Chapter 84: Return to Uzu

Posted: February 20, 2014

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

"You summoned us, Hokage-sama?" spoke Hatake Kakashi, accompanied by his team consisting of Haruno Sakura, Uchiha Sasuke, and Sai.

From behind her desk, Tsunade lifted her head to address the team of shinobi in front of her. "I need the four of you to escort two clients on a trip. Said clients have paid for an S-rank mission to travel to the homeland of their ancestors in order to retrieve a number of documents that they believe will be of benefit to our village."

"An S-rank escort mission to some old ruins?" questioned Sakura with a slightly confused look on her face. An S-rank escort mission typically involved escorting a lord or the delivering of a highly sensitive communication between villages. Protection for some sort of archaeological dig would typically be considered B rank, maybe A rank if there was another village who knowingly had a high interest in whatever it was that was the subject of the expedition.

"What could possibly make a mission like this S-rank?" asked Sasuke. Kakashi merely eye smiled, already figuring out who the clients were.

"Normally this wouldn't be S rank, but the client has gained the attention of a few S rank missing ninja," replied Tsunade.

"S rank missing ninja? What kind of archaeologist would attract S rank ninja? Just who is our client?" asked Sasuke.

Tsunade merely chuckled. Clearly Kakashi was the only one who understood, and maybe Sai although the ROOT didn't show it. "Well why don't we…"

"Hey Baachan! You said you wanted to see me and Karin-neechan?"

A tick appeared on Tsunade's head as she turned around to see a certain blonde sitting in the window.

"Why can't you all just use the door?" groaned Tsunade, who already had to deal with this sort of thing from Jiraiya and Kakashi (and even Sasuke was beginning to pick up that habit from his master).

Sasuke merely crossed his arms and shook his head while muttering 'should have known'.

"Shisho, does this mean…" asked Sakura.

"Yes, the Gaki over here is your client," said Tsunade.

"WHAT?!"

"Don't complain, Gaki. You said you wanted to make a trip to Uzu and I'm not letting you leave this village alone," replied Tsunade. "I figure three ANBU should be enough and if worse comes to worse, Sakura should be able to patch you up."

"Don't worry Dobe, we won't let the big bad Akatsuki get to you," said Sasuke. "You might not be able to handle them, but we will." Naruto's eye twitched. Sasuke wasn't going to let this go easily.


"YES!" Karin mentally shrieked. "This is it! This is my chance to get to Sasuke-kun!" The hungry look in Karin's eyes went unnoticed to everyone who had assembled at the gate…everyone but Sakura.

"Why is she looking at Sasuke-kun like that?" questioned Sakura until it clicked a second later. "OH HELL NO! I DON'T CARE IF SHE'S NARUTO'S COUSIN, SHE'S NOT GETTING THOSE DIRTLY HANDS OF HERS ON MY SASUKE-KUN! SHANAROO!"

Sakura immediately sent a glare towards Karin that basically said 'stay away, he's mine!' Unfortunately, Karin didn't seem to take the warning and lightning bolts shot out of the eyes of both girls and met in the middle. Sasuke, who wasn't facing either of the girls present let out a sneeze as a foreboding chill shot down his spine.

"Umm…is everything okay?" called out Naruto as he finally arrived at the gate. He had on his typical attire, black pants, orange and black jacket, and the red sage coat. This was all accompanied by a rather large scroll strapped to his back. The first thing he had seen was the glaring contest going on between the two female members of the expedition and he could also sense the rising tension between the two. From inside Naruto, there was only one thought going through Kurama's head…this is going to be a long trip.

"Oh looks like everyone's finally here. I didn't expect Naruto to be the late one," waved Kakashi. "That's usually me."

"Sorry. I had trouble finding a large enough scroll," grinned Naruto.

"Why a scroll that big?" asked Sakura.

"The Uzumaki Archives are huge, maybe even larger than the ones here in Konoha," explained Naruto. "I plan on reestablishing the Uzumaki clan back here in Konoha, so I figured it would be best to move the archives here. This is the only scroll I could find that is large enough to seal the entirety of the Uzumaki archives."

"Right. Well, we should be going. It'll be roughly a two day journey at shinobi speeds to reach the port city in the north of Fire Country. From there, we'll charter a ship to take us across to the Island where Uzushiogakure once stood," said Kakashi.

"There's a small window during which we can actually cross to the island," said Naruto. "Otherwise, we'll be subjected to the tides and whirlpools that naturally defend the island."

"And you don't happen to know when this window is, do you?" asked a slightly worried Sasuke.

