Chapter 3: The Agreement
After the mission to Orochimaru, Naruto reported the results and the response to Danzou who read the letter thoughtfully and told the jinchuuriki to get some vacation until further notice.
Wordlessly, the blond got up from his kneeling position and went out the door to a ramen shop, Ichiraku Ramen.
The stand that was near the Yamanaka family's flower shop was a great place for gathering information and dining. It just so happened that many shinobi's ate there and the chef and his daughter were bound to hear something; rumors, news, even something the council tried to cover up. One example of such was the rumors of the Uchiha clan massacre; some said Itachi was controlled by a greater force, others said that it wasn't Itachi, but someone posing as him, while the not too sympathetic others said that Itachi had planned this all along.
"Give me the usual, Teuchi-san," Naruto told the chef after he took a seat near the counter.
"Sure, Naruto-kun," the ramen chef answered.
While waiting for his ramen to cook, he held out his index finger horizontally as a sparrow flew down and landed on it. He stroke the bird affectionately with the other index finger before Ichiraku-san called him and the bird flew off, "Here you are, Naruto-kun."
Muttering a silent 'Thank you', the veteran ninja ate in silence as his other ten bowls were being cooked.
Just as he almost finished his eleventh bowl, the ramen chef's daughter, Ayame showed up and regarded him with a friendly smile as she secretly slipped a slip of paper to Naruto.
He nodded his thanks and began a chit-chat with them and left exactly one hour after he left, 1 P.M.
Once inside his humble abode, he received a letter on his night table, 'Bingo book updated. All active shinobi ranked chuunin and above are to report to the Hokage immediately.'
Naruto wondered, what makes a bingo book update so important that everyone must report to the Hokage? Though the ninja world is a very dynamic place, there wouldn't be too many changes in the bingo book. Usually five more are added and three would be crossed out. Every nuke-nin had their own businesses and rarely band together.
'Maybe there's another addition from Konoha. The old man's sensitive about this,' Naruto thought.
Trying to look acceptable in front of the Hokage, he took of his torn cloak and wore a fresh one before walking out in a leisurely manner in the streets of Konoha while putting on his mask.
In the Hokage Tower
"I thank all of you who are gathered here under such short notice," Sarutobi began. "Recently, due to several incidents, the number of nukenin from the five elemental countries have increased substantially.
"One of the additions is Konoha's Uchiha Itachi."
This caused several gasps from shinobis who weren't in Konoha when the Uchiha massacre occurred, while those who already knew kept their mouths shut and looked very disheartened about the tragedy.
"It is known that he has joined a group of S-class nukenin known as Akatsuki," he continued.
At the mention of 'S-class nukenin', Naruto only had one thought on his mind, 'A worthy challenge'. His smile was hidden by his mask, but it didn't go unnoticed by several people who knew his personality; namely the Sandaime Hokage, Yamato, Hatake Kakashi, and several others from ANBU.
The announcement was finished in ten minutes and the old man told everyone to get their new copies of the Bingo book on the 'mission desk'. As every ninja's filed out of the room, Naruto was stopped by the Hokage who asked him, "Naruto-kun, where does your loyalty lie?"
Without turning to face the old man, he answered, "My loyalty lies with Konoha. I shall make sure the village prospers and its continuation guaranteed; with every means necessary."
"One more thing before you go," Sarutobi said, "What is Danzou planning to do by associating himself to my former student, Orochimaru?"
Surprised at the question, Naruto turned to look at the old man who continued, "Don't forget that I am the Hokage. I have my ways to find out about the things that are going on in this village."
"I have no idea," the blond admitted, "I do believe it has something to do with his long term goal, making Konoha the strongest village in the world."
"The strongest, eh? And how does he plan to do this… long term goal?" the Hokage asked again.
"By any means necessary, even if it includes the death of several people in this village," Naruto answered, "Now then, Hokage-sama, by your leave."
Then, the living weapon left the building. It was several moments after the door closed that the Hokage realized a piece of paper fying inside the room.
Curious, he picked it up and much to his amusement, words flared on it and he read, 'By the time Danzou-sama sees the village as 'weak', he will dispose of the current leader and put himself in charge. Watch yourself, Hokage-sama.'
Two months later
Another mission was given to Naruto. This time, it's assassination again. Briefly he wondered who will accompany him in this mission, since it wasn't a 'Ne only business' where he had to go solo, but it was a joint mission of Danzou-Orochimaru faction.
