"Uzumaki Naruto!" In the Academy of the Village Hidden in the Leaves a young boy with blond hair and bright blue eyes jumped in surprise, clutching a small stack of papers tightly in his fists. He'd been waiting in line for hours it seemed like, and he'd zoned out a while ago. He hadn't even noticed when the girl in front of him went in. Quickly scurrying forward into the examination room, he passed by the girl wiping furiously at her eyes and sniffling.
The room inside was typical Academy fare, as far as Naruto was concerned. A row of benches and desks sloping down to an open area at the bottom that the instructor had set up his desk at, a chalkboard, a few boxes of currently unused school supplies, and not much else. Naruto quickly bounded down the stairs two at a time, coming to a halt right in front of the instructor's desk and thrusting his papers in the man's face. The instructor, an aged chunin with a bandana wrapped around his head and full chunin getup, took them with an amused grin.
Naruto bounced eagerly on the balls of his feet while the man looked them over, more than ready to ace this test and take his first step to becoming a real life ninja. After an eternity of waiting the chunin instructor nodded sharply and shifted the paperwork to the side and stood up, walking around his desk to the middle of the open floor, gesturing for Naruto to follow.
"Now, this test is rather simple," he explained. "All you need to do is perform the Ram seal and channel your chakra. I'll take care of the rest," he winked. Naruto eagerly nodded, and the instructor carefully showed him how to form the seal, poking and prodding at his hands until he was satisfied. Stepping back, he crossed his arms.
"Now close your eyes and relax. Make sure you keep your hands in that position, and turn your focus inward. When your stomach starts tingling, I want you to tell me, okay?" The chunin asked. Naruto nodded firmly, eyes clenched tightly shut, and focused.
At first he didn't feel anything. Just the aching in his feet from standing in line so long and the queasy feeling in his stomach from eating too much ramen and the wind drifting in through the window. After a minute he started to panic, just a bit. He felt a bead of sweat burn a trail down his whiskered cheek, felt the queasy feeling in his stomach intensify, felt the instructor's gaze burning a hole through his head. And then he felt it.
"I-I've got it," he whispered, relief flooding through him. It wasn't exactly like the instructor had said. It didn't tingle in his stomach, instead making him feel light and sorta giddy, like that one time that masked ninja carried him across the rooftops to the Hokage Tower. A hand suddenly came to rest on his right shoulder, and he heard the instructor speak, voice distant and echoing.
"Focus on that feeling, Naruto. Focus on it, and pull."
Naruto grit his teeth, imagining himself grasping the weightless feeling tightly in his hands. His body tensed, nose scrunching up in concentration, and he pulled.
He felt the light sensation spread throughout his entire body in a rush of a motion, heard it roar in his ears as it left his body. The instructor's hand left his shoulder, and a heavy crash managed to force its way past the noise in Naruto's ears. He opened his eyes, startled, and gasped.
The room had been wrecked. All of the papers that had been on the chunin's desk were now scattered about the room, some still drifting around lazily, and the contents of the boxes in the corner, several books and dulled kunai, had likewise been dumped on the floor. And the instructor himself, to Naruto's horror, had been thrown backwards into his desk, which now sported a long vertical crack splitting it down the middle.
Rushing over to the dazed man's side, Naruto hesitantly shook his shoulder. "Sensei? Sensei, are you alright?" He stammered. The instructor nodded shortly, gently shaking off Naruto's hand and pushing himself to his feet, surveying the damage the room had sustained. Then he looked down at Naruto, an unreadable expression on his face.
"Would you mind having a seat in the room across the hall until I'm done with the other children, Naruto?" He asked politely.
"Yeah, sure," Naruto replied nervously. Turning around, he bounded up the steps and out the door, past the curious gaze of a girl with hair and eyes a shade lighter than his own, dressed in purple and white. Slipping into the empty room set up with a big round table surrounded by a bunch of comfortable looking chairs and a large refrigerator, Naruto flopped down into the nearest seat for all of five seconds before he was up and pacing.
