Note: Sorry >.<” finally got a chance to complete this draft. Will try to clean this up so the complete chapter can be posted on ffnet by end of the week.
updated 19th Mar 2015
Konoha’s Northern Town Square
The corner shop at the Northern Town Square was closed for business, but the lights were on within, and the notice on the door stated clearly.
“Shop assistants wanted.
Flexible hours. Part timers welcome.
Walk in interviews only.”
At nine years of age, with a bow shaped haircut and thick eyebrows, dressed in serviceable and inexpensive clothes, Rock Lee looked like a normal middle class civilian’s child. The only difference was that he was an orphan.
From the moment his parents passed away in a tragic house fire when he was six, he had been living with Konoha’s Maple Grove orphanage. The clothes were hand me downs, and the small orphan stipend he got from attending the Ninja Academy was barely enough for him to purchase the bare minimum of equipment. The only saving grace so far was that the Academy textbooks and materials were handed free to the Academy students.
Yet Rock Lee was firm in his resolve to become a ninja, even though he was struggling to manipulate his chakra during the most basic of Ninjutsu. Surely if he was to continue training every day he would improve! But constant training wear out his ninja equipment fast, and Rock Lee knew there would come a time when his orphan stipend would not be able to cover his constant replacement of tools.
Being an orphan that had bypass eight years of age, he was allowed to take up light working jobs during weekends. With the village in lockdown, and the Academy being closed for the past few days, Rock Lee had taken the chance to actively look for work that he could do to earn a little pocket money for future uses.
This… would be his tenth attempt at finding a job since he started looking, not a lot of stall owners in Konoha had work for a child. Taking a deep breath, the young boy carefully knocked on the closed shop door before him and then entered.
He was not sure what the shop interior would be like, or what kind of business the shop was conducting, especially since the shop sign out front had been left empty. From the looks of things, the shop was not opened for business yet. He was most certainly not expecting a warmly decorated shop interior with rows of red wood shelves. Most of the shelves were empty, but some were stacked with various…. oddities?
Among the few goods that were already placed in the shop front, some of the objects were recognizable. There were the kunai made from wood, most probably for practice fights, and then there were the stacks of papers with symbols written on top, most probably storage seals, or some other kinds of seal. Rock Lee had not much idea about Fuinjutsu. The Academy only covered the existence and history of Fuinjutsu last week. And all he remembered from that lesson was that the Second and Fourth Hokages in particular were supposed to be Konoha’s premier masters in that exotic craft.
There were also various other items that he did not have a name for. As Rock Lee looked around with childlike wonder, a brown haired young man with a strong jaw and warm blue eyes stepped out from one of the shelves, not showing any hint of surprise at the sight of Rock Lee in his shop.
“Hi…” Rock Lee said hesitantly, for all his nine years of age, he was but still a child, even though he had learn to be independent a long time ago. “I saw the notice outside and…”
“You are looking for a job.” The young man finished his sentence for him. “I am Uriko Tatori, the owner of this… small establishment. Does your parents know that you are here?”
“My parents have been dead for a while.” Rock Lee said in a matter of fact tone of voice. He had long since made peace with the death of his parents. As the years went past, it was harder each year to hold onto the memories of their faces. “I am an orphan studying at the Academy. I am just looking for a part time job that I can do during weekends, holidays or after Academy hours.”
“Ah.” Uriko said, giving Rock Lee a look of understanding and sympathy. “I already found three part timers to take care of business in the shop, but I do need a cleaner, to make sure the shop is presentable everyday. It will be on a daily basis, during the evenings near closing time. Pay will be 5,000 yen per day, and given at the end of each day. It will be hard work though, you will need to clean the windows and sweep the floor, both here and in the basement.”
“I will do it!” Rock Lee said eagerly. The amount Uriko offered was more than generous for a day’s worth of cleaning job, he doubt he could get a better offer elsewhere. “I am not afraid of hard work!”
“Good.” Uriko said with a smile. “Now this shop specialize in selling gadgets and new inventions. The basement is basically the workshop that produces the items you see here. I have a… team of workers stationed downstairs to churn out the items, so when you go to the basement to clean the place, don’t touch anything that the workers told you not to. Some of the experimental item components can be quite dangerous.”
“I understand.” Rock Lee said nodding quickly.
