|Shikamaru Shinden: A Cloud Dancing in Forlorn Falling Petals|
|(NARUTO -ナルト- シカマル新伝 舞い散る華を憂う雲, Naruto: Shikamaru Shinden: Maichiru Hana o Ureu Kumo)|
|Previous||Sasuke Shinden: The Teacher's Star Pupil|
|Japanese||July 4, 2018 ISBN (978-4-08-703456-1)|
Shikamaru Shinden: A Cloud Dancing in Forlorn Falling Petals (NARUTO -ナルト- シカマル新伝 舞い散る華を憂う雲, Naruto: Shikamaru Shinden: Maichiru Hana o Ureu Kumo) is an original story written by Takashi Yano and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It is the fourth instalment of the Naruto Shinden series. It takes place both before and after the Mujina Bandits Arc.
- Secret Manoeuvres (暗躍, An'yaku)
1. A short while after the recent Chūnin Exams where Momoshiki and other Ōtsutsuki clan members attacked, Shikamaru Nara wakes up in his bedroom still wearing the clothing from the day before and smelling of tobacco. He had fallen asleep the moment he came back from work late at night - he missed his bath, forgot to eat the dinner his wife cooked for him, and has a massive headache from his excessive drinking. As he leaves his room, he bumps into his son, Shikadai Nara, who mentions that his mother, Temari, is in a bad mood. Shikamaru knows it's because of his bad habits, and after lightly teasing his son, he delicately greets his silent wife and heads off to take his bath. When Shikamaru sits down to eat breakfast, he and Temari have a strained conversation; eventually, Temari asks whether he remembers what day it was yesterday. Shikamaru instantly realises that he had forgotten their wedding anniversary as he was busy preparing the Five Kage Talks as a result of the recent attack during the Chūnin Exams. He apologises profusely, and Temari remarks that she hopes those feelings are true, because that day will never come back again. Realising that he's going to be late for work, Shikamaru apologises one last time before leaving.
2. The Five Kage talks are uncharacteristically tense. All the Kage, as well as their respective assistants are present. Shikamaru observes and analyses the situation as Kurotsuchi, the current Tsuchikage, begins to express her displeasure for the fact that Konohagakure has access to powerful Scientific Ninja Tools the other villages knew nothing about. Naruto, the Hokage, defends Konoha by explaining that the tool was made without their permission, however, Kurotsuchi counters by saying that he shouldn't have expected a calm reaction to such a power-imbalance. Shikamaru interjects, voicing his belief that ninja tools could be used for good, and that Konoha had to hide the tool's existence, so the young would remain motivated to train. Nonetheless, Kurotsuchi maintains that these tools are too dangerous, and notes that the triggers of the Fourth Shinobi World War were all from Konoha, citing Sasuke Uchiha and other missing-nin. Naruto loses his temper slightly at the mention of Sasuke, but Shikamaru explains that Sasuke is now a double-agent, thus benefits the entire Shinobi Alliance, as agreed upon. He also states that the alliance, as well as the knowledge that Konoha is outnumbered, should be enough proof to ensure that Konoha would not attack other villages with the Scientific Ninja Tools.
Although Gaara, the Kazekage, and Darui, the Raikage seem to be supporting Naruto in this debate, Chōjūrō, the Mizukage, agrees with Kurotsuchi. Shikamaru realises that this is due to trade of natural resources that began after the war; Kirigakure, who has always had a mineral shortage, is receiving minerals from the Iwagakure. Likewise, the Iwa receives clean water from the Kiri.
At the end of the meeting, Kurotsuchi threatens to leave the Shinobi Alliance if Naruto does not meet the demand of promising to disclose all of Konoha's secret for the sake of peace by their next meeting.
3. A short while later, Shikamaru meets with two trusted ANBU operatives, Hinoko and Rou, with whom he had once completed a mission with to the Land of Silence. After light-hearted conversation, Shikamaru explains the situation of Kurotsuchi demanding Konoha's secrets, and notes that she has an ulterior motive. Due to the sensitivity of the case, he give Hinoko and Rou the tasks of infiltrating Iwagakure and investigating why Kurotsuchi would attempt to disturb the peace, picking them specifically because they have abilities which are ideal for reconnaissance. Shikamaru then explains that he will also be entering Iwa legally to visit the Third Tsuchikage Ōnoki under the guise of playing Shogi with him. The trio then part amicably.
4. Shikamaru plays Shogi with Ōnoki and they have a good time. But then, Shikamaru begins to question Ōnoki about Iwagakure's intentions. Things begin to get tense, and Ōnoki explains that "shinobi will always be shinobi", thus peace can potentially waver. Kurotsuchi then enters the conversation, and accuses him of investigating Iwa, a claim Shikamaru aloofly denies. She proceeds to ask whether Konoha has an answer to her previous offer, but he says that they're still working on it. Kurotsuchi then teases Shikamaru about forgetting his wedding anniversary with Temari, and they exchange harsh words, before Shikamaru takes his leave. Kurotsuchi tells him to have a safe journey with sincerity in her voice.
