Chapter 17: Rogue Gallery

As ordered by their village leader, Team Eight had risen bright and early the next day and made their way towards the Great Gate. Packing was virtually unnecessary given that storage scrolls had long since become redundant because of the Inventory Box, and little needed to be added to the storage space thanks to previous overnight training sessions in and outside of dungeons. However, Anko had ordered scrolls and backpacks to be carried by her Genin nonetheless to avoid unwanted questions.

Naruto, ever eager and willing to go outside Konoha for the first time in his life had arrived at the gate before any other member of Team Eight, not including his ninken. Where Naruto went, Hotto went.

"Hey, kid!"

Looking behind him, Naruto noticed the well-known Gate Pair of Konoha: Hagane Kotetsu and Kamizuki Izumo. Two Chunin Naruto knew all too well. Outside of Iruka, both men were two of the few Chunin that Naruto avoided when it came to his pranks, at least when together, and even then there was hesitance. While not individually successful as Iruka was when it came to capturing him, six times out of ten were Kotetsu and Izumo successful in capturing him and avoiding his traps despite their laid-back and nonchalant demeanour. Their chances of success were higher when working together, which was almost all the time.

"Yo!" Was the simple greeting.

"Heard your team is being sent out for an outside mission," remarked Kotetsu, the Chunin with dark hair and a bandage across the bridge of his nose to the back of his head.

"Yep!" Naruto saw no point in denying it.

"Congratz. Now we don't have to stop ya from trying to sneak out," laughed Izumo, the one with a bandana-like forehead protector and a brown-haired bang covering his right eye.

The Genin frowned at the comment but couldn't fault the Chunin for it. Naruto being an adventurer at heart wanted to see what was outside Konoha more than once when he was younger but hadn't been allowed by the Sandaime unless someone was with him. Being who he was the young boy had tried and failed in numerous attempts to go outside Konoha's walls by himself, usually being stopped by the two Chunin before him. It had taken the threat of him never having ramen ever again to stop, and thus the top of the Hokage Mountain became one of his favourite spots because it allowed him to see not only all that Konoha had to offer but well beyond the Great Wall, too.

"Morning, lightweights!"

"Anko," the Chunin duo greeted the Jonin.

"Lightweights?"

"Drinking buddies. But they can't hold their drink worth shit," she elaborated. Both Chunin were decent individuals but sucked as drinking partners in Anko's personal opinion.

"Hey! We do all right!"

"Yeah, we're not the one with a fifty-year-old liver!"

A kunai in her hand and a serpent coming out of her sleeve had them stiffen and instantly regretting their foolish words, "What was that?"

"Nothing!"

"It was Kotetsu!"

"You backstabbing asshole!"

"You and I agreed it was every man for himself when Anko gets pissed!"

"Doesn't make you any less of an asshole!"

"Are they always like this?" Asked the Yamanaka that arrived alongside her Hyuga teammate, both could only look on at the bickering duo.

"Meh," Anko shrugged, "You get used to it. Pretty much all ninjas have the odd quirk, or three."

The group of Genin and Chunin interpreted the message for what she actually meant: all ninjas were crazy in some way. Anko was no exception, but the woman didn't bother to hide her craziness. Regardless, seeing her putting away the serpent and the kunai had both Chunin breathe a sigh of relief that didn't last more than a nanosecond, "I'll deal with you two when I get back."

"We'll bring the dango and booze," both declared and wept. The peace offering was by no means going to be cheap for either of them but it was better than the alternative.

"Apology accepted. Now, then, here's what's happening," spinning around, Anko's gaze fell upon her team, "We travel south from Konoha for a day and a half or two before we meet up with a guide the client village assigned for us. Once we do it'll take us another two, maybe more, to reach Yuzukamura. Be on guard as once we enter the area, we may encounter bandits or some local wildlife."

"Crocodiles?"

"Maybe a few, and it's actually alligators, and even then they're not that big of a deal with," it would have been another story if they were going to the Land of Swamps, where the smallest of them was easily over two times the length of an ordinary alligator, "but I was referring to leeches and mosquitoes."

Seeing the woman shudder, Naruto asked, "What's so bad about that? Pretty sure Ino can whip something up, right?" And the only male ninja of the group earned a nod from the Yamanaka.

"'Fraid we're gonna have to do without," Anko informed him and almost whined herself, "Helpful as they are, and the Yamanaka Clan make the best, their repellants have an odor to 'em. And before you ask the Aburame Clan don't make any because they like bugs. We have no idea who we're dealing with and a person's scent can give their location away. I received some last-minute intel from Hokage-sama and apparently, no matter what route or how well hidden the caravan was or whenever they tried setting up an ambush they were still found. The Inuzuka Clan isn't the only one with an enhanced olfactory system. So, no repellants, I'm sorry to say."

And she was being honest. Leech and mosquito bites sucked. The former more so in this case because these weren't your toothpick-sized bloodsuckers but close relatives to the palm-sized ones found in Konoha's infamous Forest of Death. Severe blood loss happened in seconds if a decent number of them managed to latch on.

"Ah, crap," so far this mission was off to a good start in Naruto's opinion.

XxX

"This bites," Inuzuka Kiba groaned as he pulled another weed from the garden of some lazy old fart. The lawn and garden had definitely seen better days upon first sight over three hours ago and he could only wonder how long it had been since proper maintenance had been performed.

"Quit complaining," despite Sakura telling this to her wild teammate the pinkette couldn't help but mentally agree.

Sasuke for his part said nothing and did nothing but pull out another weed. But the last Uchiha had the same mindset as his teammates. The only one on their team who was having any sort of enjoyment was Kiba's ninken and perhaps Kakashi if the odd giggling he released was an indicator. Off to the side, their Jonin instructor was nose-deep in a book and while Hatake Kakashi had impressed him during their test the man left much to be desired since then.

He was constantly late, no techniques except for the odd survival skills were taught to them, and the majority of the time all they did were drills and mock combat scenarios and sparring. It made Sasuke re-evaluate how high Konoha's standards were if this is what passed as a Jonin. At this rate, Sasuke wouldn't be able to avenge his clan anytime soon.

"Yosh! My eternal rival Kakashi!"

All three Genin blinked and turned to see a sight that they'd never forget but sorely liked to. Kakashi did nothing but turn to the next page in his book and greeted his 'rival' with a passive demeanor.

"Gai," was Kakashi's simple reply.

"Kakashi and members of Team Seven! How fare you this afternoon?" Asked the energetic man.

"We're all seeing this, right?" Kiba couldn't believe his eyes, dearly hoping his mind was playing tricks on him.

"God, I hope not," Sakura said back, her incredible memory working against her as she memorized every detail of the man and his unbelievable attire.

"Hmm," Sasuke agreed.

"Fine," responded Kakashi, who continued to read his book, "Where's your team?"

"They are preparing for a mission outside Konoha. We leave in an hour so I thought I'd do a few quick exercises before we left when I spotted you and your youthful students," Kakashi could only imagine what Gai meant when he said 'few' and 'quick exercises' despite the number of years knowing the odd ninja.

"No fair! His team goes outside Konoha and we're stuck doing this crap!" Kiba complained.

Kakashi was undeterred by the hotheaded boy's outburst and began placating him in short order, "Settle down, Kiba. Fresh Genin teams don't usually take on C-Rank missions in their first few months. Gai's team has been in circulation for over half a year now. They have more experience than any of you three."

"Arf!"

"Sorry, four," the man apologized to the team ninken.

"I guess," the boy groaned, but he didn't like the answer.

Blinking in confusion, Gai asked, "You mean you haven't heard?"

"Heard what?" Kiba asked.

"Anko and her team were tasked with a C-Rank mission four days ago," Gai revealed before Kakashi could stop him.

"WHAT!" All three Genin exclaimed.

Sighing, as this was what he was hoping to avoid, Kakashi snapped his book shut - and just when it was getting to the good part - after putting in a bookmark, "I had heard of that, yes. Good for them."

"Wait, you knew and didn't tell us?!" Kiba asked once more.

"I didn't believe it was important," and it wasn't. How Anko managed her team and how Asuma and Gai or any other Jonin instructor managed their team wasn't any of his business. Who went on what mission and what kind of mission it was also wasn't his business. And his team wasn't ready as he'd like them to be for a C-Rank mission.

"Not important! The Dead Last managed to go on a C-Rank mission before us!" Kiba declared.

