look up. It was not his place to gaze upon someone of such higher standing than him. "We failed my lord. The shinobi protecting the Priestess were far stronger than we had anticipated."
Yomi, looking far more emaciated than before, leered down at his remaining human subject emotionlessly. "How disappointing. I give you and your brothers all that power and yet you were not able to kill one single girl."
The assassin held back a flinch. "I had almost managed to kill her. I disabled one of the shinobi with my poison and made an opening for myself after they were all split up. I was but inches away from gouging out her heart when their trap was sprung. They had slipped on her some sort of powerful creature in the guise of a small fox to protect her. I had barely enough time to react before my arm was torn apart without further warning."
"A fox… how annoying…" Moryo's disembodied voice echoed in Yomi's head.
"Is there something I should be aware of Master?" The host asked emotionlessly without any sign of worry, concern, or curiosity.
"… No. Pay it no mind. It will not hinder our plans." The demon snorted before remaining silent again. "The one I am thinking of is too prideful to exist in any other form but his own. It is not him, and he too will be dealt with in due time…"
Yomi remained quiet for several moments before glaring at the leader of the four brothers. "You have failed your purpose twice already. Your siblings have already paid for their incompetence, however you still have a purpose to fulfil."
Slowly half a dozen serpent like creatures emerged from the ground, hissing and spitting erratically. "You will succeed it, or you will perish this time. There is no third option."
o. o. o.
"I don't know why, but for some reason these two have been really happy lately… and its scaring the living shit out of me." Chouji whispered to Tenten as their team leader and their charge, both smiling serenely, barely made eye contact and lightning clashed between them for what seemed like the fifth time in ten minutes.
"You're not the only one." The weapon master shivered. "You boys don't understand, but I can tell that these two are at war. Trust me Chouji, you don't want to get involved in this else you'll be instinctively afraid of a lot more than just my explosives."
"I will engrave your warnings into my very soul." The largest person there whimpered as Hinata walked by with an aura that was peaceful and happy… and absolutely terrifying at the exact same time.
"Hey Shino. What gives?!" Tenten hissed to the Aburame, who had only just recently confirmed that he was back in fighting shape. "Why is Shion-sama suddenly gaining her second wind when it comes to pissing off Hinata?"
The addressed paused, shifted his glasses, and emotionlessly looked down on his teammate with a haunted aura.
"Never ask me that question again. I want nothing to do with this."
"That bad?" Tenten winced.
"Do you recall Ino's chunin exam fight against Sakura?"
The Akimichi's and Higurashi's eyes went wide open with fear and terror.
"You're right." Chouji recovered first with emptiness in his voice. "It's safer to stay as far away from this issue as humanely possible."
"This is one of those times where it's safer being blind to the world around us. Thank you Scab-Sensei again for teaching me extreme selective awareness. I now see its worth outside of ignoring the terrible things you and your family puts me through and what half my team does almost religously." Tenten stated in the exact same tone as Chouji's.
"Log save us all." Shino nodded darkly with sage like authority.
"Everyone." Hinata spoke up from their blind spot cheerfully, causing them all to bite back a scream of absolute terror. "Are we all prepared to go? We don't have much time left."
"How on earth is Naruto sleeping through all of this peacefully?! He's the one that should be shitting himself the most by now!" Tenten frantically attempted to lower her heart rate. "Ah! Ahahahaha! Just give us a few more minutes Hinata! Ahaha! We're just doing a few last second battle plans and setting ourselves up! Isn't that right guys?!"
"R-Right!" Chouji stammered. "Shino wanted to just make sure of a few things since Tenten and I had seen how our enemy's powers worked!"
The Aburame nodded while shifting his glasses. "So long as there is only one opponent left and he is utilizing the same source of chakra as the others, I should be sufficient enough to take him down."
"Eh?" Hinata's eyes flashed in recognition and amusement. "You're really excited about fighting this time Shino."
The Aburame pretended to ignore the clearing a small distance away from them where the corpse of the shinobi he killed was already reduced to nothing but mulch and excrement made by his insects. "I don't like being the reason why the mission was held up."
"Ohoho. Scary scary." Tenten smirked, already snapped out of her delirium. "Everyone beware. Shino's mean streak's acting up again."
Chouji crossed his arms and shook his head. "Well so much for expecting to get another fight in today."
Hinata nodded. "It's good that you are so eager. We'll need it since the enemy will be desperate now that we've killed most of their assailants."
"As much as I appreciate you all mentally preparing yourselves, need I remind you that it will all essentially be useless should Moryo actually revive?" Taruho frowned as he finished packing and gathering up the remains of Shion's equipment. "We've wasted enough time as it is."
"Taruho's right." Shino agreed as he began to quickly stretch his limbs. "We have recovered enough as we are going to. Now would…"
"That's not a happy silence is it?" Chouji sighed, knowing full well that Shino never allowed himself to get distracted while talking unless something was up.
"An enemy already?" Taruho swiftly reached for his bow with practiced ease.
"Please come out." Hinata ordered to seemingly the sky as her eyes activated. "We know you are there."
The area was deadly silent for several seconds before an immature groan from a full grown male was heard. "Man. Seriously? Why do I always have the shitty luck?"
Before anyone could react, the speaker's power seemed to jolt for just a moment before it reappeared at the edge of the camp. Just as quickly, the shinobi there all took defensive stances and got in the way between him and Shion. "Who are you?" The leader of the group snapped as she took the newcomer's appearance in.
