Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 3 Chapter 19 ( Chapter 29 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 3 Notes: Someone asked about what a 'hanko' is. A hanko is, essentially, a stamp with your signature on it in kanji, used for formal documents. You use your hanko for such things as marriage certificates, contracts, etc. You wouldn't use it to put your name on your homework for class, or a letter to a loved one, or the like -- likewise, you wouldn't use a brush\pen\etc. to sign a contract. They are (traditionally) custom-made out of very high-quality materials, and can cost a lot for a good one. The Imperial Hanko (used only by a mikado or, way back when, a 'retired emperor' (whose japanese title escapes me at the moment, but was often actually more powerful then the emperor himself)) is (or at least was -- I'm not as sure of the modern usage), by law, the largest you can make such a seal for official purposes -- on occasion, I've heard, it could be as large as six inches square. You typically use red ink with it, as opposed to black in for everything else. I have a few Japanese prints in my house (and, somewhere, a set of documents belonging to my mother indicating she's essentially an ikebana (flower arranging) master, although she hasn't used the skill much in the past thirty years since she left Japan) which have hanko stamps on them. The larger the stamp, typically, the more prominent the artist... though not always.
Chapter 19
"Hana-sensei said you wanted to see me?" Hanabi said, entering the office.
Naruto grimmaced. It didn't sound like the 'puppy lady' had actually shirked off her job, forcing him to explain things to the brat. Well, so be it -- maybe it was for the better.
"Take a seat," he sighed. "You've been foisted on me as my new assistant."
Hanabi's eyes narroed. "I am a Hyuuga -- we are not 'assistants.' We are superior to all, and therefore are destined to rule."
Naruto snorted. "Uh huh. I'm sure every Hyuuga's born knowing how to rule, without ever learning a thing about it. Look, brat, something you should know: Right now, until Kakashi-sensei comes back, there ain't no-one in Blossom more powerful then me, either in terms of political power or physical strength. If I say you're going to be my assistant, then you will be my assistant. Got it?"
Hanabi stiffened. "No Hyuuga is ever an 'assistant.' If you wish an 'advisor,' or an 'executive officer,' then--"
"Assistant," Naruto said. "Though I suppose the job of the assistant is both that of advisor and executive officer. At least, that was my job in the post, and you're just taking over my job. And we aren't in Konoha, any more... so the Hyuuga aren't the dominant clan of this village."
Naruto grinned, cutting her off. "The Uzumaki are."
Hanabi twitched. In Konoha, her father often gave long lectures about how dominant the Hyuuga were. Her mother, however, once put it in perspective for her: At one point in time, there were twelve great families in the village which later became Konoha. The Hyuuga, the Nara, the Akamichi, the Inuzuka, the Sarutobi, the Hatake, the Aburame, the Mitarashi, the Anraku, the Haruno, the Yamanaka, and... the Uzumaki. Each of the twelve had once been part of a grouping of three clans -- one to protect secrets, one to infiltrate and discover secrets, and one to combat and assassinate thier enemies. The Hyuuga clan had been the infiltrators of their three, paired with the Akamichi (the protectors) and the Hatake (the assassins). They were definitely the most powerful of their trio of clans. The other groups, however, were different.
The trio which the Hyuuga belonged to was considered to be the strongest of the groups. The Inuzuka (infiltrators), Nara (assassins), and Mitarashi (protectors) were one of those other groups. All three of the Hyuuga group's clans were greater then the Mitarashi, and the weakest clan of the Hyuuga-lead trio, the Akamichi, were the equals of the Nara clan. The Inuzuka were probably better then the Hatake, overall, but not enough for their group to be considered the superior.
The group consisting of the Aburame (infiltrators), Anraku (protectors), and Sarutobi (assassins) were considered stronger than the Inuzuka-lead trio. A war between the two nations each trio had belonged to, prior to their unification in the village which later became Konoha, was won by the Aburame-lead trio. It was a near thing, as the Sarutobi were superior to the Mitarashi, and the Nara were superior to the Anraku. However, the Aburame's bugs were able to defeat the Inuzuka's dogs, and so they proved themselves to be the strongest. Again, only one of the Aburame group's trio of clans could be considered better then even the weakest of the Hyuuga clan's trio, so the Hyuuga still outranked them.
