- Part 3
Finally, just before the sun sets, they arrive at Orochimaru's hideout. Shinaro leads them inside. Before she takes two steps, Orochimaru confronts her and asks, "What did you do to Kabuto? Why did you almost kill him? What plan…"
He stops suddenly for he had just noticed the three ninja.
"What are they doing here?" he asks suspiciously.
"Visiting." she answers coldly. "Now, tell Sasuke to wake up and come to my chambers. We will be waiting." She throws him to the ground and adds, "And if he isn't there in ten minutes you will have to answer to me."
Orochimaru nods obediently, desperate not to get hurt... again.
Naruto and Sakura are amazed to see fear in Orochimaru’s eyes – he is one of the Sannin! Only Gaara is able to manage to feel any pity at all for him. Curious, and slightly scared, they follow Shinaro to a door at the back of the room. Shinaro turns to face the Konoha ninja, to be met by shudders from Naruto and Sakura.
"Oh, yeah," Shinaro says and she replaces the bandages on her eyes, and then, raising her head again, she continues, "This door leads to my room. We will wait for Sasuke in there."
Sakura asks, "You don't mind if we see your um... personal things?"
It is obvious she is nervous about what she might see beyond that door, the door that leads into Shinaro’s world. She is already so pale, that she looks on the verge of fainting.
Opening the door wide, Shinaro asks amusedly, "What personal things?"
Looking inside, Sakura understands. The room is completely empty.
"When you're a thousand, you won't need anything either," Shinaro says. Then she looks at Naruto. "You look weak, even weaker than the Uchiha."
Naruto gets angry at being called weaker than Sasuke. But, before he can anwer, he hears a voice behind him say, “Shut up, Naruto. You are weak. Even just being compared to you is an insult.”
Turning, Naruto sees Sasuke walking towards them. Before he can challenge Sasuke to a rematch, Sakura runs to Sasuke and cries, “Sasuke! I am so happy to see you, Sasuke! Are you all right? You look so pale.”
Pushing past her, Sasuke approaches Shinaro and says, “You say that he looks weaker than me. How can you see anything with those bandages over your eyes?”
Gaara places a hand on Sasuke’s shoulder and shakes his head, silently telling him not to ask, but Shinaro was already removing the bandages on her eyes.
"Uchiha look at my eyes," she says.
He looks and nearly falls over. "W-what happened to your eyes?!"
"My eyes have been like this for a long time," she replies, almost laughing. "Gaara's ancestors did this to me."
Sasuke gasps at Gaara, who nods.
"Why?" asks Sasuke.
"Because I have a demon inside of me, Sasuke. It's a wolf, a little smaller than the demon fox inside Naruto, but my Amida is just as powerful as his Kyuubi, or perhaps more so," Shinaro answers. "Why would you take me comparing Naruto to you as an insult?" asking a question herself.
"Because he is insignificant, like an ant, a tick, compared to you." Sasuke says.
Naruto says foolishly, "I bet I'm stronger than Shinaro."
"Really?" she says, raising her eyebrow. "Well then, prove it. Beat me in a battle and I will take back what I just said."
Turning pale, Sasuke remembers, 'That sentence sealed my fate to almost be killed.'
Naruto starts walking to the door, but Shinaro grabs his arm and starts pulling him towards the back wall of the room.
He says, "The door is over there, stupid!"
"You are the stupid one," she says, without even looking at him.
She pushes him through the wall first, but quickly follows. Then she throws him off the cliff, as she had done with Sasuke, but Naruto lands differently than Sasuke. Sasuke had landed gracefully. This boy... Well, he is clumsy in every sense of the word. Shinaro shakes her head. How could she have ever thought he could be like him?
Sasuke runs through the wall right behind them. He has to make sure she doesn't kill him, but if he tries to interfere, he is sure that she will kill him. All he could do was watch and wait - and hope her white side will stop her from doing anything drastic.
The first thing Naruto says is, "Holy crud! How did we get here?!"
Shinaro mentally rolls her eyes, thinking, ‘This boy is really slow!’ She simply replies, "I’m magic. Now attack or I will."
He snorts, "You go first. You'll need the head start."
Sasuke's only thought is, 'She's going to kill him before her white side can stop her.'
Ironically, Shinaro is thinking, 'I'm going to kill him before my white side can stop me.'
Although, Shinaro figures that Naruto’s arrogance is caused by sheer stupidity, she can’t help but see another’s face in front of her. Her hurt and pain of her encounter with him comes flooding back to her. Shinaro’s fury takes over her body and she moves to attack. Sasuke, using his Sharingan, barely sees her move. Shouting out a warning to Naruto would be futile – if he even wants to interfere. Naruto suddenly flies back. He didn’t even know what happened, until he felt pain in his right arm. Looking down, he sees he is cut. Stunned, Naruto looks to where Shinaro had been standing seconds before. It takes Naruto a moment to realize that she is no longer there and Shinaro takes advantage of his confusion to throw a shuriken, which hits him in the back.
The force of the shuriken throws Naruto in the air and he falls face first on the water. He stands quickly, but Shinaro is already there, landing punch after punch on Naruto. He spits out blood right onto Shinaro's face, but then something distracts him from the fight and his pain. Her hair... Her hair is black!
