The New Age of the Shinobi

A Naruto Fanfic

By: Zaigon Xandros

Chapter One: ZaiRukaZus

It was September 17, a day anticipated by a number of young recently joined ninja. They considered themselves ninja, they believed a headband gave them the title of ninja. To most they were annoyances, brats, students. Give them a few years and they may be useful, now they were just in the way. But for those few, they were ninja, and today was the day of genin orientation. That is what they were, genin. The lowest rank of ninja, fresh out of the academy.

The sun was just rising beside Konohagakure no sato, the village hidden in the leaves. The first rays of sun placed a pink tint upon Hokage Mountain, where the faces of leaders of past and present have been carved. The rays shone upon the administration building, the red and orange of its three, layered domed structures coming to life within the surrounding wall. They fell upon the Konoha Hospital, greeting the sick and injured ninja within. They peeked into the Military Police Corps Headquarters, where ninja were now switching shifts, the night watch coming in for a break. But most importantly, the rays leaked through the windows of the houses and apartments, waking the genin who were behind schedule.

The orientation took place at a location very familiar to the genin, the academy. At age four, all students began their studies at the academy. Over a period that usually lasted eight years, the students would be taught how to be what every child wanted to be, a ninja. They were taught martial arts, physical fitness, techniques, known as jutsus, history, the way of the ninja and more. The students were taught under the highest rank of ninja, jounins. These jounins specialized in the area of teaching and were called tutor-nin, as compared to specializing in the medical arts, becoming hunter-nin and tracking criminals, or specializing in nothing at all. Tutor-nin were a way for the students to receive the assistance they needed. The students were tested orally, on paper, and on performance throughout the course of their studying at the academy. At the end of their studies at the academy they were given a final exam of sorts before graduating and being presented with their headband, bearing the symbol of their village on a metal plate.

To most genin, that exam was taken not too long ago. No matter how long ago they had graduated, they would return to the academy this day. One had already arrived. He now sat in one of the many trees that dotted the area surrounding the academy. None else had shown up yet, it was far too early. Orientation did not begin for another three hours, and the jounin did not expect a group of primarily twelve year old genin to all show up on time. However, this one had.

His name was Zaigon Xandros, and this was his hobby, observing. He lived for knowledge, and he had near learned all he could from this village. Now he sat crouched within the tree, notepad in hand, waiting for someone to approach, wanting to add to the notes that he had on every individual member of this village. It was surprising that he could see anything at all. His black hair fell to his chin and waved over his shoulders, covering his head in a mob of darkness. Two glowing purple irises shone through the darkness, piercing everything that moved. Blood red lips were clenched tight, as if he was concentrating. He wore a simple button-down shirt, reaching to his wrists. His pants were made of a simple material, but had a sophisticated look to them. Leather shoes and a leather belt brought the outfit together. At the center of his belt, just below the last visible button of his shirt, was the metal of his headband, attached to his belt for his own convenience. His clothing matched his hair almost perfectly.

Like all ninja, Zaigon had a holster strapped to his left leg and a pouch attached to the back of his belt. These contained shuriken and kunai, the two most common weapons used by a ninja. Unlike most ninja, Zaigon had two. A second pouch and a second holster were set opposite the first on his figure. He had two additional pouches just below his knees filled with notepads and writing utensils. He had boxes upon boxes of notes in his apartment and had easily memorized almost all of them. He was the encyclopedia of the leaf village.

The academy itself was nearly empty. Classrooms and offices, lecture halls and training rooms for children of all ages and tutor-nin of all levels were empty. All except for one. A single lecture hall near the main entrance to the academy contained a lone figure. A teenager with leather shoes and a leather belt with two pouches. A teenager with a button-up shirt and sophisticated pants with four containers. Zaigon. The real Zaigon.

The Zaigon stationed outside was nothing but a clone. While capable of performing tasks, it was not real. Simply a product of the Bunshin no jutsu, or clone jutsu. It was very useful, and was usually used in combat, but Zaigon used it for other purposes.

