Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment 14 (Main)
Chapter 14: Escape from Konoha
With Fuu – The Present
The memory faded and Fuu returned to the mindscape that took the form of the village that she never could call home, even though she once longed to. And, as if that longing and the pain of absence she found from it had been reflected upon her charcoal-shaded reflection, her shadow looked downtrodden as she looked up to the strung-up jinchuuriki.
“You cast me aside,” her doppelganger said, its voice somber. “After everything we had been through, you abandoned me. Made yourself into what you thought would be the perfect woman for him, all so you could know what it was like to be loved…so he didn’t see what we really were like.”
“I couldn’t let him know how different we were,” Fuu said, her voice hoarse and cracking. The truth burned coming out as she faced her shadow, an amalgamation of everything that she buried deep down and out of sight—her selfish desires, her flaws, everything that wouldn’t make her suitable to be with Naruto since the day she decided to make him hers. “We started the same, being loathed and hated by a village we were sworn to protect. But he never broke, not even after he was cast aside. Me though, I…I couldn’t stand it and I became the exact type of person I hated, exactly like Suien.”
“So to hide the truth from him you’ll seal me away again?” Dark Fuu’s head tilted, awaiting a response. “You’ll keep lessening us to make him happy?”
“If Naruto knew what I was really like, I’m afraid I’ll lose him,” Fuu reasoned. “He could love me for being a jinchuuriki, or for suffering a familiar upbringing that was built on pain. If he knew how I thought about using him at first, how I killed because I could and would have done so for him simply being in my territory at the time…”
He wouldn’t love me anymore, went unsaid after she trailed off. And the thought left her trembling against the tree and silk fetters. She wanted to be loved, even if it meant accepting that she wasn’t the only one he loved.
“To love someone is to accept them for what they are,” her opposite said. “You can’t say that he really loves you unless he knows and accepts us for everything we are, but you didn’t even give him a chance to see the real us before you swept everything you thought he’d dislike under a rug—the ruthlessness within, the selfish wants, everything that you felt would taint the image he had of us. That isn’t fair to any of us.”
Fuu didn’t deny a word of it. “And if he doesn’t accept it?”
“Then we make small concessions.” Her shadow fluttered her wings and rose in the air until she was eye-level with Fuu, pleased that progress was being made. “A relationship is that of equals, isn’t it? It’s neither giving yourself entirely nor taking everything that the other has.”
“What if that isn’t enough?” She exhaled a staggered breath and looked down. “What if he still abandons us?”
Bringing her slender hand up to her chin and lifting it so they were looking each other in the eyes, Dark Fuu spoke softly. “Then we grieve… we lament… and we move on. The folly of relying solely on another person’s attention has already befell us once before with Suien. We are strong enough to weather it and find a place in the world we belong, even if we must bear the pain of a broken heart.”
The thought hurt—to the extent tears streamed down her cheeks. Losing love after experiencing it would be a hell in itself… but the happiness would always be tainted by the thought that it was all because she hid her darker nature, leaving him to love a mask born from her lessening herself.
“Okay.” She put on a pained smile to her shadow. “We’ll go together, as a whole.”
The admission severed the silken bonds and clipped her doppelganger’s wings, leaving them both to fall into the depths of darkness that formed the waters of her past. Like two clumps of salt, they dissolved within it and saturated the water as the mindscape collapsed in on itself—shattering like glass and raining down into the dark waters to do the same. The liquid darkness then shrank down and took form, leaving a woman made whole in its place.
Choumei, having been observing from his own personal space, fluttered down to his newborn host. He wasn’t certain the personality that the whole, a true melding of everything that had been repressed, would have. So he kept his tone cautious as he spoke. “Fuu-girl… you there?”
She extended her hands towards Choumei and spoke softly. “Give me the chakra, Lucky Seven.”
He lowered it into her hands with his tail as she requested. “What will you do with it?”
