Hello, loyal readers! I know this has been a long time coming, but a great many things have kept me from writing it. Now, I know you don't want to listen to me blather, so on with the show!

I do not own Naruto, and Tsubaki was created by Inuyasha838688.


Mikoto hummed lightly as Tsubaki suckled on her breast. She leaned against Naruto, who smiled at his new family. Three months ago, they were blessed with their beautiful little girl. With the new addition, they had finally settled into a solid routine. Every morning, when they woke up, Mikoto would tend to the often fussy Tsubaki while Naruto readied himself for the academy. They would eat breakfast together before Naruto left. While he was at the academy, Mikoto spent her day tending to their daughter, a task that brought her nostalgic memories of raising Itachi and Sasuke. The main difference this time was having a husband who was eager to help her. Naruto delighted at being a father, doing anything he could to help her. Likewise, Tsubaki was clearly attached to her parents, even by normal standards. If one of them left the room, the other needed to remain, unless Tsubaki went with them.

"She's a hungry little thing, isn't she?" Naruto said, seeing Tsubaki's almost frenzied suckling. Mikoto nodded.

"She seems to have inherited your appetite, not to mention your hyperactivity." she noted. Naruto nodded, sighing happily. The room was quiet, the only sounds being Tsubaki's suckling and Mikoto's gentle hum. Both were shocked when a dark void opened at the foot of their bed. Naruto's grandfather stepped out, looking no different than he had a year ago. In his hand was a sheathed daito. "Hello, Ojii-san." Mikoto greeted with a smile. Sparda smiled at her, his smile widening considerably upon seeing the child attached to her breast.

"Congratulations, you two." he said. Naruto grinned, while Mikoto smiled brightly. Tsubaki, oblivious to the new arrival, continued to feed. "I see you have adjusted to your new lives quite well." he noted, looking around the apartment.

"We've had a whole year, Ojii-san. Of course we're adjusted." Naruto said. Sparda nodded, smiling. Naruto then took note of the sword in Sparda's hand. "What's that, Ojii-san?"

"I told you, I would have Mikoto's blade with me when I returned." Mikoto handed Naruto Tsubaki, who had fallen asleep. She readjusted her top and stood up. Sparda handed her the daito, allowing her to examine it. The hilt was wrapped in black and red cloth, a broken chain hanging from the pommel. The guard was black, shaped like a manji. Intrigued by the design, she gripped the handle, drawing the blade. She marveled at the gleam the black blade gave off. It was beautiful, yet seemed eager to cut through her foes. "I did not name it. I felt it best that its owner give it a name." Mikoto nodded. She ran her eyes along the entirety of the weapon, trying to get a feel for the weapon to bestow upon it a proper name. She felt one in particular echo in the back of her mind. Thinking it over, she nodded. It was suitable.

"Zangetsu." she said. Sparda smirked.

"CuttingMoon? Surprisingly fitting. A good name." Mikoto nodded, sheathing the blade and placing it on the table with Force Edge. Naruto seldom kept Force Edge with him, as Yamato was more than enough protection. Sparda moved over to Naruto, who was gently rocking Tsubaki. "May I?" he asked. Naruto nodded, handing the man his great-granddaughter. He gently cradled the child, a joyful smile creeping onto his face. "What is her name?" he asked.

"Tsubaki." Naruto supplied.

"Hello, Tsubaki-chan…" he greeted lowly. Tsubaki slowly opened her eyes, being greeted with Sparda's face. She curiously reached up, pulling the man's monocle from his face. She looked at curiously before putting it in her mouth. Sparda chuckled at the girl, who smiled. "She's beautiful."

"She's our little angel." Naruto said. Tsubaki dropped the monocle, letting it hang from Sparda's pocket, and reached up to Sparda, pulling at his face. Sparda began chuckling. "Well, she seems to like her great grandfather." he noted. Sparda nodded, making faces at Tsubaki. Tsubaki's laughter filled the room.

