A/N: The whole situation in Japan has just turned into one big disaster. I hope they can pull out of this one without any further losses but I doubt that will be the case. It isn't much, but I'll pray for them and try to donate some money as well. I urge those that are able to do the same.
Summary: Naruto gets sent to the past after a battle with Sasuke and ends up in a cave. He finds the legendary Sword of Totsuka in the cave and later learns that he is stranded in a time during the Second Great Shinobi War! Spoilers.
Generic-Ass Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Chapter 3: Further Assimilation
Naruto's training with Heikou took a surprisingly long time. His teacher hadn't allowed Naruto to learn his family style since it was only passed down through family, but he did teach Naruto how to create his own. In fact, they worked together to utilize his wind chakra and his agile nature to form a unique and precise sword style.
Normally that wouldn't have taken three and a half years, but Heikou insisted on teaching not only the way of the sword but also the way of the samurai. He taught him much about an honorable samurai's philosophy and nature. Truly, Naruto had a deeper respect for both Heikou and his profound beliefs.
They became good friends along the way and Naruto was a sort of older brother/uncle figure to Heikou's son, Mifune. He didn't think it was a coincidence that the boy's name was Mifune, but he didn't really like to think about the consequences of that. He was already nervous of changing the future too drastically and he didn't need more stuff to worry about.
They had to constantly travel around, avoiding both samurai and the occasional ninja but it still felt like some kind of long vacation. Naruto didn't mind the rigorous and somewhat odd training he was put through; it was all for a purpose after all. In the end, his style was to strike swiftly with quick and precise movements, all the while his blade was to be extended and sharpened to great proportions with wind chakra. Heikou had once remarked that it was similar to his own family style.
He was now much more adept at predicting an opponent's movements and at dodging as well because of his new training. His already honed reflexes were heightened further and he even had a stronger and more reliable connection to nature. It was an odd addition to his slowly expanding repertoire of abilities, but a welcomed one. Naruto suspected it had to do with all of the meditation he had done during bad weather or under intense waterfalls.
All in all, his training was a great success and he now no longer desired to remain in the shadows like he had so far during the now raging war going on in the Elemental Nations. He had of course been training to further prepare himself so he had an excuse but not anymore. His mind made up, he readied his equipment and the katana he usually used and prepared to say his goodbyes.
"So you are leaving," Heikou stated more than asked as he saw Naruto with all of his things packed.
Naruto nodded solemnly. "Yes. My training is about complete. All I really need now is experience with some skilled swordsmen other than you. But before I go, I wanted to show you something…"
Naruto took out a scroll and unsealed what he knew Heikou suspected was a katana wrapped in white cloth. Naruto glanced at the man before he slowly started unraveling the cloth. "I know you've wanted to know what I meant about me having a special sword all this time."
That was definitely true. Heikou had been quite curious and a bit confused when Naruto had told him about a special sword. Naruto never showed him the sword though and so with time he had gotten over his curiosity and forgot about it. Now though, his curiosity was back two-fold.
Naruto continued speaking as he was almost finished removing the cloth. "I never showed this to you because I wanted to keep it a secret, but I believe you deserve to see it. It's the least I can do in exchange for all that you've done for me."
Heikou seemed even more curious and watched on with interest as Naruto finished with the cloth to reveal a sheathed white katana with an odd spherical object attached to the very bottom of the hilt. Heikou definitely liked the design and the white sash holder but he didn't know what was so special about it.
"This sword is possibly the most famous katana in history. It is one of the three legendary spiritual items; the Totsuka no Tsurugi," Naruto stated seriously.
Heikou's eyes widened and he gasped in astonishment. He looked visibly taken aback. "H-how…?" he muttered in shock.
Naruto couldn't blame the man for being so stunned. This particular spiritual item was probably more famous and renowned in Iron Country than in the other nations. "I found it in a cave," Naruto stated while pulling the blade from its sheath slightly. "There were many protections and it was difficult to find. I wasn't really even looking for it actually; it was through luck that I found it at all."
Heikou wished desperately to touch it and examine it, Naruto could tell, but he was too respectful to do such a thing. He had a certain philosophy not to touch another man's swords unless necessary. It was one of Heikou's foremost beliefs in his way of the samurai. Naruto thought it odd, but he wouldn't contradict the man.
