Chapter One: Artifact

All of the Konoha Genins with their Jounin senseis inside the building were standing on the balcony and looking on at the arena floor in stunned silence. The Hokage himself was surprised at the unexpected turn of events. The Suna Genins with their Jounin sensei Baki looked at what just happened with calculative eyes. Dosu (age 14) and this Jounin sensei saw that Konoha still had promising ninjas hidden under their shadow. Naruto (age 13) sported a smile of approval while Kurenai looked on in utter disbelief at what she thought was going to be a predictable one-sided match.

Hinata (age 13), the Hyuuga heiress stood calm and upright on the arena floor with her Byakugan fully activated and without her usual jacket on. That was so after she took it off and tossed it to the side before the match began. Her head protector was also tied around her head with some of her hair draped over it.

Neji (age 14), the proclaimed prodigy of the Hyuuga clan, was also on the arena floor with his Byakugan fully activated. But he was on his hand and knee, sweating hard, bleeding and coughing blood from his mouth, and struggling to catch his breath after sustaining swift and brutal assaults the Hyuuga heiress inflicted on him, one after another. And to his and everyone's shock, except Naruto's, Hinata hadn't been struck once by Neji during their entire match of the Preliminaries.

Where did all of this power and strength come from, Neji wondered as he looked back at Hinata with anger, disdain and confusion, Hinata-sama has always been the weakest and the most disappointing heiress of the Main House. She couldn't even win a fight against Hanabi-sama and her Jyuuken was always the poorest. How could she have changed so suddenly and hurt me, the prodigy of our clan, this bad? It doesn't make any sense! Fate had her future as a failure decided from long ago!

Neji grew only angrier the more he thought about it.

"I've never seen Hinata like this before," Shino (age 13) remarked, "Her unexplainable change is indeed remarkable."

"She's really pushing Neji to his limits," Gai said, "I honestly didn't expect this outcome considering how the match started with all the things Neji was saying to her."

"All of you underestimated Hinata-chan," Naruto said with a grin, "I knew she had it in her to show that bastard a thing or two about who's truly weak."

"But Neji was said to be a genius and Hyuuga prodigy," Ino (age 13) said, "When compared to each other, Hinata was said not to measure up to him."

"The same was said of Sasuke-teme (age 13)," Naruto remarked, "And yet Lee beat him in one fight."

Sakura (age 13) and Ino both snarled at Naruto but they knew that he was telling the truth, as much as they didn't want to hear it.

Kurenai was looking on at Hinata as thought she was trying read her.

What happened to you Hinata, Kurenai wondered. Kakashi saw the look on Kurenai's face and saw that she had a look that showed that she was trying to make sense of things.

"I don't want to hurt you any more than I already have niisan," Hinata said composedly, "You're clearly in no condition to continue."

"I don't need your pity Hinata-sama," Neji spat disrespectfully as he got up and stood back up looking Hinata straight in the eyes, "You may have improved but I can still fight and come out the victor as fate decreed since this match's beginning!"

"I suffered in many ways niisan and I know you're aware of that," Hinata said sympathetically, "But I have friends and a very special person in my life who acknowledged and helped me overcome my problems. And I can see that you're suffering too and have been for all these years by allowing yourself to be enslaved to your scapegoat, the illusion of fate."

"How dare you!," Neji yelled before he charged at Hinata with all of his remaining strength with the aim to kill her. Hinata stood there and waited for Neji to reach her with his right arm extended out aiming to strike her heart directly.

Seeing an opening, Hinata, at the last second, side stepped Neji and thrust her fingers into his back, hitting several spots on his back. This resulted in Neji falling forward passed her with the same speed before crashing down on his face and chest, sliding across the floor for a few seconds before coming to a stop and his bloodline limit deactivating. Neji found that he was unable to move any part of his body; he was completely paralyzed.

Gekko Hayate went over and examined Neji. It didn't take him long to make a decision.

"Neji can no longer continue," Hayate announced, "Winner, Hyuuga Hinata."

"Yeah," Naruto cheered and shouted, "Way to go Hinata-chan! You kicked ass! You're the best!"

Hinata smiled and blushed from Naruto's praise and acknowledgment.

