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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 72

[Hiruzen Sarutobi]

"It was true," Inoichi informed him and the Hokage didn't know if he should be happy about that or not.

The Kage shared a look with the other two, both Onoki and Mei looking as grim as he imagined his own expression was. It was a good thing that the Yamanaka Clan Head had reported that he was close to a breakthrough not so long ago. Hiruzen had been about to send the other village leaders away but this news was much better delivered in person and the other two had been too curious to do anything but stay for a bit.

They had, thankfully, agreed to send most of their people back home, remaining in the village with their own protective guards. That decision had been a hard sell, especially for the Iwa nin since they would be hard pressed to trust Konoha in any way, but Onoki had convinced them somehow. The less Hiruzen knew about that the better, he was sure.

Silence followed Inoichi's short statement, and one could see the three Kages' minds working behind their eyes.

"Hiruzen, I believe we can trust you to punish Kumo and Suna for what they've been participant to?" Onoki asked in the end. Anyone else would see that question as a sign of actual trust, but the Hokage knew that it was almost a threat. Iwa had been a victim of the attack, even if they hadn't been the targets. The people they had brought had been dragged into a battle that had nothing to do with them. One such example was young Kurotsuchi. The Stone wouldn't let this go and the Leaf would earn even more animosity if they didn't make the ones responsible pay the price.

"I think it's time for us to go," Mei said then, her eyes focused on something else. "We have much to deal with, even without this new… revelation," She added and Hiruzen understood. She had not only lost a Jinchuriki during Kiri's weakest point but she had lost the one that was on her side. That left the Mist with Yagura only and everyone that was anyone knew what that meant for her. "I better start preparing to go back to Kirigakure," The woman broke the silence once more before leaving the room.

"I know about your plans for Suna, Hiruzen," Onoki told him once it was only the two of them after he dismissed Inoichi. "My village won't stand for it."

The Hokage caught what he did there. "His village" he'd said, not himself, not that Hiruzen expected that his fellow leader was overly pleased with his decision regarding the Sand. Their plans for Suna were good enough for Konoha, but they did nothing for Iwa and that was something that couldn't stand.

"Do you have a proposal then?" Hiruzen asked. A risky move, to offer an open question like that, but he was testing the other Kage and Onoki most certainly knew that too. At times like this, they couldn't afford to be at each other's throats and neither wanted that anyway.

"We have only one Jinchuriki now and there's a group of people that are probably looking to attack us again to turn that number into a zero," The diminutive man mused, voicing Hiruzen's fears. Between this Uchiha that seemed to be able to control even Kages and a group out to get everyone's Jinchuriki… He could already feel a headache coming his way.

Tsunade couldn't get to Konoha soon enough.

"I want Konoha's support with this," Onoki said, making Hiruzen blink. That certainly wasn't what he expected the Tsuchikage to say. The Stone asking for the Leaf's help? He had to have heard that wrong, right? "And we'll only accept the one Konoha nin that has proved himself to me and to our people. We want the Weaver."

They wanted Eiji?

Hiruzen supposed it made sense. Eiji was no Genin, and that had been made abundantly clear during the Invasion. Not a week had passed since then and every Nation had a Bingo Book entry about him.

The Weaver, they called him, which the Hokage supposed was appropriate. Not only did it fit his Summons but it also fit the transformation they'd witnessed him go through using Orochimaru's seal… Which now nobody knew if it would remain available, with the mess that the Mark had caused together with the Hachibi's chakra. And that wasn't even mentioning how it fit with him being the wielder of Nuibari, the Sewing Needle.

Thus, Konoha gained a new A-Rank ninja in the eyes of the world in the shape of Eiji Satou, the Weaver.

Danzo had been so insufferably smug about it that Hiruzen would probably know all about the boy's entry even if he hadn't had to learn it as a Hokage.

"You understand that I can't just lend him to you, much less on his own," Hiruzen voiced, frowning. Eiji Satou was important, nobody could deny it. Maybe not so much in the present, but everyone knew that he would be in the future. He couldn't risk something happening to him. Even if he trusted Onoki in some measure, he didn't trust the rest of Iwa nearly as much and definitely didn't trust the enemy the Tsuchikage wanted the boy to fight.

