Welcome back to the Chronicles of the Seventh! It's been a few months and really enjoyed my time off. Hope all of you have too. As always i like to begin by stating I don't own Naruto. That honor belongs to Misashi Kishimoto.
I never got the chance to thank everyone who reviewed the final chapter of book II. So here you go. Thanks too: Maxslayer10, Vorgonaz, GravenImage, Airnaruto45, Queen brat, EmpKaylenatye, theloverofanime, Green5723, Calc, Kushina's Truth of Hell, ForwardRetreat, Buzzbumble, Maliousdei, Michael the Archangel, Sasuke K, Silentwhistle, Jiraiya561, SparrowAndPhoenix, 101FallingRock, Bikiluf, iiDarkness, DestroyDRT and Scr1bbles.
Maxslayer10 - Glad you enjoyed the story but don't look for Naruto to rashly blame others here. In my story he's a bit older and wiser.
Vorgonaz - Sorry to tell you but Sakura is probably dead but likely not. But i'm glad you liked the fight scene she had. As for Madara, so far everything has happened according to his design so it won't be surprising if Naruto dies as planned.
GravenImage - Thanks dude.
Airnaruto45 - Sakura is probably alive but most likely dead. :P
Queen brat - Hope i can help you answer those questions! If not I jump off the roof of my house as payment.
EmpKaylenatye - Yes, Sakura is definately, sort of, likely alive but probably dead.
Green5723 - Wait no longer! Or...wait some more...whatever.
Calc - Dlad you liked it.
Kushina - Someone help! She just feinted! Someone get the poor girl some water! lol Glad you like this story, and my other series too. But if you are reading Blade of the Shinigami I wish you would review that too. :)
ForwardRetreat - You humble me with your praise. I thank you.
Buzzbumble - Canon Naruto is pathetic! Wash out your mouth i say! Just kidding. Seriously though I just think kishi wants to strip Naruto down before rebuilding him. My creative juices has been refilled! Hope you enjoy what i produce. (wait, why does that sound pervy.)
Maliousdei - Well, i don't know if I'm Kishi-san's level. I just try to do the best I can. Thanks though. No offense but I hope your assumtions of where I'm taking this story are wrong. Last thing i want to be is predictable.
Michael - Interesting theory as always Michael. You really want to see an ubber dark Naruto don't you? Lol. Oh well, my Naruto isn't going to go THAT dark but he will see some darkness.
Sasuke K - Glad you enjoy my work. Here's a little secret...I am Kishi! Mwhahahahaha!...ok not really.
Silentwhistle - Glad you liked it.
Jiraiya561 - Thanks!
SparrowAndPhoenix - I'm glad you've been enjoying my story. And i hope it remains your favorite fan fic.
101FallingRock - Glad you liked it so far. I know I'll be able to deliver an equally epic third book.
Bikiluf - What? You didn;t like that line? Lol. Glad you enjoyed everything else. Lol
iiDarkness - Well, I'm glad you loved it so much. And I'm glad you added me to your Alerts. Hope you keep reading.
DestroyerDRT - Sakura is definatly, most, likely dead but probably not.
Scr1bbles - I'm glad you liked the first two books. And I hope you enjoy Book 3 as well.
MESSAGE FROM THE WRITER
Ok, so after several months of waiting, Naruto: Chronicles of the Seventh is back. I hope you enjoy Book III and please feel free to send a little review my way. Thanks!
******Akatsuki Prisons – Unknown location – Midday******
"Get in there you stupid kid," yelled the burly man as he threw the young boy into a cell face first. With a broad sinister smile, the man said, "Hope you enjoy your stay kid!" The man then slammed shut the gate and walked away laughing.
Slowly the beaten and bruised boy sat up and rubbed his bruised arm. "Are you ok boy," came a voice from the shadows behind him. The boy turned and saw several men were scattered about the cell. An old man wearing tattered clothes, walked up to the boy and dropped to a knee. "Damn," he said as he looked the boy over. "Those bastards really worked you over. What kind of men would beat up an innocent child?"