He was a bizarre foreign looking man, wearing only a very thin looking wife beater on his top and excessively baggy black pants with plenty of pockets and neon blue trimming that appeared to have no padding. His arms were encased in guards that shared a similar appearance to Naruto's talons, only they were all black, had seemingly useless zippers around many parts, and his hands were encompassed in some very large and dangerous looking armored knuckles. He was Caucasian, early twenties, had average looking brown hair and green eyes, extremely muscular…
And was holding up his hands in complete surrender.
"Woah. Calm down. I'm just split from my friends and lost as hell. I don't mean anybody harm." The man tried to placate the group in a nervous but friendly way.
"You seem to be rather oddly dressed for a person this far away from the city and completely lost." Tenten frowned.
"Kid. Trust me, there are some really fucked up drugs out there that can and have taken people many places without them remembering a damn thing twelve hours later." The guy laughed sheepishly. "I tend to party hard."
"And are you claiming to be here because of these drugs?" Shino accused.
"Nope." The guy shrugged. "I'm here 'cause my group wandered around here trying to find some local village, we decided to split up cause the trail died off and gather some info, and then I got hopelessly lost." He shook his head. "Fucking trees all look the same man. I don't know how people can navigate huge ass forests like this."
"You went exploring dressed like that?" Chouji looked at him disbelievingly.
"Hey, better than what your hooded buddy's in." The man brushed off the question and nodded at Shino. "Poor guy must be sweating up a storm under all that shit in this humidity. Why are you even wearing sunglasses when it's this dark out?"
"It's an acquired taste." The Aburame retorted blandly.
"Can you describe your comrades?" Hinata asked before giving a look at Taruho to be quiet. "If they are nearby I may be able to locate them. Otherwise you will be on your own. We are in a bit of a rush."
"S'cool." The guy shrugged, clearly fine with getting any help at all. "One's an old guy with clothes that have the occasional plate of armor. Ones an asshole my age in a suit and glasses. Real neat and tidy looking prick that looks like he's never had a fun day in his life. Brown cut hair. Blue eyes. The works. And the third's a woman. Tan like your girl here, only black hair and wearing a poncho all the time that covers up everything."
"I see…" The Hyuuga's veins on the side of her head thickened as she expanded the range of her sight…
… At the ten mile range she finally spied a man in an odd suit that many merchants wore to the North west. She began to inspect him to confirm if he was one of the group that she was looking for…
… When the man instantly looked directly AT her and frowned, his eyes piercing hers relentlessly and seemed to take in everything at once, shocking her so badly that she instinctively shut off her dojutsu out of fear.
"… Presence…" She whispered in disbelief, causing everyone that was in the know to instantly be on full alert.
It was fairly reasonable for those who recognized the term to instantly have red lights flashing. From Hinata's side, the fact of the matter was that outside of the Oogakari and those who trained under them, there was not a SINGLE person in the elemental nations that should be aware of how to manifest their power, let alone recognize it for what it was. Hence, anyone that they didn't recognize that did reveal such an ability would instantly be deemed an extreme threat as they would likely come from the same place as the Oogakari did…
So, worst case scenario, this guy was a juggernaut that could potentially wipe his ass with their carcasses before they even knew they were dead.
From the visitor's side, the fact that these "local rednecks" recognized what presence was and was called meant that these brats had some sort of connection to whoever blocked off this universe in the first place. Blocking off entire universes was something only horrifically powerful existences could do, ones that were VASTLY above his, and virtually ninety eight percent of all dimension travelers', pay grade. If left unaddressed, it was extremely likely that the kids would snitch on him the first chance they got.
Which would lead to his group in a situation where the odds of them dying were significantly high.
The man's easygoing face fell into a grimace. "Oh you have got to be shitting me. You kids are the locals in the know from earlier?! Well isn't that just fucking fantastic!"
"Are you serious?!" Tenten hissed to Hinata as a copy of Zangetsu appeared in her hands.
"What?!" Shion began to panic as she looked around confused. "What's going on?!"
"His comrade sensed me as soon as I saw him and used some sort of ability to… see everything about me in an instant." Hinata shivered as she recalled the sensation. It was the height of abnormal, as if her very existence had been reduced to simple numbers and words before being examined at once. Never had she ever heard of such a frightening power before. It honestly made her believe that her own dojutsu was nothing more than a joke in comparison.
"Son of a… ugh!" The man yelled in frustration before shaking his head and sighing. "Damn it. It's really not my style. Sorry kids, but I don't want to be caught by whoever's claimed this place already."
One moment they were all standing in place glaring at one another…
The next, Shion was barely able to breathe as Chouji flew backwards just barely missing her, and crashed through a tree. Multiple trees if what they were hearing was right.
Neither of the parties had moved from their spots. The only thing the enemy had done was throw a simple punch in front of him.
Tenten didn't bother looking back at her friend as she slashed her blade out to create a massive arc of chakra, however that didn't work as the man simply kicked his right leg up and somehow deflected the attack to the sky.
"… Why does that sword look familiar?" The man muttered under his breath in confusion, seemingly ignoring Hinata rapidly approaching him until he just barely evaded a strike to his head and countered near simultaneously with a low fist to her abdomen which despite the angle held enough power behind it to cause everyone to feel when it connected…
… Or he would have if she was not already flaring a good deal of her own presence and blocked his blow with a good deal of chakra.
Unlike when she was inside Naruto, her aura was not soft and kind, but ominous and old… no, ancient. The silver lavender light that seemed to come off of her seemed to state that she was not something that could be dealt by simple means, and that she would continue to forever shine upon him until he was no more.
