Chapter 1: Chapter 1
In which Tsunade has a very, very bad day.
Tsunade was 72 years old when she finally passed away.
She was regarded as one of the best, probably the best Kunoichi to have ever lived. A complete genius in her own right, a pioneer in the field of Medicine, Battle and Politics.
She was a major contributor to the 2nd and 4th Shinobi Wars and songs were sung about her legendary prowess.
And she looked fantastic all the while, to boot.
Yes, she lost her way. She took the whole Nawaki and Dan tragedy way too hard. It was so bad that she had hemophobia. Seriously? Now that was embarrassing.
Thank god that blonde brat slapped her out of it.
All in all, she had a pretty good run. So when she was laying on her deathbed in the hospital, she had no regrets.
Dully, she could hear Shizune's heartbroken sobbing, Sakura's quiet wails and Naruto's distressed cries for her to hold on.
Not fucking likely.
Internally, she scowled. Really, all these brats. Hadn't she hung on long enough? All of them were fucking needy.
And she eloquently proceeded to tell them through hand signs. Her voice wasn't working. In fact, through her professional eye, she could feel her respiratory system shutting down.
Wouldn't be long now.
She softened. Using the last of her remaining energy, she signed to them again.
Don't join me for a while.
And, as an afterthought, Damn brats.
And she smiled as she released her last breath.
What Tsunade expected was the fluffy clouds and the Golden Gates of heaven.
She expected to see Her Grandmother serenely smiling and her Grandfather brightly beaming at her.
She expected her Grand Uncle sporting a fierce scowl, ready to tear her a new asshole for all her mistakes and discrepancies.
She expected to see little Nawaki dopily waving his arms around.
She expected Sarutobi-sensei to smile genially at her, his old hands wrapped around his cane.
She expected to see Jiraiya and Orochimaru.
Jiraiya and Orochimaru.
No matter what happened. She still loved those two. She grew up with them. Ate with them. Slept with them. Fought with them. Shed blood and tears with them.
Orochimaru's defection chipped off a piece of her soul, just as Dan and Nawaki's deaths had.
Jiraiya's death at the hands of his former student, under her orders, almost completely broke her. Irreparably.
No matter what had happened, she would always remember them as that dysfunctional team struggling to get the bells from sensei.
She had hoped that in death, she would finally be able to see them again.
That they'd be a family again.
But sadly, that wasn't going to happen.
Because she found herself unable to open her eyes, curled up into a little ball, comfortably enveloped in warmth.
At first, she did nothing, content to just be.
But after a while, she got bored.
Strangely, she couldn't open her eyes. Her movement was greatly restricted as well. She tried to kick out, but found out her legs only weakly spasmed and were met with smooth, warm walls.
She mildly panicked, trying to reach out with her hands to see what the problem was, but found that she couldn't.
She was about to have a full blown tantrum, complete with her signature chakra punches but a soft, niggling voice in the back of her head told her not to.
And, to her surprise, she decided to listen.
She pouted, but somehow she knew that the voice was right.
So, she waited once more.
And while she waited, she decided to circulate the Chakra through her body.
For shits and giggles. Because, hey, it's not like she had anything else to do.
Somehow, somehow, the chakra felt… strange. It was lighter and slightly more volatile than she was used to. It tried to break out of her control and engulf her, but she wasn't the best Medic-Nin in the world for nothing. Her control was impeccable, thank you very much.
But as the chakra circulated around her tenketsu points, the voice in the back of her head absolutely purred.
Well, that settled it.
She was definitely Schizophrenic.
After an eon of waiting, doing nothing but Chakra control exercises, something changed.
The walls around Tsunade began to close in around her and compress, making her unbelievably uncomfortable.
It continued to get tighter and tighter, and just when she was about to collect her Chakra to her fist and beat her way out of there, useless limbs be damned, her entire world was bombed with sensation.
She didn't realize how deprived she had been inside her warm prison.
Frankly, this was very overwhelming.
She was freezing. Like, freezing. Immediately she circulated her Chakra throughout her body and breathed a soft sigh of relief when the edge of the cold was taken off.
"DOCTOR! Come quickly! The baby's body temperature is much higher than it should be! She may suffer brain damage if it goes any higher!"
Tsunade's brain screeched to a stop.
Immediately she stopped the Chakra circulation and wanted to curse at the return of the cold.
And secondly… a baby? She was a baby?
She could picture Uncle Tobirama cackling in mad glee as it finally clicked.
After all, she wasn't a genius for nothing.
No fluffy clouds and Pearly Gates for her, no sir.
The fucking Shinigami decided to reincarnate her.
She was still dazed when she felt herself being picked up and handed to another person.
"Awwww, Nana, look at her! She's beautiful!"
Tsunade turned her bleary eyes to the couple holding her. Wonderful. The pair seemed to be her new parents.
She gurgled in displeasure.
The pretty, brown haired woman cooed. "Iemitsu, she has your hair! What should we name her?"
The scruffy looking blonde man grinned dopily. "What we already decided!"
He eyed her with a blinding smile. Somehow, the voice in her head told her that she wouldn't like the answer.
"Tsunayoshi! She's my little Tuna-fishy!"
Tsunade's stomach dropped and she gaped at him.
The woman grinned. "That's perfect! Tsunayoshi!"
Tsunade wanted to scream at them. No! That was a horrible name! And a boy's name, to boot! Sure, it was close to her previous name, but yuck! Tsunayoshi? What sort of sadistic, mentally retarded sons of bitches name their newborn little girl Tsunayoshi? This psychotic couple, that's who!
She angrily flailed her arms but found that it didn't help much.
She scowled. Damn her new, undeveloped body!
She was picked up by the man and her soft, sensitive cheek was rubbed against his rough, stubbly cheek.
Tsunade's face was a grumpy mask of stone. Somehow, she had a feeling that this new life was going to be just as rough as her previous one.
Especially when she was stuck with a name like 'Tsunayoshi'.
Fuck the Shinigami.
Fuck her Uncle Tobirama, who she swears is still laughing at her.
And fuck this man who was still rubbing his infernal stubble on her cheek.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
In which Tsunade adjust to her new life...
Or, well, she tries to.
Tsunade was not happy.
In her previous world, being a genius was both a blessing and a curse.
In one aspect, it would mean that they were pushed to the front lines at the age of 6, where they proceed to make their first kills, permanently scarring their delicate child psyche for the rest of their miserable shinobi lives.
And on the other hand, they got respect.
…The cons were strangely imbalanced against the pros, but Tsunade didn't care.
The stupid scruffy man known as Iemitsu was now attempting to baby-speak with her, babbling nonsense and making the most ridiculous expressions.
And he was spitting on her face. Her eye twitched as another spittle hit her on her forehead.
She was this close to socking him on his pretty, straight nose.
"Tuna-fishy! My darling little, ittty-bitty, pretty-witty, cutie-pooty widdle Tuna-fishy! Say papa! PA! PA!"
Thankfully, a frowning Nana stepped from around the corner, interrupting this cruel and unusual punishment.
"No, Tsuna-chan! Say mama! Ma! Ma!"
Tsunade felt something snap. She was done with this shit.
And so, the four-month old 'Tsunayoshi' stood up, turned to her dumbass father, looked him straight in the eye and raised her hand.
Her stare bored into his soul as she slowly lifted her middle finger and said, "Go die."
Then, the badass genius she is, flooded her legs with Chakra and wobbled away from her gaping parents.
Behind her, she heard Nana's scandalized gasp and gentle berating of Iemitsu, who was alternating between gushing over his smart little 'Tuna-fishy's' first words and looking horrified at the rude gesture she had already picked up.
Tsunade just rolled her eyes and attempted to walk steadier than she already was. Which probably wasn't possible, biologically. Human muscles just were not developed enough to hold their complete weight until they were 9 months old.
But Tsunade was able to bypass her biological deficiencies with her, once-again, flawless Chakra control. It was damn tough, don't get her wrong. Babies were supposed to sit up straight after 3 months. Walking around at 4 months?
Quite frankly, impossible.
Unless of course, you were a genius Hokage who augmented their limbs with Chakra regularly.
Tsunade smirked evilly. Ahh, yes. It was good to be her.
She looked down.
Now, how to move her legs in a way that it didn't look like she was having a seizure…
Tsunade narrowed her eyes as she stood in front of the bathroom mirror. She glared at the reflection of her new body.
Not to say that it wasn't appealing. She was a cute kid, she was honest enough to admit that.
But her hair.
She had retained the coloring from her previous life, so it was a soft dirty-blonde that glinted in the sun.
But instead of having the luxurious, straight locks that she had previously sported, her hair was now a mane, reminiscent of the Namikaze brat.
She glared at her reflection as she tried to smooth her hair down.
It popped back up like a spring on steroids.
Scratch that, it was exactly the same as Minato's.
Tsunade wouldn't have really cared, except that dingus Iemitsu kept maniacally raving about how she was the second coming of Sawada Ieyasu.
She had no clue in hell who he was, but based off his similar last name, Tsunade guessed that he was probably one of their ancestors.
Tsunade was not amused.
She didn't want to look like a crusty old dude.
Well, there was nothing she could do about it now. She had to wait for her hair to grow out so that she could tie it.
But other than her hair color, she didn't really have any of her other features in this body.
Back in Konoha, her eyes had been a rich, chocolate brown.
But now, her eyes were an amber-orange. Strangely, whenever she channeled Chakra, her eyes glowed ethereally.
She was confused. Did she have some kind of Dojutsu or something? Nothing that she could tell. But the glowing eyes thing could be useful.
She smirked evilly as all the possibilities came to mind.
Oh yes, very useful indeed.
Tsunade sighed in relief. The scruffy man Iemitsu had finally left to this other Nation known as 'The Italy'.
The man was becoming unbearable. Ever since Tsunade showed her proficiency in Japanese (which somehow sounded slightly formal and archaic, as if it was a different dialect, almost) he had been hell bent on teaching her something called 'The Italian'. Apparently it was spoken in The Italy.
It was completely nonsensical at first, full of flowing and difficult consonants that she had never heard before, but the lilting tones of The Italian was appealing.
But the stupid man ruined it by wanting to introduce her to The Italy's culture and he brought in a tape displaying a fat, imposing lady screeching and howling in a huge stadium that Iemitsu had proclaimed as 'The Vienna Opera House'.
That just about killed her interest in The Itay's culture.
And planted the first seed of doubt of her father's questionable taste.
Nope, she was fine with the pretty language.
Oh, and the food.
The Itay's food was holy.
Tsunade tensed her body before forcing it to go through a series of Katas. She had to get stronger. This pathetic child body was nowhere near the level of her previous one.
And that was unacceptable.
She refused to be weak.
That sentiment ran through her mind as she completed her Kata set and started on a new one. She hadn't even been training for 2 hours and her body was drenched in sweat.
Oh no, this wouldn't do at all.
She needed to regain her previous skill level, and she would do it no matter what.
As she swung through her moves, a maniacal cackle fell from her lips.
From inside the house, Nana continued to happily hum as she cooked, smiling as she heard Tsu-chan's cute laugh as she played outside. She was such a sweet, smart girl. She was sure that her darling daughter would get along with all the other adorable children in the neighborhood.
Tsunade knew she was going crazy when she found a slug in the garden and named it Katsuyu, expecting it to respond to her when she talked to it.
Her mom dismissed it as her having an imaginary friend and that it was ok for a child to do so.
Tsunade was offended.
She was no child.
Well, that only left the conclusion of her questionable mental health.
She was never the most stable person out there, but compared to head-cases like the Hatake brat she was 100% sane.
She never had much interest towards Psychological health, preferring Physical health much, much more. But that didn't mean that she was unable to diagnose severe cases of questionable behavior.
Behavior like expecting 'Katsuyu' to split herself and talk back to her.
Tsunade grimaced. There was no doubt about it. She was slowly losing her sanity by remaining in this environment.
But honestly, any child exposed to the scruffy idiot during their formative years would be one crayon short of a complete set.
But for a comprehensive adult like her to be continuously treated like a child?
She did not like her lucidity's chances.
She hoped that she would be able to prevail before she pulled an Orochimaru and villainized herself to the general public.
She sighed. Seems like her Schizophrenia was the least of her worries.
The voice agreed.
She felt like punching it.
It was finally time.
She was finally old enough to attend this World's version of the Academy.
She would graduate early.
She would become a Shinobi, which meant that she was would be a legal adult.
She would be able to gamble and drink her precious alcohol.
She would finally be free of the scruffy man and the disturbingly oblivious lady.
She would be free.
She threw her head back and laughed.
It was a terrifying sound.
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
In which Tsunade has to wait for her plans of world domination, but that's alright, because she just met someone... interesting.
"Alright, class! Let's all introduce ourselves!"
Tsunade stared blankly at the unnaturally peppy teacher. Other five-year-old brats were gathered in a poor excuse for a circle.
She could see one brat even crying because she couldn't stand next to the person she wanted.
Another was digging his nose and randomly flicking his boogers in all directions.
One girl was sucking on the hem of her t-shirt, a large patch of drool growing even larger as her saliva dribbled onto the cloth.
All of them were walking bundles of germs.
"Ok, Kinto-kun, would you like to start?"
"Sure! I'm Kinto!"
The teacher looked at the child, and when it was clear that he had nothing else to say, she smiled her bright, soul-sucking grin and shook her head at him.
"Tell us your likes and dislikes, and what you want to be in the future!"
Kinto gawked at her before he regained his previous confidence and placed his hands on his waist, posing lamely.
"My name is Kinto! I like chocolate doughnuts and I hate the eggplant curry that mom makes me eat! I want to be a dinosaur!"
Tsunade just stared at him while all the other boys in the class whooped and cheered at his awesome dream.
The creepy teacher smiled her creepy smile. "That's perfect, Kinto-kun! How about you, Shizuka-chan?"
A cute, shy-looking girl trembled. "H-Hi, my name is Shizuka. I like bunnies and I don't like things that eat bunnies. I want to be a Mother."
All the girls in the class 'Awww'ed and the boys all pulled faces. Ah, the beauty of being around pre-pubescent imps.
"Great! Next is you, Haruto-kun!"
"Sweet! My name's Haruto and I love Goku! I don't like bad guys and natto. I wanna be a Super Saiyan!"
All the boys cheered.
Tsunade's head was just about to explode.
This… was insanity.
"Ok, you go next, Ryohei-kun!"
Tsunade's schizophrenic voice tingled. She turned and looked at a grey-haired boy with a grin on his face and a familiar glint in his eye.
The boy sprung into the middle of the circle and posed dramatically.
"From the fiery pits of Mount Myoboku, I was reborn! None can match me in skill or sexiness! All the ladies swoon and all the men wither in envy! It is I, Sasagawa Ryohei the Valiant! I love ladies and I hate not being with them! My dream is to write a best-selling book series which will be converted to a movie starring the hottest actress of our time!"
Her stomach clenched painfully and her eyes burned with unshed tears. She couldn't tear her eyes off of the boy's laughing form.
The boy boisterously laughed and mingled with the other children as she continued to watch him with a pain-filled gaze. The other introductions were going around but she paid them no mind.
Her throat clenched.
The teacher's horrifyingly chipper voice called out to her.
"Ok, it's your turn, Tsuna-chan!"
The boy's eyes flashed as he turned to look at her. His yellow orbs glowed as he locked eyes with her.
"My name is Sawada Tsunayoshi, but please call me Tsuna. I like my precious people and Medicine. I dislike paperwork and people who try to hurt my Nakama." She swallowed heavily, her eyes never wavering from his.
"My dream… my dream is to grow strong enough so that my precious people will never be taken away from me ever again."
The boy's glowing eyes flashed and gained a sheen to them.
"Good job, Tsuna-chan! Now, Tsubaki-chan, do you want to go?"
Tsunade stood behind the Elementary School building, waiting in the cool shadows. They had been released for recess and the flood of kids had taken her outside before she could talk to the boy.
She sighed and closed her eyes, the pinprick of tears behind them threatening to fall.
Tsunade didn't open her eyes immediately. She reached out with her Chakra and embraced his form, almost bursting out into tears when his familiar essence reached out to caress her own.
"Jiraiya." She breathed, her voice no more than a whisper.
"Hime." His voice was thick and choked with emotion.
He opened his arms and she embraced him, breathing in his familiar scent.
Against her will, tears trickled out from the corners of her eyes and stained his shirt.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Her voice cracked and the tears began to flow more profusely.
He gently cradled her head, swaying back and forth as he used to do before. "Shhh, Hime. It wasn't your fault. Don't apologize."
Tsunade's trembling hands gripped the back of his shirt tightly. "No. You wouldn't have gone if I hadn't told you to go. It's all my fault. It's my fault you died. My fault that Naruto was left alone. My fault-"
Jiraiya pressed his lips to her forehead, right where her seal was in her previous life.
"Hime." His voice was quietly reprimanding. "You know that you're not at fault. Stop trying to kill yourself with all that guilt."
He pulled back and looked her in the eye, his golden-yellow eyes burning into her amber-orange ones. "Regardless of whether you told me to go or not, I still would have gone. It was my responsibility to confront the brat and I would have done it either way." He grabbed a hold of her shoulders and jerked her. "It is not your fault."
Tsunade didn't reply. Instead she hugged him tightly again.
It was her fault.
It was always her fault.
And nothing Jiraiya said could ever change that.
As if reading her mind, he tightened his grip on her and pulled her closer.
"Look, Hime. It's ok now. We're both here. Everything will be alright."
And the voice at the back of her head agreed with him.
Both the reborn Sannin sat under a tree after School ended. Jiraiya was scribbling in his little pocketbook and Tsunade was content to sit and meditate.
"How is your new life?"
Tsunade scowled. "It sucks. My mother is oblivious to the point of concern, and my father is never at home."
Jiraiya narrowed his eyes. "Is he a dead-beat dad?"
Tsunade snorted. "No, it's a blessing that he's not here. He's completely psychotic. He keeps lying to Nana about his job. Says that he's a construction worker who travels the world. He sends back ridiculous postcards that clearly scream that he's lying, but Nana never notices. And Iemitsu just rolls with it, like it's normal. It's freaky."
She turned to him. "What about you?"
He shrugged. "My family is ok. I have an adorable little sister who reminds me a lot of Shizune. She'll grow up to be a stunner, no doubt about that. Need to develop a seal to keep all the letches away."
Tsunade gave him a look. He shrugged. "I'm a mix. It seems like my mom is from a Nation called 'The Italy', a Village called 'Florence'."
Tsunade raised her brows. "Strange. That's where my father is right now. Except that he's in a Village called 'Sicily'."
Jiraiya's eyes narrowed. In their line of work, nothing was a coincidence.
Tsunade shrugged. "Well, it's not like we can do anything now. How's your training going?"
Jiraiya relaxed and leaned back on the tree. "It's going fine. Speaking of, have you noticed anything different about the Chakra?"
She glared at him. "Of course I have. It's very different. Lighter, but easier to call up. Almost like fire, you know, if our previous chakra was water."
The Toad Sage nodded. "Yeah, I noticed it too. It's easier to call up, but harder to manipulate." He eyed her contemplatively. "Have any Jutsus worked for you?"
The Slug Princess frowned. "I actually don't know. I haven't tried any."
Jiraiya shook his head. "Well, I have. And none of them work." He paused. "Well, Fuuinjutsu works but not Summons."
Tsunade smacked him. "You idiot. Of course Summons won't work, we aren't even contracted in our new bodies!"
Jiraiya laughed sheepishly, rubbing his head. "Ehehe, I didn't think of that."
She facepalmed. "I honestly wonder how you survived with your complete lack of common sense."
He pouted. "Hime, don't be mean." He grumpily turned away. "It's not like being a prodigy will make any difference in this world."
Hold the phone. "What? What do you mean?"
Jiraiya's face fell with melancholy. "I did a bit of digging around." He proudly puffed out his chest. "As expected of the World's Best Spy!"
Tsunade smacked him again.
"Ah, alright, alright! So, what I found out was that no matter what, a child only becomes truly emancipated at the age of 18. And there are no Shinobi in this world."
Tsunade heard a crack. It was the tree's trunk.
Jiraiya nodded sagely. "Yup. There's no way out. We're stuck."
Tsunade slammed her fist into the ground.
There was a moment before the ground rumbled and cracks erupted from the point her fist impacted. There was an almighty groan, then the floor sank 3 feet.
Jiraiya just stared at the crater that she made.
Tsunade smirked smugly. "Well, it looks like I've still got it."
The sound of sirens rang out in the distance.
Tsunade cocked her head to the side. "What's that?"
Jiraiya grabbed her hand and bolted. "That is the sound of our imminent doom."
After the police left the 'Scene of the Crime', a small figure stepped out from the shadows and glared at the crater with narrowed eyes. He examined it carefully and observed that at the center of the hole was an imprint of a fist.
A tiny fist, one smaller than his.
His eyes narrowed further as he stalked away.
There was a Carnivore in this town.
Silently, with all the stealth of the ninja she was in her previous life, Tsunade slipped into a Pharmacy close to her house.
She laughed to herself diabolically as she took inventory of everything that was stocked.
She grabbed a handful of things and exited as stealthily as she came in. She turned back to look at the Pharmacy one last time before she made her way into the forest.
She needed to test the efficiency of these new tools.
The next morning, news urged everyone to stay far away from the forest. It seemed like a new, unregistered predator had been prowling around.
It had left several mangled corpses of bears and tigers in its wake.
"Hn. The Carnivore."
Jiraiya beamed and bowed politely.
"Nice to meet you. My name is Sasagawa Ryohei, but I prefer to be known as Jiraiya."
Nana's eyes twinkled. "Ara, it's nice to meet you!" She eyed Tsunade mischievously. "Could it be… are you Tsu-chan's boyfriend?"
Jiraiya's face lit up. "Yup. Yes she is!"
Tsunade turned around and kicked him through the wall.
Nana sighed. "I'll have to call your father again. This is the 7th wall this month, Tsu-chan. I really need to stop feeding you vegetables, then you wouldn't be as strong."
Tsunade just ignored her as Jiraiya gaped at her in disbelief. He forced himself through the rubble and shook the debris off just as Tsunade reached him.
"Did she just-"
"I told you. My parents are freaks."
Nana's oblivious humming seemed more sinister than ever.
The next day, Tsunade stormed into the principal's office with Jiraiya close on her heels.
The principal startled at the loud noise, but then smiled patronizingly when he saw the two pre-schoolers walk in.
"Hello there! My, you two are so clever to come here! So, can I help you?"
Tsunade sat herself on a chair, Jiraiya meekly following after her. He uneasily leaned toward her and whispered. "Hime, I don't think this is a good idea…"
She shushed him and leveled her stare at the principal.
"Yes you can. I will need a letter of recommendation from you in order for me to be eligible to write the Medical Examination that is taking place in two months."
She turned and looked at Jiraiya who looked like he was trying to fold in on himself.
"I shall also need one for him so that he can attend the Business School Examination occurring in 3 months."
She folded her hands and waited.
The Principal was shocked at first, but when he recovered, he smiled patronizingly at them.
"Sure! I'll do it now! My the games that kids play these days…"
Tsunade slammed her fist on his desk, the sharp sound grabbing his attention and wiping the smile off his face.
"I am afraid that we are completely serious. We require your cooperation. If you will not do it willingly, we are not opposed to using force."
The Principal's face fell into a scowl. "Now, you kids can't talk like that. You better apologize to me before I call your parents."
Jiraiya spoke up this time. "I hope we come to an understanding, sir. Hime here doesn't have the longest fuse and it would be a shame if the school would have to pay for repairs."
The man was full out scowling now. "Are you children threatening me? I'm going to have to call your parents. Please stay after school for Detention with your Homeroom teacher."
Tsunade's fist slammed on his desk once more, with a little more force. "This is your last chance. You will write those letters for us at your soonest possible convenience."
The Principal was visibly angry now. "Child, I will not be spoken to that way! You have a week of Detention! Leave my office."
Tsunade slipped out of her chair, but instead of walking out the door, she walked to the side of the Principal's desk and gripped it.
The principal eyed her warily.
Jiraiya closed his eyes in resignation.
"Now see here, child-"
In one smooth motion, Tsunade lifted his desk with everything on it and swung it at the wall. There were five loud booms as it crashed through 5 different walls.
As the dust settled, a multitude of dismayed eyes looked through the holes at the ongoing scene in the Principal's office.
Tsunade looked at her nails. "Now, about those letters."
The Principal gulped.
Tsunade smirked proudly as she stood next to Jiraiya in the milling crowd of people.
Displayed on the board was a list of accepted applicants to the most prestigious university in Japan, Tokyo University.
Both of their names stood proudly against the stark white of the paper.
Jiraiya let out a perverted giggle, eyeing all the college-age females milling around them with their short, cutoff clothes suited to Japan's hot summer.
"I'll admit, Hime, I didn't think that this was a good idea at first. But now…" He let out another perverted giggle and made an obscene groping motion with his hands.
Tsunade rolled her eyes but smiled at him fondly.
Yes, this is nice.
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
In which Tsunade and Jiraiya run into some... less than savory characters.
But that's alright, because no-one messes with a Sannin.
It started out small.
Almost negligible, even.
Tsunade and Jiraiya were walking around town one evening, going on an errand for Nana. She was planning on making a Hot Pot and needed a lot more ingredients to cook it.
She had handed a bit more money than needed to the two kids and as they walked, they argued over what they should do with the leftovers.
Tsunade wanted to go play Pachinko.
Jiraiya wanted a new Porn Magazine.
While they were arguing they never noticed the group of three teenagers that approached them.
Tsunade's eye twitched. They dared to refer to her as a brat?
Oh, it's on.
She turned to the teens.
One of them smirked at her. "Hand over the money if you don't want to get hurt."
She frowned. Was this what she thought it was?
She turned to her amused best friend. "Is this what I think it is?"
Jiraiya smirked, a twinkle in his eyes. "Yes it is."
Tsunade frowned in confusion. "Huh. Never thought that it'd happen to me."
Jiraiya laughed. "Yeah, me neither."
She crossed her arms. "Somehow, it's not as interesting as I thought it would be."
He gave her a look. "You've thought about being mugged?"
She whacked him. "No. Not really. But somehow it betrays my expectations."
The teenagers gave her an ugly glower. "Listen up girly, we're not joking. Just give us the money and nobody'll get hurt."
The other two menacingly cracked their knuckles.
Jiraiya threw his head back and guffawed.
He walked up to the one who had talked and laid a hand on his arm.
"You chose the wrong kids to mess with, buddy."
Tsunade felt his Chakra surge, and the teen was knocked out cold on the ground.
Predictably, the other two panicked.
"What did you do to Hiro, you brat?!"
Tsunade smiled proudly. "Knockout seal."
It was possible for Seal Masters to place a seal on a surface just by touching it and shaping Chakra. It was possible to do, but notoriously difficult. It required as much control and practice as Iryo-Ninjutsu.
For him to reacquire that much skill in this new body… well, the Sannins were all known as geniuses for a reason. Even Tsunade hadn't figured out how to use Medical Chakra with this new Chakra yet.
She was very impressed and proud of him.
She smiled at him, beaming with all the pride and affection of a parent. "Well done, Jiraiya. I'm impressed. Looks like I'll have to step up my training if I don't want you to overtake me."
Jiraiya smirked back at her, but his eyes betrayed his pleasure at her statement. "Well, you can try Hime, but I'm not sure it'll make a difference."
"You fuckin' kids! You'll pay for this!"
The other two teens rushed at the miniature Sannin and brandished their makeshift weapons: A broken beer bottle and a baseball bat.
Jiraiya skillfully dodged the swipe from the bottle and placed a mild exploding seal on the boy's shirt. Nothing too severe, this world was annoyingly anal about killing.
The boy was blown back fifteen feet and was knocked out when he hit the ground.
Tsunade, on the other hand, gleefully caught the bat right before it hit her head. She slowly crushed the hardy metal between her fingers as if it was clay.
The boy paled rapidly.
"Nobody calls me a brat and gets away with it."
She swung her fist and socked him in the face, landing him next to his other comrade.
Jiraiya approached the fallen boys and ruffled through their pockets. He turned to Tsunade and smiled evilly.
"Looks like we have enough for both Pachinko and Porn Mags."
Tsunade's evil grin matched his own.
Tsunade and Jiraiya were walking around in Tokyo the next encounter happened.
Tsunade managed to convince Nana that she was perfectly fine living in Tokyo with Jiraiya. She was worried at first, but for all the wrong reasons.
"Tsu-chan, if you're gone, who will I cook for?"
No matter how many times he saw it, Jiraiya was always flabbergasted at the amount of apathy the woman had.
Tsunade sternly looked at her. "How about this. I'll stay all weekends and when Iemitsu comes over. I'll even bring Jiraiya with me so that you could cook for more people."
Nana beamed. "Ok!"
And that was how Tsunade and Jiraiya lived together in an apartment in Tokyo. It was easier to get to classes that way.
As they walked around, a person suddenly bumped roughly into the duo.
"Give us your money and nobody has to get hurt."
Jiraiya turned around and smiled evilly. "Hello, Hiro. How've you been?"
Tsunade and Jiraiya grinned menacingly and the three teen boys whimpered.
Once again, Tsunade and Jiraiya were walking (it was always during their walks, dammit) when the three teenagers ran up to them.
"It was them, Aniki! They were the ones!"
A group of 10 men followed after them. All of them were burly and scarred. The leader walked up and glared down at the two Shinobi.
"Alright men. You know what to do."
A line of ambulances stood on the street where they were waiting to cart away a large group of unconscious men.
The police were scratching their heads on the craters scattering the ground and the weird symbols painted on the men.
This time, the trio brought 50 men.
The result was the same.
The next time, 150.
So again, Tsunade and Jiraiya were walking when a white van drives by and a hand scoops both of them in.
A cloth soaked in Chloroform was pressed against their noses and they were out faster than they could say "Fuck, not again."
Tsunade slowly blinked herself awake, shaking her head to get rid of the grogginess still circulating through her system.
She channeled her Chakra and immediately her headache vanished and she could think clearer.
She observed her surroundings. She was in a dark, dingy room tied to a chair. Jiraiya was tied to another chair next to her. He was still out like a light.
She nudged her shoulder against his.
"Jiraiya. Wake up."
He murmured unintelligibly but remained unconscious.
After a few more nudges his eyes shot open and he floundered. She leaned against him to calm him down.
"Jiraiya. Calm down."
When he heard her voice, he relaxed his body. He took a deep breath and turned to her, worry evident in his eyes.
"I'm fine. It seems that we've been kidnapped."
Jiraiya looked around the room, analyzing all the possible escape routes.
Jiraiya turned to Tsunade with a questioning look in his eyes.
"The Voice says to wait."
Tsunade had told Jiraiya about The Voice in her head, and after an extensive teasing from him about how she'd finally gone off the deep end, he agreed that The Voice was strange.
Whenever it would speak up, it would always give sound advice pertinent to their benefit.
And at this moment, The Voice was urging her to remain a captive for a while longer. That was the only reason she hadn't ripped through her bonds and carried Jiraiya out, leaving a trail of carnage in her wake.
Hearing that The Voice was telling them to sit still caused a funny expression to flit across Jiraiya's face, but he complied and relaxed against his chair.
A handful of minutes passed when the door slammed open, making the two Shinobi tense their bodies and channel their Chakra.
A handsome, well-groomed man stepped into the room. He was dressed impeccably in a suit with a white tie. He had shaggy black hair that fell into his steely Silver eyes and smooth Japanese features.
He stepped forward and stood in front of the bound children.
A full minute passed by as they carefully examined each other.
Finally, he spoke out in a low silky voice.
"You have been causing trouble on my territory."
Tsunade met his gaze head-on. "I apologize."
He cocked his head to the side.
"You do not deny it."
She gazed resolutely at him. "No. And I do not regret my actions, either. When a confrontation is presented to me, I will finish it."
He eyed her with something akin to respect. "Very well. There is nothing else for me left to say. You will be disposed of and the perpetrator shall be killed."
Tsunade didn't lower her head, even when a gun was pointed at the spot where her Yin Seal had previously been.
Jiraiya kept his face stoic, even when his heartbeat sped up.
He clicked the safety back. Just as his finger touched the trigger, a man burst into the room. Jiraiya tore through his bonds in shock while Tsunade continued to stare the man.
"Boss! It's bad! She's in critical condition and all the hospitals refuse to treat her!" His voice choked up. "If she doesn't get treated…" He trailed off, unable to finish.
The Voice hummed.
"I'll do it."
All eyes flashed to her small form.
"I'll do it. I'll treat her." She gazed right into the man's silver eyes. "I'm a Doctor."
The serious man stared resolutely back at her but the man who barged in sneered at her. "Quiet, you bitch! Boss, she's in a really bad state!"
Jiraiya tensed. "Don't call her that, you scum. Hime is to be treated with the utmost respect."
The man turned to reply nastily but the Boss took the gun that was aimed at Tsunade and lowered it.
"You can treat her?"
She saw rage and worry, but deep, deep inside, she saw hope.
She'd seen that flicker of hope go out too many times.
"Yes. I can treat her."
The Man was close to breaking. He needed one last push.
"If I fail, my life is yours."
Jiraiya said nothing, but his brow furrowed.
The man eyed her for a second more, then sharply nodded his head.
"I agree to your terms." He turned to the incredulous looking man. "Lead us to her."
The subordinate sputtered in disbelief. "B-But Boss! You don't actually believe this kid, do you? She could just be spouting nonsense to get out of the situation!"
Without hesitation, the man shot at his subordinate, the bullet landing not even two inches from his shoe.
"Do you understand what a life debt is?" He hissed.
The man trembled and opened and closed his mouth like a demented fish.
"No? Then shut up." His voice was little more than a whisper. "Lead us to her."
The terrified man scrambled out the door.
The handsome man glared down at Tsunade. "Remember. Life debt."
Internally, she was flipping the fuck out.
A Life debt?
A goddamn Life debt?
The Voice was either crazy or just plain suicidal.
She sincerely hoped that it was neither of them.
Jiraiya and Tsunade were lead to a different wing in the traditional mansion.
(Really? A mansion? In the middle of Tokyo? Really?)
It was clearly the Medical Center. All the surroundings were crisply sterilized and the walls painted an ivory white color.
There was a crowd of men huddling in front of a set of doors leading into surgery. As soon as they saw the Boss approaching, they split like the Red Sea before him, respectfully standing at attention and bowing their heads.
The man standing closest to him straightened. "We were on our way back from the Art Show when our car was intercepted by the Kowazumi Gang. They shot at our car and popped our tires and the driver lost control. We crashed into the support beam of a bridge. The driver and another member were fatally injured. Madam was sitting in the back, but the force of the accident caused 7 of her ribs to shatter, 3 of which pierced her lungs. Her trachea also collapsed and her broken femur has nicked her femoral artery. There is severe swelling in her spine and brain that has yet to reduce."
The man's gray eyes narrowed and his fists clenched. "She was not accepted in the hospital?"
The subordinate shamefully looked down. "Yes, Boss. They turned us away as soon as they saw us."
Tsunade could see the Man struggling for composure in front of his underlings.
This wouldn't do.
She confidently stepped forward and turned on her Hokage voice.
"How long ago?"
The answer was startled out of a nurse. "About 25 minutes."
Tsunade nodded her head. "Has she been stabilized?"
The nurse shook her head. "She's been losing blood too steadily."
Tsunade crossed her arms. "Any pre-existing conditions?"
Tsunade sharply nodded. "Good. Let's get to work. I shall be Head Surgeon. Jiraiya, you're my number one." She pointed to the skittish nurse and two uniformed men.
"You all shall be my helpers. Meet inside the operating room in five minutes in complete attire. Dismissed."
As she turned around a cry of outrage rang out through the crowd.
"Don't interfere, brat!"
She ignored them and continued towards the Operating Room where her patient was held. The cries grew steadily louder but neither she nor Jiraiya spoke a word.
Then one man decided to attack her.
Tsunade spun around and walloped the man so hard he went through three walls.
The entire crowd was shocked into silence.
Secretly, Jiraiya sympathized. Seeing a delicate-looking 7-year-old girl punch a man thrice her size through walls was just not right.
Tsunade's aura exuded confidence and displeasure.
"I am the Head Surgeon in charge of my dying patient! In the Operating Room, I am God. My word is your gospel. You disobey me, she dies. You make a mistake, she dies. You hesitate," She fiercely glared at them. "She dies. She is already in critical condition. No more time can be wasted. Every single second counts."
She furiously eyed them.
"If you want her to live, you listen to me."
Cracks were forming on the floor from where she was releasing her Chakra. A soft orange glow surrounded her, but she paid it no mind.
A familiar hand landed on her shoulder and she relaxed a bit.
She reeled in her Chakra and regained her poise.
"We meet in five minutes. Disperse."
It had been two hours since the surgery started.
It had been a harrowing experience to repair the torn Femoral Artery. That had to be their first order of action because with the constant loss of blood, there would be no steady way to stabilize the patient.
When Tsunade opened up the woman's thighs, she grimaced. From her side, she could feel Jiraiya doing the same.
Her Femur was broken in at least 4 different places, none of them clean breaks. They were all crooked and jagged.
She examined the Artery. She would have liked to just repair the damaged section, but it was far too damaged to do that. She would have to cut the damaged section off and join the cross-sections.
"Two Clamp Pins. Size 11."
The nurse squeaked and scrambled to retrieve what Tsunade asked.
The Slug Princess took the pins and clipped them on either side of the damaged section of the Artery. The steady flow of bleeding trickled to a stop.
A thin tube attached to a heavy machine was in her hands.
"Suction level 3. On."
The machine made a deep rumbling sound and the collection of blood in the patient's thigh drained out.
Examining the Artery to make sure that the clamps were still in place, she nodded.
She reached inside and set the bones as best she could. When all of them were aligned straight, she leaned back to examine her work. She nodded in satisfaction.
"Jiraiya. Straightening and hardening seal."
He reached inside and gently touched the shattered shards of the patient's bones with his fingertips. After a few seconds of silence, a yellow glow appeared on the bones and a soft click was heard as they snapped together as they set.
Tsunade ran her fingers along the side to check for any abnormalities.
She took the tool and moved it to the damaged Artery. She pressed down and one side of the thick tube was cut. She positioned it and cut the other end of the torn section.
"Suture Needle and thread. Thread .1 mm thick, non-soluble."
She took the thread and sewed the ends of the Artery together, connecting the two sides once more.
She ran her Chakra over it to make sure that there were no gaps in the stitching. All clear.
"Removing clamps. Reinitiating blood flow."
She removed the pins and placed them on a nearby metal tray. The blood began to flow with no problems.
"Suture Needle and Thread. .6 mm. Closing affected site."
She sewed up the patient's thigh with skilled fluidity. She pulsed a wave of Chakra over it to make sure that it didn't scar.
"Moving to Ribs. Scalpel."
She sliced through the skin on the patient's sternum and examined the damage underneath.
She scowled. This was not good.
Behind her, she could hear one of her male assistants throw up in the corner.
"Quarantine the area."
The other man and nurse raced to close off the space that the man had vomited in.
Tsunade glared at the sickly looking man. "Get a hold of yourself. Don't panic. I can fix this."
The nurse and two men looked at her incredulously, but she just turned to the patient and regained her focus.
The left lung had one rib piercing it, but it wasn't severe.
The right lung, on the other hand, was concerning.
Two ribs had pierced through the bottom and completely mangled the bottom of her lung.
First things first. Tsunade reached in and gently removed the ribs from the lungs and placed them to the side.
She laid her hand flat on her lung and looked at the cohabitants in the Operating Room.
