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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 113

"Thank you," Onoki said.

"Wow, that looked like it hurt, old man," Eiji shot back with a slight smirk that only grew wider as the man huffed. "Don't mention it though."

"That said…" The Tsuchikage muttered as he leaned back against his chair looking just as tired as Hiruzen used to those days. "This will complicate matters."

"That's about what we come to expect, at this point, Red Nose," Tayuya said flippantly from his side and Eiji could only facepalm. Maybe it'd been a bad idea to praise how freely she spoke her mind.

He chuckled.

Then again, maybe not.

"We do have a habit of running to situations that only get more complicated than they already were," Eiji agreed with a shrug, completely ignoring the redhead's comment, which only made Onoki's eyebrow twitch. He could try and reel her in, of course, but really… He couldn't be bothered.

"Why am I not surprised?" The old man asked with a grumble. "Kumo will be more aggressive now, especially since they know you've captured their Jinchuriki."

"That was what was expected," Eiji nodded as he looked at the Kage reading through the report he'd brought from Konoha. It held information regarding. The current situation with Kumo and what the Hokage thought could be useful to coordinate. Things like how Suna was still working on its own situation and wouldn't be able to help, which was expected, since they were the furthest away. Or how Kiri would be sending some support, which was slightly surprising, since they still were recovering too.

"It was, doesn't mean we have to like it," Onoki said with an annoyed expression. "I'm guessing you were sent here to help?" He asked, his eyebrow twitching again, which Eiji could understand. "I wasn't informed of that."

"Ah, sort of?" Eiji replied with a shrug. "We were actually going to be outside of the Land of Earth. But, well, we came across some information about… a bit of a situation," He explained, his eyes moving towards Kurotsuchi, who'd been silent for the most part since after his team found her and her own squad. "The situation's changed though, evidently. I'll be sending a message back to Konoha, but for now, I guess I can help out here. If you'll have us, otherwise we'll just wait or leave, or whatever."

"Like he wouldn't take the chance to have badasses like us solving his problems, Fearless Leader," Tayuya commented and he simply took a deep breath in. "Again, might I add."

Yeah, maybe it had been a mistake.

"Do you have to be so insufferably-"

"I do," Tayuya replied, interrupting Kurotsuchi. "Wouldn't be me otherwise, right?"

"Insufferable redheads aside," Eiji restarted with a roll of his eyes, dutifully ignoring the "Hey" she protested with. "What do you want to do?"

"For now, you'll be placed in the border," The Kage said and the boy felt a smile form on his face.

"More worried about Killer B than you are Akatsuki, huh?" Eiji mused. It was understandable, really. After all, the terrorists could pick from an assortment of targets that weren't him. Kumo, however, had been targeting his country most of all. Now there was Konoha added to the mess too, probably, but that still meant he had more to worry about from the Cloud.

"Indeed," The old man recognized with a stiff nod. "I'll keep an eye out for them myself over here."

Eiji had to wonder how the old man planned to pull that off. There was a reason that the last time he'd asked for help, his help to protect Han. Onoki certainly could protect his Jinchuriki himself, but he was a Kage. He couldn't afford to play bodyguard. If he was planning on doing just that now… What had changed?

The glance the Kage sent to the files Eiji and his team had brought with them was telling. 'An alliance? A temporary one?' He thought to himself. That'd make sense. If he made an alliance with Konoha, maybe even Suna and Kiri, maybe separately between all of them, then he'd only have to worry about Kumo. With Eiji's squad and maybe some of his elites placed on the border, that'd be taken care of too, which would free the man from some of his more pressing concerns.

Of course, this was all speculation, Eiji could very well be wrong.

"Kurotsuchi," Onoki called then, making his granddaughter stand straight. "You'll be going with them."

"Oh joy, babysitting duty again, huh?" Tayuya mock whispered, making the other girl's face turn bright red.

"Tsuchikage-sama, I can-"

"That was an order," The old man interrupted. "You improved a lot by training with them the last time, so I expect you'll do so again. If it won't interfere with your own training and work?" He added, turning to look towards Eiji, which was very telling in itself.

