Heroes of the Leaf: Arc 3 - Countdown to Warfare

Heroes of the Leaf: Arc 3 - Countdown to Warfare

Continuing my Naruto fanfic (or summary of it). Click the links below to read the previous arcs if you haven't already and feel like it:
http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/k1ZuvVe/Heroes-of-the-Leaf-Naruto-Fanfic-Plot-Summary-Arc-1-Triple-Threat (Arc 1)
http://www.quibblo.com/quiz/k2AjeoB/Heroes-of-the-Leaf-Arc-2-Mano-a-Mano (Arc 2)

Chapter 1

Unseen, Unsung

The City of Refuge, though large enough to contain five nations worth of civilians, is a rather cheap and messy looking environment surrounded by dark mountains. A very dull place indeed, and yet for Shino, it would’ve been the perfect place to plant insect colonies here and there, had there not been so many people and street traffic in the city.

Safeguarding various parts of the city is a chore even for skilled ANBU Black Ops who have trouble navigating without undesired attention or claustrophobia from the crowd. However, the five feudal lords had it easy. They were granted a comparatively luxurious shelter guarded by none other than one of the three legendary Sannin and former Fifth Hokage, Tsunade. But compared to all the shinobi who are prepared to fight to the grave, the feudal lords always had it easy, just like they did in the Fourth Great Ninja War. (Even the Fourth Raikage once viewed them as little more than figureheads.) Unable to fully relate to what darkness resides in the shinobi world, they are just as unable to prepare for the danger that’s about to come...

Shino asks one of the ANBU Black Ops where Tsunade and the five feudal lords are, explaining that he had been tracking an android down to this city. The Black Op tells him the location but state that they had not detected a single android anywhere. Worried, Shino rushes to the feudal lords’ whereabouts, only to discover that he is too late.

Much to his horror, Shino sees before him the corpses of the feudal lords lying around the table they had been playing cards on. He is then greeted by Reikaku who commends him for making it this far. Without a doubt, Reikaku is the one who murdered the feudal lords. In response to Shino’s reactions to their deaths, Reikaku lightheartedly suggests that they aren’t of much value anyway. Shino angrily responds that the feudal lords are hands down the most important figures for the Five Nations, to which Reikaku snaps back on the grounds that “pampered”, powerless individuals such as themselves are unworthy of managing the affairs of nations of influential shinobi. He insults society for granting high positions to worthless figureheads who are this easily killed.

Noticing Shino’s insects discreetly crawling towards him, Reikaku repels them with his own chakra. Shino demands to know where Tsunade is. Reikaku then warps the two to a different room, a large clean area with walls colored blue, white, and light indigo. There Shino sees an unconscious Tsunade trapped in a glowing barrier. He realizes that Reikaku is at least stronger than even her, and yet there isn’t a single scratch on him (just like how Gaara was by the end of the Chunin Exam’s prelims from seven years ago).

Reikaku, however, explains that he did indeed struggle against her power, “but there was no way I would lose to this legendary bimbo!” He tells Shino that when he came to assassinate the feudal lords, he saw that Tsunade slouching heavily on her desk with a bottle of sake beside her, to his apparent disgust. Reikaku could easily have killed her then, but he wanted to see what her power was for himself and he would wake her up in the cruelest of ways--by deliberately killing the feudal lords and not evenly silently.

“You killed the feudal lords just so you could test Lady Tsunade?!”
“I also wanted her to see what a failure she is; what she gets for drinking on the job...!”

Reikaku weaves a single hands sign and Tsunade is teleported elsewhere. Despite his remarks, Reikaku does praise her abilities, stating that she’d make a wonderful android, prompting Shino to unleash a swift pillar of insects from below him. “As might you!” taunts Reikaku reappearing from behind him. He draws an indigo light saber and proceeds to attack Shino who blocks it with an “Insect Shield,” and from it, Shino draws his Insect Blade which stabs Reikaku right in the chest... or so it seems.

Shino’s target reveals itself to be a hologram of Reikaku belying an expanding Particle Style trap. Shino quickly cancels it with his Insect Sword, but is met with rounds of energy shots by a floating Reikaku from the other direction. Shino rushes towards Reikaku while avoiding more shots. When he gets close enough, he leaps into the air, unleash his swarm of insects at Reikaku direction. The android responds by generating a long straight Particle Style cylinder from his palm right through Shino, ready to detonate it.