The real Zaigon had his hair pulled back in a ponytail, showing his face. Unlike most genin, it was maturing. Thinning and lengthening into that of a man. With his hair up, his broadening shoulders also became visible. This was due to the fact that he was fourteen, not twelve as most other genin were. His adoptive father had kept him back for two years after his graduation, allowing Zaigon to train under him for before receiving a full time sensei.

Zaigon sat in a corner of the hall, notepad in hand. His corner was shrouded in darkness, a darkness out of the windows range. Zaigon preferred the darkness, a characteristic that gave him the alias "the shadow". That and the fact that he knew everything about everyone else, but no one outside of his adoptive family knew anything about him, beside the jounin. In his chair, and in his tree, Zaigon would wait. He assumed the jounin who had taught the students, the tutor-nin, and the jounin who would soon become sensei would meet within the hour, and he would be there, observing.

Outside, the village was waking. The bookstore owner was preparing for the days crowd. The owners of the flower shop were watering their plants. The Ichiraku Ramen food stand was opening and getting started on the mornings breakfast orders. The wall guard were ever alert, watching the area surrounding the village. This village was the primary, if not the only military force of the fire country, as every other village was the primary fighting force of their respective countries. The village was ever guarded, for without it the entire country became vulnerable. The fire country was the most prosperous of the countries, not a good place to be left vulnerable. The continent was currently living through a period of peace, but precautions were never a bad idea.

As Zaigon had predicted, the jounin began to arrive within the hour. The first to arrive was the tutor-nin who trained him just prior to his graduation, Shuhansuke-sensei.

He walked down the hallway dividing the room to the tables at the front, in front of roughly a hundred chairs and fifty tables. He placed the bag he had been carrying upon the table before skimming through the papers within. He looked as youthful as always. Warm brown eyes and messy brown hair. While he was well into his thirties, he looked the same as he had when Zaigon first met him back in his late twenties.

Taking a few notes, he waited. The next man to enter was a figure known by most genin as Ketaik-sensei. To Zaigon, he was known as adoptive father. Once again, the jounin walked down the center hall to the front tables. He pretended not to notice that Zaigon was there, although Zaigon knew fully well the two of them were aware of his presence. A jounin never let anything go unnoticed. A ninja didn't let anything go unnoticed.

The rest of the jounin came in groups. Four in the first, three in the second, followed by seven in the third. Alone jounin would walk in now and then. An hour and a half before the orientation was to begin, sixteen jounin had arrived. That seemed abnormally high to Zaigon. There was only so many jounin in the village. Some worked in the hospital, some were guarding the wall, some assisted the hokage, some worked with the ANBU Black Ops, and all the remaining were open to A and S ranked missions. If so many students graduated that it needed fourteen jounin to oversee their training, the defense and income of the village would be worn thin. Zaigon knew this, he knew Thirty-nine students had graduated, and three older genin needed to be reassigned, or assigned for the first time. At three genin a sensei that made fourteen sensei, but he had not pondered the issue for some time. He was interested to see how this turned out.

"Zaigon" a voice interrupted his thoughts.

"Yes, Ketaik-sensei?" Zaigon asked, lowering his notepad.

"You know orientation doesn't begin for over an hour, right? How long have you been here?" he asked. The other jounin continued their conversations, not concerned with the single genin.

"Or better yet, what are you doing here this early? Most students come late or don't show up at all, most genin have the same problem. Then again, you're not most ninja, are you Zaigon?" Shuhansuke asked.

"No. I guess I'm not, Shuhansuke-sensei. I'm early for my research. And I know when orientation starts, Ketaik-sensei. You've reminded me daily for the last two weeks. I have been here for about an hour and a half" Zaigon explained.

"I see, carry on" Shuhansuke said.

"Ahh. Well. Don't let me get in the way of your research" Ketaik said, turning his attention to the other tutor-nin.