"Here," the man said as he gently helped the boy to his feet. "Let me help you boy. Don't worry, there's nothing to fear here. We are all comrades. Like you we were unfairly imprisoned by Akatsuki forces under the claimed suspicion of being spies."
"What's your name son," the grizzled man asked. The boy didn't answer as he followed the man to a well where several men sat by. The man took a cup and dipped it into the dirty water and handed it to the boy. "You don't want to talk huh? I understand. Here, this might not be the cleanest but it'll keep you alive."
The boy grabbed the cup and drank it down without complaint. The boy then handed the cup back to the man as he looked on sadly. To think they would do this to a child, he thought.
"Ozuru," the boy said as he looked around the dank and poorly lit cell. The old man looked at the boy. "That's my name," the boy said.
"Ozuru," the old man said as they walked to a nearby wall and sat down together. "That's a fine name. Tell me, how did you end up here?"
For a moment Ozuru was silent and then said, "I was with my father, who was a merchant. We were traveling to Konoha when they decided to close their borders. When we reached the border the guards there told us that by order of the Hokage non citizens were not allowed entry. My father begged and pleaded and said he had come to Konoha many times. He said that the roads were becoming too dangerous and they couldn't expect us to just turn back."
"I could see in the guards face that he wanted to let us by," Ozuru said, "but his hands were tied and we had to turn back. But just like my father said, on our way back we were ambushed by Akatsuki soldiers. They captured us and accused us of being spies for Konoha."
The old man watched Ozuru as he spoke and saw tears flow from the boy's eyes. "They brought us here and questioned my father," Ozuru said. "But he didn't know anything. But they didn't believe him. So they…..they….."
The old man put his callused hand on the boy's shoulder. "I'm…..so sorry son," he said. "Those bastards! They'll pay for everything they've done. I just know it."
"Don't fill the boy's head with false hope Misato," another beaten down man said. "These Akatsuki threaten the entire world and are said to be possessed of unrivalled power. Nothing can stand against them."
"You're wrong," Ozuru said as he stared at the man. "My father once told me that where there is evil, there is good, where there is darkness, there is light and that hope can never be crushed. And I will live my life believing in those words."
The boy looked up and to his amazement everyone within the cell was on their feet, had gathered around and was looking at him.
"You see," said Misato as he addressed everyone. "How can we, as an older generation, not learn something from this child? Are we not supposed to be the strong ones? Are we not supposed to inspire the young and not the other way around!"
"We can't give up," he said. "We must find a way! We must pray that there is someone…..anyone out there that will put and end to this war and protect those as innocent as this boy."
All the men in the cells began to cheer and Ozuru, shocked by this, stood on his feet and stared at everyone. Misato looked at the boy and placed his hand on the boys shoulder and smiled.
In the days and weeks to come the Akatsuki guards that watched this place would come to notice a great difference in the prisoners. No matter how many they tortured, beaten, starved or killed, they all seemed to have an inner strength; a vigor and many of them even smiled. For it was on this day that a seed was planted within each of them, something that could not be crushed…..hope.
RamenRengade proudly presents…..
With Characters and locations created by Masashi Kishimoto
The Chronicles of the Seventh
End of Innocence
That Which Can't Be Crushed
******Konoha Borders – Several weeks later******
The ninja ran as quickly as he could along the branches of trees. Every few minutes he would stop and hide in the shadows. While there he would look for any signs that he was being followed. Once satisfied, he would continue moving repeating his actions every so often.
He was running late today but he had no choice, with the way things had been progressing lately Danzo had tightened up security. Getting out of Konoha undetected was becoming as difficult as getting in. Fortunately he was far more skilled than those tasked to watch for those attempting escape and the fact he was under no suspicion helped greatly as well.
The ninja looked up at the suns' position to gage the time. Damn, he thought to himself, I'm later than I thought. I need to pick up the pace or I'll miss the meeting altogether.
