Chapter 29: Secrets
In the room given to them at the Airwaves castle the Konoha team decided what to do. They had already helped clean the heaviest of the mess in the castle, collected their things, and gotten their sensei's body ready for the long journey back. They had been quiet when the aid team from Sunagakure arrived. No one had told Shikamaru yet how she died. Those past days seemed so unreal.
"But we should wait!" said Tenten. "Your uncle is going to be buried tomorrow."
"No, he is right. We should be getting back," said Sasuke. "And that's an order."
"Hai," they all said.
"All of you are welcome back anytime," said Takai; the new lord of Airwaves.
"We will send a team from Suna to look for your sister," said Kankuro.
"Don't bother," Takai replied. "If she wants to comeback she will."
"Ganbatte," said Naruto, "There are hard times coming for all."
"This land has lived in fear of war for a long time. That has gotten us ready," he looked at the armies still stand at foot of the hill where the castle rested.
"So no one is going to tell me how it happened," said Shikamaru as they left Airwaves.
"It was her decision," Naruto said. Since they had found them, it seemed his mind was somewhere else. He was trying to remember if he had ever seen the book his mother told him to find
"The ones you seek possess one book. Kushina, you know where there is another and your son knows of other as well only leaving one that I know where it is and other that remains missing even from me."
How had his mother been so sure the red book; the Merger book was in Konohagakure and why did she ask him to find only one. He could try to get the other four and destroy them for good. Even to her last moments, she had kept secrets from him.
"Naruto-kun," Hinata held his hand.
He smiled at her trying to not show his sadness.
That was what bothered Hinata.
He had yet to spill at least one tear.
She knew the rest already had either publicly or alone but Naruto.
He felt so far. "I am doing fine," he hugged her by the campfire. He pulled her across his lap and held to her and her to him. The night was short and the early morning brought them to the town where Ume and her brother Minoru lived. Naruto had hoped to ask them about the books or make contact with a deity.
"They moved some days ago," said their neighbor. "They said great danger approached and had to find the fortress of…I can't remember. I think it was the revolt."
After that fiasco, they continued on to the city of Nyuko where Katana and the assassin Geishas lived. Their home had burned to the ground.
"Some bodies were found but completely scorched. The survivors left with Rei but they didn't say where they were going," said a woman from another business nearby. Therefore, they continued moving.
Shino though usually quiet was even more so. He hoped Rei was okay.
"I understand you," said Kiba that night while they made guard.
Shino said nothing but he was glad to have his friends there.
Kiba wondered where Yuko could be. She could be close but also so far away.
Yuko fell off her horse. She was thirsty. The desert was something new to her. She could no longer remember the juicy taste of the fruit from Airwaves. Oranges were her favorite. She wondered if her aunt was dead before passing out.
"Nii-chan?" asked Ume once they unburied half of Yuko's body from the sand.
"Place her on my horse." said Minoru
"The salt kingdom has been invaded by the Earth Country thanks to that the salt's armies were at the edge of the Airwave kingdom," said Gaara to them once they arrived to Sunagakure. "They have broken our treaty so the Kaze Daimyo demands for war and the take back of Salts into Suna."
"Kazekage-sama," an ANBU arrived to the window. "We have information that the Rain country has allied to the Earth country against Suna."
"Send word to the Daimyo immediately and call the generals, council, and advisors into a meeting as soon as you can."
"Hai!" then he left.
"I guess we should be going," said Sasuke.
"You know you have Konoha's alliance, don't hesitate to call us," said Lee as they left the office.
"Naruto," called Gaara.
"Did she go without pain?"
Naruto nodded before Gaara collapsed on his chair. So many things were going on and now she was gone. Naruto sat for a moment while Gaara meditated.
"You should go; her service shouldn't wait," Gaara told him.
"I know you can overcome this new threat Gaara, your village is as strong as you."
"What are friends for," Naruto said with a smile.
"You guys are way late," Konohamaru said to the backup team.
They looked sadly towards the ground.
"Don't mind him guys," said Kakashi.
"It's getting late, let's make camp," Kumi ordered.
They did, they were just a few days away from Konohagakure.
"Mina and your cousin?" Maiya asked Hanabi.
"No way," Maiya said, surprised.
"They were really good friends until a year ago and then Bam! They were kissing, dating and who knows what else," said Kimi.
"You make it sound so disturbing," said Rokuro.
"It is disturbing," said Maiya.
"I think is romantic," said Moegi. "They are breaking through the barriers of their clans."
"What barriers?" Udon asked.
