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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 112

"I don't think I have to remind you to be careful, do I?" Hiruzen said then, taking a drag from his pipe. Like usual, he looked entirely too tired. Eiji could certainly sympathize. The boy wondered how many things the old man was trying to do at once.

Judging by the fact that he'd barely seen any of the Jounin-sensei in a while, Eiji was pretty sure that there were lots of plates being balanced. That and some of the papers Danzo had given him told a very complicated picture of the world as it was. It was no wonder there was always something to do.

"At least it's not Akatsuki right now," Hachi pointed out, to which he agreed.

"Don't cause an international incident unless you have to, got it," Eiji said, a small smirk on his face. Normally, he'd have looked more… professional before. As it was, time and missions had made him care a lot less about that nonsense. He'd get the job done anyway and they knew it, why would he go through the trouble of ruining his own mood while at it? It didn't make sense.

"It'd be better to not cause an international incident at all," Tsunade commented, but he knew everyone in the room got what he meant. Kumo wasn't known to be very flexible, if at all. Chances were that he'd have to deal with trouble in some way and he could only do his best to keep things peaceful.

With things as they were, it was unlikely though. Not without offending either the Stone or the Cloud. Someone would have to get smacked and all things considered, Kumo looked like a proper target.

"Your successor seems to be… a little too hopeful, old man," Eiji commented. "And she's not as young as she looks. Maybe you can still find someone else. Like Naruto."

That earned him snorts from basically everyone, except one very expected person.

"Kumo will realize that we've captured their Jinchuuriki once you make an appearance anywhere," Danzo said then, and Eiji made sure to give him all his attention, even as his expression would remind some people of the Naras. "So, you'll have to start working fast. Kumo won't stay idle once they realize that their Jinchuriki has been captured."

"I've already started preparing people in our borders," Hiruzen told him then, taking over. "I only need you to take care of the issues in Iwa, especially because-"

"Because the Stone could start a war with the Cloud and we don't want that, yeah, I guessed. And it needs to be me because I'm the only one they won't give trouble to," Eiji finished, waiting for someone to tell him his guesses were wrong. When no one did, he chuckled to himself. "Because where's the fun if there's not a major threat in sight, right?" He asked with a roll of his eyes.

"Good luck," Hiruzen said, to which he snorted.

"See you later, old man. Try not to have another one of these missions when I come back, yeah? It'd be appreciated," Eiji commented as he gave everyone a wry smile.

"Don't you know, Fearless Leader," Tayuya mock whispered. "We are the only ones that do shit around here." Making sure his three superiors weren't actually offended by the redhead, he shook his head.

"You are not wrong about that. Now, let's go before they find something else to dump on us," Eiji said, nodding towards the door.

"Eiji," Tsunade called as he turned to leave. "Don't push your luck, kid."

"I don't even have luck, guys, but the sentiment is appreciated," He said, not turning around as he walked out.

"So, back out there, huh?" Kabuto said once they were all outside and Eiji could only sigh.

"Seems so," He replied with a grimace. "Do you have everything you need, Fu? You didn't exactly have a lot of time to get settled."

"I have what I need, yes," The girl answered easily, grinning as she skipped off to the side next to Jirobo. She looked like a happy camper, which he wasn't sure why she'd be. He certainly would have preferred some more down time.

"Well, that's good," He said, taking a deep breath in and letting it out slowly. "Everyone else has everything too?" He asked. It was unnecessary, since they'd had a day to prepare since the news on the mission and Fu were delivered the day before, but it was better to be sure. They'd said their goodbyes – Or he had, mostly – and they'd gathered all they could need.

"Everything's ready. I checked," Kabuto answered, pushing his glasses up. "We can leave immediately if you are."

"Guess we don't have an excuse to delay," Eiji muttered to himself before yawning and taking off the coat that he wore.

"Hm, Eiji? We are outside, you know?" Fu pointed out as she looked around, seemingly unable to decide where to rest her eyes on. It was sort of adorable, really. He was pretty sure he'd been shirtless around her other times too.