"Tch… not bad." The man grimaced, his tempo not faltering from the unexpected defense as he went on to defend and counter Hinata's attacks, using his free hand to knock away her lightning fast jabbing fingers to his heart. His blocked fist made a repeated attempt to hammer her abdomen with crushing force despite the impossible angle at which he was hitting at, however while Hinata's makeshift chakra shield managed to hold against the blow, she allowed herself to be thrown back by the force of the attack just as a massive wave of insects collapsed on top of him from behind.
"The fuck?" The man muttered, more confused and bewildered than actually scared as his body disappeared underneath the black wave…
… Which lasted roughly three seconds before a small but highly pressurized wave of power launched the flood back as though it was nothing but gas.
"Owowowowowow." The raver grimaced as he started scratching at his body. "Why bugs?! I fucking hate bug bites!"
While the man was seemingly distracted by the attack, Tenten had taken the opportunity to try and snipe him from a distance with an arrow.
Much to her displeasure though, her target wasn't as out of it as they had thought as he caught the thing without even looking between two fingers.
Oh wait. She probably wasn't displeased if the savage grin on her face was any indication.
The man grimaced, too busy looking at the projectile and scratching himself while keeping an eye out for the other kids to see or really care about the seals she was making with her hands… that was until the arrow suddenly spawned dozens of copies of itself around him in midair.
"Copies? Isn't it a bit late for… oh shit a hissing sound."
His musing was interrupted as the copies began to unravel themselves, revealing that they had not been wooden shafts, but very tightly rolled up parchments of paper with odd drawings on the inside that looked similar to…
It was impossible to escape at this point as the spread out paper was literally everywhere now, preventing him from even seeing a single tree around him.
Shion screamed as the shockwave blew her and Taruho back a good distance, incapable of standing their ground so close to such a massive explosion. She wasn't injured though, as Shino caught her in midflight and landed standing on a tree.
"It's too dangerous to be here." The Aburame grimaced as he looked at the crater where he could simply feel that their opponent was more than capable of still battling. "Stay back and hide. We'll find you."
The sound of someone coughing from the middle of the dust the explosion kicked up caught everyone's attention.
"*Chough* Fucking *Cough* Ninjas." The man hacked his lungs out, his arms crossed in front of his head to protect it from the worst of the damage. Save for a few minor scratches, burns, and some swelling from where Shino's insects had bitten him he didn't seem to be any worse for the wear. "Do they *cough* have to be so damn sneaky when they blow stuff up? Honestly *cough*, who ever heard of paper that explodes?"
The man looked around annoyed as he finally let his arms down. "Tch. First thing's first though…"
Simply reaching out with one of his hands, the man flexed his fingers as if gripping the air around him… and then flung it back, somehow throwing all the upturned dust away from him as if he had moved it all like tossing a ball and clearing up the battlefield in an instant.
"Gotta give these guys less places to hide. Dealing with them in a forest is going to be enough of a pain as it is." He paused. "Hold on, how the hell could that big one be a ninja? Nothing about him is stealthy or subtle in the-?!"
"I guess my tricks make up for that." The exceptionally angry Akimichi growled with one his overly muscular legs being held back by his target's arms, hammering him with enough force to push him back a good three feet before traction kicked in again.
"Fast… I thought I knocked him out earlier…" The traveler grimaced as he pushed back against the leg that was nearly the size of his torso. "Muscle mass adjustment? This must be that earth element that specs mentioned earlier. Being able to allocate that much of his body strength and mass to just his legs without suffering any consequences is no joke…" He paused as he noticed that the skin on the limb hitting him was near pitch black. "… Damn. He's using additional physical boosting powers as well? Most would end up blowing up their limbs before being able to pull something like that off…"
His thoughts were interrupted as the image of Chouji was blurred with the monstrous black silhouette behind him that screamed of primal power and authority.
"Presence too?!" His eyes widened in surprise as the weight of the leg on him seemingly tripled and launched him through at least a dozen full grown trees before finally colliding with a tremendous boulder and stopping halfway through.
"That was for earlier." The Akimichi growled as his body returned to normal slowly and rubbed his chest. Despite how quickly he recovered and moved, he wouldn't be surprised if one of his ribs was at least broken from the opening blow.
"Something's off…" Shino frowned. "If he originates from where the Oogakari came from, he should be stronger than this…"
"He's not using his presence." Tenten pointed out. "But if he's so adamant about killing us, why isn't he using it?"
Hinata remained quiet before her eyes widened in realization. "He doesn't want to be found out…"
"He's afraid that he might be sensed if he uses it." Shino nodded in understanding. "Everyone's presence is unique. An outlier in the elemental nations would indeed raise suspicions."
"Can the Oogakari even sense that far?" Chouji skeptically asked. As Ino's boyfriend and teammate, he had some knowledge about how sensory techniques worked, and he wasn't aware of anything that was casually on hand that would be able to sense them from way back in Konoha.
"After some of the shit Scab-Sensei's shown to me, I wouldn't doubt he has something hidden in the house." Tenten snorted, her eyes never leaving where their target was launched. "Problem is that I don't think the fight is on our side. He took nearly a hundred paper bombs to the face and was barely scratched. We might need to use something more severe…"
More than one of them grimaced. They all had powerful techniques, but for Tenten to say "severe" only meant that they would bust out the moves they really didn't like to use… moves they had been saving for Akatsuki.
