Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 3 Chapter 3 ( Chapter 13 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 2 Notes: Apparently, a couple people were confused by my age list. That is the list of people's ages AFTER Naruto's training session and the mission in Sand currently happening in the manga. For example, a website will list Uzuki Yuugao as 22. I aged her 3+ years to account for the fact that the age listed comes from her first appearance in the manga -- after which was Naruto's trip to bring back Tsunade, the whole chase after Sasuke, the several months in the hospital, the 2.5 years of training, and the mission to Sand. (Anyone who's age comes from, say, the journey to Wave or before will be aged 4+ years. I don't think there was anyone like that in the characters I listed, however) Also, I had a question about whether Naruto is the son of the Fourth. The answer is... well, I support that theory in cannon, but answering yes or no for the fic would be a fic spoiler. Naruto's parentage will come up... the question, however, isn't 'Who is Naruto's father?' but 'Who is Naruto's mother?' I'll let you chew on that one for a bit. I also had a question about Naruto's kinjutsu. Well, I have something in mind for if I get to the point in this fic that I have to use it before 'that technique' Jiraiya warns him about in the manga is presented in the manga. However, if what appears in the manga works with my story (and it appears before I reach that point), I'll be using that instead. In other words, 'I don't know yet, but I have a pretty good idea.' As far as Naruto's training goes, well, I have ideas in mind for that as well. The thing to realize, though, is at this point, Naruto doesn't really need new techniques, more control, more strength, more speed, or more precision -- i.e., the things a person typically picks up when training under a teacher. What he does need to learn is when to use the techniques he has, how best to use them in combat, what works when fighting with a team versus what works when he fights alone, how to keep his temper in check, and so forth. All these are things which only experience will teach him, which is why Tsunade and Kakashi have told him not to train for a week -- because he just doesn't really need it, any more. I hope to get that across in the coming chapters, but I suppose that little bit of explanation might be welcomed. Oh, with regards to guessing the song from which the names 'Shattered Glass' and 'Rainbow' comes from, I obviously was a bit too obscure. To help people out, I'll merely say that it's a song by Heather Alexander, and that one of those two is the title. With a hint like that, you should have a fifty-fifty shot, but don't cheat -- find her website, which includes a few sample tracks from some of her CDs, instead, and look up the lyrics. I heartily recommend a song called 'March of Cambraeth' to images of the Sand-Sound War to anyone thinking of doing a Naruto Music Video -- the song is available free on her website for listening, and is included in MP3 format with some of the Baen Books (a sci-fi publisher) free-to-distribute promotional e-book CDs. I posted the lyrics and a link to the website of Ms. Alexander on a NaruSaku forum before starting this chapter -- that is why I mention it, now... not because someone actually decided to try and figure it out, finally.
Chapter 3
"Here you go," Ayame said, placing three bowls in front of each of team seven's three chuunin. "One miso ramen for Ino-chan, one Spicy Seafood for Sakura-chan, and a Naruto Special for our number one customer -- even when he's gone!"
Sakura and Ino both thanked the waitress, but Naruto said nothing. His eyes, however, showed his gratitude as he gazed longingly at the ramen-y treat. He had only ordered one (large) bowl, having gotten a bit more polite in his mooching over the years, but that didn't stop him from wanting to tear into it with a fervor.
"Itadakimasu!" All three chorused once she had left, starting on their noodles.
"So," Ino said, smirking at the other two. "I assume your date last night was a success?"
If anyone noticed that the chef had stopped cooking and that Ayame had stopped cleaning in order to hear the answer, no-one commented on it. Sakura blushed prettily, unable to answer. In all honesty, the date of the previous night went better then in her wildest dreams; of course, in her wildest dreams it had been Sasuke and not Naruto who was with her. Perhaps that was why her dreams were just that -- dreams. Even the Sasuke of old, before he had been corrupted by the cursed seal of Orochimaru, would never have treated her as well as Naruto had.
Naruto, though, only had the problem of finishing the biteful of noodles he had, not wanting to spit food all over the two girls in order to answer. "It went great," he said cheerfully. Perhaps not the most descriptive of things he could have said, but good enough to answer the question and quick enough that he didn't have to lose too much more time before taking another bite of the ambrosia which was Ichiraku ramen.