"I-I see..." Heikou responded after he composed himself. "Thank you for allowing me the honor of seeing it. I now know it is not merely a myth anymore."
Naruto nodded with a smile and placed it on his back instead of wrapping it back up; he now knew how to use it after all. He turned around and started walking away slowly. "I will visit you soon if I can, Heikou."
As Naruto walked through the outskirts of Fire Country, he could tell something was happening. He could just barely feel chakra being used in a large mass. It was most likely a battle between two armies of ninja or between two powerful enemies. Either way, he felt the need to check it out.
He travelled with top speed to an area about an hour south. With his speed he made it in less than half the time and came upon a shocking and grim sight. Around a gruesome battlefield laid many corpses of both Konoha and Iwa Shinobi. The remaining forces of both sides were stationed behind their respective leaders, who happened to be battling it out intensely.
Naruto quickly jumped out to an area in between the two forces. Instantly he heard a couple of gasps from both sides, no doubt probably from the sensor-nin. He wouldn't blame them. Before he had finished up all of the Hero's Water, his chakra was huge, but after he'd used it up, his reserves had at least doubled; easily Bijuu-level, though he'd had to increase his chakra control training greatly.
Immediately he heard yelling from both sides, each of the sensor-nin trying to gain the attention of their leader. Naruto was stunned when he realized just who they were both trying to alert. It seemed both the Sandaime Hokage and the Sandaime Tsuchikage were the two that had been fighting. Though they were both much younger than he remembered them and looked a bit different, their resemblance was unmistakable.
He was broken from his thoughts when both the Tsuchikage and the Hokage jumped back to their respective sides and focused their attention on him. He could hear both sides' sensor-nin tell their leaders of his high level of chakra. Onoki's eyes widened when he took in his appearance, but the young Hiruzen just eyed him warily.
The battlefield turned quiet as both sides regarded him when suddenly the silence was broken by Onoki. "You! It couldn't be…"
The Sandaime looked a bit surprised and turned to the Tsuchikage. "You know this man, Tsuchikage?"
Naruto was surprised when he heard the Hokage refer to Onoki as the Tsuchikage. It meant that the Nidaime had been succeeded. Naruto wondered what could have happened. No village would instate a new leader in wartime unless their previous leader had fallen in battle.
"Could you be 'Shiro?'" asked the Tsuchikage, ignoring the Hokage's question.
Naruto chuckled a bit but nodded. He would need to plan his next words well. "I am. Who might you be?" he asked casually.
Onoki narrowed his eyes and scowled as he replied. "I am Onoki, Sandaime Tsuchikage of Iwagakure."
Naruto made sure to look surprised. "Oh? What happened to Muu, the Nidaime? He seemed really strong."
Onoki grit his teeth but answered. "About two years after you and Muu-sama fought, he and the Nidaime Mizukage killed each other in combat."
Naruto's eyes widened in surprise as he heard that. He hadn't actually ever learned the history behind the Nidaime Tsuchikage's death, nor the Nidaime Mizukage's. Well, he had probably heard it at some point, but he had never been a big history lover so he'd probably just forgotten. He was really regretting that now though.
"He fought the Nidaime Tsuchikage?" he heard a Konoha ninja say in shock while the remaining Iwa-nin behind Onoki all seemed to look at him with a bit more recognition and surprise, no doubt from Muu giving his ninja a description of him after their battle.
"I see," Naruto stated after a tense silence. "I'm sorry for your loss. He was a great Shinobi."
Onoki looked a bit startled but his scowl returned quickly. "Whatever. With both you and the Hokage here now, my chances of winning this battle have lessened. I'll be taking my leave. Men, Retreat!"
Quickly, many of the Iwa ninja threw down smoke bombs that cloaked their part of the battlefield. The Konoha ninja were tense and prepared, but the smoke soon cleared to reveal an empty landscape, with most of the dead bodies of Iwa-nin gone as well.
They stayed still and silent for awhile, many of them looking at Naruto and assessing him. Naruto blinked and shrugged. He was a bit surprised that the Tsuchikage had just left like that. Though it was a good thing, he supposed; he just hoped Iwa didn't think of him as some kind of great enemy allied with Konoha now.
