Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 2 Chapter 6 ( Chapter 9 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 2 Notes: I had to make up a country name with Naruto-style naming structure. I pulled the name from some of the lyrics to a favorite song of mine. Ten bonus points to the first person to identify the performer, the album, and\or the song name. (Er, but the points count for nothing, so I suppose all that really means is you get bragging rights. Oh, well.)
Chapter 6
It had been a full year since they first entered a town in their disguises as homeless nin, the day he had been taken to a brothel for his birthday, yet niether Jiraiya nor Naruto had achieved their goals in the Earth Country's border regions. They had yet to encounter a single rock ninja, nor learned a single earth elemental technique, and they only had one more year before they had to be back in Konoha. From what he had been told, any one of four certain basic earth element techniques would be ideal for Naruto to learn to counter the fire elemental techniques of the Uchiha. They were the Earth Wall, Earth Dragon Missile, Mud Catapult, or Earth Armor techniques... yet Jiraiya hadn't even seen any of the techniques performed in almost twenty years, and Naruto had never seen them performed. From what Jiraiya had said, the Earth Wall technique would build a wall of dirt and rock in front of the user. The Earth Dragon Missile would work much like the Water Dragon technique, but would be made out of earth and could shoot fire. The Mud Catapult would sent large balls of mud flying at a target. Finally, the Earth Armor technique would act much as Gaara's sand armor technique, only it required more chakra to produce and much more to maintain, it didn't cover all of the body (in fact, it mostly just covered the torso and forearms), and it was easier to pierce. All of them had their strengths and weaknesses, but any one of them would be ideal for the purpose they were intended.
In a relatively subdued celebration of Naruto's fifteenth birthday, they were sitting in a small town's Odango Shack, a restaurant specializing in the sweets. Ever since the brothel incident, training with Jiraiya had gotten harder and harder. Before, the old hermit would give him the basics of a new technique and then leave for a brothel until Naruto had mastered it, occasionally giving small tips after repeatedly insulting the boy's intelligence. Having been banned from brothels, however, by his own reputation, Jiraiya had nothing to do but train. With little patience, he grew increasingly frustrated with the time that everything took. Naruto often challenged him by asking how long it took Jiraiya to master each technique, and whenever there was an answer Naruto pointed out he was learning everything faster then Jiraiya, himself, had. Naruto would have lost patience, himself, with Jiraiya's attitude... if it weren't for the memory of a certain conversation they'd had when they first started speed training.
"Your taijutsu is good, boy, but not good enough to overcome your greatest close-in weakness," Jiraiya grumbled. Then, it had been just a month since he had last gone peeping or went to a brothel, and he was starting to show symptoms of withdrawl. "You need to work on speed."
"I'm already faster then you," Naruto complained. "And my taijutsu's better, too. Why can't I work on new techniques, instead?"
"You think that, just because you're better then me, you're good enough?" Jiraiya snorted. "Let me give you a clue, boy. You have stated your intention of becoming hokage. That, I think, you could manage if you were my equal or better... but you have more goals then that in mind, and it isn't enough to meet any of them. You want to fight Sasuke, right? To beat him down until he goes back to Konoha, right? Well, think of it this way -- he's got the sharingan. With the sharingan, he should improve faster then you do when he trains. Furthermore, think of his current master -- Orochimaru. You need to beat Orochimaru, too, right?"
"I need to beat Orochimaru first," Naruto agreed. "Otherwise... rescuing Sasuke will be meaningless."
"Perhaps," Jiraiya agreed. "But know this. I'm the best fighter in all of Konoha -- you won't find anyone who can even come close to matching me. Tsunade's number two. Way down the list, your sensei Kakashi is probably number three. The problem is... even if all three of us were to concentrate all of our skill against Orochimaru, we would lose. My spies have also mentioned something to me I found rather disturbing -- Orochimaru left Akatsuki because he realized he could never match Itachi in battle, and feared him. Akatsuki is targetting you, and you know that, so you have to worry about how good the fighters are in that organization. So, that's my aim, Naruto-kun -- I'm not trying to make you as good as me, or even better then me. I'm trying to make you better then Itachi!"
With that declaration, all protest fell off of Naruto's lips. He would still protest at being called an idiot when he was getting the techniques down faster then Jiraiya had, but he never complained about being expected to be better. Praise was rare, but he wouldn't complain about that, either. Now that he knew the goal, and just how far away the goal was, he knew he wasn't learning fast enough. In fact, he wondered if this simple birthday celebration would take too much of his time from training.
However, he never let his worries distract him from good food -- and these odangos were good, even if they weren't ramen. Lost in his enjoyment of the dish, he almost didn't notice when four burly ninjas bearing the forehead protectors of the Rock entered the cafe, chatting with each other softly. One of him saw Naruto, sitting alone (as Jiraiya was over chatting up the waitresses -- despite his inability to safely access his regular supply of brothels, he wasn't entirely deprived of company of the female persuasion... it was just harder for him to obtain it), and pointed him out to his friends.
