Chapter 32: The Land of Whirlpools
And we're back! It's time for another chapter in this wonderful story, so everyone get ready, cause this is gonna be GOOD.
But first...some public announcements.
I'm so sorry for the long hiatus, there have been a lot of personal issues happening lately that just left me in some serious depression. I had no drive to write and I came close to just breaking entirely to be honest. I'm slowly getting better, but I can't promise anything right now. I just didn't want to write while I was going through the motions, I tried writing this chapter, but I just couldn't put any feeling into it.
I'm lucky to have friends that care about me enough to help. Cherish those who stick by you in those dark moments, they'll be your friends for life.
Kingdom Rider92: Well to be fair, Kurenai and Asuma aren't as skilled as the other two at this point in time I think. And there won't be any killing of Sasuke right now, I have some drama planned for him.
Nightshadegirl: He hopes that there is some ancient Uzumaki voodoo magic or something like that. The difference between what happened here and in canon was that in canon, his arms had their "souls" taken, and here his chakra coils were destroyed, so the Transfer Jutsu might work better in this universe.
Guest: Oh I have plans for the doll...just wait and see. *Insert evil laugh here*
Roboguy45: He'd rather get the Sharingan first so he can copy all non-bloodline Jutsu.
GodSwampThing: Yeah, I'm planning to turn away from the bashing. Maybe to something more...mild.
Ilireanwri: Karin has been laying low for a while till they're sure that Kusa has forgotten her. I wanted to bring in zabuza and Haku, but I felt that it would be to expected.
wolf(Guest): Not forgetting about her at all, I just don't have any roles for her in this segment of the story.
Okay, that's all for today, time to get this show on the road!
Let the party begin!
"So let me get this straight," Naruto began as he stared at the two criminals in front of him. "You want me to go with you, two notorious missing ninjas, right?"
"Well well, looks like he's a smart one," Kisame remarked with a large grin on his face.
"Yes," Itachi said as he locked his gaze with the young Chuunin in front of him.
Naruto put a hand on his chin. "Yeah...let me think about tha-no," he said as he slammed the door in front of them.
Kisame blinked owlishly at the door before turning to his partner. "Did he just slam the door on us?" Kisame asked. Itachi said nothing as he looked on stoically. Kisame pulled out his sword and got ready to bust down the door.
Next to him, Itachi's eyes widened and he dove to the side. Kisame noticed a second later and dove to the side too, just as the door exploded and a torrent of fire flowed outward.
"What the Hell!?" Kisame shouted as he quickly got up.
"Damnit, I missed," Naruto muttered as he peaked his head out, seeing that both shinobi were okay, with Kisame slightly singed for being slower to evade.
Kisame lunged at him with his sword raised, ready to chop off an arm or leg. Naruto raised his arms in front of him, his threads quickly reacting and sliding out to block the sword. Kisame's eyes widened in surprise at seeing the same technique that another member of his organization possessed. He moved his head to the side as a tendril shot at him before ripping his sword away and trying to kick Naruto. He blocked it with his threads, but the force of it sent him back.
"Okay kid...looks like you'll be more troublesome than we thought," Kisame said as he tightened his grip on Samehada. He lunged forward and swung Samehada at the blond, who managed to roll out of the way in time as the weapon took a rather large chunk out of the wall and floor. Kisame followed his momentum and planted his sword in the wall, using it as leverage as he threw a kick at Naruto that caught him in the chest, sending him flying down the hall, past Itachi, and into the wall.
"Okay...that hurt," Naruto groaned as he slowly got up.
Kisame pulled his sword out of the wall and hefted it onto his shoulder. "Come on kid, make this easy on yourself," he said as he walked towards the blond. "You're just causing yourself more trouble this way. Plus, I'm tired, give me a break will ya?"
"Hmph, cocky little bastard isn't he?" Kurama remarked. "Not that his pride is misplaced, his strength is far greater than yours, not to mention he has far more experience in battle than you. Your best bet is to try to last till that toad comes to his senses."
