Naruto: The Weapon Master
Chapter 23: Get on your Marks
Naruto, Sakura and Hinata had long since left the Hidden Leaf village and were currently halfway towards their destination to meet the person who issued their mission and get the remaining half of the information that they had heard from Tsunade.
At the moment, Naruto was leading the way while holding a map of the region and making sure that they hadn't gotten themselves lost. Then he looked up from the map and spoke to the girls.
"Sakura-chan, Hinata-chan. How we stop for a short break? There's a teahouse a short distance from and it's been a while since we last ate," said Naruto rolling up the map and placing it in his ninja pouch.
"Sure Naruto-kun, I was feeling a bit hungry and I'm sure Hinata is feeling the same," said Sakura with Hinata nodding in affirmation.
Soon enough the trio found the teahouse and had seated themselves at a table while the lady owning the teahouse attended to their orders. Naruto asked for sweet bean soup, for Sakura it was Kusamochi and Hinata asked for Daifukumochi. The lady complied with their requests and later brought food to which they ate happily and drank the tea that accompanied them.
"After this, it's straight to the Land of Tea for the mission," said Naruto as he took a sip of the green tea.
"I just hope that it won't be as dangerous as the last mission we had back at the Land of Waves," said Hinata.
"Don't worry Hinata-chan, we trained very hard and I know that we can handle anything that comes our way. Like Deadpool-sensei told me 'All you need is your badass self and maximum effort!'" said Naruto with a foxy grin making the girls giggle at what he said.
"You must be confident to be saying those things, or is it that you're arrogant about your own strength," a voice spoke up next to them.
They turned to see a boy a bit older than them with dark brown hair tied to a short ponytail like their friend Shikamaru and is wearing a short cloak while holding a straw-hat in his hand. Naruto wasn't so happy with what the guy said to him and neither were the girls within his seal and sitting across the table.
"Watch it buddy, don't go saying stuff you have no idea about or you'll be sorry you ever did," said Naruto with a frown.
Apparently the guy ignored him and turned to the girls with a smile.
"Hey there, my name is Idate. What are two beautiful girls like you doing out here?" said the guy now known as Idate.
"Sorry but we don't speak to disrespectful men, especially ones that insulted our fiancé," said Sakura who glaring at Idate along with Hinata which brought confusion upon the boy.
"Fiancé?" asked Idate, then he felt a hand clamp on his shoulder and was slowly squeezing to the point of it almost being painful. He turned around and gulped in fear as he saw Naruto glaring at him while radiating a small amount of killing intent.
"You better quit with the flirting before I start with the hurting," said Naruto in a cold voice.
Idate managed to gather his wits and spoke back "I was just kidding, you ninjas are all alike and if there's anything I can't stand it's a ninja. I'm outta here," then the boy turned and left with Naruto still glaring.
"Naru-kun, please calm down. The fool is gone," said Kurama.
Naruto let out a sigh and sat down to drink his tea, then the lady appeared and dropped and pair of bills for the food much to their confusion.
"Excuse me, but why are you giving us two bills instead of one?" asked Hinata curiously.
"Oh the young man who just left told me that you would be paying for the food that he ate," the lady replied.
However this made the simmering anger within Naruto flare up but with more intensity and the girls were just as irritated even Hinata was scowling.
"First that guy flirts with Hinata-chan and Sakura-chan, and then he dines and dashes?! Forget hurting, I'm maiming the guy!"
Hinata activated her Byakugan and was surprised as she spoke up "I found him, but he's very far from here and moving very quickly,"
"What? Then we better get moving so that we can catch up to him!" Naruto dropped the money on the table and took off with Sakura and Hinata who was directing them.
After a bit of jumping through the trees, Hinata spoke up again saying that she located Idate and that he had tripped himself, making it easier to finally catch up and sure enough they landed in front of him.
"We finally found you, you have a lot of nerve dumping your bill on us and running off!" Naruto strode forward and grabbed Idate by the collar, pulling his face close "You got anything to say for yourself before I punch you to next Tuesday?"
Idate was sweating profusely as the blond was glaring at "I-I'm sorry, I couldn't pay the bill cause all my money had been stolen and I had no other way,"
"Naru-kun, he's lying. I can hear his heart beating like a drum," said Kurama.
Naruto sneered "Nice try pal, but I'm not falling for that kind of excuse," he reared his fist back and was ready to punch when they heard a thump and saw what looks to be a black jackknife with a fancy golden design..
"What is this doing here?" said Sakura who was approaching the item to pick it up.
