|By : Kayden|
Category: Naruto > General
Views: 4314 -:- Recommendations : 0 -:- Currently Reading : 0
|Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.|
Author's Note: First chapter is NoSex to introduce the MC, future chapters WILL contain various sexual acts marked in the tags, including Minor1 and Minor2 interactions. Marked Adult++ due to Minor1/Minor2 to be safe.
Wind blew in from the east, rustling the leaves to mask the soft footfalls from the trees above. A shadow darted from branch to branch, moving with ease as if the trees were its natural habitat. When the shadow came to a stop, the branch barely felt its weight. The moonlight shone down from a gap in the forest canopy, revealing a man in a dragon mask and dark clothing. His tree stood atop a cliff overlooking the valley below. His destination was close at hand below, where a large tree met the side of a cliff. Water poured down from a river atop the cliff in the distance, hiding its secrets behind a cascade of water. The Village Hidden in the Waterfall was merely a mile away.
Uchiha Shinko took off his mask to survey his surroundings. A shadow ran across the valley, catching his attention. As he studied the shadowy figure, he thought back to just two days prior, when he stood in the office of the Fifth Hokage. Senju Tsunade sat behind her desk, reading over the mission details before presenting them.
"I want you to think long before accepting this mission, Shinko," she began in her loud manner of speaking, then smirked at his confused expression. "Ah, yes, the choice to accept a mission or not happens but rarely for Anbu. Unfortunately, our more seasoned Jōnin are tied up in their own missions, and so we're left with few choices of our own. You're at the top of our list, as your performance has been exemplary these past few years." Tsunade paused for a moment, linking her fingers together as she studied the young shinobi. "I will present the details to you, and you are welcome to give me your thoughts."
"This is a solo A-rank mission; one that may be fairly difficult. A Rogue Ninja has been spotted near the Village Hidden in the Waterfall," the Hokage explained. "The details on who it is, and from where, are as yet unknown. Hence our difficult situation here... Long ago, a shinobi known as Kakuzu attacked the Leaf. His mission was passed down to him by the Village Hidden in the Waterfall, and their goal was to kill Senju Hashirama, the First Hokage... My grandfather. He failed, of course, and his village cast him out. If a Rogue Ninja is in that area again, who knows what they could be planning?"
Shinko listened intently, soaking in the information that was being dispensed to him. As part of Anbu, even the smallest detail could be of the greatest importance to him. A Rogue Ninja in the area could mean many things. They could be after a bounty, or seeking to steal from the land to survive. Whatever it was, the Leaf needed to know for the security of not only its inhabitants, but the Land of Fire itself. Shinko cleared his throat before speaking, his voice steady. "You need a scout. Someone who can slip in and out of the village without notice if needed, or one who can track this Rogue Ninja," he thought aloud. "Rogue Ninja can be tricky. Often they're outcasts that couldn't fit in with the village, either due to weakness or a difference in ideals. You need someone who can gauge the threat this shinobi can be to the Leaf, especially with the history of that Hidden Village and your grandfather." The shinobi bowed his head low. "I would be honored to take this mission, Lady Fifth."
"Yes, very good..." Tsunade rumbled as she stood, crossing her arms. "Be careful, young Uchiha. More often than not, Rogue Ninja are strong. This shinobi may be dangerous, and I'd hate to lose you."
Shinko bowed low, and would depart the Village Hidden in the Leaves shortly after.
The shadow moving in the valley brought Shinko back to the present, renewing his focus on the movement of the figure as he placed his mask back on his face. After a few seconds, the shadow faded away into nothingness before his eyes. It was a clone... Shit! Shinko thought to himself, twisting in the tree and casting his gaze across the forest. A large figure came into focus, but before he could weave any signs, a fist slammed into his masked face. Shinko was sent flying off the tree over the cliff's edge.
Time seemed to slow for him as he assessed his damage. His nose was bleeding freely, but that could be ignored. He could move his jaw, blink, and turn his neck. Good, nothing's broken. He then realized that his mask was split into two after noticing the cool night air on the right half of his face. Shinko twisted in the air to see the figure gazing down at him from the top of the cliff. There was no choice; he had to fight. Was this the Rogue Shinobi that he was tracking?
