Chapter Sixty: Foxhunting In Konoha
"Hinata!" Naruto called out when he found his wife, and before he could even ask her anything he already had his answer.
"Naruto, those things have Rai-chan!" She cried as she engulfed him in a hug and began to weep.
"She says one of these entities impersonated me and managed to obtain your son before fleeing." Neji clarified on Hinata's behalf. "If they can do that, tracking them might be more difficult than anticipated."
"We don't have to track them. We just have to track my brother." Akane pointed out. She then created what looked like a hundred clones which spread out as quickly as possible. "Rai-chan will be found soon."
"How can you have enough chakra at your age to do that jutsu on that scale?" Neji asked. He had been around Akane long enough to be more than well aware she could do her father's signal jutsu almost as good as he could, but this was the first time he had seen her do it in such a quantity, including who knows how many she had already created when the invasion started and how much chakra she had used in the exam finals.
Akane ignored his question and looked to her father. "What should I do until we find him?"
"Go with your mother and make sure she's safe. If you do locate your brother, find me first." Naruto ordered.
At any other time Hinata would have protested being sent off to safety while the rest of her family fought a threat to their home. But with her current condition and her worry for her missing son she was in no position to do anything else but make sure the Zetsu didn't get to her or her unborn.
"Let's go home Akane." She told her daughter, who nodded but the look in her eyes made it clear she wasn't going to stay. She was Naruto's child after all.
"Get away from me!" Matsuri screamed. Standing in the room with her were two misshapen Zetsu, with the medics originally attending her knocked out due to being caught off guard by them.
"You are in no danger. We just want the offspring." One of the Zetsu claimed. This one had a left arm that look like it had been twisted around completely more than once, and one eye was just a little higher than the other.
"You think that's any better?!" Matsuri replied, trying to withstand her labor pains. She did not like that they felt like they were getting really close together, and hoped it was just in her head.
"Isn't it?" The other Zetsu asked. This one overall looked like a normal person, save for the white skin and green hair of course, but it had twig-like growths sprouting out of its skin in a few places like botanical acne.'
A contraction hit her and Matsuri was overwhelmed with the need to push. She did so, praying that help, whoever provided it, would come to her before her baby did. Because there wasn't much time left.
"I'm impressed Nibi, you're actually making me work for this." Getsu-Ni said from within an ice mirror. They were still melting, and the ice wielder still had to reinforce each one before using it. But they weren't useless yet.
"My name is Yugiko Funi." Yugiko claimed, holding her hands out and letting out two streams of blue fire before spinning, hitting all of the mirrors at the base of the dome.
"Go ahead and say that, you know deep down what you really are."
Getsu-Ni went for the mirrors above the Kumo kunoichi where she wasn't aiming. She then threw dozens of ice needles, which got her in the shoulders. Yugiko winced but persisted in her attack, this time aiming up. But Getsu-Ni had already moved to a lower mirror to take advantage of the new opening. Fortunately for Yugiko, this time the time needles aimed for her calves missed.
Pausing her fire assault for a moment, Yugiko looked around, then tried something a little reckless. Coating herself in flames, she created the equivalent of a fire clone and went in opposing directions, trying to get out of the mirror dome. Getsu-Ni was not expecting this and went for a two-pronged attack in an attempt to stop both since she couldn't be in two places at once. The needles just passed thru the fire clone and Yugiko was willing to take the hit.
Both escaped the dome, with the fire clone fizzing out and the real Yugiko smirking, stopping only to remove the icy intrusions.
Getsu-Ni dispelled the mirror dome and got ready to reform it around Yugiko again, but the reborn Nibi disappeared in a flame shushin. "Still going to make me work for it are you kitty? No matter, I'm specifically made to take you down."
All of Akane's clones were sniffing for her brother's scent while decimating any and all Zetsu that got in their way. But a handful of clones on the western side actually found the scent, and it was leading out of Konoha.
Four clones went on ahead, while several others stayed back to handle any Zetsu that might follow. The four going ahead didn't prepare for a trap. They didn't need to, they were clones, whatever happened to them could only help the original Akane. Unless it endangered her brother.
Getsu-Kyu appeared, making them stop if only to confirm the presence or absence of Jiraiya. Scent-wise he was not here.
"Give him back." Each of the clones demanded.
"And what was your plan if I said no?" Getsu-Kyu asked back.
"Make you wish you hadn't."
"Oh I'd love to see you try."
Without another word, the clones lunged at Getsu-Kyu. The clone of Sasuke attacked with a fireball, which one of the clones intercepted to keep the other three around. The other three quickly created two rasengans between them and rammed them into Getsu-Kyu, who replaced himself with a log that got reduced to splinters.
"Dammit!" One of the clones cursed, only to briefly panic and look around, glad Hinata was not there to hear it.
