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ASN Chapter 5

Advent of the Spiraling Ninja

Chapter 5: Protect the Waterfall Village

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

Lying on the ground and covered in bleeding cuts and minor injuries, was a teenage girl with red hair and a scratched forehead protector that had a shuriken outline 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.

“Are you alright?” Kushina asked the barely conscious girl. “Get the storage scroll with all the medical supplies,” she yelled to Naruto, before turning her attention back to the girl. “You’re going to be alright! What’s your name?”

“Hisako…of…Fuuma,” she huffed, before losing consciousness.

Kushina worked on tending to the girl’s injuries with the first aid she learned in her previous life and studying under Chiyo, only using her Mystic Palm technique when she thought that it wouldn’t be too risky to do so. Kushina could tend to the minor injuries, and she patched up some of the major ones, but the girl required professional help as soon as it was safe to move her again.

Using her shadow clones to multitask, Kushina had one out to look for Hisako in the Unofficial Bingo book. Injuries like these and a forehead protector meant that this was the result of a battle between shinobi. Sure enough, she found her in it.

 ***

Konoha

There had been numerous meetings between the Konoha 11 and various parties regarding Naruto’s return before things got back to their normal pace and training resumed amongst the genin.

“I told you…” Tenten nervously chuckled. “I admit I took him into my room, but nothing happened! We just talked about seals and weapons! Honestly!”

“Really…?” Hinata asked politely. She didn’t want to confront the girl, but Anko’s words dug into her even deeper insecurities until she just had to.

Unfortunately, after the beating she gave Sakura, and the first joint training, the others got nervous when something involved Hinata, Naruto, and another girl. Speaking of said victim and beating, both Tsunade and Kurenai agreed help train her…mostly out of pity, but it was a start. Medic and genjutsu specialists were hard to come by, and her control would be well suited.

“I can’t believe you guys left me, Ino, and Chouji asleep! What the hell man?” Kiba roared, getting a nod from the other two. “Now you’re telling the dead last came back like a badass, rescued Sasuke and Hinata, and swatted a huge monster like a flea before taking off!?”

“Why would a missing-nin come back to assist the village he ran from?” Sai wondered. “Given what we’ve learned of his past, it would be less confusing if he were to attempt to destroy the village instead.”

“Indeed,” Shino added. “It is somewhat illogical…”

“It is a shame that I could not have met this Naruto-san,” Lee mentioned while he stretched. “His Flames of Youth must have been burning greatly to face such an opponent. Although your flames seem to be smoldering, Sasuke-san…”

“It’s nothing…” Sasuke grumbled.

In truth, Sasuke realized that his basic skills, and the Sharingan he got from the run in with Zabuza weren’t going to be enough anymore. It was probably just dumb luck that Gato had been killed, so they assumed that Zabuza left the bridge builder alone since Kakashi said he was a professional. Dealing with the bandits was tiresome, but eventually some of the words Kakashi said to the boy, Inari, managed to motivate him into riling the villagers to fight back and drove them off.

Witnessing one of the teams get slaughtered by Gaara in the Forest of Death made him realized he needed to be faster to escape the sand. So after remembering he witnessed having his butt handed to him by Lee before the first portion of the exam with his eyes activated, he and Kakashi built up his speed during the free month. It helped during the match and he got in a decent shot, but his reach was too short and if he made a single mistake he would’ve been killed.

Gaara being a Jinchuuriki was a convenient excuse for him losing in terms of power during the battle in the forest. He imagined if it didn’t come with the insanity Gaara had, and the terrible life they both had, he’d have wished he had that kind of power. Still, when the dead last of the year appears out of nowhere and spends most of the fight without calling on his Bijuu’s powers until the end, when he faced off against a nearly full-powered Bijuu, it was still a kick in the groin.

The loser didn’t fight randomly either, he thought things through and clearly had a plan. Whatever poor skills he had in the Academy were polished from being a rough stone to a valuable sapphire. He had to have been on the run all that time, or hiding somewhere and training. If the loser got those kinds of results, then I’m clearly not pushing myself hard enough…Sasuke thought.

After this training session was finished, he would have to talk to Kakashi about getting one of those chakra-conducting blades…having a sword of lightning would probably be a good thing in the long run.

 ***

A Few Hours Later with Kushina

Hisako awoke to find herself covered in bandages, a dull pain coming fromthe injuries she sustained from her pursuers. She tried to get up, but she couldn’t move her arms or legs well enough to raise them very high. That was when she noticed the woman next to her, in front of a fire.

“You can’t move properly because of the 6-Point Binding seal I’ve placed on you,” Kushina said, pointing to the seal slips on her hands, feet, head, and chest. “Until I know I can trust that you won’t do anything to my son, they’ll stay there.”

“I haven’t—” she started, to try to defend herself, but Kushina showed her the Unofficial Bingo Book.

“Hisako of Fuuma,” Kushina pointed to her name and information in the book. “C-rank missing-nin of four months, wanted for stealing a forbidden scroll from her clan and killing her allies.”

“THAT’S A LIE!” she screamed in defense. “That scroll was Pops! They killed him for it and tried to kill me to get it!”

“This one?” Kushina showed her the scroll case.

“That’s mine!” Hisako growled, trying to reach for it, but being unable to because of the bindings.

“Calm down,” Kushina sighed. “You’ll reopen your wounds if you keep yelling. I’m not going to take it from you. I just noticed the emblem on it, which belongs to the Uzumaki Clan. If you answer my questions, I’ll give it back and let you go unharmed after we get to a village to deal with your injuries, okay?”

Hisako nodded and Kushina placed a seal slip on the back of her hand. “Answer my questions truthfully and don’t lie, otherwise it will turn red and I’ll set the bindings to a higher level. My first question is what really happened to get you in the Bingo Book?”

Hisako sighed. “I was born fifteen years ago. My Pops came from Uzushio and was an honorary member of the Fuuma clan, because he helped the previous leader of the Fuuma clan when he was traveling about thirty years ago. He met my Moms, a former member of the Kou clan that possessed the secrets involved in creating Steel Style, while she was being treated after escaping from the Land of Earth. Despite the age difference, him being in his 50’s and her being in her 20’s, they hit it off.”

“The Uzumaki clan was known for their long lives,” Kushina nodded. “Besides, people like the Sannin are that age and still quite capable.”

“Yeah…well, the Fuuma clan was famous for their weapons and creating the Demon Wind Shuriken, but in a world where major hidden villages like Konoha can create trees, or Kumo can make black lightning, they fell short by miles. They wanted the sealing techniques of the Uzumaki, and the secrets of Steel Style to increase their potential.”

“That makes sense…” Kushina closed her eyes. “But I’m guessing it was the way they tried to do it that was the problem?”

Hisako nodded. “Six months ago, after spending several years on it, Pops created something that would somehow help in managing the Steel Style by combining Moms’ notes and his knowledge of seals, but the previous leader of the clan had died by then and the current one was…a dick if I had to put it into nice words.”

She paused for a minute, closing her eyes. “Moms was killed while asleep, and Pops…he gave me this case and told me to run. I had received some lessons on using weapons and basic ninjutsu from the old clan leader since he was like my grandpa, and I killed some of the guys following me after they bought me Pops’ head…”

“Where do you plan to go now?” Kushina asked.

