Naruto Fan Fiction ❯ Training for the Job ❯ Volume 3 Chapter 25 ( Chapter 35 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]
Volume 3 Notes: This chapter starts with the mention of wild red wolves commonly seen walking through public streets in packs. Lest you think this is something I came up with off the top of my head, this was actually true in Kanazawa, Japan when my mother lived there, in the late 60s (I think almost 1970, because she says she was pregnant with my half-brother when she actually walked THROUGH one of these packs late at night). It was a common occurance, in fact... It is an example of a 'local flavor' type of story of the sort I like to collect and add to fanfics, from time to time, to spice them up. I thought it was an interesting story, and so I figured I'd point out that it's 'based on a true story,' if you will. I have been informed (although I haven't checked, myself) that there is a wikipedia entry on "The Tale of the Gallant Jiraiya" which those of you who are interested may want to search for, which would deal with the whole 'slug-snake-toad' thing. Since I find the wikipedia concept rather flawed for reasons I won't get into right now, I typically avoid them, but if you are into Wikipedias you may want to look it up for yourself. I've gotten one application to write my side story, so far. I haven't had any time to look over it, however, so I don't have any real news on that front. Feel free to apply, still, if you feel up to it -- I'll pick the applicant I like the most, if I get the impression that anyone can really do the story justice. Sorry this chapter took so long. I tried to post it on the 2nd (well, really the 3rd, at my usual 3am Eastern time), but my net connection was so slow I kept timing out while uploading this. The net finally went down on the afternoon of the third, coming up rather sporatically from that point, never staying up long enough to get into until earlier today. Sorry.
Chapter 25
Hana, Hanabi, Futaba, and Daichi moved through the town of Rainbow silently, following the five Inuzuka dogs -- all of which were disguised as stray red wolves. It was not unusual to find small packs of that particular species of wolf wander through the local villages -- even cities -- looking for food, and most people knew how to deal with them: Leave them alone, and don't show any fear. It was a good way to keep watch ahead. Hanabi was using her byakuugan to make certain no-one snuck up from behind, yet so far had seen no-one.
The dogs had helped them to avoid five ninja -- all genin -- and so far found that the evidence seemed to indicate that the civilians had, indeed, been evacuated. There were still a lot of places to check, however, and they only had a few more hours of night to go. It was hard -- especially hard, since there was no real way to tell a civilian from, say, a genin or an academy student. Chuunin or jounin were more identifiable, even by sight, then a genin... and the fact that years or even just months of hard ninjitsu training tended to give a ninja a certain 'smell' helped the dogs identify them. Genin... well, sometimes they would have the same smell, if not as intense, but typically the only way to identify them was to look at them and see if they carried forehead protectors... or to go by age, for no-one would start training a genin any older then fourteen, and no-one who'd been a ninja for more than a year or so could avoid that 'scent,' as long as they kept themselves in practice enough to actually fight.
Well, this is going easier then I feared, Hana thought. But its not over yet. We have to leave if we get into one lone fight, or even if we just get spotted, and yet we've only got a short time to go through the entire village. We have to speed things up a bit. But how to do that without revealing ourselves? We could split up into two teams, but that would increase the danger as we increased our range. No... I guess all we can do is move along as we are now.
A soft whimper up ahead let her know that the dogs had spotted something. She used hand gestures to motion for her team to stop while they awaited further explanation, pulling everyone back into the shadows. A few growls, snarls, and woofs later, and she had a pretty clear picture of what was going on. A trio of jounin -- smelling heavily of sake and other, stronger alcoholic beverages -- were coming down the street in their direction, singing... apparently, off key. The only way to avoid them would be to go back about five hundred yards and take a detour through an alleyway. Not exactly the best of situations, since it would mean they would temporarily lose their canine scouts and permanently lose at least half an hour of time, but better then being caught. Again making hand signals, she directed Hanabi to take point, relying on her to do her best with the scouting while the dogs would cover the rear.
Suddenly, Hanabi froze in front of them. With several hand motions of her own, Hana knew the situation was getting steadily worse. Down the alley they were planning to take, another set of ninja were coming. Now, the only way to avoid being seen by either set of ninja lead them onto the rooftops... and it would only be a matter of time before they were caught, if they tried travelling up there.
"It's over," she whispered finally. "We're caught either way. Futaba, call the dogs back in. Hanabi, can you tell what kind of ninja they are in the alleyway?"
"One of them is wearing a vest," she said. "Which means he's likely either a chuunin or a jounin. The other three don't... I'm guessing it's a team of genin and their instructor."
"A full genin team, a trio of drunken jounin, or the unknown," Hana sighed. "Well, team, your choice -- which set do you want to take on?"
