Chapter 10: Infiltrating Oto, Returning a Favour
The road to Otogakure, approximately 5 days away from Oto
Naruto and Haku were running at top speed from Konoha to Oto, so it was really not a surprise that the black haired girl seemed winded, not to mention she lacked sleep and rest. It was a wonder to herself that she hadn't collapsed in fatigue.
Yet, after three days of travel, Naruto began to gradually slow their pace to the current rate they were in: 8 hours of sleep, 10 times pause and/or rest 5 minutes each, 3 meals a day, 30 kms per day.
The beautiful girl often wondered in this trip whether she should ask the living weapon what was on his mind, seeing that his behaviour was quite odd in their travel.
The curiosity was bugging her and the need to know grew with each passing second, but she endured. She must be patient to have what she wanted. As night falls, Haku saw that Naruto was reading a book titled: 'Intermediate Human Interactions.'
Out of curiosity, she dared herself to ask, "Why do you need to read that?"
The boy turned towards her, but said nothing and continued reading. He had too many things in mind and he judged that the question was rhetoric.
"Hey, answer me!" she yelled.
"That was not an important question, so I surmised you had something else you wanted to ask. So, you would better ask the real question," Naruto answered in an annoyed manner, which was quite unnoticable to normal people.
"Okay. Then answer this: What's in your mind?"
"Something that doesn't concern you in any way or manner," the living weapon said as he marked his book and closed it.
"We're partners in this mission. I don't want you to mess up because you got distracted by something that's not important."
"Konshakudan (Soul Burning Pill)," the boy started in a solemn manner. "Ever heard of it?"
"A forbidden drug that increases one's chakra output by at least 20,000 then kills the user if the antidote isn't consumed within 30 seconds. Is that what you mean?" Haku said.
"What about it?"
"Someone has gotten hold of one. Without anyone's knowing, something that should have been impossible. There is only one Konshakudan in Konoha and it still exists. That means the pill comes from outside. The question that remains: Who supplied it and why."
"That's what got you so riled up?" Haku asked casually.
"That is important for Konoha, so yes."
"And how do you know this guy uses a konshakudan?"
"No human's chakra is enough to make 500 kage bunshin's. He did."
"Okay, fine enough. Now tell me this: Did you or did you not cut my throat when I tried to go into your room?"
"What do you think?"
After hearing her response, Naruto nodded his head, opened his book, and started reading again.
"Why?" Haku asked.
"Why did you cut my throat then patch me up? There's just no point in it."
"Think what you will," he said calmly.
"You still haven't answered my question."
Naruto looked at her, sighed, then marked his book and closed it again. "People like you," he said. "Are too stubborn for your own good. The only way the mind will learn is probably by making the body learn."
"So you almost killed me just for making sure I wouldn't go back into your room?" Haku half yelled, being wary of their position.
"Among other things," Naruto stated calmly.
"Other things? What other things?"
"That's enough questions for one day. Go to sleep. Tomorrow we must travel faster to reach Otogakure in time."
Otogakure, 5 days later, daybreak
"Halt, stranger!" the guard yelled. "State your business in Otogakure."
"We are travellers looking for lodging and supplies. Can we enter?" Naruto yelled back.
The gate guard looked back to his partner and discussed it briefly. Finally, after about 2 minutes, the gates opened and the guard yelled, "Come in, welcome to Otogakure no Sato."
Naruto and Haku nodded in appreciation and entered the gates quickly so that the guards wouldn't be able to see them too clearly.
Orochimaru's private compound
"Orochimaru-sama, there is a message from the gate guards," a ninja said, as he ripped a long sheet of paper from a printer. "It said that there are 2 travellers, one male and the other female, who have just entered the village."
"I see," the serpentine man said. "Any details?"
"Not in particular, sir. He just said that the female had black hair, and the other's face was concealed with bandages.
"Umm, sir. There's just a new message," the messenger continued. "He said that they both stayed at the Shirohebi (White Snake) inn."
"I see. Keep me informed," the snake sannin said. "I have a feeling those two might not be any ordinary traveller."