Naruto reached into his back pouch and pulled out his black sealing book, flipping to a page and unsealing a scroll. "This is a tidal calendar for the island. We'll be able to cross between 10:30 and 11:00 three days from now."

Sakura took a look at the calendar and sent Naruto a questioning look. "Do you actually know how to read one of these things? It looks incredibly complex."

"Ero-Sennin taught me. He's used it more than once to get to Uzu," said Naruto.

"Well, let's go. If we miss that window, we'll have to wait until the following day," said Kakashi.


Southern Lightning Country,

Yugito Nii, jinchuriki of the Nibi no Bakeneko, let out a sigh. She was exhausted from her short trip to Kumo's Island Turtle where to hone her control over Matatabi's powers. She was being escorted back to the village by two jonin from Kumo and they appeared to be making good time.

"Hold on," called out one of the jonin escorts as he came to a sudden halt, his guard immediately up. He sensed something, something that troubled him.

"What's up?" called the second guard.

"We're not alone," replied the first.

"Matatabi…"

"I know Kitten. I can sense something as well, four strong chakra signatures," answered the sealed demon to her host.

"Let's get out of this canyon. I'd much rather have the high ground should we come under attack," suggested the guard. Yugito and the other guard nodded before taking off up the side of the canyon.

As the first guard broke the crest of the canyon wall, he was confronted by a massive black shadow, a scorching ball of fire growing in its mouth. The jonin didn't even have time to react or prepare a substitution before he was incinerated by the shadow.

"Rai!" shouted the other jonin guard. Both he and Yugito dodged the shadow assailant. Both shinobi landed, weapons in hand or claws extended.

Both Yugito and her guard caught the sight of two more figures joining the shadow. The first figure had glaring green eyes and the rest of his face covered by a mask. A crossed out Takigakure headband rested upon his forehead. The other had slicked back silver hair and what appeared to be a large three-bladed scythe on his back. A crossed out headband from Yugakure hung around his neck. The most notable feature however that both assailants shared in common was that they were both wearing black cloaks with red clouds.

"So these are the Akatsuki…" muttered the Kumo jonin guard. He glanced back toward Yugito. "They're after you. Make your way into the caves. You know how to get back to the village from there. I'll do what I can to hold them off."

Yugito growled. She didn't want to leave her comrade to face these two alone, but she knew that going against these two, Hidan of Yugakure and Kakuzu of Takigakure if her memories of the Bingo Books served correct, was not wise. Her best bet was to get back to the village and gather the strength of her village to defeat these two. If things went her way, the two Akatsuki's would find themselves lost in the maze of sewers and caverns that ran through the mountains of Lightning Country. These caverns had proven effective in eliminating many enemies before and perhaps they would do so again.

"You'll be right behind me," she said to her comrade.

"Tell Raikage-sama that it's been an honor serving him," commented the jonin. He already knew that he would likely die here; however if he could manage to take one of the Akatsuki with him, then his life would be worth it in exchange for one of the threats facing both Yugito and Kumo's other jinchuriki, Bee.

Yugito nodded in understanding. She didn't like it, but this is what had to happen. With that, Yugito turned and ran towards the nearby mountains, hoping to seek shelter within the vast system of caves that would lead her to the village.


Northern Fire Country,

Kakashi and his team had finally arrived at the coast and Naruto could now see the three islands about a mile off the shore that was once the ancient Land of Eddies. In particular, the middle of the three islands was the home to the capitol and home of his ancestors, Uzushiogakure.

"Uzu…" motioned Naruto as he pointed to the middle of the three islands.

"I'll be honest. I've always wanted to see your family's home after you brought back those stories from your first trip, Naruto," said Sakura.

"Unfortunately, the village is in ruins," said Naruto.

"Yeah…no thanks to you and Jugo!" replied Karin.

Naruto just grinned and rubbed the back of his head. "Well umm…the village was already in ruins before that. Besides, there is still one building still fully intact and that's the archives."

"Huh? What's up with that?" asked Sasuke curiously as he pointed down to what appeared to be the destroyed remains of an old guard tower.

"There used to be a large bridge that connected Uzushigakure to the mainland," answered Naruto. "Unfortunately, it was destroyed at the beginning of the war. Actually, it's not too far from here. Come on, there's something I want to show you, Neechan."

"Wait…hold on…" shouted Karin, but to no avail. Naruto had already taken off.

"Naruto! Wait up!" shouted Sakura. Kakashi simply chuckled and Sasuke sighed. Naruto taking off on his own was likely something that would never change.

Only a few minutes later, the six Konoha ninja found themselves overlooking the massive valley that Naruto knew as the final resting place of his clan. "What…is…this…" gasped Sakura as she gazed upon the massive Uzumaki clan symbol that carved through the entire valley.

