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

Cover Art: Kissuli.

Chapter 93

[Yugito Nii]

Matatabi's chakra flowed through and out of her. The pressure of the Chakra Beast's presence weighing on everyone around her. She felt powerful, like every time she did this, which made it a shame that she couldn't use that power nearly enough. Most of the time, that is, because at that moment she still felt useless.

The Chakra Beasts, despite being much more than the rampaging monsters most of the Nations thought they were, still were hard to deal with at the best of times. Even in Kumo, where Jinchuriki were respected, they were also feared just because of the power they held. After all, just the fact that they were Jinchuriki already bumped them up in the power scale to Jounin level at the least.

And yet, she'd been able to do next to nothing against Akatsuki.

A glorified puppet breaker, that's what she'd been. Granted, she hadn't been able to do much, even when accessing Matatabi's chakra. After all, if she let loose in that battlefield, she'd have affected her teammates too. Just the chakra poisoning would have taken them out of commission, most likely. Maybe it would have won them the battle faster, but if Eiji had instilled anything in her was that the safety of the team came first.

'For all the good it did to him,' Yugito thought derisively.

Thus, there she was, in a now familiar Training Grounds in Iwa, with her team, training. Business as usual, at that point. She'd fallen into that routine with frightening speed, if she was honest. It was sort of… nice, to have people working with her that were perfectly fine with what she was. Besides B-sensei, at least.

They were kids, the lot of them, but they were still… more. She guessed it had something to do with living through more than the average person. Even the dog had a story to tell. Through Eiji, of course, but the point stood.

"I think that's enough," She announced, when she noticed that Temari was having trouble keeping up. She guessed it made sense. Jirobo and Tayuya had experienced the Cursed Mark, which she understood had similar side effects to chakra poisoning. Kabuto had been trained to withstand torture. And Yuki…

"That boy still intrigues me to no end," Matatabi interrupted in Yugito's mind, the Beast's voice a mix of frustration and curiosity.

What was that about? Well, apparently, Eiji gave off the feeling of a Jinchuriki, which made no sense to either of the parts that made the Two Tails Jinchuriki. How was it possible? She'd have thought that Konoha had stolen a beast from somewhere, but it couldn't be. Not only was it impossible to do without someone knowing, but Matatabi couldn't identify the chakra signature of the Beast inside Eiji. Only thing the Two Tails could tell was that it vaguely resembled the Eight Tails's, but that was about it.

"Keep up, Bimbo," Tayuya snarled with much more malice than usual. Yugito supposed she was frustrated and angry. The ex-Sound Kunoichi was certainly not one to control her emotions well, and it showed.

"I'm trying," Temari ground out, frustration clear in her voice and her expression. She looked a breath away from snapping at someone, anyone. Tayuya wisely decided to keep her mouth shut, but the sneer in her face remained.

"That you can withstand chakra poisoning better doesn't mean you can keep going, Tayuya," Kabuto commented before Yugito could do so herself. The two of them seemed to be the only ones that remained unaffected… Outwardly, at least.

"It'd work against us if you let yourself be poisoned more than intended," The Jinchuriki added then.

They had all agreed to train to withstand chakra poisoning, build resistance to it. All in the spirit of their ability to do so, or lack thereof, being a hindrance in the future. Yugito wondered about the merit of such training, considering that she was likely to be pulled back to Kumo soon, since the mission was essentially finished. Still, she went along with it. After all, who knew what the future held for them?

"We'd make more fucking progress if we didn't have to stop after a goddamn minute, wouldn't we?" Tayuya grumbled, more to herself than to them as Kabuto treated her. As much as he could, considering how tricky chakra poisoning was to deal with for mednin.

"Building resistance to chakra poisoning is a slow progress. Trying to speed it up will only work against us," Yugito disagreed. She kept her tone civil though, because she understood that Tayuya wasn't really angry at them, not even at Temari. She was frustrated, just like everyone else.

"Tayuya," Jirobo said, his voice low and calm, or apparenting, at least. "Shut up."

The girl opened her mouth, probably to tell him just what she thought of his 'suggestion'. However, it ended up clicking shut when Yuki barked at her. Only once, a short sound that could have meant anything, really. Only one that could have been able to tell what she was 'saying' was Eiji, but he wasn't around to do so then.

