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Wind Monk Banishment: Fox Chronicles #2

Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment – Fox Chronicles

Chapter 2: Collateral Damage


Naruto Age: 14

Mindscape

Soft plops of falling droplets spoke of the sole ambient sound in the confined space of metal. The dreary autumn-colored illumination wavered from their endless duty of combating the encompassing darkness. Only two living creatures remained in the metal sewer, and they were currently facing each other down.

“Come on already,” Naruto felt tense as he continued his attempt to weasel info from his symbiotic resident. “Is it that hard for you to start spilling what you know about my parents?”

It had been roughly a few months beyond a full year since his induction into the Wind Temple. Hours upon creeping hours had been eaten away through meditation, inching himself further and further into gaining access to his mindscape. It was only recently that he could access it under his own power at will.

Despite his best efforts in co-existing with the fox, pride rankled it’s every fiber. It boasted a massive repository of knowledge and age, which engraved a sense of self-worth and pride beyond that of a human’s, yet was forced into such an unsanitary and confined space that it craved freedom. To have its pride be stepped on by its jailer’s mere existence did little to make the idea of a peaceful partnership appealing.

The Kyuubi snorted. “Once again, not until you do something about this confounded seal.

Rising frustration made itself known. Involuntarily, the corners of Naruto’s mouth sipped to form a grim pout. “I’m working on it, but the sealing style is made of two Four Symbol Seals that overlap. I just need to figure out which part of array is the most prominent in dealing with the mindscape appearance.”

The level of condescension the fox held to him revealed itself in the form of a smug grin that bared ivory fangs. “In that case, I may as well be waiting until you hit your mid-100s given your IQ. You only graduated from the Academy on a technicality and because of your reserves, not your brain.

“Cheap shot!” The jinchuuriki unleashed the tension by stomping. Furrowing his brows, he proclaimed, “You know damn well I was sabotaged by Mizuki and those lousy instructors. I’ve been flourishing in the temple!”

Shifting its shoulders, the chakra demon showed just what it thought about his progress. While his knowledge had been expanding, it was beneath a level that the ages old demon would consider flourishing. Comparing it’s jailer to it’s creator, it was barely noticeable at best.

The futility of his efforts ate away at his patience with the jailed creature. Fearing the dissolution of their minor tolerance of each other, Naruto turned his back on the fox. “You better keep your promise. You don’t want your coat to smell bad from soaking in it until the day we both pass away, do you?”

A twinge of malice rolled off the creature at the barb. Narrowed eyes bore down upon the miniscule human. “Don’t compare me to your kind. I am a superior being, and unlike your kind, I don’t lie.

The sudden change of disposition grabbed Naruto’s attention. He peered over his shoulder on observation. “Is that so?”

I only tempt. I offered you power when needed, and had you accepted it I would have destroyed whatever earned your ire in exchange for my freedom.

He arched an eyebrow. “But I’d be dead once the seal broke.”

The fox’s lips curled. “A minor detail I’d be willing to overlook.”

Naruto could only sigh at the blatant lack of concern over his well-being if the fox got out. “You see, its lines like that make me less that eager to take your help…”

At that, the world melted away and slowly faded back into reality.

Naruto sighed once again as he freed himself from his mindscape. His legs felt the numb after spending so much time in a lotus position, meditating in his room under the light and warmth of a lantern that fought the darkness in a struggle that would last until it was extinguished.

The change in the fox’s attitude told Naruto something new about its morals. Or rather, it had them. He would add it to the mental checklist he complied for his future interactions with it.

Stretching out his arms as he made his way to a small desk in his room, Naruto eyed the stack of books there. Generalized Seals for the Moderate Maker was the one he was currently focused on. He had taken to sealing in deference to its utility and out of remembrance of his clan.

Seals were versatile, but also a major pain in the ass. There was so much freaking math and planning involved in creating seals from scratch. Whoever said that it was just scribbling lines on paper and feeding it chakra should be beaten with a Bo…and then made to catch Tora endlessly…

It was difficult—more so than anything else he had ever done. Being the sole known survivor of a clan meant carrying the entire weight the clan’s past and being forced to be compared to them forever. You have to live up to their standards, and must carry the acts and duties of multiple generations on your back.

It helped him better understand why Sasuke always had a stick up his ass and the Uchiha pride thing…although, Sasuke had a brother responsible for said clan’s destruction. That couldn’t have helped things.

As he pulled out a brush and ofuda-sized slip, he began to work on another one. The Uzumaki was currently dealing with a seal for storing sand, on contact for complexity’s sake. It was practice that every night he would write a seal up that he memorized until the motions were done by muscle memory.

He’d like to do something cooler, but he couldn’t risk it while still inside the temple. Not after he screwed up the conversion symbol and didn’t adjust for the expulsion of the chakra, turning what was essentially a chakra venting seal into a bomb…

Or the time his reinforcement seal overflowed and blew up that training staff…

Or when he tried that barrier seal and it ruptured from an imbalance due to the faulty chakra redirection formula…

No wonder there were so few seal masters or creators. You fuck up once and it could be your last. He could swear some of the other monks-in-training were taking bets on when he would blow himself up trying body seals.

Even the process of writing them was difficult. Each stroke of a brush had to be infused with chakra for a reason—conservation of energy. Having an ocean of chakra didn’t help, as too much would simply overstep the bounds of the array code being written, so his reserves did little to aid it.

He eventually decided to just soak his ink well in his chakra and let it stew for a while, rather than trying to control the flow directly. He would get it eventually, but until then baby steps. Sealing was an art and to be learned over the course of a lifetime.

One interesting tidbit Naruto realized was why exactly scrolls were used for storing items rather than something like a bangle or solid object: Space. Items didn’t just vanish into the scrolls, they merged into it. They were broken down and actually integrated into the coding on the paper itself through a careful systematic formula array.

But they were fragile. If you so much as even cut a sealing scroll by a few centimeters, it would cause a catastrophic failure and botch the holding—possibly unleashing the entire payload and rendering the array inert. Something like steel would be better…so he would set that as a goal.

In the case of elemental or personal storage seals like they used for water here, the symbol in the center of a seal determined what was held. To hold things like water or fire, the array had to be fitted to store things like the properties, the molecules, and convert the states from an immaterial form to the solid materialistic form. That was what the center symbol was for.

Explosive tags for instance held not only fire, but force as well. They were tripped by chakra fed into the paper and triggering the intake to set up a chain reaction with chakra already stored inside, The invasive chakra merely pulled the pulled the pin, the stored chakra did the real work once it was converted into fire and kinetic force.

