Naruto & Ino get into some trouble.
The Vine Bringer
Ino was understandably freaked out after the incident with the monster bat-dog-demon thing so she was keeping real close to Naruto, holding his right arm and hand, fingers interlocked. They walked in the early morning. It's only about eight in the morning and they're looking around for some of the herbs.
"T-there's some," Ino said as she pointed out the pink plants and they all rushed over to inspect the pink flowers, but they looked a little crispy and dry around the edges. "T-they're dying," she said as she dropped to her knees to look them over.
The area they're in is highly lavish with greens and plants of many descriptions and colours, but these plants seem to be the only ones suffering. It was strange with all of the ravaging life around them.
"I… I don't understand why they would be like this," Ino said sadly. "They're useless like this, they're too badly damaged, but… we could see what the hospital thinks," she finished as she picked a few of the dying flowers and places them securely in a zip lock bag before putting them in her kunai pouch.
"I think we should continue looking for some better samples," Asuma replied while looking around. "We don't want to just up and leave without looking for less damaged plants."
"They normally grow in the deserts, so we're probably lucky to get these," Ino said with a sad look. "The only reason they grow here is because it's nice and hot for them and the humidity. I think that the temperature might have dropped too much for them to survive," she said to Naruto while she walked off with him.
He sighed as they walked from the others looking around in the hope of finding some of the plants in good shape. Though they did find some they were even worse than what they have already so they just left them alone as they weren't worth bothering with.
"It looks like we're not going to find anything better short of heading into the desert," Naruto said after several moments of looking as they came to some huge rock formations not sure where the rest of the team got to.
They were about to leave and head back to find the others when they heard little squeaky whistling sound echoing from the rocks. It startled them and Ino was careful to keep close to Naruto as he checked it out. They found a large entrance into the rock formation leading into some dark caves and Ino had to grab Naruto as he was about to crawl in.
"N-Naruto-kun…!" she whispered in reprimanded. "Don't just go into creepy and dark caves. It could be dangerous, and… I don't know. It might have an evil demon in there ready to eat us like the last one."
He looked at her rolling his eyes. "Don't be silly, Ino-chan. I doubt we'll meet another. I hear running into demons is rare at best, so I don't see why we can't investigate. If you're worried Ino-chan I'll look after you, or you could stay here."
She sighed while pouting cutely. "OK, Naruto-kun, I'll come too," she agreed while he smiled brightly and led her into a dark and damp hole in the ground before turning on a torch.
Ino looked around the cavern with wide eyes, as they both have to kneel, as it's too small to stand. It had drips coming from the rocks and it's quite warm. However, she followed Naruto as he started moving in on all fours, so she tried walking like that too, soon realising it allows her to move faster than on her knees and with less pain. They heard the squeaky mew more and louder underground and she couldn't help but feel sorry for whatever creature it is as it sounded like crying.
They carried on further, turning bends and tight, down and up, and down again, squeezes that they could just squeeze through with Naruto's help pulling her through. She knows her clothes are now filthy and a little torn, but she can deal with that as Naruto had just helped her through another tight fit. She couldn't help but feel amazed as at certain points he had actually broken solid rock to help them get through.
"What kind of creature is it?" Ino asked worriedly as she could hear it more, the further they got to it. It was such a sad sound that she just hopes whatever it is will be OK once they save it. Well, she hopes they're travelling to save it. It's like its calling out and she can't help herself but feel the need to protect it.
"Do you feel it's cries too?" Naruto asked after what might have been hours. "I feel like its begging for help, but I don't quite get how."
"Yeah," she replied, worried, as they had to crawl on their tummies the ceiling was that low and she was feeling a little claustrophobic and talking was a good way to take her mind off it. "I think it's like… a young… girl maybe… she's in pain, and I know we have to rescue her, but why would any creature come down here?"
"We're down here aren't we?" he asked sounding amused. "Just hope I don't freak out as I'm having trouble. It's so narrow. I've not been in such confined spaces before. It feels awful, but… shit, yeah, look… up ahead… it seems to be an opening. I can feel a light breeze and smell some fresher air… umm… no offence by I could only smell water and us before. Though, I do love your scent. It's nice, strong… appealing."
"I'm not sure whether to be insulted or not," she said with a small laugh as they both continued slithering inch by inch. "How much further is it then?" she asked as it was squeezing her chest and for once in her life she was grateful that her breasts aren't very big yet.
