Aegis.

It was a name that struck fear into Naruto's soul. This is the guy that was able to beat the crap out him by trapping him in this technique and gave him utter nightmares. Now that Naruto thought about it, of course it would be Aegis that was haunting him. Who else would come out and do this type of psychological damage? He snarled at this man. With his anger seeping into his voice he said, "Why are you here, Aegis? What do you want from me?"

Aegis gave a mock look of hurt as he clutched his chest, Ow, Naruto-kun. You hurt me so. Is this how you treat old friends?"

"Old friends? The last time I saw you, you were beating the shit out of me."

"I know." He put on an all-knowing smirk on his blue face causing Naruto's Killing Intent to rise. "I was testing your abilities."

Naruto's anger was spiking. "What do you mean testing me? Why are you testing me?"

"It's simple dummy", Aegis stopped as he was getting another rise out of the boy. "I was testing to see if we were compatible to be bonded together."

Naruto and Zoruamaru gave the man a confused look. Zoruamaru bared his teeth even more. Naruto gave him a steely gaze as he said, "Stop playing games with me Aegis."

Aegis mocked him, "Stop playing games Aegis." He stuck his tongue out at the boy. Seeing that the boy wasn't amused caused the man to look at the boy in confusion. Did the boy truly not understand what was going on? It can't be. He said, "Kid, you do know what I am right?"

"Yeah."

That caused the man to take a sigh of relief.

"You're the one that fought me for no good reason."

Oh no. Oh hell no! Aegis's face contorted to that of anger. Did the boy waste his time for nothing! No, he needed to find out the truth. He said in an irate tone, "Show me your arm. Now!"

Naruto retorted, "There's no way in hell!"

Tired of the games being played here, Aegis came at Naruto at speeds he never had seen. Aegis reached for the boy's arms only to be met with a bite from Zoruamaru. He winced in pain as he threw the poor fox away from him. He was then met with a punch from Naruto pushing him further away. Aegis grunted in pain. This brat was getting on his damn nerves. He saw the fox growl at him as it came towards him at impressive speed. However, even with its impressive speed, the fox was caught by its neck. Naruto's eyes went wide as he saw this. Aegis recited, "Naruto show me your arm or I will have to hurt your precious pet here."

"Zoruamaru!"

The poor fox whimpered as Aegis' grip got tighter. Naruto's eyes were wide as he realized that he was at a disadvantage. Naruto grumbled as he rolled up his sleeve. Aegis quickly threw the fox away from him as he grabbed Naruto's arm. He did a pulse of chakra causing a surge of chakra go up and down Naruto's spine. The arrow on Naruto's arm became more pronounced. Aegis let go of the boy's arm as he said, "So you are an Uzumaki."

"I could have told you that! You didn't have to hurt my fox!"

"I had to make sure since you didn't bond with me"

"Bond with you? What do you mean bond with you? Why would you think I would want to bond with you after what you've done?"

Aegis massaged his head ashe was getting a big headache. Is this boy retarded? It's certainly possible. It would explain these outbursts and lack of knowledge. There's nothing worse than a retarded Uzumaki. He muttered, "You must be the disappointment of your family."

"You don't know my family!"

"You're right. That's what make it so sad. Your mom must be disa-"

"I don't know who my mother is, you bastard!"

This stopped Aegis in his tracks. Wait a minute. The kid has no mother. He didn't have any red hair to be seen. He's also on the normal size of height. Is this kid really an Uzumaki? He did resonate with him. He looked to see that Naruto was taking care of his poor fox. He soothed its neck and got him to rest. This kid is peculiar to say the least. He rubbed his chin and circled around the boy. Maybe it's time to pluck some info about this kid. Aegis said, "Hey kid, listen, I'm sorry for being a bit of an asshole. I know, right now, you don't like me and all but help me out here. Do you know what the Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai is?"

Naruto gritted his teeth, "It's elemental bending."

Aegis pinched the bridge of his nose as he sighed, "Kid, I mean the real Kekkei Genkai."

"I-I don't understand. "

"Oh Kami. You gotta be kidding me!"

Aegis paced back and forth while pinching the bridge of his nose. It just didn't seem logical. This boy knows absolutely nothing about the Uzumaki bloodline. This is absolutely appalling. But something doesn't make sense. Aegis could clearly see that the boy was not trained in the Uzumaki arts but was able to combat him even a little bit. Even with some of the strongest shinobi, they couldn't even touch him. Aegis's eyes went wide. The book was opened! It had to be! He could sense that the book was here somewhere! He barked, "Book! Where is the book?!"

"You know you can just ask nicely you know."

Aegis was very impatient. To Naruto's complete and utter shock, Aegis reached into the spiral located on the right side of his jacket and pulled out an old brown leather-bound book. Aegis looked through the book to see if it was intact. He did a sigh of relief as it was perfectly fine. However, it did confirm Aegis's suspicion. The boy didn't fully activate his power nor the book. It made much more sense. The boy was truly something else. He could use the bloodline without even using the book. It was extraordinary.

This boy was really something else.

He muttered, "Naruto, do you know what this book is?"

"How in Kami's name did you know about the seal?"

Aegis ignored the poor boy's question as he repeated, "Do you know what this book is?" The boy was once again silent. It was like pulling locks of hair at this point. He decided that he had to teach the boy about what power he actually possessed. This was an anomaly since it was always implied that by the time they've met Aegis' kind, they would know a thing or two. But Aegis is a bit of an opportunist. He will be the first in a long time to teach the lucky bender what he can do.

Aegis said, "Ok kid. I get that you don't trust me. I mean I did test your skills and threw your dog or whatever that thing was but you need to listen to me."

Naruto felt his anger ready to boil over as this being disrespected Zorua. He asked heatedly, "Why should I listen to you?"

Aegis exasperated, "Because you have one of the strongest Kekkei Genkai to ever exist. People have killed to have the power you possess."

Naruto's muscles tensed. Hearing the name Kekkei Genkai made his body feel sickly. Maybe it was because his body had gone through with all these bloodlines. From the electricity young through it to scales coming out of it to having the ability to have bones coming out of his skin, it drained his body. He was surprised that his body didn't break down yet. While they all had massive strengths, they also have some pretty nasty drawbacks. However, his curiosity was piqued from this power. He decided to forgo his anger for a moment if only to find out more about this power. He said curiously, "What is this power that you speak?"

Aegis finally took a sigh of relief. He said, "You're finally listening, kid. This book is essentially your guide to understanding your elemental Kekkei Genkai. What your Kekkei Genkai is it connects you with the elemental plane. If you read the book in anyway shape or form, which I truly believe you have, you should know about the elemental plane. That is not the full truth, however. The elemental plane is much more complex than that. Not even the book can fully explain its complexity. While that's unfortunate, the book does explain a great chunk of it and how to actually use it. At first read, it shows basic exercises and such. If you are an Uzumaki when you put chakra into the book it opens the true book."

Naruto was still skeptical about this. "Put chakra into book and it changes it? What type of fuinjutsu is being used here?"

"The Uzumaki are known for their seals. They are highly complex and often used in battle. I must admit, the Uzumaki were some of the strongest fighters I have ever seen."

Naruto crossed his arms as he replied, "Well they're not around so it doesn't matter."

Aegis shrugged his shoulders, "Pity. Now the Uzumaki have learned how to use seal in almost everything. These Uzumaki have or had two types of Kekkei Genkai. The first is the chakra chains and the other is this one. This elemental one-"

"Woah, whoa! Two Kekkei Genkais?"

Aegis sighed, "Yes. But now is not the time for that. The one to have right now allows you to connect to the elemental plane through a symbiote."

It was almost as if the hamster in the blond's head started to spin on the wheel. "So, you're a symbiote. Obviously, you are not human either."

"Good. You're finally thinking with your head. Yes. What I am is not something I can fully explain to you. But the best way to explain it to you is that I'm an elemental avatar. My power is the use of water. I have unlimited ability to use water." Aegis flicked his hands out to create a water dragon out of his palm. Naruto's eyes went wide as it came at him. Almost instantly, it changed into a diamond floating in front of him.

Aegis just smirked, "Do you see what I mean? I can change the molecular structure of any structure that has even a drop of H2O in it. It makes me that much more dangerous against humans as humans are made up mostly of water."

"But if you're this strong, what do you get from being a symbiote?"

"The problem is that my people need the connection for us to be more powerful. It's hard to explain."

"I bet."

"You little shit."

"And you're a big piece of shit."

Aegis chuckled as he admitted, "Fair. Anyway, if we bond together you get the ability to use water to almost the highest degree."

Naruto's eyebrow went up. "Almost?"

