Saffron, supreme ruler of the Cursed Springs Village, stared at the ornate staff that the Leaf ninja had presented him. "I have not seen this in ages, not since it was stolen before the village was created." He said with a quiet, delicate voice. Anyone that knew him would've gathered that there was no small amount of accusatory taint in his voice.

The one-eyed-ninja otherwise known as Hatake Kakashi seemed to smile under his mask, "The Hokage believed it to be the perfect present for the tenth anniversary of your village." If he had noticed how little the Phoenix-man thought of him, he didn't show, or didn't care.

Saffron raised the staff over his head nonplussed, "if the Hokage had thought of doing this six years ago, I would have been able to ascend much quickier." He dedicated the Leaf Jounin a pointed look. "But I am sure that Leaf was not in possession of the Kinjankan by that time."

"Not to my knowledge."

"Never the less, this is a day of joy." He paused, staring at the second crate Kakashi was holding, "don't tell me that Konoha has also managed to recover the Gekkaja!"

Kakashi opened the crate and revealed a similar weapon to the one Saffron was currently holding. "It was on the possession of Zabuza Momochi, Missin-nin of Kirigakure." He handed the crate to Kiima who then put it on a small table next to Saffron's. "Hokage hopes that this will strengthen the bonds between our villages."

Saffron gave him a curt nod, "You can expect at least two of our best Genin teams in the Chuunin exams." He put a hand over the Gekkaja almost as if petting it, "with these artifacts' help, in a few years Jusenkyo may be regarded as force to be respected." He gave Kiima a bratty smile, "perhaps I would be regarded with the title of Kage, even."

Kakashi raised an eyebrow, clearly having a different opinion in the matter. He was smart enough to not speak it in front of the man, though. "Konoha is happy to know that you are, Lord Saffron." He bent his head to the side, "it's getting a little late, where can my students and I get some sleep?"

Saffron seemed to be ready to dispatch Leaf's Team Seven when Kiima decided to interrupt her master, "The Tendo's is as good place as any, they have plenty of rooms."

Kakashi nodded, "Tendo eh? Okay, lead the way."

When both Jounin ninjas left the throne room, Saffron frowned, "You lied, Konoha respects me and trusts me. They wouldn't have given me the key to unlocking my full abilities if they didn't."

A shadow next to him materialized into a man, or a woman, it wasn't entirely clear what it was. "They give you gifts with false power to keep you on a short leash, my Lord, you await with patience in hope that they will regard you as a Kage. But you should know better, they're never going to award you such a title, even if you're superior to all of them."

Saffron pursed his lips, his fire aura flared for a moment, clearly thinking of blowing up all the other ninja villages. "They regard me and Jusenkyo as weak, do they?"

The shadow-figure grinned, "Don't think less of yourself, my Lord. They also regard Otogakure as a small, backwater village. They will learn who are their betters in no time."

Saffron grinned like a madman. "Finally, I will be a Kage."


On their way to the Tendo Dojo the Jounin met their Genin students. Well, most of them, since by the looks of it, Ranma had said something mean again and was being chased by a bloodthirsty Akane.

"Stay put so I can kick you so hard your ancestors will feel it!"

Ranma stopped running for a moment and turned around, sticked her lip out. "Idiot, how would my ancestors feel it?" He dodged a punch, then a spin kick and then turned to run again.

"A kick that transcends space and time?" Kakashi offered and yawned, "How do you stay alive?" He asked Kiima, noticing the twitch in her eye.

"Cynicism, mostly, and they're actually funny some times."

It amused Kiima to no end seeing the kids run around on top of a fence and actually fight on it. But she didn't care for them going out of their way and revealing secrets to outsiders, especially not when the Chuunin exams were so close. She raised her left hand and sent a dozen razor-sharp feathers their way.

Both thirteen year-old ninjas were instantly attached to a near wall. "Now, what will our guests think of our village if you two can't stop fighting?"

She noticed the way the Uchiha kid was looking at her. He had probably realized that she had two extra limbs on her back, despite her best to hide them. It didn't matter much, her blood limit was only shared by one of her students. "Now, I can get you down, but you have to promise not to pound each other."

Ranma folded his arms, "hey I'm not the one doing the pounding!"

Akane looked as red as her name, "I won't pound him if he doesn't give me a reason to!" She exclaimed, not wanting to promise something she wouldn't be able to uphold.

Kakashi grimaced at the two Cursed Springs' genins. "Are they like this all the time?"

Kiima nodded, but didn't stop looking at her students, "I put enough chakra in those feathers to keep you on that wall until sunrise, at least." She gave them a arctic-cold gaze. "And, if you try to get free on your own, they will explode. Now, why don't you apologize to each other?"

Ranma stuck his tongue at Akane, "nya, nya, I won't apologize!"

"Well, then, on sunrise I will kick you to the next world you jerk!" yelled an scandalized Akane.

Kiima looked down and massaged her eyes, "These two are going to be the death of me." She looked up, "okay, you two stay there and resolve your differences, I will drop our Konoha friends on your house Akane, it's big enough to hold them all."

"Yea, yea, whatever." grumbled the girl, not quite amused by the situation.