"Owowowowow…" The man grimaced as he pulled himself from the boulder he had crashed into. "Minor concern my ass Specs. That kid was synergizing multiple physical enhancement processes. Whoever taught him knew what the hell they were doing too… kid kicks like a mule."
The tan girl with the white hair was without a doubt the blacksmith he was warned about earlier. Despite the sword she pulled out of nowhere earlier, it was blatantly clear she preferred ranged combat… and explosives. Probably best to get rid of her before she meets Carmen.
The shut-in looking kid probably suck those bugs on him earlier so he was ranged too. Damn bites already felt as if they were going to itch for weeks.
That cute white eyed girl with the fox between her tits was the one that actually concerned him the most. That brief moment where she used her Presence sent shivers down his spine. None of the kids had done anything to show that they knew more than the basic applications of Presence, but the girl's potent nature put her on a level above the others. Anyone could have an aura, but not many held natures that could be considered... old, basic… something notably specific and beyond the standard everyday elements.
He could tell that she could grow up to be damn strong if trained right. The fact that she managed to block not one but two of his blows, granted he wasn't using full strength, with just her energy at her level was proof enough of that.
Mix that in with the fact that she was obviously a sensor, an energy manipulator, and her close ranged attacks no doubt involved some form of power manipulation and it was fairly obvious that she was the most dangerous of the group and likely the leader…
He had his first target.
Problem was, he was fighting ninja, and thems be tricky bastards.
Case and point, he couldn't see or sense them from where he was.
"Man, this would be so much easier if I could use my presence." He shook his head to get the rest of the dust and pebbles out of his hair. Despite his casual demeanor, all his senses were wide open for a potential ambush. Three out of the four he was fighting have already proven themselves to strike at him from out of nowhere at a moment's notice, and he highly doubted that any of them had shown off everything they had. Still, from what he had seen they didn't seem to possess any artillery grade ranged attacks, he was assaulted by bugs and exploding arrows for crying out loud…
… Meaning that they would be hard pressed to counter this.
"Sorry kids." He sighed as he held out an open hand that was beginning to glow. "But it's time to show you how the big boys play."
A tremendous beam of raw power shot from his hand and devastated the area he had just come from. The trees that had been felled with his body earlier had been instantly reduced to char as the attack blasted past them relentlessly, taking down several more trees nearby in the process, before striking the earth where the battle had originally started and exploded with the intensity that one would expect from this kind of move.
"Right." He looked around casually as he put down his hand, not at all bothered or distracted by the destruction he had just caused. "Now if these kids had any combat experience, they wouldn't be there anymore, which should mean that they should be trying to sneak up on me right aboooooout…"
He leaned to the side to avoid a large spiraling ball of energy from impacting his head from behind and tear out a piece of a nearby tree.
"Huh. Never saw shoot blasts like that before." The man muttered before hopping from his location to avoid being pelted by the dozens of similar attacks coming from above. "Energy attacks that grind apart their targets with constant irregular streams rather than simply exploding. Interesting. Tricky, but interesting…"
There was a new presence nearby. This one was different. It had no definite form, but it was without a doubt there, like how a person knew that the air was there despite never seeing it. The sensation was constantly changing… no, it nature was to change, to adapt, to thrive…
"Aw hell. A conceptual presence? Why couldn't this be straight forward?"
He jumped to the side as several kunai were thrown in his direction. Normally he would just weave between them, but given what that blacksmith girl did with the arrow he wasn't going to take a chance…
He ducked just as the big one's colossal leg passed where his head had been just moments before. He could feel the power the boy put into his limbs as he felt the wind kicked up blow his hair. Again he marveled at the kid's control and ability to not reduce his limbs into chopped meat with whatever technique he was using.
"I have to admit, you move a lot faster than I thought you could." He grinned as he hopped back just enough to avoid the follow through. Despite the fact that this big one could actually deal some heavy damage if he wasn't careful, he decided to keep this one around. Close range fighting one of their group meant that their ranged users wouldn't, hopefully, attack due to the risk of hitting their own…
He heard the sound of someone land behind him. Odds were likely that it was the white eyed girl.
"Might as well start here." He muttered as he struck out with his fist at the next oncoming kick, nailing the boy's shin. The collision of the two forces caused the ground the shatter beneath them…
The boy realized his mistake too late. His kicks were powerful, but he had not anticipated his opponent to be able to strike out with as much force with just one arm. He was completely open.
The man's second punch that came in a fraction of a second later nailed the Akimichi in the stomach hard enough to feel a good number of things crack under his fist, launching him back at speeds that most would have trouble following.
He spun around, ready to take on his next target when all the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Death. Something there could… no, was going to kill him unless he moved now…
He moved. He didn't see that it was actually the white haired girl attacking him instead of the other one. Instead he focused on the blood red spear she was wielding that was the source of the malevolent feeling he was experiencing. It was no doubt a demonic weapon. Cursed beyond high holy hell, and very likely to have some sort of ability that he would not be able to handle directly with his current restrictions.
Just by looking at the thing he could tell that it would go for his heart. Hell it almost felt like it had already pierced it.
Time slowed down as he backed away. At this rate he could tell that he wasn't going to make it out of the thing's range before the girl set it off, being off balance from when he turned to her direction in the first place. He wasn't close enough to counterattack or even sure that a counter would be able to stop it.
As fast as he could, he jabbed out his right fist just a moment before the girl acted, the amount of air pressure he obtained from the action was more than enough to launch him back with just enough speed…
"BOLG!" She thrust out the spear in his direction. It wasn't particularly fast, and he could tell that it would have hit his stomach had he been in its range-
Blood flew from his chest as the man as the spear found itself at its target before he saw it move.
