Naruto Hiden / Naruto Hiden Vol 2 Chapter 14
“Come now, Shikamaru.”
Gengo held out his hand.
As long as Shikamaru grabbed hold of that hand, then he’d be comfortable.
He wouldn’t have to think about troublesome things anymore.
Shinobi would govern the world…that was how things were supposed to be, after all.
As long as he took that hand,everything would be easy again.
He wouldn’t have to be confused anymore…
“Let’s go together.” Gengo’s voice felt like it was pressing down on Shikamaru’s spine.
Shikamaru slowly lifted his right hand, reaching out to the wide palm offered and waiting to engulf him.
Their fingertips were just about to brush-
But there was something noisy happening behind him…
The same moment he thought that, Shikamaru’s body was suddenly being lifted up into mid-air, soaring up and towards the ceiling. His bird’s eye view let him see Gengo where he’d left him, bracing himself against a staggeringly great wind. Even the Enlightened Ones at the top of the stairs were struggling against it.
However, the only one rising into the air was Shikamaru.
He rose so high, he ended up crashing into the ceiling. For a moment, his whole body felt sore from the impact, and then the next thing Shikamaru knew the wind had stopped, and he was falling back down.
Although he’d attained a relatively safe landing, Shikamaru’s back hit the ground so hard that his breath caught in his throat.
He’d been flung away from Gengo, all the way to the other side of the room.
Someone called his name in an angry bellow that echoed across the hall.
A woman’s voice…
A very familiar voice.
“What are you doing in a place like this…?” Shikamaru leaned up to look towards the voice’s owner.
A woman was standing at the hall’s entrance, her blonde hair tied into two bunches on each side, and a sharp look in her eyes. She held a giant tessen in both her hands, no doubt the source of the wind that had blown Shikamaru up into the air.
“What are you spacing out for?!” She demanded, “Changing yourself to be the way other people tell you to be, that’s not like you, is it?! You’re the man that I marked out from all the rest! Get a hold of yourself, you idiot! That guy’s troublesome lecture should be nothing more than hot air to you! Am I wrong? Say something! Shikamaru!”
Gengo’s heavy voice was nothing compared to the piercing roar that was resounding in Shikamaru’s ears. His eyes were prickling.
The fog that had been clouding Shikamaru’s mind vanished without a trace. All the foreign ideas that had been crammed into his heart were leaking away, spilling out of his chest.
It was an incredibly relieving feeling.
Shikamaru took in a deep breath, and then slowly let it out.
He couldn’t help but break into a smile.
One scolding had let him escape the genjutsu…
“What’s with you, suddenly showing up and saying all those things?” He said to Temari, getting up to his feet and rubbing a hand behind his neck.
“Hey, I came to save you, so you better thank me instead of grumbling.” Temari said, folding up her fan and staking it into the ground. She leaned against it, her chest puffed out in pride.
Several shinobi were lined up in ranks behind her. They all had the mark of Sunagakure carved into their hitai-ate.
“I couldn’t just let you die, after all.” She grinned at him.
Temari’s smile was like the blazing desert sun. It cleared up the darkness in Shikamaru’s heart.
Inside his mind, he recalled one phrase in particular that Temari had just used.
‘that guy’s troublesome lecture’
“Troublesome…huh.” Shikamaru turned to look at the villain in question.
Gengo was turning to give signals to the Enlightened Ones who had stiffened in the face of danger at the top of the stairs. As soon as they saw his signal, the EO’s started spilling down the stairs.
All the Sunagakure shinobi moved to stand between the enemy and Shikamaru.
Even though the EO’S feet had refused to move from the floor in the face of the sudden enemy attack, one signal from Gengo had them heading out to face the enemy. That was the kind of capable man that ruled this castle and country.
The sounds of metal clashing against metal rang out as the battle began.
Strangely enough, Shikamaru felt incredibly calm.
He took one composed step forwards.
Some way ahead of him, he could see Gengo’s squaring his shoulders and raising his guard.
Calmly, quietly, Shikamaru kept walking.
When he passed Rou and Soku, Shikamaru briefly put his hands on their shoulders.
“It’s alright now.” He said to them, and walked on.
When there was one step between him and Gengo, Shikamaru came to a stop. He levelled his gaze at the man.
At that moment…Shikamaru yawned.
