And now, for something completely different…

Kakashi groaned. "Team 7 passed the first exam, thank god." He mumbled, slumping on the couch of the room that the jounin teachers of Konoha were lounging in. It was a very spacious room, intended for the teachers of the teams who'd passed the first round. Usually, these numbered in at least a dozen, sometimes two, but this time, there'd been only ten teams from Konoha that continued in the running.

Which was because they'd had a few crops of particularly pathetic genin lately. Luckily, the standards were coming up, recovering after they started to rush training, given the losses provoked by the Kyuubi.

The couch he sat on was shared by Kurenai and Asuma, both teachers of the rookies that had been entered of the exams. Unlike them, however, Kakashi did not fear for his genin's lives in the least. In fact, he was fearing they could cause a political shitstorm. After all, Naruto was technically the Daimyo of the Land of Waves, Sasuke was the Clan Head of the Uchiha Clan and Sakura's father had actually been in the running for Fourth Hokage (and later Godaime) before he'd suddenly gone rogue.

Comparatively, the other two rookie teams entered into the exams were much, much safer, as the Apex Predator in the forest was almost certainly Team 7 from Konoha.

Anko had barged in minutes earlier, ready to chew out Kakashi on producing the genin that had ruined her badass entrance, but she'd taken one look at the long suffering expression on the poor man's masked face and left without a word, running to the tower (there's always the freak team that makes it into the tower distressingly early, which if Kakashi knew his students right, would thankfully not be Team 7).

"Kakashi." A sudden voice shook the Elite Jounin out of his reverie, causing him to blink and turn to face Asuma and Kurenai, looking not unlike someone who'd just been brought out of depression but was still feeling the after effects.

"What?" He asked, snappily.

"What are the chances of Naruto flipping out?" Asked Kurenai, her tone carefully guarded. "I've heard that he doesn't like Hinata very much…" Which was funny, because the girl absolutely adored him. Adored him for the strength he radiated from every pore, for his confidence and his all around badassery. It was clear that Hinata held an idealized version of the cocky bastard in her head, but Kurenai wouldn't do anything to clear that given that it was pretty much the only thing that kept her going through tough training sometimes.

"I'd say that unless something REALLY pisses him off, like breaking one of his treasures, the chances are barely above zero, why?" Kakashi asked, tilting his head.

Of course it was a good kind of paranoia to be worried about Naruto flipping the fuck out, because if they'd had access to Kakashi's report on the Wave Mission, whatever it was that he'd done once Gato pissed him off had removed a lot of people from existence. It was very clear Naruto's 'treasures' held far more power than could be ascertained at first glance, and he made no secret of his willingness to use them on those who angered him.

"Because I'm kinda worried. Hinata is trying to become strong so Naruto will see her…" For some reason, the girl was more keen on Naruto recognizing her strength than her own goddamn family. "… But Naruto has proven stubborn and… well, he's an asshole, is what I'm saying."

"Yeah, well, he is." Kakashi said. "But even if Hinata really, really annoys him, he wouldn't get angry. Not really. Maybe a passing flicker of annoyance at best. Trust me, if you REALLY want to anger him, you need to go for the things he actually cares about. We've insulted him up and down and he doesn't seem to give a crap, but… Well, there's one sure fire way to piss him off."

"Well, that sounds interesting." Asuma admitted. "You said something about breaking his treasures… From what I saw when we went to the north, Naruto carries a lot of random weapons and jewelry around everywhere. Doesn't he know that he's risking them by doing that? Why take them to battle if you care so much about them?"

"The ones you see him use are Shadow Clone Copies." Kakashi explained, sighing and trying to forget about how stupid that sentence sounded. "I think I've seen him use the real thing only once and… I don't think I want to see something like that again."

"Kakashi, I saw him create a blizzard by waving a knife, throw weapons without using his hands or chakra and there's the whole thing about taking over a country in a day." Asuma said, deadpan. "What could you have possibly seen that was so terrifying?"

"I saw him use a weapon so terrible that it simply removed a miniature army from existence. They were just gone Asuma. One second they were there, then there was a red tornado coming from Naruto's weapon and then they were gone. The only thing that remained were unrecognizable chunks of flesh. And the most terrifying part about that? He did that without using the slightest drop from that thing's chakra."

