Naruto: Tetsuden - 005
Well, this is the last of the chapters I wrote ahead of time, so those that come next should be coming out at larger intervals. Hopefully, though, this one adds some tension both in the short and long-run:D Enjoy
Here’s my previous chapters, for those who missed any:
Chapter 005: The New Generation
Bearing a much greater resemblance to his grandfather than Minto, Raiden Sarutobi wore spiked brown hair, though it stood up much shorter than Konohamaru’s once did. Wearing a lime-yellow jacket with a high collar that he kept zipped closed, dark-brown pants that he rolled up to his shins, and his forehead protector in its proper place, his general appearance made him out to be a novice, though anyone who knew him was well-aware that his skills were highly exceptional in comparison to other members of his clan. His older brother knew this better than anyone. …Raiden never stopped reminding him of it. Scanning the group before him in an almost disdainful manner, he stopped once his eyes were fixed on Airon.
Raiden: Huh, looks like I’ve got some decent competition here, after all.
Minto: (Seeing that his brother was as pompous as ever, he took a deep breath in discontent before walking up beside Airon.) Quick to be so confident, brother. Such an attitude doesn’t really belong on the battlefield.
Raiden: (Shifting his gaze over to his older brother, he looked at him only a moment before turning away uninterested.) Minto, you’ve got no room to talk. I still can’t believe you’re even trying out this year…or at all, for that matter.
Looking to his side to find that Minto had lowered his head, Airon turned back to Raiden, a stern look having crawled onto his face. His thumb began rubbing against the handle of his sword, something that caught Raiden’s eye, …as well as the eyes of his teammates.
????: Raiden, please. Just leave it alone.
He gave no response, his sight still set fixatedly on Airon. After a short while, he slowly began gnashing his teeth together, a process which gradually sped up as he noticed the smirk on Airon’s face, placed there by Raiden’s own unease.
????: Man, come on! Drop it already!
Hesitating still, it wasn’t until Airon spoke up that Raiden finally did, as well.
Airon: Listen to your teammates, Raiden. …They only want what’s best for you.
Raiden: Yeah? And how the heck do you know that, big shot?
Airon: (Rapidly becoming more irritated, he rubbed his right thumb and index finger against his eyes before looking back up at him with a cold stare.) …Because they’re trying to keep you out of my reach.
Raiden was intelligent for a boy of thirteen years and just as stubborn, …but the latter trait was always the first to yield whenever faced with the option of going toe-to-toe against Airon. Muttering at a level that no one else could hear him, he walked away in a fit, leaving his two teammates with the rest of the group.
????: Hmph, well, that was unpleasant.
????: Sorry about him.
Airon: Hmhmhm, don’t be, Kūrogane. …I found it somewhat humorous. …You alright, Minto?
Minto: (Realizing that he was still staring at the floor, he looked back up at Airon, who was smiling in the hopes that it would cheer him up.) Hm? Oh, um, …yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.
While well-aware that this was obviously untrue, he dropped the subject, anyways, planning to address it at a later point in the competition.
Airon: …Alright, then.
This matter settled for now, the two joined the rest of the group in focusing their attention on Raiden’s two teammates…or three, to be more precise. Kūrogane, as she had just been called, wore untamed, black hair that fell past her shoulders, a long-sleeved red shirt beneath a cream-colored flak jacket, shorts that matched her shirt, and a skirt that matched her jacket. In addition, her forehead protector was in its proper place and she wore high-heeled sandals, as well as bandages that wrapped around her ankles and knuckles. Her eyes were brown, like those of her grandfather, and they also had an additional ring, like those of her grandmother, …Kurenai Yūhi. The third member of Raiden’s team, known to his friends as Kemono, wore short, shaggy, brown hair, a black, fur-lined overcoat with no hood, and dark-grey pants. On his cheeks were two red triangular marks, the symbols of the Inuzuka clan, and standing constantly at his side was a large black ninken named Mukinu.
Kei: (Walking directly over to Kemono, he held his hand out to greet him, his gesture quickly being answered in kind.) Man, I was wondering when you’d get here, Kemono! You two all set for today?
Kemono: Hehe, yeah, you got that right! We’re ready to tear up the competition, eh, Mukinu?
His partner answered with a loud bark, …then suddenly began sniffing around, much to the confusion of everyone watching.
Kemono: Hey, Mukinu. What’s wrong, buddy?
