AN: Welcome back, little idiots!
So, this chapter is going to be incredibly fucking long. So strap in and enjoy the ride.Tons of useless dialogue, reveals, setups, and other miscellaneous shit that you cretins love. (:
ALSO! The first scene of this mission has Naruto appearing to be incredibly powerful and such but please, take it with a grain of salt.
Yugakure is not a major village nor is it remotely big enough to be considered even a minor village.
You will understand what this means shortly. If it's genuinely a problem for you, quit reading the story cus it is what it is. Jinton is fucking broken and has only two weaknesses.
Anyway, enjoy the chapter! Or don't! It be like that.
Join the bloody damn Discord Server. Invite code is StPc5V
Disclaimer : Unravel (Acoustic Version) - TK (Long Tosite Sigure)
"Ya know..." Naruto spoke in slight exertion. "This isn't what I had in mind when I said I wanted to wipe them out at the base!"
The red haired teen spun on his heel while twirling his tanto and plunging it through the skull of a random Jashin member, stunning them. He flicked his wrist before slicing through the man's head diagonally, exposing the man's brain and causing a fountain of blood to spray onto his form.
Naruto grunted quietly before chambering his knee towards his chest and rocketing it forward into the man's chest.
The man's chest caved in from the sheer strength of Naruto's kick and he proceeded to fly several feet away from his position, crashing into several other members along the way.
Naruto's eyes strayed towards his companion who was slicing through several Jashin Members with ease. His form would flicker every few seconds, signifying his use of the Shunshin.
The ebony haired Uchiha plunged his Tanto into the scalp of a woman before flicking a kunai in his hand and decapitating her head with it. Shisui grasped the dirty fabric of her shirt before throwing her at a group of Jashin Members running towards him.
Before her body could make contact with the small group, a giant fireball launched from Shisui's position, incinerating the men and women.
Shisui glanced towards his best friend before replying. "C'mon now Naruto-kun!" He began jubilantly before dodging a random attack from a man behind him. He hooked his foot underneath the man's ankle before kicking outwards, throwing the man off balance. "You can't handle some civies with knives?!"
Shisui's eyes stared directly into the man's eyes, casting him in a Genjutsu. After casting his jutsu Shisui proceeded to cast a point-blank fireball at his feet.
Naruto scoffed in annoyance before spinning around and catching the wrist of a deranged woman who was frothing at the mouth. He snapped the woman's wrist with ease before lifting her over his head and slamming her body against the earth in a surprising display of strength. The teen rose his sandaled clad foot before stomping directly into the woman's head, splattering her brain on the soil.
Ignoring the blood pooling at his feet, Naruto turned towards one of the main buildings of the village that was being used as the main ritual sight for the sacrifices. He stared at the large group of women and men and clicked his teeth in annoyance.
"This is going to take forever, Shisui!"
Naruto side stepped a wild attack from a man to his right before parrying another attack from another man to his left with his tanto. He redirected the blade before gripping the man's wrist and driving the man's weapon into the chest of the first man who had attacked him.
Naruto grunted quietly before jumping in the air and round house kicking the second man away. Both men were sent flying away due to the strength from Naruto's kick. The two men proceeded to crash into one of the various stores in the bazaar, cratering the concrete walls and destroying them.
The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki scoffed in annoyance before performing a Shunshin and appearing on one of the various buildings in the surrounding area, disappearing from the sight of the Jashin Members. His amethyst orbs flicked around the area wildly, tracking Shisui's movement with slight difficulty.
Naruto took a slight moment to rest and think about the situation at hand. He and Shisui were absolutely outnumbered. But quantity meant little if those numbers lacked quality.
The Jashin Members were nothing more than civilians wielding weapons. They couldn't use Chakra and were more or less mindless drones. Which was absolutely fine to Naruto. The less work he had to do, the better.
But at this moment, he was regretting it in its entirety.
Naruto's violet eyes glanced down at his crimson stained uniform and he withheld an annoyed sigh. He looked like he had taken a bath in the substance since it covered almost every inch of his body.
"Why don't we just attack them at the center? It'll be easy, Naruto. We got this." Shisui's thoughts manifested in Naruto's mind, souring his already sour mood.
"Fuck you, Shisui." Naruto summarized his thoughts rather eloquently.
"Well, that's not very nice. I didn't do anything."
The crimson haired teen ignored the comment from his best friend, not surprised that the man was now beside him, crouching low and out and sight.
"This is annoying." Naruto replied quietly.
Shisui flicked the blood off his Tanto before glancing towards his best friend. "I don't disagree with that statement. I didn't expect there to be more than 200 members in this village..." He wiped the excess blood off his white mask, smearing the crimson substance along the porcelain material.
The Jinchuuriki sighed in annoyance before glancing towards the darkened sky, ignoring the rain that was pelting his form.
"If I could use the Kyuubi's power then this would already be over." He said in slight agitation.
Shisui peeked his head over the roof, staring at the various unhinged individuals searching for them. "Why can't you?" He questioned quietly.
"The Kyuubi is incredibly picky about the situation in which it will grant me Chakra..." Naruto rubbed his neck for a moment before continuing. "If it doesn't think the situation is dire then I don't get to use its Chakra."
Shisui furrowed his eyebrows before glancing back towards his friend. "And you can't take it by force?"
"First of all, that's rude." Naruto replied in an indignant manner. "And secondly, the Kyuubi has feelings as well... Even if it does deny it every single time. It's not some rampaging beast that's incapable of rationale thought."
The Uchiha was silenced by that particular statement, not actually knowing anything of the Bijuu other then the fact that they were incredibly powerful and dangerous.
"If that's the case... Do you know how it was released from your mother?"
The crimson haired teen ignored the question all together as he slowly strode towards his friend's position. He peeked his head over the roof, assessing the situation at hand and formulating a plan to rid Yugakure of its problem.
That problem being immortal maniacs that sacrificed the lives of anything that moved...
Naruto closed his eyes for several long moments, dipping his head down and thinking.
"Are you sure that I can't use your Chakra for this one instance, Kyuubi?" Naruto questioned in his head quietly.
The teen patiently waited for an entire minute before sighing quietly, taking the Kyuubi's silence as a no. But to his surprise the Bijuu spoke.
"To get rid of a problem... You must cause one..."
Furrowing his eyebrows, Naruto replied, "That's pretty cryptic..."
"These mortals are nothing more than living, flesh capsules... Ordered to do the bidding of their God... To spread a hate that is far more vile than even my own..." The Kyuubi paused for a moment, letting its words sink in before continuing. "The throes of Jashin and its followers are plentiful... Erase them."
The crimson haired teen went silent at the Kyuubi's statement. For an entity who's reputation was based around hate and anger... It sure does despise when others take up that role.
"You grasp for conjectures... I will grant you my power... Use it wisely..."
Naruto's eyes slowly opened, revealing the animalistic orbs of the Kyuubi. His pupils were slit and his previous amethyst orbs were now stained scarlet.
An inhuman amount of Chakra spread throughout his veins, coursing through his body and empowering him.
Naruto glanced down at his hand for a moment, taking note of his elongated nails that now resembled claws. He rotated his neck several times, illiciting several loud cracks.
"I'm going to do something stupid..."
Shisui watched the boy with furrowed brows before being forced to cover his masked visage as the boy launched himself into the air, destroying the rooftop he stood upon. The action caused the rooftop to explode outwards, caving it in and destroying it in its entirety.
Shisui appeared several meters away from the now destroyed building. His eyes were locked onto Naruto's form, wondering just what the boy was going to do from that height.
He had to have been atleast 100 meters in the air by now!
Naruto wasn't going to...
Shisui's eyes widened exponentially from his position before he immediately Shunshin'd out of the village. His form was a blur as he traversed through the buildings, dodging in and out of the alleyways and various objects obstructing his path.
He was outside of the barrier almost instantly and continued to move away from it, not wanting to take any risks if Naruto was doing what he thought he was.
"He's fucking insane!"
It was but one of the many thoughts racing through Shisui's head as he continued to Shunshin away from Yugakure.
