ASN Chapter 9
Naruto: Advent of the Spiraling Ninja 9
Okay, this is a mini-arc that will be darker than usual since it involves a civil war. Seriously, I will instill into you the horrors of war, and how even the innocent aren’t spared…not even the cute kids. Kiri is known as the Bloody Mist for a reason.
You’ve been warned.
Chapter 9: Horrors of War
It had been a day since the revolution that spanned the Land of Water had begun. The Contact Scroll was lost, no doubt taken by the Mizukage’s hounds when they swarmed the docks. The important members and unit leaders of the resistance had been gathered for a meeting there.
It was during this time that Kushina could see why Kiri was known as the Bloody Mist—the way they fought reminded her of her own time on the battlefield.
Rising embers danced amongst the billowing smoke, adding an eerie, mesmerizing beauty to the destruction. The wailing of the maimed and panicked was almost a symphony. It played the one true constant throughout history: War.
Powerful spouts of water were used to cave in the chest of the enemy, crushing bones and organs alike. If the victim was unfortunate enough to live, they died slowly in agony. Death by asphyxiation was gradual and forced the body to release the contents within the bowels and bladder as they died, degrading the dead further.
Spiraling torrents took to the land, catching those who were too close to the funnel and smashing them into whatever else was trapped inside. Stone, wood, steel, cloth, other bodies—there was no difference as the water and debris grinded them into a slurry of pounded flesh, blood, and visceral fluids that rained over the dock. The innocent and guilty alike were killed.
Explosive kunai blew away the shelters that many civilians hid behind—out of suspicion that they housed rebels—if the crushing pressure of water didn’t. The meat left behind from the close-range blasts were turned into permanent lodgings for shrapnel, and the bodies that were still somewhat whole were tossed like ragdolls. Finding brain matter mixed in with the remains of crushed skulls from the downpour of building material was common after the first dozen explosions.
Lightning rippled and surged through bodies. The millions of volts robbed the victims of control over their bodies; the intense bolts instantly boiled and ruptured the fluids in the eyeballs. It was then that the heat melted and fused the lids shut, never to open again, as the smell of charred flesh wafted in the air with the scent of iron.
There were bodies everywhere, merciless cut down and skewered. Blood seeped from the corpses and became one with the abundant water. Once the famous Hidden in the Mist technique was employed, the blood-red curtain signaled the slaughter hidden from sight. Only silhouettes and the sound of screams were apparent, followed by the bodies hitting the ground or plunging into the depths for the sea to claim the dead.
And that was only the first five minutes.
Kushina reapplied the seal slip and felt her son’s chakra restore her back into fighting form. Her red-hair swayed in the night wind, as embers from the campfire passed by. Tears trickled down her face from worry over her son, and the young woman she saw as another child.
Looking around the fire, she was accompanied by four figures. Zabuza Momochi, a former member of the Seven Swordsmen. Next to him was a woman named Mei Terumi, the leader of the rebelling faction with auburn hair and two bloodlines—a rarity not normally found in this day and age.
Of all those who followed her and were captured or killed, only two remained: An older man named Ao, and a young man named Choujurou. Zabuza had lost the surrogate son he traveled with during that attack on the port, captured along with Isaribi. Guilt had swelled inside their hearts, no doubt as sorrowful as the mother who lost her son.
She had been traveling with them in hopes of reaching Naruto, following the tracking array etched onto his spiritual energy. However, he had been moving so fast somehow, and the array had become corroded though constant exposure to the tainted chakra. The trace she had on him was gone, meaning she had lost both of her children and could only hope for the best…
During the Dock Attack
The sheer amount of confusion and chaos overtook both Isaribi and Naruto’s senses, leaving them completely shell shocked. Nothing they had experienced was…this. Ninja killing ninja was one thing. They had killed before, and they had seen death.
But not on this scale…
Once the full brunt of the attack had begun, no one was safe. Not her, or her kids, or the civilians caught in the crossfire. The fog of war had completely consumed them, with no clue who was an ally or an enemy. The only ones guaranteed not to stab them in the back were the civilians, who were just as confused as they were.
While their minds were dulled, their instincts and bodies were not. When an exploding kunai landed near the pair they body flickered and avoided it the blast. The fleeing child behind them was not so lucky. With the force of the blast so strong, it slammed her charred body against the ground and shattered the remains to pieces.
“What…” Naruto shook as he looked at the corpse. “What is this?”