The clock on the wall said it had only been twenty minutes, but to Naruto it felt like it had been hours by the time the door finally opened. The chunin instructor motioned for Naruto to follow him, and he hurriedly complied.
"We're going to take a trip to the Hokage Tower," The instructor explained while the two of them walked down the hall towards the exit. "Hokage-sama would like to see your chakra himself."
"Did I do something wrong?" Naruto asked quietly. The instructor snorted, reaching down and ruffling his spiky blond hair.
"Of course not. You did something different," he said. Naruto stewed on that until they'd made it out of the Academy and the instructor crouched down, offering him his back. Naruto clambered on, and the instructor reached around with one arm to secure him to his back, and with the other formed a hand seal.
"Shunshin no jutsu."
Naruto cried out in surprise as the man suddenly shot forward, so fast that Naruto couldn't make out anything but blurred colors. The ride ended as soon as it had begun, and the instructor lowered Naruto carefully to the ground, keeping a firm hand on his shoulder so he didn't fall, and directed him into the towering red tower that the Hokage and his most trusted operated in. Quickly finding his senses, Naruto turned awed eyes up at the man.
"What was that, sensei?" He asked. The instructor chuckled, letting go of him and heading for the stairs.
"That was the Body Flicker. It's one of many D-rank jutsu you'll be learning if you graduate and become a genin."
"If, he says," Naruto muttered, hurrying to keep up with the man's long stride. They traveled the rest of the way up the tower in silence, and anxiety began bubbling anew in the pit of Naruto's stomach. The man had said he hadn't done anything wrong, just different, but that wasn't necessarily a good thing...
They finally reached the top floor of the tower and made their way past the waiting room and the Hokage's secretary, who merely nodded them through. The instructor knocked sharply thrice on the door, and the Hokage's familiar voice drifted through the sturdy wood, calling them in.
The Hokage's office was just as Naruto remembered it. Adorned with several shelves filled to the brim with scrolls, three straight backed chairs in front of the Hokage's desk, and the Hokage's desk itself, an ornate oak piece that stretched nearly wall to wall covered in scrolls and stack of paperwork. The old man himself sat back in his seat, staring contemplatively at Naruto, Hokage hat and robes securely on his person.
The two masked shinobi standing on either side of his desk were new. Naruto peered curiously at their unusual uniforms. Instead of the pure black clothing he was used to seeing, theirs had patches of muted green mixed in. And their masks were different too. They were even stranger than the usual fare- One was decorated sorta like a cat, with big pointy ears and strange markings around its eyes and mouth. The other was completely blank, a plain white oval that somehow managed to creep Naruto out even more than the freaky cat.
"Ah, Naruto, it's good to see you again" The old man greeted warmly. Naruto quickly turned away from the two strange looking shinobi and offered him a grin.
"Hey old man!"
"By your leave, sir," The instructor spoke up behind him. The Sandaime nodded genialy.
"Of course, Izumo. Thank you for escorting Naruto here safely." The chunin bowed, turning to leave. Naruto's eyes widened and he quickly lunged to catch the man's sleeve.
"Ah, I just wanted to say sorry again," he mumbled in answer to the man's curious look. "I didn't mean to, uh, throw you into your desk and stuff..." He trailed off lamely, looking down at his sandals. A moment later a hand was ruffling his hair, and he looked up to see Izumo smirking at him.
"No problem kiddo," he said. Then he turned and walk out the door, closing it softly behind him.
"So Naruto," The old man said. "Izumo told me your attempt at channeling chakra yielded some unusual results. Could you try channeling some more for us?"
"Are you sure?" Naruto asked doubtfully. Wrecking the Academy classroom had been bad enough, but what would happen to him if he ruined the Hokage's office?