Whether the jounin knew this or not, they were adding greatly to his collection of information. New cuts and scars told stories of the latest missions, and the jounin themselves spoke amongst one another of the latest news from around the world. Zaigon wrote furiously for a while. After another forty five minutes or so, Zaigon sensed another figure approaching the room. Placing the notepad on the table, he placed his hands together. In quick succession his hands made symbols, tiger, boar, ox, dog. At this, a third clone appeared beside the original. This Zaigon quickly put his hair in a ponytail before moving up and to the left, taking a seat and observing the jounin with notepad in hand. The real Zaigon remained in his corner, waiting for the presence to enter.

The figure he felt was Kira Sato, a new genin. Her family was among the oldest in the village, if Zaigon wasn't mistaken. From what he could remember, she was average in everything she learned from the academy, but specialized her knowledge in genjutsu, even if she didn't know how to use any. She was followed closely by Rin Suzuki, a specialist in needles, pressure points, and gentle fist taijutsu. She had a wardrobe of blood red, usually robes, and long brown hair usually kept in a ponytail. This contrasted with Kira, who wore mostly yellow shorts and tank tops and let her hair fall beneath her shoulders.

Four girls strolled in a short while later, one of which was Aiko Watanabe. The Watanabe clan was also one of the eldest clans in the village, but that's not the most interesting thing about them. The Watanabe clan had a special Kekkei Genkai, a blood inheritance ability. Ookami unari, the hound howl. The instant summoning of a number of wolves and other canines to aid the ninja. It was a rather useful ability to have in combat, for the usual summoning involved scrolls and blood, and even then didn't summon too many animals. The clan based their fighting styles off the wolves they summoned, and Aiko seemed to cover herself in the furs of the animals her hounds had killed.

It figured that the first dozen genin to arrive were female, Zaigon didn't know any male genin who showed up more then five minutes early to anything, and he knew all the male genin in the village. Looking up at his clone, he saw him writing furiously. The jounin at the head of the lecture hall were finishing up their conversations, observing the genin, and his clone did the same. It seemed half of the dozen genin that had arrived were searching for someone. Zaigon could guess, and guess pretty accurately, who.

Zusukuto Subetabuyou, or more commonly known as Kuto. The heartthrob of the last graduating class. Zaigon didn't like him for his large spikey hair, nor for his warm blue eyes and perfect smile, but for his kekkei genkai. Daichi Koutai, the ability to sink through any surface without leaving a mark. That, and his families known skillin the art of swordsmanship was what interested Zaigon. He was the source of this small uproar.

The ladies looked up at the sound of footsteps nearing the hall. To their disappointment, it was not Kuto. It was Tatsuo Hishou, an odd character, and an older gennin, roughly Zaigon's age. Tatsuo wore what looked to be scales made of metal atop his ordinary clothing, reaching out to his fingertips, up to his chin, and down to his toes. These overlapping scales made no noise as he moved, and served as both armor and a symbol. Despite the size and weight of the armor, Tatsuo moved rather quickly, utilizing a series of dives, jumps, and the characteristics of a dragon in his attacks. Tatsuo ignored the disappointed stares of the girls and took a seat in the corner opposing Zaigons.

The next three to enter were more disappointments for the girls. Isao Naga, Nobu Tera, and Yori Shira, the inseparable trio. They each had different strengths, but they had been best friends since their first year in the academy. Isao excelled in clones and transformations jutsus, Nobu specialized in both armed and unarmed combat, and Yori dealt with taijutsu and a little genjutsu. They all dressed the same, brown pants with a white tank top. They all had the same ridiculous hairstyle, Half a mohawk on either sides of their heads and a full mohawk in the center. They knew it looked ridiculous, and they loved it. They worked well together, and seemed to have done fairly well in the academy. Zaigon wondered how they would function when they were split up.

