At the Xiaolin Temple Sakura and Omi were flying their kites together one last time. In the two weeks since she came to this world Sakura was an expert when it came to assembling different types of kites. The one she was flying now was made of lightweight reeds with holes in them. When the wind passed through the holes a musical note could be heard. This type of kite had been used centuries ago by Chinese armies to give the all clear after battle.
"I'm really going to miss flying kites with you Omi. I'm not going to have a lot of time do this when I get back home. Between missions and training there isn't a lot of free time," Sakura admitted. She expertly pulled the string causing the kite to do a swoop before climbing again. The sweet sounds she heard strangely reminded her of Sausake. Her heart still hurt that her first crush had chosen to abandon his home in favor of power. As the melody continued to play she said a silent pray hoping one day her friend would come to his senses and come home.
"Sakura, I think you should whip out your kite. The rest of your ninja comrades will be arriving in the hour so you can return. If you miss your departure time you might be stuck here for awhile," Omi suggested helpfully already pulling in his kite. He would miss hanging out with Sakura. She was so smart and powerful. She was a lot of fun to hang out with.
"Your right Omi. Why don't you help me pack up? Your mom and Dojo should be returning soon. Its going to be a complete mess when everyone gets back and we should try to stay organized."
On the porch Master Fung was playing a game of Mai Jong against an anxious and nervous Shizune. She was already packed including the signed treaty of alliance, copies of elemental moves from the Dragon's Legacy Scrolls, and several rice wine bottles. The wine was Master Fung's gift to Tsunade stating a remarkable woman shouldn't drink herself into a stupor.
"You shouldn't let your focus stray Shizune. It will cost you the game," Master Fung said sliding in the last title he needed to win. "That's game. Shizune, stop biting your nails it's not healthy. The rest of the junior ninja should be returning in ten minutes. You're not going to miss the return window I promise you."
"What if they're not back in time? Lady Tsunade is going punch me right through the Hokage Monument if I miss the return jutsu," Shizune moaned. She had never been on the receiving end and she had no desire to be either. Once she started ranting she just couldn't stop.
"Even if Chakra and Dojo get them back in time there is still the matter of the debriefing reports that should be done before we return. Then we have to sort out their souvenirs from what can and can't go. What about changing back into proper attire? Not to mention will they be speaking the right language or will your Wu's power still hold on them?"
"Shizune relax please. The flowers in a garden can't blossom to their fullest if they don't allow the bees to pollinate them."
"Is that your way of saying if I don't let myself relax others might suffer?" Shizune asked amused. Master Fung had the most interesting way of teaching someone a valuable lesson. When she had gotten back from Beijing he had taken it upon himself to teach her some ancient Chinese healing methods. She could now mix plant and animal ingredients perfectly. Her skills with manipulating chi or chakra pathways with acupuncture were up to par.
"Yes it is. I fear that if the threat we are investigating comes to pass, boss our worlds will be on edge."
"Any word from your sister temple? Has Chase, Guan, and the Monk Council discovered what the new threat is?"
"Not entirely my young friend. Their investigation has revealed some disturbing evidence. Our threat seems to be a primal force given life. Chase described it as death and evil mixed together and given human form."
"Oh my Kami. Is he positive that your evil counterparts, the Royal Heylin Family, aren't responsible for this? Perhaps one of your other foes is using some sort of dark power to create this humanoid force?"
"Our other opponents are either jailed or not in a position to make to create such a being. Also, Valonia has given her solemn word by the power of the Heylin Flame she isn't responsible. I tend to believe her because she's always been honest in the past. Besides she and her daughters are currently eradicating the extreme evils and purifying them with her flame. No this threat is a danger to her and your world as well," Master Fung explained.
"How do you figure that? If the threat at this moment is nothing more then mass gathering of forces it can be stopped. Even if you don't stop it now won't it be isolated to your world?"
"Guan theorizes that the forces are gathering strength leaking out from the old gateways that were once used to travel from different realities. If that's true then once fully powered it could wreak havoc on any reality of its choosing. These are truly dark times."
"I'll be sure to warn Lady Tsunade about the possible threat after the Genin has finished giving her and their sensei's their debriefing report. With this in mind our alliance has to be stronger then ever. Are you certain you won't give me any information about the future?"