Sakura eyed Naruto, "I hope Kakashi-sensei doesn't pick up habits from this woman, I don't think I could have that being done to me or poor Sasuke-kun."

"Hey! What about me?"

"You would probably deserve it, dork."


Almost two hours later, they started talking to each other again. "This is all your fault, tomboy." Ranma said, his arms folded and his eyes closed, he thought it made him look wise.

Said tomboy snorted at the boy, "like you're one to talk, pervert!" She turned to look away from her fiancé.

"Well, you're the one that started hitting me for no reason!" Complained the boy, and tried to free himself from the biding jutsu without setting off the explosive tags, it didn't seem quite possible.

Akane didn't bother to look back at the boy, "you were the one that nearly spilled the beans about all our hidden tricks you moron!"

"Well, at least you have to admit tha-" Ranma stopped saying whatever he was about to when without a single warning it started raining. He almost instantly turned into female version of himself. "Awesome, all your fault!"

"You're incorrigible! And not in the good way!"

The boy turned girl was about to reply but he closed his mouth when he noticed people walking down the street. "Hey, isn't that Team Pig?"

That caught Akane's attention, "Team Pig?" She looked to the side where Ranma was pointing and snorted. Akari Unryuu, Ryoga Hibiki and Mikado Sanzenin.

Ranma grinned, "A Piglover, an actual pig and pigheaded skirt-chaser. Get it? Team Pig!"

Ryoga had his umbrella protecting him from his transformation. He looked up at the pair and grinned, "Ranma, caught again disrespecting girls?"

Sanzenin glared at Ryoga, "we don't have time for you to deal with idots. Sensei is going to kill us if we don't get to the training ground in time."

Akane blinked and looked at Akari, "training ground? Isn't it a little late for that kind of thing?"

The girl riding a giant pig shrugged her shoulders, "We were just told what to do. I think it has something to do with our team-work, it hasn't been as good as it should've been."

"Some ninja you are," quipped Ranma.

Akane blew out a frustrated breath. "Ranma we don't have time for you to antagonize them!" She then looked down at Ryoga and proceded to perform her best 'cute' smile. "Can you help us, Hibiki-kun?"

Ryoga looked up, at first he seemed to be bored with the situation, but then he blushed. The battle suit Akane was wearing wasn't exactly meant for rainy days. "Uh, sure?" He shook his head and looked at Akari who didn't seem to notice his dirty thoughts, "I have just the technique for the job!"

Ranma rolled his eyes, "Great, saved by pig-boy. That's peachy."

Ryoga waved his teamates to move away from him and then seemed to be about to gather his thoughts. "Hibiki Secret Jutsu: Bakusai Tenketsu!" His pupils looked somewhat bigger for a second and then he touched a spot on the wall were the Anything Goes heirs were being held.

Ranma bit his tongue. "I don't think this is the idea I had when I said I was going to be saved by pig-boy, you know, Akane." Just after he finished saying this, the whole structure collapsed. Akane cursed as she forced herself to jump as far as she could. She blinked when one of the feathers were about to explode on her face. "Shit!" She was saved at the last second when Ranma pushed out of the way, the feather exploding on HIS face instead.

Akane landed safely on top of Sanzenin's head. She looked down, with no hurry to move. "That was more dangerous than usual, Kiima-sensei must not like us much."

Their generation's most pervert ninja growled. "Could you get off my head already!" He looked up, half-expecting to see down her skirt, not remembering that she was wearing a battle suit instead.

Akane kicked him, clearly she also didn't remember what she was wearing. "Stupid pig!"

Akari blinked, "hey, pigs are smart!"

"Are not!"

"Are too!"

The short haired girl seemed to be ready to fight the other girl but then remembered her fallen fiancé. "Crap, Ranma." She ran to the side of all the rumble and then glared at Ryoga, "that's your idea of helping?"

The lost boy rubbed his cheek, "you are unhurt, right? That's good enough," He looked down at Ranma, who was crawling his way out of the rumble and considering his expression, he wanted a fight. Ryoga casually put his foot on top of the other boy's head, "isn't it?"

"You're standing on top of him." Akane pointed out, her glare still in place.

The lost boy blushed, but the pig-lover Akari held her ground, "Well, you did kick poor Mikado's head, it's only fair that someone strong like a pig, like Ryoga, would do the same to your team-mate."

Akane arched an eyebrow at Akari, looked at the unconciousus body of Sanzenin and then at Ryoga. "Did you do that to avenge your fallen friend?"

"Friend? ME? With that pervert?" Ryoga jumped back two steps, "hey, just because we're in the same team doesn't mean he's my friend!"

Akane rolled her eyes and picked up Ranma by his pigtail. "Come on, you need to rest."

Ranma was waving his fist at Ryoga, but didn't seem to care that his fiancée was dragging him away. "Come here so I can kick your ass stupid lost boy!"

The Tendo girl waved her hand at Ryoga, shooing him so he wouldn't accept the challenge. "Rest. Or I WILL clobber you now that you can't dodge."

"Uncute tomboy," Ranma grumbled under his breath. He was lucky Akane didn't hear him.