Following the trio came a figure everyone knew but none dared to speak with. Rukarisu Kazekishu. This genin graduated four years ago. He stood at nearly six and a half feet tall and weighed roughly two hundred and fifty pounds. He had the serious eyes of the interrogator and a dead straight face. He wore the vest of a chunnin or jounin, despite his rank. His vest contained two extra pouches, but for shuriken and kunai, not for scrolls like the other two. Beneath his vest was a brown short sleeve shirt, exposing his muscle. Around his forearm was his headband, and hanging from a chain around his neck was the metal section of his fathers headband. His brown shorts revealed his massive legs. Within one of his pouches, Zaigon knew he carried a seven foot extendable Bo staff, a family heirloom. Zaigon also knew that there was more to this genin then met the eye. Zaigon had watched Rukarisu train, using techniques of the sand village, techniques that no leaf village ninja should know. The room was silent as he made his way down the isle, taking a seat in the right center. Everyone slightly moved towards the front before continuing their conversations.

Just before the initiation was to begin, the genin Zaigon had the most respect for entered the room. Raiden Tentoukigen. An unstoppable force. His family was the oldest in the village, his great grandfather being the third person in the village, the first two being the founders of konohagakure no sato, Toumoku Tsuyoi and Mikoto Kogshin. Raiden came from a long line of great ninjas. His grandfather founded the Military Police Corps Headquarters, and later became the third hokage. His father refused the position of fourth hokage when it was proposed in order to continue to lead the ANBU Black Ops. His family possessed the third and final Kekkei Genkai of this genin generation, Seishou Sanmai. This naturally occurring Kekkei Genkai used the energy from the sun, moon, and stars and converted it to chakra, giving him a limitless supply of it. His family created their own style of fighting based around this bloodline trait. Raiden was easily the strongest genin present. He surpassed most chunnin, and even some jounin. He should have graduated from the academy long ago, everyone believed so, but his father wished for him to stay. He had Zaigons complete respect.

"Seeing as not all the genin have arrived, we shall wait a few minutes before beginning the orientation" Ketaik announced. The genin paused for a moment before continuing their conversations. Aside from Isao, Nobi, and Yori, the male genin were silent. Many of the girls were still wondering where Kuto was. They hadn't realized that he had shown up to every class, exam, and meeting late. In fact, unless he was going to a party, he was late for everything. He was probably the reason for the empty lecture hall. There were twenty three missing genin at the moment. All of them male, and all of them probably with Kuto, Zaigon thought.

"It seems as if the others aren't going to show up" Ketaik began. At that moment, the recognizable voice of Kuto echoed from the doorway, followed by the laughter of a dozen young genin. The moment he stepped foot into the room the girls began their outburst". "Kuto, sit here" they beckoned the leather vested sword wielder. A group of ten angry genin followed the thirteen in. It was obvious that Kuto and his group had formed a road block the other genin could not pass. The ten dispersed throughout the classroom. Kuto and his group moved to the left center, half the girls flocking around them.

In the chaos, Zaigons clones made their way to him, dropping off their notepads. One returned to his position outside while the other drew yet another notepad from his pouch. The clones were not real. They were solid illusions. When injured or dismissed, they would vanish, and so would their notepads, shuriken, and the like. This meant that all the notes would disappear as well. Zaigon knew this, for he used clones in a lot of his research, stationing them around the city nearly every day to record what they saw. Furiously, he copied the four notepads of information before him, the clone beside him taking notes for him.

The jounin allowed the genin a few extra minutes to settle down. They knew that there was no calming the group when Kuto had entered without severe scolding, and the two tutor-nin were not in the mood. That benefited Zaigon, who took the time to copy the two notepads from the clone outside, mainly just who came in with who and who talked about what. He had begun copying a third notepad filled with mostly the conversations between the jounin when the tutot-nin began to speak.

"You are all here, excellent. Then we shall begin" Shuhansuke stated "as you all should be aware of, you are to be put in three man groups. This is to teach you the importance of teamwork. Jounin work primarily in group, almost all missions are assigned in groups, it is essential that you learn teamwork now, before it costs the lives of your team later. How to work together. How to use each others strengths and cover their weaknesses. Any questions?"

Zaigon knew all of this, and he was glad that he knew all of this. In the time Shuhansuke presented his information, and the gap that followed, Zaigon copied the remaining notepads. With his assistance no longer needed, his clone crept outside where he disappeared in a puff of smoke, his notepads vanishing with him. Taking another pad from his pocket, he prepared to write, knowing the groups would be assigned soon.

