A C-Rank Mission: Journey to the Wave Country
A/N: In case you're wondering why this chapter is only about half as long as the last, it's because the last chapter was actually two chapters combined. I had already submitted them to another site when I decided to put them here, so I just did them as a single chapter.
The four humans and three Digimon of Team Seven stood before the Hokage’s desk reporting their successful mission. Kakashi stood behind his students, Renamon and Impmon stood beside their partners and Sakura held Lalamon up to her chest. The three genin had taken to constantly carrying their Digivices clipped to their waist.
They had just completed the dreaded “catch the daimyo’s wife’s cat mission.” Renamon felt very sorry for the poor cat being returned to its mistress. They had chased it all around the village before Lalamon was able to get close enough to use her Sing a Song technique to put it to sleep. Now it was trying desperately to escape the clutches of the daimyo’s wife. No doubt it would succeed eventually and they would be stuck chasing it again.
“I’ve had it with these lame missions!” Naruto declared to the Hokage, “I’m a ninja now and I want a real mission!”
“Naruto,” Renamon chided, “Show some respect to Hokage-sama.”
“Kid’s got a point, foxy,” Impmon interjected, “Pullin’ weeds an’ walkin’ dogs ain’t exactly what I had in mind when I got here t’the Real World. Right Lalamon?”
“Well…” Lalamon replied, “I don’t really mind it too much. I think they’re kind of fun.”
“You would,” Impmon replied sourly.
“Honestly, I don’t know how someone so cool as Sasuke-kun could end up with a partner like you,” Sakura said.
“What’s that supposed t’mean, pinky?!” Impmon demanded, “Sasuke, are you gonna let her talk t’me like that?”
“Hn,” Sasuke replied.
“Fine, see if I make you breakfast anymore.”
“I think Hokage-sama has something to say,” Kakashi interrupted.
The Hokage cleared his throat.
“As I was about to say,” Sarutobi said, “The village needs money from D-rank missions. We get more money from the sheer volume of them than more expensive missions of higher rank so we need you fresh genin to do them.”
“But they’re so boring!” Naruto complained, “Can’t you just give us one good mission? We can handle it.”
The Hokage seemed to mull it over for a minute. Renamon secretly hoped he would turn Naruto down. She wanted to be absolutely sure Naruto was ready before he began taking on anything too advanced.
“You’ve only performed seven D-rank missions and genin are generally required to successfully complete many more than that before they are given their first C-rank,” he said, “However, it might be beneficial for you to have this experience. I will allow you to perform a C-rank escort mission.”
Renamon could not believe it. Offering a C-rank mission to a team fresh out of the academy was crazy. She knew the Hokage had a soft spot for Naruto, but to give in to such a request?
“YES!” Naruto yelled, “Who are we escorting? A princess? A daimyo?”
“A bridge builder,” he replied simply.
“In fact, the client should be here any time.”
As if on cue, a man stepped through the door. He looked to be in fifties and had a bottle of sake in his hand. He appeared to have already indulged a little in it.
“These brats are my escort?” he asked, “Aren’t you kids a little young to be ninja?”
“Hey, who are you calling a brat, you old drunk?!” Naruto demanded.
“The short one has a super big mouth,” he said.
Renamon grabbed the collar of Naruto’s jacket just as he was about to go after the old man.
“Naruto, if you attack the client then we’ll have this mission taken away from us,” she said “Do you feel like spending the rest of the day doing D-ranks?”
Naruto grumbled something that sounded suspiciously like ‘he started it’ and crossed his arms.
“And what’re you, a kitsune or something?”
“My name is Renamon and I suppose I have a certain kinship with the creatures you call kitsune.”
That was not strictly true, but Renamon did not feel particularly like explaining Digimon to this man.
“How ‘bout those two?” Tazuna asked as he motioned vaguely at Lalamon and Impmon “A kodama and some kinda mini-oni?”
“Tazuna-san, I can assure that these three and their partners are perfectly capable of escorting you back to the Wave Country,” the Hokage said, “Even rookie genin are more than a match for any bandits you might encounter.”