Suddenly Idate broke off Naruto's grip much to his surprise due to his lack of strength in the hold and quickly scooped up the jackknife in his hands.
"Keep your hands off, this belongs to me!" said Idate, then he reached into his leg-warmers and pulled out a pair of objects which were making clanging sounds.
"Naruto-sama, that boy is holding what appears to be leg weights," said Chinami.
"Leg weights? Then that means…" thought Naruto as he looked at Idate who was smirking.
"On your marks, get set, GO!" then he dropped the weights to the ground which resulted in a cloud of dust.
Naruto channeled wind chakra to his hand and waved it to blow away the cloud and was shocked to see the guy taking off at high speed while leaving behind a trail of dust.
"What the? That guy just did a road runner skit!" shouted Naruto, making everyone around him sweatdrop.
"Now how are we going to catch up to him now?" said Sakura.
"Naruto-sama, use the air treks!" said Chinami urgently.
"Got it!" Naruto raised his hand to reveal the bracelet as he channeled chakra into it and called out "Tag mode! Ride the Sky road!" there was a flash light before it faded away to reveal Naruto wearing the air treks with Hinata and Sakura wearing them as well "Let's go!" the wheels on the air treks started spinning rapidly before he kicked off at high speed with Sakura and Hinata close behind.
They were speeding along the road when Hinata spoke up "Naruto-kun, I've noticed that the boy we're pursuing is going in the direction of the Land of Tea,"
Naruto quirked an eyebrow in interest "Really? Then that makes things much more interesting,"
"There he is, up ahead!" Sakura pointed forwards for Naruto and Hinata to see Idate currently running on the road.
Naruto put more strength in his legs as he accelerated to catch up with the guy.
"Hey road hog! Pull over to the side so I can give you a speeding ticket and a knuckle sandwich to go with it!" Naruto shouted.
Idate looked behind and his eyes widened in shock upon seeing someone whom he thought to have left far behind was actually behind him and catching up in some weird looking shoes with wheels underneath them. Idate turned off the path and ran into the forest with Naruto close behind, Sakura and Hinata wanted to follow as well but decided against it since they could find him again with Hinata's Byakugan and remained on the road.
Idate was darting left and right around the trees and leaping over rocks while trying to stay ahead and at the same time lose the blonde. Meanwhile Naruto took to drifting around the trees then he launched himself off a slanted rock for a makeshift ramp as he landed on the treetops and grinded along the branches before performing a method air at the end and landing back on the ground to stay in the chase.
Soon they exited out of the forest and were running along the ledge of a tall cliff wall at their side.
"You're not getting away from me!" Naruto yelled out from behind as the ledge is too narrow for him to overtake.
"We'll see about that!" Idate yelled back.
Unknown to them, Idate had stepped on a certain spot of the ledge which caused the whole thing to crumble from behind him and Naruto was coming up fast.
"Naru-kun watch out!" Kurama spoke worriedly.
"Don't worry Ku-can, I got this!" said Naruto,
Naruto leapt towards the cliff wall, then he landed on it with the air treks going even faster as he skated along the wall in a wide arc and was spinning like top before finally landing back on the ledge when it had stopped crumbling and was behind a stunned Idate.
"I'll have to admit that was pretty cool," said Idate.
"Thanks but that doesn't mean you're off the hook," Naruto.
"True but I have things to do and places to be…so see ya later!" Idate took something out of his pocket and threw it towards the ground, causing a large cloud of smoke much to Naruto's surprise as he burst through the cloud and saw that he was gone.
"But how? He was right in front of me," Naruto looked around to find himself back on the path and turned around to see an intersection "He must have known that we were coming here and used the smoke pellet to throw me off while he took another direction,"
"It's best that we wait here for Sakura-san and Hinata-san to find us," Chinami suggested to which Naruto complied as he doubled back and waited.
Sure enough Hinata and Sakura arrived before stopping before him as their air treks disappeared in a flash of light along with his.
"I take it that you didn't catch him Naruto-kun," said Sakura.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly "Yeah, he had me completely off guard when he used a smoke pellet to get away despite him not being a ninja,"
"But still, we're very close to the Land of Tea now so we should get going," said Hinata.
Continuing on their way, the group finally arrived at their destination which is a town called Degarashi where they followed the followed the client's address in the mission scroll to a large mansion. Naruto and the girls were allowed inside and led to the Clan's main room where they saw a man with grey shaggy wearing a gray hakama sitting before them.