"Yeah, and?" He asked uncaringly as he pulled his "ninja approved" coat. He was amused by the fact that Danzo had insisted on the style he'd given Eiji during the Chunin exams. This time, he seemed to have taken the coat he asked for and made a mix with the other outfit. So, he had a black coat with some red plating and fur on the collar. It looked pretty good though, all things considered.

He decided he'd liked not wearing anything under it. It was freeing, in a way. Eiji had decided that he'd embrace every little freedom he could get his hands on. Considering the way things seemed to go and how they forced him to do stuff, he'd need some of that.

"Do you think we'll find a nice date spot somewhere in the Land of Earth?" He asked, receiving a smack on the back of his head. Tayuya remained silent beyond that. "I remember some in Iwa, I think, but I'm not sure we'll be there much."

"I'm sure we can find something," Jirobo commented wryly. "Anything to get Tayuya away from us for a bit."

"Shut the fuck up, all of you," The girl herself grumbled.

[}-o-{]

During one of the stops on their way to the Land of Bean Jam – 'God, some of these places sound so silly…' –, Eiji sat against a tree while the team trained. In his hands, he held the files that detailed the information he should have. About the Iwa/Kumo conflict that was going on and about Akatsuki.

He'd participated in the interrogation of all three of the members he'd brought. It seemed that Sasori didn't have anything to hide, which was surprising but not overly so. Hidan had been raving mad already and he hadn't been able to change that much with Wit's End. Kakuzu had been similarly hard to crack, probably because of how old he was. Between the two of the new prisoners though, some info had been gathered.

It didn't tell them much, but it was something.

Between that and Konoha's own information gathering, which Eiji supposed was Jiraiya's doing, he had some idea in regards to the situation with Akatsuki. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough. 'Guess I shouldn't be too hopeful, considering the remaining members,' He thought with a grimace.

"They are the most problematic of the lot," Kage agreed, sounding similarly displeased.

"It's strange that nothing has been heard of them for a while though," Hachi pointed out.

She had a point. There'd always been very little about those four and there was still nothing on Obito since his involvement in the Crush. There was also absolutely nothing about Zetsu, which was probably even more concerning. It was all making Eiji very nervous, he'd admit. If his enemies weren't showing up anywhere, then chances were they were preparing for something that couldn't be anything good.

"Maybe you should focus on the matter at hand," Hachi reminded him, to which he grimaced.

'Right, preventing a war between Kumo and Iwa… Why did they have to choose now to do this shit?' He asked, even if he had several reasons for that listed in his mind and on the file. That didn't mean he couldn't complain about it though.

"Don't think there's much we can do on this front," Kage pointed out. "We'll just have to hope Hiruzen can deal with the politics of this mess while we stop Kumo nin from provoking Iwa," He said, which Eiji had to agree with. What could he do otherwise? Smack some Cloud ninja and send a threat back? Yeah, because that'd end well.

He might be more confident in his chances against Killer B, but that didn't mean he wanted to fight the guy. Besides, a war between Kumo and Konoha wouldn't be much better, really. One could only hope the actual politicians would find a way to avoid that, or he'd be…

Eiji sighed.

"Eiji, you fucking idiot!" Tayuya screamed and his expression shifted into a smirk. "The hell do you think you are doing?" She asked him when he turned to look at what had caused her outburst.

As he thought, his clone had finished the little mission he'd sent it to and brought a bouquet of wildflowers to give to her. He chuckled to himself as he stored the files for the moment and stood up. He'd known that she'd hate it, but he'd already also figured out that she was a total tsundere. While a part of her hated gestures like those, there was another that liked them even if she'd never admit it.

Granted, he didn't know when that was actually the case and when it wasn't, but he wasn't too worried. She hadn't actually smacked him or anything just yet, so he counted his efforts at the very least as "not annoying enough". It was a win in his books, really.