"I'm not asking for him to be on his own, but he is the important piece here, Hiruzen," The other leader replied. "He's already proven himself to my people. He saved my granddaughter, two times if one counts the Invasion. He helped all of us come out on top during our fight with A, Orochimaru and his undead puppets. My people will at least give him the benefit of the doubt, if not much. It's the best Konoha can get from us."

And it really was, Hiruzen supposed. Any other Konoha nin would be received badly in the Land of Earth. That is, if they weren't immediately attacked. Eiji was probably one of the few ninja from the Leaf that had any amount of goodwill. The Hokage could understand though. After all, it would be a good while before any Konoha nin trusted someone from Suna or Kumo after the Invasion.

He didn't have to like it though.

Eiji was part of the future, and Hiruzen was loath to risk his life like this. Children should be protected, especially such a promising one. The Leaf would reach new heights if his generation was allowed to grow, he was sure. To waste such a thing now…

Then again, a possible alliance with the Stone was something that might never happen again…

Hiruzen was really starting to hate his job.

"You do know he's currently unconscious right?" The Hokage asked. After all, few people knew that Eiji had actually woken up… Sort of. Hiruzen himself was still processing all that he had learned that day. Although, he wasn't really lying since the boy had remained unconscious after that. Either the effort he - Or Hachi, in this case - had made was too much for his weakened body, or things had gotten worse with this Beast Hachi had mentioned.

"And I also know that he won't be for much longer, not if you and your people have any say on the matter," Onoki replied, sure of what he was saying. Which, to be fair, was a completely correct assumption. "Even if that wasn't the case, it should be. Because my people are already less than trusting most of the time. So, now that we lost one of our Jinchuriki? They'll be worse."

Meaning that the goodwill Eiji had earned was worth even more, Hiruzen gathered from that explanation. He was really going to have to do this, wasn't he? He really couldn't retire fast enough.

"It'll be done, then," He agreed in the end.

"Also, a word of advice, Hiruzen," Onoki started again and the Hokage almost cursed out loud at his tone. This wouldn't be good news, that much he knew. As it turned out, he was right. "I wouldn't send away too many of my forces in these times. Kumo will be… "jumpy" now that they know they aren't as untouchable as they thought. Especially if they find out about this new enemy that we are facing."

Which they would, that was a fact. The Jinchuriki losses might be a secret held by the Leaf, the Stone and the Mist, but it wouldn't remain so for long. That, together with the fact that the A himself had been controlled by an outside force would have Kumo reach new levels of wariness. Not to mention that all Nations would have their eyes on them. At least the Sand had an excuse for the Invasion, the same could not be said for the Cloud.

That was just the start of it too. Kumo was obviously going to go through lots of changes now. No way they would let A remain Kage, and there was an equally as low chance of the man himself even trying. Especially not after having accepted a Yamanaka in his head, even if it was just to gather information.

"I'm too old for all this," Hiruzen lamented.

"Honestly, Hiruzen," Onoki mused, looking out the window of the room. "We've been too old for a while."

"Indeed."

[}-o-{]

[Eiji Satou]

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Eiji?" Kage asked warily and the boy could only roll his eyes at him.

"For the third time, yes, I'm sure," He replied, doing his best to continue projecting calm.

The Beast seemed to have gained a measure of calm, thankfully. It was still twitchy, prone to lash out at the smallest of things or for no reason at all, but it was a great step up from what it had been like before. At least now they could contain it with just one person. Still, he wasn't about to leave the Mindscape just yet.

First, because things could still get out of control really fast. They'd had a few incidents of that nature since he had his little breakthrough. Second, because he seemed to be the only one that could make the Beast remain peaceful.

Third, and most importantly, Eiji'd been discussing what they knew about the situation with Kage and Hachi ever since the latter came back into the Mindscape. His creation had brought with him all the information he'd gotten from the original Orochimaru and that was plenty to start with. It was unfortunate that none of them had much knowledge regarding Fuinjutsu, but they could still think, plan, and theorize.

