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Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja

S tory: Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja


S torylink: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6257660/1/
Category: Naruto
Genre: Adventure/Romance
Author: Arashi the Solar Phoenix
Authorlink: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1186800/
Last updated: 01/26/2015
Words: 190279
Rating: M
S tatus: In Progress
Content: Chapter 1 to 16 of 16 chapters
S ource: FanFiction.net
S ummary: Naruto befriends Sasuke and Sakura at an early age by an act of fate. The three then set on a goal: Together they will
transcend the Sannin as the strongest shinobi team and uncover a secret to Naruto's ancestry that goes beyond even the borders of the
Elemental Nations that will alter the course of history forever. AU Strong/Smart Naruto Strong Sasuke/Sakura Family Team 7 R&R

*Chapter 1*: Everlasting Genesis


Good evening, my fellow readers. I bet you're probably thinking to yourself, 'But you said that Neo-Sannin was being discontinued!'
Well, guess what? I've decided to reboot it for a whole new audience and rewrite just about everything. Let's start with a preface about
what's changed and what's not been changed.
First off, what has been changed: Naruto will not be having the bloodline he had in the original story. In fact, he won't be getting a
bloodline, period. He's going to get every ounce of his power through hard work and the sweat of his brow. "Kamigan," as a concept,
was deeplyhow should I put thisretarded? Yes, retarded works. I basically made half-assed excuses of why it was so powerful
without really thinking about it. So, to rectify that mistake, I decided to just get rid of it as it served no purpose other than to make
Naruto insanely powerful for no apparent reason at all. The most obvious change to the story is the new title.
I thank a man named DarkHeroOrion for helping me coming up with it and the reason this story is being revived. You can thank him by
reading some of his works. Oh, and before I forget, Naruto will NOT have animosity toward his father. That was just a plot device,
spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. Also, before I forget, the Yondaime's name is now M inato again. The name grew on me over time, so I
can't help it.
What hasn't been changed: Naruto will still get the Dragon contract. However, it's been vastly improved from the original story. Sakura
and Sasuke's summons are still the exact same and I refuse to tell what they are until the time is right. You should, however, figure it out
if you read between the lines in the story. Naruto and Sasuke will be BEST friends. Like the real brothers they were supposed to be in
canon. So, if you're looking for a "bash that evil, bastard, jutsu-stealing, Sharingan whoring, arrogant asshole" fic, leave. Like, now.
Seriously, that shit is old, trite, and simply childish. Yes, Sasuke is, for the most part, a lot of the things fan fics make him out to be.
But, that being said, you guys tend to go overboard. Sasugay? Really? REALLY? It's the same with Sakura, too. She's not going to get
bashed into oblivion. She'll be quite the opposite, actually. She'll be smart, loyal, calm, collected, and not a fan girl.
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world. This is their story.
Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto and all related companies. I claim no ownership of anything except my
original characters.
(Konohagakure, 1800 hours)
It was autumn in Konohagakure (The Village Hidden among the Leaves), and the village itself was feeling a faux peace after the attack
seven years ago. Sure, to the untrained eye, it looked peaceful, but that was simply not the case. You see, seven years ago, the village
was mysteriously attacked on the tenth of October, by the Kyuubi no Youko (Nine-Tailed Demon Fox). It was a truly fearsome
creature, decimating Konoha's shinobi in seconds as if they were just chew toys.
The Fox seemed unstoppable until the Fourth Hokage, M inato Namikaze, stood up to face the seemingly invincible foe. However, as
strong as the Yondaime was, even he was not a match for the beast, itself. So, he took the next best action: he sealed it into a small boy.
That boy was his own son, Naruto Uzumaki-Namikaze. M inato wanted the villagers to see Naruto as a living martyr; a person whose
sacrifice kept the Kyuubi at bay and allowed them all to live.
The villagers, still suffering from the psychological trauma of the attack, chose to ignore the request. While some did hate the boy, they
weren't stupid enough to try and attack him or even call him names. They used what psychologists called subtle cruelty. They didn't
openly say they didn't like the boy, but their actions spoke a hell of a lot louder than anything they could say.
Naruto wasn't stupid; far from it, in fact. He knew damn well what the civilian population of Konoha thought of him. So far, he still
hasn't deduced a reason yet. Until then, he'd settle on pulling pranks and making a name for himself. Too bad he always got caughtlike
now.
"Damn it! Naruto, I'm going to make you suffer for this!" Iruka said, chasing the young boy who was laughing hysterically. Iruka was a
Chuunin at the Konoha Ninja Academy in his mid-twenties, of average height, brown hair that tied into a spiky bun and a scar on his
cheek. He was the only who actually, deep down, liked Naruto. The other teachers only tolerated his presence for long as they
absolutely needed to. Iruka frowned at this, but said nothing most of the time.
"You're going to have to catch me, Iruka-sensei!" Naruto yelled back, laughing as he jumped from building to building. Iruka smirked and
made a detour, adjacent of Naruto's position. Naruto looked back and smiled. He finally lost him.

"Ha! I knew he couldn't catch me," Naruto said with a grin as he landed on a branch to relax.
"You're good, Naruto, but not that good," a voice said from behind. Naruto's grin turned to a mock frown. He turned around and gave
Iruka a nervous glance. He was giving a stern, but caring look to the young jinchuuriki. Iruka dropped down to sit with Naruto on the
branch he was on.
"Naruto," he began in a scolding tone, "you've got to stop pulling all these pranks. It's only giving you negative press." Naruto scowled,
which Iruka flinched at. Before, Naruto just 'listened' to his lectures and simply nodded in understanding. This was the first time he gave
an indication that he disagreed heavily with what he said.
"Tell me, Iruka-sensei. If you were a social outcast where everyone hated you for a reason even you, yourself, did not, wouldn't you try
to do anything to get attention? Tell me that!" Naruto yelled unintentionally. Iruka balked at his tone of voice and gave him a solemn
expression in return.
Naruto looked smug. "Exactly. You can't. So don't try and act like you know what I'm going through, because you don't," he replied
bitterly as he jumped from the tree to the ground.
Iruka looked on and finally found his voice, shouting, "Hey! Naruto, where are you going?"
Naruto didn't even turn around to look at him. He just kept walking on down the silent streets of Konoha. "A place where I can think in
peace," he simply stated.
Iruka frowned and was tempted to follow him. 'No, what am I thinking? That's likely not such a good idea in the first place. He'll come
around tomorrowI hope.' The Dolphin sighed again as he took a last look at Naruto's retreating form and then vanished in a swirl of
leaves.
Naruto continued walking on, his destination even unknown to himself. Little did he know that that destination would cause ripple
effects that would change shinobi history forever.
(Near the same time)
Sleep didn't come easily for Sasuke Uchiha, youngest of the Uchiha clan. It wasn't exactly surprising considering the events that
happened just a few hours ago. After all it wasn't every day that a kid who tried his best learned that his father was not only
disappointed in him, but wanted little to do with his son.
In a way, it really wasn't all that surprising to the young Uchiha. It explained much about why Fugaku, his father, ignored him unless
absolutely necessary, to favor his prodigious older brother, Itachi. At least he knew the truth, and for that, Sasuke was happygrateful,
even. That described his "mood," but not exactly his state-of-mind. No, to describe that, you'd have to look up the words "pissed" in a
dictionary and in a thesaurus for all its related synonyms.
He looked out from his bed to look at the alarm clock. It wasn't being blocked by the sun as it was almost night time, but he could clearly
see it was seven, which made him grunt. The more Sasuke thought about it, the more agitated he became. Not at Itachi, no. Hell, not even
at his father. He was mostly angry at himself for being so weak. Then, in his mind, his father wouldn't be as angry and disappointed
with him.
Sasuke sat up and punched the wall with the side of a balled up right fist in anger. You know the worst part of it all? They knew. They
fucking knew! The clan as a whole knew the whole time that his father had little interest in him. Yet, they kept feeding him lies saying
that his brother was growing up and Fugaku needed to help him become a man.
'It's all a lie!' Sasuke screamed in thought. He now knew the truth. All Fugaku wanted to do was train Itachi so that he could one day be
Hokage and the Uchiha could "dominate" the village.
'Not everything is all about power!' Sasuke thought angrily, knowing no idea how ironic his thoughts were. Regardless of that little tidbit
of information, his father still treated him like trash. As if he were nothing compared to his brother. Granted, that was true in shinobi
terms, but he deserved some attention, too!
"I need some training to do just to let off some steam," the young Uchiha said to himself turning to get out of bed. He made up his bed
knowing full well it would get messy again when he came back. Looking in his dresser, he found his trademark shorts and, with a bit of
effort, put them on. Sasuke already had on a shirt, so all he needed to do was find his sandals.
Sasuke looked under his bed and frowned when he didn't find him. He grunted, irritated yet again.

"M om," he called out, "have you seen my sandals anywhere?" There was no answer for a few seconds until
"Yeah, they're in the kitchen by the fridge!" M ikoto called back, going back to washing the dishes from dinner. Sasuke mentally slapped
himself. Off course his sandals wouldn't be by his room. He always left them in the kitchen.
"Guess today is not my day," Sasuke said to himself, heading toward the kitchen. He ran past his father's study who was, of course,
talking to Itachi. Sasuke just rolled his eyes and kept going.
M ikoto turned around suddenly at Sasuke's entrance and her hands were dripping wet from dealing with dish detergent and soapy water.
"Where are you headed off to all of a sudden?" she asked curiously. Sasuke just shrugged as he put on both pairs.
"I honestly have no clue, but I need to go somewhere to clear my head, okay?" Sasuke responded taking a pack of shuriken and kunai
from their racks.
M ikoto frowned at her son's choice of words and tone of voice. "You sure you don't want to talk about it?"
"No, mom," he declared with finality, hopefully brooking no argument on the matter. He left out the door without another word. M ikoto
sighed again and turned off the kitchen faucet. She'd do the rest later. Right now, she just needed to think.
Sasuke sped off through the village, hoping to go somewhere that he could get some peace from all the pressures he had to deal with.
"M an, I hope I'll feel better after tonight," Sasuke uttered rather sadly. Sasuke would have no idea on what was going to happen to
him
(Haruno Residence, 1830 hours)
Sakura Haruno wasn't what you would call the average girl. She was intelligent, nice, thoughtful and, most of all, beautiful in her own
way. Sure, many picked on her because she had a huge forehead, but even the most cynical person couldn't deny that the girl was pretty
for her age. Throughout the day, she talked with many girls, smiled, and played just like any other normal girl. That was what they all
thought. They didn't know the truth, however. What did Sakura have to hide when she was just a normal girl, after all? That fallacy
couldn't be farther from the reality.
There was a huge banging on Sakura's door as she subconsciously cowered in fear on her bed, using the sheets as if they'll somehow
protect her.
"Oh, Sakura, why don't you open the door for your father, why don't ya?" A sly voice said on the other side that sent chills down her
spine. Still, however, she refused silently. In truth, the man on the other side of the door wasn't her real father, but he had been part of
the family since as long as she could remember and most figured she might as well called him dad. Sakura would have none of that cause
he"I said open this goddamned door!" he yelled in anger, trying to literally bust down the lock. With each and every slam, Sakura got more
and more terrified.
"Tetsuya, leave me alone!" Sakura shouted, finally getting the courage to speak. She developed a lump in her throat as the words left her
mouth, fearful of the consequences.
She waited.and waited. Nothing came. Not a soundnot a bash on the doornothing. Sakura sniffed, and dried her tears with her
right arm. 'Thank Kami,' she thought, thankful that Tetsuya had decided to leave her alone. Her joy was cut short when her door was
slammed open and hit the wall so hard that it left a dent in the back wall about three inches deep. Tetsuya looked at her with a mixture
of both anger and a slight look of when a predator caught sight of its prey.
Tetsuya was tall at about six feet, two inches, had short wavy hair, a muscular build and had a nicely trimmed beard to complement his
naturally black eyes. On the outside, people knew Tetsuya as a normal man with high goals in life. He was a successful ninja whose
career got cut short due to an injury to his legs. Even though it healed eventually, he had no desire to go back to a profession that almost
killed him. Unknown to many of the populace, he was respected by those who did know him.
What they didn't know was that Tetsuya had a certaintaste, for women. Particularly, these women weren't really "women" at all
they barely qualified as girls! Yes, Tetsuya had a secret that he planned to take with him to the grave. He had a taste and attraction to
young females, particularly those under the age of eleven. He knew he was sick, but he honestly didn't care. It turned him on and he was
going to live out each and every one of his fantasies. Right now, the sight of Sakura trembling in fear at the sight of his mere presence
turned Tetsuya on in ways that no psychologist or psychiatrist could explain.

He took a slow step toward her. "M mmYou've been verynaughty, Sakura-chan," he jeered with an evil glint in his eyes. Tears once
again started to form in her eyes as she tried to say something, but her primal fear took over and she was shaken to the core. The way he
said her name and the added honorific sickened her. She may have been young, but even she could tell what this manno monsterwas
doing wasn't just wrong. It was flat out disgusting!
"For being sonaughtySakura-chanI may have to punish you to keep you in line," he purred, smirking as Sakura's eyes widened
and she shook her head rapidly in defiance. This only made Tetsuya smile even bigger, if such an act was possible.
"Pl-Please.do-don't," Sakura stuttered out through tears. What she got in response was a backhand that sent her flying off her bed and
on the floor. On the way, she hit the lamp on the dresser, causing it to fall down with her. The lamp inside shattered, causing the room
to darken a bit, but thankfully, none of the glass hit Sakura. That was the last thing on her mind at the moment as she looked up at
Tetsuya's apathetic eyes.
"Shut up! What did I tell you about back-sassing me?" he roared in fury as he forced the pink haired girl to stand up. Sakura didn't even
bother trying to get free. It was hopeless as he was far stronger than she ever would be. She looked him with a pleading look. Tetsuya
gently sat her on her bed, which surprised the hell out of the girl. He rubbed her soothingly, but Sakura could tell he was getting off in a
sick twisted way from touching her.
"There, there, I won't punish you," he said in an obviously faked caring tone. "In fact, I want to make you feel betterisn't that right?"
he asked in a low moan as he ran his hands over her practically non-existent (understandable, due to her age) breasts. Sakura swallowed
hard and bit her lip to avoid from bursting into tears right then and there.
Tetsuya lifted Sakura's shirt and gently rubbed her stomach, which sent shivers down her spine. Not from pleasureno, far from it, in
fact. It was because it was extremely uncomfortable. He used both his hands to make her stand up, which she didn't resist knowing that
it wouldn't be the smartest of ideas to do so. Stealthily slipping his hands through her skirt and panties, he slowly did what he normally
did: he felt up on her buttocks.
This continued for a good thirty seconds, but, to Sakura, it felt like an eternity of shame, violation, and downright humiliation. Without
warning, he pushed her back on her bed.
"Now, to try something new," he noted with a glee. He stuck his hand up her skirtfrom the front. Sakura's eyes widened in shock. He
never went there before! Tetsuya snaked his hands up her thigh until he found a panty line. And then he found it, and stuck in his
heinous digits. By now, she was openly weeping. He was messing with what was considered sacred to a female. All for some sick game
that he played with her.
'By the kamisomebodyanybodyplease, help me!' she pleaded to the higher powers, begging for a miracle. By a rare stroke of luck,
she heard the door open and thought she was saved. Tetsuya, on the other hand, suddenly reared back his hand in a feigning wince and
shouted in mock-agony.
"Aww, what the hell, Sakura? I was just trying to help!" he yelled in 'pain'. Seconds later, Sakura's mom came in.
"What the hell is going on here?" an average sized woman who looked near identical to Sakura demanded as she placed down some
groceries on the table near her.
"M asaki, your daughter hit me when I was trying to fix a lamp that she broke," he said maliciously. Sakura's eyes filled with tears. This
bastard was almost caught and now he was blaming her? Sakura looked pleadingly in her mother's eyes, but the look she gave her
shattered that notion in an instant.
"So, you little wench, after all Tetsuya does for youfor us, you go and hit him when he tries to help you? Why, you ungrateful little
brat!" she bellowed in a chiding fashion. She wouldn't have noticed the victorious, smug look on Tetsuya's face, even in a million years.
"Bu-but, M om, he!" Sakura was cut off with a smack to the cheek.
"Don't you give me any 'buts,' missy! I'm finally happy after your father's death, and you're destroying whatever chance I have by being
an obnoxious brat!"
With each and every word, Sakura's shoulders sunk and she felt like curling up into a ball, as if that was the only thing protecting her
from her mother's cruelty. Her mother only scoffed and affectionately took Tetsuya by the hand.
"Tetsuya and I are going out, and I expect this house to be clean when we get back. Is that understood?" With that said, she went from
cruel to playful in an instant with her boyfriend as they made their way out the door. M asaki slammed the door shut, causing a hanging

picture to dislodge from the wall. As if time stood still for the cerise-locked girl, the portrait's glass covering cracked and shattered upon
impact, liberating the contents withinan image of the family of three with carefree smiles under a cherry blossom tree in bloom.
Sakura did what any girl would do in that situation. She ranno, boltedfrom her house. She didn't know where she was going, but at
the moment, she didn't give a damn. All that mattered in her mad dash was that she had to leave and she had to leave now!
(Konoha Forests, Eastern Outskirts, 1900 hours)
Naruto walked peacefully in the calm forest near the outskirts of Konohagakure. This was a place of extreme tranquility, peace, and
relaxation. Near him was a small wooden shack that looked like an outdoor bathroom. Naruto paid it no mind as he sat cross-legged in
the large clearing.
"OkayI wonder if I can try thismeditation thing," Naruto said to himself as he breathed in and out.
Sitting up, he closed his eyes and began todo
On second thought, he had absolutely no idea how to meditate. From the movies and books, you sat in some stupid cross-legged
position, close your eyes, and do something likecentering yourselfor something like that. Regardless, he absolutely had no clue what
that meant, as he had only seen it done once. He had no real clue at how he was supposed to
Naruto's thoughts were interrupted from what sounded like a low grumble from the back of his head. Without warning, there was a sharp
pain in both his head and stomach simultaneously. He reared over in pain and thought he was under attack. Looking around, he realized
that he was alone. Naruto saw a red aura envelop his body and his mind drifted into unconsciousness.
The first thing Naruto noticed was that it was nearly dark and the only indication of light was a neon light that was at the end of
wherever he was. The place practically reeked of fearor something that sought to induce the negative emotion. If there was a smell that
could be associated with fear, there was no doubt in Naruto's mind that this would be it.
The blond noticed that he was ankle-deep in water. Grunting, he got up, ignoring the smell of what seemed to be sewer water. Strangely
enough, that was exactly where he was. Down the small corridor, a miasma of green neon lights exposed endless pipes and conduit lines.
"These pipes have to lead somewhere," the blond deduced as he walked along the barren pathways in the stinking liquid. The light at the
end turned red, and at the end of the path was the last thing Naruto expected.a gate.
Yes, it was, without question, a gate which had intricate patterns carved along the bars and in the middle was a flimsy piece of paper
that had the kanji for "seal" on it. Inside the bars was pitch black, and as good as Naruto's vision was (seeing things at twenty feet where
the average human only saw at ten feet), he couldn't make out anything.
"What the hell is this gate here for?" Naruto asked to no one in particular. That particular quandary was quickly answered. An
absolutely terrifying image made itself known, and as much the blonde wanted to back away, his fear was taking control of him.
Naruto and thewhatever it wasstared at each other for what seemed like an eternity and then some. Then it did something he didn't
expect: it laughed. It was deep and menacing and quite possible the most evil laugh that Naruto had ever heard. Naruto gulped and tried
to stand his groundand failed miserably.
"Well, well, I finally get to meet my vessel after all these years," it spoke in the same deep voice it had laughed in previously.
"Vessel? What the hell are you talking about?" Naruto asked as his confusion took over his fear. At this, the entity bellowed in laughter,
yet again.
"So, you truly don't know, do you? It is I, the Kyuubi no Youko, strongest of all the nine Bijuu!" the carmine beast spoke proudly.
Naruto's eyes almost burst out of his skull. 'Noit can't be. The Fox was supposed to be dead.'
"No way! The Fox was killed by the Yondaime Hokage eight years ago! There's no possible way it could be still alive!" Naruto retorted
back in absolute denial.
The blond kid swore to himself that he heard a snort release from the mammoth creature's imposing frame. "First of all, I'm not an 'it,'
you insolent brat! I'm a male, just like you are, except smarter. But to rebut yourfallacy, let me ask you this. What do you
know about the Bijuu?" The Kyuubi asked as in a sly tone as if he couldn't wait to bring reality crashing down on the boy.
Naruto shrugged. "They're like these huge animals, powerful, and can't be killed by natural means. They can only be sealed." To where

was this distrustful entity directing?


"Do you know the day of when I attacked?"
"You supposedly attacked on the tenth of October, eight years ago," Naruto replied, still not getting the entire picture. The Kyuubi only
grinned wider.
"When's your birthday?"
"October ten" Naruto stopped mid-sentence. It suddenly dawned on him as he dropped to his knees in shock.
"Nonoit can't be," he chanted in denial, holding his golden locks with his clenched hands. The Kyuubi laughed yet again.
"S o, my vessel finally understands why he's so hated!" he snarled in glee as Naruto soaked in the revelation. Everything started to
fall into place: the stares, the subtle third degreeeverything was all because the Yondaime had sealed the Kyuubi within him and
damning him to a life of hell. Right then and there, as liquid saline descended from his cheeks in anguish, he wanted to just crawl up in a
ball and die.
"Pick yourself off the ground, and stop your blubbering. It's unsightly, even to my own tastes," the Kyuubi grumbled in a serious
manner. Naruto was surprised. There was no malice in itshis voice.
"What the hell do you mean? I just found out that I was cursed to" The Fox cut him off.
"S HUT UP!" he roared, silencing Naruto almost immediately. "You and I are going to have a long chat, so you need to shut the
hell up and listen to what I have to say. Is that understood?"
Naruto only nodded dumbly, trying to find his voice, but grimaced at the "long chat". Naruto wasn't known to have the biggest attention
span
The Fox's eyes seemed to lighten up and they didn't seem as menacing as before, which caused Naruto to relax a bit more.
"For starters," he began, "we are in your mind. Don't worry about time, as time in here is much faster than the outside. You
shouldn't have to worry about anyone attacking youor us, rather."
Naruto bobbed his head as the Fox sat down on its (his, Naruto tried to remember) haunches as if fully at rest. "Now that you actually
are aware of my existence, I believe it's time we made the best of thepredicament in which we have found ourselves, to put it
lightlybefore I have the luxury of thinking over the things I'd do to Konoha, if I ever got released. However, now I don't have
that time seeing as you know me now. You'll call on my power, both consciously and subconsciously. As such, I say we need to
make a deal or several."
"Deals? What kind of deals?" Naruto asked quizzically, with a twinge of skepticism. The Kyuubi brought down his nose so it was close
to Naruto's face, which kind of intimidated him. But the fox didn't need to know that
"S imple. I know more about you than you likely know about yourself." Naruto frowned at the cryptic response. That didn't
answer his question.
"I have had much time to observe your life in this village. The villagers don't attack you, but they try to wear you down
psychologically by excluding you from social events, shooing their children away, and any other things that would bring
trauma to any normal boy." Naruto's face went sad for a bit as he realized everything that was said was the absolute truth.
"But, you're not a normal boy, are you? You're resilient and you've never given up, despite what these pitiful humans have
tried doing to you," the Kyuubi praised.
"Yes, I know this. Get to the point! What deals are you talking about?" Naruto inquired, yet again. The Kyuubi slammed his tail on the
walls of his cage causing Naruto to fall on his buttocks.
"What did I tell you? S hut up and listen! I need to give you background on the deals I will be making, because, otherwise, it
will end up confusing you. Or, I could just send you back and not do anything to benefit you or your future career as a
shinobi," he uttered nonchalantly.
"No, no, no, no, no. Pleasecontinue," Naruto said as fast he could. The Kyuubi smirked, triumphant in his small victory.
"Good, boy. You're learning," he praised as he continued. "First off, let me ask you this. Do you have any clue what a Cognitive

Chakra S uppression seal is?" he asked, knowing full well what the answer was. Naruto's face remained blank. Even though he knew,
the Fox still sighed.
"Okay, a bit of exposition for you, if you will," he said taking a huge breath. "When I was first sealed into you, I noticed that,
consistently, a small, almost insignificant, amount of chakra was constantly being drained from me. At first, I thought the
seal was doing something to me, but then, I realized that it was integrating your energy and mine into your chakra coils."
Naruto gulped as he took this in. He would reserve judgment to the situation at hand until the Fox finished.
"To make it short, the chakra drain wasisdue to what's called a Cognitive Chakra S uppression S eal or CCS for short. I
have absolutely no idea of why it was used on you, and considering the circumstances, it'd be downright foolish to do so," the
Kyuubi explained.
"The purpose of the seal is two-fold. Its primary purpose is just as the name suggests. It restricts your ability to think. To
reason. To ascertain. To adapt. Everything. From what I've observed, even with it on, you still had the ability to pick up on
things that the villagers were doing to you, among other things. I imagine that, when the CCS is removed, your cognitive
ability will increase tenfold. You may not be a genius, but you'll be one of the best," the Fox concluded, baring his sharp fangs
into a pretty gruesome smile. Aside from being totally on edge, Naruto grinned at the prospect of becoming 'smarter' as he put it in his
own words.
"So, what are we waiting for, then? Why do we?" Kyuubi held up a paw to indicate that he needed to remain quiet and attentive.
Naruto reluctantly did so.
"Be patient, kid. I'm getting to that. Anyway, the second thing about the suppression seal is that it needs a constant source of
chakra to be maintained. That's where I come in. I have nearly limitless chakra, and as such, by my calculations, the
suppression seal would feed off my chakra for at least fourteen centuries, before it can't drain any more. You're probably
wondering why I couldn't just blow up the seal immediately after I discovered it, right?" Naruto nodded, indicating he had been
wondering that throughout his explanations.
"S imply put, the sealer put backup seals where the only way for the seal to be released is for your consent to have it released.
S ounds crazy, I know, but the sealer likely didn't count on me knowing about seals and me actually telling you about them.
Here's what I'm offering: in exchange for me, and technically you, removing the CCS , you will allow me at times tostretch
my legsso to speak."
"As in give you freedom? Do you think I'm stupid, F?" He cut him off again.
"No, I couldn't get free using that method, anyway. Even if I could, my power would be greatly reduced, so there really wouldn't be
much point to it anyway, but, basically, all you need to do is find a wild fox, catch it, and then transfer my consciousness into it. You
won't have to worry about me escaping. After a certain time limit, my awareness will automatically transfer back behind this cage
unfortunately." The demonic vulpine bit back his venom.
Naruto thought about it for a minute. On one hand, he could be lying and totally making up everything he was telling him, but then, what
did the Fox have to lose? If he read between the creature's words, he implied that if he died, then he would cease to exist as well. Naruto
simply hummed before making a clear judgment call.
"I agree to your terms, Kyuubi," Naruto declared after some time, which caused the fox to grin rather maliciously.
"Very well, but I warn you ahead of time that it may cause you pain," the Kyuubi advised, so the boy wouldn't think he was tricking
him. Naruto shrugged; he kind of figured that would be the case.
"Eh, screw it, Kyuubi. I fully give you permission to unlock and destroy the suppression seal," Naruto asserted. That was all Kyuubi
needed before his chakra surged through Naruto and the sewer of his mind. Naruto left his mind before pain even had time to register
within.
XXXXX
Naruto's vision blurred as he was still in the same spot he was previously before the Kyuubi "sucked" him into his mindscape. He shook
his head and his vision returned to normal. Something feltodd. Yestruly oddyet also.amazing at the same time. It was just as
Kyuubi said. His mind felt clearer, sharper, and far more in tune with his environment. He heard the sound of shuriken whizzing the
distance to hit stationary targets.
His interest piqued, Naruto decided to head to the source of the noise. When he walked up to a clearing, adjacent to his position, he saw

a boy about his age throwing shuriken and kunai. There were twelve targets, and the boy hit eight out twelve. The boy grunted in anger.
"Damn it! I'll never get to Itachi's level!" he yelled in frustration. Naruto frowned as he walked up towards him.
"You know, your wrists weren't all that correct when you threw them. That's why you only hit eight," Naruto uttered coolly. Sasuke
whipped his head around and gave a neutral glance at the new comer.
"Who might you be?" Sasuke asked turning around.
"The name's Naruto Uzumaki and I could show you a trick or two," Naruto said as he offhandedly picked up some shuriken. He
adjusted his wrist and threw all five of them. All five were on target, bull's-eye. Naruto smiled triumphantly while Sasuke looked
amazed.
"Whoa, how did you do that?" Sasuke asked, feeling a bit jealous. Naruto smiled and picked up the remaining shuriken and handed them
back to the dark-haired boy.
"Now, copy my wrist like this," he explained, showing him. Sasuke copied his movements down to the finest of details. "You want a
quick flicking motion and then let them fly!" On Naruto's command, Sasuke released the shuriken and, just like Naruto, he struck the
dead center. Sasuke's mouth was agape. He did it. He did it!
"Thanks. M y name's Sasuke Uchiha. It's a pleasure to meet you, Naruto-san," Sasuke said, smiling and shaking Naruto's hand.
"Pleasure's all mine," Naruto shouted out, grinning. Was this going to be his first friend? By the gods, he hoped so.
"By the way, how did you get so good at throwing shuriken?" Sasuke asked curiously. Naruto thought about it. Too be honest he wasn't
so sure himself.
"Actually, I just tried that today," Naruto responded, rubbing the back of his head in mock embarrassment.
Sasuke looked at him incredulously, "Nono way!"
"YepI think I remember reading it in a book. I guess I just applied the principles here," Naruto explained and Sasuke just nodded. The
raven haired Uchiha was about to say something else when they both heard someone crying.
(About fifteen meters away from Naruto and Sasuke's position)
Sakura ran outside of the 'built' pathways of the forest with one goal: to get away. Get away from the pain. Get away from the abuse.
The fact that her mother took Tetsuya's side over her own pained her heart in ways no tongue on Earth could explain.
She hugged herself tightly as she sunk to her knees as tears flowed freely once again. There was a small puddle left over from the rain on
the previous night. She looked at her reflection as she watched her face change from anger, grief, bitterness, and back again. For a brief
moment, she could have sworn she saw Tetsuya with a cruel smirk on his face. She balled up a fist and slammed the puddle, breaking his
'reflection.'
Sakura was startled by a sudden movement she felt. Sakura didn't know it yet, but her shinobi skills were already developing right then,
even though she still wasn't to be enrolled in the academy (like Naruto and Sasuke) for another six months or so.
"Wh-Who's there?" Sakura managed to squeak out, stuttering the first part of her question. From their hiding places, Sasuke and Naruto
emerged with noticeable frowns on their faces. Sakura subconsciously backed away.
Naruto held up his hands. "Hey, don't worry. We won't hurt you," he promised while walking up to the sniffling girl. Sasuke sighed and
followed Naruto.
"What's wrong? Are youhurt?" Naruto asked comfortingly as he kneeled down to her level. Sakura could practically feel the sincerity
in his voice. It was as if he were an angel sent down from the heavens. Granted, she probablywell, was grossly over exaggerating, but
she was eight, for crying out loud. A sexually abused eight year old, but the core nave personality was still there.
"Idon't know," she began hesitantly. Naruto touched her hand soothingly, but Sakura instantly balked under the brush of his fingers.
She had been violated just hours ago, and she was not ready to be touched just yet.
Sasuke frowned a bit. "Hey, don't be afraid. We're here to help. We won't hurt you."
"Sasuke's right. We're your friends," Naruto said, somehow pulling off a half-smile, half frown.

"Friends? How can we be?" She was easily cut off by the raven-haired boy.
"That doesn't matter," Sasuke said as he shook his head in the negative, knowing what she was about to ask. "We know that you're
hurting, and we won't stand by and let you just sit there and cry a river." Sasuke wouldn't admit it, but he felt damn good saying that.
For once, his life was looking up instead of the constant put-downs from his father.
"Youreally mean that?" Sakura asked disbelievingly. Her distrust was breaking down. Not completely, but it was getting there, albeit
slowly.
Naruto smiled fully. "Yeah, we do. M y name's Naruto Uzumaki, and this," he pointed to the other kid in his company, "is Sasuke
Uchiha."
"I could've introduced myself," Sasuke muttered, but Naruto must have not heard him. Naruto held out a hand, hoping for Sakura to take
it. He waited.but it never came. The forest remained desolately silent. All that could be heard were the sniffs from the cherry blossom.
"Hey, are you?" Naruto and Sasuke started simultaneously, before they were caught off guard by Sakura hugging them both tightly
with either arm on their respective right and left sides. Sakura's head, however, was buried into Naruto's chest.
Naruto turned to Sasuke. "OK, pretty boy what'd you do?"
"M e?"
"Ugh, yes you, you're the only other guy here right?"
"" Sasuke said nothing.
"Unless you were mistaken for a girl in your younger years" Naruto snickered. Sasuke was about to retort before Sakura whimpered.
"Naruto.Sasuke.thank you," Sakura uttered as she let tears of joy flow down her cheeks. Naruto and Sasuke let out a small smile as
they hugged her back in a small group embrace.
"From here on outwe get strongertogether," Naruto declared, to which Sasuke nodded.
"No matter what happens, we always will have each other," Sasuke added. "Sakurawould you like to become a ninja with us, to get
stronger?"
"M ea shinobi?" Sakura asked incredulously. Truth be told, the thought of being a shinobi never even occurred to her until, literally,
right then.
Naruto nodded. "Yeah, like the three of us could be likethe super cool ninja three of awesomeness!" he said dramatically, which got
him chuckles from the other two.
"You knowI never really thought about it, until now," Sakura admitted. Naruto grinned, inwardly elated that she had finally stopped
crying. "But, since meeting the two of youI think I might want to do it. To protect myself" Seeing the confused looks, she added,
"I'll tell youwhen I'm ready."
The blond and raven haired boys nodded in acceptance. Naruto had decided then he wouldn't tell the two about the Kyuubi until much
later.
"So, you accept?" Sasuke inquired, smirking. Sakura grinned back at him.
"I never turn down a challenge, cha!" Sakura declared with gusto.
"Ah, hell yeah!" Naruto yelled. His mood reverted back to hyper, despite his increased intelligence.
"All right, can you guys meet me at the library tomorrow morning? We can start preparing for the academy early," Sasuke suggested.
Sakura and Naruto nodded.
"Sounds great. What time?" Sakura asked.
"Ehdoes nine sound good to you?" Sasuke questioned, to which Sakura smiled. Naruto deadpanned.
"Nine? Are you kidding me? I'm still in bed by then!" he groaned. Sasuke clucked his teeth.

"Suck it up, Naruto. Early bird catches the worm," he countered.


Naruto pouted. "Eh, oh well. Screw it, then."
"Good, because I bet I can learn faster than both of you!" Sakura betted.
"Oh, really? Care to wager that?" Naruto said grinning playfully.
"We'll discuss the terms tomorrow," Sakura spoke while keeping a cool smirk displayed on her visage. Sasuke put his hand in the middle,
which Naruto and Sakura instinctively put their hands on top.
"Friends?" the Uchiha asked.
"Friends," the other two announced at the same time. They broke and turned to three different directions. Neither of them could wait
until morning.
(Unknown Location, Summoning Dimension)
Three extremely large figures were watching the exchange with extreme interest. One figure moved from the shadows, identifying itself as
a large silver and black serpent. It had two tails that split in the middle and four bat-like wings. The other two figures were only seen by
their eyes, which were a blood red and light silver.
"Well, Bahamut, it seems these three may prove most interesting summoners to our respective clans," the figure with red eyes spoke in a
deep voice.
"Yes, Xelos. They seem to incorporate the traits of all three of us," the one known as Bahamut responded. He turned to the one with
silver eyes. "Byakko, what do you think?"
"The Sakura girlshe intrigues meI feeldrawn to her," Byakko cryptically answered.
"I feel the same about the Uchiha. He doesn't seem to have the typical arrogance of his clan, because, otherwise, there's no way in hell I'd
let him sign my contract," Xelos spat in disgust. Truth be told, he hated all of the Uchiha brats. Except for, obviously, Sasuke, himself.
"Naruto.the holder of the Nine-Tails.he's perfect for me. However, we can't contact them now. They are much too young, and they
couldn't handle us at until at best they were fifteen or sixteen, depending on how fast they grow." The other two nodded.
"Then it is settled. I shall allow in four years' time to allow Sakura Haruno be the holder of my contract," Byakko proudly proclaimed.
"I shall allow Sasuke Uchiha in four years' time to wield the power of my contract," Xelos uttered with a strong determination.
"I, Bahamut, King of the Dragons, shall allow Naruto Uzumaki in four years' time to wield the power of the Dragons!" he roared. A light
glowed in the air, signifying the declarations.
"I shall see you in four years, my friends," Bahamut said.
"As shall we," they responded simultaneously. With that said, Xelos vanished in a plume of smoke, Byakko vanished by turning into
water, and Bahamut vanished with a gust of wind.
It was settled. Three friends were single handedly going to bring a revolution to the shinobi world. Their Legends were now starting.
(End)
Oh my God! I'm finally done with this pilot! Took forever, though! Don't worry. I'm still working on chapter three of From Red to
Black, though this fic M AY take priority over it. M y schedule is getting better, so you're likely going to see more updates.
Till next time,
PEACE!
P.S Don't forget to review. Constructive criticism is appreciated always and forever.

*Chapter 2*: Imperishable Companionship


Good evening, my fellow readers. It's been a few months, but I've finally found time to start working on the second chapter of Eternal
Legends! Although I was expecting much higher than ten reviews, still, it's better than some people get.
Anyhow, a lot of you have been asking me about what's going on with From Red to Black, my Bleach/Naruto crossover. The thing is, I
have a bit of writer's block for that fic, and I may end up just abandoning it altogether. But, I will be replacing it with another fic, one
that is bound to be loved, so don't fret.
Next, some people have been asking me why I chose the Naruto/Sakura pairing for this particular story. Actually, there are several
reasons for this. For one, I want to be one of the authors that truly did the pairing justice (the only one I could think of off the top of
my head is Training for the Job, by Desaix) and create a believable relationship. Secondly, most Naruto/Sakura fics start out after the
three-year time skip, which I dislike for some strange reason. I want to show their relationship progress from friendship to romance to
lovers from the time they meet, until they graduate. It's not going to be some "instant love" crap that you commonly see in most fics
(*coughNaruHinacough*). In fact, it will be a LONG time before they even say the "L" word. It's not going to be perfect, ever. Finally, I
wanted to bring in a good action fiction with a side of believable romance that won't make you utterly gag.
Anyhow, let's get on with the show! M y plan is for this to be the best Friendship! Team 7 fic in the entire Naruto section. Hopefully, I
will surpass Desaix's fic. Wish me luck!
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world. This is their story.
Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, and all related companies. I claim no ownership of anything
except my original characters.
XXXXXXXXXX
(Naruto's Apartment, 0830 hours)
Naruto stood wide awake on his bed. He was watching the ceiling fan spin counterclockwise and its sound was the only noise in the
entire complex. His hands were on the back of his head as his bright cerulean eyes pierced through the building, as if he could see all
things now. Normally, Naruto would've woken up very cranky and, honestly, not really feeling the day ahead of him as it was almost
the same bullshit every day.
Not today, however.
Naruto, for the first time in years practically, was smiling. Not one of those plastered grins he used around Iruka-sensei, the Old M an
Hokage, and the village in general. No, this was a true, honest-to-Amaterasu smile.
He had thought he had become Fortune's fool when he learned of the existence of the Kyuubi. But, in an almost less than an hour, he not
only turned it into an advantage, he got new friends to boot. He sat up in an upright position grinning from ear to ear.
"Everything is so muchclearer now. It's amazing; I can calculate plans in my head in mere seconds where I used to not even think
about using strategy. This is truly riveting" Naruto froze. Since when the hell did he use words like riveting?
He sat on the side of the bed and interlocked his fingers as he started to think seriously with his newfound "intelligence." He had several
things to think about after all that happened through last night's sequence of events. He sighed and took a deep breath.
Firstly, there was the Kyuubi no Youko, itself. To say Naruto wasn't expecting that revelation would be a gross understatement. If he
was perfectly honest with himself, it was utterly infuriating to know that, seemingly at random, he was chosen to house a creature of
pure malevolence and had no say in the matter. In that sense, he utterly despised the Fourth Hokage for what he had done to him.
He then grunted as a realization that deflated his pride came to him. What else could the Yellow Flash had done? By all accounts, a Bijuu
was practically immortal to mere humans, who were nothing more than specks in the universe, if that. So, in that sense, he really had no
other alternative. But then there was the million ryou question.
"Why me?" Naruto wondered aloud. Was he an orphan? Naruto mentally smacked himself. Of course he was.now, at least. Did his
parents abandon him? Give him to the Fourth Hokage willingly? Or did the Fourth pick him at random in the hospital while the village
was attacked on a whim?

That last thought made him wince a bit. What a screwed-up way to save the village, if that was the case. He let loose a shaky huff as he
rose from the bed to the bathroom. 'What's done is done. No use crying about it.'
"Heh, it's not like crying approved my situation, anyhow, eh?" Naruto mused out loud, with silence answering back from his mirror's
reflection. It was at that point he figured it'd be nice to know why the Fourth chose him for this life of despair and loneliness, but in the
grand scheme of things, especially after last night, it didn't matter. He absolutely refused to use that as a crutch and an excuse. He'd use
his newfound mind to tear the sky asunder to reach his goals.
Speaking of his mind
"Just who the hell put that seal on me? And for what reason? The Fourth? No.he didn't have enough time to design two complex seals
in that short of a time period," Naruto deduced as his eyes sharpened. He stood, bare-chested, and looked at the Shiki Fuujin in the
mirror, and from he read of seals, it was ludicrously complex. While it was true that the Fourth Hokage was a Seal M aster, this
suppression sealas the furball called it, it was just as intricate. Assuming he had written the seal as he performed the technique, in
Naruto's mind, he had no reason to put it on him.
Naruto's eyes then narrowed. "HmJudging from the way it looked, this seal was put on me after the fox was sealed. Had it been done
before, the suppression seal would've been overwritten and destroyed. That would mean it was after the Fourth Hokage died. The
question was.who would?"
Naruto smirked to himself. "Heh, guess this new thing has got me thinking out loudGuess that's a side effect," he ruminated. Finally,
his thoughts came to his newfound friends, Sasuke and Sakura.
They were.different. Sasuke.he was an enigma. His mind traveled back to how he carried himselfall the way down to his
mannerisms and his personality. Naruto figured he had to have a huge chip on his shoulder. It was the only way to explain it. His eyes
held pain, loneliness, and most of all, rejection. Rejection from what, the blond had no idea. The Uchiha was one of the four noble
families, the other three being the Aburame, Akimichi, and Hyuuga, so it couldn't have been a rejection from society. Despite their.less
than stellar past, the Uchiha were well respected by most of the civilians and a good number of the shinobi. So in that respect, he
couldn't be rejected by societyat least, not like he was.
Then there was the rosette-haired Sakura. Something just seemed off about her. Not in a way that made her presence off-putting, but he
was almost sure that she was hiding something. And from what the blond could tell, it was nothing to laugh at. If something made an
eight-year-old girl come all the way out into the outskirts of Konohasomething terrible must've happened. Hundreds of possibilities
ran through his mind, but he didn't have sufficient enough evidence to lean one way or the other.
"Ugh! None of it makes sense!" he growled in frustration. Then, he stopped himself as his mind started to reason with logic, yet again.
Of course it didn't make sense. He had just met them yesterday. What, were they supposed to tell them their life story or something?
Tell him all their secrets just like that?
"I guess not," he murmured as he shut off the light and plopped back into his bed. "Considering what secret I hold, I wouldn't blame
them." He didn't exactly want them to find out about the Fox. That was on a need-to-know basisfor now, at least. Until he trusted
them, fully, and utterly, as far as they were concerned, the Kyuubi was just a legend who was slain by the Yondaime Hokage.
"In hindsight, how the hell did we ever fall for such bullshit?" Naruto pondered amid thin air before looking at his clock. It digitally read
eight fifty-five. Naruto's eyes bulged.
"Oh, crap! I'm going to be late!" he exclaimed while jumping up from his bed. By some act of the Kami, he had managed to brush his
teeth, put on his garish, orange outfit, wash his face, and be out the door within two-and-a-half minutes. He was in such a rush; he nearly
forgot to lock the door. He fled down the streets of Konohagakure like a bat out of hell.
(Konoha Library 3rd district, 0859 hours)
Outside of the Konoha Library, Sasuke and Sakura waited for the presumably late blond to show up. Sasuke couldn't help but smirk.
Barely a day in knowing the guy and he could already tell when the guy was going to run afoul with Father Time.
"So, how much you want to bet that he's probably rushing his ass off right now?" Sasuke smarmily asked his pink haired female friend.
"It's hard to say," she responded, looking at a nearby clock. "Technically, he's not late. It's about a minute or so until nine." She was
thankful that she was able to get out of the house this early. But then again, she didn't care if they did say no. She would've snuck out,
regardless.

Sasuke grunted, "I suppose you're right. He isn't technically late. I'm sure he'll be here."
As if on cue, a blur of orange ran past them skidding to a stop, and there was Naruto Uzumaki grinning from ear to ear. Sakura smirked.
"I told you he'd be here."
Sasuke waved her off with a dismissive gesture. "Yeah, yeah, yeah"
Naruto, however, was a bit confused. "Umwhy wouldn't I be here?" he questioned a bit dumbly.
"Oh, nothing. Sasuke here thought you'd show up late," she answered, smiling sweetly at her victory.
"Asshole" Naruto simply rolled his eyes.
"Shall we?" Sasuke asked, completely ignoring Naruto's comment, as all three of them turned to the entrance of the library. Naruto and
Sakura nodded as the trio traveled up the steps. Naruto gulped a bit and looked at the both of them. They all nodded to each other and
he pushed the door open and they entered.
(Hokage's Tower, 0905 hours)
Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Sandaime Hokage, watched the three younglings as they walked into the library. He couldn't place his finger on it
but something feltdifferent about Naruto. He was.serious. The boy could claim he hated mornings all he wanted, but this was
around the time he routinely pulled off his pranks, which was why he was using his crystal ball to monitor him. What he didn't expect
was to find the son of Fugaku, and a rosette-haired young lady.
"M y, Naruto, just what has happened to you?" the aged Hokage mulled over, voicing his curiosity to an audience of none. Of course he
wanted the boy to make friends. In fact, that was the sole reason he made that law so many years ago. It was in order for Naruto to have
somewhat of a normal life despite hisextraordinary circumstances.
He looked over at the picture of M inato on the right wall hanging.
"You bastard," he clipped without a hint of venom in his tone, "why couldn't you have let me do the sealing? Leaving your own son to
the fate of a Jinchuuriki?"
Truth be told, Hiruzen wasn't the one who told the village about Naruto's secret. It was some imbecile ANBU who had stretched the
truth about the boy, and the rumors spread through the village faster than a forest fire. He clenched his fists. The ANBU thought he was
clever, but he couldn't escape the deductive and inquisitive retired Hokage. He wasn't called the "Professor" for nothing. He executed
him.personally.
"I guess what's done is done," he dejectedly commented as a knock came on his door. He smiled. He had been expecting this one. "Come
in, Iruka." The aged senior took off his hat as the intended guest crossed the threshold. A tanned, brunet man with a somewhat droopy
ponytail tied back opened the door and closed it from behind. The true defining feature on the man's face was the noticeable scar that ran
deep across the bridge of his nose.
"You wanted to see me, Hokage-sama?" Per usual custom, Iruka Umino always asked tersely, professionally, and succinctly. Hiruzen
motioned for the head instructor to sit down, which he did so.
"Yes, I'm here to discuss Naruto," Hiruzen mentioned without preamble. Iruka was surprised. What could be so important that about
Naruto that the Hokage wanted to personally see him?
Hiruzen continued, before Iruka could voice his question. "I've been keeping an eye on him, for the past few weeks. As you know, he'll
be eligible to enter the Academy six months from now, coincidently, along with the other heirs to the clans within the village."
Iruka frowned. "Are you saying you're worried that Naruto will cause trouble for them? Because"
Hiruzen held up a hand indicating silence. "No. That's not at all what I'm implying. Iruka.I think you may be in for a shock when
Naruto enters the Academy when the time comes."
Now, the aptly named "Kindred Dolphin" was entirely confused. "What do you mean, Hokage-sama?" He was not afraid to admit
ignorance, if he didn't understand.
Hiruzen smiled, and motioned for him to come and look into his crystal ball. Iruka raised an eyebrow, but complied with the old man's
request. His eyes widened.

"Is that?" He asked, unsure if his eyes were deceiving him.


"Yes," he declared, confirming his suspicions," that would be none other than Sasuke Uchiha, second son of the Konoha Keimu Butai
(Leaf M ilitary Police Force) Captain, Fugaku."
"Wow..." was all Iruka could say. Narutobefriended an Uchiha? He'd honestly expected if Naruto were to befriend someone, it'd be a
Nara or an Akimichibut an Uchiha? The son of the Captain of the Police Forces, no less?
Not in a million years!
After getting over his initial shock, he finally noticed a pink-haired girl.
"Who's the girl?"
"If my memory serves me correctly, she is a Harunoa civilian family. But not for long, considering the two she's mingling with."
"What does this all mean?"
Hiruzen smiled. He'd asked the million-ryou question. Someone was bound to get paid. "It means Iruka, that the Academy is about to
become a hell of a lot more interesting. Something tells me these three will go on to become legends."
The younger ninja blinked at the man. "Legends? How do you figure that?" Surely, he must've had some logical reason to make a
proclaimed statement like that.
"Iruka, do you not remember who I trained and who trained me?" Hiruzen asked semi-rhetorically.
Who didn't know? Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Shinobi no Kami, who trained the Legendary Three Ninja, and fought in all Three Great Shinobi
World Wars. He was trained by Hashirama Senju, the Shodai Hokage, and Tobirama Senju, the Nidaime Hokage. He was a shinobi whose
name was known to virtually every shinobi in existence. If anyone was qualified to say who had potential to be legends, it was him.
Iruka chose not to respond.
"Call it a hunch, gut feeling, prophetic vision, I don't care. These three.they have amazing potential," he began before his gaze
hardened on Iruka, who was beginning to sweat at the stare. "I warn you now, Iruka: I will not allow your assistants to impede their
mostly Naruto'sprogress. Keep them in line to show fairness despite how they no doubt feel about Naruto's status as a Jinchuuriki."
He definitely was not sugarcoating there.
The even-mannered Chuunin winced, but nodded. "I understand, sir. I will do my best."
Hiruzen bobbed his head once. "Good. Keep them on a good leash.otherwise I may have to put them down." The tone in his voice was
ice cold and dead serious, and Iruka couldn't help but dumbly nod, yet again. Kind the old man was, but when needed, he could scare the
ever living shit out of anyone if he wanted to.
Iruka felt apprehensive to speak at the moment. And just as his demeanor became cold, it was gone in an instant and replaced with the
same warm smile that radiated the Will of Fire. He smiled again at his Hokage's reassurance.
Hiruzen stood up and looked outside the window where nearly all of Konoha was in view. He took a puff of his pipe.
"IrukaI never got a chance to say this, butthank you" he cordially stated.
"Hokage-sama?" Iruka asked, confused, but the wizened Fire Shadow continued on, uninterrupted.
"for showing Naruto kindness, when few would even give him the time of day," the Professor explained. Iruka nodded in
understanding as Hiruzen continued. "I love this village with all of my heart and would gladly give my life if it meant we saw another
sunrise. However, at times, I grow impatient with theirless than stellar response to Naruto's status as a Jinchuuriki."
"You feel they are ungrateful?" Iruka asked quizzically.
Hiruzen smiled, even though Iruka couldn't see it with his back turned. The Chunin was far more insightful than most gave him credit
for. Then again, growing close to Naruto over the years, he'd sort of had to figure out people since it'd been tough for the instructor to
gain the boy's trust.what little he had, anyhow.
"You're insightful as ever, Iruka," the Hokage praised, causing said person to blush in embarrassment. "The Yondaime gave his life for

this villageasked Naruto to be treated as a heroand yetthey simply don't acknowledge his existence." Hiruzen's voice was neutral,
but even Iruka could detect the subtle undercurrent of desolation that the Hokage tried to hide.
"Wellat the very least, they don't treat him like some other villages treat their Jinchuuriki," Iruka countered, not sure if he was trying
to reassure himself or the Hokage.
Hiruzen frowned. "Ah, yes. Indeed. As much as I feel sorry for Naruto, he's still considered human for the most part. Hell, even Danzo
thought it beneath him to try to turn him into a weapon"
Iruka stood up suddenly. "Whoa, Hokage-samaPlease, forgive me if I'm rude, but are you sure to trust me with such sensitive
information?" While Iruka knew he could keep a secret, he was only a chuunin for Heaven's sake! M ost shinobi would kill for the "juicy
details" or the S-Class Village secrets, but he didn't want to carry the burden of having awareness of those clandestine bits of intelligence.
Plausible deniability went a long way in the shinobi world.
Hiruzen didn't even bat an eyelash. "YesI am. I feel like I can trust youand my gut has never steered me wrong." The Kindred
Dolphin still wasn't convinced, but he wasn't about to argue otherwise. He simply sighed.
"We shall continue this talk later. For now, monitor the boyand his new group of friends. From afar, of course. I don't want Naruto
know I'm keeping an eye on him."
Iruka couldn't help but smirk. "Is that an order or a request?"
"Consider it both," the Professor said with a smirk of his own. "You're dismissed." With a nod, Iruka sat up and took his leave, feeling
slightly better after talking with his Hokage.
When Iruka left, Hiruzen immediately turned to his right, as a voice came from the shadows.
"You know it's not polite to talk about others behind their backs," the voice was deep, showed signs of age, yet it still commanded an
aura of respect and fear to match even the Sandaime, himself.
Hiruzen scoffed at the eavesdropper, wooden cane and all. "Coming from you, Danzo? How hypocritical of you," Hiruzen spitefully
chided. The newly named Danzo stepped out from the shadows. Judging from his appearance, he was a man that had seen enough battle
no man should see in several lifetimes. He was old, and sickly, and leaned on a cane for support. His right eye was covered in bandages
as were a part of his head.
"But, in any case, I'm glad you're here. We have much to discuss."
"Yes, Hiruzenwe do."
(Konoha Library, 0949 hours)
"Good call, Naruto. Honestly, I wasn't expecting you to suggest we read up on our history first," Sakura praised. Sasuke pursed his lips
as a silent acknowledgment. Even he was impressed. At first, he was against it, but Naruto's reasoning certainly made a hell of a lot of
sense.
The trio was currently sitting in a corner on cushions, triangularly, with several scrolls and traditional books near them. They chose a
place as far away from where people normally went so they could talk in peace and private.
Naruto grinned sheepishly. "Oh, come on, Sakura, you know I can't take all the credit. You're the one who found the book first.
Otherwise, I'd have gone straight to the jutsu on impulse."
The rosette-haired girl simply shook her head. "You know, Naruto, you're humble almost to the point of being annoying."
Naruto stared at both of them seriously. "Pride is before the fall. We should know our limits so we can surpass them. That's what
Hokage-jijii told me, when I asked him some of the things I needed to do to become a great shinobi."
"Naruto's right," the dark-eyed Uchiha spoke up. "I've read some of my clan historyand as much as it hurts my pride, my clan's
number one weakness is our arrogance." He looked down as if ashamed. "I've seen how prideful and arrogant my father has been
thinking himself superior to everyone because he's simply an Uchiha. I disagree"
".." Naruto and Sakura said nothing, but intently listened to the Uchiha as he let his personal feelings out.
He looked back at the fellow male and female of their group. "Solet's start with the basicsso we'll have a head start when we enter

the Academy, and to expand our knowledge of how everything works." Naruto and Sakura smirked.
"Let's do this!" Sakura delicately shouted, unrolling a scroll and laying it down in the middle so they all could see.
"Okay, basic understanding of how our world works" Naruto said aloud. "Five Great Shinobi VillagesKonohagakure, that's us,
obviously, Kumogakure, Kirigakure, Sunagakure, and Iwagakure."
Sakura thought for a moment. "What else do they say about them? I wonder if there are any weaknesses we can discover"
"Weaknesses? Why?" Naruto asked.
"Think about itif we know what their general weaknesses are, we can better be prepared if, heaven forbid, we ever go to war," Sakura
explained in a scholarly fashion.
"Or for the Chunin Exams," Sasuke added, looking at the scroll.
"Huh?" they both said in response.
Sasuke simply unrolled a part that of the scroll that caught his eye so he could detail further. "Look at this, 'As a tradition rather than an
actual international law, the Chunin Exams are held twice every year in a different shinobi village to show off each village's promising
genin.'"
"I see," Naruto uttered while beginning to understand. He blinked once for good measure. "This is a replacement for war. Quite
ingenious, when you think about it.
Sasuke nodded. "If the villages can't show deterrence by war, why not do the next best thing? Show off your most talented genin in front
of all the villages, to see what kind of potential they have."
Naruto frowned. "There's a problem with that." Logic started to circulate through his mind again. "Not all five villages are present at any
one Chunin Exam."
"Well, Naruto-kun, that's why there's rotationsee here?" Sakura interjected as she pointed to a diagram that seemed to show how the
host village was chosen. According to it, it alternated with Konohagakure at the top to Kumo, then Suna, then Kiri, and finally Iwa.
"Now, then, think about itwhat about this order suggests that all five won't attend at the same time?" Sakura asked while anticipating
no other questions.
Naruto stood there thinking about the implications of all this. Not at Sakura's question, no. But they were each challenging each other.
Testing each other's wits. M ost importantly of all, learning from each other, in ways no instructor could ever teach them.
"Geographical locations," Sasuke said aloud as he sat back in disbelief. It was so simple, yet so hidden at the same time! Sakura smirked.
He had hit the nail on the head!
"Naruto, give me a map," Sasuke politely, but sternly, requested. Naruto shrugged and he showed him a scroll with a map of the
Elemental nations. The minute it opened, everything clicked in Naruto's mind.
"Wow"
Of course! Depending on which village was hosting the exams, certain villages couldn't make the journey simply because it was too long,
along with crossing other smaller village's territory, which was a goddamned mess politically. This year the exams were to be held in
Kumo, which prevented Suna and Iwa from participating , simply due to it not being worth the journey and mess involved.
"You guys catch on quick," Sakura said as if proud of herself for her achievement.
Naruto smirked. "Didn't think we'd be able to keep up with you mentally, did you?"
Sasuke looked at her funnily. "Is that so?"
"Oh, hush, you two. You know I was just teaching you guysas well as you guys are teaching me."
"Heh, bet your mom must be proud to have such a smart daughter," Sasuke commented without thinking, laughing a bit, and Sakura's
mood immediately deflated.
"Yeahsoooo proud," she said solemnly.

Naruto's eyes narrowed. 'As I suspectedsomething is wrong. Is that how she hides it? When she can show of her intelligence? When he
mentioned her mom'
"Sakura, you okay?" Sasuke asked, seeing her dejected look. She shook her head.
"Don't worry about me, Sasuke. I'm f-fine," she cracked. Sasuke frowned, but said nothing more. Naruto sighed, deciding now was a
great time to change the subject. He reached for another piece of parchment.
"History of Konoha?" Sasuke read the kanji. Naruto shrugged his shoulders in response. "Better now, than later, eh?" In response, they
both groaned. Naruto simply grinned in response. Oh, boy, was this going to be fun.
(Unknown location)
"Are you sure of this information, Zetsu?" A tall, spiky-haired figure in a dark cave inquired in a monotone voice.
"Yes, I'm positive, Leader-sama," Zetsu replied. Zetsu was truly a strange shinobi. He was more plant, than anything. Half of his body
was black, and the other half, white. He seemed to have a dual personality, with the ebony side of him being more malevolent.
"Well, then. Things are about to become interesting once the world learns of this," the 'Leader' replied, his face still masked by the
darkness. The only thing that was visible in his silhouette was his hypnotic vortex shaped eyes.
"Leader-sama, such sensitive information could" A quick glare shut Zetsu up.
"Don't question me ever again, Zetsudo I make myself clear?"
"Yes, sir," he responded meekly.
"Goodnow, get out of my sight," he commanded dismissively with a flick of his hand. Zetsu nodded and vanished from his leader's
sight.
The Leader felt a presence behind him. "Shall we accept the deal?" the voice was softand feminine.
"Of course, Konan. It's not every day Akatsuki is hired by those within a village to assassinate a Kage for a Jinchuuriki."
"So, then." Konan began.
"Yesin exchange for the Eight Tailswe shall eliminate the Raikage.permanently."
(End.)
Oh, snap! What could possibly be going in the Hidden Cloud to where the Raikage is wanted dead? Find out next chapter!
I'm really sorry for waiting an ENTIRE year for chapter two. I have no excuses, whatsoever. Only that I have been extremely lazy and
unwilling to get off my ass and write. However, if you keep the reviews coming, and I'll keep the chapters being pumped out at a
reasonable pace.
I'd like to thank DarkHeroOrion, for being an awesome beta for this chapter, fixing any and all mistakes. :P Thanks, buddy.
(DHO: No problem! :P)
Until Next time guys, PEACE
Arashi.

*Chapter 3*: Infinite Ripples


Eternal Legends: Birth of Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter 3: Infinite Ripples
Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no claim of
any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time.
Hello again, my fellow readers. As promised, I have stopped dawdling and got off my ass to keep writing the story you guys know and
love (I hope!). Although I'm a bit disappointed with the low review count, that won't deter me from giving you a well-written piece of
fiction that stands up there with the classic Naruto Fan Fiction pieces. However, that being said, I wish you guys would take the time
out to give me an in-depth analysis of what you think of the story you're reading. This can only benefit you! If I have a better idea of
what I'm doing and to a reasonable extent, what you guys want, this should be an enjoyable experience for all parties involved.
Some of you have probably noticed the pattern in my chapter titles. Good on you, really. However, that won't last for too long, as I can
only go do so much with the pattern. That being said, it will continue until I exhausted my creative mind on the matter, and the chapter
titles will be a bit more straightforward.
Oh! BTW, I'm going to be playing with the history of canon, to suit it for my own story purposes. Do not, at ANY point in the story,
assume that canon history will match up with my history. It won't. So just stop trying.
As for the Naruto manga itselfnoI won't comment on it just yet. But I have a rant that needs to get out, and will probably be at the
end of this chapter. So, let's get this show on the road!
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world. This is their story.
(Kumogakure, 1100 Hours,)
The Village Hidden among the Clouds stood in the apex of the peninsula northeast of Fire Country and stood as the heart of power
within Lightning Country. M ost people assumed that every shinobi village in the E.N. (Elemental Nations) was a military dictatorship
that was led by its Kage. This was entirely true. However, the Hidden Cloud was a bitdifferent.
While it was true that the village was, at its core, a dictatorship, that didn't mean that the Raikage had absolute power. The village was
absolutely enormous, dwarfing the other four Great villages by a factor of three.combined. As such, to say it would be difficult for the
Raikage to micromanage everything in the village alone would be a vast understatement.
As such, a system was introduced that divided Kumo into thirteen districts. These districts would then run off a system of elections,
where the people who lived in said district would choose an elected official who would represent them and their issues on the Kumo
Council which advised the Raikage, himself. The Council could only override decisions made by the Raikage with nothing short of a
unanimous vote. M ilitary matters, on the other hand, were wisely left solely to the Raikage. Everything else was pretty much fair game.
The Raikage let most of the officials micromanage their own districts, while he basically got a broad overview of major issues.
Naturally, with any attempt at some form of democracy, this gave rise to political parties, who had different agendas from each other.
Whichever party had the most seats, had the most influence on public and foreign policy. This usually wasn't a problem simply because
the Raikage's party usually had the most seats on the council.
In effect, this system made Kumogakure a literal example of a dictatorship and a republic occurring in a single state at the exact same
time.
(Raikage Tower, 1105 hours, 1st District)
A large, dark-skinned male sat in the comfortable chair that he was accustomed to every day. He wore the traditional Kage robes with his
village's trademark yellow and white colors. He was extremely muscular to where his biceps looked like the size of tree trunks.
Killer A, the Yondaime Raikage, sighed as he sat back in deep thought, drinking a small bottle of sake.
"Pft," he scorned. "Five years into this Kage business, and I'm already starting to hate this job."
Five years ago, his father, the Sandaime Raikage, had passed away, due to unknown reasons in his sleep. He was the one who had

ordered the capturing of the Hyuuga heiress during the negotiations of a peace treaty with Konoha. It ended in spectacular failure, and
Kumo was the laughing stock of the shinobi world, currently. To make matters worse, A had to deal with an increasingly divided
council, in which a sense of national pride was sweeping across the village. If he didn't do anything soon, Kumo could be on the brink of
collapse and civil war.
"Damn it all!" A cursed as he slammed his fists on the desk causing a sizable dent. "Darui!" he called out.
A young, dark-skinned male appeared in front of the Raikage, immediately on one knee in front of his commanding leader. He wore a
standard Cloud Jounin uniform, had white hair, and had a lazy look in his eye almost akin to a certain cyclopean Copy Ninja.
"Yes, Raikage-sama?" he responded to his call.
A sighed as he leaned back in his chair. "Daruisit down." Darui raised an eyebrow not at the request, but the tone the Raikage used. He
was usually upbeat and, admittedly, a bit eccentric, but nowhe sounded defeatedas if he had the entire world on his shoulders and
he couldn't bear it.
However, he kept the thoughts of his out-of-the-ordinary shift in mood to himself as he sat down on the left chair of the two provided
in front of his desk. He made himself comfortable before waiting for A to speak again.
"Darui.you're one of my most trusted shinobiand as such, I feel that I should share this with you," A began, somewhat getting to
the point.
"Should I?" Darui began, before A shook his head, already knowing where he was headed with that inquiry.
"No. It isn't classified informationmore of me" he searched for the right word. Darui frowned. It was becoming increasingly clear
that A was uncomfortable with saying whatever he'd wanted to tell him. The white-haired jounin honestly didn't know how to reassure
him, seeing as how his mood at the moment was entirely different from he was used to dealing with.
A few moments passed and A had finally gathered his thoughts and swallowed some of his pride, clearing his throat in the process.
Subconsciously, Darui sat a bit straighter.
"This is more of me telling you my feelings and why I haven't been in the best of moods lately," the burly Thunder Shadow finally
explained. If Darui was surprised, he hid it extremely well with his lazy stoicism.
A continued, "To be honest, I'm worried about the village and where it's headed in the future. We failed to capture the Byakugan, and we
ended up looking like fools. Tensions were high already, and we barely avoided outright war had it not been for Konoha being illequipped to face another conflict. Now, my party is in danger of losing seats on the council to those bastard Ultranationalists." He
gritted his teeth in anger at the mention of the last group. Darui grimaced. He knew very well, that the Ultranationalists were very
dangerous.
The People's Utopian National Liberation Party, or Ultranationalists, was a revolutionary political party who were relatively minor
considering their extreme views. It wasn't a secret that most, if not all, members of it hated A with an absolute passion. A and his father,
the Third Raikage, had scaled back their forces in favor of economic prosperity. While it was true that the Cloud did enter wars during
their reigns, they had lost all of themthe most recent one being A's humiliating defeat at the hands of Namikaze M inato, who was, by
many, considered the most gifted shinobi to ever live. Combined with that loss, and the Hyuuga incident, many of their viewpoints
started to slowly shift public opinion toward them.
Even though they were a minorityfor nowA simply couldn't have them rounded up and executed. While he had a good hunch of
what their hidden agendas were, considering he had some spies in their ranks, if he were to simply kill them off, he had no idea if the
public wouldn't cry foul or not. Protecting the viewpoints of the minority had long been a bullet point of their pseudo-democracy. If he
executed them because they didn't agree with him, in their eyes, what would stop him from executing them if they happened to disagree
with him on a particular issue? A bloody civil war was almost guaranteed.
"I understand your plight, sir," Darui began, "but do you have so little faith in our people that they will vote the Ultranationalists in
power, knowing how they stand?"
"You're not seeing the big picture, Darui," the hefty shinobi chastised, which made said jounin flinch. "People will do anything when
they're desperate. Our economy isn't in shambles, but it isn't close to where it used to be. Clients are declining, and that doesn't seem to
be changing any time soon. I have a shit-storm just waiting to happen. Not to mention, I still have Yugito and Bee to deal with."
Darui sighed. "You don't think they'll resort to open warfare, do you?"

A contemplated that possibility for a second. "NoI don't think so. The lot of them are genocidal psychopaths." Darui had to do a
double-take at the Raikage's description of them. The animosity between the parties in the village was true, genuine, unadulterated
hatred. He resisted the urge to shake his head. "However, I don't think they're suicidal. I don't think they're stupid enough to engage in
open warfare inside the village, with Bee and I to deal with," he stated matter-of-factly.
The heir to the Black Lightning nodded. His Kage's logic made perfect sense, along with other things that he didn't indicate. Not only
would they lose a lot of manpower, even if they did win, they'd also have to rebuild the village while worry about the possibility of
foreign powers wiping them out in their time of weakness. It was a coup that had too many possibilities of failures at too many points
in time to pull off effectively. Sothey had to go the legal way, which was arguably even smarter, considering many of the
circumstances and hardships a good proportion of the civilians and even some shinobi had to deal with.
A then smirked. "Not to mention we have Aisu on our side as well," he offhandedly noted.
Darui returned the Raikage's grin. "Indeed. The gods know the minute those bastards even dared to try anything akin to brute force, he'll
slaughter them all like lambs."
A chuckled. "I sometimes wonder who hates them more: me or him?" he pondered aloud. He then waved off the thought. "Ah, no
matter. Bottom line wasthey aren't taking this village by force. So, we'll just have to beat them politically."
A had thought they would try and take it through political muscle. He had thought that they weren't suicidal enough to try and take it by
force. Never did it cross his mind that a third option existed and a factor he couldn't have anticipated in a million years: both waysand
Akatsuki.
(Konoha Library 1130 hours)
"Alright, quiz time," Sakura called out as both Sasuke and Naruto nodded. They had been in the library for the past two and a half hours,
in which time flew by so quickly the three barely noticed it. They agreed to eat lunch afterwards. Of course, Naruto picked Ichiraku's
ramen, to which the raven and rosette haired eight-year-olds simply shrugged at the choice. It sure as hell didn't matter to them where
they ate so long as it was A) not too expensive and B) tasted good.
"All right, I'll start with you, Naruto-kun. I'll start easy and work my way up in difficulty, okay?" Sakura asked him, looking directly at
him with a scroll opened across her lap.
"Fine by me," Naruto replied relaxing in his cushion.
"What are the five elemental natures?" she started off.
Naruto resisted the urge to roll his eyes at such ridiculously easy question. "Fire, water, earth, wind, and lightning."
Sakura nodded her head, indicating he was correct. "Sasuke-kun, what are the names of the noble clans that reside in our village?"
"Uchiha, Hyuuga, Aburame, and Akimichi. Geez, Sakura, you'd think I'd get that wrong?" He countered, laughing all the way.
Naruto smirked, while Sakura giggled. "Hey, I did say I was going easy at first," she defended before turning back to Naruto. "Okay,
Naruto-kun, you're next. Name the founding members of our village." Naruto smirked before she added "Yes, that includes the minor
ones, too," she added, wiping the smirk off his face. She grinned, triumphant.
"Damn, Sakura, you're evil," Sasuke said laughing. She simply smiled.
"Shut it, Sasuke!" Naruto complained before he contemplated. "Wellwe know there's the First Hokageobviously, his brother, who
became the Second Hokage, Kazanrai Akimichi, Hirashi Hyuuga, Nasamaru Aburame and.M adara Uchiha?" He was unsure about the
last name, so it came out more quizzical than anything. Sasuke narrowed his eyes at M adara's mentioning, but it was gone as quickly as
the expression adorned his face. Neither of his two friends noticed it, of which he was thankful for.
Sakura looked stunned. "Wowyou got me there. I thought you would've forgotten," she admitted. It was one of the first things they
studied when Naruto suggested for them to read Konoha: A History.
Naruto smiled. "Well, Sakura, we're all full of surprises, aren't we?"
His double meaning behind that didn't go unnoticed by Sasuke or Sakura, but neither of them voiced it.
'Trust me, Naruto-kun; I have a closet full of them' She bitterly thought, but her inner dwellings didn't betray her facial expression

which she kept and outwardly smiled, although it was a bit forced after he unintentionally brought the incident with Tetsuya back to the
forefront of her mind. She banished those from her head. He'd get what was coming to him soon enough, but right now, she needed to
focus on getting prepared for her life as a ninja.
"All right, Sasuke, in descending order, rank the geographical sizes of the Five Great Hidden Villages."
"Got it," he plainly intoned, nodding. "From greatest to least, I'd sayKumogakure, Konohagakure, Iwagakure, Sunagakure and
Kirigakure."
Sakura smiled. "Close, but it's Kumo, Iwa, Konoha, Suna, and then Kiri."
"Ha! Got ya there, Sasuke," Naruto joked, not helping the chance to gloat.
Sasuke rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and I bet you probably would've had the same order as me." He had to come back with something even if
it was a bit lame. Okay, totally lame, but you got the idea.
"" Naruto, perhaps, foolishly said nothing.
Sasuke blinked, before busting out laughing. "Holy shit, seriously?" he rhetorically asked, rolling over and holding his sides. "I was just
joking, and you confirmed it!" He fell over, incapacitated from chortling. Sakura couldn't help but to join in with Sasuke's amusement and
started laughing a bit loudly herself, albeit a bit muffled due to her covering her mouth.
"Yeah, yeah, laugh it up, you two," the blond grumbled.
"Hey! You three! This is a library, not a circus!" one of the assistant librarians told them as she walked past them. The Uchiha's scion
and his pink haired friend's laughter were reduced to mere chuckles as they calmed down.
"Oh, man, that was good," Sakura said wiping a small tear from her eye. This felt so good.to be in the company of people she had
come to genuinely enjoy being around. Admittedly, at first, she only agreed to go with them to the library last night was because she
needed something to take her mind off what happened. Nowshe truly enjoyed being around them. They didn't call her names or
mentioned the size of her forehead.
"You know, it's almost noon, and I'm in need of nourishment," Naruto said intoning a scholar using large vocabulary exclusively.
"'I'm in need of nourishment?' Who the hell says that?" Sasuke asked with a raised eyebrow.
Naruto's eye twitched. "Well, jackass, if you were listening to my tone, you'd know that I was making fun of certain types of people,
so, nyeh!" he snipped, sticking out his tongue.
Sakura got between them. "Okay, you two. Enough fighting," she said, knowing full well both of them weren't insulted by what the
other said in the least.
"He started it!" they both half-shouted at the same time, causing both to mock glare at each other.
Sakura sighed and stood up, grabbing them both by the ears taking authority for once in her life as she dragged them away a bit.
"Oww! Sakura-chan, that hurts," Naruto complained, while Sasuke cringed at the pain he received from his resident auditory organ being
pulled upon.
Sakura gave them both a smile, but it was more 'Shut-the-hell-up-now-or-you're-in-for-a-world-of-hurt type of smiles. If both boys were
completely honest with themselves, Sakura scared the piss out of them at that moment.
"Okay, boys, are you two going to behave?"
They both nodded frantically.
"Do I have to do this every time you boys fight?"
Two heads violently shook in the negative.
"Do you understand the consequences if I see you two doing this in public?"
Frantic nods even faster, considering they were still in pain.

She sincerely smiled and let them go, hugging their heads under both her arms. "Great! Now, let's go to lunch!" she sweetly chirped. The
blue-eyed troublemaker looked at the onyx-eyed brunet, who was just as bewildered as he was. How the hell could she be so scary and
sweet at the same time? And when they actually became a ninja she'd be even stronger than now. A sense of dread came over them as
they both came to same conclusion.
'Let's try and not piss off the pink flower'
As the trio was walking out the library a thought occurred to the Uchiha genius. "Shouldn't we clean up the mess?" he inquired. They
both stopped and looked at the pile and then back to Sasuke and then back to the pile. All three smirked.
".Nah" all three of them said simultaneously, laughing as they walked out of the library together and headed for the Ichiraku Ramen
Bar.
(Root Base, Location Unknown, Time Unknown)
Danzo casually strolled through the base that had served to be his operating base for the past two and-a-half decades. Although it
probably needed some infrastructure improvements, what he had would do for now. It served its purposes and, to the ROOT leader,
that suited him well enough.
He came to a large room, in which a throne sat in the middle. Were this a decade ago, he wouldn't have need for such a useless piece of
furniture. But alas, like his old rival, he was not immune to the effects of aging, trying as he might to slow down the process.
Danzo Shimura made his way up several steps before turning around and comfortably sitting himself on the throne, allowing his eye to
adjust to the dim lighting. He cursed having to sit instead of standing like he usually had done so in the past.
"Fu! Torune!" he called out, as a couplet of figures appeared before him. Fu had auburn hair and amber colored eyes, and had an attire
consisting of standard ANBU uniforms, albeit a bit different from Hiruzen's army for distinguishing purposes. His partner, Torune, was
an Aburame, and he adorned a mask to hide away the upper part of his face, leaving his mouth and nose exposed. These were Danzo's
most trusted and, possibly, most powerful members of his army.
"Yes, Danzo-sama!" they replied in unison, their tone of voice indicating that they were ready to complete any and all orders assigned to
them by the aged war hawk.
"Report in," he simply commanded.
Fu and Torune both looked each other a bit nervously before they turned back to him. "Sirwe've found some.interesting information
on the foreign side."
The crippled veteran raised a critical eyebrow. "Go on"
Fu sighed. "Before I tell you this, Danzo-sama, understand the fact that we even were able to come across this information was a stroke
of pure and unadulterated luck."
A small glare told the two to get to the point, an action that didn't go unnoticed by either of the two high ranking operatives.
It was Torune who spoke this time. "Sirif this source is indeed correctwe have reason to believe that the Ultranationalists may be
planning a coup."
Danzo's eye went as wide as saucers as he stood up suddenly, a bit out of character. He normally took reports with a calm, emotionless
stature. "Preposterous!" he grated out, a bit in denial.
While Danzo knew his views were a bit extreme, even he was disgusted by some of the viewpoints those psychopaths had. "You fool!
Do you not realize how virtually impossible a rebellion for them would be?" To Danzo, he'd have a better shot of killing Hiruzen and
taking the village for himself, than the Ultranationalists did.
Fu and Torune frowned as their master continued on in his rant. "Not to mention they have the Raikage, their two Jinchuuriki, and most
of allhim," he said with a bit of a shudder.
Fu knew exactly who he was referring too. Aisu Hayasaka, current commander of the Cloud's special forces unit, BOLT (Black
Operations and Lightning Tactics). His bitter hate of the Ultranationalists was known only to the people at the top, considering he kept
most of his viewpoints to himself, but any genius could see the seething hatred underneath his stoicism.

"Sir, we know it sounds a bit farfetched, but that's not even the part that's got us a bitdisturbed." Considering that they were
supposed to not have any emotions, such a simple statement spoke volumes about the situation they were in.
"And what, pray tell, is that?" Danzo asked flatly, taking a drink from a cup of tea that was always near him while sitting back down in
his throne
"We don't have one-hundred percent confirmation, but there's a fifty percent chance they're working with Akatsuki," Torune gravely
intoned, dropping the utter bombshell.
Danzo dropped his cup, shattering its contents all over the ceramic floor. For the first time in years, Danzo Shimura sat in absolute
stunned silence. Fu and Torune were expressionless.
He gripped the armrest of his throne and gritted his teeth. "I see," he managed to force out after a brief moment of silence. He looked at
his operatives seriously. "This changes everything."
Fu looked at him curiously. "Everything, sir?" he inquired.
"I want you two to use any means necessary to confirm one-hundred percent of everything you've shared today. For now, I want all our
plans within Konoha to be scaled back by seventy percent and refocus our efforts on gaining reconnaissance on Kumo."
Torune's eyes widened alarmed at the implication. "Sir, are you sure that's"
Danzo glared at him, shutting him up. "Don't you both get it? If Akatsuki is indeed playing a role in this, then the chances of this coup
d'tat being successful goes up dramatically. We can't allow that to happen. I will not allow that to happen."
He stood up and walked towards them. "If the Ultranationalists gain control of Kumo, to put it simply, all hell will break loose, as they
will take full advantage of the situation they're in, which ultimately affects Konoha."
Now he gave them a direct look. "And how does Ne knock down a tree that stands in our way?"
"We take out the roots, sir!" Fu and Torune responded simultaneously.
"Fu, Torune, I'm counting on you both to not let this information leak out," he told them sternly. While he trusted his seal, but if the
two were caught by the Ultranationalists, even he was wary considering their brutal methods.
"Sir, we won't let you down," Fu promised, to which Danzo nodded.
"Don't you both have a mission?" he asked dismissively, until the both of them nodded and vanished from sight, leaving the crippled
elder to his own devices.
He let out a huff. The situation with Kumo now proved serious and problematic, with what little intel he had received. He debated on
whether or not to tell Hiruzen, but decided against it. Hiruzen, like himself, knew of the Ultranationalists back in the days of the Second
Great Shinobi World War. As such, he would likely take action similar to what he planned to do with his Root ANBU. However, that
would complicate things too much. He barely trusted Torune and Fu with the information they had. The less people that knew, the
greater chances of the Ultranationalists not catching on that there were foreign powers aware of their plans.
Yes, for now, he would be content with this bit of intelligence, until he knew for certain how to deal with it. As far as he was concerned,
he would not let them take power if it was the last thing he did, if not for Konoha's sake, but the entire E.N.
'Maybe this will help me get what I truly want?' He thought to himself with the smallest hint of a smile.
Unfortunately, for Danzo, he truly had no idea of the approaching tide that threatened to tear asunder the delicate balance.
(Konoha streets, downtown area, 1230 Hours)
Naruto and his friends were currently set on their path towards the Ichiraku Ramen Bar, a place where the loudmouth blond had chosen
earlier. People were curiously looking at the trio, mainly because they had never seen Naruto with anyone in his age group that could
even remotely be considered an acquaintance, let alone friends. Naruto was enjoying idle conversation with Sasuke and Sakura that he
genuinely didn't even notice the villagers' stares and glares.
The Fox, however, was not blind as even being trapped he could still see plain as day, that the villagers weren't exactly happy about his
jailor conversing with the Uchiha. But seeing as how it didn't really affect them too much, at best, they'd just shaken their heads and
moved on.

'These villagers are such stupid and ignorant creatures. Are they truly that blind to what's in front of them?' He thought with a slight
growl. Granted, he was literally there when M inato sealed him inside Naruto, but a blind man could see the two shared a genetic link,
father or otherwise.
It wasn't that the Kyuubi particularly cared for Naruto's well-beingthe only thing that mattered to him was his survivalit was just
that the sheer ignorance of these pitiful apes was a disgusting sight to behold.
With all that being said, if he were perfectly honest with himself, he could see himself genuinely coming to respect his jailorin due
time, of course. He didn't like his situation; in fact, he flat-out hated it, but like the logic Naruto used this morning applied to him, too.
He was stuck, and crying out about it wasn't going to make the situation get any better.
The Fox could say many things about Naruto Uzumaki, but to say he didn't know how to choose good friends would be a bold-faced lie
that even a mythical creature of his status couldn't deny. Sakura and the raven-haired Uchiha scion had actually impressed the mightiest
of the Bijuu.
"Funny, here I was hating the Uchiha brat due to his connection to that bastard clan," he growled with venom. But as he intently
listened to his interactions with Naruto, he found himself genuinely taking a slight liking to the boya fact that disgusted him, but it
didn't mean the feeling would go away. The boy was nothing like his arrogant and boastful clan, a fact that probably disturbed him as
well as intrigued him.
Sakura was extremely intelligent, probably borderline genius if he had to guess. The vulpine sensed deep trouble within her spirit;
something he had a knack for. Exactly what it was, his guess was as good as Naruto's. No matterthey'd find out sooner or later.
In short, the Kyuubi thought that the trio had a vast amount of potential, and with the right amount of training, they'd go on to become
legends.
Speaking of training
Although their methods were sound, knowledge of the mind only went so far. They had to work their asses off through blood, sweat,
and bitter tears. The Fox snickered at the thought, briefly amused at the image in his head.
Looking outside toward the 'real world,' he saw that Naruto was silent, but grinning as Sakura made conversation with Sasuke.
"Oi, Naruto, can you hear me?" he asked semi-rhetorically, already knowing he could, but it was a standard inquiry for new forms of
communication.
Naruto's eyes widened in the street as he nearly tripped over himself at the sudden, dark voice in his head.
"Kyuubi?" he whispered, unsure if he was just imagining things.
"Don't speak out loud, you moron!" he warned with a little insult to boot. "And act normal, too! Just keep walking."
'All right, all rightGeez, did you have to insult me like that?'
"Yes," came the Fox's flat reply.
Naruto simply rolled his eyes. 'Just what the hell is going on? How can you speak to me like this? Why are you contacting me at a time
like?'
"S hut up," he commanded, clearly irritated at the barrage of questions. Naruto gritted his teeth, but said nothing. He was thankful
Sasuke and Sakura weren't paying him much attention, if at all.
The Fox sighed. "Okay, that was a bit too far. S orry."
Naruto had to do a triple take. Did the foxthe greatest of the Nine Bijuuapologizeto him? Unfortunately, for Naruto, he continued
on before he could point out this probably once-in-a-blue-moon moment.
"It's simple, really. What use am I to you, if you can only speak with me during a routine trip through your mind when your
body is unconscious? We've developed a mental link. I can communicate to you while you're conscious and doing menial tasks
and whatnot.
"As for why I'm contacting you? Well, it's about your newfriends." There was a pause. Just saying that word sent shivers down
the Fox's spine. It was such an alien concept to him. He sighed in defeat.

