A/N: Third installment of the Ronin series and I would also like to remind people of the elemental system change from my last chapter so there is no confusion of why something in this chapter happens.

Ronin

To Arms

Sasuke was sure that Naruto was dead.

He had driven him headfirst into a rocky bank not thirty seconds earlier from about twenty feet in the air.

But if that was true, then why was Naruto standing on the surface of the river.

And he was also sure that he was not wearing an armored body suit earlier.

He was snapped out of his thoughts as Naruto just disappeared and reappeared right behind him.

Had he not activated his sharingan the second he saw Naruto standing on the lake, his head would have been crushed by the kick Naruto had thrown at his head.

But Naruto did not stop there and he quickly threw a punch at him that he barely side stepped as he was still recovering from dodging his previous kick.

He watched in morbid awe as the punch connected with a nearby boulder that started to crack and then crumble not five seconds after Naruto punched it.

Sasuke gulped and let the Curse seal start to spread.

If he was going to win, he knew he would have to get serious and this had changed from a good test of his capacity to a fight for his life.

But even with the cursed seal's power, it was extremely hard to keep up with Naruto as he attacked relentlessly.

After a few more minutes of desperate dodging and weaving, everything started to slow down and he was able to see the majority of Naruto's attacks before they happened.

Sasuke was eventually able to catch Naruto off guard and gave him a solid kick to the chest…

…Only for his foot to feel as if he kicked a boulder while Naruto did not even seem affected at all.

Sasuke's eyes widened as Naruto just charged him not even a second after his kick had connected.

The next thing Sasuke knew was the air leaving his lungs forcefully as Naruto delivered a high powered punch to his chest.

He then felt a few ribs crack as he was sent flying back from the force of the attack before suddenly feeling his body imprint itself in the wall on the other side of the Valley of the End.

As he slowly pulled his body out of his impression, he looked at Naruto who was charging him fast.

Desperate, he quickly went through the hand seals for Chidori and charged up his strongest attack.

Once his Chidori was at full power, he took off towards the speeding Naruto and readied to strike his target.

He was barely able to sidestep the punch thrown and he tried to ram the Chidori through Naruto's heart.

Key word is tried.

As his lightning coated fist made contact with Naruto's slightly armored chest, his Chidori quickly died out as if the armor was absorbing the jutsu.

He did not have time to think as Naruto kneed him in the stomach making him cough up a little blood.

Right before Naruto grabbed him by his hair and gave him a solid kick to the chest sending him back to the bank of the river.

Sasuke decided now was the time to test out the limits of his curse seal's new level and let the power engulf him.

Feeling the major spike of vile chakra coming from Sasuke, Naruto decided that now would be a good time to see what this new power he received was as well.

As he came to this decision, his eyes started to shimmer at the amount of power he was building up and the kanji for 'Justice' became visible on his forehead.

He let himself fall into the power he was feeling and his body acted on its own as he used his left hand to grab his right wrist.

His right hand fisted itself as words came unbidden to his lips.

"Armor of Hardrock, Dao Gi!"

And, in a flash of orange light, the power he had been feeling all throughout the fight seemed to increase by a factor of ten maybe even fifteen.

And as the flash died down, he could see a badly deformed Sasuke looking at him in unveiled horror.

Naruto himself felt heavier yet lighter at the same time.

A quick glance at the water he was standing on revealed why Sasuke looked like he was about to shit his pants.

Instead of what he normally had on, he was now outfitted in orange and brown samurai armor that consisted of a chest piece, shoulder and fore arm guards, a helmet, and strapped to his back was a staff of some kind.

Overall, the body emanated a sense of power that was almost palpable.

He slowly reached to his back and grasped his staff and brought it into his view.

He let his eyes travel the metal weapon from the tip of its foot long blade on the top that would be good for slashing to the bottom that had three spikes that would be great for stabbing.

