Now it’s time we took a look into Lady Spider world! Here’s my Spider-Man 2099 #8 review!
Miguel and Lady Spider arrive at the former safe zone only to see corpses lying around, much to the detriment of Lady Spider’s stomach. They share a moment of compassion with a hug, before they stumble across the giant robot that we lost to Solus before he got ganked by Kaine. They immediately decide to fix it up and she knows just the place to go.
She visits her time period and asks for permission to use the lab of Harold Osborn’s father, Norman Osborn as you would expect. He agrees, planning to attack it, and Miguel hitches a ride as they transfer it piece-by-piece. Miguel points out the Inheritors are weak to radiation, so if they had some for the robot it would screw the Inheritors over big time.
Anyway, Peter decides to call in and tell them about the new safe zone as Harold arrives to see Lady Spider and they get attacked by the Six Men of Sinestry. They get beaten by Lady Spider, Miguel, and the giant robot, before Miguel recognizes that the Doc Ock was using some radioactive materials to power his arms and has her get some Lead to contain it. Using parts from the six, they manage to fix the robot and get to leave, only for Lady Spider to wonder how Harold is doing. Harold goes to visit his father, only to get shot as the comic ends with the robot back in action.
Okay, review time…
Overall, it was another tie-in, but it was interesting over all. Shame about that Harold dude, but there was nothing to be done with it.
3 out of 5.
Okay, this event is starting to drag out, but I still have a self-proclaimed duty to review it. So here’s my review of Uncanny X-Men #30!
The issue starts out with Maria Hill receiving confirmation that Magik, Malloy, and Cyclops have been killed by missile fire. She doesn’t know whether to be happy or to get ready for war with the rest of the X-Men, but she gets on a plane to go see it for herself. At the same time, Eva is with Charles Xavier and gives him permission to look into her head to see why she’s supposedly angry at Cyclops while, in the present, Beast tells the others he’s dead now right before Storm suggests trying to kill him.
Anyway, the professor finally gives in and looks into her mind as Malloy casts Auto-Revive on himself but can’t do the same for other people, subsequently proving Cyclops point about how SHIELD were dicks and him deciding to end it today. End of World scenario, people. As for Charles, Eva then calls him out for saying one thing and then doing another when he threatens to simply wipe her mind and then send her off.
Emma, in grief, ends up sending out a psychic signal that hurts everyone in the JGS and then calls to Malloy, who is naked for some reason. Really, he can’t conjure up clothing or something? Anyway, she punches him in rage over Cyclops’ death, only for him to kill her too by accident.
So, that’s the last of the NXS staff. As for the students, the Stepford Sisters sense Emma’s death and Hijack decides it’s time to get into the game. Eva appears with Charles Xavier to do just that, once again violating the time stream. As the comic ends, he does his iconic line and hopefully we move into the final part of this arc.
Okay, review time….
Yeah, they’re wasting time at the point. As you may or may not know, Secret Wars is going to reboot the Marvel Universe, so with that on the way they’re killing as much time as possible by doing stupid things like SHIELD getting in a lucky missile strike and Malloy killing Emma. I’m sorry, but my patience for an arc that’s been dragging on for months with little shock value has run out.
3 out of 5, and that’s me being nice.
Scrya Chronicles 2 (Fanfiction.net alternative): Yuuno Scrya was more than the just the one who brought the Ace of Aces into the world of magic. He was an archeologist and a member of the Scrya Clan. Now, offered a position as the Chief Librarian of a wing of the Infinite Library at only 14, he’s given time to decide whether or not he wishes to be chained down or return to his roots. But things don’t go so smoothly as he hoped…
Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:
A Harry Potter Fanfic
Summary: Hermione grows up as a maths whiz instead of a bookworm and tests into Arithmancy in her first year. With the help of her friends and Professor Vector, she puts her superhuman spellcrafting skills to good use in the fight against Voldemort.
A Persona 3 / High School DxD Crossover Fanfic
Summary: Igor had asked him to die for the world. She would ask him to die for her. Problem was, he didn’t really like dying, not for a second time, at least.
A Naruto Fanfic
Summary: What do you get when you cross several interdimensional god like beings, raw boredom, a world of Naruto that went wrong, several years worth of off screen training, common sense, insanity, humor, sarcasm, the Log, explosions, plot, and overall chaos? Apparently a lot of headache medicine for Tsunade. May the Games Begin. Sequel to Yet Again With A Little Extra Help.
An Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: In a different life Ash Ketchum looks upon his world from an unique perspective.
Poké Wars: The Incalescence
A Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: Towns and cities, now a string of funeral pyres, lie behind and beyond us. As we make our way through each settlement made cinders, our strength begins to falter. Many questions arise with the hope that at the end of the horizon the answers we seek will be there. Will things ever be normal again? Will we? And if we ever find out what’s doing this, what could we even do to stop it?
A Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: I think back on those peaceful days we took for granted. When our genocide wasn’t even conceivable, when killing a Pokemon was crazy, when a simple Ember didn’t end in 3rd degree burns, and when I didn’t worry about whether I would live to see morning.
A Pokemon Fanfic
Summary: We were so blind. Now in our end of days, it’s like seeing for the first time. Now everybody’s true self comes out. We see how far we’re willing to go to live. Worse is what we didn’t wanna see: what was there all along. The creatures we thought we had conquered are gone, and what’s left in our pockets are monsters.
A RWBY Fanfic
Summary: What does it take to be a hero? What must one give up in order to defend others? What does one gain? What if you don’t have the same advantages as everyone else? Jaune will have to find out whether he wants to or not. Jaune/Weiss.
A Fate Stay Night/ Persona 4 Fanfic
Summary: A chance decision leads to an unlikely discovery. The mention of a rumor leads to an unbelievable mystery. And the connection to a long forgotten family leads to an unforgettable experience. Welcome to Inaba, Yu Narukami… or should I say Shirou Emiya? (Co-Authored by Nameless Flame Wielder)
A Naruto Fanfic
Summary: Sabaku no Gaara lands in the past to a time where everyone feared him and his father was still alive. He realises this will force him to regain everyones trust when they still think he’s a blood-thirsty psychopath. Time-Travel.No pairing.
A Fate Stay Night/ SAO Fanfic
Summary: Ilya likes to play video games, and in the time she has remaining, Shirou is more than willing to play the new VR game with her. But when they are trapped inside the game, [Sword Art Online], they determine something even more distressing: Kayaba Akihiko is definitely a Magus.
A Valvrave Fanfic
Summary: Post Series. The world falls into chaos. A country struggles to form. The Magius seek ways to remain in control. For his part, Tokishima Soichi couldn’t be happier. They really shouldn’t have left the mad scientist alone.
Scrya Chronicles – Chapter 2
Yuuno hesitated in the orange glow of the fading sunlight, standing outside the home of the Harlaown Family on Mid-Childa. He had spent more time than he realized with his clan, talking over some of the preliminary measures that would need to be taken for the trip, provisions to be bought, and what was expected. After that he entertained some of the younger kids in his ferret form, finding it to be a rather emotionally soothing—if not tiring—event.
It was a modest home, standing roughly a story-and-a-half in height. The window panes reflected the dying light, casting it back over the carefully tended lawn of viridian grass. Flowering brush lined either side of the entrance, white butterflies gently resting on the golden petals in full-bloom.
Lindy Harlaown, at the very least, was expecting him. When he had called their residence, in order to try and contact Arf, she had told him to come over. It seemed like the polite thing to do. She was Fate’s legal guardian, making her also responsible for Arf in that aspect, and asking her in person was only fitting.
No, what bought the hesitation was the fact that Nanoha was supposedly staying over for the length of her holiday. It made sense. They were friends, and it mitigated the commute time between Mid-Childa and Earth. But the day’s revelations had not exactly readied him for a discussion with her.
Instead, he feared talking to her would complicate his already complex emotions further. Worse than that, what if Arf told Fate or Nanoha about their discussion in the café? Would she try to comfort him? Would she reject him? Would she pity?
Yuuno didn’t think he could take any of those responses coming from her. The thought alone clawed at his stomach and heart. It left him struggling with two choices:
He could stay, braving his emotional confusion and turmoil to make his plea to Arf and her family. He felt like he owed it to her out of respect for listening to him, as well as a chance to connect with someone from his past. It felt more appropriate, since they were both in the same metaphorical boat
Or, he could leave while he was still unnoticed. It would be simple enough to say something came up. But then it would be rude, wouldn’t it? He would feel terrible for lying to them, just to relieve himself from the fear of seeing Nanoha.
The decision was ultimately made for him when he heard another voice that he hadn’t heard for some time, marking the third time for that day. “What are you doing standing there, Ferret Boy?”
“Uh… enjoying the scenery?” he said meekly, turning to find Chrono Harlaown and the girl he vaguely recalled from the few times he was on the Asura, Amy. As tall as Yuuno had gotten over the years, Chrono had grown even taller due to being older.
“Right….” Chrono strode forward, Amy following behind, and came to a stop in front of him. “Honestly, I thought you had been buried under a stack of books at the Infinite Library, never to be found again. This is certainly the last place I expected to see you.”
“I had something I wanted to discuss with your mother and she told me to come over,” Yuuno said. “It would have been rude to refuse.”
Chrono crossed his arms. “And yet you’ve been standing there for who knows how long?”
Yuuno scratched the back of his head, not willing to meet the pair of dark-violet eyes boring into him. He didn’t want to admit he was nervous to Chrono, of all people. Thankfully, the door opening to reveal Lindy spared him of that.
“I was expecting Yuuno, but you’re home early, Chrono.” Her eyes drifted past her son and to Amy. “How have you been, Amy?”
“Very well, Admiral Harlaown,” Amy said, holding up the bags. “I came to help make dinner, if you don’t mind?”
“Not at all,” Lindy said. “And you don’t have to call me Admiral anymore. I’m retired.”
Yuuno took a moment to register that bit of information. It was news to him. “You’ve retired?”
“Chrono is the new Flotilla Admiral of the Asura.” She couldn’t have been more proud in the way she said it either. “Anyway, all of you come inside.”
Chrono and Amy entered through the doorway and into the home. Yuuno hesitated, still unsure if he should enter. Chrono settled the mental debate by grabbing his shoulder and pulling him in.
Dragged inside, Yuuno took his place at the table and sat in the chair across from Lindy. Since Chrono and Amy seemed content on making dinner, setting to work in the kitchen, it left the librarian with the smiling former admiral as she poured him a cup of tea. He couldn’t help but feel a little out of his element.
“It will be a little while before the girls finish bathing for dinner,” she said. “What have you been up to since we last seen one another? You haven’t been involved in anything as troublesome as what we went through then, have you?”
“Of course not, ma’am,” he said, scratching his cheek at the thought. Honestly, he couldn’t imagine being caught in something like the Book of Darkness case a second time. Or that mess with the Jewel Seeds. “I’ve just been at the Infinite Library, but it seems I’ve missed at lot during that time.”
She nodded to that. “The years seem to pass by so quickly.”
“It seems that way, doesn’t it?” There was an undertone of melancholy in his voice. “But, you can’t help but wonder what it is that you missed.”
“That’s true too, I suppose.” Lindy took a sip of her tea. It was rather sweet. “It’s probably one of the reasons I retired. There was no time for me to do the simple things I liked, not mention trouble after trouble. Though there are times when I sincerely miss being on the Asura.”
Taking a drink of the tea she offered him, he imagined how stressful her work had been. Spending vast amounts of time away from her home-world, while constantly monitoring and handling threats, was something that wore on you over time. It wasn’t all that different from his time as an archaeologist, but she also had to look after Fate and Chrono. It must’ve been hard.
The silence that followed was broken when Lindy decided to open a telepathic line to Yuuno, not wanting for the others to overhear. ‘Chrono is getting married next year.‘
He nearly coughed up his tea in surprise. ‘He is? To who?‘
‘To Amy, of course.‘ She tilted her head towards the pair. ‘Just look at them.‘
Looking over her shoulders, Yuuno watched how close the two were. ‘I never would have guessed he’d be the type to get married so young.‘
‘Me neither,’ Lindy said. ‘I always thought he’d be the type of person who wouldn’t be tied down because he’s a workaholic. But now it seems like I’ll be a mother-in-law and a grandmother.‘
Yuuno was honestly having trouble wrapping his head around that. In fact, the revelation made him dizzy. But there was no time to dwell on the thought, or telepathic conversation, once Nanoha appeared in the hallway entrance, from where he suspected were the rooms.
“Thank you for letting me stay over Miss—” Partway through her sentence she noticed Lindy’s guest. Her smile of gratitude towards Lindy became wider, bright enough to light up the room. “Yuuno-kun!”
“Nanoha!?” He barely managed to get out of his chair before the flying hug-tackle she gave him almost bowled him over. The impact jostled his glasses, knocking them off his face. “Uh, um… why—I mean, when did you get here?”
“I told you that Nanoha was staying over for her time on Mid,” Lindy said, propping her head up on the table with her palms. She chuckled as Nanoha picked his glasses up off the floor and handed them back, rubbing the back of her head and sheepishly apologizing. “I figured it had been some time since you’d seen one another, and what better way for everyone to reconnect than through dinner together?”
“I see….” He replaced his glasses only to find Nanoha still standing there, looking him with gentle, indigo-eyes that seemed to glimmer as they stared into his own. His cheeks turned crimson, and he found himself noticing how much softer her features were than he remembered. As well as the fact that she smelled… nice.
He wondered why he felt so flustered at seeing her up-close. It had been a year, and it was good to see her, but his heart was starting to beat faster. Maybe it was because he had been thinking about her and the past all day?
Chrono peeked over his shoulder to the sight of Yuuno’s ever-reddening face. He couldn’t help but shake his head, sighing as he did. Then he felt a brush against his mind, and opened the telepathic channel to Amy. ‘Somehow, I have the feeling Mother set this up just to see this.‘
‘The Admiral does seem to be enjoying herself,’ Amy noted, glancing at Lindy’s face. She was smiling as she watched the scene unfold. ‘It’s cute, in a way. You think he’ll tell her how he feels?‘
He scoffed just a little. ‘I sincerely doubt it. Assuming he knows how he feels, Ferret Boy doesn’t have it in him to come out and say it. He’s the defensive-type, so you pressure him until an opening appears and slip through his defenses to get the message across.‘
‘Pot meet kettle.‘ She brushed her shoulder against his arm, taking her place next to his side. Their eyes met, and a rather knowing smile crept onto her face. ‘I seem to recall you being in the same boat.‘
‘I confessed eventually,‘ he retorted. ‘And, to be fair, I didn’t know you were interested in me.‘
‘I only had to spell it out for you over the course of several years….‘ Amy placed a hand on her stomach. ‘Then again, here we are. Starting a family….‘
Chrono let a soft sigh slip out of his mouth, which slowly became a rare smile. ‘Yeah, I guess so….‘
“Uh, so, how have you been?” Yuuno asked Nanoha after she took the seat to the right of him. “I mean, how’s your training going towards entering the Combat Instructor Division?”
She went into a detailed, vivid description of some of the training she had undergone in the last year since they had gotten together. Her training had been far more exciting than anything he had done in the last year, as expected of someone in her position. Graduation for her couldn’t come soon enough, it seemed.
“But what about you, Yuuno-kun?” she asked, after finishing regaling him of her exploits. “How are things with you?”
He opened his mouth to tell her of his accomplishment, but the words died before they came out. If he mentioned the potential promotion, then he’d have to bring up why he didn’t jump on it. That would bring some of his concerns to light, which would be a burden to her that she didn’t need right now.
That, and the fact that he didn’t want to risk hearing her suggestion to go one way or the other. She’d be able to talk him into either one, but for now he wanted to see where his future was heading towards through his own efforts. It was the only way he could be certain, and satisfied, with whatever path he chose.
With her still looking at him expectantly, he shifted his gaze and rubbed the top of his head. “Just more time in the Infinite Library, still in the middle of reorganizing things. Nothing special.”
Chrono begged to differ. “You can say that, but at least when we need to do a reference in that section we can actually find what we’re looking for in a reasonable timeframe now. Sending you there was the best thing to happen to the place.”
“True, things are better than they were before,” Yuuno admitted, “but there’s still a lot of room for improvement in the wing I work in. Let alone the others. It could be well over a lifetime before its perfect….”
As he trailed off, Fate and Arf entered into the room. Fate took stock of everyone who had gathered, her brother, Amy, Nanoha, Lindy, and Yuuno, and smiled at the sight of so many familiar faces. “I had no idea we were having so many people over. I would have come out sooner.”
“Amy and I returned earlier than we expected,” Chrono said from the kitchen. “Scrya was apparently expected though.”
“He wanted to speak to you and Arf about an expedition with his clan,” Lindy stated. “I invited him over to do it since we haven’t seen him in so long.”
“Some of us more than others,” the familiar said as she took a seat across from Yuuno, leaving her Mistress to take the seat next to Nanoha. “You went to see your clan after all, huh? How was it?”
His expression softened. “It was nice actually. There are a lot more kids there now, and I found myself actually enjoying playing with them in my ferret form. I really should have done it sooner, so thank you for what you said then.”
“That’s really nice,” she said. “I’m happy for you.”
“Arf-chan,” Nanoha said, “you didn’t tell us you met with Yuuno-kun.”
“It was pure chance that we ran into one another, when you and Fate were practicing.”Arf made a small, placating gesture with her hands. “We simply had lunch, but since it wasn’t anything major I decided against mentioning it since you were both tired then. I wanted to wait until you both were relaxed before bringing it up, but it seems Lindy beat us to it.”
“Like she said, it was a fluke,” Yuuno added. “I would’ve said something myself, but you were both so dedicated that I didn’t want to disturb your training. I know how difficult it is for both of you to even meet up being in different fields, on top of both of you living on different worlds. Since there wasn’t much happening with me, I didn’t want to intrude….”
“I guess I understand.” Nanoha grumbled. She felt there was more to it, but she didn’t want to pry.
Fate cleared her throat, grabbing their attention. “So what is this expedition about?”
“Right, that…” He adjusted his glasses by the bridge. “When I visited my clan, the elder invited me along to visit what looks to be a partially terraformed Type-1c world. There’s a facility in the center of it and we were hoping it may have been of historical value, so two other clan members and I are going to scout the area. I wanted to ask if Arf could accompany us.”
Arf’s expression conveyed her confusion. But it was her Mistress that spoke on her behalf. “Not that I’m opposed, provided Arf agrees, but may I ask why?”
“Yes…” He trailed off into a sigh, shaking his head as memories from hours prior with Carrie came to the surface. She had warned him to take this seriously, reminding him that this wasn’t something to be taken lightly when family lives were on the line. “This line of work is dangerous, you understand, and it’s not strange for us to run into dangerous Lost Logia or thieves who would want to sell them.”
“He’s right.” Lindy chimed in. “Archeologists have one of the most dangerous careers given their close-contact with relics of the Warring States era.”
“For that reason, I want to make sure that we take as many precautions as possible,” Yuuno’s expression grew somber. “In all honesty, though I remain in practice, it’s been too long for me to say without a doubt that I’m sufficient enough to support them. Few of our clan members are above C-rank in terms of ability, and I’ve seen what happens when we aren’t careful on a dig more than once…. one time we even stumbled across a command unit Mariage.”
Lindy winced. “That’s… unfortunate. I’m sorry.”
He exhaled silently with pursed lips before nodding. “We managed to stop it and reported it. That had to be enough. ”
Nanoha frowned at seeing him like this. The topic was obviously difficult for him to talk about, but it left her wondering what it could have been that made him look like that. What was this thing that caused him to look so pained?
‘It’s an ancient cybernetics’ weapon from the Dark Ages,‘ Fate explained through a telepathic link. She learned of it during her Enforcer-based curriculum. ‘Hailing from the ancient Kingdom of Galea, it can be considered a greater threat than the Tome of the Night sky before it was purged of the corrupted defense program under a worst-case scenario.‘
Fate nodded. ‘It takes corpses and turns them into soldiers, twisting them into what amounts to B-Rank mage zombies that move under a hive mind. A command unit is arguably A-ranked and capable of raising the dead in combat time. Most likely, one or more of his clansmen were turned and then set loose upon them….”
Nanoha’s imagination worked its own magic, painting a grisly picture of one of her oldest friends dying only to have his corpse desecrated and twisted into an abomination. It made her shudder. Just thinking that the gentle scholar, who she could only see at his happiest while surrounded by books, facing something like that… it made her stomach drop.
“Should you really risk your life for something like that?” she asked. “Wouldn’t it be better if you stayed in the Infinite Library instead of doing something so dangerous?”
He straightened out, facing her with conviction in his eyes and steel in his voice. “There’s so much we don’t understand from the time when Alhazred collapsed and the resulting eras. The things we find and gleam during the excavations can be used to better civilization as a whole, or make things safe for others. Could you imagine how things would be if the familiar uplifting program, one of the few things that carried from that time, hadn’t survived the collapse?”
Fate’s eyes drifted over to her familiar. Arf had been there for her during the hard and lonely times. Had she not, there was little doubt she wouldn’t have been able to survive as she had to this day. “No, I couldn’t. I don’t even want to.”
He ran his fingers through his hair and nodded to himself, confirming his own beliefs. “To this day, no one fully understands how the Familiar Uplifting works. By modern standards it shouldn’t exist, but in the past they managed to do what we consider impossible. Now imagine if we could somehow find and understand the life-extension treatments that the Alhazredians had, or repurpose the ancestor-thrones of Praovéan Dynasts for life-support systems? Regardless of the risks, the discoveries to be had are worth pursuing despite the danger.”
If even a minute before he seemed like a timid ferret that should have been nestled away inside the library for safety, now he seemed different. He was like they had known him once before, standing alongside them as a peer and equal. Not someone to be coddled.
“Much like all of you risk your lives for what you believe in, we do the same upholding that belief. We learn from their advancements, and we document the evidence of their mistakes to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That is what it means to be a Scrya—to never be afraid to uncover the past, for the sake of the future!”
There was a moment of absolute silence after his impassioned speech. It made sense. Few there could think of a time when he spoke with such conviction that it was unbefitting of his normally placid nature.
Arf couldn’t stop herself from clapping softly, easing the tension that had come about. The nature of the smile that blossomed on her face was that spoke of understanding, and a touch of envy. Looking at those emerald eyes that held a passion in them that burned as hot as the sun, she found herself wanting that.
For Fate, there was no sin too grave or risk too great that she wouldn’t undertake to protect her. But now, falling behind as her Mistress grew stronger and older, she found herself where she wouldn’t be needed despite her conviction. But, if a simple question could spark such a reaction in him after how she had seen him before, then maybe… just maybe, she could go along and find that same spark in protecting him. “If you put it like that there’s no way we can so no, right, Fate?”
Fate nodded, turning to her best friend and letting their minds touch one another. ‘Even as a child he was capable of supporting you when you were just spreading your wings. The stakes were so high, and he had no obligation to remain. Yet, even when it would have been easier to simply run away or ignore what happened on Earth, he stayed and fought like the rest of us. To think any less of him would be an insult.‘
“I’m sorry, Yuuno-kun,” Nanoha said, her voice soft. It had been so long that she only saw him as a friend who introduced her to magic, rather than someone who fought alongside her. She reached for his hands and took them into hers. “It’s just that I was worried about you.”
“I feel that same way thinking about every time all of you go out and do your jobs,” he said. The softness of her touch was enough to warm on the inside, and the concern in her eyes was as clear as they were beautiful. They staggered his breath. “As… as your friend, no matter how strong all of you are, that fear will never fade.”
‘You’re blushing,‘ Arf pointed out telepathically. Along with those words, she showed him her view of Amy and Chrono exchanging knowing glances, with Amy barely keeping herself from laughing. ‘I’m willing to bet they’re wondering if you’ll be confessing now.‘
He looked away, breaking the contact and covering his mouth as he got back on topic. “We’re taught from a young age that history and relics from the past have to be preserved, whether good or bad. These artifacts and ruins hold a great deal of knowledge and can act as means of unraveling the mysteries of the past. That being said, I value life more and just want everyone to be safe. That’s why I wanted to invite Arf, if she could get permission.”
“If Arf wants to help you, she has my blessing,” Fate said. “Just make sure both of you come back to us safe and sound.”
“The initial scouting may take well over a week with the limited space and supplies on the ship, but we aren’t expecting anything serious,” he assured her. “She’d more than capable of helping during that time.”
‘So it has nothing to do with what we discussed earlier?‘ Arf prodded with a smile. ‘And here I thought this was your way of paying me back.‘
‘It’s both,‘ he replied. ‘I want to help you like you helped me, giving you a chance to experience something different in hopes of finding whatever it is you’re looking for… plus, everything I said was true. Your help would be more than welcomed.‘
“Can we at least see you both off?” Nanoha asked. “I want to meet your family. You’ve meet all of ours, so it’s only fair.”
“I don’t see why not,” he said, scratching the back of his head.
“And with that said, dinner is done,” Amy announced. With her husband-to-be, she set the table and the delicious aroma began to make their stomachs ache with the desire to consume it. “I hope there will be enough for everyone.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t impose any further,” Yuuno said. He made to leave, only to be held in place by Lindy as she set her hands on his shoulders. The smile she wore felt ominous for some reason.
It was then Arf gave him some words of wisdom. ‘There’s no escape. Lindy doesn’t let anyone leave the table when its dinner time. Just sit back down and make nice.’
Faced with that unchanging smile and the advice, he sank back in his seat. “I… guess I can stay a bit longer?”
The former Flotilla Admiral released him and clasped her hands. “Wonderful. Now girls, tell me how your day was….”
