A tale of two rivals
A Naruto fan fiction that does not include the word Naruto in it once. Okay, let me set out the intentions of this story before you read it, even though no one is going to read this anyway. From what I’ve seen from my reviews so far, people aren’t getting the general point. This is more a Naruto world story than it is a Naruto story. In other words, I love the whole idea of how there are thousands of ninja’s on this planet, all under different clans and beliefs. I thought it would be nice if I focused on some. In this case I am using two different village clans that have not got much mention, the mist and the cloud. The timing of this should (hopefully) be obvious. It takes places during Naruto’s visit to the Country of the wave and partly focuses on what the other two teams were doing at this time.
Important Note: this story does intend to be long; I’ve had people complaining that nothing happens in the first two chapters. Whilst this isn’t entirely true, its size is not your usual mediaminer fanfic, where 2000 words can be spread across five chapters, quite the opposite. I might slice the paragraphs down and even split one chapter into several if people begin to feel I’m writing too much for one chapter. As far as I feel though, this seems about right between chapters. It would be for an actual book anyway.
By Shariku Onikage
Proof read by Vuirneen. Thank you for reminding me how to use full stops
Naruto, and all other names that you recognise, are not owned by me, although legal discussions are taking place on that idea and hopefully I soon wrote have to write a disclaimer every time. The characters you don’t recognise, mainly Sayuki and Megumi are mine, in the off case you like to gurgle incoherently, please ask politely if you want to use them. Danjuro belongs to some moron who I talk to on MSN, his character is freeware and may be abused as you wish. This fan fiction is a parody or whatever and unfortunately cannot be related to real life or even the actual Naruto anime.
The Prologue: Kaboom
The explosion that shook the building did not only resemble a death cry, but also caused some of his retainers to scream theirs. Around him, he watched in horror as three of his best men were taken away from him without warning nor mercy. It was a good death, for they had protected their master, but still, it sickened him. The initial smoke cleared, the poison within the clouds had caused none of his private guard to fall or falter. Instead, they stood tall and breathed carefully, as they saw the next wave fall through the building.
“Dejiro-sama!” Saizo, the most loyal of his private guard shouted to him. “Are we to retreat?” Dejiro spat out in laughter at this comment.
“Why should we retreat?” He asked mockingly. “We should be asking them if they’re willing to surrender while they still have a chance. Oi, you people, do you wish to give up now, while you still have your lives?” Around the four remaining soldiers and their general, the twenty warriors stood waiting, almost hypnotized by the conversation they were hearing and the request they had just been given.
“Dejiro-sama.” The guard shouted to him again. “This is hardly the time for jokes.” In response, he slashed at a standing intruder’s neck, whom had clearly been unready for him at the time. He fell screaming, as a torrent of crimson water flew from the newly made gash.
“Heh. If you can’t laugh at a time like this, when can you laugh?” Dejiro shouted as he threw himself at the enemy, stabbing his long sword through the body of one warrior and straight through into another standing behind him. “I swore I would fight to unite this country, so we could have happy times forever. If we retreat now, we will lose all we have gained, so we must step forward!” As he did, he swung his leg along with his sword, the extra momentum allowing him to decapitate the soldier in front of him. As the body fell to the floor, Dejiro stopped in surprise at the presence standing behind the body.
“Niro?” He whispered, as he felt his anger grow. The head of one of the five great Lightening gods stood in front of him, the two stared at one another for a second, before a groan behind him caused Dejiro to turn his head.
“Saizo!” He shouted out to his long time companion, as he saw the giant man fall to his knees. The all-too serious, proud warrior just stayed kneeling, as the man who had killed him didn’t even pay attention and moved onto his next target. Dejiro felt his body getting ready to hurl itself in the direction of the killer, when a force upon his own body caused him to turn back around.
“Heh, fool.” The short man known as Niro stated. “By compassion alone, it is over for you. May your corpse feed the flowers of my new empire.” The warrior Prince looked down and found himself questioning the length of his mortal enemy’s cleaver. All of a sudden, he felt his entire body freeze up, as if they was no way to control it anymore, the nervous system disconnected from the rest of his world. It shook violently, and a smell of faeces filled his nostrils until he realized that he was no longer breathing. As if a final insult, Dejiro’s body coughed blood upon it’s killer, as his knees buckled and arms swayed, the man with a dream for a country felt almost relieved to be released, and yet still saddened. He felt tears dropping from his smiling face as he mumbled his last words.