“I was planning to go to the remains of Uzushio. I was hoping to find something to help me see what was worth Pops getting killed over.”

Kushina inspected the seal on the girl’s hand. “You aren’t lying…”

“Of course not! Why would I lie about something as messed up as this?”

“You’re in a bit of luck it would seem,” Kushina said with a sincere smile. “I can open this scroll case for you.”

Kushina disabled the seal changing her appearance and reverted back to her true appearance. Hisako looked at her, countless thoughts racing through her mind. Eventually it settled on the most apparent thing. “You’re hair…?”

“The same color as yours,” Kushina nodded. “Red hair like this is usually a sign of being related to the Uzumaki Clan in some fashion. When our village was destroyed, many of us were scattered, your father most likely being one of them.”

Kushina pulled out a kunai and pricked her finger. Placing blood on the emblem, she traced the spiral from the outside in. When she reached the center, a prism light washed over the case, revealing the entire thing to be covered with sealing formulas and arrays.

“I’d advise keeping the case,” Kushina placed the scroll case next to her. “Next time, just use your blood and do what I did.”

Hisako looked back and forth between the scroll case and Kushina. “You’re not gonna try and look or take it?”

“We’re part of the same clan, even if only distantly, but it’s not my place to try and take what your father left for you by force,” Kushina patted her on the head. “If you need help understanding what’s on the scroll, or want to learn more about your heritage, you’re free to ask.”

Kushina unsealed her from the 6-Point Binding and removed the seal from her hand as well, granting her back her freedom once again. “Sorry about the bindings and everything, it’s just that my son is in a similar situation as you are and he’s not really use to dealing with things like this…”

“He’s a missing-nin? No offense, but he doesn’t exactly scream…threatening,” Hisako said, pointing towards the sleeping boy. “You, on the other hand…”

Kushina smiled, her hair splitting into nine sections once again. Naruto shivered in his sleep. “What about me?”

“Nothing! So, this scroll!” she showed it to Kushina. “Can you tell me about this? I can’t make heads or tails out of it…I didn’t exactly receive a decent education for a few reasons…”

Kushina brushed her hair, as she looked at the scroll in the light of the camp fire. “I see…Steel Style is part of a bloodline selection, derived from the Iwa version of Lava Style.”

“There’s more than one version of a bloodline limit?”

“I know that Lava Style can be used to make something like hardened rubber from an incident when I was younger involving Kumo, but during the war against Iwa, they typically used molten rock… Is it because the balance of elements is different?” Kushina wondered. “Anyway, the scroll shows how they found a way to add a certain balance of water chakra in order to alter what should have been a bloodline limit into a bloodline selection.”

“Aren’t those supposed to be genetic or something?”

“Bloodline limits that are elemental based can be reproduced through learning the proper balance of different elemental chakra. There are people who can do Ice Style techniques by birth because of their bloodline, but if you know the proper mixture of wind and water chakra it is possible…although it is much harder for them, and there are some things they can’t do. You father created a seal that would help balance the chakras and make mixing them easier by adjusting the flow of chakra into…” she kept going on and on, until she noticed the girl struggling to make heads or tails of it.

“To put it bluntly, if you learn to manipulate the three basic elements, it’ll do the hard work for you even if your chakra control is horrible, but pushing three elements at such a young age is difficult. At best, you’d learn how to turn only a small portion of your body into steel after several months’ worth of normal training.”

“I don’t even know one element though,” she shrugged. “All I’m good with is weapons.”

“Let’s see what your affinity is to start with,” Kushina placed the girl’s finger on a Chakra Affinity seal. It pointed out that she had an imbalanced amount of earth and fire affinity, a higher amount of earth chakra being naturally present.

“You have an earth affinity, with some geared towards fire, but not enough to be considered a bloodline. Your reserves are fairly high for your age, but that’s a trait Uzumaki are born with. If you learned to pull of the shadow clone technique you would be able to make about…ten before feeling the strain right now, and could do the training necessary to use Steel Style.”

“So, if I come with you,” Hisako shifted. “You’d help me, miss…”

Kushina smiled. “My real name is Kushina and my son’s name is Naruto. But given our circumstances, while our appearances are changed my name is Shiokitsu, or Shio, and his is Kazekitsu, or Kaze.”

“Tide Fox and Wind Fox?” she muttered. “Got it. Then call me Koukitsu, the Steel Fox, when we aren’t alone.”

***

The Next Day

Hisako had decided to travel along with the mother and son to a village, in order to finish getting her wounds treated, and so Kushina would help her in training. Her injuries would interfere with her combat capabilities, and Kushina had practiced using her Mystic Palm technique to repair most of the damage, but she wasn’t adequate enough to deal with everything.

“Hisako-ane-chan, can you show me how to use that folding shuriken?” Naruto asked, having taken to calling her Ane-chan, or Big sis, much to her chagrin and Kushina’s amusement.

“I told you squirt, it’s not a toy. It’s made to kill. Can’t you see the dried blood and chips on it? It’ll need to be replaced soon…” Hisako slowed down her pace to walk next to Kushina. “He didn’t become a missing-nin for killing someone, that’s for sure. Why’s he in the Bingo Book?”

“It’s for desertion from Konoha,” Kushina said. “He’s been victimized and abused physically and emotionally all his life by the majority of the village, over something he couldn’t control, until he ran away and found me…”

“Ah,” Hisako’s eyes narrowed. “So, it’s that type of village?”

“I take it you suffered a similar past?” Kushina asked. “It was the hair and the fact that your parents weren’t native to the village, right?”

Hisako nodded. “It was part of the reason I could never get trained officially or get a decent education. They didn’t trust outsiders or their children. Add in the hair and it was a recipe for constant bullying. When the old head was alive, he protected me some…”

“But you had to resort to introducing them to your fist and then the floor,” Kushina sighed. “I was the same.”

“In my case, it was the sharp end of a kunai, but point made,” she added. “You either get tough or you break. Which is why I’m confused about your son…”

“He wanted everyone to respect him and acknowledge him. They called him a demon and if he acted like one, the few people who defended him would be disappointed or look at him differently. He’s gotten better since he left the village and when he smiles and laughs, it’s because he’s actually happy instead of masking the pain.”

“So, he doesn’t want revenge or anything…?”

“No, and while I’ll admit I hate what the villagers have done to my son, my husband and I still love the belief and the village itself. But—”

Kushina’s discussion was cut off once they heard the sound air being parted by a series of familiar weapons, and Hisako pulled out her Demon Wind Shuriken and tossed it towards Naruto. The sound of clashing steel was echoed through the trees, and Naruto looked back to see his mother and Hisako in fighting stances behind him, standing over broken remains of several kunai and shuriken.

“Ah…going somewhere, Hisako-chan?” a female’s voice came from above. Standing on the branches was a woman with short brown hair and black eyes, with three men and wearing a forehead protector similar to Hisako’s. “And it looks like you made a few friends!”

