Chapter Thirty Nine: That thing when someone unexpected gets dragged into a thing against everyone's advice and things get real frustrating because of it. You know, that thing.
I don't own Naruto, any of its characters, or any references in this story. If I did, horrible things would happen. Neither do I own any other anime that I reference. I do own all OC's and new Jutsu in the story as well as every ounce of pure awesome spawned by this.
o. o. o.
"Aaaaah," Naruto groaned as he floated several hundred meters above the ground, invisible below the night sky. "Is it too late to double back? 'Cause I'm starting to get second thoughts about this."
"This was your stupid idea in the first place," Kurama taunted him on his shoulder.
"I knoooow, but the more I think of it, the less sense it makes."
"So, pretty much like every one of your plans so far."
"I'm not that bad…"
"Kurama, stop giving him a hard time," Minato lectured from within the seal. "You know Naruto's plan isn't as bad as you make it out to be. Even if it is a bit rash."
"Thanks for the confidence boost dad," Naruto rolled his eyes.
"It's not like this is the first time you've done something like this."
"Yeah, except Ero-Nii did most of the talking during those stunts."
"Wouldn't that make this iteration better by default?"
"I hate you guys."
"Naruto, are you sure everything's fine? You're not normally this uncertain about most matters."
"Mmmmgh." A frustrated grumble escaped Naruto's mouth. "You mean other than my body still hurting all over, my chakra control being shot, and constantly fearing the ramifications of what's going to happen once I go back to everyone?"
"Yes." The sad thing was that Minato was being honest, as though he had expected Naruto to take those things into consideration already.
The teen's eyebrow twitched. "Fine. Fine. It's nothing too surprising. I'm just stressed, alright? I'm used to massive fights and reasoning with people that at least have a base idea of how to work with me. Not… this."
"Coward," Kurama snorted. "Just stick to what you do best. Beating others half to death with that obnoxious personality of yours. It's worked for you so far."
"You are a terrible motivational speaker when things aren't exploding around us."
"I remind you that I rarely needed to motivate anyone to do anything until I was stuck in your stomach."
"And doesn't that explain everything... ack!?" Naruto muttered bitterly, until a familiar fox tail started to strangle him.
"Kurama, let him go. Naruto's in rough enough shape as it is. We need him at least somewhat presentable for this."
"Tch." Disappointed, the biju released his hold on his container's neck. "Fine. But stop hesitating already. I refuse to see you flounder like some infant after everything we have endured. Stop embarrassing me."
"Yeah yeah. Big bad fox and his reputation. I got it." Naruto waved Kurama off as the latter dissolved into a cloud of chakra and faded away.
Letting out a deep breath of frustration, he looked down at his current objective with a grimace. It was akin to a child trying to muster the courage to jump from the high dive at the local pool; the irony that he was literally at cloud level was not missed.
"Well, on the bright side, I get to finally relax for a bit…"
Taking the first step of his dive, with a heavy sigh Naruto did just that. He relaxed.
An overwhelming wave of chakra immediately poured from him. A primordial flow of power originating from a concoction of his reserves mixed with bits from Seven of the Nine Biju flowed through the air. It was as if a monumental summer storm had just blown in from nowhere.
The sudden change in the atmosphere caused it to ripple in response, shifting and blowing frantically in a frantic attempt to find a measure of equilibrium.
"Aaaaaah." Naruto sighed in genuine bliss as the source of the madness.
"Does it really feel that good?" Minato asked skeptically.
"It's like finally letting a big one rip after holding it in all day. Only with chakra and the cramp is all over your body." He wasn't joking either. He could feel a content tingling all over his body as the stress and pressure he had been keeping in was finally released.
"What a lovely description."
"You're just salty that I'm not letting you rip."
"I dare you to make that analogy involving me again."
"Before you two get carried away again, I feel like I need to point out the obvious," Minato interjected again. "Naruto, you might want to pay attention to what your recently elevated power is doing to your surroundings now."
"Eh? What are you talking…" Naruto blinked and looked around, only to notice that the cloudless night was slowly turning into a menacing storm. Already errant lightning bolts were flashing nearby, and thunder roiled the sky. "… about."
"Hooh? That was sooner than expected." Clearly Kurama wasn't surprised by this.
"Oh come on! I've already reached the point where I'm passively influencing the weather and generating localized storms without powering up or focusing?! The fuck?!" The teen's lament was drowned out by the noise of a lightning strike.
"You have the power of Seven Biju in you," The fox chided him, "Seven facets of the planet. Of course you'd unconsciously affect the local nature if you aren't careful."
"By 'not careful' I assumed that meant accidentally overcharging a technique or throwing too much chakra around! Not simply breathing in the wrong direction!" Naruto snapped, immediately focusing to regain control over the sky, which thankfully, he was able to do rather quickly. "Fuck! At this rate, I might actually kill someone if I sneeze carelessly!"
"Will this be a problem?" Minato asked with some concern as the clouds quickly dissipated and the lightning stopped.
With a grimace and a moan, Naruto thrashed around childishly before sighing in defeat. "It'll be a pain, but not a problem. I'll just have to make sure I have clones around to mitigate the madness whenever I want to genuinely relax now. Fucking bullshit. Seriously, I doubt half of these power-hungry idiots in the multiverse would actually bother with reaching this level if they knew how much of a nightmare it was to deal with it. You want to show off all the time? Have fun warping reality around you and screwing with your piece of mind. Try to restrain all that energy? Enjoy trying to go through life with a straight face while dealing with perpetual cramps."
Most idiots out there thought that most of those monsters with armors that 'restrained their power' and all that crap did it for the thrill of enjoying the fight or training.
Bullshit! It was because after a certain point, their raw power made dealing with day-to-day life an utter pain in the ass!
Quite literally in some cases. Guess what happened when an overpowered superhuman lost control for just a second while going to the bathroom? Hint. It depended on what floor the poor schmuck was on and the structural stability of the building.
And as usual, Scab made a profit on it. Guy actually managed to trademark the 'super toilet' brand successfully.
"Regardless of what you intended, it was clearly noticed."
Holding back another groan, Naruto looked down to see large numbers of people coming out and looking up at the sky. With his Presence, he could tell a couple of them had already managed to pinpoint his current position.
Even if he still hesitated, it was too late to back out now.
"Lovely." Naruto had intended to let his power loose to show off just a bit; enough to show the pecking order to his future hosts. He did NOT intend to make a menacing entrance like some egotistical idiot with a plan for world domination.
A casual wave of his hand manifested a dozen or so clones in the distance that soon faded from view. Most would serve as his guard, but a few were tasked so that his power didn't accidentally fuck over everything more than it already had.
"So how are you going to do this now?" Minato asked, clearly concerned by this new development. They had planned for various scenarios, but they hadn't expected everything to fall apart before anyone had spoken.
"Same way as always dad."
Naruto sighed as he slowly lowered himself to the ground.
As the seconds dragged on, he could see the buildings and people in greater detail. Shinobi and warriors armed with bows, swords and other weapons were getting ready, while civilians ran away, confused and alarmed by the sudden intruder.
It didn't matter either way. Even in his crippled state, Naruto could tell that the small force he was approaching wasn't a threat. Nor the secured building he was approaching.
Or rather, the elaborate and beautiful inner courtyard that he was landing in the center of.
"With a dumbass smile, and acting like I'm somehow the sanest and smartest person in the room."
Without making a sound, Naruto landed peacefully in the center of the Fire Daimyo's home, allowing himself to once more lean heavily on his crutch.
o. o. o.
"We know," Hinata replied to Sasuke's warning as everyone in their group all looked in the same direction.
"Any chance of seeing where he is exactly Hinata?" Shizune asked.
"No. He's too far away for that." She shook her head. "I can only tell roughly how far he is and in what direction."
"Hold on a moment." Shizune took out a map, a compass, and a light. A few seconds later she positioned the paper so that the top pointed North. "Ok. If that's North, and we're around here, then Naruto's traveled in…"
"This direction." Hinata pointed at the horizon, her finger slowly trailing away from their estimated position. "Then given how far he is, he should be roughly…"
She faltered as her finger went over roughly where the capital of the Land of Fire was.
"… Well, it certainly looks like he's making up for the time he lost while he was unconscious." Kakashi tried to stay light hearted, while slowly edging away from the increasingly irritable Hokage.
"I'm going to kill him." Said Hokage was already at her wit's end. "The first point of discussion of the Gokage Summit will be what to do with his corpse, and how we are going to mount and display it for the rest of the world to see."