"All he's doing is dodging and provoking us." The second clone complained.
"Which could mean Rai-chan is nowhere near here and he's leading us away." The third clone theorized.
"Or I could be leading you right to him and counting on you to think this is a ruse?" The voice of Getsu-Kyu was heard from somewhere in the forest.
"Nice try, but the last thing you'd want to do is bring us directly to your hostage." A clone argued.
"But are you willing to take that chance?" Getsu-Kyu asked tauntingly.
The three clones had to admit they were not, and sniffed out their target. They found him and continued their assault, jumping into the canopy and ripping apart the trees with their claws.
Getsu-Kyu jumped aside and threw a collapsible giant shuriken at them, which killed one clone and left two. "Try it all you want Kyuubi, I'm specifically made to take you down."
Matsuri paused to catch her breath, praying again that someone who save her.
In the past those words only ever installed fear in others, especially for those whom these words were the last they'd ever hear. For Matsuri right now, they were exactly what had been hoping for. The Zetsu were swiftly caught up in a wave of sand from the door that encased them in inescapable cocoons.
The cocoons constricted and a crunching noise was heard from within each, the sound of every bone in the body breaking at once. Gaara walked inside and recalled all his sand.
"I'm sorry I couldn't get here sooner." He said as he came beside his wife.
"I'm just glad you did come." She said before immediately having to push again. "It's almost out! Get your kid out of me before more of those things get in here!"
Gaara nodded and moved to assist his wife, thankful that a lifetime of causing gore had strengthen him enough to not be queasy at this task.
For the first time in a month, Akane got to step inside her home. The scent was immediately comforting to her, helping her calm down for a moment, though her mother needed it more than she did.
Hinata sat on the sofa and started to cry. "I can't even imagine what they could be doing to Jiraiya right now."
Akane patted her mother's shoulder. "They'll do nothing if I have anything to say about it. And if they do, I'll kill them all myself."
Hinata tried to smile and hug her daughter. "Show no mercy sweetheart. But where will you look?"
"Some clones have already shown me where not to look, so that narrows it down. But I don't know where to actually look."
"Find your father, together the two of you are unbeatable." Hinata stated.
Akane nodded, hugged her mom once more, than ran out of the house. Hinata rubbed her stomach with concern and began the longest wait of her life.
"Hanabi-sensei!" Noburo said gratefully when his jounin instructor came up to him and Ichi.
"Boys, urgent mission. Akane's little brother has apparently been kidnapped by the enemy. I don't need to tell you how Akane-chan or Hokage-sama are going to take it do I?"
The two boys shook their heads, imagining Akane practically breathing fire in outrage and Naruto rasenganing a silhouetted figure.
"What can we do?" Ichi asked.
"Fight off more of these creeps and help me find my nephew, that's what." Hanabi ordered. "I don't see him, but I do see a large group of these freaks by the monument. That's a good place to look."
The boys nodded and then the three ninja headed towards the mountain.
Naruto was doing what any good hokage in his position would do, leading his ninja while fighting with them. Several summoned toads including Gamakichi and Gamatatsu were helping crush the Zetsu, and his clones were beating down any that got in their way. He himself threw several fuinjutsu that disabled movement, creating from his father's notes he had gotten over the years, to help make the Zetsu easier targets for the others. Most of his former classmates were doing the direct work of ripping the plant people to shreds.
"What do they wish to accomplish?" Shikamaru asked.
"They want Akane and her cousins. I'll tell you why after this is over." Naruto claimed. "For now, make sure they don't hurt anyone. I've got trackers working to find anyone they have taken captive. Like my son."
"How about we save you the time Hokage?" Someone called out, prompting the ninja to stop.
The air seemed to shimmer in that way hot air over a fire did, and from it some sort of being stepped into visibility. It looked like a person wearing some sort of cloak not unlike the Akatsuki used to wear, but with a feathered collar and plus sign symbols in white decorating the otherwise leaf green fabric. The person had violet eyes, light brown almost tan hair, a somewhat big nose, and in their hand was a hook-shaped sword.
"Who are you?" Kiba demanded.
"My name is not important, but I am the leader of a group called the Lunar Four. I am the one in charge of the Zetsu and the Mangetsu troops. I am more than happy to return your son to you Hokage, but only if you give up the Kyuubi."
"You're a sick bastard you know that?" Sakura accused.
The leader chuckled. "Don't tell me the Kyuubi is more important to you than your own child Hokage."
'He's trying to bait me, to get me to confess the Kyuubi is my child.' Naruto thought angrily. "What do you want with the Kyuubi?"
"Simple, to put the world back in order."
Before anyone could continue, Akane found her father and came up to him. "Otou-san, I'm ready to help."
The leader grinned. "Ah thank you Hokage. For a moment I thought you were going to say no."
