I don't own Naruto or anything else from any anime/manga/movie/show/book or game.

"Talking"

"Thinking"

"Bijju/ Summon"

I would like to apologize for the late update. An incident at work has made it a brutal few weeks. I have been working 12+ to 15+ hr days. While the extra money is nice, it has left me with little time or energy to work in my stories, and for that I am sorry.

Before I continue I would like to mention something about the reviews I have received. First and for most, thank you all so much for the help, input, and support that everyone has shown for this story. I am touched to know so many are enjoying my work.

Second I would like to respond to a concern that several of you seem to have on regards to how powerful or over powerful the Uzumaki appear to be. It is a valid concern, and one I have been stressing about myself. While I have no problem with writers making super powerful characters, I think that making them so powerful that it's not realistic takes away from the story as a whole. There is where the problem lies. How strong is too strong? Where do you draw the line? These are the questions that have been bothering me while I wright this story. I have settled in what I think is an acceptable level. Some might still think the Uzumaki are still too strong or some might think they are not strong enough but it's where I think they should be. Naruto WILL be way stronger than in the manga/anime. He won't be kicking Orochimaru's ass or killing Akatski any time soon but he won't be a human punching bag either.

Lastly I would like to thank one of my reviewers for pointing out a mistake I made in the last chapter. Thank you MistressWinowyll; You are right on both counts. The Red Death is a very popular name for Kushina in fanfiction, I have seen it used man y times so I honestly didn't think I was taking anyone's idea in particular. However the line Don't Piss Off an Uzumaki, I knew I read somewhere, I just couldn't for the life of me remember where. The last time I read A Mother's Love( which by the way is by far one of the best Naruto fanfictions that I have read and one I strongly recommend if you haven't read it yet.) was about a year ago, so I was fuzzy on that. Thanks again for pointing it out as I always like to give credit where credit is due.

Anyway here is the next chapter, hope you all enjoy!

XxX

Chapter Three

The sounds of the ocean waves and the songs of seabirds greeted the Hyuuga when they reached the port. For the three members of the group that were there for their first time is was a sobering sight. It was one thing to hear about the amount of trading that Whirlpool did, but quite another to see the world's busiest port with your own eyes. The port that they left from Fire country didn't come close to the one they just arrived in. There were ships of all shape and sizes; they had flags from many countries, not only from the elemental nations but from the southern and western continents as well. It was as Hana expected; after all, Luca port is a hub of global trade and commerce.

As the Hyuuga group walked through the port town Hana smiled as she saw Hinata's little head whipping from side to side trying to see everything she could. Hana had been much the same her first time, trying not to miss anything. There was lots to see, though not much different than most port towns. There were supply shops and inns, offices for trading companies and bars, restaurants, and stores of all kinds; if there was anything you wanted to buy or trade for you could get it here.

As they walked through the town Hana felt Hinata stiffen slightly in her arms. She saw Hinata looking at a pair of Guardian Core samurai patrolling the town. They were large men that wore armor reminiscent of the armor worn by the First and Second Hokages, their katanas strapped to their sides. Hana held Hinata a little tighter. "Don't worry honey. We'll be okay. We're almost out of town". Hinata simply hugged her mother tighter, her eyes never leaving the samurai. Hana knew the easy part was done, getting to Luca was not the problem, what came after was going to be the hard part. As the group traveled down a busy main road she spoke to her group.

"Everyone, listen up!" she said, getting their attention. "We will soon be making our way into Whirlpool country" this generated a few confused looks.

"I thought we were IN Whirlpool country mommy?" asked a confused Hinata.

"Well… technically we are honey. Luca Island is a territory belonging to Whirlpool, but the main island of Whirlpool country is up ahead".

"Why did we not go straight to the main island Hana-sama, would it not have been easier?" asked Hideki.

Hana shook her head. "There is only one way in or out of the Whirlpool main island and it's just over that hill" she said pointing to the small hill they were about to go over. When the group got the top they could only stare in stunned silence at what stood in front of them.

In front of the group stood the largest bridge any of them has ever seen, it was colossal! They couldn't even see the end of it with the morning fog over the ocean. The ancient looking bridge appeared to be made of stone. It stood about 250ft above the water with massive stone pillars down the center that went all the way down to the ocean floor. The bridge appeared to be about 100ft wide and what looked like 9-10 miles long, it was impressive feat of human ingenuity to have built this bridge, and especially when the bridge was built centuries ago.

"That is the Great Uzumaki Bridge. It was built over 500 years ago by the first Uzumaki when they founded Whirlpool country. It is the only way in and out of the country" said Hana.

