Chapter 16: Oh, for the love of C-Rank
"Are you shitting me!?"
If the group had any attempts of being stealthy whilst in the dungeon then their attempts utterly failed by the clearing sized declaration. But Naruto should have guessed or suspected the outcome.
"Nope!" Despite their desire to wipe that smug look off his face, neither Anko nor Ino could deny that they'd have the exact same look had the situation been reversed. Having several chunks of metal ore worth millions, hopefully more than enough to make a great sword, was nothing to sneeze at.
"Congratulations, Naruto-kun," Hinata being the kind and warm individual that she was expressed a much nobler display.
"Gonna have to do something about that," Anko thought.
"See, why can't you two be like Hinata?" Naruto's comment had Hinata blushing.
"Judging by her development, I'm pretty sure Pales Eyes is gonna outdo me in a few years time," Hinata blushed even harder at Anko's comment and Ino had to admit she was slightly jealous.
"Arf?" Titling his head, Hottomaru wasn't entirely sure what the comment meant.
"Okay, suddenly rich blond who will be paying for my drinks and dango 'till the end of time aside," Naruto blinked but suspected she was being serious, "What's the deal with this mission?"
"It's a points game," Naruto revealed to a blank audience. Sighing, the boy elaborated, "Each enemy is worth a set value. Usually one point is given by defeating the weakest enemy and five with the strongest; rarespawns, mini-bosses, and bosses fall outside this rule by giving us an even greater amount of points."
"So, in other words, we don't have to beat the boss to complete the mission or clear this dungeon, right?" Ino surmised.
"To clear the dungeon and have access to the next one we'll need to beat the boss. It's just that in this case there aren't any requirements to get them to appear and we can leave without penalties so long as we accomplish the requirements of the mission," Naruto explained.
The concept was simple enough to understand and Anko confidently believed her team could handle it, "Alright, Midori and I are gonna sit this one out unless I see any true danger. You thre - four! - show me what you've got."
With their Detection Skill as high as it was the trio of Genin and one ninken knew where it was coming from before Anko said anything. All three looked at the exact location of exploding earth the scorpion came from.
Naruto had never really seen a scorpion before except in video games. Even then he knew their appearance had been somewhat romanticized by the artists. The creature before him was large, not quite as large as Hottomaru was in his adult form but large enough still. It had wicked pincers that looked like they could chop off a limb if enough pressure was added and its barbed tail was oozing with a green viscous liquid that it didn't take a genius to know was venom.
"Observe!" he announced.
Scorpion Drone - Level 22
Harsh Desert Resistance [Lv 1]: +30% Resistance towards [Wind-Based Skills] and [Fire-Based Skills], Ignores debuffs brought on by desert environments
Scorpid Tenacity [Lv 1]: Immune to [Poison-Related Debuffs], [Burning-Related Debuffs] or [Bleeding Related Debuffs] when HP drops below 20%, DEF increase by 30% of total VIT amount when HP drops below 20%
Hard Carapace [Lv 1]: +500 HP, +30 Defense, +30% Resistance towards [Bladed Weapons] and [Piercing Weapons], +30% Resistance towards [Critical Strikes], and -30% Resistance towards [Blunt Weapons] and [Taijutsu]
Bulky [Lv 2]: When above ground Movement Speed reduced by 50%, -50% Effectiveness towards [Evasion]
? : ?
Description: Drones are at the very bottom of the hierarchy but one shouldn't be fooled despite their large size. Though the weakest they have an incredible ability to strike their prey with their poison filled stinger. Unlike their more mature counterparts that are known to blend in with their environment and striking at an opportune time, these ones are known for rapidly digging through the earth and popping up whenever a creature enters their colonies territory. When they have suffered a significant amount of injuries, it is not uncommon for them to flee and recover from their wounds before giving chase once more on the unsuspecting prey. However, despite their
EXP Earned: ?
Drops: ?, ?
"Great," Naruto grumbled. Kenjutsu was out it would seemed. And while most would have assumed Naruto was kicking himself for not buying a new blunt weapon when he had the chance it wasn't the case.
Drawing out his large sword, Naruto mentally called out his new technique, "Doton: Gekisaiga no Jutsu (Earth Release: Raging Demon's Crushing Fang Technique)!"
While his new Taijustu was good, Naruto had the impression it wouldn't be enough, especially since he didn't really focus too much on it compared to everything else he knew.
The Gekisaiga was a C-Rank borderline B-Rank technique Naruto had come across on the Abyss Auction that he felt would greatly come in handy. The main purposes of the technique was wrapping a weapon in a great amount of earth and rock, thus transforming it into a large studded cudgel of sorts. This not only served to reclassify Naruto's bladed weapon into a blunt one but also boosted its attack power, too.
Unfortunately, because of his weapon's already considerable size and weight, the 'new' weapon was now considerably heavier and difficult to maneuver, his speed took a nose dive, too, unless his STR was at a certain level. Which was easily taken care of, too.
"Ninpo: Kongoriki (Ninja Art: Adamant Strength)!" Naruto shuddered and gave off a grin that made an off to the side Anko proud. He felt his strength swell to incredibly envious levels for someone his age. The technique was an improved version of Goriki - and it had upgraded to an A-Rank one to boot! - and while its chakra cost per duration was even costlier, Naruto had tons to spare and perks to take the edge off.
Naruto felt himself fortunate that the former B-Rank technique had finally maxed out and was an upgradable technique. The old version had not been able to make the wielding of this oversized weapon quite as easy.
Lifting the oversized club that was nearly twice his size and a half above his body, Naruto couldn't have helped himself if he could when the look of satisfaction threatened to split his face open. The scorpion's black eyes bulged out comically from its body and threatened to pop the moment the oversized club flattened it like a pancake; the once pristine armor cracked and splintered to reveal its soft vulnerable body. One hit and already was half of the creature's HP practically gone.
|Congratulations! Through a special act you've discovered and unlocked the hidden weakness of scorpions! [Broken Carapace]!|
A scorpion's carapace is hard and durable but it's not indestructible and can be broken by the right weapon and with incredible strength. If this happens the creature loses much of its defence and formidable strength. However, as a result of losing its heavy armour, the creature's speed is considerably improved.