"Naruto!" Sakura protested. Immediately, the two people who worked the Ichiraku went back to business, although they kept their ears open for anything of note. "Don't say it like that! Yeah, it was a pretty good date, but... don't be so casual."
Naruto blinked, confused, this time talking around a mouthful of noodles (though still being careful not to spit any food on anyone). "Huh? How should I say it, then?"
Ino laughed. "Naruto... you have definitely matured, if what Sakura says is true, but you haven't learned a thing about women, have you?"
Naruto shrugged. "Didn't have time. I needed to learn everything I would need to fight Orochimaru."
"And did you?" Ino asked, curious. "Could you fight Orochimaru, now?"
"I know everything I need to know," Naruto said, closing his eyes. "For any battle. I just need to know how to use it better. As I believe you know, I spent over a month trying to learn the rasengan... and I did. The very first time I used it in combat, however, it was nothing like training -- I couldn't use it against a target in motion. I have over a thousand techniques, now, but I have only ever used about eighty or ninety of them in a real fight, and only four or five of the really good ones. I need to learn how to use the rest of my thousand techniques, so that in battle I won't make a mistake that gets me killed."
"You mean, like in real combat situations?" Ino said, then grinned. "Well... I happen to know of a good place to try and work on it. How about, after lunch, we go over to this obstacle course Sakura and I trained at while you were gone? We happen to own the course record for closest to completion -- even teams of jounin have failed at it."
"Ino!" Sakura cried. "We're not allowed to train! You know that!"
Ino laughed. "So? Are you afraid that I'll show you up in front of Naruto-dono or something?"
It was a challenge, just like when they were both going after Sasuke, and Sakura knew it. The only differences, this time, were that they weren't in competition over the boy, and the boy was Naruto... not Sasuke.
Nevertheless, Ino had challenged her... and Sakura would never back away from one of Ino's challenges. "Oh, what the hell? What are they going to do to punish us -- force us to train?"
* * * * *
"No, Inoichi already knows he'll be a jounin sensei for the next class of rookie genin. I know you want another two jounin, Kakashi, but I can't afford them."
"Asuma's free," Kakashi noted. "With his team disbanded, he'll need something to do. He could at least be there during set-up, at least."
Tsunade nervously rattled some dice in one hand, thinking. "I was considering giving him a new team of genin, actually... but since we've already decided on the senseis for the next genin class, I guess I can let you have him for the first year. We're really shaving off a lot more of Konoha's strength then we should, for this, however... I think I can only spare him part-time. We're short of jounin, and this mission is already taxing our strength."
"Well, beggers can't be choosers," Kakashi sighed.
"Jiraiya may be willing to come with you, too," Tsunade pointed out. "As long as he can operate completely independently -- he doesn't want to be part of the chain of command at any stage. He says his main goal in joining you is to protect and train Naruto. I think he may also want one last crack at Orochimaru, if he ever shows his face again, but he won't say that aloud."
Kakashi's eyes narrowed. "Hokage-sama, the way you are organizing this mission is very... peculiar. Tell me, are you setting it up so that--"
He couldn't finish his sentence before an exploding puff of smoke interrupted him, revealing Shizune to the pair. "Tsunade-sama!" she cried. "Our trackers are reporting in -- Naruto, Sakura, and Ino are violating your orders to train. They're going through the training course."
Kakashi frowned. "What is the training course?"
"Sakura and Ino wanted extra training while you were away on your reconnaisance mission, so they got Gai and Asuma to put together an obstacle course for them to train at. No-one has completed it, yet, but the two of them hold the course record for the making it the furthest." Tsunade sighed, standing up. "Well, I was expecting this -- trust Naruto to do something you tell him he can't do. Let's go."
"How are we going to stop them?" Shizune asked. "You and I couldn't even beat the course, and--"
"Who said anything about stopping them?" Tsunade laughed. "We're going to watch them."
* * * * *
"While you've been off gallavanting around Sand country with Naruto--" Ino began.
"We were on a mission!" Sakura protested.
"--I've been training up a storm," Ino continued, ignoring the interruption with a grin. "Naruto-dono, Sakura-chan says she told you about my little... trip... into your mind?"
Naruto nodded. "Yeah. I'd wondered who the old hag pawned that off on -- sorry it hurt your brain so much."
