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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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The link is also in the synopsis

———

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Toridasu looked between the two fighters, and the speed of his fan grew slower as the fight progressed. Most direct confrontations involving shinobi were short affairs of a few minutes until one party was defeated, or the fight broke up because one party decided to escape. Other real-life factors changed those time observations, but the median range of durations was consistently short.

Seeing Masumoto unable to wrap up the fight quickly told Toridasu that he had underestimated Takuma's combat ability. The injuries on Masumoto were proof of his misjudgment. He had expected Takuma to take on a beating for provoking a chunin, but Masumoto's state was out of his expectations.

He glanced at Anko, who was occupied with the fight. "It seems you won't get to fight Masumoto," he said.

"Aww, I was looking forward to playing with him. Look how angry he is; it would've made my week," Anko snorted with faux amusement but her worry for her genin slipped between the curtain of her sarcasm. She eyed Toridasu with a look. "You better not stop me from interfering in case of an incident… I will protect my team."

"You underestimate him," Toridasu said, watching the water clone form beside Takuma.

"I know Takuma well enough. Masumoto is the one I don't trust. I can tell he's the petty kind; they can be particularly nasty fellows." Anko looked directly at Toridasu as she said the words.

Toridasu found the veiled insult equal parts amusing and adorable.

"Why do you think he's doing this? Is it simply for something lowly like revenge? You must've signed off on this," Toridasu asked.

"He's doing this for you," said Anko, surprising Toridasu with her answer.

"…For me? Pardon me but I didn't ask for this."

"Didn't you though? I asked you to put Team-9 on the precursor mission but you made it clear we weren't getting it when you gave Takuma a dressing down in front of Shirakumo. He blames himself and wants to make it up to the team."

"He went behind our backs."

"Net profit."

Toridasu disagreed with that but couldn't say that he was hoping to exploit their allied nation by having them fork over a portion of the extracted gold from the mines. They still would have recaptured the Gojiro Gold Mines for the Hidden Steam, but they would've done so with some demands. Toridasu would've spun a political web for that to happen—but when Benzou brought them the plans for recapture— and destruction—of the mines, it was after he had consulted with the powers at home. Toridasu was completely cut off and didn't even get the chance to convince them to keep the mines running, much less put pressure on the Hidden Steam and the Land of Hot Water.

Anko continued, "This is a showcase for you that Team-9 has two members with a field combat chunin's fighting ability." — Anko wasn't a field combat chunin with her specialty residing in information extraction, but the Snake's student was anything but not deadly. While not tested, Anko was among the strongest chunin in Camp Banana. — "He's making a case for you to consider, appealing that you set aside your personal feelings and appoint the best team for the mission. We didn't lose any members in Gojiro Gold Mines operations, we are equipped to gather intel out there for the subsequent recapture mission, and we obviously have enough firepower."

Toridasu tapped the bottom of his chin with his closed fan and shook his head.

"I'm sorry but this just looks like a child's petty revenge to me."

"People can have multiple intentions, sir. I mean, who doesn't?"

Toridasu watched as Takuma and his clone cornered Masumoto like it was a street-side brawl.

"I still don't think I will give it to you. I didn't like the Snake very much."

"And you think I love him, sir?" Anko scoffed. "Madmen like him hurt the people closest to them the most," she said in a quieter voice. She took in a deep breath and audibly exhaled. "And I don't care if you give the mission to me, sir. I don't care anymore—about your misplaced grudge or the mission."

"Is that so?" Toridasu smiled, calling her bluff.

"It is. You just told me I have a new job waiting for me back home in the T&I department." Anko smiled refreshingly at him. "You just made my day, sir, and for that, I thank you. I'll treat you to a meal when we return home. I know a killer corner joint that serves sweet bean soup and dango to die for."

"I prefer my food to be spicy."

Anko laughed. "No wonder we don't get along."

———

.

"Scars."

"Takuma."

Takuma and Clone stood next to each other and communicated their role to each other. Clone only had ten percent of Takuma's chakra and was a level inferior in terms of physical capabilities—but other than that, they were completely identical.

Water Style: Eight Tentacles

The water tentacles formed behind their backs.

Opposite them, Masumoto breathed out a jet of fire that fanned back to form a ring around him before splitting into nine orbs. The orbs split into two different orbits that crossed each other, forming an X-shape.

Fire Release: Fox Fire

"He's quick, but he doesn't like to move around, so we have to be on the move," said Clone.

Takuma eyed the fire orbs rotating around Masumoto and felt that they were rather similar to his water tentacles. He wasn't familiar with the jutsu, but he could guess that the fire orbs had considerable range and speed, and that any contact with them would burn harshly.

"Allocate half of the tentacles for defensive purposes," Takuma said to Clone.

Clone scoffed. "I should be saying that. You're Scars."

"Let's go."