“Sorry, I wanted to see you, to see you fly. I guess now I’ll never….Sayuki-kun.” He spat blood again, and looked down to see it drip. The man was still standing above him, it was getting hard to think. He just saw this man and felt hatred instead. In a flicker of a movement, he raised his knife and plunged it into the man’s eye. A final act of violence, before peace.
Niro’s actions were as instant as they were obvious. He screamed, as loud as he could, before pulling his cleaver out of the man and, in a burst of speed, remove the warrior prince’s neck. His screamed continued as he did so, and would last well into the night, for Hawk Eye Niro had been wounded in the worst possible way and even though the man before him was dead, he screamed vengeance, for vengeance in any possible way.
Outside, the storm raged.
Akubichi Kouji wasn’t a big fan of the rain. He only tended to like it when he was on the inside, and could see people outside, running away from it. It was bad enough for him, now that he would have to wipe the floors clean of water from everybody who came into the cafe soaking wet. He hoped it would stop soon, as it was near closing time and he didn’t really want to be walking home in it.
“Heh, typical Water Country weather” he mumbled to himself, as he turned away from the window and started picking up chairs, putting them onto tables as he prepared to close for the night. If it weren’t for today, the past two weeks would have been somewhat blissful for the young cook. The boss had been away on a mission and it had just been him and the secret girl of his dreams for the past few days. If only she wasn’t so clumsy when he was near her. He often wondered if it was because, somewhere deep within herself, she had similar feelings to himself.
“Hey Tomo-chan” he shouted to the girl in the kitchen behind the bar. The girl replied with a small `eek’ followed by a loud smash. Without hesitating, the young man quickly jumped over the bar and dived into the kitchen. He saw a young girl there, kneeling on the floor surrounded by a towel and several smashed pieces of ceramic, which would have once been considered plates, littering the floor. The blond girl looked up to him, with a look of annoyance as well as a mild blush on her cheeks.
“Don’t scare me like that,” she whined at him, as she began to pick up the pieces.
“Aw man, girl, that’s the fourth plate since the boss has gone, you know he doesn’t like wasting money like this,” the older boy complained, as he kneeled down to help her.
“Like I care what that freak thinks,” Tomo complained, “If he doesn’t want to waste money he shouldn’t be leaving for long periods like this. I mean he doesn’t even tell us when he’s coming back.”
“I don’t think even he knew, and he was more pissed about it than us,” Kouji said as he struggled over to the dustbin whilst trying not to drop the broken plate. “Mizukage-sama gives him a mission that has no real time limit to it, knowing that it will affect the business like this and yet still expects him to follow orders blindly.”
“Well what do you expect?” Tomo said before looking sullen. “Most ninjas are like that. Do this, do that, die for no stinking reason, follow my every command or we’ll send ANBU after you.”
“Going a bit extreme aren’t we,” the cook said as he came back with a dustpan and brush.
“Tell that to my brother,” she said grimly. The boy just looked at her, remembering why the girl hated the shinobi so much.
“You’re right, I’m sorry.” He mumbled as he looked at the remaining broken shards, trying to resist the huge desire to hug and comfort her, but remained unsure of whether or not he was officially allowed too yet. Neither said anything for the rest of the time spent cleaning the floor and washing the remaining dishes. By the time they had finished it was already past seven o’clock. That was when they heard the door open.
“Man, can’t people read?” he said rhetorically, as he stood up and exited the kitchen. “Sorry but we’re closed.” He spoke without looking at who it was. He regretted it seconds later, when he saw the large man standing in the doorway, soaking wet from the rain. Behind him, the flash from a lightning bolt struck to reveal a large tanned man, with black, spiked hair and brown eyes. On his back, he wore what looked like a large frying pan that caused him to duck slightly, to get the handle under the door. The man seemed pissed off and exhausted from his long trip. He leaned against the side of the door and stared deep into Kouji’s eyes, as if making an effort to confirm it was he.
“We’re closed?” he said to the boy, hiding confusion over annoyance, as he continued to breathe heavily. “It’s only just gone seven.”
“M… m… m… master?” the boy stuttered, as he began to laugh nervously. “You’re back?”