"I am not getting in between her and Naruto when he gets back." Sasuke mimicked Kakashi's actions.
"I'm surprised you think he's going to return at all," Shizune looked at him in genuine surprise.
"Naruto is one that tends to defy expectations," Kakashi lamely chuckled. "For better or for worse."
"Since we no longer have the Log, and few people even know of the Sage, Naruto will be the new martyr of the world. A testament to human stupidity and the consequences of basking in it for too long. Consequences that I will PERSONALLY enact on him in front of an audience that will record every second of his slow, painful agony."
"That does not look good." Sasuke shivered as Tsunade was enveloped in a malicious aura. "Shizune? Hinata? Any suggestions on how to calm her down?"
"Maim Naruto first?" Shizune suggested helplessly. The sad thing was that she actually meant it.
"That won't work. Tsunade-sama would just heal him so that she could have a fresh go at him." Hinata relented. She was admittedly pissed off at Naruto too, extremely so, but her anger wasn't enough to distract her from the sheer terror that Tsunade was making her experience.
Sasuke clicked his tongue. "Damn it Naruto. Why on earth would you… huh. Actually, why would he actually go to the Daimyo, now of all times?"
His question caused them all to freeze and actually think about it, save rage drunk Tsunade.
"Has, has Naruto even met him before?" Shizune asked, confused.
"No. In either timeline. Even when he was with Jiraiya he never went to the Capital." Kakashi cleared his throat. "Not sure if Naruto even knows what the Daimyo looks like, or his name."
"Even after that Noble from the Capital caused such a fuss?" Hinata frowned in confusion.
"Not that I know of." Shizune tilted her head in deep thought. "We always spoke of the Daimyo in passing and focused more on Naruto's recovery. Even when the Noble was pushing his agenda, Naruto was constantly disregarding the man and focusing on, well, whatever he felt like at the time."
"That sounds like him." Sasuke pinched his nose. "But that doesn't explain why the sudden move. And now of all times."
"I thought it would be obvious." Tsunade hovered over all of them like a demonic wraith with glowing eyes. "It is abundantly clear that Naruto wants to die painfully."
"Tsunade-sama. If I may, if Naruto wanted to do that, I'm pretty sure that he'd go to the Oogakari and request their services. At a premium no less." Kakashi factually tried to argue his case.
"Surrounded by, and at the hands of the ones he claims to care for most," the Hokage hissed.
"… He is twisted enough to probably want that at some point." Sasuke looked around warily, only for Hinata to elbow him in the ribs.
"You're not helping."
"Then you make a suggestion." Sasuke glared back at her. "Why would he personally go bug the Daimyo of all people in a way that allows us to feel his chakra from here?"
Hinata grimaced. "I, I'm not sure. But given what's happening, and what's about to happen, it can't be a coincidence. You know what he's like. As erratic as he is, Naruto doesn't go out of his way to make spectacles this large unless he thinks he can get away with it or he absolutely needs to. If he just wanted to talk to the Daimyo, he could technically sneak into the compound or talk to the man indirectly with his Seventh Sense. There's no need to show off like he just did."
"Then it should be obvious then." All the Konoha Shinobi turned to see Onoki float out of his tent with an irritated look. "Brat appears out of nowhere at a major power's home, flaunting power. He's making a political statement. Not just to the Daimyo, but to the entire civilian congress. Only an idiot would ignore or disregard someone making an entrance like that."
A subtle chill traveled up their spines as they realized the subtle implications of Onoki's words.
Regardless of how ridiculous Naruto's actions were, at the end of the day, the facts were the facts.
Naruto was at the Capital, and he was flaunting his power.
Whatever he had planned, it must be serious.
o. o. o.
Naruto sulked like a small petulant child.
Surrounding the sulking teen were several squads of shinobi and civilian guard, all with their weapons drawn and poised to attack at a moment's notice.
He had expected this treatment when he first arrived. He'd be disappointed in the guard if they didn't act as much.
The problem was that it had been twenty minutes since he landed, and not a single damn thing had changed.
"Oi." He addressed the head of the compound's defenses, a man decked out in very ornate and superfluous samurai armor. "I'm being extremely patient right now. I know literally every person in this compound heard my voice, so there is no point in lying to me. The Daimyo knows I'm here."
"Quiet intruder!" The man held his sword firm. "I have no reason to expose our lord to your filth!"
"Is it because of my 'filth' smell that no one has approached me yet? Or because I'm so loaded with chakra that I could be mistaken for a Biju and no one is retarded enough to risk setting me off?" Naruto deadpanned, his even stare seemingly digging into the poor man's soul. Despite being surrounded, nobody had dared to get any closer to the teen than they already were out of fear of what could happen. They could feel his power and no one wanted to become the first to be made an example of. "I told you already. I'm Naruto Uzumaki. The Kyubi Jinchuriki. Your boss went out of his way to send an exceptionally determined, if not sloppy, messenger boy to my quaint little hospital room just to let me know that your boss wants a chat with me. So here I am."
"You dare show such disrespect to the Lord Daimyo?!"
"I dare show such disrespect to everyone. It's what I do. Fuck, now that I think about it I know more about his wife's cat than I do him…" He trailed off before looking around. "Which reminds me, is that little monster around? Or did it run off again? I need to say hello and catch up on old times."
Naruto did not help his case when he started to appear possessed while talking about Tora.
"Hohoho. Now now. You're making quite enough of a show as it is, Uzumaki-san. Please don't add the slaying of my dear cat to the list of grievances you've accumulated tonight."
He lifted a skeptical eyebrow and looked to the side to see a rather heavyset woman with thick makeup standing on one of the balconies to the garden. "Oh hey. Lady Shijimi, long time no see. You're looking pretty dressed up given what time it is. Did I catch you on ladies night?"
The Daimyo's wife smirked. "As a matter of fact, you did, Uzumaki-san, though that term does have a bit more meaning to those in my position. I see that while you have grown quite a bit in body and power, your childish personality has unfortunately remained static."
"Ma'am, with all due respect, if you even start to throw subtle insults my way, I'm legally obligated to riposte with all the shit every shinobi in Konoha from my generation has said about you since you loaded us with cat duty," Naruto deadpanned.
As serious as the situation was, no one could miss a few of the guards shifting and looking around uncomfortably, unsure as to what to do or say.
More so given the fact that most people often referred to the Daimyo's wife as a 'crazy cat lady' when she wasn't around.
Apparently, the threat held some water as the woman's confident demeanor faltered immediately, and responded immediately by taking out a foldable fan and holding it in front of her face. "I stand corrected. You've become far more indignant since I last saw you."
"Are you sure it isn't just because I look a lot like Danzo right now?" Naruto coyly asked, inadvertently getting a few forced laughs from the guards still pointing their weapons at him that died off as quickly as they came. "Pretty spot on if I do say so myself."
"Don't be ridiculous. Regardless of what rumors there are about that man, he was never as crass and rude as you are, child."
"Feels like I still got the better deal then as far as being a decent human being goes. Did you know that Sharingan that he keeps in his head was stolen from a sixteen year old kid? I don't even want to know the proper sexual term for that twisted stuff. Sick pedophile. No wonder he hung out with Orochimaru and kept raiding orphanages."
The following silence was the sort of awkward lull that followed whenever someone said something extremely controversial. Regardless of what people said about Danzo Shimura, that the man had made more than a few connections in the capital, and his name was not openly dismissed or mocked without consequences.
That said, Danzo was a controversial individual at the moment. One didn't talk about him these days carelessly, for good or for bad.
Lady Shijimi slowly waved her fan in front of her face, her eyes turning cold. "Why are you here, Uzumaki-san?"
Naruto's stare turned just as hard, even if his smile was as genial as ever. "Please do not play the fool Madame. Unless you were asleep, you no doubt heard me as clearly as everyone else in the building. Even now, our words are echoed throughout the compound. If you are trying to stall for time for some reason, be it for your husband, or for the warrior preparing to attack me from behind for some misguided reason, you are not doing a passable job."
"Is that so?" Her words were a mix of curiosity and irritation. With a casual flick of her wrist, the fan folded upon itself, and she slapped it down on the banister, clearly giving some nonverbal command.
Just as Naruto had suspected, a single armored warrior leaped out behind him with a sword drawn, radiating with chakra in a heavy helm splitter.
He didn't even bother to look as one of his hidden flying clones gently pushed the warrior a few meters to the left with some wind as they traveled through the air on the descent, causing the attack to miss completely and making a small fissure in the garden when the blade came down.
