Disclaimer: I own nothing, and I will never own this great series, I am doing this for free, and for you enjoyment

Chapter 3: Wake up Fox! Survival Time!

The Great Flame reflects upon

The keeper,

Whilst the fox awakes from his slumber

Before he can bear his new fangs,

He must take three kits to the mountain

To prove their worth

"What a week, what a week," Tsunade said as she leaned back in her chair. On the night of the Ooburi Futago's awakening, about a quarter of Konoha lost power and suffered a blackout. Nobody was seriously hurt; unless you count the pride of a few shinobi who crashed into walls or fell into alleys when they respectively either lost their vision or were rubber-necking when they saw the flash of light.

Naruto was currently in the hospital with higher-than-normal sub-conscious brain activity, and had been for the last three days.


When Tsunade had gotten over the shock of the energy wave passing over her, she bolted straight out the office window with Shashu hot on her heels. She was rather impressed that the young man could keep pace with one of the legendary Sannin, but she quickly dismissed the thought. Arriving at the pillar of light, she discovered that about a dozen ANBU had tried to enter it to get to Naruto, but they had been blasted back. They weren't hurt, just numbed for a few hours.

This had nearly sent her into a panic attack, since it was Naruto in the middle of the light, and nobody could get to him, Shashu was being oddly calm about the entire thing, as if he expected it to happen. About fifteen minutes later, the light died down, and they retrieved Naruto.

end flashback

What ever Naruto or the Ooburi Futago did caused him to fall un-conscious while standing up. However, before he could collapse, Tsunade was there to catch him. When he fell into her arms, she had noticed three trails of steam coming from Naruto's clothes.

She had been surprised, not only by the steam and his new clothes, but how he looked up close. He looked so much like his father that she let out an un-intentional murmur of "Minato?"

Fortunately for her, the ANBU that heard were unquestioningly loyal, and wouldn't utter a word to anybody. Shashu, who had stuck to her like her shadow, she wasn't too sure about. He just acted like he didn't hear a thing. While she wasn't sure of what he would do, she was sure of her duty to her village and her patients. She gave orders to the ANBU to take their stunned members with them and escort her to the hospital, before discreetly signaled Tenzo, the captain of the ANBU, to keep a close watch on Shashu.

When she got Naruto to the hospital, she had a chance to relax and see what Naruto was wearing. He appeared to be fully loaded, as he had kunai, shuriken, and even shin guards. She had to admit, the outfit he was wearing was a definite improvement from the orange monstrosity of a jumpsuit he normally wore.

When she caught him, she had made note of where the steam had been coming from. Two had come from his hitai-ate, which now sported a pair of lightning bolt engravings flanking both sides of the leaf symbol. The third, and largest, trail of steam had come from the large dull golden image that now adorned his shirt/robe on the front and back of the left side. It also included his left sleeve up to the elbow.

The image was of a fox; a long eared, three tailed, stylized kitsune. The front of the fox started on the front of the shirt and wrapped around the back where two of the tails arched over his shoulder and down his sleeve. When the two tails reached his shoulder, they took on the appearance of lightning bolts. The third tail coiled into a spiral on the center of his back. The residual chakra in the image was proof that the Ooburi Futago was the cause.


"…it appears as though the twins want him to use his burden as part of a symbol for what he now is." He said, letting his fingertips trace the kitsune pattern on his clothes. Tsunade did a double take. How on earth did he know that?! The secret of Naruto's status as the jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi no Youko was considered a triple S-class secret to foreigners. If someone had let that information slip…However, before she could voice her concerns, Shashu waved her off with a disarming smile.

"Do not fret, Tsunade-sama, I have been trained to detect the spirit swords, even when they wish not to be not found. Due to this, it is a rather simple task of detecting a sealed entity like the Kyuubi. No, I do not hate the boy for his burden. In fact, it helps explain why the Ooburi Futago are taking so long to perform their alterations." He said, looking back down at Naruto.

"What alterations?" Tsunade really didn't like the sound of this tid-bit of information. Shashu merely shook his head.

"It's not as bad as you think it is. The Ooburi Futago are merely adding the lightning element to his charka, as well as repairing any damage done to his body and any damage the fox inflicted on his mind since birth."

"Wait, what damage? The seal is perfect. The fox couldn't have hurt him, even if-" she was abruptly cut off when a wave of intense, crushing pressure; more intense than earlier, slammed into her. This time, she could tell where it was coming from, and it was coming from Shashu.