A large influx of Chakra slammed into Shisui, bypassing the barrier seal that had previously been keeping Yugakure hidden from the outside world.
Shisui spun on his heel, seeing the barrier began to break away. The large dome-like seal broke away meter by meter, revealing a sight that would forever be etched into his mind.
An incredibly giant cube of translucent Chakra rested in the air, blanketing the sky and casting a shadow over the small village of Yugakure. The ginormous cube continued to grow and grow and grow...
Shisui's Tanto fell from his grasp as he stared at the particle destroying jutsu being formed by Naruto.
This... this was unreal!
And so fucking cool!
Naruto's teeth gnashed together painfully as he struggled to keep his jutsu from exploding in on itself. The white cube continued to grow as Naruto, with the aid of the Kyuubi's Chakra, funneled Chakra into the highly unstable jutsu.
One of Naruto's vermillion orbs closed tightly as sweat dripped down his face. His chest tightened immensely as the muscles in his arms flexed painfully despite the constant healing he was recieving from the Kyuubi.
He could feel his muscles ripping and tearing with every second that passed by. His tenketsu burned with a passion hotter than hell itself as he pushed every bit of Chakra he could through them.
"This is all you will receive from me... Do not ask for more..."
Naruto exhaled harshly at the Kyuubi's tone before closing his eyes.
It all seemed to just...
"Jinton : Genkai Hakuri no Jutsu!"
Shisui's Sharingan spun ferociously as he gazed upon the pure beauty of the Jinton Kekkai Tota at its highest state. The ginormous cube that Naruto formed left his hands and somehow managed to grow even bigger!
The cube, upon reaching the ground, seemed to just phase through the earth, not stopping or being halted in its quest for atomization. The cube halted its progress for all but a moment before...
The cube of translucent Chakra brightened exponentially, blinding anything that bore witness upon its destruction.
A shockwave of epic proportion spread out from the epicenter of the atom erasing jutsu, nearly uprooting the many trees that surrounded the tourist village.
Shisui's eyes still managed to burn even though they were covered by his hands. He slowly opened his eyes after several seconds and had to refrain from gawking.
There... was nothing!
After gawking for several long seconds, Shisui's Sharingan managed to catch a glimpse of something, rather someone, that was now falling from the sky.
The someone obviously being Naruto.
Shisui moved instantly, his eyes trained on Naruto's form the entire time. He jumped from tree to tree, weaving in out of the lush forest that surrounded the now non-existent village.
The Uchiha jumped off of one of the various branches around him, catching Naruto's body and performing a Shunshin to reach the ground quicker. The two males appeared on the soil less than a second later.
Shisui dropped to a knee before placing his best friend on the earth, noticing the boy was barely conscious and his eyes were rolling.
"Naruto." Shisui probed quietly, his hands glowing green as he tried to assess any injuries the boy may have obtained from his rather ridiculous stunt. A small frown formed on the man's face as he noticed the numerous muscle tears throughout the boy's body.
Naruto would survive but he'd be out of commission for a few days. Shisui had seen the boy recover from far worse during their Root Training.
A ragged exhale left Naruto's throat followed by two words. "T-The... pill..."
Shisui's eyes hardened as he stared at his friend. "I'm not taking that risk, Naruto. I've seen you recover from worse..."
Naruto replied to the man's statement, powering through the pain. "I'll live... Give... me it... An order..."
The Uchiha's face contorted in annoyance as the boy pulled rank on him. What an annoying little...
Shisui curbed that train of thought before digging through one of Naruto's pouches on his utility belt. Finding the small bag that Tsunade had given to the boy, he pulled it out before unwrapping the saran wrap and picking the pill up.
The ebony haired Uchiha stared at the unassuming capsule for several seconds before shaking his head in annoyance. Shisui grasped his friend's chin and as gently as he could, opened his mouth while placing the capsule on his tongue.
Shisui unclipped his canteen of water before placing it against his friend's mouth and tilting it down. After making sure that Naruto swallowed the pill without any trouble, he proceeded to continue his diagnosis on Naruto's injuries.
"Kami, you're so fucking annoying sometimes..." Shisui spoke in a slightly disgruntled tone, his fingers slowly gliding over some of Naruto's tenketsu, taking note of the damages.
"Heh... I t-try."
Shisui did not respond to the teen's words but he did possess a smirk upon his face.
"Akatsuki, huh?" The gruff voice of a dark skinned man spoke aloud.
"Indeed Ay-sama. Ohnoki has used their services on multiple occasions." A dark skinned woman with white hair replied to her leader.
Ay, the Yondaime Raikage of Kumogakure, stared at at his desk for several seconds before glancing towards his assistant and speaking, seemingly to himself.
"A mercenary group seeking an audience with me..." The muscular man tapped his desk several times before cracking his neck. "Rogue Nin forming an alliance? What stops us from getting rid of them, Mabui?"
The woman named Mabui glanced down at the clipboard she was holding before replying. "They are not just any Rogue Nin, Ay-sama. They are S-Rank Rogues... Atleast these two are."
Mabui took her leader's silence as a sign to continue speaking and so she did. "The two members that wish to speak with you are infamous... Itachi "Kinslayer" Uchiha and Kisame "The Tailless Bijuu" Hoshigaki." Mabui took note of how sharp her leader's eyes became after hearing their names.
Ay was silent for several minutes as he thought about the proposal. His fingers continued to tap against his desk before he abruptly stood up, worrying his assistant.
"I will speak with them face to face. Mabui, order C and Darui to meet me at the front gates!" After saying his peace the man proceeded to crash through the large window of his office, completely disregarding the door to the office.
Mabui stared at her leader's form as he zipped through the village with a twitching eyebrow.
"Every time!" She exclaimed frustratedly.
"This is a little dull, don't you think Raikage-sama?" The monotonous voice of Darui spoke aloud to his leader.
The Raikage ignored the comment from his underling with practised ease and continued to lead his Shinobi towards the source of the ginormous Chakra presence that rested only a few kilometers away from his village.
"Now isn't the time for your antics, Darui."
The aforementioned man glanced towards his companion before shrugging lackadaisically. "I'm just sayin' C... It's dull."
The man known as C shook his head, choosing not to respond to his comrade. A minute or so passed by before C's eyes hardened.
"They know we're close..."
The Raikage did not seem to care and only continued to walk at his own pace. Ay was far more interested in why the Akatsuki wanted to conduct business with him.
He was aware that Ohnoki had hired the group on multiple occasions for several... questionable contracts but he didn't know the true extent of the group's actions and decisions.
Multiple Rogue Nin performing contracts for Major and Minor Villages...
A truly interesting ordeal.
A few more minutes of walking led the trio of Kumo Shinobi to a rather large clearing. Several large boulders rested in the area with the two Rogue Nin positioned on top of the largest one.
Ay's eyes glanced up towards the rock, spotting the infamous Kiri Nin and the clan slaying Konoha Nin. His ebony eyes stared into Kisame's beady ones with indifference before shifting towards the man's partner.
Unlike Kisame, who was standing on the edge of the boulder with a bloodthirsty grin, Itachi was sitting down. One of his legs dangled off the edge of the rock while his other leg was pulled towards his chest.
The Uchiha seemed completely relaxed... His eyes were closed and his shoulders lacked tension.
Truly, a frightening child he was.
Ay continued his observations of the two Rogue Nin and did not bother speaking. He had no reason to. These two sought him out.
It was Kisame that spoke first.
"Heh... I'm surprised you went out of your way to meet us." The fish man's eyes seemed to hone in directly on Ay as his shark-like grin stretched wider. "Neh, Itachi-san... Do ya think we could take em?"
Ay ignored the reaction of his companions and how they tensed up. These two wouldn't make out alive if they chose to attack.
"Do not cause problems." Itachi replied quietly, still unmoving and keeping his eyes closed. "Leader-sama gave us a job..." The Kinslayer finally opened his eyes, revealing his matured Sharingan as it centered on his partner.
"I have no problem finishing it without you."
Ay's eyebrow rose minutely at the blatant threat. Interesting... Such was the norm for Rogue Nin. They trusted no one and even comrades were up for grabs.
