Sanbashi Mizuko - who had cursed his parents for giving him that accursed name for more than one reason - couldn't have missed the ominous wave of what felt like Killing Intent that had washed over Kiri if he were in a coma. He immediately knew what it was, since he had felt something similar from the Mizukage before, several times in fact. He'd known the Mizukage since the days back when the man had been a rather nice Rank and File Ninja rather than the despot he'd become after he'd been given the hat. The differences in the feeling between this Killing Intent and that of the Mizukage however indicated that this hadn't been a case of someone seriously pissing Yagura off.
Someone had brought a Jinchuriki to the Chunin Exams.
Despite what an insanely stupid risk that was, and the fact that it could be thought of as an act of war if the leader of the village into which the Jinchurriki had been brought chose to take offense, someone had brought a freaking Jinchuriki to the Chunin Exams.
He briefly took note of the Konoha Jounin's rather unusual reactions as he signaled for his partner. The instant Kampachi joined him, they headed out to see what the damage was. Considering what a Jinchuriki could do, especially when he or she was on a rampage, there most assuredly was damage. The only question was how much, and how much more would be caused when they were forced to deal with a Jinchuriki who had gone completely berzerk.
There was also the question of which of the tailed-beasts they might be dealing with, as each beast had its own set of powers that could add a rather dangerous element to the mix. While it was known which village got what Biju from the Shodai Hokage before the First War, it was possible that some wheeling and dealing as well as some thieving had been done over the intervening decades. There was that, and the fact that unless there was an unavoidable incident, the identities of the Jinchuriki were a closely guarded secret known only to the villages who held them.
As he and his partner Kampachi headed out into the mountains, a number of Chunin and Jounin who were also dreading what they would find joined them. Considering the possible distance that the Jinchuriki and its team could have gone during the two day head start they had been given, it would probably take a couple hours to find it, which would be a couple hours it would spend destroying the countryside, and quite possibly killing any Kiri Genin in its path.
Much to their shock, before they could reach the mountains, the wave of Killing Intent vanished, as suddenly as it had appeared. Damn, because of that, tracking this thing just got alot more difficult, especially if the Jinchuriki in question now had the presence of mind to cover his or her tracks. It seemed that he and his comrades would have to find the trail of destruction the Jinchuriki had caused before he or she had regained control of him or herself and work his way from there.
"You notice the Konoha lot?" Kampachi asked, after poking him to get his attention which had apparently wandered off without him noticing.
"Yeah, they recognized it." he replied. "But, Konoha doesn't have a Biju, so it's probably one of Iwa's whose prior host they ran into during the last war."
"Strange that they don't have any Jinchuriki." Kampachi said. "I mean, their Shodai Hokage was handing the Biju out like party favors, and he didn't keep one for himself?"
"Which one would he keep? He gave the Ichibi and Hachibi to Suna, the Nibi and Nanabi to Kumo, the Yonbi and Gobi to Iwa, and we got the Sanbi and Rokubi, which leaves..." He counted, working out the problem through the process of elimination, and noticing an interesting pattern.
"The Kyuubi. They kept the fucking Kyuubi." Kampachi said, looking stunned.
"Didn't the Yondaime kill it when it went on a rampage a decade ago?" he asked, half remembering a story he'd heard a while back.
"Kill a Biju? Yeah right. The Yellow Flash may have been legendary, but he's not a god." Kampachi replied.
"You think we'll be able to prove it was Konoha that brought the Jinchuriki?" he asked.
"Only if we find the thing." Kampachi replied.
Naruto had never been more grateful to be able to transform into objects even though he shouldn't have been able to do so than he was now. He couldn't turn into bandages or things like that but, he could make a few of his clones turn into stretchers. He knew that he shouldn't move his companions considering their conditions but, if he didn't move them, they could die. Their injuries had been severe enough to far outstrip his meager First Aid skills and supplies. Suzume was his team's medic thanks to the abilities she'd acquired over time tending to her own training injuries but, she'd been in no shape to help him other than to occasionally give him directions.
