Sorry this took so long, I really hit some roadblocks with this chapter. At first it was just the fight scenes. The one from the genin chapter was just to get my feet wet, and it was a hit and run tactic so it had to be short. I wanted more for this chapter and I guess I just put too much importance on it and didn't let it flow. Then there was Inari, I hate working with characters like this.
Props to crazylony for beta reading this chapter
And before you begin. SAVE OUR FANFICTION. Go to : petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/stop-sopa-2013/LMzMVrQF, and sign against the government trying to ban fanfictions.
The morning after their arrival, the shinobi found themselves in the living room. Kakashi was sitting in a chair reading his book as Yugao stood beside him. He took a moment to study the genin in front of him. To his right Mito and Risa comparing training, while Sayuki had her hands in her lap and was staring at them. To his left were a brooding Sasuke and the ever gibbering Sakura. Across from him was Naruto leaning against the wall as well as a red and black fox called Kurama that was evidentially a ninko (ninja fox), summons, or something along those lines. Once he had taken account of these factors, he decided to start the meeting with a…
Almost instantly everyone quiet down, except for Sakura who rambled on for another 10 seconds before realizing that everyone was silent.
"Now that I have your attention…" Kakashi started in a lazy tone "… I need to tell you that Zabuza is alive."
All of the genin, with the exception of Naruto, gasped at the news. Kakashi was about to continue, but one pink haired genin beat him to it.
"How is that possible? You checked him yourself; you said he didn't have a pulse." She screeched, causing Naruto and Kurama to cringe slightly due to their heightened sense of hearing.
"…sigh… Well Sakura, the hunter-nin used senbon needles and aimed for the neck…. And before you ask why that is important it's because you can't kill a person that easily by putting senbon in the neck, but you can put them in a deathlike state. There is also the fact that he moved the body when it's standard protocol for them to destroy the body on the spot."
Team 7 started to shift in their seats as the memories of their encounter with the swordsman flashed through their minds.
"For that reason, Yugao and I believe it is best for you to train in order for you to have better chances in our next encounter. Sadly I'm still recovering from our last fight, so Yugao will be administering training."
The genin nodded, stood up, and followed Yugao out of the house leaving Kakashi and Kurama behind and into the woods. Eventually stopping at a small clearing where Yugao started to begrudgingly explain the concept of tree-climbing to team 7, on account of their lazy sensei. Naruto on the other hand wasn't paying attention and was instead going over and refining his own plans. His clones found Gato's hideout, but had yet to find Zabuza's. Today he made another batch of clones and sent them to continue their search for Zabuza, but also to gather more info on Gato.
'I'll have to wait for that information first before I can make any of the finer details, but all that is useless unless I can get the info on Zabuza's recovery time.'
Naruto returned to reality as Yugao threw 3 kunai that landed in front of each member of team 7 as Mito pulled out one from her pouch.
"Use those to mark your progress by making a gash on the tree and try to surpass it the next try." Yugao paused, thinking about their position on who would guard Tazuna before returning to the team. "Alright, Sayuki and I will stand guard today while you five train. I'm leaving Naruto in charge until Kakashi or I say otherwise. Also if you need help just ask him."
Mito nodded already knowing that Naruto was the strongest in the two genin squads. Risa and Sasuke on the other hand immediately moved to argue.
"WHAT! Why is that loser in charge? Only an Uchiha elite like me can be in charge!" Sasuke yelled.
"Yeah, Sasuke's the best. He should be left in charge." Sakura screeched, causing all members of team 11 to cringe.
"I hate to agree with Sasuke, but why should the dope be in charge?!"
Yugao looked at team 7 and scowled, "The reason he is in charge is because he already mastered this exercise. The other reason he is in charge is because, I SAID SO!"
Yugao turned and started walking back to the house with Sayuki in toe, leaving behind three angry teens.
Naruto just sighed, "You already know what you're supposed to do, and I'll be over there." He said pointing to a tree across the small clearing.
Ignoring the scowls from team 7, Naruto sat down under the tree and unsealed Orochimaru's Curse Seal notes. To say that Naruto was anxious was an understatement.
One Hour Later
He would admit that watching team 7 and Mito fall on their asses was funny for the first five minutes or so, but it got old fast. Unsurprisingly Risa couldn't do it for the same reasons as Mito. Mito, after a whole month, was finally able to get three-fourths up the tree. Sasuke progressed at a normal rate, unfortunately for Naruto's sanity and patience the Uchiha brat took this as a sign of him being superior to the others. Then there was Sakura. The annoying girl completed the exercise on her first try, but when Naruto pointed out that the only reason she had such excellent chakra control was because of her pitiful reserves. She just said that he was jealous of her talent, and instead of listening to him on the next stage of the exercise she opted to cheer Sasuke on. Not that Naruto minded her being week, just meant that she would die sooner and be out of his hair.
As for Naruto himself, he had finished reading the notes after thirty minutes and was already working on making his own. This was until Risa started to get angry that she wasn't making any progress.
"AAAAAHHHH! WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!" she yelled until her brain came to the only logical conclusion in her delusional mind. "This is all your fault." She explained pointing to Naruto.
Naruto for his part just looked up at Risa with an apathetic stare before returning to his notepad. Risa took this as a sign that she was right and continued on the attack. "Yeah! It's your fault that I can't get this exercise."
Naruto closed his notepad, returned it to his coat pocket, stood up and started to dust himself off.
"Risa, I already told you that the reason you are not making any noticeable progress is because humans were never meant to use Yokai as a basis instead of chakra. Normal Jinchuriki should use a mixture of 60-40 or 70-30 of chakra to Yokai respectively. Sadly you and Mi-chan use a mixture of around 20 to 30 percent chakra to Yokai, you are basically going against nature. I already told you a way to make it easier, but you didn't listen. Now you are blaming someone else for your own inability, you're more pathetic than I thought."
