DON'T OWN NARUTO

Author's Notes: I'm going to alter things just a little bit for now on. One big change that I'll make is that I'll be using bold and italics for attacks for now on.


Responses to the Reviewers: I decided to answer a few questions to put some of you at ease.

Kazanoe: I guess I did over do the stutter. I'll make sure she stutters a lot less during the rest of the story.

Fic Slayr: The Chuunin Exams is where Naruto will confront Sasuke. From there, he'll try to convince Sasuke that Orochimaru was the enemy and not Itachi. Don't know how I'm going to do that yet, I'm still in the planning stages on that.

Daniel Lynx: I'll tone down the power a little. I'm just saying that Naruto is powerful because he had training with three of the most powerful beings in the shinobi world. Kyuubi, the strongest of the nine great demons, Shinta, a warrior that is known by all, and Itachi, who was considered to be the next great prodigy since Hatake Kakashi.

Aznpuffyhair: I plan on adding more humor starting from the next chapter on.

Night-Owl-123: The only reason why I made Kurenai a little weak and ignorant is because I think that all she can really do is Genjutsu. I know that she has talent in the other fields of Tai and Nin-jutsu, from the way she was when she fought against Itachi, she was easily beaten. I also made her a little ignorant to the fact that Haku was not a real hunter-nin because the great genius Kakashi also made that very same mistake. If Kakashi made that mistake, I think that others would make the same mistake also.


Rising Phoenix

After Hinata's vow that she wants to become stronger, she and Kurenai went out to seek for Naruto, who was still training with Kyuubi on the Body Flicker Technique. On the way there, the two of them, Hinata and Kurenai, met up with a beaten up Shino.

"S-shino, what happened?" Hinata asked.

"Naruto's clone is quite powerful in taijutsu." Shino answered.

"Let's go and see Naruto. I need to talk to him about something." Kurenai responded a few seconds after Shino spoke.

The three of them made it to Naruto's training ground and saw that Naruto was alone. Kurenai figured that Naruto sensed their presence and sent Kyuubi off into the seal.

"Hinata, glad to see you've decided to come." Naruto said, panting in exhaustion.

"Naruto, why did you say those things to Hinata?" Kurenai asked.

"She told you everything?" Naruto asked.

"I only heard that you thought that she was in the way and that she should become stronger." Kurenai answered.

Naruto looked to his right and saw a stump sticking out of the ground. Naruto moved over to the stump and sat down. He then looked at Kurenai and responded to her question.

"Let me tell you of a story." Naruto said with look of sadness in his face.

"Right after my tenth birthday, a person who I thought of as a father died. He taught me many things and I was very grateful to him. He was the one who always told me that I should always fight for the ones who are precious to me and not fight just for myself.

"After he died, my friend Kyuu took me to a town near by. Back then, I was what you would call stupid, loud, and annoying. In the town nearby, Kyuu had some things to do in the town so I was left alone." Naruto didn't want to say that Kyuu, or rather Kyuubi, ran out of energy already and he needed to wait a little before giving her a new body. Kurenai also knew who Naruto was referring too and kept silent.

"I met up with a girl named Kasumi right after Kyuu left. She was four years older than me and was a kind and gentle person. She was also an orphan, the same as me. When we went traveling around the town, we encountered a group of missing-nins known as the Predators."

Kurenai let out a gasp because she has heard of things that this group of missing-nin did and it wasn't pretty. Naruto continued on with his story.

"Back then, I was basically the opposite of Hinata. I was loud, not afraid to express myself, and I was overconfident in my abilities. I thought that I was powerful enough to take on anybody no matter what their level was. Oh, how wrong I was. When we encountered the group known as Predators, they grabbed Kasumi and went off into a near by alley. I followed and tried to beat them, confident in my ability.

"Because I was loud and overconfident, I announced my arrival and said that I would beat the crap out of them and rescue Kasumi. Two of them smiled maliciously and started to advance at me while the other three members watched, holding Kasumi who was half naked on the ground. I barely managed to defeat the two that advanced towards me and a third member grabbed me from behind when I was weak. They forced me to watch as they were about to rape Kasumi of her innocence and I used up most of the power I had left to escape from the holds of the third ninja.

