Disclaimer: I do not own any Naruto characters, though I wish I did.

A/N: This is my first attempt at a Naruto fanfic, so please be kind. Also, it has a Mulan sort of twist to it, as if you won't figure out. (rolls eyes) Anyway, if you would, read and review, but no flammers, please.

Prologue

The village of Konohakagure was asleep, what more could be said. Usually it was alive with activity but it was late in the evening. So the people were sleeping. They slept in their beds, unaware that there was a horror coming towards their country of Fire. They were too used to the peace and prosperity, too used to the way of their life. And too used to it being quiet at night. Hardly anything stirred that night.

Except one man.

The Third Hokage, the leader and ruler of the Fire Country had woken up earlier, due his regular back pains. He was an old man and did get them occasionally. Tonight they were pretty bad.
And that's how he knew something was wrong. Whenever his back was aching rather terribly as it was now, something was wrong in the world. Some of dangerous force was approaching their country. And that's why he was up. He was waiting for the report to come in.

The thing was about Konoha was it produced the best of the best, Shinobi, great warriors to protect the village and be hired by others for certain tasks. Sometimes the missions that were given were dangerously hard, some were so easy that it only took an hour to complete. But they did what they could to help people and protect their village. They used their very own Chakra, energy to do their duty, using the greatest techniques of ninjutsu, taijutsu, and even genjutsu.

And that was who brought the report; a Shinobi.

The Shinobi, a young Chuunin, the second rank of Shinobi, found the Hokage in his office, sitting on soft pillows while working on a scroll. He was dressed fully in his official robes with his hat sitting right next to him. And when the young nin arrived, he didn't even look up.

"Young Iruka," The Hokage said softly without looking away from his scroll. "You have news for me?"

The nin, Iruka didn't look surprised that the man knew something was up. He was very aware how perceptive the old man was. Instead, he moved forward and bowed down to one knee, just to be respectful. "Master Hokage-sama, a report just came in. Unusual nin have crossed the border into the Fire Country." He lifted his head, looking rather serious. "Most of the outside guards have been killed but one. He was injured but he has reported that Lord Orochimaru is leading them."

There was a long silence as the Hokage paused from finishing his scroll. He held his calligraphy brush over the scroll, taking in the information very carefully. But after a minute, he went back to the scroll, his aged and wrinkled face full of concentration and thought.

This was a reaction that Iruka had not counted on. He blinked a few times before straightening himself. "Master Hokage?"

"Hmm?" The old man hummed as he tilted his head towards him, finally looking at the young man. "Oh, I've heard you, Iruka. I am not afraid of Orochimaru but I fear for our people in the Country. The people outside Konoha Village. They are in grave danger if it is Orochimaru that is coming this way. The village is well protected, the people are not." He stopped from his scroll again, gently setting the brush down. "Iruka, send for the ANBU and give them my order to going after Orochimaru and his men. But tell them to be careful." He told Iruka, who nodded before he turned and left.

The order was given to the greatest ranks of Shinobi and was carried out. But only a few weeks later, a message came back. It was inscribed in the back of a dead ANBU.

The Hokage was not sitting in his council chambers, listening to a number of ANBU generals arguing about the danger of the situation. He wasn't surprised to see a few panicking. The danger was highly qualified and it did intend to make everyone fear.
The report that came in, along with the message, was of all fifty ANBU that had been dispatched to take care of Orochimaru and his army was killed in action. And now there was a terrible threat coming towards Konoha. The message had been clear. It had said that if Konoha did not surrender, all of Fire Country would perish in its own name. By the flames of fire would swallow up the people and destroy the Hidden Village of the Leaf.
So that was what the council and the ANBU were trying to decide. To surrender to Orochimaru's demands or fight. The Shinobi were almost at each other's throats as they tried to come up with a plan. Only few remained as calm as the Hokage. They knew that if the Hokage was not panicking, then there was nothing to worry about.

"This is war! We must dispatch all Shinobi to attack Orochimaru and his army!" One ANUB Jounin exclaimed.

"All of the them?! Are you insane?!" Another shouted. "Fifty of our best ANBU were killed! And you know as well as I do that Orochimaru is a Legendary Ninja! He's UNSTOPPABLE! Why not just surrender?!"

This brought another round of protests. "You coward, Jinta! We can't surrender to him!" Another Shinobi shouted right back. "He would kill us for sure or make us his slaves! We must fight!"

The Hokage finally held up his hands for silence and the action did not go unnoticed. Immediately, everyone shut up and turned their attention onto their leader. When it was completely quiet, the Hokage sighed as he folded his hands together again. "The loss of our ANBU is a great one to us. And I will never forget what they tried to do for our village. But we will survive. Orochimaru does not know what he is dealing with. He has angered a slumbering giant and will be severely punished. We will fight for our honor, our lives and our village." Several Shinobi smiled at the speech while the others looked worried. As if he read those minds, he shook his head. "I am very aware that our numbers are down, so therefor, we will recruit more Shinobi for our army." He turned his head to the side to see one of the still calmed Shinobi.

This Shinobi was definitely a stand out among the group. He was rather handsome and young looking but was strong and proud. He had golden blonde hair on his head, with patches sticking up into the air in many directions. Spiky bangs hung over cerulean blue eyes, which were full of serious concentration, yet thoughtfulness. He was one of the top Shinobi in the room, one of the best. Everyone respected him because he was considered the strongest Shinobi.

"Minato-san," The Hokage said softly, making the Shinobi look at him so peacefully. "Send out messengers to every clan in the Fire Country. We will acquire one son of each clan, maybe more if they are the right age, to join the Ninja Academy and serve the Konoha Shinobi Army. They will have to be fit and ready, so they will need the best trainers we have. So we may need some of the old ANBU." The old man nodded as he spoke, as if he was convincing himself that this was the best plan. "I will leave it to you to put together the trainers and the perfect commander of the new recruits."

The golden haired Shinobi smiled before bowing low at the waist in respect to his Hokage. "Very well, Hokage-sama." He spoke gently. "I know the right people for the jobs. And I will personally deliver the messages to the clans, if I must." He stood up straight, looking still at the Hokage. "I will acquire young men of the age of 18 and up to train. A child under that age has no business on the battlefield."

"Good." The Hokage spoke in satisfaction. "You are still the great Shinobi my pupil has taught you to be, Uzumaki-Namikaze Minato. Stay that way." He then looked around at everyone else. "We must be ready within the year, for Orochimaru has told us he would attack the village in a year. He's playing his games with us, of course, so therefore, we will play along. We must be ready within the year. So, go prepare, my Shinobi, with honor."
Every Shinobi bowed in respect before they gone with a quick hand sign a flash of smoke and leaves curling around their once places. The Hokage waited for a minute before he looked worried out the window, finally expressing the emotion he had been hiding from his young students. "Gods help us. For to beat Orochimaru, it will take a miracle."