Also watching this, Airon quickly deciphered the problem, as did Inase.
Inase: (You don’t think it’s…)
Airon: (…I know it is. …Taigen.)
Looking around to see who had called his name, Taigen suddenly realized it was Airon, who motioned for him to come stand by his side. Obeying his order without question, he walked past Nakama, Chōzen, and Shikaru before accidentally bumping into Mukinu, who quickly turned around and began following him, …much to Taigen’s unease and everyone else’s further confusion.
Taigen: Uh-uhhh, Airon!?
Airon: (Just keep moving.)
Kemono: Hey, Mukinu. What’s up? …You smell something on him, pal?
Turning around to face his partner just as Taigen ran behind Airon and Inase, the ninken immediately began communicating his reasons such that Kemono alone could understand him, at which point Airon stepped in and sorted things out with him…in private.
Kemono: (Somewhat surprised what he was hearing, he almost found himself unable to keep it between the two of them.) (Wait a sec, are you serious!?)
Airon: (Yes, one hundred percent, now could you get Mukinu to stay away from him and keep it under wraps? …He’d rather nobody knew about it.)
Kemono: (Uhhh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. …Did you-)
Airon: (No, now could you please stop asking questions, Kemono!?)
Kemono: (Alright, alright! Sorry, man. …I’m just kind of impressed, that’s all.)
Airon: (Yeah, …so am I.)
Nodding over to Taigen to reassure him, he stepped out from behind Inase, though he continued to keep an eye on Mukinu, earning a pat on the shoulder from Minto.
Minto: Hey, it’s alright, buddy, okay? …We told you outside nothing was gonna happen, didn’t we?
????: This group seems to be getting along just fine, don’t they?
????: Haha, yes they do, Hitomi.
Airon: (Pleased by the arrival of these newcomers, he walked over to greet them, holding his hand out for their leader to take in his own.) Hmhm, you certainly took your time to make an appearance, Hitomi.
Hitomi: Hmhmhm, as if I would miss these exams for the world. …It’s not every year that the Uchiha clan or the Kages’ grandchildren participate.
The newcomer in question possessed long, smooth, black hair, though not nearly as long as Nakama’s, and dressed himself in light-grey, waist-length robes with short sleeves. Beneath them were a pair of dark shorts and he wrapped bandages around his palms, forearms, and his lower legs, while his forehead protector rested in its proper place. His most prominent feature, however, were his eyes, pale-white with no pupils to speak of, …a trait once shared by his grandfather, Neji Hyūga. The other male member of his team, known simply as Chan, possessed thick, black hair that curved up slightly in the back, the only aspect of his appearance which differed from that of the younger years of his grandfather, …from his green jumpsuit to his eyebrows. Their female teammate, known as Miyuki Otake, possessed brown hair, which she kept tied back in one large bun, wore a dark-blue, short-sleeved shirt beneath an open, dark-grey flak jacket, a dark-blue skirt, beneath which were a pair of black shorts which fell just past her knees, high-heeled sandals, and kept her forehead protector hanging around her neck, moving it up to its proper position whenever conflict drew near.
Airon: Hmhm, well, I can’t exactly contradict that. …You seem rather energetic today, Chan, …as you usually are.
Chan: (Tossing his fist into the air, he retracted it and held it in front of his face just as flames sprouted in his eyes, his own comedic attempt to show his enthusiasm, …something he derived from his grandfather.) Ha! Are you kidding me!? We are at the Chūnin Exams, my friend! The best genin in all five ninja villages are gathered here to compete against one another in battle! …There is so much at stake in this competition, my brain hurts just thinking about it!
Miyuki: (Embarrassed by her teammate’s antics, as she often was, she placed her hand against her forehead in frustration.) Ugh, Chan. Why do you always overexaggerate your feelings like this?
Chan: Hmph, it is you who underexaggerates her own feelings, Miyuki! Face it, you are just as excited as I am!
Miyuki: Yeah, so what!? I’d rather not be so flamboyant about everything like you and Lee-sensei!
While this bantering continued back and forth, Airon was meditating on what Chan had just said to him, …placing a rather dismal spin on it as he did.
Airon: (So much at stake, huh? …Chan, did you ever stop and realize that this also included your life?) …Hmhmhmhm, yeah, I suppose you’re right, Chan. …So, have any of you heard from Manako or Irezumi?