With that said Naruto started walking deeper into the woods. "I'm going to do my own training, just go back to the house when you're done."
In truth Naruto didn't plan to train at all. He really wanted to continue his curse mark design for reasons he didn't really understand. It was just that his instincts told, no more like commanded, him to finish it for something that was going to happen. And from his track record, he knew to never ignore his instincts.
It was only then that he realized a presence that has been one of the biggest annoyances in his life. He proceeded to scan the area until he found what he was looking for.
Through the gaps between the trees he spotted his pursuer and prey. The first was tall, pale skinned and boney. It was garbed in a tattered black cloak and wielded a scythe with a purple energy blade and spick on the end. Naruto recognized it as a Hell Vanguard, something that he had the pleasure of killing several times. There were three smaller figures that also had scythes, but wore purple cloaks.
'So one Hell Vanguard and three Hell Prides … that seems a bit lacking?'
From what Naruto understood from Kurama was that when Sparda's son Dante killed the Demon King, the whole dynamic of the Demon Realm was thrown out. Unfortunately for them, a lot of the demons that served under Mundus were still filled with his hatred for Sparda and his kin. After that event, his existence was brought to light and they have been gunning for him ever since. He still hadn't figured out why only minion class demons had tried to kill him. In truth he was hoping a higher class demon would come and give him more fun. After about a year he developed a barrier around Konoha that kept his energy signature hidden. If it wasn't for the fact that the barrier would be near impossible to replicate, he would have left Konoha by now.
Regardless, Hell Vanguards had enough strength to command between 7 to 10 lower minion class demons. He could guess that they had as much intelligence as Kiba, but why would it attack him with so few numbers?
As if answering his curiosity, he felt two more energy signatures in the trees behind him. He didn't recognize what kind of demon it was.
'So they brought a new type of demon? This should be entertaining.'
The Vanguard disappeared and reappeared behind Naruto in mid-swing. Naruto smirked; this one seemed to be a little bit more of a tactical in its assault. Naruto jumped out of the scythe's path, but heard a whistling. He shifted his body mid-air to avoid what looked like a shard of red crystal about a foot long.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw the perpetrator. It was a little bit smaller than the Hell Prides, covered in black scales and spikes, hunched on all fours like an animal, wearing a severally torn cloak, and had what he looked like a crossbow in its hand. Before he could note anything else, the demon jumped into the tree only for a black hole to appear and swallow the thing. The moment the hole closed Naruto completely lost track of its energy signature.
Naruto started to figure out the new demon's capabilities while dodging the attacks of the Vanguard, Prides, and the occasional red arrow from the Snipers as he called them. It appeared that these demons waited until he let his guard down to fire and immediately moved after words. With that solved it was time to counter attack.
As one of the Prides prepared to attack, Naruto intentionally dropped his guard at his back and as expected heard the whistling of the arrow. He sidestepped the attack and watched as the arrow hit the Pride dead in the chest knocking it off balance. Naruto took the opportunity to behead the demon with Yamato, but didn't stop there. As the demon started to dissolve into sand, the white haired youth targeted the Sniper before it could summon the hole. Noting the constant distant between them, the boy drew upon his go-to and first technique of his creation, the Phantom Swords. Pushing his energy out of his body, he started shaping, concentrating, and materializing four solid light blue swords and fired them in the direction of the Sniper. And just as he predicted, the Sniper moved to the tree and right into swords path. In the blink of an eye the demon found itself skewered as the swords pierced its head, chest, crossbow arm, and gut with such force that it was sent flying back. Dissolving, and exploded into sand as the swords lodged into a tree.
The small victory was short lived as the Vanguard appeared in front of him with a downward cut. Bringing Yamato up, he stopped the scythe cold. On the outside he remained completely calm and apathetic, but on the inside he was questioning his situation. He had fought Vanguards before and new that their raw strength was about that of a low S-rank ninja, but he never had a problem with overpowering them recently. A scowl made its way onto face as he realized exactly what changed. It was because he sealed the CFM (Chakra Flow Motion) that his strikes were weaker. It left a bad taste in his mouth when he thought about it. He would be lying if he said he didn't hold an amount of disgust for his sister who used Kurama's Yokai like it was their own; using a power that only made a physical delusion of might that was shattered with the Mizuki incident. Only to realize that he had unknowingly become the same way with the CFM, and it made him feel pathetic. Yet just like at graduation, it fuelled his desire to not only become strong on his own but to become the strongest being alive without it.
While still in their power struggle, the youth slid into a more stable stance and applied more force on the blade. Throwing the attack back, he once again heard the whistling of an arrow behind him and saw the scythe once again come down on him. Thinking quickly, Naruto jumped over the Vanguard and parallel to the scythe's path. Making split second calculations, he applied wind chakra over Yamato and swung it not at the Vanguard or the blade but at the pole of the weapon. At the position of the cut combined with the momentum of the swing, the blade flew through the air and mangled the Sniper resulting in it dissolving into sand. Unfortunately, when he landed and moved to attack the Vanguard it disappeared most likely to repair its weapon so it could attack again; leaving behind only two Prides and an annoyed youth.