Naruto raised an eyebrow. 'Sasuke and Sakura? What about 'em?'


"Well, your training. I think it's obvious at this point you three will probably train together from now on, as well when you're
in the academy." Kyuubi had made it a point to pay attention to every detail of the scrolls that they had read and, as such, he had an
intimate knowledge of the Elemental Nations' inner workings, whereas before he couldn't have cared less about the system of social
constructs the humans had created for themselves. Truly ironic that he was gaining far more knowledge in prison than he was a free fox.
Go figure.
Naruto nodded. 'I see,' he responded neutrally. 'We likely are. Do you have some easier methods and approaches so we can get
stronger?'
"I don't have any ideas at this particular moment, no. However, I do have a suggestion that I strongly recommend you take
heed of as soon as possible. You three need to start physical training, the moment time permits you to do so. I will not have a
vessel that's intelligent, but can't fight his way out of a paper bag."
Naruto grimaced, but nodded, anyhow. He understood perfectly from the Fox's point-of-view. If he were in his paws, he'd tell his jailor
the same thing. Funny how they thought more alike than either of them wished to admit.
'I'll keep that in mind, I'll contact you later on tonight. I can't have myself spacing out talking to you and such. They'll get suspicious. I
don't know about you, but them finding out is the absolute last thing I want.'
The Kyuubi audibly snorted. "You sound as if you're ashamed of me," he said a bit mockingly, which he immediately regretted.
'Considering what I've gone through, I have every fucking right to be,' came Naruto's bitter reply. The Fox flinched a bit, but said
nothing. A pregnant silence had passed by and Naruto, with a bit of mental force, cut off the connection.
"Oi! Sasuke, Sakura-chan!" he called out as he caught up to them, noticing that he had lagged behind a bit in his brief chat with his
vulpine tenant.
They both turned around and smiled. "Hey, Naruto-kun, did you space out and lag behind, or something?"
He grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head. "Well, I guess you could say that." Technically, he wasn't lying, so it was fine
by him.
A few moments later, they had finally arrived at Naruto's favorite restaurant. Naruto took a quick sniff and the aroma of smells he'd
come to enjoy over the past few years assaulted his nose. He started drooling already.
Teuchi, the main chef, had noticed the blond immediately and greeted him with a smile. "Oi! Naruto! It's good to see you!" The old man
was busy fixing some ramen for another customer who frowned at Naruto's appearance, but chose to keep it to himself.
"Teuchi-jii-san! It's good to see you as well!" Naruto greeted back with a genuine smile. Teuchi and his daughter, Ayame, were one of
the few people to treat him with some respect and actually acknowledge that he even existed. He would be eternally grateful for them
easing the despair that could've driven him insane as a child.
He nodded, as the trio took a seat at the bar. "So, I see you have some friends. M ind introducing yourselves?"
"Sakura. Sakura Haruno, sir," the green-eyed girl introduced, blushing at being put on the spot so suddenly.
"Sasuke Uchiha," Sasuke said coolly. Teuchi raised an eyebrow. An Uchiha? He sure as hell didn't act like one. Guess they weren't all
bad, the chef decided at the moment.
"Hey, Teuchi-jii, where's Ayame-nee-chan?" he asked curiously. Usually, by now, the brunette would've greeted him.
"She's currently at home for her day off. I'll tell her you asked about her," he assured.
"That'd be much appreciated," Naruto thanked with a nod.
"All right, you three, enough small talk. What'll it be?" the Chef asked, going into full business mode.
"I'll take two bowls of miso ramen. You knowmy usual," Naruto told him, to which he raised an eyebrow.
"Only two bowls?" he questioned before laughing a bit.

"You sound as if he usually orders more," Sasuke noted, raising a amused eyebrow.
"Actually, yeah. Usually he eats about six," Teuchi tacked on, laughing. The jaws of the Uchiha and the Haruno were now on the floor.
"Si-Six bowls?" Sakura stammered out looking over at a nearby customer's bowl, which was huge by normal standards. "By the gods
Naruto, how the heck do you eat so much?"
"Hey! A guy's gotta eat, you know!" he defended, crossing his arms. 'Especially when it's the cheapest food you can get by on without
people hating my guts,' he added with a mental sigh.
Teuchi shook his head and spoke again. "What about you two?"
"One bowl of shrimp ramen," came Sakura's reply.
"Just one bowl of miso ramen," came Sasuke's.
Teuchi nodded. "Coming right up!" he chirped prior to moving to the back to cook said meals, leaving the trio alone, once again.
Naruto smiled. "That Teuchi-jii," he snickered, shaking his head. "He's a really nice man, you guys. He makes some of the best ramen
ever!" The blond proclaimed proudly.
"I'll be the judge of that when the bowl is in front of me," Sasuke chided, not out of serious doubting of Teuchi's cooking skills, but he
couldn't resist a moment to jab at his blond-haired friend. Sakura, however, didn't really pay attention to the duo, but toward the entire
restaurant, her eyes scanning everything around her.
"Sakura, you okay?" Naruto asked with worry lining his voice.
The rosette-haired girl blinked, before shaking her head, breaking out of her stupor. "Oh, yes, quite, Naruto-kun. I was just observing
around us and it seems a bit peculiar that we're the only ones here now, considering it is during the day," she noted, seeing Naruto's
understanding look.
"Ah, I see. Well, technically it's not the lunch rush, yet. That's about a half-hour from now, which is usually the norm for stands in this
part of the village."
"Seems like you come here a lot," the onyx-eyed boy observed, staring directly at him.
He nodded. "I do, and there's not a day that goes by that I don't stop here at some point. You could probably say I was brought up on
ramen as if it were my life support." To the others, they thought he was simply exaggerating, but to Naruto, it was a daily reality.
Ramen was the only food he could really afford on a daily basis and the stares he got from when he went into other markets for various
groups of sustenance made it a bit of a turnoff. So, he just kept with what made him comfortable.
"But, that's not what I wanted to talk about," Naruto dismissed, changing the subject completely. "We need to figure out a physical
training schedule. Since we're all not that busy, considering we're all the same age and only eight years-old, this is doable with dedication.
We need to find our strengths, weaknesses, and then, ultimately, find a way to improve as a trio."
Although it wasn't said out in the open, all of three of them wanted to be on the exact same genin squad when they became genin, four
years down the line. Unlike most starting squads, the hurdle of getting to know your teammates and learning how to work with their
skills would already be something they'd have long been accustomed to do. They both nodded in understanding.
"So, with that being said, Sakura-chanSasuke, what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are? And mostly, what kind of jutsu
are you guys interested in?"
Sakura decided to speak up first, "Well" she said blushing, a bit embarrassed. "I've always wanted to become a strong medic-ninja."
Sasuke rose a brow. "Well, aren't most medic ninja support?" he asked, genuinely curious, and not trying to dissuade her aspirations, at
all.
Naruto shook his head. "Sasuke, think about it. What's a good foundation for a medic ninja? Near-perfect chakra control and abundant
knowledge of the human anatomy. Take Tsunade-sama for example; she's probably the greatest medical ninja in history, and yet, she's
probably the most physically strong of the Sannin. From what I was able to read, this was because she used her chakra to amplify her
strength ten, fifty, even a hundred fold. Sakura-chan here could likely do the same thing. Add her knowledge of the human body, and she
probably knows more ways to kill a person than how many bowls of ramen I can eat within a week."

That last statement earned a healthy chuckle among the three. Sakura smiled a bit and nodded. He'd hit the nail right on the head, of what
she wanted to apply.
Sasuke nodded. "I see. As for meI think I'm most interested in is becoming adept with ninjutsu, taijutsu, and maybe a weapon that fits
me. However, the first two are definite. No questions asked."
"All right, and as for me, I know for sure I want to be a kenjutsu master; specifically, I want to own a katana," Naruto declared, which
got surprised looks from the two of them. He continued on, unperturbed, "and like you, Sasuke, I want to improve my ninjutsu, but I'll
mainly focus on close-quarters combat with a sword, and, if it gets knocked out of my hand somehow, I can continue kicking ass with
my bare fists."
Sasuke smirked, "Interesting choices. Butthere's also"
"All right! Order up!" Teuchi shouted out, interrupting Sasuke, and smiling as he brought out their orders from the back kitchen. "Two
bowls of miso ramen for my favorite customer," he said, sitting the two bowls in front of him. Naruto drooled at the sight of his favorite
food being hot and fresh.
"One bowl of shrimp ramen for the pretty young lady," Teuchi grinned causing Sakura to turn red in embarrassment and bashfully
thanked the old chef.
"And one bowl of miso ramen for our resident Uchiha," he smiled. "Enjoy your meal, you three." With that, Teuchi went back to the
kitchen, leaving the trio, once again, alone.
Naruto picked up his chopsticks and dug in, albeit a bit slower than usual, both in part due to having some newfound manners as well as
not wanting to burn his tongue. The Uchiha and the Haruno shrugged and tasted their respective bowls. Naruto had to smirk at their
reactions.
"Oh, man, this is good!" Sakura exclaimed as she started to eat a bit faster. Sasuke didn't even bother saying anything, but from the way
he was slurping, he shared his pink haired friend's sentiment and then some. In minutes, Sasuke had finished his bowl with a satisfied
grin on his face.
"Okay," he said, getting back to business, "as I was saying, where does that leave genjutsu?" Sasuke asked quizzically.
"I think that would be suited for me," Sakura spoke up, her bowl about three-quarters of the way finished. "I think it would be pretty
neat to experiment in the amount of ways I can perform illusions on the enemyoh, the possibilities," she gleefully cackled. She was
thinking of hundreds of ways she could use it when she got back at the bastard for what he did to her. There was a brief flash of anger,
which caused her two male companions to visibly cringe.
Naruto held his hands up defensively. "Whoa, Sakura-chan, did we say something wrong?" he inquired a bit fearfully, not wanting to
upset her.
The pink flower's eyes widened as she frowned in shame. "I'm sorry, Naruto-kun, Sasuke-kun, I was thinking about something else. I
didn't mean to project my hostilities toward you guys," she said apologetically.
Naruto and Sasuke nodded. "You want totalk about it?"
Sakura sighed. "I'll tell youin time. But, for now, can you please respect my right to not wanting you to know, just yet?"
"Okay," they both agreed, though in the back of their minds, it still didn't sit well with them. There was more to their pink haired
companion than met the eye. Sasuke spared Naruto a quick glance, which Naruto caught on immediately. One way or the other, they
were going to find out and help her in any way they could.
'I swear to the gods, themselves, Sakura-chan, I'll help you in any way I can, and that's a promise of a lifetime,' Naruto swore to himself.
After an awkward silence, Sakura had decided to change the subject. "Sowhere exactly are we going to physically train ourselves? The
library isn't exactly an ideal place to practice ninjutsu."
"Well" Sasuke thought about it, even though burning books flashed before his mind's eye for amusement, "you guys could always
come to my place. We have more open space than we know what to do with."
Naruto's eyes widened and he could've sworn he heard a growl from the fox in the back of his mind. Would the Uchiha clan really allow
him to mingle with the scion, in such close proximity to their estate?

"I don't know, Sasuke, but do you really think your family will allow outsiders in? I mean, some of them aren't exactly the nicest people
around. No offense, of course," he added quickly as to not misrepresent the entire family based on the actions of a few.
Sasuke waved him off. "None taken. Trust me: a good many of my family are arrogant assholes. To be honest, I really can't stand most
of them. But, that being said, they shouldn't bother us, at all. As far as they should be concerned, we're just three normal eight-year-olds
trying to become stronger shinobi."
'I wonder if you would say that if you knew I was a Jinchuuriki?' Naruto thought a bit sadly.
"I have plenty of scrolls and weapons, too. Of course, we can check out some scrolls from the library, but there's no real need."
Sakura crossed her arms. "Wouldn't most of your clan's scrolls be, you know, suited for Uchiha?" she asked rhetorically.
Sasuke opened his mouth to retort, but found himself silent as the logic of her statement started to sink in. Naruto whistled and
snickered. "Wow, Sasuke, she's got you there," he chided, patting him on the back. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."
"Yeah, yeah, I see your point, Sakura," he conceded with a sigh. "Sotomorrow, then?"
Sakura looked at him. "Tomorrow? It's barely afternoon, so screw that! Let's go back and do some training right now! Cha!" she said
excitedly.
Sasuke laughed at her enthusiasm, "Okay, okay, we'll go!" he agreed as her eagerness had rubbed off a bit on him at that moment, too.
Naruto smiled. "Wahoo! Let's go!" he yelled, hopping from his stand into the direction of Sasuke's estate.which he had no clue where
it was.
He scratched his head. "Umwhich way?" he asked a bit embarrassingly.
Sakura shook her head. "You know, Naruto-kun, you really need to slow down a bit. Lead the way, Sasuke-kun." The Uchiha scion
happily obliged and took lead and showed them the way to his estate.
Teuchi, meanwhile, had come back with their checks, only to find the three missing. "Damn bratsleft without paying," he huffed,
before smiling. "Ah, well, it was good seeing Naruto making some friends his age. I'll let it slidethis time." With a headshake, the old
chef went back to prepare for the lunch rush.
(Lightning Country, Unknown Location, 1300 hours)
(Lightning Country, Unknown Location, 1300 hours)
Hideyoshi Akechi sat in an office in a remote cave about several kilometers from Kumogakure. It had served its purpose for the
Ultranationalists' hideout and a secret meeting place for the higher echelons. It was truly built to last; made with the greatest steel money
could buy, as well as having several tunnels and rooms that were built all throughout the entire mountain. There was always a way to
escape, and since they had built into it so much, a cave-in was unlikely as the mountain was hollow.
As for the Ultranationalist leader himself, he was a very striking man, appearance-wise. He had snow white hair, a trait common in this
part of the Elemental Nations, gray eyes and stood at an impressive six feet, two inches. He wore a silver battle kimono covered in dark
samurai armor. But the most striking thing about him was his large cross-shaped scar on the bridge of his nose.
A chuunin-level Ultranationalist member came in after knocking and dropped to a knee in respect. "Hideyoshi-sama, he has finally
arrived," he spoke cryptically.
"Send him in," he said coldly. The chuunin nodded and left.
A few minutes later, a man wearing a black coat with red clouds stitched to its fabric came in. He shut the door behind him. The man was
tall, possibly taller than even Hideyoshi himself, looked to be in his mid-thirties, with an athletic build to boot. His pale skin contrasted
with his bright auburn hair, and his many piercings on various parts of his face. But it was his eyes that struck him the most; they were
eyes that reminded him of his own, minus the vortex pattern. Those were the eyes of a killer who knew no remorse and would do
anything necessary to get the job done. Hideyoshi felt a bit of sweat roll down his browa fact that he didn't like. It showed that he
wascautious. A fact that he didn't like. The powerful shinobi took a seat and was directly across from him.
"I'm glad you could make it" Hideyoshi began, "I'm Hideyoshi"
"I know who you are," he interrupted with a commanding voice that even the Ultranationalist leader had to respect. "Hideyoshi Akechi,

clan leader of the Akechi clan within the walls of the Village Hidden in the Clouds, as well as the leader of the Ultranationalist party."
He refused to smirk at that last bullet point.
"I seeimpressive. M ay I inquire your name?" Hideyoshi asked respectfully.
"No, you may not," he said with a hint of finality. "Let's be frank here, Hideyoshi. I know what your plans are, and you know what I
am and what my plans for my organization are. I only decided to come because I didn't trust anyone else to do this exactly as I had
intended, lest I'd have to kill them. Believe me: they are hard to replace. Anyhow, on to more pressing matters, you contacted us, and
you want our helpmeaning, you've somehow discovered our existence. Frankly, I would've killed you all to keep that secret, but you
intrigued me with some intelligence, as one of my dear members gather."
That was not a threat, Hideyoshi understood very much. He knew damn well that the man could've backed up his words tenfold.
"So, I'll ask you personally and directly, what is it that you want?"
A brief moment of silence passed by as the man stood still as a statue, his facial expressions cold as if stared into the Ultranationalist
leader's very soul.
He sighed and continued on. "I won't bore you on details about my party, which you already know. Our current Raikage is a spineless,
weak-minded fool. He and his bastard father have scaled back our forces, and we've lost every war we've participated in since they came
to power. They threw away the ideals of the Shodai Raikagemay he rest in eternal peacein favor of those a bit similar to those
disgusting tree-huggers," he growled in flat out disgust and hatred.
The auburn-haired man's face remained impassive as Hideyoshi continued. "However, even we do not have the strength or resources to
kill him." The organization member's eyes narrowed as if telling him to correct himself. "WellI mean at least not in a way that they can
pin the blame on us, even though we are technically at fault. Socan you do it?"
He scoffed. "There is no man immune to assassination, and A is one of them. Killing him is the easy part, getting away with it? That's an
entirely different game; one that could be costly."
Hideyoshi sat a bit straighter, "We are offering a lot in exchange," he noted.
"Yes, according to what I know, but this is not a simple political assassination. This is the same Yondaime Raikage who fought the
legendary Yellow Flash and lived to tell about it. It seems this job would be for me and me alone."
"Yes, indeed," Hideyoshi agreed. "You can have his annoying brother as well as the two-tailed feline, herself, as well."
The shinobi looked amused. "You seem to want to part ways with such powerful toys so quickly. Does taking over really mean that
much to you?" Not that he truly cared, but it did seem odd to the shinobi prompting his question.
Hideyoshi waved him off. "No. Our members are powerful, and once we take over the village we'll start using those methods to train our
forces from genin all the way to the BOLT. That will more than offset the cost of losing two Jinchuuriki. Besides, it's not like they
would willingly follow us, anyhow."
The man snorted a bit. "I see. Are you confident you can get the people on your side?"
"I am," he confirmed. "Fragments of our ideology are sweeping through the village faster than even we anticipated, much to our glee. The
pot has to tip over at some point, and that's the moment where we will strike."
"Sowith that being said, I know your organization needs money as wellHow much?" Hideyoshi asked getting to the point.
"You realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime job, and the man who completes it could live a modest life for the rest of his days, correct?" he
asked semi-rhetorically.
"When we have seized Kumo, there will be no shortage of"
"Cash," he interrupted again. "Half before the assassination and the other half after I complete this job, personally."
Hideyoshi grimaced but nodded. "How much?" he asked again.
"Fifty million ryou," he priced simply.
Hideyoshi did his best to not flinch. "Half of fifty million? That's a lot of money."

"You misunderstand; the whole price is one hundred million ryou. The fifty is what you pay up front."
Hideyoshi's eyes bulged in shock as he stood up. "Are you insane?"
"No," he said calmly, "but my organization isspecial. Any lesser men would likely have taken the money and ran off for you to never
see again. However, we have much more at stake than to simply just take your money and leave you to fight a coup that you'd assuredly
lose. Considering you're getting the largest economic power in the Elemental Nations, as well as a sizable shinobi force, this should be
considered chump change. You want me to kill a Kage; you either pay up, or our business is done here."
Hideyoshi gritted his teeth, but the truth of the man's words hit him like a ton of bricks. He was asking the man to assassinate one of the
most powerful men in the world. Of course, this wouldn't be cheap. His dream and ambitions all came with a costeither financially, or
otherwise.
He nodded. "Very well, but can you give us a bit of time to come up with the fifty million advance?"
The mysterious man bobbed his head in acquiescence. "That's perfectly acceptable. You already know how to contact us when the time
comes. We'll await payment, and then, we shall carry out the assassination at your ready. Once the assassination is complete, taking
over the village is your problem, and not ours. We shall expect the two Jinchuuriki, regardless of whether or not the coup succeeds or
not. Understand?"
"I do," Hideyoshi confirmed with a sigh. Who knew taking over a village could be so damn irksome?
"Very well, then. Good day to you, sir," he said before his entire body started to twist and contort. Hideyoshi looked very alarmed as
the man's appearance started to change into an ordinary man and his body felt limp on the floor.
Hideyoshi immediately rushed over to check his pulse. His eyes widened. "He...he was never here? He controlled a corpse and made it
appear life like while it was talking to me?" The implications of that fact chilled even the already cold-blooded Akechi clan head.
"So, it seems I was right in hiring theseAkatsuki members. It seems the reports were true. They do certainly live up to the hype."
Hideyoshi had a chuunin come and dispose of the corpse while he sat back in his office and reviewed some schematics. They had a
villager to take over.
(END)
Oh, wow. Inspiration hit me like a ton of bricks in this chapter! See, I told you I would start updating faster and you guys probably
didn't believe me. Well, here it is. Another installment of Eternal Legends.
For now, most of the action seen in the story will take place outside of Konoha's borders. Usually authors foolishly time-skip these
stories to hell and back. No, I refuse. I'm sorry if you don't like actual development and buildup, but that's what you're going to get; not
some cheap time-jumps. The coup of Kumo, if you haven't figured it out yet, will play an extremely major role in the entire story and
will set a foundation for the opposition that Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura will have to face.
I've toyed around with the history of the village, and pretty much have thrown out everything pre-Hyuuga incident. So, yes, that means
no bullshit like the Sandaime Raikage holding off ten-thousand shinobi over the course of three days, no brothers who somehow managed
to survive being ingested by a bijuu, and CERTAINTLY no fucking Kage standing up to a powerful tailed beast where the only wound
he gets was caused by his own? Yeah, fuck that.
Kishi created an extremely diverse, rich, and ungodly flexible world, where, within reason, it works with anything. It's sad to see such a
manga so beloved go down the drain so quickly. Alas, I'm only reading the series now for closure and not for genuine entertainment
because it sucks dick at the moment.
As always I want to thank my beta, DarkHeroOrion, who claims he got hungry during the Ramen scene :P. He's been a fine beta for
the past year, and I encourage you to read his stories. He recently updated Birth of a Legend: The Fox Druid, and with my help, he'll
hopefully have the next chapter out sometime in the middle of October. Also, I want to thank EliadS for fleshing out ideas for me to use
in the Coup.
That's all for now, so please leave a review. It'd be mostly appreciated.
With regards,
Arashi.

*Chapter 4*: Indefinite Bonds


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Four: Indefinite Bonds
A/N: Welcome back to another installment of Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja! It feels good to finally know just where
your story is going, and all you have to do is fill in the gaps.
I started working on this chapter the day after I published chapter 3 (Okay, it's October 8th, now, but meh, screw it.) But, holy shit, did
ideas start pouring out of my head, as well suggestions from EliadS and DarkHeroOrion. Also want to thank Kenchi618 for giving
me permission to use a jutsu for my own purposes. :D
Like I said, it'll be, by my initial estimate, at least eight or so chapters before Naruto and co. officially become genin. I know some of you
may groan and whatnot, but understand a lot of things need to be established before this story can truly take off into the stratosphere
and leave orbit, so to speak. Characters need to be established, future plot-points need to be set up, and, most importantly, character
development. How would you feel if I just had them become friends in the first chapter and then next chapter I made the critical mistake
so many authors do: "Four Years Later?" No. M atter of fact, that's a hell no. How are you supposed to get invested in the characters if
you just take the easy and lazy way out? Now, granted, if the author isn't updating at a steady and consistent pace, then I can somewhat
understand the plight of things dragging out a bit. But for now, can you guys just be patient and enjoy these four years? I guarantee you
it'll be a goddamn roller coaster ride you'll never forget!
Now then, let's get this show on the road!
Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no claim of
any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time.
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world, and alter the course of history. This is their story.
(Hokage Tower, 1500 Hours)
"I see" Hiruzen said as he read the latest report from a chuunin, who quickly dismissed himself from the office soon after he delivered
the Hokage some good news. As soon as he left, the old M onkey dropped the stoic look off of his face as he allowed himself to smile in
contentment.
Things started looking up for the village. It'd been nine long hard years since the fateful day that the Demon Fox had attacked and
decimated a good part of the village. Repairs were, as of today, nearly ninety-eight percent. Normally, reconstruction wouldn't have
taken this long, but considering the amount of political clout and setbacks that forced Konoha to focus its efforts elsewhere, rebuilding
often took a back seat sometimes as long as eight months!
He sighed. It was truly ironic, when one thought about it. He stood in favor of ending the Third Great Shinobi World War with
Iwagakure years before it actually ended once it turned into Konoha's favor. However, his teammates and his top Jounin had convinced
him otherwise, which, at the time, he reluctantly agreed despite his personal feelings about what he felt was just genocide wrapped up in
a new box.
As it turned out, in hindsight, it truly was a blessing in disguise. The Fox had wiped out a good fraction of their forces just for holding it
off. Had he not given the order to decimate Iwa into unconditional surrender, there was a good chance in his mind they would've taken
advantage of their moment of weakness.
Even three years later with the Hyuuga incident, they were still nowhere near equipped for war, and as such he gave in to the demands
of the Hidden Cloud. Although this displeased a lot of the higher echelons, they didn't want a war so quickly after two disasters, so they
reluctantly consented.
But now, they had an even bigger problem that threatened the village. This time, however, it was from within...
The sexagenarian allowed his mind to travel back in time to his conversation with Danzo earlier this morning.
Danzo Shimura took a seat in front of his old rival, the very same chair that Iruka Umino sat upon just a few moments earlier. He stared
at Hiruzen with a critical eye, as if daring him to make a single mistake during their little chat.

"Hiruzen," Danzo began, which caused the Hokage to frown, but he said nothing. Danzo, after all, was the only person he allowed to call
him by his first name so openly. Well, besides his old teammates, Koharu Utatane and Homura Mitokado. Even then, they still rarely
referred to him as that, unless it was something personal and deadly serious. Danzo took full advantage of thisprivilege.
"My Ne division has uncovered some grave news, about one of our resident noble families," the war hawk explained, getting directly to
the point. If Hiruzen had one thing to say he liked about his old rival, it was that he never wasted his time with meaningless small-talk
which he did not wish to have with the man.
The aged Hokage raised an eyebrow, but his facial expression was neutral despite the inner turmoil of emotions he felt at the implication
of what his political rival had just said. He took out his pipe, and quickly lit a piece of tobacco inside it with a small, precise Katon jutsu.
He took a puff before replying.
"Grave, you say?" he repeated, his voice calm and in control.
Danzo grimly nodded before doing several hand-seals, which caused the Hokage's eyes to widen slightly. That jutsu
"ANBUleave," Hiruzen simply commanded. He felt four chakra signatures leave the room from the shadows as Danzo's jutsu took
effect as all sound coming from the two was virtually impossible to hear, even for the canines of the Inuzuka clan.
Hiruzen narrowed his eyes. "You're resorting to using that jutsu and for my ANBU to leave. Do you mind telling me what's going on,
Danzo?" he asked dangerously. He was not in the mood to play mind games with him. Scratch that; he was never in the mood to play
mind games with the man.
"What if I told you that I have reason to believe that the Uchiha clan wants to take the village for themselves?" Danzo flatly asked,
dropping a bombshell. There was a deafening silence as the pipe in the Sandaime's mouth fell out of his mouth, his jaw agape. The
tobacco product fell onto his desk, spilling its dark contents all over some of the papers on his desk. Neither of the two noticed, nor
would've cared if they had.
"Danzo.you can't be serious!" the Hokage shouted in obvious disbelief at such a gargantuan piece of intelligence being dropped on
him so suddenly.
Danzo narrowed his eyes. "Do you think I would joke about something so damn serious, Hiruzen?" he proclaimed, a bit of sarcasm
leaking out, feeling a bit insulted at his old rival's implication. This matter was a matter that threatened the existence of the entire village
and ultimately, the power scale on a much larger level on the entire continent.
The Third Fire Shadow balled his hands up in fists as he forced himself to calm down. He took a deep breath, and sighed. "What proof
do you have of this?" he inquired, interlocking his fingers and resting his chin on his hands.
The Village's Darkness huffed, but nonetheless bobbed his head. "I may not have complete confirmation, but it's enough for us to take the
intelligence very seriously."
He nodded. "I take it that it was likely an Uchiha who said a bit too many words?" he deduced.
Danzo smirked. "Your gift of insight is truly a sight to behold, Hiruzen," Danzo praised, but the Hokage knew that, at best, it was a
backhanded compliment. He said nothing, which Danzo took as a sign to continue onward. "One of my Ne ANBU overheard a few
Uchiha during the police station, off-duty and intoxicated to hell and back." Were the situation not so serious, Hiruzen might have found
the sight a bit comical.
"You know my policy with your Root Division, Danzo. I feel as if you're taking advantage of my generosity," the Hokage noted with a
dark edge lining his voice. Officially, on record, Ne got publically disbanded by Hiruzen, himself. However, to slightly appease his rival,
he offered a compromise. He could keep his little private army, but he'd have to fund it out of his own pocket and not from the village's
treasury, which was how all shinobi genin to ANBU were paid as a monthly stipend. Technically, Ne could be ordered around by the
Sandaime, but he rarely, if ever, did so, wanting to keep them out of his hair as much as possible. He only asked that whatever Danzo did
was'legal' and he didn't overstep his boundaries.
Danzo sneered, a bit irritated at the old monkey's hypocrisy. "You send your ANBU to spy on others all the time, not to mention your
Tomegane no Jutsu (Telescope Technique) which you use to keep track of the Uzumaki," he pointed out.
He sighed, and conceded. "A fair point, you make. Now, thenwhat did they say?"
Danzo carefully recited everything verbatim. "We all know that Itachi is our ticket to the top, you know? Yeah, we know the people at the
top won't know what hit them."

Sarutobi raised an eyebrow, though it was clear he felt truly disturbed at the oblique threat toward his teammatesas well as himself. "I
see" he neutrally responded.
"There may be a chance I'm wrong," Danzo noted, a bit off-handedly, "but, alcohol is one of the world's greatest truth serums. I'd rather
act now and confirm I'm wrong, than do nothing and watch Konoha be cut down, starting with the branches."
Hiruzen sat in relative silence as he started to reflect off of what he'd just been told. On one hand, the Uchiha had served faithfully for the
past forty years as the civilian peacekeepers and upheld civil and common law across the village. Despite being told to move to another
part of the village, from what he could tell, they didn't complain, considering to where they moved had twice as much space and allowed
the clan to expand to the size it presently stood.
But, then again, the Uchiha were always mysterious and kept mostly to themselveseven more secretive than their current pseudorivals, the Hyuuga clan. Could they truly hold four decades worth of animosity from an edict his old sensei conjured up eons ago? They
hadn't made any attempts to protest their current situation as of late, so why do it now? Did they feel shackled to the chains of destiny set
forth by their Senju rivals?
It was true; the clan really never got a chance to really lead the village, despite being partnered with the Senju clan over eighty years ago.
There was the Shodai Hokage, who was a Senju, the Nidaime Hokage, also a Senju, himself, trained by the Senju brothers, and the
Yondaime Hokage, who, by proxy, was trained by Jiraiya who was trained by him. The Senju cycle was continuous and ongoing even
after their apparent near extinction. Could he really risk ignoring it?
He finally nodded his head in acquiescence. "Very well, then, Danzo. I'll try to find out what I can, and until we have confirmed these
allegations are false, we will treat the Uchiha as a threatquietly. However, I'm sure you also know who I want to get on this as well"
Danzo knew immediately to whom he referred. "You want to see the Uchiha prodigy, himself, eh? You play a dangerous game, my old
friend," he warned, a bit of amusement passing through his head. "Then againso do I."
Hiruzen ignored his comment and stared intently at him. "Say we do confirm ithow do you say we proceed with the executions?" he
asked with narrowed eyes.
Danzo was not amused at the insinuation, and in turn, gave the Sarutobi a death glare. "Do you really think so lowly of me, Hiruzen?
That I would condone the execution of those innocent and ignorant to what their elders are planning? Here, I was thinking you knew me
better than anyone else." The tranquil fury that slipped through contradicted the man's stance of an emotionless tool was the best type of
warrior on the battlefield.
"I do," Hiruzen stated matter-of-factly, eyes glinting with an ancient power that threatened to pour forth. "You tend to go over the top with
your zeal in protecting the village. You knew I wouldn't put up with you killing the innocent, of which I'd have to kill you, myself."
The tension in the dead silent room was so thick you could slice it with a kunai, as both men were testing each other's patience and will.
Unknowingly, or perhaps they did know, they released small amounts of murderous intent toward one anothera game of chicken. Who
would cave first?
Danzo, seemingly impressed, backed off. "You win this roundHiruzen." He refused to sneer as badly as he wanted to at the moment.
He stood up. "In any case, I'll keep you informed as best as I can, while you do your own investigating, I'll get to the root of this."
Whether or not Danzo's pun was intentional, Hiruzen wasn't sure, but he chose not to comment and oddly nodded.
"I will inform Koharu and Homura of this, at the next possible convenience," he plainly stated. While there were secrets that he, as
Hokage, only knew, this was something that all of the higher-ups needed to be aware of. It was going to stay that way, too, until he
deemed it necessary.
The shaggy dark hair shook when the militaristic shinobi bobbed his head. "I'll keep in touch, Hiruzen." The Ne Commander vanished
out of sight.
"Please, don't," Hiruzen intoned bitterly with a sidelong look. He breathed out and placed both of his hands over his face in slight defeat.
Just what he needed, another fucking shit storm. He needed someone. He didn't trust Danzo as far as he could throw himwhich was
admittedly pretty damn far, considering how powerful he was. He needed a mole; someone on the inside that could confirm what the Ne
leader had informed him.
Then, it suddenly clicked as the Sarutobi's face brighten up instantly in his epiphany.
What better person fit the criteria he neededthan Uchiha Itachi, himself?

The Third Hokage sighed as he brought himself back into the present. Sometimes, he hated his job with a passion. Such unwanted and,
truthfully, unneeded bullshit to deal with. He would speak with Itachi within the week, which gave him time to plan some form of action
with Homura and Koharu.
He groaned. "GreatI still haven't told them, yet. Just peachy," came his sarcastic reply. He sat back down and took out his crystal
ball. "Naruto, perhaps you'll put a smile on my face, despite the arduous road that lies before both of us?"
(Uchiha Clan Estate, 1515 hours)
M ikoto Uchiha was in the kitchen smiling to herself as she washed a dish from a meal she had fixed for Itachi, who had left earlier. But
her older son wasn't the real reason she was in such a great mood. Truthfully, it was his younger sibling.
Yesterday, she had been truly worried about her younger child as he almost was never cold and hostile toward her. He had gone out on
his own, and came back later that night. This morning, the boy was beaming with excitement as he genuinely smiled.
"Guess all that training must've made him a happy child," she giggled as she dried her hands. Suddenly, her senses went on alert as she
felt three chakra signatures, one familiar, and two unknown. Despite being a housewife, she was still a retired jounin. Those skills just
didn't leave overnight. She deduced that he was bringing new friends over, which may have explained his mood this morning.
"Kaa-san!" she heard her younger son's voice call out, to which she smiled.
"I'm in the kitchen!" she yelled back, hearing her son's footsteps. Sasuke, a rosette-haired young female, andher eyes widened in
surprise. Him? Sasuke had befriended him? If no one were watching M ikoto would've been leaping for utter joy.
'So it seems fate would want me to keep our original promise, eh, Kushina-chan?' the Uchiha matriarch mused to herself. She then put on
a motherly smile as she slightly knelt to their level.
"So, Sasuke-kun, who are your new friends?" she sweetly inquired. Sasuke looked a bit embarrassed, but passed the spotlight toward his
companions.
Sakura shook her head. "I'm Sakura Haruno, Uchiha-san," she bowed respectfully.
M ikoto waved her off. "Please, Sakura-san, call me M ikoto. You don't have to be so formal with me at any time, understood?"
Sakura blushed in embarrassment, but nodded. "Of course, M ikoto-san," she replied in acceptance. The onyx-eyed female turned to
Naruto, who was looking a bit shy. M ikoto frowned. 'Does he know about the fox? Think I'll treat him like some of the ignorant morons
we call villagers?' she dwelled to herself. She inwardly sighed, before feeling determined. She was going to make Naruto feel welcome in
any way she could.
"And you, young man?" she delicately questioned. Naruto looked at her wide-eyed. To her, she feltgenuine. He looked into her eyes,
and saw no signs of hate, malice, bigotry, or distrust. As cheesy as it sounded, Naruto wanted to hug her right then and there just for not
being a tool that simply fitted in with the rest of the workbox.
Naruto grinned at her. "Naruto. Naruto Uzumaki, M ikoto-san," he introduced holding out his hand, which M ikoto gladly shook.
"A pleasure to meet you, Naruto-kun," she chimed. "So, Sasuke-kun, any particular reason you bring these two all the way out to our
humble abode?" She had pretty good idea why, but she wanted to hear it from Sasuke's lips. M others did always ask queries they knew
the answer to, no?
"Well" Sasuke started sheepishly, scratching the back of his head. "Well, I met these guys" He stopped, seeing Sakura's look. "Guy
and girl," he corrected which caused M ikoto to inwardly smirk, "last night, and this morning, we went to the library to learn together."
M ikoto raised an eyebrow. "Sounds like you three are a future squad in the making," she noted.
The three of them looked at each other. This was the first time what was openly on all three of their minds had been brought right out in
the open. After a pregnant silence, and seeing the serious looks at each other, they all nodded. There was no doubt now. Naruto spoke
confidently, "Yes, it would seem so. I wouldn't have it any other way." That statement sent shockwaves down both of his companions'
spines. Did Naruto think that highly of them?
'Naruto-kun' Sakura thought in wonder and awe.
'Well, Naruto, I'll admit it. The feeling is completely mutual,' he admitted with a smile. The fact that he only knew him for only two days

didn't matter to him. It was one of those things that you just instinctively knew what was going to be something special.
The female Uchiha smiled. Kushina would be so proud if she could see them now. "SoI take it you came back here for training because
we have plenty of room?" she deduced coolly.
Sasuke groaned audibly. "You have got to stop with that mind-reading thing, kaa-san," he grated. Naruto and Sakura were totally
confused, but M ikoto only laughed.
"Sasuke-kun, I'm your mother. I know these things, remember?" she asked rhetorically. Sasuke only huffed, causing his own friends to
laugh.
"Wow, Sasuke, your mom's a mind-reader, eh?" Naruto grinned. Oh, he could make oh so many jokes down the line with this tidbit of
info. Poor guy never caught a break. Sakura smiled, but inwardly, she was a bit envious of M ikoto and Sasuke's relationship.
'If only my mother were like Mikoto-san. Maybe then, she would notice the abuse,' she reflected solemnly. She banished those thoughts
from her head. Too many times today she had dwelled on the past, and it was time to move forward and look ahead toward a shining
future. She had all the time in the world for her revenge on Tetsuya. Constantly thinking about it would distract her from training.
"Sowhat were you three planning on doing today?" she asked curiously, changing the subject completely.
"Wellto be honest, we weren't sure," Naruto answered honestly, scratching his chin in thought.
"So" she began making hand signals to gather her thoughts, "You three were just planning on winging it?"
"Yup."
"Pretty much."
"That about covers it."
She sighed and palmed her face, while shaking her head. "You guys know you won't get very far without proper guidance, you know?"
"Well, yeah, but we were just planning on perfecting the basics before moving on to other stuff," Sakura explained. "I don't know about
these guys, but I plan on blazing through the academy like it's a child's play thing."
"Oi! I'm with Sakura-chan on this one," Naruto agreed, nodding seriously.
Sasuke smirked. "Blow away the competition, eh? That sounds fun. Count me in as well."
M ikoto looked at the three in a new light. Blow away the competition? While the Konoha Shinobi Academy wasn't like ANBU training,
it wasn't a cakewalk, either, as there were some truly difficult hurdles to overcome. Well, for starting out shinobi-in-training, anyhow. To
genin and above, it was pitifully easy. These three did seem determinedmaybe she could? She shook her head. Oh, why the hell
not? It was perfect, and it killed many birds with one stone. But before that, she needed to know one final thing.
M ikoto got a serious look on her face, one that didn't go unnoticed by the three soon-to-be child assassins. They all tensed up a bit,
subconsciously. "You threetell me. How serious are you about this?"
"M ikoto-san, all my life, I've wanted to be a shinobi so I could one day be acknowledged and accepted. I'm willing to risk my entire life,
just for a shot at that," became the blond haired male's reply. His onyx and jade-eyed friends were starting to see their cerulean-orbed
companion in a new outlook, as their respect for him shot up a notch.
"I want to overcome all the obstacles that logic would dictate that I wouldn't get far, considering my background," Sakura began next. "I
want to be a well-rounded splendid kunoichi. With Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun here, I truly believe that it can happen." The Uzumaki
and Uchiha smiled, genuinely touched.
"Kaa-sanyou already know the situation about my brother. Sure, I want to please my father, but really, I need to learn to please
myself. Otherwise, I'll just end up disappointed. These two have given me some new perspectives. Now, I don't feel so alone."
'You and me both, Sasuke/Sasuke-kun,' came the collective thoughts of Sakura and Naruto.
M ikoto hummed. "I see," she said neutrally, although, inwardly, she was practically jumping for joy. "Well, in light of you three taking
this seriously, it's decided, then"

"What's decided?" Sasuke asked, a bit confused.


"who's going to be your new sensei from now until you graduate," M ikoto revealed, grinning. All three collectively went wide-eyed.
"Y-You?" Sasuke asked beyond belief, just to be sure his ears weren't deceiving him. His mother was going to teach them ninjutsu? He
palmed his face. Why in the hell didn't he think of asking for her help before? She was a retired jounin and had plenty of time to spend
helping him with jutsu, for fuck's sake!
Sasuke's inward berating of his own stupidity and lack of foresight was cut short as his mother nodded. "Yes! Come on, it'll be fun. You
get to hang out with your mom, as well as your two friends, and, at the same time, be ten steps ahead of all the others in your class."
Sakura beamed. "That's so awesome! Cha!" she said excitedly, while Naruto plainly smirked.
"But," she declared in a warning tone, "I'm going to work you three hard. I won't accept anyone giving up. Is that clear?"
"Hai, M ikoto-sensei!" they shouted in unison. She smiled. M ikoto-sensei, eh? She liked the sound of that. Well, didn't that have a nice
ring to it?
"Good. All right, Sasuke-kun, show Sakura-chan to the training ground. I need to talk to Naruto-kunalone. I'll be there in five minutes.
This won't take long."
The raven-haired Uchiha looked at his mom, and shrugged before leading a slightly worried Sakura away from the house. Naruto was
looking confused, too, wondering what the matriarch wanted to talk to him alone about. She waited a few moments to make sure they
were out of earshot.
"Naruto-kundo you know?" she asked, choosing her words carefully, so she wouldn't break the Sandaime's edict.
Now, Naruto understood perfectly. "If you're referring to the furball stuck in my gut, then yes, I do know. Imagine the shock when I
found out that I'm a pariah for something I had no say in," he responded bitterly.
M ikoto gave the boy a look of sympathy. "I'm sorry, Naruto-kun," she sincerely said. "It's a shame a village that's supposedly as great
as ours has such ignorance and intolerance."
"Well, I'm going to change that, by becoming a legendary ninja, where they'll have no choice but to respect me," Naruto declared. M ikoto
smiled and ruffled his hair.
"Of that, Naruto-kun, I have no doubt you will. Now, then, go on and find the others. I'm going to my room for a change of wardrobe
okay?"
"Okay!" Naruto brightened up, preparing to leave.
"Oh, and Naruto-kun," M ikoto called out, stopping him in his tracks.
He turned to look at her. "Yes, M ikoto-sensei?"
"You're not alone."
Naruto smiled. "I knownot anymore." With that said, Naruto ran out the door, keen on finding his two good friends. M ikoto watched
him head out the door with a serene smile adorned on her face.
(Uchiha Training Grounds, 1530 hours)
Sasuke and Sakura were currently touring the custom-built Uchiha training ground. It was around ten thousand square feet, with various
training dummies, a small lake about fifteen feet deep at its lowest point, and about fifty feet in diameter. It was nothing special, but one
could practice water techniques and water-walking if one wished to do so. With so much space, the three eight-year-olds were free to
practice as hard as they wanted without interfering with the other. The small forest in the area could help them build up their teamwork
in various conditions.
"Wow, Sasuke-kun, your estate is amazing," she said in awe at the size and diversity among it.
"Aw, it's no big deal," the scion modestly countered. "I just happened to be born lucky." He simply shrugged.
"You know, that's one of the things I love about you guys," Sakura said, sitting down lotus-style, which Sasuke followed suit

perpendicular to her.
"Pray tell, what's that?" Sasuke inquired.
"Well, you and Naruto-kun are so modest and humble. Admittedly, I can get a big head and a bit hotheaded because of my intelligence
over some of the girls I know."
"I see," Sasuke replied, thinking about it. "WellI've personally seen what happens when a guy who thinks he's hot stuff goes up
against an opponent he thinks he'll crush and then gets his butt utterly handed to him." That behind got handed to said person, by none
other than his older brother, Itachi, by express delivery.
The rosette-haired girl couldn't help but laugh at Sasuke's amusing choice of words. "That butt-kicking must've been a sight to behold,"
she noted.
Sasuke nodded. "It was. But, anyhow, yeah, I try to rise above the stigma of my clan's arrogance. I'd rather know my limits and live
another day rather than being some moron who feels he's entitled to something because of his clan. I have no doubt some in my clan feel
that way."
Sakura stared at him a bit, in awe. "Wow, Sasuke-kun, you really do want to rise above them."
He shrugged, "Hey, when you live in your brother's shadow, you got to stand out somehow, and I figured, why not there?"
Sakura nodded in understanding. "Sowhat do you think your mom wanted Naruto-kun for?"
"Hmmbeats me, I can't think of a real reason my"
"Sasuke! Sakura-chan!"
"Well, speak of the devil," Sasuke said, shaking his head standing up. "Naruto!" he called out waving his hand, hoping the blond boy
could see him. "Over here!"
Naruto ran over to the pair. "Damn, took me forever to find you guys."
They looked at him. "How long were you looking?" Sakura asked.
"Um.maybe thirty seconds or so?" Naruto laughed.
Both pairs of eyes started to twitch. "You're calling thirty seconds forever? Are you screwing with me right now?" Sasuke rhetorically
asked.
"Nope," Naruto snickered, for the sole purpose of getting a rise out of the Uchiha. It worked flawlessly.
"YOU IDIOT!" he yelled comically, before Sakura sighed.
"Oh, boys?" she pleasantly chimed, before they turned to her and she gave them what they now refer to asthe look. "Need I remind
you two that I have perfectly capable hands that can keep you two in line? Now, do I need to step in, or are you going to stop this
banter before I tear your fucking ears off?" With such a force and emphasis that for the second time today, Sakura had nearly caused
both males to piss their pants. Never, since the three met, did they hear Sakura ever drop the F-bomb, and to hear it come out of her
mouth was shocking enough, even in spite of the threat.
"No!" they both shouted at the same time, to which Sakura smirked. Oh, was it good having control over some males, rather than the
other way around. Damn it. There she went, thinking about him again. Ugh, she was glad this training was distracting her for the most
part.
"Ah, so you've three already picked a spot. Very good," came the voice of M ikoto as she walked forward with what appeared to be a
jounin outfit very similar to what most wore. It wasn't customized at all, except only to compensate for her medium size breasts.
At the sight of the retired jounin, all three immediately got serious and stood at attention. This action caused M ikoto to blink before she
chuckled.
"Okay, guys, you have to relax, because I'm going to teach you the basic of the basics."
"So what are we learning first, kaa-san?" Sasuke questioned.

M ikoto smiled. "All three of you, sit down."


A wave of confusion swept through them, but they nonetheless complied and did as they were instructed. The older woman joined them
on the soft grass as a small, but gentle breeze swept through the training ground.
"M editation?" Naruto asked, dreading it.
"Yes, but with a bit of a twist," M ikoto remarked, closing her eyes.
"What do you mean, Sensei?" Sakura inquired with unabashed interest.
"You all know the basics of chakra, I presume?" She heard three heads nod, before continuing. "I want you to try and feel for the area
around you, by spreading your chakra around you. While you three were chatting, I placed a dozen or so stones filled specifically with
my chakra around the training ground for you to feel. I want you to try and locate them by just feeling your chakra around the entire
field and then mouth off their specific locations to me. Obviously you'll have your eyes closed during all this. We'll work on precision,
speed, and accuracy, at a later date, but for now just try to find it by spreading your chakra like a bedspread."
"Are you implying that, eventually, we'll be able to 'thin' our chakra signatures that travel and search for these stones like a snake
slithering in the grass searching for prey, than say a spider making a giant web of chakra to search for it?" came the voice of Naruto.
"Excellent analogies, Naruto-kun, and you are indeed correct. There's also another benefit to you all doing this. Inevitably, your
signatures will overlap with each other, constantly, until you become precise enough."
Sakura caught on immediately to what she was implying. "So in a sense, we'll know by second nature of whether or not a person is
friend or foe. We'll be so used to each other's chakra that we'll know who's who in an instant."
"You hit the nail on the head, Sakura-chan!" M ikoto praised which caused the girl's self-confidence to rise. The Uchiha matriarch had to
admit it. These kids were extremely impressive, with their insight and intelligence. 'I wonder just how far their potential goes. Well, in
any case, I'm going to see it through'
"So, kaa-san, what's this technique called?" her son asked.
"I'm glad you asked, Sasuke-kun," M ikoto said grinning. "It's called the Chakra Hankyouteii no Jutsu (Chakra Echolation Technique). It
can be used more for the exercise I'm having you do. Like, for instance, finding the location of things you can't see, scouting for traps and
ploys, makibishi, among many things. I'll leave it to you guys to learn it and use it to its full potential."
All three nodded. "Sensei, what are the hand seals for it?" Sakura questioned.
M ikoto shook her head. "While there are seals for this jutsu, it can be done without them. Eventually, you're going to have to mold your
chakra without the use of seals, like say using it to get out of a tight spot, if you have a crippled use of your arms. You get what I'm
saying?"
Sasuke and Sakura frowned, but Naruto was busy contemplating M ikoto's reasoning while they voiced their opinions. "But, Kaa-san,
aren't we supposed to start off molding our chakra with hand seals? You did say you were giving us the basics."
That's when the light bulb went off in Naruto's head. "Ah! Don't you guys get it? It makes complete sense now!" he declared. M ikoto
raised an eyebrow. Did he get it that quickly?
"How, Naruto-kun? Enlighten us."
"Gladly. Think about it. If you're so used to molding chakra with seals, once we eventually start learning years down the road seal-less
chakra manipulation, can you imagine how difficult that would be? You get used to using seals, which made everything infinitely easier
since the seals essentially did the molding for you in a sense. Now, if we were to start off molding chakra on our own and we get pretty
good at it, learning to control our chakra with hand seals would seem like child's play compared to the hurdle of this technique," Naruto
explained in a scholarly fashion.
M ikoto smiled, as Naruto's logic sunk in to both the Uchiha scion and the Haruno. "Wow, Naruto-kun, you really are something, aren't
you?"
"Aw," he sheepishly grinned, "I only figured it out because of what Sasuke said before. It's no big."
M ikoto nodded. "Okay, you three, close your eyes and I want you to feel for your chakra core and manipulate it outwardly. Then, I

want you to mouth the location of a stone to me once you locate one. Trust me, I can read lips very well."
Sasuke snorted a bit. 'She's definitely not lying there'
All three eight-year-olds shut their eyes as they both felt inner peace with themselves. M ikoto was specifically paying attention to the
blond most. 'I wonder if the Fox will make it difficult for him to control his chakra. But, then again, considering who his parents are, he'd
have a difficult time controlling it with or without him. He's definitely got the hardest road ahead of him'
Only time would tell if she was right or not, but for now, she would watch and guide them in any way she could. Just like a senseiand
a mother should.
(Kumogakure, 2nd District-Akechi Clan Estate, Two Weeks later, 1200 hours)
Hideyoshi was not in the most pleasant of moods as he took a stroll toward an outside balcony that overlooked a mountain pass. Even
the Ultranationalist leader had to admit the natural beauty of his homeland as he watched several massive eagles flow through the skies
without a care in the world.
A female landed on her nest, bringing fresh sustenance for her young. This brought a small smile to the Akechi clan head. Cold-hearted he
was, admittedly, but that was only towards humans. He had a true appreciation for animal life, especially those of the raptor taxonomy
class.
He chuckled to himself, "Okay, that may be because my clan has several raptor summoning contracts, but hey," he mused to himself,
rarely able to do so certain times of the day. He truly loved these magnificent creatures. Able to soar through the skies at hundreds of
kilometers an hour and spot prey with their marvelous eyesight. The eagles around Lightning Country grew to tremendous sizes not
seen, literally, anywhere else in the world. The contracts that his clan owned had them even larger!
Suddenly, a male falcon, about a story high landed on the railing, looking at the Ultranationalist curiously. He got a smirk on his face.
"Oh, you want something, boy?" he purred as looked at the bird of prey. He'd been in contact with them for so long that he could
instantly tell a gender by just glancing at them. The raptor seemed to understand him as it bobbed his head.
Hideyoshi smiled at the falcon before reaching into a bag that was on the floor that held dead, but sanitized for easy human handling,
animals that were commonly the prey of all the birds in the valley. Hideyoshi rarely got to feed one of them when they happened to
stop by, so he always kept a bag on hand outside and forbade anyone from touching or moving it without his permission.
"You want the fish, don't you?" he asked a bit playfully. The falcon's mouth was practically drooling at the catfish in the clan head's
hand. He moved away, the falcon following him by walking across the railing. After a few moments of teasing the poor bird, Hideyoshi
finally gave him what he wanted. The bird gulped down the catfish like it was simply a midday snack. It cried out in approval, and
brought its head down toward Hideyoshi and rubbed it against him.
Hideyoshi happily returned the favor, gently rubbing the creature's feathered neck. He felt a bit at peace. No more worrying about that
bastard he called a Raikage. No more worrying about their plans. Hell, not even making sure that A!
"Hideyoshi-sama!" a seemingly panicked voice came from nowhere, which scared the bird he was currently petting. Its docile nature
instantly became one of being frightened and it flew off, nearly scratching the Akechi clan head in the face.
Hideyoshi growled as he turned angrily to the voice, which belonged to a subordinate of his, Akira. The petite female had a small frame,
and had the outfit of a Kumo Jounin, with a chokuto strapped toward her back. She wore no Cloud headband, a common symbol of
loyalty toward the Ultranationalists. The snowy-haired jounin bowed before him.
"You had better have a damn good reason for interrupting that moment, because I know of some hawks in this valley who would love to
have a taste of flesh as delicate as yours," he coldly sneered.
A bit of sweat rolled down Akira's brow as she was used to him making threats, but that didn't mean they were any less serious. "A
thousand apologies, my Lord, but it appears we've found something that needs to be of your attention."
His eyes narrowed, "And what is that?"
"We've come across an unknown backer.we have enough money to make the down payment for.Red Clouds" Akira said choosing
her words carefully. Hideyoshi had a strict rule of not discussing the coup or anything related. He didn't even trust everyone in his own
clan or the fact that the place could be buggedsomehow. The clan head was always paranoid, but then again, how could he afford not
to be as such, considering his plans?

"I see" he responded as neutral as possible. An unknown backer? How could they have known about the deal? Nothat was
impossible. They did publically request money for donations, like any political party could. It was necessary, and most of all, it was
legal. Either way, they needed to find out whoand most of allwhy.
"While it pleases me that we are able to make the payment, I'd rather not have unknown allies that can strike me cold in the middle of the
night, Akira. Find out what you can, and report back to me," he ordered, seeing her bow her head. A small smirk adorned his face. "Oh
and tell Sayuri to order her division to refocus efforts elsewhere."
Sayuri Ichiso, the Lieutenant Commander of the BOLT reconnaissance division. Truly a powerful kunoichi she was, and the village's
foremost expert on reconnaissance. All information she found, she reported directly to either her Commander or the Raikage.
'It's too bad for you A, but she works for us, and not you and your disgusting ideals. Truly ironic how you consider some of your closest
friends are likely your worst enemies.'
"It shall be done" Akira acknowledged, before vanishing in a swirl of wind.
Hideyoshi smiled evilly. He knew that Akira would get the job done, quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
After all...she was his daughter.
(Raikage Tower, 1st District, around same time)
A sat in his office, a bit more tranquil than usual. His talk with Darui over two weeks ago had really calmed his nerves down, and he
wasn't in as bad a mood as he used to be. However, the Ultranationalists had been relatively quiet a bit over the past few weeks.
Hideyoshi rarely made any public appearances, nor were than any campaign rallies. In the next six months, Districts Four, Five, Eight
and Eleven were up for election, and he had been preparing the incumbents from the United CloudA's political partyso they
wouldn't lose their seats to the Ultranationalists.
Hell, the third political party, the conservative Virga, was better than those bastards. It spoke volumes of how bad the situation was in
the place he had known as home for decades. This was one of the reasons why he had made a call for the BOLT commander, himself
Aisu Hayasaka.
The Black Operations and Lightning Tactics Division was a truly fearsome organization, one created under the Nidaime Raikage during
the Second Great Shinobi World War. It had a simple command structure. At the top was an overall Commander, a position currently in
the hands of Aisu. Then, after that, they were separated into four divisions: Assault, Interrogation, Reconnaissance, and Assassination.
Each division was held by an LC, or Lieutenant Commander, who reported directly to Aisu. Each division was further separated into
squads of four. Each squad was headed by a captain and under the captains the regular BOLT forces were simply called "grunts." To
symbolize membership and rank, members wore custom-made haori that were worn over their uniforms, each one of a different color.
The commander's haori was jet black; the LC's were white; the captains' were a dark red; and the grunts', navy blue.
Any member of the organization, grunt or otherwise, was considered extremely dangerous, with the assault team being consider 'hyperlethal' in their files. All of their dossiers were completely classified, due to their missions being "off the record". The Lieutenant
Commanders and the Commander were also a sort of deterrence, along with their Jinchuuriki. Hell, if A was honest with himself, he
could likely see Aisu replacing him as Raikage, someday.
He snorted a bit, "Yeah, if we make it that far," he intoned a bit sadly. He then heard a knock on his door. Speak of the damn devil.
"Come in, Aisu," A permitted.
The door opened and the Raikage took in the presence of his closest friends and allies. Aisu was truly a striking man. He was well toned,
and stood at a height of about six feet, four inches. Aqua blue irises and chocolate-colored, neatly swept brown hair with a single strand
hanging from his forehead. He wore an ebony hilted nodachi on his left waist, black and red shinobi pants, and a white, long-sleeved shirt
that extended out from his haori, which, on the back, had the kanji for "BOLT" with a lightning strike in the center. Truly, if Aisu made
more public appearances, he'd be an instant heartthrob for the ladies.
"You wanted to see me, Raikage-sama?" he asked, rhetorically keeping a smile on his face as he sat down.
"Drop the formalities, Aisu, you know how I hate when you do that." Sometimes, his insistence on being polite annoyed the Lightning
Shadow to no end.
Aisu blinked. "Raikage-sama! Surely, you can't mean that!" he protested. He absolutely refused to call the leader of his village by
anything less than his title.

"Please, Aisuthat's an order," came A's stern reply.


Aisu sighed, but nodded, nonetheless. "If you say so." He hesitated. "A" Damn, that felt uncomfortable. He shifted around in his
seat a bit.
A shook his head in amusement. "Anyhow, how goes the organization?" he inquired, deciding with an appetizer conversation, before
diving into the full course meal.
"It's going well, Rai" A glared at him, "A" he corrected a bit sheepishly before continuing. "Nothing new to report on the
intelligence front, but everything seems relatively normal for all five of the villages."
The hefty Lightning Shadow outwardly hummed. "I see" He glanced at the nodachi on Aisu's waist. It was the legendary Raiunsou
(Thunder Cloud Talon), the blade of the one gained after signing the contract with the Thunderbirds. No one had wielded the blade in
decades, a testament to the will of Aisu. Only one pure of heart could sign the contract with the mythical masters of his village's natural
element.
"But, I know that's not why you called me hereis it?" he deduced, a trace of desolation in the young Commander's voice as he frowned
a bit.
A sighed. "Yes, it isn't. It's about the Ultranationalists."
Suddenly, the solemn and saddened expression on the BOLT commander's face was instantly replaced by eyes dangerously narrowing.
"What about them?" he asked in a frigid tone, which chilled A to the bone.
"As much as it pains me to say this, Aisu, we need to defeat them with political muscle and not brute force," A stated plainly.
"But! Why? We know they're basically saying, 'We want to take over the village and fuck you if you don't like it,'" the commander
cursed, which, considering the subject matter, didn't surprise A in the least. Although, he was registered as an independent voter for his
district, he still backed the United Cloud, although a bit discreetly. Aisu hated the Ultranationalists with a passion rivaling the blazes of
a thousand suns. The Yondaime Raikage had never really asked him what the underlying reason for his abhorrence was, but alas, at this
point, it didn't even matter, so he never bothered asking.
"I know that, Aisu," the dark-skinned male calmly allayed, "but we have to do this with as little bloodshed as possible. I'm not going to
risk a civil war for your zeal for blood," he warned.
Aisu looked down, a bit ashamed. "Iunderstand, sir. I apologize for my behavior."
A nodded, accepting it. "I know you mean well, Aisu. Normally, you seem so peaceful, tranquil, and, dare I say it, a pacifist."
"I am, to some extent, but when it comes tothemI make an exception," he growled, though a bit contained, as he had regained some
of his composure.
"Hideyoshi and his cronies truly bring out the worst in humanity, don't they?" The older ninja asked.
"Yes, howeverwemay not be so different," Aisu admitted, his cerulean eyes shifting off to the side.
Now, the Yondaime was truly confused. Aisu saying that he shared any similarities towards his enemies was a cause for alarm. "Clarify
what you mean," he commanded.
"M enwe're slaves bound by the shackles of our moralsand kept docile by the whips of our faith," Aisu replied to a stunned A. He
sounded like a true, wizened sage! "The Ultranationalistsyouand even Iwe're all bound by what we consider to hold us back.
How far will we gowill we shatter the chains...and then become the whip that controls the faith of our underlings?"
"Aisu"
He quickly shook his head. "Don't mind meI'm just rambling." He dropped his near sage-like aura in favor his normal upbeat
attitudewellas upbeat as he could get while discussing the Ultranationalists, anyhow.
A nodded, but made a mental note to ask him about it later. "As I was saying, we'll need to defeat them with political muscle, instead.
There's an election coming up; one we cannot afford to lose! That will put the number of seats at about equal, depending on how many
districts they win."
"Sirwhat if they gain all four?" Aisu inquired wanting to hear his Kage's worst case scenario contingency.

"Then may the gods help us all. So, knowing that fact, we need to sway public opinion back toward our favor."
"You know this won't be easy, right?"
A grunted, a bit annoyed at the brusque way he had of putting things. "I know, you don't have to state the obvious, Aisu," he said
gruffly. Aisu winced, but said nothing.
A looked at the clock, and sighed. "I have a meeting with the Council in about five minutes or so. You're dismissedfor now."
The BOLT Commander nodded and stood up. "If I may ask one thing, sirhow do you expect me to sway public opinion?"
The Raikage thought for a moment, "Well, you could always ask Darui. He may not look like it, but he knows a thing or two about
politics."
Aisu's eyes widened in realization, as he face palmed. "Gah! Thank you, Raikage-sama!" he blurted out which startled the Kage. Seeing
this, Aisu quickly explained, "I promised his sister I'd visit her todayYou know about her condition, right?"
There was silence before A replied. "YesI do."
Aisu looked down sadly. "If only we could find a cure" He frowned, eyes down.
A swallowed hard. "I-Indeed."
"Well, Raikage-sama, take care. We'll beat those bastards, eventually." Aisu smiled, holding out a closed fist. A chuckled, amused. He
really did show his playful side only to him, in contradiction to how stoic he was when it came to his duties.
The swift-footed wrestler gave him a grin back and returned the fist-bump, like he did his little brother, Bee. "Count on it," the Raikage
acknowledged. The brunet gave a short bow, and then phased out of sight in an impressive burst of speed.
The Raikage shook his head as he stood up and decided to head to the council halls early, a smirk on his face. Truly, the Commander had
put him in a good enough mood to where he could deal with these bureaucrats
On second thought.he looked at the bottom drawer and pulled it open and took out a bottle. "Screw dogssake is a man's true best
friend," he declared before taking a drink.
Yepbest friends, indeed.
(4th District, Darui's residence, 1600 hours)
Darui was currently sitting down in front of a bed where his sister lay half-asleep, but for all practical purposes, didn't have a clue what
was going on in the outside world.
"Ayasaki." Darui spoke softly clenching his fists. His younger sister was barely in her teens, yet she had already come down with a
disease that had baffled the medic corps. She was on her last legs, and maybe had another year or two at the very most to live.
He intently listened to the soft sound of her breathing in and out, as she slept peacefully. Even with her disease, the dark-skinned female
always had smile on her face.
"Damn it!" the jounin half-yelled. It wasn't fair! Why should someone as sweet as her fall victim to the horrors of disease, while truly
vile men live healthy lives? That sheer fact caused a bitter tear to roll down his cheek as he covered his face. He was a shinobi; he had
killed, and he had been nearly killed, but even then, he was still human.
"Nii-san," he heard a voice, which caused his eyes to go wide. Ayasaki had awakened during his inner turmoil and sat up straighter. Even
in a hospital gown, his sister was still beautiful as her chocolate brown eyes stared back at him. "Are you okay?" Her voice was lined
with concern.
He quickly wiped his tears away and laughed a bit. "Oh, come on, sis, you know me. Big bro's got to be strong, right?"
Ayasaki frowned. "Nii-sandon't lie to me" She reached out and touched his shaking hand. "Just tell me what's bothering you." She
looked at him attentively in the eye. Darui sighed in defeat, but then smiled. His sister was a master at getting him to talk when he didn't
want to. 'Stop being such a stoic bastard!' she'd say to him playfully. He smiled, though more so at the memory rather than his sister in
front of him.

"Sisyou know with your illness you.you might" Darui was starting to choke up, before his sister squeezed his hand.
"Nii-sanI'm not afraid" she told him sternly.
"But"
"No! I don't want my Nii-san being scared for me. I can't have you being worried about me at random times. What if it happens during a
mission? You'll be distracted and you'll never be able to protect our home with a clear head."
Darui couldn't help but smile through his teary eyes. That was Ayasaki for you. Always putting others before herself. It humbled the
Heir to the Black Lightning, yet also enraged him at the same time. How could the world be so fucking cruel to one whom seemingly did
nothing to deserve it?
"I knowit's just"
A knock on the front door interrupted him. A bit thankful, he excused himself to go answer it. Darui took a look around at his small
condo. He had to admit, he had it pretty made, being one of the villages elite jounin. His three bedroom complex had all the necessary
accommodations he needed, and he'd finally purchased it after saving enough ryou from all the missions he had gone on. It was strange to
get a knock on the door however. Very few people even knew, or even cared, where he lived.
With a shrug, he kept his guard up, as he turned the knob to see a visitor who was near the bottom of the people he had expected to see.
Standing in his doorway, was the BOLT Commander himself.
Darui blinked. "Aisu-sodaisho(Supreme Commander)!" he exclaimed in sheer surprise and shock. Aisu rubbed the back of his head a bit
sheepishly.
"Sorry I'm late, Darui. I was lost among the clouds," he explained to a confused, ashen-haired jounin.
"Uhlate? I never knew you were coming," he bluntly stated, owlishly blinking.
Aisu blinked. "Waityour sister didn't tell you?"
Darui rose an eyebrow. "Umtell me what?"
Aisu groaned a bit, shaking his head. "Oh, Ayasaki-chan, you did that on purpose, didn't you?" he mused aloud, with Darui only raising
an eyebrow. "Look, can I come in?" he asked politely. Darui shrugged and stepped aside allowing the BOLT leader to step through.
Aisu whistled in awe. "Wow, you've really bought a lot of new stuff since the last time I was here." There was definitely some furniture
here that he didn't recognize.
Darui shut the door and agreed. "Yeah, I guess I kind of went into a shopping spree to make sure my sister was comfortable after
wellyou know" The solemn tone told all.
"I know," Aisu frowned. "Anyhow, where is she?"
Darui pointed to a back room. Aisu nodded his thanks and made his way toward the direction he pointed out. He had to duck a bit, due
to his height, but he crept a bit through the door.
"Ayasaki-chan?" he whispered, in case she was asleep.
Ayasaki recognized his voice immediately. "Aisu-kun!" she cried out in joy as she willed herself out of bed to give the elite shinobi a
hug. He laughed a bit and gave her a hug back picking the teenager up and holding her.
"Told you I wouldn't break my promise," he whispered in her ear. Due to his duties as leader of the village's black operations squad, he
rarely got a free moment to see her. He had promised her over three months ago that'd he visit as much as he could.
Ayasaki cried tears of joy as she buried her face in his chest as well as wrapping her arms around his neck. "I knew you would. I never
lost faith in you," she told him as he held close the girl who was like a sister to him.
"Now" he began on lighthearted note, "you didn't tell him I was coming on purpose, didn't you?"
Ayasaki smirked knowingly. "Oh, Aisu-kun, I have no idea what you're talking about," she chimed, feigning ignorance.

"Uh-huhTsk" he clucked his teeth, not buying it.


Her only response was to giggle. "You know I love giving surprises to my nii-san."
"Is that so?" Darui asked in a deadpan, coming into the room and shaking his head. "You know I hate surprises," he lamely added,
shifting his hands in his pockets as his facial expression became lazy again.
"Only when it's from me," she argued, sticking her tongue out.
".A fair point," he conceded.
"Heh, still haven't beaten your sister in a game of logic, yet, Darui?" Aisu smirked, remembering all the times she had stumped the poor
jounin. Poor guy couldn't catch a break.
"Yeah, yeah," he grumbled. "Now could you please let my sister down? I don't like her being held like that for too long."
Aisu frowned, but nonetheless complied with Darui's request. True, he did outrank him three fold, but he wasn't about to be an asshole
to just say no to a brother's request when it came to his terminally-ill sister. He gently lay her down, and kissed her forehead, causing the
dark skinned girl to blush profusely.
"You rest now, okay? I have to talk to your brother." She simply nodded and rested her head back on the pillow and closed her eyes.
She had a big grin on her face, of which Darui had no doubt the reason.
The BOLT leader turned to the jounin, lightheartedness forgone. "Come. We should talk in the living room." Darui complied, following
Aisu out, sparing one glance back at his smiling sibling. He relaxed a bit, and gently closed the door.
"So, what is it?" Darui questioned, getting straight to the point.
"To be frank, Darui, I need your help in defeating the Ultranationalists. Raikage-sama says you know a thing or two about political
muscle, in which I have little experience," Aisu pleaded without preamble.
Darui looked away. "Sodaishoyou know how I feel about politics" he admitted. Darui officially was just registered as an
independent voter, and despite how he much he respected Killer A, he completely refused to register as a United Cloud member. He felt
that if he officially took a side, that he'd be obligated to vote them in all the time.
Aisu sighed. "YesI know, but think of the village! You know what will happen if they gain any more seats on the council!"
"I know that!" Darui yelled in anger. "You don't think I'm scared? What those bastards might do? Install fascismfalse national pride
hatredbigotrylikely even social Darwinism." He shuddered at that last thought. "They might even kill my" he couldn't bring
himself to say it.
"DaruiI know," Aisu said calmly. "But if you want to save your sister from living in a hell they'll install, I'll need your help."
"What good is that if I betray my own principles?" he shouted angrily.
"What good are those principles if your sister ends up dead because you refuse to act?" Aisu countered, turning away from him. That
statement sent shockwaves through the jounin. Various scenarios started to play out in his head as he saw Hideyoshi overlooking a
burning Kumogakure, where his sister was ordered to be executed because she was 'dead weight' and of no use to the new regime. He
clenched his fists.
"I see" Darui said as the realization dawned on him. He made a promise that he would protect his sister at all costs. If that meant he
had to step into the ugly game of politicsthen so be it. "I'll help," he softly declared.
Aisu nodded in gratitude. "Thank you, Darui. I'm sure your old sensei would be proud to preserve the Village that stood tall in the
Clouds." The Sandaime Raikage, in addition to teaching him his Black Lightning techniques, also taught the boy everything he knew now
about the political underground tactics that were employed throughout the village. Aisu had his own views, sure, but he was a military
tactician and strategist first and foremost, which is why they needed each other. Darui knew the information, and Aisu could conjure up
a strategy to counter it.
"I'm sure he would be," he neutrally said, not liking to speak of his old sensei as the wound from his loss was still fresh to the heir.
"All right, meet me at the base sometime this week, whenever you're free. I still have things to take care of, on my end," Aisu ordered.

Darui nodded. "I will."


Aisu had turned to leave before Darui's voice stopped him again. "Sodaisho"
He turned his head. "What is it?"
"I'm sorry about my short burst of angerI meant no disrespect," he uttered apologetically.
Aisu waved him off and smiled. "Don't worry about it. You had a perfectly valid reason for doing so. Just learn to control it, all right?"
Darui nodded. "I willtake care, Sodaisho." Aisu said his goodbyes and quietly left out of the front door.
The jounin went back to his sister's room to see her sound asleep. "Ayasaki.no matter what happensI'll always be there for you,
even if it means turning against my own codes."
Perhaps, if Darui was a bit more attentive, he would've noticed the slightest twitch of a smile on his sibling's face.
(Akechi clan household, 2100 hours)
Akira ran through the clan estate like a bat out of hell, racing towards her father's study. This was big, and he needed to know right
away!
To hell if he was meeting with the clan elders. He'd probably kill her for not informing him of such a huge development. She turned the
corner, nearly slipping in her slightly panicked state. She could hear the voices of the elders and her father as they were discussing things
she couldn't have cared less about at the moment.
Without even bothering to knock she slid the door open, a bit out of breath. All seven of the elders, plus Hideyoshi, turned to glare at
her for the interruption.
"Akira!" Hideyoshi growled. "What is the meaning of this?"
She quickly bowed as low as she could. "A thousand apologies, Hideyoshi-sama, but I bring important news!"
Hideyoshi raised an eyebrow, but that didn't mean he was less intimidating to his daughter. "Have you found ourgenerous donors'
identities?"
She shook her head. "No. Better than that. Our members have caught two Konoha Black Ops shinobi! They appeared to have been
trying to sabotage our plans!"
That statement caused all hell to break loose.
(END)
Yes, I'm evil, muhahahaha. Konoha shinobi? In Lightning Country territory? What will happen because of this development? Stay tuned
to find out.
So, it's now October 8, 2011, about ten days or so after I last updated. I'm on a damn roll, woo! I just loved diving into the psyches and
personalities of these characters and fleshing them out when needed.
Case in point, Danzo and Hiruzen's relationship is a great example of this. M ost fan fiction portrays Danzo as this Complete M onster
who would do absolutely anything to gain power. I disagree. I see him more as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, as TVTropes would
describe it. He has his morals, his own code, as well as doing things that we would consider immoral. Throughout the whole story, you'll
get an idea of what his motivations are. I assure you, they go FAR deeper than simply wanting to take the title of Hokage.
Well, that's all I have nothing more to say, but PLEASE review and give me some feedback. I want to know what you guys think! What
you like, or dislike. I don't bite, unless you try and bullshit me, which so far no one has.
Take care and enjoy the rest of your day or evening.
With regards,
Arashi.

*Chapter 5*: Perpetual Duplicity


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Five: Perpetual Duplicity
NOTE: I had to reupload this because FFN fucked it up in the formatting. *SIIIGH*
Hello, all, and welcome to another installment of Eternal Legends! I'm quite pleased with the reception my last chapter got, with over
one-thousand hits in one day, and a respectable number of reviews. I must be doing something right! :P
I'm going to keep pumping these chapters out as consistent as I can, at about every ten days or so, until about the first week of
December. After then, it will be awhile before I'll be able to update again. Hopefully by the first week of December I'll be out of what
TVTropes refers to as "Longest Prologue Ever". I've already explained my reasoning for this, no need to be redundant. Though, I may
need to clarify my "eight chapters" comment from last chapter. I meant by chapter eight or so, not eight chapters from now. That's
entirely absurd, even for me.
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden and Call of Duty, which are under the copyright ownership of Team Ninja and
Infinity Ward, as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo and Activision, respectively.
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world, and alter the course of history. This is their story.
(Side Note: If you're worried about why CoD is in the disclaimer, don't. I assure you that there are no modern weapons used by 21st
century militaries around the world in this story. If you're one of those people who bothered to understand the backstory and story in
the M odern Warfare line of the Call of Duty franchise, you should start to see the parallels right away, with it becoming more and more
apparent as time goes on.)
(Uchiha Estate, three months later, 1300 hours)
M ikoto sat in an elevated position on the top of one of the highest tree branches, in the small forest inside the Uchiha training grounds.
She was using a highly advanced cloaking technique that her husband had taught her. Fugaku had copied the jutsu with his Sharingan a
decade ago during the Third Great Shinobi World War with Iwagakure.
"M eisaigakure no Jutsu (Chameleon Technique)," she whispered as the light started to abnormally refract around her, hiding both her
shadow and scent. 'I wonder how long they'll last against my clone. Hmmonly one way to find out," she mused, as she continued to
observe.
M eanwhile, Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke stood in manji formation, each with their backs toward one another. Physically, there wasn't too
much of a difference, except for eight year olds, they didn't look as frail as they did three months ago. Naruto had gained an inch in
height, putting him on equal footing with his raven-haired best friend. M ikoto had to beat a proper diet in himliterally. As for Sakura,
although she still was for intents and purposes, "girly", she had ditched her hair bow, and had a tomboyish mix with her personality.
The Uchiha and the Haruno were panting heavily; with the only thing keeping Sakura from fainting from exhaustion was sheer willpower
to prove her worth. Naruto, however, despite M ikoto's brutal training, still acted like he had energy to spare.
'Damn, Naruto' Sasuke thought inhaling in and out at as much of an even pace as he could. 'Just where the hell do you get all this
energy from?' Sasuke thought. When his mother said she'd put them through hell, she wasn't kidding.
All three tensed up, hearing a distortion in the bushes, nearby. Sakura, on impulse, threw a shuriken, dead on at the direction the sound
came from. The three waitednot a single sound. Sweat rolled down Naruto's brow as he focused his eyesight. A small river of blood
started to run across the soil.
Naruto's eyes narrowed. "Seems you killed a wild animal," Naruto whispered. Sakura grimaced, but said nothing. She was still trying to
get used to the idea that'd she'd have to kill a human being in cold blood someday. Killing animals, even by accident didn't sit well with
her. The rosette haired civilian sighed. She'd just have to cross that bridge when she came to it.
"OkayM ikoto-sensei is just toying with usobviously" Sakura huffed while speaking up. Sasuke nodded.

"I wouldn't doubt itSakurayou have enough chakra to do another Chakra Hankyouteii?" he inquired hopeful. Out of the trinity of
friends, Sakura, hands down, had the best chakra control. She had completed the exercise of finding the stones M ikoto had hidden across
the training grounds. Sasuke had completed it, with some difficulty, about four hours later. As for Naruto
Mikoto sat attentive as she watched her pupils to try and perfect the technique that she had taught them. So far, they were doing pretty
well.
'Naruto-kun, considering how much chakra you have the amount of control you have is astonishing!' the Uchiha matriarch thought in
amazement. By all means his chakra control should be utterly abysmal, and it should've taken him a week to find even one stone. He was
just one surprise after the other.
The Kyuubi, watching from the outside, easily saw through her stoic face, and snorted. She really couldn't figure it out?
"It's simple, Uchiha," he began in monologue to himself. "Your state-of-mind and brain activity also affects how well you can control
chakra at any given time or overall." To him, it was the easiest thing in the world to figure out. With the Suppression Seal off, Naruto's
mind was clear and calm, and despite keeping some of his old personality quirks, most of his goofy side was gone. Had it still been on, it
would've been even harder for the blonde to control his chakra. Add to the fact that he actually had a brain in that thick skull of his, the
boy grasped concepts much easier and in turn applied them to real life.
"HmmI wonder if it'd be a stretch to say he'd learn at the rate of a prodigy," the vulpine mused a bit before waving a paw. "Ah, no
matter. It's too early to tell, either way."
Naruto, however, was busy concentrating on trying to 'thin' his large net of chakra as it spread across the training ground. 'I've got to
concentrate,' the blonde told himself repeatedly. His chakra web had been so large that it dwarfed his friends' by so much that it had
nearly canceled them out. They had the hurdle of not only finding the stones, but also dealing with Naruto's overlapping chakra.
Naruto grunted a bit in frustration. Damn was finding these stones one at a time, proving to be a pain in the ass. Naruto then froze. Wait
a minute
His eyes widened in realizationcould it really have been that simple? 'Only one way to find out,' he grinned inwardly and outwardly.
Mikoto raised an eyebrow. What's he grinning about?
Her eyes immediately shot up in surprise and shock. Naruto released more chakra, instead of less. This alarmed her, and due to the
echolation, Sasuke and Sakura felt it too, and stopped their use of the Hankyouteii. They both stared at the blond in disbelief.
Said blond had no idea that all eyes were on him, as he concentrated on spreading his signature across the entire meadow. The grass
nearby was starting to blow, as it were being jolted by the wind. The three had to cover their eyes or debris would've surely caught in
between them.
'Naruto-kunjust where are you getting this amount of chakra from?' Sakura thought, covering her eyes.
It was over as fast as it had begun, as the grass started to settle and Mikoto felt his chakra suppressing itself as well asthinning? She
was about to voice her concern, until Naruto opened his eyes and smirked at her.
"OneUnderpass, Two-by the shack, Three-in the garden near the roses, Four-also in the garden by the violets, Five-Near the back
door of the kitchen, Six-By the window, Seven-near the lake, Eight-In the water itself and finally nine-behind you," he counted off giving
her a slight smug look. "Did I miss anything?"
Mikoto sat there jaw agape in stunned silence. "H-How?" she stuttered out.
Naruto grinned. "Mikoto-sensei, I was going about it the wrong way. See, all this time I was trying to spread my signature and then try to
thin it, and then I'd search for the stones. But the Hankyouteii doesn't work like that. Wellat least for me." All three listened intently at
Naruto's explanation.
"The Chakra Hankyouteii is an echolation, not a 'find me' sort of thing. I simply spread my chakra around the field so much that all of
the stones' locations started echoing back to me. Seeing as I already had the location of the stones, I lessened the amount of chakra I was
outputting which thinned my signature automatically. However, this method likely only works on objects with chakra, and living things
that have chakra in them. I need an echo for this to work, so in the future to find inanimate objects, I'll likely have to master this jutsu
even more."
"Wow" Sasuke said simply. His mother and Sakura nodded dumbly, definitely sharing the Uchiha scion's sentiment.

'Naruto-kun is so amazing!' Sakura smiled in admiration.


"Wow, Naruto-kun, even I haven't thought of using the jutsu like that," she admitted, although in her mind she was a little ashamed of
herself. 'Great, an eight-year-old improvising on a jutsu to overcome his handicap, and I'm thirty-five years -old and have known the
jutsu for half of my life. The gods must hate me.'
"But, really, though, how the heck do you have so much chakra?" Sasuke had asked the question Naruto had been dreading.
His eyes shifted to Mikoto, and he could tell gears were rapidly spinning in her head, too. Then, without thinking, "It might be a family
trait that I inheritedwho knows?" Naruto mentally slapped himself. A family trait? Seriously? They wouldn't buy that in a million years!
"Ah, then that would make sense, then," Sakura agreed, contemplating in deep thought. "No normal guy your age can disperse that much
chakraI think." She was purely speculating at this point.
"Yeah, you're probably right. It has to be some sort of bloodline," came the raven haired male's agreement.
Inwardly, Mikoto and Naruto sighed in relief, thankful that the two had bought it. 'Damn, close call. That excuse will dofor now at
least.'
Mikoto looked at the three of them. 'The bloodline excuse, Naruto? Heh, the irony You don't know how close you are to the truth, albeit
a bit wrong on the terminology,' the matriarch thought as the image of the Yondaime Hokage came to her head.
They continued meditating for the rest of that day.
Sakura hummed to herself. "I'm not suremy reserves are pretty low right now. Even with my control, I don't think I can manage one.
Sorry," she said apologetically.
Sasuke grunted, clearly a bit annoyed. "Damn.okayNaruto, please tell me you have an idea, because I'm fresh out at the moment."
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!" Naruto half-shouted back towards his best friend in irritation. They had been at this for nearly two hours.
He was hungry, a bit pissed off, and his friends were slowing down. He placed his right index finger on the ground, and whispered.
"Chakra Hankyouteii!" Not even within a second of doing so, his eyes widened.
"Clear!" he shouted and the three of them jumped into the branches as several kunai with explosive tags took their place. It was a small
yield, and it wouldn't have killed them, but the explosion was still loud enough for their ears to ring.
Sakura looked at the other two, and made a few hand signals pointing to the smoke. Sasuke squinted his eyes, and he saw a
silhouette.a human one. He glanced over and Naruto nodded smirking, an expression which he returned. They nodded, understanding
each other completely, as the trio jumped from their respective branches. Three kunai soared through the air, aiming to hit their targets.
Three clangs were heard as the three landed on the ground in crouch positions, panting. They were proud of themselves. They heard the
sound of steel touching steel a while ago. It was a good indicator that their accuracy was dead on, forcing her to block instead of dodging
like she usually did.
M ikoto's clone walked out, casually, clapping her hands. The three visibly relaxed, while Naruto's mouth twitched. "Ah! Good job, you
three! You lasted a lot longer than I expected," she admitted, while praising the trio of eight-year-olds, who smiled with pride.
"Unfortunately," she began with a frown, "you still weren't able to get me."
All three of them smirked. "Oh, M ikoto-sensei, didn't you always say not to let our guard down?" Sakura chimed, as Naruto and Sasuke
made a hand seal and they jumped away.
M ikoto looked confused before looking down. Three kunai were embedded in the ground, which she recognized as the kunai she had
blocked earlier. Her eyes widened once she saw what was attached to themexplosive tags. The clone tried to jump out of the way, but
it was too late as the resulting explosion engulfed the Kage Bunshin and it disappeared in a puff of smoke.
"All right!" Naruto exclaimed pumping his fist in the air. "We got her! Nice job, team!" he said as all three high-fived each other.
"Heh, that was a ballsy move, Sakura, and I didn't think it would work," Sasuke praised, much to the rosette-haired girl's embarrassment.
"Hey! I was getting desperate! That was poorly put together at the last minute," she modestly defended. She had sent them signals not
only to attack together, but to attach explosive tags to the handles of the kunai they had thrown. Sasuke shrugged, still on cloud nine
from their triumphant victory.

