Hello, everyone, here's the newest chapter of the "Ronin" story! Enjoy!

* Review response:
macabre-wolf, karthik9, jafr86, Naginator, sh8ad8ow, fanficreader71, Ronin Kenshin, Andrew MacKenzie, griffin blackwood, LbcLostKid, ScrimjaNinja, Elemental Dragon Swordman, Umbra8191, jh831, ogihcI ikasoruK, warriorx559, puma1sunfire, Knives91, thank you for your reviews, folks!
TheDemonKingNaruto, in my other stories (like the next stub in the "scrapbook" I'll use this idea) but for "Ronin" itself - not much: she had already played her role (look up chapter 3 to understand). As for Akasha getting more real body - it might happen in the sequel.
Wyrtha, who knows, who knows...
deadkid23, if he cooperates.
BowTechsniper, I though I was ending some plotlines... oh well... I will update all of my stories before the New Year. Though I planned to write a new chapter for "Pyro" first (to end the arc).
luffyxrobin-luffyxnami, sorry.
Rixxell Stryfe, I do not plan to cover Kiri-Kumo alliance in the next chapter, but look like there WILL be a sequel, where that will be covered. though our Kumo 'Uzumaki' will get something that is (rightfully) hers the next chapter...
Still Not Dead Yet, this is not the last chapter, so 'lived happily ever after' will NOT be in this chapter =)
Alphawolfy28, we've discussed this via pm.

* Jutsu list:
Kirigakure no jutsu - (C-rank) Hidden mist technique - covers area with thick mist.
Shunshin no jutsu - (D-rank) Body flicker technique - short range 'teleportation'.

* Author's note: There will be only one more chapter to this story. I may write a sequel someday, bit for now "Ronin" will be marked as 'complete'. Also, I'm awfully sorry for delaying this chapter, but I was really busy with me university and had little to no free time to write anything.

Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Naruto or its characters. I do not own Rosario + Vampire II (First part too, actually), from where the name Akasha Chisen (Bloodriver) comes, either. And, of course, I don't own Red Eyes either - Naruto's nickname in the bingo books comes from this manga.

"speaking of the higher beings / jutsu / Naruto while using Kyuubi's yoki"
'thinking of the higher beings / Kyuubi and Akashi talking to Naruto in his mind'
written message

This chapter is not beta-read.

chapter 16: Kirigakure no Kijin

Naruto was standing on the deck of the ship that was sailing from Lightning country to Fire country, watching the gray pre-storm sea impassively. Suddenly a messenger bird appeared out of the clouds, heading straight towards him. Raising his arm for the bird to land on, the Kyuubi jinchuuriki took the message that was attached to the bird's leg.

As it turned out, Mei-chan was sending him some further information about his current mission, along with the new one: according to the spy network, Zabuza Momochi, former member of Shinobigatana Shichinin Shū and a man that rebelled against Yagura, was in the region, along with the boy that appeared to be the last of the Yuki clan. So, Naruto's secondary mission was to bring Kubikiri bouchou back to Kiri, with or without its wielder. He was also to try to bring Yuki boy to Kiri as well – if not, a DNA sample would suffice.

Also, it appeared, according to the spy network, that Gatou was after the man named Tazuna, who was a bridge builder. And this Tazuna person asked Konoha ninja for help – this made Naruto's mission slightly more difficult, as greater politics were involved, but the Kyuubi jinchuuriki decided that he'll be able to do everything Mei-chan wanted, including convincing the leaders of the Wave country that Kirigakure no sato was a better village for them to work with, anyway.

~/ *** \~

Hatake Kakashi was not having a good week. Scratch that, he was not having a good quarter. First, the council and Hokage decided to burden him with not one – he could deal with training just Sasuke. He owed that much to Obito after all – but three genin, and two of them were pathetically weak and useless fangirls. But the things weren't as bad while they were doing D-rank missions inside Konoha... Right now, though, the team seven was on a C-rank turned A-rank mission, with no backup coming anytime soon.

Suddenly Kakashi's trained eye spotted something that wasn't supposed to be there: he saw a rabbit with white fur in the summer forest. It took the Konoha jounin less than a moment to come to a conclusion that the critter was used for a substitution. This meant that there was an enemy ninja nearby. Indeed, a moment later the gray-haired shinobi heard a sound of something big flying towards his group.

