I don't own Naruto, and I don't think I ever will.

Nightfall

Chapter 137: Unforeseen Frustrations

The Yoinokuchi were gathered at the edge of the small village they had stopped in for a quick rest. It was positioned at the top of a small hill in an area of open planes that stretched on for a fair distance, to the North was a thick forested area while to the south a large river snaked across the landscape. "Alright Naruto, You and Akimi-chan will stay here and help this village out with their little problem. The rest of us will meet you in Ame at sometime tomorrow." Jiraiya ordered calmly.

"Yeah no sweat, we will be done here in no time." Naruto replied confidently.

"Just be careful, I know you both can handle yourselves well enough, but it's quite possible that whoever you are looking for will know that you're here." The elder toad sage pointed out seriously.

"Alright we understand. Right Naruto-kun?" Akimi replied, she was ready to get to work so the warnings were rather frustrating. She knew they came from a good place, Jiraiya was just trying to make sure that Naruto didn't get a big head and begin to think he was indestructible.

"Yeah, don't worry Jiraiya-sensei, I will be careful." The blonde added agreeing with the kunoichi although he sounded like he was barely listening.

Karin, the groups rather reluctant travel companion was tempted to offer her assistance in tracking the ninja responsible down. 'If I can show them I can be useful then perhaps they will at least keep me alive.' she thought hesitantly. She really had no idea why they were keeping her alive, so had very little to share with the Yoinokuchi about what the Masked man was planning, she didn't even know where any of the Akatsuki hideout's were. "Um, I am a sensor. If you wan't I could stay behind with them and help out." She said timidly, deciding that it really couldn't hurt her chances to ask.

"You want to help?" Zabuza asked rather shocked. "You haven't said one word since we pulled you out of that samurai prison cell, and now you want to help us? I'm not buying it missy. You just want to escape and figure that two people would be easier to escape than a large group." He added.

"That is not true. I know a little about your group, Orochimaru would mention Jiraiya the Toad Sage every now and then. Sasuke-kun would also speak about you." Karin said pointing at Naruto. "Because of you and his brother Itachi, Sasuke-kun's chakra has become so much darker recently."

"I hardly see how that is my fault, Sasuke-teme should learn to pick his battles better. Really what did he hope to accomplish by coming after Itachi? Although the truth is that for awhile Itachi was willing to let Sasuke kill him, he was sick anyway." Naruto replied casually.

"What do you mean? Why would he let Sasuke-kun kill him, and what changed?" Karin asked suddenly very interested in what the blonde had to say.

"That story can wait, I wouldn't want to give you all that information without us getting anything in return." Naruto answered calmly.

"But I said I would help you find the ninja in this village, isn't that enough for some useless information?" The red head asked with a hint of desperation.

"All information can both valuable and useless, it's the ones that seek information that give it value. I would say you find this small insight into Itachi to be of great value. Now as for your offer... I must admit that the offer is tempting and it is appreciated, but I think Akimi-chan and I can handle ourselves I'm not all that bad of a sensor myself, when I put my mind to it." Naruto said surprisingly kindly.

"But what do you want then?" The red head asked. She was sounding rather concerned, but she guessed that at least that the blonde did not want to see her killed anytime soon.

"I'll have some questions for you later, think of it as your useless information, that will be traded for my useless information." Naruto answered.

Karin was about to reply that she didn't know anything but Jiraiya stepped in. "This conversation can wait for another day, we're behind schedule as it is. Let's go everyone." He ordered, not even pausing before he disappeared at full speed, forcing the other Yoinokuchi members to do likewise.

It was a testament to the collective will power, and speed of the group, that in less than a minute they were all out of sight of the blonde Uzumaki. "I guess we should probably get started too." He sighed.

"Yeah, the question is where do we start? Jiraiya said himself that these villages often have former shinobi that have retired living in them. If you simply scan for people with higher than average chakra signatures then we could get the wrong targets." Akimi reasoned.

"Yeah, you're right. I would also like to find out just what has been going on in this village anyway. If they are being terrorised then why has nothing been damaged?" Naruto questioned.

"I'm not following you?" Akimi replied.

"I mean, in the past when ever we have seen missing nin or bandit's attack or occupy a civilian village, there is at least some form of physical evidence in the town, a store burnt down, windows smashed. That sort of thing. Here on the other hand, everything looks fine, just the basic wear and tear you would expect from a village so isolated." Naruto explained.