He approached the rendezvous point, a small village on the way to Kirigakure and saw an unexpected face; the scowling red head with colorful language named Tayuya.
"You're late, fucker," she cursed. Yet, to her irritation, the blond didn't respond or retaliate, he just took off his mask and showed his smiling face. Oh, how she wanted to wipe that smile off his face. "Let's just go and get this shit done with."
They ran to the village's exit, heading towards their destination, a bandit camp situated in the shady parts of Kirigakure no Sato.
"Do you understand the situation?" Tayuya asked.
"Yes, a group of bandits has appeared here. Destroy them because they are a threat, spare noone. Correct?" Naruto asked.
"Yeah and don't fuck this up, got it?" the red head said. The blond didn't say anything but nodded. The two waited till midnight and suppressed their chakra to make sure they wouldn't be noticed, and then launched their attacks from the same spot.
Mentally, Naruto counted his enemies, 'Approximately there are fifty genin-level, ten chuunin-level, and at most three jounin-level. They must be the leaders.'
The duo charged forward, beginning their attacks with assassination to make the kills as smooth as possible. Naruto sliced the throat of a sentry and Tayuya used her flute as a blow gun to kill another; its dart lacquered with the most potent poison known in Otogakure.
Then, they dragged the bodies behind a tent and went their separate ways.
The blond killer wall-hugged a tent and looked out, finding a group of four bandits talking and playing cards. Even though he had suppressed his chakra signatures, using the Fuuken would be dangerous for him because that jutsu used quite a large amount of chakra and would turn him into a flashing beacon in the dark for the three jounin-level bandit.
Deciding to minimalize visibilty, he refrained himself to using his non-chakra using attacks. Besides, it was more challenging that way.
Naruto took out a kunai and threw it. The blade embedded itself in one of the bandit's head. As the others made an audible gasp of surprise, he dashed towards them. When he approached one bandit, he kneed the old man in the stomach. The attack effectively pushed his diaphragm and also pushed his ribcage upwards; as a result, his ribs broke and pierced his internal organs. The jinchuuriki broke the man's neck and kicked another bandit on the chin before crushing the bandit's windpipe.
As the last of the group was about to run towards the signal bell, Naruto threw a kunai and it pierced his forehead. Turning to the last of the alive bandits, he broke the man's spine in a very uncomfortable manner by getting behind him, almost tripping him to his back, and kneed him hard on the spine, his hand hit the bandit's neck; resulting the man's body to shape like an arc, a very sharp one at that. Almost like an upside down V.
The west side of the camp she was in was more scarcely guarded than the east, where Naruto was. She looked around and saw around three patrols. Each of them was separated by at least thirty feet. Thinking of the best course of action, she put another dart into her flute and shot it to the one closest to her.
The dart struck the intended target and the man just fell down lifelessly as the very potent and lethal poison worked its way inside his system. Hearing the dull 'thud', his partners approached him and nudged the man with their spear's blunt end. As they prodded for several seconds, she reloaded and shot two more.
She tried locating the command tent and after she saw the largest one, the red head immediately decided that the tent was what she was looking for.
Tayuya ripped a small hole on the side of the tent and peered inside. What she saw brought a small smile to her ruby lips. The tent was packed with the remaining bandits. Now, the mission would be finished early if she just blew the place up. Something she would do if her crazy partner didn't just charge in after putting his mask inside his gear bag, took out his weapons, smiled, and started attacking.
Normally, the foul mouthed girl would really love to blow this person up, after all he did piss her off, really pissed her off. If only her boss didn't say anything about this matter.
"Tayuya, in this mission your partner will be from another village. And whatever you do, do not inflict damage on him or infuriate him," Orochimaru ordered.
"Hai, Orochimaru-sama," the red head bowed and exited the dark chamber to her own room to get ready.
"Enjoying the sight?" a voice beside her asked.
Startled, she spun turned to the owner of the voice and met Naruto, obviously, the blond used a bunshin to wreak havoc inside the tent as everyone inside were screaming and shouting.
"What the fuck? Don't fucking scare me you piece of shit! And what the hell is your bunshin doing? Can't you just blow this whole joint up?" Tayuya asked in a high whisper.
"Because that's not our real target. I will get back there to play later. Now, we have a bigger fish to fry," the blond said.