"Everybody down!" Kakashi ordered, while pushing Tazuna the bridge builder onto the ground. Just in time, as a large cleaver flew through the space Tazuna's neck and head had occupied a moment ago... The cleaver imbedded firmly into a tree, and a large man appeared on its handle via shunshin. This man had short dark hair and wore dark-blue shirt and pants, along with light-gray hand-warmers and a couple of layer of bandages around his neck and lower face.

"Zabuza Momochi, the Demon of the Hidden Mist. A-rank missing-nin." Kakashi said recognizing his opponent, as he uncovered his implanted sharingan. Zabuza cocked his head.

"I honored that such a legend like you, Sharingan no Kakashi, knows who I am. And you are already using against me?" Ripping his sword from the tree, the Kiri missing-nin landed on the ground "You know, if you just handle the old man over to me, I won't have to kill you and the three pathetic brats you call ninja." The amount of killing intent Zabuza was leaking was so great that Tazuna and two genin kunoichi were frozen in place, while Sasuka Uchiha was trembling like an aspen leaf.

"Sorry, but the old man is my client, so I'll have to protect him." Kakashi replied with a shrug, while smiling with just his eyes. The missing-nin let out a growl.

"In that case I'll just have to kill you first." He said, while doing some handseals. "Kirigakure no jutsu!" Almost instantly the clearing was filed with a fog so thick that it was practically impossible to see anything more than a couple of feet away... Kakashi got ready to protect his client or his students from Zabuza's silent killing method attacks, but that was not needed, as a very powerful gust of wind blew the fog away.

"Zabuza Momochi, A-rank missing-nin..." A disembodied voice said. "You are standing in the way of my mission... Get lost." The missing-nin in question just laughed at the threat, while raising his sword and pointing it in the random direction.

"Show yourself!" Zabuza ordered, while looking around in hopes to see the one who dared to interrupt his 'fun' with Konoha brats.

"As you wish." Still disembodied voice replied, before a single van stepped out of the forest. The man was wearing dark-gray cloak with tattered bottom. The hood of the cloak (and parts of the shoulders) were of a crimson color, like they painted red with blood. Zabuza couldn't see this man's face properly because of the cloak's hood, but he could easily tell that this man had red and slitted, almost demonic eyes... Finally, there was a crimson longsword with a cross-shaped hole in the blade on the man's back. It took the ex-member of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist a couple of moments to recognize the cloaked swordsman in front of him: he had seen hi in the Kiri bingo book he had taken from a hunter ninja sent after him some two years ago...

"Genocide." He said calmly, though on the inside he was all but trembling in fear: this wasn't someone he wanted to fight. Especially when there was a great chance of Hatake joining the fight on the side of the 'Genocide'. The cloaked man just shrugged nonchalantly, before drawing his sword and pointing it at Zabuza.

"Leave now and we will not have to fight." The 'Genocide' said. The larger swordsman in front of him was thinking for a couple of moments, before returning his zanbatou to its place on his back.

"Look like luck is on your side today, Hatake. But we will definitely meet again, and then I will kill the old man." With those words Zabuza disappeared from the clearing via shunshin. Seeing that the man no longer was here, the red-eyed swordsman too return his sword to its place, before turning to Kakashi:

"Hatake-san, since our mission do not interfere with each other, and we're working towards more or less the same goal, I propose a truce." Before Kakashi could answer, though, Sasuke put a foot in his mouth.

"Who the hell are you?" The young Uchiha asked, sounding extremely arrogant. The hooded swordsman didn't answer, which seemed to piss the raven-haired boy off. "I askew who are you!" Deciding to save his student – stop him before he annoyed the red-eyed swordsman too much – Kakashi put his hand over Sasuke's mouth, silencing him.

"This, Sasuke, is a ninja know by his moniker 'the Genocide'. He is the only ronin in the recent history to achieve S-rank... Actually, the only thing I seem to have over him is my experience." The Konoha copy ninja said.

"Ha!" The last Uchiha loyal to Konoha said, as he removed his sensei's hand from over his mouth. "Is he really strong? I mean, look at his clothes. They are rags..." His two fangirls were nodding in agreement.

"Is that so?" The red-eyed swordsman asked in a low calm voice, before releasing a wave of killing intent that was twice as strong as Zabuza's. But unlike him, the 'Genocide' turned his KI off almost immediately after. "You are pathetic, really." He concluded, as he studied the reactions of Kakashi's students to his little display of power. "The girls are especially so... You two are disgraces to kunoichi." Leaving Sakura and Ami fuming over his words, he turned to Sasuke. "And you are too arrogant for your level of skill. This may one day cost you your life." Finally, the cloaked ninja addressed the sensei of the team seven. "Hatake-san. I know that you're a splendid ninja, but as a sensei to these three... you've failed miserably. Mark my words, if you don't step up their training, their lives will be forfeit should they find themselves on a battlefield."