"She's strong," Gaara (age 13) said with a deadpan facial expression with his arms crossed over his chest, "I wouldn't have expected such a feat from one who looked so fragile."

Hearing Gaara compliment and acknowledge someone without contempt surprised his siblings and even Baki.

"I have to agree," Baki said, "She was well trained and disciplined in her arts. Her battle was flawless."

"Looks like Konoha has at least one capable Genin kunoichi in their ranks," Temari (age 16) said smugly, "Her skills were that of a true ninja."

"I have to say she gave a good fight," Kankuro (age 15) added.

With the Konoha nins…

"This can't be the same Hinata we went to the academy with," Sakura said in disbelief, "I mean…That speed…her strength…her agility…"

"It was uncanny," Ino added.

"Yes," Lee cheered enthusiastically, "Hinata's flames have reached peaks I myself will train hard to reach. She's radiating with the brightness of her youthfulness."

"Troublesome," Shikamaru said, "She's really becoming more and more like Naruto."

"Well I told Naruto earlier that Hinata is very much like him," Lee added, "And her youthful display against Neji only served to prove my point."

"I wonder what kind of training regimen Kurenai-sensei put her though," Ino said, "It must have been harsh if it got Hinata to come this far."

"Hinata's moves, timing and judgment in tactics against Neji were incredible," Asuma commented, "She's truly improved a great deal from how she used to be from what I've heard."

"Hinata surprised us indeed," Shino said, "I had no idea she was capable of such feats at her current level."

"Nor did I," Kurenai admitted catching everyone's attention, even Kakashi's and the Hokage's.

"What do you mean," Kakashi asked, "Wasn't Hinata's display against Neji the results of the training you gave her?"

"I trained her," Kurenai said, "That I did. But during those times she looked like she was having much difficulty reaching her goals of improvement despite her best effort. But what I saw just moments ago went beyond any kind of training I put her through and everything I thought I knew about her. I always thought I knew everything there was to Hinata. How could I have missed this?"

It was no secret that Kurenai was always like a mother figure to Hinata. The thing that bothered Kurenai was that the match clearly showed her that she didn't know Hinata as well as she thought. And that could be said of many others who were inside the building.

Things just keep getting interesting, Hiruzen thought to himself, Hinata is more deceptive and cunning than she lets on; a true ninja indeed.

Hinata, with her Byakugan deactivated, went over to Neji who was being placed on a carrying cot. As he was being raised up to be taken away, Hinata stood next to him and said, "Your paralysis isn't permanent. It'll wear off after you've been given healing and medical attention."

Neji felt totally numb as he couldn't use a muscle in his body to raise even a finger.

"This can't be," Neji said, "Fate had this fight decided. It had your future as an unchanging failure decided."

"We're responsible for our own futures and the decisions we make in life niisan," Hinata said, "It's time you start understanding that and start taking charge of your own future and free yourself of the hold the idea of fate has on you."

Saying nothing more, Hinata stood there as Neji was taken away. Hinata, however, was caught by surprise when a pair of arms wrapped around her from behind in a tight hug.

"You did it Hinata-chan," Naruto cheered, "I knew you could win! No doubt about that! Dattebayo!"

"Thank you Naruto-kun," Hinata said with her blush growing darker from the close contact with Naruto.

In life, people often believe they know something if not everything about a person. But in the world of ninjas, that isn't always the case. And often times, one act can change what people think they know about others…

(Four Years Earlier)

Jiraiya was walking through the remains of the once famed Uzu No Kuni. The country was once governed by the now nearly deceased Uzumaki clan. It was the very clan that was once known and feared for bringing forth powerful seal masters like no other. The Uzumakis were also known for many things besides seals. They were also known for having massive amounts of chakra and longevity, out living most and seeing many years. They even created seals that were powerful enough to contain Kyuubi, the strongest of the nine Bijuus. In fact, many of the seals the ninjas in Konoha used were designed by the Uzumaki clan.

Very few knew the history between the Senju and Uzumaki clans. They both descended from a common ancestor who in fact was the younger son of the Rikudō Sennin and the two clans shared close ties with each other. So much so that Shodaime Hokage, Senju Hashirama, married Uzumaki Mito and thus united the two clans by marriage. Also, the Shodaime decreed and made it law that all of ninjas of Konoha were to wear the familial crest of the Uzumaki clan on their uniforms.

