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Path Of War

The year is 2025. A devout Christian named Arthur Bennett wins a lottery to participate in a revolutionary virtual reality experience at a high-tech company called Elysium. The program utilizes a unique VR pod to immerse users in a world based on a popular anime. As the other participants—a mix of personalities with varying degrees of anime knowledge—prepare to enter the simulation, Arthur remains the only one who has never indulged in anime. Upon entering this new world, he discovers an unsettling truth: pain is excruciatingly real, despite the creators' claims of a dampened pain response. Arthur finds himself trapped in prison, unable to log out, and demanding to be released from the program. Calls go unanswered, and the world of ninjas becomes a nightmare where hunger, thirst, hygiene, and even death are real. Angered that he was deceived, Arthur abandons all sense of logic and vows to become a villain no one would have ever anticipated.

AkitoTakahashi · Fantasy
Not enough ratings
72 Chs

Complex Art

All the other players had a common purpose—to safeguard the Leaf Village from the impending threat of Orochimaru's invasion.

Arthur, however, considered the pairings for the finals.

The bracket, with him facing Sasuke, held no surprises. He knew, with a certainty bordering on premonition, how each battle would play out, who would emerge victorious, and who would ultimately clash in the climactic final duel.

Sasuke had graduated from the academy as the number one student, impressing experienced shinobi like Kakashi with his skills.

He was adept at taijutsu, able to hold his own against multiple opponents, and was incredibly fast, surpassing other techniques known for speed. His reflexes were also stated to be exceptional.

Not only does he have the Sharingan, it's particularly potent in Sasuke's case, noted to be stronger than his older brother Itachi's Sharingan.

Arthur never faced a Sharingan user, let alone an opponent with a powerful dōjutsu. In his fight, he's going to have to ensure he doesn't get controlled by Sasuke's genjutsu, something that can affect him with basic eye contact.

Beyond combat prowess, Sasuke possessed a sharp intellect. He consistently achieved top grades and is highly observant, analyzing techniques and formulating tactics on the fly.

These plans could be risky, putting himself or his allies in danger, but they often proved successful, earning admiration for his analytical skills from esteemed shinobi.

But much like Sasuke, Arthur wasn't reckless. He prepared for battles, trained to counter specific opponents' techniques, and equipped himself with tools to enhance his skills.

Arthur was certainly going to formulate long-term plans before their fight, manipulating the situation to his advantage.

Sasuke works effectively in teams, but Arthur is much deadlier when running solo—the thing that separates the two.

Reaching the edge of a ravine in the afternoon, Arthur relaxed himself.

He was alone and needed to start his training for potential threats. There was only one clear objective—use the coming month for preparations.

His thoughts turned to a technique he had been meaning to practice—the flying raijin. This legendary technique, perfected by Minato, granted its user the ability to teleport instantaneously to a pre-marked location.

While a promising technique, it was by no means simple to learn.

Arthur acknowledged the difficulty of this endeavour. The flying raijin was a complex technique, demanding skills over other techniques, such as precise chakra control and the creation of a specific marking formula.

Its potential benefits and strategic advantage were too compelling to ignore. He was not going to pass up trying to learn it.

Arthur approached a tree. He began by recalling the basic formula that needed to be implemented first. With slight modifications, he drew the formula on the tree bark.

It resembled the second Hokage's formula since that was written in the Scroll of Seals.

Setting to work, he delved into the theoretical framework of the technique, piecing together the correct steps for execution.

First, he practiced chakra flow exercises, striving for the precise control necessary to manipulate space-time. This proved taxing.

Space-time ninjutsu was quite rare, allowing the user to manipulate the fabric of space and time. They allow them to teleport themselves or objects to another location.

What Arthur understood about it was that space-time ninjutsus have their own unique "dimensional void" that is connected through a great amount of chakra.

That is what allowed people and objects to travel between them.

Arthur sat cross-legged, eyes closed. Sweat beaded on his brow, not from exertion but from intense concentration.

To achieve the first step, he had to warp his chakra to the formula and then release it to the desired destination.

He wasn't a prodigy like Hashirama or Kakashi, nor did he possess a legendary Kekkei Genkai like Madara or Itachi. But he was Arthur, a Christian whose nose was buried in spiritual philosophy to understand all things.

Arthur's mental gaze traced the chakra pathway from his body to the tree. He felt a faint recognition.

Relaxing, he visualized the chakra forming into a vast void. Next, he focused on a single point, a pinpoint of swirling chakra in the center of the connection. Trying to compress it inwards, his chakra drained layer by layer.

Too much chakra was used, so he stopped. Patience, not power, became his mantra.

Hours turned into days.

Throughout his training, his clothes were drained of sweat. Not from any movements, but from pure chakra exhaustion.

He experimented with different formulas, analyzing the results, refining them with each failed attempt.

It was frustrating. Frustration threatened to engulf him at times. The complexity of the technique and the sheer amount of chakra it demanded pushed him to the limits of his endurance.

But he persevered, fueled by the desire not to loom in this world forever.

As more time passed, eventually the swirling point became an invisible portal. He focused his chakra, visualizing the portal in his mind. With a final push, the portal flared.

He opened his eyes, only to see that he was shirtless. It wasn't anything to laugh about; it was the sensation of displacement. The shirt had been lying beside the tree, exactly where the formula was!

He had done it. A small, but significant, breakthrough.

Arthur couldn't help but be content. It wasn't perfect; the distance was minimal, barely a few steps, and the chakra expenditure was enormous for a single piece of clothing.

But it was a start after his weeks of relentless effort.

The following days were dedicated to refinement. He practiced and practiced until he managed to teleport his entire body.