But seals that affected humans and animals were so much more complex. He had to get some lessons in human anatomy by Instructor Marin in her free time since the medical monk knew human anatomy like the back of her hand. Her figure reminded Naruto of Shizune, but with brown hair and eyes.

That wasn’t to say Naruto wasn’t making any advances on his own. He could make those seals now and kept them stored away for a time of need, but more impressively he could dissect more common and a few obscure seals that used the universal sealing code language in mere minutes and modify them to an extent.

Not to mention by experimenting with the arrays, he found his own personal abbreviated pseudo-code for his personal seals, reducing the size and time needed. He started by using the books they had and the common sealing formulas. It took over 285 nights of study and quick naps, but it was a start.

He needed more practice on custom ones though, not to mention familiarizing himself with various nations own array coding languages. Then again, that was only if he planned to work as a seal master, designer, or specialist for them. He could be a freelancer instead.

Looking at the Sand Absorption Seal, he took a bit of sand he kept in a small dish on the desk and placed it on the ofuda. One…Two…Three seconds later, it was gone. He must’ve screwed up the time-lapse on the contact…or was it the pressure sensitivity anchor of the array.

“Bah!” Frustration forced him to run his fingers through his hair. “Sleep now, bitch about what went wrong later…”


Next Afternoon

Naruto’s body felt heavy. The Four Limbs Weighting Seal forced his muscles to stay tense and strong as they were wrapped in prayer beads. He would deactivate them when he needed to by venting the chakra that kept the seal active, but for now they served an important role in increasing his strength.

It was training time and Naruto stood at the top of the huge cliff bordering the temple. The flat and solid surface was good for a change, and the abundance of boulders made for good target practice. Had he been alone, he would have crafted the Rasengan to see how long he could sustain the concentration for it while in use since he could do it without a clone now.

Extending his fingers, he pushed chakra towards the tenketsu at the tips until thin blue needles began to push outwards. You didn’t need to be a Hyuuga to attack from the tenketsu, only see them. Once they were out halfway, he pushed a block chakra out to fire them. The chakra needles—a technique used by the medical-focused monks for acupuncture healing—barely pierced the rock beyond the tip.

It hurt the first time he tried it and took a while to get the points used to processing the chakra being so condensed, but he got it after a month with the shape manipulation exercises. Naruto weaponized it to give himself a sense of armament, and while it wouldn’t do much harm to rock, it could go into flesh. If only he were better at using the Wind Chakra affinity he possessed.

Moving his right forefinger to the ground chakra flared and set his fingertip ablaze with cerulean fire. The superheated chakra of the Finger Carving Seal burned another count mark before Naruto cancelled it. Four months of practice and he could only hold it for ten second increments before it would give him a chakra burn.

Rasengan for close range and Chakra Needles for long-range, not nearly close to the usefulness of the clones he had, but good enough for now…baby steps. He had to focus on sealing instead and training his body. But for now, he rested and turned his attention the other person on the plateau.

He watched as a girl his age performed what seemed to be a Body Flicker. Her violet hair wrapped in a bandana as she touched the ground at one point, adjusted, and then appeared at the next point faster than an untrained eye could track. What was her name again…oh yeah, Mina.

However, he noticed it wasn’t a Body Flicker. That technique was simply vitalizing the entire body with chakra to move at a quicker pace than the eyes could typically track without chakra or experience. This was similar to it, but it didn’t allow chakra to flow through the entire body, just the legs and feet to work the bone and muscle.

Vital Step was what it was named. Since ninja monks had shinobi roots it was probably another variation or branch. Naruto found it difficult because it required turning your foot in a certain manner as you touched down and threw him off because of his ninja training. That led to him flying because he couldn’t stick the landing.

Not to mention their rationality. Monks would visualize the space between them and the point they wanted to go, and imagine the earth itself contracted to reach it in one step. The chakra would adjust accordingly if enough was present and bring them to it in a single movement. It was more about letting the chakra flow naturally with the earth rather than forcing it.

That was a clear contrast to the years of practice he did as a ninja.

GOOOONG!

The ringing of a gong symbolized the end of his training. It was time to meet with the monks and discuss a task to be done, requested by one of the minor villages that couldn’t afford to hire Suna to do it. Having heard about it this morning, something resembling anticipation bubbled up inside his stomach at the thought, and he made his way from the plateau shelf to the temple below…


Two days later

The assignment had been to simply assist a small village in reinforcing their homes to defend against the brutal windstorms that appeared annually. Their finances have to go towards paying the carpenters for permanent restructuring to avoid the constant reinforcing, and it left the villagers in a tight spot, so they appealed to the Wind Daimyo.

He sent the monks of the temple to assist. There were three elder monks, including Ashua, and twelve monks-in-training who had at least a year under their belt in the service of the temple, as well as a few more experienced ones, so they would be ensured to have the stamina necessary to endure any desert travel or other tasks.

“This reminds me of D-class missions,” Naruto mused out loud. “Is there any particular reason the Wind Daimyo asked this many of the monks do such a small task?”

“It makes the Wind Daimyo looks good because he’s taking care of even his poor villagers,” Mina stated, helping him carry some of the materials for the carpenters when they arrived. “After the last guy nearly caused a war, he needs to rehabilitate image of the position and get in good with the people before someone takes advantage of the situation and plan a coup d’état out of fear. ”

The fox decided to chime in. “Let’s hope it doesn’t go the way of your other missions…With your luck, it’ll be…a B-class mission by the end of it.

We’re in the middle of a desert,” Naruto retorted. “What’s the worst that can happen?

Right on cue, Instructor Diemia—the instructor for the advanced chakra control classes—appeared and shouted, “Everyone inside! A storm is coming!”

Not. A. Word.” Naruto warned the fox. His luck did not have effects over nature. He did not tempt fate.

The windstorm that came took hours to die down, raging against the walls of the building they housed everyone in.

Naruto decided to spend the time working on his chakra control by utilizing the Cube Exercise—shaping his chakra into a small, translucent cube that was hollowed inside. The technique was rumored to have helped in the development of the Second Tsuchikage’s Dust Element technique.

It goes that before Muu became Tsuchikage and was young, he infiltrated a village and was injured. His escape was facilitated when his ability to become a non-person with the Hiding with Camouflage Technique was just starting out, but he found himself within the care of a sect of monks on a pilgrimage. He witnessed their shape manipulation exercise before parting and worked into developing it to aid in manipulating his Bloodline Selection.

