34 I, Your Father, am a Scoundrel

Ignoring the prisoners that pleaded for his aid, Wu made his way to one of the more secure cells within the underground prison, a padded room with a massive vault door for an entrance. There, he found Tayuya in the second stage of her transformation, head hanging low and body bound in a belted straight jacked covered in multiple sealing talismans. Similar tags covered her eyes like bandages, but she managed to detect his presence, raising her head to growl, "You..." in an angry yet audibly fatigued tone.

Though she couldn't see him, Wu wriggled his brows and replied, "Yes, it is I. Your beloved Dadi-sama has returned...!"

Jerking at her restraints, Tayuya attempted to lunge forward, shouting, "I'll fucking kill you, you traitorous piece of shit...!"

Exhibiting no fear or concern, Wu twirled the key to Tayuya's cell around his finger as he playfully remarked, "I'm starting to have second thoughts about letting you..."

"Huh...why would you...?"

Since it would save him the trouble of a lengthy explanation, Wu replied, "Otokage-sama gave me the key. Oh, and, by the way, you'll be coming with me on my next excursion. How are you with high places...?"

"..."

As her mind struggled to comprehend what was going on, Tayuya fell silent and just 'stared' at the entrance to her cell. She couldn't imagine 'anyone' being able to defeat the Otokage, and the cell door was rigged to explode if anyone tried to open it forcefully. If Wu was truly here to let her out, he must have been handed the key.

Confirming Tayuya's suspicions, Wu inserted the key into the door, a loud hissing sound echoing through the prison as a series of pressure valves were released. A few seconds later, she could feel a slight warmth coming from in front of her, the result of Wu bringing his face closer to inspect the seals covering her eyes.

"Doesn't look like they'll explode..."

Without waiting for Tayuya's confirmation, Wu removed the bandage-like seal to find the zesty watermelon glowering at him with her golden eyes.

"Did you miss me?"

Jerking her head sideways, Tayuya tried and failed to stab Wu with the tip of her pointed horns. The latter's hand moved so quickly she hadn't even been able to see it, grabbing her horn and arresting her momentum just as it pricked his skin.

Catching Tayuya by surprise, Wu remarked, "That's one of the things I like about you, Tayuya. You have such...ferocity..."

Excluding the part about how her actions gave him the inexplicable urge to try and 'tame' her, Wu released his vice-like grip on Tayuya's horn and began undoing the belts restraining her. As he did so, Tayuya just stared at him with a fierce yet confused look on her face.

Despite her attitude making her seem much older, Tayuya was actually the youngest of the girls arranged by the Otokage. Kagero was easily the most diminutive among the group, but she would be turning seventeen in less than three months. As for Tayuya, she had recently turned fourteen, a testament to how ridiculous the Uzumaki legacy was. She was barely a few months older than Tenten, but her Chakra reserves exceeded most of the Jonin Wu had encountered.

Finished with the bindings, Wu adopted one of his cheekier smiles and said, "Feel free to thank me." in a teasing tone.

Snorting through her nose, Tayuya wiggled out of her full-body straight jacket to reveal she was wearing spats and a sleeveless black crop top underneath. She was nearly as flat as Sakura, but her earthy brown skin gave her an appeal that other girls lacked.

Noticing Wu's gaze, Tayuya frowned, asking, "What are you looking at, brat? Want me to tear those eyes from your stupidly smug face?"

Irking the aggressive strawberry quite a bit, Wu replied, "You're welcome to try. Just keep in mind that I can also be quite 'fierce.' Just ask Kagero's ass."

"..."

As she was well aware of the misfortune that Kagero had suffered, much of the ferocity drained from Tayuya's face as she placed her hands on her hips, undaunted by Wu's gaze as she questioned, "So, what's this about an 'excursion?' Did Otokage-sama give us a mission...?"

"Something like that," replied Wu. Then, as it was clear Tayuya required an actual explanation, he casually appended, "I told her I would be heading to the Land of Lightning for some fun. She suggested I take you with me, so it looks like you'll be keeping tabs on me to make sure I'm not a traitor. Just try not to watch me too closely, okay? I'm not shy, but I'd feel bad if you were traumatized before our first night together..."

Though it was a bit of an exaggeration, Wu indicated his endowment by holding his hands up and spreading them fairly wide. Tayuya immediately understood what he was referring to, but her expression didn't change in the slightest. Instead, she just crossed her arms and asked, "When are we leaving?"

Giving the dauntless tomato one final look, Wu turned away, answering, "I don't mind, but I would assume sometime after you collect your flute and get dressed. In the meantime, I'm gonna go say hi to Guren. The Otokage asked me to check in with her before we depart."

Snorting through her nose, Tayuya was half-tempted to accompany Wu as she was. However, while she had long-since grown resistant to the gazes of others, traveling to the Land of Lightning in her undergarments wasn't a bright idea. The closer you got to the center of the region, the thinner the air and the lower the temperature. There was a reason Kumo was referred to as the Village Hidden in the Clouds...

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While Tayuya went off to prepare winter clothing, Wu meandered through the halls of the underground compound, stopping just short of his actual destination as Guren was already outside, presumably waiting for him. When their gazes met, neither said anything for several seconds until Wu abruptly raised his hand and offered a friendly, "Yo!"