"The jounin," Hanabi said immediately. "I need to test my skills."
"The genin," Daichi shot back almost as quickly. "We should get this over with and get out of here, quick, and we probably match up well enough against them to do just that."
"We weren't supposed to engage in combat, were we?" Futaba pointed out. "I think we should make a run for it, and hope that we don't get caught until we have the advantage."
Hana sighed, rubbing her forehead in frustration. "You aren't helping, guys. All right, the dogs won't be here for a little bit. We'll wait until they join us, and then attack whichever group is closest."
"I still think we should run, Hana-neechan."
"Shh," the jounin woman hushed. "Call me 'Hana-sensei,' remember? We're on a mission... and you don't want anyone using our family ties against us, do you?"
Futaba flushed. "Sorry, Hana-sensei."
"And I think we should run, too," Hana agreed. "But I don't think we'll get very far if we do. And we'll just attract more attention if we have a rooftop battle -- no, best to have the fight here, and now, try to take them out quickly, and then move on... going as fast as we can at ground level."
The dogs came running up. "The genin team is closer," Hanabi explained reluctantly. "Looks like they're our target, after all."
"Good," Hana said -- not liking the idea of trying to take on three jounin, even drunken ones, with only three genin to support her. "Until I feel we've alerted too many people to our presence, we'll try and do this without letting anyone else know we're here, so no explosive tags or techniques which make an unusually large amount of noise... and try not to shout your ninjitsu technique names out, okay? I realize that's an important tool to help you focus your technique, just like a 'kyap' in some non-ninjitsu martial arts styles provides, but we can't afford the noise unless we have no choice. If it seems as though keeping quiet is useless, I'll give the word and you can go ahead and use whatever you want... and, obviously, you can do anything in a life-or-death situation if its called for, in this case. Let's go!"
They moved into a rough formation, allowing all four ninja to engage the enemy from in front while the dogs outflanked them and struck from behind. They swooped in, running as quickly and as quietly as possible.
"Who--" was all the first genin was able to get out before he was tackled into the alley's wall by Daichi. The strike temporarily took both ninja out of the action -- the Grass genin because he'd hit his head and was unconscious, and Daichi because he had somehow gotten tangled in the other boy's gear.
Hanabi disabled her opponent in one blow, then turned to assist the others without even looking back. Fubata had her opponent pinned, by that point, and Gonta was running up to deliver the knockout blow. Hana engaged the other jounin, but so far niether had pulled out any tricks and their taijutsu was fairly even. However, before she could move in to assist anyone, she sensed another presence behind them.
"Hm," she said, turning her head to the new arrivals. "Look like I get my way, too, after all. Hana-sensei! We took too long -- more jounin are here!"
Hana threw a powerful kick at her opponent, who dodged... before being caught by Kuromaru, spun, and tossed into the waiting pack behind him. Dispensing with him quickly, all five dogs moved into formation to protect the four humans they accompanied.
"Damn," Hana said. "I think the odds are slightly in their favor."
"They're still drunk," Kuromaru pointed out. "But I sense they are sober enough to fight effectively, if not at their full capacity. We may be in trouble."
Hanabi grinned dangerously. "I'd like to see how I can do against them, myself...."
"Um," Daichi muttered groggily. "I'd rather avoid combat, if possible."
Futaba was the only genin to remain silent, merely glancing up at her fellow Inuzuka confidently. "Hana-neechan?"
"Now," she said.
Suddenly, all four humans started throwing whatever kunai they held in a wide pattern at the jounin. All of the weapons were dodged, and the jounin didn't even seem to care... outside of one of them appearing insulted.
"What is this?" that man snorted. "Ten year olds playing ninja with some silly daggers? You deserve to die for underestimating three jounin like us so badly."
"Oh," a voice said from behind them. "They didn't underestimate you. I think they overestimated you." The insulted man spun around. "Rasengan!" the voice cried out as the chakra spiralling from not the attacker's hand, but from the point of his elbow, slamming the offender away.
The other two jounin dashed back from the man. Rasengan? One of them thought. I've heard of that technique. But there were only two people who could do it -- a master and an apprentice. The apprentice died, and the master disappeared. What's going on here?
The other stepped forward, taking a challenging defensive stance. All traces of intoxication caused by the liquor the three jounin had drunk that evening was gone, and instead confidence showed in his eyes. "You got lucky, kid...."
"Shunshin no jutsu!" the boy cried, and suddenly that jounin was lying unconscious and the young man was standing behind him. Whatever had happened was too fast for anyone else to witness.
