Chapter 29: Reflection: Legacy
Since it washis room, Wu spent a few minutes removing the audio and video-recording devices implanted in the walls and ceiling, removing the explosive tags attached to the underside of the mattress, and replacing the bedding with the quilt Tentens mother had given him. He didnt really care if other people spied on him, he was pretty used to it, but that didnt mean he would make things easy for them.
With his cursory yet thorough search completed, Wu plopped onto his bed, hands behind his head, and eyes closed as he began organizing his thoughts. He didnt know whether it was a coincidence, but the layout of the underground compound was similar to the research facilities located beneath the streets of Konoha. There were a few minor differences, such as the symbol of Otogakure being present on most doors, but Wu couldnt shake the feeling the compounds had been designed by the same person.
Recalling the faces of every missing-nin in the Bingo Book, one individual stood out in Wus mind: Orochimaru, one of Hiruzens former students. Wu had immediately suspected the Otokage of being Orochimaru the moment she appeared, but it was difficult to be sure. His eyes had never betrayed him in the past, yet he couldnt see through Orochimarus disguise. There was a genuine possibility that Orochimaru had undergone plastic surgery to change his face, but would he really go as far as enduring a sex change just to conceal his identity And what was the point of participating in the Chunin Exams if s/he decried the policies and practices of the Five Great Shinobi Nations It didnt make any sense, especially considering his little promotion.
Mulling over the possibilities, the only rational explanation that Wu could come up with was that Otogakure intended to infiltrate Konoha and cause an incident during the Chunin Exams. However, according to what Hiruzen had told him, the de facto leader of the Legendary Sannin shouldnt havethat much of a grudge against the village. He had been chased out, sure, but Hiruzen had permitted him to escape. The man didnt even have a Kill on Sight classification within the Bingo Book, and he had been an S-Rank missing-nin for well over a decade.
The only reason Wu could think of to explain Orochimaru targetting Konoha was that the man, woman, or whatever, intended to make an example out of his former home. Konoha was the greatest of the Five Great Shinobi Nations, hoarding the continents largest, most fertile territory. If Orochimaru really was just lashing out against the current system, destabilizing or even destroying Konoha would send the entire Shinobi World into chaos…
Though he believed he was onto something, Wu reminded himself that only fools made decisions based on assumptions. That was the reason he had accepted the Otokages invitation. Otogakure was decidedly different from every other village Wu had researched. He suspected that the compound they were in was just one of several facilities spread through the Land of Sound, so even if he were to go on a rampage and destroy it, it would be like cutting off the head of a Hydra. Unless he could cut off the remaining heads or eliminate the Otokage outright, Otagakure would endure.
Recalling the sickly feeling he had gotten from the Otokage, Wus brows creased ever so slightly. He had never felt such a disgusting Chakra, even when he encountered the creepy Elder that attempted to invite him to join his organization, Shimura Danzo. Both gave off an abominable feeling, like mud mixed with slimy algae, but the Otokages Chakra was like a swirl of all kinds of different creatures, not just humans…
Interrupting Wus thoughts, a knocking could be heard from his door, followed by a proud, feminine voice informing him, “Lady Otokage has requested your presence, Dadi-sama. Please exit your room and follow me.”
Rolling forward and onto his feet, Wu bounded to the door, surprising the bluish-purple-haired woman on the other side by opening it immediately after she had finished speaking. Her surprise was only brief, however, as she quickly regained a calm, neutral expression and said, “Youre quick to respond. Thats good. Otokage-sama will be pleased.”
Wriggling his brows, Wu asked, “And what, exactly, would it take for her not to be That woman has been grinning like a predator filled in a room with her favorite prey animals since she first appeared.”
Furrowing her brows, the bluish-purple-haired woman said, “You should show Otokage-sama more respect. She is one of the only people fighting to eliminate the injustices of the current system. I will tolerate your slights for the time being, as you are still new to our organization, but you should be wary of Kimimaru. His allegiance towards Otokage-sama exceeds even my own. If you are crude or speak ill of Otokage-sama in his presence, he may kill you on the spot.”
Raising his brows and crossing his arms, Wu maintained a fearless smile as he asked, “Kimimaru Is he the pale and skinny one with the red dots on his forehead You havent exactly introduced yourselves.”
Realizing that Wu was correct, the bluish-purple-haired Kunoichi surprised him a bit by adopting a sincerely apologetic expression and saying, “Sorry about that. My name is Guren. Im one of Otokage-samas disciples. I look forward to working with you to make the world a better place, Dadi-sama.”
Folding her hands over her lap, Guren gave a polite bow as if she were greeting one of her superiors. Wus rank was technically higher than hers, so even if he had yet to earn her respect, she gave him the deference his status deserved.
Scratching the back of his head, Wu appeared to hesitate for a moment before remarking, “Well, that was unexpected…youre a lot morehonest than I initially gave you credit for, huh I half-expected everyone in this place to be perpetually uptight. You know, like that tomato-haired chick. What was her name again…”
Though there were actually a few redheads in their organization, Guren responded, “Tayuya” before furrowing her brows slightly and revealing, “The situation of her and the other Sound Five is a little complicated…Im not going to tell you to get along, but try not to be too hard on her, okay Not everyone is as naturally gifted as some of us…”
As if to demonstrate her point, Guren raised her arm and materialized a blade of sapphire-blue crystal from her forearm. She possessed a Kekkai Genkai that allowed her to manifest and freely manipulate crystals with a variety of unique properties. Most prominent of these was their ability to crystallize physical matter on a molecular level, allowing her to reduce her opponents to crystalline powder.