Kunai appeared in Shinko's hands, as if pulled from thin air. Eight kunai fit between fingers on both hands, and with another twist in the air, he launched the kunai from one hand at the veiled figure atop the cliff. Another twist allowed him to fling the second set of his kunai right after, aimed at the first set. The shadowy figure snorted as if in amusement as both sets flew over its shoulder, until metal clashed against metal, altering the direction of the kunai. Got him. Shinko's kunai would strike from the figure’s blind spot, though the figure seemed unphased by the metal that embedded itself in its back. Shinko's brow furrowed as he dug the point of a kunai in the cliff face, which slowed his fall until he came to a stop. Chakra was focused into his feet, allowing him to stand on the side of the cliff as if he was right side-up.
Metal could be heard clattering on the ground as the kunai fell from the shadow's back. The moon peeked out from behind the clouds, illuminating the figure. The man that was revealed was covered in dark, shapeless robes that made it difficult to gauge his physique. All Shinko could see was the height of the man -- well over 6 feet -- and that his face was covered from the mouth down. His eyes were the most startling. Instead of white, the outer-edges were a pinkish-red, with green irides and a lack of pupils. The man then spoke, surprising Shinko.
"You move well, but you have much to learn if you intend to spy on shinobi like myself." The man's voice was deep, in part due to the face-wrap muffling some of his speech. His words were strangely clear despite that. "Anbu, I see. What village are you from, boy? Tell me, and I'll make sure your death is short and relatively painless."
Shinko didn't seem phased. Threats of death were nothing new to him. He's experienced them before, and even had near-death experiences himself. Death was not necessarily something he feared, but also not something he sought. His mind worked in a blur, formulating his plan of attack. He needed time, but that was something in short supply. "You pack a punch, I'll give you that. But you'll learn nothing from me, Rogue Ninja. Tell me: why are you going to the Waterfall? Who are you to them?"
The man was unsurprised by Shinko's defiance. He would know that Anbu never surrendered such information willingly. "Information is valuable, boy. There's always a price to pay. I’ll give you this, at least: I have no love for the Waterfall."
There wasn't even a pause for breath before the man leaped from the cliff's edge, plummeting head-first toward Shinko. A clawed hand was outstretched toward Shinko's neck, seeking to seize him. The young shinobi's eyes changed, though only one was visible from his half-mask. White turned to red, and his pupils split into several tomoe. Time moved slowly again, this time due to the enhanced perception that the Sharingan provided him. He could see possible moves before they happened, and plotted the best course of action based on the information present.
As the clawed hand nearly closed around his neck, Shinko's hand snatched the hilt of his chokutō that was sheathed behind his back, and twisted it in a circular motion. The blade slid from his leather sheath and bit easily into the Rogue Ninja’s arm, slicing it clean off. The young shinobi twirled to continue the motion and slashed the man across his chest once, twice, then pierced him through the heart. As the arm slowly descended toward the bottom of the cliff, the first thing Shinko noticed was the lack of blood. His heart pounded as he waited and watched, studying the figure he believed he killed .
The body was slumped into the blade, unmoving for several seconds, until the man wheezed. The right hand that was still intact moved in a familiar motion, and Shinko realized he was weaving signs. Shit! He needed to create some distance between them, and fast. There wasn’t enough time to retrieve his blade as he leapt away, rolling along the side of the cliff. He kept his chakra focused where he rolled so he wouldn’t fall, weaving the signs for Horse and Tiger with blinding speed as he moved back onto his feet. Fire Release: Grand Fireball Jutsu! He kneaded chakra deep within his body as his right hand moved to his mouth, and as his chakra boiled over, he released it. Flames burst from his mouth, forming a great ardent sphere between him and the Rogue Ninja, eating away at even the cliff they stood alongside. This bought him time to retreat further along the cliffside, studying the impact of his jutsu as the flames dissipated. As he expected, the large fireball left a sizable crater; what he didn’t expect was the man surviving.