Outside, the sun was shining
It was still rather wet from the huge thunderstorm that passed over yesterday, but now the sun shined brightly onto the young woman’s face, as she looked at the clouds that would soon be passing over the water country. After she finished admiring the skyscape, she concentrated for a moment, doing her best to maintain her balance whilst she held herself up with her hands on the floor and feet in the air, in the slippery mud on the top of the mountain. Then, she bent her elbows slightly, before pushing herself into the air, performing the seal for the rat before landing back on her hands again. Without taking a moment to stop, she continued to launch herself back up in the air, performing one seal after another, maintaining a handstand each time. After she finished the seal of the horse, she landed on her hands once again and concentrated for another moment.
“Kazeton: Whirlwind top,” she shouted with a grand determination, before she began to spin her legs in the air, wrapping her arms around each other as she revolved on the spot. After three successful rotations, she just stopped and grunted to herself, annoyed that nothing was happening. “Damn.” she shouted out loudly as she let herself drop to the floor painfully, punishing herself mentally for failing the technique. Noticing the presence of someone about two hundred meters away, she quickly turned to look in their direction, bracing herself as her inner eye pinpointed the exact location of the newcomer.
“Calm down girl,” the younger woman said, as she landed beside her friend.” T’is just me.” The older of the two female ninjas let her guard down as much as she would allow herself. The girl may have looked different to how she used to, her hair now purple and spiked and her stance was much more slouched than usual, but in the end, it was obvious who it was.
“There are a lot of people wandering the mountains, Megumi,” the first woman said seriously to her friend, “and I only considered a few of them friends.”
“And most of those are the birds, I know,” her friend said sarcastically. Grinning at the annoyed look in her former partner’s face, she decided to change the subject “So, do you know where you went wrong?”
The older girl looked to her hands for a second and began to wipe the mud off them. “I performed the seals perfectly and did the movements right. I also kneaded the right amount of chakra. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t have worked.
“That’s only half-right and you know it, girl.” Sayuki looked at her friend, annoyed. Megumi tended to act like she knew everything and was willing to admit nothing. It was pointless, especially since she knew Megumi didn’t know the answer to this one.
“I guess it’s like Yamato-kun said,” she began, looking at her hands and going over the seals in her head again. “You just can’t do a ninjutsu whilst taking a gap between seals. If I could speed it up so that I do all six seals in one bounce, maybe it’ll be possible then.”
“Why not just hang off a tree and do it?” her friend asked, glad that Sayuki had provided the answer before she had to admit she didn’t know it. “Why even do it at all. It looks stupid.”
“I’ve done that,” Sayuki sighed, doing her best to ignore the last part of her friend’s comment, “but there’s isn’t always a chance to jump onto a tree and start performing seals. It takes me a whole ten seconds to finish the preparations that way and even then, I have to drop down from the tree, get into the handstand and start the move, so it’s useless.”
“You’re too serious girl,” her friend said, laughing and patting her on the back. “It’s a stupid technique anyway, why just make it so the wind adds pressure to your feet when you kick normally, has more potential in the field that way.” She sighed heavily to herself, knowing her lecture would have little effect her childhood friend. “You’ve got to relax more girl, you only just got back from a tiring mission.”
“Relax more?” She said, grinning at her friend. “What, and be weak like you?”
“Hey,” Megumi pouted, putting her hands on her hips. “I beat you a few times.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sure I just let you win.” Both girls began laughing at this, as the wind blew heavily upon them both. Anyone looking would swear that neither girl had a care in the world. “Anyway, what are you here for? You should still be on duty at the moment, right?”
“Oh yeah,” her friend said, remembering that she had a point to make. “Raikage wants to see you, he has something to talk to you about.”
“Very well, I was probably going to finish in the next half hour anyway.” She walked over to her bag and picked it up, before setting off down the trail with her friend. Looking up to the southwest, she could see more clouds coming their way; these were white, fluffy ones though. They looked so peaceful compared to the lives they tended to live, yet they were just as likely to turn violent without warning just as the ninjas’ of the Hidden Village of Clouds were likely to do. Still, it was probably more fun to be a cloud, than it was to be a ninja.
“So do you know what he wants to talk about?” Sayuki asked her friend comma after a few minutes in silence.
“Not sure, really,” her friend said honestly. “Something about a Genin exchange program.”
“Genin Exchange Program?” exclaimed Shikamaru, as he heard the news. “How troublesome. Why do we have to bother with stuff like that?”
