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Posts tagged “Naruto fanfiction

Fanfic Recommendation 74

My Fanfics :

A Lily Blossoms In Kanto Chapter 16

 


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:


Lillie’s Z-Powered Adventure!: Lillie on the Scent! The Search for Moon Square! [P14] –  ????? [P1] (Tv Tropes Page)

A Pokemon Quest

Summary: A Pokémon Sun and Moon quest running on Space Battles and Sufficent Velocity by Arkanian that follows supporting protagonist Lillie as she begins her adventure in Kanto. Having vowed to meet up with Moon at the Unova World Tournament, Lillie must complete her journey as a trainer and take the spot as the Indigo Champion in order to be guaranteed a spot and keep her promise. That mean she must do as the champions before her and gather 8 badges before taking on the Elite Four.


Service with a Smile 30 – 32
A RWBY Fanfiction
Summary: When Jaune’s forged transcripts were rebuffed, his only option was to return home in disgrace or forge a new life in Vale. Opening a diner was an impetuous decision, being good at it a stroke of luck. Becoming the favourite haunt for students, teachers and criminals alike…? That was neither, but it sure did keep things interesting. Wasn’t the civilian life supposed to be easier?


Five Times Faye Closed Her Heart To Silque

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfiction
Summary: And One Time She Opened It. /SoV/ /FayexSilque/

Five Times Faye Realized She Was Falling In Love With Silque

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfiction
Summary: And One Time She Chose To Act On It /SoV/ /FayexSilque/ (Sequel to the above)


A Heartful of Soil 1- 2 (Complete)

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfiction

Summary: Reuniting Valentia is not the same as connecting its people’s feelings. The aftermath of Duma’s fall seems as good a time as any for Lukas to explore his own heart.

A FSN Fanfic

Summary: “With swords that aren’t yours, with skills that aren’t yours, for dreams that aren’t yours. Your entire existence is a lie!” – “Then I’ll show you that even fake dreams can become reality.” A different choice, a different path, a different FATE. Shirou/Multi

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 


Fanfic Recommendation 73

My Fanfics :

Calling Card 20

Rabbit of the Moon 14

 


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

Cissnei’s Path 77  (Tv Tropes)

A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic

Summary:  Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.


Whirlpool Among the Eddies 56

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.


Ashes of the Past 281 – 283

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


 

Lillie’s Z-Powered Adventure!: Lillie on the Scent! The Search for Moon Square! [P12] –  [P13] (Tv Tropes Page)

A Pokemon Quest

Summary: A Pokémon Sun and Moon quest running on Space Battles and Sufficent Velocity by Arkanian that follows supporting protagonist Lillie as she begins her adventure in Kanto. Having vowed to meet up with Moon at the Unova World Tournament, Lillie must complete her journey as a trainer and take the spot as the Indigo Champion in order to be guaranteed a spot and keep her promise. That mean she must do as the champions before her and gather 8 badges before taking on the Elite Four.


Service with a Smile 1 – 29
A RWBY Fanfiction
Summary: When Jaune’s forged transcripts were rebuffed, his only option was to return home in disgrace or forge a new life in Vale. Opening a diner was an impetuous decision, being good at it a stroke of luck. Becoming the favourite haunt for students, teachers and criminals alike…? That was neither, but it sure did keep things interesting. Wasn’t the civilian life supposed to be easier?


As Dark Comes Night 1 – 102

A Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest Fanfiction
Summary: “From this day forth, we make a promise. We will be a family that doesn’t keep secrets from each other. We will be a family that won’t abandon each other in times of need. We will be a family that doesn’t hurt each other. We will be a true family.” A collection of ideas, discussions, and short stories to expand the universe of Fire Emblem Fates and an exploration of a slightly alternative path to Conquest.

Note: It’s a script fic, but it has excellent world-building. Check the codex for more details.


Return to the Village (One-Shot)

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfiction

Summary: When a Celica corrupted by the powers of Duma is called to the Order of Heroes, Faye is assigned to be her partner, and to fight alongside her. And as she does so, she cannot help but wonder… how much of the old Celica remains in her?

 


Bitter (One Shot)

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfic

Summary: Alm is not the thing Faye can’t forget. An alternate take on Faye’s epilogue.

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 


Fanfic Recommendation 72

 


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

Cissnei’s Path 76  (Tv Tropes)

A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic

Summary:  Cissnei wanted to save Zack that night, only to find that it was too late. Though she couldn’t bring him back to life, she could keep his legacy alive. That was why she refused to abandon Cloud on his journey, despite going against her former friends and colleagues.


Whirlpool Among the Eddies 55

A Naruto Fanfic

Summary: A/U: Leaves spiral in the soft eddy as Naruto meets Karin in the Forest of Death. From that moment on, the two bearing the Clan name carried with them the fate of the Uzumaki and would be forever entwined.


Ashes of the Past 278 – 280

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


Locked Away 59 – 62

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Follows coma theory: Ash wakes up from a ten year coma to realize that all of his adventures were only a figment of his imagination; but he questions if they were more than that. Everything has changed in ten years, and he must put back all the shattered pieces while he embarks on a new journey to save the world and himself. Pokeshipping

A Road Less Travelled (Complete)

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfic (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

Summary: Alm leaves Ram to lead the Deliverance, leaving Faye behind. When Celica shows up unexpectedly on the doorstep of their sleepy village, Faye takes a chance and decides to travel with the girl she remembers from so many years ago. What will she learn about Valentia, the gods above them, and most importantly, herself? /SoV/ /AU/ /Faye-centric/


A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfic

Summary: When someone new comes to the village, people introduce her as “a veteran of the war”. Doesn’t that sound strange? She’s always been just Faye. Character study, oneshot, all the spoilers.


The Price of Devotion (One-Shot)

A Fire Emblem Echoes Fanfic

Summary: “I’ll always be there for you, Alm. No matter what happens. You know that, right? I won’t leave you. I won’t forsake you. As long as you’ll let me, I’ll always be by your side. Always.”


Seven Days Survivor: The Golden V2 013 – 014

A Devil Survivor / Persona 3 / Persona 4 Fanfiction

Summary: Midori Komaki from Devil Survivor 1 moves to Tatsumi Port Island to finish out her school year after her home school got wrecked in the Tokyo Lockdown. Less than a week later, she is drawn into the Dark Hour, and joins SEES in response with Black Frost as her Persona. Now, a year later, becomes involved with the events of Persona 4.

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 


Fanfic Recommendation 71

Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:

 


Ashes of the Past 274 – 277

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


Intrepid: 18-02 Madison – 18-03 Emma
A Worm Fanfiction
Summary: In the wake of the Locker Incident, Taylor goes comatose. Wracked with guilt, Emma and Madison trigger. Things spiral from there as they quickly go different routes, both seeking redemption in a different way.


Loyalty 30
A Naruto Fanfiction
Summary: Blind loyalty is simple. The problem only begins when the world makes you open your eyes. Sakura-centric, AU, pre-timeskip.

A FSN/ Persona 4 Fanfic

Summary: A chance decision leads to an unlikely discovery. The mention of a rumor leads to an unbelievable mystery. And the connection to a long forgotten family leads to an unforgettable experience. Welcome to Inaba, Yu Narukami… or should I say Shirou Emiya? (Co-Authored by Nameless Flame Wielder up to Ch.21)

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 


Fanfic Recommendation 70

My Fanfics :

Boruto: The Unknown Daughter 1

Boruto: The Unknown Daughter 2

Calling Card 19

Rabbit of the Moon 12

Rabbit of the Moon 13


Fanfics that I have found interesting and have recently been updated:


Ashes of the Past 269 – 273

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Time travel, based on the Anime.  So, the world ended. That’s bad news. Who best to get to fix it? Well, there is this guy with a track record in world saving…  Not entirely serious. T rating may be overdoing it.


Locked Away 58

A Pokemon Fanfic

Summary: Follows coma theory: Ash wakes up from a ten year coma to realize that all of his adventures were only a figment of his imagination; but he questions if they were more than that. Everything has changed in ten years, and he must put back all the shattered pieces while he embarks on a new journey to save the world and himself. Pokeshipping


Path of the King 44 – 46
A FSN Fanfic

Summary: “With swords that aren’t yours, with skills that aren’t yours, for dreams that aren’t yours. Your entire existence is a lie!” – “Then I’ll show you that even fake dreams can become reality.” A different choice, a different path, a different FATE. Shirou/Multi.

A Young Justice Fanfic

Summary: An SI with an Orange Ring ends up in the Young Justice Universe and seeks to advance humanity through advance technology and magic.

 


(A Boruto Fanfic) The Unknown Daughter: Chapter 2

“Naruto… was here?” The words that came out of Karin’s mouth were heavy. Distressed. If there had been anything that would undercut the joy in learning that Sasuke and Sarada had been there earlier, it was the fact that Naruto had come with them while she was away.

That he saw Hanami.

“Did you know he was coming?” she asked Orochimaru while the two were in the monitor room, alone.

“Not when you left,” he answered from his seat at the monitor desk, tapping on the keyboard. “The child sensed the arrival of others from quite a distance away, but with no reference she couldn’t identify them. Had I known that he would have been coming, then I would have respected your wish and sent her off to her room.”

Karin had a moment of doubt, but it passed. After all, he had been honest with her in every aspect since Hanami was conceived. Respecting her own wishes and requests where it was within his ability. To think that he arranged for it to happen was… ludicrous.

She changed her question. “Does he know?”

“He does.” He brought up the camera footage from her office. It showed Naruto using the DNA analysis machine and then the results. “I did try to deflect any answers and went ahead and erased the analysis from memory banks so that Hanami didn’t discover it by accident once they departed. But he left a number in my possession and asked that you contact him as soon as possible. If not, he would be visiting again.”

Of course he would. A gnawing itch prickled her chest. He knew about Hanami now, so she shouldn’t be surprised that he would try to get in contact with her. But exposing her to him now would mean…

Orochimaru observed her indecisiveness for a moment in silence before rising from his seat. “Viewing it through the lens of an experiment, there can’t be a change in the dependent variable if there is only a constant.”

She stiffened at his words because she understood the underlying meaning.

“My part in this experiment has long since been fulfilled,” he continued. “I had the chance to improve upon the modifications that you yourself underwent to a genetic level, and that data proved useful. Since I have no interest in projects that stagnate, you can proceed as you wish.”

Standing in front of her, he then held up the number for her to take. “However, if you’re going to properly test if everything you’ve done has had any merit, you must observe how the dependent variable changes in response to multiple independent ones. Ideally while they are still things you can control.”

Karin accepted it reluctantly. “I… understand.”

As Orochimaru left out, Karin found herself staring down at the direct line to Naruto’s personal cellphone. As a scientist, she understood his point perfectly. To experiment meant to expose something to different stimuli and processes to see the effects they had on it.

If Hanami was the dependent variable, she and the others in the base had been the constants. As long as nothing changed, then she would remain as she was. And that was fine as far as Karin was concerned. Let the world around them remain frozen for all she cared.

But… life wasn’t a constant. Karin knew that as well. It hadn’t been for her. It hadn’t been for her mother. That was why she put Hanami through everything she had the moment she learned she was pregnant and well after she was born.

There’s no getting around it. It was better to get it out of the way sooner than later, so Karin picked up the phone and dialed the number. Her feet paced the room while she did so, until it rang thrice.

Then Naruto’s voice came through at the end. “Hello?

Her feet stilled her. Legs locking into place and her throat tightening, she was frozen where she stood by fear. She couldn’t answer.

Hello?” he asked again.

This is pathetic, she told herself as she leaned against the wall. Letting another man stir up these feelings inside of her was something she just couldn’t help but feel ashamed at. They couldn’t be more different, yet the thought of either one of them and what they could do to her left Karin afraid enough to nearly make her legs give out.

As the silence dragged on, there was a pause. Thinking, no doubt. Then he asked, “Karin, is that you?

She forced herself to swallow the lump in her throat and answered. “It’s me.”

He sighed over the line in relief. “How have you been?”

Karin didn’t want to drag this out longer than she needed to. “Is this line secure?”

Of course.”

She took his word for it, paranoid as she may have been. If anyone had a secured line, it would be the Hokage.  “You know Hanami is—”

My daughter.” He sounded somewhere between hurt and angry. “I’ve had a few hours to think on it now that Sakura is safe. I know that Orochimaru agreed not to cause any sort of commotion, but to hold leverage like that and not use it now that I’ve succeeded Kakashi-sensei means that there had to be another reason besides his own interests.

While Orochimaru had been pardoned, that did not mean his sins were forgiven. He was constantly under watch for a reason since Kakashi had been made the Sixth Hokage officially. Now that Naruto had succeeded him…

Well, Naruto wouldn’t even consider a request that would endanger the village. But he wouldn’t endanger his daughter either. It would still be leverage that he could have used in some way or other.

Karin, why didn’t you tell me?

“You weren’t ready for it at the time,” she told him. “There was nothing between us but that night. Knowledge of a child born between you and a subordinate of Orochimaru could have cost you your reputation. You found someone else. I can give you a number of reasons why I didn’t tell you about her, and all of them would be valid.”

Which was true enough.  The last thing he needed then was for it to come out that he had a dalliance and then a child with her. Even now, if this had gone public, he could only think of the trouble it would have caused Hinata, Boruto, and Himawari. Not to mention the sort of pressure it would put on Hanami herself and that it wasn’t just him would who harbor the blame.

The last thing a child should have to suffer from is being blamed for simply existing.

Or for being an outsider.

Even Naruto, as he was now, could admit that.  “I won’t say you’re wrong. But it wasn’t just for my sake, was it?”

Karin didn’t answer him.

And the silence dragged on again until Naruto was sure he wasn’t getting an answer. So he changed the question. “…Karin, do you still think that things would have been better if you never came out of it at the end?

Burning anger welled up inside of her chest at being reminded. “I never thought going right for the jugular was a thing you would do.”

You know I didn’t mean it that way.

“The answer is no.”

Karin, if you still think you would be better off—”

I SAID NO!” Her answer came out louder and more forceful than even she expected. Her Mind’s Eye of Kagura snapped awake as she checked to make sure no one was within hearing. Then she exhaled, letting the frustration and tension leave her body as she slid down the wall until she was sitting on the ground.

“…Sorry,” he said over the line. It was even sincere.

“I never should have told you in the first place.” She pushed up her glasses to rub her eyes at an abrupt, stinging itch. Tears had formed. Sucking in a sharp breath, she held it and then let it out slowly before she spoke again.  “I just thought… that if anyone could have helped me, it would have been you.”

The Fourth War had consequences for her. Specifically, the Infinite Tsukuyomi. It was supposed to show everyone who fell under the illusion their happiest dream. But for her it was different.

She relived her past. Remembered how she and her mother were used as tools for the right to stay in a village constantly at war. They weren’t people, they were assets. Given the bare minimum to stay alive and then used up when needed. Never appreciated, never treated as one of their own.

Karin had been a tool to be used. To exhaust herself to death for the sake of letting their soldiers keep fighting. And she was supposed to do it with a smile on her face.

She only really felt elation at the end. When she finally had the chance to kill the man responsible and then died after seeing Sasuke smile, having helped him with his goal. Revenge and death afterwards. That was the only path of happiness that she could grasp in a dream where anything could happen.

The very thought haunted her afterwards when she returned to the waking world. That no matter what she did, only those two things would make her happy. If that was the case, then what was there any worth in living aside from a fear of death itself?

So many times, she had tried to change that. She couldn’t on her own. And who else could she go to?

Sasuke was either traveling or… not emotionally available. Anything he would have suggested was probably something she would have tried anyway. Juugo was nice, but not really someone she wanted to talk to about this. Suigetsu… not if the world was ending.

Orochimaru knew her past. He knew her pain. He had offered a balm to it in the past when he took her in. He made her feel as though she belonged and gave her power and knowledge. But he couldn’t offer her what she needed.

So that left Naruto. At the time he was the man who could do anything, having fought against overwhelming odds during the Fourth War and then made Sasuke change for the better. Despite Sasuke suffering so much, Naruto could relate to his pain and bring him back from the self-imposed misery he was going to put himself through to maintain peace through fear.

So, if anyone could have helped her, she was sure it was him.

She desperately wanted it to be him.

That was why she…

“…Karin, the world has changed since those times,” Naruto told her. “A lot of people our ages suffered from the war in the same way, so Sakura and Ino have established a system to help them. You don’t have to go through this alone. Let us help you.

“I don’t need it,” Karin told him. “I have been since then. I’ll handle it myself.”

Then what about Hanami?” he asked. “You can’t believe that raising her in isolation with those people is a good thing. She doesn’t even see a family as anything more than their genetic code. You can’t tell me that’s normal for a girl her age.”

“So you want to take her from me?”

That is the last thing I want to do,” he said. “I just want her to have a chance to experience the world as it is, rather than seeing it in such an inhuman way. She needs to have a chance to make friends, otherwise she might end up worse off than both of us. You can’t keep her sheltered from the world forever.”

That. That was why she didn’t tell him. She didn’t tell him because Naruto would have wanted to take her out into the world. There was no way he would keep her a secret and let her be raised in private. Not after how he had grown up.

“I can try,” Karin told him. Even if the chance was next to nothing so long as Naruto was alive and as powerful as he had been back then, she wouldn’t risk it. Hanami wouldn’t end up like Karin did. Not like her mother did.

Karin, at least—” Click!

She hung up and turned the phone off.  Nothing he could say would make her change her mind. Then, rising to her feet, she walked the long corridors of the base towards her daughter’s room.

She was sure he wouldn’t try coming for them so soon. He’d try to convince her again before he made any overt move. But most likely she’d have to move away with Hanami soon. Orochimaru had limited influence compared to when he was free, but it wasn’t as though she hadn’t made contingencies in the event it was necessary. She already knew someplace nice where no one knew who they were, and they could start over.

Karin was partway down the corridor to Hanami’s door before it opened. Suigetsu came flying out, his body in a semi-fluid state as something rummaged around inside of him, pressing against the outline of his body enough to stretch without breaking. It was almost comical as he fell to the ground, rolling down the hallway while laughs came from her daughter’s room.

Then Suigetsu spotted Karin and clung to her ankle as he demanded, “Get it out of me!

Karin sighed as she crouched down. “Vilu, what have I told you about swimming in filthy water? You might catch something.”

The rummaging stopped as out popped a slender, foot-and-a-half serpentine figure from inside of his shirt. Crimson, glistening scales that reflected the corridor light gave way to a black dorsal fin that ran along its spine until it came to a stop with a black tuft of fur on its tail.  Short legs with webbed feet and black claws flexed as it set foot on the ground next to him. Then turning around, its pointed ears unfastened from its head, and its black eyes looked towards her.

Vilu, as he was named was an artificial creation turned pet. A chimera of sorts that combined the aspects of aquatic animals, serpents, and foxes. A gift for Hanami’s birthday years ago based off some of Orochimaru’s old work. “Good boy. Now go back to her room.”

“I can’t stand that thing,” Suigetsu groaned as he rose back to his feet while the creature scurried back from whence it came. “Science goes too far sometimes.”

“Quit whining,” she told him. “I can tell from his size and chakra he didn’t absorb any of your body this time. You should be fine.”

Suigetsu looked her up and down without saying anything as he rubbed the back of his neck. Silently appraising her. Then he smiled mischievously with a shark-like grin. “So, you and Naru—”

The pointed tip of a chakra chain at the base of his throat shut him up.

One word,” she warned him. “One word and you will never recover from what I do to you.”

The lump in his throat shifted as he swallowed. A single nod showed the message carried. Then he, quickly and quietly, walked around her and went elsewhere.

Dismissing her chakra chain, Karin exhaled slowly and then forced herself to smile as she walked back down the corridor to her daughter’s room. Hanami was sitting at her desk, though her swivel chair was turned facing the doorway, allowing for the young girl to jump up.  Mother and daughter embraced.

Sorry I was gone for so long,” Karin said softly while they hugged before pulling back somewhat. “Still, what did I tell you about Vilu and Suigetsu?”

“He did that on his own,” her daughter told her. “I think he wanted to cheer me up, so when Uncle Sui came in he jumped inside of him. It was funny though.”

“Even so, he’s your pet so you should take responsibility for him,” Karin said, releasing her to just listen about her day. “And what upset you enough that he needed to cheer you up while I was gone?”

“We had guest today!” She sat back in the chair and looked up to her mother with an excited smile. She guessed Vilu’s antics did the trick after all. “There was an Uzumaki like us with really warm chakra. Then there was that man from your picture, Sasuke Uchiha. His was kind of dark, but it was calm too. And two girls around my age, with one of them being his daughter.”

“Sarada,” Karin said fondly. “Did you get along with her?”

Hanami’s smile faltered. “I… tried to. But she didn’t seem to like me.”

“Why do you say that?” Karin asked. She had something of a soft spot for Sarada after helping deliver her after all. It was probably the only time she saw Sasuke smile at her in thanks. One of the happiest notes in her miserable dream.

“Because she got upset when I suggested trying to transplant her Sharingan into my eyes, even though I was going to give one of them back when I was done evolving it.” she said, turning to face her desk and then laying her head down in her arms. “She even got mad when I was going to suggest using the eyes of that person they were chasing instead, telling me it wasn’t right.”

Karin brushed her hair. “Not everyone is comfortable about the thought of transplanting sensory organs. Especially people who have abilities related to the part in question. Losing them is terrifying, more so since they can’t be easily replaced.”

“I still don’t understand why she was so reluctant though,” Hanami said. “I mean, if she had the Rinnegan, wouldn’t that make her parents love her more?”

Karin’s brows folded in.  As far as she knew, Sarada’s relationship with her parents was very well. To imply that either could love her more was to say that they didn’t love her with every fiber of their being, which Karin very much doubted from what she knew of those two. “Why do you think that?”

“Because she won’t be able to get the Rinnegan on her own like her father,” her daughter explained. “She won’t be the perfect hybrid of her parents’ genes and pass that on in the future to her children. So they won’t love her as much as they could, and she won’t love her kids as much as she could.”

Hanami looked downcast at the very thought of a parent not loving their child. “That’s so sad, I think.”

…The phone in her pocket abruptly felt heavier as Karin found herself afraid to ask how she came to that line of thought. The hesitation ensnared her throat and wrapped its cold, clammy fingers tight. Choking her to avoid the words leading to a worse experience.

But she had to ask. “Do you really believe that a mother won’t love a child if they’re not perfect on a genetic-level?”

Hanami didn’t hesitate for a second to nod, sitting back up. “I mean, that’s why I went through all of those tests, right? So I could be perfect for you.”

Karin’s mind froze as she remembered those tests of her genetic modifications. Hanami couldn’t meet the same end as her mother had. The moment Karin found out she was pregnant, she knew she had to do everything she could to protect her.

The secrecy was one part of it. If no one else knew she existed, then no one else could take her. But that wasn’t enough. Just in case something did happen, she needed to be able to survive no matter what. That was when Karin turned to Orochimaru.

I know it hurts, but I’m doing this to make sure you’re perfect,’ Karin had told her to justify it while she cried on her lap from how painful that particular series of tests were. She explained how genetics worked and how she had the potential to be greater than both her Karin and her mother ever were. And her children would have that same potential as well.

That way Hanami didn’t end up experiencing the pain that Karin had. So she that she never needed to fear it happening to her own children either. She wouldn’t end up like her own mother had before she passed away, used up and then tossed away.

Karin didn’t love Hanami because she was perfect. Because no self-respecting mother would want her child to think that they had to be perfect to be loved. She wanted her to be perfect because she loved her.

And somewhere along the way she hadn’t passed that message along to her daughter, whereas her own mother had been able to do the same for her.  Did I make a mistake after all?

“Are you okay?” Hanami asked, her head tilting as her violet eyes stared into Karin’s crimson pair. “You’re crying.”

“I just remembered something a little painful,” Karin said as she pushed up her glasses and rubbed away her newly-formed tears. Like father, like daughter it seemed. They knew just the thing to say to hurt her in ways others couldn’t anymore.

“I’m going to need to step out for a little bit. But when I come back, you can show me that theory you were working on before I left. Okay?”

Hanami seemed enthused at the prospect.  “Sure!”

Karin gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek.

Then she headed out to redial Naruto’s number. Apologizing was never something she was fond of. And she still didn’t think that she did the wrong thing in raising Hanami as she had to keep her safe.

But that didn’t mean she hadn’t hurt her daughter in other ways without realizing it.

Hopefully it wasn’t too late.


(A Boruto Fanfic) The Unknown Daughter: Chapter 1

Summary: While searching for Shin Uchiha, Naruto paid a visit to Orochimaru to find answers. He got more than he expected when he found a child named Hanami Uzumaki there alongside of him. Long red hair set into a bun, violet eyes that mixed red and blue, and a single whisker mark on each cheek. Had it really been around thirteen years since that night? Why hadn’t Karin told him anything?


 

“Lead me to Orochimaru.” A single demand made by Sasuke as they confronted two members of his old team. They needed answers about the person who’d taken Sakura, implanted with Sharingan.

Naruto entered Sage Mode immediately to avoid others having the drop on them again. His senses expanding as he caught the presence of two other people within the base. One was further out, but the other was nearing. “It doesn’t look like that’s gonna be necessary.”

Their eyes were drawn down the corridor, whereupon Naruto laid eyes on Orochimaru with a face that looked much younger than it had any right to. That, in itself, was a surprise for Naruto given that fifteen years had passed since the Fourth Shinobi War and the pardon had been issued—albeit with a guard stationed to watch him at all time.

However, a bigger surprise awaited them as he brought them into another room. The room itself was a laboratory. Monitors lining the wall, a solid steel table to the right, and three cultivation tanks with developing bodies within the center. Nothing out of the ordinary for the man who eluded death so easily.

But, in front of the tank with the most developed body, stood a young woman with her back to them. Long red hair set into a bun and decorated with a hair accessory. Dressed in a long sleeveless shirt that was plum in color and dark pants, she held her arms folded behind her back.

“It seems you were right, child,” Orochimaru said casually as the entered the room. “We have visitors.”

“One of their chakra feels warm. Radiant, as though I’m standing beneath the sun itself.” A slight turn of the head revealed her eye was a rich shade of violet, a blend of red and blue that had a single thin line beneath it. A shock ran through Naruto the moment their eyes met.  “Are they guests?”

“I doubt they’ll here for long,” Orochimaru said simply as he came to a stop next to her in front of the tank.

“That’s too bad.” A bead of sweat rolled down from Naruto’s brow as the girl turned around to face them, the hair framing her face swaying to reveal the marking under her other eye to be a mirror image as she regarded them with curiosity. “We rarely have visitors.”

She’s a little taller than Sarada, maybe a little older. Naruto swallowed, but his throat remained dry. It can’t be…

Her curiosity drove her to approach the group. Tension threaded Naruto’s body as she passed him by. But either she didn’t notice, or she didn’t care as she came to a stop in front of Sasuke, her head tilted as she regarded him with a hand on her cheek.

“…You’re Mother’s old teammate, aren’t you?” she asked him. “Sasuke Uchiha… I’ve seen you in the picture, and Mother talked a lot about you.”

Sasuke regarded the child with a glance before shifting his gaze to Orochimaru. “Karin had a daughter?”

“Indeed,” Orochimaru said, holding his hand out towards her. “Introduce yourself, child.”

She did so. “My name’s Hanami Uzumaki. It’s a pleasure to meet you all.”

“Isn’t that Lord Seventh’s family name?”  An uncomfortable number of eyes fell onto him at Chocho’s obvious question. Including that of the girl herself.

Naruto even heard Suigetsu mumble, “You know, Karin was always cagey on who the father was.”

But Orochimaru brushed it off with a dismissive, “One of my subordinates comes from the same clan as Naruto-kun.”

“Is that so?” Hanami mused as she took a step closer to him. “It doesn’t look like the dominant genes are present within his facial features or hair pigment. But I suppose some genetic variations should be expected given the different variables.”

Sasuke… couldn’t care less. Or rather, any curiosity he possibly had was buried beneath the mission. “We didn’t come here for that. We came here to find out about that man and child who had Sharingan they shouldn’t.”

“He’s an old experiment of mine named Shin,” Orochimaru explained. “You recall the arm that Danzo Shimura possessed, correct? That originally belonged to him. Since that child possessed a rare genetic trait that prevented rejection of tissue transplants, he was the ideal subject for experimentation with cloning.”

Naruto looked away from the girl at the familiar word. “Cloning?”

“Think of it as a Shadow Clone that won’t disappear,” he clarified. “A perfect replica of an individual down to their very genetics. Only it persists indefinitely.”

“If it’s like a clone that won’t disappear, then what do you do with them when you’re done?” Naruto asked.

“Your only option is to kill them, obvious.”

He naturally took offense to that. Life was sacred after all. To just dispose of them when they weren’t useful anymore disregarded the feelings and connections they formed. “Humans aren’t simple things to be discarded like that.”

“Humans are much simpler than you think.” Orochimaru turned to the cultivation tank with the largest body grown within. “Hanami has taken an interest in this particular field of study, so I suspect she can explain it.”

The girl nodded and then did so. “A person is basically determined by their genetic material. Skin color, abilities, everything can be traced to the genes that compose them. I look more like my mother and possess many of the same abilities as her because her genes were passed onto me, after all. So, for a clone who is made of the same genetic composition, there would be virtually no difference between them.”

“Exactly,” Orochimaru said. “The same applies to your daughter, Sasuke-kun. She looks like you because half of her genes were passed on from you. It’s all simply data recorded in an organic material, rather than an electronic one.”

That’s not right, Naruto thought to himself while looking at the girl who bore his clan’s name. Those words weren’t something he ever wanted to hear coming from a child.

However, Sasuke took control of the conversation before he could voice it. “Why does that person call himself an Uchiha?”

“That’s his own doing,” Orochimaru said. “Though he is not an authentic Uchiha, he possesses the Sharingan and he ended up becoming obsessed with the Uchiha name. In particular with your late brother, Itachi Uchiha.”

“I see…” Sasuke closed his eyes for only a moment. Silently considering it. “Where can I find him?”

“Hmm… I suppose it would benefit me if your village were to capture him,” Orochimaru mused, before turning to Naruto. “Besides, I do owe you, Naruto-kun. How is that child doing, by the way?”

“…He’s doing well,” Naruto answered, albeit with more hesitation than he should have. “Though, if you’d told me that there was another child in your care, we would have accepted her as well.”

Orochimaru lightly chuckled. “That wasn’t my call to make. I only helped deliver Hanami, after all. Her mother was the one who decided to raise her as she has. All the questions related to that can be answered by her.”

Naruto breathed slowly through his nose as he caught the underlying message. “I understand.”

“Good.” Then he started to walk. “As for Shin, I’ll explain more in a room with a monitor. Follow me.”

Naruto did so, occasionally glancing subtly to Hanami as she walked behind them with Sarada. He knew he should ask the question, but he couldn’t find the words. Not right now, with Sakura’s life potentially at stake. But it gnawed at the back of his skull until he heard Sarada broached a question that drew the child’s interest.

Your mother was the person in this picture, right?

Yes, when she was younger,” Hanami answered just as quietly. “I’ve seen that same picture in her office.

Is she here now?

No, she’s at a different place at the moment.”

Oh… then, can I ask you something?

Naruto watched out of the corner of his eye as the two girls went off. He knew that Sarada was doubting her connection to her mother from how she was behaving, but he had no doubts about it. Even if, by some chance, that Karin had given birth to Sasuke’s child and then passed her over to Sakura, the bonds between family through connections should be stronger.

But what about Hanami? Taking into account the nine months and Hanami’s appearance, there was very little doubt in his mind of her parentage, But, he didn’t want to think it was true, because Naruto didn’t want to believe that she lied to him thirteen years ago.  Why didn’t she tell me?

He had to know that much at least. So he followed the girls to the office in secret and listened from next to the door, peeking through carefully.

“First we need a sample of your DNA,” Hanami explained, handing Sarada a buccal swab. “Simply rub the inside of your mouth with it and it’ll collect DNA samples. I’ll do the same with mine and then we’ll use this machine to analyze the data. If there’s enough of a match, then this will show that we’re related through the same mother.”

Once Sarada did as told and the analysis began, Hanami then added. “If I have to be honest, I hope that there is a connection.”

“Why?” Sarada asked.

“Because, if we are then we’ll be compatible enough for an eye transplant.”

Sarada tensed. “Huh?”

“If I gain the Sharingan while being a descendant of the Uzumaki Clan, then I’ll be able to test a theory on awakening the Rinnegan like your father has,” Hanami explained with a smile. “It’s exciting to think about, isn’t it?”

‘…Kurama, is that true?’ he asked. Until now the fox had been silent, observing without commenting. That in itself was worrisome.

Not likely. She’s not a direct transmigration of Father’s children as you and Sasuke Uchiha are,’ Kurama answered. ‘However, given who she has been studying under, the fact that chakra does transmit through genetics to some extent, and the fact that he hasn’t dismissed the theory itself, there’s a very faint possibility. More so if he managed to procure some of Father’s chakra during the War fourteen years ago.’

The implications of what he just heard made his stomach drop. Not because of the fact that those eyes even possibly returning in the hands of a child being raised under Orochimaru possibly spelled very bad things. But because he didn’t want to think that night, thirteen years ago, had been contrived for the sole purpose of making that outcome possible.

Sarada was naturally wary at the prospect, albeit for different reasons. “You want to take my eyes!?”

“Oh, not for good!” Hanami quickly added. “I’d give you mine until I awoke them and then I’d transplant one back. That way we’ll both have one, and there’s the potential for that to pass on as well through two different family lines with a little genetic modification. Though, if the Seventh Hokage has a male child then you could have a child with him as well and they could possibly inherit it.”

“I’m not having a child with Boruto!”

“Well, if you have a brother then I suppose that I could—”

“Are you seriously offering to have a child just because of the potential of their genetics!?”

“I mean, isn’t that better than letting them die out if something happened to us?” Hanami asked. Worse, from her tone she was being sincere. “Our clans are endangered after all, but as long as our genes pass on through our reproductive cells then they can live on. That’s how life works in the end.”

“But having a child means starting a family,” Sarada argued. “It’s not just a matter of genes. There’s something more there. Something precious.”

“Families just people linked by genetic material,” Hanami counterargued. Chakra chains began emerging from arms as she held them out in proof. “It’s an assembly of DNA where strong one’s merge to become even stronger and weak ones die out. You’re a prime example of that, just like I am.”

Naruto… couldn’t listen to this any longer. It was like listening to Kabuto for a second time. He emerged from behind his cover and said otherwise, “That’s not what a family is.”

“Lord Seventh?” Sarada was taken aback. Likely because of her reasoning for coming here in the first place, despite the fact that her mother had been taken. “I…”

Before she could say anything to justify the feelings that had driven her, the computer beeped. The results were in.

“It looks like they aren’t a match after all.” Hanami sounded disappointed as her chains disappeared. Then she perked up. “Then again, if this Shin person has a Sharingan and their tissue won’t reject me, then it should be possible to transplant it that way.”

“H-Hey—” Naruto tried to stop her and explain his point, but she ran past him in the direction they’d came. Towards Orochimaru and the others. “Sarada, go with her. This is a sensitive matter, and I don’t think Sasuke would like the notion of someone transplanting those eyes at all.”

She ran off after her, leaving Naruto alone. He watched her leave before turning back to the machine. He had to know for sure.

So, he went through the motions with the buccal swab, taking out the one that Sarada had used and replaced it with his own. Then he set the analysis to begin. The results…

They were exactly as he expected.

He looked to the photo on the desk and a weight that pressed down on his shoulders. The memory of that night felt like a vice clamping around his heart when he considered everything he’d heard. He needed time to process it all.

