A/N: Chapter one in all it's albeit limited glory. Enjoy, and if you don't, please don't flame. Thank you.
"You have one minute to decide the rest of your life," (1) a large blonde man said as he straddled another man in his own house, "at the end of which, you will either live or die." To accentuate his point, he pulled out an old fashioned stop-watch, and clicked the timer.
The man under him writhed and twisted in vain, desperately trying to be rid of his captor's iron grip. When ten seconds had ticked by, slowly, agonizingly, the man finally stopped thrashing.
"Where are the keys to your treasury?" the large blonde man questioned, his voice a deep baritone. When the seconds kept ticking, and he had no response from his captive, he slowly brought his knees together, in effect, bit by bit, crushing his ribs into his chest cavity.
The man on the bed cried out as the first of his ribs cracked under the pressure. As the blonde's legs kept tightening, the man made several pathetic wheezes, which could be construed as attempts at speech.
The blonde loosened up a small amount to allow speech, and taking an off-hand glance at the watch, noticed this man had less then thirty seconds left of his life.
"U-u-un-under t-the t-television i-in the r-roo-m to th-e left of th-is on-e." The pathetic wheezing mess beneath the blonde man would lose his life, as it had taken up his thirty seconds to say that.
What a shame. If he were only a year older, he would be untouchable, and he wouldn't have been able to issue the ultimatum, as the security would have been top-notch, as opposed to the hairless pansies he had dealt with on his way up.
The quivering, grimacing mass of flesh below him writhed again, as he had to dig into his deep pockets to retrieve his favorite tool, in the process pushing more of the man's ribs into his lungs.
The blonde man pulled out a pistol, affixed with a silencer, and inserted the muzzle into the other man's mouth, and set it off, simultaneously tearing a hole out of the back of the skull, and coating the surrounding white pillows in a fine sheen of gore. (2)
The blonde man extricated himself from the bloody corpse, and made his way to the place specified by the unlucky daimyo's son. He ripped the television from its place inside a large oaken cabinet, and swiped the long, thin keys that would unlock the treasury. He would rather go in the proper and relatively quiet way, then opposed to blindly destroying the doors and making off with as much as he could carry. The he of ten years ago would have done no less.
As he fitted the keys into the lock, turning it, and in turn, the tumblers, he pondered his past self. So naïve, and utterly foolish, was he that it sickened the man. Such were the thoughts of a trained killer, who had both known about and embraced his demons readily.
The thick plated steel door open, he got a look inside. It had a high ceiling, and the jewels and precious metals almost reached the top. Such was the spoils of a daimyo. He created no less than ten thousand kage bushin, and had each of them in turn open a blank scroll the size of a baby carriage. They, all ten thousand created ten thousand large containment scrolls. The clones, done with their seal crafting, turned their attention to the massive pile of riches, and began carting large piles down, soon to be sealed in their recently created storage scrolls.
The man, even summoning so many clones, looked not even the slightest bit winded, and instead looked like he could do that at least another ten times, which is what he did once he realized he had vastly underestimated the size of the pile. With a hundred thousand clones, and the same number of large storage scrolls, the riches were quickly carted on top of the paper, which the clones, with a handseal put inside the empty space of the scroll. Within a half an hour, the pile was mostly gone, with the last bit being unusable and ill-fated metals that were either too brittle, or too pliable.
Now the large army of clones, their riches all in the scrolls, waited for the original to work his magic. The blonde man pulled out a scroll from the pouch on his backside the size of his thumb. He opened it with a flourish, and swiped some of his blood onto it, courtesy of a bite to his finger. An enormous cloud of smoke bloomed like a sakura tree, and a scroll the size of a small house was revealed. Using chakra, the blonde carried his small drop of blood to the rest of the other scrolls, coating it against the outside, and then, quickly, with a show of titanic strength unrolled the giant scroll, and then, with an even bigger cloud of smoke, the scrolls numbering one hundred thousand vanished into the large scroll. Arcane writing immediately covered every inch of the titanic scroll, which was promptly rolled up, and then cast back inside the tiny scroll, where it was placed into the blondes pouch.
His job done, the blonde gave a final cursory look over the treasury, or what remained of it. He had to admit, with the treasure gone, the room in its entirety was many times the size of the hokage tower. For the largest treasury in the world, it was sure easy to get into. Ironic, really.
With that thought in mind, the blonde dashed off at an inhuman speed towards Konoha.
Tsunade was worried. Worried would be a definite understatement. This was full-blown frantic worried. She had sent the best ANBU they had on a suicide mission, and it was all her fault.