Takuma and Clone were on the move. They went into diverging directions with the intention to flank Masumoto from either side in a pincer movement.

Masumoto's eyes moved between Takuma and Clone. He assumed a stance, and the moment they were close enough, the fire orbs broke from their stable orbital movements and flew erratically. Six orbs shot toward Takuma while Masumoto took three orbs with him and charged Clone. The tentacles behind Clone jolted into action. One whipped the first fire orb away from Clone. Three tentacles tried to envelop the second orb in an attempt to extinguish it, but the third orb pushed the trapped second orb. The second orb was smaller with the tentacles having done some damage, but it drew closer to the third orb, and in a moment, swelled back to its previous size and intensity.

Clone made a note of it and clashed with Masumoto.

There were no quips exchanged as the two fought. Masumoto was more aggressive and the Ring influence showed in his style—his body shots looked for the liver and kidney, frequent kicks were aimed at the joints to disrupt the balance and take out the base, and he was more than willing to trade damage for opportunities to inflict more and worse pain.

He noted that this must be what others felt when they fought him. The fire orbs acted like extra arms, just like his water tentacles did and Masumoto used them viciously, targeting his face to damage his eyes and ears. Clone felt the heat near his face—but the water tentacles kept the fire orbs away.

Clone, like an ice skater on the rink, was constantly on the move as he targeted Masumoto from both sides. Masumoto was quick, but he wasn't light on his feet. Clone exerted himself to jump around and push his speed even further, turning the pressure so Masumoto would make a mistake.

He was on the hunt for a counter opportunity.

Alas, Clone was slower than Takuma and Masumoto was difficult to pressure. Less than ten seconds after their clash, Clone pulled back away from Masumoto.

Masumoto wasn't confused and immediately turned and pulled up a block. Takuma smashed a devastating augmented cross into his arms. Masumoto held his ground but was forced to skid several meters back. He growled in pain as he flexed his arms to stop them from trembling.

Clone shot back in from behind with a flying augmented kick to Masumoto's head that his opponent parried and redirected skillfully. When his feet landed on the ground, Clone jumped again for a spinning kick.

Masumoto tried to pull back, but five of Takuma's tentacles wrapped around him from behind, holding him in place. Clone slammed the kick into his shoulder and he jerked, still trapped within the water tentacles. Clone tried to convert his one hit into a chain combination—but three orbs shot toward him in quick succession, all blocked by the three remaining water tentacles.The other five slipped off Masumoto as Clone was sent flying —the fire orbs were heavy as cannon balls.

As Takuma stepped from behind to stab Masumoto in the back, another orb rushed toward him. The tentacles moved to intercept it, but it pulsed dangerously and exploded.

Takuma's body spun through the air; the tentacles plunged into the ground, slowing him down. Takuma rose unsteadily as the tentacles snaked around his body to cool the burns. He gazed at Masumoto. The man was rolling on the ground, putting out the fire from his own explosion. His clothes were ruined, and the skin on his back was charred and angry.

"Fuck," Takuma touched behind his ringing left ear. He raised his left hand to his right shoulder and snapped the dislocated shoulder back into his place with a wince.

It didn't surprise Takuma that Masumoto was willing to trade damage, but not to this degree. It was something the Ring did to its fighters—genin who walked out of the Ring were much more willing to trade injuries, a dangerous habit to fall into on the field. Takuma was trying to hammer down that same instinct to this day and assumed that Masumoto, who had retired by the time he became Scars, would've done the same.

Has he not done so yet, or is Masumoto taking greater risk on purpose, Takuma wondered—if it was the latter, then why?

Takuma exchanged glances with Clone, and both ran toward Masumoto again in a pincer movement. Masumoto was breathing heavily on his knees. The remaining fire orbs mobilized, and a pair whizzed towards each of them.

Takuma tried to dance around the fire orbs, but now that he knew they could explode, he kept his distance and was always ready to jump away at the moment's notice.

Clone, on the other hand, decided to experiment; he ran around looking like he was trying to get past the fire orbs. He came very near the fire orb before jumping away to a dead still. The fire orb bobbed after him but halted halfway.

Clone looked at Masumoto, who was now frowning.

He grinned before yelling, "Ten to twelve meters!"

Takuma jumped backward until he was more than twelve meters away from Masumoto and immediately weaved hand seals.

Water Release: Wild Water Wave

Takuma had purposefully overcharged the jutsu. It had double the range and the water retained much of its damaging pressure. The jutsu barreled toward Masumoto, who was clearly injured as he was still kneeling.

Two fire orbs shot towards the wave of water and exploded, neutralizing the ninjutsu. A light splash of water washed over Masumoto, leaving him drenched. Masumoto finally got up, and the six remaining fire orbs pulled back closer to him.

He started, "You think you're—"

Ding!

Masumoto froze up with a jolt. He groaned in agony as a harsh sound pierced his ear, and he began to see clones of Takuma pop around the field.

