Chapter Forty-Four: "Scorched Grass"
A/N: I'm sorry everyone for the lack of updates for all these months. I was dealing with major financial issues and debts, and writing Samurai Jack was a temporary outlet to vent my frustration and anger on after seeing Genndy's abomination for an ending, especially after the bank slapped me with interests that made matters much worse.
And during that time, I had the misfortune of dealing with the death of one of my younger cousins I grew up with. This was a miserable period for me. Again, I apologize for the lack of updates while I was going through all these problems and I hope you all enjoy this very long chapter. And just so you all know, it's over 42 pages and the font size was 10. This chapter is two chapters in one to make up for lost time. And as always, please leave me your detailed reviews of the chapter and constructive feedback.
Shout out and thanks to Ryo Otsutsuki for helping me get back into Sealed Legacy.
(That Night Back In Konoha; At The Uchiha Residence)
Tayuya was making her way back to the house after taking some time to play her flute and clear her mind. As she was approaching the entrance of the house however, she suddenly felt a sharp burst of pain from her cursed seal which was potent enough to force her down to her knees. The pain was excruciating as it tore through her body. Wordlessly, she begged for the pain to stop as the door to the house opened up.
"Tayuya, Tayuya," a voice said from the shadows within the house said. Tayuya looked to see Orochimaru appearing out of the house with Sasuke unconscious and wrapped and constricted in snakes protruding from Orochimaru's left arm.
"You've proven to be more than ineffective in completing the mission I tasked you with," Orochimaru said, "And with the recent events of my failed invasion because of the Uzumaki's interference, I was forced to take matters into my own hands. Did you seriously believe that you could continue deceiving me with your pretense of loyalty while planning on betraying me with the Uchiha?"
"Orochimaru-sama!" Tayuya begged while in severe pain, "Le…Let me explain…"
"That time has passed," Orochimaru said coldly.
The ground underneath Tayuya cracked open and ruptured as a giant viper appeared from out of the ground and grabbed Tayuya in the process. It held her in the air with its mouth.
"I have no further use for you Tayuya," Orochimaru declared, "Now join the rest of your teammates in hell."
The giant viper flung Tayuya into the air and opened its mouth wide open to swallow her whole. Tayuya screamed as she fell and was swallowed straight down the massive reptile's throat.
Tayuya's eyes shot open before she started breathing hard in cold sweat. She looked around and found that she was in the bedroom she shared with Sasuke. Speaking of Sasuke, he was sleeping behind her peacefully under the blanket of his bed with her fully nude and relaxed. Tayuya saw that she was also fully naked and being held by Sasuke close to him while feeling his warm body pressed behind hers. She then remembered that she and Sasuke had a good lovemaking to relieve some stress before drifting off to sleep with her sudden nightmare waking her up.
"That goddamn nightmare had to ruin and mess up some good sleep I needed," Tayuya grumbled lowly, though she was relieved that it was only a nightmare that she had. Feeling the need to clear her mind about the nightmare she had, Tayuya pried herself out of Sasuke's arms, and got up off the bed. She walked over to the window and stood there to look out through the curtains, staring out at the full moon of the starlit night skies blanketing the region of Konoha. Her mind soon recalled what Orochimaru said in her nightmare:
"Tayuya…You've proven to be more than ineffective in completing the mission I tasked you with…Did you seriously believe that you could continue deceiving me with your pretense of loyalty while planning on betraying me with the Uchiha?"
"I wish I knew what Orochimaru-sama is really planning on doing with Numb Nuts here after he's done training him," Tayuya said to herself, "Yet that shitty dream makes me feel like I'm torn between loyalties. Shit, even in my own dreams I see my death at Orochimaru-sama's hands if he decides to take matters into his own hands. And Guren's presence in Konoha isn't helping."
That led Tayuya to think back to the earlier events involving Guren, who made an unannounced inspection on her. As Tayuya stood there, she had to think about the seriousness of Guren's presence in Konoha and the troubles it could spell out for her if both of their presences in the village became known to everyone if any altercation between her and Guren were to ever break out.
Tayuya was pretty much neutral to a number of Orochimaru's minions and while she was the vulgar one of her former team members who were now dead, she was willing to tolerate and work with them. Guren however was another case all together. Tayuya completely despised her and in all honesty, she always hoped and wished Guren would die. She couldn't stand how fanatically obsessed Guren was with Orochimaru. It was as bad if not worse than how obsessed Kimimaro was when he was alive, and it sickened her.
As much as Tayuya wanted to kill Guren, she knew she was outmatched, even with her cursed seal at level two. That was made clear some time ago when Orochimaru had both her and Guren spar with each other with anything being allowed. Guren wasn't given a cursed seal like how Kimimaro was, yet she managed to be a difficult opponent to take on because of her crystal bloodline limit. The spar ended with Tayuya being trapped in one of Guren's crystal prisons and vulnerable to be killed by Guren had Orochimaru not call the match over with Guren as the winner.
It surprised some of Orochimaru's men and the members of the Sound Four how Tayuya lost to Guren and for a time there was even talk among the other members of the Sound Four about Tayuya possibly being replaced with Guren as a member because of her proving to be superior to Tayuya. Orochimaru though didn't allow it as he had other plans for Guren and being part of the Sound Four wasn't one of them. It was one of the things Tayuya resented about her teammates and why she was always offensive and vulgar towards them.
Ever since her defeat to Guren, Tayuya practiced and trained harder, sometimes to exhaustion. There was no way she'd let herself suffer another humiliating defeat by Guren's hands. But as much as Tayuya told herself that, she was still worried about what the future had in store for both her and Sasuke. And like she told Sasuke, she didn't want to lose him or what she had going for her with him in the seemingly new life she had in Konoha. But Tayuya was caught between loyalties, that to Orochimaru and Sasuke who was now a Konoha Chuunin.
"A Chuunin," Tayuya mumbled to herself as she turned and looked back at Sasuke. It was hard to believe how things started out between them when they first met. In the beginning, they couldn't stand each other and she hated how obsessed he was with Hinata.
"It's funny how I hate those who're obsessed with people for the stupidest reasons," Tayuya said lowly to herself, "Yet Sasuke was first person I ever met who broke free from his obsession with Naruto's girlfriend…with my help of course."
Tayuya turned back to the window to look up at the full moon again.
"I thought this mission would be an absolute waste of my time," Tayuya said lowly, "I couldn't see what Orochimaru-sama saw in Sasuke and why he chose me to help train him with the cursed seal and everything he needed. As selfish and self-centered as he was, he was the only one who wanted and made the effort to know me for me. Since then we grew on each other and in time, we fell in love and started screwing like rabbits."
Tayuya monologuing was interrupted with a flicker of light from outside the window caught her attention. She looked carefully to see a crystal on the window ledge flickering light at her. Tayuya snarled venomously, knowing from whom that crystal came from. She immediately turned from the window and went to put her standard Oto ninja clothes on. Quietly, she left the room and the house and followed the path of flicking crystals leading her to the destination intended for her to go.
Soon, Tayuya found herself outside the Uchina training dojo with Guren standing outside of it waiting for her arrival.
"Guren!" Tayuya asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Do I need an invitation to make sure you're performing your duties as you profess you are?" Guren replied.
"I thought I explained myself clearly to you earlier today!" Tayuya retorted.
"Did you?" Guren replied, "You failed to mention that you and the Uchiha are now secret lovers and that you're sleeping with him. Is the sex that good?"
Tayuya did her best to mask the fact that she was now nervous and scared that Guren discovered that she and Sasuke were secret lovers.
"Maybe that's what's keeping you from performing and completing your mission given to you by Orochimaru-sama," Guren stated, "I ought to report this to Orochimaru-sama and see what he says about this."
Staying calm and not allowing her emotions to cloud her judgment, Tayuya's mind quickly thought up a way to dissuade Guren from trying to look further into the matter.
"You stupid bitch!" Tayuya retorted, "If you had half a brain, then you'd understand how Orochimaru-sama works and does things."
"Where are you getting at?" Guren replied.
"For some cunt who's fanatical about pleasing Orochimaru-sama," Tayuya remarked, "You know and understand nothing about his methods. Orochimaru-sama wants me to use any means necessary to persuade the Uchiha into leaving Konoha with me. Giving him my body was a costly sacrifice I had to make in my goddamn efforts to convince Sasuke to join me in leaving Konoha for Otogakure. Sasuke is someone who's very hard to convince."
"You honestly expect me to believe that?" Guren asked suspiciously as she was trying to find some deceit in Tayuya's explanation, "How stupid do you believe me to be? Maybe I ought to speak with the Uchiha myself and see what he thinks about having Orochimaru-sama as his personal teacher. I mean, who doesn't want a powerful Sannin like Orochimaru-sama for a mentor and be made his personal protégé. Even I would be ecstatic about being given such an offer."
'This stubborn rug-licking bitch is on to me!' Tayuya panicked as her mind raced to come up with something more to say to get Guren to back off.
"Orochimaru-sama is still an S-class missing-nin in Konoha's bingo books in case you've forgotten you stupid thot," Tayuya said, "And like I explained to you earlier today, I made excellent progress as Sasuke was seriously considering leaving for Otogakure. Sleeping with him only added to the affect and I almost got him to leave with me.
"That was until he eyewitnessed Orochimaru-sama's joint Suna-Oto forces effectively wiped out during the invasion. This was done by the hands of the Uzumaki clan leader when he used the resurrected Yondaime Hokage as his instrument against Orochimaru-sama's army.
"Plus, Sasuke was promoted from Genin to Chuunin after the failed invasion. Both of those events caught me off guard and complicated things as Sasuke started questioning Orochimaru-sama's abilities and being what others believe him to be. Sasuke was granted a higher level of respect, responsibility and authority from the Hokage. These were something he didn't expect to be given, which negated almost everything I said to him about how underappreciated he was and how no one in Konoha acknowledges his potential except Orochimaru-sama. It gave him a large measure of reconsideration about staying which wasn't the results I was hoping for after all the work I put into convincing him about how Konoha doesn't appreciate his abilities and worth as an Uchiha."
Guren thought quietly for moment as she considered what Tayuya explained to her. The red-haired kunoichi maintained her outward demeanor and made sure her eyes didn't reveal her true intentions and give her way.
"You make convincing argument," Guren said, "It is true that Orochimaru-sama hates the Uzumaki clan leader, this Uzumaki Naruto; especially after how he ruined his attempted invasion of Konoha and severed his hold on Suna. I even heard how Naruto battled and beat Orochimaru-sama in a one-on-one death battle. Even now I find that story so very hard to believe."
"Much of what was said was about that battle was exaggerated," Tayuya said, "Naruto didn't have an easy battle with Orochimaru-sama and Naruto still wasn't able to kill Orochimaru-sama or stop him from placing his cursed seal on Sasuke which was his primary goal from beginning when Orochimaru-sama intersected them in the Forest of Death. So in the end, Orochimaru-sama still won as he accomplished his original objective before sending me here to Konoha to continue where he left off."
"I see your point," Guren replied.
"And since you see my point," Tayuya added, "Then I'd appreciate it if you stop seeking to make these uncalled for inspections on me as it's only making my work and staying out of sight difficult. I have to try to re-convince Sasuke about leaving for Otogakure without feeling pressured or like I'm being pressed for time. Orochimaru-sama would completely understand this."
Guren found no fault with Tayuya's words as she looked the red-haired female straight in the eyes.
"It was Orochimaru-sama himself who dispatched and sent me here Tayuya," Guren revealed, "Why else would I be here considering that all of your teammates and Kimimaro are dead? He wants a full report from me about how things are going in your mission with Sasuke and to report back any…inconsistencies with you completing your assigned mission with the Uchiha. So far, I found no inconsistencies to report so you have nothing to worry about."
Tayuya gave no reply as she waited to see what Guren would do or say next.
"But honestly," Guren remarked, "I couldn't see myself screwing any of my targets of interest that Orochimaru-sama would want me to bring back for whatever reason. It sounds like something a cheap horny whore would do."
Bloodlust leaked out of Tayuya as Guren was intentionally provoking and indirectly calling her a cheap horny whore.
"But you would if Orochimaru-sama ordered you to do so if it meant completing the mission he gave you," Tayuya shot back, "Then again, you probably use your bloodline limit to make crystal hard dicks to pleasure yourself with."
"Shut up!" Guren retorted before she dissolved all the crystals she laid out for Tayuya to follow earlier.
"I'll take my leave Tayuya and return to Otogakure," Guren said. Tayuya watched as Guren started walking off from the dojo. But a moment later Guren stopped and turned half way face Tayuya.
"Orochimaru-sama may be a patient man, Tayuya," Guren warned, "But even his patience in time runs out. Sooner or later he's going want your mission completed with no excuses to your delay in progress in convincing Sasuke to defect for Otogakure."
"Tell me something Guren," Tayuya asked, "What's Orochimaru-sama's true intentions for Sasuke? What's his true interest in the Uchiha?"
"Are you telling me that you don't already know?" Guren said.
"I have my speculations," Tayuya said, "But I just want to hear it from you and confirm whether or not my speculations are true or false. That way, it adds more weight and reasons for completing my mission."
"Accepted," Guren consented with a shrug, finding no grounds to refuse Tayuya's request. She then fully turned to face Tayuya and explained, "Orochimaru-sama has a strong interest in the Sharingan. He has for a long time now. Since all of the other Uchiha clan members were wiped out by Itachi, Sasuke is the only remaining suitable vessel and means for Orochimaru-sama to acquire the Sharingan."
"Vessel?" Tayuya repeated before it dawned on her, "Orochimaru-sama desires to use Sasuke as his new host."
"Precisely," Guren said, "Plus from his research, he can't unlock the full potential of the Sharingan without possessing the body of an Uchiha. A strong Uchiha host combined with the power of the cursed seal would only intensify the power of the Sharingan. That's why your mission is of high importance. Once Sasuke is brought to Otogakure, Orochimaru-sama will continue and finish Sasuke's training personally. And when he deems Sasuke strong enough, that's when he'll possess and take over Sasuke's body."
'I suspected this was what Orochimaru-sama was scheming all along,' Tayuya thought, 'He was always obsessed with the Sharingan and I once overheard him say how Itachi was out of his reach, though I don't fully understand what he meant by that.'
"Does this serve to emphasize the importance of you completing your mission successfully?" Guren asked.
"Yes…crystal clear," Tayuya replied.
"Good," Guren said, "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll take my leave now and report back to Otogakure to give my full report to Orochimaru-sama. Expect a possible reply from Orochimaru-sama in about two weeks or so."
Guren performed a couple hand signs and disappeared in a cloud of smoke, leaving the Uchiha District and leaving Tayuya to her thoughts.
"I really hate crystal dildo sucking thot!" Tayuya growled.
"So that's Orochimaru true purpose in wanting to train me," Sasuke said as he appeared from hiding in the shadows behind one of the nearby buildings. Tayuya turned to see Sasuke dressed in dark clothes and sandals as he approached her.
