The next day, Naruto woke up early and went to the dojo, training with Masamune and First Tsurugi. He asked, "Ayane-chan, about Sasuke's seal….can that ever is broken?"
Ayane said, "There are two ways to do so, but all of them are impossible to happen. The first way is that he has to have a strong desire and sheer will power to do this….but I doubt that sheer willpower part since he tends to give up when someone is stronger than him. The second way is someone like Cloud and Sephiroth can break the spell as well….which is highly unlikely as well."
Naruto said, "Then he is still the same as ever."
Cloud muttered, "Something tells me that seal will break….I don't know what, but something bad is going to happen."
Sephiroth said, "Then we must be prepared to face it head on."
Naruto shed his jacket and took out the pack holding First Tsurugi, revealing his chest out to the world. Naruto took up First Tsurugi and Masamune, "I will need to practice duel-wielding. It was a bit hard when I had to wield them both at the same time."
The Jinchuuriki worked on his kenjutsu and taijutsu for 3 hours and then he meditated at the end. "You need something, Sakura?" The Mako-enriched swordsman asked.
Sakura said, "That mark on Sasuke's neck...did that Orochimaru guy did something to him?"
Naruto said, "I am going to mince words with you, Sakura. That viper manages to place that mark on Sasuke's neck, but it won't bother him at all....I manage to do a seal on it and it is very hard to break, he will be fine."
Sakura whispered quietly, "I see....thanks for telling me."
The Jinchuuriki said, "You're welcome...Sakura."
Sakura said, " Oh, more teams came in....that team from Suna and Hinata's team....but it's strange."
Naruto inquired, " About what?"
Sakura said, "That Gaara character...he had no sign of a scratch on him."
Naruto's eyes widened a bit, "No scratch? Not a person with a Kage status could do that....he or she would have at least one. Just who is Sabaku no Gaara?" he thought.
"Thanks for the information, how is Sasuke?" the Jinchuuriki asked.
Sakura perked up a bit, "He has a slight fever and his breathing is a bit erratic. Other than that, he will make a full recovery." Naruto flipped off the balance point, which was the hilt of First Tsurugi and took the buster sword to place it in his holster. "I will be back, I am going to check out the competition."
Unnamed World- Midgar- A group of people were hard at work, they were building a portal machine. Ever since the battle between Cloud and the reincarnated Sephiroth. Cloud's friends, all affiliated in a group called AVALANCHE and somewhat the remnants of Shinra were affected. Vincent Valentine didn't show it outwardly, but was close to believing that Cloud was dead. Kadaj's brother Loz and Yazoo were killed during the battle. Loz was killed by the combined effort of the Turks along with Vincent and Barret while Yazoo was killed by Tifa, Yuffie and Cid.
Red XIII or Nanaki, which was his real name along with Cid Highwind, Tseng, Elena, Rude, Reno, Rufus Shinra, Barret Wallace......all believed that Cloud was dead. Only Barret's daughter, Marlene, the hyper materia hunter/ninja Yuffie Kisaragi and Cloud's childhood friend Tifa Lockhart stubbornly believed that Cloud was alive. In Naruto's world, a few months has passed while in Midgar, it has been five years.
"Tifa, are you sure you want to go through with this?" Rufus asked her.
The black-haired martial artist looked at Rufus, "If I was not sure, then I wouldn't dare to ask for your help."
It took some convincing, but Tifa was able to persuade Rufus to help her make a machine that granted access to other worlds. Barret was a bit uncomfortable considering seven years ago, they were enemies, but for Tifa's sake and the possibility of Cloud being alive, he swallowed his pride.
Yuffie used her skills to collect materia preferably thunder for energy and summons. Since a typical summon has a different world....maybe using the same sequence on a machine can make a portal. Rufus said, "Ok, start the process....we will first transfer her to her shop. Just because it worked with a stuffed animal doesn't mean it will work for a human." Reno said, "You got it, boss." The redhead turned on the machine and the contraption sparked to life. The materia sparked to life and an energy beam traveled through the portal. "Alright, Tifa, the portal will be ready in a few moments, now all we have to do is lock on to the last known energy signature from Cloud or Sephiroth....it will be easier to track Cloud's own." Rufus said. Tifa nodded, "I will be back soon, everyone." She grasped the device that she had strapped to her wrist, allowing her to teleport back to Midgar. "Cloud, I hope that you are okay." she thought to herself. She ran through the portal and the area flashed for a moment before shutting down. Rufus said, "And now we wait and hope that Tifa is safe and Cloud is alright...I don't think that she would be able to bare the thought that Cloud was dead since she has been saying that for five years as well as your daughter."