Turned out they didn't need him for this though, because the ninken followed that with a growl. Yugito had a hard time remembering the dog ever doing something like that, if she was honest. That probably added to the silence that followed it.

Tayuya deflated and settled on pulling out her flute and playing something.

"Doesn't feel the same, does it?" Temari said then, making them all pause in what they were doing. She sounded like she was talking to herself, but her voice carried over just fine to the rest of them. "At all," She added, a grimace of a smile appearing on her face. The rest of them didn't reply, but they wore similar expressions. Yugito was fairly sure they were thinking the same thing too.

The team without Eiji was a completely different thing.

It felt wrong.

[}-o-{]

[Onoki]

He stood outside of a room with only a table in the middle. The piece of furniture was surrounded and covered with seals all over. There was only one other thing inside and that was a cylindrical shape with a single word written on one of its ends.

'Sasori,' it read.

Onoki stared at it through the one way glass that separated him from what remained of the puppet master. Satou's team had made short work of the puppets that remained and Sasori himself. The Tsuchikage hadn't even had to help, really.

For some reason though, the ex-spy, Yakushi, had decided to take the Akatsuki member alive. Or, as alive as Sasori was supposed to be, at least. Onoki couldn't fathom a reason for that. His first instinct was to think the boy had decided to betray them, but that didn't feel like the right answer, even if it sounded like the most likely.

Many pieces didn't fit, really. After all, if Yakushi had turned against them earlier, it was likely that Akatsuki would have won the fight. Instead, he'd fought for them and helped them win. Was it because the Weaver had gone down and he seized his chance? That didn't make any sense.

With such thoughts in his mind, Onoki had decided to take Sasori's core and put it somewhere so that it wouldn't cause any damage to his people. Meanwhile, he tried to make a decision regarding it, but he didn't feel any closer to one than the day the fight happened. If anything, he was more confused than before.

With a sigh, Onoki turned and made his way through the corridors. His mind dwelled on the subject and many more that were happening at the moment. They might have won that fight, but there was much to be concerned about.

He pondered on Akatsuki and what would happen now that they had taken out two of its members. Would they send another team? Would they back off for the moment? Would they send even more the next time?

He pondered on Yakushi's actions and what they could mean and cause. Was the boy working against them? Did he have a plan for Sasori? Was Satou aware of what the boy would do? Was it his plan?

And then, when his mind inevitably found itself drawn to the subject, he pondered on Eiji Satou himself. What he'd accomplished and how he'd accomplished boy had jumped to his death for Iwagakure and Iwagakure knew it. There was no way they wouldn't, considering that Deidara's explosion was seen from basically everywhere remotely close. Onoki had to send teams to deal with the aftermath of the explosion, both on site and in nearby towns that had witnessed the event.

The Redemption of the Leaf, his people had taken to calling Eiji Satou.

Onoki really didn't know how to feel about that. On the bright side, however, at least he didn't have to put too much effort into letting Satou's team stay for longer inside the village. It seemed that the goodwill the boy had earned transferred to his squad too, which was a relief.

"Tsuchikage-sama," A voice greeted and Onoki couldn't have stopped the frown that appeared on his face if he'd tried. There stood one of the dilemma's that plagued his mind. Kabuto Yakushi stood across from him, apparently going towards the same place he'd been intent on visiting.

"Yakushi," The Tsuchikage all but growled. He wanted to put the boy in a cell and interrogate him until he told him why he'd done what he did, he really did. Unfortunately, he remembered very well how trying that worked with the boy back in Konoha when he'd been an enemy. He also couldn't trust a word of what came out of the boy's mouth either, which left him in quite a complicated situation.

The boy smiled wryly, as if he knew exactly what Onoki was thinking. It wasn't hard to guess, the village leader supposed.

"I apologize for the trouble, Tsuchikage-sama," The boy said then, bowing the smallest bit. "I know you won't believe it, but I think Sasori could be more useful alive."

"And why would that be?" Onoki asked, seeing his escorts working on the edge of his sight. Evidently, they realized that this was a conversation better left private and hurried to keep it that way.

"I'm afraid that you'll have to wait to know that," Yakushi replied, looking truly apologetic for once. "Honestly, I don't know about that myself, but I learned a few things from Eiji. One of which is that anyone can be turned into an ally, if you go about it the right way."