- Loses benefits of [Hard Carapace] and [Harsh Resistance] perks
- Loses [Bulky] flaw
- STR and VIT reduced by 50%
- Movement Speed increased by 75%
"Naruto-kun!" Hinata warned him. The Hyuga noticed the scorpion's tailed twitched and no sooner had she shouted out did something shoot from the barbed appendage. Naruto managed to dodge the projectile but was surprised to see a nasty green fume rising from the impact area and the group could hear the sound of sizzling from it.
"He's lucky. That's corrosive poison," Ino commented, her eyes not once leaving the slowly developing hole. Being from a clan that had knowledge on plant life and poisons since its founding centuries ago allowed her to identify such things.
Corrosive poisons were nasty pieces of work. Simplified they liquefied or ate away at one's insides. A person was both lucky and unlucky if they got hit by a slow acting one. Chances of saving a limb affected by them were high but recovery was slow and the pain was dreadful from what she heard. Fortunately, they were affected by the Gamer's ability so the effects wouldn't be as bad.
"I hope," Ino really didn't want to test that theory out.
"Hey! Are you two just gonna stand there and gawk or actually help your teammate?" Both knew better that Anko wasn't asking but ordering.
"Hotto! Stinger!" Naruto's bark was followed by Hotto's own. The enlarged ninken's maw bit down hard on the naked creature's poison delivery limb and pinning it down to impede its movement. Hotto shook his head and the action dragged the scorpion's body away from the group of Genin.
"Sazanka (Three Scattering Flowers)!"
Naruto blinked when Ino took to the offensive and landed a series of three quick successive strikes on the creature's defenceless pincer. The limb couldn't take the assault without its protective shell and became limp and useless on the ground.
Hinata on the other hand merely struck the creature with a chakra covered palm thrust to its unprotected head that finally ended the creature. While Hinata lacked the same strength as himself the Juken fighting style had techniques that ignored most defenses and had both high critical chance and critical chance multipliers.
"Okay, first off, nice to see you guys actually have improved in the last little bit," Anko from behind them suddenly announced, "However, I saw a number of ways I could have ended that fight more quickly. Gaki! You struck the body instead of the head. You probably could have killed it instantly if that happened or at least brought its health down even lower. Good call on the stinger but you should have anticipated that sooner. Blondie! What the hell was with targeting the pincers? They were useless and it did nothing but prolong the fight. Pale Eyes… you were slow to act but good job."
"A-Arigato," Hinata thanked their mentor.
Anko waved it off, "We're ninja, guys. We get in, we get out as quickly and efficiently as we can and we try not to show off unless it's to scare the target's very soul out of their bodies. You do that by finding and then targeting the opponent's weakness. From now on, I wanna see you guys try and end an enemy with as few hits as possible."
Less is Better
Main Quest: Defeat opponents with as few hits as possible
Potential Rewards (Not stackable):
Main Quest Completion First Outcome: 2300 EXP (Average of 1-3 Hits per defeated opponent), +250 Reputation [Anko], +1 AP
Main Quest Completion Second Outcome: 1400 EXP (Average of 4-6 Hits per opponent), +100 Reputation [Anko]
Main Quest Completion Third Outcome: 500 EXP (Average of 7-10 Hits per opponent)
Failure: 50 EXP, -50 Reputation [Anko]
Quest is Mandatory
"Ok, then. Back to work, kiddoes, we got scorpions to get rid of…Of course, by we I mean you."
Of course she did were their collective thoughts.
For the next two hours or so, as apparently many of them liked to hide in different locations far and wide that required a good amount of tracking, that's what the Genin and ninken of Team Eight did. All four continued to search and then proceeded to defeat scorpion after scorpion and racked up point after point while Anko watched. The senior kunoichi only ever getting involved when a scorpion set their sights on her but a good burst of her [Killing Intent] quickly deterred them. Unfortunately, once underground the creatures were pretty quick and they travelled deep and far when escaping.
At first the group struck mostly with the lower levelled creatures to ensure they got a feel for their prey and because their lower health amount allowed them to have an increased chance in felling them with as few hits as possible. It was something Naruto quickly had the rest of the group exploit.
Rather than be irked about it, Anko merely smiled that her wards figured out a way to take advantage of such an opportunity that presented itself. Anko never said anything against and it showed her that they were using their brains.
As the powerhouse of the group, Naruto was the one who dealt the most damage with as few hits as possible. But the result of their intense training under Anko enabled Ino and Hinata to perform decently against the lower tier enemies as well.
Hinata's fighting style naturally ignored most defences and had an incredible critical hit chance and boost and it was only enhanced by the [Lightning Claw Technique]. The lighting element having the greatest piercing power and critical chance out of all the primary elements enabled her to end a scorpion in one or two blows to the head after Naruto did his part.
Ino, despite her speed, regrettably lacked Naruto's raw power and Hinata's advantageous element and fighting style. Had she been Naruto that bit for not contributing as much would have irked her. As a result, Ino's role was to render a scorpion immobile by a poison from the Yamanaka Clan. Having a flower shop and dealing with plants all their lives, the Yamanaka had developed more than their fair share of effective arachnid and bug poisons. And whenever they encountered a larger and stronger specimen, Ino would take over their body and then Hinata and Naruto would cover it with exploding seal tags the Uzumaki had learned to fabricate. Finding a nest or attracting a decent amount of scorpions to a single location was the next step and then sending the mind controlled creature in their midst on a kamikaze mission was the final one.
It was a simple but effective pattern the group fell into. Not perfect and a few hiccups happened here and there that Anko would most likely criticize them for later, but it remained effective regardless. So far they had yet to encounter the boss or a rarespawn, unfortunate as that was but there would be other times.
"Spoke too soon," Naruto realized and the group prepared themselves when they felt the earth shake and rumble.
Anko grinned, "Alright, the fun's about to begin," and no sooner had she finished saying that did the boss of the area reveal itself.
"…Okay, gross," Ino had seen weird creatures since the Gamer reveal but this took the cake so far. Compared to its weaker but normal looking minions the boss had a more atypical body structure one would not associate with a scorpion.
To start, its body color was black and yellow, similar to a wasp or hornet. The back of the carapace looked jagged thanks to the spikes that lined from head to tail, the tail itself looking more like a spiked club with an oversized head with a beak like spike the size of their forearm. The creature lacked the eight limbs its lesser kin possessed and instead had six legs that ended in a set of lizard-like claws with another pair of pincers replacing the front legs to give it a total of four.