"… Okay, that does sound scary." Kurenai admitted. "But even if he could do something like that, I assume it must have downsides. It can't possibly cost little chakra, and I'm guessing it's not easy to do in the heat of battle."

Kakashi shook his head. "I'm still not gonna cross him. He's a good kid, beneath all the jerkassery, but that doesn't mean I want to piss him off. Or be around him longer than necessary."

"You know, usually, jounin tend to become fond of their genin team, unless there was a huge mistake in team selection… I have to admit, this is the first time I've seen a jounin want to part with his genin team so much." Admitted a random jounin in the room.

"If you'd met Team 7, you'd be thinking the same."


Going for a Joyride

Kakashi's worst fears could not hope to come close to what had eventually happened.

"Why are we doing this, again?" Asked Sasuke, mildly annoyed as they trudged through the Forest of Things That Are Afraid Of Sakura.

Sakura shrugged. "It's great training." She said, as she punched a giant centipede in what passed for its head, sending it flying back to ground level. The thick branches of the Forest of Things That Are Afraid Of Sakura's trees happened to be both sturdy and big enough to serve as a second network of roads rather that the once-beaten paths that had been reclaimed by Nature.

The thick treetops prevented them from being seen from below, though it also limited sight of what happened down below.

Unlike his teammates, who'd taken to the safer tree route (the leeches, the main danger when you were above the trees, were visible from a mile away considering that they were usually the size of a grown man's torso), the golden haired, casually dressed Daimyo of Wave was casually strolling at ground level.

Sakura wasn't certain where he'd gotten the Tiger Skin coat he now wore, but it was quite stylish. Deciding that sticking to 'safety' was pointless when they could just destroy anything in their way anyway, Sakura dropped down, curiosity in her gaze. "Hey, Naruto, where did you get that coat?"

"I made it, mongrel." Naruto spoke, his tone leaving room for no argument. "As for where I obtained the materials to do so… A kilometer southwest of here used to live a family of these gigantic tigers."

"You know, if it were anyone else, I'd be calling bullshit on that." A sudden, bored and lazy drawl made them instantly turn their attention to where a boy whose hair was styled after a pineapple and his fat companion waltzed into the scene. "But somehow, I think I can buy that."

"It helps that we came across the remains." Chouji admitted. "Very nice work, by the way."

"Naruto, you can sew?" Sakura asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I have no weaknesses." Naruto informed her, looking absolutely smug about it. Sakura scoffed. She knew how to beat him if it came down to a fight, though she wasn't certain she could pull it off. Sure, she'd have to rely on his massive arrogance to bridge the gap between her skill and his natural abilities, but it'd more than do so if she played her hand well.

"Anyway, I knew there was no way you guys wouldn't see us as we passed along, so I thought we'd make this short. I don't want to fight you guys, and I know we can't beat you." Shikamaru explained, sounding absolutely uncaring about admitting his weakness in front of his peers. "So just take our scroll and go." He spoke, fishing for the scroll from the pouch Chouji carried it in.

"Shika! What are you doing!?" Ino snarled, jumping from behind the bush. "We were supposed to ambush them!" She yelled, planting her fists on her hips.

"Sasuke saw us coming a mile away." Shikamaru spoke, giving Ino a flat stare. "And I don't think I can hold both Naruto and Sakura long enough for Chouji to incapacitate them."

"But it could've worked! I just need to use my jutsu on Naruto and then we'll win!" Ino spoke, huffing.

"Oh? I am curious, mongrel. What is it you pretend to do to me? Do it, and I will show you your efforts would have been futile."

Sakura groaned. Naruto's massive ego would be the end of him… it would have already done him in, if he didn't have the insane power to back it up as he had. Plus, of course, all those wonderful toys he kept pulling out of his ass whenever he needed them. "I will not save your ass if it really puts you in trouble. And neither will Sasuke."

Everyone could've sworn they saw one of the bushes nod.

Ino grinned, then she began going through handsigns. "Shintenshin No Jutsu!" she yelled, and pointed the final handsign straight at Naruto.

Then Ino's body slumped, and Naruto's looked like a puppet for a second.

"Holy shit…" Naruto mumbled, raising his hands and looking at them as if it'd been the first time he saw them. "… Holy shit! I can't even begin to describe how this feels…"

"Ino?" Shikamaru asked.

"Ino!?" Sakura seemed utterly shocked. Apparently, it'd allowed her to wrestle control from Naruto. And she was now in full command of the blond's body.