Confused, the girl followed the ANBU after confirming that it was him, not some high-level bandit in a henge or a genjutsu.
He ran towards a small tent that looked just like any other tents near the cloth wall used as the base's limits.
"Okay, we're here, now what?" the foul mouthed girl asked.
"Lean closer and tell me what you hear," Naruto said as he took off his mask (his bunshin earlier was the one who lost his mask, not the original).
"Our target will be the small villages supplying Konohagakure with metal ores and stones. The other target will be this spot here. Apparently one particular Orochimaru had built a base of operations there. It's a cave, so if we just throw all our houroku (hand thrown old style bomb), it's bound to be blast to shit in no time. Lately…" she said, copying the leader's words and almost failing to stifle a roar of outrage.
"Okay, that's enough. Let's get in then."
Once inside, the bandit's leaders were surprisingly pretty decent looking people, with tidy shirt and jacket, newly pressed pants and one with a crossed Kumo hitai-ate. The other men in the room, obviously his underlings had the hitai-ate of Iwagakure and Kusagakure.
"Genbo Okuda of Kumogakure (Naruto turned to the black haired man in white), Ishiki Ken of Iwagakure (the brown haired man in black), and Tojo Roumaru of Kusagakure (the green haired man wearing blue). You all are hereby sentenced to death under the charge of being a threat to Konohagakure."
The three turned to the newcomers, a blond boy with whiskered face, blue eyes and wearing ANBU cloak and a pair of sharp clawed metal gloves and a red haired girl wearing a tan shirt with the yin-yang symbol on the cloth in front of her, a purple rope sash, black shorts that just reached past her knees, and a blue cap.
These children, in their eyes couldn't be older than eleven, yet they were threatening the veteran jounin's. This had got to be a joke. The three chuckled lightly and finally burst out laughing. Said action triggered Tayuya's anger and she took out her flute before finally slamming the steel object to Roumaru's jaw.
The attack had the desired effect; the green haired man held his jaw as it broke under the crushing force. He lay sprawled on the ground while screaming because of the terrible pain he was feeling.
Seeing their colleague in danger, they took out their weapons, Okuda's claws and Ken's greatsword.
As one they charged at the red haired girl. Tayuya turned towards her targets and played her flute. Instantly the scenery around them changed into a terrifying bone yard and they were restrained with thousands of spine shards.
In the real world, the two jounin's scream filled the air. They were put in such great pain from the genjutsu and couldn't really break free because they really were bound with something, a chain, to be precise that her partner used.
Seeing their inability to retaliate, she changed her tunes and summoned forth two ogres. The white one brought a giant wooden club, while the red one brandished a spiked metal club.
The summoned creatures attacked and managed to wound the two men. It was a pity that because maintaining a genjutsu and summoning creatures like what Tayuya was doing was very taxing and soon she lost control and collapsed. The ogres disappeared in a puff of smoke and her genjutsu disippated.
Once the smoke cleared, there stood the three bandit leaders, Okuda sported several large bruises, Ken had many small ones, and Roumaru had repaired his jaw with a healing jutsu he had.
Truly, the three were worthy to be jounin's. They stood there as rigid as a rock, their hands continuously moved over their injuries as they healed very quickly; obviously using healing jutsu.
Roumaru took out his sabre and looked at the fallen Tayuya with great hatred. "I'm gonna kill this bitch for breaking my jaw," he said; ignoring the quickly approaching Naruto who had taken out his six feet bo (staff).
With a heave, he brought his sword down to behead the girl. But before the sword could travel half way, it was blocked with the blond ANBU's metal weapon. Naruto then brought the other end to the Kusa-nin, but he ducked under the weapon and did a leg sweep and almost tripped the jinchuuriki.
Naruto jumped up, flipped mid air, and introduced his heel to the green haired man's forehead. The attack would hit if Roumaru hadn't leapt back to join his colleagues. The force of the axe kick was enough to break through rocks and would have crushed Roumaru's head if he hadn't dodged.
In an instant, the blond boy scooped his red haired partner in his arms, carrying her bridal style and laid her down gently on the ground.
"My, my, so impolite," Naruto said as if he was talking to a child, "trying to attack a defenseless lady? That's not very gentleman-like, is it? Or maybe you did it because you have nothing underneath."
