A/N: After a long wait (torture) for you –my lovely readers, the best ever- and certainly for my beta too, the beta-ed version of the story is finally done, thanks to my amazing, great, talented, kind and lifesaver beta MrsHellman, you'll see for yourself how much the fic became better now, my eyesore mistakes won't hurt your eyes anymore!
I enabled the anonymous reviews to let you re-review the story if you want to ^^
Disclaimer: I assured Masashi Kishimoto that I will take great care of Naruto, that he won't regret giving him to me, I even offered to cook Ramen for every meal, so he won't feel homesick, but he refused –narrows her eyes- At least, we're going to meet a second time –starts thinking about the next negotiation with Kishimoto- I was never good in negotiations –sigh- I don't own Naruto, but one day he'll be MINE –devil laugh-
Here is the prologue, enjoy!
Chapter 0: Prologue
Written by Itooshii Koneko
Betad by MrsHellman
Please let me drink myself unconscious. It's too hot to stay locked up in a suffocating office, it's literally a hellhole. Even with the air conditioner on, there isn't enough air in to breath! That's Tsunade's line of thought this blessed Monday, the 17th of June to be exact.
The sun was shining vigorously, the sky was astonishingly blue and clear, there were no clouds claiming the skies. Shikamaru must be bored as hell. Sure, maybe the genius of the rookie nine was bored because of his dear clouds not being there, but it's nothing compared to what our dear Hokage-sama was feeling. She was really pissed off for some reason. Being trapped in your office nine hours nonstop on a hot summer day isn't exactly the best plan ever. To top it off, she was stuck with thick piles of paperwork; and then, to make thing worse than imaginable; Shizune had taken her saké from her so that she'd finish writing the document that should have been finished three days ago.
"Hokage-sama, Team Eight is already back!" That was Shizune's announcement as she rushed in through the door, the wood hitting the wall behind it, creating a small crack.
What now? Kami-sama, I need a break, give me a fucking break! There's no saké, no good cooling system in entire Konoha and then there's these damn documents, Tsunade sighed looking at the door as it hit said wall.
"Send them in," Tsunade ordered tiredly. How come they are already back? Did the mission fail? It sure looks like it, she thought cautiously inspecting the appearance of the three members of Team Eight as they entered the room. Kiba looked frustrated, Hinata seemed to be a bit tired and Shino . . . well, he looked like usual, his mysterious aura adding more worry and frustration to Tsunade. She frowned.
They look fine, but what's the matter? They're my best team when it comes to tracking enemies, at least out of all the Chūnin, she thought and studied them from head to toes.
The three ninjas were sent to The Land of Earth to locate and capture a group of mercenaries. There wasn't enough information about them, and Team Eight's tracking abilities came in handy for this kind of mission. Their last report mentioned that the mercenaries were heading to a civilian village located in the North West part of the country, close to Iwagakure. It was two weeks ago, so what had exactly happened since then? The mission had been assigned to last for over ten months . . .
"Hokage-sama?" This brought Tsunade's attention to Shino, the captain of Team Eight for this mission: Kurenai being home with her child, which had been given birth to three months ago.
"Why are you already back? By the look on your faces, the mission is a failure," She said; it wasn't visible on the outside that she was worried, but her insides were as uneasy as a rock balancing on a stick. She cared for all her ninja. If these mercenaries aren't captured; they're going to be in deep trouble . . .
The mission is an A-ranked mission, with the collaboration of Sunagakure, Iwagakure and Konohagakure. Suna found out that these mercenaries were buying and stealing dangerous weapons and jutsu scrolls, they didn't know if the mercenaries were selling them or keeping them for their own needs. It started with them losing a precious jutsu scrolls two months ago, and then it continued like that for every week passing by; every time more scrolls were being stolen . . .
Iwagakure had been the ones to become aware of this and noticed the strange behavior of their inns' owners; they hadn't registered at least twenty customers during the past two months. The people's identity being unknown.