Akimi took the chance and assessed the village once more, Naruto was right, there seemed to be no sign of any damage caused to the small town what so ever. "You're right, but that doesn't exactly prove anything. Still we should definitely ask around and find out what has been happening here before we act." She said agreeing with the blonde.

Luckily for the pair it was a very small town, all the stores were on one road and the few branching paths all led to the villagers homes. The stores themselves were nothing special, just regular single floor wooden buildings with the name of the store out the front. In fact the only large building in the entire town was the tavern which acted as a hotel for passing travellers. "So the question is, where to start? It's doubtful that any random person will have the information we need."

"Well normally intruders would secure any weapons in the town to prevent the people from fighting back. If that's the case then we should ask the weapons dealer. There is bound to be one around here, even civilians buy weapons to defend themselves in an emergency, especially when there are no ninja in the town." Akimi proposed.

"That sounds good enough for me." Naruto replied almost lazily. The young couple walked through the main street, looking for any store that looked like it may have sold weapons. Most of them seemed to be innocent enough, and nothing stood out as an armoury. They did two sweeps of the village and still no sign of so much as a kunai.

"That's odd, I didn't even see any kitchen knives for sale." Naruto said, his eyes narrowing in suspicion. "It's possible that whoever is taking advantage of this town removed all the weapons. Maybe we should ask the villagers that wanted us to take the job, they surely know something, let's find them." He decided.

That task was nowhere near as difficult as finding weapons, the small group of villagers that had approached the group while they ate lunch were still in the small restaurant where they had been less than an hour before. "Back so soon? Don't tell me you have already removed the pests?" one of the men questioned.

"Not exactly, we're looking for some leads. For one there seems to be a few things that are out of place." Naruto said calmly.

"Out of place? Well isn't that to be expected from a civilian only village? One that has been oppressed by shinobi no less." The man said stiffly.

"Maybe, but there seems to be no signs of a struggle in this town at all, on top of that there doesn't seem to be anything in any of the stores that could even be thought of as a weapon. Most villages, even civilian ones have some way of defending themselves." Naruto reasoned.

The man looked a little ashamed at the discoveries of the blonde jinchuuriki. "Well that's because, we didn't put up a fight at all. The ones responsible were shinobi so they would only overpower us if we fought back. Knowing this we let them do as they please, and naturally they took all of our weapons."

Naruto sighed accepting that was at least somewhat understandable. "Alright, then do you know where this group is hiding? I assume that there are at least some former shinobi in this village so they must at least know where the ninja are hiding." He asked.

"Well yes I know where they are, but it would be easier to just wait for them to come to us here." The man replied.

"Why is that?" Akimi asked casually.

"They have placed traps all around the edge of their camp, someone from the village attempted to get close and deal with the problem and he didn't make it within one hundred yards." The man explained.

"Well, if you don't mind I would like to judge the danger for myself. So please tell me where they are hiding." Naruto spoke calmly to make sure that the man didn't think of the statement as a request, rather an order.

The man seemingly understood and nodded quickly. "To the north, there is a small cave. It's just after the end of the open field so you will need to enter the forest a small way. But it's a death trap, if you enter the forest their traps will kill you."

"Like I said, I will see for myself. I have a fairly good record when it comes to avoiding traps." Naruto replied, already leaving the restaurant with Akimi close behind.

"Something wrong?" The kunoichi asked when she saw how serious Naruto was.

"I'm not sure, something doesn't feel right. I mean if they willingly gave up the town, why send people after them later?" Naruto mused.

"Maybe they didn't want to damage the village?" Akimi suggested.

"That's true, but on that note, why would the ninja be living in a cave if they had already surrendered the town? You can't keep an eye on the village and make sure they are not planing anything if you stay so far away." The blonde added.

"Do you think that man was lying?" Akimi asked as the pair left the village heading north.

"I'm not sure, his face didn't give anything away, that alone makes me question his story." Naruto answered.

"Personally I just want to get this over with." The dark haired kunoichi sighed.

"I suppose Jiraiya-sensei did give us a day for us to spend together." Naruto said with a smirk.

"So let's kick these guys asses, then find a nicer place to stay for the night." Akimi replied with a small blush and smirk of her own.