But Sakura came first. Reuniting mother and daughter came first. Then, when that was done, he would have words with Karin.

About how she had lied. About how she hid his daughter. About how she let Orochimaru’s thoughts on genetics dictate what her definition of a family was.

He told his own son that to the Hokage, everyone in the village is family.  Because a family was the bond between people, not just history or blood. It was the love between them that dictated who your family was.

Even if she hadn’t been his daughter, the fact that a child wasn’t able to understand that…

It meant that something was very wrong.


Author’s Note: The premise of this… random thing is that sometime before Naruto paired off with Hinata after the whole moon thing (2 years after the war if I remember right), he had a one-time tryst with Karin Uzumaki. However, she never told him that she was pregnant or that she gave birth afterwards. Then, over a decade later, the Sarada Uchiha story arc happens and Naruto runs into Karin’s child.


Fanfic Recommendation 69

My Fanfics :

A Lily Blossoms In Kanto 15

Tiger & Might 6


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Fanfic Recommendation 68

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Fanfic Recommendation 67

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Wind Monk Banishment – Beetle Chronicles #3

Naruto: Wind Monk Banishment – Beetle Chronicles

Chapter 3: A Tale of Seven-Tails Pt.3


Author’s Note: Shibuki is around Fuu’s age (give or take a year), rather than whatever Canon would be, on account of being an AU… and the fact that I refuse to believe he was 20 in Part I, the village leader, and that much of a pansy.


Fuu: Age 12

The forest seemed to go still as the curtain of droplets fell from the grey heavens above. It was raining as the green-haired Jinchuuriki of Waterfall stood before her opponent, with her legs spaced from one another and tensed in a manner that would allow her to move to left or right. As time had passed the looming horrors of puberty had begun to make themselves known, and her hair had grown a bit longer in tandem with her body having grown in height.

Standing opposite of her was the current bane of her existence to date, Suika. Suien had ordered him to assist in her training as he had business to take care of. He stood there in the rain with his posture relaxed, arms at his side as the streamlets of water flowed down his body, seeping from the high-collar of his blue-and-orange jacket and snaking down his black shirt and bare arms.

Fuu hated the man. Without a doubt she did. If Suien’s training was rough, his was simply abusive in nature with how he constantly struck her hard enough to leave bruises that were sore and tender for a good and long time after he was done.

And the asshole did it without ever losing that bored look on his face. She wasn’t even sure he was human with how he could carry out some of the executions he did in the Worm Pit while looking like that. Or worse, when he made Fuu do it.

Since that first time she was forced to put down the child for the village’s sake, she had been instructed to do it more and more to her dismay. Men and women, old and young, no one brought there was spared. They made her handle every third one brought in while Suien and Suika took the other two.

Her gaze briefly faltered as she wiped the water from her eyes. She was starting to regret not keeping her bandana to cover her eyes so the rain didn’t get into it. Perhaps it was because she was entering the age of teenage rebellion, but she normally left it behind while out in the forest unless she had to wear it. After everything she had to do for the village, how she lost her innocence that day when she killed the son of the traitorous merchant, she couldn’t stand it unless she had to.

Suien seemed to understand that. He always gave her a cookie afterwards and let her go get some rest, although she never could because she would hear the screaming of the dying, begging her not to kill them in some manner or other. He only told her that she needed to wear it during an active conflict, such as fighting off more Grass shinobi. He even let her take some of their things too as spoils for doing a good job, saying it would be their little secret.

So far she had gotten some make up a kunoichi had brought for some reason that didn’t matter once her bugs got to her, some extra rations for when she felt a little hungrier than normal since she was a growing girl, some technique scrolls, and some excess supplies that came in handy for training. But her favorite was an orange book that held her interest. Fuu briefly entertained the idea of being in love like the people in those books were before they got…intimate.

Then the idea died as the silence of the forest, besides the pattering of the life-nourishing rainfall hitting the thirsty fauna, was broken by the arrival of bees and wasps that had heeded her call. They formed a swarm as Fuu ordered them to surround him and attack, sending her intentions through the chakra they were empowered by. She didn’t hold back, giving them the order to kill when it came to him.

The apathetic look on his face didn’t change at all as he made the hand signs for what Fuu recognized as the Grand Fireball technique. He was a fire-user in contrast to Suien, who mostly used water techniques. Fuu’s skills were geared towards water, along with the sole lightning technique she had learned from a scroll she took off one of the Grass shinobi. Even then she botched every few times.

It honestly rankled her that her bugs were such a bad match-up against her mentors. While Suien could use water to crush them, he not only burned them but, even when she could take authority over his spiders, he could make a giant flaming spider to kill them before trapping her in their silk webbing. It was like the village chose them specifically to counter her… of course they did, what was she thinking otherwise?

He soon breathed out the chakra molded into heat and flames as a constant stream of burning fire, rather than the namesake, just like she figured he would. The technique was good enough as long as he kept the flow of chakra fluid and constant. He spun as around with it to set the spiraling horde aflame while she used the opportunity to run to a near tree and jump above him while he was focused on them and blinded by his own technique to what was coming.

Just like all the other elements, there were two types of ways chakra manipulated water. The first was that it bled outwards, soaking every bit that it could find and then bending it to the user’s will. While less intensive than converting and creating chakra into the element, it was reliant on the amount of moisture in the surroundings to make up for the lack of necessary elemental nature.

The second was that chakra itself was converted into water. This false element was much like the fire he used and why it didn’t kill him from the heat, a chakra construct made to simulate the real element and its real effects to an extent. The benefit of this meant that it could be used anywhere and molding the chakra or changing its properties was so much easier, but it was dependent on chakra reserves, costly, and if the chakra was stripped from it then every drop vanished.

Sensing chakra was something most shinobi couldn’t do either, unless it was in very high amounts and almost to the point where it was visible. And, while a normal Genin would need to declare the name of the technique to focus on crafting it, Fuu didn’t need to even whisper as her chakra clung to the moisture in the air and pulled it towards her outstretched hand. It coalesced and was made harder as it formed a blade, perfect for a stealth-kill.

With the Water Slicing Sword in hand, one of the first techniques she learned, Fuu descended upon the Jounin like a Grim Reaper as his flames died with the rest of her bugs. He looked up from either her shadow being cast or the break in the rain above him. But it was too late. The blade was swung with all the strength her lithe body could offer and drew an arch through the falling rain as it came around to cleave his head open….

It passed through. As though she was cutting down a ghost there wasn’t any noticeable resistance as the Jounin’s facsimile vanished. She landed into a botched roll and ended back up on her feet while trying to ignore the pain in her shoulder as she looked around for the bastard.

“Pathetic.” Suika’s voice came from behind her. She swung the blade around on reflex to meet the source. He grabbed her Water Slicing Sword with his right hand, the fingers closing in on the flat sides. He then lowered it, bringing his left fist around to her cheek and knocking her down to the soggy ground.

On her hands and knees as she tried to pick herself up, he set his foot on her back and pushed her down until she was laying in the wet grass and moist dirt from which earthworms writhed in nature’s shower. No matter what she tried to do, even as chakra gave her strength above a normal twelve year old, she couldn’t stand. All she could do was turn her head, glaring at him with spiteful green eyes.

“You rely too much on your insects,” Suika scolded in his usual apathetic manner. “Your hand-to-hand stunk until just then and your basics still need work if you fell for a Clone and Body Flicker combination. Perhaps you should spend your time doing that rather than reading that orange book….”

Her blush at that was furious and her rage at him was so thick it could be cut with the blade in her hand if she could get a decent angle to use it. Maybe she could get his foot that was on the ground? She contemplated it for a moment and her fingers tensed to move when the sound of clapping came from over the rain and signaled the end of the sparring.

Suien had returned. He was leaning against a tree so the leaves above shielded him from the rain. “That’s enough.”

“Is it done?” Suika asked, removing his foot from her back.

“The incursions have stopped for the moment,” he said. “But they’ll pick back up soon enough. Like I feared, they know the location of the Hero’s Water. That’s what these latest incursions have been about.”

Fuu stood up and rubbed the sore spot where Suika, the douche-bag that he was, had been grinding his foot into. “How do you know that?”

“Just as they have spies in our village we have a share in theirs.” He mused it over. “Well, some coerced civilians and a shinobi of the Leaf village in their ranks that passes along the information, but its close enough to the point. Most likely one of Shibuki’s father’s men told them during the last incident, where they drank the water in its hiding place and then left to fight. I was already on the front-lines, so I was unable to taste it.”

“In that case, shouldn’t we tell Shibuki and get him to move it?” Fuu asked.

Suien shook his head. “No. The Hero’s Water should be moved, but not with Shibuki knowing.”

Fuu looked at him skeptically. From her point of view, that was treason talk. Considering what she had been made to do in the Worm Pit for that sort of thing, she was starting to wonder if he had been replaced by someone in a Transformation.

Perhaps sensing this, he raised his hands in a placating gesture. “Hear me out. We’re the ones defending the village and risking our lives. When was the last time they sent us assistance before the threat was taken care of?”

She thought about it. The answer was maybe once, and that was simply because the enemy was reclusive. The number of times they had been at risk, and she nearly died, were far more than that. “Okay, but what’s the got to do with the Hero’s Water?”

“Who’s better qualified to look after it?” Suien said, gesturing to himself, Suika, and Fuu. “They don’t care about you, but they still throw you to the wolves and expect you to die for something you haven’t even seen. Once it’s taken by the spies, do you really think they’ll just call it a day and let you back into the village?”

A frown formed on her face at that. Shibuki would… would he let her back in? When was the last time he even visited her? Did he even care about her anymore?

“Let’s say I agree with you,” Fuu finally said, “what would I need to do?”

“Talk to Shibuki,” Suien said. “Get him to tell you where the Hero’s Water is. Then leave the rest to us.”


Later that Night

A fly floated in the air above the secluded village almost lazily as it circled around in search for a place to land. A shinobi on guard swatted at it while it buzzed around him, keeping on-guard as silently as he could while the pest annoyed him relentlessly. He remained blissfully unaware as the Jinchuuriki of the Seven-Tailed Beetle slipped past him in the water below.

They had no reason to suspect she’d entered. She hadn’t set foot in the village for a long time. The phrase ‘out of sight, out of mind’ was clearly at play, and she was willing to utilize it to its fullest effect.

Though it did rankle her how easy it was as she swam like a toad beneath the water’s surface with a re-breather in her mouth. Honestly, if she could sneak in this easily then they had gotten lax in their defenses like Suien said. On the other hand, maybe it was because she and the others had been doing such a good job of keeping them safe that they felt the extra work wasn’t worth the effort.

That made it worse that she was being treated like this—isolated from the village when she was the only thing keeping it safe. On her worse days, she honestly wondered why she didn’t let Grass burn this place to the ground. It was then she thought about Shibuki and what he’d meant to her when they were children, before she was taken from his side. Did he even remember her?

She noticed the guards posted around his home, perched on the rooftops above. They were alert, in contrast to the guy she distracted before. That could be a problem. Thankfully, there weren’t any real sensors in the village so her next plan went off without a hitch. Small beetles in the air above them carried small seal slips and she triggered them.

Inside the slips was a sleeping gas, thin enough not to be visible even as they noticed the scent in the air changed. It was a Grass blend, meant to paralyze and put to sleep at the same time. They had taken it from some corpses they looted. They were out cold before they knew it, remaining perched as though nothing was wrong.

Fuu emerged from the water and carefully used a technique to dry her clothes and skin without leaving a puddle behind. She then guided some of her larger insects inside of Shibuki’s home and used them to unlock his door from the inside, not wanting to trip the alarm seals on the window. She closed the door behind her gently and then took a minute to appreciate being in his home for the first time in years. Nothing much seemed to have changed….

She shook her head to avoid falling into the nostalgia trap and went up the wall next to his stairs, not wanting the creaking to give her away. She climbed up to Shibuki’s room and repeated the trick she did before to get his bedroom door open without making too much noise. She shut the door quietly and just stood there, watching him sleep.

Shibuki was sprawled across the surface of his bed, sheets wrinkled beneath him as he snored softly in a shirt and his boxers. The part of her that liked to reminiscence about the old days noticed he hadn’t changed at all in that aspect. Only back then he would have taken up less space and she’d be curled up next to him and fighting in her sleep to get more cover from beneath him. She missed those days a lot.

Her footfalls were soft as she approached his bed and ended up leaning over him while he slept, the light of the moon slipping in through the blinds patterned over them. Her eyes took notice of something she hadn’t in the distance. To her surprise, he had gotten… handsome, if she had to put it into words.

The part of her undergoing puberty brought thoughts of the orange book, leaving them flashing across her mind, and she inadvertently licked her lips. The moment the rational part of her mind kicked in at the realization of what she was doing her face turned red and flushed. She ended up letting an embarrassed noise slip out of her mouth.

Shibuki’s eyes snapped open with that sound. She placed a hand over his mouth before he could yell or anything, giving his eyes time to adjust to room and see her holding a finger to her mouth. His eyes darted around to see if anyone else was there before he nodded.

She lifted her hand from his mouth and sat down on his bed. “Been a while, hasn’t it Chibi-buki?”

Shibuki sat up. “How did you get in?”

“Your guards were asleep on the job,” she told him while kicking her feet back and forth lazily. “Snuck in that way. Really, you need better security if I can get in this easily.”

“I’ll talk to them in the morning.” He rubbed his eyes and then gave Fuu a once over, almost the same way she had done to him.

An impish smile came across her face and she leaned closer, giving him a better look. “See something you like?”

He blushed for a moment and shook his head. “No, it’s just… you’ve gotten bigger.”

“Well, of course I have. I’ve been fighting to keep the village safe all the time.” Her smile turned into a pout. “Speaking of which, you know about the spies?”

Shibuki nodded, and a bitter expression formed on his face as he crossed his legs. “I’ve read the reports from Suien. Hard to believe it sometimes with how peaceful things are inside the village.”

“Yeah, because I’ve been trying my hardest to protect it,” Fuu said, bringing her hands to her bare arms between the arm warmers and her shoulders. “It’s been harder than you could imagine. The things I’ve seen, the things I’ve done, the pain I’ve gone through… because they want the Hero’s Water.”

He looked guilty at that. “Fuu, I swear if there was another way—”

“You don’t know what it’s like.” She grabbed his hand with her own and raised it to her chest, holding it tightly between her fingers. It felt surprisingly calloused, like he had been training with a sword. “Shibuki, when was the last time you’ve had to kill a man? Feeling the blood drip down from the kunai into your hands, and then watching as thousands of insects tear them apart in order to hide the bodies?”

He paled.

“That’s the sort of things I’ve had to look at constantly,” she continued. To her surprise, her voice was growing hoarse as the truth mixed in. She lowered her hand to where her seal was. “I wasn’t even ten when I was expected to learn how to access the Seven-Tails’ chakra or risk being eaten by spiders, and then the killing and torturing before I had even turned eleven.”

“Fuu, I know it’s hard—”

“No, you don’t!” She didn’t mean to nearly yell at him, but it came out with the tears. “You turned me into a kunoichi, a killer… a weapon for the village… I tell myself every night that I cry myself to sleep that you would make it go away and tell me I’ve done enough, but the next day it starts again.”

She curled up and cried like she hadn’t done in over a year, not since the boy whose throat she slit for merely being related to a traitor. “I’m always fighting, and killing, and hurting others, all because of Tana and his bakery. Suien and Suika are relentless and tell me to follow orders, but how can I be so blindly loyal to a village that treats me like a walking plague?”

He said nothing, though he should. He was the village’s leader and those words were tantamount to treason. But he didn’t. Instead, he wrapped his arms around her in a hug.

Please, Shibuki.” She begged him, nestling her face against his chest and holding him tight. “At least show me what I’m fighting for. Let me see with my own eyes what I’m killing others for left and right? Give me a reason to keep going!”

Shibuki let her go and stood up off the bed. He walked towards the wall, stopping and bringing a hand to his face in thought. She figured it was eating him up on the inside.

Fuu kept crying, not only out of the truth of her words, but hatred at herself for what she was doing. She knew how soft he was. She was playing on his feelings, manipulating him so that his guilt worsened. Even if it was true, she didn’t want to hurt him.

“…Okay, Fuu.” He opened his closet and pulled out some clothes to get dressed. “I’ll show you what you’re fighting for. We’ll need to do this quick, while those guards are asleep. No one else can know.”

“Thank you,” she said, wiping the tears away. Damn Suien and Suika for making her do this to him. “I… thank you, Shibuki. Thank you.”


Inside of the Tree

Fuu silently emerged up from the water and found herself in an underground pocket of air nestled beneath the roots of the great tree. She noticed air must’ve been coming in from above because the water hadn’t risen. Did that mean the tree was hollowed to some extent?

Pwah!” Shibuki gasped as he emerged from the water next to her, shaking his hair. He nodded his head up and to the side. “There, climb up there. The roots will give way to the side.”

She climbed and pushed where he said to. The roots there were thinner, easier to brush aside and slip into. She made to climb further up them… and then thought twice about. Occasionally flirtatious due to puberty, with a fetish for a book she shouldn’t be reading, she might be. A flasher, she was not. She jumped back in the water.

“You first.” He looked confused. Apparently the same thoughts that passed in her mind weren’t even a factor in his. She chalked it up to the orange book she read and clarified. “I’m wearing a skirt, Shibuki.”

His eyes widened in understanding and he blushed again. “Right. I’ll go first.”

He climbed past her, not meeting her eyes, and pushed aside the bundle of supple roots that led further ahead. Fuu walked behind him, using her chakra to make the trip easier. They were near the top of the tree’s interior when they entered into what looked to be a natural chamber inside of it.

“We’re here,” Shibuki said, using the same technique to dry himself off that she did and then heading into the center, where there was a small shrine. And there, hanging beneath a small torii, was what she presumed to be the Hero’s Water.

The liquid was inside of a glass-like gourd bottle, nearly full and crystal-clear. Fuu found it difficult to believe such a thing could be the most valuable treasure in the village. In all honestly, she found it almost sad to think that this could be what Grass was willing to throw their men and women into the grinder for.

Yet, Shibuki held the bottle tenderly between his hands. Not a surprise. His father had died from drinking it the last time. How painful must it have been for him to look at it, knowing that while his father died because of it, he would likely need to use it as well should she fail in her duties?

“This is the Hero’s Water.” He handed it to her. “The liquid inside is produced by the tree every 100 years, or rather that’s how long it takes for enough to accumulate and fill a bottle. It increases one’s chakra output by ten-fold, in exchange for part of their life. It goes without saying that, for a skilled shinobi, so much chakra would allow them to deal with any threat.”

“But is it safe here?” she asked as she twisted it around in her hands. “Everyone knows how sacred this tree is, even if they don’t know it’s here in particular. What’s stopping the spies from finding it eventually? Wouldn’t it be better to move it?”

It was a valid question considering that her insects could have literally crawled through a number of nooks and openings that she noticed. No wonder they didn’t want her in the village—she would have likely have found the place by accident. For Shibuki’s part, he shook his head.

“I can’t let anyone move it, Fuu,” he said. “No one besides me is supposed to know where it is. The reason I’m showing you this is because you asked me to give you a reason for why you fight. I wanted you to see for yourself the three treasures of this village that Father told me was my duty as the leader to protect.”

Her ears perked up. “Three?”

“The first are the people,” he said, gesturing out of the hole towards the village underneath. Fuu personally begged to differ, but he seemed to think otherwise. He gestured to the bottle. “The second is the Hero’s Water, meant to protect the first treasure.”

That made sense, she supposed. “What’s the last?”

He pointed to her. “You, Fuu.”

A flash of surprise came over her face at the thought of being a treasure of the village. Then she recalled what lay inside of her. It wasn’t her, who was the treasure. It was the demon inside of her. Her heart dropped a little at that, knowing he saw her as an object because of what was inside of her.

“So, the Jinchuuriki is the third treasure,” she said, holding the bottle slightly tighter. Part of her wanted to break it, she would admit. It was like he was saying she was no better than it. “I shouldn’t have been surprised. There are only so many of us, aren’t there?”

“None of them could replace you, Fuu.” He took the water from her and set it back in place. “To be honest, the Hero’s Water is also used as a safety measure to suppress the Jinchuuriki should they go out of control. Because we theorize that the tailed-beast inside is able to learn from its hosts, you shouldn’t know at all where it is since it would be the first thing targeted.”

That… complicated things then. If that was true, then she just necessitated the Hero’s Water being moved one way or another. Maybe it would be best if she told Suien not to tell her wherever they were going to hide it. Still, a question came to mind.

“Why show it to me then?” she asked. “I mean, if you had told me back in your room, I would have understood. I… I’m a liability. Logically speaking.”

“Isn’t it obvious?” He took her hands into his gently, kindly. “It’s because I trust you, Fuu. More than anyone else in the world.”

She found herself stunned, heat spreading across her face. Was it puberty again? She shook it away and looked down to the ground. “Y-You do?”

He gently guided her chin up and looked her directly in the eyes, a warm smile on his face. “I’ve missed you, Fuu—seeing you, hearing your voice, holding your hand. You aren’t just any Jinchuuriki, but my best friend in the world. You’ve been there through the good time and the bad, even my father’s death. You haven’t lost control, and you’ve been fighting day and night to protect people who only see the demon and destruction caused in the past. How could I not trust you after all we’ve been through?”

He thought that highly of her, when the truth was so different. She fought not for the people who abandoned her, but because of the memories she had of him. Yet, he believed her to be so pure and noble that she was risking her life for those who shunned her. He thought she was that wonderful of a person with all his heart, enough that he’d….

“Fuu, what’s wrong?” he asked. “You’re crying again.”

“Huh?” She reached up and touched her cheek, only to feel the wet, hot tears on her fingertips. It took her only a moment to realize why.

He trusted her. He trusted her more than anyone else in the world, despite carrying the village’s demon. He was possibly dooming them if she lost control of it by showing her this, but he did it anyway—all so that she felt appreciated.

And she had manipulated him into doing so, betraying their friendship by taking advantage of their bonds. She used those feelings to get what she wanted. She was a horrible friend.

“I’m so sorry …” She trembled in place as the tears flowed even quicker. Her arms wrapped around his back and held him tight as a raw cry came out of her throat. “I’m sorry for not believing in you all this time!

He let her cry on his shoulder without a word until she had no more tears to shed.


End Note: Yeah, sorry for the long delay… I have no excuse barring work is busying.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja 13

Chapter 13: The Calm after the Raging Waters


Author’s Notes: Damn, it doesn’t even feel like a year has passed yet when I look at the last release update I see it has.


On the Seas

The skies above the ocean were calm, azure-blue riddled with patches of white clouds and squalling seagulls. On the small sailing vessel, riding atop the grand ocean between countries, Kushina’s group made towards the Land of Whirlpools. But there was no joy to be found at their homecoming. The atmosphere itself was somber, even as they left the Bloody Mist behind.

Kushina herself stood against the wall of the cabin, looking at the Maiden of the Sea confined to a wheelchair. Tsunade had been clear. Even with chakra to heal and set her bones, it would take time for them to become capable of supporting her body sufficiently again, something about her biology and the extent of the damage being the major factors.

The Kaima Form had saved her life, yes. But it would take longer to heal as a result. She was warned not to do anything strenuous for what could have been months on end. That included swimming, while transforming was outright forbidden and sealed by Kushina.

Despite everything that’s happened to me, the thought of not being able to swim again when the ocean is right in front of me hurts more than anything,’ she had told Kushina as they rolled her onto the boat, just before they left.

Those words haunted Kushina. She had been a shinobi for a long time, and she accepted that there were risks. But, damn it, that didn’t make it any easier. More so when she thought about how none of the kids should have been there in the first place.

“They survived,” Tsunade said from behind her. It was as if she read her mind. “She’ll recover if she takes it easy, and the blonde brat came out without a scratch. That’s more than what can be said for a lot of others involved.”

She would know. Her little brother and fiancé had been claimed during war, beyond even her ability to save. The fact that these two went against another Jinchuuriki, children who had yet to reach the age of eighteen, and survived… it spoke much about their circumstances.

They were strong. If they survived to adulthood, they could become great shinobi.

“It still shouldn’t have come to this,” Kushina said. “Looking back when Naruto was born, he shouldn’t have had to become the fox’s vessel when I was there. And Isaribi-chan was turned into a killer because of someone else’s machinations… even the Three-Tails and its host….”

“Which bodes poorly, all things considered,” Tsunade noted. “If the Mizukage could fall so easily, so could the rest. It’s a horrifying thought.”

“In an ideal world things like this wouldn’t happen.” Her voice came out low, wistful even. “A world where children could live their lives without violence, where they never had to live with knowing what it was like to stain their hands in blood, or the fear that someone would snuff their life out so easily.”

In contrast, Tsunade’s voice was somber. “Unfortunately, a world that nice doesn’t exist. No matter how much we wish for it. The only thing we can do is try to prepare them for the worst life has to offer, and hope that the next generation can make it better.”

A bitter, if true statement, Kushina had to admit.


That Night

Naruto moved through the motions of what taijutsu he knew, spinning from a back-side kick into a leg sweep. Water chakra seeped out as his leg’s tenketsu, transmuting into water that buffeted his imaginary enemy and knocked them asunder. The water splashed against the surface of the boat, moonlight glistening in it as the chakra slowly eroded and dissipated.

“Couldn’t—” Naruto summoned and flung a kunai on reflex at the abrupt sound, only to realize he was about to kill someone he knew after it left his fingers. Luckily, his godfather caught it and continued speaking as though it never happened.”—sleep, huh?”

Naruto fell onto his knees and assumed a pose of supplication. “I-I’m so sorry!”

“It’s fine this time.” The Sage twirled it between his fingers as he approached his godson. “But you’re going to have to wind down. Had that been your injured friend, it’s very likely you would have killed her.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he said shamefully. “I know we’ve left the Mist behind, but I can’t manage to get to any sleep. The nightmares won’t stop….”

“Well, let’s talk about it,” Jiraiya said, sitting lotus position in front of him. He set the kunai down between them, acting as a line. “Tell me about this nightmare.”

Naruto shook his head, bringing his hands around to grasp his arms before curling up. “I keep having the same nightmare, where those Hunters got their hands on me again and tortured me. Then I end up in a sea of blood, trying the break the surface. But, before I can, hands come out from beneath me and try to drag me down. The blood is thick, suffocating, but I can see bodies of people I’ve killed dragging me down, while the people I’ve seen killed float around helpless.”

“Hmm…” The Sage sighed, scratching the back of his head. “If I had to make a recommendation, since we’re out of danger for the foreseeable future, have a seal applied to you before going to bed that cuts off your chakra flow, and keep any and all weapons away from you. It’s the standard order given to people who return home after participating in war, so that they don’t accidentally kill their family members. It’s happened more than once in the past, more often with shinobi around your age.”

“I never thought it would be like this,” Naruto admitted. “I never thought… I’ve killed a lot of people in the last few days alone, even more than I did when I was traveling. It’s different than what I thought it would be like in the Academy.”

“How did you see being a shinobi back when you were in the Academy?” Jiraiya asked.

“A hero,” he said. “Someone who people looked up to in the village. The Hokage is the greatest shinobi in the village, and I wanted the same.”

The Sage’s brows crinkled in thought before he spoke. “Do you know why most shinobi are enrolled so young?” When Naruto shook his head, he continued. “It’s because of that belief. Most civilians are blissfully ignorant about the full details of what it entails, especially since we’re in a time of peace. Even then, it’s one thing to know about it and another to experience it first-hand.

“Here’s the thing, Naruto. Shinobi aren’t heroes in the sense you’re thinking. They’re soldiers. It’s not to say that they can’t become heroes, but those seen as such are often heroes of war and they earn that title more often than naught by spilling blood or stopping blood from being spilled. Your father would be the former, while Tsunade would be the latter. ”

Naruto seemed horrified at the mention. He had thought the Fourth was a hero and a loving parent from what his Mother told him. Then again, who was he to argue? He left a trail of corpses behind in the Mist and the bloodline woman had told him that it was thanks to him them the country could start fresh. Did that make him a hero in the same vein?

“Sad to say, this is one of the best case scenarios,” Jiraiya continued. “Your mother gave you a choice on whether or not to participate in the last fight. Because you made the choice yourself, you’ll know exactly why you did it and know that it was because you thought it was the best option at the time. Normally most enlisted don’t get that option. Typically, the commanding shinobi issues a command to strike and you obey. That’s when things get tricky.”

“What do you mean?” Naruto asked.

“It starts out hard the first time,” he explained. “At first it’s a usually a choice between whether you want to live or die, have someone under your care live or die, or whether you disobey a command from your superior. In most villages, especially during times of war, disobeying the commander can mean being executed, so that brings you back to the first case. After that, it’s about preserving your life in the battlefield—kill or be killed.”

The Sage looked out to the sea, dotted with rays from the moonlight that gleamed off the dark surface. “When the conflict ends, you receive counseling from either a jounin or specialist to help you rationalize it, turning an act of self-preservation into an act of loyalty to the village and keeping your loved ones safe. Those that can cope remain in active duty, those that can’t usually go into the reserve unit where their clearance and training won’t go to waste. Retiring prematurely is a frowned upon and results in being dishonorably discharged by having your chakra network sealed off and seals are applied to prevent secrets from being leaked. The only time it is truly acceptable is if you’ve had at least ten years of loyal service or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty.”

Naruto frowned at the thought of the Old Man doing something like that. “Does that apply to our village as well?”

Jiraiya nodded without hesitation. “Remember, our villages came about during times of war that make what you went through relatively tame. Don’t get me wrong, war is war no matter the era, but at least on the battlefield you can see the enemies in front of you.”

“It’ll never end,” Naruto realized.

Jiraiya, surprisingly, shook his head. “Little-by-little, things are improving. In our generation, Tsunade came up with the concept of having a medic on a squad and other nations adopted similar tactics, reducing the body count. Your father helped end the war sooner by keeping Kumo’s Jinchuuriki in check, which bought the current era of peace alongside countless others. One day, maybe we’ll grow past the need for war entirely.”

“…Maybe,” Naruto agreed, after a pause.

Jiraiya reached into his pocket for a small scroll and unraveled it, revealing it to be a sealing scroll. He withdrew an ink pot and sealing paper and drew on it. “In the meantime, drink some lavender tea to relax and then press this against your chest as you sleep, just beneath your shirt.”

He took the seal without a word.


At the Hidden Mist

The mist felt cool against Haku’s skin as he stood in front of a specific grave, erected hastily but crafted delicately out of solid stone. It was Villa’s cenotaph. How bitter it was that such a simple thing could encompass how short her life had been. Or the fact that there was a number more lining both sides, all people killed for reasons beyond their control and a belief stemming from difference of power.

He didn’t stir when he heard footsteps approaching, soft and calculated. Instead, he remained where he was as the newly-instated Mizukage placed flowers on the grave. Haku had only known the child for so long and felt the weight of her death, so he imagined the pain she felt was as heavy and deep as the depths of the ocean.

“…Kushina contacted me,” Mei said after a moment of silence, breaking the somber quiet. “They made it back to their home. That girl will recover too, in time. It’ll take a few months, but she’ll be able to walk again. I thought you should know.”

“It’s good news,” he said. “Thank you, Ma’am.”

Mei shifted the topic with that. “About my previous offer, have you given it some thought?”

He looked down to the mask she held out with both hands, as though it was an offering. It was similar to the one had worn when masquerading as a Hunter-nin native to their country.

“If you want to say no, I won’t blame you,” she told him. “You’ve done more than your share of fighting, and I’ll always be grateful for you and the others help in stopping Yagura. But I won’t lie when I say that your help would be immensely welcomed. There are so few bloodline users left, let alone those as capable as you are.”

“What rank would I be?” he asked.

“Officially, you’d be a Special Jounin. Zabuza himself felt that it was more appropriate. Unofficially, when the mask is on, you’ll be a Hunter-nin that reports directly to me. There are still rogues out there that need to be taken care of before we can lift the bloody mist covering our lands, and I want it cleaned up fast enough to host the Chuunin Exams in a few months. ”

“Are we really in any position to host it?”

“I plan on making a petition to do so,” she said. “I believe Sand is where it should be hosted this year, but they’ve recently gone through a bit of crisis not unlike our own. I have no doubt that word will get around that we’ve just been through a civil war, and people use the exams as an excuse to personally look into it and learn whether or not we’re vulnerable for a strike.”

It took Haku only a moment to realize where she was going. “But if you’re hosting the exams you can show that our country isn’t divided anymore, that we’re strong, and the exams are a substitute for war to do exactly that.”

She nodded. “The contracts from a good showing will ensure work, and any spies will be subsequently eliminated to send a message and weaken others in turn by taking away their assets. I’ll also be getting in touch with some very important figures from Konoha to talk an arrangement, in secret of course.”

Haku took a deep breath. He never liked the role he had been played, or death and violence. But… but he was needed. More blood would need to be spilled to clear away what was already there. At least for a little while longer.

He took the mask and slipped it on, hiding his face behind its smooth surface. “What do you need me to do first?”


At Konoha

Within a training field in the Hidden Leaf village, the group of Genin continued their collaborative training efforts on behalf of their Jounin instructors. The Chuunin Exam promotions had been canceled, for lack of a better term. There was too much interference for it to have been judged fairly, and they were supposedly still sorting things out. That meant they’d have to excel during the next exams if they wanted to bump their ranks up, barring a private promotion.

It didn’t personally matter to Sasuke, who was held his new sword in a reverse grip. Rank or no rank, he had to be stronger than he was now. Stronger than his brother. Tongues electricity streamed along the edge of his blade in branching forks that seemed to taint the air around him with the scent of ozone.

The sounds of crashing earth and ragged snarls reminded him that he was not alone and drew his eyes towards the others. Some of them were training harder than others. Kiba, for example, was sparring with his transformed hound, Akamaru. Their bodies spun like drills and crashed into each other before being rebuffed and then careening off to the side, only to come around again. Which one was the man and which one was the beast only became harder to tell as they both ended up snarling in the same manner.

Neji was practicing his family’s fighting style against an anatomically correct training dummy, while his cousin Hinata was chatting with some girl that their sensei had brought along, Yakumo something or other. That Tenten girl was experimenting with some kind of weapon that had a seal impressed in the metal, and Rock Lee was… well, being Rock Lee.

Sai was drawing something on a scroll, while saying something that aggravated Sakura into clenching her fist. Sasuke wasn’t really listening over the crackle of his sword. Then the pale boy looked up and smiled with a fake smile, only aggravating her further until the quiet Aburame held her back from trying to hit him.

Sasuke shifted back into his stance and went through the motions of swinging his sword at an opponent. He couldn’t use his brother for image-training, at least not appropriately. He hadn’t seen him fight in years, and he would only be setting himself up for failure when that day did come and his brother moved differently. Instead, he went a single notch above his skill set and pictured Naruto.

He stiffed at the thought that Naruto, the Dead Last of the class, had gotten stronger than him. Despite being on the run and without a village backing him, even accounting for the demon fox that sat inside of his stomach, he was stronger than him. It rankled him from a point of pride and practicality, but his head snapped up when he heard Kakashi dully clapping his hands together to grab their attention.

“Everyone, fall in at the center of the field,” he said as he drew a line in the ground with his foot. “We have a guest here today who’ll be helping you with your training, which will be to avoid getting knocked out or thrown past this line.”

As Team 7, Team 8, and Team Gai stood at attention, an elderly man with grey hair wrapped in a short ponytail approached. He wore a mesh armor shirt beneath a short, tanned sleeveless kimono with worn grey pants. And… was that a giant wok on his back, with a ladle of all things?

“Good afternoon,” he said, dabbing his forehead with a damp cloth. “I’ve been wanting to meet the youngsters of the last generation. Let’s get along for now.”