As a group, the four Rock nin walked over to his table. "Hey, kid, mind if we sit here?"
Naruto eyed them suspiciously. "You aren't trying to steal my odango, are you?"
The oldest of the bunch -- probably a jounin, if the Rock teams were organized anything like the Konoha nin were -- laughed and took a seat, accepting that as an invitation. "No, we won't. We just want to talk to you."
"I don't trust strangers," Naruto snorted.
"That's okay," the Rock jounin replied. "We aren't asking you to trust us, or to do anything. We just want you to listen to us."
"Go ahead," Naruto said with a dismissive shrug. "Talk. I might listen, I might not... I might call my sensei over so that the two of us can tear you all apart."
"Call him. We probably want to talk with him, too."
Naruto squinted, thinking. "Hmm... no, probably not a good idea to bring him over right now. Say what you want, and say it to me."
"You're a homeless nin, aren't you?" the Rock jounin asked. "I'm Agate Ken, special jounin for the Rock. It's been years since we last had a recruiting drive, but you're in luck -- we're looking for as many homeless and unemployed nin as possible at the moment, so I'm authorized to request that you join us."
"And why would I want to?" Naruto asked. "My home is gone, but there's always a chance of restoring it."
Agate frowned. "It takes more than a lone genin to restore a nation, boy."
"I'm better then just about any genin you can think of," Naruto grinned. "I just haven't been promoted, yet, for... well, obvious reasons."
"You are, huh? So, where are you from -- or rather, where were you from?" Ken asked.
Naruto narrowed his eyes at the jounin. He didn't like the man -- there was something about his arrogant tone and dismissal of his dreams. It was just like during the chuunin exam, when first Kiba and then Neji kept saying he was never going to win. Still, he had to give an answer, and he had to maintain cover.
"I come from the land of Shattered Glass, and the Hidden Village of Rainbow."
Sitting off to the side, one of the other Rock nin gasped slightly. He was Toshio Kagai, and while he was currently a chuunin at one point he was an elite jounin in the Village of Rainbow. Then a war with the Grass began, storming through their land. The Grass were one of those powerful ninja villages that were in the second tier down from the five Kage villages, while the Village of Rainbow was a small town with under fifty active ninjas at any one time, intended not to fight wars but to provide some sort of protection for the nobility and wealthy of the land. He knew everyone from Rainbow by sight, and he knew of no-one who looked like this boy in any of the families of that town. Nor anyone who looked even remotely like his sensei, who he supposed was the other homeless nin, sitting over by the waitresses trying to chat them up. Obviously, these 'homeless nin' were spies -- a common tactic, but one rarely discovered. Homeless nin were typically left alone, because of the risk of them not being who they said they were, but they were too useful as potential recruits to attack without proof of subterfuge. In this case, however, he had caught them by luck.
Toshio opened his mouth to say something, but he was beaten to it by his jounin sensei. "Rainbow?" the man said, laughing. His laughter grew to the point that he was clutching his belly. "That tiny little piece of trash shack pretending it was a village? The Grass did everyone a favor when they wiped it off the face of the planet. Rainbow was a disgrace to the name of ninja! Why, I--"
He didn't get another word out of his mouth before a fist had knocked him across the restaurant and through the wall behind him. Toshio blinked, amazed. "What--"
Ignoring the look of shock on the faces of the three remaining Rock nin, and the look of frustration present on Jiraiya's face, Naruto stepped up from the table. "I don't care who you are, or where you are from," Naruto declared, moving towards Agate in a deliberate pace, fists clenching. "Nor would I care whether my home was just a couple families living near each other or the largest of the kage powers. Families were lost. Friends were lost. I would not wish the entire destruction of any town on a person, for friends and family will fight for each other, protect each other, and deserve the chance to live together. Rainbow... does not deserve such insults, regardless of what size of a village it was, or what type of ninja it employed."
"Brat," the Rock jounin growled. "What do you, a mere genin, think you're doing challenging a full jounin like me?"
Jiraiya almost stepped out to stop the fight, but changed his mind. He would intervene if the situation got too bad, but right now he didn't need to -- it would be a good chance to see where Naruto was, at any rate. He leaned back against an undamaged part of the wall to watch the fight.
Toshio decided to hold his ground as well. Who was this person? Why was he so angry at the insult to Rainbow? Was he really a survivor, and Kagai just didn't know him? No -- that was impossible. He had known everyone from that town, not just the ninja -- there was never a single blond in the entire village, and its destruction was too recent for him to have been born after Rainbow fell. But then... if he weren't Rainbow, then where was he from?