"Spiritual pressure, as you can no doubt feel, Tsunade-sama, can bypass even the greatest, most complex seals, and wreak havoc on a person's mind. Unless the sealed demon cooperates with the host, then the jinchuuriki will suffer some sort of mental handicap or deficiency, like Gaara's insomnia in addition to the Shukaku's whisperings."

As if a switch had been flipped, the pressure surrounding Tsunade vanished, leaving her gasping for air. "I am actually quite impressed with the young lad's accomplishments. But, then again, the Kyuubi probably helped him so they both could survive."

Catching her breath, Tsunade had to admit, despite his peaceful looks and demeanor, Shashu was a deadly opponent. To be able to render a Sannin like herself utterly defenseless with merely a glance spoke of great power, and deadly skill. She hoped beyond hope to never call Shashu an enemy. She shook her head to clear it of such thoughts.

"So, again, what alterations are the swords making?"

"Well, each sword does its own 'alteration'. Usually, it's just forming a mental bond, in addition to healing any physical, or mental, deficiencies. Also, the Ooburi Futago will add the lightning element to his chakra nature so that he may utilize high level Ration jutsus with greater ease."

"So Naruto's a lightning type now?" Shashu shook his head.

"No. He simply has lightning in addition to his original element. Let's say he was originally a water type. If you were to test him now, he would have two elemental affinities: water and lightning."

end flashback

After Shashu had explained the situation, Tsunade did what she could to make Naruto comfortable. She also preformed a complete check-up, or as close as she could to complete, considering the fact that he was unconscious.

Besides the higher than normal brain activity, he was completely healthy. Shashu had further demonstrated his proficiency with the ninja arts by utilizing Kuchiyose no Jutsu to summon a badger wearing a knitted cap and a blue backpack to watch over Naruto. This was to make sure nobody tried to steal the Ooburi Futago.

After securing the room against intruders, she and Shashu retired to the office of the Hokage tower to discuss the transfer of the remaining soul blades to Konoha, and to set up a new location for their 'temple of seven souls'. Tsunade decided that the old Uchiha district, since it was no longer in use, would be razed to so they could not only have the room, but privacy for their temple.

The next day, however, things decided to get hairy. Somebody leaked to the council that Naruto was now in position of one of the legendary blades, and that the other swords were coming to Konoha. Tsunade and Shashu had literally been dragged into the council chambers by Danzo's 'Root' ANBU.

When they arrived, Danzo and his like-thinking council members filibustered the village council by drafting a document that dictated the way the swords would be distributed to the shinobi forces. Whenever someone tried to object to the conditions, or try and get on the arrogant fools cases, Danzo quickly admonish the members that spoke up for 'disrupting the infinite wisdom of the council with mindless talk about subjects that do not pertain to our current discussion.'

Some of the things that the (clearly) corrupt council members added on were ludicrous; like, 'those that possess a demon's soul cannot wield any of the swords, and must turn said weapons over to the council to be given to a more deserving ninja' and so forth.

With each act they passed, Shashu's eyebrow, which had been twitching in annoyance, developed even more violent spasms.

The last straw came when Danzou suggested that the two most powerful swords be turned over to the ANBU for their use. He would have no doubt have influenced the decision so that his 'Root' ANBU, who weren't even supposed to exist anymore, would receive the blades. Danzo was just about to call it to a vote when Shashu snapped, and lived up to his name…


The council chamber had gone deathly quiet. Danzo had been about to call a vote when a loud duo of 'Wha-chink's sounded. Two arrows, both made of translucent green energy, had imbedded themselves in the wall, each less then a hairs-breadth from the sides of Danzo's head. Both had come from the glowing bow that Shashu held in his left hand. A thin trail of steam rose from his right hand.

Nobody but Tsunade had seen the motion of Shashu manifesting and firing the deadly weapon. It was quite obvious from his expression that he was not amused.

"No Deal." He said, before rotating his wrist palm up before opening his hand. His bow exploded into steam to further punctuate his no-nonsense tone. Before any of the council members could speak, a familiar pressure fell upon those present. Since Tsunade had been exposed to it twice in the last 24 hours, she had gotten used to it, but since this was the first time the council had felt it, it had the desired effect.