Wasting no time, the warrior tried to follow through immediately with a savage slash in his direction. However…
Just as her blade got within range of Naruto, it somehow bent around him seamlessly as if it had entered a mirage. Then as soon as it was far away enough, it returned to its normal straight and rigid state.
Naruto hadn't moved in the slightest the entire time. Still standing in place. Still leaning on his crutch. Still smiling like an idiot. The only difference now was the wisps of ebony black wind that seemed to rotate and circle around him.
He hadn't even bothered to look back at his attacker.
That didn't deter the warrior though, as they pulled out a second blade, lashing out in a vicious dual sword style that would doubtlessly overwhelm most shinobi in such close quarters.
Naruto still just stood there, never breaking eye contact with the Daimyo's wife as each strike literally bent around him as if he was standing in his own literal reality.
"Again, while I have made a rather intrusive entrance, I must express that I am being extremely polite right now in regards to my treatment." He reiterated himself, completely ignoring the fact that he was still being attacked. "Madame, how much longer will your husband be?"
Shijimi's scowl deepened. "Watanabe! Stop playing around! Teach this child some manners!"
Leaping back, the Samurai's stance deepened…
… And a large golden Buddha appeared behind her, reaching for the remaining eight swords that its maker carried in its person.
"Hmm?" For the first time, Naruto took some interest in his attacker. "Isn't that…"
A series of flashes and explosions rocked the garden as eight blades slammed down on him without remorse with the force of a bomb.
"Finally." Shijimi huffed, protecting her face with her fan from the dust kicked up. "You should have started with that Watanabe!"
Her lecture was cut off as the Samurai jumped back away from her attack at a clearly frantic pace.
"Oh! I remember you!"
Immediately afterwards, the stirred up dust and dirt was blown away to clear the garden. A completely untouched Naruto stood in the center of a gouged out octagon.
"You were that samurai woman that fought in the Iron tournament a few years back, with that technique from the Fire Temple! The one that got shafted by that asshole Kuro-something or whatever!" Naruto exclaimed, clearly ignoring the fact that he had just been attacked by the identified woman. "I never thought I'd see you here. Glad to see that you recovered all right, Ao… Ao…"
"Aoshi Watanabe," the Samurai relented. "I do not recognize you, Uzumaki."
"I was on guard duty at the time for one of the spectators. My friends were in the junior division, and I knew some of the guys in the adult. My sensei's actually Scabbard's brother."
"You were taught by a relative of the Blacksmith. That certainly explains your behavior." The woman's guarded disposition did not lessen in the slightest and her blades remained drawn.
"Haha! Aaaah, I wish I could take that as an insult."
"Watanabe! You are to apprehend the boy, not gossip!" Shijimi ordered.
"Be honest. The job isn't what it's cracked up to be, is it?" Naruto deadpanned.
All eight swords erupted in blue flames. "Do not insult my charge Uzumaki."
"Mhm. I'll take that as a professional yes." He didn't blink as a slew of blades skirted around him once more. If the Samurai had hoped that the fires would do anything to the barrier he was protected by, she was sorely mistaken. "Just to reiterate, while my entrance was unannounced and nonstandard, I was actually INVITED HERE PEOPLE."
"And for what possible purpose would my husband go out of his way to speak to an insubordinate fool such as yourself?" Shijimi demanded.
"Ma'am, I'm not sure if you understand it just yet, but that tingling feeling you have right now? The one that you've had since I got here? That's my chakra. Now, I'm sure that doesn't mean much to you, but to your guards and those here? The fact that they can literally feel it is a seriously glaring red flag. They know that if they aren't careful, this entire compound could very likely explode in the next few minutes…. Or flood. Or catch on fire. Or whatever it is that they expect shinobi to do."
"And? I may not be a shinobi, however I am more than aware that you would not be the first that would be capable of such a thing. You may be powerful, but you are still human, and in poor shape at that."
"True, true," Naruto admitted. "That said, the members of your guard here that ARE sensors have been, and still are, spreading word to their comrades as to just how much chakra I currently have at my disposal at this very moment."
"And that matters why?" The woman's eyes narrowed.
"Because I have far too much chakra. I have it in quantities that should not be physically possible. To them, I appear not as an abnormally strong human but something closer to the Biju themselves. To them, I'm the kind of thing they'd take one look at and force everyone to take emergency actions. Truth be told, I'm kinda surprised anyone let you near me to begin with. I thought the SOP of your guard would entail getting you as far away from here as possible."
In a nutshell? Naruto was essentially a living chakra nuke and everyone with a brain didn't want to set it off while standing in its blast radius.
"Humph. They tried. However once I heard your obnoxious ranting, I knew for a fact you were full of hot air."
"You sure you're not mistaking that for hot air you replaced the missing wages these people definitely deserve from dealing with you?" Naruto muttered with a dead stare.
"What was that?"
The teen sighed and looked back to where the female Samurai was still standing at the ready. "Just in advance, sorry if I go overboard."
The woman immediately deepened her stance and prepared for any attack that could possibly come her-
She stood before a Titan that oversaw the endless skies above. One that dictated how the world would move for as far as she could possibly fathom.
And that Titan had noticed her.
Under her unisex mask, Aoshi Watanabe blacked out, foaming at the mouth. Her trademark technique, an effigy of Buddha hovering behind her wielding six swords faded from existence, and her body collapsed like a stringless puppet.
With the sudden fall of the Blue Ashura, the guards in the garden backed away even further from the intruder.
"Watanabe! What did you do child?! What sort of shinobi illusion did you put on her?!"
"Does it really matter what I did? You wouldn't be able to do anything even if I told you. As far as you're concerned, I looked at her and she fell." Naruto turned back to Lady Shijimi with a bored demeanor with a snap of his neck, the sudden move no doubt to cause her to reel back in case he attacked her too. "Judging from your reactions, she was one of the strongest guards here. Makes you wonder what else I can do huh? Ooooh. What's the spooookyyy shinobi going to do neeeeeext?"
Apparently, the spooky shinobi's next move was to start gushing out blood from his neck.
"Ah? Oh come on not again. Fucking killed the mood." Before anyone could make heads or tails of what they had just witnessed, a clone had appeared next to the intruder as the original took out a spare set of bandages. "Seriously? I literally can't even turn my head without opening these damn wounds?"
"Good thing Baa-chan loaded everyone up with extra supplies for the trip." The clone began to help remove the gauze and red-soaked wrappings. "Then again, that might have just been in preparation for when she kills you when you get back."
"By all means, threaten me with a good time."
"He's injured!" Shijimi shouted.
"HE is also not deaf!" Naruto snarled, pulling off the last of the cloth from his neck to reveal the deep half healed half burnt gouges and lines littering his flesh, right over where his major chakra veins travelled. "HE is also not at all bothered by this turn of events, which begs the question of what horrible thing HE has possibly set up for anyone dumb enough to try and do something stupid!"
An arrow was fired from somewhere in the rooftops, and as expected, skirted around him as soon as it got in range of his barrier.
The arrow then impaled the ground behind him, and blew up with the exploding tag wrapped around it. No one even needed to wait to see if it worked or not. They could literally see the explosion being forced around the barrier, unable to punch through.
Naruto didn't even bother to acknowledge the attack, more busy replacing his dressing with the clone. "For fucks sake, what happened to hospitality for VIP's? Making me wait. Attacking guests. I haven't even been offered tea and crackers. Seriously, this place is nowhere near as hyped up as people make it out to be."
"I know." The clone nodded in agreement, acting more like a gossiping midwife than anything. "They aren't even considering the work it's going to take for the poor gardeners to fix this mess after we leave. Unless they have some experience in jutsu, it's going to take them days to clean all this up."
"So disappointing." The two shook their heads in shame, only for the gesture to tear open another one of Naruto's wounds on the other side of his neck, making the other side of his body red. "Son of a bitch!"
"Are, are you mocking me? Is this some sort of joke to you boy?" The Daimyo's wife genuinely couldn't make heads or tails of what was happening.
"Oi! If women are occasionally allowed leeway when they start painfully spraying blood at inopportune times, then I should get the same treatment! It's a thing called Gender Equality!" Naruto shouted defiantly before turning to the clone. "No, don't use that salve. That's the one for burns. It's the blue tube. No not- yeah that one."
He completely ignored all the frowns he was getting.
"Did, did he just make a period joke to the Daimo's wife while accusing her of being sexist?" One guard whispered to another.
