What's up everyone Shinonigga here with a brand spanking new chapter for yah. First off I have to say wow I've been getting a lot of messages recently about when I was going to start writing again. When I went on hiatus I didn't think people would care so much. But really writing has just been hard recently because my mind has been elsewhere. I'm going to do my best to try and get back into the flow of things but not promising anything, well enough of my ranting here's the next chapter.

Chapter 20: Within the Shadows

Gato was livid to say the least. In his eyes he was a successful rich and powerful man, failure was something he wasn't used to. But indirectly he'd failed twice in ridding himself of the thorn in his side known as Tazuna.

His money could buy him anything, but apparently it couldn't buy ninja that could actually get the job done, if Zabuza's failures to kill the old bridge builder were any indication. "What the hell am I even keeping that bandaged freak around for anyway?" Gato grumbled to his two henchmen, as he made his way towards Zabuza's chambers.

Thrusting the door open with as much authority as he could muster Gato charged in. "So what do we have here aye?" Gato mocked. "The famous ninja of the bloody mist, bid ridden because of a team of babies and their chaperon? Pathetic." Gato sneered with distaste in his mouth.

Zabuza for his part simply tuned the man out as he stared blankly at the ceiling above.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you, you worthless piece of shit!" Gato barked out in contempt.

"Careful how you speak to my master." Utakata warned as he stepped out from the shadows of the room. "I will not have anyone speaking ill of Master Zabuza in my presence.

Gato and his two thugs turned towards Utakata, with mocking expressions on their faces. "Stay out of this boy." Gato warned. "Don't forget your master is under my employ, and I'll talk to him how I see fit."

"Is that a wise decision?" Utakata questioned while stepping closer. "We only stand to lose a job, while you on the other hand risk what can not be replaced."

"Is that a threat?" Gato challenged while taking a slight step backwards.

"Perceive it how you will." Utakata answered calmly. "But make no mistake, Master Zabuza may be under your employ but I'm not, and Master Zabuza's reputation won't be hurt by any acts I may commit."

"You wouldn't dare." Gato retorted.

"Speak ill of Master Zabuza in my presence anymore, and you'll soon find out." Utakata claimed while taking position in front of Zabuza's bed.

Gato shot Utakata a look of pure hatred as he turned on his heels. "When he's out of that bed I want you to handle the job, and no mistakes this time, you got that?" Gato concluded while stomping out of the room with his two goons following close behind him.

"Always coming to my rescue." Zabuza stated in a gruff tone while still looking up at the ceiling. "I've told you before I don't need you to baby me."

"Regardless seeing that man parade around as though he has power over us is insulting." Utakata countered, while taking the empty chair next to Zabuza.

"Don't worry we'll do away with him the moment we get paid." Zabuza claimed.

"Why, let's just do it now." Utakata reasoned. "This situation with the bridge builder is getting out of hand. Not only is the current team we're facing problematic, but they'll be sure to call in reinforcements as well, I fear this is a battle we can't win."

"A battle we can't win?" Zabuza repeated indignantly. "You're a Jinchuuriki, we can win and we will."

"I may be a Jinchuuriki, but in no way am I invincible." Utakata explained. "Konoha has already proved that by defeating me."

"That's because you didn't handle your business from the get go." Zabuza retorted. "You let the fight drag on when you should have put in an end to it."

Utakata simply sighed "Forgive me Master Zabuza but I believe it is your eagerness that leads to failure, just as with your coupe attempt."

"Don't speak of that." Zabuza warned while clenching his fist around his bed sheets.

Utakata merely shook his head at Zabuza's stubbornness as he stood up. "Your injuries should be healed within four to six days, perhaps you can use that time to reconsider our options?" Utakata summarized while leaving the room and Zabuza to his own thoughts.


Naruto, Kimimaro, and Haku sat in the forest just beyond Tazuna's home. Naruto's face was perplexed as he listened to Kimimaro recite the confrontation between team seven and Utakata.

"So you think he's like me then huh?" Naruto questioned with no humor in his voice.

"It's the only explanation." Kimimaro answered truthfully. "His ability to heal, the way his chakra felt, it was all similar to your abilities."

