Chapter 1: Prologue: A Child's Ideal
The people hidden in the whirlpool and eddies.
A proud village.
A pacifist village.
And it was her home that she was being forced away from.
Kushina pushed back the tears that were welling in her eyes. It was hard enough for her mother, Shizuka, to let her go, but it would be even harder if she left crying. Her twin stood beside her, hands placed firmly over her shoulder to comfort her. O Shirou, she was going to miss him.
The fact that he had argued to take her place left her feeling slightly hopeful. Yet she knew that she wouldn't be able to bare the guilt of forcing her brother away. What kind of older sibling would she be if she left her problems onto her sibling? To make matters worse, Shirou was born with an imbalance of his physical and spiritual chakra. He may die through the sealing. Of what kind, she had yet to know, but there was no way she, or her family, could accept that risk. And still, Shirou had insisted.
He wasn't even a shinobi, he was a civilian. Not that he wasn't capable, but she knew he wasn't suited for it. Not when he spent all of his allowance buying candy for children, and doing odd jobs for anyone who would ask something of him for their own convenience. She put an end to that the moment they began badgering him about homework. They could do it themselves.
Perhaps the largest reason however, was his ideology. He wanted to be a hero. A smile began to tug on her lips. It was a dream unbecoming of a member of the main family whose sole duty was to protect and maintain the village. To Shirou, to be a hero was to protect everyone.
For shinobi, it was different.
Live for the village. Die for the village.
That was the shinobi way.
Which was why… "I'll be alright," she spoke, pushing Shirou away with a wry smile. "Besides, I'm the oldest."
She watched as Shirou frowned and made to object, but relented when she began to glare. This was her duty, regardless if she liked it or not.
Kushina turned her back on Shirou and walked up to her grandfather, Hideki, the Uzukage. "I'm ready," she spoke before she could lose her resolve.
"Father, surely there can be another way?" Toma, Kushina's father, spoke quietly. He didn't want to lose his daughter, nor was he willing to wager his son's life. "We can send plenty of other Uzumaki. Those perfectly willing to go."
Hideki pinched the bridge of his nose, and sighed before he shook his head. "You know as well as I do, why we have to send either Shirou or Kushina."
"I-It's that political shit isn't it!?" Shizuka yelled, eyes watering. This wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair that Kushina had to suffer to maintain ties with Konoha. Political blood ties were an old tradition, and at this point, all Konoha really required was an Uzumaki's constitution. She clenched her mouth, lest she say something that'll cause her daughter any undo grief.
Hideki frowned as he nodded his head to Shizuka's accusation. To maintain strong ties with Konoha, the blood of the main family was required. It was why Mito Uzumaki had gone in the first place. Blood ties were hard to sever after all.
"Grandpa, please," before I lose my resolve. Kushina spoke, burying her face into Hideki's stomach lest she see her family's conflicted faces.
Hideki let out a breath and met his son's eyes, before he disappeared with Kushina in a drizzle of small water droplets.
The Uzumaki family house fell quiet, a mother's sobs echoing throughout the compound.
That event happened three years ago, and it still continued to haunt Toma Uzumaki's dreams. Even now he still fantasized about sneaking into Konoha and swooping his daughter away. He had not seen her in three years, granted he knew why. It was dangerous to make the journey from Konoha to Uzu, even more so now that tensions were growing high between Uzu and the other great shinobi villages. However, that didn't stop his wife from making the journey, wouldn't have stopped him either if his life weren't so important. Hideki was getting old, and slowly, more and more of the Uzukage's duties were being passed onto him.
As for the village, it had remained calm despite the trouble brewing outside its walls. As the son of the Uzukage, and as a father, he would make sure it remained that way. For his family, for his people, and for his duty, regardless of who stood in Uzushiogakure's way, he would pave a path for a better tomorrow. But first-
He had to deal with that.
Shirou, his youngest was always bright and quick to learn. In fact, if Kushina weren't born first, there would be no way to realize that Shirou was the younger of the two. After he had first introduced seals to Shirou, he had taken to it like a fish to water, his eyes able to discern even the most intricate of seals. He was a seal genius like none other. Yet when he'd administer the chakra, something always went wrong. More often than not, an explosion.