"Welcome and I thank you all for coming, it's good to see you again Naruto," said the man who smiled upon seeing Naruto.
"Same here Jirocho-san," said Naruto with a smile.
"Do you know him Naruto-kun?" Sakura asked curiously.
"Yeah, we met some time ago when Tsunade-bachan and I were returning to the village," Naruto replied.
"He's right, Tsunade-san is an old friend of mine," said Jirocho for the rest to nod in understanding.
"Tsunade-sama told us that you would explain what the mission is about," said Hinata.
"Of course, please sit down while I explain the reason why you're here," said Jirocho, Naruto and the girls sat down as they got ready to listen.
"Before I tell you about my request, you'll need to know about the dedication ceremonies which is held at the great Todoroki shrine every four years. It all started many years ago, legends says that there had been a terrible storm. In desperation, the people dedicated the Ryuko jewels to the great Todoroki shrine and it worked. The storm subsided and now the ceremony has been held every four years, originally it was just a rededication of the jewels then it later turned into a festival and then a race with the winner of the race being hailed as a great hero," said Jirocho.
"That sounds like a nice festival," said Hinata.
"Indeed it is, however what used to be a friendly race has now taken a more troubling aspect,"
"What do you mean?" asked Sakura.
"For many generations, port Degarashi had been divided between two families, the Wasabi whom I'm the head of and the Wagarashi who are two rivalling gambling organizations. Both sides wanted control the town which led into disputes and then into violent street fights with the townspeople getting drawn into the crossfire with many being seriously injured or worse,"
"That's terrible," said Hinata.
Jirocho nodded solemnly "Indeed, then our district leader gathered the two clans together with a plan to end the cycle of violence. Henceforth the control of the town would not be settled by street brawls but in a competition,"
"And I'm sure that competition has something to do with the race in the ceremony right?" said Naruto.
"That is correct, four years ago the Wagarashi beat us soundly by hiring a ninja and we've found out that they've done the same thing this year. Which is why we sent messengers to your village seeking help so as to level the playing field, but they were ambushed before they could reach your village,"
"The Wagarashi have no honor whatsoever," said Kurama angrily.
Then Jirocho suddenly kneeled before Naruto and the others much to their "I beg of you, please lend our clan your strength. If we lose again, the Wagarashi will control this town for four more years,"
"Please stop bowing Jirocho-san. Of course we'll help you, so who are we supposed to escort," said Naruto with Sakura and Hinata nodding in agreement.
"Thank you very much, I'll call him in," Jirocho rose up and clapped his hands twice.
Then a sliding door to the right opened up to reveal someone whom the trio are quite familiar with.
"Yes boss, you called for me?" the person looked around and also recognized the trio as he and Naruto pointed at each other.
"YOU!" they both shouted at the same time.
"Oh so you have met Idate before? That makes things a lot easier," said Jirocho with smile.
"I won't be so sure about that," thought the girls as they watched lightning clash between the two boys who were glaring at each other.
Later that day, Naruto and the girls were walking through the streets of the town. Apparently the race will be taking place the next day, the main reason which Naruto took the time to take a walk was because Idate was seriously getting on his nerves and what happened back at the teahouse didn't help matters.
Naruto escorted Hinata to a nearby shop to buy a souvenir for Hanabi, she reached into one of the trays to pick out a charm then she looked at the price tag attached and was taken aback by what she read, Naruto looked over her shoulder in curiosity and had the same reaction as well.
"How could something like this cost so much, I know very well that it shouldn't be that expensive," thought Naruto.
"It might have something to do with the Wagarashi clan as they're currently in control of the town," said Kurama.
"I know what you're all thinking that it's too expensive," the group turned around to a lady whom they guessed to be the owner was smiling apologetically, they felt a bit uncomfortable because she was right "Believe me when I say that I wouldn't be selling them at those prices but the Wagarashi were the ones who ordered for them to be set that way,"
"Chalk up another reason for Jirocho to win this competition," thought Naruto with a frown on his face.
Suddenly they heard a crash from outside and ran out to see what's going on, they saw a man sitting on the ground with broken doors underneath him with three men looming with menacing smirks on their faces.
"I'm sorry, I'm really sorry!" said the man on the ground.
One of the men reached down and pulled him up by the collar of his shirt with an evil smile "Surely you haven't forgotten the memo, we of the Wagarashi can take what they want. You wouldn't be in business if it weren't for us,"
"I know, I know but still…taking them without paying,"
"Oh if it's about paying…then here you go!"
