Chapter 2: Messenger
Naruto went back to his apartment room in the Root ANBU complex and slowly set down his cloak and mask on the table, his newfound weapon on the wall.
He walked to the bathroom and inspected his own reflection on the mirror. His two front teeth that were missing for a full minute those three years before on the day he obtained his powers had grown back, he realized. His three whisker marks that were on his cheeks had deepened, making him look more feral than before. The fact that his canines had grown sharper didn't help much either.
Then, he took a bath with freezing cold water and dried off by the time he was done. The boy walked to his table by his bed and saw a letter of summons from Danzou. Carelessly, he ripped it open and read the letter. It said that he was to report to Danzou about his mission.
Wordlessly, the boy crumpled the paper and threw it upwards, then used his wind blades to shred it. Tired and spent, he went to his bed to get some well deserved rest.
The next day
"Report," Danzou said.
"Hai. The nukenin we were ordered to pursue and terminate turned out to be a minimal threat. He brought several items that may need to be thoroughly examined," Naruto said as he knelt down.
"Elaborate. What items? What value might it hold?"
"A box of scrolls which is now at Hokage-sama's hand and this," the boy replied as he pulled out the staff.
It was a finely crafted weapon, made from metal and bore no engravings or marks whatsoever. Danzou examined the weapon and after a while filed it as unimportant and told Naruto to keep it as his own weapon, to which the blond was grateful. The box of scrolls that was in the Hokage's hands might need some scrutiny, but if it was trusted to a weak soldier, surely it wasn't that important?
Then the one armed man led Naruto to the training area and told him to stand exactly 2 metres away from a wooden log. Danzou then told the jinchuuriki to cleave it. Without a second wasted, he let a wind blade fly and the log was cut in two. A clean, flawless cut that couldn't be achieved with a mere katana. After nodding his approval, Danzou led Naruto to a training log and told him to destroy it.
Naruto focused his chakra on the object as it glew blue and slowly rise from the ground and reached three feet above the ground. The jinchuuriki then clutched his fist and the log was crushed into splinters.
The task was taxing for the young blond and he had already showed signs of exhaustion by the time he did it the second time. The militaristic man beside him gave Naruto an envelope after his breath stabilized.
"Inside this is the specification of your next mission," he said.
Without a word, Naruto took the envelope politely and opened it. As he read, Danzou told him, "The mission will commence in four days. Meanwhile, use the available time to rest and recuperate."
When Naruto went out the complex, it was already midday to noon. Sighing in irritation, the blond took a hasty pace to a weapon shop to restock his soldier pills, shuriken, kunai, and exploding tags.
The shop was a special shop that provided weaponry for every Shinobi of every rank and stature. The store wasn't decorated with anything other than weapons shuriken and kunai adorned the left side of the wall, while swords and fuuma shuriken adorned the right. On the front, behind the clerk's desk was a glass display where every kind of weapon imaginable was hung.
In a seemingly practised routine, the eight year old walked straight to the clerk's desk without bothering to look at the other items and called, "I need fifty shurikens, forty kunais, a pack of exploding tags, and a full bottle of soldier pills."
The clerk, much to his surprise was a nine year old brunette with her hair tied in two buns on her head. She turned to meet the buyer only to see a smiling eight year old boy who was only 120 centimeters tall. "I'm sorry, but we only sell our gear to full fledged shinobi, not to children," she said, not taking the ANBU member seriously.
"I am aware of that miss, how much will that order cost me?" Naruto said, not caring about her comment.
"Now look here,…" she said before her father came in from the side door which read "Staff only."
"Tenten, that's not polite to say to a customer," the man said. He was a moderately sized man wearing a dark brown shirt under his thick blacksmith apron with dark brown hair and a proud look on his face. The man had strong arms, which its power he displayed by lifting a heavy box filled with training weights easily on one arm.
"But father, this kid wanted to buy shuriken and kunai, tell him it's dangerous to play around with them!"
"Ah, don't worry about this one. Just get to the back and check on your mother, okay?"
The girl sighed dejectedly but still did what her father told her to. Once she was out of earshot, the blacksmith turned to his blond customer, "So, Uzumaki-san, what can I do for you?"
