A/N: Yea it's been a while. I have no excuses but I felt like writing something so I figured something is better than nothing, so here you go. Hope ya'll enjoy!
Chapter 8: Heat
Naruto had been living in the Fire Nation for about 2 months now. Him and Zuko had been getting along quite well. Zuko's mood have improved drastically ever since his mother mysteriously left, most likely because Naruto accompanied him in the palace and the fact that Ozai was starting to show less distain towards his son, though not by much, due to the little improvement Zuko had been showing. Naruto's training had put Zuko far above where he would have been without him, although Azula still remained in front of him by miles. Ever since Naruto had come to the palace, she had been pretty much training non-stop. However, Ozai was most focused on Naruto. He was improving very greatly, more impressively than Ozai could have ever imagined.
Naruto was soundly beating common foot soldiers and some low tier fire benders, soon he would qualify to be a solider in his army. But Ozai had no intention of putting a child in his army, plus nurturing him more was a way smarter move.
Meanwhile, Ty Lee and Naruto's relationship had improved also, they were good friends. Most of the time, when Azula wasn't there, Zuko, Ty Lee and him would do stuff together all the time. Mai still hung out with them, but she didn't really like to do anything and Naruto was sure that she hadn't said more than five sentences to him ever since that day in the training room.
Now we get to Naruto who had just dropped from the ceiling after hearing another conference between Ozai and his advisors and he had to say the Fire Nation were doing a bunch of things. He had discovered the Fire Nation thought they had enough strength to try and take a small town on the southern west coast of the Earth Kingdom that was sitting on a lot of coal. It seemed for now that they were going to focus on taking some resource heavy towns, ramp up their own production of arms, and see if they could raid the Southern Water Tribe and take out the last of any water benders.
Naruto bit his lip, at this rate they couldn't wait for the Avatar he might have to try and launch an attack himself. The Southern Water Tribe was basically a place where Southern raiders could do whatever they wanted, the Earth Kingdom only had Omashu and Ba Sing Se to stop the Earth kingdom from getting overrun, and it would only be some years before they took those too. Whenever he suggested the idea of launching an attack on the Fire Nation to Bumi, he would always respond with "it is not your destiny" or something.
With a sigh, he finished writing a small note and summoned a clone. The clone henged into a bird and Naruto tied the note to the bird's foot, and it took out towards Omashu.
In the Courtyard A Week Later
Him and Ty Lee were laying in the grass looking at the sun go down, Zuko and Mai were laying on a tree right behind him. This was nice, he had been thinking about weather of not he should allow himself to get close to these guys and he had reached a conclusion. Yes, he would, in the end he would make sure they were all on his side when it came down to it. After all what good is life if you don't have people to enjoy it with? It might be selfish of him to want to have some friends, but he couldn't even try not to like these guys.
"Why are we doing this again." Mai asked in a bored sort of tone, as Zuko glanced at her.
"What you don't like the sunset?" Zuko asked a little confused. I mean everyone liked the sunset, it was simply beautiful.
"Rule number 32 Mai, enjoy the little things. " Naruto said with a smile, confusing everyone.
"Well... I don't know what those rules are about, but yea Mai lighten up! I mean doesn't that sunset make you feel all happy inside?" Ty Lee asked clutching her hands to her chest with a breath-taking sigh as Naruto smiled at her actions.
"No." Mai said simply making everyone sweat drop.
"I mean come on doesn't this happen like every day." Mai asked putting her fist on her chin, in a very bored like manner.
"Yea but still, you never know when it's gonna be your last time seeing something like this." Naruto said, his mouth forming a thin line.
"Don't say something like that! It's so depressing." Ty Lee said turning to him with a small frown.
"What stuff happens." Naruto said shrugging.
"Like what if the sun just like blew up or something." Spreading his arms apart to simulate a large explosion. Ty Lee giggled at his childish behavior, erasing his depressing comments from earlier.
"Well that would be bad for the war, wouldn't it." She said joking right back. Naruto laughed as Ty Lee turned to him, but as soon she turned away he stared up at the sky and got lost in thought.
"Hey guys, did you guys hear about that attack on that small Earth Kingdom town." Naruto said getting the attention of everyone.
"No, what happened." Zuko asked curious about what the Fire Nation had accomplished now.
"Well apparently a lot of nobles are talking about it now, the army was supposed to easily capture this small town in the Earth Kingdom and they were met with a large army that they weren't expecting." Everybody paid close attention as Naruto talked.
"It turned into a really fierce battle and a lot of Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation soldiers died, and in the end, we had to retreat." Naruto said shocking and saddening all the kids.
"That's terrible." Ty Lee said simply looking at the ground.