“This is Kosuke Maruboshi, also known as the Eternal Genin because he’s held the rank for the last fifty or so years. He’ll be your sparring partner for the next…” Kakashi trailed off, looking over his shoulder to Kurenai and Gai. “How long do you think they’ll last? I’m thinking about five minutes.”

“I must agree with my eternal rival on that assessment,” Gai added.

Kurenai gave him a sharp look, as if saying he should have more faith in them. “Ten minutes.”

Kakashi turned back to the other Genin and tilted his hand back and forth. “Ehh, we’ll call it seven minutes. If you last that long, we’ll go and get steak on my dime—the good stuff.”

“Sweet!” Kiba grinned as the older man approached. Sasuke could see it on his face what was going through his mind: an old guy the same rank as them wouldn’t stand a chance if they went all out at once. He crouched down and made a hand seal. “Let’s settle this in a single blow, Akamaru!”

The transformed hound mirrored his partner and chakra surged through their muscles and skin, strengthening them to withstand the intense rotations as they lunged forward and spun. Twin drills cut through the air and in an arch, centering on the old man. “Fang Over Fang!

The old man reached back for his wok, chakra-streaming what looked to be earth-chakra into it, and then swung it left and right, hitting them both with a loud, gong-like sound that rang out both times as it vibrated in his hands. The two spinning drills jerked off their path and careened into the dirt next to him, throwing a spray of stone and earth as they carved a long scar into the ground before coming to a stop more than thirty feet away.

“You shouldn’t be so hasty and headstrong,” said the old—Maruboshi as he continued to wipe his forehead with a damp cloth. “Inuzuka are meant to work in tandem with their allies, blindsiding the enemy while their distracted. Also, you’ll need to tighten your rotations per second to be able to penetrate the most basic of earth-chakra enhanced items.”

“Ugh… Old Dude’s got moves…” Kiba wheezed, accompanied by a whine from Akamaru as they both remained splayed on the ground. The rest decided to take him a bit more seriously after that, slipping into fighting stances.

Sasuke activated his Sharingan just in time to see as the old man change the battlefield. Almost instantly he stomped his foot on the ground and spread his earth-chakra through it in a wave, creating a large cavity beneath the surface barring a single column just below him.

Sasuke jumped away from the area before nature took its course and the cavity filled itself by collapsing the ground above. The rest followed with the exception of Kiba and Akamaru, both still dizzy from the impact and crash. Unable to leap away, the pair fell down with a cry and bark, heavy stones around them getting ready to collapse on top of them while they were defenseless.

Hinata rushed to catch the falling pair alongside her teammate, the Aburame. Sasuke saw the chakra looping around them like a lasso, connecting them to the older man, and tried to warn them. But the warning came too late as the Inuzuka pair was displaced by the Substitution technique and the old man was in front of them with the wok chambered. The hit that came was hard enough that it sent Hinata, who had raised her hands in defense, into the quiet Aburame and then them both flying off. They both flipped over, looking like they would recover and plant their feet on the ground, but he spat out a Water Bullet that caught them in the abdomen and pushed them out of bounds.

Sakura winced next to Sai as he took to the air almost immediately on an ink drawing come to life, his brush working on another masterpiece to join in the fray. That ended when the old man made a few hand signs and pulled a Water Dragon Bullet out of thin air. Seriously, that was some bullshit considering he watched Kakashi go through forty-something seals to get that same result while standing on a ton of water.

The dragon actually roared, lunged, and then swallowed the ink-user and his creation whole. Sasuke could see him inside of its elongated body as the dragon circled around for more. “Move!”

Sakura did as told, leaping out of the way as it came around for the two of them. It missed them, but Kiba and Akamaru weren’t so lucky as it continued on. Even though they recovered enough to stand, they couldn’t move fast enough to avoid it taking them in as well.

The dragon surged past the boundary line before dispersing, depositing the three out of the combat area. Just like that, they were down by five in less than a minute. And he still wasn’t done, flinging a shuriken towards Team Gai and making hand seals.

The one shuriken became one-hundred, all launching towards to them. Tenten unleashed a load of condensed charka to bat aside the ones aiming towards her, Neji released chakra from all his tenketsu and spun around to deflect them, and Rock Lee jumped into the air to go over them all.

The old man targeted Tenten first, appearing next to her in a Body Flicker and tossing her in a swift motion towards Neji, who was still spinning. Hitting the Kaiten would be like hitting a spinning wheel, tearing flesh from bone and sending her askew with several injuries she wouldn’t recover from easily. Neji had no choice but to drop it to avoid hurting her and the old man made him pay for it.

A quick Water Wall technique leapt from his mouth, creating a raging torrent of water that bowled both Tenten and Neji over. She managed to plant her weapon in the ground and held onto it for dear life to remain fixed in place, but it washed Neji away until he was soaked and past the line as well. That was six down.

Rock Lee made himself known again, coming down from his aerial jump with a fist chambered. Maruboshi dodged as the ground beneath him was destroyed in a cloud of dirt and dust with a punch. The Green Beast of Konoha broke through the cloud while rotating, allowing the spinning kick to carry him forward through the motions.

Just as it looked like the kick would land home, Maruboshi sank into the ground as the earth parted beneath his feet from the Hiding like a Mole technique. No sooner than Rock Lee planted both feet on the ground to move again did a pair of hands pop out and pulled him under as the ground softened to swallow him and then hardened again, leaving only his head sticking out.

“This will not hold me—” His words were cut off when the old man tossed an egg that had been hollowed out in his face and the powder inside covered it. The moment Rock Lee breathed it in, he fell unconscious. Must’ve been sleeping powder.

He then turned to Tenten, who didn’t dare use that chakra technique against him while Rock Lee’s head was in the firing line, and drew his Tanto. He began to wave it around and the number of blades increased. It was an illusion from what Sasuke could see, woven from Yin Chakra that wreathed the weapon to copy its image and then spread out into a web of nodes, marking where each illusionary copy would appear.

The feints left her with small cuts amassing from where he landed his strikes, avoiding any major damage but showing. He was fast for a man of his age. The moment Tenten tried to leap back, flinging kunai to get some breathing room, the projectiles hit a log and he hit her from behind with an absolutely brutal kick angled to send here their way.

Sasuke dodged, leaving her for Sakura to catch while he rushed in with sword in hand. Lightning crackled along the edge as he swung it, combining it with kicks and rotations. The old man avoided them for the most part, but he was slowing down. It was only a matter of time.

At least that was what he thought until Maruboshi hooked the tanto’s blade down behind the butt of his sword, preventing Sasuke from pulling back and avoiding the lightning focused on the blade. Sasuke moved to kick him away, but his other hand came up and threw dirt into his eyes.

Blinded and in pain, he lashed out only to be caught square in the cheek. Judging from the smooth metal and the gong-like sound that grew distant as he flew, he assumed it was the wok. Then he came down to earth, feeling the coarse ground grinding against his stomach and chest as he came to a skidding stop.

“Cheap… shot…” he murmured, trying to rise onto to his feet as he wiped at his eyes furiously. A blast of water caught him in the face, gagging him momentarily but clearing out the dirt so he could open his eyes again. He was over the line.

Sakura and Tenten followed not even three seconds later.

“And… that’s three minutes.” Kakashi noted, looking at a stopwatch he pulled out of his pouch. “Okay, so what did we all learn today?”

“I believe ‘Fear the Elderly’ would be appropriate,” Sai said. Kiba, Rock Lee, and even Shino agreed with nods of their heads.

Kakashi also nodded his head slightly. “True, but the correct answer would be not to underestimate someone based on their rank. Maruboshi here has served under virtually every Hokage since the Second, who was renowned for his mastery of water techniques among other things, making him one of the most experienced shinobi in the village.”

“Why the hell is he a Genin then?” Kiba asked. It was a reasonable question.

“Penitence,” the old man said. “I was arrogant when I was younger, and it cost my teammates their lives. I didn’t feel that a promotion was something I was worthy of, but the Second insisted that I continued to improve my skills. Not bad for an old timer who’s missing a foot, right?”

“In short, rank does not determine one’s abilities,” Kurenai said as she helped her students up, knowing the shame they must’ve felt at being dismissed first from the fight. “So even if you don’t pass the next exam, that doesn’t mean you’re less than the effort you put in towards your training.”

“That is correct!” Gai chimed in, Rock Lee slung over his shoulder and still unconscious. “Perhaps you can give them some advice so that the flames of their youth will burn brighter the next time?”

Maruboshi scratched his chin in thought. “Teamwork would be the key here for them all,” he noted. “The young Uchiha spotted my first technique before it had gone off. Had he warned them they would have moved fast enough that perhaps they could have saved the Inuzuka pair. The second mistake was going to retrieve them once the technique was finished and leaving themselves open for me to eliminate them as well.”

“But we’re taught to protect our comrades,” Hinata said. Shino nodded.

“And I capitalized on it,” he pointed out. “Mind you, had the young Inuzuka not rushed in so headstrong they wouldn’t have ended up in that situation, but this was sparring practice so I wouldn’t have permanently harmed them.”

He pointed to Sai, Kiba, and Neji next. “After the more troublesome ones were eliminated, I took out the one who could add to their numbers with his drawings to keep reinforcements from arriving, the other two while they were weak and vulnerable, and utilized the risk of friendly fire to eliminate the one whose defenses would be the most difficult.”

“…an understandable means of battling superior opponents,” Neji reluctantly admitted.

“The rest were orthodox in execution,” he finished, looking at Tenten. “Your focus on weapons is admirable. They’re practical and efficient, focusing on substance rather than flash without being chakra-intensive. But you relied too much on the seal imbued on it to store and release it as a weapon. Such a thing should be reserved as a fatal blow or a surprise, not an impromptu shield.”

“You didn’t exactly leave me with that opportunity,” she pointed out. “And you were already aware of it after that and had Lee in the range of fire, so I couldn’t surprise you with it.”

“That’s what illusions are for,” he said, nodding his head towards Kurenai and the Yakumo girl. “If you’re going to collaborate for group training then you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help in learning a method to get over those weaknesses. Those two are proficient enough with yin-chakra and illusions that they could teach you something similar to my own technique.”

Last he faced Sasuke, who tensed. “Well?”

“The Uchiha are a well-known bloodline with well-noted weaknesses,” he immediately pointed out. “No one who sees those eyes or hears your last name will risk facing you alone unless they have a plan, have no other choice, or are overconfident. I chose the former approach, but in a two-on-one fight or against someone capable of creating solid clones, you’ll be at a disadvantage at best. You need to work on your teamwork skills, understand?”

“Yes,” Sasuke said. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

He nodded his head and then turned to Jounin. “Is that good enough?”

“Yes. I believe the lesson will stick.”

Kiba raised his hand. “So, do we not get that steak or what?”

Kakashi rubbed the back of his head. “Well, you didn’t last very long, so…”

Maruboshi laughed. “How about I whip up something? A wok is made for cooking after all, and you pick up a lot of skills when you’ve been around as long as I have.”

As it turned out, he was a very capable cook too, Sasuke grudgingly admitted. Even as he coped with the shame of being beaten by a wok. It could have been worse, after all.

It could have been the ladle.


Notes: Okay, just a breather chapter after the last arc ended. More to come eventually, looking at things in Suna. And yes, Kosuke is filler, but he’s the good kind that can be exploited for a story.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja Revision: Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Tsunade’s Return and Konoha Revisited


Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/6/15

Beta: Bluemew22


“The person you are retrieving is Tsunade Senju,” Sarutobi told Anko and Hinata, who had both been summoned to his office. “She was one of my students, the legendary Slug Princess, one of the Sannin…and hopefully the next Hokage.”

As the two women were stunned with what they were just informed of, he took a deep breath and smiled. “As for who you are escorting, he’s standing behind you.” Out from the shadows stepped a legendary, super-pervert. “I want you two to meet Jiraiya the Toad Sage, also one of the Sannin, one of my students, and… Naruto’s godfather.”

Things were quiet until sound of Anko’s kunai hitting the floor rang throughout the room.

“What? Toad got your tongues?” Jiraiya chuckled. Normally women didn’t respond to his identity with silence… normally there was hitting, screaming, and death threats.

“I am surprised that you didn’t do your… introduction, Jiraiya.” Sarutobi noted humorously. “Normally you wouldn’t pass up the chance.”

The hermit sage sighed. “Not until I find the brat,” he said somberly. Hinata’s ears twitched when she figured he was talking about Naruto. “But before that, we need to go get Tsunade before she gets too far away from my sources.”

“Indeed…” Sarutobi sighed, before looking at the two who were starting to regain their cognitive abilities. “Anyway, as I have said, this is a C-ranked escort mission. The two of you will be escorting Jiraiya to a neighboring village where Tsunade is supposedly… indulging in her habits.”

Jiraiya nodded. “The location isn’t far. It’s about three days to get there, about ten more to convince Tsunade to return, and then five to get back if we have to drag her. The girl can train along the way for the Chuunin Exams.”

Anko shook her head. “Wait… why does one of the Sannin need anyone… let alone only us?”

“We’re trying to keep the fact that Tsunade and I are going to be here a secret for a few reasons. I’ve heard about your skills,” he nodded to Anko, “and I could use an extra set of eyes,” he nodded to Hinata.


Someplace near Suna

Naruto and Kushina had begun the final leg of their training in Suna.

After agreeing to Chiyo’s request, she took them to a private stretch of rocky outcropping that held a small oasis and was away from the village’s routes, so they that they wouldn’t be seen during their training. Kushina and Chiyo realized that Gaara wouldn’t likely just sit still while they tampered with his seal, and quickly assumed it would lead to a fight. Fighting a Jinchuuriki, especially one who isn’t exactly sane, tended to rate pretty high on the scale of suicidal actions.

Chiyo fighting Gaara would be out of the question. While she was skilled, she was a puppeteer, meaning she normally controlled her puppets from a safe distance and hidden, while they dealt with the threat. However, Gaara’s sand and automatic defenses weren’t to be underestimated, and at her age it would have been impossible to avoid completely.

Kushina was also out of the question. She could tie him down, but unlike the fox, he had that sand shield which moved regardless of the boy’s will and would lash out at her before she could apply the seal. Also, considering his unstable nature, he may go full Tailed-Beast form, which would be as bad as the attack on the night Naruto was born, and she needed to conserve her chakra to hold him down.

As much as Kushina hated to say it, she knew that her son was the only one who could fight him. When one Jinchuuriki goes berserk, either a Kage or another Jinchuuriki was sent to stop them.

Naruto had taken a few days of counseling from his mother to get over the fact that he saw someone die like that. After that, he pretty much agreed wholeheartedly once Chiyo explained the type of life Gaara had. Naruto pretty much guessed that’s exactly how he would have turned out if Sarutobi, Iruka, Teuchi, and Ayame weren’t there.

But all parties pretty much agreed that Naruto was in no condition to even hope of going against Gaara in his current state. He wasn’t fast enough. He wasn’t proficient enough in using his element. He couldn’t beat Gaara as he was.

To that end, Chiyo had called in a favor to a young girl she knew that was proficient in using the wind element…

“OW!” the young Jinchuuriki cried. He and about thirty clones had just gotten the crap kicked out of them by said girl with a single attack that knocked them into the rocky wall a few dozen meters away.

“Chisaki,” Chiyo called. “Try not to give the original one brain damage. Trying to explain the basics to him is hard enough already as is… ”

“I’m trying not to Chiyo-baa-sama, but he’s not using the Wind Scythe Jutsu properly,” the older teen responded. “And I’m not even using the larger fans like Temari-chan.”

Aiding him in his training was an older teenage girl with pink hair that reminded Naruto of Sakura’s. She didn’t wear as much make-up, dressed in a black-sleeveless shirt that pressed against her well-endowed assets, and a red skirt that went to her knees, with tights underneath and combat sandals.

In her hands were two War Fans, which were small and made of iron, for durability, and had sharp tips for hand-to-hand combat. She demonstrated by pounding about fifty of his clones in combat as a warm up and finishing the remaining fifty with a Wind Scythe Jutsu. She could also use chakra flow with wind chakra to extend the cutting range from the tips.

In order for Naruto to gain more experience in using wind techniques, they felt it was best to let him experience it first-hand… by beating it into him. While they weren’t going to teach him something like the Wind Style: Wind Dragon Bullet yet, since he really didn’t have the control for it, they needed to teach him how to use the air around him as a weapon.

Normally they use fans to create gusts and then use normal chakra to shape the wind at lower levels without any hand seals, only using wind chakra to add cutting properties to it. However, Naruto practically destroyed the fans they gave him to practice with by trying to use chakra flow, and they weren’t made for someone with his lack of control and large amounts. The gales he created didn’t so much as lack force as they did direction and concentration, allowing Chisaki’s attacks to pierce them easily.

Luckily, that’s where Gen’s new, custom weapons came in.

Naruto’s weapon was a small chakra conducting blade with the Uzushio symbol on the slightly wide mouth of the blade, and nine red stripes along the length of the black blade, which was about a foot, while the hilt was about six inches. It was similar to the ones mass produced in Konoha, but aesthetics aside, this one would split from one thick blade into nine thin blades in a fan pattern and then shape the chakra flowing through it into the fan itself.

Kushina’s weapon was basically two, orange-colored, three-inch thick disks, about a foot in diameter each, held together by a small cylinder in the center that could detach them with a twist… in other words a big yoyo, with the symbol of Uzushio on it. When chakra was infused, it created a circular chakra blade from the space between the disks and rotated, creating a saw that could cut through solid matter with ease, and when a chakra chain was attached it became a flail-like weapon that could attack as far as she could extend the chains. If water chakra was infused, it could wash away other sources of chakra, like the kind being used to maintain a jutsu.

Both of the weapons had seals from Kushina designed to maintain the flow of chakra and redirect them, allowing them to withstand even Naruto’s poor control and channel their respective elements better. Gen’s creations were named by their owners: The “Nine-Tailed Fan” and the “Whirlpool Yo-Yo,” both designed personally for the two of them.

“We at least want him able to do the Wind Scythe Jutsu, the Sand Storm Jutsu, and the Wind Style: Cross Gales Jutsu by the time the Chuunin Exams start,” Chisaki added. “Shadow clones or not, it’ll take him some time to get used to controlling the air using fans since he’s use to getting up close, and unless someone like that girl from Nadeshiko Village pops up, we’ve got to work with what we’ve got.”

“Naru,” Kushina called out to him while he was shaking his head to stop the spinning. “I want you to make two hundred more clones. Half on the Chakra Chain Jutsu, the other half wall climbing the rocks.”

“Add some more for me to beat on—I mean teach,” Chisaki corrected herself. It has been awhile since I’ve tried a few of my other techniques…

“Don’t forget some more chakra control exercises,” Chiyo mentioned. “Have about five of your clones watch him so he doesn’t slack off. The rest need to be divided into using Chakra Threads, studying the finer details of puppeteer arts, and your own chakra control exercises. ”

“Right,” she nodded, before looking back over to him. “Make it five hundred!”

The boy silently swore.


Outside Konoha

“J-Jiraiya-sama,” Hinata addressed the Toad Sage, before dodging a kunai from Anko for stuttering. “How are you… Naruto-kun’s godfather? I thought he was an orphan?”

Jiraiya looked at her somberly and sighed. “I knew his parents… they were good people, but after they died it was decided to keep them a secret for his own safety. They had a lot of enemies.”

“Then, did you know about the abuse?” Anko said in an emotionless voice.

He glared at her, but shook off his rage. “I didn’t, and when I learned he was missing and what had happened, I was going to kill every single one of them until sensei calmed me down,” Jiraiya said, leaking killing intent that made the two nearly fall of the tree branch they had just hopped on.

“Truthfully, I should have been watching over him, but my writing career aside, I was working on tracking down a snake you should be familiar with…” Anko got the message. “If I had known, I would have fed them to the mountain toad and took Naruto along with me instead of allowing that to happen.”

Minato and Kushina would be ashamed of me… Jiraiya thought silently. “My spy network is spread thin tracking down the snake and a group he was associated with consisting of several dangerous people. I wanted to use them to find Naruto, but in the process I learned the snake had something planned soon, but I’m not sure what, and I don’t want to take him on alone if I could help it.”

“That’s where the other Sannin comes in,” Anko figured. If one Sannin was planning something, then having two to face him would be a smart idea.

Jiraiya nodded. “Sensei is getting along in years and Tsunade is the only one capable of replacing him at the moment.”

Anko tilted her head. “What about you?”

“Hehehe…” Jiraiya chuckled. “Surely you know of my reputation and what I do for a living aside from being a shinobi. If I take the hat, there’ll be a riot.”

“Reputation?” Hinata wondered aloud.

Anko sighed. “He’s known as one of the biggest perverts—”

“Super-Pervert,” Jiraiya corrected without shame.

“—super perverts in the 5 nations and writes those orange books that Kakashi reads.”

“… I see…” Hinata said softy, losing a healthy amount of respect for the man. She had by chance had her bloodline activated and skimmed a few sentences while near Kakashi.

She then attempted to use her “Scarlet Gentle Fist” on it and reduce to ashes before Kakashi dodged.

“Relax, I won’t bother with writing the next one until I find Naruto,” his eyes narrowed. “Once Tsunade takes the hat, I’ll go out and personally search for him. Once I do find him, I’ll take him with me and train him.”

Hinata was somewhat relieved a legendary shinobi would go so far for Naruto, but there was something else on her mind. “… will you bring him back to the village?”

Jiraiya stopped in his tracks. “… I don’t know. He’s technically safer in the village for a few reason—” he raised his hand to stop their complaints, “—even with the abuse, there are far worse people who are going to come after him because of the fox. But I’m afraid of leaving him there because I’ve seen how Jinchuuriki eventually react to the abuse.”

“There are others?” Hinata asked.

“The Kyuubi is the strongest of all the known chakra demons, including the nine various Tailed-Beasts, the Bijuu.” Jiraiya started moving again with the girls in tow. “Normally their identities are kept a secret from other villages, but during a previous war, someone I knew met one who was treated somewhat decently in Kumo and had the Eight-Tailed Ox, the Hachibi. I also heard rumors about the Two-Tailed Cat, the Nibi.”

“There are nine?” Anko stared. “And two of them are in Kumo!”

“The kidnapping attempts on various Konoha members aside,” he sympathetically nodded to Hinata, “they have the best reputation for treating Jinchuuriki as equals.”

Hinata was silent. The village that tried to kidnap her when she was younger actually treated people like Naruto better than her own village. That was very disappointing.

“Anyway,” Jiraiya continued, bring them back on topic. “Not only do Jinchuuriki have high chakra reserves, but some have bloodline abilities and all of them can go through a transformation. The first stage is when they gain a cloak of chakra and the closer the number of tails to the total they manifest, the stronger they get but they become more hostile and irrational.”

“You said first stage…” Anko whispered. “There’s more?”

“There’s the second stage, where the body is altered to become more like the beast and far more powerful than their cloaks alone, partial transformations where they change a part of their body into the beast’s, and finally they go full Bijuu. A Kage-level shinobi alone can probably fight up to a certain point, but it’s a long shot regardless—and you do not want to be on the receiving end of a Tailed-Beast Ball. Those things can level mountains and force you to redraw a map… ”

“And people actually antagonize them?” Anko said in shock. “Dumbasses! All of them! The boy should’ve killed a few them to get the message across.”

“If he did that, the council would’ve had Naruto killed and I would’ve killed them, leading to another S-rank missing-nin from Konoha. The only reason most Jinchuuriki don’t go rogue or become missing-nin like Naruto is because they’re normally related to someone in a high position to the village, like a Kage. That way they’ll be loyal and hopefully not be treated in an abusive manner. If they do lash out or get too violent to control, the beast is ripped out of them and placed into a new container, killing the current host.”

Jiraiya’s face hardened. “By the way, this information is S-ranked. Talking about it lightly will get you executed. The only reason I’m telling you this is because I’ve heard how the little fallen princess here defended Naruto, and that’s something I am grateful for.”

Both women nodded.

“Now, let’s get back to finding Tsunade before she hightails it because she starts to win at gambling.”

“How is that a bad thing?” Anko asked.

“If I’m a Super-Pervert, she’s the Legendary Sucker, because she never wins unless something bad is going to happen, and me dragging her back qualifies as bad for her.”


The Village Housing Tsunade – 3 days later

“Tsunade-sama, this is the fourth time you’ve won the jackpot!” said a woman with shoulder length black hair and bangs, wearing a long dark blue kimono. Next to her was a woman that looked her age with blonde hair and wearing a green jacket that has the symbol for “Gamble” on it.

“… Fu—” the blonde woman was about to swear, knowing that it was time to leave, when a certain super-pervert grabbed her shoulder.

“Been awhile princess,” Jiraiya smiled, Anko and Hinata behind him. “You too, Shizune-chan.”

“Jiraiya-sama!” Shizune took a step back.

“DAMMIT!” Tsunade swore. “I knew I should’ve left after the first jackpot!”


The Next Day

Hinata was in a trance, as she focused her bloodline on the target in front of, a dead tree on the outskirts of the village.

“8 Trigrams 32 Palms!” Infusing her strikes with her fire chakra, the blasts of chakra became scarlet colored and penetrated the wood. The wood darkened substantially, radiating outward from every point hit.

She relaxed from her stance once she saw Jiraiya coming from behind her.

“Yo!” the Toad Sage called out, looking at the blacked tree. “That’s impressive. A Gentle Fist strike infused with fire chakra. I’ve wondered why I never seen a Hyuuga using elemental chakra in their strikes, but I’ve heard your clan’s traditions were so strict that it wasn’t allowed.”

“Y-yes,” she stuttered, and a kunai came from the village, hit the tree when she ducked, and it collapsed on itself. Jiraiya just looked in the direction it flew from and saw the purple-haired kunoichi saying something. “Sorry, if I start stuttering she throws things at me. It’s just that being around someone as renowned as yourself.”

“You’ll get used to it…” he sat on a rock and looked at her peacefully. “Can you do me a favor?”

“If it is within my abilities, I’ll be happy to,” she answered.

“Tell me about my godson.”


A Few Days Later

“Damn it, Jiraiya!” Tsunade swore, as she sat in a small drinking booth, having a few shots. “I keep telling you, I don’t want to go back to Konoha! There’s nothing but bad memories there.”

“I know princess, I know…” Jiraiya sighed, taking a swig of his own drink. “But after all this time, I wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t necessary.”

“What could be so bad that the almighty, legendary Super-Pervert, Sannin, and Toad Sage needed to come and ask me to return to Konoha?”

“The snake,” Jiraiya said somberly. “He’s planning something and he’s got something to do with that new village, Oto. The team they sent for the Chuunin Exams were all killed in the Forest of Death, but one of the genin from Konoha was marked with a seal, the last Uchiha.”

“You know more about seals than me,” she spat. “Why do you need me?”

“We know how he feels about the village, and sensei is getting along in years. If he was going to do something, the easiest time would be during the finals in a few days.”

“And what about after?” she said. “I’m not stupid. I know that if I come back I’ll have to take the hat from sensei.”

“My godson went missing,” he said quietly, watching Tsunade’s eyes go wide briefly. “One of your distant relatives and heir to his legacy went missing six months ago.” Jiraiya told her what he learned of what Naruto went through.

Tsunade snorted. “That’s less of a reason for me to go back, if they’re willing to treat him like that, then there’s really no hope for the village now. The brat’s better on the run than in a place like that.”

“Not all of them are like that,” Jiraiya tried to argue. “The girl I bought with me, she doing her best and pushing herself to get stronger because she couldn’t do anything before. Sensei, and a few others were hit the hardest and they just need to know he’s safe. I’m sure we can’t change the mind of those who are in our age range since they’re too set in their ways, but we can at least set the ground work for his generation to accept him.”

“Please,” she shook her head. “You’re probably just going to go back to writing that smut once I’m stuck there.”

Jiraiya got out of the booth and kneeled in front of her on the dirty ground. “Please, Tsunade. I want to at least make sure sensei and Konoha are safe before I go find my godson, and I need your help. I’ll pay off all of your debts and give up writing until I can find the boy, it’s the least I can do for his boy.”

She closed her eyes, as a single tear fell out. “You know… I’m not capable of combat anymore… Just being there brings me pain… Please Jiraiya, don’t make me go back… ”

“Just being there alone will bring morale up and security,” he pleaded. “With your and Shizune-chan’s expertise you can raise the level of quality in the medic-nins. We’ve both lost people we cared about because of circumstance beyond our control, your loved ones and my students who were like children to me, and I know it hurts, but please… ”

She silently cried as she recalled the memories of her brother and lover. The moment of silence between them was interrupted when a kunai planted itself where Jiraiya’s head was not a second ago since he moved to avoid it. He grabbed the kunai to toss it into the air before the explosive tag went off and lit the night sky.

Tsunade had grabbed the stool Jiraiya was sitting on before he kneeled and tossed it in the direction the kunai came from, breaking it as it hit a tree and causing the tree to fall down and reveal a shinobi with an Iwa forehead protector. “Even if his head is on the ground and not with the purple haired-woman, and she’s crying drunk without that other girl, they are Sannin,” the shinobi muttered.

“Let me guess…” Jiraiya rolled his eyes. “Anti-Sannin faction from Iwa?”

“Well…” he pointed to his scratched out forehead protector, indicating he was a missing-nin. “Not officially of course.” Several more shinobi stepped from out of the shadows.

One… five… seventeen of them… Jiraiya and Tsunade counted the number of hostile presences they felt. It was followed by the sound of screaming from civilians and yells from bandits, as the buildings in flames begun to light up the horizon. They must’ve drawn in bandits to deal with Anko and Shizune…

“Every time you show up Jiraiya, things go straight to hell!” Tsunade whined. She was sure Shizune was around the area the bandits were since she sent her off so that she wouldn’t try to convince her to go back to Konoha.

“Not now princess,” Jiraiya bit his thumb and flipped through the boar, dog, bird, monkey, and ram seals. “Summoning!”

A giant toad from Mount Myouboku named Gamariki joined the battlefield. “Gamariki, use Water Gun in the sky and make it rain to put out the fires!” The toad did just that, and it began to rain over the land.

“Get them!” the cannon fodder yelled, resulting in a clash between the two Sannin and a random assortment of Iwa runaways.

Jiraiya formed a spiraling sphere of chakra in each hand and drove them into the chest of two of men before they even knew what hit them. The spheres grinded away at their flesh and twisted it, as they pushed past the skin and into the muscles, tearing them, and then the vital organs, killing them. “Twin Rasengan!”

Another tried to stab him in the back, but he twisted, bringing his leg with him, and snapped the man’s neck with a crunch from the impact. When two more ran over their fallen ally to get to him, he charged. Behind him was the sound of shattering earth, as Tsunade had just caved in the chest of the second one who attacked her, bringing the kill count to five.

The one-sided slaughter continued, until one maimed body was knocked into the air by an earth jutsu. The body flew over lifeless over Tsunade, leaving her covered in the dripping blood. She reached up to touch her face, before looking at her hand and seeing them dyed red, before she fell to her knees.

“Fuck!” Jiraiya swore, planting his foot into another shinobi’s chest and crushing his ribcage. The fractured ribs pierced his heart and lungs, killing him. Her fear of blood… if they see her like that… I’ve gotten out of shape to have to struggle against a few mid-level jounins…

Closing in to the Sannin were Hinata and Anko. Shizune was busy treating the civilians who were injured, so she stayed behind. They had just taken care of the bandits. Some died relative quickly from a Gentle Fist to the heart, others died painfully from Anko’s snake venom or Shizune’s poisoned senbon. It wasn’t her first time killing, that was on a mission with Kurenai and she had received counseling for it and accepted it somewhat as a part of the career she was in.

Hinata saw Tsunade crouched on the ground shaking while her bloodline was active… and saw a shinobi underground poised to strike her with a kunai.

“Tsunade-sama!” Hinata cried, as she dived towards the blood-stained woman. The kunai breached the ground and plunged itself into the stomach of the young kunoichi, who recoiled in pain before Anko’s snakes bit the hand that stabbed her, causing it to contort violently before it finally went limp.

“Hinata!” Anko yelled, as she turned over the girl to see her coughing blood and in pain, her complexion fading faster than the small wound would indicate. She was wearing her chainmail, so it didn’t go too far in, but from her reaction… “She’s been poisoned.”

She looked at Tsunade. “Help her!”

Tsunade didn’t move, still shaking in place out of fear.

Anko raised her hand and brought it across the woman’s face. “Listen here! That girl just saved you! She’s been poisoned and your assistant isn’t nearby! You are the only one here who can do something about it!”

“But… I…” Tsunade mumbled weakly, staring at the dying girl.

“Snap out of it!” Anko yelled as she shook her. “Look at her dammit! Are you just going to let her suffer because of a little blood?”

Tsunade’s eyes met the girl’s. “She has someone she wants to meet again, but she can’t do that if she’s six-feet under! If you’re supposed to be the best medic-nin, then fucking prove it now!”

Tsunade’s wobbling hands hovered over the girl, glowing translucent blue color. Heart rate accelerated, as well as damage to the stomach, liver, heart, and these symptoms… “I-it’s poison from a type of lizard that’s native to the Land of Earth. Get her inside the building and go get me the things I’m about to tell you so I can perform the Poison Extraction…” she continued.

Jiraiya looked at the scene from the distance as he stood on top of his summons, having just killed the last attacker, happy to see that Tsunade was getting back to her old self. The girl would survive and become stronger for it.


Land of Wind

“Wind Scythe!” Chisaki and Naruto cried, releasing fierce gales that tore into each other, seeking to decimate the opposing shinobi. As Chisaki’s broke through, Naruto made a clone and they channeled wind chakra into their Nine-Tailed Fans.

“Wind Style: Cross Gales!” Naruto and his clone yelled, both swinging down their fan. The released diagonal blades of wind crossed and sliced through the gale that the older teen had summoned. It barreled towards her, while she channeled wind chakra into her fans.

“Wind Style: Cast Net!” the dual fangs were diced in a checkered pattern and Naruto’s senses were telling him to dodged, so he jumped as the portion of the wall behind him had been hit, leaving gouges that looked like a net had been cast.

Naruto threw two kunai that she deflected to the side with her fan and finished setting the field for her next attack. The clear sky had grown dark and cloudy, concentrated above the boy.

“Wind Style: Great Task of the Dragon!” Chisaki announced, pointing her fan towards the brat. The storm clouds parted and a howling twister descended onto the boy, drawing up sand and carving out a mark in the land. By the time the twisted died, the boy was half-buried in the sand.

It’s over… Chisaki sighed… then the body disappeared in a puff of smoke. “Shadow Clone!”

The two kunai that she had deflected popped and became two Narutos that each kicked her arms upwards, disarming her of the War Fans she held onto. Not missing a beat, she placed a kunai in the clones’ chests and looked over to see the chuckling original.

“Not so hot without out those babies now, are you?” Naruto snickered… only to see her performing the tiger and rabbit hand seals. “Oh come on, you have more jutsu?”

“My name means ‘a thousand blossoms‘, so I went out of my way to learn this technique,” she gloated, finishing the dragon seal. “Wind Style: Scattering Flower Dance!

Another twister of wind and petals was born from beneath Chisaki’s feet, and it spiraled around her and then flew like a snake towards Naruto. On impact, it pushed him into the rocky wall and then firmly embedded him into before dying out.

“I will admit, using substitution with a shadow clone was brilliant,” Kushina said, sitting next to Chiyo after finishing their portion of their own training. “His father would be proud of his progress.”

“Indeed,” Chiyo agreed. “Had he not simply gloated upon disarming Chisaki, he may have beaten her… maybe… We’ll head back to Suna tonight and get ready for the trip to Konoha.”


Konoha Main Gate – A Few Days Later

“Man,” Chisaki moaned. “That line was long as hell to get in here.”