"It'll be no problem for us. We are getting Fu up to par still, we can add the Princess to that, I think," Eiji agreed easily, and he felt through his wires how Kurotsuchi twitched at the nickname. "So, how are we going to do this?"

"I'll have to go over this information in detail and organize my people," Onoki said, massaging his eyelids tiredly. "We can discuss that tomorrow. For now, Kurotsuchi, can you take them to a guest residence?"

"I can," The girl agreed, even if she was still looking quite annoyed.

"And one last thing," The Tsuchikage called before they could leave the room. "It goes without saying that I expect you to put my granddaughter's safety before anything else, I hope."

"Got it," Eiji replied simply with a nod. Then he yawned and turned to Kurotsuchi. "I could take a nap right now, so where are we going?" He asked as they left the room. He could see the girl's eyebrow twitching in annoyance, but he couldn't care less for that.

His mind went over what had become of his mission now. Mainly on the Princess's apparent inclusion in his team. If Onoki expected Killer B to make an appearance, that should be the last place he'd want her to be. However, the alternative was… what? Place her near the city, where he thought Akatsuki might strike? Place her in border duty far from Kumo? That hadn't gone well for them.

He sighed.

'Well, at least if B makes an appearance he'll focus on me to find out what happened with Yugito, even if they should have an idea. I could pull attention away from Kurotsuchi while the others take her away,' He mused as they made their way out the building and towards the guest residence.

He'd have to check that plan with Kage and Hachi later. Maybe while he played with Tsuchigumo. The enthusiastic bark on the back of his mind certainly agreed with that.

"What a shock, huh?" Kage said, and Eiji could picture the twin rolling his eyes.

"You realize that Fearless Leader is your boss now, right, Princess?" Tayuya asked, grinning widely and quite obviously enjoying herself.

"I see you've only gotten worse with time," The Iwa nin grumbled.

"Might have something to do with someone enabling her," Kabuto commented, drawing a raised eyebrow from Eiji. The med nin simply shrugged unrepentantly.

"Anyway, so we have the rest of today free, huh?" Eiji mused out loud then, tilting his head in consideration. "Say, Kurotsuchi, you wouldn't know a nice place for a date around here, would you?"

"W-What?" The girl asked, almost tripping on her own fit as she turned sharply and wideyed. Soon, pink dusted her face. "Why'd you ask that?"

"Well, I want to take Tayuya on a date, especially since we'll be busy after tomorrow," Eiji explained calmly. He did his best to not grin at the blushing redhead next to him. "And this place is sort of new, who knows when we'll have another chance here."

"Tayuya? Of all people, really?" Kurotsuchi asked, looking positively confused between the two of them. It was fair, he had got that a lot from many people.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Tayuya asked her, eyes narrowed threateningly.

"It's… unexpected, is all."

"I know you are jealous, Princess, but do try to keep it down," The redhead suggested, making the other girl blush beet red. "Better luck next time," She added, patting Kurotsuchi on the arm "comfortingly".

"W-I don't-I'd never-"

"You know that's exactly the reaction she was going for, right?" Eiji asked, shoulders dropping a little as he shook his head. "I think we better keep going, right? I guess we'll find a place ourselves… Thanks Tayuya, you broke our guide."

"And I'd do it again," She shot back, cackling.

"You are a strange man, Eiji," Kabuto commented from the side, to which he shrugged. He wasn't wrong.

"Wh- I'm not-... Let's just… go," Kurotsuchi sputtered before visibly calming herself down and sighing.

"Follow the Jealous One, guys," Tayuya told the group, snickering behind her hand. This time, the Iwa nin ignored her, even if her ears turned red.

Eiji just sighed.

He could already tell the mission would be… something.

[}-o-{]

"That was actually pretty good," Tayuya commented as they walked next to him back to the guest residence. Nobody had said anything to them about staying inside that house and not going out, but Eiji wasn't very surprised. There were more chances that people would stop to look at him in awe or even come to thank him for helping them in the past than there were of someone looking at them with disdain. That was all the explanation he needed to get an idea of how things stood.