The biggest problem right now though, is that Iwagakure is usually being visited a lot by foreigners during the summer months – people are fascinated by the rocks and waterfalls in the village, and will thereby visit it during its best – so there are thousands of tourists there, making it hard to find the culprits. For some reason though, strange things started to happen during late May and all of it started in Iwagakure, but then it spread to more villages. The north-west parts of the country were the most exposed parts, and the only villages they hadn't searched in were the ones that were not shinobi villages.
It was because of this Iwagakure finally asked for Sunagakure's and Konohagakure's help. It didn't take long for them to find out that some of the mercenaries were identified as missing ninjas from Konohagakure as well as Iwagakure thanks to the way the scrolls and weapons were stolen.
Other villages are involved in this mess but they have yet to make a move. There's namely a huge possibility that their own men are a part of this, but the evidence are very few. Tsunade wondered why they hadn't made a move yet, and for some reason it worried her as well. She'd sent them messages about the situation but none of them except for Sunagakure had replied. Damn Kage's pride, she thought bitterly and clenched her fists.
"We're sorry Hokage-sama," replied Kiba with regret and shame in his voice. His voice brought her back from her thoughts about the current situation, and she looked up at him.
"We did gather some information though. There is a huge possibility of the mercenaries hiding in Ishigakure, south of Iwagakure. We are quite affirmative in the matter," explained Shino, wiping the shameful look from Kiba's face but leaving the regret and worry still in place. "We tried to infiltrate the village," he kept going, "but we were stopped by the main gate guards. Ninjas are not allowed in Ishigakure, for them we are a source of trouble and they want to protect their village. They are conservative people and also give a great deal concerning family values". He paused for effect, letting Tsunade register this uncommon fact. Usually ninjas are welcomed in civilian villages, conservative or not, they can be kept under surveillance but never be kicked out – as long as they're behaving of course.
The perfect hideout, Tsunade conclude then frowned looking at Kiba's and Hinata's flushed expression. She narrowed her eyes as she noticed that the Hyūga heiress was on the verge of fainting. Is she sick?
"Kiba and Hinata acted like a newlywed couple and were able to get in," added Shino handing Tsunade a thick pile of paper. "Here's our report with different details about their activities and personal information concerning the people we believe may be a part of the organization. We also tried to perform a general profile to an eventual member—" that caught Tsunade's attention immediately, "—we think that they recruited two new members when they were in Iwagakure a couple of days before we left, it's an 85 percent probability"
"Organization?" she spit the word out like she never heard it before "They're more dangerous than we thought then; especially if they're recruiting new members. They've got to have contacts all over the Land of Earth along with other countries as well. This is bad . . ." she sighed. "Did they learn about you watching them?"
"No, of course not! We're better than that! We were very careful; we kept our distances since we didn't know much about them," replied Kiba with a frown. He may have been an immature brat in the academy, but he was now a ninja and knew how to act and handle missions.
"Good." At least they can still keep up with the mission, Tsunade thought and let her tongue smack against the roof of her mouth.
"We suspect the leaders of Ishi to be the brain of these actions," Kiba shared his suspicions with Tsunade, who looked at him stunned. She was about to ask for more details when he added, "There's no way to move with weapons and jutsus scrolls in there without being spotted, we think that the guards are in the game too."
Tsunade clenched her fists as she heard this. Okay, that means that the mercenaries couldn't get in without the help of someone from Ishi. For someone inside Ishigakure to be a part of it, this doesn't bode well.
"They kicked you out," stated the Godaime while looking at the report in hand. "Why?" and here we go. For some reason, a blush came onto Kiba and Hinata's faces; full force. I wonder what happened if these two are blushing like mad, can't be anything good, wondered Tsunade eyeing Kiba and Hinata with a raised brow.
Since those two weren't really talkative, Shino chose to reply in their place.