Yuuno left feeling fuller than he expected, and later than he expected. That woman didn’t let him go until he was stuffed, saying he needed to put on a bit more weight. Honestly, he felt like he wanted to curl up and sleep now.
Standing outside, he stared at the two moons above for a brief moment in thought. He accomplished what he set out to do, but he didn’t mean to have that sort of outburst. By the Kaisers, he hadn’t even thought he still had that sort of passion in him for archeology after being in the Infinite Library. Yet, all it took was one comment from Nanoha to bring those buried feelings to the surface.
He was happy there, and like Chrono said, he did some real good there. But… for all the dangers, he did miss his time exploring ruins. Every corner was a mystery to unfold, holding secrets no one else had viewed in millennia. The tomes in the Library would remain there, and even if it took a lifetime they could be deciphered, but there were still countless things left to discover.
Surer than ever that he had to do this, he walked home with every intention of getting a decent rest for what was to come tomorrow…
Though he had to admit, maybe it would be faster if he shape-shifted. Four legs would be better than two, given how his stomach felt at the moment.
Amazing Spider-Man #13 (Spider-Verse Part 5) review!
Things are reaching the climax in Spider-Verse and they start with the Inheritors announcing their failure to their father. If you read Scarlet Spiders #3 you know they cannot clone themselves into spare bodies, and Silk has discovered the one world they can’t travel in. What this means is that for the first time they have the advantage, but Solus has no fear since he has the Scion and by tonight there won’t be any left once they complete a ritual.
Back with the group of Spiders, Peter is shocked at seeing that his Uncle Ben was a Spider-Man. But he corrects them by explaining he gave up being Spider-Man, which even Otto finds to make no sense with him being the man who teaches nearly every Peter that with great power comes great responsibility. Ben explains that his version of the Green Goblin killed Peter and Aunt May and it broke him.
Otto calls him out on being a coward, which led to his world being ruined. Ben explains that his version of Otto held the world hostage with nuclear weapons and thus he ruined the entire dimension when it went off early. Our Otto takes that more than a bit hard, but Peter decides to give the clue that Spider-Woman sent back only for none of them to be able to read it, meaning they lost an important players for nothing according to Otto.
Silk takes this hard since she was the one who lost her device and left Spider-Woman stranded and excuses herself to go rescue her. Spider-Gwen follows her, thinking they can go in and out without anyone noticing. Of course, the Spider-Woman tie-in says otherwise.
Meanwhile, the India Spider-Man is still coming to terms with how he feels like one in a million considering all the similar Spider-Men. Spider-UK assures him that each one of them is unique in their own way, much like the members of his Captain Britain Corps. This brings him some comfort right as Otto loses his patience with the scroll and has his computer scan it for any matching languages.
This act leads to Peter pointing out the resemblance to Anna Maria Marconi, which tells Otto that Peter is from the future. This means that he loses in the end, which doesn’t bode well. Before he can make out anything, Anya explains she can read it because of her power and that it’s a prophecy that says that the spiders will end the Inheritors existence in a thousand years, so the only way to stop it is to perform a ritual with the blood of the Other, the Scion, and the Bride.
Much to their horror, both Silk and Kaine are on Loom World. Silk’s rescue attempt ended up getting their device busted again, which makes for like the third time she’s screwed up in this event. Kaine went there for revenge since the attempt to stop the Inheritor clones succeeded at the cost of Ben Reilly’s life. With both of them on Loom world, the Inheritors can smell them and go off to hunt them.
Anya puts together a team to go and get an advantage they can use from the second scroll, while Kaine hulked out on the Other to go kill some of the bastards. Jessica is stuck on Jennix’s world, but Miles ‘ team will go pick her up, and Miguel is working on something in the old Safe Zone and will be there in five or so minutes, so that leaves the rest to deal with the final battle… except for Ben, who doesn’t have it in him.
Kaine, in the meanwhile kills Solus in a single panel like some mook, despite him supposedly being hopped up on Uni-Force. This drives Morlun to the point of rage and he tears one of Kaine’s limbs off and stabs him through the head with it. Whether or not this kills him is unknown, but either way he’s down for the count. Silk and the other two Spider-Women come under fire by the twins and the beast tamer, who brought a bunch of Green Goblins with her.
With rest of them, Peter tries to get Ben to come. But it’s ultimately Otto who gets him back onto his feet, stating he never gave up no matter how great his mistakes, and an easy victory is never rewarding. Peter and I can’t believe it, especially when you consider this is a villain talking, but it does the job and gets him into action.
Now they’re all heading to the final battle as the comic ends.
Okay, review time….
I loved this issue with a burning passion. Nothing was wrong with it. Even Otto got some decent lines and character development. I honestly wish they’d bring him back once this is over.
Anyway, 5 out of 5.
A hero dies in Scarlet Spiders #3 (Tie-In Final Issue)! Read my recap and review below!
The comic begins with an overview of Ben Reilly’s life, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about who’s going to bite the bullet. Kaine is the Other and Jessica is part of the only Ultimate Universe series still active, so she’s not going to die in an event that doesn’t tie in there. Anyway, he’s a Spider-Man, so he’s suffered every pain imaginable, but he earnestly believes what is right and just will prevail. That being said, things look grim as, despite him and Kaine wailing on the bastard, Jennix doesn’t go down easy.
Eventually Kaine decides to break out the stingers and start tearing into the Inheritor since, unlike Ben, he realizes this is a fight of extinction and he refuses to be slaughtered like some animal. Jennix instantly awakes from a clone and then gets shot by a turret that Jessica hacked. Ben wants her to shut it down for two reasons: If they regain control of it then they’re all screwed, and they don’t kill.
Jessica and even Jennix point out the futility of upholding that rule in this circumstance of this, but he instead states that it’s also pointless to keep killing him over and over since they need to trap him. Jessica happens to be at the receiver that sends the signal to wake the clones, but she runs into the Human Torch as an obstacle to doing that… and then she knocks him out in like three seconds flat to go and help the boys.
Ben thinks back, while nursing a concussion, about how he had always done right in the past and it was Peter who lost everything in his world while even getting the acceptance Peter didn’t. But things aren’t looking so hot here, and Jennix makes it clear he has thousands of these facilities, so it was all pointless. But, being a science expert himself, Ben realizes that the signal comes from this facility and tells Jennix he’s going to destroy it to stop them from coming back.
He succeeds, buying the other spiders time to run, but the act apparently kills him in the process with only his torn mask left behind. While Jessica tells Kaine not to let the ugliness of his death poison him, Kaine promptly gives into the Other, using it as fuel and hijacking a portal to Loom world to kill them while they can’t revive themselves.
In the end, they won but it wasn’t without sacrifices.
Okay, review time…
I loved the tie-in, but Ben Reilly dying was still hard. I mean, you could see it coming, but it still hurts because between the cynical Kaine and realistic Jessica, we see that the optimistic one was the one that bit the bullet. Other than that it was a pretty solid tie-in.
The issue and series gets a 5 out of 5.
Magneto #14 review is here! Read below!
In the aftermath of Axis, Magneto finds himself amongst the ruins of Genosha, where he acts as the guardian of those mutants that remain from the camps Red Skull had established. While there, he receives notice that SHIELD is coming and tells the boy to inform the others to keep their heads down. He takes MGH, determined not to be as weak as he had been the last time Genosha was under siege by the enemy, and then proceeds to do as planned.
Speaking of that last time, he had been injured as shown in the flashback and forced metal into his skin to make his legs move. He wanted to protect them, but his loyal followers took him to the bunker and told him to live on since he wasn’t strong enough. Now back in the present, he states he knows how this will end, but he will determine how it will be remembered.
The SHIELD agents land and promptly gets manhandled. Looks like Briar ‘forgot’ to inform them that he was powered up. He tells that he knew they would meet again, and could almost forgive them for hunting and attacking him, but not in Genosha.
He points out that they can muster all of this to capture him, but didn’t have the decency to try when Sentinels were laying waste to it in the past or Red Skull merely days before. They were too busy to even help with the clean up after both cases. And then, to punctuate the point, he drops a giant hand on them.
Now, it’s clear they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell right now. But, like he said, he knew how this would end. Thus, he decides to surrender for some reason unimaginable to me as the comic ends.
Okay, review time….
We see once more that Magneto continues to be haunted by his past. For everything he’s done, for as much as he loathes others, he clearly hates himself just as much for not being there when they needed him. And it can be said that he’s still feeling the effects from seeing Charles’ ghost, which may play a role in why he decided to simply call it a day. Whatever happens next is anyone’s guess.
5 out of 5 is the score.
The final issue of the series is here, and here’s my All New X-Factor #20 review!
Okay, the issue opens with the team on the ship. It’ll be a couple of weeks before Polaris recovers, but she asks Warlock to try and comfort Danger after her realizing she has no soul, so to speak. While he and Cypher made up with one another, with a parting hit to seal the deal., it’s still a bit bitter. Warlock meets with her and tells her that he has a soul, or something inside of him that he cannot explain with words. Instead he shares it with her, and I think robot sex ensues.
While that’s going on, Polaris is instead dealing with a message from Quicksilver. He’s leaving the team for the Avengers Unity division and taking his daughter with him. Personally, I blame Scarlet Witch and would love to be there when he has words with her, but he states he’ll be there if she needs him.
On Serval side of things, Snow has a meeting with Ty Stone of Alchemax and continues to be a sort of corporate sleaze ball who wants his assistant in on the meeting to provide eye candy. This brings him into contact with Miguel O’hara, aka Spider-Man 2099, who recognize one another. As soon as Stone and his assistant are out of the room, secrets come out.
Harrison Snow, or Harry as Miguel calls him, came from the future in a Time Dilation accident with Barry, the man from the last issue. Naturally, an accident sent them both back. Harrison explains that the handgun he used last issue was a device to send him back to the future, however, Miguel explains that time is wonky because of Age of Ultron and thus he just killed the man and his wife as readily as if he had incinerated them.
Harrison then reveals he plans to take down Alchemax using mutants. He plans on recruiting them all, and then the Avengers, and then all the heroes under Serval’s banner. Then he’s going to sic them on Alchemax and obliterate it in five years. It’s ballsy, and he believes that it will lead to a golden age for mankind.
Given how cutthroat Alchemax is in the future, I’m kinda with him. That being said, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Anyway, the team returns just as Miguel leaves and the comic ends its run.
Okay, review time.
Well, it wraps up the series fairly well given the circumstances. While there are some inconsistencies, we can honestly say that X-Factor was probably the best X-Men series out at present. It has better pacing that Uncanny X-Men, the team actually accomplished something unlike the Uncanny Avengers, and it held more worth than All-New X-Men and all the damn Wolverine comics.
I’m still not a fan of the art work though, so the issue and series gets a 4 out of 5. I’d read a sequel.
These are AMV’s that I recommend watching. If you like any of them, give them a like or leave a comment on Youtube and recommend them to your friends. Seriously.
Curse of the Valvrave
Possibly the best Valvrave AMV I’ve seen, this video instantly captured me after I took a moment to go back over the series. I still think the ending was as bad as Code Geass, but I don’t hold that against this work of art.
Spice and Wolf AMV – Thousand Years
A great Spice and Wolf amv centered around the central characters, it’s slow-paced and basically showcases the relationship between Lawrence and Holo.
SAO 2 (GGO) – Crush
I find myself fond of this AMV because of interspersed action sequences and the drama that unfolded in Sinon and Kirito’s lives… plus, watching the actions scenes as the music swells at the dramatic moments is awesome.
I See Fire – Dragon Age GMV
This video makes my heart tremble, descriging the trials and tribulations of the Grey Wardens during the Blights. Those lives lost, the sacrifices, and the unity of races to defeat a common enemy. This is a powerful video.
Monolith Code – Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
Okay, this one covered the Monolith Code event for Tatsuya’s team, which I enjoyed and considered the high point of the series.
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – My Demons
This covers a great deal of the series events, and the action and music are wonderful woven together in a way that I can truly appreciate. In fact, I liked the whole concept of the series with the exception of the incest subtext (in my opinion, either they go all-in or not at all), and the fact that Tatsuya was god-magician for all intents and purposes. I could get behind most of his powers, even the self-repair, but when you can raise the dead and use things like Material Burst with little problem in this sort of series, you’ve crossed the line. Sure, they say he has weak technical skills and feels the pain of those he heals, but honestly none of that slowed him down in the slightest.
Tokyo Ravens – Desolate World
Great video about the series, it has the high points for all the major characters, including Jin Ohtomo, who has earned the badass teacher seal of approval in that episode when he and Douman went toe-to-toe. He and Toji deserve their badass credits.
Broken Promises – Tokyo Ravens
Another great Tokyo Ravens AMV where the music matches the sequences. It’s a bit rushed to keep it in time with the music, but it mostly centers around Kon, Harutora, and Natsume, showing their sacrifices for one another. And the ending is especially touching.
Magical Mystery World – Negima
A Negima AMV centered around the time they entered through the gateport, mostly action and beautiful in every sense of the world, the only real crime is that they didn’t animate that Rakan Fight.
Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #9 review and recap! Read on to see my thoughts on the issue!
Following where we left off, Miles mentions he never heard any of this, which means that Fury kept his word by keeping silent. That might explain why he was less than eager to make him the next Spider-Man at first. Though when Miles brings up Norman mentioning it, Jefferson mentions that it’s good he bit the bullet before continuing his story.
Kingpin, before he was the kingpin, tells Jefferson that his brother can keep doing what he does as long as he pays up and doesn’t disrespect him. He then tells Jefferson he works for him. Not just for money, but so that his family remained untouched.
Immediately after that, things got real as he began to move on conquering territory. Kingpin made it so that the greedy and seedy underworld dwellers working for him got richer than they could without, and all they had to do was mention who they worked for to get what they wanted. It goes to show that, even in the past, the Kingpin did not screw around.
It was getting to be too much for Jefferson, and he wanted out. But Fury pointed out they didn’t have enough evidence to do something to him yet and if he leaves, the Kingpin will kill him. He was trapped in his role whether he liked it or not.
Anyway, the next meeting with Kingpin has Jefferson going to a seedy warehouse with Toad, the mutant, giving one of his men Mutant Growth Hormone. If you’ve never read X-Men, then to summarize it, using it gives you temporary mutant powers. When one of his men takes it, he gets beefed up, and they talk business.
Jefferson, still having some morals, calls Toad out for selling out one of his own kind to make the growth serum. Fighting ensues, and then SHIELD busts in. Afterwards, there are arrests and a mutant trafficking operation is shut down, and Jefferson gets the chance to join up with SHIELD officially.
He tells Fury to shove it because he didn’t want to have anything to do with his world, his brother’s world, or Kingpin’s world, and just wanted to be better. A week later he met Rio at a physical therapist office and fell in love. Then he had Miles and as the years passed by he kept worrying if he would make the same mistakes as him, and then the ugliness.
He apologizes for what he said, for lashing out in anger. He’s not over his wife’s death, not over his brother’s death, and not over passing up the chance to become an agent of SHIELD and do some good in the world. Miles says he’s never been mad at his Dad for it, and they should have like a year of no drama to get their lives in order as the comic ends.
Okay, review time….
The issue is solid and hopefully wraps up the bit about Jefferson; we see that not everyone is cut out for the life of a SHIELD agent. More so when he has to do this sort of thing. It gives you an understanding of the way things are, but Miles clearly forgives easier than I do. It’s what makes him worthy to be Spider-Man.
4 out of 5.
Spider-Verse is still in effect and Miguel O’hara is doing his part to aid his fellow spiders! Read my review of Spider-man 2099 #7!
The comic opens with Daemos trapped in the field, unable to escape. Miguel tells Lady Spider that the more he struggles, the higher the energy level multiplies, so he’s not going anywhere. He then pays a visit to Tyler Stone and basically tells him that he’s still pissed about being dumped in 2014, but Daemos is the bigger threat and he needs a lab to work on the dissection.
When it begins, Daemos continues boasting about how he cannot be stopped. Miguel doesn’t think they can hold him for long so he has Lady Spider analyzing a device that he got from the other him that was killed by Morlun, with Tyler Stone taking a peek as well. I mean, interdimensional tech just screams profit.
Daemos, having grown bored, gives them an ultimatum, let him go and they will be spared to die of old age. They aren’t going to take it, of course, but tell him they’ll think it over. Miguel was hoping to find something else they could survive off so they didn’t eat his kind, but there’s nothing so far, while Lady Spider has a little more luck with the device.
When time is up they reject his offer, so he tells them they’re his new targets and starts meditating. Miguel runs off to a Bio-lab for some kind of cure that was done back in the 2040s. Whatever it is seems important and useful, but Lady Spider calls him back when Daemos begins to fight against the field hard enough to absorb enough energy to power the city. While this does kill him, he has a clone on the ground in mere minutes afterwards.
To buy them a few more minutes, Miguel called in Punisher 2099. Armed with a decent gun, it punches him away until he misses and then he does what might be the coolest thing ever. He beats Daemos over the head with a titanium bat three times before lighting him up with a plasma cannon and melting the floor beneath him. This man is made of win!
That buys the two spiders enough time to jump back to the Safe Zone, only this is after Morlun’s family ran through the place, so they end up amidst corpses as the comic ends.
Okay, review time!
I love it. Not only do we see more of 2099’s world and characters, we get to see someone ordinary putting a halt to the Inheritors momentarily and they even managed to snag what amounts to a win. 5 out of 5!
The new year is here and so are the comics, here’s my Amazing Spider-Man #12 (Spider-verse) review!
The comic open with Morlun having Benjy, the youngest totem ever in any reality, which makes him The Scion. Otto tells them to jump Solarus as this might be their only chance to get him, but this dude is cranked up on cosmic power so that goes poorly. Mayday tries to get her brother back, but Morlun gets away.
Spider-Man UK calls Peter to tell him to get there, and they bring with them a giant robot! As in Power Rangers Megazord robot. While this dude buys them some time, they retreat while Silk ends up in the radioactive world that is the bane of all Inheritors. The nuclear air is toxic to her, but more so to them and she manages to make a hazmat suit out of webbing before moving on.
Peter’s group lands in a random world, and plans to regroup. Otto calls him out, stating his ineptness cost him his base, his absence got their safe zone taken, and his return cost them a giant robot. Mayday, in grief, calls them all fakes and Peter tries to calm her down when the calls come in.
Jessica Drew states she helped Silk escape but can’t jump herself and is Morlun’s serving girl, thinking this is a little convenient while in the presence of the Master Weaver. Miles is on a recruitment kick and thinks that this is insane (and I’m inclined to agree with him given he’s in a sentient spider-buggy), and 2099 is beginning the dissection. Jennix reveals he can hear everything they’re saying then, because while hearing them chatter is amusing they aren’t going to start letting them plan tactics, and sends his sister to get Peter’s group.
With Jessica, the Master Weaver gets her the brief version that he’s the one spinning the web and can only perform small acts of rebellion to help them. He gives her prophecy scrolls that she passes through her warp device to Peter as Morlun returns with Benjy. Back with Peter, Cindy gives them the location of the world she’s on before Jennix cuts her off and then they jump there.
The air is toxic, as mentioned before, but Cindy drew web arrows to guide them to a new Safe Zone. It turns out to be that universe’s bunker that she had been locked in, which is shielded from the Inheritors. That means not only is their location livable, but they can’t be attacked in that world. And there’s one more surprise waiting for them at the shelter as the comic ends: Uncle Ben, that world’s totem.
Okay, review time…
Right out of the gate, this gets a solid 5 out of 5. The plot continues, leading from the fall of one haven to the rise of another, and we see what everyone else is doing. This was the comic of the week, filed with emotion and sacrifice, and just a bit of comedy.
Okay, we’re at the end of the battle between the team and the goddess of the underworld. Read my All-New X-Factor #19 review!
At Serval industries, Harrison is speaking with the man whose daughter he had his team go out to bring her corpse back. Whatever reason they were out there, they want out now and Harrison agrees, but he begs them to let his team do what they were asked.
The team, now facing a goddess within a mortal vessel, is given the choice to kneel or die. Polaris has them kneel, so that she could figure out what was going on, but Sunfire screws that up and nearly gets munched until she intervenes and asks why the goddess chose now. The goddess says that in five years there will be a peace accord, and for some reason it has to stop that so it will kill the inhabitants of the old city and borrowed Elena’s body for that. Then she wipes the floor with them and decides to be on her way.
They get right back up and start hitting back, but Lorna gets taken out by plastic bullets and the goddess decides to just eat their souls. Danger, lacking a soul, proceeds to tear the goddess apart until it runs back to the underworld. If there was any doubt about why you should have a robot on the team, there’s your rebuttal.
Later, Polaris is recovering and the body had been returned. They conclude that it was merely coincidence that the terrorist had plastic bullets, but are curious as to what the goddess meant about being out of time. While Polaris congratulates Danger, she admits that she can’t feel good about it since she doesn’t have a soul and doesn’t feel real.
With Harrison, the couple has finally laid their daughter to rest. They want out, after doing whatever they were there to do, and it seems like Harrison is willing to let them leave. But he promptly kills them both as the comic ends.
Okay, review time….
The battle with the goddess was honestly expected. They’re not going to kill of the team just yet, after all. However, the real meat of the story is what happened in the end. We always knew Harrison was so shady he could shield you from the sun in the summer, but we never thought he could go to outright murder.
Gets a 4 out of 5, the deducted point coming from the art work. While it may normally be like that, I still don’t like it.
Chapter 3: Tsunade’s Return and Konoha Revisited
Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/6/15
“The person you are retrieving is Tsunade Senju,” Sarutobi told Anko and Hinata, who had both been summoned to his office. “She was one of my students, the legendary Slug Princess, one of the Sannin…and hopefully the next Hokage.”
As the two women were stunned with what they were just informed of, he took a deep breath and smiled. “As for who you are escorting, he’s standing behind you.” Out from the shadows stepped a legendary, super-pervert. “I want you two to meet Jiraiya the Toad Sage, also one of the Sannin, one of my students, and… Naruto’s godfather.”
Things were quiet until sound of Anko’s kunai hitting the floor rang throughout the room.
“What? Toad got your tongues?” Jiraiya chuckled. Normally women didn’t respond to his identity with silence… normally there was hitting, screaming, and death threats.
“I am surprised that you didn’t do your… introduction, Jiraiya.” Sarutobi noted humorously. “Normally you wouldn’t pass up the chance.”
The hermit sage sighed. “Not until I find the brat,” he said somberly. Hinata’s ears twitched when she figured he was talking about Naruto. “But before that, we need to go get Tsunade before she gets too far away from my sources.”
“Indeed…” Sarutobi sighed, before looking at the two who were starting to regain their cognitive abilities. “Anyway, as I have said, this is a C-ranked escort mission. The two of you will be escorting Jiraiya to a neighboring village where Tsunade is supposedly… indulging in her habits.”
Jiraiya nodded. “The location isn’t far. It’s about three days to get there, about ten more to convince Tsunade to return, and then five to get back if we have to drag her. The girl can train along the way for the Chuunin Exams.”
Anko shook her head. “Wait… why does one of the Sannin need anyone… let alone only us?”
“We’re trying to keep the fact that Tsunade and I are going to be here a secret for a few reasons. I’ve heard about your skills,” he nodded to Anko, “and I could use an extra set of eyes,” he nodded to Hinata.
Someplace near Suna
Naruto and Kushina had begun the final leg of their training in Suna.
After agreeing to Chiyo’s request, she took them to a private stretch of rocky outcropping that held a small oasis and was away from the village’s routes, so they that they wouldn’t be seen during their training. Kushina and Chiyo realized that Gaara wouldn’t likely just sit still while they tampered with his seal, and quickly assumed it would lead to a fight. Fighting a Jinchuuriki, especially one who isn’t exactly sane, tended to rate pretty high on the scale of suicidal actions.
Chiyo fighting Gaara would be out of the question. While she was skilled, she was a puppeteer, meaning she normally controlled her puppets from a safe distance and hidden, while they dealt with the threat. However, Gaara’s sand and automatic defenses weren’t to be underestimated, and at her age it would have been impossible to avoid completely.
Kushina was also out of the question. She could tie him down, but unlike the fox, he had that sand shield which moved regardless of the boy’s will and would lash out at her before she could apply the seal. Also, considering his unstable nature, he may go full Tailed-Beast form, which would be as bad as the attack on the night Naruto was born, and she needed to conserve her chakra to hold him down.
As much as Kushina hated to say it, she knew that her son was the only one who could fight him. When one Jinchuuriki goes berserk, either a Kage or another Jinchuuriki was sent to stop them.
Naruto had taken a few days of counseling from his mother to get over the fact that he saw someone die like that. After that, he pretty much agreed wholeheartedly once Chiyo explained the type of life Gaara had. Naruto pretty much guessed that’s exactly how he would have turned out if Sarutobi, Iruka, Teuchi, and Ayame weren’t there.
But all parties pretty much agreed that Naruto was in no condition to even hope of going against Gaara in his current state. He wasn’t fast enough. He wasn’t proficient enough in using his element. He couldn’t beat Gaara as he was.
To that end, Chiyo had called in a favor to a young girl she knew that was proficient in using the wind element…
“OW!” the young Jinchuuriki cried. He and about thirty clones had just gotten the crap kicked out of them by said girl with a single attack that knocked them into the rocky wall a few dozen meters away.
“Chisaki,” Chiyo called. “Try not to give the original one brain damage. Trying to explain the basics to him is hard enough already as is… ”
“I’m trying not to Chiyo-baa-sama, but he’s not using the Wind Scythe Jutsu properly,” the older teen responded. “And I’m not even using the larger fans like Temari-chan.”