Naruto nodded thoughtfully. "But it sounds like this guy has much more control then I do." Naruto reasoned. "To tell you the truth I've never even managed to call upon the nine-tails chakra before."

"That's probably for good reason." Haku added in. "It sounds as if the power these bijuu posses is something quite freighting."

"Maybe, but it also sounds like something I'll need if I'm to face this guy." Naruto rebuked.

"It's not as if you'll be facing him alone." Haku countered. "You have Hinata and my support along with team seven as well. The advantage is in our favor despite this Utakata's abilities." Haku reasoned.

"I beg to differ." Kimimaro cut back in. "Had he intended to actually kill us I have no doubts that he could have succeeded. It's just fortunate for us, his primary goal was taking Tazuna without spilling unnecessary blood."

Naruto clenched his fist as he turned his attention to Kimimaro. "How did this guy tap into his power?"

"I'm not sure." Kimimaro answered. "After me and Sasuke combined attacks, he appeared in that form. To be honest it's what saved him."

"Then perhaps impending danger to the biju it self can serve as a catalyst." Naruto summarized.

"Maybe." Haku agreed "But why are you so interested? This isn't something you should be tampering with." Haku warned.

"Why not?" Naruto rebuked. "If that guy can control his power, I at least know its possible now and should strive for the same."

"That's foolish." Haku countered. "You don't know the outcome of trying such a thing. Those creatures locked inside of you were placed there for a reason. To keep their power at bay, you shouldn't do anything that could risk unleashing it."

"Oh…sorry mom how dumb of me to consider such a thing." Naruto fired back sarcastically while folding his arms over his chest.

"He does make a valiant point." Kimimaro defended his blond friend. "Naruto has one of the greatest powers in our world sealed within him; it could be used as an asset."

"Also one of the most malicious." Haku countered with disapproval clearly written on his face. "We're talking about a creature that took countless lives; you can't actually believe you can control a power like that without drawbacks?"

"Fine I get your point Haku." Naruto responded. "But if this guy kicks our asses, I'm blaming you for it."

"That won't happen Naruto-san." Haku claimed with confidence. "If they show up once again we'll win I assure you."

Kimimaro didn't look completely convinced himself as he spoke back up. "They probably won't accept failure next time, so I'm sure he'll fight us without restraint, we'll need to hit him hard and fast if we're to win."

"There's doubt in your voice." Haku noted. "Do you truly believe we cannot win this?"

"By no means is Utakata an arrogant fool and we should not summit to such foolish delusion as well." Kimimaro answered. "This fight is as much as ours to lose as it is theirs."

Haku remained quiet while Naruto narrowed his eyes on Kimimaro.

"Just how bad did this guy beat you?" Naruto asked with a genuine look of curiosity on his face. "It's not like you to have such little confidence in yourself."

"Fighting Utakata was the closest I've ever come to death, even with my previous life style." Kimimaro answered. "You also saw Sasuke's condition." Kimimaro added.

Naruto shrugged. "Sasuke will be just fine now that Shizune-sensei is seeing to him."

Haku was about to add to that but was interrupted by the sound of someone approaching. Moving a few branches aside Shizune entered into the area.

"There you boys are." Shizune greeted. "I take it you were discussing private matters, if you choose to have this conversation so far away?" Shizune interrogated.

"I didn't want to discuss my tenant in front of those that don't know about it." Naruto responded.

"I see." Shizune muttered. "I suppose you assume that Utakata is a Jinchuuriki then?" Shizune asked Kimimaro who merely nodded. "That's perceptive of you Kimimaro-kun, but according to Kakashi who heard straight from Zabuza's mouth it's not speculation but actual fact, we are dealing with a Jinchuuriki. Which means we'll have to deal with this boy carefully."

"Why?" Naruto questioned while scratching his head. "He's most likely as durable as I am if he's just like me."

"That maybe true, but if you're to face him, killing will be strictly forbidden." Shizune explained. "We can't risk the chance of destroying the boy and releasing the beast within." Shizune concluded while shuffling through her vest and pulling out a soldier pill and tossing it Kimimaro's way. "I'd almost forgotten, but that should recover your chakra enough to replace your broken bones."