"I did not come to Konoha to simply trade one tyrant for another. Besides, your debating is a moot point, since Hokage-sama has already singed an agreement pertaining to the swords." He looked around, making note of the council members that hadn't taken part in Danzo's little scheme, before letting the pressure off of those members.

"You are attempting to meddle in that which you do not understand. The blades choose their masters, not the other way around! The reason Kisame Hoshigaki is so powerful, and is thus considered an S-class ninja, is because Samehada chose him as its master; Raiga was not, and as a result, was driven insane by the power of the blades." Shashu let up on the pressure a bit, hoping that his display of power would force them to remain quiet.

"These swords are not mere tools to be used and passed around. No, they are much more. They are ALIVE. They have feelings, they think, they learn, they have pride. To try and force them would only result in the blades weakening the ones they are forced to work with." He finished, finally letting the pressure fade completely.

Danzou started sputtering, and was about to demand that ANBU arrest Shashu, when a chakra-empowered fist struck the table, and by extension, shook the room.

"ENOUGH, DANZO! One more peep out of you, and I'll have you sent to Ibiki for this little stunt you pulled. Council privileges be damned! The council will not alter the agreement; it has been signed, and is final. Shizune, please pass out the information. Once you have read the information, we will take a vote." About twenty minutes later, all of the councilors had read the information and were ready to vote.

"OK then, since this is a rather unique meeting, we'll start off with those against."

Danzo inwardly smiled. He was the one who held the power on the council. After the agreement was dismissed, he could have his 'Root' ANBU 'convince' this foreign fool to hand over all the swords and steal the blades that the Kyuubi brat had, and make his 'Root' invincible. Opening his eye, he paused; except for the small few civilian members that he had under his thumb, none of the others had raised their hands. 'What's going on here?' he thought.

"All for?"

Immediately, all the hands that had been down went up. Danzo panicked. How could this be happening? Then his gazed wandered over to his partners, and froze. Homura Mitokado and Koharu Utatane, the Third Hokage's former team mates, and his long time supporters, were voting against him!

"We have a clear majority, so, motion passed. Council dismissed!"

end flashback

…Tsunade chuckled, remembering the look on Danzo's face when he realized that his two greatest supporters had left him out to dry. Homaru and Koharu had explained to her later that the reason that they went with the agreement was that since the soul blades were the basis for the Kiri no Shinobigatana Nananin Shu, merely having them in Konoha's possession would be the boon they needed after the loss of the Uchiha clan and the Sand/Sound attack.

In addition, Homaru and Koharu would re-divert funds that had originally been destined for Danzo's 'Root', so that Tsunade could fund her own projects. While they held no animosity towards Naruto, they would readily admit to not doing any thing to help. That, and considering the fact that Naruto now held one of the soul blades, meant he was in a position of power that they could now support.

She sighed as she looked out the window. Shashu had said that it would take some time for his associates to prepare the temple for transport, whatever that meant, and would contact her when they were ready. She wondered how Naruto was doing…

Opening the door, Sakura couldn't help but sigh; she really didn't like this habit she had formed of visiting her male teammates in the hospital. The first two times, it had been Sasuke. Once, because his brother Itachi screwed with his mind. The second time was because of that Aoi Rokushou guy that zapped him with his Raijin sword.

Now, it was Naruto. The first time was after the failed mission to retrieve Sasuke. He had been done up with so many bandages that poor Hinata had fainted at the sight of him. At least this time he wasn't hurt, although she had to admit what ever Naruto did to his hair was definitely an improvement, and made him look more… what's the word? Cute? Handsome? Mature? Yes that's it. Mature. Hinata would faint all the same, because, to her at least, Naruto would look even better. She glared at the creature lying on the bed side cabinet.

The same could not be said about Naruto's 'room mate'.

When Tsunade-shishou assigned her to look over Naruto, she had checked the room over, and found that someone had left a pair of sword and clothes that definitely didn't belong to Naruto there. But, when she tried to remove said items, a badger, toting a blue backpack, nearly took her hand off. And to add insult to near injury, the summoned creature had the gall to claim that the weapons and clothes were Naruto's! Yeah, right! Like Naruto would ever make such a drastic change… or, at least, she thought he wouldn't.