The Sandaime just nodded, smilingly reassuringly, and Naruto found himself forming the Ram seal once again and focusing on the feeling of giddy weightlessness in his gut. This time he knew what he was looking for, and he also knew how to coax it out, so when the feeling sped out of his body this time the roar in his ears was replaced with the sound of ruffled clothing and scrolls. He cracked one eye open and found the room no worse for wear, to his relief.
The Sandaime hummed thoughtfully. "Mujina, Bakeneko, if you'd please." He said, and the two masked shinobi strode over to Naruto, crouching down and prodding him with glowing green fingers. Naruto took a startled step backwards, but they simply moved forward with him, continuing to poke at different spots on his body.
"Don't worry," The old man called. "They're just checking your tenketsu." Well, Naruto didn't know what tenketsu were, but if the old man said they were alright he supposed he'd trust them. For now.
After a few uncomfortable minutes the shinobi both abruptly stood up and retreated back to the Hokage's desk. The old man snapped his fingers and suddenly another shinobi melted out of one corner of the room, reaching over Naruto and opening the door.
"Go," the man commanded, voice muffled by the mask on his face, and Naruto hurried out. The shinobi walk right by him, past the secretary into the waiting room, where he took up a stance by the doorway. Naruto followed carefully behind.
"So... which one are you?" Naruto blurted into the silence. The shinobi's mask turned to face Naruto directly, but he didn't otherwise answer. Naruto rolled his eyes and pointed at the mask. "You know, which animal?"
For a while it seemed like the shinobi wouldn't say anything, but finally, "Weasel." Naruto scrunched his nose up.
"That sucks," he said distastefully. "When I graduate I'm gonna be something really cool, like a lion, or a shark!" Weasel cocked his head further.
"Only Anbu are issued shinobi masks." Naruto stared at him in confusion.
"What's an Anbu?"
By the time Weasel finally lead Naruto back into the old man's office the sun had begun to set and the queasy fullness in his stomach was long gone. Walking in, Naruto noticed that the two weird Anbu, as he now knew them to be, had left, leaving the Sandaime by himself. The Hokage was currently facing away from them, his chair swivelled to look out at the village through the office's large windows. Wispy trails of smoke floated up above the chair, and the smell of tobacco hung in the air.
"Have a seat, Naruto," The old man said. Sitting down again was just about the last thing Naruto wanted to do, but the old man sounded serious, and when old man Hokage got serious you listened. Period. So he grabbed a seat and waited.
"Thank you, Weasel. That will be all." Naruto twisted in his seat, a goodbye on his lips, but found the shinobi had already disappeared. Huh.
"Naruto." He whipped around to see the Sandaime staring at him with an unreadable expression. "What does being a shinobi mean to you?" Naruto blinked.
"What does being a shinobi mean to you?" The Sandaime patiently repeated. "Why do you wish to be one? Why would you rather be a shinobi than a blacksmith or a cook?"
"Because ninja are awesome!" Naruto said enthusiastically. "They can breathe fire like dragons and break trees with their fists and teleport like Izumo-sensei! They get to save princesses and beat up bad guys and everyone notices and respects them. Especially the Hokage! And-"
"Is that why you want to be a shinobi, Naruto?" Sarutobi interrupted him softly. "To be noticed and respected?" Naruto sputtered for a moment, eventually shrugging with forced nonchalance under the weight of the man's gaze.
"I guess that's one reason..." He agreed casually. The Sandaime raised an eyebrow.
"Do you want to know why I became a shinobi, Naruto?" Naruto nodded eagerly, of course. "I became a shinobi to protect Konoha." The blond child's eyebrows furrowed.
"Uh, don't they all do that?"
"To some extent, yes," Sarutobi agreed. "But some desire fame first and foremost. Or money, or power," The old man peered down at him. "Some desire respect." Naruto averted his eyes, feeling guilty for reasons he couldn't even understand.
"There's nothing wrong with desiring such things," The Hokage assured him, allowing Naruto to relax. "But I worry that they won't provide the incentive you need."