Still, he had sensed a few people following them around, which he guessed was the discreet way to make sure they didn't do anything they weren't supposed to.

"It was. Gotta thank Kurotsuchi for the suggestion," He replied with a nod. The Princess had eventually actually answered his question, which was nice of her. He wouldn't have blamed her if she was just too annoyed at Tayuya to bother.

"Meh, we could have managed just fine ourselves," The redhead dismissed.

"Huh, bold words from the one that hasn't planned a date yet," Eiji pointed out, making her eye twitch.

"I'll pick the next one, and it'll be great. How hard can it be?" She asked to which he almost laughed. 'Famous last words,' He wanted to say, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

"I look forward to it," He said simply, enjoying the way her expression fell the smallest bit. If he didn't know any better, he'd have thought she was worried.

"If the Princess could find a place, so can I," She grumbled, looking away. Eiji simply rolled his eyes. "What?"

"Just thinking that you could tone down mocking her. Especially since she'll be with us during this mission. If you push it too much, we'll get in trouble," He told her.

"I thought you liked that I spoke freely," Tayuya said, narrowing her eyes at him.

"I said that, yes, and I meant it," He agreed with a nod. "Didn't say I like that you insult everyone. I could do without that."

"Sorry, Fearless Leader, but it's a package deal," She hissed, looking very angry all of a sudden. "And if you can't deal with it you can-"

"Woah," He interrupted, bringing his hands up. "No need to go ballistic on me, ok?" He told her, keeping his tone calm. Ok, it seemed he'd stepped on a trap there. Now he just needed to see the way out of that. "I was just making a comment. If it were a deal breaker, I'd never have asked you out. Relax."

"If you think you can just change me like-"

"Tayuya," He interrupted, taking a step forward bringing their faces that much closer. Her mouth clicked shut. "Relax. Where's this coming from?"

"Just making sure you know what you are getting into, Fearless Leader," She grumbled. He took that as a win though, at least she didn't look to be a breath away from starting to shout. "Because I'm who I am."

"And that's fine," He said with a nod. "I'm who I am too, and I'm sure I'll do things that will bother you too. Probably already did. Does this count?" He asked, giving her a half-smile.

"Idiot," Tayuya muttered under her breath.

"I guess I am," Eiji replied, taking it in stride. "Can I ask why you were so fast to flip out on me?"

"No reason," She mumbled. He simply hummed and started walking again. She followed soon after. "Romance isn't my thing," She said after a long moment.

"Hm, it's not mine either, I don't think," He replied simply.

"People aren't my thing," She corrected to which he hummed. "Honestly," She continued, sounding very nervous, which didn't suit her at all. "I'm kinda waiting for you to realize that I'm a screw up."

"Hm, I don't think that's gonna happen any time soon," Eiji told her with a smile, even as he continued looking forward instead of at her. He didn't need Web Sense to know that she was staring right at him. "I mean, it's not like I didn't know you when I asked, right? I chose to take my chances, mean personality and all."

"You really know how to make a girl feel special, huh, Fearless Leader?" She asked, frown in place and eyes narrowed.

"Well, there's the good and the bad. I've already told you the good. I can repeat myself if you want though and I'm sure I left some things unsaid," He offered, turning to give her a smile.

"Idiot," She grumbled, turning away.

"But if you are still unsure, I guess I'll have to learn how to shut you up next time you explode on me," Eiji commented with a shrug. "I already have some ideas."

"Oh, like what? Going all sappy on me, like just now? Because I'll tell you, I can only take so much of-"

And thus, he implemented one of his ideas.

He kissed her.

As he pulled away, he smiled at her wide-eyed and rapidly blushing expression.

"Still thinking I'll change my mind that easily?"

[}-o-{]

"You've been working on your control, huh?" Eiji mused sitting on a rock with his legs crossed as he looked at Kurotsuchi having a light spar with Jirobo. Their jutsu worked well enough to throw at each other without having to worry. Well, so long as the boy could intercept all the Lava Release, which Eiji was confident he could.