In was in the honor of the monk’s belief of separation from the physical plane and ascension to the spiritual, that he named the Dust technique Detachment of the Primitive World…although, there was sincere doubt that they expected him to go out and turn it into a technique that pounded the enemy into dust through the earth, wind, and fire elements. There was nothing physical to be attached to afterwards.

Once he fully developed it, numbers didn’t matter anymore. After all, reinforcements in battles only counted if they weren’t killed in one hit. The second Mizukage had his illusions to fall back on, which was the primary reason they killed each other. How befitting for the fate of two Kages.

Instructor Diemia was capable of creating boxes and barriers of various sizes, to be used as platforms and defenses. He was a middle-aged man from overseas getting along in years, with white-hair that was a bit shaggy and wore glasses. He oversaw Naruto’s development in the chakra control department along with his other students.

Naruto found shaping it into a box was easy compared to the Rasengan. The main difference was he was hollowing it out, which meant not filling it with chakra and molding what was present, meaning he needed better control. Actually separating the box from his body took concentration and a steady flow of chakra to maintain it—also, the durability was shot since it was so thin and not rotating.

He was in the middle of crafting a cube between his hands when another one of the monks-in-training tapped him on the shoulder. The guy went by the name Sabo and had a shaved head, emerald green eyes, and prayer beads around his forearms.

“Head Monk is calling for you,” he told Naruto and led him to the room.

Naruto gave a curt bow in respect. “You called for me, Head Monk?”

“It would seem some of the building materials were damaged due to the sudden windstorm,” Ashua spoke grimly. “Without them, I am afraid that they cannot continue their restructuring.”

It is not my fault, Naruto repeated the mantra inside his head. I don’t control the weather.

It was true this time. It was a random act of nature. His luck blowing up in his face would come later on.

“However, it would seem that they managed to get a contingency fee scrapped together to replace the funds and need someone to retrieve the supplies when the carpenters arrive in four days at Namisar, which dwells at the edge of the Land of Wind. Kino, Naruto, Mina, Sabo, and Instructor Diemia will also escort them along the way.”

“Ummm, why us?” Naruto asked.

“My reasons are as follows,” he faced Sabo. “Sabo has prior experience with the city itself, and can guide you through it. Also, I have no doubt he has people he wishes to see after so long.”

The monk-in-training laughed lightly and scratched his cheek. “It has been some time…”

“Mina and Naruto need to become more acquainted with the world beyond the five nations, and the culture shock will be a good experience. Also, Naruto’s new sealing slips will be needed to house the materials. They are impressive…although I worry when you deviate from the formula, so use the ones that are stable and I’ve reviewed, not the experimental ones.”

You blow up a few things and everyone’s a critic, Naruto mentally sighed, ignoring the fox’s chuckle. “Understood.”

“Kino will be acquiring space for the temple stand at the market, which will be put to use later this year as always.” He looked at his protégé and nodded. “To accomplish your goal, you need to familiarize yourself with the various tasks we do.”

“As you wish,” Kino nodded deeply. “I shall carry out my assignment dutifully.”

“Instructor Diemia will be acting in my stead,” he finished. “I trust you will contain yourselves?”

That was directed more towards Kino in relation to the whole shinobi-Naruto affair. The two barely spoke to each other unless required after that whole ordeal. Ashua had seen the slight trembles in his hand, the eyes always watching, recalling the killing intent he felt from the fox. He would have to do something about that. Fear breeds hatred. Hatred led to the path of self-destruction, and both of them needed to steer clear of that road.

They answered in unison. “Yes, Head Monk!”

As they left and he thought of a way to get them past their hurdle, he noticed the teacup he used had been cracked suddenly. “Well, that’s not an omen or anything…I hope.”


Two Days Later

As they ventured south, the endless sands gave way to patches of green, eventually becoming grass plains that bordered the stretch of sea. The salty sea breeze peppered their faces, and they basked in the scent beyond that of the dry desert. It had been so long since they experienced such a sight, if at all.

“Whoa…” Naruto muttered, his cowl dropping from over his head and exposing his hair. His eyes were fixated on the town as they peered at it from above. “This place seems different that what I’m used to. Not like Spring or Moon.”

His fox-state eyes—which the fox still wouldn’t come clean on fixing—observed the various buildings of all kinds of material, the roads, the people of different colors and clothing all wandering around. The main street led to a round-about that served as the market bazaar, where numerous people had gathered, while the alleys led into some less glorious appearing places hidden from the main street view. Canals divided the town into sections, and the beach was lined fine sand on one side and rocky outcroppings on the other.

“Namisar was named in remembrance of a foreign sailor who guided his ship here through a fierce storm and set up trade between the Land of Wind and the continents beyond the 5 Major Shinobi nations,” the instructor lectured him. “Because of the diverse population and culture, many different influences can be seen in the building structures, citizens, and stock they carry.”

Naruto frowned a bit when he thought about how such a place could have his identity exposed. The last thing he needed was for someone to give away his location on the off-chance some loon tried to kill him for revenge or turn him into a weapon. “Is there any chance that a Konoha shinobi could be there?”

“Not very likely,” Instructor Diemia nodded to ease his suspicion. “As a rule, the use of ninjutsu is restricted and all shinobi are required to register ahead of time before entering. You see, not every continent in the world is knowledgeable about ninjutsu or chakra.”

“Yeah…” Naruto scratched his head. “I met a guy named Temujin who said it was comparable to witchcraft. His power came from this freaky stone instead. He had armor and a sword different from a samurai or shinobi—and this really sweet retractable shield bracelet.”

“Even so,” Sabo chimed in. “It’s easy to smuggle yourself into this city, and if you don’t have a headband it’s easy enough to pass yourself off as a civilian and lay low. A lot of guys who want out of the shinobi game, need to disappear, or on an undercover mission might be hanging around.”

He leaned in close and whispered in Naruto’s ear. “Plus, a pretty shrimp like you might run into other problems, since there’s an active Skin Trade going on here due to all the foreigners—that includes your age. You’d fetch a pretty penny, so I’d suggest covering up.

Naruto gulped and proceeded to wrap his head and face up in the head scarf they carried whenever they crossed the desert during the worse heat or windy weather. Only his eyes and the bridge between them were exposed by the face mask. “Okay, I’m good.”

Kino only sighed and shook his head. Unnatural chakra or not, he was still a dunderhead. The monk-in-training wonder if he had been possessed or something at the time and the Head Monk purged it. “Whatever.”

Once inside the town walls, the group split. Kino went off on his own, while Mina and the instructor departed towards the dock to confirm the arrival in two days and then to ensure the materials had been prepared. That left Naruto alone with Sabo, who he barely knew anything about since he hadn’t been all that social with his studies and training.