Renamon could have sworn she saw a brief change in Tazuna’s expression. She glanced at Kakashi and the Hokage, but if they noticed it, they gave no sign of it. The Hokage handed the mission scroll to Kakashi. He looked over it.
“All right, you six” Kakashi said, “Go pack enough supplies for a week and a half and be at the eastern gate in ten minutes.”
Their trip began relatively uneventfully. Naruto was excited to be outside of the village gates on his first real trip and was leading the way, even if he only had the vaguest idea where they were going.
“Kakashi-sensei,” Sakura said, “Are there any ninja in the Wave Country?”
“Hm?” Kakashi replied, “No, there are many ninja villages on this continent, but the Wave Country doesn’t have one.”
“How many ninja villages are there?” Naruto asked.
“Well, you have the five major villages, Konohagakure, Sunagakure, Kirigakure, Kumogakure, and Iwagakure, each of which has a leader like our Hokage who bears the title Kage. Then you have the smaller villages, for example, Kusagakure, Amegakure, and Takigakure, who are almost as strong as the major villages, but lack the strength to have a Kage. Beyond that, there are even smaller villages whose power barely, if at all, extends out of their own country, Getsugakure for example. Several villages have also been decimated, such as Uzugakure, or who still exist, but have mostly converted themselves to some other purpose, like Yugakure. The cultures and traditions are different, but they all exist for basically the same purpose.”
“Wow, that’s a lot Kakashi-sensei,” Naruto said.
“There are actually even more than that, but it’s unlikely that you will ever encounter them outside of their countries.”
Renamon leapt over a puddle. For some reason the puddle struck her as odd. As they continued walking, it continued nagging at her. Finally, she spared a glance back at it and saw a person rising out of it. He was wearing a long black cloak, had metal glove on his right hand, and some kind of apparatus over his mouth.
Without hesitation, she launched an attack at him.
“Fox Leaf Arrowheads!”
The enemy brought up his metal glove to block the attack. He and another man fully emerged from the puddle, but Renamon’s aggression had gotten the attention of her companions.
The two ninjas, their metal gloves linked by a long chain, avoided the Digimons’ attacks. They charged at Kakashi, probably intent on taking out the biggest threat first. Their chain wrapped around his body and ripped into him. Having no time to worry about their dead sensei, Sakura and Sasuke grabbed kunai. Sakura moved in front of Tazuna and Sasuke charged at the enemy.
Not wasting a second, they charged at Naruto. The blond seemed too stunned to react.
“Fox Change Void!”
With a swirl of leaves, Renamon and Naruto changed positions. Renamon disliked using this technique because of its unreliability in combat, but she had no choice at that moment.
She ducked as the chain began to wrap around her.
She rammed her flame wreathed into the groin of the ninja to her right. He doubled over and Impmon jumped up before his face.
Impmon threw a ball of fire into the ninja’s face. He gave a shout of surprise and attempted to put out his now flaming cloak. Distracted by his companion’s predicament, the other ninja failed to notice Sasuke throwing a kunai to hold their chain to a tree behind them. Renamon and Impmon got out of the way as the two enemy nin realized what had happened and disengaged their chain. The uninjured one on the left charged at Tazuna while the other tried to put some distance between himself and his attackers.
He did not notice that Naruto, having finally pulled his act together, had sent two Kage Bunshin to sneak up behind him. They punched the enemy nin on his head and knocked him out cold.
Now it had turned into a race to protect Tazuna. Sasuke, Sakura and their partners had physically put themselves between the enemy nin and the bridge builder while Renamon and Naruto hurried to join the fight.
Just before the remaining enemy reached his target, Kakashi appeared and grabbed him around the neck. Renamon took a quick look at where Kakashi’s remain should’ve been, only to find pieces of wood.
“Excellent teamwork everyone,” Kakashi said, “Though you need to work on your reaction time Naruto.”
“What’s the matter Naruto?” Sasuke asked, “Scared?”
A look of fury crossed Naruto’s face.
“Hey, I took one of them out, so what if I was surprised for a second?!” Naruto said.
