|Konoha Shinden: Steam Ninja Scrolls|
|(木ノ葉新伝 湯煙忍法帖, Konoha Shinden Yukemuri Ninpōchō)|
|Japanese||August 4, 2016 ISBN (978-4-08-703401-1)|
Konoha Shinden: Steam Ninja Scrolls (木ノ葉新伝 湯煙忍法帖, Konoha Shinden Yukemuri Ninpōchō, Literally meaning: Tree Leaf New Story: Steam Ninja Scrolls) is a light novel written by Shō Hinata. This novel begins at the same time as Naruto chapter 700 and ends at the same time as Naruto Gaiden chapter 700+10.
Konoha Shinden was originally advertised as the first installment of the "Naruto Light Novel Project" (NARUTO -ナルト- 小説プロジェクト, Naruto: Shōsetsu Purojekuto), a series of novels that would connect the Naruto and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations series, though additional Shinden novels would not be published until 2018; Konoha Shinden is officially considered the first book in this new Shinden series.
Fifteen years after the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War, Konohagakure prepares to host a Five Kage Summit: Academy classes end early; village security goes into high alert; expectations for the forthcoming Summit run high. Meanwhile, Kakashi Hatake and Might Guy plan to take advantage of the village's preoccupation to go on an absolutely secret mission: a vacation.
When Kakashi was Konoha's Hokage, he and Guy were unable to go on a vacation because they were so busy. Even after Kakashi retired, he needed to be available to guide his successor, Naruto Uzumaki, in the responsibilities of leading Konoha. But with Naruto now convening a Kage Summit, he has proven that he doesn't need Kakashi as much, and so now is the perfect time for Kakashi and Guy to relax. Although Naruto agrees that they deserve a break, he believes it's necessary that they have at least some amount of protection.
- A Sacred Place (聖地, Seichi)
Mirai Sarutobi, a frequent bodyguard of Naruto, is assigned to escort Kakashi and Guy as they secretly inspect the border between the Land of Fire and the Land of Hot Water. Mirai is deeply honoured to be given the responsibility of protecting the former Hokage, especially because Naruto specifically recommended her for the assignment. After preparing her supplies and praying to a picture of her father, Asuma Sarutobi, Mirai departs from Konoha with Kakashi and Guy.
Mirai fantasises that the mission will be S-rank in nature and that Kakashi will be under constant attack, but the journey from Konoha is uneventful; Kakashi pushes Guy's wheelchair along the road, discussing birds with him and reminiscing about the past. They walk unbearably slowly for Mirai's liking, who already feels out of sorts by the plain clothes they're wearing so as not to draw attention to themselves. She briefly suspects that an elderly couple approaching them are secretly terrorists, but is forced to accept that the couple, like the era they now live in, are quite peaceful. And if there is peace, Mirai wonders what purpose a ninja like herself has.
Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai stop for the night at a town that is well within the Land of Fire's borders, but where the Land of Hot Water is at least visible in the distance. Kakashi and Guy are drawn to a target-throwing game, yet both entirely fail to hit any of the targets. Mirai is mortified by this, especially when a young girl after then immediately wins a prize. While she wonders about Kakashi and Guy's supposedly legendary skills, Kakashi's wallet is abruptly stolen by a pickpocket. Mirai chases after the man, captures him with Demonic Illusion: Tree Binding Death, and turns him over to the local police.
In addition to being increasingly doubtful about Kakashi's abilities, Mirai is infuriated when she finds Kakashi and Guy laughing upon her return. Kakashi explains that the wallet was a decoy and that there was nothing in it. He also notes that, though he could have stopped the thief with a lightning attack, they're supposed to be undercover and so can't be using flashy jutsu. While this answers some of Mirai's more immediate concerns, she remains suspicious by the rapture with which Kakashi is taking in the sights, feeling it's inappropriate for someone his age. When Kakashi starts fawning over locations around town from the film adaptation of Icha Icha Paradise, Mirai, unfamiliar with the book, asks Guy what this film is about. Guy is made uncomfortable by the question and changes the subject, instead suggesting that she use this vacation as a chance to train.