“Who knows?” Azuma, the jounin of the group, grunted as he addressed his charges. “It’s supposed to improve relations with all the other countries. We allow other genin into the town for a short while and it makes the feudal lords a little bit happier with each other.”
“Sounds like a perfect excuse to spy on each other if you ask me” the tired boy stated, as he looked as his nakama reactions to the event. Ino seemed to be boiling with anger at the news. Chouji was eating.
“Ahhh, I’m going to have to spend an entire month away from my darling Sasuke-kun. How we will cope without each other, my love?” the longhaired, blond girl fumed with resentment, punching the air in front of her to express her anger.
“Relax woman,” Shikamaru grunted. “Sasuke’s group is probably coming with us.”
“Actually, its just team’s eight and ten that are going,” Azuma began to explain. “Kakashi’s team are already on a mission to head for the Country of the Wave.”
“What?” Shikamaru gasped as he heard this. “Does that mean they’re already doing C rank missions?”
“Oooohhh, that’s my Sasuke-kun,” cooed Ino. “Glorious, handsome Sasuke-kun is already far ahead of the rest of us rookies.” Shikamaru looked at the girl, grinning as she celebrated her prince, with glossy eyes and a total drop in defences.
“Which means Sakura and Naruto are also getting ahead of us.” With this, Ino froze. It was as if she needed a short period of time, to figure out whether all this was good or bad. As she unfroze, she supplied her answer.
“Alright, my team,” she commanded, standing up. “We should take from Sasuke-kun’s example and work hard during this exchange program. I’m going to do my very best to make sure, that forehead girl doesn’t get too far ahead of us. I say we use this time off for a little bit of teamwork practise.” The two boys gasped in shock, before Shikamaru cringed and Chouji began eating his crisps again as quickly as he could.
“That sounds like a brilliant idea, Ino,” their teacher commented, “and I have just the thing for you.” He smiled as he reached into his bag and threw two pairs of trunks and a one-piece swimsuit at the trio. They each grabbed a pair before staring in confusion.
“Swimming costumes?” Chouji said, as his vision was obscured by a girl’s bikini swimsuit landing on his head.
“Chouji!” Ino screamed at the chubby boy, as she looked at him with slight disgust, removing what was meant to be her swimsuit from his eyes and assaulting him with his own pair of trunks. The boy just grinned, and giggled nervously as the full extent of what happened washed over him.
“Your team will be heading for the Country of Water and the Hidden Village of Mist, so it’ll pay you to head to the swimming pool and practise some underwater training.” With that, Azuma disappeared in a puff of smoke, leaving three bewildered students.
“Swimming lessons?” Shikamaru grumbled. “How troublesome. It’s not like the entire country’s underwater or anything, and we’ve had basic survival lessons.” He looked to his nakama as she inspected the swimming costume Azuma had provided her.
“This…this is my size perfectly,” she said in disbelief. “How on earth did he know?”
“Genin exchange program?” asked Kiba, as the four ninja’s walked onto the training ground. “What’s that?”
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Kurenai began to explain. “For about a month or so, you’ll work with a jounin from another one of the hidden villages and perform duties, as you would for this village.”
“But why, it sounds kind of pointless?” Kiba commented. “Why not just continue missions here like usual?”
“There’s a number of reasons, but mainly it’s to help increase a genin skill. You’re put into unknown territory and made to continue a few D rank missions. Because there’s a increase in encountering danger, it is supposed to help prepare you, for moving up onto higher missions.”
“And the real reason?” Shino said unexpectedly, not moving in the slightest as he spoke. Even the jounin had to check that he had said anything at all.
“The real reason?” Kurenai repeated. “What do you mean?”
“There are more effective ways for us to improve our training,” stated Shino calmly. “It is more likely, that such a situation would be a perfect opportunity for us to obtain information about neighbouring villages, in case they become a threat to us in the future. Under the guise of rookies fresh from the academy, one can obtain information merely by feigning excitement and over enthusiasm.”
Shino’s two partners just stared at him, as he calmly analysed the situation. For Hinata, it seemed amazing that to a person like Shino, all the possibilities seemed immediately obvious. Their teacher looked at him, shocked as well. To her, it seemed amazing that this boy was supposedly ranked lowest of the three of them, although, she mused, the academy system hadn’t tended to favour Shino’s style of fighting. Kiba couldn’t help but be freaked out by the way Shino tended to talk.