The last jounin got his first real glimpse of the attacker. He looked young -- too young to be who he thought he was. However, he was blond, his eyes were blue, and even that last technique The body flicker? But... "Oh, crap! I... the Golden Flash? Here? But... but I thought you were dead! No... it can't be you. You're too young... but then, who are you?"
The boy stood to his full hieght -- not especially impressive, as he was a little short, but intimidating when added to the glare in his eyes. "I am someone who intends to become the sixth hokage. I am Uzumaki Naruto... and you, sir, are dead unless you agree to surrender right now. But who is this 'Golden Flash' you're talking about?"
"U... Uzumaki? There's one of you left? Oh, crap!"
The smell of urine filled the air, much to the disgust of everyone... especially the canines and the Inuzuka. "Geez," Naruto said, shaking his head. "I know that there are some weakling chuunin out there, but I always thought the jounin were to be respected. Look, I don't even want to take you prisoner any more -- just get out of here and leave us alone. And, if you're at all smart, get out of Rainbow -- we'll be back soon enough to capture it."
"Y-yes, sir!" the terrified man agreed, before disappearing into a run so fast that the air vortexed around him, throwing a strong breeze around the street.
"Come on," Naruto said, gesturing towards a seperate road. "We need to meet the others. I'll go over the plan and then we can get ready for the fight. I'm not turning into a kunai, again, by the way... god, it gets cramped when you have to hold yourself in the form of something that small for hours on end."
"I'm still amazed you can hold it as long as you do," Futaba chirped. "That must take an amazing amount of chakra."
Naruto shrugged, taking the point as the team walked passed the frightened jounin and slipped into the shadows, trying to escape as quietly as possible. "Actually, I generate chakra faster then the drain I get from a henge."
"That 'rasengan,'" Hanabi said, looking a bit uncertain. "How did you control that much chakra? Few even of my clan have that much control, and all of the reports on your skills said that, while your stamina was absurdly high, you had very little ability at chakra control. For that matter, how could you put it out of your elbows like that? That requires even more control! I didn't even see you forming any seals to help control it...."
"That's because it doesn't use seals. And I started trying it with my hands, of course," Naruto explained. "Once I really learned how to do it there, though, it got easier and easier. Actually, I blew it, there -- I let a tiny bit of my control slip in the last second. Maybe I shouldn't be practicing techniques I haven't fully mastered in combat...."
Hana, the last to move, stared at his back for a moment before following as well, softly mentioning to the dogs to scout around them so that they could avoid any future action.
Golden Flash? She thought, not paying any attention to what her genin were talking about with the boy. I've heard that name, before, but where?
* * * * *
"Koshinuke Ikasu," a stern voice greeted a certain battered jounin as he ducked his way into a local bar. "You're back! And without your two buddies, as well. Forget something?"
"N-no, sir," the terrified man answered. "I... infiltrators! Konoha ninja, in town... attack."
Suddenly, the old bartender -- who was an older ninja, 'in reserve,' brought in to help take over a civilian job after he retired -- stood up and looked the jounin in the eye. "Konoha? Here? I know we were ordered to evacuate the civilians because Konoha intervened, but I wasn't told anything about them actually sending any ninja here... just some small town called 'Blossom.'"
"Blossom," Ikasu pointed out, "Is Konoha's new permanent outpost in Wave Country."
"Oh, crap," the bartender replied, reaching behind the bar to start pulling out his equipment. "They're tough, usually."
"I... yes, they are tough," Ikasu agreed. "Especially when it seems they can reincarnate one of their greatest heros, giving him all of his skills and techniques and putting him in the body of a sixteen year old!"
That slowed the older man down. "What are you talking about? Are you sure there really are Konoha ninja here, or are you still drunk from earlier tonight!"
"Trust me, recent events have helped me sober up," Ikasu snorted. "And I wasn't that drunk to begin with. That... whatever if was I saw tonight, might not be a reincarnation. He could be a clone, a relative of some sort, or just have a remarkable coincidence to him... but, if I didn't know that he was dead, I would have sworn I saw the Golden Flash in action just a few minutes ago."
"Golden Flash?" the Bartender snorted. "Crap, kid, you are drunk."
"I may be a rookie jounin, but I'm no 'kid,'" Ikasu pointed out. "I'm the son of the man who was responsible for spying on the hokage of Konoha about two decades ago, remember? I've read my father's reports. I know what he was supposed to look like -- blue eyes, blond hair, spiky hair style. I also know what his best known techniques were -- the rasengan and the shunshin no jutsu. The shunshin no jutsu was only ever performed by the Fourth, the rasengan only by the Fourth and his retired sensei. I saw both techniques in action, tonight, taking out my two 'buddies' who aren't here right now, if you recall."