"This…is where my clan fought to their deaths to hold off the combined forces of three major villages and a number minor villages and allow the civilians to escape the coming siege," said Naruto. "This spiral is the grave marker of the Uzumaki clan. Those of us who are still alive…myself, Karin-neechan, Kairi-obachan, and any other Uzumaki who I have yet to meet who may still be alive…This is a reminder of what was sacrificed so that we could live."

"Oh…" was the only word that was spoken. For the next few minutes, a peaceful silence floated between the Konoha team, a moment of silence out of respect for the deceased warriors.

"We should get going." Of all people to finally break the silence, it was Kakashi. "If we hurry, we can still grab a boat and make it to the island. As Kakashi finished, a loud crack of thunder echoed through the skies. Looking behind them, towards the coast, dark clouds were appearing along the horizon. They weren't getting to Uzushiogakure today.


Running quickly, Yugito bolted to the side, barely dodging the large scythe that seemed intent on cleaving her. With cat-like agility, she remained on her feet and darted through a nearby archway that opened up into a large chamber. Her guard had not been able to slow the Akatsuki down much at all and soon she found herself in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Much to her dismay, she appeared to be the mouse.

As she entered the chamber, Yugito rolled out of the way of the scythe again.

"You missed," said Kakuzu as he and his partner stepped into the chamber.

"Hmph. So my attacks are the slowest in Akatsuki. Fuck Off!" swore Hidan.

"So we've finally found you, Nibi," said Kakuzu. "This is the Nibi Jinchuriki. If you let your guard down, Hidan, you're dead."

"Yeah yeah. She can kill me all she wants. Just let me offer my prayers to Jashin-sama," said Hidan as he pulled out a beaded talisman to Jashin.

"Not more of those stupid prayers of your again," groaned Kakuzu.

"Hey! I don't like em either, but the dogma of my faith is strict about this shit!" rebutted Hidan. He was too caught up in his argument to see the cat-like grin creep onto Yugito's face.

"You may think you've cornered me, Akatsuki," said Yugito as she made a hand seal. "But in reality, I now have you trapped!"

With that, an explosion ripped through the chamber as all of the exits to the chamber collapsed in on themselves, trapping Yugito and the Akatsuki inside the chamber. "There's no way I'm going to be able to make it to the village. My only option is to take them out now," thought Yugito. "You see, this chamber has claimed many would-be invaders in the past. Countless shinobi have died in here in their attempts to infiltrate Kumogakure. I swear on my own name, Yugito Nii of Kumogakure, that I WILL KILL YOU!"

Looking around the dimly lit chamber, one could make out the faint outlines of numerous corpses resting just below the surface of the standing water that flooded the room.

"As much as I hate to use THAT jutsu, I'm afraid I'm going to have to. I can't let the Akatsuki live," thought Yugito as she steeled her resolve.

"Katon: Mouse Hairball!" Yugito spat out what appeared to be a large hairball surrounded by blue flame.

Hidan just grinned and shot his scythe to intercept the giant flaming mouse. However, as Hidan's scythe made contact with the hairball, the hairball erupted into dozens of smaller flaming hairy mice that separated and appeared to be converging on the same point…Hidan and Kakuzu.

The mice all converged on the Akasuki, resulting in a massive explosion. When the smoke cleared, Hidan and Kakuzu were still standing, but one of those shadowy figure now stood behind them, this one with a blue mask.

"You know, she's really starting to piss me off…" said Hidan. "When I get pissed, I get all hot-headed…and when I get hot-headed…"

"Shut up, Hidan," growled Kakuzu.

"Whatever. But still, when I get hot-headed, I get all like 'to hell with our objectives, I'll just destroy everything!"

"I said shut it, Hidan. Objectives are everything," groaned Kakuzu.

"But assignments where I can't fully kill someone, it goes against everything Jashin-sama teaches. Carnage and destruction are key precepts of Jashin. You can't leave someone half-dead. Can't you just make it easy for me?" asked Hidan nicely.

"What do you mean easy?" growled Yugito.

"You know, can't you just roll over and come quietly?" asked Hidan.

"Get real! Like I'd ever give you guys the Nibi!" declared Yugito. An eerie blue glow began to surround her as her cattail-like ponytail began to float in the air behind her and Yugito went through a complex series of hand seals. "Forgive me, fallen ones." "Rise, enemies of Kumogakure and redeem yourselves." All around Yugito, the corpses of fallen shinobi began to glow the same eerie blue. "Ninpo: Bakeneko Reanimation!"