"Maybe about twenty metres or so, not much more," he replied, mumbling, as he dragged himself by his fingers with his torch held in his mouth causing him to drool a lot. "That's quite the way when we're as jammed as we are, but it's an open cavern, and from the air seems large, and I can smell a large body of water."
"Good… Naruto-kun… can I ask you a favour?" she asked as she struggled on behind him only dragging herself with her hands and fingers.
"S-sure go ahead, Ino-chan," he agreed too tired and cold to joke about her question to ask a question being a question like he probably would have at other times.
"W-will you help me get stronger?" she asked as she tried to ignore the cuts slicing her skin from a few sharp stones of the rocks they're squeezing through. "Please… I was useless when that demon thing attacked us, and… I don't know how to train apart from the training from sensei, and my parents, but that isn't anywhere good enough for situations like this or that monster. I think… I know I need help, please."
"Sure… but just keep this a secret, OK?" he asked and she looked up in confusion to see him stop and looking knew he couldn't move anymore as she felt barely able to herself. She started to panic as she realised they're going to die down in the ground, buried alive.
However, she was startled as Naruto screamed out such panic that her eyes widened as his body bust with crimson chakra as he struggle to move and the ground started shaking. She knew he was panicking but didn't know what the deal with the red chakra was. She screamed out his name trying to get him to calm down, but it just made things worse as he pushed himself up and she could only watch in awe.
The rock trapping him was melting under his power, and then he moved smashing through the rock on hands and feet running with a roar so chilling it sent a chill down her spine before he yelped and disappeared with a splash leaving her in the dark and tight tunnel.
She had no choice but to move forward. She felt the plastic of the broken torch as the tunnel opened up from where Naruto had showed her a glimpse of his true power. She could breathe easier but she was now worried about her partner no matter what kind of terrifying power he has she doesn't care about that, she cares about him though. He's still a nice person, and kind, and a brilliant kisser, not that she has any experience kissing, she just knows.
She came to the tunnels exit pretty quick and looked out into a huge cavern, which has a soft dim-blue glow over it as she looked down into a deep and dark lake bellow. She couldn't tell where Naruto is as the red chakra had disappeared so she flopped in with a screech and a splash.
She was startled as she felt him hold her as she broke up through the surface of the water, and could just make out his face in the cold water as he assisted her swimming.
"Naruto-kun," she said holding onto him with a big hug. "I was so worried, but what happened… what was that power you used…? Where did it come from? It actually melted the solid rock."
"I… I really didn't want to use it," he said and she could tell he looked sad. "It's more of a last resort though… it was the diluted power of Kyuubi no Yoko!" he said causing her to gasp, but he was surprised she didn't let go. "I'm the Kyuubi's prison… the sacrifice, and Minato Namikaze best hope he stays dead or I'm so kicking his ass!"
"N-no way, but that means… you… you're…" she just didn't know what to say, but he felt it was better to be straight up about where the power comes from so she knows the seriousness. "So, that does explain a lot but maybe we should deal with trying to find shore…?"
"Agreed," he answered as they helped each other swim and crawl up onto shore of the dark cavern where they looked for the source of the blue light.
They were soaking wet when they saw some kind of blue sphere floating in the air with some kind of rose red coloured ferrets floating in it. They couldn't hear the continued pleas from an animal but they knew it was from… it.
"W-what's got it, Naruto-kun…?" Ino was quick to ask in worry.
He couldn't help but look to her, surprised. "Y-you don't hate me like everyone else?" he asked, seeing her in a completely new and brighter light. He's sure Hinata and Tenten would take the news well, but would never have been sure about Ino.
"I wouldn't hate you for something like that," she answered as she flung herself into his arms. "I mean, you were starting to be really cool, but this just pushes you over the top. If anyone has a problem with you, I don't care. If you didn't have the Kyuubi's power we would be dead; or dying really really slowly."
"T-thanks," he replied, relieved as he accepted her kiss with his own. "So let's find a way to get that… whatever it is down," he said looking at it in wonder as he pulled away from Ino and walked towards it before flipping left, and then back twice as a huge green vine slapped out of the rocky dirt ground, and chased him. He had to move faster just to dodge.
"N-Naruto-kun…!" Ino called before another vine burst out of the ground and almost speared her, but she managed to dodge back, near falling. "What's going on…?" she demanded as she watched in shock as Naruto got captured in another vine as it wrapped around him, trying to squeeze the life out of him.