"As I told the Dragons when they went on their quest to become Shoku leaders the future is always changing and you can always change it if you believe," Master Fung said. He closed his eyes and debate about how he should phrase his next piece of advice. He couldn't reveal their future without causing damage to the timeline, but that didn't mean he couldn't give her a big old hint.
"Shizune, do you recall our conversation in the greenhouse earlier this week? When I told you about the different plants we were growing?"
"Yes, you mention that they were so healthy because Dagwood was so attentive to their needs. He waters them, make sure they get right amount of sunlight, and feeds them compost so they grow right. He even nurses them back to health when they get sick."
"Correct a gardener must be very attentive and work hard to bring out the best in garden. Having help ensures that all the flowers live and thrive, but a gardener also is weary of threats like locusts swarming to destroy them or hidden weeds chocking the life out of the garden. Only then can flowers truly bloom or leaves for that matter. Do you understand?"
Shizune understood the hidden meaning behind his words. He was trying to bend the rules without breaking them. Whatever dangers that Konoha would face in the future would come from both inside and outside. It would take the Hokage and the sensei's working together to make sure their ninja were strong and powerful. "Thank you for your advice Anthony. I'll be sure to pass it on to my Lady."
"Master Shizune their nearly here! Chakra just called and said they be landing in the next ten minutes!" Sakura called out. She was carrying her backpack as well as kite construction kit with her. She also was still wearing her Chinese outfit
"That's cutting it pretty close! Oh we better get to the courtyard. Master Fung, can you and Omi make sure we get everything through the portal?"
"It would be our honor. Omi, come along now please."
Ten anxious minutes later Dojo landed letting the ninja off while Chakra landed with all their souvenirs in the Silver Manta Ray. The Genin were all excited to be back together and talking all at once. Master Fung and Omi were doing their best to distribute the items to their proper owner while Shizune was calling for order. She had to cast the return jutsu in next two minutes if they wanted to get back home. After a quick goodbye Shizune casted the jutsu opening the portal back home. Using the power of the Ruby of Ramses Master Fung was able to float the acquired items through the portal after the ninja entered. When the last item had crossed the threshold the portal closed separating the two worlds once again.
"Goodbye ninja-sans! I hope to see you again one day!" Omi called out waving. He hoped that they had gotten home safely and not stuck somewhere. Until they heard differently it was back to mastering the Dragon Dance. He still couldn't pull it off right.
In Konoha Lady Tsunade was drowning her last sake before the inevitable return of the Genin teams. The past three days had been gloriously quite without Naruto barging into her office calling her baa-chan and demanding to go find Sausake. On the other hand it had taken her twice as long to finish the dreaded paperwork without Shizune helping her file it. Oh well things would be returning to normal soon. There was a knock on the door. Quickly hiding the sake she shouted, "Come in!"
The door opened revealing Kakashi, Asuma, Gai, and Kurenai. They had been taken advantage of their student's three days absence to train themselves and take a couple easy missions. "Ah glad you're here. Shut the door will you please? As you four know my assistant Shizune and your Genin are returning here today after spending two weeks in our allies, the Xiaolin Dragons, world. After their official debriefing I would like it if you spent a little time with them learning about their time there before realizing them to their families. I'm sure they're families are anxious to see them."
"Hokage-sama, do you wish us to continue with their impromptu civilian training?" Kurenai questioned. If they did it would seriously cut into their training schedule.
"To an extent I do. Our village has been pulling in more and more undercover missions since the invasion. If our Genin are to accompany you and work independently they need to truly understand the nature of civilians. So I am ordering each squad to take one day a week to train in learning to act as civilians and understand their lives. Which means, Kakashi no goofing off and reading your porn books! If I hear your being lazy I'm going to burn all your books do we understand each other?" Tsunade asked sweetly.
"Yes Hokage-sama. Your perfectly clear," Kakashi assured her. Why did everyone have to threaten his priceless treasures?
"Cheer up Kakashi. It's not like you won't learn something yourself. I mean you've never acted like a civilian before," Asuma said between smokes.
"That's right my rival. I bet my squad learns how to work undercover faster then yours. If they don't I will do five thousands skips around the village!" Gai vowed. Honestly the new directive sounded like a great way to train. If only he didn't have to give up his youthful jumpsuit.