Mikoto shook her head as she heard her daughter roar. She smiled at the fond memory and watched amusedly as her husband and daughter sparred. Every blow Tsubaki tried was batted aside by her father. It was beginning to frustrate the silver haired girl, to her parents' amusement. "Come on, Tsubaki-chan! I know you can do better than this!" her father taunted, grinning at the petite devil. She huffed at her father before delivering a vicious spin kick to his stomach. Much to her annoyance, he caught her leg and flipped her over. "You're reacting again, Tsubaki-chan. We need to control that temper of yours." Tsubaki caught herself before she landed, springing up and kicking her father in the side. The force behind the kick managed to make the silver haired man slide nearly a foot. He blinked, then let out a groan as Tsubaki cheered.

"I did it! I finally managed to hit you, Tou-san!" she ran over to her smiling mother and hugged her. Naruto made his way over to his two angels and sat down next to his wife. Tsubaki excitedly hopped onto his lap. "That means you have to fulfill your end of the deal!" Naruto nodded. He had said two years ago, when they had started this, that if Tsubaki could legitimately land a blow on him, he would buy her anything she wanted.

"Yes it does, Tsubaki-chan. What do you want?" she grinned, looking eerily similar to her father.

Ichiraku Ramen Bar

"I should have guessed…" Naruto grumbled, sitting next to his daughter, who was currently on her 12th bowl of ramen. Now, Naruto still loved ramen, and had passed that trait down to his daughter, but Mikoto had succeeded in teaching him to moderate his cravings for the food. She had only allowed a certain amount of it a day. Oftentimes, he would go days without it. So, watching his daughter eat as much as she wanted while not being able to pig out like he used to was a painful thing for him, especially since he had already eaten his maximum amount allowed for the day. "How much more are you going to eat?" he asked his daughter, who had just received another bowl from Ayame.

"How much more is left?" she asked the waitress. Naruto groaned, slamming his head against the counter. Mikoto giggled, rubbing her husband's back soothingly.

"It's okay, Naruto-kun." she said.

"So unfair, Miko-chan…" he whined. Mikoto leaned down and kissed his temple.

"I still can't believe it." Ayame said, staring at Naruto. "How did you get him to stop pigging out?" Mikoto smiled at the waitress.

"Naruto-kun listens to me." she said simply.

"Yeah." Naruto grumbled. "I learned years ago that my life would be much easier if I listened to Miko-chan…" Mikoto smiled, rubbing her husband's back. Ayame giggled at the couple. She had thought at first that Naruto marrying Mikoto was a bit strange, but after seeing them together, she saw how in love they were with each other. Once she met Tsubaki, she knew that they were perfect together. Tsubaki reminded her quite a bit of Naruto when he was little, always full of energy. At times, though, Mikoto's genes shone through. Tsubaki showed an intellect well beyond her years, at times saying things Ayame herself didn't know. She wasn't nearly as dense as her father was, though she chalked that up more to her actually having parents to explain things to her, unlike Naruto, who had proved to be quite intelligent, though still not to the extent of his wife.

"Done!" Tsubaki exclaimed after devouring nearly 30 bowls of ramen. Naruto was weeping comically, still upset at not being able to eat ramen. Mikoto was still consoling her husband, gently rubbing his back. Unbeknownst to him, she was barely restraining her laughter at the childishness of her husband. Ayame smiled at the young devil, collecting the last bowl from her.

"I'm impressed, Tsubaki-chan. You've well on your way to beating your Tou-san's record." she said, handing the bowl off to her father.

"What was his record?" Tsubaki asked curiously.

"84 bowls, one after another." Teuchi said, grinning. Tsubaki blinked, turning to her father with an awed expression. Mikoto tapped him on the back, making him look up at her. She pointed to Tsubaki. He turned to face his daughter and almost burst out laughing at Tsubaki's expression.

After paying Teuchi for all the ramen, the family went back to the training field they had taken to using for Tsubaki's training. Coincidentally, it was also the field Naruto had taken his Genin exam at. They immediately noticed that they weren't alone. Naruto's sensei, Kakashi, was staring at the memorial stone. "Sensei?" Naruto said, making him turn to face the family.

"Oh, hey, Naruto. Mikoto-sama, it's good to see you alive again." Mikoto smiled at the masked shinobi. Kakashi knelt down to see Tsubaki. "And you must be Tsubaki-chan." Tsubaki nodded.