"I'm no ordinary genin," Naruto bragged, narrowing his eyes dangerously. "I have made too many promises, lately, that are hard to fulfill. I will make another one now, thanks to you -- while I may never be able to restore Rainbow, I will see that any of the Rainbow -- and any other homeless ninja -- are given a place which they can claim as a home... and unite against assholes like you!"
Agate snorted. "Kiss my ass, genin. Ordinary or not, you cannot beat jounin. Give up now, before I kill you."
Naruto shook his head. "Genin, chounin, jounin, ANBU, even kage -- it doesn't matter. I will not give up. And you will lose."
"Try it."
Naruto grinned. "Okay. Kanashibari no jutsu!"
That's an ANBU technique! Toshio thought to himself in shock. What kind of kid is this. And... whose side am I on in this fight? The Rock nin, who insult my home, or the boy, who wishes to restore it but who is travelling in disguise?
Agate was frozen. He recognized this technique -- it was, indeed, an ANBU technique, shared by just about every ninja village's ANBU, designed to temporarily paralyze anyone of any power level, so as to bring them in for questioning. It wasn't perfect, given how easy it was to defend against... but he hadn't expected such a young brat to be able to produce it. He would be able to move again in a second or two, but before he could he knew any half-decent ninja would make a move.
"I could finish you right now," Naruto said. "But I don't want to just finish you. I want to humiliate you, to punish you for insulting the Rainbow who lost their lives for no other reason then where they lived."
Agate felt himself released from the paralysis technique, and staggered back. Realizing what the boy had said, he grinned. Oh, boy -- not only is this kid an arrogant prick from a nothing-town like Rainbow, he's an idiot as well. Any reasonably intelligent person would have killed me right there... but I guess I don't have to worry about him being 'reasonably intelligent,' then.
"My turn. Doton! Doryuu taiga!"
The ground underneath Naruto turned into mud, and started flowing like a river, trying to knock him off balance... but Naruto remained standing. With a grin, he said, "Is that it? This is easier then standing on a river!"
The jounin's eyes narrowed. "Boy, you-- oof!" Before he could see what happened, a leg was in his gut, kicking him away like he was nothing. A second followed up, cracking his ribs in the process... and a third came pretty close to collapsing a lung. By then, he couldn't defend himself, so the shot to the jaw was enough to knock him out.
Toshio and the other two Rock nin couldn't help but stare at the crushing power demonstrated by this unknown fighter. Had any genin ever obtained such power, before, from any nation?
Naruto turned to his master and grinned, giving him a wink. "How was I, sensei?"
"Slow," was all Jiraiya would say, looking angry about something.
The two Rock nin with Toshio looked at the older nin in horror, but Toshio kept his concentration on the younger one in front of him. "Just who are you?"
Naruto shrugged. "I have been called many things. A drop-out, dead last, idiot, talentless, slow, and more. If you want a name... I answer to Naruto."
Toshio nodded slowly. "I see. Well, as poor of a job as Ken-san was doing of it, he did speak one truth. The Rock are looking for good people -- people of your obvious talent level. From what you say, you are... unlikely to be able to join us, however." Naruto said nothing in reply, so he went on, "The Rock have prepared scrolls to give to potential recruits, to teach you some of our more common techniques -- techniques we know other nations already have. If you choose to join the Rock, more advanced techniques along the same lines will be taught to you. We are not supposed to give these scrolls to anyone but those who we believe might actually join us, but... if you swear you will use these techniques to do as you say, and to build a place where the Rainbow and other homeless nin can find their families again, I will give them to you."
Naruto blinked. "I... what is your name, so I know who to thank?"
"Toshio Kagai," Kagai stated, handing over the scrolls. "Of the Rainbow."
Jiraiya's eyes narrowed, watching the man hand over the scrolls. He detected no deception in him, however, as he left with his companions, taking their jounin instructor with them as they left. When they were out of eye and earshot, he turned to his student and sighed.
"Well, might as well get this part of it out of the way, first. What scroll did he give us?"
Naruto looked at them in surprise. "He didn't just give us one. He gave us five. Earth Dragon Missile, Earth Wall, Earth Armor, the Inner Decapitation technique -- which Sasuke told me once that Kakashi performed on him during our bell test -- and... this one isn't really an Earth Element Technique."
"Well, what is it?" Jiraiya complained impatiently.
"A summoning contract... for, um...."
"For?" Jiraiya said, curious.
"It seems to summon a shuriken," Naruto explained. "But the shuriken... isn't a shuriken. I don't know what it is -- I don't recognize the kanji -- but it's some kind of creature which is, in the process of summoning, transformed into a shuriken."
Jiraiya raised an eyebrow. "They're giving that one away?"