Barret said, "For once, I agree with you, Shinra. Whatever happens....we must make sure that we get through this thing together."
Unnamed World- Forest of Death-Tower- Naruto moved outside of the dojo to see the teams that arrived in the tower were scattered about. His eyes searched to find Team 8 and Team Suna. Gaara caught the gaze from Naruto's eyes and moved toward him.
"Uzumaki..." Gaara said in monotone.
Naruto replied coolly, "Hello, Gaara-san..."
The redhead said, "I hope that you are ready to prove my existence....your blood will satisfy my Mother along with Sasuke Uchiha's."
The Jinchuuriki said, "You can try, Gaara-san....but killing me or Sasuke will not prove your existence...because I doubt you can defeat us without opposition."
Gaara just stared at him and then turned away, "You will die, Uzumaki."
Naruto said with a smirk, "Come and try."
Gaara walks away and then Naruto looks at Temari for a moment, "It was nice seeing you again, Temari-chan."
Temari gave him a smile and it almost looked sad to him. "He is cute, but Gaara will kill him regardless....but maybe I can convince him to spare him to keep him." The desert princess thought.
Kankuro thought, "He is so dead."
Naruto moves toward Team 8 and greets them, "Hello, Shino-san, Kiba-san, Hinata-chan. I see that you guys survived the ordeal."
Kiba said, "Dude, what the hell are you doing?"
Naruto said, "What do you mean?"
Hinata replied, "Naruto-kun, that Gaara character....he is very dangerous."
Shino said, "She is right, we saw him killing a team of Rain ninja using sand that came from his gourd."
Kiba said, "Akamaru told me that the sand reeked of blood. That Gaara kid is very dangerous."
Naruto said, "That might be true, Kiba....but nonetheless sooner or later I will have to fight him and to be honest, I am kind of intrigued by Gaara."
Kiba said, "You are one crazy person, Naruto."
Naruto said, " Not crazy, I am just legally insane, Kiba. I am confident that I can beat Gaara."
Hinata said, "Just be careful, Naruto-kun..."
The Jinchuuriki said, "I am always careful, Hinata-chan...good luck in the exams."
Another day passed and Team Dosu appeared with Team Kabuto. Dosu, Kin and Zaku glared at Naruto before secluding themselves in an isolated room. Naruto looked at them back, but noticed that Kin had a reluctant look in her glare, making him wonder about the Oto team's purpose in killing Sasuke.
He knew that they were connected to Orochimaru meaning that Orochimaru wanted them killed if Sasuke activated the cursed mark on his neck. Also Kabuto gave him a bad vibe also, he seems weak, but Naruto knew that people shouldn't be underestimated by their appearance, which means that Kabuto has something to hide.
The third day came around and Team Gai appeared. Naruto was with Team Eight while this happened as Lee along with Tenten and Neji walked through the door. Tenten noticed Naruto and shouted, "Hey, Naruto..."
The Jinchuuriki turned to see her approaching them along with her male teammates. "Ohayo, Tenten-san, I see that you have made it as well."
Tenten smiled, "Of course, we trained for this constantly...plus everyone on our team has someone that they want to fight against."
Lee said, "Tenten is right about that, I wish to fight against the youthful Sasuke and you, Naruto-san."
Tenten replied, "As do I."
Naruto looked out of the corner of his eye to see Neji was glaring at Hinata, "Is there something wrong, Neji?"
Neji answered, "No, Uzumaki, I am just surprised that Lady Hinata has made it this far in the exams. At most times, she would just quit."
Hinata's eyes averted from her cousin's gaze and Naruto said, "The Hinata I know would not quit now when she is so far. She still has to show me how powerful that she has gotten."
Neji said, "People can't change, Uzumaki-san. Fate has determined everything from birth...everyone has a title from elite to loser."
Naruto said, "Excuse me, Neji-san, but I am allergic to bullshit on that one. There is no such thing as fate or predetermined destiny, only idiots believe in that."
Neji said, "There is no proven fact that fate doesn't exist..."
Naruto replied, "Actually there is...me. I was labeled the deadlast in the Academy, but yet I am known as the Heartless Angel. Now from your words, you believe that fate determined me to be a loser from birth, yet I am strong....can you explain that now?"
Neji's jaw clenched as Naruto smirked at his victory of the wit battle.
