Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or anything related to it.

Chapter 24

Naruto was laying against two trees on the outskirts of a village built around a hot spring. They were nearly back to the village, but as expected the Sannin were dragging their feet.

Well, Tsunade was. Naruto had to admit he was surprised Jiraiya had managed to get the woman to come this far. They hadn't made any more stops after their 3 day stop in the town the festival had been.

That was until passing by a sign advertising the hot springs. Apparently Tsunade wanted to relax and while initially Jiraiya had sided with him on getting back to the village he was easily swayed once Tsunade reminded him what would be at the hot springs.

Of course after checking into the resort Tsunade immediately went to gamble at a pachinko palour. No one blamed her though with Jiraiya there. It was a mixed bath hot springs and Jiraiya wasn't budging until he saw a bevy of hot babes as he put it.

The group split up after that with everyone else checking out what the town had to offer. Naruto however decided to take a bath and then catch a quick nap before they were on the move again. Nobody seemed to mind so they went on without him.

As soon as he shut his eyes two idiots tried to brake into the room to steal their stuff. He easily caught them and they explained what they were doing.

Apparently they were debt collectors trying to get Tsunade to pay a rather large debt she owed their clan. And they were both to chicken to actually confront Tsunade so they reverted to thievery.

Naruto quickly resolved that by marching them to where Tsunade was. Strangely enough they found her with Chakoku Jurochou, the boss of the Kaidou clan. Who just so happened to have a letter telling the two idiots the debt had been re-payed and that they should come home.

That really annoyed Naruto especially after the sob story they tried to lay on him including a guilt trip. Seriously why should he care about a couple of debt collectors he caught trying to sneak into his room to steal something they could use to force Tsunade into paying her debt? Although he doubted this was the first time this happened to the woman.

Anyway after all that got sorted out the duo left to return home. Apparently they felt they owed him something as they thanked him before leaving.

Instead of packing up however Tsunade was enjoying her time with the Kaidou boss drinking some expensive Sake the man was plying her with. Naruto just let it be and left since Shizune was there. It wasn't his problem anyway as long as they got back to Konoha with her in one piece and still intent on taking the job.

He had tried to go back to his hotel room, but Jiraiya was lying on his bed muttering something about monkeys, sumos, and old grannies. Naruto didn't understand what the man meant, because he had checked out the hot springs and the only people there were about five cute young women from town.

The women had even invited him to bathe with them, but he felt it best not to. He didn't want to have to explain anything to the girls or his mother whenever they got back. So he was now sitting here trying to relax, but even here he got no peace.

"How long are you going to follow me?" Naruto asked seemingly no one.

Guren slowly walked out from behind the two trees Naruto was sitting against. A crystal shaped like a knife was in her hands and it was obvious what she was up to.

"How did you know I was there?" She said hotly.

She was Orochimaru's number one assassin. No one lived if they were her targets and no one knew when she was about to kill them either.

"Being the jinchūriki for the Kyūbi no Yōko does come with some perks. I'm not a sensor like my cousin, but I can sense negative feelings and emotions. Your intent to kill me made you very easy to spot for me" Naruto answers.

"That's not fair!" Guren yells.

Naruto just shrugged.

"Life isn't fair. Get over it and while you are at it get over this business with Orochimaru's death. The man never cared about you just your ability.

If you didn't have your ability he likely would have killed you a long time ago, because you wouldn't interest him" Naruto says.

"SHUT UP! I won't listen to your lies!" Guren shouts at him.

"Please keep your voice down. I'm trying to rest here" Naruto responds.

That just infuriated Guren more since he hadn't even opened his eyes to look at her. She threw the crystal kunai at his head, but only hit one of the trees. To piss her off more Naruto hadn't opened his eyes then either only moved enough to the side for the kunai to miss him and then went back to leaning against the tree that wasn't hit.

Guren's response was to throw two fistfuls of crystal kunai's at the resting teen. Naruto just sunk into the ground as the kunai's hit nothing but grass and bark.

Guren searched for the younger male, but couldn't find him. Until …

"You know … your really starting …"

Naruto had to stop to avoid getting a face full of crystal needles. How he did this by once again rolling from side to side before once again sinking into the earth. This time Guren looked all around for two seconds before hoping in the air and suddenly twisting to face what was behind her for another two seconds.

But this was Naruto she was dealing so once again while she was hoping around.

"starting to become annoying. I thought …"

Naruto had popped up in a spot to her right, which she wasn't checking. It took her less than a second once she got over the shock to send more crystal needles at the blond. Of course he just sunk into the ground again.

To this guren unleashed hundreds of the crystalline needles all over the place. The whole area was covered in the thin pink crystals. Still …

"thought I said a few days ago that you could leave without consequence. What about that encounter gave you the impression that coming back to attack me was acceptable?" Naruto asked.

He was now standing directly in front of a huffing Guren. To Guren's surprise had had simple risen through the ground and her crystals without disturbing them and was now calmly standing atop a patch of her crystal needles.

"Heh, I didn't agree to any of that. I told you I would kill you to honor Orochimaru-sama and that bitch isn't here any more to protect you!" Guren shouted.

Naruto just stood looking down on the woman.

"You really are stupid aren't you" Naruto states calmly.

Guren didn't take that so calmly. She quickly materialized a handful of crystal shuriken and threw them at the teen as she shrieked in rage. This time Naruto's hand became coated in darkness as he grabbed each of the shuriken. Guren watched as they were absorbed into his hand the particles breaking apart and becoming chakra for him.

"Enlighten me. Why fight so hard for a man who has done nothing for you except turn you into something I know you hate?" Naruto asked.

"You know nothing! Orochimaru-sama saved me! He liberated me from the hell of that village and those stupid weak parasites that call themselves human!" Guren shouted back.

"I know more than you would like me to know. I know Orochimaru didn't kill those people for you. Killing them was just to satisfy whatever sick fascinations he had back them. Liberating you as you say was just an unintended side effect … one that garnered him something very valuable" Naruto says.

Guren didn't reply. The ever present scowl on her face was her only response to his words.

"He gained a soldier with the potential to be very strong and her undying loyalty. Another man in his position probably would have used it to bed you and force you to have multiple children that would have your bloodline and then probably dispose of you.

But your loyalty to him was even more valuable then your bloodline" Naruto continues.

The last part definitely caught her attention as the scowl was replaced by a questioning look.

"Don't give me that look. In this world loyalty … unquestioned loyalty and devotion is a rare commodity. I imagine the Snake had you as one of his most trusted operatives. As your skill rose your value only increased.

At the same time despite your devotion, loyalty, skill, and bloodline ability the Snake wouldn't have wasted a second to dispose of you if it benefited him to do so. To someone like Orochimaru loyalty was a one way street, something only the weak espoused. Loyalty was merely a weakness to be exploited by him" Naruto finishes.

"I don't care what you say! I will serve Orochimaru faithfully until the day I die" Guren responds.

"Is that what you are after?"

"Do you want me to kill you Guren?" Naruto asks.

"Hahaha! As if a brat like you could kill me. I was Orochimaru-sama's top assassin. I kill fools like you for fun!" Guren shouted.

"Really … fun you say. Then please show this fool how skilled you truly are assassin" Naruto replied.

Guren came at him fast and hard. She threw a punch aimed at breaking Naruto's nose. Naruto's response was a chop on the wrist, a slide to the left, using the hand he defended with he threw a punch at Guren's chest. She defended blocking the punch with the arm her earlier blocked and then attempted to kick Naruto on his right knee cap.

Naruto jumped back and analyzed her attack.

'Her body is coated with a layer of crystal meaning it will be hard to break through without a focused attack' He surmised.

Guren wasn't giving him time for more. She ran after him and attempted a kick to his body, which Naruto caught. Guren twisted coming around with a roundhouse using the leg she was balancing on to force him to drop the leg.

Naruto instead wrapped his left arm around the trapped leg and caught the leg she was kicking with with his right hand. Guren wasn't done as she formed hand seals quickly and sent a barrage of crystal needless point blank.

To her surprise Naruto let of the leg he was holding with his right hand and seemed to catch all of the needles as his hand seemed to coat itself with some kind of dark chakra. However, she also noticed the needles seemed to be absorbed into the hand.

She kicked out as hard as she could with her trapped leg, but the kid wouldn't budge. Instead she tried for a flip crouching down as much as she could and jumping off her free leg.

Naruto countered by pulling on the trapped leg before letting it go and then with the right hand punching Guren directly on her stomach. What surprised her was the layer of crystal covering her body was broken through by the punch and she felt why immediately.

She was sent flying back, but managed to flip over and right herself as much of the damage was absorbed by her crystal defense before it broke. She quickly mended the damage sending more chakra to cover her skin with a denser covering of crystal.

She moved to retaliate but when she looked up the only warning she had was the rush of air before something that felt like metal contacted her left cheek. The blow stung, but her crystal defense once again kept most of the damage from harming her.

She then felt something dig through her defense and into her skin, which should be impossible. The sensation of being stabbed repeating told her other wise. She was then yanked off her feet and thrown into the tree, which surprisingly held.

When things calmed down she looked forward and found the tip of the kusanagi suddenly pointed right between her eyes. She tried to move, but found she was wrapped in chains around a sturdy thick tree trunk and the chains were grinding into her crystal defense slowly grinding at it digging slight groves with its links that threatened to dispel it entirely in a very painful way.

"Do you want to die?" She heard.

"Do you want to be with your dead master so much that you would push me to end you in such a manner?"

"Do you fear living so much that you would choose to make me your murderer?"

Those three questions served to set her on edge as did the pressing of the kusanagi to her temple.

"I don't need more threats running around. I gave you the chance to leave peacefully and find somewhere you can call a home. You have chosen to disregard that and come after me now you have two choices.

Die or submit yourself to me mind, body, and soul. If you choose death I will be quick about it. If you choose to submit I won't give you a chance to stab me in the back. Orochimaru wasn't the only that can use seals to ensure loyalty.

And trust me I will ask much more of you than Orochimaru. If you submit … you will belong to me" Naruto explains.

Guren couldn't believe this.

'What the hell is going on?'

'How did I loose?'

'I'll …'

"Then kill me. Kill me and get it over with!" She shouted.

"I'll never serve anyone except for Orochimaru-sama" She declares.

"That's a shame, but I guess it can't be helped" came the response.

Before she could ask what that means the kusanagi was suddenly gone and faster than she could track he was biting down on her neck while a chakra infused hand was pressed to her forehead. She never felt any pain as he held the bite before standing back and the chains dropped from her body and dematerialized.

She quickly hit the ground falling onto her knees. A sudden rush of bile hit her throat as she threw up, but it wasn't her stomach contents that came out. Instead it was like she was vomiting her chakra out all at once.

Bent over on her knees when it ended she looked up into Naruto's eyes. They look discernibly darker than she remembered.

"W-wha-t h-have you done to me?" She asked shakily.

"I gave you a choice and you chose wrong. You are far too valuable and beautiful to just let you die. Do not worry you will forget this ever happened when you wake up and all of this will just be a forgotten memory" Naruto answers.

Guren's fingers dug into the ground as she tried to fight off the feeling of exhaustion. The thoughts whirling inside of her head the voice shouting angrily for her to fight slowly went away. She made one last threat before she finally succumbed to the exhaustion and collapsed to the ground.

"I-I wi-will ki-ki-kill you" She ground out.

"Not likely" Was the response she never heard.

Naruto did a few hand seals and then touched the ground. The area was engulfed in darkness for only a second before it brightened again and Guren's body was gone. Most signs of the fight that took place were also erased.

With that over he headed back towards the Hot Springs Inn. Apparently he wasn't going to get any rest or down time in this town. He hoped everyone would be ready to leave when he arrived. As soon as Naruto couldn't be seen any longer a figure emerged from behind the two trees he had been resting on only to disappear by sinking into the ground.

A few days later

Naruto was walking behind Shizune, as she was holding her pet Tonton, down the halls of the Hokage Mansion. They had made good time after leaving the Hot Springs town and were back inside of the village late the previous night. Since it was so late everyone even the council decided things could be pushed until the morning after everyone had time to rest.

Naruto had been requested to accompany Tsunade when she met with the council for some reason. Plus, the Senju had asked that he take her to the hospital to deal with Rock Lee and his sensei. Apparently the woman knew enough about the green spandex wearing taijutsu user's quirks enough that she wanted a buffer and he was the poor sap chosen for the job.

Why was he going along with it you may ask? Simple, the old lady was threatening to withhold his mission pay for retrieving her along with the Toad Sennin. It was a mostly empty threat as the mission scrolled had already been filed as complete and on his record, but it worked all the same.

Anyway he was walking with Shizune and the pig to find her master when they came across the interesting sight of her talking to the Sandiame's grandson. Naruto didn't care for the kid in the least. He was pampered, spoiled, stupid, whiny, selfish, egotistical for no good reason, and worst of all expected to get his way for no other than he was that old farts grandson.