He idle wondered why he felt as if he could fight with the thing, as far as he could remember he had never had any training with a staff or anything besides kunai and shurikan.

But the weapon felt so right in his hands that it was as if he had been using it ever since he was born.

His mental appraisal of his weapon and armor were interrupted when he had to use the staff to block a swipe from the disfigured avenger's new claws.

He batted away the swipe effortlessly then used the small opening to step inside the Uchiha's guard and gave him another swift knee to the stomach.

As he was still recovering, Naruto used his staff like a base ball bat and smacked it against Sasuke's back sending him forward and sinking into the water upon impact.

Without even thinking he dove under the water and, once he was underneath the surface, he was slightly surprised to find that he could still breathe like he was on land.

He pushed that thought out of his head and began to swim towards Sasuke's body that was slowly descending towards the bottom of the lake.

As soon as he reached him, Naruto grabbed his face then gave a harsh knee to the stomach once again forcing the remaining air out of Sasuke's lungs.

Naruto did not stop there though, He grabbed sasuke's head and gave him a head butt busting the skin of his forehead wide open making copious amounts of blood pour into the water.

As Sasuke was still stunned, he took Sasuke by his feet and began to spin, getting faster and faster, before releasing he avenger at a trajectory so that he would break the surface of the lake and land on shore.

After Sasuke was on a one way trip to the surface, Naruto began to swim upwards towards the surface intent on finishing up his beat down of the Uchiha soon.

When he reached the surface, he saw Sasuke standing up shakily and going through the seals he had used earlier for the Chidori.

Naruto just stood calmly on the bank waiting for Sasuke to let his attack charge up and remained calm as the Uchiha charged him with his most powerful attack.

He felt as if his armor was telling him to trust in it and to follow its lead.

So trust in it he did and, as soon as Sasuke got to within ten feet, Naruto felt his body move on its own as he got into a stance and brought his staff above his head and twirl it around as words seemed to flow out of his mouth on their own accord.

"Iron Rock Crusher!"

Sasuke was able to stop and avoid the main part of the attack that tore up huge hunks of the ground but, he was not able to avoid the torso sized boulders that fell from the canyon wall when his attack reached it.

Naruto watched as the first boulder hit him in the side of the head, laying him out on his back, and he winced when another boulder fell and landed right between his legs crushing whatever dreams he had of ever walking again, much less restoring his clan.

As the attack ended, Naruto fell to his knees.

That last attack had used apparently depleted whatever energy he had left and he could faintly feel the weight of the armor leaving his body as he collapsed the rest of the way to the ground and started to fade in and out of consciousness.

Right before he lost awareness, he felt an energy source similar to that of his armor's coming closer by the second and he felt something familiar underneath its power.

As he finally passed out he only had one name run through his head.

Koyuki-chan

"Maa, maa, Naruto-kun you have really outdone yourself this time."

-0-0-0-0-

"Come on answer the question, Koyuki-hime?"

Ever since Naruto left on the mission to retrieve Sasuke, Tsunade and she had been discussing the newly forged alliance of Spring and Leaf.

In actuality, all the political talk was done the first day, but Tsunade insisted they had more to talk about today.

What she meant by 'more to talk about' was rather mundane topics and questions that had no bearing on their talks yesterday.

Inside her mind, Koyuki knew that Tsunade was using this to shirk her work, but she really did not care.

What she did care about was that whole time that she was at the office, Tsunade had been making rather poorly veiled insinuations about what Naruto and she had done during the month.

But the last question she just could not piece together why she would even ask what she did.

Sure, Naruto and she had been on several 'dates', but that did not mean that Naruto and she was a couple… right?

"Tsunade-sama, I must implore that you tell me why you insist that Naruto and I was a couple?"

Tsunade blinked a couple of times; surely Koyuki understood what it was like to be in love, after all, she had a family for a short time.

If anyone would not know what love felt like, she would have assumed it to be Naruto.