The final trio, however, upset the balance a bit. It consisted of the Yamanaka, the Haruno, and the Uzumaki clans. The Yamanaka clan had techniques which were ideal for the infiltration of their enemies, but -- unlike the Hyuuga, Inuzuka, or Aburame -- their clan was considered fairly useless outside of their chosen line of work. Likewise, the Haruno clan was probably superior to any other when it came to protecting secrets... but it, too, was fairly useless outside of that field. The Uzumaki clan, however... well, they hardly fit the standard title of 'ninja.' They were loud, obnoxious, and great failures when it came to the non-combatitive portions of ninja work. Some said it was because they were truly a samurai clan drafted who adopted ninja tactics, instead of a true ninja clan, but whether that was true or not meant little. The Uzumaki, when it came to sheer combat power, could not be rivaled... by any clan. Not even the Hyuuga. Not even the entire Hyuuga-lead trio of clan's combined force. Not even the entire nine clans which once marshalled against it -- namely, all of the future Konoha's founders save the ones in the Uzumaki trio. They were... superior.
However, their trio was regarded as inferior. Each clan, it was claimed, was defective. The Haruno and Yamanaka clans could not fight, and the Uzumaki could do nothing but fight. So, when Konoha's predecessor was formed, they were relegated to being a 'lesser' clan. The Hyuuga, as the lead clan of the lead trio, were named, in essence, the 'royal' clan of the village. Civil war split the Hyuuga, resulting in the birth of the Uchiha clan, and other things happened to the other clans. The Yamanaka, Akamichi, and Nara clans all broke from their original trios to form a new one of their own, a political alliance rather then a military one for once. The Hayate clan and the Uchiha clan became bitter rivals -- which cost them their alliance with the Hyuuga, for the Hyuuga continued to claim the Uchiha as their own. The Anraku clan abandoned their nindo, deciding that they were truly the weakest clan out of the twelve and therefore would be more of a burden then an aide. While the clan remained a part of the village, its members never again learned the ninjitsu of their ancestors. Additional clans, in ones and twos, were brought into the village... but the Hyuuga continued to maintain their claim as the greatest. This was disputed by the Uchiha, but easily explained away as an offshoot of the Hyuuga rather then a rival.
One day, for a very large war, a certain clan was adopted into the village. That clan was known for its knowledge of skills, its strength, and its administrative and political prowess. Within one generation, that clan had taken over the village, changed its name to Konoha, and a pair of brothers took the title of 'First' and 'Second,' the hokages. The Hyuuga objected to this, as they were the greatest clan in Konoha, but a strange thing happened.
The Hyuuga tried to rebel, bringing with them their allies of the Uchiha, Aburame, Mitarashi, and Akamichi clans. Another clan was called in to put down that rebellion -- the Uzumaki clan. The war devastated the Uzumaki's, but, in the end, they proved themselves the true superiors. They had even managed the subterfuge needed for 'infiltration' and 'protection of secrets,' a skill they had never truly demonstrated before... but they were able to get past the best those five allied clans had to offer in those fields, and proved themselves superior on the battlefield to boot.
But there was only one family of Uzumaki still capable of reproducing left. They had one son, who had one daughter, who had one son... who may or may not have become the father of this same Uzumaki Naruto before her. The Uchiha explained away their overthrow as the superior clan by deciding that the Uzumaki's no longer counted -- they were a lone family, after all, and hardly counted as a 'clan' any more. And so... the Uchiha remained the 'superior' clan in Konoha. But, everyone who remembered the civil war -- the one which lead to the boy who only went by his family name of Sarutobi being named the Third instead of one of the Hyuuga -- knew that the Uzumaki were the true strongest. The Hyuuga had done their utmost to hide this disgrace -- in the chaos following the death of the Fourth, many important documents relating to their clan were stolen and -- in many cases -- destroyed. While the name may still appear in some records, all records of the civil war were gone... as were the family papers of the Uzumaki, which taught their techniques, and as were any other documents which might show just how powerful the Uzumaki had been. The theft, to the best of her clan's knowledge, had yet to be discovered. The papers themselves no longer existed, for the most part -- for example, the clan techniques, save for a few kinjustu secreted away in the vaults of the hokage, all had to be burned to prevent the Hyuuga who had stolen them from being caught. They weren't entirely sure what else they had destroyed, but there were many documents lost in the operation. A tragedy, to be sure -- the Hyuuga were not so crass as to intentionally set about to destroy the heritage of one of Konoha's founding clans. They had merely intended to keep them secret from other clans, to hide thier shame... for it was believed that the kyuubi had wiped out the last Uzumaki. Naruto's existance wasn't known about until well after things had settled down. However, the clan leadership declared that the operation was justified, for it helped to protect the Hyuuga's reputation.
