First off let me apologize for the long delay on posting this new chapter. I hope you enjoy the chapter, I ended up rewriting it almost twice so hopefully any errors are minimal and don't cause an confusion to you. Now I feel I should let you all know that the vote to decide the cloak design has ended and the votes tallied. For those of you who submitted ideas for option 5) Other, I must admit I was very impressed with some of your designs, but I didn't feel many of them would work for this particular story.
Now without any further delay, the tenth chapter of Jinchuuriki Unleashed!
I own nothing
Chapter 10- Twilight's Birth, Dawn's Shadow
The group of rogue ninja was sitting on the semi-circle couch in Jiraiya's hideout as they absentmindedly ate the dinner Naruto had cooked. Once they had returned to the hideout, Jiraiya had dispelled his Blood Clone and debriefed Naruto and Gaara about the missions they had undergone in his absence. After the two jinchuuriki had finished their report, Jiraiya filled them in on everything that had occurred while he was away; when he first confronted Tsunade and Shizune, leaving out Tsunade's relation to Naruto, feeling it would be best for the two of them to discus that alone, and the ensuing fight between them and the team from Konoha. When he explained about Orochimaru's situation the two boys had no trouble believing it, given their own histories with the Hokage and Kazekage respectively. Tsunade took over when it came to Fuu's rescue from Takigakure; the two boys laughed as Tsunade gave a rather exaggerated description of being swallowed by Gamaumi, but had trouble holding in their anger as Tsunade told them of the conditions Fuu had been forced to abide by. Said jinchuuriki had smiled slightly as Naruto and Gaara swore that Fuu would never be returning to Taki so long as one of them still drew breath. This display only helped confirm what she was already starting to believe, that she was finally wanted and accepted by people who would never willingly betray or abandon her.
"Alright," said Jiraiya, catching everyone's attention, "Now that everyone has been brought up to speed on everything that's happened, we need to decide what our next move is going to be."
"I still say we should be trying to find and recruit the other jinchuuriki," mumbled Naruto as he put the remnants of his dinner down, "The sooner we gather the remaining jinchuuriki the better. The longer we wait, the higher the chances of any of them getting attacked by Akatsuki become."
Jiraiya sighed as he listened to his apprentice, knowing that despite being exceptionally skilled for his age, Naruto was still a stubborn child, "Naruto, I know you want to help your sibling jinchuuriki, but you have to remember the situation we now find ourselves in. Because of Shisui's and Ookami's death, Tsunade and I are probably the most wanted ninja Konoha next to Orochimaru. As I said earlier, Suna won't be much of a problem since they believe Gaara is dead, but when Shukaku doesn't reform like the Kazekage is no doubt expecting, they'll get suspicious and look into it closer. Although Taki won't be actively looking for Fuu, news of her disappearance will reach the other villages, and it's highly likely the Sandaime will start putting the pieces together when it does."
Naruto slumped in his seat, knowing that no matter how much he didn't like it, Jiraiya was right. Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Naruto looked up and saw Gaara giving him a knowing smile. Returning the smile, Naruto sat back up and saw that Tsunade, Shizune and Fuu were wearing similar smiles, which he gladly returned. Turning back to his sensei across from him, Naruto gave a nod of understanding, "I understand sensei, but what do you propose we do then? As appealing as the thought of training for the entire time is, we will need as much real world experience as possible if we hope to stand a chance against the Akatsuki."
"It looks like those missions you did taught you a valuable lesson," said Jiraiya with a smirk, "No matter how much training you do, it is no substitute for real life experience; which is why I believe we need to start hiring ourselves out as a mercenary group."
The three young jinchuuriki couldn't hide their surprise at Jiraiya's suggestion, though as they thought it through, it was a sound plan. They may have been young, but despite that fact, they were mature well beyond their years. They understood that as a mercenary group they could take on just about any type of mission, from anywhere in the world without having to worry about alliances or political regulations getting in the way. Not to mention the fact that they could decide whether or not to accept a mission or to reject it, something that wouldn't be possible in any of the villages. It would also provide them with not only much needed experience, but also a source of income and funding that they would need further on down the road.