"Our clans don't oppose their relationship," said Hanabi.
"But Neji opposes Kumi and Kakashi's adult talks," Konohamaru said with a face of horror he had seen Neji use before the rest started to laugh.
Maiya looked at her aunt leaning on Kakashi's shoulder.
They were not bothered by the racket they were making.
She felt so welcome with all of them but still she knew there might be a price to be paid once back on Konohagakure.
They arrived to the dusty town where Takara and her son Yori lived but did not find them.
"They went back to their land and took all of their followers with them. They said they didn't want to be involved in another war," said the bartender.
Was the war pushing everyone so early? They wondered before continuing.
Sasuke's team and Kumi's team arrived the same day.
"Ma…Kushina," Rin stumbled towards her body. "No, it can't be, she can't be," she touched the cold face. 'I should have been there.'
"Rin," she felt a comforting hand on her shoulder. She turned and hugged Iruka trying to hide her tears.
Iruka looked at the team but especially at Naruto.
He looked so out of place.
"Today we say goodbye to some of the best…" Tsunade stared her speech at top of the Hokage building where the caskets laid open for everyone to say goodbye.
Naruto saw many ANBU give their respects to Susumu, Tamiko and his mother.
No one cried but Maeko; his student before Hinata held her to help her stop.
Yasuo looked sad and angry; Kushina had started to feel like a new mother to him.
Hiroshi was with his mother both looking sad.
The shinobi stood in lines.
All of Kushina's students were close to each other. They wondered how come there was a clear sky that day.
It was unusual for so many high-ranked shinobi to die so fast in such short time. It was just the beginning of the war.
Shinobi started to walk to their old friends and relatives to say good-bye.
Sasuke walked forwards to his sensei along with Sakura. "Thanks for choosing me as the leader of the team. I never thought you believed that much in me. I swear I will always do my best," he placed the casual white flower at top of the casket.
"I could not believe who you were at first but I am glad we met you. Now I know from whom Naruto got his skills. You and the Yondaime should be together by now, I hope you are happy," Sakura placed a flower too before Sasuke took her hand and walked back.
"Sensei you were very wise and your courage endless. We will never forget you teachings," said Lee with a light smile. He believed their sensei wouldn't want to see them so sad.
"You made me believe more on my technique," said Tenten. "You taught me beyond what you had to. Sorry for doubting you. I know you were just trying to do what was for the best. Thank you for coming back to be our sensei a last time."
"First it was Tamiko and Susumu and now you; dammit K. I thought we could finally have a more peaceful life. Well at least you rest in peace and don't worry about us that we will be fine," Kumi said with Kakashi at her side.
"You were both strong and beautiful but more than that brave. You were just like the kind of Kunoichi I want to become. We will never forget you," said Ino.
"Thank you for taking me as your student as well," said Sai. "I knew there were still things for me to learn but with you as my sensei I actually enjoyed learning them."
"Thank you for making me feel as part of the team and keeping us together," said Mina.
"And making us a whole team, we won't let you down," said Neji.
"It's unfair that you left me behind to then die. I can't even avenge your death," said Shikamaru. "You once told me that the knowledge passed from teacher to student create an unbreakable bond. Thanks for at least leaving that behind with me."
"I feel you made us stronger while making us into a whole team. You taught us things I never believed I could learn in such short time. Thank you for believing on us," said Choji.
"I will believe you on this one. I will believe Yuko is safe with whomever you sent her to. It was real fun while it lasted sensei, thanks for being there for us," said Kiba.
"You will be always on our minds. The mark you have left will be there always to remind us what a true ninja is all about," said Shino.
"Thank you for being more than a sensei a mother to us. I know we were very lucky to know you," said Hinata.
"Okaa-san, I hope you are happy. The years we missed do not matter anymore. This time I got to know you taught me you made the right decision when I was born. Thank you for all your sacrifices," said Naruto before pulling out the rings she had given him. They had Kushina and Minato engraved inside. He took her cold hand and was about to put them on her finger when he noticed. "Hinata," he tried to not scream it. "Look," he tried to seem natural as he showed her the flawless fingers of the corpse.
"But how?" she whispered.
"I feel a mark on my back. I was once not free. I feel the scars of my hands. I was not skilled once. I feel apathy for most of the world, I am not like that. At least I try not to be."
"The scars weren't there. The hand was flawless, new almost," He looked at her swords resting on her chest. He touched the edge.
It was not her sword.
That convinced them.
"This isn't her," Naruto said, placing the rings into Hinata's pocket.
"Let's go," said Hinata feeling confused.