Isaribi’s eyes were at the water’s edge, where several more bodies were floating. They would sink the moment the gases in their bodies ran out, and rise once again as decomposition set in and released more. That was provided they weren’t feasted on.
“Naruto! Isaribi-chan!” Kushina snapped the pair out of it. “We have to get out of here! This place is turning into a war zone!”
He pointed to the child’s corpse on the ground. “But…”
“The dead lay where they fall until this is over,” she stated coldly. The days of the war were flashing back in her mind. “We can do nothing for the dead, causality or not.”
Isaribi collected herself faster and asked, “Then what do we do?”
“Survive.” Kushina had kunai hidden as she ran with them behind her. “Shinobi getting involved in the battle of others without a goal in mind simply causes more confusion and labels you a target. We don’t know who is fighting, or what the situation is.”
“Waaahhh!” A baby’s cry came ahead of them, lying in the arms of a still woman whose corpse was under a vendor’s stand. Surrounded by flames, the stand itself was under was stressed and ready to fall.
The Nine-Tailed Fan was unleashed, sending a gale to knock away the debris while Naruto rushed in to get the child. With great regret for the mother, he was forced to take the child from the iron grip she had even into death, shielding her child. By the Sage of Six Paths, she didn’t look a day older than twenty and she was mercilessly put down by a kunai in the skull.
“Shhhh,” Naruto whispered as he rocked the child, trying to ease the crying. He was regretting the enhanced sense of smell, since the various scents he could smell from the battle were screwing with his body. “It’ll be okay, so just calm do—”
“Naruto, Move!” Kushina told him, her son unaware of the impending danger. A random shinobi serving the Mizukage had unleashed a jutsu at the jinchuuriki from behind.
Naruto held a weapon and was not a known ally; therefore he was an enemy by deduction. It was amazing how often that train of thought occurred in the haze of battle. Naruto barely body flickered and avoided the attack, pushing him to the edge of the port with his back to the sea.
He thought he heard wood from the bridge crack when he landed on it, but with the sounds of the distant explosions he couldn’t be sure. At least the baby was quiet.
Splash! A second shinobi emerged from the water behind him and a kunai descended towards his neck.
Twisting his body, Naruto’s leg came up and deflected the kunai by slamming into the forearm. With his hands occupied with the baby in one and the blade form of the Nine-Tailed Fan, he couldn’t make ,channeling chakra into the blade, he lashed out at the shinobi and spilt him into two—
No, the halves turned into water! “It was a water clone!”
“Get down!” Kushina roared.
The rattling of chains signaled the flight of a speared chain that ran through and pierced the skull of her son’s assailant, who attempted to ambush him from the left. In her hand was the one who used the jutsu earlier to attack Naruto, dead from a slit throat. Her eyes were…cold.
Kushina slowly blinked upon seeing how her son looked at her, restoring some of the warmth. She found herself nearly slipping into a personality she had hoped to forget. “Naruto, don’t run off again. We need to stay together.”
“R-Right…” Naruto muttered, before recalling the child in his arms. His face paled. The child’s body had gone cold and he tried to find a pulse. “The baby’s not breathing…”
Kushina quickly ran a diagnostic on it, before shaking her head and gently setting the corpse in the water to sink beneath the surface. “The child’s neck was snapped, I’m afraid. You didn’t have a tight enough grip on his head when you used the Body Flicker and the whiplash…”
Naruto shook in regret. If he hadn’t done so that attack would have killed them both. He tried to save a life and accomplished nothing. It hurt…
“Regret later, we’re on a battlefield now,” Kushina told her son. “We’re getting out of here, before—” her hand flashed around with a kunai upon hearing the sound of parting air, and deflected incoming shuriken aimed for the back of her head.
A chain was shot out and pierced through the rooftop in an effort to skewer the assailant, but the shinobi fled. Kushina noticed he was bearing the sign of allegiance to the Mizukage and swore. “Damn it!”
The older woman grabbed them both and began moving as fast as she could to get as much distance between the two points. Landing in a crouch, Kushina’s voice got dangerously low as she warned them things just got worse. “The man who escaped has identified us as the enemy and now they all will come after us.”
Naruto’s mind was still on the topic of the baby he inadvertently killed as they snuck around. How could that have happened? Why did it happen? The baby and its mother were uninvolved in this conflict, so why did they have to die?