"Now I think people could change...how I know this? I changed Zabuza Momochi. Zabuza was a warrior, he has an apprentice that he consider as a tool. I fought him once and defeated him....he lost and I was about to kill him along with his apprentice....but I found out that she was just like me. I spared them and gave Zabuza a choice to take his life and leave his client or face me in combat once again. Normally he would run like he did when his assassination attempt on the Mizukage failed, but he told me that something compelled him to fight to the death against me. I don't like to take lives needlessly unless the opportunity takes a turn for the worse, but Zabuza gave me no choice...he told me before I kill him that he believed that falling against me would start a new legend and it would be a honor to fall against me."
Naruto said, "And here we are....now fate and destiny are things that are non-existent unless someone believes it to be real. There is only one thing that I agree about fate....we are all connected to one fate and that is death, but deciding things on appearance, terms of strength and etc. Fate doesn't control things there, we do....through determination people can break through the stereotypes, Neji-san."
Neji said, "You are a fool to believe that fate is non-existent, Uzumaki-san."
The Jinchuuriki replied, "Fine, then we will settle this in a fight. Your belief in fate and predetermined destiny against my belief in the guts to never give up and that people can change despite their supposed predetermined destiny."
Neji said, "Fine, but be prepared to lose. Tenten, Lee, let's go."
Neji walked away while Lee bowed to them first before following Neji and Tenten smiled at them, mainly Naruto, "It was nice seeing you guys again...good luck in the exams. She walked after Lee and Neji.
When they left, Kiba immediately said, "Naruto, you picked a bad opponent to mess with."
Naruto said, "Why is that?"
Shino said, "That is Hinata's cousin, Neji Hyuga. He is last year's Rookie of the Year and the strongest at the Hyuga taijutsu style, the Juken."
Naruto replied, "Shino-san, you know titles mean nothing to me, right?"
Kiba said, "You seem to throw that Heartless Angel title around everywhere you go, Naruto."
The Jinchuuriki stated, "People tend to ask....I just confirm it. The reason I threw that title out to Neji was because he needed to understand that even someone that seems like a loser at first can eventually become a great ninja. I remember Hokage-jiji-san told me about his old team....he trained the Densatsu no Sannin, which was Orochimaru, Tsunade and Jiraiya. Orochimaru was the Rookie of the Year, Tsunade was the top kunoichi and Jiraiya was the dead-last like me. In truth, they sound like my team now, Sasuke, Sakura and me. Over time, the three became close as a team and strong. Soon they separated, one became an S-Rank missing nin because of his obsession over Jutsu, one exiled herself from the village because of the painful memories that she experienced here and the last one that is known to be loyal is traveling around using his abilities to infiltrate and gain information to help Konoha. Now out of the three, who am I?"
Hinata said, "I think you a-are like Jiraiya-sama."
Naruto said, "Correct, Hinata-chan. Tsunade-sama when she was just a Genin sounds like Sakura and Orochimaru is more or less like Sasuke. Both of them had obsession for power and Tsunade along with Sakura both fawned over the Rookie of the Year."
Shino said, "Eventually what you are telling us is that a person can become a great ninja despite his stats as a student or child."
Naruto said, "Right, anybody can..."
He was interrupted by a shout from his teammate, "Naruto, it's Sasuke...he is awake now."
Naruto said, "Excuse me, I must see to my teammate." He nodded to Team 8 and sped toward Sakura, "He is awake now, Sakura."
Sakura said, "Yeah..."
Naruto said, "Well, let's see him then."
Sakura led Naruto to the infirmary to see that Sasuke was up and dressed in his usual garb. "Sasuke-kun, are you sure that you should be standing?" asked the pink-haired girl.
Sasuke said, "I am fine, Sakura." Then he thought, "But when did that guy do to me? What is with this mark on my neck?" Sasuke asked, "Anyway, what happened when I was out."
Sakura said, "After you were knocked out, Naruto carried you here after he repels that Orochimaru guy....you were unconscious for four days."
Sasuke said, "Since we are in a buliding, I take it that we passed."
Naruto said, "Of course, you did want to fight against Lee and Gaara, right?"
Sasuke smirked, "And you as well, Naruto."
Naruto's eyes widened for a bit and said, "I see, I look forward to it then."
Then an ANBU appeared and said, "Naruto Uzumaki, the Hokage wished to see you." The Jinchuuriki said, "Understood." He released his black wing and covered himself to disappear in a specialized Shunshin.
Hokage's Office- Naruto appeared before the Hokage and along with him was Anko Mitarashi and Kakashi Hatake. "You needed me, Oji-san?"
Sarutobi said, "Yes, I need you to tell me about your team's encounter with Orochimaru and the strange markings around Sasuke's curse mark."