All around the room, dozens of fallen shinobi rose up from the waters and drew their weapons. However, what was more disturbing than an army of manipulated corpses was the grin on Hidan's face.

"Well, this certainly is a surprise," grinned Hidan. "To bad they're already dead. You can't kill a dead person…can you?"

Yugito was getting tired of the Akatsuki's constant bickering and commanded her army of puppet corpses to attack. Within seconds, the former shinobi were upon Hidan and Kakuzu, both of them finding themselves dodging a number of weapons and attacks.

Hidan was already irritated and this only served to further increase his temper as he swung at one corpse with his scythe, cleaving it in two. The remains of the corpse fell helplessly into the water below. While you technically can't 'kill' a dead person, defeating the corpse relinquished Yugito's control over it. However, Hidan's attempt to take out the corpse left him wide open and a bolt of pain shot through his body as he felt five sharp claws pierce clean through his chest. From behind him, Yugito had a satisfied grin on her face as she pulled her claws from her victim's chest.

Hidan stumbled forward and Yugito expected him to drop dead any second now. Perhaps she would be able to use him to fight his partner now. However, a look of shock (and a bit of horror) came upon her face as HIdan stopped, straightened up, and began laughing. As he turned around to face his attacker, his skin had changed to a near-black with the exception of some white features that resembled a skeleton.

"What the hell? I was sure that blow would kill him!" swore Yugito.

"I thought so," commented Matatabi.

"What? What's going on?" asked Yugito.

"I believe he's a member of the Jashin cult, a group that began over three hundred years ago by a demon known as Jashin. He was praised as a god by his followers and promised them immortality if they swore to serve him. After going through a barbaric ritual, Jashin's followers would gain weird powers that would make them immortal so long as they performed ritual sacrifices regularly. Of course, Jashin preached destruction and death, so the cult killed far more people than was necessary for them to retain their immortality," explained Matatabi. "Led by Jashin, the cult threatened to wipe out all who refused to submit to Jashin's ways. If I remember correctly, Jashin was confronted by two of the most powerful shinobi of the time who managed to defeat him before sealing him away into a shrine. I believe their names were Uzumaki Katsumi and Uchiha Masaru. I was actually present at that battle, assisting Masaru as the Uchiha and the cats have always had a strong bond. Ever since then, efforts have been made to eliminate the Jashin cult, but it appears as if there are still those who follow that monster's ways.

"Great, so I'm fighting an immortal psychopath," groaned Yugito.

"That doesn't mean he can't be defeated, but the only way for him to truly die, is for him to not perform the necessary rituals for him to retain his immortality," said Matatabi. "You can still incapacitate him, but you won't be able to kill him."

"I see. And then there's him," Yugito looked over towards Kakuzu, who still had a shadowy figure with a blue mask hovering behind him. "What the hell's up with those things? Are they summons? Or something?"

"I don't know, but I believe it is best for the corpses to do the fighting and for you to shift to a long range role in this fight. I do know it is not wise to fight someone of the Jashin cult in close range. And whatever you do, don't let them draw blood," warned the Nibi.

Yugito nodded and jumped back, putting some distance between her and the Akatsuki. However, before she could get away, Hidan made a swipe at her with his scythe. Yugito barely avoided a direct hit with the scythe, getting nicked in the leg, but only enough to rip her pants. However, it went unnoticed to her as a miniscule amount of red pooled in the area.


"Sorry, but the innkeeper doesn't think this storm will break for a day or two. I got us three rooms and we'll wait here until the storm clears and we can cross to the island," said Kakashi as he returned from the front desk of an inn. "There is a bar that serves food and there are indoor public baths here."

Everyone nodded and Naruto and Karin let out a depressed sigh. They had been excited to get to Uzushiogakure today, but the current storm made crossing the sea to the island near impossible. Still, thoughts were going through Karin's head. Being stuck in a musty hotel would be a perfect opportunity for her to get closer to Sasuke, even if she was stuck in the same room as Sakura.

A nice bath before dinner was a unanimous decision by everyone with the exception of Sai, who decided to move to the lobby with his sketchbook. Still a bit suspicious of Sai, Kakashi decided to tag along and get in some quality reading.

As Karin made her way to the baths, a plan was already developing in her head. It was a dirty plan, but if everything went well, Sasuke would clearly see just what it was that she had to offer. After making sure no one was nearby, Karin extended her senses into the men's bath and saw that no one was in there. This was perfect as she could sense Sasuke making his way from the room he was sharing with Naruto to the baths. In a quick motion, she slipped inside the men's bath and proceeded through the changing room, all while wearing nothing more than a towel.