First chance he got, Eiji would read all he could get his hands on regarding seals though. Even if he couldn't learn it all, Hachi or Kage or both could do so after he'd gotten them the information. They'd talked about it some and he could probably project the words like how he'd communicated with Hachi and they could write the information inside the Mindscape. That way, he'd just need one read for them to have something to study.

"You have to admit that it is a dangerous thing what you are doing," Hachi said, merely stating a fact. Which Eiji understood, he really did. It was still annoying that they continued doing so.

"I know that," He ground out. "But everything is dangerous in this situation. And neither of you can tell me this can't be the edge that we need."

Silence followed his statement, and Eiji basked in his victory.

The Beast roared and he almost lost concentration.

Blinking, the boy regarded the creature. It didn't seem to be about to throw a tantrum so… what had that been about?

"Did it sense your pride?" Hachi mused, making Eiji blink once more.

'Is that a possibility?' He wondered to himself. He guessed there was a chance some of it had leaked through his projection of assurance. Had the Beast celebrated his "victory"? 'That sounds almost cute… now, if only it didn't look like that though...'

"This is madness," Kage mumbled.

"Yes," Eiji and Hachi readily agreed.

"This is my mind now," The boy continued with a deadpan. "What does that say about me?"

"I think you don't want an answer to that question," His creation answered.

"I guess..." Eiji admitted with a nod. "So, how goes the research?"

"As well as it's been going so far," Kage replied with a grimace that said more about the situation than his words.

"Run everything by me again, will you?" The boy asked. Since he was using most of his focus to keep the "aura" of calm, he'd found that it was easier to think about something if someone else was speaking about that. Both Orochimaru constructs must have been very scared of him, since they didn't show annoyance for even a second at the requests since they had found out about that.

"The running theory is that the Beast formed through the Cursed Seal's ability to absorb ambient Natural Energy and the continued presence of and exposure to Hachibi Chakra, possibly the Ichibi's too. That energy mixed with the purple flame manifestation that was already in your mindscape, what we think represented the tainted Natural Energy of the Cursed Seal. All those together seem to have formed the Beast, as far as we are aware," Hachi recited, his eyes fixed on said creature.

"The reason no other Cursed Seal holder has reacted badly to Bijuu chakra so far is either, none has been exposed as you have or the things you've done with your control over you Mindscape have affected your Mark in a way that makes you different from them," Kage took over the explanation as Eiji nodded along, taking all the info in once more. The Summarized version, at least, but they had already gone over the details at other times anyway. "Separating me from the Natural Energy manifestation might have unwittingly changed your seal in some way."

And wasn't that a terrifying possibility? More because of what could have happened if it had gone wrong though. After all, messing with Seals was a sure way to end up dead, especially with one that was on his body and tinkering with it through his mind. Eiji was lucky he hadn't blown himself up, consciousness and all.

"Anyway, we have two theories about how to solve our current… issue," Hachi started after a moment of silence. "If we get rid of the Cursed Seal altogether, the Beast might be separated from your body, since you have no other seal that would contain it like Jinchuriki do. On the other hand, we could, possibly, change the Mark into such a seal for you to keep it, something that would, possibly, help defend you against the Beast's influence."

There were too many "possibly"s in those theories for Eiji's liking, that was for sure. That's where their lack of information held them back, sadly. After all, they couldn't very well come up with other, maybe better, solutions, without a better idea about the art though.

The boy sighed, massaging his forehead.

"I'm very tempted to just get rid of the seal," Eiji mused, carefully not looking at either Orochimaru copy. "I'm not sure the power up is worth it. Or, it wouldn't be if I didn't know what's coming."

"You said the situation had solved itself without you there," Hachi pointed out and Eiji sighed again. Kage, meanwhile, remained silent. None of them knew what would happen to him if the seal was taken off. He could disappear with it or… he could remain, as another consequence of Eiji's meddling.