Not wanting to waste anymore of his time, Naruto dashed at the closest Pride and in a flash removed its head turning it into sand. The final Pride prepared to attack, but the boy already moved to counter. With a swift sweep kick, the demon landed on its back as Yamato was plunged into its chest. Naruto was a little surprised that the thing didn't dissolve like others did and just put it to this one being a little stronger. Before he could do anything to finish of the Pride, the Vanguard returned with its normal screech. Naruto guessed that it was to disorientate him, but with years in the academy around Sakura it would need to do better than that. Using Yamato as a balance, Naruto jumped and caught the staff of the scythe with his ankles. Removing his hand from Yamato, he spun midair with enough force to spin the scythe out of the Vanguard's possession. The initial spin caused the blade of the scythe to decapitate the Pride below him, but he didn't let it end there. Still in the air, he moved the spinning weapon from his feet to his hand while keeping the momentum of the blade. In a flash he had severed an arm and a leg from the Vanguard and with an upward slash impaled the demon with his own weapon. Using a burst of chakra enforced strength; Naruto continued the slash throwing the Vanguard over his head. Releasing the scythe, he yanked Yamato out of the ground and before the demon knew what was happening pierced its skull.
Naruto let out a breath as he watched the Vanguard and his scythe dissolved into sand. Removing Yamato from the ground, cleaning the blade with one last swing, sheathed his sword. At this moment, multiple slivers of a crimson red mist made their way to him and started seeping into his skin. When it was over, he smirked at the thought that this was going to be an entertaining trip.
- xXx 10 days later xXx-
As Naruto predicted their time in the Land of Waves was pretty uneventful, but entertaining at the same time. Mito finally finished the tree-climbing exercise three days ago and, listening to Naruto, started the next step. A day later Sasuke finished and being the arrogant ass that he was completely ignored Naruto's instructions. Sakura was … well Sakura and Risa hadn't made any progress, which made it entertaining to watch her fail.
Naruto however was plenty active these days. He had started forming the basis of what he wanted his curse mark to contain and do, but wasn't about to do anything with it until he returned to Konoha. Other than that, his time was torn between: watching the other genin fail at training, guard duty, or simply wander in the woods waiting for some demons to show up so he could kill them. He never really understood why he looked forward to those confrontations until Kurama explained it to him. His ancestor Sparda was a special high class demon call a 'devil', which had a very unique way of gaining strength. When a devil trained under severe conditions or fought stronger demons, the devil would naturally grow stronger in order to meet the requirements for success. They even absorbed the essence of their slain enemies, which explained why he always felt great afterwards. Because of these characteristics, all devils developed an instinctual lust for battle.
At the moment everyone was in the dining having dinner. Sakura was fawning over Sasuke, Mito and Risa were discussing about having a girls night out when they returned home, and everyone else was quietly eating their meals.
"Why?" a voice whispered.
Those that were eating in silence looked over the table towards a little boy with black hair, brown sandals, green overalls, a yellow short sleeved shirt and a bowl cap. Naruto for one wasn't interested; he had seen the boy over the last week and had no reason to converse with him. If he remembered correctly, his name was Inari or something close to it. So instead of humoring the boy he continued eating, but he couldn't shake the feeling he could use this situation to his cause.
"Why are you all so carefree?! You're all going to die!"
This got the others attention, but again Naruto just continued eating.
"WHAT WAS THAT BRAT?!" Risa yelled.
"You heard me. There's point in fighting Gato. He's too strong!"
Sasuke smirked, "That's what you think. He doesn't stand a chance against me, an Uchiha elite."
'First strike goes to the arrogant prick' he thought taking another bit of his meal.
"YEAH SASUKE'S THE BEST! HE COULD TAKE ON GATO ALL BY HIMSELF!" (Do I even need to say it?)
'Second strike goes to the useless banshee.' Naruto paused for a moment, reevaluating his plans to see if there was anything he could change that would lead to the death of the pink haired annoyance. Sighing he returned to his food.
"What do you know? Gato has like a hundred thugs, you're only eight people. YOU CAN'T BEAT HIM!"
Risa jumped up and slammed her hands on the table. "AND HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU LITTLE BRAT?!" She paused for a brief second to catch her breath. "Mito and I are the daughters of the legendary Yellow Flash and Red Hot-Blooded Habanero, Kakashi-sensei is a veteran ninja and an elite Jonin, Yugao-sensei is one of the most accomplished swordsman in Konoha, hell even Sasuke isn't as useless as he looks. With people like us here, there's no way we could lose!"
'And everything you said means nothing to an uninformed child. So the third strike goes to the spoiled brat.'
"It doesn't matter; you're all too weak to do anything. Especially you." The boy explained while pointing an accusing finger at Naruto. The others followed the finger and half of them couldn't help but smirk for their own reasons.
"You just sit there like you know everything is going to be alright. Like you already know what's going to happen." At this point, Naruto couldn't help but give the kid credit for his very accurate observation. "But you don't know anything, you don't know what it's like to suffer, and you're going to die trying to be a stupid hero."
At this point Naruto would have normally just beat the kid into a coma. Not because what he said getting to him, he just didn't like the boy's voice. Then again, killing the brat would also not do his plan any favors. So he continued eating, he was already on the last bite anyways.
"HEY STOP IGNORING ME!"
Naruto finished his meal and stood up. "Thank you for the meal, Tsunami-san." He explained as he moved around the table and picked up Inari by the strap of his overalls.
"HEY, PUT ME DOWN!"
"Now if you'll excuse me, Inari and I will take this conversation outside. Tsunami-san can you come to insure Inari's safe return?"
With that Naruto dragged Inari out of the house with Tsunami not far behind. As they exited the building, the white hair youth created 4 shadow clones and had them create a barrier to keep the others in the house. He already hated the fact that he would have to show some weakness in order to get Tsunami completely on his side, but there was no way in the nine levels of hell was he going to let them see it.
He continued leading the quiet Tsunami and thrashing Inari to a pier that was a good distance away from the house. Once at the end of the pier, he let go of Inari causing the boy to fall on his but with a thud.