"We have assigned the groups based on performance, trying to keep each team balanced" Ketaik explained before reading off the teams. As the teams were read off, Zaigon wrote them down, along with their strengths and weaknesses and rare facts about them. He could easily analyze each group and pinpoint where they should be trained the hardest, what type of training would be most beneficial to each member, and to the group as a whole, and who the best sensei would be for that particular group. However, he was really only interested in four groups.

"Group four. Raiden Tentoukigen, Isao Naga, and Kira Sato"

Zaigon could understand this group. Raiden had finished top of his class in everything. There was no weakness to Raiden, just a lack of experience in the area of genjutsu. Isao was skilled in ninjutsu, but nothing else. And Kira wasn't skilled in anything. Raiden balanced everything out. It did not matter who the sensei to this group would be, most likely a genjutsu specialist. Raiden would take lead of the group, and under his leadership the group would improve drastically. Zaigon would have to track their progress.

"Group Seven. Tatsuo Hishou, Nobu Tera, and Rin Suzuki"

This group was a lot harder for Zaigon to comprehend. Tatsuo and Rin were taijutsu specialists, and Nobu and Rin were weapons specialist. They were not balanced, they were full on frontal assault taijutsu ninjas. Rin and Nobu knew little ninjutsu, and as far as Zaigon knew Nobu knew none. There was no balance to this group. A genjutsu and ninjutsu specialist would be needed to get this group balanced, their sensei would probably be one. Zaigon did not agree with the arrangement of this group, but he would not argue with the jounin.

"Group Eleven. Yori Shira, Arai Makoto, and Aiko Watabe"

This group wasn't hard to figure out. Aiko had natural ninjutsu and had a style of taijutsu passed down through her family. Yori specialized in ninjutsu and knew a little genjutsu, and Arai was in the middle, decent in everything. Their main weak point was genjutsu, but most ninjas weak points were genjutsu. Their sensei should be a well balanced jounin. They didn't need to better themselves in one particular area, just what they can do overall.

"Group Fourteen. Zaigon Xandros, Rukarisu Kazekishu, and Zusukuto Subetabuyou"

That wasn't a shock to Zaigon. They were the only three genin not assigned to a group. However, he couldn't find the logic in the matching. He had been out of the academy for two years, Rukarisu had been out for four years. Rukarisu graduated near top of his class, was known for his dedication, and his specialty with his staff and ninjutsu. Zaigon graduated near top of his class, the top in all academic categories, and was known for his observation and strategic moves. Kuto had graduated near the bottom of his class, scored average in all the physical aspects of the academy, and below average on everything else. He was probably the lowest scoring genin in the room. How they went together, Zaigon didn't know.

"Those are your teammates. You will be spending a good portion of the next few years with them. Get to know them, learn to like them, learn to work together, or you may never see the rank of chunnin" Ketaik threatened.

There was a short pause following those words, and the genin took this as a sign that they were to assemble into their groups. The room erupted in conversation as thirty-nine genin scrambled about, attempting to reach their teammates, or figure out who they were. Many of the girls stopped before Kuto, shaking their heads before continuing. Zaigon wasn't about to move, and by the look of things Rukarisu wasn't either. Kuto looked about the room as his group dispersed to find theirs. He knew who Rukarisu was, but there was no way he was going to approach that barbarian of a man alone, and he had no idea who Zaigon was. So he waited until everyone had grouped together, knowing that the only lone person was Zaigon. However, he ended up seeing thirteen groups and Rukarisu, not this Zaigon character. Confused, he returned his attention to the front.

"Now that you've all become acquainted, each group will be assigned one jounin. This jounin will be your sensei and you will be expected to train hard under his or her guidance if you hope to become a chunnin. Now, on to the sensei" Ketaik said.

