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ASN Chapter 3

Advent of the Spiraling Ninja

Chapter 3: Tsunade’s Return and Konoha Revisited

“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 use 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.

***

Outside Konoha

“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.”

“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 Byouboku 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 dove 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…

***

With Naruto

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 sweatdropped. 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.

***

With Kushina

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 Inochi 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.

Toad Sage,

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 problem? 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 contact 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…”

***

Canon Jutsu:

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.

Non-Canon Jutsu:

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.

***

Notes:

Oh, things are gonna get heated next chapter…

Okay, so the Invasion is gonna go in a different direction since all three Sannin, Chiyo, and Kushina are there. Naruto will be dealing with Gaara, while Kushina will be helping out on a different matter beforehand.

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