"I take it that you heard and watched everything that happened," Tayuya said as she made no attempt to hide what happened between herself and Guren.
"From the moment you left the house and came all the way out here," Sasuke revealed, "I saw that you were startled by whatever it was you saw at the window before you got dressed and took off in your battle garbs."
"You mean you were awake the entire time?" Tayuya asked.
"I was half asleep," Sasuke said, "…Plus I wondering what was keeping you up and not letting you sleep."
"Orochimaru-sama is bent on having me fulfill what I was originally sent out here for," Tayuya said, "Putting up that damn front for that crystal humping thot to fall for wasn't easy as she was looking for something against my ass to report to Orochimaru-sama about. That bull shit story I gave her dumbass about your reluctance to travel with me to Otogakure to report back to Orochimaru-sama with only bought us some time; but I know it won't keep Orochimaru-sama at bay for long.
"As much as I wanted to attack and find a way to kill crystal thot, I refrained from doing so knowing it would have confirmed that I have no desire to see you brought to Orochimaru-sama just so he can have your body as his new vessel. Not to mention that Orochimaru-sama would have reacted and retaliated faster once he found out I turned against my original purpose for being sent here."
"That helps me to understand why you had to play the role of the loyal surviving member of the Sound Four," Sasuke commented, "I have to admit, your act convinced me for a moment until I remembered what you explained to me earlier before realizing what you were doing when you sought to confirm what Orochimaru really wanted me for."
Tayuya lowered and turned her head away partly and said, "I'll lose you if Orochimaru is allowed to have his way. And if I fail to bring you to him, he might resort to other means to have you to seek him out to complete your training with the cursed seal."
"Hypothetically speaking, if you were to bring me to Otogakure to be trained by Orochimaru," Sasuke asked, "How long would it take Orochimaru to train me before he attempts to possess me?"
"It took me a couple of years to be trained," Tayuya said, "Even with the cursed seal. You would be a special case as you possess the Sharingan. So give or take, I'd say three to four years," Tayuya then looked back at Sasuke and asked, "You're not seriously considering his offer, are you?"
Sasuke stepped away and sat on the patio floor of the dojo. He gestured to Tayuya to come over and sit next to him. Tayuya went over and sat by him before an awkward silence permeated around them briefly. Soon, Sasuke broke the silence and said, "I will admit that the idea of being trained by a Sannin is very tempting, and it would be lie if I said there isn't a part of me that's willing to accept Orochimaru's offer for power.
"Naruto has Jiraiya, the Toad Sannin, as his personal teacher and godfather, and there's no telling how strong he'll become in the future. I've been trying to catch up to Naruto for a long number of years, and until you appeared, I've taken a lot of wrong steps in my quest to become stronger and avenge my clan. I've gotten this far with your help and now Orochimaru wants me to seek him out for power and the rest of the training that only he could impart to me. Though Orochimaru will deliver on his promise to give me the needed training and power fit for me however, the price for that power is undeniably grim as it'll cost me both my life and my body, and…"
Tayuya saw that Sasuke drifted off from completing his statement. Curious to what he wanted to say, Tayuya asked, "And what Numb Nuts?"
Sasuke sighed and confessed, "…And my future goals of rebuilding my fallen clan with you, just like how Naruto is rebuilding his clan with Hinata at his side."
Tayuya saw the serious implications of Sasuke's words and it surprised her that in all the time she had been with him as his lover that she never thought about the fact that in time he would want to actually impregnate her with his children. Sure, she promised to help him get stronger to avenge the genocide of his clan. But she neglected to take into account that afterwards, Sasuke would want to start his own family with her and begin repopulating his clan with her after Itachi was dealt with.
"I'm such a dumbass to have forgotten about you wanting to rebuild your fallen clan once Itachi is killed by you," Tayuya confessed, "We were so focused about your progress with the cursed seal and future training that I didn't think about you eventually wanting me to have your children."
"I don't see myself having children with any of those useless weak fangirls," Sasuke said, "I want my future children to have a strong and capable mother worthy of the Uchiha name, and you've proven to be someone I want at my side to help me rebuild my clan."
"You can't fulfill your future goals of rebuilding your clan with me if Orochimaru-sama takes over your body after he's done training you Numb Nuts," Tayuya said, "Plus, it's creepy imagining that Orochimaru-sama wants to possess the body of the Konoha Chuunin who's boning me. It would be like I was getting boned by Orochimaru-sama himself," Tayuya shuddered at the very thought as it gave her feelings of deep discomfort, "Let's drop that nasty subject."
"Yes please I was feeling grossed out by it too," a voice said from behind them. Sasuke and Tayuya immediately jumped from the patio floor they were sitting on and stood on their feet ready to fight the intruder. The door to the dojo slid open to reveal a Naruto clone standing inside the dojo.
"Naruto!" Sasuke said, "What are you doing here!? Weren't you suppose you suppose to be out on a mission with Jiraiya, Karin and Hinata?"
"Don't worry about that Sasuke," the Naruto clone said, "That's being taken care of as we speak."
"So you're a kage bunshin," Sasuke deduced.
"You catch on fast Sasuke," the Naruto clone replied, "The fact of the matter is that the boss left me here to keep an eye on things."
"Naruto didn't trust me," Sasuke said.
"Just to be clear Sasuke," the Naruto clone clarified, "The boss didn't trust things to chance with Orochimaru. If the boss didn't trust either you or Tayuya, he'd have reported both you and Tayuya to Sandaime-jiisan already."
"Point taken," Sasuke said, "So what's the deal?"
"The deal is that I've been following and keeping tabs on Guren ever since she entered this village and intersected Tayuya earlier today," the Naruto clone revealed, "I followed her all the way out here and learned a lot more about what Orochimaru is scheming for you and why he so badly wants you to defect for Otogakure."
"So you were listening in on my conversation with her just a while ago," Tayuya acknowledged.
"I needed to know for a certainty where you stood in all this Tayuya," the Naruto clone said, "While I won't deny that you have deep sincere feelings and affections for Sasuke however, I will admit that part of the boss wondered how far your loyalty to Orochimaru went. And rather than jumping to wrong conclusions without having the facts straightened out first, I decided to wait and see for myself how things played out before relaying everything I learned back to the boss. That way he could properly decide on a plan of action without causing so much trouble for you guys."
"Well," Tayuya said, "You know what you know now. So now what?"
"What now is this new development I have for Sasuke since he admitted that part of him was considering leaving Konoha for this new kind of training the Snake Sannin wants to give to him," the Naruto clone said, "And this is in light of the fact that the boss is getting personal training from Toad Sannin himself."
"I didn't say that I decided to take Orochimaru's offer if that's what you're implying," Sasuke argued in his defense.
"I'm not accusing you of actually doing so," the Naruto clone said, "However there might be a way that you accepting Orochimaru's offer might serve to both of our advantage."
"Say what?!" Sasuke and Tayuya asked in disbelief at the same time.
"What kind of donkey shit are you talking about?" Tayuya retorted.
"You're talking to the clone of the ninja who completely foiled and sabotaged your master's invasion and had his invading army wiped out in one attack on the very day of his invasion," the Naruto clone reminded, "You think the boss won't be able to devise another plan against Orochimaru that can benefit both of you and himself included?"
"We're listening," Sasuke submitted while Tayuya frowned at the clown's irrefutable point.
"From everything I gathered from the both of you," the Naruto clone explained as he looked directly at Sasuke, "It's very clear that you don't won't to lose your life or your body to Orochimaru since that would completely destroy your purpose in wanting to revive your nearly extinct clan," the Naruto clone looked over and Tayuya and said, "And you sure as hell don't want your master taking over your lover's body and leave you with nothing especially after everything you and Sasuke went through together. You both love and helped each other and even I don't want to see what you both built together torn apart and ruined by Orochimaru's twisted ambitions. Which is why I'm formulating a plan against him, but it's going to require the both of you to be willing to trust me without question and cooperate. Can this be done?"
"You want me to accept Orochimaru's offer to be trained by him and take whatever new skills or abilities he's willing to give me," Sasuke deduced.
"Are you insane!?" Tayuya replied, "What would that accomplish?!"
"Orochimaru wants a strong and beautiful body to inhabit and strengthen the abilities of the Sharingan to levels he dreams to reach," the Naruto cloned explained. "He sees his possible chance in fulfilling those dreams in your lover because he failed to do that with Itachi."
"How do you know this!?" Sasuke asked.
"I have my sources Sasuke," the Naruto clone replied, "You don't need to know how I know what I know. Just know that I'm planning to use Orochimaru's greed for power against him and I want you both to work with me on this S-rank mission I'm devising for you both."
"You want us working as your double agents and spies," Tayuya realized, "While Orochimaru-sama teaches and strengthens Numb Nuts here to become the ideal vessel for him to possess."
"Sasuke will get the Snake Contract too since Orochimaru wants Sasuke to become as strong as he can possibly make him," the Naruto clone said, "After all, at Sasuke's current level, he can't beat Itachi. Perhaps his time spent with Orochimaru might serve to heighten Sasuke's chance at beating Itachi."
"You're really serious about us following through with this deep shit plan of yours," Tayuya said, "Let's say we go through with this plan of yours and Orochimaru-sama decides to possess Numb Nuts here after he's done training him to the level he wants him. What's to stop him from doing so?"
'There's a very important reason why Orochimaru failed to capture and possess Itachi's body before he decided to turn his attention to Sasuke,' the Naruto clone thought, 'There's a way to prevent Orochimaru from carrying through with his plan to possess Sasuke in the future if Sasuke were to accept his offer to be trained by him. Itachi related this in that black journal of his after he secretly handled over that book to the boss.
'But it's something an Uchiha with a strong will can do. But Sasuke isn't at that level yet, which is why I'm won't reveal what it was Itachi revealed to the boss until you're strong enough to carry it out.'
"I'm sure when the time comes," the Naruto clone said, "Orochimaru will end up biting off more than he can swallow. Not every snake survives the wrath of the would-be dead prey it swallows whole and even Orochimaru can attest to that with his colossal viper as it vaporized by the boss after it swallowed both him and Karin in the Forest of Death."
"Point taken," Tayuya muttered.
"What do you hope to accomplish in all this?" Sasuke asked, "I know you have a far deeper objective in all this."
"My plan has several objectives," the Naruto clone said, "The revived Uchiha clan will get to have a new strong clan leader allied with the reestablished Uzumaki clan and you'll get to have and impregnate Tayuya as much as you want."
"I'm not a damn baby factory you yellow-haired dick!" Tayuya spat. Ignoring her, the Naruto clone continued, "And ultimately, you, Hinata-chan and the boss together will form and become the next generation of Sannin: the Uzumaki clan leader, the Uchiha clan leader, and future Hyuuga clan leader."
"Hinata?" Sasuke asked, "What does she has to do with this?"
"She's going to be trained personally by Tsunade the Slug Sannin," the Naruto clone said, "Tsunade will take Hinata-chan as her personal protégé and train her to become a mighty medic ninja. Combined that with the Byakugan, her clan's Juuken and the training I already gave her, and she'll become a very powerful Hyuuga heiress and the first Byakugan Slug Princess."
"You really thought this through," Sasuke said, "It's so dangerous, insane and ludicrous, yet in the end, I'm sure your plan will work. I'm in. But Sakura is still part of Team 7, so how will Hinata, you and I become this new future Sannin team you're planning to form?"
"If you recall from what the boss explained in the Forest of Death and during the preliminaries," the Naruto cloned reminded, "The boss revealed to you and everyone that he sabotaged the original formations of Teams 7 and 8 which was originally supposed to have Hinata-chan on Team 7 and Sakura on Team 8. This was done because of the past bad blood you and the boss had with each other back then and he didn't trust you at all with Hinata-chan."
"Don't remind us please," Tayuya remarked, "We really don't want to remember those pitiful days."
"Don't worry," the Naruto clone said, "Those bad blood days between the boss and Sasuke are gone. We can move to have Team 7's and Team 8's original set ups carried out."
"You think the Hokage will allow for that considering the amount of readjusting and possible protests we might get from this?" Sasuke asked, then commented, "But personally I wouldn't mind having Sakura replaced with Hinata as I won't be pestered by Hinata for my attention and dates."
"After Jiisan hears my explanation and reasons I'm sure he'll be willing make the corrections," the Naruto clone said, "Though like you said, I'm also sure Kurenai-sensei and Sakura will be far from happy and possibly protest these changes."
"If you can get Sakura off my back, then I'll be all the more willing to follow through with this," Sasuke agreed, "So when should Tayuya and I expect this plan of yours to take effect?"
"The boss will let you know when he's ready," the Naruto said before he looked at Sasuke and Tayuya seriously and instructed, "Until then, this conversation never happened, I was never here, and Tayuya lives with you in secret. Don't do anything until the boss returns and you get word from him about how this plan will go into effect after he irons out everything else. Now I must depart and report to the boss."
The Naruto cloned shushin'd in a whirl of wind and left the district to head to his next destination. Sasuke and Tayuya were left with their thoughts and everything they heard from the clone.
"That was a whole lot of madness to take in all at once," Tayuya remarked, "I can't help but wonder if Naruto is insane for coming up with this plan or if we're crazier for being willing to follow through with it and cooperate with him!"
"I don't think anyone but Hinata truly understands how Naruto's complicated mind works," Sasuke said, "But like I said before, Naruto always finds ways of making things go his way and I do like a lot of what he told us, as dangerous as they are. He trusts us with his brilliant yet perilous plan, so let's trust him just the same. He's not one to betray or break his word."
"I can't believe we're choosing to risk everything to follow through with Naruto's plan for us," Tayuya said before she turned to Sasuke and said, "But if this fucking plan of his fails, mark my words I'll beat the shit out of your ass myself before Orochimaru-sama gets to me!"
"Hn," Sasuke grunted, "It won't have to come to that Tayuya. Now let's go back home and get back to bed. We can discuss this together early tomorrow."
Sasuke and Tayuya turned and started on their way back home having enough drama and surprises for one night.
(Back At The Hotel That Night; Four Hours Later)
It was passed midnight and everyone was gathered together either standing or sitting around the room. For the most part, Hinata, Honoka, Karin, Akio, Akemi, Akira, Tsunade and Shizune sat on the twin beds with Tonton sitting next to Tsunade's legs. Kansui and Arashi sat on the two seats there were available by the table while Naruto, Jiraiya and Seijiro stood in front of everyone; fitting since they were the strongest three in the room. Naruto and Tsunade saw how the "Triple A" sisters, namely, Akio, Akemi and Akira looked and held Jiraiya with high regards, admiration and respect. They didn't look at him as a shameless perverted his infamous reputation landed his name down into. What shocked Tsunade was that…
'Jiraiya, a self-proclaimed super perverted with no known rival, is a father,' Tsunade thought 'And not just any child's father, but the father of a young foreign girl who's to become the next village leader of Nadeshiko and her mother's sole surviving heiress. That means that Jiraiya has direct blood ties with the Nadeshiko's ruling hierarchy and it's confirmed that everyone in the village has the utmost respect for Jiraiya.