"Yep!" Ino replied, giving what was probably the first non-cocky smirk Naruto's face had ever made. "You guys have seriously no idea what this feels like. I've been in the bodies of all sorts of people, and this is something else entirely." She explained, giving a few practice swings of Naruto's arms.

"Well, can't say I'll ever experience that. What does it feel like to be in the body of the strongest genin in this exam?" Shikamaru asked, raising an eyebrow. Curiosity had gotten past his laziness, and even Chouji was quite eager to hear Ino's words.

"I don't think I can explain it. Remember when you said that he's always holding back, Sakura?" Ino asked, looking at her oldest friend. "You have no idea how much he's holding back. I think he has more chakra in one of his fingers than I do in my entire body. Probably several times more than that, but I don't have full access to his body's capabilities." She said, continuing to move around.

Her knees bent and she prepared to leap. She gave the strongest push she could and suddenly, Naruto's body had cleared right through the treetops, going very well above the tree line of the Forest of Things That Are Afraid Of Sakura. And she was floating there. "Woah… this is just unbelievable! I can't believe he seriously has this much power!"

She then landed, feeling absolutely no pain whatsoever, and finding everyone had their jaws dropping to the floor as she cratered the ground suffering no ill effects. "Guys, right now I feel like I could beat every other team in this exam in ten minutes flat. Chouji, make a giant fist and punch me, I wanna try something!"

"But I will hurt your real body!" Chouji protested, looking oddly distressed. "And Naruto might be angry."

"I don't think he's pissed off… he seems amused, actually." Ino admitted. "And something tells me he's actually allowing me to do this. I don't know why, usually I don't feel what the possessed body's mind is thinking…" She admitted. "Anyway, come on!"

Chouji shrugged, pulled his arm back and with a whispered incantation made it grow to three times its size. Then he doubled that. "I'm sorry, Naruto!" Chouji yelled as he punched forward with all of his might…

… Only to very nearly break each and every bone in his hand when he felt like he'd just tried to punch his father when the latter was using the most powerful defensive jutsu of the Akimichi clan. Essentially, it was no different from a normal human punching a wall.

"Holy shit! Oh my god! This is unbelievable!" Ino gushed, as she pushed Chouji's fist back nearly effortlessly with Naruto's arm.

"Okay, so Naruto is stronger than I thought he was." Sakura said. "I already had a pretty damn big estimate of how strong he was, mind you. What about chakra?" Asked the pinkette.

"Well… I can't control his chakra worth crap. Daddy said that I need more experience to use someone else's body to that extent, but I don't think even he could use this much chakra." Then she went through a short series of handsigns and slammed Naruto's hands together. Nothing happened. "It's like trying to fill a cup by throwing the ocean at it. Plus it's really chaotic and hard to control…" She said, frowning. "Now, how do I access those toys of his..?"

Then they were silent for a few seconds.

"Okay, I'm not doing that." Ino said, and her original body shivered. "Let's just say he didn't take kindly to that question." She admitted, smiling sheepishly.

"I tire of your presence, Yamanaka. Return to your body." Naruto's voice suddenly cut through the calm forest, and Ino found herself looking at the other blond once again. "As you can see, I could have disrupted your jutsu whenever I so decided. I merely wished to let you feel the greatness of the King firsthand." He explained, rising his chin and looking down at Ino.

For a moment, it was as if the rest of the world didn't exist, and Ino found herself lost in the moment. Now she understood better than anyone, now she finally realized why Naruto was the way he was. She felt as if she lived in a world of cardboard after just a few seconds of sharing a body with him. She understood why his ego was so massive now…

… Compared to that feeling of omnipotence that simply having awareness of Naruto's body's physical properties brought, her current body felt pitifully weak, and it was distressing for Ino.

"Understand, now, how far beneath the King you are, Mongrel. Grab that feeling of weakness and hold onto it. Hold onto it tightly, for it is a sign of your humanity. That is fuel. It is the fuel you will use to feed yourself as you climb up. Understand your position now, so you may climb further up." The King spoke, arms crossing as the tiger skin cloak waved with the previously absent wind.

"Heh… You look pretty cool, you know?" Ino admitted.

Naruto's eyes narrowed for a second, before he threw his head back and laughed.


Red Alert!

Sakura blinked as she pulled her fist back, having accidentally pushed it through the massive beast's rib cage. Sasuke pocketed the valuables he'd nicked off the team they'd crossed.