Aiding him in his training was an older teenage girl with pink hair that reminded Naruto of Sakura’s. She didn’t wear as much make-up, dressed in a black-sleeveless shirt that pressed against her well-endowed assets, and a red skirt that went to her knees, with tights underneath and combat sandals.
In her hands were two War Fans, which were small and made of iron, for durability, and had sharp tips for hand-to-hand combat. She demonstrated by pounding about fifty of his clones in combat as a warm up and finishing the remaining fifty with a Wind Scythe Jutsu. She could also use chakra flow with wind chakra to extend the cutting range from the tips.
In order for Naruto to gain more experience in using wind techniques, they felt it was best to let him experience it first-hand… by beating it into him. While they weren’t going to teach him something like the Wind Style: Wind Dragon Bullet yet, since he really didn’t have the control for it, they needed to teach him how to use the air around him as a weapon.
Normally they use fans to create gusts and then use normal chakra to shape the wind at lower levels without any hand seals, only using wind chakra to add cutting properties to it. However, Naruto practically destroyed the fans they gave him to practice with by trying to use chakra flow, and they weren’t made for someone with his lack of control and large amounts. The gales he created didn’t so much as lack force as they did direction and concentration, allowing Chisaki’s attacks to pierce them easily.
Luckily, that’s where Gen’s new, custom weapons came in.
Naruto’s weapon was a small chakra conducting blade with the Uzushio symbol on the slightly wide mouth of the blade, and nine red stripes along the length of the black blade, which was about a foot, while the hilt was about six inches. It was similar to the ones mass produced in Konoha, but aesthetics aside, this one would split from one thick blade into nine thin blades in a fan pattern and then shape the chakra flowing through it into the fan itself.
Kushina’s weapon was basically two, orange-colored, three-inch thick disks, about a foot in diameter each, held together by a small cylinder in the center that could detach them with a twist… in other words a big yoyo, with the symbol of Uzushio on it. When chakra was infused, it created a circular chakra blade from the space between the disks and rotated, creating a saw that could cut through solid matter with ease, and when a chakra chain was attached it became a flail-like weapon that could attack as far as she could extend the chains. If water chakra was infused, it could wash away other sources of chakra, like the kind being used to maintain a jutsu.
Both of the weapons had seals from Kushina designed to maintain the flow of chakra and redirect them, allowing them to withstand even Naruto’s poor control and channel their respective elements better. Gen’s creations were named by their owners: The “Nine-Tailed Fan” and the “Whirlpool Yo-Yo,” both designed personally for the two of them.
“We at least want him able to do the Wind Scythe Jutsu, the Sand Storm Jutsu, and the Wind Style: Cross Gales Jutsu by the time the Chuunin Exams start,” Chisaki added. “Shadow clones or not, it’ll take him some time to get used to controlling the air using fans since he’s use to getting up close, and unless someone like that girl from Nadeshiko Village pops up, we’ve got to work with what we’ve got.”
“Naru,” Kushina called out to him while he was shaking his head to stop the spinning. “I want you to make two hundred more clones. Half on the Chakra Chain Jutsu, the other half wall climbing the rocks.”
“Add some more for me to beat on—I mean teach,” Chisaki corrected herself. It has been awhile since I’ve tried a few of my other techniques…
“Don’t forget some more chakra control exercises,” Chiyo mentioned. “Have about five of your clones watch him so he doesn’t slack off. The rest need to be divided into using Chakra Threads, studying the finer details of puppeteer arts, and your own chakra control exercises. ”
“Right,” she nodded, before looking back over to him. “Make it five hundred!”
The boy silently swore.
“J-Jiraiya-sama,” Hinata addressed the Toad Sage, before dodging a kunai from Anko for stuttering. “How are you… Naruto-kun’s godfather? I thought he was an orphan?”
Jiraiya looked at her somberly and sighed. “I knew his parents… they were good people, but after they died it was decided to keep them a secret for his own safety. They had a lot of enemies.”
“Then, did you know about the abuse?” Anko said in an emotionless voice.
He glared at her, but shook off his rage. “I didn’t, and when I learned he was missing and what had happened, I was going to kill every single one of them until sensei calmed me down,” Jiraiya said, leaking killing intent that made the two nearly fall of the tree branch they had just hopped on.
“Truthfully, I should have been watching over him, but my writing career aside, I was working on tracking down a snake you should be familiar with…” Anko got the message. “If I had known, I would have fed them to the mountain toad and took Naruto along with me instead of allowing that to happen.”
Minato and Kushina would be ashamed of me… Jiraiya thought silently. “My spy network is spread thin tracking down the snake and a group he was associated with consisting of several dangerous people. I wanted to use them to find Naruto, but in the process I learned the snake had something planned soon, but I’m not sure what, and I don’t want to take him on alone if I could help it.”
“That’s where the other Sannin comes in,” Anko figured. If one Sannin was planning something, then having two to face him would be a smart idea.
Jiraiya nodded. “Sensei is getting along in years and Tsunade is the only one capable of replacing him at the moment.”
Anko tilted her head. “What about you?”
“Hehehe…” Jiraiya chuckled. “Surely you know of my reputation and what I do for a living aside from being a shinobi. If I take the hat, there’ll be a riot.”
“Reputation?” Hinata wondered aloud.
Anko sighed. “He’s known as one of the biggest perverts—”
“Super-Pervert,” Jiraiya corrected without shame.
“—super perverts in the 5 nations and writes those orange books that Kakashi reads.”
“… I see…” Hinata said softy, losing a healthy amount of respect for the man. She had by chance had her bloodline activated and skimmed a few sentences while near Kakashi.
She then attempted to use her “Scarlet Gentle Fist” on it and reduce to ashes before Kakashi dodged.
“Relax, I won’t bother with writing the next one until I find Naruto,” his eyes narrowed. “Once Tsunade takes the hat, I’ll go out and personally search for him. Once I do find him, I’ll take him with me and train him.”
Hinata was somewhat relieved a legendary shinobi would go so far for Naruto, but there was something else on her mind. “… will you bring him back to the village?”
Jiraiya stopped in his tracks. “… I don’t know. He’s technically safer in the village for a few reason—” he raised his hand to stop their complaints, “—even with the abuse, there are far worse people who are going to come after him because of the fox. But I’m afraid of leaving him there because I’ve seen how Jinchuuriki eventually react to the abuse.”
“There are others?” Hinata asked.
“The Kyuubi is the strongest of all the known chakra demons, including the nine various Tailed-Beasts, the Bijuu.” Jiraiya started moving again with the girls in tow. “Normally their identities are kept a secret from other villages, but during a previous war, someone I knew met one who was treated somewhat decently in Kumo and had the Eight-Tailed Ox, the Hachibi. I also heard rumors about the Two-Tailed Cat, the Nibi.”
“There are nine?” Anko stared. “And two of them are in Kumo!”
“The kidnapping attempts on various Konoha members aside,” he sympathetically nodded to Hinata, “they have the best reputation for treating Jinchuuriki as equals.”
Hinata was silent. The village that tried to kidnap her when she was younger actually treated people like Naruto better than her own village. That was very disappointing.
“Anyway,” Jiraiya continued, bring them back on topic. “Not only do Jinchuuriki have high chakra reserves, but some have bloodline abilities and all of them can go through a transformation. The first stage is when they gain a cloak of chakra and the closer the number of tails to the total they manifest, the stronger they get but they become more hostile and irrational.”
“You said first stage…” Anko whispered. “There’s more?”
“There’s the second stage, where the body is altered to become more like the beast and far more powerful than their cloaks alone, partial transformations where they change a part of their body into the beast’s, and finally they go full Bijuu. A Kage-level shinobi alone can probably fight up to a certain point, but it’s a long shot regardless—and you do not want to be on the receiving end of a Tailed-Beast Ball. Those things can level mountains and force you to redraw a map… ”
“And people actually antagonize them?” Anko said in shock. “Dumbasses! All of them! The boy should’ve killed a few them to get the message across.”
“If he did that, the council would’ve had Naruto killed and I would’ve killed them, leading to another S-rank missing-nin from Konoha. The only reason most Jinchuuriki don’t go rogue or become missing-nin like Naruto is because they’re normally related to someone in a high position to the village, like a Kage. That way they’ll be loyal and hopefully not be treated in an abusive manner. If they do lash out or get too violent to control, the beast is ripped out of them and placed into a new container, killing the current host.”
Jiraiya’s face hardened. “By the way, this information is S-ranked. Talking about it lightly will get you executed. The only reason I’m telling you this is because I’ve heard how the little fallen princess here defended Naruto, and that’s something I am grateful for.”
Both women nodded.
“Now, let’s get back to finding Tsunade before she hightails it because she starts to win at gambling.”
“How is that a bad thing?” Anko asked.
“If I’m a Super-Pervert, she’s the Legendary Sucker, because she never wins unless something bad is going to happen, and me dragging her back qualifies as bad for her.”
The Village Housing Tsunade – 3 days later
“Tsunade-sama, this is the fourth time you’ve won the jackpot!” said a woman with shoulder length black hair and bangs, wearing a long dark blue kimono. Next to her was a woman that looked her age with blonde hair and wearing a green jacket that has the symbol for “Gamble” on it.
“… Fu—” the blonde woman was about to swear, knowing that it was time to leave, when a certain super-pervert grabbed her shoulder.
“Been awhile princess,” Jiraiya smiled, Anko and Hinata behind him. “You too, Shizune-chan.”
“Jiraiya-sama!” Shizune took a step back.
“DAMMIT!” Tsunade swore. “I knew I should’ve left after the first jackpot!”
The Next Day
Hinata was in a trance, as she focused her bloodline on the target in front of, a dead tree on the outskirts of the village.
“8 Trigrams 32 Palms!” Infusing her strikes with her fire chakra, the blasts of chakra became scarlet colored and penetrated the wood. The wood darkened substantially, radiating outward from every point hit.
She relaxed from her stance once she saw Jiraiya coming from behind her.
“Yo!” the Toad Sage called out, looking at the blacked tree. “That’s impressive. A Gentle Fist strike infused with fire chakra. I’ve wondered why I never seen a Hyuuga using elemental chakra in their strikes, but I’ve heard your clan’s traditions were so strict that it wasn’t allowed.”
“Y-yes,” she stuttered, and a kunai came from the village, hit the tree when she ducked, and it collapsed on itself. Jiraiya just looked in the direction it flew from and saw the purple-haired kunoichi saying something. “Sorry, if I start stuttering she throws things at me. It’s just that being around someone as renowned as yourself.”
“You’ll get used to it…” he sat on a rock and looked at her peacefully. “Can you do me a favor?”
“If it is within my abilities, I’ll be happy to,” she answered.
“Tell me about my godson.”
A Few Days Later
“Damn it, Jiraiya!” Tsunade swore, as she sat in a small drinking booth, having a few shots. “I keep telling you, I don’t want to go back to Konoha! There’s nothing but bad memories there.”
“I know princess, I know…” Jiraiya sighed, taking a swig of his own drink. “But after all this time, I wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t necessary.”
“What could be so bad that the almighty, legendary Super-Pervert, Sannin, and Toad Sage needed to come and ask me to return to Konoha?”
“The snake,” Jiraiya said somberly. “He’s planning something and he’s got something to do with that new village, Oto. The team they sent for the Chuunin Exams were all killed in the Forest of Death, but one of the genin from Konoha was marked with a seal, the last Uchiha.”
“You know more about seals than me,” she spat. “Why do you need me?”
“We know how he feels about the village, and sensei is getting along in years. If he was going to do something, the easiest time would be during the finals in a few days.”
“And what about after?” she said. “I’m not stupid. I know that if I come back I’ll have to take the hat from sensei.”
“My godson went missing,” he said quietly, watching Tsunade’s eyes go wide briefly. “One of your distant relatives and heir to his legacy went missing six months ago.” Jiraiya told her what he learned of what Naruto went through.
Tsunade snorted. “That’s less of a reason for me to go back, if they’re willing to treat him like that, then there’s really no hope for the village now. The brat’s better on the run than in a place like that.”
“Not all of them are like that,” Jiraiya tried to argue. “The girl I bought with me, she doing her best and pushing herself to get stronger because she couldn’t do anything before. Sensei, and a few others were hit the hardest and they just need to know he’s safe. I’m sure we can’t change the mind of those who are in our age range since they’re too set in their ways, but we can at least set the ground work for his generation to accept him.”
“Please,” she shook her head. “You’re probably just going to go back to writing that smut once I’m stuck there.”
Jiraiya got out of the booth and kneeled in front of her on the dirty ground. “Please, Tsunade. I want to at least make sure sensei and Konoha are safe before I go find my godson, and I need your help. I’ll pay off all of your debts and give up writing until I can find the boy, it’s the least I can do for his boy.”
She closed her eyes, as a single tear fell out. “You know… I’m not capable of combat anymore… Just being there brings me pain… Please Jiraiya, don’t make me go back… ”
“Just being there alone will bring morale up and security,” he pleaded. “With your and Shizune-chan’s expertise you can raise the level of quality in the medic-nins. We’ve both lost people we cared about because of circumstance beyond our control, your loved ones and my students who were like children to me, and I know it hurts, but please… ”
She silently cried as she recalled the memories of her brother and lover. The moment of silence between them was interrupted when a kunai planted itself where Jiraiya’s head was not a second ago since he moved to avoid it. He grabbed the kunai to toss it into the air before the explosive tag went off and lit the night sky.
Tsunade had grabbed the stool Jiraiya was sitting on before he kneeled and tossed it in the direction the kunai came from, breaking it as it hit a tree and causing the tree to fall down and reveal a shinobi with an Iwa forehead protector. “Even if his head is on the ground and not with the purple haired-woman, and she’s crying drunk without that other girl, they are Sannin,” the shinobi muttered.
“Let me guess…” Jiraiya rolled his eyes. “Anti-Sannin faction from Iwa?”
“Well…” he pointed to his scratched out forehead protector, indicating he was a missing-nin. “Not officially of course.” Several more shinobi stepped from out of the shadows.
One… five… seventeen of them… Jiraiya and Tsunade counted the number of hostile presences they felt. It was followed by the sound of screaming from civilians and yells from bandits, as the buildings in flames begun to light up the horizon. They must’ve drawn in bandits to deal with Anko and Shizune…
“Every time you show up Jiraiya, things go straight to hell!” Tsunade whined. She was sure Shizune was around the area the bandits were since she sent her off so that she wouldn’t try to convince her to go back to Konoha.
“Not now princess,” Jiraiya bit his thumb and flipped through the boar, dog, bird, monkey, and ram seals. “Summoning!”
A giant toad from Mount Myouboku named Gamariki joined the battlefield. “Gamariki, use Water Gun in the sky and make it rain to put out the fires!” The toad did just that, and it began to rain over the land.
“Get them!” the cannon fodder yelled, resulting in a clash between the two Sannin and a random assortment of Iwa runaways.
Jiraiya formed a spiraling sphere of chakra in each hand and drove them into the chest of two of men before they even knew what hit them. The spheres grinded away at their flesh and twisted it, as they pushed past the skin and into the muscles, tearing them, and then the vital organs, killing them. “Twin Rasengan!”
Another tried to stab him in the back, but he twisted, bringing his leg with him, and snapped the man’s neck with a crunch from the impact. When two more ran over their fallen ally to get to him, he charged. Behind him was the sound of shattering earth, as Tsunade had just caved in the chest of the second one who attacked her, bringing the kill count to five.
The one-sided slaughter continued, until one maimed body was knocked into the air by an earth jutsu. The body flew over lifeless over Tsunade, leaving her covered in the dripping blood. She reached up to touch her face, before looking at her hand and seeing them dyed red, before she fell to her knees.
“Fuck!” Jiraiya swore, planting his foot into another shinobi’s chest and crushing his ribcage. The fractured ribs pierced his heart and lungs, killing him. Her fear of blood… if they see her like that… I’ve gotten out of shape to have to struggle against a few mid-level jounins…
Closing in to the Sannin were Hinata and Anko. Shizune was busy treating the civilians who were injured, so she stayed behind. They had just taken care of the bandits. Some died relative quickly from a Gentle Fist to the heart, others died painfully from Anko’s snake venom or Shizune’s poisoned senbon. It wasn’t her first time killing, that was on a mission with Kurenai and she had received counseling for it and accepted it somewhat as a part of the career she was in.
Hinata saw Tsunade crouched on the ground shaking while her bloodline was active… and saw a shinobi underground poised to strike her with a kunai.
“Tsunade-sama!” Hinata cried, as she dived towards the blood-stained woman. The kunai breached the ground and plunged itself into the stomach of the young kunoichi, who recoiled in pain before Anko’s snakes bit the hand that stabbed her, causing it to contort violently before it finally went limp.
“Hinata!” Anko yelled, as she turned over the girl to see her coughing blood and in pain, her complexion fading faster than the small wound would indicate. She was wearing her chainmail, so it didn’t go too far in, but from her reaction… “She’s been poisoned.”
She looked at Tsunade. “Help her!”
Tsunade didn’t move, still shaking in place out of fear.
Anko raised her hand and brought it across the woman’s face. “Listen here! That girl just saved you! She’s been poisoned and your assistant isn’t nearby! You are the only one here who can do something about it!”
“But… I…” Tsunade mumbled weakly, staring at the dying girl.
“Snap out of it!” Anko yelled as she shook her. “Look at her dammit! Are you just going to let her suffer because of a little blood?”
Tsunade’s eyes met the girl’s. “She has someone she wants to meet again, but she can’t do that if she’s six-feet under! If you’re supposed to be the best medic-nin, then fucking prove it now!”
Tsunade’s wobbling hands hovered over the girl, glowing translucent blue color. Heart rate accelerated, as well as damage to the stomach, liver, heart, and these symptoms… “I-it’s poison from a type of lizard that’s native to the Land of Earth. Get her inside the building and go get me the things I’m about to tell you so I can perform the Poison Extraction…” she continued.
Jiraiya looked at the scene from the distance as he stood on top of his summons, having just killed the last attacker, happy to see that Tsunade was getting back to her old self. The girl would survive and become stronger for it.
Land of Wind
“Wind Scythe!” Chisaki and Naruto cried, releasing fierce gales that tore into each other, seeking to decimate the opposing shinobi. As Chisaki’s broke through, Naruto made a clone and they channeled wind chakra into their Nine-Tailed Fans.
“Wind Style: Cross Gales!” Naruto and his clone yelled, both swinging down their fan. The released diagonal blades of wind crossed and sliced through the gale that the older teen had summoned. It barreled towards her, while she channeled wind chakra into her fans.
“Wind Style: Cast Net!” the dual fangs were diced in a checkered pattern and Naruto’s senses were telling him to dodged, so he jumped as the portion of the wall behind him had been hit, leaving gouges that looked like a net had been cast.
Naruto threw two kunai that she deflected to the side with her fan and finished setting the field for her next attack. The clear sky had grown dark and cloudy, concentrated above the boy.
“Wind Style: Great Task of the Dragon!” Chisaki announced, pointing her fan towards the brat. The storm clouds parted and a howling twister descended onto the boy, drawing up sand and carving out a mark in the land. By the time the twisted died, the boy was half-buried in the sand.
It’s over… Chisaki sighed… then the body disappeared in a puff of smoke. “Shadow Clone!”
The two kunai that she had deflected popped and became two Narutos that each kicked her arms upwards, disarming her of the War Fans she held onto. Not missing a beat, she placed a kunai in the clones’ chests and looked over to see the chuckling original.
“Not so hot without out those babies now, are you?” Naruto snickered… only to see her performing the tiger and rabbit hand seals. “Oh come on, you have more jutsu?”
“My name means ‘a thousand blossoms‘, so I went out of my way to learn this technique,” she gloated, finishing the dragon seal. “Wind Style: Scattering Flower Dance!”
Another twister of wind and petals was born from beneath Chisaki’s feet, and it spiraled around her and then flew like a snake towards Naruto. On impact, it pushed him into the rocky wall and then firmly embedded him into before dying out.
“I will admit, using substitution with a shadow clone was brilliant,” Kushina said, sitting next to Chiyo after finishing their portion of their own training. “His father would be proud of his progress.”
“Indeed,” Chiyo agreed. “Had he not simply gloated upon disarming Chisaki, he may have beaten her… maybe… We’ll head back to Suna tonight and get ready for the trip to Konoha.”
Konoha Main Gate – A Few Days Later
“Man,” Chisaki moaned. “That line was long as hell to get in here.”
“It can’t be helped,” Chiyo said. “During the Chuunin Exams, there are a large number of people of interest coming to watch the potential of the various villages’ genin.”
Naruto and Kushina just stared at Konoha as a whole. It had been so long since either one had been there—well, about half a year for one, over twelve years for the other.
Before they crossed the Land of Rivers, Chiyo told them to change their appearance once more, since there might be some fallout from what they planned to do. This wasn’t exactly authorized by the Kazekage and this way they would be able to escape if things went to hell.
Speaking of the man who turned his child into an unstable weapon and traumatized him, Chiyo had Chisaki use her summoning, coyotes, to track the man as he left Suna. Before they got to gate, the summonings said that the man’s scent had changed to snakes and blood midway through the trip. Chiyo was tempted to brush it off since her only goal was to help Gaara, but to be safe she told her to have them inspect the area the scent changed at.
“We’ll split up now and contact each other once the finals have begun,” Chiyo said, as she and Chisaki began to leave the mother and son.
“… did you hear?” one of the gate keepers whispered to the other. Naruto’s enhanced hearing picked up on it with relative ease. “Jiraiya-sama is back in town.”
Curious, Naruto whispered who he was to his mother. Her response was to smile sweetly while extruding killing intent, causing him to sweatdrop. “He’s someone I’m going to hurt for neglecting his duties.”
The pair proceeded on Naruto’s insistence to go eat at Ichiraku. He hadn’t had some of that ramen in six months and was tempted to sneak into the village at one point just to have another bowl, missing-nin status be damned. Kushina herself was partial to salt ramen.
As they were passing the main street, they saw a young boy arguing with an adult with shades, before transforming into a nude woman cloaked in smoke, causing the man to bleed from the nose excessively. Naruto almost broke down laughing, and when his mother asked what was so funny, he told her that he had taught Konohamaru that technique…
She decked him in the head, leaving him twitching headfirst into the ground. “… Should’ve seen that coming… ”
After he pulled himself up, they had to talk about their plans until the exams. Kushina wanted to get in contact with Jiraiya and Sarutobi to scold them, although Naruto insisted that she at least show the old man some mercy since he was doing something at least, and then do like she promised and show those academy instructors who taught him incorrectly the error of their ways. Naruto said just to not hurt Iruka.
Right outside Naruto’s favorite eating place, some idiot commented that the “demon” not being around makes the food taste better. Kushina created some chakra threads—since her chains were too big—and manipulated his hand into knocking a certain purple-haired special jounin’s dango from her grip. The slaughter was somewhat pleasing to her ears.
“Hey, I want some ramen!” Naruto said loudly, causing his mother to deck him again for being rude. “I mean, can I please have some ramen?”
“Hm,” the owner, Teuchi mumbled. For a second, he thought Naruto had just burst it. “Ah, welcome! What’ll you be having?”
“Give me one of everything and keep it coming!” Naruto said.
His mother sighed. “Naru—” Teuchi almost dropped his ladle. “We are on a budget, so no more than ten bowls. I’ll have a few bowls of Salt Ramen myself.”
“C-Coming up!” the man said. That was so much that he thought he was feeding Naruto again. After the two tore through a good deal more than what they ordered and he was out of supplies for the day, they paid him with some of the money they earned from Suna. “Wow, you guys reminded me of a good customer I had… he was a good kid… ”
Naruto stopped mid-bite of his last bowl. “His name was Naruto, a blonde kid with a good heart. His disappearance hurt a lot of people.”
“R-really…? ” Naruto asked.
Teuchi smiled. “You look a lot like him if weren’t for your hair color and missing the facial markings.”
He went on about how Hinata had been exiled from her clan for supporting him, Iruka’s showing little to no passion for teaching, his daughter rarely smiling anymore, and Konohamaru training hard so when he graduated he could go search for him, to the point his grandfather found him passed out on the training field and ordered Ebisu to make sure he doesn’t go overboard again. The Hokage himself was running himself ragged trying guess where Naruto was as well.
Naruto… was actually crying at that point. His mother excused them and left after thanking them in order to get him to a hotel. Once they were in the room and she placed a few privacy seals, he broke down seeing how much of an impact he had on their lives and made them miserable. Kushina told him to stay here while she finished her business and write them each a letter and she would make sure that they get delivered tonight.
Once she left the hotel, she went into an alley and made thirty shadow clones and had them transform into several different people. “Find Jiraiya! I don’t care if you have to check every single hot spring, bathhouse, and dirty magazine section of every store.”
She then left to go buy her materials for the puppet and kick some members of the “people who screwed over my son” list’s asses. There was a reason she was known as the Red Hot-Blooded Habanero…
Naruto has just finished writing the letters his mother told him to towards the various people he hurt by running away, and walked out of the hotel to get some fresh air. As he was walking absent mindedly, he was knocked over by someone and his Nine-Tailed Fan toppled onto the ground.
“Ah, sorry!” a young girl’s voice called out to him, as she extended her hand for him to grab. Naruto grabbed it and pulled himself up. “I didn’t see you there.”
“No harm done…” he replied with a smile and took a good look at the girl. She had brown eyes, wore a pink sleeveless blouse and dark green pants, with buns in her hair.