'If I were to make one wrong move against Jiraiya and they and his daughter found out, it would lead to an international incident and they would hunt me down faster than my debt collectors chasing after me! Jiraiya himself said that fighting their previous village leader was like fight me for his life. If there are other females in Nadeshiko that strong or close enough, there's no way I can take all of them at once!'
Seijiro turned to Honoka and said, "I've been meaning to ask you something."
"What would you like to know?" Honoka inquired.
"How did you manage to acquire one of the swords of the Seven Swordsmen of Kirigakure?" Seijiro asked.
"I got her from Kisame after my battle with him," Honoka explained, "Samehada turned on him and saved my life from Kisame during that occasion when both he and Itachi came looking for Naruto-kun a few days ago in Konoha," Honoka said.
"Her?" Seijiro asked with a puzzled tone as he had a raised eyebrow, "Why do you refer to Samahada as a female?"
"Because my sentient sword is a female like me," Honoka said, "It ditched her sadistic master for a better friend after tasting my chakra that it just can't get enough of."
"I see," Seijiro remarked.
"She's not the only Uzumaki with one of the swords of the Seven Swordsmen," Naruto remarked, "I've also acquired one of seven swords of Kirigakure."
"You did?" Seijiro asked.
"From Ero-jisan after he battled and beat Raiga in a fight," Naruto explained, "Raiga's sword was ero-jisan's trophy and my prize after he learned I have an affinity for lightning."
"I never thought I'd learn of the Uzumaki clan having treasured swords once belonging to Kirigakure," Seijiro commented, "It's quite the coincidence considering my bad history with Kirigakure."
"You'll be interested in some new developments that have been happening in Kirigakure recently," Naruto said, "When I get the time I'll tell you about them."
Seijiro quietly nodded his head to Naruto and said nothing further on the topic. Tsunade turned to the Triple A sisters and inquired, "What was life like for you three in Nadeshiko? I learned some things about it from Jiraiya, but I'd like to hear it from your perspective."
"Like what exactly?" Akio asked with a raised right eyebrow, "Surely Jiraiya-sama being the husband of the late Uzume-hime have properly informed you about everything concerning the life and culture of Nadeshiko. Was there something about his explanation you find inadequate?"
"No, no! It's not that at all!" Tsunade replied, "What I mean is, as Uzumaki females, was it difficult adjusting to the customs and ways of life in Nadeshiko?"
"It wasn't difficult, just different," Akio said, "At first, it was strange living in a village dominantly governed and inhabited mostly by females with the male population being greatly outnumbered by a ratio of 1:35 plus."
"The male population of Nadeshiko is that scarce?" Kansui asked.
"In Nadeshiko," Akemi said, "Women are the governing hierarchy-"
"Whereas the males play the subservient role," Jiraiya interjected, "Basically in that village the roles between the male and female genders are reversed with the exception of childbirth."
"My sisters and I took refuge in Nadeshiko after our parents and uncle were killed," Akio explained, "While in the village, we didn't identify ourselves as Uzumaki since our people were being hunted and killed like animals by our enemies who wanted to see us go extinct. During that time though, Kariya was still hunting for us. He eventually found us in Nadeshiko but he was intercepted by Uzume-hime and her higher elite kunoichi team in the village. He put up a fight but he was completely outmatched and outpowered, so he fled. He never returned to the village knowing that doing so would mean his death."
"We were questioned however by Uzume-hime about why Kariya was hunting and trying to kill us and was willing to go so far as to trespass into Nadeshiko," Akira added, "We had no choice but the tell her the truth about our clan, about what happened to our family and how enemy shinobi nations have been seeking our genocide because of their wicked and cowardly fear of us. We explained that we had nowhere else to go or stay, or if there were other survivors of our clan that we could find and seek sanctuary with. We told her that we as good as dead if we were forced to leave her village."
"Compassionately," Akio continued off, "Uzume-hime after hearing our story, promised not to reveal our heritage and allowed us to stay and promised not to reveal our identities as Uzumaki so long we practice and train hard and diligently to serve and protect her village until they day we were ready to go out on our own to search out and find our scattered surviving brethren."
"You mean Jiraiya didn't know you three were Uzumaki?" Tsunade asked.
"No," Akemi said, "Uzume-hime bound herself to her word not to reveal our heritage and clearly carried our secret to her untimely grave. We only recently left Nadeshiko after the governing council granted us traveling permission to leave the village to search out for our surviving brethren after we received word of other Uzumaki being sighted in other villages."
"Namely, us," Seijiro figured.
"You were very hard to track and find," Akio said, "You have an amazing skill in keeping a very low profile."
"You have to when you enter my line of work as a bounty hunter," Seijiro remarked, "I've made formidable enemies who'd love to see me dead at their feet."
"That can be said of every Uzumaki in this room honestly," Kansui remarked. Seijiro was about to say something but then refrained from doing so as he closed his eyes and clenched his fist tightly as waves of information was just transmitted back to him. He took several moments to processed the information sent directly to him as Naruto saw that one of Seijiro's kage bunshin dispelled himself to relay everything he found out. Soon, Seijiro released and unclenched his fists and opened his eyes.
"Naruto," Seijiro spoke up, "One of my spies that I dispatched to find and infiltrate the Kusa campsite has reported back to me."
"What did he have to report?" Naruto asked.
"Kusa has deployed an army of ninjas to track down and retrieve Karin," Seijiro explained, "They also plan to not only retrieve and bring back Karin, but they also plan to take Honoka, Akio, Akemi and Akira as well."
"They're planning on kidnapping us as well?!" Akio asked.
"They're planning to kidnap the Uzumaki females and induct them into slavery no doubt," Naruto deduced, "What of us Uzumaki males?"
"We're to be killed," Seijiro stated flatly, "Evidently they have no use for us but for the women. This idea was from Kariya's influence and suggestion as originally Kusa only had eyes on Karin and were seeking to buy her from our clan."
"I don't know which of their intentions is worse," Naruto remarked with disgust, "Their original one where they believed we'd looked at Karin as expendable cattle that we'd sell for money, or outright kidnapping her and the other Uzumaki females while killing the rest of us. As clan leader, the very thoughts sicken me."
"In that case," Arashi suggested, "Why don't we bring the fight to them? We already know what their intentions are."
"Being the first to attack wouldn't serve to our advantage," Kansui corrected, "Despite knowing what they're planning to do."
"Kusa would try to use us attacking them first as leverage against us and demand reparations," Naruto said, "The same way Kumo did against the Hyuuga clan after Hiashi killed the Kumo ambassador after he tried to kidnap Hinata."
"Except Kusa isn't a strong enough shinobi nation to openly declared war on Konoha like how Kumo was," Jiraiya spoke up, "But they could still cause enough problems for Konoha nonetheless, but none enough for Konoha to handle."
"There's over 135 ninjas altogether," Seijiro said, "A mix battalion of consisting of Jounins and Chuunins."
"Quite an impressive army sent out just to captured a couple of females," Kansui remarked.
"Kusa's actions against the Uzumaki clan can be considered a declaration of war by Konoha if the Hokage gets wind of what Kusa is planning on doing," Naruto stated, "There's no way Jiisan would stay quiet to this."
"I hope they all die, every last one of them," Karin coldly remarked causing everyone in the room to turned to her, "It wouldn't bother me one bit if Kusa was completely destroyed."
"My sisters and I know about your cruel past with Kusa," Akira recalled.
"What they did was as heinous as it was despicable," Akio added.
"Would you girls care to enlighten us about what Kusa did?" Tsunade implored.
"That nation is the reason why my mother died and why…," Karin paused as she opened her kimono to reveal her shoulders, back, arms stomach which were completed littered with bite mark scars all over her. Naruto knew about the scars, but it was a shock for Arashi and the others. Jiraiya, Tsunade and Seijiro kept their cool while waiting hear Karin's explanation.
"I have all these bite mark scars all over my body that can never heal and disappear," Karin explained, "They selfishly and cold-bloodedly used and drained my mother's healing chakra for their wounded ninjas and citizens until she died of extreme chakra exhaustion. They forced me to be my mother's replacement. They used us as sacrificial cattle for their people."
When Arashi heard this then his anger grew hot as his blood boiled with his bloodlust pouring out of him. Already Arashi wanted to go out and hunt down the Kusa ninja and slaughter them for what they did to Karin.
Kansui placed his right hand on his younger twin brother's left shoulder to calm him down.
"Arashi," Kansui said calmly, "Please calm yourself. Don't lose your temper and something reckless. We're all just as angered and disgusted at what Kusa did to Karin and her mother."
Arashi took a moment to calm his anger down and his emotions in order.
"I'm sorry," Arashi apologized, "I don't normally give into my anger like that but…"
"It's OK Arashi," Naruto assured, "I'd have reacted the same way if it were Hinata-chan in Karin's shoes."
Karin placed her kimono properly back on and continued, "A few times I tried to escape but I was captured and punished each time. Being sent to take part of the Chuunin Exams in Konoha just to be used as a healing battery for their Genin was a blessing in disguise as it led to Naruto-kun finding me. What happened to my mother will happen to all Uzumaki females if we're captured by them."
"That's not going to happen," Honaka stated, "None of us will let that happen."
"Seijiro," Jiraiya inquired, "Are the camping Kusa army aware that Tsunade and I are also here?"
"It doesn't appear to be so," Seijiro said, "My clone wasn't able to determine whether to not they know of your and Tsunade's presence here. However, they know of Naruto's presence and that of Arashi and Kansui."
"What about yours?" Arashi asked.
"They don't," Seijiro said flatly, "Like I said before, I have methods of keeping a very low profile when I don't want to be found."
"So what's the plan in dealing with this army of Kusa ninjas?" Kansui asked.
"The odds truly aren't in their favor," Hinata said, "It's already going to be a one-sided slaughter should they go through in attacking us."
"I vouch for Hinata's words," Karin said supportively, "We already have several S-class elite ninjas in this room and if I had to rank you Hinata, I'd say high A to S-class after seeing what you did to Gaara during the Chuunin Finals."
"Let's not be quick to presume that we would have an easy battle against that army," Jiraiya stated.
"Jiraiya-sama is right," Hinata said, "Our past victories we were achieved through careful planning and preparations. To attack head on without a plan would led to disaster."
Shizune, after a long period of silence, looked over to Jiraiya and inquired, "Do you have a plan that can be implemented?"
Jiraiya thought for a moment to see there was anything he could think of.
"Naruto," Seijiro requested, "May I have a word with you in private?"
"Is there something important you need to discuss with me about?" Naruto said.
"It's matter of some financial business I'd like to discuss and run by with you first," Seijiro said.
"Why can't we hear it?" Tsunade asked.
"For now," Seijiro said, "I prefer to keep it confidential and solely between myself and Naruto. When the time comes, we'll discuss it in details with the rest of you."
"It must be that important if you prefer no one else to hear it beside me," Naruto consented, "Alright then, I'll hear you out Seijiro-jisan," Naruto then turned to the others and said, "Excuse us. We'll be back shortly."
Naruto went over to Seijiro and both shunshin'd to a different location from the rest of the group in the room.
"What financial business do you suppose Seijiro-jisan wanted to talk over with Naruto in private about?" Arashi said.
"I don't know," Kansui said, "But like he said, when he and Naruto are ready, they'll tell us."
(The Following Day: Back In Konoha)
Hiruzen was sitting at his desk going over some paperwork as he took a puff from his smoking pipe. As he sat there, a red toad appeared and hopped through the opened window of his office and jumped on top of his desk. Hiruzen looked to see the toad and the rolled-up scroll tied to the toad.
"It must be from Jiraiya," Hiruzen figured as he reached down from the scroll and untied it from the toad, "I wonder if it's his latest novel he's delivering to me. He's already week behind in having his latest book out and published."
When Hiruzen opened the scroll, it wasn't a containing seal for Jiraiya's latest book novel as he had hoped. Instead, it was Jiraiya's explanation about Tsunade embracing her Uzumaki heritage and accepting her role as a member of the Uzumaki clan. Hiruzen carefully read Jiraiya's explanation about the circumstances that led to Tsunade's actions, how Naruto and the other Uzumaki clan members they found influenced her actions. In his explanation, Jiraiya asked Hiruzen to go along with the notion that he authorized Naruto to find Tsunade in order to request of her to accept her Uzumaki heritage and join his clan as an official Uzumaki member and Senju representative.
"Rather than using force or arresting her if necessary if she resisted," Hiruzen said, "Naruto got Tsunade to join his clan, the clan her grandmother Uzumaki Mito-sama descended from. I'm amazed he and the brethren he recently found managed to convince Tsunade to return to Konoha without a great deal of resistance as I originally expected would happen. But this also helps to explain Honoka's sudden disappearance from Konoha and why she didn't report to teach her class this morning."
Hiruzen read the last lines of the scroll which stated that the latest book would be published and ready in a two days' time. Hiruzen groaned but accepted it, knowing that at least he just had to wait another two days. After contemplating on everything he read in the scroll for a couple of minutes, Hiruzen rolled up the rolled and handed the scroll back to the red toad. The toad took the scroll back and before it could leave the office…
"Wait!" Hiruzen requested, "I have something very important and confidential I must convey to Jiraiya and I trust that you'll deliver it to him personally."
The toad nodded his head in compliance. Hiruzen then took out a blank scroll and proceeded to write down what he wanted to say and request from Jiraiya. He gave a very detailed explanation behind his request and careful reasons as to why he can't ask his request from either Tsunade or Danzō. After couple more minutes, Hiruzen signed and stamped the scroll with his official Hokage seal, rolled it up and tied it. He then gave it to the toad to take with him. Having both scrolls in its possession now, the toad burst into a cloud of smoke, teleporting away from the office.
Hiruzen leaned back in his chair to meditate on everything that was explained in the scroll.
(Two Days Later; Somewhere In Hi No Kuni)
The Kusa ninjas were moving through and around Tenmangu-machi in civilian clothing so as to not attract attention to themselves. They were working to keep tabs on the movements and whereabouts of Kariin, Honoka, Akio, Akemi and Akira while studying their patterns of activities. After the third day, the Kusa ninja reported back to their leader with all of the information they gathered about the Uzumaki females. The information they got however wasn't enough to plan an effective ambush to overpower and capture them.
"Damn it!" the lead Kusa Jounin shouted in frustration, "These damn women have too much inconsistencies to their activities. There must be something useful about them we can use against them."
"It wouldn't be wise for trained ninjas to have a known pattern to their activities," a newcomer said, "Otherwise they're become easy targets."
The Jounin and his men turned to see them hooded cloaked figure enter among them freely without so much as a care in the world. His face was hidden under his dark hood and the only part of his face visible was his mouth.