“It can’t be helped,” Chiyo said. “During the Chuunin Exams, there are a large number of people of interest coming to watch the potential of the various villages’ genin.”

Naruto and Kushina just stared at Konoha as a whole. It had been so long since either one had been there—well, about half a year for one, over twelve years for the other.

Before they crossed the Land of Rivers, Chiyo told them to change their appearance once more, since there might be some fallout from what they planned to do. This wasn’t exactly authorized by the Kazekage and this way they would be able to escape if things went to hell.

Speaking of the man who turned his child into an unstable weapon and traumatized him, Chiyo had Chisaki use her summoning, coyotes, to track the man as he left Suna. Before they got to gate, the summonings said that the man’s scent had changed to snakes and blood midway through the trip. Chiyo was tempted to brush it off since her only goal was to help Gaara, but to be safe she told her to have them inspect the area the scent changed at.

“We’ll split up now and contact each other once the finals have begun,” Chiyo said, as she and Chisaki began to leave the mother and son.

“… did you hear?” one of the gate keepers whispered to the other. Naruto’s enhanced hearing picked up on it with relative ease. “Jiraiya-sama is back in town.”

Curious, Naruto whispered who he was to his mother. Her response was to smile sweetly while extruding killing intent, causing him to sweatdrop. “He’s someone I’m going to hurt for neglecting his duties.”

The pair proceeded on Naruto’s insistence to go eat at Ichiraku. He hadn’t had some of that ramen in six months and was tempted to sneak into the village at one point just to have another bowl, missing-nin status be damned. Kushina herself was partial to salt ramen.

As they were passing the main street, they saw a young boy arguing with an adult with shades, before transforming into a nude woman cloaked in smoke, causing the man to bleed from the nose excessively. Naruto almost broke down laughing, and when his mother asked what was so funny, he told her that he had taught Konohamaru that technique…

She decked him in the head, leaving him twitching headfirst into the ground. “… Should’ve seen that coming… ”

After he pulled himself up, they had to talk about their plans until the exams. Kushina wanted to get in contact with Jiraiya and Sarutobi to scold them, although Naruto insisted that she at least show the old man some mercy since he was doing something at least, and then do like she promised and show those academy instructors who taught him incorrectly the error of their ways. Naruto said just to not hurt Iruka.

Right outside Naruto’s favorite eating place, some idiot commented that the “demon” not being around makes the food taste better. Kushina created some chakra threads—since her chains were too big—and manipulated his hand into knocking a certain purple-haired special jounin’s dango from her grip. The slaughter was somewhat pleasing to her ears.

“Hey, I want some ramen!” Naruto said loudly, causing his mother to deck him again for being rude. “I mean, can I please have some ramen?”

“Hm,” the owner, Teuchi mumbled. For a second, he thought Naruto had just burst it. “Ah, welcome! What’ll you be having?”

“Give me one of everything and keep it coming!” Naruto said.

His mother sighed. “Naru—” Teuchi almost dropped his ladle. “We are on a budget, so no more than ten bowls. I’ll have a few bowls of Salt Ramen myself.”

“C-Coming up!” the man said. That was so much that he thought he was feeding Naruto again. After the two tore through a good deal more than what they ordered and he was out of supplies for the day, they paid him with some of the money they earned from Suna. “Wow, you guys reminded me of a good customer I had… he was a good kid… ”

Naruto stopped mid-bite of his last bowl. “His name was Naruto, a blonde kid with a good heart. His disappearance hurt a lot of people.”

“R-really…? ” Naruto asked.

Teuchi smiled. “You look a lot like him if weren’t for your hair color and missing the facial markings.”

He went on about how Hinata had been exiled from her clan for supporting him, Iruka’s showing little to no passion for teaching, his daughter rarely smiling anymore, and Konohamaru training hard so when he graduated he could go search for him, to the point his grandfather found him passed out on the training field and ordered Ebisu to make sure he doesn’t go overboard again. The Hokage himself was running himself ragged trying guess where Naruto was as well.

Naruto… was actually crying at that point. His mother excused them and left after thanking them in order to get him to a hotel. Once they were in the room and she placed a few privacy seals, he broke down seeing how much of an impact he had on their lives and made them miserable. Kushina told him to stay here while she finished her business and write them each a letter and she would make sure that they get delivered tonight.

Once she left the hotel, she went into an alley and made thirty shadow clones and had them transform into several different people. “Find Jiraiya! I don’t care if you have to check every single hot spring, bathhouse, and dirty magazine section of every store.”

She then left to go buy her materials for the puppet and kick some members of the “people who screwed over my son” list’s asses. There was a reason she was known as the Red Hot-Blooded Habanero…


With Naruto

Naruto has just finished writing the letters his mother told him to towards the various people he hurt by running away, and walked out of the hotel to get some fresh air. As he was walking absent mindedly, he was knocked over by someone and his Nine-Tailed Fan toppled onto the ground.

“Ah, sorry!” a young girl’s voice called out to him, as she extended her hand for him to grab. Naruto grabbed it and pulled himself up. “I didn’t see you there.”

“No harm done…” he replied with a smile and took a good look at the girl. She had brown eyes, wore a pink sleeveless blouse and dark green pants, with buns in her hair.

The girl looked on the ground and saw the Nine-Tailed Fan in its blade form, picking it up. She recognized the underlying seals on the weapon, the craftsmanship of the blade, and the overall quality of it, with stars in her eyes. “Is this magnificent, beautiful weapon yours?”

“Y-yeah…” he stuttered slightly, having seen that look in some of Sasuke’s more rabid fangirls.

“The seals on it are… unique. I haven’t seen any like it before,” she turned the blade over. “Who made it?”

“A friend made the blade itself, the seals were the work of my mother, although I understand how they work for the most part…” she looked at him with hungry eyes and grabbed him.

“Come with me!” she said, before dragging him off to her home, a weapons shop, and past her confused father into her room. Once the girl calmed down, he explained that even if he tried to explain the seals it wouldn’t do any good since it was above her skill level since his mother was on a different level than most seal masters.

Instead, he pulled put the decorative kunai that his mother made in Suna. He could explain to her the three layers applied to the kunai managed the chakra stored inside. She paid attention and understood relatively quickly, much more quickly than he did. After four hours alone she managed to make an array on her own based off the first layer with Naruto looking over it, correcting a few mistakes he himself made at first.

It was simple overall, all it would do is release the chakra inside the object it was stored in, causing it to become a shrapnel bomb. Embedded on a kunai and set to trigger after a time delay, it would explode after the opponent thought it was another plain kunai and not expecting it. It would be fairly effective.

After she made a dozen or so, she dragged Naruto off to a training ground to test them.

“It works!” she squeaked, seeing the tree filled with dozens of deadly shards after the initial rupturing. If she altered the kunai’s shape and composition, possibly some type of element… “Endless possibilities!”

I think I’ve created a monster… Naruto sweat-dropped. Then his skin crawled as he felt a surge of killing intent aimed at him. “Tenten-chan, isn’t your father going to be worried since it’s getting late and you ran off so suddenly… with a boy?”

“Maybe…? ” She thought about it for a bit. “Yeah, I should go… ”

She gave him four of her maiming-capable weapons as thanks and ran off. Once she was a good distance out of sight, Naruto sighed and called out to seemingly empty space. “I know you’re there. You can come out now.”

From the shadows emerged a boy with distinctive red hair and a gourd on his back.


With Kushina

Kushina rubbed her fist as tenderly as she could. To her surprise, Jiraiya was near the Hokage Monument, staring at her husband’s face on the mountain alone. When she saw an opening she shot a bunch of chakra chains from underneath him and binded him.

She knew his reactions were better than that and it was probably a combination of seeing her technique after all these years and the moment of silent reflection while looking at Minato’s face, that left such a huge gap in his defenses. Either way, it did not stop her from smashing him in the face while wearing a fox mask she procured for both her son and herself. She then left the unconscious man a letter telling him to meet with her at a certain location tonight with Sarutobi.

As Kushina had just bought as much of the supplies as she could, noting that several places required a certain level of clearance to get the rest, she just received the memories of her shadow clone that was tailing her son, being dragged off by a girl. While cute, seeing him being pulled around like that reminded her of a few past memories with Minato, he shouldn’t be wandering off all of a sudden.

He didn’t leave for a few hours and the girl was positively glowing while dragging him out to one of the training grounds. She would have to go check up on them… If she has a grandchild… there would be no mercy.

“The bun-haired girl said which training ground again?” she asked herself.


The Hokage’s Office

Sarutobi was a busy Hokage at this time of the year, and while having shadow clones helped, this year there seemed to be a bunch of people attacking various staff members of the Academy and adding to his paperwork. He noted that these were all people who part of Naruto’s lack of progress at the Academy after he had them checked by Inoichi shortly after the boy fled, for not helping Iruka in defending him. He was content to simply call it karma and sweep it under the rug, but Tsunade pointed out that whoever could do it must’ve been a shinobi because they weren’t caught after running away… like they vanished.

“What happened to you?” Tsunade and Sarutobi asked when they saw Jiraiya nursing a swollen eye as he walked in.

He walked up to the walls and placed a seal slip he found in the letter envelope and activated it. “I think I may have found Naruto.”

The clones all stopped and the original and Tsunade looked at him expectantly. He handed them the letter. “This was left after I was hit while… distracted.”

They opened it.

Toad Sage,

Come to the location where the orange fox was born tonight. Bring Sarutobi with you, but use the seal I included to make sure you aren’t overheard in his office. The fourth had always thought that it might have been bugged. Come alone, no ANBU, or you will not see your godson again.

From, The Red Hot-Blooded Habanero.

P.S. Sarutobi must’ve received reports of several people who hindered the fox’s growth being punished. It was me.

“It… can’t be…” Sarutobi’s pipe fell from his mouth.

“I thought so too,” Jiraiya said, before placing a single strand of red hair in front of them. “I’m going. This is the best lead we’ve had, and if it is her… I owe her an apology… ”


Back to Naruto

“… Who are you?” the boy droned. “Mother is telling me you have one inside of you. That you are similar to me.”

“I’m Naruto Uzumaki,” he said, deactivating his seal and reverting to normal for a moment. “And the one talking to you inside your head isn’t your mother, but the One-Tailed Raccoon Dog, Ichibi, Gaara of the Desert.”

“Mother is calling for your blood…” the cork on his gourd popped out. “She says she’ll be happy once I give it to her… ”

“Gaara, I don’t want to fight with you if I can help it.” Naruto said. “I know about your past and I want to help you.”

“Enough!” Gaara said in the same monotone voice, “I shall kill you… your blood shall sate my sand!”

Sand lashed out at Naruto like a large hand that was going to catch and crush him. Naruto’s hand was already on the Nine-Tailed Fan when a blue arc cut through the sand, clumps of it falling to the ground soaked and wet. They both looked behind Naruto and saw his mother there, her disguise off after making sure no one was there, with her Whirlpool Yo-Yo.

“… You are?” Gaara asked.

“I am Naruto’s mother,” Kushina spoke up. She wanted to try her luck at sealing the boy’s mind from the Ichibi, but between the shadow clones, that attack just now, her upcoming meeting, and the fact that she hadn’t had Naruto refill her reserves in about three days since they were with Chiyo and only lightly traveling, she wasn’t willing to risk it. “If we fight here, it’ll draw a commotion and likely cancel the Chuunin Exams.”

“Gaara,” Naruto tried to reach him again. “Listen to me, I know what you went through, about your uncle, and I want to help you. We want to help you.”

“How can you understand my pain, when you have someone watching over you like a mother hen?” Gaara pointed out, as he withdrew the sand.

“I wasn’t there for the majority of his life and we’ve only just started making up for lost time,” Kushina told him. “He can understand what you went through. The life of a Jinchuuriki is never a happy one. But like I said, now isn’t the time for this.”

“… I will kill you both,” he said, unfazed. “However, the mission comes first… Naruto Uzumaki. Tomorrow, after I fulfill my mission, I will come for you two. Only then will mother be happy…” he mumbled, turning into sand.

“I won’t run, Gaara.” Naruto told him. “But before you go killing anyone else, come after me first! I’ll take everything you’ve got and more!”

“So be it…” the boy disappeared once the sand was blown away by the wind.

Kushina was proud of her son’s declaration. Still, she should make sure that Naruto had a few backup plans in order to win… But there was still the matter that actually bought her here…

“So, Naruto…” Kushina smiled sweetly at her son while her hair split into nine portions. “Care to tell me why you were coming out of a young woman’s home and why she was blushing like that?”

Naruto began sweating profusely. “I can explain!”


Late that Night

Sarutobi and Jiraiya had arrived at the meeting place in secrecy, along with Tsunade, who felt it was a trap. A large number of chains popped out of the ground, surrounding the trio in a barrier that expanded outward for a few hundred feet.

Tsunade swore. “It’s a trap after all!”

“No,” Sarutobi said. “There was only one person we knew who could do this.”

From behind a tree, a figure appeared wearing a short-sleeved mesh shirt under a light-blue kimono-like blouse with a white spiraling wave pattern at the bottom and a black obi. She had a dark skirt and wore a fox mask, her red hair reached down her back.

“Kushina…” Sarutobi and Jiraiya said, recognizing the hair.

She reached up and pulled the mask off, revealing a very spiteful glare. “You two have a hell of a lot to explain,” she directed toward the two men.

“How…?” Tsunade stepped up. “You were supposed to be dead.”

“Tsunade… I didn’t know you were in the village,” she walked up to the woman. “The night I was giving birth, a masked man appeared,” she looked over to Sarutobi sympathetically. Angry or not, he deserved her sympathy. “He killed Biwako, Toji, the ANBU, and was the reason for the attack of the Kyuubi.”

“WHAT!” Sarutobi said in shock. He knew his wife was killed, but not how. “Who—”

Before he could ask, Tsunade spoke up. “You didn’t answer my question. How do we know you aren’t an enemy who’s masquerading as a dead kunoichi to cause problems? Where’s the brat?”

Their suspicion was warranted. With the information they had about Orochimaru flying around, it could be him with some trick. She was waiting for any sign of deception, after which she would smash the imposter.

Kushina sighed. “When Minato and I died, we sealed a portion of our chakra into Naruto’s seal, in case it was about to break. After Naruto escaped the village, the fox told him how to bring me back since he needed to be trained and protected from the man I just mentioned, since he would eventually come back after it. This body is a special puppet that anchors me to this plane, and Naruto is in the village for now, under a certain seal to prevent anyone from recognizing him.”

“Then, Minato—” Jiraiya mumbled.

“His portion is still inside our son, and I plan to bring him back, but the two of us did die.” Kushina stared at the man with a murderous glare. “He would be disappointed in you for not watching over him! My son had to raise himself for five years and was tortured all his life! Where the hell were you!?”

Jiraiya had nothing to say.

Tsunade snapped Kushina’s attention back to her by tapping her foot on the ground. “He was busy,” she said, which was true since spy networks don’t set themselves up, meeting the woman’s glare with her own.

Kushina was pissed, seeing as the woman casually dismissed the abuse of one of her own distant relatives and promptly slapped her, getting one back in response. Kushina tied her down with chains from her body and her hair split in nine sections. Tsunade smirked.

“It’s her,” she said.

Kushina stopped to think about what happened. “Testing me or not, do not shrug off what my son went through!”

“The boy isn’t dead and the pervert is still alive. When they meet you can let him beat the hell out him, but right now we need to know everything that happened,” Tsunade countered. “Sensei at least deserves some closure for that night.”

Kushina let her down and told them about the man with the Sharingan, who killed everyone and ripped the fox out of her and controlled it. She explained that she only survived because the Uzumaki have strong vitality and why they sealed the fox into Naruto. When she pointed out how Sarutobi should investigate the Uchiha clan, he told her about the massacre.

“Mikoto’s boy did that!” she couldn’t believe it. Jiraiya told them about the mysterious group hunting the Jinchuuriki and how he discovered that Itachi was a part of them. That bought up a potential link between the two.

When the discussions were over, she gave them the letters to give to Naruto’s friends, along with a contact scroll like Gen and Kurogane had, and turned to leave, when Jiraiya spoke up. “When will Naruto return to the village?”

She glared at him before putting the mask on. “This village will kill him before Akatsuki.”

“If you won’t let him return, at least let me teach him for a few years so that he’ll be strong enough to survive! Minato would’ve wanted him to learn the Rasengan.”

“Minato would’ve wanted you to watch over him so it never came to this!”

“Kushina,” Sarutobi said. “You make a valid point, but if Akatsuki is as dangerous as Jiraiya has said, he’ll need more than you alone to protect him. Even if you succeed in bringing back Minato, if that man and Akatsuki are connected…”

“He’ll have a village… a home that will watch over him…” she told them, thinking about the resurrected Uzushio. “As for the training, I’ll consent to it since Minato would want him to learn it, but not right now. If I were to hand him over to you now, he’d be imprisoned or have the fox ripped out of him. But know this Jiraiya! I will never trust you as much as I did before, at least Sarutobi tried to help.”

The man shed a single tear.

She raised her left hand and the barrier began to fade. “Also, one of my contacts told me that the Kazekage smelled different on his trip here… like snakes and blood. I thought it was something you should know since the Kages share the box during the exams, and if something happened to you Naruto would cry again.”

All three of their eyes opened wide at the news. Kushina vanished in a puff of smoke, revealing she was a shadow clone, just in case things didn’t go as smoothly.

“Snakes and blood…” Sarutobi mumbled.

“You think…? ” Tsunade said what they we all thinking.

“Even if he did kill and replace the Kazekage, we can’t do anything about it until he reveals himself,” Jiraiya spoke up. While heartbroken over Kushina’s words, which he admitted were right, Orochimaru was someone who took priority. He could drink until he was too numb to feel anything later or train until he felt better… he needed to get better at using sage mode anyway.

“If we did it could lead to another war,” Sarutobi said sadly. “No one knows you’re back yet, right Tsunade?”

“No, I came in under a Transformation with the Hyuuga girl and her jounin. Jiraiya is the one who slipped up.”

“In that case we still have the element of surprise,” Jiraiya nodded. “Tsunade, will hide until the finals are underway and only reveal herself if the snake moves. I’ll stay with sensei, since too many ANBU will give something away, but a former student is acceptable. We’ll double the ANBU inside the arena and tell all the shinobi to be on guard in case something happens with Suna.”


Land of Wind

Buzzards were flying in a circle around a few carcasses, as coyotes led a group of men to the location from Suna. As they crossed the last leg, they looked down in shock at the revelation that the carcasses belonged to humans. One elder man ventured down to confirm what they feared the most.

The other member of the Honorable Siblings, Chiyo’s brother, stood over the remains of the Kazekage and his guards…

“We must send word to my sister… ”


Canon Jutsu:

Wind Scythe – A C-rank offensive that creates a gale using a fan and creates countless invisible blades.

Sand Storm – A defensive technique that acts like a sandblaster in areas with loose dirt and sand.

Wind Style: Cast Net – An Offensive Mid-range technique that create narrow currents of air to form a large net that can slice through an opponent.

Wind Style: Great Task of the Dragon – An all range, offensive of defensive technique with a delayed reaction that alters the weather conditions to create storm clouds to drop a highly concentrated tornado on a target.

Wind Style: Scattering Flower Dance – An offensive technique that creates a twister that can be controlled and has flower petals mixed into the twister.

Poison Extraction – B-rank supplementary technique used with medicinal fluid as a medium to extract poison from a patient.

Summoning – A C-rank space-time ninjutsu that transports animal or people across long distances easily. (Boar-Dog-Bird-Monkey-Ram)

Twin Rasengan – Creates two Rasengans for use at once.

Non-Canon Jutsu:

Wind Style: Cross Gales –An Offensive technique that creates two diagonal gales of razor sharp wind to slice through an object or enemy in an X-shape.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja: Hinata

Hinata: The Fallen Princess


Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/2/15

Beta: Bluemew22


After I was attacked and Naruto-kun left, Iruka-sensei applied first aid and took me to the hospital. It had been a full day since then, and my father had not even visited me once. In his stead, Hokage-sama himself came and told me about Naruto-kun being something called a “Jinchuuriki” and how he was housing the chakra demon that attacked the village long ago.

He said he explained it to everyone who was there and told them not to let it ruined their opinions about him, and then he thanked me for protecting Naruto-kun and personally escorted me home when I was discharged from the hospital.

My father would not speak to me nor see me, only having someone relate a message that I was to report to my assigned team the next day.


The Next Day – Training Ground 18

“Okay then,” a masked jounin named Kakashi-sensei said, while reading an orange covered book. “Since the teams are here and we’ve all introduced each other. We’ll take a few minutes before we begin your warm ups for this joint-exercise.”

Three teams had gathered, including the one I was on. Under Kakashi-sensei were Sasuke-san, Sakura-san, and a rather pale boy named Sai-san. Asuma-sensei had Ino-san, Chouji-san, and Shikamaru-san. Kurenai-sensei was teaching Kiba-kun, Shino-kun, and I.

We began routine exercise and tactical maneuvers to come and understand our allies’ capabilities. Unfortunately, due to clashing personalities, Kurenai-sensei had to restrain Kiba-kun from attempting to maim Sai-san, while Asuma-sensei and Kakashi-sensei had to try to pull Sakura-san and Ino-san off each other’s hair. Sasuke-san just muttered something inappropriate about his teammates, when Kakashi-sensei shook his head.

“It’s a shame Naruto-kun couldn’t have been on the team,” he sighed. “He would’ve at least made things more balanced. Not that you aren’t alright, Sai-kun, I just wasn’t expecting you…and your odd nicknames… ”

The pale boy only smiled.

“I don’t see why,” Sakura-san said. “Like he could do anything other than play pranks and other stupid stuff. I don’t see how he even became a genin since he didn’t pass the final exam.”

I felt a bit angry. Considering how Naruto-kun fawned over her all the time to the point I was a bit jealous, and now she was insulting him. I had to say something. “T-they w-wouldn’t have g-given N-naruto-kun his f-f-forehead protector if he w-wasn’t ready, Sakura-san… ”

“That’s right,” Kakashi-sensei nodded. “I even have a feeling that he and Sasuke-kun could have been rivals… as long as it didn’t go too far… ”

“Please,” she rolled her eyes, finally free of Ino-san. “He got the lowest scores in the history of the Academy and they probably had to give him some kind of remedial class, while Sasuke-kun is the genin of the year.”

Despite my facial expression not changing, I actually was starting to harbor intent to harm her. Still, I had to keep calm, so I took a deep breath. “N-naruto-kun tried v-v-very hard and w-wasn’t nearly as i-i-ignorant as you think.”

“Uh, Sakura-chan…” Kakashi-sensei started in a slightly worried tone, a few drops of sweat on his forehead.

“No offense, but you’re the only one who thinks that, and everyone knows that it was because you had a crush on the de—” the pink-haired harlot never finished her sentence.

Instead she was on the ground, clutching her stomach from where my Gentle Fist strike had disrupted her chakra flow. Everyone looked at me with their eyes wide and in disbelief.

“Naruto-kun was always nice to you no matter how much you kept abusing him! If you tried that on anyone else they would’ve fought back! You have no idea the kind of things he went through while you were too busy taking care of your stupid hair and fawning over Sasuke-san, and you have the nerve to call him that!”

I didn’t stutter that time. My anger overtook my confidence issues.

Kurenai-sensei appeared behind me and held me out of fear that I was going to hit her again with another strike. I can honestly say the thought crossed my mind, and I was struggling to get another shot in. “Hinata, calm down…” she whispered in my ear.

“Ugh…” the shrew moaned. “How are you any better? You said you know what the idiot went through, then why didn’t you do something before then?”

“Okay,” Kakashi-sensei closed his book. “Hinata-chan, I’m assuming you didn’t do anything permanent to my student, right?” I nodded my head. “Then I’ll leave your punishment to Kurenai, as for you Sakura, well…I can’t say she’s wrong.”

Now they were looking at him.

“If you must know, the only reason you passed the test was because I tied Sasuke-kun up for arrogantly trying to attack without a plan and you would jump through fire for him. Sai-kun was the only one who used his head and thought things through, but he followed my instructions too thoroughly and left himself very little breathing room. I intended to train all of you to address your shortcomings, but…” he trailed off.

Kurenai-sensei spoke up now. “While I will have to inform her family of this, we shouldn’t have to say that the Hokage told all of you that the child was not the chakra demon, but the one imprisoning it. Considering you were about to say demon instead of Jinchuuriki, I’m assuming you heard from some of the more… outspoken village members. Despite the time all of you genin spent with the boy in the Academy, and the most he did was a few pranks, you should know better.”

“I couldn’t have put it as elegantly that,” Kakashi-sensei nodded. “I should remind you all that my sensei lost his life to save this village by making Naruto a Jinchuuriki. His final wish was that Naruto could grow up without being feared because of it, so the Hokage made the law that those who revealed it to your generation were punished with death.”

Asuma-sensei said his piece as well. “Instead, they made the boy’s life a living hell considering the information the Hokage and Inoichi-san retrieved from the ones who attacked him. Apparently they were repeat offenders since before he entered the Academy, and sick enough to the point where after he endured everything and went on with his life, they decided to actually kill him in broad daylight since he became a shinobi. The fact that we’ve uncovered that a great portion of the village’s adults were torturing and abusing a child is bad enough.”

Kakashi-sensei looked down at Sakura-san. “But for someone who would’ve been his ally and age to treat him like that because of what their parents, and other adults, told them is even worse. To call the boy a demon is the same as insulting my own sensei. Once you are fit enough to train, you will be doing three times as much as everyone for the next month. As for the rest of you, this is your only warning, understood?”

I shivered, as I felt what could only be described as killing intent radiating from Kakashi-sensei. All of the genin, including myself nodded in agreement.


That Night – Inside The Hyuuga Council Room

“Hinata Hyuuga,” my father said in an authoritative tone. “Do you know why we’ve convened this meeting?”

“B-because of m-my actions t-t-today, at the joint training e-exercise?”

“According to Kurenai-san, you lashed out after being told of certain set of words,” he followed up. “Despite you not having enough self-control to not attack the girl, I see you had enough restraint to do no permanent harm.”

“Because she merely told you that the demon had taken hold, you attacked her,” a man roughly my father’s age pointed out. “We’ve heard about what happened, the demon became aggressive and attacked.”

“Naruto-kun did it to save me!” I snapped at the man, my heart skipping a beat. It was safe to say he didn’t expect it since he nearly fell back out of his chair. “He even told Iruka-sensei to take care of me before he left!”

My father looked at me sternly. “Then it is because of you that the boy’s identity was exposed. Taking out your aggression on others because of your short comings is beneath you as a Hyuuga.”

I felt my lips trembling, so I bit them before shaking my head and looking back at my father. “I-I will not d-deny that it was b-b-because of me that h-he was exposed, which is why I t-t-took steps to ensure that his name was not slandered by t-t-that… that pink-haired fangirl.”

“The men who attacked were all chuunin, even if intoxicated,” my father glared at me with expectant eyes. “Why did you even interfere instead of allowing for the ANBU to arrive?”

“N-n-naruto-kun would h-h-have died. O-out of all the teachers at the Academy, only Iruka-sensei w-w-was actually t-trying to protect him. N-no one else w-was willing t-to even t-t-try.”

“The demon had long since possessed the boy,” one of the elder women spat. “He ceased to be human the moment it took hold of him. It is but a demon that should’ve been hunted down like the fox it is!”

“He is not the demon,” I said, glaring at the woman. “As Hokage-sama said when he personally visited me, he’s the one who prevented it from escaping until now. I’ve seen what he’s gone through every day and if Naruto-kun was the demon you claimed him to be, the number of casualties in this village would have sky-rocketed, and he would have been justified in doing so!”

“Still your tongue child,” the woman bit back. “Heiress or not, you are a member of the Hyuuga clan and expected to behave as such. Your foolish, one-sided affections for the demon aside. If necessary, we shall place the seal on you and remove you from the main family.”

The next few sentences left my mouth before I could think things through. “Then do it! Everyone is always saying I’m not suited and that I’m a failure not worthy of the title of heiress anyway, but don’t you dare call him a demon!”

Everyone’s mouth dropped once the words came out of my mouth. Including my father’s.

“Y-you—” the woman was choking on her words in anger, instinctively activating her Byakugan.

“Enough!” my father said sternly. He stood and nodded to two members of the branch family acting as guards. “Escort her to her room.”

As they led me out, I heard the council explode before the doors shut.


Morning

In the early morning, I awoke to a light knock on my door and my father came into the room with a stoic face that showed no emotion, but seemingly had bags under his eyes. “Hinata, you have said things that have angered many people and you have left me no choice… ”

He motioned for two of the branch family women to come into my room. “Hinata Hyuuga, you are officially exiled from the Hyuuga Clan. These two will help you pack your things and will provide you with storage scrolls to place your personal belongings in.”

Father left after that, never once looking back.

In shock, I could barely function. The two women, whose names were Miyako-san and Marumi-san, watched over me when I was younger. They helped me pack my things with somber looks on their faces and escorted me beyond the compound walls.

I don’t remember much after that, except that I was walking through the village without anything in mind…

“Hey, brat—” when a purple-haired woman, wearing a full-mesh body suit, orange mini-skirt, and tan overcoat called from behind me, her face was peeking over the side of the numerous grocery bags in her hands that went up to her head, two of which were about to fall over. “—a little help here!”

“S-sure,” I said, grabbing some of the bags. They were heavier than I expected and I almost fell over. “U-um, w-w-what is this e-exactly… um… ”

“The name’s Anko, kid. I’m a 21 year old special jounin, and what you’re holding is a week’s supply of beer until I can go to my usual bar again. Honestly, you stick a kunai in a guy’s hand for grabbing your ass and they…” she trailed off.

With nothing else to do and nowhere to go, I followed Anko-san without putting much thought into it. The bags were so heavy though, I had to stop occasionally to readjust them. Anko-san rolled her eyes.

“Relax, we’re at my apartment now,” she told me. We walked up a flight of stairs and entered a modest-sized room. “Place the bags on the table.”

I complied, carefully maneuvering around the cans of alcohol and articles of clothing that littered the floor, before placing the bags on the table and sighed. Anko-san crept up behind me and placed something cold on my cheek, causing me to shriek.

“Heheh… calm down girl, it’s a gift,” she handed me one of the alcoholic beverages. “You’re a genin, right? You can drink once you reach that rank, our lives to simply too short for anyone to complain about it.”

“T-t-thank y-you…” I told her and bowed. She sat at the table and leaned back in her chair, stretching, before popping open one of the cans.

“So you’re Hiashi’s oldest girl? I heard you tore you clan’s council a new one last night,” she chuckled. “They did something rash in retaliation, right?”

“H-h-how d-did y-y-you k-know?” I stuttered more than usual.

“One of the council members got drunk and loose-lipped, being a lightweight and all, at the bar that I got kicked out of last night. He then muttered something about your father leaving the compound alone, probably to fume… then he got handsy, I got stabby, and here we are.”

“I-I-I’m s-s-sorry!”

“Don’t be, you were defending that boy who went missing, right?” I looked at her in shock. “It isn’t the most well-kept secret that you stalked the boy. I’ve gotta give you props for defending your man.”

“H-he’s n-n-not m-m-my…” I couldn’t finish saying it. “D-despite how I f-f-feel about h-him, it’s j-j-just one-sided… b-b-but how they t-t-treated him…” I trailed off.

“I know where you’re both coming from. There was someone I admired to the point of basically being a fangirl, and I’m not exactly the most well-liked person in the village. I suffered a bit of went he went through… until I introduced many of them to the sharp end of a kunai and my babies’ fangs. They got the message eventually.”

“B-but N-naruto-kun would n-never do t-t-that,” I said. She just chuckled and proceeded to drink her entire can in a few seconds.

“That’s why they got away with it…” she sighed.”The details are still coming in, but members of the interrogation unit have been running ragged lately hauling in people who did something to the kid. We interrogate one person, they gave up two, we interrogate those two, and they gave up six more. It just built up to the point where it was clear the boy was hated by so damn many people we couldn’t arrest them all, so most got off with fines and a few who beat on the boy were sent to Ibiki and me for a good, long session… in the end, only a handful were punished like they should’ve been.”

“… Is there still no sign of him?” I asked without stuttering this time.

“No. All shinobi who were actively searching for him were rounded up the day after he snapped and said they lost his trail. There were too many scents and even though they were informed he could use shadow clones, they didn’t know he could make that many…although I suspect a couple of pricks enjoyed stabbing the pseudo-copies of the boy.”

She closed her eyes. “Honestly, he probably won’t be coming back here. There’s a small chance he might, but if he does it won’t be under good conditions given what we’ve learned he’s went through. Either he’ll be dragged back screaming and tagged by ANBU, a corpse, or go on a killing-spree.”

“If only…” tears began falling from my eyes.”If I had done something… ”

“Everyone turned a blind-eye or were stretched too thin to help like the old man and Iruka.”

“But I couldn’t do anything in the past and now he’s gone…” I held my hands over my eyes and cried. “I was too weak and scared to help him… ”

“The past is the past. We all make mistakes. The only thing you can do is learn from them and go forward. But for your own sake you need to address one of your biggest problems.”

“W-w-what is t-t-that?” I asked.

“You’re obsessed with him,” she pointed to me. “You’re placing the boy on a pedestal and dancing around it. Not once did I hear the words that you wanted to be stronger. Instead, it was all about being too weak to help him. How can you help someone else if you can’t help yourself?”

I honestly wanted to say something, but I couldn’t deny her words. “Listen, you’re mad and feeling guilty about what happened to the kid. It’s alright to be concerned about things, but if you go too far and keep obsessing about him, you’ll be no better than a fangirl who would slit her own throat the moment he died because you didn’t train enough to defend him.”

There was a knock on the door and Anko-san walked over to answer it. Someone in a mask handed her a message and vanished with a regular body flicker jutsu. She quickly skimmed the letter.

“Ah,” she crushed the can in her hand and sighed before burning the letter. “I just received a summons to the Hokage’s office. I hope it’s not about last night… You can stay here as long as you like. I don’t have company over often.”

And with that she was gone.

Despite Anko-san’s generous offer, I left a few minutes later. There was some place I wanted to go, in order to think about what to do. Eventually I came to a certain training ground.

It was the training ground that Naruto came to in order to practice in secret before he became a genin. He worked so hard here to be accepted, hoping to become the Hokage. While I just watched him from the shadows, never saying or doing anything…

How are you any better? You said you know what the idiot went through, then why didn’t you do something before then?

Sakura-san had a point. I really wasn’t any better than she was then. She worships the ground Sasuke-san walked on, and I was doing the same for Naruto-kun. If the roles were reversed, we would have swapped places.

I was just as shallow as she was. I was always told by the elders not to interact with Naruto-kun. I was too shy to say anything to him or speak up about the attacks, and in the end…

Then it is because of you that the boy’s identity was exposed. Taking out your aggression on others because of your short comings is beneath you as a Hyuuga.

Father had a point as well. Hyuuga or not, I shouldn’t have attacked her. But whenever someone calls him a demon, I just snap. They just say those things without knowing what he’s been through…

You’re obsessed with him. You’re placing the boy on a pedestal and dancing around it. Not once did I hear the words that you wanted to be stronger. Instead, it was all about being too weak to help him. How can you help someone else if you can’t help yourself?

… I… didn’t even try to get stronger. I was only focusing on being weaker… All those hours I watched him train, I could’ve been working alongside him… and because of that, he accessed the Kyuubi’s power when I got hurt…

I stayed there and cried for the rest of the day.


That Night

I heard a twig snap and promptly activated my bloodline… it was all that saved me from getting a kunai in the back of my head.