Naruto was simply grinning ear-to-ear. "We make an awesome team, you know that?"
"Indeed we do, Naruto-kun" Sakura was cut off as she felt a bit dizzy, and would've fallen flat on her face to the ground had Naruto
not caught her.
"Whoa! Sakura-chanyou okay?" he asked worriedly.
"Y-yeahI'm fine," she stammered out, inhaling deeply.
"She must be exhausted," Sasuke deduced, to which Naruto agreed. He positioned himself so that the shorter girl was on his back.
"Naruto-kun!" she exclaimed in surprise. "What are you doing?"
"Sakura-chanyou're too tired to get back on your own," he said simply. Sakura frowned and sighed.
"No, I can"
"No, you can't." There was a tone of finality in the Jinchuuriki's voice. A few moments passed, before she nodded in acceptance.
"Let's head back," Sasuke suggested.
Naruto bobbed his head. "Hold on," he told Sakura as used some extra leg strength to compensate for Sakura's weight. She allowed
herself to lay her head on his back, fully content with a smile on her face after a few seconds of traveling. The three were in a reflective
silence as they jumped through the trees. The training was oftentimes brutal, but the results spoke for themselves. They had managed to
outsmart their sensei, rather than defeat her with brute force.
Granted, she was a jounin, and if she wanted, she could crush the three of them like ants with her hands tied behind her back. Even still,
they felt pride, and it motivated them enough to get through in spite of the hurdles.
"I'm really impressed, you three." Naruto and Sasuke stopped suddenly, and M ikoto seemed to "de-cloak" like a chameleon as she
deactivated her M eisaigakure no Jutsu.
"Whoa! You got to teach us how to do that!" Naruto nearly demanded.
M ikoto laughed, "Oh, this jutsu is far too advanced for you guys, but I'll tell you what, I do plan on teach you all a jutsu, hopefully
before you all go to the academy."
Naruto was practically drooling at the prospect, while Sasuke was just content with a smile on his face.
"Thing is, we got to get sleeping beauty's," she pointed towards an unconscious Sakura, sleeping peacefully on Naruto's back, "stamina
and chakra reserves up. This jutsu isn't really even taught to genin, yet." Sasuke raised a brow, curiously. She wasn't talking about that
jutsu was she? Before he could ask, she continued on, "Now then, you three head inside, and get ready for lunch. I know you're
starving."
"Sounds great, kaa-san," Sasuke cheerfully remarked. The two headed wordlessly back into the Estate kitchen. They'd wake Sakura up
when they got there.
M ikoto sighed, before she felt a familiar presence behind her. "So, what do I owe the pleasure of you visiting, my dear husband?" The
sarcasm was practically dripping from her voice.
"M ikoto" She turned around, and sure enough, standing there was Fugaku Uchiha, father of Sasuke and Itachi, and husband of
M ikoto. Honestly, he looked nothing like his sons with his gruff appearance, as they took more after their mother than they did him, a
fact that he was a bit resentful for, but he never voiced that.
"What is it that you want, Fugaku?" she asked a bit coldly. M ikoto loved her husband; she truly did, but some of his actions as of late
disgusted the Uchiha matriarch to no endhow he put Itachi on a pedestal, and outright ignored his younger son. This meant she had to
pick up the scraps and slowly but surely pick his self-esteem back up. Admittedly, the lack of sex in a good long while also added to the
reasons why she didn't feel like speaking to him at the moment.
"I see you're training a team," he began neutrally, arms crossed over his chest, "that has Sasuke, a civilian girland the Kyuubi
Jinchuuriki."
M ikoto's eyes narrowed dangerously. "He has a name you know, Fugaku," she stated, a dark edge beginning to line her voice. One had to

give the Uchiha clan head credit; if he was afraid of women when they were angry, you could never tell from his facial expressions.
"Naruto, then," the clan head finally conceded. Although M ikoto wanted to smile at her victory, she was still pissed at him, so she
remained expressionless.
"I couldn't help but overhear you when you said you promised to teach them a jutsu not suited for genin," he continued, eyes narrowing.
"You wouldn't happen to be referring to that jutsu, would you?"
"Yes," she edgily answered. "I'm going to teach all three of them the Goukakyuu no Jutsu (Grand Fireball Technique)."
"I see" he neutrally intoned, giving a sidelong look.
She crossed her arms, mimicking her conjugal spouse. "From the way you're acting, it sounds to me like you have a problem with it."
"M ikotothat jutsu is symbolic within our clan! How could you just teach it to them on a whim?" the Uchiha practically yelled. His
wife stood there, unfazed by his small rant.
"So, I guess you have a problem with most of the village's chuunin, since virtually all of the jounin and ANBU and Hokage-sama himself
knowing it, too, huh?" she rhetorically quipped. "Furthermore, isn't performing the technique a rite of passage? If anything, you should
feel proud to have your son learn this technique at such a young age" Her eyes then grew to slits. "Or is it you feel prideful about the
fact that I'm teaching them a jutsu that's 'symbolic' with us?"
Her husband's silence told all. She sneered. "I see. So it is your pride."
For the first time, Fugaku showed anger. "Just who the hell do you think you are?" he roared. He was the head of the Uchiha clan and
he'd be dammed if he'd let his own wife talk down to him.
M ikoto gritted her teeth. "Fugaku!" she yelled, annoyed with her husband's subtle misogyny. "Just what the hell has happened to the
man I fell in love with over fifteen years ago? Tell me, Fugaku! What is with your obsession with the clan's image?"
"Do you not understand what we've gone through? Image must mean everything!" he argued.
"Is that so? You want our clan to be viewed as powerful, and yet, you neglect your own flesh and blood, favoring one over the other?
When spending time with both could kill two birds with one stone?"
Fugaku, admittedly, knew she had a point, but his pride made him refuse to back down. "You know why I had to mold Itachi. He was a
prodigy! I had to groom him into the perfect Uchiha and shinobi." He then scoffed. "Let's not forget, you could've trained Sasuke, too,
but you never even offered to help, yourself."
"Oh, no! You are not going to blame this on me," she stubbornly retorted, even though he had a fair point. "You are his father, you were
supposed to teach him everything you knew, and you were supposed to give them both equal amounts of time! I may be his mother, but
I can only do so much!"
He gritted his teeth. "Aren't you training him now?"
The Uchiha M atriarch scoffed. "Yeah, cleaning up the mess you made."
Fugaku huffed, but said nothing in return. He felt her embrace as she laid her head on his left pectoral. The clan head was left stunned by
his wife's actions, but she spoke before he could voice his thoughts. "Fugaku," she began softly, all traces of anger gone, "you can still
make it right. It's not too late. I'm training Sasuke, yes, and his new friendsbut.there are certain things only you, as a man, can
teach."
He couldn't help but notice her emphasis on that particular word. The patriarch couldn't help but smirk. She was stroking his ego to
make her do what she wantedand damn it, it was working like a charm. She let go and husband and wife stared at each other, although
still in each other's arms.
He sighed. "M ikotoI" He was at a loss for words.
"Don't know what to do, or say?" she deduced. With a look of dull surprise, he simply nodded. "Wellto start offget to know him.
You don't have to do anything bigjust have a conversation with him. Ask him how his day was, what he liked to do, things of that
nature."
"M ikoto, you know I don't"

"I know. He's not like Itachi, Fugaku," she sternly interrupted. "True, he's interested in becoming a shinobi, but that's not all he likes to
do."
"Then what does he like to do, then?" Fugaku asked, hopeful he'd have a possibility of taking the lazy way out.
His wife's grin turned into an outright smirk. "That, my love, is up to you to figure out," she emphasized by poking him in the chest
playfully.
Fugaku sighed, even though he knew he should've suspected this. He then nodded in acceptance. "All right," he conceded, "butcould
you give me a bit of time?"
She shrugged. "I don't care. As long you make some genuine effort, I suppose when doesn't matter. But," her eyes gave her other half a
gaze filled with warning, "don't take too long, Fugaku. Every child has a breaking point. You, of all people, should know that."
Fugaku bobbed his head, understanding perfectly what she meant. She walked up to him and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "Just
think about it, okay?" With that said, the matriarch headed off, eager to feed her son and pupils for a job well done. She felt proud of
herself, and maybe now Sasuke could get what he always wantedhis father's attention.
Fugaku stood there in reflective silence as he contemplated what his wife was saying as their argument replayed over and over in his
mind. Had he really been that blind and neglectful toward his younger son? He wanted the village to see the greatness of the Uchiha clan.
While they had respect, it wasn't enough for the clan head. He wanted it to be near worshipjust like their Senju rivals of a different
age.
'But is it worth it?' Fugaku reflected, still at a loss. What is truly worth it? He was putting his sons in danger, and if his plan failed, then
there was a chance that his lifeand his sons'were forfeit. Butthen againthe higher ups never trusted his clan. Hell, they
probably thought that the Demon Fox attack was their doing. Being forced to move away, being spied on persistently by the village's
ANBU
He gritted his teeth. What the hell was he supposed to do? There were pros and cons to both going through with the plan and scrapping
it all together, with easily justifiable reasons for both of them, in his eyes. Add to the fact that his own wife was ignorant to what the
clan was planning, and he had hell to deal with by teetering on the edge of a sword.
He sighed and threw his hands up in defeat. He had much to think about. M aybe he'd talk with the elders and see what they thought. He
took a stroll back to the estate, but headed straight for his private quarters rather than the kitchen.
'I'm sorry, Sasukebut you're going to have to take a backseat for a whileuntil I figure out what I'm going to do,' Fugaku thought
remorsefully. At that moment, he truly hated himself. M ikoto was right. Just what the hell did happen to the man he used to be?
He'd have plenty of time to mull it over...
(Inside the kitchen, around the same time)
"Aww, man, I'm starving!" Naruto complained as he sat with his three friends at a small table. Although all three didn't smell well from
all the hard training they had done today, their stomachs took priority over a foul odor at this particular moment.
Sakura giggled, but she did have to agree. The cherry blossom was pretty famished, herself. She felt a bit embarrassed that she had to be
carried all the way back to the estate, but alas, it couldn't be helped. That just proved she had to work harder.
Naruto and Sasuke started talking amongst themselves, while she allowed herself to drown in her thoughts. It was strangefor the past
three months, Tetsuya had left her alone. He hadn't made any attempt to touch her, or anything of that nature. In fact, the retired shinobi
just flat-out ignored her. A small chill went up her spine. She had come to be used to his tantrums and perverse ways, and for him to just
suddenlystop, just simply rubbed her the wrong way. Sakura felt as if he were a simple viper coiled up in the grass waiting to slip its
venom in her the moment she let down her guard.
'That's not going to happen!' she thought, determined. Tenderhearted, the rosette-haired female was, but she was absolutely not going to
let him get away with what he did to her. In her eyes, it was something completely unforgivable. She'd bide her time and she, too, like a
serpent would strike her prey when the moment was convenient. Only this time, this snake would constrict her victim until there was
nothing left too!
"Hey, Sakura, are you okay?" Sasuke inquired, frowning a bit and breaking the girl's sadistic thoughts of reprisal.
She shook her head, blushing a bit. "Oh, sorry, I was just spacing out."

"You've been doing that a lot lately, Sakura-chan," Naruto observed.


'You try being sexually abused and it not coming to the forefront of your mind periodically from time to time!' she thought a bit bitterly,
before shaking her head. "Oh, it's nothing, you guys, really. I was just having one of those moments."
Naruto shrugged, not really in the mood to press the matter at the moment. "If you say so," he gave in to not broach the subject any
further.
Sasuke, however, wasn't having it. He was about to semi-interrogate his female companion, before his mom came in with a fresh lunch.
The trio was practically drooling at the sight as it was placed in front of them. There was one huge bowl of rice, four bowls of ramen,
five sticks of sushi, and a loaf of bread. There were four plates, one for each of them.
The Uchiha matriarch smiled as she sat down with her pupils, opposite the side of them. "Dig in, you three!" she exclaimed joyfully.
"Whoa! M ikoto-sensei! How'd you prepare all this food so quickly?" Sakura asked in bewilderment.
"Oh, Sakura-chan," she wagged her index finger, "I'm afraid that's a trade secret," she grinned knowingly.
Sasuke didn't look amused. "You prepared it a while ago, and you just heated it up with a Katon Jutsu, didn't you?" he deadpanned,
calling her out. M ikoto got an annoyed twitch on her face, as she was caught red-handed. The male Uchiha simply smirked. 'Damn, I'm
good," he thought, completely satisfied.
"Oh, who cares, Sasuke? I'm just ready to eat!" Naruto hungrily bellowed.
"See? Naruto-kun doesn't care how I cook my meals," M ikoto sweetly chimed. Sakura just shook her head at their antics. "Okay, you
guys dig in!" she premised.
"Itadakimasu!" they all chorused before grabbing food and they began stuffing themselves like they hadn't eaten for days. Even the
mannered Sakura tossed dinner etiquette out the window in favor of satisfying her stomach.
"Oh, man!" Naruto said, slurping his noodles like they were about to jump out of the bowl and flee. "This stuff is great, sensei!"
M ikoto smiled. "I'm glad you guys like it. You earned it after a job well done today. I'll be honest: I wasn't expecting you to dispel my
clone, at all. You've surpassed my expectations. I'm proud of you three."
The trio beamed at the praise. "Thank you, sensei!" they chorused again, with even Sasuke calling his mom "sensei."
"Sensei" Naruto began sitting down his plate and getting a serious look on his face. M ikoto noticed this and raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, Naruto-kun?"
"Do you have any experience with kenjutsu? Specifically, a katana?" Naruto inquired in a dead serious tone of voice.
M ikoto blinked. It was clear whatever she was expecting; it sure as hell wasn't that. "Oh, wow," she blinked again in surprise. "Before I
answer that, may I ask why?"
"Well" Naruto said pondering for a bit. "We were reading about Kumo in the library a few months ago, and I was fascinated that a
good majority of their shinobi were swordsman and kenjutsu practitioners. I want to be ready for anything should I go toe-to-toe with a
Kumo shinobi in the future. And," he grinned, "swords are just freaking cool!"
M ikoto had to laugh at the boy's enthusiasm and reasoning. "I take it you two have known about this?"
"From the beginning, sensei," Sakura answered.
She hummed. "I see" she responded neutrally. Naruto gulped a bit. "Well, Naruto, you're in luck. I do have experience in the bladed
arts."
Naruto shot up from the table, excitedly. "Wahoo!" he chimed.
"But, I don't want you using a katana," she flatly declared, causing Naruto to sit back in his seat rather disappointed.
"Aww!" he groaned. "Why not?" he asked, trying to keep his voice as even as he could.
"Well, mainly because a katana is way too long for you at your age, and its weight as well. You'd be better off using a kodachi for right

now, and then working your way up to a katana when you're older and" she giggled, "taller," she finished. Naruto grumbled under his
breath, an action which caused his friends to laugh.
"Oh, cheer up, Naruto. You'll get taller for sure," Sakura said, reassuring him by giving him a hug.
"That means a lot, Sakura-chan," he thanked her, blushing a bit at the contact. M ikoto raised an eyebrow, and was inwardly grinning.
'Oh, I can totally see where this is going down the line. But, that is for another time.'
"Sowhat's the difference between a kodachi and a katana?" Sasuke asked, a bit interested in the subject matter for knowledge's sake.
He wasn't interested in becoming a swordsman. Hell, he'd probably wouldn't use any weapon, unless it fitted him extremely well.
"A katana is simply a standard weapon used by samurai, commonly found in Tetsu no Kuni (the Land of Iron) that you're all familiar
with," M ikoto explained. "However, a kodachi is a much smaller blade; about a third of the length of the katana."
"So, since you're saying that you want Naruto-kun to use a kodachi instead, I assume most of the techniques should theoretically be the
same, except the swordsman instead must compensate for the weight for different types of swords?" Sakura deduced.
The Uchiha adult nodded. "Indeed. However, there are certain styles that are suited for certain blades, and seldom do they work as well
with any other type. Kaiten Kenbu, for example, is a style that emphasizes dual kodachi, using their light weight for faster attack
power."
"Hmmis there a way you can make a kodachi weigh as much as a katana?" Naruto asked hopefully.
M ikoto pondered on it for a bit. "Well, possibly. We'll have to see one of the village's blacksmiths," she replied before seeing the blond's
grin. "And no, we're not going until you three enter the academy. I still have much left to teach you. You do all want to blow the
competition away, am I right?" Naruto frowned, but nonetheless understood as he and his jade and onyx-eyed companions nodded.
"Senseijust how are you so knowledgeable in kenjutsu?" came the query from the curious cherry blossom.
"Ah, Sakura-chan, it's easy. When I was a jounin, I was considered a jack-of-all-trades, when it came to weapon arts."
"Whoa, whoa, hold up, time out," Sasuke held out his hand in a T-shaped position. "Since when were you a weapon specialist, kaasan?" By the gods, he knew practically nothing about his mom when it came down to the nitty-gritty details.
M ikoto's face was impassive. "I'm an Uchiha" she said, looking off a bit distantly. "Butthe Sharingan doesn't awaken in female
members of the clan." The three could tell there was a bit of resentment in her voice. The trio wisely kept their mouths shut. "As such I
had to stand out in other ways. So, I became a weapons specialist and learned as many jutsu as I could. While I'm not a particular expert
with any one type, I can use them proficiently enough to hold my own in battle as well as to teach others."
Sakura nodded. "I see" she replied neutrally. "What about bojutsu?" That earned curious looks from her two male companions. It was
clear that this was the first time they were hearing of this.
For the third time today, M ikoto sat dumbstruck with surprise. "Bojutsu? Wow" She noticed the look on Sakura's face. "You're
serious, aren't you?" The rosette-haired girl simply bobbed her head.
"Well," she began, "while I'm not as good with a staff as I am with swords and bladed weapons, I do know enough to set you on the
right path."
Sakura beamed. "Thank you so much, sensei!" she thanked grinning. M ikoto smiled and nodded and turned to her son. "I take it you
want to learn how to use a weapon, too?"
Sasuke shook his head. "Actually, no, kaa-san," he responded, which genuinely surprised his mother. "I mean, it's not that I'm totally
against having a weaponfar from it. But I want to have a weapon that fits me, if I were to ever choose to wield one. A kodachi or staff
doesn't really suit me so" He then shrugged. "We'll just have to wait and see."
"I see," came her neutral response. "Well then, how about we?" She stopped immediately after feeling a familiar presence. Strangely,
her pupils picked up on it, too. 'Are they really advancing this quickly? Just what the hell are these three?' M ikoto thought in pure
bewilderment. A young man of about average height stepped into the room with a curious look on his face. He looked nearly identical to
Sasuke except for his hairstyle being in a ponytail, and two scars running at a forty-five-degree angle on either side of the top of the
bridge of his nose all the way to his cheeks.
"Itachi-kun!" M ikoto called out in surprise. Standing there was none other than the Uchiha prodigy himself, Itachi Uchiha.

"Itachi-nii-san!" Sasuke cried, getting up and hugging his older brother.


The ANBU captain smiled and hugged his brother back. "It's good to you, too, Sasuke," he quipped in a mysterious voice.
Itachi turned his attention to the two unfamiliar faceswell, really onethat sat at the kitchen table. "I see a lot has happened in the
three months I've been gone," the elder Uchiha brother blankly noted.
"Yes, Itachi-kun, it has," she confirmed. "M eet my newestwellonly, set of pupils."
"Naruto Uzumaki, Itachi-san," Naruto introduced himself.
"Nice to meet you, Uzumaki-san," Itachi said politely, although already knowing who he was. The whisker-like birthmarks on his
cheeks practically gave away his uniqueness.
"Sakura Haruno, Itachi-san. Sasuke-kun has told us a lot about you," Sakura revealed.
The Uchiha raised an amused eyebrow. "Oh, he has?" He chuckled, poking Sasuke in the forehead. "Foolish, little brother."
Sasuke didn't look amused. "Hey! Don't do that when they're around!" the Uchiha scion complained, earning a healthy chuckle from all
those present.
"Itachi-kun, will you be staying for dinner?" M ikoto inquired. Itachi stood up and shook his head. He never did like huge social
gatherings like this. He just wanted to do his job and have the bare minimum of contact with people. He already had enough on his plate.
"No, kaa-san," he said firmly. "I'll eat at a later time. Right now, I just need to rest. It's been a long while since I've been home."
M ikoto audibly sighed. "All right, then, suit yourself." She really hated how anti-social her oldest son was. Itachi said his goodbyes, and
walked out of the room to head toward his father's study.
"Your brother seems cold," Naruto dully observed.
Sasuke scoffed. "Thanks for stating the obvious, Naruto, like we couldn't figure that one out." The sarcasm that leaked out was
obviously a form of resentment he had toward Itachi, even if they did have some sort of brotherly kinship.
"Is the sarcasm really necessary?" Naruto grunted back. Sakura huffed, shaking her head.
"All right, all right, you two stop it," M ikoto intervened before either boy could start flinging any insults. Sasuke sighed and looked at
Naruto apologetically. Said blond simply nodded, forgiving him instantly.
"Okay, you three, we're going to do some laps around the estate!" M ikoto snickered, enjoying the looks of dread on the three children.
"Come on, those laps aren't going to run themselves," she smiled, getting up. With a collective sigh, the trio followed their sensei for their
daily torture. M an, was this going to utterly suck.
"I don't trust that kid," came the voice of the Kyuubi in Naruto's head. Having long been used to him butting in his opinion at random
times, the blue-eyed Uzumaki didn't even bat an eyelash.
'You mean Itachi? Sasuke's brother? Why's that?" Naruto asked curious.
"He gives me a bad vibe. Like he could snap at any moment."
Although Naruto had known the guy only from Sasuke's description and from meeting with him literally less than five minutes ago, he
still had to take his tenant's feelings into account. If he were perfectly honest, he didn't feel all that comfortable with the Uchiha heir,
either. He slowly nodded.
'All right, I'llkeep a close eye on him.'
"Good" the fox chimed, before smirking in amusement. "Don't you have laps to run?"
The blond simply groaned. He just had to remind him, didn't he? 'You freaking suck, you know that?'
The Fox shrugged. "Hey, it's your body and I'm trying to keep you alive for my" He heard Naruto growl. He snorted. "Fineour
sakesheesh."
'Damn right!' Naruto replied before cutting off the mental connection with his vulpine 'friend'. And nowfor hell

(Root Base, Location Unknown, Time Unknown)


Danzo sat alone in the comfortable darkness of his throne room. M ultiple thoughts, schemes, and plots circulated through the ROOT
leader's mind. These past three months had been hell for both his health, stress, as well as his organization as a whole.
As much as he kept his composure, Danzo knew he had to find a reprieve to let some of this frustration out in the wild. It was
unhealthy, and considering none of his goals had been met, he needed to live until those were accomplished
"How sickeningI feel like a big hypocrite as my old rival is" He then chuckled at the irony. "WellI guess that's something we do
have in common." The dark room pulsated a bit as the rusty pipelines running sewage and various night crawlers were the only sounds
he could hear in the near deafening silent room.
Truthfully, the crippled veteran almost wished he had let Hiruzen in on the loop with the Ultranationalists and what they were
planning. Then the plot with the Uchiha came out of nowhere and added another twist that threw him off balance. Every last one of his
operatives started working around the clock to make sure Konoha was safeabroad and domestically. At the moment, he couldn't
decide who the bigger threat was.
On one hand, he had the Uchiha clan, likely planning a rebellion. The consequences of such an action would be catastrophic, to put it
lightly. Such a coup would plunge the village into dangerous civil war; one where they couldn't recover fast enough before villages would
take advantage of such weakness. Danzo had no doubt of that likely scenario. After allthat was what he would do if he were in the
situation. He shuddered at the thought. Sometimes, his own psyche frightened even a shinobi of his caliber.
He chuckled darkly. "I guess it would frighten me. I'm a diabolical genius, after all," he boasted of himself.
Then, there were the Ultranationalists, themselves. Those genocidal bastards disgusted even him. Treating those of other nationalities
with scorn and disdain, believing they were superior in every way. Contrary to popular belief, Danzo was not a social Darwinist. In fact,
he was the exact opposite. If he truly did subscribe to the mantra of the letting the strong live and the weak die, then he'd have no
business trying to protect Konoha from the shadows. He snorted in contempt at the notion. If one truly did kill the weak, so the strong
could live, then, most likely, a new definition of "weak" would take its place, and the cycle of pointless bloodshed would never end. In
truth, Danzo protected the weakthe civilians and young ninja-in-training-rather than trying to wipe them out. His Ne program was
proof enough that you could turn many weak-minded people into an army of unstoppable will.
"Those misguided foolssuch a blind ideology they subscribe toand yet, they eat up their propaganda based on wounded national
pride over an incident they had no knowledge of until it was publicized all over the continent," he sneered. He had read the pamphlets,
multiple news media and magazines calling Kumo's attempt at the Hyuuga heiress an "embarrassment" and "pathetic" for Lightning
Country and the Village Hidden in the Clouds as a whole.
Danzo knew that that kind of bruised ego for an entire country that backed those of the Ultranationalists wasn't good at all. It was
poignant. The sheer size of Kumogakurewhich practically took up half of the Land of Lightninghad protected them from invasion
since its inception, and they created a system that not only sought to give the people a voice, but to make the workload easier on the
Raikage. Now that very same system was going to vote in a group of psychotic war mongrels that would destroy their system of
democracy and plunge their population into war.
He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if the Ultranationalists gained control over the village, then Konoha might as well start an
arms race to restructure more shinobi in preparation. They wanted to spread their "wings" over the entire continent, and dammed if you
didn't like it.
"M aybe this Fourth Great Shinobi World War would be the key to bringing true peace?" the veteran pondered before he berated himself
at such a an utterly preposterous and, frankly, absurd proposition. Of course it wouldn't. And as good as a schemer and planner he was,
he didn't know how the other villages would react, who would ally with who, what situations would back another into a corner, and
various other miscellaneous factors that no one short of the gods themselves could predict. War with them wasn't optimal, unless
absolutely necessary.
Shimura snorted. "I'm becoming more and more like an extremist version of Hiruzen, I swear. Now all my plans involve spilling the least
amount of blood," he mused.
Speaking of plans.
He wondered if his gambit had worked or not
Danzo felt two very familiar chakra signatures enter the room from the shadows. He smirked. They did have a habit of arriving the

moment he needed them. They chose not to reveal themselves.


"I see you two have come backHas it worked?"
"So far, yes, Danzo-sama. They don't suspect a thing."
Danzo's eye narrowed, but it wasn't like the two could see him, in the pitch-black room. "No. Expect the unexpected. Do not let your
guard down. They could playing us for fools and we wouldn't know it."
"I understand, sir."
"Good. I must say it pleases me that you two managed to pull it off."
"Siryou were the one who created the clones, so we can't take all the credit."
"So it would seem you can't. Butmake sure all of our leaked info stays airtight, understood?"
"Perfectly, sir. We'll keep the pressure on them."
"Very well, then. Leave. I wish to be alone," the spiky-haired veteran commanded. The two operatives didn't verbally respond; they
only vanished back into the shadows, following their master's orders.
Danzo grinned evilly. It was like killing two birds with one stone. Now that he had confirmation of his foreign plans working, so far at
least, he could now focus on his next goal: eliminating the conspirators from within.
"You fools may sneer and gloat at Hiruzen's Will of Fire thinking you can extinguish it, but I'll show you my ownmy Wrath of Fire,"
he vowed as his slight maniacal laughter echoed throughout the entire base. Fortunately, no one could hear the cackling of the extremist
that hid in the roots of the tree that shone tall over the rest of the meadow.
(Kumogakure, 12th and 13th District Borders, BOLT M ain HQ, Three and-a-half weeks later, 2100 hours)
Aisu sat in a conference room deep within the main base of the Black Operations and Lightning Tactics Squad. The black ops HQ was
strategically placed on the twelfth and thirteenth districts, which most citizens more often than not used as distinction. The BOLT
Squad was the village's first line of defense in the unlikely scenario of an invasion. The base on the surface area seemed to be nothing
more than a simple one-story, wide building. In truth, the base went nearly three-hundred feet underground and had walkways that
served as "tunnels" throughout the entire village underground.
The facility was state-of-the-art, and the top brass made sure they were very well taken care of. There was no expense spared into
making the village's most elite of the elite shinobi had a facility that was worth a damn. With recreational activities, and training facilities
built to take huge amounts of punishment, there was really no need for any BOLT operative to go into town, unless it was to a special
bar or restaurant they liked to dine at. In fact, a good ninety percent of the entire spec ops division lived here.
Aisu smirked that he had the village's most powerful shinobi under his control. He then sighedhowever, all of that did come with a
cost. They did have the job of maintaining parts of the village and with the village being ridiculously large, private contracts alone
couldn't support the village's high-standard of living. For comparison, the twelfth and thirteenth districts alone were easily the size of
Konoha. A good many of the Kumo shinobi force had to help maintain it along with the private industry, both domestic and abroad.
Which was why now one of the reasons he had called a meetingwith all of his Lieutenant Commanders.
They were sitting at a rectangular desk about three meters long, incredibly thin, but sturdy enough to support many times its own
weight. He sat at the head in a comfortable chair, while his four subordinates sat two on either side of the table. In front of each was a
cup ofhot chocolate. Aisu's particular obsession with the cocoa drink was well known, and the four LCs had long been used to it.
To his left was Sayuri Ichiso, the Lieutenant Commander of the Reconnaissance Division. She was a tall woman, standing at five feet,
nine inches, with dark navy blue hair tied up in a ponytail with her eyes being an extremely rare amethyst color. She wore a typical black
shinobi outfit that was, of course, covered by her white haori.
To the right of Sayuri, was Kazanrai "Kaz" Ishiriki, of the Interrogation Division. He stood at five feet, eight inches, with short, spiky,
teal-colored hair and jade-colored eyes with skin almost as dark as Darui's. His white haori was sleeveless, with dark purple diamonds
that faded into the fabric. Underneath was a kimono top with dark shinobi pants and sandals. Like his commander, he, too, wore a
katana, except his guard was violet instead of pitch-black, and it was strapped to his back rather than his waist.
To Aisu's left, was M itsurugi Yoshida of the Assault Division. He stood even taller than Aisu himself, at an astonishing six feet seven

inches. His muscular frame could give the Raikage a run for his money. He had long black hair that reached his shoulders, and multiple
battle scars across his face. He wore an outfit similar to Kaz, with the only difference being that he wore a full battle kimono and samurai
sandals.
And, finally, to M itsurugi's left, was the ever mysterious Zennosuke Ishimoto, of the Assassination Division. He had typical features
found on this part of the continent: white hair and turquoise-colored eyes. A white scarf adorned his neck, and his haori was tied tight
for maximum freedom during missions. The Lieutenant Commander only spoke when necessary, and preferred to stay in the shadows,
both literally and figuratively.
The five individuals in this room-counting Aisu, too-were easily the most powerful shinobi in the village, next to the Raikage, Killer Bee,
and Yugito. They may have specialized in one area, but by no means were they a slouch in the ways of the shinobi.
"Sodaisho" Sayuri began respectfully, her voice indicating she meant business. 'Time to put on a show for these fools,' the LC thought
wickedly.
"Go ahead, Sayuri," Aisu premised, to which the cobalt-haired Lieutenant Commander nodded and gathered some documents spread out
in front of her.
"I've been getting reports that there may be some foreign activity going on within our borders," she responded gravely, holding out a few
sketches that assumed, from the insignia on their headbands, they were Leaf shinobi. Aisu saw Kaz's eyes narrow a bit, but said nothing.
"Pft," M itsurugi scoffed. "Konoha shinobi? In our territory with tensions this high? I don't buy it. " he offhandedly commented.
Sayuri calmly stared at the Assault Division commander. "Lieutenant Yoshida, please refrain from making assertions, when you have no
idea how I operate." M itsurugi was about to retort, when Aisu's chakra flared through the room, forcing even Zennosuke to open his
eyes in shock. The four could hardly breathe as they felt the force of their Commander's power.
"Enough," he growled dangerously, which chilled even the Assault LC. "Spare me the theatrics of your foolish inner-organization rivalry.
I will not tolerate such ridiculous competition, especially in my presence. Now are you going to shut up and end this little charade, or do
I have to step in and crush both of you?" he threatened dangerously. Although fair and kind, when the Commander needed to lay down
the law, he was scarier than a judge sentencing a criminal to capital punishment.
Sayuri felt a bead of sweat roll down her brow, as genuine fear swept through her being. 'Now, I know why Hideyoshi-sama is so afraid
of him. His chakra output alone nearly caused me to suffocate. Unreal'
"Am I understood?" Aisu repeated.
"Yes, sir," he heard them both reply.
He simply nodded. "Continue, Lieutenant."
Sayuri wiped the sweat from her hands and continued from where she left off. "As you can see, these aren't normal Konoha shinobi. I
believe we haven't encountered them before. I obtained these sketches from one of my squad captains. He didn't engage them, seeing as
how they were an unknown enemy and they knew protocol, not to risk it unless valuable information was obtained." Even though they
were foreign shinobi, they had strict protocols of engagement and they didn't recognize their form of attire adding to the mystery.
Attacking them prematurely could've gotten the entire squad killed and the information would've never gotten to Sayuri's desk.
As far as the four in the room were concerned, they could "capture" them at a later date. Sayuri refused to smirk. 'Hideyoshi-sama
already had them disposed of. This is almost too easy.'
"A black operations squad? If Konoha has an organization similar to ours, then that istroubling." Kazanrai commented, speaking up
for the first time since the meeting again.
"Quite possibly," she agreed. "However, I don't think these Konoha shinobi are publically funded."
Now the Interrogator was interested. "You mean a private army? What would they have to gain from spying on us? They're not getting
paid for it."
"I see" Aisu replied, resting his right fist on his chin. "Danzoyou've gotten clever, haven't you?" he mused.
M itsurugi's brow rose. "Danzo? You mean the old rival of the Sandaime Hokage? What about him?

"The very same," Aisu confirmed. "Tell me you fourwhat do you know of the Ne?"
Kazanrai's eyes widened. "The Ne? Sodaishothey were disbanded, as far as our intelligence knew."
Aisu shook his head. "On the contrary, our intelligence confirms it. Danzowe all know he's a war hawk who would want nothing more
than the absolute dominance of Konohagakure. You really think a man is going to let his ambitions go away just from a simple command
to publically disband his army? Nowhat is likely is that the public disbanding was a farce; a ruse to fool enemies abroad. The Ne often
did the missions that Konoha didn't want publicized, trying to keep the mantle as the "noble" village, while in reality performing
despicable deeds just like we all have done at some point in our careers. Danzo would be the only shinobi with enough capital to
privately fund it, anyhow, or even care enough to do so."
There was dead silence in the room, after the Hayasaka explained in great detail by simply using abstract pieces of information and
pulling them together.
"Your power of insight humbles me, Sodaisho," a compliment came a chilling voice. Kazanrai blinked. Did Zennosuke just speak
without being asked a query? Sayuri and M itsurugi were expressionless, preferring to hide their astonishment.
Aisu simply smiled and waved off the Assassination Division leader. "It's nothing, Zennosuke. It really was nothing too big," he humbly
replied, to which Zen simply nodded, going back to his usual mode of being mute.
"Regardless," Aisu continued preparing to give out orders, "I want these shinobi found and, if possible, taken alive. They could provide
information valuable to us, as well as information the Hidden Leaf doesn't wanting us knowing."
Kazanrai smirked. "I'll get right on it, Sodaisho. When we capture them," he licked his lips in sadistic gratification, "I'm going to take
pleasure in extracting what we need." Aisu was unfazed by his sadism, and simply nodded.
"M itsurugi, your teams will be on standby for the extraction of our targets."
"Yes, sir," he simply responded.
"Sayuri, continue to do what you do. The more information, the better."
Sayuri bowed her head. "It shall be done, Sodaisho." She was inwardly smirking. 'Exactly as planned.'
"Very well, then. You're all dismissedexcept for you, Zennosuke," Aisu commanded. He looked at him expressionlessly and then
simply nodded. The other three vanished out of the room from their seats, not bothering to use the door. The Commander and the
Assassin were left alone to their own devices.
"Sir?"
"Zennosukekeep an eye on Sayuri for me, would you?" Aisu asked, to which the Lieutenant, looked surprised.
"You don't trust her, Sodaisho?" he inquired quizzically.
"I do," he assured. "ButI do believe she's hiding something. What that is, I don't know. You're the only one with the skills necessary
to spy on her." Zennosuke was a master at stealth, to the point where even Aisu had barely detected him, while he was observing.
"I see," he replied neutrally. "Very well, then, sodaisho, I'll keep a watchful eye from time to time."
"That would be much appreciated," Aisu courteously thanked. "You're dismissed." Zennosuke stood up, bowed, and went into a dark
corner in the conference room. After a few moments, Aisu could no longer detect his presence.
The wielder of the Thunderbirds leaned back into his chair and sighed. The things he had to put up with. He stood up from his position,
walked out of the room and, to his amazement, Darui was waiting for the young commander.
"Darui?" he said in genuine surprise. "Who let you in?" he asked flatly.
The jounin simply shrugged. "I'm pretty persuasive."
Aisu clucked his teeth. "Riiiight," he quipped, not really believing him, but not caring enough to probe the issue further. They both
started walking toward the exit of the base.
"Any luck?" Darui asked getting to the point.

Aisu groaned, "Nonot really. I've been stuck trying to get some free time. I sometimes hate this job," he admitted.
"Don't we all?" Darui agreed. "There's a bar in district four that's open. I could teach you some stuff there."
"A bar, eh? In one of the districts that's up for election in three months? Good call, Darui," Aisu complimented.
Darui simply shook his head. "You know I'll never get used to your ability to read motives and people like a book."
Aisu simply allowed for both a half-smile and a half-smirk. "Trust me, Darui. I wouldn't have gotten as far as I have without it."
"Indeed," the jounin agreed. Finally, they had reached the outside of the base after a silent walk. Aisu frowned, the thirteenth and twelfth
districts weren't all that impressive to look at. It was actually the poorest district in the village, with each descending district number
infrastructure improved. Naturally, most of the noble clans, the Raikage, the Council M embers, and rich civilians lived in the first three
districts, while the middle class and most of the shinobi population lived in districts four though ten. It honestly disgusted the
Commander that Killer A never did anything to address this problem.
The Ultranationalists were going to take heavy advantage of that fact and he probably didn't even realize it. District thirteen was pretty
much a sealed deal in favor of the Ultranationalists when the seat of their current councilmanwho was a member of the Virgawas up
for grabs.
"Sodaisho?" Darui asked, breaking the commander of his thoughts. "You feel okay?"
He nodded. "Yeah, don't worry about me. I just spaced out for a bit," Aisu assured him. Darui shrugged, not wanting to press the matter.
"Follow me," Darui commanded as he took to the rooftops as they made way for a long trip to the fourth district. Aisu followed and
kept up easily.
Damn, this village was too big for its own good.
(Eleventh District, Kumogakure streets, 2200 hours)
The eleventh district of Kumo was buzzing with life as the residents of this region of the village danced in the street, performers were
doing all kinds of neat tricks, and people in general were having a good time. This wasn't a special occasion, no. This part of the village
there was always a never-ending party of people just celebrating life and enjoying it. Because it was a popular district to visit for
entertainment and games, they were saved from the fates of the twelfth and thirteenth districts.
However, it all wasn't rosy and dandy for the famed district. It had a notorious crime rate, especially during the evening times at the
more isolated parts of the region. The district was represented by the councilman who belonged to United Cloud. He flat out ignored the
crime rate, and the rising poverty rate, and instead was simply inflating numbers for their entertainment economy. It sure wasn't going to
last long, and the population that lived here was effectively split down the middle for supporting the Ultranationalists and the United
Cloud. At this point, it could go either way, and both parties were campaigning heavily so the pot could tip in their favor.
"Stop!" a merchant yelled as he was chasing a three kids, a boy and two females, who looked to be about the age of ten, throughout the
semi-empty streets. This was such a common occurrence that most of the civilians chose to ignore it akin to the bystander effect. The
boy had short white-hair, a lollipop in his mouth, and wore dark clothing that was about a size or two too big. His two female
companions were dark skinned and the other's skin was white. The dark-skinned female had red-hair and golden eyes, while her female
counter part had blonde hair and blue eyes. They sped around the corner, intending to hide. What they found was none other than a dead
end.
"Shit!" the ashen-haired young man cursed. They just had to run into a dead end now of all times?
"I got you now!" the merchant screamed as he effectively cornered the three thieves.
"What do we do now?" the dark-skinned female cried out, a bit terrified of what the merchant they stole from would do to them.
The white-haired male all of a sudden dropped the bag he had held behind him. Presumably, it had whatever he had stolen in it. He gave
them both serious looks.
"You guys get out of here," he firmly said. The two looked at him wide-eyed.
"Omoi! You can't!" the dark-skinned female refused, to the newly named Omoi.
"Karuiyou have to," he intoned a bit sadly. "You and Samui need to get out of here. You both stand a better chance of escaping than

all three of us."


"None of you are escaping!" the adult roared as he took out a butcher knife. Omoi prepared himself to defend the two girls he had come
think of as family, before the butcher was knocked outcold. He hit the ground, face first.
"Sheesh, just when you think the higher-ups can't let this shithole get any worse, something always tops it," a deep voice scoffed as he
stepped into the light. He was around six feet and one inch, had scruffy black hair that with a short and thin Chinese braided ponytail,
with green eyes the shade of an emerald. The man was dressed in a standard Kumo Jounin outfit, except his flak jacket was more akin to
what Konoha used instead of the one strap version most Kumo jounin used. Adding to his overall appearance was a katana with a green
hilt strapped to his back.
"You kids okay?" he asked rather dispassionately. He honestly didn't know why he had saved them from the man. They were stealing
from him. Butthen again, this place was a rotten shithole, and the Raikage and the Council weren't doing shit about it. He gritted his
teeth just thinking about it.
"Umwho are you?" Samui inquired, a bit distrustful. Sure she was glad the man had saved their lives, but she'd be dammed if she let
her guard down in a town as bad as this.
"ObanoObano Kouseki," the newly named Obano introduced. Omoi's eyes widened. Obano? The Obano? Kumogakure's Emerald
Fang? He rubbed his eyes. He had to be dreaming.
"Obano," Karui repeated, mispronouncing it. "Interesting name," she admitted.
Obano shook his head. "No, not Obano, it's pronounced with a 'y' at the end, so Oh-bahn-yo," he corrected a bit annoyed. It irritated
him to no end when people mispronounced his name, even when he introduced himself first.
Karui frowned. "Oh, sorry," she apologized. The jet-black-haired jounin simply sighed and waved her off, forgiving her.
"Why'd you save us?" Omoi asked, once he got over the fact that an infamous jounin had quite possibly saved their lives.
Obano looked at them, with surprise. They still had their guards up. No matter what the situation, he always taught to never let your
guard down even when it seemed as if the enemy was defeated. 'Like shinobi alreadyI wonder'
Obano simply shrugged, "I figured you three wouldn't be stealing for any reason and the guy looked like he was going to kill you, so I
simply incapacitated him." That answered seemed to satisfy the three, and they visibly relaxed.
The Emerald Fang turned away from them, "Well, good luck, you guys, and try to be more careful next time," he advised before
beginning to walk away.
"Wait! Kouseki-san!" Omoi called out, stopping the jounin where he was and he turned his head.
"What is it, kid?"
"Wellthank youfor saving us."
"Don't mention it," the jounin waved off. He was about to jump off, before he stopped and sighed. These kids were likely stealing in
order to get a decent meal. From their clothes, there was no doubt that they were street ratsorphans, most likely. A groan escaped
from his mouth. His conscience was eating at him again. Then, a thought came to him.
'Hideyoshi-sama did say that we all needed to recruit the youngcould I really do that? Indoctrinate a couple of kids into our ideology?'
he thought as a twinge of remorse slipped through. He looked back at them. Then againwhich would be the bigger crime? Taking care
of three kids while force-feeding them an ideologyor leaving them here where they had no purpose and assuredly they'd likely get
caught on their next stealing trip and possibly died? He finally made up his mind of which would ease his conscience the most.
"Heyyou three," he called out getting their attention. "You guys hungry? I have food at my place if you want."
All three collectively went wide-eyed. "Ar-Are you serious?" came the bewildered voice of Samui. Karui and Omoi were simply too
speechless to say anything.
Obano had to chuckle at their reactions, but he nodded nonetheless. "I'd be heartless to let you kids starve when I have plenty of food at
my apartment over in the fourth district."
"You live in the fourth district?" Karui exclaimed in bewilderment. The jade-eyed jounin frowned. Just to hear someone live in an upper

district was mind-blowing to them? He felt humbled at how blessed he was.


"I do," he confirmed. "Come on, and if we go now, we can make it by ten." He admired the Shodai Raikage as much as the rest of the
Ultranationalists did, but damn, if he felt as if the deceased Kage was compensating for something when he made the village as large as it
was.
"Just hold on a minute!" Samui shouted, firmly narrowing her eyes at the jounin. "Just how do we know it isn't a trick? That you won't
turn us in?" Years on the streets had taught Samui to trust no oneexcept for Omoi and Karui, of course.
Obano raised an eyebrow. "Well" he began with a bit of sarcasm. "I did sort of just keep you from being killed when I could've left
you alone. Now you have two options: you can either a) trust me enough that I won't kill you or turn you in and you get a free fullcourse meal and possibly more; or b) you can stay here and take your chances on the street for another day or however long you think
you'll last. Now tell me, which one?"
Samui bit her lip. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right, on all accounts. She then looked at her companions that'd she had
known nearly all of her decade of living. They looked at her pleadingly.
"Samui, pleasecome onwhat do we have to lose?" Omoi pleaded with the blonde female.
"Yeah, Samui, Omoi's right, we've got nothing to lose, but everything to gain," Karui implored, backing up the only male of the trio.
Samui grunted, they were practically begging her now.
"Well, what's your answer?" Obano asked a bit impatient.
She sighed in defeat. "All rightI'll go." Samui looked to her companions and they both had looks of appreciation on their face. She
nodded to them. 'I just hope I don't regret this."
Obano bobbed his head. "All right, you guys, follow me. Also, no complaining about the long walk. It'll be a while before we get there,"
he warned as he walked off. The trio of orphans followed the elite jounin, hoping that this would be the start of a new life.
These four individuals never knew the ripples of their gathering would cause in the tide of the delicate balance.
(Fourth District, Bar, 2300 hours)
Aisu and Darui sat a table observing the various individuals, shinobi and civilian alike in one of the most popular bars in this fairly highincome-earning district. Aisu had to admit, a bar was the last place he expected to be observing to learn how to "save" Kumo from the
Ultranationalists. They both had left clones to watch over Ayasaki, just as Darui always did when he went out into the village.
"Sirs, can I take your order?" a blonde waitress asked as she came up to their table.
"I'll take a bottle of sake, mid-range in strength," Darui ordered. She then turned to Aisu.
"And you, sir?"
"You guys wouldn't happen to have any hot chocolate, would you?" Aisu asked a bit sheepishly. Darui rose an eyebrow while the
waitress simply nodded yes.
"Then I'll take the largest cup and the richest flavor you have," Aisu grinned. The waitress nodded and went to prepare said drinks that
were ordered.
"Hot chocolate?" Darui asked, confused and bewildered. "Aisu-sodaishoit's nearly June, almost. Why would you order hot cocoa?"
The BOLT commander simply shrugged. "I just have a particular taste for it. It always seems to calm me. M ore so than coffee or alcohol
ever will. Doesn't matter if it's thirty Celsius above or below. I'll still drink it."
Darui chuckled. "I see. You certainly have interestingquirks, considering you're the strongest ninja in the village next to Raikage-sama."
He gave a sidelong look. "So I've been told," he responded neutrally. Darui wondered what he meant by that, but they had more pressing
matters to attend to, so he had saved that query for another time. In that time, their waitress had come back with their drinks. Two
coffee mugs and two containers filled with their respective beverages to refill at the ready. Darui took a sip of his sake, while Aisu
poured his mug to half full.
"All right, let's get to business. We're here to listen to political ideologies. Get a feel for what people are saying, that kind of thing,"

Darui began.
"You still never told me why exactly a bar is going to help us. M ost people here are probably going to intoxicated. Hardly representative
of what people in this district believe in," Aisu replied with a twinge of skepticism at the jounin's method of gathering information.
Darui had to shake his head at the navet of his superior. "SodaishoI see you've been too busy running BOLT to see what's happened
in the past five or so years." Aisu grunted, but said nothing as Darui continued. "The bar has been a recent shift of where most people
talk about politics and their grievances after the failed attempt to capture the Byakugan."
Aisu scoffed. "I still see no reason why we had to capture that pathetic dojutsu"
Darui sighed, but he couldn't lie to himself as he agreed with the commander. What was the point of capturing the Byakugan, anyhow?
He shook his head. Now was not the time for that.
"Yes, I agree," he conceded to his point. "But, now's not the time to worry about that, point is, we're in a jam because of that incident
and now we have to clean up Raikage-sama's messunfortunately."
"Indeed," Aisu agreed. Darui was about to reply, when two customers, a male and female had taken a seat at the table booth behind him.
Darui gave him a look that simply told all he needed to know: Watch, Observe, Listen, Reflect, and Formulate.
"Can you believe this, Kenji?" the redheaded woman spoke up, throwing a magazine in front of her male companion. Kenji picked the
magazine up, and looked at its cover. It was 'Ninja Daily,' a publication that had circulated throughout the entire Elemental Nations and
was headquartered in the Land of Iron. On the cover was a picture of the Cloud headband symbol with a simple query in all caps:
Doomed?
Kenji sighed and put the magazine back down in front her. "M an, and I thought M ist was treated bad, Suki."
The woman, Suki, grunted. "The M ist never really had an embarrassment like one we had five years ago. I feel as if the entire world is
laughing at us!" she growled, clearly angry. Aisu was highly interested in where this conversation was headed, so he strained his ears so
he could listen to every single detail.
"This is the Raikage's fault, you know," Kenji pointed out, but that did nothing to subdue her anger.
"That's what makes it so frustrating. He not only embarrassed us, but he actually demanded the body as retribution? What kind of
blunder was that? We were lucky they didn't declare war on us!"
"It makes you wonderif we should we even vote to keep the United Cloud in power. So far, they've caused nothing but trouble for us;
both here at home and to the outside world," came his grim response.
"I personally think the Ultranationalists would be better," Suki said out of nowhere.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's pretty damn far out there, Suki! Are you sure you could support them, considering where they stand?" he
asked her. A good portion of their ideology wasn't that hidden away from the public.
She nodded firmly. "Think about it, Kenji. With them, they could likely restore our national pride! They could make Kumo great again!"
"But Suki, how can you be so?"
"When was the last time we won a war with them in power? Or with the Virga, for that matter, also?" she interrupted with a rhetorical
question. Kenji stayed silent.
"That's what I thought," she said smugly. Kenji grunted, a bit annoyed she had won their little disagreement.
"LookI don't feel like talking about this for right now. Can we move on to another subject?" he pleaded. Suki rolled her eyes and
nodded. That was when the two shinobi stopped listening to their conversation.
"Well, then, Sodaisho, what do you think?" Darui asked him. He didn't immediately respond as his eyes were seemingly shifting back
and forth as he processed what he had just overheard in his head.
"Sodaisho?" Darui called out again.
Aisu gave him a grin. "I got an idea"

(END)
And we're done here after 30 pages on M icrosoft Word. :D Aisu's got an idea to put a stop to the political propaganda machine of the
Ultranationalists, but Hideyoshi may have gained some new followers in the form of Team Samui. M eanwhile, Danzo schemes to put an
end to the plans in Kumo, as well as thwarting Fugaku and the Uchiha uprising.
I'm just going to lay it out to you straight. Obano, Samui, Karui, and Omoi will become central characters in this story and will play
absolutely pivotal roles almost to the level of the future Squad Seven, themselves. They'll have their own scenes and development
coincided with Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura, albeit with different circumstances.
Were Team Samui probably older at this point in time in canon? Probably. Do I give a damn? Hell no, I don't. Neither should you. I told
you I was toying around with canon's history just so my story could work, and considering that this is an AU, wellyeah. I think you
know where I'm going with this.
It's now October 18, 2011, approximately ten days since I last updated. So in keeping with my pattern, expect Chapter Six either on the
twenty-seventh or the twenty-eighth. Stay tuned, because, in the next chapter, shit is about to hit the fan, on both sides of the continent.
Enjoy the rest of your day or evening and please don't forget to write a review telling me what you think.
With Regards
Arashi.

*Chapter 6*: Incessant Intrigues


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Six: Incessant Intrigues
Welcome all to another installment of Eternal Legends! While I'm pleased with the hit and visitor count steadily increasing, the review
count isn't increasing with it, which is, admittedly, a bit discouraging. However, I did promise to update as much as I can before
December, so that's what I'm going to continue to do.
On one note, I have a huge rant following this chapter based on the travesty that was this week's Naruto chapter. God, it's pissing me
off just thinking about it! Ugh, let me stop.
By the way, you all need to pay extra attention to this chapter as there are heavy amounts of foreshadowing for future plot points.
Also, there will be, admittedly, a lot of flashbacks. This is an effort to save time, so I don't back myself into a corner. I can't detail every
bit of their training, as much as I want too. But, I'm short on time as it is, and I want to detail as much of their childhoods as possible,
while meeting the December deadline.
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden and Call of Duty, which are under the copyright ownership of Team Ninja and
Infinity Ward, as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo and Activision, respectively.
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world, and alter the course of history. This is their story
(Hokage M ountain, three months later, Early September, near sunset)
Itachi Uchiha sat alone on the edge of the Hokage M ountain that had the faces of the all the Kage of Konoha carved into it. Ironically, he
was sitting on the edge of the head of Hiruzen Sarutobi. The Uchiha prodigy's face was impassive, but he was troubled by inner turmoil
that threw his emotional equilibrium off balance. Even a prodigy shinobi of his caliber had his emotional limits.
Itachi scoffed in annoyance. How he truly hated that title: 'the Uchiha Prodigy.' He was praised as the best Uchiha born in several
decades, possibly since their founding in Konoha. Even by their high standards, he outclassed them in pretty much every way. Some
called him one of the next legendary ninjas, like the Densetsu no Sannin, the late White Fang, and some even had the balls to even
compare him to an Uchiha version of the Yondaime Hokage, himself.
The Uchiha heir couldn't help but chuckle at that last one. He knew he was good, but he knew the Yondaime at his current age, thirteen,
would have run circles around him, even with his mastery of the Sharingan. There was no telling how big the gap would be had he fought
him as an adult. A small chill crept up his spine at that thought.
"Is that why you do this now, father?" Itachi asked himself as the wind blew his hair and loose articles of clothing as he stared at the
setting sun. The late Hokage had practically won the war with Iwagakure by himself, and decimated nearly a thousand of their forces
singlehandedly. As with the many grievances Fugaku and the elders had with their current situation, they knew that a rebellion when
M inato was reigning would be tantamount to suicide. Now that he was deceased and the rapidly aging Hiruzen Sarutobi took his place,
the elders thought this was their perfect chance.
He had spoken with the Hokage three months ago, informing him of the situation. Although it pleased him that he had managed to
convince the elders out of their absurd logic of dealing with the clan, he still had to make a choice. Could he do it? Could he really kill
them?
He began to review the events that led up to all this
Itachi was in the ANBU headquarters near the center of the village, doing some normal exercises frantically trying to clear his head from
his three-month-long mission. It was an A-Class mission, and to say Itachi had a bad feeling about its true nature was a complete
understatement.
His inner ramblings were cut short as a lone ANBU grunt with a bear mask appeared in front of him in a kneeling position.
"Itachi-taicho, I bring word from Hokage-sama. He says he wishes to speak with you. I'd say it's urgent," the grunt relayed to the

prodigy.
Itachi nodded. "Thank youI'll be on my way, then." Without even sparing his subordinate a second glance, Itachi hastily made his way
out of the ANBU headquarters. He got some curious looks from his fellow captains as well as their underlings, but he paid them no mind
as he walked outside. He immediately took to the rooftops and headed directly for the Hokage Tower, which was about a two-minute
journey at his current pace.
During those couple of minutes, Itachi allowed his mind to race at the possibilities of what the Hokage himself would want to see him
personally about. Could it be a promotion? Itachi shook his head, dismissing it. Unless there was some secret rank that he didn't know
about, which he highly doubted, ANBU captain was pretty much where the buck stopped for most ninja, unless they went straight to Kage.
He snorted at the assertion. Him of all people? A Hokage at his age? It was inconceivable.
A second possibility that ran through the raven-haired ANBU's head was a secret mission that Itachi was specifically needed for. That
was certainly a possibility, as jounin going on solo missions wasn't exactly common, but it wasn't unheard of. However, that did beg the
question of why he couldn't have a team with him. Powerful, he was, but he wasn't foolish enough to delude himself into thinking that he
was invincible due to how big the gap was between him and most of the shinobi his age.
Itachi shook his head. There was no use in worrying about what the Sandaime wanted, because he was going to find out, literally, in the
next minute or so. He landed in front of the Hokage Tower, and let himself into the lobby, a bell chiming letting them know someone had
entered.
Itachi walked up to the secretary. "Ueda-san, I was requested by the Hokage to meet him here," he explained to the female at the front
desk.
Ueda nodded and started to look on a clipboard of a roster of people that the Hokage needed to meet with him and vice-versa. Her
fingers traced the names down and she nodded. "Ah, yes, Itachi-taicho, you're scheduled five minutes from now." She then blinked.
"Wowhe has no more openings after youstrange," she uttered in thought, more to herself than Itachi.
That tidbit of information alarmed the Uchiha, as his warning bells blared rather loudly. Now he definitely knew this was a deadly
serious matter. It was a well-known, but unspoken, fact that meetings with the Hokage were often brief, terse, and straight to the point.
Most never last longer than half an hour. It was mid-afternoon, and according to Ueda, the Sandaime had no other meetings for the day.
This meant that the Hokage had canceled the rest.just to speak with him.
A bit of sweat dropped down the normally stoic Uchiha's face. He didn't know if the feeling he felt at the moment was fear, but, in the pit of
his stomach, he knew something was off. 'I've got a bad feeling about this,' Itachi thought, as he thanked the girl and made his way
towards the God of Shinobi's office.
He forced himself to calm down to stop his heart from racing. He was a shinobi; a model one, at that. Even though this was the Hokage,
he had no reason to fear him. Itachi was about to knock on the door before a voice stopped him.
"Come on in, Itachi," came the voice of Hiruzen. It was neutral in tonea fact that secretly pissed off the Uchiha heir. Now, he couldn't
go in knowing what to expect. With a small sigh, Itachi gathered the courage to open the door and then shut it behind him. Before him
was a sight that he had not expected to see.
Before him was not only the Hokage, but his advisors and former teammates Koharu Utatane, Homura Mitokado, andhis eyes
widened ever so slightlyDanzo Shimura. Collectively, these four individuals were, without question, the most powerful people in the
villagesome in the political sense; others in terms of skill as a shinobi; and some both.
They were all staring intently at him and he could've sworn that Koharu and Homura were slightly glaring at him. However, Hiruzen
and Danzo were looking at him critically with a touch of indifference.
"Itachisit down," Hiruzen commanded, to which the Uchiha did so without hesitation Something was definitely up.
"I'm going to be blunt, Itachi-san," Homura started to say before dropping the bombshell. "We know."
Itachi's eyes widened greatly as he sat in shock. They knew? How? They had made it apparent to keep everything about it secret.
Danzo narrowed his eyes. "So it would seem, judging from your reaction that our suspicions were indeed correct. Your clan is trying to
start a coup d'tat for reasons yet unknown," he said flatly.
"I must say, I didn't want to believe the initial reports, but it seems that they are indeed true," Hiruzen told him gravely. Itachi couldn't
help but hold his head in shame.

"SoI take you brought me here to execute me?" Itachi said in a solemn voice which inwardly surprised all four elders present. The boy
wasn't known to show emotion, at all.
"No, not at all," Hiruzen replied which caused the boy to look at them in surprise.
Homura cleared his throat, "We've discussed this many times over the past few weeks, and we've decided that the entire clan surely isn't
responsible for this. Are we right in that assumption?"
Itachi faintly nodded. "Only the Uchiha elders, nearly all of the police force, my father, and myself are aware of it. My mother and the
children are entirely ignorant of what he was planning."
Koharu raised an eyebrow, while Danzo narrowed an eye as she spoke. "He, you say? It sounds to me as if you were unwilling in their
scheme."
Itachi nodded. "I was," he admitted.
"Tell me, Itachi: why didn't you come forward with this the minute you found out that Fugaku was committing treasonous acts?" the
Hokage asked calmly.
The Uchiha prodigy sighed. "Because, Hokage-samaI was going to try and stop it, myself. I was hoping that I could convince my
father that we didn't have to do this. He wasn't having it. He believed me to be the key to bringing the village under his controlby
making me Hokage," Itachi revealed. Surprisingly, the four elders kept their composure, but Itachi knew from years of experience that
they were experiencing emotional turmoil at that particular revelation. "That's the gist of it, and I was honestly going to come here and
tell you outright, but being an ANBU captain has its.toll on you," he cryptically remarked as a vocal afterthought.
Hiruzen hummed. "I see," he neutrally responded and leaned back into his chair. "For the record, Itachi, I do believe what you are
saying and that you have no genuine desire to plunge us into a state of civil war."
Danzo spoke up after that. "However," he began dangerously, "these actions will not go unpunished"
Itachi simply nodded, expecting this, but his mind was racing for a loophole so he could possibly save the lives of his foolish clansmen.
They were walking into a slaughter almost on the level of the Kaguya attack on the Mist years ago. "Hokage-samahonored elders
What if I gave you my services? I spy on them for youand give any and all information pertaining to their plans. Maybe I can convince
them to call it off, sparing my clan and you keeping a powerful.asset." Using the word 'ally' at that moment would've killed his entire
proposal almost instantly.
Hiruzen pondered this request. On a small technicality, they hadn't committed treason, yet. They were simply planning it. Although to
most shinobi that didn't mean a goddamn thing, Hiruzen, either through utterly asinine reasoning or being a nave idealist, wanted to
avoid bloodshed through any way possible. His mantra of peace through negotiation might very well end him one day
"Itachiwhen would you say this coup would take place, by your estimate?" the Hokage asked.
"If I were to put a time table on it.six months," he hollowly responded.
All four of the village elders looked at each other in a pensive silence. Homura turned to Itachi to address him. "You believe that now you
can convince them not to go through with it, when you've been unsuccessful in the past?" Homura all but yelled. "Frankly, I highly doubt
it." Itachi clenched his fists. Damn it, he wasn't getting anywhere!
Danzo allowed a small, twisted smile to come to his face. "Oh, Homura, I believe Itachi may indeed succeed, knowing what will happen if
he fails." As expected, the Uchiha looked a bit alarmed.
"Don't fret, Itachi-san," Koharu began. "Do not mistake us for being unaware of ourmisgivings when it came to actions concerning
your clan over the past four decades."
Itachi visibly relaxed, but also a bit bewildered that the elders would openly admit a mistake on their part. "Thank you, elder," he
expressed gratefully.
"However," Koharu began seriously. "as much as the blame falls upon us, we cannot and will not allow these events to spiral out of
control, should negotiations fail. That, my dear boy, is where you come in"
Itachi's eyes widened to their greatest extent, catching on almost immediately to what they were implying. "Youwant me to kill my own
fatherand my own clansmen?" Itachi inquired in absolute shock.

"Believe me: I don't like it any more than you do, Itachi," Hiruzen admitted. He seriously hoped that Itachi could manage to convince the
clan to stop their suicidal actions. Somehow, though, he highly doubted he would succeed. That fact alone was probably the most
depressing to the Fire Shadow.
Itachi growled. "What if I refuse?" he replied flatly, in disgust.
"The alternative is far worse, I assure you," Danzo evenly intoned.
"What do you mean by that?" Itachi asked, as his respectful tone was starting to wither away little by little.
"Itachi, the Fire Daimyo knows as well," Hiruzen explained which nearly caused the ANBU captain to lose all composure. "He's not
as.merciful as we are at the moment. He declares that if your coup succeeds, then everything will be thrown off balance and a Fourth
Great Shinobi World War is inevitable. In other words, his solution was to deal with all of you."
Itachi gritted his teeth. "So damned if I do, damned if I don't? You're insinuating I have to either slaughter my entire clan or simply
slaughter those involved in itincluding my own brother?"
Hiruzen nodded gravely, before the Uchiha sighed and slumped a bit in his chair. Thenit hit him. Like a ton of bricks, it hit him! He
smirked a bit. It was time to show why he was known as the greatest Uchiha since the days of Madara Uchiha.
"Hokage-samaeldersI don't mean to be rudebut these plans of yours are highly flawed," Itachi declared. All sets of eyebrows in
the room shot up.
"In what way? Speak," Homura all but demanded. Itachi smiled a bit knowingly. It was time to lay down the smack down. Ironically,
their solution had been his loophole into a way out of thissort of.
"It's simple. Have any of you thought about the sheer logistics, resources, and manpower it would take to slaughter my entire clan? I'm
merely stating a commonly accepted fact here which, if you paid attention in history, you'd know. My clan was the direct rivals of the now
near-extinct Senju clan. To muster up a force to eliminate every single one would require an enormous effort, possibly equaling the entire
village or a group of Kage-level shinobi. Tell medo you have such a force at your disposal?" he asked, a bit rhetorically.
Homura narrowed his eyes, "Our ANBU"
"couldn't do a damn thing," Itachi interjected, before continuing. "I'm an ANBU captain, elder. I'm well aware of their capabilities, but
most of our members aren't well aware of each other's abilities because we get rotated so often. Sometimes, only being together for a
single mission! You're telling me you want to pit the ANBU against the Uchiha clan which currently has over
three hundred battle-capable members who are well aware of each other's abilities and could effectively work together against a division
that practically knows absolutely nothing about each other? And that's without the Sharingan being a factor," Itachi explained.
Hiruzen, Koharu, and Homura had to stare at the boy in shock, while Danzo had to smile at the boy's utter genius. Not only was he
laying down the facts of why their plan wouldn't succeed, simultaneously he was giving information about the clan, which added more
weight and credibility that he wanted peace instead of war that his clan's plans would surely cause. 'Truly brilliant'
"Now, I'm not saying that the ANBU won't win. However, if you do, you will have a lot of casualties, almost to a pyrrhic victory. In your
haste to eliminate all of us you'd simply cripple the entire ANBU division, which would leave the village vulnerable, almost irrevocably.
In essence, in trying to keep the peace by eliminating my clan before they can cause actions that will plunge us into the Fourth Great
Shinobi World War, you'd ironically trigger the event, anyhow, considering your entire black ops divisions would be slaughtered along
with my clan," Itachi noted, which caused all four to cringe. The boy was making them look like utter fools!
Itachi noticed this and inwardly smirked, triumphant in his victory. Now it was time to hammer it in home. "Let me ask you this. Tell me
how would the civilians react if they saw an entire shinobi force wiping out an entire clan? Keep in mind, they are completely unaware of
what our crimes are. They will get the wrong idea, and think we're performing a purge. If you tell them beforehand, then, of course my
entire clan knows the jig's up, and we would attack the village outright. If you don't tell them in an effort for the Uchiha to not know, then
you go back to square one."
Silence reigned as the logic of the Uchiha prodigy started to sink in. 'By the godswhat were we thinking?' Hiruzen thought solemnly.
"You make an excellent case, Itachi, and I'll admit.even I didn't take those into account," Danzo flat-out conceded. Denying his own
mistakes and lack of foresight served no purpose to the war hawk. When it came to matters of the village, his pride went out the window
in favor of protecting it at any cost. If that meant he had to give in to the logic of a thirteen-year-old boythen so be it.

"Hokage-samaI know you don't suspect me to succeed in convincing my clan. Hell, I don't believe I will, eitherbut, in case I
don't." he then sighed, "my options are either slaughter the entire clanor simply take out the ringleaders."
Hiruzen nodded. "Yes. The word of the daimyo is law. Even I can't overturn it."
The brunet wonder growled in frustration. If the daimyo had already given the edict, then what the hell was the point of him trying to find
a peaceful solution? Granted, he doubted said solution could be found, regardless, but even still.
"Do any of you four have any idea of the fallout this will cause for me? For my mother? For my" his voice grew soft, "my brother"
A lone tear rolled down his cheek.
"We are sorry it had to come to this"Koharu sincerely said. It was at times like these where she truly hated herselfwhen she had to
pick her poison and choose the lesser of two evils.
"Very well, then," Itachi said suddenly. He got surprised looks from all four of them. "I'll do itI'll bear the burdenfor the sake of the
village"
They all slowly consented with a bob of their heads. "Thank you, ItachiAgainwe are sorry."
"But" he began again, "I'm not doing this without something from you all in return."
"Name them," Hiruzen instantly replied. Danzo narrowed his eyes, as he could already see where this was headed.
"Firstly, for the sake of the clan's honor, you will not disclose of the reasoning of the killings toward the publicever."
Hiruzen's eyes widened. "But Itachi that would mean"
"Yes, I know. It would mean I'd have to become a missing-nin. You're tasking me to kill all the members of the plot, which I'm capable of,
yes, but, undoubtedly, some of the members unaware will see me. Since I refuse to kill innocent blood, they would no longer trust me, and
rightfully so. So in a cover story, I will say that I attacked the elders and my father to test the limits of my strengthand, considering my
clan's reputation, that excuse shouldn't be that hard for the public to accept."
"Areyou sure?" Hiruzen had to inquire, just to make sure he heard that correctly.
Itachi nodded. "I am. It's the only conceivable way this whole ordeal can end without the entire village and the Elemental Nations being
plunged into war." They bobbed their heads in agreement. Itachi's eyes then narrowed greatly. "Nowfor my second concession from
you fourdespite all this, I want guarantees that the reasoning this whole thing started in the first place will be squashed."
Homura raised a brow. "By that, you mean?"
"This will not be unilateral. This village willconcede something! For nearly forty decades we were treated as if we didn't matter. We
never enjoyed the spoils of war so to speak from the gains Konoha made over the years despite the fact that we've had Uchiha die for the
village's sake just like you all have done! This council has treated us with scorn, and yet you find it surprising that we are acting now?
Did you foolishly think that they'd sit and take it forever?" Itachi inquired in anger.
"Yes!" Danzo roared back. "Because of Uchiha M adara"
"Do you not realize that he is dead? DEAD! You're going to punish the entire clan for what
one misguided fool did? You're willing to spare my clan and ask me to assassinate the individuals responsible for our current problems,
stating that the clan as a whole is not responsible for the decisions made by a few individuals, and yet you continue to hold my clan
responsible for the action of one man who died nearly half a century ago? Are you even aware of your own hypocrisy?"
Hiruzen sighed. "I know Itachi, I know. It has been unfair and I foolishly turned a blind eye. The surveillance on your clan increased
after the attack of the Kyuubi the first time over sixty-some-odd years ago, because there were few men who were able to control it
including the Uchiha. We didn't have enough evidence, but our fear turned into paranoia and my sensei compromised with the council at
the time, and segregated you from the rest of the village."
"And he agreed? Based on no proof, but sheer fear and paranoia? How utterly pathetic"Itachi scorned the late Tobirama Senju. The
elders were about to reply, but Hiruzen silenced them all, indicating from now on, he was talking.
"ItachiI'll make up for this. The Uchiha clanif they wish, can move back into the village as well as keep the land they were forced to
move to entirely to themselves, too. They will also be given monetary compensation, as well. Are those terms agreeable?"

Itachi stood up. "Yesthey are." He flared his Sharingan and glared intently at all of them. "I warn you nowif you even go back on
even one of our deals, then I'll simply expose everything," he warned, with an edge to his voice.
Surprisingly, they all showed no fear towards the Uchiha prodigyat least outwardly. "I will, Itachiyou have my word."
Itachi turned off his dojutsu, and then bowed. "Am I dismissed? I have much to prepare for"
The Hokage nodded, and Itachi left the four to their own devices. He had no doubt of what they were discussing when he vanished in a
swirl of leaves.
"I truly am sorry, Sasuke," Itachi solemnly apologized to no one as he stared at the sunset. He knew what he was about to do would
likely have his younger sibling hate him for the rest of his days.
He didn't know what to do. If he spent more time with him, then that meant that the betrayal would cut deeper. If he decided to simply
ignore him like he, admittedly, mostly did, then he likely would want revenge on him. It was the perfect lose-lose situation.
Itachi heaved a heavy sigh and stood up. He'd have plenty of time to ponder all the repercussions. Right now, he needed to get into a
state of mind where he could willingly kill the traitors to the village that he had given an oath to protect. What his father was doing was
wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. Despite his rant towards the elders, that still didn't give them justification for slaughtering
hundreds like they had planned on doing.
His conscience eased for the moment, the Uchiha prodigy leaped off the Hokage M onument, heading towards his clan's estate.
(Next day, 0835 hours, Naruto's apartment)
Naruto was already up, still in his pajamas, but fully awake and aware. The blond busily did his morning exercises, which consisted of
push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and pull-ups. It was nothing too strenuous. It was just enough to get his blood pumping so he could
feel ready to start the day.
While the blond was doing push-ups, he thought about the changes in himself over the past six months since he had met Sasuke and
Sakura, and subsequently when M ikoto became their sensei. In all honesty, she was starting to become less of a teacher, but more of a
mother. Not just him, but for all three of them, really.
The Jinchuuriki wiped some sweat of his brow as he stood to his full height of four feet and six inches. After his sensei had beat a
proper diet in him, he had shot on up to where he should've been, had he not been constantly eating ramen his whole life. The fridge was
stocked with enough fruits, vegetables, and grains to make a dietician blush. Now, he was two inches taller than Sasuke and Sakura, who
were near the same height, more or less. It was September now, and Sasuke had turned nine in July. He would turn nine that October,
and Sakura, the youngest of the trio, would turn nine in M arch.
Naruto walked towards his bathrooms to completely strip naked and stepped into the shower. He turned the water on without even
bothering to let it warm up. Considering that M ikoto trained them rain or shine, and the showers of M other Nature were far more brutal,
the frigid temperatures barely even fazed the Uzumaki.
Naruto closed his eyes as he began a mental checklist of everything he or they, rather, had learned. She had drilled into them constant
teamwork during parts of the day, and made two clones that taught them individual skills. Sakura's near perfect chakra control allowed
her to grasp the concept and application of genjutsu far easier than he or Sasuke could. He shuddered a bit, remembering some of the
illusions his pink-haired friend had put him and his best friend under. So far, he was unsuccessful in making a genjutsu to her caliber, but
he had the ability to dispel genjutsu at the C-rank level, which was a huge accomplishment considering his age and lack of training prior
until then.
Taijutsu, however, was an entirely different ball game. That was where he shined the most, by far. His growth spurt also came with
better reach, and added power to his strikes. He had durability, the stamina, and the powers to take on both Sasuke and Sakura
simultaneously and still come out on top. Sakura, naturally, had one advantage over him: flexibility. He didn't know what the hell his
sensei taught her while they weren't looking, but damn was she great at using her dexterity at dodging his blows and sometimes leaping
over his high kicks and using his leg as leverage for her own next attack. Sasuke, while not as good as he was, was catching up pretty
fast.
Lastly, there was ninjutsu. Naruto had to smirk. In what the academy wasted time for four years on, M ikoto had managed to teach them
the Bunshin no Jutsu (Clone Technique), Kawarimi no Jutsu (Substitution Technique) and the Henge no Jutsu (Transformation
Technique)in one week. Granted, the Academy had in excess of over thirty or so students in one class or so and the trio of future
assassins had potential that far exceeded their peers. It was still ridiculous.

"Funny how I was the last one to learn the Bunshin no Jutsu, all because I was applying it the wrong way," Naruto mused to himself as
he finally felt the water heat up, and he began washing himself up, hair included.
He heard the Fox snort. "Leave it to you to think that you couldn't do the technique because you thought you had too much
chakra."
Naruto immediately took mock-offense to that. "Hey! I had a perfectly valid reason for that!" he tried to argue with his tenant. He was
thankful he was alone. Everyone else would think he was bat-shit insane.
"Really?" the Fox retorted, a bit bemused. "Mikoto-sensei, I don't think I can learn this technique because I have too much
chakra," he mocked him from the excuses the blond used. "When, in fact, you just didn't have proper control over it. Good thing
she taught you three how to climb trees; otherwise, you'd probably be still stuck in that delusion that having too much chakra
means certain techniques are off-limits to you."
He grunted, but conceded that the Kyuubi was right. Speaking of climbing trees, surprisingly, he and Sasuke didn't take that long after
Sakura who, unsurprisingly, reached the top on her first try.
"How in the hell does she have such natural control?" the blond asked a bit more to himself, but he wouldn't have minded if his tenant
had an answer.
"You didn't see what she did?" the Fox asked.
Naruto raised an eyebrow, closing his eyes so the water could wash out the shampoo in his hair. "Enlighten me."
"Before she went up the tree, unlike you two, who went gung-ho and started climbing, she smartly walked up to the tree,
applied some chakra to her feet as she lifted one foot up and tested how much was needed in order her to stick to it without
either breaking or being pushed off," the Fox explained.
Naruto's jaw dropped and he dropped his soap as he paled. "Are you kidding me right now?" He groaned, as he banged his head on the
shower door. "M e and Sasuke spent five days on that while we could've spent five minutes on it?" Comical tears rolled down his face.
The Kyuubi grinned. "Why of course. S he did the intelligent thing, while you two morons simply just winged it until you got to
the top."
Naruto gritted his teeth. "Why didn't you tell me?" he yelled in faux anger.
He could hear the fox simply scratching his ears. "It amused me," he replied dully.
"Gah! You're useless!" Naruto countered back as he stepped out of the shower,
"Well, if it's any consolation, she was the second one to learn that fire jutsu she taught you three," he pointed out, to which
Naruto did have to nod in agreement. That was about two months ago
The current trio were having a three-way taijutsu match, which was nothing short of a spectacle of a sight to behold. Mikoto was
observing all of them and pointing out weaknesses in their moves and styles.
Sakura flipped over Sasuke, using his shoulders as support and she kicked back with both feet making him stagger backward. She
narrowly dodged a punch from the blond and tried to counter with an uppercut, but this was blocked and she was struck in the face by a
blow from his free hand.
They both stood back from each other, breathing a bit hard. Although her chakra and stamina had nearly tripled, Sakura still wasn't in
the same league as Naruto in that area.
She smirked in between tired breaths. "Glad you're not taking it easy on me because I'm a girl, Naruto-kun."
Naruto grinned back at her. "What good would that do you, Sakura-chan? I consider you my equal and it would be a bit reproachful of
me to hold back due to your gender."
Sakura smiled, as a blush came to her cheeks. That was Naruto for you, the perfect gentlemen. Maybe that's what she liked about him so
much. Her eyes widened at that thought. Did she really?
Her inner thoughts were cut short as she felt her legs being swept off the ground. "Hope you didn't forget about me, Sakura," Sasuke
said, smirking from his position as he swept the girl.

Sakura grinned at him, "Actually Sasuke-kun, I didn't," she replied back to the Uchiha scion. Before the rosette-haired girl could reach
the ground, she landed on her hands and kicked at his chin. He dodged, barely, by doing a somersault.
The Uchiha was about to grin triumphantly, when he dodged a kick by Naruto on pure reflex alone. "Ha! You've gotten better at dodging
those," Naruto complimented before the two boys began duking it out, going all out, with Naruto having the edge and Sasuke barely
holding his own. His lack of reach compared to Naruto's really was key to the blond's advantage. Before too long, the Haruno was in on
the fray.
Mikoto couldn't help but to have her mouth drop at what was being displayed in front of her. 'Holy shit,' she cursed in her head. She had
believed she had seen it all when it came to training these three. They always found some way to surprise her. The progress they made
was outright terrifying, and it was genuine dread. If they kept this up, they'd surpass her by the time they got to Itachi's ageeasily. And
when they were in their late teens and early twentiesMikoto chose not to finish that thought, fearing it might chill her to death.
'How? How in the hell are they able to not only surpass my expectations, but outright shatter them?' she dwelled in bewilderment.
Dozens of theories ran through her mind, but she sighed in defeat. Their potential frightened the living daylights out of her. She then
looked at the three as they continued to spar in an every-man-for-himself fashion. Naruto had managed to knock both his friends back at
the same time, obviously showing the most skill in taijutsu.
"I see" Mikoto noted. She had planned on waiting, but she now knew it was time to teach them that jutsu.
"All right, you three," Mikoto said walking up to them. "That's enough for now." Like soldiers, they all stood in formation ready to
receive any and all instructions from the Uchiha matriarch.
"You all did very well, I'm proud of you all," Mikoto praised to the smiling trio. Inwardly, she was rolling her eyes at her proclamation.
'Very well?' Pft, try fucking spectacular. But, she couldn't let them know that, or risk letting them get arrogant. She'd rather avoid having
to deal with the "Lesson of Humility" all together, than giving them high praise and let it become an issue. They had just enough
confidence to believe in their skills and their friends, but enough humility to know their limits.
"In fact, you three have done so well, I've decided to teach you a jutsu!" she revealed. Sasuke smirked, Sakura smiled, and Naruto was
practically drooling on himself at the prospect. The kid was a sucker for new techniques, regardless of the type.
"Kaa-san, what jutsu is it?" her onyx-eyed son asked. He had a feeling that this was the jutsu she was referring to about three months
ago.
"Maybe it'll be better if I show you," Mikoto told him, motioning the three to follow her towards the lake. She did five hand seals in rapid
succession and called out, "Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu! (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique!)." She arched her back and blew out
a steady stream of flames that covered the diameter of the entire circular shaped lake. The lake was starting to boil from her jutsu, so she
cut off the chakra feeding into it, cancelling the technique, all together.
She turned back towards them and immediately wished she had a camera. Their faces were utterly priceless, and she couldn't help but
laugh a bit heartily. Jaws were on the floor, eyes were wide, and mouths were drooling.
"Mikoto-sensei you're" Sakura began bewildered, "going to teach us that?"
"That was so totally cool!" Naruto added, fist bumping his best friend, who grinned back at him. "Then maybe she can teach us all sorts
of things like that!"
Mikoto pushed her hands back in a slow down motion. "All right, you three, don't get ahead of yourselves," she warned while laughing.
"First of all, I need to learn your natures."
"Our natures?" the trio responded in chorus-like confusion.
Mikoto bobbed her head. "Yes, your natures, or chakra natures, rather. It's going to determine which element you can learn the easiest
as well as it being naturally more powerful than someone who used the same jutsu, but not the same element. For example, I'm firenatured and my husband is earth-natured. If we were to perform the Goukakyuu, mine would be naturally stronger than his, because that
is not his natural affinity. Keep in mind, this is in general. Skill level also plays a heavy role in this as well." They nodded in
understanding.
"How are you going to determine our natures?" came Naruto's query. Mikoto simply pulled out three slips of paper and handed one to
each of them.
"Pulsate a small amount of chakra through these. If it burns, you're fire-natured; if it crumples, lightning; gets wet, water; turns to dust,

earth; and if it splits in half, wind."


