This story is rated M for mature and I own none of this stuff except for my own.
Ozai groaned when he read the report Zhao sent to him of how his son failed to capture the Avatar in the South Pole. Ozai was currently in his war room looking over documents that held important information and he was not pleased when he finished this one. He should have known his worthless son would fail him with such a task. Zhao had requested of him permission to begin his own hunt for the Avatar.
Ozai thought about that for a moment, it was true Zhao had access to more resources then his son did but this was also a bad thing because it was easier to detect an army then it would be to detect a small platoon of soldiers. He also knew his son would not give up so easily and would continue to give chase to the Avatar.
He smiled at the thought because he knew ever since he had banished him he was determined to capture the Avatar by any means necessary but he needed the Avatar dead or alive soon before he could ruin his plans to conquer the bending continents. Then his mind shifted to the globe in the corner of the room like it was calling out to him. Curiosity got the better of him and he walked over to the globe and stared at a certain part of it.
He was staring at not his own continent but another he knew quite well… the elemental nations. The continent had chosen to isolate itself from the bending countries after they discovered it. They wanted to live by different rules then they did and not participate in any political affairs outside of it.
Their continent was separated into different countries just like theirs with their own rule. They also had their own military which was comprised of super deadly assassins or something like that.
He never had seen them in action but his brother had and from what he had told him they were beyond anything you could even imagine whose specialize in stealth. Ozai remembered stories his grandfather Sozin used to tell him before he died. Stories of Avatar Kyoshi and Roku trying to obtain and control them but ending in total failure but each were defeated by only a single person. That sent shivers down his spine when he thought of that. It was hard to believe that they would have people so strong it would make the Avatar look like a child.
Then a thought pop in his head and he smiled devilishly. If he could get them or at least one of the countries support he could have them track down the Avatar for him. The problem was getting their support because they chose to remain isolated from their world.
Another thought popped in his head and rushed over to a file cabinet he rarely used. It was information his spies sent him from the elemental continent. Since he focused his intention on his world he never went through any of them. He briefly wondered how his men got this information and the fact that they were still alive and not dead or worse even.
He grabbed the most recent one and sat at his desk. He opened the scroll and started reading it. It was from an agent from the Land of Fire. He reported that they were in a recession because of a most recent war and were unable to provide food, money and supplies to a military district called Konoha.
He smiled at this.
This was his chance to gain allies with power beyond anything he could even imagine. His nation had a surplus of supplies and he would not miss a few shipments of food or coin. But he needed someone to make the arrangements with and knew just the person for the job. His brother Iroh was acquainted with some of the people in Konoha and would make a great negotiator.
He took out a blank scroll and wrote a letter to his brother of instructions of what to do and attached it to a hawk. He could only smile when he let it out of the window knowing soon he would finally do what his forefathers could not.
Tsunade heaved another sigh; she was drowning in paper work that was mostly complaints from the villagers. Ever since the Fourth Shinobi War they were in a recession but not just them but the five great nations as well. Food and water became more limited and they were a lot poorer as well. Supplies were also at an all-time low and her mind went to the hospital that too was running low on medical supplies. She had more than half of her shinobi on missions to earn as much money as they can to keep the village running. This was also a bad thing considering that this left the village vulnerable to an attack. She doubted that her kage allies would try anything but she still would like to be prepared just in case something did happen.
Right now she was alone, she had sent Sakura with Shizune to lend a hand since they were understaffed. She picked up the next 'Report' and saw that it was from the old man from Ichiraku's and started reading it. They had run out of noodles and would not get the next shipment till next month since they could not afford this months. She sighed and knew that Naruto would bust down her door any min-
"BAA-CHAN!" a familiar load voice yelled followed by her doors slamming wide open from a strong kick.
She groaned and set her pencil down to look at him with her hands folded. Naruto stormed right up to her desk put his hands on her desk and giving her a glare.
She sighed and said knowing already what he was here for. "What do you want brat and this better be important."
His gaze hardened and said "I was just at Ichiraku's and the old man said that he had to close up shop for a while since he can't pay the next shipment."
She smiled in amusement and said "And what do you want me to do about it."
Naruto might be a kid with a big heart and more courage than she could ever muster but he was pretty much ignorant when it came to the economy. She just prayed when he took over as the new hokage that his advisors would be able to carry the weight he obviously couldn't. Not to say that he has dumb or anything because he had his own wisdom and that counts more than being book smart. She was taken out of her thoughts when he started talking again.
"I want you to do something about because people will starve if they don't get their daily ramen." He said trying to make it sound like in excuse.
"You mean so you could get your daily ramen a day… honestly not everyone eats ramen as much as you." She retorted.
He gave her an embarrassed look and regained his composure.
"Fine but at least do it for the old man and Ayame since they don't have much money." He said with sympathy.
