Captain Blues: Ahoy-hoy. Time to set sail!

United I Stand
Chapter Eighteen: Mission Start

[Location: Fortress
POV: Akimichi Chōji]

Chōji was in a dark place.

Both literally and figuratively.

For what felt like an eternity, he had to sit in this room, his arms and legs bound in both barbed wire and chakra sealing paper to absorb any chakra that he could use.

So he sat there.



He was doing anything to keep his mind off of Ino's screams of horror, Shikamaru's muted expression, and the dull eyes of his decapitated sensei.

He had to break free and find his friends.

He had to break free to kill Bankotsu and his ilk.

A beam of moonlight shined down on the Akimichi clan heir, which caused him to look up. There was a large hole in the ceiling, but it was not large enough to fit him. Chōji looked around and saw that there was loose cobblestone in the wall behind him.

Chōji then looked and noticed that there were also scraps of cloth on the ground.

There was enough for a signal fire. But with the barbed wire wrapped around him, it would be painful to try and fight against it.

"No pain, no gain," Chōji said as he began to move, immediately wincing as the sharp edges dug into his skin, allowing blood to flow down his flesh.

[Location: Sebungēto Hotel
POV: Mitarashi Anko]

"They're asleep, Anko-sensei," Menma told his teacher as he shut the door to the bedroom. Thanks to the combination of the Kyūbi and Anko's healing Jutsu, Naruto was going to make a quick recovery.

However, Naruto would need to stay off of his feet.

"Good," Anko sighed out.

This mission was a huge mess.

Asuma was dead, and the Heirs to the Nara and Akimichi Clan were missing.

However, her favorite Uzumaki had saved the Yamanaka Heir and managed to kill two of the Band of Seven members in Kyōkotsu and Jakotsu.

And she even got the latter of the deceased's sword in a scroll, along with their heads.

"That Yamanaka girl needed to go to sleep. Fretting over Naruto and her missing teammates was not going to fix itself overnight," Menma complained as he sighed.

Naruko, who laid on the couch, nodded at this. "At least we have some information on what happened."

"And who is where," Anko added. "We're down a member of our squad, but now, the Band of Seven are down two members. And from what Yamanaka explained, a few of them are still gone for now. So we have to strike hard and fast."

"Which one should we go after?" Naruko questioned while she raised off the couch.

Anko crossed her arms in thought.

Yamanaka said that one of her teammates was located at the Western Fortress, where Suikotsu, Ginkotsu, and Mukotsu guarded them.

And at the Northern Fortress, Yamanaka's other teammate was imprisoned, guarded by Renkotsu and the Band of Seven's leader, Bankotsu.

However, there was a chance that Suikotsu, Ginkotsu, and Mukotsu had not returned to the Western Fortress yet, which would leave the fortress unguarded.

"The Western Fortress," Anko answered. "Right now, there is a chance that the Western Fortress is unguarded because its guards could be still on their way back from delivering Asuma's body. That would leave one of the prisoners unguarded."

"There is also the risk that they could be there," Menma said. "And if that happens, it would be annoying, but it would be a fair fight."

"Three on Three," Naruko said.

"And considering Yamanaka's explanation, Ginkotsu and Mukotsu are low Chūnin-leveled shinobi, and Suikotsu is low Jōnin-leveled," Anko replied as she paced the room. "And since Inoichi and I trained you three to be low Chūnin level, this should be a piece of cake."

The Uzumaki duo nodded.

"Not to mention, both of your skills actively counter the skills Ginkotsu and Mukotsu possess," Anko further explained. "Mukotsu works as the poison master. He can expel clouds of different poisons. Ginkotsu sounds like a monster, built from metal puppet parts from Suna's puppet masters. He tends to specialize in fighting at a distance."

The two nodded.

"Naruko, you are the wind specialist. You will be able to blow away Mukotsu's poisons and avoid any projectiles Ginkotsu due to your Kaze Suteppu (Breeze step) giving you extra maneuverability. Meanwhile, Menma, you will able to freeze both opponents and any weapon or poison. And with both of you being fast, you will be able to close the distance to keep them from performing at full level," Anko finished.

"What about Suikotsu?" Naruko asked.

"Leave him to me," Anko said. "So, we have our mission, go to the Western Fortress and kill the Band of Seven members if they are there," Anko summarized with a grin.

"Yes, sensei!" The two Genin chorused in unison.

[Location: Western Fortress
POV: General]

It had taken Team Eleven forty-five minutes, but they had finally arrived at the Western Fortress.

The Western Fortress was an expansive medieval-like building, made with crumbling gray cobblestone with unlit torches in several areas.