"The hell?!" one of the Kusa Chuunin remarked, "Who are you? And how did you manage to make your way here?"
"My methods are my own," the newcomer replied, "I'm sure you've heard of me," the newcomer replied, "I'm known by many as The Bloodhound."
There were sudden whispers among the Kusa ninja
"I heard of you," Kariya said as he appeared behind him, "Your reputation as a renown bounty hunter precedes you. But you have a lot of nerve appearing here without permission."
Seijiro turned to face Kariya without showing his face.
"And whom might you be?" Seijiro inquired.
"I'm Chitsurugi Kariya," Kariya revealed, "I'm a traveling mercenary."
There was a brief moment of silence that passed between them. Kariya was trying to see if he could get a better view of Seijiro's face before that was interrupted by Seijiro's next actions.
"And what business do you have here?" Seijiro asked.
"That's none of your concern," Kariya retorted, "We're more interested in what you're doing here since you're trespassing."
"I was in Tenmangu-machi on business for a private loan shark who had hired me for a job," Seijiro said, "That was until I noticed some unusual activity taking place there."
"What activity are you alluding to?" the Kusa Jounin asked.
"I'm talking about the five females your men have been trying to track and spy on," Seijiro said, "It sparked and aroused my interest that your disguised ninjas were trying to keep close to those five females. If you want those five females captured and brought here, then I can get the job done with no problem, but I'll do it for a price."
"What made you presume that we'd hire you for a job that we can do ourselves?" Kariya said. Seijiro released a massive bloodlust and aimed it directly at Kariya. Kariya had a hard time keeping himself together and even the other Jounins and Chuunins felt the heaviness of Seijiro's bloodlust. A moment later, Seijiro released his bloodlust as he faced Kariya and warned, "You'd be wise not to test my patience Kariya. The Slug Sannin feared me for good reasons, as should you."
Kariya growled hatefully at Seijiro and he wanted to retaliate against him. But that massive bloodlust Seijiro directed at him was unlike anything he felt in years.
"You're very bold to threaten our partner so openly in front of us," the lead Kusa Jounin remarked.
"I don't appreciate being challenged or questioned by someone I don't see as my equal. I hope that's clear," Seijiro retorted undeterred, causing Kariya to snarl venomously at him. Seijiro ignored him and continued, "And like I clearly stated earlier, the Slug Sannin feared me for good reasons."
"Oh really?" the Kusa Jounin replied, "And why is that?"
"My recent bounty that I cashed in on in Tenmangu-machi was Senju Tsunade," Seijiro explained, "I was employed by a private loan shark to track her down and get back all of the money she owed him, with interest. The Slug Sannin was on the run from me for days until I finally found and confront her. I made it clear to her that she either hand over the money she owed my employer or face me. She chose the first option and hand over all of the money she owed my employer."
"You expect us to believe that?" A Kusa Chuunin questioned as he and the others looked ready to detain Seijiro if the order came down to do so.
"You managed to intimidate a Sannin into submitting to your demands for cash that she owed?" the Kusa Jounin asked in disbelief, "I don't know of anyone who can pull off such a questionable feat, especially against Tsunade."
"I have no need or reasons to lie," Seijiro replied as he reached into his pocket inside his cloak and retrieved the written contract and bounty for Tsunade the loan shark hired him for. The Kusa Jounin took the contract and examined it carefully. Upon seeing how much Tsunade owed the man along with the official stamped seals and signatures and the payment promised once the job was done, the Kusa Jounin saw that Seijiro a.k.a. The Bloodhound wasn't lying.
"This contract is authentic and official," the Kusa Jounin confirmed as he gave back the contract, "The Bloodhound speaks the truth."
Again, there were whispers among the other Kusa Chuunin and Jounin that were present. They could only speculate what The Bloodhound's capabilities were if he was able to hunt down and threaten Tsunade without fear of her infamous monstrous strength being used against him in retaliation.
"So you're interested in a new job?" the Kusa Jounin said.
"If the money is good and I like what I hear," Seijiro replied, "I'll see to its completion. If not, I'll leave and go about my affairs looking for better bounties to hunt."
"Since you're interested," the Kusa Jounin said, "We do have a very large sum of money at our disposal. We'll pay you that money in return for your services in capturing and bringing to us those five females. It's of top priority that we bring them back to Kusagakure."
"How much are we talking about?" Seijiro asked, "Before I agree to any agreement, I'd like to first see proof of this large sum of money you claim to have."
"Fair enough since you showed us proof of your bounty on Tsunade," the lead Kusa Jounin said in compliance as he signaled to a subordinate Chuunin to retrieve an official document typed up, signed and stamped by their village leader from inside their meeting tent. A moment later, the Chuunin returned with the official document and handed it to the commanding Jounin. The Jounin then handed the document over to Seijiro who took the document and thoroughly examined it.
Soon after that was done Seijro gave back the document and requested, "Give me an official written contract with your and my signatures and the signatures of two eyewitnesses. If I'm to accept this deal, I want it in writing, not word of mouth. And this contract deal will entail in writing that I'm paid half of the payment now and the other half once the job is completed to your satisfaction."
'This man is clever,' Kariya thought, 'He's not taking a chance at being double-crossed.'
"Very well," the Kusa leader consented. Kariya disputed, "You're agreeing to this man's terms?"
"Why shouldn't we?" the Kusa leader questioned, "If The Bloodhound can complete this task without drawing unwanted attention to ourselves, then I say we hire him. We've been here for days and it won't be long until word gets out that we're here and it would lead to unwanted questions from the locals and governing officials from Tenmangu-machi and other neighboring towns."
Kariya couldn't argue as he saw the Jounin's point.
"Come inside our meeting tent and we'll discuss things further as we put our new contract together," the Kusa Jounin said. Seijiro wordlessly complied at he followed the man into the meeting tent.
(Back In Konoha; At The Hokage Tower)
Hiruzen was in his office sitting at his desk reading and contemplating on the written letter sent to him by Jiraiya. Soon a knock came from the door.
"Yes?" Hiruzen asked.
"Hey Jiisan you got a minute?" an all too familiar voice said from behind the door.
"Naruto!?" Hiruzen exclaimed, "You and the others are back from your mission?"
"Actually," Naruto revealed, "Ero-jisan and the rest of my team are still away on their mission. I was summoned back here so I can explain something very important to you."
"You were summoned here?" Hiruzen questioned before he thought about how Honoka was summoned away from Konoha in the same manner as Jiraiya's scroll explained.
"Ero-jisan already knows I'm here jiisan and he explained to the others that I'm out on an errand," Naruto said, "I have a three-hour window to remain here before I'm summoned back to Tenmangu-machi. My time here is short and it's seriously of very high importance that I speak with you now!"
"You can come in," Hiruzen said. The door to his office opened and Naruto entered and closed the door behind him. He walked over to Hiruzen and stood in front of the Hokage's desk.
"So what matter of business do you wish to discuss with me Naruto?" Hiruzen asked
"I'm respectfully requesting for you to correct and rearrange the formations of Teams 7 and 8," Naruto said. Hiruzen looked Naruto dead straight in the eyes and saw that he wasn't joking.
"I beg your pardon?" Hiruzen replied as looked at Naruto after hearing such a seemingly outrageous request.
"I'm asking you to change the formations of Teams 7 and 8 to the way they originally were supposed to be," Naruto stated.
"You want me to switch Sakura with Hinata and place Sakura on Team 8," Hiruzen stated, knowing that was the case.
"You catch on fast," Naruto remarked.
"Naruto," Hiruzen said seriously, "Asking me to change team formations is a boldface move, especially with Kakashi out of commission since he's in a coma and Kurenai won't agree this."
"Knowing Kakashi-sensei, he could care less, and Kurenai-sensei could be useful in properly training Sakura into becoming a competent kunoichi and eventually a Chuunin," Naruto said.
"Kurenai and others will raise some questions and some will look at the rearrangement as favoritism," Hiruzen countered, "Others might assume that I'm granting this rearrangement just so you can have Hinata close to you all the time."
"Then as a Chuunin," Naruto replied, "Let me make my assessments of Sakura very clear from an Elite Jounin's perspective. What Sakura needs is a strong female figure as a sensei to motivate and push her in the right direction. Being around Sasuke too much hasn't helped one bit as she trained enough just so she could get Sasuke's romantic attention. Since the time she graduated from the ninja academy, her ninja skills are nowhere near low Chuunin level, let alone high Genin level. If I were to pit her against Konohamaru or Hanabi-chan in a serious bout, your grandson would beat Sakura effortlessly while Hanabi-chan would brutally pulverize her. And this is no exaggeration I assure you. Even Sakura admitted that out of everyone, she's the weakest and most useless and if you ask for my assessment of Ino, it would be no different from Sakura's. The way Ino and Sakura fought each other during the preliminaries speaks for itself."
"I saw the matches for myself Naruto," Hiruzen said, "But I've seen matches just as bad and worse."
"Jiisan," Naruto said, "You and I both know that Sakura doesn't belong on Team 7."
"I understand where you're coming from with this, Naruto," Hiruzen said, "I and many others are aware that you sabotaged the original formations of Teams 7 and 8 and that you got Hinata to comply and go along with it. I also know that both you and Hinata falsified information about yourselves in the ninja academy."
"My past actions in sabotaging the proper team formations served and fulfilled their purpose," Naruto said, "Had Hinata-chan, Sasuke and I been assigned to the original formation with the serious bad blood tensions and problems we were having with each other, Kakashi-sensei would have failed us sent us back to the academy for remedial training because of Sasuke and I being unable to work together. Plus there would have been no telling how many times Sasuke would have been hospitalized by me for serious injuries because of him repeatedly crossing the line with Hinata-chan. Practically little to nothing would have been accomplished because we would have been too busy arguing and fighting each other over Hinata-chan."
"Are you serious about the hospitalization?" Hiruzen commented.
"Tsunade-obaachan brutally nearly killed ero-jisan for far less and they were teammates and your students," Naruto said, "Hell, I heard of no one protesting against Tsunade-obaachan for almost killing a fellow Sannin for something so petty as being peeped at. But there's more to my reasons as to why I'm requesting you to correct the team formations…and it involves both ero-jisan, Tsunade-obaachan and Orochimaru."
"Orochimaru is involved in this?" Hiruzen asked with a cautious tone, "How is this possible?"
"What I'm going to discuss with you is considered an S-class secret and mustn't be discussed with anyone outside this office," Naruto said seriously, "I know why Orochimaru is so interested in Sasuke and the extent he went in order to try to get Sasuke to defect from Konoha to Otogakure. And yes, the cursed seal on Sasuke's neck plays a huge part in this also."
Hiruzen nodded his head and replied, "I'm listening."
"If it's alright with you jiisan I'd prefer we don't talk here," Naruto suggested, "But at an undisclosed location outside Konoha walls."
"For what reason may I ask?" Hiruzen inquired.
"There's someone I need you to meet, secretly," Naruto revealed, "The girl has a…special connection and history with Sasuke. For her protection, it's best I don't reveal her name and identity here as she's being followed and tracked by one of Orochimaru's henchmen."
"Why is this girl being tracked by one of Orochimaru's soldiers?" Hiruzen asked.
"She, Sasuke and myself will explain everything to you in complete details if you agree to accompany me there," Naruto said. Hiruzen saw the gravity of the situation if Naruto was refusing to devolve more information to him than he already knew, especially as Naruto was insisting that they continue their conversation elsewhere outside the tower and Konoha walls.
"Very well then," Hiruzen consented, "We'll leave for wherever you have in mind for the both of us."
Naruto went over to Hiruzen and placed his hands on his shoulder. In a flicker, both Hiruzen and Naruto were gone, leaving the scene of the Hokage office. Hiruzen found himself at the entrance of the newly renovated small house that was used as a living residence for the caretakers of the Uzumaki Mask Temple. The house itself was heavily guarded by both Naruto's armed clones and armored toad summonings.
"Naruto you're back!" Gamagichi greeted, "And you brought the Hokage with you."
"Like I said I would," Naruto replied, "It's good to know that there's been no trouble while I've been gone."
"Everything is in the clear," Gamagichi said, "Both Sasuke and the girl are still inside waiting for you."
Naruto made his way into the house with Hiruzen following him close by. After they entered the house, they removed their sandals and walked in further to find Sasuke and Tayuya sitting and waiting for them in the living room. Hiruzen looked at Sasuke and then over to the red-haired girl he had never seen before. Tayuya felt Hiruzen's gaze at her and while she was didn't facially show it, she was in fear of her life knowing that the Hokage could strike and kill her instantly. She knew that there was no way show could defend herself from the Hokage. She lowered her gaze to avoid the Hiruzen's eyes from meeting hers.
'I don't know this girl,' Hiruzen contemplated, 'She's definitely not from Konoha.'
'So this is the man who taught and trained Orochimaru-sama,' Tayuya thought, 'Why the hell did I agree to this suicidal plan to meet with-'
"What's your name girl and where are you from?" Hiruzen asked. Tayuya looked up to meet the Hokage's gaze at her.
"I'm Tayuya," Tayuya answered, "I'm the last surviving member of Orochimaru-sama's Sound Four battle squad. I also served as one of Orochimaru-sama's top bodyguards and assassination agents."
"So you're from Otogakure," Hiruzen stated.
"Not originally," Tayuya elaborated.
"Then how did you come in contact with Orochimaru?" Hiruzen interrogated, "And for what purpose are doing here?"
Tayuya went into details explaining everything to Hiruzen, from her origins to how Orochimaru found her and took her in and trained her, how she got revenge on her parents' murderers and betrayer, to being part of the Sound Four and later being sent to teach and train Sasuke. During her explanation Sasuke added his side of the story when asked by Hiruzen to do so when he wanted more clarity on something.
"So Orochimaru's true objective in having Sasuke trained so hard and to his best capacity is so he could e eventually have and possess Sasuke's body," Hiruzen said, "Which could only mean that Orochimaru perfected that kinjutsu he had been working on in secret before he fled from Konoha."
"A kinjutsu?" Naruto asked.
"Orochimaru is obsessed with the idea of mastering all jutsu on earth and he's been working on a kinjutsu that can give him immortality," Hiruzen explained.
"I take it that it's some form of body snatching jutsu similar to the Yamanaka clan's jutsu," Naruto remarked.
"Only for stronger and darker," Hiruzen stated, "Unlike the Yamanaka's clan's jutsu, Orochimaru's kinjutsu is a full possession and merger that completely wipes out the mind of the host and leave the body as a shell for Orochimaru to have and use as a new body."
"What a price to pay for power from Orochimaru's hand," Sasuke said.
"A damn fucked up one for the both of us," Tayuya remarked, "There's nothing to gain from this if Orochimaru-sama get his way."
"Tell me something Tayuya," Hiruzen inquired, "Why are you willing to go this far at the risk of your life for Sasuke?"
"You think I like the idea of working so hard to support and help Sasuke become who he is only for Orochimaru-sama to take over his body in the end?" Tayuya answered without hesitation, "The thought alone sickens me!"