While she would never admit it out loud, Sakura hated it when things made big changes. Gradual changes were fine, but big, drastic changes disturbed her. Like when Sasuke went through that sadistic streak in the Forest of Death during the Chuunin exams. Such changes in the people she knew scared her to no end. So, while it was very selfish of her, she secretly hoped that Naruto didn't make the extreme change the badger said he made.

She wanted Naruto to always be the bright, loud boy that constantly asked her out on dates and wore bright orange. She had accepted, however, that Naruto had always been stronger than her. So, in hopes that Naruto had not changed, she went to his apartment and got a spare set of his orange jump suits.

Sitting down next to his bed, she leveled her worst glare at the badger. The summoned animal stopped molding the wad of clay that he had pulled out of his back pack to return the glare in the way only a badger could. If one were to look at the two, they would see lightning sparks between summoned animal and kunoichi. It continued like this for who-knows-how long, when both were broken out of their glaring contest when Naruto started to stir before opening his eyes.

"Naruto! You're awake!" Sakura shouted. It wasn't as enthusiastic as when Sasuke woke up for the first time, but at least she was excited. I mean, after watching him do nothing but breathe for three days, it was an improvement. These kinds of big changes she liked.

The badger, seeing that his charge was now awake, tossed the wad of clay he was molding back into his backpack. Pulling him self upright, Naruto gave his team-mate a sincere smile. This brought Sakura up short; never in all the time that she knew Naruto did he ever give anyone a truly sincere smile. With him, it was always that happy-go-lucky, idiotic grin or that cheesy-but-obviously-fake smile. Now, Naruto was showing his true self, the one he had hidden beneath the mask of blatant foolishness and idiocy. The mask had finally shattered, and the Naruto that had hidden himself away from the chronic emotional abuse of the villagers was now showing his face once more.

"Hey, Sakura" he said. His voice lacked it usual spastic energy, yet it still relayed his smile he wore, while not as big as his usual ones, seemed more natural than before. When he looked at her, his eyes seemed more intense as well. After pulling himself up right, but before he started speaking again, Sakura had one thought. 'Oh yeah, Hinata's definitely going to faint if she sees him now.'

"Sakura, did Tsunade-baachan say anything about me being able to leave, or am I going to have to wait till she clears me?" he asked.

Sakura broke from his gaze at the question. It wasn't that she didn't want to tell him, it was just what Tsunade-shishou had told her was, well, odd. Usually, she or Shizune would be called in to keep Naruto from leaving the hospital prematurely. But not this time. This time, he was free to leave after he did one thing.

"Well, not really. Tsunade-sama just wanted me to make sure you did this one thing before you left."

"Oh, alright. If that's all, could I have my clothes back first?" It went without saying that nobody liked the open-backed hospital gowns.

"Sure thing. Got it right here," Sakura replied taking out his orange jumpsuit. Whatever smile that graced Naruto's features dropped as his eyes switched between looking at the atrocious orange jumpsuit and Sakura, before finally settling on Sakura, giving her the infamous 'do I look like an idiot?' look.

Meanwhile, Sakura was sweating up a storm. Here was the proof: before, Naruto was synonymous with Orange. The fact that he wasn't accepting his usual jumpsuit was proof he had changed like the badger said he did. It was at this point that said badger decided to speak up.

"Oy! Quite fooking around with dee lads' head, pinky! Your clothes are over 'ere, along with ya blades, mon" Naruto looked behind him at the badger, before nodding.

In the life of a ninja, one lived by the rule 'expect the unexpected'. So, Naruto took the fact that a badger was talking to him in stride. After shooing Sakura away so he could have some privacy, Naruto started getting dressed, enjoying the alteration the twins did to his new wardrobe, before mentally calling out to the Ooburi Futago.

'Inadzuma, Jinrai, can you guys hear me?'

'I can hear you, Naruto-kun.'

'Loud and clear brat. Loud and clear'

The time he spent 'unconscious' wasn't wasted; he had been deep in his mindscape, talking and learning with the Ooburi Futago. While he had been dead to the world for about three days, inside his mind, he had spent about the equivalent of about a week interacting with the twins. And, because of this, he had come to a greater level of understanding of not only them, but himself as well.

The sister, Inadzuma, or as she liked to be called, 'Zuma, had a cheery and up-beat attitude. When she spoke to him or her brother, she was casual unless the situation called for it, that and she always called him 'Naruto-kun'.

Jinrai, or just 'Rai, was a lot like Zabuza. He was always straight and to the point, no nonsense what-so-ever. That, and he always called him 'Naruto' or 'brat'. He never used any suffixes.