All three concentrated and sent a surge of chakra through the parchments. The result stunned the Uchiha Matriarch. Sasuke's had
crumpled, indicating he was lightning natured. Sakura's had turned wet, indicated a water affinity. Finally, Naruto's had split cleanly in
half.
"Wowthat's.interestingand a bit problematic," Mikoto said groaning a bit. They looked at her strangely as if wanting her to
explain herself. "Well, I don't know any lightning or wind techniques, so I can't teach you guys much in those areas Naruto-kun, Sasukekun," she replied a bit solemnly. They both grimaced, but nodded, nonetheless, despite their bad luck. "And Sakura, I do know some
water techniques, but this jutsu will be the most difficult for you to master considering it's your polar opposite. In fact, all three of you will
find this technique difficult to learn considering it's not your natural affinity."
"I figured as much," the young female admitted with a long sigh.
"It doesn't matter!" Naruto spoke up, all eyes turning on him. "We've made it this far, and I'm not going to let some piece of paper
discourage me! We've all had hardships; ones that we still aren't comfortable in sharing, yet, with each other." He noticed their slight
downcast looks, agreeing with that last statement. "But, look at it this way. The harder the challenge is, the better it'll be when we finally
learn it, right? Mikoto-sensei, I welcome the challenge. I can't be a legendary ninja if I get discouraged over a jutsu being difficult to learn
because it's not my natural element. Sakura-chan, Sasukeif something like this scares usthen what kind of shinobi would we be?"
Jade and onyx eyes widened as they realized that their blond friend was correct. Sasuke's ambition of proving that there were those who
could rise above the stigma of arrogance that his clan held, and he wanted be known for his own abilities, not that of being an Uchiha.
Sakura's ambition of being a medic ninja would be useless if she was scared of a little challenge. She'd be saving lives day in and day out.
There was no time for fear of the unknown. They both looked at him seriously and nodded.
Mikoto smirked. "Damn good speech, Naruto-kun. It seems you've reawakened the determination in their hearts." 'Just like your father
did so many years ago,' she added in thought. The boy was unknowingly becoming more and more like his dad than he realized.
"All right, team, let's get to work on learning that jutsu!" Mikoto exclaimed excitedly, and her three pupils returned her enthusiasm with
fists pumped in the air.
Naruto allowed a smile to adorn his face as he dried off in the bathroom. In addition to their regular drills to keep their skills sharp, it had
taken a good long while for all three of them to learn the Goukakyuu no Jutsu. Sasuke had been the first to be able to do the jutsu
successfully, within three-and-a-half weeks' time. As for himself, he had completed the jutsu after a month of hard work, blood, sweat,
and lots of tears. As for his pink-haired friend, she had taken the longest to successfully perform the Katon jutsu. It was one part due to
her smaller reserves than her male companions, and another in part to her being water-natured. However, like all things in life, with some
dedication, she had finally performed the technique in front of her sensei and friends. The three had a long way to go before they'd
mastered the jutsu, but how many Academy students could say they knew a jutsu meant for those of Chuunin rank and above?
After brushing his teeth and doing miscellaneous hygienic habits, the Jinchuuriki stepped out of the bathroom feeling refreshed. He went
to his closet and opened it. Instead of his usual orange monstrosity, there were pants, shorts, and shirts of all kinds of colors.
"Thank the gods, she took you three shopping. I couldn't bear looking at that thing you called an outfit." Naruto couldn't help
but to chuckle in agreement. That shopping experience with his sensei was certainlyinteresting.
"You know, Fox," Naruto said pulling out a pair of black pants, matching sandals and an orange and black shirt, "some part of me
expected the shop owners to either overcharge me or kick me out of their stores simply because ofwellyou," he admitted.
The Kyuubi snorted. "Of course not. If I know one thing about you humans, is that you always put aside whatever grudges you
have in favor of making money. Add to the fact that they don't openly show hate towards you just to try to wear you down
psychologically, the odds of that happening are astronomically low. I don't know where you got that facetious idea from." To
the Fox, the idea was inconceivable, and borderline on being completely stupid and absurd.
Naruto shrugged, putting on his clothes. "Hey, when you're in my position, you tend to get paranoid a bit in public."
He could hear the Fox grunt. "Brat, don't think you're special. Not everything is going to revolve around you, despite myself
being yourprisoner so to speak. Those villagers are ignorant, yes, but I think it's more of the fact that they blame you for
being a reminder of what happened more so than you as a person, although, admittedly, you did pull a plethora of pranks in
yourstupider days." Despite the insult, Naruto couldn't help but grin. Those were the days.
"Soyou don't think that they think I am you, right?" Naruto asked for clarification. To Naruto's surprise, the Fox started laughing. Not

one of those hollow, 'evil' laughs, but true laughing as if he had heard a good joke.
"Hahahaahaha, oh god, you nearly made me lose a tail, kid," the Kyuubi chucked out, despite his chortling. "To answer your
question: by the gods themselves, hell no! You all may be hairless apes, but I know you, as a species, are smarter than to
delude yourself into thinking a Jinchuuriki is the reincarnation of the Bijuu that hold them. The amount of cognitive
dissonance you'd have to apply to your own logic to come to that asinine conclusion is simply comical. To better illustrate,
have the villagers ever called you a 'demon' or 'hell spawn'?"
Naruto began to ponder as he reviewed his life in vivid detail. "No, not that I can remember. They just excluded me from social events,
maybe glare at me, but most simply just chose to ignore and outright didn't even acknowledge my presence."
The Fox laughed. "Well, there you go brat. They're stupid, but not that stupid." He then shuddered. "Youa reincarnation of me
in a human bodyOh, by the gods you worship, that's both asinine and completely insane logic that I have a hard time
wrapping my head around how anyone could believe that."
Naruto shook his head. "Okay, okay, sorry, I was just throwing the possibility out there. Look at it this way, at least you got your
laugh in for the day."
"Isn't that the truth?" the Fox scoffed. It got extremely boring at times in this cage. He was glad he had a container whose life wasn't
totally boring, or he would've gone completely insane.
"WellI appreciate it, Foxseriously," the blond thanked. For a moment, the Kyuubi didn't know how to respond to his container.
After a pregnant silence, he waved the blond off with a paw.
"Anything to keep your mind sharp and us alive, kid. Don't mention it," the Fox replied, causing Naruto to smile. "No.
S eriously, don't mention it," he added, causing Naruto to palm his face.
"Hey, don't you face-palm me!" he complained huffing. "By the waydon't you have to meet up at the academy inohI don't
knowtwo minutes?"
Naruto paled a bit and looked at his alarm clock. Sure enough it read: 8:58. M irroring his actions six months ago when he had to meet
Sakura and Sasuke at the library, Naruto shot out of his apartment like a bat out of hell. Except this time, he was much faster than before
due to his sensei's brutal training.
(Konoha Ninja Academy, 0900 hours)
Sakura stood with her back against the wall waiting for her teammates, while also actively pulsating a Chakra Hankyouteii, keeping track
of every single person who entered the academy. She wore a brand new qipao dress with dark blue shorts underneath with blue sandals.
Despite the dress, she still looked relatively tomboyish, despite remaining pretty attractive.
An echolocation came back to her, its familiarity causing her to open her eyes in excitement. 'Naruto-kun is here!' she thought a bit
dreamily. Sure enough, the blond was coming around the corner in the outfit she had picked out when all four of them went shopping
last week. That fact alone sent a blush on her cheeks.
"Oi! Sakura-chan!" Naruto called out to his female friend. She gave him a hug which he happily returned.
"Bet you thought I'd be late to arrive, huh?" Naruto asked, letting her go. She smirked a bit.
"Oh, no, I didn't. I actually knew you were coming," she said matter-of-factly. He raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, really? How?" Naruto asked a bit dumbly.
She sighed. "Don't tell me you already forgot," she said holding up an index finger and activating the jutsu again.
Naruto smacked his face with an open palm. He really needed to stop doing that. "Oh, right. I forgot about the Hankyouteii for a
second," he admitted.
Sakura shook her head. "Hope that doesn't happen when we go on missions," she half-joked. He scratched the back of his head
sheepishly.
"I hope he doesn't, either," came the sound of a familiar male voice. The duo turned around to see none other than Sasuke Uchiha and
their sensei.

"Sasuke! Sensei!" Naruto beamed as he gave his best friend a fist bump, which was returned.
M ikoto smiled at the three, and bent down slightly to their level. "Okay, you three remember what I told you right?" she inquired,
looking at them a bit critically. All three nodded in confirmation.
"First rule is to only hold back when we're facing the other students in the other matches. If we face each other, we give it everything
we've got," Naruto began. M ikoto nodded.
"Second, no matter how much we want to, we aren't allowed to use our advanced techniques," Sasuke regurgitated back, with a bit of a
frown.
"And finally," Sakura began, "we must stay the entire four years, even if we surpass the entire class in spadeswhich we probably
already do." M ikoto nodded to both of them that they were correct.
"That's right, but.you forgot one final rule," M ikoto told them. That earned her confused looks. "Show them what you got and blow
them away," she smirked giving them the thumbs up.
All three grinned back. "Trust us, sensei. They won't know what hit 'em. If your stories are anything to go by, the academy should be a
joke," Naruto declared.
"Compared to what I've put you guys through over the past six months, it'd better damn well be. Like that time we were training in a
monsoon and you guys"
Three hands immediately covered her mouth as they glared at her. "You promised not to speak of that moment!" Sasuke complained
with a huff. His mother started chuckling muffled laughs and gently pulled their hands off of her.
"I did, didn't I?" She pulled them all into a hug. "I'm proud of you three. Truly, I am," she whispered in their ears. Naruto was struggling
not to have tears roll down his cheek. Was this what it felt like to have a mother's love?
"Thank you, sensei," they chorused together holding on to her tight. They stayed like that for a good half a minute, content in each
other's arms. Pulling away, M ikoto stood back up.
"Go get 'em, guys," she ordered with a smile. A triad of smirks adorned the young children's faces.
Naruto, naturally, took the lead. "Let's do this, guys!" he chimed, ready for anything the academy could throw at them. Saying goodbyes
to their sensei, they made their way to their classroom.
(Classroom 3-A 0912 hours)
Classroom 3-A was filled with children conversing amongst themselves, and generally all around the same age, give or take a year or so.
Iruka was quietly observing all three dozen of them. They were quite a large class. Not his biggest, ever, but still up there. It wasn't a
quarter past nine, yet, so he gave them some time to talk to each other.
In some twist of fate, all of the clans were in representation here, both minor and noble. Kiba Inuzuka, clan heir to the Inuzuka clan, was
currently conversing with the heirs of the Akimichi and Nara clans, Chouji and Shikamaru, respectively. Kiba had typical features of the
clan with messy brown hair, black vertically slit pupils, along with more pronounced canines and red markings on his cheeks. In contrast
to him, Chouji was rather large for his age in keeping with the Akimichi girth size. He was a brunet and always had a bag of chips in his
hand ready for consumption. Shikamaru, on the other hand, in stark contrast, was lazy as ever, sleeping on his deskor at the very least
trying to with all the noise in the room.
Iruka had to shake his head in amusement. The laziness of the Nara clan never ceased to amaze him. Then, there came the ever stoic
Shino Aburame. Like his clan, he probably had a hive inside of him and took to wearing dark shadeseven indoors. Why they did this,
Iruka would likely never know. Representing the Yamanaka clan was Ino, who was the only daughter of the current clan head, Inoichi.
Bright blonde hair and aqua-colored eyes adorned her features. She was easily one of the prettiest girls in the classroom. His eyes
traveled elsewhere to another part of the room, where a young girl with lavender hair and pupil-less white eyes: Hinata Hyuuga. So far,
the girl wasn't talking to anyone and was pretty darn shy. The dolphin sighed. He'd have to try and get her to come out of her shell or
she'd be damn near useless. If she lacked the self-confidence, then it would be quite the task to bring out her full potential.
Suddenly, his eyes diverted left and lo! and behold, it was the boy he hadn't talked to, personally, in nearly half-a-year. Standing in the
door way, was Naruto Uzumaki and his two companions, Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha. 'So, everything now comes full circle,' he
thought to himself, smiling.

"Oi! Naruto! It's good to see you again," Iruka spoke cheerfully to the blond. He took note of his increase in height. He was probably
the tallest in the class, just a notch below Shino.
Naruto gave him a small smile and nodded. "It's good to see you as well, Iruka-sensei," he spoke calmly and cordially. This surprised the
young instructor, for a second or so, but then he remembered that he had been training with the Uchiha M atriarch for the past six
months, so it stood to reason that she might have ironed out his hyperactivity.
"Why don't you three take a seat up there?" he suggested, pointing out a row suited for three people near the window that was in the
middle of the classroom. They bowed in thanks and made their way up toward the row he had designated. They could feel that nearly all
eyes in the classroom were on them.
"Oh my gosh, who are those two boys?" Naruto heard a couple of girls say, out of the corner of his eye, he could already see they had
hearts in their eyes. He couldn't help but to let out a groan. Sasuke smirked and gave him a look that told all: Welcome to my world.
Sakura sighed as they sat down with Naruto near the window, her in the middle, and Sasuke near on the outside. 'Just great, now I have
to deal with the stupidity of fan girls vying for their affections,' she dwelled with a grumble. The rosette-haired girl also noticed some
glares being sent her way. 'Ugh, and I have to deal with the jealous types, too, as well! It just had to be my luck of being best friends with
two cute guys.'
She sulked down in her seat, a bit depressed at the prospect. Add to the fact that she could run circles around pretty much every girl
here, which only added to her likely being ostracized and hated by the female population.
"Sakura-chan, you okay?" Naruto asked in worry, seeing her sulk.
"Truthfully, not really. You know those girls have crushes on you guys, right?" Sakura asked semi-rhetorically.
"We're well aware of that," Sasuke confirmed, with a nod from Naruto. "What about it?"
She sighed. "Let's just say that, so far, they haven't taken a liking to me." They were about to ask her what she meant by that, before
Iruka stood up silencing the class.
"All right, everyone, settle down, now." Surprisingly, they obeyed. "Good. I'd like to welcome you all to the Konoha Ninja Academy.
You'll be learning all sorts of things from the history of our village, mathematics, how to be an effective shinobi."
The three decided to tune out Iruka's speech and decided to whisper quietly amongst themselves. M ikoto had already given them the
rundown of what was going to be taught, they didn't need to hear it for a second time.
"M an, is this going be a looong four years," Naruto groaned. His two friends sighed in agreement. "Wished something exciting would
happen to spice things up."
Be careful what you wished for, because you just might get it
(Kumogakure, 3rd District, Obano's residence, M id-November, 2100 hours)
It was a chilly night in the late autumn month of November. The fall was considerably more frigid in Kumo than it was nearly anywhere
else, besides Yuki no Kuni (Land of Snow) on the continent due to it being situated high in the mountains where the air was much
chillier.
Obano sat off on a railing as he watched Omoi and Karui spar, with the use of actual bladed weapons in his backyard, which had a small
training area. He had an actual house, not an apartment or condo like most did. Once Hideyoshi had learned he had taken the three
orphans in, he offered to pay for the mortgage on a new home, where he could teach them ninjutsu as well as provide each of them their
own rooms. To say the three were eternally grateful to the Ultranationalist leader would be a vast understatement.
'Can't believe I'm actually a sensei, now,' the Emerald Fang thought in slight amusement. Five months ago, he had met them out of a
sheer act of fate. That night, when he had fed them a full-course meal, Omoi had done the unexpected and dropped to his knees and
practically begged the jounin to teach them how to be a ninja. Of course, he was already planning on teaching them and indoctrinating
them, but it still shocked the raven-haired ninja to his core. Even more surprising, both Karui and Samui had actually agreed with him.
Honestly, he thought Samui would be the most resistant one, but lo! and behold she wanted to learn how to be a shinobi, too.
He had asked for their reasoning and the answers he had received were remarkably straightforward. It boiled down to three things.
First off, they wanted to have a purpose in life other than just being street rats. Second, they wanted the power to protect each other

and those they cared about from harm. Lastly, learning and serving under him would be their "honor" as a form of repayment for taking
them in when no one else would.
Combined with all those factors and reasons, it wasn't too hard for Obano to accept them all as his pupils and effectively indoctrinate
them in the principles and philosophies of the Ultranationalists. To his surprise, he found out that the three held no love for Killer A
any more than he did. As far as they were concerned, the Raikage had the power to help those in situations similar to theirs, and yet,
foolishly chose to do nothing.
Obano had enough cash to live off of for at least five to seven years almost, since he rarely bought anything other than the bare essentials
and paid his utilities on time. As such, he could afford to take six months of leave, so he could focus exclusively on training "Team
Omoi." The team name was naturally decided since he was the one who took charge and fit a leadership role perfectly.
He turned his head slightly, hearing his back screen door open and Samui coming out of it. She had a small blanket around her shoulders
as well as a cup of hot tea in her hands. She took a seat near her sensei and watched Omoi and Karui lock blades, each one battling for
supremacy.
"They're pretty good, aren't they, Obano-sensei?" she noted softly, taking a sip, watching them. Personally, she wasn't really all that
into bladed weapons besides kunai and shuriken.
"Heh, yeah, they are, aren't they, Samui? I taught them well," he grinned a bit, watching Karui dodge Omoi's strike that hit the ground
with so much force a cloud of dust kicked up. "Okay, maybe a little too well," he chuckled. Samui couldn't help but giggle at her sensei.
"Oh, come on, you know you're proud of us," she teased. The Ultranationalist jounin held his hands up in defeat.
"Okay, you caught me! How devious of you!" he played along, transforming her giggles into full-blown laughter. Obano chortled with
his student, each enjoying each other's company.
"HeysenseiI was wondering," she began as she stared up at the night sky, "are you going to send us to the Academy?"
Obano snorted. "And let you be influenced by those lies the Raikage manages to spew in into the history books? Absolutely not."
She looked at him in surprise. "Then, how are we going to become genin?"
He looked at her neutrally. 'Well, once the coup happens, you guys can get a field promotion right then.' He then sighed. "Look, you let
me worry about that, okay? You three just need to concentrate on getting stronger, all right?"
Samui slowly nodded, accepting her sensei's judgment for now. Technically, they were supposed to be in the academy already, but
growing up on the streets had prevented that from happening. Considering the size of the village, there were actually four academies
scattered throughout. There had been requests for A to build a fifth one in the eleventh district, but he denied them all, on the basis of
they would have to make do with what they had due to budget concerns. She clenched her fists. It added to the already numerous
reasons she despised the leader of the village.
"Samui" she heard Obano call out to her.
"Yes, sensei?" she answered.
"Tell me something," he said as he looked toward the stars. "Why were you so resilient when we first met? You werethe hard-ass, so
to speak." They both shared a small laugh at that. "Not only that, butyou seemed so cynical and now you're almost the exact
oppositeat least to me you are."
Samui pondered on it before letting out a breath, resolving into a weary look on her face. "WellI never really trusted adults, Sensei.
They were always liars, manipulators, and always wanted to use us for their own gain. One of the reasons I was so hesitant to go with
you, Omoi and Karui was because I actually believed you to be honest. It honestly scared me. M ore so than you ever know. The more I
listened to you, the more I wanted to find out if you were actually being genuine.
"That scared me; so much that I fought my innermost desire and tried to mask it with skepticism and disbelief. Growing up on the
streets of the eleventh districtyou kind of learn who to and not to trust. One day, your life could be totally normal, and then in the
next, you're running for your life, trying to get away with stealing food. When you saved us from that butcher, I felt relieved, and my
natural instinct after bearing these hardships for so long was to come to you."
Obano frowned, genuinely saddened by his pupil's desolation. "Are you saying that even before Omoi?"

"Yes," Samui interjected. "I trusted you before the thought of coming back home with you even crossed his mind. M y heart told me to
follow my instinct, but my head told me to relent, which kept me stubborn. I finally gave in." She then smiled. "I'm glad I did. Sensei
you're the best thing to ever happen to usand me as well," she admitted with small look of adoration in her eyes.
Obano couldn't help but grin back at her. He gave the blonde girl a thumbs up. "Samui, you guys aren't too bad yourself," he admitted.
He'd be dammed if he admitted outright that he had taken a liking to the three orphans or risk feeling of going soft. Samui saw through
this easily, but decided to play along for the sake of amusement.
"Oi! Omoi! Karui! Come on inside! It's getting cold," Obano told them, hopping off the railing and walking up to the two novice
swordsmen/woman.
Karui frowned. "Aw, come on, Sensei! We were just getting warmed up!" she complained, meaning it both literally and figuratively.
"Yeah, Obano-sensei! Can't we go at it some more?" Omoi begged.
Obano couldn't help but shake his head. They were certainly eager. "Nah, you two have been training for the past two hours straight. It's
time to call it a night." Although obviously disappointed, they reluctantly bowed and sheathed their swords on their backs.
"Great job, you two. You seem to take up kenjutsu as if you were born to wield them," he praised them, impressed. Both Karui and
Omoi bowed to their master, as a show of gratitude.
"Come on, and let's get inside. I already have dinner being fixed," he told them. As if on cue, their stomachs growled.
Samui looked at him. "Don't you mean I have dinner fixed already?" She'd be damned if she let him take credit for a meal she prepared.
"I did give you the money to get the ingredients, didn't I?" Obano joked, trying to plead his case.
Samui clucked her teeth, "Yeah, okay," she rolled her eyes. The jounin simply gave her a grin. Omoi shook his head and Karui sighed.
The antics of their master and Samui never ceased to amaze them. Both junior swordsmen jumped up to the balcony. All four made their
way into the house, where they found an unexpected guest sitting at the table calmly looking at them both.
Team Omoi's eyes immediately widened collectively, recognizing the person. They were already on their knees bowing. "Hideyoshisama!" they called out in both shock and respect that their leader was here. Judging from Obano's expression, it was clear he didn't
expect the boss, either. He bowed as well, although not getting on his knees.
"Hideyoshi-sama this is anunexpected visit," the jounin admitted.
"I see that you've taught them well, Obano," he praised, ignoring his statement for the moment. That immediately pleased the trio of
orphans.
"Thank you, Hideyoshi-sama," Obano thanked his master at the compliment.
The Ultranationalist leader waved him off. "I bring good news, Obano," Hideyoshi began before telling them all to rise. Team Omoi
obeyed him without the slightest bit of hesitation. Obano couldn't tell whether his master had a smirk or smile on his face, but chose to
ignore it. "We won" he finally revealed.
All four pairs of the eyes of his subordinates went wide. The lollipop in Omoi's mouth fell to the floor.
He smirked as he pointed toward the cooking pots and pans on the stove near him. "Why don't we discuss it over dinner?" he suggested.
Samui turned red as she flushed. "O-Of course, at once Hideyoshi-sama," she stuttered out as she went over to the stove. She prayed to
the gods that her cooking was up to his standards.
Obano, Karui, and Omoi, however, decided to take their seats. Obano sat directly across from Hideyoshi, and Karui and Omoi were on
either side of him. As much as they respected their leader, even they were weary being so close to him.
"We won" Obano repeated back, a bit in disbelief. "We actually won!" He couldn't help but to sound cheerful as if he had won the
lottery.
Hideyoshi narrowed his eyes a bit in annoyance as he winced. "M ind the volume of your voice, Obano," the Akechi clan head warned.
The jade-eyed jounin held his head in shame, but was dismissed by his master, forgiving him. "Anyhow, yes, although we managed to
pick up two seats," he revealed. Although slightly disappointed they didn't win all of them, it was still better than nothing. Now they
had five seats on the council.

Samui sat plates full of rice and chicken she had prepared in front of the four of them, as well as a small plate for herself. "Hideyoshisamawhat districts did we win?" the sapphire-eyed blonde asked, taking a small bite of her rice. The rest of her team and her sensei
were interested as well, but they decided stuffing their stomachs was a bigger priority at the moment.
"Districts eight." They raised an eyebrow. It wasn't exactly in dire need of change, but hey! A win was a win.
"And the second one?" Obano deeply intoned.
"The eleventh," Hideyoshi revealed, dropping the bombshell. Team Omoi dropped their wooden utensils against their plates in complete
and utter disbelief.
"Theeleventh?" Kauri repeated, wondering if her ears deceived her.
Hideyoshi nodded. "That's right, Karui. The eleventh districtyour home. The United Cloud no longer controls it. We do," he
confirmed.
Omoi managed a huge grin as he popped himself out of his chair. "Aw, hell yeah!" he cried out, high-fiving Karui, who happily returned
it. Samui couldn't hold it in as she started crying tears of joy. Obano was about to reprimand them, but he was stopped by a look from
Hideyoshi, indicating it was fine, and to let them enjoy their moment.
The Akechi clan head offered a small half-smirk, half-smile at his three youngest subordinates. "I'm glad you three are happy, as well,"
he told them, his genuine delight in their happiness surprised even him. He shuddered a bit, trying not to dwell on what these three
children might do to him.
"You know what that means, guys? Real change is coming!" Samui beamed. "No longer will most children like us be forced to steal, while
the guys in charge do nothing about it."
Their sensei smiled. "You best believe it, Samui. The Ultranationalists have the best interests of everyone at heart." Hideyoshi almost
felt guilty at the half-truth that his jounin subordinate had uttered. Almost.
"That's why we're going to spread our wings to the rest of the continent, right, Hideyoshi-sama?" Omoi queried as he envisioned it. He
was looking over in the living room where the Ultranationalist flag was. It was a primarily black banner with golden stripes on the outer
tips. In the center, there was the entire earth. Over the earth was a golden eagle emblem with its wings spread out to its entire wingspan
over the earth. Below its feet was a triangle with an intricate design in the center of it. The three sides of the triangular shape represented
the core of being an Ultranationalist: Duty, Obedience, and Loyalty.
It was the duty of an Ultranationalist to carry out their orders to the best of their abilities without question.
An Ultranationalist was to always be obedient to his superiors, unless that superior's orders contradicted the orders of their superiors.
Above all else, an Ultranationalist was to be loyal to his leader and follow him to the gates of hell, if need be.
These were the undying principles that his master had engraved in their minds from day one. Omoi made a vow that he would never
break any of those edicts, so long as breath remained in his body.
Hideyoshi couldn't help but smirk. Obano had truly struck gold when he had found these three diamonds in the rough. Not only were
they the perfect subordinates, and didn't resist indoctrination, they had actual hidden talents as shinobi, too. The Akechi clan head
bobbed his head. "Yes, indeed, Omoi, we shallbut, I need to speak with your senseialone. Could you leave us?" he commanded.
"Of course," they chorused, leaving their mentor and leader to their own devices. There was a small silence between them as they waited
until his pupils were out of earshot.
"Before you begin, Hideyoshi-sama," Obano began, "I seriously hope the councilman who replaced the United Cloud will do a better
job. It would be a shame we get this far and they see empirical evidence to the contrary of what I've taught them."
"Do you take me for a fool, Obano?" he retorted rhetorically. "I know damn well what can happen if we don't start improving things
within the districts we win. We only have one shot at this. I intend to not mess it up. Already, the councilman is making arrangements to
build an academy in the eleventh district."
Obano raised an eyebrow. "Won't you need A's written consent for that?" Outside of formal and forced meetings, Obano refused to call
him 'Raikage-sama.'

Hideyoshi smirked, laying his chin on his left fist. "Who said it was going to be publically funded?"
The jounin's jaw dropped. "You mean a private academy? Are you serious right now?"
Hideyoshi's grey eyes stared at the jade-eyed jounin as they seemed to pour into the very depths of his psyche. A small, thin line
pursed his lips to an almost psychotic degree, which chilled Team Omoi's sensei to his very bones. "Yes, deadly serious Obano.
Technically, there was no law against funding for private citizens to fund out of their own pocket to teach the young how to be shinobi.
Frankly, no one took advantage of this edict, since they didn't want to waste their money on teaching children the fundamentals of our
village."
"What's to stop the Raikage from shutting you down?" Obano inquired.
"Ah, there lies the beauty of it. How can he shut us down without making himself look worse than the fool already does? This is private
property, and technically, we are making an investment, so it wouldn't be wise to for him to incite the wrath of the businessmen who
support him."
"Aren't most businessmen with the Virga, in terms of raw support?" Obano noted, a bit confused. He was knowledgeable in the area of
the politics of Kumo, but there were some areas where even he was ignorant.
"M ost are," Hideyoshi confirmed, "but, some of the Virga's deregulating practices are starting to hurt other areas of commerce around the
village. Considering some business regulations apply in certain districts at certain times of the year and other miscellaneous factors, you
can see where the confusion can come from with their idiotic policies." Obano nodded his head that he understood.
"Funding?"
"That's the beauty of it. Due to it being a privately started entity used for the basis of public need, it's subsidized by tax breaks, along
with any spare tax dollars going to maintain it. This was a decree by A, himself, so even he can't overturn it without looking like he's
doing it out of spite for us winning fairly. If he does, we'll simply use that against him in the next campaign, further decreasing his power
and influence within the village." A wicked grin contorted on the Ultranationalist's face. "Also, since we're not subject to the curriculum
regulations of the village"
Obano's eyes widened. "That means we can effectively write in our ideology within the context of what they're learning!" The
implications of that fact were simplyincalculable.
Hideyoshi smirked. "Brilliant, isn't it? Imaginean entire generation's worth of orphans and children raised on the streets, being finally
given the opportunity they've so desperately wanted to lift themselves up from the shackles of poverty and serve a purpose in life."
"Youcould effectively indoctrinate entire peer groups of children," Obano observed a bit in awe.
"Precisely," the Akechi head confirmed, eyes narrowing conspiratorially. "Not only that, but all of their peers will be just like them.
Know what they've gone through, they've trained together, survived together, and banded together for something to fight for. Put all that
together with our creeds, and you get"
"a generation of loyal soldiers," Obano finished.
"Indeed. And we plan to repeat this process in the neighboring districts, so we can try and bring them all to our side." Obano had to
admit that it was one of those plans that chilled even him. Programming a group of children? Was that truly ethical? Sure, he did it to
Karui, Samui, and Omoibutugh. His conscience was eating at him again. Damn it! However, there was one thing he had been
wondering about.
"What does he think about it?" Obano asked cryptically, although the Ultranationalist knew exactly who he was referring to.
Hideyoshi's eyes shrunk to slits.
"Don't concern yourself with him. That will come in due time," he reassured his loyal subordinate.
The Emerald Fang sighed. "I still don't see the point in"
Now, Hideyoshi's narrowed eyes turned into a full-blown deathly glare. "In. Due. Time. You aren't to mention that around those three
until it's time to take the village. Am I clear?"
"Crystal, sir," he replied, inwardly sighing. He was one of the very few in the organization who knew that tidbit of information, and
Hideyoshi wanted it to stay that way.

Hideyoshi stood up. "In any case, I must be taking my leave, I still have clan duties to attend to. I also want you to be there for when
we make a test for WARhawkS."
Obano's eyes widened again. "You meanyou've developed a device that can slow down our descent when we jump"
"Yes," Hideyoshi interjected. "It seems our summoning contracts are about to be used a lot more broadly, it seems. But, if the program is
successful," a wicked smirk crossed his face, "invading the other Hidden Villages will be ridiculously easy."
"Where will the test be?"
"I'm making arrangements for it to be in Yuki no Kuni, away from the eyes of A," he said simply.
Obano grimaced. "I'm not really a fan of cold weather, butfine. I'll bring my pupils with me, too."
Hideyoshi bobbed his head. "See to it that you do. I'm off. Good night to you, Obano. Remember what I saidnot a word to them until
the time is right." With that final warning, Hideyoshi vanished in a flock of white feathers.
Obano simply sighed in defeat as he covered his hands over his face. 'Hideyoshi-sama.you can't hide from him forevertread
carefully."
He stood up from the table and turned out the kitchen light. M aking his way toward the back rooms he saw that the three were already
asleep in their own rooms, each decorated to their own personalities. 'Guess all that training must have worn them outalong with the
revelation that their home is being fixed,' he deduced from the look of content that adorned their facial expressions.
The Emerald Fang couldn't help but smile as he turned out their lights and made his way to the master bedroom. Their home was being
fixed. Consequences be damned, it was. Killer A wasn't going to do a damn thing about it, so it was time they did. Even if they
brainwashed the kids into following them, they were being told the truthright? Obano sighed as he stripped off his clothes and
plopped onto his bed. He truly didn't know whether what they were doing was right or wrong, but the amount of contentment he felt
when he trained Team Omoi made him learn that he was doing the right thing.
So, why did he have trouble sleeping that night?
(A bar, 4th District, 2300 hours)
"Hot damn, Sodaisho, I don't how you did it, but your plan to save this district worked perfectly," C, an associate of Darui remarked,
taking a sip of sake. He was a jounin alongside Darui, who assisted the Raikage, and was once a member of the Virga, but converted to
the United Cloud. Dirty blond hair, dark eyes, and a small frame in a standard Kumo Jounin outfit adorned his features.
Darui, Aisu, and C had decided to go out to the bar for a drink to celebrate. Once again, they had left clones in the care of Ayasaki. The
thirteen-year-old had insisted on coming with them, as she wanted to celebrate, too, but not only was the girl a long way from being able
to drink, being around people might make her sickness even worse. The girl pouted, but nonetheless understood.
The BOLT commander frowned a bit. "Well, yeah, I didsort of, but they did manage to win two seats. Not the sort of victory I was
looking for," he conceded.
Darui shook his head. "No, you saved our asses. From the way things were looking, it was quite possible, if not, probable that they
would've gained all four seats, putting them at a majority. You bought us some time to swing things back our way."
Aisu simply sighed in acceptance of what he felt was a hollow victory. It had been a stroke of pure luck that he had some dirt on the guy
representing the Ultranationalists that was running. Being the Commander of the village's elite black ops division came with an enormous
amount of perksincluding dossiers on virtually every single shinobi, past and present. For all his talk about bringing the village back to
power, the Ultranationalist in turn had led his team to ambush during the last war and they were utterly slaughtered on account of his
poor leadership. It was buried and covered up, but Aisu had brought it to the light, anonymously, and subsequently caused him to lose
public confidence, and thus he lost at the ballot by a landslide.
When Darui had learned of his plan, he was floored. He had honestly expected some grand, almost convoluted scheme from the BOLT
leader. Instead, what he got was so simple, yet ten times as effective. 'Who knew the sodaisho had it in him to be so utterly devious and
conniving?' Darui dwelled, amused.
"I know thatbut even still. We managed to save two districts. Count 'em: two," he grimly replied holding a two fingers for emphasis.
"The electorate is entirely different from the general population, you know?" Aisu was getting a headache from all of this political
gibberish. He needed some fucking hot cocoa now!

C frowned. "What do you mean?"


Aisu sighed. "What I mean is, despite all the heavy campaigning, voter turnout was what? Fifty-six percent? Despite the landslide
victory, we still have a segment of the population that is fully entrenched in the views of the Ultranationalists, they simply choose to sit
on their asses rather than go out and vote."
"Isn't that a good thing? I mean, if they did come out and vote, we would've lost, right? Shouldn't we be encouraging them tostay
home, so to speak?" C suggested, genuinely confused at the logic of Aisu's words.
"No, the sodaisho's right," Darui grimly replied, his habitually lazy eyes taking a tone of gloom. "If there was one thing my sensei
always taught me is that, while the support of the electorate is always important, not having the backing of the general population is far,
far worse." The heir to the Black Lightning then grimaced. "I can see why you weren't as happy as we were a few minutes ago." His
gloom remark almost caused him to spiral down into a deep depression.
C, however, still wasn't one to give up. "Come on, guys, I know it may seem bad right now, but we got to look at the future. I'm sure we
can make a comeback!" Aisu and Darui both looked back at him dully, as if what he said just went in what ear and out the other.
Aisu stood up and turned away from them, a look in his eyes showing almost complete detachment from the world around him. "If the
Raikage doesn't get his act together, he will have thrown away everything that made this country so great. By the fucking gods, I don't
want the Ultranationalists to take over, but why isn't he doing anything else?" he practically yelled.
That sudden outburst made the two jounin flinch a bit. They had never seen the commander lose control over his emotions like that.
Then again, considering all the clandestine bits of intelligence he received every day, the anxiety of being leader of such a large division,
and helping to keep the people he hated the most out of power, it was to expected he had to snap at some point. Truly, the man had to
be of sound mind, considering he hadn't let his mind go to complete insanity.
The wielder of the Thunderbirds breathed in and out in short, controlled bursts, to bring himself back under control. He looked back at
them both apologetically. "Look, I'm going to go. I'm going to stop by your house and check up on Ayasaki, all right?"
Darui nodded in confirmation. "Thanks for looking after my sister, sodaisho."
Aisu smiled. "It's no big deal. Here," he said, pulling out a few notes of ryou. "Drinks are on me."
C blinked in surprised. "ButSodaisho, this billthe amount of money we spe"
"It's fine," Aisu interjected. "Consider it a gift for helping me cope with the stress."
Darui, on the other hand, hushed C before he could retort in protest yet again. "Thank you, sodaisho. Tell my sister I'll be home in an
hour, would ya?"
"I will," he confirmed. "I'll see you both when I can." With nothing more needed to be said, Aisu phased out of sight.
C whistled in awe. "Damn, how I wish I could do a Shunshin no Jutsu that fast." Darui chuckled, shaking his head, and downed a swig of
sake.
(Darui's Residence, 4th District, 2338 hours)
Aisu had blurred into existence, inside Darui's living room. His clone had looked toward him with a serene look on his face. He took note
of the absence of Darui's clone. Weird
"Where's Darui?" he asked his doppelganger.
His clone shrugged. "He said he was going to get some supplies and medicine for her. She looked pretty ill," he gravely intoned.
"Isee" Aisu responded a bit meekly. He dismissed his replica as it turned into a burst of short static electricity which his Raiunsou
absorbed. The legendary ebony-colored blade pulsated a bit, its short craving satisfied.
The BOLT commander pushed the door to Ayasaki's room ajar and peaked inside. The terminally ill girl was sleep, yes, but she was
tossing and turning in her sleep as sweat rolled down her brow. The poor girl's breathing was rapidly increasing, alarming the Hayasaka.
Without even thinking twice, his haori was thrown off, as well as Raiunsou. He grabbed the girl and brought her close, trying to get her
breathing under control.

"Fight it, Ayasaki-chan," Aisu said, sending a pulse of his chakra to calm down her nerves, which were going haywire at the moment.
His heart was pounding against his chest so hard, he swore it would burst out at any moment.
For what seemed like an eternity, the young teen's body began to slow down with her convulsions. She slowly started to open her eyes
as her brown orbs stared into cerulean.
"Aisu-kun?" She stared at him in disbelief as saline liquid started to roll down her cheek.
Aisu smiled down at her, holding her close. She could always tell him from his replicas, easily. Otherwise she wouldn't add the "-kun"
suffix. "Yeah, it's me. I'm here for you," he soothed.
"I had one again, didn't I?" she whispered, her voice cracking.
He solemnly nodded. "It was badif I hadn't surged some of my chakra, you might have." He couldn't bring himself to say it. Then,
without warning, the last thing he had expected happened: She kissed himon the lips.
The Black Ops Commander's eyes widened in complete shock before pulling away from her nearly a second or so after her lips locked
with his. He looked at her disapprovingly. "Ayasaki"
She gave a downcast look. He had dropped his usual honorific. "Idon'tI'm sorry," she uttered regretfully.
"Why did you do that?" Aisu wondered, his tone neutral, but there were hints of disappointment which made the girl's heart sting even
worse.
"Ialways didI just thought the only way to repay you wasugh," she spat as the impending rejection was already hard enough.
Aisu nodded in understanding. "Ayasaki-chan," he started, which lifted the teen's spirits a bit, "I know you may like me"
"Aisu-kun, I love you!" she interjected with a cry. "I!"
He hushed her by putting his finger on her lips. "Noyou don't," he retorted softly. "You're infatuated with me. I know it may be hard,
but I'm more than twice your age. That's unacceptable, in any fashion. I love you, as wellbut not in the way you want it to be. Your
world doesn't have to revolve around me or your brother"
"Have you looked at me, Aisu-kun?" she yelled out, surprise immediately on his face at her outburst. "I'm sick! I don't know when I'm
going to dieI just know that it's coming! You were the guy that I wanted everyone to be like. You were, and still are, my hero and my
knight in shining armor. Even before I got sick, I always kept comparing every guy to youand they always fell short." Tears rolled
down her dark cheeks as Aisu just sat there, completely speechless.
"Do you know why I fear death so much Aisu-kun? No. It's not even the act of dying, no. It's not that I won't be able to serve as a
proud kunoichi of the Hidden Cloud, even. Do you know what it is? Hell, even as much as I love my brother, it's not even him at the
true core of why I fear passing on. It's you," she revealed. "Separating from you is a fate worse than death. If there were a KamiI'd
consider that personal hell a far more tortuous experience than the Shinigami, itself, could ever muster up."
Aisu honestly didn't know what to say. Being a man of his intelligence, he always knew that she had a crush on him, but simply ignored
it, thinking it was just an early teenage fluff. But to bear all with strong conviction to tell him how much she idolized himit was
surreal. He then looked at her seriously.
"I will, Ayasaki-chanI will. I'll fight for you. I'll find a way to make you better, I promise," he vowed as she wrapped her arms around
him.
"I knowyou always do, don't you?" she whispered in his ear. He couldn't help but smile in her absolute confidence in his abilities.
"Now, get some sleep. Your brother should be back in a couple of minutes or so. I'll try and visit you when I can, all right?"
Ayasaki nodded as he carefully laid the girl back on her mattress. She took a deep breath and pulled the covers over her. He touched her
forehead, and sent a pulse of lightning chakra through her nervous system. In seconds, she was calm enough to fall asleep almost
instantly.
Hearing Darui come through the front door, Aisu took his opportunity to grab his haori and Raiunsou, and phased out of sight not a
second later. He had a certain silver-haired clan head he had to meet.and it was not going to be pretty.
(END)

As promised, October 28, 2011, you would get an update. And here it is. :D
As for the Naruto manga, I only have one thing to say: What the fuck? I mean seriously, what the FUCK? M adara Uchiha now has the
Rin'negan? Are you kidding me right now, Kishimoto? You seriously went there? This opens up so many plot holes that it's fucking
ridiculous. Not only that, but apparently he can use the First Hokage's abilities? What? WHAT? Everyone and their grandma has either
the Sharingan or Hashirama's DNA.which is retarded, beyond belief.
So, yeah, all that backstory in canonit's not happening in this story. Period. That's just way too much retarded crap for me to weave
my plot into.
As for the next update? I have no idea. I'll try to get it out before M odern Warfare 3 comes out, because if I don't it's going to suck away
a HELL of a lot of my free time.
But alas, until the next update, please read and review! :D
Regards,
Arashi.

*Chapter 7*: Eternity's Remnants


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Seven: Eternity's Remnants
Okay, sorry for taking so long to get this out, because as predicted M odern Warfare 3's addiction got a hold of me! However, to make up
for it, this chapter is longer than all previous ones, if just barely.
This will be the last chapter setting up everything up, I swear. Once I get this one up, I'll spend the rest of November writing the likely
extremely long chapter eight. After that, next update will be sometime either in mid- to late-M arch at the earliest, or early April at the
latest. I'm just giving you guys a heads up now, so you know exactly why you aren't getting your frequent updates like normal.
Also, I need to amend a statement I made chapters ago. They'll remain Academy students after chapter eight untilsometime. I don't
know when. But, mainly after the massacre and the coup will things start to both speed up and slow downso to speak.
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, and Uncharted which are under the copyright ownership of Team
Ninja and Infinity Ward, as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, and Sony Computer Entertainment America/Europe,
respectively.
Full Summary: Three people meet under the oddest of circumstances during one troubled night: a loudmouthed troublemaker, a lost voice
within his clan, and a young civilian from a broken home. They never knew that their impromptu gathering would bring a revolution to
the shinobi world, and alter the course of history. This is their story
(Konoha Ninja Academy, early January, 1230 hours)
Despite being in the middle of winter, today, it was warm enough outside that the students of the shinobi academy could actually go
outdoors for their half-hour lunch period. Though most still had to wear warm clothing, such as sweaters, jackets, and the like, it still
was much better than eating in the cafeteria. When asked why by their instructors of why they hated the inside so much, they
commented it was "boring." The double meaning behind their words would forever be lost to the adults.
The raven-haired Uchiha sat on a high branch in one of the few trees on the Academy's grounds, along with his two best friends. Besides
the warm clothing they wore to match the color and shades of their lower torsos, they still looked relatively the same. This was a usual
spot for the triad of future shinobi. Seeing as how they were, naturally, the top ranked students in the class, this unspoken rule was
universally obliged by the entire class, even their fangirls!
Sakura took a sip from her water bottle as they observed the students, playing, talking, and having general fellowship with each other.
Naruto's cerulean orbs were scanning the entire outdoor area, watching them all like a hawk stalking its prey from thousands of meters in
the air.
"Hmm" Sakura hummed, as she observed Chouji, Shikamaru, and Kiba. "Anyone of you two ever get the feeling that something's a
bitoff?"
Sasuke raised a brow, while the only thing on the blond's face that indicated he had even heard his rosette-haired friend was a slight shift
in his eyes. "You're specifically talking about Shikamaru, right?" he calmly noted. Sakura simply nodded.
Sasuke narrowed his eyes a bit. "YesI see. Based on" he paused, before making a ram seal, and shot out an echolocation from the
Hankyouteii, specifically to Shikamaru, "he doesn't have much chakra, even by Academy standards."
Naruto made a ram seal himself, and double-checked Sasuke's proclamation. It wasn't that he seriously doubted his best friend would be
erroneous in his brief analysis of the Nara heir; rather, it was something that was routine among them that they had decided long ago.
Whenever one of them used the Hankyouteii for any reason, another would always double-check and reaffirm. This ensured that their
accuracy of whatever echoed backed to them wasn't something out of the ordinaryor mistaken for an enemy, object, et cetera. The
system was by no means perfect, but it did end up saving their asses a lot when M ikoto trained them in the snow.
A few moments passed and Naruto looked toward his female companion and bobbed his head. "Sasuke's right, he doesn't have a lot of
chakra."
"All right," Sakura acknowledged the bewhiskered jinchuuriki.

"No offense, Sakura, but what's got you so fixated on him? You got a crush on the Nara?" Sasuke teased. That earned a small glare from
the kunoichi-in-training as she smacked him in the back of his head.
"Ow!" the Uchiha scion complained, rubbing the spot where she hit him. Although a bit peeved at the idea of Sakura having crush on the
Nara, Naruto couldn't help but laugh out loud.
"You idiot! This is no time for jokes!" she chastised, pointing her index finger at him. Sasuke groaned a bit. He hated when she did that.
It reminded him of his mother when she used to discipline him. Damn, was that scary.
"All right, fine, fine," he conceded, before his face turned humorless. "Yeah, I know what you mean. This guy ranks near the middle of
the class, but he could do so much better."
Naruto nodded. "Indeed. Considering what this guy can do playing shougi, this guy's a goddamn genius. As much as I hate to say it, but
I think Shikamaru is even smarter than you, Sakura-chan," he said a bit grimly.
To his surprise, she didn't even take offense to that last statement. "I know," she said evenly.
Both boys had to do a double take. Sakura was actually admitting intellectual inferiority? While she wasn't necessarily arrogant because
of her sharp astuteness, that didn't mean she didn't have brief moments of where she liked to explain something in finer detail as a boost
of her own ego. Since it happened rarely, and the guys could tell when it was simply ego-boosting, they put up with it. To hear her so
openly admit that someone was smarter than she was, was a monumental achievement in her growth.
Sakura scoffed a bit, amusedly. "I take from the looks on your faces that you're astounded by me admitting that, right?" They both
nodded dumbly, causing her to chuckle. A serene smile adorned her face. "I know he's smart. Hell, if you want my personal take, I think
he's a genius, too. I just want to know why he hides it. It just doesn't make sense to me."
Naruto pondered on it for a bit. "Wellwho knows? It could be anything really. Butthat doesn't mean we should underestimate him.
He may decide to have a change of heart and come to rival us." Sakura looked at him. "What? It's not like I'm lying."
"That's true, Naruto, but we still have another three years and anything can happen. As some adults say, it's not over until the fat lady
sings," Sasuke quoted, causing Naruto to sigh. He took a quick bite of a ham sandwich.
"I see your point, Sasuke. That being said, I don't plan on that happening.ever." He then knitted both his eyebrows and looked at
them a bit smugly. "Do you two?" The blond was given a couple of smirks.
"Hell no!" they chorused together, and all three children shared a good laugh.
Unbeknownst to the trio, a pair of mystical eyes silently watched them.and it was not human. The scarlet irises of the beast poured
through the depths of their souls as it observed them from a location about a hundred meters away from them. However, it was mainly
focused on the raven-haired Uchiha.
Sasuke looked up and saw its silhouette, which was conveniently blocked by the sharp rays of the sunwith the exception of its ruby
eyes. It seemed captivated by the Uchiha, and he, it. 'Whatis this feeling?' Sasuke thought as he felt.stripped naked and dressed
down by the eyes? What the hell? Why did feel extreme warmth the minute he looked into its eyes, all of a sudden?
The Uchiha genius felt a bit of sweat roll down his brow as this feeling ofjudgment crept up his spine, and he felt his muscles
involuntarily go limp. The mystical creature's power seemed to have total control over him, as his eyes widened to their fullest extent
and his breaths became irregular. In a strange sense of watching himself in a mirror, the further Sasuke's eyes widened, the further the
creature's did as well, his width in synchronous harmony with his.
Then, it was over as rapidly as it had begun. Sasuke's motor functions came back under his controla fact that he didn't even realize was
taken from him. The frigid temperatures of the winter crept back on his skin as well, the sensation of heat completely gone. He noted the
being seemed tonod? It closed its eyes and its shape seemingly vanished from Sasuke's view.
Eyes narrowed, the Uchiha jumped off the branch, heading toward the direction of the shadowy silhouette. By the time he got there, it
was already too late. The creature had long since vanished, seemingly into thin air.
"Damn!" Sasuke cursed as he landed on the ground. His dearest companions landed beside him, looks of worry tracing their features.
"Yo, Sasuke, what's wrong with you? Why did you head off like that?" Naruto asked curiously. It was a bit odd, and out-of-character,
for him to just leave them without telling them a thing.

"I don't knowbut I I sawsomething" the scion tried to explain. He just didn't see it; he felt the damn thing!
Sakura frowned. "What was it?"
"Idon't knowbut, you guys, somethingdrew me to it," he admitted.
"Drew you to it? You mean, like an insect to a nightlight?" Naruto inquired. His best friend sighed and slowly bobbed his head.
"Whatever it wasit's gone now. Come on, we got to get back to the academy. You all know how Iruka-sensei is when it comes to being
late," Sakura reminded them. They both shared a chuckle.
"All right, let's go!" Naruto chimed before leaping off, Sakura not too far behind. Sasuke stared back at the rooftop where he saw the
creature in wonder.
'Just what the hell were you?' Sasuke mused before shaking his head. He'd dwell on that later. The Uchiha still had a job to do: getting out
of the Academy. "Hey, guys! Wait up!" he called out before jumping after them.
If the Uchiha scion would've looked carefully, he would've seen slight burn marks on the roof and a single redfeather.
(Konoha Ninja Academy, Instructor Lounge 1700 hours)
"M an, now I'm starting to feel the pain my old sensei used to feel when he graded our papers for the day," a chuunin with dark eyes,
spiky brown hair, and a bandage over his nose complained as he was shifting through essays, tests, quizzes and the like that each
student had taken for the week.
"Oh, put a sock in it, Kotetsu. You knew exactly what you were getting into when you signed up for this job," his partner chided. The
male was of average height, brown hair, dark eyes, and wore his forehead protector on a bandana.
Kotetsu snorted, putting an essay he was grading down. "Okay, Izumo, first of all, I didn't 'sign up' for this job. I just said yes when
Hokage-sama asked me to."
Izumo rolled his eyes and marked off some wrong answers on a test. He had that uncanny ability of doing two entirely different things
at once. "You do realize you could've turned it down, right?" he asked rhetorically.
"I know," he replied evenly. "I'm just making note of how difficult this job can be sometimes."
"Suuure you are," Izumo clucked his teeth, not buying his excuses. Kotetsu sighed and chose not to respond, effectively ending the
conversation.
A pregnant silence reigned over the two chuunin. The only audible noise was the slashing of red marks on students' papers.
"Not surprisingly, another set of perfect scores for the golden trio," Izumo dully remarked handing out three papers to Kotetsu.
The bandaged brunet whistled in awe. "Wow, again? That's got to be a record or something, right?"
Izumo shook his head. "Based on averages, no, they got a long way to go. They still have to beat the Densetsu no Sannin's record."
"Which was?"
"Ninety-six percent," he answered, causing his friend to whistle in awe again.
"It'd be interesting if they surpass it. Because, from what it looks like, these three are another trio of legendary ninja for this generation
of kids," Kotetsu pointed out, seemingly envisioning it already.
"Come on, Kotetsu," he tried to reason with his best friend, "I know they may have fantastic grades, but don't you think it's a bit of a
stretch?"
"Actually, I agree with him."
They both turned to the direction of the voice, belonging to none other than Iruka Umino, chief instructor at the Academy. He had a
serene smile on his face at his two assistants. They both blinked. "Iruka-senpai!" Izumo cried out in sheer surprise. He thought the
instructor had gone home already, as it technically wasn't his day to stay after classes let out.
He gave a courteous nod and sat down with the two chuunin. "Izumo" he started off, picking up where he left off, "you may not see

itbut I see great potential in these three."


Izumo sighed, still not convinced until he saw some hard evidence. Sure, they were acing their exams and tests.ugh. He didn't know
why he was so adamant about denying the obvious. Alas, it couldn't be helped, and they'd just have to accept that. For now, at least.
Iruka put a hand on his shoulder. "You'll see. Trust me." The brunet was firm in his declaration, if the serious look on his face was
anything to go by. Izumo simply nodded, not wanting to prod the issue any longer.
"Need any help?" the dolphin inquired, smirking a bit.
Izumo and Kotetsu laughed. "Please!" they chorused, causing Iruka to chuckle as he sat down to assist them in grading.
'They'll all see, soon, Naruto. I believe in you.'
(Haruno residence, 2000 hours)
Sakura hummed to herself as she made her way to her humble abode. The pink-haired pseudo-kunoichi had just left from a meal that
M ikoto had made for both her and her male friends. Naruto had decided to stay over for the night, like he usually did. He was practically
her sensei's second son-in-name, only.
Unlike Sasuke, she was well aware of how Naruto perceived the Uchiha matriarch. The love and admiration he felt for her was
undeniable. Either the raven-haired Uchiha was blind to this fact, or he seriously kept it to himself for unknown reasons. A frown
adorned the youngest of the "golden trio." Truthfully, she had wanted to stay over for the night, too, not wanting to be alone. Alas, it
couldn't be helped considering she had to come home to her mother and bastard for a stepfather.
A small, wicked smile uncharacteristically contorted its way upon her face as her eyes darkened with silent rage. She had made up her
mind a long time ago: she was going to kill him. Painfully, slowly, and delicately. However, some part of her, admittedly, would've
maybe given up on revenge if he had shown genuine remorse. There was none; no empathy and no guilty conscience. It was only a cold,
sadistic bastard who took pleasure in stroking his ego and desires a bit tooliterally.
The rosette-haired girl forced herself to calm down as she took a key out of her pocket and unlocked the door to her home. The smell of
cigarette smoke flooded her nostrils, causing her to wince. Damn, did she hate when they did that. It was odd, though
The entire house was in near-complete darkness, except for the faint microwave light in the kitchen a few meters in front of her. Were
they not here? She inwardly snorted. Why was she surprised? Her mother started become less and less like a parent and more or less
treated her like an inconvenience, at best. With a long sigh, Sakura made her way to the kitchen to for some yogurt, before a voice made
her stop cold.
"You finally decided to come home, eh, Sakura-chan?" a deep voice echoed throughout the room. Her eyes widened to their greatest
extent, and a sense of dread overcame her entire being. Her heart started to beat rapidly.
"T-Te-Tetsuya?" she stuttered out. What the hell was happening to her? She had been training for nearly ten months.preparing for
one of these days. She had learned techniques academy students could only dream of accomplishing, and was, unquestionably, the most
powerful female in her class. She didn't sense him, at all!
A dark chuckle escaped from his lips. "In the fleshSakura-chan," he intoned. She heard the click of a lighter as its flame was brought to
Tetsuya's mouth, which held a cigar. As the blaze ignited the tobacco products, she could see his smirk as he took a puff. With a snap of
his fingers, a dim light came on in the room, showing he was sitting cross-legged on the couch.
Sakura swallowed hard as her heart pounded against her ribcage and her breathing started to intensify in short, uncontrolled breaths.
Her stepdad gave her a wicked grin. "Even after being in the academy and training as a shinobi, you still tremble in fear at the sheer sight
of me. You have no idea how much thatexcites me" He licked his lips before blowing out a plume of smoke.
Sakura started having an inner struggle with herself. The shinobi side of her that M ikoto had trained into a proud kunoichi-in-training and
the little girl who stood in fear as she let the man she hated most dictate her life. Unfortunately, the latter was winning in an almost
completely one-sided domination. A lone tear rolled down her cheeks. Tetsuya smirked. He had her.
As her body started to completely panic, she barely noticed him as he caressed her soft cheeks. He forced her to look at him. His
apathetic gaze terrified the eight-year-old to the extent that her knees wanted to give out then and there.
"Wh-Where's my mother?" Sakura inquired with a bit of a stutter.

"Oh, you don't worry about her, Sakura" He gave her a grin as he traced his index finger across her soft lips, sending a chill up her
spine. "I'm going to take very good care of you" he lied smoothly, still touching her lips.
"Stop it." The sheer boldness had surprised both parties; Sakura more so. It was spoken softly, but the confidence and firmness stood
present and prevalent.
"What did you say?" Tetsuya asked dangerously.
Sakura's eyes narrowed, newfound faith in her abilities. "I said, stop it!" she yelled, swatting his hand away like it was a troublesome
gnat. Tears of anger rolled down her cheek as the Haruno clenched her fists. "You leave me alone for nearly a year and now you come
back hitting on me? What the FUCK is wrong with you?" she roared, not caring if she later got in trouble for cursing at him for her mom.
That needed to come out, lest she go completely insane.
There was a pensive silence in the tension-filled air that was thick enough to nearly suffocate her. Even though her sight was blurry with
the saline liquid secreting from her eyes rolling down, she could clearly see the rage in his eyes at being talked to like that.
Sakura barely had time to put her arm up to block his backhand on pure reflex, which still sent shockwaves throughout her entire body.
She was sent backward into the wall and slid down to sit on her buttocks. Brutal training from M ikoto or not, it'd be a long time before
she'd be strong enough to go against a person who was actually trying to cause physical harm to her. Her left arm was bruised badly
from the blow and she did everything in her power not to scream.
Tetsuya picked her up by the collar of her dress, dragging her along the wall as he did so, causing her to feel a light burning sensation on
her skin. He held her at his level. There was no perverted lust in his eyes, no wicked grins, and no licking of lips. Tetsuya's wasn't just
angry; he was completely furious.
"No, Sakura. What the fuck is wrong with you?" he mocked her, adding pressuring on her collarbone which caused considerable pain. "I
left you alone for ten months. TEN motherfucking months! You know why? Because, that night, I was satisfied and it seemed you had
learned your lesson of not defying me," his grip on her tightened, causing the poor girl to visibly stiffen in response, "but now, I see
you've learned nothing."
Sakura was seething in silent rage as her fists clenched. She didn't just hate this bastard. She completely loathed him. "M y mo!" she
choked out.
"Won't do a damn thing," he interrupted her. "You know why, Sakura?" This time, he did grin wickedly. "I know your mother more than
you ever will. She sees you as a burden."
The rosette-haired girl's eyes widened to their greatest extent. She shook her head in complete denial. "You don't believe me? How cute.
It's true. You see, Sakura. Your father dying tore your mother in two, mentally and physically. You remember all those nights when you
were very young where she'd take illegal substances and anti-depressants and was violent to the extreme? The fact of the matter is, until
I came along, she was nothing more than a ticking time bomb. It's because of me that she's like the way she is now."
Sakura immediately caught on to the hidden meaning in his last statement. "Youyou mean"
He couldn't help but grin at her shrewd perception. He always did enjoy not having to break it down to her. "That's rightI conditioned
her so she'd be dependent on me.and leave you straight for myself, whenever you got old enough."
Sakura couldn't believe what she was hearing, and yet, it made complete and utter sense. Why else would her own mother deny the
blatantly obvious abuse? Her sensei suspected something was off, but she never had the guts to tell her.
He finally let her go as she slumped to the floor, yet again. Clearly, he was satisfied from just dropping that bombshell on her. Seeing the
tears in her eyes did nothing to make him empathize with her, and yet, at the same time, he felt no pleasure in it, either. The dark-haired
pedophile simply shrugged it off and simply walked away.
Sakura stood up and bolted from her house and headed toward the Uchiha estate. She wanted.no, needed to see them at the moment.
They were the only ones who she felt she could trust. No more secrets. It was time they all learned.
(Uchiha Estate, 2100 hours)
"Andcheckmate, Naruto-kun," M ikoto squealed triumphantly as she moved in her shogi game board piece for a decisive win.
"Again? Why?" Naruto quipped as tears rolled down his face comically as he shook his fist. His best friend patted him on the back as if
to console him.

"Oh, Naruto, don't worry about it. I mean it's only your tenth straight losstonight," Sasuke smirked, causing Naruto's tears to flow
even faster. M ikoto simply laughed at her son's playful teasing of the Kyuubi jinchuuriki.
"But I came so close!" Naruto tried to plead his case to justify why he had lost so much.
"Close doesn't count in the real world, Naruto-kun," she reminded him, earning a groan in response. She smiled. "Besides, you've only
been playing for one week, while I've been playing for years on end."
Sasuke smiled and shook his head at Naruto's grumbling about losing at the coveted strategy game. He never would've have thought in a
million years that watching the game from the sidelines could be so intense.
"One more game," Naruto looked at his sensei seriously. "Winner takes all!"
M ikoto raised an eyebrow. "Umyou do realize we haven't been betting anything, right?" she rhetorically countered.
"Damn it!" Naruto sulked as laid his head down on the table.
It was a Friday night, and like usual, Naruto had stayed over at the Uchiha estate. Although this was brought with some problems with
some of the other members of the clan, a quick 'talk' from M ikoto changed their minds quickly enough. So, now, at best, they treated him
neutrally. Seeing the blond hanging out at the Uchiha household was about as common as a housefly.
"Soyou guys up for some training?" M ikoto asked, still amused at how Naruto had taken his ten straight losses.
Naruto lifted his head up and shook it in the negative. This earned him a curious look from the Uchiha matriarch.
"NoI'd prefer all three of us train together," Naruto explained. "It just wouldn't sit well with me that me and Sasuke are here getting
stronger, leaving Sakura-chan out in the cold. I get that we won't be able to train together all the time in the future, but this isn't the
future, is it?" he countered with sarcasm. Judging from Sasuke's silence, M ikoto had to assume that he agreed with the Uzumaki.
M ikoto couldn't help but smirk. 'Smartass,' she thought to herself, bemused. "All right, then, fine we won't tra" M ikoto cut off as her
eyes widened, sensing a familiar presence and looking off into the distance outside.
"Kaa-sanwhat's wrong?" Sasuke worriedly asked. Naruto looked at the distress in her eyes, too.
"Use the Hankyouteii, and you'll know exactly why," she replied. Her voice grimly chimed and her face left no traces of humor.
Confused, the two boys did a ram seal and did as they were told. Not even a second later, their eyes widened to their fullest extent.
Naruto stood up immediately. "Sakura-chan!" he exclaimed. Her chakra was pulsating all throughout the estate and beyond.
"Let's go, Naruto!" Sasuke stood up in determination and the two boys headed off, ignoring their sensei at the moment. M ikoto joined
them by jumping in front, leading the way.
It didn't take long before they saw a pink blur hop over the estate walls. Sakura was running at half her speed, with a bleeding lip, and
tears flowing. This alarmed her sensei and male friends considerably.
M ikoto sped up ahead of the two, her maternal instincts immediately taking over. The rosette-haired girl nearly jumped into the Uchiha
matriarch's arms breaking down completely. M ikoto fell on her knees while holding Sakura close as she sobbed audibly.
"Sakura-chan!" Naruto yelled in alarm as he and Sasuke came up to the both of them.
"Sasuke! Go get some medical supplies. Now!" M ikoto roared. Her son nodded and ran back into the house.
"Sakura.what the hell happened?" M ikoto asked the girl who was crying profusely. Naruto looked at her body and clenched his fists.
It didn't take a genius to figure out someone had caused physical harm to her.
"Ca-Can.please.in-inside?" she stuttered out in between sobs. M ikoto nodded and picked up the girl bridal style. She still held her
close and Naruto and her made their way back inside.
Sasuke already had a first-aid kit ready for them as M ikoto, literally, kicked everything off the table where she and Naruto played shogi.
The pieces fell to the floor, scattering everywhere. Not a single care in the world was given by anyone in the room at the subsequent
mess.
The Uchiha matriarch gently laid the girl on the table while surveying her wounds. She was badly injured. Her left arm was bruised to the

point where M ikoto was extremely surprised that the bones inside were still in one piece. She knew from years of experience that the
marks on her were caused by some form of abuse. Sakura's lower lip bled, congealing hemoglobin caking to it, and she had marks on her
collarbone, too. What in the hell happened? Two hours ago, the girl left her estate perfectly fine.
M ikoto shook her head. They could play twenty questions later. Right now, they needed to patch up the eight-year-old. The process
only took about ten minutes or so with the four in relative silence, the only words coming from their mouths were the various medical
supplies and medicinal pills M ikoto asked either boy to fetch at any given moment.
Sakura finally sat up on her own, the painkillers she had taken kicking in just in time. Although she still a felt a little pain, it was
nowhere close to where it was fifteen minutes ago. She nodded gratefully to the three most important people in her life. Naruto sat
behind her as she leaned slight against him as support. M ikoto and Sasuke sat in front of her on the table.
"Sakura.what happened to you?" M ikoto inquired, brooking no argument to put up any sort of excuse. If it was what she suspected it
wassomeone was going to paydearly.
"Sensei" she began softly, "doyou know of a jutsu that blocks sound?" That earned her weird looks from all three present.
"Sakura, why do you?" Sasuke began before Sakura cut him off.
"I don't want anyone else to know!" she yelled out as tears rolled down her cheek again. Naruto, Sasuke, and M ikoto visibly flinched at
her outburst.
The brunette woman complied and made five hand seals ending in Ram. There was a small pulse from her and all sound within the room
got canceled out. Sakura effectively had the privacy she'd requested.
"Who did this to you?" M ikoto asked with narrowed eyes.
"M ystepdad," she softly spoke barely above a whisper. Naruto clenched his fists as a look of anger contorted on his face. Sasuke
gritted his teeth and his mother's eyes turned to slits.
"Describe what happened," Sasuke urged, almost parroting what his mom and blond companion had asked not too much earlier. Sakura
nodded, expecting this inquiry.
"WellI went home, completely content with the meal you gave me," she tried to smile, but failed miserably. "I opened the door only
to find the house completely empty, save for the microwave light in the kitchen. Thenthat's when I heard him. M y stepdad was in the
house the entire time. M y heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst at any moment. That's when he was touching my lips,
trying to lead me into a false sense of security." M ikoto's eyes widened in anger at Sakura's implication, while it was lost on the two
boys. Obviously, they were not familiar with what she was getting at. Unbeknownst to all of them, the Kyuubi was listening intently as
well.
She continued, "I told him to stop and.and" she started to sob again, "he just got angry and slapped me against the wall. I managed
to block it, but it still hurt like hell. I fell on the ground, and he picked me up and slammed against the wall with enough force that I
thought the wall was going to come down. He told me how my mother only saw me as a burden and conditioned her so that she
depended on him."
Naruto started shaking in anger as his irises switched between their normal cerulean and as a crimson shade. How dare that bastard lay a
finger on her! He was her stepdad for gods' sake!
"That son-of-a-bitch," Sasuke cursed, punching the wall near him with a closed fist. M ikoto was pissed to the point where her son's
cursing in front of her was not her primary concern.
"I'm going to kick that guy's ass!" Naruto vowed, punching his right fist into his cupped left. The Uchiha matriarch chose not to say
anything fearing that she would go into a rant that pissed her off to the point where'd she seriously consider killing the bastard who
dared to hurt her pupil.
"That's.not the worst part," she choked out, swallowing a bit of mucus. M ikoto stared at her critically. Surely she couldn't mean?
Oh, please, by the gods, don't let her mean
"What are you talking about, Sakura-chan? What's worse than this bastard hitting you?" Naruto naively asked.
There was a tense silence in the room for a good thirty seconds. No one moved, no one spoke, and hell, they barely breathed.

"He.touches me.gropes me in places he shouldn't," Sakura finally revealed, dropping the bombshell. Detonating the proverbial
pipe-bomb, Naruto and Sasuke's eyes' widened in sheer surprise at that particular revelation. Now, they finally understood why Sakura
had spaced out at random times and didn't want to tell them. Instead of pure anger, they empathized with her with understanding. Their
sensei, on the other hand.
"HE DID WHAT?" She roared as her eyes were filled with complete and utter rage, burning like coal in a furnace. The trio started to
subconsciously back away from the Uchiha matriarch. They had never seen her this angry before. "Where's the bastard?" she practically
demanded from the Haruno. "Tell me now, Sakura, so I can give him a slow and painful death." Judging from the look in her eyes, trio
knew she was dead serious on carrying out that threat the minute Sakura gave the poor soul his whereabouts.
"No! Please don't, sensei!" she cried out. Sakura's reasoning for stopping her sensei from brutally murdering Tetsuya was twofold.
Firstly, while she disliked what her mother had become, she was still, at the end of the day, her mother. That was a fact that would
never change. Who knew what the sudden death of Tetsuya would do to her mom's already fragile psyche. Secondly, she wanted the
bastard all to herself. She was going to kill him and she'd be dammed if anyone else got that honor.
"Sakura." M ikoto spoke sternly, trying to calm down from the eye-opener that one of her pupils was actually being molested in her
own home. Just the sheer thought of it disgusted her to no end. What kind of sick bastard would hit on and touch inappropriately an
eight-year-old girl? M ikoto breathed in and out in a vain attempt to calm her nerves, lest she'd lash out and kill someone in the heat of
the moment.
"I knowbut you have to understand that he's essentially the only one keeping my mother together as insane as it sounds. I know you
want nothing more than to rip him to shreds. Believe me, I do as well. But, if he dies, my mother's depression will likely kick in, making
my home life worse than it already is," she spoke solemnly as she cried for millionth time tonight.
"Isee," M ikoto intoned. She didn't even bother trying to hide her disappointment. An idea struck her from out of the blue like a
thunderbolt. Sakura told her not to kill him; she never said not toa wicked grin adorned her face for a split second. Her pupils were
none the wiser. "All right, SakuraI'll abide by your wishes," she conceded with a huff.
"Thank you, Sensei," she thanked with a sigh, leaning back against the blond. Sasuke simply gave the two an emotionless stare. M ikoto
observed this, and made a mental note to address it soon enough.
"However, you're staying here tonight."
Three pairs of eyes went wide. Clearly, they weren't expecting that. Sakura opened her mouth to protest, but M ikoto held up her palm,
silencing her.
"No, you are," she insisted. "In fact, I think I want you to stay with us from now on. I'm not going to sit here in good conscience and let
you go home to that sick, perverted bastard. Not anymore. You're staying here." The finality in the tone of her voice told all. She wasn't
joking, at all.
The rosette-haired kunoichi-in-training sighed. She knew that her sensei's decision was final and there was nothing she could do to change
her mind. Not that she really wanted her to, anyhow. Sakura nodded in acceptance.
M ikoto stood up and dusted herself off. "I'm going to go find a room for you, all right? We can worry about transferring your belongings
here later. But, for now, we'll just have to deal."
"UmM ikoto-sensei?" Sakura began with a slight blush.
"What is it, Sakura?"
The girl looked extremely embarrassed. "I was wondering.could Iroom with Naruto-kun and Sasuke-kun?" she inquired, still red in
the face. Said boys jaws dropped all the way to the floor as they looked at each other.
M ikoto blinked owlishly. "Wow.umsure," she said a bit hesitantly.
"Kaa-san/Sensei, you can't be serious!" Sasuke and Naruto protested. It wasn't the fact that he didn't want Sakura near him; it was the
fact that she was a girl and.it just wasn't right!
M ikoto snorted. "Oh, can it, you two. If you guys were much older, then I'd have a problem with it, but I trust you guys. It's really not
that big of a deal. She'll just have to go to another room to get changed when she needs to." The two boys grunted out their reluctance,
but accepted.

"All right, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me go find some sleeping wear and some sheets for you to sleep on in Sasukekun's room." She smiled and left the room. While she thought about it, she made a seal to disable the sound displacement jutsu she had
set up earlier.
"So." Sasuke began, unsure of where the conversation should go, considering what they had just learned.
Sakura sighed and turned around to face both of them. "Guysthank you."
"For what, Sakura-chan?" Naruto asked with a tilt of his head.
"For understanding and respecting my right not to tell you until now. I truly appreciate you guys not trying to prod the issue when it
wasn't needed," she explained.
Sasuke shook his head. "It wasn't a big deal, Sakura. However." He punched his palm with his fist. "I still want to take a shot at the
bastard for what he did to you."
Naruto's eyes turned bloody crimson for a split second. "Not before me, Sasuke. I call first dibs," he said with a darker edge lining his
voice.
"Noneither of you are touching him," Sakura spoke with an air of finality. Her jade eyes turned to slits as her eyes narrowed. "He's
mine and mine alone. I'm the one who's going to kill that sick perverted fuck!" she hissed venomously. The two boys flinched, yet again.
They still weren't used to Sakura swearing so vehemently. "Butdon't tell Sensei that, okay? I don't want her worrying about it, okay?"
"We won't," Sasuke assured her.
She smirked and held up both her pinkies out toward them. "Pinky swears?" she intoned looking at them playfully, trying her best not
to giggle.
"Seriously?"
"Come on" she pouted, giving them a slight puppy-dog looks.
'By the godsthat face.' Naruto thought with a bit of sweat rolling down his temples. M ust.notgive in! From the look on Sasuke's
face, it seemed he had to deal with the same inner struggle.
"You know you want to," she teased, a bit flirtatiously.
"Fine," they both said simultaneously, hooking their pinkies around hers. "Pinkie swear."
Sakura smiled and pulled them both into a hug. "Thanks, guys. It really means a lot to me," she told them sincerely. They both grinned
at her as the three best friends felt content in each other's arms.
A cough broke them out of their stupor and they immediately pulled apart. Their sensei was leaning against the door frame with a smirk
on her face.
"Heh, I may have to put you three in separate rooms, after all," she teased, though her humor was lost on the trio.
"No we were just!"
M ikoto rolled her eyes. "Relax, guys. I'm only kidding," she dryly remarked. Sakura sighed in relief. "Anyhow, I've got your pseudo-bed
made in Sasuke-kun's room. Don't stay up too late, as we're going to the blacksmith tomorrow morning."
"Seriously?" Naruto and Sakura asked, the former drooling at the prospect. M ikoto already had them practice with bokken (wooden
sword) and staves made out of the same material. Unsurprisinglyto M ikoto at least they seemed to take upon the weapons as if
they were born to wield them. Strange how just about everything they wanted to specialize in, they had a natural talent for. M eh, it
wasn't worth reading too much into it.
The Uchiha matriarch nodded in confirmation, smiling with a bit of tender affection. "Time for you guys to work with some real metal."
Naruto grinned and held Sasuke in a headlock. "Hell yeah, and who knows, Sasuke here might find a weapon he likes."
The Uchiha scion snorted, forcing the blonde of off him. "Yeah, right. I told you how I feel."

"Sakura-chan, remind us of this moment when he picks out a weapon tomorrow, all right?" He grinned confidently. She gave him a
thumbs up in response.
M ikoto simply shook her head. The dynamic between these three never ceased to amuse her. They liked to poke fun at each other from
time to time, but the bond that existed was undeniable. "All right, you three, time for bed. You all can shower in the morning. It's been a
long night. Tomorrow, your training intensifies." She couldn't help but snicker at the looks of horror on their faces. Damn, she loved her
job!
The three academy students collectively sighed as they made their way to Sasuke's room. Since Sasuke and Naruto were already in their
pajamas, they really didn't need to worry about having to change in front of their pink-haired companion.
Nearly a half-hour later, the three friends were each in their beds in the darkness of night. They could barely see two feet in front of
them, let alone each other. However, that didn't stop them from having conversation.
"Wowall three of three of us all in one room at night.never thought I'd see this day," Sasuke mused aloud.
"Wellwe'll probably have to do this on missions. M ight as well get used to it, now," Sakura replied, her eyes actually closed, but still
listening intently.
They heard Naruto snort. "Yeah, but the difference is that we're in nice, comfy beds. Out thereit's nothing but good old M other
Nature and all her hazards."
"Got me there," Sakura conceded with a long sigh. Naruto did have the habit of being a snarky smart-ass. I guess it came with him being
the de-facto 'team leader' in the sense. He was certainty qualified. Despite Sasuke being talented and trained in the ninja way before any
of them, Naruto caught up extremely fast and surpassed him, if only just barely.
"In any casewe've got a long way to go. Kaa-san says we have to stay the entire four years at the academy. It was something about us
growing up too fastmehI don't know. Either way, it's troublesome."
"Damn right it isbutat least it gives me enough time to create that technique," Naruto added as a simply afterthought.
"Yeah." Sakura agreed before she blinked and sat up from her bed. "Wait a minute. What technique?" Now, she was entirely confused.
Sasuke sat up as well. "All right, Narutospill it. What the hell are you talking about?" he outright demanded. He was his best friend
and he'd be damned if he'd be the last one to find out about this kind of crap.
Naruto grinned sheepishly. "Wellit's something I've been thinking about. You guys remember reading about the Yondaime, right?" he
asked rhetorically.
Sakura looked at Naruto's silhouette with a raised eyebrow. "Yeahwhat abouthold on! Don't tell me you're trying to create a
technique similar to the Hiraishin no Jutsu (Flying Thunder God Technique)!" The Hiraishin was an S-ranked jutsu created by the
Yondaime Hokage and was considered by many to be as close to a "perfect" jutsu as one could get. The only thing that was truly known
about it was it allowed the Yondaime to move at instantaneous speeds. Everything else, the young Hokage took with him, seemingly, to
the grave. Replicating it was virtually impossible, now.
"Wellnot exactly, but it has given me an idea," he told them.
"Wait, wait, wait, wait, WAIT," Sasuke repeated holding his hand in a T-shape. "First off, we're nine years-old. How the hell are you
going to invent a bastardized version of, quite possibly, the most lethal jutsu in existence? How the hell do you even begin to create a
technique in the first place?"
Naruto rolled his eyes. "Okay, first off, the technique I'm envisioning is nothing like the Hiraishin. The only thing it has in common with
it, is speed. Although, it's obviously much slower than the Fourth Hokage's prized technique."
"So it's a speed technique?" Sakura inquired.
"Yes," Naruto confirmed.
"Wellwhat about the Shunshin no Jutsu (Body Flicker Technique)? Doesn't that serve the same purpose?"
Naruto smirked. Just the question he was waiting on. "Technicallyyes. However, most shinobi only use Shunshin casually and
outside of battle as it has few practical uses unless you're a master of it like the Sandaime Raikage and Shisui-san." Sasuke grimaced a bit

at the mention of his cousin, but ignored it in favor of listening to Naruto.


"You see, guys, I've been studying the Shunshin no Jutsu a lot, and while I will learn the technique for its casual use, I want a technique
that allows me to use my faster-than-normal reflexes and speed for practical use in combat." He definitely wasn't exaggerating. Naruto's
reflexes were borderline ridiculous for his age, reacting to things seemingly before it happens.
'I wonder how long till the boy realizes these natural gifts were inherited from his father.' The Fox thought amused, once again
listening discreetly. Sure he could tell Naruto about his heritage, but as far as he was concerned it wasn't his place to tell. Plus, he never
asked him, so why bother bringing up the subject?
"Now, before I go into this in vivid detail, I've never done this. This is all theory from me at this point," Naruto warned. He heard them
nod and continue. "So...speed, along with most measures that have to do with the laws of physics, have lots of things in common; one of
the more notable being friction. It's the force that resists motion. Often, it's most commonly demonstrated by sliding against various
surfaces.
"SoI was thinkingwhat if you use chakra to temporarily take away this friction under your feet? Since chakra has been known to
do a hell of a lot of things, I'd think I could do thissomehow. Regardless, I'd glide myself along this frictionless environment at any
pace I want tosort of like a blur. The problem I see is firstly, how to make myself frictionless, and secondly, how to bring the friction
back to stop myself within a split second. M ind you, this is what I've been theorizing for a while now. It's about as concrete as it's going
to get until I actually sit down and create it."
"Iseewow." Sakura said in awe at Naruto's detail. She never took him to study physics. Then again, it was in the interest of
bettering himself as a ninja and overcoming a problem, so it stood to reason.
"Wow, Naruto.you certainly did a lot of research into this. Question, though. Say you are successful in creating ityou got a name?"
Sasuke asked smirking.
"ActuallyI do. If it all goes well, I'm thinking of calling itIbitsuyumi," Naruto answered.
"Distorted Step, eh? That actually fits well based on your theoretical description. Good job," Sakura complemented.
Naruto smiled. "Thanks, guys." There was a comfortable silence between them. A groan escaped Naruto's mouth. "Yes, I will teach it to
you guys, sheesh," he said with a roll of his eyes.
They both laughed out loud. "You know us too well, Naruto-kun." Sasuke couldn't help but agree with the rosette-haired female.
The cerulean orbed pseudo-shinobi shook his head. "Yeah, yeah," he replied dismissively, turning on his side. "All right, enough talking.
Let's try and get some sleep. Knowing Sensei, she's probably going to put us through hell, tomorrow."
A collective moan was uttered as they sighed. Ah, well, it was nothing they could do about it, so why worry? Silence reigned over the
entire room as they each, one by one, fell completely asleep.
(Yuki no Kuni, Ultranationalist M ilitary Base, 1800 hours)
Obano Kouseki walked along the metal tiles of Alpha Base situated in the Land of Snow. This facility was nearly sixty-thousand square
feet in total size, and had many state-of-the-art buildings equipped with the latest in radio technology, as well as material and resources
that made it self-sufficient.
Alpha base was the main foreign base for the Ultranationalists, outside of Delta Base in Shimo no Kuni (Land of Frost), and Echo Base
in on a remote island nearly one-hundred miles off the coast of M izu no Kuni (Land of Water). The latter of which was only accessible
by air. Obano saw a large, two-story-tall eagle with a large brown saddle that seemed to be holding cargo and supplies fly down into an
underpass. A long human sat on its neck and was seemingly guiding it like one controlled a horse, a rein included over its beak. Its flight
call could be heard as it vanished into the underpass.
Obano couldn't help but to marvel at Hideyoshi's sheer genius. Ten years ago, he had diverted some serious funding into building bases
overseas that were actually worth a damn. The Ultranationalists needed ways to test most of their illegal weapons away from the
watchful eyes of the Sandaime, and now Yondaime, Raikage. They had gone the extra mile to make sure that these bases were secure,
safe, and most of all, kept completely secret. Only the most trusted members of the organization were allowed to go to any of the bases
and even then strict regulations were followed.
The Emerald Fang had heard talks of Hideyoshi making deals and negotiators with a character in this landDoto, was it? In any case,
whatever the Ultranationalist leader had promised the now-ruler of the Land of Snow, he left the extremist shinobi of the Hidden Cloud

well alone.
He walked into a small building that belonged entirely to him. Paying a fee from their own pockets, an ultranationalist could request that
a private house be built there in case they were stationed there for a while whenever they weren't needed back at the village. It wasn't
anywhere near as nice as his house in the Third District, but it beat living in the barracks like the rest.
"Sensei! You're back," Omoi observed, letting out a chilled breath. He was wearing standard Kumo Genin outfit except it was
customized to fit the near-zero-degree weather outside. The eleven-year-old sat in a chair, drinking some hot chocolate.
Obano nodded in acknowledgement and shut the door behind him and shivered a bit. He was not a fan of frigid temperatures and he
couldn't wait to go back home. "Where are Karui and Samui?" He inquired, dusting some snow off his thin jacket.
He pointed to the living room and saw the two kunoichi sleeping on opposite ends of the couch. Obano couldn't help but to smile. He
hated to disturb them from their slumber, but alas, the demonstration was today that would likely revolutionize the way the shinobi
World Wars would be fought.
The jounin made his way toward them and shook them both awake. He got groggy groans in response. "Look, I know you guys are tired,
but we have to be present for the test today. Once it's over, you guys can sleep all you want, all right?"
Samui sighed and Karui groaned, but nonetheless, they complied, getting up from the couch to put on their jackets.
"I can't stand the fucking cold," Karui cursed in disdain.
"Got that right," Samui agreed. She was willing to deal with the chilly winters back home, but here? Hell no.
Obano chuckled. "Come on, you three. Let's go and see if this actually works," he said, heading for the door.
The younger boy cocked his eyebrow. "You still haven't exactly told us what this 'revolutionary' idea is." Omoi crossed his arms. His
sensei had a knowing smirk as if to say, "Watch and see." The three grunted at not being told upfront and simply followed their sensei
out of the room.
(Yuki no Kuni, Alpha Base, Hangar A, Nicknamed "Eagle's Nest", 1815 hours)
Team Omoi and Obano made their way through the "Eagle's Nest," along with a plethora of their brothers-in-arms seemingly working
around the clock to keep the place up and running. The hangar was absolutely massive and was easily the largest structure in Alpha Base
at an astonishing one hundred twenty-five feet from the ground to the highest point in the ceiling. Its width from end to end was about
nine times that of its height. There were enormous stalls where eagles, hawks, and falcons of various sizes were being fed their usual diet
consisting of fish, mice, and rodents, among others. Some of the birds were so massive that ladders nearly eight times the sizes of an
average man were used just to reach their beaks! So far, all of the birds had remained calm and tranquil and seemingly didn't have a single
issue with their human handlers.
"Okay." Karui said aloud a bit annoyed. "Come on, Sensei. What the hell is up with all these birds? They're goddamn huge!" she
exclaimed a bit in awe. The talons on those things could easily carry any of the four of them with room to spare. A small shudder went
up the kunoichi's spine.
Obano couldn't help but to chuckle. "Well, guys, these eagles are pretty much going to be a great asset to us in the future. Their
applications are practically limitless. Ah! Just watch and you'll see what I mean." His students gave him a sidelong look, still a bit
skeptical.
A masculine voice was heard over the intercom system within the hangar and spoke in a commanding and militaristic tone. "All
personnel, this is Overlord, you are to be advised and clear the runway for Support Package Bravo." Obano raised an eyebrow. Bravo,
eh? The first eagle he saw a while back must've been "alpha," or the first bird to arrive. "All cargo personnel are to stand by for safe
transport."
Omoi turned to the jaded eyed jounin. "Overlord?" he asked, puzzlement lining his features. He observed multiple shinobi moving into
positions, while a lone male was seemingly directing something in the air akin to an air-traffic controller.
"He's a relatively high-ranking member of the organization. That's his call sign. It's a way to protect identities in the extremely low
chance we have intruders or uninvited guests. Some of us have call signs; others don't. That's the point. You never know who might be
an enemy, even in a base this secure. Security protocols dictate that we don't take any chances."
"Wow" Samui whistled in awe. "You guys don't play around when it comes to this kind of stuff," the eleven-year-old observed.

Obano shook his head. "We can't afford not to."