"Really Jiraiya, a mercenary group? How the hell do you even plan on getting hired by someone without revealing who you are to them? Not many people are going to hire a mercenary group they know nothing about unless they already have are reputation that impresses them, or they know that the group has an incredibly skilled member within their ranks," said Tsunade. She wasn't opposed to the idea of becoming a mercenary, for much the same reasons as the youngest members present, but she knew how many of the nobles and Daimyo's were likely to think, having been around many of them, or their predecessors since she was young. The appearance of the smirk she was slowly coming to fear almost caused the legendary medic to visibly gulp, "What the hell do you have planned this time Jiraiya?" she asked, though she wasn't entirely certain she wanted to know.
"Don't worry Tsu-hime," Jiraiya said as he waved off her worries, "It's nothing like that again, promise. But I think you forgot that I have the largest and most extensive spy network on the continent at my disposal, all I have to do is say the word and we'll be the most renowned mercenary group by this time tomorrow."
Orochimaru nodded in agreement with his adoptive brothers idea after a few minutes of thought, "He makes a good point; with the number of spies Jiraiya-baka has, not to mention the stations some of them hold, it wouldn't take long for word to spread to the right people who would hire a mercenary group."
"Ok," said Tsunade, still a little uncertain, "Even if you can spread word of us that quickly, what are you going to have them say about our organization? While certain people won't need much proof to believe the stories, there are those who will want proof that what people say is true, and those are the people we want to catch the attention of to get high paying missions." Shizune and Fuu nodded in agreement with Tsunade's reasoning, knowing that the blonde medic was only thinking about what was best for everyone, "Not to mention people will want a name to put with the reputation, and most likely a way of distinguishing that someone is indeed a member of our organization and not some imposter."
"Then that's what we'll give them," said Naruto, "Orochimaru-sensei," the Snake Sannin was surprised at being addressed as a sensei again, but couldn't deny it was a good feeling, "You recently defected from the Akatsuki right?" at the pale man's nod he continued, "Did they have a way of distinguishing themselves?"
"Yes, every member wore a high collared black cloak with red clouds on them," reaching into the pouch on his back hip, Orochimaru pulled out a small red and green scroll and unsealed its contents on the table in front of everyone. Once the small cloud of smoke dissipated it revealed the infamous cloak that, unknown to everyone, would one day become the most feared article of clothing in the Elemental Nations. "Why do you ask Naruto?"
"Because even though we don't know what their end goals are, since they are targeting the jinchuuriki, we've already put ourselves in direct opposition to them."
"And…what's your point gaki?" questioned Jiraiya, for once not having an idea of what his student was planning.
"What if we made the fact that we're against them known, but used subtle means of doing so? Like with the name of our organization, make it the direct opposite of the Akatsuki…the Hakumei." Everyone stared at the young blonde jinchuuriki for a moment, no one knowing how to respond to that, until Gaara let a small smirk spread across his lips.
"The Hakumei huh…I like it, and you're right Naruto, it does express our opposition to the Akatsuki, but in a way that only a handful of people will notice."
"Gaara's right," said Fuu, "But I don't think our organizations name should be the only thing that expresses our opposition to the Akatsuki. What if we used a cloak like the one the Akatsuki wear but change it so that it reflects on our organization?"
"My thoughts exactly Fuu," said a grinning Naruto as he and his siblings continued their brainstorming, completely ignoring the four adults a few feet from them, "But the question now is, what do we change about it?"
Jiraiya couldn't keep the smirk off his face as he watched the three jinchuuriki continue to bounce ideas off one another as to what they should do to express their organizations individuality. Looking at the other three adults on the couch, the Toad Sage saw that Orochimaru was wearing a matching smirk while Tsunade and Shizune watched the group with smiles on their faces. 'I really don't want to be the buzz kill here, but I have no choice,' "As interesting as this conversation is," he began, bringing the three kids' attention back to the other people sitting with them, "We have another serious issue that we have to address before we do anything else."
"What would that be Jiraiya-sama?" asked Shizune.
"Fuu's seal," Naruto's eyes widened slightly, he had completely forgot about what Kurama said when he pointed them towards Fuu in the first place. "According to what Kurama told you, when he first sensed Choumei's chakra he said it was diluted, as if the seal holding him within Fuu wasn't allowing his chakra to properly commune with Fuu's. If Fuu is going to realize her full potential as a kunoichi, than she will need to be able to utilize her bijuu's chakra, something all three of you will be learning to do to an extent in the near future." All three young jinchuuriki's eyes widened in a mix of surprise and excitement at the thought of learning how to control their tenant's chakra, something that many people believed was impossible. "But before we get to that stage of training, we need to change Fuu's seal so that she can finally start communing with Choumei properly. Fuu, do you know where your seal is?"