It was Shizune that got Tsunade's attention from the brat and alerted her to their presence.

"Tsunade-sama, the elders are waiting. You must hurry" She called out.

Tunade turned away from her sensei's grandson and acknowledged the trio.

"I know" she replied before focusing for a second on the brat.

"You be careful little boy" She said before flicking him on the grey helmet he was wearing.

This caused the helmet to move a bit forcing the boy to adjust it. When he got it back in place he noticed who Tsunade was now standing with.

"You!" The boy shouted.

The three looked at the boy as he pointed at Naruto.

"Me?" Naruto asked.

"Yes, you with the stupid looking face. Your Uzumaki Naruto right!" The boy shouted.

Naruto just ignored the kid.

"Are we leaving? I'm interested to see what the council has to say to me" Naruto tells the two women.

Tsunade and Shizune both give him questioning looks, but decided it didn't matter and turn to continue walking. Konohamaru wasn't having that.

"Hey! Don't ignore me! I'm talking to you!" He shouted.

As the kid was further ignored he ran up to punch the older boy only to trip on his scarf. He squawked indignantly as he fell directly on his face.

Naruto paid him no mind as he continued to walk on. He had been to the council chambers enough to know where they are. Tsunade paused to look at the brat, but also continued on. She wanted to get this all over with and then have some sake.

In the end it was only Shizune and Tonton that went to the help the boy.

"Are you alright?" She asked as he helped him up.

"I'm fine" He muttered ignoring the help.

He quickly remembered what he was doing and looked around only to find Naruto and the big boobed blonde were long gone.

"What?" "Where did he go!?" The boy shouted in confusion.

"They have urgent business with the Council. Tsunade-sama will officially be made the Godaime Hokage today so they had to hurry. I'm sure if you …" Shizune never got to finish.

The little boy had screamed and stormed off angrily about something. She just watched as he left before hurrying to catch up with Naruto and Tsunade.

'I wonder what that was about?' She thought.

Council Meeting

Naruto noted that they weren't in council chambers or a secure room. No this was just another room in the Hokage Mansion and only the two elder council members were here.

"Listen carefully, Tsunade. We must quickly call the feudal lords and announce the inauguration of the Fifth Hokage. Then the village can start preparing for the ceremony" Koharu Utatane explains.

"Feudal lords, ceremony … it's troublesome" Tsunade mocks.

Naruto could see the two councilors bristle from where he was standing near the window.

"TSUNADE!" The old lady shouted.

Shizune jumped at the shout of the elder. Tsunade just waved it off.

"Yes I know, I know. This is all part of the Hokage's duty, right?" Tsunade says.

Satisfied the old lady then called for three somewhat familiar ninja and told them to make the announcements. Naruto just stood looking out the window. When the ninja left he could feel their eyes bore into him.

"Genin Uzumaki Naruto" Koharu calls.

Naruto turns to the face the elder. He noticed out of the corner of eyes that Tsunade was also smiling about something … or was it a smirk.

"Gaki … catch" Tsunade says getting his attention.

Naruto caught the scroll she tossed to him. The old lady started talking soon after.

"You are hereby promoted to the position of Tokubetsu Jōnin of the Village Hidden in the Leaves. Congratulations" Koharu says in a flat manner.

Naruto just looked at everyone in the room. Shizune and the pig seemed to be genuinely happy and while Tsunade smiled he could feel something behind it that wasn't well intentioned. The two elders looked the same as always.

"What's behind the sudden promotion?" Naruto asked.

"It's not so sudden Uzumaki-san. You have been on the mission with Jiraiya for some time. The ninja world moves fast boy.

During that time the other villages have recognized your talent from your performance during the Finals and Invasion. You have been listed in the bingo book as an A rank threat.

In a way you can say our hands were tied by their actions. Because of the listing in your absence you were promoted by the members of the ninja and elder council" Homura Mitokado explains.

"You should be proud gaki to attain such a rank so soon after graduation. Of course I was a Sannin by the time I was your age so don't get too cocky brat" Tsunade offers.

"Congratulations Naruto-kun" Shizune offers.

She had to restrain herself from going to give the former genin a hug.

"Oink, Oink"

"Of course Uzumaki the village will expect more of you. The village is low on manpower and every active ninja of Chūnin level or above is doing their best to meet the expectations of our clients, which have only grown after the Finals and successful defeat of Suna and Orochimaru" Koharu adds.

"What about my team?" Naruto asked.

"As I said all higher ranking ninja of the Leaf are pushing themselves to complete the many missions the village has been inundated with" Koharu begins.

"Therefor, Uzuki-san has returned to her duties as a member of ANBU. The other sensei's have likewise been asked to contribute more and have temporarily been relieved of their commands over their respective genin teams.

Your two teammates will be allowed to continue on in the village as ninja to finish the remaining time they have with us. The Daimyō has seen fit to send a third child to replace you on the team. The Daimyō was most pleased with the news of your promotion and wanted me to extend his congratulations since he couldn't be here" Homura finishes.

"I see …" was Naruto's response.

Everyone in the room took note that he had yet to examine the scroll or look happy about the news. The elders soon took their leave and it was just Tsunade, Shizune, Naruto, and the pig. Shizune taking note of the mood of the room decided to switch topics.

"Ahh … Tsunade-sama. I believe it's time to go to the hospital and see about Naruto-kun's young friend and Hatake-san" Shizune offers.

Tsunade nodded and stood to leave, but never took her eyes of the brat.

"You coming gaki. You were the one that requested I see them, right?" Tsunade questioned.

"Hai" was Naruto's bland response.

The quartet was soon walking out of the Hokage Mansion towards the hospital when someone called out to them.

"Hey, Naruto" Shikamaru called.

From a slight distance in front of them came the Nara head and his son.

"Nara-san, Nara-san" Naruto greeted neutrally.

"Hello there Naruto-kun" Shikaku greeted.

"Ahh … if it isn't the little Nara boy. How long has it been …" Tsunade greeted the clan head.

"Tsunade-sama" Shikaku returned.

The blush on his face was quite noticeable from being greeted by the woman. Of course this caught Shikamaru's attention as he wondered why such a young and beautiful looking woman would be addressing his father as little boy.

"Naruto … who is that?" Shikamaru asked quietly.

He didn't need to of course as they were for the moment being ignored by the three adults as they caught up.

"That is the soon to be formally instated Fifth Hokage, Senju Tsunade the Slug Sannin" Naruto informs him.

"Th-that's not possible" Shikamaru blurts.

Naruto looks at him questionably for a moment, but knew what he was getting at. That henge was good. Tsunade and Shizune quickly resume walking and Naruto follows without even sparing the Nara's a wave.

Hospital

Naruto, Tsunade, Shizune, and the pig managed to get to and enter the hospital with surprisingly little fanfare. Tsunade decided to deal with Kakashi first since his trauma was more easily fixed.

It seemed very simple as Tsunade placed her chakra infused hand over his temple and within a few seconds he was up. Of course the part Naruto enjoyed was when she berated the man for being placed in the hospital in the first place.

She couldn't get too far into chastising the man unfortunately before Gai barged in and was desperately pleading for her to heal his student.

Tsunade acquiesced and they quickly found Lee walking up a hallway a defeated look on his face. Naruto also took note of the look the Sannin also had on her face as she was instantly diagnosing the broken boy.

"Is that your pupil" She asked Gai.

"Hai! That's right! He's my very dear and favorite pupil!" Gai yells anxiously.

Tsunade's eyes never left Lee as she addressed Naruto.

"Naruto … why don't you head on out" Tsunade says.

Naruto nodded. He didn't need to be told twice. He needed to find his team anyway and inform them of what's happened. He gave one last glance at everyone in the hall and then departed.

As Naruto was leaving the hospital someone else he hadn't seen in awhile entered.

"Naruto … is that you?"

"Hello Iruka-san" Naruto greets evenly.

"Eh, you don't have to be so formal with me Naruto. You can just call me Iruka" The teacher offers.

"I'm only calling you Iruka-san, because I forgot your last name … I think it started with a U" Naruto responds.

As usual Iruka just deflected the comment.

"Naruto, I wanted to talk to you about something. How about we go to Ichiraku's and I'll treat you to a bowl of ramen" Iruka offers with a smile.

"Is there something in particular you needed to discuss?" Naruto asks.

"No … I mean yes, but it's nothing urgent. I just thought it would be nice to catch up over a bowl of ramen. We haven't had a chance to talk since …" Iruka admits.

"Mizuki's betrayal" Naruto finished for him.

Iruka just nodded. He hated thinking about that night. About what he did, what his friend almost did, and the fact he might have died that night if it wasn't for the kid he wasted so much time hating.

"I'm going to pass. I have some news to share with my friends and family before it becomes public knowledge" Naruto responds.

Iruka perked up at this. He wondered what kind of news it was.

"Good news I hope" Iruka says with a small smile.

Naruto just shrugged, "Depends I guess."

Iruka could tell that Naruto was ready to leave.

"Well maybe some other time. I know I never treated you well Naruto-kun, but I hope you will let me make it up to you" Iruka says.

The honesty and sincerity and his voice were noticeable not that it mattered.

"Living in the past isn't healthy Umino-san. Forget about it and me. I already have"

Naruto walked out of the building leaving Iruka to fester in the feelings of guilt that had only grown since that night.

'I'm sorry Naruto' Iruka thought.

He then went on about his business. He wanted to take the blonde's advice, but he just couldn't. He had to find some way to get the blond to forgive him.

That Night

Everyone was gathered in Naruto's hotel room eating take out from a restaurant near the Hotel. Naruto, Akari, Miyuki, and Karin were sitting on his bed. Kushina, Yuudai, Katsu, Jūgo, and Kimimaro were seated in chairs around them.

"You said you had some news Sochi?" Kushina asked.

"I do unfortunately?"

The choice of words served to make everyone go on alert.

"It seems Konoha is finally ready to make their move against me. With the Sandiame dead and Tsunade standing in his place the council has decided to act against the agreement" Naruto informs them.

"How?" Kushina asked for everyone.

"Yuu, Katsu their first moves affect you mostly" Naruto tells them.

They both stop eating and look directly at Naruto.

"I have been promoted" Naruto says.

To prove it he took out the scroll Tsunade threw him earlier and unsealed it's contents. When they saw the vest the boys thought they knew what happened.

"So what they made you a chūnin. I thought chūnin's often stayed with their genin squad and acted as the leader when jōnin wasn't available allowing them to still be able to go on missions" Yuudai says.

"Except they didn't just promote you to chūnin did they sochi?" Kushina asks.

"No, they made me a Tokubetsu jōnin. Meaning the team will be broken up" Naruto answers.

"But the Daimyō …" Katsu starts.

"Has already been informed about this and signed off on it. He is even sending a third guardian's child to take my place on the team, although Yūgao is also being forced back into ANBU so someone else will lead the team" Naruto informs them.

"What!?" Katsu yells.

"They can't do this can they?" Miyuki asks.

She had come to see Yuudai and Katsu as good friends. This move would only serve to splinter their group and separate them. Naruto hugs her close to him.

"They already have. It's actually a pretty good move on their part. In promoting me they made the Daimyō happy making him think they were doing something that would only benefit me. This also allows them to team me up with their shinobi on higher ranking missions.

They are either planning to get the most out of this contract and send me on ridiculous mission after ridiculous mission or … I don't know. I didn't see this coming. They have used the time we spent chasing after the Senju well" Naruto explains.

"What can we do, Naruto-sama?" Kimimaro asks.

Naruto waves the older boy off.

"Nothing, it was an almost perfect move. I can't refuse the promotion and even if I refused to work with their ninja they know Yuudai nor Katsu are ready for the kind of missions jōnin are asked to take. No offense" Naruto replies.

Yuudai and Katsu wave him off. They knew they were not ready for that either.

"I'll have to work with their shinobi. And that maybe what they are after with this" Naruto says.

"We could become your teammates Naruto-sama" Kimimaro says.

Naruto admittedly had thought about that. Kimimaro and Jūgo were good enough. Unfortunately Jūgo's instability would make it dangerous for him to go on missions right now. He just wasn't ready and Kimimaro needed to be near him to keep him calm while they were in the village.

"I thought about that, but it wouldn't work. Jūgo's instability unfortunately won't allow it. Not yet anyway. Besides I'd rather keep the both of you off of Konoha's radar for now. Same goes for you Kaa-san.

If you were to join me Konoha may use it as some kind of excuse to put you under their control. It's best if I deal with this one on my own" Naruto says.

The mood of the room dropped with everything they heard. They believed in Naruto, but it seemed things were no longer going exactly to plan. Konoha was considered the strongest of the five major villages for more than their military strength after all. They were also dangerous politicians and tacticians.