As he continued along the trees he heard a faint rustle in some nearby bushes. To the untrained ear it wouldn't have been detected. The ninja immediately stopped and found a hiding spot that gave him a clear view of the location where the sound came.
Pulling a kunai from his belt he stared at the surrounding area, ready to react to any threat. Despite being still well within Konoha's territory, this was still war time and there had been word that enemy troops had gotten inside. He had to be vigilant.
Eventually a snake slithered out from the bush with a field mouse trapped in its powerful jaw. Just to make sure the ninja stayed deathly still for another few minutes looking for any other signs of movement.
Satisfied, the ninja placed his kunai away and began to move towards his destination. A few minutes later the ninja came to the base of a small mountain range and again stopped to ensure he wasn't followed. He then walked over to the side of the range and pulled out a paper seal and stuck it to the wall.
He then created several hand signs and a portion of the mountain, about as big for an average sized person to comfortably pass through, opened up. The ninja looked around one last time before entering the space and the wall closed behind him.
The ninja walked down a long path that was roughly cut through the mountain until he could see flickering light a short distance away and muffled speech from several people.
He quickly entered a relatively small cavern, lit by several dozen candles placed on holders which were nailed on the walls circling around. Several book cases were up against the wall and contained many scrolls and in the center of the room was a large, wooded, circle shaped desk and seated there were several familiar faces.
Everyone looked to see the ninja enter and then one woman said, "It's about time you got here Gai. We were beginning to think you wouldn't be able to make it. Were you followed?"
With a bright smile and a thumbs' up Gai responded, "Of course not Lady Hokage! No one can track Konoha's Green Beast! Sorry for the delay though."
Tsunade glared at Gai for a moment before motioning to the empty seat. "Alright," she said, "have a seat and let's get this meeting started. We won't have much time before people start asking where we all are."
Tsunade looked around at the group gathered about her: Might Gai, Aburame Shibi, Hyuga Hiashi, Akimichi Choza, Yamanaka Inoichi, Nara Shikaku, Yuhi Kurenai, Morino Ibiki and Imino Iruka.
"All right," Tsunade said, "Let's begin."
******Meanwhile – Kirigakure – Private Medical Ward******
Madara strolled confidently down the hallway as he made his way to the double doors ahead. Swinging them open he entered a sterile medical room where Sasuke was laying on a bed. His eyes were heavily wrapped in bandages, as was his right hand. Tending to him was Karin and as usual, not far away sat both Jugo and Suigetsu.
"So," Madara said, "how's our patient?"
Karin and the others looked at Madara. Despite working with him for the past several years it was obvious none of them neither liked nor trusted the man, which didn't bother Madara in the least. To him their trust was meaningless and their opinion irrelevant.
"I think he's ready," Karin said cautiously.
"Excellent," Marada said. "Sasuke you healed faster than I thought you would. You never cease to amaze me." Madara stood at the foot of the bed and folded his arms. "All right," he said to Karin. "Let's see what we've got."
Karin took a deep breath as Suigetsu stood up and walked over, leaving Jugo seated behind. Karin then slowly began to remove the bandages until they were gone. For a while everyone just waited for Sasuke to try to open his eyes.
Slowly Sasuke opened then and was momentarily overwhelmed by the bright lights. Eventually he began to blink and his vision became less and less blurry until he was able to see clearly. Expressionless, Sasuke looked around the room and at everyone before saying, "It looks like it was a success."
Karin exhaled in relief as Madara said, "Don't be so sure yet. Activate your Mangekyo."
Sasuke closed his eyes and when they opened everyone could see the familiar eye patterns of his Mangekyo Sharingan. "Yes," Sasuke said, "I can feel it. I can feel Itachi's power within me!"
"Hmm," Madara said, "Excellent! It will still take some time for you to get used to things but you should be ready to go in no time." Behind his mask, Madara smiled. Just one more step Sasuke, he thought to himself. Just one more step and everything will be ready.
Sasuke then raised his right arm and looked at the bandages at the end of it. "Karin," he said, "please remove these bandages as well."