'I know, I'm just worried that it'll take him too long to realize what's happening,' Naruto replied.
Kurama grunted in frustration before an idea came to him. "Gather up some of my chakra and send it out in a pulse. That should get his attention."
Naruto did as the Bijuu said, and grasped a minuscule portion of his chakra, though considering how potent Kurama's chakra is, it was still a pretty large amount. Naruto placed his hand on the ground and sent out the chakra in a pulse, that he was sure reached all across the village. The young Chuunin noticed how Kisame's eyes narrowed, and he was sure that the Akatsuki member knew what he just did. And if he knew, then Itachi probably knew as well.
Kisame then dashed forward and swung his sword, aiming to bash Naruto into the wall...HARD. The young Uzumaki crossed his arms quickly, forming a shield with his threads that stopped the majority of Kisame's force, but not enough as he was shoved back into the wall. The threads then shot out, aiming to impale the missing nin on the spot. But Kisame was able to weave through each one, appearing right in Naruto's face and stabbing Samehada forward. Naruto quickly rolled to the side, only getting clipped by the sword on his arm.
"What the hell?!" Naruto exclaimed as he felt a drain on his chakra.
Kurama narrowed his eyes, understanding what happened. "It's the sword, it drained some of your chakra when it touched you. That makes it an effective tool to use against a Jinchuriki if it can handle my chakra."
'You want me to test it and find out?' Naruto asked.
"No," Kurama told him, "the risk outweighs the reward in this situation. If it can handle my chakra, it'll just make it stronger, lowering your chances of survival. Just try to play keep away as much as you can, there's no telling when the Uchiha will step in though..."
Naruto was pulled out of his thoughts as Kisame leaped up for a downward strike, he quickly back stepped, forming hand signs as he flew back.
"Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu!" Naruto breathed out a fireball that filled the entire hallway and raced towards Kisame.
"I thought you would have learned after the first time my sword hit you," Kisame said as he hefted Samehada up. "My sword eats chakra!" He swung it towards the fireball, and the living blade ate the chakra that made up the Jutsu, causing it to dissipate. Naruto barely ducked under the blade as it swung over his head, but could not dodge Kisame's foot as it slammed into him, sending him into the wall hard. Kisame then stabbed Samehada into the wall right next to the dazed Naruto.
"Now then, you gonna come along peacefully kid?" Kisame asked with a shark-like grin. "Or am I gonna have to cut off a limb or two?"
"Stop playing around Kisame, we have work to do," Itachi said to his partner as his eyes drifted to the other end of the hallway, sensing a chakra signature approaching.
"You're no fun," Kisame deadpanned.
Kisame and Naruto turned to the yell, and saw Sasuke Uchiha at the other end of the hallway, Sharingan blazing and anger in his eyes.
"Well well, what a sight this is," Kisame grinned. "A second Sharingan user. You seem to have missed one during your little killing spree."
"I left him alive for a purpose, my brother will have something that I need," Itachi told his partner.
"Well...this will work in our favor," Kurama said. "The brat will give the old pervert more time to get here. Now all he has to do is not die quickly..."
"I'll make you pay for what you did!' Sasuke roared as a Chidori flared to life in his hand and he raced towards his brother, tearing up the hallway as he did so. Kisame made a move to stop him, but a glance from Itachi stopped that, the elder Uchiha telling his partner not to interfere.
Sasuke reached Itachi and stabbed his hand forward, aiming at his brother's heart. Itachi easilly side stepped Sasuke's charge and reached out quickly, grabbing Sasuke's wrist and stabbing the Chidori into the wall next to him, snapping his wrist for good measure. Sasuke cried out in pain as the chakra in his hand vanished, the Chidori vanishing in an instant.
"Such a poor amount of hatred," Itachi chastised him. "How will you ever hope to defeat me like this?"
The younger Uchiha growled, his Sharingan spinning madly. Itachi slowly closed his eyes before snapping them open, his Mangekyo Sharingan spinning wildly as he locked eyes with Sasuke.
