Freedom of Speech. For an American, it is one of the pillars of our nation. It does not matter if one is democrat or republican. Both of them exist because freedom of speech exists. Soviet Union had one party -as does China- because freedom of speech doesn't.
I say this not because I want to condemn those nations nor their people but for us to look into ourselves.
We value freedom of speech. Yes, this is a fact. We have come to take this -in western nations at least- as a natural right because people have died to make it so.
Yet, I must agree with both core members of democrats and republicans in that Freedom of Speech is slowly changing. My generation, those born between 1980's to 2000's, seem to have their definition of Freedom of Speech mixed up.
Freedom of Speech is the freedom to speak your opinion and have them be heard.
Recently, the freedom of speech has become freedom FROM speech. The banning of uncomfortable articles and speeches is a direct violation of the constitution. If it is a disruptive or violent form of speech, then that is a totally different point. However, removable of non-violent, non-disruptive speech and article is not right beyond being a violation of the constitution.
The banning of uncomfortable articles and speeches is a direct violation of the constitution. If it is a disruptive or violent form of speech, then that is a totally different point. However, removable of non-violent, non-disruptive speech and article is not right beyond being a violation of the constitution.
And when I mean disruptive form of speech, I mean like someone trying to shout at your face when you don't want to listen, repetitive use of words that disturb you when you ask them to stop, or a big ass poster of someone's dick and the poster claiming that his dick's the longest. No, those are just disruptive work, not even speech.
In light of many events and laws that are unconstitutional in America and many other nations, I will no longer apply political correctness to my fiction unless it is relevant to a character who practices it.
And I urge my fellow writers to do the same. Political correctness is a wool thrown over your eyes to what is true and what is right.
This is a pledge and a promise.
Stick to the Constitution, my friends, democratic and republican. It is your social duty.
And please, goddamn vote! You all non-voters are the reason why this shit is happening! At least, Australia doesn't have this issue as much as we do!
Disclaimer: This applies to all chapters before and after and including this one. I do not own any copyrighted works nor do I make money out of this outside of donations, but I am also not likely to receive that either because the point of fanfiction and other internet fictions is that it is free.
NW Quest 15:
Battlefield III: At Home
Naruto smiled as he shook the hand of the noble in front of him. "The Order of Nyx will make sure to clear out the bandits in your land, Tono-dono. Expect my Priests to be there two weeks from now, sir."
The noble held back a tear-held eyes as he shook the much younger man's hands heartily. "Thank you, High Priest Uzumaki-dono."
Naruto smiled gracefully. "Our goddess may be indifferent, but your brothers and sisters are not. Using our blessing to help our neighbor needs no thanks."
Sasuke watched the winner of the demo spar this previous noon. Unlike the others who had been part of the spar, she had to participate in this formal gathering. This was because she was the daughter of one of the prominent clans of Konohagakure, the Uchiha Clan. While small, the clan exerted a fair amount of influence, and her father had used his influence to grant his entire family -including her- a slot in this social gathering.
Honestly, she was not one for social parties. It was usually her brother who had to attend. She made sure to take missions against her father's wishes any time such gathering was planning a few weeks beforehand to make sure she didn't have to attend. Most of her desire to not attend stemmed from the fact that many rich or influential families tried to set up something with her.
Thank the heavens that her father was not one for contract marriages. It would also not be popular with the ninja force and the Hokage as her active role in the military was necessary for some prestige.
She was strong, even if she had lost to Naruto today.
She winced as she remembered the strike that ended the spar.
It was a vicious strike that she had not been ready for. It didn't help that the "field" that he made prevented shunshin from activating. Oh, she took on the strike head-on, but in the very last moments, she had realized her folly and tried to slip out; she found out she couldn't. The vertical strike tore through her weakened Susanoo defense and nearly dug in halfway through her shoulder.