"Do not disturb me. This is a delicate process. A wrong move on my part can handicap her for life."
The nurse and two men paled and rapidly nodded, but crept closer, curious about what she was going to do.
Tsunade closed her eyes and channeled her Chakra, activating the modified version of the Cell Activation Technique with this world's Chakra. But instead of the soft green glow it was in her previous life, it was a pale orange glow.
But hey, it worked the same way, so no complaints from her.
Slowly she sunk her Chakra into the patient's lungs, enveloping around each and every cell until she could feel the familiar thrumming, the one that signified the success of the technique. She could feel the patient's lungs as if they were her own.
She urged the cells to begin cell reproduction, carefully monitoring the process as the cells rapidly multiplied into tissue, slowly replacing the damaged areas.
All the damaged tissue she cautiously burned away with her Chakra, carefully making sure that it didn't interfere with the reproduction process.
After a long 20 minutes, she finally opened her eyes, satisfied with the results.
She turned to Jiraiya, whose face was screwed up in concentration, and her helpers who were looking at her with something akin to awe and disbelief.
She rolled her eyes. Of course they would. She literally grew back a part of an irreparable organ in front of their eyes.
She scowled. She was disappointed in herself. That level of healing had taken way too long and had exhausted her more than it should have.
This new child body didn't have nearly the same amount of stamina it had in her previous life, tempered through hard training and a lifetime of self-discipline.
And this new Chakra. She needed to focus a lot harder to control it to the same level as she controlled her Chakra in her previous life. She had yet to break herself out of the habit of using that kind of Chakra so control of this kind wasn't second nature to her yet.
Something that she had to change as soon as possible.
She shook herself out of her stupor and leaned in to observe the patient.
Her lungs were steadily rising and falling in time to the Respirator. Everything seemed to be in order. She rearranged all of the ribs and without prompting Jiraiya placed seals on all of them, straightening them with quiet clicks.
"Suture Needle and Thread. .6 mm. Closing affected site."
Another ripple of her Chakra to prevent scarring.
"Patient has been stabilized. Initiate blood transfusion." Tsunade's eyes roved over her form, calculating the volume. "2.25 liters."
The nurse bowed reverently. "Hai, Sensei-sama!"
Great. Hero worship. You show people one miracle and they act like you're God.
"Moving to the throat. Scalpel."
She carefully sliced an incision to the side of the patient's Trachea and frowned when she concluded that it had collapsed like a tin can.
She pulsed her Chakra around the tube and forced it to right itself. A nauseating snapping noise sounded out in the silent atmosphere.
The man who had previously thrown up retched. The other man looked green in the face and the nurse stood stock still.
After a few minutes of stabilizing the stiff cartilage, she removed her hand and held it out.
"Suture Needle and Thread. .4 mm."
She stitched up the patient's throat and ran the Chakra through her once more to confirm that there were no undue technicalities.
Now for the hard part.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. After holding it for a few seconds, she heavily released it.
She opened her eyes, now full of concentration, and without looking at her helpers, addressed them.
"Again, completely silent. No distractions. I don't have the Chakra control I'd like to have right now. That coupled with the fact that I'm operating on the patient's Brain and Spinal Cord…"
She trailed off ominously. She observed that one of the guards looked at her in confusion.
"Well, let me put it this way. If you disturb me and something goes wrong, I'll make sure that the state of your Brain and Spinal Cord will match the patient's."
Good. She got through to them.
She cracked her knuckles before placing her hand on the patient's forehead.
Her surroundings blurred around her as she went into the meditative state that she was prone to go into in her early days, before years of training tempered her concentration and skill of manipulating Chakra.
But in this new body, all her skills were back to square zero.
Her so-called 'perfect' Chakra control was now a thing of the past. The only reason that this new Chakra even listened to her was because of mental discipline and good old Will Power.
Her stamina? Reduced along with her age.
Her strength? Negligible. She wasn't capable of doing more than making itty bitty craters on the ground. And she wouldn't be until she reformed the Yin Seal on her forehead.
Speaking of, that little son of a bitch was coming along swimmingly. It was soaking up her Chakra like a depraved sponge. It was the opposite of last time, where she had to continuously feed Chakra into her Seal to complete it, but now she had to restrict the flow, otherwise it'd soak too much up at once without assimilating it, thus unraveling the seal.
She couldn't wait until she regained the Seal.
Then she would regain a good portion of her previous Iryo-Ninjutsu skills back.
Oh, and the 'Strength of a Hundred' technique.
Yes, she was looking forward to the future.
Her Chakra wrapped around the patient's nervous system and urged to cells to slowly stop swelling. The patient's Brain was swollen to the point that it was pressing up against their skull. If it swelled anymore, the compression would probably cause her Brain to be permanently damaged.
The best way to deal with it would be to open up her head and remove a chunk of her skull but fuck that.
She wouldn't do things half-assed. There was still a high chance for inflammation if left alone like that. Not to mention it would take the patient ages to fully recover.
So manually urging the swelling to go down herself, it is.
But the tricky part was that the Hormone managing inflammation was very close in configuration to the Hormone for unlimited, cancerous growth. Only a tiny little Carboxyl group of difference.
One single screw up and the patient would have tumors in her brain faster than you could say "Oh shit".
Well, here goes nothing.
May the God of Unnaturally Good Chakra Control be smiling down on her today.
A good 7 hours after the surgery began, all the available members of the Kiyoijuu Yakuza group were gathered around the doors where Milady was being operated on.
The usually good-natured group sat in grim silence as they waited for the red light outside the operating room to turn off.
More than one sniff was heard from the assembled men at the thought of their beautiful and kind Milady not making it.
Of course, Boss had to be taking it the hardest. He adored Milady. He loved her more than could possibly be explained.
But he showed no weakness as he silently sat with his eyes closed, one leg crossed over the other.
As expected of Boss.
More than one member was clenching their hands at the thought of the Kowazumi Gang.
That cursed Gang was under the influence of one of Tokyo's successful politicians. The bastard was trying to force them off their own turf by using his widespread influence.
He was the one who had forbidden all the Hospitals in Tokyo from treating any member of their gang, instructing them to immediately turn them away whenever one of them came for aid.
Then he started pulling hits on them.
At first it was the few grunts and new members of the Clan that were targeted. But none of them suffered anything exceedingly severe, all of their wounds able to be treated by themselves.
Then the Noble Ten began to be targeted.
All of them had managed to escape unharmed since all of them were prevalent warriors in their own right, but hits were still carried out on them.
Then… Milady was targeted.
And she didn't escape uninjured.
She was in such a bad state that even a team of seasoned surgeons couldn't confirm her chances of survival.
And now, some kids were conducting the surgery.
But Boss said it was ok. So they'd listen.
Suddenly, the red light to the operating room turned off.
Everybody held their breath in anticipation.
The doors creaked open and the small figure of the girl stepped out, her blue scrubs drenched in blood.
She looked straight at Boss, and without an ounce of hesitation, proclaimed "Surgery successful."
Then, without warning, she collapsed, her friend catching her right before she hit the ground. As he cradled her to his chest, he smirked over at Boss.
"Well, we kept our end of the bargain. What about you?"
Tsunade woke up with a bitch of a headache. She wanted to wallow in self-pity when she heard some very questionable noises.
"Oooh, yeah! Mmmm, yeah baby, don't stop! Ohhhh!"
Tsunade slowly rose from her spot, her aura swirling around her in malice as she eyed a white-haired boy staring at a TV screen with his face slack, pupils dilated and blood dribbling from his nose.
"Ahhhhh! YES! OH GOD YES! Mmmmmm, faster! Harder!"
A heavy tick formed on her eyebrow and she viciously lashed out at him. With a startled yelp he went tumbling to the floor, turning back to look at her with nervousness in his eyes.
"YOU DARE WATCH THAT FILTH IN MY PRESENCE?"
"Ahhh, Hime, it's just that you were asleep and I didn't want to leave you…"
She raised her fist to beat the ever-living crud out of him, but before she could start, the bedroom door silently swung open, revealing the Boss.
He stared blankly at the two kids.
"AHH YES! YES! I'M CUMMING! YEEEEES!"
"… Is this a bad time?"
"My name is Hibari Seigi. I am the Head of the Kiyoijuu Clan. I would like to offer my thanks for your services."
He bowed deeply to them.
"I offer you my life to do with it what you will."
Tsunade stared at him, then snorted.
"You're the Head of a Criminal Organization and your name is 'Justice'?"
Seigi raised himself from his bow and regarded them.
"You are not the first to observe it. In fact, that was the first thing my wife ever said to me."
Jiraiya perked up. "Your wife? Was she the one that Hime was treating?"
"Yes. Her name is Song Ji-Min. She is a native of Korea. Her father is the Head of a large Organization there."
He eyed them solemnly. "If you wouldn't mind, I would like to request you to join my Clan. We will be able to repay you in full if you agree."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed. "Ho? And why would I want to do that?"
He eyed her gravely.
"Because you now have a target painted on your back."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed and Jiraiya tensed next to her. "Explain."
"A Politician by the name of Sogoui Narashi leads a criminal organization known as the Kowazumi Gang. He has complete control over Hospitals and only allows them to treat who he deems worthy."
Seigi's expression remained placid, but Tsunade could see a white-hot rage burning behind his eyes.
"He has been targeting my own and refusing them care all in the hopes that he would be able to drive us off our territory. I have been tolerant of his behavior up to the point he targeted Ji-Min." His eyes flashed with intense bloodlust. "But no more. He has declared war on us, and I will eradicate him with my own two hands."
He regarded them solemnly. "Sogoui was undoubtedly informed of Ji-Min's state after the accident and he fully expects her to be dead, or at the very least, comatose. But she has made a perfect, flawless recovery."
His tone was sharply grave. "I have seen that you are skilled. Your companion as well. But Sogoui is no simple opponent. Because of his wealth and influence, he has unlimited resources to man-power and fire-power. His political backing is the most concerning. If he deems so, your entire family could be imprisoned for life on false charges."
"It will be some time until you will be able to completely fend for yourself independently. I offer you induction into the Clan until that time. Your name will be protected under ours."
Tsunade leaned back and frowned.
Well. This was problematic.
She could handle all these little grunts, but the mechanism known as 'guns' in this new world were terrifyingly deadly.
In her professional opinion, she would not be able to survive an encounter with them unless she had her instant regeneration back. And that would only come when her seal was reformed.
That damn seal.
So now she was stuck between a rock and a really hard place.
She thought she left behind power-hungry politicians with a penchant for oppression back in her previous life, but it seemed not.
She didn't want to see Nana in Jail. Even if the woman was completely psychotic, she wouldn't last with those kinds of maniacs.
But Iemitsu on the other hand…
The Voice frowned at her reprimandingly and she felt like she was a child again, being scolded by grumpy old Uncle Tobirama.
Fine. So she would join the Clan.
The Voice hummed happily.
Oh, that little bitch.
So that was its aim? To make her join a Yakuza Family?
The Voice buzzed in agreement, content.
Well. That did it. She was never going to listen to it again.
"I agree to your terms. We will join the Kiyoijuu Clan."
Jiraiya closed his eyes, looking unbelievably exhausted. "Hai, Hime. Fine, we'll join."
Seigi looked at them, a hint of a smirk on his lips.
And that was how Tsunade and Jiraiya were inducted into the most powerful Yakuza Family in Japan.
Chapter 5: Chapter 5
In which Jiraiya and Tsunade get properly introduced to the Dark Side.
A week after the 'incident', Seigi called them both in to finalize the details of their Induction.
"There are several things which are required from all members of the Kiyoijuu Clan. First of all, there can be no betrayal. Under no circumstances. If they happen to do so, they will be sentenced to death in front of the entire Clan."
Jiraiya snorted. "Are there actually people who are stupid enough to try and sell the Clan out?"
Seigi narrowed his eyes. "Actually, yes. The location of Ji-Min was sold to Sougoi by two of her subordinates. They are to be executed in front of the Clan in 3 days. You both must be there."
Jiraiya's jaw dropped. "Seriously?"
"Hn. You will both make your official debut there."
"No, not about that!"
Tsunade elbowed him. "Jiraiya, there are always stupid people. Leave it."
Seigi looked at them with a hint of confusion. "You two are not bothered by the prospect that this person is going to be killed in front of you?"
"No. Should we?"
He eyed them silently a moment longer, then abruptly changed the subject.
"All members of the Clan are required to have a design tattooed on their back after 3 years of service. It is to signify that you are a full-fledged member of the Clan."
Tsunade and Jiraiya stayed silent, considering the implications of such a thing.
In their previous world, unless you were an accomplished Seal Master, tattoos were simply not done. They were too noticeable and attention-grabbing. Even Seal Masters, if they decided to tattoo themselves, it would be like painting a target on their backs. It'd be like proclaiming, "Hey, relatively competent Seal Specialist over here! Do what you want with me! Freebie up for the taking!"
Any shinobi who did tattoo themselves early on didn't last very long. After all, there was only a certain amount of time you could use a Genjutsu to cover it up.
But on this world, the rules were completely different.
Things like strong scents and tattoos were everyday things that both Civilians and the Underground wore. It was exponentially less hazardous here.
And it seemed like it was tradition. When in Rome…
Tsunade crossed her arms. "Alright. What kinds of tattoos?"
Seigi inclined his head in thought. "Well, there are many kinds. The more general members prefer to get a collage of designs, like flowers and flames. But the members which have a bit of weight in the Clan all get a picture of an animal. It's a tribute to our Clan name."
Kiyoijuu. Noble beasts.
"Traditionally, the images are tattooed on the recipient's back. That generally becomes their moniker and trademark. But there are additional tattoos for the Noble Ten."
"Huh? The Noble 10? What's that?"
Other than a play on the Clan's name… Clever.
"The Noble 10 are the top of the Clan. As the title suggests, there are 10 members on the Board who are at the top of their departments or have a high political standing. All of us are proficient in Combat and are suitable replacements to lead the Clan in case the Leader falls. They are all characterized by tattoos of their chosen animal on their arms."
Tsunade and Jiraya eyed him in fascination. "May we see your tattoos?"
Seigi was silent for a moment, silently contemplating. When they were sure that he would refuse them, he nodded his acquiescence.
He gracefully stood, then turned around. He removed his smooth, pressed suit jacket and laid it on a nearby chair. He reached up and efficiently undid his buttons and shrugged off his shirt.
Tsunade and Jiraiya's mouths fell open.
It… was beautiful.
On Seigi's broad, toned back was the image of a howling wolf done in silvery greys and blacks. It was mournfully singing to the full moon, its expression as it did so unbelievably heart wrenching. It looked almost alive against the rippling, toned muscles of his back.
"Wow… that's something."
Ah, Jiraiya. Always so eloquent.
Seigi turned around and held out his lean forearms. Encircling them were wolves done in the same style, except now they were prowling predatorily.
"All the members of the Noble 10 have similar tattoos on their forearms. It is one of the forms of identification."
Tsunade and Jiraiya were still stunned by the beauty of the tattoos. Finally, Jiraiya turned to Tsunade with a determined look on his face.
"Hime, I want one. Of a Toad."
Seigi chuckled softly. "I'm afraid that you don't get to pick the symbols for yourself. There is an ancient line of Tattoo Masters who are affiliated to our Clan who have the ability to determine the most suitable image for each and every person who approaches them. They will then proceed to tattoo them with that very image. It's not a simple ability. It allows them to read a person's very being and determine the physical representation for it. It is a highly coveted ability that is seen nowhere else. People all over the world come to get read and tattooed by them for a hefty price."
How strange, these people sounded like they had a special Kekkai Genkai. It was interesting to note that they still existed in this world.
He gazed at the two while they looked at him with rapt attention.
"But do not concern yourselves over that right now. You both still have to wait for 3 years before you will be presented in front of them.
"For now, I have a particular request for the both of you. You both are residents of the town Namimori, correct?"
The two Sannin warily nodded.
"My family resides there as well. My brother Masai is the head of the Japanese Police Force. The base for the Force is in Namimori. He is a member of the Noble 10 along with his wife, Tian Li Fen. Like Ji-Min, she is the daughter of an Influential Chinese Triad Family Head. Both Ji-Min and Li Fen were best friends growing up and are still very close.
He sighed and hesitated, wondering how to word the next bit. "Masai's son is around your age. He is very talented in Combat, a prodigy. He is extremely smart and capable as well."
Tsunade sensed his hesitation. "But?"
"But… he has a very violent disposition. That in itself is nothing out of the ordinary, as both Masai and I were the same way as children. All Hibaris are. But by the time we were teenagers, it had mellowed out and we had gained a semblance of Self-Control.
"Kyoya is… unique. Our mother worked hard to straighten us out, to make sure that we didn't indiscriminately massacre everything in our path. But Li Fen… she finds his attitude… amusing. So she encourages it. And it's causing a bit of a disturbance."
Jiraiya frowned. "Ok. What do you want us to do?"
Seigi grimaced. "I'd like you both to go back to Namimori and reign him in. I know that the both of you are extremely capable, possibly more so than Kyoya is, and I'd like you to straighten him out." His grimace deepened. "Or at least, attempt to. He is to be the next Head of the Clan. Before he takes the seat, he has to be taught self-control."
Tsunade's brow wrinkled. "But what about our classes?"
Seigi raised his eyebrow. "You mean the ones at Tokyo University?" He scoffed. "Please, you know as well as I do that those are a joke to you. You've been skipping out on half the classes and are still ranked in the top 10. You're only attending to get the certificate."
A hint of a devious smirk made its way to his lips. "If it's that way, I'm sure that the Principal and you could… come to an understanding."
Tsunade and Jiraiya stormed into the office of the Principal of the prestigious University of Tokyo.
Realistically, Tsunade stormed in and Jiraiya was pathetically dragged along behind her.
She slammed the door open and made her way to the startled man and stood before him, her arms crossed across her chest.
"Hello, Principal-san. I have a few requests I'd like to make. I'd advise you to immediately comply with them, otherwise…"
She grabbed his desk and swung it out the window, shattering it with a loud crash. There were a few moments of stunned silence before there was a deafening crunching noise, followed by the blare of a car alarm.
A bright light flashed and waves of flame licked at the sky.
Tsunade smiled menacingly.
"Now, about my requests…"
The Principal gulped.
"C-Can I just u-update my Will first?"
Jiraiya was rich.
Tsunade didn't know how or why, but he was rich.
He was on the computer when she returned home after a session of Iryo-Ninjutsu practice, and he was huddled close to his laptop screen, cradling it protectively.
At first, she thought it was Porn and walked over to him to give him a beat down on Ethics.
Then, just as her arm was mid-swing, she realized that Jiraiya wasn't doing anything obscene. No giggling, no groping, no nose-bleeds.
Then she saw the gigantic number on the screen.
Then she saw the Yen symbol in front of it.
Then she saw Jiraiya's name at the corner.
Unfortunately, she wasn't able to stop her swing on time and ended up smashing both Jiraiya and his laptop.
All further inquiries about it were rebuffed.
Jiraiya tried to surreptitiously avoid bookstores when he was with Tsunade.
She didn't realize it.
He hoped she never would.
He didn't want to be reincarnated a third time.
It was the day of the execution.
Tsunade and Jiraiya were expected to make their debut into the Clan officially, and because of that were expected to dress up elaborately.
Tsunade had the choice between a formal Kimono and a frock.
She went for the Kimono immediately. No way was anyone stuffing her into that frilly monstrosity.
Jiraiya was also given the choice between Japanese and Western, however, he chose to wear a crisp, pressed suit instead.
Tsunade scowled as she tried to gently brush the knots out of his hair. He was attempting to grow it out again, though it was only long enough for it to form a tiny little pigtail when he tied it.
"Goddamn it, Jiriaya, if your hair ends up like a rat's nest like last time, I'll cut it off when you're sleeping."
He scowled. "Hime, if you do that, I'll rig my hair so that whatever you do to it will happen to yours too."
She yanked on his white locks and he yelped in surprise. "Don't you go threatening me. I'll demolish you."
He gulped and pouted, but turned around with a frown, allowing her to finish grooming him.
Once she finished untangling his hair, she bound it behind his head in a tight ponytail. She examined him, then nodded in satisfaction. "Good."
She turned around to get started on her own hair. It was still as ridiculously unruly as it had initially been, but now that it was longer, it was starting to lay flatter than it had when she had short hair. She normally threw it in a messy braid because trying her previous hairstyle of twin pigtails had ended… unfavorably.
We don't talk about it. Ever.
But now, she carefully removed all the tangles in her hair, then elaborately twisted it and brought it up into an elegant bun. Holding it with one hand, she stuck her other one out towards Jiriaya.
He handed her an ornate hair stick that Nana had bought her. She carefully slid it in and turned to the mirror, carefully appraising her appearance.
She looked more cute than elegant, but it would have to do.
Tsunade turned to Jiraiya and nodded. "Let's go."
They made their way down the Mansion into the underground level where the Execution was being conducted.
When they reached the doors, the guard sneered at them.
"Go home, kiddies. Your parents will be out later."
Tsunade gifted him with her most aloof and bored look. "Don't bother wasting your meager amount of brain cells on us. We are members of the Clan. Seigi has instructed us to come."
The man gasped and turned red. "You dare speak Hibari-sama's name so flippantly?"
She condescendingly stared at him. "I do what I want, trash."
A vein bulged on his forehead in anger. "You bitch."
Jiriaya stepped in front of Tsunade, his eyes flashing yellow. "You will not address her that way, you pathetic piss-ant. Seigi is indebted to Hime because she saved Lady Ji-Min's life. You will show her the respect she deserves. You will let us pass."
The man stepped forward, his hand raised to strike when a voice as cold as the arctic stopped him in his tracks.
"Kojuro. What are you doing?"
"Hibari-sama, these upstart children are causing trouble. I'm just showing them their place."
Seigi's silver eyes flashed. With all the grace of a predator, he stalked up to the guard and placed a hand on his shoulder. After a second, the guard cried out in pain and fell to his knees, desperately grabbing at Seigi's hand.
Seigi regarded him coldly. "Tsunayoshi-sensei saved my wife's life. My life is her own. She deserves the respect of her position."
He released the man and turned to the two children. "I apologize. This is exactly why I demanded that you two make your debut as soon as possible."
He led them into the room where around five hundred people were already gathered. There was a low hum of conversation that was around the crowd.
The room was shaped in a miniature stadium of sorts, with seats encircling a platform. Most of the seats were already filled with elegant-looking people.
Right at the bottom of the stadium was a small panel of 10 seats. 8 of them were already filled, all the occupants either sitting still of chatting with each other.
As Seigi led Tsunade and Jiraiya to their seats, a quiet stillness fell over the crowd.
Seigi gestured to two seats that were behind the panel. They both silently made their way to them and gracefully sat.
Seigi nodded and turned to the crowd.
"Good morning. As you all know, we are gathered here today for the righteous retribution of Noble 10 member and Head Lady of the Clan, Song Ji Min. If she could be brought in."
Two doors leading outside the arena opened with a creak and a gorgeous woman wrapped in bandages who was in a wheelchair rolled herself in. Tsunade could hear protests from outside the door insisting for them to assist her, but the woman gracefully ignored them and rolled herself inside the room with dignity.
She rolled herself to the panel, over to one of the empty seats. Without prompting, Seigi removed the chair and she rolled to her position.
She briefly turned to him and a flash of a smile made its way onto her face before it left, her solemn countenance returning.
"Song Ji Min has been wronged by the accused. Bring them in."
The doors opened once more and snarls could be heard from the two women who were being dragged in. The had manacles around their wrists which clinked loudly as they struggled.
"Song Ji Min has the right to decide the fate of the accused."
The beautiful Korean woman coldly turned to the two women.
"Explain why you did what you did."
They sneered at her. "Because of you, you bitch! You have everything! Everything! Looks, money, fame, power, and especially Seigi-sama! Just because you're born to a prestigious family you get everything! We've loved Seigi-sama and Masai-sama for 17 years, and you and that Chinese whore came and took them away from us! You think you're so special. We've waited for them since we were children! They never even look at us! It's your fault!"
Ji Min listened impassively to the entire tirade without a slip in her demeanor. Finally, she eyed them frostily.
"I will not apologize. Seigi is mine. I will not share him with anyone. Ever. Your incompetent jealousy almost cost the Clan that your '' so dearly loves to lose one of its biggest allies. Did you consider the repercussions of your actions? No. Obviously not. And so I sentence you both to death as an example to those who would let their personal agendas harm the Clan so extensively."
She straightened her spine. "I myself am unable to carry out the punishment. I request that someone does so in my place."
There was a silence, then a sharp, raspy voice spoke. "Milady Ji Min, if I may be so bold, I have a suggestion."
Ji-Min's eyes narrowed along with Seigi's. "Please proceed."
An old man stood. He had a menacing twinkle in his eyes as he looked at Seigi.
"Seigi-sama has recently displayed a surprising amount of favor to two new members of the Clan. But surprisingly, these new members are merely children! But," He looked conspiratorially at the crowd, "This Clan does not accept just any member! It only accepts the Elite and Noble!" A cheer rose up from the crowd.
Tsunade and Jiraiya scowled. A politician. He was rousing the Clan and turning them against them. This was not good.
The old man still continued on. "What do they have that we do not? How hard we had to work to be inducted and they immediately gain the favor of our esteemed leader? What do they possess that we do not?"
He adopted a faux-contemplative pose. "Ah! I have heard somethings. I am sure that many of you have heard it too. Heard a whisper of a rumor that this little boy and girl were the one who conducted the complex surgery on Lady Ji Min! Our illustrious lady who was said to be at death's door with no cure in sight! That these two children were able to successfully operate on her when even Head Doctor Nobunaga couldn't!"
He gestured to a cruel-looking man sitting next to him. The man looked delighted with the frenzy that the politician had stirred the crowd into. His body twitched from suppressed excitement.
"I have to wonder… is it true? How could it be true? How could mere children do what the accomplished Head Doctor couldn't?"
He whipped around to a stiff Seigi, a feral excitement in his eyes. "But would our noble leader lie to us? He would never," His voice ridiculously patronizing.
"But it has to be wondered. Nobody was allowed into or out of the surgery room in the entire 7 hours that it was conducted. One has to wonder…" His voice lowered until it was almost a whisper. The entire audience was at the edge of their seat, anticipating what was going to be said next.
"…Did they really do it? Or have they taken credit for someone else's miraculous work? After all, who could believe that mere children could accomplish something deemed impossible?"
Tsunade's armrest broke under the pressure she was pressing it.
Seigi's eyes blazed with fury but he never let it leak through his composed demeanor.
"What are you suggesting, Takikabe?"
The old politician's eyes shone in triumph. "Since Seigi-sama has deemed these children worthy enough to hold our Clan Name, I propose that we let the children kill the traitorous scum. After all," He eyed Seigi maliciously, "Our noble leader's judgement couldn't be mistaken, could it?"
He turned to the crowd and waved his hands with a flourish. "Let them prove themselves worthy to us!"
The crowd roared.
Seigi looked murderous.
Tsunade could hear Jiraiya grit his teeth next to her.
She sympathized. She hated being a politician's plaything and recognized this for what it was.
A play for power.
The conniving old man known as Takikabe, whom Tsunade mentally dubbed as Danzo the second, was trying to undermine Seigi's authority and make it his own in one fell swoop.
By pressuring the 'children' to kill the two women, he would reap the rewards of watching the two innocent little kids lose their composure and prove themselves to be unworthy of bearing the Clan name. The repercussions would fall on Seigi's shoulders since he was the one to favor them.
Wow. That's some real vindictive shit.
And it would have worked, too, if Tsunade and Jiraya were normal kids.
But the catch: they weren't.
They were the goddamn Godaime Hokage and the Most Accomplished Spy-Master of their Era.
What a sucker.
Tsunade rose to her feet and gracefully glided to the arena, Jiraya a few steps behind her.
The cheering subsided as Tsunade and Jiraiya stood in front of the Noble 10 panel.
The two Sannin bowed to Seigi in unison before rising up and turning to the politician.
Tsunade looked at him with contempt and spat at his feet.
The sound echoed in the silent room, everyone frozen with shock.
"I am Tsunade and I will not be handled as if I am some lowly pawn. I answer only to Hibari Seigi. I do not follow any of your fantastical whims, you despicable fossil. Regardless of whether you are a member of the Noble 10 or not, I will not bow to you. I will be upfront. I intend to take my seat in the Noble 10, and I will do so by the time I receive my tattoo. Brace yourselves."
Jiraiya chucked. "It's just as my Hime said. We will not bow to anyone. You will have to gain our respect. We only do this now to prove to anyone who dares doubt our skills that we are not some naïve little children who do not know what they are getting into. Watch closely and see the extent of our true capabilities."
Jiraiya strode over to one of the girls who was eyeing him with disdainful amusement.
"Wanna play with the big kids, little boy? You can't handle us!"
Jiraiya silently placed his palm on her stomach, and a moment later, a bright golden seal appeared on her stomach.
There was silence as the entire stadium waited to see what happened. When there was no change, the woman turned to him and cackled madly.
"You're useless! Nothi-"
She sharply cut herself off as she began to scream horrifically. She collapsed onto her knees, then fell over and spasmed wildly.
Her screams echoed in the cavern as everyone silently watched the spectacle in front of them in horrified awe.
The woman's cries grew more and more horrific as her body compressed itself. Her eyes bulged out of her head and her blood spurt from her skin from the pressure.
Her body continued to flatten itself. Her eyeballs popped free of her head and her boned ripped through her skin. Bodily fluids stained the floor around her writhing form.
Suddenly, her screams stopped. She laid still on the floor, her body a disfigured pile of mush.
Jiraiya turned to the stunned crowd. "You see, I am quite knowledgeable in all the different ways to kill a Human Being. Fast, slow, painless, excruciating, obvious, inconspicuous, I know it all."
He gestured to Tsunade.
"But Hime is familiar to many more ways than I am. She has an intimate understanding of the Human Body, much more than I do. She is not someone you want to mess with."
Somebody scoffed. "How could it get worse than that?"
Tsunade strode to the remaining girl who was trembling madly. She reached a hand out to her and the woman flinched back in terror. But Tsunade didn't strike her. She simply caressed her cheek gently, leaning in and intimately kissing the girl's neck. The girl's trembling lessened minutely, a small sound of approval escaping her lips.
Tsunade eyed the politician. He looked shaken but he still hadn't broken.
That wouldn't do.
Keeping direct eye contact with him, she slowly ran her tongue up the woman's throat. She let out a throaty moan.
Tsunade pumped her Chakra into the woman, who arched her back in pleasure, panting wantonly.
She smirked scornfully at him. "How can it get worse? How foolish. It can always get worse."
The woman moaned helplessly, trying to rub herself against Tsunade, desperately seeking release.
Tsunade looked at the cruel-looking man who the politician had announced to be the Head Doctor of the Clan.
Tsunade smiled viciously at him.
That position would be hers.
"You see, the Human Body is a very complex thing. There are so many parts to it that have to work together just right in order for it to function properly."
Tsunade reached down to the woman's core and applied the slightest hint of pressure. The woman howled in pleasure.
"But regardless of how complex it is as a whole, it is laughably easy to fool it. Such as tweaking the nerves to think that unbearable pain is the most delicious, succulent pleasure."
Tsunade activated Chakra Scalpels on her fingertips and tore into the woman's stomach. Blood and bits of flesh dripped down, but the woman moaned in ecstasy.
Gasps of horror ran through the crowd.
"And no matter if she knows that she is dying. Her own body will seek it's mutilation because it craves that elusive release."
The woman's intestines slithered onto the floor, landing in a wet puddle. She arched her back, uncaring of it.
Tsunade cut through the woman's arms, almost completely severing them. Still she begged for more.
She cut her legs off too.
By now, Tsunade could hear the tell-tale sounds of people vomiting in the crowd.
She smiled evilly. Time to hammer the last nail in the coffin.
"She will attain the utmost amount of pleasure just as she dies. When I pierce her brain, crumple her throat, crush her heart."
She reached into the woman's chest and grabbed the erratically beating heart. She crushed between her fingers, blood spurting out of the hole in the woman's chest.
As she died, the woman screamed in ultimate bliss.
She passed away with a peaceful smile on her face, contradictory to her mangled body.
There was pin-drop silence as she turned to the crowd.
She lifted her blood-stained hand.
"This hand has the ability to both bring people from the brink of death and forcefully send them there. I am no mere child. Try to take advantage of me, I will kill you. Approach me for recovery, and I will heal you. We are members of the Clan. Remember that."
There was silence, then the arena exploded into thunderous cheers.
Jiraiya smirked and pulled Tsunade to his side.
He playfully murmured in her ear. "All hail the Godaime Hokage. Fear her prowess both in battle and in bed. You'll have the best sex you've ever had, then you'll end up a bloody puddle on the floor."
She whacked him. "Stop it. We're seven years old right now. Save it for when we hit puberty."
He snorted. "Didn't stop me from getting a boner when you were licking her." His eyes became distant. "Maybe I should use it in the next edition…"
She gave him a funny look. "What?"
He turned pale and turned away. "Nothing."
She stared at him, then shrugged. Whatever. He was such a weirdo sometimes.
She turned to the panel. Siegi had a pleased look on his face. He nodded to her and she nodded back.
Turning, she saw that the politician and doctor had murderous looks on their faces.
Looks like she made some new enemies.
Meh. It's not like that was anything new.
After all, being the Hokage wasn't all sunshine and giggles.
Tsunade sat silently in a corner, deep in her thoughts.
"Hime, are you ok?"
Still no answer. Jiraiya went to her and sat down at her side.
Finally, after a long silence, she looked at him.
"I feel like a horrible person."
He eyed her. "Because of the execution."
She made a sound of agreement. "We've done much worse in the 2nd Shinobi War, but still. None of these people know how to access Chakra. It's like I tortured a Civilian to death. That's what makes it feel so wrong."
Jiraiya sighed. "Hime. I'm not going to tell you that what we did today wasn't wrong. We abused our powers to the extreme. The last time I used that specific Seal was when some Iwa Shinobi were holding a group of abused and raped women hostage for their pleasure. You violated your Oath by using your Iryo-Ninjutsu in such a cruel manner."
He wrapped an arm around her shoulder, tucking her wilting form into his side. "But those women broke the Taboo. When you were Hokage, if you found someone leaking enemies information, what would you have done?"
"Send them straight to T & I in pieces." She mumbled.
"Exactly. They would have torn them apart. It's the same here. And it's not like you enjoyed it. That dumbass second coming of Danzo forced our hand. If we hadn't done it, Seigi would have been disgraced and we would be targets. We needed to send a message, and we did. That's all there is to it."
She sat silently for a while longer, enjoying his reassuring warmth.
Finally, she turned to him with a small smile on her lips. "Never change, Jiraiya."
His smile was blindingly bright. "I wouldn't dream of it, Hime."
Seigi once again summoned them for a meeting after all the Clan members had dispersed.
As soon as Tsunade and Jiraiya stepped into the room, they were glomped by a loud, squealing figure.
"Oooooh, you two are just so cute! You both did so well today! Seigi was very impressed, and he doesn't even have any other facial expressions other than 'scowly' and 'smirky'."
Tsunade stood in astonished silence while Jiraiya giggled in delight, enjoying the woman's soft chest pressed against his face.
Tsunade was shocked. Was this how people felt when she had hugged them in her previous body? Suffocated and smothered?
The Voice answered yes. Yes they did.
She pulled away and the two Sannin and beamed. Song Ji Min was a far cry from the cold lady they had seen in the arena. She looked bubbly and bright, full of life despite the fact that she had been on death's door not even two weeks ago.
"I have to thank you both! You saved my life! Man, if I died, the Gang back home would've been pissed."
Jiraiya was still dreamily staring at her and Seigi began to eye him intently. Tsunade rammed an elbow into his side and he yelped. "Ah… which Gang are you talking about?"
She smiled fondly. "The Bichgwa Eodum Gang. You may have heard of them. They have a cover as a famous Record Company?"
Jiraiya's mouth fell open in excitement. "Bichgwa Eodum? As in the Company contracted to Lovely Girlz, Chocolate Sauce and Hot Spice? The three most successful K-Pop girl groups in the industry today? That Bichgwa Eodum?
She beamed, sparkles twinkling around her. "Yup! That's the one! My dad's the PD of the Company and the Gang Head. I'm his youngest child. My older brother is the heir to the Company, but I have a pretty big say on how things are run. I'm also the Combat Trainer of all the Idols."
At Tsunade's questioning look, she giggled. "You see, they aren't just plain old boring Idols. Those are all so last year. All of our Idols are members of the Gang and have the full support of us behind them. It's easier to do business around the world when you're famous, so we train them to be the best of the best in business, communication and combat. And the best thing is that since they're in the public eye with an unbelievable fan base, they can't be attacked indiscriminately without a riot breaking out! It's awesome!"
She shook her head rapidly. "No no no, off-topic. Back to me. So I'm a master in 3 different kinds of weapons and have black belts in two styles of Tae Kwon Do. I'm familiar enough to use at least 8 other weapons in combat. That's even more than my brother! So I'm the one who trains each and every one of them, and so I have all their numbers. Do you want to meet them? Lovely Girlz, Chocolate Sauce and Hot Spice, I mean?"
Jiraiya stared at her for a long moment, then fell to her feet and began blubbering.
"YES! Yes I wanna meet them, you kind benevolent goddess, oh my god I'm going to meet Chocolate Sauce, Pinky Noona, Ji-Ae Noona, Jeong-Hye Noona, oh my god I'm going to meet my goddesses is this a dream I hope that they're even hotter up close oh my god I wonder if I can get their panties oh lord that would be beautiful, maybe ask them for a personal dance? They wouldn't deny a seven-year-old boy, would they…"
Tsunade kicked him. "Get up, Jiraiya, you're embarrassing yourself." She turned to the amused Ji Min. "It's nice to meet you, Lady Ji Min. I hope that you are healing well."
The Korean beauty glomped Tsunade again, much to the little girl's chagrin. "Yes I am! And all thanks to you!"
Tsunade grimaced in the woman's hold. "That's good."
She could hear Seigi's exasperated sigh. "Ji-Min, let her go. We have business to discuss."
Ji-Min pouted but released her death grip on the Slug Princess. "Aww, Sei-chan, you're no fun."
He ignored her and pulled a inconsolable Jiraiya to his feet.
"I called you here today to inform you of the Vindice."
Tsunade and Jiraiya were silent as they rode on the train taking them back to Namimori.
Through the gentle lulling rock of the locomotive, Jiraiya finally broke the silence.
"We're going to have to be careful. The Vindice… they're not someone we need to cross."
She murmured her assent. "You're right. We have enough on our plate. We don't need undead Mafia Police after us on top of all that."
Jiraiya turned to look out the window. "Well, we should be able to keep a low-ish profile in Namimori. The craziest thing over there is your Mom."
Tsunade snorted. "Show's what you know. You haven't even met Iemitsu yet. He very nearly drove me to insanity in my first 6 months of rebirth."
Jiraiya shuddered. "I really don't want to meet anyone worse than your Mom. She creeps me the fuck out, with her constant smile, constant happy humming and that kitchen knife always in her hand."
Horrific images of pleased humming, tortured screams, slicing noises and blood splatters and the call of 'Tsu-chan, dinner's ready!' flashed through Jiraiya's mind. He shivered and hugged himself.
"This mission is not going to be fun."
Chapter 6: Chapter 6
In which Tsunade meets our favorite little Carnivore, almost get crippled, and runs into an old, old friend.
(Is friend the right word to describe him? She doesn't really know.
But she's hopeful.)