Naruto can’t figure out what is happening. How can her hair change colour? He can’t think of anything else, until Shinaro throws him against the rock face. Then he realizes he is losing. Badly.
'If it goes on like this,' he thinks, 'I will die.'
Inside Naruto's mind, a gruff voice speaks, "Well. It seems like you need my help again."
Naruto sees himself facea giant nine tailed demon fox, but then he looks away saying, "I don't need your help!"
Kyuubi laughs at the boy's courage. "Of course you don't need it when you're dying."
Naruto turns and says, "I’ll be fine. I won’t die!"
The fox shakes his head and calls after Naruto, "I'll help if I have to. But only if I have to."
Naruto runs across the water, desperate for some time to perform the Rasengan. Shinaro seems to notice this and, wanting a battle, waits for him. He quickly makes a replication and begins making the Rasengan. Shinaro walks slowly to him, interested in his actions. He runs at her with the Rasengan, catching her with the sphere, but it has no effect on her. He immediately jumps back, but Shinaro is faster and she cuts him with a kunai.
Sasuke watches anxiously. Suddenly, he realizes he is alone and that Sakura and Gaara are still in Shinaro's room. Going back through the wall, Sasuke almost runs into Gaara, who is standing next to the wall. Sakura, he notices, is pale and looks very upset.
Sasuke says, "Do you want to see the battle?"
Sakura jumps, not having noticed Sasuke return, but she nods. Gaara nods as well.
Sasuke points to the wall and says, “This is not an ordinary wall. Just walk through it and you’ll be at the battle.” He then turns back and walks through the wall.
Naruto is fighting against the instinct to use Kyuubi's power. He is using most of his energy to block Shinaro's kunai and strikes. He has no idea how he can defeat her. The Rasengan is useless and he doesn't want to let Kyuubi take over. He is too slow to create a replication justsu and to throw his kunai and shuriken. He is starting to doubt he could overpower her with brute force, even if he could catch her. He is ready to admit defeat and calls upon Kyuubi to help him.
Sakura is so worried about Naruto's safety that she can’t even watch the battle, so she doesn't notice the enormous chakra emanating from him. Sasuke and Gaara notice of course, but they are too absorbed in the battle to tell her. Shinaro sees Naruto’s wounds heal at an unnatural rate. His eyes have changed too. They are red with slit pupils, like a fox's.
'So,' she thinks, 'He is letting it out at last.'
Naruto is letting so much the chakra leak out that three tails have already formed. Shinaro sees him strain to not let it get to four, but it’s too late. The fourth tail appears. Naruto is succumbing to Kyuubi’s power. The raw power of the demon fox is so strong that the chakra peels his skin off.
The transformation is complete and Naruto charges at Shinaro, taking her off guard and manages to scratch her. However, Shinaro’s demon easily heals her. Immediately, Shinaro strikes back, hitting with only her fists. Naruto’s blood flies everywhere and he howls in pain. He tries to use his chakra to push her back, but he succeeds only in pushing her a few feet away. However, it’s enough time. Naruto begins to create a powerful chakra burst to create a shield. Shinaro throws kunai at him, but the shield protects him. As soon as the shield is complete, the miniature Kyuubi launches at her. Shinaro decides to use her own chakra to make a shield.
Naruto rams into her, their shields crashing together, and the force of the impact knocks Shinaro high into the air. Disliking the awkwardness of her shield, she decides to drop it so she can concentrate on penetrating Naruto’s shield. She turns to find him just as Naruto hits her fully in the face. The impact sends her flying backwards. She decides to try a jutsu. Making the seals before she touches the water again, Shinaro performs a lightning jutsu and creates a sword. The fight is about to go up another notch of intensity.
Sasuke shivers at the sheer power of them mixing together. Gaara sees that Shinaro is using something other than kunai to fight. Sakura finally looks up and notices that Naruto isn't dying anymore and that Shinaro is even scarier than ever.
Although they have been fighting for a half hour, neither shows any signs of letting up. Shinaro has barely used up half of her chakra, but Naruto is weakening steadily. His body is continuously trying to heal the skin that is peeled off by the chakra and the wounds inflicted upon him by Shinaro. Shinaro senses him slowly losing energy, but she doesn’t care. Her rage is pushing her into Stage 3.
She hadn’t really thought she would have to go beyond Stage 2, but the fight rages on. Soon Shinaro is emotionless. Had she really been pushed to the 3rd stage by a young boy? All she wants to do was kill him.
The little place in her mind that is completely pure asks her 'Why are you doing this Shinaro? Because you have a grudge against the Fourth?'
Shinaro doesn't answer.
It then asks, 'Are you mad because you couldn’t beat him? Because he was the first and only person before this boy to push you to the third stage?'
Shinaro shakes her head to rid these thoughts but then remembers the fight with Yondaime vividly.
"Yondaime? You are trying to stop me? You challenge me?" she laugha scornfully at him. He nods very seriously.
She looks at him saying, "You aren't a match for me."
He answers slowly, "I will make you eat those words... Shinaro."