"It's so BIG" said Hinata.

"Yes it is. It's also one of Whirlpool's main defenses against attacks. With the bridge being the only way in, any invading force must use it to attack. It makes defending the country easy since there's only one point of possible attack. No matter how large the bridge may be, it still limits the amount of enemies that can attack the gates of whirlpool, making it possible for the Guardian Core to repel the attacks".

With that, the Hyuuga group followed the large number of people and carriages traveling along the bridge going to and from Whirlpool. When they got halfway across the bridge Hinata began to hear the sounds of rushing water. It was faint at first but continued to increase in volume as they continued along the bridge. When the sound was loud enough that you had to speak up to be heard, Hana stopped the group and led them to the edge of the bridge near the railing.

"This, Hinata, is where Whirlpool country gets its name," Hana then pointed down towards the ocean. For the second time of the day her fellow Hyuuga were speechless. Down on the ocean surface were a chain of enormous whirlpools that that encircled the entire area, probably the entire Island. Hideki now knew why they couldn't go directly to the main island. If those whirlpools surrounded the island than there was no way any water-based vessel would get any wear near the island. Any that were foolish enough to try would see their vessel torn to shreds as the whirlpools sucked it to the ocean floor.

"Wow! It's amazing!" exclaimed an exited Hinata.

"The whirlpools are the reason why this bridge is the only way in or out of this country."

"They don't look like a natural phenomenon." commented Koh.

"Well I'm not sure. They didn't look natural to me either. Kushina told me when we were younger that according to her family, the whirlpools were created by the founder of her clan".

"Really mommy? How did he do it?"

"Kushina said that in order to protect his people he used the power of his sword, one of the legendary elemental swords; The Arashi, the sword of storms. He used the power of the sword to create the whirlpools to defend the island from invaders; but the sword was destroyed in the process. Kushina said that the strain of the power used to create the whirlpools shattered the great blade into three pieces. The shards of the sword now rest in the Garden of Life; it's a sacred place in the center of the Peoples Palace".

"Have you seen the sword mommy?"

"I'm afraid not honey, the Garden of Life is a sacred place that only a member of the Uzumaki clan can enter. I may have been a VERY close friend but even so, I was never allowed to enter that holy place. Kushina said it's were the founder of the Uzumaki clan is buried. The sword rests upon its master's grave. Kushina said it is the most beautiful place ever created by the hands of men, from what she described of it to me I suppose it is".

"I wish I could see it one day" said Hinata.

"If all goes well, you will someday" thought Hana. "We are almost to the end of the bridge, the gates will soon be in front of us and the most dangerous part of our mission will begin. We must blend in with the crowds and not bring attention to ourselves. Under no circumstances are you to use chakra, not even for your Byakugan, am I clear?"

"Why not mommy"?

"Because Hinata, the Guardian Core have seals that detect any chakra use inside the walls of Whirlpool. It's imperative that we are not discovered until we reach the People's Palace".

"How will we get past the gate without being discovered?" asked Hideki

"Because of the size of the gate and the amount of people that go through them every day it's impossible to stop every person that passes through. If we go in with a large group of people they won't look twice at us. Inside however there will be a large samurai presence, we need to be careful. We will need to travel fast and not do anything that will get us noticed, that's why we are not wearing our headbands. We wouldn't get 100 feet with in Whirlpool with them on".

As they travelled with a large group of merchants from Moon Country the Hyuuga group finally saw their destination. The large gates and the high walls of Whirlpool stood in front of them. The walls that surrounded the city were over 100 feet high with defense towers on either side of the gate. It was a very defendable position with archers walking along the walls and samurai guarding the gates. As they walked some of the merchants in their group began to talk with each other.

"So those are the famed Death Gates of Whirlpool huh?"

"That's them alright"

"So why do they call them that anyway?"

"Because death is all you'll find if you attack 'em, that's why"

"Oh? Is that so?"

"Don't you know? No army has ever set foot with in those walls. They got the name during the first great Shinobi war. From what I heard from my grandfather, the First Mizukage tried to attack Whirlpool while the leaf was busy fighting the Cloud and Sand".

"I take it, that it didn't go well?"

The merchant laughed before he continued. "The Mist ninja got slaughtered. They brought all their strength, nearly four thousand ninja of all ranks. But because of this bridge their numbers were no advantage. With the Guardian Core outside the gates and the archers raining arrows down on them from the walls they could do little else but get killed".

"Didn't the ninja use jutsu?"