After the spar was over, Naruto had called on one of his "priests" to patch her up. She had insisted on going to the hospital instead but was silenced when she saw the priest undo the wound out of existence. The curiosity about the priest's ability to heal wounds like that had played a part in making her join this social gathering.
But besides that and her father's insistence, there was another reason: the Hokage had given her a mission to ensure that the High Priest of Nyx will continue to provide excellent support personnel like the priest to ensure Konohagakure and Land of Fire's victory over the Suchigakure and the Land of Beaches. In fact, the Hokage-sama had shown her list of wounded on the battlefield and how many were healed as soon as they were taken back to the main camp's infirmary.
It was staggering to say the least.
In the first battle taken place alone that any "priests" and other healers from the Order of Nyx had participated in, there had been 41 wounded ninjas and 1,200 more wounded infantrymen. 5,000 infantrymen and 59 ninjas had died.
By the next morning, all the wounded had been healed, and 7 of the dead ninjas had been resurrected.
She still couldn't fathom it. But she could not deny it when one of the very resurrected ninjas had been one of her cousins, the very one who had returned a week prior for some off-time. She had immediately gone to him and demanded answers.
He confirmed to her that yes, he did indeed die. He saw the Other Side, however briefly. He had died from his injuries before the priests could get to him in the infirmary. It was because he had been dead for a minute or so that the priest was able to bring him back to life, or so he had been told by the priest.
She still couldn't fathom, and she didn't think she ever would until she experienced it.
It was that very ability though that the Hokage-sama had nearly demanded that she, who seemed to be the closest of any citizen or soldier of Konohagakure to the High Priest, keep him and his people interested in helping Konohagakure indefinitely. They were an asset they could not lose, not ever.
When she asked how she was going to go about it, the Hokage-sama had been unusually lenient about the mission parameters.
"Act as you always have."
His reason, as he explained to her, was that anything abnormal may distance the High Priest from her. A cordial relationship that did not involve any kind of deals was the best way to go about this.
And as a result of all those reasons, she was here in this formal gathering of nobles, merchants, and other high profile personnel.
Did she mention that this was nerve wrecking to the extreme?
While daimyo-sama was not here, his cousin and grandnephew certainly were. They were awed by the abilities of the High Priest. Whenever they had the chance, they were asking him about how chakra-less battle was possible. Again, it was unfathomable for most people as well, so their questions were valid.
Fifteen of the richest merchants in all of Land of Fire were here as well. It seemed to her that they were after any kind of lucrative deals that they may be able to strike with the young High Priest like the "scales" that his Order had been selling for the past year. Sasuke herself knew those scales. She had a dagger forged from one of the scales. It was sharp, strong -definitely stronger than any kind of steel- and allowed for elemental conduction.
Fifty nobles of varying influence were here as well. The one that Naruto was talking to was a noble with large demesne under his control but lacked the manpower to enforce laws.
'I suspect that once the Order wipes out all troublemakers, he will enjoy a rather nice income from the resource sales he intends to make.' She came to that conclusion after seeing him talking to several merchants. What other reason does a noble lord have to personally talk with merchants?
Sasuke hoped that nothing much would happen to her during this ... gathering. It would be too troublesome otherwise.
Naruto gave the Hakushaku of Mayal Province a nod before they went their separate ways.
So far, he had received thirteen calls for Order's help, ten marriage contract offers, and too many offers of "generous donations." Hokage-sama was one of the third options. His offer had been a mix of land grant and monopoly rights to trade for the Underground City of Konoha. Naruto had been tempted to accept the old man's offer, but ultimately refused on the grounds that the Order sought to make itself self-sustainable and promoting equal promotion of many things. Monopoly would force those in power -aka the Order's more greedy members- to censure knowledge which was crucial in any monopoly, but censuring knowledge went against many things that the Order stood for. It would not do the Order any good to reach outside for some time.
The Hokage looked briefly upset with the rejection, but Naruto assured him that even without gifts, the Order would be sure to continue its support of Konohagakure, the home of many of its members and their families.