"Just trying to be nice," Eiji replied with a slight smile as he regarded the team, which was recovering their breath after the spar they'd been in was interrupted. "I think that's enough for now, by the way. My clones will give you an analysis, guys. Take a break."

"If you do something this stupid again, I'm gonna do something drastic," Tayuya hissed at him while everyone went to the clones he'd mentioned. On the back of his mind, the twins stepped back with Tsuchigumo. The team, for their part, actually did a decent job at hiding their amusement to avoid the redhead's wrath. Not that it mattered, since she was wholly focused on him.

"It was a bit over the top, I'll admit," Eiji said, still smiling. "But it wasn't bad, was it?" He asked, with a tilt of his head.

"It's dumb," She told him, and she seemed actually annoyed, which made his smile fade away. "What am I even supposed to do with those?"

"Appreciate them?" He asked with a shrug. "You can throw them away after. It's not like we can find a base for you to put them in. Most of my clones are training or keeping an eye on your training. I wanted one to do something more relaxing to test if it'd help when I pop them to feel less like a bunch of work is dumped on me," He explained honestly.

"... Maybe find something else to do than that next time," Tayuya said, her anger bleeding off.

"Are you actually angry or is this another case like the roses?" He asked curiously. He wondered if she'd actually answer or just go on another angry rant.

"I don't like public displays," She mumbled, looking away and Eiji blinked.

"I'm sorry then," He told her honestly, and heard her mutter something else under her breath that he didn't quite catch. He did see that there was some pink on her cheeks. "Could you repeat that?"

"No flowers, idiot," She told him, giving him a glare.

"Because you have nowhere to put them or because you just don't like them?" Eiji asked, his smile returning.

"Don't ask stupid questions," She said, her tone heated once more. Still, he laughed. "Guess I'll have to get that analysis now then," She added, looking at the approaching clone.

"Eh, I'll give it," He said with a shrug, giving the clone a look to which it nodded and dispelled.

"Um," Tayuya hesitated when, as she usually did, she went to start playing. Her eyes darted around uncharacteristically. "Is there anything you'd like to hear?" She asked then, fidgeting with her flute. His grin widened.

"Anything you wanna play. You know I love your music. Something calm would be nice though," Eiji told her, making her blush. She could be adorable like that at times.

[}-o-{]

Tayuya fell off the branch she'd been sitting on as her laughter got out of control. Eiji himself could hardly blame her as he looked at Jirobo shakily standing up again. It was quite humorous, he had to admit.

"Is he ok?" Fu asked as Kabuto dashed down to check on their teammate.

"Should be," Eiji reassured with a nod. "I've seen the guy take harder hits."

"Then why's he getting a check up?" The green haired girl questioned then, blinking as if she didn't understand.

"Just in case, like usual," He answered. "Everything's fine, you see?" He added when their team medic shot them a thumbs up before taking their distance. "Come on, Jirobo! I know you can do it! A few more hits and that rock will be dust!"

"That's not what I'm trying to do!" He shouted back, shooting a glare up at the trees where they sat to watch.

"Could have fooled me!"

"Suddenly, it makes much more sense that you asked out Tayuya," Kabuto commented wryly as he joined them once more.

"What's that mean?" Tayuya asked as she joined them too, having gotten over her laughter. Her lips were still twitching into a smirk as she looked at Jirobo training though.

"Nothing," Kabuto replied with a grin. "Nothing at all," He added, smile widening as the redhead glared at him.

"Just that we are both lovely people, of course," Eiji said, looking at them, quite amused. It was a nice break from traveling and thinking about the mission he'd admit. Next to him, Fu couldn't quite hold back a snort, which… fair.

"Watch it, Skitter."

The sound of rock shifting got everyone's attention once more. It wasn't often that only one of them trained while the rest watched, but Jirobo's new technique required them to know how it worked in a little more detail. It could cause problems and work against them if they didn't, after all. So, Eiji had everyone spectate while the boy trained it, at least for part of it, to get them more familiar with it.