“That’s not what it’s meant to be at all, Shino,” Kurenai said sighing to herself, even though she knew that was exactly what it meant to some villages. “The only thing you should be taking advantage of, is any of the teachings that they give you there. Like I said, the main reason is to gain skill as genin. The level of teaching in some countries is different to others, not so much in terms of power but in different styles. So this gives you an opportunity to see the level of genin from other villages, as well as learn some new skills for yourselves.”
“If that’s how you wish to phrase it, sensei,” Shino said. “When are we leaving for?”
“Two weeks?” Sayuki shouted. “But Raikage-sama, I specifically requested a few weeks off for training.”
“Calm yourself, Sayuki,” the noble lord of the Hidden Village of Clouds asked politely. “You will be given extra time off at the end of the program, in recognition for your services, but we can’t halt a program that spreads across five countries and involves around four hundred people just to satisfy you, can we?”
“Well, I suppose not,” the kunoichi agreed, bowing her head slightly after her outburst, “but why do I have to be included at all? There are plenty of jounin in our village that actually want to be part of a four man team like that.”
“You seem to forget, Sayuki,” the old man continued, “all jounin are supposed to become part of four man teams, unless they join the ANBU division. Even then, most villages have their ANBU members split into groups of four. You fall into neither category at the moment. Furthermore, you seem to be trying to be the exception to the rule. Is there a reason for this?” Sayuki gasped slightly at this, and tried to hide her discomfort. “What is it? You may be honest with me.”
The proud ninja stuttered for a second, as she tried to think of an excuse. Knowing that it would be pointless to try and lie, she came out with the truth. “Sorry sir,” she said slowly, regretting it already, “but I’m not a big fan of children. I tend to find them annoying.”
“You should know, that you should not let your personal feelings interfere with your missions, Sayuki,” Raikage warned his servant boldly.
“I know sir, but,” she stopped for a moment as she forced herself to say it, “but that’s why I do it, if I’m too busy being annoyed by any children I have to baby sit, I fear it’ll interfere with the mission.”
“That wasn’t so difficult now was it,” he looked to his side and raised a hand to signal to one of the attendants at the back of the room. “I shall grant your request for now.” Sayuki looked up at this in shock. “I shall put you in a team consisting of adult genin.”
“There aren’t many of them, I’ll admit. But it might actually be more efficient. An adult genin is usually under skilled, hence why they have remained a Genin for so long. So, it would be an advantage for them to work with someone of your skills.”
“Should we be allowing them to see someone of my skills sir? Giving even an ally such an advantage…” She stopped as the Raikage began to laugh.
“Ho, ho, ho, you are humble aren’t you?” he said with a good dose of sarcasm within his conservative laugh. “Yes, it is a disadvantage to show our high level jounin to other people, especially other villages, but there is an agreement more than anything between the two groups. Although they get to see our jounin level ninjas, we also get to see their genin level ninja. We don’t learn any new skills, but we definitely get to acknowledge their potential.”
“I see,” the female ninja said, as she absorbed the information. It didn’t seem that useful to her, especially since he had just stated that she would be working with low-level genin, whose potential was very low. Maybe she would understand later, during the mission itself. She waited for Raikage-sama to give her permission to leave.
“Oh one more thing before you go, Sayuki.”
“Under no circumstances can you allow your genin to be killed, even if they find something they shouldn’t have. I’m sure you understand?” The Raikage’s eyes beamed out at her underneath his veil. Even a high level jounin like her, had good reason to fear someone of his power.
“You may go.” With that, Sayuki disappeared, only to reappear a few seconds later on the rooftops. She began to leap from building to building. She remained quiet and even her metal boots refused to make any noise, as she bounded across, on her way back to the mountain. Inside her head however, was a flurry of different opinions, arguing with each other about the situation. In a way, she had just been provided with the most dangerous mission ever; even worse than being told to play catch with a rabid lion, after being covered in meat juices and using her body as the ball. This situation meant she would have to watch over three enemy spies for a whole month, knowing that they were enemy spies, with them knowing that she knew they were enemy spies, not saying anything about it and specifically not being allowed to do anything about it. At the same time, they wouldn’t even be allowed to have an `accident’ since if they were to die, it would probably result in an all-out war between the two countries. To make it even worse, under the guise of the exchange program, she would also have to begin integrating them into more dangerous missions, leaving a possibility that they might actually die, due to a real accident. The situation couldn’t be any worse.
