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Naruto: The Outsider's Resolve

[A Naruto Fan Fiction] Make the best of what you have, they said... But what I am supposed to do when the best I have are red-eyed freaks, a child who's supposed to be the jailor of the most dangerous being in the world, a snake bastard with serious boundary issues, and a whole world of super soldiers with licences to murder. And you know the best part? None of them like me so much... Oh shut it, old man! Take that Will of Fire and shove it up your— Yeah, this second swing at life isn't panning out... --------------------------------------------------------------- DISCORD SERVER: https://discord.gg/w5dJ82SfMr --------------------------------------------------------------- PATREON LINK: https://www.patreon.com/fictiononlyreader --------------------------------------------------------------- DECLARATION: This story is also present on: FFN, Ao3, SpaceBattles, SufficientVelocity, and ScribbleHub RoyalRoad [to be verified] --------------------------------------------------------------- DISCLAIMER: I don't own any character other than my OCs. The cover pic was commissioned from Kodah.art on Instagram

FictionOnlyReader · Anime & Comics
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253 Chs

CH_4.27 (127)

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The link is also in the synopsis

———

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Takuma stared at his fist. The dull ache in his knuckles and wrist was surprising. He had long passed the stage where his hands would start hurting after a fight or training unless he wanted them to hurt by pushing himself. But here he was, three minutes against Hideaki had caused him to feel the sting.

He looked at the Akimichi, who was massaging his knee and had his other hand pressed against his aching abdomen. Takuma acknowledged that Hideaki was a monster in his own right. Not once had he faced an opponent in the Ring who could take beyond a few well-placed chakra-augmented strikes— they always either quit or slowed down enough for him to finish the fight. But not Hideaki. Until the very end, Hideaki was in fighting condition. If the fight continued, Takuma was confident he would've emerged triumphant against Hideaki, but long fights were undesirable.

He knew why Hideaki was able to sustain and endure his assault. He fought fire with fire— chakra augmentation with chakra augmentation. But unlike Takuma, Hideaki's chakra augmentation was superior. Takuma's self-created augmentations served a singular purpose, to increase the destructive power of strikes by discharging chakra at the time of impact. Hideaki's augmentation, on the other hand, was multi-purpose and much more versatile— it not only made him stronger; it increased his speed and improved durability— Hideaki was already all of those things, and furthering those attributes made him scarier.

Takuma had won because he was more skilled in combat and used the experience forged in the Ring to overcome superior stats.

'I can beat him even if he went all out,' he felt that from the bottom of his heart. Takuma had extensive experience with close-range combat— clearly Hideaki's strong suit, but Takuma's comfort was a mix of close-range and medium-range due to his ninjutsu collection. He didn't know Hideaki's upper limit, but he felt confident that his own upper limit was higher than his.

"I would like to apologize, Takuma," Kazuo walked to him after speaking some words to Hideaki.

"Chakra augmentation shouldn't have been allowed in this round. Hideaki broke the rules by using them first."

"I would've used it first if he hadn't," said Takuma, confused. But he immediately realized where Kazuo was coming from. There had been many complaints against Takuma (Scars) in Ring for using chakra augmentation in the weapons category; many of his opponents thought that chakra augmentation belonged in the ninjutsu category and nowhere else— but Tsubura had ignored them all, allowing Takuma to use his best weapon.

Kazuo had a satisfied expression as he nodded. Takuma was sure that the jonin was misunderstanding something, and he wasn't going to correct that misunderstanding.

"I'm glad Hideaki forgot to book the training field today," said Kazuo. "Today will give them a lot to think about." He glanced at his students with a look that showed he cared about them, or at least that he cared about how they turned out as shinobi. Which was all one could ask from a jonin teacher.

"I'm glad for it as well," Takuma replied.

Very glad, indeed.

———

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"Remember, you have five minutes," said Kazuo, "and while you're allowed to use everything, let's not damage things that can't be fixed."