"Now I'll just wait in here for Sasuke-kun," giggled Karin as she opened the door to the baths. Unfortunately, there is apparently one thing that can escape her sensory abilities.

"Ooh?" said a curious white-haired man as he caught a slight whiff of perfume and was curious of one of the ladies had decided to join him.

As soon as Karin caught the sight of the white-haired man looking at her, she let out a high-pitched shriek. "PERVERT!"

Elsewhere in the hotel, Naruto heard the shriek of his cousin and immediately rushed towards the baths, intent on pummeling the pervert who was trying to peak on his cousin. As he approached the baths, he hear the commotion coming from within the men's bath along with a furious cry from Karin. Upon entering the men's bath, Naruto spotted Karin, trying furiously to beat a certain well-known super pervert to death.

"Ero-Sennin?"

"Naruto! Help! Get your crazy cousin off of me!" begged Jiraiya. Naruto shot his master a questioning look. "Hey don't give me THAT look. This is the MEN'S bath! She came in here!"

WHACK!

Karin's fist contacted with Jiraiya's head and the Toad Sage crashed into the bath before Naruto could pull him out.

"Neechan, what exactly are you doing in here?" asked Naruto. It took a few seconds for Karin to realize the position she was in. She had forgotten that she was indeed in the men's bath. Apparently the one thing her senses couldn't detect was Jiraiya when he was masking his chakra so he could try to peek through the divider.

Karin immediately went red, redder than her hair and possibly even redder than Hinata had ever blushed.


Konoha,

"What was that?"

"Hinata? Is something wrong?"

"I don't know, tousan. I thought I felt…a disturbance…"


Back with Naruto, Karin, and Jiraiya.

Karin had immediately bolted back to her room in a streak of red, leaving a confused Naruto and Jiraiya nursing the multiple lumps on his head. "Jeez, she's just as bad as Kushina. There was this one time…"

"Please no stories about my parent's sex life," groaned Naruto.

"Master Jiraiya? What are you doing here?" asked Kakashi as he finally decided to investigate the commotion.

"Let's move this to the bar," suggested Jiraiya.


"With Akatsuki making their move and Tsunade deploying the Niju Shotai to counter them, I figured I'd check in with my spys in the area to see if they've come across anything that can help," explained Jiraiya.

Moments later, Sakura entered the restaurant, humming after a relaxing bath and joined Naruto, Jiraiya, Kakashi, and Sai (who was still drawing). "Master Jiraiya? What brings you here? Wait…were you the one who caused the commotion earlier?" glared Sakura at the known pervert.

"It WASN'T my fault! She came into the men's bath!" declared Jiraiya.

"Who?"

"That psychotic redhead of a cousin Naruto has," replied Jiraiya.

"She was probably waiting for Sasuke in there. Her constant mood swings indicate that she is at that point in the month where she wishes to mate," commented Sai. Naruto and Jiraiya proceeded to face palm themselves while Kakashi merely eye smiled.

"Why that bitch!" growled Sakura. "Sorry Naruto. Cousin or not, if she so much as breathes in the same direction of Sasuke-kun, I'm going to strangle that neck of hers."

"It appears as if Karin-san is not the only one who is at the optimal time to mate," said Sai, maintaining his trademark fake smile. "Personally, if I were Sasuke, I would choose Karin as a mate. The Uzumaki genes would surely go much further than your ugly genes."

Naruto, Jiraiya, and Kakashi were currently cowering behind a makeshift fortress of tables and chairs as Naruto and Jiraiya had just completed the finishing touches on the strongest barrier seal they knew. Hopefully, that would be enough to allow them to survive the coming hurricane…probably not.

"SHANAROO!"


Yugito looked around the large flooded catacombs. Of her undead army, nothing remained to assist her anymore. Standing opposite her were the two responsible for this entire mess. She had taken the warning from her fellow blonde jinchuriki seriously, unlike her mentor, who just used that warning to come up with more of his ridiculous raps.

She had heard the rumors of just how far Uzumaki Naruto had progressed over the past few years; the liberation of Snow Country and the defeat of one of Iwa's own jinchuriki being the most notable news bits to reach her ears. She knew he was taking this threat seriously and in all honesty, she saw nothing wrong with improving her strengths. Even if the Akatsuki threat had been invalid, the training she had put herself through over the years would surely benefit her, even if it cost her a bit of her social life.

Still, staring at the Akasuki across from her now, she had not expected this. She had thrown her most powerful jutsus at them and they simply brushed them aside as if they were nothing.

"Damn…was all of that still not enough?" swore Yugito.