Kisame and Itachi stared at one another for several long seconds before the fish man laughed loudly.
"Hahahaha! This is why I like you, Itachi-san! Heh..." The man raised his sword before resting it against his shoulder and returning his gaze to the Kumo Nin below him. "We've come with a proposition, Raikage."
Expected from an individual of Kisame's caliber. A brute with little to no morals and an ego the size of his Chakra pool.
Ay ignored the disrespect before staring at Itachi, preferring to speak with a man who possessed some semblance of human decency.
"You." Ay spoke pointedly to Itachi. "Speak."
The Rogue Uchiha said nothing at first and only shifted his position, his right arm now wrapping around his leg while his head rested atop his knee.
"Is it like my partner said. The Akatsuki come with a proposition... A proposition that will surely interest you." Itachi spoke quietly in a respectable tone.
The Raikage motioned with his hand for Itachi to speak, wishing to actually hear said proposition.
If Ohnoki was so willing to hire their services, multiple times at that, then perhaps he should truly listen to them.
Itachi closed his eyes for a moment before speaking. "As you are already aware, Konoha is hosting the Chunin Exams in their Village. Bold and arrogant of them..." He opened his eyes before continuing, speaking in an indifferent tone. "I possess crippling information regarding the Village... But that isn't useful here nor is it interesting enough for you."
Itachi shifted his position once more, dropping his leg and letting it hang over the edge of the boulder. "Orochimaru was spotted in the deserts of Sunagakure... Likely retreating after having been rejected by the Kazekage... 'Why should I care?', you ask?"
"Orochimaru has come to the Akatsuki for aid... Aid in causing crippling damage to the ecosystem of Konoha. He proposed an invasion... In most circumstances, he'd have been killed for such an incredulous task..."
Itachi waved his hand flippantly before continuing. "And it certainly would have been the case had the Tsuchikage not hired us for this grand endeavor."
Ay's features hardened as he glared into Itachi's matured Sharingan. "You mean to tell me that Ohnoki has already accepted?"
Itachi's features did not shift in the slightest as he met the Raikage's harsh glare head on. "He was the one who hired the Akatsuki to aid Orochimaru in the first place. His distrust and hate for Konoha run deep... A sentiment I share."
Did the old bastard want war?!
An invasion?! Now?!
"Ay-sama!" C warned lightly.
The Raikage raised his hand, halting his underling from speaking. "Before this continues... What force does Orochimaru truly have to stand against Konoha? Surely, he wouldn't push for a frontal assault against them?"
The Kinslayer shrugged his shoulders as he spoke. "The serpent has a way with words... He has convinced several Minor Villages to join his conquest... Kusagakure and Shimogakure being two of the bigger Villages following his plans. Kiba no Kuni being amongst one of the several smaller pieces of land involved." Itachi tilted his head before finishing. "Konoha has amassed many enemies in their quest for power and control... Even their one true ally is treading on the line between enemy and friend..."
Ay stood silently with his arms crossed against his chest and his face set in a scowl. His eyes were no longer focused on the Rogue Nin in front of him but on the ground.
Ohnoki had hired the Akatsuki... Whom had been contracted by Orochimaru to invade Konoha when it was most vulnerable... In which several Minor Villages wished to send their aid...
How had this kind of information passed by him unheard?
Ay returned his attention back to Itachi before speaking. "And your proof?"
Itachi replied almost immediately. "You do not need to take my word for it but I possess several scrolls from Ohnoki himself. If you do not wish to read them, you are free to send one of your underlings to Iwagakure for validation..."
The Uchiha reached into his robes with ease before pulling out several scrolls, each one possessing the official tie from Ohnoki himself. He tossed the scrolls at the Raikage, which were caught by both his underlings as a precaution.
Ay motioned for his Shinobi to back away as they opened said scrolls with Raiton Bunshins.
"The Akatsuki will aid Iwagakure regardless if I choose to aid or not and this invasion will happen, yes?" Ay questioned with a raised eyebrow.
Itachi nodded his as he answered. "Ohnoki has offered a small contingent lead by one of their Jinchuuriki. He truly despises Konoha..."
Ay's eyebrows furrowed once more at the statement before turning towards Darui and C and giving them a pointed stare. The two men were silent as their eyes roamed over the scrolls in their possession. Several minutes passed by before C rose his head and spoke.
"It is true, Raikage-sama..." C passed the parchment to his leader who began to read. "500 Shinobi led by the Gobi Jinchuuriki... Most of which consist of Chunin and Jonin Shinobi..."
Ay stared at the parchment in slight disbelief, yet it did not show on his face.
Ohnoki truly did not care if war was on the horizon. If an opportunity to cripple Konoha showed itself then he would pounce...
Was this something that benefitted Kumogakure? Would the Land of Lightning truly prosper from such an action?
Konoha's Final Exams were less than two weeks away... Why was this just now being planned? Would a surprise attack from two Major Villages, an organization with several powerful Rogue Shinobi and several Minor Villages be enough to topple a Major Village?
No, it wouldn't... But toppling Konoha wasn't the goal... Crippling Konoha was the end goal. And serious damage could be done in just a single day.
It was certainly a very enticing route... Even if Konoha managed to push back the invasion and hold their ground, the damage would have already been done. A minor contingent from Iwa and Kumo wouldn't necessarily destroy the village but it wasn't meant to do so. If he matched the Shinobi that Ohnoki had already offered then severe damage could be dished out.
"And what aid does the Akatsuki give?" Ay questioned while handing the scrolls back to C.
A hint of emotion finally seemed to appear on Itachi's face at the Raikage's question. A ghost of a smirk appeared on his lips as he replied quietly.
"Something that could spell the end for Konoha if handled poorly..."
Naruto awoke with a silent gasp, his chest clenching tightly as his eyes took in the blackened sky. He blinked several times as a tingling feeling spread throughout his entire body.
Kami... He felt so sore.
"Uuurggghh..." He rose his right hand towards his face, a task that was more difficult than he would have liked to admit. He felt so sluggish... So slow... So tired...
"You've been out for almost a week."
Naruto continued to rub his eyes before turning his head towards the man who had spoken. "I'm so tired..."
Shisui studied his friend for several long seconds before shifting his attention to the small campfire he had created. He tended to the flames for several seconds before speaking.
"How do you feel?" Shisui questioned lightly.
The redhead did not reply immediately, still rubbing his face and grumbling quietly to himself. It took a minute or two to get a response but he eventually replied.
"I feel like shit..." Naruto placed his hands on the ground before pushing himself upright. A task that was slightly annoying to perform due to the jelly-like feeling of his muscles. "How long?"
Shisui reached into one of his pouches and procured a small plastic bag. Inside the bag was several pieces of dehydrated meat. He fished the pieces of meat out of the bag before tossing a piece to Naruto who scrambled to catch it.
"Six days. It's still a disturbing sight seeing someone's muscles stitching back together... You're weird." Shisui replied with a light smirk on his unmasked face.
Naruto grunted in annoyance at his friend's comment before biting into the dried meat. He practically devoured the piece of jerky, feeling atleast some measure of rejuvenation from the food.
Shisui took his canteen off his utility belt before passing it to Naruto who gulped the entire canteen of water down in less than 5 seconds.
Shisui would be annoyed if he cared. Though, that was his water... So maybe he was just a little annoyed.
"Rude." Was all he said though.
"Suck my dick." Was the response Shisui was given.
Shisui caught the thrown canteen with ease before handing the bag of jerky to Naruto, who ate every piece in less than a second.
"You'll be healed up enough for the Exams?" Shisui questioned lightly.
The crimson haired teen scoffed at the question. "The only threat is the Jinchuuriki and I'd still handle him quite easily. I could be at fifty percent and still not struggle with him."
Ahh... The famous 'Uzumaki Confidence' shining brightly. Truly a spectacle.
"Heard you got eyes for the Jinchuuriki's sister..." Shisui glanced towards his friend who was now staring directly at him.
"Where do you get this information from?" Naruto asked curiously.