"Orochimaru would consider your actions as a betrayal," Hiruzen pointed out, sensing there was more to Tayuya's motives than she was telling him.
"Sasuke is all I have!" Tayuya confessed, "I gave so much of myself to help and train him! Besides Kakashi training him, I'm the reason why Sasuke got over Hinata and started focusing on actually being a true ninja! It was with my help that he was even promoted to Chuunin and why he, Naruto and Hinata now get along. Yes, I know my mission was to convince Sasuke to defect from Konoha to Otogakure but…I've come to love living here with Sasuke."
"To what extent?" Hiruzen asked patiently and continued, "I sense that there's more to this story that's not being said yet, especially since you've been secretly training, fraternizing and living with one of my Chuunins. How far did your relationship with Sasuke go? I want straight answers so don't beat around the bush."
'I can't hide anything from this guy!' Tayuya thought and was about to speak when…
"We started getting along very well to the point that Tayuya and I developed more than just a student-teacher relationship with each other," Sasuke admitted, "We started acting and living like an actual couple with open communication without secrets from each other. She even cooks meals and make bento lunches for me. In time, I started looking and seeing Tayuya as someone I wanted more out of than just as my teacher. This happened the night before the Chuunin Finals when Tayuya and I became…intimate for the first time. We've been living together secretly as lovers ever since. Simply put, Tayuya and I love each other."
Hiruzen took everything he heard and meditated on it. He suspected this but he wanted the facts confirmed from the horse's mouth so to say. Turning to Naruto, Hiruzen asked, "How long were you aware of this?"
"I only found this out on the day after Itachi and Kisame ambushed Honoka-nee and I," Naruto revealed, "They explained everything to me the following day and I kept their secret until I came up with a plan to explain this to you without everyone or anyone else finding out about it. It's also part of the major reasons why I'm requesting if you can change Teams 7 and 8 back to how they were originally supposed to be arranged before I sabotaged the origin pairing of the two teams.
"I'm already being trained by Jiraiya and I have a summoning contract with Toads. Tsuande obaachan is going to take Hinata-chan as her next apprentice and give her the Slug summoning contract. And since Orochimaru wants to train and strength Sasuke so badly, I'm sure that will entail Sasuke getting the Snake summoning contract. If you see where I'm getting at, the three of us will become the next generation of Sannin. Fitting really since Hinata-chan, Sasuke and I were the first three of our class to be promoted to Chuunin. It only makes since to put all three of us together."
"I see where you're coming from and what you're trying to do Naruto," Hiruzen said, "The major flaw with your plan is that Orochimaru is as S-class missing-nin and wants Sasuke to defect from Konoha to Otogakure. Plus, his only objective in wanting to personally train Sasuke is to possess his body in the end so he could have the Sharingan."
"We know that," Naruto said, "That's exactly what we want to use against Orochimaru."
"What do you mean?" Hiruzen asked.
"This gives us the best open opportunity to plant Sasuke as a spy and report on Orochimaru's activities while keeping an eye on his actions and movements," Naruto explained, "Since Orochimaru will want to train Sasuke personally, that means that Sasuke will be in very close company of Orochimaru for most of the time. Sasuke, Tayuya and I discussed this in length before approaching and present you with this idea and our explanation. Sasuke would infiltrate Otogakure under the guise of a Konoha defector and Orochimaru's new apprentice while being a double agent and spy. It would be a secret long duration S-rank mission."
Hiruzen carefully weighed and thought about what Naruto explained to him. He then thought about Itachi and how he was currently posing as a spy and double agent within the Akatsuki.
"I'll need time to care consider and deliberate on everything I was informed of today before deciding on which course of action to take," Hiruzen said.
"Please don't inform Danzō or the hierarchy about this," Naruto requested, "If you decide to go along with our plan, it'll only work best if very few trusted people know about it. And to put it bluntly, I don't trust Danzō or the hierarchy, and I know that Danzō is trying to keep tabs on me."
"I'll keep that in mind," Hiruzen said before looking over at Sasuke and Tayuya, "Make no mistake Sasuke, if I had found about your secret involvement with Tayuya on my own before Naruto's intervention and pleading in your behalf with you and Tayuya willingly coming forward, I'd have had both you and Tayuya seized and arrested and sent to Ibiki for interrogation before suspending you from your duties as Chuunin and placing you under house arrest with Tayuya's fate being left at my hand to decide. At the same time though, Naruto himself took a huge risk pleading in your behalf and confessing to knowing about Tayuya's presence in the village instead of immediately reporting it to me when he found out. That in of itself could have resulted in Naruto getting into a measure of trouble."
Naruto chose to stay silent and keep his thoughts to himself so as to not appear to undermine Hiruzen's words.
"But for the record," Hiruzen concluded, "This meeting never happened, we were never here, Tayuya and I never met. Do the three of you understand my words?"
"Solid," Naruto said.
"Without question," Sasuke said.
"Good," Hiruzen said and then instructed, "Sasuke, you will continue your duties as Chuunin as normal. But for now, I want both you and Tayuya to return to the Uchiha District. Naruto, return to your current mission and see to its completion. In the meantime, I'll return to the tower and contemplate further on this meeting that never happened."
And with that Hiruzen shunshin'd from the small house in the burst of smoke.
"He's going to go through with the plan and rearrange the teams," Naruto assured, "I told you guys to leave everything to me."
"I can't believe your insane plan actually worked," Tayuya remarked.
"Remember this Tayuya," Naruto said, "You and Sasuke had a clan leader and member of Konoha's shinobi council vouching for the both of you. If anything, you both owe me, big time."
Naruto summoned a kage bunshin and sent the clone over to Sasuke and Tayuya.
"My clone will transport you guys home," Naruto said, "We'll discuss this matter further with jiisan at another time after the others and I return to Konoha."
The clone took hold of Sasuke and Tayuya and shunshin'd with them away from the house, leaving Naruto alone now.
"Well," Naruto thought, "I still have a one-hour window before ero-jiisan summons be me. I wonder how things are progressing back in Tenmangu-machi. I hope everyone's doing OK while I'm away."
(Two Hours Later; Some Distance From Tenmangu-machi)
In the forest far outside the town, Arashi and Kansui were lying on the grassy ground completely battered and with their chest gutted clean open with their blood pouring all over the ground. Kariya was standing over their slain bodies with his sword covered in their blood. Seijiro, with his cloak and hood over his head masking most of his face, was tying up the unconscious and beaten forms of Honoka, Karin, Akio, Akemi and Akira.
Hinata was lying motionlessly against a tree trunk in sitting position with three kunais embedded deep into her body after Kariya disarmed and immobilized her. A battered and lifeless Shizune was impaled with her body being held upright against a tree with a kodachi piece deeply into her chest cavity and out of her back and into the tree. The ambush was thorough and brutal.
"Where are the ones called Naruto and Seijiro who you mentioned earlier?" Kariya asked, "They weren't here with the others!"
"Naruto and the one called Jiraiya left to take care of some business though I don't know what that business is," Seijiro said, "Seijiro however proved to be a little difficult to track, surprisingly, even for me. But I do have fresh leads on his currents whereabouts."
"I want all of the those Uzumaki males killed!" Kariya said, "Naruto and Seijiro were supposed to be here among those two boys!"
"Cut your losses and take what I helped you to achieve here which is no doubt better than what you think you would have managed to accomplish on your own!" Seijiro replied with a neutral tone as she continued binding the unconscious forms of the Uzumaki females, "Naruto and Seijiro not being here is only a small price to pay out of everything else we managed to accomplish here. Naruto and Seijiro can always to dealt with at another time; just not today unfortunately."
"What about Tsunade?" Kariya asked.
"She's going to return to the motel these Uzumakis were staying at in two hours," Seijiro said, "She left to participate in another gambling event that one of the casinos is hosting. Having two of the Sannin away was the best opportunity to execute this plan. Having them here together would have proven to be very problematic. We wouldn't have gotten far against either of them fighting us as a team. They would have surely forced our retreat."
"I'm not ignorant to the power and strengths of the Sannin," Kariya retorted, "Facing both of them together would have been disastrous on our part."
Seijiro finished trying the unconscious Uzumaki females. By this time, the Kusa Jounin leader appeared and walked through the area with a couple of his ninjas in company. Seijiro stood up and faced the commanding Kusa Jounin.
"I did the job and delivered as promised," Seijiro said, "Now, I ask that I be given the second half of my payment as promised. That was the deal."
The massacre in the vicinity spoke volumes as it showed how brutal Seijiro was. The commanding Kusa Jounin signaled to a couple of his ninja to take the Uzumaki females into their custody before he went over to Seijiro.
"You truly live up to your title Bloodhound," the Kusa Jounin said as he took out from his vest an envelope possessing the second house of Seijiro's pay. Seijiro took the envelope and opened it. He saw the official written and stamped documents needed to take to the bank in order to have the full designated monetary transaction of funds from Kusa's treasury into his account done legally.
"You have your prize," Seijiro said, "And I have mine. If there's nothing else, I'll take my leave now."
Seijiro made his way out of the wrecked bloodied up section of the forest when…
"Bloodhound!" Kariya called out, "You said that you have a lead on Seijiro. I want you to help me find him!"
"Does wanting his demise at your hands means that much to you?" Seijiro asked neutrally.
"I have an old score to settle with him that goes years back!" Kariya stated, "I want him to pay for it in blood like the rest of his brethren here!"
Seijiro was about to say something when a messenger peregrine falcon flew in through the trees from behind Kariya. The peregrine falcon flew over to Seijiro and landed down on his left shoulder.
"Mitsukai!" Seijiro greeted the falcon by its named and retrieved the rolled up written message that it was carrying around its right leg. Seijiro opened and read the encrypted message that Kariya was trying to peek at and read also. But Kariya was able to translate what the symbols in the message meant.
"Looks like circumstances have changed," Seijiro said, "One of my contacts located Seijiro and Naruto."
"He has?" Kariya asked, "Where are they now?"
"According to what this," Seijiro said, "A distance down at the river outside of Tenmangu-machi. If we leave now we can intercept them."
"Perfect!" Kariya agreed.
"Will you be departing from us then?" the commanding Kusa Jounin asked Kariya.
"Yes!" Kariya confirmed, "Consider my business with you and your people complete," Kariya turned to Seijiro and said, "Lead us to where your contact has found them."
With Mitsukai still on his left shoulder, Seijiro took Kariya by the shoulder and said, "This will be faster. As my contact will summon us to their exact location very shortly."
Within a few moments, both Seijiro and Kariya were gone via burst of whole smoke. The commanding Kusa Jounin turned to his team and said, "We have Karin and the other Uzumaki girls in our custody. Let's make haste and make our return to Kusa immediately."
"What about our other men at the campsite?" One of the Chuunins asked.
"Return to the campsite and break camp and pack everything to begin their return to Kusa," the commanding Jounin instructed, "But inform them that they must stay some distance from us in the event Jiraiya and Tsunade attempted track us."
"You want them to hold Jiraiya and Tsunade off if they attack?" the Chuunin asked.
"Our leader is counting on the success of this mission and we got Karin and four other Uzumaki women as huge bonuses!" the commanding Jounin stated, "You want this mission to end in disaster and failure to we allowed time for Jiraiya and Tsunade to track and find us!?"
"No sir," the Chuunin answered.
"Good!" the commanding Jounin said, "Now do as your ordered and return to the campsite to rely my instructions. Stay with them and should you find that Jiraiya and Tsunade are tracking us, report back to me immediately. Is that understood?"
"I understand sir," the Chuunin replied before bowing and heading off to make his way back to the campsite. Turning to his remaining men, the commanding Jounin instructed, "Let's move out and return to Kusa as soon as possible and report our village leader."
The other Kusa ninjas nodded in agreement as they departed from the area in the forest they were in and started on their way back to Kusagakure.
(Meanwhile In Far Part Of The Forest By The River)
Kariya found himself by the running river and looked around to see if Naruto and Seijiro were around.
"Where's Naruto and the one called Seijiro?" Kariya asked. However, Kariya didn't get to speak another word when chakra chains sudden appeared and bound him.
"WHAT THE!?" Kariya yelled, "WHAT IS THIS!?"
Kariya was now tightly bound with chains stretching and pulling his legs and arms away with other chains tightly holding his waist and neck. He strained painfully from the ordeal. He was completely immobilized and rendered helpless.
"They're called Adamantine Chakra Chains," Seijiro revealed as he was facing Kariya, "They're unbreakable and a specialty of the Uzumaki clan. Even the nine bijuu aren't able to break free of these chains of the Uzumaki clan."
"The Uzumaki clan?!" Kariya repeated before his expression darkened with rage and hate, "You betrayed me to the Uzumaki."
"No!" Seijiro stated, "I brought you here to finish the job I started after making the costly mistake of believing I killed you years ago."
"What are you talking about!?" Kariya spat with hatred.
"You so badly want to find and kill Uzumaki Seijiro, yes?" Seijiro asked, "Well, the truth is…"
Seijiro reached and removed his hood from off his head and revealed his face openly. Kariya's eyes widened in shock, disbelief and fear when he saw the face of the man that he fought and was nearly killed by years ago when the Uzumaki clan came to destroy him and his entire clan all those years ago.
"IT'S YOU!" Kariya screamed, "YOU'RE THE BLOODHOUND!?"
"You figured it out," Seijiro remarked mockingly. While having Kariya immobilized, Seijiro moved and placed a tag on each of his legs, arms, stomach and back.
"But you sold out your own brethren and allowed them to be taken and killed!" Kariya said.
"Did he?" a female voice asked. Kariya looked up to see Akio, Akemi and Akira standing in the tree above him. The triplet Uzumaki sisters leaped down to the ground and walked over to Seijiro.
"But you girls were captured!" Kariya said as he tried to figure things out, "Seijiro ambushed and bound all of you and sold you to Kusa! This doesn't make sense!"
"Don't worry," Seijiro coldly stated, "You won't live long enough to make sense out of anything after today."
What happened was that disguised kage bunshins were used. Different type of clones however were used in the female Uzumakis' places and taken with the Kusa ninjas.
"After you and your Kumo cohorts murdered our family," Akira said as she drew out her sword.
"You spent a very long time tracking and hunting us Kariya," Akemi added as also drew out her sword.
"Well," Akio concluded as drew her sword out, "Here we are!"
The Triple A sisters wasted no time and ran their swords into Kariya's chest cavity. Kariya spewed blood from his mouth after feeling the cold sharp blades stab into and through his body.
"This is for our family and all of our brethren you and your people murdered!" Akio said before she and her sisters pulled their swords from out of him. While standing in place, Seijiro placed his last tag over Kariya's face while allowing his eyes to see. Using his Adamantine chakra chains binding Kariya, Seijiro lifted and carried the fatally wounded Kariya over the running river.
"This time you won't survive the wrath of the Uzumakis!" Seijiro declared, "Our faces will be the last things you'll ever see!"