Ino's eye twitched. "It... didn't exactly hurt my 'brain.' It did, however, make me think as if I were sort of half you and half me, however. I eventually managed to take all of the 'you' and keep it away from the 'me,' though... and now, it's really helping me fight and train. Sakura-chan and I were learning how to fight alongside the old you... using an early form of this."
"Of what?" Naruto asked.
"Naruto Bushin no Jutsu!" Ino cried. With a puff of smoke, a thirteen-year-old version of Naruto appeared with a big grin on his face and a short, two-note laugh.
The Shadow Naruto looked over at the real Naruto, pointing one long finger at him.
"You!" the shadow said. "I may only be a shadow replication of who you were, but I'm still going to become hokage one day! Got it?"
The real Naruto scratched the back of his head, confused. "Uh... okay. You'll have to get past me to do it, though, and you probably won't last that long, but I guess you can try."
Ino tossed the Shadow Naruto a paper envelope. "Three soldier pills. Use them when you need them, or when you want to try a rasengen."
Sakura scratched the back of her head. "Is this really a good idea, Ino? I mean... do you think they'll get along?"
Ino hesitated. "Well, they're both Naruto, right? He can get along with himself, can't he?"
Sakura sighed. "Do you remember, in your catalog of Naruto recollections, his first bell test?" Ino's flat-eyed look was all the answer she needed, as both girls recalled the incident where Naruto and his shadow clones started beating each other up because they figured one of them was an imposter. "So, I ask again, do you think they'll get along?"
"Okay," the real Naruto was saying. "We'll go in using an X formation. The two girls will be in the rear. Shadow-me, you'll be on Ino's side. I'll be on Sakura-chan's."
The younger form of Naruto pouted. "Hey. Why do you get Sakura-chan and I get stuck with the bossy girl?"
Ino blinked. Did her own shadow clone just insult her? That hadn't happened before, even when she had given it Naruto's personality in the past. Then again, this was an enhanced version of the technique... perhaps she went a little overboard.
"Because," the real Naruto reasoned. "You know as well as I do that Sakura-chan will be safer in my care."
"This is because I'm a clone, isn't it?" the Shadow protested.
"No," Naruto disagreed. "This is because I'm you, only better, and you know it. This isn't about our pride -- this is about Sakura-chan. You know why we have to do it this way, right?"
The other Naruto looked at him for a long moment, then nodded. "You're right." With that, he and the other Naruto both looked at the girls. The clone raised his arm enthusiastically as both cheered, "Let's go!"
Blinking, the two girls shrugged. It seemed that Naruto -- whether a shadow clone or his real self -- was quite enthusiastic about any form of action. With that in mind, the foursome left.
* * * * *
"I was thinking of using this obstacle course for the next jounin exam," Tsunade explained as she, Kakashi, Shizune, and a suddenly-appearing Jiraiya all huddled around the monitors which showed the security camera views from said obstacle course. "I think we should see how the new team seven handles it, first, though, before I make any final decision."
"No-one would pass, Tsunade-sama!" Shizune complained. "You couldn't even get through the course! You tried it alone, and then again with me and Gai-kun. We couldn't beat it!"
"I never said they would have to get through the course to pass," Tsunade noted. "And I suspect if you and I spent as much time practicing on that course as Ino and Sakura have, we'd beat it. But we'll--"
"Am I seeing double, or are there two Narutos?" Jiraiya asked.
"If you're seeing double, I am, too," Kakashi replied. He pulled up the forehead protector covering his sharingan, and took a long look at the video screen. It was pretty hard to use the sharingan with a video image, but it wasn't as completely useless as one might thing -- if a picture was distorted or out of focus due to electrical interference, his sharingan could help make the image clearer by isolating each pixel and seeing what it would have been had it not had the interference. An effect of the Eye of Insight that most people never expected. It didn't tell him much this time, however, as apparently the screen image was about as good as it was going to get. He did get a closer look, however. "One of them looks like the thirteen-year-old Naruto, though."
"Oh, that's a technique Ino's been working on," Tsunade explained. "I told both of you about her taking a mindwalk through Naruto's head, right?"
"I vaguely recall you mentioning something about that a couple years ago," Kakashi answered. "You were asking me if I thought Naruto would be upset if Konoha accepted the mission from Gaara and he found out."
"You asked me the same," Jiraiya noted.