Tsunade and Jiraiya had a list of things that they had to do.
First was moving back into their homes.
"Tsu-chan! You're back!"
"That's fantastic! Do you want me to clear your room out? I was using it as storage space for all the dead animals that I've killed."
"… What. Hime. Dead animals?"
"Yes. Despite not looking like it, Nana's an avid hunter. You should see her when she cleans the carcasses out and cooks them. You'd never see her happier."
"… Preparing... carcasses?"
"Oh yeah. She's a real pro. Her knife work is something else."
Jiraiya whimpered and backed away from the humming housewife.
Tsunade politely knocked on the Principal of Namimori Elementary School's door.
She pushed the door open and silently walked in.
Tsunade smiled maliciously.
A horrified scream echoed across the peaceful town.
Tsunade and Jiraiya sat in 2nd-grade class listening to the teacher explain the mind-bogglingly complex concept known as Subtraction.
"Ok, class! If I have 6 chocolates and I ate 4 pieces, how many more will I have?"
"No, she'll have none! I'll eat all of them!"
Jiriaya blanky turned to Tsunade. "Hime. Why?"
Tsunade looked up from the text on Ear Surgery she was engrossed in. "Why what, Jiraiya?"
His eye twitched. "Why are we doing this? Why do we have to attend this torturous school?"
She hummed as she turned back to her text. "Weren't you the one who said that there was no way out of their shitty system?"
"Well, yeah. But that was before we joined the Yakuza and you destroyed multiple pieces of furniture. I wanna go back to Tokyo Uni."
"Why? It's not like you're learning anything new there. You already know all the ins and outs to business management from Sensei."
"Yeah, but still. At least I have some decent eye-candy. No matter how much of a Super-Pervert I am, I refuse to look at any of these underdeveloped pre-pubescent little girls."
"Oh, shut up. Don't think that I'm in any better situation. But we have to find the Hibari brat and straighten him out. He is going to be the future Head, after all. Think of it as going undercover for a mission. You may not like it, but you gotta do it."
Jiraiya's tone was positively whiney. "But Hime…"
"No buts. We're doing it."
He sighed petulantly.
"Ryohei-kun, would you know the answer to the question?"
He didn't bother looking at her. "2."
"Wow! That's right! Here, come take a sticker!"
Tsunade sniggered at his offended look.
Tsunade was extremely confused when a girl walked up to her.
"Hello! My name is Ami! Come play with us!"
Tsunade noticed a group of cute girls tittering behind her. She was receiving a few envious glares from a few other girls in the class.
She giggled. "Come play with us, silly!" She looked at the other girls in the class snobbily.
"Everybody doesn't get invited. Only pretty girls like us can play with us! Otherwises, we'll get infected with ugly!"
Tsunade stared at her.
Wow. Just… wow.
Number one. That grammar.
And number two. Kids are cruel sons of bitches.
Ami looked at Jiraiya condescendingly. "He can't come. Even if they're cute, boys are gross. My mama says that they'll grow up to be useless sacks of fat who only order women around. Girls are better than boys, so he can't come!"
Fantastic. A budding head-case with a psychotic mother feeding her bull.
"No thank you, Ami. Jiraiya's my best friend. I'll always stick with him."
All the girls in the class looked scandalized.
Ami looked dumbstruck.
"You… said no to me? To me?! My mommy's the vice-princeeepal of the school! She'll punish you!"
Tsunade leaned back in her chair and blankly stared up at her.
The girl stared at her for a second longer, before abruptly bursting into tears and running out the door. Not two minutes later, a severe-looking woman with a bun walked into the room and up to Tsunade.
"Detention, Sawada, for bullying Ami."
Several cries of protest rang out, mostly from the boys.
Looks like little-miss-head-case had alienated herself from the male sex. Unwise decision if you were looking for power. Appeals had to go to everyone, regardless of how much you detested them. That was how politics worked.
The stern lady paid no heed and glared down at her.
Tsunade looked up, bored. "Make me, granny."
The lady turned an interesting shade of red and grabbed her hand. "You demon child! You will come with me to the Principal's office at once!"
She tried pulling her, but her strength was in no way comparable to Tsunade's.
And so Tsunade remained in her seat while the lady turned even redder from a combination of exertion and embarrassment.
"Ha, the old lady can't even pull a child. Pathetic."
Jiraiya's taunt finally pushed the woman over the edge and she sharply let Tsunade's arm go and stalked out of the room.
A minute later, a stern-faced Principal followed the red-faced woman into the room.
"That one, Principal! That's the one! Suspend her! She bullied my precious Ami!"
The Principal took one look at Tsunade's deadpan expression and Jiraiya's smirking countenance and paled unhealthily. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped at his sweating forehead.
"…Aomaza-san, I am afraid that Ami is in the wrong here…"
The Vice-Principal's face went slack with disbelief. "What! Darling Ami would never-!"
The Principal glanced at Tsunade. "Vice-Principal, Sawada-san would never choose to make trouble. In fact, she is one of our brightest students here. She is simultaneously studying in Tokyo University for a Medical Certificate. Her and her companion have gotten full marks in the transfer exams. They are responsible young children who know not to abuse their authority."
He coughs, and adds in an undertone, "And they're an irreplaceable commodity to the school, no matter how terrifying they are."
He turned to the livid woman. "So I am afraid that Sawada-san and Sasagawa-san are not in the wrong here. Please tell your daughter to refrain from making outrageous accusations against our elite students."
And with that, he scurried out of the room.
The Vice-Principal looked back at the two Sannin, one who looked deathly bored, the other looking extremely amused, and left in a huff.
There was silence, all the children not believing to hope that Asshole Ami's reign of terror was over at last.
And then the cheering and celebration started.
Tsunade and Jiraiya walked in the hall with their lunches in their hands. Laughing and screaming children jostled them around roughly as they ran around scatterbrained.
"Hime, I think that the quietest place would be the roof."
They made their way up the stairs leading onto the roof, and sure enough, it was peacefully silent. The two Sannin breathed a sigh of relief.
"Thank God. I was scared that the small beasts would have taken over this place too." Jiraiya looked around. "Come to think of it, why didn't they? This is a gorgeous place."
Tsunade looked around as well. Finally, her eyes met the sight of a figure basking in the sun in a corner.
"Ah. I see why."
Jiraiya looked over to where she was gazing. "Holy shit. It's like a miniature Seigi."
At the mere mention of Seigi's name, the boy's eyes snapped open and turned to them with a vicious glare.
"Herbivores. What are you doing here? This is my territory. Leave, or else I'll bite you to death."
Jiraiya sniggered. "Wow, this kid's into some kinky shit."
Tsunade snorted, but had a small smile on her face. "I'm sure that wasn't what he meant."
"Well, he shouldn't be saying it then, should he? He could be mistaken as a sexual predator if he says it when he's older." He laughed.
Mini-Seigi stood up and glared down at them. "I'll bite you to death!"
Jiraiya burst out into guffaws and Mini-Seigi looked highly affronted. "I've heard some really ridiculous catchphrases in my time, but yours definitely ranks in the top 10, sexual predator-kun!"
The boy snarled. "I am not a sexual predator! I am a Carnivore!"
This time Tsunade was the one laughing. "Shit, does he know that 'Carnivore' is another term for 'Dominant'?"
His glare was withering. "Shut up, Herbivore."
Jiraiya was on the floor. "Oh God, this is too much! He called you a Herbivore, Hime! He wants to dominate you!"
The boy drew his weapons, a pair of miniature steel Tonfas.
"I'll pound you."
Tsunade and Jiraiya howled.
The boy angrily twitched, then viciously charged at them. He ruthlessly swung his Tonfa at Jiraiya, but the Toad Sage effortlessly dodged it, still writhing in mirth.
"H-He's going to pound you, Hime! He's a Carnivore who wants to pound you!"
Tsunade was helplessly slumped on the ground, choking on her laughter. "He's one of the most forward suitors I've ever had, and he's not even in his double digits yet!"
Jiraiya smoothly flipped over the rampant boy. "You hear that, sexual predator-kun! You're a new record, and Hime's had some real weirdos after her!"
The boy's movements were getting more and more sloppy as his training gave way to fury. After he realized that Jiraiya wasn't going to fight back, he turned to the hysterical Tsunade.
"Herbivore! Stop your infernal giggling!"
He rushed towards her and brandished the Tonfa over her head. From the side, Jiraiya called out, "Oi! Don't you know better than to go swinging your stick at a lady?" And proceeded to chortle uncontrollably.
The cutest pink blush made its way onto his cheeks. He ignored him and pounced towards Tsunade. She dodged under him, but without giving her a second jumped towards her again.
He barreled into her and the both of them were sent tumbling across the roof. When they finally stopped rolling, the mini-Seigi was sprawled on top of Tsunade.
Jiraiya wolf-whistled. "I thought you told me to wait for puberty, Tsunade. Man, sexual predator-kun, you move fast."
The boy jumped off of her like she was on fire and scowled ferociously. "Do not call me that! I am a strong, respectable manly man who is an Hibari! And no-one insults Hibaris!"
Tsunade swung her leg around and knocked the boy off his feet with a yelp.
"Ok, mister manly man. We have a few things that we have to discuss."
The boy, who was previously so fired up, seemed to drain of all passion which he previously had. He slowly rose to his feet and began to walk to the door, without once looking back. As he walked away from them, Tsunade observed that he had a slight limp.
"Wha- Hey! Where are going? And Hime, you didn't hit him that hard, did you? Hard enough to make him limp, I mean…"
Tsunade furrowed her brows. "No. I didn't." Her eyes narrowed as she observed his limping figure stagger across the rooftop.
He ignored her and continued on.
"I said wait."
He kept walking.
Tsunade scowled and shunshined in front of him. He stopped and gawked at her in shock. She grabbed his collar and pulled the taller boy down to her level.
"When I tell you wait, you wait. You got it?"
The boy glowered, raising his Tonfa to attack. She shunshined again to where Jiraiya was standing, bringing the boy with her.
Unused to the technique, he fell flat on his back with Tsunade hovering over him.
"Stay still, brat."
She took her hand and placed it on his left leg. He flinched.
She eyed him with steel. "How long has your foot been hurting?"
He glared at her. "Why are you asking? It's just sore from training."
She pressed his ankle and he grunted. "Tell me, brat."
"… about a month."
Tsunade hummed in thought. She channeled her orange Chakra to her hand and let it sink under his skin. He jumped in surprise.
"What did you do to me?"
She nodded. "I see. Aneurysmal Bone Cyst. As I suspected."
The boy's glared flitted from the observing Jiraiya back to Tsunade. "What is that?"
"It's a condition where a part of your bone deteriorates and all that's left is a hole. It's common in children, especially in their arms and legs. It causes severe pain when one tries to use that limb or put pressure on it. I'm impressed you made it this long without telling anybody. You're pretty tough, brat."
She raised her hand to his head. "Sorry, I'm gonna have to knock you out now to fix this. Goodnight." The boy's eyes widened, but Tsunade had already pulsed her Chakra and he slumped down, unconscious.
She trickled her Chakra in the area where his bone was dissolved and pursed her lips. She initiated a Chakra-Scalpel on her fingertip and sliced the skin and bone covering over it. An oozing pool of blood leaked out from the hollow bone, dribbling out from where it had collected.
Tsunade began the bone regrowth, the newly formed cells pushing the collected blood out the incision. Within no time the bone was fully regrown and Tsunade sealed the cut.
Jiraiya whistled. "Wow. Tough kid. He has a lot of potential."
Tsunade nodded and sent a volt of Chakra to his head to wake the boy up. Almost immediately, he jerked up straight into a sitting position, breathing heavily.
He frantically looked around, trying to gain his bearings, and when he saw Tsunade sitting next to him, he snarled.
He lunged towards her with his arms outstretched. Effortlessly, she flipped backwards, putting sufficient distance between themselves. He stood up automatically and pounced, ferally trying to maul her.
"What did you do?!"
She observed his leg as he attacked her, examining it for any abnormalities or dysfunctions. It supported his weight and moved supply, no longer hampering his spastic movements.
Good. It healed successfully, then.
She looked at the boy who was wrathfully leaping at her, frothing at the mouth. He was beyond comprehension. She snorted. What an amateur, succumbing to his emotions so easily.
Nothing she said was going to get through to him, anyway.
So she leaped back at him and gave him a Chakra-less punch which sent him sliding across the roof.
It wouldn't do for her to accidentally kill the kid, now, would it?
But he didn't know that.
So when he was lying against the wall dazedly, he could only watch as she leaped on top of him and smashed the wall by his head with Chakra, the deafening explosion showering them with concrete chunks and plaster.
Downstairs, the Principal whimpered.
The boy looked at her incredulously, with hints of awe and fear. His silver eyes, so similar to Seigi's, bored into hers.
"See, brat. We're on completely different levels. Don't test us."
She stood up and patted herself off, brushing all the debris off her uniform.
"I've healed your leg. From now on, if you feel a persisting pain, training accident or not, I want you to report to me." She glared down at him. "Better men than you have lost their lives because they didn't come to me for treatment when they were injured, thinking that they were fine."
She bent down and grabbed his collar, pulling the boy up in a smooth motion, his stunned eyes never leaving her face.
"If you die from injuries I could have treaded, I promise you, I will spit on your grave."
She examined him once more, making sure that everything was in order. She nodded once and released him, stepping back.
"Alright. I need to meet your parents."
She blinked. What?
Jiraiya burst out into giggles.
"Hime! I-I think that our little sexual predator has a crush!"
The boy blushed, but still bowed his head slightly in respect.
"Carnivore." He lifted his head up and resolutely looked her in the eye.
Tsunade startled while Jiraiya giggled uproariously.
Teach him? He wanted her to teach him? He was totally unsuited for Iryo-Ninjutsu, though. Why would he…
The super strength.
Well, she could instruct him on the basics of Chakra… If he figured out a method of Chakra Augmentation that suited his fighting style, then…
"On a few conditions."
He glared at her expectantly.
"I will not be the only one teaching you. Most of my techniques are unsuitable for you." She saw him scowl and open his mouth to protest, but before he could, she reached up (curse her height, she was such a midget) and smacked him, sending him stumbling.
He glared at her but she glared back. "No. You are not suitable for my fighting style. You don't have the necessary Chakra Control to master it."
She looked at Jiraiya who was looking at the two with amusement.
"Jiraiya could help extensively as well. He's trained some very successful, powerful students, a few of which use a style similar to your own." She looked him over. "But make no mistake. We will have a lot to work on. It will not be easy. Results will not come quickly. There is no shortcut."
She looked him dead in the eyes. "But the end result will be satisfying."
She saw his eyes shine in determination.
"Are you willing to go through with that?"
Tsunade smiled. "Good." She cracked her neck.
"Now the next thing. You won't go indiscriminately attacking anyone. Whether they make you mad, come too close to you, talk to you, touch you, speak to you, regardless of anything. You are allowed to attack them if they break a rule, or personally offend your honor. And I mean, gravely offend your honor. Strength is not something you use on helpless civilians. If you do, we will immediately stop teaching you and leave. No questions asked."
She saw him twitch in fury, his veins on his arms bulging as he held his Tonfas in a death grip.
Through gritted teeth, she heard him force out another "Hn."
Jiraiya whistled. "Wow Hime, that was fast. I'll call Seigi and let him know that the mission was successful."
Jiraiya whipped out his phone and began to text, whistling happily. The boy's eye twitched severely and he chucked one of his Tonfa's at Jiraiya's head.
Who dodged it without even looking at it, still whistling and texting.
The Toad Sage pressed send and slipped his phone back into his pocket then grinned at the fuming boy.
"Well well, Kyoya-kun, you have a lot to learn."
Hibari Masai and Tian Li Fen were so much like the Huugas that it actually freaked Tsunade out a little.
The only thing they were missing was the Byakugan.
Everything else was the same.
From the Hibari mansion to the way they dressed, to their clothes and their speaking manner.
Both of them projected, no, embodied regality.
How the bubbly Korean was best friends with this serene Chinese woman, Tsunade had no idea.
Then again, Jiraiya reminded her, Kushina and Mikoto had been joined at the hip.
People were weird like that.
"Sawada-san, I appreciate your offer to take my son under your wing. I hope you train him well. He will have a lot of responsibility, more so than Seigi or I. My older brother assumed the role of Head of the Kiyoijuu Clan, but I chose to become the Commissioner-General of the Police Force, as when we were growing up, they were heavily targeting the Trinity."
Jiraiya perked up. "The Trinity?"
Li Fen majestically tilted her head. "The Trinity. The alliance of three Families from China, Japan and Korea. The Tiāntáng Yǔ Dìyù, Kiyoijuu and Bichgwa Eodum Holy Alliance. They are a powerful anchor in the Underground in East Asia. Few Families are powerful enough to challenge their authority."
Jiraiya was frothing at the mouth, eagerly grabbing the opportunity for free information, the cherry on top was that it came from a gorgeous, demure East-Asian beauty.
"Which Families, specifically?"
Kyoya looked horrified at the obvious appreciation of his mother.
It was hilarious.
The little grasshopper had much to learn.
She tilted her head in thought. "Well, there's only a handful. Seigi should know the complete list of them." She smiled at them demurely.
Tsunade snorted. Obvious misdirection, but if she didn't want to talk, there was nothing she could do. She was a member of the Noble 10.
Masai nodded. "Yes, I believe that Seigi would be the best person to ask. Kyoya is the successor to the Clan, but his upbringing and exposure to the Police Force from a young age has… altered traditional views. He doesn't have the same viewpoint as previous Heirs."
He sighed. "He was such a sweet child. Then we made the mistake of showing him a nature documentary. Since then he's been obsessed with 'Herbivores' and David Attenborough."
Li Fen charmingly pouted. "But I liked it, Masai. He was so adorable running around and hunting your subordinates."
Tsunade stared as Masai gave a long-suffering sigh and Kyoya looked pleased.
The Esteemed Head of the Japanese Police Force gave her a begging look.
She gave a deadpan one back.
The Hibari brothers were sensible men.
Their spouses, on the other hand, were batshit insane.
Kyoya had taken to following her and Jiraiya around the school.
That warranted them even more whispers.
First, they demean Ami the Asshole.
Now they tame Hibari the Heathen.
They were in the presence of Gods.
"No, Sasagawa-sama calls her 'Hime'!"
Tsunade twitched and she tore her stress ball in two.
Jiraiya stared at it.
Seeing her, Kyoya tore his in two as well.
Jiraiya stared at him wordlessly as well.
Tsunade walked over to a wall and punched through it.
Below her, the Principal whimpered once again and pulled out the school account book.
Tsunade regularly dragged Jiraiya over to her house after school to train with him. After sparring a good few rounds, they would do personal training with the other watching them to make sure that they didn't overexert their child bodies.
As Tsunade's Yin Seal developed slowly, she grew more and more in control of her super strength. So instead of punching men through 3 walls, she would only punch them through one, demonstrating a much higher level of control. She was able to regulate it much more easily now, instead of a set amount explosively escaping her Tenketsu all at once. It provided much less strain and much more versatility.
But she still punched Jiraiya through walls whenever he pissed her off. But hey, at least now it was one instead of three and she didn't have to heal him afterwards.
And as for Jiraiya, he was recreating Ninjutsus. He was able to do them, but not without handseals or an extreme level of concentration and time. Something he was working on destroying. Intense levels of concentration on a battlefield could spell death when you couldn't focus on anything else.
So it was on a normal day of training that Nana rushed out in joy.
"Tsu-chan! Tsu-chan! Papa's come home! Come say hi to him quickly!"
Both the Shinobi froze, just in time to see two well-dressed men step out the back door into the yard. One of them was blonde with short-cropped hair and badly shaven cheeks and the other was a grandfatherly old man with a bushy mustache.
When the blonde man spotted her, he produced a shrill shriek and ran to her, effortlessly lifting her unimpressed form and rubbing his scratchy cheek against her soft one.
"Oh, my dear Tuna-fishy! You're so big now! You've gotten so beautiful!"
She grunted, willing herself not to maul his face.
He lifted her and threw her startled form into the air, catching her and repeating it effortlessly.
Then, when she was in the air, he caught a glimpse of Jiraiya.
And he forgot to catch her.
The old man shouted in warning, but Tsunade effortlessly landed in a crouch and glared at Iemitsu.
What an idiot. A normal child could have died.
Apparently, that was exactly what the old man thought as well as he ran to her side and crouched down next to her.
"Are you alright, my dear?"
Tsunade looked at him and was struck with a hint of nostalgia. He acted just like Hiruzen-sensei.
She stood and brushed herself off, politely smiling at the man. "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you for your concern."
He smiled kindly back at her and the similarities between Hiruzen-sensei and him grew.
That didn't exactly make Tsunade happy. Sensei was known as 'The Professor' right alongside 'The God of Shinobi'. No matter how kind and genial he appeared, he was a gigantic threat.
"My name is Timoteo. What is yours, child?"
She heard Jiraiya suck in a shocked breath behind her and felt him tense. He was ignoring the entire spiel that Iemitsu was ranting at him about how he wasn't going to let some punk brat take away his precious Tuna-fishy from him.
That wasn't good.
She smiled politely and bowed to him. "My name is Sawada Tsunayoshi, Timoteo-san. It's nice to meet you."
The man chuckled softly, his mustache shaking. "Nice to meet you too. And you, young man?" He turned to Jiraiya.
Jiraiya, the flawless actor he was, hid his discomfort and beamed brightly at him. "Sasagawa Ryohei. Nice to meet you!"
The old man placed a hand on Iemitsu's shoulder, cutting off his rant. "You children should go play. Us adults have a lot to catch up on."
Tsunade and Jiraiya both smiled pleasantly, but their jaws twitched at the casual dismissal.
After the 'adults' went in, Tsunade turned to Jiraiya and crossed her arms.
"What was that?"
Jiraiya looked shaken and let out an unsteady breath as he ran a finger through his hair, dislodging the tie. "Hime. We're in deep shit."
Tsunade tensed. "Why?"
He gravely looked her in the eye. "That old man. Timoteo. Timoteo of the Vongola, the Ninth Boss of the largest Mafia Family in Italy. The Vongola is one of the Families able to challenge the Trinity."
Well shit. "What is he doing here, then?"
Jiraiya ran his fingers through his silver locks again. "Well, I've had my suspicions ever since I started gathering Intelligence on this world again. A sub-organization of the Vongola, the CEDEF has a Head known as 'The Young Lion of Vongola'."
Tsunade had a feeling she knew where he was going with this.
"His name is Sawada Iemitsu."
Tsunade turned around and punched at a nearby tree, felling it with a loud splinter.
She fumed. That bastard. That utter bastard. He left Nana here to rot while he was a high ranking criminal partying it up on the other side of the world?
Her opinion of Iemitsu dropped from low to nonexistent.
The door flew open and three panicked adults rushed into the backyard to see what the loud noise was.
The two men stopped and stared at Tsunade's fists, which were still glowing with Chakra from her rage.
Iemitsu looked horrified as he turned to his boss. "Nono…"
The old man eyed her gravely. "She has activated her flames."
Slowly, he walked up to the two children.
Tsunade couldn't focus, she was too lost in her rage towards Iemitsu, so she let Timoteo come closer and closer. He knelt in front of her heavily breathing form and stuck a finger towards her forehead, orange Chakra so much like her own ignited at the tip.
Just before Timoteo touched her forehead, Jiraiya rushed forward and pulled Tsunade back, positioning her behind him. He scowled fiercely and fell into a battle stance.
"Hime. That was a Seal. He was about to seal your Chakra."
Tsunade's mind became clear and her burning rage melted into an eerie sense of calmness.
Timoteo looked gobsmacked. "How did you know that?"
Iemitsu snarled. "He's a spy!"
Timoteo examined Jiraiya carefully, the boy's battle stance tightening under his scrutiny.
Finally, he turned to Iemitsu and stated, "No. He isn't. He's her Guardian."
Iemitsu spluttered incomprehensibly. "What? She's already got a Guardian? Which is he?"
"Sun. Look at his eyes."
Sure enough, Jiraiya's eyes burned a bright, fierce gold.
"I will never let you lay a hand on Hime. Back away from her and never attempt to place a Seal on her again." As an afterthought, "Not that I can't undo them anyway."
Iemitsu looked at him furiously. "Is that a threat, brat?"
Timoteo intervened before they could attack each other. Tsunade placed her arm on Jiraiya's shoulder, attempting to calm his tense figure.
"He's a Guardian, Iemitsu. Sealing her flames could be detrimental to both of them. We'll have to just leave it be and hope for the best."
Iemitsu looked murderous. "But Nono…"
Timoteo shook his head sternly. "Questo è il finale, Iemitsu."
The scruffy blonde deflated and glared fiercely at Jiraiya. He then turned to Tsunade and beamed at her brightly.
"Tuna-fishy, guess what! We're going to Italy for a vacation! We'll be staying with Nonno over there!"
He gave one last dirty look to a slowly-relaxing Jiraiya.
"It'll be just you, me and Nana!" His face took on an obscene, dream-like quality, scarily reminiscent to Jiraiya's expression when he was thinking dirty.
"Just us three on a beautiful vacation!"
He began to babble incessantly about how fun it was going to be, and how the 'little brat' was not allowed near her. Timoteo smiled warmly at them and retreated back into the house.
Tsunade swallowed, still shaken from the near-miss that had just taken place.
She was caught so off-guard that she could have been crippled.
She trembled slightly and it only subsided when Jiraiya pulled her into his arms. She took a deep breath as she leaned into his reassuring warmth and tried to recompose herself.
She smiled fakely at Iemitsu.
Tsunade was silent.
She had been silent ever since Jiraiya had seen her off at the airport.
Nana and Iemitsu didn't even notice. They were too busy goggling into each other's eyes to pay any attention to her.
Not that Tsunade cared. She didn't want their attention focused on her anyway.
The Voice had begun humming again.
And that made Tsunade nervous.
Something was waiting for her in Italy.
(She had just learned that it was called just 'Italy', not 'The Italy' as she had previously thought. Timoteo had a good laugh at her expense.)
Tsunade just sighed and looked out the plane window while Nana giggled and Iemitsu cuddled her.
People were beginning to glare and shoot her pitying looks.
Being stuck in enclosed spaces in close proximity to those two made her… irritable.
The Sawada family had an envoy waiting for them at the mouth of the airport. Around twenty suited men stood at attention, holding up a sign with SAWADA written on it with classy calligraphy.
Nana cooed over the grandiose gesture, but Tsunade was simply put more on-guard.
She was literally on enemy territory.
Seigi hadn't been happy when he heard exactly who her father was, but her position in the Clan had been solidified by the show she had put on at the Execution, so there was no backing out now. Otherwise, she would be branded as a traitor and hunted down.
Tsunade still refused to speak. To her parents, to the suited men, and even Timoto when he attempted to engage her in conversation.
They were taken to a gigantic mansion on the east coast of Sicily, the beautiful residence overlooking the ocean from a tall cliff. The sound of waves crashing against the coast was a lulling noise in the background.
Tsunade, even though she knew she was on enemy territory, loved it.
The Forest was her home, but this place was absolutely magnificent. She could appreciate the location, regardless of how in the open it was.
She was provided with a separate room overlooking the sea, away from her parents.
No doubt they wanted to catch up.
Tsunade wasn't the only one who gagged at the thought.
It was finally time.
Tsunade was touring Sicily with her parents.
More like, she was toddling after them while they walked around on a date.
The Voice was tingling.
Iemitsu snapped out of his love-hazed trance and looked at her.
"Yes, darling Tuna-fishy?"
"I feel like you both should go and enjoy yourselves. I will explore on my own."
Iemitsu looked worried. "By yourself, Tuna-fishy?"
Tsunade rolled her eyes. "Yes. I can take care of myself. I have the money you gave me and I have mastered Italian."
Iemitsu looked conflicted, but Nana's flirtatious giggle decided it. "Ok, then! You know how to go back to the mansion, right?"
"Well then, enjoy yourself!"
And without a second thought, the two adults waltzed into a nearby gelato shop, giggling like teenagers.
Tsunade sneered and turned, immediately heading to a ticket stall.
"I would like to purchase a ticket to the mainland."
The woman manning the stall looked shocked, but once Tsunade pulled out the money, she gave her one without question.
The time for her ship was in an hour, and the trip would be 8 hours.
She was in Messina right now, and The Voice said that her goal was Rosali.
After the ferry, it should be about an hour of driving.
She sighed. She had a long trip ahead of her.
The ferry wasn't so bad. She just kept to herself and dozed lightly, making sure that she was fully aware of her surroundings at all times.
There were some shady people, but all of them left her alone when her eyes snapped open to glare at them.
She got off at the coast of Catona and took a taxi to Rosali.
The driver had tried to rip her off because of her age and obviously foreign looks, but after she cussed him out in Italian and put a dent in his hood, he took his fair due and left with a dirty glare.
So now, she was alone in the shady part of town.
The Voice directed her to a dingy little Tattoo parlor, and she stepped in.
All the employees snapped their attention to her, their interest skyrocketing when they glimpsed her orange eyes.
"What can we do for you, little lady?"
She said nothing, simply stared at them.
"Hmmm, are you lost? If you are, we can take you to our boss and he can help you."
Tsunade could see them tremble in excitement.
She nodded and sick grins sprouted on their faces.
"Wonderful. Right this way."
One of the men roughly grabbed a hold of her shoulder and jerked her towards the back door. She silently took the treatment, The Voice urging her to say patient a bit longer.
She walked silently after them, alertly taking note of her surroundings. They were below the buildings on the surface, metal piping and peeling plaster walls surrounding them. There was the rumble of machinery and a strong smell of disinfectant and blood.
They passed by cages, and Tsunade felt nauseous.
In the cages were children.
They were all wearing just a plain white t-shirt with a number on it and white underwear. Nothing else.
Many of them looked heavily sedated, and others were whimpering in pain.
One of the men saw her disgusted look and sneered evilly, increasing pressure on her shoulder.
"Welcome to the Estraneo Famiglia, girl."
They walked past rows and rows of cages, all of them containing whimpering children.
Just as they passed by another row, The Voice screamed.
Tsunade wasted no time and grabbed the hand on her shoulder and viciously pulled it forward, the sudden motion easily dislocating the arm. Before the man could scream, she flipped his body over her shoulder and grabbed his throat, crushing his windpipe.
The other two men stared at her in shock and that was all the opening she needed.
She leaped into the air and slammed her fist into the man's temple, the shock of Chakra easily splintering the bone and sending it into his brain.
She placed her other hand on the last man's chest and pulsed a wave of Chakra into his heart, the excess energy immediately stopping it.
She silently laid the bodies down at the side of the passageway.
There was a thick silence, and when she looked up, all the children were staring at her.
She ignored their awed looks and walked into another hallway, The Voice directing her where to go.
She stopped in front of a cage and The Voice sang.
Her heart soared.
She laced her fingers through the wires of the door and pulled it straight off its hinges, dropping it next to her with a loud clang.
She stepped inside the shadows of the cage to the figure wreathed in darkness. Only a pair of eyes, one flaming indigo and the other crimson red were visible from the black.
Slowly, she walked to him and dropped to her knees, kneeling in front of him.
He was trembling, and she realized that she was too.
Slowly, he raised a gaunt hand up to her face and softly cupped her cheek.
Tears began to run from shiny eyes.
A soft, creaky voice whispered, "Tsunade?"
She bent her head in confirmation and embraced him. His figure trembled even harder as he leaned into her gentle touch. A broken sob burst from his mouth. She tenderly ran her fingers through his tangled hair.
"Shhhh. It's ok. You're safe now. I'm here."
He brokenly sobbed into her shirt. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I thought I was alone. I deserve this. This is punishment. I searched for immortality so they killed me six times. I hurt children so they hurt me. It wasn't enough that I stopped after Sasuke, I suffered. Don't leave me. Don't leave me. I'm sorry. Don't leave me! Please!"
Tsunade felt tears well up in her eyes as she ran her Chakra through his abused body.
It was… horrific.
He was severely malnourished and beaten badly. He had 6 different fractures in different parts of his body and 4 fractures that had healed abnormally, giving him mild disfigurements. He had scars crisscrossing his skin everywhere and several of them had contracted infections.
She closed her eyes before the rage got a hold of her and began the long process of healing whatever she could. He continued to cry into her shoulders as she ran her fingers through his hair.
"Don't leave me, don't leave me, don't leave me, I'm sorry, please don't leave me, please please please please…"
He was brokenly begging her, refusing to let go of her.
She felt her heart break.
"Shhhhh, Orochimaru, it's ok. You're ok now. I'm here. I won't leave you. This time, we'll do it right. You, me, and Jiraiya will be together forever. Nothing will separate us. You're one of us. I won't leave my own behind. Never again. This is a second chance. We'll do it right this time."
Tsunade lost track of time as she cradled the broken form of her teammate and healed all the damage she could.
She finally felt whole again. Jiraiya had filled in a hollow part of her she didn't even know she had, and Orochimaru finally completed it.
She had forgiven him from the moment he saved her life after her face-off with Madara, but she couldn't mend her relationship with him after the war.
She was the Hokage.
He was a Nuke-Nin.
Jiraiya was dead.
Their team would always be broken in that world.
But in this one, it didn't have to be.
She let go of the lingering feelings of resentment she felt towards Orochimaru. For him threatening Konoha. For him joining Akatsuki. For him experimenting on people. For him hurting so many others for his mad quest for immortality.
For him abandoning her and Jiraiya.
She had always known that it wasn't completely his fault. He was beloved just like Jiraiya and her were. So what forced him to change?
Danzo's manipulation and Hiruzen-sensei's final slight against him.
Denying him the Hokage seat over Namikaze had broken him irreparably. He loved the village, but when Hiruzen-sensei treated him with suspicion, the entire village did as well.
It hurt him and drove him further into his research, further pushing him into Danzo's trap.
Then it was too late.
Tsunade was disgusted with him like the rest of the village, but Jiraiya never hated him for a single moment. They were still brothers.
It took her years to finally understand.
But she couldn't do anything when she finally did.
But now, they were given a blank slate.
A second chance.
Tsunade cried with him.
The two Sannin sat in silence as they just enjoyed the other's presence.
Finally, Tsunade broke the peace.
"You're coming back with me."
Orochimaru nodded. "I will."
Tsunade nodded as well. "You will not repeat many things you did."
"Good." She stood and offered an arm to him. He shakily took it and pulled himself to his feet with difficulty.
"We're leaving. But we're destroying this disgusting Family first. Can you use your Chakra?"
Orochimaru nodded. "Yes, but they have placed limiters on me."
Tsunade eyed the metallic bands on his wrists and tore them off him like they were paper. "Better?"
He nodded. "But this world's Chakra is strange. Ninjutsu comes easiest for me, but I have to concentrate in order for it to not dispel."
Tsunade hummed. "Me and Jiraiya noticed that too. He's focusing on Fuuinjutsu and I'm working on my Yin Seal."
Tsunade could see the gears turning in his genius head. "Now's not the time. You can figure it out when we're back in Japan."
Orochimaru raised his eyebrow. "Japan?" He rasped.
"Yes. They speak the same language as back home, but it's like a different dialect. We're in a place called Italy, which speaks Italian."
Orochimaru nodded as he absorbed the information in.
"Alright. So now we destroy this Organization."
"Correct. You will destroy it, I will replenish your Chakra levels and make sure that you won't collapse."
She solemnly looked him in the eye. "This is your justice. I will not interfere."
The look of understanding he gave her was an affectionate one.
Orochimaru rampaged through the building, killing all the members of the Estraneo Famiglia that had hurt him.
Tsunade remained behind and tore the doors off all the cages, releasing the experimented children.
When they looked up at her in confusion and hope, she just said, "You're free. Do what you want. They won't hurt you anymore."
She was tackled into hugs hundreds of times, but she didn't mind. These poor children had no childhood. At least now they could have a future.
After 2 long hours of carnage, Orochimaru's blood-drenched form stumbled into her arms.
She pumped Chakra into him and stabilized his scarily low Chakra levels and healed all of his injuries, all of which were surface wounds.
His eyes began to droop from the exertion he placed on his malnourished, unfit body.
"Nope, not yet. You can sleep when we're on the ferry. You need to clean up so we can go."
He mumbled his assent and led her to a deceased scientist's quarters where there was a built-in bathroom with a shower. He went first, to take his first shower in what was probably years.
Tsunade snooped around and found some clothes which would work as replacements for the torn, bloody ones they were wearing.
When Orochimaru stepped out, she took her own brief rinse and donned the new clothes.
They both looked a little strange since the clothes were a little big for them, but it was nothing overly concerning.
All of the children had evacuated after Tsunade released them. The compound was eerily silent, with them being the only two living people in it.
Tsunade led Orochimaru out of the stronghold through the Tattoo Parlor she had come in through and they caught another taxi to get to Catona.
From there, she had just enough money to buy two tickets for the next ferry, which was leaving in seven minutes. The one after that would only leave in two days, so they rushed to the boat which was literally pulling out of the dock just as they jumped on.
Orochimaru was breathing heavily from the physical exercise and he frowned at himself.
Tsunade caught it and whacked him lightly. "Stop worrying. You'll be back to normal in no time."
He didn't reply but simply sat in an empty seat, Tsunade sitting next to him after a moment.
His frail, gaunt body drooped in exhaustion.
"Sleep. I'll keep watch."
And without protest, he succumbed to slumber.
Tsunade was glomped by her father as soon as she walked into the mansion, Orochimaru trailing after her.
"TUNA-FISHYYYYYY! WHERE WERE YOU?!"
Tsunade produced a strangled grunt and desperately tried to escape his hold.
Orochimaru warily observed.
Iemitsu caught a glimpse of him.
"Who's this Tuna-fishy? A stray?"
He burst into tears and glomped her again. "You're such a good person, Tuna-fishy! Such a kind heart!"
Orochimaru slightly bowed. "My name is Rokudo Mukuro."
Tsunade pushed herself away from her father and glared at him. "He's coming with us."
Iemitsu spluttered, but when he saw her resolved look he bowed his head in compliance.
"Fine. But only because it's you, Tuna-fishy!"
And Orochimaru gave his very first incredulous look towards Tsunade's insane father.
Chapter 7: Chapter 7
In which the Sannin are finally reunited and drama with the Yakuza rears its head.
Tsunade and Orochimaru arrived in the Tokyo airport promptly at 3 AM.
Jiraiya was waiting for them with a big smile on his face, which slid off once he noticed Tsunade's companion.
Orochimaru froze as soon as he caught sight of Jiraiya, stiffly staring at him and waiting for him to make the first move.
Tsunade said nothing. She just watched.
Without warning, Jiraiya flew towards Orochimaru and viciously punched him in the face, sending the gaunt boy flying to the ground.
Screams of confusion rang out around them and the airport security swarmed the Sannin.
They attempted to wrench Jiraiya's writhing form off of Orochimaru's limp one, but the white-haired boy paid them no mind and continued to pummel the navy-haired youth into the polished floor.
Eventually, a crowd of guards managed to separate the two and threw them out of the airport.
Tsunade observed their bruised and panting forms and watched as Jiraiya dragged himself over to Orochimaru and tugged him into a clumsy hug, clinging to him tightly.
"Never do it again, Orochi-teme."
Slowly, Orochimaru's trembling arms wrapped around Jiraiya's shoulders.
Orochimaru was one of the worst patients that Tsunade ever had the displeasure to treat.
And that was saying something.
He never sat still. He was always frolicking around in her backyard messing with that new Dojutsu of his.
He was calling it the 'Rokugan'.
Hey, nobody ever said that Orochimaru was good at naming things.
