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ASN Chapter 4

Advent of the Spiraling Ninja

Chapter 4: Invasion of Suna and Oto

The Chuunin Exams had started out fairly simple.

Sai had lost to Shino due to the bugs consuming the chakra that made up his ink drawings, although Sai was better at taijutsu and got in some substantial blows, which probably demonstrated why Shino should take up more lessons in close combat in the long run. Shikamaru forfeited against Ino, which was no shock there, and Choji and Kiba managed a mutual knockout.

Sakura and Hinata’s match was as one-sided as they came. The girl wasn’t anywhere near the appropriate level to be fighting against Hinata, who had been training for months with Lee, Gai, and Anko to obtain a level of conditioning that fit her. It was to say, outright embarrassing, and to rub salt into the wound, she did not use Gentle Fist at all during the match.

“Ouch,” Naruto said, watching Hinata nail the girl with a kick. “I didn’t know Hinata-chan was so strong.”

“There’s that, but it’s more like the other one is fairly weak,” Kushina said in a completely neutral tone. “Her taijutsu isn’t anywhere near the level it should be, she can’t use visual genjutsu against someone with the byakugan, and she hasn’t shown any signs of knowing ninjutsu.”

“Well, Sakura-chan was always a Sasuke fangirl and did her makeup rather than train,” Naruto pointed out. “To be honest, she had perfect test scores and chakra control, but her combat ability is weak…she was cute though, so I tried asking her out, but she always hit me.”

Sakura hadn’t put any real effort into improving herself until after she was forced to cut her hair to save herself in the Forest of Death, but compared to Hinata, who had Anko as a sensei for half a year, there wasn’t any doubt about who was going to win the match. In addition, Hinata was motivated to become stronger for far longer, while Sakura didn’t have such drive except for Sasuke. She really was the weakest link on the team.

Kakashi only sighed as he watched his student get beaten from another seat. He knew that this was going to happen, but some lessons can only be beaten in, which was why he had Anko talk to Hinata about defeating her without using Gentle Fist. It was a bit cruel, but having her humiliated in front of a large crowd, crush and all, would make it clear she needed a lot of work done.

When this was all over, he would have to see about getting her a few lessons with Kurenai, and maybe some medic-nin instructions since her control would be suited for it. When the next Chuunin Exams came around, she’d be far more prepared. Although, even he had to wince when Hinata finished her with that last blow.

Chiyo didn’t really watch the matches with any interest and was waiting until she saw Baki, who was the commander of the invasion that was going to occur soon. Her brother had found the Kazekage’s corpse and had a message sent via messenger hawk to her, but she couldn’t find Baki before the events began. Since she couldn’t enter the participant’s section to talk to him directly, she would have to wait until he showed up, before Suna wound up destroying its alliance with Konoha for absolutely no reason.

“So, that’s Mikoto’s other boy,” Kushina mumbled, watching the next match while Sasuke ran around Gaara’s defenses. “He’s talented for his age…if that whole incident never happened with their clan, you two probably would’ve gotten along.”

“Not likely,” Naruto said. “He was always so stuck up and a showoff and—”

“All likely because he had no one else,” Kushina cut him off. “You of all people should know what it’s like to be lonely. You, Gaara, and Mikoto’s boy have had traumatic pasts that no child should have had, and you all adapted differently. You could relate to Gaara, so try relating to him.”

Naruto remained silent, thinking about his mother’s words. His thoughts were cut off when Gaara’s screams echoed across the Arena from being hit with the Chidori. After that feathers began to fall…

“It’s started,” Chiyo said, as she and Chisaki dispelled the genjutsu on themselves.

“What’s happening?” Kushina asked, releasing Naruto and herself from the genjutsu. She watched as the Kazekage was chased by the Hokage to the top of a building before it was sealed by a barrier jutsu, which set the ANBU before Jiraiya on fire when he touched it.

“The real Kazekage is dead,” she told them. “If this gets too far, Suna will have lost everything and killed many for no reason. Chisaki and Naru, you chase after Gaara and subdue him. I have a feeling that they plan on using the raccoon dog as part of the assault. If those genin who chased after them are clan heads, it’ll make resolving this even harder if they are killed.”

The two of them took off, with Naruto putting on his mask, deactivating his seal, and dropping the Transformation on his clothing to reveal his combat gear. Chiyo looked at the barrier and then looked at the center of the arena, where Baki was fighting with a man with a senbon in his mouth.

“Shina,” Chiyo pointed to the barrier. “See if you can do something about that before that old man is killed. I’ll go and reach Baki. His radio should reach all of the shinobi from Suna and we can stop this before things go too far.”

Kushina followed Naruto’s example and left.

Chiyo sighed. “Alright…let’s see what these old bones can do…”

***

With the Hokage

“So…you really did kill the Kazekage, didn’t you?” Sarutobi mumbled. “Orochimaru?”

“Kukukukuku…” the fallen disciple snickered, pulling the mask off his face. “I’m surprised sensei. I did not suspect you would have figured out it was me so soon. I suppose that was why Jiraiya was with you.”

“We had a feeling it was you after we got a tip,” the old man sighed, before ripping off his formal robes and revealing his combat clothing. “You’ll find that neither I nor this village will fall so easily.”

Sarutobi threw a shuriken at the snake man and formed the ram, rat, bird, boar, and tiger seals. The single shuriken multiplied and rained towards the man in a storm of steel. “Shuriken Shadow Clone!”

“Summoning: Impure World Resurrection!” Orochimaru announced his own jutsu, as two coffins appeared with the kanji for “First” and “Second”.

***

With Chiyo

“Chiyo-baa-sama! What is the meaning of this?” Baki asked. Currently, he, the man with the senbon in his mouth, and a man with a sword on his back and bags under his eyes, were being restricted by her chakra threads and couldn’t move.

“Baki, call off the invasion,” Chiyo said. “Oto has betrayed Suna, and the Kazekage’s corpse has been found.”

The swordsman and senbon man stopped struggling at this point to listen in. Baki asked her what she meant and showed him the document. His eyes widened in shock since the document contained the council seal, proof that it was legitimate. “Then…”

“Use your radio to contact the rest and inform them of this deception,” Chiyo said. “The only enemy today is Oto.” He nodded and she released the man, who fumbled with his radio.

What just happened?” the tired-looking man whispered.

Sounds like Orochimaru tricked them into attacking after killing their leader,” the man with the senbon replied. “Otherwise, she would have killed us by now. Given—

Their conversation was cut short, as the old woman jumped to avoid being crushed by Tsunade. “Old Chiyo of Suna, I didn’t expect you to be here…” She looked over to the sickly man, who started sweating profusely. “Hayate…why are you not in the hospital? Do you want me to inform Yugao after this?”

“N-Now let’s not be hasty…” he coughed. Tsunade would remember to turn him into her personal lackey for not listening when he got better…

“Tsunade…I see you’re still hiding your appearance instead aging gracefully…” Chiyo smirked. “As much as I would love to continue our long rivalry, I believe we have more important things to deal with.”

***

With Jiraiya

“Damn!” Jiraiya swore, as he saw that Orochimaru had summoned the First and Second Hokages. He had sent his summoned toad to deal with the over grown snakes that broke through the village walls, but he couldn’t get through this barrier. He was about attempt to punch through it with a jutsu, when an order came through his radio from Tsunade, and Suna suddenly turned on Oto.

“That’s war I guess,” he mumbled. Suna was back on their side now, but some damage had been done already. There was no way they were getting off scot free once this was over. There would be numerous meetings and reimbursements for damage done and lives lost, but that’s the best case scenario if the Third Hokage was still alive.

“Jiraiya!” Tsunade called, landing next to him.

“I was too slow to get inside,” he grumbled. As he watched Sarutobi summon Enma and transform him into his adamantine staff. “Sensei won’t be able to deal with this alone—” his words were cut off when a kunai landed next to him with a message attached.

Right corner, prepare to strike.

“Kushina?” Jiraiya said recognizing the handwriting. He looked over to the right corner to see a young man with what looked like a second head smirking at him.