"The guards let them come in but they were quickly suspected by the village's council; they did not act as a married couple is my guess. They were followed twenty-four-seven and could not keep up with the mission or else they were going to blow up their cover. So we decided to retreat back to Konoha. We could not take that chance. My sincere apologies Hokage-sama."
"W-we're sorry Hokage-sama," Hinata apologized shyly. She was the one who couldn't play her role, it was her fault . . . If only she was more confident and less shy, they would have found and – hopefully – captured someone of that dangerous organization, and everything would have been settled once and for all.
"It's okay," Tsunade reassured her with a soft smile painted on her lips. "You collected enough information to keep up with the research." She looked back to the report, then to Shino. "What is this? Your insects couldn't get inside a certain tunnel in the village? Did you manage to learn more about it?"
"No. My bugs were trapped in a genjutsu and could not come in or out. I almost lost them. We could not confirm if that tunnel is known by Iwagakure's authorities. In the last updated map, which is two years old, they did not have any tunnel in the north part of Ishi. It is either a new construction or a project not meant to be known by the public." The blonde Hokage arched a brow at this as she continued to read the paper before her.
"The north border of Ishigakure is in the neighborhood of the south border of Iwagakure, so we think that this tunnel leads to Iwagakure. It must be their way to bring their weapons secretly and stay in touch with their comrades." They did a great job, hopefully this information will be enough for us to do a drastic change and flip the tables. Tsunade thought and was secretly proud of her ninjas.
"W-while we were there; I saw a group of men heading to the north part of Ishi. T-they were wearing miner uniforms. We think that the t-tunnel is under construction, maybe they want to expand it to r-reach other villages," explained the Hyūga heiress. "They were all ninjas, I c-confirmed it with my Byakugan. The guards of the m-main gates are ninjas too. Some villagers also had a c-constant chakra flow." The Hokage's lips tightened at this. "When I began to ask q-questions about these people I noticed that the group of people following us enlarged."
They'd been watching them since the first day they put foot in Ishigakure, Tsunade concluded with a sigh. All foreigners are considered evil coming to destroy their peaceful village. Hinata was stunned to see that Ishigakure was indeed a very peaceful village. She understood them. She would do anything to protect her village too. Unfortunately not all ninjas sought peace; they're rather fond of power, and thereby, wars and destruction are born.
"They want to protect their village f-from outsiders, for them we'll only bring war and s-sorrow." Her expression was sad and thoughtful.
"But they're collecting too many weapons if their purpose is only protecting themselves," Kiba said and folded his arms over his chest.
"We do not know if the organization is hiding their true plan from Ishi or not, we did not find any evidence proving that there is a connection between these mercenaries and Ishi's leader," Shino explained to the frowning Hokage.
After a brief silence, Tsunade spoke: "Very well. I'm going to send another team and inform Suna and Iwa about everything. You're dismissed." That ended the meeting.
When she heard the sound of the door shut, she sighed, closed Team Eight's report and put it on the right corner of her desk. Which team is suited for this mission? The ninjas must have some precise characteristics. They must pass as a family. And most importantly, they must be eventual recruits. The performed profile will certainly provide Tsunade enough information about the characteristics of the next team.
"Why's their report so 'thick'?" she moaned quietly to no one in particular "SHIZUNE! Give me my fucking sake right now, or I won't do any paper work for today!" Screamed a very frustrated Hokage feeling the heat of this summer day tenfold, but she mentally gave herself a pat on the back for her little outburst. This little threat is foolproof. She hadn't had a break yet for heavenly sake!
"No way Tsunade, you still have to finish this pile of paperwork before you're free," replied her assistant with a small nervous frown on her face. She put an nth pile of paper on her desk in front of the Hokage and a vein popped on said Hokage's forehead. She was never going to be let out from this hellhole.
Really short? I know, this is just the prologue –a hors d'oeuvre-, next chapters are longer don't worry.
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