"Last I remember, Kiba, you were the Dead Last of your graduating class instead of Naruto," he corrected. Kakashi had initially believed his teacher's son didn't take after either of his parents - skill-wise that is as he was certainly Kushina's son if his grades and personality were an indicator - but his turnaround during his last year had the makings of a late bloomer finally coming around.

Kiba turned red with embarrassment and anger as Sakura stifled a laugh and Sasuke sported a light smirk. Seeing this only served to anger Kiba up even more, "That's it! I'm over this shit! We're going to the Hokage Tower to get a C-Rank mission right now!"

Watching him leave, Gai couldn't help but ask, "Doesn't he know you're already done?" And indeed the garden and lawn were done and all that remained was collecting payment and putting away the bags of weeds.

"It'll only get him even more riled up if we told him," Sakura informed the man; Kiba could get really annoying whenever he wanted to prove himself or one-up another.

"Go after him and wait for me. I'll be there in a sec," Kakashi ordered both remaining Genin. Sakura and Sasuke did as they were bid while their team leader collected the payment for the mission and then headed off to the Hokage Tower himself. His team might not be ready as he'd like them to be, but perhaps a good kick in the pants by reality would be the necessary push they needed.

But first, if it was available, he'd have them chase Tora if the feline blur he just spotted a block over was anything to go by.


(Days Later)

"Finally," Ino breathed a sigh of relief as she and her team and their guide set their sights upon their destination. The latter half of their trip had not been a pleasant one. Neither Hinata nor Ino were on the same level as Anko and Naruto when it came to endurance but she'd like to think they did well for their first time. Anko would probably have a different opinion, the Yamanaka thought.

Meeting with the guide had been when the 'fun' part had started. Despite it being the winter season it wasn't uncommon for Hi no Kuni to get rain and warm weather. Apparently, the southern part of Hi no Kuni didn't receive the same memo and they were heavily cloaked to keep the winter's unforgiving winds at bay. Given their role in the group, Ino and Anko had more exposed skin than either of their teammates and were less than comfortable at the moment. Fortunately, they were but a leisurely ten minutes away from warming up if they went full tilt. Ino didn't care if she'd have to carry their guide to do so.

Yuzukamura was a large hamlet with many different-sized homes and roads situated on hills that had a decent-sized plateau. Each hill had rows of trees, stands and poles with plants attached or growing up along them, others had edible grasses such as rice growing as far as the eye could see in well kept paddies. In the distance was the largest elevated plateau with the largest building surrounded by a tall wall of wooden pikes exceeding sixty odd feet that were nearly ten feet thick, and that was only the shorter portions. The defensive bulwark was apparently made by the Shodai in exchange for a trade agreement between the two villages and had since been added upon over time such as the man-made moat.

The protected building in question was likely the storehouse and distillery the group had learned about from their guide. The man was a chatterbox and a wealth of boring and useless information no one cared about. Sure, knowing about the village in question and where and what was what and who was who might be useful. But about nine out of ten of what he droned on about was pointless drivel.

"That's the village's pride and joy, the Yuzukamura Distillery. Fun fact about it," Anko felt her eye twitching and saw Naruto and Ino were just about ready to pounce on the soon-to-be pancake. Anko had never killed a client before, but she had certainly come close and had on occasion gotten back at the more annoying ones in a discreet manner that left them oh-so satisfyingly humiliated. This guy here was microseconds away from being her latest victim before a group of armed men came up the hill to greet them.

"Identify yourselves!" A voice suddenly announced and spared them from hearing the useless trivia.

"Yuzuka-sama!" Hearing the honorific, Team Eight looked at the aforementioned woman that came up to them with a small group of armed individuals. A quick glance at how tense many of them held their weapons and the way they looked everywhere told Anko that they were either greenhorns or nervous as hell, or likely both.

"Team Eight from Konoha?" The woman asked.

"You expecting anyone else?" was Anko's reply, "You the head honcho of this village?"

To their surprise the woman shook her head, "No, that would be my mother. However, she isn't available at the moment, so I'm here in her stead."

"Lucky them," Team Eight heard one of the guards mutter.

"Hold your tongue!" Apparently, the comment wasn't low enough as Yuzuka's bark had the guard become ramrod stiff. The woman earned some points for that stunt alone in Anko's books.

"Shall we?" Yuzuka motioned for them to follow her lead.

The trip was short and soon the group enjoyed the comforts of the indoors, a small spread of drinks and food, mostly fruits and vegetables with some rice dishes, was soon brought for their leisure.

"I'll keep this short as I want you to start as soon as possible," Yuzuka began, "We need these bandits dealt with and dealt with quickly. They have my mother."

"How'd that happen?" Anko asked, taking a sip of the alcoholic beverage she was given. It was pretty good.

"My mother is … a headstrong woman and quick to anger when wronged and strict to a fault," Anko decoded the veiled wording for what she actually was: a hard-ass bitch, "She takes the welfare of Yuzukamura very seriously. These bandits have been a thorn in our side for months and my mother finally had enough and left with a group of guards with the most recent caravan to try and ambush them."

"That was two weeks ago, right?"

"It was," Yuzuka nodded. "My mother is skilled with a naginata and knows a few basic ninja techniques, but evidently that wasn't enough. A warning flare was seen maybe half an hour after they left and when we found the caravan it was hopelessly annihilated and bodies littered the grounds, some of them in pieces. The only saving grace is that several of them were missing from the site."

"Hostages?"

"We hope. The area around there usually doesn't have its share of predators, especially during winter, but it is a swamp and it's not uncommon for the odd creature to show up where they usually don't," Anko and Ino detected a hint of hope that such an occurrence didn't come to pass.

"All right, what about the site? What did it look like?" Anko asked.

"Almost like every other," was the unhelpful comment, "Broken wagons, cut up bodies, smashed in heads, decent-sized crater holes and broken trees. But no signs of ninja techniques were used. No burn marks, scorch marks or anything else that would serve as an indicator."

That last bit of information had Anko's attention, "So, physically strong individuals," the average bandits were usually much stronger than a well-trained civilian but not as strong as a well-trained ninja. But even then ordinary ninjas weren't physically strong enough to do what was described. In other words, these were Chunin or near-Jonin level individuals.

"We believe so, yes. All we found at the scene was this," the woman brought a box from her side and opened it to reveal a piece of clothing, "It belonged to my mother."

Grabbing it, Anko and her Genin felt their eyes watering as the scent assaulted their senses, "Ho, boy!"

"Kwahh!"

"Mhmm!"

"Oh, God. Close it!" Naruto pleaded.

"I'm sorry?" Yuzuka didn't understand their reactions.

"You can't smell that?"

"Smell?" Yuzuka held a look of ignorance.

"You're pulling our leg, right?"

Frowning, Yuzuka said, "I'm not pulling anything."

"Yuzuka-sama, the perfume Yuka-sama uses is a local one. Outsiders such as our guests are likely unaccustomed to such odours," said one of Yuzuka's attendants.

"No shit!" were the collective thoughts of the group. Well, at least they had a way of finding their target. Now it was merely a matter of convincing Hotto to smell it.

The ninken's retreating form told them all they needed to know.

(XxX)

Mizuki scowled and more than once in the months since he left Konoha did he have a nagging doubt in the back of his mind. Did he make the right choice? Was this all worth it? Oh, sure, Orochimaru had given him access - limited though it was - to power few could lay claim to, and tools that complemented his fighting style, but at times Mizuki felt he had traded one cage for another one.

"A larger cage for sure, but a cage is a cage nonetheless," the man contemplated. Fortunately, cages couldn't hold ninja for long. It might take some time but he'd find a way out eventually. But as difficult a task as that would be to accomplish, making sure he wasn't caught afterwards would be an entirely different level of difficult.

Orochimaru wasn't one to tolerate failure or subpar performances; warnings were seldom given, and fortunate were those who did. Those who didn't were dead - and lucky were they! - or worse. Mizuki had seen first hand what happened to the latter. Death was the better alternative.

Tsubaki was a prime example.

Following him from behind was his lover, or at the least the shell of Tsubaki. Mizuki had no idea exactly what had been done to her, as he had been sent on a mission, but Tsubaki wasn't the same kunoichi she used to be when he returned.

She killed without hesitation, she did as he ordered, she did things she never would have done. Unlike him, Tsubaki hadn't adjusted to their new way of life as easily and struggled despite her skill in genjutsu. Now she didn't struggle but at the same time the life in her eyes were pretty much gone.