"I… don't… know!" he cried out as he tried to tear the vines from him as she could just barely dodge the vine after her when he forced in a deep breath and spat out a huge ball of fire. The vines seemed to screech as they withered and dropped him to his hands and knees breathing deeply as his ribs felt sore and bruised.
"S-shit," he said as his flames went out and he jumped back and skidded out of the way of the vines, but he had noticed the flash of light and whimper from the creature in the sphere just before the vines attacked.
"I… Ino, I'll take care of the vines, you try to free the… whatever it is!" he called out as he dodged into the path of her vine and surprisingly taking its attention as it attacked him too. "I… I think that creature controls the vines, but whatever made that sphere is using its power, so free it and they'll stop!"
"B-but how, I don't know…!" she cried out as she watched him weave between vines as he charged the sphere only for some huge rose bushes to burst up through the rocks and blocking his path, which caused him to flip backwards and skid out of the way of a vine.
"I don't know, just do something!" he cried out as he barely missed losing his life as the vine he avoided shattered rock rather than him.
Ino grimaced as she watched him take a hit to his side before cutting it with a kunai before getting free. She looked to the rose bushes and charged, hopping out of the way of a new vine, but that chased Naruto seconds later as he got in its way. She didn't know what she could possibly do, it was a nightmare situation.
She made it to the bushes and hit into them cutting up her clothes and flesh, she creamed out as she tried to force herself through. "PLEASE! DAM PLEASE! I have to save Naruto-kun. I have to save you!"
Nothing seemed to do anything for a moment when the vines and bushes bust into leaves freeing them. Ino fell to the ground painfully as she looked up to see the little creature struggling in the bubble, its bright green eyes open and glowing before the bubble burst. It squeaked as it struggled while it fell towards the ground and she pushed herself up, running to catch it she skidded across the ground, the little red fluffy creature landing on her as she came to a stop, holding it.
"Shh, shh… it's OK, girl," Ino said as she cuddled the creature while it squeaked in panic, shaking in fear. "It's OK, it's OK," she said getting the small and soft thing to calm down to a soft purring as she stroked her soft fur.
"You OK?" Naruto asked as he stood over her with a bloody face and a huge slash over his chest, slashed through his tee shirt, and blood dripping down his right arm under his sleeve.
She nodded as she stood up with her new purring little friend. "I think so, I just…" she looked down at the creature as it snuggled. "I don't know…!" she said before looking back up at him and gasping as she looked at the state he's in completely oblivious to the ember of orange flame he's holding in his cupped hands.
"N-Naruto-kun, are you, OK, you're hurt," she said in worry as she looked him over. "We should try to get out of here and get you some bandages."
"I'll be Ok," he said looking himself over after a couple of moments of confusion, chuckling. "I heal really fast. The damage to my arm and chest have already clotted and started regenerating. It's a benefit and side effect of being a warden to one of the most powerful beings on the planet, but it means I have to work harder, especial with chakra control since I have so much chakra."
"Oh, OK," she replied calming down with a few deep breaths as she realised Naruto isn't as bad as she thought. "T-then how do we get out of here…? This place is huge and dark…"
She almost fell over in shock as her little red furred creature bust into multi-coloured-green sparks and flew up lighting the cave she had turned into a fairy like creature with milky white skin. She has large black forest green eyes and a tiny little nose and mouth with long pointy ears up the side of her head with the tips a little higher. Her dark red hair is short and ruffles, but long on top in an array of messy spikes.
The little fairy has duel transparent wings on either side of her back. Her wings are like a rainbow of greens with the edges tinted with some red. She's only about nine or so inches tall and she's wearing a red dress that looks like it was made from rose petals to hide her tiny body. She was glowing with green sparks of multiple different shades of green, lightning the cavern enough that Naruto snuffed out his flames.
"Wow," Ino muttered, awed. "I can't believe it, she's so adorable," she said which surprisingly made the fairy girls little cheeks blush. "What's your name…?" she asked but the little thing just looked confused. "I know," she added as she looked around at the huge vines. "I'll call you, Vine, do you like that?" she asked and smiled as the little fairy nodded her head valiantly.
"OK, so how do we get out of here?" Naruto asked the little thing. The fairy looked to him, and giggled as she flew close to his face and poked his nose before gesturing for them to follow her, so they had little choice if they want to get out some time today.