“We… I’m going to get Naruto,” she said plainly as she held the radiant sphere of chakra with the palm of her hands. “After that… whether he accepts me or not, I’m going to deal with Akatsuki in my way so that you and I can be truly happy and free.”
“One of them is attacking as we speak,” Choumei notified her. He brought up the outside world within her mindscape, revealing Kanna being strangled to death. “What will you do?”
“… Getting rid of her like this isn’t suitable for me and would leave Naruto to grieve and doubt when I explain everything to him,” she decided as she crushed the drop of chakra and felt it bleed into her being. Knowledge flowed in as well, giving her an innate understanding of their biological functions and structures. Could she manipulate them now? “Link me to every insect in the area—no, the entire village.”
Choumei’s chakra pulsed out and she became distinctly aware of every insect it touched upon, and they her. The hierarchy was established upon contact, she the queen and they her subjects. Thus they answered the call of their queen and swarmed towards her body as she awoke, draped in her Seven-Tailed Cloak. Her tails smashed into the Akatsuki member, busting an opening in the wall where the insects could pour through and swarm her.
Fuu felt her head splitting as the chakra pulse still went on, encompassing the village and adding millions of subjects to her army. Her consciousness felt split between them, leaving her everywhere and aware of it. Then, just as abruptly as it began, it eased—the information filtered in more smoothly.
“I’ll handle the heavy-load,” Choumei told her. “You have to grow accustomed to that level of information. Focus on what you can do for the moment.”
Right. She sighed and thought to herself what she could do with what she had. The insects that coated her body were biomass, their structures malleable with the proper use the Beetle King’s Yang chakra to act as the bridge. A thought passed from her to Choumei and then to her—no, their subjects, while the chakra bridged the gap by melding the exoskeletons into her flesh and hardening it become armor, a jet-black carapace to weather whatever could be thrown into it, and the lenses that covered her eyes connected with those of her innumerable subjects to track her foe.
“There’s nothing more you can do,” spoke the insects that served as her mouth, which was covered by a plate. The wings that weren’t needed on her subjects that became the plating of her armor were modified and then shifted, melded into a set that found their way to a hump at the back of her armor. It contained the rest of the unused biomass, granting her wings that carried her into the air.
Hovering above the slumbering village with the moon against her back, Fuu allowed her subjects to search for her enemy. She paid no mind to the shifting sand as the Kazekage approached atop a platform of sand, arms crossed as he stared at her back. “Have you secured the Wind Daimyo?”
“Yes.” He came to a stop next to her. “She’s being taken to a secure location as we speak.”
A spider lingering in the shadows of a building some distance away caught the fleeting figure of a shinobi carting her off in his arms. Another was following behind as a guard. At the same time, a set of small gnats that were hovering around a desert plant roughly three blocks away were suddenly shifted out of place as the thing that had been in her room was now being sprouted from the plant—pure white instead of half-white and half-black.
“Twelfth building to the left,” she said abruptly. “On the balcony.”
Gaara blinked for a moment at that. Then he closed one eye and sent grains of sand out in that direction, thinly enough to go unnoticed by most, forming a faux eye and connecting chakra to it like a spiritual optic nerve. He spotted the white creature sticking out of the plant. “I see him. Is that the one responsible for the Daimyo?”
“Half of him,” she answered. “Another one’s loose.”
“Understood.” He gathered the loose grains into a dense sphere in the thing’s blind-spot as it peered around the corner at them. Then he launched it.
The sphere punched through the white things head in a spray of pale fluid. Some of Fuu’s subjects quickly swarmed the remains to ensure the kill by consuming it, while the others searched for the black-half that had split from it after she batted them out of the building. They’d scour all of Wind Country if they had to.
The world exploded for Tobi and it took him a split-second to recall what had happened. One second he was about to claim a second set of Sharingan eyes. The next darkness overtook him and sent his consciousness on a trip to the abyss. Now, sailing over Konoha, pain was molesting his body from a single painful impact. It had been awhile since he’d felt that sort of pain with his intangibility.