Momoe gazed at Takuma in front of her. He was staring at his feet with hands in his weapons pouches, fiddling. His body language was calm, but she couldn't tell anything beyond that. He hid it well. But she had seen his fights against Aimi and Hideaki, and they had already fought twice. The first fight had barely been one with them probing each other; the second fight they had fought, but unlike against Hideaki, he had been cautious against her.

As Kazuo stepped back, Momoe drew her sword out of the scabbard on her back. She had a sample of what he could do from his fight against Hideaki— if he could push Hideaki, of all people, back with his bare-handed fists, then she wasn't going to let him hit her. Her sword would keep him away from her while she cut him to shreds.

"Go!"

Momoe bent her knees, building stress in her legs as she raised her sword before shooting forward like a lightning bolt. Her sword was already slicing down at him before he could even catch the blade with his eyes.

*Clang!*

Her eyes widened a fraction as her sword clashed against the twin kunai. Her eyes caught Takuma's look at her, still calm, but now there was a calculating glint behind them. The kunai forced her sword to the side as Takuma tried to kick her ankle from under her. Momoe jumped up, tucking her knees up while pushing her sword forward. Takuma tilted his head to the side to dodge the blade.

Both immediately jumped away. But only for a moment. The moment their feet set down on the ground, they snapped towards each other. Momoe deflected a kunai coming for her face, only to see a second emerge from the former's shadow. She had to contort her body out of its way, and in doing so, she gave Takuma a chance to take her feet out with a sliding tackle.

But it took more than that to hobble a competent shinobi. Momoe took control of her body by turning mid-air. Momoe flew parallel to the ground as Takuma passed under her. She knew that she had to reach the ground quickly as Takuma would be coming for her.

And that he did; Takuma dug his heel into the dirt to slow himself down before shooting in the opposite direction toward Momoe. He didn't bother to straighten himself and simply jumped head-first into her body before she could stabilize herself.

Takuma immediately positioned himself over her and started with a knee strike into Momoe's abdomen. Momoe coughed but retaliated with a head smash in his face. Takuma floundered for a moment, which was all Momoe needed. She kicked him back and used her sword for all its advantage, leaving a gash in his side. She clicked her tongue when the chainmail under his clothes presented resistance which left the wound less grave than she wanted.

To her surprise, Takuma didn't even react to the injury and smashed his fist into her face. Thankfully, it wasn't a chakra-augmented, or her face would've caved in. They further wrestled on the ground before Momoe threw him away.

For the next few seconds, neither made a move. They didn't take small steps to probe each other or try to trick each other with feints. No, they simply stayed still with their eyes fixed on each other.

Takuma broke the stillness when he began to weave hand seals.

Momoe gritted her teeth, and her grip around her sword tightened. She took in a sharp breath as chakra began to seep into her sword. A smirk crossed her lips as she heard the familiar hum in the soft shrill she had come to love hearing.

She positioned it overhead and charged forward.

Whatever Takuma was going to throw, she was going to cut through it and slice him down at the same time.

———

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Kazuo smiled when he saw Momoe assume her favorite sword stance. When he had first met her and seen a sword on her back, he had a mind to scoff, more when he heard her say that kenjutsu was her specialty. Wet-behind-their-ear genin didn't know enough to have specialties.

And he was right. Momoe wasn't skilled enough to call kenjutsu her specialty. But Kazuo could no longer scoff because he saw what she knew and realized the potential in his new student.

The sword was to Momoe, what the Gunbai was to Uchiha Madara. They were made for each other.

So, Kazuo did what any sane teacher would do. He gave her the resources needed, called in friends and colleagues well-versed in the art of kenjutsu, and had her train under them. As he had expected, Momoe bloomed. She picked up an advanced kenjutsu style and paired it with bukijutsu-class ninjutsu that suited her perfectly.

He glanced at Takuma weaving hand seals. He liked the kid, but he didn't have a chance against Momoe. The record between Momoe and Hideaki was skewed steeply in the former's favor.

Takuma's chest puffed and widened before he released a mass of high-speed water towards Momoe.

'Magnificently executed,' Kazuo thought.