5. Shikamaru returns to Konoha, and begins to work on the immense amounts of paper work he has. Moegi Kazamatsuri, the leader of Team 10, approaches him, mentioning that she has to talk to him about his son, Shikadai. Apparently, due to his great performance at the Chunin Exams, Shikadai caught the eye of many higher-ups; specifically, a damiyo of another country requested for him to be a guard for an S-rank mission. However, Shikamaru learns that he had rejected the mission, and when he confronts his son, they have a heated argument in which Shikamaru asks why Shikadai would turn down such an opportunity. Temari suddenly interjects calmly, explaining that their son had a mission the following day, and that Shikamaru should let him sleep. Shikadai does not respond when Shikamaru wishes him a good night. Later, as Shikamaru is reflecting on how much he values being Naruto's assistant, Temari approaches him about the topic of why Shikadai rejected the S-class mission. The reason is because the daimyo, who was from a smaller country, only requested the mission to get close to Shikamaru, the Hokage's assistant, for an unknown reason. Thus, Shikadai rejected the mission, and Shikamaru feels guilty for his job interfering with his son's career. The conversation ends abruptly when he sees Hinoko, who has come back from Iwagakure, in the distance.
7. Hinoko and Shikamaru sit in the park, initially discussing family and bantering playfully. Then, Hinoko reveals she and Rou discovered that the reason Kurotsuchi is attempting to break the Shinobi Alliance is because Iwa planned to attack the Land of Flowers. The Land of Flowers is a small country near the Land of Earth whose main export are flowers. Since ancient times, the Land of Flowers has been allied with the Land of Lightning - when Flowers had their worst harvest ever, the Land of Earth betrayed them and broke their treaty, and the Land of Lightning helped Flowers survive during that dark period. Shikamaru realizes that this means that Kurotsuchi is only acting this way because the Earth daimyo wants the crops the Land of Flowers has to offer, and she is obligated to obey. This also means that Darui, the Raikage of Kumogakure, will side with the Land of Flowers if Iwagakure takes over the country, whereas Kurotsuchi and Chōjūrō would side with one another due to the trade between Iwa and Kiri. Shikamaru knows this will cause a potential war, and decides he can't let that happens. He parts affectionately with Hinoko to go to work.
8. When he goes back to work, Shikamaru explains the political situation—particularly Kurotsuchi's motives for attempting to break the Shinobi Alliance—to Naruto. He proceeds to state that it's much harder to maintain peace amongst shinobi when they no longer have a common enemy beyond the imagination of humans bond over, since each country has their own values and ideals. Shikamaru, despite noting that Naruto is a noble man, feels that it's necessary to say those things due to the gravity of the situation.
Naruto wonders sadly about why Kurotsuchi did not tell them the truth about how the Earth daimyo is pressuring her; he believes that the Shinobi Alliance would have definitely aided her when it came to food scarcity and other issues. Shikamaru feels the same way, but has no doubt that one contributing factor was pride.
Shikamaru recalls Ōnoki's words during his visit to Iwagakure: shinobi will be shinobi, no matter how peaceful times are. He recognizes that the worst possible conclusion of this dispute with Iwagakure would be the Fifth Shinobi World War, and unlike the previous war, there wouldn't be an alien force rallying shinobi together, thus making the peace they fought for meaningless. He notes that shinobi are but shields for the daimyo, who is the leader that decides who their shinobi fight.
Naruto is sad as he remembers the casualties of the previous war, dead-set that Boruto's generation, who grew up in a time of peace, should not have to experience war; he doesn't want the children to think that they'd be used as fodder. At this, Shikamaru recalls the memory of his deceased father, Shikaku Nara, and teacher, Asuma Sarutobi—the scars of their deaths still hadn't healed after all these years. When he sees Naruto's resolve to stop Kurotsuchi's plan, he recalls Naruto's determination as the reason Shikamaru was adamant about making him Hokage. He thinks that Naruto has the potential to decide upon any path, thus Shikamaru would always draw the maps for his paths.
Shikamaru proposes that Naruto should meet with Kurotsuchi. Even though the invasion of the Land of Flowers is the Earth daimyo, however persuading Kurotsuchi would cause the daimyo to reconsider the invasion. If the ninja wont fight, the daimyo can't invade.
- Strategy (笑謀, Emi hakarigoto)
- Hard Fights (竃戦, Hettsui-sen)
- The Future (未来, Mirai)
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