Despite their prestige, the Uzumaki clan had many enemies from other nations that feared them and sought their destruction. Most of the Uzumaki clan members were killed while the few that survived scattered to other parts of the world with their locality being unknown. Uzumaki Kushina was brought to Konoha before the destruction of her clan to become the next Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi since Mito, the first Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi, was reaching the end of her life. Kushina took up residence in that village and became a kunoichi of Konoha. She later found love with Namikaze Minato, the man who later became known as Yondaime Hokage.

Sadly their lives were cut short due to an unforeseen occurrence involving Madara's attack on Konoha. The villagers were told by Sarutobi Hiruzen, the Sandaime, that Yondaime defeated the Kyuubi by imprisoning and sealing it into a newly born child named Uzumaki Naruto, the child Sandaime knew was the son of Minato and Kushina. Over the years the villagers made Naruto's life bitter and lonesome. It boiled down to the point that even the children of the villagers were influenced by the grown ups' mistreatment of Naruto and joined in adding to Naruto's grief and loneliness.

Despite knowing the truth, Hiruzen never told Naruto the truth about his parents or heritage from the Uzumaki clan. The aged Hokage always thought it would cause too much trouble for Naruto if the truth was to come out. It was rather hypocritical considering the fact that Naruto's life was already filled with a great deal of trauma than it was worth.

Jiraiya sighed as he thought about his godson whom he haven't seen or talked to once. He didn't even write to him or inquired of the Hokage of Naruto's life or treatment in the village. The Sannin knew who his parents were and that Naruto was the Jinchuuriki of Kyuubi. He knew Naruto's parents died in Kyuubi's attack, being the ones that personally stopped Kyuubi and died in the process of doing so. Jiraiya often though about making contact with Naruto but never actually made the time to do so. He always put his godfather responsibilities on hold and placed being a ninja in higher priority. He did this while continuously tracking Orochimaru and keeping tabs on a newly formed organization rising, the Akatsuki.

Recently, Jiraiya received word from one of his informants in his spy network that Orochimaru came through the country once known as Uzu No Kuni. Jiraiya was told that Orochimaru was in search of something but what the traitorous Snake Sannin was looking for was unknown.

The Toad Sage decided to investigate and see what was in the desolate land that drew Orochimaru's attention. Jiraiya spent two days looking through the remains of the country but found nothing; every lead was a dead end.

"This is proving to be a waste of my time," Jiraiya muttered was he left one old building and traveled to another. He walked into an old house that was in ruins like all the others. After walking around, Jiraiya was about to leave when his eyes caught something. There was an opened door that led to a room that looked to be a book room at one time.

Going into the room, Jiraiya entered and found that on the floor was the Uzumaki familial seal with blurred writings around it. The Sage focused chakra into it and to his surprise the seals and the spiral crest glow and dispelled, revealing a secret door that led to an underground cellar.

"This should prove to be interesting," Jiraiya said as he journeyed into the cellar. Performing a fire jutsu, Jiraiya made a torch for himself to see through the darkness. Reaching the bottom, the Sannin walk through a short hallway and found a closed door before. Breaking the door open, the Sage looked into and saw old withering scrolls resting on shelves all around. He looked through the scrolls but saw that the writings were too worn out to be understood properly. Others deteriorated from aging.

After an hour, Jiraiya decided to leave. As he did, again something caught Jiraiya's attention. To his right was a relic wrapped and tied in cloth. Going over it, Jiraiya picked up the covered relic and found the kanji for "Legacy" written on it. Untying and unwrapping the relic, the Sage found that the artifact was in fact ancient scroll of some sort.

"I wonder what's in this," Jiraiya said out loud. He wondered this as he untied and opened the scroll, only to find that he couldn't read the writings in it. The seals written in the scroll were far more advanced and complex in nature. They were unlike any seal Jiraiya had ever seen. In the center of the seals were sophisticated seal drawings made in a pattern to form a spiral design representing the Uzumaki clan crest.