"Now then." Naruto began turning his attention to Inari. "If you want to talk of death like an adult I will give you your time but you will also listen and be spoken to as an adult. With that said and after hearing what you had to say in that dining room I can honestly say this. Get over it!"
The two were shocked by his blunt and direct comment, but before Inari could compose himself to reply Naruto began again.
"I don't pity you at all Inari and I don't for the fact that I know there are people out there who have suffered in way that you can't even think of. It is a sad fact, but a fact none the less, that your story is a dime a dozen in this world."
This resulted in Inari becoming infuriated at being talked down to and Tsunami to a lesser extent for his heartless manner, but didn't get the chance to speak as Naruto started again.
"I can also say these things in this manner because I myself have suffered in a way that you do not understand. Let me ask you something Inari, do you have happy or positive memories of your family?"
Inari absent mindedly nodded, still not able to understand where he was going.
"Then you already have more than me. You see Inari I don't have a relationship with my family for reasons that are none of you concern. To give a brief summary of my life, at the age of 4 my parents started training my sisters and began the rift between us. By 6 I was but a ghost and had to learn to take care of myself. By 8 the village that I live in actually wondered if my father even had a son and even had to clean up his mistake. At the age of 10 I accomplished something that even he couldn't, yet still I couldn't gain his attention. And now at the age of 13 I am fully independent and can no longer see them as family. It is sad to say that if they were to die, I would most likely not feel a thing." He stopped for a second to let it set in and to sigh. He truly did hate doing this, but it needed to be done. "That being said Inari, on some level I envy your position. True that you have lost someone close to you, but you at least had someone to look out for you and show you love. You also still have a mother who is trying everything she can to help you even though she too lost someone she loved."
At this point Inari was on the verge of tears and was stealing glances at his mom seeing that she too was struggling on the inside.
"The only difference between our situations is that I took action. I took my life into my own hands and made it work. For that reason alone, I can feel some measure of respect for your grandfather… even if I don't agree with his life style." Naruto stopped and turned to Tsunami, making sure she was looking into his eye. "Tsunami I think you should take Inari back to the house. He has a lot of things to think about and please inform the others I will be sleeping outside tonight… Oh yes and this stays our little secret, no need to tell the others." He received a meek nod from the two and watched them walk back to the house.
Once they were in the house, the white hair boy turned his attention to the moon. No matter what it always had a way of calming him down, and he needed it. He never did like the feeling he thought about his past, and whenever he did he needed something to take his mind off of it.
That was until he heard a familiar scream. Turning around he saw three Vanguards and an assort mate of minion demons. He couldn't help but smirk as he took hold of Yamato. He had just found the solution for his problem.
It was late into the morning when Naruto started to stir from slumber. The night before left him with somewhat of a fulfilled feeling; yeah letting out his frustrations on the small horde of demons was just what he needed. He just wished that there were more of them, but eventually he decided to get some sleep and erected one of his temporary demon barriers.
Amazingly it wasn't demons that woke him up, but the presence of a foreign chakra signature. He decided to wait and see what this person did and to tell the truth was intrigued by their reaction. He could feel them become startled at his appearance, hostility as the person grew closer, the internal struggle as they were next to him, and finally … caution?
"Wake up… You'll catch a cold if you sleep out here."
Naruto opened his eyes to see a person with black hair, brown eyes, a black choker, and wearing a pink kimono. At first glance he would think that she was a girl, but he knew in the ninja world very few things were as they appeared.
"True, but I didn't and what may I ask are you doing in this isolated place."
It was a good question. The place was really out of the way and rarely touched. Somebody only came here to get away or do something from prying eyes.
"I'm looking for herbs for a friend of mine. He was injured and I'm taking care of him until he recovers." She said while nudged the herb filled basket in front of her.
Naruto in truth really didn't care about why she was out here, but it was either hang around here or return to the annoying idiots of team 7. "Well I don't have anything better to do… Care for an extra pair of hands?"
For the next 20 minutes or so they worked in silence. Naruto noticed that the girl walked with the air of a ninja and had the chakra reserves of a low Jounin even if she was trying to suppress it. That put him on edge.
"You know I just realized I never got your name. Mine's Naruto by the way."
"It's a pleasure to meet you Naruto-san, my name is Haku. Do you mind if I ask what you're doing out here yourself?"
"Just training." Yeah, he couldn't really say that he was killing demons out of boredom.
"Oh are you a ninja?"
"Do you have someone to protect?"
That caused Naruto to raise an eyebrow. Out of everything that could have been asked that was something that caught him of guard. "What?"
"Do you have someone to protect? I believe one becomes truly strong when they have someone they want to protect."
As Naruto was picking apart Haku's philosophy, the girl stood up.
"Thank you for helping me, and by the way I'm a boy."
Naruto wasn't really fazed by that. For one, with him being a sensor he could tell that she was lying. Though it was odd to say from out of know where. Maybe she was trying to convince herself instead of him?
"Well you're either a male with … a very unique sense of fashion, or a girl who is trying to divert attention which would be smart in this place. Either way, it is of no concern to me. Have a good day Haku, and I hope your friend gets better soon."
After Haku left Naruto made a few shadow clones to follow her. If his hunch was right then he just caught a lucky break. He just returned to staring out into nothing, silently praying for a demon horde to appear so he wouldn't have to go back to the house. After an hour, he started walking back to the house.
'Do you have someone to protect?'
Those words kept playing over in his head. What did protecting someone have to do with strength, yet he couldn't help but think about Kurama, Sayuki, Anko, the Old Man, Yugao-sensei, and strangely enough Mito. What did they have to do with him?