Naruto said, "Sasuke and I fought against Orochimaru. Knowing information about his obsession with the Sharingan, I had threatened to kill Sasuke if he tried to take him away. Orochimaru attacked us and I was putting him on the ropes until he substituted himself with a Doton Bunshin, making him able to get a hold of Sasuke and give him the cursed seal, similar to the one on Anko's neck."
Anko grasped her neck, "How did you know about it?"
Naruto said, "I looked at it when you came behind me for an intimidation act for the genin. At first, I thought that it was a tattoo, but when Sasuke got the mark, I realized that it was connected to you and the main reason why you are so bitter about Orochimaru."
Kakashi said, "But what about the strange marking around Sasuke's mark, I have never seen anything like it and I don't think you know about fuuinjutsu."
Naruto thought, "Ayane, should I tell them about you?"
Ayane said, "I suggest that you tell them since they will find out eventually."
The Jinchuuriki mentally nodded and said, "I had help from the Kyuubi to seal off the cursed mark." Kakashi's lone eye along with Anko's eyes widened, "What?"
Anko said, "How could you trust the thing? It slaughtered hundreds of Konoha ninjas 13 years ago."
Naruto said, "Not her fault and yes, the Kyuubi is a woman. She was controlled by an Uchiha named Madara to destroy the village."
Kakashi said, "She might be saying that to trick you."
Naruto said, "Honestly, sensei, if she was.....she would not waste any time to tell me that....other than she would have tried to devour me or manipulate me into opening the seal. She has never attempted to do both in the past 8 years."
Kakashi said, "But..."
Sarutobi said, "Kakashi, enough....I have trusted Naruto's judgment about his burden and so far he has been fine. You should trust him too. The important thing is that what to do with Sasuke."
Anko immediately said, "He should be withdrawn from the exams and have ANBU protect him."
Naruto said, "It is okay, there is no way he can be able to get the curse mark to work unless he had another Bijuu's presence around him and his will was strong enough to break it or myself to release it from its bonds. Plus....I doubt you will get Sasuke to back out since he did inherit the Uchiha stubborn pride."
Anko said, "We can force him to do so..."
Naruto said, "Which will cause resentment in his heart and cause him to move forward in the path toward Orochimaru....is that a risk you can take, Anko-san? To let Orochimaru have the Sharingan at his disposal to toy with and possibly run Konohagakure into the ground."
Anko gritted her teeth as Naruto continued, "Plus Orochimaru wouldn't want you to stop the exams without him. Sasuke is the catalyst of the invasion."
Sarutobi said, "How do you know that there will be an invasion, Naruto-kun?"
The Heartless Angel said, "Simple, the presence of Orochimaru in Konoha is uncanny meaning that he is planning something. Second, the team from Oto tried to kill me and Sasuke when he was unconscious, but luckily I distracted them from getting too close....they also mentioned that Orochimaru would kill them if they had failed to kill Sasuke, meaning that they were affiliated with him, but since Oto is a new village, they don't have enough manpower for an invasion."
Anko said, "But you said that Orochimaru was going to invade Konoha. He doesn't have enough manpower to try and destroy us."
Naruto replied, "That is right, which leads to the fact that he is allied with one of the countries here. The only one that is most logical is Suna."
Kakashi said, "That is impossible, Suna is our ally....they would never attack us."
The boy trained his eyes on his sensei, "No, it is the perfect cover....using the exams to infiltrate the village and since Suna is indeed our ally, we would least expect the attack from them. Also they are the ones with the most teams sent here."
Anko said, "But only one team from Suna is here in the exams."
Naruto said, "Sabaku no Gaara came through the forest without a scratch on his persona, meaning that he is definitely a force to be reckoned. Not even a Kage would be able to survive without suffering a scratch."
Sarutobi said, "He is correct....then we must prepare for the invasion. We will need a month to mobilize and it must be in secret considering Orochimaru's character to slip in and out with his spies. Notify all ANBU and Jonin of this matter quickly and quietly, only tell people that you trust. Naruto, I need you to keep this secret from your genin comrades."
Naruto nodded, "Right, now I believe we have an exam to finish."
Sarutobi rose from his seat, "Yes, we do."
The four of them all did a Shunshin to appear in the tower and gather the genin that were settled inside to move them in an arena. Anko had her headset on and said, "First off, congratulations on passing the second phase of the Chunin Exams."
Hakureisaiga- The start of the third phase, Konoha knows of the invasion planned by Orochimaru. With his cursed seal cut off, will Sasuke figure out that the Kusanagi is in his possession? Who will Naruto fight against? Tune in next time!!