"Yeah, but I've changed too many things. I can't be sure that everything will be Ok," The boy replied with a frown. "I'm not nearly as strong as to be able to guarantee anything. Especially if I lose the Cursed Seal. I need more power than what I have and a Chakra Beast would go a long way to making sure we have a much better chance."

"Better have less power than not being able to fight at all," Kage said and Eiji had to reluctantly agree with that point.

"I know… We'll see how likely we are to be able to keep the Beast. If the chances are low, we'll just have to erase the Mark and hope for the best."

The fact that even that option wasn't a guarantee of being back to top form was concerning, but it was what it was. Eiji would have to wait until Jiraiya or some other Fuinjutsu expert looked over his case. He hoped for the former though, since he was the one that was the most accomplished with the art. With a few years, he might have been able to trust Naruto for this, and he would have liked that much better. Unfortunately, the blonde wasn't nearly as advanced in Fuinjutsu as this required.

A growl interrupted the conversation and both, Hachi and Kage, took a step back, eyeing the Beast warily. Eiji, meanwhile, just looked at it. After all, it didn't seem to be particularly angry or annoyed.

Currently, its limbs looked like a weird cross between dog and spider legs and, as was becoming usual, it had eight of them. Its body looked more like that of a crab's although its eyes were those of a frog. It was unnerving, but Eiji was becoming more and more used to the creature's bizarre appearance changes.

"Hey there," He greeted, almost like the Beast was just another puppy from the Inuzuka vet. 'Man, when was the last time I went there? Are they ok after the Invasion?' "Did you need something?" He asked with a tilt of his head. The thing looked much smaller than what he remembered it being like when it was rampaging through his Mindscape, now barely the size of a bedroom.

It growled something back, but Eiji was… relatively sure that it wasn't something that should worry him. Or, maybe, he should be worried about how little the Beast frightened him. It couldn't be normal to be so… relaxed around such a thing… right?

"Do you need something?" He asked curiously, keeping himself relaxed and projecting that, even if he was also ready for it to snap at any time. Things would be much easier if he could get along with the Beast. If he couldn't, then that was that and he'd at least tried. However, if he could, then that would be a massive boost to his chances with what was to come.

The thing only growled again and Eiji almost grimaced. 'Yeah, this isn't going to get us anywhere,' He thought trying to think of a way to-

His musings were interrupted as the creature stomped one of its legs on the ground. The boy almost brought up his barriers for another tantrum, but stopped himself when that was all the creature did.

"God, if you just want to have fun couldn't you… just..." He trailed off. 'How did I know that? How did I know it was just bored?' He wondered before looking at the leg, which had buried itself on the ground. 'That was to send the message to my mind? So it can affect my Mindscape besides destroying it? Was that why I was so focused on it after all? Compulsion?'

The Beast growled again.

"Ok ok, give me a minute to think of something, yeah?" Eiji said, bringing his hands up in a placating gesture. "Guys?" He called to Hachi and Kage, who were standing some distance away but not too far from where he was. He wanted to roll his eyes at them, but really, they had the right of it. He was the weird one for not fearing the literal force of nature that was inside his mind. 'Maybe I'm finally going crazy in this world. It was about time, I guess.'

"Entertainment, you say?" Hachi asked, as if he had grown a second head. Regardless, with a sigh, the man considered the question. "Maybe give it a playground?"

'Playground, huh? Guess I can take one of the Training grounds and turn it into that.'

"Ok then," Eiji said, clapping and starting to walk in one direction. "Follow me, big guy! We are going to make a hell of a place for you to entertain yourself!"

His announcement was met with the most threatening of growls and another stomp on the ground. Then, he blinked and regarded the Beast once more, almost sweat dropping. Who would have thought, huh?

"Sorry, sorry," He waved, ignoring the nervous looks from his two companions. "Big girl, my bad. Let's go, yeah? I'm sure I can make a fun place for you to play in."

With that correction, all agresion was lost and the Beast shrunk - 'When did it grow back?' - and started walking next to him, as if it was the biggest, most dangerous and eldritch-looking dog he'd ever seen. As they walked through the streets of his Konoha recreation, he couldn't help but let his mind consider his situation. 'How does life keep finding ways to catch me off guard?'

