Chapter 8: Pursuit
The hunter stopped in front of a huge rock. He laid his left hand on it and pushed some chakra into the stone to remove it. It shoves to the side. Bring her in, Rakuna. The wolf nodded and walked inside, with the girl on her back. The man closed the entrance and opened a door. It led to a corridor. He and the wolf walked slowly through it, leaving a trail of water behind. It had rained that night.
Hinata felt she fell on the ground, but wasnt sure why and were she was. Slowly she got up and saw the wolf leaving the room and the blood limit hunter closing the door. He had an evil grin on his face. She heard the door being locked. Hinata sighed, she had failed again.
The man walked to his personal room, but stopped in the middle of the hall. Facing a girl with almost white hair, looking at him straight. You returned, he said calmly. The girl looked away. Yes, you did it again, didnt you? Of course, its
my job, the hunter answered and walked away. While passing the girl their gazes met and you could feel the tension in the air. The wolf followed the man until the girl whistled.
Rakuna recognized the sound and turned her head. She stopped walking and faced the girl. Looking her right into the face and forgot everything around her. Slowly she placed her front paw towards the girl and walked up to her. Rakuna, her master said. She turned again and followed the man. Leaving the girl with a pained face.
Hinata cried. She had laid her arms on her knees and her head on her arms. Tears dropped to the ground. I failed again, why? Naruto-kun, she whispered. Dont cry. Hinata looked up, shocked, and saw a face behind the bars in the door. It was girl, with very blond hair. She didnt look so happy.
Im going too! a voice shouted. Kakashi, Kiba, Sakura and Tsunade turned their head to the boy that just entered the room by jumping through the open window. Forget it, Naruto. Im not sending you on any mission until we got rid of your tail and fox ears. No way, Im going too! Naruto shouted angrily. Naruto, you cant, Sakura said concerned. Kakashi just sighed and started to read his perverted book. You heard me, Naruto. NO!
Naruto walked up to Tsunades desk and slammed his hands on the table-top. Shaking from angriness he looked down, trying to control his temper. Baa-chan, I am the only one that fought against him before. Besides he may know something about how to remove those stupid ears and the tail, he said in a low voice and never sounded so serious before. Tsunade looked stunned at him. Ha, you lost against him, Fox boy, Kiba said. Shut up, Dogbreath!
Tsunade placed her hands on the desk in a loud way. The two boys looked at her with scared faces. Naruto, you go with them
Naruto grinned a bit.
but promise me you dont overdo it. Dont worry about me. Then you four will go as soon as you gathered all the stuff you need for this mission. The group answered with a yes and they all left.
Naruto went to his home and grabbed his kunai and shuriken set. He looked at the kitchen. Since Sakura brought him the healthy food, he started eating other things then ramen. He gathered some food out of the fridge, not only ramen, and threw it in his bag. Then he left.
didnt mean to scare you, the girl said with an uneasy smile on her face. Then she suddenly looked sad again, Im sorry. For what? Hinata asked. I should have stopped him when I had the change. What do you mean? Hinata stood up and walked up to the girl. The man, who put you in all this trouble, he
the girl looked away, hes my father. Hinata didnt know what to say for a few minutes. But
that doesnt say anything about you, does it. The girl turned her head in a rapid to Hinata with a surprised expression. After staring at her for a few seconds she looked at the floor again with a little smile on her face. I guess thats true. It was quiet for several seconds, until she spoke again. I wish I could free you, like I did with the others he brought with him, but he found out I freed them. He doesnt trust me anymore, I dont have the key and he wont give it to me. Others? Hinata asked. It doesnt happen that often, but sometimes he brings somebody with him alive. He closes them up in a jail for a few days and then starts to indoctrinate them, while using some jutsu to control their minds. There are also times he brings somebody alive and gets the parts that the person uses for its blood limit. That last thing happens the most of the times when he brings somebody.
Hinata stepped a few passes back, looking scared. What-what is he gonna do with me? I think the first, after seeing his expression. Hinata didnt know if she should be relieved about it or not. Ill bring you some food; Ill be back in a minute. The girl left.