… But it only made it halfway into his chest, barely scraping his heart with its cursed nature.
"A conceptual weapon?!" He hissed as his hand went to his chest before he even landed. He had seen the spear hit his heart before he saw it… correct? Readjust itself? Hell for all he knew this thing had momentarily rewritten the laws of time and space to pull what it did off.
He also recognized the name she had screamed out. It was the title of a fairly popular and frequently appearing legendary spear in the multiverse. The spear of Cu something or another… meaning it was very likely that she didn't make it, but actually copied the thing.
A blacksmith that copies other weapons and uses their powers…
"Hah. Hah. Shit. That's one nasty trinket you have there." He grimaced as he quickly checked his wound. It hurt like fuck and he could feel a curse doing… something to the bleeding slit, but he couldn't tell what. "That dumbass. He said you were a blacksmith… how the hell could he miss a genuine Faker?"
The girl's dilating eyes told him everything he needed to know.
Unfortunately for him, he should have kept moving instead of declaring his revelation.
Because he had been distracted with his fresh and borderline lethal wound, he had missed the ground beneath him shift just a tiny moment before what seemed like a storm of buzzing black clouds shot up from below, blinding his eyes and ears to the world before virtually every inch of his skin was clawed onto and bitten in some way, his loose pants doing nearly nothing to prevent them from going up his legs.
"Again?!" He hissed in annoyance as he quickly gathered his power. "Why don't you brats get that this shit doesn't work on me?!"
The more severe pulse not only pulverized the insects, but launched any form of loose debris around him away at bullet like speed. Tenten, being as close as she was, had no other option but to be thrown away like a rag doll by the overwhelming force…
… However there was no need to be upset. She had played her role perfectly.
Among the many diverse insect species out there in the wide world, there were a few genes of ants and termites that had seemed to have naturally evolved to possess a very interesting physical trait. These species had actually managed to develop the ability to enact their own form of suicide chemical bombing via carrying biological damaging secretions in a large section of their body. Whenever an enemy insect or predator got too close, boom.
Naturally, the Aburame had more than a few samples of these genes in their compound, however they were considered too costly for general use. Why sacrifice a good portion of your hive to take out a single target when leeching off of their chakra with fewer casualties worked just as well?
Shino on the other hand, knew potential when he saw it, and his rather unique abilities and adjustments to his clan techniques exemplified this greatly.
So while Tenten's borderline instant kill technique had been foiled, it had on the other hand lured their target to where he had been preparing his trap.
Dozens, more likely hundreds, of genetically altered Kikaichu ruptured all over the man's body, including under his pants and clothes and unleashed their fast acting toxic payload directly onto his skin.
The results were instantaneous.
While the toxin wasn't lethal unless practically jammed down his throat, it was without a doubt effective as his flesh instantly began to fester and boil as it reacted to the compounds they were exposed to.
Hidden in the trees nearby, Shino smirked, his glasses reflecting the dimming light in the sky. "Whoever said this was the same?"
"Ahhh!? Ah! Son of a! Grrg!" The visitor hissed in pain as the first lances of fire like agony lanced up a good portion of his nerves. He instantly could tell that he had somehow fucked up big time, but honestly couldn't really care much about the specifics as he was too distracted by the feeling of being burned almost everywhere.
That feeling has a tendency to do that.
"Fucking NINJAS!" He swore as he without any hesitation ripped off his pants (for those who are curious, he wore boxers), and instantly determined what was causing him so much agony. He could literally see his skin warping and contorting into a fluid like state, complete with boils and the like, each one throbbing with intense severity.
He didn't even bother to notice that Hinata was rapidly closing the gap between them from behind with both her hands glowing with so much chakra that they appeared to be the heads of lions.
With their target injured and crippled, they had a far better shot of taking him down now. They had all noticed that the vast majority of his maneuvers involved his hands in one way or another, so engaging him in close combat was more or less a bad idea until they could lower the playing field.
Unfortunately, engaging him in ranged combat only was also a bad idea considering he was capable of nuking entire sections of the forest single handedly. Given that Shion was nearly blasted by that last attack, it was obviously in their best intentions to prevent him from giving a repeat performance.
He didn't notice her yet. She was pouring her chakra into her legs, but she didn't dare use her Presence and give away her location. True she would be significantly faster if she did, but this opponent was far more powerful than her. She needed a quick decisive blow.
All of their ranged attacks were powerful, but they couldn't do lethal damage to an enemy of this caliber fast enough. While Chouji was just a hair faster than her without using presence, her attacks were far more lethal should they connect, especially against an enemy with as much physical endurance as this one. This was why the Akimichi served the role of the initial distraction to allow Tenten to get into position.
She was in striking distance. Her eyes were active. Her arms were thrusting forward to the man's lungs and heart, making sure that the damage she would deal would also incorporate multiple other lethal targets.
"God damn it!"
She barely had time to register the sudden spike in power before she slammed into a wall of pure energy launched back violently along with virtually everything else nearby. Her mind temporarily blanked out from the pain of being suddenly exposed to so much chakra with her eyes on as she flew through the air in the opposite direction as fast as she had been travelling just moments earlier before she slammed into a tree.
"Guh!?" She spat out blood. The shock of the impact had been enough to rupture some of the blood vessels in her lungs despite the fact that she had been running chakra through her entire body.
Grimacing, she looked up and saw something that honestly gave her shivers.