Overlord's voice came over the intercom again, except this time there were clearly echoes, meaning his voice could be heard throughout
the entire headquarters. "Sand Bravo Six, you are clear for landing. Proceed to Eagle's Nest with caution."
"Here it comes," Obano told them as all three of them carefully watched the skyline as the hangar bay doors opened to the darkness of
night. Team Omoi watched as a massive bird started to approach the hangar. Omoi's eyes grew wide. The further the massive flying
behemoth edged closer, the larger it appeared to be. He consciously took a step back as the menacing eagle flew into the aptly named
Eagle's Nest. The extremely sharp talons scrapped the metal tiles as it used inertia to slow itself down into a complete stop.
The jaws of Team Omoi, along with dozens of other Ultranationalist shinobi, dropped completely to the floor, rendered speechless.
This eagle was easily over a hundred feet tall, a wingspan taking up half the hangar and it had blood-red eyes to boot. Running along its
main vertebrae was an enormous saddle that connected itself across the midsection for support. In this saddle contained dozens upon
dozens of boxes, crates, and containers, among others filled with food, medicine and spare and replacement medical equipment, hundreds
of bottles of fresh water, raw materials, and other miscellaneous supplies.
"All right! Let's get her loaded off! Ayako was getting a bit tired with all that weight on her!" a man, dressed in a rather strange outfit,
ordered. He was obviously dressed for the weather, but his outfit was completely out of the norm. It was an all-white jumpsuit with fur,
meant to protect him from the cold. The dark-skinned man was wearing protective goggles as well as ear muffs as he held the eagle,
presumably called Ayako, steady with the reins in his hands.
Several Ultranationalist chuunin jumped on the saddle where the supplies were, while others prepped a loading system beside the
massive silver-colored beast. One by one, crates were sent down a conveyer belt that rotated downwards. At the bottom, shinobi and
staff carried the supplies to and where they needed to go.
"Wow" Omoi was the first to speak up from his stupor.
Obano couldn't help but to grin. "M arvelous, isn't it? Normally, it'd be a logistical nightmare to maintain one base this far away from
home, let alone three. Add in the fact that this place is unknown to a large amount of the shinobi world and you're talking about
something that's virtually impossible. However, Hideyoshi-sama came up with an ingenious idea. Taming the gargantuan birds of prey in
the valley that sat directly behind his clan estate. Ayako there is one of the twenty largest birds we have under our command."
Samui and Karui blinked. "You mean there are twenty other birds just as big as that thing? No way in hell!" They shook their hands in
denial.
"Believe it, kids," Obano replied seriously. "At any rate, those birds can carry far more cargo than we initially thought. Those wings are
powerful enough to keep themselves up along with extra amounts of weight. It shattered our nave perception of what birds were and
weren't capable of," he explained.
"I see" Omoi thought as the lazy eyes he was known for returned to his face, though it was evident he was extremely impressed. "I
wonder.could you drop supplies to the field directly?" he asked in wonder.
Obano blinked at him and then chuckled, putting a hand on his shoulder. He always knew how to ask the right questions. If they were
impressed with that, then what was next would likely completely blow their minds.
"Omoithe answer to that.you'll see in due time," he remarked a bit cryptically. The ashen-haired shinobi simply sighed, not wanting
to broach the issue and knowing it was futile. Karui giggled while Samui shook her head.
"All right, Hayato-sama, that's the last of it!" a female Ultranationalist jounin called out to the "pilot" of the massive bird of prey.
Ayako shook her back, seemingly glad that she had all that extra weight off of her.
"Glad you got that weight off of you, huh?" Hayato spoke to the eagle, whose eyes seemingly narrowed.
"You try carrying about five tons of human items on your back and see how well you do, Hayato-kun," Ayako sarcastically
replied. It was unlikely that anyone else besides Hayato heard her speak, due to the mount of activity going on in the hangar.
"All right, all right, fine. I'll treat you to some fish when we get back to the village," he promised, but Ayako didn't look convinced as she
brought her wingspan in and made the huge effort to turn completely around.
"I'm perfectly able to hunt fish on my own, thank you very much."
Hayato palmed his face. "Sheesh, okay, I get it. What does a guy have to do to get some respect around here?" If the enormous silver

bird could smile, she would've done so.


"You know I love you," she replied humorously.
"Sometimes, I wonder," he retorted with a snort. "Anyway, you're free for the rest of the night. I still hear there's plenty of food in the
river in the mountains. Perhaps you'll find some good fish there?"
"MaybeI'll check it out."
"Good.Alsokeep an eye out for any suspicious activity."
Hayato could've sworn he heard the female eagle groan. "Do you need to remind me of that every time? S heesh."
The pilot chuckled. "I guess not, but it bears worth repeating. Either way, I wish you luck. Good hunting." He jumped off the eagle and
she wordlessly made her way to the edge of the pseudo-runway and jumped off the cliff and flew off into the distance.
Hayato dusted some snow off of his jumpsuit and removed the helmet and goggles. Jet black hair and brown eyes adorned his face along
with a scar across his right eye similar to a certain cyclopean Konoha Jounin. The dark-skinned male cracked his neck as he saw Obano
and his pupils heading toward him.
"Ah! Obano! It's good to see you!" he greeted the jounin as if they were old friends, which they were. They shook hands and grinned at
one another. Obano noticed the golden eagle patch on his left breast.
"You're a captain, now? You're moving on up in the ranks, I see," the Emerald Fang noted with a smile. Hayato scratched the back of his
head sheepishly.
"Yeah, I guess you can say that. Hideyoshi-sama was the one who requested me to officially bring WARHawkS public.at least to our
brothers and sisters. Gods above know that those bastards back home couldn't have thought of an idea this ingenious," he spoke in
disgust. Team Omoi stayed silent at this, unsurprised in the least. Personal grudges against the United Cloud and the Raikage were about
as ordinary as the common cold amongst those of the Ultranationalists.
"Indeed," Obano agreed. "It is a great honor that our" he paused a bit. "leader has bestowed upon you," he added cautiously. He
felt a chill run down his spine. He had almost slipped up!
"Sothese are the three pupils I had been hearing about." Hayato grinned, all but changing the subject completely. "Hayato Seka, at
your service," he introduced with a slightly dramatic bow for comedic effect. Team Omoi chuckled, amused.
"Omoi."
"Karui."
"Samui."
Short, sweet, and to the point. "Ah, I see, I see." The taicho looked at a clock on the hangar walls and his eyes widened. "Ah! I got a tenminute window!" he said, hurrying off somewhere.
"He seems nice," Samui noted smiling.
"M ore like total weirdo" Karui stuck out her tongue.
"All right, all right, enough," Obano bemusedly chuckled. "Come on, he's probably doing that presentation."
Hayato's voice was heard over a bullhorn. "All newly arrived members on base, could you please report to the front of the hangar?" his
voice bellowed in a bit of an echo. Omoi winced. Yeah, they definitely needed to replace that thing.
Normally, the process of getting everyone to collectively move to one spot could have taken anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes
depending on the size of the crowd. However, the discipline of these ninja ran far deeper than the average Kumo shinobi. Hayato stood
on a podium, and before him, an audience of about two-hundred fifty hardened and cold-blooded assassins.
The dark-skinned taicho cleared his throat before speaking. "Good evening, everyone," he began cordially and they returned his gesture
with a wave of nods, "Unfortunately, Hideyoshi-sama couldn't be here today as he had to take care of some important business back in
the village and as such he has tasked me to explain what you all just witnessed about ten minutes ago." Slight murmurs swept through
the crowd.

"What you all just witnessed was a birth of a revolution that will no doubt change the dynamic of how the Shinobi World Wars will be
fought. We call it.WARHawkS, or Aerial WARfare Hawk S quadron. By taming the enormous birds of prey in the valleys of Kumo,
we've managed to put these creatures to extraordinary use," Hayato explained walking back and forth. The WARHawkS pilot had their
complete and undivided attention. From the looks on their faces, they seemed genuinely interested in the subject matter. Team Omoi
was no exception.
"M embers of WARHawkS sign the summoning contract from the Akechi clan, which, obviously, Hideyoshi-sama controls. The program
began in secret over four years ago; around the same time Alpha Base here was nearly finishing completion. I finished my training here a
year ago to this day almost. I'm what's known as a 'pilot'. M ake no mistake people: these majestic creatures are highly intelligent and like
nearly all summoning contracts are able to speak in our tongue. That being said, they are not knowledgeable of the way we humans
conduct things at certain points. Sure, we could train them how to deliver cargo without a human assistant 'steering' them in the right
direction, so to speak, but, like all things in this world, it's simply a time and money issue."
Everyone seemed to nod in acknowledgment. It'd made complete sense. Training the eagles to have a cognitive map of the entire
elemental nations would be a true challenge. It was simply easier on the bird to have a human helper instead.
"As far as we know, maximum payload for our largest breeds is about five tons. Add any more and we'd be effectively forcing them into
a slow, painful, and agonizing death. So long as it's under the weight limit, just about anything can be fitted on the saddles that we've
created to hold all shipments.including ourselves," Hayato smirked. A wave of confusion swept through all of the Ultranationalist
shinobi present and the taicho was about to explain before he was interrupted by Overlord on his personal radio.
"Hayato-taicho, this is Overlord, do you copy, over?"
Hayato put on his headset and held up a finger, excusing himself. "This is Hayato speaking. Go ahead, sir."
"The First Air Wing is en route to your positions. ETA, about three minutes. M ove your crowd outside so that all can see for the final
test, over."
"Roger that. Hayato, out," he acknowledged with a smile, disconnecting the radio. "Okay, everyone, you heard the man. Outside, now!"
The shinobi presence didn't need to be told twice, as they made their way out, following his orders without hesitation.
Karui groaned. "Damn! Do we have to go outside? It's so damn cold!" she complained.
Omoi grunted in annoyance. "Can it, Karui. I may not be a huge fan of the frigid weather, either, but complaining about it constantly isn't
going to magically make your body warm."
Samui sighed. She was about to complain and agree with the redhead, but she knew she'd get a lecture from Omoi as well. He was team
leader, after all. Karui simply huffed, but said nothing in return.
Obano simply shook his head amused. Kids
(Skies of Yuki No Kuni, 1000m up, ETA to Alpha Base: 90 seconds)
Nearly a thousand feet in the air in the skies of Yuki no Kuni were fifteen eagles flying in V-formation. Although not in the same class as
Ayako in terms of size, they were still relatively huge. On the base of all fifteen's necks were Cloud shinobi who wore the same
jumpsuit as Hayato did, except with extra protection from being so high up in the sky. On their backs were the same types of saddles.
Instead of cargo, however.there were shinobi. There were about twenty each, although it could hold thirty more. They were covered
from head to toe in white-colored gear, goggles, and a large backpack.
The pilot at the head of the V-formation turned his head slightly to the taicho behind him. "Sixty seconds!"
The taicho nodded and turned back to his small platoon of shinobi. Although this was a demonstration and an exercise, they were taking
it seriously as if they were in a real war. That way if mistakes were made, they could be ironed out right then and there.
"All right, listen up! We're sixty seconds from the drop point! You're the First Wing, the bread and butter of the WARHawkS squadron!
We're known as the best at what we do. When we land, I want you to lock down Alpha Base as if it were under attack from enemy
forces. Am I clear?"
"Sir!" they all chorused in unison.
The taicho sent hand signals to the other fifteen captains leading the other platoons. They all acknowledged him.

"Thirty seconds!"
All twenty of the shinobi crept to the edge of the saddle looking down fearlessly as Alpha Base came into view. Everything truly looked
like the size of an ant from this high up.
"Hey guys, I can see my house from up here!" a random jumper-nin called out. This earned the chuckles of the entire platoon. It was a
joke that was often said to calm the nerves of jumpers. Surprisingly, it was pretty effective.
"Ten seconds!"
This was it. Their palms were a bit sweaty as they waited in excited glee at the opportunity to show off their skills. They saw the pilots
countdown with their fingers. Five.four.three.two.one.
"Go! Go! Go!" the taicho shouted, jumping off the eagle and effectively letting gravity take hold of him. His platoon followed one by
one they all jumped off. They were joined by the platoons on the other eagles. The eagles turned on a dime, headed west of Alpha Base
back to Kumogakure.
(Yuki no Kuni, Alpha Base, 1830 hours)
Team Omoi's eyes widened as they watched three hundred men descend toward the earth. Obano had a smirk on his face the entire time.
"Sensei! Are they crazy? A fall from that height, even for shinobi, would kill them instantly!" Samui shrieked in unhidden alarm.
"It would," the Emerald Fang acknowledged, "but what if you had a device that slowed your descent down, sparing you from a fatal
fall?"
Samui's eyes narrowed. "How? Such a devicedoesn'texist" her words trailed off as her jaw dropped to the floor. A large, jellyfishshaped device came out of the backpacks of the jumper-ninja. Dozens upon dozens of strings were attached to the outer 'shell' as it
slowly, but surely, slowed their descent towards the base.
"Omoi, Karui, Samui," Obano called them, "that is what is known as a parachute. When I said we were going to utterly revolutionize
how shinobi wars were fought, I wasn't kidding. Thisis WARHawkS."
"I see" Omoi's eyes narrowed. "All invasions in the past were carried out by moving either a massive number of shinobi on the ground
or smaller ones at certain particular periods. Depending on the country involved, it could either be a logistical dream or a nightmare.
Imagine the surprise of the other Hidden Villages when they see hundreds of our shinobi descending from the airright on their village.
M ost wars were fought in the country. Rarely were they in the interior of the village. With this it's." Omoi trailed off, seemingly in
awe. It was now that Karui and Samui caught on completely.
"You're right, Omoi. M ultiply the number of eagles you saw by three.five..seven.nine. All carrying full payloads of our forces
just itching to spill some blood. They wouldn't know what hit them, until it was far too late."
"Senseiwouldn't that work only once?" Karui asked. "I mean, say the reverse, heaven forbid, happened to us and we managed to drive
them off. Wouldn't the first thing you'd do is come up with strategies to defeat and prevent such a thing from either happening again or
to yourself?"
Obano nodded, having expected this question. "While your logic is sound, it assumes two things: one, that we aren't aware of some
potential weaknesses; and two: that the other hidden villages have ways to counter us in the air. Quite frankly, they don't. Unless they
have aerial summoning contracts then they're quite at the disadvantage. M ost solutions would probably be thought up on the fly
without any true proper testing. In war, you don't get the luxury of testing out new concepts efficiently. That's why we have the
advantage. We've been testing this for half a decade and ironed out a lot of kinks through trial and error. As successful as that jump was,
there are a lot of flaws that still need testing."
Team Omoi nodded in acknowledgement. The four man team watched as the First Wing secured the base from all sides as part of their
drills. The demonstration was effectively over and Team Omoi, along with the other new arrivals, started to disperse back to their
barracks or duty stations for the night.
"You knowof all the things I had expected, this was near the bottom, honestly," Samui blandly admitted. "Giant Eagles, the sky
raining men, almost enough to make a girl have a heart attack," she joked.
Omoi smirked. "Considering how easily you can be scared, I'm surprised it hasn't happened, yet."

The blonde looked offended. "Hey! I do not scare easily!" She felt someone poke her in the back with a "Boo!" She immediately
shrieked, causing her teammates and sensei to laugh hysterically.
Samui flushed red in embarrassment. "That's not funny!"
Karui was holding her sides, leaning on the only male in the team for support. "Suuuure it isn't, Samui," she retorted back, still laughing
at her expense.
Samui huffed and started to walk a bit faster toward Obano's private quarters. Said jounin's laughter was reduced to simple chuckles.
"Oh, man. That was great," he breathed out before wiping a tear from his eye. "Come on, guys. Let's head inside and get some rest. You
all have a big day tomorrow."
Omoi raised an eyebrow. "I thought we weren't going to leave until next week." Karui looked at Obano, hopeful. She couldn't stand this
hellhole they called a base.
"Who said we were leaving?" Obano grinned at the looks of horror on their faces. "We're training!"
Normally, the two would've been ecstatic about training, but he had expected them to perform well in near subzero temperatures with
snow! They barely could train competently back in Kumo during the winter!
"No offense, Sensei, but are you fucking crazy?" Karui exclaimed.
Obano looked at her coolly. "Nope. Believe me, I don't like the weather as much as you guys, but at least this will give you experience to
how fight in arctic warfare."
Omoi and Karui sighed and nodded in acceptance. "Whatever," Obano clucked his teeth. "Better to get it over with than to constantly
dread it."
The Emerald Fang grinned and placed both his hands on their heads as they headed inside. "Besidesyou never know what we might
discover out there!"
Obano had no idea how right he was.
(Yuki no Kuni, 5 kilometers from Alpha Base, 1100 hours, next day)
Team Omoi trod through the seemingly endless snowy mountains of Yuki no Kuni. Even with the extra layers of clothing, they could
still feel the frigid temperatures. Surprisingly, they weren't complaining about the freezing cold, but more of the long hike they had
taken.
"Come on, sensei! Can we please stop for a break?" Karui whined as she dragged her feet through the snow.
Omoi heaved a long sigh. As much as he hated to agree with Karui's complaining, he, too, started getting a bit annoyed. They'd hike, go
over some drills, hike, go over more drills, and then hike some more! It was getting extremely tedious.
"Sensei, we've been walking for at least twenty miles, with barely any breaks. Have a heart?" Samui asked, giving him a look.
Obano sighed. They were right; they did need some rest. However, he still wanted to explore the valley. Knowledge of this place could
come quite handy way down the line
"All right, fine. You guys can rest, but we still need to keep moving," he told them paradoxically.
As expected they all looked confused. "We need to rest.but keep moving? How in the hell does that work?"
Obano smiled to them and bit his thumb hard enough to draw blood. "Who said anything about us, walking?"
"Huh?"
The jounin just shook his head and went through five hand seals. Boar. Dog. Bird. Monkey. Ram. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu (Summoning
Technique)!" he exclaimed and slammed his hand into the freezing snow. A large plume of smoke covered the area at which he stood.
When the smoke had finally cleared, all three of their eyes collectively went as wide as saucers. Their sensei was sittingon a panther.
An all-black, yellow eyed, one story tall panther to be exact. Omoi barely came up to the big cat's massive shoulders. Its paws looked
sharp enough to rip through solid steel if the situation came down to it.

Karui gulped. "Umsenseiwhat is that?"


The panther seemed to snort. "You didn't even tell your pupils about me, Obano? I'm hurt?"
Samui's eyes bulged out of her sockets. "It talks?"
The panther smiled showing all its fangs. "Yup. And I also have a very well-rounded diet, too." The blonde kunoichi looked fearful at
that statement.
"Okay, okay, Daisuke, stop scaring my students, would ya?" Obano groaned at his personal summon. The new addition, Daisuke,
seemed to pout.
"I was kiddingI wouldn't eat themunless, of course, you told me to," Daisuke grinned and Obano palmed his face.
"Would you focus, please?" the Emerald Fang pleaded, jumping down from Daisuke's back. Even as tall as he was, the panther still
towered over his summoner like a giant. The enlarged feline's response was to simply purr mockingly, causing Obano to simply jab him
in the shoulder. He only snickered in response.
Team Omoi simply stared dumbly at the duo. For a panther that looked like it could rip a fully grown male elephant to shreds easily, it
acted more like a common overgrown housecat.that could talk.
"Anyway, this is Daisuke, my personal summon. He's going to give us a ride up through the underpass."
"I am?" the panther incredulously responded, scratching his ears.
Obano ignored him. "It shouldn't be that difficult for him. Sowithout further ado, let's go."
"UhSenseiwhy didn't you tell us you had a summoning contract for panthers?" Omoi dully asked.
He got a grin in return. "You never asked." All three palmed their faces. They should've immediately expected that.
"All right, ladies and gentlemen, all aboard the kitty express," Daisuke grinned and sat down on all fours. With a bit of hesitation,
the three climbed on top, taking note at how soft his fur was.
"You knowfor a talking pantheryou seem to act like a common housecat," Karui noted. The black panther just snorted.
"I find it more amusing and fun. You should've seen me when I was teenager. I was such a downer."
"Trust me, he was," Obano groaned, climbing back on as the summon rose to its full height. "Couldn't get him to laugh for anything and
now he won't stop making gags about scared prey."
"I enjoy the taste of humans when they're trembling in fear," Daisuke boringly replied. Team Omoi looked at him in horror.
"That was a joke," he flatly retorted. They all collectively moaned.
"Riiiight," Obano clucked his teeth. "Let's just get going."
Daisuke grinned and took off without warning, seemingly a black blur in the blizzard conditions in the high mountains.
(Kumogakure, 4th District, Darui's residence, February)
The heir to the Black Lightning stood in silence as he watched his beloved younger sibling sleep peacefully. Small dried tear marks
adorned his cheeks. The girl had another seizure that he was barely able to contain. Her neurological disorder grew worse as the
countdown to her final days came closer and closer.
It was wearing down the jounin. He could hardly focus on missions, anymore, because his sister was so sick and she could die at any
moment. If she were to pass on without him being there while he was awayhe didn't know what he would do. M ental breakdown?
Suicide? Retiring early? Who knows? They were all distinct possibilities.
Darui sighed in defeat, yet again, and made his way out of the room. He needed some sake to drown out some of his sorrows. M aking
his way to the kitchen, the lazy-eyed jounin poured himself a glass of alcohol and downed it in one go.
"It's sad to see yourself in this state, Darui" a cold voice said that made his skin crawl. He turned around sharply and his eyes greatly
expanded.

Standing in the middle of his living roomwas the Ultranationalist leader, himself.
"Hideyoshi." he spat venomously, causing the Akechi clan head to smirk. "What the hell are you doing in my home? Get out, before I
make you!" He gritted his teeth.
Hideyoshi couldn't help but chuckle. "You really think you could defeat me? M oreover, do you really wish to battle me with your sister
in the other room?"
Darui's glower turned murderous. "You even touch one hair on her head, and I swear to the fucking gods, I'll kill you!" he roared as his
chakra started to spike a bit.
The Ultranationalist looked amused at the Black Lightning heir's thinly veiled threat. "Is that so...? And here I was wanting to have a
simple chat with you," he faked being hurt.
The jounin growled. "And why would I want to have a chat with a psychopathic monster as yourself?" he reasoned, clenching his fists.
Now, the clan head looked genuinely offended as he gave a death glare to the ninja. "Is that what you think? That I have no morals,
convictions, or noble goals? What a truly nave and myopic view you have of the world."
Darui actually scoffed. "You? Having a noble goal? Don't make me laugh. You and the rest of your bastard party want to enact genocide
and probably have committed unthinkable atrocities."
"And what of the atrocities here at home, Darui?" he rhetorically quipped, skillfully dodging his question. "Do you not think it's wrong
that the Raikage literally does nothing to help those at the bottom of the food chain and yet he complains to you that he's scared shitless
about us taking over?"
Darui's eyes widened. "How do you?"
"Know about that? Who else would he express his grievances to? You're one of his most trusted jounin," Hideyoshi replied, and then
smirked. "At leastfor now, you are."
The ashen-haired nin's eyes narrowed to slits. "Just what the hell are you talking about?"
Hideyoshi paced around the room. "Is it not obvious as to why I'm here? I want you to join us in our cause to right the wrongs this
village has suffered under his rule!"
Darui actually looked at the Akechi leader in complete disgust. "M e? Join you? You must be out of your ever-forsaken mind if you
think I'll betray my village and turn it into one of your disposable pawns."
"And there's absolutely nothing I could say to change your mind?" Hideyoshi inquired inwardly grinning wickedly.
Darui glared mercilessly. "Fuck no!"
"What if.I knew a way to save your sister?"
That statement stopped the Black Lightning heir cold as his eyes rounding out in complete and utter shock.
"Wh-Wh-What?" he stuttered out, flabbergasted.
Hideyoshi smirked evilly. He had him. "Yes, Darui.I know of a way to save your sister. Not one of those temporary treatments like
A's doctors were given. I'm talking about a full-blown, genuine, honest-to-the-gods cure. As in when she receives it, it will be as if she
never had the disease in the first place."
"You're lying! M y sister's disease is incurable! She onlyonly." Darui couldn't help but to break down right then. In a way,
Hideyoshi honestly couldn't help but to feel sorry for the jounin. Perhaps he wasn't as coldhearted as he made himself out to be? He
inwardly sighed and banished that thought and kept a strong stoic face.
"Incurable, you say?" Hideyoshi rhetorically asked. "And who, pray tell, told you that lie?"
"A lie? It's not!"
"Tell me, Daruiwhat were the political affiliations of the doctors who diagnosed Ayasaki with her disease, hm?" Although the
question came out normal, it was meant to be semi-rhetorical.

"Just what the hell are you implying?" Darui angrily roared.
Hideyoshi ignored him. "Outside of the scrolls they gave you about her illness, did you ever do any third party research? Went to the
library to find more information on it? Or did you just blindly accept what they sent you and how to take care of her?"
A lump was caught in Darui's throat as his face locked up in shock. "II." He couldn't even began to speak words. He was so focused
on taking care of his sister that he never bothered to gain any more knowledge on the disease than necessary.
Hideyoshi continued. "You didn't, did you? It was a gambit on the Raikage's part, but it seems he played a successful hand and lady luck
shined on him at this moment. He knows you would do anything for your sister.even put her above the village."
"Shut up," he softly bit out.
"That you would do anything for her, go through hell and back just to see her smile. You were, and still are, a valuable asset to both him
and the village."
"Shut up" This time, it was bit more forced; backed with a rising flood of emotions swelling up from within.
"You would, wouldn't you? You would betray your own principles if it meant seeing your sister happy again. So that's why he"
"I said, shut up!" Darui roared. This timeHideyoshi did grow quiet, simply to allow what he had said to process through Darui's
mind.
Slowly calming himself down, he asked the Akechi clan head the million ryou question. "What did he do?" It wasn't that he exactly
believed the clan head; it was just that there was no evidence that disproved what he said, either.
Hideyoshi allowed a small smile to contort on his face. He had the reel, and luring him in like a hungry fish made it that much easier. He
was sure of it. "Very well, then. Daruiyou realize what a valuable asset you are to the village, no? You were the student of the
Sandaime Raikage, who inherited his prized Kuroi Kaminari (Black Lightning). You know that must've meant something to the Raikage.
He needed you on his side. There were two problems though the fact that you were politically neutral and, most importantly,
Ayasaki. He knew, as well as anyone with half a brain cell did, that you would put Ayasaki above anyone and everyone.
"Believe it or not, when Ayasaki became ill, it was a godsend to the Raikage. He seized this opportunity. While you were grieving at the
diagnosis, he ordered the doctors in the hospital to tell you that her disease was terminalwhen in factit wasn't."
That statement sent shockwaves through the jounin as he began to shake his head in denial. Having expected this kind of reaction,
Hideyoshi continued, unperturbed. "You see, Daruihe needed you to be loyal, and your sister essentially dictated to whom you held
loyalty. It was understandableadmirable, even. I don't even have to guess where you got the medication that supposedly "treated" the
severe effects of her disease and you were told it was giving her some time, right?"
Darui had a slight downcast look on his face, and his solemn expression told all.
"I see. So, you did. I have to say, the Raikage took a huge gamble with you. If you were to read up on her disease, it's difficult to cure
completely, but it is indeed possible. So, you see, Darui? The Raikage wasn't trying to save your sister. He was waiting for her to die!
So, in essence, you would have no one to dictate your loyalties, and it would, by default, go back to him. Don't believe me? Recall every
time you mentioned your sister in casual conversation, did you ever watch his reactions? Or did you notice but never thought much of
them?"
Darui's eyes widened in shock. It was true. Every time he mentioned Ayasaki, he would always see some sweat roll down his brow and
he'd start getting a bit nervous. Every single time he always skillfully changed the subject. The ashen-haired jounin fell to his knees, the
betrayal cutting him deep.
"See, Darui? The Raikage is not the man you think he is. This is politics. No side is above getting down and dirty, even if that means
people; even ones as young as Ayasaki, are involved and have nothing to do with it. He was willing to sacrifice a thirteen-year-old,
innocent girl for the sake of having a valuable asset." Hideyoshi then huffed. "And people say that I'm cruel," he snorted at the
hypocrisy.
Darui clenched his fists. He wanted to deny it. Tell the man that he was a liar and wanted to forcefully kick him out of his house, but he
knew, deep down, that what the man said was the truth. He gnashed together his teeth.
"Soin light of this.here's what I'm offering. In exchange for us curing Ayasaki.you will become one of us. You'll talk like a UC
member, walk like one.but you're loyalties lie with us."

"II" Darui couldn't help but to just feel conflicted. Could he really go along with the goals of the Ultranationalists? Become a coldblood sociopath, who felt no remorse for the killings of their perceived enemies, political or otherwise? Then, the sodaisho's words
reigned in his head. What good are those principals if your sister ends up dead because you failed to act?
Damn it!
"Hideyoshi." Darui began softly after a heavy sigh. "Whenand ONLY whenI see that my sister is cured." He closed his eyes as
tears rolled down his face, "then I'll pledge my full and complete loyalty to the organization. When you all do take over the village.you
won't get any interference from me. In factI'll help." It felt so alien saying those words. He felt sick to his stomach. He had basically
admitted to extend his services and abilities for treasonous acts.
Hideyoshi refused to smirk, as that facial expression would've caused the jounin to likely distrust him. He simply nodded. "Thank you,
Darui. I shall make arrangements for the process to be done here, so you can watch us the entire time. Is that acceptable?"
Darui nodded weakly, not feeling well enough to verbally respond to the Akechi clan head.
"Very well, then," Hideyoshi acknowledged. "Continue to act normal for now, until it's the right time. I bid you good night." The clan
head vanished in a flock of white feathers.
The Black Lightning heir slowly picked himself from the ground as he slowly made his way back toward Ayasaki's room. The darkskinned jounin was wobbling, as if he were drunk, but the recent revelation that the Raikage had been using him the entire time. He felt
numb and he looked pale as he leaned against the doorway. He watched his sleeping sibling with blurred vision.
Darui shakily made his way over to her bed and nearly collapsed on top of her, letting his tears flow freely. The very village he had
vowed to protect had betrayed him. Now, he had pledged to end the status quo and installing a new powerall for the sake of his sister.
Even Aisuhis eyes widened in horror.
He had completely forgotten about the Commander. He hated the Ultranationalists with a passion. When he learned he was on their
sidewould he hate him, too? What about Ayasaki? Would he simply throw away everything because of a justifiable switch of
allegiance?
Darui then looked back at his sister and balled his fists up in anger. 'Nofor her, I don't care what happens. Even if I have to go through
you, sodaishothe Raikage will pay dearly for what he's done. That much I'm sure of. Even if I have to go through your entire fucking
black ops division, he will pay for this!'
The jounin didn't necessarily like Hideyoshi, nor did he fully trust him. Butif the man was genuine with his desire to heal Ayasaki of
her ailment in exchange for loyalty.so be it.
'If I have to become a monster to save you, Ayasaki, then I shall. I just made a deal with the devil.but that's nothing compared to the
hell A is going to experience,' he thought vengefully.
There was no use denying it, anymore. Darui, the heir to the Black Lightning, elite jounin in Kumogakure, A's former right-hand-man,
was now officially a member of the Ultranationalist Party. The very same organization that, three months ago, he tried to prevent from
taking power, and was now a member of that organization whose goal was simple: remove Killer A as the Raikage permanently and
establish the Ultranationalists as the supreme rulers of the village.
The Black Lightning heir was going to make sure it happened. A wasn't going to live long enough to regret this mistake.
(END)
Yep, shit just got fucking real! Darui is now officially a conspirator in the coup d'tat. What does this mean for his relationship with
Aisu and C? Well, find out next chapter.
Speaking of next chapter, it's going to be effing HUGE! The Uchiha M assacre, the outcomes of this chapter, the Coup of Kumo, ALL of
it it's going to be in the next chapter. So the next time I update the word count is going to be absolutely insane.
You know, no one has made the issue of this as of yet, but I feel the need to address this point. As you can see, alongside canon
characters, there will be a lot of OCs. There's really no avoiding it for these type of stories. I will try to keep them at the bare minimum,
but when an OC is needed, an OC is needed. So long as they aren't God M ode Sues, you really shouldn't have that much a problem. I
flesh out ALL my OCs so they aren't simple, one-dimensional tools who serve as a plot device. No. You see this best with the
Ultranationalist members. They're described, accurately, as genocidal psychopaths. But that's simply one trait; their personalities are
much more complex than simply being evil for the sake of being evil, or Nazi Germany SS cardboard cutouts. They have deep complex

motivations; most of which you see glimpses of, and you, the reader, have to put the pieces together. I can't spell everything out for
you.
Obano is cold, calculating, and is willing do what we would consider "evil" to get the job done. And yet, he feels guilt at times. You'll see
more of this as time goes on as his backstory and character gets even more fleshed out. Trust me, kids, there's a reason why this guy
joined up with Hideyoshi.
Is Team Omoi (Or Samui if we go by the manga) a bit out of character? Absolutely. You know why? Their circumstances in here are
entirely different from canon, than it is here. Besides, we barely only see the surface of their personalities in the manga. I'm simply taking
a canon character and fleshing them out within the context of my own story.
A lot of you may feel that I'm focusing "too much" on Kumo and my OCs. "I want to see Team 7, yo!" I understand that, and I've been
that way before, but I look at it this way. What's the point of having a story if you only focus and flesh out three? That's beyond
retarded. And if I did do as you ask, most would complain I don't flesh out my characters enough. So, there you have it. Yes, Team 7 are
the main characters in the story, without question. That does not mean they are the only ones who matter. Keep in mind; these chapters
are to set up plot points for the future. Oh, and that thing called oh, I don't know.character development! Don't put me in a position
where I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.
I'm going to play M odern Warfare 3 for the next five days to break from writing and then I will jump back in. M ake no mistake, I WILL
have chapter eight out before December 6th, 2011.
On that note, if you play Call of Duty on PS3 and feel like having a game or two with me, hit me up. Username is NightBlade88.
With regards,
Arashi.

*Chapter 8*: Amaranthine Massacres and Insurrections


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Eight: Amaranthine Massacres and Insurrections
This is it, the final chapter of the year before I leave. Since a lot of time is going to pass between now and the next update, you guys are
being treated with this monster-sized chapter to tie you over until then.
It's come to my attention that chapter one needs a complete makeover. A recent review, while having some flawed criticisms, did have
merit. So, instead of bitching about it, I'm simply going to recognize the shortcomings and fix them. I didn't update chapter two until a
year after I first posted this story and wow. The difference in writing is tremendous and in need of a 2011 standards overhaul. Some
may agree with the review, some may not. Either way, chapter one is getting a re-shine that would make a boot-polisher proud.
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, and Uncharted which are under the copyright ownership of Team
Ninja, Infinity Ward, and Naughty Dog as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, and Sony Computer Entertainment
America/Europe, respectively.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Uchiha Estate, M id-February, 1200 hours)
Naruto stood in a stance, panting hard as M ikoto stood away from him about ten meters away, also in the same stance. The blond
Uzumaki had a kodachi in his hand, but it was far heavier than the blades usually were. Due to his age, he wasn't quite tall enough to
wield a katana. Instead of moaning about it, he found an ingenious loophole. It was to make the short blade as heavy as a katana by
infusing it with a chakra core that increased its overall density. It would make the transition from short-blade to long-blade almost
completely painless.
The Uchiha matriarch looked at her pupil with pride. He had a natural talent for swordsmanship. It was uncanny, really. If the Uchiha
were completely honest with herself, she'd expected the blond to take more after his father in terms of fighting style. That couldn't be
further from the truth. The only thing he shared with M inato was his utterly insane reflexes and cunning tactical mind. He wasn't like the
Nara clan who planned moves ahead of battle. No, Naruto planned moves and analyzed you even while he fought you head on.
M ikoto simply smirked and, within seconds, eight shuriken whirled through the air. As if his body had moved on its own, Naruto sliced
through all of them. The other halves were sent through the air toward his two friends who were sitting. They didn't even move a muscle
as they looked on stoically as the shuriken halves embedded themselves in the wall behind them.
"Very good, Naruto-kun," M ikoto praised while smiling at the novice swordsman. "I thought you let your guard down."
Naruto grinned back at her. "Didn't you always tell us to never let our guard down? You'd be a terrible sensei if we're coming up to a
year under your tutelage and we still have that problem."
"So, I see your point," she conceded. "I must say, though," she looked at him in wonder, "you're starting to get the hang of that kodachi
despite its weight. Sure you still want to use a katana?" she teased the young jinchuuriki.
She heard Sasuke scoff. "Give it a rest, Kaa-san. You can't change his mind."
"Really, Sasuke-kun? Coming from you who said you wouldn't use a weapon, but what's the thing on your side, hm?" Sakura chimed
sweetly, causing the Uchiha to grumble. Naruto and M ikoto both shared a laugh at that particular memory.
One month ago
"So, Sensei, who's this guy you're taking us to?" Naruto absentmindedly asked as he led, naturally, center of the trio with their sensei, in
full blown Konoha jounin garb, not too far behind them. The Konoha populace, as a whole, had gotten so used to seeing them, that days
where they weren't seen together was when the heads started turning.
"Ah, yes. His name is Muramasa, Naruto-kun," Mikoto answered the blond.
"Muramasa?" Sasuke exclaimed in surprised. "Are we thinking of the same?"

"Yes," Mikoto interjected, confirming her son's suspicions, "the very same Muramasa who forged the swords used by the Seven
Swordsman of the Mist and Hakk Chakura T (White Light Chakra Saber) which belonged to the White Fang, himself."
Naruto's cerulean eyes blinked at that particular revelation. "Wowa blacksmith that legendary residing in our village? What are the
odds?"
Mikoto shook her head. "Don't pat yourself on the back too quickly. Muramasa has many shops all over the Elemental Nations,
including here. I guess you could say Konoha is hishome base, so to speak. He's simply here to take care of business. How he
manages to run all of them at his age is anyone's guess. Then again, considering how strong Hokage-sama still is at his age, I guess it
stands to reason."
"It's a wonder the village hasn't made any offers or" Sakura frowned a bit, "forced him to stay to make weapons for the village."
Although it was a solemn thought, even Sakura wasn't nave enough to foolishly believe that Konoha wasn't above playing dirty to stay
ahead. They were shinobi; they never played fair.
"Who's to say they haven't?" Mikoto rhetorically countered. "Anyhow, Muramasa's wellbeing is of no concern to us, within reason. You
don't forge legendary weapons and not know how to take care of yourself or have a deterrence at your disposal to keep potential enemies
from exploiting and milking you for all your worth. Let's just worry about getting you three proper tools." She smiled, ruffling the three's
hairs, much to their embarrassment.
A few more minutes in content silence, the Uchiha matriarch led them to a part of the village unfamiliar to them. It was near the Hokage
Mountain, oddly enough, and the blond, even during his pranking days, couldn't recall ever seeing this place. The building stood at about
two stories high, looked plain, and hanging from the roof were the symbols standing for "Muramasa's Weapon Shop."
Naruto breathed in and out and gathered the courage to walk in first. An audible bell sounded as soon as the doors were pushed open.
Despite expecting such a display upon entrance, the three academy students couldn't help but marvel at the sheer sight. Everything from
katana, wakizashi, rapiers, naginata, kodachi, staves, broadswords, bows and arrows, shuriken, kunai, and various other
miscellaneous weapons of war kept their eyes glued to them.
"Wow" Naruto said whistled in awe. There were armaments here to last a small battalion half a decade!
They heard shuffling in the back as an old man, about the same height as Naruto, slowly made his way toward the counter. It was clear
that he was hunched over from old age. His eyes were narrowly open, as he wore an old faded blue kimono with a white beard. His
expression seemed to be joyful once he laid eyes on their sensei.
"Ah! Mikoto-san," he softly greeted, his voice squeaking a bit. It was clear that he couldn't raise his voice another decibel even if he
wanted to.
Mikoto smiled at him and bowed. "Muramasa-sama, it's a pleasure to meet you again. It's been a while," she replied cordially and
respectfully. While the three nine-year-oldswell two on a technicalitywere obviously confused that their sensei seemed to know a
renowned swordsmith, they decided to inquire that particular query later out of respect.
"Indeed it has, Mikoto-san. What? Twelve, thirteen, years?" he pondered, scratching his chin.
"Fifteen, sir," she corrected with a smile.
"Ah, right, right," he waved her off. "You know how the mind gets when you get to be my age. Blah! I'm digressing. What can I do for
youor them, rather?" he inquired with a knowing glint in his eye.
"Well, I'm looking for weapons for these two," she pointed downward at the jade and cerulean eyed-children. Said children nodded in
acknowledgement.
"Ahand what of the young Uchiha, whom I'm to presume, is your son?" the aged blacksmith asked curiously. Sasuke was a bit creeped
out at the old man's intuition, but Mikoto paid it no mind and kept her smile.
"Actually, he doesn't want a weapon," Mikoto explained.
There was a small twinkle in Muramasa's eyes again. "So he says" he spoke softly with a small smirk. "Very well, then," he
acknowledged, hopping off his seat. "What kind of weapons are the young ones looking for?"
"I'd like to see if you have any staves that fit me, sir," Sakura answered a bit shyly.

Muramasa nodded and turned to Naruto. "And you my dear boy, my guess would be you're looking at a sword, hm?" he asked
rhetorically.
Naruto's eyes widened. How the hell did?
"You've been eyeing them since you walked in, my dear boy; do not think too much into it. Just call me an old man who's highly
observant," he grinned at the young man nearly eight decades his junior. Naruto returned his expression with a smirk of his own.
"Muramasa-san," Naruto began, "I'm looking for a kodachi" He saw Muramasa nod in understanding, "butI plan on switching to
a katana when Ias sensei puts itget taller," he grunted. That earned a snicker from his raven-haired best friend. Even if he was
shorter than Naruto, that never got old. Mikoto and Sakura simply shook their heads.
"Hmm" the blacksmith pondered. "So, it would seem you would want a kodachi for a length appropriate to the reach and height ratio,
as well as the weight of the longer blade you plan to switch to in the future all in one," he observed.
The blonde wasn't even fazed by Muramasa hitting the nail right on the head. He simply bobbed his head in the affirmative.
The blacksmith allowed a husky chuckle escape from his lips. "Well, you're in luck." Muramasa drew a blank as he blinked owlishly,
finally revealing his chocolate brown eyes. "Oh, dear, I'm afraid I didn't catch any of your names," he replied, embarrassed he didn't ask
before.
Mikoto palmed her face, berating herself at forgetting such a simple gesture "Sorry about that, Muramasa-sama. I'll let them introduce
themselves."
"Sasuke Uchiha," Sasuke said aloofly. He wasn't getting a weapon, so why was he here?
"Sakura Haruno, sir," she bowed, blushing a bit.
"The next Legendary Ninja of Konoha, Naruto Uzumaki, at your service!" Naruto grinned with thumbs up.
Muramasa's eyes went wide at the mention of Naruto's surname and his eyes turned sharply to the Uchiha Matriarch. A quick glare from
her shut the blacksmith up right then and there. The look was an obvious "I'll-explain-later" glance.
He drew out a small hum. "Ah, what fine names," he complimented going back into business mode. "Now then, as I was saying, Narutosan, you're in luck. Believe it or not, you're not the only one who's asked that request before."
Now the blonde was curious. "Really? Who else?"
"I believe his name was Hayate, if I recall. But, that's not important. Anyhow, I have several kodachi for whom they can choose."
Sakura raised an eyebrow. "You make it sound like as if Naruto-kun doesn't have a choice in the matter."
Muramasa smiled. "Ah, yes, Sakura-san, you would be correct. You see, my weapons are special. The wielder doesn't pick the weapon.
On the contrary, actually. The weapon picks the user," he sagely intoned while sparing a small knowing glance at the Uchiha scion.
"Umokay?" Naruto wasn't sure what to make of that statement, but for now, he'd just quietly accept it for what it was.
Their sensei, on the other hand, had to shake her head. These three had a lot to learn. Thankfully, she was there to guide them every step
of the way.
"All right, Naruto-san, come with me to the back. Why don't you three take a look around, see what you think you like," Muramasa told
them, leading the young blond to the back of the room.
"Okay, Kaa-san, I'll admit, that guy's intuition is downright scary," he admitted with a shiver.
His mother actually laughed and patted her son on the head. "It's okay, Sasuke-kun. You'll get used to it. Muramasa-sama is older than
Hokage-sama by at least a decade. He's as wise as they come," she praised.
"If you say so, kaa-san," he shrugged her off as he began to tour the shop with mild interest. Sakura, meanwhile, had decided to check
out the staves. They were all intricately designed with various patterns of kanji of various meanings, illustrations, and the like. Above the
staves was a red naginata. Curiosity got the better of the youngest of the golden trio and she ran her finger across the edge of the blade,
delicately.

"Wow," she said looking at her index finger. There was a small cut where she had run her fingers along, and she began to bleed already.
"Those blades are extremely sharp, Sakura. Don't touch the edges," Mikoto warned, coming up behind her.
Sakura looked at her curiously. "Senseiif these things are so sharp, why would you trust us not to cut ourselves when we train? I just
ran my index finger across the damn thing and I bled."
Mikoto smiled at her. "You remember what Muramasa-sama said about the weapon choosing the wielder and not the other way
around?"
Sakura frowned. "Yes.but I'm not sure what that has to do with anything," she admitted.
"Well, Sakura, let's just say a weapon won't hurt its userand leave it at that," she remarked cryptically.
The eight-year-old, going on nine, sighed. "That doesn't make any sense," she flatly replied.
"Muramasa-sama is a man of many talents, and this is one of them," she explained. Sakura groaned in frustration as her logical mind
couldn't accept what Mikoto was telling her at all. She required hard, concrete evidence for any of this. However, she didn't want to
argue with her sensei and simply chose to comply and keep her sanity.
Both females' eyes widened in a split second as they both ducked as a blade with a chain sickle attached to it flew right over their heads
and embedded itself into the wall. Mikoto's eyes followed the chain back to its source.her son.
"Gah! Sorry!" Sasuke apologized profusely. Mikoto narrowed her eyes.
"Sasuke-kun! What the hell were you thinking?" the Uchiha matriarch scolded her youngest son. His pink-haired, younger companion
sent a small glare toward him. Sasuke looked down in shame.
"WellI was just looking at the weapons on this rack and as I initially thoughtthey weren't all that interesting to meuntil I found
this," he explained holding up said weapon to her.
Although still angry at her son's recklessness, her interest was piqued. "A kusarigama?" she blinked in surprise. "Of all the weapons
you pick, a kusarigama is one of them?" She smacked her forehead. Things were complicated enough as is with two out of three of her
pupils had elemental affinities which were completely foreign to her. Now her son had to pick a weapon she, admittedly, had little
experience in?
The Uchiha scion sighed. "Yeah, I know, kaa-san, butwhen I picked it up.it just feltright. Like it belonged in my hands. Soby
accident, to see how it feels, I threw it. You guys just so happened to be in the way." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. Mikoto
sighed and nodded in acceptance. No one said being a sensei was easy, did they?
Sakura couldn't help but smirk at him. "I'm happy and all for you, Sasuke-kun, but you do know what this means right?" If possible, her
grin got even wider.
Sasuke groaned as realization dawned on him. Naruto would likely never let him live this one down. Once again, the blond proved to be
rightagain! Mikoto sent a smirk at him as if saying, "That's your punishment for your recklessness." The Uchiha sulked while his
mother forcefully ejected the bladed weapon from the wall near her.
Sakura turned her attention back to the staves behind her. Now that she thought about it, she had the same problem as Naruto did. These
staves were about twice her height. She was taller than the average girl for her age, and probably would give some guys a run for their
money when she turned twelve. At the same time, though, these staves being that long did nothing to benefit her.
"Hmm?" she noted curiously as her eyes lay upon a silver staff. The rosette-haired girl ran her palms across its entire length getting a
feel for it. She feltbumpsripples within the design, almost as if.
The girl's eyes widened in surprise. "Is thisadjustable?" she asked herself, picking it up.
"Indeed it is, Sakura-san," Muramasa spoke softly, coming up from behind her. Sakura jumped a bit, startled. "Force a bit of chakra
into it and watch what happens."
She raised an eyebrow, but nonetheless complied with the old blacksmith's request. To her surprise, the staff started to shorten itself. She
could hear the inner mechanisms inside the staff rotating and folding in on themselves until, finally, the staff was now no more than, by
Sakura's rough estimate, a foot-and-a-half long. She blinked in surprise.

"Wow" she uttered probably for the umpteenth time today. She then beamed at Muramasa. "Thanks, Muramasa-san! It's perfect!" she
thanked and bowed graciously.
He smiled and waved her off. "It's not a problem Sakura-san," he insisted. "It's what I do for a living." He perked up as if remembering
something. He crouched down under the tables as much as his feeble body would allow him and seemed to be going through some boxes.
Standing back up, he presented Sakura with what seemed like a rounded, cylinder-shaped sheath with a strap buckle. It was about the
size of the miniaturized staff Sakura had in hand. The pink-haired girl took it, blinking.
"This will allow your hands to be free when you go on missions. Just strap it on your lower back. I've obviously designed it so it can
adjust to your waist size as you get older, but please, try not to grow too large, now," he advised with a giggle. Sakura laughed at the old
man and bobbed her head.
"Ha! I win, Sasuke! Hey, Sakura-chan! What I tell you?" came and all-too-obvious voice. Naruto was grinning like a mad man as he
was milking Sasuke's failure to stay true to his conviction for all it was worth. The blond had a kodachi strapped to his back. There was
nothing truly special about it, save for its pitch-black handle and a strange, stone-like object attached to the bottom of the handle which
blended in naturally with the color of the fabric covering the entire hand guard. Had Sakura not been eyeing the blade carefully, she
would've easily missed it.
"You knowI decided to help your blond friend out more than I should've," Muramasa joked, giggling to himself to the only female of
the golden trio.
"More than you should've?" Sakura asked, his humorous tone lost on her.
"Ah, I'm kidding, I'm kidding," he assured. "However, I did observe you eyeing the stone on Naruto-san's kodachi. To put it simple, it's
a chakra core. Not in the traditional sense, mind you. That blade isn't designed for elemental affinities. Its only purpose is to increase the
weight of the blade. It can even go further past the normal weight paradigms of the katana and other blade types."
Sakura blinked as realization hit her. "Wowso not only can he have it weigh as much as a katanahe can increase the weight to go
even further while he's training? If he gets used to all that weight and can use it decentlywhen he takes it off." Sakura trailed off at the
implications and shuddered a bit. Adding Naruto's reflexes into the batch potentially made him an extremely deadly swordsman.
Muramasa nodded and grinned. "If the boy takes up iaid, I feel sorry for the poor soul who goes up against him when he grows up," he
envisioned. 'A boy whose descended from both the Namikaze clan and the Uzumaki clan! By the gods, that's an utterly frightening
combination,' the blacksmith thought with a shudder. Muramasa was a man who had little-to-no fears, but the idea of one child
possessing the natural gifts of both legendary clans terrified a man of his status and prestige. He almost felt sorry for Naruto's future
enemies. Poor bastards.
"Ah, I see," Sakura retorted, bringing the blacksmith back to reality. Mikoto, Sasuke, and Naruto came up to the two of them. Sakura
rejoined her two best friends as they made idle conversation about their new weapons. The Uchiha matriarch smiled at them and walked
up to Muramasa.
"How much?" Mikoto asked a bit lamely and directly. She inwardly winced. How could a woman of her stature forget her manners that
quickly?
Muramasa stroked his beard in thought. "Wellnormally all three of these weapons, plus their sheaths would be pretty expensive, but
"
"You mean they're on the house?" Naruto exclaimed, seemingly overhearing them.
"No," Muramasa said flatly, and the blue-eyed nine-year-old looked at him in horror. The late-responding octogenarian grinned at him.
"What? I may like you three a lot, but hey, an old man has utilities to pay." A wave of disappointment shot over the bewhiskered
jinchuuriki. His two friends patted his back in mutual sympathy.
Mikoto rolled her eyes. "I don't see why you're disappointed, Naruto-kun. You're not paying for it," she dryly reminded him. Naruto
seemed to beam up at that, completely forgetting. She groaned aloud.
Muramasa silently shook his head at the antics. "It'll be about eight thousand ryou, Mikoto-san," he offered.
Mikoto blinked. "Wowthat'scheap," she commented, unsure of what to say. She expected to pay triple that number, honestly.
"It'll pay my rent," he said offhandedly. Not one to turn down an inexpensive payment, Mikoto wasted no time at all and pulled out eight
one-thousand ryou notes from her jounin vest pouches. Muramasa graciously took it as they both bowed to each other.

"A pleasure doing business with you, Muramasa-sama," she thanked cordially.
"Oh, no, the pleasure is all mine," he assured.
She smiled and turned back to her pupils. "All right, guys, you're officially owners of your respective weapons. You ready for training?"
"Hell yeah!" they chorused together, nearly bolting out of the door in excitement. She had to shake her head. Even with all their training
and how mature they were for their age, they were still kids at their core. It was a fact that she was eternally grateful for.
Mikoto turned backed to Muramasa who had a deadly serious look on his face. Being as intuitive as she was, the Uchiha matriarch had
a pretty good guess where their conversation was heading. She began to make preparations for a silencing jutsu, until Muramasa
stopped her.
"That won't be necessary, Mikoto-san. This entire building has silencing seals. No one will be able to hear us," he allayed her initial
concerns.
"So, you know, then," she uttered. It wasn't a question; just a statement of observation of fact.
The weapons smith actually scoffed. "Of course I do. Imagine my surprise when you brought Minato-kun and Kushina-chan's son into
my weapons' store. How the vast majority of the village hasn't figured out something so utterly obvious, I'll never quite understand."
Mikoto looked amused. "Well, to be fair, you were one of the few to know about his birth, just as I was. You were the one who created
Minato-kun's special tri-pronged kunai, after all."
"Right, right," he conceded with a huff. "But, even stillthey're practically clones of each other. I digress. It's not something that we need
to worry about. I already have a good idea of why you're not telling him about his heritage, so I won't even bother treading down that
line." His eyes then narrowed. "You do realize just how much potential he has, correct?"
"I'm well aware of that," Mikoto replied. "So far, there have been no signs of it acting up. Not now or anytime soon."
"You're not referring to the Kyuubi," Muramasa observed, scratching his chin. Mikoto nodded in confirmation. "I see. Indeed, and let's
hope so. Even if Naruto-kun wasn't a jinchuuriki of the Nine-Tails, the amount of chakra and stamina he would possess would still dwarf
all others. You're going to have to teach him how to control his reflexes."
"I know that, but he's been doing a damn good job at that, himself," the Uchiha matriarch smiled as pride in her pupil swelled within her.
"Be that as that may, it's only a matter of time before his neurons go haywire when he reaches puberty. His body will need to adjust to the
change and he'll be thinking at paces almost to the level of the Nara clan. It was how his father was such a brilliant tactician."
Mikoto nodded, as this information was a bit new to her. "Will it be obvious?"
"It mayor it may not. Since Minato was the." He paused a bit as if unsure if he should say that tidbit of information.
"The what?" she pressed him.
Should he tell her? Ugh. He'd settle for telling a half-truth as a compromise with his conscience. "The last of the Namikaze clanhe
barely knew about it, himself," he liedsort of. He hoped to the gods that whatever Minato left Naruto, it would be explained in full detail.
"It affects different members of the clan differently. Hell, for all we know, we'll get lucky and his impulses and reaction times will
transition smoothly when he reaches puberty. But, that's wishful thinking at best, so it's better to be prepared."
"I see," Mikoto neutrally responded. She was about to ask advice on how to prepare for it, but a nagging inquiry ate away at her.
"Muramasa-samahow do you know all this?"
He had a downcast look in his eyes. "Let's just say Minato-kun and I had an interesting relationshipand let us leave it at that." She
saw the pained look of grief in his russet-colored eyes. She frowned, feeling a bit guilty for likely bringing up a sore spot. "And to answer
your next question on how to prepare for this, you simply need to take care and watch over him. That's really all that advice I can give."
She sighed. "All right. I understand." Her job was never easy.
He then looked at her, smiled, and waved her off. "Now, then, go. Your son needs you."
A wave of confusion swept through her. Her son needed her? "What? Sasuke-kun is"

"Who said I was talking about Sasuke?" Muramasa rhetorically asked, smirking a bit. Mikoto's eyes went wide with shock.
"Don't even try to deny it, Mikoto-chan," he told her forcefully before she could even think about protesting. "I may be more intuitive
than most, but even a blind man can tell you love that boy as if he were your own son, the Uchiha clan be dammed."
Mikoto bit her lip for a few seconds. She then sighed and nodded in confirmation. "I do, Muramasa-sama. Admittedly, at first, I partly
took a liking to him because of my promise to Kushina-chan I made a decade ago, but" she trailed off as tears rolled down her cheeks,
not out of grief, but the emotional ecstasy she was feeling for her surrogate son.
"As you got to know him, you slowly forgot about that promise and you began to love him as if he were your own child," Muramasa
reasoned, getting a reactionary agreement his way. "HmmI see. Am I to assume that the only reason you haven't told Naruto-kun this
is because you feel that you would be trying to take the place of Kushina-chan."
Mikoto nearly choked on her own saliva as the old man had, once again, read her like a book. "I do," she admitted. "I don't want to
trample on her legacy."
"It's perfectly fine, Mikoto-chan," Muramasa reassured her. "I think this was what she would want. Unfortunately, Kushina-chan is not
with us to take care and love Naruto-kun. So, in shortthat responsibility lies with you. You only recently retired from the shinobi ranks,
so now, you have no excuses." He certainly was right there. Her duties to the clan and the village took a toll on her and she couldn't have
raised both Sasuke and Naruto from birth without sacrificing one. Now that she was retired, she could correct all those wrongs.
"I knowI don't think he'll ever call me kaa-sanbut he'll always be my son," she spoke with conviction.
"Ah, I don't think you'll have to worry about that. I think that time we'll be sooner than later," the blacksmith noted with a faint smile.
Mikoto let some more tears fall down her cheek and she nodded. "Thank you, Muramasa-sama, for the advice. I think I needed to hear
all of that."
"If I didn't share my wisdom with you youngsters, I might as well drop dead," he huffed, causing the retired jounin to laugh. "Go on,
nowyour children are waiting." Mikoto didn't know it, but he was referring to all three of them.
"I know," she said, feeling free from worry. "I'll see you later, Muramasa-sama. I have a team of legendary ninja in the making to
train." Without another word, the Uchiha matriarch turned on her heel and let herself out of the door.
Muramasa scratched his chin in wonder. "Naruto Uzumaki.Sasuke Uchihaand Sakura Haruno. My, my, what an interesting trio
you three are. Your road will be long and arduous." He then looked off into the distance. "Especially since he's still out there," he uttered
in disgust and contempt.
With a heavy sigh, Muramasa turned to go to the backroom. What better way to keep him occupied then by making a few scimitars? He
smirked to himself. Yeah, that sounded perfect.
(Present)
Sasuke gritted his teeth and stood up. "All right, Naruto, you're pissing me off about me picking this thing up. I'm tired of it, and now, I
want a piece of you."
Naruto raised an eyebrow as rested the kodachi on his shoulder. "You sure, Sasuke? You're still not used to that weapon," he said a bit
cockily.
"Damn right, I'm sure," Sasuke insisted. "Time to kick your ass." M ikoto sighed, knowing that no matter what she did, there was no
stopping them.
Naruto made a wide grin appear on his face. "All right, then, let's go, but" he pointed his kodachi at Sakura, "just to make this
interesting, Sakura-chan, you're in this, too."
The other female's eyebrows soared to the top of her hairline. "Really, Naruto-kun? A three-way battle? This is between you guys."
"No. I want you and Sasuke at the same time against me," Naruto declared, dead serious. Sasuke and Sakura looked at him in shock as if
he had grown a second head.
"Ar-Are you serious?" Sasuke asked, unsure if he heard that right.
"Damn right, I am. Let's go!" Naruto affirmed, jumping backward a few meters and getting into a stance.

Sasuke looked back at Sakura. "He's just asking to get his ass kicked, isn't he?"
Sakura smirked and jumped up as well. She pulled her staff from its sheath, which was on her lower back horizontally. She surged a tiny
amount of chakra through it and it grew to about her height within seconds. She spun it around stylishly and held it behind her in a
stance. "Well, Naruto-kun, you asked for it."
M ikoto couldn't help but grin. She could already tell how this match was going to end. Naruto had been getting a bit cocky. It was time
he tasted some humble pie.
There was a silence over the training field as no one moved a muscle as the three best friends stared each other down. The wind slowly
picked up around them, blowing foliage and loose articles of clothing.
All of a sudden, Naruto threw a plethora of kunai and shuriken at the two. Sasuke jumped high in the air to avoid them, while Sakura
blocked all of them by spinning her staff in a propeller-like motion.
Sasuke used his increased height to his advantage as he spun his kusarigama like a helicopter and aimed it at Naruto. Said blond didn't
even have to dodge, as it missed its target completely. He grunted. 'Damn! I still have to work on my accuracy with this thing!' he
thought in frustration.
Sakura, meanwhile, had rushed the blond and swung down. Her staff was blocked by his kodachi and he effectively had locked weapons
with her. He was pushing her back, but Sakura was no slouch, not making it easy at all for the bewhiskered kid.
"Heh, Sakura-chan, when did you get this strong?" Naruto questioned, impressed she was holding him back like this.
"Same time you forgot about my most talented area," Sakura smirked. Realization dawned on Naruto as 'Sakura' started to vanish into
thin air.
Were it not for his insane reflexes, Naruto would've been in for a world of hurt, as he narrowly blocked a kick from the girl that sent him
flying backward a good twenty meters. The whisker-marked jinchuuriki found himself stunned. When the hell did Sakura get this tough?
A frown adorned his features. He had truly underestimated her.
"Using a genjutsu to think I was fighting the real you. Clever, Sakura-chan," he praised while getting up. "I should've known you would
never charge me head on without a plan."
"You know me, Naruto-kun, I always have a plan," she grinned at him. Naruto smirked and began a mad dash toward her, nearly catching
Sakura off-guard. He was about to slash at her before a chain wrapped around his left arm.
"Nice work, Sakura," Sasuke smirked as he held Naruto's dominant hand in place. Sakura didn't verbally respond; she only dashed
toward the blond and brought her staff down vertically. Naruto dodged on instinct, the attack hitting the ground instead, kicking up dust.
Naruto cursed again. Sakura had once again used a genjutsu to hide Sasuke's presence. Of course, any chuunin and above could've seen
through them with ease, but even still, they caught him off guard. She had never really used them in their spars before. Damn it! How the
hell could he have gotten so arrogant?
His inner berating of himself was cut a bit short, as Sasuke threw the sickle at his best friend. Naruto instinctively dodged, yet again, and
looked at him.
"You missed," he noted dully.
"Wasn't aiming at you," Sasuke smirked. Naruto looked up and saw Sakura throw two shuriken and aimed them at the torus-shaped
openings of the chains in Sasuke's kusarigama. They embedded themselves into the tree behind him, effectively making him stuck.
The cerulean-orbed genin was trapped and he knew it. Desperate times called for desperate measures as he tossed his kodachi in his left
hand. With all the might he could muster, the blond brought the sword down on his chains. It was a clean cut. His victory was shortlived as he saw the two going through very familiar hand seals.
His eyes widened. 'Oh, fuck me.'
"Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu! (Fire Release: Great Fireball Technique)," he heard them both call out as they both sent two large fireballs
that seem to combine. Naruto flew through the hand seals himself and spent a great deal more chakra than necessary to simply match the
sheer size of their combined Katon techniques.
M ikoto looked on in interest as the two fireballs struggled for dominance. While Naruto was effectively using what was akin to brute

force, Sasuke and Sakura kept theirs cool, precise and in control. She shook her head. 'Your chakra coils aren't ready for that kind of
force, Naruto-kun. You're overdoing it.' She thought disapprovingly. Oh, well. Some lessons were best learnt the hard way.
It didn't take long for Naruto's fireball technique to start to run out of steam as it grew smaller and smaller by the second while the
combination attack from the Uchiha scion and the Haruno were dominating. The blond decided to cut his losses and simply let go and he
was blown back into a tree.hard.
He groaned as he looked up and saw Sasuke and Sakura standing above him. The rosette-haired nine-year-old had her staff aimed at his
neck. "I'm afraid you lose, Naruto-kun," she smiled sweetly. Sasuke smirked at him and offered a hand. Naruto took it graciously as his
best friend helped him up.
They had heard clapping as their sensei came up to them with a serene and satisfied smile on her face. "Well done, Sasuke-kun, Sakura.
You actually managed to best Naruto-kun in combat," she praised. Despite the fact that she knew the outcome of the match beforehand,
it was still a tremendous achievement, in and of itself.
The raven-haired Uchiha and the rosette-haired Haruno both bowed toward M ikoto and she returned it. The blond, however, had a slight
downcast look on his face. M ikoto noticed them and sighed a bit. It was his first loss, so he probably wasn't going to take it well.
"Naruto-kun," she spoke out, causing him to gaze up at her, "do you know why you lost, just now?" She didn't expect an answer in
return. Predictably, Naruto stayed completely silent. M ikoto continued, "You have become too cocky and borderline arrogant, lately.
Yes, you are the strongest member of the team, and no one is questioning that. However, that knowledge clouded your judgment. In the
past, you've defeated them both while facing them at the same time, but that was simply because they were taijutsu matches. This was
the first time they were allowed to use all of their skills.
"Despite this, you still took them on at your leisure as if you were facing them in hand-to-hand combat. Had you not underestimated
them, you would've put up a better performance, and possibly even won. However, you didn't and you paid the price for it. I won't
sugarcoat it: frankly, you got your ass handed to you."
The blond visibly cringed as his sensei laid it out completely on the table of why he had failed. He couldn't deny it all. He had become
cocky, thought that the other two best friends couldn't hope to match him a battle, even together. Even if the sentiment was there only
subconsciously, it still needed to be corrected. The blond nodded, finally humbled.
Naruto spun his blade stylishly and sheathed it with a clank. Sakura had to shake her head. The guy was still a showoff. She sighed and
made her staff return to its normal foot-and-a-half length and sheathed it as well.
"Sorry about the chain, Sasuke, I couldn't think of another way to get free," he apologized.
"Don't worry about it. As long as the sickle is fine, it doesn't matter. The chain is replaceable," Sasuke assured waving the blond off.
Naruto sighed in relief.
"All right, now that Naruto's lesson of humility has been learned, you threehow does lunch sound to you guys?" M ikoto inquired
with a grin. She got a trio of knowing smirks as they all exclaimed in confirmation. She laughed as they made their way back into the
Uchiha's estate.
Unbeknownst to all four of them, including M ikoto, Itachi sat in on a branch watching the display with a sense of awe and regret. This
would be the last time either of them would have a 'normal' life. There was nothing he could do. The council had ordered the perpetrators
of the coup be killedtonight. No exceptions.
The Uchiha prodigy let out pained sigh. Today would be his last day as a member of the Hidden Leaf Village. He'd forever be on the run,
effectively becoming a nomad in a sense. A thought ran through his mind of maybe leaving the entire continent and head west to start a
new life. That idea was dismissed almost as quickly as it had become.
There was no way he could simply leave his brother behind and just hope whatever happened turned out for the best. Itachi grunted
again. Those bastards had put him in a lose-lose situationbut he had no one but the clan to blame. For the sake of the village he would
put a stop to this plot, once and for all.
He only hoped his mother and brother could forgive him.someday.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Hokage Tower, 2000 hours)

Hiruzen sat at his desk in deep, reflective thought. His eyes were closed and his breathing was concise and controlled, despite his heavy
heart being filled with regret and melancholy. The smell of sake dispersed throughout the air. It was obvious to where the wizened Fire
Shadow was taking his desires.
The Hokage's hands shook as he took another small swig. He cursed that he wasn't able to properly drown out his sorrows. The Uchiha
clan would be wiped out tonightprobably little less than an hour from now. Or hell, they could be slaughtered at this very moment.
He was already making plans to hire new shinobi for the police force. Unfortunately, that meant some chuunin and jounin who had
retired 'early' would have to come back to active duty.
"It's sad to see you like this, Hokage-sama," a voice said in front of him, causing his head to jerk up. He recognized the character
immediately, and he frowned.
"Itachi" Hiruzen spoke softly as his eyes gazed toward the Uchiha prodigy. He then sighed and gave a downcast look. "Itachi, once
again"
"Stop apologizing. It's neither needed nor wanted," Itachi interjected and, while unintended, his voice came across a bit cold. "I simply
wanted to send you my last regards before I complete this oneand final mission."
Hiruzen let out a huge breath. "I see. Wellwhat is it?"
"As you know, the perpetrators of the planned insurrection are nearly all male," he began. "I think you're smart enough to figure out the
implications of this."
The Sarutobi clan head grimaced. "I knowAfter tonight, the Sharingan as a tool for Konoha essentially dies with them."
The cherished of the Uchiha bobbed his head in the affirmative. "Indeed. Despite the fact that most of my clan are traitors, they were
extremely valuable assets. However, in that knowledge, my clan became arrogantresentfulrightfully so, but resentful, nonetheless.
They believed our fabled bloodline made them invincible, when, in reality, their overreliance made them weak. I lost all hope for this
pathetic clan."
Hiruzen frowned. "Itachiwhy are you telling me this?"
"Because, Hokage-samasomeone needs to know my last inner thoughts as a Konoha shinobi. You're the natural choice," he explained.
The Hokage interlocked his fingers. "You're a strange one, Itachi. One minute, you say you hate what the village has done to your clan,
and in the next, you're lamenting on your hatred for their arrogance and pride. Explain this dichotomy to me." It was in one-part
curiosity, and in another, he wanted the Uchiha elders to enjoy their last meals, if possible.
"Heh," Itachi huffed, seemingly amused. "Am I that hard to figure out, Hokage-sama? It's simple. I'm a realist and I see things for what
they really are. Just because my clan has been wronged, does it take away from the wrongs they have done and will do, if I don't do this?
That is why, when I eliminate these traitors tonight, the punishment will be twofold, for both sides of the equation. M y brother will be
the only one who will have the right to use the legacy of our clan."
The Fire Shadow's eyes widened in alarm at the implication of Itachi's words. "You mean, you're going to!"
Itachi's eyes narrowed. "Do you think I'm stupid, Hokage-sama?" he rhetorically asked in slight anger. "I know the minute the cleansing
is over, Danzo will most likely try and secure a collection of Sharingan eyes. I refuse to let that kind of power be disgraced upon by such
a foul extremist." The doted talent of his kinsmen then scoffed. "For that reason, I will destroy the eyes of every single traitor tonight,
denying anyone the power of the Sharingan."
"Very well, then," Hiruzen agreed with a pained heart.
"Hopefully, Sasuke will rebuild the Uchiha clan into its former glory. In the unlikely chance that he doesn't.." he then sighed, "even
I'm not completely lost in the ways of the heart." That brought a smile to Hiruzen's face, despite the grave situation.
Itachi then turned away from the Hokage. "For what it's worth Hokage-sama, it was an honor," he told the senior sincerely as a lone tear
ran down his face.
"No, Itachithe honor is all mine for having such a selfless ninja to serve under me," he replied back. "You're truly a diamond in the
rough."
"Thank you, Hokage-sama. Once I complete this mission, I'll leave the village immediately and head.somewhere. I don't know," he

told him honestly.


"I will try to keep the ANBU off your back as discreetly as I can," the weary Fire Shadow promised. Itachi bowed his head in thanks
and acquiescence.
"I will put the civilian femaleswhat little we have, anyhowto sleep. M y mother is with her pupils eating dinner and training, so
they won't be back for quite some time." The Fire Shadow nodded, yet again. "I bid you farewell, Hokage-sama, perhaps, for the last
time, in person. If you do not live to see me again, then, perhaps, we can meet in the next life."
"It would be my pleasure, Itachi," Hiruzen told him with a heavy heart. "M ay the gods be with you."
"I pray they will, too," the Uchiha prodigy uttered before vanishing from the room completely, leaving the Sandaime Hokage to his own
devices.
The Sarutobi clan head simply leaned back in his chair as he allowed the tears to freely flow, completely unashamed. He had just sent a
fourteen-year-old kid to kill his own family. No matter how much he tried to justify it, the old monkey simply couldn't shake that
feeling of guilt slowly eating at his conscience.
He hoped that he could atone for his sins in the next life.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Uchiha Clan Estate, 2100 hours, aka "Zero Hour")
Fugaku stared at the pale moonlight of the sky as he reflected on its beauty. It had been nearly a year. Nearly a whole year since he had
that argument with his wife over their sons. It was funny how the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. In an ironic
twist, he had pushed away both his sons; either by choice or necessity, the clan head wasn't entirely sure himself.
In the end, he decided that he'd be able to give Sasuke and Itachi what they needed by bringing the Uchiha back to their glory days before
they even joined this ungrateful village! In one week's time, they'd right the wrongs of the senile old monkey and his two advisors. The
only thing that was left was
His inner thoughts were cut off as he heard footsteps behind him. Fugaku turned around swiftly to seenothing. His eyes narrowed as
his Sharingan flared. "Come out, I know you're there."
Slowly, he saw his eldest son step out of the light, dressed in full ANBU gear with his Sharingan activated. He was staring just as
frigidly toward his own father. "Itachi?" the clan head blinked in surprise, softening a bit. "What are you doing here? I thought you were
on a mission!" he asked a bit suspiciously, biting tone and all.
"On the contrary, father, I'm carrying out my mission right now," Itachi unemotionally replied as he stared right into the eyes of the man
who he once looked up to as a role model. Now, all he saw was a madman who couldn't be bargained or reasoned with.
Fugaku's eyes narrowed at the proclamation. "A mission that involves the clan? What are you?"
Itachi never gave him the chance to finish as he stabbed his ninjato all the way through his stomach and out through his spine, ensuring
absolutely no chance of survival. The Uchiha clan head looked shocked as he looked at his son. He spit up blood to an apathetic hope of
the Uchiha.
"I-It-Itachiyo-you.bastard.traitor" he stuttered out, coughing up volumes of blood with each pause.
"Truly ironic words for someone who wishes to seek glory for a clan that does not deserve it. Your actions and insurrection would've
caused great instability on the entire continent, plunging us into war, yet again. I cannot and will not allow it. The rest of the clan who
participated in this act of treason will follow your fate. What I do now is for the good of the village. Call me a traitor all you like, but it
still doesn't change the fact that you are on the receiving end of my blade and will soon die. M ay the gods have mercy on your souls, for
tonightI shall not."
Fugaku looked at Itachi in pure hatred and anger, before the Uchiha heir pulled out two kunai and jammed them into both of his eye
sockets. He covered his mouth to muffle his screams of pain. Simultaneously, he pulled both kunai out of his sockets and his ninjato out
of his stomach and let his father's dead body fall to the floor.
Itachi began to walk away without, seemingly, a care in the world as he left for his next targets: the Uchiha Elders.

(-x.0.0.x-)
(Konoha streets, 2130 hours)
"Aww man! That was totally delicious, Sensei!" Naruto grinned as mentor and pupils walked down the quiet and tranquil streets of
Konoha. It was nine-thirty and most of the residents had already turned in for the night with the exception of a few.
"Glad you enjoyed it, Naruto-kun," M ikoto smiled at her surrogate son.
"We rarely go out in town to eat dinner, so it was bound to be special," Sakura reasoned with a giggle.
"Yeah, totally beats kaa-san's cooking," Sasuke snickered, which earned him a bop on the head from a slightly irate Uchiha matriarch.
"Okay, Sasuke-kun, you know, since I'm the only one who's nice enough to prepare your meals, I could stop that and let you fend for
yourself. How does that sound, hmm?" she chimed sweetly, causing the scion to sweat bullets.
"No, no, no, no! I like your cooking, kaa-san! Best in the whole wide world!" he tried to smile, but it came out more awkward than
anything.
M ikoto grinned at him triumphantly. "Damn right I am. Don't you ever forget it. Otherwise, I'll just have to let you starve," she joked.
Sasuke simply grumbled, while his two best friends laughed at his expense.
As they were coming up to the gates of the Uchiha clan estate, M ikoto stopped cold. Naruto, who wasn't paying attention, bumped into
her and nearly fell over. "Hey, Sensei, why did you stop?" he asked while looking up at her. The Uzumaki was taken aback by the look
of dread on her face.
"No." she uttered to herself, before turning to her three pupils. "Stay here," she said firmly. "Do not come in until I come back. Is that
understood?"
"Kaa-san, what's going?"
"Damn it, Sasuke, just do as I say!" she nearly yelled as she was nearly losing all of her composure. Her son gulped and nodded weakly
as she kissed his forehead. M ikoto gave one last look at the three before she headed inside.
(Inside the Estate)
Itachi stabbed an Uchiha police officer in his jugular, blood oozing from his neck like a fountain as the prodigy severed the carotid artery.
Itachi, once again, gouged his eyes out and crushed the soft organs as if he were cracking an egg. When he said he was going to deny
Konoha the right for a non-Uchiha to use the Sharingan, he was not joking around. Every single corpse in the entire room had empty
eye-sockets with the retinal blood vessels, the 'string' that attached to the back of the eye and sent information back to the brain, hanging
from the empty holes still bleeding fresh blood.
Itachi opted not to use his Sharingan unless absolutely necessary. The bloodline allowed an Uchiha to memorize virtually anything with
near perfect recall and accuracy. It was one of the main mechanisms that allowed them to copy jutsu and techniques and add them to
their own arsenal. However, it was both a blessing and a curse. With such perfect recall akin to an eidetic memory, if they were to see a
friend die in battle, they would recall that traumatic memory in vivid detail. Considering Itachi was slaughtering his own flesh and blood,
he'd rather avoid having such detailed images of this particular night.
He wiped the blood off of his ninjato and began to walk through the estate, nearly satisfied. Not in what he done, of course. He was just
thankful to the gods that it was now over. All of the clan members who tried to stage a coup and inadvertently plunge the continent into
a fourth great war, were all dead. Not only dead, but any hope of recovering their eyes was all but impossible. He had destroyed them
all. As of now, he and the Copy Ninja, Kakashi, were the only shinobi in the world who possessed the Sharingan. The task of rebuilding
the clan into something respectable now lay with his smaller brother.
"I hope you can forgive me.Sasukemother"
Itachi stopped cold as he felt a familiar chakra signature enter the estate grounds. His eyes widened a bit. He wasn't expecting her to be
back so soon! Itachi sped off in her direction.
(-x.0.0.x-)
M ikoto Uchiha ran through the estate grounds, fear and dread consuming her entire being. She smelt bloodand a lot of it. "Fugaku!"

she called out to her husband to try and locate him. She was met with silence. That was strange. There was no way in hell he'd be asleep.
It was about three hours too early for that.
When she turned around the corner, her hear sunk to the absolute bottom of her stomach. There in front of herwas the body of Uchiha
Fugaku. The ceramic floor was covered in blood, some of which had already dried up. It was clear as day: the Uchiha clan head was dead.
She slowly made her way to him as she struggled to stand up right. Her husband.the man she lovedwas lying in a pool of his own
blood. His eyes had been gouged out and he had a single stab wound in the pit of his stomach. Her breathing came to a near halt as she
saw the mutilated body that was once her spouse up close and personal. She finally collapsed on her knees near him and held his body,
not caring about the blood getting on her.
"Fugaku." She cried out, somehow hoping in a vain attempt that he would hear her. "Fugaku." She repeated softly as tears fell down
her cheeks and dripped into the sockets of his eyes, the saline liquid turning a shade of red as it mixed with the clan head's blood.
"FUGAKUUUUUU!" she finally screamed out to the heavens as she cradled her husband's corpse in her arms and she openly wept to
her heart's content.
The heartbroken and grief-stricken Uchiha matriarch's vision turned extremely blurry as she was nearly blinded by the amount of tears
pouring out of her eyes. She was sniffing hard as her left nostril stopped up.
"It's a shame you had to find him in such a stateM other." M ikoto was brought back to reality by a voice she was all too familiar with.
She looked up to see her eldest son staring down at her with apathetic, cold, and lifeless eyes. The Uchiha saw that her son was covered
in what seemed like fresh blood. Her eyes widened to their greatest extent in both shock and denial. M ikoto was nearly on a full-blown
mental breakdown.
"No.no.noyoucouldn't have" M ikoto shook her head in denial, once more. She refused to believe that!
Itachi closed his eyes and said, "I did. I killed him, M other. He is joined by the Uchiha police force and the clan elders. I killed them all,"
he told her with chilling indifference. If it was even possible, her eyes elongated even further.
"Wh-Why" She struggled to ask that inquiry, as the idea that Itachi committing patricide along with killing most of the police force
wasinconceivable!
"It's quite simple, M other," Itachi remarked with nary a hint of emotion in his tone, although, inwardly, his heart was shattering into
pieces. 'If there are any gods out there, please forgive me for what I'm about to do,' he thought with bitter sadness. "I did itas a test of
the limits of my abilities," he smoothly lied, a fact that which scared even him. How the hell could he say that with a straight face? Was
he a monster, after all?
"To test.your abilities," M ikoto repeated softly. A few seconds passed as rage entered her eyes that rivaled when she found out that
Sakura's stepdad was molesting her. "TO TEST YOUR STRENGTH?" she roared with fury as she gently laid her husband's corpse to
the ground. She looked at her son with absolute murderous intent. "How could you, Itachi? You thought that slaughtering the clan would
be a reasonable litmus of your skills as a shinobi? What the fuck is wrong with you?" she shrieked.
The Uchiha's eyes widened once again when she felt three signatures enter the estate and headed her way. Oh, noif he killed their
father and the clan males, would he? Absolute terror filled her entire being at the thought of her eldest.noshe couldn't even bare to
call him her son, anymore. What he had just done was completely unforgivable.
"I won't let you lay a hand on those three!" M ikoto roared as she drew her kodachi, fully prepared to lay down her life just so they
would live. She knew very well that she stood no chance in hell at beating him, let alone killing him. However, she'd be damned straight
to Hell if she let her psychotic son lay a finger on the three of them without going through her first.
"Kaa-san/Sensei!" she heard the cries of her pupilsno, children as they came around the corner. The fallen hope of the Uchiha
looked at all three of them with apathy.
Sasuke stopped cold when he saw his father's dead body. "Father!" he cried out and was about to dash toward him, before M ikoto
stopped him.
"Stop, Sasuke-kun! You three need to run! Itachi has betrayed us all! I'll hold him off as long as I can!" she vowed, keeping a close eye
on her eldest son. All three of their eyes collectively widened in disbelief. Itachi.betrayed them? They all looked at the body of
Fugaku and it all clicked together. Itachi had killed his own father! Naruto clenched his fists. Sakura covered her mouth in absolute
horror.

"Hold me off, you say?" Itachi asked, seemingly amused as he walked slowly toward his mother. "When will you fools realize that my
power" he blurred out of sight and then appeared behind M ikoto, "far outclasses yours."
M ikoto stood shell-shocked as she looked downward toward her chest. As if time had slowed down, she could see the diagonal cut
across her chest slowly tearing the fabric of her jounin vest in half, reaching all the way toward her shoulders. A red liquid started to
drool from her mouth. A vast amount of blood was spewed from her shoulders that rained on the ceramic floor like a fountain. M ikoto's
eyes rolled to the back of her head as she fell unconscious on the ground in a pool of her own blood. Now, there stood no barrier
between Itachi and her three children.
"KAA-SAN/SENSEI!" all three collectively cried out in horror and shock. Itachi turned towards the trio who were glaring at him with
complete and utter fury. If looks could kill, Itachi would've been further than six feet under.
"It seems that my power wasn't worth testing on this weak and pathetic clan. How sad," he uttered in a regretful voice. "Instead of
wasting your pitiful anger and hatred on me, why don't you try in a vain attempt to save your sensei?"
"You bastard! How could you do that to your own mother?" Naruto roared as his eyes were shifting from cerulean to crimson.
"What I did tonight.was to preserve the peace. Their deaths will guarantee that peace," he spoke cryptically. It was obvious that the
three were so enraged that they barely heard him. "I did not strike her vitalsbut if you don't hurry, she'll bleed. I have high hopes for
you three in the future. Don't disappoint me," he told them. 'So then, I can atone for what I have done tonight by your hands. It would
seem fittingpoetic, even, but that time will come. I will just have to wait for it.'
Sasuke charged at his brother with the intent to kill, but the moment his fist was about to connect, it was met with air. Itachi Uchiha had
vanished. "Come back, Itachi!" Sasuke cried out to the heavens in vain as he collapsed to his knees and felt tears roll down his cheek.
"Sasuke-kun! Pull yourself together! We have to save M ikoto-sensei!" Sakura cried out as she ran over to the unconscious adult. Her
vest was the only thing keeping her from bleeding faster, but it was only a matter of time before she'd bleed to death.
Sasuke nodded and he and Naruto both, carefully lifted the Uchiha matriarch into a position where she wouldn't bleed out on the journey
toward the hospital. Satisfied that their sensei was secure, the three leapt off with their master in silence.
They all knew it. Tonight, their lives had changed again. Forever.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kumogakure, 3rd District, 1200 hours, one week later)
Obano stood as his young pupils sat a bit aloofly as they stared at their sensei while he gave them a debriefing. It'd been about a month
or so since they had returned from Yuki no Kuni and everything had continued as normal as possible. It seemed that their plans were
about to move up in dates.
"So" Omoi began with a slight smirk on his face, "it seems everything is going better than expected and we take over the village in less
than a week? Well, I'll be damned."
The Emerald Fang nodded. "Indeed. We even have the Black Lightning heir on our side now," he revealed. As expected, the two females'
eyes bulged out of their sockets, while Omoi simply regarded the revelation with dull surprise.
"WowI thought he was the Raikage's right hand man." Karui mused aloud, a bit shocked and disturbed. Hideyoshi-sama was good;
that much she had no doubt about, but to be able to swing over, arguably, the top shinobi in the United Cloud to their side?
The vaunted and feared jounin only let out a huff. "Was the right hand," he corrected the redhead. "Let's just say the Raikage betrayed
even him. Now, he wants revenge, so he reasoned to join us."
Omoi snorted and crushed the lollipop in his mouth, sucking on the flavor left on the white stick. "Don't lie to us, Sensei. You and I both
know damn well that there had to be something in it for him. Darui is a proud jounin who's known to have no political allegiance.
Hideyoshi-sama obviously offered him something of high value. What that was, I frankly don't care. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy that
he's joined the right side, but don't sit here and try to say Darui joined solely for revenge. If anything, he'd probably outright try and kill
the Raikage for whatever transgressions that he wronged him by."
Obano had to smile. That was Omoi for you; always seeing things for what they really were. Of course, him growing up on the streets
had to have a lot to do with it.

