18 The Fox let loose

"We need to act fast! Kaname Uchiha is a terrifying enemy, and because of my oversight, her anger is aimed at me." He prepared his next move, "I hoped that they had the time to do it, but with the power, I bestowed upon you, Sora, I believe you can do it quicker."

"It's a curse. Gaaaah-!" With a single hand seal from Furido, Sora, holding his right arm, dropped onto to ground, trashing in agony.

"You were away only for a week, and you're back at quipping everything I say?!" The old man stopped his torture, leaving a gasping, sweaty mess on his floor, "I can kill you anytime I want. Know your betters!"

"Haah... haah... I'm sorry, Furido-sama."

"You should be. It was Konoha that murdered Kazuma, your father, and yet you're idolizing their strongest shinobis! I found you half-dead in the city's suburbs. Without me, you would die of hunger - is that how you return the favor?!"

"I know - I'm sorry, Furido-sama, it was a mistake I'll not repeat. I swear it on my life."

"Your life is worthless to me, boy. But you can show me your sincerity. Find a missing person in Fire Temple."

"Eh?" Sora exclaimed in shock, "And then what, Furido-sama? Bring him back to you?"

"You wouldn't be able to do so, boy. Find Chiriku - he is the late leader of Twelve Ninja Guardians. When you do, I want you to use this seal." He passed a slip of paper to Sora. "Don't look at me like that. It's not a bomb. It will simply ping me about the fulfillment of your mission."

'I can accomplish both! His mission doesn't exclude the job from that lecherous woman!' Sora took the seal, nodding his head in agreement.

"Good. I want Chiriku found today. You won't like what will happen if you let me down again, boy."

------

"You're a dead man walking, you know that, right?"

"Kaname?!" Mizuki shouted in fright, trying to free himself from the binds.

Kaname observed her late academy student. What was once a body chiseled by hard training in shinobi academy is now a flabby caricature of its past self. His pale blue hair was unkempt, Mizuki slacking on his daily training, occupied by alcohol, developed a big belly.

"I know you're Akatsuki's spy. If you tell me everything, I promise I'll make your passing painless."

"I- you're wrong! You're all wrong!"

"How so? ANBU found the letter addressed to Akatsuki in your room, worm." Tsunade growled at the man, "You have three seconds before I break all the bones in your body. One by one."

"You can't do that! It's not my fault! I became poor! My girlfriend left me because all of you put me in prison! I'll remember and punish you! I will get all of you for-"

"Hahaha! Is that what Akatsuki promised you, baka?"

Mizuki leered over Tsunade and Kaname's bodies.

Kaname caught Hokage's arm holding her back. "Calm down, Granny. If you kill him now, I won't get what I want. He is just too stupid to notice how outclassed he is."

"How dare y-" with a single glance of Kaname's Sharingan, Mizuki's voice got stuck in his throat.

"We can do it nicely, or I'll let Granny blow out some steam. We're asking the questions - you answer them. Do. You. Understand?"

Under two powerful women stare, Mizuki nodded his head.

"Okay, Mizuki-kun, was it you that tipped of Akatsuki of Hiruzen Sarutobi leaving the village? I'll know if you lie, believe me, you won't like what happens when you do."

"I... So what?! That old fool should be dead long ago for putting me in prison-" Tsunade's punch was barely stopped by Kaname's hand. The strength behind the shockwave from Hokage's straight was enough to flap Mitsuki's saggy cheeks.

Kaname flicked her palm in the air, "You pack a punch, Granny. But if that connected, we would have to collect his corpse with mops and buckets."

"Such an insignificant low life was the reason my sensei was killed! He spared your life, you fucker!" Tsunade hollered, being held back by Kaname.

"Hehehe- you want something from me and can't do anything!" Mizuki laughed out loud, feeling safe from Hokage's wrath, "I won't say anything until you release me. Then I want Kaname to-" he licked his lips.

"... Hmm. You know what, Granny? Just hit the cunt several times. If being nice doesn't work, maybe brutal strength will. He should consider his words." Kaname let Tsunade go ham on Mizuki.

The blonde was very eager in beating the shit out of the man. It didn't take long for her to leave Mizuki half-dead, groaning and broken on the cold interrogation room floor.

"You should hold back, Granny."

"He would be dead after the first punch if I didn't, Flat Board."

"Thought so." Kaname smirked, walking towards Mizuki and zapping him, replacing his old pain with a new type of agony. "Wakey-wakey, we have a lot to talk about, Mizuki-chan."

This time Kaname and Tsunade saw what they wanted in Mizuki's eyes - pure catatonic fear.