Naruto had taken one look at them, and while his teammates had decided to spare the pathetic genin's lives, he'd stomped on the head of one of the downed boys and crushed it underfoot. He had pinned the other with a glare and, after he snapped his finger, a weapon had appeared from the vault he kept nowhere and speared the boy in the chest before exploding into smoke, the wound remaining very much real.

Then he had gone towards the red haired girl that had been frozen in terror and lifted her by the collar of her outfit, a rather loose fitted kimono shirt. Her feet could not touch the ground, though the shirt was dangerously close to slipping off. Naruto seemed completely bemused by something.

"You know, this doesn't seem like you." Sakura commented, crossing her arms. "They were defenseless and weak, there was no reason to kill them."

"Actually…" Sasuke began, looking at the red haired girl up and down, then gesturing at her clothes. "I'd say there was plenty of reason to kill them, and none to let them live."

"What do you mean?" Sakura asked, raising an eyebrow. "They were like twelve, I doubt that they had any of those urges, if that's what you're thinking."

"I'm not saying anything." Sasuke spoke, raising his hands. "Some people develop earlier than others."

"Where. Is. Your Key." Naruto snarled into her face, his face inches from her own, noses nearly meeting.

"M-M-My k-k-key!?" The girl nearly shouted, utterly terrified at staring down the boy who'd so easily and carelessly butchered her team.

"You are an Uzumaki. Where is your key!?" Naruto asked again, shaking her for good measure.

"I-I'm a-a-a w-w-what!?"

Naruto's expression softened as he let go of her collar, letting her fall on her butt. "I see, then… you do not even know…" He then seemed to fall into a pensive position, eyes closed. "I see you, and I see a disgrace to my blood. You who share the blood that runs through my veins, are but a pathetic, sniveling brat."

Proving his point, the red haired girl broke into tears at the rough handling, the shock of losing her teammates and being described as a disgrace to the family she'd never known she had.

"I will not let this stand. You cannot be allowed to share my blood in this sorry state."

Sasuke raised an eyebrow. "You could tell she was related to you at a glance?"

"Indeed." Naruto said, closing his eyes for a second. "It is unmistakable to me."

"His level of narcissism means he probably finds anything that shares his blood attractive." Sakura stated, shrugging and adopting a deadpan expression. "If he could look past his ego, anyway."

"Silence, mongrels!" Naruto snapped. "The blood we share calls out to me."

"What is this whole business about keys, anyway?" Sakura asked, crossing her arms and tapping her foot, showing her annoyance.

"Nothing you should concern yourself with." Naruto continued. "Silence, I am trying to decide what I shall do with this most grave insult upon me." He said, as he noticed the girl was trying to curl into a fetal position on the ground, trying not to be seen.

"Why don't you take her in? If you're so great as a king, you should be capable of turning her into a strong and driven woman, right?" Sakura asked. She knew that his ego would not allow him to let the challenge go by.

She didn't want to see the girl die. Her teammates, for all she cared about, could go die in a fire or something. But the red haired girl turned out to be a relative of her blond teammate's, and all the gods knew that she'd use every opportunity the girl brought to tease Naruto mercilessly about it later.

"Yes… yes, you are correct." Naruto said, nodding to himself. "You, girl, shall be instructed so you can achieve greatness. I will not let you insult me with your pitiful existence no longer."

"I'm still gonna have her watch the brats for me from time to time." Sasuke pointed out. "You can never waste someone who owes you a favor."

Naruto snorted. "Come, girl… I shall lead you to safety. But first of all… what is your name?"

"M-My name… is Karin." She said, fear tinting her every word and forcing her to speak the truth. She did not wish to risk angering this boy who could so easily choose her destiny now.

"Very well, then, Karin." Naruto said, offering her his hand. "If you take my hand, I cannot promise you safety. I cannot promise you there won't be pain. I can't promise you that there won't be suffering. What I can promise you, Karin, is glory. I can give you greatness. I can give you strength that you could only dream of."

Karin was taken aback by the sudden gesture.

"It is all within you. And the ultimate decision to bring it out is within you. So what will it be? Will you take the chance and risk everything in a gamble to obtain what your blood demands of you, or will you settle for mediocrity and await for an undignified death at the hands of wild animals? You must choose… but choose wisely, for never will you have a similar deal again."