"Well...that fight looks like it's over," Kisame said as he observed the brothers. "Kid was an idiot and looked right into Itachi-san's eyes."
'Doesn't help that Sasuke thinks his eyes are a gift from God himself,' Naruto thought to himself. Kurama snorted in agreement. Sasuke screamed as his mental torture ended and he passed out, twitching slightly. Itachi calmly took out a tissue and wiped a small trail of blood from his eye before looking down at Sasuke with slight disappointment.
"Kisame, we're leaving," Itachi said as he turned an eye to his partner. Kisame nodded and grabbed Naruto by his throat and squeezed, intent on sending the young Uzumaki into unconsciousness. Naruto struggled to free himself as he slowly ran out of air.
"Leaving so soon? Why I've only just got here!"
Kisame turned to the side and saw Jiraiya there in a combat stance. Kisame dropped Naruto to the ground, who gasped as he finally got some air, and gripped Samehada in both hands.
"You didn't think a little distraction like that would actually be able to keep me away, did you?" Jiraiya questioned with a cocky grin.
"Considering it took you forever to get here...I'd say the distraction did it's job for the most part," Naruto muttered as he leapt away from Kisame.
The rouge swordsman looked back towards his partner. "What now Itachi?"
"Leave the Jinchuriki, we've gathered enough information," Itachi told him as a kunai slipped down from his sleeve into his hand.
"How cute, you think you'll be able to get away," Jiraiya said as he quickly formed hand seals. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu: Gamaguchi Shibari!" The hallway quickly transformed, pink flesh growing everywhere until all four of them were standing in a giant organ.
"Oi, what the hell is this?" Kisame demanded as he looked at the flesh covered hallway uneasily. He quickly lept back as part of the flesh made a grab for him. "Now that's just disturbing."
Itachi wordlessly turned away and began to run towards the end of the hallway, Kisame quickly following him. Jiraiya smirked as the walls of flesh began to cover the rest of the hallway, racing past the two S-rank shinobi and covering that end of the hallway.
"This is the stomach of a toad who's able to breath extremely hot flames, so his stomach is very resilient to fire, not even you will be able to burn your way out Itachi," Jiraiya said as they turned the corner, a few seconds later, Jiraiya and Naruto held onto the wall for support as the whole building shook. The two Konoha shinobi raced to the corner and saw a hole in the wall, black flames dancing on the edge.
"What the hell?!" Jiraiya as he looked at the hole in shock. "That's impossible! Nobody's been able to get away from this!"
"I doubt that this toad has ever faced the flames of Amateratsu," Kurama said. "Neither the old pervert. So I can understand his disbelief."
"It's the flames of Amateratsu," Naruto told him. "They're able to burn through anything."
Jiraiya placed a hand on his chin. "To think that Itachi has that in his arsenal..." He then walked towards the flames and pulled out a scroll. He then sealed the flames inside the scroll before rolling it up and storing it, banishing the toad's stomach as soon as the flames disappeared.
"I didnt expect them to make a move so soon," Jiraiya grumbled as he rubbed his chin, looking out at where Kisame and Itachi fled.
"You know those two?" Naruto asked as he walked up to the Sannin.
Jiraiya nodded. "Yes, they're part of a group that-"
"GAK!" Jiraiya was interrupted by a foot that planted itself in his cheek and sent him flying into the wall. Naruto quickly turned around to see Might Gai standing there, flashing him a sparkling smile and a thumbs up.
"Yosh! I have arrived just in time to save you from that villainous character, Naruto-kun!" Gai told him.
"Uh...thanks?" Naruto replied, dumbfounded by what just happened, it didn't help that Kurama was rolling around in laughter.
"YOU HIT ME YOU MORON!" Jiraiya roared as he pulled himself out of the wall, nursing a bruise that started to form on his face.
Gai looked at Jiraiya in shock. "Jiraiya-sama!? What happened to you!? Did those villains manage to defeat you!?"