Isaribi felt as cold as she had serving under the man who made her a monster, watching so many people die left and right. Innocents and enemies alike, no one was spared and the screams didn’t stop. They reminded her of how sailors she stranded in the middle of the ocean would sink to their deaths, screaming for an absent god to save them…until the cold water stripped them of the energy to stay afloat.
Kushina was facing away so they didn’t see her lips tremble. This was exactly the type of thing Minato and she fought against, so that Naruto’s generation would be spared from it. And now her children were caught in the middle of a war. She had to get them out of the battlefield.
And so she became the Crimson Reaper and harvested the lives of all those who dared to threaten her charges.
Back to Kushina
Kushina cut down all that attacked and stood in their way, cold and mercilessly until her outfit was painted a darker shade than her hair by blood, but the numbers were too great. Thanks to the damn fog of war—despite their best efforts—they wound up in the middle of it while trying to escape and met Mei, Zabuza, Choujurou, Haku, and Ao.
Since they were all being attacked by one enemy and a truce was called, they did their best to survive overwhelming numbers. Countless fell before two of the legendary swordsmen—well, one legendary and a rookie who was still wet behind the ears—two experienced veterans, and a dual bloodline user that literally melted the enemy to the bone and then beyond.
Unfortunately, Haku and Isaribi were captured and taken away, most likely for interrogation. Naruto had unleashed two tails and pursued, creating an escape path for them while trying to save Isaribi. That alerted multiple factions to the presence of another jinchuuriki that could serve as a useful weapon, and soon Hunter-nin—which originated and were most effective in the Land of Water—were sent after him.
Upon losing her children, Kushina attempted to try to head after them with Zabuza going after Haku, but were both knocked out by Mei and Ao to prevent them from being struck down recklessly.
Kushina knew, or rather prayed, that Naruto would be alright and save Isaribi. The fox wouldn’t let him die, and with his enhanced senses he would find his way to Isaribi possibly before them.
Shaking her head to organize her thoughts, she asked, “Do we have any idea where they’ve taken the kids?”
Zabuza answered for them. “They’ll most likely take Haku and your girl into the Depths. There’s a prison there…or rather, it’s where people go to disappear. Getting the fuck down there is hard enough with all the natural caverns, not to mention I only know the general location. Only those Yagura explicitly trusted or were in a position that required the knowledge knew how to get around down there.”
“Just get me to the general location,” Ao stated calmly. “I guarantee I can find it. We’ll need to save all we can if we are to rearm ourselves.”
Mei sat next to Kushina, who was the most distraught at the moment, offering her some comfort. Given the circumstances, Kushina didn’t bother to hide their identities. It would be a waste of effort.
Either they lived and it stayed silent, or they died and it wouldn’t matter. “Uzumaki-san…I’m sorry to have gotten you and your children involved in all of this.”
“I want to blame you…” Kushina stated. “But that’s irrational. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they hadn’t followed me out here, I think things would be different. But I can’t dwell on that now. At least they’re still alive, unlike the unfortunate that got caught up in the attack.”
The worried mother bit her lips. “Neither one of them should have seen this type of battlefield. Not at their ages. Not this generation…”
“Tell me about them.” Mei asked.
“Isaribi is a shy, but sweet girl who has cold exterior when you first meet her,” Kushina fought a losing battle to hold down the tears. “Her upbringing made her a bit jaded, and because of some of the things she did in her past she’s been left in a fragile state…but she’s very reliable, and I think she’d grow into a stable and happy person with the right people and environment.
“And my little Naruto…” Kushina couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. “He was too innocent for this. The way he looked at me when I found myself slipping back to how I was during the war, not to mention now too many people know he’s a jinchuuriki. They’ll be after him—I didn’t want this life for him!”
“Get over it.” Zabuza cut in, polishing his blade. “It was the same with Haku. They were born with power, through genetics or circumstances, and in our world that makes them great weapons to be used or feared. This country alone isn’t fucked up; the whole damn system is fucked up considering all the facts.
“In the end, the weapon’s actions are the one who wields it, and you can bet your ass that if whoever got Yagura under his thumb finds your boy and he can’t fend for himself, you’ll either die by his hands or he’ll die by ours.”
Mei snapped at him. “Zabuza! How can you say that?”
“He’s right,” Kushina said somberly. “That is our world. Power is coveted or discriminated against, but never allowed to fade into the background…but what about your boy?”
