Chapter Seven: Awesome, epic and finally plot
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.
(Play Courtesy Call by Thousand Foot Crutch)
Here comes a danger up in this club
When we get started man we ain't gonna stop
We gonna turn it out till it gets too hot…)
Naruto was floating in the air a small distance away from Zabuza and Haku with an eyebrow cocked. His opponents were blasting out their Presences to such high degrees that it was actually affecting the surroundings.
Haku was freezing the ocean dozens of meters in every direction just by standing where she was. Had it been a normal fight between your standard shinobi, the area frozen would have by itself been more than suitable and large enough to stage a battle. No actual effort was put into the action. The ocean merely froze because the water was cold, and it was cold because Haku was simply there. There was no jutsu needed for such a thing to come to pass.
Her tail of the northern dragon was still enacted on her right arm and no one doubted that would impair her abilities in the slightest. Given what was at stake, Naruto was fairly sure that the girl was capable of using all of her jutsu with her other hand with ease now. If anything he was somewhat relieved in that with one hand occupied she wouldn't be able to somehow spam two different techniques at once like he had suggested years ago… but then again he had no assurances that her hand in the ice was truly preoccupied. It would be something that he would have tried to do at some point after all…
Either way, he didn't miss the fact that the ice platform made beneath them was conveniently segmented into rectangular panels…
Zabuza looked like he could now deal as much damage as the monstrosity that was heralded as. In fact the ice below the man cracked underneath his feet without even moving, as if his weight was not of the human there, but of the hundred foot tall colossus he seemed to represent. The man was not simply the demon of the hidden mist, but THE demon of THE hidden mist. His title was no longer a set of simple words, but something that held greater significant meaning and weight than most mortals would ever be able to comprehend… but reality itself would acknowledge perfectly.
(Everybody singin, heeeeeeeeey-yo,
Tell'em turn it up till they can't no more.)
It had been so long since he had been in a good fight against someone of his level instead of the freaks of reality that constantly played around with him just so he could get used to their way of doing things. To do so against these two, the first real challenges that he had ever gone up against in his life made him feel a bit nostalgic.
True Kakashi did most of the work during the first time around, but to the man it was just another life or death experience. It meant so much more to Naruto in so many ways that he couldn't help but chuckle at the way things turned out.
He relaxed his body and flexed his fingers. He wouldn't be able to hold back now. The witty banter could wait for once.
(Let's get this thing shakin like a disco ball)
In a way it was only fitting that the ones to test him first when he got back were these two…
(…This is your last warning, a courtesy call…)
So it was only proper to test them in turn to see if they were ready for the future as well…
The very sky itself rumbled as he took control and established his dominance.
Despite the near cloudless air above them, the sun clearly visible for all to see, and the gentle sea breeze caressing their skin, those present could swear that they were in the middle of a storm of which they had never experienced the like of.
The air was oppressive. It was difficult to move without the gas that made up the atmosphere retaliating in some antagonistic way. It was not overwhelming, far from it, but enough for a person to tell that there was significant resistance. The very existence of the sky itself seemed to be magnified a hundred fold to the feeble beings that were trapped on the ground, and even the ocean responded as its surface in the distance flattened to give it the false appearance of glass.
And worst of all… it was all alive.
(Here comes a danger up in this club!
When we get started man we ain't gonna stop.
We gonna turn it out till it gets too hot.)
The moment he claimed his territory he could tell that Zabuza and Haku were caught slightly off guard. They had expected him to be strong for sure, but he was fairly certain that there was not a single person on the planet outside of the Oogakari that had managed to gain such a massive Presence. It was a representation of not only the fighter's will, but their control, power, and nature as well.
It was almost satisfying in a way. Naruto's display of power had confirmed what they had suspected yet had never been able to confirm.
Naruto had returned from his three years of training as the very thing everyone had defined all the members of Akatsuki as, what everyone had secretly been expecting him to become but never said out loud…
He was a god damn monster now.
(Everybody singin, HEEEEEEEEEEY-YO!)
Fortunately for Haku, Zabuza, and virtually everyone that was in the know, they had been training to take down monsters just like this. Naruto could tell they were thinking it too given the way they were smiling hungrily at him.
This fight was as much a test for them as it was for him. They would see if he was strong enough to hold his own. He would see if they were strong enough to take down monsters like himself.
(Tell'em turn it up till they can't no more!
Let's get this thing shakin like a disco ball.
This is your last warning, a courtesy call.)
On some invisible signal that only the three of them could see, they all vanished at speeds that only the strongest shinobi would be able to follow.
(I am not afraid of the storm that comes my way.)
Multiple chips and cracks were made in the ice as Zabuza and Naruto phased in and out of existence in mid air with their respective blades clashed and wove through the air against one another, only to disappear once more a moment later and show up a small distance away. The shockwaves created from the wind and water blades colliding being the main source of the damage, though on occasion Zabuza's hard landings and movements contributed as well.
The fact that the elder male was fighting on flat ice did nothing to hamper his movements in the slightest. He had spent too many years with the ice user to let such a simple thing impair his abilities.
Had Haku made the ice through her chakra, it would have no doubt been able to resist such impacts; however there was no need, nor reason to do so. She had enough surfaces to work from to make it more than pointless to do so, and her presence within virtually all the mirrors was enough to cause any damage they sustained to repair themselves within a short amount of time.
In the lull between clashes, if one's eyes were sharp enough, they would also be able to spy the glint of senbon shooting out from the ground itself like rain in the opposite direction. No doubt it was the results of Haku attempting to peg or redirect Naruto's movements and keep him from resting.
It just goes to show how fast Naruto was moving if even she was unable to hit him while utilizing her ability to virtually be and attack anywhere on the battlefield at once. Granted he was flying and utilizing his air control to divert her attacks, however the feat was still something to note.
(When it hits it shakes me to the core
and makes me stronger than before.)
Zabuza stopped as he held his sword above him, blocking Naruto's heavy two handed chakra blade from above, causing a shock that was enough to crack the ice for a few meters in every direction. Even though he had managed to stop the main attack, a feat in itself given that Naruto's chakra blades were known to easily cut through metal, the unrelenting winds that were kicked up by the blonde's weapon slashed down upon his body.
Had he not been using his presence, the Demon of the Hidden Mist would probably have been slightly worried that he might bleed out eventually from constantly receiving the minor blows, however that was not the case. Instead he only received a dozen or so minor scratches that barely wept.
Still, it pissed him off that his opponent got first blood and decided to correct that fact. With a savage grunt, his water encased blade retaliated with greater force than what it had received and blasted the teen back with surprising ease.
Naruto may have had more power than his opponents, but Zabuza was by far stronger.
Not stopping there, the water on the blade reached out in the shape of a slash and pushed back the surprised target even further into the air for a dozen or so meters before the chakra keeping the condensed water ruptured and exploded.
He then danced around almost casually to get around the hundred or so falling mini wind bullets that fell like rain. Somehow the little nut had managed to fire off the things into the sky when they had been clashing just a few seconds earlier despite Haku's interference. They weren't doing much and didn't last long, but it was enough to prevent him from pressing the attack in time.
(It's not a question about trust
but will you stand with us?)
It was clear that Naruto was up to something after the expanding mist dissipated and not a blonde hair was seen of the target. Given how the entire fighting area was nothing but a flat plane of ice and the sky above, leaving him nowhere to hide…
Well if he was normal he wouldn't be able to.
Despite what Zabuza claimed about completely mastering silent killing to the point that all he needed was to hear his opponents to find out where they were in his mist, there was actually another reason why he was very damn good at finding hidden opponents. It was a secret that only Haku knew about, and one that had saved his ass on more than one occasion when up against shinobi of significant skill, sensory, and stealth abilities…
Those who had mastered Kubikirihochou could sense bodies of blood that moved near them.
Not by heat. Not by breathing. Not by hearing, scent, sight or even chakra. It was simply by being something that possessed blood was enough to point you out to a wielder of the weapon that stole the life force of its victims to keep itself in pristine condition…
So Zabuza guessed that Naruto was surprised as hell when he blocked an attack from behind while the latter was hidden in that odd cloaking technique from before. After all the kid didn't make any sound while flying, his chakra use was masked by his presence, and even if the man had bothered to use his mist the teen had more than proved that he could get around blindfolded.
The clash of the blades and the residual chakra they gave off seemed to be enough to disrupt the teen's technique and blow it away. Naruto, now visible, seemed to be more interested and confused than surprised that he had been detected at all, especially by Zabuza who by all means shouldn't have.
On a side note, the swordsman noted that Naruto had sustained damage from his previous attack, evident by the small trail of blood trailing down his forehead. It didn't mean much given his regenerative abilities, but it was satisfying that he had managed to get a solid blow in earlier.
Once more Zabuza's arms flexed in raw power before slashing away his target and once more he was driven back by another concentrated wave of water…
However before it exploded this time, and thankfully Zabuza ran forward to attempt to press the attack, the wave was split in half and diverted away from the target and set off harmlessly in the distance.
It was then that the swordsman and the ice user that the blades on Naruto's arms had changed. Before, while they had certainly appeared solid and powerful, they had still had an ethereal, gassy, and well… chakra like appearance…
Now though, the blades attached to him were without a doubt solid appearing in every sense of the word. Their design was the same, but the material that comprised of them was not only tangible looking, but it also seemed to thrum in every sense of the word. Even from a distance Zabuza could practically feel how strong they were.
(Can you feel it, make it real.)
"Level two…" Naruto muttered under his breath.
During his free time experimenting with elemental techniques, he did try to replicate Gaara's sand techniques by combining wind and earth elements.
It didn't work.
However that didn't mean that he didn't get anything out of it. The experimenting gave him a better mastery of his earth element manipulation and certain aspect branches of it.
Much like how wind elements can affect the sharpness of objects, pressure, and the flow of attacks like water users, earth elements can affect density, hardness, structure, shape, stability, and similar aspects.
So, after some playing around with combining "density", "pressure", and his horrific capacity of chakra, Naruto had created something that would, of course, cause much potential mass destruction if applied in the right way… or wrong way…
… Or just… used.
Kushina's chakra chains were solid because her high levels of chakra were enough that they could be solid.