“So…” Sabo broke the ice between them with a small jab. “Where do you want to go first?”

“I want to pick up some rarer supplies for a few new seals I have planned, but the only money I have on me is what I came to the temple with,” Naruto told Sabo. “That’s not much.”

“Well, how’s your luck at betting?” He noticed Naruto only grinned slightly behind the mask. “That good, huh? Come on then. ”

He led Naruto into a different part of the town, where ramshackle wooden buildings were thrown up with highly mismatched rooftops. Clothing lines and wooden beams ran between them, and the stones of the streets weren’t as polished. Tarps were draped over exposed parts, and windows were little more than uneven holes.

The atmosphere was different than the main street—less vibrant, more downtrodden. It reminded Naruto of the poorer areas of Konoha—even poorer than the apartment that the old man had gotten him, but roughly the same district. Not that Naruto minded the place; really it said more about what was really going on than what was on the surface.

Not too hostile, but not too inviting. It was comforting in a way.

Yet, Sabo was navigating through it like a native. He avoided women of momentary comfort, although he eyed a few along the way. The pickpockets—which Naruto was no stranger to, having been one himself to get by occasionally—smartly avoided the pair with their cloaks making targets hard to spot. Small detours were taken to miss the thugs that would only wind up getting their asses kicked collectively.

He finally stopped at the entrance of an alleyway that led to a brothel and pointed from behind the curb. There were a group of young men who were around a game of Find the Lady. “Easiest way to get the cash you want, but try not to cause trouble for us, because news gets around here.”

“That depends, is he honest?” Naruto asked, familiar with the game. There was a chance that the guys around were shills or he could pull a slight-of-hand.

Sabo only tilted his hand side-to-side, noticing a girl not too far from here. “He’s honest until about 2000 ryou, after that he starts getting slippery. Those guys are marks; since he knows how to use chakra he doesn’t usually need muscle if they get a little rowdy. ”

On cue, the three men gave up and went on their way to the brothel, now that their hopes of earning enough to get another hour of comfort were dashed. “See? Now go play while I go chat with a pretty lady.”

Naruto was ushered down the alley, while Sabo went to the right and met with the girl. Upon seeing the beads weighing down Naruto’s body, the dealer winced as if recalling a painful memory. Naruto put the money down and the game began.

The dealer’s hands were fast, but Naruto’s red-rimmed eyes were faster. Even when he got distracted, he took a lucky guess and came out on top. Eventually the dealer called it quits after Naruto cleaned half of his earnings for the day and gained a small audience filled with marks, leaving the jinchuuriki with more than enough money.

Making his way around the corner after storing his winnings away, he noticed Sabo talking to the girl in what looked like a blouse with shorts before she hugged him. Not wishing to pry, he stayed around the edge of the corner until they separated and he came back around to lead them out. Naruto noticed his shoulders were loose and relaxed, and his eyes didn’t dart around, waiting to catch someone ready to do something.

Combined with the ease of how he pointed to where Naruto could gamble quickly it made something clear. “Sabo, you’re familiar with this neighborhood, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I was an unwanted child who grew up on these streets,” he admitted without an ounce of edge. It was like it didn’t even bother him. “One day I woke up and learned my mom caught a boat back to her homeland and left me behind. Never knew my dad.”

“Sorry for bringing it up.”

“I’m fine with it,” he said. “It happened in the past and nothing I can do can change it…so, since we’re bringing up sensitive topics, how’d you join the temple?”

“They found me in the desert after I got banished from my shinobi village,” Naruto answered. “I underestimated the travel conditions.”

Sabo’s eyebrow rose at that. “What’d you do to get kicked out of a shinobi village?”

Naruto winced. “Completing a mission apparently. The paper came from the top ninja, and what she said goes…Old Hag.”

“That’s rough buddy,” he slapped him on the back in condolence. “Weren’t your parents upset?”

“I’m an orphan…” Naruto sighed beneath his mask. “So, how’d they get you?”

“When there was a pilgrimage that brought them by here a few years ago, me and a few guys tried to pick the pocket of an old monk. Got caught, got interested, and joined up. That dealer you played and a girl who I ran into back there also came along, but they couldn’t handle it. This lifestyle isn’t easy by any means, and while life in the Alley might not be easy, but it’s a whole lot more fun and profitable than temple life.”

“Yeah, to be honest it is a lot harder than I expected,” Naruto agreed. “I may not stay forever, but there’s merit to what they teach and I don’t have anywhere else to go for a few years.”

“Why not travel around the world then?” Sabo asked when they were back on the main street.

“I don’t know…” Naruto muttered. “I might go to Uzushio once all this is done, but the world?”

“Look, see that building?” He pointed to the distance. “Meet us there in two hours. Until then, just walk around and get a feel for the different vibes of this town. It’s like a micro-scale of the world, so you can see just diverse it is.”

Naruto raised an eyebrow. “Where are you going to be?”

“Finding some more of my old friends,” he answered. “There are some places here I really want to go, but you’re a little too young for that. Try not to sell yourself by accident.”

And with that he used Vital Step to go back into the Alley. Naruto only sighed. “I have got to learn to do that.”

With no guide and two hours to himself, the jinchuuriki walked around the port town filled with canals. Konoha had a distinctive feel compared to that of the temple, but this city had a more robust and gritty appeal to it as well. They all had their own charms and follies in the end.

As he walked through the crowd of strangers in foreign clothes from all walks of life and vendors pitching unfamiliar items, Naruto’s nose picked up a strange scent and he wound up going over to a food vendor. He had never heard of a pizza before, but the scent was so tantalizing he bought one.

After he took his first bite, his eyes perked up. “This is my new second-favorite dish!”

Twelve slices later he wondered how far the vendor had to travel to sale the magnificent dish and how different things were there. How different was the world from what he imagined? The vendor had been happy to tell him, given the jinchuuriki had just been his best customer so far.

The vendor mentioned his journey from Itaria and his travels through several different countries with different lifestyles and cultures. Naruto was no longer a villager of the Leaf, he was free to go wherever he wanted. He was banished for three years, but he didn’t have to return.

Better yet, why should he? “Maybe I should travel around when I get older.”

Yeah, like you did when you entered the desert?” The fox chimed in. “That turned out well.

Oh be quiet,” Naruto told it mentally, before following a train of thought that led to him asking it a question. “Hey, Fox. Do you know anything about what Uzushio was like? If I’m going to go by the name I should at least know about it.

I was sealed at Konoha roughly a hundred years ago,” it answered with spite in its voice. “Your mother and distant relative never returned to there after they became jinchuuriki. However, my last host would often look upon a map in remembrance, so I merely know the location by proxy.

