Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto nor The Gamer. I own nothing, really.

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 101

"When did this become… easy?" Eiji wondered out loud as he wrote down in his notebook. He felt it was a somewhat justified question, really. After all, he was referring to jutsu creation, a subject that had given him no small amount of stress at some point.

He remembered it, how much he'd had to work at the start, when he'd been tasked with creating the Void. And then he compared it with how he was now though, with probably more original jutsu than not. He wasn't really sure about that, but he wasn't keen on checking either way.

"Sometimes I wish other people could hear your thoughts," Kage commented then, sounding a little annoyed. "If only just to see them react when you say stuff like that."

"I have to… reluctantly agree with Kage," Hachi said, as if it pained her. "You do have a very skewed view of some things, Eiji. Not that I don't see why you do, but it's both amusing and a little annoying."

Tsuchigumo, darling that she was, simply barked happily. She probably didn't even understand much of what they were saying, if Eiji was to take a guess. Either that, or she didn't care. It wasn't like she was dumb, after all, but she still seemed to act like that sometimes. He supposed she had priorities as to what she was smart about and what not.

"Never change, Tsuchi," He thought with a smile on his face that widened when she replied with another bark. Then, with a sigh, he cracked his neck, deciding to take a little break from his notes.

Almost distractedly, he turned to see the wires around him. They were burning brightly, as they had been for some time now. Literally at that, since he was practicing chakra flow, something he'd mastered some time ago already. Well, he'd mastered Lightning, but he was working on Fire now.

[Chakra Flow: Fire – Lvl 5

Technique with which the user can channel elemental chakra into weapons to grant them special enhancements.

Increased chances of the target continued burning by 25%.

Consumption – 8 Chakra Points per second.]

It wasn't the fastest of progresses, but Eiji wasn't too worried about that. It was more of a thing he did to multitask, really. He wasn't sure in which moment it would be more useful than Lightning, really. He supposed he could use Fire whenever he was against an Air Release user, but even then Chakra Flow wouldn't be the best option. The elemental nature worked better when it was thrown against Air techniques, after all.

Hell, he was working on fire techniques with his jutsu creation projects for a reason, after all. Well, that and for Konan. He didn't really remember if she was actually weak to fire, and neither did his notes, but he didn't see why not. Then again, the world he was part of hardly followed logic at the best of times. Considering that and that paper had some very glaringly obvious weaknesses, he had to consider that they might not actually work.

Eiji could only hope that if it was resistant to fire, it wasn't completely so.

That would suck.

"How's this looking, Hachi?" He asked his jutsu 'assistant'.

"I think it's going well so far," She replied, but he could almost hear her eyes narrowing. "And don't call me assistant."

"Ma'am, yes ma'am."

Then they heard Kage snickering, which brought both of them to stop and focus on him. Eiji couldn't really see inside his mindscape unless he went in, but he still had a pretty good idea of what was going on. Like the fact that Kage gulped under his 'sister's' gaze.

Shaking his head, he went back to work.

[}-o-{]

"Honestly, I was expecting worse," Eiji commented, looking around.

"I know right?" Tayuya replied with a smirk.

They were currently looking at the living arrangements that Konoha had procured for his team. Or most of them, at least. After all, Sasori hadn't even been given a chance just yet, understandably. As for Temari and Yugito, they had been given a place to stay before too, but theirs was temporary, of course.

As for the three ex-Sound ninja, well they'd been given a house to stay at together. It was about the same as the one Naruto and Eiji himself had been given to live in, really. That was why he was surprised, he supposed. 'We have a garden though,' He thought, holding back a chuckle.

It wasn't the only difference, of course. The place his team had been given was worse than the house he and his brother (and Karin now) lived in. It was smaller, it had less furniture and Eiji was pretty sure more ninja lived around. He wouldn't be surprised if there was an Anbu/Root place somewhere close. He was expecting that, actually.

"Not bad," He nodded, looking around. "Not bad at all. All this enough for you three?" He asked, turning towards the ex-Sound ninja who were looking around too.