Seijiro, while keeping him, chained, hurled him into the middle of the running river and thrust him into in the river bed holding him down with his chains. Moments later, there was huge explosion of fire, water, debris, blood and destroyed body parts that erupted from out of the river, confirming Kariya's demise. Kamiya blown apart remains were carried off and washed away down the running river without a trace being left behind.
"That takes care of the Chitsurugi clan once and for all," Seijiro declared as he retracted his chains back into his body. Seijiro turned to the three Uzumaki females and fell to his knees as he bowed his head lowly to them and apologized, "I'm very sorry that my mistake in believing that I took care of Kariya years ago led to the deaths of your family and other members of our clan. I know I have much to atone for because of my tragic mistake."
"We don't blame you for what happened Seijiro-jisan," Akio assured, "You stopped him and helped us avenged our fallen family and clansmen. That's atonement enough for my sisters and I. So thank you."
Seijiro looked at as he saw Akio, Akemi and Akira bowed in gratitude to Seijiro. Seijiro stood back up and bowed back to them.
(At The Kusa Campsite)
There were over 120 Kusu Chuunins and Jounins at the campsite as the other 15 left to retrieve the five Uzumaki female. They have yet to receive word of whether or not the mission was accomplished. Two Chuunin were on guard a when a tri-pronged kunai with seal writings was thrown into their direction and embedded into a true near them.
"What the hell?!" one of the Chuunin said with a series of other tri-pronged kunais with seal writings on them were thrown from various directions all around the Kusa ninjas though none of them struck on of the ninja in any way. The Kusa ninjas were looking around trying to see from whom and where the tri-pronged kunais were being thrown. The Chuunins and Jounins all got on guard seeing that were under attack.
"Show yourself!" one of the Jounin ordered.
"You made the fatal with your recent actions!" a voice said, "Now I'm bringing the war to you!"
Naruto suddenly appeared in the middle of the campsite. The other Chuunins and Jounins turned to face him. Naruto however was fully dressed in standard Akatsuki clothes, cloak and straw hat over his head.
"Who are you?" One the Chuunins asked.
"The last thing you'll ever see," Naruto said, "Your bodies will be beyond recognition by the time I'm through with all of you."
"You got guts threatening us like that!" another Chuunin said as he pulled out his sword, "You made a very costly mistake coming here threatening us!"
"Actually," Naruto said, "You made a fatal mistake being here."
"You know too much whoever you are," a Jounin said, "Clearly we can't let you leave here!"
"Oh, don't worry," Naruto assured, "No other village or clan be getting involved and they don't need to since it doesn't involve them," Naruto then gave them a death glare, "The Akatsuki's war is with you guys for the crimes you all committed! You all will pay with your lives!"
"The Akatsuki!" another Chuunin shouted, "We heard about you bastards!"
"Either way," another Jounin said, "It's time to die!"
"I couldn't agree more," Naruto remarked with a cold tone, "I'll kill you all!"
On hearing that, a small number Kusa ninjas around Naruto go their weapons out and moved in to kill him. Since it was just one Uzumaki, they thought he'd be taken cared of without much trouble. Fifty to fifty-five men were within a thirteen-yard radius all around him running and screaming at the top of their lungs. Naruto held his ground, waiting for the enemy to get close. He waited until they were nearly on top of him before he executed his "Senko Tanken" ("Flashing Daggers"). When they were close enough Naruto initiated his jutsu and in doing so, there was a flash of yellow as a dome appeared centered on Naruto for just an instant. It formed a perfect sphere stretching out wide. There was a flash and then the dome was gone with a thirteen-yard blast radius with Naruto as its center point.
In the next instant all fifty-three ninja within its blast radius, their armor and weapons disintegrated. That was the word for it, one second they were there the next they were reduced to a fine red mist mixed with sawdust as a couple of small trees within the dome's blast radius were completely destroyed and shredded into tiny pieces. The only thing left standing in that space was Naruto as he saw blood splash into his direction all around him. His wind generated shield blocked and deflected all of the blood that would have splashed all over him.
The ground was drenched in blood and liquified flesh. All around Naruto the grass was watered with their blood and the air was left with a fine red mist was started to clear out. At the edge of the jutsu's range three bodies dropped to the ground chopped in ½ or ¾. Two men began screaming, not in anger but in pitiful agony. One had lost a leg from just below the knee. Another an arm and a leg. The appendages sliced off in a perfect curve. Fifty-two men died instantly from Naruto's new deadly attack. The number of the Kusa army in the campsite was instantly reduced to sixty-eight in an instant.
The remaining Kusa ninja who were at a distance witnessed this attack looked on in shock, horror and fear. They expected a lot of things but nothing like what they saw just moments ago.
"What the hell just happened!?" One of the remaining Jounins asked.
"There's no need to worry about that," Kansui said as he and his younger twin appeared from behind them also fully dressed in standard Akatsuki clothes and straw hats.
"None of you will live to report this anyway," Arashi stated.
"The Akatsuki is here to bring the war to you!" Naruto declared.
"You all will pay for this!" One of the Jounins threatened before biting down on his right thumb and racing through a set of hand signs, "Ninpō: Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
A towering burst of white smoke appeared and our of the smoke emerged a massive armored black warthog. The Kusa Jounin who summoned the beast was scene standing on top of it.
"Suidae-sama!" the Jounin greeted, "We're in need of your assistance in dealing with the Akatsuki!"
"I'll do what I can!" Suidae replied as he got ready to fight.
"I got this!" Kansui challenged as he stepped forward before the summoned beast. He then summoned a massive portion of his chakra and turned it into a towering "living" beast the size and height of a summoned beast. While inside the adamantine chakra beast he fabricated and shaped into the form of a white tiger, Kansui used it as a complete suit of armor. He then charged forward at Suidae and engaged the summoned beast in fierce combat.
Arashi summoned his chakra and formed adamantine chakra arsenals and weapons of various types while encasing himself in full protective adamantine chakra that took on the complete shape and appearance of a traditional armored samurai.
"Let's do this!" Arashi stated with an iron tone devoid of any perversions, "The Akatsuki will bring extinction to you and your forces!"
And with that, Arashi charged forward and began slaughtering the unit of Kusa ninjas without thinking twice about it. The Kusa ninja put out quite a fierce fight against Arashi but his adamantine chakra body armor was incredibly hard to penetrate through as it gave him an excellent form of defense. Using his chakra, he formed different types swords, katanas and spears and used them as flying projectiles from long range against incoming enemy ninjas.
All the while, Kansui, while still in his towering white tiger chakra beast form, continued battling against Suidae as the giant armored warthog raged and fought against his immense hardened chakra. Suidae and his summoner tried fighting and firing their best attacks against the towering adamantine chakra beast. There were a couple of Kusa ninjas that were quick to evade being trampled to death on though some got caught in Kansui's attack.
As the fight raged on, ten of the Kusa ninjas attempted to make an escape in order to warn the other fifteen that they thought were making their way back to the campsite that now turned into their gravesite. However, they didn't get far when they saw Karin, dressed in Akatsuki clothes and gear, standing in front of them ready to hand down their sentence.
"Where are you boys going?" Karin asked, "Didn't you bastards come to retrieve and enslave me again?"
Summoning her adamantine chakra chains from her body, Karin launched them at them at the Kusa ninjas as they turned and ran from her. They separated and attempted to dodge her chains but that didn't prove to be effective as Karin used her sensor abilities to trace and find every last one of them with her multiple chains in hot pursuit of them. She managed to captured and dragged them all back to their original location with her chains detaining them. Some of the ninja hit trees along the way back as a result of Karin's retracting chains having to go around some trees when chasing after them earlier. As soon as she gather them together, Karin opened her cloak and shirt and showed them all of the bite marks scars that were all over her body.
"You all and your people did this to me when I was only an innocent child!" Karin said with an arctic tone laced with venom and acid, "You used my mother like cattle until your use of her costed her life before almost damning me to that same fate. "
"IT'S YOU!" they shouted in unison after they realized who it was in front of them.
"That's right," Karin confirmed, "I'm the same girl your village abused. I have to live with these horrible scars that will never heal and carry them to my grave the same way my mother did after you all drank her chakra to death. So now…"
Karin lift them all up off the ground and requested of them sweetly, "Give my dear mother your thanks for drinking her to death."
With that, Karin proceeded hammering all ten of the ninjas she captured against all of the trees and boulders around her until they were reduced to lifeless bloody heaps of battered clothed flesh. When that was done, she used her chains to tear them all in halves before dropping their demolished carcasses to the ground. With them dead, Karin closed her shirt and cloak back and hurried over to give Arashi her assistance in taking out the remaining number of Kusa ninjas.
In another sector of the forest, twelve Kusa ninjas with their weapons out and ready were on the move through the trees in hot pursuit of Honoka who, like her brethren, was also dressed in Akatsuki clothes and gear. She leaped from tree to tree until saw a running river. She quickly made her way over to the river with the Kusa ninjas continuing to pursue her. Running over to the river, Honoka turned to face her enemies as she grabbed and pulled out Samehada. The twelve Kusa ninjas ganged up in front of her as she was ready to do battle.
"There nowhere to run!" one of the Kusa Chuunin declared, "Surrender and we'll spare your life!"
"You men should know what happens when you corner an animal," Honoka warned, "They show their fangs and attack their pursuer as their desperate last line of self-defense and self-preservation."
"Ha!" another Chuunin scoffed, "We'll do worse to you as we will to the Uzumakis!"
"Oh, you shouldn't have said that!" Honoka retorted as she formed a hand sign before the handle of the Samehada slithered up the sleeve of her right arm and wrapped around her right arm as it begin the process of fusing with her. Within moments, Honoka completely fused with her sword and turned into a humanoid shark kunoichi with gills at the side of her neck and shark fins protruding out of her elbows and back and a long stingray tail extending out of her tail bone. She had razor sharp shark teeth and the eyes of a great white shark. The enemy ninjas gasped at Honoka's fusion appearance.
"You'll regret your actions in this country!" Honoka warned before she raced through a series of hand signs and clasped her hands together, triggering the river waters to rise and form into a massive towering wall of water. Honoka then bit down on her right thumb and caused a trickle of blood to seep from out of it.
"I smell more than blood from you cowards!" Honoka said before her tone and expression turned dark. After performing a quick set of hand signs, Honoka slammed her right hand onto the towering water wall and into the water came a large burst of white smoke. After the smoke cloud cleared from within the water, what swam within the water wall behind Honoka were schools of ravenous piranhas summoned from Konoha's Forest of Death.
"You all reek of FEAR!" Honoka said as she focused her chakra from her right hand and into the water as she plunged right arm into the water wall. Her potent chakra was absorbed into the schools of piranhas in loads. That chakra however was a newly developed type that Honoka recently mastered and the results were going to be seen. Seconds later, the piranhas became twice as fast and ravenous.
"Supper time!" Honoka declared as she released and sent the piranha-filled water wall after the Kusa ninjas. The twelve ninjas ran for their lives as fast as they could as the deadly piranha-infested water wall rushed in pursuit of them with Honoka leading the charge from within the water wall with her piranhas swimming around her. Within a minute they were overtaken by the speeding water wall with Honoka swimming through the water easily and in jet speed in her humanoid shark form. With her targets in sight, she began body crashing into them brutally while slashing her fins and tail against them. The blood seeping from their wounds and into the water sent the piranhas into a crazed bloodlust frenzy as they immediately charged and beginning biting and eating the enemy ninjas alive. The Kusa ninjas screamed in terror as the piranhas gruesomely tore at them and devoured them alive down to the bones and marrow.
Two of the Kusa ninjas managed to escape the water wall and make their way to higher grounds by means of the trees they managed to climb. But they didn't get far as the water wall rose to the heights of the trees with the front section of the wall of water taking on the form and appearance of Honoka's humanoid shark face. Seconds later, the wall proceeded to chase after them through the trees.
"SHIT!" one of the Kusa ninjas cursed after seeing the deadly waters coming for them. Though they managed to make some distance between themselves and the water wall however, unfortunate for the two of them, the mouth of the Honoka's humanoid shark face in the water wall opened up and Honoka's chakra chains burst from out of the mouth and rapidly charged forward before catching and wrapping themselves around the two ninjas' ankles. The chains then pulled them from out and across the trees and into the open mouth of Honoka's water face. The captured men's blood curdling screams were the last things they gave before the mouth closed down on them, trapping them in the water as they were turned into fish food for the piranhas. The "Akatsuki" weren't taking any prisoners.
The Chuunin from earlier was still making his way to where his fellow Kusa ninjas were. He stopped momentarily to take a short break before continuing on his way. After a couple of minutes of resting and eating some of his food rations, he got up and continued on his way to the campsite. It wasn't until another thirty-five minutes when he arrived on the scene, only to find the environment the campsite was originally stationed in looked like a complete ground zero warzone. It was clear that a fierce and very brutal battle took place as he saw blood and body parts of his Kusa comrades everywhere. In the aftermath of the carnage, the eerie silence was enough to sicken the Chuunin and put fear into his heart as asked himself, "What happened here!?"
As soon as he was about to leave to report what he found, his eyes caught glimpse of two figures moving through the forest from a distance dragging something away. The Chuunin quietly and inconspicuously followed after the figure and saw the figure were dressed in black cloaks with red clouds designs drawn on the cloaks while wearing straw hats, gray pants, ankle bandages and black sandals. He couldn't make out their faces as they were hidden under large collars of their cloaks. The Chuunin hid himself as he saw three other figures dressed in the same clothes and hats approaching the first two he saw.
He watched as one of the mysterious people opened blank scroll and set it down to the ground before writing something into it. The person then performed a set of hand signs and slammed her hand to the ground. Chakra then came from out of the scroll and over to all of the blood, torn and eaten body parts all around the forest. The chakra absorbed all of the blood and body part remains of the slaughtered Kusa ninjas into itself and returned back to the scroll, sealing itself into the scroll.
"They're trying to remove all of the evidence that they were here and killed off all of my comrades!" the Chuunin concluded. He made a quick escape in his efforts not to be noticed and killed. He hurried back to meet up with the other group that was already making their way back to Kusa. He had to hurry while hoping he wasn't being followed. The five figures removed their straw hats to reveal themselves to be Naruto, Honoka, Karin, Arashi and Kansui.
"Do you think he bought it?" Karin asked as Honoka finished up with the scroll she sealed the spilled blood and leftover body parts in.
"The speed he took off in said it all," Naruto stated, "They'll quickly believe the Akatsuki was responsible for what happened here. They won't suspect it was us the entire time."
After tying the scroll up, Honoka went and buried it in an unmarked grave in the forest and then returned to the group.
"That giant warthog was quite a fighter," Kansui commented, "Getting rid of it and forcing it to return back to its realm took me longer than I counted on. I had to quickly deal with its summoner before he could try to summon another beast for me to fight."