"Look don't worry about it. Katsu, Yuudai I'll still train with you guys when I can. And we're still on track to get out of this village free and clear. I can put up with anything they throw at me and in the mean time I'll use these missions to make even more of a name for myself" Naruto declares.

Everyone smiled at his declaration. Letting go of the depressing mood they began to eat again.

"There is something else I wanted to talk about" Naruto interrupts.

Two Weeks Later

Naruto spent the two weeks training and preparing for his new duties. He had also reset the seals dropping his physical abilities to the level one would expect of an elite jōnin and his chakra to the levels one might expect from a Kage. He used the time to get used to the restrictions and continue to improve his skills thanks to spars with his mother, Kimmimaro, and Yūgao when she showed up later in the week.

Yūgao had not been happy when she was informed of the changes made to what she had come to see as her team. Still, she couldn't argue it. She always looked to the female Sannin and admittedly was over joyed to see a female Hokage lead the village.

She was happy that Hayate had been tapped to take over for her. At least she knew two of her boys would be alright. Hayate would make sure they would continue to get stronger until it was time for them to leave and from what she saw of their new teammate she had some skill as well.

That's right the replacement turned out not to be a son, but a daughter. She was a slender dark haired girl with honey brown eyes and an athletic build. She was also a kenjutsu practitioner and her elemental focus was water. Yūgao knew immediately she was going to make time to work with the girl despite her duties in ANBU.

Everyone else was also busy with their own training even Kushina was working on something. Now though it was time for Naruto's first mission and he was curious as to who he would be working with. He hadn't spoken with Tsunade since the hospital and he had heard she was really focused on helping Lee, but it seemed like a lost cause.

As he walked into the mission's office he was directed on up to the Hokage's office. Naruto noted it was seemingly going under repairs as a couple of workers were replacing the doors. He walked past them and into the room where he saw team 7 was waiting for him.

There was Anko standing there and as soon as he entered he could tell the woman was dying to do something he wouldn't like. Instead she settled for a decidedly childish wave. Ami was standing beside her mentor she turned to see who her master was waving at and even though it was only a second Naruto could see the look of hate she gave him before quickly turning back around.

And the Uchiha mighty as ever stood with some cocky smirk on his face as he gave him a brief look before focusing forward again. Sakura as usual didn't notice anything, but Sasuke so she never even noticed him. Naruto also sensed another presence in the room hiding, but decided to ignore it.

As he walked to stand beside Sakura he felt her turn her head in surprise then immediately go back to fawning over the Uchiha. Naruto just ignored it in favor of getting this all over with as they all focused back on Tsunade when she shouted.

"Hatake, you have two seconds to come out from behind that curtain!" Tsunade shouts.

The silver haired man quickly followed orders stepping out from behind the curtains to stand beside Sasuke. He wisely chose to not have his Icha Icha out in front of the quickly angered Sannin.

"Alright, I have gathered the six of you for a B-rank mission to protect the prince of the Crescent Moon Kingdom as he is returning to his home. You are to meet him at a designated spot and protect him and his convoy from there. The details are inside the mission scroll, any questions?" She asked.

"Hokage-sama why is he here? We can handle a simple B-ranked mission without his help" Sasuke says.

"Actually Sasuke I am asking tokubetsu jōnin Uzumaki here and two elite jōnin to take on a B-ranked mission. You three genin are only here, because your sensei's requested that they bring you along" Tsunade clarified for the boy.

Generally a B-rank mission would be handled by a team of chūnin or a team of chūnin with a single jōnin probably a tokubetsu leading them. This was basically a gross misuse of manpower in a time where every ranking ninja was needed to deal with mission overflow. Tsunade saw that the genin were still looking at her oddly, actually it was mainly the girls. Sasuke was scowling at the insult.

"Fine, I'll be blunt. The prince is a fat over indulged child who gets whatever he wants and price is no object. He sent enough money for two B-rank missions with the mission request. I am sending you six to thoroughly impress the moron and bring the Leaf a potentially valuable and important repeat client perhaps even a future ally" Tsunade explains.

They could only nod at the logic.

"You suggested that they are bringing their team along because they requested it, right?" Naruto interrupted.

Tsunade just nodded.

"Then it's only fair I also bring someone along that can be useful to this mission" Naruto says.

"And who would that be brat? One of your little girlfriends?" Tsunade asked derisively.

Of course this managed to get a few chuckles from the peanut gallery and a smug look from a few others.

"While the Crescent Moon Kingdom would be a lovely spot to take them I couldn't just bring one and leave the other. I intend to bring my cousin Karin" Naruto states.

"You mean the cousin that wants to jump your bones?" Tsunade adds.

"No, I mean the cousin that has A level sensor ability and a chūnin grade healer" Naruto responds.

This got all laughs to stop. Tsunade even grew serious at hearing this.

"I haven't read any reports about the girl having any ability whatsoever, particularly not any sensor ability" Tsunade states.

She had read every report or scrap of information Jiraiya could gather about the group he hung around with including his former teammates. She never read anything about the girl being more than a below average genin.

"Karin was a spy for Orochimaru stationed in Grass Country. They never held any clue of her abilities, because she only showed them one so that she could become one of their genin. I assure you that she is a sensor of the highest caliber and only getting better under my mothers tutelage" Naruto responds.

Tsunade brought her hands together as she thought about the information. She would have to inform the council about the girl. Naruto's group kept getting more powerful and more disconcerting for the council to have around. Something would have to be done soon.

"Fine, you can take her with you but she is your responsibility just like the genin are Kakashi's and Anko's" She told him.

Naruto just gave a nod of understanding.

"Anything else?" Tsunade asked.

Her tone stated that she was done with the briefing and that it better be quick.

"When do we leave Hokage-sama?" Kakashi asked.

"Tomorrow morning. The prince probably won't reach the meeting point for a few days. I'd pack for warm weather as well"Tsunade tells them.

They all nod.

"Good. Then dismissed" She says.

Once they left the room Tsunade slumped a little in her chair. She hoped this scheme the elders had cooked up worked, but somehow she got the feeling the brat had already figured them out.

Figuring there was no use worrying about it she went back to studying Rock Lee's charts and medical reports. So far she had been able to make the surgery a 50-50 proposition, but she was still searching for at least one more percent in favor of things going well. It was still slim odds, but she had gambled with worse.

Next Day

Team 7 and the two Uzumaki's were now walking through a dry arid plain. Surprisingly only one person was complaining and that was Karin. She hated the heat and the sun barring down on them.

"It's so hot" stated a sweaty tired looking Karin.

"We're in our summer clothes, quit complaining!" Sakura shouted at her.

"It's hot … so hot" Karin continued ignore the pinkette.

"The rendezvous point is only a little further Karin" Naruto tells her.

"Fine, but I'm going to need a change of clothes soon" Karin states.

Her clothes were nearly soaked by sweat. She was wearing her usual black shorts and sandals, but she had taken off the long black stocking she wore once they stopped traveling through the trees. Her usual purple uniform top was replaced by a black tank top and matching bra.

What pissed Sakura off is somewhere along the way the bra had become slightly exposed and Sasuke for some reason had been walking close to her and Naruto.

'If that slut is trying to get my man … I'll pound her into dirt' was a small sample of her thoughts.

Naruto meanwhile was wearing black pants and a black short sleeved shirt with the head of a large snarling dog embossed on the back and a small orange uzumaki spiral over the right side of his chest. His hitai-ate was being used as a belt.

Ami was wearing a black and white striped blouse with black shorts and sandals. Anko as daring as ever was wearing her mesh suit, and a black mini-skirt, black sandals, shin guards, a wrist watch, and her usual snake fang necklace. Since it was hot though, she had exchanged her usual trench coat for a black bra.

Kakashi was pretty much wearing what he usually wore only with shorter sleeves. Sasuke was the same as well.

Sakura was wearing a cropped shirt the exposed her stomach and a red skirt with blue shorts underneath and blue sandals.

They didn't walk too much further before catching sight of the caravan much to Karin's approval. They all marveled at the sight of the caravan, which much of stretched for miles through the arid plain.

"What is all this?" Sakura comments.

"So much stuff … what are they carrying?" Ami adds.

"This is everything I brought"

"This is all the stuff I splurged on while traveling. Before I knew it I had this much"

The man who answered struggled to get out of his carriage before getting out and greeting them.

"I'm the Prince of Moon Country, Tsuki Michiru" He says.

"We come from the village of Konoha. I'm the Captain Hatake Kakashi" He introduces.

"This is Uchiha Sasuke" He points at the Uchiha.

"Hn" was the reply.

"She is Haruno Sakura" He points at the pinkette.

"Hello" She replied.

"Ami"

"Hi" Ami responds.

"And I am the sexy single Mitarashi Anko" The female jōnin responds.

Everyone could see the fat princes eyes explode into hearts as he viewed her body with little restraint.

"And I am Tokubetsu Jōnin Uzumaki Naruto and this is my cousin Karin" Naruto introduces them.

The prince stops leering at Anko long enough to register the blonde's words and turns to him.

"I remember you … you're the reason I hired Leaf ninja. I saw you fighting at the chūnin exams. During that horrible invasion you saved me and my son from a group of those horrible Oto ninja" Michiru explains.

"Ah … I'm glad I was able to help prince Michiru" Naruto responds.

"Nonsense my boy, please call me Michiru" The prince says.

Before anything more can be said Naruto calmly reaches up and plucks an arrow from the air. Every looks at him, but his eyes are on the carriage the prince left.

"Is that anyway to greet someone Hikaru-san" Naruto states.

A little boy with large glasses and a bow walks to stand beside his father.

"Papa, are you sure your things will be okay with them protecting it?" The boy says.

"You and your valuables will be safe with us Hikaru-kun" Hatake interrupts.

Hikaru gives a nasty look to Naruto but soon turns away.

"I'm sure everything will be fine, right Naruto-kun" Michiru says.

"You can rely on me" Naruto says.

"Good, then we should get moving!" The prince explains.

"If anything happens to the prince, it'll be international turmoil" Hatake warns.

As the prince returns to his carriage turns to the six ninja.

"Perhaps one of you lovely ladies would like to accompany me and my son in the carriage" The prince offers.

"Sure big boy, I'll accompany you" Anko teases.

This gets shocked looks from everyone except Naruto including the princes son.

"Good, good. Please do!" The prince says happily.

"Anko … what are you doing?" Hatake growls out.

"One of us should protect the prince from up close and I can distract him if anything should happen" Anko explains.

Everyone nods at that and she soon joins the prince in the carriage sitting beside the son across from the prince as he leered at her.

Soon the caravan moved and everyone remembered something else Tsunade told them about the mission.

'In the Moon Country there is an island called Mikazuki Island that has an everlasting summer. The country seems very prosperous and wealthy.

The island has many natural resources and the beautiful beaches are a popular tourist attraction. There are plenty of gambling establishments and the area is lively year-round. It's a place I'd really like to go.

Anyway it seems the previous escorts were treated pretty harshly and bailed on the job. This is an important mission. I'd normally only send jōnin class ninja on a mission of this important so I expect everyone to be at their best. Proceed with caution' They remember her saying.

They were soon attacked by a group of ten bandits as they went through a valley. Karin had already spotted them with her abilities so Naruto dealt with the ones hidden atop the valley among the rocks.

The bandits barely got in position from attack before five Naruto snuck up behind them and slit their throats after using his dark passage jutsu. The Kage Bunshin then slid down the mountain instead of dispelling and joined the caravan adding more eyes to the group.

Meanwhile Kakashi, Sasuke, Ami, and Karin had little trouble defeating four of the five that came at the caravan from behind some rocks. Sakura needed help taking out the fifth, but it was quickly squashed although he noted they left their five alive only beaten and tied up.

It was dark when the caravan stopped. The smells from the lead wagon as the prince and his son ate were simply overwhelming, but the ninja were left to their own devices including sleeping outside in the cold night air.

The next day Anko was back with Ami away from the prince. Seems he had tried something and she had shot it down in her usual Anko way so now Kakashi was walking beside the princes' carriage.

They stopped at a town with a traveling circus performing in it. Even from afar Naruto could see the prince's son was interested in the rare saber-toothed tiger. When he proceeded to interrupt the act by shooting an apple that an archer was to shoot he became apart of the show and as a reward when the act was over asked for the tiger.

Even Naruto was impressed by Hikaru's accuracy, but he returned to his brat like ways when he used his father to get the tiger who in turn bought the whole circus for a million ryo. This was going to be a huge headache for the ninja.

As the prince was working out the details with the headmaster and Kakashi Hikaru saw the little monkey try to feed the noticeably bored tiger an apple and fail so he decided to give it a try. The tiger wasn't having it and lunged at the boy. Luckily for Hikaru Naruto had been watching the entire time and intervened shielding the prince.

"Scared" Naruto asked him.

The kid quickly ran away after that, but not before he saw the tiger ate the apple after all. Of course the prince wasn't happy about the attack and had the tiger locked up.