"You would get about 75% of my power at a time. That's more than enough to do control water. You can even do Suiton ninjutsu without hand signs. So, can you imagine someone pulling water out of thin air with no problem?"

Naruto's eyes opened in realization. It was entirely possible that the Nidaime could have had the bloodline. He said in awe, "Is it possible for the Nidaime to have had it?"

"Nidai who?"

Naruto was slightly deflated but said, "He was one of the leaders in village who was said to have the power to form almost anything out of water."

Aegis stroke his beard, "Hmmm so this Nidaime character can make water weapons out of thin air? It's possible he could have had one of my brethren bonded to him."

Naruto's eyes went wide once more. "Wait, are you saying there are more of you?"

Aegis nodded, "Of course. There was a time that there were tens of thousands of my brethren. It's entirely possible this Nidaime guy had bonded with one. "

Naruto frowned slightly as he could hear the morose in Aegis' voice when he talked about his brethren. He asked, "What happened to them?"

Aegis went silent for a moment before he said, "I don't know."

The way Aegis spoke told Naruto that it wouldn't be wise to keep prodding. Deciding to deviate from that subject slightly Naruto asked, "So are there only water-"

"Elemental Spirits and no. There are Elemental Spirits for all the basic elements. They are all strong in their own right and like the elements themselves have advantages and disadvantages against other elements."

"So, they can control the same amount of power that you have with water?"

"Precisely."

Naruto knew it would be greedy to ask and could come off as ungrateful but was curious anyway, "Is it possible for someone to have more than one elemental spirit connected to him? "

Aegis gave a smirk as he replied, "So I'm not good enough for you? Don't worry, you might get more than one. Usually, people, if they have the bloodline, only get one. Some people are lucky, however. Some are lucky enough to get two or three more."

"Is it possible to have all five?"

Aegis went silent causing Naruto to consider retracting his statement. Naruto felt a cold chill go up and down his spine. Aegis looked into Naruto's eyes and said, "That is the rarest form and the strongest form of the bloodline. To have all five means that they have become some sort of liaison to the other elemental spirits. He or she uses their power to spread it to others or take away their abilities. There is only one person in a lifetime to have this ability. It is an avatar state."

"Is that person still alive now?"

"I-i don't know."

The hesitation in Aegis' voice made Naruto a bit suspicious. He realized that Aegis knew more about this rare person than he let on. Naruto tucked that information into his back pocket before saying, "So it is possible to know who has the ability to have more than one. Do they just show up at different places?"

Happy to change the subject, Aegis said, "The normal way is syncing up with the book. It will tell you what you are able to bond with. The old fashion way without the book is wandering around and meeting them. You were lucky that I was the first one you met or else you would have insulted the other spirits."

Naruto rolled his eyes at the spirits bravado. He said, "Okay. I get you point. "

Aegis grew a smile as he said, "Good. Now do you want to bond?"

Naruto took a deep breath and asked, "What happens if we bond?"

Aegis could hear the weariness in Naruto's voice but at least Naruto's resolve for this has been breaking slowly but surely. He said, "When we connect together, your wrist will gain a little water droplet on it. You will feel a rush of chakra go through you with a feeling of turbulence but a sense calmness. It will be a feeling of warmth but also a sense of cool. Your body won't change outwardly other than the mark. So, you don't have to worry about gills or anything."

"Gills?"

Aegis waved his hand dismissively, "Yeah back in the day a seal went wrong. They fixed it."

"Uh-huh."

"Just trust me."

Naruto sighed as he walked up to Aegis. He looked Aegis into his ice blue eyes as he said, "Okay. I'll do it."

Aegis smirked as he held out his hand. Naruto hesitantly stuck his hand out and shook it.

"Excellent."


Naruto's eyes snapped open. He looked around to see there was an overcast on the area. The area was filled with flowers and herbs all. There was a soft breeze causing the delicate flowers to bend ever so slightly. He saw Zoruamaru was sleepy ever so peacefully. Naruto smiled as he rubbed the fox instinctively giving it chakra for food. Naruto clicked his teeth as he tried to remember what had happen for him to be out here. He must have fallen asleep which on a mission is a problem. All he could remember was his discussion with Aegis.

He looked at his wrist to see the water droplet prominently displayed on the left part. He stretched out his wrist as he felt power coursing through him. He never felt anything like it before. Instinctively, Naruto held his hand out and concentrated on his palm. He saw that water was forming around his palm making a ball.

"Good morning, Shinobi-san."

Naruto broke his concentration effectively breaking the water ball. His eyes snapped up and saw who it was. She has long black hair, pale skin and large, dark-brown eyes, a slender frame. She was wearing a pink, sleeveless kimono, with pale red edges and decorated with small plum-colored swirls, that went to her ankles. Around her waist was a simple white obi tied in a bow. Naruto's cheeks started to turn pink.

The girl asked, "Shinobi-san, why are you here in the dampness this early in the morning?"

Naruto laughed softly, "I was out here trading for a little bit last night and over did it. Plus, I don't get sick."

Naruto's face turned into a frown as he saw the beautiful girl roll her eyes. She looked at Naruto once over. He was looking worse for wear. His hair was matted down with dirt on face. He had a few cuts on his clothes and looked over ragged. She giggled softly as she had her hand cover her mouth. For Naruto, it was one of the cutest things he'd ever seen. That's saying something since he had seen Zorua act like he was running in the meadows when he was sleeping. She chided, "Shinobi-san, even as a shinobi you shouldn't overdue it. You can compromise yourself."

Naruto's cheeks turn redder due to embarrassment. He pouted while crossing his arms. The girl gained a dust of pink on her cheeks as she admitted to herself it was pretty cute. Naruto finally looked to see that she was carrying a basket filled with herbs of some kind. Naruto asked, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name. I'm Naruto."

The girl gave him a smile before replying, "Like the ramen topping? That's an interesting name. It's nice to meet you, Naruto-san. I'm Haku."

Naruto gave her a smile surprisingly making Haku give him a genuine smile. He said, "It's nice to meet you Haku-san! What are you doing out here this early in the morning? Most civilians sleep in during this time."

Haku shook her head as she lifted her basket. "No, no. I'm a morning person. I'm picking up some herbs for my friend."

Naruto could see Aralia cordata and some Alisma in the basket. He had read that mixed with some chakra these two can make a paste to help heal someone. On that note, he should really thank Ino for that plant book. This, however caused him to be suspicious. He asked, "So what happened to your friend? Is he hurt or something."

"Just a tad. He managed to cut himself pretty deep."

"How did he do that exactly?"

Haku stiffened as she said, "He underestimated his training partner and got cut."

Naruto's eyes narrowed as his suspicions grew. "Where is he exactly? Can you take him to a hospital? I'm sure he would get better care."

She shook her head sadly, "He's on the other side of town. The hospitals here are not really that good. This place is too poor to really take care of too many people. As such, the prices are way too high to pay for it. So, we use the herbs around the area to help treat it."

Naruto nodded. He replied softly, "I understand that. It's hard with Nami being in the condition that it's in. I prefer to stay away from hospitals since there is the smell of death. I must admit, I'm a bit surprise that you traveled all the way here probably late last night to get herbs for him. Is he your-" Naruto wiggled his eyebrows.

Haku nearly roared with laughter. She could never see him as a boyfriend. Haku was only a tool for him. Silly Naruto. Haku said, "No. No. No. He's more like maste- mentor for me. He took me in when no one else would. As such, I'm forever grateful for him and will help him in any way I can. It makes me strong."

Naruto became inquisitive as he uttered, "Strong? What do you mean?"

Letting out a relieved sigh, Haku said, "People believe that strength is working out, getting muscles, learning all these techniques, trying to be leaders of villages, etc. But that's not true strength or I should say I don't think it is anyway."

The last one struck a chord with Naruto. He asked lowly, "So what is true strength for you? "

She gave a sad smile as she looked up at the sky. She said, "For me, when a person has something important they want to protect that's when they can become truly strong. It doesn't matter if you are a small child or the strongest man in the world, if they have someone they truly want to protect they will go through the greatest lengths to help and protect them."

Naruto's eyes went wide as her words struck a chord in him once more. He was utterly speechless. Haku stood up as she gathered her things. She said, "Naruto-san, I do hope that you find someone that you are willing to go through hell and back to protect. One day, you will be truly strong. Goodbye, Naruto-san."

She started to walk away with a senbon in hand. She turned back at Naruto breaking out of his stupor. She gave him a smile and said, "Before I forget, I'm a boy"

"Nani?!"