"Tch I don't know they bother to keep on fighting, it's just going to end up killing more people before we eventually conquer them." Mai said looking at a knife that was in her hands.
"It'll end soon, and then everything will be worth it, at least that's what father says." Zuko says facing Mai.
"I hope so, it's terrible that so many people are dying ...so many orphans and families being torn apart by the day, I just want it to end." Naruto said with a great deal of emotion, getting all of them to look at him. He made no move to acknowledge their stares and just kept looking at the sunset.
The Next Day
Naruto grabbed Ty Lee's leg and pulled, causing her to lose her balance and fall to the ground. She landed with a hard thud and Naruto could see her face scrunch in pain, but in order to grow it was necessary. He let go of her leg and let her recover from hitting the ground.
"You did better today, you've gotten faster." Naruto said giving her some praise.
"Yea well, apparently not fast enough." She said in painful voice, obviously referring to how she had been beaten easily by Naruto once again. Naruto then sat on the ground and went over Ty Lee's fighting style in his head to see if there was a way that he could help her get better.
"But your punches and kicks don't really hurt that much, and if we try to bulk you up then you'll lose your flexibility and quickness." Naruto said talking more to himself than to Ty Lee.
"Well sorry, I'm not strong enough for you." Ty Lee said getting upset.
"Hey I didn't mean it like that, your strong in your way. Just not physically strong. I mean not to say girls can't be physically stronger than boys, and not that you can't be." Naruto said rambling on worrying about offending her. She just looked at him with her eyebrow raised. Naruto sighed.
"Look me, Zuko, Mai, and Azula all have abilities and techniques that don't rely on our strength. You on the other hand have to fight hand-to-hand and while your fast and flexible, which is great, you can't be as strong as some other people if you want to fight that way. Which means you have weakness that a skilled fighter could use." Naruto said as Ty Lee tried to follow his long explanation.
"So, your saying I should get big." Ty Lee said flexing her biceps while looking at him. Naruto laughed a little and continued to talk.
"Well not necessarily, It's kind of a tradeoff. If you have more muscle that you won't be as fast or flexible, but if your nimbler then you're not as strong. I'm just trying to find a way where you can be fast and hit harder." Naruto said thinking once again. Ty Lee waited patiently as Naruto thought about it for a few seconds. Suddenly Naruto snapped his fingers.
"I got it we need to get you some weapons." Naruto said turning back to Ty Lee.
"But I don't know how to use a weapon." Ty Lee said with a lost look.
"Trust me, you won' t have to learn how to use it, we just have to get you some brass knuckles or something like that." Naruto said back to her.
"Brass knuckles huh, what are those." Ty Lee asked never hearing of something like that.
"They're like this thing that goes over your fingers and it makes your punches a lot harder, it'll be absolutely perfect for you." Naruto said smiling at her.
"If you say so." Ty Lee said shrugging but happy nonetheless.
"All right, lets so into town and get some." Naruto said turning to leave. Ty Lee quickly got next to him as they walked toward the exit of the garden.
Naruto and Ty Lee walked through the bustling streets of Caldera City, shops were busy, carriages where going up and down the city, and the air was filled with deafening noise. Ty Lee and Naruto made their way into weapons shop and started to browse, looking for a small pair of brass knuckles.
The shop was full with a lot of unique weapons that was for sure, nun chucks, swords daggers, and whatever you could think of. It was not long before Naruto heard a loud crash and immediately ran to the next aisle and say Ty Lee trying desperately to lift a massive flail off the ground, many other weapons surrounding her.
"Come on, I left you alone for ten seconds and you already made a mess." Naruto said quickly putting all the weapons on the selves before anyone who worked there would start yelling at them.
"It's not my fault, the thing was a lot heavier than I thought." She said hurriedly helping him put up all of the weapons.
"What's going on here." They heard a voice say. They both turned to see a man who looked to be in his sixties, he had a weird looking mustache that covered his whole mouth, and droopy eyes.
"Sorry sir, we we're just looking for some stuff for my friend here and we seem to have knocked over some stuff." Naruto explained to the shop keep.
"What! I'm not selling anything to some kids, you better scram." The shopkeep said shooing them away.
"Oh come on please, we can pay you handsomely." Naruto said with a little twinkle in his eyes. The shopkeeper became intrigued, he took another look at Naruto and he rose an eyebrow.
"Hey aren't you the kid that Fire Lord Ozai put in his palace?" The Shopkeeper asked.
"Yea that would be me, but you can call me Naruto." said pointing to himself with a little smirk.
"Naruto, I'm so sorry to have refused your service earlier. what you looking for?" The Shopkeeper asked regretting the fact he might have angered someone that was in the Fire lord's good graces.