"It's on my back, but the leader of Taki always said that no one would ever be able to find it." Fuu turned around and showed everyone her back, "I've tried using my reflection in water to find the seal, I've even tried moving my chakra all across my back and nothing ever happens."
"You said that even when you move your chakra around your back nothing appears?" asked Orochimaru as he and everyone else looked over the young jinchuuriki's back, looking for any trace of the seal that should have been there. Orochimaru even tried channeling some chakra into his eyes, but still nothing was visible, "What do you think Jiraiya; you're the master of fuinjutsu here."
Said Toad Sage's eyes were closed in concentration as he pondered the situation, "Given the level of skill required to create a seal strong enough to hold a being such as Choumei, it's entirely possible that the one who created the seal made it so that it remained invisible indefinitely. Although, no seal in recorded history can hide the chakra that holds it together; Naruto…"
"One step ahead of you, Jiraiya-sensei," said Naruto, his eyes shooting open to reveal his first level Rinnegan. Orochimaru's and Tsunade's eyes widened slightly at the sight of the legendary dojutsu while Shizune let out a short gasp of awe. Even though Jiraiya had told them all about Naruto possessing the Rinnegan, in the back of their minds, they were all still a little skeptical about it, even if only slightly. All traces of doubt any of them had about the truthfulness of the claims vanished as they gazed upon the eyes of someone who was considered a god. Oblivious to the looks he was receiving from the three, Naruto focused on Fuu's back and instantly saw the intricate seal that held Choumei within her. "I see the seal," he said, bringing the three stunned adults out of their stupor, "But judging from the complexity, it looks far to advanced to have been done by someone from a small village like Takigakure."
"What do you mean Naruto?" asked Gaara.
"Before Jiraiya-sensei and I went to Suna to find you Gaara, we traveled around for a year. Whenever we crossed over into a new country sensei would tell me about its history, and if it had one, the countries hidden village. According to what he told me about Taki, they are known for their unique style of Suiton jutsu, the Hero's Water they produce every hundred years, and their tendency for making plays for power against other villages, but not for their fuinjutsu." Turning to his white haired sensei, Naruto asked, "What do you think sensei?"
"You're probably right Naruto," said Jiraiya as he picked up the large scroll he always carries with him off the floor, "Throughout my life I have seen, created and even stolen some of the most advanced fuinjutsu known to the Elemental Nations. If it's strong enough to hold a bijuu, there's a good chance I might have run into it in the past; especially since they probably stole the seal from another village." Removing the rope he uses to carry the scroll on his back, Jiraiya unrolled the first few feet of the scroll on the table for everyone to see. Instead of the pure white paper that was the inside of almost every other scroll in the Elemental Nations, the inside was divided into ten inch by ten inch squares. Inside each square was a small storage seal with a brief description of what that seal contains under it. "What does the seal look like Naruto?"
Turing back to Fuu, who turned around so Naruto could see her back again, Naruto focused his legendary eyes back on the seal, "The only really defining features are the large kanji for 'Sit' in the middle and the four swirl designs surrounding it." Jiraiya's brow furrowed in thought as he began searching through the vast collection of seals his scroll contained.
While her white haired team mate poured over his scroll in search of the seal Naruto had described, Tsunade was staring off into space. For some reason the description Naruto had given seemed familiar to her, but she couldn't remember where she had heard it before. 'Damn it, where the hell have I heard that description before?' she thought in frustration, 'Ugh, of all the things I could've inherited from my grandfather, why did I have to get his luck at gambling? Why couldn't I have gotten his insane memory when it came to jutsu? I swear he probably remembered every single jutsu and technique he ever saw before he died!' The blonde woman's exasperated thoughts came to a crashing halt as an image of her grandfather writing in a scroll with her on his lap popped into her head, 'My grandfather, that's it!'
"Jiraiya," the Toad Sage looked up from his scroll and raised an eyebrow at Tsunade, "You can stop rummaging through that scroll. I know for certain that the seal isn't in there."
"Oh, what makes you so certain it isn't in here?" he asked, his tone filled with curiosity, removing any sting from his question.
"Because the seal that Naruto described is of Senju origin," six pairs of eyes widened in surprise at Tsunade's declaration, "I remember my grandmother helping my grandfather design and create a few seals when I was young. The one Naruto just described matches the description of one of those seals." Reaching into her green jacket, Tsunade pulled out a simple red scroll and unsealed its contents on the table. Another scroll, almost as large as the one Jiraiya carries, appeared out of the small cloud of smoke; one that looked very familiar to the other Sannin.
