Naruto: The Seal of Legacy 27 - Forest Searches
As soon as they entered the forest, the surroundings darkened several shades. The sun's rays barely reached the newly arrived team. The trees were so strangely and bizarrely shaped that they blocked the path completely in some places, forcing them to find detours.
Unfortunately, Naruto was the only one who knew how to walk on vertical surfaces, and he wasn't sure how long it would take him to teach Sakura and Sasuke. Therefore, he didn't bother to mention it.
After walking about three hundred metres deep into the forest, Sasuke stopped and said:
"Hmm, the first place is only five hundred metres away. But strangely enough, this is the only place whose coordinates are accurate."
Walking up to Sasuke, Naruto and Sakura looked at the contents. And while Sakura looked more at Sasuke, Naruto focused all his attention on the scroll of information. After reading it completely, he memorised the contents and stepped aside, putting his hand to his chin and thinking about it.
Seeing this, Sasuke asked:
"What is it, Dobe, don't you understand what is written here?" Sasuke grinned slightly as he looked at the blonde.
Naruto turned around with a surprised look on his face and replied calmly:
"Yeah, no, I have it all memorised. I'm just wondering what to do with the vague descriptions of the other four places."
Surprised by his statement, Sasuke still hummed and replied:
"Hmm, useless musings. We'll just have to go and see for ourselves."
Trying to remain calm at Sasuke's dismissive attitude towards his teammates, Naruto turned to Sakura and asked:
"Sakura, what do you think?"
Sasuke gave Naruto a strange look and then turned to Sakura, looking at her without much expectation. Blinking her eyes in surprise and slight embarrassment, Sakura thought for a second, remembering all the textbooks and theories she had memorised, and suddenly, she realised something:
"Actually, according to the lessons of the Academy, the only obvious or known path can often be false and full of traps," Sakura looked back at Naruto and Sasuke, waiting for their reaction and with any luck, a little praise from Sasuke as well.
Unfortunately, the reaction of the scowling Uchiha was the usual frown, after which he disappeared into his thoughts. Naruto, on the other hand, smiled nonchalantly at the girl and replied:
"Excellent point, Sakura. I think you might be right."
Hearing Naruto's words, Sakura was at least a little relieved. A small smile even appeared on her lips, but she quickly hid it.
Here, Naruto decided to add:
"Actually, there is a way to find out without having to check it out in person."
Sakura and Sasuke looked at him in surprise and the frowning Uchiha asked:
"And how are you going to do that, dobe?"
Sakura was also extremely sceptical, as Naruto was not someone who usually showed great intelligence in class. So she asked as well:
"Naruto, do you know any special paths in this forest or anything like that?"
Shaking his head, Naruto replied:
"No, this is my first time in this forest as well, but I have a technique that's great for scouting the area," he said, crossing his fingers in an unfamiliar seal.
«A technique for scouting? Did we learn something like that?» Sakura was surprised by his words, as she didn't remember anything like that from her school lessons.
«What kind of scouting technique? Is this fool trying to play a trick on us again?» Sasuke also squinted at the blond Uzumaki.
Seeing their incredulous faces, Naruto's playful side took over and he concentrated as much as possible and said the technique to himself:
"Shadow Cloning Jutsu!" At that moment, he channelled the chakra in such a way that the technique was applied with almost no smoke.
Thus, with a barely perceptible pop of smoke, three clones appeared around Naruto, each standing in the same place and not moving in any way.
Seeing this, Sasuke and Sakura fell out of breath for a second, after which Sakura, expecting to see something new, flared up, and shouted:
"Naruto, baka! That's just regular clone jutsu! Stop messing around." The girl clenched her fist out of habit.
Sasuke also grinned relaxedly, and walked over to one of the clones and said:
"Which is to be expected from a loser like you, Dobe." Saying this, Sasuke was about to turn around when what appeared to be a simple clone suddenly put a kunai to his neck and said:
"You know, for a top student in the class, you're too careless of your surroundings, Sasuke."