The girl looked on the ground and saw the Nine-Tailed Fan in its blade form, picking it up. She recognized the underlying seals on the weapon, the craftsmanship of the blade, and the overall quality of it, with stars in her eyes. “Is this magnificent, beautiful weapon yours?”
“Y-yeah…” he stuttered slightly, having seen that look in some of Sasuke’s more rabid fangirls.
“The seals on it are… unique. I haven’t seen any like it before,” she turned the blade over. “Who made it?”
“A friend made the blade itself, the seals were the work of my mother, although I understand how they work for the most part…” she looked at him with hungry eyes and grabbed him.
“Come with me!” she said, before dragging him off to her home, a weapons shop, and past her confused father into her room. Once the girl calmed down, he explained that even if he tried to explain the seals it wouldn’t do any good since it was above her skill level since his mother was on a different level than most seal masters.
Instead, he pulled put the decorative kunai that his mother made in Suna. He could explain to her the three layers applied to the kunai managed the chakra stored inside. She paid attention and understood relatively quickly, much more quickly than he did. After four hours alone she managed to make an array on her own based off the first layer with Naruto looking over it, correcting a few mistakes he himself made at first.
It was simple overall, all it would do is release the chakra inside the object it was stored in, causing it to become a shrapnel bomb. Embedded on a kunai and set to trigger after a time delay, it would explode after the opponent thought it was another plain kunai and not expecting it. It would be fairly effective.
After she made a dozen or so, she dragged Naruto off to a training ground to test them.
“It works!” she squeaked, seeing the tree filled with dozens of deadly shards after the initial rupturing. If she altered the kunai’s shape and composition, possibly some type of element… “Endless possibilities!”
I think I’ve created a monster… Naruto sweat-dropped. Then his skin crawled as he felt a surge of killing intent aimed at him. “Tenten-chan, isn’t your father going to be worried since it’s getting late and you ran off so suddenly… with a boy?”
“Maybe…? ” She thought about it for a bit. “Yeah, I should go… ”
She gave him four of her maiming-capable weapons as thanks and ran off. Once she was a good distance out of sight, Naruto sighed and called out to seemingly empty space. “I know you’re there. You can come out now.”
From the shadows emerged a boy with distinctive red hair and a gourd on his back.
Kushina rubbed her fist as tenderly as she could. To her surprise, Jiraiya was near the Hokage Monument, staring at her husband’s face on the mountain alone. When she saw an opening she shot a bunch of chakra chains from underneath him and binded him.
She knew his reactions were better than that and it was probably a combination of seeing her technique after all these years and the moment of silent reflection while looking at Minato’s face, that left such a huge gap in his defenses. Either way, it did not stop her from smashing him in the face while wearing a fox mask she procured for both her son and herself. She then left the unconscious man a letter telling him to meet with her at a certain location tonight with Sarutobi.
As Kushina had just bought as much of the supplies as she could, noting that several places required a certain level of clearance to get the rest, she just received the memories of her shadow clone that was tailing her son, being dragged off by a girl. While cute, seeing him being pulled around like that reminded her of a few past memories with Minato, he shouldn’t be wandering off all of a sudden.
He didn’t leave for a few hours and the girl was positively glowing while dragging him out to one of the training grounds. She would have to go check up on them… If she has a grandchild… there would be no mercy.
“The bun-haired girl said which training ground again?” she asked herself.
The Hokage’s Office
Sarutobi was a busy Hokage at this time of the year, and while having shadow clones helped, this year there seemed to be a bunch of people attacking various staff members of the Academy and adding to his paperwork. He noted that these were all people who part of Naruto’s lack of progress at the Academy after he had them checked by Inoichi shortly after the boy fled, for not helping Iruka in defending him. He was content to simply call it karma and sweep it under the rug, but Tsunade pointed out that whoever could do it must’ve been a shinobi because they weren’t caught after running away… like they vanished.
“What happened to you?” Tsunade and Sarutobi asked when they saw Jiraiya nursing a swollen eye as he walked in.
He walked up to the walls and placed a seal slip he found in the letter envelope and activated it. “I think I may have found Naruto.”
The clones all stopped and the original and Tsunade looked at him expectantly. He handed them the letter. “This was left after I was hit while… distracted.”
They opened it.
Come to the location where the orange fox was born tonight. Bring Sarutobi with you, but use the seal I included to make sure you aren’t overheard in his office. The fourth had always thought that it might have been bugged. Come alone, no ANBU, or you will not see your godson again.
From, The Red Hot-Blooded Habanero.
P.S. Sarutobi must’ve received reports of several people who hindered the fox’s growth being punished. It was me.
“It… can’t be…” Sarutobi’s pipe fell from his mouth.
“I thought so too,” Jiraiya said, before placing a single strand of red hair in front of them. “I’m going. This is the best lead we’ve had, and if it is her… I owe her an apology… ”
Back to Naruto
“… Who are you?” the boy droned. “Mother is telling me you have one inside of you. That you are similar to me.”
“I’m Naruto Uzumaki,” he said, deactivating his seal and reverting to normal for a moment. “And the one talking to you inside your head isn’t your mother, but the One-Tailed Raccoon Dog, Ichibi, Gaara of the Desert.”
“Mother is calling for your blood…” the cork on his gourd popped out. “She says she’ll be happy once I give it to her… ”
“Gaara, I don’t want to fight with you if I can help it.” Naruto said. “I know about your past and I want to help you.”
“Enough!” Gaara said in the same monotone voice, “I shall kill you… your blood shall sate my sand!”
Sand lashed out at Naruto like a large hand that was going to catch and crush him. Naruto’s hand was already on the Nine-Tailed Fan when a blue arc cut through the sand, clumps of it falling to the ground soaked and wet. They both looked behind Naruto and saw his mother there, her disguise off after making sure no one was there, with her Whirlpool Yo-Yo.
“… You are?” Gaara asked.
“I am Naruto’s mother,” Kushina spoke up. She wanted to try her luck at sealing the boy’s mind from the Ichibi, but between the shadow clones, that attack just now, her upcoming meeting, and the fact that she hadn’t had Naruto refill her reserves in about three days since they were with Chiyo and only lightly traveling, she wasn’t willing to risk it. “If we fight here, it’ll draw a commotion and likely cancel the Chuunin Exams.”
“Gaara,” Naruto tried to reach him again. “Listen to me, I know what you went through, about your uncle, and I want to help you. We want to help you.”
“How can you understand my pain, when you have someone watching over you like a mother hen?” Gaara pointed out, as he withdrew the sand.
“I wasn’t there for the majority of his life and we’ve only just started making up for lost time,” Kushina told him. “He can understand what you went through. The life of a Jinchuuriki is never a happy one. But like I said, now isn’t the time for this.”
“… I will kill you both,” he said, unfazed. “However, the mission comes first… Naruto Uzumaki. Tomorrow, after I fulfill my mission, I will come for you two. Only then will mother be happy…” he mumbled, turning into sand.
“I won’t run, Gaara.” Naruto told him. “But before you go killing anyone else, come after me first! I’ll take everything you’ve got and more!”
“So be it…” the boy disappeared once the sand was blown away by the wind.
Kushina was proud of her son’s declaration. Still, she should make sure that Naruto had a few backup plans in order to win… But there was still the matter that actually bought her here…
“So, Naruto…” Kushina smiled sweetly at her son while her hair split into nine portions. “Care to tell me why you were coming out of a young woman’s home and why she was blushing like that?”
Naruto began sweating profusely. “I can explain!”
Late that Night
Sarutobi and Jiraiya had arrived at the meeting place in secrecy, along with Tsunade, who felt it was a trap. A large number of chains popped out of the ground, surrounding the trio in a barrier that expanded outward for a few hundred feet.
Tsunade swore. “It’s a trap after all!”
“No,” Sarutobi said. “There was only one person we knew who could do this.”
From behind a tree, a figure appeared wearing a short-sleeved mesh shirt under a light-blue kimono-like blouse with a white spiraling wave pattern at the bottom and a black obi. She had a dark skirt and wore a fox mask, her red hair reached down her back.
“Kushina…” Sarutobi and Jiraiya said, recognizing the hair.
She reached up and pulled the mask off, revealing a very spiteful glare. “You two have a hell of a lot to explain,” she directed toward the two men.
“How…?” Tsunade stepped up. “You were supposed to be dead.”
“Tsunade… I didn’t know you were in the village,” she walked up to the woman. “The night I was giving birth, a masked man appeared,” she looked over to Sarutobi sympathetically. Angry or not, he deserved her sympathy. “He killed Biwako, Toji, the ANBU, and was the reason for the attack of the Kyuubi.”
“WHAT!” Sarutobi said in shock. He knew his wife was killed, but not how. “Who—”
Before he could ask, Tsunade spoke up. “You didn’t answer my question. How do we know you aren’t an enemy who’s masquerading as a dead kunoichi to cause problems? Where’s the brat?”
Their suspicion was warranted. With the information they had about Orochimaru flying around, it could be him with some trick. She was waiting for any sign of deception, after which she would smash the imposter.
Kushina sighed. “When Minato and I died, we sealed a portion of our chakra into Naruto’s seal, in case it was about to break. After Naruto escaped the village, the fox told him how to bring me back since he needed to be trained and protected from the man I just mentioned, since he would eventually come back after it. This body is a special puppet that anchors me to this plane, and Naruto is in the village for now, under a certain seal to prevent anyone from recognizing him.”
“Then, Minato—” Jiraiya mumbled.
“His portion is still inside our son, and I plan to bring him back, but the two of us did die.” Kushina stared at the man with a murderous glare. “He would be disappointed in you for not watching over him! My son had to raise himself for five years and was tortured all his life! Where the hell were you!?”
Jiraiya had nothing to say.
Tsunade snapped Kushina’s attention back to her by tapping her foot on the ground. “He was busy,” she said, which was true since spy networks don’t set themselves up, meeting the woman’s glare with her own.
Kushina was pissed, seeing as the woman casually dismissed the abuse of one of her own distant relatives and promptly slapped her, getting one back in response. Kushina tied her down with chains from her body and her hair split in nine sections. Tsunade smirked.
“It’s her,” she said.
Kushina stopped to think about what happened. “Testing me or not, do not shrug off what my son went through!”
“The boy isn’t dead and the pervert is still alive. When they meet you can let him beat the hell out him, but right now we need to know everything that happened,” Tsunade countered. “Sensei at least deserves some closure for that night.”
Kushina let her down and told them about the man with the Sharingan, who killed everyone and ripped the fox out of her and controlled it. She explained that she only survived because the Uzumaki have strong vitality and why they sealed the fox into Naruto. When she pointed out how Sarutobi should investigate the Uchiha clan, he told her about the massacre.
“Mikoto’s boy did that!” she couldn’t believe it. Jiraiya told them about the mysterious group hunting the Jinchuuriki and how he discovered that Itachi was a part of them. That bought up a potential link between the two.
When the discussions were over, she gave them the letters to give to Naruto’s friends, along with a contact scroll like Gen and Kurogane had, and turned to leave, when Jiraiya spoke up. “When will Naruto return to the village?”
She glared at him before putting the mask on. “This village will kill him before Akatsuki.”
“If you won’t let him return, at least let me teach him for a few years so that he’ll be strong enough to survive! Minato would’ve wanted him to learn the Rasengan.”
“Minato would’ve wanted you to watch over him so it never came to this!”
“Kushina,” Sarutobi said. “You make a valid point, but if Akatsuki is as dangerous as Jiraiya has said, he’ll need more than you alone to protect him. Even if you succeed in bringing back Minato, if that man and Akatsuki are connected…”
“He’ll have a village… a home that will watch over him…” she told them, thinking about the resurrected Uzushio. “As for the training, I’ll consent to it since Minato would want him to learn it, but not right now. If I were to hand him over to you now, he’d be imprisoned or have the fox ripped out of him. But know this Jiraiya! I will never trust you as much as I did before, at least Sarutobi tried to help.”
The man shed a single tear.
She raised her left hand and the barrier began to fade. “Also, one of my contacts told me that the Kazekage smelled different on his trip here… like snakes and blood. I thought it was something you should know since the Kages share the box during the exams, and if something happened to you Naruto would cry again.”
All three of their eyes opened wide at the news. Kushina vanished in a puff of smoke, revealing she was a shadow clone, just in case things didn’t go as smoothly.
“Snakes and blood…” Sarutobi mumbled.
“You think…? ” Tsunade said what they we all thinking.
“Even if he did kill and replace the Kazekage, we can’t do anything about it until he reveals himself,” Jiraiya spoke up. While heartbroken over Kushina’s words, which he admitted were right, Orochimaru was someone who took priority. He could drink until he was too numb to feel anything later or train until he felt better… he needed to get better at using sage mode anyway.
“If we did it could lead to another war,” Sarutobi said sadly. “No one knows you’re back yet, right Tsunade?”
“No, I came in under a Transformation with the Hyuuga girl and her jounin. Jiraiya is the one who slipped up.”
“In that case we still have the element of surprise,” Jiraiya nodded. “Tsunade, will hide until the finals are underway and only reveal herself if the snake moves. I’ll stay with sensei, since too many ANBU will give something away, but a former student is acceptable. We’ll double the ANBU inside the arena and tell all the shinobi to be on guard in case something happens with Suna.”
Land of Wind
Buzzards were flying in a circle around a few carcasses, as coyotes led a group of men to the location from Suna. As they crossed the last leg, they looked down in shock at the revelation that the carcasses belonged to humans. One elder man ventured down to confirm what they feared the most.
The other member of the Honorable Siblings, Chiyo’s brother, stood over the remains of the Kazekage and his guards…
“We must send word to my sister… ”
Wind Scythe – A C-rank offensive that creates a gale using a fan and creates countless invisible blades.
Sand Storm – A defensive technique that acts like a sandblaster in areas with loose dirt and sand.
Wind Style: Cast Net – An Offensive Mid-range technique that create narrow currents of air to form a large net that can slice through an opponent.
Wind Style: Great Task of the Dragon – An all range, offensive of defensive technique with a delayed reaction that alters the weather conditions to create storm clouds to drop a highly concentrated tornado on a target.
Wind Style: Scattering Flower Dance – An offensive technique that creates a twister that can be controlled and has flower petals mixed into the twister.
Poison Extraction – B-rank supplementary technique used with medicinal fluid as a medium to extract poison from a patient.
Summoning – A C-rank space-time ninjutsu that transports animal or people across long distances easily. (Boar-Dog-Bird-Monkey-Ram)
Twin Rasengan – Creates two Rasengans for use at once.
Wind Style: Cross Gales –An Offensive technique that creates two diagonal gales of razor sharp wind to slice through an object or enemy in an X-shape.
Hinata: The Fallen Princess
Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/2/15
After I was attacked and Naruto-kun left, Iruka-sensei applied first aid and took me to the hospital. It had been a full day since then, and my father had not even visited me once. In his stead, Hokage-sama himself came and told me about Naruto-kun being something called a “Jinchuuriki” and how he was housing the chakra demon that attacked the village long ago.
He said he explained it to everyone who was there and told them not to let it ruined their opinions about him, and then he thanked me for protecting Naruto-kun and personally escorted me home when I was discharged from the hospital.
My father would not speak to me nor see me, only having someone relate a message that I was to report to my assigned team the next day.
The Next Day – Training Ground 18
“Okay then,” a masked jounin named Kakashi-sensei said, while reading an orange covered book. “Since the teams are here and we’ve all introduced each other. We’ll take a few minutes before we begin your warm ups for this joint-exercise.”
Three teams had gathered, including the one I was on. Under Kakashi-sensei were Sasuke-san, Sakura-san, and a rather pale boy named Sai-san. Asuma-sensei had Ino-san, Chouji-san, and Shikamaru-san. Kurenai-sensei was teaching Kiba-kun, Shino-kun, and I.
We began routine exercise and tactical maneuvers to come and understand our allies’ capabilities. Unfortunately, due to clashing personalities, Kurenai-sensei had to restrain Kiba-kun from attempting to maim Sai-san, while Asuma-sensei and Kakashi-sensei had to try to pull Sakura-san and Ino-san off each other’s hair. Sasuke-san just muttered something inappropriate about his teammates, when Kakashi-sensei shook his head.
“It’s a shame Naruto-kun couldn’t have been on the team,” he sighed. “He would’ve at least made things more balanced. Not that you aren’t alright, Sai-kun, I just wasn’t expecting you…and your odd nicknames… ”
The pale boy only smiled.
“I don’t see why,” Sakura-san said. “Like he could do anything other than play pranks and other stupid stuff. I don’t see how he even became a genin since he didn’t pass the final exam.”
I felt a bit angry. Considering how Naruto-kun fawned over her all the time to the point I was a bit jealous, and now she was insulting him. I had to say something. “T-they w-wouldn’t have g-given N-naruto-kun his f-f-forehead protector if he w-wasn’t ready, Sakura-san… ”
“That’s right,” Kakashi-sensei nodded. “I even have a feeling that he and Sasuke-kun could have been rivals… as long as it didn’t go too far… ”
“Please,” she rolled her eyes, finally free of Ino-san. “He got the lowest scores in the history of the Academy and they probably had to give him some kind of remedial class, while Sasuke-kun is the genin of the year.”
Despite my facial expression not changing, I actually was starting to harbor intent to harm her. Still, I had to keep calm, so I took a deep breath. “N-naruto-kun tried v-v-very hard and w-wasn’t nearly as i-i-ignorant as you think.”
“Uh, Sakura-chan…” Kakashi-sensei started in a slightly worried tone, a few drops of sweat on his forehead.
“No offense, but you’re the only one who thinks that, and everyone knows that it was because you had a crush on the de—” the pink-haired harlot never finished her sentence.
Instead she was on the ground, clutching her stomach from where my Gentle Fist strike had disrupted her chakra flow. Everyone looked at me with their eyes wide and in disbelief.
“Naruto-kun was always nice to you no matter how much you kept abusing him! If you tried that on anyone else they would’ve fought back! You have no idea the kind of things he went through while you were too busy taking care of your stupid hair and fawning over Sasuke-san, and you have the nerve to call him that!”
I didn’t stutter that time. My anger overtook my confidence issues.
Kurenai-sensei appeared behind me and held me out of fear that I was going to hit her again with another strike. I can honestly say the thought crossed my mind, and I was struggling to get another shot in. “Hinata, calm down…” she whispered in my ear.
“Ugh…” the shrew moaned. “How are you any better? You said you know what the idiot went through, then why didn’t you do something before then?”
“Okay,” Kakashi-sensei closed his book. “Hinata-chan, I’m assuming you didn’t do anything permanent to my student, right?” I nodded my head. “Then I’ll leave your punishment to Kurenai, as for you Sakura, well…I can’t say she’s wrong.”
Now they were looking at him.
“If you must know, the only reason you passed the test was because I tied Sasuke-kun up for arrogantly trying to attack without a plan and you would jump through fire for him. Sai-kun was the only one who used his head and thought things through, but he followed my instructions too thoroughly and left himself very little breathing room. I intended to train all of you to address your shortcomings, but…” he trailed off.
Kurenai-sensei spoke up now. “While I will have to inform her family of this, we shouldn’t have to say that the Hokage told all of you that the child was not the chakra demon, but the one imprisoning it. Considering you were about to say demon instead of Jinchuuriki, I’m assuming you heard from some of the more… outspoken village members. Despite the time all of you genin spent with the boy in the Academy, and the most he did was a few pranks, you should know better.”
“I couldn’t have put it as elegantly that,” Kakashi-sensei nodded. “I should remind you all that my sensei lost his life to save this village by making Naruto a Jinchuuriki. His final wish was that Naruto could grow up without being feared because of it, so the Hokage made the law that those who revealed it to your generation were punished with death.”
Asuma-sensei said his piece as well. “Instead, they made the boy’s life a living hell considering the information the Hokage and Inoichi-san retrieved from the ones who attacked him. Apparently they were repeat offenders since before he entered the Academy, and sick enough to the point where after he endured everything and went on with his life, they decided to actually kill him in broad daylight since he became a shinobi. The fact that we’ve uncovered that a great portion of the village’s adults were torturing and abusing a child is bad enough.”
Kakashi-sensei looked down at Sakura-san. “But for someone who would’ve been his ally and age to treat him like that because of what their parents, and other adults, told them is even worse. To call the boy a demon is the same as insulting my own sensei. Once you are fit enough to train, you will be doing three times as much as everyone for the next month. As for the rest of you, this is your only warning, understood?”
I shivered, as I felt what could only be described as killing intent radiating from Kakashi-sensei. All of the genin, including myself nodded in agreement.
That Night – Inside The Hyuuga Council Room
“Hinata Hyuuga,” my father said in an authoritative tone. “Do you know why we’ve convened this meeting?”
“B-because of m-my actions t-t-today, at the joint training e-exercise?”
“According to Kurenai-san, you lashed out after being told of certain set of words,” he followed up. “Despite you not having enough self-control to not attack the girl, I see you had enough restraint to do no permanent harm.”
“Because she merely told you that the demon had taken hold, you attacked her,” a man roughly my father’s age pointed out. “We’ve heard about what happened, the demon became aggressive and attacked.”
“Naruto-kun did it to save me!” I snapped at the man, my heart skipping a beat. It was safe to say he didn’t expect it since he nearly fell back out of his chair. “He even told Iruka-sensei to take care of me before he left!”
My father looked at me sternly. “Then it is because of you that the boy’s identity was exposed. Taking out your aggression on others because of your short comings is beneath you as a Hyuuga.”
I felt my lips trembling, so I bit them before shaking my head and looking back at my father. “I-I will not d-deny that it was b-b-because of me that h-he was exposed, which is why I t-t-took steps to ensure that his name was not slandered by t-t-that… that pink-haired fangirl.”
“The men who attacked were all chuunin, even if intoxicated,” my father glared at me with expectant eyes. “Why did you even interfere instead of allowing for the ANBU to arrive?”
“N-n-naruto-kun would h-h-have died. O-out of all the teachers at the Academy, only Iruka-sensei w-w-was actually t-trying to protect him. N-no one else w-was willing t-to even t-t-try.”
“The demon had long since possessed the boy,” one of the elder women spat. “He ceased to be human the moment it took hold of him. It is but a demon that should’ve been hunted down like the fox it is!”
“He is not the demon,” I said, glaring at the woman. “As Hokage-sama said when he personally visited me, he’s the one who prevented it from escaping until now. I’ve seen what he’s gone through every day and if Naruto-kun was the demon you claimed him to be, the number of casualties in this village would have sky-rocketed, and he would have been justified in doing so!”
“Still your tongue child,” the woman bit back. “Heiress or not, you are a member of the Hyuuga clan and expected to behave as such. Your foolish, one-sided affections for the demon aside. If necessary, we shall place the seal on you and remove you from the main family.”
The next few sentences left my mouth before I could think things through. “Then do it! Everyone is always saying I’m not suited and that I’m a failure not worthy of the title of heiress anyway, but don’t you dare call him a demon!”
Everyone’s mouth dropped once the words came out of my mouth. Including my father’s.
“Y-you—” the woman was choking on her words in anger, instinctively activating her Byakugan.
“Enough!” my father said sternly. He stood and nodded to two members of the branch family acting as guards. “Escort her to her room.”
As they led me out, I heard the council explode before the doors shut.
In the early morning, I awoke to a light knock on my door and my father came into the room with a stoic face that showed no emotion, but seemingly had bags under his eyes. “Hinata, you have said things that have angered many people and you have left me no choice… ”
He motioned for two of the branch family women to come into my room. “Hinata Hyuuga, you are officially exiled from the Hyuuga Clan. These two will help you pack your things and will provide you with storage scrolls to place your personal belongings in.”
Father left after that, never once looking back.
In shock, I could barely function. The two women, whose names were Miyako-san and Marumi-san, watched over me when I was younger. They helped me pack my things with somber looks on their faces and escorted me beyond the compound walls.
I don’t remember much after that, except that I was walking through the village without anything in mind…
“Hey, brat—” when a purple-haired woman, wearing a full-mesh body suit, orange mini-skirt, and tan overcoat called from behind me, her face was peeking over the side of the numerous grocery bags in her hands that went up to her head, two of which were about to fall over. “—a little help here!”
“S-sure,” I said, grabbing some of the bags. They were heavier than I expected and I almost fell over. “U-um, w-w-what is this e-exactly… um… ”
“The name’s Anko, kid. I’m a 21 year old special jounin, and what you’re holding is a week’s supply of beer until I can go to my usual bar again. Honestly, you stick a kunai in a guy’s hand for grabbing your ass and they…” she trailed off.
With nothing else to do and nowhere to go, I followed Anko-san without putting much thought into it. The bags were so heavy though, I had to stop occasionally to readjust them. Anko-san rolled her eyes.
“Relax, we’re at my apartment now,” she told me. We walked up a flight of stairs and entered a modest-sized room. “Place the bags on the table.”
I complied, carefully maneuvering around the cans of alcohol and articles of clothing that littered the floor, before placing the bags on the table and sighed. Anko-san crept up behind me and placed something cold on my cheek, causing me to shriek.
“Heheh… calm down girl, it’s a gift,” she handed me one of the alcoholic beverages. “You’re a genin, right? You can drink once you reach that rank, our lives to simply too short for anyone to complain about it.”
“T-t-thank y-you…” I told her and bowed. She sat at the table and leaned back in her chair, stretching, before popping open one of the cans.
“So you’re Hiashi’s oldest girl? I heard you tore you clan’s council a new one last night,” she chuckled. “They did something rash in retaliation, right?”