The Tsukyugas did not pick on their altered feelings since they were more busy mourning for Tamiko.
Everyone thought the moment had been too strong for them.
"What was that then?" asked Hinata once they made it home.
"A jutsu probably but I can't believe she was able to trick us all like that," he did not know if to be happy or furious.
"Then she is alive," said Hinata sitting on the sofa "but why did she…"
"She…I think she didn't plan to comeback from the beginning," he sat next to her. "Remember that all of her friends have disappeared and Kiba said she sent Yuko to some people. They could be the same."
(NL" yes, Kushina is alive…Muahahaha)
The desert felt refreshing as they sat by the oasis they had been told to wait.
"Look!" shouted someone before they saw the approaching group.
"About time you got here," said Katana to the arrivals.
"Sorry, I found it a little hard to get away," said Kushina with a few bandages on her. Some of her hair strands had remained grey, "I also had to find my silly niece."
"I tried waiting for you but you took too long," said Yuko after a deep drink of water.
"Try sneaking away from fourteen ninjas and then complain," said Kushina with a glare.
"But you are a ninja too and with more experience!" shouted Yuko.
"They haven't stopped arguing since she woke up," said Ume to the others. "I liked them more as K and unconscious girl"
" Ume!" her older brother; Minoru stepped on her foot.
Ume glared at him.
"Up until now almost all nations have either declared war or been declared war on," said Takara.
"We need to get some things before we start," said Kushina.
"Start what?" asked Yori; Takara's son.
"You will see," said Kushina before making a hand sign. A strong wind came from above hitting the sand blowing it away. A large hole was created into which Kushina jumped to.
"Where is it?" Kushina seemed scared. "In a place you have already chosen for a meeting," the deity smiled. "I told you it was your destined task."
"What are you doing?" asked Katana jumping after her.
The others followed.
Kushina looked around before spotting a small metallic edge. "Help me here," she said to them pulling on a handle she uncovered.
They helped her by pulling and removing the sand from around until a large chest was uncovered.
"Stand back," said Takara before cutting the seven locks with her sword. The locks sank into the sand out of view 'what were they made of?'
"This has to be good," said Katana using a crowbar to open the chest.
"What? A book?"
"There are five of them. They are called Books of Ending since they can bring the world to its knees. There is a green one called: Existence Book, it has all to do with death and life. A red one called: Merger Book, it deals with powerful ninja techniques some that are used to this day but their origins remain secret."
"Wait, so this is one of them."
"Let me finish girl. There is a blue one called: Concentration Book, it deals with the human body and how it can surpass its limits. Then there is this one, silver; Crusade Book, it deals with all that you see here."
"Weapons…what about the fifth?"
"The black one…hm: Creation book, it deals with knowledge too powerful for what I was told by my father," he said closing the wall and then sitting in a chair.
"Not just any book," said Kushina picking it up.
The book was blue; the Concentration book. It would tell her secrets of the human body.
"A book of Ending?" a man in the crowd asked.
"How did you know?" Kushina asked with a glare.
The man was about her age with dark short hair and calm brown eyes that reminded her of someone. "My father told me when I was a child that my grandfather possessed the Crusade book. He even described it to me."
"You are Shinichi's grandson!" most did not understand the big deal.
"My name is Daisuke. I joined Takara recently but I never thought I would come across my grandfather's best apprentice. What a small world."
"Ekirei is dead?" Dokueki could no believe the news. She hid the eaten away sides of her face with her hair. Her back was a worse mess.
"Nothing was left of him," said a shadow sitting on a broken pillar while cleaning a mask with only one eyehole.
"I guess you want revenge for him also," said another figure with long dark hair.
"Of course!" she claimed.
"Just remember not to kill Uzumaki Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke," said the man with long hair.
"I guess you want a new face too," laughed the man with the one eye hole mask. "You have been doing very badly."
"That face should be your punishment for letting them survive," said a man standing between the one with the mask and the other with long dark hair.
"I finished off some!" she shouted to more shadows that started to laugh.
"Some isn't enough," a familiar deep voice said.
"Daikirai!"(Hate) 'He is supposed to be dead!' She turned to face the leader, "Why him of all!"
"You have no right to complain," Said the leader showing her a green book he held, "or do you want to go back to your liquid crypt?"
"No," it would be even worse without her little brother, 'Ekirei, you fool.'
"Don't worry Dokueki," said Daikirai placing a heavy hand on her injure shoulder.
She immediately pushed it away but he caught her hand, "Though one of your brothers betrayed our clan and the other turned out to be a complete failure I will make sure you don't fail again my betrothed."