"Well, I could use a-"

"Yes, it's fine," Jirobo told him with a nod, cutting off Tayuya and completely ignoring the heated glare the girl directed his way. 'I knew I liked him for a reason,' Eiji thought with a grin.

"And it's not because he's the most calm of the bunch?" Hachi asked, and he could almost see the smile and the raised eyebrow.

"That too," He admitted.

"Good to know," He said out loud, earning a huff from the only female in the group at the moment. "Well, I'll give you guys some time to get settled. I think we can skip today's training."

At that, all three of them sagged in relief.

"You are mean, Eiji," Kage commented, sounding positively delighted.

"I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about," Eiji thought, highly amused before opening his mouth to speak out loud.

"We'll just have to up training a little tomorrow to make up for it."

He definitely didn't enjoy the way their faces paled.

Not at all.

[}-o-{]

"You know, I thought we were done with this," Eiji said to the not-so-empty air around him. He received no response, obviously, but he hadn't expected one. Besides, he was focused on his task for the moment, which was to analyze the sheets in front of him.

Another Danzo/Root assigned little piece of homework had been delivered that night. It had caught Eiji off guard, if he was honest. After all, as he said, he thought they were finished with that phase in his training/grooming. Evidently, he'd been wrong.

He'd obediently sat and read through the assignments though. Mostly because he had nothing better to do at the moment, if he was honest. As he did so though, he found that he… didn't mind, really. It was almost relaxing, doing that.

There was no fight, no great threat on the horizon with those papers. Just issues here and there, issues that wouldn't spell doom for everyone he cared about either. Problems that he could sit and ponder on for the night, for a day or two or even more. It was… nice, really. The best part though, was that if he did something wrong, nothing major would happen. It'd maybe cause more problems to deal with, but it wouldn't cause something that would haunt him or anything of the sort.

'Man, never thought I'd think paperwork was nice,' Eiji thought with a wry smile.

But there he was, almost enjoying himself as he read through reports and thought over issues. It wasn't a thrilling activity, to be sure, but he didn't need more of those, honestly. Furthermore, it was boring, very much so, but he found that he didn't mind. It let his mind be quiet for once, without worries or plans for future conflicts with S-ranked threats.

"Huh, that's not a half-bad idea," Kage pointed out as they read through a specific part, a suggestion made by the Civilian Council, of all people. "Tweak it a little here, a little there…"

"Hm, I can see it," Hachi agreed and Eiji could see her nodding inside his head.

That was another thing in favor of the paperwork, actually. Since he didn't have to do it alone, it wasn't as boring as it had been before the twins – "Don't call us that!" – were there to offer their help. It really improved his performance with the assignments, and that was without their advice on top of that. Just having them there to keep him from boring himself to death was helpful.

"Yes, we are awesome. So, about the paper?" Kage asked, and Eiji could see his raised eyebrow even from outside the mindscape.

"Ok, ok, let's tackle that then," He said, reading it over. Yeah, there was somewhat of a good idea in there. Hidden by Civilian Council bullshit, but it was there. They just needed to make it actually good.

[}-o-{]

"Oh God, he got worse," Someone breathed out.

"You have no idea, Bimbo Number Three," Someone else muttered. "It's only the beginning."

"Eijiiiiiii! Let us down, we've been hanging here for like, half an hour!" Naruto shouted, only to get a mild shock. Nothing too bad, really, Eiji wasn't a monster, after all… Maybe.

He was busy though, how dare they interrupt his meditation. He was trying to train Senjutsu a lil' bit, couldn't they be silent? If they didn't want to be hanging from ninja wire, they should have done better during the fight. Honestly, sometimes it seemed that the only decent ninja around was Yugito, and she'd barely gotten herself out of that cruel and unusual punishment.

"You know, Kumo is rather ruthless when training," Said woman muttered from where she sat, off to the side. She was meditating too, from what Eiji gathered through his Web Sense and Senjutsu. Or, at least, she had been. Now she was just sitting there. "But you reach new heights on that front, I have to admit."

"Thanks," Eiji said with a smile.