Naruto's chakra technique on the other hand, hyper condensed his chakra to the point that anything he made with them was solid.
And when that much chakra got that focused in a single spot… shit happened.
I think it might wash away tonight.
Awakened from this never ending faaaaaall.)
Zabuza and Haku managed to piece together that last fact as Naruto slashed out his rearmed limbs with an animalistic grin and unleashed a monsoon not unlike Temari's bigger fan backed attacks.
The earth bound pair merely hesitated for a second before they moved at once.
Two fingers were all Zabuza needed to unleash an ungodly amount of mist in every direction from his sword, hovering above all of the ice in a thick haze that hid everything in it. Under most circumstances, this would then be followed by him sneaking around and then mercilessly hacking apart whoever he was gunning for, however this tactic would not work in the first place against this opponent, nor was it its current purpose this time…
A ridged icicle with the scales popped out and needles sticking from under each one rose from each and every panel underneath the mist, not that anyone could see them. Just as quickly as the spires stuck out of the floor, they all unleashed their senbon to the sky at the rapidly oncoming storm of wind and blades.
Normally, the needles, as strong and fired off as powerful as they are, would still be trashed upon contact with the greater force. They were needles. They were only so heavy and could only have so much force behind them…
But before the two wide scale attacks met, the needles, made of ice, and cold enough to freeze almost anything on contact, met with the mist that Zabuza produced…
By the time the "needles" exited what was left of the mist, the water that made up the latter had been frozen and stuck to the former, transforming each and every one of them into sizeable icicles that were still moving at near terminal velocity.
(It takes more than meets the eye
This war we're fighting is not just rotting.)
The descending monsoon and the rising avalanche of ice raced towards one another like two unstoppable forces of nature…
So it was obvious that the resulting collision would be something to behold…
Shattered ice stronger than steel and stray gusts of wind sharper than the finest swords blasted everywhere, however the most noticeable thing at that moment was without a doubt the indescribable sound of the attacks meeting. The best way to describe it to a civilian would be an aggressive landslide hammering crushing uncountable planes of glass, shattering countless numbers of crystal structures that were strong enough to hold back the oncoming storm…
However the chaos above was completely ignored as Naruto charged through the chaos without a second thought like a blonde, orange, and black bladed meteor.
(Here comes a danger up in this club!
When we get started man we ain't gonna stop!
We gonna turn it out till it gets too hot.)
Zabuza couldn't help but smirk with just as much ferocity as his opponent as he doubled the amount of water that encased his weapon and met him blade for blade. Even so, it wasn't hard for him to notice the wind blade slicing through the water covering on his own weapon and cut a good few inches into the metal before stopping.
The resulting shockwave created was the largest one yet as the ice beneath them absolutely shattered. Had it not been for Haku's constant presence keeping the ice together and expanding the body of it in every direction even now, the odds of parts of their battleground already breaking off would have been near certain instead of merely gaining its fractured appearance that even moments later began to correct itself.
By this point Zabuza guessed the ice they were fighting on was a good kilometer in every direction including down, half at the very least.
Their clash however didn't stop there as the weapons met dozens of more times. The warriors of water and wind slashing at one another without hesitation while weaving in and out of the other's constantly changing attack range…
So engrossed were they in their match that they didn't bother to notice the dozens of clones that shot down from the sky, each with a fairly large rasengan beneath them to prevent any needles from shooting up and dispelling them... and of course a few more falling missiles of condensed air so thick that they were clearly visible to the naked eye as well to keep the chaos going.
From their perspective, the clones could almost smirk as they saw the almost countless reflections of Haku grimacing as she realized what was about to happen.
(Everybody singin, Heeeeeeeey-yo!
Tell'em turn it up till they can't no more!)
Like meteors the giant balls collided onto the ice with a massive explosion each, rocking the platform violently yet still somehow still remain intact. Just more evidence of how strong Haku's powers were if even those massive attacks couldn't break the platform all the way.
It didn't do much to distract the original and their target from trying hack one another to pieces in the middle of what a person could consider a warzone, however it did force them to move around a bit to adjust to the changes, dodging and jumping off of flying debris in order to gain the upper hand.
Whereas Naruto dashed in order to maneuver in the air, Zabuza merely had to shoot out a small burst of water from his blade in order to yield similar results. It wasn't as clean or as fluent as Naruto's method, but it was more than enough to prevent the blonde from getting an easy shot in.
(Let's get this thing shakin like a disco ball
This is your last warning, a courtesy call.)
Regardless, the massive attacks did their job of allowing the clones to get onto the platform safely and able to attack Zabuza from multiple angles, which they couldn't do as well from the air. Indeed before the dust cleared the copies were already forming seals and gathering their chakra and unleashed their tremendous payloads.
With Naruto's seventh sense and Zabuza's focus on him, the attacks would have at the very least caused some considerate damage to the otherwise unstoppable juggernaut…
… But the juggernaut was not alone.
As trashed as the platform was, there were still more than enough ice mirrors intact beneath everyone's feet, and they more than made themselves known as dozens of them flipped up like they were on hinges in front of the attacks. Not a single jutsu got even close to the blade wielders.
(There's a rumble in the floor,
So get prepared for war.)
When the residual debris of ice and water cleared, the clones were met with the haunting sight of no progress and Haku's image smiling serenely, the mirrors that hosted their images more or less intact save for a few cracks that were clearly not enough to disrupt her technique.
What the clones were more worried about was the fact that each image had her tail of the northern dragon pointing in their direction…
And unlike her earlier uses, each tip was glowing with a faint blue light.
All of the clones paled considerably as they logically figured out what was going to happen next. "Oh shi-"
(When it hits it'll knock you to the ground
When it shakes up everything around.)
A needle thin beam of ice blue light shot out from each mirror and nailed each clone in the chest, instantly flash freezing every successful hit and encasing them in a small glacier of ice.
(But survival is a must
So will you stand with us.)
"Fucking lasers." Naruto groaned as the memories of his clones meshed with his while he wove in between Zabuza's strikes. The attacks were strong enough that even a glancing blow could tear apart or off a good part of his body. It took a good amount of effort to deal with the shocks of deflecting the man's slashes. Straight up blocking had long since proved itself to not be an option. "Of course someone would get them when I was gone… and then use them on me."
(Can you feel it, make it real.)
"Well then, don't let me stop the fun." Zabuza smirked with a look in his eyes that promised much pain and amusement.
Without warning after his latest slash, a massive pulse of mist erupted from his blade with such high density that even Naruto was temporarily blinded by its effects.
Even though the airborne water was dispersed less than a second later, it was more than enough time for the swordsman to put some distance between the two…
And reveal that Haku had raised a good number of her mirror panels at all angles, all sporting a very familiar small blue light…
She could of at least not looked so damn pleased with the setup.
(Make me feel it.)
Naruto took the dramatic moment of silence to cry in self pity. "… Not again."
I think it might wash away tonight.)
Dozens of blue beams of light assaulted him from every direction, forcing the jinchuriki to move and contort his body in ways that would seem impossible to his past self. Even if he managed to avoid the blindly fast beams, they had been close enough that parts of his skin got frostbite and bits of his clothes became unnaturally stiff.
"Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn!" Naruto danced through the constant barrage of blue lights.
Thankfully they were not literally as fast as the speed of light like many of the other lasers that were pointed at him over the years, nor did they do humiliating things to him like change his gender, give him extra body parts, or turn his clothes into a sailor girl uniform with an unnaturally short skirt, but still they moved fast enough to frustrate him greatly.
He would have to…
Pop. The clone he had hidden with his stealth techniques for an emergency replacement had just been found and killed by Zabuza and a well aimed water blast.
(Awaken from this never ending fall
It takes more than meets the eye.)
Whenever he managed to get out of the view of one mirror, another one would pop up somewhere else and start firing at him from a new angle. It made keeping track of where his safe spots nearly impossible. He could slash apart the mirrors with his enhanced arm blades just fine, however there would always be another one to pop up less than a second later to take its place.
Flying up was pointless at the moment as trying to adjust the new angles that the beams would strike at him from while moving would cause him to slip up, and he didn't want to fall covered in ice from that height. At least this way the mirrors could get in the way of one another and reduce the number of attacks coming at a time.
The readjusting also proved that Haku was limited in the number of mirrors that could fire these things off unlike the senbon.
At the very least, she couldn't-
Naruto had to make a last second twist that he was fairly certain pulled something in his back as a light rebounded off of one of the other mirrors and nearly blindsided him.
Nope. Looks like she could reflect them off of her mirrors after all… well fuck.
(This war we're fighting is not just rotting.)
Naruto grimaced as he focused on weaving in and out of the ice beams, knowing that while it was a pain in the ass, it would not last.
As skilled and powerful as Haku was, she did not have outstanding chakra levels. Even three years of intense training and physically growing up would not be able to give her the capacity of front line fighters such as himself or Zabuza. She simply would not be able to keep up such an assault for long…
… Which meant that this was probably an elaborate distraction to prevent him from keeping an eye out for the real trap…
Just as the jinchuriki managed to piece together that he was about to get screwed, he managed to feel the large wave of water in the distance.
Apparently Zabuza had lost his patience with the show and decided to jump in again with some jutsu while he was distracted. Also he and Haku were well aware of the fact that large scale water attacks would do jack shit to Haku when she was inside her mirrors… cheap bastards.
Using Zabuza's mist to enhance Haku's ice attacks with minimal chakra usage. Using Haku's mirrors to pin down the target while rendering her immune to Zabuza's wide scale techniques. If there were any doubts that the pair couldn't work together before, they were gone now.
(Here comes the danger up in this club
When we get started and we ain't gonna stop.
We gonna turn it out till it gets too hot.)
In a last ditch attempt to save himself, Naruto flared his chakra and presence to create a massive shockwave that cracked the ice and mirrors around him. His normal air distortion techniques were enough to at least alter the directions of most ranged moves, but Haku's lasers were an exception, so he had to put an additional effort into avoiding them.
The pulse managed to disrupt the beams a bit and shatter the mirrors around him, but not enough to buy him enough time to escape or destroy enough of the mirrors nearby, and thus the teen was too preoccupied with dodging more white beams of cold death before Zabuza's wave of water swept over him.