They followed closely as they need her for light… well Ino needs her for light as Naruto can practically see in the dark. The passageways were surprisingly large compared to how they got in but needed a lot of climbing. However, once they reached a steep wall without any grips to get them up Ino was stuck.
However, Naruto smirked. "OK, so I guess we should start with teaching you how to walk up walls," he said while she grimaced and her little fairy friend found a place to sit and watch while Naruto made a couple small fires to see better with.
"R-right now…?" she asked nervously as she looked to the solid floor. "If I fall it will hurt…"
Naruto came up behind her and stroked his hands down her sides and around her stomach in a hug. "Don't think too much about it, but remember, walking up a wall is easier than a tree, but it's still about the right amount of chakra in your feet. I'm sure you can get it right real quick."
"O-Ok," she replied as he stepped back letting her go and he watched her go at it. In the time it actually took her to get to the top he had to catch her only three times or risk her getting brain damage when she lands on her head, but he was quite proud she had gotten so well in just an hour, but she doesn't have much chakra to control.
Vine followed her up with Naruto bringing the rear before they carried on their way. "I can smell fresh air," Naruto said after several more minutes of walking when they tuned a few more corners where they finally saw daylight through a fissure in the side of the mountain and they were blinking the bright light from their eyes as they stepped outside.
"Oh no," Ino said sadly as they had stepped out into a field of dying pink flowers.
However, when her little pixie landed on her shoulder, turning back into her cute little ferrite form a radius bomb of green sparkles shot out in all directions around them and they could only stare with mouths hanging open as it didn't just revive the herbs but made them grow twice as big.
Ino giggled as she petted Vine's head and picked enough of the flowers, a few for her and the rest for the hospital. "You're great, Vine… I hope mum and dad don't mind me bringing you home," she said as she put her pick away while the little creature looked very happy and pleased with herself.
"Umm… Ino, you're not supposed to keep Nature Spirits as pets," Naruto said but she just gave him a pouty look. "OK, OK, just, make sure to keep her true form a secret or you might have to be on constant guard for kidnap attempts, and trust me when I say it will be from the council. Those old bastards only think about themselves, the power they have and how much more they can get."
"Don't worry, I won't let them find out," she said rolling her eyes.
They turned to see Asuma and the other two staring at them, as they're filthy, wet and cut up, and in Naruto's case covered in blood. However, they were surprised to see that they were all cut up and a mess too.
"Giant vines?" Asuma asked and they nodded. "They just stopped about an hour ago, so I'll assume that was you two?"
"Yeah, that was pretty hectic," Ino agreed with a tied sigh. "Oh, what's that…?" she asked looking to see their sensei was holding some kind of long black whip that switched to red halfway, the tip real thin and a bright dangerous red.
She didn't really think about why he was holding it with some sticks and just snatched it off him and looked it over. It was odd and long, feeling like a plant and leather all in one go if you could believe that. She looked closer to see half hand in length is a sectioned scale running from thick to thin at the tip with a light green wrapping around the handle, and on the end of the handle is a knot with a closed red rose, elongated in the same material as the whip on a green stem.
"Wow, this is pretty neat," she said giving it a test swing, the other three moving back looking terrified as it swished out with a huge crack. "Where'd you get it, Sensei?" she asked him as she rolled it up into a manageable state.
"Umm… it's all yours if you want it," he said nervously. "That thing won't let us touch it."
"It tried strangling us to death," Choji said as he pulled out a bag of crisps from heck knows where and started eating. "Those vine things seem to be guarding it, and when they stopped and we grabbed it, it attacked us."
"Oh," she said looking to Naruto for him to shrug and take it off her. "It doesn't attack Naruto-kun," she said confused as she took it back and gave it to Asuma only to have to struggle to get it back as it went to strangle him again, but when she touched it to him while holding it, it left him alone.
"Wow, I guess it doesn't like you guys," Naruto said laughing at them. "Well, maybe we should get out of here and never speak of this dodged up mission again!"
"Deal," they all said in unison as he led the way down the mountain.
"Ino, where did you find that ferret?" Asuma asked while he watched the girl put the whip on her right hip for easy access.
"Oh, she followed me home."
"But we're not home yet," he replied as he looked at it. "And it's ridding on your shoulder."
"Well, that's what I'm telling mum and dad, so shut up!"
To Be Continued…