Out of instinct, the white hair boy unsheathed two inches of Yamato. Gazing at the blade always brought back memories. The day after he learned to access his chakra the sword was just there in his bed when he woke up, and he just could not let it out of his sight since.
Remembering everything he lived through, did nothing but bring a scowl to his face. He never had someone to protect, and he never needed one. He had lived for himself, fought for himself, trained for himself, and if he ever helped anyone it was always for his benefit. That was the way he was raised, the way he survived, and the way he lived.
Shaking away the preaching of the naïve girl, he was hit by the memories of the clones he sent after her. He couldn't help but smirk as he was finally going to but his little plan into action.
- xXx Hours Later xXx -
The white haired youth just sighed as he was quickly becoming annoyed. He was perched in a tree overlooking Gato's waiting for the results of the takeover. It began by him sending 50 henged clones as bandits into the mansion, after killing the originals of course. The clones would then do a thorough sweep of the mansion, quietly eliminating all of the other bandits without leaving any evidence of death. After all there was no reason for him to get his hands dirty. They would then drug Gato with a fast acting and heavy sleeping tablet, then dispel to report in. He was a little worried when more bandits came to check in, but they never stood a chance.
What was annoying him was the fact that a thirty minute job had taken over 2 hours. He was just about to go in and do the job himself when he got the memories of the clone that drugged Gato by spiking his wine.
Jumping down from his perch, the youth created another 100 clone. Turning to the clone closest to him, he pulled out a scroll and tossed it.
"You're in charge."
The clone nodded and opened the scroll as Naruto entered the mansion. It took only a minute for him to Gato's office and immediately took notice of two things. The first was ugly golden colored rug that covered the floor, and a sleeping Gato lumped over his desk. Turning his attention away from the rug for later, he made his way over to Gato. As he walked he started forming hand signs at an alarming speed. Once the sequence was complete his right index and middle fingers started to glow. He pulled Gato's head back with his left hand; he placed his glowing finger tips on his forehead.
"Sealing Art: Mind Slave Seal"
Immediately a seal began to grow from his fingers over Gato's forehead. Once the seal was complete, Gato opened his eyes revealing an empty and void expression. Naruto smirked already knowing what happened. He created the seal to place anyone into a deep hypnotic trance so that he could command them to do anything he wanted, when the seal was inactive it would seep into the bearers skin so no one would know, if the bearer was killed the seal would basically destroy itself, and the most beautiful function was that while inactive the bearer couldn't remember anything but would subconsciously follow any orders given.
"Now Gato here is what I want you to do. First I want you to sign over everything you own to me including banking accounts, company ownership, properties, and make sure it's detailed. Second I want you to write down every secret you have from illegal to legal matters. Finally I want a ledger on what you obtained from Wave and money value as a whole. Now get to it!"
Gato nodded and began writing down all contracts needed for the transaction along with everything else. It took about 2 hours for everything to be done and Naruto was sort of disappointed. He pegged Gato as an insect that had a hand in illegal activities, but he was disappointed on how far Gato had gone. He was only in drug trafficking, no slaver, no blackmailing, no nothing. True he did dislike the idea of slavery, with the exception of when he needed to use his seals, but he at least expected Gato to be involved in it.
This just proved that while Gato could be called a marketing wiz, he didn't have the spine to make the big plays. None the less, Gato had just finished the secrets journal and handed it to Naruto.
"Is that everything; is your entire life now in my possession?"
Gato nodded. Naruto smirked as he quickly drew Yamoto and then sheathed the blade. Moving around Gato, the youth made his way to the desk and picked up a cigar from the box in the corner. Using some wind and fire chakra he cut the tips and lit one end, after all due to his demon half smoking, didn't do any damage to his body. Sitting in the chair, he put his feet on the desk and let out a puff of smoke.
"Well Gato, I no longer have need of your service so you're dismissed."
As if on cue the midget head slipped off his shoulders and blood began spraying all over the ugly golden rug, luckily it didn't spray on anything else.
About a minute later a clone came in with the scroll he handed it before he entered the mansion. It raised an eyebrow at seeing the corpse bleeding on the floor before turning back to his boss. Said youth removed the cigar from his mouth and gave a lazy salute.
"I love it when a plan comes together." (If you know where this came from, thank you)
"I'm not cleaning that up."
Naruto just waved it off, "I was planning on getting rid of that ugly thing anyways, but with the blood on it. It actually looks pretty nice."
The clone nodded.
"Now give me the progress report on what I asked you to do."
The clone nodded and handed Naruto a small stack of papers. "We just finished taking inventory of everything of value. For some reason, Gato had a collection of weaponry, jutsu scrolls, sealing scrolls, and some very old technique scrolls. My guess is he just had a thing for exquisite things without understanding their value. We sealed everything away, but we divided the weapons into high and low quality for you to go through later if you wanted to increase the armory at the compound. We are roughly 50% done with installing the seal defense system, prototype energy masking barrier, and the overall barrier. As we suspected the masking barrier can only be active for one month at a time and takes a month to recharge, but it will allow you to stay here without demons interfering. We went through the ledger and set aside twice the amount taken from Wave as a sign of good faith. The rest of the money, which I would love to point out, is enough to possible buyout 2 major and 5 minor countries has been accounted for."
Naruto smiled at how things were coming along.
"Tell the clones to focus on getting the defenses up, when you're finished tell them to dispel in a safe and orderly fashion. I don't want a headache right now."
The clone nodded and left the room, leaving Naruto to ponder over what to do about the only loose end. Zabuza.
He couldn't let him kill Tazuna; it would be failing his mission and counterproductive to his agenda. He could take the risk of letting him fight the others, but he would run the risk of revealing his skill level. On the other had he could expose Risa and Mito to the dangers of the world again, and Sakura could be killed in the crossfire which was a plus.