He had never known what love of any kind felt like, except that of a grandfather thanks to the Sandaime, so, that would make him seem dense to that certain feeling and those related directly to it.

"Surely you know what love feels like Koyuki-hime?"

Tsunade knew she hit a sore point when, Koyuki looked down with a blank look on her face and as she was about to ask a different question to take her mind off of what seemed to be a distressing topic for the young woman, Koyuki spoke up.

"After my father was killed, I blocked most of those memories from my mind and literally made myself a blank slate emotion wise…

…But, ever since Naruto and I had that heart to heart in Spring country and the smaller one a couple days ago, I have been able to see the memories but I feel nothing from them but sadness that I will never see my father again."

Tsunade looked down as well. She had done the same thing when she left Konoha and it was only recently that she was able to actually look back at all her memories of Dan and Nawaki without bitterness or regret leaking into her thoughts.

For a long time she had been a lot like Koyuki described.

When she was in self exile, she could spend all day thinking about them and never feel any of the good feelings that she had when they were still around.

It was not until she had come back to Konoha after meeting Naruto did she remember what it felt like to love and to be loved back.

She loved Naruto like a son or a sister… a really old sister, but a sister none the less and he seemed to genuinely love her in the same way.

Because of this love, Naruto had helped her regain her happiness but Koyuki… she is not so lucky.

Being a world class medic-nin had its perks, especially the amount of knowledge one had to have of the human brain and body.

Because Koyuki's trauma happened so long ago and she was so young when it happened, Tsunade knew Koyuki had little or no chance to feel anything but sadness from the past because her mind has 'lost' the good part of those memories over time.

"Koyuki-hime, if I may be so bold as to ask, what do you feel when you are around Naruto?"

Koyuki let a smile grace her face and her eyes immediately lost any of the sadness they had in them before.

"When I am around Naruto, I feel as if nothing else is important as long as he stays close and I also feel that, with his support, I could do anything."

Tsunade leaned back in her chair a hazy look in her eyes.

That was extremely similar to how she had felt around Dan all those years ago and she had no doubt that Koyuki was being sincere in her comments.

"A long time ago I felt that same way."

Koyuki looked towards the Godaime with eyes almost pleading to enlighten her to what the feeling was.

"A little over twenty-five years ago I was engaged to be married; anytime I was near him I felt exactly as you described."

Koyuki would not normally have pushed for details, but she was at a loss for her situation and needed answers.

"What happened to him, Tsunade-sama?"

Tsunade got a distant look in her eyes as she responded to Koyuki's prompt.

"A week before we were set to be married, our Jounin squad got an emergency deployment call and on our way back, about an hour from Konoha, we were attacked by a group of nukenins.

"We were able to take care of them easily but Dan… He saved my life by sacrificing his own.

"One of the nins was able to manage one final attack and launched a poisoned Kunai at me.

"I was taking care of a couple minor injuries at the time and did not see it but Dan did.

"He pushed me out of its path and took it to the kidney.

"Had we been a little closer to Konoha, I would have had about a twenty-two percent chance to save him, but as it was, I had less than one percent chance while on the battle field.

"Dan had been there for me when my little brother died and without him the world was so bleak, so I packed my bags and left Konoha indefinably."

By the end of the story Tsunade was letting out small tears of sadness and Koyuki had no idea how to respond to that.

She stood up to try and do something to comfort her when she, all of a sudden, got a dizzy sensation and fell to the ground.

The last image Koyuki had was the Godaime rushing towards her before she blacked out.

-0-0-0-0-

As Koyuki opened her eyes, all she could see was decaying yellow bricks.

She slowly stood up from the ground and took a quick glance around the area.

She was able to conclude that where she was looked a lot like a sewer with a maze of tunnels that seem to crisscross at all kind of weird angles and even had the distinctive smell of one.

She, however, was drawn to a specific hallway and, as she walked down it, she could feel a familiar presence being stifled by a malicious power that felt so strong from where she was that it made her want to curl up in a corner and die.