But that eye was damn useful, if she did say so herself. It had 6 different modes which he could switch from, each one enhancing a separate part of combat.
It was ironic. After vying for the Sharingan for so long, he finally had an eye that went above and beyond that.
He only needed to get illegally experimented on, tortured in the name of science and killed six times to gain it.
His recovery wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst either. He still woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, but he wasn't flinching away from her when she touched him anymore.
It was more than anyone could expect from a torture victim, really.
Torture in the Elemental Nations had just been a part of life. Shinobi endured it for the sake of their comrades, family, Village.
But in this world, Orochimaru had none of those. He didn't have the conditioning his body needed to withstand it, he didn't have the reassurance that his comrades were on the way to rescue him, hell, he had nothing.
And that was why the torture was especially cruel. Orochimaru, even though he had been reborn, had absolutely nothing to live for.
He was alone.
And a lone Shinobi was a dead Shinobi.
There was a specific reason Konoha was the mightiest of the great villages, what with its fanaticism on teamwork.
But Orochimaru was a warrior. They all were. And she could ask for nothing more.
He had survived and rejoined them. That was all that was important.
She would help him heal so that he wouldn't have to ever go through it again.
Building up his muscle mass was actually concerning. He had been severely malnourished and neglected before she found him, so his body was weak. Incredibly so.
One thing about Orochimaru: he was the king of passive-aggressive bitchiness. Especially when he was on a therapy regime.
She watched him with a frown as his crimson eye flashed and the kanji for '3' appeared, snakes sprouting all around him and writhing menacingly.
She would let him have his fun for a few more minutes. Then she'd drag him back to bed.
Really. Her teammates were the biggest, most inconsiderate jerks, sometimes.
She still loved them.
Within five months of Orochimaru's rescue, Jiraiya and he were on completely good terms again.
(It was a hellish five months for both of them, Tsunade had to admit. Getting all the pain out of their systems wasn't easy, and it certainly wasn't pretty.)
Meaning, Jiraiya had grown comfortable enough to start annoying the living daylights out of Orochimaru once more.
"Holy shit, Orochi-teme, what is up with your hair?"
Orochimaru delicately sniffed, then turned away, attempting to ignore him.
"God, you want to know what you look like?"
Orochimaru's twitch indicated that no, he did not want to know what he looked like.
"Your head is like a squid! Your cowlick looks like tiny tentacles!"
He put his hand behind his head and madly wriggled his fingers, his expression deadpan, a mirror image to the one the Snake Sannin was currently wearing.
Tsunade was trying her damnedest not to laugh, but from the murderous look on Orochimaru's face, she miserably failed.
Six months after Orochimaru's rescue, Tsunade deemed him fully recovered.
Jiraiya registered him at Namimori Elementary.
Tsunade took him with her to Tokyo to meet Seigi and enroll him at Tokyo University.
The two Sannin stepped into the parking lot of Tokyo Uni, the one the Principal's office directly overlooked from his tower.
Tsunade looked up at the window to his office and cheerfully waved at the panicked Principal.
A minute later, a screeching alarm blared through the entire campus.
'THIS IS NOT A DRILL. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO LEAVE IN ONE MINUTE, TAKE REFUGE IN THE SAFETY BUNK CLOSEST TO YOU. A CODE ORANGE HAD BEEN SPOTTED. I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL.'
Tsunade and Orochimaru sat across from Seigi, a dark Kotetsu resting in between them.
"This is Rokudo Mukuro, known to me and Jiraiya as Orochimaru. He is one of my own. Please grant him entry into the Clan."
Seigi eyed Orochimaru's stiff form intensely, then chuckled.
"Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru, huh? At first, I thought that it was a coincidence, but now I see that it is more than that."
The two Sannin looked at him questioningly.
Seigi shook his head. "I don't know how you three chose those names, but we have a legend. A great tale about a lord of toads, a mistress of slugs and a ruler of snakes. It is a classic tale passed down from generation to generation. I suppose I should be impressed that you all chose something so Japanese."
Tsunade and Orochimaru stiffened up and looked at each other in shock.
"I know that you three aren't normal, so I won't pry any further." The Kiyoijuu leader directed his intense stare to Orochimaru. "I assume that you too plan to simultaneously complete a degree while attending Namimori Elementary. What field of study do you wish to pursue?"
An amused smile curled around the Snake Sannin's lips. "Engineering."
Seigi's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Is that so? May I ask why?"
Orochimaru's tongue slipped out and moistened his lips. "There are many new devices that I have never before heard of. Powerful devices that capable of so much. I wish to study them."
Tsunade understood. In this world, power wasn't dictated by Chakra.
No, the hierarchy was determined by weaponry and technology.
Of course, Orochimaru would be interested in that. The little shit was probably already planning how to make nuclear bombs or something.
She knew that letting him study Engineering wasn't the wisest decision, but hey, this time he was on their side, so no sleep lost for the destruction he was inevitably going to cause.
"Are you versed in combat?"
Seigi nodded in acquisition, and just as he was about to speak, the door to the room loudly slammed open and Ji-Min rushed in and pounced on Seigi.
"Sei-chan! I've been looking for you!"
Seigi grunted in surprise, but his expression remained deadpan. "Ji Min, what have I told-"
"Oh my! Another one!"
Ji Min leaped off of Seigi and glomped Orochimaru's startled form.
"Tsuna, you didn't tell me you had another one! Where have you been hiding this one from me?"
Orochimaru looked panicked through Ji-Min's aggressive coddling.
Tsunade tried not to burst out laughing, but her twitching cheeks betrayed her. "I have only recently reacquired him, Ji Min-san."
Tsunade was violently pulled into the overwhelming embrace alongside her teammate as the bubbly Korean cooed over how cute they were.
Orochimaru, the bastard, smirked at her when he saw her horrified face.
Orochimaru's debut into Namimori Elementary was an unforgettable event.
It all started with Jiraiya dragging him through the gates with an arm slung around his neck, babbling about some nonsense.
As soon as the females caught sight of them, a cacophony of high-pitched squeals was the only thing that was able to be heard.
A chorus of glass-shattering screams and wails of 'Kyaaaaaaaaa! Yaoiiiiiii!' silenced the rest of the poor student body into submission.
Jiraiya looked repulsed and immediately whipped his hand away from Orochimaru, knelt on the ground and uncontrollably dry-heaved.
Orochimaru turned to Tsunade for clarification and she just shook her head and proceeded to the building.
That was one conversation she didn't want to be having with him any time soon.
Tsunade finally came face to face with the infamous Sasagawa Kyoko.
There were 4 female idols in Namimori Elementary.
The 'Himedere Queen', Student Body President Namakoshi Akane, the 'Undere Queen' Star Volleyball player Wanora Tsubaki, the 'Deredere Queen' School Sweetheart Sasagawa Kyoko, and her, the 'Kuudere Queen'.
She had encountered both Akane and Tsubaki previously, but had never actually met Kyoko before.
"Hello, Sawada-san! My name is Sasagawa Kyoko! Nice to meet you!"
The auburn-haired girl bowed deeply and Tsunade stared.
Jiraiya laughed and pulled Kyoko into a hug, making the girl giggle.
"Hime, this is my sister! Kyoko, meet Tsunade-hime and Orochi-teme."
Tsunade nodded to her. "A-Aa. Nice to meet you, Kyoko. Call me Tsunade."
Kyoko beamed and sparkles sprouted around her.
Tsunade stared even harder.
How? The same sparkles that appeared around Gai appeared around her, but how was the effect so damn different?
Kyoko turned to Orochimaru and stopped short. A delicate blush danced across her cheeks and she shyly looked down.
"N-Nice to meet you, Orochimaru-san." She demurely bowed to him, not making eye contact with him.
Orochimaru formally bowed back. "Nice to meet you too, Kyoko. I've heard much about you from Jiraiya."
Kyoko's blush intensified to a flattering red as she fidgeted. "O-Oh really? Good things I h-hope."
Tsunade's and Jiraiya's jaws dropped to the floor.
The Toad Sage dragged his little sister away from the Snake Sannin, howling about him corrupting his flower of a sister, and Orochimaru looked shocked, then annoyed as he argued back that he didn't do anything.
Tsunade couldn't really blame the girl. Both her teammates had always been sexy beasts. It wasn't hard to fall under their spell. She'd seen it happen hundreds of times.
As she watched Jiraiya and Orochimaru bicker and Kyoko blush she knew that Orochimaru had gained yet another beau.
Kyoya stared at Orochimaru.
Orochimaru stared at Kyoya.
Orochimaru wrinkled his nose snootily and narrowed his eyes.
Kyoya stood in front of Tsunade. "Mine."
Orochimaru pursed his lips. "No."
Kyoya snarled and took out his Tonfas.
Orochimaru bared his teeth. "You have to share her. She's not yours."
Kyoya looked murderous until Tsunade roughly elbowed him. "Enough, Kyoya. It's fine. He's pack."
Kyoya stared at her, then stared at Orochimaru.
Orochimaru stared back.
Kyoya scowled and turned away. "Fine. Carnivore."
He prowled off.
Orochimaru looked blankly at Tsunade.
Tsunade shrugged and pointed to Jiraiya. "He's my new minion. Long story. Ask him."
After school, Kyoko wanted to get food.
Nobody could agree on what kind they wanted, so Tsunade just dragged them to a nearby shop and pushed them in.
A quaint little sushi restaurant called Takesushi.
A beaming man donning a traditional sushi-preparing uniform opened his arms graciously.
"Takesushi is ready to serve! What will our guests be having today?"
Kyoko clapped in delight. "Ooooh, there's just too many options! Chef-san, please give us suggestions!"
The man chuckled warmly and grinned at her. "Alright then! The Takesushi special!"
He lifted his long, thin sushi knives and prepared the fish with unbelievable skill and precision. All of the Sannin couldn't help but stare.
That knife-work… it was not the work of an amateur. This man was a professional in the art of blade-wielding.
Kyoko gazed at him with wonder in her eyes. "Chef-san is so awesome!" he turned to Jiraiya and looked up at him with dewy, faun-like orbs.
"Can you do that, Onii-chan?"
Tsunade slapped her forehead. There was no way that Jiraiya would turn down a challenge.
Sure enough, Jiraiya leaped up and proclaimed, "Of course I can, my cute imouto!"
He strode over to the chef's side and held his hand out.
"If I may, sir, I would not like to be doubted by my own sister."
The chef looked at him suspiciously and incredulously. "Boy, this isn't a game. Forgive your sister, she didn't know what she was saying. These knives aren't toys. Sit down and I'll serve you in just a minute."
Jiraiya set his jaw and looked the taller man resolutely in the eye. "I assure you, sir, that I know that knives are never a toy. I am completely confident in my ability to handle them and anything that happens from here forth is my own responsibility."
The Chef still looked skeptical, but he placed his knife down and turned to the back of the restaurant.
"Takeshi! Come out here! And bring a first aid kit with you!"
A cheery, youthful voice sounded from behind the divider, and a few moments later a grinning miniature of the Chef bounded out, clutching a large white box.
He stopped when he saw the guests in his restaurant.
"Oh! Tsunade, Orochimaru, Jiraiya and Kyoko! It's you!"
Tsunade and Orochimaru nodded their head in greeting as Jiraiya and Kyoko chirped out warm hellos.
Yamamoto Takeshi. A popular kid good at baseball but caring little for academics.
Takeshi dropped the box on the counter while Jiraiya picked up the knives and examined them.
After swinging them around a few times, he threw it up in the air and flipped it. Terrified gasps escaped from Takeshi, Chef-san and Kyoko.
Jiraiya grinned at them and easily caught it before flipping it up again.
"So, Chef-san, how am I supposed to prepare the fish?"
The Chef gaped at him, then gestured to his own platter to explain. "You need to peel off the skin with the scales first, then remove all the bones and organs until only the marbled flesh is left.
Jiraiya smiled in anticipation. "Watch carefully, Kyoko."
And he threw the knives up.
Everything was a blur from that point. Only Tsunade, Orochimaru and the Chef could even hope to keep track of the wildly spinning blades.
There were several loud thunks, and a moment later Jiraiya held out a platter full of cleanly sliced fish.
The only difference between him and the Chef was that while the Chef worked, the station was kept relatively clean, but Jiraiya made it look like the waste products of the fish had been through a blender, then spread on the countertop.
But the final product was equally professional in both cases.
Kyoko and Takeshi gaped in shock before they exploded into amazed cheers.
The Chef ogled at them in disbelief, watching as the cheerful duo assaulted the proud white-haired boy.
Then the Chef growled lowly and glared at Tsunade. "Who are you and what do you want?"
Tsunade blankly scowled back at him. "Calm down. We mean no harm."
The man still looked at them with cautious eyes. "No mere children would possess the skills he has. What do you want with me? Are you all hitmen? I left that lifestyle behind when Takeshi was born."
Orochimaru fixed him with a dry stare. "We're not here to harm you. We simply came to eat."
The Chef gripped his knife tighter, but Tsunade and Orochimaru made no movement to retaliate. After a tense pause, the man finally relaxed and shot them an apologetic grin. He sheepishly rubbed the back of his head and laughed.
"Ahaha, sorry about that! It's just that there've been people after me and Takeshi for a while now. One can never be too suspicious!"
Orochimaru sniffed delicately and turned away, reaching for the finished platter the Chef was handing them. "No, you can never be too careful."
The man rubbed the back of his head again and warmly smiled at them. "My name is Tsuyoshi. What are your names?"
Tsunade split her chopsticks and picked up a piece of sushi. "My name is Tsunade. This here is Orochimaru, and that's Jiraiya over there with his sister, Kyoko."
The man's eyes flashed with recognition. "Tsunade, Orochimaru and Jiraiya, huh? The legendary three? I wouldn't be hard pressed to believe it…"
He looked over to where Jiraiya had jovially slung an arm around Takeshi, who was beaming brighter than ever.
"Take care of my son."
Tsunade continued to eat her sushi. "You would have to ask Jiraiya. I already have one brat under my jurisdiction."
Orochimaru nodded as he delicately wiped his mouth with a napkin. "That boy is Jiraiya's responsibility now."
All three of them watched as the boys play wrestled and laughed happily, Kyoko brightly cheering them on.
"He'll be fine. Can't guarantee his virginity, though."
Jiraiya was chilling in his house when he heard the door open. He spread his Chakra out and relaxed when he sensed that it was Orochimaru. He happily went back to his video game.
Orochimaru walked up the stairs and stood at his doorway.
The Toad Sage made a sound to indicate that he was listening.
"I found something interesting."
When the navy-haired boy said nothing more, Jiraiya turned to him.
In Orochimaru's hand was a shiny, orange copy of a book.
Icha Icha Paradise.
Jiraiya leaped to his feet and inched away from Orochimaru's slowly approaching form.
"Care to tell me what this is?"
Jiraiya laughed awkwardly as he tried to wrench his window open. Damn thing was jammed.
"Ha ha ha, I don't know what you're talking about…"
Damn window wasn't opening!
Orochimaru hummed and opened the back flap. "Really? It says here that the author is someone named 'Jiraiya the Valiant'." He snapped the book shut and fixed him with a deadpan stare. "Now where have I heard that before?"
Jiraiya was sweating bullets. "A-A coincidence…?"
Orochimaru looked unamused. "Those don't happen."
Jiraiya looked downright terrified now. He dropped to his knees and fell forward. "Please Orochi-teme, don't tell Hime…"
Orochimaru smirked at him. "Hmmm, I don't know…"
Jiraiya leaped up to his feet incensed. "Teme! Like I don't know what you're doing with all that Uranium you just illegally bought!"
Now Orochimaru was the one to pale. "How did you…"
Jiraiya smirked meanly at him. "I'm a Spy Master. It's my job to know."
Both of them glared at each other, then both nodded and dropped the topic.
Bonds of brotherhood were forged strong against Tsunade's wrath.
"Hey, you wanna play with me? Just unlocked two-player mode."
Tsunade was at school when the call came.
She was sitting in the middle of a mundane Geography class when her phone rang.
She looked at the caller ID.
Song Ji Min
The teacher looked at her questioningly, but Tsunade schooled her features. "I apologize for the disturbance, but I must answer this call. It seems that there is an emergency."
Jiraiya and Orochimaru's attention snapped to her.
She glanced at them and casually signed to them in Konoha standard from the Second War.
Await more information
Both unobtrusively nodded at her before turning back to the front, but their bodies were still tensed.
The teacher looked like she swallowed something sour, but she waved her off and Tsunade went to the hallway and answered the call.
Ji-Min's voice was as cold as ice. "Tsuna. We have an emergency. One of the Noble 10 has been attacked by Sogoui's gang. He's in surgery with Nobunaga right now. He says that they have to amputate both his legs off."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Ho?"
Ji-Min's voice was flinty. "Come here and see if you can salvage it."
Tsunade straightened her back. "Hai. I will make my way there right now. The train ride is around 50 minutes. Try to hold him off until then."
Ji-Min's grim voice murmured her assent, then she cut off the phone.
Tsunade spun around and marched into the classroom, immediately picking up Jiraiya and Orochimaru's alert forms.
"Sorry teacher, but Jiraiya, Orochimaru and I have to leave right now. Family emergency."
Technically, she wasn't wrong.
The teacher spluttered. "B-But I thought that you three weren't related!"
She was quelled by Tsunade's irritated look and gestured for them to leave.
Smoothly, the two boys rose and followed the Medic out of the classroom and caught up to her as she led them down a floor into another classroom.
They opened the door and stepped in, dozens of young eyes snapping to them, curious and grateful for the distraction from their boring lesson.
Kyoya's glowering from at the back stiffened when he noticed the tension of the Sannin's movements.
"Sensei, I apologize but Kyoya will have to come with us. We have a family emergency."
At her words, Kyoya growled as he slid out of his seat and prowled over to them.
The teacher's indignant stammering was ignored as the foursome strode out.
Seigi was the one to greet them as they arrived at the mansion.
He looked pissed.
"Akiyama Jirou is in the process of having both his legs amputated."
Tsunade stormed into the operating room, startling the team of surgeons working on the patient.
Kyoya prowled in after her, spinning his Tonfas around and grinning with a mad gleam in his eye.
The head surgeon, Nobunaga, looked startled and furious.
"You! You child-"
Tsunade rudely cut him off. "Kyoya, watch carefully. I'll show you how to fix a limb with Chakra, one that is deemed unfixable by normal methods."
Nobunaga sneered. "Shut your fucking mouth, you cunt! You think I didn't try to heal him with my Flames? His bones have been ground into dust! Nothing can fix this, you pretentious little cock-sucker."
Tsunade's severe expression didn't waver. "I don't know what Flames you're talking about, but it's absolutely possible to heal it with Chakra." She tilted her head to her ward. "Kyoya. Remove them. I shall continue the surgery."
Kyoya grunted in excitement then pounced on the surgeons, easily incapacitating them. After a rapid flurry of movement and crunching thuds, Nobunaga was the only man left standing.
The Head Doctor pulled out a knife hidden somewhere in his scrubs. "Try it, you little fucker. I dare you."
Kyoya tensed, and just before he could rush headlong into a losing battle (against a Noble 10 member? The brat had no chance), Tsunade pulled him aside and glowered at Nobunaga.
"Leave gracefully. This is now my operation."
Nobunaga's eyes flashed with wrath, but he ground his teeth and slipped his knife back into his robes. He grabbed his felled assistants and walked to the door.
He turned back and fixed Tsunade with a cruel look. "You'll pay for this. I promise you that you will feel my wrath. Just you wait."
Then he left.
Kyoya looked at the man's bloody stump in fascination. He reached out a hand to touch it but Tsunade slapped it back in reprimanding.
Bloodthirsty little shit. No normal kid would want to touch a bloody stump after seeing one.
Tsunade rolled her eyes at his pout. "Stop that. Now hand me his left leg. And make sure that it's the correct one. We're not going to attach the right leg to his left side no matter how much you want to see it.
His pout grew even more pronounced.
Just what exactly did Masai and Li Fen do for him to end up this messed up? Nature documentaries? Damn, they must have been some seriously fucked up shit.
Kyoya handed her the patient's left leg and she positioned it at his stump. She circulated her Chakra to her hand and pushed it into the leg.
Good. Cell death hadn't set in yet.
She changed her focus to reattaching all the muscles and ligaments between the two and Kyoya's eyes widened as he watched the patient's tissue knit together before his eyes.
Tsunade smirked. "That, apprentice, is what Chakra is capable of."
It was a long process, but Tsunade finally was able to rejoin the mangled leg back to its stump.
She turned to the patient's right stump. "Other leg."
Kyoya passed it to her. She correctly positioned this leg and began reattaching it as well.
After a long half-hour of rejoining nerves and blood vessels, the patient's right leg was successfully rejoined to its rightful place.
Now, to heal the damage that the patient sustained in battle.
Tsunade admitted that Nobunaga had been right. The man's Tibia and Fibula, along with all the bones in his feet had sustained so many fractures that they were all in a jumbled mess. It was like someone had taken him and forced his legs under a road roller.
Tsunade fed her Chakra into his legs carefully and slowly solved the jigsaw puzzle which was his bones. Deliberately, piece by piece she slid them back into their rightful place until they formed the outline that his bones should have made.
Cautiously, without jostling any of the pieces, she mended them together and the shards began to fuse to each other.
A lifetime later, a heavily sweating Tsunade lifted her hand off the patient's legs and looked at Kyoya.
Kyoya smirked in triumph and made his way to the door to inform everyone of her announcement.
Tsunade ran a final surge of Chakra through the patient to check for any other abnormalities.
She wheeled a blood transfusion stand over to the patient's side and hooked up two bags of his blood type on the stand. She injected the IV into the patient's vein then stepped back to examine her work.
She smiled in pride. A job well done.
She took off her gloves as she made her way to the exit and disposed them the in the convenient trashcan placed just before it.
The Slug Princess pushed her way out of the room and was immediately assaulted by three sobbing bodies.
Tsunade tried to wriggle her way out of the emotional pile, but they just clung tighter to her until she was forced to concede.
Finally, after a few horrifyingly uncomfortable minutes of emotive sniffling, the tallest figure pulled back and fell into a low bow.
"Thank you! Thank you for saving my husband's legs!"
The smaller figures, children even younger than her, clung to her even tighter. "Yeah, Nee-chan! Thank you for savin' Granpa!"
Tsunade fixed them with a stern look. "Don't thank me. I am a part of this Clan and I will heal whoever seeks it from me."
There was an even larger onslaught of gratitude punctuated with cries of her benevolence and greatness.
She grimaced as she saw Jiraiya and Orochimaru smirk.
Rude bastards, leaving her to suffer.
Finally, the sniffing trio pulled away enough for her to make her escape. She scurried away to her teammates, looking forward to finally relaxing with them.
But no, The Voice told her to turn around.
And rolling her eyes, she complied.
And was met with stares of pure loathing from the prissy politician and the dobe Doc.
The Voice told her to watch out.
She didn't need such redundant advice.
Enemies had been declared and blood would be spilled.
But not right now.
Now was the time for some nice warm sake and a nice hot bath.
Chapter 8: Chapter 8
In which the third Sannin gets formally inducted, Kyoya begins his training and Li Fen discovers that he's the Messiah, and Orochimaru discovers Star Wars.
All of these are the start to the calamity that is going to befall the world.
"Ah! Hime! Gentle, gentle!"
Jiraiya winced as Tsunade roughly brushed his hair. She sneered. "If you'd bother to take care of yourself once in a while, then we wouldn't even have to be doing this. See, look at Oro."
Orochimaru glanced over at the mention of his name while also running a comb through his silky hair.
"Tsunade's right, Jiraiya. If you don't like it, you could cut it."
Jiraiya whined. "No! Then how will I be able to do the Hari Jizo technique?"
Tsunade scoffed. "As if you need long hair to do it. You could extend it with Chakra."
He pouted and grumbled. "Yeah, but it's easier with long hair."
"I don't care. If I see your hair looking like a sentient creature, I'll saw it off myself."
Tsunade wrapped his now tangle-free hair into a ponytail and gestured to her stewing apprentice.
"Kyoya, come here."
Reluctantly, he ambled over and plopped himself down in front of her. She took the comb and ran it through his damp hair. He muttered profanities under his breath, but she ignored it. She pulled him to his feet and straightened his crooked Kimono and gave him a once-over.
She nodded in satisfaction. "Good. We're ready."
She tightened her Obi and walked out of the room, her teammates at her side and Kyoya following them.
They made their way out and around the long corridors, down the long flight of stairs and arriving in front of the ornate doors. The guards keeping vigil outside scanned them, then nodded and moved aside to allow them to pass.
They made their way to the seats they had occupied the last time and silently sat. This time, the arena was almost empty with only a few of the various seats occupied. None of the Noble 10 had arrived yet.
She spoke too soon. Through the doors, a gorgeous older woman decked in a ridiculously grandiose kimono stepped in with two young girls following her. The girls were only a handful of years older than the Sannin, at maybe 14 or 15 years old.
The beautiful woman didn't stop until she was standing in front of Tsunade's group. She observed them as the girls bowed and took their seats next to her.
She opened her mouth and with a low, seductive voice said, "You are Seigi's favored."
She stared at Tsunade for a second longer and snorted. "Your hair is a mess. Your kimono is shorter by one inch in the back than the front, and your obi is wrinkled."
When Tsunade said nothing, she cracked a small smile and gracefully pulled up her long, billowy sleeve. She displayed her smooth, white forearm to them, then slowly ink bled onto the white skin and stained it with vivid colors, eventually forming the image of a brilliant orange fox.
Tsunade inclined her head. "Sawada Tsunayoshi."
Tsunade elbowed Kyoya.
Her eyes fell upon the scowling boy and narrowed in interest. "Hibari? I was under the impression that Milady Ji Min was unable to have any children."
"Hibari Masai and Hibari Li Fen."
She smiled in amusement at his clipped sentences. "Ah. I see. So you are our heir."
A deep, rumbly voice cut in.
"A possible heir."
A huge, ripped man stood before them. He had a shaved head and when he aggressively bared his teeth, diamond grills glittered from them.
"That's only if he grows up to see adulthood. Don't know what could happen to him until then."
Tsunade and the woman bristled.
The woman's tall, slender form turned to him condescendingly and she sneered. He leered back at her.
He stuck out his hand and a ferocious-looking boar appeared. "Miyomoto Toshiro. You kids better watch out. With old man Akiyama out of the equation, I'm the one who's gonna be training your sorry asses."
He withdrew his hand and roughly planted it on Aizawa's hip. In a split second, her hand whipped up and a sharpened ornate hair pin was placed against his neck.
But he was no slower. His other hand was loosely wrapped against her neck, pulling her closer.
She regarded him with a furious expression. "Do not threaten the heir."
He grinned unpleasantly. "I do what I want. Besides, it's about time someone got rid of all the Incs."
A voice roughly cleared behind them, and the two broke apart, glaring murder at each other.
An attractive, stern-looking man narrowed his eyes at the scene. "Miyomoto. Kindly refrain from getting that to close to Tsukihime."
The burly man sneered. "Keep your whore."
The man stepped forward with fury, but Aizawa's gentle hand held him back.
The man relaxed and wrapped an arm around her waist. The couple watched as the huge man stalked away arrogantly.
She turned back to the group who witnessed the entire exchange. The two girls who Aizawa brought with her were glaring after Miyomoto.
She cut them off roughly. "No. You cannot handle him. In fact," She sighed deeply and leaned into the man's side, "I do not believe I can handle him either."
The man spoke this time. "No. Leave it be. He knows to not repeat the same offense twice."
The girls grumbled and settled down reluctantly.
The man turned to the Sannin. "Nagata Shunsuke." He pulled up his sleeve and an image of a Foxhound appeared on his lean forearm. "I lead the Drug Monitoring division. Tsukihime is the head of the Sex Trade Regulation."
The Sannin all inclined their heads and introduced themselves.
The man smiled disarmingly. "Not all the Noble 10 are like Miyomoto. We look forward to working with you in the future."
Unlike the last clan meeting, this one proceeded to be… perfectly ordinary.
After the Miyamoto incident, Masai and Li Fen arrived and made a beeline to their son. Li Fen ran her fingers affectionately through Kyoya's combed hair and Masai examined him proudly.
Aizawa and Nagata removed themselves and made their way to their seats, and soon after Masai and Li Fen followed them.
By that time, people were swarming through the doors, so the room filled up fairly quickly and within a few minutes, the meeting was underway.
Seigi made a few general announcements to the clan, like the progress of the battle against Sougoi and the state of the finances.
Then, he called Tsunade up and proceeded to commend her for her miraculous work with Akiyama Jirou's surgery. The cheering was thunderous.
Then came the initiations. He called Orochimaru, Kyoya and the two girls up and welcomed them into the Clan.
All in all, quite anticlimactic.
But that was the meeting.
The actual excitement started afterward.
Tsunade hung back to talk to Aizawa after the meeting.
The woman fascinated her. She reminded her of her old Kunoichi teacher back at the Academy, the one to teach her about the womanly arts.
The Slug Princess snorted. Not that she used them very often. She was too distinctive and forceful for infiltration and seduction missions, but the point still stood.
The pair turned. Tsunade bowed her head. "I did not get the chance to say this earlier, but it is a pleasure to meet both of you. I hope to work with you in the future."
The woman cracked an almost imperceptible smile. "Nice to meet you, Sawada-chan. Take care of the heir, will you? There is more dissent in the ranks than is initially visible to the eye."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"
Nagata chuckled humorously. "Don't tell me a smart little thing like you hasn't noticed yet. The factions haven't been this tense since the establishment of the Holy Trinity Alliance."
"Factions?" Tsunade eagerly drank up the information. This explained so much.
"Yes, Sawada-chan. The Factions. Between the 'Incs' and the 'Accs'."
At Tsunade's questioning look, she elaborated. "Milord Seigi, Milady Ji Min, Masai, Li Fen, us, we're what the others call 'Incs'. It's short for 'incapable', as in we're all incapable of using Flames. We're only able to use it for the bare minimum, such as activating the ink for our tattoos. The 'Accs', or 'accessible' faction feel that because they are able to harness the power of Flames, they should be the ones at the head of the Clan."
Tsunade stared. Flames? Did they mean…?
She stuck her hands out and channeled her Chakra, making her hand glow a pale orange. "Is this what you mean by 'Flames'?"
Nagata sucked in a breath sharply and Aizawa's eyes widened. Almost unconsciously, she whispered, "Sky…"
She was about to ask them to elaborate when The Voice freaked out.
Immediately, she tensed her body and flared out her Chakra, and in seconds felt Jiraiya's and Orochimaru's responding flares, signaling that they were alright.
But The Voice was still distressed.
And in moments, it became clear why.
A shrill scream sounded from outside and Tsunade bolted to the source.
Outside the house, Seigi lied in a puddle of gushing blood. Nobunaga was nowhere to be found and Ji Min was covered in her husband's blood as she tightly pressed down on his wound, murderously glaring at the roofs of nearby buildings.
Tsunade shunshined to her side, startling a few of the panicking bystanders.
Ji Min's eyes raged and she snarled, "He was shot by a sniper. Luckily, it missed his heart because he stepped down due to the uneven walkway. Kyoya, Jiraiya and Orochimaru have gone to hunt him down."
Tsunade's eyes narrowed. She activated her Chakra and ran a quick diagnostic.
She grimaced. The bullet had thankfully missed the actual heart, but it had severed the Pulmonary Artery and was now firmly lodged in the Aorta.
He wouldn't survive if she didn't give him emergency surgery immediately.
Ji Min howled in wrath. "Fucking Nobunaga! Where the fuck is he?! He left already with that scum Takikabe!"
Tsunade snapped at her. "Ji Min! Calm down!" When she was still delirious, Tsunade withdrew her bloody hand and slapped her hard across the face, leaving a bright red handprint in it's place. Finally, she broke Ji Min out from her shock.
"Listen. Get me a Litre of either B+ or O type blood. And fast. With the rate of him losing it, he won't make it."
Ji Min stared at her, then rose and regained her commanding presence. She picked a handful of people and they rushed inside to the house's makeshift surgery station to get the blood.
Tsunade exhaled and dug her fingers into Seigi's wound, aiming to pull the bullet out. The blood spurted and landed on her face and the cavity formed by the bullet gurgled unpleasantly.
Tsunade heard the crowd roil with horror around her, disgusted. Without looking up, she dictated, "Li Fen, control them."
The Chinese lady's soothing voice contained the crowd before they could break into a panic and god forbid, somehow disrupt Tsunade.
Tsunade ran another brief diagnostic Jutsu, and nodded sharply. She activated the Mystical Palm Technique and began to mend Seigi's Aorta.
Just as she finished and moved onto the Pulmonary Artery, Kyoya leaped down with a half-dead man dragged behind him.
"This herbivore shot Oji-san."
Masai stepped up with severity and took the bloody man from his son. He roughly patted Kyoya's head. "Well done, Kyoya."
Kyoya bowed his head, blood flying from a cut on his temple due to the sharp movement.
Not a second later, Jiraiya and Orochimaru appeared as well, each carrying two comatose men. Their appearance was pristine, but their auras were thunderous.
"We patrolled the surrounding areas and discovered these men hidden on nearby buildings. They are all wearing communicational devices, but they short-circuited when we discovered them. Presumably remote controlled. Tried to commit suicide by taking Cyanide pills when it became clear that escape was futile, but when that proved ineffective, attempted to chew their tongues off. Rendered them unconscious before they could complete the action."
Masai nodded appreciatively at the detailed report, a far cry from the one his son provided him with.
The leader of the Japanese Police Force whistled sharply and his subordinates stepped forward and collected the limp men from the two male Sannin.
Ji Min bolted out of the house, tightly holding two bags of blood. She rapidly made her way to her husband's side and deposited them, barely out of breath.
Trailing after her were the people she collected, holding other medical materials like an IV stand, disinfectant, and a stretcher.
Tsunade took the bag of blood and ran a cursory wave of Chakra through it. It was a habit she had developed after one of her previous patients back in Konohagakure had died because of a transfusion of infected blood.
It was procedure to run a check on blood before she used it, but it mainly became an unconscious thing because there were rarely any irregularities.
But this time, the result of the check didn't come back negative.
Seigi's blood type was B+. That meant that any blood other than B+, B- or O would coagulate in his veins.
The label on the blood bag was O.
Tsunade's check revealed that the blood was actually AB-.
Raw fury coursed through her and her vision turned red.
She felt her Chakra pulsing viciously around her and vaguely recognized Jiraiya's and Orochimaru's presence trying to calm her down.
With great effort, she closed her eyes and reigned in her Chakra. Without opening them, she ordered, "Bring every type of blood bag here. NOW!"
People scrambled for the house to obey her wrathful orders.
Aizawa's face was set in stone when she stepped up. "What is it?"
Tsunade breathed roughly through her nose, attempting to control her temper again.
"Someone switched the labels on the blood bags."
Ji Min roared.
Li Fen grabbed the blood-soaked woman into a rough embrace, attempting to calm her down, even though she was clearly furious as well.
Orochimaru's eyes were slits. "Traitor," he hissed.
Jiraiya ground his teeth roughly.
Tsunade took a deep breath and ran another wave of Chakra through Seigi's shallowly breathing, but thankfully unbleeding form. There wasn't enough blood to sustain his body. If they didn't get the blood in him soon, cell death would start to set in because of the Oxygen deprivation.
Thankfully, that was the moment the other bags of blood were carried out of the house.
Tsunade ran diagnostics on all of them and found O type blood in bags labeled with A-.
She quickly inserted the needle into his arm and began the transfusion.
After the majority of an hour, Seigi finally regained a healthy-looking complexion.
Tsunade fell onto Orochimaru and slung an arm around Jiraiya, pulling him close. She snuggled into both of them and closed her eyes, finally relaxing.
While Tsunade slept off the remaining stress from the impromptu surgery, Jiraiya and Orochimaru sat beside her, keeping guard over her prone form.
Masai came in a few hours later. His face was grim.
"The interrogation revealed that the hitmen were from the Kowazumi Yakuza Group. They claimed that there was no leak."
Jiraiya scowled. "The most likely conclusion is that the traitor is dealing directly with Sogoui, then. Grunts wouldn't be privy to that kind of info."
Orochimaru bared his teeth viciously. "Indeed. They are able to cover their tracks to that extent. Of course, we have our suspicions, but all of them are too high profile to go around pointing fingers without evidence."
Masai nodded gravely. "Exactly."
Jiraiya growled in frustration. "So what can we do now?"
Masai furrowed his brows in displeasure and crossed his arms. "Nothing. We have to hold our hand."
Orochimaru closed his eyes in resignation. "And Seigi's status?"
A nod. "Good. We'll wait until Tsunade is awake and inform her." Orochimaru leaned against the backboard with his eyes still closed. "A stalemate."
Jiraiya lied down next to Tsunade's softly breathing form. He crossed his arms behind his head as he stared at the ceiling and sighed. "So we wait?"
Tsunade looked up at her apprentice. She was enjoying the first reprieve she had gotten in ages. It looked like her wayward apprentice had come seeking her out.
It had been months since the attack on Seigi and finally, things were back to a semblance of being normal. The entire Clan was in an uproar and was working relentlessly to get everything back to normal while Seigi was still out of commission.
During that period, Kyoya had become more withdrawn and vicious than ever, since no one was there to give him the attention he needed to rein in his aggressive tendencies. Tsunade recognized that fact and berated herself for it, but he wasn't too far gone yet. There was still a window of opportunity before he became irrevocably out of control.
"Hn. Teach me."
"Teach you what?"
Tsunade squinted at him. What a surprise. The physical incarnation of destruction wanted to know how to heal?
"Because. I won't let any of my pack die." His face had an intense, ugly scowl. "Ever."
Ahhh. Now that made more sense. Seigi's near-death experience likely hit the kid harder than he's willing to let on. Tsunade cocked her head to the side as she examined his stiff form.
But Iryo-Ninjutsu? Was he even capable of doing such a thing? He was obviously a power-type. Did he possess the control necessary to master such a subject?
Well, there was no time like the present.
Tsunade stood and brushed her pants off, then gestured to him and turned.
"Come with me."
She walked over to a tree and he silently trailed after her. She plucked a leaf and placed it on her forehead, then removed her hand. The leaf remained.
"If you're able to finish this exercise in one hour, I shall teach you how to heal."
Kyoya stared at the leaf. "How?"
Tsunade smirked. "Use your Chakra."
She turned and went to sit back down and observed him.
She heard him furrow his brows and mutter, "Chakra? What is that?" and take another leaf and hold it to his head.
She watched as he murmured to himself and tried pressing the leaf to himself.
She smiled. Maybe she should throw the poor kid a bone. The next time he glanced up at her, she channeled her Chakra and let her eyes glow orange.
Tsunade's smile grew as Kyoya's eyes widened and he mumbled, "Flames? Like Fon-Oji-san said?"
Oho? Another mention of these so-called Flames? Interesting.
She observed as his eyes glowed a brilliant purple, and the leaf got thrown off his forehead from the excessive Chakra.
Tsunade smirked. Now it was only a race between him and the clock to see if he was capable of.
Tsunade looked at him in disbelief.
He actually managed to do it. And in 35 minutes, no less.
He was quite possibly a prodigy.
But how? She could swear that he didn't have the necessary Chakra Control to do it so fast.
And yet, the reality of it stood proudly in front of her.
The little shit smirked triumphantly at her, looking utterly ridiculous with a trembling leaf stuck to his forehead.
"Hn. Teach me."
Brat. She still couldn't wrap her mind around it. She stared at him warily.