He hadn’t missed it.
Righting himself in the air, he saw the Jinchuuriki wreathed in a golden cloak of chakra and coming at him fast. His arm was cocked back, fist clenched, and the chakra surrounding it like armor swelling into the shape of a larger fist half the size of his body. Kneading his own chakra to deal with the threat, Tobi let loose the spiraling vortex of flames meant to scorch and burn away the chakra and leave the Jinchuuriki into a barely living, charred husk.
The air above Konoha was set alight by the technique until he felt something striking at him from the side and sending him flying again. This time he smashed into the forest outside of the village and into a tree at an angle, leaving him aching as he pulled himself out of the broken splinters while the dust cloud still lingered.
Okay, he’s faster than I gave him credit for. Tobi thrust his arm out and let dozens upon dozens of wooden spikes fly out to intercept the chakra-clad Jinchuuriki that was like a beacon in the dark to his Sharingan. In what amounted to a fraction of a second, the Jinchuuriki crafted a block of chakra and pushed off it to get out of the way, hitting the ground, and then rocketed forward with a chakra blade in his hand.
Tobi phased through the slash and let the blade go through his body undeterred, before turning to grasp the Jinchuuriki with his solidifying hand. No sooner than his fingers were wrapped around it did the chakra sharpen into a blade and scythed through his fingers and hand, emerging as a curved blade that continued through his arm and still-phased torso before the Jinchuuriki darted away unharmed.
Tobi brought his gloved hand to the stump that leaked plant-matter, and then turned to look towards the direction that the annoyance shot towards and found him standing there, silently twisting the seal on his stomach. The etching’s shifted and out came a rod that he twirled before it formed a Monk’s Spade.
Then he swung. In the time it took for Tobi to fix his gaze upon the Jinchuuriki and carve that speed into his eternal eyes, the extended blade of the spade was already moving to scythe his head from his shoulders. He sucked himself into his dimension and crossed the space between them before re-emerging behind the golden-cloaked container….
Only he was gone.
Tobi clicked his tongue when he heard the crashing of trees and saw an attack closing in on him, a whirling disk of chakra sawing through the trees in a futile attempt to hit him. He let it pass through him harmlessly and then began re-establish himself in the third dimension when he felt death crawling up his spine and moved in time to avoid being impaled where he stood as the Jinchuuriki attacked from the blind-spot above his head.
Tobi whirled around and fired a spray of fireballs, only to have them dispersed as the Jinchuuriki spun the weapon around. It then collapsed itself into the rod and reformed into a broad-sword chakra blade when Tobi felt his feet being pulled into the ground and looked down to see a pair of chakra hands coming from underneath the ground.
Clever, he gave the boy, but it only served to route the Jinchuuriki as he moved with the chakra blade like a streaking flash of light to cut through him. A straight lunge too easily telegraphed in the end as Tobi opened Kamui to pull him in. Then chakra bled ahead of him to become a solid block and the jinchuuriki leapt off it to go airborne, ricochet off a tree-limb, and then come from behind in an attempt to cut through his body again.
But it was too late. He canceled the suction and then un-phased his feet to free him from the grasp of the arms before turning to unleash a stream of fire.
A chakra-arm shot out of the Jinchuuriki’s body and grasped a tree before it could hit, pulling him away and allowing him to reorient himself. He looked pensively at his opponent for a moment, and then he flooded the area with chakra until it saturated the air and ground around them completely. Tobi was forced to phase himself once more as it closed in from all angles and solidifying to crush him into a compressed, dense block.
He’s experimenting to figure out how my phasing works, Tobi realized as he sucked himself into his personal dimension a final time. He looked down to the stump of an arm that had solidified and gathered his thoughts, ignoring the ache from the blunt impacts that landed earlier. The Jinchuuriki became much faster, his reaction speed became impeccable given how quickly he countered from what should have been blind-spots and dedicated strikes, not to mention that he can freely shape his chakra—including that of the coat he’s wearing, allowing him to sharpen it enough to cut my when I touch it.