“Naya, you bitch!” Hisako snarled, grabbing her shuriken as it circled around. “You just tried to skewer him for no reason, you psychopath!”

“Well, he was there and—” Naya started, but chains emerged from the ground and into the trees. She leapt away with two of the men; the third was held down and met with Hisako’s Demon Wind Shuriken. He was cut in half at the chest, exposing his lungs, heart, and blood when his body fell into four pieces towards the ground.

“You made a mistake targeting my son!” Kushina said with venom in her voice, dropping her current appearance for combat and running her hands across the seals on her clothing to summon several kunai.

“Why you—!” Naya roared, tossing a giant version of a normal shuriken that was hanging off her back at the pair of women, who avoided it with ease by jumping, before she tugged on a wire that was attached to it, causing it to fly back towards her and attempt to cleave the women in two.

Manipulated Shuriken Jutsu! Kushina deduced mentally, before chambering her legs. “Sorry about this!”

She kicked off Hisako’s upper arms, sending the girl to the ground and herself higher, allowing them both to dodge. One of the men used the opening to rush into close combat with Hisako using a kunai with a curved tip, while the other went after Naruto, who had donned his mask and battle clothes, with a sword.

The Nine-Tailed Fan clashed with the sword in its blade form, both weapons laced with chakra, each hit releasing a shower of blue chakra sparks. The man swung the blade diagonally and it was dodged, followed by a thrust that was parried and countered a swift chop, but that was avoided as well. Blade versus blade, they continued with Naruto being pushed back by the more experienced weapon user.

Naruto’s clash ended when the man tried to swing the blade vertically and Naruto twisted his body to avoid it, carrying the blade and thrusting it when he was facing the man again, piercing his heart. Blood slid down the length of blade and dripped off at the wide mouth of the base. The body stood still in place, no longer moving, and his eyes met with Naruto, who began to shiver uncontrollably.

It was truly, his first kill. The first time he ended an enemy’s life with his own hands. A person who probably had a family that loved him, precious people that would miss him, was no longer alive because of Naruto had ended it. But what truly frightened him…

“T-t-those eyes…” Naruto stuttered, recalling his time in Suna against the puppet user.

“You…bitch!” was the man with the curved tip kunai’s final words, as Hisako’s kunai stuck out of his chest. He fell to the ground, leaving a pool of blood that the roots of the trees would eventually drink. Hisako grabbed her Demon Wind Shuriken and tossed it again towards Naya, who was avoiding Kushina’s chains as they popped out of the ground.

“Damn it!” Naya grunted as she avoided the Demon Wind Shuriken, before looking at Naruto, who was shivering and unmoving. A sinister smile crossed her face, and she positioned herself at an angle that would leave Naruto behind Kushina before she threw the giant shuriken at red-haired older woman, who jumped to avoid it. “Bye bye, blondie!”

Kushina heard the last words Naya said and turned her head. The giant shuriken carved through the air and was aiming for Naruto, who was still in shock, and the dead man. The shuriken would cleave through the corpse and the boy in a single blow, severing the bodies at the stomach into two parts. Kushina extended her hand and tried to set up a Chakra Chain: Barrier to protect him, but it wouldn’t reach him in time.

“Naru—” her cry was interrupted by a loud splat that accompanied a red mist that hung in the air.

Writhing in pain on the ground was not the young boy, but the red haired teenager in bandages, with the shuriken embedded in her back from the attack. Hisako had dove to save Naruto and shielded him with her body in a manner similar to Iruka Umino, as the giant shuriken lost a lot of rotational speed from the first corpse. She twitched a little, as she grunted in pain.

“Don’t…freeze up…on the battlefield,” she muttered, before passing out.

“Ane-chan!” Naruto cried. Naya, who threw the huge shuriken, smirked triumphantly… only to find herself with a kunai jammed into the base of her brain stem from a shadow clone of Kushina, while the original one ran over to the girl, her hands glowing green.

Damn, can’t repair the damaged muscles and it was close to her spine! If it had been less than an inch closer, she’d never be able to walk again. Kushina mentally swore.

Naruto was shaking at the realization he caused this by hesitating. She took the attack meant to kill him because he didn’t move. That’s the third time he froze up and nearly lost his life, and the third time someone took a blow for his sake.

“Ane—” he started to call out, until they heard rattling in the bushes nearby. Kushina shot chains out of her body and used them to trap whatever was inside and dragged it out. It was a young man, older than Naruto, with ink black eyes, and long, dark hair. He wore gray pants and a green shirt.

“Who are you?” Kushina said, constricting him tighter.

“My name is Shibuki,” the young man told her. “I’m a chuunin from Taki,” he pointed to his forehead protector while shaking. “I was nearby when the fighting started.”

Kushina nodded her head. “I’m Shiokitsu, or Shio for short. Listen, I understand your village is nearby but we don’t know the location, can you lead us to it?”

“I-I can’t,” he shook his head. “Unlike the major hidden villages, ours needs its secrecy, even if you t-threaten t-t-to k-kill m-m-me.”

Kushina sighed and released him from her chains. “I understand if you are concerned about your village’s safety, but at the very least can you get us close enough to have a medic-nin look at her? She has several internal injuries and I can’t heal them on my own.”

He closed his eyes and thought about it for a minute, before looking at Hisako. “…Alright, I’ll take you the general area and have a medic come out.”

***

An Hour Later

Hisako had regained consciousness after Kushina carried her on her back, near the entrance of the Village Hidden by the Waterfalls, which was a massive waterfall that fed into a basin. She grunted silently with every few step, but she insisted that she carried herself after she woke up. Next to her was a shamed Naruto.

“I’m sorry, Ane-chan!” Naruto cried. “I…I had seen someone die before, but not by my hands…” he shivered. “But those eyes…I just…”

“Get over it brat,” Hisako knocked him on the head playfully. “We’re shinobi, our lives are always on the battlefield. If you don’t get use to it, you’ll freeze up again. Leaving out the part about me getting a new hole in my back, did you imagine what your mother must have felt when she realized she wouldn’t make it in time?”

Naruto looked at his mother, who looked as though she was about to cry, while Hisako continued. “No parent wants to outlive their kid. Her goal might be to restore her village, but if you aren’t there, she might lose all hope. No matter how many lives you have to take, remember that letting yourself die hurts others as well—”

“Shibuki-sama!” two little kids interrupted, coming of out of a grove of trees ahead. “Welcome back!”

“Shibuki-sama?” Kushina looked at him with a curious stare. “You aren’t just a Chuunin are you?”

“Y-yeah…” he chuckled. “I guess I kinda forgot to mention that I’m the leader of the village… What are you two doing out here?”

“Really?” Naruto said skeptically. “No offense dude, but the way you hid during the battle makes me doubt that.”

“Be nice to Shibuki-sama!” the little girl said.

“Kaze, be nice like the little sweetheart said. Shibuki-kun being is nice enough to get us a medic.” Kushina said in a tone that frightened Naruto.

“Ah, right,” Shibuki turned back to the kids. “Back to the topic, why are you two out here?”

“Mom told us to clean up outside the village so it doesn’t look bad, but there’s a lot…” the little girl said. Kushina and Shibuki looked into the water and noticed it did have a lot of trash.