“If Renamon, Impmon and I hadn’t intervened, he would’ve killed you.”
“I give you my word that next time I won’t need anyone to save me! And I never go back on my word!”
By now Kakashi had tied both of the enemy ninjas to the tree.
“These two are chunin from Kiri,” Kakashi stated, “Would you care to explain what they’re doing attacking us, Tazuna-san?”
“How should I know?” Tazuna replied, “Maybe they wanted to declare war on your village.”
“Drop it. If that was the case they would’ve tried to kill all three of my students before they went after you. Since their last desperate attack was to kill you it means you were their primary target. We were assigned only to protect you from bandits. You lied to us about the true nature of this mission and therefore our contract is void. We are no longer under any obligation to protect you. My students and I will return to the village and if you want protection for a B-rank, you’ll have to pay for it.”
“There’s no way I’m giving up this mission!” Naruto declared, “I’ve worked too hard to become a ninja just to give up my first real mission! We handled those two just fine and we can take anything else that comes our way!”
“Naruto, it’s too dangerous,” Sakura said, “We aren’t ready for something like this. What if it’s jounin next time?”
“Sakura has a point,” Renamon said, “We may very well be in over our heads in this case.”
“Screw that!” Impmon replied, “I’m ready for some more excitement!”
“Well, that’s two for continuing and two for going back,” Kakashi said, “Sasuke? Lalamon?”
“If the dead last isn’t afraid of going on, why should I be?” Sasuke asked.
“I…um…er…” Lalamon stammered, and then she looked down “I think we should go back.”
“Then I guess it’s up to me to be a tie breaker,” Kakashi said
There was a long pause during which everyone stared at him.
“We’ll continue, but first I want to know exactly what’s going on.”
Tazuna sighed. He looked so defeated.
“Have you heard of the shipping magnate Gato?” he asked.
“Well, that’s just his public face. He’s also a ruthless mobster in charge of a huge criminal syndicate. Drugs, gambling, prostitution, scams of all kinds, he does whatever he can to make money. Right now he holds a monopoly on all business in the Wave Country since his shipping is the only way to get goods in and out of the country. He’s more powerful than the daimyo, but if I can complete the bridge I’m currently constructing, his stranglehold will be broken. Obviously, he doesn’t want that to happen so I’ve become a target for assassination. He’ll stop at nothing until I’m dead.”
“Then why not get an A- or B-ranked mission?” Kakashi asked, though the reason was pretty obvious.
“It took everything we could pull together to pay for just this C-rank. I couldn’t afford a higher ranked mission.”
“I see. Then my students are going to have to get stronger while we’re on this mission. We’re going to stop every day for a few hours to enhance your strengths. Normally, I’d try to work on your weakest areas, but we don’t have time for that. Sakura, your taijutsu is pathetic and you have low chakra reserves, even for a kunoichi your age.”
The girl looked disappointed with some anger hidden beneath.
“But you’re also very intelligent and have impeccable chakra control. You’re perfect for learning genjutsu. Naruto, you’re an idiot without anything remotely resembling subtlety. Your taijutsu is passable, but sloppy and your chakra control is abysmal.”
“Hey!” Naruto began.
“But,” Kakashi interrupted, “You have more chakra than many jounin I know and the fact that you managed to learn Kage Bunshin so quickly is astounding. I’d like to work on your chakra control a little, but then I’ll leave it up to you if you want to work on taijutsu or ninjutsu.”
Naruto’s face lit up at the prospect of learning new jutsu.
“Sasuke, you have no glaring flaws and are pretty good in all areas, but you’re arrogant. Arrogance gets people killed. However, that’s a problem for another day. Right now we can work on anything you want.”
Next he looked at each of the three Digimon.
“How do you guys get stronger?”
“By evolving,” Renamon replied, “this generally happens with age or if we absorb enough data from other Digimon. It is also possible if given power by an external force, usually a very powerful Digimon like the Sovereigns. I have also heard stories that the bond between a Digimon and a human can allow the Digimon to temporarily evolve in certain situations, but I don’t know exactly how it works.”