“Come out!” I yelled, pulling out a kunai, and two masked shinobi appeared. Focusing my sight on penetrating their masks, it revealed two faces that I had known all my life. My kunai fell from my slacked grip, and my eyes went wide. Burning streams of tears rolled off my cheeks, as I fell to my knees.

“Miyako-san… Marumi-san… why?” I asked.

Neither one responded with words. Instead, they both let a single tear fall from their eyes before Marumi-san took out another kunai and threw it at me. It felt like time had slowed down.

“Don’t just sit there!” a familiar voice cried, as another kunai intercepted the one in front of me and sent them both tumbling to the ground. Landing in crouch, the special jounin wearing a tan overcoat was in front of me. “Freeze up and you’ll die!”

The two women I knew since childhood split up and started throwing kunai and shuriken at me. Still in shock, I couldn’t move. So Anko-san grabbed me, and tossed me behind a tree, before pulling out eight kunai, a finger in each ring on the pommel and threw them in spread pattern to intercept the incoming ones.

They both then rushed in towards her.

“Gentle Fist isn’t very effective in mid-ranged combat, is it?” she smirked, making the snake, ram, boar, horse, monkey, and tiger hand seals, before cupping one of her hands near her mouth. “Fire Style: Great Fireball!”

A scorching ball of flames, as tall as she was and three times as wide, flew towards Marumi-san, forcing her stop her charge and dodge once the flames spread out in an explosion on impact with the ground. Miyako-san, however, closed the distance between them.

“You are in range of my divination,” Miyako-san muttered, while in the position for the 8 trigrams 32 palms. Anko-san smiled, having finished the snake and tiger hand seals.

“Hidden Shadow Snake Hands!” six snakes slipped out of her coat sleeves, and intertwined around Miyako-san before she screamed in pain. They had bitten her multiple times, and must’ve been poisonous since she fell to the ground twitching and whimpering.

Marumi-san then slipped around her while she was distracted and went towards me with a kunai in hand. As she was within range, a shadow burst out the grass, revealing a thirteen-foot snake that coiled around her arm and then her torso, before revealing its fangs and plunging them into her.

She shared the same fate as Miyako-san.

Anko-san was strong. In less than two minutes, she took down two Hyuuga members, and didn’t even look like she was tired. She looked over and waved to me.

“Honestly, I was looking for you for the last few hours,” she said, before addressing the two women on the ground. “Hey, you two. Why did you try and off the brat here?”

“We’re sorry, Hinata-sama…” the Marumi-san cried. “W-we never wanted to do this, but the seal and… the councilwoman…” she trailed off and went silent. Miyako-san had long since gone still.
“Marumi-san!” I cried, unable to do anything for her.

“Relax, the poison won’t kill them for another dozen or so minutes,” Anko-san told me. “They’ll be fine after I slip them the antidote and drop them off at the hospital, but they attacked you while under the Hokage’s protection… ordered or not they have a date with Inoichi and Ibiki tonight.”

“Protection? But—” I started to try and defend my assailants, but Anko-san shook her head and crouched next to the women, injecting them with the anti-venom, before summoning a larger snake and placing them on it. She then tossed me a key.

“Go to my place and get some rest,” she said, before slithering off toward the hospital.

I picked up the key and cried. “Marumi-san… Miyako-san… ”


The Next Day

When I woke up, I was in Anko-san’s bed, having fallen asleep waiting for her to return. The sound of running water on wet skin caught my ears, only to be followed up by the turning of the knob and sliding of the shower curtains. Then out stepped my savior from last night.

“Morning sunshine,” Anko-san said with a smile, while wearing only a towel around her waist after stepping out of the shower. I felt a wave of heat gather in my cheeks and I turned my head from her bared chest.

She chuckled, “Oh come on, it’s not like you don’t have the same thing growing there… you might get even bigger than me in a couple of years…”

“A-anko-san… w-what h-h-happened with t-t-them?” I asked.

She sighed and sat down next to me. “Well, to start with, they did attack you and under mandate they had to be taken care of. After Inoichi confirmed they weren’t lying, the old man sent ANBU to bring the main family member who ordered the hit to Ibiki for interrogation and I went with them.”

Anko-san then smiled quite savagely. “First, I watched as your father’s eyes twitch with anger I hadn’t seen in someone so stoic in ages. My guess is that he had to restrain himself to save face, being a Hyuuga and their leader, y’know… then the bitch resisted and I showed everyone why you don’t screw with me.”

She swung her legs up and down. “As for those two women that attacked you, they were sent to a detention center.”

My heart dropped when I heard they’d still get punished. Anko-san then leapt on top of me and I squeaked. Her pure white skin was laid bare to me, the only marring being the marking on her neck. She stared me in the eyes, intensifying the heat in my face.

“Cheer up,” she whispered. “The story is that they were placed in maximum security awaiting execution, but place is a political prison for people in high places. Their chakra will be sealed, but it’s more of a stay in a fancy hotel room that they can’t leave out of. It was done so that people get the message about touching you.

“Their immediate family will have full visitation rights, as well as anyone they list. The Hokage’s laws must be followed, but he knows how things work and how the branch family is treated, so he did it to protect them. He’ll pardon them for their crimes against you in about two years at your prolonged request. So long as everyone involved keeps their mouth shut, we all win and there was only one body.”

Without thinking, I buried my head into her chest and hugged her. “Thank you, Anko-san!”

“W-whoah, easy there!” she stuttered. “If you want to thank someone, thank both the old man with the big hat and your old man.”

Anko-san freed herself and went over to her jacket to pull out two letters, one from my father and one from Hokage-sama. She handed me them and I decided to open the one from Hokage-sama first:

Hinata Hyuuga,

When your father informed me of your actions yesterday with the council I was shocked. I had thought that you were so reserved, but to be so supportive and protective of Naruto literally bought me to tears. The fact that you know how much he suffered and felt genuine affection for him filled this old heart with warmth and I immediately signed the emancipation and protection contracts, freeing you from any retribution from your clan.

However, just as they circumvented the laws around Naruto, many will do the same to you. Keep your head held high and move forward, and you shall continue to have my support. I will not fail you like I did to protect Naruto.

Your father entrusted me with a fairly large amount of texts on your clan’s techniques and deposited a healthy sum of money into your account for you to live on. I’ve heard about your living situation and will arrange something as soon as possible, but in the meantime Anko has offered her home to you…

Just try not to let her corrupt you too much. We can’t have two of her running around.

I am working on finding the boy and when I do find any trace of him, I shall let you know.

Burn this letter after reading it,

Hiruzen Sarutobi.

Unable to believe what Hokage-sama wrote, I opened the one from my father:

Hinata,
While it pains me that you must suffer, you know how our family operates. I’ll admit that I have not been an adequate father and that, along with our family practices, have driven you away. I was only concerned with training the heiress to lead the family on, and for that I shunned you for your sister.

That was why I made arrangements with the Hokage the night of your outburst, to protect you from enemies like the councilwoman, but there are those that will bend and try to break that law, just like the ones who exposed Naruto’s identity and attacked him. So become strong enough to survive anything.

I’ll admit, even though I knew the boy’s true identity, I let my opinion become stained by others and cannot take back what I’ve said and done.

You are free of the clan’s name now and no longer bound by our limits and traditions. I have sent Hokage-sama instructions for all of our clan techniques should you choose to learn them, but go and do whatever makes you happy.

We will not contact each other again unless absolutely necessary. Do not seek out anymore support from the Hyuuga. Burn this letter after reading it, but know this:

You were, and always will be, my little sunshine,

Your father.

I read them over and over, until I burned them into my memory. And then I handed them to Anko-san and watched her incinerate them, before I broke down crying for the final time.

Anko-san simply held me.


Three Months Later

“Alright, Hinata-san! Your flames of youth are burning brightly,” the young man in the um… interesting, green jumpsuit told me, as I ran behind him at a somewhat slower pace around the training ground.

“Lee-kun,” I huffed out, my chest burning while I pushed onwards. “Are you sure it’s okay for you to be running around after you got hurt on your mission?”

“Gai-sensei told me that as long as I do not do more than a hundred laps around the training ground, he would not be mad,” he turned his head and smirked. “You have improved greatly.”

Lee-kun wasn’t moving nearly as fast as he could, even with his weights on. That is to say, he’s faster than anyone else that’s a genin. Less than three months ago, after Anko-sensei took me in and finished training with me until I was covered in cuts from her kunai for the first time, she said “Your stamina sucks to hell and back,” and licked my blood off it.

After applying my medicinal cream to the wounds, she recommended that I joined Lee-kun and Gai-sensei. Gai-sensei was quite sympathetic once he heard why I was exiled from my clan, and even offered me one of his um… tasteful jumpsuits. I couldn’t turn it down since he was so… youthful… and took it with me to Anko-sensei’s place…

She said she would refuse to feed such a thing to even Manda if she could and burned it.

Anko-sensei was like a big sister who tormented me, but had the best intentions at heart. She complimented me when I did something right and pointed out my mistakes and how to correct them. Her apartment wasn’t really big enough for most of my things, so they stayed in the storage scrolls and I slept with her on the bed, although she turned a lot and said scary things in her sleep.

I hadn’t had contact with anyone in the Hyuuga clan since then. Kurenai-sensei offered to go and talk to them, but I told her it was fine. She did turn a bit pale when I said I was staying with Anko-sensei. I didn’t know that the two of them shared an occasional drink, until Anko-sensei dragged me with her one night. Since I wouldn’t drink, she made me “the person who drags her back home when plastered.”

It was apparently a real position at the bar she frequented.

While intoxicated, she said many things that I don’t think I should have heard or known about. She also mentioned something about conquests and going for Iruka-sensei, but at that point Kurenai-sensei was covering my ears. Then I had to drag her home after she passed out.

“Lee!” another… youthful voice called from above, only for Gai-sensei to drop from the sky like a rock. “It is wonderful that you are sharing your flames of youth with Hinata, but alas we must convene early to discuss certain things with my eternal rival. He has been boastful since his student gained his bloodline ability when they drove off that missing-nin from Kiri… although they mentioned something about the tycoon who they thought hired him being frozen and shattered… ”

“Yes, Gai-sensei! I will…” Lee-kun began one of their discussions on tasks and punishments as I drifted off.

It had been three months since Naruto-kun had left and the Chuunin Exams were coming up in a few more months. Kurenai-sensei said that she wanted us to give it a try to test us and that she’d be proud no matter what. Anko-sensei, on the other hand, threatened me to make it to the finals and make her look good under the threat of spending two weeks in the Forest of Death… again.

“Gai-sensei!”

“Lee!”

“Gai-sensei!”

“Lee!”

I closed my eyes at that point, not willing to see that scene again… I still wasn’t sure how they created that genjutsu. Despite their odd habits they were very nice and skilled people. Under training with Anko-sensei, along with my time with my team, and the morning work outs with Lee-kun and Gai-sensei, I was starting to feel better.

My hair had grown about an inch longer, but it was slightly messy. I had changed my coat to a black colored version, and switched to orange undershirts with a chainmail shirt above it. I wore black pants, with both a kunai and shuriken holster on each leg, a pouch around my waist, and black combat sandals as well. My forehead protector was still around my neck, but with an orange colored band instead of black.

People around the village had begun calling me the “Fallen Princess” of the Hyuuga clan after word of my exile got out. It was somewhat annoying, and some people thought to make fun of me because of it. I followed Anko-sensei’s advice about kunai and near-head shots.

It stopped soon enough.

Anko-sensei also took steps to help with my stuttering.


Flashback

“Okay, for every time I hear you stuttering, I will throw a kunai at you! It doesn’t matter when—the village, the room, the bed if you keep calling for him in your sleep—you will get a kunai flying towards you!”

Flashback End


She wasn’t lying.

I’m pretty sure that my skill in avoiding projectiles was high-chuunin at this point. Anko-sensei and Tenten-san, one of Lee-kun’s teammates, tended to throw a lot of them and rarely missed… she even mentioned begging Hokage-sama to teach her the Shadow Clone jutsu so she could increase the number thrown at once during my training.

Thankfully, he refused… for the moment. I had a feeling she was wearing him down.

Anko-sensei had said that Hyuuga rely on close-combat more than anything, with only one or two mid-ranged techniques. As a result, we would be disadvantaged when fighting enemies who’ve had previous experience with our techniques or relied on long to mid-ranged combat. So she started with teaching me tactics to deal with opponents like that and, since I was no longer was bound by the Hyuuga laws, how to use elemental manipulation and mold fire chakra.


Flashback

“Okay, my little mini-Anko in training, name the five basic elements.”

“Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, and Lightning,” I answered.

“Perfect,” she smirked. “Now, explain what chakra flow is?”

“The use of chakra streaming through an object,” I answered.

“Correct. Lightning chakra can pierce through most objects if focused through chakra flow, but it can also paralyze and mess with things that use electrical energy. Wind chakra is basically use for wind techniques, but using chakra flow it can increase cutting power. Earth chakra can be used to strengthen or alter solid things through chakra flow and other basic earth techniques. My personal favorite is fire chakra though.”

Anko-sensei made a few seals and breathed out a stream of flames. “Fire burns, and if living things gets burned beyond a certain point, they die. Fire chakra is closer to a poison, in that its nature is to consume whatever it touches.”

“What about water chakra?” I asked.

Anko-sensei shook her head. “Water chakra can be used to create or manipulate water, but by changing things on a chemical level, it can create oil or other liquids. But what makes water chakra a pain is that it can dissolve or wash away at other types of chakra. There’s a reason why hunter-nin from Kiri aren’t to be taken lightly, it’s because they’ve mastered techniques designed to do just that.”

“Are you going to teach me how to use fire chakra someday if I have an affinity?” I asked.

“Someday?” she chuckled. “Affinity or not, you will be able to use at least one fire jutsu perfectly for attacking and learn a second one for tactical uses… in three months. Under penalty of a rain of kunai from me… and that girl who likes shiny weapons even more than me… there will be no mercy.”

I shivered at the thought.

Flashback End


Focusing the little fire chakra I could generate at the moment, I released a burst from the tips of my fingers into a practice log. The chakra invaded the log and it slowly began turning black, radiating from the point of the strike, as the fire chakra ate away at the log at the microscopic level. It took five minutes total, but the log collapsed onto itself, leaving only a pile of charcoaled wood.

It works against things without chakra easy enough, but against a shinobi it won’t do much damage before it gets pushed away until I can generate more…

I’ve also mastered the tree climbing and water walking exercises. She had me practice a lot in the Forest of Death, where making a slip up would be painful, on those two alone until I passed out, to increase my chakra reserves and control. She also combined it with trying to hit me with every sharp object she could get her hands on and the occasional non-venomous snake.

By the time the Chuunin Exams come around, I should have a good chance to become a chuunin despite it being my first time. Anko-sensei’s threats aside, I wanted to become stronger so I never had to say I was too weak again…


Chuunin – Exams, Outside the Forest of Death

The time for the second portion of the Chuunin exams was about to begin. I looked over to Anko-sensei, who was giving one of her speeches that terrified the general populace. When Kiba-kun said this portion would be easy, she nicked him with a kunai and licked his blood, promptly terrifying him and Akamaru-kun.

And then that genin from Kusa handed the kunai back to her with an extremely long tongue that reminded me of a snake…

While Kurenai-sensei told my team I was staying with Anko-sensei, I’ve kept most of my progress a secret from even her. I wanted to surprise them, or at least save them for the finals. No longer was I the weak heiress of the Hyuuga clan who was surpassed by her sister.

Instead, I was an apprentice of the woman known as the Snake Mistress of Konoha.

Anko-sensei walked up to me and smiled. “You’d better get there faster than anyone else considering how much you’ve trained here. I was a chuunin at 12 and I expect great things from my apprentice. Make me look good okay, brat?”

I smiled and nodded.


Inside the Forest of Death – Near the Tower

After half a day of waiting to get the proper scroll, Kiba-kun, Shino-kun, and I could finally see the clearing to the tower roughly thirty meters away. It was unfortunate for that other team their leader made some perverted comments and gestures at me. His tenketsu will be closed from my 8 Trigrams 32 Palms for quite some time.

“Heh, I knew this would be easy!” Kiba-kun gloated.

“Only because Hinata-san seems to have an excellent grasp of the terrain,” Shino-kun corrected him and looked over to me. “I take it you’ve been here with your new… roommate?”

I chuckled nervously.

“Man, that lady was scary and she smelled like snakes…” Kiba-kun shivered. “But she was hot! I tell you, if I could room with her I’d—” his puberty-inspired comment was cut off when I threw a kunai in his direction…

Not to hit him of course, but to knock the one that came flying from the clearing ahead off target. I had thought it might have been Anko-sensei, but once we broke through the tree line, we saw Gai-sensei’s team.

My cousin, Neji-nii-san, was standing in front of Tenten-san and Lee-kun. “It has been some time, Hinata-sama,” he emphasized the last part.

“Neji-nii-san,” I stepped forward and activated my bloodline. “You… have both your scrolls already… so why did you throw that kunai?”

A smile that held anything but kindness etched itself across my cousin’s face. “There’s nothing wrong with attacking opponents as long as we’re in the forest.”

“You bastard!” Kiba-kun growled. I placed my arm in front of him to stop him from doing something rash.

“You’ve been waiting here for us to pass for some time now, haven’t you?” Shino-kun said, shifting his shades.

“I must admit, this is most un-youthful,” Lee-kun added.

“We have to enter the tower as a team,” Tenten-san said. “But I’m not attacking them for no reason.”

Neji-nii-san activated his Byakugan, showing that he had every intention of fighting regardless of who stood in his way. I stepped in front of Kiba-kun and tossed my scrolls carefully to Shino-kun.

“Give your scrolls to your teammate,” I told my cousin. “Since you are going to fight no matter what, we’ll keep it between us. No one else interferes.”

Shino-kun and Neji-nii-san both raised an eyebrow at me, while the other three were gasping, followed by each—in different tones and manners of speaking—said that it wasn’t my smartest idea.

“You’ve seemed to have gained some confidence now that you don’t have to live up to the clan standards. It seems I must remind you that Fate has already determined which of us will prevail,” he slipped into a Gentle Fist stance.

Without turning around, I called out to everyone else. “All of you stay behind me at a good distance.” They looked at me oddly, but complied and stayed in the tree branches behind me. I then focused on my opponent.

“Neji-nii-san…” I paused. “No, Neji-san. I am no longer a member of the Hyuuga main branch, neither am I a failure. If you truly wish to face me, then do it with pride as a person and not Fate’s Bitch!”

My use of inappropriate language caught everyone off guard. Anko-sensei told me it was a tactic that was great for getting the drop on people who knew my normal nature. Next, I followed up by imitating her tactic of pulling out eight kunai, a finger in each ring on the pommel and threw them at my cousin.

He weaved through them and closed in on me. I leapt back, blazing through the rat, tiger, dog, ox, rabbit, and tiger seals, before I took a deep breath and tilted my head back. “Fire Style: Phoenix Flower!”

I cupped my hand near my mouth and breathed out eight small fireballs. He stopped his advance after a few smashed into the ground along the path to my cousin, but he didn’t put much effort in dodging the last two. He only looked at me with amused eyes.

“Using such a fire jutsu?” he smirked. “You truly aren’t fit to be a Hyuuga… and your aiming needs work,” he added, noting that I had set a few patches of grass, at points at various distances between us on fire.

I feigned a look of anger on my face and pulled a kunai out of my pouch, throwing it at him. He tilted his head to avoid it as it passed, only then noticing a wire wrapped around the ring at the pommel due to a glint from the sun. I tugged the finger the wire was wrapped around and it jerked back, nicking him on the neck.

“… Is that all?” he smirked again. “You get taken in by a special jounin and the best you could do after getting thrown out of the main branch was miss with a fire jutsu and nick me with a wired-kunai. Failure.”

Kiba-kun yelled something inappropriate at my cousin, but I simply started to make hand signs. “First, Neji-san, the Phoenix Flower jutsu can be moved using chakra control, which I am not incompetent in,” I said, finishing the snake, ram, and monkey hand signs, before stopping on the tiger seal.

“Second, Anko-sensei taught me how to deal with arrogant boys,” I breathed in and exhaled a wave of flammable gas. “Fire Style: Mist Blaze Dance!

His arrogance dissipated once the realization hit him and the gas met the flames, igniting a scorching wave that would swallow him. I took precautions to ensure he would survive, of course. With his speed, he could easily dive into the moat around the tower, and the flames would be short-lived since I used a different type of gas than what Anko-sensei used.

Instead of running, his eyes squinted in determination.

“8 Trigrams Rotation!” he said, as he spun around and released chakra from all his tenketsu. I knew he was gifted, but this was simply extraordinary since he must’ve reproduced it from sight alone. The rotating shield of chakra interwove with the flames and created a blazing, spiraling sphere that almost entranced me at the center of the wave… which also hit the tower behind him.

… Maybe we should have moved the fight further back. Oops.

Once the flames died down, my cousin stopped spinning and took a step forward… and his knees buckled under him and he hit the dirt. A smile graced my lips. “It’s over.”

“H-how?” he squeezed out. I tugged on the kunai that I nicked him with one more time and caught it to show him. It had a thin layer of purple coating. “Poison?”

“Anko-sensei is a special jounin in the interrogation and torture department. Of course she would teach me how to use poisons. You sped up the poison in your system when you performed Rotation.”

He struggled to get up. “Using poisons now too? You’re a failure to both the main house and the Hyuuga name. You can’t beat me! It is Fate!”

I couldn’t help but sigh and walked up to him, crouching to meet him at eye-level. “Neji-san… you are truly gifted. To have learned Rotation on your own, you must’ve sweated blood and tears. I’ll acknowledge that as a Hyuuga, you are my superior.”

I held the poisoned kunai at his throat. “But right now you are the one who is lying in the dirt. Fate may have stated that Neji Hyuuga of the Branch Family would defeat Hinata Hyuuga of the Main Family… but the woman before you is Hinata the Fallen Princess, proud apprentice of Anko Mitarashi, special jounin and the Snake Mistress of Konoha!”

I stabbed the kunai into the ground next to him. “If you want to be Neji-nii-san then get that through your head. But if you want to be Fate’s Bitch, keep your head on the ground!”

He didn’t mutter a single word after that. Our teams walked up slowly, staring at me like a stranger. I walked up to Tenten-san and gave her a vial of antidote. “Give him this and he’ll be back on his feet in three hours. It was just a paralysis poison.”

I nodded towards the tower and Shino-kun and Kiba-kun followed me there.

“Damn,” Kiba-kun said. “When did you learn all that? That was pretty cool…”

“I concur,” Shino-kun muttered. “It seems you’ve improved a great deal in both ninjutsu and tactics… although your language seems somewhat out of character.”

I smiled and they flinched. Anko-sensei must have been rubbing off on me more than I thought. I was almost tempted to lick Neji-nii-san’s blood off the kunai.

Now, how do I explain the damage to the tower to those ANBU coming out…


Last day at the tower in forest of death

The fifth day passed.

Although I thought I might have been in trouble for scorching the tower, they seemed to simply shrug it off after I said Anko-sensei taught the tactic to me. “She’s done worse when drunk…” one of the ANBU trailed off.

We were quite surprised when we opened the scrolls and Kurenai-sensei was summoned. She was stunned at how fast we arrived, although the Suna team got here even faster. I expected Anko-sensei to be slightly upset about that, but ANBU said she was resting after a minor incident.

Kurenai-sensei was also shocked when Kiba-kun decided to brag about how “Badass” I was and the fight with Neji-nii-san. “I’m going to have to tell Anko to go easy… we don’t need two of her in the village just yet.”

Of all the teams that had entered, only a few remained: Gai-sensei’s team, Kakashi-sensei’s team, Asuma-sensei’s team, the Suna team with the boy who had the gourd on his back, and our team. The teams from Ame, Kusa, Sound, and one of the Suna teams were missing.

“Since there are an adequate number of teams that have passed, we will move into the third stage in one month’s time instead of a preliminary match,” Hokage-sama said, before we randomly drew match ups for the upcoming exam.

A few minutes later, they were displayed on the screen: Sai vs. Shino, Ino vs. Shikamaru, Choujivs. Kiba, Hinata vs. Sakura, Gaara vs. Sasuke, Temari vs. Rock Lee, Tenten vs. Kankuro, and Neji would skip a round.

I looked over to Sakura-san and smiled when she noticed me. Her hair looked as though it was cut during the exams. “Sakura-san?”

“Y-yes…? ” she edged away from me. It seemed like she heard of my short fight. “W-what is it?”

I bowed to her. “I’m sorry for attacking you a few months ago. You were wrong to call Naruto-kun that name, but I shouldn’t have attacked you.”

She blinked a few times. “O… kay?” she chuckled nervously. “It was my fault, no real harm done… ”

“But I’m not going easy on you,” I added, taking small joy in watching her sweat.


2 days after the second exam

“Hey old man,” Anko-sensei addressed Hokage-sama, who just sighed. “You ready to teach me how to do the Shadow Clone jutsu?”

“I told you, I wouldn’t teach you unless I felt it was necessary…” he said, before mumbling something about how much having an army of her would add to his paperwork.

“It would’ve helped when I had to sign all the forms for the damage she did to the tower,” she turned to me and smirked. “Heard you kicked your cousin’s ass. Hope it dislodged the stick stuck in there.”

“Shadow clones for paperwork… “Hokage-sama slapped his forehead. “Why didn’t I think of that after all this time!”

Anko-sensei laughed out loud, while I couldn’t help but giggle. I could’ve sworn that I heard someone else chuckle too.

“Leaving aside how much time I spend on paperwork being drastically reduced, I’m assigning you two on a C-ranked escort mission. We’ve found the location of a person of interest and I’m assigning you two to escort someone to retrieve her.”

“Oh?” Anko-sensei bought out a kunai and licked it. “Who are we bringing in for me to play with, and who’s the person we’re escorting?”

Hokage-sama sweat-dropped and chuckled nervously, “The person you are retrieving is Tsunade Senju, one of my students, the legendary Slug Princess, one of the Sannin…and hopefully the next Hokage.”

My eyes uncontrollably went wide, as did Anko-sensei’s. It was reasonable given who we were being assigned to retrieve. Hokage-sama took a deep breath and smiled. “As for who you are escorting, he’s standing behind you.”

We both turned to see an older man with white hair, a forehead protector that read “Oil” and a… unique outfit, step out from the shadows. Hokage-sama smiled. “I want you two to meet Jiraiya the Toad Sage, also one of the Sannin, one of my students, and… Naruto’s godfather.”

We were both paralyzed.

Only the sound of Anko-sensei’s kunai hitting the floor was heard.


Canon Jutsu:

8 Trigrams Rotation – Expels chakra from all tenketsu and the user spins around to gain an absolute defense.

Hidden Shadow Snake Hands – A combination summoning and space-time jutsu that shoots snakes from the user’s sleeves.

Fire Style: Phoenix Flower – Creates small fire balls that can be controlled with chakra, but short range. It can be used to set up the field for her Mist Blaze Technique.

Fire Style: Mist Blaze Dance – Creates a stream of flammable gas in the lungs, which is breathed out. On contact with flames, it ignites.

Fire Style: Great Fireball – Creates a moderate sized fire ball, size changes based on chakra put into it.


Notes:

I’ve pointed out several of Hinata’s flaws and I’m trying to address them so she isn’t a Naruto fangirl nor some weakling. Her world centers around Naruto, which is no better than Sakura’s obsession over Sasuke. If the manga wasn’t starring Naruto as the main character, it would be the seen as just as bad.

The reason I had Anko take care of her was because she has a neutral opinion on the matter, but could sympathize with both of them. She doesn’t hate him and knows how dangerous obsession is. Sasuke goes to Orochimaru because of his obsession with his brother and Orochimaru did horrible things because of his obsession with immortality.

Though I wonder if I’m having Hinata act a little too much Anko…

As for the second exam, they skipped the fight because not enough teams passed to warrant it. Sasuke did get marked and he, and Sai, killed the Sound team in self-defense. Some other things did happen, but like I said, not all of the genin get focus in this story right now, if at all, and this chapter is from Hinata’s point of view, and what she doesn’t know the reader doesn’t know.

And yes, Gato was killed by Haku after Sakura met with him (No, Haku is not a girl in this fic) in the forest while he was gathering herbs and made a side comment that Sai said people like Gato would kill rather than pay. So, Haku spied on him and overheard him saying he would, and the rest is history. Expect to Naruto and Co. to run into Haku and Zabuza after the invasion, and a few other arcs, in Kiri.

Hinata wouldn’t win in a close-range fight with Neji and they knew it. His arrogance caused him to underestimate Hinata like in canon and came back with a vengeance.

Next chapter is Tsunade retrieval arc and the end of Naruto’s training in Suna.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: The Old Puppeteer


Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/4/15

Beta: Bluemew22


With the Uzumaki

“Moooom…” Naruto whined.

“We’re tired…” another Naruto said.

“… We’ve been at this all week…” the third Naruto said.

“Again,” Kushina told them.

The Narutos all sighed in defeat and sat down on the ground, closing their eyes and concentrating. Kushina had begun teaching them how to use her Chakra Chain jutsu. It required no hand seals, but it required so much concentration that even with two hundred clones working on learning how to generate the proper amount of yang chakra for the jutsu, it still wasn’t solid enough. He needed to focus on mixing a large amount of his physical energy into a small amount of spiritual energy, without it completely overtaking it.

Once ten minutes passed, they placed their hands on one of Kushina’s affinity testing seals, which she managed to make along the way. She had over five hundred of her multi-purposed, newly christened “Affinity Breakdown Seals” ready for the market, and she finally managed to create chakra chains away from her body.

Once again, you’ve gotta love shadow clones.

The top ten that got the closest to the proper yang chakra composition were then dispelled and the process was repeated, until the original was the only one left. He’d then try on his own, rest for some time, and then repeat the process. This way, he crammed at least a few months’ worth of training in a day.

There were about twenty more clones doing various chakra exercises, including some from the medic-nin book she got. Since medics needed absolute and precise chakra control, those exercises were the best for him to gain better chakra control. In addition, yang chakra was used in healing as well, similar to how yin was used in genjutsu. It had a slightly higher concentration of physical to spiritual, but nowhere near as much used in her chains.

Still, she had about five shadow clones working alongside them since she would probably need to learn medical techniques in case of an emergency. Just because Naruto could heal himself faster now didn’t mean he could heal anyone else.

There were a few more clones working on their katas, but there were less than three hundred clones total in use. Rather than just letting Naruto make nearly a thousand of them, Kushina didn’t want to have Naruto running low on chakra too soon, since converting regular chakra to any element was draining, and because they were still close to enemy territory.

They’d been doing the same thing over and over for the last week as they slowly made their way towards Suna, avoiding the shinobi paths on her map. At this point they were past the Land of Fire and into the Land of Rivers, which was situated right between the Land of Fire and Land of Wind.

Since she didn’t want to risk being discovered by rotten luck, Kushina had applied the seal to herself, turning her eyes a light shade of purple and her hair black, wrapped into a single ponytail. She also altered Naruto’s new one to have black hair and purple eyes as well, so they matched… the first one he made didn’t agree with the fox’s chakra, as she learned when she slightly altered the seal on his stomach to give Naruto a better sense of hearing and smell.

They also had to use different names when in the presence of others, for obvious reasons… neither one of them wanted to put too much effort into it though, so they just settled on “Shina” and “Naru” to get it out of the way.

I wonder if I could get someone in Suna to personally supervise him in using his wind chakra, Kushina thought to herself. Suna’s shinobi population wasn’t all that high, but they had the greatest number of wind users.

The main problem for this portion of their journey was going to find someone to teach them about puppetry. Only shinobi native to the village could learn it, and according to the Unofficial Bingo Book, the only other major puppet master outside the village was Sasori of the Red Sands. If they entered into the village as shinobi without any real reason, they’d be subjected to interrogation.

“Hm?” Kushina eyes narrowed, as memories from one of her clones that were patrolling the area just returned to her. “Naruto, wrap it up. We have guests.”


A short distance away

A well-toned, middle-aged man, dressed in a simple white T-shirt and black pants, with a jacket around his waist, was moving through the forests as fast as he could. He was currently running from three missing-nins from Ame, two males and one female, that were clearly playing with him.

One of the men had only a single eye exposed, the other hidden from sight by his hair, and he had a mask over his mouth and a bandana. The other was muscular, with chin-length gray hair, arm warmers to go with a sleeveless shirt, and a teal mark across his face. The last was a young woman with short light-brown hair, wearing pink tube top that was barely covered up by a light green shirt.

The older man was out of breath when he reached the edge of a river. “Honestly, kids these days acting worse than bandits.”

“Well, you could’ve just given us your gear old man…” the girl said. “Oh well.”

“Chakra Chain: Emergence,” a voice echoed through the forest. A dozen small explosions occurred at the same time around the helpless man, as ghostly, translucent chains erupted from the ground beneath him.

“Chakra Chain: Barrier,” the same mysterious voice said. The twelve chains arched and formed a dome around the man, and the gaps between the chains were filled by a shimmering force.

“The gentleman has a point,” the mysterious voice came from the river this time. Kushina slowly rose from the river using the Hiding in the Water jutsu she learned from one of the scrolls in Uzushio, with her arms crossed and dressed in her combat outfit, with a matching backpack on spaghetti strings. “You three could stand to do better than that.”

A rain of shuriken poured down at the missing-nins, who jumped back at the last second, leaving a good sized spot with shuriken popping up like weeds. Landing in a crouch next to his mother was Naruto, dressed in his combat clothes as well.

“So, time to go from practice to practical application.” Naruto grinned. He only had his mother to spar with up until now and wanted to try what he learned against an enemy.

“Naru, remember these three will actually be trying to kill us. Don’t take them lightly.”

“Yes ma’am!” he said, before flicking his hands and causing shuriken to appear between his fingers. He threw them at the masked one who dodged with ease. “Come at me bro!”

That little—” Kirisame muttered before going after him.

“I feel bad for that kid,” the kunoichi muttered to Kushina. “That guy is a sadist. Your kid is gonna be in pieces.”

“My child can take care of himself…” I hope, she thought secretly. Naruto had yet to face a situation where he’d need to kill or be killed. She wasn’t sure he was mentally prepared for dealing with his first kill, but hopefully it wouldn’t come to that in this battle. “Let’s get started.”


With Naruto & Kirisame

Naruto placed the palm of his hand in front of his mouth and inhaled. Releasing trace amounts of wind chakra from his body and merging it with the surroundings, the air he inhaled became concentrated and flowed towards his mouth before stopping at the palm and spinning in place. Once he exhaled the spiraling sphere flew towards the Ame-nin who jumped up and avoided the attack, leaving it to crash into tree that was behind him and leaving a moderate sized crater in the wood.

Naruto inhaled and exhaled rapidly, repeatedly firing the jutsu over and over, only to have the enemy avoid it with ease. It’s not bad offensive-wise for a low-ranked jutsu, but the time between shots is too long and the strength is dependent on the amount inhaled…

Naruto flicked his wrist and sent chakra into the seal on the palm of his right glove. A Kunai popped out and he held it in a reverse grip before charging the man.

“Let’s see what you got kid!” The Ame-nin formed the Rat-Dog-Ox seals and water gathered in his hands. “Water Style: Water Whip!”

He lashed out at the boy, before taking a wide swing that Naruto ducked under. He twisted his hand brought it down, causing the whip to twist and catch the boy’s leg. “Get over here!”

He pulled the whip in and pulled out a kunai, plunging it deep into the boy’s waist. Naruto gasped in pain… before popping in a plume of smoke. “What the hell?”

“It’s called a shadow clone,” the young boy’s voice came from behind him.