She sighed again and started rubbing her temples.
"I wish I could help but they're not the only people who need help right now and I can't just go around helping everyone like I used to. We are in a recession now and are low on just about everything. That's why I have everyone out on missions so we can raise money to buy food and supplies." She informed him.
"Then send me and the others out on a mission that would be enough to pay their bills and I'll give it to them." He reasoned.
"I don't have missions like that available and I don't think Sasuke and Sakura would be too keen on letting you do that considering they have their own bills to pay… come to think of it you had some of your own don't you." He mentally slapped himself when he realized that he was a little behind on some of his bills. A thought popped in her head and asked the question that was on her mind. "By the way where is Sasuke anyway?"
When Sasuke returned to the village he was sentenced to probation until he could prove himself trustworthy again. He has at least one ANBU following him every day although this seemed fruitless since he probably sensed him a long time ago but his duty was to report to her if he did something he was not allowed to do.
So far it had been going well and it looked like he was behaving himself. Since the Uchiha compound was destroyed in Pain's Invasion and the apartment he used to stay at had been taken he was staying at Naruto's for the time being
"I don't know I didn't see him this morning but he's probably off somewhere in the training fields or something. I was going to train with him… but I can't function without ramen." He told her hoping she would finally give in and submit to his plea.
It didn't work and the pencil she was holding between her fingers snapped and she had a huge tick mark on her forehead that showed she was annoyed. She had enough of his crap and needed to get back to work.
Naruto sensed the dark aura she was giving off but was determined to stay and make sure she would fulfill his request… that is until she garbed something off her desk and threw it at him. It was a hole punch and he was able to dodge it in time before it collided with his head.
"Get the hell out of here I have work to do and I have no time for your bull shit right now… if a mission comes up I'll tell you but I have too much to do right now." She yelled at him while picking up a stapler and getting ready to throw that at him too. He ran out screaming shutting the doors behind him knowing she would throw that at him with her monster strength. He sighed in relief when in the halls but his face contorted in defeat and left the mansion.
He was walking back to his apartment when he past the Hyuuga compound with a solemn look on his face. He changed course to the flower shop to pick up some lily's and head out to the cemetery to pay his respects.
Tsunade saw the look on his face when he past the Hyuuga compound from her window. She sighed when she thought about all the people that had sacrificed their lives to ensure a better future but the sad truth was that they were struggling to just make a living. She just wished that this recession would end so they could finally live that better future.
It was a clear, starry night sky in the open sea where Zuko's ship sailed through the water. Zuko is currently meditating in his cabin trying to calm his nerves since he was having trouble catching his quire. The glow of the four candles situated on a table steadily increases and decreases in time with the prince's relaxed inhalations and exhalations.
He was interrupted when his uncle cracks open the door and peeks through while Zuko opens his eyes.
"The only reason you should be interrupting me, is if you have news about the Avatar." He said calmly.
Iroh Pushes open the door completely and enters the room shutting it behind him, holding a rolled up scroll in his hands.
"Well, there is news, Prince Zuko, but you might not like it. Don't get too upset." He said knowing how he would take the news.
"Uncle, you taught me that keeping a level head is a sign of a great leader. Now, whatever you have to say, I'm sure I can take it." He said still in a calming tone.
Iroh tugged his small beard in the background before beginning "Okay then." And saying the rest hesitatingly "We have no idea where he is." The flames of the candles suddenly erupt in a fiery mass, brushing the ceiling and obscuring Zuko from sight.
"What!?" he said enraged and raised to his feet. Iroh shields his face from the flames, and merely withdraws a fan from his robe and begins waving it to cool himself down.
"You really should open a window in here." He mutters as Zuko snatches the scroll from Iroh's hand and he unrolls it, scanning over the parchment.
"There have been multiple sightings of the Avatar, but he is impossible to track down." Iroh informed him.
Zuko sighed and said with desperation. "How am I going to find him, Uncle? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering."
With that said someone knocked on his door and Zuko gave him a brief come in. The door opened showing one of his soldiers holding an important looking document.
"What is it!?" He snapped not taking his eyes off the map.
He filched behind the mask and held up the scroll so Iroh could take it and said. "I'm sorry for the interruption but this scroll just arrived."
Iroh nodded his head for him to leave and he took his leave. Iroh open the scroll and started reading from it his eyes getting wider every passing second.
"What is it Uncle?" Zuko asked still refusing to leave his gaze from the map.
Iroh sighed he knew this day would come. When his would try and involve the people of the elemental nations to join in the war. Ozai would never attack them because he knew they had the power to not only crush their nation but make sure it stayed crushed.
Iroh sighed and looked at his nephew and wondered how he would take this news.
"Well… are you just going to sit there or are you going to tell me what it says." Zuko said getting impatient.
"It is a letter from your farther Prince Zuko." He informed him.