"What brings you here, sensei?" Naruto asked. Kakashi's face took a slightly somber tone briefly before returning to his usual look, something Naruto didn't miss.

"Just visiting some old friends…" he stood back up, turning to face the memorial stone. Naruto nodded.

"How often do you come here?" he asked. Kakashi shrugged.

"At least once a day. I feel like I owe it to them." Kakashi suddenly snapped his fingers as if remembering something. "Oh! Naruto, Hokage-sama approved my request to make you my apprentice. I was going to tell you tomorrow, but since you're here…"

"What about Sakura and Sasuke?" Naruto felt Tsubaki's grip on his hand tighten at the mention of her half-brother.

"Sakura is back at the academy. Hopefully it will help her learn that the life of a shinobi is about sacrifice. Sasuke…" Kakashi seemed to struggle wording his next statement. "Someone took him under their wing. I don't know who. The council wanted me to train him, since I'm the only one other than Mikoto-sama with a sharingan, but I refused."

"I just hope he doesn't do something stupid…" Naruto sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"You know, Naruto," Kakashi said, "it's really remarkable how much you've grown up since your transformation. You're only fifteen, but you seem so much older." Naruto shrugged.

"Having Tsubaki-chan gave me a new perspective. I needed to grow up to be able to support my family." he pat his daughter on the head, earning him a bright smile from the diminutive devil. "So tell me, sensei, what exactly will we be doing over the course of this apprenticeship? No offense to you, but I'm not sure there's much you can teach me that's superior to my clan's techniques."

"Well, I need to know what those are first, Naruto." Naruto nodded. "Would you be opposed to showing me some of your techniques? Our spar yesterday didn't exactly give me a fair estimate of your skill." Naruto seemed to consider it for a moment before nodding. He moved to the center of the field with Kakashi, while Mikoto and Tsubaki watched from their spot by the memorial stone.

"What exactly do you want to see?" Naruto asked. "I don't know any jutsu other than the basic academy ones, but my kekkei genkai gives me an almost unbeatable body, and I've been training with it ever since Tsubaki was born. I know it sounds arrogant, but it's true."

"Well, I know from our spar that you're at least Chunin level in regards to Taijutsu…" Kakashi rubbed his chin in thought. "What are your abilities in your own words?" Naruto adopted a thoughtful expression.

"Let's see… I've honed my aim, I've been working on my Kenjutsu, and I still don't know how to activate Force Edge…"

"Force Edge?" Kakashi questioned.

"Never mind. I guess my primary skill lies in Kenjutsu." Naruto said, waving off Kakashi's question. He summoned Yamato to his side, surprising the masked shinobi. "Want a demonstration?" Kakashi nodded. Naruto stepped towards the forest, crouching into an Iaido stance. He struck with blinding speed, the click of his sword as it hit the scabbard being the only sign he had even moved. He stood back up and smiled at Kakashi. "That enough?" Kakashi blinked. The tree behind Naruto fell down, a single clean cut separating it from its roots.

"You cut down a tree with one slice. Impressive." Naruto frowned, turning back to the tree. "What is it, Naruto?" Naruto held up his index finger.

"Wait for it…" nine trees suddenly fell to the ground, all of them having the exact same cut as the first one. "There we go."

"Ten trees with one cut?" Kakashi said, amazed. Naruto shrugged.

"I told you I specialized in Kenjutsu." he smiled, hearing Tsubaki's exuberant cheers. "And I can do way more than that." Kakashi nodded, shocked at Naruto's ability.

"Well, I suppose I should stop thinking of you as a Genin, then." Kakashi said as they headed back over to Naruto's family.

"In terms of practical application, yeah. I still don't know a whole lot about being a shinobi, though, so I wouldn't qualify for anything else." Naruto resealed Yamato and picked up Tsubaki. "So should I come here tomorrow for our first mission? You should know I won't do D-ranks. I'm not spending my time doing chores for people who hate me. I do enough chores in my own home." Kakashi nodded.

"I'll talk to the Hokage. See you tomorrow, Naruto." Kakashi disappeared in a shunshin, leaving the Namikaze family alone.

"I like him." Tsubaki said.

