Naruto: Shichiyo Gaiden XIV
Chapter 14: Shukaku's New Host
The shinobi trapped on Shukaku's body look in horror struck amazement as their leader is struck down.
“WAHOO I did it this time for sure...and now!”
Matsuri and the others look and the see the last piece of Ichigo consumed by the quicksand. “We're doomed now.” Matsuri says, grief stricken.
Suddenly a large wave of dust brushes against Shukaku and begins to knock him off balance. Matsuri looks up and sees Gaara standing on top of a platform of gold dust.
“WHAT THE HELL?! WHY WON'T YOU DIE YOU LITTLE BRAT?!”
Gaara squints his eyes and waves his hands and another rush of gold dust brushes Shukaku from his side, toppling him over onto his side. Matsuri and the others are released and they leap off of Shukaku. They all look and notice the Gaara clone on Shukaku's tail begin to materialize into sand.
Gaara makes three seals and holds his hands up in the air. The scroll around his shoulder shoots a great mass of gold dust into the air and it begins to rain down all over Shukaku. As Shukaku gets up he attempts to manipulate his sand but the dust makes it heavy and harder for it to control.
“Now's your chance, hold him down.” Gaara orders. The shinobi take out their chains and throw them on Shukaku again. Shukaku's sand body begins dripping as the sand begins to fall from him due to his inability to stabilize because of the gold dust. Shukaku's body is heavy and harder to move, the shinobi hold him down as much as they can.
“Gaara, how did you...we saw--”
Gaara cuts off a frantic Matsuri, “I reverted as much chakra as I could afford into my sand shield. My impact was cushioned and as the building fell, I exited my shell, leaving behind a clone. I needed time to acclimate myself to the gold dust, I was hoping it wouldn't take too long but I can see it's already too late.” Gaara says, looking at the group of shinobi, digging around in Shukaku to find Ichigo.
They finally pull out Ichigo from Shukaku's head and the medics on the field claim him dead. The pressure from being under as well as the amount of sand he inhaled was enough to to him in. Shukaku continues to struggle vigorously trying to get free.
“At least we were able to restrain him before he was able to fully access his true power after breaking the seal.” Gaara says.
“But what are we going to do now? We have to find another vessel to seal him in and fast before he breaks free.” Matsuri says.
Gaara retracts the gold dust scroll and takes out a black scroll from his other sleeve. Gaara levitates the sand gourd on his back out in front of him. He makes four quick seals, gathering tons of sand to the gourd, increasing it's size. The size reaches that of Shukaku before Gaara stops it. He throws the scroll around the gourd and it wraps around in a spiral formation from bottom to top and several seals appear on the scroll. Gaara then makes two more seals and suddenly Shukaku's body begins to flow into the gourd.
“YOU BASTARD! YOU BRAT! I'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU!” The Ichibi yells its final words before being sealed. Once he's completely engulfed in the seal, Gaara shrinks the gourd back to human size. The seal around the gourd keeps Shukaku from escaping.
“I made this seal in case this would happen, but it's only temporary. The seal will only last for 4 hours before it breaks. The gourd acts as a seal all it's own but it's weak. The sealing scroll only enhances the power but once the seal breaks, Shukaku could break out at any second.” Gaara exclaims. Gaara begins walking towards the gourd but he stumbles, as his head begins to shake. He's exhausted so much of his chakra in his fight. Matsuri goes over to Gaara and helps prop him up.
“Gaara-kun, don't force yourself.” Matsuri says.
“Matsuri, get a message to Konoha immediately, tell them to send Kankuro and his team back immediately.”
“Kazekage-sama that won't be necessary, look!” A shinobi says pointing out into the distance. Gaara and Matsuri look and they see Temari holding Kankuro and the three genin as well. As Temari gets close to Gaara, the medics head in to treat Kankuro's wound with emergency first aid.
“Temari, what are you doing here?” Gaara asks slightly surprised.
“I came to help.”