Karin looked to the bandages at the end of Sasuke wrist, where his lost right hand was and thought back to that morning Sasuke had cut his hand off. She remembered the blood, Sasuke's scream, and mostly his eyes.
Karin took the scissors and cut away the bandages and as they fell away Sasuke stared at what was underneath…..his new right hand. Karin looked at Sasuke and his new hand and began to recall how this came to be.
******Hidden Storage facility of the Uchiha Clan – Two Weeks Ago******
Karin, Jugo and Suigetsu stood at the base of the hill as they watched Sasuke work alone at the top. Against Karin's objections Sasuke had decided to forgo further rest to heal his wounds after his fight with Sakura. Instead, as soon as he was able, he along with his team left to go to his brothers' burial site.
Once they arrived, Sasuke as usual, remained at the base of the hill for a moment, as if in a moment of reverence, before making his way up. This time however, Karin had noticed Sasuke had a shovel in his left hand.
"Stay here," he said as he made his way up. Sasuke always said that as he would leave. Karin never understood why. No one ever seemed interested in going with him. In fact, no one besides Sasuke had ever gone up there and never tried. They knew that was his place, his and his brothers. If any tried he would probably kill them.
Sasuke then ascended the hill and, as was his custom, stood with his back to Itachi's grave and looked out to the sea. Standing there he would speak in hushed tones to his brother, about what, Karin could only guess.
After a few moments Sasuke turned to face the grave and taking the shovel into his left hand began to dig. With only one hand and still weakened from his recent battle, it took Sasuke several hours to reach Itachi's casket and once he did he climbed down into the hole, removed a sharp blade and swiftly did what had to be done.
Once finished, he wrapped the item in a dry cloth and climbed out. He then quickly got to work refilling the hole until it was neat once again. Sasuke then said a few more words and then walked down where Taka was waiting.
Sweating heavily and gasping for breath He handed the wrapped item and a scroll to Karin and said, "I took this scroll from Orochimaru when I left. It's a version of Edo Tensei. Do you think you'd be able to use it on this?"
Karin opened the scroll and read it quickly. Her mouth opened in awe before she turned to Sasuke and said, "Yes. I think I can."
"Good," Sasuke said as he collapsed into Jugo's arms from exhaustion. Leaning on Jugo, Sasuke and the others left.
******KiriGakure Private Medical Ward – Now******
For a while Sasuke simply stared at his brothers' hand, using his Mangekyo to stare into it and look as the blood flowed back and forth through his veins. Then, slowly, he began to move his fingers one by one. They were stiff and he felt pain as he moved them. But he knew he pain would fade in time. Finally he formed a fist and groaned as a jolt of pain shot through his hand. Once it subsided he formed a fist several more times before squeezing his fist as hard as he could. Satisfied with the result, Sasuke smiled slightly. Brother, he thought to himself, you will have a hand in shaping this new world.
******Meanwhile – Konoha Borders – Hidden Location******
"And that's the situation," Shikaku said as everyone listened silently. "Naruto and Shikamaru are prisoners of war. Rock Lee, Kiba Izunaka and Neji Hyuga are missing in action and presumed dead and Sakura Haruno is confirmed killed in action. However everyone else loyal to our cause is almost prepared to move. Once the final preparations are made we can begin."
"Good," Tsunade said she looked down, lost in her own thoughts.
"However," Shikaku said, "We do have two issues that need to be addressed. The loss of Haruno Sakura is a major problem. She was to play a major role in our operation. We need to find someone to fill her role. Someone with similar abilities."
"How about Ino," Inoichi said, "Her abilities may not be on par with Sakura but I think she has what it takes to do it."
For a moment Tsunade was quiet, her fist balled and tight with rage. Sakura, she thought. Finally she spoke, "Ino may not be ready for such a burden. Perhaps it's best if I do it myself."
"No Lady Hokage," Kurenai said, "you already have your role that only you can perform. To ask you to do more would spread you too thin."
"Kurenai is right," Iruka said, "You can't possibly do both. It has to be Ino."