Nearly a hundred, huh?” Naruto imagined being placed inside a box and being denied his freedom for over a century. Isolated, alone, and miserable, if he compared it to the near decade of going through that as a child, he could see the fox becoming jaded and malicious to its jailer. “Sorry to hear that.

Apologies won’t grant me my freedom, nor my time back,” the fox growled. “It was a mistake for my Old Man to entrust us to your kind.

Naruto’s ears perked up at that. “Old Man?

The fox didn’t answer. Naruto took it as a hint to quit while he was ahead. He had inadvertently learned more about his apparent connection to the previous two jinchuuriki and considered it enough for the moment. “Thanks for the answers. I’ll go over the notes on the top layer of the Four Symbols Seal tonight and see if I can pick out the array for the mindscape appearance again.

It only snorted in response.

Walking further down into the bazaar roundabout, the wares changed from foods to foreign equipment. As he passed a wooden stand with a guy wearing a black cowl standing in front of a display of weaponry from across the sea—broad blades, kite shields, plate mail and helmets—he asked him if he had one of those shields that Temujin had.

“Hmm…” The man shifted through his inventory until he found something. He placed a cold-blue gauntlet on and pressed a button on the bottom, expanding three layers of diamond-shaped metal, extending the defensive wall to a little more than a foot. “The model you are describing is not native to my homeland, but this one was a standard for the assassins of my homeland to block arrows.”

Naruto decided it was good enough and would make it a personal project to have it spring open on command through chakra by having a seal trip it instead. Plus some seals to enhance it’s durability, since those were covered in his text already and he had less of a chance of shrapnel blowing up in his face. He squirreled it away inside a storage slip. “Pleasure doing business with you.”

The man nodded. “Likewise…”

Boom!

A loud explosion occurred from one of the branching streets and reach Naruto’s ear.


At the scene

At the sight of the explosion was a wrecked mechanical puppet, several Nadeshiko kunoichi in cloaks with their headbands hidden, Kino, and the man who built the thing in the first place.

Kino had been making his way back to the planned meeting spot ahead of time when the puppet-user attacked the kunoichi known as Shizuka. She destroyed the thing, but in doing so had drawn a crowd towards them and earning Kino’s ire for being a shinobi. He had problems with shinobi, if it weren’t obvious, and thought to confront them.

This could interfere with the mission,” one of the kunoichi whispered into Shizuka’s ear. “This town doesn’t condone shinobi who aren’t registered and we did sneak in. Master Tokiwa hasn’t gotten back yet either.

“What’s going on?” Naruto wondered out loud as made his way toward the crowd to see what the commotion was about.

At the same time, another man was leaving the crowd, finding the situation a bore. He was an oddity with black hair that had green streaks in it in a zig-zag pattern, and a slump posture. His baggy long-sleeve shirt didn’t even rustle as he moved with a fluid grace. Once he parted the crowd, his lackluster gaze was drawn towards the gathering of kunoichi a final time, at the same time Naruto’s focus was on the argument between Kino and Shizuka’s supporters. The man bumped into Naruto on pure accident.

“Sorry about—” Naruto was about to apologize when the sound of metal hitting the stone pavement echoed through the street like the lone ring in a cavern. He looked down to see what it was, and his heart skipped a beat. “A shinobi’s forehead protector?”

The tension in his voice was from the protector being face down, meaning he could be one of the hundreds of Konoha shinobi he knew nothing about. It reached the ears of the trained kunoichi and they began to move.

Sensing the change in the atmosphere, the man dropped all pretexts of being a civilian and made the Tiger Seal to buy some breathing room and punish the fool that exposed him. “Water Style: Water Surface Slicer!

A jet of water spouted from the earth and tore down the street, catching Naruto in the unexpected blast along with dozens of others. The kunoichi managed to avoid it with minor difficulties, but the civilians and two monks-in-training weren’t so lucky. The force of the attack swept people into the air and shattered bones, while the stone shrapnel from the paved ground caught several with enough force to embed themselves firmly into bodies.

The resulting panic had the civilians fleeing in terror, pushing each other out of the way and trampling those who were too slow, leaving injured and dying in their wake—the puppet-user being one of them.

“Go aid the injured, I’ll take him down.” Shizuka commanded her followers as she tossed her cloak away and chased after the fleeing shinobi from above on the rooftops. This would not end well at all. What was supposed to be a simple assassination and capture had gone awry because of the puppet-user and ended with corpses and injured.

Once Kino regained his senses he noticed the battered bodies, mass destruction, and wails of the injured. A vivid scene of a burning village with corpses lining the street overlapped at that moment and rage filled him. Noticing the man fleeing ahead, he summoned his Bo staff from a seal scroll and chased him as well.

Owww…it hurts…Naruto thought. The world was spinning, and several spots on his body radiated pain from being at the focal point of the attack. Running his hand over the spots, he felt hard rock and sticky moisture, only to lower his gaze and see he had been made pincushion for a great deal of shrapnel. What…happened…?

A sense of nausea overtook him when his sense of smell returned and picked up all the iron from the spilled blood. The memories of the attack began to appear as his mind cleared from the disorientation. The screams of many in shock bought his attention toward the direction that the man had fled to. He had to get up. He had to stand.

A…little help, please…” He asked the fox and silence was received. In the place of a verbal response the wounds closed, after the body rejected the shrapnel that tore his cloak and clothes beneath it. The jinchuuriki stood up and sprinted towards the site, venting the chakra in his weighting seals. What he witnessed was a stand-off.

A woman was on the ground, bleeding out as crimson life blood seeped through the furrows in the ground and stained the stones red. A kunai dripped blood and was placed before the neck of a little girl, with a patch of red from a gash in her stomach, in the shinobi’s other arm. The little girl had tears in her eyes, and softly cried “Mama, it hurts,” repeatedly, hoping for a response but afraid of speaking out loud and being killed.

Shizuka’s eyes bore a twinge of regret at the sight. Kino’s glare became murderous, and his fingers gripped the staff tight enough to crack the grain. Eying them both, the man placed the kunai at her neck. “One step, and the brat will get worse!”

“My, my…” Instructor Diemia slowly approached with Mina and sighed at the sight of the man wielding a weapon against a hostage. “Is that really necessary? Was killing an innocent woman in front of her child worth it?”

“Can it old man! This isn’t a—” The man was cut off when a chakra construct formed a thin wall between the dagger and the girl, while another one sprang up at his feet and directly impacted the elbow of the arm holding the girl, releasing her. She was then sealed inside a final one and isolated.

