Demons in the Mist
Anko lied back comfy as she had someone row her in a personal boat. While she kept a good distance from team 7, she still kept an eye out via summoning water snakes. Speaking of said summons, one had returned to her to rely a message in hisses. Anko snorted at the mention of Naruto freezing up against some Chunin. True, it was his first real battle, but that wouldn't stop her from rubbing it in for as long as he was a Genin. Letting the snake return to watch what was happening, Anko decided to give her rower more incentive with a charming smile and liberal use of snakes. It may not have been her job to bail Naruto out of trouble, but she wouldn't be doing her job if she didn't keep a closer eye on him.
Meanwhile, Hinata's Byakugan was flaring from activity! The Demon Brothers' Water Clones swam around the boat while the real Demon Brothers stalked outside her field of vision. Keeping track of the various chakra signatures showed that the clones were running out of chakra and thus would have to rise out of their Hidden in Water jutsus. The water clones circled the boat looking for any opportunities to strike. Tazuna and the Rower cowered their heads down and their bodies were curled up. Naruto placed Single Seal Barrier tags on both ends of the boat just in time to protect them from the first set of clones Kamikaze based Water Release: Wild Water Wave!
The basic water jutsu was amplified and caused a tall tidal wave to crash down on team 7! Kakashi was able to grab Tazuna and the rower in time to leap out the sinking boat and stand on the water. Hinata was also able to stand on the water, but Naruto and Sasuke were on shaky waves! Several water clones darted towards Kakashi and leapt out with razor claws armed to kill! The veteran Shinobi used his dexterity to evade the wild swipes and slashes and keep his client safe. Unfortunately, he was separated from his team long enough for the Real Demon Brothers to capitalize.
Boar → Dog → Bird → Monkey → Ram
" Water Release: Great Waterfall Flow justu!" Meizu and Gozu chanted together!
Hinata warned Naruto of the dangers unseen by only him. Even Sasake saw the Demon Brothers' mix their chakra with the body of water around them and create a steadily expanding whirlpool! The last Uchiha managed to leap away, but Naruto was not as lucky. He tripped and fell into the swirling tides that carried him to its deadly center. Sasuke was forced to keep skipping on top of the water to keep afloat, but he still provided cover fire to back up Hinata's rescue attempt. A volley of Fire Release: Phoenix Sage Fire peppered the watery waves to keep the Demon Brothers at bay.
Hinata fashioned a Water Release: Water Whip to lasso the drowning blonde and drag him back up. Not wanting to be useless, Naruto tied a Single Seal Barrier tag to a kunai and threw at a Water Clone trying to attack Hinata in a blind spot through the mist. It burst into water and the grateful Hyūga took the tag and used the barrier tag to shield herself from yet another Water clone attack! Kakashi made a Shadow Clone to guard his client on land while he swiftly came to the aid of his Genin. He was thankful they were skilled enough to at least stall Chunin level Kiri-nin on open waters. While Sasuke locked up their joined chains with precisely thrown kunai and shuriken on the shore, Naruto landed on shore and summoned several Shadow Clones. Hinata used a Body flicker to speed next to Naruto, while Sasuke joined them.
The Demon Brothers broke their locked chains and went to rush the little Genin, but were halted by Team 7's combination jutsu. Sasuke use the Lightning Release: Electromagnetic Murder to electrify a large portion of the water, forcing Gozu and Meizu to back paddle. While still in mid air, Hinata used the Water Release: Water Whip to conjure electrified whips to ensnare the Demon Brothers. While Gozu managed to escape in time, Meizu was caught and fired by the lightning induced water whip.
"MEIZU!" Gozu roared in fury!
So blinded by his rage, the last Demon Brother rushed Team 7 with wild abandon. Naruto and his clones used Wind Release: Great Breakthrough to unleash a fierce gate of wind to blow Gozu off his feet. Kakashi finished him with a Fire Release: Great Fireball that caught him slipping and burned Gozu all over his body. Team 7 sighed a breath of relief, but only for a moment. Hinata kept her Byakugan active and spread her vision's range to ensure no ambushes.