“Haku won’t die.” Zabuza scoffed. “I’ve raised him to be too fucking strong for that. He’ll survive, and if you’ve done the same, so will your kids. If they can’t survive until we find them, then we’ll simply avenge them by placing the head of whoever is manipulating Yagura at their graves, even if we have to burn the world down to do it.”
With Naruto – A Day Later
Naruto snarled with his senses on full alert. Lack of sleep was starting to test the limits of his so-called boundless energy. It had been a day-and-a half since he busted out of captivity after the hunter-nin slipped a seal on him, and the bastards wouldn’t give up!
“Chill out kid,” a man in a light-blue kimono and twirling a metal pipe sat lazily in the branches, hiding his edge. His chakra had yet to replenish itself and he didn’t want to rely on his tenant. His name was Utakata, jinchuuriki of the Six-Tailed Slug and former Jounin of the Mist.
Naruto huffed in annoyance. “You were lucky that they were dumb enough to put us together. They didn’t expect me to know enough about seals to disable the ones they put on us.”
The both of them were surrounded by hunter-nin of Kiri, waiting to wear them down both physically and mentally. Hunter-nin proved adept at stalking and occasionally hiding from Naruto’s sense of smell and hearing. While Naruto and Utakata—mostly Utakata—had dwindled their numbers as they fled, they were being cornered.
Utakata shrugged. “In their defense, common sense dictates that most don’t teach jinchuuriki how to play with seals or the majority would get rid of their own tenants. Their incompetence is my salvation…but leaving aside the hunters, what’s eating at you?”
“My problems are my own,” Naruto told him. “It’s not something you can help with.”
“Confessing your problem is good for the soul. Since you helped me out, the least I can do is lend an ear in fairness. I hate to be in the debt of others.”
Naruto sighed and told him about the sudden battles and how Kushina was cold during the events. “I’ve never seen her like that…I’m afraid I won’t be able to see her as the kind Mom I’ve grown to love after all this is over.”
“She did what she had to save you,” the older jinchuuriki stated. “You’re still wet behind the ears, but quite frankly she did an admirable job in prioritizing your lives over everyone else’s when faced with overwhelming odds. If anything she was too nice and adjusted for a kunoichi and mother.”
“The slug man is right,” Kurama chimed in. “I’ve been inside her, seen what she’s seen, and experienced what she’s experienced. You have no idea of what she went through at the age you were jumping around playing pranks on everyone to mask your pain. You humans are easily the most destructive beings on the planet, and you continue to grow in numbers at that. War will always return by your hands, and each time will be more devastating than the last.
“Welcome to the world you shinobi have created.” The fox finished with a snarl.
“Either way,” Naruto sniffed the air. “We’re running out of time. It would be easier for you to let your demon fill your reserves and then blow this place if you want to escape. I won’t drag someone else with me into what could be Hell.”
“I’ll be staying with you, since there’s safety in numbers and all. As for the demon, I don’t want to use its power.” He stated firmly. “Nothing but misery has come from having it.”
“Standard problem of having a chakra demon shoved inside you,” Naruto sighed. “It was the same with me and Gaara…actually, he had it worse.”
Utakata arched an eyebrow. “Who?”
“The container for the One-Tailed Raccoon Dog,” Naruto scratched his head. “When all of this is over, I’m writing him about whomever it is that’s screwing with the Bijuu. Kurama does not want to fall under someone else’s control again and, from what you’ve told me, whoever did it was powerful since Yagura had complete co-existence.”
“I thought those were only rumors,” Utakata admitted. “At least until they tried to capture me. One of the hunters tried to bait me by mentioning my former master’s notes and there’s something I need to confirm with my own eyes. Besides, I know the entrance to the Depths, so consider it payback for the save.”
(A/N: Music Recommendation: Condemned to Die – Heavenly)
A sudden shower began falling over the area. Although it was faint, Naruto’s senses told him it was not normal rain. “What is this?”
“Mist Rain…” Utakata jumped down from the branch he rested on. “It seems like we won’t be able to rest any longer. Hide-and-Seek is over.”
The hunters moved. The sound of crunching grass and wood being stepped on was barely covered by the drizzle. Their numbers were roughly two-dozen, attacking from the front and back for a two pronged attack.
The jinchuuriki duo stood side-by-side. Naruto took a deep breath and told himself what he did now was necessary, allowing tainted chakra to form a coat. Utakata cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders, placing his weapon to his lips.
Then they split.
Utakata fell back to cover the rear. Breathing out a torrent of bubbles, they formed a wall that surged out towards his enemy. With a snap of his fingers, a chorus of explosions rocked the air, and the battle had begun.