No longer having a hostage, Kino allowed chakra to flow through his staff and thrust it like a spear towards the center of his forehead, piercing through it with intent to kill. There was no rain of blood of brain matter, but the body melted around it while turning clear blue, before collapsing in a puddle…with an explosive tagged kunai inside it.

“Get away, it’s gonna blow!” Naruto yelled as it caught fire.

A triple layer of chakra blocks surrounded the tag before it ruptured and the blast was restrained for the most part, but the shockwave blew Kino off his feet. “What the Hell!?”

“A Water Clone…” Naruto realized. “He must’ve pulled a substitution with it after he lost the hostage and took off! The seal on it wasn’t timed, but limited remote for detonation. Meaning he can’t be too far!”

Kino gritted his teeth and chased after Shizuka—who picked up the screams of panicking civilians to the west a split second beforehand—using Vital Step. Mina and Instructor Diemia worked to stabilize the girl, whose wound was made worse by the explosion and critical.

“Uzumaki, go after Kino!” The instructor ordered. “He doesn’t think rationally in these circumstances and may get himself hurt. Bring him back and let the guards handle this!”

Naruto nodded and took off with very little intention of actually doing that. That shinobi crossed the line.


Shizuka attacked the shinobi in a dead-end alley, next to a canal that was lined with several jerry-built three-story buildings that housed members of the poorer class. With a kunai in each hand imbued with the pale glow of wind chakra, they left luminous arcs as they flowed in an alluring pattern and targeted his head.

The metal forehead protector was pierced in two by the wind-coated kunai as it dug into the skull of the shinobi…only for it to turn into water and then burst in an explosion of force that sent her flying into the wall of the building at the back of the dead end alley. The Clone Great Explosion technique was more effective with a shadow clone because they had more mass, but water was a good medium as well.

Pulling himself out of the canal, he wiped the blood from his head and looked at the ruined forehead protector with a myriad of emotions. He had let his skills degrade to the point where even with a seal-less water clone and substitution he was too slow to avoid any damage. Now he had lost something that simply couldn’t be replaced by pride.

Pulling out two kunai, he sent a murderous gaze towards Shizuka. The kunoichi was stunned from the impact, her head slamming into the wall enough to knock her out. A stab to the head and heart would kill this stupid brat.

He took a single step forward…and then grinded his teeth as he sensed the arrival of another enemy and raised them above with earth chakra flowing through the blades to increase their durability. The kunai crossed each other and halted the hammer strike of the Bo staff as Kino dropped from above, the impact cracking the paved earth beneath the shinobi’s feet. With burst of strength he edged it past his shoulder and stepped in to slash at the monk-in-training.

Kino leaped back, fury in his eyes that called for blood. Extending his chakra flow, he used the limited shape manipulation taught to form a pyramid-shaped tip of hardened chakra at the end of his Bo, turning it into a spear. Then he attacked again.

The spear lashed out in streaks of ethereal blue. Each thrust invading his territory and being deflected by the reinforced kunai. Heart, throat, and forehead—the streaks were accurate to a point, targeting the fatal spots with every intention of killing.

A strained voice escaped the man’s lips in the face of the relentless assault by the monk-in-training. That last thrust towards his throat was deflected into barely passing his head by the left and then retracted. He was by no means an expert in close-combat…But he was a Jounin damn it. He stepped in, taking the range advantage away from the spear-user and getting in close. His kunai were black blurs as they moved in fluid arcs, intent of cutting the kid apart.

Kino had pressed his luck, the folly of thinking that he could match someone who put time, blood, and sweat even greater than his own lifespan and expecting to come out on top unharmed. The reality of the situation was showing itself as he was forced on the defensive, his weapon being chipped away, lacking the time to commit to any defense.

“Ngh—!” Pain exploded in his abdomen from a knee slamming into it, cracking a rib at the very least. Air forced itself out of his lungs and staggered him for but a moment…but that was enough. He could only watch as the kunai prepared to take away his life and cut out his throat—

Clang!

—it was redirected, while the second came around and nicked just beneath his ribcage as the enemy stepped back and the kunai that was to tear at his throat had been sliced in two. Kino didn’t need to know why he was spared; only feeling resentment it was thanks to a shinobi that it happened. It was because Shizuka had gotten back on her feet and imbued wind chakra into a shuriken. Had he not stepped back, he would have died after killing Kino.

“Damn brats!” The man had had enough of these upstarts. Without a single hand seal, he spat out a blast of concussive water to knock the monk-in-training away and dodged the eight kunai that embedded themselves into the ground, up to the hilt thanks to wind chakra. He bit his thumb, made the seals, and cried “Summoning: Axolotl!

The smoke cleared to reveal a twelve-foot long, eight-foot high, obsidian-black salamander creature. It held gills and a long fin running down it’s spine, shaking as it stood on four legs. Shifting its wide head and lidless eyes, it noted the environment it was summoned into and gurgled as it dived into the canal next to his summoner.

The shinobi formed a hand seal as the Axolotl sucked water down it’s gullet with vacuum force, storing it in it stomach and lacing it with chakra. With a loud spurt, it spat out the regurgitate water at an angle from below and churned the surface of the water in the canal out as a wave, at the same time it’s summoner used his next jutsu. “Earth Style: Mud Spores!

The barreling wave of water became a muddy wash as it rode towards the pair. The panicked screams of those who resided nearby were nearly drowned out by the rushing water. The shinobi finished the collaboration technique with a final jutsu. “Earth Style: Earth Flow Spears!”

The wave hardened as it approached and formed spikes with his next technique, driving them forward into a wall of death at the duo. The cries of those who lived in the path of attack made it clear that if they dodged, more innocents would die. The pair stood in defiance of that outcome.

Shizuka pulled out a shuriken on the tip of finger and exhaled a thick layer of wind chakra, gracefully covering it with the Wind Style: Vacuum Blade technique. The spinning saw was flung, cleaving cleanly through the wall.

Virtuous Art:—” Kino spun his staff and streamed his own elemental affinity of fire into the weapon. The staff was set ablaze with roaring crimson that seemed to scorch the air. Holding it into a thrust position, he launched it forward. “—Agni’s Sacrificial Strike!

The burning missile was fired, streaking like a comet burning the horizon as it passed. It crashed head first into the mass of hard earth and ruptured with an explosion that shook the buildings and threatened to collapse them within the plume of smoke that rolled out as the rubble fell into the canal and onto the streets…with the sole exception of a single block large enough to smash a small hovel on the top of the building.