“Kankuro....and the others what--”
“Some of Kabuto's underlings attacked Konoha and a recon unit tracked them heading into this country so we came back here. Kankuro figured that they would be after Ichigo and I decided to tag along...we faced some problems but I'll give you the full report once everything is taken care of...where is Ichigo, is he alright?”
“No...we couldn't save him in time before Shukaku devoured him and the seal.” Matsuri says solemnly.
Temari clinches her fist and looks back at Koichi. “So that means...” Temari starts. She doesn't say anything but she simply looks back at Gaara.
“Temari, I'm going to need you to preform the seal, I've lost too much chakra as it is.” Gaara says.
Temari stares at her brother and realizes his false statement. Looking into his eyes she realizes that Gaara could never put the seal on Koichi, he could never condemn another to the same fate he once shared. She and Kankuro preformed the seal on Ichigo and Gaara was nowhere to be found, his shame, agony, and guilt still hinders him today.
Temari stands up and nods her head. “I understand...I'll have the Anbu prep him.”
“Koji, are you alright?” Koichi asks his brother who finally regains his composure.
“He should be fine now, he just experienced some slight shock, probably due to genjutsu.” One of the medics says.
“Yeah, I'm fine Koichi.”
“It's a good thing you were able to release the jutsu huh?” Koichi says jokingly.
“Extremely lucky.” Koji says in a low tone. Koichi's light mood turns dark again as he sees his brother staring off into space. His normal attitude has returned but something inside him has surely been scarred.
“Hey Koji I--”
“Koichi Shichiyo.” A voice says from behind. Koichi and the others turn and Ryoko looks with surprise on her face.
“Who are you?” Koichi asks.
“Koichi Shichiyo you're coming with me.” The masked shinobi says.
“Why? Who are you?” Koichi asks again but more aggressive.
“Koichi...do as he says.” Temari says, standing next to the gourd with Shukaku inside of it. Four shinobi strap the gourd in chains and begin to carry it off. Koichi nods realizing the seriousness in Temari's orders. Koichi begins to follow the shinobi but Ryoko grabs onto the Anbu shinobi's robe.
“What's going on, tell me--”
“Learn your place child.” The shinobi says coldly to Ryoko, snatching away from her without even turning. Ryoko looks at her father walking away with Koichi and her face becomes filled with fearful confusion and sadness.
“What's...going on--” Ryoko says choked up to herself. Koji puts his hand on her shoulder and she turns to him.
“Koji-kun!” Temari calls to him. Koji looks at Temari and then turns back to Ryoko and he gives off an unexpected smile of reassurance to Ryoko.
“Everything will be fine.” He says. Koji heads over to Temari and she places her hand on his shoulder and takes him under her wing...
In a dimly lit room, Koichi stands before the masked shinobi.
“Can you please tell me what the hell is going on here?” Koichi asks.
“Koichi Shichiyo...I've heard a lot of interesting things about you.” The shinobi says as he walks Koichi to the center of the room.
“Like what?” Koichi asks.
“That you're a true patriot to Suna and the Land of Wind.”
Koichi smiles and looks at the shinobi. “I would die in an instant for my country and comrades. So, what does that have with why I'm here.”
“How much do you know about Bijuu?” The shinobi asks darkly. At that moment Koichi's eyes widen as he begins to see several other masked shinobi appear from the shadows all over the room.
“Kankuro-sensei told me all about those vial things, and also about the vial things the village does to the people they force to host those monsters...Jinchuuriki right?!” Koichi yells with anger.
“So you know that Suna has a Bijuu correct?”
“Yeah, I do and Gaara-sama used to be the Jinchuuriki and now there is some other guy who's being the host. What of it.”
“The reason why the village is in shambles is because the Bijuu that our village controls was set free and the reason we've brought you here is because...the previous Jinchuuriki has died.”
“What?!” Koichi says in shock. “That Kabuto guy or whatever! He must have been the one to do this. He's the reason why...wait.” Koichi strays off his original train of thought for a horrible realization. He takes a step back away from the shinobi and puts a guard up. “Why does the last Jinchuuriki dying have anything to do with me being here?” he says defensively.