"Like I said to your daughter, Kuzushi-san. Fifty shuriken, forty kunai, a pack of exploding tags, and a full bottle of soldier pills."
"Uh huh," he said as he noted down the necessary items, "Anything else?"
"I need to have this weapon appraised," Naruto told him as he took out the black staff.
Kuzushi Tenzen took the staff and examined it thoroughly. After discerning its material, he whistled and turned to the ANBU member, "This is one good piece you got. Amahagane is rare and this one is made entirely from it."
"Amahagane?" Naruto asked in confusion.
"Yes, the best material to make weapons or armors. They are extremely durable, flexible, and light. Moreover, you can put a 'defense mechanism' on it or imbue it with elemental chakra and they're not that hard to customize," the smithmaster said.
"Can you do them in three days?" Naruto asked.
"Yes, but they will cost you more," Kuzushi replied.
"No matter. Have it done when I return then."
Naruto's four days vacation, if you can call it that, was in its third day and he walked to the Kuzushi family weapon shop to retrieve his customized staff.
He opened the door to the store and saw the same girl as before. "Ah, it's you again. Sorry I was impolite before," she said as she bowed apologetically.
"It's nothing, miss. Where can I find your father?"
"Oh, right this way."
Tenten led the blond through the staff door after she closed the store for the day. She told him to go to the basement where her father was putting some finishing touches on the staff.
He did as he was told and saw the six feet weapon engraved with hundreds of kanji that circled it. The smooth shaft turned into a bamboo like structure as it looked like it had six segments. Both segments on each end were slightly thicker than the rest, almost invisible to the untrained eye. On the segments' ends were rings and on each tip of the weapon, small, almost flat protrusions made by three smaller rings were placed.
Tenzen was chanting a spell as the crimson kanji burned and after waiting for a full minute, the ritual was finished with a blinding flash of light. Then, seeing that his customer was there, he told the boy to try it.
The perpetually smiling boy took it and tried several swings and stabs, then found that it was perfect. In an act of curiosity, he grasped each end and pulled. To his surprise, the staff split into a pair of kali sticks. (Just so you know, I prefer to call them 'Dog Beating Sticks', it's a common weapon in Hong Kong's Wuxia films.)
Satisfied with the result, Naruto took out his wallet and gave its contents to Tenzen who took it with appriciation.
"One last thing," he said, "Show me your gloves."
Obediently, Naruto did so and in a swift movement, Tenzen wrote kanjis written in a sentrifugal spiral and when he was done, he promptly slapped both of them and sent chakra to the spiral.
"There, now you can store that in your gloves," Tenzen said as he crossed his arms.
Wordlessly, the jinchuuriki gave several extra ryou as his token of appreciation and left the place to pack for his mission.
"Heh, that guy is never one for words," the brown haired man said.
"Father, I've been meaning to ask this, who is he?" his daughter asked.
"That guy, daughter, is a living weapon," the blacksmith said as he hung his head down and shook it, "It's a pity that a boy's gotta be one, but at least he gives people like us a good living."
Tenten looked at her smiling father's face and asked again, "If he's a living weapon, can he be wielded?"
"Yup, but you have to be real strong if you want to."
"So, if I want to wield him, I have to be strong enough?"
"In a sense, yeah."
"All right, I'll be strong enough to wield this living weapon."
'Heh, kids these days.'
"Your mission is to deliver this message to an associate of mine. He is currently in Rice country and also brought several bodyguards," the letter read, "Confirm the letter's delivery. When you're done reading this, burn it."
The blond did so and looked at photo of the person he was supposed to deliver the letter to. He was a lean man with purple eye liner that made him look feminine. He had long black hair and an aura of malice around him.
'Mission commencing in T minus five, four, three, two, one, begin,' the blond mentally counted as he jumped from the tall gate of Konohagakure no Sato to the black night that greeted him with moonlight and he disappeared in a resounding woosh.
Rice Country border
Naruto sniffed the air and mentally counted the number of his enemies as he ran on the road, 'Hmm, four, no… five; four males, one female. But it's weird; it's as if two smells are combined into one. Safe to say, there are six. Threat estimation: medium-high.'
Suddenly, the blond stopped to a halt and brought forth his twin sticks and put up a defensive stance after he combined them into a long pole. "Please show yourselves. I tire of this cat and mouse game," the jinchuuriki said with a smile plastered on his face, though no one would be able to see it because of the porcelain mask hiding his face.