Unknown Location

He growled as he pulled what was left of his weapon out of the Scarecrow demon, paying it no mind as the body disintegrated in a black mist. He examined the broken blade briefly before tossing it aside, picking up the blade he had severed from the demon. "It'll have to do, for now." he hefted it onto his shoulder, walking amongst the desolate land. "I'm not going to get any stronger here. I need real enemies." his blue coat fluttered in the sudden breeze around him. He turned around, his cold blue eyes locked onto the floating blades around him. "Interesting…" he looked at the blade in his hand, then returned his gaze to the floating sword. "An enemy that is also a blade. This will be entertaining." he dashed forward, slicing one in half. He jumped over one as it launched at him, grabbing its hilt and slashing at another one. He made quick work of the small group of enemies, ending with him impaling the three remaining blades with the Scarecrow blade. He looked at the remaining sword demon in his hand, debating on whether or not to destroy it. "It'll have to work." he continued the hellish walk, sword in hand.

He had been wandering this section of the Demon World for an incalculable amount of time, his "punishment" for attempting to kill his brother. He had recently deemed it futile to even attempt to wander, since it never got him anywhere. He continued on, however, after feeling an immense burst of power resonate through him. He knew that only someone of his bloodline was capable of such power, and that thought gave him hope. He needed his freedom, and he wasn't going to stop until he got it. "Father, brother…" he said to himself, "Which of you is it? Who is leading me to my freedom?"


He kicked open the doors to his shop and immediately went wide eyed. The Sparda was gone! "Trish!" he called. The blonde woman came out from the second floor.

"What?" she asked.

"Did you take the Sparda?" he asked. Her brow furrowed in confusion. She peered over the railing and noticed the vacant spot on the wall. She immediately jumped down to the ground floor, a shocked look on her face. "How could someone take it? I mean, you're here! Did you hear anything?" Trish shook her head.

"No. The shop was quiet until you kicked down the doors… again." he sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"Dammit…" he looked around the shop, hoping for a clue as to who took the blade. As he looked over the spot where the Sparda had been, he froze.

"Dante?" Trish called, seeing his unmoving form. "What is it?"

"That power…" he muttered. He immediately bolted through the shop, grabbing his shotgun and heading for the door. "Come on, Trish!"

"Huh?" Trish grabbed Luce & Ombra and headed after him. "Where exactly are we going?" she asked.

"We're going to pay a visit to the family."

With Naruto

Naruto sighed as Mikoto gently ran her finger along his chest. Tsubaki was asleep, allowing the couple some modicum of privacy. "Miko-chan…" he sighed her name. She smiled radiantly at her husband, delivering a loving peck to his jaw. "You're determined to have another kid, aren't you?" he asked. Ever since they had revealed their family, any time they were able, they were having sex. Mikoto had made it clear to him that she wanted more children. When he was still in the academy, it wasn't possible, due to his time being consumed from his studies and training with his new body, as well as Mikoto caring for Tsubaki, which was an almost twenty four hour job until she turned six. With their lives no longer secret, they could finally expand their family. And so, here they were, several hours into their copulation, allowing themselves a brief rest.

"Of course, Naruto-kun. I want to have a big family with you. Besides, Tsubaki-chan would love having a little brother or sister." she hugged her husband, loving the warmth he gave off.

"I guess you're right. I just hope we can handle two little balls of energy. I mean, Tsubaki's bad enough." Mikoto giggled.

"Silly Naru-kun…" she tapped him playfully on the nose. "That's why there are two parents." he pressed their foreheads together, a happy smile on his face. He had never expected for his life to turn out this way, but he wouldn't want it any other way. He had a beautiful wife that loved him unconditionally, an angel of a daughter that thought he was the greatest thing in the world, and he was finally a shinobi. Life was good.

"I love you, Mikoto." she smiled, hearing the love in his voice.

"I love you, too, Naruto." she laid her head on his chest, sighing happily.

The Next Day

Naruto pulled on his coat as he looked over the scroll he had received from Kakashi. Sarutobi had agreed with them about avoiding D-rank missions, so he had assigned them a C-rank involving protecting a bridge builder named Tazuna. He headed out into the kitchen, still reading the scroll.

"Good morning, Tou-san!" Tsubaki greeted.