Jiraiya just facepalmed and muttered under his breath. Naruto was sure that he heard him say something about bathing Gai in toad oil. He walked over to the comatose Sasuke and hefted him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes before walking back and handing him to Gai.
"Take this pain in the ass," Jiraiya instructed the Jonin, "I don't know he figured out where Itachi was, or why he thought he could take him out, but he practically abandoned the village with his stupidity, make sure sensei knows about that. Tell Tsunde that he was hit by the Tsukuyomi, and inform sensei that "they" are starting to become active, he'll know what I mean."
"Yosh!" Gai saluted Jiraiya, "I shall accomplish this mission was the speed of a tiger!" He took Sasuke over his shoulder and bolted out of the hole in the wall, making a beeline back to Konoha.
Jiraiya sighed. "We should probably head out soon before we get blamed for all of this mess. I hate getting blamed for someone else's mess, I had enough of that back in my genin days."
With that he leapt out of the hole in the wall and landed on the nearest roof before hopping away. Naruto was about to question him when he heard a scream from around the corner. He peeked around and saw the hotel owner ranting and raving at the damages. Naruto decided to follow the guidance of his godfather and quickly left the hotel, chasing after the Sannin.
After fleeing the town, Jiraiya and Naruto rested for a moment on a nearby hill. "So, wanna tell me what that was all about?" Naruto asked.
Jiraiya sighed. ""Honestly, I wanted to keep this from you for a little while longer," Jiraiya told him. "But, seeing as they've made their move, I guess I can't keep this from you."
Jiraiya straightened up and gave Naruto a serious look. "They're a terrorist organization known as the Akatsuki. I have no idea what their master plan is, but all I am aware of is that it involves collecting the Bijuu, not the Jinjuriki, the Bijuu."
"That's...worrying," Naruto gulped.
"That's not even the worst part," Jiraiya continued. "Every member of the organization is at least an S-Ranked criminal from all over the Five Nations, bar Kuma. So they have the power, it's just a matter of figuring out what they're waiting for. The only reason I know they even exist is because Orochimaru was a member of the organization before leaving in a very sloppy manner."
"Meaning?" Naruto asked.
"He betrayed them," Jiriaya answered. "He was with Itachi, probably on a mission, and tried to steal his eyes. He nearly lost his life trying to do so and barely escaped."
"So, do we have to worry about them right now," Naruto asked.
"No, all of my intelligence has said that the organization has no plans to actively move out to capture the Jinchuriki at this point," Jiraiya reassured him. "Not for several years at least."
"Which is why you're going to need to step up your training for when they decide to actively move out," Jiraiya said.
"Do you really think I'll get that strong that quickly?" Naruto asked.
"Who knows?" Jiraiya shrugged. "That part's up to you. Now come on, let's keep going to Uzu."
(Back in Konoha)
Kushina groaned as she flopped onto her couch, coming back home from a council meeting.
The Uzumaki matriarch looked up and saw a teenage redhead in the kitchen, helping herself to a glass of milk. Her eyes instantly lit up seeing her.
"Karin!" Kushina exclaimed, instantly sitting up on the couch. "You're finally cleared to be out in public?"
Karin nodded and began to explain. "Well the Hokage personally came down and apologized for asking me to stay hidden for a while. He said that his paranoia had gotten to him when the village really has nothing to fear from Kusa."
"Oh that's wonderful," Kushina said as she walked over and embraced the girl. "I can't wait for you to meet my daughter. It'll be nice to have another woman in the house."
"I'm excited to meet her and my fellow shinobi too," Karin said with a smile.
Kushina raised an eyebrow. "You're planning on staying a shinobi?"
Karin nodded. "I want to give back to the Hokage for allowing me to defect. If he hadn't...I don't know what would have happened to me."
"Enough about that," Kushina said, placing her hands on Karin's shoulders. "Leave those thoughts behind you, you have a better future to look forward to now."
"Kaa-san, who are you talking to?" Natsumi asked as she walked down the stairs. "Oh, you met Karin-nee-chan," she said upon seeing the two.