"Alright. Well done. This is the next exercise."
She rose to her feet and walked over to a tree. But as she grew closer, she didn't slow down. Instead, right before she crashed into it headfirst, she planted her foot on the trunk and walked up it almost carelessly, as if she wasn't defying gravity.
She heard a strangled sound from behind her and smirked. She pushed off the trunk and landed delicately next to her flabbergasted apprentice.
"What's the matter? Never seen a person walk up a tree before?"
She let out a chuckle at his unimpressed expression.
"So here's what you do. Do you have your Tonfas with you?" Her smile grew at his scoff. She knew that he never went anywhere without them.
"I want you to run as far up the tree as you can with Chakra on your feet, and when you can't go any further, make a marking of your highest point with your Tonfa. Your aim is to beat your highest point each time you run up."
He stared intensely at the tree and nodded. "Hn."
This time, Tsunade didn't sit down. She stood right by him and watched. She carefully observed him to see whether his success with the leaf exercise was a fluke or not.
As he relentlessly ran up and down the tree, she realized some things.
Firstly, this kid was a beast. With the rate at which he was going, he would be able to complete the tree running exercise by the time she had to send him home. A laughably ridiculous notion, and yet he was doing it right before her eyes.
And secondly, the Chakra in this world was different from the one she intimately knew of in her previous body. She already knew this to be fact, however, this was the moment it really hit home, because in her previous world, there was no conceivable way for a power-type to possess such Chakra control.
Even Orochimaru, hailed as a genius, had taken the better part of a week to complete tree-walking. Not to mention Jiraiya…
The sun was just beginning to set and it cast a warm, golden glow across the sky.
Tsunade nodded. "Show me."
Kyoya slowly, cautiously stepped up the tree. His feet trembled from the exertion and he slipped more than once, but Tsunade could see that he had indeed completed the tree-climbing exercise.
He leaped down and looked for her approval and she gave it to him. She smiled. "Well done. You're progressing at an extremely rapid pace."
If only he knew.
"Would you like me to show you something else?"
He nodded slowly, but she could see the eagerness in his eyes. It was alright. She'd show the next exercise to him. It wasn't like he was going to master this one tonight as well.
She led him over to a small pond that Orochimaru had made for testing out water Jutsus. She walked on the surface of the pond for a few minutes, letting him observe.
"That is the next step. Go home and practice."
"Hn." The sweat-ridden boy inclined his head to her and stumbled towards the door. Just as he opened it, Jiraiya and Orochimaru stood on the other side.
"Hime! We brought Sake!"
Kyoya grunted and made his way around them to go inside to retrieve his things and retire to his house for the night.
Tsunade sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose as she sat herself between her teammates on the veranda.
"She's gone hunting with her girlfriends."
Jiraiya choked oh the Sake he was drinking and croaked, "What?"
Orochimaru turned to her in surprise. "This is the first I've heard of this."
Tsunade nodded as she poured herself a cup. "Yeah, she goes out hunting sometimes. One of the reasons Iemitsu fell for her. Great cooking skills, good with firearms."
She could hear Jiraiya faintly cough something out that resembled "Masochist," but after that, the conversation died down.
The trio sat in silence as they drank the warm Sake and observed the moon in the dark sky, listening to the soothing chatter of cicadas.
Finally, Tsunade broke the silence.
"I have begun training Kyoya."
Jiraiya hummed while he sucked on a popsicle. "How did it go?"
Orochimaru gracefully sipped at his Sake. "And?"
"He finished both the leaf and tree climbing exercises today."
Both stared at her blankly. She nodded, not taking her eyes off the moon, as if it possessed all the answers to her questions.
"Yeah. I didn't think it was possible either, but he did it."
Jiraiya's brows furrowed. "How? He's a power-type. He shouldn't possess the control necessary."
Orochimaru huffed. "The answer is most likely in the Chakra itself."
Tsunade nodded. "Yeah, that's the conclusion I came to as well."
The Snake Sannin nodded. "From what I've figured out, the Chakra in this world is based mostly on intent. It's not as black and white as our previous world's Chakra, where in order to channel and mold Chakra, you need handseals. Here, if you will it, the Chakra will mold."
He took another sip of his Sake. "It took me a long time to come to that conclusion because I have grown accustomed to not requiring handseals for my Jutsus, so I never realized it until I actually did use them. Handseals help mold the Chakra, but not nearly as much as they would have in our previous worlds."
Jiraiya grunted in agreement. "I got that too. It's much easier for me to mold and shape Chakra to form seals instead of having to actually draw them out. I assumed that it was just because of my familiarity with them, but now I realize that it should've been a lot more difficult. Even if our minds remember it, our bodies don't, and we haven't conditioned our new, young bodies to accommodate for our techniques yet. By all logic, it should be impossible for us to be using our previous techniques in these young bodies when our Chakra Systems shouldn't even be fully developed and functional yet."
Orochimaru smirked. "Surprisingly perceptive."
Jiraiya scowled and flung his popsicle stick at Orochimaru like a senbon, who dodged it effortlessly.
"Orochi-teme! I'm smart!"
"Yes, perhaps the years have given you a semblance of intelligence."
Tsunade rolled her eyes and pushed them apart. "Going back to our previous conversation, this all makes sense. Intent, wasn't it? Our Chakra acted the way we wanted it to because we intended for it to act the same as the Chakra back in the Elemental Nations. That's probably why Kyoya was able to get through the Chakra control exercises so quickly. Because he focused on the main goal and forced his Chakra to yield the results."
Orochimaru's hand rose to his chin as his eyes gained a contemplative, far-away look. "Yes, that is plausible."
Jiraiya munched on a rice biscuit and threw back a shot of Sake. "Seems legit."
Tsunade hummed and threw back a shot of Sake as well. "Mmm. But what do the different colors of our Chakras mean? It was never like that before, except for things like Iryo-Ninjutsu Chakra and Bijuu Chakra and things like that. But both of your Chakra seems to be the same kind as mine."
Jiraiya snorted. "No idea."
He Channeled his Chakra to his hand and it glowed a pale yellow. Orochimaru did the same and his was a dark blue, while Tsunade's was a dull orange.
"...Maybe it's according to our… personalities...?"
A scoff. "Not likely. There's probably a deeper meaning than 'our personalities'."
"Oi, Teme! It was just a suggestion!"
"Yes, a very smart 'suggestion'." His voice dripped sarcasm.
"Hey! I don't see you offering any ideas!"
Tsunade elbowed the both of them all the while observing their Chakra-filled hands.
"Look. Orochimaru's Chakra, when it fades away, it forms shapes that look like water droplets."
The two boys quit their squabble and leaned in to observe.
"It seems so. When the Chakra dissipates, it forms solid-like shapes."
"Huh. Isn't that weird."
Tsunade looked at Jiraiya's hand. "And yours. There's a vibration in the air, like an energy field."
Sure enough, the air around Jiraiya's Chakra-filled hand shimmered as if it was surrounded by a mirage.
"And yours, Hime. Your Chakra isn't moving at all."
Tsunade looked down. Her Chakra just sat in hand, unresponsive. She attempted to move it, and it easily moved in the direction she wanted.
"Strange. Without my will, it doesn't react, but with even the slightest nudge it reacts. I had assumed that it was because of my Chakra control, but…"
Orochimaru concluded her sentence. "We cannot determine if that is the actual reason now."
She sighed. This new world kept throwing curveball after curveball.
Enough of this heavy topic. You couldn't talk about shit like this while drinking, the hangover would be vicious.
Time for some mindless small talk.
"So, what have you two been up to?"
Li Fen opened her eyes. Once she determined that she was wide awake and unable to discern the reason as to why, she gently nudged her husband.
Masai grunted and squinted at her. "... What is it? Did something happen?"
Li Fen shook her head as he pulled her closer and spooned her. "No. Something woke me up."
Masai grunted again and nuzzled his wife and kissed her neck. "Another round?"
Li Fen shook her head. "No. Do you think it's Kyoya?"
As if on cue, a muted splash sounded from the garden.
Li Fen turned and made eye contact with her husband. With a loud groan, he pushed the covers away, rolled off the futon and slipped a robe around himself. He picked up a smaller one and handed it to his wife, who deftly wrapped it around herself.
Once they were presentable, both made their way to their gardens.
And stopped short when they stumbled upon the scene their son was in.
Laying around their beautifully maintained koi pond were Li Fen's prized koi. Most of them were alarmingly still but a handful of them was still desperately flopping around, desperate to return back to the water.
On top of the pond stood a waterlogged Kyoya who looked every part like a drenched, triumphant kitten. He stood exuding an aura of superiority.
Masai's jaw dropped. "..."
Li Fen just blinked. "... My koi."
"Is he… standing on top of the water? Li Fen? Like Jesus?"
"I told you our son was special, Masai. See? He's our savior. He's come to lead all of humanity to our salvation."
Tsunade dropped a pile of books in front of Jiraiya and Orochimaru.
"Hime… what're these?"
Orochimaru's sarcastic drawl rang out. "Clearly. What are they for?"
"These are language books. We obviously don't have anything better to be doing right now, so why not read up on some of the different languages of the world?"
Tsunade's eyes glowed. "Unless you have some other projects that you're working on which you haven't told me about…" She trailed off ominously.
Jiraiya gulped. It would not bode well for him if she found out about that-which-must-not-be-mentioned.
Orochimaru glared. It would be an… inconvenience if Tsunade decided to interfere in his projects.
"We do not have anything like that…"
"Good. I aim for us to have mastered 6 languages by the time we get our tattoos."
"That's right. We are already familiar with Japanese and Italian, so we need to learn Korean and Chinese because of the Clan, and simply because it's useful, English and Spanish, because they're both such widely spoken languages."
They both stared at her.
She raised an eyebrow at them. "Well, better get started. I'm already halfway through English and Chinese."
As she stalked off, they both closed their eyes in resignation.
Jiraiya sighed and mournfully got to his feet. "Hey, Orochi-teme, wanna watch a dumb movie with me?"
Ah, the cure to everything. Procrastination.
Orochimaru sighed as well. Why not?
The depressed pair made their way up the stairs into Jiraiya's room. On the way they were greeted by a blushing Kyoko but neither of them could muster up enough energy to grace her with more than a grunt.
They flopped down on Jiraiya's bed and the Toad Sage popped in a disk.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...
Orochimaru eyed the screen in interest. "What is this?"
Jiraiya turned to him in astonishment. "Eh? You haven't heard of Star Wars, Orochi-teme?"
Orochimaru shook his head, his eyes never leaving the screen.
Jiraiya grinned. "Trust me. You'll love it."
When the closing credits rolled around, Jiraiya turned to him expectantly. "So? What'd you think?"
Orochimaru, without a single inflection, said, "Play the next one."
Jiraiya guffawed and rose to change the CD.
Orochimaru eagerly waited for the next installment to start.
The movie… was a masterpiece. The premise was fascinating and the story was intriguing.
And the weapons. Especially that flashy one… ahh yes. The Lightsaber.
He smirked viciously. Looks like he had a new project.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9
In which the Sannin and their feral little sidekick represent the Kiyoijuu and meet some important people.
"Now that everyone is present, this meeting shall convene."
Everyone present in the room deferentially bowed to Seigi and waited for him to sit. Once he gracefully slid into his seat, everyone else followed.
Tsunade nudged Jiraiya, who made no movement to stifle a yawn. She saw that some of the people in Miyamoto's faction throw them a disgusted look.
She examined the room now that it was finally filled. All of the Noble 10 members were present and seated at a long conference table.
Behind each member were a handful of seats where affiliates of their factions were able to sit. It was generally obvious as to which faction each member belonged to. All of Aizawa's members were dressed in impeccable Japanese garb and their manners were impeccable. Akiyama's seats were occupied by people who were obviously from the Military, as dictated by their haircuts and stiff postures. Takikabe's seats contained shifty-looking men all dressed in crisp suits. Ji Min's faction was all well-groomed and gorgeous, with stylish clothes and eye-catching hairstyles.
Tsunade and her two teammates were seated in Seigi's seats beside his lieutenant. Tsunade wasn't very familiar with the man, but he had a twinkle in his eyes and laugh lines around his mouth. He wasn't, however, laughing at that moment, but was quietly and vigilantly observing the proceedings in silence.
Kyoya, for once, wasn't glued to Tsunade's side and was seated in his father's faction. Beside him, she eyed Masai's second-in-command, Kusakabe Tadashi. He worked with the man in the Police Force, and Tsunade knew that he confided everything to him.
Over the months, Kyoya had grown more and more attached to her, almost rivaling his indomitable will to grow stronger. He had progressed at an insane rate and had gone through all the theory that aspiring Shinobi went through at the Academy in six years in only one and a half. He was so voracious about learning that he even hounded Orochimaru and Jiraiya to impart bits of knowledge whenever he demanded it.
He was now a constant shadow at her side. He had declared that she, Jiraiya and Orochimaru were pack and was puzzlingly possessive over them. She was baffled at first, but she decided to roll with it. The kid was already a little loose in the head, but in her presence, he was able to gain a semblance of stability. She wouldn't sacrifice that blessing for anything.
But Kyoya wasn't the only one being trained up quickly. Tsuyoshi's kid, Takeshi was coming along swimmingly, according to Jiraiya. The boy was quite fond of baseball but had decided to take up the art of the sword when both he and Jiraiya had accidentally stumbled upon Tsuyoshi dispatching some Hitmen targeting him for his rather large bounty from his Assassin days.
Once the jig was up, Tsuyoshi decided to explain to his son about the world he used to be in, and the one that Jiraiya was currently in. Takeshi was so upset with them for keeping their secret from him that he had run away from home that night.
Unfortunately, there were the remaining group of Hitmen who were able to identify him and kidnap him.
The resulting bloodbath that Tsuyoshi and Jiraiya caused to rescue him had made the young baseball lover vow to learn to protect both himself and his loved ones. Both Tsuyoshi and Jiraiya had reluctantly agreed, and Tsuyoshi showed him the coveted Shigure Soen Ryu style of the sword.
Just like Kyoya, he showed himself to be a natural Assassin and easily picked up the style. Jiraiya was tutoring the boy in other aspects while his father took over his Kenjutsu training.
Kyoya adored the boy, even though he refused to admit it to Tsunade. Both Kyoya and Takeshi regularly sparred, one intensely aggressive and one happily carefree. With each confrontation, both progressed in leaps and bounds. It was obvious that they had declared the other their rival.
The Sannin agreed that watching their sparring matches was some of the most entertainment they had in their new lives. Kyoya would mindlessly snarl like a beast while Takeshi laughed like an idiot the entire time. It was glorious.
Both Tsunade and Jiraiya had ribbed on Orochimaru for not yet choosing an apprentice, but he had simply stated that he hadn't found anyone suitable enough yet. They accepted his answer easily enough. Not just anyone could be apprenticed. The apprentice always forms a deep bond with their master, and they have to have a high initial level of compatibility. It was a surprise in itself that both Tsunade and Jiraiya had found apprentices in a single town, but it was a well-established fact that Namimori was filled with weirdos.
He'd find his own in due time. There was no doubt about that.
Seigi sat regally at the head of the table and waited until all of the chatter died down completely.
"I have received the invitation for the ICUO."
Excited murmurs exploded throughout the room.
Tsunade's eyes widened. The ICUO. The International Convention for Underground Organizations. This… this was big. The reason she knew so much about it was through Jiraiya's sources and Orochimaru's knowledge about it when he was helping out with the Clan's paperwork.
The Sannin exchanged anticipating glances with each other.
Nagata leaned back in his chair and brought his hand up to his mouth. He casually removed his cigarette and blew a plume of smoke in the air. He fixed his sharp eyes on Seigi. "So. Who's going this year?"
Nobunaga leaned forward with his hands folded on the table. His entire form dripped with excitement. "Yes, have you decided yet?"
Seigi's intense gaze never wavered. "As a matter of fact, I have not-"
There was an uproar of epic proportions as everyone present tried to advocate for their allies to be chosen. The Noble 10 members attempted to wait for the thunderous din to die down, but as it continued to only grow in intensity, their faces became strained with irritation. Finally, when it looked as if several people were at their limits, Miyomoto pulled a heavy handgun out of his pocket and brought it up to remove the silencer from the end. Once he finished screwing off the contraption, he raised it and shot a single, deafening round in the air.
"Oi, shut the hell up, you freaks! The man hasn't finished talking yet!"
Almost instantaneously, the sound stopped.
Ji-Min tsked. "Damn Miyomoto. You're paying for the repairs."
The hefty man scowled. "What was th-"
"As I was attempting to say earlier," Seigi interrupted with an icy glare, "I have not decided the exact representatives for the Clan. However," He glared once more, quelling any other suggestions, "I have decided on one person. His companions will be decided by him."
Quieted murmurs ran through the factions as they tried to figure out who he was referring to.
Akiyama voiced what everyone was thinking. "Who is it, Hibari-san?"
Without any inflection, Seigi monotoned, "Hibari Kyoya."
Almost immediately, the entire room was once again in an uproar.
Tsunade could see Kyoya's eyes narrow in surprise, but Masai and Li Fen showed no discernable reaction other than pride. So they must have known about it, then. Kusakabe slung his beefy arm around the 10-year-old in congratulation.
"As he is the heir, I selected him to represent our Clan. From each Organization, a total of five people are allowed to attend, and Kyoya will choose his companions."
Takikabe's smarmy vice cut through. "Hibari-sama, if I may…"
Seigi scowled, but waved him ahead, bracing himself for what was obviously going to be a troublesome rebuttal.
"Young master Kyoya has not even attained his Tattoos yet. Is it really suitable for him to be representing our illustrious Clan?"
He was immediately assaulted by a number of glares. Li Fen's voice could cut through glass. "Are you saying that Kyoya is lacking in any way?"
The conniving old man rapidly backtracked when he realized that he had gravely overstepped. "No, Tian-sama, that is not what I intended to-"
Li Fen was merciless. "Then what were you trying to imply? I assure you, you had better watch your words, otherwise I swear that I will challenge you to a duel for his honor. Do not presume that you can disrespect my son and your future leader and get away with it."
Takikabe's aura was thunderous, but he wisely backed down, acknowledging that this round went to Li Fen.
The Chinese lady had a minuscule triumphant smirk and she mumbled something about Jesus while Masai face-palmed himself.
Seigi just looked done and ignored them. He turned to his frowning nephew. "So, Kyoya, who will have the right of accompanying you to the Convention?"
Kyoya snorted derisively. "I only have three. Tsunade, Orochimaru and Jiraiya."
Without missing a beat, Takikabe butt in. "Hibari-sama…"
Seigi rubbed his face in his hands and groaned quietly, which only able to be heard by his wife and the Sannin.
Tsunade smirked. She could hear his irritation in every syllable.
"Hibari-sama, our Young Master is very young, and the companions he chooses are young as well. Do you not think that this is… negligent?"
Besides her, Tsunade could hear Jiraiya growl and Orochimaru sniff with offence. She shared their sentiments. Negligent? How dare he? The utter disrespect!
Before any one of them could speak up, Seigi's voice, cold as ice, cut in. "Are you doubting members of my Faction? Ones specifically handpicked by me?" Seigi stood, clearly indicating the end of the meeting. "Questioning them is questing my judgment." His eyes were slits as he coolly gazed at the politician. "Watch yourself, Takikabe Koutaro. You overstep."
Takikabe snapped his mouth shut and resentfully glared at him, grinding his teeth in fury. "... Hai, Hibari-sama."
Ji-Min stood as well and took his arm. "Well then, you're all dismissed! Go make yourselves busy!"
The other members of the Noble 10 stood as well and began to make their ways out the door. Slowly, everyone else shuffled out as well.
Orochimaru smirked. "This is a most interesting development. I never expected that we would be allowed to attend the ICUO so soon."
Jiraiya let out a perverted giggle. "It's beautiful! Think about all the wonderful gossip I'll be able to hear!"
Tsunade and Orochimaru shared a look of resignation. Sometimes he acted too much like a gossiping old lady than a perverted old man and it was just creepy.
Tsunade huffed out a puff of air. "Well, whatever happens, it should be interesting…"
Dubai. That was where the conference was being held.
After a grueling 12-hour long flight, they had finally arrived.
To be honest, the flight was actually pretty fucking awesome, since they were riding in First Class on United Airlines. Plenty of legroom, pull-up shutters for privacy, a gigantic option of movies and two entire seasons of Sherlock, an open bar, Tsunade was in heaven.
The flight was going just dandy up until Tsunade had a rather disturbing notion about halfway in.
She pulled down her shutters and saw Orochimaru dozing, listening to a collection of Chopin's best works, and Jiraiya laughing his ass off to Sausage Party. The ingrate. Kyoya was watching another one of those damn nature documentaries, but she decided to leave him out of it.
"Oi!" She leaned in and nudged both of them.
"Ahh? Hime? What happened? Feeling nauseous?" She smacked him with a mild glare then dropped it, letting a mischevious expression flash across her features.
"I was just thinking… what if Iemitsu's representing Vongola?"
Orochimaru's and Jiraiya's twin expressions of absolute horror would be in her memory for the rest of her 2nd life.
And with that disturbing thought, she rolled her shutter back up again to leave the two to fester with that unholy thought, going back to enjoying the wonder of nature which was Sherlock Holmes.
She smirked. She is such a sadist sometimes.
Jiraiya and Orochimaru were still shell-shocked after they had gotten off the plane and made their way to the hotel.
As Tsunade was riding through the city, she was awestruck.
As a woman of… considerable age, she had seen some pretty amazing things in her 2 lives. But the architecture of the buildings in Dubai had her speechless. It was if they were challenging the laws of the Natural World, and as a Medic, that was a sentiment she could appreciate.
Their hotel was something extraordinary, a vision of twisting glass and metal. The taxi dropped them off at the front and Tsunade led them in, Kyoya, as always, just one step behind her, and her teammates trailing mindlessly behind them.
She made her way to the receptionist and was greeted with a bland, polite smile. "Hello, and welcome to the Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel. How may I be of assistance?"
Tsunade returned a civil smile. "Hi, we're booked under Kiyoijuu."
The woman didn't even bat an eye and typed at her computer. Tsunade was impressed with her level of professionalism. Most people would ask questions due to her obvious youth.
"Here we are. 5 reservations for Kiyoijuu. Rooms 13 to 17 on floor 9."
"We only need four rooms, thank you."
"Alright then, four rooms." She typed a bit more on her keyboard, then procured four cards. "Here are the room keys, to enter you scan on the pad below the handle."
Tsunade accepted the cards and nodded her thanks, then led her group to the elevators.
Once inside, she handed each of them a card. "Don't lose them."
"…Uhh? Ah, hai, Hime."
Tsunade shook her head at her teammates' absentmindedness. "If you two are so worried, just send a Shadow Clone to see if Iemitsu is with the Vongola group. If he is, then we'll just use a Henge. Not a preferred method, but it'll work out. Calm down."
Both Jiraiya and Orochimaru noticeably perked up at her suggestion. She sighed and shook her head. They were both such idiots, sometimes.
It turns out, much to the Sannins' relief, that Iemitsu was not a part of the Vongola entourage.
Very, very much to their relief. Tsunade disliked her father on principal, Jiraiya hated the old man's guts and Orochimaru was still scarred from being treated like a small animal by him.
All of them were dressed in rich Kimonos, but they were all modified to allow for ease of movement in case they ended up in a situation where they had to battle. Tsunade's had two long slits running on the sides of her leg up to her hips, but the slits weren't easy to spot due to the extravagance of the garment. All of the extra folds and cloth covered it up quite nicely.
The three boys looked quite comfortable in their own clothes. Tsunade thanked all the gods above that there was some serious air-conditioning in the hotel, otherwise, they wouldn't have survived, especially in the notorious Dubai heat.
Bracing themselves, Kyoya led the way to the grand hall reserved for the Convention.
This was it. This is where alliances were forged and broken. Where entire political wars were fought. Where some of the most powerful leaders in the world decided if people lived or died.
But no pressure. Tsunade was used to this Bullshit.
They stepped into the room and entered the maybe, maybe not metaphorical lion's den.
Tsunade shook her shot glass around and stared into it.
It had been hours. Tsunade lost track of the number of people she had spoken to and had conversed with.
The group had been separated around 2 hours into the meeting. Orochimaru had been dragged away by a group of engineers, Jiraiya had gone jumping from woman to woman and Kyoya had stalked off to god-knows-where.
Which left the brunt of the business on Tsunade's slim, stressed shoulders.
She really loved her teammates. She kept telling herself that.
Finally, finally, after hours of grueling politics, she was able to find herself in front of the bar.
She plopped herself down and waved vaguely in the direction of the bartender. "Yo, old man, shots of Gin. Keep them coming."
The aging man murmured his agreement and pushed a glass towards her. Ah, the perks of being in an Underground Convention. Minor things like age weren't an issue here.
Tsunade grabbed it and knocked it back, relishing in the burn at the back of her throat. She exhaled in relief and picked up the next one.
The man beside her chuckled darkly. Tsunade glanced at him from the side of her eyes. He was tall and built, a young and good looking with pitch-black hair and glowing red eyes. He was dressed in a crisp black uniform, and he had a feather braided in his hair.
Tsunade turned herself fully to him and narrowed her eyes as she sipped at her drink. "What? Got something to say?"
He just snorted and downed his drink. "It's surprising to see someone other than me drinking alcohol so early on."
Tsunade's expression softened and a smirk crawled onto her lips. She raised her current glass, saluting him. "What can I say? I know how to appreciate the finer points in life."
The man's hard features melted into a sardonic smirk as well. "Touché." He lifted his glass as well and Tsunade gently clinked hers with his. "To the fine pleasures in life."
They both sipped at their drinks in silence, until Tsunade looked over to him again. "So, what's your name, big guy?"
The man eyed her with red eyes and scoffed. "Xanxus, and don't you forget it, scum."
He looked at her expectantly and she smiled. "Tsunade."
He eyed her. "Tsunade."
She nodded, reaching for another glass. "Yup. Just Tsunade."
He let out a rumble of acknowledgment. "Japanese?"
She was surprised when he switched from the neutral English that they had been using to her native Japanese. "Which Syndicate?"
His eyes narrowed in consideration. "Part of the Holy Trinity Alliance?"
"The very one." She gestured to the bartender for more shots. "And yourself? From the Vongola?" Wild guess, but The Voice told her that she was right.
Xanxus snorted. "Obviously, scum."
Tsunade smiled. Rude little bugger, wasn't he? "Ever met a guy named Iemitsu?"
Xanxus' demeanor rapidly cooled. "Of course," he stated neutrally. "You know that trash?"
Tsunade waved her empty glass in a non-committal gesture. "Eh. Seen him around town a few times. Stupid scruffy fucker, he is."
Xanxus continued to examine her intensely, but before he could say anything more, Orochimaru appeared at her elbow.
"Tsunade. I think you need to see this."
Tsunade sighed and mournfully looked at the vast collection of liquor behind the bar. She slipped out of her seat and wrapped her hands around Orochimaru's arm. She turned back to the brooding man sitting at the bar, still watching them.
"Well, catch you later, you big grouch. Don't die of Alcohol Poisoning before we meet again."
She grinned and turned back to her restless teammate. "Lead the way."
Jiraiya was having the absolute time of his life. It was such a beautiful time to be alive. Such beautiful women, such beautiful information, he was in paradise!
And the best part was that because of his age, all of them indulged him! He even received a few hugs from a few particularly friendly women!
He loved his rebirth. Nothing could compare to this. Nothing.
Just when he was in the middle of a very interesting conversation about the real (the not friendly for public version) politics going on in France, he caught a glimpse of a bright red Kimono.
He craned to look again and glimpsed a gorgeous Asian woman with the most killer curves talking to other Asian men.
Well, it would be rude to not introduce himself.
So he politely excused himself from the conversation and bounded over to the Kimono-wearing woman and glomped her from behind.
His sudden movement startled the two men that she was with and Jiraiya found himself with the barrels to two guns pressed to his head.
Well, that wouldn't do. Time to turn on the waterworks.
He blinked his teary eyes at the woman and sniffed. "Nee-san…"
The woman's eyes softened immediately and she snarled at her two companions to put their guns away. She bent down next to him and smiled softly. In Japanese, she asked, "Hello there. Are you lost?"
Jiraiya shook his head and blinked his big, golden eyes at her. "No. Otou-san said that I could play. I wanted to play with you because you look like Okaa-san in that Kimono."
The woman cooed and pulled him closer to her chest. Jiraiya smiled evilly at the two men who looked on in envy.
"Nee-chan's so nice!"
He cuddled closer to her, smirking at the bristling men. One of them stepped up hesitantly. "Uh, Madam…"
She glared at them, then glanced down to Jiraiya. She switched from Japanese to English, carefully watching if Jiraiya showed any indication of comprehending their conversation.
Jiraiya carefully put on an oblivious façade and cuddled into the woman's chest, carefully listening for any hints of useful information.
He had to forcefully keep his body from tensing up when he realized just which Family these people were from.
"Madam, I don't see him here."
"Calm yourself, Kinmaru. Takikabe said that he would be here. We just have to find the little brat and take him out."
The man glanced at the oblivious looking Jiraiya and frowned. "How do we know that this kid isn't the one?"
The woman snorted sardonically. "For one, look at him. He looks nothing like that bastard Seigi. And remember the report on his personality? He's supposed to be a complete antisocial monster. Someone like that wouldn't run up to me and call me 'Nee-chan'."
"But still, Madame… shouldn't we take this kid out just to be safe?"
"No! You idiot! He's obviously some bigshot's kid! If we kill him we could start a war! We don't need that when we're already dealing with that Kiyoijuu pain-in-the-ass." She flipped her hair and muttered under her breath, "Not that they'll matter soon, anyway. The day of the attack is close. They'll be wiped out before they know what hit them. Then that uppity bitch Ji-Min will stay dead for good! How the hell did she survive that hit, anyway? It was perfect!"
"Madam, your skills are flawless. She just got lucky, is all."
Jiraiya felt his pupils dilate in fury when the full realization of what was being said hit him.
So, this was the cunt that almost killed Ji-Min? It took every ounce of his self-control to not display a reaction.
He needed to remove himself from the situation, and fast. With his mind and emotions going haywire, he could blow his cover at any given moment.
He extricated himself from the woman and smiled brightly. In Japanese, "I gotta go, Nee-chan! Thank you for the hug!"
He wrapped his arms around her one last time, then bounded away, occasionally hugging other women just to keep his cover.
When he was sure he was out of sight from them, his expression darkened.
The damn Kowazumi Group. They were here to take a hit on Kyoya. From that motherfucker Takikabe. And they were planning on attacking in the near future.
Shit, shit and double shit.
He just wanted to punch something.
He was still stalking around, pissed, when he saw Orochimaru signal him from across the room.
He scowled heavily but followed the Snake Sannin.
His teammates had to know about this.
Orochimaru was pleased. This Convention was much more fruitful than he had previously assumed that it would be. He had met up with a variety of underground developers and they had bounced ideas off of each other.
After a certain point, however, he grew tired of them. There were more than a several arguments which had broken out due to the scientists' big egos. When the 4th spat about Edison and Tesla's contributions sprung up, he politely excused himself.
Orochimaru made his way around the gargantuan hall, skillfully eavesdropping onto snippets of conversations and deeming them unworthy of his interest.
After several rounds and hearing nothing but mundane topics, he decided to look for his comrades.
Hmmm. Comrades. The word still filled him with a strong, indescribable feeling. He didn't know exactly what the feeling was, but he was alright with that. He'd leave inconsequential things like emotions to dobes like Jiraiya.
He scanned the room's Chakra signatures and was intrigued to learn that there were some people here that possessed truly enormous reserves.
One of which was in very close proximity to one of his Clan members.
He made his way in the direction that he sensed Kyoya's signature to be, curious as to who the boy was conversing with. After all, he wasn't exactly known for his people skills.
It didn't take long for him to find the boy, but whatever he had expected of his companion was nothing like the figure that accompanied the young heir.
A toddler, no, a baby, stood by Kyoya's stiff figure. It was tiny, barely reaching his knees, with a long braid and red traditional Chinese combat garb. He had a tiny monkey resting on his shoulder, and the baby held itself with a poise that Orochimaru had only seen in the most accomplished of Taijutsu masters.
Orochimaru approached the duo and caught bits of their conversation, which was spoken entirely in Mandarin Chinese.
"-father tells me that you've been doing extremely well in your training, Kyoya."
"That is very reassuring news to hear. Have you found yourself a suitable teacher, then?"
"Splendid. He also mentioned something about a pond and Jesus… you wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"
"Ah. I see. According to him, young Li Fen has been trying to start a Cult religion after you."
Kyoya looked mildly terrified, and the baby nodded in understanding. "I agree. I warned Masai about marrying her, but he was adamant, claiming that he loved her. Not that Seigi's any different, mind you…"
Both males shuddered at the brand of horror that was the Hibari women.
Orochimaru smiled. This was the most interesting conversation yet. He stepped with his hands in front of him and folded in his sleeves and bowed.
"Greetings. Would you mind if I were to join in this conversation?"
Kyoya glanced at him then turned away, affirming that he was indeed pack.
…Orochimaru still couldn't completely understand the bizarre behavior patterns that he followed, and at times, it drove him a little crazy.
The baby tilted its head and studied him. At last, it smiled warmly, its eyes pleasant little crescents.
"Of course, you're welcome to. And your name is?"
The reborn shinobi dipped his head in greeting. "Orochimaru."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance. My name is Fon."
"The pleasure is mine."
Fon blessed him with another small smile, and his monkey, which Orochimaru assumed was his Nin-Animal, tittered loudly.
"Tell me, Orochimaru, are you familiar with Kyoya here?"
"Yes. In fact, my friend and teammate is Kyoya's Shifu."
"Ahhh, is that so? I must meet them to convey my thanks for training my Grandnephew."
"Orochimaru's eyes flashed with curiosity. "Grandnephew, you say?"
Fon nodded sagely. "Oh yes. My older half-sister is Seigi and Masai's mother."
Orochimaru could hardly contain his interest. A Granduncle, which, if he estimated correctly, should be around 45 to 60 years old, but is in the form of an infant. He possessed an almost unbelievable amount of Chakra, so Orochimaru was inclined to believe his claims, no matter how farfetched they seemed.
"Your Mandarin is excellent, if you'll accept me saying."
Orochimaru nodded his head in thanks, then raised his head to look Fon directly in the eye.
"Forgive me for asking, but how are you able to maintain such a form? How is it able to contain all of your Chakra?"
Fon's eyes wrinkled in puzzlement. "Chakra?"
In response, Kyoya raised his hand and channeled a flicker of his brilliant violet Chakra. Fon's eyes widened in understanding.
"Ah, you mean Flames." He eyed Orochimaru with surprise. "You have not heard of the Arcobaleno?"
Orochimaru shook his head. Arcobaleno? As in 'rainbow' in Italian? He didn't see how the two were correlated.
Fon smiled, but his eyes were filled with unspeakable sorrow. "The Arcobaleno. The Strongest Seven. We who were cursed into this form to protect these."
He lifted the dull-looking pacifier from his chest. Orochimaru couldn't sense anything from it. It was like a black hole. It seemed to be steadily draining Fon's Chakra from him. How very curious.
"Are you saying that this… infantile form is actually a curse?"
Fon nodded in confirmation. "That is correct."
The gears in Orochimaru's brilliant mind churned. "If…"
Fon turned to him curiously. "Hmm?"
"I cannot be certain… but with the efforts of my teammates, returning you to your original form may just be possible."
Fon stared at him flabbergasted. "You don't mean…"
"I mean that we would be able to break this curse of yours, or at the very least neutralize it."
The cursed man now looked at him in disbelief. "Impossible."
Orochimaru smirked. 'Impossible'. Oh, how he loved crushing that word.
The Sannin stood in front of the Storm Arcobaleno and examined him, occasionally murmuring something out loud while they were deep in thought.
Finally, after a long observation, several brief tests and multiple Chakra scans, Tsunade announced, "It's possible."
Fon looked up at her with something akin to hope. "It's possible?"
Jiraiya nodded resolutely as he folded his arms. "It's possible."
Orochimaru nodded as well. "But…"
Fon looked overcome with joy and fear. Joy, because these three children that were Kyoya's age were telling him something he never dreamed of hearing for the rest of his life, but fear, because he allowed himself to feel the first pangs of hope, and for them to be crushed would be a very devastating thing indeed. "But…?"
The navy haired teen stared at him solemnly. "It will not be easy. This curse has severely affected your body and its function, and if it is handled incorrectly, it will result in complications that will likely lead to your death. It will take years for us to confirm the exact method for the procedure."
Fon was not afraid of Death. He wouldn't have been able to become one of the Strongest Seven if he was. If he was going to move to the next realm while he attempted to take his fate back into his own hands, then so be it. And time? He had more than he knew what to do with.
Was this it? Is it possible that he'd finally be able to take control of his life again?
Against his will, Fon found his eyes welling up. He closed them, then kneeled and placed his forehead on the ground. These three were offering him something out of his deepest, most coveted fantasies. He owed them no less than the entirety of his pride and honor.
"I place my life in your hands." His voice was barely above a whisper. Tears silently leaked from his eyes and hit the floor, and his small, diminutive, childlike body trembled lightly. "Thank you. Thank you."
Jiraiya rubbed his eyes tiredly. This day had been long. Not bad, just… long.
He told the Teme and Hime about what he had heard from the Kowazumi bastards, and they had obviously been less than pleased.
In the end, they decided that the best course of action was for him to place strong Barrier Seals around their rooms, preventing anyone from entering and exiting them. They were in the middle of unfamiliar territory right now, with little to no allies they could call for backup. If they were to pick a fight, it probably wouldn't go so well for them.
He sloppily flopped onto his bed above the covers, too lazy to pull them back and get under them. He let his heavy eyelids close shut.
The Clan just needed to be prepared. Everything would turn out fine in the end.
He grimaced. Of course it would be alright. He just hoped that the collateral was well worth it.
Chapter 10: Chapter 10
In which the Sannin explore the absolute craziness that is Namimori, and along the way, save a baby Mist.
(A short break before shit absolutely hits the fan.)
Tsunade, Jiraiya and Orochimaru looked grave.
It was time.
Silently, with solemn looks on their faces, the trio made their way outside.
The Sannin have been through a great many number of battles, each one forging them into being a stronger warrior than before.
This upcoming fight was one that all three of them were not prepared for in the slightest.
But no matter. They were the Legendary Sannin. They would overcome any adversary in the name of Nana's divine cooking.
The three silently stood at the door of the supermarket, warily eyeing the other middle-aged women who were chatting with each other.
But underneath the amicable atmosphere of it all, there was a sharp tension, one the Sannin had only felt when two opposing sides readied themselves for war.
Tension that only occurred right before blood was about to be spilled.
The store manager had a good-humored smile as he stepped to the glass doors and looked at the gigantic crowd of middle-aged women waiting to enter the store. He grinned as all of the ladies' expressions took on a hard tone as soon as he reached for the '50% off on all fresh groceries and 35% off on select meats' sign.
"Now ladies, you know the rules. First come first serve, and the deal only lasts for 20 minutes. No killing, no purposeful destruction, and no stealing."
There was silence from the assembled crowd.
As if on cue, Tsunade, Jiraiya and Orochimaru began channeling their Chakra. They all took up battle stances, their bodies tight with anticipation.
The store manager put the sign up on the windows.
He slid his key into the lock on the door.
He turned it.
With years of teamwork under their belt, Jiraiya and Orochimaru tightly latched onto Tsunade's shoulders as she channeled her strength and leaped, her foot leaving cracks in the tile as she propelled herself forward.