Naruto advanced to the front. The dozen he was to fight were closing in fast. Making the seal of the Shadow Clone, two-hundred appeared and charged the line.
The unit acted as one. “Water Style: Water Army Water Demon Technique!”
With four seals, water surged from the river that passed by. Gathering and forming spiraling streams, the controlled water swiped the clones out of existence. The streams then converged and took the form of a serpent, capable of devouring the jinchuuriki.
Overflowing his stomach with chakra to offset the Mist Rain, Naruto unleashed a massive Air Bullet that scattered the water demon into a blooming flower of stray droplets and obscured both sides’ vision. Bursting through the layer of lingering water, a spiraling ball of condensed chakra was in his hand. “RASENGAN!”
The unit of hunters dodged, allowing the attack to hit the ground. The impact caught them off guard when it unleashed a shockwave and upturned the earth itself, throwing up a cloud of dust and scattering them along with their foot hold. Before they could pull themselves together, Naruto struck.
Pulsing chakra into the seal on his glove, the Nine-Tailed Fan emerged in its blade form and chakra flowed through it in grave amounts, extending the blade far beyond his reach. Cleaving through the dust cloud in while hidden, the surprise attack took out two of them as Naruto appeared like a demon out of Hell—eyes red and bearing canine fangs.
“Water Style: Water Wheel!” Retaliation—a ring of water thrice his size barreled forward, swallowing the grass and earth in its path and turning it the color of muddy brown.
The grip Naruto had on his weapon tightened. The blade split open to reveal nine prongs and formed the fan, siphoning his wind chakra. Standing in the center of the brood of incoming hunters, he was the eye of a storm. “Tempest Twist!”
The counter was unleashed as he devoted his chakra into a raging, spiraling ring that expanded and swept them off their feet and around. The chakra-laced gale was buffeted by the rain, poking holes in the fierce wind and downgrading it. So he swung again towards the grouping that was in his sight. “Wind Scythe!”
A rolling wall of invisible blades barreled down on a group of three. Two split to either side, while the remaining put his hands to his lips and blew. “Water Style: Water Trumpet!”
The spouted water slammed into the wall and created a curtain of showering drops. But rather than fall to the earth, they defied gravity and hung there at the command of the second. Then in a dazzling display of control, they spun and wove together to form a water saw that was fired.
Naruto spun on his heel and turned as the saw cut off a tuff of his hair. The rumble of water being churned as he settled prevented him from being grinded and shredded by the Tornado of Water that came from the left. Applying chakra into a seal on his gloves, he grabbed five smoke bombs and threw them down.
From the tide of smoke, clones appeared in mass quantities as a mere distraction while the original repositioned himself. The clones were quickly struck down by the barrage of attacks from the original remaining hunters on his side, and the sound explosions told Naruto Utakata was still fighting. He stood behind a tree desperately catching his breath.
Naruto fell and spun on his tailbone in a break dancing maneuver once he heard the light sound of grass being stepped on from behind. He narrowly avoided a debilitating stab at pressure points in his neck, rendering him into a state of false death. The female Hunter-nin was about to follow up with a second blow as he came up to his feet using the momentum.
The fan closed and forged the chakra blade once again. He decisively thrust into the enemy and slipped the blade through the ribs—all the way up to the steel shrouded by dense chakra. The heart and lungs were ruined, and the spine was severed.
The woman had already died when he pulled the blade out to the side, taking an arm off in his efforts to free the solid portion of the weapon. Blood splattered over his combat clothes and face, leaving in tiny drops of red that tainted his yellow hair and refused to be washed out by the rain. That was three.
Naruto would like nothing better than to cringe at the sight of how her body fell like a broken doll made of flesh and bone, but he couldn’t spare the emotion right now. An enemy to be defeated, not a person, he had to tell himself. He had to cut down the enemy to survive.
Hesitation on the battlefield was a sin.
Hands sprung out of the ground and wrapped around Naruto’s ankles, threatening to bury him with the Twin Decapitation technique. As they pulled, the jinchuuriki reversed his grip and plunged the blade of chakra into the ground, dead in the center between his legs. The hands went still; their owner had been impaled and now was stuck in his pre-prepared grave.
That was four. Eight left. Refocusing towards the center, a spiraling torrent of water was fired towards him silently.