That got his intention off of the map and he looked at his uncle with wide eyes and a hopeful look.
"But before you get your hopes up he is not lifting your banishment… he has an assignment for us."
"What does he want me to do." Never losing hope that he might please his farther with the assignment he just gave him.
"Well more specifically he wants me to do something… and that is to stop chasing the Avatar temporally and head to Konoha to negotiate a deal." He told him.
He gave his uncle a weird look and sensing the question coming up he answered it.
"Konoha is a village in the elemental nations and is the heart of the military of its land."
"Uncle I don't understand… aren't the elemental nations isolated from the rest of the world… so why would father want to negotiate with them." He asked with curiosity.
"It seems he getting impatient with us about capturing the Avatar so he wants to hire them in aiding us to capture him." He said gauge in his reaction.
The candles lit up and yelled in frustration. "What!? That isn't necessary I'm more than enough to capture him."
"Zuko this is something we cannot refuse and it couldn't hurt to get some help once in a while… it will be nice seeing Jiraiya and Tsunade again." He said the last part with a smile when he recalled past memories of them.
"Fine but this better not take long we need to get back on the Avatars trail." He submitted.
"Don't worry nephew it shouldn't take too long." He smiled at him and left the room to tell the helmsman to change course.
After he left Zuko looked back at the map and looked to where Konoha was on it.
"Konoha huh." He mused to himself.
After Naruto picked up the flowers he wanted from the shop he went to the cemetery. He was currently walking through head stones when he spotted someone ahead of him. It was Shikamaru was there with his own flowers and was in front of Asuma's grave.
Shikamaru looked over to Naruto seeing the flowers in his and instantly knowing what his purpose here was. Naruto walked up to him with a smile but he wasn't fooled by it he knew it was fake.
"Oh hay Shikamaru what's up." Naruto said with forced happiness.
"I'm just paying my respects to Asuma-sensei." He said with his own forced smile.
"That's nice… well I have to go and uh… do something." He said walking away while scathing the back of his head embarrassed.
Shikamaru watched his retreating back and sighed. This was getting to gloomily for him and decided to leave and find a nice place to lay down and watch the clouds.
Naruto finally made it to the spot he was looking for and looked down to see two head stones. His face contorted in other sadness when he read the names on the head stones… Neji and Hinata Hyuuga.
Neji had sacrificed himself to protect Hinata and Naruto from the Jubi when it attacked them. Hinata died when Kaguya killed her to break Naruto's will but unfortunately for her this is what pushed Naruto over the edge and he ended up defeating her and releasing all of the Biju.
What tore Naruto apart though was the life he could have spent with Hinata if he wasn't so dense. He had spent years trying to chase after a girl who would never love him the way he had loved her that he hadn't released that there was someone that did love him and he blew it. He always went around the village and made a fool of himself just so that someone would acknowledge him. He however never really acknowledged her and that made him feel like a hypocrite. He could still hear her dying words like they were being said right now… "Live for me."
He was starting to shed tears over this and decided to place the flowers down next to the ones that were already their probably from Hiashi or Hanabi. He needed to get out of here and clear his mind maybe he would go train with Sasuke.
Sokka was wondering how he and the gang ending up in these kinds of situations. They always seemed to attract some kind of bad luck. Aang decided it would be wise to stop and ride a fish that could sallow him whole only to be chased by a sea serpent that could sallow the creature he was riding on. Miraculously he was able to get out of the water in time before it could eat him only for all of them to be captured by the natives that lived there.
He was currently blindfolded and was squirming around to try and escape the ropes that he was tied up by.
"Show yourselves, cowards!" He Challenged.
A gloved hand, the forearm dressed in a leather band with a gold insignia on top of it, removes the blindfold. Sokka looked up to see five girls in green kimonos and wearing white and red face paint are standing in front of him.
"Who are you? Where are the men who ambushed us?" He asked aggressively.
"There were no men. We ambushed you. Now tell us, who are you and what are you doing here?" She said indignantly while stepping forward, gesturing heavily with her clenched fist.
Sokka stares at them in disbelief "Wait a second." He started amusingly and glanced to his right to where Aang stood as if he is looking for confirmation. "There's no way that a bunch of girls took us down." He finished mockingly.
Sokka got grabbed by his collar by what looked to be the leader. "A bunch of girls, huh? The unagi is gonna eat well tonight." She said angrily.
Katara leans forward in her bonds. "No, don't hurt him! He didn't mean it. My brother is just an idiot sometimes." She said pleading and apologetically and she released Sokka, but still stares at him in dismay.
"It's my fault. I'm sorry we came here. I wanted to ride the elephant koi." The three teenagers look surprised at Aang's words.
"How do we know you're not Fire Nation spies? Kyoshi stayed out of the war so far. And we intend to keep it that way!" The elder said angrily.