“H-h-how d-did y-y-you k-know?” I stuttered more than usual.
“One of the council members got drunk and loose-lipped, being a lightweight and all, at the bar that I got kicked out of last night. He then muttered something about your father leaving the compound alone, probably to fume… then he got handsy, I got stabby, and here we are.”
“Don’t be, you were defending that boy who went missing, right?” I looked at her in shock. “It isn’t the most well-kept secret that you stalked the boy. I’ve gotta give you props for defending your man.”
“H-he’s n-n-not m-m-my…” I couldn’t finish saying it. “D-despite how I f-f-feel about h-him, it’s j-j-just one-sided… b-b-but how they t-t-treated him…” I trailed off.
“I know where you’re both coming from. There was someone I admired to the point of basically being a fangirl, and I’m not exactly the most well-liked person in the village. I suffered a bit of went he went through… until I introduced many of them to the sharp end of a kunai and my babies’ fangs. They got the message eventually.”
“B-but N-naruto-kun would n-never do t-t-that,” I said. She just chuckled and proceeded to drink her entire can in a few seconds.
“That’s why they got away with it…” she sighed.”The details are still coming in, but members of the interrogation unit have been running ragged lately hauling in people who did something to the kid. We interrogate one person, they gave up two, we interrogate those two, and they gave up six more. It just built up to the point where it was clear the boy was hated by so damn many people we couldn’t arrest them all, so most got off with fines and a few who beat on the boy were sent to Ibiki and me for a good, long session… in the end, only a handful were punished like they should’ve been.”
“… Is there still no sign of him?” I asked without stuttering this time.
“No. All shinobi who were actively searching for him were rounded up the day after he snapped and said they lost his trail. There were too many scents and even though they were informed he could use shadow clones, they didn’t know he could make that many…although I suspect a couple of pricks enjoyed stabbing the pseudo-copies of the boy.”
She closed her eyes. “Honestly, he probably won’t be coming back here. There’s a small chance he might, but if he does it won’t be under good conditions given what we’ve learned he’s went through. Either he’ll be dragged back screaming and tagged by ANBU, a corpse, or go on a killing-spree.”
“If only…” tears began falling from my eyes.”If I had done something… ”
“Everyone turned a blind-eye or were stretched too thin to help like the old man and Iruka.”
“But I couldn’t do anything in the past and now he’s gone…” I held my hands over my eyes and cried. “I was too weak and scared to help him… ”
“The past is the past. We all make mistakes. The only thing you can do is learn from them and go forward. But for your own sake you need to address one of your biggest problems.”
“W-w-what is t-t-that?” I asked.
“You’re obsessed with him,” she pointed to me. “You’re placing the boy on a pedestal and dancing around it. Not once did I hear the words that you wanted to be stronger. Instead, it was all about being too weak to help him. How can you help someone else if you can’t help yourself?”
I honestly wanted to say something, but I couldn’t deny her words. “Listen, you’re mad and feeling guilty about what happened to the kid. It’s alright to be concerned about things, but if you go too far and keep obsessing about him, you’ll be no better than a fangirl who would slit her own throat the moment he died because you didn’t train enough to defend him.”
There was a knock on the door and Anko-san walked over to answer it. Someone in a mask handed her a message and vanished with a regular body flicker jutsu. She quickly skimmed the letter.
“Ah,” she crushed the can in her hand and sighed before burning the letter. “I just received a summons to the Hokage’s office. I hope it’s not about last night… You can stay here as long as you like. I don’t have company over often.”
And with that she was gone.
Despite Anko-san’s generous offer, I left a few minutes later. There was some place I wanted to go, in order to think about what to do. Eventually I came to a certain training ground.
It was the training ground that Naruto came to in order to practice in secret before he became a genin. He worked so hard here to be accepted, hoping to become the Hokage. While I just watched him from the shadows, never saying or doing anything…
“How are you any better? You said you know what the idiot went through, then why didn’t you do something before then?”
Sakura-san had a point. I really wasn’t any better than she was then. She worships the ground Sasuke-san walked on, and I was doing the same for Naruto-kun. If the roles were reversed, we would have swapped places.
I was just as shallow as she was. I was always told by the elders not to interact with Naruto-kun. I was too shy to say anything to him or speak up about the attacks, and in the end…
“Then it is because of you that the boy’s identity was exposed. Taking out your aggression on others because of your short comings is beneath you as a Hyuuga.”
Father had a point as well. Hyuuga or not, I shouldn’t have attacked her. But whenever someone calls him a demon, I just snap. They just say those things without knowing what he’s been through…
“You’re obsessed with him. You’re placing the boy on a pedestal and dancing around it. Not once did I hear the words that you wanted to be stronger. Instead, it was all about being too weak to help him. How can you help someone else if you can’t help yourself?”
… I… didn’t even try to get stronger. I was only focusing on being weaker… All those hours I watched him train, I could’ve been working alongside him… and because of that, he accessed the Kyuubi’s power when I got hurt…
I stayed there and cried for the rest of the day.
I heard a twig snap and promptly activated my bloodline… it was all that saved me from getting a kunai in the back of my head.
“Come out!” I yelled, pulling out a kunai, and two masked shinobi appeared. Focusing my sight on penetrating their masks, it revealed two faces that I had known all my life. My kunai fell from my slacked grip, and my eyes went wide. Burning streams of tears rolled off my cheeks, as I fell to my knees.
“Miyako-san… Marumi-san… why?” I asked.
Neither one responded with words. Instead, they both let a single tear fall from their eyes before Marumi-san took out another kunai and threw it at me. It felt like time had slowed down.
“Don’t just sit there!” a familiar voice cried, as another kunai intercepted the one in front of me and sent them both tumbling to the ground. Landing in crouch, the special jounin wearing a tan overcoat was in front of me. “Freeze up and you’ll die!”
The two women I knew since childhood split up and started throwing kunai and shuriken at me. Still in shock, I couldn’t move. So Anko-san grabbed me, and tossed me behind a tree, before pulling out eight kunai, a finger in each ring on the pommel and threw them in spread pattern to intercept the incoming ones.
They both then rushed in towards her.
“Gentle Fist isn’t very effective in mid-ranged combat, is it?” she smirked, making the snake, ram, boar, horse, monkey, and tiger hand seals, before cupping one of her hands near her mouth. “Fire Style: Great Fireball!”
A scorching ball of flames, as tall as she was and three times as wide, flew towards Marumi-san, forcing her stop her charge and dodge once the flames spread out in an explosion on impact with the ground. Miyako-san, however, closed the distance between them.
“You are in range of my divination,” Miyako-san muttered, while in the position for the 8 trigrams 32 palms. Anko-san smiled, having finished the snake and tiger hand seals.
“Hidden Shadow Snake Hands!” six snakes slipped out of her coat sleeves, and intertwined around Miyako-san before she screamed in pain. They had bitten her multiple times, and must’ve been poisonous since she fell to the ground twitching and whimpering.
Marumi-san then slipped around her while she was distracted and went towards me with a kunai in hand. As she was within range, a shadow burst out the grass, revealing a thirteen-foot snake that coiled around her arm and then her torso, before revealing its fangs and plunging them into her.
She shared the same fate as Miyako-san.
Anko-san was strong. In less than two minutes, she took down two Hyuuga members, and didn’t even look like she was tired. She looked over and waved to me.
“Honestly, I was looking for you for the last few hours,” she said, before addressing the two women on the ground. “Hey, you two. Why did you try and off the brat here?”
“We’re sorry, Hinata-sama…” the Marumi-san cried. “W-we never wanted to do this, but the seal and… the councilwoman…” she trailed off and went silent. Miyako-san had long since gone still.
“Marumi-san!” I cried, unable to do anything for her.
“Relax, the poison won’t kill them for another dozen or so minutes,” Anko-san told me. “They’ll be fine after I slip them the antidote and drop them off at the hospital, but they attacked you while under the Hokage’s protection… ordered or not they have a date with Inoichi and Ibiki tonight.”
“Protection? But—” I started to try and defend my assailants, but Anko-san shook her head and crouched next to the women, injecting them with the anti-venom, before summoning a larger snake and placing them on it. She then tossed me a key.
“Go to my place and get some rest,” she said, before slithering off toward the hospital.
I picked up the key and cried. “Marumi-san… Miyako-san… ”
The Next Day
When I woke up, I was in Anko-san’s bed, having fallen asleep waiting for her to return. The sound of running water on wet skin caught my ears, only to be followed up by the turning of the knob and sliding of the shower curtains. Then out stepped my savior from last night.
“Morning sunshine,” Anko-san said with a smile, while wearing only a towel around her waist after stepping out of the shower. I felt a wave of heat gather in my cheeks and I turned my head from her bared chest.
She chuckled, “Oh come on, it’s not like you don’t have the same thing growing there… you might get even bigger than me in a couple of years…”
“A-anko-san… w-what h-h-happened with t-t-them?” I asked.
She sighed and sat down next to me. “Well, to start with, they did attack you and under mandate they had to be taken care of. After Inoichi confirmed they weren’t lying, the old man sent ANBU to bring the main family member who ordered the hit to Ibiki for interrogation and I went with them.”
Anko-san then smiled quite savagely. “First, I watched as your father’s eyes twitch with anger I hadn’t seen in someone so stoic in ages. My guess is that he had to restrain himself to save face, being a Hyuuga and their leader, y’know… then the bitch resisted and I showed everyone why you don’t screw with me.”
She swung her legs up and down. “As for those two women that attacked you, they were sent to a detention center.”
My heart dropped when I heard they’d still get punished. Anko-san then leapt on top of me and I squeaked. Her pure white skin was laid bare to me, the only marring being the marking on her neck. She stared me in the eyes, intensifying the heat in my face.
“Cheer up,” she whispered. “The story is that they were placed in maximum security awaiting execution, but place is a political prison for people in high places. Their chakra will be sealed, but it’s more of a stay in a fancy hotel room that they can’t leave out of. It was done so that people get the message about touching you.
“Their immediate family will have full visitation rights, as well as anyone they list. The Hokage’s laws must be followed, but he knows how things work and how the branch family is treated, so he did it to protect them. He’ll pardon them for their crimes against you in about two years at your prolonged request. So long as everyone involved keeps their mouth shut, we all win and there was only one body.”
Without thinking, I buried my head into her chest and hugged her. “Thank you, Anko-san!”
“W-whoah, easy there!” she stuttered. “If you want to thank someone, thank both the old man with the big hat and your old man.”
Anko-san freed herself and went over to her jacket to pull out two letters, one from my father and one from Hokage-sama. She handed me them and I decided to open the one from Hokage-sama first:
When your father informed me of your actions yesterday with the council I was shocked. I had thought that you were so reserved, but to be so supportive and protective of Naruto literally bought me to tears. The fact that you know how much he suffered and felt genuine affection for him filled this old heart with warmth and I immediately signed the emancipation and protection contracts, freeing you from any retribution from your clan.
However, just as they circumvented the laws around Naruto, many will do the same to you. Keep your head held high and move forward, and you shall continue to have my support. I will not fail you like I did to protect Naruto.
Your father entrusted me with a fairly large amount of texts on your clan’s techniques and deposited a healthy sum of money into your account for you to live on. I’ve heard about your living situation and will arrange something as soon as possible, but in the meantime Anko has offered her home to you…
Just try not to let her corrupt you too much. We can’t have two of her running around.
I am working on finding the boy and when I do find any trace of him, I shall let you know.
Burn this letter after reading it,
Unable to believe what Hokage-sama wrote, I opened the one from my father:
While it pains me that you must suffer, you know how our family operates. I’ll admit that I have not been an adequate father and that, along with our family practices, have driven you away. I was only concerned with training the heiress to lead the family on, and for that I shunned you for your sister.
That was why I made arrangements with the Hokage the night of your outburst, to protect you from enemies like the councilwoman, but there are those that will bend and try to break that law, just like the ones who exposed Naruto’s identity and attacked him. So become strong enough to survive anything.
I’ll admit, even though I knew the boy’s true identity, I let my opinion become stained by others and cannot take back what I’ve said and done.
You are free of the clan’s name now and no longer bound by our limits and traditions. I have sent Hokage-sama instructions for all of our clan techniques should you choose to learn them, but go and do whatever makes you happy.
We will not contact each other again unless absolutely necessary. Do not seek out anymore support from the Hyuuga. Burn this letter after reading it, but know this:
You were, and always will be, my little sunshine,
I read them over and over, until I burned them into my memory. And then I handed them to Anko-san and watched her incinerate them, before I broke down crying for the final time.
Anko-san simply held me.
Three Months Later
“Alright, Hinata-san! Your flames of youth are burning brightly,” the young man in the um… interesting, green jumpsuit told me, as I ran behind him at a somewhat slower pace around the training ground.
“Lee-kun,” I huffed out, my chest burning while I pushed onwards. “Are you sure it’s okay for you to be running around after you got hurt on your mission?”
“Gai-sensei told me that as long as I do not do more than a hundred laps around the training ground, he would not be mad,” he turned his head and smirked. “You have improved greatly.”
Lee-kun wasn’t moving nearly as fast as he could, even with his weights on. That is to say, he’s faster than anyone else that’s a genin. Less than three months ago, after Anko-sensei took me in and finished training with me until I was covered in cuts from her kunai for the first time, she said “Your stamina sucks to hell and back,” and licked my blood off it.
After applying my medicinal cream to the wounds, she recommended that I joined Lee-kun and Gai-sensei. Gai-sensei was quite sympathetic once he heard why I was exiled from my clan, and even offered me one of his um… tasteful jumpsuits. I couldn’t turn it down since he was so… youthful… and took it with me to Anko-sensei’s place…
She said she would refuse to feed such a thing to even Manda if she could and burned it.
Anko-sensei was like a big sister who tormented me, but had the best intentions at heart. She complimented me when I did something right and pointed out my mistakes and how to correct them. Her apartment wasn’t really big enough for most of my things, so they stayed in the storage scrolls and I slept with her on the bed, although she turned a lot and said scary things in her sleep.
I hadn’t had contact with anyone in the Hyuuga clan since then. Kurenai-sensei offered to go and talk to them, but I told her it was fine. She did turn a bit pale when I said I was staying with Anko-sensei. I didn’t know that the two of them shared an occasional drink, until Anko-sensei dragged me with her one night. Since I wouldn’t drink, she made me “the person who drags her back home when plastered.”
It was apparently a real position at the bar she frequented.
While intoxicated, she said many things that I don’t think I should have heard or known about. She also mentioned something about conquests and going for Iruka-sensei, but at that point Kurenai-sensei was covering my ears. Then I had to drag her home after she passed out.
“Lee!” another… youthful voice called from above, only for Gai-sensei to drop from the sky like a rock. “It is wonderful that you are sharing your flames of youth with Hinata, but alas we must convene early to discuss certain things with my eternal rival. He has been boastful since his student gained his bloodline ability when they drove off that missing-nin from Kiri… although they mentioned something about the tycoon who they thought hired him being frozen and shattered… ”
“Yes, Gai-sensei! I will…” Lee-kun began one of their discussions on tasks and punishments as I drifted off.
It had been three months since Naruto-kun had left and the Chuunin Exams were coming up in a few more months. Kurenai-sensei said that she wanted us to give it a try to test us and that she’d be proud no matter what. Anko-sensei, on the other hand, threatened me to make it to the finals and make her look good under the threat of spending two weeks in the Forest of Death… again.
I closed my eyes at that point, not willing to see that scene again… I still wasn’t sure how they created that genjutsu. Despite their odd habits they were very nice and skilled people. Under training with Anko-sensei, along with my time with my team, and the morning work outs with Lee-kun and Gai-sensei, I was starting to feel better.
My hair had grown about an inch longer, but it was slightly messy. I had changed my coat to a black colored version, and switched to orange undershirts with a chainmail shirt above it. I wore black pants, with both a kunai and shuriken holster on each leg, a pouch around my waist, and black combat sandals as well. My forehead protector was still around my neck, but with an orange colored band instead of black.
People around the village had begun calling me the “Fallen Princess” of the Hyuuga clan after word of my exile got out. It was somewhat annoying, and some people thought to make fun of me because of it. I followed Anko-sensei’s advice about kunai and near-head shots.
It stopped soon enough.
Anko-sensei also took steps to help with my stuttering.
“Okay, for every time I hear you stuttering, I will throw a kunai at you! It doesn’t matter when—the village, the room, the bed if you keep calling for him in your sleep—you will get a kunai flying towards you!”
She wasn’t lying.
I’m pretty sure that my skill in avoiding projectiles was high-chuunin at this point. Anko-sensei and Tenten-san, one of Lee-kun’s teammates, tended to throw a lot of them and rarely missed… she even mentioned begging Hokage-sama to teach her the Shadow Clone jutsu so she could increase the number thrown at once during my training.
Thankfully, he refused… for the moment. I had a feeling she was wearing him down.
Anko-sensei had said that Hyuuga rely on close-combat more than anything, with only one or two mid-ranged techniques. As a result, we would be disadvantaged when fighting enemies who’ve had previous experience with our techniques or relied on long to mid-ranged combat. So she started with teaching me tactics to deal with opponents like that and, since I was no longer was bound by the Hyuuga laws, how to use elemental manipulation and mold fire chakra.
“Okay, my little mini-Anko in training, name the five basic elements.”
“Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Lightning,” I answered.
“Perfect,” she smirked. “Now, explain what chakra flow is?”
“The use of chakra streaming through an object,” I answered.
“Correct. Lightning chakra can pierce through most objects if focused through chakra flow, but it can also paralyze and mess with things that use electrical energy. Wind chakra is basically use for wind techniques, but using chakra flow it can increase cutting power. Earth chakra can be used to strengthen or alter solid things through chakra flow and other basic earth techniques. My personal favorite is fire chakra though.”
Anko-sensei made a few seals and breathed out a stream of flames. “Fire burns, and if living things gets burned beyond a certain point, they die. Fire chakra is closer to a poison, in that its nature is to consume whatever it touches.”
“What about water chakra?” I asked.
Anko-sensei shook her head. “Water chakra can be used to create or manipulate water, but by changing things on a chemical level, it can create oil or other liquids. But what makes water chakra a pain is that it can dissolve or wash away at other types of chakra. There’s a reason why hunter-nin from Kiri aren’t to be taken lightly, it’s because they’ve mastered techniques designed to do just that.”
“Are you going to teach me how to use fire chakra someday if I have an affinity?” I asked.
“Someday?” she chuckled. “Affinity or not, you will be able to use at least one fire jutsu perfectly for attacking and learn a second one for tactical uses… in three months. Under penalty of a rain of kunai from me… and that girl who likes shiny weapons even more than me… there will be no mercy.”
I shivered at the thought.
Focusing the little fire chakra I could generate at the moment, I released a burst from the tips of my fingers into a practice log. The chakra invaded the log and it slowly began turning black, radiating from the point of the strike, as the fire chakra ate away at the log at the microscopic level. It took five minutes total, but the log collapsed onto itself, leaving only a pile of charcoaled wood.
It works against things without chakra easy enough, but against a shinobi it won’t do much damage before it gets pushed away until I can generate more…
I’ve also mastered the tree climbing and water walking exercises. She had me practice a lot in the Forest of Death, where making a slip up would be painful, on those two alone until I passed out, to increase my chakra reserves and control. She also combined it with trying to hit me with every sharp object she could get her hands on and the occasional non-venomous snake.
By the time the Chuunin Exams come around, I should have a good chance to become a chuunin despite it being my first time. Anko-sensei’s threats aside, I wanted to become stronger so I never had to say I was too weak again…
Chuunin – Exams, Outside the Forest of Death
The time for the second portion of the Chuunin exams was about to begin. I looked over to Anko-sensei, who was giving one of her speeches that terrified the general populace. When Kiba-kun said this portion would be easy, she nicked him with a kunai and licked his blood, promptly terrifying him and Akamaru-kun.
And then that genin from Kusa handed the kunai back to her with an extremely long tongue that reminded me of a snake…
While Kurenai-sensei told my team I was staying with Anko-sensei, I’ve kept most of my progress a secret from even her. I wanted to surprise them, or at least save them for the finals. No longer was I the weak heiress of the Hyuuga clan who was surpassed by her sister.
Instead, I was an apprentice of the woman known as the Snake Mistress of Konoha.
Anko-sensei walked up to me and smiled. “You’d better get there faster than anyone else considering how much you’ve trained here. I was a chuunin at 12 and I expect great things from my apprentice. Make me look good okay, brat?”
I smiled and nodded.
Inside the Forest of Death – Near the Tower
After half a day of waiting to get the proper scroll, Kiba-kun, Shino-kun, and I could finally see the clearing to the tower roughly thirty meters away. It was unfortunate for that other team their leader made some perverted comments and gestures at me. His tenketsu will be closed from my 8 Trigrams 32 Palms for quite some time.
“Heh, I knew this would be easy!” Kiba-kun gloated.
“Only because Hinata-san seems to have an excellent grasp of the terrain,” Shino-kun corrected him and looked over to me. “I take it you’ve been here with your new… roommate?”
I chuckled nervously.
“Man, that lady was scary and she smelled like snakes…” Kiba-kun shivered. “But she was hot! I tell you, if I could room with her I’d—” his puberty-inspired comment was cut off when I threw a kunai in his direction…
Not to hit him of course, but to knock the one that came flying from the clearing ahead off target. I had thought it might have been Anko-sensei, but once we broke through the tree line, we saw Gai-sensei’s team.
My cousin, Neji-nii-san, was standing in front of Tenten-san and Lee-kun. “It has been some time, Hinata-sama,” he emphasized the last part.
“Neji-nii-san,” I stepped forward and activated my bloodline. “You… have both your scrolls already… so why did you throw that kunai?”
A smile that held anything but kindness etched itself across my cousin’s face. “There’s nothing wrong with attacking opponents as long as we’re in the forest.”
“You bastard!” Kiba-kun growled. I placed my arm in front of him to stop him from doing something rash.
“You’ve been waiting here for us to pass for some time now, haven’t you?” Shino-kun said, shifting his shades.
“I must admit, this is most un-youthful,” Lee-kun added.
“We have to enter the tower as a team,” Tenten-san said. “But I’m not attacking them for no reason.”
Neji-nii-san activated his Byakugan, showing that he had every intention of fighting regardless of who stood in his way. I stepped in front of Kiba-kun and tossed my scrolls carefully to Shino-kun.
“Give your scrolls to your teammate,” I told my cousin. “Since you are going to fight no matter what, we’ll keep it between us. No one else interferes.”
Shino-kun and Neji-nii-san both raised an eyebrow at me, while the other three were gasping, followed by each—in different tones and manners of speaking—said that it wasn’t my smartest idea.
“You’ve seemed to have gained some confidence now that you don’t have to live up to the clan standards. It seems I must remind you that Fate has already determined which of us will prevail,” he slipped into a Gentle Fist stance.
Without turning around, I called out to everyone else. “All of you stay behind me at a good distance.” They looked at me oddly, but complied and stayed in the tree branches behind me. I then focused on my opponent.
“Neji-nii-san…” I paused. “No, Neji-san. I am no longer a member of the Hyuuga main branch, neither am I a failure. If you truly wish to face me, then do it with pride as a person and not Fate’s Bitch!”
My use of inappropriate language caught everyone off guard. Anko-sensei told me it was a tactic that was great for getting the drop on people who knew my normal nature. Next, I followed up by imitating her tactic of pulling out eight kunai, a finger in each ring on the pommel and threw them at my cousin.
He weaved through them and closed in on me. I leapt back, blazing through the rat, tiger, dog, ox, rabbit, and tiger seals, before I took a deep breath and tilted my head back. “Fire Style: Phoenix Flower!”
I cupped my hand near my mouth and breathed out eight small fireballs. He stopped his advance after a few smashed into the ground along the path to my cousin, but he didn’t put much effort in dodging the last two. He only looked at me with amused eyes.
“Using such a fire jutsu?” he smirked. “You truly aren’t fit to be a Hyuuga… and your aiming needs work,” he added, noting that I had set a few patches of grass, at points at various distances between us on fire.
I feigned a look of anger on my face and pulled a kunai out of my pouch, throwing it at him. He tilted his head to avoid it as it passed, only then noticing a wire wrapped around the ring at the pommel due to a glint from the sun. I tugged the finger the wire was wrapped around and it jerked back, nicking him on the neck.
“… Is that all?” he smirked again. “You get taken in by a special jounin and the best you could do after getting thrown out of the main branch was miss with a fire jutsu and nick me with a wired-kunai. Failure.”
Kiba-kun yelled something inappropriate at my cousin, but I simply started to make hand signs. “First, Neji-san, the Phoenix Flower jutsu can be moved using chakra control, which I am not incompetent in,” I said, finishing the snake, ram, and monkey hand signs, before stopping on the tiger seal.
“Second, Anko-sensei taught me how to deal with arrogant boys,” I breathed in and exhaled a wave of flammable gas. “Fire Style: Mist Blaze Dance!”
His arrogance dissipated once the realization hit him and the gas met the flames, igniting a scorching wave that would swallow him. I took precautions to ensure he would survive, of course. With his speed, he could easily dive into the moat around the tower, and the flames would be short-lived since I used a different type of gas than what Anko-sensei used.
Instead of running, his eyes squinted in determination.
“8 Trigrams Rotation!” he said, as he spun around and released chakra from all his tenketsu. I knew he was gifted, but this was simply extraordinary since he must’ve reproduced it from sight alone. The rotating shield of chakra interwove with the flames and created a blazing, spiraling sphere that almost entranced me at the center of the wave… which also hit the tower behind him.
