Takuma swallowed the little saliva left in his dry mouth, trying to focus his fuzzy mind on the field around him. The wounds didn't hurt as much as they should; instead, they sapped his energy, weighing his body down like lead.
He tried to ignore the dead bodies of Yumiko, Dai, and Aya, but they seemed to stare at him as he surveyed the field. Iruka and Raiden were fighting two Hidden Frost shinobi, and the two matchups looked evenly matched. Takuma knew they weren't his battles. He turned to the other genin and noted Susumu fighting one opponent and Yuko taking on two people at once. Susumu was doing fine, but Yuko was clearly struggling— her left leg had a large gash on her that hindered her mobility.
Yuko's hands had turned into something like a demon's— her arm below the elbow had bulging musculature with deep purple flesh and sharp-clawed hands. Dark purple veins covered her visible skin, giving her a menacing look matched by her bloodshot eyes and feral expression.
Onikuma clan's hiden jutsu…. Takuma wasn't aware of the specifics, but he knew the jutsu allowed the clan members to gain enhanced physical capabilities, but they feel prone to an unstable mental state, rendering them to act like feral beasts.
Takuma clicked his tongue as he clenched the kunai until the metal hurt his sliced-up hand— the pain brought clarity. He threw the kunai hard at Susumu's opponent to give him an advantage and charged toward Yuko and her two opponents.
"Hey!" Takuma shouted at Yuko.
The transformed Yuko looked toward Takuma and growled at him. She threateningly stepped toward him, but a volley of shuriken stopped her as Yuko dodged before charging at the Hidden Frost shinobi, who had thrown them, with a vicious roar.
'She can't differentiate between enemy and ally,' Takuma speculated with deep displeasure. He glanced at a dead Hidden Frost shinobi with a gaping hole in his chest and animalistic gashes. It was clear that Yuko had killed him, and she was now handling two more enemies, but with her mental state, she could quickly become a liability— he didn't like this type of jutsu at all.
He made a quick decision and blitzed one of Yuko's opponents and tackled him. They rolled on the ground, exchanging blows, and Takuma kicked the man in the stomach to separate them from Yuko and her opponent.
"You—" the Hidden Frost man looked like he wanted to say something but bit his lip and charged for Takuma.
Prepared for the fight, Takuma chucked an explosive tag tied to a kunai at his opponent. It blew up in the face, punching them to the ground. Takuma slowly stepped towards his opponent while weaving hand seals, and the moment the Hidden Frost shinobi got up in a panic, he nailed him with a Lightning Release: Shock, blasting him to the ground once again.
Takuma readied his kunai and moved in for the kill, only to be blindsided by a kunai digging into his left hip. Perhaps it was because of the adrenaline that the sharp pain didn't kick in immediately, and Takuma knew from experience it would take half a minute before the pain spiked— but he wasn't expecting his leg to fall asleep, go numb and cold— the kunai had likely struck a nerve. His balance crumbled, and Takuma was kneeling on the ground, his face scrunched at the uncomfortable feeling jittering his leg.
He immediately looked to find his assailant and found Raiden kicking the Hidden Frost chunin, which given the angle, could've been the only one to strike him.
"Fuck!" cursed Takuma.
He couldn't take out the kunai because it plugged his wound; nonetheless, he still needed to get his mobility back. He forced himself to stand up and shook his leg to release the pressure on the nerve, but nothing seemed to work. He put the kunai back into the pouch and tugged himself away from the opponent, who had pulled himself up to the knee, staring at Takuma with delirious eyes.
Takuma bit his tongue as the pain tortured his body. He couldn't afford to get into close range with his opponent as that would most definitely spell trouble and disadvantage for him. So, he began to weave the hand seals for Lightning Release: Shock for another attack.
It was at that moment that every hair on Takuma's body stood up. The sixth sense that only those who practiced chakra screamed at him— he had only felt like this once before when Yoshio had directed his chakra at them. Both he and his opponent turned towards the source and saw Iruka's opponent weaving hand seals.