"Sounds good to me." Naruto said quickly picking up the pace. They were at the edge of the forest in no time. Evergreen trees grew tall like pencils, while there was very little ground covering indicating that in the winter this forest would be covered in snow, a prospect that Naruto was quite glad to not have to deal with at the current time. "Alright no more running, we should at the very least take the villagers warning, keep your eyes peeled for traps."

"You don't need to warn me I can handle myself just fine." Akimi replied.

"I know, it's just hard for me to not worry about my beautiful Akimi-chan." The blonde teased stealing a quick kiss.

Akimi rolled her eyes but blushed ever so slightly regardless. "Fine, I guess I do worry about you too."

The blonde smiled happily and began walking slowly into the forest, scanning the area throughly before taking his next step. Their target was a rather obvious one, not too far in the distance there was a large steep cliff, it was Naruto's guess that it would have to be the location of the cave the man had spoke of in the village.

The movement through the forest was excruciatingly slow for two of the fastest shinobi alive, each step seemed to take an age with the constant threat of a trap being sprung forcing the pair to be extra careful. "Ah can't we just race through it!? Any trap we spring shouldn't be able to hit us if we just move fast enough." Akimi sighed in frustration.

"Well that would work for most normal traps, these I am not so sure. Look at this." Naruto said pointing to a small mark on the side of a tree a short distance ahead of them.

"What is it?" The kunoichi asked intrigued. Naruto knelt down in front of a small white patch that was strapped to the side of a tree.

"It's a marker." Naruto said calmly pulling out a small pad and scribbling down a copy of the seal.

"Do you want to explain what a marker actually is?" Akimi asked.

"It's part of a rather obscure form of Fuinjutsu. Basically it requires a number of these markers to form a seal over a large area where drawing a sealing matrix is either too hard or impossible, each marker connects to another like an invisible tripwire." Naruto explained.

"If that's the case, then wouldn't removing one marker disable the seal?" The kunoichi questioned.

"Well normally yes. But they can be overlapped multiple seal arrays creating a web of seals to detect and target anyone that enters. Then there is a possibility that anyone of these markers is booby trapped. It wouldn't surprise me, anyone with the knowledge of this form of sealing is advanced in the art. Finally taking the marker away would be as good as knocking on the door and telling them that we are here." Naruto explained not looking up from the pad he was still hastily writing.

"So how do you know so much then? Did Jiraiya-sama teach you about this?" Akimi questioned.

"Uh well It's my dad... no more likely it's my mother's information. Like a flash of information that comes to me as I need it. It's really hard to explain. Even now I am drawing a seal, that I have never seen it before, it's like my arm is moving on my own. I only know what I need to draw a few seconds before I get to that part of the seal." Naruto said his pen finally stopping.

Naruto moved over to the marker and placed his seal over the top. Instantly the seal began to glow a bright green. A few seconds later the seal burnt away leaving the marker behind. "Well that was anticlimactic, was that supposed to suck so much?" Akimi asked with a laugh.

"Not everything has to look impressive you know, the seal did just what it was supposed to." Naruto replied.

"And what was that, because all that I saw happen was that your seal burned away." Akimi laughed.

"As a matter of face I overloaded the seal and all those that connect to it, we can now move on and they will be none the wiser." Naruto said smugly.

"So... uh wow, that's..." Akimi stuttered

Naruto smiled confidently. "Yeah not so shit now is it."

"Well next time make it more impressive." The Kunoichi replied casually trying to save face.

"Just admit you lost this one." Naruto chuckled.

"I admit nothing." The kunoichi said in faux defiance. There fake argument continued as they continued to walk towards their objective. "So um, this might just be me, but is somebody watching us?"

"Yeah they have been for awhile, we really shouldn't have been talking so loudly." The blonde sighed.

"We uh, we really made a mess of things didn't we." Akimi said with a sad laugh, she couldn't help but think of the irony of spending so much time to avoid being detected by disabling the seals only to be discovered by their fake argument.

"Well we did find the people responsible for attacking the town, so I guess that's a win." Naruto chuckled. The moment he finished talking the two shinobi had to jump away in opposite directions as a hail of kunai flew at them from above.

The attack didn't stop there as from several trees surrounding the blonde kunai burst out from seals. "Wow, nice trap. Shinra Tensei!" Akimi fell into a similar trap, but with a burst of speed she avoided the attack as well. "Not bad, that takes some skill."

"Same can be said for you, I've never met anyone who could counter all of my seals in one go." A voice said, echoing from all around them.

"Can you compliment him later, these seals are deadly." Akimi replied, escaping a rather powerful exploding tag by the tightest margins.