Having not moved from his initial spot, the man was positively glowing with power, enveloped in an aura easily visible to the naked eye. Given that the only individuals that she knew of that could pull off such a feat were either jinchuriki or people with enough chakra to rival the Biju, she was fairly certain that the odds of their victory had taken a tremendous nosedive…
"Human."A savage voice rumbled through her skull. "Do not tell me that you are having this much trouble with that pretender Moryo. As weak as you lot are, I do have some expectations…"
"K-Kyubi-sama?" Hinata couldn't hide her surprise as she looked down at the still sleeping fox between her breasts. "How…?"
"Humph. The fool is unknowingly using you, and as such your chakra, as a stabilizing crutch while he rests. Even you should be able to feel his power meshing with yours. Speaking to you in this state is child's play."
Hinata attempted to stand, but ended up collapsing and coughing out more blood to clear out her lungs. Apparently she had taken more damage than she had originally though. Unfortunately due to the noise she had made, she had gained the attention of the one who had harmed her. "There's a problem. We are fighting an unknown Presence user and it is likely that his friends are coming as we speak. Even without using all of his power we are barely putting up a fight against him. He's trying to kill us so that we don't tell anyone about his group."
The man turned to her direction, his face full of irritation and frustration.
"… An outsider managed to slip in after all… huh?" The fox's tone was unreadable.
The man raised his right arm and pointed his palm at her, already glowing brighter than the rest of his body.
"HINATA!" The voices of her friends shouted from multiple locations in a clear panic.
The world went white as a tremendous beam of power that dwarfed the one made earlier was fired at the downed Hyuuga. None of the girl's senses functioned as they were all overwhelmed by the conflux that came her way.
For a good while she had even expected to be dead, as nothing came to mind on hand that would be able to protect her from such an attack. However, slowly but surely her senses cleared up and enabled her to take in the world once again.
The area in front of her was completely ravaged. Not a single tree or stone was left unturned or thrashed in the warped crater that she sat at the edge of. Had she not been so stunned, she may have been concerned about the welfare of her friends and if they were unfortunately caught up in the chaos.
The reason why the crater was of a peculiar shape was due to her attacker. Where most explosions would have been a single hole in the ground, or resulted in a trough if the technique was linear, the damage in front of her split to either side of the man who had once more crossed his arms in front of him, a position used to protect himself.
The reason why he was defending himself was sitting in front of her like a red dog twice the size of Kuromaru, with three tails swaying behind him, only barely betraying its owner's anxiousness. Hinata barely had any time to notice that despite the existence of the creature in front of her, Naruto was still in her care.
"I suppose it has been some time since I stretched my tails without any unwanted interference…" The nine tailed fox mused casually as its eyes met those of his new opponent… no, his new toy.
The world turned heavy.
Suddenly everyone there was not looking at a peculiar looking three tailed fox. Instead, everyone there was looking up at the image of the great Kyubi no Kitsune in his full glory.
It was almost like a bad joke.
The Fox's Presence… was himself.
o. o. o.
The village was in an uproar.
It had started off as a fairly normal day. The markets bustled with activity fueled by the merchants that were allowed into their home. The light from the sun shone into the protected village from above and reflected off of the ever present water drops caused by the humidity to give it an otherworldly image. The sacred tree, which many claimed to be something even Hashirama Senju himself respected, towered over the bulk of their home like a silent guardian…
The village had been doing well the past few years. After they assisted Konoha in the failed invasion, they had received a great influx of missions from the local area. True they had indirectly lost custody of their jinchuriki in the process, however it had been over a decade since anyone bothered to wage a significant attack on their fortress like home, and the girl seemed to be generating more revenue for them in Konoha than she ever did here.
Not many in the village thought much about Fuu. So long as she did her job, stayed away from them, and didn't embarrass the village she could stay in Konoha for all they cared.
All things considered, the feelings were mutual from Fuu's side as well.
Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation… er… wrong story.
All things considered, there was little anyone could have done to notice, prepare, or prevent what happened that evening.
Forty individuals gathered together in the town hall as they did every month. They were the village's elders and leaders. Each responsible for an important facet of where they lived. Be it related to shinobi training, shinobi management, shinobi inventory stockpiles, food management, civilian peace keeping, financial management, diplomatic relations, territory security, etc, etc.
Due to being a smaller village with a significant military, every faction depended on one another heavily in some manner. While in practice this allowed the village to perform more efficiently than most other villages, Major ones included, it also unfortunately paved the way for a rather high level of corruption. Favors were interchanged daily, and positions were so influenced by one another that it wasn't surprising that the majority of those that held them held less than pleasant personalities.
Granted due to the village not being a significant force, everyone made an effort to put at least someone competent into each position, but it still didn't change the fact that four out of every five individuals with power here were assholes that spent more time looking after themselves than doing their jobs.
The meeting began at two, and would extend for an undetermined amount of time. Sometimes they were rather short, others had extended well into the night. Only a handful of individuals had permission to enter the conference room once the meeting had started so that they were not interrupted save for the direst of circumstances.
It was around seven that one of these said individuals, the head secretary of the building, entered the room to see if those inside were planning on ordering anything for dinner.
She instead opened the door to find nothing short of a massacre.
Every individual that had entered the room that day, be it shinobi or civilian had been utterly torn apart like some sort of ragdoll in the jaws of an animal. Limbs, organs, and other mangled body parts were tossed left and right without any sense of care or organization, causing the blood that pooled from them to virtually cake the entire wooden floor. Later it would be discovered that not all of their body parts were even left in the room.