"I defeated the ninja that was holding me down and moved to protect Kasumi. One of the two remaining grabbed a katana and started to strike at me. That person managed to give me a direct hit close to the heart and I went down to the ground in severe pain. The man with the katana was about to take my head off when Kasumi interrupted the attack using her own body as a shield. When I asked her why she sacrificed herself for someone she barely even knows, she said that I was a precious person to her and that I had to be protected.

"Kasumi lied dead on the ground in the cold alleyway and I went completely berserk. I totally annihilated the two ninjas that were left using my second source of chakra. I'll tell you more on that later. After I killed the two, their bodies were completely unrecognizable. After that, I cried and was forced to carry Kasumi's dead body out of town and buried her in a field of flowers she told me about earlier. Ever since that incident, I found that I was still too weak to protect those who are precious to me. I decided to become stronger and with the help of Kyuu and Weasel, (Itachi) I gathered the strength that I need. Right now, the people who I consider precious to me are Kyuu, Weasel, you guys, and the third."

"T-that's s-so sad." Hinata replied, tears clearly visible in her eyes and were streaming down her face.

Kurenai looked impassive, but she was feeling sad for Naruto's loss. Even when Naruto left Hidden Leaf five years ago, he barely had any friends.

"What's rape?" Shino asked.

He might not show it but Shino was also feeling a little bit sad. Hinata looked at Kurenai and Naruto wondering the same thing.

"Have either of you been given 'the talk'?" Naruto asked.

Both Shino and Hinata shook their heads.

"You won't understand then until you parents tell you 'the talk'. Even I didn't know what the thugs were actually doing until a couple months ago when I was given that talk." Naruto replied.

"Naruto, what is your fighting level at right now?" Kurenai asked.

"I think I'm at the higher Chuunin level with my fighting skills. I don't really know since I really haven't fought with anyone other than my brother and Kyuu for the past few years. My specialty lies with my ability to create clones and my taijutsu. My Ninjutsu is that of a mid to high lever Chuunin. My Genjutsu is that of a low Chuunin. The only reason why I was faster than you was because I took off my weights before I left because of a warning that I receive from my brother."

Kurenai looked up at the sky and saw that the sun was close to setting. Kurenai looked at her team and spoke.

"Why don't we head back to Tazuna's? It's starting to become darker out here."

"I'll join you in a couple minutes. There's something else I need to do real fast." Naruto replied.

Kurenai knew the reason why the two wanted to stay and motioned for Hinata to follow her to Tazuna's.

"Is it my imagination or is it that we're being watched?" Naruto asked.

"It's that masked hunter-nin that we encountered a couple days ago." Shino replied.

"You can come on down now." Naruto said out to the trees.

A few seconds later, a young girl appeared, wearing a simple pink kimono that had images of sakura blossoms around it.

"Hello, I see that you managed to find me. You must be of a high level." The girl replied.

"Not really, your that male hunter-nin that saved Zabuza's life the other day." Shino replied.

The boy looked shocked at being discovered so easily.

"How did you know?" the boy asked.

"I placed a bug on you before you left just in case something happened. I used the bugs of the opposite gender to detect the one that is on you." Shino answered.

"What are you doing here?" Naruto asked.

"Zabuza is busy finding out some information. Tell me, why is the name Uzumaki really important to him?" the boy asked.

"How would I know, I've been an orphan for most of my life so I wouldn't know the meaning behind the Uzumaki name. All I know is that Uzumaki was the surname that my mother carried." Naruto replied in honesty.

"I see." The boy replied.

"Next time we meet, we might become enemies." The boy said. "And by the way, my name is Haku." Haku said, using a teleportation skill to teleport away.

"Let's head over to Tazuna's." Naruto said a few seconds later.

Shino nodded his head.