There wasn't even a ghost of hesitation as Karin firmly grasped her… her only living family's hand.

Naruto's smile was warm and kind, and she felt as if she was in heaven merely from the sight.

And then she was out cold.


Hunting Rabid Wereraccoons

Fear was the only sensation the Suna Siblings shared. Never before had they found themselves in more synchronization as they had the moment that the freakishly strong Konoha team had wandered into the same clearing Gaara had just slaughtered a bunch of Ame genin in.

Temari had found the Leaf Genin hiding in the bushes too adorable to point out to Gaara. To her, they were baby ninja, beneath her notice. They likely wouldn't make it past the invasion, so she felt no need to hasten the coming of their demise come the third round. She could've killed the three of them before they even got a chance to react, her wind moved faster than most could move and even if the Hyuuga could see it coming with those eyes of her, she doubted the girl's ability to dodge a good blade of wind.

Kankuro had probably thought along the same lines, given his discreet glance to the bushes when she'd noticed the other three's presence. The Ame genin had been laughable at best, as they couldn't even utilize basic logic to determine that attacking the guy with the automatic sand shield using needles was pointless.

Their less than kind comments towards her and her brothers assured that any guilt she could have felt about ending their careers by not restraining Gaara when she could was gone before Gaara got to them.

The jinchuuriki of the Shukaku had been shaken since the exams had started. He seemed quiet, more so than usual, when he went about slaughtering the three teams they'd come across. In fact, he didn't seem to be in the mad glee he found himself in when he slaughtered people.

She was perturbed by that freakishly strong team as much as her brothers, but being older and more experienced, she knew very well how to deal with her fear. Kankuro was faring relatively well, having chosen to distract himself from the fear by dwelling on his hobby, maintaining his collection of puppets.

Gaara had never learned how to cope with fear, however. He had always relied on Shukaku to deal with the things he feared.

Except this time…

This time Shukaku was just as terrified as Gaara was. And that was what truly put Temari on edge. The boy had been perfectly lucid and in control of his emotions, unlike Gaara who could fly off the handle the moment someone used the wrong choice of words. The boy had seemed to be in complete control of himself, and it frightened Temari to think that something about him terrified Gaara, the monster of the desert.

"Well well, if it isn't the rabid raccoon himself." A low, clearly amused voice rang through the clearing that the Siblings had stopped in.

Temari's blood froze.

She couldn't move. She couldn't speak. The boy walked flanked by the black haired boy and pink haired girl that had accompanied him before. His very presence radiated power, seemed to glow with barely contained strength. He was confident in his stride and smirk, and she could practically feel the wind as it was suddenly grabbed and twisted, forced to become still.

But neither of them registered to Temari's senses. The two were powerful, they were strong, they were incredibly skilled…

… but their presence wasn't the same.

"You…" Gaara growled lowly, his eyes narrowing as he replaced his fear with growing and crazed anger, the emotions he defaulted to whenever he did not understand something.

"Yes. Me." The blond said, smiling widely. "I thought I had asked you to remember my name. It is rude of a mongrel not to obey its superiors." He said, spreading his hands and holding them away from each other as if he were holding something long and pointy in each of them. The air rippled, there was a flash of light, and suddenly the blond boy was holding a golden, curved blade on each hand. Temari noticed that after the flash of light receded, his white dress shirt was gone, revealing the sculpted chest and the red lines decorating it.

Incidentally, the lower half of his clothes had been replaced with the strangest armor she'd ever seen. It seemed like the field plates' of old lower half. The tiger skin coat he had hanging on his shoulders was now secured with a golden chain connected to the golden shoulder pads underneath it.

"You know what I came here for, little rabid raccoon." The boy spoke, his smile widening. "I am the strongest, and I will prove this to you."

"You will not deny my existence!" Gaara yelled, growling as insanity took over.

"I am not speaking to you, worm. You are beneath my notice, beneath even the mongrels that you surround yourself with." The golden haired boy spoke, losing the amused expression he'd worn until now, then moving so he could point one of his swords at Gaara. "I know you are in there, raccoon. Show yourself! The King commands you!"

Temari's eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets when Gaara let out a loud shriek of pain and the gourd he carried in his back exploded in a shower of sand. It quickly enveloped Gaara, not in the orb he used to protect himself while he went through the tedious process of drawing on his tailed beast's chakra, but in a much smaller shell, one that was distinctly humanoid.