"Morning, Tsubaki-chan." he mumbled, carefully reading the mission statement. He sat down next to his daughter.

"Are you going on your mission today, Tou-san?" she asked. Naruto nodded. "Are you gonna be okay?" Naruto looked up from the scroll to see Tsubaki looking slightly worried. He smiled softly at his daughter, picking her up and placing her on his lap. He kissed her on the forehead.

"I'm gonna be fine, Tsubaki-chan." he assured. "I'll be gone for awhile, so it'll be up to you to protect Kaa-chan, okay?" Tsubaki nodded. "I promise that I'll come back safe and sound. Okay?" Tsubaki smiled at him, hugging him tightly. This would be the first time that Naruto was away for more than a day, and Tsubaki was worried about him. She knew how strong her father was, though, so she knew he'd always come back to her. He'd come back to his little angel.

"You're going to be late." Naruto turned to see his wife holding Force Edge. He put Tsubaki down and headed over to her. She held Force Edge out to him.

"I doubt that I'll need Force Edge, Koishii. It's just a C-rank. The most I'll have to worry about is bandits." Mikoto made him take it.

"I know, Naruto-kun, but you're more skilled with Force Edge. Take it with you, just in case." He sighed, sealing it away in his tattoo. He embraced his wife, kissing her softly.

"I'll be fine. See you soon." she smiled, giving him one last kiss before he went out the door. She felt Tsubaki tug on her dress and looked down at the diminutive devil. She knelt down in front of her.

"What is it, Tsubaki-chan?" she asked. Tsubaki hugged her mother.

"I miss Tou-san." Mikoto laughed. This would be an interesting week.

Konoha Gate

Naruto was surprised to find Kakashi already waiting with Tazuna when he arrived. The bridge builder seemed more sober than he was when they were assigned the mission, looking more respectable than before. He scratched his gut, looking impatient.

"You're early, sensei." Kakashi shrugged.

"No reason to be late today." he took notice of the very small pack Naruto held behind him. "That all you'll need?"

"I keep my weapons in my coat, and I don't need a whole lot to survive. I'm more durable than an ordinary human now. I didn't even want the pack, but Miko-chan insisted…" Kakashi laughed.

"Welcome to marriage, Naruto." Naruto shrugged as they headed out of the gate, starting their mission. Due to there being only two of them, Kakashi walked in front of the bridge builder, while Naruto walked behind him, watching diligently for any threats. Neither of them spoke, which seemed to make Tazuna slightly nervous. Naruto carefully listened to the noises around him, however minute they may be. He resisted summoning Yamato as he heard the vague sound of chains rattling together in the distance. He looked ahead to Kakashi. If he heard it as well, he didn't show it. Soon enough, they passed a puddle off to the side of the road. Like the rattling chains, this set off Naruto's senses. The water was tainted with the scent of humans. It wasn't minute enough to be caused by people stepping in it, unless there was a parade through here not twenty minutes ago. Once again, Naruto discreetly peeked a glance at his sensei. The man, to most others, would still seem as relaxed as always, but Naruto saw his muscles were coiled, ready for action. As soon as Naruto passed it, the puddle dissipated, two shinobi jumping out of it. They moved quite fast, bolting towards Tazuna. Naruto grabbed the back of the bridge builder's collar, pulling him out of the way and tossing him against a tree. He summoned Force Edge to his hand, blocking the spiked chain connecting them together. Naruto immediately took notice of their odd weapon choice, a clawed gauntlet with a chain connecting them. A weapon like that took a lot of skill to master. He ducked under the chain, severing it with his blade. They didn't stop in their movements, heading for Kakashi.

The Jonin ducked one of their swipes, kicking him back towards Naruto, and slammed his fist into the other's throat. His assailant collapsed to the ground, gasping for breath. He reached down, ripped the gauntlet off of him, and subdued him. He looked over at Naruto, hearing a roar of pain, and saw Naruto's blade sticking out of the other shinobi's gauntlet-covered arm. Naruto pulled his blade loose and kicked the assailant to the ground. He dragged the injured shinobi over to Kakashi, looking over to make sure that Tazuna was alright. The bridge builder appeared stunned, but unharmed.