***

With Kushina

Kushina stood on a rooftop adjacent the barrier.  Her red hair and kimono-like blouse were fluttering in the wind, while her mask hid her face. Her eyes were focused on the events unfolding inside the barrier.

“A summoning that raises the dead…” she mumbled to herself. Sarutobi wouldn’t survive for very long if he had to keep fighting at his age against Orochimaru and the two previous Hokages. “If it’s a summoning, then I can do something about it…”

Her grip on her Whirlpool Yo-Yo tightened, chakra flowing through her hand and permeating the weapon, crafting a perfect circular disk. The disk spun in place, as she held the top portion of the Yo-yo with her fingers tips gripping it. Infusing it with water chakra now, the disk became aquatic blue in color, the speed of the rotation increasing with every second and gathering condensation from the air into the saw, splattering droplets everywhere.

“Uzumaki Hidden Art: Whirlpool Saw!” she cried and threw the disk. Attached to the top was a chakra chain extending from her palm. The flying disk rained droplets of chakra-laden water as it flew towards the closest target: the right corner of the barrier.

Orochimaru’s barrier was known as the Four Flames Formation. It was an impressive defense that he had set up. Protected on the outside and inside, it would set anything physical that touched it ablaze with a purple flame. However, it was not impenetrable.

There were several ways to break the B-rank jutsu.

An S-ranked technique would be able to plow through the defenses through sheer power or chakra alone, providing the physical object could withstand the flames. An energy-based attack from the lightning element would have the penetrative properties necessary to go through the barrier as well.  A counter-seal to be used against the barrier would be the next best thing if those two options were not present, forcing the barrier’s distribution of chakra to become distorted or off-balanced, causing it to collapse on itself.

However, Kushina did not expect to encounter such a thing when she arrived in Konoha. While she was a seal master, she would need time to set it up, which was something she did not have considering the battle at hand. Sarutobi wouldn’t last much longer…

So salvation laid with her water affinity.

Water itself was a universal solvent. It could dissolve or dissociate most things over time, and chakra itself was no exception when it came into contact with water chakra. The hunter-nin, a special section of ANBU dedicated to hunting down the missing-nin of Kiri, created a technique solely for this purpose known as Hidden Art: Mist Rain.

Purple flames bellowed and roared, as the disk met the corner of the shield being protected by the two headed-teen, spouting flames and waves of water in a painful dance between the elements.  It drew the attention of all those in view of the marvelous display. Pouring all of the water chakra she had converted from the chakra she had allocated towards daily use and taken from Naruto’s ridiculous Kage-level reserves, she poured it into the disk and the rotation speed increased, ripping open the majority of the corner.

Before the two-headed teen could react, Jiraiya had finished his hand signs. “Fire Style: Dragon Fire!

The smell of roasting flesh and screams the teen let out were quickly silenced as the barrier fell and ANBU doused the flames before subduing him. The other members of the Sound 4 became engrossed in battle with the ANBU, while Jiraiya and Tsunade went to aid their sensei. When the stunned spectators looked to see who it was that released the attack that led to the barrier’s decimation, they saw no one.

Kushina was nowhere in sight.

***

With Chiyo

“Not bad for one so young…” she said somewhat gleefully upon seeing the display of flames and waves collide from outside the Arena.

“But will you be able to seal Gaara should he transform?” she asked the empty space next to her, which was taken by Kushina when she landed next to the woman, breathing heavily and sweating. “I have a few soldier pills on me…”

“I bought a few of the extra Chakra Storage seals with me from Uzushio…” she huffed. “My son filled them a few months ago, before we left. I used one after helping to break the barrier.”

“Then why are you so tired now?” she asked.

“I set up some things to help deal with those summonings…” Kushina pulled off the Chakra Storage seal patch she used and then slipped on another one to refill her reserves a second time.

“Oh?” Chiyo said slyly. “You have something that can outdo the Second’s own technique?”

“I couldn’t dispel it,” she took a deep breath, “and I know that I can’t defeat a Sannin in direct combat, so I left behind a chakra-heavy shadow clone. If the shadow clone touches him, it’ll turn things around…”

Chiyo chuckled. “Well played. Now, let’s get back to our original goal.”

 ***

With Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Sarutobi

The moment Jiraiya roasted the member of the Sound 4 named Sakon, the barrier fell and the two Sannin leapt to their sensei’s aid. Jiraiya delivered a Flame Bullet to set the wood that Hishirama create ablaze with oil-laden fire. Tsunade delivered a devastating punch to her granduncle that knocked him into his brother and started healing the bleeding Sarutobi.

“Someone actually managed to break the Four Flames Formation…impressive.” Orochimaru chuckled, silently calculating his odds. He still had the First and Second on his side and they were immortal until he released the summoning.

Orchimaru’s eyes darted behind him, only to see nothing but a large rippling puddle created by Tobirama’s jutsu. Just my imagination…still this somewhat ruins my plans…

The battle raged for minutes, as Jiraiya silently charged, aiming to kill his former teammate. However, he was intercepted the two Kages and forced to hold them off as Sarutobi did with earth and flame techniques. Tsunade was tending to her sensei, whose injuries were no longer life threatening, but still debilitating considering his age. It had been a long time since he needed to fight on that level.

Orochimaru tried to slip through the side and finish Sarutobi off with his elongated neck. He opened his mouth and exposed Kusanagi towards to the man…only for Tsunade to remind him that she was there and delivered a punch directly into his chin from below, and then a left straight into his nose, sending the blade and his head flying.

Pulling himself together, Orochimaru started making the seals to summon Manda. Tsunade was rushing in for another strike, but she wouldn’t connect before Manda was called. Once the giant snake was unleashed, it would cause mass causalities, starting with the sleeping audience.

“Summo—” before Orochimaru could slam his hands down and summon Manda, an unfamiliar voice was heard.

Chakra Chain: Emergence!” chains erupted from the rooftop behind the snake Sannin, binding his hands and torso. Orochimaru never finished his jutsu, as Tsunade released another strong punch, knocking the snake Sannin’s head back so far that his elongated neck stretched before his body flew after it. He rotated in mid-flight and slid back on his feet, landing near a puddle created by Tobirama’s water jutsu while the barrier was up….from which Kushina emerged using the Hiding in the Water technique and extended her bleeding hands towards his body.

“Meddling—” Orochimaru sneered, motioning his fingers slightly as the woman made contact…and Kusanagi pierced her chest from behind, spraying a thin shower of blood onto the man’s back.

“Contract…Seal…” Kushina’s clone muttered, before vanishing in poof of smoke. From her blood-stained handprint, a sealing array etched itself onto his back.

A Sealing Array…? What is th— the snake Sannin thought silently before he was drenched in a crude black rain, and a wooden half-dome emerged from behind him, only leaving on his front open.

“Water Style: Black Rain!” called the Tobirama Senju.

“Wood Style: Domed Wall!” called Hashirama Senju.

“WHAT—!?” the fallen Sannin yelled. His summonings were attacking him!

“Toad Oil Bullet! / Fire Style: Fire Dragon Flame Bullet!!” Jiraiya and Sarutobi announced, landing in front of the brothers. “Hidden Collaboration Jutsu: Oil Dragon’s Wooden Furnace!

The pair breathed a dragonic stream of fire and oil that formed a demonic dragon’s head, which flew into the makeshift oven. The oil combusted and the deafening roars of the crackling wood were heard, only being overtaken by the snake Sannin’s screams of anguish as the flames poured in, until the half-dome was destroyed almost a second later.

From the ashen timbers, a white snake slithered out, trying to escape, until Tsunade fell from above with a punch that shattered the rooftop and collapsed it. From the dead snake’s mouth Orochimaru emerged in his solid body once again, covered in a slimy liquid.

Contract Seal removed the control over the summonings from summoner. It was the same sealing technique she taught Minato, which broke the fox from the masked man’s control. The Impure World Resurrection was a summoning, from one world to the next, and while it couldn’t dispel the jutsu, it sealed off Orochimaru’s command seals and gave them their free will back.