"Don't worry about it, but I'm looking some brass knuckles for my friend here." Naruto said motioning towards Ty Lee who waved at the man.
"Brass knuckles, I don't know if we have any small enough but I'll check." The Shopkeeper said leaving to check the back of the store. After about 15 minutes, he came back out with a pair of brass knuckles that seemed to fit Ty Lee perfectly.
"Dang what took you so long?" Naruto said in a teasing tone.
"I'm so sorry sir, I had a hard time finding them." The man said bowing.
"Woah, calm down I was just joking. Here's your payment." Naruto said dropping some coins on to the counter.
"Don't worry about the change, after all I did promise handsome pay. Come on Ty Lee." Naruto said running out of the shop, with Ty Lee following close behind. The Shopkeeper looked at the counter and widened his eyes, he looked back to where Naruto left. That kid was something.
On the Streets
"Woah, these things are cool." Ty Lee said punching the air a couple of times with an excited look on her face.
"Your still not going to beat me though." Naruto said with a challenging smirk.
"Huh, we'll see about that Naruto, by the way how much did those cost I'll pay you back." Ty Lee said looking at her brand-new weapons.
"No pay back needed. Consider it a gift, master to pupil." Naruto said grinning.
"What no way, I can't let you pay-" Ty Lee said turning to Naruto before she got cut off.
"Don't worry about it Ty Lee, the Fire Lord gives me a lot money. I'm not stressing about it, so why should you." Naruto said nonchalantly.
"But still-" Ty Lee started once again.
"Hey look I told you, it's no big deal. If it makes you feel better we can just call it a favor you owe me." Naruto said walking along.
"I guess that's alright." Ty Lee said glancing at her fists once again, watching as the sun reflected off of them.
With that conversation over Ty Lee and Naruto walked in silence to the palace. In order to pass the time Naruto started to look at all the activities in the streets. It still amazed him how busy the streets of Caldera city could be, especially with all the unique activities catered towards the nobles. Naruto glanced around once again, and his eyes quickly scanned an alley before he walked past it. Naruto suddenly stopped and made a face. Ty Lee, seeing that he stopped, stopped and stared at him wondering what was wrong.
"You ok." Ty Lee asked him with a little concern. Naruto, hearing her voice, snapped out of his thought.
"Yea, hey I'll meet you back at the palace. I just remembered that I have something to do." Naruto said pointing behind him awkwardly.
"I mean I can come with you, it's really no problem." Ty Lee said happily.
"No really, it's something boring. It'll take me like 10 minutes, I'll see you at the palace." Naruto said turning around and sprinting away, not leaving her enough time to even register what was happening. Ty Lee raised an eyebrow but did not pursue. She turned around and swiftly walked back to the palace.
Naruto walked into the alley, looking around carefully. He had seen a woman struggling to fight off two men, but now that he had had come into the alley all signs of a struggle weren't present. Naruto turned the corner and there he saw them at the dead end of the alley.
There were two men dressed in robes that were green and yellow, they had huge hats with a small spike on the top. They also had what looked to be rock covered hands? What really caught Naruto's attention though, was the giant Earth kingdom symbol they had on their chests. In their arms seemed to be a very beautiful noble women in her early 20's.
The men turned to him when he entered the alley, they let the women's body drop to the ground with a hard thud in preparation to fight him.
Before he can even blink two pairs of stone hands shot towards him. He skillfully moved his head to the left as the pair of stone hands zipped past him, impacting the wall behind him sending debris and smoke everywhere.
'Earth benders? What are they doing here in the Fire Nation.' he wondered dusting some ruble off his shoulder. The pair of earth benders put their guards up as they see Naruto dash out of the smoke.
Naruto immediately launches two massive boulders at them but they counter very easily and destroy the boulders with their own.
"You're an Earth bender." One of them said preparing to attack once again.
"Take him alive for interrogation." the other said. The one on the left nodded and then rushed towards Naruto. The man suddenly stopped and jutted both of his arms forward, out of his sleeves spring to chains with cuffs attached to the end of them. Naruto Jumped back, managing to avoid the chains grasp by an inch of so.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Naruto questioned as the chains slowly retracted into the sleeves of the mysterious earth bender. Naruto was met by no response but a giant slide of rocks being shot his way. Naruto easily countered by raising up two walls to block the rocks path, but the next thing he knew his walls his walls were completely demolished and he was thrown back by two huge boulders.