"I'm more surprised by the fact that he looks like he meant it," the other muttered back.
"Who is this nut?" A third asked. "I know stronger shinobi tend to be crazy, but this kid… is he even human? His chakra. The hell is up with him? He acts like a clown and is hurt all over, but, fuck he knocked out Watanabe-dono just by looking at her."
That last reminder sent chills down their spine. The Blue Ashura wasn't just part of the elite non-shinobi royal guard of the Daimyo's estate. She was the one that was responsible for training the bulk of said non-shinobi security. They had seen her go toe to toe with the remnants of the Twelve Guardian Shinobi that protected the Daimyo, and not once had anyone ever taken her out so easily or quickly.
Taking a look at Shijimi, it was abundantly clear that his antics were taking their toll. Surprisingly enough though, she didn't explode with more threats or demands for the security to take him down. "You are not worth my husband's attention, Uzumaki. Not after this disastrous display you have given us tonight. Whatever nonsense you deemed the Daimyo's time can be routed through myself. Otherwise, I recommend you leave and hope that the ramifications of your actions won't ruin everything you hold dear. We may not be shinobi, but there is a reason why the Hidden Villages answer to their betters."
"If you're talking about those failsafes all Daimyo have in their Capitals that cause chain reactions to destroy their respective Hidden Villages via influencing Leyline flows, yeah, I already found out about those a long time ago." Naruto waved her off lazily as if she was not even worth his time before looking at his clone. "You got the new bandages? Ok, I'll hold this end and you- right. Just like, too tight! Too tight! You're wrapping me, not crushing my ribs! I'm still tender! Stop pretending to be Sakura!"
"You want me to be Baa-chan?" The clone grumbled.
"What's the difference? They both have man hands."
Shijimi wasn't distracted by the comedy show. In fact, she was downright alarmed. "Y-You know about the failsafes?! How?! The Kage are forbidden from telling anyone outside of their immediate successors of them!"
"I'm a Sage, lady. Despite common belief, it entails more than me being buddy buddy with talking animals and walking around half naked in the middle of nowhere to "get closer to nature". I can sense Leylines as clearly as a person can see light. It didn't take me long to pick out that every Capital City and Hidden Village were on linked Leylines, and that the Capital cities were always upstream of their respective villages. Once is coincidence, but all FIVE villages?"
Naruto shook his head in disappointment, just as his clone finished wrapping him up. "But, if you're that determined for me to leave, then fine."
That last statement, as expected, caught everyone flatfooted. "… Please elaborate, Uzumaki. After your disrespectful performance and demands, you would just leave like that?"
They didn't know what to expect as a response, but his genuinely honest smile wasn't it. Nor the shivers that came with it.
"Of course. You see, while the Daimyo did invite me here, I was unsure as to what his intentions were. I was curious to see what all the hype was, and what he intended. If he impressed me as a leader, then I would treat him with the respect he deserved, however if his request was merely a poorly thought out power play, then I would treat him just in kind."
"You dare speak of my husband the Daimyo like that?!" Shijimi snarled.
The Capital was under scrutiny. The One that Claimed the Skies bore down upon the lands of man… and found it wanting.
Naruto's smile was gone, replaced with a bored expression and a cold glare that shut the woman up immediately.
"You dare speak to me like that? A woman whose only claim in life is that she spread her legs for someone in a more powerful position than most, and wasn't thrown away like the whores he has on call? The ones that warm his bed far more frequently than the devoted wife you claim to be?"
It was the way he slightly squared his shoulders. The way he stiffened his facial muscles, postured his body, articulated his words. Within moments, what stood in front of them was not a rather powerful childish teen with an attitude, but a young man that held POWER and AUTHORITY far greater than everyone there combined.
"Allow me to try this again, as being amicable and approachable clearly seems to give you the hilariously false impression that I am someone that you can command like the lemmings that reside here." Every word he spoke seemed to drill itself into the ears of all within his range. "Your Daimyo has invited me here. In spite of the overwhelming level of power I clearly possess, levels of power that most would approach and treat with the utmost caution, I have been greeted with swords, assault, and demands. The one that requested my presence has yet to appear, and I have not been provided any accommodations worthy of a guest of my stature and condition."
His presence grew, as did his irritation. His body may be injured, but his power, his mind, his wrath held no limits.
"My treatment has been so deplorable that I am beginning to suspect that your Lord never intended to greet me at all, announced or not. If that is the case, then I will indeed leave, as your leader clearly does not intend to treat me with the bare minimum respect and significance he knows I represent."
The blonde's tone grew colder and more absolute. The very air around him seemed to twist and writhe irritably to reflect his irritation. "Moreso, should that happen, any and all decisions I make afterwards will without question take him into as much consideration and respect as he has done myself."
There was not a single sentient being that did not take a step away from him in unconscious fear.
"Don't misunderstand. I have not, nor do I intend to harm a single person here. There's no point in such a pointless action." Naruto didn't look away from Lady Shijimi, his cold gaze literally forcing her to maintain her own out of fear. "I am merely indicating that after the treatment I have received, your existences will not be a factor in any decision I make in the future, so long as you do not make yourselves an issue to begin with. You'd matter as much as the spare change in my pocket."
"And how much more valuable could I be than your loose change? Naruto Uzumaki?"
The soft spoke, yet unwavering new voice came from the other side of the garden. It was so unexpected that nearly every head snapped its way, save for Naruto's own.
The teen's lips twitched, not enough to smile, but to express some amusement. Looking back, he saw the Daimyo of the Land of Fire with a fan that matched his wife's hiding the bottom of his face. Initially, Naruto was reminded of a basset hound with the deep bags under the man's eyes and his sagging skin. Asuma was right, the guy looked flakey as hell from the way he carried himself and his whimsical voice.
But there was no hiding that unusual cold stare the man held. Even with Naruto's Presence out, the man was holding his ground.
"That depends on you. Could have been higher, all things considered. Your hospitality leaves much to be desired. No tea or crackers, and I've been forced to stand since I arrived." Naruto paused and looked at some of the bloodstains on the ground near him. "Ah, do ignore the blood if you would. It and the spilling are mine. My prior injuries are still a bit aggressive."
"My apologies. We are unaccustomed to hosting unexpected guests of your stature. My security is rather strict and dedicated to maintaining consistency. It leads them to be ironically rather inconsistent whenever faced with events they are unprepared for." The man waved his fan casually before turning his attention to his wife. "Which begs the question why my dear was able to interact with you with so little interference."
"M-My Lord Husband…"
"Guards." The Daimyo cut her off. "Please escort the lady of the house to her quarters. It has clearly been a long night for her."
The heavyset woman looked like she was about to protest when the pair of samurai that had been behind her walked up and gently nudged her back inside the compound.
"They couldn't have done that earlier?" Naruto frowned, not hiding the frustration he felt.
"They are ordered to follow her requests when possible unless it puts her health in danger." The Daimyo approached him. "Though that does raise the question as to why they would grant her such freedoms when you arrived. Your entrance was not subtle. They should have known better than to risk an escalation."
"Admittedly, it was somewhat more aggressive than I had anticipated. I will take the blame for that misstep." Naruto relented, turning to face the man properly. "You know how to use chakra. Your levels aren't exactly at civilian level."
Not at genin level either, but the man without question had something going on.
"I have a basic understanding. Certain functions of my position require its use to a minor extent. The only outstanding trait I do possess is my somewhat minor sensory capabilities. From what I've been told, most shinobi can train to match or surpass my degree of profession, but it is enough for a civilian like myself to avoid most minor obstacles."
Naruto couldn't help but snort lightly in amusement. The man had all but admitted that Naruto's sudden appearance and chakra levels had all but freaked him out. Still, the fact that he admitted to his ability was a slight surprise. A pleasant attempt to earn some trust. "Asuma-sensei was right. You are interesting."
"How is Sarutobi-kun? It's been a while since he left my services. Last we spoke was during those peculiar Chunin exams that you took part in."
"He's doing pretty good. Still smoking and taking it easy, though he has taken his performance more seriously recently. I think he's finally going to pop the question to his girlfriend after everyone's been pushing him for who knows how long."
"Hyuuga." "Hinata." Minato and Kurama chided at the hypocrite.
"Shut up. Not the time you guys."
"Fufu. Yes, he did always seem quite unsure when it came to long term commitment. I offered him a permanent position here more times than I care to admit, but that man was always unsure of what his answer was to the day he left." The man laughed politely. Genuine, but controlled.