Kakashi was the last one to appear at the gate. Finally, can we go now, Naruto said. He had been the first one standing there. Kakashi nodded and they left Konoha. Akamaru searched for the scent of Hinata, Kiba did the same. Damn it. The scent is washed away because of the rain last night, Kiba cursed. Naruto closed his eyes. Trying to remember Hinatas scent.
With just that new ability of smell it wont work.
Then what else should I try?
Your smell becomes better if you bring chakra to your nose, like the dogboy does. Because youre a half animal right now and a fox has a way better smell than a dog, you might be able to smell her.
Naruto brought chakra to his nose and smelled Hinatas scent. He opened his eyes and tried to figure out which way it was going to. This way, he said. The others turned their face to him. Kiba was the first one to talk, How can you be so sure? That poison gave me the ability to smell like a fox. Its this way. Naruto pointed in the direction of Hinatas scent. And you think I believe that! Shut up, Kiba! Why did you want to go on this mission in the first place? Kiba shouted. Kakashi and Sakura were just watching.
Because I should have killed that bastard when I had the change. Instead of that I ran away, got sick and put Hinata in danger! Naruto shouted and then looked away with a pained face. Kiba saw this and was impressed. So you do care, he thought, You even give yourself the fault of all this. Okay, I trust you, but if youre wrong
Dont even think about what you might do to me when I am wrong, because Im not. Lets go.
While walking Naruto had the feeling he said too much. But it was true, he felt responsible for all this. He blamed himself Hinata was kidnapped. He watched the others from the corners of his eyes. He hadnt told them he and Hinata were going out. Hinata hadnt told them either since Kiba asked why he would go on this mission, also they dont give him the feeling they do know. It was pretty strange to feel such things, but it was probably because hes a half animal now. He thought about the tail and the stupid ears and sighed in himself. He didnt really care about them right now. Hinata was far more important and she found them cute.
The girl shoved some food under the door. Hinata looked at it. She expected some water and bread, but it was rice balls, a bowl of ramen and a cup of tea. Th-thanks, Hinata said cheerfully and took a bite of one of the rice balls. The girl smiled. Hinata sat down on the wooden bench on the side. So, whos this Naruto guy? the girl asked. Hinata choke in her tea and coughed for a few minutes. The girl just waited for an answer. How-how do you know
I heard you saying that name. Is he your boyfriend? Hinata couldnt help to blush.
He is, isnt he? Hinata nodded, still flushing. Since yesterday, she whispered. The girl looked to the ground with some jealousy. He
he saved me when I was attacked by Cloud more than a week ago. He got hit with a poisoned kunai that changed him partly into a fox, Hinata said in a soft voice. Poisoned kunai and Cloud
dont tell me. Is he a full fox already? Wait, what am I asking, of course he is, he got the poison into his body more than a week ago, but that... the girl said confused. Well, actually he only has a tail and fox ears. The girl looked at her more confused then before but also a bit relieved. But how? I mean that never happened before, she said quietly. After that he was attacked by the wolf. You mean Rakuna, the girl sounded depressed and walked away. Hinata stood up and walked to the door. She looked at the girl through the bars.
The girl let her head fall against the wall, while fighting against the tears. Im-Im sorry
about what Rakuna did. Actually, I am her real owner. I found her years ago, wounded and in a bad condition. She looked so lost, I cared for her ever since the day I met her. I asked her to spy on my father, so that I could stop him hunting down people, but
Tears dripped to the ground. But now he used that jutsu he uses to control people on her. Why dont you try to dispel it? I did, it didnt work.
Try again, dont give up yet, Hinata said, thinking about the days she gave up, she leaked confidence in herself. That wont work, the girl said. How do you know? The girl didnt answer. You dont know if you dont try. How can you be so sure?! the girl shouted. Hinata was surprised for a moment. I always thought of myself as a failure, but
But what? I tried to change myself, worked harder to save things that are dear to me. To save my friends and family. Even if I fail the first time, I will try a next time. I dont wanna ditch my friends, to leave them be and thinking I cant do anything. Do you? The girl looked at her, shocked and disappointed in herself. Do you? Hinata asked again. The girl shook her head.