Even through his hazy consciousness, every fiber in Takuma's body told him this was unlike anything he had ever seen or faced and absolutely not something he could make contact with. If he was ever clear about something in his two lives, it was the following: this would be the end of him if he let the jutsu strike him.
Takuma abandoned the current hand seal chain and switched to a new one. Through his trembling hands, Takuma weaved the signs with Earth alignments. It was a race, and fortunately for Takuma, whatever the Hidden Frost chunin was casting was more complex and longer than a C-rank jutsu.
The air in the clearing whirred with harsh energy as arcs of sharp lightning sprung from the shinobi, going into the ground and air alike. The ground cracked as pure unadulterated lightning screamed out in waves targeting everything in its path with pure malice for everything in its path without bias.
Falling was faster than kneeling for Takuma as he dropped to the ground and pushed his palms against the dirt, and in accordance with the Earth Release: Earthen Dome, the ground arose to form a protective doom around Takuma.
Takuma flinched when a lightning arc struck the dome, shaking the structure. But with the jutsu cast, he couldn't do anything but trust his skill, as the only thing between him and the terrifying Lightning Release jutsu was a layer of earth held up with a chakra.
A chunk of earth was blasted off the dome, letting the evening light in. Takuma huddled into a fetal position on the ground, minimizing his surface area to protect himself.
Another chunk blew off.
Then another… and another… and another… until Takuma was practically lying under the open sky.
Earth Release jutsu were weak to Lightning Release jutsu, but Earth Release: Earthen Dome had done its job of protecting, and Takuma was infinitely glad for it. Takuma lay there shivering, scared that the jutsu wasn't over. He wanted to get up, but he had no energy left; his body felt cold, and parts of his body hurt worse every passing second as though someone had stuck ice cubes on his skin— if it was the Ring, he would've already called it quits.
'You have to get up.'
Takuma coughed up blood as he struggled to his feet— one good and one numb— and looked around with a swimming vision. He weakly pulled out a kunai and faced his opponent, only to find a partially burning corpse. He turned his sight away to the other side to find Yuko and her opponent on the ground, with the opponent stabbing her repeatedly while screaming.
For a moment, he stared at them with a dull gaze. A hundred thoughts packed in his head, ninety-nine of them told him that it was okay to lay down, that he had done enough, and that everything would be fine.
He momentarily stared at the kunai in his hand before dragging himself toward Yuko.
Iruka pulled the short blade from the Hidden Frost shinobi's chest and pushed the dead body to the ground. He felt exhausted— physically, mentally, and chakra-wise. He was about to fall on his knee, but a heat cut through the Land of Frost's cold and snapped him out of his daze. He jumped away to avoid the fire from touching him. He looked at Raiden, who was spitting out flames at his opponent from his mouth.
Iruka could tell from the flaming man that the battle was over on Raiden's end. He turned his attention to the other side of the clearing to see Takuma slicing his kunai across the neck of another Hidden Frost man kneeling over Onikuma Yuko, who was already dead.
Gazing at his favorite genin, Iruka knew this experience would affect Takuma— death always did. He didn't need to look around to know that only four of the sixteen people involved were alive. He, Takuma, Raiden, and Susumu, with a swarm of bugs buzzing around him.
The next second, Susumu dropped to the ground. Iruka ran towards him; fortunately, the bugs didn't obstruct him. Iruka examined Susumu— there were injuries, blood loss, and signs of chakra exhaustion.
He glanced at the bugs buzzing around Susumu and recalled what he knew about Aburame. At birth, clan members are offered their bodies to several special breeds of insects as a nest, residing just under their host's skin. The insects would then live in symbiosis with their host from that point on. In return for using insects as weapons, the host provided the insects with nutrients and chakra.
'They'll continue to draw chakra from him,' Iruka felt cold. Right now, Susumu was low on chakra, and if the insects in his body continued to draw on the remaining amount, the reserves would dry up, leading to Susumu's death. If it was an experienced Aburame, Iruka wouldn't have worried, but Susumu wasn't that— he needed help from his clan, or else he would die.
