The Clan Wars
Chapter 19: The Contract
The sudden sound of Gaara shifting and sitting up in bed awoke me. I rolled over and looked at him with bleary eyes to see his red hair mussed revealing his 'ai' tattoo and his teal eyes wide. Tilting my head I carefully listened and I could hear his uneven breaths and rapidly beating heart.
"Gaara?" I questioned, my voice thick with sleep as I attempted to rouse myself from my rest. "What's wrong?"
Gaara glanced over to where I lay beside him and let out a rough sigh. Eventually, his breathing and heartbeat evened out and he reached to take my hand. Our fingers intertwined and I waited for his response.
"I spoke with Shukaku," he said finally, after a long period of silence. He watched me out of the corner of his eyes, waiting for my reaction.
By then, I was significantly more awake and I too sat up. "And?" I asked.
"He was… better," Gaara said. "He is still not sane by any means, but he was much more reasonable than he has been in the past." He paused, his head tilting in thought and then he continued slowly as if uncertain, "I made a deal with him."
A grin spread across my face. "That's fantastic!" I exclaimed. "What did he want?"
Gaara frowned, unsure. "It is not quite something that I understand, but I agreed nonetheless because it seemed simple enough. He agreed to leave me alone for now, but he offered an opportunity to gain his partnership."
"What did he want?"
"To secure his contract."
I felt confusion wash through me. It was something that I was completely unfamiliar with. "Secure his contract?" I repeated in confusion. "What does that mean, Gaara?"
"I am not sure, Naruto. Shukaku did not elaborate before forcefully ejecting me from my mindscape."
'I believe that I can clarify this matter,' Kurama's rumbling voice echoed through my mindscape.
I held up my hand in a motion towards Gaara that communicated 'hold on,' and I focused on Kurama's voice.
'Well, what does it mean?' I mentally responded, my eyes glazed over as I felt myself being pulled into my mindscape. I looked upwards towards Kurama's towering form. The gates that once imprisoned him were wide open and Kurama laid halfway in and halfway out of the caged cavern.
'Some of the bijuu have a corresponding contract that can allow a human to summon us. Not all of us have it, but a majority of us do, including Shukaku and I. It is something that we created long ago when we had more faith in humanity. We decided to allow humans that were worthy of us the ability to summon us or our kin. If they were powerful enough and determined to be skilled enough, then they could also possibly summon us to ask for our assistance.
'It is likely that Shukaku does not want his contract to fall into the wrong hands. Tsuchi no Kuni are after the bijuu and Shukaku is the easiest target since he is the weakest bijuu. Although his compliance cannot be forced through the contract, that will not stop them from forcefully summoning him if enough chakra is provided. If Shukaku is summoned, it would give them another opportunity to trap him and then use him for their own means.
'Additionally, I am not sure if Shukaku would be the one summoned, or if it would be the Kazekage since he is Shukaku's vessel. If Shukaku's contact is kept safe, then he will be in a lot less danger.'
I paled as Kurama explained the purpose of the contract. If Shukaku was forcefully summoned from Gaara, then it was very likely that he would die. I could not allow that to happen. Ever.
'You have one as well?'
Kurama frowned, his red eyes staring into mine solemnly. 'I do,' he said. 'I connected myself to the fox contract, and it requires an incredibly large amount of chakra to summon me. However, you should also attain my contract for safe keeping. It was what Uchiha Madara used to forcefully summon me in his fight against Senju Hashirama. As soon as I was summoned, he used his Sharingan to enslave me to his will. I do not wish for that to happen again.
'We do not know if my being sealed within you will interfere or not. Remember, my past self still roams this timeline. It is highly likely that if the contract were used, then both of us would be summoned. However, due to the nature of your seal, you would be the one summoned as well. Since our souls are bound, I highly doubt that the summoning contract would release me from you.
'Additionally, we can use the contract to summon my other self so that way we can merge. It would simplify things greatly if there was one less of myself roaming around.
'I agree with Shukaku on this matter. It is essential that we find our contracts. In fact, it is probably best if we make it impossible for us to be summoned through them. But, to do that, we would need the contracts.'
'What contact is Shukaku connected to?' I asked, staring at Kurama's pensive and thoughtful expression. 'How do we find the contracts?'
'Shukaku is connected to the raccoon contract. Finding the contracts can be very difficult, but we will likely be able to trace the location of the contract if we go to the summoning worlds of the animals. However, you will not be able to go directly there. You will have to travel from another world that you already have a connection with. All of the animals that are connected to the bijuu are naturally allied. Luckily for you, the toads are allied with the turtles, which are connected to Isobu the Sanbi, and in turn allied with the foxes and raccoons.
'Even though you have traveled through time, you should still be on the toad's summoning contract. The summoning worlds do not perfectly align with our perception of time. While the current toads will not know who you are, they will still recognize you as a summoner and respond to your chakra. Once in the summoning world you desire, you will be able to call the contract to you from wherever it is in the Elemental Nations.'
I quickly retold this information to Gaara, tightening my hand around his. The red head frowned in thought before saying, "We must find these contracts as soon as possible. Tomorrow, we should make arrangements and inform the clan leaders that we must leave for a short period of time. It should not take us too long and they will question us, but it is necessary. We will simply tell them that we received information on something that can help us in the war effort against Tsuchi no Kuni and any other threats. They will not stop us, and when we return we can show our summons to them to assure our continued alliance to them."
I nodded in agreement. Gaara's plan was perfectly sound and I could only hope that in reality it turned out to be that simple.
"You want to what?" Inuzuka Bairu growled, his hands tightening into fists on top of the table that the leaders of Hi no Kuni were gathered around.
Once again, Gaara and I stood before the clan leaders trying to convince them to see side of things.
"Naruto and I are here to inform you that we must depart for a short period of time in order to complete some business," Gaara said in a dry and bored beside me. A frown tugged at my lips as Bairu let loose a low growl of annoyance and Akimichi Chouchi's brown eyes narrowed in suspicion.
"I assure you, that you will benefit from our trip," Gaara continued, ignoring the reactions of the leaders. It seemed that Gaara and I did that a lot. Ignoring figures of authority, that is. "After Naruto and I complete our business, we will return with assistance that will help Hi no Kuni fight against my potential or known threats. Not only will our trip disrupt many of Tsuchi no Kuni's plans to attempt to obtain a bijuu, but we will secure allies."
"And who exactly are these allies?" Sarutobi Tsuyoi asked from beside Bairu.
"We cannot say until we secure their compliance. It is of utmost importance that we keep their existence a secret," I said, my voice carrying across the room.
"I think we should let them go," Hashirama decided. "We need all of the assistance that we can get and Naruto and Gaara have proven themselves to be reliable."
"I agree," Aburame Mushiko's soft voice said. "They are trustworthy and very effective. Let them go and continue to prove themselves."
Before anyone else could voice their dissent and turned on my heel and began to exit the room. "Gaara and I will depart immediately," I said as I left them room, Gaara following close behind me.