Chapter 28: Roasted Pig, Horny Princess
After accepting Wu as a member of Otogakure, the Otokage had him accompany her to a large underground chamber littered with battle scars and wreaked of blood. There, she turned to the perenially unperturbed youth and explained, “As I said before, we do notplay around like many of the other Shinobi Villages. While it is true we are planning to attend this years Chunin Exams, promotions within Otogakures hierarchy depend on two factors: strength and desire. If you had the power to claim it, even my position as Otokage would be yielded to you.”
Gesturing to the boar-like man, causing him to make his way over to one end of the battle arena, the Otokage added, “As you appear to specialize in Taijutsu and Earth-Release, Jirobo here will evaluate your strength. His physical strength is the most powerful among my immediate guards, but he is the weakest member overall.”
Hearing the Otokage call him weak, the look on Jirobos face immediately soured. He then lowered himself into a broad stance reminiscent of Grand Sumo as a fiery red pattern resembling leafy vines began to spread from his left shoulder, extending down his arm, encroaching up his neck, and branching across his face and chest.
Sensing an influx of Natural Energy, Wus brows briefly perked before he playfully remarked, “If thats the best you can do, big guy, you might need to step down as one of the Otokages bodyguards.”
Snorting through his nose, Jirobo looked to the Otokage and asked, “Can I teach this brat a lesson”
Illustrating Wus point about the kinds of people who answered questions with questions, the Otokage mused, “I dont know…can you~”
Interpreting the Otokages words as consent, the vines spreading across Jirobos body rapidly increased in number, encompassing every ounce of his flesh before transforming him into a red-skinned monstrosity that was equal parts ogre and oni. His height didnt change much, but his muscles bulged, several largewarts appeared on his shoulders and forehead, and his three tufts of hair abruptly lengthened into a spiky mane.
Despite not being impressed in the slightest, Wu made a show of clapping his hands together, asurprised expression on his face as she said, “Good for you. I was worried that you were going bald despite only appearing to be in your twenties. It turns out you can do it if you try.”
Glaring at Wu with his golden, darkness-encircled eyes, Jirobo growled, “Lets see you mouth off after I plant your face into the ground…”
Having decided how he would end the match, Wu stepped away from the larger group and positioned himself on the opposite side of Jirobo. When he had reached his position, the Otokage waited a few moments to see if either side had Anything else to say before raising her hand andpurring, “Have fun, boys…”
Without hesitating for a moment, Jirobo shouted, “Taste the power of my Arhat Fist, you punk!” before striking forward his right palm, an explosive shockwave rippling outward and barreling toward Wu.
Though he could have easily evaded the attack, Wu surprised a few of the observers by smiling and allowing it to strike him directly. The force of the palm strike was strong enough to leave a trail of destruction as it traveled, but the moment it impacted Wus body, it only managed to disturb his hair and clothing, leaving an area of undamaged terrain behind him.
While the Otokage muttered, “Interesting…” Jirobo had a stupefied look on his face as he exclaimed a confused, “Huh” before following it up with a much louder, “Thats impossible…!”
Adopting a radiant smile, Wu retorted, “I assumed you were dumb, but to deny something that happened right in front of your face…”
As his words trailed off, Wus form abruptly vanished before appearing right in front of Jirobo as he added, “Thats just sad…”
Before the fiery-haired ogre could even think to respond, Wu used his staff to smack himgently over the top of his head. The mans face was immediately planted into the ground, his transformation receding as he fell into a shallow coma.
Turning away from the downed manner, Wu shouldered his bo staff and playfully mused, “Does anyone else want totest the great and powerful Dadi-sama~”
Though the pretty boy with silvery-white hair and red markings on his face looked like he was prepared to take on the challenge, he stopped mid-step as the Otokage raised her hand and said, “Thats enough. Its apparent our young friend here is every ounce asgreat as he purported himself to be. Henceforth, he shall be regarded as a Jonin of the Sound. Tayuya-chan, please be a dear and escort our friend to his new quarters. Section A, Room 2.”
As her own room was in Section B, the angry tomato clicked her tongue before responding, “Understood, Oro—Otokage-sama…” Then, with her reddish-brown eyes focused on Wu, she added, “Come with me, squirt.” before the Otokage promptly corrected her, teasing, “I believe you meant to say,Please, follow me, Dadi-sama. Be respectful to those with higher ranks than your own, Tayuya-chan. Unless, of course, you would like to accept Dadi-samas invitation for a match”
Though she would ordinarily accept any challenges pitted against her, Tayuya hadnt been able to detect even the shadow of Wus movements when he blitzed Jirobo. Thus, while she didnt feel an ounce of respect for the young boy that hadinvaded their hideout, she begrudgingly replied, “Yes, Otokage-sama…” before returning her attention to Wu and adding, “Please, follow me to your quarters, Dadi-sama…”
Unable to resist, the smile on Wus face blossomed even further as he gave a playful wink and teased, “Im willing to make an exception for you, tomato-head. Feel free to call me Dadi from now on.”
Changing her mind, Tayuya pulled out a silvery flute and prepared to risk her life to teach Wu a lesson. However, before she could place her lips against the mouthpiece, a delicate-seeming but strong hand came to grip her shoulder, followed by the silvery-white-haired man narrowing his mint green eyes and stating, “Lady Otokage has given you an order…” in a flat monotone.