It was such an unexpected action that Sasuke literally froze before frowning and pushing the clone's hand aside, he turned around to see all three clones laughing at his reaction. Sakura was also taken aback when she saw all this. She hadn't known that there was a technique to create real clones. At the academy, there was no talk of such a thing. At least for now.
At the same time, she also realised that what Naruto had said about being careless of his surroundings was the purest truth. Since if Naruto had been their enemy, Sasuke might have already been hurt. The girl swallowed her saliva at the mere thought of it.
Angry at the clones laughing at him, Sasuke flared up:
"What the hell, dobe! What kind of technique is that?"
Stopping laughing, the original Naruto replied:
"Heh, it's a technique called 'Shadow Clone Jutsu'. It's the only clone technique I can replicate, as my amount of chakra is too high to create regular clones. I'm still working on controlling it though, and I'm sure I'll be able to do it sooner or later," Naruto seemed confident enough to say that.
Looking around once more at the clones that were staring back at him, Sasuke shifted his gaze back to the original, and asked:
"So you want to send them instead of us?" receiving a nod from the blond man, Sasuke added, "and what are you going to do if they don't come back? It'll be impossible to figure out what exactly caused their disappearance."
"Ah, don't worry, after they disappear, anything they see or hear is transmitted directly to me. So it'll be fine."
At this time, Sakura also approached one of the clones, and tried to touch it. Feeling that the clone felt literally like a real person, and that the clone looked at her strangely, she was a little embarrassed, and quickly removed her hand, panicking a little, and said:
"I-I just wanted to see if you were different to the touch than a real... um, yeah."
Grinning, the clone leaned over to Sakura, and whispered:
"Then you should touch the original as well, just to make sure, shouldn't you?"
Hearing his words, Sakura blushed a little, then flared up, and shouted:
"W-what are you talking about, baka!" after which, the embarrassed girl punched the surprised clone, smashing it into clouds of smoke.
This event caught the attention of the others, and the girl blinked her eyes in embarrassment before defensively saying:
"What? He was talking utter rubbish, so it's his own fault! Besides, Naruto said he had a lot of chakra so he'll make another one," the girl then turned away, hiding her embarrassment and annoyance.
She was embarrassed that she had reacted so badly to the clone's joke in front of Sasuke. Even in front of Naruto, she didn't want to be so aggressive, after all, he had only just stopped adding the 'san' when speaking to her. That 'san' was surprisingly upsetting to the girl, making her feel wrong. Although she would never admit it, of course.
Seeing her like this, Naruto, who had received the clone's memories, realised what had happened, and tried to hold back a chuckle. But his clones couldn't help themselves, and in order not to anger the girl, Naruto quickly dispelled them, and then created three more clones. After that, with his arms at his sides, Naruto said:
"Alright, you guys know what to do."
Nodding, two of the clones headed towards the known location, while the third headed in the other direction. Seeing this, Sasuke frowned and asked:
"Where did the third one go?"
"I sent him towards the nearest obscure position to look around. I'd like to understand how easy or difficult it will be to find the objects we need," Naruto said as he looked towards the departing clones.
Nodding, Sasuke looked around, and said:
"If we can't make it through today, we'll need to find a place to set up camp."
Regaining her composure, Sakura turned to the guys, and asked:
"Maybe then Naruto can make clones again, and send them out to find a suitable place?"
Naruto shook his head, and said:
"I don't think that's a good idea. It would be foolish to waste chakra before we know the danger level of this forest, and the approach to the hidden objects."
"Dobe is right. We can handle this without his clones." Sasuke stated, looking at the information scroll.
At these words, the group began to look for a suitable place for a temporary camp. After a few minutes, they found a small cave. Before entering it, the group carefully examined their surroundings, and finding claw marks on the trees as well as paw marks on the ground, they realised that there was most likely a bear inside.
"It's not an easy opponent, but I'm sure I can handle it," Sasuke was excited while saying this.