The Uchiha chuckled quietly as he mended the flames. "Normally I'd just say 'I have my ways' but this isn't one of those times. I asked Danzo and he told me." He revealed with a tiny smirk.
Naruto's expression shifted into annoyance before he shook his head. "That old..." He paused for a second before sighing quietly. "I have my own reasons for being interested in her... Let's leave it at that."
"Hoh..." Shisui spoke up with an intrigued tone. "And Kakashi was sure that you had eyes on Neko."
The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki actually snorted in amusement at his friend's statement. "Don't start with that. I had to deal with Anko for weeks after that ordeal..."
The Uchiha just merely smiled as his attention shifted back to the campfire. His smile eventually tapered off and set into a small frown.
Shisui had this nagging feeling... A prick of anxiety at the very back of his head... and he didn't truly know why.
Ever since he and Naruto had left for this mission he had been feeling this sense of restlessness. Like something bad was going to happen. He had thought it would be due to this mission and the circumstances surrounding it but...
The flames that Shisui stared into began to slowly dissipate, leaving the charred remains of the wooden logs he had used to start it. The orange light that had enveloped the area ceased to exist, shrouding both Shinobi in darkness.
Again, that feeling of anxiety sat deep in Shisui's heart.
Teal eyes stared into brown orbs with a hint of resentment and indifference. The room was silent and carried a hefty amount of tension despite the lack of words from both individuals.
Temari stared into her father's eyes while restraining the urge to grip her battle fan. She stood still with her hands clasped behind her back and met her father's blank stare head on. Not once did she blink or back down from him.
Rada observed his oldest child with a scrutinizing gaze. Temari was his... problematic child, so to say.
An interesting way to describe his only daughter considering Gaara was viewed as a psychopath amongst the villagers. While not entirely true, the boy would often disregard the populace and its lives.
Gaara did not care about many things. He was easy to deal with, to some degree. Point the boy in a direction and tell him to walk and he would. Many in the village viewed their relationship like one would a pet.
Not entirely untrue but not inherently correct either. Gaara was still his son at the end of the day and behind closed doors, he was treated as such.
But Gaara was a Jinchuuriki and a weapon to be used... As demeaning as it sounded.
Kankuro was... flamboyant. It was certainly the most fitting description for his second eldest child. There was not much that needed to be said about the puppeteer.
He did his duties, complaining when things got tough but still, he did them.
Temari was truly the enigma amongst his children. Disobedient to a degree that shocked his underlings and stern, not unlike himself.
Bold and confident but was able to flip the switch to a kind and gentle woman. She shared Kararu's philosophy on life and protected Gaara from the populace.
Temari had practically raised Gaara and the boy was incredibly protective over her. So much so that his sand would protect even her from potential harm.
Pakura had advised him to nurture their bond and not to disrupt it... He had been hesitant at first but allowed their relationship to flourish. Gaara trusted no one in this village like he did Temari.
Not himself, Kankuro or even Pakura.
Speaking of Pakura...
Rasa shifted his gaze from his daughter to his right hand man or rather, woman.
The woman stood at his side with her arms crossed beneath her bust. Her brown eyes stared at Temari with a hint of affection, having personally tutored Temari alongside another Kunoichi named Maki.
"Has there been any information of Orochimaru's whereabouts?" Rasa questioned his right hand lightly.
Pakura's gaze did not leave Temari as she replied. "None."
Rasa did not display his annoyance at the statement. That serpent truly was a coward... Did he truly believe that he could topple Konoha with aid from Minor Villages?
The arrogant Sannin was a stain on the Elemental Nations and he'd love nothing more than to grind his bones to dust with his gold sand.
"Has word been sent to Konoha about the serpent's plans?" Rasa questioned once more.
The woman's shoulders tensed for a moment before she replied. "Yes, Kazekage-sama."
Rasa could detect the change in inflection from the woman's indifferent tone. And so, he allowed her to speak freely.
"I do not see why Sunagakure should aid Konoha to begin with... Hiruzen has his hands wrapped around our Villages' throat and shows no sign of stopping. Ally or not, his actions towards Sunagakure and Wind Country as a whole, is disrespectful. They should suffer for their actions." Pakura stated in a slightly heated and passionate tone.
As expected from Pakura...
The Yondaime Kazekage ignored his daughter's curious gaze as he leaned back into his seat. Rasa clasped his hands together on his lap before glancing towards his right hand.
"Suna gains nothing should Konoha fall... Do you believe that the other Major Villages will be content with Konoha's fall?" He asked rhetorically. "They will turn their attention towards Sunagakure... As much as I do not like the idea of offering aid to Konoha, it is our best course of action."
"Iwagakure and Kumogakure have finally settled their differences and are allied once more... We both know what happened the last time those two Villages allied together. It took the power of Konoha's most terrifying Kage to end that war... The Yellow Flash is no longer alive to stop a war from outright happening, Pakura."
At her leader's explanation, Pakura bowed her head. "I apologise, Kazekage-sama."
The man waved her apology off with ease. "I allowed you to speak freely." He turned his attention towards his daughter and took note of her narrowed gaze. "Have you accomplished the tasks you set for yourself Temari?"
Temari was silent for a moment before nodding her head causing her pigtails to bounce. "Yes, Rasa-sama. Pakura-sensei and Baki-sensei have pushed me past my limits several times. I have grown far stronger in these past three weeks than I have since becoming a Shinobi."
The Yondaime Kazekage nodded his head as he stared into the eyes of his daughter. "Gaara informed you of your role."
It was not a question.
The sandy blonde refused to display her annoyance at the statement. "Yes, he did."
"And your thoughts?" Rasa questioned with a blank gaze.
Though slightly surprised at the question, Temari answered. "It is my duty as a Kunoichi from Sunagakure to perform the tasks that my leader gives me."
Rasa shook his head as he spoke. "That is not what I asked, Temari. How do you feel about the duty being given to you?" His fingers tapped against one another as he spoke again. "You are permitted to speak freely."
The Futon user was silent for several seconds as she processed her father's words.
How did she... feel?
She was silent for several moments as her head bowed, her gaze focusing on the carpeted floors of her father's office.
Temari felt... many things. Anger being one of those... Resentment being another.
Raising her head up, she spoke. "Angry... Angry that I'm to be used as a bargaining chip... Sad that my own father cares more about his village than his children. Frustrated that I have to not only accept these things but that I have to do them as well..." Temari's teal eyes left her father's as she stared down at the ground.
"What I feel is irrelevant because at the end of the day you will do what you believe is best for Sunagakure, won't you father?"
After her question Temari proceeded to leave the office, not waiting for a dismissal. The door shut behind her with a resounding thud, drowning the room in silence.
Both Pakura and Rasa stared at the door, each with different interpretations of Temari's words.
At the end of the day, Temari was a young woman. A young woman that was shackled to the duties of her Village. Expected to perform her tasks without question.
Such was the life of a Shinobi... Plagued by suffering.
Naruto and Shisui hopped through the forest in silence. It had been three days since he had woken up from his self induced coma due to chakra fatigue.
Which sounded alot worse than it actually was because he could heal and bounce back from chakra exhaustion in less than a week. The Kyuubi was a blessing at times where his body would fail him.
"Took a bit longer than I would've liked but atleast we're done."
Shisui glanced to his friend before replying, his feet landing on a rather large tree trunk before he jumped to another. "If someone hadn't felt the need to nap for an entire week then we could've already been home." He replied cheekily.
Naruto scoffed as he replied. "I'll remember that the next time you get swarmed by groupies."
The Uchiha laughed openly at his friend. "How very rude of you."
The two Root Shinobi descended into comfortable silence as they tree hopped through the forested areas of Fire Country. Several hours passed by as the sun began to slowly descend, the Village of Konoha being seen from a few kilometers away.
The two Shinobi became a blur as their forms traversed through the thick foliage of Konoha's giant trees. It took less than thirty minutes for them to reach one of the many hidden Root entrances on the outskirts of the Village.