Simultaneously, the three jounin rank ex-shinobi took out their projectiles and threw it at the boy, while Naruto shot out the exact same amount of Fuuken the size of a shuriken to destroy each and every single one of the projectiles.
The three bandits rushed to the boy and swung their weapons at him. He blocked Roumaru's straight sword and Ken's giant sword. While Okuda jumped on his comrade's back and leapt at the weapon locked Naruto.
Naruto used his chakra to make the weapons stick to each other and he pulled himself up to meet with the ex-Kumogakure nin. He then flipped, lashed out his foot, and kicked Okuda on the face before releasing his chakra and swiped the other two on the shoulder blades.
This gave the desired effect of them walking wobbly forward and clutched their shoulder blades and face. Angered at being toyed with this boy, they created dozens of bunshin's from their villages and threw their shuriken, kunai, and senbon needles as several bunshin's also threw their weapons.
Seeing no way out, the blond boy tried a trick he had been thinking of for the last few weeks, he created several small tornadoes that shot his wind blades like a gun turret would shoot bullets. Smoke filled the area and blood covered the ground as all three jounin's were dismembered and mutilated.
As the smoke and occasional blood fountain cleared, there lay the shredded bodies of three jounin level bandits. Coincidentally, this was also the time when Tayuya woke up. She saw the crazed look of her partner as he savored the blood that covered his head and licked the occasional blood drop that reached his lips.
Too shocked to say anything, she just looked as the blond scavanged the bodies of the dead men and took their weapons without a second thought. When he got back to her, he asked her as he showed a marvelous weapon, "Do you want to take the claws or the others?"
The girl looked at the blood stained weapon and the gore that caked it, but took it anyway. Then she turned to the pile of bodies and played her flute. The tune had a soothing touch to it and three mist-like cluster of gases emerged. They were bone-gray with three darker parts in the middle. As they rose to enter an orb that was attached to her bracelet, they made a voice that somehow sounded like contentment.
During this whole tirade, Naruto watched her closely and especially the bracelet on her right wrist. It was made from platinum with about twelve small gray orbs attached in the middle and as the mist-like gas move towards one orb, the sphere glowed red.
"What was it that you were doing?" Naruto asked.
"Absorbing souls," she replied, "They are what made my summoned oni (demon). Sometimes, they also teach me something and talk to me."
"Okay then. Back to the matter at hand, would you like to help me kill the rest of the bandits or just watch?"
"I'll help. I also want to test these claws."
The two then walked to the biggest tent where about forty people trying to kill thousands of crows that somehow got in there.
"Your summon?" Tayuya asked.
"No, my bunshin," Naruto answered. He then clicked his fingers and they all turned to life-size Naruto's before disappearing.
Sensing that they had been tricked by the boy they thought they had killed earlier, one man ordered the others to look for the blond and kill him on sight.
The bandits dispersed outside, watched by the red haired girl and the blond ANBU atop a tree that was on the border of the encampment. They waited until things settled a bit and came down at the same time, hacking, slashing, stabbing, and basically killing the bandits.
Needless to say, chaos ensued. None of the rogues expected their target to just jump down and start killing. After half an hour of utilizing jutsu and weapons, they finished their mission and assignment.
The two scavenged the slaughter grounds for anything that's worth something, weapons, armors, jutsu scrolls, treasure, gold, anything. What they found worth approximately nine hundred thousand ryo, most of them were from the treasure chest they found in one of the tents.
By a fair agreement, they split the money 50-50 and would go on their separate ways if a messenger bird hadn't fluttered down and landed on Tayuya's shoulder.
She took out the letter, read it, and frowned. Its contents were orders from Orochimaru; he ordered the red haired girl to go to Konoha and get a certain 'Fuuin Jutsu Scroll' that Danzou knew of.
This meant two things to her; one, she would have to spend more time with the blond maniac and two, she would have to travel back to Otogakure from Konohagakure which was very far.
Sighing in annoyance, the foul mouthed girl cursed and told the blond boy to move his ass and lead the way to Konoha.
On the way to Konohagakure no Sato
The 'merry' duo walked through the thick forest that sorrounded Konoha, one with irritation, the other with indifference. Naruto kept listening while Tayuya kept cursing, until a kunai was suddenly thrown to their direction.
They both dodged out of the way as more than ten men wearing the Otogakure hitai-ate showed up and one of them walked forwards and said, "Tayuya-sama, there has been a change of orders for you."