The caravan continued until it reached some docks, but the normal ocean liners to the island weren't operable because of storms and they had to wait on the boats that were coming for them and all the princes' belongings. The prince was fine with this as he stated he had some important business to attend to.

The prince and his son left the port in his carriage with only Naruto and Kakashi following. They soon pulled up to a small, but lovely house. The carriage was filled with flowers cluing the two ninja in a little as to what might be going on.

Their thoughts were verified when they saw an attractive dark skinned, dark haired, brown eyed woman tending to the large garden in the front of the house in a simple green dress. The prince walked up to her with his arm full of bouquets of flowers only to have her dart right past him and embrace Hikaru.

"Hikaru, you're Hikaru right"

"Hikaru!" The woman shouted as she embraced the boy.

"You've grown, Hikaru" She comments after looking at him.

Naruto almost smiled at how shy the boy was acting with what appeared to be his mother. Then he almost laughed when the woman didn't remember the prince and then her reaction when she figured it out.

"What's with all the fat!" Amayo blurted out.

"It's because you left. I ate all the time to ease my sadness and ended up like this!" The prince responds.

"That's why I want you to come back. I miss you and so does Hikaru" Michiru says.

"And I already told you I don't want to be with you anymore!" Amayo returned.

"If not for that pre-nup I would have taken Hikaru with me!" She shouts.

The door to the quaint house slammed behind them as they went inside. Naruto broke away from Kakashi and the carriage and sat on the stone wall beside Hikaru. Neither said anything as they sat and waited.

Later at the docks Naruto was eating some ramen with Karin. Sakura was also nearby eavesdropping before the prince left the docks to deal with some problem with his luggage and grew uninterested with the story. Karin also left, but not before snagging another just heated cup.

When Hikaru walked up the docks it was just Naruto finishing his ramen. The boy walked up to him. He seemed to stare at him for awhile before asking.

"Is it good?" He asked pointing at the ramen cup.

"It's good enough. When I was a little younger than you I used to live solely off this stuff" Naruto responds.

Hikaru looked disbelievingly at him.

"Want to try some?" Naruto offered.

Hikaru nodded and Naruto fixed him a cup as the boy sat across from him on the pier. They sat in silence while the ramen cooked and then ate in silence. Of course Naruto finished first and he saw the younger boy was eying him as if he had something he wanted to say.

"What do you think, is it good?" Naruto asked him.

The boy just shrugged and Naruto waited for him to finish. When he did there was a brief moment of silence before Naruto got up.

"Wait, where are you going?" Hikaru asked.

"I'm going to see what's going on. The ships should be ready to go soon. I bet your anxious to get home, right?" Naruto asks.

The kid didn't answer as he looked like he was searching for an answer or question he didn't know how to ask. Naruto turned to walk away again.

"Be my servant" He heard from behind him.

"What?" Naruto asked.

"I said be my servant. I'll give you anything you want" The boy declared.

Naruto turned to face the kid.

"Not going to happen Tsuki-san" Naruto replies.

The look of disbelief on the boys face was priceless.

"B-but I can give you toys/games … as many as you want" The boy declared.

"Sorry kid, but the only thing I desire in this world is something money can't buy" Naruto answers.

"Money can buy anything!" The future prince shouts.

"When you grow up kid you'll find that money can't buy as much as you think it can. I can understand why you believe that to be the case. After all not many kids have a father that can or will purchase an entire circus just because they wanted one rare tiger" Naruto responds.

The boy just froze at the reminder of what happened.

"Your father never learned that lesson. That's why your mother didn't respond to his lame attempt to buy her back. Your mother wanted something that costs nothing to give, but is a lot harder to find than even a million ryo.

I hope you learn the lesson your father didn't and become the kind of prince your Kingdom deserves" Naruto says.

Of course what he said made the future prince of Moon Country angry so when Naruto turned his back Hikaru attempted to shoot an arrow at the back of his head. Naruto easily side stepped the shot and watched as the arrow lodged on the back of a certain pinkette's narrow behind.

"WHO DID THAT?!" She hollered.

Being the son of a prince Hikaru just figured he had nothing to worry about as he laughed at the girl removing the suction cupped toy arrow from her butt. Of course when Sakura keyed on the laughing boy her over the top anger didn't let her recognize who she punted into the ocean until everyone on the docks was shouting in alarm.

"Huh … what's … going … on?" She asks.

Naruto easily rescued the prince running on the water and plucking him out of the ocean before he drowned or became food for one of the large fish in the area. When they returned to the docks the Princess attendants rushed to the boy and began drying him off. Prince Michiru wasn't happy and asked who did this to him.

"S-sh-she did" He managed to say as he was still crying.

Of course this got all eyes focused on the pinkette as she tried to hide in her own shadow. Shame she wasn't a Nara.

That night

The circus performers were putting on a show for Prince Michiru and Hikaru as everyone else on the deck took part in a feast prepared for royalty. The only one not included was the currently tied up Sakura. She was covered from head to toe in rope and chakra bindings were placed on her hands, not that she could escape all that rope anyway.

She couldn't even see the feast or the performers as they had dumped her in a corner of the ship with her back to everything. That didn't stop the smells of the delicious food from reaching her as her stomach grumbled from just smelling it so close yet so far away.

No one seemed to pay any mind to her as she quietly sobbed she was sorry. No one also seemed to notice Hikaru sneak away during the dinner to once more try his hand at feeding the tiger.

Later that night when most on the ship were sleeping and Sakura was still tied up in the passageway also trying to sleep a storm was sighted ahead of them by Kakashi. Everyone was quickly put on alert to save the princess's belongings, which meant Sakura was freed by a reluctant Naruto. As Naruto was heading for the animal cages he passed Hikaru.

"You should let them be" Hikaru mutters.

"What's that?" Naruto asked.

"The animals. I'm tired of them. You should let them be" Hikaru responds.

"You shouldn't say such things?" Naruto tells him.

"Why?" Hikaru asks.

"When you got your father to buy 'him' for you he became your responsibility. Someday you are going to rule over a country full of people, animals, and things that will be your responsibility to take care of. If something bad happens you can't just say I'm tired of it, let it be, let someone else deal with it.

Other wise the people will begin to hate you and want a new ruler. Someone who is wise and responsible, someone they can depend upon no matter how bad or good things are. That cat, the other animals, the entire circus is now your responsibility. If you just give up, because things aren't going your way you will never be the leader your people deserve … or someone I would want to know" Naruto says before leaving.

Out on the deck everyone was busy trying to secure the cargo and animals. Naruto decided to help move things along.

"Taju Kage Bunshin no Jutsu" Naruto calls out.

15 Naruto's spread out, five helped bring the prince's luggage and inanimate cargo down below. Another five helped the circus folk get the animals out of their cages, and the last five helped the crew of the ship. A few minutes later Naruto heard some commotion near the cages.

Seems the little prince decided to help out. Sadly he was going about it the wrong way as he struggled to reach the sabre-toothed tiger's cage as he was banging against it trying to get out.

Naruto looked to see if one of his Bunshin were near by and saw one was close to the cage, but trying to herd a wooly elephant of some kind to where the rest of the animals were.

Naruto was proud when the boy reached the cage and managed to free the tiger, but saw a big wave was headed right for where he was still holding the cage door. Using a simple shunshin Naruto reached the boy and the monkey clinging to him in time to keep him from going overboard and managed to get them both to safety.

The next day the ninja, some of the circus group, and the larger animals plus Kiki were on the deck of the ship. Everyone had made it through the rough night and none of the princes' belongings had been lost. The only ones not on the deck were the prince and his son, but soon they came out as well.

The little chimp Kiki immediately jumped in Hikaru's arms chattering and screeching happily. That's when Cham, the Siberian tiger also walked up to Hikaru. The prince quickly left his sons side and went over to the headmaster that yelled a quick warning.

The warning proved unneeded as the monkey chattered excitedly moving it's paw to suggest the boy pet the tiger. Everyone watched worried as Hikaru slowly reached to pet him.

Everyone was pleasantly surprised when Cham actually accepted and moved into the petting before laying down and allowing Kiki to jump on its back. Naruto watched as the kid knelled down to continue petting the tiger before walking over.

"What you did last night was very brave Hikaru. You acted like a real prince and I think Cham agrees with me" Naruto says.

"I'm sorry for how I acted before" Hikaru apologizes.

Naruto nodded accepting the apology. The boy then turned to the tiger.

"I'm sorry to you too Cham, because you wouldn't play with me I got angry. The truth is I wanted to be friends with you and Onii-chan. I …" Hikaru starts.

A sigh made everyone turn their attention to Naruto.

"I guess I should have seen that that was what you wanted. Friends … I guess having a future prince for a friend wouldn't be too bad" Naruto remarks coolly.

"Really?" Hikaru says hopefully.

Naruto nodded and Hikaru smiled happily before he was knocked back by Cham.

"Seems they also want to be your friend" Naruto comments.

"Me too!" Sakura called.

"Umm … sorry for knocking you into the ocean" She apologizes.

Hikaru waved it off accepting the apology.

"Hey, I want to be friends with the little prince too cuz" Karin called out.

The kid brightened considerably at the declarations, but soon stopped and looked sad about something.

"What's wrong?" Sakura asked.

"Well, we're going to have to go our different ways after we reach the island" Hikaru responds.

The three teens nodded at that. This mission would be over soon and then it was on to the next client and mission.

"I can't say you are wrong about that. Moon has its own ninja village and you probably won't have much need for foreign ninja. That said if you ever need help that they can't handle I will always be there to help a friend. I won't forget about you Hikaru" Naruto says.

"Neither will I" Karin chimed in.

"You can always count on the Leaf Village" Sakura adds.

She missed the looks passing between the two Uzumakis, but no one else did.

"Let's promise to be friends for ever!" The boy responds.

Naruto shakes his hand and the others pile on before Cham decided he wanted in on it to and jumped up placing his paws onto of the pile of hands sending everyone down to the deck. Everyone just smiled as the little boy just laughed at it all.

The only two that weren't were the Uchiha that just dismissed it all as being stupid and Hatake. The anger he felt at the demon trying to corrupt another innocent child made his knuckles turn white. He would bide his time though, this was a mission and the mission took precedence.

Back in Konoha

Kushina was enjoying a nice lunch with Miyuki and Akari. With Naruto and Karin off on a mission and the boys getting to know their new team mate and sensei it had just been them.

Kushina was using this time for some personal training. She was still helping the two girls from time to time, but now they had their own stuff to work on.

They used lunch to get together and talk about their days or stuff happening around the village. As they were talking the Nara matriarch appeared and headed to the table.

"Kushi-chan" Yoshina calls.

Kushina looks up to look the female Nara. She had sensed her come into the shop, but hoped she would keep moving. Seems that wasn't happening.

"Nara-san, what can I do for you?" Kushina asked.

Yoshino just ignored that she didn't use her first name.

"I wanted to know if you had the time to talk to Naruto-kun, and when would be a good time him to meet the girls?" Yoshino asks.

"I didn't get a chance to bring it up … he's so busy with missions and everything" Kushina responds.

"Well we need to know soon. We have a place all picked out, but we need to know when to schedule it" Yoshina says.

"And I'll tell him, but he's out on a mission right now. I don't know when he'll be back" Kushina says.

"Fine, but I need to know soon. Please let me know as soon as he gets back" Yoshino says before leaving.

Kushina sighed as the woman left. She forgot Yoshino can be even more stubborn than her at times.

"What was that about?" Akari asks.

Miyuki nods also wanting to know. Kushina figured she would have to tell them anyway, but not here so they get up and head to the hotel where she tells them everything.

Moon country

Later that day the ship had finally arrived at the ports. Naruto could already tell why this was a popular tourist destination. He had to admit he would like to come back someday with the girls and his family.

The ship was still being unloaded when Prince Michiru decided they would go on ahead and left the rest to the Circus master.

The ride through the town was strangely quiet.

"How weird, this is supposed to be a pretty busy street" Michiru comments.

Seems the rest of the group also thought this was weird as they walked beside the horse drawn carriage.

"Karin, see if anyone is here" Naruto tells her.

The red head immediately closed her eyes and used her jutsu.

"Yeah, but they're scared and hiding" Karin answers.

She points upwards and everyone catches the shadow of a child and woman darting back somewhere they were less visible.

"Seems like things are about to get interesting" Naruto comments.

They kept walking through the town and then through the forests that surrounded it and the estate of Moon Countries ruler and family. When they pulled up to the castle it also seemed deserted save the few guards that opened the gate for them. The carriage pulled up to the front and the prince stepped out, but still no one came.

"No ones come to great us" The large prince comments.

That was until a lighter toned, overweight, old man and a woman presumably his wife stepped out onto the balcony over looking them.

"Hey, Shabadaba!" Prince Michiru shouts.