Taking those facts into consideration, and that the clone Zetsu that could have sapped his chakra away was missing and likely destroyed, he made a decision to retreat. It burned him to do so when his plans were nearing the point where they could be realized, but things were spiraling out of control now that the Jinchuuriki had awakened….
No, that wasn’t the only thing. Itachi played a part, buying time to save his brother and awaken the Jinchuuriki. He could only berate himself that he was so careless to let that piece remain on the board as long as he did. It bit him in the ass hard, and he was wondering if Pain didn’t have something to do with that….
He’d deal with him later, if that was the case.
But first he’d have to regroup with Black Zetsu and replace his arm. All-in-all, it was a minor series of setbacks, but they could be handled and compensated for it in the future. The Moon’s Eye plan would happen.
No matter what it took.
Naruto sped through the trees of Fire Country once he could no longer perceive the negative feelings wafting off the masked man, meaning he had given up and retreated or decided to suddenly be Naruto’s best friend. Somehow, he doubted it was the latter. With Kurama acting like a giant antenna and catching all of those negative emotions within a large range, it became easy enough to tell when there was someone around who would do him harm and that allowed him to piece together some facts and act accordingly.
The first was that he masked freak was using some kind of personalized Time-Space technique. He wasn’t sure what kind it was, but he knew enough that it made physical obstacles completely useless. The same went for that teleportation trick, maybe some kind of seal-less variant of what his father did?
Either way, if he could lock down the local area’s dimension like he did with Manda then that would settle things. Hopefully. But the current arrangement with the sealing structure would make that impossible with how heavy the cost was in terms of chakra. He’d have to revise it with a different formula to get that to work right.
Naruto made it to the Valley of the End, serving as the border of Fire Country, when the excess energy of the drop of chakra that his parents had given him wore off. It hadn’t even taken him a minute to get that far from the village. How fast was he now? More tests for later.
Exhaustion came over him as the golden-cloak faded entirely and left him panting as he came to a rest at the base of the waterfall. Going from inactive to that level of activity had strained him severely. He felt like he wanted to take a nap that would last a few days, but if he did that they’d have him back in the village in no time.
Instead, Naruto bit his thumb and dragged the blood over the summoning seal on his arm. When he placed the palm of his hand on the surface, a puff of smoke signaled that the technique was successful and Pace emerged. The small ferret jumped up in excitement when he saw him.
“Boss, you’re okay!?” he chirped, running along his arm and perching himself on Naruto’s shoulder.
“Somehow,” Naruto told him. “Could you have your father reverse-summon me before Konoha picks me up again? I don’t have any treats on me, but I’ll pay you back when I’m up on my feet again.”
“Sure thing.” He gave him a salute and then disappeared with a puff, returning from whence he came.
Naruto sighed. Now all there was left was to wait, leaving him alone with his thoughts. He would need to learn the location of the rest of the Tailed-Beasts and their hosts, as well as establish some kind of safe zone for them until he finished dealing with Akatsuki. He’d need Fuu’s help for the search, at the very least… and to pay a visit to Temujin’s home country to see if there was some land he could purchase—setting up a shelter somewhere one of the elemental countries was just asking for trouble.
As for Gaara… he’d have to leave him in the dark about his intentions. A Hidden Village’s strength was in their ability to use chakra, so robbing everyone of the ability to do it would be something that went against his duties as the Kazekage. He didn’t want to make Gaara have to choose between his friend and his job like that.
No, this was the sort of thing he had to keep close to his chest barring a few people in specific. But it had to be done. He truly felt that. The monsters known as shinobi had to come to an end, gracefully ceasing to exist in the pages of history and quietly fading away.
He made a conscious effort to ignore the deep chuckle that Kurama deigned to let loose at that thought when he felt himself being pulled, vanishing from the Valley of the End….