“Good. I am preparing for the shop opening tomorrow. Can you start work today?” Uriko asked. “I will pay you once you are done cleaning the place. And if you help me stock the shelves, it will be an extra 5,000 yen for you as well.”
“I can start work immediately.” Rock Lee said, a gleam in his eyes. “The Academy is closed for today so I am free. What do you need me to do first?”
“Let’s stock up the shelves first, then you can clean the place.” Uriko said. “Come, I need you to help me carry some of the goods from the basement. After which, I will tell you how to display them on the shelves…”
Following after the shop owner with the innocence and trust that only a child would have, Rock Lee have no idea that he have established contact with the proxy of Konoha’s current child prodigy. An orphan who had sympathized with another. And one who would soon be the focus of a country wide maelstrom.
Kakashi considered dropping by the bookstore to get the latest edition of Icha Icha and be fashionably late, a quirk that he instilled upon himself, to keep the memory of a friend alive. He pondered the notion for all of five seconds before discarding the thought. With the events of the past few days, it was too flippant for him to consider making that extra effort to be late. Not to mention he was curious about Naruto Uzumaki, demon container of the Nine-tailed fox, and son of his late teacher.
He had never gotten close with the child. With all his emotional baggage, Kakashi never had the intention to be part of Naruto’s life after the Fourth Hokage’s demise. He did his duty, asking to be part of the squadron of Anbu that kept Naruto safe during the boy’s childhood, but that was about all he had been willing to do. There had been no room in his life to interact with a child, and even if he had been willing, there would be no way the village council would let Naruto be fostered with him.
Madara’s attack on the Uchiha clan, the revelation of Naruto’s interference and his current reassignment as the child’s new teacher, had however sparked an interest in Kakashi to find out more about his teacher’s kid. Kakashi could not put a finger in it, but something about Naruto Uzumaki, about him being the student of the mysterious “Eye of Konoha”, just did not strike true with him.
He still remembered the disguised Naruto clone who had rescued him. Of himself dragging his weary and battered body across the Uchiha compound. He had just reached the walls of the compound when he had sighted Madara appearing on the wall in front of him, smashing into some invisible barrier that revealed a child, the original Naruto Uzumaki. That Naruto had shown shock at Madara’s attack, but not fear. When Kakashi had reviewed the memories of the attack in the safety of the hospital ward, that particular aspect of his observation had given him concern.
Even when Madara had his hand around the child’s neck, using some strange attack to kill him, Naruto had tried to fight back. There had been grim determination, acceptance and resignation in the child’s eyes, a sign of maturity usually not found in an eight year old child, at least not those that lived in times of peace. Kakashi had seen those unwavering blue orbs glaring at Madara, before in a last burst of strength, Kakashi himself had jumped onto the wall, attempting to save the child.
Naruto had fought against Madara without a hint of fear, up until the moment he was rescued. For the child to start crying when the Third Hokage arrived to save them, well Kakashi did not have to be one of his nin dogs to smell the proverbial fish in the baker’s basket.
There was more going on than what Naruto had revealed to the Hokage, Kakashi had been certain of that fact. A detour to the Academy record rooms had revealed that Naruto Uzumaki’s exams and tests scores always dwindled among the last or middle tier of the class, a stark contrast to his true capabilities. It spoke of a certain level of cunning and skill seldom seen in a child so young, to cover up his own true capabilities.
Perhaps The Eye had a hand in this deception, but even then Naruto had been the one presenting a consistent inferior set of abilities to the Academy, and it seems none of the teachers, save one Iruka Umino, suspected that the young boy might be capable of more.
Thus it was why Kakashi had arrived an hour early, observing Naruto’s apartment and his various watchers. The Third had already given him the heads up about the location of the various “bodyguards” sent by the Senju and Uchiha clans to protect and watch over the boy.
“What secrets are you hiding Naruto?” Kakashi pondered as he stood on the rooftop, opposite from where the Uchiha watchers had stationed themselves. He made no move to hide himself unlike the Uchiha two men team that had slipped back into the shadows after acknowledging his arrival.
The apartment had been empty with no signs of Naruto. Which begs the question of where Naruto had gone off to. It was doubtful the watchers assigned to Naruto by the clans knew the boy’s current whereabouts. If they knew, they would not be watching over an empty apartment like hawks. It took another twenty minutes of waiting before Naruto appeared, walking down the street towards his apartment as though he was just out taking a walk.