After Haku left, he went back to the hideout that he and Zabuza are currently using. Haku entered the room and saw that Zabuza was reading through a couple of books.

"So Haku, what did you find out about Uzumaki?" Zabuza asked.

"All I found out was that it was the surname that his mother had." Haku answered.

Zabuza stopped reading the book he had and grabbed a thick tome from a shelf nearby. Zabuza opened the book to about half way and started glimpsing. A few minutes later, he found his answer.

"I can't believe this. Someone from the Uzumaki line is still alive." Zabuza said with amazement.

"What it is Zabuza?" Haku asked curious.

"According to this tome, the Uzumaki clan was wiped out by the demon Kyuubi twelve years ago. They had some type of unique bloodline that is not written in this tome. It says that the Uzumaki were a distant relation to that of the Momochi." Zabuza replied, looking over another page in the tome.

"You mean to say that…" Haku began.

"Is that Uzumaki Naruto is my distant cousin." Zabuza finished.

"I'm going to quit working for Gatou and talk to Uzumaki. I now remember where I heard the name Uzumaki before. Uzumaki Haruka used to be one of the seven swordsmen of the Mist. She was said to have died of a mysterious cause twelve years ago. The same day as the Kyuubi attack." Zabuza replied. "I had forgotten about Haruka because out of the seven swordsmen, she's the only one that's dead at the moment."


At Tazuna's, Naruto and company were eating dinner that was made by Tsunami and a little help from Hinata.

When Naruto placed his head down on the table to get a brief rest, Tazuna's grandson, Inari had tears running down his eyes.

"Tell me, why do you wear yourself out? No matter how hard you try, you'll never be a match for Gatou or his thugs." Inari yelled.

Everyone except for Naruto and Shino looked at Inari with shock. Shino was shocked, he just didn't show it.

"I'm not going to lose." Naruto said, grabbing some chopsticks to eat some rice.

"You're ticking me off. From the way you act, you don't know a thing about suffering or loneliness or what my life was like." Inari replied, using the same tone of voice as before.

"You figure that it's noble for you to star in a melodrama and treat everyone around you like guests at your pity party?" Naruto asked, grabbing some soy sauce nearby.

Everyone was still looking at the exchange going on with Naruto and Inari.

"You're nothing more than a big baby." Naruto said in all seriousness. Naruto stopped eating and looked at Inari with a glare.

Inari ran from the dining table and headed outside.

"Don't you think you went a little too far?" Kurenai asked.


Outside, Inari ran until he thought he was alone. He started to remember memories of his past not long after when man wearing a black cloak appeared.

"Hello, what's the matter?" the man asked.

"This kid Naruto. He told me that I was being a baby because I always cry." Inari answered, wiping away a couple tears.

"Why did he tell you that?" the man replied.

"I told him that he knew nothing about suffering or loneliness." Inari said, tears now gone from his eyes.

"Naruto is one person who knows a great deal about loneliness and suffering. He grew up without having any parents at all and he always made an effort for people to recognize him. The reason why he wanted recognition was because he was shunned by his entire village. He was always alone and people didn't want to have their children to even associate with him." The man said, looking a little bit sad.

Inari looked at the man completely shocked. He never figured that Naruto had that type of life. Naruto's life was worse on a whole different level.

"You must've grown under his skin to have said things like that. He probably understands you better than anyone here." The man replied.

Inari looked at the ocean for a brief second and then looked at the man. He saw that the man wasn't there anymore. Was it a dream, an illusion? Inari didn't know, but he would remember what that man had told him.


The next morning, Kurenai and the rest of team 8 arrived at the bridge to guard Tazuna. For now, Naruto was helping Hinata with tree walking by helping her walk under the bridge. Whenever she would lose control, Naruto would be there to catch her. Shino was busy practicing a kata that the Naruto clone showed him and Kurenai watched as another worker under Tazuna quit his job.

About twenty minutes later, a thick mist appeared and two figures appeared. Zabuza and Haku appeared, fully clothed for battle, Zabuza, having his sword out onto his hands, and Haku wearing the hunter-nin mask and holding a few acupuncture needles.