“Shit!” Kino swore as he prepared to intercept it when Shizuka pushed him down before they were both impaled by a lance of water. Neither would be able to stop the debris from causing more collateral damage…when the jinchuuriki appeared.

Naruto silently dashed across the rooftop and approached with the spiraling sphere of destruction in his hand. Leaping at the incoming clump of hardened mud and spikes, he pushed forward and shattered it. The rain of pebbles did little more than annoy those below as the jinchuuriki dissipated the Rasengan and chambered his hands.

Two swift sweeps unleashed a barrage of Chakra Needles towards the shinobi. The blue darts flew with lethal intent before they were knocked down by a spout of water, and Naruto charged forward, his makeshift mask hiding his expression barring the grim determination in his eyes.

The shinobi went on the offensive, summoning three water clones that ran forward with Water Whips in their hands and lashing out, while the summoning surfaced and used Water Style: Liquid Bullet to spit out condensed balls of water.

The spiraling sphere reappeared in his hand as he slammed it into the balls of water and dispersing them before he darted to the right to avoid the whips as they lashed. With a swipe of his hand another wave of needles pierced the clones and dispersed them as he sped towards the summoning and its master with burst of chakra behind each step.

The Axolotl spun around and lashed out with its tail, catching the jinchuuriki at his stomach and launching him backwards towards the other pair, who were briefly stunned by his sudden appearance. He rotated in the air and skidded to a stop on his feet, his tattered cloak ruffling as he stood again while the fox subtly healed the damage.

“So much for the element of surprise,” his slightly distorted voice came through the mask. “Kunoichi-san, who the hell is this guy?”

Shizuka bit her lips. At this point too much damage had been caused for absolute secrecy. She would tell them the bare minimum. “A missing-nin my village received a request to apprehend him from the Water Daimyo personally since the Village Hidden in the Mist was undergoing some…problems after the civil war. He’s been working for a certain man who runs the underworld here and sinking Land of Water and foreign ships that refuse to pay ‘taxes’ to him ahead of time.”

Left unsaid was how that certain man was in the tender care of her mentor as per a second set of orders to prevent this from happening again. Of course the evidence would only show he had a heart attack from an improperly cut blowfish. By the time the hired hands popped up to check on him, their meal ticket would simply be a cold corpse.

“His name is Mardius, former Jounin of the Hidden Mist. He’s known for his proficiency in water and earth techniques. Thank you for stepping in, but he’s my responsibility so I’ll deal with him.”

“And you’ve done a great job with it so far,” Kino stated coldly.

“Enough,” Naruto said as another a blast of water was fired by the summoning. The pulse of water had enough force to plow them through the building and would tear the arteries from the heart if hit through blunt trauma. Naruto pulled out a sealing scroll and unraveled it, revealing a water sigil in the center.

He had kept it for if they needed spare water at any time in the desert, having learned his lesson the first time. His chakra fed it, and the water from the attack was drunken into the scroll that rolled itself up when done. “Now, I was supposed to bring this hothead back and leave this mess to the guards, but since Kino obviously isn’t going to come back on his own and I don’t want to see anymore needless death, we work together.”

Let’s see, I have only one explosive tag since the Head Monk didn’t allow me to make more of them on principle, a barrier tag, a chakra venting tag…Damn, that’ll have to do for now since I wasn’t expecting a fight. Naruto looked at Shizuka and nodded. “Loan me a kunai will you?”

She tossed him a kunai and it spun in his hand before being reverse-gripped as he charged ahead. Shizuka watched as the masked monk-in-training charged ahead once again and tossed eight shuriken into the air after infusing them with wind chakra. “Wind Style: Rotating Shuriken!

The shuriken manipulated by Shizuka passed by him and tried to cut away at the shinobi’s flesh, but the Axolotl’s interference knocked them out of the air. The missing-nin followed up with a set of hand seals and water from the canal became a floating blob that darted out tendrils of water like striking snakes at the jinchuuriki.

Naruto flipped back before tossing an explosive seal slip into the blob, breaking the chakra mold that held the attack together, as a blur passed him in the form of Kino. In the monk-in-training’s hand was a jian with fire chakra streaming through it as he clashed with Mardius and his kunai streaming water chakra.

The Axolotl prepared to devoured the blade-user when Shizuka dropped from above with her leg wreathed in the glow of wind chakra. “Nadeshiko-Style Hardliner: Revolving Cut!” The attack came down and crushed the summoning, slicing through the head and scattering green blood and brain matter with bits of the flesh mixed in. As she took a minute to center herself from a lack of chakra, she heard the clashing of steel and observed the two monks-in-training facing off against the missing-nin.

Mardius bought a kunai up to parry the jian as he spun, lunging the other towards Naruto. The jinchuuriki dodge and thrust his borrowed weapon in retaliation, which was avoided as he shifted his leg and kicked Naruto into the canal—unaware that Naruto slipped a seal on his leg as he landed the blow. He then jumped and rotated his other leg to come down on Kino’s shoulder dislocating it only because Kino avoided having it shattered with a side step.

Before he could do anything else, blue chakra blossomed from the seal, pouring out like a raging torrent and draining him of his chakra. Chakra venting seal—normally used to vent chakra on things like restraining cuffs, so rather than simply blocking it until it built up, it would seep out. By weaponizing it, it acted as one large tenketsu and emptied the man’s reserves like water through a broken a faucet that was turned on. By the time he managed tear it off, he was near empty.

Mardius scowled as he used both kunai to divert the jian targeting his forehead upwards—leaving him open for Shizuka’s blow as she stepped in with a fist shrouded in wind-chakra. “Nadeshiko Style: Hardliner Gale Fist!

Pain exploded in his torso and the shinobi was sent flying down the alley mouth and struggled to stand. She took out five ribs with that blow. They weren’t broken—they were gone. “Fucking brats!”

He was a Jounin—an elite among the best in the system! Just because the guy didn’t have a big name like Zabuza, he was not a small fry. He would not be bested by a bunch of toddlers, two of which weren’t even shinobi! “Earth Style: Earth & Stone Dragon!

Earth grinded from beneath the paved stone and churned to create rose and formed a dragon that howled and lunged at the trio. While Shizuka and Kino were catching their breaths Naruto went forward, piercing eyes narrowed at the attack as he faced down the dragon of rubble.

On the rooftop above, Tokiwa sighed at just how much the collateral damage was going to cost to repair. She prepared to interfere with a kunai in hand when her eyes narrowed at the sight of the blond wielding the spiraling sphere of blue and charging towards the dragon of the missing-nin—smashing it with a mighty blow. “The Rasengan…?”