From the crater, he picked up on movement through the haze of smoke. Tiny, tube-like objects snaked out down the cliff to the arm that lay on the ground below. Shinko watched closely as the tubes connected with something in the arm and dragged it back up to the crater. His breath caught in his throat as he crouched low, ready to strike or defend. The left hand, previously severed, reached out of the crater and gripped the cliffside. Shinko's jutsu wasn't enough; the Rogue Ninja pulled himself from the crater, dusting himself off as if he'd simply fallen into dirt.
"A Sharingan and the Grand Fireball Jutsu? You're far too young to be Kakashi of the Sharingan, which must make you an Uchiha. I should have foreseen the Leaf scouting the area... My history with them would make a Rogue Ninja sighting worth looking into," the man rumbled from behind his face-wrapping. "It's been a long time since I've been struck in such a way by a Leaf shinobi. Decades, even. Your skills would have been valuable to your village for years to come, if only you hadn't been sent to track me."
Shinko was stunned. This man not only had his arm severed, but he was standing and talking as if nothing happened, even with the chokutō still sticking out of him. The momentary shock dulled his senses, and it took but a moment for Shinko to realize the implication the shinobi made. "My history with the Leaf," Shinko repeated quietly. His eyes widened as he thought back to his conversation with Lady Fifth, "No... You can't be Kakuzu! He fought with the First Hokage decades ago! Kakuzu must be dead by now..."
Kakuzu laughed, "You have much to learn about the world, boy." His hand gripped the blade of the chokutō, slowly pulling it from his body. "If your blade pierced my heart, why am I still alive? Does the concept of immortality not explain this?" The sword was tossed aside, landing on the grass below with a soft 'thud'. "The First Hokage was the first shinobi from the Leaf that I ever fought. I've only gotten stronger since then... A boy like you is out of his league." Kakuzu reached into his robes and pulled out a book, flipping through the pages. "My time will not be squandered, it seems. The remaining five members of the Uchiha clan are in my Bingo Book; you should fetch a high price," he explained.
Shinko gritted his teeth. It wasn't unexpected that his clan would be listed in a Bingo Book. The books are used to track shinobi that are blacklisted, and have a bounty on their heads. While typically issued by Hidden Villages, the black markets have their own. An Uchiha must have angered a dealer in the past, or someone was determined to put an end to the clan for good after its massacre by Itachi years earlier.
"It's unfortunate you won't be able to collect on it. I'm done talking, Kakuzu. For the Leaf, I'm taking you down," Shinko declared without a quiver in his voice. He didn't give Kakuzu a moment to prepare. The shinobi darted forward, easily covering the distance to Kakuzu as he swiftly weaved signs. Wind Release: Whirlwind Prison Jutsu! Chakra focused into his palms, converting into wind that battered Kakuzu backward into the crater, trapping him in its depths.
Kakuzu struggled against the cyclone as it tore oxygen from his lungs. The man’s eyes were full of hatred, and Shinko knew he was about to get serious. The drain on his chakra was heavy, as he expected, but he held onto the immobilization jutsu for as long as he could. He needed Kakuzu incapacitated, or at the very least weakened. He needed to hold on...
Kakuzu's hands slowly weaved seals against the wind, causing Shinko to redouble his efforts. In the end, his chakra was not enough to completely immobilize the more experienced shinobi. Kakuzu finished the final sign. Wind Release: Condensed Pressure Jutsu! Wind burst from all around Kakuzu, becoming compressed in a tight ball before the air seemed to explode. It tore Shinko's barrier of wind to shreds, and shoved him clear off the cliffside. The air whistled around him as he fell, the ground getting ever closer. Shinko spread his arms out wide to allow some of the wind to catch in his robes, attempting to stabilize his fall and partially slow himself down. When he got close, he twisted and molded his chakra behind himself to bear the brunt of the impact.
Even as he hit the ground, air was forced from his lungs as if someone tore it away from him. His head throbbed, and lights danced before his eyes. He sensed his Sharingan fading slowly away as he began to lose consciousness. Not like this... Wheezing, the shinobi gingerly began to pick himself off the ground. His legs were jelly while he fought to maintain his balance and stay awake. There were only a few seconds for him to regroup, if Kakuzu was to attack again. He saw his sword on the ground inches away from where he landed. With his diminished chakra, he had to be careful in using what remained.