"Well, Karin and I had each other's backs as we faced off against our enemies together," Arashi said, "But I should have allowed myself to get injured though."
"Why would you wish that?" Karin asked.
"Because I would then be allowed to bite and sink my teeth in deep and taste of that sweet luscious ass of yours," Arashi laughed, causing Karin to blush hotly and Naruto to laugh at the idea.
"I'd whip you with my chains first before I decide on whether or not to heal you," Karin replied.
"Kinky aren't we?" Arashi replied.
"Enough with the flirting you two," Honoka replied.
"Any way Naruto," Kansui said, "We now just have to wait for the other half of your and Seijiro-jisan's plan to follow through."
"Honestly," Naruto admitted, "It was Seijiro-jisan who came up with most of the plan whereas I gave some of my own inputs and suggestions. Seijiro-jisan is more war experienced and a better battle tactician than any of us are. And if everything goes according to plan, Kusa won't know what hit them while believing the Akatsuki is responsible."
"Framing a criminal organization of S-class missing nins for your actions against the village that was bent on enslaving your female brethren," Jiraiya remarked as he, Hinata, Shizune, Tsunade and Tonton appeared and joined the group, "How very clever."
"The Akatsuki plans to target me again in the future," Naruto said, "So we're giving them some problems now before they start making moves against me again in the future. I'm amazed that Seijiro-jisan was able to get exact replicas of these Akatsuki clothes and gear so soon before we executed this plan. They certainly came in handy."
"I wish you allowed me to join you and the others during that battle Naruto-kun," Hinata said.
"I understand how much you wanted to be at my side Hinata-chan," Naruto said, "But I needed you as a backup standby in the slight chance that things didn't go according to plan. I'm strong and smart but I do have limits and I can be outsmarted by a more clever and experienced ninja."
"And even then, the victory isn't always won in favor of the enemy," Seijiro said as he and the Triple A sisters arrived on the scene, "I take it that everything was taken care of from your end."
"To the letter," Naruto said before turning to Tsunade, "A deal's a deal Tsunade-obaachan! I won the bet. So now you have to live up to your end of the bargain!"
Tsunade sighed and walked over to Naruto and stood in front of him. Reaching for the back of her neck, she removed her necklace and placed it around Naruto's neck, "I didn't think you could do it. But you truly proved me wrong."
"My precious people were being threatened by an army," Naruto said, "Wanting to protect them at all cost with my life served as my driving force to master that jutsu. I wasn't going to allow Kusa to have their way with my clan."
"Well they did pay a most generous sum of money for the "gifts" you had me give to them Naruto," Seijiro remarked.
"How much we're talking about?" Tsunade asked.
"The amount of money paid out was enough for me to take half to finance my spy network after I transferred and deposited the other half into the Uzumaki clan treasury," Seijiro said.
"With a righthand man like you at Naruto-kun's side," Karin remarked, "I can already see the power and prestige of our clan rising to prominence fast!"
"All good things in good time Karin," Seijiro said.
"Let's return back to the motel," Jiraiya suggested, "We all had a long day and I'm sure all of you could use the rest before we return to Konoha in two days."
Everyone agreed and started on their way back to Tenmangu-machi. Seijiro still had the peregrine falcon sitting his left shoulder. Honoka's pheromone chakra played a key role in getting the bird of prey into becoming Seijiro's partner. Naruto in the meantime thought back to what happened early yesterday…
(Flashback: Yesterday Morning)
Far outside of town in a clearing in the forest, Naruto was examining several of the tri-pronged kunais, picking them up off the ground at random to investigate their edges. The dummies and everything else had been chopped up into tiny pieces as if they were all put into a blender. The posts were piles of sawdust. Jiraiya leaned down to carefully examined the pile of steel dust that were once body armor for the wood post.
"Those armors were made of tempered steel and it was reinforced with chakra, and the armors still got shredded," Jiraiya noted, "Just how fast were those tri-pronged blades moving?"
"I can't find any damages to the blades at all," Naruto said as he was examining the specially made kunais, "They cut through steel, wood and flesh without even being marked up."
"It's a perfect attack," Seijiro stated having eyewitnessed Naruto's Flashing Dagger attack after perfecting it. There was a measure of awe and pride in his voice, "Anything and anyone that gets caught within Naruto's Senko Tanken dies, period."
Jiraiya nodded head in agreement.
"Naruto?" Seijiro inquired, "Is there any way you could limit its effects? Could you use it say…to just disarm an opponent or just wound him?"
Naruto shook his head and answered, "No. Unfortunately this kinjutsu doesn't work that way. It's like flipping on a switch; it's either on or it's not. That's why my use of this kinjutsu will be very limited. Worse case scenario is me using this kinjutsu and one or several of my comrades, friends or loved ones get caught in its blast radius during a fierce battle. Not to mention this kinjutsu consumes a considerable amount of chakra each time. Overuse of this kinjutsu would result instant death of the user. Therefore the number of times it can be used depends on the amount chakra that's at the user's disposal."
"How far can that kinjutsu's blast radius extend?" Seijiro asked.
"As of now," Naruto admitted, "I'm only able to reach thirteen yards of me in all directions. It's like Hiraishin in reverse. I don't teleport to the tri-pronged kunais. They teleport to me as the homing beacon, but in the process they shred and destroy everything and everyone in their paths."
Seijiro nodded his head as he listened carefully to Naruto's explanation.
"I advise you not to teach that attack to anyone Naruto," Jiraiya said seriously as he stood back up, "That kinjutsu is one hundred percent lethal and you admitted that you can't alter it. Since that's the case, there are two conditions that must be in place first if that kinjutsu is to be executed."
"OK," Naruto agreed and then asked, "What are they?"
"Never use that kinjutsu unless you're one hundred percent sure that your sensei and teammates are at least seventeen yards away from you. Develop some kind of code phrase to let them know you are about to unleash it so they don't try and get near you at the wrong moment," Jiraiya instructed, "And since you said it drains a considerable amount of chakra each time, like you brought out earlier, your use of that kinjutsu must be under dire circumstances after all other avenues of dealing with enemy forces have been exhausted."
"I understand," Naruto agreed as he took in everything Jiraiya instructed him on.
(End Of Flashback; Present Time)
Naruto snapped back to reality after thinking about Jiraiya's advice and warning to him with regards to that kinjutsu. He didn't want to think about the possibility of accidentally killing or maiming any of his friends or clan members with that attack. Or worse, Hinata getting caught up in that attack by accident even. Naruto shook the thoughts out of his head as he decided to think about more positive things, like getting back to Konoha and having one of Teuchi's large bowl of beef ramen that he hadn't had in days since the mission.
"We're going to have to change out of these Akatsuki clothes before we get back to Tenmangu-machi of course," Karin reminded.
"Since we're here we might as well split into two groups and go into the woods to change back to our normal clothes," Naruto suggested, "I'm sure all of us here packed and sealed our change of clothes before coming out here."
"I should hope so," Honoka remarked before before she and Karin split from the group and went into one direction while the Naruto, Kansui and Arashi went into another, leaving Jiraiya and the rest of the group behind to wait for their return so they could resume their trek back to town.
The fourteen Kusa ninjas were making their way back to Kusa, hardly stopping breaks. Since the sun was still out they were trying to make the best of daylight before dusk started to set in. By now they had already made a good amount of distance from Tenmangu-machi and towards the direction where Kusagakure was located. They were expecting the rest of their troops to catch up and meet up with them when the time came for them to stop and rest for the night before continuing on their way back to Kusagakure.
(Back in Tenmangu-machi; Later That Evening)
Jiraiya was reading another correspondence letter from Hiruzen as they kept a communication line open with each other concerning the vital request Hiruzen was asking of Jiraiya. For two days, this correspondence was going back and forth until Jiraiya finally accepted to fulfill Hiruzen's earnest request. Though Jiraiya carried a measure of reluctance in going through with fulfilling his former sensei's request, he knew and understood why his sensei was asking that request of him and no one else. Jiraiya knew a great deal for him would change by accepting to go through with what was being earnestly and sincerely asked of him by his former sensei. After much mental deliberation, Jiraiya wrote his acceptance reply letter and had it sent back quickly to Hiruzen via the same toad messenger.
When that was done, Jiraiya decided to write a letter to his daughter Konohanosakuya-hime, also known as Sakuya-bime. He wanted to know about her progress, her life as a ruling monarch and her training. In his letter, Jiraiya explained to her about Naruto, the Uzumaki clan, his heritage and his entire past and ordeals. He also explained in the letter how he became Naruto's godfather. Towards the ending, Jiraiya told his daughter about what his former sensei was asking of him and that he decided to accept it, and that he wanted her to be there on that day so he could properly introduce her to everyone and Tsunade who accepted to date him. After concluding his second letter, he sent it to Sakuya-bime via another toad messenger.
Relieved that all of his letter writings were done, Jiraiya stretched out and took a breather to relaxed himself. Thinking about his daughter moved Jiraiya to take out his picture of his late wife Uzume-hime. Looking at the picture, he took a private moment to reminisce about all the great times he had with her and how she loved and accepted him for just being Jiraiya. He took pride in knowing that Uzume-hime was envied by a number of kunoichis in her village for having him for a husband and having his daughter. He recalled how Uzume-hime glowed with motherly pride and joy when she learned she was having his first daughter and heiress. There was so much both him and his late wife were looking forward to doing and teaching their daughter together. And during the earlier years of her upbringing, their daughter became known in Nadeshiko as "The Sage's Daughter."
Those were happy times in Jiraiya's life.
"So that's Uzume-hime!" Naruto said as he seemingly popped out of nowhere from behind Jiraiya. Jiraiya turned to his godson and asked, "When did you show up?"
"I decided to spend the evening talking with you," Naruto said, "Besides, Hinata-chan was a little moody for me to handle. I think she's on her cycle or something. I wonder how my father handled being around my mother during those times."
"He would hide in his office in the Hokage Tower saying that he had a lot of paperwork to do," Jiraiya laughed, "One time he, Kakashi, and Obito pretended that they forgot Rin's birthday, and that stunt brought out a deadly rage from Kushina that left young Kakashi traumatized and Minato shaken. Even Rin wasn't able to calm Kushina down despite reassuring her that it was no big deal. From what Minato told me, it was Obito's idea in order to give Rin a surprise party later that day. Sadly for them, the plan completely backfired."
Naruto burst out laughing as he visualized his father, the feared Yellow Flash and Kakashi cowering in front of an angry Kushina.
"What did my father, Kakashi-sensei and Obito do to calm her down?" Naruto laughed.
"They had to fight Kushina, three on one, in order to calm her down," Jiraiya recalled, "The fact that your mother was whipping out her Adamantine Chakra Chains on them with red chakra oozing out of her in loads were clear signs that she was seriously going to whip and beat the living crap out of all three of them."
"The Uzumaki temper sure is infamously feared!" Naruto laughed harder, "Even my father the late Yellow Flash feared it!"
"As laughable as that may sound Naruto," Jiraiya remarked, "A woman's rage isn't to be taken lightly. It almost got me killed, literally."
"You think I don't know that?" Naruto remarked and continued, "That psycho snake lady Anko tried to kill me with one of her summoned diamondback rattlesnakes just because I peeped on her for my needed infiltration spying and information gathering training. I had to bribe her for the needed antivenom after one of her vipers managed to bite me. But I sure as hell made sure not to leave empty handed as I managed to get some good photos of her naked before I left the bathhouse."
"You never told me about that incident," Jiraiya replied with a tone of interest, but then backed up as he paused to think about what Naruto said, "Infiltration spying and information gathering training?"
"That's what I call it," Naruto said, "My objective is to peep and gather as much data as I can on those females and what they talk about without getting caught. Getting caught is failure of the infiltration and spy mission and possible death if I fail to escape because my cover was blown. Because I resorted to using deadly kunoichis to peep on, including my girlfriend and distant female Uzumaki cousins, it helped develop my prowess as a spy master because I was using real kunoichis for my private training. And even if I got caught, escaping effectively was part of my training. Getting poisoned or beaten nearly to death was not an option!"
"Why didn't I think of that back then?" Jiraiya lamented, "Damn it! I could have avoided so much grief and medical treatment had I thought of your idea back then!"
"Well we can't change the past," Naruto said, "But I sure as hell learned a lot from yours. And there's still more I want to learn about."
"Like?" Jiraiya asked.
"Tell me everything about Uzume-hime and my god-sister Konohanasakuya-hime," Naruto implored as he took a seat in front of Jiraiya, "I want to know about the special lady who managed to tame the self-proclaimed Super Pervert into settling down with her and having a daughter with her."
"Sure," Jiraiya accepted, "I've been meaning to tell you about them anyway."
Jiraiya and Naruto spend the rest of the night talking and laughing about his time with Uzume-hime and his daughter. That night Jiraiya and Naruto had a true evening of sensei and disciple bonding.
(Two Days Later)
The surviving team of Kusa ninjas arrived and made it back to Kusagakure in a timely fashion. The Chuunin they had previously dispatched to the remaining 120 other Kusa ninjas had reported to them what happened and how the Akatsuki ambushed and killed off their entire platoon that were on standby. They knew they had to report this to their village leader upon their return and report it they did after bringing in the five "Uzumaki girls" in their custody.
The village leader heard some things about the Akatsuki but he couldn't figure out why they decided to attack his ninjas and wiped them out. His secretary was recording everything that was being explained by their ninjas in details, making sure not to miss a detail. The head director of their village's general hospital was also present in the office.
"I never thought we'd have to deal with the Akatsuki," the village said as he contemplated on the situation, "They costed us more than we can afford in terms of our ninjas on hand."
"Their deaths however weren't in vain as we not only reacquired Karin but four other female Uzumakis as well," the commanding Jounin said, "This was a major success for the mission with the help of The Bloodhound."
The village leader nodded his head in agreement before turning to his secretary and requesting, "Will you please excuse us? I have some private matters I wish to discuss at this time."
"Yes sir," the secretary said, "It's just about my break time anyway."
The secretary quickly left the office, wanting to enjoy her break from work to the full. After she quickly left the office, the village leader stood up and walked over from his desk to "Karin" and the other captured "Uzumaki females."
"I'm sure you thought you'd never step foot back here in Kusagakure again," the village leader stated, "But the reality is that my village is in dire need of your services and healing chakra. The service you and your Uzumaki sisters will provide for my village will be an invaluable asset that'll help restore the morale of my people."
"Your mother fully understood this Karin," the head director of the hospital interjected, "That was why her self-sacrifice was very much appreciated as it kept our village and ninjas alive."
"You hold a duty to this village Karin, not Konoha," the village leader said, "Your mother fulfilled her duty and it's your responsibility to carry it on in your mother's place."
"We just have one humble request sir," "Karin" said, "If it's not too much for me and my Uzumaki sisters to ask for."
"And what might that be?" the village leader asked. "Karin" and the other "Uzumaki girls" looked up at the village leader as "Karin" replied, "Die!"