"Tsunade, how did you get the Scroll of Sealing?" asked a shocked Orochimaru. He had wanted to study the multitude of kinjutsu that scroll contained ever since Sarutobi had told the three of them about it when they became chuunin. Suffice to say, seeing Tsunade in possession of the scroll was more than a little surprising to the feared Snake Sannin.
"My grandfather was the one who originally sealed this scroll away; did you really think the man who was called the 'God of Shinobi' wouldn't have taken precautions in the event the scroll was stolen? He made an exact copy of the scroll and kept in hidden in the Senju compound. When I left Konoha, I sealed the compound with the intent of keeping my clans secrets away from the rest of the village, but something made me bring this along, and I guess it's a good thing I did." Ignoring the now gaping Orochimaru, Tsunade opened the scroll almost halfway and pointed to an image of a seal, "Is this the seal of Fuu's back Naruto?"
"Yeah, that's it," said the younger blonde as everyone, except a still floundering Orochimaru, leaned over to study the seal. A large kanji for 'Sit' was at the heart of the seal with four swirl designs, exactly like the Uzumaki clan symbol, around it, each one positioned at a cardinal point along the perimeter. In-between each swirl was a chain of symbols, forming a circle around the kanji, with a small chain branching off from each swirl.
"The Enclosed Hermitage Sealing Style was developed to completely suppress a tailed beast's chakra within a host, similar to my grandfather's ability to forcibly suppress their power," said Tsunade.
"Well that explains a lot," the voice of Kurama echoed inside the minds of Naruto and Gaara, "Even with his presence so close to us, I can barely feel Choumei's chakra through that seal holding him."
"You're right Kurama, it seems even in death that accursed man seeks to keep our power suppressed," growled Shukaku, his obvious hatred of Hashirama Senju felt by both young jinchuuriki through the telepathic link the two bijuu had created.
The two boys' attention was drawn away from their tenants' conversation by Shizune, "Now that we know what seal was used on Fuu, how do we fix it without completely releasing the seal?"
"We need to find the key to the seal," said Jiraiya as he continued to study the seal.
"What do you mean by 'key,' Jiraiya-sensei?"
Looking up at his apprentice, Jiraiya made a mental note to start teaching the boy fuinjutsu soon, "A key is a separate sealing array that can be used to loosen, reinforce and even completely release a specific seal."
"And how do you propose we find this key? For all we know it could still be in the Senju compound," Tsunade said.
"I don't think that's where it is," said Orochimaru as he finally got over his shock, "Hashirama-sama was considered a master of every aspect of being a shinobi, including the art of deception."
"What are you getting at Orochimaru?" asked Tsunade.
"Any ordinary person who wanted to keep something locked away, they would separate the lock from the key. But shinobi are far from ordinary, those of Hashirama-sama's caliber even more so. What if he didn't separate them, what if he hid the key in the one place no one would think to look for it?"
"With the jinchuuriki whose seal it opens," said Naruto as he pointed towards the wrapped object Fuu usually carried around. Even if everyone else couldn't see what Naruto could because of his Rinnegan, they trusted his judgment on the matter.
"Clever," moving over to pick up the now identified key, Jiraiya motioned for Fuu and Tsunade to follow him, "If you're up to it Fuu, we can get this done right now. Tsunade, I'll need you to keep an eye of Fuu while I do this, using a key on a seal is vastly different from making a few tweaks to a seal like Gaara's." The two kunoichi nodded and moved to stand with Jiraiya, "Everyone else get some sleep, tomorrow we'll start on training and Orochimaru will show us how to use the Magic Lantern Body Jutsu so we will be able to communicate no matter where we are." The other four members of the Hakumei all nodded and moved towards their rooms while Jiraiya led Tsunade and Fuu into his sealing room.
Time Skip-The Next Morning
The three youngest members of the newly formed Hakumei were standing across from their four adult companions, waiting for their training to begin. Out of the three of them, Naruto looked the most collected and ready to train; Gaara, while still relatively calm, had a small look of euphoria in his eyes, it seems sleeping was his new favorite thing to do. Fuu appeared to be a little tired; it had taken Jiraiya a little longer than expected to adjust Fuu's seal with the key so that she could properly commune with Choumei's chakra.