“Oh my,” Kushina whispered. “It does take away from the natural beauty. Kaze, help these kids out.”

“That would be wonderful,” Shibuki nodded. “I’ll pay, so treat it as a mission. It shouldn’t take more than a few hours and I’ll have a medic see…Kou-san in the meantime.”

“Hours?” Naruto huffed, making a familiar seal. “Screw that! If I’m doing this, I’m taking the easy way out. Shadow Clone!” Twenty pops later, there were twenty-one Narutos standing at attention.

“Let’s get this over with!” The clones set out to work with the kids, while Shibuki sweatdropped.

“My son is a little…impatient,” Kushina rolled her eyes. “We’ve picked up a few interesting techniques during our travels. You’ll get used to it…although if you have any D-rank missions you want to outsource, we wouldn’t mind doing some extra work after Kou-chan is looked at.”

“Heheh…” he chuckled nervously. Before Shibuki could move, a woman stumbled out of the grove of trees the kids had come out of.

“Shibuki…sama…enemy…attack,” she muttered before collapsing, a kunai stuck in her back and drawing blood.

“Mom!” the kids cried, running over to her with the clones.

Kushina followed them, and inspected the wound on the woman’s back. “The injury itself isn’t serious, but we don’t have any medical supplies to treat her with. I can stop the bleeding with my Mystic Palm, but she’ll need to rest somewhere safe with these kids.”

“If their village is under attack, then that place sure isn’t safe,” Hisako said offhandedly.

“Hey, Shibuki!” Naruto walked up to him. “Take us to your village so we can do something about this! I’ll get even for the woman here!”

“I can’t let you into the village or reveal the entrance!” Shibuki argued. “Besides, you’re just a kid, what can you do?”

“I—” Naruto hesitated, as his ears picked up footsteps coming from behind the waterfall. He drew his Nine-Tailed Fan and shifted it into fan mode, as several men popped out from behind the waterfall.

“He’s ours,” the man with the mark across his face said. His group then threw a volley of kunai at the Shibuki and the others. Shibuki ducked down as he grabbed the kids, while Naruto ran to cover him.

“WIND SCYTHE!” Naruto yelled, as a gale was released and threw the kunais into the water. From behind him, Hisako’s favorite weapon flew and tore through the men with the exception of their leader, who retreated back into the falls.

Kushina recognized him. “That was a missing-nin from Ame!”

“You’ve met with him before?” Hisako asked, grabbing the Demon Wind Shuriken from the air. She winced slightly at her injuries, before sitting down and staring at Shibuki, who was on the ground in a turtle pose. “Will you man up and grow a pair!?”

“My son and I ran into him and two others in the Land of Rivers. They use Water Whips and can channel electricity through it, if what the scrolls we took from them said was true. If he’s here, then the others probably are as well,” Kushina answered. “Shibuki-kun, take us to your village.”

“Eh?” he stopped cowering. “But—”

Shibuki-kun,” Kushina said with a stricter voice. “You are this village’s leader and it is under attack. The decision you make now will affect the lives of your people. Since we’ve fought that man before, we’re better suited to deal with this threat. Not to mention we’ve figured out one entrance from that last attack, but if you don’t allow us to go inside, more innocent people will die.”

He nodded and led them to the waterfall entrance, leaving Naruto’s clones and Hisako behind to keep the kids and woman safe. Hisako protested, but Kushina pointed out that in her condition she would be too injured for a prolonged fight. Besides, they needed someone who could fight to protect the kids since the clones would dissipate in one good hit.

Inside the cave entrance, behind the falls, Shibuki stopped at three lime-colored springs and turned to the pair. “You can’t tell anyone about this place,” he said. “We’re a small village but…”

Naruto sighed. “We’re not going to tell anyone. Why are you second guessing yourself? We don’t have time for this!”

“Shibuki-kun,” Kushina said. “Rather than the question of can you trust us, ask yourself this: Do we look like people who would do harm to your village?”

He looked at the two of them closely. “No…”

“Good,” Kushina smiled. “Once this is over, just make sure you keep our appearance and roles in this a secret from other villages. Okay?”

He nodded and the three dove into a spring and swam into an underwater tunnel.

 ***

With Hisako

“Mom…” the kids cried.

“Calm down brats, she’ll be fine,” Hisako said, wincing as she leaned against a tree. A few of Naruto’s clones asked if they could do something to help, but she waved them off. So instead, they hung around the kids and kept an eye out for danger.

“Hm?” one of Naruto’s clones turned his head, picking up something with its enhanced hearing. “What was that—”

It never finished, as a water tendril pierced it and then darted straight through half the clones in a sequence of pops, before attempting to encircle Hisako and the kids. Hisako pulled out her Demon Wind Shuriken and tossed it, cutting the whip and returning to her, while the clones protected the kids. From the trees, a number of cannon fodder mooks fell towards them, throwing a series of kunai that were blocked by the fans.

“Brats, close your eyes and cover your ears!” Hisako withdrew her last explosive note and tied it to a kunai, before she tossed it into the group. They realized they were too close together too late, as the explosion’s force tore them apart and created a shower of blood, organs, and scorched flesh.

Hisako turned to the clones and ordered them to move the kids and the woman, when the remaining clones were taken out another water tendril and a man with a single eye exposed, the other hidden from sight by his hair, a mask over his mouth, and a bandana on his head landed near one of the children with a kunai drawn.

“Move and I’ll skin the—” he never finished, as the Demon Wind Shuriken cleaved him into two halves vertically…which turned into water.

“Water Clone?” Hisako hissed. “Then where’s—ugh!”

Hisako’s voice was cut off when a water whip wrapped itself around her throat, as Kirisame emerged from the water behind her, the outline of a smile formed on the mask.

“Let me here you scream!” He channeled lightning chakra into the whip. “Lightning Style: Earth Flash!

Electricity arched into Hisako’s body and she twitched violently, falling onto the ground and unable to hear the children calling for her. Kirisame walked up to the kids and kicked them in the stomachs as hard as he could to knock them out, laughing in the process.

 ***

With Naruto and Kushina

Shibuki and Kushina surfaced slowly, their heads barely out of the water, with Naruto following. Their eyes shifted around, until Naruto caught sight of the magnificent tree at the center of the village. Standing over all the other structures by several stories, the light filtered through its canopy and left stray rays of light dotting the village.

“This place is beautiful,” Naruto said, as they made their way to shore.

Kushina pulled herself out of the water and shook out her hair. “Shush Kaze, we’re sneaking into enemy-filled territory.”

Shibuki looked around while still in the water, before slowly receding into it and vanishing. Kushina noticed that it was too quiet, especially for a village under attack. That meant that either everyone was captured, dead…or an ambush. She positioned her hands to summon a weapon, when she saw that Shibuki had vanished.

“I kn—” Naruto’s eyes widened, as a flux of memories came to him. “Mom, Kou-ane was attacked!”

“Find Shibuki!” Kushina told him, summoning a kunai from her seal and deflecting the incoming volley directed at them by the nameless mooks. “Now!”