However, that “Shino” is merely an insect clone whom the real Shino quickly called off before the cylinder could detonate. Back on the ground, Reikaku approaches Shino directly to fight him physically, dual-wielding indigo light sabers while delivering powerful kicks. Shino parries the android’s attacks as best as he can with his insects and insect blade as well as some taijutsu he himself has practiced. Reikaku notes to himself that Shino’s insect jutsus are quite similar to Gaara’s; however, unlike the Kazekage, Shino is not all about ‘absolute defense’ or stationary combat, but a rather balanced mix. But stylistically, Shino is very cautious and subtle with his attacks to say the least.

Reikaku then shoots an energy blast from his boot at Shino but it’s yet another insect clone. The real Shino and one more insect clone then charge at Reikaku from opposite directions to deal him an Iron Tackle. Reikaku evades the attack and traps Shino in a Particle Style cube that he predictably cancels. He summons even more expanding Particle Style prisms of various shapes and sizes around Shino in rapid succession, which the Aburame struggles to counter before being overwhelmed by explosions.

And yet... after the last explosion, a giant beetle is seen from the same spot, shooting out a massive lime green energy beam at Reikaku, who barely evades it. The beetle then turns into a massive swarm of tiny beetles that barrage the area like thick, scattered beams that cause the walls and ceiling to crack. After all the beetles have scattered, Shino proceeds to attack Reikaku head on while the android takes note of his insects immunity to his Particle Style to this extent, recalling the time at the Hidden Stone when Shino demonstrated his insects’ ability to mimic others’ chakra signatures and that he had also learned how to counter a Particle Style jutsu from Onoki.

Reikaku teleports right behind Shino and kicks him in the face, knocking him to the ground. However, all the insects that have been scattered around the room immediately bombard Reikaku from all directions, preventing him from teleporting anywhere within the room. Reikaku is forced to repel them with a space-time barrier (one that wouldn’t feed the insects any chakra), causing all the walls in the room to shatter completely, revealing all their subsequent surroundings to look nothing more than starry, black space!

“Where are we?!” gasps Shino, wondering if he’s under a genjutsu. Reikaku tells him that he is merely in another dimension that belongs himself. Shino had already wondered why Reikaku is able to use Particle Style so effortlessly, but to be able to master space-time jutsu just as easily is a feat that seemed too incredible even for an executive android. He demanded to know who Reikaku really is.

“I would like to call myself an inventor,” says Reikaku, who goes on to reveal that he is the inventor of Particle Style. Indeed it explains why he’s mastered the Kekkei Tota so well, but the Second Tsuchikage from long ago also used it. For someone of Reikaku’s physical age to have invented that Kekkei Tota, it could only mean one thing. Sure, while rare, immortality is not new to the world. But for just how long has Reikaku been around?

Reikaku then asks Shino the same question, expressing curiosity about the Aburame. Shino is not a very well known shinobi, with a profile as low as any common shinobi. However, for him to come all the way on his own to chase after Reikaku likely meant that he was confident enough to stop the android, and indeed Shino has the skills to back it up to some extent. But Reikaku knows that isn’t the only reason for Shino to pursue and challenge him alone...

Earlier, when the Leaf was attacked, Shino did have the option of assisting the rest of his village but instead he chose to pursue Reikaku alone despite the risk. “I see before me something of an outcast, or at least someone who’s hardly ever noticed in person or ability,” says Reikaku, much to Shino’s alarm, “yes, someone desperate to prove his worth to his peers, am I wrong?”

Shino does not respond but Reikaku “assures” him that he is someone special and worthy, more so than the likes of Tsunade and the feudal lords whom he continues to deem worthless. Reikaku also asserts that Shino might even be a worthier hero and shinobi than the famous Naruto Uzumaki. For all his power, the Oshiro Corporation (OshiroCorp) had to design a robot specifically for defeating Naruto. As such, the N-Unit 001: Jet was born and has proven himself reasonably powerful, much more powerful than a ninja of Naruto’s level. And yet, somehow, he was put down and captured by the Leaf (albeit temporarily). But by whom?

Earlier, Jet’s Rasengan Cannon malfunctioned because of the bug Shino planted in him. “Shino, was it? Yes, it was you who stopped our most powerful robot, not that overrated dimwit of an original! And yet, the eyes of the world view you with so little significance, do you deny it?” Reikaku goes on to try and persuade Shino into joining him.

“Are you done?” asks Shino. “I’m not going to fall for a cheap one like that.”

Admitting his verbosity just now, Reikaku points out that Shino did not send his insects after him this whole time, which is unlike the Aburame, and taunts him for that. Shino then unleashes a massive swarm of insects above him, ready to attack as he reasserts his loyalty to the Leaf. Reikaku no longer tries to taunt Shino and proceeds to continue their fight, confident that the latter won’t stand a chance against him in the remainder of it.

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