But—

Momoe swung her sword down in a swift strike which split the entire water wave in two. It was as though Momoe was water repellent as not a single drop hit her— all the water mass was pushed to the side. The force behind her strike was such that an arcing wave traveled out of the swing, cutting through the continuous jet of water until it reached Takuma and ripped through his clothes and chainmail, leaving a very long cut that went from shoulder down to his mid-thigh.

"Perfection," Kazuo muttered.

Momoe rode the momentum, and straightaway launched an offense.

In response, Takuma… ran away.

Kazuo watched in surprise as Takuma ran away from Momoe. There were no other words for it. Takuma ran while Momoe gave chase after him. When she released wind cutters from her sword, he would desperately dodge— he was nicked here and there— but was never hit completely, even once. Even when Momoe managed to close the distance, he would somehow evade all her strikes.

They ran around in circles.

"What is he doing?" Aimi said, bewildered. "Is he trying to run the time out?"

Kazuo couldn't think of another reason. If Takuma ran out the clock, the result would be a draw. But this was a spar; they were trying to practice combat. Running so he could force a draw wasn't what he should be doing— if he were on a defensive strategy, Kazuo would understand, but this was not it.

Suddenly, an explosion blew up the ground after Takuma chucked an explosive tag at Momoe, who cleanly dodged it.

Takuma knelt on the ground and began weaving hand seals.

The moment the dust cleared, Momoe darted toward Takuma. Kazuo could see she was frustrated. Not a clean hit, not even a blocked one, after so many swings was a frustrating feeling.

Takuma ran once again, but this time, he ran towards Momoe. For a moment, Kazuo was confused as nothing happened after Takuma weaved his hand seals. But then Takuma threw up two kunai into the air in front of him.

It was at that time the situation changed as the water Takuma had sprayed from his previous justu came to life and rose into the air like magic and shot toward Takuma's back into a large blob. The water blob wiggled before dividing itself into two parts. A second later, the tentacles snatched the kunai out of the air.

Kazuo recognized the jutsu.

Water Release: Eight Tentacles. A D-rank jutsu that did as it was named— create tentacle-like appendages which could carry a reasonable weight. A versatile jutsu that he didn't usually see use by those proficient in water nature. Kazuo realized what Takuma was planning. Momoe was fast with her sword, but if she had two more kunai to deal with at the same time, her speed would barely be enough to keep up to speed.

And that's what happened.

In an instant, the dynamic changed as Momoe fell on defense while Takuma pushed her on offense. The water appendages were strong, and the lack of any human anatomical limitation made defense levels difficult.

'But, two is his limit,' Kazuo scratched his chin. The jutsu allowed for a maximum of eight tentacles, but the usage wasn't that simple. Every tentacle needed to be consciously controlled; as such, the difficulty increased with each additional one. A person could control their two arms naturally without thinking because they were part of their natural physique and they had practiced doing so since birth— however, a third or fourth or fifth arm was neither of those things. Extensive practice went behind moving new 'limbs' smoothly in conjunction with their natural ones. Every additional arm raised the difficulty and stretched concentration.

He turned to Aimi. "I don't remember seeing Takuma's file when I was choosing from your batch. Why is that?" He was the first one to choose, which was how he got Momoe.

"He got directly sent to the Genin Corp," Aimi answered.

"Why would they do that?" Kazuo looked at Aimi in confusion.

Aimi shrugged. "I don't know, maybe because he sucked back then."

Kazuo frowned and returned his eye to spar.

———

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Momoe grunted and huffed as she moved her sword faster than she had done in a while. The last time she had moved so fast was against a senior chunin while in training. Takuma was attacking her with three kunai at the same time. Two held by the water tentacles and one in his right hand. She glanced at his empty arm. That was an entirely different problem. She knew he was keeping it open to use augmented strikes if she gave him a chance.

Takuma's style hadn't changed much from before. He targeted her legs more than anyone she had fought, which was more annoying than anything. But now she had to deal with the two other arms that unfailingly attacked when Takuma created an opening to strike.

"Ugh!"

She yelped in pain as Takuma dug a kunai into her upper thigh. Momoe tried to load her sword with chakra but was immediately made to cut the connection by a chakra-augmented kick smashing into her upper arm. A sharp pain spiked through her arm, making her almost drop her sword.