"Don't you-!" Naruto started, but was cut off by something that looked like a bird's wing extending out from under the robes and sweeping over Akane. Next thing he knew, she was gone. "Akane-chan!"
"A deal's a deal. I'll go bring you your son." The leader said before disappearing in a flurry of feathers.
Naruto trembled like a bomb just seconds from exploding.
"Naruto, it'll be okay." Sakura tried to assure him, not knowing anything to say that would actually pacify him. His kids were both kidnapped, what could anyone say?
The whiskered blonde took a few breaths, then looked over his friends. "Find that man, and bring me his head."
When Akane could see again, she found herself inside some chamber that looked like it was underground. She saw nine cages against the wall, with a cloaked figure shoving Misao into one and Kirabi into another. The girls were struggling, but the cloaked figures were faster. Fast enough that Akane herself was shoved into a cage too before she could fight back.
"Three down so far Hawashi." Someone said to the man that had captured Akane.
"Good. The others will come soon." He said before moving to the other side of the room, where Akane could see a frightened huddled Jiraiya.
"Rai-chan!" She yelled, worried and reaching out for him despite no possible way to get him.
"Neechan!" He yelled back, getting up to run towards her. But before he could, the guy called Hawashi picked him up.
"Don't worry boy, you'll be home soon."
"You-!" Akane started, but he disappeared in a shower of feathers again.
"Just who are you guys?" Misao asked. Kirabi beat the bars of her cage and tried to rip them apart, but to no avail.
Three guys wearing the same cloaks as Hawashi with identical violet eyes could be seen. One was a man with spiked blue-black hair, a goatee, and brown fur on the collar of his cloak instead of feathers. Another was a man with short grey hair, a sinister grin with buck teeth, and grey fur on his cloak's collar. The last was a woman was the most disturbing, for she looked like if Orochimaru was a woman and an Uzumaki. She had long bright red hair, red marks around her eyes, and she had a scale design on the collar of her cloak.
"I am Suiroku." The man with brown fur greeted with a strangely polite bow.
"I'm Ikarisu." The man with grey fur said too, sounding like the sound of his own name was supposed to be frightening.
"Noneja." The woman said simply, like she wouldn't have spoken if the other two hadn't first.
"When we have you and the others, the world will be back to normal." Suiroku claimed.
"No chance in hell!" Akane protested, trying to tear down the bars like Kirako had been doing. Misao tried to dissolve her own with acid, then Akane attempted a rasengan. Neither were having any effect.
"You didn't think we'd use ordinary cages for the bijuu now did you?" Ikarisu taunted. "You should know that once a bijuu gets locked up, it can never get free on its own."
To their surprise, Akane stopped struggling then sat down. "In that case, I just need to wait."
"Wait for what? Someone to find you?" Noneja asked cynically.
"Oh I have faith Otou-san will be able to find me soon enough." Behind her, she removed a single kunai, a very special kunai given to her by her father, and jabbed it into the base of the cage behind her back.
Hawashi appeared on a building that Naruto could see, causing him to run towards him. With a grin, he held out a panicked and crying Jiraiya then set him on the rooftop.
"Like I said Hokage, here you go. Completely unharmed."
Naruto knelt down and held his son, who cried and clung to him like a baby koala. "Where is my daughter?" He demanded out of the kidnapper.
"Oh I imagine you won't be seeing her again. After all, the world will be much better off without the bijuu in it."
Before Naruto could reply, Hawashi vanished. He was still pissed, but his son was his bigger priority right now. "C'mon son, let's get you to Okaa-san." Jiraiya shook his head, and Naruto rushed home.
In their anbu gear, Neji and Tenten went back out into the village. They started mowing down the Zetsu, but it didn't take them long to see Hanabi and her genin pass by.
"Where are they going?" Tenten asked.
"Better find out. They do look like they're heading somewhere specific." Neji agreed, then the two went after them.
Behind them, Naruto quickly made it to his house and went in.
"Jiraiya?" Hinata asked, rising to her feet.
"Kaachan!" The little boy called out, reaching for her. Hinata took him from her husband's hands and tearfully hugged her son. "Thank you Naruto."
"Don't think me just yet, Akane-chan's been kidnapped too." He countered, causing Hinata to gasp. "But don't worry, I've already instructed Akane-chan on what to do if she ever were kidnapped like this. By now, hopefully she'll have done what I taught her to do."
"But what can we do to get her back?" Hinata asked, not assured.
Naruto smiled and pulled out a tri-kunai. It had taken him years to learn his father's most famous jutsu, but of course Naruto wasn't going to let this be the one he couldn't learn. Few knew he had succeeded, thus giving him a potential advantage should he need it. And this was one of those times for sure. Triggering the seal, he vanished in a burst of orange light.
"Touchan and Neechan will be home soon sweetie." Hinata told her son, who smiled.