Mizuki could only wonder what hell she had been through to get her into such a state of mind. Actually, he didn't want to know. Some parts of the human imagination were best left alone, and this was one of them.

But despite the bad, there was also good. Mizuki's body had undergone a rapid transformation, but body more muscular compared to the more lithe one he possessed before. He could throw farther, harder, faster and last much longer, too.

And he had also recently been blessed with a gift from his master, too. Apparently he and a few others had been chosen to test out its potency on the current mission. And given who he was dealing with it might need it despite his improvements. Garbed as a Konoha ninja, Mizuki's headband lacked the slash that marked him as a nuke-nin. This meant that even if he was spotted people would think his actions were on behalf of Konoha, ruining their reputation.

The smarter individuals wouldn't believe it, though some may try and take advantage nonetheless, but the ignorant ones would likely be too stupid to think otherwise.

"Mizuki-san," Mizuki heard Tsubaki's monotone voice, "I sense two targets with large amounts of chakra just up ahead. I believe it's them."

"Good," was his reply. Finding their targets was easy with Orochimaru's network of spies. Getting them to cooperate might be a challenge depending on circumstances. Why Orochimaru wanted these two working for him he didn't know. But Mizuki knew better than to ask questions at this point.

People usually weren't seen again if they asked too many questions.


(Sometime Later)

Getting Hottomaru to cooperate had been a challenge, and had not exactly endeared them to their clients. But none of the Konoha shinobi could really fault the poor ninken either. The perfume smelled horrible. How the people of Yuzukamura considered this pleasant was unknown. Naruto honestly believed there had to be something wrong with their sense of smell.

Once they were outside the village Ino commented that the Shodai likely built the wall that surrounded the village so high and thick in order to keep the smell from escaping. The group laughed at the comment but the laughing became short lived once they reached the site of the ambush.

And not for the reason they expected.

"God damn it!" Naruto enjoyed the perks blessed upon by the Gamer but damn if random shit like this didn't annoy him.

Gamer 2.0 has now been updated to Gamer 2.1

Please read the following for details on what this entails.

"Oh, lovely," Anko snarked.

"What does this mean?" Hinata asked.

"Doubt it's anything good," Ino remarked, basing her judgment on Naruto's reaction.

"I'll tell ya in a minute," Naruto began reading the details that followed and frowned and at times he looked ready to curse, but other times he looked content, "Well, ya want the good news or the bad news first?"

"Bad news," Ino had been taught it was better to deal with the bad news first this way morale was improved upon hearing the good news last.

"Good news, unlike last time this took place this won't require a waiting period or shut down," Anko breathed a sigh of relief along with Naruto. Neither Hinata nor Ino had been his teammates at the time so neither of them knew what he was referring to.

"This next bit affects me more than you guys, but my affinities have been nerfed so I don't gain extra health or chakra from 'em anymore," meaning his CP and HP were lower than before. They were still quite high, just nowhere as high as they used to be."

"Tough break," Anko told him, her tone didn't reflect it.

"Which means when you guess earn similar perks you won't get them either," Naruto added but Anko merely shrugged. It could have been a lot worse in her opinion.

"Uh, completing missions with rankings lower than your Skill Ranking won't give us AP points anymore," the two youngest kunoichi of the group were confused by that.

"Skill Ranking?"

"It's a term used by shinobi to more accurately reflect the threat level an individual poses based on their aptitude. Village ranks don't accurately reflect the skills you possess. Just because you're a Genin doesn't mean you have the power of one. It can go either way. Uchiha Itachi, Hatake Kakashi, Namikaze Minato, and my bastard of a mentor when they were Genin were more skilled than most low-ranking Jonin before they got promoted. Another example is people having S-Rank bounties but that was due to the information they stole or possessed rather than their skill level, due to past actions or because people want revenge," Anko revealed, "I'm guessing that's what it means?"

"Yep! Let's see. Anko-sensei's Skill Ranking is -B. Ino's is D+ along with Hinata's and Hotto. Mine's a C," Naruto revealed.

"That's it! I call bull!" Ino declared. Weeks and countless hours of hellish training and busting her ass off and she was only a D+?

"Blondie, indoor voice, we're still tracking remember," Ino had the decency to blush but her anger remained, "Don't forget you've only been at this for a couple of months. So, Gaki, what affects this rank anyway?"

"Uh… how many skills you possess, the skills' rank, perks, your stats, bloodlines, titles, how many skills you've mastered, your equipment…other stuff," Anko didn't need to be a genius to know he was referring to the Kyubi inside of him. Being a jinchuriki likely played a huge factor and the better control you had over that power the greater the threat she wagered.

"Well, sucks that lower-rank missions don't give out AP no more. Any other bad news?"

"Yeah, defense is gone," Naruto revealed.

"What!" now that was an issue.

"Well, I guess changed is more appropriate. The damage we take now is calculated by us blocking, parrying, and our resistances instead, and other variables. That's another thing, Tolerances and Resistances are now one and the same: Resistances. Wearing armor will improve those alongside any skill that's defence-related."

"What else?"

"Any technique or skill we learn will only have one level now instead of multiple levels as we try and master them, and their CP usage, power, speed, and effectiveness will apparently be a all over the place and based on our attributes, and equipment if they're weapon-based, but once mastered they will a hell of a lot better. Learning an improved version of the technique isn't automatic anymore as we need to meet the requirements, which are based on our attributes."

The more she heard about it, the more Anko believed that this current update was trying to make seem like it was based on reality.

"Titles reflecting swordsmanship and taijutsu will now all be the same instead of different," a quick glance at her Status Window showed Hinata that her Novice Juken Practitioner had changed to Novice Taijutsu Practitioner, and the +20% EXP & Effectiveness towards [Taijutsu Skills] had changed to +20% EXP, Power, and Effectiveness towards [Taijutsu Skills] while everything else was gone. But she noticed something else too.

"My Status Window shows a new category: Fighting Styles!" Hinata revealed and breathed a sigh of relief when the previous benefits her title had were allocated there instead.

"Yep!" Naruto honestly believed it could have been a lot worse, "Also, it states that those kinds of titles will only be earned if you master a fighting style, increase them in rank like Novice to Apprentice, and if you've defeated foes using skills related to them. Fighting styles will also only improve in rank once you master a certain number of skills associated with them, too, and you can only learn certain skills if you've mastered certain techniques, too."

"In other words, you can't just jump ahead to learn the more powerful skills, right?" Anko surmised.

"Basically," which sucked, "But any skill that was previously learned regardless of the new requirements will be grandfathered in," the group sighed in relief for the small mercy.

"Okay, enough bad news. Give us the good stuff," Anko ordered.

"Uh, ninja ranks will no longer be titles but their benefits remain. Successfully completing missions meeting or exceeding our Skill Rank and leveling up now grants us Improvement Points, IP for short."

"Improvement Points?"

"Yeah, apparently they replace AP now. We can use 'em to not only improve our attributes, but we can use to master a technique or fighting style we have, too. Provided we have enough to do so."

"Wait! So we don't have to train our asses off as much anymore to master them?" Ino asked.

"I guess," it was safe to say where Ino was gonna be focusing on applying her hard-earned IP, but to each their own, "Common Perk Points and Special Perk Points have also been replaced with Perk Points, and we can't earn 'em by leveling up anymore. Any previous SPP we have will be converted into the appropriate amount of Perk Points, but we can still use them to buy or improve any special perk or perk we have on hand," Anko frowned. The reveal was a mix of good news and bad news but the good it seemed outweighed the bad.

"Here's a good one. If we complete a mission that exceeds our Skill Rank, we can choose between learning a new skill from any foe we faced, what that skill we can learn depends on the mission rank, and/or choose to increase our attributes instead. Skills will have a wide gap between attack and effect duration until mastered, and the true modifiers ranks will now only apply to mastered skills."

"Don't know if it's good news or not, but Buffs and Debuffs have also been simplified. Instead of seeing Burning: Level 2 they now only have three levels now: Burning, Severe Burning, and Intense Burning but their strength and duration can be improved by techniques and items. Also, Tiers are now gone, which I guess means that we won't be seeing the better gear drops as much as before."

"The latter's a bit disappointing but not the end of the world."

"The limit for the amount of titles we can have equipped is gone. There's also a new feature available known as Deathblow. Apparently if certain conditions like catching enemies off-guard or bringing their stamina down to almost nothing or knock 'em out we can either instantly kill a foe, or take out a massive chunk of their HP."

"How massive are we talking about?"