One of Clone's tentacles was holding a scuffed bell.

Genjutsu: Bell Clone Jutsu

Takuma immediately took off toward Masumoto. Just when he thought he had a freeway, the nearest fire orbs moved, giving him a scare. He looked at Masumoto, who was still frozen up from the genjutsu. Then he noticed that the fire orb was moving erratically and much slower. It seemed that genjutsu only froze up the body, and the mind was affected, but not completely.

He learned more every day.

Takuma clicked his tongue and jumped away just a moment before the fire orb nearest to him suddenly exploded.

"He's free," Clone shouted.

Masumoto shook his head, trying to shake off any lingering effects. It was unclear if exploding the fire orb snapped him out of the genjutsu or if he exploded the orb after he snapped out of it. He turned a glare towards Clone, sending two fire orbs chasing after him.

Clone put himself far outside of the fire orb's range and was thinking about baiting Masumoto by stepping in and out of the range and occupying his attention so that Takuma could breach and get close to him. During that thought, one of the fire orbs struck the second from behind a moment before exploding. The second orb absorbed the explosion, growing bigger, and shot beyond its tracking range toward Clone..

He thought he was safe as long as he was outside the range, and the sudden collapse of that logical conclusion made him freeze up. He watched it pulse and grow brighter like all the other orbs did before exploding. A split second later, Clone snapped into action and punched out toward the orb just as it was less than a meter away from him.

Chakra Augmentation: Second Form

The chakra bubbling inside Clone's arm traveled to the front of his fist and then shot out in a directed beam of concentrated chakra that struck the fire orb before it could hit Clone. It wasn't as powerful as the usual augmented strike and took more chakra to perform, but it added extra range to his melee attack.

The fire orb, heavy as a cannonball, being propelled by an explosion much like a cannon, had an overwhelming force behind it—and for a moment, it looked like the second form punch failed to stop the bull run, but then it was smashed away into the air a moment before it exploded. Clone pulled his arms up in protection with a pleased grin. He felt the heat but little of the explosive force. It was the first time the second form punch was used in battle, and it was a success even though he had yet to test it in spars.

On Masumoto's side, he looked up to see a flurry of kunai and shuriken tearing in his direction. He narrowed his eyes and caught explosive tags fluttering behind a few kunai mixed in with the bunch. He sighed, and with a flick of his wrist, three of the remaining four orbs met the weapons in mid-air. They exploded and the barrage of projectiles was blown away in all directions. Metal shards and broken hilts clattered across the field.

Masumoto looked ahead and found Takuma missing. His pupils shrunk, and goosebumps erupted across his bare skin. He turned around and felt the ground beneath him shift. Takuma broke through a crack in the ground. The last remaining fire orb flew toward Takuma, who punched out with a weaker second form augmentation and sent it a few meters away.

Takuma slashed Masumoto across the chest with the kunai in his other hand. Blood spattered over his face as Masumoto stumbled back. Takuma struck with his kunai again, but Masumoto grabbed the blade, cutting the inside of his hand. He muffled his grunt and kicked Takuma's legs from under him, followed by a stomp to his chest, pinning him to the ground. The fire orb rushed in from the side, and Masumoto jumped away. Takuma saw the orb glowing brighter; he couldn't get up to run in time, so he took the next option of weaving hand seals for Earth Style: Earthen Dome. He knew the jutsu wouldn't make it time, but it was his only option.

Just as the orb expanded, a second away from blowing up, Clone came flying in. He enveloped his body around the orb the moment it exploded. Clone blew up into a mass of water, and in his last moment, his body blocked the explosion that would've hit Takuma. While the fire hadn't touched him, the force of the explosion sent him flying and he smashed his elbow against the ground..

His vision swam. He spat out the blood pooling in his mouth as he got up and fixed his gaze toward the blurred figure he assumed to be Masumoto. As his vision settled, Takuma saw Masumoto weave hand seals, the gash on his hand dripping with blood.

A layer of visible blue chakra covered Masumoto's body. Takuma looked closer and saw the air around Masumoto's body shimmering with sheer heat. The grass around Masumoto's feet burned, turning black with embers.

"Takuma!" Anko yelled from the sidelines. "That's a B-rank ninjutsu— be careful!"

Masumoto threw his head back, flexed his entire body, and yelled to the sky.

The chakra layer sparked and surged into a blazing fire, surrounding him like a scorching aura, trying to burn everything and anything within its reach. Steam rose from the ground around Masumoto, the moisture being burned, and within a couple of seconds, he was standing in a smoldering ring.

 A fresh coat of sweat erupted across Takuma's body, running down his face and evaporating before it ever hit the ground.

A hundred thoughts flashed across his mind as he ran simulations on how the fight would go.

The result was the same every single time: he couldn't win—not against this.

.

———

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The link is in the synopsis!