She raises her eyebrow and asks, "How did you find out my real name?"
He answers, "I have friends that can squeeze into tight places."
She sighs, “You talk in riddles too much. I hate it. Now let me through."
"Fine. I will force you. I had hoped it would not come to this."
Shinaro's hair turns black and black wings come out of her back. Yondaime looks surprised.
He then says, "I am honored that you consider me a threat."
She snorts with laughter, "I am just taking precautions. I know that you are strong. I am not stupid."
"Oh really?" he asks, raising his eyebrows.
She growls," You will regret that, Yondaime."
She is humoring him by turning into the second stage, but Shinaro has a funny feeling. She quickly pushes it away. She doesn’t want any emotions for this battle. They would distract her. She flies at him with a kunai so quickly that he is taken by surprise. She manages to get a few cuts on him. He swirls around to face her, but he is too late. She hits him full in the face so hard he flies back into a tree.
He gingerly touches his bleeding nose. He barely has time to realize it’s broken when she stabs him with another kunai. He is already losing. Badly. He begins making the Rasengan and he rams it into her, sending her a couple feet back. The fight is on.
Hours later, they are still fighting. Shinaro no longer feels anything – no pain, no fatigue, no guilt. Nothing. She has been pushed to stage 3. In that stage, she only wants to kill, destroy, and leave nothing she hates alive.
Yondaime is continually tiring but shows no sign of stopping.
'He has a strong will. He won't let you pass, you know. Who would? You are an S-class criminal.' her pure piece of mind tells her. 'You killed a third of the village.'
She pushes these thoughts away. Kill. That's all she needs to do. But... Something about killing Yondaime feels wrong. She doesn't think she can do it.
No. She has to. She will go to Orochimaru. He needs her help and she wants to make sure he doesn't do anything drastic. Drastic? What had she just done? Killed over 50 people. No wonder Yondaime wants to stop her.
'Guilt. That's a good sign. It means you're learning to control yourself in the 3rd stage!' says the pure part of her mind.
She stops in her tracks. Yondaime sees the hesitation and takes his chance. Using the Rasengan at full strength, he manages to overcome her. He has to finish it. He has to do it for the village, but he stops his kunai right above her heart. She twists out of his grasp and grabs the kunai out of his hand. She is free. Now, she must kill this man.
"They who kill must then face the consequences."
This time it isn't Shinaro’s mind talking to her. It is Shinaro herself. Shinaro is quite surprised by what she said.
Yondaime looks surprised also.
"But today will not be the day I face them," she adds.
The look of shock on Yondaime’s face disappears. He shakes his head and the battle resumes. She is at breaking point. Half of her mind is furiously working to keep her from going into the 4th stage, while the other half concentrates on the battle.
The pure half is saying to her, 'I told you he has a strong will. He will give his life to save the village.' Shinaro has to agree.
Then suddenly Shinaro realizes that she is losing the battle. She can’t believe it. He actually has the upper hand. It cannot be! In a few minutes she would be beaten. Never in her life has she been beaten. Never in her life has she gone into the third stage. And yet, he is winning!
The fight is over a few seconds later. He has knocked her out. Yondaime stands awhile, staring at her unconscious form. He can’t kill her.
'She would kill you,' he thinks to himself.
But he has spent most of his life with her and even was her friend. He can’t kill a friend. Standing there a few more minutes, he shakes his head sadly and says, “Don’t come back, Shinaro.” Then he leaves.
She doesn’t notice that she has been stationary for a minute. She is brought out of her reverie by Naruto burning her with his chakra. She stops. She realizes that she is no longer in her third stage. She is as normal as she can get. She looks at Naruto. He is still in the four tail form. He charges at her but she stops him with white chakra. White?
Naruto is surprised. So is Shinaro. Her chakra is usually black.
"Naruto," she says calmly, "Please turn back to your normal self."
As soon as the words fall from her mouth, Kyuubi retreats and Naruto returns to his normal form.
He demands, "Why did you stop the battle?"
Shinaro answers simply, "I give."
It takes awhile for the words to sink in. "What?! You give?!" he yells. “Are you such a weakling?!”
As Naruto yells, Sakura realizes she had heard Shinaro correctly. Shinaro is giving up. She looks at Sasuke and Gaara. They are both shocked.
Shinaro slowly nods, "I don't care what you think about me. And I shouldn’t have cared that you look like Yondaime."
This time Naruto nearly falls over, "Yondaime?! You knew him?"
Again Shinaro nods. Naruto looks stupidly at her.
"Now I will ask you to return to Konoha. I will escort you. Maybe Sasuke will come as well," Shinaro says.
"Fine," Naruto says, turning to climb the cliff.
She runs past him saying," Hurry up!" She looks back and sees him scramble to catch up to her. They reach the top of the cliff.
Sasuke asks Shinaro, "Why did you give? You could've beaten him!"
Shinaro shakes her
head. Then she says sadly, "Never.
He is stronger than Yondaime – he is a stronger fighter and his will is
much stronger. Once, Yondaime could have killed me, but he didn't. I
fighting Naruto for that reason. He could have also killed me. But then
would have also died. Now, Yondaime and I are even."
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