Onoki really really wanted to disagree with those 'teachings', but how could he, when he was letting this spy walk around his village? When a Konoha ninja had saved his Jinchuriki and probably his life and his village. When the same Konoha ninja had helped train his granddaughter better than his own shinobi.

'You win this time, Eiji Satou,' He grumbled in the privacy of his own mind.

Outwardly, he just sighed.

"He's annoying like that, yes," Yakushi agreed, which didn't make things better, if Onoki was honest. 'At least I'm not the only one though,' He decided, looking for a silver lining.

"What's your team been doing?" He asked then, although, truly, he wasn't sure why. He knew the answer already, after all. He had his people keeping an eye on the team ever since they arrived to the village. If anything, he'd increased the vigilance on them after their main handler… became unable to do his job.

"We've been keeping up our training, mainly," Yakushi replied, although his smile told Onoki that he was very well aware of the fact that he knew that already. The Tsuchikage had to wonder though, if that was because he made an educated guess or because he saw the ninja that were watching them. "It's not the same, without Eiji, but we are holding up."

Both of them remained silent after that until, after a long moment, Yakushi spoke.

"He'll pull through," He said, a confident smile on his face. "I don't believe he's human enough to die."

It sounded to Onoki's ears like the words were said only half-jokingly. After giving it some thought though, he had to wonder how wrong the boy was, really. From everything he knew about Eiji Satou…

'I'm too old for this,' He thought, massaging the bridge of his nose as he followed Yakushi inside the hospital.

[}-o-{]

[Kumohoshi]

Something had happened to Eiji.

She knew that, because neither her nor any of her spiders had heard of him in over a week now. Not even Shirakumo had gotten word of him and that was even more concerning. Had something happened during his mission? Last they had heard, he'd grown tired of the Akatsuki toying with him and called for the clone's he'd had training with Senjutsu.

'Eiji can't have lost that battle, can he?' Kumohoshi told herself as her eight eyes took in her subordinates and their domain. Her mind was otherwise preoccupied though, unable to keep it away from their Contractor.

Eiji Satou was the perfect summoner for them. Just like Gamabunta was sure Naruto Uzumaki was the Toads', just like most Snakes had believed Orochimaru was theirs, just like the White One had realized Anko Mitarashi was for her people, just like the Slugs believed Tsunade Senju to be. Eiji had made his way into the list of very privileged people to be suitable for a Contract far above what most people could get.

If anything more needed to be said, Kumohoshi would only point out that he was learning Senjutsu at fourteen. And at a frightening rate to boot, if Father and Mother were to be believed. 'We certainly made the right choice, that day,' She mused, recalling that day when Eiji Satou made his first appearance in their domain.

"Nothing yet?" She heard Shirakumo ask, her daughter having approached her while she was distracted by her own mind. "It's been a while already."

Kumohoshi found herself almost amused by her daughter's behavior. She had no doubt that she'd try to act like nothing had happened when Eiji returned. 'If he returns,' She corrected herself.

She hated that she had to do it. The Spider Chief wanted nothing more than to believe he would return for sure. However, in the world they lived in, there was no such thing as a guaranteed return. Especially from a mission like the one he'd been forced into.

She really hoped he did though, if only so Shirakumo wouldn't lose a dear friend.

"Nothing yet," Hoshikumo confirmed somberly. Her mood worsened when she saw her daughter basically wilting at the news. "We just have to have faith in him," She told Shirakumo, carefully not actually telling her that he would be fine. Last thing she wanted to do was to lie to her daughter.

"He will be fine," Shirakumo said, obviously not having her mother's reservations. Still, Kumohoshi couldn't help but be happy that her daughter still had that in her, for however long the world let her. "He's strong, he'll have defeated them."

"He is strong," The Spider Chief agreed. She could do that much, that was for sure. Maybe Eiji wasn't the strongest, but if he could survive long enough, she had no doubts that he could be.

"It's just like back during the Invasion," Shirakumo continued, sounding like she was trying to reassure herself more than anything. "The idiot is probably stuck in a hospital again."

"That is a distinct possibility, yes," Kumohoshi nodded, slightly amused under the worry she was feeling. "Guess we'll have to give him a piece of our mind if that's the case."

"I sure will," Shirakumo replied with a firm nod. A second later, she deflated. "I hate that we couldn't help him," She mumbled then.