Her mind raced, trying to figure out the next course of action. Her eyes darted at the water appendages holding the kunai. As though timing it, the tentacles chucked their kunai at her the moment she blinked. Her sword moved on instinct to deflect them before she had to reel her instincts in when Takuma jabbed the kunai in his left for her abdomen. The blades screeched noisily as Momoe successfully managed to dodge. Her relief was momentary as she was hit by an augmented kick straight on the cut in her thigh.

For the first time in the fight, Momoe backed off. She hastily swung her sword that cut off half a tentacle, before jumping back and creating distance to get a breath of time to compose herself.

Takuma didn't follow her. There was a pause in which he stood still for a moment. The water blob on his back twitched before the water moved to the tentacle Momoe had cut off, replenishing it back to its original length. It was after that Takuma pursued her.

Momoe noticed all of that. Not only did the water mass she had cut not rejoin the water under Takuma's control, he also had to pause for a moment to reallocate the water. Was it because Takuma wasn't proficient at the jutsu, or was it an inherent limitation of the jutsu? Momoe didn't know the reason— only that if it happened once, the chances of it happening again were high.

'I just have to keep cutting,' she thought.

Momoe took a deep breath and delved deep into her focus. She blocked out her surroundings, an unwise move, but they were alone with zero outside factors. She could afford to tunnel her concentration. The effect was instantly felt— Takuma's movements didn't get any slower, but she could react better to them.

Slice! One of the tentacles was shortened by half. In return, she got stabbed once in her shoulder. She gritted her teeth from the pain as she lifted her sword and struck again. Slice! Slice! Slice! She cut both enough that they no longer had the range to reach her.

"Gah!" Takuma shouted hoarsely. She managed to leave a gash across his arm and chest.

The momentum changed yet again, and Momoe was at the offense, but she realized that with her leg and shoulder injured, it wouldn't be long enough before he would regain the advantage. She could see it in his eyes. He was still calculating, trying to figure out her next move— but as Momoe anticipated, Takuma paused to reallocate the water to regrow the tentacles.

'Chance!,' she yelled internally.

Momoe raised her sword high above her head. It was a time-consuming move (every milli-second was important), but here she could afford it. Chakra gathered on the edge of her blade as she swung down.

However, the unexpected was a mainstay of the battlefield. Takuma's two tentacles regrew, and two additional ones burst alongside the old ones. The four water appendages layered themselves atop one another in front of her sword. As her sword metal sliced through, she could feel how the water was much denser than its usual property— most definitely a function of the jutsu.

It wasn't enough. The chakra on the edge cut through the resistance and slipped past the water mast. But the fight had shown that the Takuma of today wasn't the same as the Takuma of old. He crossed his arms in front and blocked the sword with his arm guards. Clang! The sword hit the metal plating, stopping the sword from reaching the skin.

Momoe clicked her tongue. But, she managed to cut a majority of the water mass, which was a positive. She immediately jumped back, and Takuma did the same. Her condition was a level worse than Takuma's.

A direct confrontation was unadvised, she thought.

She gazed at him as the water tentacles returned from four to two. She briefly glanced at Kazuo before coming to a decision.

It was time to end the spar.

She dropped her sword, and her hands blurred as she formed hand seals.

'Fire Release: Incinerating Wildfire!'

The chakra bubbled in her lungs as she felt her body warm up from the inside. She loved how it felt when she used the jutsu. It was pure power. Power that she had control over. She breathed out, and pure chakra transformed as fuel burst out of her mouth, igniting into a wide spray of deadly fire.

The fire burned the grass and scorched the earth as it blew toward Takuma.

Momoe picked up her sword and stood up.

When the fire blew over, there remained but scorched ground. Momoe frowned. Her first thought was that she had erased Takuma into ash, but when she looked at Kazuo, he hadn't made a move. Then it struck her, Takuma was fine. If he hadn't been, Kazuo would've interrupted the fight.

She looked to her right. He wasn't there. Then to her left. No sign. She raised her eyes to the sky. But he wasn't there as well.