Naruto dragged himself into Tsunami and the bridge builder's home. After that interesting morning discussion that no doubt had been the one that 'killed' Zabuza, he felt kinda tired. He must have been running on fumes with what happened with Aegis. It wouldn't surprise him if his body was still being acclimated to Aegis power. He saw Kakashi drinking his morning tea. It had to be one of the most annoying things to see Kakashi drinking through his mask. He knew there had to be layers and layers of genjutsu. But what's the point in all that? His shoulders dell as he knew he would never get a straight answer.

Kakashi looked at him and said, "You looked rested."

Naruto could feel the smugness emanating from the man's masked face as he took a sip of his tea. He rolled his eyes as he took a seat. He noticed that his teammates were not downstairs yet. It didn't surprise him. He didn't expect them to be up this early although they really should. He said simply, "Are the others sleeping?" He earned a nodded from his commanding officer causing him to sigh. A few moments of silence impregnated the air.

So those scales."

Kakashi realized the others wouldn't be up for another hour or so. So, had some time with his enigmatic student one to one. He unconsciously rubbed his arm where the scales took a couple of layers off from. It still didn't feel right after that. While his other students were doing their thing, he thought what better time to learn what the hell was going on with the boy. He knew that Naruto explained to them what they were to an extent but he wanted to see how good they really were in battle. How could they train them if need be?

Naruto saw that Kakashi was drifting into his own little world. He decided to break him out it by saying, "These scales are pretty cool."

Kakashi broke out of his stupor before nodding. He asked, "How long have you had them again?"

"Since I was eight."

Kakashi took a sip of his tea once more before saying, "How do you train them? I'll be honest. I've never seen anything like your ability before. I don't know how to properly train them."

Naruto wasn't all that surprised that Kakashi didn't know how to train it. if he would be honest, the scales have been touch and go. He said, "Well, I train its reaction time. I used to have Zorua throw things at me and see how quickly they would appear. Also, I've been practicing how far the can reach." As if on cue, Naruto's scales went down to about 3 feet from his forearm.

Kakashi looked intently at it. This was something so incredulous, he didn't think the Hokage would believe it. He, himself, wouldn't believe it if his arm didn't have the scars. He asked, "How strong exactly are they?"

Naruto shrugged, "I don't know to be honest. The strongest test I've done is-" It hit Naruto like a pile of bricks. The strongest test he had was -

"Zabuza."

Naruto nodded. Kakashi sighed as he continued, "Well that's a start. You're fortunate that they were strong enough to hold Zabuza off. Or else, you would be at minimum one armed. That reminds me. Don't ever, and I mean ever, be that stupid again. You could have gotten yourself killed."

Naruto sighed, "You're right Kakashi-sensei. I wasn't thinking clearly. It won't happen again."

Kakashi chuckled, "With you? I don't know if that's possible. But regardless, be smarter in your decisions. The good thing is that while Zabuza knows you have this Kekkei Genkai, he doesn't know the full capabilities of it. Neither do we but at least we know more about it. How's your elemental abilities going?"

Naruto took a moment to think if he should tell him about the bending/bonding. He quickly dashed it from his mind. He said, "It's going pretty well. My Fuuton and Suiton have been developing nicely. At this rate, I might be able to surpass the Nidaime in Suiton."

Kakashi merely rolled his line eye. "Sure, you will. We'll be doing one on one training in two days."

"Why?"

Kakashi put his tea down to say, "Because those two need more help than you do. I can help you learn water and wind techniques but I can't help you with your scales, at least not now. Out of the three, you are much better shape. Not saying the best shape, but more polished." Kakashi took a deep breath as he let the information soak into the blond.

He sighed as continued, "Sakura is becoming a medical shinobi. She has the potential to become one of the best medical shinobi since Tsunade. However, she needs to learn other ninjutsu and abilities. So, I'm planning on teaching her defensive techniques that can protect us and herself. That's going to take some time. I had to build up her chakra levels in order to get here to the point where she can actually do it. In addition, she needs to do a makeshift of it especially with the fight with Zabuza coming up. Sasuke, well you know Sasuke better than most. You were there that night. He has never fully recovered. It's hard for him to make friends."

Naruto grumbled while folding his arms, "Tell me about it. I've been trying to get him out of his shell. He's stubborn."

Kakashi nodded in agreement. He was happy that Naruto was seeing his point a bit. He replied, "He's stubborn but also afraid. Right now, he only sees a few people, less than the fingers on my hand, that are his friends. You're the closest one to him and that makes you dangerous."

That piqued Naruto's interest. He asked, "How so?"

"I know for a fact that you two have a pact to face and beat Itachi. You were both there and were affected in some shape and form. How does that play into this? The reason is he considers you his rival. Someone to compare himself with. If you guys are getting strong together the better chance he stays and tries to face off with Itachi with you and possibly more people. That's ideal. However, just from these scales, I realized that you're possibly far and away in another league than he is. I believe he knows that too which has been causing to be a bit distant."

Naruto's eyes went wide as he realized where Kakashi was going with this. He said more in a whisper, "If I were to become too strong even for him, he would believe that I would become like-"

"Itachi. While I don't agree, it's plausible for him to see it like this. So, I need some time to help him adjust just a little bit to trust the team. At least then, he will have a few more people to be in his corner."

It strangely made sense to Naruto. He became contemplative as he poured himself a cup of tea. The tea had a nice Jasmine scent. It soothed the soul with each sip. No wonder Kakashi kept drinking it. It gave the blond some clarity but there was one question on his mind.

"Kakashi-sensei, why are you telling me all this?"

Kakashi took a sip before saying, "Well it was two to three reasons. The first and most important is that I felt compelled to tell you why I wouldn't be spending as much time training you as I would with the others. I don't want you to think that I don't want to train you or help you. The second is I need to vent a little bit. It's not easy dealing with someone that's like your original team but now you're the sensei. Sometimes, I wish there was a manual to this sensei stuff. The final reason is to test your trust. This is a once in a lifetime thing. I don't trust too many people because trusting someone gives them so much leverage against you. So, if you tell them this, especially Sasuke, I will have escorted off this team and essentially black balled from being a shinobi. Trust and believe it can happen and has happened."

The way Kakashi stared into Naruto's eyes unnerved him immensely. It was almost as if he wished wasn't told all this. Naruto gulped as he nodded. Kakashi kept the glare going while sipping his tea. Naruto kept silent.

Intimidation is a hell of an awkward thing.

"Good morning, Kakashi-sensei!"

Kakashi gave one last glance and immediately changed into his aloof nature much to Naruto's relief. Kakashi waved to his extra bouncy pink student and his grumpy raven-haired student. He smiled as he said, "Good morning, sleepy heads. How did you sleep?"

Sakura smiled as she said, "The beds were really comfortable. I feel well rested." Sasuke merely nodded in agreement. While his pink teammate was stretching out, he noticed that Naruto was looking worse for wear. However, Sakura was the one to voice these concerns, "Naruto, what happened to you? You look like shit."

Kakashi nearly spit out his tea.

Naruto grumbled, "I'm fine, Sakura."

"Are you sure? It looks like-"

"Kakashi-sensei, please start the debriefing."

"I don't know, Naruto. Maybe you should let Sakura be your doctor. She is training to be a medical shinobi." Kakashi wiggled his one eyebrow and he giggled. It got the desired effect of causing Sakura and Naruto to blush a deep red."

"Kakashi-sensei!"

"See. You are even talking in sync!"

These were the moments that he enjoyed in becoming a sensei. Seeing Naruto turning that red, Sakura becoming flustered, and Sasuke gaining a dust of pink on his pale cheeks is something he'll remember for the rest of his life. He waved his hand and said, "Welllll since you didn't want help from our medic in training, we'll talk about the course of action for today. "His students quickly went into their listening mode.

He said, "For today, we're going to separate. Naruto, you will be helping with the bridge builders. It would be a helpful for them if you use your shadow clones to speed the process up." Naruto nodded as his discussion with Kakashi came to mind. He still inwardly shuddered at that glare from Kakashi. Kakashi continued, "Sakura, this morning we'll be working on your chakra and defensive techniques then later you'll be security detail with Tsunami."

Sakura said," Hai!"

Kakashi looked at Sasuke and replied, "Sasuke, you'll be the security detail for Tsunami. Later, we'll work on your elemental training." Sasuke simply grunted. Kakashi continued, "We'll reconvene tonight for dinner. If there is any issue that arises make a signal big enough for all of us to see. Any questions?"

The teams shook their heads as the headed on their way to their respective missions.


"I see your chakra levels are increasing."