Kurenai and Shino moved into a defensive position, ready to fight with Zabuza.

"Where is Uzumaki Naruto?" Zabuza asked.

"Behind you." Naruto said twenty feet from behind Zabuza and Haku.

Zabuza turned around and saw that Naruto and the other girl that Naruto was with were in an offensive position unlike the other two.

"I am not here for a battle. I need to talk to you about something." Zabuza said, putting his sword away.

Naruto looked a little cautious and kept himself in the fighting stance he was in.

"Why do you need to talk?" Naruto asked, not planning to let down his guard.

"I need to talk to you about…" Zabuza started, but he was interfered when a new voice spoke from the other side of the bridge.

"So this is where you are. Are you going to attack the old man, or are you going to betray me?"

"Gatou." Zabuza said a little menacingly. "I decided not to kill the old man."

"I see, well I was planning on disposing of you anyway. Be lucky that I didn't send any samurai and thugs out to destroy the village. All of the money I was going to pay you with is going to this guy." Gatou said as a cloaked ninja arrived in front of Gatou.

"This is Masaki Shiro from the Country of Snow. He is an old friend of mine and he will be the one to kill you all." Gatou said as Shiro took off his cloak.

Shiro is a man with the height of 6'3. He had black unruly hair and a giant scar across his face. His clothing consisted of the standard Snow ninja attire with armor on his chest and arms. On his hands are some iron claws and his forehead protector was on his right bicep with a single slash through the symbol.

"Zabuza, looks like we don't have to fight each other anymore." Kurenai said, moving beside Zabuza.

"Does anyone have any information on Snow Country and what their shinobi are like?" Haku asked.

"I don't remember much about Snow Country. All I know is that there was some type of revolt that happened about ten years ago or so. That's all I know." Naruto said out loud.

"Looks like we're fighting a completely unknown enemy then." Zabuza replied, taking out his sword.

"I wouldn't use the hidden mist technique just yet. We should analyze our opponent before we doing anything that could prove to be futile." Kurenai said to Zabuza.

"I agree. You'll lead the first attack and I'll follow shortly." Zabuza said.

"I'll start things off then." Naruto replied.

"Mass Shadow Replication Technique" Naruto yell out loud.

A couple hundred clones filled up the bridge and were all looking at Shiro and Gatou. Shiro smirked and started to use a technique after completing the hand seals.

"Ice Element: Swallow Attack" Shiro yelled in a low deep voice.

Spikes of ice came from no where when Shiro waved his hand and nearly a quarter of Naruto's clones were destroyed. After the attack finished, Naruto had all his clones threw shuriken at his enemy. Shiro crossed his arms in a defensive guard and all of the shuriken bounced off of the armor. Naruto tried throwing a few kunai after that and the kunais bounce off as easily as the shuriken did.

Naruto then tried to get his clones to use taijutsu on the enemy but Shiro kept destroying them quickly with the iron claws he has.

"Looks like taijutsu, shuriken and kunai are useless against him. Why don't we try to use Ninjutsu?" Naruto asked, looking at Zabuza while Naruto's clones distract Shiro.

Naruto and Zabuza go near the edge of the bridge and used the same attack.

"Water Element: Water Dragon Missile"

The two water serpents intertwined with each other and headed straight towards Shiro. Shrio stood still and waited for the attack to hit. When the attack was five feet away, a barrier appeared and the two serpents changed back into regular water.

"Dang, looks like even Ninjutsu is useless. What type of armor does he have?" Naruto asked.

Shiro saw that one of the fighters, a young girl, was looking quite scared and started to do some hand seals.

"Ice Element: Cooling Frost"

The area around Shiro started to change into ice and Shiro started to use another attack after he quickly used the hand seals.

"Hinata, watch out." Kurenai yelled.

"Too late." Shiro replied.