"Heh. Even the Daimyo's ripping on him. He's never going to live that down." Naruto matched his mirth without hesitation.
Those still present watched the pair laugh, and couldn't help but suppress an instinctual shiver. From their perspective, they weren't watching a shinobi and their boss converse casually, but two predators sizing one another up while pretending to casually lay down and play friendly. In terms of raw strength, there was no question that the intruder stood on a plateau that they couldn't even see, however the playing field was without question the Daimyo's, and everyone knew it.
"Come. Come. Let us move to a more appropriate setting. As you said, standing for so long in your condition outside must be rather tiresome. I have a room suitable for our conversation," the Daimyo beckoned amicably before turning around.
"Thanks. It'll be nice to have a decent place to rest for once. I've been running around doing tasks ever since I could get out of the hospital, and even then I still have to return there." Naruto took the invitation in stride, the soft tapping of his crutch echoing throughout the expansive garden with each stride he took.
"I thought that Tsunade-dono would have adequate beddings for someone of your stature."
"They're good for operations and staying in for a while, but no matter how often I go there, staying at the hospital just rubs me the wrong way. There's just something about sleeping in your own bed at home, ya know?"
"Fufu. I suppose you have me there. I too am familiar with the feeling of longing for one's own accommodations after long trips, regardless of the outstanding hospitality received from my hosts."
"That said, I'm guessing you've also thought about sneaking away some mattresses and pillows over the years for yourself." Naruto smirked.
"I'm the Daimyo. I'm perfectly capable of purchasing my own whimsical commodities from time to time, regardless of price." The Noble's smirk matched his guest's, neither confirming nor denying Naruto's accusation.
Those smiles did nothing to suppress the uncertainty that onlookers felt, as the pair vanished deeper into the compound.
o. o. o.
The meeting room turned out to be rather simple. It wasn't that big, and empty for the most part, but the paddings he and the Daimyo sat on were extremely comfortable, and the view of the garden they had left earlier indicated that they were on the third floor of the compound.
That said, the biggest give away that the room was important were the layers upon layers of seals all over the place. Naruto had a sneaking suspicion that even he wouldn't have been able to find this place if he had been looking for it earlier.
That and the hidden chambers above and below where several of his host's guards were watching his every move.
"Good tea." Naruto hummed as he took a sip from his cup with proper posture. It normally wasn't something he'd bother to learn, but Ghost hammered it into him as part of his lessons on "how to properly bullshit to any demographic".
He didn't know every rule off the top of his head, but that's where having the soul of a Hokage that gave a damn in his head came in handy.
"It's an herbal concoction I've been told that expedites the healing process," the Daimyo elaborated. "Normally I take it when I'm under the weather, but I fear your condition requires something more potent. To be frank, I am somewhat surprised your injuries are still so prominent. Not to dismiss your ordeal, however I assumed that Tsunade-dono would achieve more over the past month."
"She did. The reason why I'm practically cosplaying Danzo is because of a radical additional procedure I had to undertake recently."
"Hoh? Your state was that severe?"
"The specifics are a bit much, but to summarize, imagine the equivalent of rebreaking and resetting several of the largest bones in your body that had healed improperly simultaneously, only for your own chakra system."
"Sounds quite unpleasant." To his credit, the Daimyo didn't flinch at the analogy.
"And then some. However, it is done, and I'll recover eventually."
"I am surprised that Tsunade-dono didn't catch that earlier."
"Balancing out Biju chakra is finicky like that."
"Ah." The man nodded, finally getting the picture. "I hope for a quick recovery."
"I do too. Getting tired of accidentally bleeding on people from out of nowhere."
"If you could…"
"Don't worry. Already taking precautions. That reminds me, give the gardeners a bit extra for the cleanup down there will you? I'll cover it."
"No point in pissing off the bystanders that have to clean up after me. Might as well let them know that I recognize they exist and value their efforts in some form."
The Daimyo's eyes hardened slightly. "Speaking of bystanders, I was slightly surprised when you spoke so loosely about certain topics with my wife. One would think that you did not care about the security of your village by exposing such secrets."
Naruto smirked slightly. "You mean the failsafe Leyline triggers? You do not have to be so concerned about that."
His voice echoed from the top of the room. "Just as I am able to control what I say."
Now from the floor. "Dictating where I am heard is just as easy."
Finally, as a whisper in only one of the Daimyo's ears. "And who as well."
"Humph." The man huffed, and took another drink. "You clearly have not grown out of your reported immature habits."
"Keeps things interesting." The teen shrugged. "Takes a while to get it right though, especially with so many people around."
It was as much a confession as it could get. Naruto had known where the Daimyo was while waiting, or at least, he had known where the man had been hiding by the time Shijimi started to make a fool of herself. The fact that the teen had played oblivious meant that he was more interested in what the ruler would do than his own personal agenda.
The teen didn't visit to request something of the Daimyo. This entire visit, his unannounced and intimidating entrance. It was first and foremost an evaluation of the man's character.
The elder man frowned, but hid it behind another sip of his drink. He was not partial to the idea of being looked down upon by someone that could be his grandchild, regardless of how powerful they were.
Then again, if the boy was as strong as he assumed, and secretly feared, then he was curious as to why exactly his guest would be in such a rush to put on such an offensive performance. It no doubt had something to do with the Gokage Summit, but there was something else amiss. Peculiar.
"An interesting little trick. Will you be employing it during our conversation?" The man hummed curiously.
Naruto's eyes glimmered with some amusement, his voice returning to normal. "I'd prefer not to. Establishing some form of trust is paramount to making any sort of decisions between parties after all."
Ah, so he does want something after all. "And what would I need to do to establish that desired trust?"
The teen shrugged, as if the topic wasn't that significant. It wasn't convincing in the slightest. "What we'll talk about will be a bit sensitive, even for myself."
He held two fingers up. "You can have two of your guards present for this. People that you trust beyond all others. Everyone else needs to leave. That's my condition before we can move forward."
It was without question a curious request. Most envoys and the like often requested absolute privacy regarding sensitive matters, however Naruto desired a specific number of onlookers. For evidence? To provide an example? He clearly had some sort of intention for his guards. "I hope you are not planning anything unsavory."
Naruto rolled his eyes. "If I wanted to make an example or make myself to be some sort of cruel overwhelming jerk I would have done it by now. I have no intention of hurting any of your men."
The two held eye contact for several long moments before the elder conceded the younger's point. Putting his tea down, he sighed. "Chiriku. Kitane."
Two shinobi appeared immediately behind the Daimyo, both wearing sashes identical to the one that Asuma wore. Both were immensely stocky men despite being shinobi, one being a bald monk while the other a bo staff wielding man with brown hair that was almost shaved to the point of being a Mohawk.
"Daimyo-sama, I must protest..." Kitane frowned, never taking his eyes off of Naruto.
"As Uzumaki stated before, if he wanted to do us harm, he would have done so already," his superior interrupted him. "You two may stay, the rest please vacate this meeting."
While no sounds were made, Naruto could feel the reluctance as the remaining security above and below him eventually left.
Soon enough, it was abundantly clear that those that remained intended to do so.
"So it's just us then." Naruto smiled pleasantly.
"Indeed." The Daimyo nodded.
A faint whisper echoed, as if hidden behind a curtain. "So if I were to locate someone still here, there would be no complaints if I were to be, liberal?"
That bit did indeed catch the man unawares and still his hand for a moment. Reaching out with his limited senses, he could find nothing amiss, but if the boy spoke true…
He nodded shallowly.
The loud sound of a body falling through the ceiling and one ripped from the floor made the Daimyo's guards jump in alarm and instantly move to protect their charge.
Naruto simply smirked in amusement and sipped his tea.
"What madness is this, Uzumaki?!" Kitane snarled, his staff pointed at the teen threateningly.
"Cleanup, obviously. We're supposed to be alone, aren't we?" With a casual gesture, the two struggling intruders were lifted helplessly up midair and pulled towards him. Both were dressed all in dark shinobi clothes, hoods, and masks to hide their identities. No immediately identifying features other than the fact that one was male and one female and both were clearly trained.
"Y-You. Kyubi… Urk?!" The woman tried to say something before something clearly caught her throat.
"What did you do to them?" Chiriku frowned, never letting his guard down.
"An advanced form of aerokinesis." Naruto casually replied. "To sense them. To hold them up. To drag them in here…"
The two intruders instantly twitched and screamed in pain.
He flicked his fingers, and the pair's masks were split down the middle, revealing their faces and their desperately flexing mouths. On their tongues, a seal was seen as clear as day.