"How did you get in anyway?" Kushina asked as the thought came to her.
"Hokage-sama said you gave him a key," Karin replied.
"Oh yeah, I did," Kushina remembered. "Anyway, come outside, I want to see what you've learned while in Kusa."
Tsunade let out a sigh as she leaned back in her seat.
"Come on sensei," she began, "let's be reasonable here. There's no way I'd make a good Hokage. The only people I'm good at being a leader to is Shizune, and the doctors in the hospital that I've managed to whip into shape. Asking me to lead the village is just way out of my league."
"It's not as if you'd be alone in leading the village," Hiruzen countered. "I will be here to help you get on your feet, and offer advice should you require it."
"So you would be leading over my shoulder is that it?" Tsunade deadpanned.
Hiruzen shook his head in denial. "I would only give you my own opinion on topics that I feel strongly about. The only time I would try to lead beside you is if, kami forfend, we enter another war."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. "Aren't we technically already in a war with Orochimaru?"
"If he was an actual village with shinobi that were properly trained, then yes, I would consider us in a war," Hiruzen replied. "All of his men are mediocre at the best, and his main strength is going to rely on himself, his elites, snake summons, and any successful experiments he sends at us."
"You have a point there," Tsunade agreed. "Prodigy he may have been, but a terrible teacher he was."
"He was more effective at teaching one student at a time than three, just look at Anko," Hiruzen pointed out. "She was a very skilled shinobi under Orochimaru's tutilage before he betrayed her. But we're getting off track here. The fact of the matter is, I need to name a successor."
"Why not Jiraiya? He's stronger than me and has more tools at his disposal," Tsunade countered.
"He needs to run his spy network, especially with the recent development of the Akatsuki starting to make movements," Hiruzen explained. "He needs to keep his focus on them. If their plan truly is to gather all of the Bijuu together, then that could spell a disaster on an immeasurable scale."
Tsunade closed her eyes in thought and let out a sigh. She looked back at her former sensei. "I'll think about it, alright?" she told him. "I won't make any promises, but I will think about it."
"Take as long as you need," Hiruzen replied. Tsunade nodded and walked out of the office, and Hiruzen grabbed his pipe and began taking a smoke as he turned around in his chair, staring at the village below him.
(Several Days Later-The Shores of Nami)
"All set here," Naruto said as he loaded the small boat with supplies.
"Be right there!" Jiraiya called over before turning around to Tazuna. The duo had arrived in Nami yesterday and were going to stay the night before buying a boat and heading out to Uzu. By mere chance, they happened upon Tazuna who was in the marketplace, and offered them lodging at his house, and his spare boat to use when they set out. Naruto was thankful to Tazuna's generosity and convinced Jiraiya to accept as well.
"Thank you again for your generosity last night, and for offering us your spare boat," Jiraiya said.
Tazuna waved him off. "Please, it's the least I could do. Nami owes much and more to the kid for freeing us from Gato's grip."
"I still haven't heard all the details of that mission," Jiraiya muttered. "Nonetheless, your help is greatly appreciated, we'll be sure to return the boat to you in one piece."
Jiraiya bowed to the man once more before heading down to the boat. "Come on Gaki, we've got some rowing to do," he said as he began to push the boat into the water. Naruto quickly moved to help him before they both jumped into the boat as it hit the water, he waved to Tazuna one last time before helping Jiraiya in rowing the boat.
"So is this the only way into Uzu now?" Naruto asked after a while of rowing.
"To put it bluntly, yes," Jiraiya replied. "There used to be a bridge linking it to the mainland, but the Uzumaki's blew it up when Kiri, Kumo, and Iwa launched it's invasion towards the end of the third war. I've heard rumors that there was also some form of seals set up for teleportation to and from the island, but I've never been here to check it out, before today that is."
"Why not?" Naruto asked.