And in a few seconds, it was gone in a swirl of sand, and a sandy-brown haired figure was there in Gaara's place. The figure wore a bemused expression that went with the tarnished plate of its armored coat. That couldn't have been Gaara, the eyes lacked that undercurrent of insanity that was everpresent in her brother's eyes..

No. Temari was certain that what she was looking at was the Shukaku itself in human form.

"I have not used this form in a few hundred years." The sandy blond spoke, cracking his neck and drawing a blade from the remaining mound of sand. A beautiful, golden and blue blade inscribed with runes that Temari couldn't decipher with her measly sealing knowledge. The sheer power radiated by the two figures made it so that she couldn't even look away from the two, as the pressure increased.

They'd let their chakra go unbound, and she could feel it already making her head hurt. It was power beyond her comprehension.

The other two were similarly powerful monsters, if they could stand there, nearly unaffected. Seriously, what the fuck was wrong with the genin of Konoha? Maybe the other three hadn't so much been failing at hiding as they were deliberately revealing their presence, goading the Suna team into a fight.

"I do believe it's been a very long time since we've seen each other face to face, Kurama." The Shukaku seemed completely at ease despite the building pressure, even as it casually held its golden sword with both hands. The wind screamed in pain as it was forced to bend and accommodate to the human-sized tailed beast's whims, shielding his sword from sight by covering it with sight-distorting wind.

Temari was suddenly feeling very inadequate as she saw the kind of power a real and true master of the wind element could achieve.

Naruto seemed unfazed, too, as he set himself in a stance that left him wide open to any attack. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto, mongrel! Remember it well, for it shall be engraved upon your soul!"

"So it is an upstart that challenges me!? What a joke! You think you can stand on the same level as me, brat!? You might have his power, but you cannot hold a candle to his greatness! I will show you your place in the world, maggot!" The suddenly enraged Shukaku spoke, taking what Temari could only guess was a battle stance.

Suddenly, both fighters blurred out of existence.

There was a shockwave, and everything went black for a second.

Temari saw the flashes of golden light, blurs of movement. She saw the wind rip and tear at itself, concealing the invisible blade that the Shukaku swung around with wild and careless abandon. She felt, more than she saw, as the two titanic powers found themselves locked in a struggle that made legends look positively puny by comparison.

It was then that Temari understood what mortals felt like when they stood in front of gods. She understood what it was like to stare at the level of power that such beings achieved.

The moment of her life in which she could finally see, for the first time in her life, just how utterly insignificant she was.

The forest was being rent apart by the clash of the great forces. Temari had been blown back and had hit a tree that had been toppled over seconds after. She saw the earth being torn asunder, she saw the mighty trees of the forest, trees that would've sustained no damage from her strongest wind blade, being ripped apart with careless ease.

She saw the Shukaku's blade slice through one of them from ten feet away. She saw the twin golden blades on the blond's hand becoming a storm of golden flashes, moving quicker with every slash.

She saw the Shukaku, a being that she knew to be powerful beyond measure, a being she had seen protect Gaara from anything and anyone who wished him harm and slaughter any that would threaten Gaara, fighting and unleashing all of its power at once. It was said that the Shukaku, the weakest of the tailed beasts, had created the massive canyon Sunagakure was emplaced in with one of its Bijuudama.

That freakishly strong power…

… Was nothing compared to the legendary feats of the Kyuubi.

The Kyuubi, which created a tsunami by hitting the ocean with its tails. The Kyuubi, which could swing its tails with enough strength to create hurricanes. The Kyuubi, which could plow through mountains. The Kyuubi, which had rearranged the landscape all over the continent, many, many times.

The Kyuubi, which had been kept by the Shodaime Hokage safely hidden within someone, was quite clearly just as loose as the Shukaku was inside Konoha.

The big difference?

Apparently, the Hokage had convinced it to work for Konoha.

Temari knew, right then and there, that the invasion would never come to fruition. It was just a ridiculous thought. Their trump card had been the Shukaku, they'd relied on its bloodlust to buy them this fight by sowing chaos and confusion in Konoha's ranks, dealing most of the wide-scale damage.

Given the fact that it was consistently being pushed back, Temari knew that they no longer stood a chance of conquering Konoha. They'd lose. Konoha would be pissed and they'd attack Suna. The Kyuubi would wipe out Suna with ease, as it was handling the Shukaku.