It was during this time that the twins forced him to come to terms with something about himself. Something that, in the beginning, he didn't want to believe: he truly didn't love Sakura. At least, not in any romantic sense.

He still loved her, though, just not in the way he originally thought. Deep down, he realized that the feelings he had for her were of the brother/sister type love, when he tried to argue that Sakura did indeed love him more than that, it was shot down by the twins. When he mentioned the date that they had before Sasuke left as proof, the twins had shown him what had happened during the so called 'date'.

It had never truly been a 'date'. For Sakura, it was merely a distraction from what was happening with Sasuke. She didn't even really interact with him at all during that time. Faced with that, and all the other memories the twins pulled up, Naruto was forced to accept the fact that his love for her could never progress beyond brotherly love.

Naruto accepted that when he was younger, he was always starved for attention. The main reason he pulled pranks was to get reactions out of people, to get them to notice him. And he always got a response out of Sakura. Granted, it was never a positive response, and more often than not, a rather painful one, but a response nonetheless. She was the brightest girl in the class, and the part of him that was his mask realized that he could get attention from her, even if it did end up hurting him more in the end.

Sliding the Ooburi Futago into his belt, Naruto sighed. Now, everything finally felt right, his mind had been healed by the twins, and his memories were now at his fingertips. For once in his life he could truly think. His mind was no longer dominated by his next ramen meal, or simply wanting to learn new jutsu. Now he could think and analyze, he could observe, he could watch and in complete twist of his character, wait, plan and organize. For once in his life, his mind was whole. Pushing back the curtain, he stepped out and locked eyes with Sakura.

"Sakura, could you tell me what it is exactly that baa-chan wanted me to do before I could leave?"

Sakura was a bit stunned. Sure, looking at the clothes on the bed was one thing. But seeing Naruto actually wearing them was another. Naruto looked… serious. Or… exotic… for a lack of a better term. His speech was a little more refined as well. The kitsune motif on the left lapel of his shirt was fitting as well, considering how fox-like Naruto acted some times. She shook her head. Now was not a time to be lost in thought.

"Um, ah, before you left, Lady Tsunade wanted you to channel some chakra through this piece of paper," she said, handing him the slip of parchment like paper. She knew what it was. It was a special kind of paper. The stuff that's used to determine a person's elemental affinity. What was so odd about this was why Sakura's teacher wanted to know, of all things, Narutos' elemental affinity.

Taking the chakra paper, Naruto adopted his new face of concentration. He closed his eyes and drooped his head a little. He then channeled his chakra towards the paper. He had learned from the Ooburi Futago that scrunching up his face actually made it harder for him to think. A loud 'rip' was heard, along with the sound of crinkling paper.

Opening his eyes, he saw that the card he had been holding had been transformed into two crumpled pieces of paper with him holding the corners. Looking to Sakura, he found that she seemed to have frozen with a stunned expression on her face. It was around this time that the forgotten badger summon decided to pipe in.

"Hehehe, I think ya broke her, mon. Toodles!" He said before vanishing with a muffled 'poof'. Naruto merely shrugged his shoulders before placing the used chakra paper on the bedside table. He then a muttered 'bye, Sakura-san.', before leaving.

Meanwhile, Sakura had been struck with a revelation.

Two elemental affinities. Not one, but two elemental affinities! Naruto Uzumaki, the most unpredictable, knuckle-headed ninja, had Two Elemental Affinities!!! And not only that, but two very powerful affinities. One only need look at Temari's actions during the Sasuke retrieval mission, or Orochimaru's Fuuton: Daitoppa that he used during the second stage of the Chuunin exams, to demonstrate the power of a wind affinity.

As for lightning? Well, the Chidori and the Raikiri to summed up its power. It was around this time that 'Inner Sakura', Sakura's more 'expressive' personality, spoke up.

'Wait a minute! Sakura-san?!?!'


That was the only word in Naruto's limited vocabulary that could describe what he was seeing now. Before, his perception of the world was like looking through a foggy window. He could only focus on one thing at a time, and even then, he missed out on a lot of details. Now, it was if there was no window at all. He could see everything. He noticed things that would have escaped his notice before. He could focus on things to a greater degree, his mind could process information so much better and faster, that it was a bit disorienting. That, well, and the fact that the ends of the Ooburi Futago kept tapping against his heels was being a bit distracting.