“All right. We should get moving, but first we need to take care of these two.”
He drew a kunai and slit the enemies’ throats in a fluid motion. Sakura, Naruto, and Lalamon looked on in horror while Sasuke was impassive and Impmon looked a little excited. Renamon had expected him to interrogate them or send for someone from Konoha to come get them. Then again, that would probably take valuable time that they didn’t have.
“Does this really horrify you so much?” Kakashi asked, “If so, you should quit as ninja right now. You’re going to see, and do, a lot of killing in career as shinobi.”
No one said anything.
They continued on, avoiding the main road and sticking to the forest, mostly making small talk to pass the time. Kakashi called them to a halt around dusk and they made camp in a small clearing.
“At the pace we’re moving, we’ll reach Sendai in a day and a half,” Kakashi said, “There’s an acquaintance of Tazuna-san’s is there waiting to take us into the Wave Country.”
“What about the training you promised us?!” Naruto demanded, his excitement barely contained.
“Oh, yes, I decided we need to start out with a basic chakra control exercise,” Kakashi replied, “You’re going to climb trees without using your hands.”
“How exactly do we do that?” Sakura asked.
“Follow me and I’ll show you. You Digimon stay here and look after Tazuna-san. I doubt we’ll be attacked here, but I want someone close by him at all times.”
Lalamon took a place at the man’s feet while Impmon where he had been sitting by Sasuke. Renamon elected to sit on the ground next to Tazuna. Their client had been fairly quiet since his revelation, perhaps ashamed of what he had done.
Renamon watched as Kakashi took his students to three trees at the edge of the clearing. Without hesitation he placed his foot on one and simply walked up the side of it.
“Wow, that’s so cool!” Naruto exclaimed loud enough to be heard all the way across the clearing.
Renamon could not hear Kakashi explanation of what they were to do, but soon all three of them were trying to run up the trees. Naruto only made it a little under two meters before he slashed his kunai against the tree and fell off. Sasuke made it maybe a meter higher. Apparently, Sakura’s chakra control was really as good as Kakashi had said because she made it all the way up to a branch strong enough to support her weight on her first try. Renamon was forced to give her credit for that.
Kakashi recalled Sakura after only a few more demonstrations of her abilities. The other two continued on tirelessly, though their progress was slow going. Kakashi and Sakura came back over to the campsite.
“All right Sakura,” Kakashi said, “how much do you know about genjutsu already?”
“Well, genjutsu is used to create illusions,” she replied, “It’s like a form of hypnosis that causes the target to hallucinate. It works by targeting the nervous system of the target. It can be broken by disrupting one’s own chakra flow or by causing pain to oneself in order to distract the mind from the illusion.”
“Good, that pretty much covers everything. Do you remember the genjutsu I used on you during the bell test?”
Sakura nodded and looked a bit irritated.
“It’s called Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu. That will be the first genjutsu that I teach you. It’s a fairly simple D-rank and the only hand seals are snake and rat. The idea is to show your victim something that will horrify them. It’s useful as a diversion so you can escape or so you can attack an enemy while they’re distracted. The key is to use your opponent’s mind against them so they will fill in the details you don’t know. Now try it out on me.”
“Okay,” Sakura replied.
She made the hand seals and looked expectantly at Kakashi. Renamon did not know what he was seeing, but he didn’t look particularly horrified. If anything he looked a mused.
“I expected that for some reason,” he deadpanned, “It’s pretty good, but the color of the cover is the wrong shade of orange and it’s burning too slowly. You’re imposing too much of your perception onto it. We also need to work on your seal forming speed. Against a real opponent you’d never get past snake.”
“Got it,” Sakura replied.
Sakura tried again, forming the seals faster, but they were kind of sloppy this time.
“You rushed,” Kakashi said, “Just worry about learning to do the jutsu right now, we can do seals later.”
She did it again.
“Better, but you need to work on the small details. It only takes one small slip up for an opponent to realize they’re caught in a genjutsu and release it.”