Mirai is deeply depressed to learn that what she thought was a secret mission is just a cover story to give Kakashi and Guy a chance to tour some hotsprings. What's more, she worries what this says about Naruto's opinion of her abilities since he recommended her for the mission. Nevertheless, she remains intent on doing her duty as a bodyguard by watching Kakashi and Guy from a distant tree as they eat dinner; Kakashi seems unaware of Guy taking food from his plate, once again making Mirai question the stories she's heard about him. In an instant, Kakashi vanishes from the dinner table and appears at her side, surprising her.
Kakashi invites Mirai to join them and she accepts, noting that it's natural for her to do so since she's their attendant. Kakashi remarks that she's quite similar to Asuma when he was her age, as he also became too stiff in his responsibilities because of all the pressures he was under. Asuma was eventually able to loosen up, and Naruto hopes Mirai will do the same, hence why he sent her on the mission. As Mirai becomes embarrassed to hear of Naruto's concern for her, Kakashi adds that Mirai is also not doing a good job of following the "secret" part of their mission, as sitting in a tree draws attention to them. Mirai apologises and promises to start having more fun like Kakashi and Guy are doing.
- Strange Festival (奇祭, Kisai)
Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai scout the roads that run through the border region between the lands of Fire and Hot Water, updating the maps they brought with them as needed. As they take a break on the trail, Kakashi and Guy get into a debate over which is superior: physical energy or spiritual energy. Since neither can convince the other, they look to Mirai to be the tie-breaker. She tries to compromise by saying that both have their merits, and when this fails she changes the subject by pointing out that it will get dark soon.
Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai arrive in a nearby hotspring town that lies on the border. Because it is equal parts in the Land of Fire and the Land of Hot Water, the town cannot truly be said to reside in either country. As a coincidence, it turns out to be the day of the town's Quarrel Festival, an annual celebration of when the town's patron deity helped dig up its famous hotspring. The town's residents can't agree whether the town's deity was a dog or a cat, and over the years the festival has become an opportunity for dog and cat lovers from all over to come together and compete for superiority.
Mirai finds the whole story behind the Quarrel Festival bizarre and watches as arguments between cat-lovers and dog-lovers start breaking out. She is surprised when she recognises one of the arguments as taking place between Kiba Inuzuka and Tamaki, each with their own cadre of dogs and cats; Kiba and Tamaki are equally surprised to see her. Both insist that they aren't here for the Quarrel Festival, but rather that they came to visit the town's hotsprings. However, they disagreed over which hotspring they should visit, the one dedicated to the dog deity or the one dedicated to the cat deity. Since Tamaki brought more cats than Kiba brought dogs, Kiba offers to visit the cat hotspring, but Tamaki is upset that Kiba is so unwilling about it.
Kiba asks Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai to help settle their argument. Kakashi, having his own personal ninken, sides with Kiba, and Guy, determined to oppose Kakashi at every opportunity, sides with Tamaki. Mirai once again finds herself needing to break the tie. Mirai can't bring herself to decide because she admires Kiba and Tamaki too much to want to risk hurting their feelings. Besides, she genuinely likes cats and dogs equally, and has ever since she was a child when Shino Aburame tried and failed to get her to be interested in insects. Mirai tries to compromise by saying that both cats and dogs have their merits, but this only fuels further argument between Kiba and Tamaki.
Some of the dog-lovers recognise Kiba from stories about him (many of which were originally invented by Kiba). The dog-lovers begin carrying Kiba down the town's main street while the cat-lovers, also acquainted with the stories, feel intimidated to behold him. As fighting between the two sides starts breaking out, Mirai worries for the sadness Tamaki is clearly experiencing and the distress that separation from Tamaki is causing Kiba. Mirai pulls Kakashi from the mounting hostilities while Guy is excitedly lost in the fray. Once Kakashi is brought to a safe distance, he encourages her to help Kiba and Tamaki (and Guy), and suggests she try to appeal to the masses with a compromise between cats and dogs.
Mirai uses Fire Release: Flint Yagura to draw the crowd's attention to the area near the town's cat and dog hotsprings. Once everyone is looking, she creates a genjutsu of a giant floating head that is half cat and half dog. Mirai, speaking through the head, implores the crowd to stop fighting. The townsfolk immediately recognise her as "Cattog", the town's fabled third deity that mediates between the cat and dog deities. Before she can address this, Guy, suspecting it's a monster, attacks the genjutsu. Mirai is so surprised by this that she inadvertently lets the illusion dissolve, and Guy crashes into the wall separating the cat and dog hotsprings.