'Umm, Naruto-kun, not to sound rude or anything, but I think you're a little too short to draw us from your belt.'

'Zuma's right, brat. Head over to that leather worker shop, and see if you can have him make a back harness for us. Try to get it so that we're held in a 'V' pattern, instead of an 'X' pattern.'

"Nee-san's got a point Naruto-kun. A 'V' pattern would make it easer to draw just one of us, if need be, and you won't bang your heels anymore.' Nodding, Naruto made his way over to the shop.

Arriving at the designated place, he could see racks out side displaying numerous leather-made items. From belts to pants, shirts, jackets and heavy-duty backpacks. The fact that they made backpacks interested Naruto, and the hooker was that there was a sign that said 'We Do Custom Work'.

Entering the shop Naruto looked around. He had to admit, whoever did the leather work certainly knew his stuff. There were items here made from all types a grades of leather, from expensive, finely crafted black leather jacket with studs, to simple belts and straps. Proceeding further into the shop, he came across a work bench, but nobody working at it.

"Um, hello? Anybody here?"

"Hang on a sec. I'll be right with ya!" came a voice from one of the back rooms. A few minutes later, the owner of the voice and, consequently, the maker of the fine leather products in the store, came out.

The man was of average height, but had large, broad shoulders. He was bald and had squinty eyes. He wore a white working apron over a green short sleeved shirt, a pair of rather plain brown pants, and a pair of thick leather gloves.

"What can I do for you, need a custom job done?"

"Yes, I do in fact," Naruto said before clearing his throat, "I need a back mount, or harness, for my swords. I need it so that the swords are in a 'V' pattern with the tips at the base of my spine."

Pausing for a moment, Naruto thought about what else he might need.

"I would also like to have a removable bag to attach to the harness. Finally, I would like some sort of locking mechanism, so that some one can't rip one of my swords off my back, and use them against me."

The worker nodded and took notes down in a small note book. After taking a few of Naruto's measurements, and the dimensions of his swords, he was on his way again with the promise that the harness would be done before the end of the day.

Naruto then proceeded to wander the streets of Konoha with no real goal in mind; he just walked and took in all the sensation that his new found senses could. His wandering eventually took him to the local park. Unlike the many training grounds, the central park was for civilian use. Sure, ninja could use it as well, so long as they kept their destructive practices to a minimum as so to not ruin the landscape or endanger the population of Konoha.

Sitting down on one of the benches, Naruto took a deep breath, before exhaling slowly. He felt wonderful, for the first time in his life, truly wonderful. Relaxing on the bench, Naruto thought about his goals, for what was life without some sort of meaning? His dream to be Hokage was the same as always. What had changed was the reason behind it. At first, it was to gain attention, and to make people respect him. But later, it changed because he wanted to protect his precious people. That remained the same, his other life goal on the other hand…

A scowl marred Narutos otherwise peaceful features, as his thought turned to his best friend turned traitor. The mere thought of Uchiha Sasuke caused a deep growl to escape from the depths of his throat, and a white hot surge of righteous fury to course through his veins. Maybe it was because of how he was brought up, or because of the blatant actions of the traitor Yakushi Kabuto, but one thing was certain. He hated traitors, and that included Sasuke. Screw the promise to Sakura. Sure, he was going to bring the bastard back, but not for her. No, instead he would bring the scion of the Uchiha back to face justice for his crimes, his betrayal, and possibly, a life-long prison sentence.

Naruto took a deep breath before banishing those thoughts from his head. At least he was being realistic about these things. The Sasuke he knew was gone forever, replaced with the revenge-driven creature that was now in the hands of Orochimaru.

Reaching into his sleeve, he removed the small booklet on seals from the hidden pouch in the sleeve. The old Naruto would have no doubt found this text boring, and would have discarded it for something flashier to learn, but this Naruto knew that if he was to have any chance at surviving this wild and crazy world with the Akatsuki after him, he would have to learn all that he could. Slowly, but surely, Naruto became engrossed in the booklet.

What many people didn't know was the shear complexity of the art of seals. There was more to it than just putting squiggly lines on a scroll and having it do something. No, there was a method to the madness of sealing. In fact, the infamous explosive note was created by sheer accident when a seal maker tried to make a seal that would release a set amount of chakra into a tired ninja when he was in need of a boost. But, instead of releasing the chakra in a steady flow, it released it in a single large burst, and thus, the explosive note was born.

