Chapter Seventeen: Sasuke Versus Gaara, Sand Attacks The Leaf
"That guy, he isn't normal." I thought. "He's like a monster. A demon." I looked over at Naruto and Shikamaru. They were afraid and it sensed as if they witnessed this. "Naruto? Shikamaru? What's wrong?"
"That guy, Gaara. He… he almost tried to kill us before." Shikamaru said.
"What?! When did this happen?" I asked.
"Back at the hospital." Naruto said. "We were visiting Bushy-brow and we found him inside his room. He had his sand wrapped around him."
"He… he tried to kill Lee?" I asked.
"He probably would have killed Bushy-brow if Shikamaru and I hadn't entered the room." Naruto explained.
"He even told us that he was going to kill him." Shikamaru added.
"You already beat him once in the competition. What's your problem? Isn't that enough for you?" Shikamaru asked. "Do you have some kind of person grudge against him or something?"
"I have nothing against him." Gaara answered. "It's nothing complicated. I simply want to kill him, that's all.
"You know what?! You're sick in the head!" Naruto yelled." You're crazy!"
"You think we're just going to stand by and let you do whatever you want?" Shikamaru questioned. "You sick, selfish psycho."
"If you don't stay out of my way, I'll have to kill you two as well." Gaara threatened.
"Oh really!? Well let's just see you try it!" Naruto taunted.
"Hey! Whoa kid, take it easy!" Shikamaru told him. "Yeah, yeah. We watched your last match against Lee." Shikamaru said to Gaara. "We know you're tough. But you know; Naruto and I have a few tricks up our sleeves as well."
End of flashback…..
"Naruto, I can't believe you told him that." I said. "And he's response was that he has a demon inside himself too."
"Yeah, that's right." Naruto said.
"That's why I had a bad feeling as soon as I saw him." I thought. "He has a demon sealed inside him, just like me and Naruto."
"He said that the beast was a sand spirit named Shukaku, whatever the hell that meant." Shikamaru added.
"So, what stopped him from killing you two?" I asked.
"Gai sensei." Shikamaru answered. "When he walked in, Gaara just stopped his sand. It just floated right where it was."
"Damn it. Shukaku? Kiyiya? Do you know who Shukaku is?" I asked her though our link.
"Shukaku is the Ichibi, otherwise known as the One-Tailed Beast. Its animal is the Raccoon." Kiyiya explained. "He is the Demon of the Hidden Sand Village. Its element is wind."
"Do you know exactly how strong he is?" I asked.
"Well of course, he doesn't come near my power or Kurama's." she explained. "However, it's extremely violent and loves to torture its opponents. And because he only has one tail, that means he can transform into his full form faster than any of the others."
"Great, this is just great. We have a foreign demon in our village and he could kill Sasuke during their fight." I thought. "Naruto, please tell me you heard all of that?" I asked him though our communication link.
"Yeah, I heard everything." Naruto answered. "This guy is like us but at the same time, he isn't. He's much more, evil. It's like he really is a demon."
"The worse part about this is he's fighting Sasuke. And Sasuke has no idea what he is capable of." Naruto pointed out. "He really could end up dead."
"Well, we need to do something and fast before it's too late." I told him.
"Hey! Are you two all right?" Shikamaru asked us. "You two look like you've just seen a ghost or something."
"We just thought about something. If Gaara tried to kill Lee, and he didn't even really want to fight him." I started. "Then what do you think will happen to Sasuke? Gaara seemed really determined to fight Uchiha."
"She's right." Naruto agreed as he jumped to his feet. "He might actually succeed this time. And since there are no rules in the finals, anything goes."
"This situation just gets better and better." I said with as much sarcasm as I could conjure up.
"We need to tell Kakashi sensei about this! He needs to stop this match before that guy kills Sasuke!" Naruto yelled as he takes off.
"Wait, Naruto!" Shikamaru said, trying to stop him.