"Oh I'm sure they tried. But the walls and the gates are covered in seals that protect them from just about any Ninjutsu. After four days and heavy losses from both sides the Whirlpool Daimyo activated the powerful defense seals on the gates. My grandfather didn't know what they actually did, but it ended with every single Mist ninja dead".

"Every single one? Surly there was some survivors?"

"Nope, they were killed down to the last man".

"Dam!"

"Got that right."

As they passed the gate Hinata noticed that each of the massive iron doors had halve of what looked like the symbol that was in the leaf headbands and on the ninja vests. "Mommy why does that symbol look like the one in our villager?" asked Hinata in a whisper

"Because when our village was founded it was with the help of the Uzumaki. We wear it as a sign of respect and of our alliance with Whirlpool, even if that alliance has not existed for five years".

As the group left the gate plaza they got their first real look at the city. Like everything else about Whirlpool so far, what they saw was greatly unexpected. Before them was a city larger than any other they had even heard of! The city was Larger than the Fire or even the Earth country's capital which was famous for its size. From their vantage point they could tell that several Leaf villages would fit within the borders of this single city.

"Welcome to Ayindril, royal city of Whirlpool".

"I have never heard of such a large city" said Hideki.

"Yes, unfortunately people focus so much on Whirlpool's wealth and possible military that a lot of their culture is missed. The reason Ayindril is so large is because it's the only major city in the country. Whirlpool has small cities and villages but it has no other major cities".

"I see… is that our target?" inquired Hideki pointing to the largest and tallest structure in the center of the city.

"Yes, that's The People's Place. It's the home of the royal family as well as the Guardian Core. It's a city with in a city. The Guardian Core academy, training grounds and barracks are there. If we can get there I can request a meeting with the daimyo; I'm sure he will see me if we can get there. Let's go.

Hana felt nostalgic as she led her group through the city. She had spent a lot of time in this metropolis with Kushina. Together they had explored the area and even played a few pranks on some of the people. Being here reminded her of her friend and of how much she missed her. Hana was still friends with Mikoto but she was never as close to her as she was with Kushina. Kushina had been the one to inspire and encourage Hana to be her best. She helped her brake out of her timid shell and become the woman she is today. Kushina had been the sister she never had. Hana had been so busy thinking about the past that she was startled when Koh spoke to her.

"Hana-sama we are being followed" he whispered urgently.

"W-wha…" Koh was right. It was subtle, but they were being followed. No matter where they were they were never out of sight of the samurai. The group walked slightly faster but discovered quickly that no matter where they went, their path was blocked. "No no, we are so close, we can't be stopped now" thought Hana. She was thinking of what they could do when they found themselves boxed in at an empty plaza. They had been herded there, now they were surrounded by samurai on every side. Koh and Hideki flanked Hana and Hinata and took their Taijutsu stances, ready to fight.

"I suggest you stand down Leaf ninja, or we will be forced to subdue you" said one of the samurai. With an unspoken signal all samurai unsheathed their swords simultaneously. Just as it looked like this was going to end in unavoidable bloodshed a voice cracked through the air.

"Samurai stand down! We do not draw our blades on women and children" a chill voice echoed from the shadows.

Samurai parted, and from the shadows of an alley a man stepped out, keeping his face hidden from the Leaf ninja. Unlike the other samurai he did not wear armor. Instead he wore an elegant red and white kimono and a long white coat with blue trim and the Kanji for Kenjutsu on his back, a single sword strapped to his hip. (Imagine one of the coats the captains on Bleach wear as that is what I was thinking)

"You should not have come here" the man said as he stepped out of the shadows. He was young, in his mid-twenties, with long, flaming red hair tied in a ponytail, and an X shaped scar on his left cheek. His aura of power that was intimidating, but more truly frightening was the raptor like gaze from his piercing violet colored eyes; those were the same color eyes that Kushina had also shared. This was Kushina's younger brother, Kenshin Uzumaki, High Commander of the Guardian Core, only his father outranked him. One of the samurai stepped forward and spoke.

"Kenshin –sama, we caught these Leaf ninja trying to sneak into the city".

"Yes… though I cannot imagine why they would even try, especially someone that knows our city so well".

Hana knew that this would be the only chance she got. "I came to speak to your father…"

"My father has neither the need nor desire to speak to a Leaf ninja, you came here for nothing".

"You don't understand…"

"No!" he said forcefully. "It is you who doesn't understand; you are no longer welcome in this country. Be thankful that I don't use your trespassing as an excuse to attack your miserable village. Only because you have a child with you and what you once meant to my sister will you be allowed to leave in one piece." He then turned to the samurai that had spoken earlier and said "escort them to the port and make sure they are on the next ship out of here, I will not suffer their presence in our land".