Then came the marriage offers from the nobles.
He shivered a bit as he passed by more participants of the party. He gave them his hearty greeting and wide, sincere smiles. 'Thank Nyx can just implant knowledge.'
Nyx had continued her demand and had told him to participate in this party as well when he would have rather went hunting with his fellow Order members. He, of course, obeyed and in return, the goddess of knowledge implanted within him knowledge of Land of Fire's social cultural knowledge and so much more.
He wanted to go home. ( T^T)
But not everything was bad meeting these people, and he could understand why Her Holiness had demanded of him to attend this meeting. He had met many noble seeking his help because others would not give for various reasons.
One such noble was shishaku Tono Wasayamu, the hereditary ruler of the Saoka Province. From what the noble had spilled out, the province was riddled with bandits that his meager force could not handle outside of big town's immediate areas. His poor subjects in smaller villages and even smaller cities had suffered much yet he could not do anything.
After hearing the man's plea, Naruto had been somewhat glad to have come, because otherwise, he would not have been able to give this man his help. If no one in his Order volunteered to clean those bandits out, then he would personally go to the province and wipe them out.
At the same time, Naruto was able to grasp the general situation of the Land of Fire.
The northern provinces were in a disarray ever since the beginning of the war and even some years before it as Konohagakure and the daimyo pulled their forces away to enforce the border to their south.
Bandits were smart in that they only harassed small villages and went nowhere near the border, which might give the ninjas a reason to kill them all.
At the same time, provinces to the west were suffering from a sudden influx of immigrants. This had created a recession in those provinces with high unemployment. It, along with north's own bandit problems and lack of security, was starting to become a problem as bandit groups were starting to pop up. None of those in the west were big as those in the north, but the fact that they were springing up was the issue.
He didn't quite regret anything he did so far. Hell, he would go so far as to say that he enjoyed some of the things he did.
But with the expansion of influence and settling of ties and relationships between his Order and other sovereignties, work and problems were starting to pile up. The Order would need to become bigger soon to handle it all, preferably without breaching its current code of conduct or becoming corrupt as power started to flow in.
If Naruto had to guess, the lack of power was one of the reasons why the Order had been successful so far with prison inmates as the first members of the Order. Even if the said members weren't the nasty kind -he had made sure to rid the prison of their kind in the first cleansing really well-, equal powerlessness in a kind yet demanding environment had made them into good people. The Order's members helped each other. Grew their own crops. Shared many things.
All of this because things like greed, jealousy, and money weren't involved.
It was no longer going to the case.
His Order was starting to gain power politically, socially, and individually, and the changes were sure to upset the balance he had spent so long to create.
'Then I just have to make sure a new code will come into being. One that has my approval stamped on it.'
And with this, he knew the true reason for Nyx's intervention and subsequent demand for him to come to this gathering. It was an eye-opening experience for him. He had needed this gathering to make the connections, to see the changes. If he had not come, would he have known how much the Order was changing due to some of his choices? Or even the choices of the Order's members? Would the lack of change within him and the changes happening in the Order cause clashes between him and the other members?
They would go unanswered, he hoped.
...And another goddamn merchant is heading his way.
"Uzumaki-saishi-sama!" the merchant, a lean fellow with greedy eyes, called as he "casually" approached him. "You look spectaculous, sir!"
He just wanted to go home already.
When Naruto and Sasuke finally ran into each other, they were both leaving the gathering right after the dinner had been served and cleaned up.
It was traditionally allowed for participants of the party to go after the meal, or snacks, have been served. To leave before was to say that the party sucked. After meals, though, it was okay.
And it was also the earliest time that they would be able to leave before they were caught up in something else like socializing.
Like many of their previous encounters, they met each other when Naruto ran into Sasuke.
They fell down to the ground in a tumble and squawks.
"AGAIN! You did it again!"