Exhaling a sigh, Guren moved away from the wall she had been leaning against, approaching Wu with a stern expression as she said, "Don't just up and leave like that in the future...some of us were worried about you."

Adopting an ostensibly apologetic smile, Wu replied, "Yeah, I already got chewed out by Kagero, and the Otokage didn't seem particularly pleased by my actions. Guess I'm just too used to doing whatever I want. Sorry if I upset or concerned you."

Though her expression said otherwise, Guren shook her head and said, "It's okay...the most important thing is that you came back. Just make sure you inform Otokage-sama before leaving in the future, okay? That way, if you end up being captured by the enemy, we might actually be able to come and rescue you..."

As he could tell Guren was being sincere, Wu adopted one of his more sincere smiles, his voice softening as he replied, "Thanks, Guren...you're a good friend. And you'll be pleased to know that I 'did' inform the Otokage this time. She's permitting Tayuya and me to go to the Land of Lightning for some fun and recreation."

Nodding her head, Guren revealed, "Yes, I have been made aware. Just don't cause too much trouble, okay? You're remarkably powerful, Dadi-kun. Everyone here is aware of it. However, you're also cheeky and more than a little overconfident. Be safe during your travels, and try not to bully Tayuya..."

Catching Wu a little off guard, Guren wrapped her arms around him and gave him a firm hug. Her ability to crystalize things at the molecular level made it difficult for her to approach others, but Wu accepted the embrace with a smile, reciprocating it with a bit of 'spice.'

"Ah...!?"

Feeling Wu pinch her butt, Guren's back became ramrod straight, a ruddy hue coloring her cheeks. She nearly smacked the shorter boy across the face but stopped when she found him smiling at her with narrowed eyes and a faint smile as he pulled her closer. She had made it pretty clear that they couldn't be together, but until she explained the 'reason,' Wu feigned obliviousness.

Despite the drastic disparity in their ages, Guren found herself cowed by Wu's behavior, her ruddy complexion deepening as she averted her eyes and muttered, "We can't..."

Though he had no intention of taking things that far, Wu narrowed his eyes further and mused, "I highly doubt Otokage-sama would disapprove. Knowing her, she would probably want to watch, document the event, and collect samples..."

As there was a 'considerable' amount of truth to Wu's words, the blush on Guren's face spread to her ears. It didn't help that Wu was massaging her bottom, his hands powerful and firm despite their small size. Then, taking advantage of the disparity in their heights, Wu leaned forward and buried his face into her breast, shamelessly inhaling her scent.

Feeling panicked, Guren forcibly extricated herself from Wu's clutches, the blush on her face now a deep crimson as she turned away, practically shouting, "Good luck on your travels...!" before retreating into the relative safety of her room. She had been with Oto since she was a young girl, so, despite being in her mid-twenties, she had no real experience with men. Wu didn't quite fit into that category, but his actions made him seem a hell of a lot more mature than his appearance suggested...

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Assuming Tayuya would take a while to get prepared, as most girls did, Wu spent some time checking in with some of the girls the Otokage had 'prepared' for him. He didn't visit all of them, but he made sure to say hi to the girl from the Yuki Clan before teasing Kagero a bit near the entrance. Excluding Guren and Tayuya, the two of them had the most 'value' among the girls stationed in the underground bunker. If he could convince them to expatriate and emigrate to Konoha, it would strengthen his position in the future.

With Tayuya showing up nearly a full hour after he had started picking on Kagero, Wu couldn't help remarking, "You sure took your sweet time."

Having discarded her usual clothes for a more practical outfit, consisting of black trousers and a beige, fur-lined parka that was currently unzipped, showing off her tube top and exposed midriff, Tayuya crossed her arms and retorted, "Bite me." in her usual, standoffish tone.

Without missing a beat, Wu gave a playful wink, musing, "Maybe tonight." before ruffling Kagero's hair and saying, "Hold down the fort while we're gone, mayfly."

With a deadpan expression on her face, Kagero just sunk into the ground, escaping Wu's clutches and leaving him alone with Tayuya. The latter had a deadpan of her own, but there was a prominent 'edge' to it as she flatly replied, "Yeah, good luck with that. You blew your chances with me when you ran off the first time. But, who knows, I might be willing to give you a second opportunity if you beg...?"

Catching the scarlet-haired Kunoichi by surprise, Wu immediately brought his hands together, rubbing them like a gambling addict offering a prayer to the Gods, stating, "Oh, great and mighty Tayuya-sama. Please bestow unto this lowly one your compassion and grace...!"

After recovering from her brief stupor, Tayuya's expression revealed a fair amount of disgust as she growled, "You're really fucking annoying..."

Without missing a beat, Wu supplied a second wink, musing, "I could be fucking you. But that'll have to wait. For now, double-check to make sure you have everything you need. We're not turning back if you forgot your toothbrush."

Narrowing her eyes, Tayuya pushed past Wu, asserting, "I didn't forget shit..." as she made her way out of the underground compound. In reality, she really had forgotten her toothbrush, but there was no way in hell she was going to admit it...

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