"Not 'you' can handle it, but 'we' can handle it. Don't forget that on this mission we're a team," Naruto remarked, giving an odd look at an excited Sasuke.
At the blond man's words, Sasuke only hummed, and said:
"Perhaps weaklings like you have to attack in groups, but I can handle it myself."
"W-wait, Sasuke-kun! Naruto's right, it's too dangerous," Sakura was quite nervous as this was the first time she was in such a situation, moreover she was worried about Sasuke who wants to face the bear by himself.
"Maybe for you. Just watch, and stay out of my way." With those words, Sasuke left his hiding place, and began stealthily approaching the cave.
Watching this with an emotionless look, Naruto sighed, and looking at Sakura, said:
"Hey Sakura, I think we should follow, and keep an eye on him. I'm afraid his pride could cost him dearly. If things go wrong, we'll intervene."
Nervously nodding, the girl followed Naruto, who also headed towards the cave. This should be their first encounter with danger in this Forest of Death.
Keeping ten metres away from Sasuke, Naruto and Sakura followed his progress inside the cave. As they followed him, they were able to watch as Sasuke froze in place as a bear several times the size of the usual bear appeared before him.
No wonder Sasuke froze, not knowing what to do. This was something even he hadn't expected. Although in Naruto's opinion, the paw prints on the ground they had seen hinted at it, but even so, seeing a bear of this size was extremely frightening.
Coming to his senses, Sasuke gritted his teeth, and instead of attacking, quietly retreated to Naruto and Sakura, who were hiding right near the exit of the cave. Joining them, the group left the cave. Seeing the smiling expression on Naruto's face, Sasuke said irritably:
"Not a word, dobe! You can see for yourself that this enemy is no match for us. And besides, we came straight from the academy without preparing the right equipment."
"Well, you're right about that, though..." Naruto thought for a moment, assessing the size of the predator, "I actually have a plan to get that bear to leave its den. I'm not sure for how long, but for the first few days he definitely won't come back."
Sakura and Sasuke were surprised by his words. Sasuke gave the blond a hard look, and squinted, asking:
"How sure are you about your idea?"
Frowning slightly, in thought, Naruto replied:
"I think about eighty per cent. Still, this bear is bigger than usual, so it's hard to predict how it will behave."
"Um, Naruto, what exactly is your idea?" Sakura, who is the most worried about this situation, wanted to know exactly what her life would depend on.
"Well, I came across a book once," Naruto started to say, but was interrupted.
"Since when do you read books, dobe?" Sasuke was genuinely surprised. Even his face expressed confusion, that's how much he didn't expect something like that from Naruto.
Sakura was also a little surprised, but since she had heard from Ino several times before that he had taken up reading, it wasn't too surprising to her. Though up until this day she had honestly doubted all of it.
With a strange look at them and a blink of his eyes, Naruto replied:
"I think it started with the last preparatory exam for cloning techniques. But it doesn't matter," Naruto gathered his thoughts again, "like I said, I came across a book that described dangerous animals that shinobi might encounter on missions, and ways to deal with them."
"So there was a bear in there too?" Sakura seemed pleased, for if this was indeed information from a shinobi book, it must be accurate.
Nodding, Naruto said:
"That's right, it said that bears don't like pungent smells, fire and loud noises. And as an example, it described certain herbs and plants that, when burned, emit a smell so foul and harmful to bears that they try to stay a mile away from the source".
"What kind of plants?" Sasuke wanted to get everything he needed ready as soon as possible.
"On the list were; Cicuta, Cypress, and also Dandelion," here Naruto smiled contentedly, "we're actually very lucky, on the way to this cave I've seen Cicuta, and even Dandelions, so we'll be able to diversify our stink bomb," saying this, the prankster inside Naruto woke up again, as he had never pranked bears before.
Seeing the excited look on Naruto's face, who had been calm before, made him realise what the blond was thinking, as this was the face he was showing before the next prank. And as much as he hated to admit it, Naruto's skills at making prank devices would now come in handy.