"It wasn't a compliment though," She whispered under her breath and he pretended like he didn't hear. He'd just have to remember that during the next training session.

"Oh, he so heard you," Tayuya gleefully called from where she hung from a tree. "You are so getting it, Bimbo Number Two!"

The silence that Yugito replied with was very telling, even if Eiji could feel the blood leaving her face and the sweat forming on her skin. Yeah, the next training session would be fun, like always. Maybe even more entertaining than that, if he really wanted to push her. He had to, really, since she was a Jinchuriki out in the field. It was only right for him to push her more, right? It was just so that she would be prepared for Akatsuki. He couldn't have her not be ready in case she became a target out there.

Yeah, he was a nice leader like that.

For the moment though...

"There are five ways for you guys to get out of those threads," He announced, since they didn't even seem to be trying to get out. "Find them."

"... So, that's why we've been hanging for longer than usual," Kabuto grumbled, and Eiji could feel his eyes darting around, searching for the answer to the puzzle he'd been presented with. "I see…"

"Is bribery one of them?" Ino asked, half-joking. Eiji almost smiled. They were all getting down to it now, he could almost feel the gears turning in their heads. Good.

He remained silent though. He wouldn't be giving them any other clues after that. He was already a little disappointed that they hadn't realized what the exercise was, or that it was one to begin with. Then again, he could excuse that, since it was something new.

"Oh man, this is great," Kage said inside his mind, and Eiji wasn't so sure, but he thought the man was eating something. Popcorn? He wouldn't put it past him, really.

"He is," Hachi confirmed, sounding supremely disappointed.

'Man, what I wouldn't give to have some of that too,' He thought to himself.

"...You are both children," Hachi added with a huff, rolling her eyes at them.

[}-o-{]

"Yeah, I think this works," Eiji commented with a smirk, inspecting his arms.

"Fearless Leader, I just want you to know that I hate you," Tayuya called, her voice the epitome of exasperation. "Can you stop becoming more ridiculous by the second?"

"Aw, you say the sweetest things, Tayuya, truly," He replied, turning to grin towards his team. Not that they could see it. After all, he was covered from head to toe by one of his new techniques. This was a session to work on his Fire Release, as it turned out.

[Fire Release: Sunfire Cape – Level 1

B-rank technique with which the user covers themselves in fire and increases their capabilities.

Increases stats of the user by 1%.

Increased chances of anyone touching the cape to continue burning by 5%.

Hand Seals – 10

Consumption – 20 Chakra Points per second.

+Creator Bonus:

Increases burning chance by 25%

Increases stat effect by 25%]

'It's a little weird, that the first B-rank techniques I made were Fire Release, of all things,' He mused to himself.

"I mean, you all but jumped straight to A or up with everything else," Kage pointed out, and Eiji could practically see the unimpressed expression on the man's face.

"The wire techniques are C and down though," Eiji protested weakly.

"Well," He said out loud. "You guys coming?" He asked, hitting his left palm with his right fist. He felt like throwing some punches that day, and Sunfire Cape made it all the more fun. Lightning cackled at his feet, ready to Flicker.

No one in his team moved for a moment, before Yugito surged forward, spearheading the battle as she usually did. Eiji supposed that made sense, since she must have been trained like that. It fit rather well, since she was a Jinchuriki. He also supposed she wanted to test his fire cloaking against her own, not that his stood a chance against Bijuu powered flames, honestly.

His assumption was soon proved right, at least until Tsuchigumo started powering the technique instead of him. Then things changed, because his technique stopped being pushed around by the woman's fire. He could tell that the shift took the woman by surprise. An opening that he took full advantage of to punch her away. Jirobo and Kabuto had run around, trying to flank him. Sasori, meanwhile, floated his body up to attack from above.

Tayuya was already probably boosting everyone, since she'd long since given up on putting a genjutsu on him during fights. She hadn't stopped trying to find a way, but she'd accepted that it would take her quite a while, if not forever. For the moment, boosting her allies was all she could do. That and give advice and orders.