As an involuntary shudder spread through her body, Tayuya lowered the flute from her mouth and replied, “Understood…” before looking at Wu a third time and repeating, “Please, follow me…Dadi…”
Smiling from ear to ear, Wu could barely contain the laughter echoing in his mind as he replied, “It would be my pleasure, Tomato-chan~.”
After parting ways with the Otokage and her entourage, Wu followed closely behind Tayuya, matching her steps with his own as he did so. He could feel the anger radiating from the 162cm tall girl, but she didnt turn around or say Anything. Instead, she guided him through several nearly identical corridors before bringing him to a spacious, lavishly decorated room.
Having fulfilled her duty, Tayuya immediately turned to leave before Wu stopped her, asking, “Hey, I outrank you now, right Answer some of my questions before you go.”
Inhaling a deep, steadying breath, Tayuya turned to Wu and asked, “What would you like to know…” in a low, growling tone.
Before asking his questions, Wu wagged his finger as if he was chastising a child, musing, “Ah, ah, ah. Its, what would you like to know, Dadi I may have given you permission to address me informally, but I take pride in my illustrious and majestic-sounding name.”
Balling her hand into fists, Tayuya narrowed her eyes and repeated, “What would you like to know, Dadi…”
Nodding in approval, Wu replied, “Much better.” before proceeding to ask, “That transformation of that striped pig, is everyone in Otogakure able to use such an ability Its faint, but I could sense the same energy coming from each of you.”
Instead of answering Wus question, Tayuya managed to tick him off ever so slightly by asking, “Youre a Sensor…” before doing herself a favor by answering, “Youll hear about it eventually, so I might as well answer you. Its a transformation derived from a technique known as the Cursed Seal of Heaven, a unique Kinjutsu developed by Otokage-sama. It allows us to draw in an energy known as Natural Energy, drastically enhancing our strength, speed, durability, and stamina…”
Crossing his arms, Wu exhaled an intrigued, “I see…” before delaying Tayuyas departure a second by asking, “Can you show it to me That pig didnt put up much of a fight, so I wasnt able to get a proper grasp of the techniques capabilities.”
Though she wanted to refuse, Otogakure placed a heavy emphasis on respecting the hierarchy between members. In simple terms, anyone in a lower-ranking position was obligated to obey their superiors unless they were willing to risk their lives to acquire greater authority.
Exhaling a sigh, Tayuya interpreted Wus words literally by parting her hair and revealing three angular markings on the nape of her neck. After that, she activated the mark, allowing it to gradually spread across her body as she explained, “This is known as the Level 1 Curse Mark…” before wincing in pain as the fiery markings rapidly spread across her entire body.
Unlike Jirobo, whose skin turned red and warty, Tayuyas became a shade of earthy brown. Her hair lost its scarlet hue, becoming closer to pink, and her eyes became amber-gold, surrounded by inky-black sclera. Then, just as Wu thought the transformation was ending, the bandages she wore as a hat began to unfurl as six bone-white horns grew from her head. Two of them curved around to the front, resembling the horns of a bull, two grew along the dividing line of her body, and the final two grew in the opposite direction of the horns framing her face.
Never one to pass on an opportunity to annoy someone, especially a girl, Wu raised his brows and remarked, “You suddenly become horny. Pretty cool.”
Furrowing her brows, Tayuya resisted the urge to slam her fist into Wus abdomen as she asked, “Anything else you want to ask, Dadi If its all the same to you, I would rather be anywhere else but here…”
Exhibiting his absolute lack of shame, Wu ignored Tayuyas remark and asked, “Can I touch them…” with a curious glimmer in his eyes.
Inhaling a deep breath, the muscles of Tayuyas jaw flexed a few times before she relented, leaning forward to allow Wu to touch her horns. He was still just twelve years old, so his height was around 158.3cm, slightly shorter than other boys his age. He could easily remedy that with his Size Alteration Technique, but Wu honestly didnt care if other boys were taller than him. Once they were face down in the dirt, most of them barely came up to his ankles…
Though he wasnt sure what he expected, Wu was a little disappointed by the texture and feel of Tayuyas horns. They were sharp and really easy to hold onto, giving him a slight urge to spin the girl around, but their texture was like bone that had been left out in the sunlight for years. They were also frustrating asymmetrical, but that seemed to be due to an imbalance in the distribution of Natural Energy. If the curse mark was able to spread uniformly, he suspected the horns would grow symmetrically.
Feeling increasingly annoyed as time passed, Tayuya asked, “Are you just about done, Dadi” in an audibly annoyed tone. In response, Wu surprised her by immediately releasing his grasp on her horns. In the next moment, however, he left the amber-eyed girl feeling confused and seeing red as he playfully mused, “Horny suits you. Your original appearance isnt bad, but this is a hell of a lot more unique. Its certainly better than that pigs transformation, thats for sure.”
Taken aback by Wus words, Tayuya found herself at a loss for her own. Exacerbating matters, Wu followed his playful remarks by immediately turning around and disappearing into his room, allowing the door to slam shut behind him…
Recovering from her stupor, Tayuya balled her right hand into a fist and growled, “Smarmy-mouthed brat…” before storming off in a huff.