Naruto attempted a Body Flicker, but the hands around his ankles held strong even in death. He was slammed by the Azure Dragon Palm technique and his world spun as he went tumbling on the ground. Halting himself by digging his claws into the ground and creating an upturned trail, Naruto fell on all fours and snarled in a feral manner.
Survival—instinct pushed him to the mindset of a beast. Placing the Nine-Tailed Fan’s handle in his mouth, he held it between his teeth. Then he dashed.
Streaking as a blur, the blade of chakra ran through another two hunters that were two slow. Spilling their life blood and organs across the damp grass, the scent passed Naruto’s nose and he vomited. Damn enhanced sense of smell.
Six left. Or was it seven? His mind struggled between instinct and rationality. In that moment, two hunters dashed at him from opposite sides. “Fire Style: Great Fireball!”
One breathed of a loose flowing wave of flames, barreling forward like an unstoppable wall of heat. The other breathed out an all encompassing surge of water, crawling over the earth in bounds and tumbling forward. “Water Style: Wild Water Wave!”
Collaboration—the attacks of fire and water clashed, a bellowing cloud of steam caught up the jinchuuriki, who took to the air. Pain ate away at him as the heated vapor scalded his flesh and senses beyond use. He fell to the earth, rolling in pain and screaming with his weapon in his grasp.
Before he could right himself three Water Whips took hold of his arms and neck, followed by regulated electricity. “GAAAAAAAAH!”
Senbon doused with sedative poison pierced his flesh with small gushes of blood as they hit the mark to weaken him further. Kunai struck his tendons, rendering his legs useless as they bore through. Lost in the pain of the rippling electricity, Naruto felt nothing as the weapons tore into him, the lightning occupying all his pain receptors to the point he couldn’t scream anymore.
Merciless—hunters do not show mercy regardless of age. Sealing was ineffective, so they would cripple him until he could no longer move. As three of the six remaining hunters bound and shocked him, the other three continued their ranged assault until the blond was dyed red, his body leaking tears of blood.
They only ceased with the electricity when Naruto’s body was burned from the lightning that had rippled through it. The conductive metal of their senbon and his weapon fused together with the flesh—to the point that the fingers could no longer be discerned. The scent burnt human meat wafted off him and his features went to their default state.
Wavering, he fell to his knees with his arms bound. His consciousness could take the pain no more, fading with every wild beat of his heart pounding in his deafened ears. Falling into the black, visions of the sea maiden floated like seeds of a white dandelion, carried on the wind.
He trembled as they closed in. His mind lost all thoughts but one. “My fault…convinced her…to bring me…have…to…save…ISARIBI-NEE…!”
Power pulsated through his body. Wide eyes revealed how his pupils contracted into slits once again, as sky-azure turned blood-crimson. His whiskers swelled as the grim malice followed, and fangs were bared. “RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHH H!”
A Sonic Roar flattened the earth and became an expanding wall of pressure that pushed back his assailants and their techniques back. Senbon popped out and wounds healed, muscles and skin stringing themselves back together as the sedatives in his blood were boiled to an inert state. The coat of tainted chakra bubbled over and became a shroud with twin tails that danced as he rose.
The atmosphere cringed. Flowing into the Nine-Tailed Fan, tainted chakra formed an elongated blade of bloodthirsty scarlet. It was a bubbling blade of chakra that screamed for murder and slaughter—a weapon to kill and corrode.
In a flash, the blade was swung to cut the very horizon itself, shredding the muscles in the arm that was used and then repairing it. The four caught in the wake of the blade were cleaved instantly, the halves being decomposed by the taint and their minds destroyed by an absurd amount of pain. The following sonic boom scattered everything else under the rain and in his range.
“My God!” One of the remaining two blurted out. Naruto immediately snapped his free hand out. The shroud stretched and became an extension of his limb, using malicious fingers to coil him.
The last hunter dodged, but was snatched when a second hand and arm sprouted from the first chakra arm. “Please don’t—”
He crushed them without mercy. Instant pressure ruptured flesh and organs, as the insides were forced to escape by every orifice. Eyes popped out of the sockets and mashed against the mask, seeping out along with blood that made it seemed like they were crying. The tainted chakra invaded their corpses and decomposed them until even bones were gone.
Kill the enemy. Crush them. Leave nothing behind. Everything to save her! Infinite thoughts repeated that mantra. Like a string of chalk writing filling a green chalkboard until it was white, Naruto’s mind had eroded with the emergence of the third tail.
