Chapter 5: Difference of Strength
The day before
In the morning, Naruto was up, doing sit-ups while hanging on a tree branch. The boy didn't go to the bridge yet because he knew Kakashi would signal him should they be in trouble. His keen sense of smell picked up many scents; flowers, grass, trees, and a person. Seeing no point in hiding his presence anymore, he continued his morning exercise. 'Hiding now will only rouse suspicion. Let's see what this person wants,' the blond thought.
The person he saw was someone whom he didn't expect, a beautiful girl wearing a light blue kimono with an herb basket dangling on her arms. She looked harmless at a glance, but somehow, the blue eyed boy could smell blood coming from her.
Haku saw a masked and hooded person wearing a black hoodie hanging from a tree branch by his knees doing sit-ups and, trying to keep the act of a normal village girl, she asked the stranger politely, "What are you doing?"
The masked person turned to her for a while and flipped down to the ground. Then, he walked closer and asked, "What does it matter?"
Ignoring the rude comment, she just answered him, "Nothing, I'm just curious."
There was a moment of silence between them as she knelt down and began picking herbs then asked, "Why do you train? To become strong?"
Naruto ignored the question and looked the other way before he asked, "Does it matter? Strength I mean."
"Of course it does. I need to become strong to protect my precious person," the black haired girl said.
The blond in turn asked back, "So that's the reason you strive to be strong?"
"Yes, what's yours? Your reason to be strong."
"No reason," the jinchuuriki said.
At that moment, Haku was confused. If there was no reason, should an action be done?
The blue eyed boy looked at the black haired girl who momentarily paused and stared at him. Seeing the girl's confusion, Naruto said, "Not everything needs a reason. One of them is being strong."
After his words were spoken, the living weapon turned his back on her and disappeared.
Tazuna's house, the next day
Tsunami screamed from the kitchen as two men who was working under Gatou busted the wall of the kitchen she was in. One of them, wearing a beanie said to her, "Are you Tazuna's daughter? 'Cause our boss told us to get you."
This time, she screamed louder and alerted Inari who was washing his hands in the toilet on the floor above. Tsunami was backed up against the kitchen counter and at the same time, both Gatou's henchmen and Inari were closing in.
The six year old boy called to his mother and the two samurai's turned to each other. "What? There's a kid here?" the unshirted one asked.
As her motherly instinct kicked in, Tsunami yelled to her son, "Inari, don't come! Run away!"
The two henchmen turned to each other and discussed the matter of whether or not they should get another hostage, but the beanie wearing one told the eye patched one not too, after all Gatou only told them to bring one.
Then, the eye patched samurai asked his partner, "So, I can kill the kid, right?"
Hearing the question, Tsunami yelled, "Stop! You want a hostage, right? If you touch the boy, I'll bite my tongue and kill myself."
The beanie wearing samurai sneered and turned to Inari, "Heh, thank your mom, kid."
His partner whined, "But I want to cut something."
"You just cut a bunch of things. Now come on, let's bring her."
From his hiding place, Inari silently cried. Not only had he failed his father, he also failed his mother. 'Mom, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm a weak kid, I can't protect you. And I don't want to die. I'm afraid.'
"Are you afraid, boy?" a voice asked behind him. "Because through fear, comes hestitation and through hestitation comes weakness."
Fightfully, the black haired boy turned to see the owner of the voice. He was a boy with blond hair and a smiling face. He wore a black hoodie and dark blue pants with a pair of ninja sandals.
"But even if you are weak, protect your objective with your life. The moment you lost it is the moment you fail and be nothing more than useless," the person said again.
Then, the new comer jumped through the air and kicked one samurai straight on the face, breaking his nose and several teeth. Naruto aka Tsurugi continued with a sharp roundhouse kick that the other samurai received full on the side of his head; messing his equilibrium and coordination.
Tsunami also heard that cold, distant voice; but couldn't place her finger on whose voice it was. Then, she remembered. It was that night visitor who called himself Tsurugi. "My, my. Two people trying to restrain a lady?" he spoke as he landed gracefully on the ground, "Who in heaven's name is so weak, he needs a partner to restrain a civilian woman?"
"Don't fuck with us, kid," the unshirted, eye patched samurai said, wiping the blood on his face and stood up; his partner did the same.