"No..." Naruto said, looking at the seal. "I... I think he was, however. Look at the seal on this contract -- this is a Rainbow technique."
Jiraiya looked at the contract for a moment before sighing. "You may have saved us some trouble, there, by starting that fight, but you almost blew our cover... and lost your temper, again." Naruto doubled over as his master's large fist smacked meatily into his gut. "You have to stop losing your temper, boy! This is important."
Naruto looked up at him, confused and uncertain. "Wha... why? Why did you hit me?"
Jiraiya pulled him away from the restaurant -- ignoring the manager who was trying to get someone to pay for the damage, but was unwilling to actually confront the pair -- to where he couldn't be overheard. "Listen, Naruto. We're done here in Rock territory. Tomorrow, we'll start back to Konoha. We'll be going the long way, so we'll probably still have to maintain our cover for a few months until we're outside of the area the Rock are known to patrol. We'll be home after your next birthday."
Naruto grinned wistfully, forgetting the pain he'd just been given. "Home... with Kakashi, and Iruka, and the Ichiraku, and the old hag, and... Sakura-chan... um, and everyone else, as well. It'll be good to be home, again."
Jiraiya sighed. "For some of us, perhaps. However, we'll be learning the entire time we move. I'll take the scrolls first, but you'll be allowed to read them when I'm done. I'll also try figuring out a few other things to teach you, and we'll be visiting some of our allied states to see what they may be willing to teach, as well. By one month's time before we are back in Konoha, Naruto, I expect you to know enough techniques to qualify for your dream of becoming hokage."
Naruto's face lit up, looking at his master in astonishment. A year ago, he would have started bouncing around and cheering at the announcement, but he had matured (a little) since then, and so merely did the backflips and shouts of joy in his mind... annoying the kyuubi, but by that point the kyuubi was used to being annoyed. In that, too, he had progressed -- he now had much more control over his kyuubi chakra, and he could now consciously pull out the kyuubi to fight alongside him, in his chakra, as he had unconsciously when fighting Sasuke by the waterfall. It no longer burned his hands to fight that way, and his natural chakra capacity had increased to the point it was almost equal to the kyuubi's. Therefore, instead of constantly treating the boy as an inferior, the kyuubi now recognized him as an equal... and was learning to accept human mastery with more grace then should have been expected. "Really?" he finally said, when he felt he could trust his voice not to crack.
"Yes," Jiraiya confirmed. "But in that last month, I'm going to be teaching you a powerful kinjutsu... a forbidden technique. It will be very important that you know not to use that technique until you master your temper, because if you lose your cool and perform it recklessly... well, let's just say I don't think anyone will like the results."
Naruto took a deep breath. "Ero-sennin," he launched, grinning cheekily. "You don't understand me as well as you think I do. I never use a technique unless I have to... so even if I 'lost my temper,' sensei, I would not use a kinjutsu to ill effect."
"Let's hope so, Naruto-kun," Jiraiya sighed. "Because while I think I've finally drilled good control of your chakra into your head, I don't think there'll be time to drill good control of your emotions, as well... but I fear you will need this technique, someday, so I am obligated to teach it while I can."
Naruto nodded, then dusted his hands off. "Well, I just had a nice light spar and a good meal, but I think it's time we get back to training, don't you?" He smiled. "I've still got about four hundred techniques to learn... to qualify for hokage."
* * * * *
Notes: Well, it's done... and actually faster then I thought it would be. This chapter doesn't advance the romantic aspects of the plot any, does it? But it does bring in certain important things, and not just the new techniques learned. It also concludes the 'Naruto's journey' arc, since you now know everything. The kinjutsu Jiraiya was talking about is supposed to be the same 'that technique' he was warning Naruto not to use before the most recent manga story arc. Whether it actually shows up in this fic, though, is another matter entirely... and to say either way would be spoilers, wouldn't it? As a point, so far whenever I've used a technique not names in the manga, I've not named that technique in Japanese (which I'm only doing during the performance of that technique, anyway... and you'll notice I never named Ino's techniques, nor Sakura's, beyond a 'chattable' word for them (i.e., you could be chatting about this great new summoning technique you learned, but you wouldn't necessarily chant its name as kuchiyose no jutsu)). Well, I did introduce one technique in this chapter which I may call upon in Japanese in a future time -- the Earth Armor. The chant will be Doton -- doyoroi no jutsu, and essentially what it does is slaps mud on you and hardens it to the point it can stop a kunai (though it probably wouldn't stop anything of a more heavy-duty nature). As described in this chapter, if you use the technique and cover yourself up, you might be able to deal with some fire element techniques... maybe. How effective that technique will be, well, we'll see later. Anyway, I still expect to finish Vol. 2 by the end of the week, but it may be a day or two before I can start writing that final chapter. Very busy with 'real life,' as it were, for the next couple of days.