Flesh started to peel. Murderous thoughts consumed him, stemming from his own heart and merging with the rage-filled chakra that had yet to be purified. The mindscape, in which Kurama silently observed the corruption, became dyed in red as the rolling grass fields withered away.
Hmm…it would seem everything that had built up was ready to be unleashed. He’s going into a Second Stage transformation with his own darkness driving him.
Before he could fall into madness completely, a bubble filled with water swallowed his head. It mugged him of his ability to breathe as it ripped the air from his lungs, threatening to collapse them. Bordering unconsciousness, the bubble popped and spared him death.
Naruto fell to his knees and coughed wildly. His mind reset and leaving him with a single tail and several patches of missing skin.
“Damn kid, quit making me break my stride to keep your head cool!” Utakata shouted from his own side. “You flip out any further and you’ll be too feral to accomplish anything. Just sit there in time-out!”
(Music Recommendation: A Hurricane Fencer – Fate Stay Night Soundtrack)
The older jinchuuriki was surrounded by a ring made of countless bubbles that spun around his body, joining him as he danced agilely around his assailants. For someone who had a giant slug sealed inside them and dressed in a kimono, he proved that he was rather nimble. He avoided whips of water, powerful spurts, and other obstacles with ease.
Senbon and other tools that got too close came headfirst into the ring of bubbles, which were all laced with his Acid Permeation technique and melted away. The rain pelted away at the layers, but he only needed them as a minor deterrent.
“Hup!” Utakata sighed as he back-flipped off his tree branch and settled into his cool state.
One of the hunters used an Archerfish technique to release a powerful jet of water and shattered the thick limb. Placing his straw in his mouth, he blew an Ink Bubble that swallowed the hunter and popped, leaving no trace of the body.
Another tried attacking from behind as he touched down on the ground. Steel wire gleamed in his hand. He was caught off guard when he tried binding him, only for the jinchuuriki to have been a Bubble Clone.
“Over here,” the jinchuuriki’s voice came from the right and he looked.
A Bubble Bomb rupture in front of him with a flash of yellow light and rocked the space around it with force. Blinded and deafened with his ear drums ruptured. Helpless, a Drowning Bubble latched onto his head, refusing to part no matter what he did and drowned him like it failed to do Naruto.
“Enough!” The lead hunter and the rest gathered in a circle, stand on the nearby stream. Pouring chakra into converting the water into mist, they performed a mass Hiding in the Mist technique.
“Kid, get to high ground!” Utakata told him as he blew a massive bubble to form a dome of protection around himself. “They’re using the Silent Killing and Hiding in the Mist technique. You’ll be out before you can use that fan to blow the mist away.”
Naruto didn’t need to be told twice. He climbed into the treetops, higher and higher until he reached the canopy. His fingers were delicately around the blade, as he waited…
Protected by the Bubble Dome, which was being eaten away by the slackened Mist Rain, his eyes peered around the mist-covered field. There was absolute silence beyond the patter of droplets hitting the ground. The jinchuuriki kept his breath still, completely aware that once the dome was eroded away he would fall prey to the Silent Killing technique.
They probably wouldn’t kill them, but getting stabbed by senbon in pressure points hurt liked Hell. That’s how they got him the first time. Same tactic really—cover the field, close the gap, and then incapacitate.
GYAAAAAASSSHH! A piercing cry roared through the mist and was followed by the rumble ofthousands of gallons of water that rushed towards rain-eaten dome. Surging torrents took the form of a dragon that heralded the rage of the river molded by man.
Okay, didn’t see that one coming. Utakata stared down the incoming Water Dragon technique. This is gonna suck…
The weakened dome was torn apart and the jinchuuriki was stuck in a smaller bubble within the dragon’s maw as it thrashed around. Undulating vigorously, it threatened to ravage the laid back shinobi—whose face was unusually tense as he gritted his teeth—and take him down its gullet.
Sacrificing enough chakra to ensure his escape, an empowered Bubble Bomb was sent down the dragon’s gullet as his shield gave out. The dragon ruptured with a earth shattering bang, leaving the jinchuuriki skirting across the ground until he manage to upright himself and skirted on his feet.
Hib body was trembling from the force of his own attack’s shockwave. In the mist, with enough chakra left for a few minor jutsu, pale golden eyes wearily scanned for the enemy…
That was when the lead hunter popped out of the ground and stabbed though his leg with a kunai. Pain surged causing the jinchuuriki to nearly drop his weapon and clench the wound. He wasn’t going to be running anytime soon with this injury and no healer.