"Indeed, you are correct," Obano nodded. "In fact, I'm one of the few to make sure that our part of the deal holds up."
"You mean, in case it fails and he turns on you?" Samui noted offhandedly. The jounin raised an eyebrow. Since when did his students
get so intuitive? The blonde scoffed, seeing the puzzled expression contorting on his face. "Don't be so surprised, Sensei. You're the one
who taught us to think and read between the lines. I'm starting to think you adults don't expect much out of us, in terms of lateral
thinking."
"So, I see your point," Obano conceded. It just went to show that even he didn't know them as quite as well as he wished. It was still a
learning process. He had as much to learn as they did.
"I still wonder, though," Karui said out loud, curiosity taking her tone. It was clear she was changing the subject, much to Obano's
delight, "how the village will be like once Hideyoshi-sama takes over as Raikage."
It took everything in Obano's willpower to keep a complete straight face. 'They still believe that Hideyoshi-sama will be the Raikage after
the coup? Wow' He was then inwardly snickering to himself. 'Well, at the very least, I'll have that over their heads once everything
comes full circle.'
"It will beinteresting, won't it?" Obano rhetorically countered, neither really confirming nor denying her statement about the
Ultranationalist leader.
"Hey, can we get some last minute training in? I want to be at my maximum before I spill some UC blood," Omoi hissed with venom
with his two teammates nodding in agreement with hatred in their eyes.
"A bit bloodthirsty, are we?" the jounin retorted in amusement. He was now certain that the trio wouldn't feel the slightest bit of
remorse at killing any who supported the Raikage in any fashion. 'Good,' Obano dwelled a bit evilly.
"Very well, then. I have somewhere to be, so, in the meantime," Obano clapped his hands together as if he were praying. Small green
crystalsobviously, made of emeraldstarted to coat his entire body as if it were a shell. After a few seconds his entire body was
covered in the reveled mineral.
"Rock on, sensei," Karui joked, earning chuckles from her teammates.
"Laugh it up, Karui," Obano snorted before concentrating. He squeezed his arms together as if he were trying to bear hug a person, and
he "shed" the emeralds from his body as they fell to the floor, piece by piece creating a large echo in the room. He stepped back from the
pile and made a ram seal.
Omoi had to watch in fascination. No matter how many times his sensei did this, it was still pretty damn cool in his book. He made an
uncharacteristic grin. The pile of scattered jade-colored minerals seemed to be drawn into a larger pile as if they were being sucked up by
an unknown force. Slowly, but surely, the crystals began to pile on top of one another and began to take shapeinto a man. Standing
there was a perfect replica of their jounin sensei.
"Ah, I'll never get tired of seeing you do that, Sensei," Omoi admitted with a grin.
"Yeah, it's pretty convenient when I have to meet with Hideyoshi-sama and still want to keep you guys on your toes, " Obano replied,
returning his pupil's expression.
"Sohow much chakra you put in it, this time?" Samui asked.
"I'm standing right here you know, and I prefer not to be called an it," the doppelganger snorted. Samui simply rolled her eyes, but said
nothing.
Obano ignored him. "It should be enough to last about four or five hours. I doubt you'll be able to destroy him."
Omoi looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "Is that so?" he inquired in a challenging tone.
The jounin smirked at him. "Damn right, it is," he retorted confidently. He looked at the clock. "Anyhow, I must be on my way. Can't
be late. Otherwise, Hideyoshi-sama might kill me." All three shinobi present knew he wasn't using his latter statement as the everyday
common expression, and he meant it, literally. They nodded collectively, and the jounin vanished in a blur of raw speed.
M eanwhile, the doppelganger got an evil grin on his face. "You know, since you guys called me an it, I think I should make your training
extra brutal today," he said while cracking his knuckles. All three, including Omoi, gulped.

"You just had to insult the clone, didn't you, Samui?" Karui snarled with sarcasm. Samui groaned in frustration. She couldn't wait till
their real sensei got back.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kumogakure, 4th District, Darui's residence, 1215 hours)
"Are you sure about this, brother?" Ayasaki asked for what seemed like the millionth time already. Darui had finally told Ayasaki about
the betrayal of the Raikage and what Hideyoshi and his cronieswhich, if this worked, he'd become one, ironicallyoffer to save the,
now, fourteen-year-old girl. To his immense surprise, his sister took it well, having never really trusted the Raikage in the first place.
The Lightning Shadow was cutting losses and burning bridges that couldn't be rebuilt. Even if his sibling wasn't a factor, the Black
Lightning heir wouldn't have felt a shroud of sympathy for the man. He, along with the rest of the United Cloud, brought this on
themselves.
"Yes, Ayasaki," he replied dully, "it's the only way. The Raikage's doctors won't save you. That much, I'm sure of. If anything, they'd
make your disease worselike they did with those supposed pills they gave me," he growled with venom. He decided to experiment
and stop giving his sister the pills just for the final litmus test of Hideyoshi's words. Sure enough, she faired far better than usual,
actually able to stand and walk around normally, even if only for an hour or so. He kept her neurological disease at bay by surging
lightning chakra through her entire nervous system, just as the sodaisho had done.
Thinking about the BOLT commander was a sore spot for the jounin. He hadn't seen him well over four months. Darui then sighed.
'Probably too busy making sure the village is safe,' he thought bitterly. He hoped he didn't have to face the Hayasaka in combat when
the Ultranationalists took the village by force. That gap in power between them was probably about as large as the entire village was and
then some.
"I know," the dark-skinned girl solemnly replied after a pregnant pause. "BrotherI knew you promised to become one of them to save
me but" she bit her lip, "could you promise me that you'll always do what you feel is right and not just blindly follow their orders?"
Darui nodded without hesitation. "Believe meI will. I won't become a monster, sis." He gave her a smile and thumbs up. Ayasaki
beamed at him and gave him a tight hug. Inwardly, though, the jounin felt conflicted. Could he really keep that promise? He had
promised Hideyoshi, essentially, his mind, body, and soul if he could save his sister. Which was worse? Breaking a promise to your
sibling who you loved more than life, itself? Or breaking the promise to the person who saved your sibling from certain death, who then
wouldn't have a promise to begin with? Ugh! Life truly wasn't as black and white as the fairy tales made it out to be.
A knock on the door broke his inner dwellings. He sighed. "They're here," he noted dully as he sat up without another word. Ayasaki
frowned slightly, but simply lay back down on her pillow.
Darui walked through his living room at a slow and even pace, not wanting to dawdle or feel overtly anxious or nervous. He did a quick
intake of breath and slowly turned the knob on his door. As expected, the Ultranationalist leader stood in his doorway and behind him,
five medical shinobi. Oddly enough, every single one of them was female.
"Good afternoon, Darui," Hideyoshi began cordially and he received a slight nod in return. "Shall we come in?" he inquired with a raised
eyebrow. The Black Lightning heir bowed his head in acquiescence and stepped to the side. The Akechi clan head bowed back slightly as
he and his team of medical shinobi stepped into his humble abode. As the last med-nin came in, he was about to close the door before a
force stopped him.
"Damn, Darui, going to close the door on me like that? I'm hurt," Obano grinned as he stepped into the house.
"Obano!" Darui blinked in complete surprise. Okay, he totally wasn't expecting that one.
The jade-eyed jounin smirked at him. "Come on, now. After all these years, is that how you greet your old teammate? That stings, bro,"
he faked being hurt.
Darui couldn't believe it. Obano Kouseki was here, after all these years. He hadn't seen him personally since the day the Sandaime
Raikagehis eyes widened a bit and then became solemn.
"Look, Obano, about when sensei" he began, before the Emerald Fang interjected by waving him off.
"Don't worry about it, Darui. I've long since gotten over the fact that Sensei chose you to teach his prized techniques to," he told him
honestly. "I can't really blame you for a decision he made. Plus, in hindsight, those techniques really wouldn't have fitted me. Black
Lightning and emeralds kind of clash, don't you think?" he grinned and covered his arm in the verdant mineral for emphasis.

"Heh," Darui smirked. "I guess you're right. I never expected you to joinHideyoshi" He refused to add the "-sama" suffix until his
sister was cured. Obano winced a bit at the disrespect, but let it slide for now.
"A lot has happened over the past twelve years, Darui. I'll tell you what happenedbut not now. We have to save your sister first," he
intoned, brooking no room for argument. Although the dark-skinned jounin was still curious about what exactly happened to his old
teammate and rival, his sister had to come before his inquisitiveness.
Darui seriously nodded, before the two old teammates began to walk over to where Hideyoshi and his team were setting everything up.
The medic-ninja were drawing a five point pentagram on his wooden floor with some type of strange paint.
"Umwhat are they doing?" Darui asked bluntly.
"Ah, apologies about the floor, Darui, but this seal will be the most effective way to treat her. I'm sure a few marks on the floor is a
small price to pay," the Akechi clan head explained. Darui sighed and then bobbed his head. "I hope your sister doesn't
feel.uncomfortable."
"Why?" Darui inquired a bit edgily.
"She'll have to be naked for the process to work, Darui-san," one of the med-nin, presumably the head one, explained.
'I see. So that's why he didn't bring any male doctors here, just so my sister wouldn't feel violated. Heh, I guess you might not be so bad,
after all,' Darui approvingly thought. He nodded. "I'll explain to my sister when I fetch her." With that, he went back to her room to get
her prepared for the lengthy process.
Obano took his chance to walk up to his leader. "Hideyoshi-samahow confident are you that this will work?"
The Ultranationalist leader chuckled, seemingly amused at the preposterous assumption. "I know it will. By the end of it, Ayasaki will
be free of this neurological disease and we will have another brother among our ranks." His voice dripped with confidence, as if he had
absolute faith in the five females who sat cross-legged at each of the five points of the pentagram. "Have a little faith, would you?"
The Emerald Fang nodded and stepped toward the back of the room. Darui soon came back out with his sister, barely walking as is, in a
bathrobe to cover her naked body. Although a bit shy, Ayasaki was not about to pass up the chance to be free from this hell by being a
prude. One of the nurses gently took her from Darui's hand and led her to the middle of the intricate shape carved out in the floor. As the
girl disrobed, all three males in the room averted their eyes out of respect for the fourteen-year-old's dignity. She now laid flat on her
back, naked as the day she was born.
"Ayasaki-san, we will not lie to you: this will cause a lot of discomfort, if you have to scream, don't hesitate to do so," the head nurse
told her. Although not thrilled at the idea of being in pain, she swallowed hard and simply nodded in compliance. The nurses bowed to
each other and began to go through various hand seals in sync with one another. They all stopped on ram and began to chant words in a
language neither Darui nor Obano could understand. The pentagram seal started to glow a bright lime color and it seemed to 'lock' down
the dark-skinned girl, as the seal appeared on her navel. On the five points on the seal on her navel, lines of green chakra traveled back at
their respective points on the larger seal on the floor.
"You think this will work?" Darui asked with a frown, his eyes squinting a bit at the bright light the chakra was giving off.
"It will," Obano assured. "Have a little faith." How ironic. He was saying the exact same words Hideyoshi had told him, a few minutes
prior.
The Black Lightning heir sighed and nodded dumbly. "I just wish the sodaisho was here to see this," he said more to himself than
anything. Obano nearly choked on his saliva at the mere mention of the BOLT commander. Darui was none the wiser.
Ayasaki started to grunt in pain as the green chakra started to surge through her nervous system. Her moans of anguish alarmed her older
brother, but he was stopped by the green-eyed jounin who shook his head. Noticing that the girl's screams were only going to get louder,
Hideyoshi immediately performed a sound barrier technique.
Not even a second later, the dark-skinned brunette screamed to the top of her lungs as the chakra overflowed through her. Her nerves felt
like they were on fire and the nurses were doing little to alleviate the agony she was feeling. Despite expecting her to shriek at such a
high volume, even the medic-ninja couldn't help but wince.
Darui had to force himself to turn away. He couldn't stand to watch; otherwise he might have stepped in and stopped the process
prematurely. He felt his fellow revered comrade grip his shoulder reassuringly. The ashen-haired jounin, somehow, calmed down after
this action.

After a few minutes of hearing his younger sister's wailing, she finally calmed down as the green chakra started to return to the seal on
the ground. With one final bright shine, there was an audible chime in the air. The seal on the floor started slowly vanishing akin to sand
being blown by the wind. Ayasaki was breathing heavily as the nurses put her robe back on to cover her up. She sat up on her own,
wordlessly panting.
"Did it work?" Darui asked, frozen in place, strangely, by his mounting anxiety. He stared at his sister who gazed at her hands in
wonder. She briefly looked at her older brother and smirked. Without warning, she pulled a kunai from the pouch of one of the medicalnin and threw it straight at her brother. His eyes widened as he dodged, barely, as it embedded itself in the wall.by Obano's head. The
Emerald Fang raised an eyebrow as his eyes shifted to the kunai that could've killed him, without turning his neck.
"Does that answer your question, nii-san?" Ayasaki asked, giggling. Darui blinked, while the Akechi clan head smirked.
"It would seem that you five have succeeded, so well done," Hideyoshi praised the five medical shinobi who bowed deeply from the
compliment.
"Nii-san!" Ayasaki cried, standing up straight and jumping up and down in place. "I feel so great! I can move so freely!" She made her
point by jumping to a nearby wall and sticking to it. All of her training before she fell ill was coming back to her. She was laughing in joy
as she bounced around the entire apartment complexliterally. "Now, you can go back to training me and showing me all those
techniques!" she excitedly envisioned.
Darui was in such a good mood, and all he could do was give her teary-eyed thumbs up. "Of course, sis, no problem," he choked out in
joy. His sister was cured. His sister was actually cured! That statement seemed to repeat in his mind over and over again.
Ayasaki grinned and hopped down from the walls and ran into her room. Not even a minute later, she came out dressed in full shinobi
garbs, from when she was a genin. Darui felt a wave of nostalgia hit him as he saw her in the outfit.
"Nii-san! I'm going to explore the village. I won't be back until after a while, okay?" Ayasaki told him as she couldn't shake the feeling of
excitement. She could run, jump, and be a shinobi again! She was about to run out the door before she stopped in front of the Akechi
clan head. Then she did the last thing everyone expected: she embraced him tightly. Seven pairs of eyes widened to their greatest extent
in shock. Did this girl just have the gall to actually hug the leader of one of the most ruthless organizations in the entire Elemental
Nations?
"Thank you so much, Hideyoshi-sama. I will never forget what you've done for me," she thanked as tears of joy rolled down her cheeks.
While at first disturbed a bit by the contact, the Ultranationalist leader's face softened a bit, before heawkwardly, evenreturned the
girl's embrace.
"You're welcome, Ayasaki. M y goal from the very beginning was always to right the wrongs of those who were betrayed by the
Raikage," he informed her with an awkward smile. Obano found it extremely weird seeing his master actually trying to smile. Ayasaki
growled at the mention of the Raikage, vengeance swelling up within her.
She let go of him and clenched her fists. "I'm going to kill that bastard," she hissed.
"Noyou won't," Darui intoned, looking at her sternly. "That is my prerogativenot yours." His tone brooked no room for argument.
The newly-cured kunoichi simply scowled, but said nothing further. Her brother then smiled at her. "Now, then, don't you have a village
to explore?" She beamed at him, before heading out the front door and taking off to the rooftops without a second thought.
With his sister finally gone, the Black Lightning heir dropped to his knees and bowed as low as he possibly could at the Ultranationalist
leader's feet. "I cannot thank you enoughHideyoshi-sama," Darui intoned deeply in absolute gratitude. Strangely, to the student of the
Third Raikage, saying that actually feltright. Hideyoshi smiled evilly. Obano smirked, too.
"Do not think anything of it, Darui," Hideyoshi waved him off. "It was only right of me to cure your sister when I had the ability to do
so." This was actually true, for the most part. Something about that girl, the clan head couldn't help but feel sympathy for. Hell, he
never showed that kind of kindness to Akira and she was his own daughter!
Darui nodded and raised his head up, still on his knees. "I am yours to command," he spoke without hesitation.
"Goodso, then, I must tell you, now. We take the village within one week," he told him suddenly. Darui's eyes grew to the size of
saucers as he stood back up in astonishment.
"One week? How the hell do you plan to do that? You have to deal with the Raikage, Killer Bee, and Yugito, and, not to mention, all of
BOLT! Do you truly have shinobi capable to pull this off? I mean, I'll help and all, but." To Darui, it seemed as if they were walking

into a slaughter.
Hideyoshi had to maliciously grin, yet again. "Darui, let me tell you about a certain organization calledAkatsuki."
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Amegakure, three days before the revolution in Kumogakure, 1400 hours)
Rain fell on the leader of Akatsuki as he watched water descend from the heavens to the land he ruled with an iron fist. His hypnotic,
vortex-shaped pattern in his eyes held no emotiononly true and raw power. He felt a presence behind him.
"What is it, Konan?" he intoned emotionlessly and evenly. He didn't even turn around toward the blue-haired female. She wore a
standard Akatsuki cloak and had an aqua-colored flower in her hair. It did nothing to match her grey-colored irises.
"It seems as that we're finally needed to complete the task set out before us by the Ultranationalists. They have both payments, ready
and in full," Konan replied simply and directly to the point.
"I see," the leader said, hopping up from the ledge upon which he sat. "Very well, then. We shall move out and head towards the Hidden
Cloud at dawn. Tell Kisame, Sasori, and Kakuzu to head that way and meet us there."
"Nagato" Konan spoke softly, "are you taking all of the Paths?"
The leader, presumably named Nagato, actually scoffed. "Of course I am. The Raikage deserves nothing less than to feel the entire wrath
of God for his sins. In the future, do not ask such foolish inquiries."
Konan simply nodded. "As you wish, Nagato," she retorted submissively and took her leave. She left the shinobi with a messianic
complex to his own devices.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Outskirts of Kumogakure, Ultranationalist base, hours before the Coup)
Hideyoshi, Obano, and Darui stood in the middle of a meadow waiting for the members of the organization to arrive.
"Soyou're sure that BOLT will not interfere?" Darui had to ask for the umpteenth time. Despite being genuinely fully committed to
what was about to take place in the next couple of hours, he was still a bit nervous about the entire thing.
Obano rolled his eyes. "Relax, Darui. We've got everything under control. You won't see any interference from those guys."
"And the sodaisho?" Darui inquired a bit solemnly.
Hideyoshi smirked. "He's already been taken care of." Darui's inner shock barely registered, for, before he could ask him to elaborate,
they felt five chakra signatures. The Emerald Fang and the Black Lightning heir were on full alert, just in case things went south.
"Ah, you're here," Hideyoshi stated the obvious. Five figures appeared in the meadow all dressed in the exact same outfit. All three of
the Kumo shinobi present recognized most of them instantly.
"Kisame Hoshigaki, Sasori of the Red Sands, and Kakuzu," Obano noted with a bit of an edge to his voice. He knew he was good; that
much he was certain of, but these guys were S-ranked criminals that even he had to take precautions with.
"Well, well," a dark-skinned man intoned amused. He had on a white hood and a black mask, with his eyes being the only visible part of
his face. His eyes were truly the most striking with green irises, red sclera and no pupils, "I'm honored the Emerald Fang of the Hidden
Cloud knows of me so well. You have quite the bounty on your head as does the heir to the prestigious Black Lightning. How
interesting. Both apprentices of the Sandaime Raikage in my presence?" Both of them growled a bit, but said nothing.
"Don't scare the little twerps, Kakuzu," a large man with light blue skin and gills on his neck bemusedly chided. He had a large sword on
his back, easily almost as wide as he was. He made a wide grin that showed off shark-like teeth.
"Kisame.Kakuzuonce again you prove you have no respect for true art." This time the voice came from a man who was more
scorpion-like in appearance, and he was shorter than the rest, although it was clear he had a hunched back, upon further glance.
"Quiet, all three of you," Nagato intoned as he and Konan appeared before Hideyoshi. He was using the same body, the Deva Path that
Hideyoshi had met a year prior. Konan, like always, kept silent as she watched her Leader negotiate with the Ultranationalist leader.

"I see. You have a distinguished crowd of shinobi serving under you.?" Hideyoshi trailed off, not sure what to call him.
"Pein," he spoke simply. "You may call me Pein. Now, then, what is your plan?"
"I see," Hideyoshi acknowledged neutrally. "Very well, then. It's simple: we resort to open warfare. All the shinobi on our side will
know not to attack you. We will simply kill all members of the Virga and the United Cloud. You will take out the Raikage, as planned.
Obano will help one of your subordinates take down Yugito as he has a similar contract with felines. She shouldn't be too bad. However,
Killer Bee lays the main threat. He's extraordinarily powerful. I doubt even I could kill him in a fair fight," the Akechi clan flat-out
admitted.
"Oooh, sounds like a challenge," Kisame grinned with excitement. Pein and Hideyoshi ignored him, but took note of his interest.
"Your plan sounds interesting," Kakuzu had to admit, "but I see a problem. Why would the village side with you after openly declaring
war, essentially?"
Hideyoshi gave him an evil smirk. "There have been machinations that have been going on behind the scenes, my friend. You truly
underestimate how many people truly hate the Raikage. He doesn't have many friends, if any. Just throw a little controlled chaos, play
on their hatred, and you have those who will support a mutiny, even if they didn't know about it ahead of time."
"I see," the bounty hunter-nin scoffed.
"I'm heading toward the hospital," Darui declared as murderous intent filled his entire being. He was going to make sure each and every
one of those bastards who gave him the medication for his sister suffered a long and agonizing death. Hideyoshi nodded to him, and
Darui vanished. They knew he wouldn't start anything prematurely until the operation had begun.
"KisameKakuzugo after the Eight-Tails," Pein ordered. "Bring him back alive, understand?"
"Can I cut off his legs, Leader-sama?" Kisame asked hopeful.
"Do as you wish, as long as the jinchuuriki remains alive for extraction," he detachedly replied. Hideyoshi looked a bit alarmed.
Extraction? Did they plan on releasing the two tailed-beasts? A smirk brought itself on his face. Ah, well, the problem of resealing them
was their problem, not his.
Kisame grinned as both he and Kakuzu set out to find Killer Bee. Now, the only people left in the meadow were Konan, Pein, Obano,
Hideyoshi, and Sasori.
"Konan.when the operation begins, assist their subordinates in rallying the population to join in on the revolt," Pein told her.
Although truthfully he didn't care if the coup succeeded or not; they needed the jinchuuriki badly. Speeding up the process could only
help them in the long run.
"As you wish," she submissively conceded. Her entire body started peeling apart into what appeared to be paper. Each individual piece
of paper then folded in itself, turning into an origami bird, which flew off into the distance as a flock.
"Sasori.go with the Emerald Fang and capture the two-tailed beast," the orange-haired leader told the master puppeteer. Sasori bowed
to his leader and Obano nodded toward his temporary ally. The jade-eyed jounin sped off in the opposite direction, keen on finding
Yugito's hideout. Sasori wasn't too far behind, his stature not at all having trouble following the panther summoner.
"I shall lead you to the Raikage," Hideyoshi offered toward the Akatsuki leader who looked at him and smirked.
"Really? Aren't you already there?" Pein rhetorically asked. Hideyoshi's eyes widened in shock. "Don't be surprised, Hideyoshi. You
cannot hide anything from God. M y paths will attack as soon as you give the signal."
'Hideyoshi' nodded a bit nervously as it vanished into white feathers. Pein stood as still as a statue as he waited.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Raikage's Tower, 1st District, a few minutes earlier)
Killer A stood watch over the village that his father had passed on to him to protect. His fists were clenched as a wave of regret and
remorse swelled within his being. As much as he hated to admit it, they had won. The Ultranationalists had fucking won! The Virga and
United Cloud were a dying ideology, and he knew it. All of those bridges he had burned, the people he had betrayedit was all for
naught. In the end, the gods above decided to favor those bastards.

"Well, well, if it isn't Killer A wallowing in self-pity?" a familiar voice mocked from behind him. He turned around and glared daggers at
the man in front of him: the Akechi clan head.
"Hideyoshiyou bastard," he spat venomously.
The clan head seemed amused. "Oh, I'm the bastard, huh?" He then glowered at the man who didn't even deserve the title of Kage.
"Coming from a guy who was going to sacrifice Ayasaki for the sake of Darui's loyalty, that's rich."
A looked at him in complete shock, completely flabbergasted. "How'd do you?"
"You moron," he insulted in disgust, "did you really think you'd get away with sabotaging his sister's health? There are some lows even
I'm not willing to stoop to, and yet, you crossed the line multiple times, and yet, we're the genocidal psychopaths? What hypocrisy."
An evil sneer contorted on his face. "But, you know what? Darui is on our side now."
A actually slammed his fist on the desk, causing it to split in half as his temper flared. "You lie! Darui would never join you!"
Hideyoshi simply shook his head. "Of course he wouldn'twell, not under normal circumstances, anyhow. But, when I offered to save
his sister, he couldn't refuse. Guess what? I did. His sister is free from her disease, all thanks to me. He belongs to us, now." A's eyes
widened to their greatest extent.
"You were a fool. Had you been thinking, you would've offered to save her. You had the means to do so. However, you foolishly tried
to kill her, instead. Had you made the order to cure her of her ailment, Darui's loyalty to you would've been tenfold." Hideyoshi enjoyed
mentally breaking down the Fourth Lightning Shadow as he realized his tactical error.
"Damn it!" he growled. How could he have been so stupid and blind! Had his hate and paranoia been that large that he overlooked the
most obvious solution?
"You gambled and lost, Killer A," Hideyoshi smirked evilly, yet again. He looked off into the distance suddenly. "So, it seems they have
arrived."
A glared at the Akechi clan head with suspicion latent in his eyes. "What are you talking about?" he asked edgily.
A dark look contorted on Hideyoshi's face. "After today.no longer will the United Cloud and Virga stand in our way and youwill no
longer be Raikage," he finally revealed.
A's chakra spiked suddenly in anger and lightning surrounded his entire body as he glared murderously at the Ultranationalist leader. The
force of his jutsu was so strong that it blew the entire window behind him outward, causing the glass contents to fall a great height
towards the ground. "I'll kill you for treason! I'll never let you become the Raikage!" The enraged Lightning Shadow raised both his arms
and sent a double lightning bolt from his hands straight at Hideyoshi. Screw collateral damage, he was killing the bastard right now! The
lightning jutsu struck at the walls destroying and collapsing everything behind them.
"Is that so?" he heard from behind him. A turned swiftly around to see Hideyoshi on standing on top of an eagle who hovered outside of
the damaged tower. "How amusing. It's true that after you die today, there will be a new Raikagebut," he then grinned darkly, "no one
ever said that Raikage would be me."
"What?"
Hideyoshi simply shook his head and went through several hand seals. "Raiton: Byakurai (Lightning Release: Pale Lightning)," he called
out; sending an utterly massive white thunderbolt into the air so large the entire village could see it. In the distance, various explosions
and war cries could be heard as the Ultranationalists outright attacked the village. Those who were loyal to the Raikage were already
being slaughtered by their more disciplined, battle-hardened, 'comrades.'
"Witness as the sun sets on the village whose legacy you and your bastard father trampled on for decades on end," Hideyoshi scorned
with absolute hate as his eagle summon began to fly higher in the air.
"Get back here, Hideyoshi! I'm not done with you!" A growled as he prepared to jump after the Ultranationalist leader. He was stopped
by six figures appearing in front of him, with the Deva Path in the middle, seemingly their leader. To his left were the Asura and Animal
Paths. To his right were the Preta Path, the Human Path, and, finally, the Naraka Path.
"Who are you?" A inquired, ready to fight. It was obvious that Hideyoshi had hired these guys to take him out, so there was no point in
asking such a pointless query.

As per usual of being the group's collective voice, the Deva Path stepped forward. "To us, you are simply more than an ant. To you, I
am a God who's here to take your life. You have sinned and must repent!"
Already annoyed by the mysterious groups' arrogance, the Fourth Lightning Shadow increased the amount of lightning chakra surging
through his nervous system and his hair began to spike considerably. He was about to charge at the Akatsuki leader before the Deva
Path held out his hands in a halt motion and uttered two simple words.
"Shinra Tensei (Heavenly Subjugation of the Omnipresent God)," he uttered emotionlessly. Before A knew what hit him, he was
repelled backward by some invisible force. Deva Path had put a considerable amount of chakra into the attack as it had sent the Raikage
flying through his own tower towards the mountains and valley behind the Raikage Tower.
A was caught completely off guard, having never seen, nor had heard of such a jutsu before. He landed in a clearing, creating a crater of
considerable size. He hit the ground with such force that his Raiton no Yoroi (Lightning Release Armor) had vanished completely.
"Ughokaythat hurt," he admitted. For the first time in a good long while, someone had actually caused him to feel physical pain.
Firstly, he was likely the fastest shinobi alive, so it was hard to hit him, regardless. Even in the off-chance they did get a lucky strike in,
his muscular build allowed him to tank many jutsu. Not quite as well as his father did in his heyday, but close enough.
The Yondaime slowly picked himself from the ground as he, not in the least bit surprised; saw all six of those...whatever they were. It
was clear to the kage they weren't humanor at least not entirely so. If anything, they seemed more like reanimated corpses.
"Very good," Deva Path spoke nodding to himself as he surveyed his surroundings. "This place will be perfect for you to face
judgment." As much as the Akatsuki leader was apathetic about Hideyoshi's plans, that still didn't change the fact that he had made a
deal with him worth a hundred million ryou plus two jinchuuriki. It would be in bad taste, in his eyes, to wreck the village just to
complete the assassination he was hired to do.
"Why would you help that monster?" A decided to ask, in both curiosity and to give his body time to recuperate.
The spokesman of the small cluster of six seemed amused. "If you must know, then it's simple. We want your two jinchuuriki. In
exchange for killing you, I get the Eight-Tails and Two-tails for myself."
The Raikage's eyes widened in anger. That bastard had sold out Bee and Yugito for a taste of power? If it was even possible, his loathing
of the Akechi clan head grew even fiercer. "You will not leave this village with Bee or Yugito, nor will any of you leave alive," he seethed
as he activated his lightning armor again with even greater intensity.
"Your words are as empty as your fate," Deva Path declared. "You are a simply a mortal. You touch my mind, ignorant of true pain and
understanding. There is a realm of existence beyond your comprehension. Your life is measured in years and decades. We are eternal; the
pinnacle of existence. Before us, you are simply an ant. As Gods we impose order on the chaos that is human nature. You exist because
we allow it, and you shall end because we demand it. You shall be one of the first victims of my wrath as I judge the shinobi. We are the
vanguard of your destruction."
The Lightning Shadow simply snarled at the delusional fool. He had an aura of arrogance that made the Uchiha clan seem tame by
comparison. "How boastful of you to think you can threaten war with the entire Elemental Nations."
"Threatening war?" Deva Path's voice traced amusement as he snarled. "No. I'm promising you outright annihilation. There's a
difference."
A vanished from their collective line of sight, causing all six of the paths of Pein to widen collectively. Animal Path was the first to be
sent flying as the body flew through the air from a right hook. The body hit a nearby mountain with such force it caused it to collapse in
on itself.
The Raikage turned toward the other bodies and slammed his fist on the ground to shock the entire ground. All of the remaining Paths,
with the notable exception of the Preta, leaped out of the way, narrowly avoiding getting electrocuted.
The Preta Path smirked at Killer A as he strolled casually through his field of lightning as it was seemingly being absorbed into his body
as if he were a human sponge.
"What?" A was in shock. Just what kind of shinobi was he dealing with?
"It's quite simple," Deva Path responded simply, floating in midair using Shinra Tensei. The rest of the Paths were simply standing
casually away from him. Animal Path, strangely, had yet to return. "Preta Path has the ability to absorb copious amounts of chakra.
There is no jutsu that he cannot absorb."

"Is that so?" A inquired challengingly. "We'll just have to see how much he can take." In a flash he was instantly in from of the hefty,
chakra-absorbing corpse. Before the body could even react, Killer A had him in an iron grip bear hug. All of the other paths, including
Deva, looked on, shocked. Even their dojutsu could barely keep up with the Fourth Lightning Shadow's speed.
"Take this!" A roared as he used the extreme close proximity to surge as much lightning chakra into Preta Path, who was desperately
trying to absorb it, as well as take the pain.
Suddenly, A sensed an object coming toward him as he held on to Preta Path. Was that a rocket fist? It was coming from the Asura Path,
who had somehow detached his forearm as a rocket that was headed straight for the dark-skinned bruiser. The Raikage didn't want to
risk tanking such a technique with these shinobi when he barely knew about their abilities to begin with. So he opted for the best thing:
he moved the Preta Path in its way.
Deva Path's eyes widened considerably as he used Shinra Tensei to knock the rocket-propelled fist off course into the valley. The
explosion that followed nearly blinded A due to its intensity.
"Soit would seem I have to get serious to take you down," the Akatsuki leader conceded as a black blade extended from his jet-black
cloak. "You should be honored to be slain by a being of my power." He made a 'bring it' motion with his left hand. "Come and embrace
eternity."
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Outskirts of Kumo, Valley of Clouds and Lightning, 1400 hours)
Kisame and Kakuzu had finally tracked down the general location of the eight-tails host, Killer Bee. It turns out the Raikage, for
unknown reasons, had forced the jinchuuriki to stay in the village and was to never leave. Ironically, this allowed them to easily pick up
on the chakra of the host and once again, Killer A had made a tactical error he couldn't have ever seen coming.
The M onster of the Hidden M ist looked up to see the pale lightning strike in the sky and grinned. "Well, it seems that was the signal.
Shouldn't be too long before Leader-sama kills the Raikage," he stated a bit bemused.
"Indeed," Kakuzu replied simply. He was mostly excited about getting paid after their deal was done. However, they needed to get this
blasted jinchuuriki first. Sighing a bit, the two S-ranked shinobi came upon the edge of a cliff and then saw a large cave.
"I can sense himhe's there, all right," Kisame grinned drawing his large sword. "Samehada will have a feast to last it for months."
Kakuzu's eyes widened a bit. "Kisame, move!" he warned before they both jumped from their current positions. Not even a second later
an extremely large octopus tentacle came crashing down on top of the cliff, completely destroying their former spots.
The two landed near the cave and the tentacle that just attacked them receded itself back into the dark cavern. A lone Cloud shinobi
stepped out from the pitch-black darkness. Clearly, he was male, dark-skinned; about six feet even, and was dressed in a standard Cloud
jounin outfit. Dark sunglasses draped over his eyes, white hair, and strange of all, was the fact that he had seven swords strapped to his
back.
"Well, well," Kisame smiled, "it looks like he saved us the trouble of looking for him. That's good, because that would've gotten boring."
He pointed Samehada at the Jinchuuriki, ready for a fight.
"The name's Killer Bee, greatest rapper alive. You two had better leave now, if you want to survive!" Bee rapped eccentrically. "And
you two clowns want to drag me in a fight, knowing damn well I can't stand the sunlight? M othafucka!"
"." Kakuzu said nothing, but it was clear he was already annoyed at the man. "Oh, Kisame, while you take off his legs, seal his mouth,
too."
"With pleasure," the shark-man said, grinning, while rushing the jinchuuriki. The battle was on.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Unknown Location, Kumogakure)
Yugito Nii was not having the most pleasant of days. The blonde-haired jinchuuriki was awakened suddenly from her usual afternoon cat
nap when an explosion rocked her inner sanctum. She didn't like this one bit, at all. The kunoichi promptly got dressed as quickly as she
could to try and go investigate.

While she ran down the long narrow hallways toward the outside, multiple theories ran in her head. Was the village under attack by
foreign shinobi? No, that couldn't be. The village was far too large to be taken in any sort of invasion. Nothing short of an allied coalition
effort could they hope to have the logistics of securing any kind of foothold that was worth a damn. The odds of that scenario,
considering all the political turmoil in the Elemental Nations, were extremely low.
Then, the second, chilling possibility came to her. Were the Ultranationalists finally making their move by taking the village by force?
Were they suicidal? Her questions were soon answered as she came outside to an inner dome where dozens of Kumo shinobi, who
belonged to the United Cloud, lay dead. Their bodies were mutilated with slash marks, burn marks, and even bite marks?
"Well, well, Yugito, you finally showed up. Took you fucking long enough," Obano complained as he stepped out of the darkness. He
was completely unscathed, a testament to his skill.
Yugito growled at the jounin. "You bastard! What the hell have you done?" she roared with rage-filled eyes. Some of these guys she
knew personally and were always willing to help out whenever she, somehow, lost control of her jinchuuriki powers. Now they were
lying on the floor, slaughtered like complete animals!
The Emerald Fang looked at her with indifference. "It's pretty simple. Today, the United Cloud and Virga will no longer have any sort of
power within this village."
Yugito's eyes bulged in shock. "You bastards! When the Raikage-sama hears of this"
"I'm afraid the Raikage won't do a damn thing," Obano interjected, drawing his jade-colored sword from his back. Strangely enough, it
seemed chipped on the end as if it were broken. He tossed it in the air and caught it in his right hand and held it in a reverse grip. "He's
already in the process of being executed."
"Over my dead body!" the two-tailed host howled. She was stopped dead as she picked up multiple scents in the room. A smirk twisted
on the Ultranationalist jounin's face as six panthers, larger than even Daisuke, finally revealed themselves. Their fangs and claws were
nearly blood-red. It didn't take a genius to figure out what had killed her subordinates and friends.
"Don't worry. I won't kill you because you hold value to some clients we hired. We will honor that agreement, but I'm going to enjoy
spilling your blood. Those who side with the Raikage deserve nothing less," he spoke frigidly as his eyes turned into slits. "Pounce," he
commanded and his panther summons obeyed without question.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kumogakure)
There was complete pandemonium within the entire village. Dozens of dead bodies were lining the streets from all sides, both
Ultranationalist and United Cloud. The vast majority of the civilians were ideologically sided with the Ultranationalists, and as such, got
no interference whatsoever.
The Angel of Amegakure, Konan, had helped the extremist shinobi considerably. She was a naturally gifted motivator and public
speaker. Her time in the Village Hidden in the Rain only honed her skill of propaganda and deceit. She had traveled to all in the districts
of Thirteen all the way down to Five and somehow had convinced a good majority of the shinobi and populace that this was their chance
to fight and regain some of that lost honor which was loss during the reigns of the Sandaime and Yondaime Raikage. The Ultranationalist
jounin commanders didn't know how she did it, but the blue-haired female convinced them. The size of their brotherhood had practically
quintupled in size in a matter of hours. Now a good four-fifths of the entire shinobi population officially sided with Hideyoshi.
Effectively, it wasn't a matter of if they would win, but when.
To say she was godsend would be a vast understatement. Slowly, but surely, with the extra manpower, they pushed back the Loyalists
who were slowly losing their ground. They were fighting a lost cause, and they knew that much. Considering how neither Yugito nor
Killer Bee had shown up to save the day, it was obvious they were either occupied, captured, or worse, dead.
Omoi sliced through a chuunin without remorse, cutting him nearly in half. He simply kicked his dying body away as if it were trash on
the street. "Piece of shit loyalist," he spat in disgust. He looked around to see that his teammates were doing a number on the lesspowerful chuunin and genin who valiantly tried to defend their home. It didn't matter. Karui and Samui killed, just as he did, without
mercy.
The trio was smart enough to avoid the veterans. They only had a year's worth of training. Yes, they were talented and Obano's training
was brutal and effective, but even that was worthless to shinobi who had years of experience.

"Fall back!" they heard another loyalist shout as they were being overrun by their tactical strength and superior firepower.
Karui snorted. "Look at those cowards. Just from what you'd expect from a Loyalist." Her sensei had told her all about the moments of
cowardice from these spineless weaklings. Once again, he had been proven right, after all.
Omoi smirked. "Samuiyou know what to do."
Samui returned his expression and raised her bow and aimed it at the Loyalist ninja who had called for the retreat. "A coward deserves
nothing but death," she hissed, pulling back the string. She let go and the arrow traveled through air at blazingly fast speeds. It entered
through the back of his neck and out of his throat, killing him instantly. Since he was in a mid-jump he fell to the ground with a thud. He
died with his eyes completely open.
Omoi nodded approvingly. "Nice shot," he praised. "Let's go. We have to meet Sensei. The rest of them will take the village. We're not
strong enough yet to deal with the vets." Both females acquiesced and they jumped off with Omoi in the lead.
Amongst the chaos, not even a single BOLT operative was found. Neither defending the village nor joining in to retake it
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kumogakure Hospital 4th District)
Inside the Hidden Cloud's general hospital there was absolute chaos. The Ultranationalists were pushing forward at an absolutely
incredible pace. Despite the size of the village, it seemed as if district after district was falling under their control. The worst part of it all
being that the actual citizens were letting it happen! The hospital was filled with the injured, the dead, the near dead, and the staff was
stretched thin almost to a breaking point.
However, not all of the staff was busy trying to save lives. Five medical ninja, affiliated with the Raikage were busy on the top floor
burning document after document. Unfortunately, they knew no Katon jutsu and they had to resort to the old fashion way. That
process was taking entirely too long, however.
"Kenji-sama! We have to get out of here! Cut our losses! The village is lost!" a frantic brown-haired medic-nin shouted as he fumbled
with the documents the head of staff wanted to burn.
"NO!" Kenji replied a glare. "I will not allow these bastards to have any of the medical knowledge we possess. It will die along with this
village."
His subordinate was about to retort when a large sword stabbed through his stomach, causing him to cough up a gargantuan amount of
red fluids. The staff that was helping Kenji burn all of their medical records looked on in terror. The blade twisted, cutting inner organs
to ribbons as it did so, causing him to scream out in pain. The screams died out in an instant when the sword was brought up suddenly,
effectively cleaving the poor medical ninja in halflengthwise. As both halves of the corpse collapsed to opposite ends of the floor, the
attacker was quickly revealed to beDarui. The jounin had a deadened, calculating, uncharacteristic murderous look in his eyes as he
tightly gripped his giant sword. One on the left tried to run, but Darui put a stop to that by cleaving his legs clean off. Despite missing
the limbs he needed to walk, the medical ninja was crawling in a vain attempt to escape. The Ultranationalist jounin simply stabbed him
right in the spinal column, and quickly decapitated him not even a second later. He then threw his sword like a kunai towards the last of
Kenji's subordinates. He was hit with such force that he was embedded on the wall, effectively dying by a bastardized version of
crucifixion. Darui then turned his attention to the leader and walked slowly toward him
"Darui! What have you done? You of all people? Helping them? How could you betray Raikage-sama?" Kenji shrieked in absolute
horror at seeing his team die.
"No, Kenji. You fucking tell how the Raikage could betray me! Or more importantly, my sister, you sick fucks!" Darui bellowed, trying
to keep his anger under control. He was failing miserably.
The head medical ninja's eyes widened. "Yo-you mean.." he stuttered, gulping.
"Yes, I know. I know the Raikage ordered you to sabotage my sister's treatment and, in some cases, even deliberately make it worse!
How the hell could you? She means everything to me!"
"Wewewere just following orders and"
The jounin snarled before grabbing Kenji's head and slamming it against the desk. "Don't get me that just following orders bullshit! You're
a doctor! You took a Hippocratic Oath! You betrayed your very principles! You showed no remorse for nearly killing a then-thirteen-

year-old innocent girl!"


Kenji coughed up blood as he looked up at the jounin shock. "Ne-nearly?"
An indifferent smile split Darui's face. "Yes, nearly. Hideyoshi-sama saved my sister when he didn't have to. He could've left her to die
out of apathy simply because, in his ideology, she would be dead weight. But you know what? He didn't. He actually offered to save
her, in exchange for me being loyal. That was it! All he wanted in return for saving the most important person in my life was loyalty and
nothing more. So I took it, and as promised, he healed her. Ayasaki now can live a normal life. No thanks to you or that bastard!" he
growled and punched Kenji repeatedly. The head medical ninja could do nothing as he was beaten to within an inch of his life. Finally,
Darui simply threw him on top of his desk.
Kenji was in extreme amounts of pain, and thought that the jounin would leave him be and to let him die from blood loss. He was sadly
mistaken. The Black Lightning heir wasn't done. Not by a long shot. A curious look made its way on his face as he looked at the
medicinal cabinet in the side room. After a minute or two of searching, Darui came back with a sixteen-ounce bottle filled with a strange
transparent liquid that could've been mistaken for a clear soda and a syringe.
The minute Kenji laid eyes on, his eyes widened in horror and shock. "Th-that's"
"Yes," Darui chillingly remarked, "this is the same medicine that you gave to me. The same drug that you said was helping my sister!
When, in fact, all it did was make it worse and speed up the process of her death." He then gave the doctor an unsettling smile. "Funny,
though, you always told me to give it to her in small doses. Knowing thisI wonder what would happen if I took this syringe and
injected all of this bottle's content into your veins and nervous system, what would happen. Hmmsmall drips of it were killing
Ayasaki slowlybut in large doses, however."
Kenji shook his head in terror, realizing what the jounin was about to do. "Noyou can't! Please don't do this! Have mercy!" he tried to
plead. His pleas of mercy fell on deaf ears as Darui used the syringe to draw out as much of the liquid 'medicine' as possible.
Darui simply strolled toward the doctor at an even pace the full syringe in his right hand. He grabbed the doctor by his throat. "You
didn't have a shred of guilt about what you didand neither will I. Call this poetic justice." He then stabbed the syringe in his arm and
squeezed every drop in him. "Have a little tasteof your own medicine," he mocked a bit psychotically. He pulled it out and dropped it
to the floor and unceremoniously dropped the doctor to the floor.
Almost immediately, the drug started to take effect as he started convulsing in a seizure. His veins, arteries, and nerves felt like they
were slowly being burned away. Which, in a sense, they were. His pain receptors were receiving so much information that they were
effectively collapsing. The synapses in his body were snapping in two, breaking down little by little.
Darui pulled the blade from the wall and kicked the corpse off and wiped the blood with his shirt. He sheathed it on his back and
casually walked out of the room. Before he left, though, he put up a silencing jutsu. The only sounds Kenji would hear as he died a slow
and painful death were his own.
The Black Lightning heir felt a heavy weight lift off his shoulders as he walked downstairs toward the main lobby where shinobi were
being treated. Finally, Ayasaki had been avenged and justice had been served.
"Listen up!" Darui roared to the crowd of nurses and doctors treating those loyal to the Raikage. All eyes and ears turned toward him as
everyone stopped dead in fear. They had heard reports of Darui joining Hideyoshi, but they had dismissed them as rumor. Now it seems
that the hearsay actually turned out to be correct.
"I have nothing against all of you, and I'd prefer not to kill any of you if I could help it. Those who wronged me have been dealt with.
You are all smart people. You have lostHideyoshi-sama has won. So, I'll offer you this. If everyone in this room lays down their arms
and swears loyalty to the Ultranationalists, you will all be spared," he promised. M urmurs swept through the crowd, but Darui could
tell that they were seriously considering his offer.
"I was once like you, fearing and hating Hideyoshi-sama. But now, I have no reason to. He saved my sister. M y sister was going to die
from a terminal diseaseand the Raikage had ordered the top brass in this hospital to speed up the process," he revealed to them. A
wave of shock passed through the crowd. On one hand, they couldn't possibly believe that the Raikage could do such a thing. Then
again, this was his former right-hand man who joined the Ultranationalists. What reason would he have to lie at this point in the game?
They had already practically won, and they could kill them at their leisure if they wanted to. There was literally nothing more to lose.
Darui smiled as they all decided to pledge their allegiance to the new regime one-by-one. The Black Lightning heir's smile turned into a
full blown grin. Hideyoshi would be pleased.

(-x.0.0.x-)
(Valley, Pein vs. Killer A)
The Yondaime Raikage fell towards his knees panting heavily as he could barely stand. Once the Akatsuki leader had gotten serious, he
started kicking the Lightning Shadow's ass six ways to Sunday. No matter how hard he tried, he simply couldn't stand up to that dojutsu
and having to fight six people at once. They simply kept reviving every body he took down, ad nauseum. There were limits even to his
mighty stamina.
"Damn it!" he cursed collapsing on the ground, barely holding on to consciousness. He was bleeding profusely with cuts and bruises
everywhere on his body.
"So it would seem you have reached your limit," Deva Path simply noted as he stared at the Raikage's pained and regretful eyes. "I offer
you no pity. Your sins are too great."
"Indeed they are, Pein," came the voice of Hideyoshi as he strolled through the clearing with a smirk on his face. He was unscathed,
which indicated he hadn't even participated in any fighting. The Raikage looked up at the Ultranationalist with absolute loathing.
"Hideyoshi" Pein noted as he looked at the Akechi head curiously. "I was about to finish the job."
Hideyoshi shook his head. "No. That won't be necessary. Your men have captured both jinchuuriki successfully." A's eyes widened in
shock. They got Bee and Yugito?
"I see," the Akatsuki leader neutrally intoned. He caught a hefty bag that was tossed at him.
"That's the rest of the money we owe you. Our deal is complete. We'll take the rest from here."
Pein nodded and turned back towards the near-dying Raikage. "So it seems fortune shines on you. You avoided the wrath of God. Well,
then, I shall be on my way. A pleasure doing business with you, Hideyoshi," he non-sincerely thanked and all of the Paths of Pein
vanished in an instant. Now the Raikage was at the Ultranationalist's complete and total mercy.
A gritted his teeth. "Are you happy now, you bastard? You got what you wanted.you beat me at my own game."
Hideyoshi snorted. "Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player."
A tried to crawl toward him, but he could barely mold chakra, let alone move. "So, tell me Hideyoshi," A stated more casually, as if he
was now resigned to his fate, "what will you plan to do, now? You have the village all to yourself," he said in a dejected manner. He was
slowly starting to accept that he had finally lost.
The Akechi clan head smirked. "You still haven't figured it out, have you? I told you before: I'm not the one who will be taking over as
Raikage."
A sighed, a bit tired of this cryptic nonsense. "Then who will, then?"
"That.would be me," came a familiar, yet disturbing, voice said as he phased in sight in front of Hideyoshi.
"Everything has been completed as you planned, " he informed in a completely submissive tone of voice.
"Very well, then," the shinobi replied as he looked back at the Raikage who nearly paled at seeing him. "What's the matter, Raikagesama?" he mocked with an evil smirk on his face. "You seemed shocked to see me."
Indeed the Raikage was. Because standing in front of him was the true Ultranationalist leader.Hideyoshi's superior and his most
powerful shinobi in his ranks:
Aisu Hayasaka, the Supreme Commander of the Black Operations and Lightning Tactics, was the mastermind behind the entire coup
d'tat and the Ultranationalists coming to power and surrounding him was the entire BOLT division, its Captains, as well as the
Lieutenant Commanders ready to follow his orders to the letter.
(END)
Yes, I'm being evil and leaving you on a massive cliffhanger. M uhahahahaha.
So the cat is finally out of the bag, Aisu is the true leader of the Ultranationalists and Hideyoshi has been the Dragon to him the entire

time. Find out next year as the BOLT commander explains his reasoning, motivations, and just how flawlessly he pulled off gambit after
gambit after gambit.
Sad to say, though, this will be the last update for the year. Fear not, though, I will be back, and have an update by late M arch or early
April. Even if it's only a 10k-word update, I'll try and get it out as soon as I finish with my training in the military.
I'll be gone for about four to five months, so can you give a brother some love with some detailed reviews? :D
Until 2012, this is Arashi the Solar Phoenix signing off.
Regards,
Arashi.

*Chapter 9*: Etched Eternally


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Nine: Etched Eternally
And I return from my five month absence! It's been awhile, and while I'm a bit disappointed in the low review count, it still doesn't deter
me. I know I have a story that puts 95% of the rest of the fandom to shame. I can say that with absolute confidence. That being said,
let's continue on.
Hold on, scratch that, I need to address something that I thought I had put to rest months ago and I'm pissed off to no fucking end about
it. People reviewed the story saying that they "skipped" the Kumo parts. I'm likereally? Really!? That's a completely stupid decision
on several levels. You all (I'm talking to those that skipped, not those that didn't here) DO realize that what happens in Kumo is going to
beI don't knowreally fucking important down the line? You know as in it's going to play a huge role in the story? To just skip it
it's like you're missing the whole fucking point of the story.
I'm telling you, you're going to be confused to hell and back if you don't take the time to read them, because if you ask me a question
concerning the Cloud Village and its various characters, that's been addressed in those sections you retardedly decided to skip, all I will
tell you is, "Read it in Chapter X". Seriously. I'm not trying to be an asshole, but I consider it a fucking insult for you to have the fucking
audacity to review my story and say you skipped sections that I took the time to write about. If it weren't important, the shit wouldn't
even be there in the first place! Skimming, I can understand, because I do it too at times, but to outright not read it at all? As in when
you get to latter half of the chapter that starts of with the Cloud part (since I do first half of my chapters with Konoha, second half,
Kumo), you simply close the window/tab for the story and wait for the next update to repeat the process ad infinitum? Holy shit!
That's like reading the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings books but skipping the parts that involve Voldemort and Sauron, because it's
not dealing with Harry or Frodo. So, in short, if you're one of those people who skipped the Kumo sections because you're that guy/gal
who has a bias against OCs and non-Konoha characters I say this to you: Please go fuck yourself.
Ugh, either way, for those who HAVE read the sections that I put a lot of thought into, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and
my above statements do NOT include you and I apologize sincerely for my language, but fuck I needed to hammer it in home just how
utterly frustrating it is to put genuine hard work into something original and fresh in the Naruto fandom and people don't bother to read
it because they have an extremely narrow minded view of only "caring" about Konoha characters, not even realize they don't know if
they'll like the characters or not if they don't read it. If Kishimoto had that mentality, we'd still be stuck with the same characters from
Part 1.
You know, I find it funny, that one reviewer commented that unless it started affecting Team 7 he wouldn't care and then he might go
back and read it. What's funny about that is, and those who've read the sections can testify, that it already IS affecting them and you
would know that if you read it. The sheer irony is hilarious despite how pissed off I am about the situation. You've missed several key
plot points; plot twists, character motivations and a fight between the Raikage and Nagato and Akatsuki vs. Yugito and Killer Bee. This
is what you get for skipping.
Ugh, let me stop ranting before I completely go insane. I hope this finally puts the nail in the coffin of this complete bullshit, as I see it.
If notthen I'll simply ignore you. Hey, you can't even take the time to read or, at the very least, skim, the entire story, then I say you
have absolutely no right to criticize it any shape or form and not have your voice heard or your opinion taken seriously what-so-fucking
ever. If you have a problem with it, stop reading the story right now. There's literally no point in you continuing to read if you're going
to skip scenes that are important to the plot and essential to character growth and development. Either buckle down and at the very least
skim it to get a general idea of what's going on both sides of the continent or GTFO. Your choice. Because I'm having no sympathy for
you when I start to make callbacks and reference things you should already know. In fact, I think I should do that more often just to piss
of those who will, undoubtedly, ignore this, and continue to skip just to confuse the living hell out of them.
Also, shout out to reviewer "VLS". He/she has reviewed nearly every chapter and always puts a smile on my face when I see her/his
username in my review inbox. Thanks for taking the time to review every chapter bro/sis (god I need to know your gender lol). You are
appreciated.
Also side note: All reviewers who review with a detailed summary (minimum one paragraph) of what they liked/didn't liked will get a
shout out just like VLS in the next chapter from now until the end of the story. M ainly, I want to give a shout out to user Lady of the
Hunt. You have no idea how much that detailed paragraph made me grin from ear to ear.
By the way, someone asked me who the "he" M uramasa referred too in last chapter. I'll give you a hint: It's NOT Uchiha M adara/Tobi.
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no

claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OC's that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, and Uncharted, which are under the copyright ownership of Team
Ninja, Infinity Ward, and Naughty Dog as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, and Sony Computer Entertainment
America/Europe, respectively.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kumogakure, Valley Behind the Raikage's Tower)
Killer A was in complete and total shock as he stared at the man before him. "You! Aisu! You were behind this? Since when?" A
outright demanded despite being heavily vulnerable at the moment.
The BOLT commander chuckled to himself as he walked calmly towards the fallen Lightning Shadow. "When, you ask? From the very
beginning," he revealed, causing A's eyes to widened greatly and the dark-skinned bruiser snarled in anger.
"You hypocrite! You told me you always hated the Ultranationalists and now you reveal not only are you're one of them, but you are
their true leader!"
"You delusional fool, no wonder it was so easy in deceiving you," Aisu snorted. "I'll explain it to you. I never was on your sidefar
from it. Every waking moment from the time of your inauguration as the Raikage, I've been planning my own take over in seizing the
village for myself and right the wrongs you and your bastard father have woven with your incompetence and willful ignorance of the
suffering of our people who rightfully belong at the top of this world we call shinobi."
A managed to growl even if he could barely move a muscle in his body. "Soyou're just like them? I would've never expected a man
such as yourself to have such disgusting views."
The Hayasaka simply shook his head. "Truly for someone nearly twice my age, you truly are myopic and ignorant. I simply used that
myopic view and twisted it into my own bidding."
"Just what the hell do you mean?"
"Is it not obvious?" Aisu asked rhetorically. "I merely pretended to hate my own for the sake of you letting your guard down and
allowing me to complete all of my plans in secret. Openly showing my distaste of you wouldn't have accomplished much, if at all. I
allowed you to become complacent, thinking that I was with you, that my power and your Jinchuuriki would be a successful deterrent
for my forces to never try anything against you."
Hideyoshi chuckled. "It's tragic isn't it, Aisu-sama?" the Akechi clan head spoke up as he came by his master's side. "He spent so much
time focusing on me, that he failed to see through the mask of the real you."
The slowly dying Raikage was seething in hatred, anger, and betrayal, which only seemed to amuse Aisu as he grinned wickedly. "Oh,
indeed. You see, A, you never got to know me. Kept me at an arm's length that only was needed to serve your pathetic plans. Perhaps
had you learned my mannerisms, you would've seen something was off. You realize it now don't you? You never really did trust me,"
the BOLT commander revealed which surprised all parties, Hideyoshi and the silent Lieutenant Commanders included. A's eyes
widened.
Aisu just shook his head in clear disappointment. "You must really think I'm a fool. I know you didn't. You knew my supposed stance
on how I felt about the Ultranationalists, but you never felt the need to tell the inner most secrets of the party. M ethe de-facto
military second-in-command of this entire village."
A breathed out slowly. "You're rightI didn'tat least not fully. I knew deep down, something was off about youI just couldn't put
my finger on it. I just never expected someone who supposedly had morals to become like this."
"Don't you dare talk to me about morals!" Aisu half-yelled, his calm demeanor breaking a bit. "Believe it or not, while I had no love for
you nor your father, I never really hated you to the extent my subordinates dothat isuntil I found out what you did to Ayasaki."
Aisu's glower toward the Raikage actually sent a chill down his spine as his eyes became colder than a glacier as he leered at the
Lightning Bruiser with absolute loathing.
"What does she have to-"
The BOLT commander let out an asphyxiating amount of chakra to silence him instantaneously. A was finding it hard to breathe as if it
felt as if his lungs were literally being crushed. 'What the hell is this? His chakra output alone is causing me to suffocate! How is that even
possible?' he thought to himself in complete shock. Not even the six shinobi he fought showed this level of capability!

"Your lack of knowledge simply disgusts me," he spat releasing his power after he calmed down. "That girl wasnois like a sister to
me and to see her suffering so needlessly pained my heart. She was the only thing keeping me from completely letting the monster
within me from coming out." He wasn't exaggerating there. Were it not for Darui's sister, there was great possibility that he would've
killed and slaughtered anything that got in the way of his path to power without remorse. "Like Darui, I never bothered to look into her
disease until recently, which in hindsight, with a man of my intelligence should've found instantly," he uttered with regret.
"I thought as incompetent as you are, even your medical ninja couldn't screw up in trying to save her. But, lo and behold, even I
underestimated your stupidity and shortsightedness. I'll be honestwhen I discovered that you had ordered your medical ninja that
were loyal to you to slowly kill her, it took everything in my power to not come to your office and simply kill you and the rest of the
village's leadership outright, my plans be dammed."
Hideyoshi grimaced. He had remembered all to well that conversation he had with his leader the night he found out. That was a sight he
would not prefer to see again.
A managed to smirk despite the predicament he was in. "Is that so? For someone who would've killed me outright, you had to hire
outside help to take me out."
Aisu began to chucklethen he started laughing maniacally. "Please, don't be so boastful of yourself. I only involved Akatsuki, simply
to get rid of Yugito and Killer Bee; they were useless to me since they were so loyal to you. Giving them to the Organization killed two
birds with one stone. Sure, I could've killed them outright, with ease I might add, but that likely would've released their beasts which is
something even I wouldn't want to trifle with." As much as Aisu loathed admitting it, Kumo's, as well as every other village at that,
sealing jutsu for jinchuuriki paled in comparison to Konoha's. The tree huggers' seals actually killed the tailed beast along with the host,
while their neighbors would die and have to deal with a newly set free tailed beast. The knowledge of the techniques involved for sealing
the mighty beasts were near the top of the list of the village's most heavily classified secrets.
"An organization that collects Jinchuuriki! They'll use them eventually and it would put the village in danger! You fool!" A growled
towards them, desperately. Aisu looked amused.
"You think I fear the one you faced? He boasts of being a God, when I have the power to defeat him," the commander replied. Something
about the tone of Aisu's voice with that statement, made A not doubt his words. "When the time comes, I will kill Nagato myself, but,
for now, I will let the fool enjoy his delusion of thinking he's powerful enough to take me on." Nagato? Was that the shinobi's true name?
If so, how the hell did Aisu know it?
A sighed in defeat, still lamenting in the fact that he couldn't move a muscle. He had lost the will to fight verbally and physically. He was
going to die anyway, so he might as well asked the questions that had been nagging him. "How did you do it, Aisu? How did I lose?
Why did BOLT betray me as well."
Sayuri actually spoke up this time. "It's hard for someone to betray you when they were never really loyal to you in the first place," the
female Lieutenant Commander replied smirking.
"We control who gets accepted into BOLT and who doesn't," came the voice of the giant Assault division leader, M itsurugi. His gruff
and deep voice traced amusement. "Did you really think we'd accept those of your party who were deeply entrenched in your views?"
"Indeedeach of us knew Aisu-sama was the leader of the Ultranationalistsbutwe were kept ignorant of each other being loyal to
him."
A's eyes widened greatly at the revelations. "What!"
"You really think I'd be stupid enough to tell them that all of them that they're fellow Lieutenant Commanders were loyal to me at a time
where my plans involved the ignorance of my true affiliations?" Aisu asked rhetorically, yet again. "Each of them were led to believe that
the other three were either indifferent towards the Ultranationalists, loyal to you, or some kind of combination of the two. It allowed me
to accelerate my plans independent of each other and the possibility of a leak, lessened. It's called the cell concept. If one division is
caught, the others can't be compromised in anyway due to lack of genuine knowledge of their existence and activities."
M itsurugi scoffed a bit. "You should've seen the show Sayuri put on in that meeting a couple months back. Sure as hell fooled me." The
blue-haired Ultranationalist LC could only smile coldly at his complement.
"And you expect the party to just welcome you with open arms after they've followed orders from Hideyoshi for years on end?"
Aisu smirked as he walked towards the edge of the crater that the Lightning Shadow was in. "It's only natural. All living creatures place
their faith in someone far more powerful than they and they can only survive while being apart of something greater themselves. The

recipient of that faith then seeks out someone in an even higher position. And such the cycle continues forever. This is how Kings and
Gods are born. They will believe in me and together I will lead them to a shining future as the Godaime as Kumo takes the place of
Konoha as the top shinobi villagepermanently." And I will finally show you who's truly the greatest shinobi ever! My power will be
transcend the heavens and they will have no choice but to revoke that title from you and pass it on to me! The commander added in his
thoughts with anger and hatred that eclipsed his distaste for the Raikage, despite his actions toward Ayasaki, tenfold.
"You wish to drag the village into a Fourth War?"
"Drag? Nostart one? Yes. Of course not now, I'd say at least seven to eight years from now while we build up our strength and seed
my ideology into the hearts of the people and the young shinobi in training."
The Raikage's eyes widened as he instantly caught on to Aisu's subtle implication. "You mean that academy in the-!"
An evil smirk adorned the traitor's face. "Yesthat school in the thirteenth district that you failed to build because you were diverting
your attention elsewhere was fundedby me," Aisu revealed. The dark skinned Lightning Shadow was at a loss for words as just how
deep the man in front of him's betrayal went. He continued on unperturbed. "Childrenthat you carelessly threw awayI picked up
and funded from my salary as commander of BOLT. I even wrote in some of the textbooks myself. They are the future generations and
their education in our ways will bring us to a new age."
He began to encircle around the crater with his hands crossed behind his back as if were giving a speech. "Soyou wish to know how I
did it, no?" he asked rhetorically. As expected, the Yondaime gave him no reply. "In truth, I've been scheming before you were
inaugurated as you already know. But my plans accelerated considerably when you invited me back to your office six months ago."
Six months ago, Kumogakure 1300 hours
Aisu leapt from rooftop to rooftop with a satisfied smirk on his face. So far everything was going exactly as planned. Soon he would
ascend to the rank of Raikage and the wheels of fate would be set in motion as he took his divine right as ruler of these entire lands. Alas,
even with his power, he still had close to a decade or so before pulling it off.
The Hayasaka decided to pay a visit to his subordinate's mansion for an update. Vanishing in a burst of raw speed, that seemed more
like teleportation than anything, Aisu was able to reach the Akechi clan heads house in no time flat. He managed to suppress his chakra
signature as he blurred into existence on the balcony of the Akechi clan mansion. Coincidently, Hideyoshi was there, feeding a large
falcon.
Aisu heard Hideyoshi snarl as he turned. "I thought I told you all to leave me-!" his eyes widened immediately upon seeing the BOLT
commander. In an instant he was on one knee. "Ai-Aisu-sama! I meant no disrespect, I-I-" Hideyoshi apologized while stuttering.
Aisu waved him off, a bit disgusted at his groveling. "Get up, Hideyoshi," he commanded, to which the Akechi clan head obeyed without
question. He walked over to where the large falcon was and began to stroke his beak affectionately. The giant raptor nodded approvingly
of the action. The Ultranationalist leader seemed to genuinely smile. It appeared, as did his subordinate, he had a soft spot for these
creatures and nature as well.
Hideyoshi did several hand seals and the sliding door to go back in to estate was completely shut and he also put up a sound barrier.
Standard protocol for whenever the two were to meet in secret. The amount of people who knew Aisu's true nature could be, literally,
counted on one hand. The black ops commander wanted it to stay that way until it was the right time.
"What is new in our conquest of this village, Hideyoshi?" Aisu asked him tersely. The Ultranationalist figurehead simply nodded.
"It seems Danzo has caught wind of our activities," Hideyoshi replied rather casually with a slight frown, despite the information would,
on the surface, seem much more frightening to the average shinobi. Aisu, however, was far, FAR from the average shinobi.
Aisu smirked. "I see. It's about time," he replied to a confused Akechi clan head whose eyebrows burrowed.
"Sir, I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying you expected this to happen?" he inquired unsure.
Aisu snorted. "Expected? Hideyoshi, I was counting on him finding out. He thinks that only the Third Fire Shadow knows of ROOT's
continued existence. His zeal in protecting the Leaf only works in the palm of my hand," he replied holding out his hand for emphasis.
"Aisu-sama," Hideyoshi interjected subtly. "I fail to see how Danzo knowing of our plans helps us."
The black ops commander shook his head. "Danzo is no fool. He wouldn't expose something as serious as my takeover of the village. As
far as he knows, I'm still loyal to the Raikage. Exposing our plans would only cause chaos on the continent. Danzo doesn't want that kind

of bloodshedat leastnot yet, anyhow. He doesn't know what kind of ripple effects of such intelligence would have leaking out. If my
hunch is correct, I doubt even the Sandaime Hokage knows."
Hideyoshi nodded in understanding. "So I take it you have a plan in case he tries to send shinobi in our territory?"
"Don't I always?" he retorted rhetorically. "The Hidden Villages are nothing more than a pieces on a chessboard that I move. And when
the last piece calls checkmate.I will be King of this new world." Hideyoshi bowed submissively at that proclamation. "And sowe
move the next pieceis Higuchi ready to move?"
"Yes. He knows his role. He's to lose on purpose. You don't want us to move to power to quickly. You want the ideology to spread like
wildfire."
"Of course. While in a perfect world, I would manipulate events so that we would win all four seats, but no, I refuse," he said with
conviction turning to the valley. "True we're bending the rules, but I want the people's affection toward us to be genuine."
Hideyoshi sighed a bit. "Aisu-samayou and I both know you're strong enough to take on the Raikage, Killer Bee, and Yugito near
simultaneously. You could be the coup if you wanted too! So why do you do this! Our village needs-"
Aisu let out a small bit of chakra silencing him instantaneously with a frigid death glare. "Fool. Don't test my patience with such idiotic
questions and statements. Have you ever wondered why most great civilizations failed? Because they became corrupt in their power and
lost sight of how the got in the power in the first place." Normally, he would've explained this kind of analogy in more philosophical
terms, but he needed to break it down more simply for the Akechi clan head.
"I'll explain. There's always the age-old question: Is a King better loved or feared? Most normal people would say it's loved and a
minority would say it's feared." He held up a finger as if scolding such a nave proposition. "The answer to that question is both. A King
must be both feared and lovedsimultaneously. He should be loved by his people as he brings great prosperity to them and his power
granted by the gods themselves should be feared and respected."
"You see Hideyoshithe people of this village will genuinely join my cause as we take our rightful place in this world of their own free
will."
Hideyoshi then smiled evilly. "Well, haven't you manipulated several others already, such as the Black Lightning heir?" Hideyoshi
couldn't help but marvel at his master's genius.
Aisu gave an evil smirk of his own. "Indeed. They may have free will to choosebut I manipulate the events that would make the choice
of us all the more wiser. You control how a dog is trainedyou control how a dog will obey."
Hideyoshi nodded. "I understand, Aisu-sama. You give them the illusion of choice. You only manipulated the environment and stimuli to
make it so that they'd have no choice in the matter, but to choose us. However, they are none the wiser and think they made a conscious
decision to follow us, when in reality they didn't."
"Precisely," Aisu smirked. "Which is why Higuchi shall lose. Just let it "leak" that he failed a particular mission that contradicts our
ideology. "
The Akechi clan head turned away from his master after acknowledging him. "I shall see to it that it be done, my master. I bid you
farewell. I know you're a busy man."
"See to it that you do. Tell Obano I look forward to his report on those three orphans he picked up," he ordered.
"I shall. From what he's told me, they have amazing potential and soaked up our creed with little resistance."
'As shall all of the youths in this village shall,' Aisu thought evilly to himself. He chuckled. "I see. I look forward to meeting them when I
become the Raikage. In any case I shall see you when the time permits on miscellaneous updates. I bid you farewell, Hideyoshi." With that
the ambitious traitor phased out of existence with a distinct blur.
"." A was speechless. He had been hoodwinked. He had thought that Aisu had made a contingency plan that allowed the United
Cloud to pull off not only one but two wins! But, lo and behold, they only won because he wanted them too. A gritted his teeth once
more, cursing what Nagato did to his body. He wanted nothing more than to utterly annihilate the traitor right then and there.
"How amusingsuch anger and hate lies in those eyes," Aisu's voiced traced complete amusement. "Just as your father did before he
died"

The dark-skinned bruiser's eyes went wide in shock and utter rage. "You.couldn't mean.!"
A dark and twisted smile contorted on the traitor's face. "Is it not obvious? Your father didn't die of natural causes, as everyone believed.
The truth of the matter isI killed him. Personally," Aisu revealed. The commander gestured to the only female Lieutenant Commander,
who simply smiled as she walked towards the clearing.
"Show him," Aisu commanded simply, to which Sayuri grinned devilishly drawing the blood red katana with a very intricate design on
its silver blade. She held it up completely vertically with the blade facing downwards.
"Deceive them, Trickster," she commanded simply, as her blade, seemingly called Trickster, pulsed and A found himself in the Raikage's
Tower to watch how everything played out.
Kumogakure, Approx. Six years ago.
Killer Z, the Sandaime Raikage sat in the tower that stood proud over the largest village in the Elemental Nations. The dark-skinned
Thunder Shadow, allowed himself a small smile, despite how nervous he actually he was. He had sent his head ninja, with a bit of advice
from his BOLT commander, to covertly kidnap a member of the Hyuuga clan. Kumo, just as Konoha was, was blessed with many
bloodline abilities, adding the Byakgugan could only further help swing the tides of power towards the Village Hidden Among the Clouds.
Z turned in his chair when he felt a familiar presence behind him. Before him, was a young dark-skinned kunoichi no more than fourteen,
around Ayasaki's age, with silver hair, green eyes, and formal shinobi attire.
"Mabui" Z stated calmly as his black sclera eyes stared into hers. "I take it you bring good news?" The old Raikage hoped.
Mabui's facial expression turned sour as she shook her head. "I'm afraid not, Raikage-sama. our Head Ninja was killed by Hiashi
Hyuuga.we've failed."
"Isee," the Sandaime Raikage said after a pregnant silence at being told the grave news. "I wish to be alone for awhile." Mabui nodded
and let herself out of the door, suppressing a small frown. Seeing that the young genin turned secretary was gone, Z smashed his fist into
his desk splitting it clean in half.
"Goddammit!" he roared with absolute rage. The Council would be up and arms about this. He was already caught between a rock and
a hard place, with increased political turmoil and the rise of the Hideyoshi and the Ultranationalists. This would only add more fuel to an
already raging forest fire!
"I take it that the operation was a failure?" a familiar voice spoke out in the room. Z looked up to see the BOLT commander, Aisu,
standing before him. Z blinked. He didn't even sense him enter the room! As if adding to his growing suspicion, Z could've sworn he saw
the faintest contortion of a smirk adorned on his face.
Z's exotic black eyes stared into the cerulean commander's. "Indeed. Our head ninja was captured and killed by none other than the
Hyuuga clan head, Hiashi, before he could bring the Hyuuga heiress back." The Sandaime Raikage snarled in anger. "Your plan failed!
Do you have any idea what this means for international relations!" he roared.
Aisu chuckled to himself, causing the experienced Thunder Shadow to nearly lose his composure. "You dare laugh in a situation such as
this!"
The BOLT commander simply smirked as he took a dangerous step forward threateningly. "On the contrary. The plan wasn't a failure.
It went exactly as planned."
Z's anger was replaced with utter bewilderment. "Exactly as planned? You call us failing to capture the heiress, being made to look like
fools, and possibly on the brink of war exactly as planned?"
"Since when did I ever say the plot went exactly as planned to benefit you?" he asked rhetorically with a chilling calmness. Not less than a
second later, Sayuri and Hideyoshi blurred into existence with their swords drawn, both the Akechi clan head and Lieutenant
Commander ready to do battle. Aisu himself had drawn his Raiunsou (Thunder Cloud Talon), the ebony blade bursting with raw power.
Z's eyes widened instantly knowing where this was going. "BOLT arrest these traitors!" he ordered standing up, ready to do battle in
case they failed. What he did not expect was four BOLT shinobi hailing from the Assault division to appear instantly by him to place a
seal on his chest. The seal spread across his entire body and in an instance the Third Raikage vanished without a trace to another
location.
(-x.0.0.x-)

(Somewhere in Lightning Country)


The Third Raikage's form appeared from out of the blue into a nearby valley that was surrounded by trees, lakes, and grasslands. It was
a sort of rarity in the mountainous region.
Z growled as pulled himself up to see Aisu, Sayuri and Hideyoshi. Aisu was the only one who didn't have his blade drawn. He walked
toward the angered Raikage with absolute confidence in his abilities.
"You bastard! Why are you doing this! I trusted you with my life! And yet here you are raising your blades against me? I am the
Raikage!" Z roared with fury.
Aisu smirked confidently. "The betrayal you see coming is meaningless. The betrayal you don't see is what's most truly frightening. The
reason why I had you transported here was twofold. For starters, I'm going to kill you here and now," he replied detachedly. "And
seconda battle between us would likely wreck the village. I need it intact for my eventual takeover as Raikage."
"You wish to be Raikage?" Z growled. "And you think killing me will automatically give you that title?"
Aisu smiled evilly. "You think I wish to take the mantle now? No. Your son will be the Raikage after I kill you. He's another chess piece in
this grand scheme. He's still has a purpose to serve. Once that purpose is served and the ideology of the Ultranationalists has been
seeded into the hearts of the people of this village, civilian and shinobi alike, I will kill him, as well as take on the mantle of being the King
of this new world. Never again will the Village Hidden in the Clouds be seen as weak. Never again will we bow before them, never again
endure their oppression, and never again will we endure their tyranny. All of it starts," he drew Raiunsou as Sayuri and Hideyoshi wisely
jumped back to keep a very far distance. In an instance Aisu's chakra spiked to enormous levels as a shroud of pitch-black lightning
chakra surrounded him. "with your death."
Z snarled as his eyes turned pitch black in absolute rage as he activated his Lightning Release Armor to its maximum effect. How dare
he? How dare he?
"HOW DARE YOU! DO YOU FORGET WHOM YOU'RE DEALING WITH BOY! I am Killer Z! The Third Raikage and the strongest
spear and the strongest shield!"
The two powerful shinobi stared each other down as Aisu smirked, then held out his palm in a bring it, motion. "Then come, Killer Z
show me your full power" his eyes then darkened. "So then I can crush you like the ant you are."
The Sandaime charged at the traitor with his full speed leaving an electrified groove in his wake. He charged with his trademarked
Jigokuzuki (Hell Stab) technique. His index, middle, and ring fingers were coated with lightning. He was inching closer.closerhe
aimed his devastating technique straight at the traitor's heart to end the battle in a single stroke. However, Aisu did the last thing Z
expected. He blocked his Jigokuzukiwith Raiunsou! The force behind it was so great that the landscape behind Aisu crumpled
destroying nearby mountains and terrain became unrecognizable.
Essentially, he was locking blades with the Hayasaka, struggling to dominate. However, even with his legendary strength, he couldn't
push the commander back a single inch. He was holding the Raikage back with just his sword and one arm! "Impossible!" the Raikage
denied the obvious.
"Is that all you've got?" Aisu retorted with genuine disappointment. "I would've thought that the Sandaime Raikage would've put up a
better show."
"Is that so?" Z replied rhetorically, before grinning. This time he used one finger instead of three. Aisu's eyes widened dramatically, as it
appeared to pierce right through his defenses. Z was met with air as his opponent had blurred out of existence before he could strike a
fatal blow.
"How careless of me," Aisu said as he phased into sight on a nearby mountain holding his shoulder where the Raikage had gotten a
lucky hit. "I forgot that your Jigokuzuki increases in strength with the less amount of fingers you use. Ippon Nukite (One Finger
Crossbeam Hand) am I right?"
"Indeed you are, Aisu," he spat his name with disgust. "And this will be the jutsu that ends you, as well as the rest of the conspirators in
this plot. I will execute you all!" he vowed.
The BOLT commander shook his head and sheathed his sword, while rapidly going through handseals. "I'm sorry, but I cannot allow
that to happen. I spent enough time toying with you as is, I have a village to take over. You're simply a nuisance. I will grind you into
dust." He finally finished his jutsu and ended on Ram.

In an instant, Z found himself surrounded by a large pitch-black vertical rectangular prism, made up of pure lightning chakra that stood
at least fifty feet. Outside of the prism several piercing weapons made up of lightning as well: A sword, a spear, an axe, naginata, etc.
"Raiton: Kurohitsugi (Lightning Release: Black Sarcophagus). This jutsua creation of minewill be the end of you, Killer Z."
Z couldn't hear him, as he was surrounded on all sides, and the prism blocked any light from coming through. He was essentially in
complete darkness. He growled. "You think this will hold me!" he roared as he tried to pierce through the technique with his Ippon
Nukite. He was met with complete resistance as the prism as he barely made a dent.
The Bolt commander seemed amused as Killer Z tried to pierce through his Kurohitsugi with his Jigokuzuki. "That won't work. This
jutsu was specifically designed to be impenetrable. Not even your Jigokuzuki techniques will be able to pierce it." He closed his eyes and
raised his hands in the air. "Goodbye, Sandaime Raikagerest. in pieces." He brought his hand down and all of the piercing weapons
on the outside stabbed through the prism from, literally, every possible angle, like a magicians box.
Hideyoshi and Sayuri appeared on either side of him, knowing that the match was pretty much over at this point. "Resorting to using that
jutsu, eh, Aisu-sama?" Sayuri smirked.
Aisu shook his head. "I had no choice. I needed to finish this battle quickly. As much as I hate to admit itZ would've forced even myself
to go all out to kill him in a straight match blow for blow." He looked out in the distance. "I still have much more room for growth in my
power." He still had a long way to go before he surpassedhim.
The dust had finally settled as the traitor looked at his handy work. Somehow, despite the heavy attack, the Raikage didn't once fall. He
had gapping holes in every single part of his body imaginable, and was bleeding profusely. However, his lifeless eyes told the trio all they
needed to know. The Sandaime Raikage was no more, but even in death, he would not fall.
Aisu calmly walked toward the lifeless body of the dark skinned bruiser. "Even in death, you would not fall to even the mightiest of foes.
How commendable," he praised drawing Raiunsou once again. "Butin the end, the outcome is still the same. Goodbye, Killer Z, you
were a grand piece in my rise to power." Without hesitation, Aisu quickly decapitated the Lightning Shadow and sheathed his blade a
fraction of a second later. With a Katon jutsu, Hideyoshi burned the headless corpse until it was nothing but a pile of ash.
Sayuri pulled out trickster and held it vertically. "Deceive them, Trickster!" Sayuri called out and in the pile of the ashes there was a
perfect replica of the dark skinned Kage, albeit it wasn't the real one, just an extremely powerful Genjutsu.
"And sothe games finally begin," Aisu smirked as he stared at "Z" who was sleeping peacefully.
(Present)
The genjutsu ended and the Fourth Raikage was brought back to reality. He was nothing short of shell shocked by the entire thing. He
had taken the mantle of being the Raikage with a heavy heart. His father had meant everything to him. Z had taught him everything he
knew and then some! Z wasn't just murdered; he was assassinated in cold blood for a traitor who was intoxicated with power.
"So you see, Killer A? Your rise as Raikage was directly because of my actions. Years of planning have lead up to this moment." Aisu's
psychotic grin indicated he took pleasure in what he did to the late Raikage.
"You.youyou BASTARD!" A roared as his chakra spiked again as he stood up through sheer will power and rage. His eyes were
full of murderous intent. "M y father trusted you with his life. And you betray him for a taste of power!" Not caring what would
happen to his body after this, A charged the traitor with everything he had his Lightning Armor shrouding him once more. "AISU!" he
roared to a smirking traitor. A punched at the Commander with every bit of power he had left. In a fraction of a second, Aisu had caught
his lightning punch and actually held it there with a smirk.
"You fool. I've grown stronger since your father has passed. And I will only continue to grow more powerful. Compared to some of the
shinobi I know and have faced, you're nothing but second rate. So knowing this" Aisu phased out of sight and appeared behind him,
with Raiunsou drawnwith blood dripping from its edge. "Die with the knowledge that I will succeed where you and your father have
failed." He turned around and slashed him the back severing his spine. "Give the Shinigami my regards," he uttered coldly. Sayuri,
Hideyoshi, and the rest of the motionless BOLT shinobi looked at A with a mixture of satisfaction and apathy among all of them. The
Raikage gave one last gaze of contempt and hatred before he felt to the ground.
"Someone.will.stopyou." he uttered with conviction, coughing up blood as he gazed up at the BOLT commander.
"M onsters.like youalways failin the-"
Aisu didn't him a chance to finish as he stabbed him in the heart so far deep that Raiunsou's guard was making contact with the Lightning
Shadow's dark skin and no doubt that a good majority of the blade was plunged into the earth as well. "That is where you are wrong.

From now on, I will stand on the throne as King of this new age." He twisted his blade around for emphasis. After a few seconds, Aisu
saw the life in the eyes of A fade away. Killer A, the Yondaime Raikage was no more.
"What are your orders nowRaikage-sama?" came the ever mysterious voice of Zennouske.
The Godaime Raikage turned back toward the white-haired Lieutenant Commander and grinned psychotically. "Burn all of the bodies of
the loyalists and call a village gathering. It's time I made my ascension known to the village. Go!" Without hesitation all of the BOLT
operatives vanished, with the exception of Hideyoshi.
"Congratulations, Aisu-sama," Hideyoshi congratulated while bowing submissively. Aisu smirked and waved him off.
"We have much to do still, Hideyoshi. I will not allow you or anyone in our village to get complacent in our victory. We have a war to
prepare for."
"But sir, you said that's six years away at the earliest and-"
Aisu glared at him to shut him up. "I know that. There are still things to do to prepare. We must train the upcoming generation and
increase our forces greatly as well as perfect WARHawkS for deployment in contingency operations. By the time we invade the other
hidden villages they will be practically steamrolled."
Hideyoshi smirked. "Of course. After allit is the destiny of our people to spread our superior way of life to others."
"Indeed," Aisu agreed as he began to walk back to the village. "Now, come. I have an inauguration speech to prepare for. This is the
beginning of the end of the Elemental Nations. There is no force on earth that can stop me now."
For the most part, Aisu was right. There was nothing that could stop him now. But he never could've anticipated three young shinobi in
training that would cross paths and bring a revolution to the shinobi world.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Western Continent, East of the Elemental Nations, Time and Location Unknown)
Beyond the borders of the Elemental Nations was the western continent, with a way of life completely and totally different from that of
the E.N. It's technological wonders far surpassed the E.N who mostly used chakra rather than technology. Few traveled across the
frontiers that separated the lands.
"So...it seems you were right in your prediction," an old man in an all white suit who sat in an seemingly advanced wheelchair. "Aisu has
finally made his move."
"Ah! But of course! It's too be expected, really. I've never met a man more ambitious you know," a playfully sadistic voice that oddly
had a synthetic tone to it, stepped out of the shadows. The man wore a long red robe with two belts around his waist with gold and
black armor plating. His face was completely covered by a mask, the upper part being white similar to an opera mask and the lower part
being made up of gold mouth piece. The only visible part of his face was his aqua blue eyes.
"Shall we assist in this upcoming war?" the man in the wheelchair asked with a smirk.
"We shall..." the masked man replied as he began to laugh. His right arm started to glow a dark, evil aura. "It's time the world knew of the
existence of the Lords of Alchemy!" An image of a certain bewhiskered shinobi-in-training appeared in the center of the room. "And you
my dear Narutoshall be the catalyst"
(END)
Okay, I'm sorry this came out later than expected, but I HAD to post this ASAP. I know, this chapter is short and didn't show Team 7
at all, but guess what? You won't see Kumo for a good while and from here on out, it's all about their adventures from now until the
Chuunin Exams.
For those worrying, yes, M ikoto will live so you don't have to worry about me killing her off.
As for the last scene, if you've played Ninja Gaiden 3 you should know who those characters are in a heartbeat and know shits going to
get real.
And with this chapter, the prologue of this story is officially done. Read and drop an author some feedback.