"Yes sir".

"It's about Kushina…"

Kenshin turned around in an instant and shot a death glare that made a shiver run down the spine of every Hyuuga. "How DARE you speak her name in front of me!" he said with killer intent rolling in waves. "Get them out of my sight. NOW!" As the samurai moved to grab them Hana called out.

"The spiral still lives among the leaves", that stopped Kenshin in his tracks, as Hana had intended. Kushina would always tell her little brother that no matter how far from each other they were, he should always remember that as long as she lived he would always have family that loved him; and that the spiral of Whirlpool lived among the leaves.

"You have gone too far Hyuuga! If this is a sick trick I swear…"

"I swear on my life and the lives of my family that I speak the truth. It is the reason that I came to speak to your father."

Kenshin stared into her eyes, probing for deception. After what seemed like forever he said calmly, "take them to my father. I will go ahead and let him know that you're coming". Without another word he turned and left. Hana breathed a sigh of relief as they were escorted to the People's Palace.

XxX

Hana and the Hyuuga had been escorted by the samurai directly to The People's Palace. Without delay she and Hinata stood in front of the doors to the throne room waiting to be let in. Koh and Hideki were being held as Guests in another room. This was it; this is what they have come to Whirlpool for. Hana was confident that she could reach an agreement with Kushina's father but was still very nervous; so much was raiding on the success of this meeting.

"The Daimyo will see you now" announced one of the samurai guards as he opened the door to the throne room.

Hana walked in with Hinata next to her, holding hands tightly. She could tell Hinata was scared but was trying not to show it. Hinata knew how important it was to keep up appearances, especially in front of important political figures. Hana got a feeling of deja-vu as she walked through the room she had been in so many times during her youth. Like other times before, Kushina's father sat at the end of the room on an elegant throne of silver and gold covered with precious stones and jewels, it was the throne that every Uzumaki Daimyo had ruled from since the founding of Whirlpool. Kenshin stood at his father's side. Unlike her brother, who had changed a lot in the five years since Kushina's death, her father looked exactly as Hana remembered him.

Genryusai Uzumaki has the appearance of an old man; he looks much older than the Third Hokage though he is only older by a few years. He has the violet eyes commonly shared by the Uzumaki clan, and a long white beard that reached almost to his waist. His head is bald with two perpendicular scars above his right eye that suggested fierce battles in the past. He also has two long white eyebrows and wore a dark ocean blue kimono with a similar coat to Kenshin's. Genryusai's long with coat had a red trim and the kanji for Fuuinjutsu on the back; it was the very same coat that had been worn by Kushina's husband the Fourth Hokage, the daimyo may look like an old man but he like his son radiated an aura of power that couldn't be missed. (Picture captain Yamamoto from bleach but with a blue kimono and you have Kushina's father)

Hana and Hinata kneeled down and Hana said "It is an honor to once again be in your presence Daimyo-sama".

"Despite my grievances with your village, it is good to see you in my home again Hana-Chan" said Genryusai in a grandfather-like tone.

"It is good to be in your beautiful home once more".

"Yet you are not here for a visit, you said…"

"We will get to why she is here son, no need for rudeness".

"But father…"

"Enough Kenshin! I know the anger you hold for the leaf, put it aside for now".

"Yes father".

"Now perhaps you can introduce this lovely young lady with you".

"This is my eldest daughter Hinata Hyuuga, I recently gave birth to a second daughter named Hanabi Hyuuga".

"It is an honor to meet you Daimyo-Sama" Hinata said with a bow.

"My, such polite young lady, it is nice to meet you too Hinata. You are the spitting image of your mother at your age" he said making Hinata blush.

"Father, we have waited long enough".

The Daimyo sighed. "Fine, why don't you let young Hinata go and have a snack while we discuss our business"?

Though Hinata was reluctant to leave her mother's side, Hana convinced her that it would be ok. Once she was escorted out by a servant Hana turned to the Uzumakis and spoke.

"I have come here without the knowledge of my village or my clan with the exception of my husband. The reason for this is because what I have to say would have me and my husband executed as traitors to our village".

"Very well, nothing you say nor knowledge of your being here will reach your village, I give you my word as an Uzumaki" said the Daimyo.

Hana knew that what she was going to say next would either save her daughter or destroy her village. "5 years ago you were told that Kushina, her husband, and their unborn son were killed during the Nine Tailed Fox's attack on our village."