Time seemed to pass all too quickly for Naruto as he really got in to the text. What would seem like a massive disorganized puzzle to the average shinobi made perfect sense to Naruto. Before he could get started on the section that followed storage seals, he was interrupted by a chunin.

"Excuse me Naruto-san, but Hokage-sama wants to meet with you." Naruto looked up and nodded to signal that he got the message. The Chunin left via Shunshin no jutsu while Naruto placed the booklet back in the sleeve pocket. Creating a Kage Bunshin, he sent it off with his wallet. His clone would go get the harness if it was done while he went to see Rin-neechan.

Naruto silently drummed his fingers against his elbow as he waited outside of the Hokage tower. He had gotten Rin-neechan's address from Shizune-neechan when he was leaving the hospital. After he created his clone he paid her a visit. It was well worth it; Rin-neechan had been almost over excited to see him, and had forgiven him for forgetting with out a second thought. They spent some time talking before he had to leave for the Hokage tower. During their conversation, he discovered that she had retired form being a shinobi, but was still a doctor, so he could still visit her in the hospital every now and then. He let out a relived sigh as he saw his clone running towards him with the harness slung over his shoulder.

"Sorry I'm late boss, but the harness cost a little bit more than what you gave, me so I had to make an emergency stop by the bank." His clone said, tossing the harness and his frog wallet back before dispelling.

Naruto merely shook his head before taking the Ooburi Futago and latching them into the harness just as the leather worker showed him…

Wait a second!

Naruto stopped, the second blade in hand. He had been with Rin-neechan when the clone had received the instructions on how to latch his uniquely shaped blades into the harness, and how to attach the removable backpack so that it would not get caught on the blades.

'But how do I know that? I was with Rin-neechan the whole time so…" Narutos' thoughts were interrupted when Inadzuma gave a giggle before answering.

'I think we found a way for you to out do the Uchiha in training, Naruto-kun.'

'What do you mean, 'Zuma?'

'What I mean, Naruto-kun, is that what ever your kage bunshin learn, you learn when they dispel. Say for instance that you create a hundred clones and train in chakra control for an hour before you dispel them. It'd be as if you trained in chakra control for a hundred and one hours! Of course, this doesn't count for stuff like strength training, since the clones only send back their memories.'

Naruto just nodded dumbly as he finished latching the Ooburi Futago into the harness. What Inadzuma had told him was big, considering the number of clones he could make. His training could accelerate ten fold easily!

As he snapped the harness into place, he had to admit it was well worth the price; the harness had three straps total, one that went around his waist and two emerged from the top of the harness near his neck, traveling down over the orange detailing of his shirt, before meeting with the waist strap just above the metal plate of his hitai-ate. All in all, the harness held on tight without compromising his range of motion. A smirk and a nod later, Naruto was off to Tsunade's office.

In the office of the Hokage, Tsunade looked at the eight genin in front of her. With all the excitement happening because of the soul swords, she had nearly forgotten about the survival test that she and the academy had set up.

From her left to her right was Hinata, Kiba, Shino, Chouji, Ino, Neji, Lee and Tenten. She had sent messengers out to gather the nine at different times so she could discuss with team Guy the recent events and information surrounding the Ooburi Futago. Their reactions were unique; Neji was surprised by the information provided by Shashu and was some what grateful that Naruto found the blades instead of him. Tenten was a bit put out until Tsunade mentioned that the blades were sentient, and the detrimental effects of trying to force the blades to work like Raiga did. She wasn't really sure what to feel now. On one hand, she was glad that the blades had chosen a master. On the other hand, she was a bit peeved that she, a weapons mistress, wasn't chosen.

Lee was, well, Lee. The moment she finished explaining what happened, he started to scream something about 'Glorious Springtime of Youth' or something, whilst crying and pumping his fist in the air.

That was a little while ago, now that team 8 and the remaining members of team 10 were here, all that remained was to wait for the only member of team 7 that was still on active duty. Sakura had seemed out of it for what ever reason the last time she saw her. She fingered the two crumpled pieces of chakra paper beneath her desk, Shashu had been right so far…

A knock on the door broke her train of thought.

"Enter" she said. The door opened and reveled Konoha's most unpredictable ninja, one Uzumaki Naruto.