The townspeople fail to recognise Guy's role in the wall's destruction, instead interpreting it as a divine act of Cattog to end the fighting by making the two hotsprings into one. Kakashi congratulates Mirai for fixing things, but she feels that she failed since her loss of concentration caused the genjutsu to end before she could properly resolve the conflict. She is proven wrong by the approach of a reconciled Kiba and Tamaki, who thank her for what she did. Meanwhile, the townspeople find Guy among the wall's rubble, charred black from when he passed through Mirai's Flint Yagura. They believe he is a messenger of Cattog and resolve to build statues in his honour. Mirai and Kakashi gather Guy and check in to their hotel room to recuperate.
- The Phantom Inn (幽霊旅館, Yūrei Ryokan)
Mirai had been so excited by what she thought was an important top-secret mission that she did not properly read the mission particulars before she left Konoha. As such, she thought that what is planned to be a twenty day trip would only last two days. Because she only brought enough supplies for at most five days, she contacts Konoha and requests additional provisions. Tenten, having previously requested a hotspring vacation of her own, is given the task of bringing Mirai the extra supplies. Tenten meets them at the inn where they're staying in the Land of Hot Water after only two days of travel.
While Mirai and Tenten enjoy the inn's hotspring together, Mirai asks how her mother, Kurenai, responded to news of Mirai's misunderstanding. Tenten insists that Kurenai was at worst amused, but Mirai fears she'll be scolded by her mother when she gets home. Tenten tries to take Mirai's mind off this by asking for her thoughts on a new hotspring-suitable kunai that she's just invented. Mirai can't fathom a single reason to need a kunai while using a hotspring. Tenten realises that's true and becomes deeply depressed by the uselessness of her invention. Mirai suggests marketing the kunai as rustproof and thus useful in certain climates, but Tenten explains that the kunai can only handle the humidity of hotsprings.
As a final pitch, Tenten proposes the kunai as a fashion accessory, something to carry around while bathing in the nude. Mirai can't see the appeal, so Tenten mulls asking Kakashi or Guy. Mirai pleads for her not to as that would embarrass them. Tenten is delighted, as this observation has proven that Mirai understands Kakashi and Guy; she was worried that Mirai would struggle to deal with them, Guy in particular. They begin discussing Guy at length, with Mirai telling Tenten about his reaction to Cattog. In response to this, Tenten raises the theory that Guy, despite his appearance of headstrong bravery, is truly a coward, and that the reason he acts so impulsively all the time is because he wants to appear strong so that others won't feel afraid. Mirai isn't convinced, but both she and Tenten agree that, if true, it would only make Guy even more amazing than he already is.
As they return to their room from the hotspring, Mirai and Tenten see Kakashi talking on the phone while Guy mills around nearby, apparently unwilling to be in his room alone. Tenten tries to confront him about this, but Guy denies it and quickly challenges Kakashi to a game of ping-pong when his phone call ends. As they head off, Tenten comes up with a plan to try and scare Guy with a ghost. She asks Mirai to buy time while she prepares, but before Mirai can protest Tenten's scheme, Guy asks that she keep score. She complies, but discovers that Tenten's request to buy time was completely unnecessary: the game becomes naturally drawn out by the effort that Kakashi and Guy exert and the consequential lack of scoring for either side.
Mirai loses focus on the game and instead thinks about a conversation she had with Shikamaru Nara after she passed the Chūnin Exams, when they discussed whether ghosts were real. Her feeling was that, as much as she would like for ghosts to truly exist, they in fact do not, otherwise her father would have appeared to her at least once and given her words of praise. Shikamaru acknowledged that ghosts may not be real, but argued that Asuma nevertheless lives on; to that end, he presented her with her father's trademark chakra blades. Mirai was deeply touched, not only to receive an inheritance from her father but to receive a gift from Shikamaru. She vowed to make both of them proud.