Leaving five very pissed off Kage-level shinobi and one injured, fallen Sannin.

“My jutsu has…been taken…away from me!” Orochimaru sneered wearily. Surviving a blazing furnace while being covered in two types of oil with no escape was neither easy, nor pleasant, and he was tired from the combination technique.

Kushina was always quite a woman…Jiraiya thought. Those seals of hers are handy as hell. If I ever get on her good side again, I must study her clan’s techniques…

“To think my grandniece would still be so young after all this time…” Tobirama glanced over to Tsunade. “If it weren’t for Sarutobi, I would have never guessed so much time has passed…”

“Forgive me if Jiraiya and I are the only ones out of the six of us who actually look our age,” Sarutobi shot back.

“Hey, I still look good for being in my early 50’s!” Jiraiya countered.

“Focus boys!” Tsunade snapped. “We’ve still got a snake to skin.”

This does not bode well…Orochimaru reluctantly admitted to himself. He wasn’t dumb enough to try and fight five Kage level enemies at once. He was confident in himself, but not suicidal or considered himself a god…yet.

Before the five could finish him off, several ANBU jumped towards the Kage-level shinobi and attacked. Orochimaru smirked, realizing that they were corpses being move by the Dead Soul technique.

“Well done, Kabuto!” the fallen Sannin said, as the young man with a gray ponytail and glasses landed next to him, followed by the injured Sound 4 with the exception of Sakon, who had been detained. “Until next time!”

Orochimaru departed, with several squads of ANBU chasing after him. They wouldn’t be able to catch him, but in his condition and with his Oto-nin being decimated by the Suna and Konoha forces, he wouldn’t be making any moves against Konoha anytime soon.

“FUCK!” Jiraiya swore, placing the now-still corpse down gently. “He got away again!”

“Calm down, Jiraiya…” Sarutobi sighed. “Wrapping things up in the village comes first.”

It was then they noticed the two previous Hokages’ bodies had begun to fall apart, crumbling to dust. When Tsunade was getting ready to reach for them Tobirama held out his hand to stop her.

“It is fine,” he smiled. “The technique is ending. Aside from sealing the souls of those resurrected or the summoner cancelling the technique, it will end the moment the souls find closure and return to where they belong. Once a soul returns to the pure lands, they cannot be resurrected again…we won’t be troubling you again…”

“Seeing the village still going strong after our death, and to see my granddaughter survived this long…” Hashirama sighed in relief. “You’ve done well, Sarutobi…”

“I cannot take credit,” Sarutobi himself smiled, while shedding a tear at his mentors. “The Will of Fire continues to burn strong.”

“Well said…Farewell…” were the Senju brothers’ final words, as they disappeared from the impure world. In the remaining dust was nothing but two corpses that belonged to the team Kabuto was a part of in the Chuunin Exams.

“Alright, I’ll go tend to the injured after I finish treating sensei,” Tsunade said after a moment of silent reflection. “Jiraiya, you—” her order was cut off by the appearance of the One-Tailed Raccoon Dog in the distance, howling at its awakening. “—deal with THAT!”

Before Jiraiya could move, a large number of chakra chains bounded the Bijuu and countless crimson blades of wind slashed the chakra demon, causing it to howl in pain, before vanishing not even a minute later. The two Sannin and their sensei stood there assessing what just happened, when Sarutobi recalled the chakra that washed over them during the wind attack.

“That was the Kyuubi’s chakra…Naruto!” Sarutobi muttered, as Jiraiya took off on toad back.

 ***

With the Konoha Genin

A body flew back into a tree, and the cracking of wood and breaking bones signaled the end of a man’s life as a shinobi, if not his life in general. Rock Lee ducked under the thrown kunai and advanced, having taken off his weights the moment the invasion had begun and the genjutsu upon him had been released by Neji Hyuuga.

The opposing Oto-nin was ready for the charge, with his kunai drawn, when an ink snake bound his hands and his rib cage met the set of fists that had been solidified through the efforts of hard work alone, shattering it and puncturing his vital organs. He fell down and didn’t get back up.

“Thanks…Sai-san,” Rock Lee huffed.

“Not a problem,” Sai added, wiping the blood from the cut above his eye and preparing to draw his next attack…only for the world to become inverted and his fingers became stiff, the sound reaching their eyes placing them under a genjutsu.

The ringing stopped and the world was set in stone once again, as both boys found themselves staring at Neji, breathing heavily with his eyes activated and standing over a corpse whose chakra coils around his heart had been struck by a Gentle Fist strike. Bugs flew from inside the man’s clothing and back to their host, Shino Aburame.

Lee, Sai, Shino and Neji were currently engaged in combat with a few Oto shinobi who had pursued the group chasing the sand sibling, and killed roughly half of them while sustaining injuries through rough team work alone. Lee and Neji were close-ranged fighters, and had to get close to deal with their enemies, while the Oto-nins were mid-to-long fighters. Sai and Shino created a distraction or opening, and with their speed, the two melee attackers rushed in for the kill.

The first two times it worked perfectly, the third time it was still effective, but after that last one, the rest seemed to pick up on the fact that they were being picked off by a few genin and decided to play smart, the leader of the remaining men deciding to pull out a certain gauntlet…

“Wha…” was the general words that came out of all parties collective mouths, as they became dizzy and tired, when the pink-haired Suna shinobi landed in front of them.

“Sleeping Mist,” Chisaki exhaled, releasing a larger amount of light blue mist that lulled the genin into sleep since the gas affected their smaller bodies much faster. Since the Oto-nin leader was preparing to use the Melody Arm, she opened her fans and gathered wind chakra. “WIND STYLE: CAST NET!!”

By the time Asuma Sarutobi, the jounin for the Ino-Shika-Cho combination of that generation, arrived…he found the four genin asleep, surrounded by the diced and sloppy remains of the Oto-nin attacking them.

Hinata, Sakura, Tenten, Sasuke, and Shikamaru, had also escaped the effects of the genjutsu that had been dropped onto the Arena and were sent to chase after the sand siblings, while their allies held back the oncoming Oto-nin units.

Tenten and Hinata had destroyed Kankuro’s puppet and restrained him by Tenten firing her weapons at his hiding places with Hinata’s bloodline helping, and Hinata showing exactly what happened when wood met her 8 Trigrams 32 Palms: Scarlet Version, not being affected by the poison since she had a slight immunity to the typical poison he used from her training with Anko. Maybe next time he’d try a more exotic poison like the Iwa-nin did.

Shikamaru had just finished binding Temari, while Sakura was tying her hands up and taking her fan. Sasuke was dealing with Gaara, who was using his sand to try and capture the genin who hurt him. The wound itself was insulting, and for the first time he felt pain.

The only reason he didn’t transform was because he wanted kill the genin with his mother’s sand. Eventually he spread the sand out like a wave, having sent some of it into the ground to churn the minerals and rocks below into more sand. It would swallow them all, siblings included…

“Sasuke-san! I need a flame!” Hinata called forming hand seals. “Fire Style: Mist Blaze Dance!!”

He nodded and went through the seals for his family’s coming of age technique. “Fire Style: Great Fireball!”

They exhaled and the flames met gas, creating a blaze which met the sand, barely slowing it down and being smothered. Both genin poured their remaining chakra into the attacking, hoping to hold it off somehow…when a fierce gale tore from behind them carrying branches and leaves like a storm, feeding the flames and causing them to flare up into an inferno. The inferno pushed back the now-molten sand before it was extinguished, cooling the excess sand into stone.

What was that…Sasuke thought, falling to his knees in exhaustion, half his body covered in markings after drawing power from his cursed seal.

Who…? Hinata thought, barely supporting her body on the tree branch and too exhausted to keep her eyes active.

He’s here. He’s Here. HE’S HERE! The voice inside Gaara roared. GIVE ME HIS BLOOD!

“You’ve come at last…” a demonic smile etched its way onto Gaara’s normally stoic face. “Naruto Uzumaki!”