The thug reared his fist back and brought forward towards the man's face, everyone closed their eyes not wanting to see until they heard a smack. The townspeople slowly opened their eyes and were shocked to a see a boy with spiky blond hair and whisker like marks on his cheeks holding back the punch much to the shock of the thugs who then glared angrily at him.
"Hey who the heck are you?!" shouted one of the thugs.
"Just a passing through ninja…remember that!"
"Why you little…get him!" He let go of the man and charged at Naruto along with the other two thugs with the intent to beat the cocky brat to the ground.
After a one-sided beat down involving punches, kicks and a bit of wrestling moves, the bystanders watched in awe as Naruto stood with a smirk on his face and not even a scratch was on him while the three thugs were limping away with black eyes, broken noses and swollen cheeks after giving back the wallet which they had taken from the man earlier before.
"Next time, things will be different you little brat," one of the thugs groaned out.
"Hey guys, I feel like going for round two. Wanna go?" Naruto called out while cracking his knuckles loud enough for them to hear, the thugs stiffened in fear before taking off down the road leaving behind a trail of dust.
"And those little piggies ran 'wah wah wah' all the way home," said Naruto in a squeaky voice, making everyone around him laugh at the spectacle.
"Thank you whoever you are for helping me," said the man looking grateful.
"It was nothing, I was glad to help," said Naruto with a smile.
"If only the Wasabi were to win the race, then we'll would be through with them for good," said the lady of the shop.
"Then we'll just have to make sure of that, right Hinata-chan, Sakura-chan?" the girls nodded in affirmation before making their return to Jirocho's mansion to prepare for the race tomorrow.
The next morning before the sun rose, everyone had gathered at the port which was the starting point of the race. It was obvious that the members of the Wagarashi clan and the Wasabi clan were there as well. Naruto, Sakura and Hinata were standing by while Idate was doing a few warm-up stretches. They could also see the runner representing the Wagarashi clan but didn't see any ninja near him which confused them a bit.
"So how exactly is this race ran Sakura-chan?" asked Naruto after checking his equipment in his ninja pouch.
Sakura took out a map and began to explain to him "This race is a point A to B type of race Naruto-kun. The starting point is the habor of Degarashi where the runners make their way to the Modoriki shrine via boat which is the midpoint. After picking the Ryuko jewels from the Modoroki, the runners then make their way to the great Todoroki shrine with the first one to get there winning the race,"
"So those are just the basic rules right?" asked Hinata.
"Yeah aside from that anything goes, shortcuts, dirty tricks among others. Which is why hiring ninjas doesn't break the rules,"
"Judging by the fact that we don't see the hired ninja of the Wagarashi clan here must mean that they're hiding somewhere so we must be careful since we don't their possible rank either," said Naruto with the girls nodding in affirmation.
"I don't care what you guys do as long as you stay out of my way," said Idate with a scowl.
"Fine but if you get yourself into trouble, then we will step in to help you out whether you like or not," Naruto retorted.
"Naruto-kun please calm down," said Hinata.
Then loudspeaker blared loudly as the announcer spoke through it
[Attention everyone the great Todoroki shrine race is about to begin, with Idate Morino representing the Wasabi clan and Fukuske Igyakuya representing the Wagarashi clan!]
Naruto and the others looked at idate with surprise on their faces upon hearing his last name.
"Morino? Isn't that the last name of Ibiki?" said Kurami who was just as surprise.
"He might be related to him," Chinami suggested.
"We'll ask him after the race, no need to distract him now," thought Naruto.
[Runners, take your marks!] said the announcer.
Idate and Fukuske took running positions as the gates opened up and everyone could see the sun rising from the horizon and the boats were ready for sailing. Naruto and the girls got ready to follow once they take off.
The runners immediately took off for the boats, then Idate did something which surprised everyone who were watching…he actually changed directions and ran to the left away from the dock.
"What is that guy doing?! He's going the wrong way!" Naruto yelled angrily.
"Go after him Naru-kun!" said Kurama.
Naruto ran after Idate with Hinata and Sakura close behind and wondering why he was running in a different direction.
Air Treks - Air Gear
This is Hussbek online with another chapter, we're now at the beginning of the great Todoroki race with Naruto and the girls going after a seemingly wayward Idate. We'll see how they'll face the challenges ahead of them.
Quick question though, would you want Naruto to acquire the Raijin from Aoi or do you prefer that he destroys it in the fight?
Read and Review as always, the next chapter could be a long one.
This is Hussbek from Ghana.