"My, my, if it isn't Michiru-dono. Good job traveling through the different countries. It's wonderful that you have returned safely" The now identified Shabadaba responds.

But the way he addressed the prince as dono set Naruto on edge. As one who liked to play such games against the Hokage he knew that not using the appropriate –sama suffix meant something was wrong here.

"Thank you Shabadaba, but that aside the town looks a little weird" The prince says.

Everyone even the prince noted the change in Shabadaba's facial expression.

"Shabadaba …"

"Where is Papa? I don't see him around" The prince says after looking about.

The look on Shabadaba's face seemed just a little harsher.

"The king … has died!" He shouts with a crazed look in his eyes.

Before anything more could be said guards came rushing out of the castle to surround them from every direction.

"I shall now inherit the throne! So you the heir are in my way. Kill him!" Shabadaba shouts.

The armed guards immediately rushed the prince and the group surrounding him.

"Sasuke, Ami, Sakura" Kakashi barks.

The three immediately rushed in using their tiajutsu to fight, but quickly switched to using kunai. Naruto didn't have time to think about them as he unsealed the Kusanagi. Karin also unsealed a sword a standard wakizashi that Kushina gave her before they left.

The duo split up taking either side of the prince and Hikaru instead of charging in. They didn't have to wait long for the action to come to them.

Kakashi and Anko also joined the fray using kunai to counter the swords the guards were using. Anko went to back up Ami and Sakura, which Kakashi jumped in front of Naruto and Karin fighting the soldiers trying to get in the gap between the two Uzumaki.

Unfortunately for the soldiers facing Naruto the difference between the Kusanagi and their swords were substantial as some broke on first contact with the legendary weapon. Even their shields weren't helping much as Naruto using his speed and agility to weave in-between the shield and their guard to strike poison enhanced wounds on his enemies.

Those that weren't succumbing to the poison quick enough found no mercy from the blond as he already killed five guards.

Karin wasn't doing quite as well, but she was managed to hold her own even as multiple men were targeting her. She gracefully dodged and maneuvered as they attempted to stab her with their swords and retaliated at the rights time like Kushina taught her. However, she only cut and maimed a few she was up against as she was just trying to hold them off.

Kakashi seeing even more guards urged the prince to get in his carriage and go, but it didn't get far before more guards came and stopped it violently.

Naruto created three Kage Bunshin and had the stay and fight with Karin before he flashed to the front of the wayleighed carriage as Kakashi dealt with those at the rear. They needed an exit, but it was blocked off by a platoon of troops.

He was going to use a jutsu when he saw a large dark carriage with two men controlling it and a third sitting with them at the top. Naruto almost smacked himself when the guy in the middle jumped off the carriage and charged with his sword right into the middle of the platoon of troops yelling at the top of his lungs.

"It's Captain Korega!" Naruto heard someone shout.

The troops seemed stunned and were able to stop the man from pushing through them to stand beside the carriage.

"He's a traitor! Kill him quickly!" Shabadaba shouts.

"What did you say?" Korega shouts.

Only with his back turned the soldiers took the chance to strike at his back. He managed to be aware of it just in time to knock the guy back.

"Snap out of it"

"There's no way he's the ruler!"

"For friends to fight like this …" Korega shouts at the men as he fights them off.

Unfortunately he stopped and had to be saved by Kakashi from being stabbed in the back.

"Who are you?" Korega asks.

"I'm a hired guard. A shinobi from Konoha" Kakashi responds.

"That's reassuring" Korega remarks.

"At any rate, take care of his majesty. Take the carriage and get out of here" Kakashi tells him.

"Right" Korega says.

He runs to the front of the carriage as Kakashi continues fighting and takes hold of the reigns. He's able to easily ram through the remaining guards as Kakashi brings up the rear. Kakashi goes to use his sharingan, but Naruto stops him.

"Get the rest and go. I'll take care of this" Naruto says.

Kakashi didn't argue as he left with Sasuke, Sakura, Ami, and Anko following close behind. He soon sent Karin after them before turning on the soldiers all with the weapons raised as they glared at him.

He flashed through the hand seals 'Tiger - Ox - Dog - Rabbit - Snake'

'Fūton: Diatoppa – Wind Release: Great Breakthrough' Naruto intones.

He releases a huge gust of winds that picks the troops off their feet and sends them flying backwards some being unlucky in their landing spots.

His work done Naruto sinks into the ground and leaves the area behind. Shabadaba can hardly believe what happened as he runs back from the way even he was thrown by the winds.

"What are those guys?" Shhabada says as he sees the devastation the jutsu wrought.

Standing higher atop the mansion three men stood. The tallest one had long shaggy dark hair. The middle one had long shaggy orange colored hair and the shortest one had shaggy white hair.

"They're pretty good" One comments.

Meanwhile, Naruto had caught back up with the group as he jumped out of the surrounding forests. Anko and Kakashi seemed to casually disregard him as he turned to Korega.

"Sorry what was that?" Kakashi asked.

"I said your help really saved us back there. I apologize for not explaining the situation in advance. What are we going to do now?" Korega asks.

"We have friends in Sanchuu. We should head there first" Kakashi responds.

Korega nodded and they rushed towns the town. Later after failing to find the circus group Korega took them to a cave in the mountainous area of moon country. As they walked towards the opening Michiru and Hikaru suddenly took off into the cave shouting.

"Papa!"

"Grandpa!"

"So … that's the king" Naruto states.

Korega took the responsibility of explaining somethings to the Konoha contingent.

"The King new that Minister Shabadaba would want the crown one day. Even so the King hoped that he would understand him some day.

However, he continued to run down the path of anarchy. Luckily since we knew about this beforehand, we were able to offer our advice to the King. We came to the conclusion to execute the Minister before his treachery could grow further.

Just in case the worst happened we had his Majesty, Michiru, and Hikaru-dono go overseas under the disguise of traveling through our neighborhing countries" Korega explains.

Michiru looks up from where he was crying over his father.

"That … that was why … no way!" shouted as realization dawned on the prince.

"The King had a plan to deal with the Minister. However, the Minister had already hired some wandering ninja and had a military force set up.

Their counter attack was greater than we expected and we were forced to flee. But the King was …" Korega trails off.

"Grandfather" Hikaru says as he begins to understand.

Everyone stood in silence until Anko spoke up.

"Let me take a look. I'm not an Iryō-nin, but my speciality is poisons and it helps to know a little something of the medical field" Anko says.

As she pulls the covers back from the Kings body everyone is shocked to see he is partial covered in stone.

"It seems one of the shinobi has some sort of special ability. The King was poisoned while leading us!" Korega says.

Kakashi looked on in sympathy for the man. He knew what it was like to feel like you had failed your leader. He gripped his hand tightly as he looked at the boy he held responsible quickly before looking away.

"Well if it's a poison there might be something I can do. The first step is to identify what this is" Anko says.

She then got to work trying to identify the cause of the ailment as best she could with what she had. Everyone gave her room to work except Sakura and Ami as they watched closely to see what she was doing. Sasuke decided to wait outside and left without much fanfare.

A little while later Anko stood outside with Kakashi.

"How is he?" Kakashi asked.

"Not good. There was nothing I could do except stop the progress of the stone from covering his body entirely. Maybe if we had a medical-nin with is things would be different, but I doubt it. He doesn't have much time left" Anko surmises.

Unseen by everyone in the cave the old man came too.

"You've come back, Michiru?" He says.

"Grandfather!" Hikaru cries out hearing the voice.

"Majesty" Korega responds.

"Hikaru too … thank goodness" The King answers.

"How is the country?" He asks.

"It's unfortunate, but it's going to fall in rebel hands at this rate" Korega tells him.

"I see" He responds.

"Michiru, what do you think of this country now?" The King asks his son.

"What do I think?" Michiru starts.

"I think that it is a very rich, pretty and wonderful country" Michiru answers honestly.

"But I don't think that fortune alone does not bring happiness" The King responds to his son shocking him.

"Smiles, happiness, hopes, and dreams … I wanted to create a country that was peaceful and charitable. It's a shame that Shabadaba, who I had considered a comrade, could not understand this" The King tells them.

"I don't understand what you are saying!" Michiru responds.

"You sound just like Amayo" Michiru adds.

"Did you see her? How did it go?" The King asked.

"I see …" The King says when no answer was forthcoming.

"She said that I don't understand what is important" Michiru admits.

"She's as straight forward as ever. I thought that her scolding you would be perfect, but I never thought she would become disgusted with you like this. It's such a shame" The King responds.

Hikaru just looks between his father and grandfather. He remembers some of the things Naruto had said to him.

"I see … something important?" The King repeats.

It stays silent for a moment after that before the King speaks again his tone growing progressively weaker.

"Michiru"

"Yes, what is it?" Michiru asks.

"Please listen to my final words" The King asks.

Everyone became alert at that and the prince and Hikaru instantly began wailing again. Naruto wondered if they were even listening to the man.

"I can't tell you what this important thing is in my current situation. You will become the next King" He says.

"All of you bodyguards …" He calls.

Naruto stood on the other side of his bed as Hatake took position near the Kings head beside the crying Michiru.

"Yes, sir" Hatake responds.

"I'm sure that you already know what it is, but please hear my final request …" The King croaks out.

"What is it?" Hatake responds.

"Please protect these two"

"I will, even if it costs me my life" Hatake vows.

Everyone including the King's guard nod their heads in agreement.

"Thank you" The King responds.

"Michiru …" was his last words.

Later that night Naruto was looking up at the night sky when Hikaru joined him. The kid told him the story of how his grandpa gave him the bow and how important it was to him. After a little silence Naruto asks him a question.

"Hikaru, did you understand what your grandfather was trying tell you and your father?" Naruto asks.

"Not really … but it kinda reminded me of what you have been saying to me. About this country needing a just and dependable leader they can count on" Hikaru answers.

Naruto nods.

"That is what I said, but the King was talking about something more. He wanted the both of you to love this country he built and to protect it for him. He wanted you to love and protect not just the land and the buildings, but the people as well … at least that's what I think he was saying" Naruto tells the boy.

Hikaru looked up at the moon high in the night sky before looking down at his own small hands.

"Do you think … I can be that person?" Hikaru asked.

"It won't be easy or without hardships … but yes I think even your father can become the man your grandpa hoped the both of you would be" Naruto responds.

Hikaru smiled brightly at that. He would do it. He would become a good king for his land and people.

"Just remember you always have a friend out there if you need help. I hope I can also count on you if there comes a time I need your help, Hikaru" Naruto says.

Hikaru nods and they both go back to looking at the moon, while Hikaru continues to tell stories about his grandpa.

Meanwhile Kakashi, Anko, and Korega are talking on their own.

"We don't have a strong military force. It's too weak to stand up against the Prime Minister. For the time being we would like to send Michiru-sama and Hikaru-dono overseas again.

Our best bet would be for him to meet with out allied countries and form a stronger military force" Korega tells them.

Kakashi and Anko had to agree that did seem like the best move. It was well after midnight when they moved. Unfortunately seeing his father die and his large out of shape body made it hard for the prince to keep up when it was time to run for a boat that would take them to a hidden larger boat that was waiting on them.

When the prince fell Kakashi, Naruto, and Sakura had to break from the rest and help him up. Which was right when the three ninja the Shabadaba hired attacked by sending an exploding tag right at the prince. Thankfully Hatake was able to just get Michiru out of the way.

When the smoke cleared from the blast Naruto, Karin, Sasuke, Sakura, and Ami stood in front of Kakashi, Anko, and Michiru.

"Are you stupid!" screeched out one of the missing-nin, the white haired one.

Until that moment Naruto thought he would never have the misfortune of hearing someone with a more annoying voice than Haruno. Sadly that was no longer the case. Thankfully one of the other missing-nin continued talking instead.

"We saw a light coming from the coast. It was so obvious that you had made arrangements to get those ships now why don't you have over that man and the brat?" The orange haired one said.

Naruto sunk into the sand and repeared directly in front of the three.

"That's not happening idiot. You must be awefully good if you think you can take on three Jōnin and three Chūnin level genin … plus the pink haired one" Naruto says confidently.

Everyone just ignored the indignant shout that came from the pink haired one as they now found something far more annoying.

"Your full of spunk, brat" the red haired one responds.

He then uses his speed to appear behind Naruto. He goes to punch him, but instead found himself bent over Naruto's knee. He was then punched in the face and sent to the ground where Naruto followed up kicking him into the dark haired guy.

"Now that wasn't nice. I was just trying to save you from having something like that happen" Naruto responds.

The white haired shreeker growled at the blond. The dark haired guy set the one with red hair down and took a stance facing Naruto. They both took off to beat down the Uzumaki.

Naruto's response was to square his body up with them and take off as well. He punched the white haired shreeker in the stomach strong enough to knock him off his feet while he turned and intercepted the punch coming at the back of this head.