"Well when the invasion force couldn't take the bridge to Uzu, they either took boats, or water-walked alongside the boats to go and invade. And I'm not talking small boats like this, I'm talking about huge boats, able to hold plenty of squads of shinobi. This was an old Kiri design, and they mobilized all of them to move the shinobi to Uzu."
Naruto's eyes widened at the thought. "Are these things still around?"
Jiraiya shook his head. "No, all the designs were destroyed by a Konoha espionage team, and all the ships were destroyed when Uzu sprung it's trap."
"Trap?" Naruto asked.
"Yes, Uzu's trap," Jiraiya confirmed. "When the invasion arrived on Uzu's shores, the Uzukage activated special seals on the sea floor that surrounded the island. They created powerful raging whirlpools that destroyed all the ships, and trapped everyone on the island. Even though all of the Uzumaki's who were there were killed, the invaders had no way of leaving, so they were all killed off by starvation."
"Wow, my ancestors were amazing," Naruto whispered. "Wait a minute, then how are we supposed to get there?"
"As you know, I am the Toad Sage," Jiraiya started. "One of the benefits that provides me is that I can gain some amphibian traits and head underwater for a time. So I was able to observe the seals that are generating the whirlpools, and managed to find what I assume is the only way to get passed them. From what I was able to tell, the seals will deactivate when an Uzumaki approaches them, and reactivate when they're passed a certain distance."
"You're sure that's how it works?" Naruto asked skeptically.
"Kid, I've been studying seals for many years now," Jiraiya pointed out. "I taught your father the majority of what he knew, and he taught me things he discovered. Not to mention your mother did allow me to study a few basic Uzumaki seals back when she was pregnant with you. So I'd like to think I know enough about Uzumaki seals to say with certainty that's how these whirlpool seals work."
Naruto said nothing as they continued to row. They kept going for a few more minutes before Naruto thought he heard the sound of rushing water.
"We're here," Jiraiya said as he stopped rowing, and placed a hand on Naruto's arm to stop him. Naruto looked behind him and saw a massive whirlpool several a fair distance away from their boat. Looking to the sides of it, Naruto could see more whirlpools as well, all of them almost touching with how close they are.
"What now?" Naruto asked.
"We'll there's a few ideas I want to try first before we just row forward," Jiraiya asnwered. "First, leap out and water walk, see if you being on the water and channeling chakra causes the seal to react.
Naruto took a deep breath to steady himself before jumping onto the water, while also hanging onto the boat. Naruto stood there, tense, for a good minute, with the whirlpool not reacting.
"Try a drop of blood," Jiraiya suggested as he handed him a kunai. "Maybe it's a blood seal." Naruto nodded and took the kunai, and knicked his finger before letting a few drops of blood fall into the water. Once more, there was no reaction, so Naruto climbed back inside.
"Death it is," Naruto gulped. Jiraiya said nothing as he slowly rowed the boat forward. Naruto gulped and gripped the edge of the boat tighter, as it was slowly pulled into the whirlpool's current.
Suddenly, the whirlpool began to shudder before it vanished. Jiraiya's eyes widened and a mad grin formed on his face as he rowed faster, eager to get passed the barrier.
"Ahahahahaha!" Jiraiya laughed madly. "I knew it!"
"Less gloating more rowing!" Naruto yelled. Jiraiya complied, but didn't get rid of the shit eating grin on his face. Naruto looked behind Jiraiya to see that they were far enough that the seal couldn't detect him anymore, causing the whirlpool to form once again.
"There it is," Jiraiya said as he slowed down. Naruto turned around once more to see they had reached a beach. Up on a hill was a tori gate with the symbol of the Uzumaki hanging from it.
"Welcome to Uzushiogakure."
Okay, alright, I think that's a good one.
I don't really have much to say now, but I do have this...
Thank you, thank you to everyone who came back upon seeing this update, and I'm sorry I let you all down with my long absence. My mental state isn't the best, but I'm going to keep trying to write as much as I can, to get chapters out to all of you as fast as I can. So once again, thank you for putting up with this failure of an author.
Please Review. Ciao!