Back in the grand building of the Raikage, the honourable lord looked over the list for the participants of the exchange program. As he reached the section detailing students of the Hidden Leaf village, a small grin appeared under his veil, hidden to everyone except his wife, who was sitting at his side.
“I believe Sayuki-chan needs to learn a little humility. She may be one of the best, but she’s trying to become too independent.” He passed the clipboard to his wife, before sitting back and breathing deeply. “Assign Sayuki team eight from the Hidden Leaf village. I believe that would be perfect for her.”
Kouji wasn’t sure if the fact that the rain had stopped, was a good thing or not. On the one hand, it meant that it would possibly be dry when he walked home. On the other hand, it meant that the boss still hadn’t allowed him or Tomo, to leave the café now for five hours since his return. After reopening, he seemed to make a point to call on a few ninja friends and hold a small party to celebrate the completion of a successful A-rank mission, in the process refusing to let them leave. Kouji couldn’t entirely be sure if he had did it just to piss them off or not. Now the clean café had become the site for a small nuclear bomb, localised entirely within a single small table, which nine or so grown men and woman now sat at. Sake had been spilled everywhere and the boss was currently cooking in the kitchen, whistling a tune to himself badly. Meanwhile, Tomo was doing an amazing job of remaining conscious as she continued to serve drinks and act the part of the happy bar maid. That was one of the things he liked and disliked about Tomo, her ability to mould her personality regardless of how she actually felt. It seemed to be the only thing that prevented her from being sliced in half, whenever she tried to complain to the boss.
“Yo, waiter,” one of the thinner Chuunin shouted towards him, waking him up from his little nap against the bar tap. “Ask Danjuro to make us some of his boiled lobster. I haven’t had that in ages.” As he finished his sentence, the man downed half a bottle of sake, followed by a cheer from the others.
“Yes sir” Kouji announced loudly out of instinct. It would be another few seconds before his back muscles could gather enough effort to make him stand up properly. He stumbled over to the kitchen, where Danjuro was currently watching over some boiled water. “Master, one of your friends…”
“I know, I heard,” the tanned man interrupted, as he saw the water start to boil. He took the lid off the pot and placed it on its side, before he started to perform seals. Kouji looked with a worried look on his face He wasn’t going to do that, was he?
“Are we out of lobster, master?” he asked, now a bit more awake than he had been, in preparation for what was about to happen.
“Not for much longer,” Danjuro said grinning, as he finished the seal for the dragon and planted his open hand against the chopping board, “Kuchiyose no jutsu!” A small black circle appeared round his hand, followed by a puff of dust. Kouji felt a slight nauseating feeling appear in the pit of every cell in his body. As the dust cleared, there sat a small lobster. It looked like an ordinary lobster, orange with claws and small black eyes. The only thing that made it look different was the mini forehead protector of the Hidden Mist village that dangled around its eyes.
“Ehhh,” the lobster whined slightly. “Who summoned me, while I was having such a nice dream as well?”
“I did,” the jounin replied calmly, staring into what counted as the eyes of the lobster.
“Oh I see, you’re quite strong,” the lobster commented at it observed the ninja.” Very well then, what is your command sir?”
“Get in the pot,” he said calmly, implying the metal cup of boiling water sitting next to the lobster. The jounin said it so calmly that the lobster had begun to crawl in the direction of the pot, before it suddenly realized what he had said.
“Excuse me?” the lobster asked in a gentlemanly manner. “What do you mean?”
“Get into the pot,” Danjuro repeated, being nice enough to take off the lobster’s forehead protector. “I intend to cook you.”
“You can’t cook me,” the lobster protested, as if it were a proven fact. “I am Zaransai, a ninja lobster of the hidden mist village. I am the fourth cousin to the great lobster king, do you have any idea who you’re dealing with?”
“Really, the fourth hey? I’ll guess I’ll have to charge extra then,” the man thought out loud, as he grabbed the small sea creature and forced it into the pot, quickly covering it and holding it down for a few seconds. Kouji watched with a horrified, morbid fascination, as the lobster screamed in agony and rattled the sides of the pan for a few seconds. Eventually the noise died down and Danjuro finally relaxed his grip on the lid of the pan.