"Well, Ino performed the technique, and it left her with a partial copy of Naruto's psyche running through her head," Tsunade explained. "As well as a couple of his techniques, although she lacked the chakra to do many of them. However, she figured out a special modification of Naruto's shadow clone technique that allowed her to create a more durable clone into which she could temporarily place her copy of Naruto's psyche. The result was a temporary Naruto. Sakura and Ino have been training with this 'Naruto clone' for about a year, now, and their teamwork with him has gotten pretty good."
Jiraiya scratched the back of his head, thinking. "The Naruto of then and the Naruto of now are very different fighters," he said. "I'm not sure it will actually help them work together."
"Mm," Kakashi grunted. "Teaching teamwork isn't really your thing, is it, Jiraiya-sama? I'm actually quite encouraged by this. I saw a lot of improvement in the teamwork between Naruto and Sakura, just in the first ten seconds of me giving them the second bell test. Whether it has to do with this training, or with the fact that both Sakura and Ino actually respect Naruto as both a person and a ninja, I don't know. But, they will work well together."
"But will the Naruto of the past work well with the Naruto of the present?" Shizune asked.
* * * * *
Four large logs, impossibly to dodge, were converging on Sakura. At once, without a word to anyone, both Narutos leapt into action. The older Naruto leapt in front, and started reaching back, while the younger started to leap feet-first into his outstretched arms.
"Henge!" the shadow Naruto called, transforming into -- of all things -- an iron-headed mallet.
The real Naruto took the new hammer and spun, using the momentum of the shadow's leap and the centrifugal force of his own movements to make the Hammer-Naruto smash through each log with no difficulty.
Immediately after the clone released his henge, Sakura started to verbally tear into them. After all, if there was one thing she was good at, now, it was physical strength -- she could have handled all four logs, herself.
* * * * *
As Tsunade watched the screen, she smirked. Both Narutos looked identically abashed, and her own student looked quite vexed. Still...
"I think that answers your question, doesn't it, Shizune?"
* * * * *
"You ain't half-bad," Shadow Naruto said to the real one through a number of deep, gasping breaths, several minutes later.
"Of course not," Naruto answered. "I am you, after all."
Ino and Sakura were sitting behind them, panting. They had already come further then anyone else ever had, and in fact were in the last stretch before completing the journey, and were taking the last rest they could before finishing. The two Naruto's were talking in private, trying to decide how to procede.
"I'm not going to last much longer," Shadow Naruto finally said. "But I've got one soldier pill left. That's just about enough chakra for a single rasengan... and then one other technique. I can clear the path for us to beat this course, though, with just those two things... if you'll let me."
The real Naruto frowned. "What technique are you talking about? Not--"
"Yeah," Shadow Naruto nodded. "I do mean that kinjutsu we figured out at the same time we started the sexy no jutsu. What of it?"
"But..." Naruto began, frowning. "But you'll die!"
"So?" Shadow Naruto laughed. "I've only got about an hour of life left, anyway. I told you... I would become the hokage, despite being nothing more than a clone. And I will... if you'll let me."
The real Naruto couldn't meet his eyes. "Even if we only had an hour... it'd be nice. It'd be like having a little brother, you know?"
"Ah, Konohamaru's our little brother," the shadow replied, waving him off. "I know how you feel, of course, but think about it. If this works out, then maybe Ino will make me again some time. If she does that... well, then, I'll be back... won't I?"
Naruto grinned slightly. "Alright. Let's do it -- you clear a path, and I'll get our girls through it. Sakura! Ino! Time to go."
Standing tiredly, both girls dusted themselves off and got ready for one last sprint to the finish. Naruto stood in front of them. "Triangle formation, behind me. Shadow-me? When you're ready...."
* * * * *
"The audio pickup is pretty good, here," Jiraiya noted. "I think I'd like to look at these camera's sometime."
"You are not allowed to use Konoha secret surveillance technology in order to peak at girls, Jiraiya!" Tsunade warned fiercely.
"But... does anyone know what kinjutsu Naruto is talking about?" the other sannin continued, ignoring the barb. "He never told me he knew any real kinjustu... do you know of any, Kakashi?"
"Not from before I started training him, no," Kakashi sighed. "Knowing him, though, it's probably something rather stupid. After all, this is the same guy who developed the 'sexy no jutsu' technique, isn't it?"