"And that would be?" she asked, not really liking where this conversation is going.
The same man, a slender man with black face mask and camouflage patterned outfit whipped out a scroll and read it out loud, "The agent who goes by the codename 'Konoha no Tsurugi' was deemed a liability for our future plans. Kill him on sight."
After hearing this, the red haired girl tried to resist her urge to just blow up in their faces. She knew how strong this guy was, after all he did beat Orochimaru's top five alone. 'Maybe that's the reason why Orochimaru-sama sent about ten men out now,' she thought.
Naruto, on the other hand had no problems and still looked indifferent after he took off his mask that he put back on several hours ago.
"Yield, 'Konoha no Tsurugi', resistance is futile," the man continued.
With a smile, Naruto raised both his hands and said, "Okay, I give up… not!"
Then, the blond waved them down quickly and two blades of wind shot out, splitting two Oto shinobi's in two. Surprised, the others leapt away and spread away, not wanting to receive the same treatment as their comrades who just got split in two by an invicible weapon.
Tayuya was conflicted in this; if she joined her comrades from Oto, she would be killed by the blond weapon. If she joined the boy, Orochimaru would hunt her down and kill her.
The battle raged on as the foul mouthed girl continued to think about her choices. Naruto himself had his long staff out, deflecting kunai's and shuriken's.
One bandaged nin wearing an odd shaped gauntlet with many holes in it leapt and swiped his arm at Naruto who then calmly crushed his skull with a simple swing of his metal staff. He turned around to see another ninja wearing the exact same gauntlet and he heard a slight screeching created by the 'melody arm'. The boy then barfed and when he recovered, more enemy bunshins came down with their weapons drawn.
Naruto pumped the Kyuubi's chakra into the air around them and they easily formed long, thin strips of air blades which snaked and hissed. The Kaze no himo or 'wind rope' as he dubbed them slashed through the enemy and soon, the bunshin army was gone.
The improved wind blades ran and hissed like a viper would as they chased their targets, the ten chuunin of Otogakure.
'Heh, that kid's pretty stupid. Fighting in a thick forest like this. He can't see us, but we can hear him,' a chuunin thought.
He continued to run through the forest until he felt a cold wind against his back. Feeling something wet, he turned and touched his back over his shoulder and looked at his fingers. What met his sight was the crimson of his own blood. Shaking in fear, he began to slash his kunai rapidly, hoping to somehow hit his attacker.
This action, however made his blood to continue dripping from the large wound that took off his entire back skin and soon the chuunin collapsed from blood lost.
The rest of the said chuunin's comrades weren't as lucky as he was, seeing that their internal organs and major arteries were cut by the wind blade. Everyone had the same look, wide, dead eyes and blood dripping from their mouths and wounds; all of them were put on the ground around his target and his superior.
When he came to, which was about fifteen minutes after he passed out, he saw that the blond haired kid and the red haired girl talking to themselves.
The chuunin didn't know how the hell he managed to stay alive, for all he knew, he should've been dead by all the blood lost. Then, he remembered that he had gritted his teeth so hard, the blood pill he put inside one of his back molars popped out and he swallowed it when he blacked out.
Curious, he continued to observe what was transpiring in front of him.
"So, which side will you be on? Mine and stay alive for an indefinite period of time or Orochimaru's and face immediate death?" Naruto asked to the girl. She was transformed. Her lightly tanned skin was deep purple and the small horns she had grew longer and bigger, giving her the impression of some demon and her clothes were torn in several places. The ANBU member, however only lost his armor and a cut plus several bruises on his body shown by his torn sleeves.
"Do I look like I really have a choice?" Tayuya asked back as she laughed a little, "In the end, I'll die anyways, either by your hands or his."
"Tayuya-sama, don't forget which side you're on!" the still alive Oto chuunin yelled.
The blond boy in turn sighed and shook his head while the red haired girl slapped her forehead at her 'subordinate's foolishness and only watched as the boy in front of her threw a kunai straight to between the man's eyes. The blade connected and he crashed down the tree he was on.
"Now that the disturbance is gone, what will it be?"
"Fine, I accept your offer…"
Naruto then approached the girl who was transforming back to her original form and stuck out a hand for her to shake. She didn't move her hand and said, "If you can ensure my safety and get rid of this cursed seal."
The two then shook their hands, sealing the deal.