Before anyone could respond the air crackled with energy. They all felt the chakra spiking as a bluish green vortex started opening in the room. The vortex grew bigger and bigger as the portal started to open. There was a slight hiss as Shizune crossed through and took her place next to the Hokage's desk. She was soon followed by the Genin dressed in the strange outfits and then their stuff crashing to the ground filling up all the corners. The portal ceased to exist and Shizune bowed. "Lady Tsunade I would like to report the mission a success."
"Thank you Shizune. I knew that I could count on you. I would like an explanation of the clothing and items you brought with you. Didn't you have enough time to change back into proper attire?"
"I'm afraid not my Lady. The Genin were returning from different corners of the globe where they had been performing their duty with the aid of their Xiaolin Counterpart. Taking into consideration the time zone differences and distance Dojo and Chakra had to travel I'm surprised we made it back in time for the return trip."
"Very well I'll overlook it this one time. Care to explain how the renewal of our alliance went? Did you discuss everything I wanted?"
"Yes, My Lady. Master Fung and I spent days going over the treaty. As you can see we've come up with a monthly arraignment for exchange information packets. There's also an emergency alarm we can use to call them cross the barrier to aid us and they have offer the use of their temple and technology for training future Genin. It's all here in the treaty as well as their friendship offerings," Shizune stated hurriedly producing the treaty from her sleeve. A few seconds later she also gave her some scrolls and bottle of rice wine.
Tsunade scanned the treaty reading over the important parts. She was satisfied by the agreement and would look into Master Fung's student exchange idea. It might have some merit. After moving the scrolls off to the side she took a sip of the rice wine savoring its taste. Finally she looked at the kids. "So I know the first part of the mission was successful. Care to share how the other half went?"
Naruto and Kiba jumped in to talk while their friends were asking to take turns. Soon everyone was talking at once, but not in any language that could be understood by the adults. Sensing that Lady Tsunade was starting to develop a massive headache Shizune whistled loudly to get their attention. "Please one at a time."
"What was that all about? I didn't recognize any of those languages," Kakashi questioned.
"Yes, what was that youthful babble you were all just talking in? It sounds thrilling!"
"Its probably the native language of their Dragon counterpart, but I don't see how they learned it so completely in such a short amount of time. Unless they did have help," Kurenai said eying the Genin. They all appeared to be muttering phrases trying to switch back to their normal language.
"Yes, Master Fung used two Wu in combination to assist the Genin in their mission. It wouldn't have done any good if they couldn't communicate at all with their friends. So by using the Monarch Wings to increase the power of the Babel Stone he implanted the knowledge into the brain. He warned it might be permanent.
"You know, puff, we could really capitalize on this. If they're retaining the information they could teach us. It would confuse the heck out of our enemies and help with the cryptology department," Asuma reasoned. The other senseis and Lady Tsunade silently agreed, but now they really need to finish the debriefing.
"Can you speak Japanese again?" Tsunade questioned. Getting a nod she eyed down the Konohamaru Corps. The three Academy students were proudly wearing their ninja street fashion outfits from Kimiko and holding their two prized toys in their hands. "Why don't we start with you three? After all you three need to do a lot of make up work for missing three days of Iruka sensei's classes. So report; what did you learn from spending time as civilians?"
"We learned that it's not a smart idea to disregard rules and nearly blow up a toy factory!" Konohamaru chirped. He soon regretted what he said as he felt killing intent coming not only from Shizune (who had no idea that had happened), Tsunade, and Asuma. "Umm oops?"
"Konohamaru; how does an eight year old kid nearly blow up a factory?"
Asuma demanded. H e knew his nephew was a bit of a wild card, but nothing like this. If his brother found out about this he was toast for getting Konohamaru involved in this in the first place.
"It was an accident really! You see while Kimiko was attending her university classes her dad let us be his official toy testers! It was a lot of fun playing with the stuff. He even let us keep our two favorites!" he said showing him the mini robot and his three way rider.
"How does this relate to nearly blowing up a factory?" Shizune questioned.
"Okay, well you see we got bored playing with the toys and we thought we could make more so Torishimo-sama would be proud, but we just messed up the production line," Konohamaru admitted.
"But we did learn something important! Civilians need to have happy and stimulating childhood if they are to grow into creative and productive lives. That's why toys are so important," Udon mentioned, pushing his glasses up.