"Shiro, was it?" a voice suddenly asked, bringing him out of his thoughts.
"Hmm?" he answered looking back at the Sandaime Hokage who looked like he was waiting for a response. "Ah, yes, I am Shiro. You must be the Hokage. It's nice to meet you," he said pleasantly as he bowed in greeting.
The Hokage seemed a bit puzzled at his casualness but bowed back nonetheless. "Yes. Is it true that you fought the Nidaime Tsuchikage?"
Naruto chuckled and rubbed his white hair a bit sheepishly. "Heh, yeah, I guess I did."
There were a few raised eyebrows at his response. "I see…" the Hokage replied, looking at him carefully. "Does that mean you are against Iwagakure in this war?"
Naruto could see where the young Sarutobi was going and he sighed. "Well, technically, I'm not against anyone. I am a wandering ninja and I happened to unfortunately come upon the Nidaime Tsuchikage while walking through Tsuchi no Kuni."
The Hokage nodded before replying. "Would you perhaps then be willing to ally yourself with Konohagakure? There would be many benefits and I could offer you protection as well."
Naruto frowned and shook his head. "Sorry, but I don't want to have allegiance to anyone during a war."
The young Hokage seemed a bit put out. "Very well…"
Naruto nodded and smiled under his mask. "Well, I've got to go," he stated before turning around and glancing at the group over his shoulder. "Good luck, Hokage."
Naruto opted for a dramatic farewell. He activated his Jinchuuriki cloak and it enveloped his body. To the others, he looked like some kind of spirit, his silhouette barely visible in the middle of the powerful chakra covering his form. He left with the extremely powerful version of the Body Flicker technique that was accessible to him in this state, though to those watching, it seemed like he phased out of existence in a flash of white.
"W-What the hell was that?" the man to the right of the Hokage asked in shock.
Hiruzen narrowed his eyes in thought and suspicion. "I don't know, but we must stay wary of that ninja. He is strong."
His subordinates nodded. They would definitely think carefully before getting on 'Shiro's' bad side.
Naruto chewed on the grilled pork in his mouth with relish. It had been awhile since he'd eaten and this seemed to be a delicacy in the Land of Rain. It was a surprisingly cheerful barbecue stand he'd conveniently stumbled upon. He supposed it was understandable though; it was located in the very northwestern parts of Rain Country after all. Shinobi from enemy villages rarely ever travelled through the town he had come upon and so the people were oblivious to the war for the most part.
Naruto had come out here for a bit of vacation. He had been slightly successful in stopping battles between opposing armies from escalating, but he only seemed to be delaying the inevitable. In fact, he felt he was even prolonging the war. His presence and show of power on the battlefield usually always worked to cause both sides to retreat, but then they would be at it again at some other location.
He was really starting to get annoyed too. His name had become renowned and famous after a few years of him trying to stop battles and succeeding most of the time. He had managed to gain his own moniker as the 'White Spirit' and everyone was now realizing his true intentions. They now knew it was his goal to stop opposing villages from killing each others' ninja.
Most had scoffed at the idea while a surprisingly large amount of people respected him and his stance. Well, they respected his ideas and goals but they just couldn't fathom them coming to fruition and so they discarded the thought of siding with him at all.
Naruto was growing more frustrated as each day passed. He couldn't stop all fights and the ones he did stop seemed to never show any significance to the war save for him becoming more renowned. He could care less about fame though.
He was at a loss now. He didn't know what to do anymore and so he decided with a bit of selfishness to go on a vacation. Naruto knew now that he would have to think of a different way to stop the war and he supposed a vacation would help him do that.
So far, he could only see joining a village would help stop it sooner. With his allegiance, a village would gain a significant bit of power and sway and would most likely prevail on the front lines. He didn't want to do that though. He could only think of joining Konoha and that would be too dangerous. In the end, he was again at a loss.
After about another two years of trying different strategies to stop battles and the war altogether and failing, he had sighed to himself and stopped. He was definitely doing things the wrong way and he could easily see that. Naruto now knew that interfering in the war was a waste of time, no matter how much it pained him to admit it.
If he never allied himself with Konoha, there wasn't much he would ever be able to do. Naruto had then decided it would be in his best interests to simply be patient and wait things out while getting stronger and establishing a network of information.