Using chakra Naruto blasted forward and slammed the much taller dark haired guy into the sand and then landed with an elbow to the chest. He flipped up into a kick catching the white haired missing-nin in the chin and then dropped down with his left leg on the stomach of the dark haired guy still on the ground.

He then pushed off the dark haired guy as the white haired missing-nin came at him again only to be intercepted by the Uchiha.

"What's this? Come to be a hero?" Naruto asked the Uchiha.

"Shut up and deal with that moron idiot while I handle this one" Sasuke says gruffly.

Naruto hadn't even stuck around to hear that as the dark haired guy rocketed at him intent on killing the blonde. Meanwhile, Kakashi was dealing with the red-haired guy as he held a kunai to his neck.

"This is as far as you go" Hatake says.

"Is that so"

Kakashi managed to turn and bring up his kunai in defense as the guy he was holding fades out. He lashes out with the kunai only to have it blocked as he jumped back gaining space from the red head.

"Shinobi from Konoha, huh? I've heard rumors about you. I wonder which of us is stronger?" The man taunts.

"We'll find out soon enough" Kakashi responds.

They both charge each other ending up exactly opposite where they started. Only it wasn't the red-hair guy that was hit, it was Kakashi. The slash mark below his shoulder and the fresh spurts of blood signaled the red-heads victory.

Meanwhile, Sasuke also wasn't having an easy go of it with the now seemingly female member of the missing-nin trio. He also had a few cuts on him and was having a hard time figuring out how it was happening.

Ami and Anko were busy dealing with the rebel leaders' men they had brought with them. They were having an easy time of it though since these were regular men. Anko hadn't done more then summon a fairly large snake, which freaked the horses the men were riding into bolting.

Ami was taking care of several that managed to jump off their mounts and try and attack them on foot. Without the advantage of numbers this time she was easily beating them.

Kakashi, Sasuke, and Sakura whom jumped in the fight when she saw her precious Sasuke get cut were trying to figure out what's wrong as they were slowly loosing their fights.

"Release!" Kakashi shouted thinking it was a genjutsu.

That was when the red-haired guy touched his glove and a weird orange glowing eye popped up in the center. He then raced towards Kakashi. When Kakashi went to defend the man avoided the kunai and grasped his other hand with the gloved hand. His hand and arm quickly turned to stone.

"That's a waste of time. This isn't a genjutsu" The red head says.

"It was the explosive note" Sakura breaks in.

"That's right. It's an odorless poison mist. When you smell it, it messes up your five sense. You will be useless for awhile allowing us to easily dispose of you" The white haired girl explains.

"Wait … then why aren't the dobe or those two losers affected?" Sasuke asks.

As if on cue the taller dark haired guy is sent smashing into the red-haired guy breaking his hold on Kakashi.

"That's easy. A poison like that isn't potent enough to affect someone like me in the slightest. And if you call me dobe again I'll cut out your voicebox and leave you to drown in your own blood" Naruto responds.

Of course everyone stopped fighting and looked at the blond.

"What? I'm tired of him and that almighty I was the Rookie of the Year, elite Uchiha, kiss my feet bullshit. Hello I'm a fucking Jōnin and he's the one that's still a genin" Naruto says.

The Uchiha just turns away in a huff, Sakura screeches, and everyone else just shakes their head and gets back to business.

"That still doesn't explain how Ami and Anko aren't affected" Sakura questions.

Instead of Anko Naruto also fields this one.

"She's been your sensei, one of them anyway, for the last eight or nine months and you mean to tell me you don't know that she specializes in interrogation and poisons. Did you already forget what happened just five or six hours ago?" Naruto questions.

Sakura immediately felt a little embarrassed, but she wasn't going to give up.

"Well … that still doesn't explain Ami" Sakura responds.

"I am her apprentice Sakura, plus I didn't breathe in any of the smoke" Ami tells her.

Sakura just nodded and shut up. Unfortunately with the lull in fighting Korega saw what happened to Kakashi's hand and became enraged. He charged at the now recovered red-haired missing-nin and swung with his sword.

"I'm your opponent now. I'll avenge the King!" The man shouted.

Unfortunately it was too late for anyone to intervene as the red head easily dodged the sword swing and got behind Korega. Before he could even turn his head the red heads gloved hand touched his shoulder and Korega was turned to stone.

"Such a lovely expression on your face" He taunted.

"It could even be called a work of art" He adds.

He took his sword, which resembled a sabre or fencing sword and was about to smash Korega when the Kusanagi sliced cleanly through the sword and then swung inside the red-heads guard forcing him to jump back, but still managing to cut him shallowly on the thigh.

He watched Naruto carefully as the teen had the sword shrink back to its normal size. The Kusanagi had started to change lately to Naruto's surprise as the blade had a tinge of purple to it, which shone eerily in the moonlight. The handle and guard were now black.

"Like my sword. It also has several unique abilities. One of which is that with each cut it delivers a fatal dose of toxin that even the Legendary Medic Tsunade would find hard to cure if not done immediately" Naruto says with a toothy grin.

"Why you little …" The red-head started.

Naruto was quickly behind him. The missing-nin couldn't react in time as the sword lengthed and stabbed him through his side piercing his kidney.

"Now that was unfortunate. I kind of liked Korega-san and the King. That was a mean thing to do … turning them to stone like that" Naruto says.

The grin never left his face as he addressed the man. Unfortunately the white haired menace got involved and distracted Naruto allowing the red-head to get away. The white haired girl also fled behind her genjutsu.

He looked to see that Sasuke and Sakura were both sprawled out in the sand. Karin was with Hikaru protecting him and the boats and he could see Anko had moved to treat Kakashi at some point.

However, he found Ami knocked out and Michiru gone. This wasn't good. Seeing as the fighting was finished for now Naruto went to go check on Karin and Hikaru. The remaining soldiers wept for the stone encased leader.

At the castle Michiru was shoved into the throne room. He couldn't stop himself from stumbling and falling on his face.

"My, my, my! We've really had to search for you, Michiru-dono!" Shabadaba says from behind the prince.

Michiru manages to turn around and get to his knees.

"Why!? You were papa's comrade, weren't you!?" Michiru shouts.

"And yet … you do something so horrible!" He continues.

Shabadaba and his wife just laughed at the foolish prince.

"Comrades you say? Don't be ridiculous!" Shabadaba responds.

"Your old man was always babbling on about an ideal world. He said that he was going to start supporting the elderly and those who weren't born into wealth. Not onlywas he going to use the national treasury for this, but he even planned on lowering taxes" Shabadaba tells him.

"Papa was doing something like that?" Michiru asks shocked.

Shabadaba just ignores the question and continues his rant.

"For example, what do you think allows you to eat delicious food as much as you like?" Shabadaba asks.

He picks a green pear from a bowl of fruit and holds it as an example. He then takes a bite from it with the juice dripping from his mouth. Despite himself Michiru can't help but gulp down his desire for the pear.

"Since this country is wealthy, we're able to enjoy such delicacies. And yet he said everything was meant for the people!" Shabadaba shouts angrily.

"He said it was our job to protect the peoples assets. Quit with the fancy talk!" Shabadaba shouts.

He throws the barely eaten pear to the ground smashing it as some of the juice hits Michiru on the face.

"Listen up!" He shouts at the prince.

"The most important thing in this world is money, money, money, money! Money is everything!" Shabada rants.

"That just means you want to become rich!" Michiru shouts back.

"That's right! I want more!" Shabadaba shouts.

He gets closer to the princes face as he starts pushing and pulling the fat on it. He then starts poking and pushing the prince.

"I want to get fat and have a plump body like yours!" He says before finally slapping the prince.

"You killed papa … over something like that" Says a teary Michiru.

"But he's dead. Now I'm going to become the King" Shabadaba proclaims.

"No I will! I will become the King!" Michiru shouts.

Shabadaba barely turns his head to give the prince an evil look.

"I doubt that. Dead men aren't usually made Kings"

It was now daylight where the group was hiding in the forest. Everyone was understandably upset about the previous night, but Naruto didn't care for all the talk about giving up and running away. Hikaru of course was the most upset as he sat in the clearing crying and ready to quit. Naruto decided enough was enough.

"Get up" He says to the crying boy.

Hikaru ignores him as he continues to cry.

"I said, get up!" Naruto shouts.

Everyone in the clearing shot surprised looks at Naruto, but Hikaru did as told even if he kept his head down and still cried.

"We need to rescue Michiru-san" Naruto says calmly.

"That's impossible!" Shouted Hikaru.

"I'm sure we can't save him! After all … after all they're going to kill papa!" Hikaru continues.

After shouting that he fell back to the ground and buried his face in the grass as he continued to cry. Naruto stood and walked over to the crying boy.

"Get up Hikaru"

"Get up" Naruto repeats when he doesn't.

"I said get up!" Naruto shouts as he lifts the boy onto his feet.

Everyone quickly got to their feet fearing what the blond would do. Kakashi had already pulled out a kunai. Defense of the clients' son would work well to dissolve any trouble he got in if he timed it right.

"Is this it … Is this the limit of your strength. You are just going to sit here and cry as they kill your papa" Naruto says.

Hikaru was stunned in silence as he stopped crying.

"Where's the boy that risked his life to save an animal that only moments earlier tried to make him a midnight snack. Where is that boy that said he wants to be the man his grandpa wanted him to be. Where's that boy that said he wanted to be someone people can depend and count on.

Your father is in a bad spot, but there is still hope. Doesn't your father deserve the same determination to save him that you gave Cham. I promise if you won't quit, I won't. We will save your father" Naruto announces.

Everyone in the clearing just looked at the blond with skepticism. How could they take on those three missing ninja and an entire army of troops to save one man that was probably already dead.

But the speech had the desire effect. The look on Hikaru's face grew serious as he stood up.

"I'll go. I'll go and save Papa!" The boy shouts.

The look on his face was enough to tell the others he was serious. Naruto smiled at the determination in his eyes. Still some weren't as easily swayed.

"Hikaru-sama, be reasonable!" One of the remaining loyal soldier shouted.

He wanted to save the prince, but there was just no way.

"Hey, I'll protect the kid. Nothing will happen to him. I promise" Naruto responds.

"I'm ready" Karin chimes in.

"Let's go" Sakura says.

"Can't let the brats have all the fun" teased Anko.

"I'm in" Ami adds.

"Hn, like you'd get far without my help" Sasuke says.

"We did make a promise to the former King. We should all follow the example of their courage" Kakashi says to the men still against it.

That's when they heard some rustling sounds like something large was coming towards them. Everyone tensed up before relaxing when the head of Cham and Kiki came from behind a tree.

"Cham! Kiki!" Hikaru shouted.

He ran to embrace the sabre-toothed tiger and was rewarded with a lick to the face that knocked him back a bit.

"Hey Cham! What's wrong with you all of a sudden" They heard.

That's when the members of the circus appeared. Including one ticked off ring master.

"After the prince's carriage ran off somewhere we went to the place thinking 'Well, that's odd …' Only then to be turned away at the gate, and even threated by the soldiers!" The man shouted.

"Because of that all the animals panicked and ran into this forest!"

"And to not be able to collect our fee? That's completely different from what we agreed upon!"

"Now, will you please explain to me what's going on around here?!" He finished shouting at the apparent leader of the soldiers with them.

"Ringmaster-san, you anger is very understandable. It would be trouble for everyone in the circus if you weren't able to get your money" Kakashi intervenes trying to appease the man.

He then goes on to tell him what's happening.

Meanwhile, at the castle prince Michiru's situation was becoming extremely precarious. A plank had been erected on the balcony of the thrown room and he was being shoved out onto it blindfolded with a noose around his neck no less attached to another wooden beam held in place by a pully system.

"No! No, no, no! Stop it! No!" Michiru shouted in fear.

"For the longest time I wanted to try executing the master this way" Shabadaba says to those around him.

Around his throne stood five old men dressed in expensive robes and his wife. All of them watching as Michiru was made to step over the railing of the balcony and out onto the plank before the noose was placed around him. He tried to fight them, but it was all in vain. Shabadaba enjoyed it nonetheless.

"You mustn't struggle like that Michiru-dono! Otherwise …" He called out jovially.

The frown on his face when Michiru recovered instead of instantly falling to his doom was noticeable. Michiru stood and stopped struggling to his further disappointment.

"Remove the blindfold for him" Shabadaba ordered.

Upon seeing where he was Michiru fell back against the balcony, but Shabadaba wasn't having that. He ordered one of the soldiers to turn the crank connected to the rope, which forced Michiru to his feet.

"Try not to fall too quickly! It wouldn't be any fun that way!" Shabadaba taunted the prince.

As the rope was pulled further Michiru moved to the center of the long wooden plank almost causing it to snap, but that forced him to the edge of the plank where he nearly fell off. But once again to Shabadaba's disappointment Michiru managed to regain his balance.