[}-o-{]

[The Beast]

She was confused, yes, but not nearly as much as she was when she woke up for the first time.

Everything was strange. Seeing things was baffling. Sounds were shocking. Smells were strong. Touching things was weird. Even tasting the air was a confusing experience.

She wanted it to stop.

So, she did the only thing she could and that was just… thrash around. Not something to be proud of, she knew, but everything had been so… incomprehensible then and once she started she couldn't stop. Pain came from every hit, every stop and every crash against the inhabitant's shields.

They tried to contain her and almost succeeded sometimes, but they couldn't stop her if she really set her mind to it. She was strong, and she was proud of that. She wouldn't be trapped, no, she wanted to be free.

Now, if only things could stop being so confusing, then maybe she could have calmed down before.

However, that didn't happen. Instead, the shields became stronger and, suddenly, she couldn't break them anymore. She could move around a bit, but she couldn't do nearly as much as before. That was… not as bad as she first thought, she would reluctantly admit. It gave her time to find some peace with the disorienting situation she had found herself in at least.

Everything was still terribly overwhelming though.

Until, it wasn't.

One of them approached her, none of them had done that yet and she'd thought they were afraid. The other two seemed to be, at least. This one didn't look scared though. Instead he just kept walking towards her.

Was he going to use barriers on her once more? Was he going to do something else? Were they going to attack her? To kill her?

Suddenly, she was the one that was afraid.

She hated it.

However…

He did nothing of the sort. With him, instead, came a sense of calm that had been all but foreign to her back then. It made her senses seem like more than just painful experiences. Everything became clearer as her mind was able to focus. Was this what sensing was all about? Seeing? Hearing?

It… wasn't terrible.

The one that approached brought calm, she realized quickly. It seemed to radiate from him, like light seemed to come from the bright thing that floated up, out of reach. So, she made sure to remain… mostly still, unless something surprised her. It wouldn't do for him to decide to take the calm away.

However, the calm soon grew… boring. The novelty of her senses passed and she wondered if she needed the calm anymore. She was afraid of it disappearing though, so she would behave… but boredom was eating at her. She wanted to do things, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

The misunderstanding about her gender was annoying, but the smaller thing, the bringer of calm - Eiji, she thought she'd heard one of the others call him - had corrected himself quickly, so she would let it pass… this once. Especially since it seemed Eiji would give her something to do, something to entertain herself.

She turned sharply when she noticed one of the identical pair going to comment on that interaction. She might tolerate the bringer of calm, but the others weren't so lucky. She would stand for nothing coming from them.

He closed his mouth and took a step back.

'Good.'

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

Well, I wonder if somebody was expecting that last part to be like that. If you'll believe me, it was a surprise even for me. That's not quite how I had planned that segment to go, but it turned out like that and I quite like it. Hopefully you agree with me.

On the other hand, I really, really don't like the first part, but I think it's as good as I could make it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hate writing about politics.

Another thing I'm not too sure about is Eiji's title/nickname for the Bingo Book.

Now, first of all, some people might disagree with him being there, but that book isn't only for enemies, missing nin or such figures. According to what I found, the Bingo Book is also there to list generally dangerous ninja, even if they aren't hostile or something of the sort.

With that out of the way, I'm not sure about the chosen title as such. I had several ideas and I even discussed the topic with some people in the Discord server. In the end, I decided for the Weaver. I like how it sounds and I think it fits really well.

So… I think the notes have gotten long enough, so I'll end them here. I hope you liked 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

Announcement: You may or may not have noticed that I changed the cover of the story. That magnificent piece of art is Kissuli's vision of how Eiji looked when he became a Genin. I have to say, it's pretty damn accurate, and I love it. Hope you guys like it as much as I do.

Discord Link: discord .gg/UTDransjJZ

Random Question: Is there a sport that you enjoy watching? I'm not a fan of sports myself, really, but my family has got me watching F1 races since a little over a year and they are… kind of fun, I guess.

See you.