"Ice Element: Ice Prison Technique"

Columns of ice started to rise from the ice that Shiro made and the columns were quickly heading towards Hinata. Naruto tried to get to Hinata using his fastest speed, but it was already too late. Hinata got enveloped inside the column of ice.

"She's now trapped inside my ice prison. If you want to free her, you have to defeat me." Shiro proclaimed.

"Why you!" Naruto growled in anger.

Shino decided to attack this time and sent out his bugs to see if they could go through the armor. Shiro saw through this and used another attack.

"Ice Element: Ice Prison Technique"

The columns of ice started headed towards Shino and when it grabbed Shino, Shino transformed into a bunch of bugs.

"My Bug Replication technique. Since my body relies on me using my bugs, I'm capable of creating another replication by using my bugs. Seeing right now that my bugs are frozen, it looks like I won't be able to continue this fight.

"I'll go then. You follow me from behind." Haku said.

Haku went close to Shiro and started to throw the acupuncture needles at Shiro. Out of the four the Haku threw, three of them hit the armor and bounced off while the fourth one managed to graze his cheek.

"Looks like weapons will work on him. We'll just have to avoid the armor." Haku analyzed.

'I guess it's time to use my secret weapon' Haku thought. Haku started to do a set of one handed seals.

'One handed seals?' Naruto, Shiro, and Kurenai thought in unison.

"Special Technique: Flying Water Needles"

Water needles started to form from the moisture in the air and from the water on the ground. The water needles all flew towards Shiro and Shiro's armor created the same barrier that stopped Naruto and Zabuza's water dragons.

'Looks like that armor can even block Bloodline abilities. Looks like I'll have to use the Demonic Ice Mirrors.' Haku thought.

"Special Technique: Demonic Ice Mirrors"

'What is this technique?' Kurenai thought.

"That's an Advanced Bloodline ability, isn't it?" Naruto asked Zabuza.

"Yeah, Haku has the ability to manipulate water. I take it that you've heard about what happened to all the people who had bloodline abilities in the Mist?" Zabuza asked.

"People in the Mist always used those with Advanced Bloodlines during Civil Wars. They were eventually blames for bringing misfortune and war to the country. Because of that, people of Advanced Bloodlines were hunted down and killed." Naruto answered.

"That is correct. I took Haku in when he was unwanted and I trained him to be my tool. He has the ability to shut his heart at will and become a strong shinobi, but he is also too kind." Zabuza replied.

Haku formed the Demonic Ice Mirrors and mirrors of ice started to form around Shiro. Shiro looked at the mirrors in confusion and waited to see what would happen next.

"Kurenai, wasn't it?" Haku asked from one of the mirrors.

"Yes?" Kurenai answered.

"Do not enter the mirrors. Stay behind the mirrors and fight using Genjutsu. I believe that even though Ninjutsu doesn't work and Taijutsu is hard to use against him, Genjutsu should still be pretty effective." Haku said, grabbing a few acupuncture needles from his pouch.

Haku started to go out of one of the mirrors and threw several needles at Shiro. Shiro countered and attacked.

"Ice Element: Swallow Attack"

The ice attack flew straight towards Haku and Haku entered the mirror before the ice attack hit. Haku then emerged out of the mirror and used a modified version of the teleportation technique to move from one mirror to another. Every time Haku does this, he also releases several needles out hoping to hit Shiro in a vital point.

From outside the ice mirrors, Kurenai started to form some hand seals and used a Genjutsu.

"Illusionary Technique: Hearing Impairment"

"Zabuza, after this Genjutsu is cast, try to attack from behind using your sword" Haku yelled after hearing Kurenai cast the Genjutsu.

Kurenai waited for the Genjutsu to take effect. Zabuza heard Haku yell and went over to go for an attack.

"Naruto, stay here. You'll be backup incase something goes wrong." Zabuza yelled.

Naruto nodded his head and stayed at his current location.

"Something's wrong." Kurenai mutter.

She didn't hear her own voice.

"Can I hear?" she asked to herself.

She couldn't hear any of the fighting that was going on and she couldn't even hear her own voice.