Miyuki: (Still caught up in her argument with Chan, she quickly stopped upon hearing Airon’s question.) Hm? Oh, yes! We saw Irezumi and his team around here not too long ago, …but I don’t think Manako and his cousins are here yet.
Kei: (Hearing this, he quickly adopted a rather frank expression as the events that occurred that morning reentered his mind.) Hn, and Dad was so concerned about US being late today.
Inase: Well, stop sleeping in on most days and he won’t have to be.
Kei: (This being the second time that his sister taunted him today, he didn’t waste any time throwing another fit and simply waved her off.) Ah, can it already, will ya?
Inase: Hmhmhm, you’re far too easy to tease, Kei. …So, Kūrogane, how’s your grandmother?
Kūrogane: (Having been standing beside her this entire time, she was somewhat surprised when she resumed their conversation.) Hm? Oh, she’s doing fine. She moved in with us last week, actually.
Inase: Hmm, I could imagine she’d have a hard time living alone at her age.
Kūrogane: Well, she’s just lucky to have reached the age she’s at now, I’d say. …All of her peers are already dead.
Inase: (This remark brought to mind the image of her grandfather’s sensei, whom she had the pleasure of meeting a few times before he died.) …That’s true. I can imagine there’s a feeling of loneliness in her.
Airon: (Still leaning against the wall, he meditated on the subject of their conversation himself for a moment before giving them his own opinion.) Most likely, …but she’s managed to live a long, fulfilling life and even has an active part in the lives of her grandchildren. Not many can ask for more than that.
This talk was soon cut short as the sound of another team’s footsteps came into ear’s reach of the group. Knowing full well who it was, Airon simply smiled without even opening his eyes or looking up from the floor.
Airon: Hmhmhm, I was beginning to have my doubts, Irezumi.
Noticing their arrival as well, the others turned around and set their sights on this newly arrived team of genin. The first of them, known as Kenji Ikeda, possessed light-blonde hair which he kept very short and was dressed in a cream-colored raincoat, the hood of which he kept down for the time being, which in turn made visible the forehead protector on his head. Beneath his coat was a dark-grey undershirt and he also wore dark-blue pants and a blood-red sash around his neck, worn so that it could be pulled over his face if needed. His female teammate, Ide Fujita, possessed smooth, dark-brown hair, almost as long as Nakama’s, and wore light-pink robes kept together by a piece of red cloth, beneath which was a simple fishnet shirt and black shorts. Standing between them, the leader of the three wore a large, grey overcoat, which he kept zipped up and the hood of which he kept thrown over his head. He also wore dark pants that were slight torn around the knees and had the palms of his hands wrapped in bandages, while his forehead protector could be seen sticking out from beneath his hood. …Just looking at them, one never would have guessed the familial relationship Irezumi shared with his grandfather, …the ANBU artist Sai. Pleased to see the group of familiar faces before them, Ide walked over to greet Nakama, while Kenji did the same with Chan, Kemono, and Kei. Irezumi, in turn, approached Airon and Hitomi, hoping to return the former’s greeting.
Irezumi: Hmhm, you didn’t think that I would miss this kind of opportunity, did you, Airon?
Airon: (He merely looked up from the floor, a smile still fresh on his face.) Not in the slightest. …I’m rather pleased you made it, actually. It should make the final rounds much more fun to watch.
Irezumi: Hm, I appreciate the compliment. …Where’s Raiden?
Minto: (The pleasant expression on his face slowly disappeared at the mentioning of his little brother’s name.) He took off a short while ago.
Kūrogane: (Sharing Minto’s displeasure, she lower her head slightly and let out a deep sigh.) Hmph, he can’t seem to be in the same room as his brother for a full minute without starting trouble.
Ide: (The active peace-seeker that she was, the mere thought of these two brothers being incompatible with one another brought her discomfort.) He is pretty hot-headed, isn’t he? …Huhhh, I don’t see why he can’t just make peace with his brother.
Nakama: (Looking over at her teammate for a moment, she eventually dropped the notion and turned back to Ide with a smile on her face.) Hmm, don’t we all. …So, how are you doing, Ide? I have to admit, of all the people liable not to show up, you were rather high on that list.
Ide: (Turning around to face her longtime friend, she quickly returned the kind gesture.) Hmhmhm, yes, I admit that the thought of fighting other genin is rather…disappointing, but if it’s to make me stronger for this village, I’ll gladly participate.