The heavy chakra laced fluid was more than enough to prevent him from escaping via dashing, and it was throwing him around hard enough that he had enough trouble getting his bearings as it was.
(Everybody singin, Heeeeeeeeey-yo.)
Before the blonde had even managed to regain his senses as the heavy and violent water current abated, he had realized that he was stuck.
His first breath of fresh air was joined with his body fused with the ice below as the water clinging to him turned solid almost instantly. Stuck in a crouching position, he was unable to make any seals, and even if he made his chakra blades it would still take him time to escape.
(Tell'em turn it up till they can't no more
Let's get this thing shakin like a disco ball.)
Almost on cue he felt Zabuza racing to him with his blade drawn. Whether he was actually going for a killing or a crippling blow was up for debate, but the teen knew it would hurt like hell if it did hit.
At the same time, he felt Haku materialize quickly behind him from another one of her mirrors with senbon in her spare hand. No doubt she would be a bit more merciful and knock him out, but honestly after being out cold for so long Naruto was actually contemplating just getting something important cut off and then using his powers to reattach them later.
He was covered in frost burns, could not move, was unable to make seals, no sage mode, no demon mode, and had two high level opponents that in less than two seconds were about to maim the living shit out of him as an intro for what they would do later…
However the jinchuriki had no intention of giving up just yet…
… And Zabuza and Haku realized that just a hair too late when they noticed his half frozen face was donning that terrifyingly sadistic fanged grin that appeared whenever his brand of chaos descended upon the world.
(This your last warning, a courtesy call.)
It was time to change the battlefield to something a bit more in his favor.
"Sky style… Atlas."
The entire ice platform bent concavely and shattered like glass with a deafening sound with Naruto at the epicenter. The sudden movement of the ice just barely put the blonde below Zabuza's blade as it swung, and sent Haku flying from the backlash of the ice hosting her rupturing so violently. Not a single mirror near Naruto had survived the technique intact and even a good number of the ones further out were rendered useless by the sudden change in dimensions.
But that wasn't nearly all there was to the blonde's technique. The sudden change in the ice's dimension and position forced the water around the platform had shot up to the heavens in reaction to the new and sudden technique. Geysers of chilled water fired through the multiple cracks of the platform as well to outstanding heights powered not by jutsu but by the mere physics that were an aftereffect of what was happening.
And if Zabuza and Haku paid attention, they would have noticed the slight hints that they were still going further down… into the sea. Pushed by the sudden weight of roughly over eight and a half trillion kilograms of air, all the gas in a fifteen kilometer radius, turned dead mass and focused on the platform of ice, the sky curse worked its magic in completely changing the battlefield, yet the illusion of the massive waves created, blocking out their view of everything but the sky prevented them from detecting that they were going below sea level.
Zabuza was first as he nearly instantly figured out that it was taking him far too long to touch solid ice again, even if it had simply sunk down just a bit from a heavy impact.
(Here comes the danger up in this club!
When we get started and we ain't gonna stop!)
Looking around, the swordsman and the ice user couldn't help but slightly shiver as they saw the sky seemingly grow farther away and the ocean walls around them grow taller and start to converge over where they were. Even if Kiri shinobi were adept water users, they were not foolish to claim that they could command the entire ocean like this.
There was no way in hell a normal shinobi would manage to survive if all that water collapsed on them at once.
"Of course. I should have known that he was going to do something stupid and insanely over the top by now…" The swordsman grunted as he continued to fall while gripping his blade tightly and kept his focus on the greater threat below him…
Who was grinning back at him from the still sinking platform and freed from his ice prison. The shock of his latest technique no doubt was enough to break him out…
(We're gonna turn it up till it gets too hot!)
… And making more seals than at any other point in the fight so far.
"Son of a…"
(Everybody singin, HEEEEEEEEEEEEY-YO!)
The world seemed to turn from Zabuza's and Haku's perspective as Naruto's final seal was made.
The unbreaking wall of water that towered and arced over them all contorted around itself, not only moving round them but up even further to the sky as well. As if that wasn't bad enough, the wind around them all began to pick up as well and throw them violently into the funnel where they had once been falling into the sea below.
(Tell'em turn it out till they can't no more!
Let's get this thing shakin like a disco ball.
This your last warning, a courtesy call.)
The wrath of the massive twister was not limited to the water around them though. Along with the fighters, humongous chunks of ice broke off of the platform and followed suit. The parts that encountered the wall of water and wind around them shattered into tiny pieces, unable to handle the punishment that they underwent.
The chunks that didn't fall apart however managed to finally reach equilibrium hundreds of meters in the air and floated like islands of various sizes and shapes.
Landing on a particularly large piece, Zabuza groaned as he attempted to get his bearings. A little above and to the right of him, Haku had managed to gain her own footing as well, and since the ice here was still intact to one degree or another, she could still teleport. Plus the twister's walls carried enough water to give him a solid supply from all angles if he needed to use it…
But it didn't change the fact that they had lost the advantage…
And given the sadistic smile that Naruto was giving them, floating without a care a dozen or so meters above and away from them with his arms crossed, he knew it as well…
Cocky little shit.
o. o. o.
Back on the Island:
"That man…" Mei growled with a twitching eye as she glared at the third and easily largest tsunami that was approaching the beach since the fighting started. She wasn't even bothered by the horrifically large twister in the distance at this point. She had long since passed being pissed off enough to be affected by it.
"Mizukage-sama…" Chojuro whimpered as the wave approached menacingly. It had been made by whatever had caused the commotion just before the twister had been made, but even he could tell that it would be the biggest one so far when it was first made.
"When I get my hands on him…" The woman leader continued on with her not so silent thread while making seals. "And Haku too! What on earth was that girl thinking?!"
"Mizukage-sama!" Ao shouted as he pointed at the wave. Given its size, it would go pretty far inland if it reached the shore.
"Don't you yell at me Ao! You aren't even competent enough to see what is happening!" The woman snapped as she finished the last seal and tapped her foot on the water underneath her. Almost instantly, the naturally occurring wave several dozen meters tall seemed to collapse on itself long before it reached the shore. It would still raise the water level a good bit, but it would not cause nowhere near as much damage as it could have if left alone.
"It's not my fault!" The middleaged man tried to excuse himself. "Uzumaki has so much active chakra in the air that I can't detect anything past it except notable flares for techniques! It's like he's a biju in human skin!"
"I find that insulting." Kurama frowned. "Even that idiot Shukaku is nowhere near as annoying as my container."
"I don't think that was what he was referring to when he made that comparison Kurama-sama." Koyuki laughed nervously.
"Cool." Hikairu looked at the twister in the distance, barely being able to make out the brief flickers and flashes of something no doubt lethal happening roughly halfway up its spout. A few blurs occasionally shot out of the tempest and impacted the ocean near it, causing pillars of water to shoot up from the surface on impact.
"I had heard that he made tornadoes during that incident a few years ago, but I thought that they were just rumors." Michiru was in just as much awe as his son, which was to say that he was acting like he normally did whenever he wasn't trying to impress anyone.
"How much longer do you think this will take?" Amayo nervously looked around. "I fear that our home may be damaged if they continue with this."
"I don't know." Ao frowned. "By all means such use of techniques would exhaust most users, let alone trying to survive against them. For it to still be going could mean anything…" He paused before looking at the water in front of them. "Suigetsu! I know you're there!"
"No need to yell old man I heard you!" An irritated head rose from the seawater, soon accompanied by a torso and arms. "Geez. You knew it was me already. No need to get worked up about it."
"Huh?" Chojuro blinked in confusion. "What are you doing here? I thought you were going to watch the fight."
"I want to watch, but I don't want to get killed." The Hozuki crossed his arms in frustration. "First I nearly get caught up in Haku's ice, which I might add is range is almost double what we thought it was, then I had to make sure I didn't get frozen again when a ton of her needles started flying everywhere. Then when I think it's almost over and the blonde nut is done for, he pulls out this fuck if I know jutsu that hammered that ice island Haku made down underwater and I get swept away with the tide, and THEN he makes that big ass twister that will tear me apart if I get too close, water or not. Yeah. No thanks. I've had enough being a spectator for one day."
"Hm? So Zabuza and Haku were winning then?" Mei rose an eyebrow as another series of explosions erupted outside the twister. She was going to get such a headache trying to manage the fallback from dealing with this event. At least none of the stray techniques were strong enough to make it all the way to the island.
"Sorta." The water user shrugged. "It was pretty even from where I was watching but still leaning in their favor most of the time. Honestly though, that nut was putting up one hell of a fight. I would have been absolutely destroyed in the first minute from the way they were going after one another. Hell I've never even heard of half the techniques they were using in the first place, and I could barely see them. Did you know that Haku could shoot lasers of all things? As if she couldn't kick our asses hard enough as it was!"
Chojuro shook his head in denial, mentally lamenting that the girl who was like his second teacher could be even more terrifying than she already was in his opinion.
"Well from what you said before it shouldn't last much longer." Ao leered at the twister. "You said that Zabuza and Haku almost had him correct? That should mean that this technique should be his final attempt to gain the upper hand…"
Kurama let out a bark of laughter, expressing his thoughts on how absurdly amusing the man's assumption was to him. Ironically enough, it was the people there who weren't shinobi that understood his thoughts the best.
o. o. o.
Back to the fight:
Zabuza and Haku could attest to being placed in many odd and peculiar fighting conditions since meeting the Oogakari. On glaciers. In deserts. On cliffsides. In cities with buildings that were as big as most cliffs. In chemical manufacturing compounds. In robotics facilities.
But this was the first time they could attest to fighting inside a howling tornado… and it was a rather unique experience…
One that Naruto, unfortunately for them, was very familiar with if his moving around the sky around them from all angles was any indication.
Zabuza was predominantly a close range combat user with some powerful mid ranged techniques. The water sucked up by the twister and present in the moving walls around him gave him a good range of moves to use, but he had to sacrifice offense for defense as he was forced to move from platform to platform in order to avoid Naruto's attacks.
Haku on the other hand was a different story. She would have had an easier time in this situation with all the ice floating around, however she had used up a good deal of chakra earlier trying to nail him with her constant barrage of attacks. As such she was now simply biding her time and assisting Zabuza whenever possible while still getting used to the situation.