Tayuya started laughing once more while he shook his head and grinned. Jirobo had hit the same rock once more. 'Long way to go, that's for sure,' He mused to himself. Tsuchigumo enjoyed the show quite a bit too, if the waves of amusement were anything to go by.

"At least the technique works, right?" Kage pointed out to which Eiji had to agree. Now Jirobo just needed to get the hang of it before they actually needed it. He was optimistic about that though.

"Now that's more like it," Hachi commented as Jirobo went for another try that went much better. At least until he lost his balance and fell face first onto the ground. "Well, it's an improvement… I think."

Eiji just chuckled.

[}-o-{]

A fist met the other.

'Ouch,' Eiji thought with a grimace as he pulled away and when Fu sent another fist his way, he grabbed it with his open hand instead. It wasn't much of an improvement but it was something. 'Definitely have to make a close quarters fighter out of her. Damn.'

"You are not trying very hard, you gotta admit," Hachi pointed out, which was true, but still. It had been a while since he'd fought someone that gave him a run for his money in taijutsu. It wasn't his strong point, that was true, but still. He had half a mind to turn on Sunfire Cape to add a little boost to his stats…

"Actually, that's not a half bad idea," Kage said. "With that shell of hers, maybe she could take the fire?"

'Something for another time,' Eiji thought as he dodged a punch.

Normally, he'd leave training to the twins, but he'd been feeling a little restless watching everyone working but himself. Thus, he'd started getting a little more involved. Not overly so though, but mostly just helping the others with their things. It was less demanding and it kept him doing something other than just watching or drawing.

"I think that's about it for today," He commented, noticing that Fu was feeling the strain of using the Seven Tails's chakra. "There's no need to destroy your chakra coils," He added when he saw the girl about to protest. "That new technique is already quite good, and you don't seem to have trouble using it. No need to push yourself too hard and make things worse."

"I know, I just…" Fu all but whined before sighing, the chitin-like structures that had formed around her hands like a pseudo-armor disappearing slowly. "I guess I got a little excited. That could be the Seven Tails though. They're a lot happier now that we are out of Taki," She told him, a small smile on her face. "We didn't talk nearly as much back then, even if they still helped me."

"Well, happy to help," Eiji replied with a nod as he started regaining his breath. "You didn't have to join our mad group or anything though."

"I know but… I wanted to," Fu said simply, shrugging with a sly grin on her face. "Besides, the people that I talked to before didn't really put too many barriers."

"Well, you are a new and very good asset, of course they didn't argue too much," Eiji commented with a chuckle as they started making their way back to the rest of the team for a break. "Besides, they might have been a little wary of you throwing a tantrum. Jinchuriki ones are particularly troublesome, or so I hear."

"Well, I gotta remember that next time I want to get something then," She commented, grin still in place.

Eiji just shook his head.

[}-o-{]

[Kurotsuchi]

The world was going crazy once more and she almost wasn't surprised anymore. Almost being the operative word there, for sure. She'd thought things had calmed down, after the insane Konoha Invasion and then Akatsuki's presence in Iwa back when they were more actively trying to get Han. Kurotsuchi had obviously been wrong, it seemed.

She was starting to get the picture that having some calm times in the world was a rather difficult thing to accomplish. Suddenly much of her grandfather's complaints made a lot more sense. 'Did this kind of thing happen often and I just never noticed?' She had to ask herself as she moved with a team of Chunin.

The thing that had her mind going through such thoughts was Kumo's rather headstrong testing of their borders. Her grandfather didn't know for sure what they wanted, but the consensus was that it was Kumo's usual, their ever present desire for bloodlines of their own. They were, also as was almost expected, taking advantage of a rather shaky moment in the political overview to try and get what they wanted.

What had been less expected was the fact that they'd apparently crashed through the border just now. So much so that the posts of Iwa nin had asked for reinforcements to fight back. So much so that even Kurotsuchi's post that was nowhere near those borders had been called for assistance.