Feeling the hairs on the back of his neck on end, Wus golden eyes gained a fiery hue as he hummed, “Thats quite the ability…guess Im not the only one special in this dreary place.”
Since she had given a demonstration of her power, Guren felt as though she had built enough rapport to ask, “Your Kekkai Genkai, is it an ocular ability Ive never seen a pattern such as yours. What do you call them…”
Improving Gurens impression of him, Wu readily revealed, “Oh, these bad boys Ive taken to calling them the Fiery Golden Eyes. Probably not the most creative of names, but its a fairly apt description, dont you think…”
Nodding her head in approval, Guren affirmed, “Its how I would describe them.” before getting back to the original reason for her visit, adding, “We should continue this discussion later. I would prefer not to keep Otokage-sama waiting.”
Since Guren seemed like a convenient source of information, Wu adopted his most charismatic smile and said, “Its a date.” before punctuating his statement with a wink. Guren was much older than him, but Wu was well aware that there were women who preferred younger men…
Proving his point, Gurens face flushed ever so slightly as she averted her eyes and remarked, “Well, arent you the little charmer…”
Narrowing his eyes, Wus expression morphed into a predatory grin as he asserted, “Even if I could record my name in history, the only meaningful legacy a person can leave behind is their descendants. Beautiful women with unique bloodlines arent exactly common, so I would be remiss not to befriend those that appear before me…”
Understanding the connotation of Wus words, the blush on Gurens face deepened as she felt uncharacteristically bashful. If she hadnt already resolved herself to become the next vessel of herLord, she might have been tempted to accept Wus courtship. He was more youthful than any man she had considered a union with, but his power and intellect shone just as brightly as his eyes…
Unable to meet Wus gaze, Guren turned away from him and reiterated, “We should get going…” in a soft, nearly inaudible tone.
Leaving Guren even more flustered, Wu nodded his head, teasing, “Lead the way. I think Ill stick back and enjoy the view.”
Though Guren was wearing thick clothing that didnt show off her figure in the slightest, Wus words compelled her to cover her backside, her face practically crimson as she said, “I take it back…you arent just a charmer. Youre a certifiable rogue…”
Maintaining a wolfish grin, Wu retorted, “Blame your parents. You clearly inherited some remarkable genes…”
Contrasting Wus expectations, Gurens blush faded rapidly as she hung her head, a melancholic expression marring her beauty. Any other person would have apologized upon seeing this, but Wu just exhaled a faint sigh before remarking, “It seems Tayuya isnt the only one with a complicated past.” Then, before Guren could respond, he emerged from the room and added, “You can tell me about it later. For now, we really should head over to Otokage-sama.”
Regaining some of her previous vigor, Guren forced a smile and replied, “Youre right.” before turning to lead the way. After a few steps, however, she stopped, looked back, and added, “Its a date…” before continuing on her way, her pace a little faster than usual…
Hearing the sound of footsteps approaching, the Otokage turned around, anamused smile on her face as she remarked, “The two of you are a bit later than I was expecting. Did something happen”
Having regained her composure, Gurens expression was confident and calm as she replied, “Please forgive our delay, Otokage-sama. Dadi-sama and I were discussing matters of the future and lost track of time. If there is to be any sort of punishment, please allow me to shoulder the blame in its entirety.”
Setting aside the notion of punishing her apprentice, the Otokage mused, “Oh Care to share Im also quite interested in the future.”
Regaining the briefest hint of a blush, Guren unhesitantly revealed, “Dadi-sama expressed an interest in theunion of our respective bloodlines. He believes that the onlymeaningful legacy a person can leave behind is their descendants, so he seems to be searching for suitable candidates to fulfill that purpose.”
Emulating an expression of stupefaction, Wu stared at the back of Gurens head as if she had just betrayed his trust. At the same time, the Otokages snake-like eyes shimmered within the dimly lit chamber, filled with various tubes, containers, and lab equipment. There was also an operating table in the center of the room, but it was currently bereft the essential tools to conduct a surgery. They were nearby, of course, but the Otokage had put them away to avoidspooking her most recent recruit.
Caressing her chin, the Otokage mused, “While I have slightly different views on the matter, I can empathize with Dadi-samas desire to leave a meaningful legacy. Fortunately, as fate would have it, Otogakure just so happens to be a pioneer in the study of Kekkei Genkai. If you agree to let me take a sample of your blood to study, I canvery easily arrange a few willing partners for someone as talented as yourself.”
As Konoha already possessed more than a few samples of his blood, Wu didnt hesitate to shrug his shoulders and reply, “Sounds reasonable. Just make sure theyre easy on the eyes, okay I get that thebloodline is the most important element, but Id rather not bed a woman who has more in common with a cow than a human.”
Expecting Wu to offer at leastsome resistance to her proposition, the Otokage found herself at a rare loss for words. Soon after, however, she began to laugh in a really creepy manner, starting off low and quiet before getting progressively louder in three distinct stages…