After summoning fifteen clones, he had five of them turned into stretchers. After they did, he slowly and carefully placed Suzume, Satoshi, and Kurosaki on their stretchers, trying to be careful not to jostle them too much and aggravate their injuries. As soon as they were ready to go, he had Yamaguchi and Fujiwara placed on the other two stretchers before he covered them with the blankets he'd taken from their supplies. Once that was done, he slowly made his way towards the town that was on the other side of the mountains where they would undoubtedly receive help.
Because of his teammates' and Kurosaki's injuries, his first instinct was to hurry but, if he did so, he knew he would cause more harm than good, so he forced himself to go slow. It was dark, he did not know the terrain, and one jab from a good sharp rock would dispel a stretcher bearer, which was a very bad thing, considering the path that was ahead of him. The path before him was dangerous even in daylight but, it was the only chance his comrades had.
As he worried over his teammates, he and his shadow clones traveled through the night, carefully picking their way through the darkness. As they were traveling through a small forested area sometime near dawn, they encountered a team from Kiri. Fortunately, the trio of Kirigakure Genin had been too surprised by what they saw to attack immediately, allowing Naruto to get a word in edgewise.
"Do you have a medic on your team?" he asked the group of Genin who looked to be about fifteen or so.
He desperately hoped they did. While he'd been able to stop the bleeding and bandage most of the shrapnel wounds his teammates had received, Kurosaki and his teammates weren't looking so good. Satoshi had developed a fever sometime during the night, and it sounded like Suzume was coming down with a cold.
"And if we do?" the person who'd apparently been designated team leader asked.
"I have two black balls that I would be willing to trade for medical services." he replied. "I will also be willing to provide my services as a guard and lookout for as long as my friends receive treatment."
"What's to stop us from taking your balls for ourselves?" the team leader asked arrogantly.
In response to this question, he summoned twenty Kage Bunshin and demonstrated for the boy that they were indeed solid. After that small display of power, the Kiri nin had rather sensibly backed down.
"What's to stop you from taking our ball?" the team leader asked in a slightly more subdued tone of voice.
"The fact that it would be an absolutely pointless gesture on my part." he said, gesturing to his injured teammates.
"Can you keep moving?" the team leader asked.
"Yes." he replied.
He would have to, since a medic could only do so much, and his friends obviously needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible.
"Deal." the team leader said as he held out his hand. "If you slow us down too much though, we'll leave you behind."
After shaking the hand of the leader of the team of Kiri Genin, he pulled out the offered merchandise, hoping that he was doing the right thing, and that his new business partners would not betray him. The team leader examined the black ball he'd handed over, and found it to be acceptable.
"Chiyako, look after them." the team leader said as he stashed the ball in his equipment pouch.
The girl who had been hanging back in a tree, obviously having been on watch while her teammates slept before he arrived, dropped from her perch and moved towards the stretchers. For some strange reason, she moved to the stretcher that contained Yamaguchi first, and pulled back the blanket that was covering him, instead of moving towards his injured comrades. From her startled gasp, he could tell that she'd gotten a good look at what was left of the boy whom she hastily covered back up with the blanket.
He growled in annoyance when she uncovered Fujiwara instead of going over to his teammates. There was another gasp before Fujiwara was hastily re-covered, and after what seemed like an interminable wait, the girl finally started looking at Kurosaki and his teammates. After examining Kurosaki and Suzume, she reached Satoshi.
"There's not much I can do for him." the girl said to him sadly when she finished examining him. "His wounds have become infected. All we really can do now is try to keep his fever down and hope he survives until we make it into town."
Dochi Iwako woke from her nightmare screaming. She had spent half the night running, until she had become too exhausted to continue. After finding a semi-sheltered spot, she had collapsed and fallen asleep despite the fact that she'd struggled not to.
How did it come to this? she wondered for what had to be the thousandth time.