But the familiar presence kept her pushing forward and she was finally able to see the source of the oppressive power in the air.

Behind a huge gate was the Kyuubi and floating in the water below was Naruto who looked rather beat up.

She tried to run to Naruto and do whatever she could help him in any way but she was stopped by a deep blue barrier.

She watched on, with helplessness eating at her heart, at the scene, hoping against all odds nothing bad happened.

If she had been scared of the fox when she saw it, she was terrified of it now as it spoke.

"Pathetic human, you are noting without my power."

Koyuki wanted nothing more than to tell Naruto that it was not true and that he was plenty strong without the foxes help, the barrier keeping her out of the room held strong even under her pounding fists.

"Fine, Don't beg for my help. Here is some chakra. Just don't embarrass us any more than you already have by losing to a lowly Uchiha."

She could only watch as a wave of red chakra rushed towards Naruto, only to be stopped by an orange barrier and she could also see his wounds healing rapidly as the orange light intensified.

She could tell that his lips were moving, but she could not make out the words and he was too far to hear.

And all of a sudden, Naruto raised his right hand and a wall of earth started to rise to cover the kitsune's cage effectively cutting hi off from the rest of Naruto's mind.

She watched as an orange flash filed the room and, before she knew what had happened, she found her self back in the Hokage's office with a panicking Godaime over her.

Kouki did not know why she got to see the meeting between the kitsune and Naruto, but there was something she subconsciously knew… Naruto needed her help.

She felt a strange energy start to flow through her and she sat up and tried to leave the office, only to be held back by the Hokage.

She was determined not to let the shinobi holding her back stop her, she would not have Naruto's injuries or possibly even his death weigh on her conscious.

Unknowingly to Tsunade or Koyuki, the Kanji for 'life' had been flashing rapidly on her brow throughout the entire ordeal and, as she made her decision to help Naruto at all costs, it had solidified and her eyes had gained a deep blue tint to their usual brown.

Her body moved by itself as her left arm slowly reached for her right wrist as if it had a mind of its own.

Even with the grasp Tsunade had on her, Koyuki was able to strengthen her muscles enough with chakra to make them connect and, when they did, she felt a huge burst of energy as she unknowingly uttered one phrase that would be permanently etched into Tsunade's mind for a long time.

"Armor of Strata! Dao Inochi!"

All koyuki could see was an inky blackness before she saw several scrolls rolldown from the seemingly endless sky.

She had no time to think as all the scrolls gained a pink glow before transforming into sakura petals.

She continued to let her body move on its own as she felt the petals start to swirl around her legs and slowly moved up her body and where the petals had been previously now had a comfortable weight on it.

When she was finally able to move her body, she used the distraction she had created to easily break the Godaime's hold.

She then rushed to the window and hurriedly jumped out it to the street below only to stop midway as she felt the power she had been feeling surround her in a bubble and she commanded it to go towards where she could feel Naruto's power growing rapidly.

Back in the office, Tsunade immediately cursed and ran to the window only to see Koyuki stop halfway and be incased in a blue bubble and take off in a hurry.

"Shizune watch the office, I have something I need to do!"

And with that she jumped out the window as well and took off at speeds most people not ranked Jounin would have a hard time seeing.

Tsunade moved as fast as she could, trying to keep Koyuki in her sights.

She did not even stop at the gate and merely rushed through them and the guards before taking to the tree tops at top speed in hopes of catching up to the armor clad princess.

She could barely keep up with her target as Koyuki literally used her armor's power to fly through the tree tops.

This continued on for about an hour before Koyuki saw the end of the trees closing fast and, more importantly, felt the last vestiges of what she assumed to be Naruto's power just beyond the tree line.

She also felt Tsunade about fifty or so feet behind her and could tell by the aura she was putting out that she was pissed, scared, and curious all at the same time.