If she was honest, Kumohoshi hated it too. However, they had been given a different job by their Contractor. He'd left them working with his sensei, Anko, to look over Eiji's family. Especially to look over Naruto Uzumaki, since there was quite the group after him.

Kumohoshi hadn't liked that, at all, but she could understand why. Eiji wouldn't be able to fight at his best if he was worrying about his brother. Furthermore, the pair that he was expected to face was dangerous for her and her people. Deidara, especially. One unfortunately placed and big enough explosion and even she could die, much as she hated to admit it.

"Young Satou is strong," She heard out of nowhere, which almost made her jump where she stood. Turning slightly, she saw Father standing to her left.

"And our Contractor will prove it," Mother announced then, from the opposite side.

"If he dies, he will die in a way that everyone will remember," Father continued then.

"If he lives, he will live in a way that everyone will be aware of."

"He's our Contractor," The male elder said, starting to move forward.

"And he's a hunter," The female elder finished, following her partner.

"Sometimes I really don't understand them," Shirakumo mumbled once the two were gone. "What was all that about?" Kumohoshi chuckled to herself.

"Don't think too much about it," She told her daughter, looking at the elders as they moved further and further away. "They are just as worried as us. That was their way of saying they were thinking about Eiji too."

"Huh… Why complicate it like that?" Shirakumo asked then.

"It's something that happens as you grow older," Kumohoshi replied, withholding her amusement. A part of her couldn't help but wonder though, if there was more to the elders' speech than they could understand. It wouldn't be the first time and it wouldn't be the last.

"Hmm," Her daughter hummed for a moment, sounding thoughtful. "Mum?"

"Yes?" She asked, curious of what was in the young one's mind.

"Can we train together today? I want to get stronger," Shirakumo said, determination coloring her voice. "I hate feeling like I can't help."

"Then, I will train you," Kumohoshi nodded, proud. "I'm sure Eiji will be proud," She added then and if she could smirk, she would have.

"I-I don't care about that!" Shirakumo protested adamantly. Something that was ruined immediately after when she mumbled/asked. "Do you think so?"

"Quite," The Chief Spider replied, withholding her amusement. It seemed that their Contractor couldn't do anything without earning people's respect and admiration. She wondered how Iwa was faring against that 'power' of his. "Now, let's start with Genjutsu Dissipation."

"Ugh," Shirakumo stumbled on her own legs. "Do-Do we have to? We can start with poison techniques instead."

"Hmmm," Kumohoshi pretended to be thoughtful. "No, we are starting with Genjutsu Dissipation, let's go."

"But muuum!"

[}-o-{]

[Eiji Satou]

'That was close,' He thought to himself as he looked at the mirror Kabuto had passed him. His reflection was… strange, even if it was mostly the same he'd always seen. The scar Killer B had left behind over his right eye was a lot smaller, for one. Faded, in a way. That was as much as World Ender could do with a pre-existing mark, it seemed. The lines on his arm were barely white threats strewn on his skin at that point.

The thing that caught his attention was his hair though. The left side of his head was all but bald now, because, apparently, World Ender didn't help regenerate hair. 'At least the top part wasn't too damaged to make me look stupid,' He thought, grimacing internally 'Still, I'll probably have to cut it really short to make it look decent… or maybe I can style it with this in mind? Questions questions…'

Then he sighed.

What did he really care what he looked like, honestly?

Taking a deep breath in, he passed his fingers through what remained of his hair and closed his eyes.

"How are things with the team?" Eiji asked Kabuto, who was currently moving his fingers through his body, looking for anomalies and such. Apparently, Sasori's poison was persistent enough to still be around. On top of that, Tsuchigumo had to let go of World Ender a few days after the fight, on Kage's and Hachi's insistence. She could only give so much chakra, after all. Fortunately, she'd held on enough that the toxins weren't about to kill him anymore.

Having a med nin like Kabuto helping out certainly wasn't a bad thing.

Also, while his regenerative jutsu was a wonderful thing, it didn't quite mean that he'd come unscathed from Deidara's explosion. He'd managed a single flicker away from where the bomb had gone off, but he'd still been caught inside its range. Fortunately he had also managed to cover himself with Nuibari's wire which was why he'd come out alive at all.

Even with all that, Eiji had suffered serious damages. So much so that World Ender had barely managed to keep him together long enough to be taken to the hospital. Now, more than a week later, he'd just woken up and he still needed to stay in his room, looked over every so often to check that the poison wasn't screwing him over unexpectedly or that his bones weren't fragile enough to break from the slightest of motions. Over all, it wasn't all that good, but they'd won the battle, and that's what was important.