Naruto nodded and dove into the water again. Kushina pulled out her Whirlpool Yo-Yo. Streaming normal chakra and attaching the chain in an instant, she threw it at her assailants. The spinning blade sawed its way through their soft flesh, into their organs, and back out, carrying blood and remnants of organs that were caught up in the path of the attack.

The bodies fell on the ground, as the Yo-Yo returned to Kushina’s hands…which were suddenly wrapped up by two water whips. She looked to her left and right, recognizing the pair attacking her.

“Apparently, you two didn’t learn from last time,” Kushina sighed.

“Sorry old hag,” Hisame tugged on her whip. “I don’t think we’ve met.”

“Really?” Kushina smirked. “Then you probably won’t remember this one.”

Chains emerged from Kushina’s body and wrapped themselves around the pair of missing-nin. Kushina commanded the chains to tighten around their arms and wrist, squeezing until they could no longer hold the whips, and freed her. Kushina then yanked them closer and introduced their faces to her fists, flipping through hand seals after they were grounded.

Water Style: Froth Prison!!” she spit out pink fluid that caused foam to build up and surround the daze shinobi, before entrapping them up to their heads.

“This is the same as before!” Hisame looked at the woman. “You’re that hag from the Land of Rivers!”

“Call me a hag one more time and see what happens,” she threatened. “Where are the hostages?”

“They’re safe—” a voice came from behind Kushina, causing her to turn around. She faced a man with long spiky hair, dark eyes, and a goatee, wearing a dark blue jacket, gray pants, and sandals. “—for now.”

I didn’t sense him at all…Kushina thought. “You must be the ring leader?”

“Something like that…” he smirked, going through hand seals. “Water Style—”

“I don’t think so!” Kushina threw her kunai to stop him from performing whatever technique he planned to. The kunai buried itself up to the hilt inside his skull…only for him to turn into water. “Water Clone?”

Kushina leapt on top of the water using the water-walking exercise all of a sudden, relying on her instincts and avoiding a twister of water that turned to face her again. Using her custom weapon, she channeled a decent amount of water chakra, before bisecting the twister. As it died, a set of three kunai flew out and she dodged to the right.

“Not bad,” the man’s voice came from behind Kushina, and he popped out of the water, swinging a kunai as Kushina ducked, which messily cut some of her hair. Kushina jumped back to land, realizing that he had too much of an advantage against her on the water.

“You’re fairly skilled, woman…” the man chuckled.

Kushina grabbed her hair and evened it out by making a cut above the section that was already missing. “I liked my hair long…”

***

With Shibuki

Shibuki surfaced inside the roots of the tree, where a temple was erected, holding inside of it the sacred liquid their tree produced once every hundred years, known as the Hero’s Water. Leaving the lake, he opened the doors to the temple and pulled out the clear, gourd-shaped bottle.

I can’t let them get their hand on this, no matter what… Shibuki thought, as he began climbing up the interior of the tree until he found a gap wide enough for him to see through. He spotted the villagers all tied up at the base of the tree, with someone hanging by their arms off the Torii.

“Kou-ane!” Naruto said, suddenly appearing next to Shibuki, causing him to scream.
“Ow! Don’t yell next to me, my ears are sensitive!”

“What are you doing up here?” Shibuki asked.

“I was climbing the roots in order to find you and wound up here,” he said, glaring at the man in front of Hisako, his ears twitching to listen in to the hostages. “Who is this Suien guy the hostages keep saying betrayed them, and what’s this Hero Water they keep mentioning?”

“Suien was my trainer and a jounin before he defected. If Fuu were here, we might stand a chance, but Suien is the best shinobi in the village…” Shibuki shook uncontrollably.

“And the Hero’s Water?” Naruto added, causing Shibuki’s grip to tighten around the bottle in his hand.

“It’s water produced from the great tree every 100 years. Drinking it increases your chakra tenfold, and in times of combat the village leader drinks it to protect the village.”

“If you have that stuff, why not drink it and kick these guys out of your village?”

“It’s a double-edged sword,” he shook his head. “It eats away at your life in exchange for drinking it. Most of our shinobi died from drinking it rather than the actual fighting itself, so we sealed it away, leaving the village leader to protect it.”

Shibuki pulled out a photo. “My father was the previous village leader, and a few years ago, he drank it to protect this village from an attack. However he wasn’t young enough to survive drinking it…he died like a fool.”

“Dying to protect your village is never a foolish thing,” Naruto countered, before his ears picked up a familiar voice from the ground.

“Well, since we have some time until we start offing the hostages…” Kirisame pulled out a kunai and held it against Hisako’s skin. “Let’s have a little fun!”

He cut into her skin, causing her to grunt and work to suppress her voice so she didn’t scream. Dragging the kunai so it broke the skin and bled, but not deep enough to be life threatening. He was sadistically tormenting her while she couldn’t fight back.

“That son of a—” Naruto was getting ready to leap down, when Shibuki grabbed him. “Let me go!”

“If you just jump down there you’ll die! Are you trying to get killed?” Shibuki struggled to hold onto him.

“Leave her alone!” the little girl from the forest said. Kirisame responded by pulling out a water whip and lashing at the child causing her to scream in pain.

“Shizuku-chan!” the little boy cried. “You’re going to be sorry when Shibuki-sama gets here!”

“Please, that wimp?” Kirisame scoffed, before hitting the boy with the whip. “He’s scared of his own shadow!”

“Better than a sadistic bastard who goes out of his way to torment children and slice up an injured woman.” Hisako smirked. “Then again, that’s probably all a guy like you can do. I bet a genin could kick your skinny ass.”

“Shut up bitch!” Kirisame yelled, before using the whip against her. Each hit left a mark and drew blood, and Hisako restrained her voice to not yell.

“Screw this!” Naruto said, elbowing Shibuki to the ground and freeing himself. Forming the cross-seal he created eight shadow clones and then transformed them into kunai, grabbing them all and overseeing the hostages.

“Shibuki, you call your father a fool for protecting the village, but it’s better than being a coward who let bastards like this get away with messing with your home and people who look up to you!”

Kirisame now had the whip wrapped around Hisako’s throat. He tightened it slowly, making it harder for her to breathe and forcing her to struggle to avoid a slow death. His grip on the kunai in his other hand made it apparent he planned to finish her once she stopped struggling.

“Let her go you bastard!” Naruto yelled, as he fell down, throwing all the transformed kunai at Kirisame. He deflected them with one hand and glared at Naruto.  The kunai transformed back into the clones and drew their weapons before charging him.

The original severed the water whip, while the others cut at Kirisame’s body and put up a fierce fight before they were dispelled. Forcing chakra out of his feet, he used a burst to propel himself forward, into a jump kick aimed at the man’s head. Kirisame’s head was forced back at an angle, and a loud snap was heard, before the body flew into the water.

Kirisame floated in the water, dead.

Naruto fell to one knee, realizing he just killed another person. Yes, he was a bastard of the highest level, but it still didn’t make it any easier. Yes, his emotion counselor at the Academy said he would probably enjoy it and he was pretty sure that it was bad advice that was related to the fox, but it still made him feel sick knowing he ended another person’s life.