"Let's start with your job. Who is your contact?"

"K-Kabuto."

"Kaname?" The busty woman questioned.

"Yeah, asshole plays on both sides. Mizuki, a personal inquiry, what the frack happened? You never were the sharpest tool in the shed, but you're not stupid. Just why?"

"Why?! You're all wrong! I'm doing it to protect Konoha!"

"Protect? Flat Board, he is plainly crazy."

"Listen to me! I'm doing it to get rid of the demons of My village!"

"Do I have to hold you back this time?" Tsunade laughed, "If her gaki and soon-to-be husband are demons, then this Flat Board is the Devil herself. Think about your words carefully, moron."

"Haah... You don't even understand that you're being used." Kaname sighed, "What did you have to give them for someone like Orochimaru and Nagato to trust you with spying in Konoha?"

"Nagato who?"

"... Whatever, so?"

"I uncovered some graves for Orochimaru-sama."

"What?! WHAT DID YOU DO, FUCKER?" Tsunade shouted out at him.

Mizuki trembled in fear before Hokage's anger, "Fu-Fugaku's grav-" his head was decapitated before he finished his sentence.

"Granny, ask ANBU to inspect Fugaku-san's grave. I'll find Itachi-kun. I hope I'm wrong." Kaname swiped her bloodied sword on a piece of cloth.

"I know, Orochimaru wanted your Sharingan for a long time. Was it enough to get you out of prison?"

"No. But each breath Mizuki took was an insult to Jiji's memory. I just snapped."

"Who's the idiot now, huh, Flat Board?"

------

"It seems like you're looking for me, Sora-kun." Sora got jump-scared while traversing the empty, dilapidated corridors of Fire Temple.

"Chiriku-sama... For gods' sake!" Chiriku lightly struck the top of his head.

"Don't talk about gods so carelessly, Sora-kun."

"I'm sorry."

"Not a problem. You still have much to learn. And? Did that man order my execution?"

"Is that why you are hiding, Chiriku-sama? Furido-sama wouldn't do something like this! He knows you're like a father to me."

"You don't know him as well as you think you do, Sora-kun."

"I- Maybe you're right. Kaname Uchiha asked me to find you. She needs your help. I can show you where to find her."

"Kaname needs help? Now, that's a first." Chiriku smiled, "Where is she?"

"Kaname-sama is in prison under the palace."

"Huh? Hehehe, he really screwed up. How is Kaname's situation there?"

"It's... Well, I'm very sure she thinks of her imprisonment as some kind of holiday. Kaname-sama just leaves and comes back when she wants."

"I understand. Thank you for passing this information, Sora-kun." Sora flinched under the old monk's palm patting his head.

"Uh, I'm sorry, it's not that I'm scared of you, it's just-"

"It's okay. I don't mind. I know everything now - I'll play my part." Chiriku turned around and walked down the corridor.

"EH?! But what about Kaname-sama? She is still a prisoner."

"Kaname... she is several times smarter than that man. Stepping in her shoes, I would gather all the remaining Twelve Shinobi Guardians and put pressure on him until he breaks. Meaning, my old friend is on his way back from Konoha. Now we need to wait."

Sora nodded his head, 'I have to do it. Furido-sama will punish me if I don't accomplish his mission.' stealthily, the young monk reached out to the seal hidden in the back pocket of his robe and activated it.

"Sora-kun? What did you do? I felt your chakra flaring for a moment." His senior quickly swiped his head back towards the boy.

"I- I'm sorry, but I had to signal Furido-sama that I found you. It didn't give him your location, only the information that I was successful in his request, Chiriku-sama."

"Haah... I'll have to look for new accommodation before Asuma-kun comes back to Fire City." the old monk heaved.

"Asuma? Isn't that the shinobi that killed my father?!"

"Calm down, Sora-kun. I'm as responsible as Asuma is. I would admit you're right if I wasn't very sure that your father is very much alive."

"You too? Wait! My father is alive?! Where is he? Does he need help? I haven't seen him for fifteen ye- AAAAHHHH!" Sora dropped to the ground in agony. A crimson red, bubbling chakra seeped around his body. The energy pouring from the young man's body was potent enough to melt the bandages around his right arm, exposing a dark brown mutated arm.

"SORA!" Chiriku ran up to his favorite student.

"R-Run! I can't-!" a feral, growling voice came out of Sora's mouth. His eyes started turning into red vertical slits. The chakra around him quickly coalesced into a tail behind his back.