"Alright," began Jiraiya, "Today we will be focusing solely on nature transformations. Now Naruto already knows his affinities and how to train most of them, but we need to test the two of you so you can begin training as well." Gaara and Fuu nodded as they took a piece of chakra paper from Jiraiya, "Now simply channel some chakra into the paper and it will do the rest."
The two children did as they were instructed and with a small burst of chakra, the paper reacted. Fuu's paper began to darken and moisten as her water affinity made itself known, but it was Gaara's paper that surprised everyone. The moment Gaara's chakra came into contact with the paper a small cut appeared at the top, only going a few centimeters into the paper, before the entire thing turned to dust.
"Well that's interesting," said Orochimaru, "It appears that you have an affinity for earth, along with a weak affinity for wind Gaara and Fuu has an affinity to water. Between the three of you, you should be able to handle most situations you may find yourselves in."
"Right, now onto the actual training; Gaara," the redhead looked up at the Toad Sage, "You will be working with me to hone your earth affinity. Naruto, you go with Tsunade, she'll be able to help you out with your lightning affinity and Fuu, you'll train with Orochimaru. He may not have a natural affinity for water, but he knows the most about nature transformations out of all of us." Fuu looked a little disappointed that no one else seemed to have an affinity for water that could help her, but that quickly turned to excitement as Shizune stepped forward.
"Actually Jiraiya-sama, you're wrong. I have an affinity for water and I would be more than happy to help Fuu train with hers, Naruto as well once he's ready. But I thought Orochimaru-sama was going to teach us all the Magic Lantern Body Jutsu before returning to manage his bases?" the three young jinchuuriki nodded along with the brunettes question, having believed that was the case as well.
"There's been a slight change in plans," Tsunade said as Orochimaru pulled out a scroll and passed it to her, "It seems that there was a little detail about the technique that Orochimaru overlooked. In order for the technique to be used properly, one must have a fully developed brain or they run the risk of causing permanent brain damage to themselves. Damage severe enough that I'm not certain I could reverse it should it happen." That last part surprised even Jiraiya and Orochimaru; Tsunade may have told them about what could happen if the technique was used when someone wasn't ready for it, but she didn't mention that she might not be able to undo it. "By my calculations, the human psyche won't be ready to undergo the effects this jutsu would have until they are at least thirteen years old, and even then it would probably be best to wait a few more years."
"In the meantime, I will be going back and forth between running my bases and helping you all out with missions and training," said Orochimaru, taking over for Tsunade. "I have already sent word to my subordinates that I will remain here for another week before returning. Now I believe we have some training to do, what's say we get started?"
"Orochimaru-sensei is right," Naruto said as he moved to stand with Tsunade, "If we want to get stronger, than we start right here, right now. Gaara, Fuu, the three of us have a lot to live up to, I don't know about you, but I don't plan on letting them down."
"Count me in Naruto," Fuu said with a smile, "After everything Tsunade-sensei and the others did to get me out of Taki, I'm not about to disappoint them."
"Neither will I," said the Hakumei's resident redhead, "I owe you and Jiraiya-sama a debt that I can never repay, but I will do everything in my power to try, and I'll start right now, I won't stop until I have complete control over my earth element."
"I'm with you Gaara, I won't stop until I have this lightning down pat," said Naruto with a challenging smirk.
"Oh quit boasting you two," Fuu said with her hands on her hips, not unlike Tsunade. "We all know that I'm going to master my water affinity long before you two can even get past the basics."
While the three bantered with one another, the Sannin were watching with smiles on their lips. The way the three jinchuuriki acted around one another was so reminiscent of their own childhood antics it was almost scary. The fact that two of them were the official apprentices of two of the Sannin only added to that feeling. "You know none of you will master your affinity first until you actually start training, right?" Jiraiya's question stopped the three jinchuuriki short with sheepish smiles on their faces. With that the three split up to begin their training, Naruto walked behind Tsunade as she left the clearing while Fuu followed Shizune and Orochimaru, leaving Jiraiya and Gaara in the clearing.
"Ready Gaara?' asked Jiraiya, getting from the sand wielding jinchuuriki, "Good, now the basis of earth manipulation is centered around one's ability to freely manipulate existing earth to fit your needs. However, once you become proficient enough you also have the possibility of molding your chakra into varies earthen states; rock, dirt and mud to name a few. But we'll get to that once you have mastered the basics, for now I want you to use your chakra to try and alter the ground around you to be as soft as clay." Kneeling down, Jiraiya placed his right palm on the ground and channeled his chakra into it. To Gaara's surprise, the once rigid ground under Jiraiya's palm began to loosen as the Toad Sage's chakra was channeled through it. Closing his hand around the clay-like substance he created, Jiraiya stood to his full height and molded the brown clay for Gaara to see. "This is what you're aiming for Gaara; you need to make the earth malleable by loosening the molecules that hold it together."