I-I better go now, the girl said, By the way, my name is Tsuwata Mitsuki. Nice to meet you. I am Hyuga Hinata. The girl nodded once and left. Hinata went back to her food.
Slowly Mitsuki walked to her fathers room. She knew Rakuna would be there. She opened the door without a sound. A bundle of light landed on the wolf that turned her head to Mitsuki. I have food for you in the kitchen if you want, Mitsuki whispered to the wolf. Rakuna hesitated, but then stood up and walked with Mitsuki to the kitchen.
Naruto! Would you stop, were taking a break, Kakashi shouted to Naruto. He was leading the group to the hiding place of the blood limit hunter. Naruto looked over his shoulder to his teacher. Knowing going against him wouldnt help; he stopped immediately and landed on the ground. Sakura, Kiba and Akamaru landed behind him. Sakura let herself fall against a tree and Kiba just lay against Akamaru. Kakashi walked to Naruto, he was leaning against a tree. Lost in his own thoughts.
Naruto, Kakashi said and Naruto looked up, how come you can smell Hinatas scent and Kiba and Akamaru cant? Foxes have a better nose than dogs. At the moment I am half animal and the ability to smell like a fox. Kakashi looked at him with some surprise. How do you know Hinatas scent? Naruto looked to the ground. He was wondering if he should tell him she was his girlfriend. But that would mean he had to deal with a lot of questions from Kiba and Sakura. Kyubi remembered her scent, he finally said in a whisper. Kyubi, youre still talking to him? Naruto nodded, hes not that bad. He helped me a lot of times.
Naruto grinned after hearing the fox saying that. What is it? Kakashi asked. Nothing, Naruto answered, still grinning.
Mitsuki opened the door of the kitchen and walked inside. Rakuna sat down and watched her, as she got some meat out of the fridge and gave it to the wolf. Rakuna ate it gradually, biting the flesh of the bone that once belonged to a rabbit. Mitsuki kneeled down and watched the wolf eating.
Should I try again, what if I fail? But
I dont wanna lose Rakuna; shes been my friend since the day I found her.
Slowly she started to whistle a song. At first the wolf didnt respond, but then lifted her head and looked at Mitsuki. Do you remember it? Mitsuki asked, Its from the first day we met.
Rakuna watched the girl. It took her time to remember the song, but she did. After years of running away, hiding for everything, she had heard the song. It was a soft whistle, an easy melody, but yet so beautiful, it had made her happy back then. And now it made her happy as well. Slowly she remembered a girl, shocked from the wolf in front of her, but then with a concerned look as she saw the wounds Rakuna had back then. A girl, almost white hair, grey eyes.
Rakuna looked at the girl in front of her. Mi-Mitsuki?
Mitsuki looked stunned for a moment and then hugged the wolf with tears in her eyes. What happened? When did you come back? You dont remember? No. Mitsuki pulled the wolf tight. She has got her friend back. Dad used his control jutsu on you. Im so sorry; I shouldnt have left you here. She let the wolf go. Rakuna looked to the ground, Im sorry. Mitsuki smiled, Its okay.
Naruto jumped to another tree, still following the scent of his love. Hinata, please be okay, he begged in silence.
The scent suddenly turned to the left. Naruto stopped. Kakashi, Sakura, Kiba and Akamaru landed next to him. What is it Naruto? Sakura asked. The smell goes to the left so suddenly, I wonder why? I dont trust it.
Kiba watched his friend. Since when doesnt he jump into action? Maybe he tried to avoid some travellers, Sakura suggested. Kiba thought it over, it could be a possibility. I dont think so. That hunter travelled by night, nobody except thieves, missing nin and people like that, travels by night, so it couldnt be just normal travellers. Kiba looked stunned. Since when does Naruto think?!
What do you think, Kyubi?
About what, the Fox yawned. He just woke up from his nap.
You didnt listen, did you? The scent makes a sudden turn to the left. Something is wrong.
Just follow it.
What if it is a trap or something?