"Truly the work of a true seal master," Jiraiya said as he studied the writings, "No doubt it was an Uzumaki clan leader from long ago who designed and made this seal."

Closing the scroll, Jiraiya placed the scroll inside his vest and left the cellar. With nothing else to find, the Toad Sage departed from Uzu No Kuni.

(One Year Later)

Jiraiya spent many sleepless nights trying to study and interpret the ancient scroll. Even the toad sage Fukusaku was at a lost trying to interpret the ancient seals and many books both Jiraiya and Fukusaku researched had no information on the seals. It was at that point that Fukusaku told Jiraiya that the seals were heavily encrypted and that the people in the Uzumaki clan from long ago who created the seals didn't want it discovered for reasons unknown.

That however led to Jiraiya's curiosity to be heightened even further despite Fukusaku's warning about tampering with ancient seals that they had no information on. But after a great deal of effort, Jiraiya was finally able to decrypt and unlock the seals, allowing him to read the writings that were penned into the scroll. From what Jiraiya learned from his heavy research into the seals, he found that the seal drawings went as far back to seventy to ninety years after the death of the Rikudō Sennin. Thus the Uzumaki seal masters of that time were close in descend to the second son of the Rikudō Sennin

The sage spent a number of nights reading the scroll and the intricate hand signs that went with the seals. It took Jiraiya five months to understand the seals and the hand signs but he final caught on to the sequence.

Wanting to know what the seal could do, Jiraiya decided to test it out. In an isolated forest cut off from civilization, Jiraiya decided to test out the ancient seal jutsu that night. Setting the scroll down on the ground, Jiraiya saw that the needed amount of chakra required for the jutsu was very massive. Clearly this was no ordinary jutsu and anyone attempting it without the required level of chakra would die from chakra exhaustion alone. Acknowledging this, Jiraiya summoned Fukusaku and his wife Shima and merged with them in order to go into Sage Mode. He decided to use Sage chakra for the jutsu ōgi.

"Jiraiya-chan," Fukusaku cautioned, "I'm still wary about the use of this seal. The very fact that you even summoned us in order to use Sage Mode for this fūin jutsu is alarming enough!"

"Without a doubt," Shima added, "This ancient seal is an S-class jutsu ougi! Whoever this Uzumaki seal master was that created this seal must have had Sage-level if not bijuu-level chakra! Then again, the Uzumakis were renowned for their massive amount of chakra."

"There must have been a reason why this jutsu was created," Jiraiya replied, "What I want is to discover what it can do."

"We're just saying to be careful," Fukusaku said, "We don't want anything bad happening to you before you find and prepare the Child of Prophecy."

"I know," Jiraiya replied, "But still, I wish to know what this fūin jutsu can do."

At that, Jiraiya closed his eyes to focus and summon the required amount of Sage chakra into his body. After several moments, he reached the level he needed. Opening his eyes, Jiraiya raced through the intricate pattern of hand signs that went with the jutsu he was seeking to execute. When he was done, he clasped his hands together.

"Fūin Jutsu: Izō Sōzō Fūjin," Jiraiya said summoning the activation of the sealing jutsu. No sooner than he did that when he saw that he couldn't move his body. Fukusaku and Shima sense their movements were also restricted.

"I can't…," Shima said with a strain, "…move…"

"I can't either," Fukusaku said, "What's happening to us?"

"I don't know," Jiraiya admitted, "I-"

Jiraiya was cut off when a sharp pain tore through him. His strained a scream that wanted to escape from his mouth.

"Jiraiya-chan," Fukusaku and Shima cried out to Jiraiya despite their own situation. Suddenly, seal drawings started appearing around Jiraiya's hands and traveling up to his forehead. Reaching his forehead, the seals then started writing more seal drawings down and all around the Toad Sage's body and to the bottom of his feet. When that was done, the seals glowed before being absorbed into Jiraiya's body. Seconds later, Jiraiya screamed out in loudly in agony as through he was being torn apart from the inside. All of his sage chakra and regular chakra were being drained from out of his body.