Without warning, a light blue haired boy rushed to him, throwing a fist. The blond dodged sideways and slammed his staff to the boy's sternum, sending him to the air where he recovered and threw five kunais to the ANBU member.
Naruto blocked each projectile and brought his staff down, attempting to break the blue haired boy's collar bone, but the attack missed as he dodged to the left. From its position, only several inches above the ground, the weapon changed its direction and met the assailant's knee, breaking it and rendering him disabled for a while. But one thing for sure, he lost this fight.
"Talk, and I'll let you live," Naruto said calmly to the blue haired boy as he approached and pressed the tip of his staff to his prey's neck.
"Heh, how about… DIE!" he yelled.
Immediately, dozens of arrows soared through the air and would've caught the jinchuuriki too if he hadn't used a kawarimi no jutsu with a kage bunshin he had so cautiously prepared.
The blue haired boy's comrade showed up. They were a six armed boy with black hair and a smug look, a red haired girl who wore a cap, and a big boy with orange Mohawk.
"Damn, you two headed prick. You couldn't even take out a smiling psycho with a dildo for a weapon?" the girl said, ignoring the big boy's comment about girls shouldn't be rude.
"Yeah? I'd like to see you try, Tayuya," he said. And indeed, he did have two heads; a fact that Konoha's living weapon didn't notice until now.
"Oh joy, three more," Naruto said, "Guess I'll have more to play with then."
The blond broke the long staff into two shorter ones and twirled them around, flexing his wrists, and cracked his neck as he sized up his opponents.
Three arrows flew to his direction and Naruto blocked it with his stick and dashed forward to disable the six armed boy. Before he was even half way there, a boulder the size of a table flew to his head and the jinchuuriki split it in two with a wind blade without breaking his stride.
The girl of the group, Tayuya summoned two more ogres and they attacked Naruto relentlessly. He was calm until one of them caught him off guard and struck his abdomen. Naruto recovered mid-air and sent five wind blades to destroy the summoned fiends.
Just as he brought one of his sticks down to the six armed Kidoumaru's head, a bladed staff came and intercepted his blow. Then, with his still smiling face, he turned to the newcomer, "Not bad, let's see how you fight one-on-one."
Acknowledging the challenge, he told the rest of the group to stand down and whipped up his bone-made weapon.
The two stick users set down on their own stances, Kimimaro's solid form and Naruto's relaxed form. Then, as a thunder flashed before them, they charged.
Kimimaro swiped his stick down, only to be blocked by Naruto's. Next, he stabbed his other staff and the blond parried then followed with a roundhouse kick to the head. The pale boy ducked under the kick and delivered a bone spike-gauntleted fist to Naruto's stomach.
The punch was blocked by the jinchuuriki's standard-issued ANBU armor which was busted by then. Naruto jumped back two feet away and launched his Fuuken (Wind Sword) to Kimimaro who shot several finger bullets. Needless to say, the bullets were cut in two and the attack continued to make a large wound on Kimimaro's chest.
Seeing the clear defeat of their 'comrade', the Sound Four sent attacks of their own. Kidoumaru's continuous arrow barrage, Jiroubou's rain of boulders and Tayuya's sound wave.
All the attacks, however was in vain as the boy formed a protective barrier of red aura that rendered each attack useless. "Now, the fight begins," the smiling boy said with a deeper voice to the recovering Kimimaro, "Please survive this, because if you don't I will be very pissed."
Naruto charged and swung his short staves to the boy's short spear and broke them. Before the pale boy could make any recovery, a knife kick met his sternum and sent him propelled back.
Struggling to get back up, he used another bone spear he made from his arm bone as a crutch and stood up wobbly. He looked to the side and saw that all of his colleagues were frozen in fear. The six armed boy fought his fear and formed an arrow, placed it on his bow, pulled the string, and let it fly. The arrow sailed in the air for some time and dissolved two inches from the intended target.
"Not bad, but still I'm pissed," Naruto said, ignoring the last attack with a smile that made his now crimson eyes squinty. His body exuded such an evil aura that they couldn't move, no matter how hard they try(do note that they are only about nine at the time and they'll receive their cursed seal soon enough). Suddenly, a tail of chakra formed on his tail bone and it rushed to the pale boy's chest, where his lungs were supposed to be.