He blew away a lock of his displaced hair away from his right eye, and rubbed at his temples. He could feel a headache coming on.
The door to his study was kicked open as a masked woman burst in.
"Toma, do you know what your child has done this time!" The woman raged.
Of course, he did; he could see it all the way from his study, wisps of smoke trailing across the sky. "Yes yes, he blew up your garden. Now what is it that you really want Anbu Commander."
The woman relaxed, the anger seeming to have just suddenly disappeared. "Straight to the point as always, I see, captain."
"Those days are over now, Anbu Commander," Toma spoke referring to her rank rather than her name. She was wearing her mask, which meant that this discussion involved the shinobi corps. "Something I need to know?"
The Anbu Commander crossed her arms. "Your son is wasting his talent."
Toma raised a brow and leaned forward on his hands.
"You act as if you don't know captain. He's a civilian yet he's faster and stronger than the academy students over half his age." The Anbu Commander uncrossed her arms and stared out the window of the study towards the trailing smoke in the sky. "He's untrained in chakra, yes?"
Toma nodded. Due to Shirou's imbalance of physical and spiritual chakra, he and his wife had been putting off his training in the art until his physical chakra reached balance with his spiritual. His case was unusual, something the medical shinobi had never seen before in a newborn. Which was why they had only just begun training him at the start of the present year. And how else to train him than to start off on seals? Regardless of chakra control, output, or quality of chakra, even civilians were able to operate the seals in storage scrolls. It was a given that despite Shirou's chakra imbalance that he should have been able to complete any seal. Simply siphon chakra from the body into the seal, and done. Explosion.
"He's begun training at the start of this year, but you already know the results," he spoke. He didn't know what he was doing wrong. Why did every single seal his son make explode without fail? Not even the foremost of the Uzumaki sealing elders had any idea. It was a curse. To be born with the talent to understand and reproduce even the most complicated of seals, yet unable to perform even the most basic.
The Anbu Commander gave pause at Toma's comment. "He's just started working with chakra, and the explosion is that big?"
Worse. Toma pulled out a simple storage seal. "He's still practicing with basic storage seals. Shizuka thinks he should move on to something more complicated…"
The Anbu Commander's eyes widened from beneath her mask. If such an explosion was caused by a simple storage scroll, then what would that mean for – "He'll blow up half the village."
"Which is why I've convinced Shizuka otherwise, and restricted his practice to storage seals."
The possibilities of such a technique were filtering through the Anbu Commander's mind. If the boy were in any other village, he would be recruited into the shinobi corps regardless of his blood ties. Such a talent like that could not be ignored when any sort of seal can turn into a bomb. For example, most villages allowed foreign civilians and shinobi into their walls for meetings or exams after a thorough inspection of any weapons or dangers to the village. And what village would refuse the entry of storage scrolls and their seals? None. An infiltrator capable of setting up a chain of consecutive explosions under the prefix of a storage seal. A shiver traveled down her back.
"Your son is wasting his talent," she repeated.
"My son wants to be a hero."
She couldn't help it. She laughed long and hard. There were no heroes out in the shinobi world. Only those who live, and those who die.
"My son's dream is not something to laugh about."
"You can't honestly believe that, captain? I mean it's a joke beyond just impossible."
"And yet it's a beautiful dream for one so young. Isn't that right, Tsubasa."
The Anbu Commander didn't answer, turning her back on Toma. "You've heard my opinion as the Anbu Commander, please consider it for the sake of the village."
For the sake of the village, I gave away my daughter. And now for the sake of the village, I would condemn my only son?
Toma closed his eyes, and banished his internal conflicts. "I'll see what I can do to convince him," he spoke.
"That is all that I can ask, captain." And then she was gone, a drizzle of tiny water droplets in her place.
Toma leaned into his chair, staring up at the ceiling of his home. What was he supposed to do? Shirou was smart for his age, far more than Kushina was, and he said that with no form of favoritism. It was a fact proven from both of their first written tests. While Kushina was given the regular test paper, unbeknownst to Shirou, he had received a senior level academy test and passed. It was incredible. A seven-year-old of all things passing a senior year academy test. Shirou was smart, of that he had no doubts. Therefore, there had to be a reason why he was declining to become a shinobi.