'This is not good. It looks as though my Genjutsu was somehow sent back to me.' Kurenai analyzed. 'Could it be that armor?'

Zabuza now entered the mirrors and was about to attack Shiro.

"Zabuza wait, that's an illusion." Haku yelled out.

Zabuza was too late and attacked the illusion. The sword went through the illusionary Shiro and the real Shiro appeared behind Zabuza. Shiro gave a swipe of his iron claws and the attack managed to Haku, who pushed away Zabuza in the last second. The claws hit Haku across the middle of the back and the back started bleeding profusely. The Demonic Ice Mirrors shattered and became shards of ice.

"Haku, NO!" Naruto yelled.

Kurenai was still confused with what was going on since her hearing has been impaired. She saw that Haku was on the ground bleeding and went over to help, not sensing that Shiro was already behind her.

"I see that you tried to cast a Genjutsu. That won't work on this armor." Shiro replied as he was about to thrust his iron claws into Kurenai. Kurenai kept running and saw that Zabuza had thrown his sword in her direction. Kurenai clearly saw the sword and ducked right when Shiro was attacking. Shiro's attack missed and he because he tripped because he missed, Zabuza's sword went through the area he was at.

Kurenai turned around and saw that Shiro got up and was about to attack her again. Naruto appeared from behind Shiro and kicked him hard on the head. Shiro was sent flying a few feet away from the fighters and Kurenai used this time to dispel her Genjutsu. Having her hearing back, she moved over to Haku and started to use a medical technique that she learned from a friend of hers.

She used up most of her chakra considering that medical techniques consumes a lot of it, and went down to the ground exhausted. This was all she could do at the moment because her Genjutsus were useless against him. She fell into unconsciousness because of chakra exhaustion which she forgot about when she healed Haku.

'This isn't good. Naruto thought. Shino's out of bugs until Shiro is defeated, Kurenai used most of her chakra to heal Haku and is now unconscious, and Hinata is frozen in ice. Looks like only Zabuza and I are the only ones remaining.' Naruto thought analytically.

Shiro got up and started to cast a Ninjutsu technique after finishing off the hand seals.

"Ice Element: Piercing Dragon Fierce Tiger"

A giant ice tiger came forth from the ice of Haku's mirrors and the ice from the bridge that Shiro caused earlier. The tiger ran forth and was heading straight towards Naruto. Naruto countered by using a water technique.

"Water Element: Water Dragon Missile"

The water serpent collided with the tiger and the water serpent turned into ice and shattered. Naruto was now too weak to dodge the ice tiger and waited for the attack to hit, closing his eyes and waiting for the inevitable. A few seconds later, Naruto was wondering why the attack never hit. Naruto looked up and saw that Zabuza took the attack for Naruto and his body was mostly covered in ice.

"Why did you do that?" Naruto asked, tears showing in his eyes.

"You are the son of my only friend in the seven swordsmen. I owed her a debt that could never be paid." Zabuza said as he fell into unconsciousness.

Naruto cried and saw that Shiro was going after the now unconscious Zabuza. Naruto moved in front of Zabuza and started to form the Rasengan. Naruto formed the full version and launched the attack onto Shiro's chest.

Shiro's armor was repelling the Rasengan a little but failed when the Rasengan broke through the barrier and the Rasengan hit Shiro straight at the heart. The Rasengan started to pierce through the skin and soon ripped up Shiro's heart. Shiro died almost instantly.

Naruto released his hand from Shiro's body and realized what he had done. Naruto had just made his first kill and wasn't too sure how to react. Naruto decided to deal with the feelings later as he checked up on Zabuza. Naruto saw that Zabuza was still alive and tore the ice that was on his body. When Naruto tore through the ice, Zabuza awoken and saw that a kunai was thrown towards Naruto. Zabuza pushed Naruto out of the way and the kunai hit Zabuza on the left bicep, rendering it useless. A couple more were thrown almost immediately and because he was still recovering from the attack, he couldn't dodge the kunai and turned his body. One kunai missed while the third hit his right bicep.