"Anywhere ranging from 30% to 70% apparently, mostly against foes with levels much higher than us," Naruto elaborated, "Lower-ranking foes have a higher chance of being instantly killed, and foes killed by Deathblow now give double EXP, triple if they're Rarespawn, Elites or Bosses."

"Love it," critical hits were nice in Anko's opinion, but this was way better.

"People who gain from the Gamer's perk, teammates, pets, and mentors, now have the same benefits so long as the Gamer allows it, with the exception of summons and any pets either of you may have that won't work. Basically, you guys are now immune to genjutsu I guess instead of resistant."

"Sweet!" Ino was down with that.

"Don't get cocky Blondie. The more powerful ones can still mess you up," Anko chastised.

"And … yeah, that's it," Naruto finished. It was a lot to take in.

"Okay, good. Lot to take in but glad it's not gonna impact our mission," Anko had been worried it would be the case but Lady Luck smiled on them. Minor inconveniences had occurred but they were liveable but when she learned of the update Anko didn't want to take chances. Ninja adapted to their circumstances but Anko didn't want anything happening to her charges that might result in their deaths if that could be avoided. Any good Jonin instructor would do so.

With that out of the way, all five members of Team Eight continued their search and trusted Hotto's nose to guide them there. The swampy and uneven terrain made travel uneasy and more than once was Naruto forced to carry Hotto as despite his small form the bogs around them ended with him sinking. When that happened they were forced to use Anko's snakes. While their tracking ability wasn't as good as Hotto's their smaller, lighter forms enabled them to navigate through the wet terrain more easily than the young ninja of the group were lucky that they knew the water walking method but even then it was difficult as it technically wasn't water nor was it solid either. It was basically them trying to do both tree and water walking at the same time.

To say nothing of the bugs and leeches. Ino would have complained, not that anyone could blame her, but this was a stealth mission right now. However, their suffering come to an end when Hottomaru's ears perked up and he tensed up.

"Grrr."

"Hold up!" Naruto told them, "Hinata?"

"Hai!" At once her eyes flared and her clan's bloodline limit manifested.

"Well over a dozen enemies… about two dozen…two have very high chakra levels…and there are two others that have higher chakra level that the rest but less than the other two…One of them is …dark."

"Dark?"

"Dark. It's giving off a sense of unease, worry," Hinata elaborated.

Anko frowned, "Okay, be on guard. People with that kind of chakra could be bloodline related but it could be something else. Where are the hostages?"

Hinata quickly found them to be in the same area and they were…unbound?

"They're held in a makeshift cage but otherwise they're not bound or anything," Hinata revealed. Anko deduced this to mean two possibilities. The leaders were either very stupid, or they were so feared that they didn't bother to bind their captives.

As they all made their way towards the camp quickly but quietly, Anko learned it was the former of the two when she got a good look at who they were dealing with. But even then she was worried.

"Are you two kidding me!?" A familiar voice rang, "Why aren't they bound? Do you want them to escape?"

"They haven't run away before?"

"That's because you got lucky!"

"Wait is that… No way! Mizuki-sensei?!" Ino gaped at her former academy instructor. It was only a couple of months since they last saw him but she and the rest of the group hardly recognized the man. What was he doing here?

"Looks like Hokage-sama was right. Mizuki went nuke-nin," no point keeping it a secret now that they'd be facing him, "Guess that woman's Tsubaki."

"Anko-sensei, Mizuki-sen- I mean Mizuki-san's the one with the dark chakra in him," Hinata revealed, "It's strange though."

"What do you mean?"

"Ano, what I mean is his chakra, it's similar to the chakra coming from your neck," Hinata elaborated.

Anko frowned damn observant Hyuga eyes. But if Hinata was implying what she believed she was, "That's not good."

"Of cour-"

"Shut it, Ino!" Anko's hiss had Ino puckering her lips unlike ever before, "That chakra is bad news. This," she pointed at the faded mark on her neck, "is bad news. It's a cursed seal. It gives you incredible power but at a cost. Orochimaru of the Sannin gave it to me."

The implication wasn't lost on either one of the Genin.

"Shit," Naruto voiced what they all thought.

"Yeah, and to make it worse, we have those two to deal with as well," Anko frowned.

"Who are they, Anko-sensei," Hinata's family eyes flared to life; her sight never left the two men with incredible chakra levels. Not greater than Naruto's own but at least almost one-third the amount each.

"Raijin and Fujin. C-Rank Nuke-nin better known as the Densetsu no Bakakyodai (Legendary Stupid Brothers)," Anko informed her team.

"Their skill rank marks them as C+ Rank, Anko-sensei," Naruto revealed and Anko wasn't surprised. Their rank was lower than hers but likely due to their incredibly low intelligence and lack of ninja skills, too. Their endurance and strength offset it though and made her wonder how much more of a threat they'd be if they had something between their heads.

"Legendary Stupid Brothers?" Hinata wondered how they earned such a moniker.

"They're as thick as bricks and can't remember who's who half the time and they're also too dumb to properly use ninja techniques, too. Make no mistake their strength and endurance more than makes up for it. They can crush rocks and snap trees like twigs," explaining to her Genin that their incredibly low intellect was the main reason why they weren't ranked as B-Rank Nukenin despite their impressive superhuman strength, and most of the time they could be placated by food, which was often used against them or distract them from their main goal, and much of their crimes involved around it.

"We need to get these hostages outta here and fast," Anko hated being the bearer of bad news to clients.

"Why?" Ino almost dreaded the answer.

"These guys have a short fuse and can be pretty sporadic. It's never been proven but rumours about them say they won't hesitate to resort to cannibalism either," Ino and Hinata looked rather uncomfortable.

"What do you suggest?" Ino asked.

"Anko-chan," Midori slithered up to Anko's ear and whispered something that only the two could hear.

"…Yeah, that might work," she'd be incredibly sore and tired but it might work, "But we'll only have time to deal with one 'em if we do."

"What's the plan?"

"First, we gotta separate Mizuki, Tsubaki, and the Stupid Bros from one another. You three deal with Mizuki and Tsubaki, while I deal with the brothers and the bandits. Take 'em alive if you can. Hokage-sama wants them for questioning.

"How can we do that?"

"I'm gonna provide you a distraction. I'm not gonna lie, once it's over I'm pretty sure Midori and I are gonna be out for the count. So you deal with them as quickly as possible, you free the hostages, and you come save my ass," Anko informed.

"Can't you just use Midori to scare them?" Ino asked.

"Trust me, a single Stupid Brothers has more than enough strength to deal with Midori, they're that strong. This is gonna take something else. Now, here's the plan."

All four lower-ranking members of Team Eight did as they were instructed and got into position as quickly and quietly as possible. Naruto would deal with Mizuki while Hinata and Ino dealt with Tsubaki. Hottomaru would stay behind with Anko and come to her aid if/when required.

"We're going to be utterly exhausted after this," Midori told her partner.

Anko snorted, "Not like we've got a better plan," even when she transformed Midori lacked the full might of her previously non-cursed form, despite her claims otherwise. Midori knew it, Anko knew it, but that was a secret they kept between themselves.

Seeing her team in position, Anko decided it was time to enact her plan, and hoped she could endure it long enough to deal with the two highly unintelligent but just as strong gluttonous ninja that could rival an Akimichi clan member.

"Ready?" Anko saw Midori nod, both became enveloped in a white smoke, and then Anko enacted her blame.

"IDIOT BROTHERS!"

Every criminal in the looked in her direction, the large criminals blinked stupidly as they did and then froze after theirs minds finally processed the sound they heard. Raijin, Fujin, and Mizuki felt fear to the point that it escalated with them beginning to shake like a leaf in a hurricane after they spotted the form of the only individual the Legendary Stupid Brothers ever encountered that not only scared the living hell out of them but outclassed them in terms of raw physical strength.

Blond hair split into pigtails and a bust that made many gawk and leer and women envious, her angry look made the criminals want to piss themselves. Instead, Raijin and Fujin prostrated their forms so quickly that the semi-solid ground not only shook but had a deep indent from where their heads crashing into it, "T-tsu-Tsunade-sama! W-We!"

"SHUT UP!" the woman's bellow knocked out many of the bandits while the rest were scared shitless, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"I-I-I" so frozen and scared was neither idiot couldn't properly explain himself.

"No! No talking! It's time for a beating'!" The woman punched her palm and began to aggressively make her way towards the much taller individuals. Craters formed in the wake of her steps. Three bandits proved to be as witless as their leaders and tried charging at her regardless. A mistake only one would never forget.