… Maybe we should have moved the fight further back. Oops.
Once the flames died down, my cousin stopped spinning and took a step forward… and his knees buckled under him and he hit the dirt. A smile graced my lips. “It’s over.”
“H-how?” he squeezed out. I tugged on the kunai that I nicked him with one more time and caught it to show him. It had a thin layer of purple coating. “Poison?”
“Anko-sensei is a special jounin in the interrogation and torture department. Of course she would teach me how to use poisons. You sped up the poison in your system when you performed Rotation.”
He struggled to get up. “Using poisons now too? You’re a failure to both the main house and the Hyuuga name. You can’t beat me! It is Fate!”
I couldn’t help but sigh and walked up to him, crouching to meet him at eye-level. “Neji-san… you are truly gifted. To have learned Rotation on your own, you must’ve sweated blood and tears. I’ll acknowledge that as a Hyuuga, you are my superior.”
I held the poisoned kunai at his throat. “But right now you are the one who is lying in the dirt. Fate may have stated that Neji Hyuuga of the Branch Family would defeat Hinata Hyuuga of the Main Family… but the woman before you is Hinata the Fallen Princess, proud apprentice of Anko Mitarashi, special jounin and the Snake Mistress of Konoha!”
I stabbed the kunai into the ground next to him. “If you want to be Neji-nii-san then get that through your head. But if you want to be Fate’s Bitch, keep your head on the ground!”
He didn’t mutter a single word after that. Our teams walked up slowly, staring at me like a stranger. I walked up to Tenten-san and gave her a vial of antidote. “Give him this and he’ll be back on his feet in three hours. It was just a paralysis poison.”
I nodded towards the tower and Shino-kun and Kiba-kun followed me there.
“Damn,” Kiba-kun said. “When did you learn all that? That was pretty cool…”
“I concur,” Shino-kun muttered. “It seems you’ve improved a great deal in both ninjutsu and tactics… although your language seems somewhat out of character.”
I smiled and they flinched. Anko-sensei must have been rubbing off on me more than I thought. I was almost tempted to lick Neji-nii-san’s blood off the kunai.
Now, how do I explain the damage to the tower to those ANBU coming out…
Last day at the tower in forest of death
The fifth day passed.
Although I thought I might have been in trouble for scorching the tower, they seemed to simply shrug it off after I said Anko-sensei taught the tactic to me. “She’s done worse when drunk…” one of the ANBU trailed off.
We were quite surprised when we opened the scrolls and Kurenai-sensei was summoned. She was stunned at how fast we arrived, although the Suna team got here even faster. I expected Anko-sensei to be slightly upset about that, but ANBU said she was resting after a minor incident.
Kurenai-sensei was also shocked when Kiba-kun decided to brag about how “Badass” I was and the fight with Neji-nii-san. “I’m going to have to tell Anko to go easy… we don’t need two of her in the village just yet.”
Of all the teams that had entered, only a few remained: Gai-sensei’s team, Kakashi-sensei’s team, Asuma-sensei’s team, the Suna team with the boy who had the gourd on his back, and our team. The teams from Ame, Kusa, Sound, and one of the Suna teams were missing.
“Since there are an adequate number of teams that have passed, we will move into the third stage in one month’s time instead of a preliminary match,” Hokage-sama said, before we randomly drew match ups for the upcoming exam.
A few minutes later, they were displayed on the screen: Sai vs. Shino, Ino vs. Shikamaru, Choujivs. Kiba, Hinata vs. Sakura, Gaara vs. Sasuke, Temari vs. Rock Lee, Tenten vs. Kankuro, and Neji would skip a round.
I looked over to Sakura-san and smiled when she noticed me. Her hair looked as though it was cut during the exams. “Sakura-san?”
“Y-yes…? ” she edged away from me. It seemed like she heard of my short fight. “W-what is it?”
I bowed to her. “I’m sorry for attacking you a few months ago. You were wrong to call Naruto-kun that name, but I shouldn’t have attacked you.”
She blinked a few times. “O… kay?” she chuckled nervously. “It was my fault, no real harm done… ”
“But I’m not going easy on you,” I added, taking small joy in watching her sweat.
2 days after the second exam
“Hey old man,” Anko-sensei addressed Hokage-sama, who just sighed. “You ready to teach me how to do the Shadow Clone jutsu?”
“I told you, I wouldn’t teach you unless I felt it was necessary…” he said, before mumbling something about how much having an army of her would add to his paperwork.
“It would’ve helped when I had to sign all the forms for the damage she did to the tower,” she turned to me and smirked. “Heard you kicked your cousin’s ass. Hope it dislodged the stick stuck in there.”
“Shadow clones for paperwork… “Hokage-sama slapped his forehead. “Why didn’t I think of that after all this time!”
Anko-sensei laughed out loud, while I couldn’t help but giggle. I could’ve sworn that I heard someone else chuckle too.
“Leaving aside how much time I spend on paperwork being drastically reduced, I’m assigning you two on a C-ranked escort mission. We’ve found the location of a person of interest and I’m assigning you two to escort someone to retrieve her.”
“Oh?” Anko-sensei bought out a kunai and licked it. “Who are we bringing in for me to play with, and who’s the person we’re escorting?”
Hokage-sama sweat-dropped and chuckled nervously, “The person you are retrieving is Tsunade Senju, one of my students, the legendary Slug Princess, one of the Sannin…and hopefully the next Hokage.”
My eyes uncontrollably went wide, as did Anko-sensei’s. It was reasonable given who we were being assigned to retrieve. Hokage-sama took a deep breath and smiled. “As for who you are escorting, he’s standing behind you.”
We both turned to see an older man with white hair, a forehead protector that read “Oil” and a… unique outfit, step out from the shadows. Hokage-sama smiled. “I want you two to meet Jiraiya the Toad Sage, also one of the Sannin, one of my students, and… Naruto’s godfather.”
We were both paralyzed.
Only the sound of Anko-sensei’s kunai hitting the floor was heard.
8 Trigrams Rotation – Expels chakra from all tenketsu and the user spins around to gain an absolute defense.
Hidden Shadow Snake Hands – A combination summoning and space-time jutsu that shoots snakes from the user’s sleeves.
Fire Style: Phoenix Flower – Creates small fire balls that can be controlled with chakra, but short range. It can be used to set up the field for her Mist Blaze Technique.
Fire Style: Mist Blaze Dance – Creates a stream of flammable gas in the lungs, which is breathed out. On contact with flames, it ignites.
Fire Style: Great Fireball – Creates a moderate sized fire ball, size changes based on chakra put into it.
I’ve pointed out several of Hinata’s flaws and I’m trying to address them so she isn’t a Naruto fangirl nor some weakling. Her world centers around Naruto, which is no better than Sakura’s obsession over Sasuke. If the manga wasn’t starring Naruto as the main character, it would be the seen as just as bad.
The reason I had Anko take care of her was because she has a neutral opinion on the matter, but could sympathize with both of them. She doesn’t hate him and knows how dangerous obsession is. Sasuke goes to Orochimaru because of his obsession with his brother and Orochimaru did horrible things because of his obsession with immortality.
Though I wonder if I’m having Hinata act a little too much Anko…
As for the second exam, they skipped the fight because not enough teams passed to warrant it. Sasuke did get marked and he, and Sai, killed the Sound team in self-defense. Some other things did happen, but like I said, not all of the genin get focus in this story right now, if at all, and this chapter is from Hinata’s point of view, and what she doesn’t know the reader doesn’t know.
And yes, Gato was killed by Haku after Sakura met with him (No, Haku is not a girl in this fic) in the forest while he was gathering herbs and made a side comment that Sai said people like Gato would kill rather than pay. So, Haku spied on him and overheard him saying he would, and the rest is history. Expect to Naruto and Co. to run into Haku and Zabuza after the invasion, and a few other arcs, in Kiri.
Hinata wouldn’t win in a close-range fight with Neji and they knew it. His arrogance caused him to underestimate Hinata like in canon and came back with a vengeance.
Next chapter is Tsunade retrieval arc and the end of Naruto’s training in Suna.
Chapter 2: The Old Puppeteer
Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/4/15
With the Uzumaki
“Moooom…” Naruto whined.
“We’re tired…” another Naruto said.
“… We’ve been at this all week…” the third Naruto said.
“Again,” Kushina told them.
The Narutos all sighed in defeat and sat down on the ground, closing their eyes and concentrating. Kushina had begun teaching them how to use her Chakra Chain jutsu. It required no hand seals, but it required so much concentration that even with two hundred clones working on learning how to generate the proper amount of yang chakra for the jutsu, it still wasn’t solid enough. He needed to focus on mixing a large amount of his physical energy into a small amount of spiritual energy, without it completely overtaking it.
Once ten minutes passed, they placed their hands on one of Kushina’s affinity testing seals, which she managed to make along the way. She had over five hundred of her multi-purposed, newly christened “Affinity Breakdown Seals” ready for the market, and she finally managed to create chakra chains away from her body.
Once again, you’ve gotta love shadow clones.
The top ten that got the closest to the proper yang chakra composition were then dispelled and the process was repeated, until the original was the only one left. He’d then try on his own, rest for some time, and then repeat the process. This way, he crammed at least a few months’ worth of training in a day.
There were about twenty more clones doing various chakra exercises, including some from the medic-nin book she got. Since medics needed absolute and precise chakra control, those exercises were the best for him to gain better chakra control. In addition, yang chakra was used in healing as well, similar to how yin was used in genjutsu. It had a slightly higher concentration of physical to spiritual, but nowhere near as much used in her chains.
Still, she had about five shadow clones working alongside them since she would probably need to learn medical techniques in case of an emergency. Just because Naruto could heal himself faster now didn’t mean he could heal anyone else.
There were a few more clones working on their katas, but there were less than three hundred clones total in use. Rather than just letting Naruto make nearly a thousand of them, Kushina didn’t want to have Naruto running low on chakra too soon, since converting regular chakra to any element was draining, and because they were still close to enemy territory.
They’d been doing the same thing over and over for the last week as they slowly made their way towards Suna, avoiding the shinobi paths on her map. At this point they were past the Land of Fire and into the Land of Rivers, which was situated right between the Land of Fire and Land of Wind.
Since she didn’t want to risk being discovered by rotten luck, Kushina had applied the seal to herself, turning her eyes a light shade of purple and her hair black, wrapped into a single ponytail. She also altered Naruto’s new one to have black hair and purple eyes as well, so they matched… the first one he made didn’t agree with the fox’s chakra, as she learned when she slightly altered the seal on his stomach to give Naruto a better sense of hearing and smell.
They also had to use different names when in the presence of others, for obvious reasons… neither one of them wanted to put too much effort into it though, so they just settled on “Shina” and “Naru” to get it out of the way.
I wonder if I could get someone in Suna to personally supervise him in using his wind chakra, Kushina thought to herself. Suna’s shinobi population wasn’t all that high, but they had the greatest number of wind users.
The main problem for this portion of their journey was going to find someone to teach them about puppetry. Only shinobi native to the village could learn it, and according to the Unofficial Bingo Book, the only other major puppet master outside the village was Sasori of the Red Sands. If they entered into the village as shinobi without any real reason, they’d be subjected to interrogation.
“Hm?” Kushina eyes narrowed, as memories from one of her clones that were patrolling the area just returned to her. “Naruto, wrap it up. We have guests.”
A short distance away
A well-toned, middle-aged man, dressed in a simple white T-shirt and black pants, with a jacket around his waist, was moving through the forests as fast as he could. He was currently running from three missing-nins from Ame, two males and one female, that were clearly playing with him.
One of the men had only a single eye exposed, the other hidden from sight by his hair, and he had a mask over his mouth and a bandana. The other was muscular, with chin-length gray hair, arm warmers to go with a sleeveless shirt, and a teal mark across his face. The last was a young woman with short light-brown hair, wearing pink tube top that was barely covered up by a light green shirt.
The older man was out of breath when he reached the edge of a river. “Honestly, kids these days acting worse than bandits.”
“Well, you could’ve just given us your gear old man…” the girl said. “Oh well.”
“Chakra Chain: Emergence,” a voice echoed through the forest. A dozen small explosions occurred at the same time around the helpless man, as ghostly, translucent chains erupted from the ground beneath him.
“Chakra Chain: Barrier,” the same mysterious voice said. The twelve chains arched and formed a dome around the man, and the gaps between the chains were filled by a shimmering force.
“The gentleman has a point,” the mysterious voice came from the river this time. Kushina slowly rose from the river using the Hiding in the Water jutsu she learned from one of the scrolls in Uzushio, with her arms crossed and dressed in her combat outfit, with a matching backpack on spaghetti strings. “You three could stand to do better than that.”
A rain of shuriken poured down at the missing-nins, who jumped back at the last second, leaving a good sized spot with shuriken popping up like weeds. Landing in a crouch next to his mother was Naruto, dressed in his combat clothes as well.
“So, time to go from practice to practical application.” Naruto grinned. He only had his mother to spar with up until now and wanted to try what he learned against an enemy.
“Naru, remember these three will actually be trying to kill us. Don’t take them lightly.”
“Yes ma’am!” he said, before flicking his hands and causing shuriken to appear between his fingers. He threw them at the masked one who dodged with ease. “Come at me bro!”
That little—” Kirisame muttered before going after him.
“I feel bad for that kid,” the kunoichi muttered to Kushina. “That guy is a sadist. Your kid is gonna be in pieces.”
“My child can take care of himself…” I hope, she thought secretly. Naruto had yet to face a situation where he’d need to kill or be killed. She wasn’t sure he was mentally prepared for dealing with his first kill, but hopefully it wouldn’t come to that in this battle. “Let’s get started.”
With Naruto & Kirisame
Naruto placed the palm of his hand in front of his mouth and inhaled. Releasing trace amounts of wind chakra from his body and merging it with the surroundings, the air he inhaled became concentrated and flowed towards his mouth before stopping at the palm and spinning in place. Once he exhaled the spiraling sphere flew towards the Ame-nin who jumped up and avoided the attack, leaving it to crash into tree that was behind him and leaving a moderate sized crater in the wood.
Naruto inhaled and exhaled rapidly, repeatedly firing the jutsu over and over, only to have the enemy avoid it with ease. It’s not bad offensive-wise for a low-ranked jutsu, but the time between shots is too long and the strength is dependent on the amount inhaled…
Naruto flicked his wrist and sent chakra into the seal on the palm of his right glove. A Kunai popped out and he held it in a reverse grip before charging the man.
“Let’s see what you got kid!” The Ame-nin formed the Rat-Dog-Ox seals and water gathered in his hands. “Water Style: Water Whip!”
He lashed out at the boy, before taking a wide swing that Naruto ducked under. He twisted his hand brought it down, causing the whip to twist and catch the boy’s leg. “Get over here!”
He pulled the whip in and pulled out a kunai, plunging it deep into the boy’s waist. Naruto gasped in pain… before popping in a plume of smoke. “What the hell?”
“It’s called a shadow clone,” the young boy’s voice came from behind him.
Kirisame exposed eye went wide and he pivoted on his rear leg, swinging the whip horizontally. Naruto ducked under it and edged left, swinging his reverse-gripped kunai at an inside arc to graze Kirisame’s shoulder, before placing his foot behind the taller shinobi’s and kicking it from under him.
Kirisame flipped backwards and landed… only to find himself flying. A concussive force of condensed chakra ruptured the moment it hit him. He went head first into the tree and stopped moving.
“My taijutsu isn’t going to be very effective damage-wise until I grow a bit more, but at least the Wind Style: Air Bullet worked.” Naruto smirked and made three shadow clones to haul his unconscious prize back to the others.
With Kushina, Hisame, and Murasame
Unlike Naruto, Kushina was an experienced kunoichi who fought in a war. Seeing that her enemies were getting ready to start making hand seals, she brushed her fingers against the storage seals on the blouse’s sleeves and threw the kunai that appeared in a spread fashion. The goal wasn’t to hit, but to make them move or deflect it.
Kunai were okay for close combat, you could slit the enemy’s throat, slip the blade between their ribs, and all that fun stuff, but the further away the enemy, the lower the effectiveness without using chakra. Both of them dodged, as expected, and Kushina rushed towards Hisame.
“Old hag!” she roared, finishing the seals and creating a water whip.
Kushina dodged the first swing with a slide and aimed to angle the kunai into the girl’s heart from below the breast, only to miss when she twisted. Kushina threw the kunai at Murasame to force him to redirect his water whip long enough for her to grab Hisame by her loose shirt and toss her out of it and directly into Murasame.
Enraged, both of them sent their water whips straight towards her, like poles. They were also standing close enough to be caught up in her next shot.
“Water Style: Spiraling Water Ball!” she said, as she leapt back, following the same pattern as her son, but taking from the condensation in the air and mixing with water chakra. She took a deep breath, aimed towards the pair at a slightly downward angle, and fired the ball of spiral water.
It cut through the whips easily since they were stretched far enough and knocked the duo off their feet on impact. Kushina created four chakra chains from the palm of her hand and shot them out like snakes, making them coil around the pair. She then slammed them into a tree, pulled them in with a single tug, and clothes-lined them both.
They didn’t get back up.
Kushina breathed a sigh of relief once Naruto returned and looked unharmed. “Place him with the others,” she said, before she released the man in her barrier and pulled out the Unofficial Bingo Book from sealing scroll in her backpack.
“They aren’t here, meaning they were new missing-nin…” she mumbled, closing the book and turning to Naruto. “Have any problems?”
“Nah, the guy was cannon fodder at best,” he shrugged.
“Don’t take any battle lightly. Things have a bad habit of going from bad to worse really quickly…” she paused before looking at the man. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” the man said as he stood up and picked up his bag from the ground. “Thanks for the save.”
“We were just in the neighborhood and heard the commotion,” Naruto told him, not bothering to look up as he started looting the unconscious Ame-nins’ supplies. “Ooh, they’ve got cool blank masks and a scroll to do that whip thing… and another one that follows up with lightning!”
Kushina sighed and shook her head. “It was no problem… I’m sorry; I don’t believe we’ve done introductions yet.”
“My name is Gen,” he said, extending his hand for Kushina to shake. “I’m a blacksmith from Takumi.”
Kushina grabbed his hand and shook it politely, noting how hard and callus they were. It was evidence that he worked long and hard towards his profession.
“My name is Shina,” she pointed to Naruto, “and this is my son, Naru. I’ve heard of your village before. It specializes in making customized weapons for shinobi.”
The man sighed. “It used to, but now so many villages have gained some skill in it. We’ve lost a lot of business, so we visit nearby villages and set up shops. What about you? I don’t think I’ve seen that barrier jutsu before and you aren’t wearing a forehead protector… ”
Kushina smiled. “We’re basically mercenary-nin, without a village… hang on for a second, please.”
They both stopped to look at Naruto chuckling, as he had finished stripping the missing-nin of their supplies and wallets. She rolled her eyes and made the Tiger-Ram-Snake-Tiger seals and cried, “Water Style: Froth Prison!”
A stream of light-pink water came from her mouth and collided with the ground around the three. The moment it made contact with the organic matter it began a chemical reaction that formed a good amount of solid foam which strengthened based on the amount of chakra present. “They’ll be like that for a day or so.”
“Mercenaries… would you two be interested in serving as my bodyguards for my trip to Suna?” he asked. “I can’t pay you a lot right now, but I can make you just about any weapon you could want, for both of you!”
Well, that was convenient. Never again will I doubt my son’s dumb luck, Kushina thought. “We’d be glad to—I wanted to try my hand at selling some of my own things there anyway, and I heard they had an open bazaar.”
He chuckled. “It is pretty big, but you can never get any space unless you get there early or reserve a spot. I don’t mind sharing my stand. What will we be selling?”
“Seals,” Kushina tapped her shoulder and released a bit of chakra, causing a shuriken to appear. “These are my special combat storage seals. I made them to hold various items in separate compartments, and respond to the amount of chakra I release when I touch them.”
“Yeah,” Naruto showed him the palm of his gloves. “All I have to do is pulse chakra into mine and BAM! I have something to fight with. Although the frequency and burst of the chakra pulse determines what comes out… ”
Gen whistled and smiled. “I tried to be a shinobi when I was younger, but I dropped out before I became a genin and moved to Takumi. So I can use chakra, but only for using small storage seals and testing the weapons I make that don’t require elemental chakra.”
“Interesting… tell me, have ever considered using a chakra storage seal that…” Kushina and Gen went on about endless possibilities of seals and weapons combined…
Somewhere in Konoha
A girl with buns in her hair was working with her father on blacksmithing, when she stopped mid-swing and looked up with sparkles in her eyes…
“Something wonderful is going to happen, and it involves me and weaponry… ”
Her father just sighed and shrugged.
Several Days Later
It took far longer to get to Suna with Gen in tow, since he couldn’t keep up with the pair at full speed. Before they entered the village’s range, Naruto and Kushina had changed to their civilian clothes and asked Gen to keep quiet that they were fully-capable shinobi since they wanted to keep things on the low for now. Suna and Konoha are allies, and if they drew attention here…
Gen had no problem with it, and it wasn’t too hard to get into the village as civilians. Seal salesmen were expected to have some chakra to make or demonstrate their goods, and they didn’t belong to any village. They kept all their combat clothes and private things in a seal that Kushina kept hidden inside another seal, in case they tried to check for it.
Once Naruto and Kushina got a room, they went sightseeing around the village. The marketing areas were the most active, but the buildings were the same color of brown and looked like they were made of clay. There was that really round building in the center of the town, but other than that…
Their BBQ places were great to eat at and had a surprisingly wide arrangement of foods that were imported. There were a few kids around Naruto’s age, but they were training in Suna’s style and, while Naruto left Konoha and trained with his mother, he didn’t want to take any chances. He just went around with his mother as she checked out various stories and bought things that she could probably use to make a fortune later on.
Later that night, Naruto was snoring in his bed. Watching him sleep peacefully from behind a desk with a small lamp on it was Kushina. She’d always hoped that she would get the chance to watch him grow
He looked so much like Minato. She missed him so much, it wasn’t fair. It felt like she took away his second chance from seeing their son.
But she knew if they kept going, they would get a chance to bring him back. So, to keep their boy safe until then, she needed to get stronger. That was the reason she had three scrolls in front of her.
The first one was Sealing Arts of Yin, written by the Uzumaki Clan. It went into detail about the use of yin chakra and spiritual energy, how it brings illusions and phantasms out and give them shape. The sealing formulas it had inside involved forcefully disturbing the balance of yin and yang chakra.
The second one was Yin Style: Phantasmal Markings, which she got from Kurogane. It uses yin chakra to mark a target’s spiritual energy with symbols or letters that exist but don’t have physical form and couldn’t interact with the physical world.
Yin chakra was an absolute nightmare for her to use, as her chakra was geared towards yang chakra. That was why she never went into genjutsu. While Naruto had abysmal control from having the fox to blame, she had her own chakra quality to blame.
She would need at least a year of practice without shadow clones to mold the necessary yin chakra for phantasmal marking, but with the help of these two arts, she could create a truly demonic technique.
One that she hoped she never had to use.
Two weeks later
If one were to ask how Kushina’s sales were going, they would probably have to wait in line. For about an hour. On a good day.
Her seals were a hit!
Affinity Breakdown Seals, Combat Storage Seals, Security Seals, Privacy Seals—not the new ones she made, but their older versions—they were selling. If she got low on some, she’d have a few shadow clones in hiding make more.
To make matters even better, Kurogane contacted her through their scrolls and had requested more of the seals she made him. When she mentioned the new ones she made, he just said to send them over after he gave her the profits from her last ones.
Now, Kushina wasn’t a greedy person by nature and she didn’t change in the slightest. She put everything else that wasn’t needed for the next two weeks and Naruto’s allowance away. It had to go towards building their village back up again.
If she franchised it… hehehe…
But, extremely profitable dreams aside, she was technically housing a missing-nin and that wouldn’t change until he got support from another village as large as Konoha, but since he was housing the fox, that wouldn’t stop a war from breaking out. It had to be more than a single village…
It was only thanks to their appearance changing seals—she didn’t market those for obvious reasons—that they could live in temporary peace. But Naruto was at least talking to others his age that didn’t hate him because of their parents. The main downside was that the fox’s chakra would destroy the seal if he used any of it besides the healing portion.
Gen was making an equally great amount of profit with his custom weapons. Between his and Kushina’s techniques, the weapons gained some popularity for being able to absorb chakra flow easier and strengthen themselves to prevent chipping and breaking. Most of the blacksmiths couldn’t match those, and Gen and Kushina could sell the templates for a commission.
The two had big plans for even more potent weapons and seals combinations, using elemental seals and such, but Kushina wanted to hold off until they tested them on her and Naruto’s custom weapons, as well a few prototypes. She only bought the sealing scrolls that were geared towards using regular chakra, water chakra, and wind chakra from Uzushio. When Kushina eventually left Suna for Konoha, she would definitely give him a scroll like the one she gave Kurogane.
Having a guy like him in Uzushio would do well for economic growth.
Naruto’s sealing lessons were the only ones they could practice while inside the village. He was moving onto making tracking seals and chakra releasing seal. Tracking was done in two parts or more depending on the seal. Typically one was applied to the target and sent a chakra signal to another seal that had a receiver.
The chakra releasing seals did just that: release chakra. It was a storage seal that handled chakra and as a result could hold jutsu as well if the seal was properly done. Naruto couldn’t make one to hold jutsu on his own, but he could make one to just release pure chakra. If a second layer of sealing formula was applied then you could shape the chakra, otherwise it just burst out, and a third layer added the pressure of force behind the released chakra. Too little pressure was the same as having a light breeze push it out, but too much could change the shape added by the second layer and rupture it.