With that thought finalized, he had set out to find a teacher of sealing and a few willing informants. He'd already had a few people giving him inside information from both Earth Country and Water Country so he had only needed to expand his resources.
Finding someone to teach him more advanced sealing was the most difficult thing though. He'd managed it though and had been lucky enough to find an old man with no current ties to any village willing to teach him. The man was harsh and demanded perfection, so, naturally, he was quite annoyed with Naruto most of the time. He also demanded pay and thus Naruto was equally annoyed.
Still, he enjoyed their conversations on fuinjutsu theory and he had been steadily gaining more experience and knowledge in the complex art. With Shadow clones, he even managed to memorize patterns and formulas faster than normal. It was a work in progress though and he could only hope the war didn't become too brutal in his temporary absence.
"So he has finally given up," Koharu stated more than asked.
Hiruzen sighed and leaned back in his chair with a bit of weariness. "It would seem so. I truly admired his goals though, as unattainable as they seemed."
Danzo scoffed. "I cannot understand how someone can have so much power and yet still be so naïve."
Homura nodded a bit in agreement. "At least he's realized trying to stop villages from fighting isn't the way to go about things. It has served to put a slight strain on our budget for the war. Anymore and the Daimyo would have likely become angered with the village."
Hiruzen frowned at his teammates/advisors. "I don't believe he is naïve; he merely wishes for less death and bloodshed. He is a great man with great ideals but his methods to stop this war will not work with the current system. Perhaps he simply doesn't understand that system fully. He did say he was a wandering ninja with no allegiance to any village, after all."
Koharu nodded. "That seems more likely. I wonder, however, what he is doing now that he has stopped interfering with the war."
"My sources say the Sandaime Raikage wants him dead," Danzo offered. "He will likely try to stay out of sight to avoid further problems with Kumo."
Hiruzen nodded. "I believe it was rumored he has been last seen in Mizu no Kuni, though it is unlikely. Wherever he goes, he would no doubt be wearing a disguise."
"Why would he be in Mizu?" Homura asked with a bit of confusion.
"He's obviously planning something," Danzo answered. "Perhaps he is gathering allies to build up a stronger and more influential force to affect the war; we can only guess."
The four sat in silence for awhile until the only female of their group spoke. "Onto better news," she started, changing the previous subject, "how have your students been doing, Hiruzen?"
The Hokage smiled as he thought of them. "They are all progressing well. While Orochimaru is a Jonin already, Tsunade and Jiraiya are close behind. They will do great things together one day, I know it."
"Ugh!" Kashin grunted in annoyance as he looked over his students work once again. "At this rate, you will master fuinjutsu in another seventy years!"
A tick mark appeared on Naruto's forehead as he tried to ignore his sealing teacher and continue his work. He knew for a fact that his skill wasn't that far off from a master's level, but his teacher seemed to think motivation was needed to help him along, and that motivation came in the form of dry sarcasm and insults.
He could scarcely believe four years had passed already while he trained to gain mastery over sealing. It was reality though and he could only go with it and hope for the best. So far, he'd managed to improve by leaps and bounds and was now much more knowledgeable in many things not just pertaining to fuinjutsu.
His studies had ranged from calligraphy to biology and much more. Kashin had made him learn such things to insure he was well-rounded and understanding of every aspect of fuinjutsu and its possible correlating subjects. Naruto had quickly gotten used to the headaches that came with using Shadow clones too frequently. He'd needed to keep up with the fast pace and difficult work his teacher had pushed on him and clones seemed the only way to manage.
After awhile, Kashin had stopped requiring money to teach and instead took great joy in Naruto's company and his creative ideas, though he never admitted that. They had been working on trying to create seals that could help Naruto in battle while Naruto also continued to try to master the complex art.
It had been going well so far, but Naruto didn't know how much longer he could sit idle while the war seemed to get worse and worse. He was close to his goal of mastering sealing, but at the same time, he was ignoring the responsibility he felt he had in the war. He needed to finish up his few projects and ideas and apply them so he had a better chance of making a change.
"Finally, it's finished," Kashin remarked in relief as he and Naruto gazed upon their combined creation.
Naruto nodded with a triumphant smile. "I'm glad. This one and the others will definitely help me in a fight."