"Actually," Tsunade said, "From Ino's report, the 'sexy no jutsu' wasn't intended for real combat. He seemed to feel the only way he could learn the techniques he needed to learn in order to pass at the academy was to get his fellow students to teach him, and so he made it seem like he wanted help in making 'practical jokes' from the techniques they would practice together. The 'sexy no jutsu' was a technique he used because it let his fellow students think that he really was just being a practical joker with all the work they were putting in to helping him. When you consider how he was raised...."
"Outside of his 'perverted ninjitsu,'" Jiraiya sighed, "Every original technique of his I've seen has been rather remarkable, though usually they came about because he couldn't master a different technique properly. He'd create new techniques to bypass those areas he lacked the ability to master, and therefore produce the same result... or an even better one. I've always called him an idiot for not being able to master things faster then anyone else could possibly master them... but in truth, he's rather good at his ninjitsu. Orochimaru's evaluation of him... was completely wrong."
"Look! They're moving!" Shizune said, pointing to the screen.
Indeed, they were moving. The older Naruto was standing in front of the girls, as they moved forwards. They saw the clone take a soldier pill, then make a single clone. With the two clones side by side, one of the old-style Naruto's three-handed rasengan was begun. The obstacle in front of them was a wall, filled with blades which would cut apart anyone who tried to climb it. The only ways to pass it were to leap over it -- a near impossible feet, even for a ninja of jounin caliber -- or to destroy it. Obviously, 'destroy it' was the option they had chosen.
With a loud explosion, a hole was made in the wall, large enough to run through. The shock wave of the explosion ruined most of the weaponry mounted on it, and so the obstacle was cleared. Sakura and Ino started towards the hole, but the older Naruto held them back. "Wait," he warned them, staring at the back of the other Naruto. There was only one clone, now, and he was obviously just barely able to hold himself together. He stood proudly, though, looking at his accomplishment. In very slow moves, he turned around to look at the others. He gave them a small wave.
"It's been fun," he said. The resolution of the television monitor was too poor to see it, but there were tears in the eyes of the real Naruto. The clone closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath. Through the hole, they could see their next obstacle gathering together -- a series of animatronic training dummies, which had to be fought through in order to reach the finish line. The only way they would be deactivated is if someone pressed a button on the other side of their battlefield... or the whole course was shut down, whichever came first. The shadow clone turned to face them -- there were hundreds, and everyone knew that they were designed to repair themselves if damaged -- it would be a hard slog through, that was almost guaranteed. Almost. Opening his eyes, Shadow Naruto glared at the marionettes and cried out in a loud voice, "I told you all -- I would be hokage one day! Hokage no jutsu!"
Speed unknown before to the younger Naruto propelled him forward as such a rate he left after-images, or shadows of himself in his wake. Just as he reached the line of advancing dolls, he exploded into a ball of flame, the momentum of his charge carrying it the length of the field. The explosion was powerful, destroying all of the dolls and even knocking down the rest of the wall behind him... and so the Shadow Clone of Naruto was no more.
"Naruto," the observers heard in a choked gasp, coming from Sakura.
Tsunade shook her head. "Turn it off. Let's go and meet them... but slowly. We need to talk to them, but I think they need to talk with each other, first."
* * * * *
The tears in Sakura's eyes weren't hidden from anyone. "Naruto..." she gasped.
The only remaining Naruto -- the real one -- shook his head as if to clear it. "Come on," he said hoarsely. "Let's not make his sacrifice meaningless."
Staggering behind him in both shock and exhaustion, the two girls followed as he ran forward to the button on the other side of the field. There was no opposition -- those training dummies which were still intact enough to rebuild themselves were still in no shape to fight, and many of them weren't even able to begin repairs on their own. No-one said anything, however, and even the soulless and lifeless dolls which were meant to attack them seemed to appreciate the solemnity of the moment. Finally, they reached their target, and pressed the button. The course was wrecked, but it would repair itself in time -- Asuma was, if nothing else, a genius when it came to engineering, especially the sort of engineering your average ninja had to do. However, the trio didn't even care -- none of them wanted to see that course, ever again.