When the prince managed to calm down his eyes fell on the beauty of the surrounding land bathed in the light of the setting sun. Its beauty was breath taking and it was in this moment the prince began to see what his father was trying to tell him before he died.

It was well after the sunset when the guards at the gate heard the sounds of a drum and music coming up the path. It was the circus, back again much to the guards' anger.

"What are you guys doing back here?!" He shouts at them.

"No, umm …" The ringmaster fumbled for an excuse.

"Leave!" The guard shouted as he pointed his spear at them.

A disguised Kakashi moved to the front of the group and used his sharingan to get them through without incident. In the throne room the three missing-nin entered the room. The red haired leader looked like he had seen better days, but was moving around just fine.

"What's this?" He asked Shabadaba referring to the prince's predicament.

"Just a little entertainment. It'd be boring to kill him right away, don't you think?" Shabadaba responds.

A couple of moments later the circus entered the gates and made their way to the court yard.

"What?" One of the soldiers watching Michiru says.

"Those circus folks? Why were they let in?" Questioned another.

Shabadaba and his advisors came out to see what the commotion was.

"We should turn them away immediately" One of the old men says.

But Shabadaba caught sight of a beautiful blonde, blue eyed girl doing acrobatics at the front of the circus group.

"No, wait. I was just starting to get bored because of this guy anyway" He says.

People started to come out of the estate to watch the circus as they performed forgetting about what was happening above them.

While the circus was busy doing their part in distracting the occupants of the estate Naruto, the three remaining loyal soldiers, Sakura, Sasuke, Karin, and Hikaru entered the estate through a secret passage.

They ran through the estate, but with everyone out watching the circus the halls were pretty easy allowing them to move freely for the most part. It wasn't till they reached the stairs that they ran into a group of soldiers standing watch in front of them. Sakura quickly relayed a coded message to Kakashi through their communication device.

He got everyones attention and then using his sharingan, which alerted the missing-nin and Shabadaba to what was happening called out the technique.

'Water Release: Water Beast' Kakashi intones.

Using the water in the fountain a giant wolf like beast rises up and blasts the front of the estate with a huge spray of water. The blasts of water sent everyone standing out watching the show in various directions as they were captured by the flow of the rushing water including the guards inside the castle.

Not one to be left out Anko jumped from out behind the circus performers and also performed a technique.

"Kuchiyose no Jutsu" She shouted.

Three large pythons emerged from the smoke and dealt with the wave of soldiers that poured out of the castle when the wave of water subsided. Kakashi though was able to maintain the water beast jutsu as he used it continue sending sprays of water at the soldiers.

Ami also helped out as she fought a group of soldiers trying to attack the group from the side that the snakes hadn't picked off. Some members of the circus and the animals were also fighting.

Meanwhile the group had made it up the stairs. Kakashi told them Michiru was being held in the throne room so that meant they had to go up three levels of stairs. Frankly Naruto was wondering about the genius of bringing the kid and the four soldiers along. It would have been simpler to get in and out if it was just them alone.

After reaching the first level they ran to the next set of stairs running as fast as they were allowed to with the kid following them. As soon as they reached the top of the stairs they were met with the dark haired member of the three missing-nin with the big dopey face.

"It's true. That's the leader for you. He's great at reading things.

Like that the rukus outside was a diversion. It was all obvious" The dark haired missing-nin says.

"You not very bright coming here to face us like this are you. In case you forgot I alone bounced all three of your asses around the sand earlier. But if your looking for more …" Naruto threatens.

He moves to step forward, but Sasuke stands in the way.

"This ones mine. The rest of you should go on ahead. I'll be right behind you" Sasuke says.

"Alright he's all yours, let's go" Naruto orders.

They quickly turned and ran to the next set of stairs, but the big guy tried to stop them only for Sasuke to force him to stop as he tried to kick him in the face. The dark haired man blocked the kick and squared up to face the Uchiha.

"I'm not going to hold back on you" He tells Sasuke.

"Neither will I"

Sasuke's eyes turned red as he activated his kekkei genkai. Both fighters rushed at each other, but Sasuke's sharingan gave him the advantage as he dodged the punch and landed one of his own on the bigger man's gut. To his surprise the man didn't budge as he gave a large toothy smile and tried to smash Sasuke's head into the ground.

The Konoha genin managed to dodge as the fist crashed to the ground creating a cloud of dust and debris. Meanwhile the group just made it to the top of the stairs when Karin quickly grabbed a kunai hidden in her shirt sleeve and threw it at the wall in front of them.

Everyone looked at her questioningly except Naruto that knew what was going on. The wall slowly buldged as a shape became visible on the wall. When the cloaking technique dropped the white haired female of the missing-nin group was grinning at them her head a few inches away from the kunai embedded in the wall.

"Good job, noticing me" The white haired female says.

"She wasn't the only one. That perfume your wearing wreaks. Wearing perfume even though you're just a kid. You've got bad taste" Sakura taunts.

Naruto and the others somehow managed to resist the urge to shout hypocrite at the pink haired genin.

"Kid?" The white haired female says angrily.

"I'll handle her. Go on ahead" Sakura says.

"Did you say, kid?!" The the white haired missing-nin shrieked.

She then dove at Sakura forcing everyone to jump back as she created a shallow crater in the floor.

"I'm already twenty-two, you know!" The female missing nin shouted.

No one in the hall way knew what to think about that. Seriously she not only now had a more horribly annoying voice than Sakura, but now was an adult with noticeably less curves than her as well. It didn't get much worse than that in most of the guys opinion.

"Karin, stay with her. I'll handle the leader on my own" Naruto orders.

"Becareful" Karin responds.

Naruto nods as he and the group ran past the distracted white haired female. Her focus was soley on Sakura not even seeming to notice the female Uzumaki staying behind.

The group continued on as they found themselves outside below the throne room and Michiru still standing on the plank.

"Papa!" Hikaru shouted.

Naruto was focused on the prince so he saw it too late when the red headed leader of the missing-nin jumped down his gloved hand smashing the face of the oldest soldier with them and almost instantly turning him into a statue then smashing him against the ground.

Before anyone could make a move they were surrounded by at least fifty soldiers in full armor and gear swords and spears pointed at them.

Naruto stepped out in front of the group even though the three remaining men tried to hold him back. He and the red head stared each other down while Shabadaba laughed from above.

"It was all in vain, wasn't it. Your plan" He taunts.

"Actually I'm surprised your alive. The Kusanagi's poison is usually extremely lethal and fast acting. But looking at you I can see you won't be alive much longer. We should make this quick, I've never fought a dead man before" Naruto responds.

"Die!" The red head shouts as he charges.

He was halted as ten puffs of smoke erupted and then ten Naruto's rushed the soldiers surrounding them. A load roar was also heard from behind them as Cham came running to their rescue. The soldiers parted as the sabre-toothed cat came running at them.

Naruto threw down a couple of smoke pellets and when the smoke cleared Cham and the loyal soldiers were running up the stairs to the throne room.

The red head then looked to see that the blond haired kid had stayed behind.

"Didn't want to run away with your friends" He taunted.

Naruto smiled at him. He unbuttoned his shirt as seals flared up illuminating his skin before he deftly touched several of them and they faded away.

"Run from you? You are good, but not that good. Without that glove your just some second rate missing-nin. I won't even break a sweat killing you" Naruto says.

"Isshidate, kill him!" Shabadaba shouted from above them.

"Gladly" the red head responds.

Naruto takes a deep breath and then exhales a large amount of dark mist that covers the entire floor and rises ten feet above floor level they were standing on blinding the soldiers and Isshidate.

"What is this?!" The red head shouts.

"This is my 'Meiton: Enmu – Dark Release: Smog'" Naruto answers from inside the smog.

Isshidate could barely breathe. It felt like the smog was choking him and his eyes were watery as he tried to breathe the air into his lungs, which felt like they were on fire. He made a run for the stairs, but was kicked in the midsection as he fell to a knee. Unfortunately this made him suck in the more of the polluted air.

His head was then smashed into the stone floor by what felt like a leg made of iron. He wasn't the only one feeling the effects of the jutsu as the soldiers were already knocked out from a lack of oxygen and several well placed blows to their bodies.

Isshidate had enough. He powered up his glove and reached around trying to come in contact with his blonde attacker, but all he felt was air until he felt something. He immediately turned it to stone. His satisfaction was short lived as he was soon kicked on the butt and sent skidding across the stone floor.

He fumbled around reaching for what hit him and his hand landed on what felt like a leg and he turned it and the person to stone. He didn't stop this time and felt another body and turned it to stone as well just in case.

He needed air. He jumped up temporarily escaping the smog attack and gulping down the fresh air greedily. Gaining control of himself he saw the blond haired brat and dove for him. Naruto simply substituted himself with one of the knocked out soldiers.

Isshidate didn't even bother to stop channeling chakra to his glove when he noticed what happened. The poor soldier was turned to stone and the red head callously threw him to the ground shattering him.

Isshidate fell to the ground, but noticed the smog had dissipated and in its wake it left behind the dead bodies of the entire platoon of soldiers that were backing him up including those he had killed himself. Up on the balcolny Shabadaba eyes grew wide as he and his wife looked shocked at the sight. The pair began to back away making their way back towards the throne room.

Just as the pair made their way to the open door they were run over by the 3 remaining loyal soldiers, Cham, and Hikaru. They all fell in a pile of tangled limbs.

"Ohh!"

Those in the pile stopped moving and looked for the source of that sound. It was Shabadaba's wife and the reason for the sound was soon found as well. One of the soldiers' hands had found their way to a very delicate area of her body during the struggle.

Aside from being a little disturbed by the situation the struggling to separate began especially for the unfortunate soldier that had his hand now trapped by the older, unattractive woman. Try as he might to yank himself free the woman was not letting go and no one else seemed to care one way or the other.

"Papa!" shouted Hikaru.

Luckily he had landed on top of the pile and could see his father clearly.

"Hikaru!" Michiru shouted back.

The man tried to turn to look at his son only to hear …

*Crack* As the wood finally started to give out. The wood began to splinter and crack.

Hearing the noise everyone stopped moving and looked towards the surpsingly not frantic Michiru. Instead his eyes were focused on the land and sky of his country.

Shabadaba managed to crawl out from under the pile and was looking on anxiously as he cheered.

"Go on fall! Fall!" The man cheered.

Michiru didn't seem to even hear the grotesque little old man. His eyes held the look of a man resigned to his fate.

"Goodbye Hikaru" He says softly.

Barely a second later the board finally broke and Michiru plummeted towards certain death. However, he grunted as he felt something impact his stomach as he suddenly seemed to lift higher in the air making the noose stop tightening around his neck.

He was soon dumped on solid ground. The rope was carefully cut from around his neck allowing him to breathe as he fell forward to the ground catching himself with his hands.

"Naruto-niichan!" Michiru heard Hikaru shout.

Indeed when he looked up the prince found the blond, blue eyed shinobi giving him a big grin.

"Thank you" Michiru whispered.

Naruto heard it all the same and nodded.

"Now to deal with the trash" Naruto says.

Michiru thought he was talking about Shabadaba and his wife.

"No, wait!" He shouted as he stood up.

"Let me deal with them" Michiru says menacingly … well as menacingly as he could.

It was enough for Shabadaba though as he took off running into the throne room. For being such a big out of shape guy Michiru was keeping up well as he ran after the man. Hikaru, Cham, and two of the soldiers ran after them leaving Naruto alone … well mostly alone. He wasn't sure what was going on over in the left corner of the balcony and he didn't really want to know.

Instead he looked down and saw the angry looking Isshidate. Naruto jumped over the railing using a liberal amount of wind chakra to slow his dissent. When he touched down he was facing the missing-nin.

No words were said as Isshidate held up his gloved hand and sent as much chakra as he could through it. The eye in the middle went from orange to an orangish-yellow color as the white lines became visible. Then the glove turned red while the eye's pupil displayed a dark orange and red coloring while the iris was enlarged and pure black the surrounded area was dark orange and blood red like the pupil.

Naruto noted the change, but paid more attention to the man. He took out a single kunai as the man charged straight at him like some amateur. Naruto through the kunai as it raced toward the man's face.

Isshidate didn't even stop as he plucked the kunai out of the air with his ungloved hand. He reached the blond kid quickly and stabbed him with his own kunai while his gloved hand moved to turn him to stone.

He paused just a moment to say something.

"I expected more" He said.

He said nothing more as his gloved hand came in contact with Naruto's head gripping it.

"So did I" He heard from behind him.

His head snapped directly behind him to see the grinning blonde only to turn his head just in time for the Naruto infront of him to explode violently. He was sent screaming back into the hard cement of the adjacent tower where he went threw the wall and landed on the hard floor of the building.