What was even stranger was the pincers moving back and forth as though they had a will of their own and the pattern they had gave the group the impression of eyeless heads with black jagged teeth. The scorpion's head itself looked like it belonged on the body of a crocodile than that of an arachnid.
"Oh, boy," Naruto was a little concerned at the moment.
Boss: Dakatsu, Misplaced Mutant Arachnid of the Desert – Lv 29
Dungeon Boss Blessing [Lv 2]: +2000 HP, +750 CP, +17.5% towards all [Resistances] and [Tolerances] All Attributes Increased by 20, +15 Defense
Harsh Desert Resistance [MAX]: +50% Resistance towards [Wind-Based Skills] and [Fire-Based Skills], Ignores debuffs brought on by desert environments
Movement Speed increases by 70% when below 30% health
Spiked Shell: +45 Defense, Chance of causing damage to opponent when struck by certain Taijutsu skills, +15% Resistance towards [Bladed Weapons] and [Piercing Weapons], +15% Chances towards [Critical Hits]
Scorpid Tenacity [Lv 3]: Immune to [Poison-Related Debuffs] [Burning-Related Debuffs] or [Bleeding Related Debuffs] when HP drops below 30%, DEF increase by 30% of total VIT amount when HP drops below 30%
Hard Carapace [MAX]: +1000 HP, +50 Defense, +50% Resistance towards [Bladed Weapons] and [Piercing Weapons], +50% Tolerance towards [Critical Strikes], and -10% Resistance towards [Blunt Weapons] and [Taijutsu]
Aura of the Leader [Lv 1]: Allies gain +15% increase towards Attributes, Movement Speed, and Effectiveness, Power, and Speed towards Skills when in same area
Bulky [Lv 3]: When above ground Movement Speed reduced by 75%, -75% Effectiveness towards [Evasion]
Description: A very large mutant and deadly creature with an even deadlier poison. This creature's origin began like many of its kind in the desert. However, it somehow managed to mutate a few steps further, physically changing it more so than its brothers and sisters. As a result it has gained an even greater defense and has a spiked shell that deters others from attacking it with certain forms of hand to hand techniques least they wish to harm themselves. Though slower compared to its minions it's capable of digging very quickly and performing sudden unexpected attacks. Be careful not to be caught in its (?) skill as it has a high chance of instantly felling the target or taking away a huge chunk of the victim's HP.
EXP Earned: ?
Drops: ?, ?, ?, ?
Chancing a look behind him, all the while not taking his eyes off the boss, Naruto frowned. While neither Ino nor Hinata were on the verge of exhaustion, both were very tired regardless despite hiding it well. But Naruto knew better and saw the sweat that had long since begun to coat their bodies. Starting a mission like this after coming off from an intense training session with almost no time to properly recover would do that.
Ino and Hinata had certainly improved their stamina and endurance since they first began, but both still had a while to go. Watching as the creature grabbed a boulder the size of his body, the pincers shined brightly as the large piece of stone was crushed and ripped in half, Naruto belived his decision to be the right one. Better they sit this out for now and let him finish the job. Neither had the same amount of HP and END as him so he'd likely survive the instant death technique. It was highly doubtful Ino and Hinata would be so lucky. If anything they could give him cover fire. First, however, he was forced to block as the boss attacked him with pieces of the crushed boulder. The force behind it made him grunt and he was pushed back a few inches.
"Hotto, keep Ino, Hinata safe!" Naruto ordered and got a bark as a response. If either one were caught in its grip they'd be done for.
"What the hell, Naruto!" Ino began to shout but was stopped midway.
"Don't argue, Ino!" the sternness behind his voice surprised her. "Both of you are exhausted. If you slip up you die. I'm not going to let that happen!"
"But… but Naruto!" Hinata did not like this one bit.
"No buts! Don't go anywhere near it. If you wanna help then cover me!" he ordered.
"The Gaki's right. You did good but you ain't gonna be able to do anything other than cover fire at the moment," Anko was proud of the two. Both had looked like they wanted to throw in the towel quite a while ago but had pushed themselves. Anko knew they knew her previous advice rang true. Naruto wouldn't always be there to help them, it was one of the reasons why she spent most of her time with them so they didn't become dependent on him. They need to push past their boundaries and grow or fall. However, admiral as it was, both couldn't be foolish either.
"You wanna help then do what the Gaki said," Anko beamed as she saw them nod and watched as they took out a series of kunai and shuriken attached with tags. It wouldn't be much, but it was better than doing nothing at the moment.
Naruto spun away from large serpentine pincers from the right before he launched a counterstrike with his oversized weapon at the appendages that threatened to sever him in half. The action rewarded him with the beast smacking itself in the face and dazing it momentarily.
Naruto took advantage of this by performing a neat little number Hayate had taught him in conjunction with a Shadow Clone, the only one he had gotten down so far. Creating a clone, his control over the technique was better but his minimum was five, Naruto went one way while the doppelgänger went the other way, "Shouha Jumonji (Impact Cross)!"
Clone and original swiftly crossed the creature in an 'x' pattern, the sound of the stone maces impacting its target was music to their ears. The technique was intended to be used with a sword and was meant to be a much speedier execution but in this case it would have accomplished little to nothing.
Naruto half expected to see its shell fall apart or at the very least see it faltering. Instead it was squatted and locked in place, its form unmoving but the increase in energy could be felt. All of them were speechless, though Anko and Naruto inwardly believed it was cool despite the intent behind it, as chakra reached the tipping point and a funnel of concentrated orange-pinkish fire shot at him from all four of them.
Naruto switched with the clone and was spared its fate but even then the air around him instantly became uncomfortable and the surrounding greenery wilted and dried up. The area near where those beams struck were no better: trees became brittle and feel apart, flowers became dust in the wind, and the nearby scorpions were no more than mummified cadavers.
"Watch out! That's a Shakuton (Scorch Release) technique!" Anko warned her students.
"A dual natured element?" Ino recalled and called bull on it, too.
Naruto dodged as a beam was once again launched at him and the boy barely had time to block the next with his weapon. Instead of an explosion the mace became superheated and a sweat drenched Naruto couldn't hold onto the red hot weapon that burned his hands.
That was the odd thing about Shakuton. On living things it had a violent reaction, most commonly was evaporating, turning them into husks or reducing them to ash. On non-living things such as stone and metal the reaction was much less subdued.