A potential sign that it was barren.

"Shikamaru or Chōji could be in there," Naruko muttered.

"The place doesn't look occupied either," Menma said.

Anko nodded as she kept her eyes out to see anything suspicious. She narrowed her eyes and pulled out a collapsing telescope, and peered into it.

"See anything?" Menma asked.

"Nothing yet," Anko drawled before she gasped. "Wait. I take that back. On the furthest side of the fortress, there is smoke coming from an opening in the ceiling. It's faint, but it's there…"

Anko removed the mini-telescope from her eye, collapsed it, and put it back in her pouch. "Naruko… Investigate," Anko commanded.

Naruko nodded and whispered, "Bōfū Sōru (Hurricane Soul)," Naurko's irises took on platinum blue color as a faint sapphire blue aura of chakra flowed from her body. "Kaze Suteppu," she whispered as she leaped down the cliffside and ran on air above the fortress in the direction of the faint smoke.

Naruko landed on the ground carefully and crept to the hole, and glanced down only to gasp. "Chōji," she whispered.

Chōji's body was red with blood, but she could see that he was still alive.

Just unconscious, most likely due to the blood loss.

Naruko frowned. The hole was not big enough to fit her, let alone him. She remained silent for a moment, listening for any signs of life around. After a minute, she sighed and said, "I hope this does not get us all killed…"

She pointed an index finger at the hole and said, "Reppū Jūdan: Saisho Dangan (Gust Bullet: First shot)." With a shockwave from her fingertip, the hole exploded, sending debris down on Chōji's body, which jolted him awake.

"Wha?" Chōji groaned out.

Naruko floated down in front of Chōji and said, "It's me. I've come to rescue you." She frowned and pulled out a kunai and cut through the barbed wire and seal paper that surrounded him. "Fuck, you look awful," Naruko commented as she took in his pale, hungered expression.

"Gee…Thanks…." Chōji replied weakly before he drifted off once again.

Once he was free from his bondage, Naruko placed Chōji on her shoulder, flew up onto the ceiling, and landed in a crouch before she flew back towards Anko and Menma. She landed beside them and said, "Prisoner secured."

"Very good. Now let's get out of here," Anko said with a nod before the trio ran back onto the trail and back towards the village.

But as they ran back, the trio heard the sound of metal slicing through the air. "Scatter," Anko ordered as Menma jumped to the left while Naruko and Anko jumped to the right. Seconds later, a hail of kunai rained down on the area the trio had been running before.

Once the rain of steel ceased, Naruko sat Chōji down in the grass before the three Konoha shinobi reconvened a few feet away from the steel, where they heard laughter echoing around them. "Just by the sound of this guy's laugh, I'm getting annoyed," Menma muttered as Naruko and Anko snorted.

"Well, well, well," A slimy, high pitched voice announced. "Looks like we have two rats and a scrumptious looking blonde number running off with our hostage."

"Yep, this person's voice is hitting my "Kill me. Please kill me" level of nerves," Menma said as he pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Does he have to sound so gross?" Naruko asked with a disgusted tone.

Through the steel, the trio could see three figures.

The first figure was a short man with a stocky build. He had large eyes that squinted and has red circular markings around his eyes and near his chin.

He wore an off-white robe with a matching bandana and handkerchief that hangs over one side of his face. He also wore purple arm guards underneath his robes, a gray hakama, and waraji sandals.

The second figure was a tall, built, middle-aged man with red hair. However, his physicality had organic and biomechatronic elements.

The man had a metal plate covering his right eye, while his left eye had blue markings around it. In place of his ears were two small, yellow cornucopias.

There were three metallic spikes on each of his shoulders, and He also possessed a metal jaw and samurai armor that had several machined weapons attached to it and a large metal drill, which was stored inside his chest.

His entirely robotic left arm consists of a sharp grappling claw, and both of his legs also appear to be automated. He also carries a short uchigatana sword, which was fastened to his left flank.

The final figure appeared to be a tall, slim young man with his brown hair tied back in a traditional Japanese knot.

The man wore armor that consisted of a dark blue breastplate, three kusazuris that ran down his legs, and a green sash around his waist. He also had sizeable black shoulder pads, blue arm guards over his kosode, and a pair of matching kyahan and tabi on his legs.

"The one in the middle looks like an abomination," Naruko hissed out in anger. "An affront of humanity."

"The short one looks like the owner of that voice, and I'm going to kill him," Menma said.

Anko narrowed her eyes at the young man as he trembled in terror, his expression telling her of his fear.