Guy, panting and sweating profusely, forces Mirai to return to the present by asking who had the higher score. She confesses she wasn't paying attention. Guy is devastated to hear this, and is then devastated again by Kakashi's report that he beat Guy by one point. They leave Mirai behind as they head to the hotspring, and when they're gone she's immediately confronted by Tenten, who has made herself up to look like a ghost. Mirai has no reaction to Tenten's appearance, disappointing Tenten. Mirai tries to reassure her it will frighten Guy, and even offers whatever assistance Tenten needs.
As Guy later returns from the hotspring, Mirai is torn between her desire to be a good bodyguard and to see the prank carried out successfully. The latter desire prevails, as Guy is so scared when Tenten descends upon him that, in his attempt to escape from her, he bashes his head on a nearby pillar and passes out. Kakashi chastises Tenten for being a bad role model to Mirai as he leads Guy away. Tenten takes comfort in the fact that she didn't scare Guy as much as she could have, such as by inexplicably applying a mysterious tag somewhere in his room. Mirai is forced to apologise to Tenten, as she removed said tags from Kakashi and Guy's room as soon as they arrived at the inn as part of her security sweep.
Tenten is horrified to hear this, as the tags Mirai removed were charms that the inn uses to ward off ghosts. Tenten returns to her room with Mirai, fearful of what will happen, but the night passes without incident. In the morning, Tenten departs for another hotspring to market her kunai; the kunai ends up being fabulously successful as a fashion accessory. Meanwhile, Guy slept poorly and continually mutters about what he saw the night before. Mirai tries to explain to him that the ghost was only Tenten, but this confuses Guy: the bloodied man in armour who dwelt in Guy's room during the night looked nothing like Tenten did with her costume and makeup on, nor is Tenten able to walk through walls. Mirai is horrified to hear this, as is the inn's staff when she tells them she removed their protective charms.
Kakashi slept soundly and laughs without concern at everyone's pale expressions.
- Huge Rock (巨岩, Kyogan)
Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai travel to the next hotspring on their tour, which is located in a remote village. Even at a distance they notice a problem: in the exact location where maps indicate the hotspring is located, there is what they can only describe as a mountain-size rock. When they finally reach the village they ask the residents for an explanation and are informed there was a landslide the month before. Although much of the dirt has been cleared away and the minor infrastructure damage has been repaired, nobody can do anything about the mountainous rock blocking the hotspring.
Because of how small the village is, the Land of Hot Water can't offer much aid. A few Yugakure ninja were sent to help, but the rock is too giant and too sturdy for the few of them to do anything about it. With nothing to be done, they have spent their days getting drunk, and invite Guy and Kakashi to join them. The Yu-nin rant about how foolish it was to be sent on this mission they can't complete and argue their skills would be better spent investigating the recent kidnappings of young girls in the area. They suggest that a Konoha-nin would be better suited for dealing with the rock, but grumble that Konoha would never send anyone to perform such a menial task.
Mirai becomes frustrated listening to the Yu-nin, not only because she can't tell them that there are already Konoha-nin in the village (herself, Kakashi, and Guy), but because the Yu-nin's remarks and behaviour strike her as lazy. As she inspects the rock by herself, she remembers a training session that she had a few days earlier with Shikamaru's son, Shikadai. Mirai was exasperated by how little interest Shikadai had in her lessons, a stark contrast to his father who is always busy as adviser to the Hokage. It was only when Shikamaru showed up to watch their practice that Shikadai made any effort. Mirai reflects that the Yu-nin aren't bad people, they only need discipline and motivation, just like Shikadai.
Kakashi joins Mirai in her inspection of the rock and notes that, even if they could, relocating or destroying the rock would probably create new problems. Mirai begins to worry about what this loss of the hotspring will mean for the village's future, but Kakashi interrupts her and explains there's still hope: a certain ninja who might be able to help is in the area on a mission, and Kakashi has already requested the ninja's help. Mirai is relieved and waits eagerly for when the ninja is to arrive the following day. Guy, meanwhile, becomes drunk with the Yu-nin. Mirai entertains the thought that the ninja in question is Naruto, and so is surprised when it turns out to be Chōji Akimichi.