"Fuck off," she said pulling her hand from him
"Ekirei, Dokueki its time to go home," said Boutoku picking the 6 and 7 year olds up on to his shoulders. He was no more than fifteen.
"I want to stay here," said Ekirei jumping off Boutoku's shoulder after kicking him on the face.
"You little bastard!" Boutoku placed Dokueki down and started to chase after a laughing Ekirei.
"That makes you bastard too Nii-chan!" shouted Dokueki before Boutoku started chasing her too.
They ran for a while around that battlefield stepping on corpses, bathed on blood, and smelling putrid death.
"We are family Boutoku," said a sixteen-year-old Ekirei.
"I am sorry guys, I just don't believe in the clan anymore," Boutoku said as he stood at the gates. His green eyes and dark hair were the same as Ekirei's and Dokueki's. "Besides I met this nice girl from a new clan."
"They'll never accept you," said Dokueki.
"They already have," said Boutoku giving them the back and walking away into the warm night.
"He is so dead," said Daikirai from his window.
"Shut your fucking mouth," said Ekirei on a calm voice.
"You know it's true," laughed Daikirai appearing next to them, "right Dokueki?"
"It's an arranged marriage, only expect death from me my betrothed," said Dokueki.
'Boutoku… Ekirei, why am I alone now?' wondered Dokueki.
"Thank you for being here so soon. I know it's a difficult time for us all but from now on there will be no more grieving," Tsunade ordered. "First of all the elders have decided to retire. They have already chosen a council to replace them."
"Isn't this a bad time for a new council, they have more experience with war matters?" Kakashi asked.
"They said they were tired of wars and besides, as any other shinobi war this one won't be ordinary," said Tsunade.
"So a new council is actually better," said Shikamaru.
"So who are they?" asked Lee. As he, the others already had ideas of whom.
"Kakashi," said Tsunade.
"Hai," he accepted the position.
"Kurenai if you don't object," said Tsunade.
"Of course not, retirement as a single mother was getting boring anyways," she said.
"Kumi, will you have time?" Tsunade asked.
"Only if Mina accepts to lead the clan from now on," said Kumi.
"I…" Mina looked around for help but it was her decision alone. "I accept," she finally said.
"Then I accept," said Kumi.
"Jiraiya, I know you are here, do you accept?" asked Tsunade.
"I guess I will," he said puffing next to the window.
"Shizune," said Tsunade.
"Yes?" she asked ready to take notes.
"Do you accept?" asked Tsunade.
"The elders believe that since you are always so involved you were more than necessary in the council," Tsunade informed her.
"It will be my honor Hokage-sama," said Shizune.
"Iruka you know most of the generation that will be fighting, what you say?" asked Tsunade.
"I accept," he said with smile.
"The seventh member was going to be Kushina," said Tsunade. "Rin you are the best next choice."
"…" Rin was still sad for Kushina's death. She was not sure she could take her place.
"I am sure Okaa-san would have wanted you to take her place," said Naruto shielding his emotions from Kumi and Mina. He was angry that his mother's trick had made sad so many.
"If you say so," Rin knew she could not decline.
"Excuse me Hokage-sama, but why was I called here?" Ebisu asked.
"My very same question," Gai said with his shiny smile.
"You two are to create a new training curriculum for the academy students," said Tsunade.
"What!" in the room most shouted while giving a nervous looks at Gai and his shiny smile.
"Hokage-sama," whispered Kakashi to her, "are you sure?"
"If he gives more than what they can take we will have a long talk," said Tsunade. "Right Gai?"
"Hai Hokage-sama," he said looking down. 'There goes the Gai generation.'
"So why are we here?" Kiba asked for the entire group Kushina trained.
"As you know Kushina sent me letters while your stay at Airwaves. From now on, all of you are official ANBU and will make one team as she requested," Tsunade said.
They all looked kind of down at the mention of their sensei for a third time.
"She also asked for Sasuke to be the leader of the Moon Side team," Tsunade.
"Moon Side?" some of them wondered.
"Like we already didn't know," said Tenten.
"He has been bossing us around since she told him," said Kiba.
"Tomorrow we start training," said Sasuke with a side smile and a twitching eyebrow.
The others wanted to start an argument but they suppressed it knowing it would be futile.
'So this is why she selected him,' thought Jiraiya 'he has a strict sense of commanding'
"Sasuke, Sai, Naruto, Hinata, Kiba you are to increase the level of training of your Gennin teams since soon their missions will be of higher ranks. Well all of you can leave for exception of Kumi and Mina." said Tsunade
They left the office.