A second jutsu blasted him against a tree and pinned him down until he couldn’t move. The lead hunter closed in. The older jinchuuriki gritted his teeth and as his skin began to bulge and white flesh bubbled out. It batted the attack and hunter away before retreating back inside him.
He fell to his knees. “Grrhh…Have to move…”
Salvation—a piercing, phantasmal white chain speared through the mist and buried itself next to him. Utakata grabbed the chain and was pulled into the treetop to Naruto. Before the blond could reel him in, four blurs leaped from the canopy bottom around the boy.
Blowing a Floating Bubble, he sat on top of it and pulled the younger jinchuuriki in, who decided to end it once and for all. Tainted chakra mixed with wind chakra and flowed into the blade, unfolding the fan. He took aim at everything beneath him.
And then he unleashed his claws. “FERAL WIND STYLE: CRIMSON GALE CLAWS!”
Devastation in the form of mass of crimson wind of endless claws plunged downward. The mist was scattered, thrown aside like the inconsequential thing it was, before the massive tidal wave of air and pressure being dropped like a second ocean that crushed all beneath it. The land was torn askew, trees shredded down and ripped to shreds before the earth was gouged out.
The jinchuuriki wielded death itself and bestowed it upon the senseless fools who dared challenged him. Merciless blades of crescent decimated all. Hidden within the mist, water, or ground, the remaining hunters were cut down by the claws, swept away by the terrible winds, and crushed by flying tracks of land, heavy tree limbs, and weighed trunks that survived the first wave.
Utakata whistled as the Mist Rain stopped with the death of the users. “Glad I wasn’t on the opposite end of that. We’ve bought ourselves maybe half-a-day at least, but with the rebels caught or killed, the majority of his forces will be focusing on us soon.”
No longer cloaked in power, Naruto breathed a shuddered breath at the needless deaths of the hunters that pursued them as he landed with the older jinchuuriki. Having clones work towards repairing as much damage as he could to the man, he realized it would take a better medic and at best he could only tend to it light enough to stop the bleeding and soothe the pain.
“Then we’d better move.” He stared at his clothing and his weapon, noticing the cracks that appeared in the steel. “The sooner we find Isaribi-nee and a medic, the sooner I can wrap my head around this.”
“Ugh…” Isaribi moaned as she awoke to a damp cavern. The flicker bulb above only served to irritate her eyes.
“Haku-nii!” A child’s voice came from the right. “She’s waking up!”
Looking up, she saw a girl—no, boy in a tattered kimono. His effeminate and natural beauty was marred by the dirt and bruises on his face. “Can you hear me?”
She struggled to remember the face as clarity set in. They had been caught together. “You were…?”
“Haku,” he helped her onto her feet. “I was part of the resistance and bought in when we were captured, miss…”
“Isaribi,” she answered. “What about my…friends?”
“I believe they all escaped with Zabuza-sama.”
Thank goodness…She looked to the child. “And you are?”
The little girl with light auburn hair and a ratty kimono smiled dimly. “My name is Villa Teruki. Welcome to the Depths, Isaribi-onee-chan.”
Now then, I made it perfectly clear that shinobi battles are not neat on a war scale and rarely collateral damage-free when civilians came around. It was unexpected, it was brutal, it was merciless—that’s war and they use eight year-olds as soldiers in this series.
Kiri had a graduation that involved murder before Zabuza upped it and killed an entire class. How many do you think broke from all of that and went through PTSD before—or if they were lucky enough—to make it to the age of twelve?
The main players for the protagonist of the Fall of the Mizukage Mini-Arc are:
Utakata is the jinchuuriki of Saiken, the Six-Tailed Slug with abilities the deal with acid and mucus. He can do a partial transformation and up to three tails of control, but prefers not to use its powers.
Haku is the only known Ice-bloodline in the series, and one of two one-handed seal users next to Guren. He hates killing and has a polite demeanor, but he can be ruthless if he has to. Please note, he is a boy.
Zabuza was the first major threat Naruto faced and influenced his life in the main series. He a master of the Silent Killing technique and his cleaver and repair itself using blood. One of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of Kiri.
Mei is the future Mizukage and possesses boil release and lava release, making her a dual bloodline user and the only known one in the series. Her boy toy is Choujurou, a rookie member of the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of Kiri, and Ao is a veteran sensor-nin that managed to steal a Byakugan.