Once again, Zaigon wrote down the sensei and to what groups their belonged, but there were still only four groups he cared about. Groups four, seven, eleven, and his own, fourteen. Looking at the jounin lined up at the front of the room, he observed each one, attempting to predetermine which jounin would be assigned to which group before it was called. The jounin seemed not to notice the three ungrouped genin throughout the room, but Zaigon knew that had noticed and noted this.

"Group four, your sensei will be Naiteki Genzou"

This made sense. Naiteki was a skilled genjutsu ninja, he worked with the ANBU Black Ops, and to the best of Zaigons knowledge still did. Raiden rarely used genjutsu, Isao didn't know genjutsu, and Kira was only interested in it, not really knowing any herself. Naiteki was a skilled ninja, and would be a good sensei for the group. Kira and Isao would do well under him, but Zaigon wasn't sure how well Raiden would fare. After all, Raiden did train under the leader of the ANBU Black Ops, and the Third Hokage, none could compare to them.

"Group seven, your sensei will be Natsuha Makon"

Yet Another good choice in Zaigons mind. Natsuha was not a ninja for close combat in the form of taijutsu. She preferred to confused her opponents with genjutsu and ninjutsu and using more ninjutsu to finish her opponents off. Her strengths were the groups weaknesses. However, Natsuha tended to be the more laid back of the jounin. She usually always had a reason in the form of a moral or value, but she was not as strict and did not push as hard as the other jounin. This would be fine with Nobu, but Rin and Tatsuo were dedicated ninja and preferred to train.

"Group eleven, your sensei will be Mimizu Chuutou"

A well-rounded sensei for a well-rounded group, Zaigon assumed. Mimizu was a ninja that did not specialize in anything, she was average in everything. But average for a jounin was a lot different then average for a genin. Her average was using whatever type of jutus she pleased to give any ninja a run for his money. A genins average was being able to perform academy level jutsus.

"Group fourteen" Ketaik began.

At this, Kuto raised his head, waking from his daze. He scanned the front of the room. There were the two tutor-nin, who would continue teaching and would not be selected as new sensei, and he distinctly remembered a handful of jounin already being assigned to a group before he zoned out. That left a few for him to guess from. One of which was Akume Hissorino. Kuto didn't care who his sensei was, as long as it was not that man. His appearance screamed death and tales of him cried pain. He would be one difficult sensei. Kuto didn't know much about this man, except that he didn't like him.

Rukarisu had been paying attention and knew that the only jounin who had not been assigned, and was not a tutot-nin, was Akume. Rukarisu looked forward to training under Akume. He was serious and assumed to push his students hard. He had a reputation, good and bad, but he had completed more overall missions then most other ninja in the village, and completed more S ranked missions then anyone in the villages history, aside from the four hokage. It would be an honor to train under Akume.

Zaigon was also aware of the fact that Akume was to be their sensei. He could not understand why. He knew more about the man then almost anyone else. He had pads upon pads full of information. This man was quite a character. Out of the academy at age six, a chunnin by age eight, and a jounin by age twelve. He had gone on over fifteen hundred missions, over half of them A or S ranked, and came back successful and with his entire group for all of them. He did not specialize in anything, but mastered all three. He blends the three forms of jutsu to create his own unique set of jutsu and his own fighting style. It was also thought that he had a Kekkei Genkai, but what it was no one knew. His teammates always recalled facing an abnormally large number of enemies on their missions, and despite the odds they would always return to the village with a mission accomplished, Akume handling the majority of the opposing ninjas with ease.

He was a character, one that Zaigon could learn much from. Why he was assigned to this group, Zaigon couldn't figure out. The group consisted of a strength and ninjutsu fighter, a straight ninjutsu fighter, and himself, who used academy level jutsus strategically on a higher scale. Their weaknesses were taijutsu and genjutsu. Rukarisu and Zaigon graduated near the top of their classes, Kuto graduated near the bottom. They were not that bad off. They did not require such a sensei as Akume.

As these thoughts raced through his mind, Kuto kept his fingers crossed a few tables ahead of him.

"Your sensei will be Akume Hissorino"