"Come on, Shikamaru. We need to go, right now." I told him. With a simply nod of his head, we both took off running. We needed to get back to the stadium as fast as possible. And the problem was; time wasn't on our side. The match could have already started, especially with these impatient onlookers in the seats.
As soon as Genma started the match, Gaara started unleashing his sand, making Sasuke jump away immediately. Sasuke threw shuriken towards Gaara but was stopped in his sand. Gaara returned the shuriken but Sasuke quickly avoided them. Soon after, Sasuke rushed forward and started fighting Gaara with hand-to-hand combat. Each attack only struck the sand clone. Sasuke's arm got caught, so he quickly attacked in order to escape. Meanwhile, Naruto, Shikamaru and I appeared and saw that the match had already started.
"Kakashi Sensei!" Naruto yelled once he saw Kakashi. "Stop this fight right now! He's totally different from us! He's not normal!"
"What are you talking about, Naruto?" Ino asked.
"He lives to kill others! Anyway, at this rate….." Naruto said.
"Don't worry, Naruto." Kakashi stated. "We weren't late for nothing…."
Back down below, Sasuke was continuing to study his opponent and what exactly he was planning. He had tried to attack the solid ball of sand but found that it was useless. Seeing this, I saw Sasuke unclip the band around his arm. He back flips away from Gaara and climbs the wall behind him. He soon skids to a stop before going to the top. Once there, he started performing a few hand signs.
"No, no way! Kakashi taught him that?" I asked myself.
"Wait, that's…" Gai Sensei started.
"The reason I trained Sasuke…" Kakashi started. "…was because he's the same type as me."
"What the heck was Onii-chan thinking? Why would he teach Sasuke a technique as dangerous as that?" I thought to myself.
"He's speed….is incredible." Naruto said.
"What is this technique? And the sound…" Sakura asked.
"That's Kakashi sensei's sole and original technique. The only move he didn't copy." I told Sakura. "It's known as the Chidori. A special technique specialized for assassination."
"What a truly ridiculous technique it is." Gai mumbled.
"Yeah, like you should talk." Kakashi told him
Sasuke rushed forward and struck the ball of sand with the Chidori. He has had successfully pierced the iron wall of sand. Sasuke tried to pull his arm out but found it hard to do so. So he burst chakra into his arm and was able to free it. But once he did so, he also pulled something else out. It was a strange looking arm with purple lines around it.
"Wha…..what the heck is that?" I thought to myself.
As we continued to look down, feathers started falling out of nowhere. I glanced around and saw that it was causing the people in the arena to fall asleep. It was clear that it was Genjutsu. But there was no way to pinpoint where or who was causing it.
"Release!" Kakashi and Gai both said as they held the hand sign.
"Release!" I Sakura and I said as well.
As this was happening, Temari and Kankuro appeared and landed beside Gaara. Their sensei appeared and the group exchanged a few words. Afterwards, Temari and Kankuro picked up Gaara and left the arena, planning on escaping the area. Sasuke soon jumped and left the arena to go follow them.
"Damn it, Uchiha. Why go follow them on your own?" I thought. "Kakashi-sensei! Should I follow him?" I asked Kakashi.
"…." Kakashi thought about it for a minute. "Very well, just be careful. This is the first A-rank mission since the Land of Waves." He told me. "Wake Naruto and Shikamaru and take them and Sakura with you."
"Understood, Sensei." I told him. "Sakura, come on."
"Uh? Right." she said and quickly got up.
"Summoning Jutsu!" I heard Kakashi call out. I looked back and saw that Kakashi had called forth one of his Ninja Hounds, Pakkun. "Pakkun will trace Sasuke's scent.
"Right. Come on, Pakkun." I said.
Sakura and I rushed over to the down forms of Naruto and Shikamaru. I quickly released the Jutsu on Naruto while Sakura woke up Shikamaru. With Naruto finally awake, we turned our attention onto Sakura and Shikamaru.