The boy’s sweat and dirt stained clothes however revealed another story entirely. Naruto had been out training. Was he training by himself? Or did The Eye contact Naruto once more to guide him? Kakashi pondered the question as he eyed Naruto entering his apartment through a lens. Whatever the case was, Kakashi resolved to keep a closer watch on his new student.
Kakashi made his way to Naruto’s apartment by foot, giving Naruto ample time to wash himself up. By the time he reached the door to Naruto’s dwelling, it was a few minutes to midday.
Giving the door a sharp rap, Kakashi waited a few seconds before he heard the creaking of floorboards from within the apartment. The door opened to reveal a cleaned up Naruto, dressed smartly in black shirt and black pants, the boy’s hair still curling damply on his head.
Naruto’s eyes widened as he saw Kakashi. “You are the ninja that saved me!” The boy exclaimed, a hint of awe in his voice. “I never got the chance to really thank you… are you my new Jonin instructor?”
“Hmm…” Kakashi said as he gave Naruto a measuring glare. The boy just eyed him with a wide eyed innocent look. “Cut the cute kid act and meet me at the Ninja Registration Office.”
Kakashi saw Naruto’s cute expression narrowed into an annoyed look before the older ninja body flickered away. He had given Naruto a destination without telling him the directions, now it remains to be seen, through what means and how long Naruto would figure his way there. Though the location of the registration office was not a secret, it was never listed on any Konoha maps.
Naruto was after all a child and orphan with little reason look up the location of the Ninja Registration Office before his actual graduation. This little exercise would allow Kakashi to ascertain how familiar the boy was with moving around Konoha, or…
A whisper of wind behind him caused Kakashi to turn his head in a sideways glance. Stopping briefly at a rooftop across the street from Naruto’s apartment, he quirked an eyebrow at the skillful body flicker technique the boy just performed, without any signs of physical exhaustion. Well… that was one way for the boy to get to the office, by actually having the capability to follow after Kakashi.
The Eye must have taught Naruto that technique and it remains to be seen what his new student’s true level of power was. Kakashi gave Naruto a neutral look before turning and continuing on his way. A few minutes later, he was standing in front of a nondescript building a little ways north of the Hokage tower.
Naruto landed next to him a few seconds later, looking unruffled at the high speed body flicker techniques that both of them had utilized to get to their location. To all outward appearance, the building bears no indicative identifier that it houses Konoha’s Ninja Registration and Ninja Administration Offices. Only Konoha locals working in the building or Konoha’s ninjas would know that the building archived Konoha’s mission reports of B rank and lower.
Though it was not exactly a highly secret location, it would have been hard for a new Konoha ninja to find without knowing the destination of the place. Kakashi knew of a few Genin team instructors who uses the place as the focus of an information gathering exercise for their newly minted Genin. Kakashi had intended to use the same exercise up until the moment Naruto had shown himself capable of keeping pace with him.
Oh well, the day was still young, and he still have other tests in place to assess Naruto’s true skills.
“Follow me.” Kakashi said shortly as he walked into the building. “Once we’ve gotten you officially registered into the ninja corp, we will have a get together session to know more about each other. Oh and that expression you are making right now is perfect for your registration ID. That scowl is definitely much more appropriate for a ninja than your puppy dog expression.”
Chuckling, the one-eyed ninja entered the building, uncaring of the dark glower his new Chunin trainee was giving him, as Naruto followed after him.
Karasu, Land of Wind
The small town of Karasu was located near the northern borders of the Land of Wind, and was the major rest stop for travelers from the Land of Birds and the Land of Rain, not that there was much traffic in or out of the Land of Rain these days. It did make Karasu a good place to rest for a while and keep his ears open, on the off chance there was any news about that isolationist country.
The fact that there were a few establishments catering for “adult entertainment”, make visiting Karasu quite worthwhile. Pressing his face into the sweet bosom of his latest lady friend, Jiraiya breath in her sweet scent of jasmine, his body tingling with anticipation as he gently untie the knot of her dress…
Something hard smacked into the side of his head, even as his lady friend gave an undignified shriek, tearing away from his grasp and quickly scrambling off the bed they were in.