"Right, sorry Akimi-chan. Now normally I would mess around for awhile to test out just how good you really are, but I would rather not risk Akimi-chan getting hurt. So good luck avoiding this." Naruto said loudly. The next instant Naruto's arm opened out and a large barrage of rockets flew out in every direction. The explosions rocked the area.

"Wait! I give up, so please I'm sorry!" The voice said again clearly frightened. Naruto complied and waited. Out from behind one of the few trees that were still standing after Naruto's rather liberal use of firepower came a young man in his early twenties with long red hair tied back into a ponytail and dark green eyes. He was wearing a long purple kimono that was well worn and did not look suitable for fighting. "I surrender, please don't fire anymore explosives." He said calmly.

"Should have known, only an Uzumaki would have such an impressive knowledge of seals." Naruto said as he studied the man before him. He was certainly no fighter, Naruto would be surprised if he had ever been in a fight in his life. Naruto was certain that this man was no shinobi, a Fuinjutsu master maybe, but not a ninja. "Why are you attacking the village? And who is out here with you."

The man's eyes widened in surprise. "How... how did you know?" He asked.

"Why else would you surrender. I sensed your presence awhile ago, even with the chakra suppressing seal you placed on yourself. My random firing in every direction was an act to see how you would react should the two others a short distance to the north be threatened." Naruto explained.

"They are my younger brother and sister. I'm sorry for attacking you, I thought you were from that village. Those people, they're not what they seem. First they act all nice and friendly, but it's all an act." The red headed Uzumaki said a little urgently.

"So let me get this strait, you are not terrorising that village?" Akimi asked, carefully looking around for signs of anymore seals.

"Of course not! Do I look like a shinobi to you? I have been trained to use chakra for sealing only. My siblings escaped from that... village about a week ago. They are keeping people locked away inside the basements of the houses. We would have gone far away, but they still have our parents. I have been trying to find a way to sneak into the village but so far nothing I have tried works." The young man said desperately.

"You're kidding right. They hired us just to kill off someone that escaped from them?" Akimi asked a little skeptical.

"It's not all that unbelievable, if he escaped, and went to one of the ninja villages, then it's likely that they would send a team to investigate. They also discovered that your sealing techniques were far too advanced for them to ever hope to get near your camp. That's why they wanted to send us, chances are they didn't expect us to succeed." Naruto replied.

"So what now then?" Akimi asked with a sense of foreboding at the feeling of her small holiday slowly slipping away.

"We get to the bottom of everything. We go back to town and tell them that the job is done, meanwhile I'll send a clone with our new friend here to show us where his parents are hidden. If everything is as he said, then we shut this village down, for good if we have too." Naruto suggested.

"Fine, but can we hurry up, there is a resort village only an hours run from here, I would like to be their before night time." Akimi declared.

"Thank you, I promise you I am not lying." He said with a small bow before extending a hand in friendship. "Stazia Uzumaki"

Naruto accepted his hand firmly. "Naruto Uzumaki, and this is Akimi-chan."

"Uzumaki? Forgive me if I sound rude, but you do not look like an Uzumaki." Stazia replied.

"No offence taken, I guess I look more like my father, but I took my mothers name, she was an Uzumaki." Naruto explained.

"You are an odd one, but your skill with Fuinjutsu can't be denied, definitely at an Uzumaki standard. If we are going to do this, then please the sooner the better, I want to see my parents again." Stazia said.

Naruto nodded creating a shadow clone of himself. After a quick rundown of the plan they split up, Naruto and Akimi leaving first heading for the village, while the clone and Stazia remained behind, until the real Naruto gave the clone a signal.

"Why couldn't this have been a straight forward mission, I swear nothing we do ever goes smoothly." Naruto sighed.

"Speak for yourself, it's only ever missions with you that go so badly, I mean it's like you are a magnet for running into road blocks that keep stalling you." Akimi replied.

"Well at least it's never boring. Now the real problem will be finding out just who in the village is aware of what is going on." The blonde said ignoring Akimi's light jab.

"Nobody looked to be scared or even coerced to play along with the kidnappings. Maybe everyone is in on it, not just the ones that sent us after Stazia." The kunoichi guessed.