Naruto jumped out of the tree and looked around. Why would he make a sudden turn? Well, while he is thinking we could get something to eat, its past lunch time, he heard Kiba say. Akamaru agreed in a bark. While the others started to eat, Naruto sat down against a tree, thinking about the strange way the scent went. He looked to the path they would walk, if the scent went straight and then the one to the left.
The wind started to blow harder and the sky was turning dark. A storm was coming their way, but it would take a while before it would start.
Kyubi, can you remember the scent of the blood limit hunter?
Of course, why are you asking?
Maybe they split up, he also has that wolf, so maybe the wolf carried Hinata and made the detour to trap us or something.
youre scary when you think. Okay, Ill give you the scent, but you have to come over here. Because of that damn poison its the only option.
Naruto looked to the right. Kakashi was sitting against a tree, reading his book. Sakura and Kiba were eating. None of them paid attention to Naruto.
Make it quick, he mumbled to the Fox and closed his eyes.
He was back in front of the huge cage of the Kyubi. The transformed poison was still there. But it seemed weaker than when the other poison was around.
This is gonna be painful for you, the Kyubi said with a grin.
You have to push your hand through the poison and place it on my nose, then I can give you the scent.
Naruto looked at his hand and then walked to the bars. He didnt have to fear the Kyubi takes over, that was impossible for him.
Naruto took a deep breath and slowly let his hand go to the transformed poison. At the moment he touched it, his hand burned. Quickly he pulled his hand back and looked at it. Then he tried again. While poison was hurting him, he pushed forward. It burnt like it was fire and it left little scratches behind. Gradually he came trough the poison barrier and placed his hand on the Kyubis nose.
A vision of the blood limit hunter came. He was surrounded by a black colour. Next to him was the wolf, surrounded by a blue colour. Those colours werent their chakra it were their scents. Naruto could smell it, like they were standing next to him. As soon as he was sure he could remember them, he let the Kyubis nose go and pulled his hand back. Thanks Kyubi, I owe you. You owe me more than just this, brat. Naruto grinned.
Naruto opened his eyes and looked at his right hand, the little scratches were still there and they were bleeding somewhat. He looked at the path that Hinatas scent went and smelled. The wolfs scent was going that way to, but not the one of the blood limit hunter. They had split up, just like he thought. The blood limit hunters scent was going straight. Naruto stood up and walked to the path that marked the Hinatas and the wolfs scent.
What are doing, Naruto? Dont you need something to eat? Sakura asked. I first have to check something, it wont take long. Just wait for me. He dashed away. Sakura watched him. What is he up to? Kiba asked, And since when does he use his brain.
But Kiba knew Naruto was smart, in his own strange way at least. He had seen him fighting, even fought against him. And totally failed. He thought about the fight with Neji, during the final of the chu-nin exam. Neji was known as a genius, nobody has ever beaten him, but Naruto did. Thinking about it, made Kiba smile and he looked in the direction Naruto went. Just find Hinata, he thought.
Naruto stopped on a branch and sniffed around. The scent stopped in the middle of the road. He wondered why and made some Kage Bunshin to look around. They couldnt find something. Naruto sighed and sat down on the branch. The bunshin disappeared. What now? he asked himself. Hinatas scent was nowhere to be found, the same goes for the wolf. The only option was following the hunters scent, but maybe Hinata was no longer with him. He looked pained and jumped out of the tree. Landing on the place where the scent ends. At least that was what he expected, until the ground under him was gone and fell into a hole. Ouch, what the
Naruto looked up and saw a narrow and dark tunnel. But he could smell Hinatas and the wolf's scent again.
At first he wanted to follow it directly, but then thought he needed to tell the others. He crawled up and ran back. And? Kiba asked when he was back. Naruto sat down and ate some of the rice balls Sakura offered him. The scent of the hunter goes the way you would expect, though the one of the wolf and Hinata turns to the left. But after a while it stopped. A dead end? Sakura said. So we dont know where Hinata was taken to. Not really. What do you mean? Kiba asked.