Shaking her head and putting it to the back of her mind, she used the distraction caused by the dragon’s destruction to toss the kunai at the missing-nin. Her eyes never left the target as his eyes rolled up into the back of his head, which had a kunai buried to the back of the skull.

Breathing heavily and looking at the woman on the rooftop, Naruto’s attention perked up to the surrounding. He noticed people in their windows looking at him in pure fright, closing them as soon as his eyes drifted upwards. Why are they looking at me like that?

Foolish boy,” the fox spoke up. “It’s not just you. They are afraid of all of you.

“What do you mean?”

Confounded child, it took just four of you fighting to demolish a portion of their home with your jutsu. Bodies of the uninvolved lined the street where he attacked, and the maimed and injured will be lucky to gain full mobility and senses. Not to mention their pathetic sense of security was now shattered.

You were told that many foreigners resided here. How do you think they would react to seeing such actions committed by things wearing the flesh of their kind?

Naruto realized then how the weak saw themselves in comparison. To the many who observed, they would spend their time wondering if the person next to them was a monster wearing a human skin. If shinobi thought he as a jinchuuriki was a monster, civilians thought shinobi were monsters.

You three!” Naruto, Shizuka, and Kino’s attention was grabbed by approaching guards, who brandished their weapons. “Don’t move! You’re under arrest!”

Oh sure, NOW they show up. Naruto thought as he noticed the woman had left. A somber exhalation escaped his lips and the jinchuuriki held his hands up in submission. “Head Monk isn’t going to like this…”


In the Guard Station

Shizuka, Tokiwa, and the rest of the Wind Temple group were at the Guard Station.

Things were tense with the Head of Namisar’s Guard forces as he opened a folder and began to put pictures down on the table of the various issues involved. “17 Causalities, of which included a mother who tried to prevent her daughter from being kidnapped, 26 Injured, some of whom will not be able to function productively in society, and the damage to our town was fairly extensive.”

He slammed his palms on the table hard enough to make the wood crack. “I. Am. Not. PLEASED WITH THIS OUTCOME!

Naruto and Kino winced. They hadn’t caused most of the damage.

The Head Guard rubbed the bridge between his eyes. “The Wind Daimyo will be coming in a week to assess the damage and since you three were involved, while Tokiwa-san was the Jounin leader of the mission, he will be expecting explanations in person to set up communications with the Water Daimyo.”

Focusing his eyes on the two monks-in-training, he nodded. “Given that the monks of the Wind Temple itself are known as practitioners of chakra, we were informed of your arrival purpose ahead of time, and your involvement was to prevent further devastation, we will most likely not press charges. That being said, I insist that you stay out of the public eye for the remainder of your time here.”

He turned to Tokiwa. “As for the kunoichi, the damage could have been mitigated had your forces been more careful and you did not inform us of any mission taking place in our home. By all rights, I should have you all locked away if it weren’t for the fact that you came willingly and the Water Daimyo’s signature seal verified the mission documents. Compensation will be demanded, and we will have to ask that all uninvolved in the upcoming meeting depart immediately.”

“Understood,” Tokiwa nodded. “Reparations towards the repairs, compensation for loss of life and injury, as well as the subterfuge shall be personally contributed by myself, if not through the Daimyo.”

Translation: The money she took from the vault.

The group was then allowed to leave.

“Punishment is in order once we return,” Instructor Diemia stated. “The only reason you are both alive is because that Jounin was out of practice.”

“That and stupid,” Naruto agreed. “He could have just transformed and fled. I think it was because that Nadeshiko kunoichi broke his forehead protector that he decided to fight. Hell, I charged a Jounin only a few months out of the gate in order to get mine back…”

“Why did the guy keep his protector anyway?” Mina asked. “If you were hiding, it was dumb to have the one thing that would confirm you as a shinobi, barring chakra levels.”

“Iruka-sensei often went on about how it was the pride of a shinobi,” Naruto told her. “It was proof of everything they went through, everything they aspired to, the sum of the efforts to become who they are in service to their village. Even missing-nin will have a little pride in their abilities and would hesitate throw it away—maybe scratch out the symbol instead to show they’ve abandoned it—but considering how much one has to go through to be a Jounin, he probably couldn’t justify throwing it away. Especially since from what Kakashi told me about the Mist graduation ritual before Zabuza’s time.”

Zabuza never scratched out his forehead protector because he loved his village. He was intent on overthrowing the Mizukage and ending the purges. Had he not met his death, he would have attempted and possibly succeeded before Mei did.

“Monk-sama,” Tokiwa called to Naruto from behind. “Are you by chance a shinobi?”

Naruto arched an eyebrow. “What makes you think that?”

“Just now, your voice spoke from the heart with no doubt in it, which meant you learned it firsthand and believed it. Also, the way you carry yourself is different than the others. Your stance is slightly more fluid and better suited for moving and using a kunai, in contrast to the rigidity of wielding a staff. Not to mention you used the Rasengan—which is an A-class technique known only to Jiraiya-sama and his apprentice, the Fourth Hokage…at least as far as the Bingo Book listed.”

“The Toad Sage?” Instructor Diemia looked at Naruto curiously. The instructors had been informed he was a jinchuuriki and previous shinobi, but they didn’t know everything. “One of the three legendary shinobi of Konoha?”

“…I have got to get a new signature move,” Naruto sighed, uncaring of how Kino flinched at his affiliation with the famous Konoha shinobi. “Konoha and I aren’t affiliated anymore, and unlike the idiot I left my forehead protector behind as proof. As for Pervy Sage, I’m not sure what he’s doing or even why you’re after him.”

Tokiwa smiled faintly. “I encountered him many years ago and witnessed his technique firsthand. We tried to capture him after he infiltrated our village to spy on several women for his erotica research alone.”

Naruto shook his head in embarrassment. “Yeah, that sounds like Pervy Sage alright. Only he would spy on a village full of kunoichi for his orange-covered smut. Seriously, I met him peeking on women at hot spring on the back of a toad.”

Sounds like my kinda guy,” Sabo whispered to himself.

“So, did you maim him like Granny does?”

Tokiwa merely shook her head. “He fled on a giant toad. I managed to catch up and fought him, ending it in a tie, upon which a promise was made involving his disciple.”

“I think I was the only disciple that he had,” Naruto admitted. “He really doesn’t seem like the type to take students often.”

“Then I must request you duel Shizuka-sama…”


Non-Canon Jutsu:

Virtuous Art: Agni’s Sacrificial Strike – Using Chakra Flow to infuse his staff with fire, Kino throws it like a streaking comet and causes a fairly strong explosion on impact, decimating the staff in the process.

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