"Now now Kitten, don't even begin to think that. After all, we still have yet to show our true claws!"

"So you ready to come quietly, Nibi?!" shouted Hidan.

"Fine, you want the Nibi?" responded Yugito as she momentarily closed her eyes. Opening them, the Akatsuki saw that a change had undergone her eyes, now two different colors before Yugito herself erupted in a mass of blue flames. "Well here she is!"

"I guess not," commented Hidan.

"Are you stupid or something?" asked Kakuzu in a rhetorical manner.

"What's up with this jinchuriki," said Hidan. "It can completely turn into its biju."

Hindan and Kakuzu found themselves facing the Nibi no Bakeneko, roaring in a massive blue flame of fury.

Both Hidan and Kakuzu jumped back, barely missing a potentially deadly swipe of the Nibi's claws. Unfortunately for Hidan, he landed directly in front of the Nibi, who was charging up a scorching fireball in her mouth.

"Oh shit," swore Hidan and the blue fireball shot towards him.

"Damn that's hot," commented Hidan as he took shelter behind a large piece of debris. "Cat didn't get my tongue, but it nearly roasted my ass!"

Pearing out from behind the rock, Hidan gazed upon the flaming blue cat. "Well it appears as if I'm trapped like a rat then…this isn't funny," grinned Hidan. "Now how the hell am I supposed to handle this?" Looking to his side, Hidan noticed Kakuzu also taking cover behind a rock. He knew Kakuzu was only here to support him as the Nibi was his target. Kakuzu's target as the Nanabi, who they had yet to track down and discover what Takigakure had done with.

Yugito unleashed another fireball and Kakuzu's water heart stepped out to try and neutralize the biju-mode kunoichi's attack. The heart managed to save the Zombie Combo from another blast of scorching blue fire, but at the cost of the heart it contained. Being down his water heart against this foe would not be good for either of them.

Hidan grasped his scythe, bracing for the next attack and it was then that he noticed the small blood stain on one of the blades. Grinning, Hidan was praising his luck. Jashin would certainly be able to guide him to victory here as he licked the blood stain and prepared his ritual.

"This isn't the time for another of your ridiculous rituals, idiot!" cursed Kakuzu.

"Shut it, Kakuzu," returned Hidan. "Jashin-sama will show us victory here!" With that, Hidan pulled out a sharp spear from his robe and stabbed himself in the gut, causing blood to spill around him. As the blood pooled around him, he drew the symbol of Jashin around his feet as his skin changed color again. "Now, divine judgment awaits this beast."

"Remember, don't kill it. We need the Nibi alive," reiterated Kakuzu.

"I know that!" shouted Hidan.

Yugito was getting tired of this game of cat and mouse. The surrounding rubble was managing to survive her fireballs and it provided ample cover for the Akatsuki. However, she was about to change that. It would completely destroy this section of the caverns and surrounding landscape, but it would prove a quick end to the Akatsuki threat she faced. With that, Yugito began to gather red and blue chakra to her mouth, charging up a Bijudama.

Just as the chakra sphere stabilized, Yugito let out a cry of pain as she felt as if she were stabbed in the hip.

From his ritual, Hidan also let out a cry. Only one that sounded full of pleasure and satisfaction as opposed to Yugito's one of pain and suffering.

With the pain, Yugito fell onto her back leg and the Bijudama was canceled.

"Yes! Rejoice in the pain! Let the pain and suffering of one push the other forward!" declared Hidan as he stabbed his other leg and Yugito let out another cry.

"Hidan, stop playing around and let's just get on with it," said Kakuzu. "Time is money after all."

"Tsk. Fine," sighed Hidan as he stabbed himself once again in the left side of his chest, piercing the lung.

"I told you not to kill it!" yelled Kakuzu.

"I didn't! You want me to end it, so I am. I didn't hit a vital spot. The Nibi will live for a little bit," argued Hidan as Yugito let out a gurgled cry.

"What the…hell is this…Matatabi…"

"I don't know, Kitten. I'm trying my best to heal you, but I can't keep my chakra up much longer," said Matatabi. "I'm sorry…"

Yugito let out another pain-filled scream as Hidan pierced his own stomach. It was then that the cloak of Matatabi retreated and she fell to the ground, defeated.

Both Hidan and Kakuzu stepped out from their hiding spots and approached their target with caution. Kakuzu checked on the status of Yugito. "It's alive," said Kakuzu. "You're lucky."

Kakuzu reached down and slung Yugito's unconscious body over his shoulder. "Let's go, Hidan."