Kirisame exposed eye went wide and he pivoted on his rear leg, swinging the whip horizontally. Naruto ducked under it and edged left, swinging his reverse-gripped kunai at an inside arc to graze Kirisame’s shoulder, before placing his foot behind the taller shinobi’s and kicking it from under him.

Kirisame flipped backwards and landed… only to find himself flying. A concussive force of condensed chakra ruptured the moment it hit him. He went head first into the tree and stopped moving.

“My taijutsu isn’t going to be very effective damage-wise until I grow a bit more, but at least the Wind Style: Air Bullet worked.” Naruto smirked and made three shadow clones to haul his unconscious prize back to the others.


With Kushina, Hisame, and Murasame

Unlike Naruto, Kushina was an experienced kunoichi who fought in a war. Seeing that her enemies were getting ready to start making hand seals, she brushed her fingers against the storage seals on the blouse’s sleeves and threw the kunai that appeared in a spread fashion. The goal wasn’t to hit, but to make them move or deflect it.

Kunai were okay for close combat, you could slit the enemy’s throat, slip the blade between their ribs, and all that fun stuff, but the further away the enemy, the lower the effectiveness without using chakra. Both of them dodged, as expected, and Kushina rushed towards Hisame.

“Old hag!” she roared, finishing the seals and creating a water whip.

Kushina dodged the first swing with a slide and aimed to angle the kunai into the girl’s heart from below the breast, only to miss when she twisted. Kushina threw the kunai at Murasame to force him to redirect his water whip long enough for her to grab Hisame by her loose shirt and toss her out of it and directly into Murasame.

Enraged, both of them sent their water whips straight towards her, like poles. They were also standing close enough to be caught up in her next shot.

“Water Style: Spiraling Water Ball!” she said, as she leapt back, following the same pattern as her son, but taking from the condensation in the air and mixing with water chakra. She took a deep breath, aimed towards the pair at a slightly downward angle, and fired the ball of spiral water.

It cut through the whips easily since they were stretched far enough and knocked the duo off their feet on impact. Kushina created four chakra chains from the palm of her hand and shot them out like snakes, making them coil around the pair. She then slammed them into a tree, pulled them in with a single tug, and clothes-lined them both.

They didn’t get back up.

Kushina breathed a sigh of relief once Naruto returned and looked unharmed. “Place him with the others,” she said, before she released the man in her barrier and pulled out the Unofficial Bingo Book from sealing scroll in her backpack.

“They aren’t here, meaning they were new missing-nin…” she mumbled, closing the book and turning to Naruto. “Have any problems?”

“Nah, the guy was cannon fodder at best,” he shrugged.

“Don’t take any battle lightly. Things have a bad habit of going from bad to worse really quickly…” she paused before looking at the man. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” the man said as he stood up and picked up his bag from the ground. “Thanks for the save.”

“We were just in the neighborhood and heard the commotion,” Naruto told him, not bothering to look up as he started looting the unconscious Ame-nins’ supplies. “Ooh, they’ve got cool blank masks and a scroll to do that whip thing… and another one that follows up with lightning!”

Kushina sighed and shook her head. “It was no problem… I’m sorry; I don’t believe we’ve done introductions yet.”

“My name is Gen,” he said, extending his hand for Kushina to shake. “I’m a blacksmith from Takumi.”

Kushina grabbed his hand and shook it politely, noting how hard and callus they were. It was evidence that he worked long and hard towards his profession.

“My name is Shina,” she pointed to Naruto, “and this is my son, Naru. I’ve heard of your village before. It specializes in making customized weapons for shinobi.”

The man sighed. “It used to, but now so many villages have gained some skill in it. We’ve lost a lot of business, so we visit nearby villages and set up shops. What about you? I don’t think I’ve seen that barrier jutsu before and you aren’t wearing a forehead protector… ”

Kushina smiled. “We’re basically mercenary-nin, without a village… hang on for a second, please.”

They both stopped to look at Naruto chuckling, as he had finished stripping the missing-nin of their supplies and wallets. She rolled her eyes and made the Tiger-Ram-Snake-Tiger seals and cried, “Water Style: Froth Prison!”

A stream of light-pink water came from her mouth and collided with the ground around the three. The moment it made contact with the organic matter it began a chemical reaction that formed a good amount of solid foam which strengthened based on the amount of chakra present. “They’ll be like that for a day or so.”

“Mercenaries… would you two be interested in serving as my bodyguards for my trip to Suna?” he asked. “I can’t pay you a lot right now, but I can make you just about any weapon you could want, for both of you!”

Well, that was convenient. Never again will I doubt my son’s dumb luck, Kushina thought. “We’d be glad to—I wanted to try my hand at selling some of my own things there anyway, and I heard they had an open bazaar.”

He chuckled. “It is pretty big, but you can never get any space unless you get there early or reserve a spot. I don’t mind sharing my stand. What will we be selling?”

“Seals,” Kushina tapped her shoulder and released a bit of chakra, causing a shuriken to appear. “These are my special combat storage seals. I made them to hold various items in separate compartments, and respond to the amount of chakra I release when I touch them.”

“Yeah,” Naruto showed him the palm of his gloves. “All I have to do is pulse chakra into mine and BAM! I have something to fight with. Although the frequency and burst of the chakra pulse determines what comes out… ”

Gen whistled and smiled. “I tried to be a shinobi when I was younger, but I dropped out before I became a genin and moved to Takumi. So I can use chakra, but only for using small storage seals and testing the weapons I make that don’t require elemental chakra.”

“Interesting… tell me, have ever considered using a chakra storage seal that…” Kushina and Gen went on about endless possibilities of seals and weapons combined…


Somewhere in Konoha

A girl with buns in her hair was working with her father on blacksmithing, when she stopped mid-swing and looked up with sparkles in her eyes…

“Something wonderful is going to happen, and it involves me and weaponry… ”

Her father just sighed and shrugged.


Several Days Later

It took far longer to get to Suna with Gen in tow, since he couldn’t keep up with the pair at full speed. Before they entered the village’s range, Naruto and Kushina had changed to their civilian clothes and asked Gen to keep quiet that they were fully-capable shinobi since they wanted to keep things on the low for now. Suna and Konoha are allies, and if they drew attention here…

Gen had no problem with it, and it wasn’t too hard to get into the village as civilians. Seal salesmen were expected to have some chakra to make or demonstrate their goods, and they didn’t belong to any village. They kept all their combat clothes and private things in a seal that Kushina kept hidden inside another seal, in case they tried to check for it.

Once Naruto and Kushina got a room, they went sightseeing around the village. The marketing areas were the most active, but the buildings were the same color of brown and looked like they were made of clay. There was that really round building in the center of the town, but other than that…

Their BBQ places were great to eat at and had a surprisingly wide arrangement of foods that were imported. There were a few kids around Naruto’s age, but they were training in Suna’s style and, while Naruto left Konoha and trained with his mother, he didn’t want to take any chances. He just went around with his mother as she checked out various stories and bought things that she could probably use to make a fortune later on.

Later that night, Naruto was snoring in his bed. Watching him sleep peacefully from behind a desk with a small lamp on it was Kushina. She’d always hoped that she would get the chance to watch him grow

He looked so much like Minato. She missed him so much, it wasn’t fair. It felt like she took away his second chance from seeing their son.

But she knew if they kept going, they would get a chance to bring him back. So, to keep their boy safe until then, she needed to get stronger. That was the reason she had three scrolls in front of her.

The first one was Sealing Arts of Yin, written by the Uzumaki Clan. It went into detail about the use of yin chakra and spiritual energy, how it brings illusions and phantasms out and give them shape. The sealing formulas it had inside involved forcefully disturbing the balance of yin and yang chakra.

The second one was Yin Style: Phantasmal Markings, which she got from Kurogane. It uses yin chakra to mark a target’s spiritual energy with symbols or letters that exist but don’t have physical form and couldn’t interact with the physical world.

Yin chakra was an absolute nightmare for her to use, as her chakra was geared towards yang chakra. That was why she never went into genjutsu. While Naruto had abysmal control from having the fox to blame, she had her own chakra quality to blame.

She would need at least a year of practice without shadow clones to mold the necessary yin chakra for phantasmal marking, but with the help of these two arts, she could create a truly demonic technique.

One that she hoped she never had to use.


Two weeks later

If one were to ask how Kushina’s sales were going, they would probably have to wait in line. For about an hour. On a good day.

Her seals were a hit!

Affinity Breakdown Seals, Combat Storage Seals, Security Seals, Privacy Seals—not the new ones she made, but their older versions—they were selling. If she got low on some, she’d have a few shadow clones in hiding make more.

To make matters even better, Kurogane contacted her through their scrolls and had requested more of the seals she made him. When she mentioned the new ones she made, he just said to send them over after he gave her the profits from her last ones.

Now, Kushina wasn’t a greedy person by nature and she didn’t change in the slightest. She put everything else that wasn’t needed for the next two weeks and Naruto’s allowance away. It had to go towards building their village back up again.

If she franchised it… hehehe…

But, extremely profitable dreams aside, she was technically housing a missing-nin and that wouldn’t change until he got support from another village as large as Konoha, but since he was housing the fox, that wouldn’t stop a war from breaking out. It had to be more than a single village…

It was only thanks to their appearance changing seals—she didn’t market those for obvious reasons—that they could live in temporary peace. But Naruto was at least talking to others his age that didn’t hate him because of their parents. The main downside was that the fox’s chakra would destroy the seal if he used any of it besides the healing portion.

Gen was making an equally great amount of profit with his custom weapons. Between his and Kushina’s techniques, the weapons gained some popularity for being able to absorb chakra flow easier and strengthen themselves to prevent chipping and breaking. Most of the blacksmiths couldn’t match those, and Gen and Kushina could sell the templates for a commission.

The two had big plans for even more potent weapons and seals combinations, using elemental seals and such, but Kushina wanted to hold off until they tested them on her and Naruto’s custom weapons, as well a few prototypes. She only bought the sealing scrolls that were geared towards using regular chakra, water chakra, and wind chakra from Uzushio. When Kushina eventually left Suna for Konoha, she would definitely give him a scroll like the one she gave Kurogane.

Having a guy like him in Uzushio would do well for economic growth.

Naruto’s sealing lessons were the only ones they could practice while inside the village. He was moving onto making tracking seals and chakra releasing seal. Tracking was done in two parts or more depending on the seal. Typically one was applied to the target and sent a chakra signal to another seal that had a receiver.

The chakra releasing seals did just that: release chakra. It was a storage seal that handled chakra and as a result could hold jutsu as well if the seal was properly done. Naruto couldn’t make one to hold jutsu on his own, but he could make one to just release pure chakra. If a second layer of sealing formula was applied then you could shape the chakra, otherwise it just burst out, and a third layer added the pressure of force behind the released chakra. Too little pressure was the same as having a light breeze push it out, but too much could change the shape added by the second layer and rupture it.

Kushina demonstrated by taking a decorative kunai she made with Gen. It was shaped more like a normal one, except it was flattened out more and the sides of the blade above the hand were curved into points. The top side of the kunai had one set of seals that activated when she used chakra and fired a blast in the shape of the kunai’s blade. The bottom side seal released a small outward pulse.

Naruto would most likely learn how to do the third layer in half a year and a half without shadow clones. He had the second layer down, but he needed to study some physics and matters related to forces applied to surfaces. Then it was a matter of trial and error.

The next thing on Kushina’s list was to find a puppet maker.

It was through some rumors and basic information gathering that she came to learn of the “Honorable Grandmother” Chiyo, who was the best puppet master in Suna and also the best puppet maker. She also found out what her favorite restaurant was and started to take Naruto there to eat a few times. On their fifth visit in two weeks, she spotted her.

“Excuse me,” Kushina said as she walked up to the elderly woman. “Are you Chiyo-sama?”

“Ah, the girl who sells those popular seals…” the elder said, turning in her seat. “What do you want with an old woman like me?”

“I’ve heard that you were the best puppet maker in Suna,” Kushina bowed. “Can you teach me how to make a certain type of puppet? I am certain that only someone with you experience could do such a thing.”

Kushina kept her head down for what seemed like hours, waiting for a response, until Naruto tapped her on the arm. “I think she just died… ”

“Huh?” Kushina looked up to see he eyes half open and her face lowered and relaxed. Her breathe was nonexistent. “Quick, someone get a medic! I’ll see if I can—”

She was cut off by Chiyo suddenly jumping out of the chair and both she and Naruto jumped back. They both almost went into a combat stand out of shock. Instead they resisted the urge and stood there shaking.

“Hehehe… Just kidding! I’m not dead.” Chiyo chuckled. Given how most people knew her… eccentric habits, they also chuckled. What they didn’t know was that Kushina didn’t like being laughed at.

The pony tail Kushina had tied as part of her disguised appearance began to crackle with eldritch energy and unravel, branching into nine tendrils. Some people would say that the room chilled suddenly, others would say they could see her literally burning with anger. Naruto had his hands full holding her back.

“C-calm d-down m-m-mom…” Naruto stuttered. “You can’t go around doing that to anyone that angers you… ”

The old woman just continued to chuckle. “You amuse me,” she turned around. “Unfortunately, I’m no longer an active puppet master or maker, nor do I take students….”

She walked away from Kushina and out the door. “You’re simply out of luck dear.”

“Tough break lady,” some random guy said. “Chiyo-baa-sama doesn’t really do anything these days for anyone.”

“What’ll we do?” Naruto asked quietly. “We can’t just give up.”

Kushina closed her eyes and smiled, she wouldn’t give up that easily. “Of course not, Nar—” she was cut off by the sound of explosives coming from down the street, followed by screams. The clacking of wood came was the only thing that stood out.

“Naru, stay inside here!” she said, before running outside to see about five Suna ANBU fighting shinobi with Suna forehead protectors and their puppets. Chiyo’s body was lying on the ground, unmoving. When one of the civilians was running past her, Kushina grabbed the woman’s wrists and asked what happened.

“Some members of the Puppet Brigade attacked Chiyo-baa-sama, after telling her to hand over some scrolls! She refused and suddenly there was a puppet attacking from under the ground! She stopped it with her strings but the arm shot off and stole her scrolls! After that more guys and puppets came and the fighting started to escalate—!”

“WHERE’S MY CHILD!” another woman screamed.

Kushina was starting to get worried, and tried to think of a way to help. She could pass herself off as a mercenary shinobi, but it would cause them to doubt her since she was supposed to be a civilian. Plus, the air was so dry that the amount of condensation to use an effective spiraling water ball would take too long, and jumping into the fight all of a sudden could get her targeted by ANBU by mistake.

“BOOM!” a loud crash came from an alley, and Kushina recognized her son’s chakra by heart despite not being a sensor-nin, since it was currently flowing through her body. She took off to go get her son and missed the Chiyo laying on the ground becoming a pile of sand and scattering in the wind.


With Naruto

Naruto wanted to see what was going on, despite his mother’s warning, so he watched from the back entrance of the restaurant they were in. It was then that he saw a man with a little girl in his arms, running around a corner. His ears twitched once his enhanced hearing heard the little girl sobbing silently for someone to help her, before being knocked out and another voice said something about the old lady’s scrolls.

The guy had grabbed a little girl during the commotion to use as a hostage, after his partner’s puppets grabbed the scrolls. Chiyo had some impressive techniques, and for her not to teach them how to make or use those ten special puppets of hers was as good as treason to them. He and his partners knew they couldn’t return and that they’d become missing-nin, but they figured they could aid Suna from the shadows instead, and if taking a hostage was necessary, then so be it.

Suna placed the importance of missions above all else, and the ones caught up in the fighting knew that they had to by some time for him to get away. If they died, then they knew they did what was for the best. The mission came before their lives, and this was their mission.

Naruto chased after the man. He was afraid that if he went to get help, the man could escape or use the child as a hostage…plus he felt confident that he could take the man down after he handled the missing-nin from Ame with moderate ease. But brute force was out of the question, it had to be a sneak attack.

He made three shadow clones and transformed two into rocks and the last into a wooden stick, running behind the man and into the alley. “Wait right there, you bastard!”

The shinobi looked back at Naruto, who threw both the rocks past his head. The man sighed, pocketing the two stolen scrolls and pulling out a storage one with a new puppet. The puppet clacked and its chest popped open to reveal dozens of poison dipped spikes before charging at him.

Naruto threw the wooden stick over the puppet, flying straight towards the shinobi. The man shook his head. The child thought he could stop him with a few rocks and a stick.

Too bad kid, if you just ignored me th—his thoughts were cut off in an instant, as the wooden stick the thought he dodged became a clone… and smashed his face in with his knee. He thought it was simple stick that he could avoid and didn’t even consider using a substitution. Before he could get his puppet in finish the boy off, a voice came from behind him, and a spike in chakra.

“WIND STYLE: AIR BULLET!” a second clone called out before firing condensed chakra bullet at the puppet. The real Naruto jumped into the air and braced himself, right before the attack landed.

The alley way was hit hard and dust flew into the air once the condensed chakra ruptured and exploded out with enough concussive force to slam Naruto into a pile of rubble that was once a dead end wall. The clone used a good potion its chakra for the attack since Naruto wasn’t sure how durable the puppet was, and it had dissipated once it was hit by the backlash. The puppet was just splinters and scrap steel.

The child and Chiyo’s scrolls had been spared by the attack thanks to Naruto’s planning. In that instant the man looked up at him, the second rock became the third clone and grabbed the child, while his first clone grabbed the scrolls and both ran past the second clone and out the alley, not seeing the figure standing on the rooftops watching.

Naruto chuckled in delight for pulling off such a well-executed plan enough to fool the man.

“You little brat!” the shinobi screamed, jumping out of the dust cloud with a tanto in his hands. He had every intention of ending Naruto’s life. The boy had to move… he couldn’t.

Naruto looked down to register what happened to his body as time slowed down. The shrapnel from the debris had embedded itself into his stomach and legs, cutting open his shirt, and pierced deeply enough cause moderate bleeding, but it hadn’t cut into a major blood vessel. The healing chakra from the fox could heal it in less than five minutes… he didn’t have five seconds.

Don’t freeze up, he tried to tell himself, as the tanto began its descent.

Move or you’ll die, he couldn’t concentrate like this. He couldn’t use substitution like this!

Mov—Splat.

The sound of flesh being pierced rang in the boy’s ears, and the smell of iron from blood and steel colliding overpowered his nose. Blood fell over his forehead and slowly oozed its way down into the open space of his gaping mouth. He laid there shivering…

As the man’s empty eyes met his own.

“That was a close one,” an old voice reached his ears.

Naruto was in shock, so he didn’t notice the chakra strings attached to dead man’s hands. With a quick tug from the puppet master, the man who manipulated a puppet seconds ago, became a puppet that slid the tanto between his ribcage and into his heart.

The one pulling the strings was none other than Chiyo herself.

The world began to tunnel and the sight of those empty eyes would forever be engraved on the boy mind. The last thing Naruto heard before he passed out was his mother’s voice.


Minutes Later

“Do you have any privacy seals, dear?” Chiyo asked Kushina.

Kushina nodded and pulled out a complicated, customized sealing array, far beyond what she normally sold. It had a formula for disturbing sound waves by distorting the air it traveled through, while releasing alternating frequencies of chakra to disrupt the use of any sight-based technique like the Byakugan. If any outside chakra came into contact with the seal’s chakra, it would alter them immediately.

It took Kushina over a month of studying and trial and error at Uzushio to learn how to make the seal properly, setting aside several shadow clones to speed up the process.

Chiyo planted the seal on the wall and pulsed chakra into it. “That’s better. You truly are gifted child… this seal is a step above my own.”

Kushina didn’t pay the compliment any mind. She just had to get her baby clean and take care of him and… and…

“You can lay him down on the couch—the blood was my fault anyway,” the old lady said nonchalantly. “I’ll fetch the basin, some washcloths, towels…” she trailed off.

Kushina laid Naruto on the couch, and took off his torn and bloodstained shirt. The shrapnel was ejected the moment the healing kicked in, and there were no visible marks anymore, so it was probably just the shock of it all that made him faint.

Right…?

“I told the guards that I would heal the boy and give a full statement about what happened before I dismissed them,” the old woman said, as she bought the material using her chakra strings. “When they wouldn’t leave, I showed them how versatile my strings were and reminded them I still had some power over the council. Your son will not be bothered for the remainder of your stay.”

“You have my gratitude, Chiyo-sama.” Kushina said, as she bowed politely.

“You can drop the honorifics dear. I’m too old to care,” she chuckled, before calming down and speaking in a more sincere voice. “Was it his first time… seeing someone die like that?”

Kushina nodded and ran her fingers through his hair as tenderly as she could. “He’ll be fine… all of us go through it at some point in our careers. But… for it to happen to my little boy… ”

“Indeed… it was probably better that he go through it now than on the battlefield… same for you. Our careers tend to lead to short life spans,” she said, not adding … with a few exceptions of course.

Kushina dipped the rag in the water basin and twisted it, slowly wiping the blood away from her child with tears in her eyes.

“I admired his courage, but if I was a second slower, your child would not have survived. Why did your son go so far to save a child he didn’t know? He is not one of us.”

Kushina shook her head and kept wiping away at her son. She had finally cleaned his beautiful sleeping face. “We may be strangers, but Naruto couldn’t just stand by and let that happen.”

In Chiyo’s hands were the scrolls that Naruto retrieved from the thief. As she watched from the rooftop, she saw his mother quickly grab the child and the scrolls before the two clones dispelled themselves before they drew any attention. Kushina tossed the scrolls to her and grabbed her son, getting ready to flee before she told them she would handle the fallout. She told ANBU that the child chased the man foolishly and was about to be attacked by a puppet when she interfered.

She figured they were probably missing-nin who wanted to settle down without worrying about anyone trying to hunt them. Truthfully, she would’ve been content with losing the scrolls since they no longer held importance to her at this point in her life, but in the wrong hands…”These scrolls contain years of my studies and notes, as well as my greatest ten puppets. You would have probably benefited more from them than trying to learn only basics from me.”

“We wouldn’t go that far,” Kushina said softly. “Neither one of us would forgive ourselves if we stole something important from someone who didn’t wrong us.”

“… Tell me about the boy there,” Chiyo pointed towards the sleeping Naruto. “I saw the seal on his stomach when he was healing himself, and I know that much chakra isn’t normally possible for one so young… I’ve seen his kind before.”

“Will I have your word that this will stay between us?” Kushina asked. Chiyo nodded her head. “My son was made a Jinchuuriki when he was born, as a last resort. We hoped that he would be seen as a hero, we didn’t want to think the worse possible solution… That he’d be persecuted because of it and suffer because of it.”

“I take it that both of you are using some form of disguises and alias right now?” Kushina nodded her head. “Good, the less I know the better. Tell me why you sought me out.”

Kushina finished wiping her boy clean and put on the spare shirt Chiyo bought, before she showed the scroll detailing the puppet she needed made. To be blunt, it was very similar to making puppet out of humans in some aspects. But while human puppets were just shells that could borrow the skills they had in life, this actually used someone’s chakra to shape the doll and store their consciousness inside of it.

You could theoretically raise the dead with it. The materials weren’t just easily available, but it was still possible to gather them with enough finances. The biggest problem was that the sealing arrays needed for it were so finesse and delicate, if you made one mistake in placing the seals, it would be ruined for good. There was only one village that had such proficiency…

“It is things like this that got your village targeted in the first place,” Chiyo chuckled, but there was no malice or ill-intent in her words. “There are many people who would commit the greatest of sins to get their hands on this, including the foolish Kazekage. Lucky for you, I’m not one of them.”

She handed the scroll back to Kushina. “Only show it to those you can trust, and never those with ambition or suffering from the pain of losing someone they cared about. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of repeating history.”

Kushina only nodded silently, rubbing her sweet son’s face.

“I will get you the materials that I can, but it may take years to do it subtly enough to not draw attention. Despite not officially taking on students anymore, I know of both a private place where you can train and a young girl who would be helpful towards teaching the boy how to use his wind chakra, and I’ll teach you the basics of puppetry myself,” she paused as Kushina looked up in shock, “on one condition, of course.”

“If it is within my ability, I’ll do so.” Kushina replied.

Chiyo put a sad smile on her face. “I have long since withdrawn from my village’s affairs after I was forced to do something I regret to this day.” She flicked her wrists and chakra strings flew out and attached themselves to the dirty washcloths, basin, Naruto’s old shirt, and the towels.

“That man should never have been made Kazekage,” she shook her head in disappointment. “Instead of allowing the raccoon dog to remain sealed away in the kettle, he did the one thing no parent should have done to such a small child for only creating a weapon… ”

Chiyo looked at Naruto with sad eyes, as if recalling a past memory. It was then Kushina realized what happened. “He used his newborn child?”

“It wasn’t surprising really… most of the tailed-beasts are sealed inside those who they feel would be most loyal to the village. If they are lucky, they only face discrimination from the shadows. But that man… he actively encouraged people to fear the boy, even going so far as to have the only person who outright loved the boy drive him to the very edge.”

Chiyo shed a single tear. “He was completely broken after that…”

Kushina was absolutely livid. She couldn’t be there for Naruto when he was suffering, to hold him tightly and tell him everything would be alright. She would regret that for the rest of her second life.

“Having proficiency in sealing is a necessary skill in making puppets from scratch,” Chiyo sighed. “I was the best at making puppets. But what that foolish man failed to realize was that people weren’t puppets… they were much more fragile.”

Chiyo just stood there in silence; her eyes were as still as empty pools of sorrow. Kages have to make decisions for the good of the village. But if that were the case, she could probably understand.

“I lost my faith in the village after seeing what I had done,” Chiyo finally continued. “Since then, that man has made one foolish decision after another, from antagonizing the Daimyo to meeting with that man from Oto.”

Chiyo flicked her wrist and strings flew out. She had a scroll in her hands in the next second. “These are the details of the seal I used on the boy,” she muttered, as she handed the scroll to Kushina.

“Though my pride would never call for me to rely on another person, I know I am at my limit. My only request is that you help me fix the seal on the child, so he no longer suffers and can sleep again at night.”

Kushina looked over the details of the seal and then looked back at the woman. “How long do we have?”

Chiyo smiled. “Two months, at the last portion of the Chuunin Exams.”

Kushina looked at her son’s peaceful sleeping face, as if he could tell the blood had been wiped clean. Even though he would probably have nightmare about that scene, or when he takes his first life in battle, every child should be able to sleep in peace.

“It’ll be my pleasure.”


Canon Jutsu:

Wind Style: Spiraling Wind Ball – Gathers wind chakra laced air and spins it, before shooting it. The power varies on how long the user inhales.

Wind Style: Air Bullet – Condenses wind chakra and fires it in ball shaped bursts, the explosive force is determined by the amount of chakra condensed.

Non-canon Jutsu:

Water Style: Spiraling Water Ball – Gathers water chakra laced condensation from the air and spins it, before shooting it. The power varies on how long the user inhales.

Water Style: Froth Prison – Sprays water onto the ground and begins a chemical reaction that creates foam, it solidifies based on the amount of chakra used.

Chakra Chain: Emergence – Allows Kushina to generate chakra chains away from her body.

Notes:

And so, it begins…

I tried to get across what a parent would go through had their child gone through the ringer. The world of Naruto is awesome and all…but technically, they are child soldiers at that age, and Kushina only met her son for a few minutes…twelve years and four months ago.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Training in the Land of Whirlpools


Author’s Notes: Revised as of 1/2/15

Beta: Bluemew22


At the Land of Whirlpools

It had been only four months since Naruto reached the Land of Whirlpools and the fallen village of Uzushio. Using a special puppet, he pulled out his mother’s chakra and she was given a physical vessel to inhabit. There were a couple of conditions, such as Naruto having to transfer his own chakra into a seal on her stomach whenever she ran low, otherwise she would vanish, but it was worth it.

“Alright kids, we’re going to get started with the daily routine. Remember, those who complete their training or get the furthest every hour or so should dispel themselves before we start again so the experience goes to each of you.”

“Yes ma’am,” about a thousand or so voices responded back. She smirked upon seeing her sons beginning their training.

When Naruto was asked to demonstrate what he had learned in the Academy, he showed her. She prompt told him that she was going to introduce those instructors to her fist and then the floor. They had sabotaged the boy academically in more ways than one.

His taijutsu needed a lot of work, his chakra control was shot, and the boy wasn’t too bright knowledge-wise. Kushina wasn’t a Nara, but she at least knew enough about history and the world. Not to mention her taijutsu was formidable.

Thank the Sage of Six Paths for shadow clones. The experience sharing trait was a blessing.

For the first month, Naruto would make several hundred shadow clones a day, increasing the amount every week. He started out with about five hundred clones and as his chakra reserves and control increased with training, he could make more.

Next, the clones would be split into groups.

A few dozen clones would be sent to scour the entire island for food. Even though they had some emergency rations, a shinobi must be able to fend for themselves in the wilderness. A few would hunt for small animals or birds that dotted the island, while others would start fishing with their home made rods.

One group consisting of ten clones would stay in the underground shelter to read up on various subjects. Given his short attention span, that was a punishment worse than death and they complained… until her hair split into nine sections and chains started popping out of her body.

At times like this she wished she knew more about seals that affected the brain.

In the scrolls she found, there were instructions to make mental focusing easier by placing a temporary seal on the clones that would focus their attention on the subject matters at hand. It used chakra to activate the part of the brain that registers when something is pleasurable and fun. She didn’t know enough about human psychology or anatomy to risk doing that to anyone, let alone her son.

Next, they had about three groups of clones each working on various training exercises. The first group would do the wall climbing exercise on the tallest standing pillars left in the ruins. The second group would do the water walking exercise on the river. The third group would focus on chakra control exercise that Kushina called “Spiraling Tower”.

She basically had them pick blades of grass and balanced them on one finger, before adding another blade on top that one. Naruto would then spin the blades of grass without either one falling off using chakra. At first he only had to spin them, but then he needed to make them spin at the same speed, and then have them spin in different directions at the same time.

Another group of three clones would work on training Naruto in using his Transformation and Substitution jutsu. He needed to learn to alter his weight and mass with each transformation, so he could start using it in conjunction with his clones by transforming them into things like rocks or weapons. He also needed to speed up his substitution… so she used him for a lot of target practice.

The remaining clones would be used to practice memorizing the katas from a form of taijutsu native to their clan, based around circular movements to dodge, block, and strike. The clones gained muscle memory of the forms and then the original and Kushina would spar. She wouldn’t hold back either.

He was covered in bruises every time.

Kushina had also tweaked Naruto’s seal, since she and Minato were in a rush and cut off some of the necessary functions of the seal.

The seal was formatted with an updated filtration system to clean the chakra more efficiently, and deal with the poisonous effects. She also rigged him with a stronger healing factor by compartmentalizing a section of the fox’s yang chakra to be used only for healing him. He didn’t need to tap into the raw power of the fox anymore to heal quickly.

The fox was whining about how she was essentially cutting a piece of it off and purifying it, but she shut it up by changing the sewer-like prison to a more open, natural space. It didn’t appreciate having a few of her chains as a leash though. She didn’t really like the natural disaster, but it did save Naruto’s life in the village and they both wanted the masked man dead.

Kushina also trained in mastering as many of her clan’s techniques as she could. Her chakra was keeping her anchored to the doll, so she could never go below a certain amount or she’d vanish for good. However, this was easy enough to get around, as Kushina could slowly convert Naruto’s lingering chakra into her own. She simply compartmentalized the chakra into regular use, emergency use, and life support.

As a backup, she created seals to hold chakra in any item she wanted and could therefore store any chakra that she didn’t use before Naruto refilled her reserves. The puppet body looked and worked like a human’s, so it could only hold so much. This way she could refill her reserves on the run or leave a few behind in case something happened.

She could also make a few shadow clones, which she used to study and train along with Naruto. She wasn’t really too good at ninjutsu and this gave her a chance to study up on some techniques. If Naruto continued this level of training, he would truly shine.

She was so proud of how he could grasp some semi-complicated seals now.


Flashback

“Naruto, I want you to look at this seal and tell me what it does.” Kushina said, as she handed him a square sheet of paper. It had several circles on it, connected by lines to various symbols, which were isolated by enclosed markings. The borders of the paper had countless line of sealing formula, serving as the base of the seal, to break down the chakra it is imbued with.

He examined it for a good ten minutes before speaking. “It has the basic elements on it, along with several bloodline elements, and… I’m not sure which these two are, but it determines the user’s element by sealing it inside the seal and then dividing it into properties… I think?”

Kushina smiled at him. “The two you didn’t recognize are yin and yang elements, the balance of physical and spirit energy. Still you managed to understand it in less than an hour, very good Naruto. Now, tell me what you can do with this seal?”

Naruto scratched his head and scrunched up his face in thought. “Umm, well you could test for someone’s element with it, but there’s chakra paper for that… I’ve got nothing.”

“First, this seal can be used to identify if you have an element-based bloodline or your affinity. It’s better to use chakra paper as the base for the seal, and then use the proper sequence of code to create a formula to break down the chakra and sort it into the individual elements alone. The other reason is because it can serve as a lock that can only be opened by a certain combination of chakra that belongs to the user. Now, tell me what else I can use it for.”

“Uh,” Naruto rubbed his head. “Chakra-based Traps… and Tracking Seals?”

“Yep. Seal someone’s chakra inside it and use it in conjunction with a tracking array, or set it to activate on touch and sample the chakra of the person who touched it. If they match, BOOM!” she said, while placing her finger on the symbol in the center of the seal a pouring her chakra into it.

From the center, a shimmering blue line traveled along a path to the symbol of water. “So, you have a water affinity?” Naruto asked.

“I wasn’t really good at ninjutsu so I never really developed it. But while I do have an affinity for water, I usually use my chakra chains by manipulating yang chakra on a higher level than most people since my chakra has a special quality geared towards it.”

She then took her finger off the paper and had Naruto place his on it. He had a wind affinity.

“How about we both work on elemental training together?” she asked him with a smile that would melt the hearts of most men. Naruto nodded enthusiastically.


Back to the Present

Kushina wanted to start Naruto on learning her Chakra Chain jutsu, which used shape manipulation and yang chakra. She would divide the concentration of spiritual and physical energy that made up chakra into a large amount of yang chakra, which gave the chains a physical presence. The form would be kept in place by shape manipulation. It was like setting the mold, the pouring in the liquid steel, and then cooling it down to a solid mass, all at once.

Anyway, since the underground shelter had scrolls on element manipulation, they both decided to start training in it during the second month. They both started by working on cutting and soaking small sheets of scroll paper they found, and then planned to move up to using elemental chakra flow on things like weapons.

Kushina also found an interesting application of water chakra through her study of the scrolls, in contrast to Naruto’s wind chakra.

By the middle of the third month, they both could quickly cut and soak an object in about two seconds through pure chakra flow alone. They could dedicate more time towards it later, maybe even getting a second element in practice. But first they wanted to practice some water style and wind style jutsu.

Naruto had gained a bit of muscle on his body after all the training. His clothing had changed, given he lost his previous clothes to throw ANBU off his tail. He wore some simple, dark shinobi pants, a shirt, and combat sandals that they found in the storage room. He complained, but Kushina simply said she was in the same boat until they found a tailor.

She had also gotten back into shape within these four months, losing her excess weight from the time she sealed her chakra into Naruto’s seal, and was now back to being a fit kunoichi. Naruto had once made a comment regarding her weight. He wasn’t very well versed in common sense either at that point.

One training session later, he swore never to question women when it came to bodily matters, and the fox was laughing his nine tails off.

Despite their relentless training, the pair would take a day off every week to start cleaning up the village as best they could. That included burying any skeletons they came across. Kushina cried more than once in the process, given that her clan was fairly big and she occasionally found child-sized remains. They would also inspect the buildings to see if anything that could be used was left behind. They found some slightly used kunai and shuriken, chakra paper, and other trinkets.