"Fine," Tsunade said, "I just hope she's up to it."
"There's also the problem with Naruto," Shikaku said. "That joke of a trial is to begin in a few days. Naruto's role in our plans is critical. What should we do?"
"There's no way Naruto and Shikamaru will pass this trial," Choza said. "I think we should strongly consider mounting a rescue operation."
"No," Tsuande responded. "Right now Gaara has been going easy on Konoha because he really doesn't want to fight this war. But if we try to break into Suna to rescue those two it'll be seen as an act of aggression. Gaara will have no choice then but to go all out. At this point Konoha has it hard enough dealing with Kumo. And now Akatsuki and Iwagakure are on the move and we're even hearing rumblings of Kirigakure making moves."
Tsunade looked directly at Shikaku and said, "Right now they're on their own. But I wouldn't worry," Tsunade said with a smile, "Shikamaru at this point is probably smarter than all of us here. And Naruto….well he has a way of making miracles happen. Those two will be just fine."
Shikamaru sat on the ground with his back against the far wall of his prison cell. As he gently banged the back of his head against the wall he stared at the ceiling. "Argh," he yelled. "Man I can't take this anymore! I thought our trial was supposed to happen within a few days! It's been nearly a month! Man, I can't believe I'm saying this but I wished they'd get on with it already. And if I have to eat another bowl of plain rice I'm gonna kill someone! This is all so damned troublesome!"
Shikamaru looked across the cell at Naruto who was sitting on the ground with his legs crossed and eyes closed in silent meditation. "I don't get it," Shikamaru said, "Aren't you supposed to be the high strung one? How come you're so calm?"
Naruto didn't answer. Shikamaru stared silently at his friend. Several weeks ago, Naruto woke him up in the middle of the night in a rage. He said Madara, leader of Akatsuki, had somehow contacted him in his dreams and among the other things he'd told him was startling news that Sakura was recently killed at the hands of Sasuke of all people.
Shikamaru tried to assure him that it was just a dream. But Naruto then explained that using his Sage chakra he confirmed that Sakura's chakra completely disappeared. Shikamaru didn't want to believe it but as time passed he had to admit that this may have actually happened.
From that point he noticed a marked change in Naruto. Naruto no longer smiled, hardly talked and spent most of his time meditating or reading that small scroll he had taken from Lady Tsunade. There was sadness in every word he spoke, and anger.
Suddenly the door to the cells opened and two guards entered. Behind them was Krolik. As he entered he said to the guards, "You can go. I'll be fine." The guards turned and left, closing the door behind them.
Smiling, Krolik addressed the prisoners, "Hello gentleman. Have our accommodations been up to your standards?"
Shikamaru got to his feet and stepped closer to Krolik and asked, "What are you doing here Krolik? I thought you'd be too busy kissing Gaara's ass to come here."
"Now, now Shikamaru," Krolik said, "No need to be hostile; especially when I'm here to offer you two a way to avoid execution. After all, Naruto's death is not something my master wants. In fact it's the complete opposite."
Naruto slowly opened his eyes which now looked like that of the Nine Tails. "Your master," he asked. "So I assume he's been in contact with you recently?"
Krolik looked at Naruto and said, "Yes of course. And he's very interested in keeping you alive."
"I see," Naruto said. Suddenly Naruto leapt to his feet and cleared the space between he a Krolik in seconds. He grabbed Krolik by the throat and lifted him of the ground.
Shocked, Shikamaru screamed, "Naruto, what the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"He's not talking about Gaara, Shikamaru," Naruto said. "He's talking about Madara. This bastard is an Akatsuki spy!"
Krolik desperately clutched at Naruto's vice like grip and struggled in vein to get free. Gasping for air he said, "Let…go…..you bastard!"
"Listen to me Krolik," Naruto said as his body now glowed red, "I'm only going to give you one chance. Your master has crossed a line and you are going to help me find him. I want you to tell me right now where he is. Tell me, or I will snap your neck like a twig."
End of Chapter One
Next Time: Naruto Unleashed