Fukusaku and Shima did everything they could think of the break out of the paralyzed condition but to no avail. The two sages could only watch helplessly was Jiraiya yelled out his pain. Moments later the glowing seals appeared around his whole body again before floating and removing themselves off Jiraiya's body and fusing into the written seals that were on the opened scroll on the ground in front of Jiraiya. As for Jiraiya himself, he was patting heavily with trying to gasp for breath in spite of the fact that he was losing strength and consciousness fast.

After fusing with the seals in the scroll, the seals in the scroll started glowing before floating off the scroll and forming into a bright glowing white orb radiating a mighty blue flame aura completely filled with sage chakra. The orb itself had moving seal writings and drawings all around it and at the center inside the orb was the glowing Uzumaki spiral crest, which was spinning like a vortex. In the center of the spinning vortex was the shining golden kanji for "Legacy."

The orb seal flashed brightly and shot off into the starlit night skies flying off towards an unknown destination like a shooting star. Seconds later, Jiraiya fell flat to the ground facedown unconscious with Sage Mode being deactivated right after hitting the ground.

"Jiraiya-chan," Fukusaku and Shima cried out worriedly after mobility was restored to them. The scroll itself deteriorated into dust after its envisioned purpose was done.

(Some Time Later)

Jiraiya's eyes moved slowly under his eyelids. A minute later, his eyes opened as they gradually adjust to the light.

"You've awoken," Fukusaku sighed in relief, "Thank goodness. Shima and I were worried that you'd never awake again. Shima is preparing some food."

Jiraiya tried to sit up but found that he was incredibly weak to even move an inch.

"Uuugghhh," Jiriaya whimpered, "Where are we?"

"Back in Myōbokuzan," Fukusaku replied before changing his tone into a scolding one, "That was a reckless and dangerous gamble you played performing that kin fūinjutsu ōgi. Not only were you completely unprepared for the side effects of using that jutsu but you'd have surely died within that very same hour if Shima and I didn't hurriedly bring you back for immediate treatment and medical attention.

"That jutsu took a heavy toll on your mind and body and chakra. And it completely absorbed all of your sage chakra and normal chakra as it brought you to within less than an inch on your life. The one and only reason why you didn't completely die was because Shima and I were still fused with you, thus some of our chakra helped keep you alive long enough to bring you here for immediate help. It was unlike anything we've ever seen."

"You're telling me," Jiraiya replied weakly, "How long was I unconscious?"

"Three months," Fukusaku said. Jiraiya turned to his mentor with a surprised look.

"Say what," Jiraiya remarked.

"You fell into a coma," Fukasaku said, "A deep one right after we restored your body. We tried everything we could think of to wake you but nothing worked. You responded to nothing we did and your vitals were on critical for days before we were able to stabilize them. We had no idea whether or not the condition was permanent. Left alone you'd have died long ago."

The pain in Jiraiya had soon gone away.

"Where's the scroll," Jiraiya asked.

"Destroyed," Fukusaku said simply.

"You destroyed the scroll," Jiraiya asked, "I guess it was too dangerous to be tested again, huh?"

"No," Shima answered as she entered the room with some food for herself and Fukusaku, "The scroll self-destructed right after you used that jutsu. Evidently those seals were only for a one-time use, taking the user's life after its completion."

"What I would like to know is why a clan leader and seal master from the Uzumaki clan from long ago create such a kinjutsu," Fukusaku said.

"That's what I wanted to find out," Jiraiya replied, "All I know was that I felt chakra and things in my mind were being pulled from right out of me while my body was being dissected and analyzed. It took whatever it did to me and flew off to who knows where before leaving me for dead."

"In the center of the orb was the word "Legacy"," Fukusaku said, "I wonder what kind of legacy it was meant to create before taking your life."

"I suppose time will tell," Jiraiya replied, "If or when that sealing jutsu's effects ever surface."

Jiraiya awakened three months later after a near death experience. But his reckless actions in using a forbidden master sealing technique with shrouded origins raise questions. Why was that jutsu created and for what purpose? Where did it fly off to and will its effects be made manifest? Will its effects be good or bad? Find out next time.

Jutsu Ōgi: Master Technique

Kin Fūinjutsu Ōgi: Forbidden Master Sealing Technique

Fūin Jutsu: Izō Sōzō Fūjin: Sealing Technique: Legacy Creation Seal