The shinobi lowers his head as he turns around to face Koichi. “I also heard you were fairly smart.” The shinobi says raising his right hand, signaling his other comrades. The Anbu around the room begin walking towards the middle where their leader and Koichi stand. “Don't bring down that trait of yours. You must have figured it out already, there is no point in asking such useless questions.”
“So you're saying I'm going to be next? You're going to try and shove that monster inside of me?!” Koichi yells with defiance in his voice.
“By you saying 'try' I assume that means you're not going to make this go smoothly.” The shinobi says.
“You're damn right I'm not! I'm not going to be used as some tool for anybody! This is just sick, how can you take somebody who's truly dedicated to the village and treat them like that...turn them into a vessel to hold a demon and then treat them as if they're nothing but a tool and then ostracize them...If you think I'm going to let you do that to me you're out of your damn mind!” Koichi yells. Suddenly several chains wrap around Koichi and the Anbu shinobi from all around the room restrain Koichi.
“This is an official decree from the Kazekage. Because of your special condition, you are the only other person in the village who can host the Ichibi no Shukaku.”
“What the hell are you talking about?! I'm not going to go along with this!” Koichi yells. He surges his arms with chakra breaks the chains on his arms by yanking them. He begins to break off the other chains but before he can do anymore the head Anbu shinobi makes punches him in the stomach and Koichi drops to his knees. The shinobi makes to seals and places Koichi under a mind torturing genjutsu. “AHHH!” Koichi cries just before he falls.
The shinobi kept him conscious however rendered him psychologically weakened leaving him virtually paralyzed.
“If you're a true patriot then you would know this is what's best for the village.” The shinobi says. The shinobi strips Koichi down and places his body in the center of the room. He then takes out several scrolls with multiple seals on them and places them around Koichi.
“Is he ready?” A voice coming from the main entrance of the room says. Koichi turns his head and sees Temari and another masked shinobi enter and close the door behind them.
“Te...mari-sama...please...” Koichi begs with the little energy he has left in him.
“He's ready.” The shinobi says.
Without hesitation or a hint of remorse Temari walks to the center just in front of Koichi. The masked shinobi with her stands in the circle with the other Anbu shinobi. The Anbu shinobi sit down in a circle around Koichi and Temari and Temari makes 10 seals before clapping her hands together. The seals from the scroll slid onto Koichi's body until his entire body was covered in seals. One of the shinobi places the gourd besides Koichi and the masked shinobi who came in with Temari places his hand over Koichi's stomach.
“Please...” Koichi says with his last ounce of energy, looking into the masked shinobi. A small tear drop falls down off the edge of the mask and Temari makes the snake seal and the sand from the gourd begins to launch itself into Koichi's stomach.
“AHHHHHH!!!!” Koichi yells as the painful sealing process begins. The masked shinobi with his hand over Koichi's stomach acts as a medium force to direct the Shukaku in. The sealing lasted for almost an hour...an hour of agonizing pain. Once all the and and the Shukaku had entered Koichi, the seals on his body began to disappear and into his body.
The masked shinobi kneels down after the ceremony next to Koichi. “Koichi...are you alright?” The shinobi says.
All of a sudden Koichi springs up and grabs the shinobi by the neck. “You bastards! I HATE YOU!” Koichi yells. “Who the hell gives you the right to do this?! You're all cowards, nothing but scum!” Koichi says in anger as he squeezes the neck of the shinobi.
“Koichi, you need to calm down or you'll--”
“That's why you hide behind these god damn masks, well why don't you show who the hell you really are!” Koichi punches the shinobi in the face, knocking him back. The mask breaks and as the shinobi's face comes into Koichi's view his eyes widen in shock as he sees his brother. “Koji?” Koichi says painfully heartbroken.
Koji stares into his brother's eyes with an overwhelming guilt as he drops back to his knees. Tears race down is eyes, as he turns his head away straying from making eye contact with his brother. The ties of two brothers begins to unravel from this point on...