Till next time, this is Arashi signing off.

*Chapter 10*: A Mother's Love


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Ten: A Mother's Love
What's up everyone? Welcome to another installment of Eternal Legends! I have to say, I was most pleased with the reception that I got
last chapter. Brought a grin to my face. Glad you all enjoy it. Once again, I apologize twofold. For not only updating a month behind its
scheduled release, but having it be less than 10k words. But, I needed to get that published so I could focus all my attention on Team 7!
You'll also notice that the Chapter title for ten doesn't follow the same pattern as one through nine. This is intentional. Now that you
know the plot twist (though I assure you there are many more mind-fucks and plot twists to come, some of which I've hinted at in the
other chapters.) read the chapter titles and then re-read the chapter itself. It will make a lot more sense to you now. That are dozens of
little details you might've missed that will definitely play a role in the story. Holy hell, if you guys only knew where I plan to take this
story.
As promised I give shout outs to reviewers who reviewed with a paragraph or more: VLS (my main bro: P), KingofKonoha,
BladePhoenix41, .51,M rpren87,Darkness-Over-Evil, NarutoFanboy4Life, Jolly Rancher, Hatchiyaku 2.0, n9tjhl and Fonn.
Sowith that being said, this chapter will be a lot of character interaction and development, with a lot of time skips and such. The pace
I was going at for the first few chapters are now unacceptable. Time to enter the main Naruto storyline! Whoo! Without further or due,
let's get this show on the road!
Further Note: This story will be rated Teen for some times considering there won't be anymore extreme violence for awhile and it's also
an experiment that I'll keep to myself for awhile. Once I confirm this theory, I will change the rating back to its proper M ature. Also, the
summary has been updated as well. Guess I need to go back and edit previous chapters.nah! :P
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OCs that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, and Uncharted, which are under the copyright ownership of Team
Ninja, Infinity Ward, and Naughty Dog as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, and Sony Computer Entertainment
America/Europe, respectively.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Konoha Hospital 1800 hours, three days after the Uchiha M assacre, four days before the Cloud revolution)
Naruto sat near his unconscious, but alive, sensei, his eyes filled with regret and uselessness. Sakura and Sasuke had gone out to get some
food for the three of them, while he had stayed behind to watch over the woman he had come to love as a mother. The three shinobi-intraining barely said a word to each other throughout the whole week, outside of necessity. They were still recovering from the trauma of
seeing their sensei being nearly killed by Sasuke's older brother.
Thinking of Itachi made Naruto's blood boil and he clenched his fists in barely suppressed rage. What he had done was completely
unforgivable. He breathed in and out to calm himself down, taking some notes from his sensei. The blonde looked down at the Uchiha
widow with blurred vision as memories of the night they brought her here, barely alive, came flooding back to him.
Mikoto's pupils were in a desperate situation of trying to reach the hospital in time. Sasuke and Naruto were both supporting their
unconscious mother. Jumping from rooftop to rooftop they eventually saw an all white building with a red cross in sight.
The trio landed outside of the hospital doors and the two boys gently laid her down. "Sakura-chan! Go in and tell them the situation.
Sasuke and I will make sure we didn't cause her bleeding to get any worse," Naruto quickly ordered, taking control of the situationas
best as he could, anyhow.
"But, Naruto-kun, shouldn't we-" Sakura began before the nine-year-old cut her off.
"Dammit, Sakura-chan, just do it! We don't have time to argue, we need to save our sensei!" he retorted, back a bit irritated, though not
at the rosette haired girl. Sakura nodded and ran into the hospital doors, which slid open automatically, sensing her presence.
Naruto turned back to his sensei and carefully examined her. He saw Sasuke grit his teeth as he inspected his mother as well. "Damn.
This isn't good. Whatever Itachi did to her, he cut her deep," Naruto intoned solemnly.

Sasuke nodded. "It seems her flak jacket took a good bit of the blow," the Uchiha scion observed, before fresh blood seem to pour out of
the elder Uchiha. Both boys' eyes widened. Sasuke immediately put both hands over the chest wound to add some pressure to stop some
form of bleeding. "Damn! Naruto, help me out here!" Naruto didn't need to be told twice as he put both of his hands on top of Sasuke's,
to assist in adding pressure.
"Oh, Sakura-chan, where the fuck are you!" Naruto cursed as his hands were starting to turn red from the overflowing crimson liquid
flowing out of Mikoto's body. As if on cue, Sakura ran out of the doors with several medical shinobi, one was carrying a stretcher.
"We'll take it from here, boys," one medic spoke seriously as he crouched down to examine the unconscious adult. The bewhiskered
jinchuuriki hesitated a bit, but reluctantly let go as did his raven-haired best friend. The trio of medical shinobi gently lifted her off the
ground and set her in the stretcher.
"Please, sirsave my mother," Sasuke practically begged as he felt tears welling up from within.
"We will do our best," the lead one promised as they hurriedly carried Mikoto to the Emergency Room.
The trio of shinobi-in-training looked at each other in solemn reflection of the night's events, before slowly walking towards the doors. All
three were completely unsure of what to say to each other. The slow stride towards the emergency room ward of the hospital was
completely agonizing. All around them, they saw patients, some well, some not. It wasn't bursting with life and activity, but it wasn't quiet
and desolate either. The blonde could barely contain himself as he saw the sick patients as they passed by. 'M ikoto-senseiplease don't
die. For the love of the gods please don't die!'
The Kyuubi was silent as he listened to the boy's innermost thoughts, which Naruto subconsciously projected to himself. Even he, as
malevolent and deceptive as he was, couldn't help but feel mild sympathy for the boy. The vulpine growled in contempt at the eldest
Uchiha.
'Dammed Uchiha! Just when I thought your clan couldn't sink any lower, you deplorable bastards prove me wrong, yet again.
Disgraceful,' he spat in complete disgust. Although he hated the Uchiha clan, even the Fox had standards. Killing ones own kin? That
took a special kind of evil. He snorted at the irony of him thinking that.
He bared all of his fangs. 'I will look forward to your death, Uchiha Itachi. Those three will hunt you down to the ends of the earth
for what you've done to theirmother.' Yes, even the Nine-Tails had long since accepted that Mikoto was more than just a sensei to the
three, especially, or more importantly, rather, to his vessel. As far as he was concerned she was Naruto's mother, nothing more and
nothing less. A small, uncharacteristic grin adorned the Kyuubi's face. 'Kushina.you would be proud'
Sakura took each boy's hand and gave it a squeeze for reassurancefor her or them, she was entirely unsure. They both looked at her
and nodded grateful. The three best friends walked hand-in-hand without a single care in the world at the shot up eyebrows they got from
the staff members.
A cacophony of noises could be heard as Naruto picked up on frantic voices from around the corner. The cerulean-eyed nine-year-old
gently let go of Sakura's hand and ran around the corner, leaving his two friends behind. He came around just in time to see several
doctors dressed in surgeon attire shut the door behind them. A light bulb above the door glowed red, indicating "occupied."
There was no doubt in his mind that his mother was in there, clinging on to dear life. He clenched his chest as if he was in pain and tears
he had been holding in the entire ordeal threaten to fall all at once. The blonde refused utterly to let them, though.
'IthurtsI can'tlose her. She's the only adult who ever took the time to get to know me, aside from Iruka-sensei and Hokage-sama!'
he thought in bitter sadness as he nearly collapsed to his knees and used the wall for support. 'Look at me,' he chastised himself gritting
his teeth. 'I'm supposed to be the leader of us. Sasuke and Sakura-chan look to me to take charge. I've always happily accepted that role
and knew what to do in nearly every situation kaa-san put us inbutthis. I can't...I don't know what to do! I don't knowI don't'
"I don't know!" he voiced his thoughts in a piercing screech. He felt a pair of arms wrap around his abdomen and his eyes widened in
surprise. With a sniff, he turned his head to see rosette colored hair. Sakura squeezed tight and buried her head in the upper base of his
back.
"PleaseNaruto-kunstopit's okay. You don't have to carry the burden alone," she spoke softly and firmly. Although her voice was
soft, Naruto heard her clearly. He was visibly shaking afterwards.
"Sakura-chanI...have toI'm supposed to be the team leaderhelping you guys, not me-"
"Shut up! You shut up right now!" she chided, raising her voice several decibels. The blonde visibly flinched at her outburst. "Look at

me." Naruto closed his eyes and actually turned away from the youngest of the trio, essentially denying her request. "Naruto-kunlook
at me!" she repeated, this time with much more firmness.
He took a deep breath and slowly turned around as his cerulean eyes stared into her jade. She caressed his whiskered cheeks with both
of her hands soothingly, as she was crying too. "It's okayyou can cry. I know you're the team leaderbut that does not mean you don't
get to grieve," she assured him.
"But-" he tried to protest, but she shushed him by pressing her index finger on his lips.
"She's right, Naruto," came the voice of Sasuke as the blonde now noticed his appearance. He looked at him in surprise. Was he there
the entire time?
"Sasuke" Naruto spoke softly as he stared in the solemn filled onyx eyes of his raven-haired best friend. Sakura squeezed him tightly in
her embrace. "See, Naruto-kun? Even Sasuke-kun agrees. You don't have to carry this alone. Just let it out."
That did it. That statement shattered all of his mental and physical defenses almost instantaneously. Copious amount of tears flowed down
his cheek, as the jinchuuriki didn't just cry, he practically wept.
"Sakura-chanshe'smy mother" he wept sniffing heavily as his knees nearly collapsing, almost as if the letting it out was weighing
him down. Sasuke embraced Sakura from the side, as well as his best friend to aid in support.
"I knowI know," Sakura soothed as she grieved with him as well. "She's more of mother to me, than my own mom," she sympathized.
She knew exactly where the blonde was coming from and then some.
"Kaa-san" came the simple reply from the Uchiha scion, worriedly. He looked towards the ceiling. "If there are any gods out there
than pleasesave our kaa-san," he sent out a silent prayer. Soon their sobs turned into mild sniffs, but the trio of best friends stayed in
each other's arms for comfort of each other.
A cough got the three's attention, as medical ninja, one Naruto recognized as one of the doctors he saw walk in awhile back. The three
separated, not in the least bit embarrassed at being caught in their position. They had far more important things to worry about.
He cleared his throat. "My name is Sakamaru," he introduced himself. "I take it you three are here for Mikoto-san?" he asked politely,
his expression and tone kept as neutral as he possibly could.
Naruto swallowed hard, breathed in, and wiped the tears from his cheek. He stepped up, yet again, to assume a leadership like position.
"Yes, we are." He gulped. "Sakamaru-sanplease tell me she's going to be okay," he pleaded with a worried expression on his face.
Sakamaru sighed and took another breath. "I have good news and bad news, unfortunately, kids." Each of them held their breaths. "The
good news is, we've stabilized her and have stopped the bleeding. She was a hair away from needing a blood transfusion. Thankfully it
didn't come to that. She'll make a full recovery when she wakes up."
The three shinobi-in-training let tears of joy fall down their faces, as they felt relieved at hearing that. "Thank you so much!"
Sakamaru smiled a bit, but then frowned. "ButI'm afraid I have bad news as well. As I said, Mikoto-san will make a full recovery,
when she wakes up. The problem iswe don't when that will be," he revealed dropping the bombshell.
All three of their eyes widened. "Are you saying my mother is in-" Sasuke began, before Sakamaru cut him off.
"Yes," he nodded. "She's in a coma. After what she went through, I'm not all that surprised. This may be her body's way of dealing and
sorting out the trauma so it doesn't overwhelm her at once. It's not common, but it's not unheard of either." He put his hand on Naruto's
shoulder. "We'll do our best to make sure she's cared for. You three will be allowed to visit at anytime. I'll allow it."
"Thank you, Sakamaru-san," Sakura thanked the medic ninja. He gave a curt bow and excused himself from their presence.
With a sigh, Naruto was brought back to the present as he stared at the woman he had come to call his kaa-san. He clenched his fists, yet
again.
"Itachiyou son of a bitch," he cursed in anger, slamming a fist into a palm. He heard the door open and shifted his eyes to see his two
best friends come in with food. His eyes shifted back to M ikoto, preferring not to say anything.
"Naruto-kun, we got your favorite. Chicken ramen," Sakura chimed with a small smile. She was met with complete silence as Naruto
barely acknowledged her presence or even indicating that he had heard her at all.

Sakura frowned disapprovingly and set the rest of the stuff she had on a nearby table, clearly annoyed. "Damn it, why won't you say
something to us!" she asked in both hurt and frustration, as she refused to cry again. Not now, at least.
Naruto grunted and turned to them and stood near them, clearly annoyed. "Because I can't help but worry about kaa-san!" he practically
yelled out. That did it. That earned him a right hook, courtesy of the Uchiha scion. Naruto was caught so off guard, that his abnormal
reflexes did nothing to help in the situation, as Sasuke pinned him to the wall, looking furious.
"Okay, I'm tired of this fucking shit," Sasuke snarled, not even trying to hide his anger and annoyance. "You've been doing this all week.
ALL FUCKING WEEK!" he roared. Naruto did nothing to get out of his position despite easily having the ability to do so. "All week,
you've been barely acknowledging our existence and you've been stuck in this state since the massacre."
Now Naruto turned to him. "Well excuse me for worrying about our Kaa-san and wanting nothing more than to-"
"Don't. You. Fucking. Dare," Sasuke growled dangerously. "Don't you dare insinuate that we don't care and don't want nothing more
than to get revenge on Itachi!" Naruto was about to protest, but a glare from Sasuke shut him up. "Is that what you think? That this
does not affect us? Really? That was my whole fucking clan, Naruto!" Sasuke yelled as tears began to roll down his face.
"Don't think you're the only one grieving. Believe me, so are we. I honestly thought about becoming revenge obsessed and only training
to get strong enough to avenge my clan," he admitted. "But thenI thought about you two. The best friends a guy could ever have.
What good would a revenge quest done me? It won't bring them back. And I'd probably feel even worse considering, even though I'm
very well justified in it, I'd be no better than Itachi by killing him, so what's the point?"
He then sighed and let his grip on the blonde a bit looser. "Nowthat being said, if I did get the chance to face Itachi so he could atone
for his sinswould I? Yes," he then smiled. "But I'd have the two of you beside me."
"You mean-" Naruto began, before he was cut off.
"Yes." This time it was Sakura who decided to speak up. "We will face Itachi.together. "
Naruto stared at the two in pure bewilderment. Here it was that he was moping and groaning, and his two best friends were trying to
settle the war within them. Even after that night, he'd still, subconsciously, had placed the burden on himself. The blonde wanted blood,
vengeanceanything to cling to, to make sure that one day he would end Itachi's life for nearly killing his mother. Although there was
still a part of him that honestly wanted revenge, he'd have to push that aside. For now at least.
The Jinchuuriki held his head in shame, as Sasuke let go of him. "I'msorry guysI was just so focused on kaa-san, that I temporarily
forgot who I could rely on the most." He then gave them a small smile. "I guess, I was still trying to carry the burden all by myself
again."
Sakura smiled and hugged the blond, which he happily returned. Neither of the two noticed Sasuke's slight frown, as it was gone almost
the minute it appeared on his face. "Sotogether?"
"Together," they all nodded in agreement. Each of them knew in their hearts, that they would face Itachi as a teamand a family. No
one had to carry the burden of revenge alonebut they wouldn't collectively hold vengeance at the forefront of their minds either. They
would simply get stronger and simply wait till the time was right.
"I'm... sogladyouthree could work it out." The entire trio froze completely in their tracks as their eyes widened to their greatest
extent as they heard a completely familiar voice. Slowly, they turned their heads around to see the Uchiha matriarch sitting up a bit,
giving them a very weak smile. She was breathing heavily, clearly still exhausted. The four individuals just stared at each other for a solid
thirty seconds until...
"Kaa-san/Sensei!" they all cried out in unison as M ikoto was nearly tackled back to the bed in a collective group hug, embracing her
tightly. M ikoto ignored the initial pain and hugged the pupils who had become like children to her, as tightly as her strength allowed.
"I'm so glad you three are safe," M ikoto told them crying tears of gratitude. "I thought he would kill you three when he knocked me
unconscious. I couldn't help but think the worse. It would've been my biggest regret," she choked out.
"Senseiwe were fine. Itachi didn't harm us at all. He vanished the moment he knocked you unconscious with that attack," Sakura
explained.
"We were just focusing on saving you and we brought you to the hospital. You've been out for nearly three days in a coma," Naruto
continued, his face showing absolute happiness that his surrogate other was awake and going to be okay.

M ikoto simply smiled. "Thank you, you three," she thanked with absolute earnest. "I don't know what I'd do without you guys." All
three let go of the tight hug, but still kept in close proximity to her.
"Believe me, Kaa-sanwe don't know either. The past three days have beendifficult to say the least," Sasuke frowned.
The elder Uchiha nodded with as much understanding as she could. "I can imagineI'm sorry I wasn't here to help you through it," she
apologized with complete sincerity.
Naruto shook his head. "Don't be. Truth be told, we were focused on you, we didn't see much else, thankfully." That was true. The trio
of shinobi-in-training had followed M ikoto's chakra signature exactly. They saw virtually none of the bodies of the Uchiha clan, save for
the clan head. So in some sense, they were spared from the complete horrors of the Uchiha Clan M assacre. There was no telling what
type of emotional instabilities they each would've went through if they saw just how far the Uchiha prodigy went in his genocide.
M ikoto sighed in complete relief. "That's good. You guys may be in training, but even you are too young to see that." She willed herself
to sit up more, pain be dammed. "ButI know things are going to bedifferent now," she said as a look of grief and pained flashed
through her eyes, as the memory of seeing her husband's freshly rotting corpse came right back to her. She visibly cringed, involuntarily
shut her eyes, and placed both her hands over her heart.
"Sensei?" Sakura inquired with a frown.
"Justgive me a moment, Sakura," she pleaded to the pink-haired kunoichi, biting her lip. All three looked on solemnly as the Uchiha
matriarch took several deep breaths, before silently breaking down in grief over her fallen husband. There was no screaming, shrieking, or
wailing. Just silently weeping. The three could only embrace her as she sobbed.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Hokage's Tower, same time)
Hiruzen watched the scene unfold with a heavy heart through his crystal ball. Truth be told, he was honestly surprised that M ikoto
woke up as fast as she did considering the amount of injuries she had.
"The gods above must've sensed that her children needed her," the Third Fire Shadow deduced aloud. He could sympathize with the
matriarch almost wholeheartedly. When he had lost his wife decades ago, he felt completely hollow inside. Almost as if something from
within had been forcefully ripped out and trampled on. He would be too prideful to admit it, but some part of him did seriously consider
taking his own life in order to escape the painful void. Thankfully, however, he had the support of his family to help him cope. It wasn't
to say that he didn't miss Biwako, but he had long moved on from that episode in his life.
However, that wasn't the most truly depressing to the Hokage. No, what was most tragic was that Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura had
sworn to take revenge on Itachi for the "crime" he had committed. The Sandaime knew the grim and unfortunate truth. In truth, Itachi
had saved the entirety of the elemental nations from plunging into another bloody conflict that would threaten to tear the continent
entire apartagain.
Hiruzen clenched his fists in remorseful anger. The man was as wise as it came. He knew the arduous roads and twists that life could
throw at you. That absolutely nothing in life was even remotely fair. Being a shinobi, a Kage at that, he would've known this absolutely
better than almost anyone. However, even with this wisdom and knowledge even the old monkey couldn't help feel a bit resentful at the
gods putting such a painful burden on the shoulders of one of, if not the, most selfless ninja he had serve under him.
"Dammit!" he cursed uncharacteristically slamming his fist on his desk in regret. With a bit of irritation, he looked through his desk to
findnothing. Damn. He must've dranked all the sake he had in his desk when he took his desires away last night.
The Sarutobi clan head sighed and rubbed his temples in frustration, both with the circumstances and with himself. He was never like
this. Why the hell was he turning into a mad drunk? He had faced countless shinobi, fought in not one, not two, but three, shinobi world
wars and lived to tell the tale. Hiruzen had seen and done things that would make lesser men weep to their hearts content. Through it
allhe never turned to the bottletill now. How could he ,who still retained his sanity even throughout all of the wars and conflict he's
fought in, turn to it now?
Of course he knew the answer. He just didn't like to admit it. Or rather, he didn't want to admit it.
The Third Fire Shadow knew that he could've prevented all of this had he not been a blind fool and thought of his sensei as infallible. He
knew the law was wrong, he knew that eventually bubble had to burst at some point, and he knew that rebellion was inevitable. And
yethe did nothing. Absolutely nothing at all. Even the so-called God of Shinobi could make mistakes that reminded him just how

mortal he truly was.


"Am I truly a coward, unable to do things because I lacked spine and conviction like you used to claim, Danzo?" Hiruzen asked to know
one in particular as his eyes drifted downwards in melancholy and self-doubt. "I couldn't even stand up for my own convictionsthat
treating a noble clan with scorn was wrong. I did nothingand now I'm reaping what I sowed." He closed his eyes and breathed in and
out. A fourteen-year-old teenager, he sent. A fourteen-year-old kid! To slaughter the very family that raised him from birth all to keep
his mistakes and sins from coming to the light.
It was at that moment, the Hokage knew just how emotionally vulnerable he was. The Professor had built up so many walls and mental
blocks to cope with all of the pent up guilt and remorse over his long six decades of being a shinobi. Now it seemed Itachi's genocide had
shattered that last fortress and an invasion of every traumatic memory seem to storm the castle grounds of his mind and consciousness.
Now, it seemed that Itachi would pay for his mistakes twofold. Not only did he have the killing of his own kin on his conscience despite
how "justified" it was, he now was going to be hunted down to the ends of the earth by the "Golden Trio" as the Academy instructors
nicknamed them. True, they weren't even close to his power, but considering Naruto's lineage, Sasuke's genius, and Sakura's resolve, he
had no doubt they would close the gap soon.
What made matters worse was that he couldn't reveal the truth; not to them. Not to anyone, really. For one, if the populace knew, as a
whole, that the Uchiha were planning a rebellion and they were cleansed because of it, this would create discourse and general mistrust of
all clans within the village and create a subtle, yet unmistakably noticeable divide between civilian shinobi, civilians, and finally clan ninja
themselves. That kind of discord wouldn't go unnoticed abroad. Villages had been known to start wars over the most mundane of things,
and a political polarization of doubt and distrust of the leadership and clans would be the perfect moment to strike right at the base of
the tree. In a sense, Itachi's sacrifice would be in absolute vain.
It was the classic lose-lose situation.
"Some Hokage I am," he said dejectedly. "Even with all my vast knowledge of jutsuI'm still just human." Hiruzen wouldn't admit it to
absolutely anyone, but the titles and nicknames he got over his career made him feel proud. Almost to the point of arrogance, even. How
could he not? He was raised to be humble man, but when you're strength was so revered that you're referred to be a deity among your
profession in comparison to others, no man, no matter how modest, couldn't feel slightly above your peers, even if it was a
subconscious sentiment. The Uchiha prodigy had brought him down completely to earth, and just showed just how ungodly he was.
He may have once been that powerful, but as his power withered age, so did his rationale and judgment. On the whole, yes, he was
wiserbutreally, was he? Had he grown so complacent that he decided he could wipe the Uchiha clan out if need be if they dared
planned a rebellion? He scoffed. Of course he had. There was no other explanation of how he could let the kettle boil almost to a tipping
point. He should've turned off that stove the minute it was set over the eye.
He then leaned back and sighed once more. "I guesswhat's done is done," he reasoned with himself for the moment. "I may have failed
the Uchiha.but" he looked toward the crystal ball towards the surrogate family that consisted of Naruto Uzumaki, Sasuke and
M ikoto Uchiha, and finally, Sakura Haruno. "I will not fail on you three. Even if it costs me my life, I will make sure you three will end
on the path of being the Legendary Shinobi I see before me. I owe you all at least that much. I will not let you take on my sinsI will
pay for them in the next life," he vowed with genuine resolve.
A knock on his door interrupted his monologue and his brief time to think in solitude. He put away his crystal ball, lit his pipe and told
the person to come in. The door opened to revealDanzo, who had a grim expression on his face.
"Danzo" he uttered neutrally, his face completely impassive as he huffed a smoke. He honestly didn't want to deal with him at the
moment, and would've preferred if the man had just left him be. He honestly hated feeling that way, but there was a part of him that
would never fully trust his old rival. Not in this lifetime or the next.
The crippled veteran crossed the threshold and spoke seriously. "HiruzenI'm afraid I havetroubling news," he uttered grimly. The
Fire Shadow raised a single brow, if only slightly. He knew that tone of voiceDanzo didn't just find the news grimhe found it
outright terrifying. Not only that, but he hadn't put up a sound barrier jutsu. That only meant what he was about to say was either going
to become public or rather there was no point in trying to hide it. A subconscious sense of dread filled his being.
"What is it?" he inquired, just having a feeling of what he was about to hear wasn't going to please him at all.
Danzo took a deep breath. "The Ultranationalists have taken over Kumogakure. The Raikage is dead and their Jinchuuriki are currently
listed as K.I.A by the newly installed government," he replied bluntly, getting straight to the point.
Sarutobi's heart skipped two beats, as his eyes widened in complete shock. He practically fell out of his chair in disbelief. It then turned

to anger. "You want to run that by me, ONE M ORE TIM E, Danzo!" he roared and his breaths became hot, large and irregular in their
patterns.
Danzo sighed, expecting this. Normally, he would've engaged the Kage in a mind game, but now was most definitely not the time nor
place for that.
"The Ultranationalists staged a successful coup and overthrew the Raikageand the villagers sided with them. As of now, I can likely
confirm the populace as a whole share the same ideology as the Ultranationalist party" he repeated the bombshell.
Hiruzen took the pipe out of his mouth and crushed it to pieces in his hand. Danzo looked a bit disturbed and alarmed. Was his old rival
mentally breaking down? He never showed these traits before.
"Are you kidding me right now! Are the gods simply screwing with me? Them? Of all people?" He stood up and slammed his fist on the
desk. "Itachi's sacrifice was in vain! We felt we did what we had to do in order to prevent war and now, that war is practically
guaranteed now! Goddammit!"
Danzo looked at him critically and seriously. "I know. I know we may have our differences, but"
Hiruzen nodded. "We have to work together if Konoha is to survive the coming storm. To be frank, DanzoI don't like you. Nor will I
ever fully trust you. But if working with you means this village is safethen so be it."
The Root Leader bowed his head in acquiescence, indicating the feeling was completely and unquestionably mutual.
The Hokage looked out towards the village solemnly. It seemed this village would be at war for the fourth time. He sighed. "SoI take it
Hideyoshi will be the Raikage, now?" he deduced bitterly.
"No" Danzo replied with a frown.
His rival turned swiftly around in confusion. "What? How could he not? He's been the leader of those genocidal lunatics. Who would
take the mantle if not him?"
"Aisu Hayasaka" Danzo replied bluntly, yet again.
Hiruzen froze on the spot. "What did you say?" he asked as his eyes narrowed.
"Aisuas in the former commander of the village's BOLT division," he replied grimly. He looked at the Hokage's semi-neutral
expression in wonder. "You don't seem surprised," he observed. To Danzo, when he found out Aisu Hayasaka was the true leader of the
Ultranationalists; he was thrown completely for a loop not expecting that possibility as remotely probable. Yet, his old rival was taken
it rather well, relatively speaking.
"I'm not," Hiruzen admitted as he sat down. 'Kumogakureso that's where you went. Aisueven now does your hatred still consume
you? I had hoped you would've turned out for the better, even in light of yourunfortunate circumstances and let go of your extreme
animositybut alasyou did not.' He added in his head, clearly pitying the new appointed Raikage for unknown reasons. Danzo
narrowed his eyes suspiciously, and Hiruzen had already had an answer prepared, knowing exactly where the Root leader was heading
the conversation. "Why exactly, I'm not surprised doesn't matter. All that I know is that Aisu will stop at nothing to bring the entire
elemental nations under his control. That much I'm assured of. This conflict just got a whole lot more complicated."
Danzo sensed that tone immediately and Hiruzen's subtle implication. "You do not think you can defeat him in battle?" It wasn't a
rhetorical question. Just an observation of fact.
Hiruzen stayed silent for a half a minute at least before replying to him. "I will do what I must do to defend the village. Even my very
life if need be," he replied neither confirming nor denying his accusation. .
"I see," Danzo said flatly. There was nothing more that needed to be said on the matter. The two veterans understood one another in
ways that no one, not even Koharu and Homura, could comprehend. They knew each other inside outalmost as if they were the best
of friends, but in truth, they held mutual distrust and enmity towards the other. It was one of the most complex dichotomies of either of
their lives.
The Hokage breathed out a breath of smoke. "In any casewe have no choice but to prepare for war. Butwe have to do it subtly. We
can't have the public panic attack, nor can we give the Hidden Cloud a reason to start the war prematurely. " This was Hiruzen's way of
asking Danzo: Do you have any ideas?

Danzo smirked. "And I know the perfect way to do so."


Hiruzen grimaced, not liking the Cheshire cat smirk on the crippled veteran's face. He just knew that, somehow, he was going to regret
this. Oh, well. He likely wouldn't live to feel that way anyhow, as sad as it was to admit. Buthe had a duty as Hokage, and by the
gods he was going to do it no matter what the cost.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Back in the hospital)
After a solid fifteen minutes or so, the Uchiha widow's weeping had finally come to a close. However, that being said she was still
holding on to her three surrogate children for dear life. The three however didn't mind.
"Are you feeling better, even just a little bit, kaa-san?" Sasuke asked a bit hopeful, looking up at his mother. M ikoto swallowed a bit and
breathed out before giving her son a small smile.
"Yes, Sasuke-kun. I do feel a bit better," she told him. The other two smiled back and let go of her, albeit with some reluctance. She
looked at the trio. "Once I'm out of here and back to normal, we'll go back to your training," she promised with a slight grin.
They collectively blinked. "Butsenseiare you sure? I mean we'd be fine just training on our own while you recover-" Sakura started
to say, before M ikoto put up her hand silencing her.
"No. I need to do this. For the three of you and myself. I'm not going to allow my grief to interfere with the promise I made you three. I
completely refuse. If I have to grieve, then I will. But, until then, we shall press on harder than before," she explained seriously.
Naruto nodded in acceptance. "If you're sure you want us to trainthen," he gave her his trademarked foxlike grin. "Then hell yeah, we
shall!"
The rosette haired girl smiled to herself. The Naruto she knew was coming back. 'It's about damn time, Naruto-kun.
Sasuke simply smirked. "Well, Naruto, if you're so eager, count me in too."
Naruto bobbed his head towards his two friends and then looked at them both seriously. "Couldyou guys give us some privacy? I'd
like to talk to sensei.alone," he pleaded toward them.
They both gave him extremely confused looks, perplexed by his request. What could he possibly want to talk to M ikoto about, that he
couldn't say in front of them? They had been best friends for the past year, give or take a few weeks.
"But, Naruto-kun, why do we-" Sakura began, worry tracing her voice before their sensei interrupted them.
M ikoto shook her head. "No. It's okay, Sakura-chan. If Naruto wants to talk to me alone, you two should respect that. After all, he
respected your right when you withheld the truth until you were completely comfortable in telling us," she reminded her sternly.
The pink-haired girl winced a bit at her slight hypocrisy. "I seeyou're right, sensei. He did. I'm sorry, Naruto-kun," she apologized.
The jinchuuriki waved her off with a smile. "It's okay, Sakura-chan," he replied earnestly.
She smiled and grabbed Sasuke's arm. "Come on, Sasuke-kun. We obviously aren't needed here, so let's go and do something!" she
cheerfully suggested. The raven-haired Uchiha blushed a bit, and nodded in acquiescence.
Naruto narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, a sight that did not get past his sensei, frowning a bit briefly. There was brief feeling of dread
in the pit of her stomach, which she knew all too well: If she didn't address that soon, it would not end well.
Sakura practically dragged Sasuke out of the hospital room to do God knows what. Naruto shook his head, sighing a bit.
"SoNaruto-kunwhat did you want to talk about?" she inquired, looking a bit weary, but yet, ready to understand if need be.
The blonde took in a deep breath, walked up toward her bed, and sat on the stool he was sitting on a half an hour earlier up. He rested
his elbows on the mattress and interlocked his fingers. He gazed up at his sensei softly.
"M ikoto-sensei," Naruto began after a brief moment of comfortable silence. "M y life wasn't exactly the greatest. I've been shunned,
scorned, ignored and practically had my childhood robbed from me. When some of the villagers look at methey don't see Naruto. They
don't see a kid just trying to prove his worth and carry his own weight. They don't see a child who didn't have any parents growing up

who could've raised him in the right direction." M ikoto's heart clutched painfully when he said this and she pursed her lips to keep her
emotions under control.
"No. They only saw me as a reminder of what they lost ten years ago. It hurt. It really did. Being a social outcastnot knowing why
you were disliked and ignored. I thought I'd never get the acknowledgement that I wanted. As much as I put up a front towards the
village during my pranks, I was slowly losing hope. Sure, I had Iruka-sensei and Hokage-samabut." His eyes shifted towards the
left, away from her in sorrow. "Even they weren't enough. I couldn't relate to them on a personal level other than the fact they didn't
ignore me and helped me out from time to time. One day, I was doing one of my routine pranks and all of the frustration I had just came
out when Iruka-sensei lectured me. I stomped offand went to a random forest near the outskirts of the village."
M ikoto's eyes went wide a bit in surprise. "So that's where you met Sasuke-kun and Sakura-chan!" she deduced. Naruto smiled and
nodded in the affirmative.
"Yes. I did. All three of us bonded that night. To an outside third party, it might seem as if we just came out of the blue and were
friends, just like that. In hindsight, I could probably see where they were coming from. Butthere was somethingI don't know what it
was, but there was something that connected all three of us together. Fatedestinycall it what you like. I honestly couldn't care less.
Because of that night, my life has changed for the better. M ost of all though, it's because of you."
M ikoto was taken back in shock. "M -me..?" she stuttered out, stunned. Was he really going where she thought he was going with this?
Naruto nodded again, his eyes watering, tears threatening to fall once more. "Because of you, I am where I am. You've taught me
everything I know now. I've always wanted to be a great shinobi and you set me up for success, and never allowed me to give up. You
taught me how to be a swordsman, an aspiration of mind that I've wanted to be since I was very young. I'm stronger, faster, more tactical
and calculating."
The Uchiha matriarch was speechless, as Naruto continued on unperturbed.
"Butthat's not what I'm most grateful for," Naruto uttered softly, looking her straight in the eye. "You've taught me humility, how to
protect those I care about, and you always were honest with me, not sugarcoating a damn thing. You treat me and Sasuke equally the
same and I see him as the brother I never had. That's what I want to tell you. You're the mother I've always dreamt of having and then
some," Naruto admitted as the tears flowed freely, yet again. M ikoto's eyes went wide, stunned yet again.
"Sosenseican I have the honor of you being my kaa-san?" he humbly asked the Uchiha female, who was currently crying tears of
absolute joy. She had her doubts about M uramasa's words, but the wise old man proved to be right, yet again.
M ikoto pulled the boy into a tight embrace and the blonde buried his head into her chest. "Of course, Naruto-kun!" she practically
cheered out in a bliss. "Yes, I'd be honored. You have no idea how long I've waited for this moment?"
He turned his head to look up towards her. "Really?"
She nodded and put her chin over the crown of his head. "Yes, Naruto-kun. I've felt like your mother for a long time nowI just wanted
the ball to be in your court." That caused Naruto to smile.
"Thank you for everythingkaa-san," Naruto told her with absolute gratitude. Just hearing him call her that, caused M ikoto to tighten
her grip on him, not wanting to let him go.
"You're welcomesochi(son)," M ikoto replied back with a smile. 'Kushina-chanyou would be so proud.'
The two sat content in each other's arms for the next ten minutes in comfortable silence; the only sound in the entire room was M ikoto's
soothing touches of the blonde.
"Naruto-kun" M ikoto called out, breaking the silence.
"Yes, kaa-san?" he replied back.
"I thinkyou should tell both Sasuke-kun and Sakura-chan," she told him seriously without missing a beat.
He pulled away from her and sighed with a frown. "I know, kaa-san, butI'm.not sure," he said honestly.
M ikoto gripped her son's shoulder tightly and looked at him straight in the eye. "You need to. The longer you waitthe worse off it
will be."

"S he's right, kidI seriously doubt they'd reject you because of me. The three of you have been through too much for them to
throw it away simply because you have a fifteen story tall fox in your gut," the Kyuubi advised.
Naruto sighed. "Wow, even the furball agrees with you"
M ikoto smiled. "Yes, even the fur-wait a minute!" she cried out in horror, as the implications of what her son said finally sunk in. "You
can talk to it?" she gasped out in sheer surprise.
"He/He," Both Naruto and the Kyuubi growled out at the same time, although, obviously, M ikoto couldn't hear the famed Bijuu. "The
Fox is a he, kaa-san. I'd prefer you not to call him an "it' again. He, and quite frankly so do I, find it utterly insulting. So I'd appreciate if
you didn't refer to him as if he weren't a sentient being," he told his mother sternly, but gently as well as to not show disrespect. Though
the blonde couldn't see him, the fox nodded approvingly.
M ikoto blinked and then slowly nodded with as much understanding as possible. "Isee. Okayhim, then. You can talk to him?" she
inquired yet again.
"Not only can I talk to him, I do so on a daily basis," he admitted. M ikoto looked a bit alarmed. Naruto held his hands up defensively.
"Whoa, please don't become alarmed, kaa-san. I know it might not seem like it, buthe's really not that bad of a guy. He destroyed a
seal that was hindering my mental capacity."
M ikoto's eyes widened completely. "What? A seal? Hindering your mental capacity? And he destroyed it? How? When? I" so many
questions were running through her head.
"Calm down. Please," he begged her. She took a deep breath and calmed herself down at least a little bit. This was a lot to take in. "Yes
have you heard of a Cognitive Chakra Suppression Seal?"
M ikoto rubbed her chin in thought. "I can't say that I have. However, it does sound familiar, though the details are lost on me at the
moment."
Naruto nodded. "I see. I figured as much. M y research on it has come to dead end. Barely anything was known about it. The Fox
however did. He still refuses to tell me how exactly he knows how human seals work and how to destroy them. For what I reason, I'm
not sure, but there's a lot of things he refuses to tell me, so it's really not that big of a deal. At least to me anyhow. The seal is gone,
now."
"Who exactly put the seal on you?"
"And that kaa-san is the million ryou question. We don't know. But we do know when it was put on me, though."
The Uchiha matriarch raised an eyebrow. "When pray tell was that?"
"The day I was born," Naruto revealed with narrowed eyes. Her eyes nearly bulged out of her socket in sheer surprise.
"Butthat can't be!" M ikoto protested. There's no way in hell Minato-kun would've let anyone get that close to Naruto-kun to put that
seal on him. He would've slaughtered them in a heartbeat. Unless.
"Wait a minute.Naruto-kunthe seal restricted your ability to think and reason, correct?" she deduced based off the naming alone.
Naruto nodded slowly, wondering where she was going with this.
"And when the foxdestroyed it, somehowyou felt free as if everything was being released all at once?" she asked. Naruto bobbed
hid head in the affirmative, a bit creeped out at her intuition.
M ikoto's eyes narrowed just slightly. 'So that's it. That's why he unlocked the first stage of the Namikaze clan's natural abilities so
young. The seal had suppressed his abnormal nervous system and cognitive abilities for so long that when it released, his bloodline
must've activated automatically, jumpstarting the process a bit prematurely. But the question iswhy put it on him in the first place? For
what purpose, though? Obviously the seal was meant to suppress his heritagebutugh," she thought frustrated.
"I see. Very well, then, I'll look into it for you Naruto-kun. I'll try to find out more about it. Whatever I knowyou will know."
He smiled brightly and hugged his surrogate mother in thanks, which she happily returned. "All right, you know what you have to do.
Tell them. I know they'll understand," she assured. "I'll be waiting, here."
Naruto grinned and said a short goodbye to his mother and jumped out of the hospital window in search of his two best friends.

M ikoto blinked, again. She then palmed her face. "Don't even use the damn door," she shook her head. "Just like his father in so many
ways," she said absentmindedly, while skyline from her view.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Elsewhere in Konoha)
The bewhiskered jinchuuriki was jumping from rooftop to roof top in search of his raven and pink haired best friends. So far he wasn't
having much luck.
"Damn, it's the evening and I still can't find you two!" he growled in frustration until it hit him. He stopped on a building and slapped
himself for his shortsightedness.
"How the fuck could I forget about the first jutsu we learned?" he groaned before crouching and touching the ground with his right index
finger. He closed his eyes and then uttered, "Chakra Hankyouteii!" His control over the technique had improved leaps and bounds over
the past year and as such, he sent a echolocation web within a fifteen hundred meter radius. His eyes opened suddenly as if his eyes
honed in on where he needed to be.
"Found you!" the blonde immediately sped out to that destination as he followed the echolocation of their chakra signatures. He found
both of them doing a light spar in a training area that reminded him of the estate grounds. Landing in the clearing in a crouch, Naruto
made his presence to the two known.
They immediately stopped their spar upon sight of him. "Naruto!" Sasuke uttered incredulously. "Whoa, how did you find us?"
Naruto smirked. "The Hanyouteii," he told him as if it was the obvious thing in the world.
He huffed. "Figures."
Naruto then got a serious look on his face. "But, that asideI have to tell you two something."
Sakura immediately looked alarmed. "Is it about M ikoto-sensei?" she cried out fearing the worse.
Chuckling, he shook his head in the negative. He motioned for them to sit down and they complied, while he did the same. He took in a
deep breath and decided to lead into and go in.
"Do you guys remember what happened ten years ago, October 10th, to the village?"
Sasuke frowned. "Yeah, it was the night that the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox attacked the village and slaughtered thousands," he answered,
wondering where Naruto was going with this.
"Yeah, and the Fox would've destroyed the village had it not been for the Yondaime Hokage defeating it, at the cost of his own life,"
Sakura added on. "Naruto, they told us this at the academy. What does this have to do with anything?"
"Becausewhat they told us at the academy. was a complete lie."
"A lie!" they both uttered simultaneously, taken back completely.
"Yes, a lie. While it was not a complete lie, it was one nonetheless. The Nine-Tailed Fox was one on the nine Bijuu, and the most
powerful of them all. Even as powerful as the Fourth Hokage was, even he would fail in trying to slay a being like the Fox. So he instead
of killing it.he sealed it up."
Both of their eyes widened. "Soif he sealed itthen that would mean."
"Yes.the Fox is still alive and well," Naruto finished. They sat in silence, unable to say anything.
"Wait.what the hell does that have to do with you?" Sasuke inquired confused at both how this related to Naruto and how he knew
such information in the first place.
Naruto nodded. "You see, Bijuu are special. You can't just seal them anywhere. They'd likely break free from the seals and rampage all
over again. What was neededis a jinchuuriki"
"Human sacrifice." Sakura said to herself as she translated the word aloud.

"Yes, because that's exactly what it is: A living human sacrifice to keep a powerful beast at bay. Now you all know when I turned nine
last year right?"
"Yeah, October ten-" Sakura stop dead in her tracks as she stared at her blond friend's neutral face with complete and total shock. "Yyou?" she stuttered out. "You're the one the Yondaime sealed the fox into?"
Rather than answer her, Naruto stood up and lifted his shirt. He concentrated some chakra into his navel and the seal appeared in all its
intricate glory.
"I seenow it all makes sense. Why sometimes I notice the villagers either glaring or ignoring your presence. Some I even overhear even
making snide remarks. Now I understand.they blame you for what happened, don't they?" Sasuke said solemnly.
"Yeah. it's unfortunateit's why I've always been alone for as long as I could remember. They shunned meignored me.treated me
like an outcast. All because of something I had no say in." There was a pregnant silence.
"Wellyou know what, Naruto-kun? Quite frankly, I couldn't care less. To me you're still Naruto. You just happen to have a giant fox
stuck inside you."
"I don't care either. You're still my best friend," Sasuke told him with a smile.
The blonde was a bit taken back. "Just like that? It doesn't matter?"
"Just like that," Sakura assured him, smiling. "We're not like those ignorant villagers. We've grown to know you well over the past year.
Yes, it's a bit to take in, but frankly you're still you."
Naruto grinned. "You guys really are the best friends a guy could ever ask for," he told them sincerely.
"Heh, the feeling's mutual Naruto. Trust me," Sasuke added.
There was a brief silence yet again as the three stared off in the distance. "Hey guyshow about a rematch? Every shinobi for
themselves?" Naruto suggested.
"Any bets?"
"Yeah. Loser buys dinner for an entire week," Naruto grinned as he jumped up and fell back into a stance with his kodachi.
"Oh you're so on!" Sakura agreed pulling her staff out. Sasuke smirked and pulled out his kusarigama. The three friends were spread out
in a triangle. They collectively smirked and the trio clashed.
They were unaware of a small reptilian silhouette watching their every move with keen interest.
(END)
Alright, time to end it here, because otherwise, I'm going to go into sensory overload. I've written this chapter at least three times, and
I'm still not happy about the last bit completely, but we'll see.
Next Chapter: 3Time Skip! Team 7 finally meets their new sensei and their adventures and legend begins as they show off to the world
just how far they've come.
I was going to time skip, this chapter, honestly, but I figured I'd best stop here and let me gather my thoughts and write it cohesively
and let the flow come naturally. Plus I wouldn't have made the June 29th deadline I promised now would I have? :P
So, I have a poll for you readers. Would you rather have short chapters (i.e. 7k-11k word count in my eyes) with frequent updates or
monster chapters (12k-20k) with a longer waiting period? Answer truthfully and honestly and I'll tell you which one wins in the next
two or three chapters.
I have nothing else to say except please leave your comments below and give some feedback. That's all I ask.
Till next time,
Arashi.

*Chapter 11*: Genesis to Transcendence


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Eleven: Genesis to Transcendence
What's good everyone? Welcome to the eleventh installment of Eternal Legends! I have to say, I was very, very pleased at the reception
of last chapter. It was eight months since you last saw the Golden trio and I feared I might have disappointed some. But, here we are. :D
Hard to believe in one month and some change this story will have been on the site for approximately two years. Damn, does time sure
fly.
Notable reviewers since last update: VLS, Darkness-Over-Evil, King of Konoha, Blade-Phoenix14, .51, DeidaraHoshika, platypuslover,
and gman7. All gave me some ideas, even if you didn't know it. ;)
It seems people are a bit divided on the poll both in reviews and privately sent messages and it will continue to be that way it seems. So
I've come up with a compromise. Every three chapters I will give you a monster update, while the rest will be "moderate" size. So, since
this will be the third moderately sized chapter, chapter twelve will be effing huge. Chapters thirteen and fourteen will be moderately
sized and so on so forth. Sound fair enough? Let me know what you think in addition to your review. :D
Further note: Rating is back to M ature. I gathered all the available data I needed to confirm or deny my litmus test. I'll tell you what it
waseventually. Just not right now.
Time to update the disclaimer:
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OCs that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Warhawk/Starhawk, Halo, Killzone, God of War and
Resistance which are under the copyright ownership of Team Ninja, Infinity Ward, Naughty Dog, Incognito, 343 Studios, Guerilla
Games, Sony Santa M onica, and Insomniac as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, M icrosoft Game Studios and Sony
Computer Entertainment America/Europe, respectively.
(To allay any concern: Why all these are there will make sense in the future, don't worry about it being game breaking or story breaking;
rather, as these are mostly just certain characters and story elements both big, small, obvious, subtle and the like, rather than a full blown
multi-series/genre crossover. Even if it's extremely small like a weapon or even being loosely based, I still want to cover all my bases, in
case shit goes down. I'm the type of person who takes precaution even when it's not needed. Just who I am.)
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Training Ground Thirty-Three, Three years later, 0645 hours)
Training Ground Thirty-Three was one of the more secluded training areas in the Leaf village and, hence its name, the thirty-third built
since the early days of the village's existence. Since it was one of the more recently built training environments, it was much more unique
in its design and layout. It consisted of a combination of simulated desert, forest, and mountain terrain along with a lake that was four
times the size of the lake in the Uchiha clan's estate and twice as deep. The only reason it didn't have an arctic simulation was simply
due to how difficult and expensive such an environment would be to maintain along with the rest of the three.
Today, however, the area looked practically unrecognizable. Trees were snapped at their bases, the ground was scorched with obvious
remnants of Katon jutsu; the rocky terrain littered with slash marks and craters that bottomed out at nearly fifteen feet deep and ten feet
wide. Some of the hills themselves seem to be split completely in halfsome in a clear and precise manner and others in a more rugged
way.
All in all, it looked as if the Shinigami himself had come from the depths of Hell and waged war in the mortal plane.
Standing in the median of the devastated training ground was a prepubescent male holding a katana in his hand in a familiar stance: knees
bent, shoulder length apart, with his guard inward above his chest with the blade outward and his right elbow sticking out.
The youth wore black sandals, with white bandages around his shins, all black slightly baggy pants with outward, orange stripes on
either pant leg. A thin tight-fitting orange short sleeve undershirt came out of the sleeveless, semi-loose black shirt. To complete the
outfit, a non-metal headband that adorned his forehead came down to the center of his back as well as having a sheath for his sword on
his backside. The youth had spiky blond hair, like in his younger days, but the most drastic difference was that he had bangs on both

sides of his face that met down about halfway, towards his cheek. The bangs were not as long as his father's, which was still unknown to
him of course, but close enough where a fair comparison could've been made. The blond stood at a height of five feet and three inches,
which was pretty impressive for someone his age.
Indeed, Uzumaki Naruto had grown physically, mentally, and as a shinobi. His eyes were closed as he listened in as hard as he could for
any sudden movements. He didn't bother using the Chakra Hankyouteii, as he wanted to rely on his natural instincts, reflexes and raw
skill.
Speaking of his reflexes, they had grown considerably sharper over the past three years, both in part due to his training and in another in
natural augmentation. He was reacting to things on a superhuman leveleven by shinobi standards, mind yousometimes both
consciously and subconsciously. If his body thought he was in any sort of danger, it would, quite literally, start moving on its own and
seek to neutralize the threat almost instantaneously.
It was unnerving and a bit annoying to say the least, for the jinchuuriki. Sometimes, he could control it just fine relatively speaking and
on certain days it would feel as if his entire system went haywire and his entire body felt like it lit aflame from the inside as he started
reacting to the most mundane of things beyond his control, such as: catching a fly as it tried to zoom past his friends and mother minding
its own business, a need to constantly test his skills at dodging just so his body could feel an adrenaline rush as if it needed one to justify
having his nerves feel on fire, gripping their hands almost instantly when he felt as if he was about to be touched, and other numerous,
miscellaneous factors. It was during these times where he'd be bedridden, in excruciating amounts of pain as he could barely function.
Asking the fox just what the hell was happening to his body gave him no real answers, but the vulpine biju did have a theory. He
suspected that his neural dendrites were being super-conductively fibered by an unknown process throughout the entirety of his central
nervous system. Therefore, his reflexes, according to the fox's rough estimate, were increased nearly three hundred percent faster than
normal humans and it was likely that the number went even higher in combat situations when his adrenaline started running extremely
high. He asked his mom about it and she agreed with the nine-tailed vulpine as it made the most sense to her. He had accepted that as the
logical conclusion.
However, it wasn't all bad, as Naruto's unique abilities came with some rather positive side effects that even M ikoto didn't see coming,
though, in hindsight, she probably should have. His eyesight, memory, and knack for tactics and strategy received a sharp boost. Naruto
already had perfect eyesight, but now it was beyond the above-standard twenty-ten. Now, it was still twenty-ten in terms of distance of
object relative to his position, but he didn't have any of the blind spots the human eye had that were filled in by the human brain, nor did
it ever lose focus. In normal humans, if they looked at an object at an extreme proximity, the object would begin to blur as they eye
focused more on the background than the foreground, aka the object. This wasn't the case at all for Naruto. An object that was even mere
centimeters away from his eyes would always remain in perfect focus and clarity. It was akin to taking a picture with a high-end,
expensive digital camera and seeing all the details even when you zoomed in. He could practically see the interwoven threads in his
mother's jounin vest if he focused his sight hard enough.
As far as his memory capabilities went, Naruto could honest-to-the-gods say he had a genuine eidetic memory on par with his best
friend using his Sharingan. He could glance at a piece of intelligence, for a few seconds at best, destroy it, and was able to picture and
recall the information with absolutely flawless detail and precision at a moment's notice, even days after it was destroyed and he never
even consciously thought about the piece of intel. In truth, the only advantage Sasuke had over him with his Sharingan was the inherent,
precognitive function that allowed him to read the moves of his opponents with better accuracy. That, and Sasuke hadn't unlocked the
third tomoe on his Sharingan to give him such an advantage. So, on that front, they were about dead even.
The last of his fortunate side effects were his increased reliance on analysis and fighting cognitively
'Okaywe've been at this for at least a half-hour, taking turns at being double-teamed by the other two. It's my turn, now,' Naruto
thought to himself as he assessed the situation in his mind, while keeping his senses sharp for any premature attack. 'I could use the
Hankyouteii to locate them and attack with brute force,' the bewhiskered Jinchuuriki briefly considered before dismissing it almost
outright. 'Nothat'd be too obvious. They'd sense me tracking them and adjust their attack plan, taking advantage of such an obvious
ploy and frontal assault. Granted, I'm practically a codifier of successful frontal assaults, but I'm cautious and plan ahead before I do. I
know thatand so do they. Now...if I were Sasuke or Sakura-chanwhat would I do, knowing how all of this wouof course!'
Bewilderment dawned upon his features as he suddenly opened his eyes.
A barrage of fireballs rained down on his position at high speeds, to which Naruto clucked his teeth and dashed out of the way in a single
linear direction to the left, leaving a very distinct bluish blur in his wake, and he dodged them all effortlessly as they scorched the earth
into nothingness.
Sasuke smirked as he landed in front of the blond about twenty meters away, with his double-bladed kusarigama in his hands. Like his
bewhiskered best friend, he, too, had changed considerably over the last three years. His raven-colored hair was longer, and he wore a

short-sleeved black shirt with his family's crest on his back with a grey long-sleeved shirt, with khaki cargo shorts with pockets on each
thigh, a belt that had a pouch on the right side, along with a kunai holster on his right leg. He was five feet and one inch, shorter than
Naruto by a noticeable margin. His weapon had changed, too. The Uchiha scion had asked M uramasa to upgrade it, over a year ago.
Now instead of one sickle and chain, he had two sickles that were double-bladed for quadruple the devastation.
"You've gotten pretty damn good at that technique you created, Naruto," Sasuke praised as he spun his kusarigama like helicopters. He
had his Sharingan flared and leering cautiously at him.
Naruto returned his grin. "Damn right. Ibitsuyumi (Distorted Step) is pretty damn good for dodging and closing distances," the blond
began before he used his created technique to dash forward to appear behind the Uchiha, "just like this!" Naruto attempted for a speedy
slash at Sasuke's back, which, surprising the blond, actually connected. His eyes immediately went wide, knowing something was off.
The blond's suspicions proved correct when 'Sasuke' turned into a pile of cherry blossom petals. His eyes widened completely.
'Genjutsu and Substitution all in one!' he alarmingly dissected, as he sheathed his katana and did the Tiger Seal. "Kai!" he shouted and the
cherry blossoms vanished soon thereafter.
"Suiton: M izurappa (Water Release: Wild Water Wave)!" he heard a familiar voice behind him. Knowing what that jutsu would do to
him, he used Ibitsuyumi on pure reflex alone into a random direction.
"Wrong move, Naruto-kun!" he heard that same voice from behind again. The blond ninja's eyes widened again, as he turned around only
to see Sakura right in the general area he had flashed toward! She didn't even give him a chance to dodge as she unleashed the full fury of
her technique the very nanosecond he turned around to face her.
Caught completely and utterly off guard, the jinchuuriki of the Nine-Tailed Fox was shot completely backward, toward the lake in a
moderate amount of pain due to the nature of the water technique, itself, and Sakura's affinity for it. He back-flipped and skidded across
the water, before stopping and standing completely still on top of it. His two friends appeared in front of him, the twelve-year-olds
standing afloat as well.
"Damn! How did you know where I'd be after I used my technique, Sakura-chan? Hell, even I didn't know. M y body reacted on its
own," he admitted with a twinge of annoyance at not having complete control over his own impulses.
Sakura smiled at the blond. Like the other two, she had changed as well. Her hair was cut short to medium length that came down to her
shoulders. She was tall, five feet even to be precise (taller than even Ino), and had a very lean athletic build, which clearly showed where
her priorities were, unlike the vast majority of the females in her class. She wore blue sandals, brown pants that stopped below her
knees, a kunai holster on her right thigh, and a maroon-colored semi-long-sleeved shirt. Not one to forget her favorite color, she had a
pink sash around her waist that was comparable in size to the sashes worn by the Shugonin Jnishi (Twelve Gentlemen Guardian Ninja)
that protected the Fire Daimyo. Her staff was in her sheath, still on her lower backside horizontally. It wasn't drawn because she had no
use for it at the moment.
"I didn't, really," she uttered, which surprised both Sasuke and Narutowell, more so the latter. "I made a genjutsu for you to hear me
call the attack in one area and simply took a gamble that your body would react on its own and move you to a spot by the lake and lo
and behold! I hit the jackpot!" She grinned. "You're not the only one who has luck on your side, Naruto-kun," she sweetly chimed with a
sly grin.
'I see. So, she's taking advantage of my body's involuntary reactions,' Naruto analyzed and reflected within his head. 'Damn it! It's both
a blessing and a curse for someone who knows me well. Then again, she's been training with me for the past four years, so it's hard not
to pick up on my idiosyncrasies, and she, for a lack of a better word, guessed where my Ibitsuyumi would take me. But, even still, it
doesn't make it any less annoying. Undoubtedly, there are shinobi out there who could probably see the slight differences in my reaction
time whether it is conscious or subconscious, and adjust their tactics accordingly' Ever since he had completed the creation of
Ibitsuyumi a year ago, his neurons and synapses had started to use the high-speed movement technique as a subconscious defense
mechanism to dodge incoming attacks where it knew Naruto wouldn't have enough time to make a conscious decision on what to do
within the time frame of being hit. It was almost as if Naruto's entire neural network was, quite literally, sapient and alive.
"Oh, really, Sakura-chan?" Naruto inquired getting into a Taijutsu stance, which the others mirrored, although with minor differences to
suit their own particular style and personal taste.
"Yeah, really," she smugly replied with a smirk. Naruto spread through hand seals quickly, but Sasuke's Sharingan showed exactly what
seals were being used.
"Sakura! A wall, now!" Sasuke cried as he spun his kusarigama and aimed it at his cerulean-eyed friend. Sakura didn't need to be told
twice, trusting the raven haired Uchiha's judgment call.

"Fuuton: Daitoppa (Wind Release: Great Breakthrough)!" Naruto called out, blowing a massive gust of wind in a tunnel shape, blowing
the blades of Sasuke's weapon back toward him and slightly parting the lake as it sped through toward the two shinobi.
The rosette-haired kunoichi was already making seals for a defensive technique. "Suiton: Suijinheki (Water Release: Water Encampment
Wall)!" A small cylinder-shaped fortress of water surrounded both her and Sasuke, protecting them from Naruto's attack, if only barely.
The blond had put a considerable amount of chakra into the attack and the gales didn't seem to let up in their onslaught.
"Damn. When did he learn how to use this technique to this level of proficiency?" Sakura wondered aloud as she struggled to hold her
Suiton technique. Naruto's wind jutsu violently rocked the waves beneath their feet, and they fought hard to stay afloat, constantly
adjusting the output of chakra beneath their feet to properly stay on top of the water's surface.
Sasuke grimaced, putting his weapon away. "I'm not too sure." It was time to go to work. "All right, new plan of attack. I'm going to
prepare a Katon jutsu, but you need to let the wall down exactly when I tell you to. Okay?"
She nodded. "Just whatever you do, do it fast, because we're going to be blown away if you fail!" she reminded him over the train-like
roar.
He grunted, but said nothing further. He took a deep breath and went through the seals preparing the necessary chakra.
His onyx eyes made contact with her jade. "Now!" he roared, as she let the barrier down and he sent his fury. "Katon: Goukakyuu no
Jutsu (Fire Release: Grand Fireball Technique)!" A large fireball erupted from his mouth with tremendous force. Now that he was older
and much more skilled, this conflagration was double the size of what it used to be when his mother first taught him the technique three
years ago. Adding to the fact that it had a completely one-sided duel with a Fuuton techniquewellNaruto was in for a world of hurt
if it connected.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you looked at it, Naruto would never find out as before the wind-enhanced fireball
could hit him, a fifty-foot wall of water that canceled out the technique(s) utterly stopped it. All three of the shinobi eyes went
completely wide as the wall destroyed without waving back down, making it 'rain,' so to speak, on them for a about thirty seconds.
"Just what the hell do you three think you're doing?" came the voice of an all too familiar female. M ikoto 'uncloaked' herself after using
her M eisaigakure no Jutsu (Chameleon Technique), her arms crossed with a frown marring her facial features. She hadn't changed much,
if at all. She still looked essentially the same and wore her jounin vest and Konoha shinobi standard gear. The Uchiha matriarch was
standing on top of the water just like the rest of the trio.
'DamnI didn't even sense her. That technique is something else,' Naruto thought in awe and wonder. "Well, kaa-san, graduation exams
were today and we just thought we'd get a bit of a warm-up," he sheepishly explained, rubbing the back of his head in embarrassment.
Her eye twitched. "A warm-up! You call nearly destroying the entire training ground a warm-up? Had I not known any better, I thought
this place would be remnants of a battle from a Shinobi World War!" she chastised in irritation.
"Hehguess we did get a little carried away," Sasuke confessed, sharing Naruto's nervous demeanor.
"Yeah, a bit too carried away," M ikoto grunted with a sigh, before softening a bit. This action caused the Golden Trio to visibly relax.
"It's nearly 0700 in the morning and you guys are out here training as if you were in the Forest of Death! Not to mention that the genin
exams are today in the next two hours!" She critically eyed the three children before her in the midst of her scolding.
"Oh, come on, kaa-san!" Naruto pleaded. "You and I know damn well we could've passed the genin exam a long time ago had you not
ordered us to stay the whole four years," he pointed out. His dark- and jade-eyed friends nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly. "Even with
some of the reforms, the academy is still pretty much a complete joke."
"A fair point you make, Naruto-kun," M ikoto conceded, "but, that being said, was it really necessary to wreck the whole training
ground? I understand you three are at the level of a Tokubetsu Jounin, but for the love of the gods, show some restraint. Understand?"
They all sighed and simply bobbed their heads, not really in the mood to argue, anymore. She returned the gesture and motioned for
them to follow her as she walked back toward the shoreline. Naruto spun his katana and sheathed it on his back. Sasuke folded the
blades of his dual-bladed kusarigama inward and put it away, too.
Naruto had to whistle at all the destruction they caused. "Heh, I wonderDo we have insurance?" he jokingly asked, earning chuckles
from his friends and a withering glare from his surrogate mother.
"All right, you three need to head back toward the estate so you can shower and have a proper breakfast. You'd better pray that you all
have enough chakra to pass the exam," M ikoto sternly intoned, still firmly in what the three assassins had dubbed 'mom mode.'

"Come on, Kaa-san!" Sasuke protested, groaning. "You're doing it again!"


The Uchiha widow sighed and shook her head, before smiling. "Sorryyou guys know that, no matter how strong or grown up you get,
I'll always be your mother. I don't care if you're fifty, and I'm in my nineties."
They gave a grateful smile as they all gave her a group hug, catching her slightly off guard and she nearly lost her footing. "Hey, you
guys! I don't mind the embrace, but you guys are near my height now," she reminded them, laughing a bit.
"Hey! I got a half-inch on you at least, kaa-san!" the tallest of the triad mock-protested. She gave him a grin and kissed his forehead
affectionately, much to his embarrassment.
"Hey! Don't do that!" he pouted, protruding his lower lip out. That only earned him a giggle from his mother and snickers from the other
two. Granted, she did it to Sasuke, too, on occasion, but Naruto was twice as more likely to be on the receiving end.
With a final laugh, she let go of the three. "All right, you guys, do what you need to do around the village. I should have breakfast ready
in about an hour, m'kay?"
"We'll be back home in an hour, promise," Sakura promised with a thumbs up. M ikoto gave the three a final wave before vanishing in a
puff of white smoke.
Naruto sighed the moment she left. "Ugh, I love the woman to death, but man, can she be overprotective at times."
"That's our kaa-san for you, Naruto-kun," Sakura sweetly chimed as she began to walk with her two best friends on either side of her.
"I suppose so," he reluctantly agreed with another sigh.
"Heh, look on the bright side," Sasuke noted. "Today, we'll finally be official genin of Konoha and go on real missions. Time to put all
the skills kaa-san has taught us to the test." He then surveyed the damaged training ground. His astonishment reflected in the low whistle
that soon followed. A bunch of twelve-year-olds had managed to do this? Granted, this was Naruto, and Sakura and his doing, but even
still, the amount of collateral damage they made was the last thing on his mind as they were doing an intense 'warm-up.'
"Heh, got to agree with you there," Naruto concurred. "One thing I'm glad we really won't have to worry about is, due to reforms, we
won't run into the problem of idiotic team placements that make no logical sense."
"Ugh, don't fucking remind me," Sakura spat in disgust. Swearing became a much bigger habit now than it was when she was nine.
Granted, her mouth was nowhere near to the potty as her two companions, but it was still a noteworthy subtle change in her
personality over the past three years. "Whose bright idea was it to think that having the worst student paired with the best student was
ideal and in no shape or form would immediately and totally backfire? That's asinine on so many levels, it's ridiculous."
They headed out toward the village, still talking amongst themselves. "Yeah, no doubt about it, that was a much needed improvement,
along with other things such as longer Taijutsu period sessions, advanced survival training, extensive topography lessonsHeh, if I
didn't know any better, I'd say they were preparing us for" Sasuke started to say jokingly before he was interrupted by Naruto.
"War," Naruto interjected, his voice cold, calculating, and his eyes narrowed a bit. The Uchiha heir and the rosette-haired girl picked up
on this immediately and got serious. Their jinchuuriki friend was in one of 'those' moods.
"What's going on in your head, Naruto-kun?" Sakura grimly asked, all pretenses and joking casted away in an instant.
"Everything's now starting to become a bit clearer. The announcement by Iruka-sensei of changes at the academy, our new subject
matter, and new tactics," he calmly stated as the gears started turning rapidly in his head. The blue-eyed preteen closed his eyes and
placed his right index and middle fingers on his forehead together. Both his friends knew exactly what that meant. Naruto was accessing
his eidetic memory from three years ago to piece everything together.
"Februaryfour days after kaa-san gets out of the hospitalshe's fineWe continue to go back to the academy while she's bedridden,"
Naruto recited his memory in perfect detail, with bits and pieces to his friends as a way to somewhat get to the point. His eyes were
still closed as if he were watching a movie in his head and he was using a 'skip' or 'fast forward' remote on his brain to get to the
important details within the confines of his memories.
"Iruka-sensei comes toward us in the morningtells us Hokage-sama has a few changes for the state of the academy...the class
seemingly is uncaring, but there's an undercurrent of interest. Initially, we aren't that suspicious due to the reforms being things we had
already been taught months earlier."

Naruto clenched his shuteyes even harder, as if he was struggling to look for any hidden clues. "Something doesn't add up in my mind...I
decide to do my own investigatingI go to the library...there's a news scroll that captures my eye immediatelythe headline reads:
Revolution in Kumogakure: Hidden Cloud under new LeadershipI take it and read the article within."
He trailed off as he strained his mind. Sakura frowned a bit and gently walked toward him and soothed him by touching his hand that
was on his forehead. "Then, what, Naruto-kun? What did it say, exactly?" she asked, knowing that Naruto could, quite literally, recite an
entire chapter of a novel he'd read, with perfect accuracy, down to the adverbs, articles, and adjectives used in the individual sentences.
This should be no different.
A small vein appeared on the side of his forehead as he struggled to remember. "SomethingUltranationaliststaking over.Raikage
deadJinchuuriki.K.I.AAisuIsolationideologyinauguration speechbow before themendured tyrannyugh!" Naruto
groaned out as he held his head in frustration in a slight headache that was forming. "Damn it, why can't I remember?" he growled in
contempt.
"Relax kid," the Kyuubi allayed in his head. "Your eidetic memory probably wasn't as developed back then as it is now. You sure
as hell aren't going to remember with such detailed accuracy, when at the time when said details happened, your brain wasn't
processing the information and storing it in a huge databank to recall and analyze at a moment's notice. You only discovered
it a year ago. The fact that you can remember even some of what you read is a miracle in and of itself."
Calming down a bit, Naruto sighed. "Yeah, I guess you're right," Naruto agreed, disappointment laced within his voice.
"Talking to the fox again?" Sasuke dully deduced, as if it was the most normal thing in the world for a guy to speak to a giant fifteenstory-tall Nine-Tailed Fox trapped permanently in his gut.
"Got it in one," Naruto admitted.
Sakura shook her head. "I don't know how you do it. Talk to him aloud when you're around us or Kaa-san, but out in public, you two
could be having a philosophical debate mentally for all we know, and we'd be none the wiser."
"It's 'cause I'm just that awesome, Sakura-chan," he retorted with a sly, foxy grin. She rolled her eyes playfully and poked him in the
chest.
"Well, why don't you be 'M r. Awesome,' and pick up some milk on the way back. I noticed we were out this morning when I went to
the fridge for some yogurt."
He grunted, hating being the designated errand boy. "Ugh, fine, Sakura-chan. I will. I need to look into something, anyhow. I'll see you
guys at breakfast, okay?"
"Just don't get lost on your way back," Sasuke smirked, obviously referencing an incident from the past.
"Shut the fuck up, Sasuke," Naruto indignantly replied, that particular incident being a sore spot. He only grinned in return, which
Naruto simply scowled and flickered away courtesy of the Shunshin no Jutsu (Body Flicker Technique).
Shaking her head she turned to the Uchiha. "You're never going to let him live that one down, are you?"
"Not a fucking chance." Short. Simple. Direct answer.
She rolled her eyes. She would never understand boys and their damned prides. "Come on. Let's get back. "
"Right," Sasuke agreed before they, too, vanished from the training ground using the same jutsu Naruto used seconds earlier.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Uchiha Estate, One hour later)
Both the pink-haired Haruno and Uchiha both sat down at the kitchen table freshly showered and with a clean set of clothes. They
realized they smelt pretty badly after their intense training session this morning and each opted to shower the moment they got to the
house. Considering how huge the estate was and how many people had once lived here three years ago, there were plenty of bathrooms
to choose, where the two could have the privacy they desired.
M ikoto set a plate of rice balls in front of both of them and frowned. "Where's Naruto-kun?" she inquired, crossing her armsher
standard trademark, clearly not happy at her son not being punctual, a critical skill in their systematic world of assassins and

mercenaries-by-another-name.
Sakura shook her head, taking a polite bite of her onigiri. "I'm not sure, kaa-san. He said he had to look into something in the village and I
told him to pick up some milk from the dairy," she replied, shrugging. "I'm not sure what could be taking him so long, unless he's
preoccupied with whatever he needed to look into."
M ikoto sat down with her two students-turned-surrogate-children, clearly interested. "Is that so?" she asked semi-rhetorically. "Any
idea of what he was trying to look into?"
"Well, we were jokingly talking about the reforms the academy made a couple years ago and I said a sentence that triggered Naruto's
eidetic memory," Sasuke explained. "However, he couldn't remember it all; presumably because it was too far back before he gained the
ability a year ago. At least, that's what I'm guessing. I'm sure the Kyuubi told him that, too."
M ikoto sighed. "I don't know if I'll ever get used to the fact that my son talks regularly with a giant fox. One that attacked the village, at
that."
"Hey, he and Naruto-kun have a pretty complex relationship. Nearly went ballistic on us, when we called him an 'it'" Sakura
shuddered at that particular memory. That was a particular pet peeve for him and it pissed off the blond to no end.
M ikoto heaved a long sigh. "I guess you're right. It still seems weird to me, even three years after the fact." A pensive silence permeated
the room as the three said nothing and ate slowly without uttering a single word for the next five minutes or so. All three of them perked
up simultaneously, sensing a familiar chakra signature and an audible noise that the door in the other room had opened.
"So, now he shows up. Finally," M ikoto huffed, crossing her arms for the umpteenth time.
'Strangewhy's Naruto-kun using the front door? He usually just uses either Shunshin or Ibitsuyumi to flicker or dash in here?' Sakura
thought in wonder.
She soon got her answer. Naruto walked through the doorway, his eyes practically glued to a news scroll. Judging by its appearance, it
had to be a few years old at least. He had it held in a certain way where he could hold it in one hand, read a significant amount of
information, and hold a full-gallon carton of fresh milk in the other hand.
"Hey, kaa-san, Sakura-chan, Sasuke," he greeted, walking past them completely to the fridge, not even glancing at them a single time.
Opening the refrigerator, he unceremoniously tossed the carton in it, knowing it'd be fine. He sat down at the table and unraveled the
scroll even further to spread across his lap, ignoring the stares he received from his surrogate family.
"UmNaruto?" Sasuke asked a bit cautiously, not sure how to react to the jinchuuriki's odd behavior. "You okay, bro?"
Naruto looked up in slight confusion, before his mind finally processed what he just said. "Oh, yeah, I am," he assured, before looking
down again, scratching his chin in wonder his eyes running across the page at lightning speeds. "This article, thoughit intrigues me."
He turned to M ikoto. "Kaa-sanwhat do you know about the Cloud Village's Ultranationalist Party?" he asked in wonder. "Because
based on this news article, the reforms at the academy, increased lessons on topography of mountainous regions and how to fight in
them, it seems to me that Hokage-sama is making subtle changes to prepare us for a future conflict with Kumogakure."
M ikoto looked at him seriously as she sat her tea down. "I see. So you've finally figured it out."
"Figured it out? You meanyou knew?" Naruto stood at a loss for words. Sasuke and Sakura preferred to stay silent, not knowing
enough information to make a firm statement one way or the other.
"Well, I can't say I know for sure, seeing as how I didn't hear it from the horse's mouth. That being said, when I heard about it, I quickly
put two and two together. I didn't tell you all at the time because I felt it was irrelevant and wanted you to figure it out on your own.
Which you did," she added with a smile.
"I see. Did you read up on any of the details regarding the coup d'tat that overthrew the Killer Dynasty?" Naruto inquired to his
mother, hoping she could fill in some gaps.
"No, I didn't. Like I said, I wasn't really interested in the finer details. For one, I was recovering in the hospital at the time, and twoI
had you three to focus on. You all take priority even if we have a bunch of genocidal, warmongering sociopaths running a major hidden
village."
"Genocidal?" Sakura asked.

"Warmongering?" Sasuke blinked for good measure, too.


"She's referring to the Ultranationalist party. They're known to be the extreme of the extreme, and are considered the most brutal
organization on the continent. They idolize the Shodai Raikage and his idea of conquest and natural-born citizens of Kumogakure being
superior to everyone else and as such, they believe they hold a manifest destiny belief of spreading their culture and way of life to the
rest of us. The party is highly militaristic in tone and some would compare it to Europa, the continent west of the Elemental Nations.
The populace seemingly sided with them, and they overthrew the Raikage in a coup three years ago," Naruto explained from what he
knew and studied.
"Wow," Sasuke whistled. "These guys sound like real trouble. I mean to overthrow the Killer Dynasty? They'd have to have some
seriously powerful shinobi to pull that off." The Sandaime Raikage and Yondaime Raikage were truly powerful shinobi that even his clan
once respected, even in spite of their arrogance.
M ikoto nodded. "Seems Hideyoshi was more powerful than I gave him credit for. I thought that fool's dream to be Raikage and conquer
Kumo was a lost cause."
Naruto's cerulean eyes narrowed a bit. "Hideyoshi? That's not the name of the current Raikage, kaa-san," he pointed out, crossing his
arms.
M ikoto blinked several times in confusion. "Waitwhat? How the hell not? He's leaded those monsters for the past twenty years or
sohow the hell is he not the Raikage? A figure head in his place?" Although the latter question was pretty farfetched in hindsight, it
was the only logical conclusion that she could come to.
"No, it just says that the ascended Godaime Raikage's name was" he began before double checking the article again, just in case he
misread something. "Aisu"
Upon hearing that name, M ikoto froze completely on the spot as her hands started to sweat, a sight that only her blond son's razor
sharp vision could actually see.
"Wh-wha-tdid you say?" M ikoto stuttered, as her heart began beating rapidly.
"Aisu," Naruto repeated a bit slowly, his eyes narrowing a bit. M ikoto frowned a bit and detachedly looked off into space. Her three
surrogate children looked at each other with worry tracing their features.
"Kaa-sanis something wrong?" Sasuke quietly asked, not knowing what to think.
The Uchiha matriarch said nothing for a few seconds, before standing up. "No. Nothing's wrong," she lied, which wasn't lost on the trio
at all. "I just need to get some fresh air. Finish your breakfast and head on to the academy. I need to be alone for a bit." Her tone brooked
no room for arguing. The three of them were smart enough to not press her on the issue and let it be. M ikoto walked outside to the
estate's courtyard without another word.
The golden trio looked at each other. "Later?" Sakura asked.
"Later," the other two confirmed with a nod.
'Man, that was weirdjust hearing that guy's name sent kaa-san in a bad mood. Really think the guy's that bad if just hearing what he's
called causes her to not want to be in the same room again, Fox?' Naruto asked his vulpine tenant via telepathic link.
"NoI think it goes much deeper than that. S omething's definitely off here, though. That much, I can assure you. I wouldn't
worry about it for now. You have an exam you need to pass."
Naruto smiled. 'All right, all right. Fine. I won't worry about it. By the way, as a way to celebrate when I graduate, I'll find a fox so you
can stretch your legs,' he promised.
'Thank the fucking GODS ! Holy shit, I know it's only been two weeks since I last got out, but you have no idea what it feels
like to be stuck behind a cagein a sewer," the monster biju groaned.
Naruto shook his head and gulfed down two rice balls. "Ah, man! That hit the spot!" He patted his stomach in satisfaction that his
appetite had been sustained. "Last one to the academy is a rotten egg!" Naruto exclaimed without warning with a mischievous grin,
before vanishing using the Body Flicker Technique.
"Ugh! Naruto-kun! You fucking cheater!" Sakura shrieked out before running out the door as she made a ram seal and she vanished in a

small whirlwind of cherry blossom petals.


Sasuke shook his head. Naruto was going to win, head start or not. Ironically, despite how competitive they were, he knew that Naruto
was going to win contests of speed ten out of ten times, guaranteed. The blonde was leagues faster than the two of them combined.
Adding in his mysterious bloodline, it only further cemented how much a lost cause it was. Sakura, however, still always tried, even as
futile as it was. With a shake of his head again, he sucked his teeth and casually walked out of the door and jumped to the rooftops,
preferring to head there in a more classic, and 'good ol' days' way.
(Uchiha Estate Courtyard)
A shaken M ikoto sluggishly made her way in the courtyard towardsomewhere. She honestly didn't know or couldn't care less where
her body directed her. All that was repeating was that name in her head
Aisu.Aisu..AisuAisu.
A tear fell down her right cheek. "There's just no way it can be you." M ikoto solemnly reflected as her heart clenched in hurt and
regret. She collapsed to her knees. "There's just no wayit has to be a coincidence" She tried to convince herself. It had to be! Names,
like anything, were common, right? But, somehow, deep within her heart, M ikoto knew there was no mistaking it.
"It can't be...it just can't!" M ikoto screamed to the heavens, breathing in and out while her body shuddered. "They told me you
died.Aisu-kun," she uttered the name with the unmistakable toneof forlorn fondness.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Konoha Ninja Academy, 0900 hours)
The Konoha Academy was buzzing with activity as students from all four grade levels were excited as they were entering the coveted
school.
Naruto appeared in a flash, a bluish blur in his wake, nearby a less crowded area in the Academy. The reasoning was, even now, the trio
wanted to mask just how massive the gap was between them and everyone else in their graduating class. Although he somehow
suspected that the Hokage knew, he didn't want them to know he had created a technique all on his own. It would've caused too much
questioning and unneeded bullshit that the blond most definitely did not want to put up with. Besides, they hadn't graduated, yet, and
their mother's rule of 'No showing advanced techniques' still technically applied. After they received their headbands, everything after
that was fair game.
Naruto grinned as he saw a flourishing whirlwind of cherry blossom petals swirl in a circular dome shape about three meters away from
him. The tornado-like petal storm stopped to reveal a pink-haired kunoichi who looked severely irritated and annoyed.
"Love your unique Shunshin no Jutsu, Sakura-chan. The swirling effect with the petals is pretty kickass," Naruto complimented with a
smirk, both in genuine admiration and in an attempt to calm the Haruno.
While she was secretly flattered that Naruto praised her unique form of the Body Flicker techniquealso known as the Hanachiri
Shunshin (Flower-Dispersing Body Flicker), she was still highly annoyed, and by the gods, she was going to let the blond know it!
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Naruto-kun," Sakura intoned, her voice traced with irritation. "You clearly got a head start!" She pouted,
crossing her arms as if she were saying, 'What do you have to say for yourself?'
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "You really think if it were opposite, that it would've made a difference?" Naruto retorted. To outside
parties, it would've sounded arrogant, but Sakura knew better. The blond was simply stating undeniable facts. He would've won
regardless or not if Sakura had started first or they had started at the same time.
Sakura sighed in defeat. "I guess not," she conceded with a grumble. "But hell, it can't hurt to try, can it?" All she got was a simple shrug
from the leader of the Golden Trio.
"By the way, where's Sasuke?" Naruto asked as he scanned around for him.
"Right here," a familiar voice called out before dropping down in front of them. "I took the classic way here."
"Jumping on the rooftops?" Naruto deduced, with a raised eyebrow. "Why? You know you can get here much faster than that, by
alternate methods."

"Yeeeeah, but still, I didn't want to get here too early. Beats being bugged by our fan girls," Sasuke shuddered.
Sakura moaned. "Ugh. I can't stand them. Even after I put them in their place, they seem to not want to back down, thinking I'm out to
'steal' you guys from them." The two boys were completely silent and expressionless, choosing not to comment one way or the other.
"Let's go inside," Naruto suggested, effectively ignoring what Sakura said. Sasuke gave a verbally concurred agreement with his blond
friend, and the duo left their only female friend very confused.
'Uhwhat just happened?' A perplexed Sakura thought to herself in worry. 'Is it just me or do those two avoid talking about their fan
girls' jealousy of me?' This wasn't the first time this had happened, and each time, Sakura grew more suspicious of their conspicuous
behavior. She didn't know what exactly the central reasoning behind it was, but she did know one thing: she, herself, had something to do
with it.
For all her intelligence, even Sakura should've seen something that was so utterly simple and obvious.
(Inside)
The entirety of the classes was abuzz with activity. Seeing as this was graduation day, the instructors were far more lenient with what
they allowed the inexperienced assassins to do on a whim. The reforms and changes to the curriculum had installed more discipline, yes,
but at their core, they were still were children who liked to have a good time.
"Yo, Sasuke, Naruto!" Kiba, the Inuzuka clan heir, grinned, greeting the Uchiha and Uzumaki. Like all of the members of the caninebased clan, he had his dog with him at all times, the bleached-colored Akamaru perking on top of his head. Although still a bit hotheaded
like the early days of the academy, he had mellowed out somewhat.
"What's up, Kiba, Akamaru?" Naruto returned the greeting, while Sasuke just nodded.
"Just ready to take this exam and start being a real shinobi and going on real missions!" the Inuzuka heir happily exclaimed, gusto coating
every word that rolled out.
"How do you think we feel? We've been ready to leave for four years!" Sasuke replied indignantly. Kiba almost assuredly thought he
was exaggerating; however, he really wasn't. They could've been genin three years ago, had it not been for M ikoto forcing them to stay
all four years.
"Heh," Naruto huffed, a bit bemused by Sasuke's clear irritation at having to wait. He accepted and stopped caring about it a long time
ago. In fact, he actually kind of liked it. If they had graduated early, he'd had no doubt that he'd still be in the process of creating
Ibitsuyumi. "I wonder who'll be top grad." Naruto absentmindedly wondered aloud, a bit more to himself than anyone else.
"Oh, can it, Naruto. Everyone knows it's going to be you, Sasuke, or Sakura," came the dry and snarky reply from Shikamaru. Naruto
turned to him, who looked at him with a bored expression as he was sitting by Chouji, a portly fellow who munched on some potato
chips.
"Come on, Shikamaru. Everyone knows that if you tried, your scores could be as high, if not higher than ours," he countered.
Shikamaru grunted. "That'd be far too troublesome," he lazily retorted, his eyes cast down in a drag. His eyes then turned to Naruto with
half-seriousness. "Besideswe know you three are simply holding back," he told him, barely above a whisper. Naruto raised an
eyebrow before the Nara explained. "I'm not stupid, you all are holding back and you don't want everyone to know it, just yet. Hell, I
bet you guys could beat our instructors if need be."
The two boys nodded, silently. It was true. They had surpassed Iruka and his other instructors long ago. He was almost positive they
didn't suspect a thing, as they never, ever used any elemental ninjutsu in the presence of others outside of their family. As far they
knew, they were simply exceptionally talented students not seen since the likes of the Yondaime Hokage, the White Fang, and the
Sannin.
"There you guys are," Sakura huffed out as she lagged from the rear, interrupting whatever reply either male was going to say. "Guys
kind of justleft me," she resentfully added.
"Oisorry, Sakura." Sasuke sheepishly rubbed the back of his head. She shook her head and took a seat, as did the two of them beside
her. The three best friends enjoyed the comfortable silence among them, waiting patiently for their head instructor to arrive.
They didn't have to wait long. Before they knew it, the dolphin-named instructor had opened the door to the class and crossed the
threshold. Within five seconds the class had quieted down into total silence and gave him their undivided attention.