"Why?" Naruto asked curiously. Sarutobi drummed his fingers pensively on the desk, a thoughtful expression on his face. Then he rose and beckoned for Naruto to follow, turning and cracking open the window behind his desk.
"Hop on, Naruto." And for the second time that day Naruto scrambled up onto a piggyback ride with a shinobi. This time, however, they didn't travel with a super cool jutsu.
Instead, the Hokage stepped up onto the windowsill, crouched, and leaped across Konoha towards the Hokage Mountain. Naruto shrieked in surprise as they soared above Konoha's nighttime inhabitants, cringing when the Yondaime's sculpted head came into view. Yet, amazingly, the Hokage landed light as a feather on one of the sculpture's spiky locks. He crouched again, allowing Naruto to slide off his back and collapse into a sitting position.
Once Naruto had regained his wits (for the second time that day), he turned to chew out the old man only to find him staring ahead.
"Look, Naruto." Grudgingly, Naruto turned towards Konoha. And his breath froze in his throat.
He'd never seen it from a bird's eye view, he dimly realized. It had always been a street view for him, or a roof view depending on who he was with. But he'd never seen it all laid out in front of him before. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen before.
"They're beautiful, aren't they?" Naruto jumped.
"The trees," The Hokage said, and when Naruto looked again he realized that while he'd been staring at the thousands of little people darting around below he'd missed the towering trees covering nearly half the village. He felt awe as he traced a simply enormous one that curled up and over the Academy, covering it in a protective canopy of leaves.
"Wow," he breathed. The Sandaime chuckled softly beside him.
The two stayed that way for a long while, marvelling at the village they called home until the sun had disappeared completely and the moon had begun to rise. Finally, Naruto reluctantly broke away from his inspection of a group of Anbu bouncing around the village via rooftop, craning his neck to look at the Sandaime, who was still standing there with a peaceful expression on his face.
"Hey old man?" He asked quietly. The Sandaime hummed, which he took as a sign to go on. "Why'd you bring us here?"
"I wanted you to see why I became a shinobi." Understanding bloomed on the boy's face, and he turned to look at Konoha again, this time in a different light.
"To protect... all of this?" The Sandaime's lips curled into a small smile at the baffled expression on his face.
"All of it," he said simply.
"I had help," Sarutobi admitted. "Look at those trees, look at how they shield Konoha, hiding her from those that might wish her harm." He ordered, and Naruto obliged. "The Shodaime Hokage created them." He nodded seriously when the boy whipped around to gape at him.
"Look at those rivers, at that waterfall," he pointed towards the area of the village where the training grounds resided. "Those were made by the Nidaime Hokage, and have kept water in every villager's home for decades."
"What did you do, old man?" Naruto asked wonderingly. Sarutobi's smile widened.
"I kept it all safe through three great wars."
"Three?" Naruto said incredulously.
"I'm certainly old enough to have lived through them all, am I not?" The Sandaime responded in amusement. Naruto considered that for a moment, eventually nodding in acceptance.
"So what does that have to do with my, uh..." He trailed off, face scrunched up in frustration.
"Incentive?" The Sandaime smirked.
"Yeah, that! What's it have to do with my incentive to be a ninja?" Sarutobi frowned, returning his attention to Konoha.
"You have a chakra defect, Naruto," he revealed, and Naruto could have sworn his heart stopped.
"A what?" He asked, horrified.
"Your chakra is different from the average shinobi. Instead of the regular brand used to perform Genjutsu and similar arts, it's elemental in nature."
"What do you mean?" Sarutobi sighed at the question.
"Channeling elemental chakra is a skill that most shinobi spend years attempting to accomplish in order to perform special Ninjutsu. It is a complicated process that involves morphing one's chakra to closely resemble their element of choice. Yours has skipped that stage entirely."
"Isn't that a good thing?" Sarutobi grimaced at the desperation in the small boy's voice.
"In some regards, yes," he agreed. "But with only wind natured chakra at your disposal, you will be unable to perform even the simplest Genjutsu and Ninjutsu not directly related to the element. Fuinjutsu will also likely be out of your reach."