Airon: Hmm, it’s a good mindset to have, Ide.
Hitomi: That it is.
Kenji: (Drawing an obvious opposition to the others’ opinions, he gave his own blunt impression on combat.) Eh, I really don’t see what you’ve got against fighting, Ide. …Ahh, soothes the soul, in my opinion, …when you win, that is, hehehe.
Kemono: Heh, yeah, ain’t that right? So, how’s your artwork coming along, Kenji? Should we expect to see something cool this time around?
Kei: (Being in the clueless disposition he was usually in, it didn’t take long for him to say something that would be taken offense to.) Artwork? …Oh, you mean those ugly things you’re working on all the time?
While his siblings shook their heads in disbelief, Kenji quickly took on a dumbfounded and infuriated look before turning to Kei and making a comedic attempt to defend his artwork.
Kenji: Grrr-rrrrgghhh, HEY, THEY’RE NOT UGLY, ALRIGHT!!? WHERE DO YOU GET OFF CALLING MY SCULPTURES UGLY, HUH!!? YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES ME TO MAKE EACH ONE!? HUH, AND YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO CRITICIZE MY WORK!! I PUT A LOT OF EFFORT INTO THOSE-
Kei: Alright, alright, jeez! I’m sorry, man! I didn’t mean it! Now, come on. You’re drawing some attention to yourself.
Turning around to face the crowd behind them, as did the rest of their group, it turned out that Kei was right, as over two hundred sets of eyes were now staring directly at Kenji. Fortunately, though, a few glares from Airon, Hitomi, and Irezumi were more than enough to get most of them to return to their own activities. Kenji, on the other hand, merely stood there frozen in embarrassment, rubbing his neck as a large drop of sweat emerged on the back of his head.
Kenji: Heh he he he…he…he, …sorry about that.
Irezumi: (Sensing his anxiety, he quickly made his way over to his teammate and threw his arm over his shoulder.) It’s alright, Kenji. …Everyone has a meltdown once in a while.
Kenji: Heh, well, I don’t ever see you having one, now do I, Irezumi?
Irezumi: Hmhmhmhm, one of these days, I promise you. …It happens to everyone.
Taking notice of the time given by the clock hanging on the other side of the room, several members of the group began looking around for the only team that was still absent from the room.
Ide: Goodness, the exams should be starting soon. …I certainly hope Manako can make it to the Academy in time.
Inase: (Hearing the faint sound of footsteps outside of the room, she turned to face her brother before voicing her suspicions.) …He’s already here.
This news caused an almost wicked smile to slowly appear on Airon’s face. As he, Shikaku, Chōzen, and Hitomi stepped away from the walls, the hallway doors flew open, revealing the final team of genin to arrive. The youngest of the three, named Katsuto, possessed short, light-red hair that spiked up on all sides and a simple black shirt and matching shorts, the former of which bore the symbol of his clan on the back, while his forehead protector was stretched out across his large forehead, …a trait courtesy of his grandmother. His prominent feature, however, was his Sharingan eyes, which for the time being, possessed only two tomoe. His older sister Akame possessed long, black hair that she weaved into a single, thick braid, which fell to the center of her back. Her forehead protector rested on top of her head rather than on her forehead, while her attire consisted of a sleeveless, tan top, on the back of which was her clan’s symbol, and a long apron skirt of matching color, beneath which was a pair of black shorts that fell just short of her knees. Like her brother, she had managed to awaken her Sharingan, though her eyes had all three tomoe in comparison to his two. Their cousin possessed shaggy, black hair that almost touched his shoulders and was spiked in the back, much like his grandfather’s. He wore a long-sleeved, blue shirt with a high collar and his clan’s symbol on its back, which he kept zipped down to reveal the top half of his chest. He also wore black pants and, unlike the others, kept his forehead protector hidden away, since he rarely wore it, even in battle. Like his cousins, he had long awakened his Sharingan, though he kept it deactivated for the time being, …as he didn’t enjoy showing it off as much as they did. He locked eyes with Airon almost immediately after entering the room. Wearing expressions colder than ice as they continued this staring contest, it seemed as though they were prepared to begin fighting right in the middle of this room full of anxious genin. …One never would have expected that these two were just as much friends as they were rivals.
Airon: …Hello, Manako.
Sasuke’s grandchildren finally reveal themselves!!!