Once more, Naruto used Kawarimi to replace himself with a clone and seeing it evaporate wasn't a pretty sight. Fortunately, for him at least, the creature was struck by one of Ino's kunai and a white cloud coated the creature and caused its next shot to miss him by a wide margin.
"Ino-chan, look at it!" Hinata pointed out and Ino noticed almost instantly what her fellow kunoichi was referring to. The creature was having trouble standing, its pincers shaking and its tail almost to the ground.
"Naruto! That technique takes a lot out of it!"
"Gotcha!" the old hit it while it's down classic it was. Clones were summoned and as one they charged the dungeon boss, a battle cry on their lips as they did. Not exactly subtle or ninja like but it felt appropriate. Numerous shuriken and kunai were launched by the army of blonde ninja and kunoichi on the sidelines. Exploding tags were set off upon reaching their destination causing, peppering it with concussive force and poison that even its perk could not ignore, while rocks and dirt were kicked up in the process but it served to prevent it from locating their exact whereabouts.
But as one the group of Naruto's fell when a green cloud from hell was unleashed from Dakatsu's reptilian-like mouth. The clones felt their bodies spasm and twitch uncontrollably and one by one did they fall unceremoniously, their forms easy pickings for the creature's barbed tail.
"Shiei-sō: Juren Hakai (Four Shadows Burial: Heavy Consecutive Annihilation)!"
But the creature didn't count on Naruto using the clones as distraction. From above four blond ninja fell, and with them their heavy stone clubs. Dakatsu's body shined its metallic sheen once more but it wasn't enough, the might and weight of the combined assault proved too much for the creature to defend against.
Weakened by its earlier stunts played a role and ended with the creature's carapace becoming cracked and splintering like a struck mirror. It wasn't enough to end Dakatsu but it was enough to bring its health down well past the half way point.
A volley of balls of Shakuton based flames had Naruto and the clones jump back least he end up dried up, or at least, gain a nasty debuff that would leave him severally drained. And all of them watched as the ruler of the dungeon rose, its eyes flashing red and a roar in its maw that was cut short.
"Suiton: Suiben no Jutsu (Water Release: Water Whip Technique)!" Lash of water wrapped around the creature's body like a serpent would an unfortunate mouse. Ino grunted and sweated buckets, her body at its absolute limit.
"Ino!" Naruto could tell the technique had no effect on the creature besides annoying it.
"Its shell may not be off, but it is cracked and splintered," Ino grinned evilly, "Light 'im up, Hinata!"
Nothing was said by the kunoichi, and Naruto looked on as Hinata's electrically charged hand made contact with the water trail. The creature screeched in agony as the lightning did its job and began to painfully bypass its outer shell and fry up its soft and vulnerable insides.
Paralyzed by the effects of the technique, Naruto used the remaining clones and had them launch a unforgiving series of Katon: Inka Hyakki no Jutsu (Fire Release: Shadow Fire of One Hundred Demons Technique) at the creature. The effectiveness of the flames was severally reduced despite the amount of demonic flaming heads striking its paralyzed form.
|Dakatsu has been afflicted with the [Hysteria] debuff!|
His gamble paying off, Naruto rushed at the creature that was too frightened to mount a proper defense. Dakatsu shot balls of fire blindly and without abandon in all directions, its hysterical state making it strike itself as well.
By chance one of them struck Naruto weapon on the down, Naruto gritted his teeth and endured the pain as he continued the maneuver with all his might. Naruto couldn't help himself from shouting out, "Zugaisai (Skull Crush)!" And looked on as the red hot weapon struck home on the dungeon boss's face.
Dakatsu's skull cracked and then shattered into countless pieces, its protection fully gone, Naruto watched as the creature thrashed as its head began to shrivel up. The thrashing didn't last long before its movements became stiff as a dried up tree. The collective thoughts of the group proved true seconds later when the shrivelled up dungeon boss disappeared into a series of collective lights.
It was over, they had won.
Stingers, Pincers and Venom… Oh, Shit!
Main Quest: Clear Training Area Eight of 100 points worth of scorpions (Accomplished)
Side Quest: Defeat Training Area Eight's Boss (Accomplished)
Total Rewards (Including Perks):
Main Quest Completion: 7475 EXP, 25000 Ryo, +495 Reputation [Konoha Populace] Allowed to undertake even more C-Rank Missions
Less is Better
Main Quest: Defeat opponents with as few hits as possible
Main Quest Completion Outcome 1: Average of 1-3 Hits per defeated opponent (Failed)
Main Quest Completion 2: Average of 4-6 Hits per defeated opponent (Accomplished)
Total Rewards (Including Perks)
+1610 EXP, +110 Reputation [Anko]
Naruto sighed at his luck. Having already levelled up in the dungeon approximately forty odd minutes ago, even then the large amount of EXP from the enemies wasn't enough to earn him another level up boost.
"Sweet! I levelled up!" Ino shouted.
"So did I," Hinata smiled.
"You too!" Now Naruto was depressed.
From the side Anko said nothing as she looked at her students and the ninken. All three and Hottomaru had cuts and the kunoichi had shaky legs and sweat covering their faces in several areas but they were happy nonetheless. The scorpion monstrosity was dead, thought it could have been done a bit better - they would have to do better down the line - Ino and Hinata looked ready to call it a day or two, but it had been worth it in the end.
"Not bad for their first C-Rank," Anko thought.
"Sweet!" the three kunoichi heard Naruto whooped and hazarded a guess that he found an item that was a good one, "It dropped a key and a weapon!"
Though the former presented less of a problem, splitting money was easy enough, but who was going to get what? That went doubly so for the weapon.
"What are these?" Ino asked as she held up a pair of gauntlet looking items.
Dakatsu no Kamu (Dakatsu's Bite) Very Rare Quality - Tier 1
Item Type: Fist Weapon/Armor
Item Modifier Rank: DEX [C]
Description: At first glance it is a seemingly unassuming gauntlet with no extraordinary features or abilities other than its decent protection. However, it takes after its namesake for a reason as the clawed weapon allows for exceptional and painful grappling. Additionally, hidden in the gauntlets are two pair of blades that can suddenly pop out and strike out at a foe. The action is sudden and leaves the opponent with little to no time to react. The blades are not the only things to worry about as they can release a corrosive poison that eats away at armor and flesh alike.