Kushina demonstrated by taking a decorative kunai she made with Gen. It was shaped more like a normal one, except it was flattened out more and the sides of the blade above the hand were curved into points. The top side of the kunai had one set of seals that activated when she used chakra and fired a blast in the shape of the kunai’s blade. The bottom side seal released a small outward pulse.
Naruto would most likely learn how to do the third layer in half a year and a half without shadow clones. He had the second layer down, but he needed to study some physics and matters related to forces applied to surfaces. Then it was a matter of trial and error.
The next thing on Kushina’s list was to find a puppet maker.
It was through some rumors and basic information gathering that she came to learn of the “Honorable Grandmother” Chiyo, who was the best puppet master in Suna and also the best puppet maker. She also found out what her favorite restaurant was and started to take Naruto there to eat a few times. On their fifth visit in two weeks, she spotted her.
“Excuse me,” Kushina said as she walked up to the elderly woman. “Are you Chiyo-sama?”
“Ah, the girl who sells those popular seals…” the elder said, turning in her seat. “What do you want with an old woman like me?”
“I’ve heard that you were the best puppet maker in Suna,” Kushina bowed. “Can you teach me how to make a certain type of puppet? I am certain that only someone with you experience could do such a thing.”
Kushina kept her head down for what seemed like hours, waiting for a response, until Naruto tapped her on the arm. “I think she just died… ”
“Huh?” Kushina looked up to see he eyes half open and her face lowered and relaxed. Her breathe was nonexistent. “Quick, someone get a medic! I’ll see if I can—”
She was cut off by Chiyo suddenly jumping out of the chair and both she and Naruto jumped back. They both almost went into a combat stand out of shock. Instead they resisted the urge and stood there shaking.
“Hehehe… Just kidding! I’m not dead.” Chiyo chuckled. Given how most people knew her… eccentric habits, they also chuckled. What they didn’t know was that Kushina didn’t like being laughed at.
The pony tail Kushina had tied as part of her disguised appearance began to crackle with eldritch energy and unravel, branching into nine tendrils. Some people would say that the room chilled suddenly, others would say they could see her literally burning with anger. Naruto had his hands full holding her back.
“C-calm d-down m-m-mom…” Naruto stuttered. “You can’t go around doing that to anyone that angers you… ”
The old woman just continued to chuckle. “You amuse me,” she turned around. “Unfortunately, I’m no longer an active puppet master or maker, nor do I take students….”
She walked away from Kushina and out the door. “You’re simply out of luck dear.”
“Tough break lady,” some random guy said. “Chiyo-baa-sama doesn’t really do anything these days for anyone.”
“What’ll we do?” Naruto asked quietly. “We can’t just give up.”
Kushina closed her eyes and smiled, she wouldn’t give up that easily. “Of course not, Nar—” she was cut off by the sound of explosives coming from down the street, followed by screams. The clacking of wood came was the only thing that stood out.
“Naru, stay inside here!” she said, before running outside to see about five Suna ANBU fighting shinobi with Suna forehead protectors and their puppets. Chiyo’s body was lying on the ground, unmoving. When one of the civilians was running past her, Kushina grabbed the woman’s wrists and asked what happened.
“Some members of the Puppet Brigade attacked Chiyo-baa-sama, after telling her to hand over some scrolls! She refused and suddenly there was a puppet attacking from under the ground! She stopped it with her strings but the arm shot off and stole her scrolls! After that more guys and puppets came and the fighting started to escalate—!”
“WHERE’S MY CHILD!” another woman screamed.
Kushina was starting to get worried, and tried to think of a way to help. She could pass herself off as a mercenary shinobi, but it would cause them to doubt her since she was supposed to be a civilian. Plus, the air was so dry that the amount of condensation to use an effective spiraling water ball would take too long, and jumping into the fight all of a sudden could get her targeted by ANBU by mistake.
“BOOM!” a loud crash came from an alley, and Kushina recognized her son’s chakra by heart despite not being a sensor-nin, since it was currently flowing through her body. She took off to go get her son and missed the Chiyo laying on the ground becoming a pile of sand and scattering in the wind.
Naruto wanted to see what was going on, despite his mother’s warning, so he watched from the back entrance of the restaurant they were in. It was then that he saw a man with a little girl in his arms, running around a corner. His ears twitched once his enhanced hearing heard the little girl sobbing silently for someone to help her, before being knocked out and another voice said something about the old lady’s scrolls.
The guy had grabbed a little girl during the commotion to use as a hostage, after his partner’s puppets grabbed the scrolls. Chiyo had some impressive techniques, and for her not to teach them how to make or use those ten special puppets of hers was as good as treason to them. He and his partners knew they couldn’t return and that they’d become missing-nin, but they figured they could aid Suna from the shadows instead, and if taking a hostage was necessary, then so be it.
Suna placed the importance of missions above all else, and the ones caught up in the fighting knew that they had to by some time for him to get away. If they died, then they knew they did what was for the best. The mission came before their lives, and this was their mission.
Naruto chased after the man. He was afraid that if he went to get help, the man could escape or use the child as a hostage…plus he felt confident that he could take the man down after he handled the missing-nin from Ame with moderate ease. But brute force was out of the question, it had to be a sneak attack.
He made three shadow clones and transformed two into rocks and the last into a wooden stick, running behind the man and into the alley. “Wait right there, you bastard!”
The shinobi looked back at Naruto, who threw both the rocks past his head. The man sighed, pocketing the two stolen scrolls and pulling out a storage one with a new puppet. The puppet clacked and its chest popped open to reveal dozens of poison dipped spikes before charging at him.
Naruto threw the wooden stick over the puppet, flying straight towards the shinobi. The man shook his head. The child thought he could stop him with a few rocks and a stick.
Too bad kid, if you just ignored me th—his thoughts were cut off in an instant, as the wooden stick the thought he dodged became a clone… and smashed his face in with his knee. He thought it was simple stick that he could avoid and didn’t even consider using a substitution. Before he could get his puppet in finish the boy off, a voice came from behind him, and a spike in chakra.
“WIND STYLE: AIR BULLET!” a second clone called out before firing condensed chakra bullet at the puppet. The real Naruto jumped into the air and braced himself, right before the attack landed.
The alley way was hit hard and dust flew into the air once the condensed chakra ruptured and exploded out with enough concussive force to slam Naruto into a pile of rubble that was once a dead end wall. The clone used a good potion its chakra for the attack since Naruto wasn’t sure how durable the puppet was, and it had dissipated once it was hit by the backlash. The puppet was just splinters and scrap steel.
The child and Chiyo’s scrolls had been spared by the attack thanks to Naruto’s planning. In that instant the man looked up at him, the second rock became the third clone and grabbed the child, while his first clone grabbed the scrolls and both ran past the second clone and out the alley, not seeing the figure standing on the rooftops watching.
Naruto chuckled in delight for pulling off such a well-executed plan enough to fool the man.
“You little brat!” the shinobi screamed, jumping out of the dust cloud with a tanto in his hands. He had every intention of ending Naruto’s life. The boy had to move… he couldn’t.
Naruto looked down to register what happened to his body as time slowed down. The shrapnel from the debris had embedded itself into his stomach and legs, cutting open his shirt, and pierced deeply enough cause moderate bleeding, but it hadn’t cut into a major blood vessel. The healing chakra from the fox could heal it in less than five minutes… he didn’t have five seconds.
Don’t freeze up, he tried to tell himself, as the tanto began its descent.
Move or you’ll die, he couldn’t concentrate like this. He couldn’t use substitution like this!
The sound of flesh being pierced rang in the boy’s ears, and the smell of iron from blood and steel colliding overpowered his nose. Blood fell over his forehead and slowly oozed its way down into the open space of his gaping mouth. He laid there shivering…
As the man’s empty eyes met his own.
“That was a close one,” an old voice reached his ears.
Naruto was in shock, so he didn’t notice the chakra strings attached to dead man’s hands. With a quick tug from the puppet master, the man who manipulated a puppet seconds ago, became a puppet that slid the tanto between his ribcage and into his heart.
The one pulling the strings was none other than Chiyo herself.
The world began to tunnel and the sight of those empty eyes would forever be engraved on the boy mind. The last thing Naruto heard before he passed out was his mother’s voice.
“Do you have any privacy seals, dear?” Chiyo asked Kushina.
Kushina nodded and pulled out a complicated, customized sealing array, far beyond what she normally sold. It had a formula for disturbing sound waves by distorting the air it traveled through, while releasing alternating frequencies of chakra to disrupt the use of any sight-based technique like the Byakugan. If any outside chakra came into contact with the seal’s chakra, it would alter them immediately.
It took Kushina over a month of studying and trial and error at Uzushio to learn how to make the seal properly, setting aside several shadow clones to speed up the process.
Chiyo planted the seal on the wall and pulsed chakra into it. “That’s better. You truly are gifted child… this seal is a step above my own.”
Kushina didn’t pay the compliment any mind. She just had to get her baby clean and take care of him and… and…
“You can lay him down on the couch—the blood was my fault anyway,” the old lady said nonchalantly. “I’ll fetch the basin, some washcloths, towels…” she trailed off.
Kushina laid Naruto on the couch, and took off his torn and bloodstained shirt. The shrapnel was ejected the moment the healing kicked in, and there were no visible marks anymore, so it was probably just the shock of it all that made him faint.
“I told the guards that I would heal the boy and give a full statement about what happened before I dismissed them,” the old woman said, as she bought the material using her chakra strings. “When they wouldn’t leave, I showed them how versatile my strings were and reminded them I still had some power over the council. Your son will not be bothered for the remainder of your stay.”
“You have my gratitude, Chiyo-sama.” Kushina said, as she bowed politely.
“You can drop the honorifics dear. I’m too old to care,” she chuckled, before calming down and speaking in a more sincere voice. “Was it his first time… seeing someone die like that?”
Kushina nodded and ran her fingers through his hair as tenderly as she could. “He’ll be fine… all of us go through it at some point in our careers. But… for it to happen to my little boy… ”
“Indeed… it was probably better that he go through it now than on the battlefield… same for you. Our careers tend to lead to short life spans,” she said, not adding … with a few exceptions of course.
Kushina dipped the rag in the water basin and twisted it, slowly wiping the blood away from her child with tears in her eyes.
“I admired his courage, but if I was a second slower, your child would not have survived. Why did your son go so far to save a child he didn’t know? He is not one of us.”
Kushina shook her head and kept wiping away at her son. She had finally cleaned his beautiful sleeping face. “We may be strangers, but Naruto couldn’t just stand by and let that happen.”
In Chiyo’s hands were the scrolls that Naruto retrieved from the thief. As she watched from the rooftop, she saw his mother quickly grab the child and the scrolls before the two clones dispelled themselves before they drew any attention. Kushina tossed the scrolls to her and grabbed her son, getting ready to flee before she told them she would handle the fallout. She told ANBU that the child chased the man foolishly and was about to be attacked by a puppet when she interfered.
She figured they were probably missing-nin who wanted to settle down without worrying about anyone trying to hunt them. Truthfully, she would’ve been content with losing the scrolls since they no longer held importance to her at this point in her life, but in the wrong hands…”These scrolls contain years of my studies and notes, as well as my greatest ten puppets. You would have probably benefited more from them than trying to learn only basics from me.”
“We wouldn’t go that far,” Kushina said softly. “Neither one of us would forgive ourselves if we stole something important from someone who didn’t wrong us.”
“… Tell me about the boy there,” Chiyo pointed towards the sleeping Naruto. “I saw the seal on his stomach when he was healing himself, and I know that much chakra isn’t normally possible for one so young… I’ve seen his kind before.”
“Will I have your word that this will stay between us?” Kushina asked. Chiyo nodded her head. “My son was made a Jinchuuriki when he was born, as a last resort. We hoped that he would be seen as a hero, we didn’t want to think the worse possible solution… That he’d be persecuted because of it and suffer because of it.”
“I take it that both of you are using some form of disguises and alias right now?” Kushina nodded her head. “Good, the less I know the better. Tell me why you sought me out.”
Kushina finished wiping her boy clean and put on the spare shirt Chiyo bought, before she showed the scroll detailing the puppet she needed made. To be blunt, it was very similar to making puppet out of humans in some aspects. But while human puppets were just shells that could borrow the skills they had in life, this actually used someone’s chakra to shape the doll and store their consciousness inside of it.
You could theoretically raise the dead with it. The materials weren’t just easily available, but it was still possible to gather them with enough finances. The biggest problem was that the sealing arrays needed for it were so finesse and delicate, if you made one mistake in placing the seals, it would be ruined for good. There was only one village that had such proficiency…
“It is things like this that got your village targeted in the first place,” Chiyo chuckled, but there was no malice or ill-intent in her words. “There are many people who would commit the greatest of sins to get their hands on this, including the foolish Kazekage. Lucky for you, I’m not one of them.”
She handed the scroll back to Kushina. “Only show it to those you can trust, and never those with ambition or suffering from the pain of losing someone they cared about. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of repeating history.”
Kushina only nodded silently, rubbing her sweet son’s face.
“I will get you the materials that I can, but it may take years to do it subtly enough to not draw attention. Despite not officially taking on students anymore, I know of both a private place where you can train and a young girl who would be helpful towards teaching the boy how to use his wind chakra, and I’ll teach you the basics of puppetry myself,” she paused as Kushina looked up in shock, “on one condition, of course.”
“If it is within my ability, I’ll do so.” Kushina replied.
Chiyo put a sad smile on her face. “I have long since withdrawn from my village’s affairs after I was forced to do something I regret to this day.” She flicked her wrists and chakra strings flew out and attached themselves to the dirty washcloths, basin, Naruto’s old shirt, and the towels.
“That man should never have been made Kazekage,” she shook her head in disappointment. “Instead of allowing the raccoon dog to remain sealed away in the kettle, he did the one thing no parent should have done to such a small child for only creating a weapon… ”
Chiyo looked at Naruto with sad eyes, as if recalling a past memory. It was then Kushina realized what happened. “He used his newborn child?”
“It wasn’t surprising really… most of the tailed-beasts are sealed inside those who they feel would be most loyal to the village. If they are lucky, they only face discrimination from the shadows. But that man… he actively encouraged people to fear the boy, even going so far as to have the only person who outright loved the boy drive him to the very edge.”
Chiyo shed a single tear. “He was completely broken after that…”
Kushina was absolutely livid. She couldn’t be there for Naruto when he was suffering, to hold him tightly and tell him everything would be alright. She would regret that for the rest of her second life.
“Having proficiency in sealing is a necessary skill in making puppets from scratch,” Chiyo sighed. “I was the best at making puppets. But what that foolish man failed to realize was that people weren’t puppets… they were much more fragile.”
Chiyo just stood there in silence; her eyes were as still as empty pools of sorrow. Kages have to make decisions for the good of the village. But if that were the case, she could probably understand.
“I lost my faith in the village after seeing what I had done,” Chiyo finally continued. “Since then, that man has made one foolish decision after another, from antagonizing the Daimyo to meeting with that man from Oto.”
Chiyo flicked her wrist and strings flew out. She had a scroll in her hands in the next second. “These are the details of the seal I used on the boy,” she muttered, as she handed the scroll to Kushina.
“Though my pride would never call for me to rely on another person, I know I am at my limit. My only request is that you help me fix the seal on the child, so he no longer suffers and can sleep again at night.”
Kushina looked over the details of the seal and then looked back at the woman. “How long do we have?”
Chiyo smiled. “Two months, at the last portion of the Chuunin Exams.”
Kushina looked at her son’s peaceful sleeping face, as if he could tell the blood had been wiped clean. Even though he would probably have nightmare about that scene, or when he takes his first life in battle, every child should be able to sleep in peace.
“It’ll be my pleasure.”
Wind Style: Spiraling Wind Ball – Gathers wind chakra laced air and spins it, before shooting it. The power varies on how long the user inhales.
Wind Style: Air Bullet – Condenses wind chakra and fires it in ball shaped bursts, the explosive force is determined by the amount of chakra condensed.
Water Style: Spiraling Water Ball – Gathers water chakra laced condensation from the air and spins it, before shooting it. The power varies on how long the user inhales.
Water Style: Froth Prison – Sprays water onto the ground and begins a chemical reaction that creates foam, it solidifies based on the amount of chakra used.
Chakra Chain: Emergence – Allows Kushina to generate chakra chains away from her body.
And so, it begins…
I tried to get across what a parent would go through had their child gone through the ringer. The world of Naruto is awesome and all…but technically, they are child soldiers at that age, and Kushina only met her son for a few minutes…twelve years and four months ago.
Chapter 1: Training in the Land of Whirlpools
Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/2/15
At the Land of Whirlpools
It had been only four months since Naruto reached the Land of Whirlpools and the fallen village of Uzushio. Using a special puppet, he pulled out his mother’s chakra and she was given a physical vessel to inhabit. There were a couple of conditions, such as Naruto having to transfer his own chakra into a seal on her stomach whenever she ran low, otherwise she would vanish, but it was worth it.
“Alright kids, we’re going to get started with the daily routine. Remember, those who complete their training or get the furthest every hour or so should dispel themselves before we start again so the experience goes to each of you.”
“Yes ma’am,” about a thousand or so voices responded back. She smirked upon seeing her sons beginning their training.
When Naruto was asked to demonstrate what he had learned in the Academy, he showed her. She prompt told him that she was going to introduce those instructors to her fist and then the floor. They had sabotaged the boy academically in more ways than one.
His taijutsu needed a lot of work, his chakra control was shot, and the boy wasn’t too bright knowledge-wise. Kushina wasn’t a Nara, but she at least knew enough about history and the world. Not to mention her taijutsu was formidable.
Thank the Sage of Six Paths for shadow clones. The experience sharing trait was a blessing.
For the first month, Naruto would make several hundred shadow clones a day, increasing the amount every week. He started out with about five hundred clones and as his chakra reserves and control increased with training, he could make more.
Next, the clones would be split into groups.
A few dozen clones would be sent to scour the entire island for food. Even though they had some emergency rations, a shinobi must be able to fend for themselves in the wilderness. A few would hunt for small animals or birds that dotted the island, while others would start fishing with their home made rods.
One group consisting of ten clones would stay in the underground shelter to read up on various subjects. Given his short attention span, that was a punishment worse than death and they complained… until her hair split into nine sections and chains started popping out of her body.
At times like this she wished she knew more about seals that affected the brain.
In the scrolls she found, there were instructions to make mental focusing easier by placing a temporary seal on the clones that would focus their attention on the subject matters at hand. It used chakra to activate the part of the brain that registers when something is pleasurable and fun. She didn’t know enough about human psychology or anatomy to risk doing that to anyone, let alone her son.
Next, they had about three groups of clones each working on various training exercises. The first group would do the wall climbing exercise on the tallest standing pillars left in the ruins. The second group would do the water walking exercise on the river. The third group would focus on chakra control exercise that Kushina called “Spiraling Tower”.
She basically had them pick blades of grass and balanced them on one finger, before adding another blade on top that one. Naruto would then spin the blades of grass without either one falling off using chakra. At first he only had to spin them, but then he needed to make them spin at the same speed, and then have them spin in different directions at the same time.
Another group of three clones would work on training Naruto in using his Transformation and Substitution jutsu. He needed to learn to alter his weight and mass with each transformation, so he could start using it in conjunction with his clones by transforming them into things like rocks or weapons. He also needed to speed up his substitution… so she used him for a lot of target practice.
The remaining clones would be used to practice memorizing the katas from a form of taijutsu native to their clan, based around circular movements to dodge, block, and strike. The clones gained muscle memory of the forms and then the original and Kushina would spar. She wouldn’t hold back either.
He was covered in bruises every time.
Kushina had also tweaked Naruto’s seal, since she and Minato were in a rush and cut off some of the necessary functions of the seal.
The seal was formatted with an updated filtration system to clean the chakra more efficiently, and deal with the poisonous effects. She also rigged him with a stronger healing factor by compartmentalizing a section of the fox’s yang chakra to be used only for healing him. He didn’t need to tap into the raw power of the fox anymore to heal quickly.
The fox was whining about how she was essentially cutting a piece of it off and purifying it, but she shut it up by changing the sewer-like prison to a more open, natural space. It didn’t appreciate having a few of her chains as a leash though. She didn’t really like the natural disaster, but it did save Naruto’s life in the village and they both wanted the masked man dead.
Kushina also trained in mastering as many of her clan’s techniques as she could. Her chakra was keeping her anchored to the doll, so she could never go below a certain amount or she’d vanish for good. However, this was easy enough to get around, as Kushina could slowly convert Naruto’s lingering chakra into her own. She simply compartmentalized the chakra into regular use, emergency use, and life support.
As a backup, she created seals to hold chakra in any item she wanted and could therefore store any chakra that she didn’t use before Naruto refilled her reserves. The puppet body looked and worked like a human’s, so it could only hold so much. This way she could refill her reserves on the run or leave a few behind in case something happened.
She could also make a few shadow clones, which she used to study and train along with Naruto. She wasn’t really too good at ninjutsu and this gave her a chance to study up on some techniques. If Naruto continued this level of training, he would truly shine.
She was so proud of how he could grasp some semi-complicated seals now.
“Naruto, I want you to look at this seal and tell me what it does.” Kushina said, as she handed him a square sheet of paper. It had several circles on it, connected by lines to various symbols, which were isolated by enclosed markings. The borders of the paper had countless line of sealing formula, serving as the base of the seal, to break down the chakra it is imbued with.
He examined it for a good ten minutes before speaking. “It has the basic elements on it, along with several bloodline elements, and… I’m not sure which these two are, but it determines the user’s element by sealing it inside the seal and then dividing it into properties… I think?”
Kushina smiled at him. “The two you didn’t recognize are yin and yang elements, the balance of physical and spirit energy. Still you managed to understand it in less than an hour, very good Naruto. Now, tell me what you can do with this seal?”
Naruto scratched his head and scrunched up his face in thought. “Umm, well you could test for someone’s element with it, but there’s chakra paper for that… I’ve got nothing.”
“First, this seal can be used to identify if you have an element-based bloodline or your affinity. It’s better to use chakra paper as the base for the seal, and then use the proper sequence of code to create a formula to break down the chakra and sort it into the individual elements alone. The other reason is because it can serve as a lock that can only be opened by a certain combination of chakra that belongs to the user. Now, tell me what else I can use it for.”
“Uh,” Naruto rubbed his head. “Chakra-based Traps… and Tracking Seals?”
“Yep. Seal someone’s chakra inside it and use it in conjunction with a tracking array, or set it to activate on touch and sample the chakra of the person who touched it. If they match, BOOM!” she said, while placing her finger on the symbol in the center of the seal a pouring her chakra into it.
From the center, a shimmering blue line traveled along a path to the symbol of water. “So, you have a water affinity?” Naruto asked.
“I wasn’t really good at ninjutsu so I never really developed it. But while I do have an affinity for water, I usually use my chakra chains by manipulating yang chakra on a higher level than most people since my chakra has a special quality geared towards it.”
She then took her finger off the paper and had Naruto place his on it. He had a wind affinity.
“How about we both work on elemental training together?” she asked him with a smile that would melt the hearts of most men. Naruto nodded enthusiastically.
Back to the Present
Kushina wanted to start Naruto on learning her Chakra Chain jutsu, which used shape manipulation and yang chakra. She would divide the concentration of spiritual and physical energy that made up chakra into a large amount of yang chakra, which gave the chains a physical presence. The form would be kept in place by shape manipulation. It was like setting the mold, the pouring in the liquid steel, and then cooling it down to a solid mass, all at once.
Anyway, since the underground shelter had scrolls on element manipulation, they both decided to start training in it during the second month. They both started by working on cutting and soaking small sheets of scroll paper they found, and then planned to move up to using elemental chakra flow on things like weapons.
Kushina also found an interesting application of water chakra through her study of the scrolls, in contrast to Naruto’s wind chakra.
By the middle of the third month, they both could quickly cut and soak an object in about two seconds through pure chakra flow alone. They could dedicate more time towards it later, maybe even getting a second element in practice. But first they wanted to practice some water style and wind style jutsu.
Naruto had gained a bit of muscle on his body after all the training. His clothing had changed, given he lost his previous clothes to throw ANBU off his tail. He wore some simple, dark shinobi pants, a shirt, and combat sandals that they found in the storage room. He complained, but Kushina simply said she was in the same boat until they found a tailor.
She had also gotten back into shape within these four months, losing her excess weight from the time she sealed her chakra into Naruto’s seal, and was now back to being a fit kunoichi. Naruto had once made a comment regarding her weight. He wasn’t very well versed in common sense either at that point.
One training session later, he swore never to question women when it came to bodily matters, and the fox was laughing his nine tails off.
Despite their relentless training, the pair would take a day off every week to start cleaning up the village as best they could. That included burying any skeletons they came across. Kushina cried more than once in the process, given that her clan was fairly big and she occasionally found child-sized remains. They would also inspect the buildings to see if anything that could be used was left behind. They found some slightly used kunai and shuriken, chakra paper, and other trinkets.
These four months were the best of Naruto’s life, and Kushina was happy as well with helping to groom her son to be a respectable shinobi.
“Huh?” Naruto said, his jaw dropped from his mother’s last statement.
“My chakra wasn’t the only one sealed inside. Your father’s is inside you as well. He left a portion his chakra inside, as well as dealing with the yin chakra of the fox.”