However, before the trio could get very far, there was a huge wrenching feeling and Tsunade slid off-course, her teammates being dislodged from the force.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes and looked back only to see a very pregnant woman in her late 20's grinning menacingly at them while she gripped a long leather whip in her hands. The end of the whip was entwined around Orochimaru, who was looking at her with narrowed, glowing heterochromatic eyes.
The woman smirked nastily. "You kiddies have no chance. Leave business to the grownups."
She yanked on her whip roughly, but before she could injure Orochimaru, he replaced himself with a nearby package of rice.
He materialized in front of her in an elegant battle stance, the Kanji in his eyes swirling. Finally, it stopped and snakes materialized around his arms, hissing and spitting furiously.
Both the pregnant woman and the Snake Sannin eyed each other solemnly before Orochimaru gravely spoke. "Go. I'll hold her off."
Jiraiya and Tsunade nodded sharply with a "Hai!" and rushed back into the fray.
The woman smirked. "So, brat. You think you can take me on?"
She skillfully cracked her whip at him threateningly, but Orochimaru stoically regarded it.
"The question should be, granny, is whether you can take me."
The woman's face twisted in rage and the two flew at each other.
Meanwhile, Tsunade and Jiraiya, with a few well-placed shunshins managed to land themselves right in the midst of all the on-sale produce.
It was a fight for survival while they dodged and deflected everything from canes and knives to baguettes and grill lighters.
Tsunade used her Chakra scalpels to slice an incoming projectile of sausages and flung a spork back in retaliation. She listened to the aggravated cry in satisfaction as she tried to hoard all the discounted produce to herself as quickly as possible.
Jiraiya had just swung a frying pan roughly at a pair of women who had just tried to skewer him with some marshmallow spokes. The resounding gong reverberated over the din of the apoplectic crowd.
When Tsunade realized that she was beginning to lose items faster than she was gaining them back, she decided to call it quits. She had collected a respectable load because when she had started swinging her fists around with her Chakra-enhanced strength, nobody dared to get too close to her.
But now that she was in possession of many of the coveted groceries, people dared approach regardless of the threat of a concussion.
Tsunade scowled. Time to call it and bolt.
She signaled to Jiraiya and both of them made a run for it. There was a roar of fury as the two young Sannin made their escape and within seconds a crowd was relentlessly pursuing them.
They were so close.
They were only a handful of feet away from the registers when they were ambushed from the side. A group of women menacingly pounced on them from the dairy aisle and mercilessly tackled them to the ground.
"Son of a bitch!"
Immediately rough hands started grabbing at the produce and Tsunade was doing everything she could to deflect them. She snarled when she realized that she wasn't going to last much longer.
Jiraiya heroically tried to reach her, but it was all for naught. He kept getting battered away by the vicious old housewives.
She was trapped.
Amber eyes met gold in mourning and resignation.
She wasn't going to make it.
Jiraiya's face twisted in horror before he smiled hopelessly at Tsunade.
Lowly, so that only she could hear it, he spoke. "Hime, whatever happens, you need to keep running. Remember our mission! Remember our goal! REMEMBER OUR DREAM!"
Tsunade's expression was heartbroken. "No… don't tell me…"
Jiraiya nodded confidently, but Tsunade could see the hint of fear in his eyes which he couldn't conceal from her. "Yes."
Tears ran down Tsunade's face as Jiraiya brought his hands up into a seal.
He was about to perform the ultimate suicide technique so that she could continue on.
She squeezed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth ash she channeled her Chakra to use the window that Jiraiya's technique would provide her.
She swore to herself that she wouldn't let his sacrifice go in vain.
She managed to slip through the dogpile just as there was a loud proclamation of "SEXY JUTSU: HEARTTHROB SUPERSTAR!"
There was a gigantic plume of smoke that erupted from where Jiraiya had been previously standing, but in seconds it cleared away to reveal Japan's Number One Hottest Actor, with only the last wisps of smoke to cover his bits.
His hair was damp and drops of water slid down his tan and muscled chest. He gave all of the stunned women a panty-dropping grin and ran his hand through his hair, seductively slicking it back.
While the crowd still stood dumbfounded, the man uttered the one thing that could make every single woman snap.
It was the most iconic line he had ever spoken. Some critics even proclaimed it as art.
"I bet you taste just as hot as you look. Tell me baby… do you like it spicy?"
At once, every single woman's brain short-circuited.
And the actor's face flashed with terror.
Within a fraction of a second, the actor was mobbed on all sides and disappeared under a sea of females.
"HOLY MOTHER OF- OI GET YOUR HAND OFF OF THERE NO DON'T TOUCH THAT THIS IS MOLESTA- HOOOLLLYY SHHIIITTT DON'T TOUCH THAT! RAPE! RAAAAPPPPEEE!"
As Tsunade ran, she felt immense pity for him. Nobody, not even a shameless creature like Jiraiya, deserved being molested by a sea of aggressive middle-aged women.
Tsunade reached the counter and huffed out a breath of relief. She met the eyes of the petrified cashier and raised her eyebrows.
The cashier just nodded in horror.
Tsunade snorted. "Well, it doesn't get much better. Now," She glared menacingly at the girl. "Check out my stuff."
The girl squeaked in fright and immediately began ringing up the items.
"YOU LITTLE BRAT!"
Tsunade released a breathy ooof as she was roughly tackled to the ground by an old, bearlike woman. The woman scowled thunderously as she ground Tsunade's head into the ground.
"YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST WALK IN HERE AND GRAB EVERYTHING AND I'LL TAKE IT LYING DOWN?!"
The cashier cowered in terror while releasing pitiful squeaks as she watched the large woman raise a meaty fist in preparation to pound the small girl into submission.
Tsunade's eyes flared a brilliant orange and she deftly twisted under the huge woman's hold and turned the table. Using a complex Judo flip she twisted and wrapped her legs around the woman's beefy neck and grabbed her legs, forcing her to arch her back lest her neck be broken.
The young cashier stared in horrified awe.
Her eyes snapped to Tsunade's icy ones. "The bill. Give me the bill."
The woman gave a shaky "H-Hai!" and proceeded to quickly run everything else through the scanner.
While she worked, Tsunade looked back into the wreckage of the store to try to locate her teammates.
Orochimaru was now dueling a group of women who had him surrounded. He was being assaulted from all sides with various different weapons, kitchenware and miscellaneous produce. She watched one woman try to torch him with a flamethrower while another lunged forward to skewer him with a rapier and a third poured Jawbreakers under his feet in an attempt to unbalance him.
Tsunade shook her head in disbelief. She may be relatively new to this world, but she was damn well 100% sure that things like this weren't normal.
She looked over to her left and saw Jiraiya trying to valiantly escape from the clutches of the horny women. He was pulling all sorts of insane acrobatics while trying to elude them, from jumping from one rack to another to running upside down on the ceiling to pulling off tube lights from their sockets and swinging them at the crowd.
She watched as he made a fatal mistake: He landed too close to a woman wielding a Taser.
Her eyes widened in alarm. "Noooooooooo!" She shrieked. Jiraiya swayed dangerously and the arms of all the awaiting women opened in eagerness.
"M-Miss, your bill…"
Tsunade whipped her head around to the young cashier and grabbed for the bill. The bear-like woman pinned under her snarled and writhed attempting to dislodge her, but Tsunade deftly adjusted her position on top of her so that her bony knee was digging painfully into her ribcage.
The Slug Sannin reached into her pocket and pulled out her purse and looked at the balance. She smiled in satisfaction. It was a steal compared to the normal prices.
She carefully counted out the exact amount and pushed it towards the cashier who shakily took it and sorted it into the register. "A-Anything else…?"
Tsunade sharply shook her head as she evaded the bear woman trying to come at her with a lighter she grabbed from the side rack. "Nope, that'll be all."
The cashier girl timidly nodded.
Tsunade reached down and grabbed ahold of the monster woman's neck and sharply jerked it to the side, but gentle enough to only give her a sprain and not kill her. The gigantic woman went limp in Tsunade's hold.
She rose off the lifeless form of the woman and dusted herself off. Triumphantly, she grabbed the plastic bag filled with the coveted items. She glared with narrowed eyes towards the pandemonium and brought her fingers up to her mouth to give a shrill whistle.
At her signal, Orochimaru immediately shunshined to Jiraiya's side, where the Toad Sannin was still trying to groggily fend off the overzealous advances of the women. He grabbed Jiraiya's drowsy form and shunshined over to Tsunade's side.
She nodded at them and the trio turned to the front of the store and bolted.
There, right in front of the doors, sat the store manager on a gigantic beanbag with a huge tub of popcorn. He smiled as the Sannin approached him.
"Great show! And especially that bit with the white-haired kid turning into Arikawa Yuki! Brilliant!"
Tsunade just stared at him and shook her head. "You are a sick, sick man."
He pouted. "Awww, come on. Don't tell me you didn't enjoy it! This is the most fun that housewives get! Just go ask your mother if you don't believe me." He got a far-away look in his eyes. "That Nana… now she was a beast. Had the longest unbroken streak of wins, if I remember correctly. She was unparalleled because of her skill with a shotgun. Now that was a woman. Nice to know you're following in her footsteps!"
From beside her, Jiraiya shuddered in terror. He already had a healthy respect (fear) of the woman, and now that this fact had come to light… well, Jiraiya would rather face Hanzo the Salamander again rather than Hime's psychotic mother.
Tsunade and Kyoya were making their way over to his house when Tsunade smelled the unmistakable scent of blood.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes and began walking towards it. Without complaint, Kyoya followed her.
Within minutes they came across the broken form of a little girl laying in a pool of her own blood. Her body was bent at an odd angle and there were several deep lacerations across her midsection.
Tsunade immediately knelt by her side and took her pulse. It was weak, but present.
She looked at Kyoya, whose eyes were now glowing an eerie violet. "Kyoya, do a Chakra scan. Tell me what you see."
Kyoya's eyes widened. She had never before allowed him to actually test out his Iryo Ninjutsu on a human before. They furthest she'd allowed him to test his skills had been on a hamster.
He slowly placed his hand on top of the girl's bloody torso and channeled his Chakra, making sure to be extra gentle. Tsunade had told him multiple times that he was sometimes too rough with his technique and that he needed to make a conscious effort in making it milder.
"Well? What do you see?"
Kyoya swallowed. "Heavy internal damage… I can't tell exactly what, but… her Liver is bruised and her Small Intestine has a tear in it."
Tsunade looked at him with serious eyes. "Where exactly?"
Kyoya's eyebrows furrowed. "The Ileum."
Tsunade nodded in approval. "Good. Now, what else?"
"…Her appendix has burst."
"Mmm. And then?"
Kyoya frowned, but searched even deeper. "Her kidneys. Only one of them is still working."
Tsunade smiled grimly. "Good. What's your diagnosis? And be honest."
Kyoya examined the girl's mangled body once more. "…Salvageable. But there is a high chance that she will be crippled."
Tsunade nodded. "True. Now," She rose and pulled out her cellphone. She dialed a number and waited as it rang.
"Hello?" Masai's smooth baritone greeted her.
"Hello, this is Tsunade speaking. Kyoya's with me. We just came across this girl who's been in a bad accident. A hit and run. We need an ambulance with a stretcher. I'm going to conduct surgery on her."
Masai grunted. "Where are you?"
"Just off of Yoshimoto street, by the apple grove."
Masai grunted again and hung up.
Tsunade turned to Kyoya who was watching the entire exchange. Tsunade looked at him dryly. "You're just like your dad, brat. Can barely get two words outta you."
Kyoya remained unfazed. "Hn."
Tsunade sighed in exasperation.
Nagi blearily opened her eyes.
She couldn't believe that she was still alive.
She remembered looking at the little kitten and feeling so very afraid when the car came closer and closer and closer…
And then she didn't remember anything.
But now she was awake.
And it wasn't anywhere she had been before. The room she was in was a crisp, starch white. She was in a bed with white sheets and she was wearing a grey gown.
Nagi rubbed her eyes and almost immediately winced.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Immediately, Nagi's head snapped to her left. There, on a large armchair sat a pretty girl that couldn't be much older than she was. She had blonde hair in a braid that fell over her shoulder and the most intense, soul-searching burnt orange eyes that Nagi had ever seen.
"You have just received a transplant for your right eye. I was unable to save it so we had to remove it."
Nagi's hand lifted up to her face subconsciously. Everything felt the same, though…
The pretty blonde continued on without stopping. "You were near death when we found you. You had sustained several severe internal injuries for both your organs and your bones. Without my assistance, you would have required a majority of your organs to have been removed. However, you shall be walking away with only some trauma. You will need severe physical therapy in order for you to regain normal functionality of yourself, but you're young. That will undoubtedly happen in time.
"However," The blonde leaned in, her orange eyes boring holes into Nagi's soul. "That is not the main reason I wish to talk to you today. You see," The blonde's eyes flashed dangerously. "When I was operating on you, I observed many things. Tell me girl, have you been starved?"
Nagi just stared at her, her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.
The blonde studied her. "Hmmm. No need to answer that. We both know the truth."
And indeed they both did, so Nagi said nothing.
"I also observed signs of abuse. Some faded scar tissue, some uneven healing from fractures, and of course, malnutrition."
The girl stared at Nagi, but she only looked into her trembling hands.
"I have a proposition for you."
Nagi continued to stare at her hands.
"Aizawa-san, please come in."
The door slid open and from the periphery of her vision, Nagi was able to make out the form of a tall woman.
"This is Aizawa Tsukihime. She has helped a lot of girls like you."
At that, Nagi's head turned towards them.
Aizawa-san was so pretty. She was even prettier than Mother, and Mother always insisted that she was the prettiest out of everyone.
Aizawa-san spoke. "What is your name, child?"
The small girl remained silent for a long while before a quiet whisper escaped her lips. "Nagi."
Aizawa-san nodded. "Nagi. Would you like to come with me?"
Nagi stared at the pretty woman. "Go… with you?"
Aizawa-san nodded. "Yes. If you come with me, you don't have to go back to your home."
Home. That big, empty house where nobody but her was there. Where Mother and Father would only come to yell at her and hurt her because she was 'such a disgrace to the family'.
No. she didn't want to go back. Never.
Slowly, with a quivering hand, she reached out and gently gripped the end of Aizawa-san's long kimono sleeve.
In a whisper, she said, "I'll go with you."
The beginning of the end started with a yellow plushie of a fluffy, round bird.
No no no. That didn't sound right.
Actually, the beginning of the end started with a booger.
Nope, that didn't sound right either.
Ok. The beginning of the end started how it typically starts: Gym class.
So, over the months that the Sannin had attended Namimori Elementary, they had stumbled into a number of misadventures.
And one of them was meeting the other two 'Queens' of Namimori Elementary.
There was the Student Body President, Namakoshi Akane, and the Ace Volleyball star, Wanora Tsubaki.
Both of them detested Tsunade.
Why, you ask?
Well, Akane had a crush of epic proportions on Jiraiya and was beyond pissed that he referred to her as 'Hime'. (She had the strangest Himedere complex and demanded to be treated like a princess, and when she saw that Jiraiya called her 'Hime', well…)
And Tsubaki was best friends with Asshole Ami. 'Nuff said.
So, long story short, both miniature bitches wanted her six feet under.
Tsunade didn't really care. They came after her multiple times and never succeeded in humiliating her, so she let it go.
But then one day they went after Kyoko. Sweet little Kyoko. When she was using the school showers they took all of her clothes and shredded them up. She had to wait wrapped in a towel until Jiraiya came to give her some of his clothes. The poor thing was devastated by the entire ordeal and refused to come to school for an entire week.
And that's when Tsunade declared war.
Ever since then, there has only been a cold hostility between the two parties.
And that brings us here to today, a nice normal gym class on a nice normal day.
The gym teacher, Ando-sensei, was an aging, balding man with a huge pot-belly and a long, scraggly beard.
He gestured to the entire class and called them forward. Groaning, the entire class assembled around him.
Ando-sensei cleared his throat roughly then pounded on his chest. "Sorry 'bout that, kids, got a small cold I'm still getting over."
Tsunade grimaced. Nasty.
The portly gym teacher gestured to a neat little pyramid of round balls. Except… they weren't balls. There were all round yellow plushies in the form of birds, a product of Kyoya's 'request' to the staff. A few days after his 'request', a huge shipment of plushies was imported to the school for gym use. A fact which Kyoya delighted in every day.
"Alrighty here, today we're gonna play some good ol' dodgeball."
A cheer rose from the group of kids.
"Ok, you all know the drill. Start counting in twos."
There was a mad scramble as everyone rearranged themselves so that they could be in the same group as their friends.
In the end, Tsunade ended up on the same team as Kyoya, Jiraiya, Orochimaru, Kyoko and Takeshi.
Akane and Tsubaki, along with their lackeys, were on the opposite team.
Ando-sensei stepped up with a plushie in his hands. He tossed it from side to side as he watched the two teams ready themselves on opposite sides of the court.
"Alright then. You all know the rules. Only if it hits below the belt then it's out. You catch it then the person who threw it is out. You catch a ball then a person who was out can come in."
Then suddenly, he froze.
All of the students looked at him in alarm at his abrupt silence.
Without any warning, he sneezed. "AAAACHOOOOO!"
A gigantic green wad of snot landed onto the plushie in his hands.
Without missing a beat, Ando-sensei threw the snot-covered plushie into the pile of plushies, making it indistinguishable from the rest.
Tsunade, Orochimaru and Jiraiya stared at the pile in horror.
…There was no way… no way that Tsunade was going to let that snot covered thing anywhere near her. Over her dead body.
Before any of the Sannin could identify exactly which one was the tainted one, Ando proclaimed "Ready! Set! BEGIN!"
The kids roared.
Immediately Akane and Tsubaki ran to the front of the herd and grabbed plushies, furiously pelting them at Tsunade and sneering at her with bloodthirsty, hate-filled eyes.
The Sannin didn't even think, they just reacted.
The plushies rained down on them without a pause and the trio used all of their collective experience to help each other dodge the projectiles without touching them.
In seconds, half of the people on the court were out. And Tsunade's team was at a steady disadvantage because while the Sannin were the uncontested best players on the field, none of them dared to touch a plushie.
On the other hand, the other team was slowly gaining more and more of their members back by catching some of the furry yellow stuffed animals. As the numbers grew more and more uneven, the assault grew heavier and heavier and the pushies became harder and harder to dodge.
In no time at all the only people left on their side of the court were the Sannin, their apprentices, and three hardcore muscleheads that were on the baseball team.
And that was when things began to get dirty.
Out of thin air, almost all the members of the opposing team were armed with either a tennis or badminton racket, a baseball bat or wooden kendo shinai.
But on the flipside, Takeshi had grabbed a baseball bat and Kyoka had taken his tonfas out.
It was all-out war from there.
Plushies flew around at insane speeds with the two teams whacking them back and forth in an almost-rally. Nobody cared if you get hit anymore, only if you were able to hit the plushie back to the other side to do some damage.
Ando-sensei screamed his lungs out, trying to get back a semblance of order, but after he was repeatedly pelted with fluffy yellow birds flying at high velocity, he wisely shut up and cowered in a corner.
The Sannin were contorting their bodies in the most unnatural ways, trying to escape the ever-present onslaught of threatening maybe-booger covered birds. Each close call added to their anxiety and they were ready to snap.
Takeshi and Kyoya were having the absolute time of their life. They returned fire with just as much ferocity, if not more. Tsunade spied a few kids wobble and collapse into a heap because they had been struck by one of either Kyoya's or Takeshi's shots.
The volley grew more and more fierce until the Sannin realized that the end result was inevitable: they would eventually be hit by one of the plushies and there was an astronomically high chance that it would be the green snot covered one.
And just as that realization popped into their heads, one specific bird plushie made a beeline to Jiraiya's face, and it was clear that no matter what he did, there would be no way to stop it from coming into contact with him.
With abject horror on Jiraiya's face, he raised his hand in defense and on reflex coated his arm with fire-natured Chakra, as a last resort defense to protect him from Ando-germs, if to only burn them away before they touched him.
As soon as the plushie came into contact with his hand, it erupted into a gigantic ball of fire.
But Jiraiya's hand was already in motion, and he flung it back into the fray.
Tsunade and Orochimaru watched in fascinated terror as the ball came into contact with another one mid-air, and almost instantaneously it went up in a blaze as well. Then it touched another plushie and that caught fire too.
Holy shit… they were ridiculously flammable.
That was the only thought that ran through the Sannin's heads as, within seconds, the air was filled with fireball plushies.
And then, Takeshi laughingly stepped up and thwacked a fireball roughly.
It sailed right into the main supporting beam of the gym.
It went up in flame instantaneously.
When all eyes turned to Takeshi, he sheepishly scratched his head and laughed. "Ehehehe, reflex...?"
Their opponents finally got a clue as to what was going on and were running around aimlessly in circles like headless chickens, screaming incoherently. Some idiots were fanning at the flames with their tennis rackets, but that only made the flames grow higher. One of them even set their racket on fire and was waving it frantically through the air.
In silence, everyone watched as the entire roof of the gym was set ablaze.
Besides Tsunade, Kyoya was roughly clenching and unclenching his hands around his Tonfas. He had an unreadable look on his face but occasionally twitched alarmingly.
Finally, Ando-sensei had crawled out of his hiding spot long enough to holler for everyone to get their asses outside.
All of the screaming children stampeded towards the doors, screaming and shoving at each other in an effort to escape out of the doors first.
Orochimaru and Jiraiya grabbed the members of their little posse and made their way towards the doors as well. When Tsunade turned to look at Kyoya she froze.
Rolling off of him was waves of malevolent purple Chakra. Tsunade couldn't help but shudder. The malicious feeling of his Chakra… it was on par with any of the Bijuu.
Tsunade gulped nervously. "Kyoya?"
Kyoya's eyes were still blank when he turned to look at her.
Kyoya looked at the blazing gym which was rapidly starting to fall apart. Almost casually he raised an arm with a Tonfa and whipped it forward. The force of the action left a deep grove on the wall.
Tsunade gulped. The kid was using elemental manipulation?
Kyoya looked at her unemotionally. "Tsunade."
Tsunade's eyes snapped up to him warily. "Hmm?"
Kyoya lazily licked his lips as he watched as the gym fell into ruin. "Those Herbivores. They're going to pay for damaging my territory."
As his eyes glowed with Chakra Tsunade felt her stomach drop.
She had created a monster.
One that was eventually going to destroy the world one day if he wasn't put on a leash.
Li Fen was wrong. So, so wrong.
He wasn't the new Messiah.
He was the Anti-Christ.
Tsunade thought about it, then she smiled. The Voice told her that this new development wasn't bad. No, on the contrary, it was good.
Well, whatever. Kyoya was always a little unhinged. This didn't change anything in the long run. It might have made him a teensy bit more bloodthirsty, but hey. All the best shinobi were a few crayons short of a complete set. She could work around this.
"Come on, Kyoya. Let's get out of here. You can go hunting all you like later."
Chapter 11: Chapter 11
In which the threat to the Kiyoijuu is finally taken care of, and the Sannin end up with some truly epic Tats to show for it.
(And, typical of anything involving Ink in regards to Shinobi, the tattoos have some... peculiar side effects.)
Noble Ten Members:
Incs Faction (Incapable of accessing Flames)
Kyoya's paternal uncle. Leader of the Kiyoijuu Clan. Married to Song Ji-Min. Recruited the Sannin when they were 10 years old. Is Fon's nephew. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Wolf
Kyoya's Aunt. Married to Seigi. Daughter of Head of Korean Underground Family, Bichgwa Eodum, whose cover is a K-Pop record company. Childhood friends with Li Fen. Tsunade operated on her when she was attacked by the Kowazumi gang. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Peacock
Kyoya's father and Seigi's younger brother. Superintendent General of the Japanese police force. Is generally very exasperated by his crazy wife. Is Fon's nephew. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Grizzly Bear
Tian Li Fen
Kyoya's mother. Married to Masai. Best friends with Ji-Min. The daughter of the leader of the Chinese Tiāntáng Yǔ Dìyù Group. Is a little crazy and is trying to start a cult for Kyoya. Gives Masai high blood pressure. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Swan
Head of the Sex Trade and Regulation branch of the Kiyoijuu. Is Nagata's lover. Took in Nagi after her accident. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Fox
Head of the Drug Regulation department of the Kiyoijuu. Is Aizawa's lover. Good friends with Seigi and Masai. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Foxhound
The current member who has held his seat the longest. He gained his seat when Seigi and Masai's father was still the head. High ranking member of the Japanese Military. Was originally Miyamoto's superior officer. Tsunade conducted surgery on him when Nobunaga trued to amputate his legs off. Flame inactive.
Identifying animal: Killer Whale
Accs Faction (Capable of accessing Flames)
The politician who Seigi hates, but is forced to deal with because he's one of the members who has had a seat since his father's time. Ordered the hit on Kyoya when he and the Sannin went to Dubai. An overall pain-in-the-ass. Flame active, type: Storm.
Identifying animal: Hornet
The clan's head doctor before Tsunade was in the picture. A sadistic bastard and actually, only an okay-kind-of-doctor, even with his flames. Flame active, type: Sun
Identifying animal: Alligator
Another military man and was previously a subordinate of Akiyama. Very aggressive and appears to have something against Kyoya. Flame active, type: Lightning
Identifying animal: Boar
Head of the Kowazumi gang and a very successful, young politician. Has a considerable amount of influence and had systematically cut off support for the Kiyoijuu Clan. Flame active, type: Rain
The woman Jiraiya had run into in Dubai. Carried out the hit on Ji-Min, which led to her surgery with Tsunade. Was hired to take out Kyoya in Dubai but was unsuccessful. Flame active, type: Storm
Aaaand, that's it, guys! Sorry for the long Author's Note, now go on and enjoy the chapter! I hope you like it!
Seigi folded his hands in front of himself as he looked at the three prodigious children in front of him.
Jiraiya, the disrespectful little shit, was slouched back on the couch and sleepily scratched his head. "So, why'd you call us in so early, boss-man?"
Seigi mentally rolled his eyes. No matter how much Tsunade and Ji-Min tried to pound manners into him, he refused to use them. Well, as long as he knew how to act formally when the situation actually warranted it, it wasn't a total waste, he supposed.
"I've received some news that concerns you three."
Orochimaru, ever the polite, pleasant child, smiled neutrally at him. "Ho? Anything to worry about?"
Though none of the trio moved a muscle, the air in the room grew sharp as he successfully snagged the attention of the genii in front of him.
Seigi leaned back to regard them better, deceptively casual. "It seems as though we've hit a little snag in regard to your continued membership to the clan."
The three silently processed that fact. Finally, Tsunade, amber eyes neutral verbalized the unspoken question. "We are being dismissed from the clan?"
Seigi remained silent for a long, tense moment, feeling the pressure in the room increase steadily. "In a way."
Jiraiya scowled. "Why?"
Seigi hummed. "You three are inseparable. You wouldn't be willing to leave one another, correct?"
The three looked at each other. "Yes?"
"Then, as Tsuna-chan is going to have to leave the clan, you two are going to have to leave along with her."
Startled, Orochimaru and Jiraiya looked over to the stupefied blonde. "Me?"
Seigi nodded gravely. "Yes. You. You see, I just received some very concerning news from the information dealers in Italy. The last son of Timoteo of the Vongola has just been pronounced dead."
Jiraiya, who understood what this meant, went bone white. However, Tsunade and Orochimaru continued to stare expectantly at Seigi so he could elaborate what the new development had to do with the sole female Sannin.
"Timoteo only bore four children, and his first two sons have already died in the past. As for his fourth son, he was imprisoned for attempting to rebel against the current head, so that left only Massimo Vongola as heir. And yesterday, he was pronounced deceased."
Orochimaru narrowed his eyes. "Alright. So now the Vongola Famiglia is without an heir. What does that have to do with Tsunade?"
Jiraiya sighed heavily. "Everything, teme. Everything."
The other two turned to regard him. Tsunade frowned at him. "What do you mean?"
Jiraiya smiled sardonically. "Now that there are no more direct heirs, you're the only eligible person to take the position. You're the last of the Vongola Primo's blood, Hime."
Seigi tilted his head inquisitively. "I assumed that you knew that, Tsuna-chan. After all, this one does always call you princess." He gestured to Jiraiya.
Tsunade sourly smirked. "Well, he doesn't call me 'Hime' because of that, I can assure you."
Seigi looked curious but decided that they had more important matters to discuss at the moment. "Normally, it isn't done, but because you three are so exceptional, I did extensive background checks on you. And while your father's involvement with Vongola wouldn't have prevented you from joining the clan, as your autonomy is your own, your eventual inheritance of one of the most powerful Famiglias in the world does introduce a conflict of interest. One that can't exactly be ignored, taking into account the good of the clan."
It didn't need to be verbalized: When the Vongola eventually came hunting for Tsunade, the Kiyoijuu would not be fighting to keep her. They simply don't have the money, resources or manpower to do such a thing. Preemptive action would be best for them, so the Sannin were being let go.
Tsunade was silent as she processed the new information. She knew that her father worked for Vongola, but the thought never crossed her mind that he may be an important, blood-related member.
She sat back and folded her arms across her chest. So this was the reason that Timoteo Vongola was so close to her father and took an interest in her. This explained a lot of things.
One thing was for certain. Her father was a piece of shit for springing this on her out of the blue. Everything was going swimmingly and then all of the heirs had to just go and croak.
Why. Why did she always receive an unwanted inheritance from her long-dead ancestors? First it was that thrice-damned Hokage seat, and now it's the inheritance to this hot mess of a Famiglia. It just never seemed to end.
She turned to scowl at Jiraiya. "You. You knew about this."
Jiraiya chuckled sheepishly. "Eh he he he, well, you see, kinda… yes."
Orochimaru turned his own glare at him. "And you didn't think that it'd be prudent to inform either of us?"
Jiraiya shrugged. "Well, you know, it was one of those last case kind-of-things. There was a low chance that Hime would be in the running for the position. When I first learned of it, there were still three sons that could have taken the seat. So I didn't really think that it was necessary, you know? But this really screws things up. I had so many plans. All gone. Down the drain. All the people I was going to meet! All the idiots I was going to take advantage of! All the women I was going to grope!"
He scowled and dramatically shook his fists at the ceiling. "CURSE YOU, IEMITSU! I BLAME THIS ON YOU! NOW ALL MY PLANS ARE RUINED, YOU HOBO-BASTARD!"
Seigi raised his eyebrows at him. "Why are you blaming him? I don't think it's his fault that the third son died."
All three looked at him with dead, soulless eyes. "It's his fault. It's always his fault." The animosity towards the man practically dripped off of them.
Seigi wisely backed off. That was one topic that he wasn't going to touch with a ten-foot pole. Clearly there were some unresolved issues there.
He cleared his throat. "Well, because you three are now such public figures in the clan, by law I have to bring this up with the other Noble Ten members."
He leaned forward conspiratorially. "Now, here's where I need a favor from you three. You see, because of your help in the last few years, our feud with the Kowazumi has greatly turned in our favor. Previously, even with Masai's support from the Police Force and Akiyama's influence in the military, the Kowazumi Group had systematically cut off our resources. And even with Ji-Min and Li Fen's help from their original families, we weren't able to replenish our supplies faster than we used them up because they had to be transported from overseas. And as you probably know, smuggling doesn't happen quickly or cheaply."
Seeing the three nod, Seigi continued. "Having you three has supported the clan greatly. Orochimaru's research on economical technology and weapons, Jiraiya's handling of the information trade and of course, Tsunade and her medicine."
He melancholically sighed, eyeing them with something resembling disappointment. "It will be a shame to let you three go, that is for certain."
The Sannin felt their hearts pang as well. It had been a productive three years and Seigi was a fair superior. He granted them autonomy as long as they were productive with their time and resources. They couldn't ask for much more freedom.
Seigi straightened and his expression hardened. "For a long time, the Kowazumi Group was stumped with how the clan was reviving itself, even after all of our resources had been systematically blocked. And while you three are very well known within the clan, information about you three getting out has been specially monitored." He scoffed. "Not that it stopped the Kowazumi Group from learning about you three, in the end. Damn traitorous Accs Faction. They would be willing to collude with our enemies and even stage a coup if it meant gaining more power for themselves. But regardless of the information leak, you three are just too well protected to be outright attacked."
Seigi eyed them. "It is a law that members of the Noble Ten cannot be questioned about their personal activities, if it does not relate to clan business. So, even though it is almost clear that Takikabe, Nobunaga and Miyamoto and the rest of the Accs faction are acting against us, we cannot question them without definite proof. Which we don't have," He grumbled acerbically. "And by the time we could get some, they could preemptively launch a Coup."
The Sannin grimaced. That was a big no-no. The casualty count and damage would be too high.
Seigi looked intently at them. "So. What I want you to do. Tonight, I'm going to call a meeting with the Noble Ten and inform them of the removal of you three from the clan. This will obviously be spectacular news to the Accs faction, and they will want to inform the Kowazumi Group as soon as possible to take advantage of the situation. It is likely that they would attack very soon because they would assume that the clan would be reeling without your support."
Seigi, the proud head of the noble Kiyoijuu clan, bowed his head to them.
"This is my request. Tonight, after the meeting, follow the traitors and infiltrate the hideout. So far, we have been unable to gain entry and acquire hard evidence that members of the Noble Ten have been colluding with the Kowazumi due to the fact that there are strong energy barriers surrounding their headquarters. However, with your imminent departure from the Clan, this is an opportunity that I cannot pass up. You three will officially be freed from the laws of the clan forbidding any encroachment on a Noble Ten member's privacy and thus, any responsibility from for breaking said laws. So please. Infiltrate the Kowazumi Gang so that we may finally have evidence to execute the traitors without causing a revolt within the clan."
The Sannin silently processed his request for a long moment. Then Jiraiya, in his typical informal way, lazily slumped in his seat. "What, is that it? I thought that you were going to ask us something hard."
Seigi looked up sharply to determine whether or not he was serious. Orochimaru's eyes gleamed in response. "Though I may not like admitting that the idiot is right-"
"-what he says is true. Do not worry about whether or not we children should be sent out for this job. Come morning, the Kiyoijuu will be the sole ruler of the Land of the Rising Sun once more."
Tsunade looked at Seigi's dumbstruck expression and smirked. "You've been good to us the past few years. This is the least we could do for you before we take our leave."
Then, as one, the three stood and knelt in front of him in a salute, with their heads bowed and their right arm crossed across their chest to rest in front of their hearts.
Seigi slowly rose to his feet and steeled himself, pushing all images of the three children he had watched grow up for the past three years and stood before them as a general would stand before their soldiers.
"Thank you for your service." He bowed before them once more.
And the three vanished from his sight, leaving only a whirlwind of leaves in their place.
ANBU armor was pretty useful.
Sure, while it may look minimalistic and unpractical, it is specifically designed to give the shinobi wearing it maximum protection and maneuverability.
Which is why, the Sannin were feeling the absence of said armor quite acutely.
Instead of lightweight, sturdy armor, they had to make do with Kevlar vests.
Kiddie-sized Kevlar vests.
They had acquired them a while ago and had taken them over to Tsunade's house (which is what the Sannin do with everything they horde, Jiraiya's parents are blissfully ignorant of his business and he'd like to keep it that way, and Orochimaru doesn't really have anywhere else he lives. He's happy freeloading off of Tsunade. Nana doesn't seem to mind), where Nana happily dyed all of them black.
So now, wearing said kiddie-sized Kevlar vests and black tights (the boys had to borrow off of Tsunade, who was a little offended when they turned out to be looser on them than they were on her) and they were outside Seigi's house waiting for the Noble Ten to exit so that they could get started on their mission.
It didn't take long. Soon, people started exiting one by one. They watched Aizawa and Nagata leave, followed soon after by Akiyama, then Li Fen and Masai. Finally, their three targets walked out together, an air of excited smugness surrounding them.
Stealthily, the Sannin followed after the limo (really? A limo? Tacky, much?), and as the car continued to drive on, the scenery around them changed. From the mostly empty, secluded area that the Hibari Household was in, the car made its way into the louder, more populated area of downtown Tokyo.
The Sannin had to think quickly in order to keep up with the limo all while running through the shadows to make sure that they weren't spotted, neither by people nor security cameras.
Finally, after running for almost forty minutes, the car pulled to a stop in front of a bland, non-descript building. There were absolutely no special aspects of the building that could be used to identify it if one didn't know what they were looking for. It was a murky brownish-grey color, with dusty windows and its walls contained the remains of old posters.
All in all, it was completely unremarkable in every way and indistinguishable from any other building in the poorer part of Tokyo. An ironic antithesis to the Kiyoijuu HQ, which was Seigi and Ji-Min's beautiful, antique mansion.
Still, the Sannin could see the sense in having a base that's unobtrusive. In the Second Shinobi War, Konoha's base in the Rain Country was just a glorified pit that a skilled Earth-release user dug out for them.
They watched as Takikabe, Nobunaga and Miyamoto exited the car and surreptitiously looked around. Once their suspicions were assuaged, they entered the building.
In a blink, all three of the Sannin congregated together.
"So, what's the plan?" Jiraiya asked while still eyeing the building.
"First things first." Orochimaru reached a hand out, and suddenly, where there was once nothing, a shimmering, translucent barrier appeared.
The Snake Sannin smiled in satisfaction. "Of course. No wonder none of Seigi's spies have been able to infiltrate the Kowazumi. There's a chakra barrier protecting it. All of Seigi's men are chakra inactive. Even against an almost useless barrier like this, they wouldn't have been able to get past the Genjutsu that it casts."
Tsunade tilted her head at him. "Genjutsu?"
Orochimaru nodded. "When someone who isn't keyed into the barrier crosses it, a mild Genjutsu is cast over them, causing them to turn and walk away from the building. Clever, but weak."
Jiraiya looked at him. "This isn't a seal, that's for sure. Do you think you could take it down?"
Orochimaru smirked at him. "Of course, dobe."
With a series of strategic chakra pulses, timed in response to the barrier's reactions, Orochimaru disabled it. The Sannin watched as the barrier quietly dissolved in front of them.
He looked pointedly at Jiraiya. "Would you like to do the honors?"
The Toad Sage grinned in response. "Gladly."
With a quick handsign, he summoned a Shadow Clone, who collected the surveillance equipment and promptly slipped silently into the building.
With a nod, Tsunade took her phone out and called Seigi.
She heard a hum of acknowledgment from the other end. "Are you ready?"
She smiled. "You should be seeing it momentarily."
In front of a screen, all of the other members of the Noble Ten were assembled.
As they watched, the display flicked to life, showing a surprisingly clear view of Miyamoto, Nobunaga and Takikabe sitting at a table with a man who was undoubtedly Sogoui Narashi, the revered Politician and head of the Kowazumi Gang.
Sogoui smiled and stood, causing everyone else in the room to stand as well. He walked over to the three traitorous Noble Ten members and shook their hands amicably. He gestured to his subordinates nearby and three men stepped forward with black briefcases.
In the silent room, the Noble Ten members watched as the briefcases were opened, revealing stacks of Japanese Yen notes.
And finally, all of them watched the traitors seal their fates as they accepted the money while smiling in satisfaction.
Seigi lifted his phone back to his ears, his voice deceptively calm.
"The verdict has been passed. Execution."
He could practically feel Tsunade's smile on the other end of the line.
Jiraiya rubbed his hands together in excitement. "Wonderful! Now, if all you wonderful ladies and gentlemen would be so kind as to step on the paper that I gave Seigi, we can move onto the second phase."