Kimimaro nodded as he swallowed the pill. Feeling the chakra he needed circulating through his body, healing his fractured and broken bones was more then a simple task. Smirking to himself Kimimaro placed the crutches he had at his side and pulled off his bandages.

"Feels great to be back in proper working order." Kimimaro noted while stretching out his healed body.

"You're so lucky." Naruto groaned. "You'll never have to worry about being bed ridden because of an injury."

"Neither will you, at least not for long." Shizune confirmed. "Your healing factor is quite something to behold in of its own as well." Shizune added before turning her back to the three boys. "It's about time we get back to Tazuna-san's home, we have much to discuss."

Naruto, Haku, and Kimimaro simply nodded at Shizune's instruction before following her lead out of the forest.

(Tazuna's Home)

When Shizune and company arrived back at Tazuna's home Kakashi had already gathered everyone into the living room. Sasuke appeared to be in much better shape apart from the sling his left arm was strapped in. Meanwhile both Hinata, and Yakumo were seated cross-legged on the floor next to Kakashi.

"Good, seems you guys are back from your nature walk." Kakashi noted as he watched Shizune, enter with Naruto, Haku, and Kimimaro.

Ignoring Kakashi's jab at them the boys took up positions on the floor to listen to what Kakashi had to say.

"Well as you know were not dealing with pushovers here." Kakashi began as he shifted into a more comfortable state. "Our enemies are Zabuza of the seven swords man, and his affiliate is possibly even more dangerous then him."

"You mean because he's a Jinchuuriki?" Naruto piped in.

"A Jinchuur…what?" Yakumo asked dumbly.

"A demon host." Kakashi answered. "A Jinchuuriki is a human that has been infused with one of the great tailed beast. They have incredible power depending on how much of the demons power they can control. Fortunately for us we're dealing with a relatively young host, who hasn't had the time to master the power within him." Kakashi explained while shooting Naruto a quick glance.

"So what is our plan if our foes are so fearsome?" Hinata questioned the unease she felt clearly audible in her tone.

"Training." Shizune answered bluntly. "After Kakashi debriefed me on the state Zabuza was left in, I'd say we have five days before he's fit for combat."

"I don't really believe there's anything we can accomplish in only five days." Sasuke added quietly. "That guy was just too damn strong."

"So you're already ready to call it quits then?" Kakashi questioned in a bored tone.

Sasuke clenched his fist tightly at the jab from Kakashi. "Of course not, I'll see this mission through to the end no matter what."

"Then have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish." Shizune added, while turning her attention to her team. "Haku-kun you'll be joining team seven for training, while Naruto will accompany me on more private instruction."

"But what about me Shizune-sensei?" Hinata asked carefully. "You haven't given me an order."

"I recall you saying that your summons requested that you're properly initiated into their clan, you'll focus on that for the time being." Shizune explained.

"Summons?" Kakashi asked with a slightly raised eyebrow.

"A souvenir she received from our last mission." Shizune answered simply.

Not asking anymore on the subject Kakashi brought his attention back to the kids before him. "Well that's our game plan, so let's get to it." Kakashi ordered.

"Pft you people just don't get it do you?" Inari spoke up from the doorway letting his presence be known. "Training won't do crap, Gato will kill you all if you don't leave now."

Naruto narrowed his eyes dangerously at the young boy preaching nonsense to them, and stood up with ferocity. "Alright who the hell is this kid!"

"That's just Inari." Kimimaro answered casually although he looked at Inari with irritation.

"Alright Inari, first off before you make claims about our death you need to know exactly who you're talking to." Naruto boasted loudly. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki, soon to be one of the greatest ninja out of the leaf village!"

"You're nothing against Gato." Inari muttered.

"Say what?" Naruto stated though gritted teeth.

"You heard me." Inari retorted as he turned on his heels and made a b line for his room.

"Why you." Naruto began as he made to follow after Inari only to stop when Hinata placed her hand on his forearm.

"Perhaps you should let it go Naruto-kun." Hinata advised. "This Gato has obviously caused Inari-kun to live a hard life."

Naruto simply sighed before retaking his seat. "Fine, but I expect that kid to give a full apology after we rearrange Gato's face."

"That's not the reason we're here Naruto-kun" Shizune scolded. "Our objective is to see to it that Tazuna-san is protected throughout the time he needs to complete his project. "Gato is another matter entirely. Now it's time we left for training."