This continued for about two hours while the boys continued working on tree climbing. Neither of them was able to get as high as Sakura had gotten. Sakura’s progress on genjutsu gradually sped up and Kakashi declared mastery of Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu to be complete by the time he called everyone to bed.
“I’ll take first watch,” Kakashi said, “Naruto and Renamon will be second, then Sasuke and Impmon, and finally Sakura and Lalamon.”
With that they all retired to their tents. Sakura, by virtue of being female and human, and Lalamon, being her partner, had their own, if much smaller, tent, while everyone else, had to share a larger tent.
Sasuke and Naruto, tired from their training, feel asleep almost immediately. Tazuna tossed and turned, his guilty conscience likely nagging at him. The two Digimon did not need much sleep. The Digital World could be a very brutal place, even for the young, and those caught sleeping were in great danger.
“Say, foxy, you’ve been here for a long time, right?” Impmon asked.
“Yes, I’ve been in this world for six years,” she replied.
“How’d it happen?”
“I was a Pokomon at the time. I lived mostly by myself in the Southern part of the Digital World. There was a Babamon and Jijimon couple who took care of the younger Digimon and kept everyone in line. I was actually asleep in their home when I was transported here. Apparently Naruto wished for me on his Digivice. What about you?”
“Me an’ Lalamon met not too long ago. A bunch of us were headed to the Palace of the Celestial Digimon t’get away from all the evil Digimon escapin’ the Dark Area.”
“Wait, evil Digimon escaping the Dark Area? When did this happen?”
“It started about a year ago when Cherubimon and Ophanimon disappeared. No one knows what happened to ‘em. The attacks’ve been gettin’ a lot worse though. I’ve heard rumors that the Seven Great Demon Lords are plannin’ to invade the Digital World.”
“Didn’t the Sovereigns and the Celestial Digimon kill Beelzebumon and seal away Lucemon in the deepest part of the Dark Area?”
“Yup, but there are plenty o’ demon Digimon who’d be willin’ t’take the Crest of Gluttony. As for Lucemon, no seal’s perfect and I know GranDracmon, just to name one, would find way to let him out just to piss of the higher ups.”
Renamon shuddered. Just talking about those horrors was enough to frighten her to the core.
“Anyway, as soon as we got t’the Palace, Seraphimon himself took us aside and told us we’d be goin’ t’the Real World to meet our partners.”
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this earlier?”
“I didn’t really think it mattered. What can three Child-level Digimon in another world do about it?”
“As it is, nothing, but this could mean we’re Chosen Digimon. If so, it’s our duty to be prepared to protect both worlds.”
Impmon stretched and yawned in an exaggerated fashion.
“That’s too much thought for this late at night,” he said, “I’m goin’ t’sleep.”
He curled up next to Sasuke and was asleep within minutes.. Renamon used the opportunity to doze lightly until Kakashi arrived to wake Naruto for watch duty. The blond was very reluctant to leave his sleeping bag and did so only with much grumbling.
The two hours passed uneventfully, but Renamon had a lot to mull over during that time.
A/N: I realize that I started training the team a little early, but I felt it would make a lot more sense for Kakashi to help them get stronger before leading them into danger, not after.
Kodama: a type of tree spirit in Japanese mythology
Oni: a creature from Japanese mythology, usually referred to as an ogre. Impmon doesn’t really look that much like an oni, but it was the best thing Tazuna could come up with.
Fox Change Void: a video games only technique Renamon possesses. It’s really similar to kawarimi and shunshin, so I decided to include it.
Getsugakure: Hidden Moon Village. The only evidence for its existence is from a headband the chunin exam in the manga, but the name is so cool.
Uzugakure: Hidden Whirlpool Village. Granted, it’s never specifically stated that the Whirlpool Country had a hidden village, but considering Kushina was a kunoichi from there, I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume they had a village.
Yugakure: Hidden Hot Springs. This is Hidan’s home village, as stated in Databook 3. It also appears in a filler episode of Shippuden.
Magen: Narakumi no Jutsu-Demonic Illusion: Hell Viewing Technique