It wasn't over though as the kunai clattered to the floor beside him and began to glow. The resulting explosion engulfed Isshidate and caused the floor to collapse nearly squashing Sakura as Karin had moved when she sensed the build up of chakra.

"NARUTO!" He heard coming from the building.

He just ignored it in time to see Michiru triumphantly walking out with Shabadaba and his wife tied up and being held by the remaining loyal soldiers. Naruto could see some bruising on Shabadaba's face although his wife was smiling. Naruto also noted they were missing one of the soldiers, but he ignored it.

"What will you do with him?" Naruto asked the prince.

Michiru tugged on the rope he held connecting to the bound traitor as he was sent tumbling to the floor in front the prince. Michiru smirked as he thought about the question.

After that things happened very quickly. Kakashi exhausted all of his chakra and spent the time recuperating. The surviving soldiers and the rest of the Konoha group rounded up all the remaining men and women loyal to Shabadaba. That effort took nearly a week and a few managed to escape off the island nation, but most were caught.

Those proven to be a part of Shabadaba's plan or complicit with him would be held in prison for a time to be determined later by a trial. However, there were too many for them all to be tried so some would be pardoned depending on their role and agreeing to certain stipulations.

As for Shabadaba and his wife they were both to be executed in a month's time for the crime of high treason. He would not make it a public affair.

The prince was made the new King of Moon Country at the end of the week and big celebration was had by everyone. There were so many parties going on around the island nation that the group couldn't get to all of them. Of course the King and the now Prince Hikaru invited them to the repaired palace for a grand feast to mark the occasion.

Naruto did note that despite all the food and parties Michiru didn't eat as much as he did before. He'd also heard from Hikaru that the man had started exercising. Something was up with that and Naruto had a guess as to what.

After the coronation was done there was nothing left for the ninja. New soldiers had been recruited and were adequately guarding the new King and Prince of their country. So they spent a few days enjoying the beach and relaxing before they would leave.

Naruto was laying back on the sand looking out on the ocean when his quiet time was interrupted. A shadow loomed over him. He didn't need to look up to see who it was.

"What do you want?" Naruto asked.

"Aww … and here I thought you might like to rub some tanning lotion on my body" Anko says seductively.

Naruto's right eyebrow arched as he looked up at the woman. Naruto thought it wasn't possible for her to dress any more slutty than she regularly did and it turned out he was wrong.

He wasn't sure it was even legal to walk around in something like that. It was the smallest bikini he had ever seen. There was a small strip of material barely big enough to cover her nipples attached to a string that went around her back. Oh and the material was slightly see through and she hadn't gotten in the water yet.

The bottoms were just as bad as another small stip covered her labia, but her pubic mound was on full display as the material stoped a quarter of an incher above her labia attached to a couple of strings then went around her back and led to a single string that went down the middle of butt cheecks, both of which were also on full display.

"Where did you even find something like that?" Naruto asked.

"You like, I went through every bikini shop in this town before finding this little number" Anko said as she poses.

He hated to admit it, but she is hot. He had to force himself to look away and stare out at the ocean again.

"What do you want?" He asked again.

"I just wanted to say hi and see if you … maybe … wanted to get something to eat … with me" She answers awkwardly.

Naruto had to look up at her again just to make sure it was the same women as she sounded so nervous. He quickly looked away again.

"I'll pass" he responded.

'I can't believe this. Here I am wearing this ridiculously hot bikini and he won't even look at me' Anko thought angrily.

"Look at me" She says.

"Look at me!" She shouts when he doesn't.

Seeing that he still won't look at her she pushes him back onto the ground and pins him as she leans over him making him look at her.

"What's it going to take?" She asked sadly.

"What's it going to take for you to forgive me. It's been over 5 years already. I've said I'm sorry, I've begged you, gotten on me knees even. I can't do it anymore. Just tell me what you want me to do already and I'll do it" She tells him.

A black inky substance crawled it's way over Naruto and then he sunk into the ground.

'What the fuck?' Thought Anko.

"I'm going to tell you once more that I will never, ever forgive you for what happened. You don't know how hard it was for me to trust you back then after all the times I had trusted someone before and literally been stabbed in the back for it.

But you wore me down. You made me think you really cared, that you understood me. That we shared the same pain. Only to find myself betrayed once more by someone I thought I could trust, because she was in the same pain I was.

You betrayed me and for what? Some stupid promotion?" Naruto says from behind her.

Anko didn't even turn to face him instead keeping her head down towards the ground.

"I wa-wanted too …"

"Too what?" Naruto interrupts.

"To be accepted by them!" She shouts.

"I wanted to be accepted by them. I just wanted them to see me like everyone else. To treat me like everyone else. I'm sorry about what I did, but can't you … can't you at least see that I didn't want to hurt you" She says turning to face him.

Naruto quickly turns away causing her to drop her head. The reason he turned away was that her momevement causing the bikini to shift and pretty much everything was on display.

"I'm going to tell you something I told Umino-san some time ago. I thank you for your apology, but it is wasted on me. I do not forgive you or anyone in this village … including the Hokage for what has been done to me. However, I do not seek revenge. I just want to be left alone.

That's what I want from you Mitarashi-san. I don't want to be friends, I certainly don't want to fuck you or be your boyfriend. I don't have any plan of some grand revenge on you or anybody else in Konoha.

I just want to finish out these last 2 years and get on with my life" Naruto responds.

"Why the change? You sounded like you absolutely hated my guts back in Wave" Anko reminds him.

"It was the first time I had even seen you since that night and you went about it in the wrong way. I may have overreacted some and I have had the chance to think about it since Wave.

Don't get me wrong I stand behind everything I said that day, but I've moved on. You should move on as well. My forgiveness is something you can't have" Naruto says before leaving.

He would have to try again tomorrow to get some peace. Maybe he would try his luck in one of the casino's. He had been meaning to visit one since things had gotten back to normal on the island. Of course if he had remembered who he was talking to he would know things wouldn't end this simply.

'Ku,ku,ku maybe not today Naruto-kun, maybe not tomorrow or the day after that or the month after that, but you will forgive me or I am not the sexiest, hottest damn kunoichi there is. Oh yes, you will forgive me' thought Anko as she dusted herself off and ignored the lustful stares the surrounding male population was giving her.

The next day he was playing on the beach with Hikaru, Cham, Kiki, and Karin when another uninvited guest popped up.

"Uzumaki"

Naruto stood and turned to face the speaker. He grinned at seeing who it was.

"Hmm … I wondered when you would make your move. Let me guess you want to know what happened between me and your brother" Naruto says with a grin.

"…"

"Just going to stare at me huh. *Shrugs* Not like it matters. The fight ended in a draw and he left" Naruto tells him.

"That's it. It was a draw and he left?" Sasuke questioned.

"That's all you need to know about it … actually you didn't need to know anything. Now reward my generosity by leaving" Naruto says.

"Fight me" The Uchiha says.

"Not interested"

"Fight me! Or are you scared" The Uchiha taunts.

"A lame taunt, that's all you got? Go away Uchiha" Naruto responds.

"Fight me!"

The shout was followed by him running at Naruto as he closed the distance and prepared to punch the blond idiot. Sasuke cocked his arm back and proceeded to punch the blond square in the mouth only to have his fist go straight through the blond.

He wasn't given time to recover before a knee found it's way to his stomach and a punch connected with the side of his head. Sasuke staggered back before retreating a little to get some space.

"Hmm … you've gotten a little stronger since the academy, but I was expecting so much more from the 'Rookie of the Year' after all the training Hatake has surely given you" Naruto taunts.

Sasuke hand started to turn red from the pressure he was exerting as he reminded himself to keep calm.

"I'll show you the difference between a peasant and an Uchiha Elite" Sasuke says as his eyes bleed red.

Naruto didn't bother activating his.

"I see … so your plan was to fight me and steal my techniques. Your so easy to read little Uchiha. Do you really think I would be stupid enough to show you anything.

You are not on my level. You never were on my level. As far as being an Uchiha Elite … that's easy to say when you're the only Uchiha left" Naruto responds.

Sasuke frowns, but doesn't immediately attack. He takes out a couple of kunai and rushes in again.

'This time will be different. It will be you under my foot this time' Sasuke thinks.

When Sasuke got closer Naruto calmly sunk into the ground and before Sasuke could adjust as he sunk he grabbed Sasuke's ankles firmly causing him to fall forward as he threw the kunai down so he could brace himself.

It was like a repeat of the Survival Exercise Kakashi put him through when evaluating their team as he found himself up to his chin in the sand. He didn't even know how the blond did it.

Naruto calmly rose from the sand right in front of Sasuke as he looked down on him.

"This is warning number three Uchiha. You don't seem to learn very well so I'll make it clear. I'm not some training tool you get to use to guage how close you are to killing your brother.

I have no interest in helping you kill him. I have no interest in helping you get stronger. I do not care about you. So stay away, because there is no fourth warning, I promise you that.

Come at me again and you won't ever get the chance to fight your brother or avenge your clan. Now, I'm going to go have fun with my friends. Have fun getting out of there" Naruto says.

Sasuke struggled to break free as Naruto walked over to Hikaru and Karin that had watched the whole thing.

"That was so cool Naruto-oniisan!" Hikaru shouted.

He started mimicking the quick fight and added moves of his own. Naruto just laughed and patted his head.

"Should you really leave him there?" Karin asked.

She watched as Cham sniffed the Uchiha before licking his face and walking back over to them and Kiki mussed up his hair. It was a slight improvement if you asked Naruto.

"He'll be fine. I'm sure Hatake will be here soon to help him out if he doesn't get out himself" Naruto responds.

Karin nodded at that and left it alone.

"How about we go back to town and get some ice cream?" Naruto suggests.

Hikaru nodded eagerly, royalty or not he was still a kid. Karin also nodded as the five of them walked back into town leaving the Uchiha by himself.

The next morning Team 7 got on one of the luxury cruise ships and departed for Konoha. The noticeably fitter and better looking Michiru, Hikaru, Cham, and Kiki seeing them off waving until the boat was nearly out of sight.

"I think I'm going to go pick up Mama once the country settles down" Michiru tells the now sullen Hikaru.

"I understand what she meant now. I know what's precious to me. I know what it means to love what's precious" Michiru says.

"I bet she will be happy to see that"

"Huh?" Michiru says as he turns around.

"Naruto, Karin!" Shouted Hikaru.

"Naruto-kun … why are you not on the ship headed home?" Michiru asks.

Naruto bends down to hug Hikaru and pet Cham and Kiki.

"I wanted to talk to you about something without any prying ears around. Do you have time to hear a proposal that could benefit your country?" Naruto asks.

"Sure, umm … let's go to the palace" Michiru directs.

Naruto nods and he and Karin follow the royal duo and their entourage back to the Estate.

4 Days Later

"I told you we should have gone back for them!" Anko shouted.

"Maa, maa I'm sure they caught the next boat. They probably slept it after over doing it the night before" Kakashi responds.

"Still we should have waited for them at the port" Anko argues.

"Look we're here and there's nothing that can be done about it now" Kakashi says as he knocks on the Hokage's door.

'Have fun being stuck on that stupid island dobe' thought a still pissed Uchiha.

"Enter" Tsunade says.

Anko gave Kakashi a look that said this wasn't over before she Ami passed him and walked into the office. Kakashi and the rest of Team 7 soon followed not caring in the least what happened to the blond or his cousin.

"Ahh Team 7, here to give your report?" Tsunade asks.

"Yes, Hokage-sama" they answers.

"Good, Naruto already filed his and gave me a rundown of the mission so just hand the report to Shizune and you can collect your pay" Tsunade says.

If she had been looking at them when she said this she would have noticed the shock or confused faces they gave her. But she was focused on reading reports of Lee's recovery.

He underwent the surgery several days before and so far the reports on his recovery were better than he expected. He might actually be able to rejoin Team Gai in a few months barring any setbacks.

"Naruto already gave his report?" Anko questioned.

"Huh, oh yeah … he and that Karin girl came back three days ago. Nice job with the client by the way. It seems we have secured our relationship with Moon Country as King Michiru was very pleased with your work" Tsunade says still looking at the reports.

"How is that even possible. It's nearly a weeks travel to get from the Crescent Moon Kingdom to here and he missed the boat the day we left" Kakashi says.

The tone of desperiation in his voice caused Tsunade to look up from her reports and eye the man curiously.

"He has some kind of teleportation just, didn't you know?" She tells them.

All of team 7 just shook there heads.

"Hmph, well I wouldn't believe it but he took a gift and a request for an alliance for me to the new King Michiru and arrived back within ten minutes with the alliance agreement signed. Now if you'll excuse me I have work to do, your dismissed and remember to give the written report to Shizune before you leave the building" Tsunade says.

She goes back to her paperwork missing the looks on Team 7's faces.


Thank you for reading the 24th installment of Work Release. Sorry for the extra wait for this chapter, but I hope it was worth it. Until next time dear reader :)