Kakashi had complimented his female student. Kakashi had to admit that ever since Sakura started to train to become medic-nin, she had been taking her training seriously. It was surprise but a welcoming one. It was great to see her teammates supporting her as well. While they do not enjoy the needles and sharp objects, they did seem to be intrigued by the way someone was to heal a wound that normally would take a six-month recovery to a three-week recovery. It was a welcoming sight. Now, Sakura was working on fighting upside down on a ledge. While she was nowhere near what level Kakashi wanted to be, this was still progress.

Sakura wiped the sweat off her brow as she got into a defensive position. She was fighting some of Kakashi's clones and were, to her surprise, giving her a hard time. She quickly deflected one attack only to get hit on her leg. She lost her concentration causing her to fall off the tree. She quickly maneuvered her body to get into an upright position and land on another branch. She quickly jumped back to the original branch and attacked once more. She was quickly learning that these clones did in fact pack a punch.

This continues for another 10 minutes before Kakashi called to her. While a bit ragged, she jumped down to him. Kakashi did his infamous eye roll as he said, "You lasted fifteen minutes. See what you can do when you actually train and let your body build up chakra." She blushed a bit from the praise as she pulled a twig out of her long hair. Kakashi continued, "Now your chakra level is still below where it needs to be but we're getting there. Normally, I would let you work on your med-nin training but I noticed that you have don't have any defensive moves in your repertoire. "

"A defensive technique? I thought you would want me to learn more genjutsu."

"No. I know that you have the quirk that the Haruno family has."

Sakura looked at him owlishly. She said, "Oh what quirk is that?"

Kakashi looked at her cryptically before shrugging his shoulders. He was a bit peeved about her mother not telling Sakura about her quirk. Then again, it could be that she didn't have it. He waved his hand to dismiss it before saying, "Don't worry too much about it. Ask your mom about it., later. In the mean-"

"Why would my mom know? She wasn't a shinobi."

Sakura furrowed her brow at Kakashi. It was obvious that Kakashi wasn't telling her everything. She didn't expect him to. However, when it comes to her abilities and overall growth, she expected her sensei to tell her at least something. Now he added her mother into this. Her mother wasn't a shinobi. So why would she know what this quirk was? How did she come across it? From the way Kakashi talked about it, it was supposedly a family thing. So many questions went through her head.

Kakashi, on the other hand, inwardly sighed. He put himself in this situation. He knew it once it slipped his masked lips. He could use a genjutsu to erase the moment from her mind but that's too much work. Plus, once you start doing it once, it gets easier to do it. He also couldn't expose who her mother is to Sakura. That could be a potential problem soon. He said with authority in his voice, "Drop it for now. Ask your mom when you get back."

Sakura immediately shut up. Kakashi sighed as he continued, "This technique is called Doton: Dosekido-mu (Earth Technique: Earth Stone Dome). It's a higher ranking jutsu that I think you will benefit of having. This technique is a jutsu that helps to create a powerful earth barrier directly from the ground around the user and if the user so chooses people around him/her. It's nearly impenetrable and it doesn't take that much chakra. "

Sakura gave her sensei a quizzical look as she thought about the jutsu. "I'm guessing this takes more brain than power."

Kakashi smiled at his smart student. "Yes, Sakura. The technique takes insane concentration. That means you can't take your mind off the technique. If you do, well the technique ends almost instantly. With that thought, I believe that this technique will work well with you because of your ability to concentrate so well. So, let's try it. There are only two hand signs. The hand signs are ox and snake. Then you slam your hands to the ground."

Sakura replied, "It needs an insane amount of concentration. Ok let's do it." Sakura took a deep breath as she started to do a mantra to herself. She slowly did the hand signs in rapid succession. She slammed her hands down as she yelled, "Doton: Dosekido-mu!" Much to her surprise, parts of the earth came up and surrounded her." From her estimation, it was solid rock with a 4m radius. Before she could further examine the rock, it fell back into the ground as if the ground hadn't elevated a few seconds prior. She looked owlishly as she said, "Sooo it takes a lot of concentration." She cracked a smile as she saw Kakashi's agreement.

"Keep going. Let's try for thirty seconds."

Sakura cracked her knuckles.


"How are your eyes?"

The question would be simple to anyone but those with dojutsu bloodlines. The question at hand meant has the bloodline been activated. For some dojutsus it takes something extra to activate them. Well at least that's what the current trend tends to be. For example, supposedly, the Sharingan is activated under immense turmoil. Some speculate that its hatred that pushes it along Kakashi found that to be weird but couldn't exactly disprove it. With his young student, it was hard to see if he had the Sharingan as it should have shown up by now or at least glimpses of it.

Sasuke replied softly, "It hasn't appeared yet. I haven't felt any inclination of it either, which is weird. From what I've read, my eyes should be getting sharper. But they're not."

"Have you tried putting chakra into your eyes."

"Yes and no. I've put chakra into my eyes but I've been cutting back on it because from what I've been reading putting more chakra into your eyes while not having the Sharingan can actually destroy your ocular nerves and deteriorate the Sharingan."

"Hmmm."

Kakashi was a bit stumped at what to do. From the reports by the medical staff, Sasuke should be able to activate the dojutsu. These are some of the few times he had wished that the Uchiha's didn't get massacred. While he wasn't exactly liked for new eye, they could at least have taught the boy on how to activate it. His mind started to wander until Sasuke called out to him.

"Where did you get the eye?"

This had been bothering him for a bit. He had heard people call Kakashi, "Sharingan no Kakashi". But there was to him no proof of the man having it until the Zabuza fight. From what he knows about his family, the Sharingan is only seen in Uchiha. In addition, he only had it in one eye. So that could only mean Kakashi had to have gotten it some other way. Could it be that Kakashi was a Forsaken Uchiha? From what Sasuke's father had told him there were Uchiha that weren't normal. Now Sasuke doesn't really know if that was true but it would be interesting to say the least.

Kakashi replied, "It's a complicated matter. I know that you have many questions but now is not the time to answer it. I promise in due time I will tell you."

Sasuke wasn't entirely happy with the response. It did, however, erase some of his theories. But it did give another prominent question. He replied, "Fair enough. But I would like for you to at least answer this one question then I'll drop it."

"Go for it."

"Was the reason I was put on your team was because you have the Sharingan?"

This caught Kakashi off guard. He was hoping that this question would not come up as quickly as it did. Nonetheless, it can be another bridge to connect with the boy with. He answered truthfully, "A lot it does have to do with the me having the Sharingan and can help train yours but it wasn't the only thing." Sasuke felt justified in his theory but now he was slightly curious as to why else.

"What was the other reason?"

"You're like me when I was your age. We were both considered geniuses, both incredibly talented, and incredibly alone. We both have tragic pasts that hit us at such a very young age. While yours is obviously harsher, it still made us loners. You're lucky somewhat."

Sasuke was floored by this. While he was expecting the answer about the Sharingan, he didn't expect Kakashi to tell Sasuke about himself. Honestly, it never occurred to Sasuke to ask Kakashi about his past because of their first meeting with him, he was very distant towards them. He asked, "Why am I lucky?"

"You have someone that can actually share with you what happened that night. He wants to help you to get stronger."

Sasuke nodded his head in his agreement. Sasuke did have Naruto to help him. It was slightly comforting to know someone that could understand a little bit of what he went through. He replied softly, "I-it's nice sometimes. Whenever I feel the darkness and loneliness, it's nice to know that there is someone their aiding me."

Kakashi nodded in agreement. He was happy that Sasuke has been opening up more. It's still like pulling teeth but it's much easier. He said, "So what have you been working on?"

Sasuke replied, "I've been reading more about the fire techniques in that phoenix book. I've been practicing this Katon genjutsu. It's a bit of a challenge as it is much harder to do without the Sharingan."

Kakashi's lone eye went up in surprise. He had heard one Uchiha that was able to use a fire genjutsu. Supposedly, the fire is a real fire but the user either manipulates the opponent's sense of vision, smell, touch, or even taste. Hearing is a bit different for fire. With the fire, it could be used as a mere distraction or it can be used to make the fire appear bigger than it is. There are many possibilities for it. Kakashi, for one was deeply interested in it. He said, "Show me what you have so far."

Sasuke murmured something to himself as he started to do a slew hand signs. He blew fire onto his hands causing them to glow a light red. Getting into a tiger hand sign, a sudden group of reddish yellow feathers started to appear around his hands. He took a deep breath and blew on his hands. This caused the feathers to be sent at Kakashi. Kakashi quickly the feathers away only to feel them burst into flames and caught onto him. He quickly put them out before he sighed. He complimented the raven-haired boy, "That's pretty interesting, Sasuke."