As if to add insult to injury, there had not been a single sign that there had been a fight or a struggle. It was almost as if all the victims had simply allowed their aggressor to do whatever he wished to their bodies.
Needless to say. She screamed very loudly. You know, trademark horror movie style.
So, given that shinobi are natural gossips and it was a physically small village, word got around fast. Due to the secluded and overly suspicious nature of the village in general there was little worry that word would get out into the world any time soon, however the issue was none the less there.
As it now stood, Takigakure was in deep shit with its core individuals that kept things together and knew of the village's top secrets were wiped out. It would take years for any set of replacements to get used to working anywhere near as efficiently as their predecessors. And as a result, the village would no doubt suffer.
What was kept a secret from all but those that took charge of the village once martial law was understandably put in place was the message written in blood on the ceiling of the room.
"Your village will fall. We are coming."
Between the message and the gruesome murders that happened in the middle of the village's most secure area, there was little doubt that many of those that had taken control of the village were unnerved. They had been hit where it hurt. They were clearly being threatened by an unknown force that knew their defenses, how to get into the village, and was at the very least powerful and connected enough to pull off killing forty people in a secure location without anyone knowing the better for hours.
So they panicked.
Just as planned.
o. o. o.
A professional pervert's guide to Harems: Part 1: It's not sexist if it's true… you sexist pig.
Ghost walks into the conveniently located classroom stands in front of a podium with a remote control and several binders. In front of him, the entire cast of YAWALEH and TTRT are sitting with pens and papers ready.
"Wait." Kiba looked around curiously. "How the hell did we get here?"
WHAM! A piece of chalk exploded off of his forehead.
"Raise your hands if you have any questions." The "teacher" stated professionally, as if he didn't just give the Inuzuka a concussion. "Students, my name is Ghost Oogakari and I will be teaching you about the intricacies and mechanics of Harems. Assisting me are Anko Mitarashi and Hana Inuzuka."
"If you ask us to give you any live demonstrations, we are obligated to harm you most grievously Ghost." Hana deadpanned.
"Noted." The immortal yawned blandly before shuffling his notes… which were in reality just blank pieces of paper there to make him seem prepared. "Now then, while questions are good, I will not be taking any comments on the subject that go against what I say in class."
He turned to the screen, looking directly at the reader. "That includes those from people who live in societies that have a divorce rate hovering around fifty percent."
"Who is he talking to?" Omoi whispered to Karui.
"Fuck should I know?"
"Now then, to all of you, what defines a harem?" Ghost addressed his class.
Sakura raised her hand. "A harem is a marriage that incorporates more than just one individual of both sexes. Most frequently it consists of one male and multiple females."
Ghost nodded. "That is only partially correct." He clicked on his remote to turn on his projector, revealing a slew of pictures showing a multitude of "harems", only several consisted of only one female and multiple males, groups of only one gender, and groups of both genders. "Harems have multiple requirements before they qualify as a "harem" and not simply an "orgy with a hive mind". It is easy to recognize harems with one member of one gender and multiple of the other simply because they are both the most frequent and the most likely to not fall apart. For groups of the latter variety, which we will go into detail later in the "power really is an extremely important factor, you blind socialist idiot" section, it is critical to recognize that there are "alpha" members for the rest to gravitate towards. So, can someone please tell me what form of harem tends to form, and work the easiest and why?"
Tsunade yawned as she raised her hand. "One male and multiple females obviously. As for why? It's obviously because men can't have babies."
"A perfect, if not short answer." Ghost nodded as the projector revealed a picture of a baby. "Humans, like it or not, are still flesh and blood animals. We just happen to think and screw things up more. The desire to procreate is hardwired into us, and as such we wish for our spawn to, if not be plentiful, be strong to take on the world. To increase those odds, you want at least one strong parental figure's DNA in the mix."
The projector changed to reveal a one man multiple women harem.
"For the stereotypical harem, there is little issue with this fact. The male, frequently strong or powerful in some way, screws the brains out of his lovely ladies, they get preggers, out comes the baby, and everyone starts arguing about how the hell to take care of the little hellspawn."
"How elegantly put." Mei Terumi deadpanned, speaking the minds of virtually everyone there.
The projector then briefly changed to an image of Ino when she went absolutely insane during the chunin exams before revealing a one girl multiple guy harem.
Very few missed the connection.
"Oh come on!"
The Yamanaka joined Kiba in the land of delirium thanks to hyperspeed chalk airlines. First class.
"RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY DAMN IT!"
"You totally set that up." Hana leered at her boyfriend.
"Hey after all the shit her acting out caused us back then, I'm more surprised that it took this long for him to get back at her." Anko shrugged, not at all bothered by her apprentices' treatment.
"Now with the inverted situation, issues obviously occur. Because there is only ONE female there, that means only one baby is born each time, meaning only ONE of the men will have a child at any given time. However that also means that for a good six to seven months for EACH husband, unless said husband doesn't want a kid in the first place, no sex… for ANYONE." There was a brief pause. "… Well, that is unless of course the husbands were cheating, or they were bisexual, or the wife is fine with the husbands having a little fun on the side and won't hold it against them, or anything along those lines, but yeah you get the idea."
Those that didn't piece together this bit of information shivered a bit. For the women, it was the idea of having to pump out at least one kid for each guy they thought of possibly adding to their fantasy harem. For the guys, the idea of being faithful but having long periods of no sex was indeed a haunting image to employ.