She knew, despite her displeasure at such a thing, that her grandfather had stationed her away from all the big dangers. Away from the village, which was once more under threat of Akatsuki even if it was less pressing than the Sasori/Deidara situation had been. And also away from the border that was being tested by Kumo.

'And yet, that wasn't enough,' She thought, half in trepidation and half in excitement. This was what she'd become a ninja for, after all. To help fight threats to her village, to help, to prove herself.

"Stop!" She called, because there, in front of them, laid a trap. It might have been quite a while since the last time she'd trained with Eiji, but she probably would always keep an eye out for ninja wire. 'More like trained by,' Her mind unhelpfully corrected. "There's a trap ahead."

"Seems like there's something in that head of hers, guys," A voice that didn't belong to anyone in her squad said and she felt the atmosphere suddenly grow tense. Not only because of that, but because suddenly all around Kumo nin started coming out from behind rocks and trees, even from under the very ground. 'Fuck,' She cursed internally as she saw how severely outnumbered her team was.

"The fake message worked, at least," Someone else called and Kurotsuchi could hear the amusement in their voices. That wasn't the important part there though. 'Fake message,' Her mind repeated as she felt her blood run cold.

"Now, let's all wrap this up," Another Kumo nin announced and Kurotsuchi was suddenly surrounded by her own people as they placed themselves in a protective formation around her. She hated it, that she knew she was the target and that she needed to be protected so. She hated being in that position.

Just as all hell looked like it'd break loose, a sharp sound cut through the atmosphere. A whistle of some kind. One that sounded remarkably like…

"No way," Kurotsuchi whispered, standing straight with wide eyes.

The tune was immediately overwhelmed by the sound of the very earth shifting. A wall of rock raised from the ground between her team and most of the cloud ninja at that moment. Not that many of them noticed, because she heard the sound of battle breaking out from the other side as it continued stretching to hide her from the enemy.

The ones that were still on that side of the wall were a threat.

"Quickly," She commanded. She could figure out what was happening after the whole mess was dealt with. "We have to-"

One of the Kumo nin Body Flickered forward and she rose her hands to put a wall between her people and them. It turned out to be unnecessary though, because the man had charged… towards his own people. The enemy ninja started shouting at one another and battling between themselves.

"What is happening, princess," One of her teammates/escorts asked, evidently as confused as the rest of them. "Was there a guard that we weren't informed of?"

"No," She shook her head, looking around at the chaos that had broke out with her team in the middle. "It's just that the most insane squad arrived here, it seems."

One of the Kumo nin broke out of the spell that had them battling between themselves at that moment. However, as he went to run away, no doubt to get a message out there of what was happening, he was smacked down by a strange-looking black gauntlet.

"A little close there, don't you think?" The girl that wielded the aforementioned piece of armor asked, looking at no one in particular. The tune that filled the battlefield shifted then, a sharp whistle that saw most of the Kumo nin deal rather severe injuries to their own people or themselves.

"Shut up, Skitter," The very familiar, very annoying voice of the musician called as the music stopped for a split second.

"I gotta say, the boys are doing a better job, and they had more people," Another voice, calm and collected, almost laid back, joined then.

Kurotsuchi's eyes darted towards where it'd come from and there he was. Overlooking both sides of the wall from the very top of it was him, with his hands on his coat's pockets looking around as if it was all just a play for his entertainment. A presence that saw even her own people shift stances.

"Is that…" One of them whispered, awe and dread in equal measures in their voice.

"Again, Princess, really?" Eiji Satou asked, turning towards Kurotsuchi and raising an eyebrow at her. "Let's not see if the third time's the charm, yeah?"

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, that escalated a little quicker than my characters and I expected. Stupid Kumo.

Surprisingly, I don't have many doubts about this chapter, except for the final part, but even that's not overly much. It's a nice break from all the doubts other chapters give me, I gotta say. Here's hoping I'm not fooling myself and this is actually good.

Anyway, 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

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: At what time do you go to sleep? I usually call it a day between 1am and 2am.

See you.