She could still teleport to the numerous mirrors that were floating about, however she had less control over where they were and where they were pointing to. Also she was use to fighting opponents on single surfaces and stable environments. Naruto's ability to move and approach her in literally any direction was driving her slightly mad to try and fight like she normally would.
Naruto however was in his element and was exacting his revenge on his opponents without any hesitation. With a dozen clones flying about attacking from literally every angle possible with high powered wind techniques at any given time he barely had to do anything but stay back and watch Zabuza and Haku exhaust themselves trying to deal with the situation.
In reality though, it was best if he used his clones to fight. It took up a good deal of focus to keep the twister going in his base state and he wouldn't be able to fight as well doing so. Still he was in a damn good position all things considered.
Where one clone would attack from directly above, another would strike from behind, down and a little to the left, while a third would go for their two o'clock and a little up.
Then again it wasn't as if Zabuza and Haku were helpless either. They were rather quick on the uptake and managed to take down his clones at a fast rate, mostly with jutsu as they were not good enough to physically get close to any of them in these conditions. Zabuza's increased mastery of water techniques in particular was rather tricky as it meant that Naruto and his clones had to take care not to be near the edge of his twister else they get taken out easily.
"Tch." The swordsman grunted as he used his sword to bat away another powerful blast of air before running away from the three clones that were trying to get him from behind. He didn't even care if he didn't know if he was standing upside down or not anymore as he leapt towards a rather large chunk of ice and slashed it in half, splitting it just in time to get through the gap before landing on another chunk of ice he had spotted past it.
The clones charged forward past the debris, only to realize their mistake too late as the reflections of Haku to either side of them speared through all of them with needles at near point blank range.
"Any chance of freezing this entire damn thing?" Zabuza asked, not bothering to thank her on dealing with the clones. Neither of them felt as if the feat was worth noting.
"No." An image of the girl appeared below his feet. Normally her voice wouldn't be heard over the deafening howl of the wind, however the small shard of ice in the wrappings around his face served as a decent enough radio between them. "Even if I was at full I wouldn't be able to. The water in the funnel is moving too much to accomplish. Technically speaking freezing Isobu-sama again would be more reasonable to accomplish than this."
"I would take insult to that comment, however Kurama's container seems to be a cut above your standard human." The Sanbi mused from inside Zabuza. "He certainly has the power to be of note at least."
Several needles shot out from the ground behind Zabuza and drove away another pair of clones before they could finish their seals. Thankfully they were not powerful enough to do sealless techniques and had more openings.
"I would suggest making a spot to stand our ground on, however…" Haku began hesitantly.
"The brat would simply drop it like a rock with a snap of his fingers." The swordsman grunted as the water around his blade extended and he slashed at several clusters of clones approaching from various angles with ease while simultaneously causing a massive arc of water to lash out as well. He managed to take out a good number of the copies before the water hammered into the wall of constantly moving wind and water, broke through, and then continued on harmlessly into the outside world.
"We can't keep this up." The Snow Woman grimaced as she struck out at some clones that were attacking from below. Unfortunately it wasn't enough and the blonde copies managed to get close enough to use a blast of wind to hammer their platform into the sky.
Neither had stayed on however and had already shunshined or teleported to another landing nearby. Haku's image held up two fingers almost as soon as it appeared, making several glowing seals to appear on the flying ice chunk.
Much to the blonde's surprise, the temporary battleground exploded into spears of the freezing element that fired off in virtually every direction so fast that the air was pushed out of their way. The sneak attack managed to take out a clear majority of the clones there, however both water users knew it would not be enough to get them out of their situation.
"Shame it didn't work." The swordsman grunted as the ice he was on rotated so that the spears merely impacted the part below him courtesy of his partner, his unspoken compliment clearly heard to all that knew him well. It didn't matter if they were upside down or not. Fighting in the tornado rendered facts regarding that useless for the moment.
"Any suggestions?" Haku breathed out. She was beginning to run low, and if Naruto started to throw out even more obnoxiously destructive techniques out she would begin to question how long she would be useful. Hell she was astounded that the blonde was able to hold this tornado up without showing any signs of slowing down.
Zabuza looked around skeptically. He was well aware of Haku's limits, and it was clear to see that Naruto could easily outlast them at this rate. He could possibly use the water he controlled to flood the walls of the twister and possibly stop it from within, but that was a risky move and he didn't know how much water or chakra that would use up. He was betting on "way too much" given Naruto's past track record. Using Isobu was a no go since he was not going to risk leaking out that he was a jinchuriki now of all times and ruining the trap. Plus he would be damned if he admitted that he needed the biju's help to beat the brat when he already had Haku with him and the fool wasn't even using his beast.
But still, they had to at least get rid of this damn twister to make any solid progress…
Before he could say anything, the ice he was on lurched towards the wall of wind and water nearby without warning.
Running on instinct, the swordsman leapt off of it and into the abyss around him and ignored the crashing sound of what would have been him had he stayed on. Twisting a bit after he realized that yes, he was in fact upside down the entire time, the man landed on an ice mirror that formed just moments ago in his path before jumping again onto another large piece of ice that could be considered a small glacier had it been in the water.
He had to remember that in addition to being able to attack from anywhere and any direction, he could decide where each god damn foothold the man could get would go or if it would stay in the air or not.
Yeah this could not last any longer.
Oh well, time to try fighting fire with fire… or obnoxiously powerful technique with obnoxiously powerful technique.
"Haku." The man grunted as he gripped his blade a bit tighter and stood up a bit taller.
"Zabuza?" The young woman blinked in confusion from her latest reflection.
"Fuck it." The elder smirked, raising his weapon so that it pointed to the sky.
"Fuck it?" Naruto muttered to himself from a good distance above and a bit to the side of them, using his wind manipulation to spy on their conversation and hear what they were saying. He didn't like what Zabuza said. Bad things happened when people said "fuck it" in fights. He should know. He's done it far more than he'd like to admit. "No! No fuck it! Fuck it bad! Me no like fuck it when me… not one… fucking... it? Me think?"
"Oh dear." Haku whimpered as she felt the man's chakra and presence spike dramatically and watched an unreal amount of water shoot out from the man's sword to lengthen its edge. Had she not been in the ice he was standing on, she was certain it would have shattered under the demon he was emulating.
Some flashes of yellow caught her attention to a few clones firing off more large techniques at the pair, only for them to be dealt with by a salvo of senbon fired off from another reflection in a platform nearby. Haku then shielded Zabuza from the blast with a quick makeshift shield that shattered when all was set and done…
… But now their landing was heading for the twister's wall, pushed from the impact they had blocked.
"Do you need more time?" The ice user asked in an almost a courteous tone as the howling increased once more.
"Nope." The man grinned savagely through his wrappings and his massive weapon resonating with savage power, the demonic image behind him smiling just as much as him…
And like one the two slashed down their weapons at the oncoming wall of the twister, creating a massive powerful arc of highly pressurized and chakra laced water that seemed to span the entire height of the thing and crashed into the edge with a deafening collision.
Where the once relatively calm eye of the storm had been, miniature storms had kicked up instantly as the main body was disrupted and attacked up its entire length by the impossibly tall arc, spraying water from the sea and Zabuza's blade everywhere in the process.
Let's see Samehada top this shit. The swordsman grinned malevolently as with a final large push his attack broke through the twister and shattered the momentum it had.
As much as he despised Scabbard and all the humiliating things he put the assassin through, Zabuza would never truly regret his decision to ask the immortal to upgrade his weapon.
The record sized arc of chakra and water pushed forward relentlessly through the air and ocean like a wrathful titan for a good mile or so before finally using up the remaining energy it had an collapsing back to the sea below. Thankfully no one was hurt from it or the waves it caused.
The twister that they had all been fighting in however did not do so well as its motion, its very life force was literally cut and halted and instantly began to dissipate… and in doing so stopped lifting up all the ice and debris that had been floating inside its center.
Haku, being still inside her ice mirrors, had no trouble staying inside of them when they crashed to the sea before finally exiting out of them and breathing fresh air for what seemed like the first time since the battle began. Her chakra was now low enough that she would have to fight even more conservatively than she normally did.
Zabuza didn't have much trouble falling from several hundred meters in the air either as he simply used the water stored in his sword to encase him and cushion his fall. He barely felt anything a he slammed into the sea and returned his stock to storage.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
Naruto on the other hand, simply floated down from the sky, all but reminding everyone that he was still very much capable of flying.
"Well done. Well done indeed. Didn't think you'd actually cut it in half like that. That was some pretty crazy shit you pulled off." The blonde grinned cheerfully. He looked more or less fine, however there were still a good number of freeze burns on his skin where Haku nearly got him with her lasers. Even his accelerated healing wouldn't be able to deal with those injuries quickly.
"When in Rome." Zabuza shrugged and stretched his limbs. He was a bit tired from the fighting, but could still go for a while and he still had chakra to spare. The problem was that Haku wouldn't last that much longer at this rate. Not against a stamina freak like Naruto.
"I'm surprised that you even know that expression." The blonde chuckled with a sly grin. "It's not exactly something from our area."
"You're not the only one who's spent a good deal of time with the Oogakari you know." Haku dryly smiled and shook her head. "So then, how do you suppose we continue this? It would be a shame to stop now."
"We could if you wanted." Naruto shrugged. "You both know that I can still go for a long time. Zabuza?"
"Scab's run me into the ground harder than this." The eldest one there snorted. "Though all things considered I doubt more skirmishing and beating around the bush will help my side out that much. We tried that and it didn't work."
Three clones of both Zabuza and Haku shot up from the sea below Naruto with their weapons drawn, only to be torn apart as the target flipped in place and lashed out with his chakra blades, generating another blast of savage air.
The water rocked underneath the original water users, however they were not surprised in the slightest at the outcome… instead Zabuza slashed out behind him with his sword while Haku did the same shooting out senbon with her tail of the northern dragon. Both blade and needles seemed to pierce through something invisible that popped upon contact a few meters away from them.
"Nope… doesn't seem to be working at all." Naruto nodded in agreement, not at all bothered with both sides' failed attempts to take out the other. "So standard combat doesn't work. We've used up our battlefield altering moves. Close and mid ranged combat was done with…"
"Just say it already. We know you have something in mind."
"BFJ?" The teen asked innocently.