(From Outside The Building)
The secretary was some distance from the building when it was suddenly engulfed in a colossal explosion of a blinding white fireball, vaporizing everything and everyone caught in its path. The powerful blast force of the explosion thrusted her off the ground and into the air as it launched her into and through the food stand that was a considerable distance. She was instantly knocked unconscious with a series of injuries and burns. Burning debris of various sizes were thrown everywhere doing additional damages and injuries to everything and everyone they came in contact with. The village was in total chaos and turmoil as they rushed to the now destroyed tower of the village leader, which was reduced to a massive burning crater in the ground.
"Art is a Blast!" "Deidara" roared enthusiastically as he and "Sasori" were seen fleeing the scene of the crime.
"AFTER THEM!" one of the Kusa Jounins ordered as he and a group of ninja went in pursuit of the Akatsuki members. As soon as they surrounded the to Akatsuki members, the Kusa Jounin yelled, "You bastards! You'll pay for what you've done!"
"Art is to be done with style!" "Deidara" retorted, "While fleeting with time, the moment of my artwork's blooming is when it's at its pinnacle moment! And its moment of blooming is now!"
"Deidara" and "Sasori" both glowed white back detonating themselves in an explosion that instantly killed the ninjas that chased after them. No one would suspect that the Uzumaki clan masterminded the attack that killed the Kusa village leader, the hospital's head director and over 160 Kusa ninjas. As far as everyone knew, the Akatsuki was behind the attack.
(Meanwhile Back In Tenmangu-machi)
The group had already left Tenmangu-machi and started on their trek back to Konoha. Mitsukai the peregrine falcon flew in and landed down on Seijiro's right shoulder. Seijiro petted his featured comrade while Honoka smiled at seeing the current oldest Uzumaki of the group enjoying his new partner she provided for him. Samehada was being carried on Honoka's back after it was completely wrapped and covered in bandages.
While on their way back to Konoha, Naruto and Seijiro started receiving incoming experiences and reports from their disguised spy clones that eyewitnessed everything that happened in Kusagakure. They saw that everything went according to plan. Kusagakure would never suspect the Uzumaki clan while scrambling to pick up the pieces of what's left of their village and ninja forces and putting up a high alert against the Akatsuki.
"The deed has been done," Naruto declared, "Kusa will not be pursuing of us anymore."
"That's good to hear," Karin remarked, "I can finally breathe easier now!"
The seven disguised White Fire Uzumaki Clone Bombs were provided by Seijiro and the Triple-A sisters. Karin though provided the one that was disguised as her as she wanted to give her personal message to Kusagakure's village leader. They used huge amounts of chakra in those deadly explosive clones to ensure the effectiveness of their self-detonation and destructive force.
"If you like I can help put your mind at ease my Scarlet-eyed Minx," Arashi offered with a toothy grin. Karin snorted and replied, "You don't say."
"Just try me out and I'm sure to leave you wanting more," Arashi offered.
"Confident, aren't we?" Karin remarked playfully.
"Will you two stop flirting already?" Akira requested.
"Why should they?" Jiraiya asked as he was writing things down in his notepad, "I was getting good fresh material out of those two for my next book."
"Oh Jiraiya-sama," Akio laughed, "You're still the same! You never change!"
"Be that as it may," Jiraiya replied as he placed his pen and notepad away, "But there's going to be great changes happening in Konoha after our return besides the additional Uzumakis being found and joined with the village accompanied by Tsunade's return."
"What do you mean?" Hinata asked, "What other developments will be taking place upon our return?"
"Sarutobi-sensei is going to retire and step down as Hokage once again," Jiraiya revealed, catching everyone's attention instantly as they all stopped walking along with Jiraiya.
"Jiisan is stepping down as Hokage!?" Naruto asked, "Are you serious?! When did you find that out!?"
"Through private correspondences between himself and I during this mission," Jiraiya said, "He didn't publicly announce this yet, but he officially told me that he's going to step down once again and look to his successor to become Konoha's new Godaime."
"I hope he's not planning on asking me to take up the mantle in becoming Hokage upon our return to Konoha," Tsunade remarked.
"You are the granddaughter of the Shodai and Uzumaki Mito-sama, you're related to the late Nidaime, you were taught by the Sandaime who was taught by your grandfather and the Nidaime, you're one of the Sannin and famed Slug Princess whose renown for her contributions to the medical field," Jiraiya said.
"I don't want the position," Tsunade stated, "I'm not interested in becoming the next Hokage."
"I named all of your attributes and familial ties to the first two Hokages, Tsunade-hime," Jiraiya clarified, "I never said they qualified you to be considered as a candidate and Sarutobi-sensei made it very clear as to why you're not qualified to become the Konoha's Godaime Hokage despite everything I mentioned just a moment ago. Even if you wanted to become the next Hokage, you wouldn't be chosen."
Oddly enough, Tsunade felt insulted by that revelation as she implored, "What explanation did Sarutobi-sensei give you as to why he would want me?"
"Does it matter?" Jiraiya asked with a shrug and reminded, "You don't want the position anyway, so why ask as to why you wouldn't be selected anyway?"
"Just humor me!" Tsunade retorted.
Sighing Jiraiya explained, "Tsunade, you officially joined the Uzumaki clan as a member through your grandmother's side of the family. Out of your own free will, you subjugated yourself to Naruto as the Uzumaki clan leader who's also part of Konoha's shinobi council. Under these conditions, you'd be disqualified as a potential candidate for the position and office of Hokage.
"The reason for this is because a Hokage cannot be under the subjugation of any clan leader within Konoha walls as it would bring political and social conflicts of interest. This law was put in place by your grandfather the Shodai himself when he and Tobirama-sama were establishing the laws and qualifications of becoming Hokage. This was done in order to avoid clan leaders from having manipulative influences and control over the Hokage."
"I'll have to keep that law in mind in the future," Naruto commented as he took in everything Jiraiya was explaining and that what Hashirama and Tobirama did made sense, "So was there anyone else jiisan considered for the position of Hokage?"
"I'm surprising you're not talking about yourself being selected to take Sandaime's place as Hokage, Naruto-kun," Karin remarked.
"I only recently became a Chuunin, our clan's new leader and new member of the shinobi council," Naruto reminded, "These three roles I'm in all at once are challenging enough. And added to this is that my recent experiences with you all here and in Konoha have showed me that I have a long way to go before I can become Hokage."
"You're humble and honest about your self-assessment so I have to say that you're on the right track," Jiraiya remarked candidly.
"So was there anyone else who was considered for the office of Hokage?" Shizune asked.
"Like Sarutobi-sensei," Jiraiya replied, "Shimura Danzō was also taught and trained by the Shodai and the Nidaime. However, Danzō is someone Hiruzen doesn't want as the next Hokage and for good reasons."
"What would happen if Danzō become the Godaime?" Shizune asked.
"It would end in total disaster for Konoha," Jiraiya said solemnly, "Danzō would turn Konoha into a militant police state and govern Konoha with an iron fist. He'll place his Root ANBU as his secret police all throughout Konoha and want every clan to give him their strongest members to join his Root ANBU. He'd especially would have Naruto turned into Konoha's ultimate weapon."
"He can't do that to me!" Naruto countered, "I'd be damn if I'd let him, plus I'm part of the shinobi council!"
"If he were to become the Hokage," Jiraiya replied, "Danzō would try to enforce his authority over you and you know it! Seeing the influences your clan has and the power it possesses, that war hawk would try to exert more control over you and your entire clan. He'd have every last member of your clan under tight surveillance."
"We would never let that happen!" Seijiro countered, "Our clan and people almost faced extinction and we would never allow any Kage to dominate us on top of that!"
"That's why Sarutobi-sensei said he could already see Naruto, the entire Uzumaki clan joined by the Hyuuga clan and Uchiha Sasuke rebelling and triggering a civil war within Konoha throwing all of Hi no Kuni into total chaos," Jiraiya said.
"Why would the Hyuuga clan side the Uzumaki clan if a civil war were to break out?" Shizune implored.
"The Uzumaki clan recently forged strong ties with the Hyuuga clan thanks to the hard work and contributions Naruto made to their clan," Jiraiya answered.
"Naruto-kun's contributions?" Shizune asked.
"I've done something the Hyuuga clan in the past would have thought to be impossible," Naruto explained, "Through Hinata-chan the clan heiress and her little sister Hanabi-chan, I created new advanced elemental Juuken fighting styles, the same elemental Juuken fighting style Hinata-chan used against Suna's Jinchuuriki and won without receiving so much as a scratch during the Chuunin Finals."
"You mean Gaara, Suna's proclaimed Ultimate Weapon?" Seijiro revealed, "I head of him and his exploits during my travels."
"Likewise, my brother and I did also," Arashi said, "You're telling us that your girlfriend kicked his ass!?"
"Royally!" Naruto confirmed, "It was eyewitnessed by our Sandaime, hundreds of foreign dignitaries and daimyōs, the Hyuuga clan and many of Konoha ninjas themselves. I know the Hyuuga clan wants me to train more of their Main House clan members after seeing how powerful Hinata-chan became just through my diligent training alone. Not to mention they and Hinata-chan can't wait to see Hanabi-chan's fruitage through my training. That's why the Hyuuga clan would sooner side with me rather than turn on me."
"And with the connection you and Seijiro have with the daimyō of Haru no Kuni and the priestess of Oni no Kuni," Jiraiya added, "Those two countries would no doubt send in reinforcements to side with you guys against Danzō and his forces. And Haru no Kuni is known for its advanced technology and weaponry. Nadeshiko wouldn't stay quiet to this either as not only do I have familial ties to the monarchy there, but Akio, Akemi and Akira also have connections to the governing council of Nadeshiko and they would mobilize against Konoha, them and their allies as well. It would be another Shinobi World War, this time triggered by the Uzumaki clan. And it wouldn't end in Konoha's favor as they would be forced to surrender."
They didn't miss the meaning behind Jiraya's last two statements. Without outright saying it, Jiraiya implied that he'd also rebel and war against Danzō if he became Hokage and crossed the line with the Uzumaki clan.
"But thankfully Danzō isn't a candidate for the role of Hokage so we don't have to worry about him gunning for the position," Jiraiya stated.
"I'm left to believe then that you know who's going to be the next Hokage," Tsunade figured.
"I do actually," Jiraiya said, "It was discussed between me and Sarutobi-sensei," Jiraiya said as everyone waited for the name of the one chose to become Godaime, "As the Toad Sage who was taught and trained by Sandaime and who later taught and trained the late Yondaime, I'm taking up the mantle to become Konoha's new Godaime Hokage."
It took a moment for Jiraiya's revelation to sink in, and sink in deep it did And when it did…
"WHAT?!" Naruto bellowed. "YOU'RE GOING TO BECOME THE NEXT HOKAGE!?"
"Are you that surprised and find anything wrong with that?" Jiraiya asked.
"I went from having a late father who was the Yondaime to a godfather going to become the Godaime training another future Hokage!" Naruto said, "I can't honestly see anything wrong with that! I can already so many possibilities ero-jisan becoming Godaime will have!" Naruto then turned to Jiraiya and remarked, "But don't think I'll be calling you Godaime-sama!"
"I wouldn't expect you to," Jiraiya replied, "It's not in your character anyway," Jiraiya turned to Tsunade and asked, "Well how about it Tsunade-hime, would you be interested in accepting a date from Konoha's soon-to-be Godaime Hokage?"
Knowing she lost the bet to Naruto, Tsunade knew she was in no position to refuse. So Tsunade replied, "Be a gentleman and not a pervert and show me a good time."
"I'm sure I can't do more than that," Jiraiya said confidently, "Just try me out and I'm sure I'll leave you wanting more!"
"Taking a page out of the book of the Uzumakis!" Arashi remarked after seeing how Jiraiya quoted his earlier words.
(Meanwhile In Nadeshiko)
Konohanasakuya-hime, also known as Sakuya-bime, was returning to her private chamber in the palace after an intense early morning exercise and training session with Shizuka and her teachers. Shizuka was walking alongside her as they were making their way to her private chamber.
"You've improved tremendously in such a short time Sakuya-bime!" Shizuka complimented, "It won't be long until you reach your late mother's caliber with the sword along with her strength."
"Thanks Shizuka-neechan!" Sakuya-bime thanked cheerfully, "My mother was a very strong woman and I can only hope to achieve the level of greatness she had in her prime."
"With the way you're developing and advancing," Shizuka said, "I wouldn't be surprised if you surpass your later mother in the future."
"My mother went toe-to-toe with a Sage, my father, and fought him to a stalemate in their first bout with each other," Sakura-bime reminded, "It was a close match the second time before my father finally won. Surpassing my late mother will be a very tall order for me to do."
"When your mother was alive," Shizuka said, "I remember her saying that you surpassing her was one of the things she hoped and dreamed of you accomplishing. She always saw potential and greatness in you."
"I suppose being the Sage's Daughter helps too, wouldn't you say?" Sakuya-bime joked.
"Speaking of Jiraiya-sama," Shizuka recalled, "Didn't you say you got a new letter from him?"
"I didn't get to read the letter thoroughly the other night because of my hectic training and school schedule," Sakuya-bime admitted, "I'll read his letter again after I get to my chamber."
The two girls talked for a short while longer before they arrived at her chamber. Shizuka told Sakuya-bime that she would come back to meet up with her later to escort her to her next teacher on diplomatic studies. After entering and closing the door behind her, Sakuya-bime went over to her desk and sat down in front of it. Seeing her father's letter on top of her desk, she picked it up and started re-reading the letter. While reading the letter, her father's words began to sink in as she took the time to read the letter carefully this time. While Sakuya-bime excitedly desired and wanted to meet her older godbrother Naruto however, her thoughts about Tsunade and her father saying they were soon going to start dating was a whole other matter altogether.
"Why is Tsunade interested in dating my father all of a sudden?"Sakuya-bime asked aloud to no one in particular, "I highly doubt it's because he's going to become Konoha's new Godaime Hokage."
She took out a blank piece of paper and began to write a reply letter to Jiraiya. Konohanasakuya-hime had some choice words she wanted to tell Tsunade in person and she wanted her father's permission to speak freely without his interference after she and her entourage to journey and arrive in Konoha in the next couple of days…
So much is happening and has happened. More Uzumakis were found and heading to Konoha with Naruto and Kusagakure was dealt a serious blow unknowingly by the Uzumaki clan. Jiraiya is going to become the Godaime Hokage and his daughter will be making her way to Konoha from Nadeshiko soon. What will happen when Konohanasakuya-hime is introduced for the first time as Jiraiya's daughter and ruling monarch of Nadeshiko? What will happen when Jiraiya's daughter and Tsunade meet for the first time? What's to become of Teams 7 and 8, and the spy mission Naruto is masterminding for Sasuke and Tayuya? Find out next time.
A/N: I like to thank and credit "lord of the land of fire" for allowing me to borrow and use his Flashing Daggers idea for my story.