"Iruka," Raiden's voice croaked.
"Hey, how are you feeling?" Iruka asked, observing Raiden's body. The chunin he had fought had done a number on Raiden.
"Patch me up," Raiden wheezed. "W-We have to get out of… here."
"You're in no condition to go anywhere," Iruka grimaced at the large cut in the lower abdomen infected with some form of poison— he had no idea how Raiden had managed to remain standing, much less win the fight.
'I'll have to carry him,' thought Iruka.
Iruka rushed to the last person alive and found Takuma weaving hand seals before pressing his hand to the ground.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"… Earth Release: Earth Tremor Sense Jutsu," Takuma barely whispered. "There's no one within a kilometer but us… I-I should've done it before this happened."
Iruka pursed his lips. That wasn't Takuma's responsibility. He knew that Takuma could perform that jutsu, and it had slipped his mind— it was his fault for not ordering Takuma to check their surroundings for an ambush.
Iruka checked for the wounds on Takuma. Except for the kunai in the hip, and a few shallow cuts, Takuma didn't seem to be in danger. He had a decision to make.... Iruka bit the inside of his cheek, knowing that there was only one choice, which wasn't good for Takuma.
"Takuma… I'm afraid I have to leave," said Iruka.
Takuma looked up at Iruka, confusion peeking through the exhaustion. "What do you mean?"
"Raiden and Susumu are in grave condition; they need medical attention. I can carry them both across the border, but I'll need to be alone to travel faster," said Iruka. If Takuma traveled with him, he would need to slow down to match Takuma's pace, extending their time on the road, thus decreasing the chances of Raiden and Susumu's survival. "You'll need to travel home back alone, Takuma…"
It was unfair for Takuma to be left alone, but if he was to increase the chance of Raiden and Susumu's survival, this was the only way. Iruka realized he wasn't giving a choice to Takuma, but they had already lost four Leaf shinobi today, and Iruka didn't want to lose the rest of them. As long as Takuma traveled under the radar, he could cross the border without any problems.
"… I understand," said Takuma after a long pause. He looked up at Iruka and nodded with a tired yet firm expression. "I don't have much of a choice, do I…"
Iruka put on an apologetic face, but Takuma waved him off.
"I'll patch up Susumu; you should get Raiden ready. I want to leave here as soon as possible," as he said that, Takuma pulled the kunai out of his hip.
Note: All the chapters will eventually be posted on public forums.
Damn. Man’s can’t catch a break…
Hidden leaf was really short on Shinobi to send genin teams to a mission like that isn't it.
To be fair, it wasn't meant to so dangerous, it's like the Wave mission that got ranked up to rank A after meeting Zabuza, with the demon brothers alone the mission would have been rank B, this one might be considered rank B almost A, by the number of shinobi and there being a betrayal with ambush.
The Leaf throughout the series is extremely overestimated by everyone. The geniuses that popped up every generation are the only reason they're the hegemony. Realistically, the Leaf is the second or third strongest power, maybe even fourth had the Water nation not had their civil war. The propaganda of the Leaf always coming out on top honestly is the only barrier from the other nations from just dog piling them like Uzu.
That and their abundance of hiden and unique Chakra clans. Konoha is like that guy at the beach sucking his gut to seem bigger than he really is. He looks good but that's honestly the only thing going for him.
Funny enough, Sparta (the Greek city state) was in a similar dilemma. Where their warriors were vastly overestimated and their slaves (80%+ of their population) were always just about to rebel, till they actually did. The whole 300 Spartans vs Persia isn't even correct, there were other Greek armies involved. That story, is just that, propaganda to prevent other Greek city states from seeking revenge on them after realizing how weak they were.