"Hai, hai." Kakashi replied, waving his hand dismissively. The red-eyed swordsman wasn't paying him any mind though, as had already switched his attention to Tazuna.

"Now, Mr. bridge builder..." Ignoring man's correction about him being super bridge builder, the swordsman continued. "...It is imperative that we bring you back to your home. So, let's stop wasting our time here." Nodding, Tazuna started walking down the road towards where his house was. The 'Genocide' was walking next to him, ready to defend the self-proclaimed super bridge builder, should there be someone foolish enough to attack him now. Finally, some distance behind the two, the team seven was walking.

"Ano... Kakashi-sensei." Sakura asked finally. "Is that man really that strong?" The Konoha copy-ninja nodded.

"Indeed, Sakura-chan, he is stronger than I'm. Actually, let me tell you the legend about why his cloak has reds... Some say that it is the blood of those he had killed during one of the battles in the land of Water. They say he singlehandedly slew thirty chuunin and jounin..."

"Twenty nine." The 'Genocide' corrected form his position next to Tazuna. "I had left one of them alive, so that he would pass my message to that bastard Yagura." Kakashi nodded.

"Anyway... This man killed a platoon of chuunin and jounin on his own. That is where his moniker comes from, they say." Hearing that, Sasuke growled slightly under his breath: this 'Genocide' looked to be still in his teens, yet he was so powerful... Why was he so weak? Was his hatred for Itachi not enough to give him the power? Next to him, his two loyal fangirls were thinking that their Sasuke-sama was still so much better than this ronin...

"Tsunami-chan! Inari-kun!" Tazuna said loudly as he and the five ninja entered his house. "I'm home, all thanks to these super ninja!" Almost immediately a pretty dark-haired woman of about thirty years old peeked out of the kitchen.

"Welcome home, pa. Greetings, shinobi, and thank you for protecting my father." She said with a bow, then she turned to her father. "I thought that ninja teams were of four members. Why there are five of them?"

"That super swordsman wasn't with the Konoha team. He joined us later on, but he did us a super help with that Zabuza guy." Tazuna replied with a shrug. Sighing, Tsunami addressed to Naruto.

"I'm sorry, but there is no much space available in my house. Would mind sharing a room with Tazuna?" The Kyuubi jinchuuriki shook his head.

"There is no need for that. I won't need a room... Actually, I shall be on my way to complete my own mission. Assisting those four seemed to be just a good idea to ensure my own success." The cloaked swordsman replied. "Plus, I don't really need to sleep at all." This made Kakashi look at him strangely.

"It's your bloodline?" The copy-nin asked. After all, he remembered that the 'Genocide' was from the Water country, and there were bloodline purges until recently. The cloaked swordsman looked at him strangely, but replied anyway.

"No, it's just a personal ability." Sasuke tried to say something about how much useless this ability was, but Naruto ignored him. He turned back to Tsunami instead. "Would it be too much to ask for some lunch? Then I'll be on my way." The dark-haired woman shook her head.

"No, not at all... Actually, I'll set the table in a couple of minutes, so come in inside." She said, while gesturing towards the guestroom...

The lunch Naruto spent in silence, quickly finishing his bowl of rice with some vegetable in it. And once he was done, he stood up and, thanking the hostess headed out of the room. He stopped in the doors, though.

"Once again, thank you for the meal. Now I shall be on my way. I have one certain rich midget to kill." And with those words he left the house, leaving Kakashi wondering who had pissed the 'Genocide' off. Actually, he had an idea, that the mysterious ronin – why did he have a feeling that he should know this man? – was after Gatou's head, but he wasn't one hundred percents sure...

~/ *** \~

"Zabuza!" An angry rich midget asked as he stomped into the room where the missing-nin was. "Why is that bridge builder still alive? I'm not paying you for sitting there and doing nothing! Go kill him if you want your money!" Haku, Zabuza's partner, wanted to say something, but the swordsman stopped him.