I want to be a hero.
Toma clasped his hands together. What is it about being a shinobi that would take away from that dream? A shinobi fought for their people. A shinobi fought for the betterment of their village. But a shinobi was tied down by the ruling Daimyo and the Uzukage.
A hero saves everyone.
A beautiful and admirable ideal.
To save the innocent, regardless of which village or region would never work out for a shinobi. But his son was a civilian, and that's what mattered. He hummed in thought.
Your son is wasting his talent.
His inner shinobi was waging war with his emotions, and in the end, he found himself observing his son from the distant roof tops. Shirou stood with a frown on his face in the middle of the crater he had created in his explosion. His clothes and hair were in disarray, and his sandals completely gone. He stood there, pondering on his failure.
Watching Shirou think reminded Toma of himself in his younger years, and brought a smile to his face.
Yet Shirou wasn't a shinobi.
He watched as Shirou got out of the crater, muttering to himself about another failure. Yet what was he doing know?
Shirou had glanced around him before running off in the direction of the secluded plains by the great coast of Uzu.
Toma raised a brow and quickly followed with a body flicker, reminding himself to teach Shirou how to determine when he was being followed. Perhaps it was because of his chakra imbalance, but Shirou had trouble understanding what chakra actually was. It was another oddity in his son. While Kushina and the other children had no problems utilizing their chakra, Shirou always fiddled around with his to understand its mechanics. Regardless, his inability to relate to chakra would make it difficult for him to sense other chakra signatures nearby.
Then why did he glance in my direction? Toma observed Shirou sniff with his nose, and suddenly pause in contemplation. W-Was his son a sensor?
Toma suppressed his chakra, and body flickered to a different location. Shirou didn't even notice. He spiked his chakra again, and quickly, Shirou's gaze turned. He really was.
Your son is wasting his talent.
He suppressed his chakra and performed a summoning jutsu.
"You called?" A little otter asked.
Toma brought a finger over his mouth and motioned towards where his son had begun walking in his direction. Can you distract him? Was the conveyed question.
The otter nodded before waddling towards Shirou.
Chakra suppressed, Toma body flickered away just as his summon had reached Shirou. He watched intently as curiosity found its way onto Shirou's face as his ninja summon began to talk to him. Shirou's posture relaxed as his summon promptly left.
So, no chakra. Toma decided. It would be the only way to follow Shirou without him noticing. After all, his own curiousty peaked at what his son was trying to do in secret. He continued to follow his son to what he believed was an isolated area and hid behind the large rocks washed up by the coast.
Shirou stopped by the ocean waves, and just stood there, eyes closed in concentration. A small crease formed over his forehead as he slowly raised an arm. "Trace on," he spoke.
Toma raised a brow from the phrase. Was his son trying to perform a jutsu with his unstable chakra, and without supervision? The danger of such an act was not lost on him. If his chakra alone was enough to cause an explosion in a seal, then what would it mean now that he could see blue interface patterns travelling throughout his son's body. Another explosion, and he would not risk his son's life.
He made to step out and reprimand Shirou's considerably dangerous behaviour, but suddenly faltered. He had been neutral when his child decided not to pursue the path of a shinobi, but now after seeing him create an object out of nothing, he had no complaints. He truly loved his child, and the danger that kind of power could bring sent shivers down his spine.
He pressed his back against the large ocean rock, pinching the bridge of his nose.
The Uzumaki clan with their long-life spans and high vitality had been alive for centuries. The oldest Uzumaki having lived far over two-hundred. However, regardless of their lifespan, it was the sheer wealth of information located deep within the Uzumaki scrolls that mattered. Ancient documents dating back far before the time of the Warring Clans era. Clearance to such information was only allowed to those of the leading family and Uzukage. Therefore, he was granted access and was expected to retain the past knowledge. Of those ancient documents, there had only been one capable of wielding such a power.
He began to fear for his child, he truly did. Which is why, despite his loyalty to his father, the Uzukage, and the village, Toma Uzumaki neglected to report his findings and instead supported his son's decision to stay out of shinobi life.
Thanks for reading, and thank you to Delca. It's appreciated
Next Update: Vasto of White
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