Attack Power: 41-54 + Modifier + Perks
Special Perk: Upgradeable (Three Levels)
Bonus Stats/Perks: +20 DEF, +15% Effectiveness towards [Grappling Skills], [Scorpid Tenacity: Lv 1], ? (Upgrade Level 1 Required)
Weapon Skills: Midorigasumi (Green Mist), Dokuai (Toxic Love), ? (Upgrade Level 2 Required), ? (Upgrade Level 3 Required)
Fuinjutsu Slots Available: [Two Major Slots], [Two Minor Slots]
Anko released a sharp whistle as she and her team read the description. It certainly was impressive to say the least.
"Nice, and an upgradeable weapon, too," Naruto couldn't help himself.
"Means it can be improved even further. Better attack power, defense, everything. See, it even unlocks new perks and skills when it's upgraded," Naruto pointed out. That was useful.
"Okay, I gotta admit that does sound awesome. Sorry to say, but you're passing on this one, Gaki," Anko informed him and Naruto just shrugged. He wasn't all that bummed at not getting it since there be better weapons in the future and since Naruto already had a weapon it really was no skin off his nose. Which left herself, Ino and Hinata, and Naruto knew Anko personally didn't care for using weapons except for kunai and poisons. She knew tanto and some sword related techniques but wasn't an avid practitioner.
"So, which one of you gets it?" the most logical choice was Hinata of course as her clan specialized in Taijutsu and such a weapon could serve to compliment her fighting style.
But at the same time Anko was trying to prevent them from specializing too much into a particular field. Hinata's Gentle Fist was already deadly as it was and would only get stronger as she got better. Adding the weapon to it would make it more effective but at the same time it was kind of predictable too. She was trying to get them to branch out for a reason after all. Plus, considering what it offered in terms of skills made the choice even more obvious.
"Congratz, Blondie, they're yours," Ino was stunned as she honestly thought Anko would have given them to Hinata. But the girl likely followed along the same train of thought as Anko
Still a bit stunned Ino put on the gauntlet like weapons nonetheless and found to her surprise that they were pretty light, "Wish they came in another colour though," Ino muttered.
"Details, details. What's next?" Anko asked.
"A recipe for Intermediate-Grade Scorpion Poison and two Intermediate-Grade Scorpion Poison Vials," Naruto knew a bit about poisons from Anko but wasn't really all that interested in learning anything about them, "Probably best if you or Ino got them," Naruto said.
"I'll take that," Anko declared. While Ino was already learning poisons from the older kunoichi the woman wouldn't be letting her learn such an advanced one until much later.
Finding the chest had not been all that difficult. Much like the other times he had to find the chests this one was located near the dungeon exit. Of course they had to fight off a few scorpions on the way. Most of them had been taken care of by Anko or Naruto because of how tired and weak Ino and Hinata were, the woman felt she could cut 'em a bit of slack.
When they opened the treasure chest, inside had been a heaping 80,000 ryo that was split four ways. As a result, each member of Team Eight, minus Hottomaru of course, received a decent 20,000 ryo in the process.
Aside from that the only noteworthy articles inside the chest were a few health potions, always welcoming in Naruto's opinion, and a skill scroll that none of them could us.
"Tough luck getting that," Anko told them, "You'd be better off selling it. Shakuton is a rare ability to have and the only place that breeds those that can are back in Kaze no Kuni," and even then it was rare.
"So, more money?" Ino asked the other two.
"I'll see what it goes for and go from there. Sorry, Hinata," Naruto felt bad that Hinata hadn't gotten anything other than the money. And from what Naruto had learned about them he doubted the girl needed it because her father was the leader of a very wealthy clan and she most likely had a decent amount of money to her name already.
"It's alright, Naruto-kun," Hinata told him with a smile but Naruto knew that face she gave him meant she was a little disappointed for not getting anything.
"Ah, it's not like it's a big deal anyway, Hinata," the slightly downed Hyuga looked at her crush for saying that, "There's tons of dungeons out there and I'll betcha that there's bound to be something that will suit you."
"The Gaki's right, Pale Eyes. Sooner or later you'll get something," Anko smiled and pulled the girl into a one armed hug. "Don't worry about it. Good things come to those who wait as they say."
"H…Hai!" Hinata nodded and her mood, even if it was lightly, perked up at the words of comfort.
"First though we need to get outta a here. Gaki, take us home!" the boy didn't need to be told twice and subsequently shouted out a command before each and everyone of them found themselves back into the mundane version of the training ground. Anko felt they deserved a decent break before the were to report their success to the Sandaime.
Once they were ready, Anko ordered her team that they were heading to the Hokage Tower and then decided that they'd call it a day. The group arrived in minimal time despite the fatigue of two of their members and as they ascended the stairs to the Hokage's office, Team Eight passed by several Jonin and their respective teams of their own. All of them were older teams that had been around for more than a year or so and many looked perplexed at the state they were in.
"Oh, shit! Of all the rotten timing!" Anko groused and cursed her rotten luck. Nice as he was - too nice in Anko's opinion - the Taijutsu virtuoso of Konoha was good in small doses. "Hey, what's up, Gai?"
"Nothing much, my youthful friend!" the eccentric Taijutsu master of Konoha grinned at the woman before directing his attention to the Genin, "Oho! So these are you students!" he beamed.
"Yep, they're still wet behind the ears and still need a little tuning up but they'll get there eventually. Team Eight, this is Maito Gai. He's Konoha's foremost Taijutsu expert and master. Hell, probably in all of Hi no Kuni, and beyond," she added, "Gai, this is Team Eight. That's Gaki, Blondie, and Pales Eyes."
"Arf!" Hottomaru barked at being left out.
"Oh, yeah, and that's Poochie-gaki," she said half heartedly.
"We have names, you know," Ino and Naruto deadpanned as the woman shrugged.
Leave it to Anko to introduce them by their nicknames.
"I'm Yamanaka Ino, that's Hyuga Hinata, that's Hottomaru, and you likely already know the resident prankmaster of Konoha," she smirked as her teammate.
Naruto merely shrugged, "Hey, I'm good at what I do."
"Ah, yes," Gai nodded. The man had seen a few of the boy's pranks on occasion and thought them to have been creative to say the least.
"Got a problem with my pranks, Gekimayu-sensei (Intense Eyebrows Master)?" Naruto was a little defensive. While Gai blinked at the name he was given.