"You've gotta be drunk," the Bartender replied nervously. Unlike this boy, he had actually been an active ninja when the Fourth Hokage of Konoha, known to almost everyone as the 'Golden Flash,' was in action. He knew how much fear and respect that name had commanded... and the reputation those two techniques had garnered him, together with the kage bushin no jutsu, the kuchiyose no jutsu (being one of the last men to ever command the great Lord of the Toads, Gamabunta), and a deep background in seals. Not to mention a thousand other, less famous techniques -- one didn't become hokage without knowing at least a thousand, after all. There was no way someone could possibly have relearned even the rasengan, much less the shunshin no jutsu, so there was no way this young, drunken jounin could possibly know what he was talking about.
"I'm telling you, I'm not drunk!" Ikasu cried. "The kicker was the name, you know? My father's reports tried hard to find out what clan the Fourth belonged to. It turns out it was a near extinct clan that formerly was of great power -- the Uzumaki. He hid his name to protect his few remaining relatives -- unsuccessfully, I might add, as the last Uzumaki we knew of died only a few days before the Fourth did -- but my father managed to locate it in some old records from his youth. Do you want to know what the name of that kid was I saw?"
"Let me guess," the bartender sighed. "Uzumaki, right?"
The jounin nodded. "Uzumaki Naruto. Look, sir, I might have been intoxicated earlier, but I wasn't as bad off as you seem to think. I'm not delusional, here -- and if you want proof, you just have to come and take a look at my buddies. I need help getting them medical treatment, anyway -- the Uzumaki boy and the other Konoha ninja ran off in a bit of a hurry after they finished beating the crap out of us, and I came straight here. Please, sir--"
"Relax," the bartender sighed. "I'll come with you. At the very least, if you're making this up I want to be able to brain you for it."
That said, the retired ninja started following the young jounin down the street, making sure to lock up his bar before he left. A mere gesture, when you lived in a ninja village where everyone was trained in lockpicking skills from the age of two, but it did make it illegal to break in regardless. Unless someone was very good, regardless, any attempts to break in would leave 'calling cards' which could lead hunter ninja -- such as Konoha's ANBU, or Grass's GHuND, or similar organizations in other powers -- to track down any thieves and... eliminate them. Anyone who actually was that good, mind, probably wouldn't need to worry about being caught, anyway -- they'd be powerful enough to take down any hunter nins sent after them.
The old bartender wasn't worried -- really he wasn't! There was no chance that Ikasu was telling the truth -- no way another Uzumaki could be alive. He was drunk, obviously, and there was no question that he'd just imagined it all. Maybe he'd passed out and dreamed it, not realizing it was just a dream. He looked over at Ikasu with one very observant eye, and his resolve was shaken. He certainly doesn't look drunk... damn.
It took just two minutes to find the first body. The man was alive... though not entirely healthy. His head was cracked open, and he had a definite concussion. The man's ear was practically twisted off, and there were chakra burns all over the top half of his body. The retired ninja recognized it right away -- knew he was one of the very few living ninja who would recognize the aftermath of an imperfect rasengan. It was close to perfect however -- very close -- but not quite there. "Hm... not quite as skilled as the Fourth could do," he muttered.
"So, you recognize it?" Ikasu asked.
"Yeah. Whoever it is who's doing this, though, doesn't have full control over it."
"Well... it was a very complicated chakra-based technique," Ikasu pointed out. "I've never seen a chakra-based technique generated out of a person's elbows, after all...."
"Elbows?" the bartender exclaimed. "It's supposed to come from the hands, though...." Dear lord, he thought. It's not just the rasengan... it's a variant of the rasengan. Who is this kid?
"Sir," Ikasu said. "I really didn't need to know that. Um, is there any chance I could desert right now, before he comes back?"
The bartender grimmaced, surveying the battlefield. He could see the last jounin, crumpled on the ground. He was pretty far away, but the retired ninja could tell the other man was alive -- though, again, not entirely healthy. "No, not yet. We need to get your friends into the hospital, first. Then I'll help you get out of town... because I'll be coming with you."