"Why do I not like the sound of that?" Haku sighed in depression.
"Big Fucking Jutsu." Zabuza accurately guessed what his opponent was suggesting. "Because obviously going into a contest of that would clearly not put things into your favor."
"Well I don't see either of you two making any contributions." The stronger jinchuriki pouted childishly with his cheeks puffed out. "For your information that twister really took a lot out of me. If I was in sage mode or using Kurama I could have done more, but even after my training I can't spam something as big as that at will."
"Could have fooled me." Haku laughed lightly. "You don't tend to follow logic that often after all."
"Only when it doesn't do what I want." Naruto's grin was borderline infectious.
"That's one way to look at it." The swordsman snorted.
The blonde looked back at the island they had left from with a raised eyebrow. His control over the air around him was not as exact after making that twister, but it was still good enough to magnify sounds and locate people within his range. "Hmm. So… if what I'm hearing is right… the Mizukage is pretty pissed at all of us. Like… the old hag pissed at Ero-Senin pissed."
"Oh so your wind control gives you super hearing now?" Zabuza cocked an eyebrow muscle.
"Huh? You say something?"
"Walked right into that one." Haku shook her head.
"So what's your… oh damn it." The man groaned as he grabbed his sword. "You're not actually suggesting that…"
"One last massive jutsu showdown that could easily wreck the landscape if we didn't do it over the ocean." Naruto grinned savagely as he began to put more distance between them. "After all she can't get much more pissed than she already is."
"And he just jinxed it for us." Haku groaned. "He did that on purpose. I just know he did."
"I'm beginning to remember why I hate you so very much kid." Zabuza's demonic presence began to spike. "And fair warning, I'm going to be using that as motivation for this."
"I share the same feelings Zabuza." Haku darkly nodded as her chakra and presence shot up as well.
Silently both water users agreed that what Naruto suggested was technically their best shot of winning this match seeing as any other route would wear down Haku even more, and once she was out of the picture it was just Zabuza against Naruto… and as much as he didn't want to admit it, he didn't like those odds in the slightest. True they could attempt to sneak a win, but given that the blonde was always in the air and could sense anything that went through the gas around him the odds of that were not very favorable either.
"I'm not apologizing to Tsunade if we kill your ass doing this kid…" The swordsman pushed more chakra into his blade, increasing the unseen water pressure building up inside.
To his right, Haku was making a long list of one handed seals while pointing her tail of the northern dragon in the same direction as Zabuza's sword with all the scales wide open. Oddly enough there were no senbon popping out of the openings this time.
Naruto laughed in good humor as he uncrossed his arms. "I wouldn't blame you for it either. I bet the old bat's gotten even scarier after learning how to use her presence more. Just try to live through this one ok? It's kinda hard to control the backlash on this move."
Two seals. That was all he used and all he really needed for this confrontation. The standard seal for earth techniques and the standard for wind…
Grabbing his right arm with his left hand and sticking the former out in front of him, the Feral Gale grinned savagely and spiked both his chakra and presence to the point that those around him wondered if he had used up any real portion of his reserves since he started the fight.
The air in front of him contorted at once to his hand, compressing and condensing itself into what at first seemed like a hole of energy. The light quickly grew in size to resemble that of the all familiar rasengan, however the color scheme of it was completely different. What once had appeared to be countless streams of primarily white with a rainbow like bright blue around the edges was now a deep sea blue at its very core with some brighter color around the edges.
The ball looked more solid than any of its previous versions as the shell that encased it shone with its own power, which in a way made sense as it needed the extra juice to hold in the forces of mass destruction that it contained.
Surrounding the upgraded core however was yet another unnerving change as the images of not four, but EIGHT blades of pure SOLID wind chakra spun around the center. The blades were spread out almost like petals as an inner four blades and the outer four spun at slightly different rates, and all of them possessed the unnaturally dark looks that their core and Naruto's upgraded chakra blades.
The air around everyone resonated with two pitches that were perfectly in tune, yet slightly lower than that of what the original made. It was a beautiful, yet ominous sound at the same time.
"Damn…" Zabuza grimaced. He was fairly certain that between him and Haku they could have managed the normal rasenshuriken with what they were using… but the monster they were currently staring down was another story all together.
He could feel his very bones humming in tune to that monster of a jutsu and his nerves act up at the chakra it was giving off.
"Should have seen that coming." Haku laughed dryly as the ice on her arm began to glow white. "How silly of us to not expect him to find a way to make his strongest attack even stronger while he was gone."
"We better wait for him to throw it first." The swordsman grunted. "We can deflect it that way."
"I don't think that's the case." Haku panted, pouring more chakra into her ice and eyeing the spinning ball in front of her. "He's not holding it like he's going to throw it… more like…" Her eyes widened almost painfully in shock and fear as she realized what was going to happen. "SHIT! WE HAVE TO ATTACK NOW!"
Zabuza didn't bother to make a comment as he instantly began to trigger his chakra and align it with Haku's. "Suiton (Water Style)!"
It was nearly impossible to see Haku now as the ice on her arm was glowing blindingly white now. "Hyoton (Ice Style)!"
An insane amount of water fired off from the body of Zabuza's blade, thirty meters in radius and spinning malevolently…
At the same time, a massive beam of white fired off from Haku's ice and traveled alongside the giant torrent of water until they fused perfectly…
A giant elaborate blue dragon emerged from the fusion, roaring savagely as it bore down on the tiny blonde teen. The attack was nothing like its standard dragon bullet variants where the elements were merely in the general shape of a dragon's head and a long featureless body. Those attacks were merely powerful streams of their respective element guided by a moderately shaped front to guide the rest of the attack.
There was nothing vague about this dragon. Every scale, every hair, every horn, every fang was perfectly established and distinct as if it was part of a genuine dragon. It even breathed, growled, and glared like a genuine beast. If anyone else didn't know any better they could have sworn that the thing was actually alive…
Living or not though, there was no question that it had Naruto in its sights…
The representation of the Shinto God of Rain and Snow roared deafeningly loud and barreled down upon its target, causing the ocean to both blow away and freeze as it passed creating a massive trench in the salt water in its wake.
"Damn." Naruto whistled impressed as he spied the oncoming wrath of nature coming at him, encompassing more of what he could see every millisecond. "Glad I decided not to hold back on this after all. A normal Rasenshuriken definitely wouldn't have been able to stop that thing…"
The beast's fanged mouth opened like a massive frozen cavern, showing that its outside wasn't the only thing that was accurate given that it had a tongue and uvula to boot. The breath exiting its mouth was more than enough to chill the air and water around Naruto to the point of freezing just before it made the blonde its next meal… not even a snack really given how he was barely the size of one of its smaller fangs. All things considered it could give Manda a run for his money on how big it was…
"Fuck this. I'm not getting my ass frozen again."
As if waiting for its cue, the pitches the upgraded wind attack were making suddenly grew in octaves as the blades instantly began to rotate so fast that they appeared to be nothing more than two disks flat against one another…
… No, not disks. They weren't flat enough as they were curved slightly towards the dragon that was nearly on them…
"Soraton: Senritsu (Sky Style: Melody)."
Until that moment, Rasenshuriken had always been used as a bomb in one way or another.
It was thrust into its opponent manually, and then blew up.
It was thrown like a shuriken, and then blown up.
That was the general way people were used to seeing it used…
They had yet to see it applied like this.
All that power, all of that turning, compressed, hyper condensed, solidified, elementally charged chakra in Naruto's outstretched hand pointing at the dragon in front of him was discharged at once, guided by the rapidly spinning blades around it that only seemed to further enhance the force behind the attack…
And fired forward in the form of a massive rotating dark blue beam of wind chakra with enough power to literally hammer right through the oncoming dragon's mouth, throat, body, entire being, and seemingly over the whole ocean with no hint of slowing down…
And just when those close enough to watch what happened realized that the massive dragon did in fact just get defeated in an instant… the second part of the counterattack happened…
All of the air that had initially been blasted away from the powerful beam of chakra reversed direction half a second later and then was sucked in and around the main attack, forming a tremendous horizontal hurricane made up of whatever was nearby. Wind. Dust. Water. Unfortunate animals that had been too close…
And of course, the now shattered body of the dragon that had nearly killed Naruto in the first place.
The great beast of ice and water collapsed inwards and around the beam like a sculpture, now devoid of life and aided in exemplifying just how terrifyingly powerful this sudden storm was.
Even though Naruto had actually aimed a bit up above where Zabuza and Haku were, it did not give them nearly enough room to escape the tremendous sucking force that ripped their stunned bodies from the water and into the chaos above…
And all the while the two harmonious pitches echoed throughout the sky as if a holy event had just taken place…
o. o. o.
A few miles away:
Kakashi, Sakura, Sasuke, and Ino gaped on top of Sasuke's hawk summon as they watched from outside the Seventh Sense's range what was no doubt Naruto's work, race across and above the ocean unobstructed and unrelenting for what seemed like miles before it seemed to finally die off at the end of their sight.
Thankfully for once, it didn't explode at the end of its life.
As if that massive tornado from earlier wasn't enough to cause mass panic.
"Well…" Kakashi blinked. "That certainly was… different and new."
"Once. Just once I'd like for him to not cause mass destruction or chaos on a new scale." Sasuke grimaced. "Is that too much to ask?"
"Ino, please don't tell me he actually killed Haku and Zabuza with that." Sakura pleaded to their sensor.
"Don't ask me." Ino didn't look away from the spectacle with wide eyes. "Feeling out that thing was like looking at a flash bang, even from here. I'm not going to be able to detect anything specific for a while. The only thing I know now is that our potential murderer slash target is definitely running on less gas than he was before."
"Oh?" Kakashi mused as he slowly reached for his headband. "Well then if that's the case, then I don't see why we shouldn't take advantage of the situation…"
o. o. o.
"Hey guys." Naruto waved to the Mizukage and her entourage as he floated to the beach with a clone carrying a barely conscious Zabuza and Haku each. "I won."
"So cool!" Hikairu cheered with wide eyes. "We could hear that last move from all the way over here!"