Aangs expression brightened and said "This island is named for Kyoshi? I know Kyoshi!"
"Ha! How could you possibly know her?" He said humorlessly.
"Avatar Kyoshi was born here four hundred years ago. She's been dead for centuries." He continued while looking at her statue.
"I know her because I'm the Avatar." Aang said calmly.
"That's impossible! The last Avatar was an air bender who disappeared a hundred years ago." The leader of the Kyoshi warriors said still not convinced.
"Throw the impostor to the unagi!" The elder said angrily.
"Aang... do some air bending..." Katara said nervously.
Aang breaks his bonds and shoots himself into the air. He backflips over the top of Kyoshi's statue. He floats gracefully to the ground amidst the 'oohs' and 'aahs' of the gathered crowd, which now includes other members of the village.
"It's true... you are the Avatar!" The elder said in shock.
"Now... check this out!" Aang says while he air bends some marbles grinning madly.
After showing off his air bending skills Aang and his friends were sitting down at a table inside the town hall they were currently eating with the elder chief named Oyagi and the leader of the Kyoshi warriors called Suki. Sokka was currently glaring at the women warrior who was calmly eating her food; Aang was eating a cream pie, and Katara was in deep conversation with the village elder.
"I see… so you guys are heading to the North Pole then… well we'd be happy to lend you any supplies to help you along your journey." Oyagi said happily.
"Thank you so much… but we don't have any money." Katara said with modesty.
"Oh but I insist after all it would be a great honor to help the Avatar in his journey." He insisted.
"Thanks we appreciate it…this island seems so generous what can you tell us about it." Aang asked in curiosity while licking some cream that was on his face.
"Well… the island was formed by Kyoshi herself when defeating an evil tyrant who tried to take the earth kingdom it has existed for centuries." He explaned.
"Cool I can't wait to do that when I master all the elements… so what happen to Kyoshi after that." Aang said exceedingly.
Both Oyagi's and Suki's faces darkened a little and it was Suki who spoke next.
"She was killed by a monster."
"Wait! What." Katara said with shock as she could not believe what she was hearing. Aang too had a look of shock on his face; he wasn't even familiar of the stories of that place and Sokka just had a look of curiosity on his face.
"What do you mean by a monster… do you mean a spirit." Aang asked wondering how his past life was defeated.
"I'm afraid not Avatar Aang… this was no spirit if anything he was a demon." The old man answered him.
Aang gulped and it was Katara that spoke up next.
"A demon defeated the avatar are you sure about this."
"He is kind of exaggerating but she was killed by one of the savages from the elemental nations." Suki explained when it was Sokka who spoke up next.
"Aren't the Elemental countries isolated from the rest of the world… so why would one attack the Avatar?"
"Yes ever since it was founded they had decided to separate themselves from the world… Kyoshi was on a missionary mission to try to bring order on the continent and also to learn their fighting styles. But she and everyone she brought with her were killed except for one person who was allowed to live to tell us what happened. He only described his eyes as red as blood filled with darkness and his name… Madara Uchiha." The elder explained.
"Sounds like one scary dude but what do you mean she wanted to learn their fighting styles… what does that mean." Sokka ask curiosity taking over.
"I don't know what it is and how they do it but the people on that side of the world wield a power so devastating that it can destroy even the Avatar with ease." He explained to them as Aang gulped for the second time that day, he could not believe that there were people out there that could defeat him so easily.
"And that's not all… not only did he kill Kyoshi but humiliated her too… the sacred fans she once wielded are hung up like a trophy in his village. Even when Roku tried to retrieve them he was defeated but he was able to escape with his life before he was done in by them." He said angrily.
"That's awful how could they do such a thing!" Katara said appalled of the whole thing.
"Because their savages that's why…" Suki said coldly.
Aang was just sitting there trying to absorb all the information he had just learned until the elder got his attention.
"Avatar Aang I know this must be asking a lot but can you please obtain Kyoshi's fans... it would mean a lot to the people of this village if you could." He asked hesitantly.
Before Aang could say anything Katara stood up and spoke up.
"Of course we will!"
"Katara are you crazy… we have to get to the north pole and we can't waste time going to dangerous places and find sacred whatever's…" he scolded her.
"Why you scared." Suki said amused.
Sokka cheeks flushed red and he glared at her remembering their fight from earlier.
"I'm not scared… I'll show you I can easily steal those fans back." He blurted out then released what he just said and groaned while Suki just gave him a smirk.
"What do you say Aang you in." Katara asked him.
Aang couldn't say no to Katara but he was still scared of the story that was just told and was not sure he wanted to go up against a force that powerful but ended up nodding in agreement.
"Then its settled you'll leave tomorrow I'll go see to the preparations." The elder said while leaving with Suki leaving the gang behind to concentrate on their thoughts.