There was a shuffling and rolling noise on the other end as the Transportation seal that was in Seigi's position was spread onto the ground.
Jiraiya grinned as he unrolled his own seals on the ground. "Perfect. Now, brace yourselves."
With a pulse of chakra, a plume of smoke erupted from the seal and when it cleared away, it revealed the seven loyal Noble Ten members dressed for battle.
Seigi stepped forward, barely sparing them a glance. "Thank you. You have done well. You may return now."
However, Tsunade's next words stopped him short. "Return? You didn't think that we'd let you go in and have all the fun by yourselves, did you?"
The Hibari turned sharply to her. "This was not a part of the plan we discussed."
Tsunade folded her arms and looked up at him with a stern expression. "Maybe not. But we want in."
Seigi glared at her. "I forbid you-"
Jiraiya yawned and stuck a finger in his ear flippantly. "Yeeaah, about that, in case you forgot, we're not a part of the Clan anymore. So you can't really forbid us from doing anything."
Orochimaru's smug grin concluded their argument. "Which means that whether you like it or not, we are fighting with you."
After a tense silence, Ji-Min broke out into gales of laughter and hugged her stunned husband. "They've got you there, darling. You're not the boss of them anymore!"
Seigi finally relaxed and huffed in exasperation as he turned away. "Alright. You may fight. But be warned, we will be a part of our own battles, so do not expect one of us to come save you later." He addressed the rest of the Noble Ten members. "Remember, if encountered, Nobunaga, Miyamoto and Takikabe are to be executed on the spot. It doesn't matter who does it as long as it happens tonight. And do not be reluctant to kill any Kowazumi members to do so."
With that, he marched towards the building, everyone else following a few feet behind.
As Tsunade walked, she felt a deceptively light hand land of her shoulder and she looked up to see Li Fen's smiling face.
"Do take care, Tsunade-chan. Kyoya would be so very… displeased if something were to happen to you."
Even though she remained smiling, her aura suddenly turned black.
Masai face-palmed and muttered something about crazy women.
Tsunade grinned back at her. "Oh, you don't need to worry about me." She turned back to the building with a small smile on her face.
"I'll be perfectly fine."
Orochimaru had mixed opinions about his current situation.
He may have not been a part of an actual Hidden Village for a long while, but the mindset was still ingrained deeply within him: Protect the Village.
And while the clan wasn't exactly a village, per se, many of the sentiments could be carried over.
A coup, regardless of circumstance was unacceptable. So, with the orders of his superior, he was now once again expected to go into the center of the mess and sort things out.
Well, Seigi wasn't his Kage. More of a… meal-ticket. To a person like Orochimaru, once he had the taste of freedom, he wouldn't willingly shackle himself back into subservience so easily. The Kiyoijuu were a means to the end, nothing more, nothing less.
Seigi and his ilk were useful. They provided him with opportunities and resources that he would struggle to get elsewhere. He was grateful for that fact, at least. It was the main reason he was even endeavoring to grace this debacle of a situation with his presence.
He stopped abruptly when he finally felt two reasonably strong chakra signatures along with a weaker one, and the sight that greeted him made his eye tingle in anticipation.
Oh yes. He was looking forward to this immensely. Daily spars with his teammates were there to take the edge off his restlessness, but never once had he been allowed to let loose upon an opponent. He yearned for the day where he could use his new dojutsu in real battle.
And finally, after waiting for so long, the day had come.
With the eerie smirk that was his trademark, he approached them.
Conversationally, he asked, "You both are aware that the penalty of treason is death, correct?"
The faces of Takikabe and Nobunaga were an absolute picture of surprised rage as they leaped away from the bleeding and unconscious form of Akiyama.
They violently turned to him and fell into aggressive battle stances but a sneer crept up in their lips when they realized who addressed them.
Nobunaga snarled and turned his head away. "Ah fuck, that scared me. For a second I thought that it was someone actually important."
Orochimaru's smile twitched.
Ahhhh, this again. If the Snake Sannin had to name one thing that irritated him about this new world, he would immediately declare that it was the lack of peons running away from him in fear. He was, after all, a horribly terrifying person.
But no. In this new body, he had a cherubic little face that people wouldn't take seriously for at least another ten years. It irritated him to no end.
"Oh, you seem to be under the impression that I'm not a threat to you."
To his annoyance, they completely ignored him and continued discussing on how to salvage the situation.
"As a courtesy, I'll give you this moment to prepare yourselves."
A fucking scoff.
That was the straw that broke the camel's back. The smile slipped of Orochimaru's face and the pleasant crescents that his eyes had been shaped in opened, revealing one deep blue and one blood-red iris.
Orochimaru, the mighty Snake Sannin and Legendary Ninja, unleashed the restraint on his chakra and bloodlust.
Immediately the room darkened and the air became almost oppressive. The looming feeling of Death hung like a cloying, rotting smell in the air. The absolute feeling of doom and pressure pressed down upon them like God's will.
The two traitors fell to their knees.
But they didn't stay down for long. Activating their own Chakras, they stood up against the overwhelming gravity of his Chakra and turned to face him.
They weren't scoffing at him anymore, no. Their faces now held looks of wariness and instinctual fear.
Casually, Orochimaru stepped forward and smiled when the two went rigid at his increased proximity. He effortlessly lifted Akiyama's form and placed it outside the room before he turned back to his stationary opponents.
Takikabe, with sweat beading his forehead, choked out, "How is it possible? How are your Flames so strong, even though you're so young?"
Orochimaru gave a coy look to him. "Hmmmm, a secret wouldn't be a secret if I go around telling people, would it?"
Nobunaga, though he was trembling under the pressure of Orochimaru's Chakra, looked absolutely murderous. "Why would you be with those weak Incs when you can use Flames? Why stick to that coward Seigi when you should be with us? Why?! Those people can't use Flames, and yet here you are, a Flame user, attaching yourself to insects like them! Have you no shame?!"
Orochimaru tilted his head to examine him, much in the way a raptor would examine a particularly interesting specimen he was about to devour. "I have no loyalty to Seigi. I simply use his resources and in return offer my services."
At those words, Takikabe leaned forward with an eager expression on his face, acting as if he had forgotten all about his previous wariness and fear. "You don't have any loyalty to him?"
Takikabe smiled his conniving, slimy smile. "In that case, why are we in this situation at all? If you have no loyalty to Seigi, then you shouldn't have any problem with the coup as long as you receive your resources, correct?"
Orochimaru knew where the bastard was going with this. "Yes."
A look of victory flashed over his face. "Then I'll do you one better. Seigi and his faction are weak. His father would be absolutely horrified if he were alive to see what he'd been doing to the Clan. But us? No, no no no, we're going to make it great again. Under our rule, the Kiyoijuu will flourish. In time, we'll eliminate all of our enemies, including the Kowazumi gang. They're weak as well. They're just a tool for us to get control of the Clan.
"But you. Oh, you're a gem hidden within all these faded pebbles. If it's resources you want, stick with me and I'll give you all the resources and money you need. The Kiyoijuu will be great again, and you'll be a part of it."
Orochimaru stared at him, thinking about his offer, then answered him.
Nobunaga squinted at him as if he didn't understand. "What?"
Orochimaru gave a long-suffering sigh. "According to my understanding, the Accs faction believes in their total superiority because they are able to use chakra-no, I apologize, 'Flames'. However, that doesn't interest me in the slightest. So what if you can use 'Flames'? Are Flames the true power in the world? No. Not unless you want to risk the Vindice hunting you."
At the mention of the shadowy enforcers, Takikabe and Nobunaga went pale. However, Orochimaru continued on.
"So what is the true power in the world? Money? No, that only takes you as far as the next person's greed. Fame and influence? No, it's too fickle, the sheeple will turn on you at the drop of a hat. The true power… is technology."
The two Noble Ten members looked dumbstruck. Orochimaru smirked at them. "Allow me to explain. The entire world today runs on technology. From phones and computers to firearms and explosives. Technology is everywhere. In this age, it is the currency of trade. Control the technology and, well, I'm sure you see where I'm going with this."
Takikabe woodenly smiled. "So you're saying that technology is even greater than Flames?"
Orochimaru looked introspective. "Well, I suppose that 'Flames' do have their pros. No, what I'm saying is that in your hands, the art of 'Flames' is rather… primitive."
Nobunaga ground his teeth, his usually sharp black eyes flashing a sickly yellow. "I beg your pardon?"
Orochimaru began to circulate his own chakra in response to feeling the other man activate his. "I suppose that you want me to spell it out for you," He responded mockingly in regard to their previous exchange. "There's a metaphor that I think relates to this quite nicely. Something about using a hammer to do a scalpel's work?"
Takikabe's hands began to glow a deep, rusty red. Orochimaru smiled. "No class, no control, no finesse. Only dumb, brute force."
The furious look on Takikabe's face and the maniac look on Nobunaga's were sure to be remembered for a long time.
Orochimaru resumed his pacing. "You see, you do make a very convincing offer. However, you've overlooked several variables."
He circled around the two frozen adults, akin to a predator stalking its prey.
"First of all, you assume that because I'm not loyal to Seigi, I'm loyal to the Clan. After all, why would I be here if resources were all that was keeping me here? There are many other places to look."
He looked them directly in the eyes. "Honestly, the Clan could rot for all I care."
The two tensed up at his blasphemous words, regardless of whether they hated its current leadership or not, the two deeply loved the Kiyoijuu, Orochimaru noted.
"Second, you assume that because of my age, a menial thing like being a part of a famous Clan is enough to sway me in your favor. Incorrect. Name and prestige mean nothing to me."
He resumed his pacing, noting with great amusement that their hackles had been raised to an even higher degree than they were previously.
"Third, you assume that because I can use these 'Flames', as you call them, I owe you my allegiance. You are dreadfully mistaken." He bared his teeth at them. "I answer to no one but myself."
He came to a stop in front of them, posture deceptively relaxed, if not for the knowing glint in his eyes.
"And fourth, you assume that just because I'm not particularly fond of Seigi, I'll allow you to escape from me alive." A predatory, bloodthirsty grin split his lips. "Unfortunately, you're mistaken about that as well."
He lunged towards them at breakneck speeds, but being the combat veterans they were, they leaped back in time to avoid his attack.
Nobunaga's Chakra, so like Jiraiya's but yet so different, collected in his hands as the man rushed forward to engage him in Taijutsu.
A maniac grin crept onto the Snake Sannin's face and his eye rotated to the kanji for the number '4'.
Orochimaru easily kept up to his quick strikes, his smaller and more nimble build allowing him to slip several hits under Nobunaga's defense. The rally between then was fierce and unyielding with no time to think, only react.
However, with his young body, even with the Chakra reinforcement, the strikes weren't nearly powerful enough to cause him serious damage.
Nobunaga swung a sharp hook at the boy, which he skillfully dodged, and received a kick to his sternum in return, causing him to double over with a wheeze. Before the larger man could recover, Orochimaru gripped him by the neck and slammed his knee into his midsection, strategically aiming for his kidneys.
With a choked sound, Nobunaga stumbled back, but before Orochimaru could take advantage of the man's vulnerability, his battle-honed instincts instructed him to dodge, so he released the man's neck and leaped into the air.
A blade glowing with aggressive red Chakra swung under his feet in the region his neck had been just a moment before.
The Snake Sannin gracefully dropped into a crouch and sprung away from his second attacker. Helping Nobunaga back up into an upright position was Takikabe, a gleaming sword dancing with red flames in his hands.
The old man scowled furiously at Orochimaru and ran at him with his sword brandished.
Orochimaru pulled out one of the custom kunai he had ordered and blocked the blow. However, to his curiosity, the red Chakra on Takikabe's sword ate away at the metal steadily, allowing the sword to cut through the kunai and come closer to his face.
Takikabe grinned cruelly. "It doesn't matter how much Flames you have. In the end, Flame types always determine the winner, and Mist Flames can never trump Storm Flames! Anything you make I can deconstruct! It's over!"
Orochimaru's eyes narrowed and he released his grip on the kunai. As Takikabe regained his balance from the difference in force opposing him, he looked to Nobunaga, who had once again come at him with a brutal punch. Easily dodging the hulking man, he watched as the two regained their bearings and fell into a tight, defensive formation.
Nobunaga's cruel grin matched Takikabe. "You may have more Flames than us, brat, but against an experienced Sun and Storm, a baby Mist like you has no chance! Even if you beg for mercy, I won't spare you. I've been itching to kill your little healer girlfriend ever since she interrupted my surgery of ol' man Akiyama, and although you're not her, your death would break her enough to satisfy me!"
Orochimaru condescendingly sneered at them. "For self-proclaimed 'Flame' experts, you both are under quite a lot of delusions. While it's true that some Chakra natures have advantages over others, it doesn't mean that the outcome of the battle rests entirely on one's Chakra nature itself! That is, quite frankly, utter stupidity."
Takikabe had a perplexed look. "It doesn't matter what you call them, boy, against an experienced Storm, a Mist stands no chance. All of your constructions will be disintegrated by me before we can be fooled by your illusions!"
Orochimaru laughed. "Is that what you assume? That my abilities only extend towards Taijutsu and Genjutsu? Fool!" He spat at them. "I am the great Orochimaru! One of the Legendary Sannin, master of all Ninjutsu known to mankind! An inconsequential thing like Chakra Natures won't allow you to beat me!"
Orochimaru's red eye spun and stopped on the kanji for 'one'. His hands resting in a single hand seal, he channeled his Chakra and declared, "Katon: Hosenka no Jutsu!"
Blazing fireballs flew towards his opponents, but to Orochimaru's dismay, they two didn't move out of the way. They defiantly stood before the onslaught with their Chakra flickering from their hands with confident grins on their faces.
Takikabe roared, "Idiot! I told you, Mist illusions don't work against Storms!" He reached out to grab a fireball with his red Chakra flickering from his hands.
Orochimaru watched with great satisfaction as the arrogant look on the slimy politician's face turned to horror when his Chakra didn't protect his hand from getting severely burned by his fireball. He shrieked in pain and fell to his knees, clutching the raw, cooked skin of his hand.
Nobunaga's eyes were wide and terrified as he gripped Takikabe's form and attempted to dodge the rest of the volley of fireballs. "But how?!"
Takikabe, voice raw from screaming, croaked, "Impossible! Mist Constructions can't be real! Impossible!"
Orochimaru smiled nastily. "Is it? Is it really impossible?"
With another hand sign, he murmured, "Doton: Doryuheki."
As the two desperately tried to escape, the wooden floors around them cracked and hulking stone walls rose around them on all sides, trapping them in a bowl-like structure.
Orochimaru, wasting no time, leaped onto one of the walls and peered down at them.
Nobunaga took a look at Takikabe's pained form and released him onto the floor. The politician slumped into the dirt with a groan.
The doctor pumped his legs full of his bright golden Chakra and Orochimaru watched in fascination as the muscles bulged with the onslaught of energy.
With a great running leap, Nobunaga jumped onto a wall next to the Snake Sannin. "Fight me, you brat."
Orochimaru raised his eyebrows in amusement. "Aren't you a doctor? You aren't going to heal your comrade?"
Nobunaga looked at him as if he was crazy. "Of course not! Although I am a doctor, I am a hitman first and foremost! I'm not going to waste time healing someone when I could have taken out the target!"
Ahhhh. Orochimaru's opinion of him fell down from low to nonexistent. So he wasn't actually a doctor. He was just a person who knew how to heal. A real Medic would heal their comrades, regardless of their mission's outcome. Every Medic he knew followed that principle, from Tsunade and Shizune to Karin (well, to the extent of a Medic she was…) to even that traitorous Kabuto. That was the code of a Medic.
Well. It was no skin off his back, whatever this traitorous non-doctor believed in. He was going to be dead in a few minutes, anyway.
Nobunaga rushed at him aggressively, but with the uneven surface of Orochimaru's constructed walls as the platform, all it took was a well-timed sweep of his feet for the Sannin to send the man tumbling back down to the floor.
Nobunaga groaned and pulled himself back to his feet, glaring up at Orochimaru.
The Sannin smirked. It was over now.
Gushing out in a furious stream from his mouth, water began to rapidly fill the area between the walls that Orochimaru had strategically erected.
Takikabe heavily rose to his feet in an attempt to escape the rising water level, but with his sensed dulled by pain, he stumbled into Nobunaga and brought them both to the ground in a pile of curses.
It only took a handful of seconds for the water technique to fill the valley completely and the two were left trying to clumsily paddle their way to the edge to pull themselves out.
Before they could reach the edge, Orochimaru called out to them. "Even though it doesn't make much of a difference at this point, I'm curious to know if your opinion has changed."
The two spluttered in the water, but Orochimaru took that as an acceptable response. "I'm sure that you will agree with me now when I say that Chakra Natures, in a battle, are little more than inconsequential."
He brought his hand up into one last hand sign. "One last demonstration to drive my point home."
A white-hot, crackling pillar of electricity materialized in Orochimaru's hands and connected with the surface of the water.
The two traitorous Noble Ten members only had time for their eyes to widen in horrified realization before their muscles clenched up with the onslaught of electricity.
The synapses of their nerves fried under the strain and kick-started their bodies to go into a seizure. Without the control of their muscles, they slowly sank under the surface of the water, twitching and seizing for a minute longer before they finally succumbed to asphyxiation.
Orochimaru watched impassively as their lifeless bodies swayed silently in the water, their expressions still frozen with rage and pain.
With a pulse of chakra the walls fell and the water that was held within them gushed out, the bodies of the two Noble Ten members flowing along with it.
With a final look at them, Orochimaru turned and left.
As he walked to find his next battle, Orochimaru analyzed his previous fight.
As expected, his opponents severely underestimated him and he was able to dispatch them easily, even if they were supposed to have been unusually powerful.
Perhaps the standards of strength were just too different in the two worlds? It was likely, after all. He doubted that there were any people in this world who could perform a Jutsu to call a meteorite down from space to crash into the Earth's surface.
Although that was probably a bad example. If he had to describe Madara with one word, it would be overkill.
However, it didn't change the fact that people's attitudes about Chakra were very different from the Elemental Nation's. There, a Chakra Nature was something that was simply a tool to find which elemental manipulation came easiest to a person. But here, it seemed that it was the be-all, end-all of a battle.
While it was true that some Chakra Natures had an advantage over others in a battle of Ninjutsu, it was nothing close to the extent that the people in this world were emphasizing it as.
As Orochimaru walked over and collected Akiyama's unconscious form, his train of thought drifted over to Takikabe's offer.
Truthfully, it wasn't a bad offer. All he had to do was sit back and let things run their course, and he would reap the benefits. A coup would severely weaken the Incs faction within the Clan, and with the support of the Kowazumi the power was sure to shift.
So why did he reject it?
All of the reasons he gave them were indeed true, but Orochimaru had other reasons for staying his hand.
Defecting to the Kowazumi meant leaving Jiraiya and Tsunade, and he had to admit, without them, this world would be a boring place indeed.
Jiraiya zoomed down the hallway, keeping his senses open to any movements around him. There were mooks running around screaming, but there wasn't really anything that required his immediate attention.
Suddenly, a handful of loud, powerful chakra-signatures thrummed next to some more familiar ones.
He skidded to a stop, turned, and rushed over to them.
There, in what had recently been a beautiful dining room, were the bloody forms of Tsukihime and Shunsuke. Both had their teeth bared and were fighting furiously, but it was clear that they were almost keeled over in exhaustion and could not go much further. And for good reason: judging by the number of still bodies around them, they must have waded through dozens of enemies.
Even battered and bloody, Tsukihime looked like one of the elegant, graceful Kunoichi that Jiraiya had written about so many times in his Icha Icha series: both beautiful and deadly. She danced around, her feet gliding across the floor as she slashed enemies left and right with deceptively-delicate looking foldable fans, the sharp metal edges stained with blood.
And as if he only existed to be her contradiction, Shunsuke was all hard, sharp movements and brutal strikes. With nothing but a pair of brass knuckles on, he smashed his way through the crowd, back to back with Tsukihime as he protected her six while they both fought.
However, they were both visibly slowing down and when Shunsuke slipped in a puddle of blood and dropped to one knee, leaving himself defenseless in the face of the encroaching mob, Jiraiya swooped into action.
With a twist of his foot, he shunshin-ed in front of Shunsuke, promptly stopping a blade that was aimed at Shunsuke's neck. He roughly pushed the assailant back and before anybody could react, he slapped his hand to the floor.
Spidery black symbols shot out from under Jiraiya's hand and wrapped around the perimeter of the battered forms of his two clan members. When the lines connected, the air pulsed once, twice, thrice with Chakra and a shimmering, transparent barrier erected around them.
The battle halted for a second as everyone stared in shock at the new development.
Regaining her senses quickly, Tsukihime panted out, "Jiraiya-bo? What- what is this?"
The white-haired Sannin smiled charmingly at her. "A barrier. It's going to be up a while, so leave the rest to me, alright? I'll take care of everything here."
Shunsuke snorted. "Be careful, boya, these guys aren't easy. They're-"
"I know. Don't worry. I got it covered."
And with that, he confidently turned to the waiting mob. An ugly, scarred man that looked vaguely familiar stepped forward, sneering. "A kid? Normally I'd ask what the hell you could do against us, but we got information about Seigi's 3 brats. One with white hair, one with navy, and a small blonde one. It's a random shot in the dark, but you don't happen to be one of them, do you?" "He grinned an ugly grin that made Jiraiya grimace a little.
Suddenly, it hit him. Jiraiya pointed a surprised finger at him. "Ahh! You're the ugly dude that was with that bombshell in the red kimono in Dubai! It's hard to forget an ugly mug like that!"
The man flushed a little in irritation as a titter ran through the crowd.
Jiraiya withheld a grin. Say what you want about him, but there was no denying that he knew how to work a crowd, even if they were full of his enemies.
"Shitty brat! I'm not ugly! I'm manly, get it right! And Dubai…" He peered with sharp eyes which widened with realization. "You're the shitty brat who hugged Shizuku-madam! So it appears that you were a Yakuza brat, after all. And of all things, Kiyoijuu scum! Should have killed you when we had the chance."
Jiraiya smiled at him, razor-edged and vicious. "Of course, of course. If you were capable of it in the first place."
A rumble of offense rose up from the crowd, incensed at his cocky words.
Before anyone could snap and attack, a sultry, feminine voice spoke up from the doorway.
"Daiki, are you finished yet? I swear, Sogoui-sama hires more useless people every year."
And there stood the aforementioned Shizuku-madam. Her hair and makeup were as impeccable as it had been when Jiraiya last saw her at the Dubai convention, but the sight of her rumpled clothes caused him to smile in satisfaction.
She examined her bloody nails, then wiped them on the edge of her clothes. "Hurry this up, I swear that I saw Ji Min here around here somewhere. I wanna finish off that bitch for once and for all."
Jiraiya chuckled heartily. "Hahaha, that's funny. Because Ji Min would skin you and feed you to the pigs without even chipping her nails."
The beautiful woman's gaze narrowed and fell to him.
"And you are…?"
Jiraiya bowed with a dramatic flourish. "My name is Jiraiya, my fair lady. I'm just your average child prodigy, legendary shinobi and Toad Sage, at your service."
Her eyebrows rose in amused condescension. "Oh? So you're one of the three brats that Miyamoto, Nobunaga and Takikabe told us about. They warned us about you three, but they told us that you weren't anything special other than Seigi claiming you as his own."
Jiraiya's smile remained friendly and pleasant. "Of course, useless information brokers like that could only tell you shitty information."
Finally, a reaction. Beautiful Shizuku's eyebrow twitched in irritation. "Oh? And you think you know better about selling information than them?"
"Ahhh, did I forget to mention? I'm a master spy as well. Sorry about that. I have too many qualifications to list off the top of my head."
Another twitch. Good. He was getting under her skin.
She scoffed dismissively and turned away from him and towards the two Noble Ten members inside the barrier Jiraiya erected.
"Whatever. I don't have time for delusional brats like you. Daiki," She turned to Ugly, who snapped to attention at the sign of her address of him, "Hurry it up. We need to find Sogoui-sama and regroup as fast as we can."
She hefted a gun and aimed at Tsukihime. "Well, it looks like my patience has run out. Say goodbye to your lover, Aizawa."
Shunsuke tensed and prepared to throw himself in front of Tsukihime, but before he could do so, the shot rang out and a bullet flew right at the courtesan.
But instead of hitting her, the bullet violently ricocheted against the barrier, which pulsed with violently gold colors.
Another man dropped to his knees with a screech of pain, holding his middle where the redirected bullet had pierced him.
Shizuku looked astounded at the turn of events, then she shot again, then again, until the click of the empty cartridge rang out. She growled and threw her gun to the ground in frustration.
"Oh, I forgot to mention again, I'm a Seal Master. Sorry about that." Jiraiya rubbed his head sheepishly. "You won't be able to get to those two until I allow it."
Daiki snarled and stepped forward. "Then take it down!"
Jiraiya stared at him. "No."
"What? Why not?!"
Jiraiya looked at him in pity. "My good man, I hoped that with your unfortunate looks, you would at least have a semblance of intelligence, but it appears that I was gravely mistaken. It's such a pity. Not everybody can be as beautiful and as smart as me." He shook his head at the tragic loss.
From behind, Jiraiya heard a snort. "This kid is great, Tsukki. We should get one too."
He heard a resigned sigh. "Shut up, Shun-chan. Now's not the time."
Daiki glared daggers at him while Shizuku was stunned into incredulous silence. The hefty man held up a beefy arm as he strode forward with violent purpose.
"Let me handle the shitty brat, Madam. If I take him out, the flames should die out and they should be released."
Without waiting for a response, he lifted his broadsword and pointed it in between Jiraiya's eyes. "Draw your weapon!"
Jiraiya frowned. "What?"
"Are you deaf, brat? Draw your weapon! I'm going to fight you and kill you!"
Jiraiya stared at him. "I don't have a weapon. I don't use one."
Daiki waved his sword in the air in frustration. "Just draw your weapon, dammit! We can't begin fighting if you don't fucking draw your weapon!"
Jiraiya's eyebrows drew together in a frown. "Fuck you. I don't need a weapon to beat your idiot ass. Deal with it."
And at the moment, his eyes strayed towards Beautiful Shizuku's form (a very normal occurrence, as he couldn't stop himself from looking at beautiful women for too long) and he saw that a vein was bulging dangerously in her forehead.
Oh. Well, that didn't look particularly healthy.
And inevitably, the thick thug followed his gaze to the woman he was so desperate to impress and puffed up in self-righteous anger.
"Just do it already! I won't get any pleasure from killing a little boy. At least if you come at me with a blade I can justify it to myself when I look back fondly of crushing you."
Jiraiya stared blankly at him. "So, what, you want me to come at you with a weapon so that you won't feel guilty of beating an unarmed kid?"
Daiki tutted. "No, boya, you got that wrong. I want you to come at me with a weapon so that I won't feel bad that I killed an unarmed kid."
Ooooh, no he didn't. This fucker was going down. "Alright, fine. You want a weapon? I'll give you a weapon!"
In one smooth motion, Jiraiya unbuttoned his pants and pulled his zipper down.
"What the hell are you doing?!"
"I'll have you know that my cock is a very virile weapon and should be approached with extreme caution!"
There was a pin-drop silence in the room before Shunsuke bellowed out gales of laughter. "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA TSUKKI, LOOK AT HIM! THIS IS PRICELESS! HAHAHAHAHA! WAIT TILL I TELL SEIGI!"
Even the ever-composed Tsukihime couldn't contain her raucous giggles. "Oh my god, Jiraiya-bo, you shameless boy!"
Jiraiya gravely folded his arms across his chest and cocked his hips. "Do you tremble at the sight of the monstrosity in front of you? It has made many a woman scream, so it's alright to be afraid."
Shizuku's mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out.
Daiki's face was twisted into a look of sheer incomprehension. "What- what the hell would you know about women, brat?! You're like, ten!"
Jiraiya sniffed condescendingly, "I'm thirteen. Which means that I have reached the age of consent in Japan! WOMEN!" He threw his arms out and shouted to the heavens. "TAKE ME AND MAKE ME YOURS! MY BODY IS READY!"
As extra emphasis, he swayed his hips enticingly.
Shunsuke and Tsukihime were wheezing uncontrollably.
Finally, Beautiful Shizuku snapped out of her insensate, staring state and snapped at him. "What the hell do you think you're doing, you shameless brat?!"
Jiraiya looked coolly at her. Perfect. She'd finally snapped. His mission of making the well put-together woman come apart at the seams had been accomplished. He took another moment of admiring her crazed eyes and pulsing veins before giving his answer.
"That's easy. I'm showing you my glorious weapon so it'll be the last thing you see in your miserable lives."
And without further ado, he held out a hand and his chakra churned, coming to the surface in a roiling, volatile sphere. There, in a blinding gold color, was the Rasengan rotating in his palm, looking akin to a miniature sun.
Jiraiya smiled, a mean little thing. "So long, suckers."
He flooded his legs with chakra, and immediately he felt the familiar heady feeling of the shunshin-no-jutsu.
Everything appeared to be in slow motion as he flickered from person to person, Rasengan whirling and drilling at anything that dared to stand in its way.
Five, then ten, then almost all of the members fell before the might of Minato's prized technique. So single-minded in his focus, Jiraiya didn't even react to the agonized and fearful screams and the splattering blood and flesh of his defenseless victims.
He took particular pleasure in smashing his Rasengan in Daiki's ugly mug. What a dumbass.
As always, he saved the best for last and came to a stop before a frozen Beautiful Shizuku. He smiled at her.
Her previously vicious and confident eyes were now filled with blank incomprehension.
"Just… what are you…?"
Jiraiya bowed. "Like I said, master shinobi, seal master, and epic lover of women. Pleased to be of service, madam."
When he looked back up, the same mischievous smirk remained painted across his lips, but the good-humored glint no longer remained in his eyes.
"I'm afraid that playtime's over, my pretty. I assure you that I'm usually a man who likes to take his time, but in this case, I'm gonna need you to be a good girl and explode for me, m'kay?"
Shizuku shook herself out of her stupor and sneered cruelly down at him. "Give me your worst, little boy! Don't think you can beat a Flame user that easily!" With a growl, she activated her own chakra, although it was admittedly weak in comparison to Jiraiya's own, and soon a thin layer of red chakra shrouded her form.
Jiraiya simply smiled. "Oh, I plan to."
As one, the two rushed in to viciously collide in a rapid Taijutsu exchange. Jiraiya was mildly impressed that she could even keep up with his speed, but then again, in his current body, his maximum speed was high-genin/low-chuunin level at most. But it was worth noting when most couldn't even hope to follow him with their eyes.
The woman's attacks grew more and more erratic when she realized that Jiraiya was able to match her blow for blow. She tried channeling more chakra to her hands, but that proved ineffective as well when Jiraiya covered his forearms and legs with a layer of his own chakra.
Absently, the Toad Sage noted that her chakra seemed mildly corrosive. It ate away wherever it touched his own chakra, but he didn't pay it any mind because he was able to replenish his own chakra much quicker than she could get through it.
Besides, the corrosive properties had nothing on the Kyuubi's chakra. Even thinking about fighting and subduing Naruto in that form made him tremble. This, this couldn't even be compared to that.
Finally, it became clear that Shizuku had decided that brute force over skill was needed in this situation when she put space between them and sent a wave of rusty-red chakra at him.
Jiraiya didn't even bat an eyelash as he bunched his muscles and took a chakra-fueled leap over the licking flames.
Shizuku was completely unprepared when Jiraiya landed behind her and wrapped his hands around her head. He leaned in close to her ear. "Fatal mistake, my darling."
With a quick jerk of his arms, her lifeless form slumped over in his hands.
Well, that was over with.
Jiraiya rose and stretched, then he bent down buttoned his pants back up. He turned to the barrier he erected, behind which Tsukihime and Shunsuke watched him speechlessly, eyes darting to the carnage before returning back to his face.
The toad sage channeled his chakra and slammed his hand to the ground once more and the barrier receded.
He smirked roguishly at Tsukihime. "See, my beauty? I told you I'd take care of it. And all while my dick was hanging out. You may now sing my praises."
Tsukihime giggled incredulously, then eyed him appraisingly. "A little brutal, don't you think?"
Jiraiya smiled, but it was a small bitter thing. Memories other shinobi who had met the same fate, soldiers who were much more capable and deadly than the Kowazumi Gang members flashed through his mind. He shook his head to clear it. "What do you mean, gorgeous?"
Shunsuke drawled, "Oi, oi, stop flirting with my woman, exhibitionist boya. That seemed a little intense, even for you."
Jiraiya shrugged. "Well, she had a grudge against Milady Ji Min. Did you know," he said conversationally, "She was the one who sniped her a few years ago when she was coming back from that art exhibition. You know, the time when Hime had to operate on her before we got inducted. That was her." He looked back at them. "I gotta protect Milady Ji-Min, she's like the Hokage's wife."
Jiraiya waved his arm dismissively. "A reference between me and the other two. You won't understand. But yeah, she's someone of rank who needs to be protected."
The hard glint in his eyes melted away and he wriggled his hips in pleasure. "And Milady Ji-Min is my ticket into meeting all the K-Pop girl groups! Kyaaaan, I can't wait!~"
The two Noble Ten members wisely chose to ignore that last bit.
He waited for them to rise to their feet and once they did, turned to the door. But before he could leave, he heard Shunsuke's deep rumble call out to him. "Hey boya."
Jiraiya turned. "Yes?"
"Was what you said all true? All of those qualifications you gave yourself?"
Shunsuke deadpanned. "Seriously? Then why would you go telling your enemies that? Couldn't they use it against you?"
Jiraiya smirked. "In the wise words of Captain Jack Sparrow, 'Unless, of course, I knew they wouldn't believe the truth, even if I told it to them.' Ahhh, good man, Jack. He knew his stuff. Would've made a fine shinobi."
The duo just stared at him.
He turned around and headed to the door. "Well, come on. We can't stay here too long. We got shit to do, people to kill, and time waits for no one!"
And with that last parting quip, Jiraiya disappeared down the hallway, looking for more people he could fuck up.
"So. We finally meet face to face."
Tsunade stood a few feet back and watched the cool way that Seigi and the man who had to have been Sogoui Narashi regard each other.
Looking at Sogoui, Tsunade wouldn't think that he would be the kind of person to be the head of a criminal group. He had a mildly handsome face with well-proportioned features, which was molded in a pleasant expression. His clothes, while fashionable and in good condition, were more to the simple side. He was also around average height for a Japanese male, coming up to only around 5'7".
All in all, he looked completely unremarkable next to Seigi, who, with his outrageously good looks, expensive tailored clothing, and looming height, outclassed him in the appearance department at every corner.
Sogoui smiled neutrally. "Oh, come now Hibari, I have to say that I expected much better from you."
Seigi's already default brooding expression deepened. "What?"
Sogoui clasped his hands behind his back and paced for a few steps. "Getting through my Mist barrier. Impressive. But staging an attack on my headquarters with only seven people and three children? Foolish. Very, very foolish."
He sighed dramatically and came to a stop in front of Seigi once more. "But then again, it would be foolish of me to hold everyone up to my own ridiculous standards."
He looked up at Seigi, who was almost a good half-foot taller than him, but somehow gave the impression that he was looking down on the Kiyoijuu head.
"Did you honestly think that you would be able to win against all of us? All of my gang, and on our home turf, too?"
Seigi sniffed dismissively. "Of course not. But you have completely misread us. Our objective isn't to kill all the members of your group. We came here to execute the traitors." He practically spat out the last word. "And if I so happened to finally come face to face with you after almost four years of dancing around each other, then you can't blame me for taking advantage of an opportunity."
Sogoui chuckled lowly. "Oh, Hibari, Hibari Hibari. You know," he said conversationally, "I've always regarded you as some sort of untouchable rival. After all, with your resume, I would be foolish not to."
He stepped away and started to count off on his fingers. "Brother to the Superintendent General of police. Married to the daughter of the patriarch of the Bichgwa Eodum Family and also the brother-in-law to the child of the leader of the Tiāntáng Yǔ Dìyù Group. And, most interesting of all," His eyes flashed in ironic mirth, "you are the nephew to an Arcobaleno. I must say, it was quite the surprise when I found out."
Sogoui turned back to Seigi and tilted his head in an almost mocking, curious way. "Forgive me, but I have to ask: how is it that you and your brother, direct blood-family to Eye-of-the-Storm Fon, are Flame inactive?"
Tsunade tilted her head in interest. While she didn't believe that being chakra-active was a necessity to being a good soldier, it was true that it didn't hurt. She was interested to hear the answer as well.
Seigi sneered down at Sogoui. "If you understand the Arcobaleno at all, you would know that what defines them is not their Flames, no, but the fact that they are the absolute best in their chosen fields. And Fon is, first and foremost, a martial artist, regardless of his flames." He raised his head in familial pride.
"Whether or not he was Flame-active would have been inconsequential for him to hold the title. In fact," He looked at Sogoui in contempt, "He has cursed the fact that he has Flames on numerous occasions, as it was because of them that he was cursed into such a form."
Seigi crossed his arms and glared. "Me and my brother don't need to be able to use Flames to be able to fight. We're strong even without them."
Sogoui looked at him in genuine surprise. "Interesting."
Tsunade was fascinated as well. That was an admirable mindset to have. They didn't let the fact that they haven't activated their chakra hinder them in any way. In fact, if she understood correctly, they capitalized on that fact. Impressive.
Sogoui's eyebrows furrowed as he looked at Seigi. "I have to admit that I didn't expect you to be proud of the fact that you can't access Flames. That seems a little counterintuitive to me."
Seigi sniffed. "It's not something to be proud of. Flames are a tool, nothing more, nothing less."
Sogoui's eyes lit up. "Oh? Is that so? Then explain why you have claimed three young, exceptional Flame-active children, Hibari."
Finally, Sogoui turned to look at Tsunade, who straightened under his gaze.
Seigi scoffed. "It's not because of their Flames."
Sogoui smiled patronizingly, his gaze never leaving Tsunade. "Really? They why exactly? I've been observing your behavioral patterns for years and recruiting kids isn't really your style, Hibari. For all your ruthlessness and brutality, you have a clear soft spot for children. It took me by surprise years ago when I heard about it."
Just then, Tsunade understood why this man was such a feared politician. He may not look all that remarkable, but his mind was a steel trap and he had a silver tongue to accompany it. Looking back, she realized that Sogoui had been directing the conversation to his pacing. It was so subtle that Tsunade didn't even notice.
Suddenly, a clear, mocking voice rang out from behind Sogoui.
"You know, I've been wondering the same thing for the longest fucking time. Making little kiddies do your dirty work for you? I always thought that you were too self-righteous and noble for that, Boss."
Seigi's face fell into a snarl as he saw the newcomer.
"Miyamoto Toshiro. You have been sentenced to death for your traitorous actions. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"
The hulking man grinned, his diamond grills glittering in the dim light. "Oh, I have plenty I would like to say, but most of it isn't suitable for young ears."
He mockingly winked at Tsunade, who scowled back at him.
"But since you asked, let me tell you this. I used to think you were amazing, Hibari-san. I truly did. I was young, one of the best soldiers the Japanese Military had to offer, and I was utterly bored. Bored out of my goddamn mind. It seemed that nothing could challenge me. Nothing could entertain me anymore. I mean, what was the point of doing anything if it was all going to be boring?"
He sneered grimly. "And then, one day, ol' man Akiyama approached me and told me to come with him. 'Course, I couldn't disobey a superior officer's orders, right? And then the next think I know, I'm meeting you. A guy my age who controls almost the entire underground of Japan."