The familiar sounds of angry chattering clued Jiraiya on his attacker’s identity before he even laid eyes on her.
The female messenger monkey summon which the Third Hokage always used to find him, was balanced on top of the only coach in the dimly lit room, a vase in her hands as she glowered at him.
“Wait! Wait! Wait!” Jiraiya said hurriedly raising his hands. “I am renting the room by the hour. If anything’s damaged I am going to have to pay for it.”
“Like I care!” The monkey summon, dressed in a dull brown shirt and pants, lifted her hands and launched the vase at Jiraiya. The half-dressed woman who was previously working her wiles on Jiraiya gave a screech at hearing a talking monkey, and fled out of the room.
“Oh come on Fuya! Have a heart.” Jiraiya said quickly snatching the vase from mid-air before it shatters in his face. “I was just getting to know my… new friend…”
“I have visited twelve brothels across the Land of Sand the past two days, trying to catch up with your trail.” The monkey summon raged. “I have seen enough naked humans to last me a lifetime! Have you no shame Jiraiya? At the rate you are going, that thing of yours is going to drop off!”
“At least it was better than the last time?” Jiraiya offered Fuya a weak smile. “I remember you going through twenty-one… establishments before you finally found me.”
Fuya’s reply was to leap onto Jiraiya’s head before he even thought to duck, and began hammering on the white haired man.
“Oww! Oww!” Jiraiya cried out as he scrambled off the bed trying to pry the monkey of his head.
Fuya twisted away from his hands, and landed a kick into his face as she backflip onto the floor. “That is your punishment.” Fuya noted haughtily, before digging into her pouch and threw a scroll at Jiraiya. “And read the message. Hiruzen needed you back in Konoha days ago.”
Her job done, Fuya turned her back on Jiraiya and disappeared into smoke.
Jiraiya caught the flying message scroll with one hand while he rubbed his sore face with the face. “That monkey is getting more temperamental every time Sarutobi sent her. This scroll better be worth it, or else I am sending the toads after Sarutobi…”
Jiraiya’s righteous mumblings stopped as he opened the scroll and looked at what it contained. The message was short and brief.
Madara Uchiha still alive, attacked Uchiha Clan. Naruto at risk. Get back to Konoha. Do not talk to anyone when arrive. Report back to me immediate. Status Amber.
Jiraiya’s relaxed countenance hardened, a keen look in his eyes as a subtle manipulation of chakra caused the scroll to catch fire and be burnt to dust. Grabbing his travelling bag from beside the bed, the older man headed for the windows, pushing them open, before he vanished in a gust of wind.
… Memory process cores running at 70% capacity…
… 3,983 multi-threads running…
… 3% data corruption detected… running repairs and redundancy algorithms…
… Analyze program initialized… increasing data corruption due to high usage of memory cycles and redundancy data…
… 75 Clones’ data incoming…
… Memory process cores running at 99.99% capacity…
… Switching on optimum multi-threading capability…
… 9,999 multi-threads running…
… 18% data corruption detected… running repairs and redundancy algorithms…
… Redundancy data stripped… running search and sort algorithms…
… Critical data identified, stored in data storage…
… Data Storage (3.98 Zettabytes) 87% used 13% remaining…
… Critical Data Storage limit reaching in estimated 7.8 Federation months…
… System Failure imminent…
… Risk management program initialized…
… A.I. preservation protocols activated…
… Core A.I. analysis and repair program initialized…
… Sourcing for optimum solution…
Pangalactic Federation Codex
>> Logged in: [NAME REDACTED – TOP SECRET]
>> Level 7 encryption enabled…
>> Secure Tunnelling Protocol [ALL GREEN]
[Research Codename: Project All Seeing]
The Eye of Truth [Code Black Access Required]
The Eye of Truth was built by the Muah of Roak millennia ago, when they were stranded on Roak.
The Eye of Truth is a powerful portal device that operates on symbological technologies which far exceeds the understanding of the Federation as of current time.
The Eye is protected by the Runes of Roak, and possessed several powerful abilities.
List of abilities are:
1) Ability to detect lifeforms that are from different periods of time by sensing their temporal axis.
4) Short range teleportation
5) Creation of Portal to the “Demon World” [more information <Asmodeus> – Code Black Access Required]
>> [Draft] Chapter 15 Part 1 – Neji and the cloaked clone, The Bell