It was such a big yawn, he could feel his eyes tearing up, and his vision blurring.
“Oi.” Gengo was pointing at something on Shikamaru’s face.
“Hm?” Shikamaru put up a hand to feel around his mouth, and felt something wet leaking out of his left nostril. Blood.
Without even noticing it, he’d gotten a nosebleed.
“That Temari…” He murmured. He must’ve hit his nose when her wind had blown him all the way up to the ceiling.
“Sorry about that.” Shikamaru said to Gengo, rolling his neck. “Now, do you have anything to say?”
“I see your reinforcements have been called in, but-”
“Huh?” Shikamaru cut off Gengo’s words with a loud, surprised voice. “Reinforcements? Where?”
Gengo stared at him with wide eyes. Shikamaru realised how crazy his words must have sounded.
“Oh, you’re talking about the people behind me.” He said. “Nah, you’ve got it wrong. They’re not reinforcements.”
“…Then what would you call them?”
“I dunno. They just came here of their own accord, so…”
Gengo was staring at Shikamaru with more and more bewilderment. He seemed stunned at the sudden change in Shikamaru’s behaviour.
“Whatever you call them.” Gengo said. “While we may have received a surprise attack from these opponents, my country will not so much as waver-”
“Pff.” Shikamaru laughed without thinking.
A vein was starting to throb in Gengo’s forehead.
“Won’t waver?” Shikamaru asked, amused. “Are you sure? When your castle is in a state like this?”
“Don’t underestimate my followers.” Gengo said. “They won’t be defeated by shinobi of this level.”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll look forward to seeing that.”
“Now, listen, Shikamaru-”
“Nope, I don’t think I will.” Shikamaru bluntly said, holding out a palm. “I know that if I blankly listen to your words, I’ll end up falling under your genjutsu.”
“…” Gengo’s right eyebrow gave a very faint twitch.
“Thanks to that woman, I’ve finally woken up.” Shikamaru said. “I’m not going to go under a second time.”
“Naïve…You’re naïve, Shikamaru.”
“You fill your voice up with chakra while making those long speeches of yours, and plunge your opponent into a genjutsu as they listen to it, right? It’s a really fitting jutsu for a revolution-crazed guy like you.” Shikamaru said. “I thought about it long and hard. The reason my shadow weakened that day at the plaza was because I was already being affected by your speech’s genjutsu, huh?”
“Genjutsu? Foolish talk. My speeches are stimulating, inspiring. Every word I’ve told you up to now was sincere. And every word of it was true. Shinobi are the ones who should be governing this world. That is the grave reality. You are the one who is naïve, for not understanding that fact.”
Gengo’s words were so packed with chakra that they were making Shikamaru’s earlobes tremble, but he didn’t so much as clamp his hands over his ears to try and defend himself.
He was completely unconcerned.
Shikamaru’s heart that had been as disruptive as a stormy sea, was now strangely calm.
No matter what happened, he wasn’t afraid anymore.
No, it was more like…
“Somehow, everything’s just really troublesome, huh?” Shikamaru let out another yawn. “I wonder why people’s eyes tear up when the yawn?”
Gengo didn’t answer. He was so thrown off, he couldn’t say another word.
Shikamaru hadn’t really intended to confuse him into silence.
He wasn’t carrying out a strategy.
He was just being his true self.
Temari’s scolding came to mind…
‘That guy’s troublesome lecture should be nothing more than hot air to you!’
She was right. Shikamaru had never been someone who thought about the fate of the whole world. He was just a guy who found everything troublesome, and wanted an average life.
Thinking about how his actions could change the world, wasn’t that incredibly troublesome? He didn’t have to burden himself with such thoughts….
He didn’t care. Gengo could go ahead and change the world however he liked.
–No, wait a second.
If Gengo did as he liked, then Naruto and everyone else, what would happen to them?
What would happen to Temari who’d come here to save him?
“At the end of the day,” Shikamaru said, “It turns out that I can’t let you do as you please, or it’ll become a problem later on.”
“Wh-where did your ambition go?” Gengo asked. “You were thinking about changing the world, Shikamaru! Open your eyes!”
“What’re you babbling about?” Shikamaru asked. “It’s only now that I’ve finally woken up.”
Shikamaru took one more step towards Gengo, a smile pulling at his mouth.
“This is my original self.”
The time had come for Shikamaru to fight.