The boy replied critically, "It's not good enough yet. I need to work on the genjutsu technique in my eyes. Doing so will allow me to have time to blow the fire on my hands without being seen. Then I can apply the genjutsu on my hands."

"So, what you're saying is that for this technique to work, you need to apply an ocular genjutsu on first then do your hand signs then apply another one on your hands to create the feathers. That's pretty interesting. Does the fire hurt your hands at all?"

Sasuke shrugged, "It doesn't hurt as much as the flames aren't don't get that hot until it connects with the person."

"Fascinating. How many times can you do it? "

"Not too many because I haven't gotten the ocular genjutsu down just yet. I've found it's truly one of the most difficult things I'm learning. From what I've remembered from my other clansmen, it's a huge learning curve without the Sharingan." Sasuke grabbed the dirt on the ground tightly as some memories came to his head. The pain in his chest started to beat even harder.

It didn't go unnoticed by the silver haired scarecrow. He noticed that the boy had a feeling of envious and a sense of betrayal when Naruto revealed his scales. It still makes him shudder from thinking about them. Nonetheless, Sasuke felt as if Naruto has been hiding things from him. While, he wasn't wrong that Naruto had held something from him, Naruto was in his right to do so. There is nothing that states he had to make everything public. In fact, that would be counterproductive as a shinobi to give out all of your secrets. Kakashi guessed that the raven-haired boy isn't in the right state of mind with people hiding things from him and that he's afraid Naruto might betray him like Itachi. He shook his head of such thoughts. He said, "Well since you can't use the Sharingan just yet, we'll work on using ocular genjutsu without it."


Zabuza groaned in pain in his side. He berated himself for breaking one of the basic lessons of being a shinobi; he underestimated his opponents. He winced while getting up from the bed. It didn't help that Haku had put the faux death senbon in his neck. Those side-effects were in a word, painful. His side was heavily bandaged from the blondie's slash. Oh, the indignity! If any of the other Swordsmen of the Mist catch wind of the fact that he, the Demon of the Mist, was cut by an amateur genin, he would be a complete laughing stock!

Knock!

Zabuza cursed as he had to get up. The Demon Brothers were probably captured or disappeared somewhere. Haku was gathering some medical supplies. That just left him in his fragile state to get the door. Fantastic. Using his large sword as a crutch he opened the door. Zabuza sighed. Of course, it was him. It was a short that had puffy brown hair and wears a small pair of black glasses. He also wears a black suit with a purple tie. The man was just over all sleazy.

His voice mirrored that.

"So Zabuza, from my intelligence inside the village, it appears that the Bridgebuilder made it back safely. Can you explain to me how did that happen?"

Zabuza grunted. Days like this were some of the reasons he wished he didn't rebel against Kiri. At least, his employer was stronger and more powerful than him. This revolting waste of a human being was literally one step away from being headless. It was only due to the fact that killing him would essentially blackball him from any clients in the near future. So, for now, he'll keep his mouth in check. He replied, "I ran into some unexpected trouble."

"Oh, really now? The great Zabuza Momochi couldn't handle a couple of genin and their sensei. Pathetic. Heh, it looks like they got you pretty good on your side. If this wasn't so sad, I would be on the ground laughing!"

"You will be on the floor alright", Zabuza mumbled through his bandages.

"What was that?"

"Don't worry about it."

Gatō chuckled as he said snidely, "See the problem is I have to worry. See with block heads, like you I must always worry." Zabuza growled but the short little man disregarded it. Gatō continued, "That's the problem with shinobi. They are just mindless warriors. Do you even know how to oppress people?"

Zabuza was silent.

"Heh. That's what I thought. Pathetic. That's why you failed, you see. The first thing that happens is that you destroy their buildings, crops, etc., etc. But there's the mental aspect." Gatō tapped his temple. "All of those things are to be expected. That's knocking someone down. To truly keep them down, you step on their neck. You must kill some of their prominent leaders and their builders but not too many because too many can cause them to become martyrs. Don't need that. But, what you do is give a few of the peaceful ones an offer they can't refuse. Everyone has a price and sometimes that price isn't money. They'll 'negotiate' and 'compromise'. But by the time the dust settles, you have secured a powerful threshold. You take away their hope and then normalize it into despair. That's how you destroy a people."

Zabuza stayed silent once more.

Gatō's face then contorted to that of rage. "Do you see what you've done? You allowed that drunk bridge builder to not only get to Konoha, which is one of the biggest shinobi villages, but you also allowed the builder and the team accompany him to make it back!" In his rage, Gatō threw the object that was in his hand. The man's face burned hot as the whiskers that adorned his face sizzled. "This gives them hope! You saw what happened with Kaiza. The despair was absolutely palpable! Why? Because I kept them in check! Now you brought in Konoha and Sharingan no Kakashi into this. It complicates everything I've done because now I have to make sure I don't step on Konoha's toes just yet."

Gatō clutched his chest slightly. These extra complications did not help the man's heart. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He said, "Listen, I need this little issue cleared up in two or three days, tops. Take that Konoha team out in front of the village. Kill the bridge builder once and for all and finish the job. Understood?"

Zabuza grunted in agreement.

"Oh, and by the way, make sure you get that little bitch of yours-"

Gatō stopped his statement as the large blade was a centimeter away from his neck. He started to sweat profusely as he chuckled nervously. Zabuza's eyes narrowed as his Killing Intent went solely towards to man. He snarled, "If you ever and I mean ever call Haku a 'bitch' or anything outside her name, you will be nothing but a headless corpse. Do I make myself clear?"

Gatō grunted as he nodded his head. Zabuza reluctantly put the blade away from him. Gatō seeing an opportunity to strike swung his cane. Or at least tried to. He looked behind to see the masked shinobi holding the cane. The masked shinobi said, "Don't touch Zabuza with your dirty hands."

Zabuza was inwardly proud of his servant. She was strong and powerful and ultimately sly. It was great to see her showing her abilities. Gatō felt a senbon at his neck. He growled as he said, "Tell her let me go this instant!" The masked shinobi instead poked the senbon closer into his neck. Zabuza smirked as he towered over the man.

Zabuza said, "If I didn't make myself clear before I'll say it again. Do not think you can do whatever the hell you want to. I might be under contract but I don't mind taking a hit to my reputation if it means taking care of scum like you. Remember your place. Haku, let him go."

"Yes Zabuza-sama."

Gatō rubbed his throat once more. Why did people keep coming after his neck? It was like an omen or something. Too bad for karma that he didn't believe in such things. He also realized things weren't looking so well between he and Zabuza. Zabuza was becoming too big for his britches. He couldn't trust him to complete the mission. He was becoming a wild card. He knew that he had some bandits that he can spare for a mission like this. He said, "Fine. Make sure you complete the mission so we can end this arrangement."

"That's fine with me. The bridge builder will be killed along with Kakashi and co. "

Gatō turned and walked away but not before saying, "Good. Make sure of it."

Zabuza waited for a few moments before not being able to sense the man's foul stench before turning to Haku. He said, "Haku, he's up to something. I need to get well quicker. But for now, be on your guard. I have a feeling that there's going to be more than just me and you fighting these guys."

"Hai Zabuza-sama. I will keep tabs on him."

Zabuza mocked the man, "Make sure of it."

That elicited a giggle from the masked shinobi.


Naruto sighed.

The blond haired genin surveyed the area as he sat on the ground. Tonight, was his night to practice and train for their inevitable fight against the Demon of the Mist. He was a few meters away from the rest of his team passed the outskirts of the town. He found the place oddly peaceful as it was surrounded by trees. Who knew the Land of Wave would have trees and forest life? As Zoruamaru went searching around, Naruto had time to reflect on a few things.

The first being Aegis. When he and Aegis connected along with the book, he felt tremendous power coursing through him. It was surreal! On his wrist was the mark of Suiton. Unsurprisingly, the mark was of a water droplet. When connected with Aegis, he could use water techniques without even using symbols. That was something that only the Nidaime Hokage could do. It was almost as if he could bend water. He was pretty good at using Suiton techniques like waterfalls and water needles. But to be able to do them effortlessly without the use of hand signs was unfathomable! Never in his wildest dreams did he ever think that he could possibly use Suiton techniques like the Nidaime. That would be awesome. Yet, at the moment, he hasn't bond with Aegis. As such, he still had things to learn from the book.

This brought him to the second thing on his mind. This book was something he had seen in the library essentially by itself almost 7 years ago. The book had been a tremendous help in teaching him how to understand elemental ninjutsu and the elemental plane all together. Now to learn that while it was correct, it held more information than once thought. He had to give the author some serious credit. It took some heavy lifting in fuinjutsu to be able to hide essentially another book within a book.