When I jumped out of the tree, the ground under my feet fell down, together with me. Theres a tunnel, the wolf used it, I smelled its scent and the one of Hinata. So they split up, why? Probably to distract us, Kakashi said and summoned Pakkun, Naruto can you show Pakkun the tunnel, he will investigate it. Sure, Naruto said, while putting the last bit of the rice ball in his mouth. Kiba and Sakura stood up and followed Naruto together with Pakkun and Kakashi. In front of the hole in the ground Naruto stopped and kneeled down. This is it.
Kiba used his nose and smelled Hinatas scent. Because it was underground, the smell hadnt washed away by the rain. Pakkun walked to the hole and sniffed, then he turned his head to Naruto. What is it? Naruto asked. You smell different, like an animal I would say. Naruto made an hmpf sound and pushed the dog into the hole with his foot.
Naruto, that wasnt nice! Sakura said angrily. So what? Naruto said grumpy and jumped into a tree. There he sat down on a branch and waited until Pakkun returned.
Hinata was sitting against the wall. It had been hours ago that Mitsuki left and it was kinda boring alone. She heard the door opening and walked to the bars. Hinata saw the wolf entered the little room. It jumped up against the door and placed its front paws between the bars. Hinata jumped back in shock and watched the wolf. It was looking at her, but in a different way than before. Less bloodthirsty and more like a sweet animal that you want to hug and pull against you in your sleep.
I-Im sorry, the wolf said. Hinata walked closer and looked the creature into its eyes. Then she stroke the wolf her head. She seemed to like it. Did
I hurt you when I was controlled by that jutsu. No, not really.
Mitsuki walked into her fathers room, he was still asleep. But she had to be careful, he was a light sleeper. On her toes she walked to the bed and looked for the keys. Her father was holding them and she knew that if she would try to get them, he will wake up. Mitsuki sighed in herself and walked back, but her eyes fell on a paper. It was a new one her father received from some other blood limit hunters. She opened it and read it. In disbelief she let the letter fall and looked at her father. So he did, he was part of it, he
Mitsuki left the room and walked to the supply closet. It was more a huge place with all kinds of stuff in it. From human parts till poisons. Im not gonna let that happen to Hinata, she whispered angrily and searched on every shelf. Then she found it. A little bottle with a white lucid stuff in it. A sleeping poison.
Pakkun finally came back after hours of waiting. And? Kakashi asked. The tunnel is narrow; you have to crawl if you want to go through it. It slowly goes to the east and ends kilometres away. At the end is another weak scent and its impossible for me to tell which way they went. Over there the wolf catches up with the hunter, I guess, Naruto said and jumped out of the tree. If we follow the hunters scent, we will find Hinata as well.
Pakkun walked up to Naruto. Didnt I just say I cant smell which way they went. Didnt you say I smell like an animal. I can smell it, Naruto said irritated. Some poison made him half animal, Pakkun, Kakashi said, thanks for the help. Pakkun nodded and disappeared. Lets go, Naruto said.
With the poison in her pocket, Mitsuki walked to her own room. After tonight she will never come back. It didnt matter to her where she had to go. Wandering around was better than staying here even though her surviving change was little. But first, before she leaves, she has to free Hinata. Therefore she will need the sleeping poison. It was just an experimental poison and wouldnt last longer then ten minutes at his most, but it would be enough to get the key and free Hinata.
Mitsuki grabbed her bag and put her most precious things in it. She hid it under the bed. She heard something and turned her head rapidly. It was her father, he was coming her way. Like she did before, in the time her father still trusted her, she grabbed a book, lay down on bed and pretended she was reading.
The door opened and Mitsuki turned her head as if nothing was going on. Make me some dinner, her father demanded. Mitsuki nodded and laid the book on her bed. She left her room and went to the kitchen. Her father went to the dining room and waited impatiently. Mitsuki made some noodle soup and put the sleeping poison in one of the bowls. Then she walked to her father with it. She placed the one without the poison in front of her father and placed the other at her place.
The blood limit hunter watched his bowl and then he looked at his daughter, who was about to put the spoon in her soup. Wait, he said, I want that bowl.
Mitsuki looked at her father, it was just as she predicted. His disbelief in her made him think she had put something his soup. But
she said as if she was going to protest. No buts, give me that bowl. Without saying anything she shoved the bowl to her father and he shoved his bowl to her. She looked at it for a while. What is it, eat, her father demanded. Mitsuki did as she was told, grinning inside herself.