Temari was right there with her, even more limited in her fighting options. After all, using her fan against him as he was wouldn't be a good idea. It'd probably do more harm than good, considering that her teammates were surrounding him. Thus, she did what she could, flying on top of her fan as she looked upon the battlefield, looking for openings for the team. They'd had to work on giving her more options besides wind, that was for sure.

Thus, Eiji pushed the two women out of his mind, half-paying attention to them in case they did something unexpected. Meanwhile, he concentrated on the fighters upon him, trading blows with them while he used his wires to make up where he couldn't with his limbs. Four against one wasn't a very fair fight… at least considering that he was keeping off most of his buffs. He didn't even have World Ender up, trusting that Kabuto would patch him up if he needed it.

"Why not try that out, huh? Might as well go for a full testing session, right?" Hachi suggested, making Eiji's grin widen even more. Now, there was an idea.

"Why do you hate them so, sister of mine?" Kage asked, although he sounded more amused than anything else.

"Shut up."

Eiji simply tuned them out before they could get started, using three Flickers to buy himself some time as he ran through hand seals. Temari shouted a warning then, but by the time Yugito reacted and rushed him, he'd finished. Chakra surged in a familiar way, but with very different results than usual. Fire exploded outwards, but, in contrast with Sunfire Cape's contained flames, these ones didn't stop. They rushed outwards, eager and hungry to consume his surroundings, and he let them.

[Fire Release: Conflagration – Level 1

B-rank technique with which the user covers the surrounding area on fire.

Increased chances of anyone affected to continue burning by 5%.

Range – 10 meters

Hand Seals – 40

Consumption – 29 Chakra Points per second.

+Creator Bonus:

Increases range effect by 50%]

Fire covered the area around Eiji, and he almost laughed. It was… exhilarating, using big techniques. He felt like a bit of a child, but it just felt so amazing. To have such power over what surrounded him. He could definitely see the appeal of going full show even in serious battles.

Now that he thought about it.

"Come at me with all you have, guys!" He called to his team, who seemed to pause at his words. "I want to go all out. This'll be fun!"

"Oh shit," Someone said, he wasn't sure who. He felt it then, Yugito letting loose. But it wouldn't be enough. Not with World Ender, his Energy skills, Tsuchigumo and Senjutsu. No, they'd need more.

"Let loose," He ordered, grinning from ear to ear. "Use the Seals," He told Jirobo and Tayuya. He'd had them meditating for a while now, they could use them without being influenced now, he knew. Not for long, but it was something. He felt them, through the natural energy, the shift and the slight corruption of their chakra paths.

He'd have to arrange a chat with Jiraiya at some point. Or wait until Naruto was advanced enough to tinker with their Cursed Marks. If they could turn them into something less… twisted, then that would be great. It was unlikely that they would be able to replicate the effect, but Eiji cared little for that. He just wanted his team to be at their best.

"Now, let's try again, yeah?" He asked, chuckling slightly before they jumped at him.

[}-o-{]

Eiji walked solemnly through the halls, his team following dutifully and in silence. He didn't blame them for that, he'd have kept his mouth shut if his leader looked like he did at the moment. Eiji just… wasn't having a good day either, which certainly helped with their reactions.

He was distracted too, which was why he almost missed the looks people were giving him. Almost, but not quite. There were people that were afraid, there were people that were awed, there were people that were somewhere in between. Considering that he was in the Hokage Tower, Eiji had to wonder what that meant. Why, exactly, were they looking at him like that? He could think of several reasons himself, but he didn't know how public any of those things were, so…

Maybe it was better to just focus on what was going on, all things considered.

"Gee, you think?" Kage asked, and Eiji could see the male twin rolling his eyes at him. "Don't…" The man in his mind started protesting, before just giving up. "Ah, whatever…"

"You are part of the family, Kage, accept it," Eiji told him, holding back a grin on the outside.

"Still, I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me this thing's twin, Eiji," Hachi commented.

"Oi, who are you calling a thing?!"

"You, of course," She replied.

"Tsuchi? Your siblings are being dumb, you know what to do," Eiji called, receiving a bark in response.