Shisui touched down upon the soil, his ebony eyes morphing into the Sharingan. His Doujutsu spotted a thin outline of chakra that sat just beneath the soil. He took a single knee and made to touch the soil that would allow him access into a hidden tunnel that run through Konoha.
"The Village is a hornets nest right now."
The Uchiha glanced towards his friend upon hearing his words and noticed Naruto staring up towards the behemoth sized walls that surrounded Konoha. Shisui followed the boy's gaze and noticed a small group of ANBU Shinobi who were crouching atop one of the various watchtowers on the corners of wall.
"Odd welcoming party..." Shisui mentioned rather offhandedly. He slowly rose to his feet as the small group of ANBU dove off the side of the Village walls. Their forms became a blur as they picked up speed before one of the Shinobi wrapped his arms around his comrades.
The three ANBU members immediately halted in the air before slowly dropping to the ground as if they hadn't dove almost 50 meters off the side of the village walls.
Naruto glanced towards his best friend before turning his attention to the three ANBU who landed in front of them.
"Karasu. Nezumi." The male ANBU member spoke in a blank tone, addressing Shisui and Naruto's codenames.
Naruto made a simple gesture with his hand as he stared at the ANBU Captain. The man returned the gesture with one of his own before tilting his head towards the hidden Root entrance.
Naruto gestured for Shisui to open the entrance, who did so immediately. The Uchiha's fingers glided across the soil in an intricate manner before he channeled a small amount of chakra to his fingertips. A seal glowed for a brief moment before the ground shifted.
The dirt and earth slowly crumbled away revealing a rather small entrance, equipped with a double metal door that was currently locked. Upon cracking the lock, it slowly opened to reveal a black tunnel with a staircase descending into the darkness.
Before the group moved, Naruto spoke to the ANBU Captain. "Why the welcoming party?"
The ANBU Captain seemed almost hesitant to respond before shaking his head. "It is best if you hear it from Hokage-sama."
"How very ominous of you." Shisui spoke with some amount of amusement.
One of the women who possessed a bird-themed mask replied. "One would think that an individual who aligns themselves under Danzo would choose to display their emotions sparingly so as to not cause commotion."
Shisui only seemed to be more amused at the comment as evident by the way his shoulders dropped and how his stance loosened. "That sentence had so many syllables... What's wrong with you?"
Naruto rolled his eyes before stopping Shisui from continuing. "Stop being an idiot. Let's go." He immediately began to head down the dark staircase, not waiting for a response from either parties.
The Shunshin master only smiled in response, turning towards his fellow Shinobi and making a rather exaggerated motion with his hands.
The 3 ANBU members just ignored his antics as they followed Naruto's lead. Despite their lackluster reaction Shisui still chuckled quietly to himself.
The group of Shinobi continued their trek in silence, passing by dim torches that were placed every 20 feet along the walls. Their steps echoed loudly off the walls of the stone hallway and the silence was numbing.
Naruto led the charge with Shisui taking up the rear guard. The masked Uchiha idly fingered the sheath of his Tanto before shrugging his shoulders and striking up a conversation, an obvious taboo amongst their fellow masked Shinobi when on duty.
"Sooooo... what's got your thong twisted, Tori-san?" He asked in an amused manner.
The aforementioned woman who dawned the bird-themed mask did not react to the question and proceeded to outright ignore Shisui. Whether it was due to his annoying personality or annoying question was entirely up in the air.
"Ahhhh... You ANBU are so boring. All work and no fun... No wonder Inu-san left."
Naruto shook his head in annoyance at Shisui's words. Pocketing his gloved hands, he spoke aloud. "This is why people don't associate themselves with you, Karasu."
As if affronted and in total disbelief at the notion, Shisui replied in a aghast tone. "And why wouldn't they?! I'm fun! I'm a nice guy, honestly!"
The red haired teen snorted at his friend's comment as he replied. "Spending as much time as I have around you, I can conclude that while that may be true and entirely correct, it does not change the fact that you're annoying."
"Why am I getting shit on today?" Shisui asked rhetorically. "I don't deserve this."
"If you stopped being an idiot then you wouldn't get the treatment in the first place." Naruto shot back.
"I'll have you know I graduated at the top of my class. I'm a prodigy." Shisui stated in a posh manner.
Naruto cackled loudly before turning his body around so he could look at his friend while replying. "Your graduating class was full of civies! That isn't even commendable." He snorted in amusement as his eyes glanced to the three ANBU members who were just silently listening to their back and forth.
The Shunshin master scoffed as he crossed his arms against his chest. "You're one to talk... You flunked your first Shinobi Test. I don't even want to hear it."
A genuine prick of annoyance struck Naruto at his friend's comment. "That was completely unnecessary and you know it. Those assholes failed me on purpose."
Shisui rose both of his hands towards the eyeholes of his mask before clenching them and mimicking the notion of someone who was balling their eyes out.
"Aww! Woe is me for the system has failed me!" He mocked his friend childishly.
"You're actually lucky that we're still on duty or I'd be kicking your ass up and down these halls!" Naruto threatened with a raised fist.
"Yeah, sure whatever." The Uchiha replied dismissively while waving his hand in a nonchalant manner.
The crimson haired teen huffed before turning around and flipping his friend off. "Just wait till we're done talking with Hokage-sama. You're gonna get an ass beating."
"I'll believe it when I see it, Nezumi." Shisui replied with an amused smile.
"You want to run that by me again?"
Hiruzen had to close his eyes to stifle the groan of annoyance that sat at the tip of his tongue. Taking several moments to relax the elderly Kage took a hefty puff of his trusty pipe before blowing the substance out.
"I do not wish to repeat myself, Naruto." Hiruzen stated plainly, eyes still closed and body relaxed.
The crimson haired teen stared at his leader with a frustrated gaze before glancing towards his best friend and mentor.
"Do I not even get a choice in the matter?!" He questioned heatedly.
The Sandaime Hokage placed his pipe on his table before clasping his hands together and finally opening his eyes. His aged orbs bore into Naruto as he spoke.
"Rasa-dono and I already came to an agreement regarding the entire situation. As a Shinobi, especially one in your circumstance, it is your duty to perform tasks that are for the betterment of your Village." He tilted his head with narrowed eyes as he continued. "If the information that Rasa-dono provided turns out to be true then you are expected to perform the duty we have given you."
Naruto's hands balled tightly at the man's words but he refused to speak out knowing it would only cause issues. Instead, he just get his teeth while bowing his head.
"Hai, Hokage... sama."
Hiruzen stared at the Jinchuuriki for several moments before glancing towards his old rival and speaking. "Have your Root agents managed to confirm these rumors? Or atleast procured some kind of information regarding this invasion?"
Danzo closed his visible eye before replying. "Eyewitness accounts of having seen Orochimaru himself fleeing from the deserts of Sunagakure can attest to the information Rasa has provided. Agents in Suna inform me that Rasa is mobilizing his Shinobi, whether he does so to aid us is up in the air..."
Hiruzen closed his eyes while nodding his head. He was silent for several minutes before addressing his Shinobi.
"Shisui, you will lead a battalion of Root and ANBU units towards the Southern Gates. If these Minor Villages wish to test the might of Konoha then they shall be rewarded with death. Leave no stragglers. Exterminate them."
Shisui placed his fist over his heart as he bowed his head. "Hai, Hokage-sama."
Hiruzen shifted his gaze back to Naruto before speaking. "You will continue to perform in the Chunin Exams... When signs are shown, you will head directly to the Northern Gates. The Sword and Shield of Konoha should meet its attackers head on."
Despite the residual anger coursing through Naruto's veins, he nodded his head in compliance. "Hai, Hokage-sama."
After staring at the crimson haired teen for a second longer than necessary, Hiruzen nodded his head before closing his eyes.
"You two are dismissed."
Naruto and Shisui bowed low before disappearing in a Shunshin at the same time.
There was several seconds of silence following their exit and Hiruzen waited patiently for Danzo to express his opinion. It took a little longer than he expected but the man eventually spoke.
"Do you think it wise to force Naruto into this position?"