Arriving from behind them was Naruto Uzumaki, dressed in his black combat sandals and pants, his orange t-shirt exposed, and his unzipped light-blue hooded jacket flapping in the wind as he moved, proudly displaying the spiraling wave at the center. His gloved hands were making a familiar hand seal, and his mask was slid to the side of his face, allowing his determined eyes to be shown.

“Shadow Clone!” Naruto announced, forming twelve clones, leaving them behind as he charged forward into the sand Jinchuuriki. Gaara’s sand flew towards the whirlpool Jinchuuriki, acting as his hands to give the incoming threat a deadly embrace.

“Naruto-kun—” Hinata yelled to tell him to stop, when two of his clones landed in front of her and Sasuke, picking them up, while the rest lined up and took a deep breath, compressing their chakra into their lungs.

“WIND STYLE: AIR BULLET!” Ten high-powered air bullets flew and impacted the sand, releasing the compressed air in a high pressure explosion that scattered the sand and created an opening.

“GAARA!! I’M RIGHT HERE!!” Naruto roared, as he pulled out the Nine-Tailed Fan and poured wind chakra into it, splitting the blade into nine and creating a chakra fan that he swung down. “WIND SCYTHE!!”

A fierce gale roared with numerous invisible blades as sharp as knives. The gale barreled down on the red-haired shinobi of Suna and nicked at his Sand Armor, as the sheer force carried him backwards, only for his sand to cradle him and allowed him to land on the ground a small distance away. Gaara extended his arm, reaching out with his sand.

Tendrils lashed out. Naruto swung the fan down and poured chakra into it again, releasing another wall of wind that scattered the sand and rushed towards him. His sand compressed itself into a thick shell around him, impenetrable to the Wind Scythe Jutsu.

Naruto raised his right hand, only for the ten clones from before to land on both sides of him and inhale, gathering wind chakra-laced air next to their palms, in front of their mouths. “WIND STYLE: SPIRALING WIND BALL!” Dropping his hand and pointing two of his fingers forward he cried, “FIRE!!”

The spiraling balls of wind were launched successively at the same general area, grinding the sand deeply at the general point of impact and breaking through the shell, forcing Gaara to abandon his defenses for the moment, at the cost of the clones using up their chakra in the attack.

Ever since Naruto heard about Gaara’s powers, he wondered how to fight it efficiently. The way he controlled the sand was the same as saying that it was a part of his body, countless tiny hands. How does one fight an enemy that can control millions of tiny hands that could bind and constrict an enemy before killing them?

Heavy Artillery was the answer Naruto came up with. The Wind Scythe Jutsu could be used against loose and wide-spread sand, but against the compacted shell it was worthless.  Spiraling Wind Ball Jutsu could penetrate if fired enough times in a short time frame, but the charging time was too slow. The Air Bullet Jutsu released enough force on impact to scatter most of the attacks and prevent it from reforming fast enough to grab him. Using his clones to back him up, he could survive.

A smarter strategy would be to simply let the clones do the fighting while he hid, but the message wouldn’t be sent if he didn’t face Gaara head-on. So he made another ten clones, and shifted the Nine-Tailed Fan into its blade form before heading towards Gaara once again, navigating between the lashes of sand and air bullets, trying to cleave through his Sand Armor enough to hopefully injure him enough to add to his fatigue…

Sand burst from beneath the blonde. Gaara, using some of the sand he wielded to churn the stones underground, crudely made more. The sand wrapped around Naruto’s body up to his head…

“SAND BURIAL!” and crushed him mercilessly, blood escaping his mouth….only for it pop. Gaara grunted in frustration as he failed to kill the original, which had pulled a substitution with it before he was caught.

And to think I complained when mom had me constantly practice substitution with my shadow clones…Naruto drew two of the special kunai Tenten made him and threw them. Once they were stopped by the sand, the kunai exploded and shrapnel littered Gaara’s Sand Armor.

As he landed on a tree branch, he slipped, not noticing the fine grains that were scattered on it. The sand from below flew up towards him, and Naruto extended his hand towards a higher branch to the right…and a chakra chain shot out and tied itself around the branch.

And now I can’t complain about amount of time and clones I put into learning how to do this…he thought, as he retracted the chain and pulled himself out of the way, before swing the fan with his other hand and scattering the incoming sand, which returned to Gaara.

“You…are…strong…” Gaara grinned manically, slowly being encroached by his sand. “By killing you…I CAN VALIDATE MY EXISTENCE!!!

***

With the Genin

In the meantime, a short distance away, the two clones that grabbed Sasuke and Hinata dropped them off with the captured sand siblings and the other genin, who were torn between the clones and the battle that was going on in front of their eyes. He was somewhat careful with lowering Sasuke, considering what his mother said. Hinata, on the other hand…

“HINATA-CHAN! AIR! I NEED AIR!!” the clone holding her yelled, struggling to breathe as the girl had him in a death grip of a hug…with his face somewhere it shouldn’t have been. Realizing she was slowly suffocating the clone, she let him go and slipped into a more modest position.

“Naruto-kun, it’s really you!” she smiled. “You’re okay!”

The others were staring in some disbelief. The chances of a missing-nin showing up out of nowhere to save them against an unstable sand-wielder, while currently fighting on par with him, were nearly nonexistent. Then again, Naruto was dumb luck incarnate.

“Kinda…” the clone rubbed his head sheepishly. He looked over to Tenten, who was staring at his copy of the Nine-Tailed Fan. “Thanks for the kunais, by the way.”

“As much as I hate to break this troublesome chain of events up…” Knowing that Hinata will probably kill me for it later…Shikamaru thought before turning to the boy. “What are you doing here, Naruto?”

“We had some business to take care of and it just so happen that the Chuunin Exams were here,” the second clone said, stepping about a meter away from the group and placing a square slip of paper on the ground. “Is anyone hurt?”

“Not severely,” Sakura answered, looking at Naruto closely. “I think Sasuke-kun and Hinata-chan are suffering from chakra exhaustion…” He’s changed somehow…

“Oh yeah, speaking on the Chuunin Exams, way to kick ass Hinata-chan!” the first clone said. “You nailed Sakura like it was nothing—”

“Hey!” the pink-haired girl interrupted.

“—and I didn’t know that you knew how to use a fire jutsu, let alone one that managed to push back that sand…even if it was with a little help from me and the emo.”

“Loser…” said emo grunted. “If I weren’t tired…”

The second clone rolled his eyes. “I’ll go find the others. In the meantime…” he smacked his other self on the head. “Quit flirting and get ready!”

The second clone left and the first muttered a string of swearwords before turning to the sand siblings. “What about you two?”

“My puppet is kindling now, so the old hag is probably going to flip her lid…” Kankuro sighed. “I’ll probably have to remake it…I think she has blueprints from the previous owner.”

“I’m fine, with the exception of my pride…” Temari pouted. “Losing to this lazy bastard…” she tilted her head towards Shikamaru, who shrugged. “It looks like Gaara’s lost control of himself…” she said somewhat sadly.

“What did you expect?” the clone said. “His seal isn’t solid enough to stop the raccoon dog from influencing him. It doesn’t help that his own brother and sister are afraid of him like he’s a monster…”

The sand siblings looked at him in shock. “How the hell do you know about that?”

“Wait,” Shikamaru scratched his head. “You mean he’s…?”

“Hold on to that thought!” the clone activated the Jutsu Storage seal on the ground. Numerous chains emerged from the ground and formed a dome barrier, protecting the gathered genin from the ensuing maelstrom of broken wood and wind, as the battle picked up again. “This should hold for 5 minutes—” the clone received the memories a couple of slaughtered clones. “—and he’s gone partial transformation…and can use his body like a slingshot.”

The audience turned back to the fight.

Coming from the front, Naruto had leapt towards Gaara, his Nine-Tailed Fan in its blade form and streaming enough wind chakra that the blade itself was in the center of a three-inch outline of chakra. Gaara stretched his transformed arm out to strike him down, but it was cut through by the blade and left a moderate-sized gash on arm, causing him to howl monstrously.