In the end he would have to deal with Zabuza himself. The question was to let him live or kill him off. He didn't really have enough information to decide right now, and he would probably only know when the fight was over. Reviewing the memories of the clones that spied on Haku, he knew exactly where they were so might as well get it over with.
The youth put out the cigar and made his way for the door, not before preparing for the confrontation of course.
The white haired youth stood before a rundown shack that was literally in the middle of nowhere. He had to give it to Zabuza; he knew how to pick them. Not one to postpone the inevitable, Naruto decided to mess with them a little bit. So instead of just attaching some overloaded paper-bombs and blowing the place to kingdom come, he would do something that they would never expect. He went a knocked on the front door and activated a camouflage jutsu of his.
It took a little while before someone let their guard down enough to answer the damn door. When it did happen, the door opened revealing non-other than Haku who cautiously looked around. She let her guard down completely when she didn't see or sense anyone, even though Naruto was right in front of her. That however was the second he made his move. He grabbed both her wrist with his right hand, channeling some chakra that would numb them for hours, and held a kunai at her neck with his left. It took a faction of a moment for her to realize what happened and get her surprise under control. But in that time Naruto grew a smirk on his face at seeing the glimpse of fear in her eyes.
'Ah! Life is good.' Unfortunately he needed to get down to business.
"Now, now, Haku-san. There's no need to be so defensive, if I wanted to kill you or Zabuza you would have been dead long before you knew I was here." He said in a sickly sweet and smooth voice that sent a shiver down Haku's spine; a shiver that Naruto didn't miss. "Calm down Haku, I'm not here to fight. If I was I wouldn't be here alone. Now let us go have a word with Zabuza shall we."
The youth removed the kunai from the girl's neck and gently rubbed her now bruised wrist since she couldn't. The girl nodded and led him through the crumbling shack to what he would assume to be the living room. There on the couch was Zabuza. He was a man with short black hair, bandages wrapped around his mouth, a black shirt and pants, with indigo forearm and shin warmers. Next to the man was a zanbato that he recognized as one of the blades used the seven swordsmen of the mist, but he could not remember the name.
He refocused on his objective as he saw Haku take her spot behind Zabuza.
"Well I must admit that I am pleased to see you in good health Zabuza-san."
Said man snorted, "I don't have time for this crap. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you."
"Well if you kill me then you'll never hear what I have to say."
"And what would a gaki like you have to say."
"How about the fact that you're not gonna be paid for killing the bridge builder."
"And how do you know that?
"Because I killed Gato a few hours ago."
A silence hung in the air, until Zabuza disappear only to reappear cutting Naruto in half. However the now bisected youth went up in smoke.
"My, my, Zabuza don't you know that patience is a virtue."
The missing-nin and fake hunter-nin turned to see Naruto sitting in the exact spot that Zabuza was. In the exact position no less.
"And here I was going to offer you some compensation for your time. Now what am I going to do."
By now Zabuza was becoming annoyed, as proven by his growling. "What the hell do you want?!"
"Oh nothing much just a little bet that all."
"A bet?" Zabuza asked.
Naruto smirked "Yeah, just a little bet. You see I have in my possession all of Gato's money, but not here of course. Now here's the bet. You and I are going to were the scroll containing the money is where I will but the scroll in my pouch. We will then have a kenjutsu duel. If you win you can loot my corpse for the scroll. If I win you will answers some of my questions truthfully on your swordsman's honor. Deal?"
Zabuza smirked under his bandages. "Deal."
With that the three ninja left the shack. It took only 5 minutes or so for them to reach the shore line, where to the surprise of two of them another Naruto stood. Looking for answers, they turned their sights on the one that lead them only to see it dispel in a puff of smoke.
"I'm happy that you considered my offer Zabuza-san, now if you would take your place on the opposing side of the field we can begin."
Zabuza nodded and got into his position and prepared for the duel.
The youth smirked and pulled out a coin. "When this coin hits the ground we begin." Zabuza nodded and got into his kenjutsu stance. Naruto smirked and flipped the coin so that it would land roughly halfway between them. The moment it left his hand, he got into his stance and lessened the hold of his resistance seals by half.
The coin hit the ground and the youth instinctively pushed off from his spot at break-neck speeds. Appearing before Zabuza in a flash, he drew Yamato in an attempted to slash at his waist but was blocked by Zabuza's zanbato. For a few seconds the two swords fought for dominance over the other as their masters' studies each other. With a final push they put some distance between them and back into their stances.
Naruto took a defensive stance, wanting to draw this duel out to thoroughly test himself. He wasn't disappointed as Zabuza took the offensive and charged with a down strike. The youth sidestepped at the last moment and moved to counter, that was until Zabuza brought his sword up in a diagonal slash that forced his to once again to parry.
For the next few minutes their duel went like that. A deadly dance of counter after counter. Naruto surviving because of his speed while Zabuza had decades of experience in these types of battles. Naruto was able to get a few cuts in on some of Zabuza's key muscles, though it was only enough to slow him down a bit. He didn't want it to end too quickly. That led to the next part of his little test… Power.
The youth broke the pattern and charged at Zabuza with an upward slash. Zabuza returned the favor with a downward swing. When the two blades met however, Zabuza found himself being pushed into the air from the sheer strength of the boy.
Zabuza, though calm on the outside was becoming very cautions of the boy in front of him. From what he could tell the white haired brat was a few years younger than Haku and was actually almost standing toe to toe with him. True he could see that the boy lacked the experience that could only come for years of battling, but he had capability and talent to make up for it. He also took notice that the boy was aiming for the key muscles and joints in an attempt to disable him. Though he knew that he would be able to win he couldn't escape the sense of powerlessness that was in the back of his mind.