Naruto had no time to land on his feet as pillar of rock came bursting from the ground underneath him and hit him straight in the stomach. He was propelled into the air about two dozen feet
'These guys are no joke, I guess I'll fight a bit more seriously.' Naruto thought to himself in the air. As he was falling back down to the ground he noticed the earth benders stick their hands out once again, but this time instead of the whole earth hand coming for him little pieces of the hand started to break off and come at him with the speed of bullets.
Naruto quickly reacted and pulled both of his up to create two pillars that blocked the attack, but the earth benders wasted no time. Using the earth almost like a wave, they moved at high speeds towards his position. To counter Naruto landed on the ground and created a shockwave of earth to ripple.
Both of the Earth benders were flung off and one smashed into a nearby wall. Seizing the opportunity, Naruto, in a move the mimicked theirs, shot four cuffs at the man trapping both his arms and legs. He then quickly shot a small rock at the man's forehead, knocking him out cold.
The other Earth bender started to recover, but before he could get his balance a column jutted out of the wall and made impact with the man's skull knocking him out completely.
Naruto let out a small sigh thankful that the fight had been relatively quick and turned his attention back to the girl, who just now seemed to be regaining consciousness. She blinked a couple of times before the blinding light faded and was met with the sight of a very small boy who seemed to be smiling at her.
"Where am I?" she asked groggily.
"You're safe, don't worry I dealt with those bad guys over there." Naruto said with a smirk. The woman was stunned, she couldn't believe such a small child could have saved her.
"Thank you." She said thankfully, but her began to shut once again and she fell asleep. with that taken care of Naruto turned his attention to the earth bender pinned against the wall. He bended a small ball of water into existence before smashing it into the man's face waking him up immediately. Naruto waited as the man gasped for air for a while before his breathing became steady. Naruto then quickly took a kunai and put it up to the man's throat.
"I'll ask again, who are you and what are you doing here." He said in a very threatening voice. The man was not intimidated and if he was, he hid it very well. Naruto brought the kunai closer, cutting into the man's throat a little.
"Who are you and what do you want!?" he yelled into the man's face. Once again the man did not budge.
"Ok but you made me do it." Naruto said grasping the man's arm his free one. Naruto let some of Karama's chakra leave his arm and go into the Earth benders arm. The man stared in slight concern as to what the aura was.
The affect was immediate though, the man started to sweat and his eyes started to shake, he could feel himself thrashing around but unable to move because of the cuffs.
'T-this feeling, I-it's so evil.' the man thought to himself in fright. Naruto was a little impressed that the man was holding on so long, usually even the strongest gave up by now, so he decided to the double the amount of chakra. The man thrashed so violently that Naruto could have sworn he could have cracked the cuffs. The man was now screaming and sweating profusely. After a few seconds, he had finally cracked.
"P-Please S-stop. I'll tell you!" the man practically screamed. Naruto stopped the flow of Kurama's chakra and the man's head fell down. Naruto backed away from the man allowing him to catch his breath a little.
"Ok now, who sent you?" Naruto asked leaning on a wall with his arms crossed. The man gulped heavily and then began to speak.
"We are from Ba Sing Se, we are called the Dai Li." The man said, still gasping. Naruto looked at him curiously.
"What is the Dai Li?" Naruto asked. The man gasped heavily but said nothing.
"I asked you a question." Naruto said leaking a heavy amount of Kurama's chakra.
"W-wait!... We are a secret police organization of Ba Sing Se." The man said finally .
'A secret police? Kind of like the ANBU.' Naruto thought to himself. Naruto paced around the man a bit, trying to make him feel more unseasy.
"So, what are you doing here in the Fire Nation?" Naruto asked still pacing.
"We were sent to abduct as many noble men and women as we possibly could, in order to gain an advantage in the war. We could force negotiations with the Fire Nation or even force the Fire Nation to admit defeat." The man explained.
Naruto was, for a lack of better words, surprised. He would have never thought the Earth King would have ordered such a completely immoral way to win the war. It was a pretty good plan though. Naruto mulled over the facts and then asked anthoer question.
"Surely you know the Fire Lord is ruthless, he wouldn't care if a few nobles were captured. So what are you really aiming for?" Naruto asked looking at the man dead in his eye.
"W-Well in the chaos of all the kidnappings, the main objective was for a strike team to capture the prince and princess." The man said.
Naruto's eyes widened in surprise. Well that would cause problems. Naruto was faced with a dilemma, he could actually aid in this plan and that would help the Earth Kingdom win. Still, at the same time it was completely wrong, kidnapping innocent people especially some of his friends. Wait his friends.
In all his thinking he had forgotten a very crucial detail, Ty Lee was a noble's daughter, wasn't she? Naruto threw two kunai, killing the men instantly, picked the girl up, and ran out of the lobby.