'That and the Quest rewards,' He mused, looking at the screen that he couldn't bring himself to dismiss.

[Quest Complete: Defeat Deidara and Sasori

Rewards:

+2 to all Stats

+10 levels to Fire Resistance

+10 levels to Poison Resistance

+Title Unlocked: Redemption of the Leaf

+Title Updated: The Weaver]

'Still think it's weird that I got Fire Resistance from Deidara when Explosion Release is actually a combination of Earth and Lightning,' Eiji mused to himself. Besides that little nitpick though, the rest of it was all good, great even.

[Eiji Satou

Main Title: Anko Mitarashi's Apprentice

Secondary Title: Prodigy

Energy Points: 1140/1140

Chakra Points: 1475/1475

Natural Energy Points: 0/1475

Beast Chakra Points: 0/0

Strength: 57

Dexterity: 59

Constitution: 57

Chakra: 57

Chakra control: A]

'Especially considering that my stats are kind of stuck as of late,' He thought as he looked over his Status screen. He'd switched back to his training titles as soon as he woke up, intent on trying to level up his Poison Resistance faster to get out of the hospital. Anko's apprentice title especially, since it sped up poison related skills more than his general experience buffs.

'Redemption of the Leaf,' He mused then with a grimace. He didn't know quite how to feel about that title, really. After all…

[Redemption of the Leaf

Increases stats when fighting in and for the Land of Earth by 30%.

Increases skill efficiency when fighting in and for the Land of Earth by 25%.]

'It's a little late for that, isn't it?' Eiji grumbled to himself. He could have really used that before the fight. As it was, he could only hope it would come in handy at some point, because if not it would feel like his System was mocking him.

The most unexpected part of the rewards was the Title Update though. However, after some thought, he guessed it made sense. A title was something he was known for, if he did something to put more meaning behind a name, then it stood to reason that it would get better, right? That was the theory he was running with, at least.

[The Weaver

Increases stats when fighting alongside members of the Spider Clan by 15%.

Increases stats when fighting with Nuibari by 30%.

Increases the effects of Bloodlust when using threads by 25%.

Increases the effects of thread-based techniques by 25%.]

Not only had the update raised the percentage increase when fighting with Nuibari, but it had added a completely new buff to his thread techniques, which was great. 'Maybe I can look into making new ones for those. Lots of project ideas now,' He mused as he leaned back on his bed.

"You should be getting out of here in a week, at most," Kabuto informed him after he finished his inspection. "We shouldn't leave for Konoha for another week more on top of that. You won't be in any condition for a trip like that before that, at the least," He explained, stressing the last part as if he would argue against that.

"If we can stay, I don't see why we wouldn't," Eiji replied with a shrug that made him grimace slightly. Everything felt tense, stiff, uncomfortable. "I could use some time to rest, not gonna lie."

"Good," Kabuto sighed, nodding and turning to note something on a clipboard. "I'll go back to check that Temari and Tayuya don't kill each other."

"Kabuto," Eiji called, freezing the ex-spy where he was, on his way to the door. "Thanks for coming, you didn't have to and I appreciate that," He told him.

"Just doing my job as the team's medic," Kabuto waved off, earning an amused smile from Eiji. As if he would believe it was just that.

"Tell the others that they did a good job and to continue training," Eiji added then, looking out the window of his room. "And that they are great too."

"Will do," His team member said before leaving for real this time.

Overall, Eiji thought the mission had gone as well as it could have.

"Satou," He heard then, turning to see Onoki entering the room. It was the first time he saw the old man since the battle, actually. "We have much to talk about."

'No rest for the wicked,' Eiji thought to himself as he gave the old man a half-smile that held no amusement.

[} Chapter End {]

Hey guys! How's it going?

I bet you thought I would make another Coma Arc or something, didn't you? Ha! Not this time, guys!

… Although, I had planned for that, honestly. Once more, my characters screwed me over deciding to do their own thing. Curse them and their independent ways, how dare they? Anyway, thank them if you weren't looking forward to another arc like that.

With that said, 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

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Random Question: How's the weather where you are right now? Here it's currently cloudy and cold, just how I like it, really.

See you.