One was backhanded halfway across the swamp, another was planted so deeply into the earth he'd never be recovered once it reformed on top of him and the other was finger flicked into unconsciousness; her body crashing into her comrades well over a hundred feet away from the legendary kunoichi.

Raijin and Fujin attacked as one, not out of bravado, but fear and hope they could at least push her back so they could escape. It wasn't a very well thought out plan as much like one of the lowly bandits, Fujin was backhanded into the nearby swamp and Raijin was kicked into the air.

It was a hell of a signal for Team Eight.

"Deathblow!" Naruto mentally declared, appear behind Mizuki and slashing him right in the back.

Deathblow failed to cause [Instant Death]!

Deathblow succeeded in reducing target's health by 63%!

Damn. So much for going for an instant kill, but the damage was immense all the same and Mizuki suffered a heavy loss nonetheless with his health being reduced well below the half way mark.

"Demon!" Mizuki snarled, seeing Naruto, his eyes bloodshot.

"Yeah, yeah," Naruto brushed off the insult, not at all fazed.

"I'm gonna enjoy this!"

"Right back at ya. Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Shadow Clone Technique)!" A mass of clones appeared all around Mizuki and the once cocky look he bore wasn't as confident now. There was no stare down between the clones and their target, no waiting for something to signal when to attack, the clones simply rushed the man with their weapons.

But despite their numbers, Mizuki met them head on and took out more than a few of them with his shurikenjutsu and when the army of blonds tried slicing him apart, Mizuki dove into the ground to escape injury.


"Hatenshū (Point Breaking Kick)!" Ino struck nothing but air once more as Tsubaki took off into the air. The older kunoichi's speed greater than her own, but then again the woman's Status Window revealed she had been a Chunin and -C-Rank threat.

Ino was forced to dodge the flurry of stars that wanted to turn her into a pin cushion but the throw was nothing compared to Anko's and the dangerous metal easily missed her. Ino herself countered with her own shuriken, hoping at least one would nick the woman.

The sound of metal striking metal rang as each one were deflected by a kunai that appeared in Tsubaki's hand.

"Damn it," Ino watched as the kunoichi landed, chastising herself for not using the Water Whip Technique instead. Anko would likely chew her out afterwards.

Tsubaki rushed towards Ino, and while her speed was greater than the younger kunoichi, Ino's training and perks allowed her to keep out of harms way. Up, down, twisting and bobbing, and parrying, Ino wasn't cut once and when Tsubaki overreached, Ino grabbed the woman's arm.

And a certain movement from her hand caused the blades from Dakatsu no Kamu (Dakatsu's Bite) to pop out of the gauntlet and stab deep into woman's arm, the wound developing a green sheen and making the nearby veins become incredibly visible.

But Tsubaki remained emotionless and had almost no reaction from the blow.

A sudden kick from the older the kunoichi to the distracted Ino sent the Yamanaka rolling head over heel before she righted herself. Anko was very likely gonna reprimand her for that, too.

"Magen: Kokoni Arazu no Jutsu (Demonic Illusion: False Surroundings Technique)!" Tsubaki suddenly declared just as Ino entered a defensive stance.

Fortunately for Ino, despite Tsubaki being Orochimaru's guinea pig, this had mainly affected Tsubaki's mental state to the point she was no different than a Root Ninja. Physical and chakra augmentation had yet to take place. As a result, Tsubaki's Ninjutsu or Taijutsu remained the same, not that they had been her forte, and therefore her ability to use some of the more powerful and destructive techniques was out of reach. To compensate for this the woman had turned to the more subtle arts such as Tantojutsu, Genjutsu, and other skills that required more fineness than power and found her calling.

The only problem: Ino was now immune to Genjutsu, "Thank you update."

Ino watched as the area around her contort briefly before Gamer's Teammate came into play and canceled out the illusion for her. The Yamanaka watched as Tsubaki jumped onto a tree where she began healing her injured arm. The poison was nothing major, a minor poison taught to her by Anko that render that limb useless but if left untreated it would begin affecting the other parts of her body. Even if Tsubaki removed the poison its effects would remain for a few hours or until she took the antidote. Removing the poison would only serve to prevent her other limbs from being affected.

Ino looked on, cautiously and realized that Tsubaki was eying her but making no moves, "She thinks I'm caught in her technique," the girl mentally smirked as she decided to play along.

Ino adopted a look of confusion and began to wander around aimlessly in the swamp. All the while the girl kept an eye out on Tsubaki as she got out of the tree. Making her way towards, Hinata who was freeing and protecting the hostages. The woman's movements akin to a cat stalking a helpless mouse.

Tsubaki now had a tanto in her hand, and Ino knew she would only get one shot at this. They weren't in a dungeon. If they died here, it was game over. Period! Seeing Tsubaki ready her tanto and making a dash for her teammate, Ino waited until the last second before she sprang her counter attack on the unsuspecting nuke-nin.

"Shintenshin no Jutsu (Mind Body Switch Technique)!"

Mind Body Switch Technique was successful!

Under normal circumstances, the technique could be overpowered by those with a superior mental fortitude. In some instances this was instantaneous, and in others, it was gradual and took time, while others were unable to do anything, but even then the latter left the user aware of a nagging at the back of their minds.

Tsubaki, whose mind had been broken by Orochimaru couldn't overpower Ino, nor did Ino feel the usual sensation of one futilely trying to regain control of their body. All in all, this was without a doubt the easiest takeover Ino had ever performed.

And that worried her.

"What the hell did she go through?" Aside from those who willingly allowed control over their body, what kind of enemy wouldn't fight back in some way to regain control?

A thought for a time when her life wasn't at risk. Hinata was handling bandits by herself and Ino would make good use of the advantage this body gave her on the unsuspecting morons.

While Ino and Hinata dealt with the hostages and the remaining bandits, and with Anko preoccupied with the Legendary Stupid Brothers, Mizuki and Naruto continued their bought. Not that it could really be called one.

Mizuki panted as he threw shuriken after shuriken after shuriken against the demon that was Uzumaki Naruto. Normally he wouldn't be panting this hard, especially after the training and augmentations given to him by Orochimaru, but neither he nor Tsubaki had a chance to rest the moment they found their targets, and both of them had been traveling almost non-stop, and a trip from Oto no Kuni to the southern part of Hi no Kuni took days to reach even at ninja speed. Orochimaru had given him a strict timeline to recruit the Legendary Idiot Brothers, failure to meet that timeline was best left to the imagination.

Mizuki regretted not resting and not having any soldier pills. The former ninja of Konoha was running on fumes now. Using ninjutsu was out of the question, he barely had enough chakra for even a simple Moguragakure no Jutsu (Hiding like a Mole Technique). Loath as he'd want to admit, the demon had superior stamina by comparison.

"Shiei-sō: Juren Hakai (Four Shadows Burial: Heavy Consecutive Annihilation)!"

Mizuki was quick to replace himself with a wooden log that was utterly destroyed by the four clones that fell upon his previous location. Learning that it knew how to use the Shadow Clone Technique was less than comforting. And the demon could create a lot of them.

Mizuki was fortunate if could even make two before he left Konoha, at least based on what he was told, it was a Jonin technique after all, and even after everything he went through he could only make three.

"And now I have almost nothing left in me," Mizuki didn't want to use this so soon, having been warned that his current constitution likely wouldn't be able to handle the stress, but what choice did he have?

Pulling a bottle from a pouch, Mizuki prepared to pull the stopper but found himself neck deep into the earth, the bottle dropping from his hand by the sudden maneuver. The hate-filled ninja watched as Tsubaki rose from the earth with a grin. And he instantly knew something was wrong.

"Nice to see ya again, Mizuki-sensei," he heard his lover say. But it wasn't her.

"Ino," Mizuki scowled recalling that Tsubaki fought against a young pigtailed blonde. Yamanaka could take over their opponent's body by overpowering their target's consciousness with their own.

"Just stay put while I take this," Ino grabbed the bottle as Mizuki struggled vainly. Were he not tired and were it a softer part of the swamp he might have escaped but that was not the case.

"Say goodnight, Mizuki-sensei!" Mizuki's eyes widened comically as a large club crashed on top of his head and he became affected by the [Unconscious] debuff.

"Hey! I had him!"

"I had him first!" Naruto barked back, "You don't steal someone else's target. Bad sport Ino!"