Unfortunately for him, Hudan was drawing another ritual circle in the ground as he laid down in it. "I must appease Jashin-sama for this blasphemous act I have committed. Once someone is in Jashin-sama's grasp, you cannot simply let them leave alive.

Kakuzu just groaned. He wished he had a different partner, but a different partner would just die and finding more partners costs money.


"We're almost there," commented Kakashi as they crossed the sea aboard a moderately sized wooden sailboat. Thanks to Naruto's wind jutsus, propelling the boat was not an issue. It was the middle of the afternoon, the time when the tide was just right to cross to Uzushiogakure.

"Kakashi-san," said Karin. "I can sense someone on the island."

"I see. Everyone be on your guard. We don't know if it's friend of foe," said Kakashi.

As the boat made landfall, Kakashi spoke. "Where is our guest?"

"About 500m north of here," said Karin. "Their chakra signature is large, larger than everyone except Naruto's combined."

Kakashi nodded. While large chakra usually was a way to judge the strength of an opponent, it wasn't everything. Still, it was recommended to proceed with caution.

As they arrived at the location Karin specified, the Konoha ninja looked up to see a black figure sitting atop one of the ruined towers, his hand on the hilt of a sword at his side.

"I must apologize Konoha ninja, but I must ask you to leave this island," spoke the figure.

"I'm afraid that is not possible," replied Kakashi. "Identify yourself."

The cloaked figure jumped down in front of the Konoha ninja.

"I am the guardian of this village. I am here to ensure the secrets of the clan remain with the clan. Konoha may have been their allies, but I am afraid I cannot allow just anyone access to the treasures of the Uzumaki," spoke the person. "Now I will ask again…please leave."

"First of all, we can't. The tides won't recede for another day," said Kakashi.

It was then that Naruto stepped forward to face the figure. "Are you by chance an Uzumaki?" asked Naruto, hopeful. Karin stepped forward to join her cousin.

The cloaked figure gazed over the two standing in front of him. "The Uzumaki were renowned for their red hair. I see it in the girl but you…" He pointed to Naruto.

"Unfortunately, I didn't get my hair from my mother," said Naruto. "My name is Uzumaki Naruto. This is my cousin, Uzumaki Karin. I am the son of Uzumaki Kushina and great-great-grandson of Uzumaki Shuichi, the last clan head of the Uzumaki. I wield Shuichi-jiisama's sword, Arashi, and have taken upon myself the mantle of Uzumaki clan head as is my right. Now, if you're an Uzumaki, please show yourself so I can finally meet another member of my family. If you're just here to get in my way, move before I kick your ass!"

The cloaked figure chuckled before reaching up to remove his hood. "Mifune-sama spoke highly of you, Naruto-sama," said the figure as he removed his hood to reveal a man who appeared to be in his late twenties, although determining the approximate age of an Uzumaki was often times a more difficult task than trying to catch Naruto during his prank phase back in the Academy. There was a scar just below the man's left eyes that began at the bridge of his nose and extended all the way to the bottom of his jaw. He looked to be similar in both build and height to Kakashi, although instead of silver gravity-defying hair, his was dark red with a short ponytail that extended down to the base of his neck.

"You know Mifune-sensei?" asked a wide eyed and hopeful Naruto. The man certainly looked like an Uzumaki.

"I met Mifune-sama two months ago and he told me about you. He told me about your ambition to seek out and find the scattered remains of our clan," said the mystery Uzumaki. "My name is Uzumaki Ren and it is a pleasure to finally meet you, Naruto-sama."

The first thing that Naruto did was reach to his neck and pull off the condensed family tree scroll. He tossed it to Ren and the fellow Uzumaki went through the motions of re adding his name to the scroll.

"It's great to find another member of my family. And please, drop the –sama. I'm not one for honorifics," said Naruto.

"I heard that Shuichi-sama had erased the names on this scroll before going to his final battle," said Ren. It's nice to see that some of our family has found its way home." He took a look over the scroll before letting out a disappointed sigh. "So you haven't seen her…"

"Who?"

"My little sister," said Ren. "Her name's Honoka."

"While it's nice and all that we've straightened things out, why don't we set up camp and we can continue this discussion," suggested Kakashi.

Later that evening, the six Konoha ninja as well as Ren found themselves sitting around a campfire.

"So Ren, you look a little young to be from here," said Kakashi. "Where are you from?"

"Hey, don't say that Kakashi-sensei. Kairi-obachan is about as old as Baachan and yet she looks like she's only in her thirties," said Naruto.