" You're a fool, Tazuna! Going against Gato is a suicide mission! I'm not letting you get my family killed too!" the Rower panicked before running away from the group.
"Tsk. Only a cowardly fool would bow to that monster without fighting back." Tazuna said under his breath, but Kakashi could read his lips anyway.
"Well at least I know who is sending them and what their mission is…" Kakashi deduced with slanted eyes and a bit of Killer Intent leaking out.
Tazuna buckled under the intense pressure, while the Genin of the Team were alarmed. Tazuna tried to back track or outright deny the Jonin's questioning.
"The first attack were just bandits and while they are not uncommon on this level of mission, being so close to Konoha drew some suspicion. They lacked skill, but their weapons were too new and expensive for your standard bandits." Kakashi explained.
"I thought you might be lying about who you were and the Wave Daimyo put a hit on you. Being a mostly isolated land, not much information is shared between our lands. So long as lowly bandits came after us I was willing to continue the mission; if for no other reason than to survey the land." Kakashi hypothesized.
" Haha... That's quite the imagination ya got there… Surely shinobi face other shinobi from other lands…" Tazuna half lied, but lied nonetheless.
"On B rank and above missions yes, and that usually entails crossing into their borders or to protect our own. The Shinobi World Wars are behind us. Besides the Demon Brothers are Nuke-Shin, Shinobi who have abandoned their villages; the Mist Village in their case." Kakashi pointed out.
" You lied to my team. You lied to my Kage and to my village just to save a quick ryo. Your lie could cost my Genin their lives and for that I cannot justify continuing this mission." Kakashi exposed the trembling Tazuna to not only the truth, but his focused killer Intent!
"Please Shinobi-san I BEG you to hear my plea!" Tazuna got to his hands and knees to bow before Kakashi.
"You get one chance to convince not only me, but my entire team as well. If we don't all agree completely, I am taking that boat and leaving you to your fate." Kakashi gave the bridge builder one chance.
Sasuke used the pause to flex his stunned hand to get the fuzzy feeling out of it. Hinata gave the sole Uchiha heating cream to help the numbness and salve for any poison in Naruto's system. The blonde's first exposure to battle and he froze! Anko would never let him live it down. He looked to Hinata and got pale with realization. He mustered out a whisper of Anko breaking Hinata for the information. Sasuke knew he would choose to continue and was positive Naruto would too. He would listen to the drunk and see if it was a cause worth testing his power over.
Tazuna summoned all the luck and courage he could muster before explaining the devastated state of the Land of Waves. Being an island nation, it had many rivers running through it and was famous for its mangroves, which were filled with all kinds of lifeforms. Though an isolated island, relying on shipping for commerce and trade, it was prosperous. That was until Gato established Gato Shipping and monopolized their shipping industry. Before even the Wave Daimyo knew what he signed up for, Gato had him and his family killed and replaced with one of his business partners.
"How are you privy to such information?" Kakashi asked.
"Gato had the Daimyo killed in a public execution! In order to break any opposition…" Tazuna explained.
Without anyone to hold him responsible, Gato used his company to smuggle contraband and drugs to other lands. The people of the Land of Waves were forced to either work as smugglers or struggle to survive off of what little they could afford due to high taxes on both fishing and boats. The bridge builder finished by explaining his bridge would connect their nation to the main land and break Gato's monopoly and restore hope to the Land of Waves...
Meanwhile, Anko's rower abandoned ship on her at the first sign of trouble. Good thing the Land of Waves had plentiful fish to offer Hydroga, a giant river snake able to slither across the waves with its aerodynamic scales. The long headed serpent was able to both hunt and devour slower fish, but help out the Omega; the Shunned. The Snake Mistress soon saw land a signs of battle. The aftermath still fresh in the area. Seeing two bodies floating log still gave her some frightful pause, but the hissing of the lesser river snake summons assured and informed her of events.
"Alright, Hydroga-Sama. Sounds like a little back up is warranted given the difficulty spike. You mind eating these two and reverse summoning yourself back to the T&I Sub Tank for a later care?" Anko asked with all the sparkling sweetness she could muster.