Nodding their understanding team six and seven stood to begin the task they were instructed, apart from Hinata who stayed rooted to her spot as she watched everyone go.

Recalling the proper hand seals Hinata bit her thumb and flashed through them in quick succession and slammed her hand on the ground. A small plum of smoke indicated that Hinata had succeeded, and when it cleared Yonaka was perched there on all fours.

"You rang Hinata-sama?" Yonaka questioned with her yellow eyes fixated on Hinata.

"Yes I'm ready to have my initiation." Hinata answered firmly.

Yonaka's eyes brightened. "That's great to hear, mother will be thrilled to finally meet you." Yonaka squealed. "Just give me a sec, and I'll see you in a minute." Yonaka stated before disappearing in a small cloud of smoke.

Hinata watched where the panther had been moments before with a perplexed expression on her face. 'What was that all about?' Hinata wondered to herself, before she felt a sudden pull and she too disappeared in a cloud of smoke.


Naruto and Shizune were making their way deep into the forest. They had split from Kakashi, Haku, and Team seven the moment they left Tazuna's house, and Shizune seemed determined to put a fair distance between them.

"So what's the deal Shizune-sensei?" Naruto questioned aloud, starting to become a bit irritated with the silence. "Why did you want me to come out for private training, it seems kind of unfair to Haku and Hinata-chan.

"That's because the kind of training you're about to endure can only be accomplished by you." Shizune answered.

"Well I knew I was awesome, but why don't you enlighten me." Naruto returned. "I mean how hard could this training be if even Haku and Hinata can't handle it?"

"You miss interpret me Naruto-kun." Shizune explained while keeping a steady pace. "It's not that the training is too hard it's just you're the only one that would benefit from it."

"Come on stop beating around the bush and tell me already." Naruto demanded in a pleading tone.

Shizune sighed as she stopped in her tracks and turned to face Naruto. "I know this goes against' my better judgment, but it really seems as me and Tsunade-sama have put this off for too long."

"Put what off for too long?" Naruto questioned curiously.

"Teaching you how to tap into the foxes' chakra." Shizune answered bluntly.

Naruto's eyes widened. "But…I thought of all people you'd be the most against it, I mean even Haku thought it was a bad idea."

"Yes at one point I did, but things have changed." Shizune spoke in a dry tone. "You and our opponent are one in the same, and the only way you could fight on even terms with him, would be if you learn to use at least some of that beast chakra."

Naruto had to force himself not to grin at the prospect. He'd always secretly wondered to himself what his plant manipulation could do with the aide of demonic chakra added to it. "So how are we going to do it?" Naruto questioned calmly.

"Well that's the hard part." Shizune admitted. "It's no like I have any experience in training a Jinchuuriki how to use their abilities. But I would assume that if you were in great distress that that could serve as a stimulate, I mean I doubt a tailed beast wants' to go down with their host after all."

"So you're going to put me in great distress?" Naruto asked a bit taken aback by Shizune's…well reckless behavior.

"I'm sorry Naruto-kun" Shizune whispered as she quickly slammed her hands together. "Earth style: Constricting Corridor!" Shizune shouted as two large slabs of earth sprang from the ground on both sides of Naruto, and made to smash him.

Naruto's eyes widened as he outstretched his hands to hold back the walls of earth, that seemed highly determined to squash him flat.

"Damn…it Shizune-sensei this isn't…funny." Naruto protested through gritted teeth while struggling to keep the walls at bay. "Call off this Jutsu!"

"Sorry Naruto-kun, but if you want to be freed from that Jutsu you'll have to do it on your own." Shizune answered while turning her back on Naruto.

"Are you nuts!" Naruto shouted as his arms began to buckle from the force the walls were putting on his arms. "This could freaking kill me!"

"Then do something about it." Shizune returned in a tone, that didn't fit her disposition in the slightest.

"I…can't!" Naruto shouted as he collapsed to one knee.

Shizune's eyes widened as she took note of Naruto's panicked voice. 'I should have known it was a stretch, just what the hell was I thinking?' Shizune wondered to herself as she turned to end the Jutsu, but stopped when she felt a sudden surge in Naruto's chakra.