"Yeah, and we learned that civilians base a lot of their fashion on what inspires them. Kimiko's Leaf Ninja Street Fashion is based on proper ninja attire only more colorful and fashionable. I mean isn't this vest cute?" Mogie asked, as she fingered the bright pink small fitting vest. It was cute.
"Thank you for your insight. I'll make note of it your school records. You're dismissed go check in with your families and then Iruka to see what you missed. I'm glad you had fun," Tsunade said kindly. The three kids nodded. Gathering there stuff they ran out of the office chatting about whose toys were better.
"Now for the rest of you; I would like each team to give me a quick debriefing of what they did and what they've learned while away. We'll start with Team Gai. Ms. Kou why don't you start? What did you experience while bonding with Jack?"
"It was pretty remarkable actually. His school, M.I.T., is home to some the youngest scientific genius in the world! We competed in an inter collage robot war championships. Teams of all sorts from the different schools built robots using different resources and limited funds. The robot I helped built was based off me! They used computers to transfer data on me into the robots CPU and with my Kama we sliced our way to victory winning the whole thing! Here's my trophy!" Tenten said, proudly showing off her prize. Both her teammates were congratulating her while Gai was crying tears of joy about how his female student's youth finally exploded. "I brought back a few tiny robots I plan to use as target practice or distractions during missions. I learned that civilians will put their hearts and souls into designing technology that will assist them. So even if they can't perform jutsus they still can be very dangerous."
"Very good Ms. Kou. Neji, why don't you go next? Care to explain what that vehicle parked next to you is and how you plan on using it in the village when we don't have a gas station," Tsunade asked, pointing to the light gray and gold moped next to Neji.
"Actually my moped runs on electricity and I have the charger in my pocket. It was gift from Lu and her cycling girls. They wouldn't take no for an answer. While in Madrid I saw things that were very appalling to me, but I also saw things that were fascinating. I learned that in every society there is a rebellious fringe group who like to have reckless fun and know quite a bit about the happenings going on in their society. They initiated me into the group by giving me this tattoo," Neji explained rolling up his right sleeve and showing the tattoo there. Everyone was a little stunned surprised he would get one, but didn't say anything. "The girl's also showed me how to use make up and wigs to disguise myself so no one would recognize me as a Hyugga. I believe this skill could become invaluable should I need to hide myself during a mission."
Lee didn't wait for his turn to speak. He was bursting to describe his experience! "Yosh, Neji my friend it does my heart good to see you embracing such youthful activity! Madrid sounds a lot friendly then New York City! I had to learn to ride subways, read complex maps, and avoid being run over by speeding cabs! I also learned how to relax and enjoy simple pleasures that civilians take for granted. Such pleasures like the roller coaster at Coney Island and Saturday morning cartoons such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!" He quickly showed everyone his purchases giving Sakura the Donatello plushy he won for her and a Master Splinter doll for Master Gai. "Jermaine was the most awesome teacher for teaching me to be a splendid civilian!"
"That's the spirit Lee! All three of you conducted yourselves splendidly during your absent! This calls for a celebration! Dinner is on me!" Gai informed his group smiling his good guy smile. After a quick and embarrassing group hug Team Gai left.
"Okay, Team Ten why don't you go next. Any volunteers?"
"I'll go first. I spent two weeks on a cattle ranch learning where my food comes from. I have more appreciation for the civilian's who provided my favorite barbecue and I plan to help out once and while. As a ninja I think it's important to feel gratitude to the civilians who make our lives possible. In fact I actually helped a baby bull be born and the Baileys were so grateful they named the little guy after me. See here's the picture," Choji said proudly showing the picture. Ino hugged her boyfriend tightly happy for him and Asuma had to admit he was impressed. He thought Choji would faint during a birth, but he was stronger then he thought.
"Oh Choji that's so sweet what you did! While I was in Cairo Auara and her bodyguard taught me the importance of haggling and understanding merchandise. I got some great purchases and even swam in the Nile River! Juliet said its important for a warrior to feel comfortable at all times and know how to spot fakes so you can arrest black-markets!" Ino chimed in. She showed everyone her purchases and they had to admit they looked beautiful. "What did you do for two weeks Shikamaru?"