Naruto exhaled shakily, attempting to process the man's words. He'd never heard of Fuinjutsu, and Genjutsu only vaguely rang a bell, but he couldn't use Ninjutsu? How was he supposed to become Hokage if he couldn't use Ninjutsu? How was he even supposed to become a ninja?
"What can I do?" His head dipped, bangs fell over his eyes, and his tone was bleak. Sarutobi frowned.
"You can stop sulking first of all," he said, voice hard. Naruto lifted his head quickly, staring up at Sarutobi, shocked. "Just because you're at a disadvantage doesn't mean that you can't still achieve your dream. Don't ever think otherwise," he said sternly. Naruto nodded slowly.
"But how can I-"
"There are other arts for you to learn. Taijutsu, the shinobi art of hand to hand combat, even more essential a skill than Ninjutsu, requires no chakra given the right style. Likewise, Kenjutsu, the shinobi art of weaponry, relies only on your determination to exceed. Stealth, a skill that every shinobi worth their title possesses, doesn't require any chakra either." The Sandaime crossed his arms across his chest. "Do you see where I'm going with this, Naruto?"
"I think so," Naruto said slowly. "As long as I work really hard, I can still be a ninja?" The Sandaime's hard expression softened, and he nodded.
"Exactly. Now hop on, these old bones can't take the cold." Naruto giggled and nodded, quickly wiping at his eyes and jumping on the old man's back once again for the return trip. This time he managed to hold himself to an exhilarated whoop as they soared through the sky towards the Hokage's office.
When they were safely indoors Sarutobi allowed Naruto to drop and collapsed back into his chair with a relieved sigh. Naruto, meanwhile, bounced around in front of the desk, too giddy with excitement and something else he couldn't identify to sit down. Sarutobi coughed firmly, expression serious once more, and Naruto forced himself to calm down and listen.
"To answer your question, Naruto, I brought you to the Hokage Mountain to show you what the right goals can accomplish. The Shodaime, the Nidaime, and myself all strove to protect Konoha above all else. We accepted nothing less than a prosperous village, and so that's what we got.
"If you truly wish to become a shinobi, to overcome your handicap and excel despite it, a simple desire for respect won't be enough."
Naruto fidgeted, conflicted, but the Sandaime didn't give him a chance to speak.
"I'm going to make you a deal, Naruto. The same deal I made with a boy a year older than you with a similar problem, Rock Lee." Sarutobi stated. "I'll enroll you in the Academy if that is still your wish, and I'll make sure the instructor's don't penalize you for not being able to perform the required Ninjutsu, Genjutsu, and Fuinjutsu.
"And if when the day comes for you to graduate you are at the top of your class in Taijutsu, Kenjutsu, and Stealth, and you can present me with a desire to be one worthy of a future Hokage, you will be made a shinobi." The Sandaime leaned forward, smiling conspiratorially. "I'll even give you a special scroll from my library as a reward for your hard work."
"Really!?" Naruto cried, leaning forward and nearly headbutting the Hokage in his excitement, who merely leaned back and laughed.
"Of course, of course," he assured. "So, what do you say?"
"I say you've got a deal," Naruto reached out and grabbed the old man's hand off the table in a hearty handshake.
"I'm glad," Sarutobi said sincerely. "Your first class will be a week from now, and I expect you to make a very good first impression with your instructor."
"You got it old man!"
"Now then, if all of that is settled, I think it's about time we got you home," he said. "I'm sure Mrs. Wakayama is worried sick about your absence." Naruto rolled his eyes at the mention of his crazy caretaker but followed the Hokage out of his office nonetheless.
They traveled at a leisurely stroll, an appreciated change from the day's previous means of transport. Naruto looked around at everything with new eyes, the amazing view from the Hokage Mountain still burning in his mind. They were just reaching the district that housed Naruto's orphanage when a thought occurred to the young boy.