Taking in Naruto's appearance Shizune noted that a faint red glow was radiating from his body, and the grass beneath him was beginning to grow. A moment later the walls that were trying to flatten Naruto suddenly cracked before they collapsed into rubble.

Falling to both knees Naruto panted from exertion, before shooting a glare at Shizune. "Are you insane! What kind of Sensei are you, or better yet what kind of Neechan are you!" Naruto shouted in fury. "I could have died!"

"Do you believe I would have really let those walls crush you?" Shizune inquired.

"Well you did a pretty good job of convincing me of it." Naruto retorted.

"Which means I played my part well." Shizune rebuked. "Besides it seems you were able to use a portion of the foxes chakra after all."

"I was?" Naruto questioned dumbly.

"You mean you can't feel it?" Shizune asked in disbelief, considering she herself could feel the chakra.

Naruto stood upright and stared down at his hands which now had claws as opposed to his normal finger nails. "Now that you mention it, I can feel it." Naruto admitted with a slight grin. "It feels like I've just swallowed a bucket of soldier pills. But I'm still no closer to understanding how to pull out this chakra on my on."

"That's what this training is for." Shizune reasoned. "We'll figure it out together, now let's try it again." Shizune commanded.


Hinata stared around her environment with a bewildered expression displayed on her face. Scanning the area carefully she quickly took note that the surrounding brush was much larger in comparison to that of which she was used to. But what confused her more so was that it was nearly pitch black apart from the moonlight that didn't provide the best of lighting.

"What's going on?" Hinata questioned quietly to no one in particular. "It was day time just moments ago."

"That's because you're in our home now." Yonka spoke up from behind Hinata causing her to jump in surprise.

Turning to where she heard the voice Hinata peered down at Yonka who was nearly invisible in the inkiness of the dark forest, apart from her yellow eyes that appeared to glow in the moonlight.

"But, how'd I get here and why is it so dark?" Hinata questioned curiously.

"You got here through a reverse summoning" Yonka answered as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. "And at this corner of the world we only get nine hours of daylight and fifteen hours of night. It's the perfect hunting ground for our kind." Yonka concluded.

Hinata nodded her understanding at Yonka's explanation. "So…I'm to be initiated right, how do we do it?"

"That's for my mother and matriarch of the clan Kurosuki-sama to explain." Yonka answered. "She's been really anxious to meet you so it's best we don't keep her waiting." Yonka reasoned as she nodded her head in the direction they needed to go.

Following closely behind the small panther Hinata found the task quite difficult with the little amount of light the moon provided. After what felt like the tenth time she stubbed her toe, Hinata decided to activate her Byakugan to heighten her visibility. The moment she did so she had to cover her mouth in order not to scream.

Her eyes had revealed to her that she and Yonka were completely boxed in by at least a dozen massive creatures she couldn't completely make out. Hinata honestly couldn't understand how the large creatures were following them without making so much as a twig snap.

"Y-Yonka" Hinata whispered nervously. "There are at least a dozen or so creatures stalking us."

Yonka stared at Hinata for a moment before she began to chuckle. "So you finally noticed eh? I must admit that was much quicker then I thought you would have."

"Wait you knew we were being hunted?" Hinata questioned in confusion.

"We're not being hunted." Yonka replied with a toothy grin revealing a role of pearly sharp white teeth.

"We're not?" Hinata returned skeptically, as the shrubs to her left began to shake prompting Hinata to take a defensive stance immediately. Hinata's eyes widened in shock when a panther a good twenty feet tall stepped out into the clearing, and stared down at her with calculating eyes.

"You've done well to notice us so soon child." The panther spoke in a tone akin to a woman in her mid thirties. As more panthers began to emerge from the brush varying from the size of small horses to a couple that were nearly as big as the one addressing her. "We pride ourselves in our aptitude for stealth, yet it only took you five minutes to spot us."

After getting over her initial shock at seeing what she could only assume was Kurosuki the matriarch of the clan Hinata bowed deeply. "It was only through the aide of my Byakugan." Hinata explained. "Without it I doubt I ever would have noticed you within the shadows."