"And here I thought you couldn't get any more frustrating." Koyuki pinched the bridge of her nose. "You might be the first hero that's preferred to stay away from the places that you are renowned. For some reason I'm not surprised at all…"
"… What the hell was that?" Suigetsu was the first shinobi to find his voice, trying to keep his cool and pointed to the smiling, albeit heavily breathing, partially frozen, and fairly cut up blonde. "Seriously. The fuck man?"
Naruto looked around in the direction the Hozuki was pointing. "Um, the ocean?"
"I believe he was talking about that last technique you used Uzumaki-san." Mei stated stiffly. Clearly she was not at all pleased with the way things had turned out. "It was quite hard to miss. The sound it made was quite unique."
"Oh you mean my super secret awesome mega ultra move of doom!" Naruto grinned proudly.
"Shut up… just… shut up…" Zabuza grunted. His body had certainly seen better days as half of his clothes were torn off his body and multiple lacerations and bruises were seen everywhere there was skin. Haku wasn't in much better shape herself with her clothes torn up so badly that many wondered how she still remained fairly decent.
Naruto's hidden clones had managed to use their small control over the seventh sense to keep them alive and not sucked up by the horrifically powerful twister caused by the attack, but it still couldn't do much to stop the water and ice around them from hammering them as they were sucked in.
"Should have known better." Haku groaned, her lip was split and blood was pooling from her mouth. "Being worn down by you was the less painful option."
"Hey come on. You almost had me a few times." The blonde pouted. "Besides it's not like I can use that move often. I can only use it at best two times a day if I'm in prime condition. I was way past that when I finally used it, and it was the only thing I had on hand that could take out that freak of a jutsu you two used on me! I love you guys, but not enough to take a hit like that with a smile on my face."
"I… feel… so… fucking… happy…" Zabuza sarcastically glared at the jinchuriki.
"You don't look like it." The blonde tilted his head to the side.
"Mei-sama…" Haku gasped out. "Kill him… please…"
"As much as I would enjoy the thought of doing so, I believe that as the only one that still seems to have a calm head on her shoulders I should take the responsible route." The Mizukage crossed her arms and frowned. "Uzumaki-san, I am afraid that I do not feel comfortable allowing someone with your level of power and lack of self control free to do as you wish in the elemental nations. As the leader of Kirigakure, I am putting you under arrest until such time that you can be safely and securely sent back to Konohagakure and under secure control."
"Sounds like she just wants you to stay as Tsunade's problem and not take the blame if the other humans find out she let you go." Kurama chuckled as he casually walked to his container.
"Oh you make it sound like I killed someone." The time traveler pouted.
"You have. Your kill is fairly high last I checked." The fox yawned.
"I mean recently!"
"I thought those idiots in the castle was recent enough."
"I got rewarded for that! They don't count! Besides they weren't important!"
"Silence!" Ao snapped at the pair and walked forward. "Mei-sama has given you orders! As the Mizukage you are obligated to follow them else suffer the conse-!"
His barking was interrupted as a tail snapped forward and wrapped around his neck and lifted him off of the ground, causing everyone to instantly be on guard.
"I don't take orders from humans, let alone dogs." Kurama growled with a hint of killing intent as he made eye contact with the idiot. "Learn your place weakling."
With a swing of his tail that almost appeared to be more like a lazy wag than anything, Ao was flung into the ocean hard, skidding over the surface a good hundred meters before finally stopping.
"Yeah. A word of advice when dealing with biju, don't order them around. Simply make suggestions." Naruto winced. "They don't like being pushed around by things a less than a percent of their size. It tends to make things less violent that way."
The fox turned his attention to the Mizukage, who was prepared to fight at a moment's notice. "Do not presume you hold any power over me human. I am not anchored by the childish rules that your kind use to keep alive. I am above such feeble shackles." Before the fox could continue with his threatening speech however, he, Naruto, and Mei all noticed a disturbance and instantly turned their attention to the newcomer.
"Now now Kyubi-sama." Kakashi smiled innocently while putting his headband back into place while standing casually on the beach. "You do realize that we have a lot to do in the near future. Please don't go and antagonize our potential allies now of all times."
"Whoa!" Suigetsu backed up a step. "When the hell did he get here?!"
"That's Kakashi Hatake!" Chojuro blinked in surprise. "The Copy Nin!"
"Sensei?" Naruto blinked in surprise. "Huh. I thought you were still with Sasuke, Sakura and Ino way back there." He pointed absently to the spot in the sky that was slowly growing larger. "Kinda surprised you used Ino. If you guys were sent, I was kinda expecting Hinata to be the fourth member. You know, for the extra fear factor."
"Oh darn. I thought you wouldn't have noticed us yet. Banking on using the time to make an escape I bet." The scarecrow shook his head before glancing at Zabuza and Haku. "I see you've been busy… also it looks like Haku's had more success getting at him than you."
"Don't… Even… Start…" Zabuza growled.
"Just a friendly spar. You know, to see where we stand now." The jinchuriki grinned. "Still I'm surprised. You're early of all things for once."
"Well there's a first time for everything." The teacher laughed in good humor.
"So how pissed is the old hag?"
"Oh as much as you could expect. Threats of beating, tying you to a bed, intense therapy and experimentation."
"Are you sure she didn't spend too much time around Orochimaru as a kid?"
"Do you want to risk asking her?"
"Kakashi Hatake, as intriguing as it is to meet you in person, I must inquire as to why you are here." Mei frowned and stepped forward. She wasn't used to being ignored for casual banter. She was beginning to see where Zabuza and Haku got it from.
"Oh he's been sent to drag me back to Konoha kicking and screaming if needed." Naruto shrugged.
"Odds of that happening after you get back are pretty high as well knowing you and your luck." The fox snorted.
"Mizukage-sama." Kakashi bowed. "My apologies for not meeting you under more ideal circumstances."
"Yep. Totally my fault on that one."
"If you are here to apprehend Uzumaki, may I ask you do it with minimal damage?" The leader crossed her arms. "I would appreciate it if this event did not further risk my country's deal with Moon and Spring than it already has today."
"Don't worry!" Michiru called out from where he was. "None of us consider this at all Kiri's fault! We half expected something like this to happen when Naruto-kun first appeared!"
"Speak for yourself!" His wife leered at him from behind.
Kakashi's eye momentarily widened as he looked around. "… Please don't tell me that this is the signing of that large trade merger I've heard rumors about…"
"I am afraid so Hatake-san." Koyuki answered as she stepped forward. "And sticking to tradition, Naruto had come at a time when individuals of unsavory intent were about."
The Cyclops slowly turned his gaze upon the now sheepish time traveler. "Naruto. What dare I ask did you do and get yourself into this time?"
"Uh… passed out in the ocean and then woke up in the middle of a joint three country coup with no idea what was going on, starving to the point of being crippled, and being cramped from not moving for almost a week?"
"You… dared… to ask…" Zabuza laughed dryly, only to roar in pain as Kakashi absently threw a kunai at the clone holding him up and made him collapse onto the ground heavily. "Gah!"
"You really do just keep pushing the bar for yourself don't you?" The Hatake sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Hey, if you're here to capture Blondie, why aren't either of you doing anything?" Suigetsu frowned.
"Who says we haven't?" Kakashi shrugged as he pulled a hand lazily back, revealing the ninja wire in his grip that went under the sand, which sprung up and wrapped around the student in front of him, only for said student to vanish in a puff of smoke. "Thing is we're both pretty tricky to deal with. Rushing will get us nowhere."
"Says the guy who's early for once." What appeared to be Naruto yawned from a few feet away.
"Now now. Of course I'll take the initiative when the well being of one of my students is at stake." The man smiled with his eye.
A single raised eyebrow conveyed what the blonde felt about that statement, and as much as it did turn Kakashi's insides a bit to actually see that Naruto felt that way about him, the Hatake couldn't blame him for it. After all he did screw up big time with Sasuke in the previous timeline.
"Well being?" The Mizukage frowned. "Is something wrong with Uzumaki that we should be aware of? And how do you know that this isn't simply another clone and that he is making his escape as we speak?"
"Careful of your words Hatake. Humans have loose tongues." The fox frowned.
Kakashi attempted to placate the woman with a light laugh and a relaxed posture. "We know he's nearby because Kyubi is still here and he can't leave without his companion. As for what I mentioned earlier, it's nothing that you need to concern yourself over Mizukage-sama. He's not a risk to your men."
"So long as they don't try to kill me of course." Naruto added. "… What? You'd be surprised how often I've actually had to throw that in over the past few years. Some people really need it spelled out for them... not that I think you're one of them Mei-san. It's just some jerks tend to overuse that particular loophole and I am not getting myself in another situation like that again. It really sucked."
"He's quite a rude one isn't he?" The woman leered at the grinning teen, noting the way he addressed her.
"Actually all things considered he's being pretty polite." The teacher sighed. "Keeping in mind what he calls most of the higher ups in our village, that was formal for him."
"If I ever call someone sama, I'm making fun of them... or begging for my life." The Uzumaki nodded proudly before a chakra blade shot out from his relaxed left hand and into the sand below. A barely audible poof was heard underneath the coarse stone.
"Huh. Didn't think you'd find that one." The Cyclops mused, not at all bothered by the loss of his clone.
"Didn't think you'd be that obvious." The blonde shrugged as his blade faded from existence.
"Now that was just uncalled for." Kakashi pouted before glancing at the bird in the air. He'd give it another minute before his team arrived.
"Hey… Kakashi. Mind lending… Haku and I… the pink brat… when she gets here?" Zabuza rasped out from the ground.
"Once we are sure that we have our target sure, why not?" The scarecrow shrugged. "You deserve at least that much for wearing him down for us."
"But what's to prevent him from fighting here?" Chojuro shivered, recalling just how dangerous the fight over the ocean had appeared to be.
"Us, the harmless non shinobi that he actually like." Koyuki mused. "Plus I doubt he would actually want to risk destroying something important on the island. It would ruin his chances of being allowed into the casinos again to wreak his brand of havoc on them on a later date. Oh, and pleasure to see you again Kakashi Hatake. I hope things have been well for you."
"And you as well Kasehana-dono." The jonin greeted back before looking at Naruto again. "Back to the main topic for the day, I am curious. How is your arm?"