"Gatou." He said. "I would have killed the man if the only high-ranked opponent I had to face was Hatake Kakashi, as we've originally thought. But an S-rank ninja known by the moniker the 'Genocide' decided to join the skirmish on Kakashi's side... I can't possibly defeat them both in the open. But don't worry, Gatou, your little problem of a bridge builder will die before the sun sets tomorrow." The midget man nodded.

"Very well." Gatou didn't want to accept this excuse, but with Zabuza being just an A-rank ninja, he'd definitely lose against two A- and S-ranked ones. And Zabuza was still of use to him. "But if you fail tomorrow, I will set Mist hunter-nins upon you." The swordsman remained visibly impassive at the threat. Gatou then turned around and walked out of the room, two of his bodyguards following him closely behind.

~/ *** \~

Gatou was very nervous at the moment: someone dared to attack his compound, and judging by how long the sirens were on, his personal army of thugs couldn't deal with that annoyance fast. The little man, though, was sure that sooner or later the attacker will be dealt with... Plus it was not like the attacker could reach him there, in his personal chambers, behind thick steel doors...

Suddenly the doors got a huge bump on them – like so kind of an extremely strong monster had punched them. Another second later, there was the second strike, and this time the hinges broke. With a loud clanging sound the heavy doors fell on the floor, revealing the two people that were behind them. One of them was a scantly-clad redhead with red slitted eyes – and it looked like she was the one to knock the doors off – and the other was a cloaked swordsman that was well-known by his moniker: the 'Genocide'.

"Kill them." Gatou ordered to the two samurai that were his personal bodyguards. The were ready to attack, their swords drawn, when the redhead appeared between them, her hands on their head. Then she ripped their heads off with surprising ease.

"Thank you, Akasha-chan." The cloaked swordsman said, making the red-haired demoness turn around. "I think I can handle the rest on my own." She pouted at him. After a couple of seconds he gave in and removed the hood of his cloak, revealing that he had spiky blond hair and whisker-like marks on his cheeks... As soon as he had bared his neck, the redhead gently bit him there and, no doubt, drank some of his blood. Once she had had her 'dose', she made a strange handseal and disappeared into the blood-rest mist.

"You! Get lost, or I'll have my men butcher you!" Gatou, finally out of his stupor, shouted. This, though, only made the attacker laugh evilly.

"Are you talking about those poor souls we have sent onto the next great adventure? You're the last man, besides myself, of course, alive in this mansion." The blond shinobi said.

"I won't be killed by the scum like you!" The midget of a man shouted as he pointed his cane at Naruto, and fired the crossbow bolt that was hidden in it... The Kyuubi jinchuuriki, though, caught the projectile quire easily, though it did scratch one of his fingers. "Ha! You're a dead man!" ...Apparently, the bolt was coated in some poison. The red-eyed swordsman shook his head.

"Sorry, these poisons don't work on me." Then he drew a kunai, coating it with some of his wind chakra. "Now, how 'bout I butcher you?" Seeing that he had no hope in offing the man in front of him, Gatou decided to try getting him on his side:

"Please! Don't kill me! I can give you anything you want! Money, power, women! Anything!" He pleaded, but received only a blank look in response.

"What makes you think that can't get those from you after killing you?" Naruto twirled kunai in his hand. "Now be good and stay put." He twirled the kunai again, looking at the blade. "Akasha says you are not worthy of being killed by her blade, so this one should do." And before Gatou could say or do anything, his head was separated from his body by a blade of wind. "Now let's see where you're keeping your money..." The Kyuubi jinchuuriki said to himself as he returned the kunai to its holster.

~/ *** \~

Zabuza turned around sharply when he heard someone enter his room, even though he had told Haku not to disturb him nor let anyone else do that...What he saw made him freeze for a moment: here, in his secret hideout was the 'Genocide' with unconscious Haku over his shoulder.

"Don't worry, I haven't killed your partner." The 'Genocide' said as he dropped the ice user into an armchair. As son as that happened, Zabuza drew his cleaver and tried to behead Naruto, but his blade was stopped with just a kunai. "Relax." The Kyuubi jinchuuriki said. "If I wanted to kill you, you'd be dead already." He made a pause, before continuing: "Now then, the Mizukage wants your sword back to the village. You can come along peacefully or..." Unfortunately, Naruto forgot that these were not the words he should use around Zabuza, as the man tried to cleave him into two again (and again his Kubikiri Bouchou was stopped by a kunai).

"Over my dead body." The Kiri missing-nin hissed, though it failed to impress the Kyuubi jinchuuriki.