The Sandaime picked his pipe up before inhaling once more. "I see no true harm in the situation... His interest in the girl was a surprise to Rasa himself. He practically jumped at the opportunity and I'm sure he knows more than he lets on. After all, Naruto is too similar looking to Minato for it to go completely unnoticed."
Danzo shifted his cane before closing his eye. "Rasa had no information on Naruto to begin with... I made sure it stayed that way. You are causing unnecessary tension."
Hiruzen would have scoffed had he been a younger man. "Ironic words, Danzo."
"Intervening and deciding what is best for the boy will only cause him to resent you. I do not care either way but I find it prudent to give my opinion since he will play an integral part in Konoha's future." Danzo began to move towards the door of the office. "Naruto does not need someone, moreso you, to play matchmaker with his life. Ponder these words Hiruzen. You have already pushed him too far once before."
After saying his peace, Danzo opened the door to the office and silently left. The door closed with a resounding thud, bathing the room in a heavy silence.
Hiruzen stared at his desk quietly before shaking his head and closing his eyes.
Blood splattered on the floor as Naruto grunted quietly. His fists struck the metal walls of his training room in rapid waves.
Resounding bangs and clangs emitted from his actions as he continuously pounded the steel walls.
Straight. BANG. Straight. BANG.
"You wanna talk about it?"
Naruto paused for the briefest of moments before shaking his head and striking the steel walls once more, slightly denting the metal with his punches. Blood continued to splatter against the walls and floor as Naruto's fists struck the hardened surface.
"Ya know, holding things in just makes it worse. One day you're gonna have to talk about how you feel, Naruto."
Once more Naruto ignored the words of his friend though his strikes seemed to become more wild and powerful.
Straight. Hook. Straight. Straight.
BAAANG. THUUUNG. BAAANG. BAAANG.
The steel walls of the room groaned quietly as Naruto's fists struck the metal. His strikes continued to grow in strength, bending the metal and causing it groan louder from the strength of his attacks.
"Being angry doesn't solve your problems, Naruto. You need to-." Shisui was cut off from speaking as Naruto's right fist struck through the steel wall he was punching.
The Jinchuuriki slowly turned towards Shisui revealing a set of animalistic crimson eyes, equipped with a slit through his pupils and a glare that could cause hell to freeze over.
The malevolent aura of the Kyuubi washed through the training room, bathing it in hate and anger. The feeling alone was enough for the hairs on the back of Shisui's neck to stand. And still, he remained steadfast as he stared at his best friend.
"I'm tired of people telling me I need to do this or I need to do that." Naruto slowly retracted his arm from the hole he made, revealing his mangled and broken hand.
Blood dripped down onto the floor due to the mangled and torn flesh. Shisui watched the boy's bones bend and snap as they slowly repaired from the damage Naruto had caused. Flesh restitched slowly as a crimson cloak of Chakra engulfed the boy's appendage.
It took only a few seconds for Naruto's right hand to completely heal as if never having been damaged in the first place.
The crimson haired teen clenched his right fist tightly as he slowly inhaled and exhaled. Several moments passed by before he opened his eyes, revealing his normal violet pupils.
"I've lived my entire life following orders Shisui... And I'm tired..." Naruto stared at his clenched fist for several seconds before placing his back against the wall and slowly sliding down it until his bottom touched the floor.
Shisui stared at his friend before slowly approaching him and taking a seat directly beside him. He placed his head against the steel wall and remained silent, patiently waiting for Naruto to continue talking.
"I always feel so... trapped in the Village. 'You're a tool to be used.' Root's Mantra repeats inside my head day and night..." Naruto unclenched his fist and proceeded to wring his fingers through his thick, crimson locks. "I don't know... Maybe I just want to be normal for a change."
Continuing his ministrations, he spoke again. "I didn't ask to be a Jinchuuriki. I didn't ask to be a weapon for Konoha. And I certainly didn't ask for a Political Alliance Marriage..." Naruto finished with a heavy sigh as he covered his face with his right hand.
Shisui sat quietly for a few moments before glancing down to his hands and clasping them together. He took a brief moment to collect his thoughts before speaking.
"When I was 7 years old my father, Kagami Uchiha, died. My mother had died during childbirth and I was left with nothing." Shisui tilted his head as he stared at his hands before continuing. "I manifested my Mangekyou Sharingan at such a young age... My skill and prowess caught the attention of Fugaku and unlike other members in my position, he took me in."
"Fugaku treated me like a son despite knowing that I was a branch member. A branch member that clearly stood out amongst his peers... By the age of 10 I was able to defeat those who were twice my age with little issue. A 'Once in a lifetime prodigy' they called me."
Shisui shook his head as chuckled though there was no humor in his voice. "So much talent and skill that Hokage-sama placed me in the ANBU to refine my skills. Instead of playing tag like others did at my age, I was learning how to torture men and women for information. Instead of playing jump rope, I was sneaking into homes and slitting the throats of men and women."
Shisui turned towards his friend as his Sharingan spun to life, taking note of the fact that Naruto was listening intently to everything he was saying.
"People like you, me, Kakashi, and even Itachi... Are victims of circumstance. Name others in this village that have suffered like we have at such young ages? Being gifted will only get you so far. Take Sasuke for example. He is incredibly talented for his age but he is no where near the level that you are."
Shisui lifted his right arm before wrapping it around Naruto's shoulders. "Do ya think I wanted to be a once in a lifetime prodigy?" He chuckled lightly before answering his rhetorical question. "Not in the slightest... I definitely wanted to eat ice cream and 'play' Shinobi with kids at the park. But instead... I'm here. Protecting and serving my home because it's all I know."
Shisui closed his eyes before placing his head against the wall once more and speaking one last time. "And there's nothing wrong with that... Wanting to be normal is...Well, normal. But you already know that we can't be normal... And that probably stings the most."
Naruto could hear the cheers from the Arena from his perch atop his father's bust. His violet eyes stared out into the Village and noticed how empty the Village actually looked without its civilians.
They had been evacuated to the safety bunkers yesterday and in their place were the Shinobi from the Reserves and Sunagakure Shinobi, cloaked in Henges so as to not attract attention if Orochimaru truly was in Konoha.
Naruto sighed quietly as he glanced to the seal that rested on his forearm. He really hoped he didn't have to use this technique today...
Staring at the white cloth for several more seconds, he turned his attention towards the Arena where the finals would be taking place.
The Arena could comfortably fit around two thousand individuals and was a staple to the Village. Having survived the test of time during the original creation of Konoha...
Naruto crossed his arms against his chest and tightened the cloth around his waist. He adjusted the glove that rested on his left hand, inspecting the seal that sat on the back of it to make sure it wouldn't malfunction during combat. After assessing the seal, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his headband before tying it around his neck.
Naruto crossed his arms against his chest before glancing down to his right and spotting a masked figure kneeling beside him with their fist on the ground.
"Have the scouts found them?" Naruto questioned lightly.
The Root member rose their head before replying. "Distortions were discovered 5 kliks out from the Village. They bypassed the barrier without detection... Traitors are suspected."
Naruto's eyes narrowed as he turned his attention towards the Arena. They completely bypassed the barrier without any kind of detection?
That didn't even make sense...
After Itachi's betrayal, the Sealing and Barrier Department had made sure to completely change and alter the barrier so that outside forces, whether new or old, would have to be 'rescanned'.
A traitor in the Barrier Squad?
A truly frightening thought.
Naruto glanced towards the Root member before speaking. "Take a squad, no more than four, and patrol the outer perimeter of the Barrier. Do not engage and only scout. If you discover more troops or Shinobi then signal through the Barrier. There are multiple teams on standby that will carry the message. Now go."
The Root member nodded their head before disappearing in a Shunshin to accomplish their task, leaving Naruto to his thoughts.
War... It seemed so inevitable at this point. This event was likely to spark something bigger in the Elemental Nations...
Iwa and Kumo were sharks in the water and Konoha was certainly going to bleed today. Regardless if today ended in total success or not mattered little... Ohnoki and Ay were opportunistic individuals who took every advantage they could get.
Give them a few inches and they'd take a mile.
Konoha would be ready.
He would be ready.