"Remember," her mother had said. "The Hyuuga clan is only the greatest clan in Konoha because no-one else has survived challenging us. There have been better clans then our own, though... which means, if we wish to keep our place, we must know when another clan is getting too strong, and move against it then. We must not allow another clan such as the Uzumaki to exist, or else we will be in danger of losing our titles."
That memory of her mother and the history she taught, combined with Naruto's declaration of his being the 'dominant' clan of Blossom, brought Hanabi to a halt. It might -- barely -- be true, after all, that in Blossom, Naruto was her superior. However... that was something she would need to watch out for. She made a mental note to send a confidential letter to her father, asking for his advice in this and the other problems which had arised. She had yet to hear back about what to do on Adaha, but now it seemed she must also ask what to do about this blond boy who was claiming to be her superior.
Meanwhile, she should do as she was doing with Adaha -- stay by Naruto's side, make observations, and do the job asked of her until additional plans could be made.
"Fine," she huffed to the blond boy she viewed as a lucky idiot. "So, what am I supposed to do?"
"First, sit at your desk," Naruto sighed, pointing. "And try to remember -- in Konoha, you have the council to support the hokage. There are twenty five council seats in Konoha, each taken by the leader of a major ninja clan. Then, there are the seats of the 'missing clans,' which the Uchiha were the last to become a member of back when Itachi slaughtered everyone by Sasuke -- seats where the clan no longer can or no longer will send a member to sit for them, but which are held in their memory. If any member of those clans return, they may take the seat vacated... provided, of course, they're at least twenty years old. This council can act without the hokage, but mostly acts as a buffer between him and the usual administrative and legislative functions a government must accomplish, freeing him to oversee ninja operations. Blossom, however, has no clan system... and therefore no council. Which means that this office -- which is really just you and I -- have to handle everything the hokage and the council are supposed to handle on a daily basis."
Hanabi winced. This didn't exactly sound like a fun job... and the reminder of those 'missing clan' seats, one of which Naruto could probably claim of if he realized it, didn't help her feel any less concerned about the Uzumaki clan's resurrection. "So... what, exactly, am I supposed to do?"
Naruto handed her a very tall stack of documents and his hanko. "I've identified these as simple rubber-stamp requests. So... stamp them."
Hanabi looked stricked. "But... but I'm the pride of the Hyuuga! This... what kind of job is this?"
Naruto smirked. "You are a genin, right?"
"Only because I haven't taken the chuunin exam, yet," she huffed.
"Well, until you do, you're only entitled to class C and D missions," Naruto pointed out. "Largely because you're just starting out as a ninja -- you're supposed to get experience doing 'safe' things until you're really ready for the difficult stuff, regardless of your skill level, just to get you adjusted to the pace of things. Well, right now, you're just starting out in the politics of being a ninja. So... here's a class D mission for you -- just to get you adjusted to the pace of things in this office."
Hanabi sighed, her expression twisting to reveal -- for the first time that Naruto could remember -- her juvenile side. "Ugh. I hate class D missions."
So do I, Naruto thought. "Hmm..."
"What?" she asked.
"Just... it seems we have something in common, after all."
* * * * *
"Ah, Ino-chan!" Tazuna cried, greeting the young woman enthusiastically. She had just been ushered into the office of the Wave Country's prime minister without even having had to make an appointment, and was quite relieved to see he was in good spirits. This set of negotiations Naruto had sent her on would be a bit difficult, she knew, but it would ease matters considerably if she had local support. "Welcome!"
"Tazuna-sama," Ino replied much more formally, bowing slightly.
"Sit down, sit down," he crowed, pointing to one of the overstuffed chairs he kept in his office for visitors. "I hadn't been expecting you, obviously, but I'm always happy to see you. So, Ino-chan, what do you need from us?"
"Recently, a crisis occured in Blossom," Ino began. "The details of that crisis are... not for public ears, I would say--"
"You mean the Sasuke boy finally showed up?" Tazuna snorted. "I knew he was coming, just not when. I liked Sasuke-san, and I'm quite disappointed to hear how he has turned out."
Ino remembered everything she had learned from the mangekyou scroll -- it was one of the few Haruno family documents Sakura had refused to share with her, at first. After Sasuke had swept in -- and back out -- of the village, that scroll had been partially transcribed. Now, she understood just why Sakura had been so loyal to the boy... even if she wasn't sure she would have been the same, in her place.