Basically, Konoha has plot armor, and tells everyone that to not get murked lol
@Rezenith i don't think they are totally overstimated, outside of the uncountable amount of powerhouses that the Leaf had along it's history. The tatical advantages of the Inuzuka, Aburame, Hyuga and Yamanaka for battlefield, infiltration and assasssination is on another level, these clans are the deciding factor the leaf strengh alongside the powerhouses it births all the time.
And with all that they also had the Uchiha stealing Jutsus from all the villages just from fighting. If you consider that the First Hokage created and modyfied the forests all over the fire country invading the Land of fire seems like a nightmare.
Plot armor sounds like a lazy answer.
It was supposed to be a fairly easy mission. Meet Frost shinobi, get the intel then return to Leaf Village. They didn't have any Jonin accompanying them, but they did have 2 Chunins and 6 Genins. This is similar to the Zabuza+Haku case in canon. The mission simply spiked in difficulty due to elements of surprise that nobody could have predicted it.
@lPedro I meant plot armor facetious manner. As in the Leaf leveraging their legend to deterred the other villages lol.
Also, everything you've said is correct but we have so little info on the other villages that there's a good chance that the Leaf has taken hegemony by pure luck. That isn't say they're not skill, the opposite really, but the Leaf has had so many disasters, high profile traitors, 1 tailed beast (meaning they don't have a back up to cover the other's growth), fractious loyalties (Danzo), geography (in the middle of everything).
In a world where information is king, you'd think the other villages would had pounced upon Konoha after the ninetails disaster. It would had been easily been the most vulnerable the village had been at, ever. I mean, it's happen before with Uzu, what stops a coalition for if not destroying Konoha, then annexing large portions of the nation? What do you call that but plot armor?
@Rezenith weakening of the past wars i'd say, Minato killed a lot of Iwa, then the Third Raikage went against 10 thousand and problably a killed a whole lot of them in the 3 days he fought. So much that Onooki had to contract Akarsuki for mercenary work.
Kiri lost their tailed beast and lot of elite Ninja just from Obito that we saw, in the war they fought against ' The Wicked Eye Fugaku'(he had a MS) who was said to be considered for next Hokage for his feats in the that were comparable to Minato, but Minato was chosen because of the previous Kage indication (and problably prejudice from the elders against Uchiha). And i almost forgot, they lost 4 Swordsman of the Mist to a f*cking Gennin right after the Ninetails atack.
Suna became allies and were quite weakened as well.
Kumo might be the biggest contest here, but they had Just lost their Kage, and the Fourth kinda agreed with some of Minato's ideals and didn't want to put his familly(Bee) in danger, the most they did was try to steal a Kekei genkai.
An cooperation between Kumo and Iwa is out of question as they betrayed Kumo and killed the Third Raikage, cooperation of Kumo and Kiti might work but Kiri was not at it's most stable period to be trusted as an ally. And Suna was allied with Konoha.
However, upon the Uchiha extermination i'd say that would be the most optimal moment to atack if they wanted to, but i don't even know if it's the most optimal choice.
@lPedro politics and optimized outcomes? Lol, but for reals, I'm kinda surprised none of the other villages did anything stupid like steal sensitive info or bloodline abilities during that time (the massacre) . The fact no one else gained the Uchiha bloodline or others is kinda weird. That to me, seems like the biggest stretch of the entire series. Like, you don't even need to kidnap or lure them in, just get a honeypot and boom, artificial pregnancy here we go.
I don't know if it lucks or a string of very convenient coincidences that lead to the nin clans not being fracture by other clans of the same bloodline popping up.
@Rezenith well, concidences for an outcome indeed is something that Kishimoto really likes to do.
@lPedro There are no accidents -Master Oogway
Poor Takuma, dude needs a promotion to being on a official team lead by jonin after this.
Time for the Rambo arc
Good shit, what was that? 4 confirmed kills? Counting the guy who got grilled by his own dudes?
I love it
he wouldn't have known. I don't blame him for not using the jutsu to scout first to be honest
What a tough bastard
The binge is over. Thanks for the fun ride! Look forward to see where it ends up.