“No way…” Temari muttered. “He’s fighting and keeping with Gaara…even with demon inside him…”

“Demon…” Sakura muttered. “Then…”

The clone raised his shirt and sent chakra into his stomach, revealing a seal on it. “Exactly. Like. Me.” He lowered his shirt. “When one Jinchuuriki goes rogue, short of a Kage, or a squad of jounin and ANBU, another usually has to deal with them.”

NARUTO UZUMAKIIIIIIII!!!” the partially transformed Jinchuuriki roared, the sand swallowing more and more of his body until the point where he was a miniature version of the Ichibi itself. He swung his arms and yelled “SAND SHURIKEN,” sending numerous clumps of sand at the blonde

“Well, since everyone is fine, I’ll get going to inform the others and the original. Enjoy the show!” the clone said before vanished with a pop.

 ***

With Naruto and Gaara

When Gaara had turned into his partial transformation and put the tail and arm to good use in slaughtering him, Naruto started doing what he could to keep up. When he became a mini-Ichibi, that including having several dozen of his clones blast Gaara from all sides, cutting a few tree branches down to drop on the boy, and doing some direct damage with his chakra-conducting blade.

It had been quiet for a few seconds and he was tired and exhausted. Naruto was silently wondering if he had quelled the wrath of the sand Jinchuuriki…when said Jinchuuriki’s arm extended from the pile of branches and grabbed him.

“SHIT!” Naruto swore as the sand completely enveloped him into a Sand Coffin. Uh, fox, a little help here? Low on chakra…now would be good…

“NARUTO-KUN!” Hinata screamed from inside the barrier.

“WAKE UP YOU STUPID FOX!” Naruto screamed, and the sand exploded outward. Surrounded by a crimson coat of chakra, his clothes shifting from the power, Naruto stared at Gaara. That was closer than I liked…what the hell Kyuubi?

Hehehe…I just wanted to watch you squirm a little…” the fox chuckled from his mindscape.

Wind Style!” Gaara announced in a distorted voice, bringing the focus back on him. Naruto summoned another clone next to him, and both flooded their fans with chakra. “Wind Style!

SANDSTORM DEVISTATION/CROSS GALES!!” the boys roared, as the chakra-laden sand and wind met with the wind fangs, which ate into it and created some breathing room for Naruto. The other surviving clones attacked from above. “Wind Style: Air Bullet!!”

The compressed shots rained down and ruptured, using all the chakra in the clones until they vanished. The blasts kicked up a storm of dirt and dust shrouding them from view. It seemed like the battle was over….

RAAAAHHHHH!” a howl reached the heavens, as sand piled upon itself and took the form of a giant that dwarfed the tallest tree. Gaara had gone full Bijuu form, and was about to crush the blonde…when figure landed in front of the barrier that protected the genins, along with his clone.

“Naruto!” the red-haired woman yelled, chains erupting from her body and entangling the gigantic body with Gaara inside the center. He howled, unable to move, while Kushina was sweating from the struggling but refusing to yield. It needed more power, so Gaara emerged to the surface and he performed Feigning Sleep Jutsu.

“Wake him up—” Kushina yelled to the clone, as the awakened raccoon dog struggled even more. “You can use a single-tail!” she said, before the clone dispelled itself.

Naruto nodded, and the coat of chakra surrounding him expanded further into a cloak. Sprouting crimson ears, claws, and a tail of chakra, his whisker marks became more detailed, and his eyes and teeth became more fox-like. Cloaked in power, he growled softly.

The boy took feral stand and glared at full grown Bijuu. Gathering chakra into his legs, it exploded from beneath him, shattering the tall tree he was on in order to rocket him into the air and higher than the Bijuu itself.

FERAL WIND STYLE—” the chakra fan drunk deeply the chakra of the cloak and became the size of large a building. Putting nearly everything into the strike, Naruto howled. “CRIMSON GALE CLAWS!

The sky howled, as it was ripped apart by thousands of crimson claws that existed in a wall of air that was laced with the crimson chakra of the fox. The claws tore at the Bijuu’s body, ripping and gouging out chunks of it. Naruto’s cloak vanished, having used all of it damage the Bijuu.

“Shadow Clone!” he created a final clone and used it to sling shot himself at the still sleeping Gaara’s head. “Wake up!” he yelled, cocking back his fist and nailing the slumbering Jinchuuriki in the head.

Gaara looked at him with a death glare, using the sand that made up Bijuu’s body, he entrapped Naruto’s right arm and legs, getting ready to completely swallow him. Naruto tilted his head back and bought it down, straight into Gaara’s, whose eyes rolled back into his head, and the Bijuu’s body cracked apart with him as the epicenter.

They two containers fell to the earth, only to be caught by Kushina’s chains and lowered.

That insane amount of chakra…Tenten looked at the area around where the attack was unleashed. It was nothing but a section of carved and flattened wood and broken branches. She then focused on the Nine-Tailed Fan. His weapon managed to stream enough of that weird chakra and wind chakra to cause that kind of damage…?

So that’s what a fight between Jinchuuriki goes like…Sasuke shivered. Such power….

He…beat Gaara…Temari stared in shock. Even in his full form?

Impossible…Kankuro’s gaped at having witnessed the battle.

“Ugh…gh…” Gaara moaned, reaching his hand out weakly towards the blonde. “Have…to…”

“That’s enough,” the blonde rubbed his head, while lying on the ground. “Proving your existence by killing…won’t ease the pain…”

“What do you…know of…my pain?” Gaara wheezed.

“I know enough…” Naruto said. “I was kicked out of my orphanage at only 7, simply because everyone hated me because of something that was beyond my control…” Tears began to fall from Naruto’s face, as he recalled his past.

The barrier slowly receded, as Chisaki blew a subtle amount of the sleeping gas from her technique over the genin, hidden from sight. The only realized they were being doused when they found themselves dizzy and unable to move.

“To be beaten, robbed, and mobbed nearly every day…to be hated…only being able to keep a grip on the hatred deep inside of me by masking my pain with fake smiles that hardly anyone even bothered to look past…to try to even understand or get to know me…”

Naruto was unaware of the other genin listening to his tale, being on the edge of reality and the sea of unconsciousness. Each one recalled incidences where the boy came to the Academy injured or hungry, where their peers would tell them to stay away from him for no real reason. Yet, they turned a blind eye for one reason or another…

Naruto-kun…Hinata thought, having lost the ability to form words as the mist over took her.

It was that bad huh…troublesome…Shikamaru thought, in the same boat as Hinata.

“Only having a handful of people to support me, out of a village of people who would sooner let the one they call a demon die than lend a hand to a miserable child…until they eventually tried to kill me directly…never once did I fight back for my own sake, laughing off the pain, and dreaming of becoming the Hokage…protecting those who helped me and being accepted one day…”

How…could he stand it? Sasuke wondered. Why didn’t seek revenge…with that power…

All that time…Sakura recalled all the times she hurt him, berated him, compared him to Sasuke, and the lecture Hinata gave her half a year ago. I…I’m a horrible person…

“But what if they never accept you…” Gaara droned wearily.

“I won’t give up…” Naruto coughed. “Even if I can’t become the Hokage, I won’t give up protecting those precious to me…even if Konoha won’t accept me, it’s not the only place I’ll…call…home…” he trailed off, finally passing out from exhaustion.

“Never…giving…up…” Gaara too, entered the realm of unconsciousness.

The genin also lost themselves to the sleeping mist, as Chiyo tended to their injuries in secret. Kushina saw the marks on Sasuke’s body retreating into the seal on his neck and made a mental note to have Sarutobi tell her about it. The Evil Sealing Method wasn’t bad, but it didn’t seem to be able to completely repress the mark…

“I’ve finished treating these young ones…” Chiyo said. “We should leave. One of the chakra threads I set up as an alarm has been tripped.”

Chisaki grabbed the sand siblings, while Chiyo grabbed Temari’s fan, and Kushina reached Gaara and Naruto, gently petting their heads. They’ve had such horrible lives…she thought, before lifting them and taking off with Chiyo and Chisaki.

Jiraiya and a few ANBU landed 10 minutes later to find the sleeping genin and took them back.