The other thing that plagued his young mind was his Kekkei Genkais. They have been taking a toll on him not only physically but with his chakra as well. Normally, a regular person could hold one bloodline. Extraordinary people can hold maybe one or two more. But not Naruto. No, not Naruto. The last he counted, he had at least 6 of them. Hell, he felt a new one was coming. With any bloodline, it doesn't just take time to acclimate but it uses cells, chakra, and everything. Of course, there were a few that he wished he didn't get.

For example, he had a problem with the Shikotsumyaku (Dead Bone Pulse). No matter how much it made his body bone structure flexible while also insanely strong, it will always give him the heebie jeebies. In addition, certain bones when they escape from his body could take an hour or so to regenerate. One of those in particular was his ribs that loved to come out every now and again.

Another bloodline that irked him was the Chisoku bloodline. He absolutely hated it. For him, personally, the bloodline caused more harm than good. He didn't mind going at insane speeds. In fact, it was a lot of fun to do. The problem that arose was his changing of directions at those speeds were near impossible. In doing so, he became even more an open target of his enemies. While yes, for most of his enemies he could defeat them, against strong and advanced ninja, he was basically a sitting duck. In addition, the bloodline went against his bread and butter in using elemental ninjutsu.

Due to this he had sealed those bloodlines. Well not really seal it per se. Just temporarily suspending it. What Naruto, Orenji, and Zoruamaru had long since discovered that sealing bloodlines were a very bad idea. Around the age of 9, he felt his chakra become a bit wonky. His chakra control was very off. At some points, he could barely do techniques that he had long since became an expert in. Through some extensive research, also known as trial and error, they found out the fuinjutsu used to seal the bloodlines had a bad reaction when used for an extended amount of time.

Due to this, they found an alternative. The alternative was using slips in his body that deteriorated after a certain amount of time. The problem was once it was fully deteriorated, his other bloodlines come out in full force. It's highly uncomfortable for bones to randomly pop out of his body at the same time while vibrating from the Chisoku bloodline. It was getting around that time again. It didn't help that whatever this bloodline that's coming will make deteriorate the slip even quicker. He looked at his arm to see the slip disappearing. He was tempted to put another one there, but adding another one could have very mixed and random results. That wasn't exactly the best for any shinobi.

Clearing heads of such things as he needed to train for Zabuza, he did one hand sign and uttered, "Tajū Kage Bunshin no Jutsu (Multiple Shadow Clone Jutsu)." In an instant, over forty Naruto clones filled the area. Naruto said, "Okay, I need ten of you to follow Zoruamaru. I want to survey the outskirts. Keep your eyes open for anything. Report any findings and mark it. Another ten will work on chakra exercises. The other ten started putting a genjutsu barrier around this area. Try to implement it using Mokuton. The rest will work on elemental control with the real me. Got it?"

"Hai!"

The ten quickly followed behind their fox companion deeper passed the outskirts. The other ten split into two groups. The first group started to run up and down trees using chakra. The other group sat how Naruto was currently sitting. Yet, they started to concentrate until a blue hue surrounded them. This allowed them to feel the chakra of nature around them and channel it. Naruto was thrilled when Yamato taught him this. It really helped to clear his head and to fully embrace nature and become one with it.

The others looked at the original for guidance on what to do. The original pulled out the leather-bound book and put chakra into it. Just like the first time he did it, the chakra glowed a bright bluish hue that spiraled around the front cover with the words morphing into a cryptic language. He opened it to see a seal that he didn't recognize. The words above it said, "To the new master of this book, please put your hand on the seal and release some chakra into it."

Naruto put his chakra onto the seal causing it to glow bright. Soon right above the seal was a new prompt. It read, "What is your name? Please write your name in blood." Right under it, was a place to put it. The blond genin nicked his thumb and wrote his name. The seal glowed red as chakra lines etched its way through the bindings of the book. Naruto had to admit this deal work was highly impressive. The words written on the books read, "Greetings and salutations, Naruto. This book is officially yours. For such knowledge that is contained in this book, you must carry it with you at all times."

Naruto flipped the page. "This book contains knowledge and the resources to help guide you in the understanding of Elemental Bending. Only a few people can truly understand and harness the power that is Elemental Bending. For many ignorant of the true power of Elemental Bending would have you believe that it's a Kekkei Genkai that just gives you full control over the elements. That's not the case. The true power of Elemental Bending is not with the e but with an o. The true name of this bloodline is Elemental Bonding! You bond yourself with spirits that are elemental. While we do not have an exact name for these spirits, these spirits have been with humans since the very beginning. There is very little that we know of them. However, they have been the greatest of allies to humans from wars with other beings and even humans themselves.

Each spirit is immensely powerful in one element respectively. When connected with a human with this bloodline, the spirit becomes a conduit to the element in which they are connected to. While we do have connection to elemental chakra this connection with the spirit heightens it much higher degree. This enables the person to be able to use elemental techniques without the use of hand signs. The idea of bending the elements to a person's will has often been researched and either has been dismissed or considered to ridiculous. It can be done by other means. Nonetheless, it is a difficult process that takes time and effort. With any great power, there are great drawbacks except for this one. For now, you need to understand that it will be difficult to use other elemental ninjutsu when synchronized with your elemental spirit. We will be getting to that soon but for now turn to the next page to learn about your affinities.'

Naruto furrowed his eyebrows as this went against what he was taught not only from this book, but the information from Orenji. This seems to be one of the bigger problems that the shinobi world has. They do not share such discoveries with each other because they're paranoid that the other state will try and eliminate them. He could not blame them though. No one wants to lose the arms race and lose their families and friends because of it. Yet, it marveled the boy on what the world could achieve if they worked together. New discoveries. New powers. New cures. Maybe he was overthinking things but a boy could dream, can't he? He opened to the next page to see another seal in the middle of the page. He was thoroughly impressed by the nesting of seals in seals. It was hard to do one seal but to be able to do one that encompass the whole book is pretty damn hard.

It read, "Now it's time to see what your elemental affinity is/are. Before we begin, let's discuss what an element is. An element is any of the five substances that creates this world. Four out of the five elements are found in nature. The other is quite interesting but we'll get to that later. Everyone that can mold chakra has an affinity to a certain element. It's not to say that the person can master it but make it easier to use those affinities than other elements.

We'll get into more details in a little bit. For now, put your hand on the seal. This seal is the equivalent of the Alder trees that can tell a person's affinity. However, instead of using crumbling, splitting in half, etc. It will simply show a symbol of the affinity respectively. For fire, it will be a small fire symbol. For wind, there will be a tornado symbol. For water, there will be a droplet. For earth, there will be a pebble. Finally, for lightning, there will be a lightning bolt."

Naruto nodded as he put his hand over the book and poured a tiny bit of chakra into it. Much to Naruto's surprise, the book started to shake. Instinctively, he let the book drop from his hands. Instead of the book showing fire, tornado, droplet, earth pebble, or lightning bolt, there was a bright blue arrow. A certain power went through the book causing it to close. Naruto's eyes went wide as he tried to pry open the book. It was to no avail. Naruto cursed as his plan to learn more about this bloodline was stopped abruptly.

He said, "Well that's some bullshit! Aaah! Okay, change of plans. We're going to practice gathering water from the air. While the book wants to be a bitch doesn't mean can figure this out. Follow what I do." Naruto got up and took a deep breath. He stretched his arms out and put his left arm forward. He closed his eyes while concentrating on water. He muttered to himself, "Rushing water, water fountains, waterfalls, lakes, streams." With the idea of water in his mind, he started to think about different shapes of that water. He thought of needles, water balloons, stars. He decided to stick with the needles. The needles were a bit easier to create at least with water.

Naruto slowly opened his eyes to see not one, not two, but ten water needles levitating out of thin air. Naruto's eyes were wide as this was the first time that he had ever done something like this before. However, the needles fell to the ground with a splash. He looked around to see his clones have the same problem. Naruto frowned slightly before smiling once more. It was his first time using it. To be able to pull water out of thin air was considered highly advanced water technique when you use hand signs. In this way, it was even more remarkable to create those needles without it.

He said, "Ok, let's do this again but this time we're going to hold it for twenty seconds."

The clones nodded as they went back into their meditation mode. The original pulled out Alphos from its sheath. It had a certain gleam to it. He examined it slowly and started to look at the seals on said blade. It was something to truly marvel at the mere idea of mixing fuinjutsu and kenjutsu. Yet, this sword has certain seals connected to it allowing it to slow down opponents. He kept hitting himself with the hilt. Why didn't he think about that when he fought Zabuza? That could have given his team an advantage. Especially in this world, even the tiniest of an advantage can mean life or death. The good news is that with more experiences to be had, it gives him the ability to learn little nuances that can make him more effective. The other good news was that the Zabuza has no knowledge of this. So, he can use this to his advantage.