"Shikamaru? This whole time." She said to herself.
"Huh? What's wrong Sakura?" I asked. I watched as Pakkun walked over and bit Shikamaru in the leg, causing him to shoot himself up. He was shaking his leg fiercely as he tried to shake off Pakkun.
"You released the Genjutsu too, you faker." She growled. "Why were you pretending to be asleep this whole time?"
"I didn't want to get involved." He answered as he played with Pakkun's mouth. "Just give me a break. I could care less about Sasuke." As a result, Pakkun bit him again, this time on his hand.
"What's going on?" Naruto asked while his attention on the fighting. Suddenly a sound ninja snuck behind him, attempting to attack. But before they could, Gai sensei appeared and slammed the ninja into the wall. Actually pushing him through it.
"Now. I'll explain the mission. As soon as I do, got through that opening." Kakashi said as he appeared. "First, track down Sasuke and stop him. Then find a safe location and await further orders."
"Did something happen to Sasuke?" Naruto asked.
"I'll explain everything on the way," I whispered to Naruto as I grabbed him and jumped through the hole. "Sakura, Shikamaru, Pakkun, let's go."
"Why me?" Shikamaru asked himself. "What a drag."
"Listen, whiner." Pakkun said, catching Shikamaru's attention. "Look, if this mission is an success, as an award, I'll let you touch my paw or my pads. So there's no reason to sulk."
"What?" Shikamaru asked.
"Come on." He said, lifting his paw. "They're really soft."
"They're what?" Shikamaru questioned.
"No one ever wants to shake." Pakkun said sadly. "But my paws are so soft and supple!" he yelled.
"Pakkun! Shikamaru! Stop fooling around and get a move on!" I yelled.
"Fine, let's go." Pakkun said as he bit Shikamaru and pulled him forward. Before long, they finally appeared and caught up with me, Sakura and Naruto.
"Thanks for joining us." I stated. "What took you two so long?"
"Pakkun here was trying to get me to touch his paw." Shikamaru said.
"Pakkun; now is not the time for that." I said as I shook my head. "Look, when we get home, I'll pet your paws, all right."
"You better keep your word or I'll bite you." Pakkun said. I just shook my head, not even bothering to respond to that. "Thought so. Now then, let's go."
"Smart ass dog." I growled. "Just wait to we get home. I have something for him."
As we continued to move forward, we jumped into the trees and started jumping through the treetops. Sakura and I informed Naruto and Shikamaru on everything that happened while they were out. Now with everyone caught up, we had to think about our mission Kakashi gave us.
"So that's what happened." Naruto said. "I get it. I guess Sasuke got all impatient."
"Oh man, why did you have to pull me into this anyway?" Shikamaru complained. "This whole thing is such a drag."
"Everything is a drag to you." I replied.
"It can't be helped okay. Its Kakashi sensei's order." Sakura added.
"This way!" Pakkun yelled as he switched directions.
"How long until we catch up?" Naruto asked.
"I don't know." Answered Pakkun. "A long time if they continue to move in this pace."
"Come on you guys, hurry it up." Pakkun suddenly shouted.
"Huh? Pakkun, what is it?" I asked.
"There are two squads behind us." He answered. "That's eight ninja. No wait, there's one more. So there are nine ninja following us."
"Oh man, come on already. Give me a break." Stated Shikamaru. We followed Pakkun and ended up on the ground. from there, Pakkun just stood there.
"Ah! What's the deal?!" Naruto yelled. "Why are we stopping?"
"Zip it and follow me." Pakkun ordered. He soon started walking backwards, making sure he stepped in the same spot as his footprints.
"What's he doing?" Naruto asked.
"We're retracing our steps. If we can pull this off, our footprints would seem to disappear." Pakkun explained.
"Which might throw off the enemy ninja following us." I added.