Ino merely responded by sticking her tongue out at her fellow blond. To which Naruto grabbed.

"Ha!" Naruto felt pretty good at the moment until he felt something pointy and sharp poking his groin area, "Really?"

Ino mumbled something he couldn't quite understand but accurately assumed it was to let go of her tongue and she'd leave his boys alone. Both blonds relented and freed one another from each other's grasp.

"Gotta say, I thought this would be-" Ino found her mouth covered by Naruto.

"Don't jinx it!" Naruto ordered. Never question good fortune. When it was clear she understood, Naruto took his hand off.

"How are the hostages?"

"Safe with Hinata. But I can understand why the guards weren't tripping over themselves to save their village head," Ino informed him.

"Bitch?"

"Ha! Being a bitch would be an improvement," what kind of person looked pissed and reprimanded you for taking so long to save them? The woman even mentioned she'd be writing to the Daimyo to complain about Konoha not sending experienced ninja, and a bunch of teens instead of an adult, made Ino wish she could just leave her there.

Boom!

"Looks like Anko-sensei's still having fun," Naruto remarked, a fact Ino could attest to.

"Tsunade-sama! Please, mercy!" Raijin had snot and tears covering the better part of his face, his face swollen and purple. Great as his endurance was, Tsunade's strength could bypass it.

"Okay," Tsunade chirped.

Raijin smiled, tears and snot rolling down his face even more as he looked up gratefully, "Ari-"

BAKRAM!

Many of the scared-to-death bandits threw down their weapons as one and surrendered while those furthest away from them tried to run into the marches with the hopes of escaping the powerful woman's wrath. Loyalty to Raijin and Fujin for most of them was out of fear of their legendary strength and resilience and anger. The woman in front of them easily proved their better if the immovable and earth-embedded form of Raijin was to go by. A crater about twenty feet in diameter and who knew how deep wasn't done by your average individual.

"Fujin-niichan!"

"You're Fujin you idiot!" the disguised Anko barked.

"…I am?…Oh, yeah!"

Anko dashed at Fujin before he could react and landed a blow that should have sent rendered him unconscious but the technique finally ended just as the blow landed. Enough to send the last Stupid Brother soaring and hopefully out of the fight.

"Oh… fuck," Anko gasped. Her entire being sore and tired unlike ever before.

"Anko-sensei?" Hinata appeared beside her, the hostages with the Hyuga along with the tied up bandits that surrendered.

"What was that?" Ino asked her team leader while Hinata's hands began glowing on the tired kunoichi.

"A very sp…ecial combination Henge Midori… and I pulled …off…hah," huffed a clearly tired Anko, "Combination Hen… henges with summo…ns ain't… easy to… pull off though. Snake summons can use a … unique Henge that turns 'em into hum…ans but they keep the strength and durability o…of their size. Midori and I used a combination Henge … to look like Tsunade-sama…hah. Heard the Stupid …Bros are scared …of her. Big gamble though…. To be honest… this was the first time we ever did something like that…in years. Oh, fuck, I'm beat…" because of Midori's condition, the unique transformation technique of her clan was short-lived, more so than when she used the variant that allowed her to use the near strength of her original form. Using it alongside a combination Henge with Anko caused the stunt to burn through an enormous amount of energy within an even shorter period of time.

They managed but both were utterly exhausted. Hinata saw the leader of Team Eight and Midori were suffering from [Minor Chakra Exhaustion], and very much doubted they'd be able to do any technique for the next little bit without putting their health at even greater risk. Hinata was no expert, but even at hundred percent pulling off such a move came with great risks.

"Here," Anko tossed Ino a few scrolls, "Imprisonment Sealing Scrolls…Use 'em…hurry…" Ino nodded and went to work. The kunoichi started with Raijin and watched as he was sucked into the scroll, repeating the process with Mizuki and Tsubaki before she went to find Fujin.

"Gah!" Ino tried to duck but found her male teammate slamming into her midriff and both went tumbling into the muck.

Not good! Fujin was still conscious.

"Bark!" Ino listened as Hotto and Fujin fought, the ninken ablaze and raking the large criminal's body, and biting his neck. But strong as Hotto was in this form, thanks to Fujin's perks they might as well be love bites.

"Bad doggy!" Fujin jumped and landed on his back.

"Yipe!" The force ended Hotto's transformation, and the smaller ninken found himself being grabbed by the scruff of his neck.

"This doggy looks tasty!" Fujin licked his lips before he opened his mouth as wide as he could.

|Conditions met! Initial Jinchūriki Form Chakra Cloak Activated!|

The remaining Stupid Brother only saw a flash of red before the world blurred and it was only in part of Fujin's incredible resilience and fortitude that prevented his skull from being caved in by the club of condensed stone and earth. But the sheer force behind it sent him through a large mangrove tree before he ricocheted off another and then landed in a shallow area of brackish water.

The brother didn't even have time rise up before his head was subjected to an unrelenting berserker-driven onslaught that ultimately sent him off to the land of dreams. But even then it did little to quell Naruto's red hot rage, the boy continuing his pummelling assault despite the target no longer being conscious.

"Naruto!"

The blond lashed out at the voice but so enraged he was that he didn't realize that they were nowhere near enough for him to strike them. A fact Ino was thankful for as the sheer pressure from the swing alone was enough to push her back by a step. She could only imagine what would have happened had the blow struck.

"Grrr."

"Naruto?" Ino looked worried. Was this a skill she didn't know of? One that offered power but rendered one feral?

"Grrr."

"Naruto it's me!" Ino told him. But it wasn't enough. Lucky smiled upon her when Hotto barked a weak bark that seemed to knock some sense into the blood. The red aura surrounding him dissipated but Ino was worried regardless.

And judging by the looks of the onlookers behind her, she wasn't the only one.


[QUEST COMPLETED!]

Clear the Bandits from Yuzukamura - Quest Difficulty upgraded from C-Rank to B-Rank

Main Quest Primary Objective: Find and eliminate the bandits (accomplished)

Main Quest Secondary Objective: Find and capture the bandits' leader or leaders (accomplished)

Side Quest: If possible save any hostages (accomplished)

Hidden Quest: Stop Mizuki and Tsubaki (accomplished)

Potential Rewards:

Main Quest Primary Objective: 300 EXP per bandit eliminated, 450 EXP per bandit captured (Bandits killed: 7) (Bandits captured: 18)

Main Quest Secondary Objective: 10500 EXP per bandit leader captured (half if killed) and +250 Reputation [Konoha] & [Yuzukamura]

Side Quest: 550 EXP per hostage saved (9/10 hostages saved)

Hidden Quest: 3500 EXP per individual captured (Half if killed) "Unknown Potion"

Total Rewards (Including Perks)

+49622.5 EXP +, 1 Perk Point, +250 Reputation [Konoha and Yuzukamura], 3 Improvement Points

Additional Reward Due to Completing Quest Above Skill Level

Choice of Improving One attribute by [amount depends on Individual's Skill Rank and Quest's Rank], or Choice of Skill Equivalent or lesser than Quest Rank


The Next Day

The team now leveled up by a considerable amount Hinata and Ino by three, Hotto by two, and Naruto by one but he was pretty much on the tipping point of leveling up to level 31. At least, in terms of setting out what they intended to accomplish. Overall Anko liked to believe the mission wasn't a disaster. How it was accomplished could have been better. That Naruto would call upon the Demon Fox's power in the end was not an anticipated scenario. Her ignorance on the seal that kept it locked up aside, Anko should have. Anko knew it was hypocritical of her to give such a lesson but not practice what she preached.

Saying, 'Do as I say and not as I do' wouldn't have earned her any points as a teacher. Though perhaps she also believed too much in the Yondaime Hokage and his skill. The man was a prodigy and outranked even his legendary/infamous mentor in the field of seals. It was evident the seal wasn't as good as she believed it was. She'd have to have a word with the Hokage when they got back.

Hinata, Kami bless her, liked Naruto too much to push or ask questions he wasn't ready to answer. Ino, unfortunately, having a front-row seat to the incident still had that habit to snoop and get answers to questions she wanted answered. The blonde was quite good at it. The purple-haired serpent summoner would give the Yamanaka the benefit of the doubt to let the matter drop until Naruto was ready to talk about it but would intervene if necessary. She couldn't have the team dynamics thrown up in the air. Fortunately, the blond believed it was a technique Naruto learned that came at a cost.