Iruka smiled and nodded approvingly. 'Wow, these kids sure have come a long way since we started. Such discipline. Hokage-sama's
reforms couldn't have come at a better time. The changes are like day and night!' He shook his head a bit, before he got too lost in his
thoughts.
The head instructor cleared his throat before he began. "First off, I'd like to congratulate you all on making it this far. Although you
haven't graduated yet, this kind of field isn't for the lighthearted or the faint. Not everyone can be a shinobi. Even with the reforms made
by Hokage-sama to increase standards all around, you still stuck through it through thick and thin."
Naruto had to inwardly snort. 'Please. This was nothing compared to what kaa-san put us through. All three of us could likely solo the
entire class at the same time and assuredly completely stomp them if we could work as a team.'
"Is that a bit of arrogance I hear in your head, kid?" the Fox snickered, bemusement lining his voice.
Naruto snorted a bit. 'You and I both know it's the truth.'
The Fox shook his head. "That may be true, but you still have a long way to go. You can't get complacent and think it's going to
stay that way forever. I've seen this side of you kid, and frankly, I don't like it. In some ways you're honestly starting to
remind me of the Uchiha clan."
Even though the blonde couldn't see him, he could practically feel the frown the fox would have if he could. He sighed. 'All rightI get it.
I won't get complacent. I'll simply train to make sure I'm the strongest shinobi I can be!"
The Kyuubi smirked. "Much better."
"So, now, we'll call your name and you'll be proceeded into the back room where you'll take your graduation test and receive your
official Konoha headband!" Iruka beamed proudly at the thirty-plus individuals in the room. He then grinned. "So who's going to go
first?"
Half of the students in the entire room raised their hands, eager to graduate and get the hell out of the academy. The Golden Triad,
however, surprisingly didn't.
"I'm showing off," Naruto declared randomly. "I'm graduating and this guy is not going to give a single fuck this day. I've held back long
enough."
"Uh huh," Sakura sighed, rolling her eyes and leaning back in her seat. "Just don't do anything too flashy."
Sasuke shrugged. "M eh, do what you want. I don't care as long as I pass with honors. We're probably going to have to share the Rookie
of the Year spot, anyhow."
Naruto agreed. "Probably. But for nowwe wait."
The tallest of the trio closed his eyes as he began to meditate and practice using the Chakra Hankyouteii. Although he, like the other
two, had extremely high proficiency with it, practice never hurt anyone. It kept his skills as a sensor sharp. One-by-one, he could feel
the fluctuations of chakra, as young students officially became full-fledged shinobi.
Finally, he heard his name get called. "Well, I guess that's me," Naruto grinned as he hopped out of his seat.
"Wait, Naruto-kun," Sakura called out to him before he went down the steps. He turned back to her with a raised brow.
"What is it, Sakura-chan?" the blonde inquired. She smiled at him and moved closer to him. She brought her lips to the side of his face for
a quick peck on his cheek. Naruto's eyes widened a bit in sheer surprise and shock. His cheeks turned bright pink as some in the class
had their jaws on the floor.
"That was for luck," she grinned slyly at him.
"IIth-thanks" he stuttered out still completely stunned by what his rosette-haired friend had done. He rubbed his cheeks as he
walked down towards the backroom where the exam was being handed.
Sakura smiled and turned to Sasuke who was giving her an emotionless stare. She flinched a bit, seeing the look in his eyes. He wasn't
just angry, he was completely furious.
"Why did you do that, Sakura?" he practically spat, biting back the venom he wanted to spew out at the twelve-year-old girl.

Sakura narrowed her eyes. "It's just like I said, it was for good luck, Sasuke-kun," she defended. "What the hell is the matter with you?"
He clenched his fists under the table, trying his best to calm down. "It's nothing, Sakura," he scowled in barely hidden contempt, turning
away from her.
"Sasuke-kun, look at me," she commanded, which was ignored. Sakura grunted in annoyance and gently turned his head toward her,
soothing his cheeks. His eyes were hardened, but had a noticeable layer of softness in them, causing her to smile. Guess he wasn't as
angry as she thought.
"Please, don't be mad at me, Sasuke-kun," she pleaded, staring directly in his onyx orbs. "I know that was out of the blue, but, if it
makes you feel better." She kissed his cheek as well. "That was for your luck and so you'd feel better."
The Uchiha almost turned a brighter red than even Naruto. A slow smile crept on his face, his mood instantly turning better.
"Thanks, Sakura," he thanked.
She only grinned back at him.
(Inside the testing room)
Unaware of the transgression that occurred on the outside with his two friends, Naruto entered the room with an air of complete
confidence in his abilities. Walking in the center of the room; Iruka and his blue-haired assistant M izuki were sitting behind a desk.
"Iruka-sensei, M izuki-sensei," Naruto acknowledged with a curt nod, which was returned by both senior instructors.
Iruka cleared his throat. "Well, Naruto, looks like this is finally it, eh?"
"Yep," Naruto agreed, grinning. "Sowhat's our final exam, sensei?" he finally asked, staring at the brunette intently. Iruka gave a halfsmile, half-smirk. Naruto's razor-sharp vision caught the gesture. The blonde only raised a brow ever so slightly to indicate that he had
his interest piqued.
"Well, Naruto, it's actually quite simple," Iruka admitted. "You simply have to perform the Academy jutsu in a manner we deem
proficient," he explained to a gapping blonde.
"...You're kidding me right? That's it? Four years and that's our exam?" Naruto had barely bit back his complete disgust. So much for
reforms.
M izuki actually smirked. "Don't be so sure, Naruto. There's always more to everything than meets the eye," he cryptically remarked.
The Uzumaki narrowed his eyes ever so slightly, as his tactical mind started to analyze what the blue-haired instructor just uttered.
'More to it than meets the eye? Does that mean there's another part of the test we don't know about? No, that can't be right. Everyone that
went before me passed the exam. Granted, if they couldn't do these three jutsu by now, they should've washed out a long time ago. Surely
with all the reforms they wouldn't make it this easy on graduation day. I mean this exam would basically guarantee that everyone who
stepped foot in this room would pass and then-,' Naruto's thoughts were cut off as realization dawned on him like the bright and early
sun. 'That's it! It isn't the real test! The real test comes with our sensei!'
Naruto then smirked a bit. "I see, M izuki-sensei," he replied giving them a knowing look with a twinge of smug.
Iruka smiled. 'So you figured it out, eh, Naruto? Heh, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You're one of a kind, kid,' the chuunin thought
before speaking yet again. "I don't mean to rush you, Naruto, but we do have others waiting," he reminded him.
The jinchuuriki gave a fox like grin. "Okay, Iruka-sensei, but do you mind if I do all three techniques at once?" he innocently asked.
Iruka raised both his eyebrows and turned to M izuki. The blue-haired instructor simply shrugged, indicating he didn't care. "Umsure,"
he approved, not knowing where the blond was going with this.
Naruto smirked before he held the index and middle fingers of both hands in a cross shaped position. Both chunin's eyes widened, as
realization dawned on them what jutsu the blonde was about to do.
"Kage Bunshin no Jutsu! (Shadow Clone Technique!)" Naruto cried, as a perfect replica of himself appeared a few meters beside him in
a plume of white smoke. Not even wasting a single second, the blonde did the Tiger Seal. "Henge no Jutsu (Transformation Technique),"
he cried out again, turning into a flawless version of the dolphin-named instructor. Naruto's doppelganger, mimicking the ultra-fast
reflexes and reaction speed of the original, reached into the holsters on his legs to throw a plethora of shuriken and kunai at the

transformed ninja. They hit dead on target, 'Naruto's' body going limb, and vanishing to reveal a log instead with all the weapons
embedded into its bark. All of this happened in the timespan of approximately 3.45 seconds.
The log vanished in plume of smoke, leaving a smirking Naruto in its steed. "Sodo I pass?" he rhetorically quipped. The jaws of both
instructors were on the floor.
"Umo-of co-course," Iruka stuttered out, his mind still barely registering what he saw. 'He can perform the Kage Bunshin jutsu! His
precision, timing, and execution were completely flawless. Just what the hell have you been teaching him, Mikoto-san?' he inwardly
queried with a gulp. "Here you go, Naruto," Iruka smiled before tossing him a hitai-ate or headband. Naruto caught it with utter ease and
returned the smile. "One hundred points. Perfect score." The blonde had to grin at that.
"Thank you both, Iruka-sensei, M izuki-sensei. It was an honor," he declared with a formal bow. Iruka, and surprisingly, M izuki
returned the gesture. Well, as best as one could while sitting.
"Congratulations on becoming an official genin of the Hidden Leaf," the brunette instructor congratulated. Naruto put the hitai-ate on his
forehead, replacing the headband already on that region of his face. They had to admit; it looked damn good on the jinchuuriki.
"Be here tomorrow morning, same time for Jounin assignments," M izuki ordered. Naruto nodded cordially and left the room with a huge
smile on his face.
Sakura immediately tackled him in hug almost making him lose his footing. "You're officially a ninja, Naruto-kun!" she squealed with joy.
Naruto laughed heartily and returned the pink-haired girl's embrace.
"You knew I'd pass," he pointed out letting her go.
She grinned at him. "I know," she admitted. "But still, you're a genin now!"
"Heh, I guess I am, huh?" he huffed out, with a small chuckle.
"What's the exam?" Sasuke asked walking towards the two. He gave a silent nod to his best friend turned brother. It was the Uchiha
scion's way of congratulating him.
"It's ridiculously easy, but there's more to it than meets the eye," he intoned in the same manner M izuki did. They both gave him
confused stares before he waved them off. "You'll see when you take it, I promise," he assured. They looked at each other before
shrugging in acceptance.
The beamed expression Naruto had on his face simply wouldn't go away. He couldn't wait till he got home to show his mother.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Hokage's Tower, 1015 hours)
"Impressive, isn't he?" Hiruzen smirked a bit as he blew out a puff of smoke from his nostrils. The Third Fire Shadow had taken upon
himself to watch the genin exams using his crystal ball. Foremost, it was to see the fruits of the reforms he had decreed three years
earlier, and secondarily it was to see how well the 'Golden Trio' had progressed in strength.
"I'd have to agree, Hokage-sama," came the voice of the man in front of the Hokage. He was tall, lean, and built male with silver hair that
seemed to defy gravity. The man wore standard Konoha shinobi gear, but the most noteworthy was his hitai-ate covered his left eye,
similar to an eye patch used by pirates around the world. "Naruto sure is impressive. He sure has grown from the last time I saw him.
Hard to believe this kid used to be a notorious prankster."
"The boy sure has mellowed out, quite a bit, Kakashi," Hiruzen noted, dismissing the image in his crystal ball with a wave of his hand,
effectively, spying on the academy no more.
"I can see that, Hokage-sama," the newly named Kakashi, agreed. "I'm guessing you're putting him and his companions on the same
team?"
Hiruzen set his pipe down and nodded in confirmation. "Yes. Ordinarily, they likely would've been placed on separate teams due to
how" Hiruzen grimaced a bit. "'unbalanced' it would be for the top three students to be on the same genin squad."
"Hindsight's kicking in, sir?" Kakashi quipped humorously. The Hokage grunted, not amused.
"It has," he confirmed. "I was foolish to think that pairing students off in a brusque way could backfire in a plethora of ways.

Particularly, the tradition of pairing the worst ranked student with the rookie of the year."
Kakashi gave a subtle, sidelong look as his eye held some form of desolation. He knew how that was all too well.
"Besides, I couldn't, in good conscience, separate the three anyway. They work well together."
"We'll see," Kakashi spoke with his arbitrary skepticism. "Tomorrow will be their true test. I'll get to see how good the 'Golden Trio'
really are."
Hiruzen refused to smirk, as he feared he would've busted into uncontrollable laughter. 'You have absolutely no idea, Kakashi. You're in
for one hell of a surprise tomorrow,' he thought amused. "You will. I have no doubt they'll pass, but with you as their sensei, who
knows?" the Hokage shrugged. He inwardly smirked, deviously. The Sandaime knew they'd pass the bell test with flying colors
tomorrow without a single doubt in his mind, even in spite of Kakashi. However, he just needed say the right words for Jounin to let his
guard down and underestimate the three. It was the Hokage's subtle way of punishing him for being tardy in the past. It was an
opportunity he just couldn't pass up.
The cyclopean Jounin nodded and bowed. Hiruzen was about to dismiss him before he heard a knock on the door to enter his office.
Kakashi started to make his way towards the door after the Sarutobi clan head gave him a curt nod of dismissal.
"Come in," he permitted as the door opened to reveal M ikoto Uchiha with a yellow newscroll in her hand. Her expression was neutral,
but the two seasoned veterans could see the seething rage behind her eyes and the tight clenching of the scroll.
"M ikoto-san," Kakashi greeted formally to the widow, bobbing his head towards her in respect. She returned the gesture out of
politeness, but her eyes were still cold as a glacier and she was leering at the Hokage with the venom of a cobra.
Figuring now was a good time for him to exit stage left, the Copy Ninja crossed the threshold of the office and shut the door behind him.
"M ikoto-chan," Hiruzen began, interlocking his fingers and resting his elbows on his desk. He was well aware of the waves of anger and
subtle killer intent coming off of her, but chose not to comment in favor of a neutral and professional tone. Somehow, he knew that
probably wouldn't last long, if at all. "What brings you here?"
"What brings me, here you ask?" she laughed sarcastically, causing Hiruzen to frown. "What brings me here?" she shouted, not even
trying to hide her ire. She skillfully tossed the newscroll in such a way that it opened up across the entire length of his desk. "Explain
that to me, Hokage-sama!"
Although a bit confused by her sudden and, truthfully, out-of-nowhere, outburst the Fire Shadow looked down at the headline and his
eyes went wide.
"M ikoto-chan I-" he tried to explain before he was cut off.
"You lied to me!" she accused, her fists clenched so tightly that Hiruzen thought they might bleed. "All those nights I was depressed.
Where I couldn't sleep, feeling guilty because I couldn't do a goddamn thing and then lo and behold I find out this!" M ikoto quite frankly
didn't care that she was openly disrespecting a legendary shinobi. Considering the magnitude of what the Sarutobi clan head had done, it
was the last thing on her mind.
Hiruzen gave a downcasted look. "I'm sorry, M ikoto-chan," he told her genuinely. "I never wanted this to happen. I've always did the
best for Konoha and" he trailed off, not sure where to go from there.
"You call practically erasing someone from the village as if they never existed the best thing for Konoha!" she roared. "Aisu-kun was-"
He slammed his fist on his desk in fury, fighting fire with fire. "I know what the hell Aisu was! But I didn't have a choice after what he
did!"
M ikoto's eyes narrowed. "Need I remind you, Hokage-sama, that YOU are partly responsible for how he turned out the way he did,
YOU were the one who was supposed to be the light when he was always constantly being overshadowed and YOU abandoned him
when he needed you the most," she retorted, making emphasis on the fact that they were his mistakes.
He couldn't deny any of those facts, but truthfully, it wasn't his entire fault. "I was in a near uncompromising situation, M ikotoI did
what I had to do," he reasoned, although, inwardly he wasn't so sure himself.
"So, why did you tell me that he died then after that incident?" she asked the million ryou question. "I loved him, Hokage-sama!" By
now, she was inhaling deeply as tears fell down her eyes as memories of her one-sided affection for the brunette shinobi resurfaced in her

mind.
"I know" Hiruzen admitted. "I didn't know what to do. He ran awayand considering what he was, I couldn't let his betrayal tarnish
the village's name."
"So you told me he died and went out of your way to erase traces of his existence from the village?" M ikoto couldn't just help but to
laugh at the situation. "Wowand let me guess, you had help from the Yamanaka clan too, huh?"
His silent told her all that she needed to know and she shook her head. "And look where it gets you, twenty years later, Hokage-sama.
Aisu-kun has changed completely, partly due to you and his family and now he's the leader of the most brutal organization in the entire
continent. Funny, you always told Aisu-kun that he'd be destined to change the world. The things you've done, Hokage-samaI
honestly am not sure how you even live with yourself. First, Aisu-kun, then Orochimaru, and now this." It was a low blow, and she
knew it, but the Fire Shadow needed to be hammered in of just how monumental his sins were.
'You have absolutely no idea, Mikoto-chan,' he thought bitterly and solemnly.
She turned away from him in disgust. "Don't get me wrong, Hokage-sama, I respect your rank and will continue to fight for the village as
I always have, but what you did was disgraceful and I don't care if you're the Hokage or not, it's the honest-to-the-gods truth."
"I'm not going to tell anyone," she told him, allaying him of his concern. "Because the truth will come out and I guarantee it will be from
Aisu-kun himself. You already have enough to deal with, so I'll spare you that much," she said bitterly, before narrowing her eyes again.
"Butyou will tell me the entire truth one day. When I mean the entire truth, I mean everything! The background details, secrets,
threads that were woven before it happened. All of it." It wasn't a request. It was an outright demand.
"I will," Hiruzen promised, without hesitation. If this was any other person, he would've outright refused and rebuked them for making a
demand of that magnitude about an S-class secret that even Danzo himself was completely unaware of. In some twisted sort of way, he
was indirectly responsible for breaking her heart twice. He owed the Uchiha too much to refuse.
M ikoto breathed out with a sigh and nodded in thanks. She bowed respectfully and then dismissed herself from the room.
'OrchimaruItachiAisutruly you three are a monument to all of my sins,' The wizened Hokage thought in a defeated manner. He
pulled back the drawer to his left, yet again. It was a bottle of sake that was completely full. Hiruzen didn't waste a single second
gulping down its contents to take his desires away.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Hokage M onument, 1200 hours)
On top of the famed monument that had the faces of all its leaders carved into the mountainside, stood a lone figure. A red robe with a
hood covered gold and black armor plating that held together by two belts. A golden mouthpiece for the bottom portion of his face was
covered and a white opera mask the top. His aqua blue eyes pierced through the eyelids of the mask.
"Soafter finally travelling for so long, I finally reach the perpetuated Village Hidden in the Leaves," he intoned sadistically. His style
of voice had a synthetic tone to it, almost as if he were a machine that had a voice echoed, slightly. "I must say, I'm not impressed," he
remarked indignantly, crossing his arms.
He walked back toward the base of the mountain as a dark aura surrounded him and blood red patterns started to appear on his plated
arm. He did several hand motions before calling out, "Renkinjutsu: Tenteikra (Alchemic Art: Heavenly Void Net)," he called out as a
square shaped form of energy appeared before him.
Inside the square, the same bald headed man in a white suit, he had spoken too after the coup in the Hidden Cloud appeared, although,
obviously, he wasn't physically there, it was just a projection.
"Ah, my Regent. You've finally made it to the Elemental Nations, I see," the man observed.
"Of course, Ashtear. Theseshinobi are more primitive than even I thought," the masked man spat in disgust and contempt.
"Of course, they wouldn't have the technological wonders of those of western civilization," Ashtear replied. "Though I must say, I'm
impressed that the Tenteikra could reach me, even though I'm thousands of miles away."
The masked man's eyes narrowed. "I'm an Alchemic master, you fool. Don't forget where your place is on the totem pole, Ashtear," he
warned, dangerously.

"I apologize, my Regent," he apologized fearfully. The Regent of the M ask simply snarled, neither denying nor accepting the apology.
"How goes the construction of the Daedalus?" he inquired, changing the subject completely.
"It's progressing smoothly as it can. It's an enormous investment, along with building its sister ships, Atlas and Olympus," Ashtear
replied. "For now, though, we can't send many more of our troops safely pass the frontier regions that separate Europa and the
Elemental Nations. Even with our advanced technology and knowledge of Alchemy, the geological structures and climate is too unstable
for us to send massive amounts of our men and materiel without heavy losses. You'll have to make due with a few hundred at a time, if
that every three months, two at best."
The masked man nodded, having expecting this. "Very well. I shall make due with the men that I brought with me. They'll be enough. We
have at least three years before Aisu starts his little war."
"What will you do in the meantime?"
"I told you that Naruto would be the catalyst as we make our existence known to the world." Although his face was covered, the bald
alchemist just knew that he was smirking. "But firstI need to visit a certain snake. He has something I need and I will get it. With or
without his cooperation."
Ashtear smiled deviously. "I understand, my Regent."
"I'll check back in for a progress update within the week. For now, continue the construction of those ships as planned." Without even
saying a farewell, the masked-man cut off the connection towards the western continent.
He looked back towards the village with a vicious smile behind his mask. Soon, this village along with the rest of these primitive animals
would feel the entire wrath of the Lords of Alchemy. Turning on his heel, he surrounded himself in a shadowy aura and vanished from
sight.
Not a single individual would have ever known he was there.
(END)
And we finally come to a close. So it seems new players are stepping in to take the ninja world by storm, and they're not even from the
same continent? It also seems that Hiruzen's sins are coming to a head as it's revealed that he indirectly had a hand in Aisu's descent into
darkness.
So, now, I'm going to have a quick Q&A, both to clear up some misconceptions and questions that I constantly get.
Q: How do you properly pronounce Aisu and Obano's names?
A: Aisu is pronounced A(as in the English letter in the alphabet)-Sue. A-Sue. It's NOT 'eye-sue'. Oh-bahn-yo.
Q: Why is Aisu genuinely affectionate to Ayasaki, yet cold-blooded and manipulative towards almost everyone else?
A: You'll know when I reveal his entire backstory, which won't be for a while. There's a huge reason of why he turned out "evil". And I
only say "evil" as it's going to be from a certain point-of-view where it'll be up to your interpretation of whether or not he's justified in
his hatred.
Q: How strong is Team 7, currently?
A: Let's put it this way. They'd completely stomp any of the genin in the village, save for, maybe, Team Gai and even then, that's
doubtful.
Q: Don't you think they might be a bit powerful as of now?
A: M aybe, maybe not. The thing is, though, the title of this story is "Konoha's Transcendent Ninja". I wouldn't be doing them justice if
I were just going to just keep them a notch above everyone else. That's stupid as hell to me. Considering they have a lot of future
enemies right now that would absolutely crush them utterly without even breaking a sweat, I'd say their strength as of now is more than
justified after I spent 10 chapters of building them up. M ost authors simply due time skips and leave it at that, but I didn't.
Q: Do Naruto and S akura have a crush on S akura?
A: You fucking tell me.
Q: Why'd you go back on your word when you said Naruto wasn't going to get a bloodline?

A: That was chapter one, and remember that was released almost two years ago and I didn't update till a year later. By then I had
already had some fresh new ideas. Here's a fun fact: M ikoto originally was supposed to die like the rest of the Uchiha and Kumo was
going to be glossed over in the background instead of going fully detailed. I simply changed my mind. Deal with it.
Q: What about Tetsuya?
A: I haven't forgotten about him. He WILL get his due trust me. Don't think for a second that that subplot has been dropped.
Q: Does Hiruzen know about S akura's abuse?
A: No. He doesn't. If he did he would've killed Tetsuya. Which is why only Team 7 and M ikoto know about it. She's going to kill him.
Telling the Hokage would rob her of that honor.
Q: How did the Regent sneak into the village undetected?
A: He is an Alchemy M aster. They use chakra as a primary means of detection. It's an unknown unknown. Put two and two together.
Q: Where does Western Continent, a.k.a Europa, fit in in terms of technology compared to us in the real world?
A: Depends on what the object in question is a some of it's from different time periods for us. In general though, I'd say the majority of
their tech is the equivalent of the US in the later 1940s, early 1950s.
Q: Wouldn't that be one-sided in favor of Europa and the alchemists when they face the shinobi?
A: Ha! Not even close. You'll see how it plays out in due time. It's going to be absolutely brutal for both sides. Have a little faith.
Q: Why would LOA (Lord's of Alchemy), help Aisu when they seemingly hate ninjutsu?
A: There's a reason. I'm simply not going to tell you, until I reveal it. It's just that simple.
Q: Is Alchemy here, similar to Fullmetal Alchemist?
A: Yep. But there are certain branches of it that completely contradict the lore in FM A.
Q: Is there a reference I can use to get a clearer picture of Naruto's invented jutsu?
A: Why, yes. If you played inFamous on the Playstation 3, and got to the final battle with Kessler, that's essentially what Naruto is
doing when he's using Ibitsuyumi.
Now for something completely new: A jutsu/Romanji guide!
Hanachiri S hunshin (Flower-Dispersing Body Flicker): A unique B-rank form of the Shunshin no Jutsu, created by Sakura Haruno.
In principle it works the exact same way as the original technique, but instead of a flicker or a puff of smoke, she leaves a swirling storm
of cherry blossoms in her wake.
Ibitsuyumi (Distorted S tep): B-Rank technique created by Naruto. By propelling a vast, controlled burst of chakra beneath his feet,
Naruto turns it frictionless and propels himself forward at high-speeds, leaving a bluish blur in his wake.
All right, that's it for now. Please! Leave a review of what you thought. They only help motivate me. :D
Until next time!
-Arashi.

*Chapter 12*: Birth of Squad Seven


Eternal Legends: Konoha's Transcendent Ninja
Chapter Twelve: Birth of Squad Seven
What's up everyone? I present to you the twelfth installment of Eternal Legends! It finally happened! I finally crossed the two
hundredth review mark! :D Thanks Gaaraxx33, your 200th review that crossed that threshold was well appreciated.
This chapter is likely going to be shorter than chapter eleven for a plethora of reasons. For one, I decided against to make this chapter
the "monster" one. Second, chapter thirteen will be an exclusive chapter focusing on the societal, economical, political and military
vicissitudes in Kumogakure. I was originally going to include it in this chapter, but after much planning and outlining I realized that the
chapter would be unnecessarily colossal and it wouldn't flow as well as the other point-of-view switches from chapters four through
eight. I have so much to cover on that front that I guarantee that even with breaks, this chapter would've been a complete chore to read
due to the obscene length of both sides of the continent.
So, consequently, you're getting your third consecutive Konoha exclusive chapter. They'll return in chapter fourteen where the main
meat of the story the both follows and diverges from the manga (heh, like I haven't already, :P) as well as a twist in the Wave arc that
will pretty much set the foundation of the entire story till the bitter end.
WARNING! As you can probably already tell if you paid close attention, I have a LOT of this story already planned out; it's just that I
have to fill in the meat to get there. There are some things, although relatively minor and few, that were, admittedly, made up as I went
along (M ikoto being alive and their sensei being the biggest), but for the most part, I have this story planned out from when they were
eight, all the way up to climax of the final showdown with the Hidden Cloud.
As such I feel I should tell you this. If you're an astute reader, you should already have a guess to just how big of a scope everything is
going to get with the Hidden Cloud, Akatsuki, the Lords of Alchemy, and Europa, itself (hint, hint). In fact, when I calculated it all in
my head of what I wanted to do and where I wanted this story to go, I can almost guarantee that this story, when I eventually get to the
infamous three-year time skip that this story will be split up into two (yes, you read that right, two)stories running parallel to each other
in the same universe in the same time frame, more or less. Why? The answer should be obvious if you paid attention.
So, why exactly the "warning" label, you ask? Simply put, this story is going to get big, dare I say, epic in scope. M eaning there will be
a lot of characters, both original and familiar, a lot of plot, backstory, character history and development and lots of battles. While there
will be light-hearted moments and tongue-and-cheek humor, it's going to get very dark and tragic.
I'm not like most authors who will just spell everything out for you like you're a child. No, I expect you to take me seriously and it's
only fair that I extend that same courtesy to you. I will foreshadow future events with even the smallest of details, imply certain things
about the lore in my story where I don't directly say, and give you believable, sympathetic villains that you can relate to. No stupid
black and white morality here.
So here's what that means to you: I will make callbacks to even the smallest points in the story; some subtle, some completely obvious,
and some not really quantifiable in either category, meaning that everything I write will assume that you've read the fine details from
beginning to end and will treat you as if you're a hardcore fan of the story.
Of course, considering that by the time I get to the war, I will be well over 600k words in total that you can't remember everything, so I
will, at some point in the future, be creating a guide on my profile explaining all the various factions and bios of all my OCs to jog that
noggin of yours in case you forget. Am I stretching myself thin? M aybe, and then again, maybe not. I don't know. And I won't know
until I try. Ever heard the saying: The bigger the risk, the bigger reward? Trust me, if I pull what I have in this noggin of mind, I
guarantee you that this story will be in everyone's top ten, if not top five favorite fan fics of all time. Ultimately, I hope that someone or
a group will make a TVTropes article for this fic, which I would most definitely cry tears of goddamn JOY if I saw.
If you think you're up to the challenge of having a Fanfic that takes you seriously and you think you can make educated guesses as to
where the story will go and you can handle your brain being overloaded with pure badass, then, by all means, continue with eagerness. If
notwellsee how long you last until the scope becomes too large that it obstructs your view.
Sorry for the overtly long author's note, but you most definitely need to know what you're getting yourself into. So without further ado,
Full Disclaimer: Naruto is the property of M asashi Kishimoto, Shonen Jump, ViZ media, and all other related companies. I make no
claim of any characters from the manga and anime and own all OCs that may appear from time to time. I also make no claim of elements
used from certain video games such as Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty, Uncharted, Warhawk/Starhawk, Halo, Killzone, God of War and

Resistance which are under the copyright ownership of Team Ninja, Infinity Ward, Naughty Dog, Incognito, 343 Studios, Guerilla
Games, Sony Santa M onica, and Insomniac as well as the publishing rights of Tecmo, Activision, M icrosoft Game Studios and Sony
Computer Entertainment America/Europe, respectively.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Konoha Ninja Academy 1300)
Naruto couldn't help but grin as Sakura came out of the back room with a Konoha headband adorned on her forehead. The rosette haired
girl was the last of the Golden Trio to take her graduation exam and she, like Naruto and Sasuke, scored a perfect one-hundred points.
Unsurprisingly, they all had to share the title of rookies of the year.
Sakura gave him a smile back as the three best friends walked out of the Academy with their heads held extremely high. They were one
step closer to their collective and individual goals.
Collectively, all three of them wanted to not only surpass the Densetsu no Sannin as the most powerful shinobi team Konoha had
produced, but they also wanted to become the most powerful shinobi team in the entirety of the Elemental Nations. However, it was
still a long ways off. Even if they were Jounin-class in terms of skill and overall ability, there were still, undoubtedly, ninja that they
looked like mere ants in comparison. On the other hand, in turn, that also meant that they were the strongest genin to come out of
Konoha since the Yondaime's generation (who was even more powerful than Itachi when he graduated).
Deciding to not want to go home just yet, the triad of siblings in all but blood decided to watch the village from atop of the Hokage
monument. Naruto and Sasuke stood with their arms crossed on the edge of the Fourth's head, while Sakura sat blissfully with her legs
dangling off the edge.
"So it seems we're one step closer" came the voice of Naruto as he stared into the setting sun with calculating eyes.
Sakura nodded with a smile. "Indeed so. Though, I can't help but wonder who our sensei is going to be," she wondered aloud.
Her two friends shrugged.
"Hard to say," Sasuke commented. "Technically, any number of Jounin can be pulled to be a genin sensei. Honestly, I hope it's someone
who's stronger than we are."
There was no arguing there. The three had to hold back when sparring Iruka, M izuki, or any Academy instructor. They could've beaten
them with relative ease if they truly wanted to. The only reason the three had chosen not to was because M ikoto had forbidden it.
Otherwise, they'd have outright stomped them each and every single time.
"Oh, crap! I almost forgot!" Naruto cried suddenly, his body language changing instantly to one resembling panic.
"Huh? Forgot what?" the raven-haired Uchiha inquired with a raised brow.
"No time to explain! I'll meet you guys home!" he replied before jumping off the monument and vanishing using the Shunshin no Jutsu.
Sighing a bit, Sakura, in one swift motion, pushed herself up from her sitting position and back-flipped to stand next to Sasuke. "By the
gods, I'll never understand what he does sometimes."
"Neither will I, Sakura. Neither will I," he agreed as he shook his head. Sakura was about to reply when she heard a prideful roar in the
distance. She shifted her head around to where she thought the growl came from. Her eyes widened a bit as she recognized that area
immediately even from the highest point in the village: Training Ground Forty-Four, also known as the Forest of Death.
The black-haired genin looked at Sakura in confusion. "UmSakurawhat's wrong?"
She whipped her head back to him in disbelief. "What's wrong?" she inquired incredulously. "You're telling me you didn't hear that!?"
The Uchiha stared at her with a blank look on his face followed by a nervous laugh. "Uhno?" he replied cautiously. He truly had no
earthly idea what the kunoichi was talking about.
"You mean to tell me you didn't hear a roar just now? I half-thought I was in a savannah with apex predators for a split second!" Sakura
alleged.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed a bit. 'She heard a roar? That I didn't? I mean I want to call her crazy, but' Flashbacks of the creature he saw
three years ago came flooding back to his mind. He never told either his mother or his friends. He had been doing research in his spare

time of trying to find out just what exactlywhatever it was, was. Dead end after dead end convinced the Uchiha to stop his frantic
search for clues to the identity of the mysterious creature.
Even though he hadn't seen it in person for over three years, at least once a week, those chilling red eyes he saw bubbled up in his
dreams, in what he assumed were visions. All of these dreams consisted of various settings and towns burning to the ground in what
seemed to be either genocide of some sort by an unknown enemy or eventa fact that he wouldn't likely admit to Sakura or Naruto,
much less anyone else was the cause of it!
Some of the various landscapes and cities seemed inherently familiar, as he could tell they were various shinobi villages and towns from
sporadic parts of the Elemental Nations. However, in some of the visions the architecture looked completely alien to him, showing him
various towers that seemed to stretch toward the sky with glass windows, people traveling in some sort of machine that they rode on, as
well as machines that flew through the air at hundreds of miles per hour with a person sitting in a "pit" in the front covered by glass in a
dome-like oval shape. These cities were also on fire, but it seemed as if these humans were the cause of it with those strange machines he
had absolutely no idea were.
Could his visions and what Sakura heard be connected? It was pretty farfetched, he had to admit, but in hindsight, three years ago, he
was the only one who saw that creature's judgmental eyes as he felt his entire body go numb as his muscles failed to move. It was only a
few seconds real time, but to Sasuke, it felt like an eternity.
"I see," Sasuke finally acknowledged. "SakuraI think I might knowvaguely at leastbut I think it'll be best to wait until after
Naruto gets back."
Sakura nodded faintly to his suggestion. "All right, then, Sasuke-kun, you've got me interested," she admitted.
'Not the only thing I wish you were interested in' he thought sadly before dismissing such solemn thoughts from his head. "Yeah, this is
something both of you need to hear. Let's get home."
Sakura nodded and made a ram seal. She vanished from the top of the mountain that oversaw the entire village courtesy of the Hanachiri
Shunshin (Flower-Dispersing Body Flicker).
Sasuke grunted a bit as he watched the swirling storm of cherry blossoms encircle her form, in some minor form of envy. "Gods, damn
itI really need my own unique Shunshin," he muttered. With a long sigh, he simply vanished in a puff of smoke.
If Sasuke would've turned around he would've seen the same eyes of the creature he saw three years prior. It nodded to itself and
vanished, the sunlight both blocking its true form as well as its disappearing method
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Training Ground Forty-Four, dubbed "The Forest of Death")
A calm, ominous air swept through the dense training ground that served as the second stage of Konoha's Chunin Examinations. While it
wasn't even close to as diverse as some of the creatures that were in the jungles scattered across the Elemental Nations, it still held a
myriad of unique flora, insects, and animal species. The civilian taxonomists within the village had estimated they only discovered
roughly half of the various species within the forest.
The red-eyed creature suddenly appeared on a branch high up, glancing down at a cave hidden strategically from the residents of
Konoha. A snarl was heard from the cave, as the footsteps were loud enough to make ripples in nearby puddles. The beast within the
cave stopped before the exit and the only thing the red-eyed animal could see was its exotic, silver eyes with a black slit in the middle.
Its voice was masculine and in a deep baritone. "S o you finally returnKik."
Sasuke's mystery creature, apparently named Kik, nodded his head in affirmative. "I have, Bai. I've been observing the three for
quite some timeespecially the young Uchiha who Xelos-sama is most interested in."
Bai nodded. "Was the girl able to hear my mighty call?" he inquired, with a bit of boasting lanced in his query.
Kik resisted the urge to snort at Bai's thinly veiled ego. "S he was," the red-eyed creature confirmed, ignoring his minor annoyance.
"S he heard it plain as day and, as expected, the young Uchiha couldn't hear a thing."
"Of course not. Those whose hearts that are in tune with my kind can only hear the call. Though, I must say, I'm quite
impressed she was able to hear me. I had been calling sporadically for the past three years, in the hope that she would hear
me. I had almost given up hope," he confessed.

"Indeed. Normallywe would've waited at least another three yearsbut you know we couldn't afford to. Not with what's at
stake here," Kik spoke in a somber tone.
If Kik could've seen Bai frown, he would have. "You've already shown the Uchiha the visions?"
Kik bobbed his head in confirmation. "I made the link with him when I judged his heart to see if he was worthy of my clan's
power as Xelos-sama said he was. I was skeptical, I'll admit, due to his relations with such a prideful and haughty clan.
S urprisingly, I found his heart free from the arrogance that lead to their eventual destruction. After I deemed him worthy, in
my eyes, I passed on the dreams of my race to him. The visions are unclear, even to Xelos-sama and myselfbutone thing
is for sure. These three will play a vital role in the future if this world is to be saved from the madness of the summoner of
the Thunderbirds and who wields infamous Raiunsou (Thunder Cloud Talon)"
Venom and disgust traced the mythical summon's words as he practically spat out with unmistakable enmity.
The vigilant, silver eyes narrowed. "It's ironic a man once thought to be able to bring the world into a new era of peace would be
the root cause of its destruction. A shame, too
"He could've, or, if we're honest with ourselves, would've had one of our kind's powersbut we all know how that went" he
sighed sadly. Kik frowned, but said nothing further. "S peaking of Verandan-samahas he made contact, indirectly or not, with
the Namikaze boy? You and I both know the special relationship between his clan and his kind."
Kik shook his head. "No. Outside of having some of the younger kind watch over him, he has not. His bloodline is still
maturing and he hasn't even begun to tap into its full potential."
"I see," he neutrally intoned. "It seems the time draws even closer for them to have our power and allegiance."
"They will need it to survive the coming storm. The plans have been put in motion. The arduous roads that these three young
shinobi shall take will shape and change this world."
"The Namikaze boy, especially," Bai added in. "He has tremendous potential, both in terms of his ability in power and as a
natural leader."
"Considering he comes from such a regal lineage and bloodline, that should come as no surprise." A frigid chill went down his
spine. "S uch powerhis clan makes the likes of the S enju and the Uchiha seem like mere ants in comparison. The boy truly
has no idea just how potentially powerful he can become."
"Even surpassing his father?" Bai asked in wonder.
Kik paused for a bit, weighing on his exact answer. "I'm not sure," the majestic creature admitted. "his father was truly in a tier
of his own, surpassing even his clan members." Bai glared at him as if telling him to correct his statement. "Okaymost of his
family, then," he amended, "but, you knew what I meant."
Bai simply shrugged. "In any case, as I said before, the time draws near before our clans seek them out to give them our
power. We have much to teach and prepare them for and not a whole lot of time to do so," he gravely remarked.
The beast on top of the branch slowly nodded. "Their familiars haven't even been born, yet, which brings further cause for
concern. But, alas, we must have faith in Xelos-sama, Verandan-sama, and Byakko-sama."
The summon within the caverns bobbed its head in agreement. "I do believe so. With that being said, I bid you farewell, old friend.
I, as well as you, have much to prepare for. I wish you luck."
"As do I," came his curt reply. With a screeching cry of his flight call, Kik vanished in a blazing pillar, leaving black char marks in his
wake. Bai retreated back into the caverns, newfound determination in his eyes. He had seen the visions of the potential future this
world had. So long as he drew breath, he would walk through hell, itself, before he allowed them to come to pass.
But firsthe needed a nap; a good eighteen-hour one, at that. Chuckling to himself, the beast circled around an open spot in the darkness
of the cavewhich he could see through perfectly, mind youand laid down on all fours. Resting his head on his left paw, Bai drifted
into a dreamless sleep.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Uchiha Estate, 1330 hours)

"Oi! Kaa-san, we're home!" Sasuke called out as he and Sakura came in through the front door. They both kicked off their sandals and
left them near the threshold, now walking barefoot towards the kitchen.
M ikoto currently sat at the table reading a book as a distraction from everything that happened this morning with the Third Fire
Shadow. She was so absorbed into her reading that she faintly recognized the chakra signatures that came into her home, let alone that
her surrogate children had audibly announced their presence.
Hearing the two walk in with enormous grins on their faces, her mood perked up a bit. She put on a weak smile. "Sakura-chan, Sasukekun," she acknowledged them.
"Guess what, Kaa-sanWe passed, cha!" Sakura told her pointing at the forehead protector on each of their respective heads.
M ikoto blinked for a few seconds, as her mind started to process what she was just told. It wasn't long before squealing, "Oh, my gosh,"
momentarily forgetting her stature and her depression. She pulled the two genin into a near-bone-crushing hug in glee. "I'm so proud of
you all!"
Despite nearly being suffocated, the duo grinned like madmen, still in euphoria of finally getting out of four years of what was
essentially redundant training. "Kaa-sancan'tbreathe" Sasuke heaved out, choking a bit for emphasis.
The Uchiha matriarch gave a sheepish laugh before letting go of the two. "Sorry 'bout that," she apologized while rubbing the back of her
head. "You know how I get when you guys do something incredible." They both smiled and nodded in understanding.
"Wait a sec," she began as confusion swept through her, causing her to turn her head in multiple directions to find the missing element
that remained out of place. "Where's Naruto-kun?"
"Beats me," Sasuke answered as best as he could, halfheartedly shifting his right shoulder. "He left shortly after we all graduated, saying
he had to do something."
"This morning all over again, I take," M ikoto reasoned with a sigh.
"M ore or less, yes," Sakura replied, shrugging before she and Sasuke sat cross-legged next to one another at their foot-and-a-half-tall
dinner table.
"You know I was doing a favor for a friend, you know," came the all-too-familiar voice of the blond genin as he walked into the kitchen
with a smirk, apparently overhearing their brief conversation. There was a medium-sized red fox near his right pant-leg who glanced at
the Uzumaki's family with twinges of annoyance and morbid curiosity.
M ikoto either didn't notice the vulpine creature or honestly didn't care as, true to her nature, she squealed and embraced the blond
tightly, too. "Naruto-kun! I'm so proud of you!" she told him, her voice swelling with pride. It was times like these where M ikoto was
reminded of why, despite all of the hardships, she kept moving forward: her three children. Were it not for them, there wasn't a doubt in
her mind that she would've contemplated suicide after the massacre three years ago.
Naruto grinned at his mom and hugged her tightly in return. "Thanks, Kaa-san. We couldn't have done it without you." Both the onyxand jade-eyed genin smiled in mutual agreement with their blue-eyed best friend. M ikoto could only smile even harder.
Sakura perked up, somehow finally noticing the fox that seemingly decided to accompany Naruto back to the Uchiha estate. "Um" she
began hesitantly, blinking for good measure before tackling the proverbial elephant in the room, "Naruto-kunwhat's with the fox?"
Both Sasuke and M ikoto's face traced bewilderment. The Uchiha widow let go of her son and glanced down to the floor to where the fox
was, sitting on its haunches.
Naruto grinned sheepishly. "Soyou guys remember the deal in exchange for having the Suppression Seal destroyed from my body?"
The question came out in a rhetorical fashion.
Their jaws dropped to the floor as realization dawned on all three of them near simultaneously.
"YoumeanTHATis the Kyuubi?" Sasuke asked, still a bit dumbstruck. The fox, now known as the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox,
simply scratched his ears with his right leg, fighting off a sudden itch.
There was a pause before the dam burst
"OH, M Y GOSH!" Sakura screamed like a schoolgirl. "He's so cuuuute!"

Naruto and Sasuke deadpanned, while M ikoto chuckled, shaking her head in clear amusement. Now, that was certainly the reaction he
wasn't expecting.
The vulpine growled a bit, audibly. "I am the Kyuubi no Youko, girl! I have powers that dwarf even the strongest mortal! One of
my tail-swings can flatten mountains and cause tsunamis! I am the strongest of the nine biju and there is no beast on this
earth that comes close to my"
The demon fox's rant, which only Naruto could, naturally, understand, was cut short as the rosette-haired kunoichi picked him up and
cuddled him, his furry body nearly mushed close to her developing breasts. Naruto blinked heavily, too surprised to even see the humor
in the situation.
"Take your paws off me, woman! I'll have your head for this before III." He trailed off as the kunoichi caressed his back
with a soft gentle touch of clear affection. The gesture sent a pleasurable chill down the fox's spine, making him shiver. However, it came
out as more of a purr than anything. Sakura sat back down, cross-legged, and still kept her strokes even and gentle. She even scratched
his ears for good measure.
"Oh, wow," Naruto guffawed as he started fall over laughing. Sasuke followed suit; he too, was clearly entertained at the Demon Fox
whose malevolence had nearly flattened the village thirteen years ago was reduced to acting more like a common housecat. Even M ikoto
had to admit that it was pretty amusing, to say the least. Her laughter was simply reduced to mere giggles.
"Goddamnyou" the Kyuubi drawled out, trying his best to put back his faade of being an evil vulpine. He was failing
miserably. "This is so wrongbut feels sooo goooood! By the gods, yes! Right there!"
Seeing as Naruto was the only who could understand him, he laughed even harder, tears streaming from his eyes. After a good two to
three minutes, the blond jinchuuriki finally composed himself, wiping the liquid from his eyes. "Oh, gods, that was amazing," he
commented, breathing out.
'You know this is something I'm probably never going to let you live down. You know that, right?' Naruto telepathically told the kitsune,
smirking a bit.
All he got in response was the fox equivalent of a small snort. 'Brat, if you knew how utterly godly this girl's touch was, you'd be acting
the same way,' he sneered. "It's too bad that this is only temporary, a fox could get used to this." He then looked at his tenant with
what seemed to be a mischievous, perverted grin. 'Besides, I'd be willing to bet six of my tails you would want to find out just good her
touch is, hmm?'
Naruto's eyes widened a bit in both half-anger and half-embarrassment at the implication. His cheeks pinked a bit as his eye started to
twitch in annoyance. "Stupid, perverted fox!" he bellowed, pointing his accusatory right index finger at him.
The rest of the three human occupants in the room stared at the Uzumaki strangely, as if he had grown a second head. He blushed a
crimson red in embarrassment.
"Well.umyou see" he tried to explain, but words were starting to fail him at the moment.
Sasuke shook his head. "You and that link you have to the fox, I'll truly never understand." Sakura and M ikoto silently agreed, while the
genin kunoichi continued to stroke the fox's ears, much to his delight. "Speaking of things I'm not understanding, I have to tell you all
something." The tone of urgency in his voice was not lost on the other shinobi. Every lodger in the room straightened up. M ikoto grimly
nodded and stood up to pour everyone a cup of hot tea. She had a feeling that this would be a long conversation.
"What's up, bro?" Naruto inquired, clearly interested in what he had to say. The Fox had a curious expression on his face, as well, clearly
noting his interest.
The Uchiha scion took a sip of his tea before taking a breath. "Okayyou two remember about roughly three years ago when we were
having lunch at the academy? You recall that I took off out of nowhere because I saw something, right?" Naruto and Sakura both nodded,
but M ikoto was confused. However, she figured she could piece it together well enough, and decided not to interrupt.
Sasuke sighed again. "WellI never told you all this butever since that day. I've been having dreams. Hell, I wouldn't even call them
dreams. M ore than likely visions," he explained. The two females blinked in surprise, while Naruto's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, his
augmented mind processing this new information at a rate that would put the Nara clan to shame.
The Kyuubi's eyes widened completely. 'Visions? He saw visions after he saw that creature? But there's only one race in the entire
world that could give him that kind of precognition,' the fox thought to himself. The potential implications of what he just heard

wereincalculable. If it was true that they had given him the gift of seeing into the future like their kind could that meant only one
thing: Shit was about to get real, fast.
"Visions?" M ikoto inquired, not quite understanding. "Like what? What did you see?" She was skeptical, truthfully, but she had to hear
her son out. Considering the crazy things she had seen Aisu, M inato, Kushina, the Third, etc. had done in her childhood, she'd learn that
practically nothing was impossible anymore.
"I saw entire villages, yes, even ours, being burned to the ground," Sasuke replied dropping the bombshell. Everyone, including the
poker-faced blond, eyes' widened completely.
"Wait, couldn't this be just a nightmare? I mean, we all have bad dreams every once in awhile," Sakura tried to reason, though there was a
small part of her that just knew that this wasn't the case. M ikoto and Naruto concurred in agreement.
Sasuke almost looked smug as he was about to hit the kunoichi with a dose of reality. "Actually, no. Tell me Sakurawould you write
off a dream that you have had every three days for the past three years as a simple once in a blue moon nightmare? With the only
difference being a different point-of-view and new perspective, but otherwise roughly the same? Hmm?" he asked her semi-rhetorically
with a sarcastic hum to boot.
The three sat there in stunned silence at that particular revelation. Kyuubi, however, was mentally going haywire. 'There's no mistaking
it! It IS them! But how?! And why?! They only give their power to mortals only when the other two races also want-' Kyuubi's
thoughts trailed off as he froze completely. He gazed, discreetly, at both the female holding him and his tenant. His jaw dropped to the
floor as realization hit him like a Bijudama (Tailed-Beast Ball). 'By the fucking godsyou've got to be shitting me. So, Verandan,
Byakko, and Xelosyou've decided that my vessel and his friends to be your masters.' The Fox needed time to process this information.
He wasn't going to let his tenant know just yet, he needed more intelligence.
"Sasuke-kunwhy did you wait until now to tell us this?" M ikoto asked, concerned for the mental welfare of her biological son.
"Because I thought I could handle it," Sasuke explained with a bit of a regretful frown. "At first the dreams did scare me, admittedly, but
soon, after awhile, I got so used to it that I sometimes actually went to sleep thinking 'What's going to burn down, this time?' I had
researched thoroughly and found nothing that would make any logical sense as to why I was receiving these visions. Some of the
buildings and places I saw were completely off to me. They had buildings and machines that I've never seen before."
"Alien architecture?" Sakura hummed aloud in thought. "Could it possibly be Europa?" she suggested.
Naruto cupped his chin in deep thought as his mind processed the possibility. "It is possible. But what would the wonders of Western
Civilization have anything to do with us? As I recall from the brief geography lessons from the Academy, the frontier region that
separates it and the Elemental Nations essentially isolate us from the rest of the continent. No serious contact has been made in the past
one-hundred years. For all we know, every single country there could be at war vying for control or having other regional conflicts and
geopolitical issues."
"That's true," the Uchiha butted in drinking her tea with a small sip. She then asked Sasuke the million-ryou question. "Sasuke-kun
these visions. Do you think they're of the future?"
"Not necessarily," he replied back. "It's just" he went through a series of unknown and indescribable hand motions trying to figure out
the best way to explain this. "A potential futureyou know? Like this could potentially happen if I, specifically, don't do something."
"What would the welfare of countries thousands of miles away have to do with you? Sasuke-kun, you're nothing more than a genin, just
like Naruto-kun and I. We're barely important, in the grand scheme of things, to our village, let alone on a global scale," the pink haired
kunoichi reasoned, still petting the fox in her lap. Said fox was truthfully no longer even registering her strokes of affection as his mind
was completely occupied by the conversation being told at hand.
"That isassuming what he saw was Europa," Naruto skeptically uttered. "Assuming what you saw was the West...then that would
imply that our two civilizations will somehow meet.the question ishowand why?"
M ikoto felt a twinge of guilt consume her. 'Narutoyou truly have no idea. Truth of the matter is...Europa has more to do with you, then
you realize. I just hope when I tell you the truth, you won't hate me for it.' M ikoto honestly wanted to tell Naruto about his real parents,
but just couldn't bear the idea of her son hating her for keeping it from him for so long. She had spent the past four years building up a
trust and bond with the blond that was as deep as one could possibly get for a mother and son. The sheer thought of that bond
shattering, the instant he found out, terrified her to the core. Her heart had already been broken twice, once by the Sandaime Hokage's
manipulations and the other by Itachi, who both had essentially killed the men she loved.

"In any caseI'm really not to sure where to go from here," the Uchiha told them earnestly. Solemn frowns contorted on to their faces.
"I'm not either," Naruto admitted. "Butwe'll figure something out."
M ikoto nodded in agreement with her surrogate son. "For now, I'd say that from now on, when you have one of those." She paused
momentarily, part of her still coming to grips with the reality of the situation. "visionsI'd suggest that when you wake up you
immediately write down as much of the details as possible," she suggested, eyeing her son carefully.
Sakura perked up and blinked her eyes as she immediately caught on to what M ikoto was suggesting. "I see!" she exclaimed with glee.
"If we analyze Sasuke's notes over a period of timesayone month, then we can start to look for common patterns."
The older woman gave her a satisfied grin. "Astute as always, Sakura-chan," she praised. While Naruto was, unquestionably, a borderline
tactical genius and was highly intelligent in his own right, overall, the jade-eyed kunoichi's intelligence still surpassed him in spades.
Naruto's mind was more suited for combat and tactical situations. Sakura, on the other hand, was token definition of book smart. While
it was questionable to whether or not her brain was on par with Shikamaru or any of the Nara clan, her IQ test of being one-hundred and
eighty proved she was pretty damn close all things considered.
"I seethen that's the plan then," Naruto finally decided. "Sasukefrom now on, you'll describe in detail what you dream about so the
four of us can find clues to move us toward the truth," he practically ordered, further cementing his leadership role. Sasuke bobbed his
head in acquiescence. "In the meantime, we still have to meet our sensei tomorrow. The three of us are likely the only ones aware that
the Academy exam was a ruse for us to let our guards down and the real test comes tomorrow. We need to be ready for anything. I want
us rested up and ready to kick ass tomorrow, all right?"
"Hell yeah!" came the enthusiastic response from them both. M ikoto smiled and dismissed all three of them for the rest of the day, to
prepare for tomorrow. She knew what the test was going to be, but she was confident that'd they'd figure it out easily. Sakura carried
Kyuubi in her arms back to the boys' room.
M eanwhile, the fox looked at the blonde with even more newfound respect. He a personality and charisma that could make even the
most cynical person want to follow him to hell and back. Sasuke and Sakura trusted him completely and utterly, not once questioning
his orders or suggestions. It was a bond that went beyond sheer loyalty. It was borderline devotion, in which the only thing keeping it
from being called that was that the two didn't worship Naruto as a god or anything less. To them they were practically siblings.
'Though, considering the pheromones these two give off when they are around the girl' he grinned, amused at such a prospect. As
much as he respected his vessel, he still was, at his core, a malevolent and conniving being. On that note, the idea of the two clashing
over such a senseless emotion amused him to no end. A dark, evil smile made it's way on his face.
The trio was none the wiser.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Konoha Ninja Academy, 0800 hours, next day)
Anxiety and anticipation swept through the room, as nearly everyone was excited at the prospect of meeting their sensei and finding out
who would be in their squad. Ordinarily, the process would've had the genin know their teammates on one day and in the next they'd
meet their sensei. However, this was another minor change in the way the Academy did things thanks to the reforms from the upper
echelons all the way down. Now the process was cut in half, in a single day.
"So.think we'll be on the same team?" Sakura pondered aloud. Although the triad's reputation and teamwork was widely known, there
was still a shred of doubt in the kunoichi's mind on whether or not they'd end up on the same squad.
"I have little doubt that we wouldn't be," Naruto answered evenly, still waiting for Iruka to come in from backroom ahead. "But" he
then glanced at both of them with a serene smiled. "Even in the off chance that we don'tremember this guys: You'll always be the best
friends a guy could ask for. Sasuke you're the brother I've always wanted and you too Sakura, being the little sister," he grinned. Sasuke
returned the expression tenfold as the blonde and brunette bumped fists, showing the feeling was entirely mutual.
Sakura smiled and hugged the blonde in gratitude, but that still didn't stop her from inwardly frowning. 'Justa sister, huh, Naruto-kun?'
she thought doleful.
The sound of their dolphin-named instructor broke her out of her thoughts. Everyone, as usual, quieted down in an instant. Iruka looked
at the class impassively while standing at parade rest with a sheet of paper in one hand. There was no doubt that the squad assignments
were written on them.

"Good morning, everyone," he began cordially. "Once again, I'd like to congratulate all of you for your hard work over the past four
years. Believe me when I say that I'm proud of each and every one of you," he told them with a smile.
"Thank you, sensei," a few in the class chorused, while the rest simply smiled as their prides swelled at the praise.
"Now, enough introductions, I'm sure you all want to know what squad you're going to be on, no?" he teased playfully.
"Yeah!" they all cried in unison, causing the chunin to chuckle, briefly amused.
Iruka gave them a grin and pulled the parchment out in front of him to read off the names of their new teammates. "All right now
Squad One will be." And so he named them off, one-by-one. Naruto's heart couldn't help but beat a bit faster as some sweat came
down his brow in anticipation. 'This is itfor the love of the godsplease let us be on the same team!' he pleaded as he crossed his
fingers, hopefully. Sasuke and Sakura were impassive, but he knew them well enough by now that they too were just as nervous as he
was.
"Now, we come to Squad Seven." Iruka began, as he made a subtle look at the blonde jinchuuriki. "It will consist of" there was a
dramatic pause. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a kunai. "Uzumaki NarutoHaruno Sakuraand Uchiha Sasuke."
All three let out a breath they didn't know they were holding and stood up and cheered. "Hell yeah! Cha!" Sakura cried out in bliss. The
rest of the class smiled and clapped, showing their congratulations. Even though they outclassed them in, literally, every way possible,
the newly formed Squad Seven always lended a helping hand when someone asked for it, earning the genuine respect of their classmates.
They could only be happy for them.
Near the back, a female with opalescent snow-white eyes gave a small grin at the trinity of friends. 'Congratulations, Naruto-kun, I'm
happy for you,' Hinata thought, joyfully. Like some of the others in the class, the Hyuuga heiress was one of the few who were offered
some assistance, from the three. While it was primarily her blonde crush and Sakura, Sasuke did help her out from time to time as well,
knowing her circumstances all too well back at the Hyuuga estate.
As a result, Hinata became far more bold and outgoing, growing out of her shy shell. Interestingly, along with her newfound confidence,
came a change not only in overall personality, but to her fighting style. At first glance, one would think that the Hyuuga heiress would've
been graceful, gentle, and free flowing like the rivers of the meadows.
That wasn't the case, at all. As it turned out, Hinata's chakra nature wasn't water as everyone imagined it would've been. No, it was the
exact opposite: Fire. That surprised practically everyone, Hinata included. In light of that tidbit of knowledge, the three decided to teach
her some Katon jutsu, including the most basic: the Goukakyuu. Unsurprisingly, she was able to pick up on it much faster than even the
three of them did when M ikoto taught it to them.
Adapting to her newfound element, Hinata began to become more aggressive and dominating, both during battle and social outings.
While, yes, she was still a polite and well-mannered young lady, when she needed to be assertive and lay down the law, she did so with
fantastic results. She was still hoping to somehow add her element into her family's Juken (Gentle Fist) Taijutsu style, but so far she
was having little luck.
The girl still had a small crush on the blonde to this day, a fact that she would wholeheartedly admit without shame, she was ever so
surely accepting the fact that he would likely never see her in that light and only as a comrade and friend.
Sending a small knowing and envious glance at the top kunoichi in the class, she frowned. 'Sakura-chanI hope you don't take those two
for granted. They care about you far more than you realize. I just hope you choose before the situation tips to a boiling point.' How
Sakura hadn't realized the two boys' feelings, she'd never understand. Heaving a sigh, she simply shook her head and hoped for the best.
"Squad Eight.Inuzuka KibaHyuuga Hinataand Aburame Shino" Iruka called out, earning a raised eyebrow from heiress.
"Interesting" Hinata uttered aloud with curiosity. She looked at both boys, who nodded to her, which she returned. 'A team full of
trackers, eh? Seems a bit overspecialized for my liking. But...then againI'm perfectly capable of switching between assault and
reconnaissance due to Naruto-kun and Sakura-chan's pointers. Maybe they took that into account?' Hinata then gave a half-hearted
shrug. Oh, well. It didn't matter at this point.
"And finally we come to Squad Ten...Yamanaka Ino.Nara Shikamaruand Akimichi Chouji"
Ino gave an annoyed sigh. "Are you kidding me now? I get stuck with the lazy bum and Chouji? Gods, kill me now please," she prayed,
deadpanning on the desk.
The Nara heir, who was coincidently sitting beside her, gave a lazy yawn and shifted his gaze on her. "Quit your yapping, Ino. It's not

like I'm enthused about this whole team arrangement myself, yet you don't see me complaining," he grunted in annoyance.
"Besidesour 'rents were on da same 'eam," Choji butted in, talking with his mouth full of his favorite brand of potato chips. Ino huffed
in slight disgust, but said nothing further.
Hinata, seeing the whole scene from above them, shook her head amused. 'I guess some things never change.'
"All right, everyone, now that you know your squads, I'd use this time to get to know one another if you haven't done so already. Your
sensei should be here within the next half-hour or so, give or take. Until then, you're all free to wonder around," he permissed with a nod.
The students didn't need to be told twice as they all stood up and went to greet their new team members and to socialize in general with
each other.
The brunette instructor gave a smile before he made his way towards the door to the hallway. Taking one last glance at the class, he gave
a small grin. 'Good luck to all of you, I can't wait to fight along side you in the future someday.' With that final thought, he excited the
room, shutting the door gently behind him.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Academy, Two hours later)
The infamous 'Golden Trio', were upset at the moment. No, not just upset, borderline pissed off was probably a far more accurate
assessment of how the three collectively felt at this particular moment. Why, you ask? It's because their sensei still hadn't arrived yet
and they were the only ones still stuck in the classroom!
Naruto gritted his teeth. "Okay, this is pissing me off!" he growled out, spinning some shuriken in his hand to keep his mind occupied.
Both of them scowled in agreement. Squad Eight and Squad Ten's sensei had all picked them up relatively on time, give or take a few
minutes. Squad Eight's sensei was a beautiful Jounin by the name of Kurenai, who, if Naruto recalled, specialized in genjutsu. He
genuinely wondered how Sakura's illusionary techniques stacked up against the scarlet eyed kunoichi. True she was a Jounin, but the
three of them all were on that level as well, so it stood to reason that Sakura could probably give the Genjutsu M istress a run for her
money, with only her experience giving her the slight edge.
As for Squad Ten, their sensei was the son of the Sandaime Hokage, Sarutobi Asuma. He was once part of the Twelve Guardian Ninja
and taught Naruto some wind technqiues, as a favor from the Uchiha matriarch. He was an all right guy in Naruto's eyes, if not a little
out there. The man sure did love his cigarette, that's for sure. The blonde never understood the appeal, but to each his own.
Naruto gritted his teeth in frustration and went up to the chalkboard in the classroom and picked up an eraser. Both of his best friends
looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "UmNarutothe hell are you doing?" Sasuke questioned, dumbfounded by the jinchuuriki's
actions.
"I'm bored okay!" Naruto irritably cried out, walking towards the door. He pulled it open ajar and set the eraser on top.
"Naruto-kunyou don't expect that to work on a Jounin, do you?" Sakura rhetorically quipped, disapprovingly. Sasuke sighed, too
annoyed to say anything, really.
The blonde grunted. "No, not really," he admitted. "But I honestly have nothing else better to do but-" he stopped as all three of them
perked up simultaneously, sensing a presence behind the door. It slid open and the eraser fell on the person's head and landed on the
floor with a thud.
The male crossed the threshold and picked up the eraser that just hit him and dusted some of the chalk out of his silver hair. His
headband covered his left eye and he gazed at the three lazily.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed suspiciously. 'This guy is supposed to be our sensei? Then how in the blazes of hell could he have fallen for such
a cheap trick? Something's off here'
"Hmmmy first impression of this groupyou're all a bunch of idiots," he told them flatly. The trio of friends, deadpanned at the
thinly veiled insult. Before any one of them could retort, he continued on. "M eet me on the roof in two minutes, we'll get started from
there," he instructed, before vanishing in a puff of smoke.
"Let's go everyone," Naruto ordered out, not in the mood to bitch, just yet. They both nodded and vanished.
(-x.0.0.x-)

(Roof of the Academy, 1015 hours)


Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura sat on steps made out of solid concrete while their sensei leaned against a railing, his right eye still having the
detached lazy look.
"All right, why don't you introduce yourselvesone at a time," the cyclopean Jounin suggested.
"What exactly do you want us to say? That can be done any number of ways," Naruto pointed out, crossing his arms. "Why don't you
go first, seeing as you are our sensei and it'll give us a format to introduce ourselves."
Kakashi's mouth gave a small twitch of wanting to smile. "Very well then. I'm Hatake Kakashi. Things I like and things I hate? I don't
feel like telling you. M y dreams for the futurehmmnever really thought about it. As for my hobbiesI have lots of hobbies." He
smirked a bit, amused, as his eye closed to give a "U" shape.
"How uselesshe only told us his name," Sakura muttered under her breath. The Uchiha and Uzumaki silently agreed.
"Since I went and you know what to say, then let's get started. Blondie, why don't you go first," Kakashi suggested.
Said blond's eye twitched in annoyance at the nickname, but he put it aside for now. "All rightmy name is Uzumaki Naruto. I like my
two best friends, my kaa-san, kenjutsu, shogi and military history. I hate bigotry, close-mindedness, and most of all, anyone who would
dare try to hurt my family," he replied in a voice so cold it sent shivers down everyone's spines. "M y hobbies include spending time
with my kaa-san, Sakura-chan, and Sasuke, training and trying out different kinds of ramen flavors!" Sakura had to shake her head. She
should've seen that one coming a mile away.
"As for my dreamnoit's not a dream, because I will make it reality. M y dream is to become the strongest shinobi this village has
ever seen and become its Hokage. That way, I can protect those who are precious to me as well as gaining the respect of this village
despite what they hate me for."
Kakashi couldn't help but smile. 'Just like senseiwanting to protect others. You'll make a great shinobi, kid. You got guts.' "I see.
Interesting. Next."
Sasuke inhaled slowly, before starting. "M y name is Uchiha Sasuke. I like a lot of things, mainly Sakura and Naruto. Like Naruto, I
enjoy Shogi. I enjoy meditating, practicing with my kusarigama, and having a good time within reason. I hate fangirls, idiots, and those
who don't train to better themselves when they have potential. As for my hobbies, I training, sparring, reading, andthinking. M y
dream is simpleto not only change my clan's image butto kill a certain man" he uttered darkly as his Sharingan flared to life.
Kakashi could feel the waves of killer intent coming from all three of the ninja in front of them. The ashen-haired veteran gulped a bit.
'Sothey collectively want Itachi's head. I'll back off for nowbutif they obsess over it, then I'll step in.'
"Very well, then. Lastly?"
"M y name is Haruno Sakura. I like my two best friends a girl could ever ask for, reading, writing, poetry, calligraphy, training and
gardening. I utterly detest perverts and those with sick fetishes," she spat out in disgust and contempt, clenching her fists. Even though
she had lived with the Uchiha for the past three years, that still didn't stop her from wanting revenge on her stepfather. In fact, the
animosity only increased with time. "M y hobbies are the same as my likes, honestly. I have two dreamsone is to become the most
powerful kunoichi in the world and the otherwellthat's completely personal, sensei, and I don't trust you enough yet to reveal it to
you," she said coldly with narrowed eyes.
Kakashi cringed a bit, that last tidbit hurting more than he expected. 'It seems these three have colossal chips on their shoulders. Ah, well,
we'll see where this goes. After all, I am dealing with the top three genin in this graduating class.' After heaving a small sigh he got up
from the railing. "I see. How interesting. Well, I'm here to tell you, now, we've got survival training this afternoon."
"In other words, the true test to see if we'll be genin, and not that poor excuse of an exam we took, yesterday. Am I right?" Naruto
inquire smugly, while Sasuke and Sakura gave smirks of their own.
The only indication that Kakashi was surprised was his eye widening for a fraction of a second. Naruto's razor sharp visual acuity
caught the gesture. His visual acuity was leagues ahead of practically anyone. There was no human gesture that he couldn't detect, no
matter how faint. That's why he was a virtual walking lie detector.
"I seeso you've already figured it out, then," Kakashi stated evenly. "Good, that makes this a lot easier to explain. To put it simply,
this exam has a sixty-six percent failure rate. In other wordsout of the twenty-seven graduates, only nine will actually become fullfledged genin. The other eighteen will be sent back to the academy," he explained.

"So essentiallythis is do or die, make it or break it, huh?" Sasuke intoned with an excited glee. "Well, then, I say bring it on Kakashisensei."
"Yeah, you can throw anything you got at us and we'll pass, cha!" Sakura exclaimed excitedly.
The Copy Ninja chuckled at their enthusiasm. "M eet me at the Third Training Ground at noon and bring your ninja gear. Oh, and by the
way, I wouldn't eat lunch if I were you. You'll puke," he stated flatly. "That's all I have. I'll see you this afternoon. You're dismissed."
Without even having the decency to say goodbye, the Copy Ninja had already vanished from sight.
"Don't eat lunch...who does he think he's fooling?" Sasuke pondered aloud, rhetorically.
"It's obvious he's dealt with idiots for students in the past and somehow thinks we'll take his advice," Sakura added indignantly, crossing
her arms.
The blonde stood up as his eyes traveled into the direction of the training ground, Kakashi had specified. "Call it a hunch, but I figure
he's going to be late again. So I say we get a decent sized meal and spend the rest of the morning setting up traps."
"Traps? Why would we set up traps if we're doing a survival exam?" Sasuke asked, curiosity latent in his voice.
"Think about it. If Kakashi-sensei really was going to give us survival training, he would've taken us to the Forest of Death. We're
technically not allowed out of the village yet. So that's the only logical place to meet if he wanted some real survival training. Kaa-san
took us to both Training Ground Three and the Forest of Death. The difference between them is night and day."
Sasuke's eyes narrowed as his mind started racing. His eyes started swing back and forth before finally widening a bit, as realization
dawned on him. "I see, then. So, that's it, then."
"What is?" Sakura inquired, intrigued at what was on the Uchiha's mind.
"Sakura, this whole exam seems fishy to you right?" She nodded in confirmation. He then continued, "Well, think about itthis exam
has a sixty-six percent failure rate and from his tone there's no reason to not assume this isn't consistent with every graduating class.
Now tell mewhat would be the primary reason that sixty-six percent would be entirely consistent for freshly graduated genin, in light
of our overall manpower, hmm?"
Naruto already knew the answer, having figured it out during the conversation with Kakashi, as his augmented mind was processing the
information while simultaneously engaging the Jounin in casual conversation.
It took the pink-haired girl awhile, before her eyes widened in surprise. "Teamwork! Of course! They didn't pass because they failed to
work together!"
"Exactly," Naruto confirmed. "Why else wouldn't they pass? It's hard to believe that genin would fail year in and year out based at a
consistent percentage without some underlying reason. While yes, there is the possibility of different sensei giving different exams, I
dismissed that almost as quickly as the thought came to me. One consistent thing about the Hidden Leaf was that we always universally
adopt proven methods. If a method is found to be better than a current standard, we adapt and apply. The Academy was an exception
to this until recently, an outlier if you want to call it that. But then again, there are exceptions to every rule."
Sakura bobbed her head. "I see. That's why the failure rate is so high. They couldn't work together because they didn't know how to
adapt to each other skills in such a short amount of time."
"It's actually ingenious when you think about it. In our career field, there's a one hundred percent guarantee that we will eventually have
to work with comrades whose skills are completely unknown and alien to us and yet, we'll have to work together to complete the
mission. Those who were able to overcome the relatively unknowns of their teammates passed, naturally, and moved on to the next
step. The otherswell" Sasuke trailed off, leaving it hanging in the air.
"In either case, let's get something to eat, I'm starving! I vote ramen!" Naruto shouted out with a grin, causing the other two to sigh. That
sure as hell didn't take long in a change of subject. Smart as he was, sometimes the blonde's stomach overruled his brain.
"Ugh, fine, ramen it is," Sakura replied unenthusiastically. It wasn't that she didn't like ramen; the exact opposite actually, it was just
that she didn't enjoy eating the same foods for an extended period of time, no matter how good. "But before we go there's something we
need to establish first."
"What's that?"

"Are we going to go all out or no?"


There was a pensive silence among the trio. They honestly had no idea. They had been holding back for so long that the idea of using
their full abilities almost seemed like an alien concept to the three.
"I say we go all out," Sasuke suggested. "This is Hatake Kakashione of the village's Elite jounin. We're jounin-level ourselves. I don't
know if you picked up on it or not, but it's clear he doubts our abilities as our records say."
An evil smile marred Sakura's natural beauty. "Well, then. We'll just have to kick his ass and show him how he has no idea who he's
dealing with, won't we?"
Smirking, Naruto turned back to the village. "Yeah, we do don't we? Let's do it. All out it is. I've been itching to use my full power and
what better way to do so then right now? But firstramen! Wooo!" he excitedly exclaimed before leaping off the rooftop and vanishing.
Sasuke grunted at being left behind and chased after the blonde.
"Hey, Naruto-kun, Sasuke-kun! Wait up!" Sakura called out before disappearing too in a swirl of cherry blossom petals.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Training Ground Three, 0155)
True to their predictions, Kakashi hadn't arrived at noon like he said he would. Taking advantage of their sensei's lack of punctuality, the
three began setting up traps all over the grounds. With the Chakra Hankyouteii (Chakra Echolocation), they were easily able to detect
and not fall prey by setting them off prematurely.
Having seen through the Copycat's deception easily, they ate a full-blown meal at Ichiraku's and spent the last two hours preparing for
their survival exam. The meal had digested and the three were now full of energy and ready to go. Standing still as statues they waited for
him to arrive, patiently.
That wait didn't last long, as Naruto had foretold, he arrived exactly at 1400, two hours after the designated time. A khaki colored
backpack was strapped across his shoulders, carrying what could only be assumed to be shinobi gear.
"Your late," Sakura offhandedly commented, with a bit of disinterest. The two boys were unusually silent, their faces completely stoic
and impassive.
His eye turned into its "U" shape. "Oh, I'm sorry, a black cat passed by me, so I had to take the long way. Back luck and all. You
understand right?" he humorously quipped. His only response was a half-hearted glare from the kunoichi and a sidelong look of
annoyance from other two. He shook his head while heaving a sigh. M an they needed to loosen up.
Ignoring his slight irritation, he pulled out an old fashioned clock and set it on a nearby tree stump and held out two bells that jingled.
"The clock is set for 1900 hours. Your objective is simple. All you have to do is take two bells from me before the alarm goes off."
"Why are there only two bells?" Naruto asked with narrowed eyes. He had an idea of why, but he wanted to hear it from the horse's
mouth.
Kakashi chuckled. "It's quite simple Naruto. Only two out of you three will be able to move on to become genin. The one who doesn't
get a bell will, of course, be sent back to the academy. Then againthere is also the possibility of none of you getting a bell and all three
of you being sent back," he explained.
'And that's where the statistic comes from. Idiots taking what he said at face value instead of looking for a deeper meaning. It's a wonder
the village has survived this long considering how utterly incompetent most of these shinobi have turned out to be,' the Uzumaki thought
indignantly. He shared a glance at the other two who nodded and smirked a bit.
Kakashi raised a brow at their behavior, before tying the bells on his waistline. "Now, before we begin, I'd like to warn you three now. If
you don't come at me with the intent to kill, then I assure you, you'll never get these bells, understood?"
"Is that so, Kakashi-sensei?" Sakura inquired, a devilish grin contorting on her face.
"Of course, I'm a jounin. You're genin. Anything less than your best and your simply wasting you're time."
'Oh he is so going to regret saying that,' the three collectively thought as they got into half-hearted stances to further throw the elite
jounin off.

"All right, start whenever you're ready," he told them taking not of the auras. So far, he wasn't impressed. 'Just as I feared, all that talk
was just all fluff. Oh well, then. There's always the next batch.'
Naruto smirked and all three surrounded the jounin in a triangle equidistant from each other, with impressive speed. Kakashi's eye
widened to its greatest extent in shock, caught completely off guard by the display. They didn't give his mind to register as they each
went through six very familiar hand seals.
"Katon: Goukakyuu no Jutsu! (Fire Release: Grand Fireball)," they collectively shouted sending three massive conflagrations towards
Kakashi at high velocities. The three jutsu met each other and combined into a massive blazing pillar that was thirty meters high.
When the massive fireball finally put itself out, the foliage was seen to be burnt to a crisp as well as the earth had remnants of steam
from the intensity of the heat caused by their respective fire jutsu. Unsurprisingly, Kakashi was nowhere to be seen. Naruto
immediately put his right index finger on the ground. He located the jounin, relatively easily. He was nearby, observing them from a high
position in one of the taller trees.
He vanished using Ibitsuyumi (Distorted Step) and appeared behind him with his katana at his neck, almost in an instant. Kakashi's eye
widened again. 'What the hell?! What incredible speed. He knew exactly where I was and came to my location almost in an instant. Not
only that, these three executed a perfect C-ranked elemental technique simultaneously. Just what the hell am I dealing with, here?'
"I'll say this one time, Kakashi-senseiunderestimating us will prove to be your undoing," Naruto coldly uttered keeping the katana
close to his neck.
"Is that so, Naruto? Well, I have to say, you really surprised me," he told him earnestly. "But alas, you forgot one thing."
The blonde's eyes narrowed. "Enlighten me."
"You can't tell me apart."
Naruto's eyes widened as 'Kakashi' puffed out of existence. 'Kage Bunshin!' he alarmingly thought, before he dodged several kunai on
pure reflex. He jumped out of the tree tops and back into a clearing where Kakashi engaged him with a slightly larger kunai and the two
had an all out skirmish. Naruto's kenjutsu was obviously superior, but Kakashi was no slouch at all, even keeping up with Naruto's
enhanced reflexes.
About a minute into their impressive battle of showmanship, Naruto jumped backwards one-hundred meters throwing the jounin off
guard. His eye widened a bit as he blocked a strike from one of Sasuke's kusarigama.
"Don't tell me you forgot about us, sensei!" Sasuke growled, spinning the other side with impressive skill and talent. The Uchiha scion
sent the other double bladed weapon spiraling towards him.
Rather than block, Kakashi opted to simply jump out of the way, but in that very moment Sakura appeared suddenly with her
Hanachiri Shunshin (Flower Dispersing Body Flicker). Her staff was fully extended and she gave a war cry before swinging it down with
all her might.
While certainly not expecting this, the copy ninja dodged at the last second while they were mid-air and grabbed the staff's tip as
leverage and kicked the kunoichi away. Not even a second later, she vanished into cherry blossoms. A sharp blow from behind sent him
pluming all the way into the lake with a giant splash.
The rosette-haired girl landed on the lake, proud of her handy work. "How do you like that Kakashi-sensei. That's what I call the
Hanachiri Kawarimi (Flower Dispersing Substitution), cha!" she exclaimed with a huge grin. Naruto and Sasuke appeared on either side
of her, all of them ready to do battle in an instant.
The Copy Ninja surface himself and stood on top of the water completely dumbfounded on what was clearly happening in front of him.
While it was true, he wasn't even showing half of what he was truly capable of, these genin were tossing him around like a rag doll. He
always told his past teams to come with the intent to kill, simply for them to go all out. Now it seemed at these three had the given him
the very real possibility of dying! Kakashi couldn't help but chuckle and smile at the three.
"So, it seems the rumors were true after all. You three were holding back the entire time during your academy days. Not only that, but
you all nearly bested me when I had genuinely underestimated you. I'd say now you won't need those traps you set up."
They all collectively went wide-eyed. He knew!?
"Surprised? Come on now, I may have a quirky personality, but I'm not stupid. Believe it or not, I actually watched you three the entire

time you were setting them up."


'And we didn't detect him!? But how?!' Sasuke thought bewildered. He clenched his fists. Guess their sensing abilities, still needed
improvement after all. Naruto had a slight down casted look at the revelation and Sakura simply sighed in reluctant acceptance of their
error.
"It seems you all figured out the basic premise of the mission soin that caseyou all pass," he told them with his trademarked grin.
Once again, they were bewildered. "We pass? But I thought we had to get the bells?" While they understood they needed to use
teamwork, they still thought they would fail if they didn't get any of the bells from the cyclopean jounin.
"The bells were never truly the objective. All I wanted to see is that you three had the capacity to work together even under dire and
stressful situations. You proved that in spades. You have what it takes, so I officially name you all official genin of Squad Seven!" he
announced.
"Wowthis seems a bitanti-climactic," Naruto admitted. "I was just getting warmed up."
"Really, you want to keep going, Naruto?" Kakashi asked, already knowing the answer. Truthfully, it'd been a long time since he felt the
adrenaline rush he was feeling outside of missions.
"Hell yeah I do, Kakashi-sensei!" he exclaimed getting back into a stance.
"I take you two feel the same way?" he inquired. They responded by getting back into a stance and smirking. He returned the gestured.
"Well, if that's the case, I might need this," he told them lifting up his headband and opening his left eye to revealthe Sharingan.
Sasuke's eyes narrowed a bit. 'So this is the Sharingan that's possessed by Kakashi Hatakethe man who was said to copy over a
thousand jutsu. We'll see who's Sharingan is better. Yours..' he flared his own Sharingan for dramatic effect. 'or mine!'
An ominous wind passed by them and the four shinobi sped across the lake and clashed in an all out battle royale, each shinobi enjoying
the thrill of fighting an opponent that was on their level at the basics.
At last, Squad Seven was born, and thus, this was beginning of their transcendence.
(-x.0.0.x-)
(Kaze no Kuni, thirty kilometers away from Sunagakure, Orochimaru's hidden base)
In the desolate lands of the Land of Wind, was a facility that hidden in plain sight, only those who actually knew what they were
looking for could ever hope to find it. This was one of the Snake Wizard's many bases scattered all across the elemental nations.
This complex went deep, around three-hundred feet, underground with narrow passageways and multiple rooms an laboratories. The
Snake Sannin wasn't present at the moment, as he had other things to take care of. However, his right hand man, Kabuto, was here. It
had been difficult to find an excuse to leave Konoha, but he wasn't Orochimaru's second-in-command for nothing. He always had a plan.
Besides, he was the only one Orochimaru trusted to handle this project. It was inarguably the sannin's most closely guarded secret,
known to only him, Kabuto and a very select few in the base.
Kabuto walked towards a colossal reactor that held a single amethyst colored gemstone in the heart of it. It was connected to several
wires and held up by a small pillar. The stone was oddly shaped, exactly like a Yin-Yang symbol, but it was missing the other half. The
amount of chakra the gem was radiating was enormous even with the reactor doing its best to mask the sapient energy. That's why this
facility was in the middle of nowhere and it was so deep underground. The energy it gave off would've attracted far too much attention
for the Sannin's liking.
"Such powerI wonder how you came across such a stone, Orochimaru-sama," Kabuto pondered aloud.
"A stone, you say? There should be a rule on those who are ignorant to what they are dealing with to not try and control things beyond
their comprehension," a voice said from behind him. Kabuto's eyes widened and turned around to see a man in strange gold armor with a
red robe and an opera mask on his face. His voice didn't sound even remotely human, and he had an accent that was completely alien and
unfamiliar. Surrounding him was four men dressed in dark blue robes, black military combat boots, and hoods on their faces. Their hands
glowed blue.
"Just who are you? And how did you find this place?" Kabuto asked, trying to hide his inner panic.

"An alchemist, of course! You may call me the Regent of the M ask," the Regent replied sadistically. "As for how I found this place,
you'd be surprised at what modern technology can do against you primitive animals," he told him in disgust. "But that's neither here nor
there. Hand over the jewel and I'll think about letting you live to report to that sniveling snake of how much of a failure you are."
Kabuto's eyes darted toward the panic button that would alert the entire base, but it seemed the masked man already had that covered.
"If you're thinking about alerting everyone in this base to our presence, then I suggest you reconsider. After allwe've already killed
them all," he darkly intoned, causing the white-haired teen to go wide-eyed. Before he could leap into action, the Regent had stabbed him
all the way through his sternum with a sword shaped like a rapier.
"Stand in fear shinobifor th