" Yeah, whatever. Just make sure you summon me back for the duration of the mission... Fresh fish beats store bought every time..." Hydroga agreed, though he muttered the latter to himself.
Swallowing the two Defeated Brothers whole, Anko had Hydroga surf even more swiftly towards land…
With all the information given and Team 7 fully recovered, Kakashi called for a team huddle. He asked them flatly what each of them thought about continuing; starting with Hinata. The shy Hyūga Heiress poked her fingers together and drew on whatever courage she could. She voted to continue the mission. Tazuna's will to never give up even in the face of overwhelming danger to inspiring to let him be killed. Sasuke voted to continue the mission. Reasoning that quitting now would result in a failed mission on their record and could bar them from future higher ranked missions. Naruto voted to stay too, but decided to add in a condition and ran it by Kakashi, who agreed proudly with his team.
"Alright, Tazuna. We have agreed to continue the mission on a few conditions. First is that the Land of Waves is indebted to Konoha for the cost of an A rank mission. I suspect our next foes to be around low to mid Jonin so that's the going rate of such a mission. Lastly, you are to give Naruto any materials on construction and renovation you have." Kakashi demanded and Tazuna was too eager to agree with teary eyes.
With their mission renewed, Team 7 followed Tazuna through the woodlands of his nation. By following the rivers famous in his land, the bridge builder explained how the rivers were used to navigate and how the children were taught how to tell the differences. The river with the faster current led to town and slower ones lead to the sea hence the name Land of Waves. The closer into town they got, the thicker the mist would get.
Tazuna assured them that thick fogs and mist were common especially in the area they found themselves in. Kakashi had Hinata scan for any chakra inside the mist, but she reported there was none. While they made their way into town, Tazuna let his curiosity win over him and asked why a Shinobi would want to know about construction. Naruto eagerly explained a brief history of the Uzumaki clan and how the temple dedicated to them fell into disarray. Wanting to honor his clan and restore their name to relevance, the blonde Genin wished to completely restore and refurbish the temple.
"Now that sounds like-" Tazuna started, but found himself tackled to the ground!
"GET DOWN!" Kakashi ordered!
Team 7 all shot down in time to evade the decapitating swing of a colossal executioner's blade! The swinging lade took out two trees before finally halting half way buried inside the third tree. In a flash of electricity, a relatively short girl with long deep maroon hair appeared on top of the handle. She wore a simple cloth around her head, distinctively tied at both sides so as the ends of the material protrude upwards, while the remainder of hair is allowed to flow downwards. She wore a loose, pin-striped long-sleeved shirt with a dark obi around the waist, black pants which got much looser near the ends, resembling hakama, and striped leg-warmers.
"Damn you, Ringo! You stole my menace." A proper Demon called out from the steadily thickening mist.
"Didn't anyone teach you not to come between a woman and her meals! Let the baby shin see some beauty, before the mist claims them, Momochi..." the maroon woman purred, before kicking the Demon his b lade into the mist before diving into it herself.
Team 7 instinctually formed a protective formation around Tazana. A raging storm of Bloodlust and Killer Intent poured from the depths of the thickest mist. Kakashi cursed his luck. He knew his team would succumb to the rational fear an encounter with not one, but two Jonin level Nuke-Shin! To combat their lack of experience, their sensei used the time to inform them. Zabuza Momochi and Ameyuri Ringo, two of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist. The best swordsmen of their generation. Zabuza's generation just so happened to be the most bloody and savage.
Naruto instinctually summoned a dozen Shadow Clones, who used the smokescreen to transform some of them into Tazuna, Sasuke, and Hinata. Zabuza cackled mockingly and went so far as to emphasis the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist specialized technique, his cackling and scrapping blade went completely and utterly silent.
"Heart, Spine, Lungs, Kidneys, Larynx, Jugular Vein, Collar bone, Liver. All 8 are vital areas to the human body. Striking any one is a Death Blow. Behold the fear of Death!" Zabuza called out from the mist.