"Who wants to? I'm not a homosexual and most certainly, you two are not women," the blue eyed boy said.
Enraged, the two samurai lunged at him and tried to slash him. Calmly, the 12 year old brought out Kouga and blocked the swords with the tiger fangs' curved blades like it was nothing. "Weak," he said.
Then, in a flash of movements, he kicked both of them in the solar plexus and sent them flying a meter away. The two henchmen tried to stand up, but ended kneeling in front of the living weapon. The blond continued by shooting out two wind blades that struck their thighs and arms, severing them.
Both men cried loudly while nursing their severed limbs. Naruto then walked towards them and lodged Kouga deep into their skulls, perfectly piercing the brain. Then, the boy pulled the pair of weapons out, and took their swords, then sealed them in a scroll.
Naruto turned to the woman and child and said, "Where are Kakashi-san and his team? And your father?"
"The… they are at the bridge," Tsunami said.
"I see, thank you," the living weapon said. He paused in his steps and turned to Inari who was hiding behind a wall corner before saying, "There is something the people of this country should do. If you are smart, you should know what I mean."
The blond then continued his steps to the bridge.
Bridge Construction Site
Kakashi and his team of genin escorted Tazuna to the bridge. He brought all of them because for some reason, he believed that today; there would be something big happening.
And true to his thoughts, the 'something big' unraveled itself right before their eyes. The bridge workers were on the ground; some were injured and others were killed. One thing for sure, all of them were bleeding. Tazuna ran to one of them, sat the man up and asked, "What happened?"
"Mo… monster. It… it's a monster," he said before he fell to unconsciousness.
'Monster? Hmmm, could it be?' Kakashi thought.
Then, the silver haired jounin noticed something different, a thick mist appeared out of nowhere. Cautiously, he stated to his team, "Get ready. The enemy's here."
Sakura asked her sensei, "Kakashi-sensei, this is the 'Kirigakure no jutsu', right?"
"Long time no see, Kakashi," Zabuza's voice cut through the mist, "And you're still with those brats… he's shaking again. Poor kid…"
Then, ten Mizu bunshin's of Zabuza appeared. They had completely sorrounded team 7 and Tazuna.
"I'm shaking out of excitement," Sasuke said.
"Hmm, do it, Sasuke," Kakashi told his student.
Then, the Uchiha survivor slashed all the clones, leaving none standing and turned them into water again.
"Hmm, he saw through the Mizu bunshin. It seems the brat has grown," Haku said.
"It seems you have a rival in speed, eh, Haku?" Zabuza asked his student/underling.
"It does indeed."
"Hmm, looks like I was right. That masked guy, is obviously Zabuza's comrade. Standing next to him and all," Konoha's copy nin said.
"That bastard should just stop hiding behind that mask and face us," the angsty Sasuke said, "I'll fight him. Tricking us with a stupid act like that, I hate sons of bitches like that"
"Wow, Sasuke-kun is so cool," Sakura said in a fan-girl-ish way. Meanwhile, their comrade, Seki was quietly sneaking away from the battle field, thinking, 'Damn, at first, I thought being a ninja means I can be sorrounded by pretty girls all year round. If I'd known I'll be putting my life on the line,… AARRGGH! I knew I should've just joined that business school pops always told me about. I should just get away from here.'
Seeing all this, their sensei shook his head and thought, 'When I pass a team, they're messed up. Although Sasuke's strong, he's too hell bent in revenge; Sakura's too infatuated with him; and Seki's a coward. Why, oh why did I accept when Hokage-sama said I should take a team of genin?'
'Oh yeah, it's because if not, it's that psycho that's gonna teach them,' again, the copycat sighed loudly.
This didn't go unnoticed by Naruto who was approaching their location at a relaxed pace. About 50 meters from them, he stopped and put his mask and hooded robe on before he disappeared in a whirl of leaves, only to reappear right between Kakashi's and Zabuza's faction.
Seeing the blond's appearance, the silver haired jounin asked, "Aaah, Tsurugi-san, nice of you to join us."
"I'm here to complete my secondary mission. So, Kakashi-san, Zabuza-san will be my opponent," he replied.
"Sure, sure. No hassle here. Then I'll leave you two to fight then," Kakashi said as he turned around, watching Sasuke's fight with Haku; ready to step in when things get awry for the onyx haired boy. "Sakura, Seki, cover Tazuna. If he dies, he won't be the only one going to the after life."