"To dislocate their jaws, and to keep their mouths and tongues in place so that they don't bite said tongues off, or pop the cyanide pills in those false teeth of theirs." It was abundantly clear that Naruto was enjoying this macabre of a show. "Well would you look at that. Those are some awfully familiar seals."
ROOT. The Daimyo this time didn't suppress his shiver. He had been watched without his supervision for who knows how long. He may have been fond of Danzo's rather extensive measures and saw the necessity of what he did, but this was clearly further than what he deemed acceptable.
"Lord Daimyo!" Several of the guards that no doubt had just left moments earlier burst through the main door, arms at the ready to fight for his survival.
To his credit, he appeared far more calm and collected than he had any right to be at the moment. A lifetime of politics and assassination attempts tend to have that effect. With a wide flourish, he swung his fan in the direction of the floating intruders. "It appears that Uzumaki has done me the service of exposing some long term intruders. They seem to be of the dedicated sort, so do make sure to ensure that they are well enough to speak later. I will be most disappointed if they expire before providing anything of substance."
It took more than a bit for security to finally get that Naruto wasn't (technically) at fault for this latest disturbance, and took the prisoners to the dungeons. During which, Naruto and the Daimyo moved to a nearby room with a near identical setup.
"I believe it would be best to start anew. Naruto Uzumaki, I am Heitaro Madoka, the Daimyo of the Land of Fire."
"Oh sweet heavenly fucking ramen finally! That's his name! THANK YOU!" Naruto shouted in blessed relief in his head.
"You know you could have just asked me." Minato muttered.
"Shut up unhelping voice in my head!" He shut his father up before returning to reality. "Heitaro Madoka, I am Naruto Uzumaki, Jinchuriki of the Kyubi, shinobi of Konoha, and possibly the most powerful native of the planet. Still not sure about that last bit, but I'm pretty confident."
"That's quite a bold statement, boy. You do realize that chakra isn't everything." Kitane scowled.
"Kitane, that is enough," Chiriku admonished him. "You are here to protect, not to speak."
"Out of curiosity, how many of these rooms do you have?" Naruto looked around curiously, ignoring the guards.
"Three, including the previous. And I'd be most appreciative if we kept as many intact as possible." As casual as he sounded, Heitaro was genuinely concerned about the structural integrity of his home.
"Blame Danzo, not me." Naruto chuckled, wetting his mouth with a drink. "That said, we do have a private conversation this time. No brainwashed tools around this time."
Kitane wasn't pleased by the news if his scowl was any clue.
"And would you care to inform me what this private conversation will be about?"
Naruto smirked and pulled out some peculiar sealing tags from his pocket.
"Sealing tags?" Chiriku's eyes narrowed. "I don't recognize the array."
"I doubt you would. This particular batch was made behind quite a few closed doors." Naruto waved them in front of his face. "They're Sharingan Genjutsu dispelling arrays."
"Sharingan?" The Daimyo hummed before a thought came to him. "You believe that I may be compromised."
"Anyone technically could be." Naruto leaned forward. "How much do you know about the one Danzo has in his head? The one he wraps up?"
"Danzo again?" Kitane muttered, more annoyed than anything. "I'm starting to see a pattern."
"How do you think I feel? I'm trying to clean up after the prick"
"I have received the notification that the elder Danzo Shimura is to be arrested under suspicion of treason, subterfuge, and assault. However there were no details on the Sharingan he was suspected of wielding." Already, the leader of the Land of Fire could see a discrepancy.
Naruto's eyes flickered with interest. "And how much do you know about Mangekyou Sharingan in particular?"
"I know of Itachi Uchiha's and what he is capable of. I am also informed that the evolved Sharingan's powers tend to vary between wielders. I must admit, I am not terribly familiar with the degree of danger high rank shinobi possess, but the array Itachi supposedly possessed did concern me the first I learned of it." The man quickly connected the dots. "I take it that Danzo's sample was one capable of particularly concerning applications?"
"Complete and absolute hypnosis." Naruto nodded, waving the tags in his hand as though tempting them with bait. "The kind that the victim wouldn't even notice being put under. The kind that would be particularly useful for any radical minded individual that frequented the political field."
To his credit, the Daimyo did not show any outer signs of discomfort save for a small scowl of distaste. "Any limitations? Time duration? Range?"
He was impressed the man was asking the right questions regarding an illusion like this so quickly. Clearly this 'civilian' was more familiar with shinobi and illusions than he let on. "From what I can tell, it takes up a ton of power. Normally, it would take at least ten years for the eyes to recharge between uses. But from what we've found from investigations, he collaborated with Orochimaru at some point and actually grafted some of the First Hokage's flesh into himself. Bottom line, he's able to fire it off once a day."
No point in talking about Izanagi just yet. Don't want to distract the man from the task at hand.
"And those tags are guaranteed to work, even against such a potent illusion?"
Naruto smirked. "Where do you think Shisui Uchiha's other eye is? I can tell you Danzo doesn't have it. Even did a trial run on the fox itself just to be sure."
"That was the only time I will allow myself to be put under an illusion by any Uchiha. Benefits or not, you still owe me an insufferable debt for that insult." Kurama hissed from his chambers, seething at the memory of allowing himself to be subjected to Sasuke's Sharingan, even if it was for less than a minute.
"Yes yes, I know. Zuzushi damn me if I ever forget." Naruto half-heartedly placated his irritated tenant.
The Lord frowned, clearly in deep thought. "Chiriku, take one."
The monk frowned at the sudden demand, but complied and took one of the papers from Naruto. Judging from his expression and the way he handled the tag, he had some experience in sealwork and knew what to look for. "How do they work?"
"Put it to your forehead and channel some chakra in it." Naruto shrugged and did just that with another tag. The ink glowed blue for a moment before returning to normal black once again. "Blue and black, you're all set. If it glows red though… well, you'll be in for a headache. Won't knock you out, but I would not recommend any heavy drinking for the rest of the night. The stronger the illusion, the harder you'll need to sit down."
Fortunately, Chiriku didn't seem to be notable enough for Danzo to go out of his way to hypnotize, as his tag came up clean. The priest took a second look at the tag in his hand before nodding to his superior. "It checks out, Madoka-sama. The tag itself is clearly designed for dispelling genjutsu. I did not detect any alternative functions."
Naruto held back a reaction. If his guess was right, then the monk probably had some sort of mind-shielding technique constantly up. If his seals did try to implement any form of mental interference, which they didn't, then the man would have at least shown a reaction to indicate as much…
No. Chiriku was probably the Daimyo's go to defense when he encountered anyone posing a nonstandard risk to his person. Mental attacks. Illusions. Possibly even body doubles.
"Daimyo-sama, surely…" The guard tried to argue, only to get a hard glare cutting him off.
"That wasn't a request Kitane."
All eyes were on the increasingly agitated guard who looked like he was at war with himself.
They grew more concerned as blood began to drip from one of his nostrils.
For a moment it genuinely appeared as if he was going to do something rash before angrily taking one of the tags slamming against his forehead.
He swore even louder as the tag shone a bright red.
"I thought you said that a headache would be the worst he would experience." The Daimyo frowned as Chiriku stood between himself and his disturbed comrade. "I am not too keen on undergoing a similar treatment."
"It should." Naruto hummed, more curious than concerned. "He was fighting himself before he used the tag though. My guess is that the illusion he was under had multiple parts to it and they were contradicting themselves. Something along the lines of, trying to follow 'don't expose yourself' and 'don't trust Uzumaki' at the same time, or something like that. In a situation like this, the deciding factor would probably be his loyalty to you."
"If so, then I will no doubt reward him for his dedication once this mess mulls over as compensation."
"And already you're a better boss than most I've encountered," Naruto deadpanned. "Not sure if that says a lot about you or me."
"Forgive me if I take your musings as a minor compliment."
"In time…" He inspected the Daimyo's body language curiously. By most standards, the man appeared to be in control and calm. However, most standards didn't include some cursory Hyuuga based hellstromism readings and otherworldly experience. "You seem awfully calm for someone convinced he's hypnotized against his will."
"I have lived many years in the world of politics and shinobi. You don't have to be on the front lines in order to learn how to compartmentalize your stress and doubts." Heitaro Madoka hummed, as if talking about the weather.
"Care to tell me what convinced you to go along with this? I am not exactly the most fluent speaker at times, and if you are influenced I'm more surprised that you are able to fight it."