With demonic swiftness, Zabuza aimed for and cut through each and every vital area of the Shadow Clone legion! While Hinata and Sasuke cowered due to the unknown yet tangible danger, Naruto got a POV experience through the eyes of his clones. The fear, the phantom pain of chakra exhaustion, and the almost demonic aura his clones saw before death made a cocktail of sheer terror.
Kakashi wasted no time and released the First of the 8 Gates: the Gate of Opening! He felt all the mental and chakra blocks ease away and his inhibitions were removed. He moved through the mist guided by the scents of his true students and clients. Just when Zabuza bared down on the Genin, Kakashi body flickered and clashed his kunai with the mighty Decapitating Blade.
"Copycat Kakashi! The Land of Wanes truly brings out the best meals!" Ameyuri squealed in delight!
"You've got quite the bounty on your headband, Hatake. Too bad Nuke-Shin can't cash those in. Hand over the bridge builder before I let Little Ring fry you." Zabuza proposed.
Rabbit → Bird → Rat → Dragon → Bird
"Wind Release: Air Current Wild Dance!" Kakashi chanted, before creating and controlling air currents from the palm of his hand.
"I won't let my team die. I promise." Kakashi told both his team and himself.
A chunk of the mist was expelled and Ameyuri took the chance to rush the veteran Jonin in a twirl of slashing blades! Adding a blast of Lightning Release: Lightning Fang to extremely sharpen the edge of her infamous Kiba blades with lightning chakra! Kakashi tinted a reinforced kunai with Wind Release: Chakra Flow to parry her waving slashes and limber footwork with losing a Kunai or his head. Keeping Kakashi on the defensive, Zabuza was able to draw out as much fear as he could.
"I may not share Ringo's tastes, but I can agree this job has proven to be more profitable than I thought. A pure Hyūga with the All-Seeing Byakugan and the Last Uchiha with the Copywheel Sharingan." Zabuza coveted the bloodline limits fostered among Team 7.
The Demon of the Mist rushed the shaky Genin, but was intercepted by Kakashi. The now lone Sharingan active, allowed the Copy-Shin to blow Ameyuri away via Wind Release: Great Breakthrough and Body Flicker to come to their defense. Blurring through hand seals, Kakashi used the Earth Release: Earth Wall to form some kind of protection while he dealt with both Jonin! Zabuza didn't make it easy though. Between his mighty slashes and splashing Water Clones, the Copy-Shin had a difficult time keeping track.
Ameyuri sent a Lightning Release: Lightning Fang at a blind sided Kakashi and shocked the soaked scarecrow to a watery death! Zabuza realized Kakashi must have copied his water jutsu and ordered Ameyuri to get the target. Said maroon haired woman huffed but easily slashed through the earth wall with her lightning struck Kiba.
"Surely one of you has what it takes to be my meal." Ameyuri pouted while aiming Kiba at them...
Decided to post this ahead of my beta. Gonna give him time to get the edited one out. Til then here is the raw Edition. Expect the beta read version soon enough.
I am going to end it here. New year, new responsibilities and all the joys and woes that follow. Not to get too personal but I recently graduated with my Bachelor's Degree of Science in Graphic Design. I also started a Video Production Internship. I have a plan for the series. My main plan is Expansion and Explanation. Hindsight gives us details not yet available in the past. In the case of the Wave Mission I want to expand on the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist and explain better why Kakashi takes a shit after the first battle. Instead of Sharingan overuse, why not a mix of that along with opening a gate, fighting more than one Swordsmen, and using more of his 1,000 copied jutsus; especially since this is the first time we hear the moniker.
What do you all think of the short chapter format? When I envision these battles I always see the more experienced fighters try their best to end a fight as soon as possible. So I go in with the mentality of Who can end the fight first and the swiftest?
Alrighty then with that said my rant and review are done. I leave this story open to you, my wonderful readers, to praise and critic it. What works and what doesn't? Have you noticed any trends or traits in my writing? Would you recommend any other sources? Feel free to express yourself.