Gaara nodded in understanding and knelt down to place both of his hands on the ground, already channeling his chakra through them. At first nothing seemed to be happening, not that Jiraiya had been expecting much else, even Naruto with his ability to see chakra had taken a few weeks to finally get the basics down. But to Jiraiya's astonishment the earth under the boys palms began to shift slightly, before settling back to its original state. 'Incredible, he only just learned the theory behind earth manipulation and already he can shift the earth to that extent? I wonder, could his ability to manipulate sand have played a part in this?' thought the Sannin as he watched the redhead try again, getting the same results as before. 'At this rate he might catch up to Naruto within the span of a week,' a small chuckled escaped the Sage's lips, 'I could probably use that to help motivate all three of them to improve at a faster rate. Naruto and Gaara won't let one get ahead of the other, while Fuu won't let herself be outdone by the two boys. Haha, things just got a whole lot more interesting around here.'
"So what's first sensei?" asked an eager Fuu. For the first time since she was made into a jinchuuriki, she was going to learn something that she actually wanted to learn, not something her handlers in Taki forced upon her. The young girls excitement seemed to be contagious as Shizune smiled at her sister apprentice and Orochimaru had a smirk on his pale features.
"First we'll go over the theory behind water nature manipulation, once you have a handle on that, Shizune will show you some methods to train ones water affinity." Both kunoichi nodded in understanding as the Snake Sannin pulled out a scroll and handed it to Fuu. Inside the scroll were several detailed notes on water natured chakra as well as several theories to go with them, "Water natured chakra, as well as Suiton jutsu in general, are by far the most versatile of all five basic nature transformations. This is because of waters ability to take on multiple states, though most users never bother to learn to harness any other state besides waters natural liquid form. Now I could go on all day about the advantages and disadvantages of the different states, but I'll save that for another day." Though they didn't show it, both Shizune and Fuu were relieved that they didn't have to listen to Orochimaru talk about that. It wasn't because they thought that information would be useless to them, quite the contrary, but they actually wanted to get some practical training in, not just focus on theory. "Shizune, why don't you take over for now? It's obvious young Fuu is eager to begin learning to control her water nature chakra. Besides, most of what I have left to say will make much more sense once she has a good grasp of utilizing her water element."
"Very well Orochimaru-sama," said Shizune as the Sannin jumped onto a nearby branch to supervise. "Ok Fuu, the first step is learning to manipulate water is to bend already existing water to do what you want it too."
"What do you mean, Shizune-sensei?"
"Maybe it would be easier to understand if I showed you first." Walking over to a nearby pond Shizune knelt down and placed her open hand on the surface of the water. Her young audience gaped slightly as she pulled her hand back with a blob of water slightly larger than her hand sticking to her palm. "This exercise is one I developed after watching Tsunade-sama perform one of her more advanced medical techniques. This exercise is the perfect one for medical ninja who have a water affinity, as it also serves as an advanced form of chakra control." Turning her attention back to the water in her hand, the brunette medic stopped the flow of her chakra, allowing the water to fall back to its source. "Alright Fuu, it's your turn," the mint haired girl walked up to the water's edge and knelt beside Shizune, "Just let your chakra flow Fuu, let it flow naturally with the water." With a nod of understanding Fuu placed her small hand on the water's surface as she let her chakra flow. "One of the most important things to remember is that you cannot force water to do anything, your chakra is merely the guide that gives it shape and direction."
As Shizune continued to direct the young water user, Fuu was committing everything to memory as her chakra continued to flow through the clear water of the pond, moving with it without interference. Once she was certain her chakra was flowing in perfect sync with the water, Fuu began to move her chakra, forming it into a small sphere while still allowing the water to flow uninhibited. Fuu's eyes were closed in concentration as she slowly lifted her hand from the water's surface, an orb of water the size of her hand sitting in her palm. As the young jinchuuriki opened her eyes to see the fruits of her labor, Orochimaru jumped from his branch to inspect the water in Fuu's hand. "Well done Fuu, being able to exert such control over ones elemental affinity so early on is no small feat. With that kind of control over both your affinity and your chakra, you will become quite a successful medic, and a formidable adversary in battle."