"It's almost like we told her that every day while we were here the last time," Tayuya pointed out from where she was sitting on a rock nearby. She used, as she often did, her genjutsu voice as she continued playing her flute. The tune was almost lighthearted, he noticed, something she didn't play very often. Eiji could confidently say that he quite liked it though, a small smile appearing on his face whenever he focused on it.

"Well, we can confirm she can listen, at least," Eiji commented with a shrug. "So, Princess, what do you think you need to work on?"

"Everything? Stay as I am, but better?" She said, although she didn't sound so sure. She wasn't entirely wrong, but there were other points to work with, that was for sure. He'd already been debating those with the twins while the spar went on.

"That's true enough," Eiji agreed with a nod before continuing. "But you also need to work on your options. Lava Release is powerful, yes, but it's also dangerous to your allies. You can't very well throw the stuff around if there are people near your target. So, I'd say you need to focus on your Quicklime more than everything else. It can work as a non-lethal option if you were to need one," He explained. "That or working on something out of your Bloodline Limit."

"I'd like to focus on what I already have before adding something new," Kurotsuchi replied. Eiji was fine with that, really. After all, he himself had been focusing on his already available options instead of branching, unless he thought it was necessary, as it was with his Fuinjutsu training. Some time ago he'd considered adding another element to his repertoire, but that'd just increase his workload without adding enough advantage to make it worth it.

"That's fine. Jirobo should be a good enough help on that front regardless. Kabuto, keep an eye on them just in case," Eiji said, getting a nod from all of them. The med nin's smirk didn't fill him with confidence though and sure enough…

"You just want some alone time with your girlfriend, right?" He asked, but it was obvious that the comment wasn't for him. Evidently, it worked just as Kabuto expected, shown by the grin on his face. Meanwhile, Tayuya blushed brightly where she sat.

The tune of her flute changed sharply then and the med nin grimaced. Clearly, the redhead had decided to get even swiftly with a genjutsu. For a moment, Eiji wondered what exactly she'd shown him, but he decided it was probably better not to know or ask.

"Can't say you didn't have that coming, man," He commented with a lazy grin.

"Aren't we supposed to… you know, guard the border?" Kurotsuchi asked.

"Well, yeah, but I have some clones spread around and a small army of spider summons too. We've got that covered, don't worry," Eiji reassured her with a dismissive wave of his hand. Not only were his clones liberally using Web Sense, but they were also using Senjutsu. If anything or anyone could get past that and many types of spiders he'd employed for the mission, then it wouldn't have made much of a difference in the first place if they'd personally been doing it.

"This is probably more effective than doing it yourself," Hachi pointed out, which… Wasn't very surprising, since she'd been the one to form the plan. Then again, it was a good plan, so, yeah…

"Don't think that," Kage groaned. "It'll go to her head."

"Excuse me? I didn't see you coming up with anything better you-"

"Tsuchigumo," Eiji called, receiving a dutiful bark in response.

"No, wait, it was just a little discu- Fuck!" Kage's nervous voice called.

"This is your fault, Kage!" The other twin accused.

Meanwhile, Eiji just shook his head.

[}-o-{]

"This is preferential treatment, Eiji," Kurotsuchi called from where she hung upside down by a bunch of wires. "It's a new low for you, isn't it?"

"I don't know what you are talking about, Princess," He commented without looking up from the scroll he'd been reading. "Also, I'd hurry up. I'll admit I'm no expert but I know staying like that isn't good for you."

"Stop whining and start thinking, Princess," Jirobo called from where he was tied down by threads. The Iwa nin of the group groaned loudly at the nickname. It seemed it had stuck with everyone, not only Eiji and Tayuya. Even shy, nervous little Fu had started using it.

"They grow so fast," Kage commented dramatically.

"Besides, it's not really preferential treatment," Eiji said , turning to give his struggling teammates a glance as they tried to find the way to break free from his wires. "She's preparing for a training exercise I thought up."

That single sentence had everyone looking at the redhead behind him with pity in their eyes instead of envy. Eiji simply rolled his eyes at them. His training exercises weren't that bad. Most of the time they weren't even painful.