"Humph. Shinobi." The aging man shook his head in disappointment and disgust. "You people rely far too much on your tricks and chakra as an explanation for anything out of the ordinary."
He turned to the curious and increasingly amused Naruto. "I don't trust you, Naruto Uzumaki, because I do not trust anyone at face value. I am a politician. As far as I am concerned, the priority of every sentient being on the planet is their own self-interests. Especially if one carries themselves as a Leader. Loyalty, trust, and comradery are secondary to those interests, always."
Naruto burst out laughing. He couldn't help it. "Hahaha! Ah! I can't believe it! You're joking! Danzo's perfect hypnosis was pegged that easily because he made you trust him too much while trying to play things subtly!? Hahaha! That paranoid control freak idiot actually outsmarted himself!"
The Daimyo was not amused. "Indeed, the amount of trust I have in that man at the moment is, to be frank, unsettling. A baseless reaction that I would expect from children. Abnormal to a disturbing degree. Even now I am unusually irritated whenever doubt in him is raised in any form. That said, I would not be a Daimyo for long if I were unable to smile and shake hands with someone I'd rather be dead for weeks on end. Once you gave me an example of what to look for, I was fully aware that something was amiss. Something that I would like addressed as soon as possible."
"Hm? Oh, right. Right. Here you go." Naruto handed over another tag, still laughing at Danzo's fuckup.
"Ngh. M-my lord…" Kitane grimaced as he steadied himself, wiping blood from his nose and pulling off his own tag from his face. The seal had certainly done something if the burns where the ink had once been were any indication.
"Did it work Kitane?" His boss held no sympathy and got straight to the point.
"I, are you sure this isn't-"
"Did the seal work? Is your mind clear?" the feudal lord repeated himself with a harsher tone that caught the man off guard.
"… My thoughts and impressions of Danzo Shimura are in need of reevaluation, but that does not mean-"
He didn't even get to finish before Heitaro Madoka made his decision and used the seal.
Naruto blinked at the swift and decisive action before turning to a clearly surprised Chiriku. "He's pretty pissed right now, isn't he?"
The monk shifted uncomfortably. "Madoka-sama is difficult to read under most occasions."
He took that as a yes.
Kitane growled as he managed to get back to his feet and took a stance with his bo staff. "Boy. If you do anything to harm the Daimyo, Biju or not, I will make you suffer for it."
"You're welcome." Naruto didn't even bother to try and look threatened. The guy was a bit late for making threats regardless. "Sit down will you? Whatever Danzo did clearly left a mark. You're barely able to see straight, let alone keep balanced. Stop embarrassing yourself."
"Kitane, sit," Chiriku told his companion. "I will keep an eye on him. You're more liable to harm Madoka-sama than aid him in your current state."
"And while you're still coherent, care to tell us what Danzo made you do or forget?" Naruto added with a hint of curiosity.
The weapon master grimaced as he sat down on the floor, avoiding eye contact with the other people present. "I was mostly used to spy on Madoka-sama's meetings for him. Monitor the movements of prominent individuals, and Madoka-sama himself. Other than that, the most I did was lean towards decisions that benefitted Shimura every now and then whenever matters were tentative."
"I presume it was also why you were so distrustful of me?" Naruto skeptically probed.
"No." The man flatly denied. "I just don't like self-entitled like brats like you."
The self-entitled brat shrugged helplessly. "Fair enough."
"Do you know when you were hypnotized?" Chiriku probed.
"Humph." He shook his head. "The first time, it instilled loyalty to him in me. Sickening loyalty. It was years ago. Five or six I think. Any subsequent commands afterwards I followed for the most part to the letter."
"I take it there were a couple that needed an extra nudge." Naruto hummed.
"There were a few private discussions I oversaw that made my loyalty to Madoka-sama conflict with Shimura." Kitane's fists clenched. "I should have known something was amiss when such decisions caused me such discord…"
"Relax. The fact that you could directly fight it in the first place shows you weren't a pushover. Like I said before, the technique Danzo used is a bitch of a move, even by Uchiha standards." Naruto waved him off.
"As is the process for dispelling it," the said, recovering far faster than anticipated. Gently, he removed the used sealing tag from his forehead and gently checked his nose, where he was bleeding slightly.
"You ok?" Naruto probed.
"I shall manage. My displeasure for Shimura's misdeeds on my person on the other hand, will last far longer." To his credit, the Daimyo regained his composure like a pro. "However, now that my mind is rid of those unexpected headaches, I am capable of contemplating more abstract possibilities."
The man in charge of the Land of Fire gave Naruto a cold glare. "You anticipated this would happen, Uzumaki. No, you hoped that Danzo Shimura would be foolish enough to put me under his thrall, under the childish expectation that it would convince me to go through with your visit's true goal."
Despite being accused of having such distasteful goals, and in spite of the other man's displeasure, Naruto couldn't help but smile.
It wasn't the nervous smile of a child that had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, or the plastic smile of someone that was trying to placate anyone they spoke to as a negotiation tactic.
It was the smile of a vicious predator that was eagerly anticipating what was going to come next.
"Very well then. Heitaro Madoka. Danzo Shimura is currently out in the world, unrestrained and enthralling people on a daily basis. No doubt he will come here as soon as he hears what I did. His agents were ousted. His illusions on you and one of your guards have been broken. Even you can anticipate just how badly he would want to ensure you were back under his influence once he understands what has already transpired tonight. All while the shinobi world is reeling from the shit show in Iwagakure, and the Gokage summit literally days away. And right at this very moment, you have the little mystery psychopath that seems to be in the middle of all this madness, sitting right in front of you. The one person that seems to actually know what on earth is actually happening, and what might happen in the future. So tell me, what do you think your options are right now?"
The Jinchuriki and the Daimyo glared at one another. Neither one blinking. Neither one breaking eye contact. It was an unspoken war to see just how far the other was willing to expose themselves, and how far they were willing to go.
"… Naruto Uzumaki. Just what is it you want? What is the goal of someone that even monsters concede owns this world?"
Naruto's sharp teeth shone in the night, giving him a twisted appearance. "That's the question that everyone seems to want answered, isn't it?"
The Daimyo's eyes narrowed. A few moments later he had come to his decision.
o. o. o.
"And that's the story of how I kidnapped a willing Daimyo and why we're taking him with us on our trip!" Naruto stood proudly in front of his stunned comrades, as they processed the fact that the Fire Daimyo was currently standing in their campsite.
"A bit embellished, but that is roughly how events happened." The seemingly carefree noble laughed behind his fan, pretending as though he hadn't just been flown for half an hour in the dead of night over half his territory. "It has been a while, Tsunade-dono, Onoki-dono."
Naruto had to give credit where it was due, the guy took the trip like a champ.
"It turned out way better than I had hoped too! I didn't have to fight anyone! Ahahahaha!" Naruto laughed boisterously without shame.
"… I'm going back to bed." Onoki grumbled, floating back to his tent and completely unwilling to deal with this bullshit at two in the morning.
Two glowing eyes slowly appeared behind the boisterous teen while he was distracted praising himself.
A single hand pierced his invisible wind shields and rested gently on his shoulder.
The screeching sound that resembled a car breaking flat-out indicated that he was no longer distracted.
"Naruto-kun. You really did outdo yourself this time. More than any of us had ever expected from you." Hinata purred in a flat tone that terrified everyone there. "So much so that I feel it necessary to take you back to privately congratulate you."
"I am too terrified to think of a proper riposte, don't kill me!" Naruto shouted, all confidence and cheer gone in an instant, as he was slowly being dragged back into the woods.
"Don't worry Naruto-kun. You're still recovering. I'm just going to make sure that you didn't agitate your injuries as badly as you said." Hinata's voice carried through the campsite as it purred ominously. "In fact, I'm going to take extra measures so that you won't have to worry about that happening for the rest of the trip…"
"Fuck! I lied! I'm perfectly healthy! Someone kill me quick! Baa-chan! I can still literally feel you trying to choke me with your eyes! Do it with your hands damn you! You hear me!? Your hands!"
No one bothered to help (or euthanize) Naruto as he was dragged off into the darkness, and all waited for an additional few minutes as his screams of misery resounded in the background.
Then, at once, all of the Konoha shinobi remaining turned to the Daimyo and bowed in unison.
"We're sorry! He's an idiot!"
Heitaro Madoka chuckled at the display. He certainly wasn't used to long unexpected trips like this, but at the very least he'd be entertained.
o. o. o.