"What do you think, Orochimaru?" a man's voice asked from the shadows.
"They might be the two Konoha nin's you told me about, but there are no proofs as of yet. And I do not like spending any resources on gut feelings alone," came the reply. "Unless you have anything you want to add, Danzou."
"There is nothing I want to add, but let me make a prediction of their moves," the one eyed man said as he stepped into the lights. "They will stay for one full week. For the first four they will gather information from the locals, asking questions, interviewing and the like. Then, at the fifth night, you will notice that your tool store will close early because someone has bought many things. At the sixth day, they will not be seen by anyone. When night falls they will come here, taking and/ or copying files and making maps. Finally they will leave on the seventh day before noon."
"And how do you know about all this?"
"Simple, I was the one who made this Konoha's standard infiltration and reconnaissance procedure."
Streets of Otogakure, the next day
Tayuya of the Sound Four walked casually through the streets, ignoring the occasional greetings and bows the villagers gave to her when she passed them by. Nothing was on her mind; she was just taking a stroll, getting some fresh air. In her mind, any air was better than the damp air of the cave where Orochimaru and his top subordinates resided.
However, the absence of thought was gone when she passed a man whose face was bandaged heavily, disabling her to see any distinct features he might had. When both of them passed each other, she felt something she hadn't in a very long time: fear, the same kind of fear she felt when the assassination attempt done to Konoha no Tsurugi failed.
She turned to follow the bandaged man, but he was gone. Cursing her luck, but thanking the heavens above at the same time, she followed the direction she thought he went to.
Tayuya jumped to the rooftops, hoping the height would give her a better view. She scanned the area several times, but couldn't find anything. When she was about to give up, however, a freezing sensation formed all around her until she realized that she was sorrounded by a dome of ice mirrors.
The red head reached to her flute and put it to her lips, but before she could make a single note, a senbon needle flew to her neck. The attack would have knocked her out had she not activated her level 2 cursed seal and caught the weapon.
"Who the fuck?" she cursed after she deactivated her cursed seal and the dome of ice mirrors disappeared.
A silhouette of a man in black ANBU appeared from behind a big water tank directly behind her. "Remember me, Tayuya of the North Gate?" an ice cold voice spoke.
"Heh, it's hard to forget assholes like you, Konoha no Tsurugi!"
"Indeed it is, so is your attack on me those years ago." Naruto said calmly.
"What now then?"
"We settle that debt."
The living weapon unsealed his oldest weapon, a long metal staff, shaped like a bamboo pole, and struck her with it. The red head took out her flute and blocked the attack, while her other hand took out a kunai from her pouch and stabbed him.
The attack would've struck home had Naruto not parried the attack with his staff. Recovering from the parry, Tayuya followed up with a roundhouse kick aimed to the stomach.
Naruto blocked her kick with his staff by stabbing it to the ground and halted her leg on its path. Then, the blond jumped and kicked the girl in her chest. The red head stepped back a little, but the kick still touched her chest and it sent her tumbling back several inches. That was enough, however for Naruto to make a follow up attack. He shot out a strong compressed gust of wind towards her that hit her and knocked her out.
Tayuya woke up with a groan in an unfamiliar room. The room was probably about 7 by 7 feet with a wooden door right ahead of her and a cupboard to her far right. The red haired girl tried to move, but found out that she couldn't; maybe because she was tied up or maybe because she was drugged. Either way, it didn't matter. The point was she couldn't move, she couldn't help herself, she was fucked.
She waited for several moments and heard the door being opened. She hoped it was Naruto so she could give him a piece of her mind, but to her disappointment, it was a black haired girl whom she didn't recognize.
"Who're you?" Tayuya asked.
"Haku," the girl answered.
"And why're you here? More importantly, why're you with the living weapon?"
The black haired girl stayed silent, either not intent in answering or she just didn't have an answer. It confused her, though. She could just betray Naruto and sold him out to an Oto shinobi. She heard they had bad blood going on. Maybe the chance never presented itself?