"Focus up," Anko said, which caused Menma and Naruko to sober up. "Suikotsu, Ginkotsu, and Mukotsu of the Band of Seven. I am Mitarashi Anko from Konohagakure no Sato, and you three are wanted for the murders of countless shinobi, including Sarutobi Asuma. How do you plead?!"

The shorter of the trip walked forward and cackled out, "I, Mukotsu of the Band of Seven, pleads guilty to all charges!"

"U-Um…Please don't," The young man begged to the shorter older male before he shouted, "I do not want any trouble! I will come quietly!"

"Shut up, Suikotsu!" Exclaimed Mukotsu as he hit Suikotsu in the stomach, causing the man to hunch over in pain. "You sicken me in this form…" Mukotsu growled out.

Naruko looked to Anko and said, "That is Suikotsu? He does not look like a fighter…"

"Looks can be deceiving…" was Anko's retort. "I'm sure some fuckery is coming…"

"Doesn't it always?" Menma asked.

"Ginkotsu, bring out our comrade," Mukotsu ordered.

"Gesh," Ginkotsu replied before he pulled out his sword and sliced his human palm, and held It out to the young man. The young man tried to turn away, but Mukotsu forced him to look at the blood.

Suikotsu stared at the blood, his expression wide with horror before it a pulse of chakra exploded from his body, causing a fierce wind to blow past the Konoha shinobi.

And when it did, Suikotsu's face had morphed into that of a blood-thirsty demon, which had six green marks across his face with glowing red eyes and sharpened teeth, his body was bulkier, and his hair stood up in spikes.

"Well, that changed," Naruko said. "He looks fearsome now."

"Told you," Anko told her Genin as the intensity of the wind died down. Anko then spat on the ground and said, "Saw that coming…"

"Tōketsu Hāto (Frozen Heart)," Menma whispered, which caused the air around him to shimmer with frost, icy blue chakra wisps flowing from his body.

"Mehana no Kōri (Eyes of Ice)," Menma then said, his right eye becoming frost-white with an icy-blue iris that which with pale blue chakra. "Well, it seems it's time for a fight…"

The red glow of Suikotsu's eyes faded to reveal his beady gray irises, and he gave a wide smirk. "Good job Mukotsu. You brought more for me to kill," Suikotsu said, his voice rougher than before.

"I sure did. These Konoha shinobi have our hostage," Mukotsu told him with a wide grin.

"Well now, this won't do at all," Suikotsu stated as he pulled out his weapons, two pairs of tiger claws, and put them on each hand. "Seems we need to retrieve him…" Suikotsu added with a bloodthirsty smirk.

"The other two you and Ginkotsu can kill. I call dibs on the blonde girl," Mukotsu said as he licked his lips.

"Gesh," Ginkotsu said.

[Battle Start
Theme of Battle: Red Radical Rage from Yakuza 0]

Anko pulled out two kunai and said, "Ready up. You have your targets."

Menma nodded and said, "Tsume no Nigai Shimo (Claws of the Bitter Frost)." A pair of fox-shaped claw ice gauntlets formed around his hands and forearms.

"Let's do this," Naruko said with a smile before she launched herself into the air while Menma and Anko dashed forward.

"Ginkotsu. Cover fire," Suikotsu demanded before he dashed forward to the oncoming shinobi.

"Gesh," Ginkotsu said as he pulled the left cord on his armor, which caused the cannon attached to his right shoulder to fire a cannonball into the air.

Naruko shouted, "Not today! Reppū Jūdan: Saisho Dangan!" a shockwave of wind exploded from her fingertip and collided with the cannonball, which sent it sailing backward into the air where it then exploded, bathing the area in light.

"Gesh!" Ginkotsu yelled as he pulled the right cord on his armor, which caused the five buzzsaws to fly towards Naruko.

Naruko shrieked as she flew down towards the ground, her body swaying left and right to avoid the buzzsaws before she twisted her body and delivered a kick to Ginkotsu's face, which sent him to the ground.

"Take this!" Mukotsu shouted as he launched two orbs of deadly poison at Naruko.

"You can have it! Reppū Jūdan: Saisho Dangan!" Naruko fired another shockwave from her fingertips, which caused her to sail backward in time to avoid the five buzzsaws that were coming back at her.

The shockwave slammed into the poisonous orbs, causing them to disperse while also hitting the short male himself, who got sent flying into the forest. Naruko twirled in the air and landed against the side of the tree before she leaped to the left to avoid Ginkotsu's cannonball, which exploded upon impact.