"I suppose we only need to graft this and that other one on you now, eh?" Kashin asked, though he already knew the answer.
"Yeah," Naruto answered. "You'll have to use my blood and some natural black ink. I'll get everything ready."
Naruto smiled as he walked through the dangerous lands of Rain Country. Despite his current location, he was content with finally making it to his destination. It had taken over a week of travel just to make it here from Water Country after he'd finished getting a couple select seals tattooed to certain areas of his body.
Over the approximate five years he had spent with Kashin learning and practicing fuinjutsu, he'd thought long and hard about where he would go after he had finished. He hadn't thought it would take so long for him to complete his training, but he supposed it worked into his plans. It also helped him to understand and explain certain things as well.
The reason for him still having the ability to use his Jinchuuriki cloak was a prime example. He now knew it was because the area that had been originally sectioned off to house the Kyuubi's chakra had conveniently stayed while the Kyuubi's chakra left. The difference now was that it was filled with a significant portion of his own chakra and it seemed to somehow siphon a bit of it every day to add to the stored amount, much like he remembered Tsunade's seal on her forehead had. He didn't know how this was possible, seeing as the Four Elements Seal was gone, but he didn't really care as long as it didn't hinder his abilities.
Suddenly, Naruto's head shot up in surprise. Not a second later, a relatively large explosion rocked an area roughly one hundred meters in front of him. He couldn't see what had happened because of a few hills blocking his view, but now that he had been brought from his musings, he could feel the chakra of a few people coming from the area up ahead, and from what he could tell, something big was going on. Quickly, he grabbed his scroll and unrolled it. He swiftly reverse summoned a clone that had been gathering natural energy and dispelled it just as fast.
After the nature chakra had completely flowed into him, he gasped and realized what was happening up ahead and just who were fighting.
Naruto arrived just in time to witness Hanzo of the Salamander jump onto a salamander's head and speak to who he knew were very young versions of the three Sannin. "—only you have survived. I, Hanzo, hereby dub you the 'Sannin of the Leaf.' Refer to yourselves as such in return for having your lives spared."
Naruto's jaw almost dropped in surprise as he saw the three panting and weary ninja standing against Hanzo's imposing figure. He was literally witnessing history in the making. He jumped out from where he was hiding and landed only a few meters behind Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru. In their tired state and partly because of the slightly load pattering of the rain, they didn't notice him.
Hanzo, though, noticed him instantly. The legendary leader of Amegakure took in his appearance and his eyes widened in surprise. "The White Spirit! What brings you to my lands?" he asked with a scowl.
Naruto looked at the man with wary eyes. Hanzo didn't look in bad condition at all even after his fierce battle with three of Konoha's strongest ninja. He then looked at the young Sannin who all seemed to now be staring at him in shock. He wasn't sure if they knew of his reputation but he had to assume they did.
"Nothing, actually," Naruto finally replied. "Just passing by and all…I was surprised when I came upon you all though."
Hanzo's eyes narrowed. "I had thought you stopped your meddling with the war after you disappeared. I suppose you are going to try again now?"
Naruto glared back at Hanzo. "What I do does not concern you."
"Oh?" Hanzo exclaimed with a bit of sarcasm. "And walking through my country without my approval doesn't concern me either?"
Naruto scoffed. "I could care less about your approval. Anyway, I have places to be, so I'll be taking my leave."
"Fool!" Hanzo yelled as he saw Naruto turn his back and start to walk away. "I will not let you leave! This is the perfect opportunity to test my strength!"
Naruto looked over his shoulder. "Screw your strength; I'm going."
"Well," Hanzo started as Naruto began to walk away again, "I guess you wouldn't really care if I killed these three little Konoha-nin, now would you?"
That effectively stopped Naruto in his tracks. He wouldn't think twice if it was just Orochimaru, but both Tsunade and Jiraiya were there as well. He clenched his fists tightly and grit his teeth in frustration. He couldn't let Jiraiya and Tsunade die. It would change the future drastically and he was pretty sure Hanzo would do it, despite him telling them earlier that they would be known as the Three Legendary Sannin from now on.
He sighed and turned around. "Well, if you're that eager to die, who am I to deny you? Get out of the way, Konoha Shinobi."