"It's okay, Sora. Remember what I taught you. Calm down, keep your emotions in check." the monk replied in a calm voice, crouching next to the boy, "You're the one in control of your body. I believe in you. You can do it, Sora."

"G-getaway!" Mid-swing, unintentionally, Sora's arm hit Chiriku. The old monk was blasted away through multiple temple walls. The young man watched, as in slow-motion, his father figure disappearing in the dark corridors, "Ah- Ahh... AAAAAA!"

------

"Ugh... To do that to his own blood, I should've hunted down that man a long time ago." Chiriku dug himself out of the rubble, "Releasing the seal that held down Kyūbi's leftover chakra just to kill me. Power - corrupts, absolute power - corrupts absolutely. He would do everything to keep his own station."

A loud growl came from the dark hole he flew through before.

'Where is an Uchiha when you need one? What should I do about Sora? I wouldn't call that man smart, but from time to time, even he had his own flashes of brilliance. I'm not sure I can deal with Sora without hurting him as he is now.'

"*GROWL*!" Sora crawled on all-four limbs through the gap in the wall. The feral young man glared at Chiriku, three red tails swished behind his back.

"<Raigō: Thousand-Armed Murder>!" a gold spirit made-out-of chakra materialized behind his back. "I should be able to hold you back long enough until Kaname notices your chakra."

"RAAAH!" a bullet of air was shot from Sora's mouth.

"Hmph!" several dozens of golden hands intercepted the attack. Claws made of chakra bypassed around the block, trying to spear into Chiriku's body.

"Hah!" The monk shouted out, ordering the gold being to catch the attack. "I got you now!" Unfortunately for him, the chakra was too malleable to keep hold off - the red chakra just slipped around his hold. "Problematic..."

------

"Are we there yet?"

"Ask me that once again, I dare you!" Kakuzu growled at his partner.

"I didn't kill anyone today... yet, Old-man. I'm required to offer at least three sacrifices daily for Jashin-sama, the time is running out. I should have massacred everyone in the hamlet we've seen."

"Shut up, Hidan. We're lucky that the target of an update to the bounty was close by. We have three hours to hunt down the leader of Twelve Shinobi Guardians and present his head to the contractor. The price of Chiriku just tripled for 12 hours, so shut up and let me think. You can do whatever you want with him then."

"Boooring! Why should I care for a small fry? Jashin-sama requires life offerings, not some lifeless meat bags."

"..." Kakuzu fought the developing headache - it became more and more occurrent as he traveled with Hidan.

"I wouldn't mind having a second go at that Utakata for doing what he did to me. I heard he somehow survived our trap."

"..." Kakuzu groaned.

Hidan went silent for twenty seconds, "... Are we there yet?"

*CLANG*

Like if it was made of iron, the masked man's fist hit the loudmouth's scythe. "I'll kill you and be done with it!"

"Hehehe, you can try, Old man."

A loud explosion turned their attention towards the south.

"Was that a-?" Hidan asked.

"A small Bijūdama, yes. We need to move fast - this explosion was about where our target was supposed to be. I can't waste such a good deal!"

"You and your greed, it's blasphemous!" Hidan set the massive red scythe on his back.

"Like you're one to talk, self-proclaimed holy man, killing dozens every single day."

"Blasphemy! I'm not killing them - I'm sacrificing them to the Jashin-sama!"

------

"What was that, Asuma-sensei?"

"That was our due, Chōji-kun. We need to make haste!"

"Uhh... more running?"

"We would be there already if you didn't complain every five minutes!" Ino scolded her teammate.

"Hush now, no infighting! Ino-chan, how is your sensor training going?"

"Papa is training me daily! Give me a sec, Asuma-sensei." the blonde concentrated at the faraway city. After a moment, she scoured the source of the explosion and stumbled over a tree's root in shock, "This is... it's like Naruto-kun when he is angry, but it's much, much more massive. This hateful chakra is obscuring every other source nearby."

"Huh, you mean the fox's chakra? But... Should we know about something you weren't telling us, Asuma-sensei?" Shikamaru questioned.

"Truthfully, I don't know what's going on myself, Shika-kun. Naruto is with Kakashi way up north."

"Ugh, weren't we supposed to be only your escort to Fire City? No combat, we move as quickly as possible with minimal equipment, you said? Troublesome..."

"Less talking, more running, Shika-kun."

"Hey, sensei."

"What's up, Chōji-kun?"

"Why Kaname-sensei didn't teleport us with her back to Fire City? Wouldn't it be much faster?"

"Eh?" Asuma stopped in his tracks.

"She forgot about that, huh?" Ino snickered.

"What a troublesome woman..."

Next chapter