Naruto cracked his neck several times before sighing quietly and disappearing in a Shunshin.
"To think I would be working with you Kumo-Nin again... Despicable." The gruff voice of an incredibly tall individual spoke out. The gigantic man towered over his fellow allies by atleast two heads and was covered from head to toe with only a small portion of his face actually being visible. He wore a plain Kimono that covered his odd red armor. On his head sat a red straw hat that matched his heavily armored form.
"I can practically smell the arrogance that wafts off you." A feminine voice responded in a patronizing tone. "You are lucky we are allies today Han."
The giant named Han glanced towards the woman who had spoken as he took in her appearance. She wore a short-sleeved black and purple blouse and black pants with bandages wrapped around her legs and arms. An odd set of blue beads were wrapped around the woman's left arm. Her blonde hair was taut in bandages and fell to her waist.
"Stay out of my way and we won't have issues... Yugito Nii." He retorted in an uncaring tone.
The blonde woman adopted a feral smile upon her beautiful face and before she could speak, another individual did.
"Now now you two... Get along. We're all friends here."
The two rival-turned-ally Shinobi turned towards the bespectacled man who had spoken. The man possessed ashen gray hair that was kept in a ponytail tail and wore an all black robe equipped with a hood that was currently off.
Kabuto Yakushi... The spy that would personally be reverse summoning them into Konoha's Barrier.
Han and Yugito said nothing as the man stared at them with a gaze reminiscent to that of a Doctor who stood over his patient.
His gaze did not affect the two Jinchuuriki who had experienced far worse from their Bijuu. This weak man did not intimidate either of them and he likely knew this.
"Orochimaru-sama needs your compliance for this to work. It is best to play your roles, yes?"
Yugito raised an eyebrow at the man before sitting on a small rock near her position. Her eyes roamed along the walls of the cave that they resided in and she withheld the sigh of annoyance that wished to escape her.
This man was annoying... Even moreso than Killer Bee. And that was saying something.
She peeked an eye open as she heard the distinct hissing sound of air escaping from a tight hole. Her lone orb trailed towards her fellow Jinchuuriki and noticed that the man's form was beginning to emit steam, causing his surroundings to heat up exponentially.
Hoh... This could be interesting.
"Is there a problem Han?" Kabuto spoke curiously with a tilted head.
The spy was either an idiot or a brazen man.
Han continued to emit his signature steam for several more seconds before abruptly halting and shaking his head. He began to walk away from their position before stopping at the far end of the cave and leaning against the wall with his arms crossed against his chest.
Well..., that was a disappointment. Here she was, thinking something entertaining would happen.
"I shall take that as a no." Kabuto spoke quietly with a tilted head. "We will depart in a hours time... Make sure you are prepared."
After speaking Kabuto slowly exited the cave, disappearing into the intricate and vast tunnels.
Yugito dawned a small smirk at Han's quiet insult and chuckled quietly. Perhaps her time with Han wouldn't be that bad afterall.
"It is a pleasure to meet the leader of a Otogakure." Hiruzen spoke in a pleasant tone. "It is not everyday that a Minor Village, especially one that has sprung up on such short notice, is able to compete with Major Villages in the Chunin Exams."
The Sandaime Hokage glanced towards his company, eyeing Rasa for a mere second before shifting towards the man who sat in the third seat in their private booth.
He was a very... unassuming man. Thin eyebrows with a narrow chin and a very forgettable face. He wore a basic straw hat atop his head, covering the long black hair that he possessed. He was dressed in a pristine white and black Kimono that sported the Kanji for his Village. The insignia rested where his heart would be and in his hand was a thin, black cane.
"Such a warm welcome." Smooth like honey was the man's voice. "I am humbled by your words Hokage-sama. Our Village had been founded some time ago, several years ago in fact but I found it better to remain inconspicuous and out of sight. Afterall, we are a Minor Village... We do not pose a threat."
Rasa studied the man for several seconds and opted to remain silent, allowing Hiruzen to engage in small talk.
"Ahh! It appears I have not given my name." The Oto leader chuckled quietly before bowing his head and taking his seat, silently waving off his personal Shinobi when they offered to take his hat. "My name is Sanji Yori."
Hiruzen stared at the man named Sanji for a moment before offering a small smile. "A pleasure, Sanji..." He let his greeting fall silent as he stared at the man's personal Shinobi.
A female that sported long tresses of blood red hair with a pair of violet eyes. She dawned what appeared to be a calm and relaxed expression but Hiruzen could tell that the girl was withholding from scowling. The light twitches from her eyebrow and how her fingers curled every few seconds was incredibly telling.
She reminded Hiruzen of Kushina. An Uzumaki she certainly was judging by her appearance and rather impressive Chakra pool.
Hiruzen turned his attention away from the girl before motioning with his hand, gaining the attention of his own personal Shinobi who bent over to hear what his leader wished to say.
Kakashi subtly glanced at the red haired girl before standing to his original position once Hiruzen finished whispering into his ear. He nodded his head before placing his hands into his pockets and disappearing from the booth in a Shunshin.
"Something wrong Hokage-dono?" Rasa finally spoke as he watched Kakashi disappear.
The Sandaime just smiled as he leaned back into his seat. "Not at all Kazekage-dono. I merely forgot to sign off on some rather important documents."
The Yondaime Kazekage was silent for a moment before motioning with his right hand, gaining the attention of his personal Shinobi.
Pakura nodded her head while placing her hands behind her back. "Kazekage-same."
After speaking, her form was covered in a thin layer of gold dust and she immediately disintegrated and scattered into the wind, signifying that Rasa had dismissed her.
The leader of Oto watched the two Kages dismiss their Shinobi with a slightly curious gaze.
Naruto sighed quietly as he walked through the dark tunnel that would lead into the Arena's... arena.
What a stupid name...
"I really don't want to do this..." A rather tired voice spoke from beside Naruto.
The crimson haired teen glanced towards his fellow Konoha Shinobi who had advanced this far and sported a small smirk.
Shikamaru Nara... Asuma's prized student. Said to have an IQ easily over 200 and ridiculously talented, but cursed with the sloth-like nature that all his clan members possess.
Naruto chuckled quietly as he pocketed his hands. "Cheer up... It'll be over quickly if you're smart." He proceeded to wink when the boy lazily turned his head towards his direction.
The Nara just silently observed his fellow Shinobi, whom he had little to no information about, and remained silent. He had done quite the bit of searching on 'Naruto Uzumaki' and well...
He had nothing.
Naruto was basically a ghost. He had no records and his slate was blank. The only thing he did have on the boy was that he had replaced Sai on Team 7 a month before the Chunin Exams actually started.
And he had gotten all this information from Sakura. She had explained that the boy was kind of aloof. Questions about himself were avoided and he typically distanced himself from her and Sasuke, only truly interacting with them should a situation at hand call for it.
Sakura had also mentioned that the boy was incredibly close to their Jonin. Almost as if they had been friends for a long time.
Which is entirely impossible unless the boy was some kind of under cover ANBU planted in the Chunin Exams for the sole purpose of scouting talent.
Well, that was his theory atleast.
"Careful there, Nara... Ya might hurt yourself thinking too much." Naruto spoke up in slight amusement, knowing that Shikamaru was trying to break down every piece of information he had regarding himself.
"You're a puzzle... And I really hate puzzles." Was all Shikamaru said as he went back to doing whatever it is that Naras do when they've exhausted all forms of research.
Naruto and Shikamaru continued their slow pace until finally reaching the end of the dimly lit tunnel that would lead out into the main combat area of the Arena.
The two Konoha Shinobi noticed several other individuals who were all all standing near the exit of the tunnel, each of these individuals being the Shinobi that they would eventually have to fight if they made it past their own fights.
Despite knowing that Hiruzen and Rasa had practically formed an Alliance on the back of Temari and his relationship somehow developing through this fight, he was still happy seeing her.
Approaching the Suna Siblings, an action that his fellow Konoha Shinobi watched with narrowed gazes, Naruto raised his left hand in greetings.
"Ahh... Still beautiful."