"Who are you?" Kakashi demanded, hauling his captive to his feet. The nin remained silent, glaring at Kakashi. "Naruto, watch Tazuna." he ordered, picking up the other shinobi as well. "I'm going to get the information out of these two." Naruto nodded, cleaning Force Edge and heading over to Tazuna as Kakashi headed into the woods.

"So, Tazuna, care to explain why you have shinobi after you?" Naruto asked, making the bridge builder look up at him. "Every shinobi knows that C-rank missions don't have enemy shinobi. The most we'd have to worry about are bandits, not shinobi." Tazuna looked nervous. Before Naruto could press him for information, Kakashi came back from the woods, two scrolls in hand. He knelt down in front of Tazuna.

"Tazuna-san, why is the CEO of Gato shipping after you?" Naruto blinked. Where had he heard that name before?

"Well, it's kind of a long story…"

"We've got time." Kakashi wasn't going to let Tazuna evade the question. He was far more serious than he was in the village.

"Alright, alright." Tazuna sighed. "My home has been under Gato's thumb for some time now. He's taken over our country, locking down our shipping lanes and monopolizing our economy. Our country is bleeding to death because of him!" Tazuna clenched his fists tightly.

"That doesn't explain why he's trying to kill you." Naruto noted. Tazuna nodded.

"I was getting to that. I'm a bridge builder, as you know, and I was building a bridge that would connect us to the mainland. If I could complete it, Wave's economy could be restored. Gato knows this, and wants to kill me to stop me from completing the bridge." Naruto snapped his fingers suddenly, making Tazuna and Kakashi look at him strangely.

"That's where I remember the name!" he exclaimed. Seeing their gazes, he smiled sheepishly and explained, "I knew I had heard of Gato shipping before, but couldn't remember why it seemed significant."

"And?" Kakashi encouraged his apprentice to elaborate.

"It deals with my bloodline, so I won't be too specific, but there are others around the world with powers like mine."

"Other members of the Namikaze clan?" Kakashi asked. Naruto shook his head.

"No. It's complicated, sensei, and I'm not going to go into detail around a civilian." Kakashi nodded. "Suffice to say that there was an incident around Wave involving those powers." Naruto turned back to Tazuna. "Anyway, you were saying?"

"Right…" Tazuna seemed distracted by Naruto's statement, but quickly shook his head to clear his thoughts. "I had to go to Konoha for supplies. I was hoping to find additional workers as well, but I couldn't afford what they were asking for. I barely had enough to hire escorts for the trip home, but I saw that I wouldn't be able to hire for a B-rank. C-rank was the best I could get, so I lied. I'm sorry, but I'd be dead if not for you two."

"So where do we go from here, sensei?" Naruto asked.

"Well, proper protocol would be to abandon the mission." Tazuna looked worried. "But the implications of what would happen to Wave if Tazuna-san were to die…" he turned to his apprentice. "What do you want to do, Naruto? I won't force you to do either one."

"I say we help him." Tazuna sighed gratefully. "We can work out a payment plan to fix the improper mission difficulty, and besides," he grinned ruefully, "Miko-chan'd never let me hear the end of it if I let an entire country suffer." Kakashi nodded. "It'll also give me a chance to investigate that power incident, with your permission, sensei." Kakashi nodded.

"Alright, then. Tazuna, we'll stay in Wave until you finish the bridge. We won't let Gato hurt you or your family." Tazuna grabbed Kakashi's hand, shaking it rapidly.

"Thank you so much!"

They continued their silent trek to Wave, now more wary of possible threats. For the longest time, no one spoke, Kakashi and Naruto wary of enemies, Tazuna slightly scared by his protectors' demeanor. Eventually, Naruto broke the silence. "Hey, sensei." he spoke somewhat quietly, low enough not to raise any alarms but audible enough for Tazuna to hear. "What did you get from those two shinobi earlier other than Gato?"

"They were fairly tight lipped, but I do know that there are powerful shinobi under Gato's employ. Specifics weren't available. Either they were conditioned to resist, or they really didn't know who else was working for Gato." Kakashi responded. "Naruto, I'll tell you this now so we can avoid a problem if we are attacked. Your priority is Tazuna. Even if I am going to be killed, Tazuna must be protected." Naruto nodded. Soon enough, they reached a body of water covered by fog, where a friend of Tazuna's was waiting to ferry them across. The boatman frequently commented that they needed to be silent, to Naruto's confusion. The only one talking was the boatman!