"Exactly." Pakkun said as he flipped back onto a tree branch. Shikamaru, Sakura, Naruto and I started to do the same.
"Is this really going to do anything?" Naruto asked. "I mean, they have to be pretty lame ninja if this throws them off our trail."
"It may not throw them off, but it might buy us some time." I said. "We need to hurry and catch up with Sasuke as soon as possible." Naruto was still on the ground as he retraced his steps. Sakura, Shikamaru, Pakkun and I were already on the branch waiting for him.
"Hurry up!" Sakura yelled, causing him to look up.
"We don't have all day you know." Shikamaru added.
"Ugh! I know, quit bugging me!" Naruto snapped back. As soon as we jumped, Naruto jumped up and started to follow us. A few minutes later, we were back on the search for Sasuke.
"This is not good." Pakkun said. "Be prepared for an ambush. They're definitely back on our trail."
"Well, that didn't buy us anything." I groaned.
"Oh great. They're probably all Chuunin, or higher." Shikamaru said. "We'll be wiped out if they catch us."
"Listen guys." Naruto started. "We don't have much of a choice. We're going to have to ambush them."
"An ambush?" Sakura questioned. "Yeah, it could work. It would give us an advantage. Even if there are twice as many as them then there are of us, if we could just catch them off guard…"
"No, it's no good." Pakkun cut her off. "I'm afraid that those ninja chasing us are Orochimaru's henchmen. My guess is that they all are Jounin level."
"Orochimaru's henchmen?" I thought, a little shaken up. "If he's here, could he…?"
"Kazumi-chan?" Naruto thought, causing me to snap out of my slight trance. "Are you all right?" I shook my head a little.
"Ye-Yeah. I'm fine." I said a little shakily.
"It's Orochimaru, isn't it? It's because he's here in the village." He asked.
"If he is, I want to know why?" I explained. "I want to know if he came here for Sasuke. The village? Or…. Me?"
"Hey, don't worry." He thought, sounding sure. "There's no way I'm going to let him get to you or to Sasuke. That's a promise."
"Uh? Hmm, right. Thanks, Naruto." I thought back, feeling a little better.
"Hold on? Why won't it work?" Sakura asked to an unheard statement from Shikamaru. "The level of an opponent doesn't have much to do with an ambush, does it?"
"Wait. What are you talking about?" Naruto asked.
"You guys just don't get it. Let me explain." Shikamaru stated. "Yes, an ambush is a key battle tactic and can be very beneficial. But for it to work, you'll have to meet two conditions."
"Which are?" I asked.
"Yeah! Tell us and we'll meet them." Naruto added.
"Number one: the ninja on the run must be completely quiet. Plus they need to find the enemy first." He said. "Number two: they must be able to catch the enemy off guard. Mainly at a location where they can deal a lot of damage quickly and disappear just as fast. And it's only under those two conditions that the ambush will be successful."
"Well, we can find our enemies with Pakkun's help." I stated. "After all, he can sense them with his nose."
"Right. And since we know the geography of the village like we know the back of our hands, the second condition is under or control as well." Shikamaru added. "However, Orochimaru is a former Leaf Ninja. So on the second condition, we're out of luck."
"So, what can we do? We have to do something before they catch us." I said.
"There's only one other choice. One of us has to be a decoy and catch the enemies' attention." Shikamaru said. "And if one of us can delay them, they shouldn't be able to find the rest of us."
"But wait. The one who acts like a decoy." I said. "They'll probably…"
"Yeah, you're right." Shikamaru stated. "They'll probably die." We all jumped forward once more and landed on separate branches, stopping in our tracks.
As we stood there, Shikamaru asked the question of who was going to stay. And just before Naruto was about to answer, Shikamaru explained that he was the only one who could pull this off and survive it. Not wanted to make this into an argument and with us with limited time, Sakura, Naruto, Pakkun and I raced forward to assume our pursuit on Sasuke and the Sand Nin.