"I would really like for you to be wrong about this one. But you do have a point, that whole village did seem a little weird." Naruto said with a serious expression. The rest of the short journey passed with the young couple both in deep thought. "Alright let's stop here for a moment." Naruto said suddenly. Coming to a stop in mid step, Naruto closed his eyes and he began to meditate. Not moving an inch until dark pigment formed around his eyes, indicating that he had entered Sage Mode. "Wow."

Akimi waited for a few moments for Naruto to elaborate but he showed no signs of doing so. Needless to say this frustrated the kunoichi, who didn't like being left out of the loop. "Well what is it!?"

"This village, it's all a front. Everyone has a large chakra supply that has obviously been trained at some point. It's like a holding cell under the village, there are more people there than I can count. What's worse is that they are split up, each store contains around five to ten people that have been captured, most are civilians, but there are some Ninja in there as well." Naruto explained, he wasn't angry, he was down right pissed off. Only the knowledge that a large attack could harm the prisoners kept him from levelling the fake town and passing judgement on those responsible. "Someone is going to pay for this!"

End Chapter!

I have to admit, I didn't like how this chapter turned out. The flow was off so things seemed a little disjointed, even the Dialogue was a little down on recent standard. But I hate doing things twice and I am going away on Saturday so I wouldn't get a chance to rewrite this chapter, until Next Year anyway. So instead I cut it short, mostly to save the rest of the mini arc from falling into the same poor standard.

Anyway like I said, I am going away until some time during the first week of the New Year so I may be a little quiet on the updates for the next few weeks. I am taking my Ipad with me though, so I might get a chance to write a chapter, but if not I just want to thank all of my readers for a great year. You all make writing very enjoyable, so again thank you all, for all your lovely comments, I promise you I read every one of them, and take everything you say into consideration, so if you have any suggestions that you would like to see, or even critisicms in Nightfall, or any of my other fic's don't hesitate to send them.

Spoiler Alert!

The latest chapter... … … Sigh!

Why not do that shit with the chains earlier. Being an Edo Tensei didn't stop him from using other bull shit jutsu. Then somehow a chain can remove a Bijuu from their jinchuuriki? I have this crazy Idea, revert back to your normal form and stop using the Bijuu's chakra. You can just slip right through the chain links.

But seriously It took the entire Akatsuki three days or so to remove the Ichibi from Gaara's seal and store it in the statue, yet suddenly there's this new jutsu, which Zetsu would have had to of known being Madara's will, that can do all nine at once in what I am guessing will be an instant. As I said before Sigh. If he needed the Rinnegan, why the fuck didn't Nagato just use it when Naruto went all Kyuubified? Here's the answer, back then we had a shit ton less plot holes. Again... Sigh.

Second issue is with the effects of Sage Mode for Madara, His body was torn apart serious injuries. Sage Mode heals the body 4x faster not 400x faster. He then said it was because of Hashirama's cells. Okay fair enough, except that his healing was a medical jutsu that he invented not because of his DNA otherwise Yamato and Zetsu would be just as hard to kill, granted the explination helped a little. Naruto doesn't even heal that fast with Kurama's help and Sage Mode together, case in point when he was cut during Sakura's pointless attempt to become a useful character and kill Sasuke.

Now I know it's only been a few chapters, but at the moment the best to people to fight Madara are Minato, who is baby sitting retard number 1 (Obito). Kakashi should just stab him in that Rinnegan eye, destroy the fucking thing. Obito is dead once Black Zetsu leaves his body anyway. And the second one would be Tobirama. Each can use the Hirashin, so first one moves, get's crushed by a Shinra Tensei, then the other attacks during the five second cool down. (Que random Bull shit where Madara doesn't need any cool down time or something, removing the only weakness of that jutsu.) Sigh.

Regadless the fight would be over in an instant hit him with a strong enough jutsu now that he's human again, and he's dead, world saved. It won't happen though. I'm even betting Madara will get the Hachibi and Kyuubi. Naruto will survive the same way Kushina did until he get's either the Kyuubi back, or becomes the host for the Juubi. This arc, which I believe will be the final one in Naruto, feels like one of the old JRPG's where the final boss would take like sixteen hours non stop to fight, then you die just as your about to kill him, and have to go all the way back to the fucking start! It's rage worthy, but at the same time makes you want to finish it all the more.

It really needs a resolution arc, that resolves some questions I think many of us have had at some point, like who was Minato's family. Which we won't get it will end after this arc and maybe one or two other chapters wit a one pannel flash forward into the future where Naruto is either Hokage or dead.