"Hey old man, what did the Yondaime do for Konoha?" He asked. Sarutobi glanced at him thoughtfully for a moment.
"He did more than any of his predecessors," he answered quietly. "He saved Konoha from annihilation seven years ago, sacrificing his life to defeat a demon bent on her destruction."
"Woah..." Naruto twisted his head to stare at the Yondaime's monument with something like hero worship shining in his eyes. And in doing so he missed the look the Sandaime gave him, one of deep sadness and regret.
Naruto was just about bouncing in his seat at the Academy, the agonizing week of waiting finally past. While other kids his age around him chatted about this or that, he daydreamed about all of the super cool Taijutsu moves he'd be learning, and all the awesome Kenjutsu stuff as well! Stealth didn't sound quite as cool, but he'd find a way to make it fun, or his name wasn't Uzumaki Naruto. Excitement and determination both flowed through him like chakra, leaving him feeling giddy and light.
Or maybe that was his chakra. Pausing, Naruto glanced around and sure enough saw hair ruffling and papers rustling from his unconscious channeling of chakra. Closing his eyes quickly, he focused on pushing the feel of his chakra back into his body, relaxing only when the last little bit had been contained. He'd have to be careful about that, he realized.
Fortunately, any mood killing concerns with his strange chakra were quickly shoved into the farthest recess of his mind when the door opened below and a man wearing a chunin vest sporting a spiky hairdo walked in. Immediately the conversations in the room died down, the other kids turning their attention just as expectantly on the man as Naruto.
"Hello students!" He greeted cheerfully. Walking over to the solitary desk in the room he dropped a stack of papers he'd been carrying, and then reached down and grabbed an armful of textbooks from a box next to the desk. He quickly set about climbing the stairs and handing each student a textbook. Naruto practically snatched his own copy out of the man's hand, earning himself an amused grin for his troubles. He immediately cracked open the book and started flipping through the pages.
Once all of the books had been handed out, the man returned to his desk and grabbed a sheet of paper from the pile. He began reading names off of the apparent attendance list with practised ease. When it came to be Naruto's turn he found he was too absorbed in the book to do his awesome introduction he'd planned, instead simply waving his hand in the air. He wasn't actually reading it, per se, more looking through the pictures provided, but man were they some interesting pictures.
"Now then, my name is Umino Iruka, and I'm going to be your instructor for the next five years." The instructor introduced himself, receiving a chorus of hellos from the class. "First of all, those textbooks are all yours to keep, and will cost extra to replace. So take good care of them. You'll be getting a new one every year, but for now that's all you've got." He said firmly. "We've got a lot of material to cover before your graduation, so today is going to be a brief overview on everything we'll be doing. I'll also be answering any questions you may have, and after lunch we'll take a trip outside to the training grounds you'll be using to practise your various shinobi arts."
Naruto perked up at that, but a quick glance at the clock assured him that lunch wasn't for a long time still, and as Iruka-sensei launched into the various different subjects they'd be covering Naruto found himself turning back to his book. His eyes traced over the various pictures of handseals and Taijutsu stances and the like, occasionally skimming the text below the pictures if they were particularly interesting.
Time passed like this, Iruka-sensei babbling on about something or the other and a few students here and there asking questions, when Naruto alighted on a picture that instantly had him raising his hand.
"Yes Naruto?" Iruka asked. Naruto held up his book and eagerly pointed to the picture that had caught his attention, a small illustration of two Anbu dressed in muted green and black with strange, demonic looking masks.
"Who are these guys?" Iruka raised an eyebrow.
"Can I get a page number?"
"Oh, yeah. Two sixty-six," Naruto supplied, feeling his cheeks heat up as a few snickers reached his ears.
Iruka walked back to his desk and picked up a textbook of his own, flipping through the pages. "You mean the Anbu?" He asked, surprised. Naruto nodded.
"Yeah, they look different than the regular kind." Iruka nodded in understanding.