Zabuza and Naruto looked at the source of the kunais and saw that Gatou had a bunch of thugs lined up and a couple of ninja.

"Naruto, give me a kunai." Zabuza asked, growling in frustration.

"Why?" Naruto asked, grabbing a kunai from his pouch and tossing it to Zabuza.

"I'm going to show them what a real demon is about." Zabuza said after he caught the Kunai with his mouth. Naruto's eyes widened when he realized what Zabuza was going to do.

Zabuza started running towards Gatou not caring about his own life anymore since he was going to die sooner or later. A bunch of thugs grabbed their weapons and tried to strike Zabuza. A few weapons pierced Zabuza's skin while Zabuza killed several thugs. A minute later, Zabuza made it to where Gatou was at and Gatou tried to run away. Zabuza caught up with Gatou when Gatou stopped at the incomplete portion of the bridge. Zabuza slashed him a few times before cutting his head off. For a brief second before Gatou dies, he thought he saw that it was a devil that was killing him instead of a human. Gatou's head and body flew off from the bridge and landed into the waters below, sinking down for all eternity.

The thugs that Gatou hired saw that Zabuza was still alive after all the attacks they did. They were tempted to attack Zabuza but failed when Naruto gained their attention.

"Hey you!" Naruto yelled to the thugs.

All the thugs looked at Naruto.

"If you want to fight someone, fight against me." Naruto said loudly.

"Shadow Replication Technique"

Naruto created five shadow clones and moved into a fighting position.

'I hope they don't realize that I won't be able to last for very long' Naruto thought.

The thugs saw that Naruto wasn't that big of a threat and started to rush towards him. Before they even started however, an arrow landed in front of them. Everyone looked at the source of the arrow and saw that it was fired by Inari, who was backed by the entire village he lived in.

"Hey Naruto, hope I made it." Inari yelled.

Naruto smiled and the thugs started to run away.

Naruto started to walk towards Zabuza and saw that Zabuza didn't have very long to live.

"Zabuza!" Naruto yelled.

"Naruto, before I die, there's two things I need you to do." Zabuza said, as he started to cough up blood.

Naruto nodded his head.

"First, I want you to keep an eye on Haku. He will be devastated when he finds out that I'm dead."

"I promise I'll keep an eye on him." Naruto stated, never one to take back his words.

"And second, take the Kubikiri Houcho and train in the art of swordsmanship. It was what your mother would've wanted." Zabuza said, falling onto the ground, lifeless.

"You knew my mom! Who was she? What was she like?" Naruto asked.

Naruto saw that Zabuza wasn't standing anymore and that he was on the ground dead. Naruto let out tears from his eyes as he saw that Zabuza was dead.

Haku woke up not long after and saw that Naruto was standing alone, looking at a figure on the ground. Haku saw that the figure was Zabuza and that he was dead. Haku couldn't take it and fainted as he was still low on energy. From his unconscious form, tears were streaming down his cheek as he rested.


Everything was peaceful after the events that happened on the bridge. Hinata recovered from the ice prison and was suffering a cold, Shino was glad to see that his bugs were back, Haku was still morning Zabuza a little after they buried him, Kurenai recovered quickly, and Naruto was practicing carrying the sword that Zabuza used.

A month later, the bridge was complete and team 8 as well as Haku were crossing the bridge and heading away from Wave Country. During the month, Hinata master tree walking and was practicing water walking. Shino increased his taijutsu a little and found another species of bugs that he could use during future battles. Haku got over Zabuza's death and wanted to travel with Naruto and the others. Kurenai practiced a little on everything and while Naruto could carry the sword that Zabuza had, he still had quite a long way to go before he can use the weapon to its fullest extent.

"What should we name this bridge?" Inari asked as he and his family watches Naruto and the rest leave.

"The bridge will be called the Heroes Bridge. I named it after the heroes who protected the bridge." Tazuna replied.


PREPERATION FOR THE CHUUNIN EXAMS

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