Ren chuckled a little bit. "I'm 26 and no, I'm not originally from Uzushiogakure. My parents were refugees that escaped Uzushiogakure during the siege. Neither of them were shinobi although both of them were able to use chakra and were skilled in fuinjutsu, as was just about everyone else in the Uzumaki clan. When the attack came, they were asked to leave the village and to help ensure the survival of our clan. During their flight from Uzushiogakure, their group was attacked although they managed to escape with their lives. After that, they settled in Tea Country, hoping to live a peaceful live and raise a family. My father became a fisherman and my mother was a local healer. They lived a comfortable life and then had me and then my sister, two years later. For the next 15 years, we lived quietly and peacefully until my village was attacked by Kirigakure and my parents murdered. I was also separated from my sister…"

Ren clenched his fists tightly and there were a few tears coming from his eyes. "I haven't seen her since. I've been looking for her. 10 years and no luck finding her. I had hoped that by finding other members of my clan that perhaps one of you would know where she would be." Ren sighed. "But it appears as if my sister still remains lost."

"That's so sad," sympathized Karin. "I used to live in the village of Kusagakure. I had my mother for the first few years of my life, but she unexpectedly died when I was 8. The doctors said that she had contracted a fatal disease, but I don't know…" Karin went quiet.

"Was your mother an Uzumaki?" asked Ren. Karin nodded. "Then it wasn't a disease. We Uzumaki have a high resistance to poison and diseases, as well as an increased healing factor. I don't mean to sound cocky, but I can't think of a disease that would be able to kill us, let alone even affect us."

"I thought as much…" growled Karin. "I've had my suspicions."

"I didn't even know my mother. She and my father died the day I was born when our village was attacked by the Kyuubi no Yoko," said Naruto. "I'll let him in on the rest of the story, but only once I know him better and not when Sai is around."

"So Ren-san, your sister?" asked Sakura.

"I've just got this feeling that she's still alive. I've been looking for her for the past ten years and I don't plan on stopping now," said Ren.

"And don't worry. You're no longer alone in that search," declared Naruto. "I intend to find everyone who still has Uzumaki blood flowing through their veins and bring them back together."

"Thank you, Naruto. And speaking of which, you're the clan head by right. What are your plans?" asked Ren.

"I'm moving the Uzumaki clan to Konoha. Konoha and the Uzumaki always were close and I figure if anyone will provide us with shelter, it's Konoha. We came on a trip here with the intent of moving the Archives to Konoha. As much as I'd like to rebuild the clan here, Konoha is my home. It's where I was raised and where I intend to take up the mantle of Hokage one day. I don't want to sound selfish, but it's where I think it would be best for the future home of this clan."

"I look forward to it," said Ren. "And it's nice to meet two other Uzumaki besides myself and Kairi and her family."


Kumogakure,

"Raikage-sama! Raikage-sama!"

"Cee, Report!"

"Raikage-sama. One of our patrols has reported two men that fit the descriptions of this Akatsuki organization that's been coming to light heading south, out of the country," reported Cee. A listened intently as Cee continued his report. "And…it appears as if they have with them the body of Yugito-san."

"WHAT?!" shouted A as his fists shattered the desk he was seated behind. "Cee, have all of the shinobi meet me in the village square in 10 minutes. Akatsuki is going to pay for what they have done. I will personally break each and every one myself if I have to."

And with that, A turned around and jumped…right out of the window.


Jutsu

Katon: Mouse Hairball; Rank: A

Ninpo: Bakeneko Reanimation: One ability Yugito gains as being the jinchuriki of Matatabi is the ability to manipulate the corpses of the deceased. She can have these corpse puppets do a number of tasks for her, including fight.


Author Notes

Well, I'm back. This chapter was a little on the shorter side but it's more of a set up for what's to come.

Regarding my schedule and my other stories:

The Uzumaki Tales (this story) is being resumed in full. I won't guarantee a set time frame as to when updates will come out, buy my goal is to post two updates per month for this story. That may vary between 1-3 updates/month depending on what's going on in my personal life.

At this point in time, I will not be resuming Time Sage or A Sealed Memory.

I am also putting Rewriting the Past on temporary hold. At this point in time, I only have time to dedicate to two stories at most and there is a story idea that I want to try out. I'll wait to see how that story works out to determine what I want to do with Rewriting the Past.

One note on the gender of the Biju. I know the episode that had them all conversing with one another may have assigned a masculine or feminine voice to each of the biju and how I perceive some of the biju may contradict that. How I see it, each of the biju has a sex. Shukaku (Male, although questionable if he keeps referring to himself as mother), Matatabi (female), Isobu (male), Son Goku (male), Kokuo (male), Saiken (female), Choumei (female), Gyuki (male), Kurama (male).

Anyways, that's about it for now. Please Review