In her misery, she barely heard the messenger chunin at her door. As such, her depressed mumbling was taken to be the signal to enter. When Tsunade looked up, seeing a chunin inches from her face, she did what came naturally. She decked him. The hapless chunin blew through the wall and smacked into the hard stone of the tower. She heard something crack, and it wasn't the wall. Irritated, she also failed to notice a person stepping around the rubble and into her office, until, he too was inches from her face.
This time, she attempted to do what came naturally, only for the man to catch her fist like it was a feather. Looking into his face, she realized who this was, and what he prevented her from doing. She blushed in embarrassment, and apologized.
Almost instantly, her countenance shifted into a persona ordinary kages would kill to have. "Report, Fox." She said sternly, alluding to his white and red ANBU fox mask, the one she issued him personally after defeating the captain of his squad.
"Mission successful, Hokage-sama." The man said tonelessly, both breaking the Kage's heart, and reaffirming his decision.
"Good to hear, Fox. I trust you have the package?"
Fox nodded, and pulled out the tiny scroll he had used to house the enormous one. He handed it to Tsunade, who took it with a bittersweet smile, and a regretful look. She looked at him, and was truly saddened. 'You've changed. You've changed so much.'
Indeed, the former loud, joyful prankster was no more. In his place stood an embattled, bitter tool of the village, a true shinobi. A rare breed, these days.
Showing the only emotion he had shown for years past, though it was behind his mask, Naruto held out a similar scroll to Tsunade. Allowing himself to slip, he said, "Ba-chan."
Tsunade snapped up, and sat ramrod straight, as if stricken. A shimmering layer of tears appeared in her eyes, and she shakily said, "Naruto."
She leaned over the desk, arms outstretched, tears brimming. Naruto leaned into those arms, arms that could heal or destroy at a moment's notice.
Caught in a tight embrace, Naruto could do naught but stand there as Tsunade, one of the three shinobi of legend, and the Hokage, wept into his shoulder.
After ten minutes of that, Naruto had departed, leaving her the scroll from both his mission, and one of his own important information.
Naruto, now unmasked, and without his armor, stood atop the Shodaime's head, whilst looking over the village.
Pein's invasion four years ago had not come without great cost to Konoha. Still, even four years later, a quarter of the village remained completely barren and devoid of life, due to Pein's last stand, and his last ace in the hole.
He had summoned the king of hell statue, and using the combined might of the so-far captured eight bijuu, managed to level a little over a quarter of Konoha. Those just outside the blast radius suffered severe radiation poisoning, leading to a plummet to an already dangerously low morale. With the outbreak of radiation poisoning, and birth defects due to said poisoning, villagers stopped procreating, leading an already low supply of shinobi ragged. Everyday jonin were now used commonly for S-ranked missions, and, as a substitute to the chunin exam, genin had to complete two A-ranks back to back to get their desired rank.
The shinobi bars had been packed to the limits, and the mission office was now resorting to the draft, due to shinobi who refused to go on missions. In short, Konoha was screwed, and everybody knew it. This was no longer a question of how, but when. Naruto himself had thought they would last two more years, at the most.
Tsunade believed him, due to his unreal luck at gambling, which she, being the Legendary Sucker, sucked at.
Naruto briefly toyed with ending the village now, as opposed to drawing it out. Better to kill a suffering animal, than to end up suffering yourself, which Naruto decidedly was not.
No, he decided. He had given Tsunade that extra scroll for a reason, and the specified time had yet to be met. He didn't want to kill the old hag, at least not yet. She still had her uses.
Naruto, standing atop the first hokage's head, grinned like a Cheshire cat. He would bleed this country dry. It was his way. Acting the part of the complete loser, and then when everyone was secure in their belief that he was a failure, striking the coup de grâce. Though as opposed to the latter, he would not be merciful, for the last time he was, he was almost killed. He would drag this on for as long as he could.
After all, time was not an issue. He had all the time in the world.
A/N: Author's note.
(1): "You have one minute to decide the rest of your life." A quote from the movie "Two days in the valley." Good movie. You should see it some time.
(2): Due to recent goings on in Iwa, guns are now available for ninja, though they are incredibly expensive. Like renting a convention center for a week kind of expensive, as well as the fact that they're extremely rare. Naruto only has one because he stole it from Iwa in his last S-class mission, and because I like the opening scene in "Two days in the Valley."
Hope you like the chapter. Remember, I don't get paid for this. The least I could get was some recognition. Please push the magic button that says "review" and tell me what you do and don't like. I am always open for constructive criticism, so feel free.