 ***

With Kushina’s Party

In the center of an endless desert, was a single rocky structure. It had bars of stone that were being eroded by the desert wind, and in front of the rough, rock face was the only section of desert that had a small semblance of color and life: an oasis the size of a pool with the greenery spread out and the size of a small lawn.

“Where am I? I had lost my battle to Uzumaki and…” Gaara trailed off, as he barely noticed a feminine hand, made of loose sand, rubbing his cheek ever so gently. “Mother…?”

“!” a howl came from the darkness beyond the bars, and a monstrous hand reached for the boy. The gentle sand took the loose form of a woman, so thin she was transparent. There was no way she could completely stop the hand…

Chains appeared from behind the boy, binding the hand. Gaara turned to notice a certain nine-tailed fox on a leash of sorts, being accompanied by a red haired woman, and a grinning blonde. “Sorry we’re late.  I had to tune the seal from the outside before I could get in.”

“Naruto Uzumaki…?” he mumbled. “What is the meaning of this?”

“I told you before, we’re here to help you,” the blonde smiled. “And drop the last name, Naruto is fine.”

Shukaku…” the Kyuubi snorted. “How did it feel to get bested by a kit in your full form?

KURAMA!” the imprisoned raccoon dog roared. “I WILL HAVE YOUR BLOOD!

“You two have met before?” Kushina raised an eyebrow, planting the fox’s leash into the sand like an anchor point.

Shukaku and I, as well as all the others, have the same father…” Kurama shrugged.

“So…” Naruto looked up to the fox. “Your name is Kurama? I thought it was the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox?”

Only because you humans never bothered to attempt to learn it,” Kurama huffed. “You pathetic humans see us as mere mindless masses of anger and malevolence, never acknowledging us as individuals; you use us as tools of war and weapons.

“I’ll admit that I’m guilty of that as well…” Kushina said silently, while examining the prison holding Shukaku, ignoring his ramblings as best he could. That’s odd…the way this seal works, he shouldn’t be able to use the sand shield…wait…

Kushina looked over to the fox. “Kyuu—I mean Kurama, did Shukaku have that sand shield thing the last time you met?” Kurama shook his head. “Interesting…Gaara’s seal is more like Naruto’s in that aspect…”

“Huh?” Naruto tilted his head. “How?”

“There’s another chakra inside of the seal, like mine was inside you…or rather its part of him. By all means, Gaara should be even worse off than he is now from where I’m standing. Look at these bars; they’re so weak Shukaku should’ve smashed through them by now.”

At the bars were glittering bits of sand, acting as a filter of sorts for the demon chakra. “This other chakra is what’s holding the seal together at this point, and the source of his control over that sand shield, so if I fix the seal it should be able to divert more power to it and it’ll regain some sentience, but it has to be done slowly to adjust for growth, so over the course of a few years…” she trailed off, as she tampered with Shukaku’s prison.

Naruto and Gaara chatted about small things while sitting at the oasis, while Kushina was working, and Kurama was mocking Shukaku, who was arguing back. Both failed to see the growing tick mark on her head, until…

“BOTH OF YOU SHUT IT WHILE I’M WORKING!!” she yelled, her chains emerging and binding the two from all angles, while her hair split into nine segments.

“Your mother is terrifying…” Gaara droned, watching the woman put both the raccoon dog and fox in their places with her chains, only for Naruto to nod in agreement. After what seemed like an hour passed in the mindscape Kushina walked over to them.

The oasis was much larger, a testament to the improvement of the seal. The greenery was healthier and seemed like it was flourishing to the point a few cacti were blooming. Shukaku’s rock prison become more chiseled and defined, with smaller, cross-shaped bars instead of the long ones with a wide gap.

“Gaara,” Kushina handed him a stack of files. “These are copies on the reports that I memorized, about your father’s orders for having you assassinated…including your uncle. Chiyo-sama will tell you more when you return to reality and—”

HEY! TURN THIS THING BACK TO NORMAL!” Shukaku roared, banging at the improved cage wall. Kushina snapped her fingers and the bars expanded, leaving less open space and left what could only be considered air holes.

“Get you act together Shukaku and maybe I’ll consider it. If I have to come back here because you start acting up, I’ll make it worse than Kurama’s last prison!” she told the raccoon dog, like it was a child.

I wouldn’t mind seeing that done,” Kurama chuckled. Though he loathed admitting it, the woman was the strongest being when inside a sealed mindscape.

“ANYWAY,” she turned to the boy. “Your seal is fixed so you should be able to get a good night’s rest without the loud mouth gnawing at your head or making you so bloodthirsty. I’ll be checking in with Chiyo-sama, so I’d better not hear you threatening to kill someone for little things…and be nice to your siblings…or else…” she left the threat hanging in the air.

Considering the woman made Shukaku and Kurama heel, it was safe to say he nodded. As Naruto and Kushina walked over to the fox and prepared to leave, they noticed the sand in the loose form a woman waving at them next to Gaara, before embracing him. Kushina recognized that as a mother’s embrace and smiled.

 ***

Back in Reality

“The seal is set,” Kushina said, returning from the mindscape to reality after only a few minutes. The seal on Gaara looked more detailed than before, and a peaceful look was on his sleeping face.

“You have my thanks,” Chiyo nodded politely. “When the time comes, you’ll have my support in restoring your village.”

“Thank you, Chiyo-sama.” Kushina smiled, giving the older woman a contact scroll.

“There’s not much time, and it will be too risky for you to return to Suna at the moment,” Chiyo sighed. “Considering that the boy is the Jinchuuriki of this village, they’ll mobilize ANBU soon to find him.

Kushina looked at her with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh please child,” Chiyo chuckled. “From the whispers of the demon of the village being missing and how we met, I figured it out and couldn’t care less. I’ll take care of your scent so the Inuzuka Clan can’t track you, but your best bet is to leave the Land of Fire soon. Keep practicing your Mystic Palm and Chakra Threads as well, they still need work.”

“Alright,” Kushina bowed her head in respect and placed her son on her back, creating several shadow clones that took off in various directions as a precaution, while she went jumping through the trees to the north. After what seemed like hours, Naruto finally woke up to see his mother’s red hair.

“Mom,” Naruto said, still tired. “Where are we going? What happened to everyone?”

“Naruto, you’ve woken up!” Kushina shot him a warm smile. “You did wonderfully. Your father would be proud of how you did. By now those kids should be back in the village.”

“Are we going back to Uzushio now?” he asked.

“Not right now,” she told him. “We need to stay away from the Land of Fire for the moment and they’ll check the Land of Rivers and probably the Land of Wind for you.  So we’ll take the long way and go to Taki to rest and restore our supplies, and then we’ll go along the north border through the Land of Sound to the end of the Land of Hot Water, and catch a boat.”

“Long trip…” he mumbled.

“I know, but we still need more connections in order to restore Uzushio, and that includes restoring the entire Land of Whirlpools as a whole. Since it was attacked so many years ago, it had been abandoned and doesn’t have a daimyo or village. So we’ll take things easy: change our names and appearances again, travel around slowly for two or so months to earn finances, and then head to another major village…Kiri would probably best for now since it would be the furthest away from the Konoha and the Land of Fire.”

Naruto mumbled incoherently before falling back asleep.

***

A Few Days Later – Village Council Room

The subject of Suna’s betrayal and reparations had taken many hours to resolve. Considering that they were planning to unleash a Bijuu upon the village, it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

However, because of the involvement of Orochimaru, it was partly their faults since he was a missing-nin from Konoha. Unable to deny this claim, it was decided that since the Bijuu did not cause extensive damage to the village, they would pay reparations and be closely monitored.