"So, needless to say that these harems don't have a high frequency of success." The immortal shrugged. "That isn't to say that they CAN'T work. Any and every form of harem we will discuss about in class can and have existed. The purpose of the class is to show to you why and how they managed exist, in addition to the problems they must overcome to do so. For example…" The projector revealed harems of only one gender.
"Single gender harems overcome the baby issue via multiple means. Either they don't have kids period, or they approach things in a different way. Adoption. Trusted volunteers of the required sex. Orochimaru level genetic experimentation. Etc. Etc."
"What about harems with multiple individuals of both sexes?" Tenten raised her hand.
"Again. It depends on how many members of both sexes there are, and who is at the head of a harem."
"Does there really need to be a head of the harem?" Shikamaru sighed with his hand barely raised before pausing at the look Temari was giving him. "What? I'm just asking."
"Yes. However that does not mean that the "head" of the harem can be only one person." Ghost elaborated. "There in fact can be a couple, or more, that act as the leaders for the others, however a good deal of complications can arise if there is more than a core couple in the case of severe conflicting interests, so it very rarely happens. In rare cases though, it may be that the "mind" of the harem is actually the harem itself, and the "core" may be an individual that they all have something invested in enough of in order for the harem to form in the first place.
"How would these silly things form anyways?" Ayame frowned, not knowing why she was even here. "How could anyone accept being in such a situation? Shouldn't people just marry for love and then be happy with that?"
"Love is indeed a big factor." Ghost nodded. "However if you marry just for love… I pity your silly and simple mind, body, and soul before placing bets on how long your matchup will last."
As expected, many of the romantics in the room did not appreciate this comment.
"Hana. Anko." The immortal turned to his own mini harem. "Please describe me to the class."
"… No really. Tell them how you feel." Ghost's dry tone didn't match the fact that he was crying against the wall at the moment. His two lovers didn't skip a beat with their execution of his dignity.
Tsume, obviously, enjoyed it greatly.
The two females looked at one another with amusement before relenting.
"And a great fuck." The pair finished off with satisfied smirks on their faces.
"Damn right I am." The immortal was back at the podium as if he wasn't wallowing in sorrow just moments earlier. "Now this really goes for normal marriages, but when you get hitched, you have to take into account your partner's flaws, because you will be stuck with them too when you are together. It's amazing how many people forget that no one is perfect. Don't ignore it when you are blinded by love, because that is what fucks most people over. Instead you need to plan to address or work around it with said partner before you make that last leap.
"In the situation between Anko, Hana, and I, we have already discussed this in great length, but only after spending a long enough time with one another to determine that it is possible and it can work between us. Love was a factor, but we took into account all of our strengths and weaknesses when making a big decision like this. We all have faults in one way or another, and likewise we have managed to reason out and adapt to most of them, while understanding that we will tolerate the rest. Just like in a normal marriage."
"Except for the fact that you never do anything normally." Anko snarked. "That includes marriage."
"You don't sound disappointed." The accused shot back, not denying her statement at all.
"I'm not. Just making an observation."
"Ok. Just checking."
"And now you see one of the things that I have to make up for." Hana wept, clearly lamenting the fact that she was the most stable out of her romantic pile of C4.
Ghost cleared his throat. "The thing with true committed harems is simply this: the more people you have, the more problems there are in the concoction. This is one, but not the only, reason why most harems are increasingly more difficult to maintain the larger they get. Granted the issue becomes less pronounced in power dominated one sided harems where the head pretty much rules over everyone else with an iron fist, but that is also a subject we will discuss on a later date.
"Other major factors include, but are not limited to: Financial situation, Surrounding Society, Family History, Individual History, Medical History, Asset Management, Personal Boundaries, Personal Standards, Living Standards, and of course, Miscellaneous."
"Time's up." Ghost nodded at the bell before teleporting behind Anko and Hana with his arms around their waists. "Now if you will excuse us, I have a mighty need to have rampant sex with these two as I have STILL have yet to meet up with them in the actual story. MY LIBITO WILL NOT BE DENIED!"
Everyone stared at the spot the three disappeared for several seconds before Kushina stood up. "Anybody else hungry?"
"Can dead people even get hungry?"
"I don't know. Can you get full eating my fist?"
"… So who's up for lunch?"
o. o. o.
Being sick sucks.
Sorry for this taking longer than normal, but I kinda lost motivation to write for a while after the comp ate up nearly everything I had done earlier when I first started this chapter again.
As for the Naruto Manga, I am calling shenanigans with Hinata's byakugan at some point, and that the byakugan got passed down through the sage's brother mentioned in the story.
So, I've gotten this out of my system. Gonna work on FFD next since I stopped at a major point. Really gotta stop doing that.
Lots of mixed reactions on the last chapter with Shion and people complaining about Naruto's Harem.
Well guess what? I warned you at the BEGINNING OF YAWALEH THAT THIS HAD A GOOD SHOT OF HAPPENING! So the more you complain about it… well the rest is self-explanatory really.
On other news, No Game No Life has officially won me over as best anime of 2014 until the next FSN anime comes out. Beautiful animation. Great characters. And fucking hilarious.
Oh yeah. Please check out the new fanart I got recently, one the third fang group deviantart page. its full of win! on a side note, we need more fanart of the naruto characters!
Also please update the tv tropes page in general again! it needs lovin!
I'm finishing this late so I can't really think up of anything else to say.
SO REVIEW! WORSHIP THE LOG! BEWARE THE WRATH OF SHADOW'S VAGINA FOR IT STALKS THE NIGHT LIKE A FEMALE BATMAN ON HER PERIOD! AND REVIEW AGAIN!