Naruto clicked his tongue in annoyance as he ignored the throbbing that echoed throughout his right arm. No doubt everyone by now finally noticed how limply it hung at his side and how his fingers, the only visible part of said limb, were slightly purple and swollen. "Oh you know. It's a bit roughed up, but I probably deserved from me doing something stupid. It'll wear off eventually."
As strong as he was, there was no way he could fire off something as big as Melody without some major recoil. Nearly every major bone in the limb was broken in one way or another, and it would take around a week for it to heal completely. Had he been in sage mode or using some of Kurama's power it wouldn't have been an issue, but those options weren't available for the time being.
"Is that so?" The teacher leered at the clearly not fine arm. "Well, even if you say its fine we'll still have to have someone look at it. Thankfully Ino is just as good of a medic as Sakura and…"
"Will probably drug me up to the land of herbs the second she gets her hands on me. Do you really think I'm that stupid?" The blonde deadpanned.
Said medics would be arriving in no less than ten seconds now…
"Oh heavens no. Eccentric certainly, but not stupid… finally…" The man looked away innocently.
"That's cold sensei. And I just finished fighting Haku."
"That's pretty cold." Suigetsu nodded in agreement, only to get a frozen senbon into his side that proceeded to solidify that part of his body. "Ow! Damn it I thought you were too tired to do that!"
"You thought wrong." The ice user glared.
"NARUTO!" A familiar female voice yelled in rage as its owner fell from the sky.
"Oh log! Sakura's come to kill me! I knew this day would come!" The blonde whimpered before looking around for an out and stopped his gaze on Koyuki.
"Don't even try it this time Uzumaki." The Daimyo glared at the teen while subconsciously covering her stomach and chest.
Before he had a chance to try and find someone else to guile into knocking him into a comatose state, Naruto was surrounded by three sides by Ino, Sasuke and Sakura landing with their eyes all focused on him.
And their gazes were not tear filled, nor did they promise happiness and joy and candy.
"Oh great. It's that Yamanaka brat…" Karenbana grimaced, remembering her fight with the girl the last time they met. She didn't like the fact that Ino managed to fill out quite nicely over the time they had been apart as well.
Hikairu shifted in place a bit uncomfortably. Out of all the group that he traveled with last time, Ino was one of the ones he didn't really get along with.
"Man… isn't that the Uchiha bastard that beat me in the tournament in Iron?" Suigetsu moaned. "Why did he of all people have to show up? Why couldn't it have been that Tenten chick?"
The area was quiet as the stare down continued for several more seconds before the whimpering target that was currently sweating rivers tried to lighten the situation. "Uh… hey guys. Like the new looks. They work for you really well… please don't kill me…"
"You do realize that we have Ino and Sakura here at the same time… dobe." Sasuke dryly replied as he stood up slowly in his ANBU gear.
"Right. Please strike me down now in a single swift blow that will leave no chance of bringing me back." Naruto corrected his statement without any hesitation.
"Sorry whiskers." Ino grinned in a way that promised pain. "We were sent to capture. Sakura's a medic, Sasuke's professional… and I just want to hurt you for giving us a hard time."
Naruto blinked a few times in confusion before turning to the Yamanaka. "Seriously? Geez that was extreme even for you. The hell happened over the past three years?"
"We could ask the same thing Naruto." Sakura stepped forward, the tone of her voice slightly more gentle than it was before. The jinchuriki saw the irritation and frustration in her eyes…
… However, unlike before he left, he completely missed the underlying concern in them…
"Oh you know, as much as we expected… and then way too much more." He shrugged without a care. "Pretty much got killed at least a few dozen times. Brought back, then killed again… and again… and again. It's a lot more stressful than it sounds. Also I'm paranoid of being near cliff edges now."
"You're afraid of heights?" Chojuro tilted his head to the side.
"No. Just cliff edges… and small girls… and tea parties… and apparently I blindly try to kill people that reach for my face now." The teen shrugged.
"Yeah, we were told about that last one." Sasuke didn't change his expression. "Any explanation for it in particular?"
"Nope." Naruto grinned proudly. "I'm apparently maliciously suppressing that memory subconsciously. Just ask Kurama."
"VERY maliciously suppressed… among others." The fox yawned. "You're going to have your hands full with this one, that much is for certain."
"Wonderful." Ino sighed, barely giving the fox more than a second's notice before pausing as she sensed… something change. She looked around skeptically for a moment before glaring back at Naruto who was still laughing nervously.
Why did she have a feeling that what she felt was going to be the source of a lot of frustration very soon?
"I hope you can manage him properly." Mei crossed her arms. "He did just defeat two of my best fighters by himself."
No one bothered to correct the woman on the fact that technically Zabuza and Haku were Konoha shinobi now. It wasn't worth getting into the argument.
"Don't worry." Kakashi smiled. "Naruto may have won but he's certainly in no condition to fight all of us at once."
"What about fleeing?" The jinchuriki asked innocently, ignoring the dry looks he got by doing so.
"You're welcome to try, but do remember that it will ensure that you suffer for it greatly sooner or later." Sakura smiled kindly.
"A word of advise dobe… don't tick them off. They occasionally get requests from Ibiki when he needs an extra pair of hands to make sure that his newest friend doesn't die." Sasuke looked at his girlfriend in a way that those close to him could easily translate as a grimace.
"Really? How's the pay?" Naruto asked curiously.
"Eh, not as much as you'd think." Ino shrugged, already twirling another poisoned senbon in her fingers by habit. "Since all the work is in the village and we are in the business of capturing enemy shinobi alive, there tends to be a lot of people to work on. Actually the TI division is swamped most of the time."
"No kidding?" The teen tilted his head to the side. "No wonder Anko's always hanging out there. There's no end to the fresh meat there."
"She's actually called in for the more intense cases where we need more sensitive info quickly." Ino elaborated. "I don't get much of those… yet."
"Well I hope I don't become the first of many." The teen grimaced. "You'd spend the first session trying to see what works on me and what doesn't."
"No, that's the second. First is just a classic maiming to vent my frustrations out on you for whatever you've done this time." The Yamanaka shrugged.
"Right. Gotta get rid of the distracting impulses first." Naruto nodded understandingly.
"Are you guys actually friends?" Suigetsu blinked in confusion.
"Oh yes. We're special friends with special benefits…" Ino smiled all too sweetly.
"I fail to see any benefit I'm getting out of our current friendship." Naruto deadpanned.
"We aren't killing you for starters." Sakura replied with ease.
"We also aren't giving you to Hinata the moment we get back to Konoha." Sasuke added in.
"We aren't?" Ino blinked in confusion before being silenced with a quick elbow from Sakura.
"I knew there was a reason why you are my favorite guy friend." Naruto turned to his teammate with tears of gratitude.
"I'll try not to jump for joy." The Uchiha deadpanned.
All throughout the conversation, not a single one of the group had moved from their respective spots, all ready to move at the single hint of something amiss.
"So then…" Naruto looked at the large hawk that landed on the beach shortly after the shinobi had landed. "Who's got the shiny new summon contract? I'm guessing Sasuke. His hair obviously originates from the birds… though I always guessed he'd get stuck with the duck summons."
"Don't even get started on that bit again. It wasn't funny then and it isn't now." The Uchiha glared at his friend.
"At least it isn't the chicken summoning contract." The Uzumaki shivered in fear. As much as they tried to prevent it, the four new visitors and Haku and Zabuza shivered, knowing exactly what he was referring to.
So long as the Oogakari were there, no one in Konoha would DARE attempt to obtain such a contract.
A faint deep voice echoed on the wind. "Doooooooooommmm…"
Suigetsu looked around confused. "Hey did you guys just hear…"
"Naruto." Kakashi stepped forward, preventing that topic of conversation from going any further for everyone's safety. "As much as I know that you can keep this up all day, we still have things to do now that we have you. The first being…"
A spear of lightning chakra shot out from Sasuke's right hand and nicked the side of the blonde, causing many of the people there to gasp or flinch in suprise…
Causing him to vanish in a cloud of smoke.
"Checking to see if you're a clone or not." The scarecrow shook his head in disappointment before looking around warily.
"Figures." Sasuke sighed as he canceled out his technique.
"It seems as if you have been outsmarted Hatake." Mei coyly smirked at the jonin. "I must say I'm somewhat disappointed."
"I'd like to see you do better lady." Ino grunted, not knowing who she was talking to, as she expanded her senses to try and detect the blonde in his territory without much luck.
"Ino, for future reference, that's the Mizukage." Kakashi sighed and causing the girl to pale dramatically. "Keep your eyes peeled everyone, he couldn't have gotten far. He can't leave without Kyubi-sa…" The Cyclops paused before turning to the fox skeptically.
… Who was looking back at him from where he had been sitting the entire time with a bored look, but a far too amused glint in his eyes.
"What?" Sakura turned around to her sensei. "What's the matter?"
Kakashi slowly walked to the biju with a discerning look in his eye. "You are no doubt Kyubi-sama. The demonic chakra you're giving off is an obvious tell that even Naruto can't mimic…"
"Care to know how your teacher died as proof of my identity?" The beast questioned with a mocking tone. "I've been told that it's quite entertaining to hear the tale from my perspective."
The Cyclops stopped for a moment and looked at the beast skeptically…
Before seemingly teleporting past it with a hand glowing white like lightning and the creature's head separated from its body…
… And then disappearing in a cloud of smoke.
Those watching the event went silent for a good five seconds before what happened finally registered in their minds.
"Oh you have to be FUCKING KIDDING ME!" Ino shouted in frustration. "He taught the fox how to make clones?! Is that even possible?! How did he even manage to do that?!"
"Should have seen that coming." Sasuke shook his head in resignation before looking up to the sky with his eyes activated. "At least since he's weaker he can't block dojutsu anymore…" He paused as he looked northwest. "Got him. He's pretty high up and using some sort of cloaking jutsu to prevent himself from being normally seen, but he can't hide the trail of chakra he's making with his seventh sense… aaaand apparently he's heard me somehow because his speed just doubled. Wonderful."
"Just when you thought he couldn't do anything else that would make you question the world…" Sakura pinched the bridge of her nose.
"Everyone, we can complain about this later." Kakashi snapped before turning to Sasuke's summon. "Tobimaru! We need to take to the air now! We can still catch him if we hurry!"