Naruko twirled in the air wildly then caught herself while she was upside down, only for Menma to land before her and dash towards the now rising Ginkotsu. "Gesh!" Ginkotsu yelled as he fired his five buzzsaws towards Menma.

Menma's right eye began to glow before he shouted, "Tsumetai Bīmu (Freezing Beam)!" A beam of chakra shot out from his eye and flew past the buzzsaws, freezing them in midair as it passed them by before it collided against Ginkotsu's right chest, causing it to freeze.

"Gesh?!" Ginkotsu exclaimed in alarm as Menma closed the distance. Without warning, Mukotsu appeared in a poisonous vapor before his larger companion and blocked Menma's Frozen gauntlet with Ginkotsu's sheathed uchigatana.

"Nyeh-heh-heh," Mukotsu cackled slowly as the frost from Menma's gauntlet began to freeze the sheath of the uchigatana. Mukotsu broke the clash and swung the sheathed uchigatana at Menma twice, who blocked each strike with his gauntlets before he dashed backward.

"Kūki Doriru (Air drill)!" Naruko shouted as her spinning form collided against the area between Mukotsu and Menma.

The earth splintered beneath her feet as the wind of her attack cut against Mukotsu's body. Blood spurted from Mukotsu's wounds as Naruko held her right hand back and said, "Tenohira no Soyokaze (Palm of the Soft Wind)."

Wind formed against her palm as the poisonous vapors that surrounded them swirled into her palm. Naruko's hand collided against Mukotsu's face with a lunge of her right arm, which caused his face to turn and ripple before the pudgy man flew backward into Ginkotsu's chest.

The gigantic abomination skidded back on his feet at the collision just as Menma leaped on Naruko's right shoulder and into the air, his eye glowing as he shouted, "Tsumetai Bīmu!" A beam of icy-blue chakra flew from Menma's eye and collided against Mukotsu's chest, where the shorter man began to freeze until he was frozen solid.

Seeing this, Ginkotsu yelled, "Gesh!" and launched the frozen Mukotsu at Menma, who twisted his body and cleaved through it with his left gauntlet, shattering the frozen body of Mukotsu.

But when Menma did this, the shattered remains revealed a cannonball coming in his direction. Without warning, Naruko flew up and tackled him further into the air before the cannonball could connect.

The two twirled in the air as the cannonball exploded.

On the ground, steel met steel as Anko's kunai collided with Suikotsu's tiger claws.

"This can't be all you've got," Suikotsu taunted as he pushed Anko back and swiped his right claw at Anko's face. Anko deflected the sharp weapon with her right kunai, then repeatedly blocked quick swipes with both kunai before moving forward and headbutting her opponent.

Suikotsu staggered backward and blocked Anko's kunai's stab with his left claw before he kicked her in the stomach, which caused her to loosen her hold on the kunai handle, but she then smirked as dozens of snakes flew from her sleeve and at Suikotsu.

Suikotsu dashed back to while swinging his left arm to decapitate the snakes before he skidded to a stop and turned around to block five shurikens from striking his body. Anko and a shadow clone then ran up from each side and began to attack him in earnest, but Suikotsu blocked the frenzied dual attacks from Anko and her clone.

After blocking a stabbing attempt at his head, Suikotsu grabbed the clone's wrist and swung her at Anko, who flew back into the air from the blow. The clone dispersed as Suikotsu placed both arms to his chest as chakra began to build around him.

The claws then glinted an ominous red before he slashed the air before him with both claws with a yell, sending dark-red jagged waves of chakra out towards Anko, who had now landed on the ground.

Anko quickly formed several hand seals before she bit her thumb and slammed both hands on the ground with a shout of, "Kuchiyose: Rashōmon (Summoning Jutsu: Rashōmon)!"

A large gate with a demonic face for doors exploded from the ground and blocked Suikotsu's attack, causing a large wave of red chakra to explode against the gate.

Suikotsu sneered at this as the swarms of blades flew from the gate's roof tiles towards him. Suikotsu switched himself out with a log, which was immediately decimated by the storm of sharp steel. Suikotsu appeared at the side of the gate and dashed past only to see Anko was gone.

He skidded to a stop only to feel the ground rumble beneath him, which caused him to jump to the left as a large cobra exploded from the ground. Suikotsu skidded back as the cobra hissed.

Anko leaped on the head of the cobra and panted out, " Kohana-chan…Snack time."

"He looks good enough to eat…" the cobra said with amusement before it lunged down towards Suikotsu.

Captain Blues: And that is the end of this chapter. I had a massive writers block with this one and this fic in general, but I really do enjoy writing for it. The next chapter will actually be the end of the arc so that is going to be MASSIVE so until then!