“Tell Yojimo that it’ll be ready in about twenty minutes,” Danjuro stated as calmly as ever, but with a fixed grin on his sadistic face. It was then that he realized, that his nakama had gone quiet back in the café. He turned in confusion, before Tomo came crashing through the door.
“Master, Mizukage-sama’s here. He wants to see you, ” she explained, with a look of exhaustion on her face. The man had clearly taken the entire group by surprise. Danjuro quickly rushed out past her and into the café. There he saw his comrades, all slightly intoxicated yet lined up beside the man that had just walked into the building. He was decked out in white robes with blue trim, but was currently not wearing his traditional headdress. Instead, it hung from his neck, revealing his white hair and receding hairline.
“Mizukage-sama,” Danjuro announced as he bowed fully. “It is a pleasure to have you in my café, sir. You should have given me some warning. That way I could have closed early for you.” A few of the more drunk ninja sniggered slightly at the meaning of the sentence. Most chose to ignore it.
“Danjuro-san,” the noble chief of the hidden Village of Mist said. “I gave you orders to return straight to me, after the completion of your mission, not to return to your silly, little business.”
“It was late when I got back, sir. I figured I would provide you with my report in the morning.”
“My guards informed me that it was six o’clock when you got back.”
“Well, I was also exhausted when I returned. I came back for a rest.”
“Exhausted enough to throw a party, I see.” Mizukage sarcastically commented. “Never mind. I do not care about your excuses. You may give me your report now.”
“Now sir? But…” Danjuro began.
“I do not care so much about the written work, more than the success of the mission.” Mizukage expressed loudly. “Now tell me what happened.”
“Yes sir,” Danjuro grumbled. “The mission was a success to an extent, sir. The enemy had hired ninja from the Hidden village of Cloud, so it was impeded. We were able to severely damage eight of the new weapons and completely destroy four. Two however, went undamaged, due to the actions of a genjutsu expert from the Cloud ninja.”
“Genjutsu expert?” the Mizukage asked, mildly curious.
“At the time, sir, we thought we had destroyed all fourteen of the weapons, but they protected the last two by placing an illusion on them. This made the troops that were handling them, believe that they had succeeded. Regardless, the briefing of the mission, was to sabotage movement of the enemy weapon in such a way, that they would have to wait at least a month, before their next movement. Therefore, we had assumed the mission to be completed.”
“Very well. I shall inform the general that hired us of this event tomorrow morning, when he arrives.” The Mizukage began to leave the café before stopping again. “By the way Danjuro-san, why did you not see through the illusion? You are meant to be highly skilled in that area.”
“I was engaged, sir” Danjuro explained, “in a fight with a jounin from the Cloud village.”
“Oh?” the old lord said with a mocking tone. “And would this be the so-called `eternal rival’ of yours, that I’ve been hearing about?” At this, a few of the less sober chuunin laughed slightly. Danjuro paused for a moment at this.
“Yes sir, it was her,” he said, bowing his head slightly.
“You are letting your rivalry with this woman get out of hand, Danjuro.” Mizukage warned the jounin. “If you hadn’t let her get in the way, your mission would have been a total success, instead of a partial one.”
“Very well,” the lord interrupted. “Congratulations on your completed mission. As a small bonus, I shall give you an extended vacation, to let you run your shop without interruptions, for a few months.” Danjuro looked at the old man with caution.
“What’s the catch?” He asked cautiously. “I may deserve a break, but you’re not that generous.”
“Nothing too much really,” Mizukage stated with a shrewd grin. “Just one more easy mission, beforehand. I’d like you to take part in this year’s genin exchange program. Look after a few kids from another village for a month, make sure they don’t get into too much trouble and don’t let them get killed, and I’ll leave you alone for an entire six months. How’s that sound?” Danjuro stared at the man, letting his anger show as he clenched his fist slightly.
“Fine,” he agreed, relaxing, “but I’m definitely getting that vacation, even if we go to war.”
“Why Danjuro-san,” Mizukage said as he went to walk out. “That’s exactly what your mission is all about. Just make sure we don’t go to war, and it’ll all be fine.” With that, he left the café, the bell tingling behind him as he left, followed by a loud noise as Danjuro slammed his fist into the side of the wall.
End of prologue