"No, wait-"

"It was just a jok-!"

Ah, music to Eiji's ears. If only that were enough to cheer him up though. Instead, his expression flattened even more as he nodded his head at one of the guards outside Hiruzen's door and he walked in. He'd been called, and considering what it was about, he didn't even bother with the formalities. The Hokage wouldn't care for it regardless, and it was highly unlikely that he'd interrupt anything.

"Eiji, thanks for coming so quickly," The old man greeted them with a nod, his expression almost the same as the boy's. Eiji, for his part, gave the man a smile that held no joy behind it. "So, better to get on with it, isn't it?" Hiruzen asked, all but deflating on his chair.

"I think so, old man," Eiji replied.

"According to the information that we've managed to gather, together with the intel Sasori has provided us… if we can trust it," Hiruzen started, making the boy glance towards his puppet master teammate. The man, under his gaze, remained stoic… Eiji almost believed that front, if not for his Web Sense telling him of a slight shift in the mechanisms inside the puppet body. He turned his gaze to Hiruzen. He must have seen something because he continued then. "It's all but confirmed that Akatsuki is making a move for the Seven Tails Jinchuriki."

"And we are being sent there, we know. Get on with it already," Tayuya grumbled. Instead of scolding her, Eiji simply gave a half smile to Hiruzen. He didn't particularly disagree with his teammate, he'd admit.

"And you are being sent there," The Hokage agreed, returning the smile at him. "If there's anything we can do-"

"Some actual support would be nice."

"Tayuya," Eiji called then, just to prevent her from speaking more than she already had. He didn't mind her words, and he knew Hiruzen didn't either, but there was no reason to let her do as she pleased… too much, at least. Last thing he needed was for her to do something like that with someone less understanding. The girl huffed behind him.

"This is all the information we've gathered," Tsunade told him, walking from where she'd been standing to the side and behind Hiruzen and handing him a file.

Opening it briefly, he saw who it was that they suspected was lurking in Takigakure. Hidan and Kakuzu, which, all in all, wasn't as bad as it could be. They were actually the easiest pair of the Akatsuki he knew, Eiji suspected, even counting Deidara and Sasori. This could have been much worse, all things considered.

After a glimpse, he passed the file to Temari, who was standing to his right.

"Not gonna read it?" Tsunade asked, with a raised eyebrow.

"I'll check it in depth later. For now, I'll leave it to Temari to study it and share it with the team."

"Have better things to do?" Tsunade asked, before Eiji bathed the room in Bloodlust.

"As a matter of fact, I do," Eiji said curtly. "You know what to do, guys. I'll see you at the Training Grounds."

"You'll let Sasori-"

"Shut up," He growled at the woman. "If Sasori does anything, he knows there's not a hole on the face of Earth that he can hide from me, and that's all he needs to know about that. Honestly, you should be more concerned about me, because you are getting on my nerves."

"And after I taught you?" Tsunade asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Taught," He scoffed. "You gave me books and a few half-assed pointers here and there. If that's you teaching, I pity any student you take."

"Ha!" She laughed then, giving him a smile. "If I do become Hokage, I think I'll keep you around. Much better than most of the rest, I gotta say."

"Just don't make a habit of annoying me," He told her flatly as he relaxed. "Now… I have somewhere to go."

Sighing, he turned to Hiruzen, who had been watching the whole interaction with a neutral expression.

"See you later, old man," Eiji said simply, with a small smile and a slight nod that the Hokage returned.

"Be safe, Eiji."

"Ha! As if that was even in the cards," The boy replied with a shake of his head as he turned and walked out the door.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Welp, we've had… What? Three to five chapters of nice, easy relaxing? Hopefully it wasn't too boring for you, guys. And now, we are moving to Takigakure. Wonder how that will go. Not much else to comment on this, really, I don't think, so I'll leave the notes at that.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter.

As always, if you can't wait until next week for next chapter, there's up to three new chapters in my Pa tre on:

P a treon . com (slash) AdrianKing

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Random Question: Any thoughts on the upcoming arc? Something you want to see? Theories?

See you.