"I see," Sasuke was the first to regain his composure, "I know what a Dandelion looks like, but what's a Tsikuta?"
Sakura nodded as well, agreeing with the brunette. Returning the calm look, Naruto smiled calmly, and said:
"Don't worry, I'll create clones to..." then the blonde suddenly stopped as if something had happened, then said, "Damn, my two clones just got to the only known location, and there are indeed a lot of traps there, which destroyed them quickly. But they did manage to see that there was some sort of structure in the distance, which is most likely where the item we need is located".
''I see, what about the third clone? Did he get to an area with inaccurate coordinates?" Sasuke asked, pondering his next steps along the way.
"Nope, either he hasn't gotten to it yet, or he got to it but didn't find anything," Naruto shrugged.
"What do we do next, Sasuke-kun?" Sakura became agitated again.
The brunet frowned, thought for a few seconds, and then answered:
"For now, let's continue to deal with the shelter issue, and then we'll decide what to do next."
At that moment, Naruto spoke again:
"Great, then let's get back to the Herbs. I'll create some clones for you so they can help you gather the herbs you need."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow, and asked:
"Help us? What are you going to do in the meantime?"
Suddenly pulling out some paper from his pouch, Naruto clasped it like cards between his fingers, and said:
"I'm going to set up a system of fuin seals all over the cave that should instantly ignite, blazing with a strong flame for five or six seconds. That should be enough to set fire to the herbs we place on them."
Narrowing his eyes, and looking at the paper in Naruto's hands, which he could indeed recognise as chakra-conducting, Sasuke stared at the blond, and said:
"I don't know when, or more importantly how you started learning fuin, or where you got that paper, but I hope you know what you're doing. Create clones."
Nodding, Naruto crossed his fingers to create about five clones, but suddenly a message from the system appeared in front of his face:
[New Mission: Restraint.]
[Mission Goal: Throughout the entire practice session, do not use more than three clones at a time.]
[Mission Success: 5% increase in the user's chakra sensitivity]
[Mission Failure: User will not be able to create more than one clone until the end of the practice session.]
After reading the terms of the mission, all Naruto could think to himself was:
"System-chan, your timing is as bad as ever, dattebayo!"
"Shadow Clone Jutsu!"
The two clones that appeared approached Sasuke and Sakura, after which the original said:
"Alright, they'll be by your side to show you the place where I saw the flowers. When you've collected at least twelve bundles of both herbs, you can return."
Nodding at his words, Sasuke silently stood up, and headed the way they had come. Seeing this, Sakura immediately fidgeted, and rising to her feet, said:
"Sasuke-kun, wait for me!" the girl caught up with the frowning guy.
The clones also followed them. Realising that it was time for him to get down to business, Naruto grinned cheekily, and thought:
"Sorry bear, but because of my system, I'm going to vent my resentment on you! It's your own fault for taking a nap at a time like this."
With that mindset, Naruto immediately laid out sheets of paper, and unsealed a set of brushes and ink, and proceeded to apply the characters to create a strong ignition. Thankfully he's already had time to start learning fuin for explosive tags. So that helps him a lot.
Having finished applying the fuin, Naruto immediately gathered all the blanks, and entering the cave, he began to set up his seals with enviable enthusiasm. Thanks to his perfected technique of pranks, he sneaked like a real professional, because even when he passed right next to the bear, he never woke up. The poor bear doesn't even know what kind of trick Naruto has in store for him.
After a while, Sakura and Sasuke returned with a whole bunch of grass, which couldn't have pleased the blond. He immediately dispelled the two clones, and created two new ones to help him with the placement of the bundles of herbs.
A couple of minutes later, everything was ready, and the group at the entrance to the cave, were preparing to detonate the seals. Sasuke was focused and Sakura was a little nervous. Naruto was the only one exuding anticipation. Smiling, he said:
"Great, time to get the fun started!" With those words, the blond folded his hand seal to activate his fuin seals.
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