These four months were the best of Naruto’s life, and Kushina was happy as well with helping to groom her son to be a respectable shinobi.


That Night

“Huh?” Naruto said, his jaw dropped from his mother’s last statement.

“My chakra wasn’t the only one sealed inside. Your father’s is inside you as well. He left a portion his chakra inside, as well as dealing with the yin chakra of the fox.”

“A pointless endeavor,” the fox said inside Naruto’s head. “My chakra will reform in time. There’s no way to kill our kind short of Yin-Yang release or merging us into our original form. And that would be far worse for this world…

“Then, if we use another puppet…” Naruto started before she shook her head.

“Unfortunately, there was only one. To make the puppet you used we’ll need materials from Suna and Konoha, as well as contacting someone skilled at make puppets, human anatomy, and some other stuff. Plus, I’ll need to study sealing jutsu a lot more before we can even try and summon Minato. The person who made this one was an even better seal master than most special-jounin, in a village that specialized in sealing.”

Looking at her saddened son, she sighed and then told him, “We’ll head out tomorrow to start gathering the materials and knowledge we need.”

“I thought we were leaving after a year?” Naruto asked, before taking a bite out of the grilled fish.

“I originally planned to, but we need supplies and you need to interact with more people than just your mother. It might give you a complex. But to be honest, between our shadow clones, your training is advancing smoothly and we can train on the road.”

“How are we gonna get there? I’m kinda a missing-nin, remember?”

“Since we shouldn’t be seen entering from the port, we’ll make a raft to get us near the mainland and then walk on the surface of the water to go the rest of the way. On the way back, hopefully we’ll have enough money to buy a small boat. As for your appearance, using a transformation won’t be good enough, but that’s what seals are for. I’ll have you make an appearance changing seal as a final exam.”

“What specifications?” Naruto sighed.

“One that can change your hair color and your eye color will do for now. Although when we get to Konoha, we’ll upgrade it to hide your whisker marks and your chakra signature, in case we run into any Hyuuga. While we’re on the subject, what are the key factors on changing your face, eyes and hair?”

“Alter the melanin for the iris pigmentation… thing for the eyes, the two types of melanin in the hair follicles for hair, and the stratum corn… thingy for epidermis of the face. Set the seal to use chakra to release minute amounts geared towards the altercations without producing too much or too little, and making sure it is evenly distributed.”

“Hm… close enough, but get the terminology right in case we run across some place to sell our spare seals. I want us to make enough money and connections so we can start planning towards rebuilding the village.”

“… Mom?” Naruto said silently. “Will the two us alone really be able to completely rebuild everything?”

“No, Naruto,” she shook her head, “we can’t do it alone. Getting recognized as a village will be nearly impossible in such a short time, which is why we need to make connections in high places and among the common people. Our village was destroyed because it was attacked by multiple villages that feared our seals, and Konoha was fighting its own war.”

“We’ll need shinobi to defend our home, an economy to finance our growth, demolishing the rest of the rubble and rebuilding the village… Naruto, to be blunt we’re going to have a long road ahead of us.”

“Ahh, all of this making my head hurt,” the boy cried.

“It’s not too bad. It would be best if we started selling things we find, and our seals, in a village. Maybe Suna or Kiri would be best, and then there are a bunch of smaller villages. Then we hire someone to come out here and demolish the old ruins and build up a few places for living in, although we’ll have to keep quiet about it. After that, maybe we could train a few shinobi who are missing-nin, but not wanted for anything like needless murder and let them come here… but then there’s the risk of them betraying us… ”

Kushina went on and on about her plan, and it was well thought out. But in the end, it would take too long going alone and they’d have to travel between the mainland and the island a lot of times…

But that was fine with Naruto. Traveling with someone you cared about beat the hell out of a village full of people that loathe you.


The Next Day

Naruto and Kushina had left the remains of the village. After Kushina revealed her village had a method of temporarily halting some of the whirlpools protecting the island naturally, they both just started running across the ocean since it would take too long by raft.

Even with the chakra they had, it was impossible to accomplish in only a single sprint. So they pulled the raft out of a storage scroll when they got tired and slept on it for a few hours. When they woke up, they’d eat some of their rations before Naruto refilled his mother’s chakra supply, and then they went right back to running.

They made land fall about a mile from the port soon enough.

Naruto had applied his appearance changing seal to give himself red hair and green eyes, and they both hid their Uzushio forehead protectors. They needed to mask themselves as civilian for now. Any bandit that was dumb enough to attack them was dumb enough to pay for it.

They rented a room at a hotel and rested until morning. Kushina went to the port bazaar, since it would be a great place to stock up on supplies and sell some of the things they didn’t need in the long run. Naruto was just happy he could finally eat some ramen and took off toward the nearest stand. It wasn’t as good as Ichiraku’s, but it had been so long…

“Welcome…” a man with shady glasses that could rival an Aburame’s said, as Kushina entered into a rundown building. He had things on display that weren’t present in normal stores or stands. She was sure enough that this guy was dealing in black market goods.

“Hello,” she said politely. “I won’t waste your time, so I’ll just ask. I’m looking to get rid of a few things and obtain a copy of the Unofficial Bingo Book.”

He pulled out a slip of paper with a bunch of seals on it. “Touch this seal and don’t use any chakra. If you lie or use chakra, this seal will kill you. Do you understand?”

She nodded.

He looked her up and down, watching her posture, foot position, breathing pattern, basically any sign she was ANBU from a village after his head. “Are you a kunoichi?”

“Yes,” she answered honestly. “I am sealing expert who is not affiliated with any major hidden villages.”

“Hm… your posture carries a little of Konoha, but not in the style of their major clans or recent graduates.”

“I haven’t been in Konoha in over a decade,” she responded calmly. “You won’t find me in the Bingo Book because they believe I’m dead.”

The man continued on asking several questions to trip her into lying, but she didn’t tell him anything that wasn’t at least partly true. He finally relented after their deadly game of twenty questions. “… Show me what you want to pitch, but if you make any sudden movements… ”

“Yeah, yeah. By the way, the seals in your shop need a lot of work. I might be willing to make new ones for you, if you’re interested.”

The man arched an eyebrow. “… Go on.”

Twenty-minutes later, Kushina walked out of the shady store with her hands on the Unofficial Bingo Book, suited for bounty hunters who didn’t mind going someplace else other than a village to get rid of their bounties… or assassination targets. To be honest, she just wanted to see if there were any missing-nin that she could convert to help them, low bounties wanted for just running away or a minor crime.

She really wasn’t happy when she saw her son in the Bingo Book as a C-rank target. Consider how the council had some power behind them and he was a genin, she realized that Sarutobi had no choice if the council kept pressing him. At least it was a low rank and capture-only order.

She also got rid of some of the things she took from the shelter to barter with. She needed the cash, and she didn’t want to sell to a normal merchant since there was a chance of having it traced back to the dead village. She couldn’t draw attention just yet, and the one thing about the black market you can count on is the difficulty of tracing anything sold there.

The man in the shop, who only identified himself as Kurogane, was well informed when it came to his wares. He tried to test her again by offering her things that were low quality or would interest an ANBU, since he knew the last test wasn’t fool-proof. After that secondary test was finished, they began their business transactions.

She bought a map that had the secret routes used by shinobi of various villages, including the big five, a book for medic-nin chakra control from Konoha, several scrolls on wind style and water style ninjutsu, and even a few on specialty ninjutsu done using yin and yang chakra. All of these were top-grade goods that should never leave certain clans or villages. Kushina would later add seals to make sure they weren’t stolen from her or read by a third party without their permission.

Needless to say, Kurogane didn’t say how he “acquired” these goods, and Kushina didn’t ask, although she made a mental note to thank Jiraiya on teaching her some of the more subtle and darker aspects of the shinobi world. He was a master spy after all. It still wouldn’t stop her from kicking his ass for not watching over Naruto though.


Somewhere in the Land of Fire

Jiraiya was talking with one of his contacts when a sudden feeling of dread washed over him.

“… Why do feel like I’m going to get my ass kicked in a few months?” he said while shaking uncontrollably.


Back to Kushina

Anyway, she gave him an upgraded version of his testing seal.

Unlike the previous version that sent a backlash if chakra was stored in it and had a basic diagnostic jutsu woven in to monitor the sign of stress from lying, her version included her seal that was used to test their affinities. It broke down chakra into elements and recorded signatures, so that if someone came in after using a transformation based on a client that left, or a genjutsu to control others, they wouldn’t get by him due to the high traces on yin chakra found in those particular jutsus.

Then she updated his storage seals, and security seals. Kurogane was pleased with the work and offered her a fair amount for her goods and a few extra seals to sell. Before she was getting ready to leave, there was still a question he wanted to ask…

“… You’re an Uzumaki aren’t you? I’ve had a few customers over the years with the same hair color and sealing proficiency… although yours is impressive even by their standards at the time.”

She turned to face him. “Yes, I am… I have been looking for members of my clan. Could we make another arrangement?”

He nodded. “Let me guess, contact you if I meet with any and set up a connection?”

She pulled out a scroll and gave it to him. “This is a scroll with seals embedded inside it. Anything written on here and then has chakra applied to it will appear in the scroll I’m carrying. It can also share items through a combination of a summoning and storage seals.”

Kurogane took the scroll. “I hope you don’t mind if I use this to contact you with more…business offers in the future. I move around a lot and I have a feeling that your products will be much… desired.”

“I’ll be looking forward to it,” she chuckled. “Until the next time, Kurogane-san.”

“Indeed… what should I refer to you as?”

She smirked at him. “How about Shiokitsu?”

“Very well. Until next time, Shiokitsu-san.”

After her dirty dealings, Kushina stocked up living essentials, as well as some clothing material to take to a tailor for some clothing for Naruto and herself. He was still on a feeding frenzy at that poor ramen vendor’s stand. The guy was crying at this point, trying to keep up with feeding him.

Later that night, they both took the chance to get accustomed to their new casual clothes, and more importantly, their combat clothing.

Naruto now had black combat sandals and pants, an orange t-shirt and a light-blue hooded jacket with a spiraling wave at the center. He also had a pair of blue-fingerless gloves for his hands. Kushina was wearing a short-sleeved mesh shirt under a light-blue kimono-like blouse with a white spiraling wave pattern at the bottom, held together with a black obi. She had a dark skirt with shorts underneath them, just in case she had to fight a pervert…or Jiraiya.

It looked great with their Uzushio forehead protectors.

They both then dropped onto their beds, after setting a few security seals in their room. Robbing travelers while they slept wasn’t exactly uncommon, even in hotels. Their gear was stored in storage scrolls that were sealed by their own locking seals, but it wouldn’t stop some people.

Either way, the pair would set out for Suna in the morning.


Konoha

The Third Hokage sighed as he looked over the reports.

He had sent several teams to retrieve Naruto, but after he ditched his clothes he basically fell off the map. He had the Inuzuka clan members try to track his scent, but after that last shadow clone barrage his scent was everywhere. There had been no sign of him since he vanished, which usually meant one thing when it was a genin and a child…

If another village discovered he was a container for the Kyuubi, they would basically draft him into service. If they figured out his heritage, then Iwa would call for his head on a pike. If it were bandits… well, he’d probably be fine.

Still, it worried the old man to no end that the boy vanished, although he could understand why. After that fiasco, word had gotten around about his “condition” and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t silence the current generation of genin from knowing the truth. Several of them reacted as expected… not the Hyuuga girl of course, but he wouldn’t have been welcomed at the Academy anymore.

The damn civilian council literally threw a party once they knew he ran away. Danzo was pissed about losing a future asset, and the shinobi council knew that it was a blow to their forces, although the clan heads showed the boy some sympathy knowing who his parents were. Too bad they never acted on it.

Regardless, at this point they knew they needed to put him in the Bingo Book and settled for desertion at a C-rank, but a modest bounty to be paid if he was brought back alive.

Sarutobi also contacted Jiraiya, who got right to work in searching for the boy, knowing Akatsuki would jump at the chance. He also received a tip about Orochimaru planning something during the Chuunin Exams that were three months away. He asked Jiraiya to find Tsunade as well if he could.

He just prayed that the boy was alright.


Notes:

Shiokitsu = (Tide Fox)

Kuro(me)gane = (Black Shades)

Alright, now that we got that out of the way, let me start by saying that Naruto will be traveling with his mother to gain the necessary allies to rebuild their clan’s village. Most of the Konoha 12 will not gain major roles in the story… for now. Instead I’m throwing in some filler characters, other tailed-beast hosts, and OCs.

Pairings haven’t been determined yet, but there will be no incest at all. Naruto x Hinata might have some ground given how it started, but for the first part of the planned story their interactions are limited and Naruto is still technically a missing-nin.

Neither Naruto nor Kushina will be unstoppable machines of destruction, or at least I don’t plan for them to be, but Naruto’s first solution will not be to spam clones until the enemy stop moving nor will it be Rasengan all the time.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja 11: Towards the Mizukage

Chapter 11: Towards the Mizukage


The Depths – Strategy Meeting

“We have two jinchuuriki with partial control, summonings, a seal master, a sensor, three bloodline users, and the rest are powerful combatants adept at water jutsu and aquatic combat.” Ao summarized as he presented a map and pointed to a region to the north, where swamplands surrounded a lake that bordered a small mountain to the rear. It was where the Mizukage resided, who had to be defeated if this conflict would come to an end.

He couldn’t help but rub his chin at the prospects. “In all honesty, the thought of the few of us going against a fully matured jinchuuriki doesn’t inspire confidence, but it’s all we’ve got now that things have progressed to this point. The key point in this will be whether or not a few individuals can disable or kill Yagura while the rest of our forces hold off against the amassed army and defenses in place.”

Ao then went on to explain where the battle would take place and the groups assigned tasks. Their unit was to stealthy make their way to Yagura, going past the war zone itself using swampland that they would have to traverse quickly, where he would be waiting on a lake. There they could confront him, but the collateral damage would be lower, meaning they face the possibility of being assaulted by a Tailed Beast Bomb.

There would be two teams, one holding a jinchuuriki each, split apart and coming in from the east and the west. If one didn’t make it by some chance or there were more guards than expected and sacrifices were made, they’d still have enough to fight.

“The Seal Master will have to remain out of combat at all costs since her role is arguably the most important. I don’t need to tell anyone that failure means death”—Ao shot the jinchuuriki pair a look—”or enslavement. The purging of bloodlines will continue unimpeded and more lives will be lost as this country falls into recesses of history.”

No puny human is enslaving me again,” Kurama snarled inside Naruto’s mind.

Utakata shrugged.

“I’d rather the kids not fight at all against a jinchuuriki in the first place,” Kushina stated as a fact.

“I’ve been too through much at this point to back out halfway mom,” Naruto told her. “My hands are already stained with blood…ever since I became a shinobi. It’d be better to fight and ensure that all the deaths until now…aren’t wasted.”

“I’m fighting as well,” Isaribi said coldly. “I can’t just let what happen to Villa go…this feeling won’t fade away unless I can do everything to bring down this hateful reign.”

Kushina’s face melted into one of sorrow for a brief moment before solidifying again, she didn’t want them to fight anymore but they were warriors who’d been bloodied at this point. “Damn it. Then, if we can face him near a large body of water, my summoning might be able to do something as well even if I’m not able to move personally.”

Naruto raised a brow. “You have a summoning too?”

“The guardian of the Land of Whirlpools and her kin to be exact,” Kushina said with her tone a bit mysterious. She had undergone the trial for it and made the contract. “They tend to be fond of women and are dedicated solely towards the benefit of Uzushio, which is why they aren’t fond of Konoha either since they desperately needed help during the war and never got it. You look too much like your father for their tastes.”

“That’s not fair towards me,” Naruto pouted.

“I know sweetie,” she told. “The Boss Summoning agrees that it’s petty and, while she could order her children to behave, they could still circumvent the spirit of her laws. You’ll just have to win them over in time.”

“Right…” Ao sighed. “Well, Yagura is currently positioned in the middle of a lake, so that should suffice. Moving on, Zabuza will be supporting our men on the front-lines along with Choujirou and Suigetsu. Having two of the Seven Swordsmen, as well as the brother of one, will raise morale amongst the men…”

Ao continued his role as the strategist to set up contingency plans. That night marked the beginning of the end. By the time the sun had set the next day, Yagura would fall.

The bloody mist would be cleared by the burning horizon.


The Next Day

The battlefield was a mist-blanketed swampland, thin trees with little greenery jutting out of murky water. The soft earth was packed full of hardy shrubs that reached towards where the light would break through the mist and fill them with the essentials they needed to survive. Turtles, salamanders, alligators, poisonous snakes, and all other amphibious creatures lingered below the surface along with fish, partaking in the numerous insects that dwelled within the environment.

There was a sole oasis in this swampland that encompassed the majority of the area, a lake that was not muddied by the waters of the swamps, and quiet reigned. That was where the final and most important battle would take place. A battle between beings that surpassed the norm and those that stood on top of the norm.

Naruto, Isaribi, and Haku formed a three-man team and were making their way through the swamplands towards the jinchuuriki Mizukage. Haku was in the lead with Isaribi, already transformed, and Naruto following.

The rest had decided to go through the other directions, making themselves a bigger target by having the head of the insurgency, Mei, among them. It was a strategic move, coming in from multiple sides and in waves to assault a sole target, allowances in case more than one vital member was killed, so they wouldn’t all be slain.

If one jinchuuriki fell, there was still one more. The only unacceptable losses were Mei herself, as the face of the insurgency if she died it died with her, and Kushina, which meant that a rampant Tailed Beast would be free and other countries would swarm to claim it.

This mist is making it hard to see…” Naruto muttered, annoyed as he hopped along the trees to avoid the water and wetlands below. Isaribi could swim beneath it with ease in her Kaima-Form, and Haku was literally skating along the surface of the water. He wished he had his Nine-Tailed Fan, but that was gone. Not that he was bad at the standard shinobi tools of the trade, but goddamn it that fan was freaking sweet.

“You get used to it,” Haku told him.

Naruto thought about the current situation that led to this country becoming a powder keg and found it somewhat confusing. The routine extermination of bloodlines was something he never imagined living in Konoha. If bloodlines and power made up a part of the power base, by killing them off as they did they were weakening themselves. He, hesitantly, brought this up to Haku.

“Why is why we believed Yagura to be under another person’s thrall,” Haku replied. “The purge was only officially started when one clan that could utilize their bones caused such destruction that they were killed off with no survivors by the Kirigakure forces. While that could have been considered a necessity in the eyes of most people, from there it extended to other bloodlines, even those outside of the country and the minor villages in it.”

“… Did the people support that?” Naruto asked.

“The civilians have their own problems,” Haku stated. “Living in these lands is hard enough as a shinobi, but the smaller and rural villages have an abundance of difficulties that are much worse. I was, for example, a simple peasant born of a farmer in a small village. Food was scarce for us, most going to those who can fight as shinobi, and it was dangerous with the abundance of missing-nin that this nation births. Most of the people couldn’t tell a shinobi with a bloodline from one without, so it really didn’t matter…”

He trailed off and took a moment to think over his words before he continue. “But Yagura made a pledge to keep the smaller villages safe as long as no one with a bloodline was found alive. If they were then not only was the protection voided, but a few days later the village was wiped out in an ‘insurgent attack’ as it was told. So when my father found out…”

Naruto picked up what he was hinting. “You mean he…”

Haku nodded, his eyes slightly glazed over as he recalled the memory. “Rather than allowing his wife and son to risk the village, my father killed my mother with tears in his eyes and then tried to kill me. My bloodline kicked in and… well, now we’re heading through the mist-laden lands in order to topple a Kage.”

Neither Naruto nor Isaribi openly commented on that. Not from lack of experience, but because it didn’t need to be said. They knew all too well how the public could easily be conditioned to loathe someone simply because it was easier, mob mentality forming out of fear, ignorance, and hatred.

Discriminated because they were different, changed because of factors beyond their control, both had their own way of coping. Naruto wore the mask of a fool who cried when he was alone. Isaribi was isolated, closing off her heart and betraying her own sense of morals for the promise of being turned to normal, only to have been manipulated by the one responsible.

Their moment of silent reflection ended as Isaribi submerged and witness something surging through the water. She broke the surface and called out the attack. “We’re under attack!”

As if to punctuate the point, a chakra construct molded into the shape of an alligator using the water itself emerged and took Isaribi into its gaping maw, before dragging her below the surface and out of their sight. They stopped their advance and stood on the mangrove branches above the water at the sudden loss. But there was no time to concern themselves with their lost comrade as the scent of ozone reached Naruto’s nose from a lightning jutsu coming from behind them and the churning of water to either side of the tree reached Haku’s ears.

Taking from the reservoir of chakra he drew from, Naruto used hand-seals to convert it into wind chakra and then poured it into his lungs, expelling in a single breath a gale that was known as the Great Breakthrough technique from his mouth. The squall grounded the lightning through affinity and opened up the mist a bit as the leaves and weaker branches of the mangroves were carried by it.

The churning water to their sides became drills, liquid fangs meant to pierce through their bodies. Spiraling towards the pair, they chewed through the branch the two were on mere moments after Haku grabbed Naruto and leapt away. Like lashing serpents they gouged out furrows in the bark as they slithered up the length with a grinding noise in their pursuit.

Taking to the air in a chakra-strengthen jump, Haku ran through a set of three seals and took a deep breath. Within his lungs he melded the dual elements that composed his bloodline, wind and water, to generate a freezing squall that nipped at the inner lining of his lungs and throat as he exhaled. From his puckered lips a flurry of relentless cold and hoarfrost emerged like a billowing cloud of white and blue that swallowed the drills of water streaking towards them.

The Arctic Winds technique buffeted the drills, stripping them of their heat and freezing them over. The forming frost overtook the rotations and slowed it to a halt as it consumed every inch. Soon they were nothing more that rigid poles of ice that sought to touch the sky and fell short. From the source of the water that had served as the base of the water drills, the ice that had ran over it from the excess arctic winds served as solid surface for the two to land on.

A senbon filled Haku’s empty right hand while a kunai appeared from his gloves in Naruto’s as the water next to them spouted upwards. From it emerged the kunoichi clad in deep-green scales, her eyes as black as the night and her fins extended with the intent to use them as blades.

Isaribi, her voice less human than before, asked, “Which way?”

Naruto sniffed the air with his enhanced sense of smell. The lingering moisture made it a hindrance, since it wasn’t like he was a member of the Inuzuka Clan that had been trained in tracking, but he picked up three different scents. “Two o’ clock, Six o’ clock, and Ten o’clock.”

Haku went through single-hand seals and let his chakra sink into the moisture in the air and the water beneath the ice, clinging to it and taking authority of it. The water turned to ice and then shaped themselves into needles that stood around him at the ready, an ice variation of the Thousand Flying Water Needles of Death technique. Armed with over a hundred small ice needles, they were sent flying in the direction north-west of them.

The ice needles ran through the trunks and branches of the thin trees and covered them in a thickening layer of ice as they speared towards the shinobi in hiding. The ringing of steel deflecting the ice was heard as the shinobi avoid their cover for the sake of blocking and avoiding rather than being skewered. His location compromised, he moved to kill the bloodline-user with a kusarigama in hand.

Isaribi went through the hand-seals that she had been taught, her water element chakra seeping into the waters of the misty swamplands around them rather than generating fake water and then controlling it, reducing the cost. The water churned into a throbbing sphere twice her size. Then it violently surging out, dragging the rest of the water into the Giant Vortex technique as it barreled to the south.

The sheer mass of the destructive torrent, plowed through whatever cover that had been provided by the thin fauna and trees, tearing out anything on the surface of the water and carrying it as the path of devastation was torn straight through in a line. The surge settled as her chakra, which had held it up, dissipated with the release of the technique. For a moment all was quiet and she wondered if she killed the attacker right out, but that delusion quashed as a Tornado of Water drilled towards her and then slammed into the ice platform that had been formed, sending the ice crashing down atop her as she fell beneath the murky waves.

Naruto, now airborne again as he leapt before the ice pole he was perched on shattered, lacked the sheer destructive technique needed to flush out the last member due to his fan being destroyed, but he had plenty of explosive tags and kunai. Sending them out en masse, the rain of destruction fell upon the grove and water alike. Thunderous and deafening roars emerged as spout of water and sprays of splinters and sheered bark followed.

A bolt of lightning snaked out towards him, acting like a spear that flew toward him with the intent of piercing through him viciously. Too composed and fast for him to try anything special with wind techniques, he created a single clone and had it kick him towards the water before the lighting tore through where his chest had been and the clone was snuffed out. Naruto landed atop the water, chakra on his feet keeping him afloat, and then darting off towards the source of the last spear of lightning with the scent of ozone leaving a trail he could follow.

Lightning ripped through the air again, snaking towards the youngest shinobi who remained astride tree branches as he advanced. Naruto kept off the water as he moved, wary of the traps that may have been beneath the surface. He wasn’t Haku or Isaribi, the water wasn’t his native land that he could swim or skate over. He grew up among the land of leaves and trees, even if he left it behind. Thin as the trunks were, they still dave him a solid surface to kick off of and advance towards the enemy.

He abandoned the branch as the lightning smashed into the wood. It exploded, splinters flying and dropping down to the waters below. He jumped up for the nearest tree right afterwards and kept moving.

The opponent continuously sent out streams of lightning that darted for him, but he was fast enough to get away rather than trying to smother the element with its opposite. Extending his hands, the jounin then sent out thrashing forks of lightning that ran rampant. When Naruto leapt up to avoid it, the tendrils of lightning darted towards him like snakes seeking prey and slithered to swallow him.

Naruto crafted a Shadow Clone and used it as a kickstand to spring further, leaving the clone to soak the damage as the memory of its destruction was fed to him. Now within range, he crafted chakra chains from the palms of his hands and then whipped them down, the pointed tips seeking to cut into flesh.

The jounin dodged as the younger shinobi landed and then exploded into a billowing wave of smoke as he detonated a handful of smoke bombs. Lightning snaked into the smoke, seeking out its prey above and below the waves, only to have a gust of chakra-turned-wind smother the lightning and send him backpedaling.

From out of the water three clones shot out, propelling themselves like missiles that bombarded the jounin. His hands blurred and struck them down, one after the other, only for him to freeze up as a set of wrists grabbed his ankles. The clone that had done so was then swung around like a flail, connected to a set of Chakra Chains beneath the water, before both of them were flung like ragdolls into a mangrove tree, the clone dispersing as a final set of chain came from behind the tree and around his throat, crushing his trachea.

Suffocating and his mind left to the bombardment of signals his body was sending out, he fell still as a kunai buried itself into his chest and heart. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and he went still after a moment, death claiming him.

Naruto released the chains, dispersing them and the clone that stabbed the man in the heart. The reclaimed memories were unpleasant, to say the least…. In the last few days he had more blood on his hands than he thought was possible and the only end in sight would be when they captured the Mizukage.

His nose perked as he caught the scent of Haku darting ahead. There was even more blood in the air, hidden amongst the smell of frost. Naruto took a moment to look at where the corpse had now sunk beneath the murky water, leaving a faint tint of blood, and shook his head to clear it.

Then he went to settle things.


With Haku

Haku was pretty sure he faced a jounin of the mist as he created more needles of ice and sent the flying towards the man. It was mostly done in a spread to avoid allowing him to flee, but he didn’t attempt to avoid them. Instead he spun the chain of the kusarigama around, using it as a mean of batting aside the incoming needles that he read the trajectories of and figured they would directly strike him.

Just as well, Haku kept his distance as he kept up the long range assault with more needles born of ice that whistled as they flittered through the air. The opponent was advancing though, carefully slipping within range as he battered the needles that were close to hitting him as he ran on the water. After the last barrage failed the jounin was in range.

Haku grimaced behind his mask as he drew senbon to use as a makeshift melee weapon. He was never one to enjoy violence or direct confrontation, but if he and the others were to get to Yagura then they needed to advance. To that end he wanted to use the Demonic Ice Mirrors. But against a jounin and with water beneath them, he thought otherwise.

Now he was forced into dodging as the joining welded the chain and sickle with a level of proficiency that was rare in these lands, using the weighed end of the chain to try and crack open his skull or otherwise debilitate him as he avoided the blow, only for the sickle’s blade to try and catch him. Adding to the difficultly was the irregular angles at which the chain would move, almost slithering in fact, to ensnare him. It was most likely the result of chakra manipulating through the chain.

Dealing with the jounin only became more difficult as Haku’s ears picked up a second set of chains coming from behind him and he was forced to throw himself into the air, twisting as the second set snaked past his torso. The weighed end was heated, an orange glow condensed around it as it tore through the fabric of his outfit and set it aflame. Landing on top of the water and bounding off a second time to avoid as the two chains crossed as they attempted to ensnare him, Haku noticed the Water Clone that had joined the original, more emerging from the surrounding waters.

No sooner than he touched down did he notice that the surface of the water had been changed, thickened and given the consistency of some type of mire that held him in place so that he couldn’t flee again. The clones surrounded him on all sides, twirling their scythes at the end of the chains with intent of butchering him.

As the blades closed in, Haku released ice chakra from the tenketsu all over his body and froze the moisture in the air around him in a thickening layer. The Ice Style: Ice Dome was formed in time and held fast against the blades that tried to cut into him. That was the benefit of his clan’s techniques, as long as he possessed chakra and as long as there was moisture in the air around him he could shape it to his will with few to no hand-signs.

Capitalizing on that, he called forth a blossom of ice spears around the dome, the moisture in the air and beneath their feet freezing over and into spikes that speared out and penetrated everything in its wake with frightening speed. The clones were punctured, their cohesion lost until the water that made up their bodies was loosened and froze into icicles clinging to the edge of the spears.

The original managed to avoid the ice blossom by leaping back and then upwards, only to be run through. A pike of ice rammed through his back to out his front, taking a lung out in the process as the blood and other fluids were slowly submitting to the invasive chill and freezing him over from the inside out. As he fell from the sky his body twisted to see a single mirror of ice suspended in the air behind him, then came death as he hit the water and sank below the surface.

Haku immediately set off. Jettisoning himself from the mirror he was in towards the direction they were heading.


With Isaribi

The Tornado of Water drove the Maiden of the Sea deep into the murky waters of the swamp before the chakra holding it together petered out. Unlike the sea that she formerly swam in, doing unforgivable deeds that cost the lives of many innocent people, the waters of the swamp weren’t to her liking.

The waters of the sea were a deep shade of blue, growing dimmer the deeper beneath the surface you sank, and kelp and coral were what formed the forest that loitered at the deep. Fish and other animals darted throughout the terrain, going about their business in schools or hunting for those beneath them on the food chain should they hunger.

The swamp water was an earthen-brown color, dank and depressing, lacking the scent of the ocean breeze. Twigs, branches, leaves and roots all made up the woodlands beneath the surface, and its inhabitants were mammals that flittered to the surface rather than remain in the deep.

But, in the end, it was a matter of preference, rather than anything substantial. Her eyes could peer through the murky depths with the same ease as above, her movements less encumbered as she could sift through the water in three dimensions, and her arsenal far deadlier.

Her opponent lacked the same inherit advantages, but made up for them with the arsenal at his disposal. Dressed in a black, skin-tight wetsuit, goggles, and a simple rebreather, he was mounted on top of a rather large alligator summoning that rested at the bottom of the swamp. All together they allowed him to stay under the water to hunt down those who took to the swamps.

She moved to take him out of the equation, but more alligators came at his beckoning, all constructed out of chakra and water. They clamped down on her limbs and pulled, desperately trying to perform a death roll and separate the limbs. She wasn’t worried about the fangs of the chakra constructs breaking her scales through sheer force, but they hindered her mobility and her joints could only take so much before the twisting broke them and left her unable to swim.

Her cheeks swelled as she molded water chakra in her mouth, and then spat out a sharp and powerful burst towards the one tearing at her right arm. The Water Style: Large Projectile was made of chakra, a construct that mimicked water flawlessly at the cost of being chakra heavy depending on the amount created and then pushed out of her lungs. At such a short distance the technique wasn’t dissolved by the murky water, but punched straight through the fake crocodile like a cannon ball.

The fin on her right arm, now freed, grew hard as chakra reinforced its strength, making it into a crude blade. With it she cleaved through the other constructs and then darted towards the summoner. It was when she passed by what she thought was an outcropping branch that she realized her mistake a moment too late as it exploded as she sped past it.

A muffled blast that radiated outward in a pocket of white ripped through her and blood escaped from her mouth as she gasped, the red being pulled apart and tinting the water around her before fading away. No matter how her body had changed to be strong enough to resist the crushing depths of the sea, no matter how easily she could live under the water, none of that changed the fact that she was still vulnerable to such attacks.

Her focus shifted to the surrounding plant debris and fallen logs that had been left jutting out of the muddy bottom and caught sight of a modified explosive tag was meant to be used in underwater warfare. It converted chakra stored in to the tag as a concussive wave on detonation. As the shockwave bypassed her scales and shook her organs, it was clear that had she of been in her human state and only had mere skin to protect the organs it would have torn her apart on the inside or forced her to breathe and thus drown.

She extended her arms and used the Scale Senbon technique, firing off the scales and then reforming them in short order. The spray detonated the vast majority of the water mines as they punctured the tags rather than going off when she was in the nearest proximity of them. The tags caught in the blast radius went off as well, creating a chain of muffled explosions were followed by pockets of air that were closed in as the bubbles blocked her view.

The large crocodile summoning darted out of the veil created by her, swimming with its tail going back and forth as it approached with an open maw. Isaribi avoided its lunge, not willing to risk the sheer crushing power of the jaws breaking through her scales. She noted that the summoner had hid himself rather than risk being killed as it circled around, coming back to snap into her a second time.

Scale Senbon flew, but the hide of the alligator was too thick and the water was too much for the scales to travel through while maintaining enough force. Thus she was forced to dodge a second time, but the tail lashed around and caught her in the abdomen. The amount of force sent her straight into the tangled mess of roots that formed the mangrove trees above. She darted between the thicker roots as the crocodile pursued her, breaking through hardy roots with its bulk while snapping at her.

Isaribi eventually grabbed and tore off a thick root and crammed it vertically in its mouth as it bit down. As strong as the muscles were when closing, it snapped down with ease, but the thick roots managed to puncture it’s snout in the process and prevented it from opening up again. She used the opportunity to rake out its eyes with her fin blades and forced it to retreat into the murky distance.

Movement in her peripheral vision grabbed her attention.

Her foe trying to escape after the summoning had been dealt with. He wouldn’t get away of course. He was only human and could only swim so fast, not nearly as fast as she could in her current state.

Her fins extended and she took off. Once she dealt with him, she would meet up with the others.


At the lake

A single figure stood on top of the grey waters of the lake, the clouds above matching the hue below with the promise of rain impending. The body of the youth belied its strength, the stitch-like scar running down from his left eye a sign of battles untold. The grey, short hair that adorned his head was messy, untended to for some time as there was no need to maintain appearances.

The Mizukage, Yagura, waited in silence, both his mind and his tenant’s one in the same as they followed the commands instilled into them by the mirror-wheel eye that loitered high in their mindscape, constantly whirling in place as it tethered them to its will.

The instincts of a trained warrior, one who reached the apex known as the ‘Water Shadow’, called to him. He opened his pink eyes and fixed his gaze to the left. The fingers around his staff tightened and the muscles in his arm tensed.

Silence followed. The water lapping beneath his feet the only ambient sound hidden in the mist…

Then there was a blur as a blond child approached with a spiraling sphere of chakra in his hand from above. The air chilled as the water beneath his feet froze and then shot spikes of ice from below at sharp angles, intent on skewering his legs and hindering his escape. A spiraling vortex of water from behind roared in fury as it dispelled the mist and churned forward to swallow him in the swell. A three-pronged attack from the three who arrive first to challenge him after crossing the swampland…

All meaningless in the end.