“A pointless endeavor,” the fox said inside Naruto’s head. “My chakra will reform in time. There’s no way to kill our kind short of Yin-Yang release or merging us into our original form. And that would be far worse for this world… ”
“Then, if we use another puppet…” Naruto started before she shook her head.
“Unfortunately, there was only one. To make the puppet you used we’ll need materials from Suna and Konoha, as well as contacting someone skilled at make puppets, human anatomy, and some other stuff. Plus, I’ll need to study sealing jutsu a lot more before we can even try and summon Minato. The person who made this one was an even better seal master than most special-jounin, in a village that specialized in sealing.”
Looking at her saddened son, she sighed and then told him, “We’ll head out tomorrow to start gathering the materials and knowledge we need.”
“I thought we were leaving after a year?” Naruto asked, before taking a bite out of the grilled fish.
“I originally planned to, but we need supplies and you need to interact with more people than just your mother. It might give you a complex. But to be honest, between our shadow clones, your training is advancing smoothly and we can train on the road.”
“How are we gonna get there? I’m kinda a missing-nin, remember?”
“Since we shouldn’t be seen entering from the port, we’ll make a raft to get us near the mainland and then walk on the surface of the water to go the rest of the way. On the way back, hopefully we’ll have enough money to buy a small boat. As for your appearance, using a transformation won’t be good enough, but that’s what seals are for. I’ll have you make an appearance changing seal as a final exam.”
“What specifications?” Naruto sighed.
“One that can change your hair color and your eye color will do for now. Although when we get to Konoha, we’ll upgrade it to hide your whisker marks and your chakra signature, in case we run into any Hyuuga. While we’re on the subject, what are the key factors on changing your face, eyes and hair?”
“Alter the melanin for the iris pigmentation… thing for the eyes, the two types of melanin in the hair follicles for hair, and the stratum corn… thingy for epidermis of the face. Set the seal to use chakra to release minute amounts geared towards the altercations without producing too much or too little, and making sure it is evenly distributed.”
“Hm… close enough, but get the terminology right in case we run across some place to sell our spare seals. I want us to make enough money and connections so we can start planning towards rebuilding the village.”
“… Mom?” Naruto said silently. “Will the two us alone really be able to completely rebuild everything?”
“No, Naruto,” she shook her head, “we can’t do it alone. Getting recognized as a village will be nearly impossible in such a short time, which is why we need to make connections in high places and among the common people. Our village was destroyed because it was attacked by multiple villages that feared our seals, and Konoha was fighting its own war.”
“We’ll need shinobi to defend our home, an economy to finance our growth, demolishing the rest of the rubble and rebuilding the village… Naruto, to be blunt we’re going to have a long road ahead of us.”
“Ahh, all of this making my head hurt,” the boy cried.
“It’s not too bad. It would be best if we started selling things we find, and our seals, in a village. Maybe Suna or Kiri would be best, and then there are a bunch of smaller villages. Then we hire someone to come out here and demolish the old ruins and build up a few places for living in, although we’ll have to keep quiet about it. After that, maybe we could train a few shinobi who are missing-nin, but not wanted for anything like needless murder and let them come here… but then there’s the risk of them betraying us… ”
Kushina went on and on about her plan, and it was well thought out. But in the end, it would take too long going alone and they’d have to travel between the mainland and the island a lot of times…
But that was fine with Naruto. Traveling with someone you cared about beat the hell out of a village full of people that loathe you.
The Next Day
Naruto and Kushina had left the remains of the village. After Kushina revealed her village had a method of temporarily halting some of the whirlpools protecting the island naturally, they both just started running across the ocean since it would take too long by raft.
Even with the chakra they had, it was impossible to accomplish in only a single sprint. So they pulled the raft out of a storage scroll when they got tired and slept on it for a few hours. When they woke up, they’d eat some of their rations before Naruto refilled his mother’s chakra supply, and then they went right back to running.
They made land fall about a mile from the port soon enough.
Naruto had applied his appearance changing seal to give himself red hair and green eyes, and they both hid their Uzushio forehead protectors. They needed to mask themselves as civilian for now. Any bandit that was dumb enough to attack them was dumb enough to pay for it.
They rented a room at a hotel and rested until morning. Kushina went to the port bazaar, since it would be a great place to stock up on supplies and sell some of the things they didn’t need in the long run. Naruto was just happy he could finally eat some ramen and took off toward the nearest stand. It wasn’t as good as Ichiraku’s, but it had been so long…
“Welcome…” a man with shady glasses that could rival an Aburame’s said, as Kushina entered into a rundown building. He had things on display that weren’t present in normal stores or stands. She was sure enough that this guy was dealing in black market goods.
“Hello,” she said politely. “I won’t waste your time, so I’ll just ask. I’m looking to get rid of a few things and obtain a copy of the Unofficial Bingo Book.”
He pulled out a slip of paper with a bunch of seals on it. “Touch this seal and don’t use any chakra. If you lie or use chakra, this seal will kill you. Do you understand?”
He looked her up and down, watching her posture, foot position, breathing pattern, basically any sign she was ANBU from a village after his head. “Are you a kunoichi?”
“Yes,” she answered honestly. “I am sealing expert who is not affiliated with any major hidden villages.”
“Hm… your posture carries a little of Konoha, but not in the style of their major clans or recent graduates.”
“I haven’t been in Konoha in over a decade,” she responded calmly. “You won’t find me in the Bingo Book because they believe I’m dead.”
The man continued on asking several questions to trip her into lying, but she didn’t tell him anything that wasn’t at least partly true. He finally relented after their deadly game of twenty questions. “… Show me what you want to pitch, but if you make any sudden movements… ”
“Yeah, yeah. By the way, the seals in your shop need a lot of work. I might be willing to make new ones for you, if you’re interested.”
The man arched an eyebrow. “… Go on.”
Twenty-minutes later, Kushina walked out of the shady store with her hands on the Unofficial Bingo Book, suited for bounty hunters who didn’t mind going someplace else other than a village to get rid of their bounties… or assassination targets. To be honest, she just wanted to see if there were any missing-nin that she could convert to help them, low bounties wanted for just running away or a minor crime.
She really wasn’t happy when she saw her son in the Bingo Book as a C-rank target. Consider how the council had some power behind them and he was a genin, she realized that Sarutobi had no choice if the council kept pressing him. At least it was a low rank and capture-only order.
She also got rid of some of the things she took from the shelter to barter with. She needed the cash, and she didn’t want to sell to a normal merchant since there was a chance of having it traced back to the dead village. She couldn’t draw attention just yet, and the one thing about the black market you can count on is the difficulty of tracing anything sold there.
The man in the shop, who only identified himself as Kurogane, was well informed when it came to his wares. He tried to test her again by offering her things that were low quality or would interest an ANBU, since he knew the last test wasn’t fool-proof. After that secondary test was finished, they began their business transactions.
She bought a map that had the secret routes used by shinobi of various villages, including the big five, a book for medic-nin chakra control from Konoha, several scrolls on wind style and water style ninjutsu, and even a few on specialty ninjutsu done using yin and yang chakra. All of these were top-grade goods that should never leave certain clans or villages. Kushina would later add seals to make sure they weren’t stolen from her or read by a third party without their permission.
Needless to say, Kurogane didn’t say how he “acquired” these goods, and Kushina didn’t ask, although she made a mental note to thank Jiraiya on teaching her some of the more subtle and darker aspects of the shinobi world. He was a master spy after all. It still wouldn’t stop her from kicking his ass for not watching over Naruto though.
Somewhere in the Land of Fire
Jiraiya was talking with one of his contacts when a sudden feeling of dread washed over him.
“… Why do feel like I’m going to get my ass kicked in a few months?” he said while shaking uncontrollably.
Back to Kushina
Anyway, she gave him an upgraded version of his testing seal.
Unlike the previous version that sent a backlash if chakra was stored in it and had a basic diagnostic jutsu woven in to monitor the sign of stress from lying, her version included her seal that was used to test their affinities. It broke down chakra into elements and recorded signatures, so that if someone came in after using a transformation based on a client that left, or a genjutsu to control others, they wouldn’t get by him due to the high traces on yin chakra found in those particular jutsus.
Then she updated his storage seals, and security seals. Kurogane was pleased with the work and offered her a fair amount for her goods and a few extra seals to sell. Before she was getting ready to leave, there was still a question he wanted to ask…
“… You’re an Uzumaki aren’t you? I’ve had a few customers over the years with the same hair color and sealing proficiency… although yours is impressive even by their standards at the time.”
She turned to face him. “Yes, I am… I have been looking for members of my clan. Could we make another arrangement?”
He nodded. “Let me guess, contact you if I meet with any and set up a connection?”
She pulled out a scroll and gave it to him. “This is a scroll with seals embedded inside it. Anything written on here and then has chakra applied to it will appear in the scroll I’m carrying. It can also share items through a combination of a summoning and storage seals.”
Kurogane took the scroll. “I hope you don’t mind if I use this to contact you with more…business offers in the future. I move around a lot and I have a feeling that your products will be much… desired.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” she chuckled. “Until the next time, Kurogane-san.”
“Indeed… what should I refer to you as?”
She smirked at him. “How about Shiokitsu?”
“Very well. Until next time, Shiokitsu-san.”
After her dirty dealings, Kushina stocked up living essentials, as well as some clothing material to take to a tailor for some clothing for Naruto and herself. He was still on a feeding frenzy at that poor ramen vendor’s stand. The guy was crying at this point, trying to keep up with feeding him.
Later that night, they both took the chance to get accustomed to their new casual clothes, and more importantly, their combat clothing.
Naruto now had black combat sandals and pants, an orange t-shirt and a light-blue hooded jacket with a spiraling wave at the center. He also had a pair of blue-fingerless gloves for his hands. Kushina was wearing a short-sleeved mesh shirt under a light-blue kimono-like blouse with a white spiraling wave pattern at the bottom, held together with a black obi. She had a dark skirt with shorts underneath them, just in case she had to fight a pervert…or Jiraiya.
It looked great with their Uzushio forehead protectors.
They both then dropped onto their beds, after setting a few security seals in their room. Robbing travelers while they slept wasn’t exactly uncommon, even in hotels. Their gear was stored in storage scrolls that were sealed by their own locking seals, but it wouldn’t stop some people.
Either way, the pair would set out for Suna in the morning.
The Third Hokage sighed as he looked over the reports.
He had sent several teams to retrieve Naruto, but after he ditched his clothes he basically fell off the map. He had the Inuzuka clan members try to track his scent, but after that last shadow clone barrage his scent was everywhere. There had been no sign of him since he vanished, which usually meant one thing when it was a genin and a child…
If another village discovered he was a container for the Kyuubi, they would basically draft him into service. If they figured out his heritage, then Iwa would call for his head on a pike. If it were bandits… well, he’d probably be fine.
Still, it worried the old man to no end that the boy vanished, although he could understand why. After that fiasco, word had gotten around about his “condition” and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t silence the current generation of genin from knowing the truth. Several of them reacted as expected… not the Hyuuga girl of course, but he wouldn’t have been welcomed at the Academy anymore.
The damn civilian council literally threw a party once they knew he ran away. Danzo was pissed about losing a future asset, and the shinobi council knew that it was a blow to their forces, although the clan heads showed the boy some sympathy knowing who his parents were. Too bad they never acted on it.
Regardless, at this point they knew they needed to put him in the Bingo Book and settled for desertion at a C-rank, but a modest bounty to be paid if he was brought back alive.
Sarutobi also contacted Jiraiya, who got right to work in searching for the boy, knowing Akatsuki would jump at the chance. He also received a tip about Orochimaru planning something during the Chuunin Exams that were three months away. He asked Jiraiya to find Tsunade as well if he could.
He just prayed that the boy was alright.
Shiokitsu = (Tide Fox)
Kuro(me)gane = (Black Shades)
Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let me start by saying that Naruto will be traveling with his mother to gain the necessary allies to rebuild their clan’s village. Most of the Konoha 12 will not gain major roles in the story… for now. Instead I’m throwing in some filler characters, other tailed-beast hosts, and OCs.
Pairings haven’t been determined yet, but there will be no incest at all. Naruto x Hinata might have some ground given how it started, but for the first part of the planned story their interactions are limited and Naruto is still technically a missing-nin.
Neither Naruto nor Kushina will be unstoppable machines of destruction, or at least I don’t plan for them to be, but Naruto’s first solution will not be to spam clones until the enemy stop moving nor will it be Rasengan all the time.
This is a weird one, let’s not beat around the bush. Not the two paired together — that I can see, but the circumstances of the pairing. In this (obvious) non-canon adventure, Matt Murdock (Daredevil) and Harvey Dent (Two-Face) knew of each other as fellow lawyers. There’s no explanation or mind-warping needed. The two former best lawyers in their respective cities were buddies or acquaintances back in the day. DC’s Gotham City and Marvel’s New York City both exist, they both occupy this same universe, and the Batman/Daredevil duo will beat up bad guys together in the one-shot Daredevil and Batman: Eye for an Eye, written by D.G. Chichester and drawn by Scott McDaniel. These two wrote and drew Daredevil together for about three years in the early ’90s, back when Daredevil was happy and his whole life hadn’t shattered into the thousands of tiny miserable pieces that occurred about a decade…
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Advent of the Spiraling Ninja: Prologue
Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/2/15
At the Ninja Academy
I lost myself in the crimson haze.
A group of drunken idiots attacked me outside of the Academy, the day after I became a genin. They were all chuunin, meaning they were dangerous, and while Iruka-sensei was busy fending three of them off, another lunged at me from behind. He had a kunai drawn, intending to plunge it into the base of my spinal cord.
It should have been a fatal strike…
“Naruto-kun!” cried a girl named Hinata, as she took the kunai to her back and fell to the ground. She protected me, even though I never thought anyone besides Iruka-sensei, Old Man, and the nice people at the Ramen shop would. In shock, I couldn’t move as the man attempted to kill me again.
Before the kunai embedded itself into my forehead, I found myself inside a sewer. There were iron bars acting like a prison, the darkness hiding everything but a pair of feral eyes and a sinister grin. Staring at me, the creature spoke.
“Kit… call upon my power,” the dark voice said. “Do you intend to die after that female sacrificed herself for you? It will not happen again.“
I just couldn’t figure out why it happened. Hinata-chan and I never really spoke before, and we weren’t close, so why? “Why did she sacrifice herself for me?”
The voice chuckled. “You are truly blind, chasing after that pink-haired, shrill, fangirl. I’ve smelled the purple-haired kit through you; she is constantly lurking around you, releasing pheromones. She wished to be your mate, if I had to guess.”
“Hinata-chan… she liked me?” I muttered. She never said anything, but she never picked on me. She was like a wallflower: growing on the wall, but never standing out. And she was cut down because of me, plucked before she could bloom.
They. Would. Pay for this.
Everything grew blood red, and hatred filled me. I could take the constant beatings, being robbed and treated like trash, even being called a demon. But they crossed the damn line this time.
The creature lying in the shadows chuckled. “Ironic. That man saved this pathetic village, and all he asked was for you to be treated as a hero. But year after year, they treat you worse and worse. Why should you serve this village?”
“N-no…” I muttered, trying to calm down. I wanted them to accept me. I wanted them to treat me kindly, like the Old Man and Iruka and—
“It will never happen here, kit. They fear you because of me. Their fear controls them. I had no intention of ever attacking this village at first, but the masked one was responsible for that. Yet, I have come to understand that few people will ever accept us. Only the one who created us could ever do so, and not since then have I ever trusted another one of your kind.”
“Wait…” I opened my eyes in shock and took a step back from the bars. “You’re the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox! The Kyuubi! This is all because of you!”
“Oh, how so?” the fox chuckled. “I didn’t ask to be sealed inside you. I didn’t want to attack your home. I’m not the one who tormented you, am I? It was all them.”
I honestly tried to refute the fox’s words, but the sad thing was they were all true. I fell to my knees, creating a ripple in the water below me. They feared me for something beyond our control.
“Time is running out. I shall give you enough of my power to deal with these fleas. But it will reveal your nature to the others around you; they will hunt you down without mercy. Use it to save your own life and flee from the village, the only option is to stay and die.”
I blinked and saw the kunai coming towards my face once again. It was slow, moving at a pace that even turtles could surpass. I raised my fist and plunged it into the man’s stomach, and he flew. His body flew into the Academy building, sending him through the concrete that formed the exterior, his legs dangling from the hole he made.
Everyone was silent and watching me, as I turned to face the three that Iruka-sensei was having trouble with. In a blur, my elongated nails became claws and tore into their flesh, fresh blood splattering my outfit. They fell to the ground in pain, clawing at the wounds I gave them.
“Iruka-sensei,” I said in a slightly distorted voice. “Make sure she lives,” I said, pointing to the injured Hinata-chan. “And tell the Old Man… ‘I’m Sorry’… and ‘Good Bye’.”
Before he could respond, I kicked off the ground and took to the rooftops, leaving cracked earth beneath my takeoff point. The world around me blurred, as my vision shifted to match the speed I was moving. Passing the gate that led out of Konoha, I entered the surrounding forest and simply ran as far as I could.
Outside the Village
The fox finally spoke up, when I was a good distance away. “Sharpen your senses, kit. There are many pursuers coming. You fate will not be kind if they catch you.“
It must’ve been ANBU chasing after me. Forming the cross-seal, I called out “Multi-Shadow Clone Jutsu!” Several pops echoed, as countless clones appeared and scattered throughout the land, running in multiple directions. I didn’t think I could fight any ANBU, I didn’t want to now, but I doubted they could pick me out of all of us.
I learned that I gained the memories of shadow clones once they were dispelled, as several of the ANBU resorted to lethal force. By the time I exhausted the chakra that the fox gave me I had managed to get away from them and hidden myself.
“You can no longer go back to that village, kit. Nor will they stop hunting you. I recall a memory from a previous host, a safe place for you to hide. Your only salvation lies at the ruins of Uzushiogakure, the Village Hidden by the Whirling Tides…” the fox said.
“How do I get there?”
“Head to the Land of Whirlpools, off the coast of the Land of Fire. You should be half way to the port by now, given how far you ran. Tell no one of my presence.”
With those words, I began my journey. I’ll admit that it was stupid of me to trust the fox, but he didn’t want to die and neither did I. They’d kill me if I went back, and so I could only go forward. I wanted to become Hokage so that they’d accept me, but now I realized that it wouldn’t happen. Not now.
At the Ruins of Uzushio
Along the way, I had to steal to survive. The only other way to make money was to gamble, but after winning too much, people had a tendency to try to rob me. I had to use the Transformation jutsu to avoid being caught, and I had to ditch my normal orange clothes to avoid attracting attention.
I was helped by several people, including a fisherman who took me as far as he could to reach the Land of Whirlpools. Needless to say it was surrounded by…well, whirlpools. Good thing the guy was decent at maneuvering the boat. After that, we parted and I watched as he managed to get past the whirlpools once again and left.
As I crossed the emerald green hills that formed a sea of grass, I felt a light breeze on my face that felt wonderful. Once I got to the top of the steep hill I was on, I saw countless broken buildings and stone structures ruined, nothing left behind in one piece. The wind howled as it blew past the remains, as if crying for the lives lost in the destruction. There wasn’t anything salvageable left in the village, no doubt raided after the initial attack or taken by fleeing survivors.
The village was split in the center by a wide river, surrounded by broken pillars with spirals designs similar to the Konoha emblem, with several stones piercing the flowing water. The current met the rocks, and formed small whirlpools.
“You have arrived, kit.” the fox said in a low voice. “I’d imagine this would be a cruel sight for your surviving clan members, who are scattered throughout the world. Nevertheless, the memories of my previous host indicate there is a large whirlpool at the center of the village, in the path of the river. Find it.”
I walked into the ruins and found the whirlpool that the fox was talking about. It was wide enough to fit about five people, rotating clockwise, and was surrounded by about a dozen smaller whirlpools.
“Now, cut yourself and rub the kunai with your blood. Then throw it into the whirlpool.” I did what the fox said, and the main whirlpool began to glow azure blue and rotate counter-clockwise, while the others dissipated from sight. “The fresh blood of the Uzumaki Clan leads the way. Jump in.”
I thought about it for a minute, but I shrugged and jumped in anyway. I had nothing left to lose. It felt like warm water was washing over me, as I sunk into the tunnel of spiraling water. I was gently pulled into a cavern, somewhere underground, where orange flames danced on spiral shaped candles, creating an illuminated path further in.
Deep inside, I found a large building, built into the stone cavern, with the same spiral design as the candles. The entrance door was metal, with a giant seal engraved on it. The seal was a hexagon made of scribbled words, with another spiral in the center. There was a passage underneath it:
This door will only open for the clan of whirlpools.
I cut my hand with another kunai and placed it on the spiral. The emblem lit up with a passive color, and spread to the surrounding scribbles before the door shook. It slowly opened up and revealed the interior of the building. The moment I stepped inside, the door came down and left me in the dark, until several lanterns inside the building suddenly came to life.
Inside the building were emergency rations, bedrooms, supplies, a few weapons, and some scrolls about various things. I saw that some things had been shuffled around and disorganized, meaning that some survivors must have hidden here before leaving the island. In the back of the building was a vault door, which had the same passage as the door did. So, I did the same thing as before and opened it.
Inside were rows of scrolls, each holding techniques and facts about the clan, a few chests with treasure, more weapons and equipment, village headbands, and in the center was a template human puppet with no hair or features, only a seal on its stomach. It was inside an even larger seal on the floor, which circled it.
“Ah, yes…perfect.” the fox whispered. “Place your hand on the doll’s seal and call out the name I tell you to. Concentrate your chakra on the seal holding me in, and move it into the doll.”
“What’ll happen when I do?” I asked. “It won’t kill me, or let you escape will it?”
“As much as I desire to escape, I realize that half of my chakra is sealed beyond my reach. I am no longer as powerful as I was before, and the moment I reappear, another village or that masked man will try to contain and control me. Make no mistake, kit. I will escape someday, however I will only do so once he has been dealt with.”
“Then, what’s with the puppet?”
“If you die, I die and it will be years before I can reform. I need for you to grow strong enough to survive for my sake. You cannot do that on your own, so you need a trainer. The trainer must be loyal to you and keep your existence a secret, so I intend to use the puppet and the chakra the previous host left, whom I know will be loyal and trustworthy…to you anyway.”
Thinking for a few minutes, I slowly placed my hand on the puppet’s seal. “…What’s the name I need to call?”
“Kushina Uzumaki.” the fox snarled. My mind froze when I heard that name. “Yes, kit. Your mother’s chakra is inside me. While I loathe my previous host, she is necessary in ensuring your survival. Now is the time to call for her.”
Gathering the chakra inside my seal, I pushed it forward and into the puppet’s seal. The room itself became illuminated, as the seal on the floor glowed brighter and brighter. Heat began pouring out of the puppet, my hand felt like fire and my vision was obscured. Some kind of pressure built up inside the puppet, slowly becoming more resistant to fill with chakra, until I was launched backwards and into the wall outside the vault.
My world blinked and grew darker and darker, as I slowly fell into black sleep.
On the edge of darkness, I heard a sweet voice humming a song I never heard before.
On the green hills,
By the spiraling waves,
The birds are chirping above,
The fish lay beneath the waves,
We draw our seals,
We lay in wait,
The whirlpools protect us,
We will rise again.
I opened my eyes, and saw a beautiful woman over me. Her long tomato red hair, framed her face, and her closed eyes somehow put me at peace. My head was in her lap, and her arms were on my chest. She rocked back and forth, while humming her song, giving me a sense of peace and warmth I didn’t know of. When she finished the song, she opened her eyes and reveal gentle blue eyes, only a shade lighter than mine.
“Hello, my little Naruto…” she said gently.
“… Mom…?” I asked weakly, sitting up, only to have her embrace me tightly.
“You’ve gotten so big,” she said. “You look just like your father.”
“M-mom,” I stuttered, my voice cracking. I felt the wet tears trailing down my face.
“As much as I loathe this touching moment between mother and kit, you should probably tell her about the situation in the village,” the fox said slyly. As much as I’d hate to admit it, the furball was right.
I pulled away from her and wiped my tears away. “Mom, I have to tell you about something.”
I told her about my life up until now, including what happened in the village recently. I was basically a missing-nin at this point. She broke down and hugged me even tighter than before, constantly apologizing and saying how she was disappointed in the village, and my godfather, who was apparently a famous ninja.
“As much as I dislike the fox, I am thankful that he saved you. Even if it was for selfish reasons,” she muttered, to which the fox chuckled. “He’s right, Jinchuuriki aren’t exactly liked, but they tend to be hunted. I was the previous host of the Kyuubi and a shinobi, so I’ll train you in our clan’s sealing arts, but first I want to see what’s left of the village.”
She guided me to a dead end, before placing her hand on the wall. The next thing I knew, we were back in the ruins, with a seal underneath us. I looked at her and she said, “It was something similar to your father’s signature technique, but simpler.”
She looked around with a sad look on her face, walking to a building that must’ve stood tall considering the amount of debris. She waded through it, until she reached a certain section and told me to help her clear it. Under the rubble was another seal that responded to her, revealing a hidden staircase.
Inside was another storage room, filled with things that would’ve belonged to a young girl. When I wiped the dust from a picture, it revealed a young Kushina. She was standing in front of a magnificent building, smiling.
“This was your home before you came to the Konoha,” I said. She nodded.
“Naruto,” she said in a stern voice. “I want you to grow up and live as long as possible, in a place that will accept you. To that end, I’m going to be a harsh teacher. We’ll train here for a year, before we set out into the world.”
“What will we do then?”
She smiled at me. “We’ll work towards rebuilding this village.”