"So you wield an ocular Jutsu then?" The panther assessed while taking note of the veins bulging around Hinata's eyes. "Excellent, our vision is keen and yours will need to be also, if you're to complete the test I have in store for you."

Hinata swallowed nervously while staring into the eye's of the panther. "What is it I'm to do?" Hinata questioned in a mixture of nervousness and fear.

"You're to join me on the hunt." Kurosuki explained. "Normally our clan will hunt in packs of four, but you and I shall do this alone." Kurosuki continued. "It's the perfect test to see if you hold the proper stealth, skill, and killer instinct that we require in a summoner." Kurosuki concluded.

"I'm ready." Hinata returned attempting her best not to let her nervousness show through.

"Are you?" Kurosuki challenged while circling Hinata. "Just so you know we'll be on the hunt for a forest boar that will be comparable to my size if not bigger. Are you confident this is something you can handle?"

Hinata eyes slightly widened in surprise at hearing Kurosuki's roundabout of what they would be hunting. Imaging any animal larger then Kurosuki wasn't easy for Hinata to picture, but she remained confident in what she had to do. "I am Kurosuki-sama."

"Good" Kurosuki returned shortly, as the remaining panthers stepped back and seemingly began to melt within the shadows.

Hinata stared at the scene in wonderment as all the panthers disappeared apart from Yonka, who looked at Hinata with her ever present grin.

"Good luck Hinata-sama." Yonka offered before she too melted into a nearby shadow.

"H-how did they do that?" Hinata questioned once Yonka had gone.

"We panthers have the ability to travel through shadows." Kurosuki explained. "An ability that we will bestow upon you if you pass your initiation." Kurosuki confirmed before nodding to her back. "Come child it's time we began the hunt."

Hinata nodded her understanding before leaping atop Kurosuki's back.

"Hang on Hinata-chan, this ride may be a bit bumpy." Kurosuki warned as she took off with unrivaled speed, forcing Hinata to latch on to her fur for dear life.

(Two days Later)

Naruto lay sprawled out on his back panting heavily. He and Shizune had been deep in the forest for two days straight learning to harness the power of the Kyubi and the effort had proved incredibly taxing on the young blond.

"….Man who'd…have…ever thought this could be so hard?" Naruto heaved out as he pulled him self into an upright position from the ground. "My arms feel like jelly." Naruto noted as he stared down at his hands that were practically shaking from fatigue.

"You've done well for your first day Naruto-kun." Shizune offered, while shooting an uneasy glance at a nearby plant Naruto had infused his demon energy with.

"Yeah I have, haven't I?" Naruto congratulated himself while also turning his attention to the plant he had given life too. "I didn't think adding so little of the fuzz balls chakra would make such a freaky looking plant." Naruto mumbled while watching the mutated dandy lion snap wildly for no apparent reason. "I mean what's that things deal, it's acting like a wild beast?" Naruto questioned as he inched closer to the plant only to have it lash out at him.

"Perhaps a small influence of the Kyubi is imprinted on any plant you grow with the aid of its chakra." Shizune theorized. "The Kyubi seemed as if it were an embodiment of chaos, destruction, and hatred. The same as this plant you've made."

"Pfft I don't care how angry this thing is, I made it so it better learn whose boss." Naruto stated while reaching out to touch the plant. "I command you to obey me you got that?" Naruto added just at the plant struck out and bit deep into his wrist. "Why you damn!" Naruto muttered while reaching for a kunai to put an end the miserable plants life. "I'll teach you to bite me."

"Wait Naruto-kun." Shizune cut Naruto off. "Even if you create more plants with the Kyubi's chakra you'll only get more of the same. Why not learn how to tame this one first? The last thing we'd want is for you to grow a plant with too much of the Kyubi's chakra with no idea of how to control it. At least this thing is only capable of small bites and posses no real harm so start with learning how to control it."

Naruto sighed in frustration but withdrew his kunai none the less. "I just don't know where to begin with this thing." Naruto pouted while eyeing the dandy lion with a fierce glare.

"Why don't you use controlling your normal plants as a starting point?" Shizune suggested. "Ask your self what do you do in order to gain dominance over them?"