The night was falling and the three scents had caught up with each other. It was raining again and the wind blew hard. It blew the rain in their faces and it felt like little knives. Naruto, can you still smell it? Kiba asked from under his raincoat. Dont worry about that, Naruto said back. But he was a bit worried. The scent has become less strong because of the rain. If they dont find the hiding place of the hunter fast, the scent will be lost.
That tasted good, the hunter said and let his head lean on his arm. Mitsuki watched her father. Slowly his eyes closed and then he fell on the table-top, snoring. Mitsuki smiled, stood up and walked over to him. She found the keys in his pocket. With those in her hand she ran the jail.
Rakuna and Hinata looked up. Mitsuki, Rakuna said and walked to the girl. Hinata looked to Mitsukis hand. She was holding the keys. You
you have the key, Hinata said in a soft voice. Mitsuki nodded and started to search for the right key. She tried them all and of course it was the last one that was the right one. She opened the door.
Hinata got out of her prison and hugged Mitsuki. Mitsuki looked stunned and didnt move at all. Thank you, Hinata cried a bit. We have to hurry, the sleeping poison will only last for ten minutes, Mitsuki finally said.
Hinata let Mitsuki go and nodded. Right. We? Rakuna asked. Mitsuki looked at the wolf. Yes, we. Were not gonna stay here anymore. I dont want to do anything with him anymore. From now on he is nothing but a mere stranger to me. Rakuna watched her for a moment and nodded. Lets go then, she said. Hinata and Mitsuki both nodded.
Naruto jumped out of the tree in front of a huge rock. The scent stops here. Theyre behind that rock. Kakashi landed next to him. Youre sure? he asked. Totally.
Hinata followed Mitsuki and Rakuna. Mitsuki wanted to grab her stuff and then they would leave. But before they reached her room, she stopped in the middle of the corridor.
Mitsuki looked shocked. In front of her was her father, looking pissed and annoyed. Well, you managed to trick me, little girl. You sure are my daughter, isnt it? her father said, Putting some sleeping drug in your own soup, knowing I would say I wanted your bowl. But as you can see, it didnt last long enough to escape. Mitsuki tried to think what she should do. I should have done this when I found out you cheated on me.
The blood limit hunter threw some kunai to Mitsuki. Hinata jumped in front of the girl and used Kaiten to block them. You again, the hunter said, while kunai fell to the ground and Hinata stopped her defence.
Mitsuki looked stunned. Hinata had just saved her life, but why? She could have run and save her own life. She should have done that, but instead of that she risked her own live to save her. Mitsuki didnt understand, nobody ever did that before, except for one person. Why? she asked in silence, but got no response.
Hinata dodged some hits and threw a kunai to the man. It got stuck in his arm. To bad I ran out of poison to change you into an animal, he laughed evilly and pulled the kunai out of his arm. He threw it back at her, but Hinata evaded it and ran further the hall in.
Mitsuki followed them with her head, but more than that she didnt move. Rakuna looked also frozen.
Let me handle this, Kiba said and jumped in the air, while making a hand seal. Tsuuga! Kiba spun to the rock and crushed it. Little stones flew around. Behind the rock was a door and Kiba could smell Hinatas scent again. They were at the right place. Hinata was here.
Naruto opened the door and was the first to run into the hiding place. He no longer cared of waiting for the others.
Rakuna sniffed and smelled a familiar scent. She turned and dashed towards the entrance of the hiding place. Wait, Rakuna, where are going? Mitsuki asked and then heard footsteps quickly coming their way. Allies of my father? She ran after Rakuna.
Naruto turned around the corner and something jumped on him, his bonnet fell of. Two bloodthirsty eyes looked down at him while the nails of its paws buried in his flesh. Long time no see, tasty boy, the wolf snarled.
Mitsuki stopped. A few meters ahead Rakuna was standing on a boy. If it was an ally of her father she couldnt tell, but it shocked her how bloodthirsty Rakuna reacted again. Did her father control her again?