"Stop giving me those looks, dammit. I'll be perfectly fine," Tayuya grumbled without even turning from the notes she'd laid on the ground in front of her. She wasn't playing her flute, for once, instead just writing ideas down and going over information. She was taking it seriously, which was good. "Ugh, why did I agree to this?" She asked, groaning as she leaned back against him.

"Because you want to improve?" Eiji reminded her, making her huff again.

"I think I found it, guys, I-" Fu called, and she had, indeed, found the right movement she needed to do. A second later, the wire on her leg was pulled loose. The chain reaction was swift and ended with Kurotsuchi falling to the ground, face barely above the ground as she caught herself.

"Maybe warn before you pull it next time," The Princess grumbled, drawing a sheepish expression from the Jinchuriki. She sighed then, turning towards Eiji. "What now?"

"Well, time's up, Tayuya," He said, and the girl gathered her notes before passing them to him.

"I know," She replied, eyes determined as she looked at the team. "Bring it."

"Everyone," Eiji called, remaining seated where he was. "The next exercise is simple. You are gonna play tag, sort of," He explained, drawing confused frowns from everyone. "Tayuya here is gonna be going against all of you. Her goal is to tag all of you. If she tags you, you are out of the exercise. Your goal is to remain in for a certain amount of time that I won't tell you."

He could practically see how everyone's minds started working after that announcement.

"Starting," He continued, making all of them tense. Then Tayuya brought the flute to her lips. "Right now," He finished then and the music started.

The exercise worked two ways, really, even if it looked like it was mostly for Tayuya's benefit. Everyone needed to be extra good against Genjutsu now with two Uchihas as possible opponents. He had a plan for Obito, but it wasn't ready just yet. Just a few more levels…

And then there was Itachi, who would be especially troublesome. Eiji really really hoped Eternal Purge would work against Tsukuyomi. However, he had to consider the possibility that maybe it wouldn't. In that case, he'd depend on his teammates to carry the fight and maybe help him get out of the illusion.

He didn't think they were ready for that though, and it was unlikely they would anytime soon. Going on his own didn't sound too good an idea either though. 'Rock and a hard place,' He thought with a grimace as he sat down to continue working, enjoying the music even if it'd turned much more eerie.

"It'll work out, we have plans for that," Hachi reassured. And they did, indeed. There was Eternal Purge, there were Hachi and Kage themselves, that could probably help. If all else failed, there was Tsuchigumo to try and break him out through brute force.

And yet, he couldn't help but wonder if it'd be enough. Mangekyou Sharingan was bullshit like that, after all. Eiji really wouldn't be too surprised if the thing could just break any and all of his plans.

"No use worrying, Eiji," Kage told him and he sighed.

He wasn't wrong.

Focusing on yet another plan for the remaining Akatsuki members, Eiji called for a screen.

[Fuinjutsu – Lvl 10

Improves the quality of seals drawn by 10%.

Improves the quality of modified seals drawn by 5%.]

'This is going really fucking slow,' He complained to himself. With the amount of time and clones he'd poured into the skill, he'd expected it to be much higher than it was, really. No such luck though, it seemed. At least it seemed that the notes he'd gotten from Naruto to help out had increased the rate at which the skill grew a little bit.

"It's not like it matters," Kage pointed out. "You just need the one seal you make to work. That's all. So what if you suck at everything else?"

He wasn't wrong about that either.

Eiji sighed.

"Just a bit more," Hachi said softly. "Let me take over," She added, and Eiji barely hesitated for a second before doing just that. It had been a while since he'd played with Tsuchigumo anyway.

"Call if you need me to be back," Eiji said simply as he appeared in his Mindscape, immediately placing a hand on Tsuchigumo's head. The chakra beast was already all but vibrating in place out of sheer excitement. "What do you wanna do today, girl?"

Problems would still be there when he went back, but that was fine. He just needed some breaks and help. He'd deal with all of that and, eventually, he'd have peace. That was all that he needed to know.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, I'm happy with this chapter, or most of it, at least. I think I could have handled the Tayuya part better, but I can't think about how right now. Maybe I'll look back at this later and want to smack myself but… It is what it is, I guess.

I 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: Do you buy take out often? I get take out like, once a week, mostly.

See you.