The Yu-nin are more comforted by Chōji's appearance than Mirai is, whose limited knowledge of Chōji's skills leaves her doubtful that he can do anything about the rock. Chōji believes he can at least make the attempt, and eats the bags of potato chips he brought with him in preparation. Mirai, not giving it any thought, also eats one of his bags of potato chips; this turns out to be his last bag and deprives Chōji of the calories he'll need to move the rock. Guilty and embarrassed, Mirai asks to use a kitchen in the village so that she can make a fresh batch of potato chips for Chōji. Chōji praises her effort as delicious, as do the Yu-nin when they help themselves.
Once he feels he's consumed enough, Chōji enters Butterfly Chōji Mode, causing him to grow giant in size. He begins pushing at the rock, but it refuses to budge, and there are no more potato chips that might offer him an additional boost. Guy, in a drunken stupor, provides assistance in pushing the rock, and is quickly joined by the Yu-nin, the villagers, Kakashi, and even Mirai. Their combined effort is enough to shove the rock out of the way, allowing the hotspring to flow once more. As everybody celebrates the successful restoration of the hotspring, Mirai marvels over what people, regardless of who they are or where they come from, can accomplish when they work together. As she remarks on this to Kakashi, she notices that Chōji, now back to his normal size, is hungry once again. She resolves to make him all the potato chips he wants.
The Yu-nin point out that the giant rock resembles a huge potato, and suggest to the villagers that it become a mascot to draw extra tourists to the hotspring. As they begin brainstorming all the potato-related products that can be sold, Mirai takes the first step in furthering the village's new outlook: she adds the rock to her map and labels it as having potato chips.
- God (神, Kami)
While staying at yet another inn, Mirai uses the inn's hotspring late at night. She is joined by Tatsumi, who is visiting the hotspring in memory of her recently deceased mother. Mirai and Tatsumi get along well and Mirai enjoys being able to talk with someone her own age for a change. She is also somewhat envious of Tatsumi, who is not a ninja and who therefore has directions she can take in life that are unavailable to Mirai. But not being a ninja also means Tatsumi couldn't defend herself if she needed to, and Mirai is reminded of the what the Yu-nin said about girls being kidnapped while traveling through the nearby mountains.
Mirai tries to casually put Tatsumi on alert to the dangers of traveling alone, careful not to give any advice that would reveal herself as a ninja. Tatsumi isn't concerned, forcing Mirai to abandon the topic and hope for the best. She gets up to leave, sad that she probably won't get to see Tatsumi again before departing in the morning. Tatsumi stops her before she goes, telling her that there is a nearby hotspring where people can meet with the dead. Mirai doesn't believe it's possible until Tatsumi reminds her of when the dead were revived during the Fourth Shinobi World War. Tatsumi invites Mirai to visit the hotspring with her and Mirai, tempted by the possibility of seeing her father, agrees.
Mirai changes her clothes, confirms that Kakashi and Guy are safely asleep, and sets out into the night with Tatusmi. To tide them over during the long journey, they fill a bottle with the local hotspring water, rich with iron. Tatsumi leads Mirai up the mountain roads and into a cave. Mirai is briefly concerned by how dark the cave is, but decides that the dead probably prefer it. They finally arrive at an inner chamber lit with candles where a group of cloaked and masked individuals are gathered. Mirai gets a foreboding feeling upon seeing them, but Tatsumi approaches the group and introduces Mirai to the group's leader, Ryūki.
While Tatsumi talks to Ryūki, Mirai becomes increasingly concerned. Tatsumi reassures Mirai that Ryūki can perform miracles and enable his followers to talk with spirits. In order to convert Mirai, Ryūki offers her a bottle of water to drink from. She throws the offered bottle aside, assuming that it's been spiked with some sleeping drug, prompting Ryūki's followers to grab hold of her. Ryūki scolds Tatsumi for bringing someone troublesome along right when he's gathered enough sacrifices, confusing Tatsumi with his words and sudden change of personality. Hearing this, Mirai easily fights free from Ryūki's followers, revealing herself as a ninja of Konoha.
Mirai apologises to Tatsumi for not being honest with her, and then asks Ryūki if he's behind all the recent kidnappings. Ryūki, not scared of Mirai, admits it, explaining that he's been capturing gullible travellers like Tatsumi with promises of miracles so that he can become immortal by sacrificing them to Jashin. Mirai immediately recognises the term from when she was reading some of the Hokage's secret documents to learn more about how her father died; she didn't have permission to do so and so wasn't able to fully read the documents for fear of being caught, but she learned enough. As Ryūki moves against Tatsumi, vowing to fulfil his promise of letting her see her mother again in the afterlife, Mirai intervenes, becoming stabbed in the process.