"Baka!" Ino knew Naruto was slow at times but this was taking then cake. No matter how truthfully the name fit. However, before she could apologize and reprimand him both Anko and Gai burst out laughing instead.
"Gekimayu? That's a new one," the man chuckled much to Naruto's surprise.
"The hell?" Ino half-guessed the man to get angry, not laugh it off. The ninja world was full of weirdoes it seemed.
"Say, Gai, where's your team?" Anko asked. "They didn't die from overkill did they? I really liked Tenten."
"No, my glorious students are off today. Lee's running laps around Konoha last I heard. He started an hour ago so he should be on lap fifty-four by now," he mused while Ino and Naruto's eyes threatened to bulge out.
"Fifty laps around Konoha in an hour!" the idea of a Genin capable of doing that was nuts in their minds. Naruto considered himself strong and had immense stamina compared to other Genin but even he doubted he'd be capable of doing what this Lee character was doing.
"I need to up my training," he thought. If there were people close to his age that were capable of doing such a thing then Naruto knew others would reach the Hokage title before him.
"Tenten's running her family shop and Neji I think is at the Hyuga compound," he said and neither he nor Anko missed the way Hinata flinch at the mention of his name. "So this is the clan's former heiress and Neji's cousin," Gai wasn't the most astute individual in the world but he was quite perceptive and attentive.
The man had heard about his student's cousin, having seen her the odd time and everything else. The man frowned internally as the girl before him didn't have the arrogance or haughty demeanour that most Main Family members had. It was evident by the way she moved and stood that she was lacking in confidence and had some emotional baggage, but nowhere as bad as it was made out to be. It was nothing like Neji had mentioned before, "Even now his anger still clouds his judgment," the man thought before putting the thoughts away.
"Well, I'm off to see how Lee's doing, Anko-san. Enjoy teaching!" he said and gave the woman his well known 'nice guy pose". To the astonishment of Naruto and Ino, the pose included a thumbs up, winking, and smiling with teeth so white they give off a proverbial 'ping'.
As he left in a blur, Naruto and Ino were left stunned and motionless, "Does that always happen?"
"Trust me, I've seen something far worse," Anko shuddered at the horrible memory.
"Make no mistake, Gai's an odd duck," and that was putting it extremely lightly, "but the man's easily one of Konoha's most powerful ninja. His taijutsu is frightening and second to none in Hi no Kuni," Anko didn't know the true extend of the man's power but Anko guessed it would be devastating if the man went all out.
Continuing on their original trek to the Hokage's office, Anko informed the secretary and only needed to wait less than ten seconds before they were permitted to enter.
"Team Eight is back from their mission, Hokage-sama," Hiruzen looked up and despite a few cuts and bruises the team wasn't in a bad state.
"Are they all gone?"
"Not quite," Anko chuckled but explained the situation to the village leader.
Hiruzen held an impassive look but nodded all the same, "Well, at the very least their numbers have been significantly reduced and they won't be venturing to other training areas. If anything, I'll have some posted to monitor the area from time to time. At any rate, well done. It seems you've proven yourselves ready for C-Rank missions," Hiruzen congratulated the team.
Hiruzen laughed at the boy's exuberant shout, "You'll still be required to take D-Rank missions, Naruto-kun."
"Why do you gotta bust balls, Jiji?" Naruto whined.
"Yeah, that's my job," Anko commented; she ignored her student's look.
"I lead a Genin team once myself, Naruto-kun. I know all too well how to bust balls," Naruto blinked and the kunoichi of the group were left agape. None of them ever believed they'd ever hear the esteemed Professor utter such words.
"Respect, Sandaime-sama," what else could Anko say to her senior.
"Thank you," the man tipped his hat at the first time mentor, "Now, while this certainly proves you're all capable of undertaking C-Rank missions, you won't be handed them all left and right. However, of the new graduates, I will keep your team in mind. But I expect you to keep it up," the subtle warning was heard loud and clear by all of them. Hiruzen would throw them a bone but they had to do their share and continue to improve.
"Don't worry, for the rest of today we rest up but tomorrow I'll be reminding them I'm not gonna go easy on 'em," all three Genin and the ninken felt cold as ice at those foreboding words.
As they left the office, Hiruzen didn't doubt Anko's proclamation. Out of all the newly formed teams, Anko's was the only one doing noticeable progress. The other teams weren't doing quite as well even with Kurenai helping them at the odd occasion. Each had their own set of problems.
Without Ino Asuma was having a bit of troubling finding a way to get all three of them to work effectively during combat. It wasn't a case of them not getting along but more of a case of their fighting styles and personalities being quite different then what he had anticipated.
Kakashi was struggling with the personalities of his students clashing with one another that made them butt heads and prevented a cohesive unit. Sasuke's lone wolf mentality, Kiba's alpha complex, and Sakura's naivety and fangirl-ism despite her remarkable intelligence. There were moments of them working remarkably and surprisingly well but such moments were quite fleeting from what he observed.
Only time would tell if the latter two teams would be ready for the upcoming Chunin Exams only four months away.
(Over a Month Later)
Unknown Chakra Mutation - Lv ?
? : ?
? : ?
? : ?
Description: A very large lizard-like chakra mutation with white fur on its back and a bushy tail. Not much is known about this strange creature other than it not to be dealt with lightly. Its rough skin offers it protection from many forms of attack, however; its skin is much softer on its stomach and therefore more vulnerable. Despite its incredible size this creature is quite fast, and nimble to the point it's capable of performing evasive manoeuvres and sneak attacks in seconds. For some reason or another though there is something odder about this chakra mutation than others. Why is that?
"Oh, shit," Naruto didn't like this at all. Especially since the damn thing had a multitude of question marks on its stats and in its perks.
As he eyed the beast, Naruto wondered if they should retreat. The mission had been a relatively simple one, or it was much simpler than before when they first took it over a month ago. The scorpions' number had developed a recent surge and Team Eight was charged with dealing with them again. That they'd encounter this powerful foe of unknown levels threw them off.
As he looked at Anko, the look she had had him assume she was contemplating if they should stay or not, "Gaki-"
|REPEL THE POWERFUL FOE TO CLEAR THE DUNGEON!|
"…Well, that's convenient," he heard her mutter. "Gaki, what do we have to do to repel it?" she asked.
"If it's anything like the games I've played then we need to bring its health down below fifty percent or more," Naruto informed her. That was all well and good but exactly what that number posed another question.