Hanzo scoffed and readied himself as Jiraiya, Orochimaru and Tsunade quickly jumped out of the fight to a nearby hill.
"Who the hell was that guy?" Jiraiya exclaimed after they had made it a safe distance away from Naruto and Hanzo.
Orochimaru scoffed at his teammate. "You don't know? You're even more of a fool than I thought."
"Shut up bastard!" Jiraiya replied with a scowl.
Tsunade rolled her eyes and decided to share what little information she knew about him. "Sensei told us about him, Jiraiya. He said that his name was Shiro and that everyone calls him the 'White Spirit' for some reason. He supposedly fought the Nidaime Tsuchikage at some point."
Jiraiya looked surprised. "The Tsuchikage? Is this guy as strong as Hanzo?"
"He is potentially stronger than Hanzo," Orochimaru answered first. "He was said to have stopped and delayed many battles between large groups of ninja by simply overpowering or incapacitating them with powerful jutsu."
"Why did he stop battles between other ninja?" Jiraiya asked with a bit of confusion.
"Damnit Jiraiya, were you even there when Sarutobi-sensei explained this to us?" Tsunade snapped exasperatedly. "He said that this guy's goal was to stop the war, but about five years ago, he quit trying because his methods never worked. I guess he's back."
"Stop talking and pay attention to the fight now. We must observe their abilities," Orochimaru said quickly and the others nodded and watched on as Hanzo and Naruto engaged each other in a fierce battle of taijutsu.
It was clear who was winning in hand to hand and the three of them could easily see that early on. Naruto seemed to somehow have the same strength as Tsunade when she used her chakra to enhance her physical attacks. They watched on as Hanzo staggered and barely managed to block Naruto's precise and unpredictable kicks and punches.
"His taijutsu is incredible…" Tsunade muttered and the others could only agree.
And it was. It didn't seem graceful at all, but it was still somehow extremely effective. His monstrous strength and surprising speed definitely combined to create a dangerous style.
Hanzo quickly jumped back and out of Naruto's range as he seemed to realize this as well. They watched as Naruto jumped in the air for seemingly no reason until not a second later, the large salamander that Hanzo had been previously standing on before the fight burst from the ground and clamped its jaws at where Naruto had escaped from.
His safety was short-lived as Hanzo threw a multitude of kunai with explosive tags attached while he was still in the air. The three Sannin were fairly surprised when the man formed the seal to create a Shadow clone and cleverly used it to push him out of the way and toward the ground.
They could practically hear Hanzo's annoyed grunt as the man pulled his Kusarigama from his hip and expertly swung it around before he used it to strike out at Naruto as fast as a rattlesnake's lunge. The former blonde was fast enough for it though and managed to duck under the strike, only for more to come his way. He dodged continuously, back flipping away from the numerous strikes and occasionally using a kunai to deflect the blade of the kusarigama, causing flashes of sparks and large panging sounds to fill the clearing.
"Why is that Shiro guy only defending?" Jiraiya suddenly asked after he stopped himself from becoming too captivated with the fight.
Orochimaru narrowed his serpentine eyes in thought and intrigue before absently replying. "I cannot be sure, but I suspect he is trying to determine Hanzo's skills and abilities for now."
"Seems like it," Tsunade said in agreement. "But he's taking a risk. Hanzo's weapons are coated in poison. As soon as he makes the smallest mistake, it'll be all over."
They stayed silent after that and put their full attention back on the fight. It seemed like it was only just beginning, and they were eager to see a fight that would surely go down in history. The two battling it out seemed like titans among men and they could now clearly see the gap in ability and experience between these two renowned warriors and them. An exciting show awaited them, and each of the three newly dubbed Sannin knew it.
-Well, there's the third chapter. Hope you guys liked it.
-Before anyone mentions it, I know I rushed Naruto's training and I kind of regret that now but I don't want to rewrite anything. I'm just lazy like that…
-I've found out it is fairly difficult to write about the past since there isn't much information on certain peoples' abilities and a lot of stuff is skimmed over in the Manga. That's sort of' why I rushed things actually…
-For that reason, don't expect the battle with Hanzo to be too grand. I'll have to be original while also being careful to not over/under exaggerate certain things.
-Anyway, I'm done here. Feedback is welcome.