"I fear," Ino replied cautiously. "That Sasuke is not fully able to control his own actions. His family line is cursed with insanity. The Uchiha, however, kept that inbred insanity a secret, knowing many tricks for stopping the psychotic delusions before it took hold in a person. His entire clan, however, was destroyed, and he was left an orphan. If a proper treatment is applied, she should return to his old self -- more or less -- but the longer he goes without treatment the less likely he is to recieve it."
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Tazuna asked.
"Actually, that is not what I am here about, at all," Ino explained. "Following the incident, Kakashi-sama was sent a special elite team from Konoha and is personally leading them in an effort to capture Sasuke -- which may or may not allow us to apply a treatment. That, you need not concern yourself with -- although I will be sure to keep you informed, if you so desire."
"Thank you, Ino-chan."
"While he's gone, however, we have put someone else in charge of Blossom," Ino said, carefully avoiding the topic of just who that person was. She knew that Naruto was bright enough for the job, herself. She knew that here, in Wave Country, he was actually so great a hero it made him uncomfortable. She also knew, however, that this man in front of her remembered the young Naruto who had barely wet his feet as a ninja -- who was still much the prankster, and much the irresponsible boy who hid from everyone just who he was. There wasn't a person in Blossom who hadn't learned to respect Naruto, now -- if nothing else, the chess match with Shikamaru had taught all of those from Konoha just how bright he really was -- but she figured most of his 'old friends' might be a little unnerved to learn just how much power he now wielded. "This person, in his first day in office, was able to examine our budget for the first time. What he found was... disturbing, to say the least. Unless something changes, Blossom will be completely bankrupt in less than five months."
Tazuna stiffened. "Impossible. I know just how much money you were granted -- I approved the amount, myself!"
"The money should have been sufficient," Ino agreed. "However... we went through the records, and discovered that our supply train was overcharging us. Here, take a look for yourself."
With that, she handed him a stack of papers. Tazuna took the stack and surveyed them. As he read, his face paled. "Are... are these the contracts you have signed?"
"Yes," Ino answered. "We were hoping that you would help us find a way to break those contracts and establish new ones with more... reliable providers."
Tazuna stared at the documents for a very long time. "I believe," he finally said. "That there will be no problem breaking these contracts... as the businesses with which they were made cannot legally operate inside of the Country of Wave any more."
Ino was startled. "They can't? Why not?"
"Because," Tazuna said. "These companies formerly were part of a large, multi-national corporation which tried to take over our country. These businesses are what is left of the Gatoh group."
Ino was just about to ask who the Gatoh group were when the knowledge flooded into her mind. The first mission to Wave Country, the building of the bridge, and Zabuza and Haku... all because of Gatoh. She knew of the murder of Inari's adopted father -- and this man's son in law -- by Gatoh, himself... and suddenly, things became clear.
"Damn," Ino said. "I don't think we even considered what happened to the Gatoh corporation after his demise, but I suppose someone had to have taken over, huh?"
"Several someones," Tazuna muttered. "We've done our best to keep track of them, but we aren't ninjas ourselves -- surveillance is your job. Until recently, we couldn't really afford to pay for what was needed to keep an eye on them, but we did have some volunteers. They weren't trained very well, so our reports are... not the most reliable, but we have some information nonetheless. I'll see to it your village recieves copies from now on."
"Thank you, Tazuna-sama," Ino said, bowing her head. "We will definitely look into the matter. Now, I was sort of hoping that we could take care of these other problems while I was here. See, I need to find some decent suppliers to replace these contracts. Would you happen to have any recommendations?"
Tazuna grinned. "As a matter of fact...."
* * * * *
Notes: Sorry this is so late -- and so short. My back is still killing me. I don't know how much I can write until it recovers, but I'll work when I feel up to it. Don't expect my posts to be quite as fast for a while, though -- sorry. I've seen three different romanizations for Gatoh -- Gatoh (which I decided to use), Gatou, and Gato. I, um, tossed a coin twice to choose. No nitpicking on different styles of romanization, please! Next chapter: Well, I have any number of things I could pick, as the general order of the chapters won't matter overmuch until Kakashi's return (although one of those 'chapters' I expect to be a three chapter minimum mini-arc that can take place at any point between now and when Kakashi gets back, and another is a two chapter minimum mini-arc with the same conditions). Hmm... I'll toss a coin, and it'll be the start of one of those mini-arcs, but I don't know which one yet. Wait and see.