"Orochimaru-sama is right Fuu," piped in Shizune, her pride at the young kunoichi's accomplishment evident in her voice, "It took me weeks to get to the point where I could draw out that much water and you did it on your first try. But don't think that just because you managed it this early means you don't have to practice it anymore. Only when you can draw out a large amount of water almost as soon as you touch the water will you have mastered this part of your training. Now release the water and do it again, focus on drawing the water out faster this time."
Fuu nodded and let the water in her hand fall back to the pond before replacing her hand on the surface and began the process again.
"Ok gaki," the blonde woman stopped in a small clearing and turned to face her godson, "I won't bore you with long winded explanations or complex theories like Jiraiya and Orochimaru probably are, so let's get right down to the nitty gritty." Naruto grinned at Tsunade's plan; he could already tell this was going to be a very productive training session. "Jiraiya told me you know how to perform the Shadow Clone Jutsu, right?" a second Naruto appearing next to the original was her answer, "Good, but do you know about its secondary function?" both Naruto's shook their heads no, "Figures that baka wouldn't tell you, probably wanted you to figure it out on your own. Oh well, easy fix. You follow me," she said pointing towards the clone. Once they were a good distance away from the original, Tsunade leaned over and whispered, "Jiraiya is a pervert," into the clone's ear before flicking it into a tree, dispelling it.
Naruto watched his fellow blonde whisper something to his clone before launching it into a tree with a mere flick of her finger! 'Note to self, do NOT get hit with one of those,' the blondes thoughts stopped as another seemed to appear in his mind, 'Jiraiya-sensei is a pervert? Where the hell did that…' his thoughts trailed off as Tsunade walked back up to him, a smirk on her lips. "You told my clone Jiraiya-sensei is a pervert didn't you?"
"Yep, that's the hidden ability of the shadow clone, you gain the memories and experience the clone gained after it was created. This ability can also be applied to training, allowing you to master things that would normally take weeks in a matter of hours." Naruto nodded in understanding, his grin back in full force, "Now it's time to get started on actual lightning manipulation; as I'm sure you're aware, the principle used to form Raiton jutsu is by increasing the high frequency vibrations of your chakra. Since you already know a few lightning based techniques you should already know what that feels like," at Naruto's nod she continued, "Good, because to fully master your lightning affinity you need to replicate that vibration using your chakra alone, and when you do master it, you can do everything from screwing up someone's mind, to…" raising her right arm towards a tree, a small bolt of lightning leaped from her hand and struck the tree, charring the bark. "Now make as many clones as you safely can and get to work, I expect you to have this down within the hour."
Naruto couldn't help but smirk at the challenge Tsunade set for him. That was how he preferred to train, with a goal, a challenge set for him to reach. Back when he would train with Kurama while he was still in Konoha that was how they normally trained, with the fox forcing him to do seemingly impossible tasks for someone his age on a deadline. Jiraiya, while no one could say the man was a bad sensei, he just preferred to let him learn at his own pace, never forcing him to improve. That was the one thing Jiraiya didn't understand about him, that he thrived under pressure, that that was when his true potential shone through. Forming the cross seal of the Shadow Clone Jutsu, the clearing was filled with almost seventy blonde jinchuuriki. While Tsunade was directing the small army on the best way to start, two of the clones left the clearing, each heading towards where his sibling jinchuuriki were training.
Land of Fire- Valley of the End
At the northern most border of the Land of Fire, marked with a glistening waterfall, stood the Valley of the End, a monument to the power once wielded by the founders of Konoha. Serving as the border between the Land of Fire and the Land of Rice Fields, the people of Konoha carved two statues of the combatants whose legendary battle scared the very earth itself to form the valley. On the Land of Fire's side stood the statue of Hashirama Senju while the statue of his lifelong rival and former friend, Madara Uchiha stood on the Land of Rice Fields' side. Ever since its creation, people from all over the Elemental Nations, both civilian and shinobi alike, have traveled to the border to glimpse at the beauty of the Valley.
Sitting atop the head of the former Uchiha Clan Head, a man wearing a flame patterned mask crossed his hands in front of his face as he contemplated the information his subordinates had given him. 'So the Kazekage really did go through with his plan to assassinate the Ichibi… no matter, we can simply capture it once it has reformed. Although, the disappearance of the Nanabi is troubling… not even Zetsu has been able to find any trace of it since its disappearance.' The masked man put the topic of the missing jinchuuriki out of his mind as his thoughts turned to the changes Konoha has gone through recently. 'Despite the dramatic changes the Sandaime has made within the village, the security of the Land of Fire hasn't changed at all,' he thought with a dry chuckle, 'Though it might be interesting to hear what Zetsu has to say about the changes within the village.'