For now, Anko just enjoyed her beverage and couldn't blame the villagers for the celebration. The bandits were caught or eliminated and their leaders the Legendary Stupid Brothers along with Mizuki were safely sealed away in an Imprisonment Sealing Scroll, not an easy feat given their reputation as near B-Rank missing ninja. The both of them would remain sealed away until they arrived in Konoha until a qualified ninja came to cart them off to the nearest prison. Mizuki and Tsubaki were also to be dealt with despite the former being dead and the latter being catatonic as a result. When Anko wanted to interrogate Mizuki about the seal he had, a fail-safe had unfortunately gone off, killing the former Konoha instructor. Anko should have anticipated such a thing the moment she saw the seal, Orochimaru rarely if ever left any loose ends.

For it was clear to her that this was her master's work. And despite it being different from the dormant brand on her person, there was no denying it reeked of Orochimaru. Even dead Mizuki's seal still had echoes of dark and potent chakra she was all too familiar with. Fortunately, the former Chunin of Konoha was a cocky individual whose sense of superiority and dislike of Naruto got the best of him. Anko wasn't certain if Mizuki hated Naruto for who he was, for being a former victim of his pranks, or if he just hated those he had taught altogether and had gotten off by being vindictive or cruel.

The bottle in Anko's hands was also very concerning, Ino managing to nab it off him before it could be used had been smart on her part. Speaking of her future apprentice.

"What's the verdict, Ino?" Anko already had an idea but wanted her future apprentice's opinion nonetheless. The Yamanaka Clan could uncover things about a person's mind that would prove difficult even for the most skilled of interrogators, even if said person was dead or catatonic.

"In a couple of words: messed up," Ino was blunt but accurate in her summation, "I don't know exactly what was done to her but there are tons of traps, broken windows, and false trails planted in her mind. Her mind is beyond fractured. It's fractured to the third power! Without knowing her personally, I can't tell which is which. This is beyond my skill," it also explained why she was able to easily take control of the woman.

"That's his work all right," Anko educated her student, "The bastard is a sick twisted genius of the highest caliber. If Mizuki were alive it might have helped you discern what memories are real but Orochimaru might have taken that into account and that poses an even greater danger for you. Your old man might be able to glean a few things here and there but for all intended purposes she's gone. Even if we had Tsunade-sama's help I doubt we'd be able to heal her mind completely, if at all," if not for the potentially salvageable information her mind held, Anko would have ended the rogue kunoichi's life then and there.

Poor woman would have to suffer a few more weeks of it before she was finally at peace. Even the Sandaime wouldn't allow her to live out her remaining days in prison, or a secure mental ward - regardless of her actions and being a rogue ninja.

Naruto's ability might heal her, but there was no guarantee and too great a risk. The fewer who had knowledge of it the better.

"What are you to do with her now? Take her back with you?" Asked the village leader, the woman wanting to be present for this. her mood better than before but she was still a bitch in Anko's opinion. You don't piss off someone who saved you!

"She's a Konoha nukenin so she'll be coming back with us," Anko.

Vegetable or near vegetable that Tsubaki was, the Yamanaka heiress knew protocol. Nukenin were to be brought back dead or alive, or at least their head or something that proved whom it was claimed to be without a shred of doubt. Dead was preferable in certain circumstances, but sometimes the village wanted them back alive to learn what they did or if they spilled any village secrets.

"A simple yes woul-"

"Yuzuka-sama!"

"What is it?!" Yuzuka barked, annoyed by the interruption.

"Urgent message for Anko-san and her team!"

"Enter!" the villager didn't have to be told twice as she entered the room and handed a scroll to Anko. As she began reading, Anko ordered Ino to summon Hinata and Naruto. A quick use of the Chat function had both genin arriving within a few minutes.

"What is it, Anko-sensei?" Naruto asked, Hinata and Hotto right behind him.

"Emergency mission, kiddoes! We've been asked to assist Team Seven. Pack your shit up and get ready to leave in ten! We're heading to Nami no Kuni!"


Status Window

Name: Uzumaki Naruto

Job: Genin (15% EXP Gain and +15 IP per year)

Skill Rank: C

Level: 30 Next Level: 97%/100%

HP: 11525

CP: 19225

STR: 71

VIT: 341

END: 469

DEX: 93

INT: 53

WIS: 59

CHA: 16

LUK: ?

Improvement Points: 18

Perk Points: 12

Specialization

None

Fighting Styles

Konoha Kenjutsu-Ryu [Novice]: +1 towards DEX per level (active as of level 30)

Special Perks:

Gamer: Allows you to view and live your life as though it were a video game.

Kyubi no Yoko Jinchuriki: Additional +5 VIT & +7.5 END per Lv, +250 CP per Lv, +25% Power towards all skills, +50% Increase towards [HP Regen] & [CP Regen] outside of combat, Immune to Basic and Journeyman Poisons -25% EXP and Effectiveness towards [Chakra Control Skills], -25% Reputation gain towards [Konoha Populace] whose relationship with you is below Neutral

Unknown Blessing: Your luck is immeasurable. Don't be fooled as it can go either way at random.

Perks/Buffs:

?: Additional +5 VIT & +7.5 END per Lv, +100 HP per Lv, +25% additional EXP and Effectiveness towards [Fuinjutsu Skill], -15% EXP and Effectiveness towards [Chakra Control Skills], ?

Chakra Affinity (Expert Rank): [CP Regen] and [Elemental Resistances] Increased by 15%, Speed, Power and Effectiveness towards [Ninjutsu Skills] Increased by 15%, CP Usage towards [Ninjutsu Skills] decreased by 15%

Vigor Affinity (Journeyman Rank): [HP Regen] and [Physical Resistance] Increased by 10%, Fatigue levels decreased 10%

Titles:

Prank King: Additional +1 DEX per Lv, +25% additional EXP and Effectiveness towards [Stealth Skill] & [Trap-Based Skills], -25% Reputation gain towards pranked for 24 Hours

Expert Zombie Slayer: +60% Power, EXP, Money against [Undead-Based Monster], +30% Increase towards Attributes against [Undead-Based Monster], +30% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] against [Undead-Based Monster], +10% Increase towards Resistances against [Undead-Based Monster]

Description: Uzumaki Naruto's background is shrouded in mystery. Currently an academy student with inspirations to become Hokage, Naruto has a long and difficult journey ahead of him before he can attain his dream. At the moment many consider Naruto as a shoo-in for the title of Dead Last.


Status Window

Name: Hottomaru

Job: Ninken

Skill Rank: D+

Level: 24 Next Level: 21%/100%

HP: 1700

CP: 1100

STR: 39

VIT: 67

END: 45

DEX: 48

INT: 20

WIS: 29

CHA: 33

LUK: 28

Improvement Points: 17

Perk Points: 2

Specialization

N/A

Fighting Style

N/A

Perks

Ninja Dog: Human Lifespan, Ability to Mold Chakra, Potential to speak human language

Komainu Lineage (Guard Dog): +1 VIT, Lv, +15% Effectiveness & EXP towards [Biting-based Skills] & [Detection-based Skills], +20% Effectiveness, Power, and EXP towards [Fire-Based Skills]

Akita Lineage (Tracking Dog): +1 DEX per Lv, +15% Effectiveness and EXP towards [Tracking Skills] +15% Effectiveness and EXP towards [Stealth-Based Skills], +10% towards Movement Speed during and outside combat

Keen-Senses: +15% Effectiveness & EXP towards [Detection Skill], Ignores Henge, Strong and pungent odours can result in debuffs

Titles

Journeyman Zombie Slayer: +40% Power, EXP, Money against [Undead-Based Monster], +20% Increase towards Attributes against [Undead-Based Monster], +20% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] against [Undead-Based Monster]

Description: A two old ninja dog with Komainu blood in his veins. While possessing great potential like his cousin Akamaru, Hottomaru like most Komainu pups require a good amount of discipline and can be difficult to train but are fiercely loyal and protective of their owners and partners.


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Name: Hyuga Hinata

Job: Genin (15% EXP Gain and +15 IP per year)

Skill Rank: D+

Level: 23 Next Level: 11%/100%

HP: 1225

CP: 1925

STR: 31

VIT: 49

END: 77

DEX: 59

INT: 77

WIS: 72

CHA: 20

LUK: 16

Improvement Points: 23

Perk Points: 1

Specialization

None

Fighting Styles

Juken [Novice]: +1 Towards END per Level (active as of level 20)

Special Perks:

Gamer's Teammate: So long as you are on the same team as the Gamer, you gain the same benefits. (This perk can be taken away if the Gamer wills it!)