Ryūki recognises that Mirai, as a Konoha-nin, must have some familiarity with Jashin, and so explains his intention to follow in Hidan's footsteps by bringing an end to the peace that is consuming Yugakure, the Land of Hot Water, and the world at large. Mirai pities Ryūki for feeling so abused by the idea of peace, but makes clear her intention to stop him. Putting on her father's chakra blades, she begins attacking the Jashinists with Flying Swallow, destroying their weapons and knocking some out. Ryūki is startled to see Mirai in action, so orders his followers to seize the sacrifices kept deeper in the cave and kill them if Mirai keeps fighting.
Ryūki's tactic is short-lived, as the followers he sent after the hostages are quickly defeated by Guy. Mirai, meanwhile, is joined by Kakashi, who explains that they noticed her leaving the inn and followed her in case she was in trouble. Ryūki starts to flee upon seeing them and Mirai pursues, entrusting Tatsumi to Kakashi. Ryūki expected this to happen and, once Mirai gets close enough, licks some of the blood from her earlier injury to activate Curse Technique: Body Controlling Manipulated Blood. Despite Kakashi's attempts to warn her, Mirai is seemingly killed by the technique. And then she gets up, revealing to Ryūki that what he thought was her blood was only hotspring water from her bottle that she made appear red using a genjutsu. She attacks him with Wind Release: Whirlwind Fist.
Ryūki and his followers are turned over to Yugakure and the girls that were kidnapped are set free. Mirai is surprised by how quickly Kakashi was able to get in contact with Yugakure, prompting Kakashi to reveal that finding and stopping the Jashinists has been their objective all along; Kiba, Tenten, and Chōji investigated different regions to narrow down the search area, while Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai posed as simple travellers in case it might lure the Jashinists out. Mirai is briefly hurt that nobody told her this, but quickly realises she would have acted differently had she known and very likely wouldn't have been able to locate the Jashinists as she did. Regarding the secret Jashin documents that Mirai read, Kakashi retroactively declassifies them so that she won't get into trouble.
As they return to the inn the next morning, Tatsumi apologises to Mirai for her part in what happened, guilty that Mirai could have been harmed because of her. Mirai insists that she shouldn't feel bad and that, besides, it was Tatsumi's water bottle that helped her to defeat Ryūki. If anything, she feels she should thank Tatsumi, as she has been worried recently about what purpose a ninja like herself has in a peaceful era. Protecting a friend like Tatsumi, fighting so that Tatsumi can live on into the future has given her that purpose. Tatsumi likes this outlook and decides that she also will look to the future rather than dwell on her mother's death. Guy begins making plans for them all to visit the hotspring together when they get back, and Mirai smiles to hear Tatsumi laugh at the idea.
At an inn in the Land of Fire, Kakashi speaks on the phone with Naruto reporting that they expect to return to Konoha later that same day. Naruto in turn tells him about the resolution of another matter, and Kakashi is glad for the successful outcome. The topic turns to Mirai and Kakashi concludes that Naruto's concerns that she is too serious were unnecessary, as she has done a fine job. He adds that they have had a pleasant vacation before ending the call.
Guy approaches Kakashi once he's off the phone and points out that, because Kakashi talked to Naruto for so long, they might not be able to reach Konoha before nightfall, which may displease Mirai. Although Kakashi feels that Mirai's fight with a Jashinist like Ryūki was destiny in a way and is proud by her performance, he regrets that Ryūki was able to prey on her desire to see Asuma. Still, Kakashi notes he himself might have struggled if Ryūki had said there was a way to heal Guy's legs. Guy replies that he is alive and that Kakashi is still his friend, which are all he could hope for.
When they locate Mirai, she appears angry that they have fallen behind schedule. Kakashi meekly suggests that they stay at the inn for the night, to which Mirai agrees with a smile; she has already arranged rooms for them and amended the schedule accordingly. Kakashi, Guy, and Mirai get to work relaxing, their top secret mission/holiday lasting one night longer.