Sarutobi had come to an agreement with the current council of Suna to have the Daimyo of the Land of Fire speak with the Daimyo of the Land of Wind. Part of the reason the attack was planned was because the Kazekage had antagonized their Daimyo, so he reduced funding to the village and outsourced missions to Konoha. While the Kazekage was no saint, the Daimyo was known for being less than admirable, and considering all the facts, he would most likely be replaced soon…

The Chuunin Exams were of course canceled, which angered a few more people. However, as the numbers of participants were low and all from Konoha or Suna, it could have caused a major political issue after what just happened. That left the matter of the fact that Naruto was involved in the battle as the main topic…

“THE DEMON HAS RETURNED TO DESTROY THE VILLAGE AND MUST BE KILLED!” was the typical response from the members of the civilian council. Despite the genin stating that Naruto did not attack and even protected them in their reports, it was clear that they didn’t care.

“ENOUGH!!” Sarutobi said, flaring his killing intent towards the council. Considering Jiraiya’s hands were bleeding from clenching his fist, it was for the best. “For the last damn time, we will not kill the boy when he has done nothing wrong!”

“Agreed,” Danzo­ surprisingly spoke up as well. “These meaning cries for the lynching of the boy are unacceptable. Now, as this relates to shinobi matters alone, all civilian council members should take their leave. Now.”

After the civilian council was booted out, everyone’s eyes were on Danzo.

Danzo was, for all intensive purposes, a war hawk that attempted to pass radical movements to improve the village’s military strength. He’s been surprising inactive for the last few days and in a slightly upset mood…since the bugs he placed in the Hokage’s office were fried because of Kushina’s seal. Plus, he couldn’t place new ones since they were automatically overwritten by the hidden seal.

“I am surprised you spoke in the boy’s defense,” Sarutobi admitted to his old rival.

“The boy is a valuable military asset,” Danzo simply stated. “Having him driven out of the village was bad enough since it left us vulnerable to another Jinchuuriki, one who according to these reports suffered a similar past. I’ve warned you Hiruzen that you shouldn’t have been lenient of those who attacked Uzumaki in the past. We’ve seen the end result on this Gaara’s stability and where it led to when such things go unpunished.”

Danzo continued. “If the boy hadn’t shown up by some…coincidence, there would have been irreparable damage to the village. The fact that he managed to show control of the chakra of the fox further proves he must be recovered and we should allocate more resources towards doing so. The only decent outcome of this whole fiasco is that we know the boy is alive, the fact that his presence here was known means that as far as the other countries know we still have him in our ranks, and the significantly lower number of casualties of our shinobi made it clear that we are not to be trifled with.”

“Point made,” Sarutobi nodded. As much as they didn’t see eye to eye on things, it would have been a nightmare if Naruto and Kushina weren’t there. “Nara-san, can you begin the report summary, to be safe?”

Shikaku Nara, head of the Nara Clan, nodded.  “According to the reports, Naruto Uzumaki was assisted by a mysterious red-haired woman in a fox mask, who was identified by Jiraiya, Tsunade, and the Hokage, as well as ANBU present, that she was the same person whose shadow clone performing the sealing jutsu on Orochimaru, which released the First and Second. After Uzumaki had defeated Gaara of the Desert, using the fox’s chakra, the woman somehow grabbed them both, and the sand siblings, and fled. Gaara of the Desert and his siblings were found by Chiyo of Suna unharmed, although they report that his seal has been reinforced and he should regain mental stability.

“The genin who had been sealed inside some sort of barrier ninjutsu to keep them safe by Naruto’s shadow clones were subdued by sleeping gas before they could react, with signs of medical ninjutsu being used for their injuries, and so far there have been no traces of the pair. The Inuzuka Clan and ANBU searched for some trace of them, but to woman’s scent was everywhere using the same tactic six months ago, while her and Uzumaki’s scents were missing.”

“Naruto Uzumaki is a missing-nin…and while I am curious why he returned, how did he manage to slip into the village? Was it possible someone was hiding him here the entire time?” Inoichi Yamanaka, head of the Yamanaka clan, asked.

“No,” Kakashi sighed. “We checked everywhere in the village. Considering that one of the genin identified the weapon Naruto-kun used as belonging to another person, it is safe to assume he was disguised the entire time.”

“In the report it mentions that he told the girl that his ‘mother’ was a seal master while he was in disguise…but wasn’t she…” Choza Akimichi, head of the Akimichi trailed off, not wanting to mention what all those who knew of his heritage were all thinking…the name automatically bought up the image of a woman from their age group.

“No, it couldn’t be her…their remains were cremated after what happened. However, the woman with him was most likely from the Uzumaki Clan due to the hair color and the use of seals.” Sarutobi defended.

“The Uzumaki were closely related to Konoha’s Senju clan,” Asuma held his chin as he recalled his father’s lectures in the past. “They typically have red hair, long lifespans, high chakra reserves, and were feared seal masters. We carry their village symbol on our flak jackets as a show of respect. But during the war, when we were unable to assist, didn’t their clan get destroyed?”

“Yes, but they were scattered around the world after their village was destroyed. I ran into a boy during my time in Ame, whose family had been killed accidently by shinobi from Konoha, who was a descendant of the Uzumaki Clan. It is possible that while Naruto was escaping, he found a few survivors and they took him in because of his last name, and considering he never had a mother figure in the village…” Jiraiya pointed out.

They all mumbled somewhat that he had a point.

“But if the traditional hair color of the Uzumaki clan is red, why does the child not have those attributes, and why was he not treated as a clan heir like Uchiha?” Kurenai asked, making a very valid point.

Tsunade, Sarutobi, and Jiraiya shot each other a glance, before Tsunade rolled her eyes and spoke. “Naruto’s heritage is a secret that’s ranked higher than the fact that he’s a Jinchuuriki, and that’s as far as we’ll go into his genetics. As for the clan status, well considering that the majority of the civilian council was calling for his death…you get it.”

Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Sarutobi knew that if they withheld too much information that it could cause problems, so they gave them information that was partially correct. Kushina was technically a survivor when she was alive, her remains and Minato’s were cremated when they found the bodies, and Jiraiya did meet Nagato before he supposedly died in the civil war. Scattered survivors from dead clans popped up every now and then, so it wasn’t too hard to believe.

“Either way,” Danzo cut in. “We need to scour the entire Land of Fire to find the child, and this woman who aided him. A surviving member of the Uzumaki Clan with knowledge of their techniques, longevity, and capable of holding down a Bijuu, is a boon that we should capitalize on as well. I’ll expect you to at least send ANBU to search for them.”

Jiraiya stepped forward. “I’ll start searching for them on my end as well. I’ve already picked up their aliases and current descriptions and sent the information along my spy network. I was planning to leave soon anyway to see if I can find Orochimaru and Kabuto in the Land of Sound.”

“Will you be alright alone, Jiraiya?” Sarutobi asked. “If Orochimaru is there…”

He nodded. “Since princess here,” he pointed to Tsunade, “is going to spend some time and helping at the hospital, I’ll go by myself. If things go bad, I can summon the Elders and use Sage Mode…”

The meeting went on for another three hours after that, before everyone decided to get some sleep.

***

At Anko and Hinata’s Apartment

Naruto-kun…Hinata sighed in content at seeing him again. He had gotten so much stronger and braver.

“So,” Anko said, stepping out of the shower once again, “I heard that the brat showed up and fought that other Jinchuuriki.”

She smiled devilishly. “I heard you nearly smothered him. I bet he was happy when those memories went back to the original. He’ll probably sneak back into the village just to get another taste.”

Hinata blushed heavily.

“Then again, I heard he spent a few hours alone with that weapon girl…he might like them on the small side…you might need to step it up a bit and flash some more skin…”

“Anko-sensei…” Hinata pouted. “Please stop teasing me…”

“Hehehe…” she sat down on the bed next to her. “I’m just a bit happy. When I whispered to Iruka that the brat was here, he let down his guard in his excitement and I finally jumped him! Too bad, the man knew some barrier ninjutsu, but there’s always next time…I do like it when they put up a fight and his blood was good…”

 ***

The Next Day at the Hokage’s Office

Hinata, Teuchi, Ayame, and Iruka had been called to the Hokage’s office, and Sarutobi had activated the seal that Kushina gave him, hidden from sight so that no one got any wise ideas.

“H-Hokage-sama,” Iruka stuttered, nursing a bandage on his cheek from Anko last night. “Is it true? That Naruto was in the village!?”