Byakugan: +1 WIS per Lv, +20% EXP & Effectiveness towards [Medical Ninjutsu], [Detection Skills], +20% increase towards [Critical Hit Chance], Allows the use of the [Byakugan Skill]

Perks:

Main Family Lineage: +1 INT & +1 END per Lv, +15% Effectiveness towards [Hyuga Clan Skills], +15% Reputation gain with Konoha and Konoha Allies, +15% EXP and Effectiveness towards [Bartering] with Konoha and Allies, +15% EXP, Power, Speed and Effectiveness towards [Taijutsu Skills]

Titles:

Novice Taijutsu Practitioner: +20% EXP, Power & Effectiveness towards [Taijutsu Skills]

Novice Medical Practitioner: +1 WIS & +1 INT per level, +20% EXP, Power, and Effectiveness towards [Medical-Based Skills and Items] and [Herbalism Skills]

Novice Zombie Slayer: +20% Power, EXP, Money against [Undead-Based Monster], +10% Increase towards Attributes against [Undead-Based Monster], +10% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] against [Undead-Based Monster]

Flaws/Debuffs:

Diffidence [Lv 1]: -10% towards Attributes, -10% EXP, Power, Speed and Effectiveness towards Skills, Benefits of Titles and Perks reduced, Flaw will become permanent upon reaching MAX level

Description: Hinata is a very kind but very shy young girl who comes from one of Konoha's four noble clans. Despite being trained in the art of the Gentle Fist at a young age, a renown and deadly taijutsu, Hinata's skill is lacking for reasons currently unknown. While not one of the best students in the academy Hinata is still one of the more intelligent students. While most of the girls in her class are infatuated with Sasuke, Hinata is attracted to someone else. Her love for cinnamon rolls is said to rival Uzumaki Naruto's love for ramen.


Status Window

Name: Yamanaka Ino

Job: Genin (15% EXP Gain and +15 IP per year)

Skill Rank: D+

Level: 21 Next Level: 88%/100%

HP: 1150

CP: 1575

STR: 36

VIT: 46

END: 63

DEX: 69

INT: 61

WIS: 60

CHA: 90

LUK: 25

Improvement Points: 27

Perk Points: 2

Specialization

None

Fighting Styles

Rankyaku [Novice]: +1 Towards DEX per Level (active as of level 18)

Special Perk:

Gamer's Teammate: So long as you are on the same team as the Gamer, you gain the same benefits. (This perk can be taken away if the Gamer wills it!)

Yamanaka Lineage (Heiress): +2 CHA per Lv, +25% Effectiveness towards [Yamanaka Clan Skills], +25% Reputation gain with Konoha and Konoha Allies, +25% EXP and Effectiveness towards [Bartering] with Konoha and Allies, +15% EXP, Power, Speed and Effectiveness towards [Lightning-Based Skills and Items], +25% towards [Mental-Based Tolerance], +5% EXP increase from quests

Perks:

Natural Grace: Lv 1: +1 DEX per Lv, +15% Effectiveness towards [Movement Speed] and [Evasion], +15% Effectiveness towards [Speed-Based Skills], +15% Effectiveness towards [Acrobatic Fighting Style]

Titles:

Journeyman Botanist: +1 WIS, 40% EXP & Effectiveness towards [Detection Skill: Locate Flora], +40% EXP & Effectiveness towards [Herbalism Skill], +20% Power and Effectiveness towards Skills when fighting [Flora-Based Monsters], +20% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] when picking [Flora-Based] items

Future Femme Fatale: +1 CHA, +20% EXP and Effectiveness towards [Seduction Skills] and [Bartering Skills], +10% Power & Chance towards [Critical Hits]

Novice Zombie Slayer: +20% Power, EXP, Money against [Undead-Based Monster], +10% Increase towards Attributes against [Undead-Based Monster], +10% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] against [Undead-Based Monster]

Description: Though not as intelligent as her rival, Sakura, Ino is still one of the top students at the academy. Ino is talented in her clan's teachings but due to her attitude and infatuation with Sasuke she isn't as far or as proficient as she should be. Ino is notorious for her gossip and fashion sense, very little happens in the academy that she doesn't know about.


Status Window

Name: Mitarashi Anko

Job: Jonin (30% EXP Gain and +30 IP per year)

Level: 53? Next Level: 61%/100%

HP: 3150?

CP: 2600?

STR: 69?

VIT: 126?

END: 104?

DEX: 127?

INT: 118?

WIS: 102?

CHA: 108?

LUK: 54

Improvement Points: 11

Specialization

Torture and Interrogation Ninja (increases associated titles and perks by an additional 25%) and increases associated attributes by 1

Special Perks:

Gamer's Mentor: So long as you are on the same team as the Gamer, you gain the same benefits. (This perk can be taken away if the Gamer wills it!)

Perks:

Gifted Ninja: +10% Effectiveness, Power and EXP towards all skills, +10% EXP earned on missions and defeated foes, +1 Additional Attribute Point per Lv

Serpentine Grace: +2 DEX per Lv, +25% Speed increase towards [Taijutsu Skill], [Evasion Skill], [Counter Skill], +25% Power towards [Critical Hits]

Heightened Tolerance [Poison] Lv 3: Immune to Novice, Journeyman and Expert Lv Poisons, Resistance towards Master Lv Poisons increased by 75%, Resistance towards Grand Master Lv Poisons increased by 50%, Resistance towards Legendary Grand Master Lv Poisons increased by 25%

Titles:

T&I Expert [Enhanced]: +2 CHA per Lv,+85% Effectiveness and EXP towards [T&I Skill], +85% Effectiveness and EXP towards [Intimidation Skill]

Toxicology Expert: +60% Effectiveness, Power, and EXP towards [Poisons], +60% EXP towards [Toxicology Skill]

Snake Mistress of Konoha: -25% Reputation gain towards [Konoha Populace] below Neutral, -25% Effectiveness, Power, and EXP towards [Combination Techniques Skill] with [Konoha Populace] below Neutral

Journeyman Zombie Slayer: +40% Power, EXP, Money against [Undead-Based Monster], +20% Increase towards Attributes against [Undead-Based Monster], +20% chance of [Double Loot Occurrence] against [Undead-Based Monster]

Flaws/Debuffs:

Sealed Cursed Seal of Heaven: -30% Effectiveness, Power, and EXP towards skills, -30% towards base attributes, -30% EXP towards quests and enemies slain, Reduces bonuses from Perks, Titles and Special Perks by 30%, ?, (Can be removed)

Description: Not much is known about Mitarashi Anko's past, as she tends to keep to herself and only opens up to those she truly trusts. Hailed as a skilled ninja at a very young age, Anko later went on to become one of Konoha's top torture and interrogation specialists and an accomplished tracker, accomplishing tasks where others, other than the Inuzuka, failed. Due to her tutelage, Anko is one of Konoha's best toxicologists, having used and created many unique poisons both in the field and during interrogations. Her love of dango is quite well known and feared in certain circles, some say surpassing even Uzumaki Naruto's love for ramen.


I am so sorry for the immense wait. Two years ago I developed a terrible case of insomnia that lasted for months (I was lucky to get 2 hours of sleep a day over the course of four months). Pills worked to put me to sleep but made me extremely ill the next day). A few months later it looked like I was getting better then it all went to shit. Going from 7-9 hours of sleep a day to 2 hours or less sucks on levels I can't even begin to describe.

I was tested for everything and nothing showed up (no tumors, blockages, abnormal readings, or brain patterns); I did everything and then some and it got me nowhere. It was only in the last few months of 2023 did everything started going back to normal for me and that was because my cousin told me to try indica strain edibles (the first time I took too much and tripped balls and not in the fun way) but I fell asleep after an hour of the negative side effects going away, and since then I only require less than 10 mg to go to sleep and now I got my old 7-9 sleep pattern back (thanks for nothing doctors and naturopaths of Ontario, Canada). The reason why is unknown and has yet to be determined.

Anyway, rant over, I am trying to get back into the swing of things. I previously made a sneak preview but that was taken down. Here is the official new chapter. A few changes were made, think of it as like a WOW update where certain things were nerfed in the next expansion or changed.

Also I recently a new story known as Moon Knight. Please read it and give it a chance. It's a Sailor Moon/Naruto story that for some reason I could not get out of my head. I'd love to hear what you have to say about this chapter and the Moon Knight chapter, too.