As the tail made contact with the lean white haired boy, it covered him in red chakra and he began coughing up blood.
The blond laughed all the while; a laughter that could freeze one's blood and gave them nightmares for life. His hilarity was cut short as a man's voice called to the fighters on the road, "Seize this foolishness!"
"Are you the one whom I must deliver this letter to?" Naruto asked to the new arrival after stopping his chakra attack and made the chakra armor dissipate, ignoring the man's perfect similarity to man in the picture.
"I am Orochimaru. I presume you are the one Danzou sent as a messenger?" the black haired man enquired.
"Yes. Are they your underlings?" the ANBU asked.
"Yes. I apologize for their rudeness. They were supposed to keep intruders out and with that Konoha hitai-ate, they deemed you as a threat," he reasoned.
"I see. I too apologize for my aggression," Naruto said, turning to the five who were still frozen in fear, "Orochimaru-sama, may I try to heal them?"
"Please, do so."
Without further orders, he walked to the coughing boy on the ground and put his palm on the older boy's chest where a burn mark emerged and his still bleeding wound. In less than a second, he began to stabilize and the burn mark vanished, but he turned to unconsciousness.
Then came the blue haired guy he fought earlier's turn. He cracked the broken knee back on place, sandwiched them between styptics and bandaged them before using a healing jutsu on it. The pain induced from re-setting the knee alone broke him out of his reverie.
The big boy and the six armed one were panting in exhaustion due to chakra exhaustion and the massive killing intent they felt, so Naruto plopped a soldier pill to their mouths and slapped them. They recovered immediately and looked at the boy in fear, which he smiled in response, though they couldn't see it because of his mask.
At last, came the girl's turn. She suffered from chakra exhaustion too after using the genjutsu in a prolonged period and summoning the ogres. Doing the drill, he threw a soldier pill to her mouth and contemplated what to do next because hitting a girl who wasn't a threat, whether potential or real was against his conscience. So, he knelt down in front of her, took off his porcelain mask, showing his lean, whiskered face, and without warning kissed her on the lips for three full second before she yelled "Pervert!" out loud, tried to slap him and got another kiss instead.
The seven people entered a cave about half an hour walk from their previous position. The cave was carved and shaped into a huge complex that only had one problem, dripping water from the stalactites.
As they walked, Tayuya kept cursing the smiling blond while maintaining a blush on her face. Jiroubou, the big child continuously reprimanded her about her use of words. Kidoumaru, the six armed one continued snickering just like his blue haired, two headed friend, Sakon whom Naruto supported as a form of an apology. The white haired Kimimaro was carried on a stretcher to see one of Orochimaru's subordinate, Kabuto.
At last, they reached Orochimaru's office, a chamber with obsidian double doors with white borders. They had several carvings that shaped a snake fighting a dragon on a mountain peak. Both creatures' eyes were from ruby and garnet, their body and the background however was made of pure obsidian.
"You can get in on your own, right?" Kidoumaru asked.
Naruto nodded and asked Sakon if he could walk on his own, which he answered with a 'yes' and left with his comrades to where they entered.
The blond opened the doors and saw the serpent Sannin there reading the letter. His face was crunched up in concentration and was sitting without ease.
After the door slammed shut, the serpentine man turned to see that the messenger was there, standing stiff before he knelt down and waited for Orochimaru's response.
"Ah, sorry I didn't notice you there. I suppose you wanted to hear my response for Danzou's letter?" he asked.
"My response would be yes to every condition he mentioned. This letter holds my official response for him," he told the ANBU member.
"On behalf of Danzou-sama, I thank you deeply, Orochimaru-sama," he said.
"Not at all. It is nothing," the serpentine man said.
Naruto exited the chamber and set his mask back, while inside Orochimaru sat on his chair and placed his palm to his forehead.
Unbeknownst to each other, the two grinning people had the same thought on their minds, 'The old fool doesn't know he's being used in this agreement.'
The blond boy went past the entire compound in ten minutes and by the time he reached the exit, Orochimaru had given the Sound Four (excluding Kimimaro) a cursed seal.