Koyuki new why she was pissed and curious, after all it is not everyday someone unlocks a family heirloom and jumps out of the window four stories in the air, only to stop two stories above the ground and literally fly off in a hurry, but why was she scarred?

She pushed any unnecessary thoughts out of her head as she broke through the clearing to see Naruto passed out on the bank of a river and Sasuke's torso was sticking out from underneath a medium sized boulder and a silver haired person with glasses slowly making his way towards Naruto with a Kunai in hand.

Not liking the feeling she was getting from the person, she instinctively pulled the bow off her back and withdrew an arrow before cutting the power to the bubble that had formed around her to help her get to her destination faster.

-0-0-0-0-

"Maa, maa, Naruto-kun you have really outdone yourself this time.

"Orochimaru-sama will be most displeased to learn that you have crippled his new body.

"But, he would be even angrier at me if I did not attempt to capture you so he could dissect your body to see how your wonderful healing ability or that strange armor works."

The figure then started to slowly walk towards Naruto.

Orochimaru had sent him here to make sure Sasuke arrived in Oto safely and for him to study the power that the curse seal gave to the Uchha avenger.

After all, it would not do for Orochimaru-sama to be stuck in a weak body so he had hidden himself at the Valley of the End to observe what he thought would be an easy victory for Sasuke.

Needless to say, he was fairly shocked to see an even fight until Sasuke managed to find an opportunity to drive the blonds' head into the rocky shore.

He knew that Naruto would survive the drop thanks to Kyuubi but even the fox had its limits and he doubted Naruto would wake up today or possibly tomorrow.

He watched as Naruto got swept into the water because of how close Sasuke had pile driven him to it.

He was about to come out of hiding and finish escorting Sasuke to Oto when Naruto emerged from the water, fully healed and in a strange battle suit.

He then proceeded to watch Sasuke get thoroughly thrashed even after activating his curse seal.

He thought Sasuke might gain the advantage when he used the second level of his curse seal, only to have that idea smashed into pieces when Naruto called out something and was engulfed in an orange light.

Kabuto knew the fight was over the second he saw the armor Naruto armor had on when the light dissipated and began plotting on how to try and lure Naruto to Otogakure so Orochimaru-sama could use him in his grand plan.

He winced when he saw Naruto's last attack and especially the effects it would have on a man and almost laughed with glee when Naruto collapsed thinking he would have an easy target.

He felt a strong chakra signature break through the tree line and looked towards the arrival only to be forced to back flip in fear of a second arrow being fired in the first's shadow.

When he recovered, he looked towards where the arrow had came from only to see a female with a similar armor only in a rich deep blue color land between Naruto and himself with an arrow notched and aimed right at his heart from what he could tell.

After seeing what an armor similar to hers could do with a user who had already fought a hard fight, he decided to cut his losses and slowly maneuvered his body towards Sasuke's broken form.

Orochimaru would be pissed at Sasuke's condition, but he would be even more pissed if he showed up empty handed.

He ever so slightly turned his body so he could see Sasuke, only to curse in his mind when he saw the slug sannin standing between him and the Uchiha.

He had been so distracted by the power the armor Naruto and this girl's put out that he had failed to notice the Godaime's arrival.

Using his head, he tried to think of possible ways out of this situation and cursed internally as he could only think of one very risky way and he was sure it would not work because he knew that Tsunade had lost her fear of blood meaning that she would have no reservations to pound his ass into the ground.

He felt a stabbing pain in his leg and looked down only to see an arrow protruding the center of his knee cap.

He gritted his teeth in pain, he had been so distracted trying to figure a way out of this situation that he had made a rookie mistake…

He took both his eyes off of one of his opponents and now it will cost him.

He mustered the will power to leap to the side a bit to get out of the women in the armor's direct firing lane and cursed when a blinding pain erupted in his knee that had the arrow in it.