Nodding, the bird leapt to the air with its massive wings flapping strong… and crashed to the sand below as if it was a rock with a squawk of surprise.
Everyone on the beach watched as the bird of prey attempted multiple times to get airborne, only to fail each time.
"What's happening?" Michiru asked confused. "Why can't the bird fly?"
"That cunning little monster…" Koyuki smirked, clearly amused. "Naruto has many tricks when it comes to his wind control. One of them happens to be a move that prevents things with wings from flying by messing with the way air flows around the wings. I saw him drop a shinobi with chakra armor like a rock once when I first met him. He must have set it up while everyone was distracted with that copy of his."
"Sasuke. Try another summon." Sakura suggested, causing her boyfriend to instantly flip through several seals and slam his hand to the ground, the sudden pressure causing a small blade in his glove to barely knick his skin for the required blood.
Out of a giant cloud of smoke, another large hawk burst into the air majestically with a loud screech… and like his companion collided into the ground helplessly as his usual method of defying gravity failed to work for him.
"So that's what it was…" Ino frowned as she focused harder on the air around her. Within about ten seconds she managed to figure out what was going on. "Naruto's left but his chakra's still here, and somehow he's managed to make it so that nothing with wings will be able to fly. Basically it's like he's cursed the entire island until enough of his chakra is weakened enough to not work anymore. At best… we're stuck for a day or two unless we get a boat… unless…"
The younger Konoha shinobi there looked at Kakashi expectantly as if asking if he was going to do something in particular…
… However their senior seemed to deny them their expectations as he looked around at those who were present with his group before sighing and relaxing his stance. "No. We'll wait it out. Ghost obviously hasn't given us the full scope of Naruto's abilities. We can use this time to gather more info for the next time. Rushing now, even when he's injured could cost us more than we think."
"Are you sure that's a wise idea?" The Mizukage mused. "With two days head start he could easily hide himself away quite well."
"Well if there was any doubt that he can hear us that settled it." Sasuke sighed as he looked at the direction Naruto was escaping to. "He's slowed down again… and now he's just lazily zigzagging…"
"He's mocking us." Ino's eyebrow twitched.
"Oh we are so handing him over to Hinata when we get back." Sakura growled.
"And he's back to flying away from us at high speed." The Uchiha added in with an amused tone.
"Who's Hinata?" Chojuro blinked in confusion.
"Hinata-san? Oh she's his girlfriend." Hikairu replied before the other shinobi could answer. "Even back when we first met, everyone said that she was the only person that could really control him."
"Sounds like another relationship I know of." Suigetsu leered at the Mizukage and Zabuza.
"Thank you for your concern Mizukage-sama, however it is unnecessary. We have ways of tracking him down, even with such leads." The scarecrow smiled politely to one of the most powerful women on the planet. "Sakura. Ino. Tend to Zabuza and Haku and ask them about their fight with Naruto. I want to know of every jutsu, strategy, and fighting style he used in it. Sasuke, speak to the other shinobi here to see if they have anything else to add. I'll be speaking to the Mizukage and the Daimyo to learn of what happened here."
"Suigetsu. Get Ao." Mei turned to her subordinate. "I highly doubt he is dead, however he might not be able to return to shore after being thrown so violently. Inform him of the situation so there is no confusion. Inform him to be on his best behavior."
"You got it." The water user casually walked to the ocean before seemingly sinking into the ankle deep water like he was in an elevator. "Be back in a few."
"That goes the same with you three." Kakashi turned to his team. "The situation is already unstable politically as it is and we don't know what Naruto has done while he was here. Give everyone a good impression."
"Please, do not overwork yourselves about it." Michiru stepped forward. "Most of the diplomats here work under Kazehana-dono and myself, so they have already heard more or less about Naruto's… eccentricities and taken them into account. Rest assured, save for today he was rather well behaved among others. There were few complaints about him and all of them quite minor."
"And you are?" Ino blinked in confusion, not recognizing the current King of Moon country.
"You too?" The now skinny man wept and sagged his head. "It's me Yamanaka-chan. Me! Michiru!"
"EEEEH?!" The girl stumbled back. "Whoa! You've totally changed! It's like you're a completely different person now!"
"It's been some time, hasn't it Uchiha-san?" Koyuki turned to the last person who had been on that mission to protect her from her uncle. "I like the new look, but is there a reason to cover your face like that?"
"It's a pleasure to see you too Koyuki-dono." Sasuke nodded in greetings. "As for my face… well let's just say I attract less unwanted attention this way."
"And I get rid of the rest." Sakura proudly added as she stood by her boyfriend's side. "I am Sakura Haruno, the person that Haku took the place on the mission you had with my team. I've heard many things about you. Shall we talk while I heal Zabuza and Haku?"
"Hmmm." Mei mused from the sidelines as she watched the various groups socialize. "They seem to getting along quite well."
"Well it's not as if it's the first time many of them have met." Kakashi shrugged. "To most of them it's simply a chance to catch up with one another."
"And what of Uzumaki?" The Mizukage frowned. "I have played along with Konoha's game so far, however if they lose the Kyubi so early in the game due to negligence… and what of this issue about him mentioned earlier?"
"He will be brought home in due time and made to think about his actions. That is what we came here to do." Kakashi sated the woman's inquiry. "You must have witnessed hints of what lies underneath his rather tiresome personality by now, and he has proven to be competent enough to take out Zabuza and Haku at once. He's smarter than he allows most to believe and is perfectly aware of it. I'm less worried about Akatsuki finding him than I am him getting himself into something that may be beyond what we were preparing for."
o. o. o.
"I see you have all arrived." Tsunade nodded as she saw the team assembled in front of her. "Good. I take it you are all well rested for your next A rank mission?"
"Yes." Choji Akimichi nodded.
"You bet Tsunade-sama." Tenten Higurashi grinned.
"Indeed." Shino Aburame sunk his head shallowly.
"We are ready to leave at your command." Hinata beamed pleasantly. "There are no distractions preventing us from our next task."
o. o. o.
"This does not bode well."
Ghost calmly looked around at the large pack of Inuzuka hounds looking at him hungrily. Normally he'd run away screaming in a situation like this, however that option was unavailable as he was currently buried up to his neck.
"You know you probably deserve this." Kuromaru smirked from a bit to the side. The show itself would be enough for the Alpha male of the pack. He would stop it from getting too rough, but in the mean time he was oh so going to enjoy this.
"Yes, but knowing that does not affect the boding factor of my current situation." The immortal replied ominously. "Beware the boding… for it knows all…"
And then Crypt's head popped out of the ground next to his, temporarily scaring the dogs there and smiling with the IQ of a coconut. "I have a macaroni picture. It's a diagram of the success and life expectancy of teen pop idol pets. As expected, the comic book is sure to become class president! He has most of the foreign votes."
Ghost looked at his brother skeptically for a few seconds before shaking his head in disappointment. "Nope. The boding has not changed."
Moments later much screaming was heard from the kennels of the Inuzuka compound.
It should be noted that at one point Tsume had gone to see what was going on, only to walk out just minutes later and claim that it was nothing important, despite the fact that the screaming was still happening.
o. o. o.
Back in the tower…
"No distractions at all…" The young woman repeated herself almost innocently, however no one missed the dark aura of pleased maliciousness hovering over her.
"Right… well, the mission." Tsunade coughed before tossing the Hyuuga the mission scroll. "You are to arrive at the Land of Demons to protect and Escort the Priestess Shion to the temple in the Land of Swamps. It is very important as we have received word that the ritual is to re-seal away a powerful demon that her clan is responsible of guarding, and that there is a group that is determined to unleash said demon. Hinata you are in charge."
"I won't disappoint you Hokage-sama." The Princess bowed.
"Demon huh?" Tenten mused as she flickered through all the weapons in her arsenal that might be useful against it. "Sounds interesting."
"Just so long as it doesn't get loose." Choji sighed. "We have enough demons here to manage as it is."
"Understood." Shino didn't bother to comment any further.
None of the five in the room commented on the sense that the mission was going to be far more interesting than what had been said…
… And Tsunade didn't mention the fact that Naruto had been requested by name to be a part of the team protecting the Priestess…
o. o. o.
In the Land of Demons:
The white haired priestess looked up to the sky calmly, still dressed in her overbearing and elaborate robes. She was idolized and feared by her entire country. Her beauty was something many had fawned over in the past few years as she turned into a young woman, and her kindness was said to match her outer appearance.
And yet she was always held at arm's reach due to her unnaturally accurate power to foretell the future…
… And guide those who would have otherwise fallen to salvation…
She had just received word that a town in her home country had been overrun by clay soldiers… just as she had expected to happen.
"Soon." She muttered to herself as there was no one else nearby to hear her.
"… Soon we shall see each other again… Naruto…"
o. o. o.
Happy late Christmas ya bastards! Bet you didn't think another chapter would be posted this fast eh! Now…
So yeah, this fight. I had a lot of fun writing it as you could probably tell. All in all it showcases most of Naruto's new moves and styles. True he was a bit excessive in some parts, but that also adds to how he thinks when he's enjoying a fight and not in a truly serious one.
Also, I hinted at a new move of Kakashi's in this chapter that will definitely ramp up his danger level in the near future.
Honestly though, I had juggled with the idea of NAruto doing a skirmish escape fight from Kakashi's group over the ocean as well in this chapter, part for fun and part to show some of their progress as well but it was honestly too much so I didn't do it. It was a shame too because… well… it was epic.
Also, the same old same old, TV tropes, update the character pages, etc etc…
… Oh yeah…
GET THIS STORY TO 1K REVIEWS AS MY XMAS GIFT DAMN IT! WE'RE TOO CLOSE TO FLUB OUT NOW!
So yes! Naruto is awesome! Haku is awesome! Zabuza is awesome! The First Shippuden movie is next! Hinata and Naruto are going to meet next chapter so stop bugging me about it! Awesome and hilarious stuff are still going to happen! More serious stuff too! Shion remembers the previous timeline! All hell breaks loose!
Er… That's it really. Gonna work on the next FFD because I wanted to get this island arc done with.
SO REVIEW! WORSHIP THE LOG! BASK IN THE AWESOMENESS THAT IS MY ABILITY TO WRITE FIGHT SCENES! AND REVIEW AGAIN!