Crack.

A shiver went down Momoe's spine when he heard the sound. She turned toward her back as the ground split open, and Takuma, his clothes burnt and his skin singed, leaped out of the earth. She barely had time to draw her sword and push chakra into it as Takuma emerged.

"I give up," Takuma raised a bloodied and burnt hand.

Momoe wasn't surprised. She released the tension in her body and let her sword tip touch the ground as she lowered her arm, easing the burden on the injured shoulder. She didn't realize how labored her breathing was; she could hear it over her thumping heat.

The fight was over.

Before either could as much as blink, Kazuo appeared between them.

"Both of you fought good," he said with a smile. He placed himself between them as though anticipating one of them to attack the other.

Momoe and Takuma looked at each other.

Neither of them wanted to continue.

———

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"You cheating bastard! Who is the wench that seduced you?" said Sango as she treated Takuma's wound from the spar. "You didn't fight today. How did you get these?"

Takuma looked at her. He was too exhausted to engage in jokes with her. The fight was exhausting; Momoe was probably the most formidable opponent he had faced.

"I had a spar today. The people I sparred with took me to the hospital afterward," said Takuma. But after so much time getting treated by Sango, Takuma had to book a check-up with his trusted iryo-nin to ensure the hospital had done everything properly so he could have peace of mind.

"Must've gotten your ass kicked in light sparring. Look at all of these burns, these will be a pain to heal," Sango said, lifting the bandage over the part of the burnt skin. "How did these happen again?"

"B-rank Fire Release jutsu," Takuma answered shortly. He didn't know the jutsu's name, just that it was a B-rank jutsu.

"Oh, no wonder they're so bad," she said. "Dodge next time."

He scoffed. He had dodged, only he had done it a moment late. The jutsu had once again dug out some bad memories. The moment the heat from the jutsu reached him, he remembered the Land of Frost. He had been licked by the wisps on the fringe of the same B-rank jutsu (it was stronger than what Momoe had cast)— and had to roll on the ground to extinguish them.

Takuma closed his eyes as the image of Dai's crushed head flashed through his mind.

He grunted again as Sango touched his side.

Unlike the Ring fight, he hadn't stopped cold against Momoe. But that slight delay had cost him. By the time he decided to use the Earth Release: Hiding In The Rock Jutsu, she was already three-quarters way through her hand seals. It was fortunate that his hasty hand seals were enough to activate the jutsu, or he would've been an overcooked person.

The B-rank jutsu was unexpected. He didn't think Momoe would whip out the big guns. They were both genin, but Momoe had access to a B-rank jutsu. And he was sure that she had access to more. If he had given her a chance, she would've shown him what she could truly do with her sword— something he wasn't keen on facing.

He had grown stronger since the Land of Frost, but he still had nothing to counter a B-rank jutsu like Momoe's. His C-rank defensive jutsu, Earth Release: Earthen Dome, was ripped apart by a B-rank Lightning Jutsu, which wasn't even aimed at him.

The divide between C-rank and B-rank jutsu was a canyon.

"Did you win?" asked Sango.

"No," said Takuma. He had decided to call it quits the moment Momoe had spit the first licks of fire out of her mouth.

"Do you think you'll win your first match?" Sango asked after she was done patching him up.

Takuma stood up, stretching his body, pulling on the newly treated, still healing wounds, and getting slapped on his back for it.

"I will try," he said.

If all genin in Ring's ninjutsu category were like Momoe, then the Hidden Leaf would've already conquered the world.

———

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AN: Takuma's new jutsu in order.

Water Release: Wild Water Wave [C-rank]

Water Release: Eight Tentacles [D-rank]

Earth Release: Hiding In The Rock Jutsu [D-rank]

The reason he didn't use the rest of his jutsu is because he was trying to simulate what it would be like to fight in the Ring where some of his jutsu aren't allowed. Following are the additional jutsu he CAN use:

Lightning Release: Shock [D-rank]

Earth Release: Earthen Dome [C-rank]

Earth Release: Earth Tremor Sense Jutsu [C-rank]

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The link is in the synopsis!