"Huh? What do you mean, Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura asked.
"Tsurugi-san hates people who are useless," the silver haired jounin answered cryptically, then he left to watch Sasuke's fight, only serving as an observer all the while ignoring the questions his two students kept shouting.
Battlefield, Naruto & Zabuza
"You'll be crying like a baby once I'm done with you, Konoha no Tsurugi," Zabuza said as he unstrapped his zanbatou, "Even if you are strong, you still lack experience and reflex."
Naruto made no answer to that taunt, but prepared his own weapon. He smeared blood across his left forearm after he rolled the sleeve back. A giant sword the size of Kubikiri Houcho appeared on the blond's left hand. It was a big, slightly curved sword with straight hilt that was wrapped tightly with red wires. The hand guard was 10 inches long, 1 inch wide and golden in color. A fan-shaped arch with inclinations as its spines was formed on the hand guard, passing the 8 inch wide blade, and ended on the other side. The blade of the weapon was dull gray, in contrast to Zabuza's black blade; and on it, many runes of kanji were written.
"I only know one person who wields that kind of sword, Ishiki Ken from Iwa. And that sex loving son of a bitch never lets go of his sword," the bandaged man spoke. "So no doubt you've killed him, right?"
"That is correct, Zabuza-san," the blond man said. "That fool never takes care of his sword eventhough it is very, very valuable. She as in the sword was crying when he wielded her."
An uncomfotable silence passed through the duo; both were sizing up each other, trying to find the perfect moment to strike. Naruto began formulating a plan in his mind as the wind blew. After two seconds, they both charged towards each other.
Naruto shot out three wind blades at Kirigakure no Kijin, aiming for his neck, pelvis, and sternum. All of them hit something and Naruto heard water splashing, no doubt it hit a Mizu bunshin. Then, where is Zabuza?
The living weapon stopped and thought about this, until he heard a voice from the heavy mist that he noticed didn't dissipate when his wind blew.
"8 choices," it said. "Liver, lungs, spine, clavical vein, jugular vein, brain, kidneys, and heart. Which should I hit?
"Make your choice now, or I'll choose for you," Zabuza's voice spoke again.
The blue eyed boy smiled from behind his mask and said, "Heart. I've never needed it, anyway."
Zabuza nodded his head and grinned. Then, he appeared, right in front of Naruto and slashed his heart as strong and as fast as he could with a diagonal downward slash. His blade, however was stopped by the blond's sword, which was almost 6 feet in total length, its hilt only took 1 foot from the whole length.
Naruto in turn, shot a vertical wind blade from the sky downwards at Zabuza who dodged back and spun mid air to twirl horizontally and stuck his sword out, making a spinning slash because he surmised Naruto would charge forwards.
His thoughts, however was incorrect because the blond was already at his face when the bandaged nukenin regained his footing. The blue eyed ANBU held his weapon on his left hand in reverse grip and punched with his right hand.
Zabuza calmly dodged it to the side and tried to slash the limb, but stepped back quickly like a fish reeled back by a fisherman when the boy swung his giant sword in one hand to the place where his head was.
The bandaged man then leapt back several steps and began doing the handseals for one of his favored jutsu. When it was finished, he cried out, "Suiryuudan no jutsu!"
A water dragon formed itself in front of Zabuza and rushed at Naruto whom, after seeing the jutsu prepared one of his own, "Fuuken: Zan!" Wind Blade: Sever
A strong gust of wind the shape of a crescent moon appeared and cut the gigantic dragon vertically as it passed through the jutsu and aimed to the Kirigakure nukenin.
Zabuza dived to the side, knowing full well how strong that move was. Seeing the end result of the foliage 100 meters from behind him, he was damn grateful to any deities that listened to his prayer and eluded him from that crazy bastard's jutsu.
Mentally, the tall man swore that he would become a monk if he survived this fight. But, before he could even rub his beating chest to ease the thumps, another wind blade appeared right before his eyes.
Zabuza ducked through the attack and reared back when Naruto's knee almost came into contact with his face.
"Not bad," the blond said. "But really, do you think that will save you?"
The man known as Kirigakure no Kijin tried to retaliate to the insult, but he was cut off by a crazy cackle from the side; where the short man known as Gatou stood with his army of lackeys.