"Ah, I see. These particular Anbu belong to a special division that exists solely to combat Bijuu and similar demonic threats called the Yokai Corps." He explained. "They're a very selective bunch. I don't even know what is required to become one." On the other side of the room a girl with pink hair quickly raised her hand.
"What's a Bijuu, Iruka-sensei?" She asked curiously. Several students nodded along with her question, the word demonic having easily sparked their interest. Iruka crossed his arms, humming thoughtfully.
"Well, I was planning on saving that particular subject until after lunch," he said slowly. "But I suppose I could do that now and go over the rest of the year's subjects later, if you'd all like." Unanimous agreement was his answer. "Alright then. Why don't you all turn to page two sixty-seven."
Naruto turned the page once, and was greeted by the sight of an enormous ugly creature hurling what looked like sand at a bunch of tiny ninja.
"Bijuu are going to be a very important topic throughout this year and every year following, so for now I'll just give you the basics. The Bijuu are nine beings that are so powerful many refer to them as natural disasters. Each is the size of a small village, and one by itself has been proven to be destructive enough to wipe out miles of land at a time with their attacks.
"Each Bijuu belongs to an element, of which they have complete and total control over. The Ichibi, as you can see, deals in sand. Part of the reason they're such big problems is that very control over their element. It makes a shinobi's job a lot more difficult when the very ground beneath their feet is working against them. Bijuu also have the uncanny ability to flee into their element when threatened, so capturing them is impossible." Iruka's expression softened, seeing the rapidly growing horror on the children's faces. "You all don't have anything to worry about, though," he assured. "The Yokai Corps are very good at their job."
The pink haired girl raised her hand again, if a bit hesitantly. "Yes Sakura?" Iruka asked.
"How do the Yokai Corps combat the Bijuu, exactly?" There was a slight tremor in the girl's voice, but she tried valiantly to hide it. Iruka smiled reassuringly at her.
"A very good question." He complimented. "As I said before, the Yokai Corps are a very secretive bunch, but from what I understand they operate primarily through an extremely impressive level of teamwork. Their main purpose is to keep Bijuu away from Konoha, and they do this very well by using group ninjutsu and mass containment techniques to scare the Bijuu away. Anymore questions?"
"My mom told me the Kyuubi attacked Konoha seven years ago and the Yondaime had to sacrifice himself to kill it," A boy in front of Naruto with messy brown hair and glasses said matter-of-factly. "Why didn't the Yokai Corps scare it away?" Iruka sighed sadly, leaning back on his desk.
"It was not because of a lack of effort," he said after a few moments. "Something that you all need to understand is that the power of the Bijuu varies greatly. A theory has been made that the number of tails they possess is an indicator of this, but there's little evidence to that fact other than the Kyuubi, which has the greatest amount of tails and the greatest amount of power.
"The Yokai Corps can only do so much, and in the end the Kyuubi was just too strong for them to contain or scare off. Their Ninjutsu, their traps, everything. It was all useless against what some call the Lord of the Bijuu." Iruka explained solemnly. "The Yondaime was forced to sacrifice himself because the Kyuubi would have wiped out Konoha in its entirety otherwise." He shook his head.
"We'll be going over that and other things related to Bijuu in due time, but I think for now that should suffice. How does an early lunch sound?" There were some scattered nods and muttered acceptances, but for the most part the children were all still trying to take in this new, scary information. Naruto, meanwhile, quickly flipped through the pages in his textbook while the other kids gathered up their lunches and headed for the door, ignoring the various different Bijuu on display until he reached the ninth and final Bijuu.
An entire page had been taken up by the illustration. That of an enormous, snarling fox with hateful crimson eyes and nine lashing tails crouched in the middle of what looked like a hurricane. Trees the size of toothpicks whipped around the raging beast, and the very clouds above it were being dragged down from the sky into what looked like a tornado. Naruto's eyes flickered down to the caption.
Kyuubi no Kitsune. Bijuu of Wind.