* * * * *
Notes: Okay, one reason I had this 'war' take place -- a big reason -- was to have someone outside of Konoha realize just who Naruto is... and, perhaps, for certain people INSIDE Konoha to Get A Clue and notice that gee, there's a strong resemblence between Naruto and the Fourth, isn't there? (Especially for those who, like Hana, never knew the Fourth was part of the Uzumaki clan -- only ever knowing him as the 'Golden Flash' as he quit using his name long before he ever became Hokage -- it'll get them thinking) I've often felt as if 'that technique' that Jiraiya told Naruto not to use in the manga was the Golden Flash's Body Flicker. This, by the way, is the 'kinjutsu' Naruto wasn't supposed to use I mentioned earlier in the story. Why it was designated a kinjutsu will come out shortly, but not right away... and it may not be the only kinjutsu Naruto knows. I MIGHT have him pull off another kinjutsu, at some point, later on... if I need one. However, this was specifically what I had in mind when I mentioned that kinjutsu Jiraiya was teaching him. I was hoping to see if the manga would confirm my hypothesis, first, but the Neverending Puppet War seems to have run a bit long and so it's still just a theory.... The rasengan out of the elbows came from my days in a martial arts school, which taught the eight weapons on the human body were the two hands, two feet, two elbows, and two knees (and, considering Naruto, the ninth would be the forehead. I wonder what you'd call that move that beat Shukaku -- the headbutt from hell?). We know that they do some training to control chakra on the feet, and the feet are the 'hardest point' for chakra control to be mastered. Which means it would be easier to control chakra on your elbows then your feet. If he'd been practicing a rasengan from somewhere other then his hands, it wouldn't be his foot -- like I initially would have thought -- it would be an elbow or a knee. It's not perfected yet, as you've seen, but I was aiming on using some form of multiple rasengan technique to demonstrate his progress as he trains (i.e., right now, he can perform two at a time if he limits it to his hands, or just one imperfect rasengan if he puts it into an elbow or a knee. Somewhere down the road, with progress, he'll be able to manage three -- an elbow and two hands, and they'll all be perfect -- that'll show that he's making progress without my having to detail every single thing he is doing to enhance his training. Given how overused the rasengan has become in some of the anime fillers, I wouldn't be surprised if you all hate it by now, but I'd actually decided on this back when the Tea Country arc had first started, before he'd first used that technique, even, in those fillers. I decided not to scrap my plan despite this abuse of what was once my favorite Naruto technique, although his usage is more limited in this then I'd originally intended. (Also, to head something off before it starts, some people in Naruto forums I visit complain about even the concept of anyone performing multiple rasengan at once, on the grounds that it's 'impossible.' I would like to point out that Jiraiya was holding two rasengan at one point while training Naruto in the technique earlier, so it is very possible... whether the actual physics of it should work or not, we've seen it work in canon and so it works. Heh.) I also made a very quick point about something: ANBU is exclusive to Konoha. It is, if you will, the Konoha Hunter Ninja Association. I've read fanfics dealing with, say, Sand ANBU or the like, but Sand would have a different organization administering its hunter nin. I think the fact that the only hunter nin we've been introduced to were ANBU (save for the fake hunter nin of Haku in the Wave Arc, who was described as a wearing the mask of a 'hunter nin similar to those worn by our ANBU service' or something like that by Kakashi, depending on translation) may have helped lead to this conclusion, but it is a false one... (at least, unless two different translations I've read of that explanation for Haku were both incorrect. Since I can't translate Japanese myself, the raw may disagree with me... nevertheless, I'm going with this explanation). I'm not as sure about ANBU being an acronym -- especially since I have no clue what such an acronym would mean -- but I chose to use an acronym for Grass's hunter nin organization: The GHuND, or G-rass Hu-nter N-inja D-ivision. Just letting you know, in case they ever show up again, and you're wondering who these GHuND people are... (Tum te tum tum, as one of my favorite sci-fi author's would say... and yes, I'm aware that, as they would be speaking Japanese, this acronym is completely wrong. Sorry, but unless I already know the base component vocabulary, I'm not going to be able to come up with a proper Japanese acronym should the need ever arise, and I don't. If you know Japanese, you're welcome to come up with your own more appropriate acronym. I'm going with the 'Japanese and English are both spoken in Naruto's world' theory, since there are a few English phrases used from time to time (at least in the anime, since I wouldn't know if they're also used in the raw Japanese manga). "Good Moooooening, Sakura-chan!" and all that. As that is the case, acronyms could be in either Japanese or English, as well....) I wasn't exactly happy with the combat portion of this piece -- I think because I really only planned Naruto's actions and not any of the others' moves in advance -- but I'll try to make up for it next chapter. It might also have to do with when I wrote it -- which was rather late at night (I was rushing to meet my self-imposed deadline -- unnecessarily, thanks to the 'net problems). So late, in fact, that I realized afterwards I'd actually typed part of this chapter with my eyes closed. Literally. Gah, I hope I didn't screw it up, too much. Next Chapter: Well, if I were making titles for the chapters, I'd call it 'The Battle of Rainbow.' That should explain what's coming up, don't you think?