Naruto on the other hand already got everything he wanted out of this duel. He already tested his reflexes and speed, and could now keep up with the resistance seals at full strength. He just determined that his offensive and defensive strength was more than Zabuza could handle, kind of obvious when you take into the account that he could match a Vanguard. Now he was going to finish this little training session and figure out what he's gonna do to the two of them.
Naruto released the seals by 70% and charged at Zabuza, who in turn moved into a defensive stance in anticipation of the collision. That however never happened; Naruto stopped 5 feet away from him and drew his sword at the ground. The pressure caused by the draw caused a wall of sand flying at Zabuza. It didn't really faze him as he was used to fighting without his eyes, but because of the wind he couldn't feel the brat's movements. When he did recover his senses he was greeted by said brat in the air about to bring his sword down on him.
Zabuza saw this as an amateur mistake and would give him an opportunity to end the match; this understatement would cause him to lose the duel. He brought his sword up and braced it with both hands, ready to push the youth back.
Naruto saw this and smirked, he knew Zabuza would do that. He pushes highly concentrated wind chakra into Yamato and brought it down at full force. A testament to the legend that the blade could cut even dimensions, Yamato easily pasted through the zanbato and into Zabuza's flesh. Naruto made sure that the cut wasn't deep enough to kill, but would make it impossible for the duel to continue.
With the assault finished Naruto sheathed Yamato, and with a click the damage became known. The zanbato broke in half with a smooth cut, blood sprayed out of Zabuza and into the ocean air as he fell backwards. Defeated.
Naruto smirked as he stood over the downed man, amazingly Haku was at his side before he even fell on the ground and was administering whatever medical techniques she knew to heal him.
"Well Zabuza-san, it would appear that I have won. Now let's have that conversation."
As their little talks continued Naruto got a feel for what kind of person Zabuza was, but that wasn't really important. As it turns out, Zabuza was doing these kinds of missions to collect funds for the resistance of the civil war back in the land of water. He explained what the war was about and several other things that the youth had an interest in.
Naruto listened and smiled at the end of his questions. He got up and took out a scroll from his pouch and through it to Zabuza, who caught it with some effort.
"That should be enough money for you to fund a whole village for 3 years without needing to take missions. Consider it a donation of sorts. But when the resistance wins, whoever you pick as the new Mizukage will owe me some favors. Nothing too big, just some small things that will I will ask for in time." Naruto started walking away, already catching the amazingly shocked looks the two were wearing. What they didn't know was that that was only the surface of what he got from Gato. "I hope we meet again on friendlier terms maybe we can have another duel. Until then stay safe Zabuza-san, Haku-san."
With that the white haired youth disappeared into the shadow of the trees. He had to prepare on the upcoming battle on how to explain where he'd been to his superiors without telling them the truth.
It had been two weeks since the duel between Naruto and Zabuza and everything was in order. The bridge was built without any problems, the thugs mysteriously were all found dead around town, and Naruto had been able to avoid a lecture from his sensei and didn't have to babysit the useless ones. Now however the two squads of ninja stood before the great bridge ready to leave.
"I can't thank you enough for what you've done for us." A clearly cheerful and surprisingly sober Tazuna said to the two teams in front of him.
"It was nothing, but I still don't get why Zabuza didn't make another attempt on your life?" Kakashi replied.
Sasuke smirked "He probably realized he couldn't win against an Uchiha."
"That must be it, after all Sasuke-kun is always right." (If you can't figure out who this is, you need to kill yourself)
The rest of the squads just continue to ignore them as they set off across the bridge and out of sight due to the mist.
"You know, now that he mentioned it. You would think that Gato would have tried to kill you Tazuna?" said a random village.
"I think I might be able to shed some light on the matter." A voice said from behind the crowd.
Everyone turned around to see Naruto holding two good size cases.
"What the!? Naruto what are you doing here, we just saw you leave." A confused Tazuna asked.
"Oh… the real me did leave with the others. I'm just a clone that was left behind to finish tying up some loose ends." Before anyone could ask he continued. "Now as to what happened to Gato well…" The clone took out a scroll and unsealed Gato's corpse, earning a gasp from the crowed. "That day I disappeared two weeks ago… Let's just say that he and I had words that escalated to his death, I also dealt with the Zabuza problem so no worry." The clone received looks of awe, shock, fear, and teary eyed hope. "You can do whatever you want to with his corpse, but that isn't what I'm here for. Now Tsunami-san have you given any thought to my offer?"
The crowd, though already having happy thoughts due to the fact that the source of their suffering was dead, looked at Tsunami curiously as she stepped forward.
"I have thought about it and I accept your offer, I will take the position."
Naruto smiled "Excellent" He walk forward and handed one of the cases to Tazuna and the other to Tsunami. "Now the case I gave Tazuna is roughly two times what Gato got out of Wave during his stay and is to be used to get the country back to its former glory." The crowed was silent as they stared at the case like it was a holy relic. "The case I gave you Tsunami contains documents over what we have discussed for legal matters, more than enough money for what we have agreed upon, some instructions on how to run the establishment, and some other things to help. I will be leaving the naming of the company to you as a citizen of Wave and am very happy that you accepted my offer. I think this will benefit you, me, and Wave greatly. Now I must be on my way, I bid you farewell."
The clone dispelled out of existence, leaving behind the bewildered crowd. It took some time for them to understand what happened, and once they did they were all gathering around Tsunami with questions. It took Tazuna a few minutes to get the crowd to calm down so they could get some answers.
"Well know that everyone is quiet. Tsunami-chan can you please tell us, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!"