When they had gotten closer to the land, Tazuna's bridge came into view. It was far larger than either Naruto or Kakashi had expected, being several stories tall. Tazuna smiled proudly as he saw it. It was obvious to them both that this bridge meant the world to the old man.

When they had disembarked from the boat, they found themselves on the road again. It was eerily quiet around them. If there were any animals in the woods, they were either asleep or dead. It made Naruto and Kakashi more alert. Naruto reached into his jacket, slipping a few knives into his sleeve. Something was about to happen, he just didn't know what. He could feel it in his gut. A brief distance ahead of them, they saw a bush rustle. Naruto immediately drew a knife out of his sleeve, preparing to throw it. Before he could, however, an enormous blade flew out of the bush, nearly taking Tazuna's head off. Naruto dove for the bridge builder, tackling him to the ground. The blade sailed over their heads, slicing a tree in half. It flew like a boomerang, slipping back into the bushes. Naruto helped Tazuna up, about to draw one of his blades. A large monster jumped out of the bushes, revealing itself in its entirety.

"What the…" Kakashi marveled at the creature. Its body consisted of what looked like a burlap sack, haphazardly sewn together with a large odd leather mask atop it. The mask had a rather strange trunk-like appendage in front of it, ending with a ring. Its arms were by far its most noticeable feature, consisting of four large blades, each of them exactly like the one that nearly killed Tazuna. It menacingly stalked towards them, using its blades as a balance to compensate for its abnormally short legs. "Naruto! Guard-" a knife impacted the creature's head, making it stumble backwards.

"Sorry, sensei, but you'll have to let me handle this." Naruto said, stepping forward. "You don't know how to deal with this sort of thing." Kakashi stared at the silver haired young man briefly.

"Is this something to deal with your family's power?" he asked. Naruto nodded. "Alright." he said reluctantly. "I want an explanation afterwards, Naruto. No details left out." his tone left no room for argument.

"Alright, sensei. Just keep Tazuna out of it." Kakashi stepped away, guarding their client. Naruto stepped forward as the large creature stared at him. "I figured they'd be ugly, but not this ugly…" he summoned Yamato to his side, crouching slightly. "Let's see if Ojii-san's lessons were worth it…" the creature launched one of its blades at him. He swiftly drew Yamato and, with a flick of his wrist, sent the blade careening into the ground. He dashed forward, delivering swift slashes to the creature's stomach while deftly avoiding the large blades of the creature. He slammed the sheath into its gut, knocking it back. He sheathed Yamato, crouching into an Iaido stance. He swiftly redrew the blade, slashing rather stylishly in the air, missing the creature by a wide margin. He sheathed the blade once more and began walking away. The creature stumbled forward, its blade raised to attack, only to have its arms fall off. Its torso suddenly split open, causing the bugs within it to fall out. Naruto looked back at the creature's corpse and smirked.

"Naruto," Kakashi said, "what was that?"

"That, sensei," Naruto replied, "was something I call the Judgement Cut. It's a family technique. Cool, huh?" Kakashi smiled, nodding. "Now that that's been taken care of, we should head on to Wave, right?" before they could get back onto the road, they were forced to duck as yet another blade soared overhead. This one, however, embedded itself in a tree above them, rather than slicing through it. "Another one?" Naruto placed his hand on Yamato's hilt, ready to deal with another demon. To his surprise, a shirtless human man jumped onto the blade, glaring ominously at them.

"Hello, Tazuna…" he stated darkly. "Your executioner has arrived."

And DONE! Dramatic enough? Well, it got the point across. So we're finally starting the Wave arc! Are you as excited as I am? I doubt it. Anyway, we have quite a few Devil May Cry cameos in here. Think of them as previews of what's to come. I hope you enjoyed this EXTREMELY belated chapter. Tell me what you think! Was it worth the wait?

On another note, I'm working on Shinigami Ninja again, for those of you that read my other stories. If all goes as planned, it should be done soon. Wish me luck!

Forever in the Sky,

The Red Star