He had to make sure to have a long talk with his mother about this once they were through with all of this…

Water Style: Water Dragon!”A roar echoed across the village, as a water dragon held its prey in its mouth and slammed it into the small temple at the base of the tree, before scattering. In the middle of the dragon’s remains was Kushina, struggling to stand again after being thrashed by the water dragon.

“MOM!” Naruto cried, as the one who injured her popped up from the water behind him and dug a kunai into his shoulder blade before kicking him in the back of the head, sending him crashing into the ground next to the hostages.

“Honesty, all of them are dead or captured?” Suien rolled his shoulders, wincing slightly from the cuts and injuries Kushina gave him. “You can’t get good help these days. The woman put up a good fight, I’ll give her that much.”

Kushina slowly got back onto her feet and started to perform hand seals, when Suien moved over to Naruto and pulled out a kunai.

“Move or try to summon those chains, and I’ll kill the boy,” Suien said without pause, holding the kunai to Naruto’s throat. Kushina frozen in place, even though she knew that she should act. But the man didn’t leave an opening…

“Shibuki!!” Suien called out. “Are you such a coward that you won’t even fight your own battles? Are you going to let a brat, his mother, and your villagers die because of you won’t hand over the Hero’s Water? The water won’t do any good if there’s no one left to protect!”

Silence reigned, and he was about to call out again…

Tornado of Water!” another twister of water came down from the heavens and curved towards Suien as it neared the ground, running parallel to it. Suien leapt out of the way, the aquatic twister grazing his clothes, moving him away from Naruto. Landing in front of the downed boy, Shibuki was wrapped in an aura of his own chakra while sending the man a murderous glare.

“Long time no see, Shibuki,” Suien chided. “I see you’ve drank some of the Hero’s Water. Where’s the rest?”

“It doesn’t matter…” he held his hand out. “Because you’ll pay for what you’ve done today, with your life!” Water gathered into his hand and took the form of a curved blade. “Hidden Waterfall Style: Water Slicing Blade!

“Heh…” Naruto chuckled while reaching for his Nine-Tailed Blade, his injuries healing using the yang chakra from the fox. “About time you manned up…”

“Kid’s got a point,” Hisako nodded weakly. “Seven points for the excellent entry though. Nice timing and dramatic motion with the pre-asskicking line. Just don’t screw it up…and can someone cut me down?”

“Come!” Suien made a gesture with his hand and summoned the same sword as Shibuki.

They charged forward, and the two blades clashed with an echo that resonated in the village. They began parrying and thrusting, swiping at each other and maneuvering to the point they were fighting on the water in a fierce dance. Shibuki had the advantage in speed, but Suien’s technique was much better, and it started giving him an advantage.

“All that chakra hasn’t improved you form,” Suien chided, knocking away Shibuki’s blade with an upward motion.

He was getting ready to stab through Shibuki, when Hisako’s Demon Wind Shuriken cut through the air and made him step back to avoid death. His blade stroke became too shallow, instead ripping through Shibuki’s shirt and lightly into his skin, while the younger man turned to avoid it. Through the ripped shirt, something fell out, as Shibuki’s eyes widened.

“The Hero’s Water!” Shibuki grunted, reaching for it before it fell into the water.

“It’s mine!” Suien kicked Shibuki hard enough to the point he skidded across the surface of the water. He reached down to grab the bottle, when the Demon Wind Shuriken came back like a boomerang forcing him to lean back again.

“Tch! Stubb—” his words were cut off, when chains emerged from beneath him and he turned his head to where the woman he fought earlier had landed…only to see three of her. One was tending to Hisako, who had caught her shuriken while breathing heavily and looking pale, the other was freeing the hostages, and the last one was flipping a series of seals that he recognized would be a pain to deal with, so he struggled against the chains and got his hands close enough to make his own seals. “Water Style—”

“Don’t threaten my kid! Ever!” Kushina said coldly. “Water Style: Giant Vortex!

“—Water Wall!!” Suien followed up, pouring the rest of his fading chakra into the creating a wall of water around himself to stop Kushina’s attack.

The water in front of Kushina churned and spiraled, building upon itself before releasing a devastating vortex of liquid destruction towards the protective layer of water Suien crafted with the skill of a jounin. The collision created a thunderous roar, as water rained and scattered all over the battlefield that was the village, with enough force that it pushed back some of the villagers and forced them to brace themselves and close their eyes, while the screams of the children were muted. There were only two figures that could move under the pressure of the colliding forces…

SHIBUKI!!” Inside the maelstrom of clashing waves Naruto bought forth the fox’s chakra. Dashing across the raging waters, he covered the chakra blade with a cloak of demonic chakra.

“I KNOW!!” Shibuki responded, still powered by the Hero’s Water, dashing over towards Suien from the other direction, his blade once again at the ready. This chakra is so much like Fuu’s, and his appearance…

“Sh—!” Suien didn’t finish, as the boys broke through his defenses and cut through him, penetrating his soft flesh with hardened water and demonic chakra, adding blood to the fading water wall. When his defenses failed completely, Kushina’s attack plowed whatever remained of the man into the rock face of the village, and ensured that he would not survive.

Naruto held Shibuki over his shoulder as he surfaced from beneath the settling water, his cloak faded from existence, while whispering to Shibuki with the bottle of Hero’s Water in his hand. “You’re not gonna tell anyone about what just happened, right?

No,” Shibuki chuckled. “Fuu showed me already that you don’t piss off someone with a chakra demon inside them, and you helped the village. My lips are sealed.

The pair made their way to the cheering villagers, welcoming their returning heroes. This incident would naturally be kept as a village secret, so their exploits would not reach Konoha, and the remaining Hero’s Water would be sealed away once again. Suien’s coup ended in failure, which would be washed away and hidden by the waterfalls…

 ***

Several days later

“So, you’re planning to restore a village?” Shibuki asked, having gathered his advisors inside his office. His body was still rather sore from using the Hero’s Water, but he survived it at the very least.

“Yes,” Kushina nodded. “For that reason, I would like your support when the time comes. Having support from a hidden village is a necessity in terms of military, economic, and political power.”

“Economically, we aren’t in too tight of a spot, but overall…” one of Shibuki’s advisors trailed off. “Well, if your son and his clones didn’t handle those D-rank missions, we would be falling on harder times. It is lucky that the rest of our injured shinobi will recover within a few more days.”

“Economic support can be handled later, when I get the village up and running, we can handle all your surplus D-ranks and a few C-ranks. A few joint missions would be acceptable as well. But right now, I wanted to propose a business arrangement between your village, Takumi, and myself.”

Kushina pulled out her weapon. “I’ve taken that you’ve seen my son and my weapons, correct?”

“Your weapons are quite impressive, Shiokitsu-san” another one of Shibuki’s advisor nodded. “The blacksmiths in our village couldn’t manage something like this.”

“I’ve contacted the person who made our weapons and we’ve worked out templates for a few blades that excel at channeling chakra through a sealing array similar to ours, although right now we only have blades that work with normal, wind, and water chakra. Their village is in need of more clients, and I believe that through a mutual trade agreement, all of our villages could benefit. Although, until the village I hope to restore is completed, my involvement would be kept a secret.”