"How... I didn't even know he could do that," Ino said finally, breaking the silence. "I thought I knew everything he could do, but... I don't even know that technique! And he came out of my mind! How--"
"I knew you were coming," Naruto explained. "So, I hid the things I didn't want anyone to ever see in my memories, with kyuubi's help. It appears, though, that the part of my psyche which went over to you when you left took that technique with it... but kept it in hiding for its own reasons."
"When in the world did you come up with that? That's... more powerful then the rasengan!" Ino gasped, the realization coming to her as she said it.
"Since my Academy days," Naruto explained. "Once I learned transformation, I developed the 'sexy no jutsu.' The sexy no jutsu, however, was proof of something to me -- if I could change myself enough to be a girl with the transformation technique, I could transform myself into anything... an animal, a stone... a shuriken. But I also realized that if what I transferred myself into dissappeared after the transformation, I would die. I came up with the 'hokage no jutsu' before I even learned 'kage bushin,' and realized right away that I should treat it as it was... a kinjutsu. No-one else knows that technique, to my knowledge... I imagine anyone else coming up with it would have died before they could tell anyone, or would have sealed it away, themselves. But I always remembered I had it... just in case."
"Naruto," Sakura repeated, the tears still coming. "How many times... how many times have you said that stupid line about becoming hokage one day, and meant... that?"
He wouldn't look at her. "I didn't even know that was possible, back when I swore to myself that I would become hokage."
Sakura grabbed him by his shoulder, spinning him around to face her. Sad, angry tears were in her face, but her look was hard and furious. She forced him to meet her eyes, and said, "That was not what I asked, and you know it. How many times has that line about becoming hokage meant that! Answer the question!" She started relatively calmly, but by the end, she was almost shrieking. The tears wouldn't stop coming, now -- she had to know, just had to, if he had ever really considered using it before. She just had to.
"Once or twice," Naruto admitted. "The closest I ever came to using it was against Gaara during the Sand-Sound war... I was saving the last bit of my chakra to use with that technique as I was crawling to his fallen body. I had to protect everyone... I had to save your life. Sasuke told me that he'd let you go, finally, so I just gave out. I didn't need to use it after all... but I almost did. Another few feet, and I would have used it."
The slap Sakura delivered echoed throughout both the training ground and the surrounding forest. Naruto found himself crashing to the ground... before being caught by her and pulled into a bone-crunching hug. "Dammit, Naruto... never, ever, ever use that technique. Swear it to me! Give me your word, dammit, and promise me that you'll never use that technique!"
"I can't," Naruto replied softly. He felt her arms go slack around him, but then he decided to temper his answer a bit. "I will swear never to use it unless I am certain that I will be killed whether I use it or not, however."
"If that is the really the only time, fine. Not even if my life is on the line, Naruto," Sakura warned, burying her head in his shoulder to hide her growing tears. "And don't pull that crap about 'Well, we'll all die sometime,' on me, either. Got it?"
Naruto nodded, using a free arm to hold her and cradle the back of her head as she sobbed. "I promise. And I won't go back on my word... that is my way of the ninja."
* * * * *
Notes: Well, I hope everyone likes that as a stopping point for now. For the record, I made up the 'hokage no jutsu,' though I wouldn't be surprised if such a technique existed in the manga. For those of you who don't know, 'Hokage' means 'fire shadow.' And that's just what becomes of the user of said technique -- they throw themselves at the opponent so fast they leave their 'shadow,' or afterimage, behind, and use that momentum to spread the flames of their own self-combustion (which is achieved via a 'henge' technique). Obviously, as the fire burns itself out with no fuel, there will be nothing left of the user when it's completed -- not even a body. Nasty thing, ain't it? I know there's a hole in this, though -- 'If kage bushin'd people can do this, why hasn't Naruto tried with one of his own shadow clones, before?' The answer, coming in the next chapter, is 'he didn't know what effect that would have on himself.' More explanations coming in the next chapter, as well as (hopefully) several people saying farewell as they prepare to leave on the week-long trip. Someone asked for an estimate of how long volume 3 will be... the answer is, 'as long as it takes.' I always anticipated this being the longest of the four volumes, but then again I hadn't anticipated on either one or two going on for as long as they did. If I were to give an estimate right now, it would be... fifteen to eighteen chapters for vol. 3, and five to ten for volume 4. Then the one-part epilogue to finish it all up. Well, that's it. Until next time.