The scent of rain hit him as he bent to pick up his sword, and he felt the drops begin to fall as he straightened up. Kakuzu landed on the grass a distance away. "The fall should have killed you. I suppose I've underestimated Anbu. Did you use chakra to minimize the damage?" The muffled voice remarked thoughtfully. "You used too much chakra when immobilizing me, however. I'm quite surprised. They say the Uchiha can see several moves ahead, but here we are... You're almost not worth the bounty of your clan. Not that I won't take it anyway..."
His words were intended to sting Shinko, but the shinobi let them roll off of him. Water was pouring from the sky now, dampening both shinobi as they stood just feet apart. "I... Told you, Kakuzu. I will not die here..." Shinko managed to sputter out, hating how weak his voice sounded after the hard fall. The mixture of rain and the blood from his nose made his mask slip off, revealing the rest of his face. Even despite his Sharingan fading away, his eyes were defiant, his expression immoveable.
Kakuzu snorted. "I'll wipe that look off your face, boy," he said calmly. Shinko didn't even see him move, until suddenly the Kakuzu stood before him. A hand wrapped around his throat, slowly blocking off his airflow. "A pity. A few more years of experience, and we may have had a real fight. Last words?"
The Uchiha struggled against the chokehold, his face slowly beginning to lose its color. In a moment of seeming desperation, his sword arm pulled back and thrust the blade forward into Kakuzu's belly.
"What's this?" Kakuzu remarked, looking down at the sword in his belly. The Rogue Ninja had winced, but aside from causing some pain and discomfort, the sword didn't seem to have much effect on him. "You haven't seemed to learn anything, boy. You-" His words were cut off as he looked up, and saw Shinko's Sharingan had returned, and he had completed a sign. "What?!"
Lightning Release... Chitenraisou: One-Thousand Heavenly Spears! Lightning struck suddenly from above. The first strike was several feet off, but a dozen more bolts followed it in a span of a second. A shriek of pain pierced the air, and it took a moment for Kakuzu to realize it came from himself. Electricity coursed through Kakuzu’s body as lightning struck the water beneath his feet. In the instant he felt one life ebb away from him, the Rogue Ninja thought back through the past few minutes, and all of the pieces fell into place. The scent of rain could have been smelled earlier, from higher up on the cliff. The immobilization jutsu he used had clearly been out of his class. Was that truly intentional to make himself appear weak, or to buy time? Without the aid of the water and the metal of the sword to act as conductors, and without Shinko using the natural lightning as fuel for his jutsu, Kakuzu figured this jutsu would be A-rank at the lowest; a step below the most difficult.
Shinko was released, but the drain on his chakra from his earlier jutsu was too much for him to stay. His hand gripped the hilt of his chokutō, unbothered by the spears of lightning falling around them, and pulled it free of Kakuzu’s stunned body. Not a second later, the Uchiha was gone, and he could hear a roar of anger as Kakuzu's bounty slipped from his grasp, even as another flash of lightning pierced the sky.
The return to the Leaf took several days longer than the journey away, due to how battered and beaten Shinko felt. When he finally came within eyesight of the village's gates, the shinobi on guard, Izumo and Kotetsu, approached him cautiously to offer their assistance. Shinko waved them off; he failed this mission, and would deliver the report of failure on his own. Several eyes watched him from the buildings above as he limped through the streets. He could have sworn he saw a flash of white hair here, a green jumpsuit there, and various other flashes of bodies moving with him. It had been a long time since he'd returned to the village in this condition, and he knew they were watching to ensure he'd be all right.
This thought warmed his heart for a moment, until his predicament closed in around him once more. How would Lady Fifth react to the failure? It took half an hour to reach the Hokage's office, where Tsunade sat looking out the great window behind her desk. It seemed as if she had been watching Shinko's progress through the village. Shinko ignored the chair that was in the middle of the room and knelt down as best as he could, wincing a bit from discomfort. "Lady Fifth..." Shinko began, then coughed a bit. His voice was hoarse, having run out of water a day before his return. The movement of his lips made him feel like they'd crack if he continued.