The Jonin instructor of Team Eight nodded before she looked at her other students, "Ino, Hinata, you two give us cover fire!" Anko silently cursed that Midori wasn't with them at the moment. While the serpent was faithful to Anko she wasn't with her twenty-four seven like many believed and occasionally left to do her own thing. "Talk about fucking luck," had Midori been here the fight would have been over quickly and easily.
"Hotto, with me!" he ordered and got a bark as a reply.
"Alright, let's do this, Gaki!" Anko declared before she strategically charged the creature at speeds Naruto could not match.
However, that didn't stop the only male of the team and he soon followed right behind her. The creature itself releasing a loud and vicious hiss that closely resembled the rattle of a snake. Its razor sharp claws, easily the size of his hands if not larger, were digging into the ground and leaving wicked grooves in its wake as it made its way towards them.
Anko ducked under a tail swipe with ease and then jumped as it made to bite at her, a hint of electricity following it. The woman soared over its back and launched a volley of shuriken laced with her personal poisons with as much strength as she could muster. Unfortunately, while some of the shuriken struck home the rest had little to no effect as most bounced off its hide.
Anko landed on a nearby rock formation and was forced to dodge as the lizard used its tail to send several feather like spines her way. The woman didn't doubt it was done as retaliation for the stunt she pulled.
Granted Anko wasn't the most physically endowed individual compared to others such as Gai, Asuma, and Kakashi but she at least thought it would be enough to cut the creature, "Guess, I need some training of my own."
Part of her also knew that if the seal wasn't on her or if she accessed it her strength would increase to the point that cutting the creature up would be child's play. Even if she had any desire to use the dark power of the seal - which she didn't! - because of how long it had been since she used it accessing that power would be very difficult.
"Guess I gotta make do," she thought before she quickly prepared for her next move.
While the creature was very fast, Anko knew she was faster.
As Anko prepared, Naruto created several clones and charged at creature with his sword out of its sheath. The lizard, however; met the rushing clones before it suddenly performed a spin that sent itself airborne. Several of the clones were destroyed in the process while others managed to dodge in time.
But even then a few were quickly destroyed or forced to continue dodging as it continued its assault.
Naruto watched as Hotto spinning and fire covered form barrelled into the creature with little finesses and watched as the two crashed the ground. Hotto's fire covered maw biting into the beasts neck but the nape was too wide for Hotto to fully take advantage of the situation. Instead, the ninken used its claws to rake and dig in and held on tightly while his fangs tried to find a decent hold.
Their foe rectified this by bellowing and everyone looked on as electricity sparked around it and struck all those unfortunately too close to its form. Hotto was forced to let go despite his resilience and was launched a considerable distance from the enraged lighting clad oddity.
"Of course it wasn't going to be easy," Anko groaned and then readied a whip of sickly yellow energy before she charged.
Hiruzen merely batted his eyes, once and then twice before he took in a deep breath and then proceeded to rub his temples. Hiruzen tried to stifle the migraine he knew was about to show itself as best he could. "Anko, would you mind telling me why your team looks as though they went into a battlefield?" the man exaggerated but the scene before spoke for itself.
Naruto and Hottomaru were ragged and looked as though they had taken the worse of it judging by the cuts and bruises Hiruzen spotted. He also observed that despite the former being known for his stamina the boy had quite a large amount of sweat and his breathing looked rapid. Ino and Hinata both looked relatively fine by comparison and lacked the same amount of cuts and bruises. From Team Eight's appearance Hiruzen thought they had gone through a meat grinder.
"Well…" she drawled, "it may have gotten a little rough," Anko laughed a bit and had a sheepish look adorning her face. "But on the bright side we came out stronger than ever!"
"Speak for yourself, Anko-sensei!" all three Genin thought.
"Are they alright?" Hiruzen asked.
"Meh, they'll get over it," Anko smiled but winced lightly and held her side a little more tightly. Hiruzen guessed the woman sported either a fractured or broken rib at the moment. She was definitely doing a lousy job hiding it but an excellent one at suppressing the pain.
"I see… At any rate, should another incident occur once more can I count your team again?"
"You damn well know it," Anko grinned but winced once more, "No pain, no gain is my motto."
"How many freaking mottos does she have?" Ino and Naruto simultaneously thought. Though the Genin couldn't help but agree that Anko certainly lived up to the pain aspect of the saying.
"I am curious, Anko. What happened?" Team Eight had since accomplished four C-Rank mission, including this one and his occasional observation demonstrated that they had since improved. He recalled the last time the group had faced these creatures and they hadn't come back as ragged as they did now. "Have the scorpions become stronger?"
"Nah. This was a freaking lighting lizard," Anko informed him.
But it only had Hiruzen asking, "Lightning lizard?"
"Yeah, we ran into a little snag at the end of the mission. Damn thing came out of nowhere. No big deal," Anko waved off his concern.
The Sandaime wasn't having any of it, however, "Explain."
Anko recognized Hiruzen's tone as one that left little for argument. For the
next little while Anko explained what occurred during the mission with vivid details. Hiruzen for his part remained impassive as he listened to the Jonin and never said a word as the woman told the story.
As Anko ended the mission brief, Hiruzen released a deep sigh and Anko could not tell if such a thing was good or bad.
"You said that creature you faced began to pulse and radiate with an unnatural chakra towards the end?" He asked for clarification.
"Yeah, it was weird, Jiji. One moment the damn thing looked like it wanted to rip us to shreds and the next it looked like it was in pain and made a run for it. Why? Something wrong?" Naruto asked Anko had a hunch that the man knew something.
He wouldn't have asked otherwise.
"Hopefully it's nothing and I'll have some ninja keep an eye and ear out for that thing if it shows up once more. But knowing your luck and Naruto's ability, I'd hazard a guess you will encounter that creature again. Unfortunately, that creature will be stronger and more deadlier than ever once it undergoes its metamorphosis," Hiruzen sighed.
"You mean this has happened before, Hokage-sama?" Ino spoke.
"It's rare for such a thing to occur but not unheard of. It was more common in the era of Warring States. From what you've described the chances of it happening to this creature are unfortunately quite high. Most chakra mutations merely change in size, gain unique abilities not unlike those from summons and the odd one gains chimeric-like features. Others are sometimes known to mutate even a few steps further and can become quite dangerous. Luckily your description indicates that it's only in the beginning stages. My guess is it went to the training grounds to feed as when this occurs these creatures become quite vulnerable and it requires a lot of energy undergoing a metamorphosis isn't an instantaneous process. At the moment, I'd wager it's seeking shelter someplace hidden until the process is complete."