Tsunami blushed a little in embarrassment at being the center of the crowd's attention but answered. "Well you see…"
-xXx Flashback xXx-
"Excuse me Tsunami-san."
"Hmm?" Tsunami stopped cooking and stared at Naruto.
"There is something I would like to discuss with you, but you need to keep it between you and me. Ok."
Tsunami blinked a couple of time but nodded.
"If you can please humor me and step outside, I don't want the others to hear. Oh don't worry about the food; I'll leave one of my clones to keep an eye on it."
She nodded and followed the white haired boy out of the house and near the water's edge.
"Now Tsunami-san I won't beat around the bush, how good are you with managing money and organization."
Tsunami was confused by the question but answered anyway. "Well I have to keep my father's request in line and I used to help out the mayor with economic problems before Gato killed him."
The youth smiled. "That what I expected to hear, now moving on I would like to know how you feel about running Gato Shipping?"
Tsunami blinked a couple of times trying to process what he asked. "Excuse me?"
"I plan on hunting down Gato and having him sign over everything he has, and I do have the means to. Now I could just sign this of as 'spoils of war' and keep everything or I could do something smarter. I expect something to happen within the year that would require me to have an external form of income, completely independent of my village. You see where I'm going with this don't you?"
Tsunami was to in shock at what she was hearing to speak so she just shook her head.
"sigh… Well Tsunami-san, I was thinking of putting the money Gato took from Wave back into Wave with extra for good measure. Then using that money, money that is brought in from the bridge, and the water way that are currently in Gato's possession then Wave would fully recover in no time. But I need someone trustworthy to run the newly reformed Gato Industries, that's where you come in my dear. Think of yourself as a residential manager for half of the country's trade."
Tsunami wasn't shocked anymore, she moved on to just having he mouth hang open. "Uh… I..Uh.."
"Now, now Tsunami take your time. There isn't any reason to give me an answer now, but I need it by the time we leave. Now let's get back in side. I'm sure you have a lot on your mind right now and you need something to ease your mind."
Tsunami nodded dumbly and started moving back to the house when Naruto suddenly grabbed her arm tightly, causing her to turn around and see something that would come to haunt her for the coming days. It was his eyes; they were powerful, distant, and uncaring. They radiated with an intensity that told her values of what he was capable of. Her instincts told her to never cross him and that she never wants to know what would happen to her if she did. So lost in his gaze that she never realized that her legs had given out and she was now staring at them at his level.
With his free hand Naruto gently but firmly grabbed Tsunami by the chin, forcing her to continue staring into his eyes. "Understand that Tsunami, I'm taking a great risk in extending my hand in this offer and even if you don't intend to accept my offer I expect you to tell anyone of my plans. Do you understand?" He said with a gleam in his eyes.
The now trembling Tsunami could barely move her mouth to form words but they eventually came. "H-Hai .. N-n-naruto-s-sama, I-I …won't ..tell an-anyone… I sw-swear…"
Naruto smirked, she might not have noticed it but he did. He had just installed that instinctual fear that commanded respect from others. He knew she wasn't going to tell and he knew she was going to accept. She just needed time, after all she was making a deal with a devil. Even if she didn't know it.
"Well then…" he said returning to his normal persona and gently rubbed the woman's arm and chin with some healing chakra so make sure they wouldn't be sore. "…we'll talk more on this more tomorrow."
The youth then helped her up and walk her to the house.
-xXx Flashback End xXx-
Tsunami just finished telling the villagers a watered down version about Naruto's deal and plan for Wave's recovery. Of course she was careful to not tell them anything that would but her new boss in a bad light, she didn't want to know how he would react if his plans were interrupted by her carelessness. The crowd themselves were shocked and to some degree impressed that a kid had done all this for them, and no one voiced their respect better than Tazuna.
"Well if that's the case, then we know exactly what to name the bridge. Don't we guys?"
The crowd let out a cheer that could be heard around the village.
-xXx Across the Bridge xXx-
Naruto didn't really like the pace they were going, he was tempted to bring the vehicle out and trick them into a ride if not for two things. First was that Sasuke would report it to the council because he's a spoiled brat. The second was that Risa would talk to Minato and Kushina, and that would cause some problems. He really didn't need them, he had already convinced Yugao-sensei to not say anything. She said she wouldn't have to because it was a minor detail. He knew for Mito and Sayuki wouldn't say anything, he had already established who was the boss and they wouldn't dared go against him.
Naruto suddenly twitched as he received the memories of his shadow clone and was happy that everything went exactly as plan. About twenty minutes later the second clone he left behind to see how the village would react to Tsunami telling them his plan, of course this one was hidden. At this point he was sporting a feral fanged grin. He couldn't help but be proud at how Tsunami accepted that he mentally owned her and it seemed that she was for some reason happy because of it.
'Hmm… I wonder what her stance on Intimate relationships in a working environment is…'
After that thought, it took every ounce of discipline he had to avoid doing two things. The first was to stop walking in shock of what he was implying. The second was to punch himself in the face, which was kind of hard considering his hand was already in the form of a fist.
'I can't believe I just thought that… I've been hanging out with Kurama to long, that furball's starting to get to me.'
Ok everyone that's it for now, the next chapter will be a timeskip to the Chunin Exams. Please comment on the fight scenes, do note I do read every comment and take your input to heart when writing the next chapter.
Oh yeah, the next chapter will take some more time to do. Not because of the subject matter, but because of some personal matter. That being a story I put down and need to start it up again. The reason I'm doing it is because I hate it when people start good stories and drop them all of a sudden. I can't keep saying this while I have a story like that, so I need to finish these two stories before I can start new ones. It's a moral imperative; I think that's what it's called. Whatever, see you later