"Are you saying that was a lie? Is that why they refused to deliver my sister's body?" asked Kenshin in a tone that promised vengeance if it was true.

"I wish it was, but no, Kushina and her husband are gone".

"And the child? Did my grandson perish with his parents?"

"No, your grandson is alive and…"

"What! Why weren't we told! How dare you…"

"Quiet Kenshin!" said the Daimyo in an imperial tone, his grandfatherly attitude long gone and now replaced by a steeled mask of controlled emotions. "Let her finish".

"I don't know why you were not told, but we were told that the child's heritage must be kept secret until he is old enough to protect himself from his parent's enemies. The few who know of the child's parents have been told to keep it a secret under penalty of death."

"So the child is in your care then?" asked Genryusai

Hana hesitated before she said "No".

"Then which clan took charge of him?"

"None, the Hokage forbade any of the clans from fostering him".

"Then where has my grandson been raised for the last 5 years?"

"… He has been at one of the village's civilian orphanages".

"What…" screamed Kenshin but he was cut off by the massive wave of blood lust that radiated from his father.

"Are you telling me, that your village all but kidnaped my grandson from us, just so he could be left to rot in an orphanage like a commoner? My grandson, my beloved daughter's son, a prince of Whirlpool…in an orphanage!" spat Genryusai, his powerful frame shaking in rage.

"And you didn't do anything about it? You who were to be his godmother, you who Kushina considered a sister in all but blood; my sister would curse you from her grave if she knew you have betrayed her so."

"Let her speak son, because what she has to say will determine not only her own fate, but that of her village. Now tell us what reason could Sarutobi have to lie to us, why would he risk the destruction of his village to keep my grandson hidden from us?"

"I believe the reason he was kept from you was because in his last act, his father Minato sealed the Nine Tailed Fox within his own son. I believe that the Hokage knew you would demand custody of the child and for some unknown reason he refused to lose him."

"Some unknown reason? It's obvious that he plans on turning my sister's son into a weapon like the other villages do with their own Jinchuriki".

"If that's the case then the Leaf Village will burn for this treason" said Genryusai.

"Please I beg you not to punish the village for the mistakes of our leaders. With all its faults, Kushina still loved the village with all her heart. She died to protect its people; to turn around and destroy it would be an insult to her sacrifice".

"You expect us to do nothing?" asked Kenshin incredulously.

"No, I also want my godson out of that horrid place. And I have a way to do it without bloodshed" she said, pulling out a sealing scroll. "I have here a betrothal contract signed by myself and my husband, as well as by Kushina and Minato. My husband and I have never been able to make its existence known because of the Hokage. We can't call for it to be activated without suffering the Hokage's wrath, but if you demand it when collecting your grandson…"

"He can't do anything about it or prove you had anything to do with it… yes we can say that my daughter sent us the contract for safe keeping. And now that we've discovered the Leaf's lie, we want the contract activated".

"Yes, you can demand his custody and activate the contract which will form an alliance with the Hyuuga clan."

"Yes, your clan and not the Leaf Village."

"That will give my family protection from the Hokage; after all he won't be able to retaliate against us without risking a conflict with the Uzumaki".

"Very well Hana-Chan, we will do it your way…for now. But if Sarutobi gives me reason to, I will punish the village for their treachery".

Hana knew that with the Uzumaki it was as good as it was going to get. She agreed and began to tell them her plan. When she was finished and was leaving to get Hinata Genryusai spoke to her.

"Hana, what is my grandson's name?"

"His name is Naruto… Naruto Uzumaki."

"Naruto Uzumaki…a fine name, a fine name indeed."

XxX

So there you have the next chapter. I know some might still have an issue with the Uzumaki but I would like to say why a build Whirlpool like I did. I thought that to make it believable for a small island nation like Whirlpool; A nation that has great wealth and strategic importance to remain a free nation, especially when it's surrounded by several military superpowers that it needed to be powerful itself. I gave Whirlpool quality over quantity. Whirlpool as a small island has a limited population. It can't build a massive army like large nations like the Land of Fire or Land of Lightning.

So instead I gave them a powerful defenses and powerful defenders. While they don't have the numbers to take over the world, they have the strength to defend their home. The combined quality of the samurai and the strength of the Uzumaki make a balance for Whirlpool. Anyway I hope that explains a little of why I do what I do.

Please review. Let me know what you think I should or shouldn't do, what you like or don't like. I take all advice into account when writhing. Thanks again for all the support, I truly appreciate it. Thank you!

Lord Rahl Master of Dhara