Haku wasn't in the mood to answer any questions, so she walked out of the room and called for Naruto. Tayuya could hear sound of something heavy being put somewhere and chairs shuffling and the like, but she couldn't discern the amount of people in the room. Mainly because there were no conversation going on, but that shouldn't have hindered her hearing ability.
The red head waited several moments, after all, what could she do? Then, after what seemed to be eternity for the impatient girl, Naruto entered the room and greeted her as he smiled. "Hello, Tayuya."
Outside the room
Haku took out Kubikiri Houcho from a scroll she used to seal the giant weapon, along with its manual and began reading as she imagined the movements listed in the manual. Each technique was quite difficult for someone to master, she realized. Especially if one didn't have the muscles or strength required to wield the heavy blade easily.
This brought out a question in her mind. Why would anyone need a lot of physical strength to wield such a light weapon? And why were Kubikiri Houcho's technique mostly rely on brute power and sheer force? The blade wasn't that heavy, at least not for her.
Inside the room
"Hello yourself you fucking psycho," Tayuya hissed.
"Such a rude language coming from a lady. Do schools no longer teach manners?" Naruto asked calmly.
"They do. I just don't listen to them." The foul mouthed girl said.
"You should. Manners are quite important."
"That should've been 'so you say', Tayuya."
"Why are you here anyway? To teach me a proper way for a woman to speak?"
"Must you be so rude to an old colleague? After all, it's been such a long time since we last met," the living weapon chided. "But, let's get to business."
"I want you," Naruto said slowly as his smile disappeared from his face. "To tell me exactly what Otogakure is planning by sending a genin team to the chuunin exams."
"What are you, stupid? Of course it's because they want to get a promotion, what do you think?"
"Something along the lines of 'invasion' or 'assassination of public figure', but those are merely my pretenses."
For a moment, Tayuya's heart stopped beating before it resumed normally. It was only for a short moment, but it was enough for Naruto to acknowledge her approval of the question.
"I see I was correct."
"No you're not. I didn't say anything."
"You didn't have to. Sleep now." He said as he tapped a pressure point on her neck and knocked her out.
Outside the room
Naruto walked out of the 'interrogation room' calmly and looked at the clock hung on the wall before he turned to Haku. "You can wander in the village for 3 hours, then you must return and get some rest. Tomorrow we will leave first thing in the morning, before the sun rises."
"Why? The mission's over?"
"I understand." The black haired girl said before she turned to the manual laid across her lap.
"You're not going out?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"No. It's already late and I think most of the stores are closed, anyway."
"Suit yourself." Naruto said, before he went into his room and closed the door with a bang.
Unbeknownst to him, Haku had an odd glint in her eye as she looked to the massive cleaver in her grip.
Later at night, approximately 2200 hrs
The door to Naruto's room opened slightly with a creak and a figure entered swiftly. In its grip was a large weapon. The figure walked carefully past the caltrops the blond had set on the floor earlier. It stalked towards the boy's side and raised the weapon it had on its grip, and then swung it down quickly, aimed right at the living weapon's neck.
Sensing the danger approaching, the boy spun to the side and evaded the weapon as he took out Kouga and blocked the weapon with its sickle. Seeing that it couldn't win in physical combat, the figure turned the lights in Naruto's room using a switch placed next to the bed.
Unadjusted to the light, the boy's eyes hurt a little and it slowed his reaction time. But he still saw the figure trying to run. This person's escape was unacceptable, but neither was his death. With a quite basic Fuuton Jutsu, the living weapon cast out a ball of compressed air that hit the figure on the back and sent it down.
"Impressive, Haku." Naruto said with a smile on his face.
"Damn you, making me train in this time of night. Don't you need any sleep?" Haku asked with irritation in her voice.
"I do, just not as much as a normal person does."
"Whatever. Can I sleep now?"
"Go ahead, remember to pack your things in the morning."
"What for? We'll still be here for another week, right?"
"Change of plans. We're going out of here first thing in the morning."
"Oto patrols are out on the street. Somebody leaked out our coming here."