Sarutobi smiled. “Yes, he was here during the Chuunin Exams and fought Suna’s Jinchuuriki, as I’m sure the rumors have spread to the point that my grandson heard before I even had time to get breakfast into my stomach.”

He pulled out several letters from his desk. “This is to be kept as an A-rank secret, but the person assisting Naruto slipped these letters from the boy into my mailbox sometime during the invasion, and I have inspected them personally,” he lied. He couldn’t risk telling them something that could draw attention or be checked easily, and Kushina had contacted him one-way with the contract scroll, saying that she was changing their appearances since she figured they’d put two and two together.

The woman didn’t keep Minato in his place through cooking and temper tantrums alone…

“They’re addressed to all of us, with him apologizing for running off and saying he’s fine, but giving no details of where he was and where he’s going…although Teuchi-san, he mentioned that the ramen you made was delicious and sorry about eating that day’s supplies…” Teuchi and Ayame’s eyes went wide when they realized who he was.

Sarutobi had truthfully been brought to tears when he read the note addressed to him last night. The boy was like a second grandson to him, and when Konohamaru heard that he was alright, he finally smiled. Although he said he planned to train three times as much to make him stay next time and Sarutobi had to tell Ebisu to keep watching him.

When Hinata read her letter about Naruto thanking her for protecting him that day and apologizing about her family, she couldn’t help but cry smiling. Iruka’s, Ayame’s, and Teuchi’s were about the same. He thanked him for watching over him and taking care of him and he hoped they regain the passion they lost…he also mentioned about rumors that some snake woman was gunning for Iruka and to watch out.

A little late for that though…Iruka chuckled.

“Where did Naruto-kun go?” Hinata asked.

“I’m not sure,” he admitted. Kushina refused to tell him when she contacted him. “Jiraiya will be searching for him so it’ll only be a matter of time, but the boy is being taken care of at least.”

After memorizing the letters, they burned them to ensure his safety.

 ***

Elsewhere in Konoha

A figure looked on at the village he abandoned, dressed in a black cloak with red clouds. His failing eye sight still looking at a person that he had begged someone he trusted to watch over. Both were alive and healthy, meaning that his visit held no purpose other than idle curiosity.

“Itachi…” a shark-like man approached him. “It seems like there was a fight between the Nine-Tails and One-Tail containers a few days ago…” he smirked, exposing a row of sharp teeth. “The one-tail is in Suna and the nine-tails is missing…should we go after him?”

Itachi closed his eyes. “…No, we’ve learned their identities, and considering that he’s a missing-nin who avoided ANBU for half a year, only to reappear and then vanish, finding him will be difficult at the moment. Besides, we have other matters to attend to instead of jumping ahead.”

He turned his back on the village. “We don’t move until things are ready…”

 ***

Somewhere between the border of the Land of Fire and Taki

“Mom,” Naruto called. “There’s a girl injured here!!”

Lying on the ground, covered in bleeding cuts and minor injuries, was a teenage girl with red hair and a scratched forehead protector that had a shuriken on it. Next to her was a Demon Wind Shuriken, and she had a death grip on a scroll case that had the Uzumaki spiral symbol on it.

 ***

Canon Jutsu:

Fire Style: Flame Bullet – A C-Rank technique done by the user gathering oil in their mouths and then spitting it out and igniting. (Snake-Ram-Monkey-Boar-Horse-Tiger)

Body Shedding – Orochimaru’s personal body replacement technique, he uses a large amount of chakra to shed his skin, regurgitating a new body from the mouth and regenerate all wounds.

Fire Style: Dragon Fire – A C-Rank technique that creates a small stream of fire to target the enemy, usually conducted through a line.

Fire Style: Fire Dragon Flame Bullet – A B-rank technique that creates a dragon-like flame that can more according to the users will, turning the enemy to ashes in seconds. (Ram-Horse-Snake-Dragon-Rat-Ox-Tiger)

Toad Oil Bullet – User gathers chakra into their mouth and converts it into oil to spit out a stick substance that ordinary water can’t wash away. When combined with another Fire jutsu, the enemy will instantly burn.

Contract Seal – Releases a summoning from the summoner’s control, only blood and contact is needed.

Wood Style: Domed Wall – Forms thick wooden pillars into the shape of a dome or half-dome, and can be collapsed or burnt with enemy inside. (Rat-Dog-Tiger)

Water Style: Black Rain – Creates a flammable black cloud that disperses over the enemy like rain. (Ram-Snake-Tiger)

Dead Soul – A B-rank technique that reanimates a corpse, using chakra to make the heart beat once more.

Summoning: Impure World Resurrection – A forbidden S-rank jutsu that can bring back the dead using human sacrifice, it will not end unless certain conditions are met and is unaffected by the death of the user. (Tiger-Snake-Dog-Dragon-Clap Hands)

Hidden Art: Mist Rain – A technique used by Kiri Hunter-nins that eats away at chakra that doesn’t have the same signature as the user. (Ram-Dog-Rat)

Shuriken Shadow Clone – An A-rank technique that applies the shadow clone jutsu onto shuriken, turning one into many and making it all but impossible to dodge, only block, it was created by Hiruzen Sarutobi. (Ram-Rat-Bird-Boar-Tiger)

Wind Style: Sandstorm Devastation – Gaara’s version of Wind Style: Devastation, which merges the jutsu with chakra-laden sand.

Sand Shuriken – Gaara swings his arm while transformed fires numerous clumps of sand using the force.

Sand Coffin – Sand wraps around the opponent’s body and can cause suffocation, if completely wrapped.

Sand Burial – Used after a Sand Coffin, he crushes the body inside the sand. Death is instant and painless according to Gaara.

Feigning Sleep – A technique that makes the user fall asleep. (Ram)

Mystic Palm – An A-ranked healing technique that uses chakra to speed up the healing process. The amount of chakra used must match the injury; otherwise it can over take the normal rate and cause a comatose state. (Modified Ox-Tiger)

Chakra Threads – Creates threads of chakra that can be compressed to the point of being near invisible by a skilled enough user. Mostly used by puppeteers.

Non-Canon Jutsu:

Hidden Collaboration Jutsu: Oil Dragon’s Wooden Furnace – A collaboration jutsu that seals all the exits for an opponent after dousing them in oil and firing a huge, intense flame jutsu that is shaped into a dragon’s head.

Uzumaki Hidden Art: Whirlpool Saw – Using the circular chakra saw and merging it with water chakra, it can cleave its way through an enemy technique depending on the amount of chakra used.

Sleeping Mist – The user gathers air in their lungs and converts it using chakra into a blue mist that causes drowsiness.

Feral Wind Style: Crimson Gale Claws – Using both wind chakra and demon chakra, Naruto expands the size of his fan while in a cloaked form unleashes a wave of wind blades inside a large gust.

 

Notes:

Okay, the reason the Chuunin Exams are…short, is because Naruto isn’t in them and they aren’t the focus of this chapter, and I have a new Chuunin Exam planned later in a country I haven’t decided on yet…I’m thinking Kiri. I’m not actively Sakura bashing this chapter either, just pointing out she was fairly useless in Part I and she needed more motivation, which just so happen to have been in this chapter via complete beat down.

As for Danzo, he does what he believes is best for the village and abusing the container of a huge chakra demon is neither pragmatic nor sane. He may be one of the more morally absent characters, but he’s at least rational.

The next few chapters will hopefully cover the traveling around, recruiting some people. I have an OC from the Fuuma Clan (Demon Wind Clan), Sasame of the Fuuma Clan (From the Land of Sound), and Isaribi (Land of Sea). These will form the first 4-man team for the Uzushio.

If you have any filler characters that you think would be a great addition to the story, let me know by leaving a comment on the main website: Here

Naruto’s Wind Jutsu List:

  • Air Bullet (Learned in Uzushio)
  • Spiraling Wind Ball (Learned in Uzushio)
  • Wind Scythe (Learned in Suna & requires Fan)
  • Cross Gale (Learned in Suna)
  • Crimson Gale Claws (Requires a cloak and Fan)

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