“What about military power?” Shibuki asked. “How many shinobi are we lending?”

“A few would be nice for a few years, I’m already in contact with a major figure in Suna about a similar arrangement, and so it won’t be your village alone. During their stay, I’ll educate them in some of the techniques I’ve studied, as well as my sealing techniques.”

“As for the political power, you only need us to back your request for the position of Daimyo?” the third advisor asked and Kushina nodded. “That might be a problem depending on where this village is located.”

“The Land of Whirlpools,” Kushina said. “Because the village there was destroyed, it has been unattended for some time, and it is available. I plan to restore it as both Daimyo and village leader.”

“Hm,” the older advisor scratched his chin. “Very well. Shibuki-sama, I’d suggest that we consent to a private six-month trading agreement with our guest here and her contact in Takumi, to be renewed if enough of our genin pass the Chuunin Exams, and if the weapons prove satisfactory. As for the political support, we shall give our signature on an official petition and keep two copies here. Is that acceptable, Shiokitsu-san?”

“Yes, it is.” Kushina nodded. “Shall we arrange the trading agreement then?”

Kushina and Shibuki, with his advisors managed to work out a trade agreement. Gen of Takumi would produce the weapons, lined with Kushina’s seals, and then export them to Taki, where they would be bought in bulk. The increase in quality of weapons would add to their military power and benefit them further, as well as serving as a method of advertising for Takumi. The next Chuunin Exams would determine not only would the influx of missions to Taki, but also the customized weapons requests to Takumi would increase, strengthening their economies and by extension Uzushio’s with the extra funding reaching Kushina.

After all the paper work was done she sent Gen his copy via contact scroll, and left Shibuki a contact scroll as well. Shibuki also gave her a scroll on a few of their techniques, seeing as she had a water affinity. They would spend a few more days in Taki to finish the D-rank missions, and wait for Hisako to heal, and then they would depart through the Land of Sound.

***

Suna

Chisaki was currently sparing with Temari of the Desert in close range combat. Temari’s fan wasn’t too bad at melee combat, but it was a lot slower and hard to grip completely. Chisaki had excellent footwork, but lacked the range without using chakra to extend the tips of her war fans. So Chisaki would slip into her guard, strike, and slip out again or risk being battered.

“…How’s Gaara?” Temari asked a bit nervously, avoiding the tips of Chisaki’s fan by twisting her body.

“Better,” Chisaki planted a kick into Temari’s stomach. “You’d be surprised at how much a little sleep can do for a person…although those markings around his eyes won’t vanish. He’d probably be happy if you guys visited him every once in awhile.”

After the Kazekage was killed, the council was assigned to manage the village until his replacement could be found. The sand siblings were now orphans, but they were capable of taking care of themselves for the most part. However, Gaara was placed under Chiyo’s care by her own request.

After the council picked themselves up off the floor and wiped their mouths from the spit takes and facefaults they collectively performed on her declaration, they were curious as to why. The woman had an isolationist and militaristic view of the village and would not help if she could avoid it. Not to mention it was no secret she had no love for the deceased Kazekage.

She merely pointed out that with the Kazekage dead, she would have to manage his new seal to ensure Shukaku didn’t wake up and go on a rampage. Truthfully, bloodlust gone or not, Gaara still had to learn to integrate himself into regular society, which would continue to treat him like a monster. Even his own siblings were still wary of him.

Chiyo was currently one of the few people who did not fear him and would support him. She confirmed the files Kushina handed him in their mindscape, and the fact that his mother and uncle did love him, even his father did to some extent, although he let the position of Kazekage blind him. She also planned to have Gaara maintain communication with the other young Jinchuuriki, as someone who could relate to his pain.

“Right now he’s out though. Chiyo-baa-sama was going to recommend you three help the Academy out since they were getting ready to start the new program completely next month, so she sent him to get a look at the genin entering it at the Academy.”

 ***

With Gaara

As for Gaara, he was currently hovering over the new Academy building, which was recently built. It was dome shaped, with windows that would hold against the desert winds and keep the building cool through strategically placed heat vents. The number of students it could hold at once was a mere 500, but considering the majority of them wouldn’t graduate and become genin, it was sufficient.

Suna had begun to emulate Konoha’s program and the current students were still adjusting before the complete switch, which he could tell through observing them by using the Third Eye technique to avoid being seen. It would still take some time to get them fully integrated at this rate. As the students started to leave the grounds, he too prepared to depart…

“Cut it out, Dama!” a girl cried, as she barely dodged a kunai.

Before Gaara could depart, he witnessed one male student with several kunai, throwing them at another student, while an instructor looked at the sight somewhat bored. The girl had short brown hair, dark eyes, and fair skin. She wore a blue-green blouse that hung off her left shoulder, a white sleeveless shirt underneath it, a yellow scarf around her neck, and a black short skirt.

He’s at the top of the class so far, and she’s at the bottom due to her refusing to use weapons during the accuracy drills, the instructor thought. She’ll probably flunk out once the new program is fully implemented, so I guess its okay…besides they’re blunted…

“If you’re so scared of them Matsuri…” the boy launched another set of kunai at her. “Consider it dodging practice!”

“Enough…” Gaara droned, forming a sand wall in front of the girl as he descended onto the ground with his arms crossed. All the students there clamed up at seeing this, and the instructor was sweating with an intensity that suggested heat stroke. It got so quiet, even the desert wind died down and you could hear a pin drop.

They all heard about Gaara’s reputation as a weapon, even if they hadn’t seen Shukaku in action. The most bloodthirsty and ruthless shinobi in Suna, only matched by a few veterans in terms of skill and stamina. A demon in the form of a child…

He walked up to Matsuri, who was also shaking on the ground, and stared at her with no visible emotion. “…are you okay?”

“Y-Yes!” she said, rising onto her feet, but taking a step back.

“Very well…” Gaara turned his gaze to the instructor. “Why did you not interfere? A student could have been harmed.”

“Th-the weapons are b-b-blunted…” the instructor stuttered. “There was no harm done!”

“Even blunted weapons can cause damage…” Gaara pointed out, while withdrawing the sand he used to protect Matsuri into his gourd. “Do not let it happen again.” Gaara warned, before he turned to walk away.

This was supposed to be the most fearsome genin, who craved blood and killed at the drop of the hat with that cursed sand of his? Dama took a deep breath. Yet, he hasn’t made any kind of threat or movement…I bet all those rumors were made up because he was the previous Kazekage’s kid. In that case…

“Wait!” the arrogant student said, a bead of sweat dripping from his forehead and down his cheek. “I heard that you and your siblings were trained personally by the last Kazekage and you didn’t go through the program since you could control sand…”

Gaara turned slowly to look at him. “Do you have a point you want to make…?”

“Then prove you’re a shinobi without that sand of yours! Let’s have a match!” Dama swallowed. “Practice and blunted weapons only. None of that sand of yours.”

Dude! Have you flipped!?” a lanky boy whispered in the arrogant student’s ears. “He’ll kill you!

Gaara looked at him while considering just killing him and being done with it, but a feminine voice inside his head whispered not to, and he remembered Kushina’s words. So he turned to the instructor. “Can you hand me a blunted rope dart? A Jouhyou?”