"Will she have a punishment?" asked Kumi. She knew Maiya could not get away clean handed.
"I will leave that for the leader of the clan to decide," said Tsunade.
"Mina?" Kumi wondered what her daughter would do.
"She will stop being a shinobi," Mina said with a determined look.
Tsunade and Kumi thought her decision would create conflict.
"She can go back to be a shinobi once she shows she can be trusted," she added.
Tsunade and Kumi sighed.
"So we are not telling anyone?" Hinata asked. She was sitting in bed with Naruto's head on her lap.
"We have to keep it a secret," he responded. "Who knows what she's planning but I bet it's for my seal she is going to get involved in the war," Naruto said as her fingers passed through his hair. He was starting to fall sleep.
"You're right. Also if we told she was still alive, though the new council knows her, they would have to put her in the Bingo book," They continued to wonder what she was planning to make that war different from others.
"Hurry before dawn arrives," Takara ordered to the ones that carried the weapons out of the stockpile Shinichi had left Kushina many years ago in the secret underground vault. "We don't want anyone to notice."
"You are fucking crazy," said Daisuke with controlled tone. He could not believe she was taking every single weapon his grandfather had left.
Kushina laughed, "He said they were my and I plan on using them." She kicked a brick on the wall before the silver Crusade book was revealed. "He left me this as well!?" she exclaimed taking it. Now she had two books. They had the advantage.
"If you start doing stupid things I will kill you," Daisuke warned.
"Don't worry," she said with a soft laugh that captured him. "This time I am sure of what path I want to take."
"Sensei?" Hiroshi found Naruto at his door.
"Hey," he said with a light smile.
"Oh Naruto-san, good afternoon," said Sumi(Hiroshi's mother).
"I just came to tell Hiroshi we will restart training tomorrow," said Naruto.
"Hai!" said Hiroshi glad to have his sensei back.
"Would you like to stay for lunch or maybe…" Sumi was not sure how was Naruto taking his mother's death.
'"Lunch would be nice," said Naruto. The food was terrible, just as Hiroshi had said, and the silence was equally bad but Naruto did not care. He heard the turn of a page.
"Hiroshi how many times have I told you to not read while eating," Sumi scolded.
"Sumimassen Kaa-san," Hiroshi placed the book on his lap. He blushed for being scolded in front of his sensei. He did not notice Naruto looking at the book from the side.
He saw the strange writing. Naruto knew that book. He had seen it when he inspected Hiroshi's room when he first became his student. It clicked into his mind. 'It is!' he thought he saw the writing shine. "Hiroshi, where did you get that book?" he asked keeping his cool but it was so hard to not just jump hug the boy and take the book.
"It was my dad's but I really don't understand it," said Hiroshi.
Naruto remembered that the time he saw it he had been able to read the first pages that contained the basics on Ninjutsu. How come now it was now unreadable. "May I see it?" asked Naruto twitching under his skin.
Hiroshi passed it to him.
Before Naruto's eyes, the writing converted into readable text.
Hiroshi and his mother did not see as he did, but why?
"Would you mind if I borrowed it?" he faked light curiosity. He was excited to have found it so easily.
"You can keep it," Hiroshi seemed tired of it. "But would you please tell me if you find anything?" he asked with a bit of hope.
"Of course," said Naruto. 'I guess I am more like her than I thought' he had his own secrets. On his way home to hide the book Naruto looked at the sky.
The war was now. It no longer was a vision but reality.
He proposed to himself to do his best to protect his village. He resented that he could not protect his mother but he believed she could take care of herself.
Sequel Ready: Revolution- GO NOW!!!
The times have changed and so have they.
"Sensei?" Maeko asked.
"Go back to camp, I will catch up later," Naruto said as his small team looked at the long hall full of unconscious enemies.
Those were war times, he had to finish them.
Expect: Blood, death, more death, lemons (if I get the courage), more secrets, comebacks, babies; evil Uchiha babies, more living dead, new parasites, new enemies and allies, a wedding, new weapons, new jutsus, kidnaps, more missions, androids, labyrinths, traps, and death again.
Ganbatte - Good Luck
Arigatou - Thank You
Tomodachi - Friend
Sumimassen - I'm Sorry
Beta Reader/Editor's Notes: Final chapter, I hope you like the editing and, a full heads up, I'm continuing my work as NL's Beta Reader/Editor through 'Revolution' so anyone else have a request, you can trust me when it comes to finding necessary errors, of course it would have to be through e-mail.
- Anime Insaniac