"How long till this thing's done with its change?" Anko needed to know. She had to prepare her team as much as she could if or when the damn reptile came back for some payback.
"Such a process is hard to determine as it varies from creature to creature. It could be days, weeks or months. It depends on the creature really. One thing they all have in common is that they'll seek out those that previously injured them."
"Why?" Hinata asked.
"To become stronger," Hiruzen continued despite the Hyuga's look, "Chakra mutations feed on just about anything but instinctively they want to devour anything with chakra. And beings with a lot of chakra or unique chakra are their preferred meal as it increases their chances of getting stronger. Fortunately they still have their animal instincts so they steer clear of anything too strong for them to take on unless they feel their territory is threatened. It's why most of them are found in the wilds."
"I see," Hinata had wondered why such creatures were never seen in Konoha but its outskirts instead where the training grounds usually were.
"You'd better prepare your Genin for what may come, Anko. I've dealt with a few of these creatures before I was even the Sandaime of Konoha, and heed my advice when I say this: Don't let anything up to chance. If you do, you'll come to regret it."
From the way Hiruzen spoke and his posture and the subtle shifts in tone, Anko knew that the man had faced off against an exceptionally powerful creature that may have taken the lives of those closest to him. And even before he became Hokage Sarutobi Hiruzen had been a force to be reckoned with.
Anko wasn't about to let that happen to her team. Anko was many things: promiscuous, insatiable, outspoken, etcetera, but Anko would sooner die or let herself be dragged to hell than be the cause of her team's death.
"Even if it means making a deal with the King of Hell himself," Anko resolutely declared.
"Very good, Anko," Hiruzen had no doubt she'd do it. Anko only had a few people she cared for and didn't let many in but when she did they had a unique but loyal friend, "Now, before you leave, I have another C-Rank mission for you."
"What creatures do we have to deal with this time?" as it was the team had earned the nickname the Exterminators.
But Hiruzen chuckled, "Actually, this is a mission outside Konoha."
"Don't mess with me, Jiji! You're serious!?" finally something different.
"Very serious, Naruto. You'll be required to go to Yuzukamura," the man revealed.
"That's the village that deals with agriculture and supplies Konoha with fourteen percent of its food supply, correct?"
"Top marks, Hinata," Hiruzen applauded but given her clan he had a feeling she'd know that bit, "You want to give them the run down of the area, Anko?"
The woman shrugged but obliged, "Might as well. As your teammate mentioned Yuzukamura is an agricultural village near the border of Kawa no Kuni and half a day north of the Mikazuki Gulf. The area is very fertile and allows for various natural produce you otherwise can't grow in Hi no Kuni but it's a hellishly isolated place packed with marshes, rivers, and very uneven terrain that make getting to it a chore. They have no ninja of their own but have a decent number of militia trained individuals, for what that's worth. It's a very unaccommodating place so setting up a patrol and a proper supply line is too much of a hassle given its geography. Without a guide and even with us going at ninja speed it'll likely take us a week to get from here to there. Four with a guide."
"No border patrol, Anko-sensei?" Ino asked.
The woman shook her head, "The terrain on the border between Kawa and Hi no Kuni in that part of the map is too dangerous to have one. It host numerous rivers both lengthy and wide and very hazardous even for ninja as the landscape is very unstable. The largest is nearly a mile in width so conventional crossings are impossible. All hopes of building a bridge there were abandoned a long time ago. Because of that it's not until you go north and get closer to Tanzaku Gai where the crossings are considerably shorter and safer and you only have a couple of rivers to deal with but we already have patrols in place. To get to either side in that area requires an expert guide, too."
"Okay, so what't the problem then, Jiji?"
"As Anko mentioned they have their own militia and none trained as ninja but they have certain skills that make it easy for them to navigate in those areas. However, they've recently run into trouble with bandits and have encountered a rising number of casualties. Some of which have gone missing alongside several shipments. Trade has suffered for it and Konoha's shipment is next to be delivered. We need these bandits dealt with and if possible rescue any hostage," he informed the group.
"Let me guess, ninja led bandits?" Anko surmised.
"Unknown, as all they find are bodies and looted caravans, but it's very likely. Yuzukamura's militia has dealt with bandits before but incidents from past encounters have never caused this much trouble or this number of casualties. So far they've been unable to locate their whereabouts and those that set out to find them aren't seen again or worse. Be vigilant and if possible, capture the ones responsible. Inform your clans and prepare to leave tomorrow bright and early. Dismissed!"
Clear the Bandits from Yuzukamura
Main Quest Primary Objective: Find and eliminate the bandits.
Main Quest Secondary Objective: Find and capture the bandits' leader or leaders.
Side Quest: If possible save any hostages.
Hidden Quest: ?
Main Quest Primary Objective: 300 EXP per bandit eliminated, 450 EXP per bandit captured, ?
Main Quest Secondary Objective: ? EXP per bandit leader captured and +250 Reputation [Konoha] & [Yuzukamura] (half if killed), ?
Side Quest: 550 EXP per hostage saved
Hidden Quest: ?
Failure: - 500 Reputation [Konoha] & -1000 Reputation [Yuzukamura], ?
Quest is Mandatory
Name: Uzumaki Naruto
Level: 29 Next Level: 44%/100%
Attribute Points: 11
Ordinary Perk Points: 1
Special Perk Points: 2
Level: 23 Next Level: 21%/100%
Attribute Points: 10
Common Perk Points: 1
Special Perk Points: 0
Name: Hyuga Hinata
Level: 20 Next Level: 7%/100%
Attribute Points: 13
Common Perk Points: 1
Special Perk Points: 0
Name: Yamanaka Ino
Level: 18 Next Level: 28%/100%
Attribute Points: 16
Common Perk Points: 1
Special Perk Points: 0
Hey guys. For you MHW fans, yes, that was a Tobikadachi based monster. More in-depth fighting will be revealed next chapter which will be crucial for the plot that moves forward. After the next chapter we enter canon. I am hopeful it will be out before the first week of December, then I focus on my Harry Potter series for a bit. Happy Halloween!