"Tch I learned that kids are age have after school jobs and work their butts off earning spending money. To that end I worked as a garbage boy and dishwasher in the restaurant Callie's dad worked in," Shikamaru admitted stunning everyone. The tone he was using wasn't his usual tired and whiny voice, more like simple respect. "It was hard, but with all that scrubbing and lifting I developed some muscle tone. Surprisingly I also learned I have a talent for cooking. Crème Belee anyone?"
Asuma was in shock as he took the desert and put in his mouth. A few seconds later it was like heaven exploded in his mouth. "You weren't kidding Shikamaru! This taste great! Why don't you cook dinner for all of us and your parents? I would love to hear more about your adventures." Shikamaru nodded and Team Ten left.
"Team Eight. Why you mind terribly sharing your stories with us?"
"My visit to California was uneventful for the most part. I took part in a discussion group about insects and socialized with a few girls there. I discovered that apparently girls in that particular area are more open with their sexual preference which was surprising. However I learned that civilian's use symbolism to help get messages across. To that end I discovered my bugs that normally that exclusively feeding on chakra actually trying nectar from a Mikado rose and enjoying theater. I brought back some samples and have decided to investigate further the performing arts to see why they are so alluring," Shino reported. It was the most he had ever said and it stunned people.
"Well Akumara and I had a wild time in Mumbai. I'm still trying to get paint out of my hair and Akumara fur. I arrived during a religious festival known as Holi. I learned to be more empathetic and try to understand another culture's beliefs. Civilians more often then ninja believe in a higher power to protect them so its good idea to respect them. Civilian's might actually help you if they feel you respect their beliefs," Kiba yipped.
"I….I learned about music. I…in ancient Iceland history they would sing songs to praise people, mythical creatures and other things. Their music was very different and loud, but fun and interesting. Crystal started teaching me how to use a zither. I also learned that in Iceland's past they used music to avoid conflict. It might be worth investigating," Hinata suggested, her new zither in hand. She was still a little nervous, but more confident. She wanted to stay and hear Naruto's report, but it would have to wait.
"I'm proud that you three took advantage of this opportunity. Music as a way to avoid conflicting sounds like a wonderful idea. Why don't the three of us discuss it over some dinner?" Kurenai suggested taking her team. That just left Team seven to give their report.
"So what did my apprentice and loud mouth little brother learn while they were away?"
"I learned more about traditional medicine Lady Tsunade. The Chinese use the most unusual ingredients, but they worked. My back ache disappeared with in half an hour after taking their herbal remedies. Oh I also learned how strong civilians can be when they stand together to fight for something. This girl we met, Liberty Moon, her parents died trying to bring democracy to her country. She fights on in secret for democracy. She taught me how to build and fly kites. They've been used since ancient times to carry messages or signal armies. This one is your name in Chinese." Sakura told Tsunade handing her a kite.
"It's lovely. Thank you. What about you Naruto? Anything you want to give me?"
"Yeah, here it's not your grandfather's necklace, but it's supposedly been blessed by the patron saint of gamblers. Maybe it will turn your luck around," Naruto said handing a medallion to everyone. Sakura got one blessed by Saint of smarts and Kakashi got one blessed by a saint of lost souls. Naruto was wearing one for the saint of orphans. "Raimundo's family was very kind. They taught how important it is to have a family and learn from one another. I learned to surf! I think I can do something similar if I was ever trying to stay on top of a wave with my chakra!"
"Are you trying to get yourself killed?" Sakura asked.
"Now, now that's enough. Why don't we get some ramen and you two tell me about more about how everyone in the Xiaolin World is doing?" Kakashi suggested gathering his team and leaving.
"Well I have to say that mission was a success. I think this alliance will really pay off down the line. Now is there anything you wanted to say to me in private?"
:"Master Fung believes that the new enemy the Dragons are training for is made up of forces of evil given form. He fears that it might cross over to our world one day. He also warned me that the Leaf Village will face threats from both inside and outside in the future and we need to prepare for it."
"Then prepare for it we will. We owe it to the people of the village and our friends to be prepared for any danger. Shizune it's good to have you back. I missed you."
"And missed you my Lady. Shall we go have dinner?" With that the two ladies and one pig left the office. Another mission complete and the Leaf Village safe again.