"I wasn't trying to do it!"
Naruto grumbled as he pushed himself off the ground.
He opened his eyes, which he had closed during the tumble, and they widened dramatically as he saw exactly what the boing was about.
"Umm... It was unintentional?"
A twitch made his hand tighten his hold and the uneven balance deepened his hold on her.
Her red face and tear-filled eyes accused him otherwise to his words.
"Uh, boss? Did something happen?"
"Shut up, Jenkins. Just shut up."
Jenkins wondered why the High Priest-saishi-sama had a red handprint on his right cheek.
Orochimaru frowned as he read the reports from the front.
Thanks to the priests and paladins of Nyx, the casualties for the Land of Fire and Konohagakure was small. However, this created a new problem. He and the other generals often made the logistics decisions for their own armies. In his case, Orochimaru had to make decisions to supplement to other armies who were hosting his ninjas.
Due to sudden "surplus" of still living ninjas, the needed supply had gone shooting up. At the same time, this forced the already strained economy of Konohagakure to further strain itself. Thankfully, it was just weapons that Konohagakure needed to supply and not food. If food price was included, then the logistics would be dominating Konohagakure's expenditure.
So money was now a problem.
Now, one may wonder. How does a military superpower like Konohagakure lack money?
The answer lies in the question.
Not financial superpower. That title belonged to a ninja village-less Land of Silk.
So how was Konohagakure to gain money? They had jumped into this war due to their duty to their landlord and liege, the Fire Daimyo. However, sooner or later, the village's budget was going to hit a deficit and that would upset many clans within and outside of the village.
Orochimaru knew some measures that he could take to make sure Konohagakure kept on earning a decent income.
One was to raid enemy villages, but more often than not, this was an endeavor better not taken. Civilian villages lacked the wealth to justify any kind of raids and the PR disaster they are often associated with.
Unlike what many of the civilians believe about ninjas during a war, raids are against regulations set forth by the ruling daimyo's. This was because often times when ninja villages go to war and raid villages, this does not help any of the daimyos who are ultimately the rulers of both civilians and the ninjas. As such, the daimyos got together after the First Shinobi World War and made the Raid Ban Pact along with few others. This ultimately banned all vassal ninjas from raiding any other daimyo's villages unless the said daimyo declared war or were declared upon.
Of course, this means by that legal means, Orochimaru could order raids. Again, first reason not to was because it's not worth it. The second reason, however, was that due to the war going on between nations and not ninja villages, any raid would have to fight against both ninjas and regular soldiers of the other side.
So raiding was a no-go for income of money.
Orochimaru could delve into trade, but what did he and Konohagakure have to offer in terms of goods? Konohagakure was not an industrial power like civilian cities were nor was it a trade hub as major centers of trade in Land of Fire. Trade was another no-go due to lack of infrastructure and interest.
...Or was it?
He had heard a lot of conversations between Naruto and merchants, and it seemed that his Order of Nyx had something to sell. Now, Orochimaru's question was how the Order of Nyx came into possession what merchants would want when they are limited to their own small temple under the goddamn village he was in charge of?
He would have to ask Naruto, but the boy had become craftier during the time he had spent in the prison. He would try to bargain something.
There was nothing wrong with that as far as Orochimaru was concerned. Naruto was not someone who would either betray or cheat him, Konohagakure, or various other individuals he had ties to inside the village no matter how craftier the boy became.
A political takeover was a different issue, though, and Naruto did not possess the level of craftiness nor the resource to attempt anything like that soon, so the point was moot.
Back to the point, where was he to get the money to keep his village afloat financially?
The first thing Naruto did when he got back to the Temple of Nyx was to ask for volunteers to drive bandits out.
He got plenty of volunteers, and more than a few of them were the class-less fighters.
When asked why, a general answer had been that bandits had something to do with the start of their miserable life before the Order of Nyx.
He didn't ask further.