The boy decided that, for now, he would put the sword back. While it was nice to bring it out every now and again, he had other pressing matters that captured his attempted. His bright blue eyes slowly wandered towards the direction of the book as he saw seals appear on the book that was closed tightly shut. Naruto picked it up as it started to vibrate and pulse. The arrow that appeared on that page still confused the hell out of him. That wasn't supposed to happen and Naruto knew it. He decided for now it would be better to just put the book away. Before he could put it away, his went wide. He could only mutter two words.

"Oh shit."


Zorua and the other Naruto clones went about 5 km away from where Naruto had been training. While it was mostly dark around the area, Zoruamaru could see a small fire lit. With a wave of his tail, he ushered the clones to follow him silently. The closer they got, the stronger the smell of burning charcoal filled the air. Zoruamaru's nose crinkled from the smell. He absolutely hated the smell as it reminded him of the smell of those that tried to kill him when he was younger. He quickly knocked out the cobwebs and approached this slowly.

As they got closer, he saw there were about 70 men laughing uproariously. They all varied with height and weight. But the bandits all had a red band on their arms. Zorua could smell the alcohol becoming stronger with each passing step. They started to sing chants and songs. Zorua rolled his eyes at their drunken camaraderie. He silently waved the others clones but one to surround the area. He told the clone to henge into a kunai to put into the pouch. Zorua silently penetrated the guards. With their drunkenness, he found it quite easy to get around. It was a bit touch and go however because they nearly stepped on him.

Zorua took a deep breath as he saw something that resembled a captain's quarters. Zorua quickly skirted through and sat next to it. Using the shadow that was being casted from the torch, Zorua disappeared into the shadowed realm.

Meanwhile, a short man decided to walk through the area. Much to the surprise of Zorua, the bandits became silent and put into order as if they were soldiers. From what Zorua could see in the shadows, the man wasn't their leader but a businessman of some sort. The man stopped in front of one of the burliest men that Zorua had ever seen. The bigger man stuttered to the man.

"G-Gatō-sama, I did not expect-"

Whap!

The man rubbed his bearded jaw as a large welt started to form. Gatō sneered at the man as he jumped and grabbed the man by the ear. His eyes show perpetual fury as he spat at the man, "Don't Gatō-sama me, Isho. All I see here is a waste of life thinking they can drink and party when they're supposed to be protecting my assets. Where is your brother?"

Boom!

"There he is."

Out of the captain's quarters came a man larger than life. He is about six feet, six inches tall. He was extremely muscular with obvious scars around his body. He had a pointy face with a black goatee. His right eye was jet black while his left eye was covered with an eye patch. With his two swords strapped on his back, he gave the shorter man a glare. His temper flared as he said, "Gatō, what is the meaning of this?"

The shorter man hmphed, "It's about time you got here, Ichiyana. I don't know what type of militia you are running with." Gatō's face turned into that of utter disgust. "All they are is a bunch of disorganized drunkards. You said B had a top ranked militia that can protect my assets. Obviously, you thought way too highly of yourself."

Ichiyana smirked as he leaned on a table. He said dismissively, "Now, now Gatō. My guys are doing quite well. You haven't loss any assets. Don't blame us for your colossal failure that was the killing of the bridge builder." Gatō frowned as the man continued, "Yeah, my scouts caught wind of that debacle with Zabz. Losing to a scarecrow and his green genin. Ha! Pathetic. Maybe if you would have hired us in the first place, the old man's remains would not be found."

Gatō was not thrilled by the all-knowing smug look that was etched on Ichiyana's face. He growled, "Remember your place, boy. Remember that without me, you would be on the streets after betraying the Tsuchikage." The leader frowned at this. The older businessman wasn't wrong. He did save him from Tsuchikage but somehow Gatō wanted to finagle his departure out of the way. He said with annoyance, "What is it that you want, Gatō? I know you didn't come here just to look at your assets."

Gatō grew an all-knowing smirk as he said, "You're not wrong, Ichiyana. Zabuza had failed to kill the bridge builder. So, it appears that the bridge builder is going to be a slight problem. Him making it back and those Konoha nin staying has given the people some hope. Zabuza is partially injured but should be good to go in 3 days. So, he's going to go after Kakashi and his genin and try to kill the bridge builder. Now, we know that's not happening. Well that's where you come in. You will be backing him up. Those shinobi would be massively weakened at that point. You'll kill them and the bridge builder and we'll finally put a complete stronghold over Nami."

Ichiyana grunted as he said, "That's all well and good for you having a stronghold and all. But what do we get out this deal?"

Gatō calmed himself before replying, "What is it that you want, exactly?"

"We want to make Nami a shinobi village."

Gatō nearly choked on his own tongue. Gatō has been around the block a few times. He's heard demands of women, money, land, animals, drugs, hell even food. But this is truly a first. Making a little piece of land into a shinobi village? Nearly impossible. Nonetheless, Gatō replied, "So you want to be the 'Shodai Namikage' or whatever. Couldn't handle being in the shadow of your father." Ichiyana seethed inside but didn't let it show as Gatō continued, "There are so many resources here that has yet to be uncovered. You can do whatever you want with the people who become shinobi but all the resources belong to me. Is that clear?"

Ichiyana's face transformed into a smirk. "Pleasure doing business with you sir."


"Kakashi-sensei, we're in big trouble."

Kakashi softly drank his tea. He saw his blond student with sweat pouring down his striped face. He could see that the boy had seen something that could drastically change the situation. The boy's demeanor screamed dire as the boy huffed and puffed. He put the cup down as he asked, "What's the problem, Naruto-kun?"

He took a moment to catch his breath. Once he received word about what happened with Zoruamaru, he quickly ran here. He said while panting, "Kakashi-sensei, we need to get Sasuke and Sakura here immediately and put up a barrier."

Kakashi's lone eye went up. It was significantly rare for a genin to know about barrier seals. But for Naruto to not only know about it but seems to know when to use it caught Kakashi's attention. He created two regular clones to get the others. The look on Naruto's face was grim causing concern from the scarecrow.

"Ugh! What is it Kakashi-sensei? Some people are trying to sleep." Sakura's face was that of irritation as her body was still sore from today's training. She still ached in places she didn't know could get pain. Sasuke's face held the same irritation. It wasn't until they saw their sensei's lack of aloofness that they stiffened up. Once they were close Kakashi went through a slew of hand signs causing the area around the four to turn red slightly before going back to before.

Kakashi looked at Naruto with the seriousness of his ANBU days, "Naruto, what happened?"

Naruto gained a steel like gaze as he spoke, "Zabuza is coming to attack in three days. But Gatō has other plans. Zoruamaru uncovered that Gatō has militia waiting to attack after Zabuza."

Team Seven's eyes lit up in shock. For the two green genin, it have never occurred that Zabuza might be the only one they would be against. Sakura started to shake where she stood. While Sasuke wasn't as bad as Sakura, the same thoughts were flowing through his head. How do you get out of this situation? His hand bawled into a fist as his thoughts started to get to him. Kakashi silently cursed. Of course, Gatō was too smart not to have a group behind him in case Zabuza couldn't complete his mission. He said, "Well that complicates things. Gatō must have realized that things might go bad. How far are they away from us?"

"They're not that far away. Just past the outskirts of the town. It appears that they will be attacking by land. It would take about 30 minutes to reach the town."

Sakura paled at the for a moment before saying, "If they're so close, why aren't they attacking before or during the same time as Zabuza? Wouldn't that take us down quicker than waiting in the back? Unless."

Naruto gravely agreed with her deduction, "They're going to kill Zabuza as well. They're going to tie up loose ends."

Sasuke spoke up, "So Gatō and Zabuza's contract went south?"

Naruto spoke, "It's a distinct possibility. But why would that matter?"

Kakashi replied, "If it did go south then that means that Zabuza might be more willing to switch sides or at least have the idea that he could be backstabbed. As a result, he might hold back."

Naruto scratched his chin before saying, "I guess. But my concern is that hunter-nin that helped him before. Is he one of theirs or Zabuza's personal. If it's the former, then we're in bigger shit than we realized. "Silence fell over the team as they tried to come up with a plan.

Sakura offered, "Can we just tell him that there is a group coming after us all?"

Kakashi nodded his head negatively, "He wouldn't believe us. Even if he did, he could weaken us just to slow is down as he runs away. It's too risky."

"Good point. Maybe we can bandits today or tomorrow?"