Miyamoto shook his head with a sour smile. "I was star struck by you. So I joined the Kiyoijuu and worked my way up to the top. But it was never good enough, was it?" He smiled meanly at Seigi.
"No matter how good I got, no matter what I did for the clan, my efforts were never noticed by you. But whatever, I didn't really care that much. At least I was living again. I wasn't constantly bored anymore. But then," He lost his smile and his eyes grew dangerously hard. "You got soft."
Seigi and Tsunade's eyes narrowed as well.
"When Li Fen's spawn was born, it was like someone cut off your balls. You changed from the fearless, ruthless man that I had once looked up to."
Tsunade had a sudden recollection of the exchange they had years ago when they had first encountered one another: he had threatened Kyoya's life. And even after that, he always seemed to have an unusual aggression towards Kyoya. She guessed that this was why.
He glared and spat on the floor. "Sentiment. So fucking stupid. And then, I knew what needed to be done. Things needed to be changed. And so I brought it up with Nobu. He felt the same way. And then Takikabe somehow heard about it, and we all agreed. With you at its head, the Kiyoijuu was becoming fucking weak. And we needed to change that."
He gestured over to a grinning Sogoui and smiled himself, his grills giving him an almost animalistic look. "And, as they say, the rest is history."
The politician walked over to Miyamoto and comfortably stood at his side. "Is that a good enough explanation for you, Hibari? Are you satisfied now?"
Seigi glowered darkly, but Tsunade scoffed, drawing everybody's attention to herself, and she spoke up for the first time.
"Honestly, I just don't understand what it is with megalomaniacs and their monologues. Seriously, if things were to get any more dramatic, you could write your own sonnet or something so that you could declare to the world about how Seigi didn't notice you enough and how you felt upstaged by his kid nephew."
All three men were staring at her in dumbfounded silence, not expecting something like that to come out of her.
She crossed her arms and glared at him. "We came here for one job, and that is to separate your head from your body. We don't need any more sob-stories as background music. We all know how this is going to end."
Sogoui chuckled. "My, aren't you a tactless one. But no matter, it's to be expected from children."
Tsunade glowered. "Cut the crap. I don't know what you're trying to buy time for by talking to us, but it's not going to work."
Sogoui looked mildly impressed. "So you figured it out. I suppose I should have expected it from a prodigy like you. So, Sawada Tsunayoshi. Or, as I hear you prefer, Tsunade. Why have you come here today? Hibari, I can understand, he has a vendetta against me. But you? A descendent member of the illustrious Vongola Famiglia? I have done nothing to you."
Both Seigi and Tsunade looked sharply up at him and Sogoui laughed. "Oh yes. Though you didn't tell them, it was easy to put the pieces together. 'A conflict of interest' indeed. Little Tsunade-chan here isn't just any old member of the Vongola. She's the daughter of Sawada Iemitsu. She's the last of Sawada Ieyasu's line."
There it was again, that name. Sawada Ieyasu. Tsunade didn't know much more than the fact that that he was one of her ancestors, but the way that Sogoui had declared it implied that she was missing something big.
At seeing her drawn brows, Sogoui laughed heartily. "Oh, my dear child, you don't know who Sawada Ieyasu is? Ironic that his own family doesn't know. He was none other than the first head of the Vongola!"
Oh. Oh. So Sawada Ieyasu, the man that Iemitsu had raved she looked like for years, was Vongola Primo? Suddenly a lot of pieces clicked into place.
Sogoui continued talking through Tsunade's little revelation. "It was easy to figure out. After Miyamoto, Nobunaga and Takikabe came to me with the news that the prodigious children were leaving the Kiyoijuu so soon after information of Vongola Nono's last heir had been leaked, it became so clear."
He smiled down at her. "I wonder what price that kind of information is worth."
Tsunade's mind blanked.
This man. Was he threatening her? Her? The goddamn Godaime Hokage and Legendary Sannin? The most powerful Kunoichi to ever fucking walk the Elemental Nations?
If she didn't have enough incentive before, she certainly did now. He wasn't going to walk away from this alive.
Seigi snarled, and for a brief second his piercing silver eyes flashed purple. "I will not let you touch what is mine."
Tsunade glanced up at him, surprised. He sounded very much like Kyoya during one of his territorial moods. Which meant that like Kyoya, he was about to go berserk.
Sogoui smiled. "Well, it seems like the chat's over, folks. You were correct, Tsunade-chan. I was waiting for something. This."
All at once, a flood of people entered the room, armed with heavy artillery. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Sogoui and Miyamoto turned to the back doorway, as if to escape.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes. "Oh no you don't!"
In one smooth motion, she channeled chakra to her hand and slammed her fist to the ground.
A thunderous rumble erupted, and from the point of impact, a spidery network of cracks spread until the floor literally crumbled from beneath them.
The debris flying in the air drew surprised cries from all the newcomers and Sogoui and Miyamoto were forced to halt as the floor fell away in front of them, cutting off their exit.
They both turned to look back at Tsunade, who smirked vindictively. "I'm afraid that I can't let you get away so easily. You see, it wouldn't be good if you were to spread the news of my heritage."
Sogoui stared at her, then a low chuckle escaped his lips, which progressively got louder and louder until he was howling in mirth. "Ahhhh, that answers that, doesn't it! So this is why Hibari wanted you for himself! Smart man, smart man! But you see, my dear, something like that isn't enough to stop me!"
He raised his arm and on signal, all of his men regrouped and raised their firearms. "Farewell, Hibari, Tsunade-chan. May your spirit rest in peace."
He brought his hand down in a sharp wave but Tsunade and Seigi were already moving. They ducked under the cover of some taller rubble as bullets danced around them.
Seigi turned to her, his hands gripping tightly around his sleek twin hand axes. His eyes were intense and were tinted with the faintest tinges of violet. "Tch. Herbivores."
Tsunade's lips twitched up in a ghost of a smile. The Hibari men were truly cut from the same cloth. "Alright. I'll disarm the grunts."
Seigi nodded sharply in agreement. "I'll handle Miyamoto and Sogoui." He twirled one of his axes in anticipation.
Tsunade cracked her knuckles and began to channel her chakra. "I'll join you after I'm done."
Seigi nodded once more, then rose. "Don't take too long."
Tsunade smirked. "Don't worry, I'll be there in no time."
They two lunged away from their cover and leaped towards their respective opponents.
Tsunade landed lightly and took off in a sprint, making sure to keep ahead of all the bullets aimed for her. It seemed that Sogoui's men had decided to target her first, probably seeing her small size and young age and deeming her to be the easier target.
It didn't take long for her to reach the first man, and before he could do more than widen his eyes Tsunade's glowing fast was buried in his face, knocking him straight off his feet. The force of the blow propelled the man back into two more of his comrades and they all went down in a cursing heap.
Before the other two men were able to recollect themselves and get back to their feet, Tsunade's feet came down in a crushing blow on their necks and they too were out for the count.
By then the rest of the men began to clearly become nervous due to the ease in which she had taken three men down in seconds. A few more idiots threw down their guns and tried to engage her in hand-to-hand combat, but Tsunade demolished them as if they were made of nothing more than Styrofoam.
The rest of the men attempted to shoot at her, but because of their close proximity, she was able to disarm them easily and debilitate them.
Suddenly she felt three heavy thumps on her back and she stumbled forward to the ground because of the force, letting out a grunt as she fell. She got back to her feet and saw the last man attempting to put as much space between them as he could as he sniped at her from a distance. He managed to get a few shots in when she wasn't paying attention, but her Kevlar vest did its job and protected her admirably from the bullets.
Taking a quick look to make sure that Seigi was out of her range, Tsunade took a running start to spin into a flip and brought her heel down hard onto the concrete ground. A cacophony of cracks rumbled as the floor literally split beneath the man's feet, and Tsunade eyed his fear-filled gaze with satisfaction as he fell below.
With all of the grunts taken care of, Tsunade spun around towards the bigger battle that Seigi was in the middle of.
He was engaged in a fast pace exchange with Miyamoto, who had bolts of green chakra dart around his form. She noticed that even with Seigi's brutal strikes, Miyamoto usually defended them off with his bare forearms, but instead of suffering serious injury from the wickedly sharp blades, he was left with nothing more than mild lacerations.
As she got closer to the battle, she could hear Miyamoto's arrogant gloats. "This is really the worst pairing for you, Seigi! You're a close-range fighter, but no matter how hard you try you will never be able to get past Sogoui-san's Flames or my hardened skin!"
As a demonstration, he purposefully allowed one of Seigi's blades past his guard and let it slam forcefully into his shoulder. While the tip sank in slightly, enough to cut past his skin and into the top layers of muscle, it wasn't nearly as much damage as Seigi's attack warranted.
Miyamoto smiled nastily at him. "You see! Useless! You can never win against my diamond skin!"
"God, do you ever stop talking?"
Tsunade appeared behind Miyamoto in a blink and slammed her fist into his liver. Miyamoto's smug countenance melted away as his eyes bulged in shock and pain as his abdominal cavity concaved under the force of her blow.
With spit spraying out of his mouth, he flew backwards.
Immediately, Tsunade felt the faint chakra-threads of Genjutsu attempt to invade her mind.
She dispelled it without a second thought, and the illusion dispersed, leaving Sogoui looking perplexed.
She noticed that his hands were glowing blue with chakra, but the shade was much lighter than the shade that Orochimaru's had. It was more like a sky-blue, or a sea-blue.
Again, Sogoui outstretched his hands and the feathery feeling of a Genjutsu fell upon her. Out of curiosity, she allowed it to take hold.
Tsunade felt peace.
She just wanted to lay down and sleep. Maybe forever.
Why… was she fighting again? What was the point? She was so tired.
She just wanted to close her eyes…
Just for a moment…
It wouldn't hurt…
Just a moment…
She dispelled the illusion and immediately she felt her razor-sharp awareness fall back into place.
Tsunade looked back at Sogoui, this time with a little trepidation.
That… was a scarily powerful Genjutsu. Even knowing that she was under it didn't stop her from almost succumbing to it.
Against anyone weaker willed or unable to dispel Genjutsus…
That was an extremely dangerous technique. Especially in the hands of someone like Sogoui.
The politician tilted his head at Tsunade, looking very much like a confused bird. "I don't understand? Why doesn't it work on you?"
He looked back at Seigi, who was twirling his axes, a glint of murder in his eyes.
"It worked on him just fine. So why not you?"
Tsunade's eyes widened and her head jerked to look at Seigi to see if she needed to dispel the Genjutsu for him before he succumbed to it-
-only to find him with multiple cuts on his forearms.
She smiled. Of course. Someone like Seigi would be smart enough to use the second way of dispelling Genjutsu: inflicting physical pain to break themselves out of it.
By then, Miyamoto stumbled to his feet, cursing up a storm and clutching his abdomen. "You fucking brat! How the fuck did you do that?!"
Seigi simply adjusted his grip on his axes and growled out, "She's simply better than you. That's all there is to it."
And with that quip, he made a beeline over to Sogoui, who looked quite alarmed and frantically pushed another wave of chakra at him. It barely fazed Seigi, who with a flick of his wrist, made another small cut on his forearm, not stopping in his pursuit of the Kowazumi head.
The Voice in Tsunade's head told her to duck, and with a casual twist of her head, she watched the beefy arm of Miyamoto sail through the space her head had been seconds prior.
She reached out and grabbed Miyamoto's outstretched arm, and flooded her arms and thighs with chakra. She gritted her teeth and put her entire body into flipping him over her shoulder and slammed him into the ground so hard that his body was embedded a foot in the concrete flooring.
She let go and leaped back while taking a deep breath and anticipated her next move. Sure enough, while he was winded, Miyamoto's body reinforcement allowed him to stagger to his feet with minimal damage. As his eyes flashed with violence, his electric green chakra flickered around his body.
"You," he panted, "Are gonna pay for that."
Tsunade scoffed and channeled her chakra. "Less talking, more fighting."
She lunged at him, and while it was clear that he was still winded, he was able to parry her blow for blow. The Slug Sannin wasn't too surprised, he had been in the military for upwards twenty years, and hand-to-hand combat was essential there.
She leaped into an aerial spin-kick and he ducked down low to avoid it, his hand touching the ground for a brief second before he was back upright and counterattacking.
Tsunade only caught a glimpse of his cruel smirk before a handful of cement chunks and powder was flung into her face.
The split second of disorientation that she suffered because of the dust in her eyes and nose was enough for him to capitalize on and his fist met her head.
It was as though a truck rammed into her. Her brain rattled in her skull and her teeth clattered from the force.
She was violently thrown back from him and she heavily rolled on the floor. When she came to a stop and her ears stopped ringing, she could hear his haughty voice as he stood over her. "See? Doesn't feel so good to be on the receiving end, does it?"
This motherfucker. Tsunade was going to utterly destroy him.
She opened her eyes, and though it was a little blurry around the edges, she could see him reach down for her.
Oh, hell no.
She shifted her weight onto her hips and spun as hard as she could, her legs coated in a thick layer of chakra and felt it connect to his legs. She felt the slight give of flesh and knew that even with his reinforcement, she had cracked his tibia and fibula.
There was a second of silence before Miyamoto fell to his knees and howled in agony. It gave Tsunade enough time to roll away from him and regroup.
She shook her head, feeling the medical chakra she circulated slowly reduce the swelling and her senses gradually sharpened once more. However, she knew that this was a temporary measure. She needed to find a place to sit down and examine her head, otherwise she might miss some hemorrhaging, but now wasn't the time.
She rose to her feet, watching as Miyamoto did the same, hissing through his teeth as circulated his green chakra around his leg. She saw that because of the reinforcement of his chakra, it formed a kind of splint for his leg. Still, it must have been excruciating to stand on.
The two glared at each other and in unspoken agreement, they both channeled the majority of their chakra. The next exchange was going to be the last. Their bodies couldn't handle much more, as her madly throbbing head indicated.
The air grew heavy with pressure, then suddenly there was movement.
Miyamoto's entire body crackled with green electricity and his eyes glowed eerily. From the glimpse Tsunade caught of herself in the reflection of his eyes Tsunade knew that hers blazed unnaturally as well.
The tongues of the electric green chakra licked at her as she punched and kicked at him, but her own brilliant orange chakra was enough to nullify it before it could harm her. She felt him pull even more chakra to the surface and she did the same in response.
The loud sound of flesh smacking against flesh echoed in the cavernous room as they both did their very best to beat the shit out of their opponent.
Tsunade felt him pop another one on her face and felt blood spurt from her nose. In response, she rammed her heel into his mouth and watched in satisfaction as he reeled back and spit out a bloody tooth.
Both of them took a moment to breathe, and that's when she saw it: a faint bruising around the right side of his low chest, high abdominal area.
She looked him over and quickly categorized his other symptoms, just to confirm her suspicion. Pale, clammy skin, elevated heart rate but low blood pressure.
That first blow she had given him, it had ruptured his liver. While it wasn't severe, it was enough for what she had planned.
Miyamoto spit another bloody wad out and glared at her. "I, I'm gonna kill ya, ya little brat."
Tsunade wiped the blood off her face. "You can try."
The huge man lunged at her aggressively, hands outstretched, but Tsunade deftly dodged him and positioned herself to his right.
She pulled up a huge amount of chakra to her hand and clenched it tightly. With a cry, she swung it hard and felt it connect.
Immediately, Miyamoto dropped like a rock. There, right along his lower ribcage was an imprint of her tiny fist and it was bruising from the internal bleeding by the second.
Miyamoto gurgled something unintelligible before falling unconscious.
Tsunade sat down heavily. Her plan worked. With that last blow, his liver had to have been completely destroyed. His hepatic vein had to have been damaged previously, which would have resulted in his lowered blood pressure, but with the complete destruction of his liver, he was fated to die very soon.
Suddenly, she heard a scream of agony and turned to see Sogoui pinned to the wall by one of Seigi's axes.
Gone was the composed, well-groomed politician. In his place was a bloody, disheveled wreck of a man whose left forearm was almost completely severed from his body.
Like a predator, Seigi stalked towards him. In his abdomen was lodged a long sword, and without a flinch, the Hibari pulled it out and continued to walk towards the Kowazumi head.
Sogoui looked at Seigi in sheer terror and frantically attempted to get away, but he was pinned too well by the ax.
Seigi came to a stop in front of him and stared at him while Sogoui trembled in pain and terror.
Finally, Seigi bared his bloody teeth at him. "Weak."
And in one clean motion, he used Sogoui's own sword to decapitate him.
Metal as fuck.
Tsunade watched as the head bounced away and rolled before stopping, Sogoui's expression permanently frozen in terror.
It was as if all the fight had left Seigi and he slumped bonelessly to the ground, holding his midsection.
He panted harshly and blood dribbled down the sides of his mouth but there was no mistaking the look of utter triumph in his eyes.
Tsunade slowly pulled herself back up to her feet and dragged herself over to where Seigi was sprawled. Her head throbbed in beat with her pulse and once again her sight was going blurry around the edges.
But it was no time for self-pity. She had a job to do.
She came to a stop next to Seigi and dropped to her knees. He lazily looked up at her.
"So you executed him."
Tsunade stutteringly activated her Medical jutsu, feeling the pull in her low chakra reserves. "Yup."
He chuckled. "Good little minion."
Tsunade laughed softly too, then slowly began to fix the damage in his abdomen. "I see you took care of Sogoui as well."
Seigi blinked slowly. "Of course. It wasn't a challenge at all."
Tsunade skeptically looked at his mangled forearms where he had cut to free himself from Sogoui's Genjutsu. "Of course."
Seigi let his head slump back onto the ground. "Orochimaru was right."
Tsunade glanced at his face before looking back to his abdomen. "Hmm?"
"He said that after tonight, the Kiyoijuu would reign over the Land of the Rising Sun once more. He was right."
Tsunade smiled in amusement. "I guess he was."
They fell into a comfortable silence as Tsunade continued to mend his injury. Her vision became more and more blurry the longer she used up her chakra but she pushed through it, knowing that she was almost done healing him.
Startled, she looked down at him. "Yes?"
"… Thank you."
Tsunade stayed silent for a long moment. "You're welcome."
"I have one more favor to ask of you."
"What is it?"
"Nothing much. I just want you and the boys to meet someone."
Tsunade tilted her head. The Voice gave the equivalent of a mental purr, so she shrugged. "Alright."
And once again, they fell into silence. Her vision started to flicker once she was just about done healing Seigi, but she forced herself to remain conscious for just a few minutes longer to finish the job.
Dimly, she heard Ji-Min and Orochimaru's voices, but she felt like she was listening to them underwater. She felt a hand touch her but was too insensate to do anything about it.
She ran a final check just as her chakra flickered and confirmed that he was as good as new.
Job done, she gladly succumbed to the sweet pull of darkness.
Three Days Later
"You're joking, right." Li Fen's voice was absolutely deadpan.
"No, I swear to god, he really did it. He just unbuttoned his pants and whipped it out for everyone to see. Then he declared that the age of consent in Japan is thirteen and invited all the women to ravage him."
Ji-Min exploded with laughter. "BWAHAHAHAHAHA, THAT'S PRICELESS! Ahhh, Jiraiya-ssi, you never fail to surprise me. It's gonna be a damn shame to let them all go."
Akiyama nodded. "Yes, I never got to express my gratitude to young Orochimaru for his help. If he hadn't intervened when he did, I fear that I may be much worse off. These old bones aren't what they used to be."
Aizawa sighed. "Time flies so quickly. I remember when they were so small. Tsuna-chan came to me with a lost little girl like she was a child presenting her mother with a kitten." She rested her cheek on her hand and pouted in fond remembrance.
Li Fen giggled behind her sleeve. "Yes, they really do grow up fast."
Nagata tilted his head at Seigi. "So, what are you going to do now?"
Seigi smirked lightly. "I'm going to take them to the Onishi."
Masai looked up sharply. "But why? They're not a part of the Clan anymore."
Seigi's smirk grew more pronounced. "Maybe. But it's not as if we hold a record when a member gets one. For all the Vongola know, they would have been marked before Massimo Vongola's death. They can't begrudge her then, could they?"
Masai stared at him, then an identical smirk crawled across his own face. "No. They couldn't."
Nagata just groaned and rubbed his face. "You can't be serious."
Seigi smiled serenely at him. "Regardless of their circumstances, I'm not just going to let them go without marking them as mine."
Ji-Min playfully rolled her eyes and slumped across Seigi's shoulders. "Oh my god, you sound like a savage. Control yourself, my darling."
Aizawa had a satisfied smirk across her face as well. "I agree with Milord Seigi. Those children are ours. They are proudly Japanese, and when the Italians come for them they would probably need to be reminded of that fact."
Akiyama shook his head in resignation. "I can already see that nothing is going to change your mind. When are you taking them?"
When Tsunade agreed to go with Seigi to meet his mysterious person, she certainly did not expect this.
Upon his request, she gathered Jiraiya and Orochimaru and arrived at his mansion at 5 pm.
Seigi was there to meet them and he ushered them all into a car, and soon they were on their way.
Within an hour, the looming slopes of Mt. Fuji was visible to them, but they weren't headed to the infamous landmark.
The car drove in a circumference around the mountain and pulled to a smooth stop in the northwestern flank of the mountain.
By then, the sun had set and the light from the sky was fading, giving the forest they were in an eerie appearance.
Silently, Seigi handed them all flashlights and stepped out of the car. The Sannin were quick to follow him.
He led them into the forest, and finally they saw a fading sign display the word AOKIGAHARA.
Jiraiya let out a little whimper at the realization.
They were in Japan's Suicide Forest.
Nobody spoke as Seigi led them deeper and deeper into the forest, with only four dim flashlights to lead the way.
As they walked, more and more signs begging people to rethink committing suicide were peppered across the trees, but chillingly, after a point, there were no more signs, only bits of paper stuck to trees and broken poles, as if someone had ripped them all off.
A quiet breeze ruffled the leaves and branches crunched under their feet as they walked, but still, nobody spoke.
More than once Tsunade thought she saw large forms swaying from trees, but she never said anything to the others.
But judging by their tensed shoulders, both Jiraiya and Orochimaru had probably seen them as well.
They walked in the darkness and silence for around an hour before Seigi finally said something.
He led them to what looked like the remains of a hut. It was dilapidated and crumbling and the windows were missing. The roof had completely collapsed and the walls looked dangerously close to falling as well. The remains of the door had something that looked suspiciously like a red handprint smeared on it.
Behind the ruins was a deep, dark abandoned well. It was deep and dark enough that even with the flashlight, the Sannin couldn't see the bottom. The wind echoed in it, producing an unearthly wailing sound.
Seigi dropped his pack to the ground and dug inside until he found a long line of rope. He deftly tied it around the raised stone walls then threw the rest of the rope into the darkness of the well.
After several long seconds, there was a muffled thump that came from within.
Seigi gestured to the well. "Climb."
Jiraiya gulped, then looked up at him. "You're… you're not gonna, you know, do something awful to us down there, are you?"
Seigi silently stared down the boy intently, not saying a word. Finally, he once again gestured to the well.
Jiraiya hesitated, then whimpered but obediently gripped the rope and began climbing into the darkness.
Without saying a word, Orochimaru went next, and finally, it was Tsunade's turn.
She gripped the rope and slowly let herself down. Though she had managed to heal herself after she woke up following the fight with the Kowazumi, her reserves weren't back up to completion yet. She preferred to err on the side of caution until she was back to one hundred percent.
Time seemed to have stopped as she made her way down in the darkness. The only sound in the oppressive silence was the echoing howl of the wind, and that did nothing to assuage her frayed nerves as she climbed deeper and deeper into the earth.
Finally, she saw the illumination of Jiraiya and Orochimaru's flashlights, and soon after her feet touched the ground. The trio waited in silence for a few more minutes and the sound of Seigi coming down the rope permeated through the silence.
Once he touched the ground, he clicked on his flashlight and gestured to them. "Follow."
Once again, in silence, he led them through an unobtrusive passage built into the side of the well. The walls surrounding them were made of smoothened dirt and the floor was even with flat stones.
Finally, he came to a stop in front of a plain wooden door and knocked.
After a tense wait, the door slowly creaked open to reveal a dark room illuminated only by the light of lit torches hanging from the wall.
In front of them stood a teen with black hair and milky-white eyes. The way he didn't focus on anything led Tsunade to believe that he was completely blind.
"Welcome." He bowed down to them, and with Seigi's cue, they too bowed back to him.
The blind boy led them into the room, then disappeared behind a curtain, where there was a rustling noise and the sound of low whispers.
From behind the curtain came an old woman with the same milky eyes as the teen. Her shiny silver hair was pulled into a neat bun. She came to a stop in front of them and bowed to Seigi. He bowed back.
She turned to the Sannin and smiled warmly at them.
"Please, this way."
The three followed her and she led them behind another curtain into a room lit with a crackling fireplace. In front of it was laid three mats.
"Please take a seat."
The Sannin each sat on one of the mats and Seigi took a seat on a cushion in the corner.
The curtain behind them rustled again and another old woman, this one with braided silver hair, stepped out from behind it, her eyes milky and sightless as well. She was holding a tray with three steaming clay mugs.
She smiled at them and offered each of them a cup. "Please drink."
Tsunade examined the cup and inhaled the scent of the tea. It wasn't a combination of herbs that she knew. She glanced at Seigi, and taking his lack of reaction as a green-light, she took a small sip from her cup and was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted quite pleasant.
The Sannin sipped at their cups in silence and handed them back to the braided woman once they had drained their cups.
Tsunade felt herself relax, both the hot tea and the heat of the fireplace soothing her senses.
She heard the teen ask them to remove their tops and complied absently. The deep feeling of relaxation was taking a hold of her and she didn't fight it when someone gently nudged her forward so she was comfortably lying face-down on the mat.
She closed her eyes and inhaled once more, taking in the scent of herbs and campfire and honey, and she drifted off to sleep.
Tsunade opened her eyes.
She realized that she had fallen asleep and someone had put a blanket over her.
She made to get up, but then stopped.
First, she looked to Jiraiya and Orochimaru, who were also asleep. They were lying face-down just like her, and someone had put blankets over their shirtless forms as well.
A quick check revealed that she too was shirtless. She was about to get up when she saw something that made her stop dead in her tracks.
On Orochimaru's face were markings. Very similar markings that she had seen on him for nearly fifty years.
Starting from his eyes and going to the bridge of his nose were dark blue stripes, giving him that familiar serpentine-like appearance that she knew so well.
A quick glance to her left revealed that Jiraiya also had facial markings, but instead of the red ones he possessed in his previous body were the start of brilliant gold tear-track-like markings that came to a stop on his cheekbones.
Uncaring of her state of undress, she rose and looked around until she found an ornate mirror hanging on a wall.
Looking into it showed that she wasn't unchanged either.
On her forehead proudly stood a bright orange, completed Yin-Seal.
Cautiously, she channeled her chakra (her reserves had surprisingly replenished themselves completely in the time she had been asleep) and the feedback almost took her breath away.
Her chakra reserves had expanded exponentially and in her head was a concentration of thick, pure chakra, ready to be used at her disposal.
Finally, after years of trying, the seal was finally complete. But she had to wonder… why? Nothing she did on her own could get the seal to stabilize enough to manifest on her forehead, so why now?
She slowly circulated her chakra through her body, but when it came to her back, she froze.
It felt, somehow… open. As if she were a house, and her back had windows which let a strong draft in.
She furrowed her brows and closely examined the sensation in her back.
Oddly, it felt normal, except, there was a flow of chakra that wasn't her own.
Was that… was that Nature chakra?
She made to turn her body so that she could see her back in the mirror, but before she could she felt a hand on her shoulder stop her.
She looked up to find the teen she had seen earlier, but now, instead of his eyes being milky white, they were an intense, piercing hazel.
"Whoa there missy. You can't see your back just yet."
Tsunade stared at him. "I thought you were blind."
He pulled away and ruffled a hand in his hair. "Yeaaaah, about that, I'm not really blind, neither is my family. It's just when we're about to perform the ritual we lose our sight. But the rest of the time, I have 20/20 vision. So like right now, I can see that you're totally naked from the waist up and while you're a cute girl, I have to say you're a little too young to do it for me, so it'd be best if you put your blanket back on."
He handed her blanket back to her and she numbly wrapped herself with it.
At that moment, Orochimaru and Jiraiya both began to stir.
The boy lit up. "Oh good, they're waking up. I'll go and get baa-chan and baa-san. Wait right here." He lifted the curtain to their room and walked out.
Tsunade sat and watched her teammates wake up fully and start to re-orient themselves. Just as they sat up the teen returned with both of the old women.
Just like the boy, instead of blind white eyes, their eyes were now a bright hazel.
The woman with the braid smiled at them. "How are you feeling?"
The boys grumbled something unintelligible, and when the woman's gaze turned to her, Tsunade mumbled a soft "Fine."
The woman with the bun smiled as well. "Excellent. We can now proceed to the last step of the ritual."
The Orochimaru looked blankly at her. "Ritual?"
Jiraiya blinked cluelessly. "Say what?"
The women both chuckled. "Don't worry too much. Just let down your blankets."
After a moment, the Sannin obliged and all three let their covers fall to the ground.
The woman with the bun stepped in front of Jiraiya and the woman with the braid stood in front of Orochimaru. The teenaged boy came to a stop in front of Tsunade and gave her a playful wink.
As one, all three lifted smaller ornate mirrors and held them in front of the Sannin, their surfaces tilted at a slight angle.
Tsunade gasped and she heard Orochimaru and Jiraiya's own indications of surprise.
On the surface of the mirror, Tsunade could see the reflection of the huge ornate mirror behind them, and on that mirror was a reflection of their backs.
And on her slim back, Tsunade saw a brilliant bird tattooed into her skin. Its plumage was comprised of searing shades of orange, with a few hints of red and yellow thrown in for good measure. Its wings were spread elegantly and its beak was open in a victorious song, and it rose from flames licking at its feet.
Tsunade was speechless.
The voice of the braided woman jolted her back to the present.
"Orochimaru. Today, with eyes that see both nothing at all and everything at once, I saw in you… a Dragon."
A quick glance through the mirror allowed her to see his back: a mighty, snarling dragon was coiled, ready to pounce. Its scales shimmered in deep shades of blue and green, and at its feet were misty clouds it stood on. Its expression was incredibly detailed. Instead of mindless rage or aggression, the dragon looked playful. Cunning. Ruthless. Somehow, after looking at it, Tsunade couldn't find a better representation of Orochimaru.
"Greedy for knowledge and known for their wisdom, Dragons are noble beasts that covet whatever they deem precious. In battle, they are peerless. And just like a Dragon, you too are knowledgeable and wise, and powerful. Your lust for what you want, your treasure, knows no bounds. Be careful to not let it consume you, as I am sure it has in the past. Take care of the treasure already in your possession, for you know that it is irreplaceable."
Through her mirror, Tsunade was able to watch as his expression went from awe, to pride, to shame, and then finally resolution. She saw as he gingerly raised his hand to his face and traced the markings near his eyes that had once been violet but were now a deep blue.
Startled, her eyes jolted back to the teen in front of her, and while his expression was serious, his eyes belayed his mirth.
"Today, with eyes that see both nothing at all and everything at once, I saw in you… a Phoenix."
Against her will, Tsunade's eyes were drawn back to the design on her back.
"Fierce both in and out of battle, Phoenixes are creatures that represent purity and rebirth. Reborn time and time again in the heat of flames and the weight of ashes, the Phoenix is a representation of defiance against the laws of nature. You too are fierce and beautiful, and your intensity carries into all aspects of your life. Just like a nesting mother, you are fiercely defensive of those under your protection and would not hesitate to burn anybody you deem a threat. However, just as a phoenix, you are quick to judge and defensive. Allow yourself to soften your heart. One day, there will be somebody capable of taking care of it."
Tsunade felt her throat tighten up. This hit too close to home. It was as this young boy had peered deep into her soul and had seen everything.
Opening her heart? She wanted to scoff. After Dan there was no one for her. No one. Maybe it would happen one day, but for now, she was good the way she was.
Tsunade shook herself out of her thoughts and turned her eyes over to Jiraiya's side. What she saw through the mirrors made her lift her brows up in surprise.
The woman with the bun smiled gently at him.
"Today, with eyes that see both nothing at all and everything at once, I saw in you… a Kitsune."
Sure enough, painted in brilliant, blinding golds, whites and yellows was a sleek nine-tailed fox. It was elegantly perched; its lean body supple and its tails elegantly spread out. The level of detail was astounding, the texture of its fur looked almost touchable, just as the feathers on her phoenix and the scales on Orochimaru's dragon did. And, just like in Orochimaru's dragon, the kitsune's expression was captivating. Its whiskered lips were pulled up into a mischievous smirk, but its ears were straight and alert and its eyes were analyzing. Just like before, she couldn't think of anything more suitable for Jiraiya.
"Known for their shape-shifting ways and flawless masks, Kitsunes are masters of disguise. The Kitsunes may play the fool to lower their prey's suspicions, but they are capable, smart and deadly. Infiltration, sabotage, espionage, they are masters of the subtle arts. And of course," The woman smiled at Jiraiya playfully. "They are ardent appreciators of the pleasures of the flesh."
Jiraiya had enough grace to look a little embarrassed at the comparison.
"Just like a Kitsune, you are playful and intelligent. You always know that there is more than one way to solve a problem, and you use your immense creativity to your advantage. You always cover your true self with an exterior so that you would be underestimated and you only allow your closest loved ones to look past the mask."
The woman paused, then looked at Jiraiya compassionately. "The Kitsune has a special significance in your heart. While you might dislike the symbol for the reminder it causes, you must remember that they are not the same thing. Your precious one always has you in his heart, and now, with this, you may carry a piece of him with you always, wherever you go."
The Slug Sannin's eyes widened.
Now Jiraiya could carry a piece of him forever.
Tsunade saw Jiraiya's eyes well up, and when he gritted his teeth and closed them, tears leaked out and flowed down his face. He opened his eyes once more, made eye contact with the woman then bowed in gratitude. Tsunade felt tears sting in her own eyes in appreciation for the gesture.
The old woman smiled kindly at him in return.
Tsunade shrugged her top on and neatly folded her blanket and placed it at the foot of the mat she was lying on.
Jiraiya and Orochimaru had already packed up and were talking in low tones by the door. Seigi was in deep conversation with the two older ladies.
"So. Did you like it?"
Tsunade turned to see the teenage boy looking at her expectantly. She smiled. Even though biologically, he may be older than her, he was still very much a child.
"Yes. I love it. I have to say it suits me perfectly."
He snorted and walked closer to her. "Well, of course it did. It is a representation of your Dying Will Flames, after all. It's supposed to be the perfect manifestation of you."
Tsunade looked up at him. "How do you do it?"
He smirked mischievously at her and winked. "Sorry, family secret."
Tsunade nodded in understanding. "Well, thank you again. It was nice to meet you. Can I ask your name?"
He nodded. "Sure, just call me Sora." He turned away from her. "Well, it was nice meeting you too. Guess I'll see you again in a year or so."
Tsunade looked up in confusion. "What?"
Sora turned back to her in surprise. "What, you didn't think that was it, did you? You're still a kid, as you grow your tattoo is gonna need maintenance as you get bigger."
That made sense, she supposed. Though, she had to ask.
"Do I have to come back here?"
He looked down at her. "What do you mean?"
She raised her brow at him. "You know. Aokigahara."
He shuddered. "Hell no. This whole creepy setup is for first-timers. Touchups I can do anywhere, as long as I have the right tools."
Tsunade stared at him. "Why here?"
He shrugged. "I dunno. Something about the place stabilizing you when we begin to tattoo you. Sometimes there's an energy imbalance or something."
Well, that practically confirmed her theory about the tattoos being some kind of conductor/filter for Natural chakra. That must be why their facial markings manifested, because of the unpredictable effects of Nature chakra.
Tsunade furrowed her brows. "Ok. That makes sense. But in Aokigahara, of all places?"
He scoffed and looked at her incredulously. "Hell if I know. Do you think I like trapezing through Suicide Forest every time some idiot wants a tattoo? No! I tried to tell my family, but they're all like, 'Oh, Sora-chan, we have to do it this fucking way because our ancestors were psychopaths and we have to keep up the tradition or we'll be fucking cursed, m'kay?'. I swear to god, my family is so fucking creepy sometimes."
Tsunade honestly had nothing to say to that.
"Ok. So now what?"
Tsunade, Jiraiya and Orochimaru were seated on the Sawada family's back porch, just as they had done so many times before. The air was quiet and cool and crisp and the light of the waning moon gently illuminated the Sannin's faces.
"I'm leaving the country."
Tsunade and Jiraiya's heads whipped to Orochimaru, who gave no indication that he said something unexpected.
Orochimaru sighed long-sufferingly. "Because of a few of my published theses, I've been invited to schools over the world to give lectured to the students, and a few investors want to talk to me about actually building one of my designs."
Tsunade was honestly surprised, but she was happy for her teammate. "Good for you, Oro. I'm happy for you."
Orochimaru gracefully accepted the compliment. "Thank you."
"You know… I was thinking about leaving Japan, too."
Both pairs of eyes came to rest on Jiraiya, now. Taking their silence as an indication to continue, he spoke. "You see, Hime, I have a, a secret I've been keeping from you."
Tsunade's eyes widened in surprise and suspicion. "Ho? What is it?"
Jiraiya cringed. "But first, you have to promise me that you won't get mad."
Tsunade rolled her eyes. "Just tell me, Jiraiya."
"No, you have to promise!"
"Just tell her, Jiraiya."
"No! She has to promise!"
Tsunade huffed in irritation. "Fine, whatever, I promise I won't be mad. Now what is it?"
Jiraiya gulped. "Well, it's, you see… I may have, hypothetically, you know, published Icha Icha again."
Tsunade looked at him. "I know."
"Pleasedon'tkillmeI'mtooyoungto- wait. What?" Both Jiraiya and Orochimaru stared at her.
She looked back at both of them. "I said that I know. I've known for years, for cryin' out loud."
Jiraiya's mouth opened and closed like a fish. Orochimaru turned to her curiously. "How did you find out?"
Tsunade snorted. "Honestly, it wasn't that hard. The first day I saw Jiraiya again he said that he wanted to rewrite the series and turn it into a motion picture."
She paused, then reluctantly admitted, "That, and I saw Nana reading a copy once."
Jiraiya choked in horror while Orochimaru eyed her in fascination. "You're not angry?"
Tsunade shook her head. "Not really. It's not the books that piss me off, Jiraiya, it's your research. Put a fucking stop to it."
The white-haired Sannin swallowed nervously. "Of course, Hime. So you see, I've been invited to a lot of book signings and tours and stuff, and I've been planning to take Takeshi too. That, and I really wanna explore the information network in the Underworld. Sure, Seigi's spies were okay, but I really want to go to Mafia Land."
Tsunade nodded. That made sense. Now that both of them finally got a chance to spread their wings, it was obvious that they were going to take off and explore, especially since there was the looming deadline of the Vongola coming after her eventually.
"Whatever you boys want to do, I'll support you fully."
Neither of them said anything in response to her declaration, but she could feel the gratitude from them nonetheless.
"What about you Tsunade?"
She sighed. "Me? Well, leaving does sound good. I'll probably take Kyoya with me and go hopping around the world. Just like I used to do in the Elemental Nations with Shizune."
Orochimaru and Jiraiya nodded.
"Sounds like a plan."
And with that, the three of them fell into a comfortable silence once more.
The wind rustled the leaves in the trees and the cicadas chirped quietly under the moonlight.
Life goes on.