Instead, he made sure to group up the volunteers by tens or dozens with decently strong fighters comprising more than half of each group.
Then he either had them attached to the nobles and merchants in need of them or hired a ninja by himself to guide the volunteer "militia," he supposed, to where they needed to go.
It was here that Naruto realized another fact.
The Order of Nyx depended upon him for several things.
First, leadership. This was obvious. He was their High Priest and their most direct connection of the Goddess Nyx.
Second, resources. This was less obvious because, in the past few years, he had made sure to make the Order of Nyx self-sufficient with the gardens and domesticated animals. However, the Order still depended upon him and his hunters to go through to the Proving Grounds to bring them back meat, and without him, they could not reach the Proving Grounds.
He needed to set up a more permanent solution for that.
He knew right on top of his head that he had two solutions.
One, bring more animals and try to hire someone to educate his people on animal husbandry. Unfortunately, this was a problem due to the size of the temple; the temple was too small to house enough animals to meet the meat demand.
Second, he could make a permanent "gate" of sorts that didn't require him to activate.
Third, find a class among his Order who can open a gate.
So he sought out for the more efficient of the two solutions; he searched for someone capable of opening gates.
Naruto sat in front of this guy he didn't quite remember.
The guy in question was trembling like a leaf but had the eyes of reverence most Order members seemed to have when they looked at him. He was Pedrov Alexander, a foreigner who had been brought to Konohagakure as a child due to displacement and then got involved with a thieves guild. His class was, coincidentally, a "Gate Guard," which was a class capable of opening any kind of gate as well as keeping them closed.
His current job within the Order had been to watch over the food storage that the Order had built into one of the officer rooms not too long ago, which maintained its icy temperature thanks to one of the mage-class Order members.
Alexander blinked. "S-Sir?"
"I have a job for you, Pedrov-san," Naruto began.
Alexander gulped. "Y-Your wish is my command, High Priest-saishi-dono!"
Naruto patted the much older man on the shoulder. "It is a big job, though. Are you sure you can handle it?"
"W-What will I be doing, s-sir?"
"You'll be in charge of a gate!"
Pedrov Alexander couldn't believe it.
The High Priest-sama was speaking to him!
He was so giddy that he couldn't stop his own body from trembling.
Then the High Priest-sama offered him a job.
He took it, of course. It wasn't like he had anything better to do. His class made it even better for gatekeeping.
So he followed the High Priest-sama through the corridors until they reached the Temple's courtyard where the gardens were being kept along with few animals.
"S-Sir? What gate w-will I be guarding, e-exactly?"
High Priest-sama grinned. "This one," he said as he waved his hand, and a wooden gate burst forth from the floor.
"T-T-The Gate to Proving Grounds?" Thanks to his class, the Gate Guard, he knew exactly what any kind of gate was. The knowledge just flowed into his head as if the had the right to be there.
"Yup. I know that if you take charge of a gate and stay on guard for six hours everyday, then the gate must obey you. So I am leaving this gate in your care so that hunters may go in to hunt for the meat that we all love."
Height: 162 cm (5.3 feet)
Weight: 57.3 kilograms (126 pounds)
HP: 600 (+24)
-Passive: 17(+5) HP/minute
-Kyuubi-Regen Active: 20 HP/second
Energy: 100,000-Self + 1,000,000,000-Kyuubi (Activation Requirement: Unknown)
-Passive: 100(+5) ENERGY/minute
-Kyuubi Active: 1000 ENERGY/second
Base Class: Zealot
Category: Debuff Tank
Mana: 1500 (MAX for Zealot)
-Mana Regen: 30(+5) mana/ minute
Strength: 81 (+12)(+11)
Defense: 40 (+21)(+31)
Speed: 25 (-8)
Attack Speed: 20 (2.42 atk/sec)
Dexterity: 21 (+2)
Endurance: 31 (+11)
Wisdom: 32 (-2.5)
Stat Points to Allocate: 0