"Oi, Baachan! Your messenger said you wanted to see me for some reason?"

Tsunade nodded, letting a small smile grace her features. His fake grin was gone, and in its place was a true, genuine smile. She felt happy that he was no longer hiding behind a mask of foolishness. The reactions of the rest of the genin were amusing to watch:

Tenten looked surprised, since she recognized the style of the uniform that Naruto was wearing.

Lee gave him the 'ping' smile and a thumbs up.

Neji had no real outward reaction other than to give him a measured look.

Ino was looking at Naruto, blinking, and rubbing her eyes every now and then because she couldn't believe what she was seeing.

Chouji's hand stopped mid-way between his bag of chips and his mouth.

One of Shino's eyebrows were visible over his sunglasses.

Kiba gawked, whilst Akamaru slept on his head.

Hinata had the most extreme reaction, by far. Her eyes went wide, and her face turned a pretty shade of red before she fainted. The only thought that went through her mind was 'Naruto-kun… so… handsome…'

Tsunade chuckled at the sight of the young Hyuga's reaction to seeing the 'updated' form of her crush.

"Since we're now all here we can get started. But first, Shino, please wake Hinata up if you would."

After Hinata was returned to the land of the living, and everybody was standing at attention, Tsunade began:

"The reason I have called you here is because, starting tomorrow, you will take part in an academy field training exercise," she paused, waiting for Naruto to explode or something considering that this exercise would take time away from his 'training'. Strangely enough, Naruto didn't, so Tsunade counted her lucky stars, and hoped that his good attitude continued.

"You will each take a squad of three genin hopefuls on a trip to the great boulder Warudaku on Mt. Takurami, following a route marked on a map that will be given to you that has been deemed safe. After going about eight to ten kilometers, you will find the teachers base camp, where you will receive a 'secret scroll', and then return it to the academy. The exercise will last a total of two days and one night. Along the way, there will be traps laid out, and some of the academy teachers will act as enemy ninja to attempt to interfere in your mission. All in all, this 'mission' will allow you to demonstrate to your academy group the skills in combat, tracking, and survival, and since there is only one scroll, it will be a competition."

"So, basically, were going to be like Jonin instructors leading a genin team," Naruto said. That had Tsunade surprised, she had expected to put on some spiel about how this would be good training for a Hokage, but Naruto came up with a better parallel all on his own, and seemed to be accepting the task laid before him.

"Yes, I suppose it could be defined as that."

"Well, in that case, what limits are we going to have on Jutsus and what not?"

Tsunade's eyebrow arched, that was a very intelligent question from what was the academy 'idiot.' The healing done by the Ooburi Futago had no doubt helped him in that aspect as well.

"Well, considering that you and the students won't truly be in any danger, I would say no lethal techniques like Rasengan, Hakke Rokujuuyonshou, or the Omote Renge. We don't want you killing the instructors, and just so you know, the use of animal familiars is allowed."

With that said Tsunade handed out sheets to the genin informing them of the members of their 'team'. Most of the genin either were excited, or had no real reaction to their assignment. Naruto's reaction was, of course, different. He took one look at the sheet before giving Tsunade a half-lidded look one normally found on Kakashi's masked face. On Narutos, it gave her the mental image of staring down a peeved fox.

"You hate me, don't you?"

"Oh, why is that?"

"The Konohamaru corps? That's an accident waiting to happen."

"Well, well, is that fear I'm hearing?" Naruto responded with a fox like grin, which subsequently caused Hinata to swoon.

"Well, Tsunade-sama, in the words of the great Yondaime, bring it on!"

Let the race begin.


Kuchiyose no Jutsu – summoning technique

Shashu – Archer

Inadzuma – flash of lightning

Jinrai – thunderclap

Fuuton: Daitoppa – Wind style/release: Great Breakthrough

Chidori – Thousand birds

Raikiri – Lightning edge

Shunshin no Jutsu – Body Flicker Technique

Kage Bunshin – Shadow clone

Rasengan – Spiraling sphere

Hakke Rokujuuyonshou – Eight Divination Signs, Sixty-Four Palms

Omote Renge – Front (Primary) Lotus

AN: Long time no see. I was trying to pass my second smester classes, and then to top it off had trouble writing the second half. Thanks to my Beta ShadowFaux. BTW: should I keep the words flashback / end flashback or should I leave them out?