Tsunade stood from her chair and turned to face the younger shinobi. "Shinko. Have a seat," she said quietly. She poured a glass of water and handed it to Shinko, waiting until it was empty before she leaned against her desk and listened.
Shinko sat quietly for a moment, tried to find a silver-lining to the end of his mission, then relented to simply lay out the facts. By the end of the tale, Tsunade’s expression remained unreadable. "And then... I used Chitenraisou. I thought I'd have enough chakra afterward to take him out from there, but... I failed. I'm sorry, Lady Hokage. Because of me, that man is still out there..."
"Failed? It sounds to me you completed the mission, and did a bit more than that." She smiled at Shinko's shocked expression. "The mission was to find out what this Rogue Ninja was up to, and their allegiance to the Waterfall. It sounds like you did exactly that, no? Not only that, but you outsmarted him as well. I'm quite impressed, Shinko. The chance of this man truly being Kakuzu is questionable. There are stories of men who've attained immortality before, though often they are Jashinists."
Tsunade seemed to be in thought. "Kakuzu, as I’ve heard it, didn't follow their path in his life, being more interested in money than much else. If he is truly immortal by some other means, he'd have decades of experience under his belt. The fact that you pieced together such a clever plan and executed it near flawlessly shows me that I did well in choosing you for this mission. You truly have the Will of Fire," she finished with a hand on Shinko's shoulder.
Shinko listened quietly to the Hokage, then bowed his head deeply, finally seeing the silver-lining he had been missing all along. "Th- thank you, Lady Hokage....” Shinko managed to croak out. His hands slowly balled into fists. “I- I won’t let you down, nor the Leaf. I swear to it.”
Tsunade regarded the young man for a moment, then nodded. “I know you won’t, Shinko,” Tsunade murmured, turning back to her chair. “Rest up for a few days. You’ve been through a lot; I won’t be so crass as to give you another mission after this last one. I’m sure you’d like to spend some time with your nephew, after all, no? Go on, now. I’ll call for you when I need you.” Tsunade smiled knowingly. It wasn’t a secret that Shinko was devoted to his family, and was giving it his all to help his brother raise his son.
Shinko slowly stood and bowed deeply. “Yes, Lady Fifth. Thank you...” He repeated quietly. The departure from the grand offices took just as long as his arrival, as he now had to head back toward the outskirts of the village where the Uchiha clan resided. When he reached his family’s residence and entered the small entrance, night had swiftly fallen. “I’m home...” He called out, his voice a little weak as he sat down on the step leading to the rest of the house, and worked off his shoes. He cringed, slumping a bit against the wall. His body felt like it was on fire after his ordeal. The past few days normally would have been a time for recovery for a shinobi that went through what he did, but Shinko left little time for rest during his return to the Leaf. Whether it was fear or determination that drove him during those days, he didn’t know. Whatever it was, it drove him to run faster and leap farther than he ever had before.
Footsteps could be heard pounding across the other side of the house. “Shinkoooooooo!” a young voice called out happily, and the shinobi felt a body practically tackle him into a hug. “I missed you, Uncle Shinko!” His nephew, Kazu, buried his face against Shinko’s chest. It took all he had not to groan with pain, not wanting to disturb his nephew. “Papa! Gramma! Shinko’s back!” The boy yelled, making Shinko wince at the loudness next to his ear.
“Easy there, buddy. You don’t want to wake up the neighborhood, do you?” Shinko tried to reason with the boy as he stood up, carefully lifting the boy in his arms. He couldn’t suppress a quiet groan as he did so. Kazu eyed him with concern, not used to hearing such a sound from his uncle. Shinko quickly turned his nephew’s attention away. “How’d you like to hear about my last mission, buddy?” He couldn't give anyone else exact details about Anbu assignments, but he always knew how to spin a tale for his nephew's bedtime story.
Kazu seemed to have forgotten everything as he wiggled happily in Shinko’s arms. “Yes yes yes!”
That night, Shinko slept soundly, and dreamt of riding the wind into a thunderstorm.
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