Yagura’s staff blurred as it smashed the ice enclosing on him into frigid chunks. The butt then smashed into the frozen platform and Isobu’s chakra seeped down into the crevices, changing within and bringing forth an instant bloom of a protective tower of coral that formed an anchored wall to protect his rear. As the churning water smashed into the bulwark and yielded, parting around the sides, a mirror formed of water chakra and the water vapor in the air constructed a clone of the incoming blond and the two met, smashing the spiraling spheres into one another and dispelling themselves to reveal neither had been the original.

Such was the power of a Kage.

At a glance, all three realized this would be the toughest battle they had faced thus far. But there was too much at stake, whether self-serving, self-preservation, or simple revenge, and they had to face him. Relying on back-up was meaningless in itself as they had no way of knowing of the adults had made it as well.

Thus they resolved to do their best as the final battle began…


Author Notes:

Okay, had to cut this early but yes I’m still working on it. Big Battle next time. Boss fight.


Advent of the Spiraling Ninja 12: The Water Shadow Falls

Chapter 12: The Water Shadow Falls


On the Lake

Gray skies overhead rumbled.

Three set of eyes, filled to the brim with righteous indignation, subtle fury, and quiet uncertainty, fixed on the blank gaze of the Mizukage who release the protective cocoon of coral that had protected him from their initial assault and stood on a platform that remained, anchored to the bottom of the lake with a single shaft of thick coral.

Standing on the water as it shifted beneath them, a cold sweat broke out on the face of the ice-user. He had lost much to this man’s regime and yet, looking into his gaze he noticed the Mizukage was nothing but a puppet. Even then, he wasn’t certain they could win.

The muscles beneath the scales of the Maiden of the Sea were strained, taut with the desire to release. She wanted nothing more than to drag him into the depths for the sake of Villa, her fin blades lengthening at the thought of rage-fueled justice. Taking a step forward, she prepared to lunge and dive down, coming at him from below.

But, before she could take that step, Naruto was the first to change forward against the Water Shadow. The sooner he was defeated, the sooner the fighting stopped and the less bloodshed. The deaths at the port, the torturous pain inflicted by the hunters, the suffering of the country and his fellow jinchuuriki, everything led up to this moment. With that in mind, he shot forward, a Rasengan forming in his right hand.

Isobu’s chakra forms coral to restrict your movement or attack,” Kurama supplied as his container charged into the fray.

Got it, Naruto affirmed.

The Mizukage crafted another mirror from the water vapor and his chakra. The reflection pulled itself free in the same pose as its original. It would spring forth to catch him in the middle of his attack, intercepting him.

Naruto halted and spun on his foot, turning his back to the clone and thrusting the spiraling sphere forward. The clone mirrored the action, slamming its own attack through the mirror that had brought it forth. Before it could connect with the Mizukage, the mirror clone was dispelled, leaving him facing the blond shinobi that was now closed the distance.

Setting the shaft of his weapon in the crook of his elbow, hand seals faster than the eye could catch and water chakra seeped down into the lake waters. Just as Naruto was within range, the water rose and swept him up with it. The rising wall of water shot up, ascending higher and higher into the sky with Naruto atop it and trying to free himself from within it, until it reached its plateau and broke through the surface to take a deep breath.

Mizukage was still ascending higher than he was on his mushroom-like platform of coral that kept spreading as it rose. Soon he was looking down at Naruto, overlooking the lake and the lands that were his by right of his position. Thrusting the staff out, the wall of water lurched out and came down like a tidal wave, the force of the impact enough to flatten the land at the edge of the lake and the three insects that were swept in it.

Haku prepared to unleash a stronger version of his Arctic Winds technique, the Great Arctic Winds, when Isaribi grabbed him. She dived, taking him down to the deepest depths, where the pull of the water was not as great, as he held his breath. Even below the massive wave they could hear the muffled echo of the monstrous crashes from above as the neighboring trees were smashed to pieces.

But, while they had escaped the massive wave from above, the dangers below were just as great as a reef the size of the lake bottom had come into existence courtesy of Isobu’s chakra. And it was still growing, climbing and threatening to capture and flay them with jagged bits of coral.

Isaribi was forced to return to the surface as quickly as she could, shooting out of the water like a green missile and into the air. No sooner than Haku gasped for air did the spires of coral do the same, sticking out of the water like colorful spears. She grimaced as she lost one of her advantages, the ability to travel deep, as the water overflowed its natural boundaries due to the massive reef that took up most of the space beneath the surface.

“Where’s Naruto-kun?” Haku asked as they touched down on the surface of the water, remaining aloft it.

“He was caught in the wave,” Isaribi said as she raised her arms towards the Mizukage in the distance. Her scales stood up on the end. Scale Senbon were unleashed towards the jinchuuriki. “I’m not sure where he was taken or if he’s okay.”

Haku gritted his teeth. There was nothing that could be done then. If he was okay he’d rejoin them. He focused his attention on the Mizukage, who was twisting his staff and using it to block the scales that came close to hitting him, and padded out her assault with his own Thousand Flying Ice Needles of Death.

Yagura put more spring into his step as he dodged them, occasionally batting aside the projectiles until he could take refuge behind one of the brightly-colored spires from his reef. Behind it he ran through more hand seals and the water at his feet rose and slithered through the air, carrying him atop it as it surged up and then came careening down in an arch.

The force of it caught Isaribi, driving her down and against the reef of coral hard enough that the thick material formed a crater. Countless bubbles were released in the process, carrying bits of green flecks from her scales that were crumbled beneath the impact. But she managed to rise again, standing and breaking the water’s surface to see that the lashing and serpentine column of water was chasing Haku.

The ice-user gathered his ice chakra in his lungs until it was dense and breathed it out in a single push. The Ice Style: Frost Bullet was launched and the compressed element flew towards the surging tendril.

The Mizukage jumped as the condensed frost was unleashed on impact turned the water into a frozen formation that fell apart as it crashed into the shallow water. Twirling his staff above his head, he used it as a bludgeon to try and cave in Haku’s skull as he came down. He was intercepted by a blast of water from the Maiden of the Sea, sending him skirting over Haku and bounding off the water before he got back on his feet.

It was then there was a large shift in the water as the spires jutting out of it began to buckle. The coral was being bleached, breaking apart as a poison spread through its system. Yagura extended his senses and found the source of this disturbance in his chakra construct.

Naruto was below the water, pumping the corrupted yang chakra of the Nine-Tailed fox into coral at the Tailed Beast’s suggestion. The chakra that governed and encouraged the growth of life, in its corrupted nature, eroded the Three-Tailed Turtle’s own as it had eaten away at the hunter-nin when he had been cleaved by the chakra blade fueled by the same source. He was taking away the advantage over the battlefield.

Hand seals were made. The water around the jinchuuriki came alive at the Mizukage’s behest, grabbing and ensnaring the youngest of the gathered and breaking the surface as a tendril of dense water once more. It flailed around and then slammed Naruto through the remaining spires, brittle shells of what they once were and fragile enough to break as the shinobi screamed with the first, second, and third spires.

Before it could do so a fourth time, a blast of frosty air consumed the tendril and turned it into ice. A hammer-like strike followed as the Water Style: Large Projectile from Isaribi struck with enough force to shatter it. Haku appeared from a Demonic Ice Mirror and scooped him up before he hit the water barely conscious.

“Wake up!” Haku said, looking at Isaribi laying cover fire. She was barely hindering the Mizukage, who was fixed on them. “If you pass out we won’t be able to protect you and survive!”

Naruto’s dreary eyes closed. He was a mess. One of his arms was visibly broken and twisted in the wrong place. His clothing was scrapped in large places, blood staining them. Within the confines of his mind a plea went out of for mutual survival.

Then there was a pulse of chakra and he lurched. Azure-eyes opened once more and turned a shade of crimson as flesh knitted, bones reset, and strength returned to him. He stepped down onto the water and was draped in a thin shroud of the fox’s chakra, a single tail waving behind him. He roared as he charged forward to aid his comrade.

Yagura smashed his staff into the head of the Maiden of the Sea and then held his staff horizontally in both hands and allowed Isobu’s chakra to seep into it. Creeping coral enshrouded it, covering it and reinforcing it to make it a more suitable weapon against the shrouded jinchuuriki and used it to block the incoming hammer blow.

The crimson fist descended like a sledgehammer and the impact drove the guarding Mizukage downwards. Because his chakra was keeping him afloat the water, it caved in until it hit the dead coral and made it crumble over a large area.

Yagura strained his muscles and knocked the hand to the side. Bringing the staff around it slammed into Naruto’s right temple and then the left temple, before coming from below and catching him in the chest. He watched as the younger jinchuuriki went soaring backwards and then turned his attention to thickening mist in the air.

Haku stood at the center of it. Acting as the apprentice of the Demon of the Mist, he let the white shroud blanket the area. He was hoping it would by them some time and create an opening…

It wasn’t meant to be.

Yagura made the seal for the Water Style: Water Wall and exhaled the excess water. He moved it in a spiraling circle, crafting more and more as he did so. What was meant to be a defensive technique encroached more and more area as his Tailed Beast’s chakra was vast enough to do so. The mist was swept away in what was a slowly growing hurricane, sweeping in the lake water and dead coral.

“Multi-Shadow Clone!” Naruto declared, hundreds of clones forming and surrounding the perimeter of the crushing bulwark of water. They all inhaled deeply and used wind chakra to craft Wind Style: Air Bullets that were fired from every angle. The compressed air was let loose and ruptured with explosive force as they hit the water wall, tearing into the churning waters and thinning it out as it became unstable.

Naruto fell onto all fours as the clones expired, his shroud and whiskers growing thicker and his tail standing up. Then he darted forward with all his strength before the wall could thicken again. Like a crimson comet, he became a blur and slammed into the Mizukage with all the primal strength he could bring forward. The elder jinchuuriki took it head on and went flying, the constant stream of water ceasing.

“Haku, now!” Isaribi yelled as she created a Water Pillar of her own. This one she didn’t churn, but raised it to be as high as she could make it.

Haku appeared behind it from a Demonic Ice Mirror and exhaled a thick gale of frost with the remaining chakra he had in reserve. The Ice Style: Great Arctic Winds caught the water and turned it into a massive and sleek ice wall, a mini-glacier. Yagura slammed into it and the cracking of bones could be heard as he rebounded off the surface, cracks forming where he had hit.

Then he tumbled into the water below and silence reign.

Haku and Isaribi were both panting, barely afloat on the surface of the water. On the last dredges of their chakra, they were exhausted. Haku pulled out a soldier’s pill from his pouch and ate it as Naruto stalked towards them and crouched down between them.

His shroud had thinned to a coat. “Did we get him?”

The response came from the other side of the wall, as a Sonic Roar rang out. The ice caught in the wake of it reverberated violently, cracking as deep fissures formed. The mini-glacier crumbled to bits and they witnessed what lay behind it.

It was black beast on all fours, draped in a thick shroud of crimson chakra, glaring at them with empty luminous eyes. Three tails swayed in the air behind it, before curling around and changing. It turned to coral, forming an armor-like carapace with jagged bits jutting out that would flay skin from flesh. It charged with a feral cry, running atop the water with surprising deftness for its size.

Naruto let loose a cry of his own as he dashed for it and was knocked aside for his efforts. The jagged surface of the armor tore the flesh beneath his thinner shroud, and the mighty limbs pushed him beneath the water as he was trampled over, leaving the two unprotected.

Isaribi pushed Haku out of the way and took the full brunt of it, her scales breaking and the denser bones of her Kaima Form fracturing. She was sent skittering across the surface of the water, bounding off of it once, twice, and a final time before a large splash was made from the impact. Her fish-like features receded and she sank beneath the surface.

“Isaribi-chan!” Haku cried as he moved towards her, only for the behemoth to start charging him again. He put his hands together to ready a technique when the water in front of him exploded and the beast was stopped by the younger jinchuuriki.

GRAB HER AND GO!” Naruto screeched as he strained to hold off the other beast, three crimson tails of his own acting as extra-arms to pin it. “HURRY!

Haku swallowed and nodded. He let himself fall into the water and swam to catch her before she sank too deep. Breaching the surface with her in his arms, he used the chakra brought up from the pill converting his fat to give himself the strength to escape the battlefield and look over her injuries.

That left the two jinchuuriki to battle atop the lake that was filled with dead coral bits and ice fragments, the grey skies above letting loose water droplets as thunder rumbled. Coral began to sprout where Naruto’s hands braced against the behemoth and was crawling along the surface to consume him.

He gritted his teeth. Any advice you want to share here? Before we end up unable to move?

Gather my chakra into your lungs,” Kurama spoke. “Let it soak in and then release a cry that makes the heavens and earth tremble.

Naruto did as told, unleashing a Sonic Roar that knocked away the falling rain and tore apart the coral eating away at him with a sound wave laced with chakra. It pushed away the residual chakra washing over him and spread cracks along the armor of coral that enshrouded the jinchuuriki of the Three-Tailed Turtle.

But the berserk beast wasn’t knocked back by the assault. Indeed, it pressed forward with the intent of mowing him down, causing Naruto to slide back along the surface of the water while gaining speed. With no other choice, putting all his control on the line, Naruto used his tails to divert the behemoth still pressing forward and sent the beast tumbling to the side as he let go.

I need more chakra! Naruto thought. He couldn’t do that again. Not like that.

Can you handle it without going feral?” Kurama asked. “Your mother tampered with the seal after hearing about the time with the hunters. As soon as your cognitive state falls below a threshold, the flow will cease. In the middle of this fight, it will be your defeat and I would prefer not to have to reform or end up enslaved.

In all honesty, he couldn’t. He was too pressured fighting this thing, struggling not to break again at the memory of Isaribi being broken as the Three-Tailed jinchuuriki emerged from the water where it had been driven in. It didn’t help that the coral-covered beast just stood there.

What is he…? Naruto’s thoughts trailed off as he noticed the fissures in the coral spreading, the loosened bits shaking. Instinct, heightened in his present state, told him to move. He darted atop the water on all fours as a spray of Coral Senbon rained forth in a barrage and left sprays of water where he once had been as he circled around until the shots ended and the crimson-shrouded figure beneath the coral was exposed.

Naruto darted in before he could regrow the armor. His tails thrashed as they were reshaped into claws and then shot forth to rake across its face. The three tails of the older jinchuuriki deflected them as it brought its palm forth with the intention of repeating the Coral Palm technique from before.

But Naruto and the fox were quicker than the turtle. He ducked under the thrust and brought his sharpened claws in a horizontal swipe. The Mizukage screamed in an inhuman cry as its sight was wrenched from it, the claws taking them away as penitence for the Maiden of the Sea as the armor of coral reformed.

Naruto leapt up and over the turtle, getting to its back and circling again. He was looking for an opening before it healed the damage its sight in seconds. It needed to end while he still had strength to bring forth.

The Rasengan,” Kurama offered as a solution. “Focus on containing it while I bring the chakra forth and move it.

Under the thickening rain he came to a stand-still and stood on two legs. His arm drew back and the malevolent chakra gathered and condensed. Streams of the chakra spiraled around the growing sphere, throbbing violently as it yearned to be freed from the container. Veins appeared on his forehead as he struggled to contain it, maintaining it as a sphere while its ominous glow contrasted the grey skies.

The other jinchuuriki, now armored and its sight restored, charged atop the water for hi m once more. Naruto roared as a chakra arm extended, pushing the technique towards the mad jinchuuriki. The two forces met and clashed, with the carapace of coral shattering as the spiraling sphere of crimson broke through it and met the body beneath it.

Swept up in it, Isobu’s container was pressured as the arm stretched and stretched and stretched, until it could go no further. Then the Kyuubi roared within Naruto’s mindscape as it forced the chakra that formed the length of the arm into the sphere and past Naruto’s means of control. The technique ruptured as a result, the shock wave of the blast throwing the water as a wave that came crashing down on either side and swallowed both jinchuuriki….

…the rain fell down continuously with lightning crackling above as Naruto surfaced a minute later, taking a deep breath of air as he panted. Tell me that did it?

I doubt it,” Kurama noted. “Isobu has the greatest defense amongst our kin despite being the most timid. I doubt it would be enough to cur him for long, so flee now that those fleas you call comrades have escaped and leave the rest to the Saiken.

Far be it for the tired youth to do anything less. He turned and started swimming to the shore before the remained of his strength vanished and he was left stranded….The water rumbled, trembling as the atmosphere shifted.

It’s too late.“Kurama snarled within his mindscape as it felt the change, its kin’s chakra no longer constrained to a human vessel as it manifested.

Naruto turned to see the surface of the water bubbling up, rising in a dome that rolled down a hard surface beneath the cascading water. As the amount of water petered out, it revealed a grayish-green crab-like shell with protrusions at the base. Rising above it were three flailing and plated tails that took the place of its hind legs. Beneath the monstrous-sized shell was a layer of red, its face resting ahead of the rest of its body with a large bear-trap like jaw and forehead with only the scarlet red left-eye exposed.

Barely able to stay afloat with his head sticking out of the water, Naruto felt like an ant before a giant as he looked to see the full transformation of the Three-Tailed Turtle looming over him. Its single eye was fixed on him. There was a sense of primal fear, seeing such a being and know it would come for you while you could do nothing against it.

Isobu’s tails sank into the water and it started moving forward, mouth gaping as if it meant to swallow him… It was then a large bubble drifted down from the air to obstruct its path and the red eye of the Tailed Beast stared at it. Then the Blinding Bubble exploded, a flare of light and force that made it cry out and thrash its arms and tails, churning the water.

“Seems like you had it rough,” said a voice Naruto recognized.

He looked to his left to see that Utakawa had arrived, sitting cross-legged on a bubble that drifted just over the water next to him. His kimono was tattered in places, signs of burnt fabric and smatterings of blood on it. Despite that he looked as placid as he had every time Naruto had seen him to this date.

He stepped off the large bubble and onto the water, letting it drift ahead. Raising his straw to his lips, he blew another bubble roughly the same size that compassed him and Naruto. They began to drift in the air, light bending around the bubble’s outer sheen and camouflaging them from sight.

“Are the others here yet?” Naruto asked.

“Should be close” he said as he steered the bubble towards the swamplands behind them and away from Isobu, who looked around for Naruto now that the blinding wore off. “We heard its roar and figured I’d come ahead just in case. Ran across the Ice Boy on my way and got the jist of everything. We need to pull back and regroup.”

They didn’t have the chance.

With a roar, the shockwave that emerged spread out and destabilized the camouflaged bubble, popping it while the pair were still in the air. Freefalling, Utakata quickly made a replacement beneath the two before they hit the water. But ultimately it did what Isobu wished, as he now found them.

Utakata went on the defense as the large Tailed Beast made for them, he focused on crafting hundreds and then thousands of little bubbles that were laced with the chakra of the Six-Tailed Slug, directing them to his will to form six trails, curving paths that flowed forward and then smashed into the beast. They popped with impudence as they met with him, smoke sizzling from where it impacted.

Naruto’s nose twinged as he caught the acidic scent and noted peculiarity.

Such is Saiken’s power,” Kurama filled in for him “Saiken commands corrosive fluids and gases, much like Isobu commands coral. Using those ridiculous bubbles as a medium he can contain where and what it destroys… however, its potency is reduced while Saiken is sealed and will never penetrate Isobu’s shell.

As if that last line was a trigger, the Three-Tailed Turtle sped forth, its shell smoking from where the acid had tries to melt through it as cut through the water. It would bore down on the older man before reaching Naruto, who was still unable to fight with the lack of chakra. Despite that, the man stared defiantly as he lowered his straw. Casting a shadow that swallowed him up beneath the rain-filled sky, Utakata was gone as Isobu met where he once stood….

And in his places six were six massive and white tails, slick with an unknown fluid that embraced with the Three-Tailed Turtle. They strained, moving and offsetting the mass as all six divided the strain. In tandem they rose, until it was forced out of the water with its tails lashing and roaring in defiance at being trapped.

Then they tossed the beast out of the lake, opposite the swamplands Naruto arrived in. The crash could be heard throughout the land as trees crunched beneath the behemoth, the ground itself quaking as it writhed to turn itself upright and lift itself up with its arms. No sooner than it managed did golden chains wreathe it, snaking around its limbs and mass to hold it in place as lava descended upon it from above, causing the Tailed Beast to shriek as it was covered in the melted earth.

A downpour of water followed, a floodgate that appeared out of nowhere from above like a tidal wave, slamming into the molten substance and releasing a veil of scalding steam the enveloped the entire area where it landed, shrouding it as the lava cooled rapidly into hardened stone. By the time Utakata returned to normal, reversing the partial transformation, there was now a mound of blackened slag as the steam cleared.

“So… did we win?” Naruto asked as his bubble drifted down to the panting jounin housing the Six-Tailed Slug, breaking the silence that permeated the air afterwards. To that end, deep fissures began to form in the mound. Boulder-sized fragments began to drop off and the sound of something hard grating against it filled the air.

“Doesn’t look like it,” Utakata said with a grimace.

Isobu shot out of the stone while curled into a ball that was spinning in a wheel, rolling its way back into the water and then leaping up to come down as a cannon ball and creating another billowing wave of water that was even larger than the previous time. It was going to swallow up everything that spanned the lake.

Utakata grimaced as he realized there was no way to get out of range in time, only to flinch as someone set their hands on his back. He looked over his shoulder to see Kushina there, a hand on him and Naruto. Chains erupted from her back and curved around them into the outline of a dome, the space between them filled with a shimmer layer of energy.

The wave came crashing down and dropped them down into the depths of the lake, the water pressing against the barrier as they sank down. Silence after the crashing ceased.

Naruto noticed her outfit was barely faring better than his own, points where cuts had drawn blood and there was an angry bruise on her shoulder that left her right arm shaking. Her breath was heavy, beads of sweat lining her forehead as she kept her eyes ahead. It seemed she hadn’t come out unscathed either on her way there.

“Mom, are you okay?” he asked.

“I’ll manage,” she squeezed out as she withdrew a seal slip that contained Naruto’s chakra and applied it to the back of his hand, forcibly injecting him with his own chakra to return his strength back to him. She then brought her hands together, gritting her teeth as she struggled to make the hand-seals for the Summoning technique. “Just summon the Boss Toad…”

Isobu roared, the water carrying it as a wave of pressure that told them it was close. Kushina finished her seal and slammed the palm of his hand against the layer of defense that stood between them and the Three-Tailed Turtle. The water shifted outwards as smoke was expelled and a serpentine figure slithered out of the smoke, obscured by the darkness of the depths, and met with the Tailed-Beast.

Naruto did the same, slamming his hands at the bottom of the barrier. Suddenly they ascended as a larger figure emerged and then kicked upwards with its powerful legs, breaking the surface and into the grey skies that stormed. Coming to a landing on the surface, Gamabunta surveyed the battlefield with webbed hands on the hilt of his blade as the barrier atop his head dropped. He had already been informed ahead of time, before they left, about his role.

The shifting surface of the shot into a plume as two other massive figures emerged in the distance. One was the Tailed-Beast, but wrapped around it was a creature with crimson scales that were patterned with gold ovals with black outlines. A mane of black hair that was tipped with crimson flowed around it’s body, while it’s razor sharp claws continuously scrapped at the shell. Golden eyes with white-rimmed slits were narrowed as its fox like mouth was opened to reveal fangs, its black ears raised. A fox with a body like a snake, a dragon with the head of a fox and fangs.

She was boss of the Nguruvilu Summonings, Lady Filu.

Despite constricting as tightly as she could and raking her claws against the shell, she couldn’t pierce it. Three thick and armored tails swayed madly, before lashing at her elongated body and the impacts left welts against the scales that threatened to break under the strikes, forcing her to let go. She dove back into the water and slid, her body moving in wavy motion that made it seem like she was slithering through it.

Isobu refused to let her escape that easily. Opening his maw he fired massive blobs of chakra-kneaded water, sending shot after shot of the Water Release: Great Water Mass Bullets. The water bullets smashed against the surface of the water and then ruptured, sending up spouts that threatened to send her sailing upwards.

Agile as she was, the boss of the Nguruvilu race avoided them deftly as she circled it, the shots only ending as Gamabunta laid down cover fire with his own Water Style: Gunshot technique that caught Isobu in the face. The Three-Tailed Turtle switched targets, sending out another trio of shots towards the Toad Boss.

Hold on!“Gamabunta warned the three atop his head before he leapt into the air with his powerful legs. The shots left trails as they passed under him and continued sailing into the swamplands in the distance and displacing the mango trees and murky water with thunderous spouts.

At the apex of his jump he drew his massive blade. Then he descended onto the Tailed-Beast with all his weight and thrust the blade down. It failed to pierce the shell and was then relegated to fending off the thrashing tails with the steel in his hands.

He jumped off again, the force of his legs pushing the turtle beneath the surface. The water crashed down around the turtle while the massive toad sailed backwards through the air and back down into the water at a safe distance with a major splash. Only its head remained above the water, housing the three atop it, while the Nguruvilu’s head surfaced next to him.

“Are you all right, Lady Filu?” Kushina asked her summoning.

As well as one can be,” the summoning responded, her body shifting under the water. “My kin and I aren’t well suited against such an opponent, I’m afraid. That shell is quite resilient.

Gamabunta agreed. “Gonna be a pain to deal with.

It was then that another figure touched down, her auburn hair disheveled and her cloth torn in particular places where she had fended off more assailants on her way toward the battlefield. She leapt from the surface of the water to the top of the Toad Boss’ head.

“How are the kids?” Kushina asked as Mei.

“Ao managed to get them out of the immediate area.” She pushed her hair out of her eyes and then fixed them ahead. “However, we need to end this quickly.”

Lady Filu felt the water beneath her shifting and dove down to see the growing coral tower that was rising from the bottom and encompassing where the turtle had sank beneath the wave. It was growing at a frantic rate, branching out with jagged limbs that began filling the water. Breaking the surface, she warned them of the impending threat. The branches jutted out of the water like a bulwark that drove them backwards, leaving a mound of coral that resembled a bud of a flower that had yet to blossom.

Within it, Saiken and Kurama felt the melding of Yin and Yang chakra and told their respective hosts that they were on the verge of being on the wrong end of a Tailed-Beast Bomb. Once they told the others, the summonings did their best to halt it, with Gamabunta trying to cleave the coral away with his sword infused with natural energy while Lady Filu firing a pressurized spray of water from her mouth to break through it with no success, as it repaired itself to quickly.

Utakata fixed his eyes on where the buildup was at according to the beast inside of him. Apparently Isobu had the slowest charge time, but that just meant they had another thirty-seconds. The coral that was damaged was re-growing too quickly for them to manage as they were. But…

“Naruto,” he said, grabbing the youngest shinobi’s attention. “Get ready to release a gust that’s concentrated in one spot.” He pointed towards it. “I’ll use my Acid Spray and you focus it so it gets through the thickest layers. From there the others can hit it with the hardest attacks they have until we punch a hole in it.”

“Lady Filu, can you handle that part?” Kushina asked.

I believe so.

“I’ll finish then,” Mei said as she began forming hand-seals.


Twenty-five seconds…

The chakra of the Six-Tailed Slug was molded into acidic vapor within the lungs of the bubble-user and wind was formed with the blonde jinchuuriki. On a mental count of three they exhaled from atop the Toad Boss, white gas leaving Utakata’s puckered lips and was backed by the gust that left Naruto’s, his control focusing the wind chakra mimic the wind to keep it in a nice and tight stream. The resulting combination slammed against the coral and began eating away at it without mercy, its touch breaking down the hard reef into a liquid that seeped through the crevices and spread out to counter the regrowth factor until they exhausted their chakra.


Seventeen seconds…

Lady Filu followed up, summoning with her own chakra a dozen whirlpools that churned into existence and then invert them into drills that arched out of the water. With a yip they spiraled into one another to form a single construct, melding into one large water drill that bore its way into the weakened coral and the spun madly to grate away at it and prevent it from reforming.


Nine seconds…..

Mei finished the seals for her technique as the drill broke through at last and exhaled. From her own lips emerged a dragon that was molten in nature. It bellowed as it slithered through the space and into the opening that had been forming. Within that dark space where the only light was the formation of the two chakras melding into a sphere of destruction, it spied the eye of the Three-Tailed Turtle and lunged….

The roar that followed was the loudest that had been heard so far, the anguish and agony of it making the defensive bud of coral collapse as the two summonings and their charges fled. The pain disrupted the melding, imperfection setting it off. The yang chakra over shadowed the yin and the excess that wasn’t devoured ruptured in a thin pillar that broke the storm clouds above the lake and then slowly expanded from its base, a fearsome wind ahead of it and threatening to send the summonings and the shinobi attached to them into the swamplands before it settled. The steam that had risen up and formed a wall obscured their vision as they waited with baited breath to see the outcome of their gamble….

Isobu remained a lot the water, its eye closed as light no longer reached it and hoarse groans left its mouth. Motes of light and darkness appeared once more and tried to congeal into a single mass a second time.

“He just won’t quit,” Naruto noted.

If Isobu is under the effects of that damnable eye he won’t stop as long as he remains standing,” Kurama noted with disdain. “It forces him to move and fight, a slave in his own body and mind.

Lady, got it in you for another light?” Gamabunta asked. Mei nodded. “Then I’ll provide the oil, you light it on fire.

The cheeks of the Toad Boss swelled as he rushed forth and then released a spray of black and crude oil in the form of a funnel-shaped spout. When fire emerged from Mei’s lips, it met and a billowing wave of heat formed as the combination slammed into the tailed Beast with enough force to send it reeling.

Isobu wailed in agony as the burning oil transferred the heat through his shell and to the soft flesh beneath. It dove under water to try and alleviate the burn, but the oil kept it alight. Reaching the bottom of the lake, it upturned the silt and tried to smother the flames, only for a maelstrom to form around its mass and pluck both it and the silt into it to form a dirty whirlpool that shot up into a waterspout at the behest of the Nguruvilu Boss.

Sent skyward, Naruto watched as gravity took hold of the Three-Tailed Turtle once the spout capped off and sent Isobu down at an arch, leaving the hulking behemoth crashing down with a large cloud of splinters, dust, and murk in the woodlands. The massive chakra beast groaned and was then encased in a grey-greenish light as his form shrank.

“I think he’s down now,” Utakata mused.

Kushina shook her head. “There’s still one more thing we need to do…”


Mindscape

The mindscape of the Mizukage and Three-Tailed Turtle was a contrast to that of the One-Tailed Raccoon and Gaara of the Desert. Instead of endless sands with only an oasis of relief, it was a never-ending body of water perpetually shrouded in mist, with the only bastion being a chunk of land that peaked in a curve at the top. Kushina, Kurama, Naruto, Saiken, and Utakata all stood there, their gazes fixed on a horrifying sight.

Both Yagura and Isbobu stood in place on the water, empty-eyed with nightmarish chains piercing their bodies and minds from above. At the other end of the chains was the source, a red wheel that spun without end, what looked to be a black three-point shuriken with a tail connecting to the next point making them seem like a second circle within the first.

“The Mangekyo Sharingan,” Kushina said softly. She could never forget those same eyes that had ensnared her at one time, forcing her to release the seal binding Kurama inside of her after giving birth. The same design as those of the masked man who threatened to kill her child.

Those same. Damn. Eyes.” Kurama snarled. “It drove Isobu to fight but it made him lame, a puppet on strings.

Saiken agreed. “If he had been himself, Isobu could use a mist to drive away those within it or open a rift to another pocket dimension. That battle would not have been so easy.

“How do we free them?” Naruto asked, ignoring the fact that they called what just transpired an easy battle.

“That eye is a physical manifestation of the chakra holding them in a thrall,” Kushina stated. “Because they’re already caught they can’t escape, so we need to use enough chakra to break them free. If both of the Tailed-Beast work it tandem then it should work and I can apply the seal.”

Kurama snorted. Even as it did so, the air around it warped. “I alone will suffice.

Naruto backed away as the fox stepped forward. The water beneath its paws began to boil. Steam rose to envelope the limbs and the curled around the tails that menacingly swayed around.

Shameful,” the fox spat out with barely constrained fury. “We nine, the second sons and daughter of the Sage of Six Paths, the inheritors of his will and vessels that hold the power of the Ten-Tails. Betrayed by those who bore his blood, to be bartered around by the descendant of the second-born of our father and then mentally enslaved by the first-born with those damnable eyes!”

The maw opened to reveal fangs. The nine tails curled up and inwards, nine arches that touched down at the opening. Spheres of crimson appeared as his rage was given form. They gathered into one where the nine points of the tail met, pulling towards the gap the entrance of its throat. The orb that formed was a single, violent, throbbing mass of malice.

HOW. DARE. THEY!” A crimson spear of light launched, parting the air with such furiosity that it howled as it sailed towards the spinning eye. It smashed through it with impudence. The mirror-wheel eye crumbled like shattered stained-glass, the chains connected to it dissolving as they tumbled into the waters of the mindscape.

The group watched as the pair, now freed from the chains, collapsed. To hold them under its control for so long had hollowed them out. It would take months or possibly years for them to regain the same level of mental function they once had.

Wisps of crimson left the fox’s maw as Kurama turned to Kushina. “Get to work, woman. The longer I remain her, the more my fury will boil over.

“If it weren’t for the fact that I’m as angry as you are I’d chain that mouth of yours shut,” she responded with her eyes closed as she advanced towards the pair. Regardless of their mutual enemy, they were under no circumstances in the mood to pretend to be friendly.

Nevertheless, Kushina set to work.


Some Time Later…

After that battle, once night fell, the group reached what served as a safe-house for the time being. Naruto had showered and dressed in spare clothing they procured some time after the battle, a simple shirt and pants to go with his gloves and sandals. There were a number of rooms in the building, each one having the simplest comforts of a bed, which he desperately needed after so many nights without one, but he couldn’t sleep.

Instead he wondered into a room where Kushina sat down in a chair next to Isaribi, who was bandaged more so than when they first met her. A soft whisper was coming out of her lips, a lullaby for the slumbering Maiden of the Sea. When she turned to look at him, her eyes were downcast and somber.

“How are you feeling, Naruto?” she asked.

“Fine, I guess,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “How’s Isaribi-nee?”

“Isaribi-chan…” Kushina sighed. “If her Kaima Form had dropped any sooner, then she would be dead. It saved her and, now that I’ve gotten the Contact Scroll back, I sent for Tsunade. But the healers here say that she won’t be able to move around well for months with the damage she took.”

His expression tightened. “If I had been just a little stronger…”

He trailed off as she shook her head. “If you had been stronger, if we had gotten there earlier, if, if, if… There are no ‘ifs’ at this point. There never are once the deed is done. Especially not in war….”

Silence ensued as the weight of the words pressed against Naruto.

“We’re heading back home,” she said slowly, to break the silence after a full two-minutes. “A change in regime doesn’t happen overnight, so Kiri will be unstable for a month or so at least. Maybe they’ll have themselves in order by the next Chuunin Exams, but I’ve exposed you and Isaribi-chan to too much in too little time. I’ll maintain communication with Mei-san and Utakata-san, but it’s time we left.”

He found himself agreeing, having had enough of the Bloody Mist for the time being. It had already dyed him and his world in its colors enough.


Notes: Finally, the Arc Ends!

Nguruvilu—a river-dwelling creature and looks much like a strange fox, with a long body, similar to a snake, and a long tail with fingernails that it uses like a claw; but it’s a water-being. Nguruvilus live in and are the cause of dangerous whirlpools which kill people who try to cross rivers. The creatures make the water shallow on either ford, to encourage people to try to cross it making it seem safe.

That’s right, I found an already existing creature to be used for summoning that has to do with whirlpools and foxes all in one.