"I can organize that." He replied, before continuing: "But with the recent events that happened back in the land of Water, I'm most sure that both you and your partner will be welcomed there... Oh, and just so that you know it, Gatou wasn't going to pay. Instead he'd have a small army of his thugs overwhelm you after you were tired out by Hatake... And please lower your sword. We've have already established that if I wanted to kill you, you wouldn't be alive right now."

"How do you know that?" Zabuza growled, still trying to off the younger swordsman with his cleaver, who, still, was acting like there was no huge blade pointing towards his neck.

"In order. I know about Gatou's plans because I killed him about an hour ago, per Mizukage's orders. And about the Mizukage welcoming you back to the village... Mizukage had changed." His words, though, had a double meaning, and Zabuza chose the 'wrong' one.

"Yagura was cured of that curse sharingan freak placed on him?" The Kirigakure no kijin asked, lowering his blade a bit.

"Yes. Via decapitation." Then Naruto slowly drew Akasha, displaying her crimson blade to the other swordsman. "But this very sword." ...It took several seconds for Zabuza to understand what these words meant.

"Yagura is dead then." He stated matter-of-factly. "Who is the new Mizukage?" The red-eyed blond waited for a second, before giving an answer:

"Terumi Mei, the south-west general." After a moment of silence he added the next part, though Zabuza had understood that already: "The rebellion had won." Zabuza nodded slowly, not sure what to think of this revelation: on one hand, Kiri now had a better leader, on the other... the reason of the last several years of his life has been just taken from him.

"Very well. I'll think about visiting Kiri to see what this Terumi is up to, and how good a leader she is." Naruto narrowed his eyes a bit – after all someone was talking somewhat disdainfully about his mate, but he let it slide for now.

"I'm afraid, your options are somewhat limited, as I'm here on a mission to recover the Kubikiri Bouchou." Then the 'Genocide' sighed. "Anyway, I have some business in the village. I will give you a day to get ready to return ti Kirigakure... Just don't think that I will let you escape with your sword from me." And then he vanished into small explosion of wind, revealing himself to be nothing more than a clone...

"Darn it!" Zabuza swore, before sitting back down to think of what he had to do in this situation... On one hand, with a new Mizukage and someone who saw Yagura as an enemy, he might be really accepted back into the village. But on the other hand... it was still possible that he would not be seen as a returning war hero... Oh well, with a ninja like the 'Genocide' sent to retrieve him, Zabuza knew that his best option was to comply with the request to return to Kiri. He could always run away later...

~/ *** \~

Almost at the same time Naruto organized a gathering of Wave citizens on the main square of the town. Once he was sure that the crowd was at its maximum, even the Konoha ninja were there, he made his announcement:

"People of Wave, the tyrant that had ruled you with fear of his fake power is no more, as is his army of outlaws." With these words, the Kyuubi jinchuuriki unsealed Gatou's head from his scroll and kicked it into a trash-container on the other side of the plaza. This all had quite an effect, as now Naruto could see dozens upon dozens of shocked faces of Wave citizens: it seemed that the midget 'businessman' managed to make to local population believe that there was nothing that could release his hold on the country... While people were still busy processing what they had just seen, the Kyuubi jinchuuriki continued: "You can find the money and things taken from you in the Gatou's mansion a mile to the North from the 'Blue tide' sea port. There are no guards there left alive, so no one will stop you from reclaiming what is rightfully yours." This caused the crowd to cheer loudly, and the most impatient were already turning around to leave the plaza and to head to the dead businessman's mansion... The red-eyed swordsman sent a brief wave of killing intent to stop them: he wasn't finished with his announcement yet. "This freedom is a gift to your country from the new Mizukage, and itt would be good if you do not allow another tyrant to take over."

Though the words themselves didn't tell it, many, Konoha ninja (well, Kakashi) included, got the hidden message: Kiri wanted to have Wave as an ally, like they used to before the bloodline purges started six years ago. The copy-nin didn't like the idea of something strengthening Konoha's potential enemy, but in this case it would be impossible to turn Nami no kuni away from Kiri without using military forces... And using them was a sure way to start a Fourth Great shinobi war, something that Konoha was not ready to yet. So, he decided, hi steam will keep guarding Tazuna till he completes the bridge – Zabuza might still be around and not yet aware of his employer's death – but he will not insist on Wave country choosing Konoha over Kiri as their protector... It will do no good.

That's all, folks!
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