When the fighting stopped, for a brief lull of stillness, Temari could see the Shukaku's strained expression, contrasted with the confident smirk worn by the Kyuubi in human form. She had to do something. She had to run. She had to get the hell away.

"You're going nowhere." The pinkette stated, placing a hand on her shoulder the moment she tried to scamper away from the fight. "Your brother over there's spewing killer intent like he wants to off us all, and Naruto's kinda excited by this. If you move and he loses track of where you are, you'll end up as a red smear on the forest, sooner or later."

She heard the other one snort. "It just goes to show, the jackass really can't go more than ten minutes without stealing the spotlight."

Temari wondered just how they could be so casual at a time like this.

And then it was all over, the Shukaku was on the ground, broken beat and bruised, a series of holes in its armored coat as well as the flesh beneath it. It was bleeding onto the forest. Even now, it did not lose its expression of defiance.


Wretches And Kings

Naruto wanted to laugh. He really did. So he did. He threw his head back and let the manic cackles take over him, making his body spasm, shaking him to the core. Then he felt the exhilaration that his exertion brought, and he felt truly alive for a full second.

The world bent and kneeled, rolling over and playing dead for him. It followed his every whim as his chakra spread into the environment, flooding it, making it his, forcing it to go along with his will. His will, which was indomitable as befit of a king of his stature, found no challenge from the world as he jumped high into the air. It was well beyond the point where he needed to do something like this.

But this opponent had shown him a good time.

This opponent had provided him with an incredible fight. His muscles hurt, he was sore from having tried so hard. No matter how much the ninja arts challenged him, it was always a hollow challenge, as even the greatest and most difficult exercise was just that, and not a true opponent that would force him to go all out.

That was why his hands made the swords he held in his hand meet, handle first. "Let me show you, Shukaku, one of my greatest treasures! One I have kept with the hope that I would find someone worthy to use it upon! Feel glad, insolent mongrel, because you will be the first to learn of the true power of Enki!"

The bowstring appeared, the bow itself adjusted so that it could be properly used as such. A beam of light coalesced into a narrow shape, resembling an arrow, and he pulled the bowstring back, the beam of light following dutifully.

Runic shapes began to take form, circling the exact spot where his arrow would cross as it exited the bow's hold. Sheer power radiated from it, a power greater than anything that those below him had ever experienced. The power granted to him and him alone, the only person worthy of ever wielding Enki in battle.

"I got you, insufferable insolent whelp!" Shukaku yelled, quickly moving so that it could grab its sword in both hands.

With a mighty swing, a red and black beam erupted at the middle of the weapon's arc, discoloring the sky as it rose in a mighty column.

"BIJUUDAMA!" the tailed beast screamed, and the mighty beam collided with the airborne Naruto.


And then there were two! Yes, Naruto just got punked the same way Gilgamesh did in Prototype. Except he didn't get the time needed to start off Utnapishtism. Mostly because Shukaku is far more durable and recovers far quicker than Arthur did, and so it was able to Bijuudama Naruto far earlier than Arthur could Excaliblast Gil.

Naruto is close to CCC Gilgamesh. Who'd thunk it? I certainly didn't!

Ino gets a joyride on Naruto's body! Admittedly, I didn't do what I originally wanted to do, which was to show that despite any difficulties Naruto might have with chakra control exercises and actual jutsu, he's still got the strongest body out there. Kinda like Zetta. Powerful as fuck, skilled as a brick. An owner of many weapons, a master of few.

So... Karin will obviously be nothing like her canon self. Here, being an Uzumaki means a whole lot more than it did in canon.

The Shukaku? That's King Arthur from Fate Prototype! Yeah, let's see if you can guess which servant every Bijuu is! Hint: Shukaku got one of the strongest servants, despite being the weakest of the tailed beasts, so the servant that fits each tailed beast does not correspond to the tailed beast's powerlevel.

And yeah, the first thing to give Naruto a legitimate challenge, and even beat him, is a Tailed Beast. Don't worry, EVENTUALLY, I will explain why Naruto is so bloody powerful (hint: it has to do with what turned him into a Gil Lookalike in the first place!). And yeah, the tailed beasts will be SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful than they were in canon, well, the ones that have a host that either allows them to do what the Shukaku did to Gaara or have such crappy seals that the tailed beast can overpower the host's will anyway.