The compliment obviously being for Temari who didn't know whether to accept it or outright vehemently deny the claim. On one hand, it was nice being called beautiful but on the other hand it was further pushing the agenda that this would be her future life and by extension, Naruto would be her future husband.
While she would rather bash the red haired Konoha Shinobi in the mouth with her battle fan due to the predicament they now both shared, she would absolve from doing so.
Atleast right now of course... There was always room for future bashing of the skull if he continued being annoying.
Naruto stopped his approach upon noticing the tiny grains of sand that slithered around the Ichibi Jinchuuriki and Temari.
"You're insufferable... You know this right?" Temari replied with her arms crossed against her chest. She noted that the boy's analytical gaze disappeared and that same roguish smirk he had when she was here a month ago, returned with a vengeance.
Agh! She could feel her cheeks already heating up! Stupid fucking hormones!
The Kyuubi Jinchuuriki placed his hands into his pockets as he chuckled. "I aim to please." Bowing in an exaggerated manner that only made him look more foolish.
Temari stared at the teen for a few moments before turning her gaze away and staring out into the Arena. "I see your dream is finally coming true..."
Her tone and words wiped the small smile off of Naruto's face. He knew exactly what she was talking about.
Naruto glanced towards the girl's siblings, noting that the puppeteer sported a rather annoyed glare that was directed on himself. The Jiton user however, had a rather indifferent expression on his face but the sand that swirled around him told a different story.
"I had no part in this Temari." He stated firmly. "This isn't what I wanted."
The other Genins in the area listened to their conversation with varying degrees of interest. It had been relatively silent until the Nara and Uzumaki' had entered the vicinity.
The eldest sibling continued to stare out into the Arena as frustration swelled inside her. She was so... annoyed with the entire situation. It was completely unfair and while she acknowledged that life wasn't fair, she was allowed to feel slighted by this.
"But it is what you wanted." She replied while leaning on the stone walls of the tunnel.
Naruto stared at the girl for several seconds before sighing quietly and replying. "What you're saying isn't entirely incorrect but I wanted to do so on my own terms... I'm just as frustrated as you are."
"Somehow I highly doubt that." Temari replied a little too snidely, even for her tastes. She realized how bitter she truly sounded and felt a little bad about it.
Naruto was quiet for a brief moment before sighing quietly. "When this is all over, can we talk?"
Temari furrowed her eyebrows before glancing down at the ground. She was quiet for a few seconds before sighing. "Sure..."
That is, if they both manage to survive the impending invasion of course.
"I appreciate it Temari." Naruto nodded his head to the girl before doing the same to her two brothers and walking away.
The teen slowly approached his teammate, who's eyes had yet to stray away, and leaned on the stone walls of the tunnel.
"Friends with high profile Jonins, incredibly skilled, and comfortable with Sunagakure Shinobi..." Sasuke stated rather quietly with his hands in his pockets. "Full of secrets aren't you?"
Naruto pondered the teen's statement and wondered if he should even respond. On one hand, Sasuke was slightly annoying, possessing the confident, if not arrogant, personality that all Uchihas tended to have. On the other though, he was incredibly perceptive and mature for his age, moreso than his fellow Genins and while he certainly had his childish moments here and there it's not like the boy was all bad.
"As a Shinobi, secrets tend to keep you alive." He opened his eyes, glancing towards his teammate and continuing. "Your clan had many of them, Sasuke..."
The Uchiha's eyes sharpened at the boy's statement and instead of jumping to conclusions like those of his age would, he remained silent, accepting the underlying statement that his teammate had made.
Several minutes passed by in silence as the various conversations between the Genin ceased.
A silence that Naruto welcomed.
His violet orbs gazed over all the Genin participating and he stopped once reaching the Oto Shinobi. He proceeded to stare directly at the Genin named Dosu with an entirely too disturbing blank gaze.
The bandaged teen upon noticing Naruto's stare proceeded to return the look, though it was clear to Naruto that the boy was slightly unnerved by the look he was recieving.
Naruto blocked out everyone around him as he focused his entire attention on Dosu, forcing his will upon the boy. An action that garnered the attention of not only the Genin in the tunnel, but of the Jonin Proctor that would be viewing their fights.
Like a caged beast awaiting for its lock to corrode away, Naruto's chakra encircled the bandaged teen, almost strangling him and starving him of oxygen.
And when he spoke, the words were clear and concise.
A message that would reflect his actions in the upcoming invasion.
"You. Will. Not. Win."
And once Naruto said his peace, the weight of his Chakra dispersed and the all encompassing dread that threatened to choke the life force out of Dosu disappeared, as if never having existed in the first place.
Naruto closed his eyes, popped his neck several times, and proceeded to walk out of the tunnel.
The Jonin Proctor watched the boy take the first step out of the enclosed tunnel and withheld the smirk that wished to appear on his face, though a heavy cough did escape.
Couldn't really control that one.
Gekko Hayate crossed his arms against his chest before turning his attention to the still frozen Genin. "It's showtime kiddies. Try not to die, hmm?" He immediately followed after Naruto once he finished speaking, leaving the Genin behind and not caring if they followed.
"Welcome to the Konoha Chunin Exam Finals!" Gekko Hayate voiced loudly, his voice being amplified by Chakra. Directly behind him stood the 8 Genin that would be participating and fighting.
"I present to you, the Genin that will be fighting amongst themselves to prove to their leaders that they are deserving of the rank of Chunin." The sickly man flourished his hand as he spoke the names of each Genin, introducing then individually.
"Naruto Uzumaki of Konohakagure!"
"Temari no Sabaku of Sunagakure!"
"Gaara no Sabaku of Sunagakure!"
"Sasuke Uchiha of Konohakagure!"
"Shino Aburame of Konohakagure!"
"Shikamaru Nara of Konohakagure!"
"Dosu Kinuta of Otogakure!"
"And Neji Hyuga of Konohakagure!"
Once the cheering settled down from the crowd of disguised Konoha and Suna Shinobi, Gekko turned towards the Genin and spoke in a normal tone.
"If your names are not Naruto Uzumaki and Temari no Sabaku then please step out of the Arena and into the fighter's box." He motioned with his arm towards one of the empty stands that was relatively small.
The Genin not mentioned disappeared simultaneously. Whether that be by walking slowly, Shikamaru, and disappearing in a Shunshin that took the form of a mini tornado, Gaara.
Once the group fully dispersed, Gekko turned towards the remaining Genin and noticed the harsh stare that the Suna Kunoichi possessed. He coughed into his fist several times before raising his hand in the air and amplifying his voice his Chakra.
"Are both fighters prepared for battle?"
Naruto rolled his neck and began to stretch his arms out, nodding after doing so.
Temari swung her mighty battle fan with a determined gaze and nodded her head.
"The stipulations for battle are simple : Do not kill." He let his demand reign for several seconds before continuing. "Then all that's left is a countdown..."
A heavy silence engulfed the entire Arena as all the hidden Shinobi, Genin and Leaders watched the two Genin stare at each other.
A gentle breeze swept through the area, jostling both Naruto and Temari's hair and clothes. Both Genin's tensed up as their eyes dilated.
"3!" Gekko yelled loudly.
A roguish smirk formed on Naruto's face as his fingers curled in anticipation. His blood began to pump viciously from the confines of his veins.
What did his future wife have in store for him? He was excited to find out first hand.
"2!" Gekko yelled out once more.
Temari's muscles flexed as Chakra flooded her veins. Her battle fan proceeded to click loudly, revealing a single moon on its surface.
It was time to show Naruto the fruits of her labor. She'd wipe that smirk off his face even if she had to break bones to do so.
Naruto and Temari moved before Gekko even brought his hand down.
AN: Ya hate to see a cliffhanger don't ya? Good. Got em.
Nothing else to say but this -
I support the movement and anyone who disagrees is a fucking mongrel. If you're only counter is 'All Lives Matter' then you're a fucking moron.
All Lives Can Not Matter Until Black Lives Do.
Suck my dick if you think otherwise. If I ruin your day with what I say, GOOD. Fuck you. I don't need your fucking support. Jump off a cliff.