Omake: Holiday Overtime:
In the grand scheme of things, this eventuality was guaranteed to happen. Not at one point, but repeatedly and constantly. The chaotic and nonsensical logic of human nature all but ensured it when given the outlet that its (usually) massive global population provided.
In a secure room, a child who did not even try to hide his affluence stood before a balding and distinctively ragged man many times his age. The latter was dressed and presented passably, but the wild look in his eyes with his twisted smile would put very few people at ease.
"Well?" The child asked expectantly, as though talking to someone that couldn't snap his neck at a moment's notice. "Can you do it? Can you kill the Fat Man?"
"Old Saint Nick eh?" The latter smirked. "Can't say that the job doesn't interest me. Anyone that takes his head would be just as famous as the cobbler himself if the name gets out. And fame tends to put a target on the owner's head."
"I can provide you with as many fake identities, homes, and pasts as you want. Just get me that hobo's head." The child's word grew more demanding and impatient.
"… Throw in a warm island that isn't radioactive and I'll grab Rudolf's nose as a bonus. You can use it to light up the end of your driveway."
It was clear that the kid was a bit annoyed with the sudden surcharge he'd be forced to foot, or rather, convince his parents to pay, but he pushed it down. The man was the only one that answered his advert for the job, reputedly one the best of the business, and most importantly, the only one he could expect to get the job done before Christmas in a few days.
"Fine." He bit out a smile and held out his hand. "We have an accord then."
The assassin smirked and reached out to shake-
Only for half his head to be blown away in a flash of blood and gore that drenched the stunned child.
"Trying to off Nick eh? Sorry kid. Not that I can't relate, but I'm afraid I can't let you do that." From behind the dead man, Ghost seemed to walk into reality with a magnum in his hand.
"Who the hell are-?!" The child's tirade was interrupted as the muzzle of the weapon gagged him.
"Bit of Christmas Trivia kid. The only person that has dibs on old Nick's head is me." The hammer was cocked. "And I don't share."
"You lying sack of shit. You share all the time." Santa Clause snorted from the doorway with his arms crossed, not at all bothered that Ghost had just murdered a child.
"I mean I don't share you, you asshole." Ghost moaned, completely losing his menacing aura and taking out a cloth to clean the weapon.
"That's not what I remember from a few centuries back…"
"Any decisions we make while being high off of our jolly asses doesn't count and you know it. Plus if I was sharing that night, so was the Mrs. and practically half of your elves."
"We lost so many reindeer that day…" The Fat Man sighed, getting lost in memories.
"Still totally worth it."
"Prancer and Vixen still intend to gouge your insides out the next time they see you."
"Still totally worth it." Ghost smirked, repeating himself.
"Of course it is." Saint Nicholas looked down at the murdered child. "Poor Billy. We could have redeemed him…"
The room was silent for several long seconds as the two immortals held their peace.
"… Snrk. Bhahahaha!"
Until they couldn't anymore and burst out laughing uncontrollably.
"You were almost believable for a second there!" Ghost bellowed while holding his sides.
"I don't know how I held a straight face!" The Saint giggled over the body of a murder victim.
It had been like this for eons. Whenever Ghost or Nick failed to show up on time for their annual assassination competitions, they had to support the other the following year for a job leading up to the subsequent Christmas. As Ghost had been on hiatus last year, he had to pick up the tab this time.
It should also be noted that the attempts on Nick's life always escalated dramatically once Thanksgiving dinner turned into Thanksgiving leftovers. Cleaning up and dealing with any would be interlopers was always one of the biggest hassles the weeks leading up to his namesake holiday.
Tis the season for merry making and good cheer, yes, but greed and stupidity always ran rampant this time as well. Boy and Girl. Rich and poor. Young and old.
It was fine to not get with the program if it wasn't your thing. Trying to ruin the program though… you'd have better luck holding your own against Disney, aka, the other deceptive titan of spreading "capitalism and good cheer to the boys and girls of the world".
Some would say it was unnecessarily cruel to murder children that acted out.
Nick would say the same things about the other children, families, and pets those children had tortured, killed, or vanished over the years for selfish and petty reasons. It's not his fault that they merely aimed above their weight class and picked the wrong target this time.
He'd then hand those people a lump of coal and wish them a happy holiday.
"So then, how many more do we still have to deal with today Nick?" Ghost pulled out a can of gasoline and began to douse the place liberally.
"Four more children, three isolated philanthropists that think they can do a better job than me and want to stem the competition when they aren't drowning in cats, and a man recently cut off from his parent's fortune that blames me because he hates the holidays for some convoluted reason. All in all a pretty standard list." Santa took a cigar from his coat and began to smoke it.
"There's always at least one of those idiots every year. Seriously." Ghost shook his head.
"At least you don't have to deal with the ones that constantly try to catch me every year to see how I tick."
"You mean Scab?"
"Oh he's known how I tick for over a millennia already."
"He got you didn't he?"
"… I'd rather not talk about it."
"You wanna just, call it for the night and catch an early dinner?"
"Yeah. Yeah, that sounds nice. We can finish up the rest tomorrow. There's no rush." He paused before tossing his cigar and setting the gas on fire with the lit end. "Now there's a rush."
"Please, as if fire does shit to us." Ghost crossed his arms, literally standing in the middle of the rapidly growing inferno.
Nick gestured to his trademark red and white coat and hat, not at all affected by the rapidly increasing temperature or the cooking bodies nearby. "Gas fire fumes stick to clothes you idiot. Fur even worse. Come on. Let's get out of here already before we give the Mrs. another reason to kill us. She hates doing emergency cleaning on my work clothes before the work day."
"Fine. Let's go." The God of None followed Santa Clause out of the room. "Hey, you set up with the Nog yet? You guys make some of the best shit this side of new years."
"We've been set up since Thanksgiving. Can't go a night between then and the big day without a shot or five to still the nerves."
"You, your wife, the reindeer, or the elves?"
Another year, another holiday season.
o. o. o.
As always, Thanks Kagaseo for betaing.
Merry Christmas! Ya shmucks!
Didn't think I'd get one out this early, did you?
Well neither did I! Bwahahahahahaha!
Anyways, hope this little twist keeps you all still interested in the story. I had to take some liberties with the Daimyo's place… and his name… and his entourage… and a lot of other things, but hopefully I didn't break your grasp on reality… this time.
… Seriously Kishimoto, you made the series all right, but you suck SO hard when it comes to world building and character building anything that isn't male shinobi related. Seriously, what do you have against female characters? The Mizukage didn't get character development, the only one of the Five Kage that didn't, and Tsunade's had hers pre-timeskip. The only major female characters that had any notable development and backstory in the latter half of the post timeskip were Sakura and Kaguya, and both were done so badly that everyone STILL rips on both characters. The civilian culture and general life conditions didn't get development even though they probably account for 99 percent of the world's fucking population. Fuck, you didn't even name any of the Daimyo until Boruto… in FILLER! And that wasn't even you writing the story at the time!
Right. So. Moving on. Working on FFD again next. Should be out in January some time. Stay tuned for that lovely update.
And onto other news, for those that don't read Go Away I'm Watching Porn, I started a Pa-e-on. Yes. I sold out. Sue me. But don't.
Anyways, yeah, I started an account. Nothing big or outrageous on it right now. It's just for anyone that feels like supporting me and wants to get my material a bit earlier than everyone else. The only thing that stands out about it is that I will put in patron only content there. Minor snippets, side stories, and random bits that couldn't make it into the main stories would be posted there.
If it gets bigger, I might start including tshirts for the higher donators, but that's only if it really takes off.
And if I hit a certain mark? I dunno, I'll put the money into requesting art made for my fics from artists… so long as they don't charge me too much. I tried that before and I couldn't find anyone that would work for anything less than my firstborn child… or seven hundred bucks.
Seriously, if anyone knows a commission artist worth looking into, please let me know.
If you can't tell, I'm a bit salty about that particular bit.
Regardless, I am not trying to support myself with this. This is a small side hustle at most. Please don't feel obligated to throw money at me or anything stupid like that. Especially if you are hurting in these fucked up times. You guys come first. I should be an afterthought.
If you guys still feel like sending a few bucks my way, just look up Third Fang in the Pa-eon website. Pretty self-explanatory.
Shameless plugging aside, I'll just leave things as is now. This is coming out xmas eve and I know that more than a few of you have things going on today and tomorrow.
Enjoy the holidays everyone. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. And FUCK 2020!
SO REVIEW! WORSHIP THE LOG! FUCK 2020 NOW AND FOREVER FIGHT ME! AND REVIEW AGAIN!