The pain was only temporary however as Tsunade used this time to rush behind his exposed back and gave him one of her supercharged punches in the back of the head, knocking him out instantly.

Tsunade watched in satisfaction as Orochimaru's pet became imbbedded in the Shodaime's statue all the way on the other side of the valley.

She turned to get some answers on how Koyuki had awakened her armor and knew exactly where Naruto was, only to see her in a similar state of unconsciousness as Naruto and she had actually passed out over him in a protective manor.

She shook her head as a small smile played on her lips and sighed before creating three Kage Bunshins and had two pickup Koyuki and Naruto as a third went and retrieved what was left of Sasuke before she made her way towards Kabuto.

She felt something off about him and decided to throw caution to the wind and punch him again, only for Kabuto's body to become a shinobi she did not recognize.

She cursed out loud before punching the cliff wall next to her Grandfather's statue.

Kabuto would have been a great person to have in Ibiki's 'fun' rooms as he would have had a decent amount of information of her former teammate's plans.

She let out a sigh of disappointment before running up the cliff face and back towards Konoha.

She knew Shizune would be able to keep any of the Genin alive the only thing that she could not heal or stabilize would have been something of the level of Rock Lee's surgery and even then she would have been able to save his life just that the person would never be a shinobi again.

She really hoped the Mission had not gone that bad and picked up her pace just in case.

-0-0-0-0-

Koyuki groaned as her body protested it moving at the second.

The first thing she noticed was that she was in the sewer again.

She willed her body up and noticed that it was slightly heavier than before.

She looked down into the murky water and immediately spotted the reason why she felt heavier.

On her body was now a deep blue armor that she knew she had never seen anywhere before.

Her eyes widened considerably when her families legend passed through her mind.

Surely this must be one of their heirlooms.

But even with these thoughts going through her head, she still had to wonder why she was here.

It did not take long because she started to feel a pull just like she had the last time she was here.

Seeing how last time turned out fine, she trusted the feeling and followed it through the labyrinth.

After following her gut and passing through many paths, she finally wound up in a mountain range.

She looked around at the scenery while still following her gut until she reached a boulder about nine feet high and twelve feet around

She knew something was off about the boulder because it gave off an ethereal orange glow occasionally.

She then noticed her armor starting to glow a deep blue matching the frequency of the orange glow coming from the boulder.

Koyuki got the feeling that her armor was telling her something and instead of skimming the surface of the power, her power, she let herself be immersed in it totally and drew the Bow off her back.

She then took an arrow and notched it while putting the boulder in her sights.

She let the arrow fly and watched as an orange barrier surrounded the boulder and reflected her arrow away from the boulder it contained.

She notched another arrow determined to find out why her armor had seen fit to lead her to this specific boulder

She drew the arrow back and, as she did, words sprang from her mouth.

"Arrow Shock Wave!"

She released the arrow and watched in unveiled awe as the barrier absorbed the energy leaving the arrow to pierce the boulder.

After waiting a few minutes, she cursed loudly and was about to draw another arrow when the boulder began to split.

As the split began to grow, she could see an orange light shining through the crack and watched as the boulder began to shake.

She watched in morbid curiosity as the light got brighter and brighter before it finally exploded sending fragments of rock everywhere but near her.

Koyuki, who had turned her head to protect her eyes from the intensity of the light earlier, looked back towards what was left of the boulder only to see a person in orange armor standing right in the center of it all.

She felt the weight of her armor leave her and noticed that the person in the orange armor was glowing slightly.

She watched as his armor left him as well to reveal Naruto who was smiling at her widely.

She too smiled widely and ran over to him before pulling him into a hug.

Naruto wrapped her in his arms as well and leaned next to her ear as he whispered.

"I told you I would be fine and I always keep my promises."

---------

A/N: I have a fic idea for a Naruto/Mikoto story that won't leave me alone so i am going to work on it to give Ideas for this story to refresh and become more vivid.