The instructor nodded and went to fetch one quickly, tossing it to Gaara nervously and somewhat curious he didn’t just kill the boy…perhaps he was going to play with his food like a cat first or something. Get his hopes up and crush him like an ant…

“You may want to take a step back…” Gaara said to Matsuri without turning his head. She complied, and fell back to the growing crowd, as Gaara twirled the weapon he borrowed in the air around him with one hand by the string, the other hand on the handle.

“A jouhyou…” Dama withdrew a few shuriken from his holster. “A jouhyou can’t do any real damage!” He threw the shuriken at Gaara, who stepped to the side and knocked them down with a horizontal swing using the dart at the end of it, before going back to twirling it.

“Indeed, a jouhyou isn’t primarily used in Suna for attacking…” Gaara droned, as he recalled a memory from before his uncle, Yashamaru, tried to kill him. They watched as a foreign performer used a flaming dart to perform a beautiful display, making elegant turns and leaving a ring of flames on the sand. “Although there are few masters in Suna, it is widely used as part of dances during celebrations…”

Matsuri watched Gaara closely, as he deflected blunted shuriken one after another. It was intriguing to her for some reason…If he was some blood thirsty weapon like the other adults said, why didn’t he choose a different weapon?

Dama was getting angered that he was being shown up by what can hardly be considered a weapon at all and reached in his pouch for a sharpened kunai. Gaara allowed the rope to wrap his elbow and then shot it out toward the boy. The blunted dart flew forward and nailed the kunai the boy was getting ready to throw, knocking it from his hands, and then retreated back to Gaara.

“I believe that the terms were practice and blunted weapons only…” he said emotionlessly. With one more shot, it flew toward the stunned student and wrapped around his upper body and arms, before Gaara tugged it and the boy fell to his knees. The match was over, and Gaara placed the handle on the ground.

“A jouhyou’s dart is primarily used to keep the enemy back, but it can be shot forward as a piercing weapon, especially if infused with lightning chakra,” Gaara said, turning his back on the grounded student and walking away. “The rope is used to capture an enemy, but it can be replaced with wires or possibly chakra strings, if given the right density.”

If you don’t want to kill, it is an adequate weapon,” he muttered, as he walked past Matsuri and beyond the parting crowd behind her.

She turned to look at his figure fading in the distance, a fleeting feeling of interest rising inside her towards him. The rest of the students began muttering to themselves about what just happened, and Dama was silently swearing under his breath.

 ***

Konoha

Hiruzen Sarutobi sighed as he and a shadow clone dealt with the ultimate enemy known as paperwork.

He just received a message from Kushina about how Naruto’s counselor sabotaged his emotional training and he was planning on giving the man a trip to Ibiki for it. It was times like this that he felt like he failed the child of his successor. He did his best for the boy given all things, but looking back, he realized just how much the village hated the boy.

He honestly wondered why Kushina saved him that day, to the point that he wrote asking her about it after sending over information on how to perform the Shuriken Shadow Clone technique, a jutsu he created. Her response was summed up as Naruto wanted him to live and she felt that Minato would never abandon the village completely out of spite.

Minato…I can only imagine what you would say to us for allowing your legacy and child to suffer…Sarutobi thought. He, Jiraiya, and Tsunade knew that Kushina was up to something, and they were indebted to her for her assistance in the invasion. As long as she did not threaten the safety of the village, they would be happy to assist her in any manner they could, such as getting the materials she wanted but didn’t have access to.

Yet, she never once asked for assistance in what they believed was her long term goal, restoring her village. Her words from that meeting at night about a village for Naruto bought them to the conclusion that she would try to restore Uzushio, the process of which would be arduous. It probably meant that she didn’t trust the village as much as she once did…

“No surprises there…” the old man said to himself. He couldn’t blame her for what they did to her son. But the problem with restoring her village without Konoha’s help was the fact that Naruto was there.

While the fact that he was a Jinchuuriki was unknown to most outside factions, it would bring up more arguments since Taki was the only small village with one. Not to mention if his father’s identity came to light, they’d be overrun with Iwa shinobi out for blood. While Oonoki and Sarutobi came to an agreement after the war and were on somewhat decent terms, and Oonoki knew better than to target a child for something he had no control over, the words “Namikaze” tended to drive more than a few of his forces up the wall.

Add the words “living heir” and it would be a political hellstorm on top of what he knew would be several rouge attempts to kill the boy. Not to mention the Uzumaki clan was technically near extinct, so there would probably be a call for the C.R.A to give the boy many wives on top of who his father was, causing several important political people to target him. And then the civilian council was starting to overstep their bounds.

Danzo and Hiruzen didn’t normally agree on matters, but he was starting to think that stripping them of some power would be good if they kept calling for a witch hunt on Naruto. That or finally going with Jiraiya’s plan of having a few accidents and disappearances happen to the more vocal members.

“No, I can’t do that…” Sarutobi sighed. Damn his belief in the people.

Still, they had to think of a way to somehow give him his father’s assets, stop him from becoming a political plaything or weapon, make sure he could survive anything thrown at him, and somehow support Kushina’s efforts to restore her village from the shadows. As these facts ran over in the old man’s head, he could only come to one conclusion…

“I really wish Tsunade would take this blasted hat…”

***

Canon Jutsu:

Lightning Style: Earth Flash – Releases a wave of electricity through the users hand, the amount and intensity depends on the user’s wishes. (Boar-Ram-Snake-Horse-Dragon)

Water Clone – A C-rank clone technique that uses water to create a clone at about roughly 10% of their overall power. The clones can’t travel too far from the original and one good hit will dispel them. (Tiger)

Water Style: Water Dragon:  A B-rank offensive techniques that shapes a large amount of water into a dragon.

Water Style: Water Wall: A B-rank defensive technique where the user spits out water around the user, making a defense with not opening. The strength, duration, and resistance are dependent on the amount of chakra poured into it. (Tiger-Snake-Rat-Snake-Tiger)

Tornado of Water: A Ninjutsu that creates a vortex of water around the user, which can be used offensively or defensively. (Ram-Horse-Bird)

Manipulated Shuriken: A D-ranked Shuriken Ninjutsu that uses thin or transparent wires or chakra strings to manipulate a thrown shuriken; an expert will have the ability to send the shuriken in any direction with a single movement of their finger tips.

 

Notes:

Naruto and Hisako are missing-nin until they join another village to have some protection, and Kushina is suppose to be dead and bringing up her name would cause some issues right now.

Suien is suppose to be a jounin, yet all we see him do is get clobbered by Naruto after beating Shibuki with a stab, so I raised the threat level. I said there were no godlike, unstoppable killing machines….except maybe Akatsuki in the first part.

Since canon is changed due to the basic plot, Gaara did not become a Chuunin yet and is still technically a genin, at the same time Matsuri is an Academy student at Suna.

After spending a week reading some fanfics for Naruto because of my short attention span, I want to ask: Why does nearly every Naruto banished fanfic have him becoming a living god or supreme bloodline? Is having a chakra demon of immense power sealed inside not enough?

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