Once it was finished, he began teleporting to progressively longer distances, analyzing his chakra flow to the seals. He incorporated physical conditioning exercises, recognizing the need for enhanced stamina to sustain the technique's demands.

This is how taxing the technique was: Minato, who could perform it regularly, taught it to his guards, which required cooperation from three members just to execute!

Arthur's progress, though slow, was steady. He learned to compensate for the chakra drain by strategically channeling his reserves.

An orthodox flow was developed during the initial formation, minimizing wasted movements and maximizing efficiency based on measurements of the target, the destination, and himself.

But Arthur wasn't naïve; teleporting himself had been a monumental feat, but teleporting other objects was a necessity.

Placing a smooth, white pebble on the ground, he focused his chakra, visualizing the now familiar portal. As it opened, a sliver of white vanished—not the entire pebble, but a small chip from its corner.

Partial success. Not unexpected.

Next, he procured a small cricket. The portal opened a few inches above the insect. The cricket, unaware of its impending interdimensional travel, continued chirping.

He tried to phase the insect through it, but found it remained stationary. With a sigh, he closed the portal.

The entire day was spent experimenting, undeterred.

He had tried leaves, losing only the dried, brittle edges to the void. He had attempted teleporting a kunai but ended up materializing the handle, the blade stubbornly refusing to follow.

Each failure was met with the same calm acceptance. He wasn't surprised; these were complexities he knew he'd face.

As the day ended, Arthur wasn't discouraged. In fact, he felt satisfied.

He had failed more times than he succeeded, yet with each attempt, his control grew a fraction stronger and his understanding of the technique became clearer.

Another day passed by.

He held his hand out, palm facing up. A lone ladybug crawled across his finger.

This time, as the portal came into existence, the ladybug was affected. It was swallowed whole.

Silence.

Had it worked? When Arthur looked, the ladybug resumed its leisurely exploration exactly where his formula was.

Success, finally. It wasn't perfect; the distance was small, but it was a complete teleportation nonetheless.

The complications of space-time ninjutsu were slowly yielding their secrets, and Arthur was patiently unlocking them one step, one experiment, at a time.

On one such afternoon, as he attempted a teleport across the entire training ground, his entire chakra reserves were depleted. Successful, but he was forced to stop, unable to form any more chakra.

In the days that followed, Arthur benefited from being patient. What he had learned in the Scroll of Seals helped him approach the technique from a new point of view.

He used simple meditation, grounding himself and focusing his chakra.

Forming the portal was the straightforward part. The real challenge lay in manipulating the portal itself.

He picked up the pebble labeled "A" and carefully positioned it within the portal's boundary. As he released it, the pebble vanished without a single noise, reappearing on the other side as a perfect replica, whole and intact.

Next came pebble "B."

This time, Arthur focused on compressing the portal by a fraction. The moment the pebble touched the edge, it sputtered and fragmented.

A shower of tiny pebbles rained on the other side, some whole, some reduced to dust.

He'd overshot the mark, squeezing the passageway too tightly, causing the pebble to break apart during transit.

He tried again with pebble "C," imagining the portal as a flexible membrane. This time, he expanded it slightly, allowing more space for the pebble to pass through.

The result?

Only a portion of the pebble materialized on the other side, the rest dissolving into nothingness mid-transit.

Frustration couldn't be felt. He understood. He'd made the portal too loose, causing the pebble to disintegrate during the teleportation sequence.

Arthur pulled a bottle of water.

Teleporting liquids was notoriously tricky, requiring precise control over the portal's form to prevent spillage or, worse, a ruptured container.

He focused intensely, picturing the portal as a smooth, uninterrupted channel. As he dipped a finger into the water and formed a portal, a thin stream of water arced gracefully through the seal, landing on the tree's trunk.

Success.

Performing this simple feat ate up two days of his time.

Teleportation wasn't just about creating a gateway; it was about controlling its size, shape, and stability. It was like sculpting a tunnel through air, ensuring it was strong enough to handle the object passing through without collapsing or distorting.

The procedure was delicate, and Arthur came to understand why every ninja wasn't equipped with it. Intense focus was required to bend the fabric of reality he sought to manipulate.

Nonetheless, he would persevere, calm and collected, until he could navigate this complex art with ease.

As the last day of his training came, Arthur stood at the top of a hill. He raised his hand, holding a kunai that glinted off the sun's light, channeling his chakra through a seal close by.

With a practiced motion, he then hurled the kunai down toward a tree. Eyes widened, Arthur disappeared, and he reappeared beside the tree, catching the kunai as if it had never left his hand.

The distance of the tree? Two hundred yards.

A triumphant grin spread across his face. The distance far exceeded his previous attempts with low chakra costs.

He had come a long way.

Again, he wasn't as fast or as legendary as Minato, but with each teleport and with each refinement of his technique, Arthur was becoming a player capable of rewriting the narrative and shaping his own destiny.

His path, still shrouded in mystery, had a new secret weapon: the flying raijin. Surely, there was none like Arthur Bennett.

As nightfall came, he returned to see someone had replied under the note he left on his door. This scrap of paper was addressed to the other players and stated he was undergoing solitary training in preparations for the finals.

Underneath his writing, three players had written something.

Jada: 'You're leaving us for a month?! I thought we had something special. Lol. All jokes aside, be careful. We're here for you!"

Margaret: 'Train all ya want. No one's stronger than me!'

William: 'Keep it up. I'm gonna train hard, too. See you when you get back. P.S. Don't let Sasuke discourage you. I lost, but I think I can get him next time.'

The paper—his desire to be left alone—was a fabrication. The truth—the real reason for his departure—was that he was going to venture out of the Leaf Village.

Without sighing, he folded the note and threw it away.