The plan had been so simple. When her brother's ground squirrel summon had come back and informed them that they were about an hour ahead of a Konoha team that was headed in their direction, they had spent some time discussing what they would do to them when they arrived. It had been her idea to kill them in revenge for a father she had barely remembered. When they had found the perfect spot for an ambush, she had thought that the gods had been smiling upon them.
They hadn't. While she had hung back with the team's ball just in case, her twin brother and her best friend went to deal with the survivors of the trap they'd set, and they never came back. The blond boy who'd realized that there was a trap there had turned into a monster and tore them apart. She had run before the monster could get her too.
As she ran, she remembered one of her grandmother's sayings, a saying she used to ignore like she had all the rest of them, "When you seek revenge, dig two graves, one for your enemy and one for yourself."
Sanbashi Mizuko had been resting after having run in circles throughout the night when a Chunin had come up to him with a possible location for the "Incident" as it was being called. Despite the fact that he was bordering on exhaustion, he quickly dropped everything and raced to the indicated location with Kampachi following half a second behind. After ten minutes of running, they arrived at what would have been an ideal camping site, if it weren't for the surrounding carnage that is. Fortunately, it hadn't snowed the night before so, he was able to get a clear picture of what had happened.
"One team came in through here. Based on the tread patterns of their shoes, I'd say it was the Iwa team." he said to his companion who wasn't quite as good at tracking as him but, was good for bouncing ideas off of.
After finding somewhere to start, he wandered around the site, being careful not to disturb it because, it was currently their only clue as to the identity of the Jinchuriki. After circling the site once, he was reasonably certain he knew what happened.
"Two teams came through in this direction moving together. Konoha. I recognize the maker's mark on the bottoms of two pair of sandals. One of them is rather good at evading trackers, he almost didn't leave footprints." He said as he pointed another set of tracks.
"Three broke away from the group, no wait, four, near invisible child's size 13 broke away as well, at this point." he said as he reached the start of a set of tracks that had nearly been obliterated by an explosion. "They seem to have moved towards the explosion when it happened."
"Blood pools here, here, here, here, here, and here indicate where the Konoha group fell after the explosion." he said, pointing to six blood pools, one of which was much smaller than the rest.
"Apparently, they were hit by shrapnel." he said as he picked a small metallic object up off the ground.
"Iwa men's size 8 and Iwa men's size 11 arrived on scene shortly after, at which point Konoha Winter Terrain child's size 13 gets up from here, and moves towards them on all fours." he says pointing to the more distinct tracks that led from the relatively tiny blood pool to the shredded corpses, briefly wondering at the odd cyclonic pattern in the snow surrounding that blood pool.
"Size 13 then moves over to Konoha Men's size 5, at which point his tracks turn nearly invisible again." he said as he followed what seemed to be an impossible number of almost invisible tracks which went up a path he barely wants to try in daylight, and would not have dared at night.
The small tracks vanished altogether on a slick icy patch. There was no sign of Size 13 or his companions in the gorge below, so it was safe to assume that he is alive somewhere. Whether he had remained on the path or climbed up or down the side of the cliff is a mystery however.
"And he vanishes entirely over here." he finished, as he pointed at the icy spot on the path.
"So, what happened to the other bodies?" Kampachi asked.
"Sealed in a storage scroll to be brought back for burial most likely." he replied as his mind was turning over the puzzle of the impossible number of tracks that all went in one direction. "Either that, or Size 13 somehow managed to summon about a dozen Kage Bunshin and carried them."
"So, Size 13 is our Jinchuriki then." Kampachi replied.
"Looks like." he replied, as he turned over the information in his mind.
Funny, he would have expected the Jinchuriki of the Nine-Tailed Fox to have caused a great deal more destruction or have left more bodies behind based on the amount of killing intent he'd felt.
"So, we're either looking for a girl with tiny feet or a small boy." Kampachi said.
"Yes." he replied.