Sasuke was surprised that Naruto was the one who answered, "Negative. From what I've been told by Zoruamaru, the militia is on hyper alert after Gatō lit into their asses. While I'm sure Kakashi could handle a good chunk of them, we would be a slight hindrance. But I have an idea that might just work."

Kakashi shivered as a cold thought ran through his head. He had long since learned that when Naruto has time to formulate a plan, he become calculative than his father and that was saying something. He said, "What is your plan for this?"

Naruto gained a sadistic smirk as he rubbed his hands together. He said, "While their security has beefed up, they still cannot find Zorua in the shadows. He's going to place-" Naruto pulled out two seals from his pocket. While the seals didn't look like much he placed it on the ground. He ushered the others to move back. He created a shadow clone and ushered it to step on the seal. It was hesitant as it stepped on it. In an instant, a black smoke filled the area. The team quickly cleared the air to see the clone was frozen solid. Naruto said in a cough, "The first seal creates a black smoke obviously. The second one when it is stepped on causes a spray of water to hit the target and uses the moisture in the air to freeze them in 2 seconds. In addition, the water will use the person's chakra to freeze the person even faster. It's pretty deadly."

Team Seven was in awe as they watched their blond teammate giggle in glee. They realized that he was completely and utterly insane. Who comes up with traps like this? Kakashi could only grabbed the bridge of his nose as he said, "That seems excessive but at this point we can't waste any resources and if we have something that they don't know about gives a huge advantage. How many can you make at a time?"

Naruto with a glint in his eye said, "With the shadow clones, I can make them in no time. I can have them deployed by tomorrow night. I'm going to have some of my clones and Zoruamaru survey the area if anything goes down."

Kakashi sighed as he asked, "Are there any drawbacks?"

Naruto shrugged as he said, "One or two might escape but I can put some extra precautions of they were to reach the village."

Kakashi sighed once more, "Is there anything else that I need to know?"

Naruto shrugged once more, "Not at the moment. I just needed your permission to do so. I would suggest we start practicing some more. He's getting stronger and he knows a little bit more about us."

Kakashi dropped his shoulders before saying, "Rest up. We're going to work on some chakra exercises to build each of your chakra up a little bit more. It will give us a bit of an advantage."

Something clicked in Naruto's head. He said, "Kakashi-sensei, wait."

"What is it, Naruto-kun?"

"The bandits' leader is Ichiyana."

Kakashi's eye went wide.


"Ahh paradise!"

It was a hot day in Kaminari no Kuni. The clouds were nowhere to be seen. The water near the beaches was nice and warm. There were people all over having a joyous time sunbathing playing in the water, playing volleyball. The women were absolutely divine in their bathing suits.

Yes. This was paradise.

An old man started to giggle. He had a wart on the left side of his nose and waist-length, spiky white hair that he usually ties back into a ponytail, with two shoulder-length bangs framing his face. With a lecherous look on his face, he started to scribble in his notepad. Today was a perfect day for inspiration. He tapped his chin with his pen. 'What would be a great title for this? Maybe Icha Icha: Beach Paradise. Or maybe Icha Icha: Summertime. Well it isn't Summer. So that's a no go. Hmmm. It's always hard to pick a good title.'.

The man could only sigh in a relaxed way. When the only problem you have at the moment is trying to figure out what is a good, you know it's an amazing day. What could possibly ruin an amazing day?

Poof!

"Jiraiya-kun, you have been requested."

Jiraiya's face went from excited and happy to dreary and depressed. Of course, something would ruin this perfect day. He turned around to see a monkey. The monkey's body and tail is covered by white fur which protrude from his sleeves and pants. He has long unkempt white hair that reached into his back and long sideburns and a goatee. He wears a black suit with mesh armor underneath, over which he wears a sleeveless kimono shirt with white fur trimmings, and markings reminiscent of tiger stripes on it which is held closed by a red sash.

Jiraiya sighed as he said, "I guess this is really important if the old monkey decides to send his own old monkey to come get me. Ow!" The old monkey whacked the older man on the head with his bo. Jiraiya rubbed his head trying to smooth the pain.

"I'm not old, I'm just not as young as I used to be."

"You were already passed your prime when sensei had us as his students. Hey! Watch it!"

"Make no mistake Jiraiya-kun, I can still kill you by the time supper is ready. In fact, you're not so spry yourself."

Jiraiya grunted as he put his notebook away. He snapped his fingers that resulted in a circle surrounding the two. His face became serious. He said, "Yeah, yeah. Why does the old man want from me?"

"It appears that Orochimaru has been busy."

Jiraiya's eyes went wide in surprise, "Oh? What did he do now?"

"It appears that something unlocked from Anko-chan. Her seal changed shape and form. It seems to be affecting her a bit. We need you to see what's wrong with her."

Jiraiya nodded his head sagely. Although he hated his former teammate, he had to admit, he was a masterful fuinjutsu specialist. That seal was one of the most complex seals that Jiraiya had ever seen. In fact, there is only one seal that he had seen that is more complex, the Dead Demon Consuming Seal. Even with the Hyuga Seal, you can figure out what it does and possibly how to fix it. The only problem with that seal was that he was not going to start testing it on Hyugas. Way too many issues. But with Orochimaru's seal, there was really no telling what it truly did and that honestly scared the hell out of Jiraiya.

He said softly, "It's going to take some time but there is some other things I need to look into before I get to her."

The old monkey folded his arms as he retorted, "Saru-kun will not be pleased by this. How much time do you need exactly?"

"About three months. "

"Three months?!"

Jiraiya sighed. He really didn't want to get into this today. He was having such a nice day. He replied, I know, Enma-sama. But there is the other problem that I'm investigating and I have pretty big lead."

Enma nodded, "The Akatsuki, I'm presuming."

"Precisely. From my reports, they have been gaining momentum. They have been more active now than ever before but I don't know why or their objective are. But my sources have been telling me they're planning something within the next 3 months."

"While Saru-kun will not be pleased, I understand."

Jiraiya asked somberly, "How is sensei doing, honestly?"

Enma lamented, "He's not well. He's been battling a disease for a while now and it's not getting better. He's getting up there in age. He can't be doing the Hokage thing that much longer. He needs to retire soon and enjoy the rest of his days."

"T-that's truly unfortunate."

The feeling of melancholy filled the gray-haired shinobi. He hated the feeling of helplessness. He knew that he couldn't help or cure his sensei. Not even his teammate could help him.

"Maybe it's time for you to take the hat."

This broke Jiraiya out of his rabbit hole. He gained a bitter look on his face from that statement. He retorted, "They didn't want me before. Didn't even put me in the ballot." Jiraiya gave the old monkey a bitter laugh. It was, in fact, the Sandaime was the one that told him to not even put in for the job. The Hokage told him he was at most the third in line. That they just didn't respect him enough to be the wearer of the hat.

Enma bowed his head. Jiraiya was clear cut his favorite Sannin. The Toad Sannin was a hard worker and actually did work. He didn't fully trust Orochimaru even back then. But Orochimaru was Hiruzen's absolute favorite student. Back then, Orochimaru could do absolutely no wrong. The unfortunate or fortunate, depending on who you ask, Minato was an absolute powerhouse. He was lightning quick, deceptively strong, analytical, calm demeanor, and highly charismatic. While he couldn't say that he had been on as many missions as Orochimaru, it could be said that he was more valuable to Konoha. He said, "Saru-kun rarely disagreements but that was a big one."

"Yeah. It's like 'Oi, Jiraiya could do this and that and blah, blah, blah.' But when it comes to the hat, it's like I'm not even important."

"You're important. If it wasn't for your vote, the Yondaime wouldn't have been Minato."

Jiraiya's mood turned a bit sourer as he retorted, "Yeah and Karma got me back by taking him away at the age of 24. That's a great consolation prize. Maybe if Orochi-teme did get the job, everything would have been different." Jiraiya stood up and stretched. This situation started to seriously bum him out. He said, "We can continue past until the cows come home but I got other things I have to attend to. Tell him, I'll be there in three months. "

"Indeed. May I ask one last question?"

"Of course, Enma-sama."

"Will you go for Hokage?"

Jiraiya stopped stretching for a moment and looked the monkey deep into his eyes. He said with finality, "I wasn't ready then. I'm not ready now."

A/N: Done! Woo boy. This took a bit longer than I thought it would. But the Wave Arc has two more chapters. Watch out for Ichiyana as well. He has an interesting background. Next chapter is going to have bring in a few surprises. Hopefully, it will be done very soon.

If you have any questions just drop me a review and I'll reply as quick as possible.

Read and review.

JK10 is out.