"It's different Naruto explained. When I grow plants with my own chakra I can literally feel my own life energy circulating through the plant. Bending the plant to my will is as simple as molding chakra. But with this plant." Naruto continued while squinting his eyes on the plant. "Since it's not made of my chakra there's nothing in it I can bend to my will. It's as if it is its own beast and not apart of me."

Shizune simply smiled at Naruto as she rose to her feet. "I'm sure you'll figure it out Naruto-kun, so I'll leave you to it." Shizune explained while Naruto quirked his eyebrow up at her.

"You leaving somewhere?" Naruto questioned.

"Yes we've been out here for two day's it's about time I check in with Kakashi-san." Shizune answered. "Besides me and Kakashi-san were supposed to take turns guarding Tazuna-san at the bridge site. So I've already skipped my duty, it won't be polite if it happens again."

"Speaking of them, what kind of training you think Kakashi-sensei put Haku and the other through?" Naruto added.

"Knowing Kakashi-san he probably just tried to shove tree walking into their faces." Shizune returned with an amused smile. "Although Haku-kun already know how to tree walk and I'm sure Kimimaro-kun took the liberty of teaching his two teammates how to do that weeks ago." Shizune answered.

"I bet Kakashi-sensei was pretty mad when he found out he actually had to teach them something." Naruto returned with a huge smile. "But what about Hinata-chan, you think her training is going okay?"

"Of course I do, Hinata-chan is an exceptional shinobi." Shizune assured Naruto. "For all we know Hinata has already completed her training."

"Yeah Hinata-chan is pretty great huh?" Naruto stated with more lust then he intended to, causing Shizune to giggle slightly.

"Hey what's so funny?" Naruto interrogated. "All I said was Hinata-chan was great."

"It's nothing." Shizune assured Naruto. "Just remember not to over do it out here okay?" Shizune warned before disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

Naruto watched the smoke Shizune left behind dissipate before turning his attention back to the hell spawn of a plant before him. "Alright you little bastard it's just me and you now."


Hinata skidded to a stop as she dodged another charge from the rampaging forest boar she and Kurosuki had come across. It had taken them a full two days to locate the beast, but right now Hinata was wishing they never actually found it.

"You must focus child, one mistake and you'll be killed." Kurosuki stated as she landed gracefully next to Hinata. "The darkness is our ally; use it to your advantage." Kurosuki ordered as she melted into the shadows of a nearby tree.

Taking Kurosuki's advice Hinata quickly hid in the shadows of a tree effectively confusing the wild boar. A moment later Kurosuki sprang from a nearby shadow next to boar and dug her claws deep into its hide.

"Now's your chance!" Kurosuki shouted as she bit deep down into the boars back causing it to squeal and buck wildly in a blind frenzy.

Steeling her nerves to the best of her abilities Hinata launched her self from the cover the shadows provide her and leapt high into the air above the boar. Aiming an open palm Hinata struck the boar in the center of its temple.

The boar squealed in obvious protest as it bucked with everything it had left in it before losing consciousness and collapsing to the ground with an audible thud.

Seeing that the boar was as good as dead Kurosuki extracted her claws and teeth from its flesh. "To take down our prey in one blow, is truly something I never expected." Kurosuki acknowledged, "The honor of the finishing blow goes to you child." Kurosuki offered while stepping aside.

Hinata didn't quite understand how delivering a killing blow was an honor, but in light of not offending Kurosuki and the panthers ways of life Hinata resigned to what she had to do. Approaching the downed board carefully Hinata used her Byakugan to locate the boars heart before administering a strike that stopped its heart cold.

Nodding her head in approval Kurosuki bowed deeply to Hinata. "You've done exceptionally well and it is my honor to except you as part of our clan, and to offer you any assistance you will require as our summoner."

As Kurosuki finished the remaining members of the clan began to appear in the area from out of the shadows, each of them bowing their respect to their newest member.

Alright people I hope you enjoyed the chapter, it has been a good while since I've written so if it wasn't up to par you know why. Well anyway next chapter will be the fight on the bridge so I hope you're ready for Naruto's and Utakata's showdown, because I plan to make it awesome. And with the latest manga all I can really say is, Konan nooooo! Why the hell was she killed? I don't agree with this and my hatred for Madara has sky rocketed. Well that's my thoughts on it anyway, but if you could be so kind to review I'll catch you with the next chapter.