No sooner had the thought crossed his mind; than did a large venus fly-trap slowly emerge from the stone head of the statue of Madara. "What do you have to report Zetsu?" asked the man in a deep monotone, not even bothering to turn and face the new arrival.
The fly-trap peeled itself open, revealing the man, or creature, hidden within. Zetsu's body was split down the middle; his left side was pale white while his right side was pitch black. He had short green hair on the top of his head that brought out the uniqueness of his golden yellow eyes. "It seems that the Sandaime and Danzo have been rather busy since we last observed Konoha. They have made many moves in an attempt to gain more power for their village, even going so far as to steal the Banana Palm Fan from Kumogakure, as well as the Monk Staff once carried by the Sage himself."
"I am well aware of their attempts at gaining power, Zetsu" said the masked man with a small amount of irritation in his voice, "Do you have any new information, or are have we finally found a place that you cannot infiltrate?"
"There is no place I cannot infiltrate," said the black half of Zetsu, "I did find a few things that you might find interesting though," continued the white half. "The Sandaime has made two rather… interesting… decisions recently."
"Oh, and what might those be?"
"It appears he has given Hiruko of the Chimera Jutsu a full pardon, and has reinstated him, along with his three subordinates into the ranks of his shinobi."
"…So Hiruko has returned to Konoha," mused the masked man, almost as if sounding bored, "No matter, but what of this other decision you mentioned? What else has the Sandaime done?"
Zetsu actually looked hesitant for moment, well at least his white half did, you couldn't tell what the black half was feeling do to the lack of any facial feature besides his yellow eye. "It would seem that the Hokage and Danzo ordered the eradication of the Uchiha clan."
The mystery man sat in silence for a few moments, inwardly surprised that the Sandaime Hokage of all people would order genocide, despite the drastic change in the man's demeanor. 'I never would have thought the old man had it in him, though this does pose a slight problem,' "Were there any survivors?"
"Only three that I was able to find, Inabi Uchiha, he betrayed the clan and helped the Hokage and Danzo wipe it out, I haven't been able to figure out what his motives were yet. Also, the two sons of the former Clan Head Fugaku Uchiha, Itachi and Sasuke survived as well. From what I found it seems that Sasuke was taken prisoner, his fate is still unknown. But Itachi, he seems to have fled the village and become a rogue ninja."
'Hmm, I could use this to my advantage,' the man thought as he slowly stood up from his sitting position. "Do you have a location on Itachi?"
"He is currently staying at a small inn in the Land of Tea," said White Zetsu.
"Show me," said the man as a fully matured Sharingan shone through the single eye hole in his mask. The fly-trap around Zetsu closed as he sank back into the ground, while the masked man was sucked into a spiral vortex, emanating from his Sharingan.
Land of Tea
A hooded figure made his way along the busy streets of the Land of Tea, not paying the slightest bit of attention to the many tea houses and vendors that lined the street. The people out on the streets were oblivious to the man's presence thanks to the genjutsu he had cast over himself, not willing to risk being recognized. In his hands was a small black book, the newest addition of the Konohagakure Bingo Book.
It didn't take the hooded figure long to reach his destination, a small, unassuming inn that was run by an elderly couple. Entering the inn, he quickly made his way past the small number of people in the lobby and to his room on the second floor. Glancing down the halls to make sure no one was around, the man formed a half ram seal and released the privacy and locking seals he had placed on the door. The door glowed faintly as the seals reacted to the man's chakra before returning to normal. Closing the door as he stepped into the room, the door glowed once more, signaling the reactivation of the security seals. Dropping the genjutsu that had kept him hidden from the general public, the man pulled his hood down, revealing the face of Itachi Uchiha.
The rogue Uchiha left his hooded black cloak on a stand by the door and moved to sit on the small bed in his room. Opening the black book in his hand, Itachi began scanning the pages for any possible bounties when a picture in the 'S-ranked' section caught his attention. On the page was a picture of Itachi in full Anbu gear with the exception of his mask, 'So they know I escaped. I'm not surprised; those Root Anbu that took Sasuke probably reported it to them. Though I wonder what story they came up with.' Taking a closer look at his page in the Bingo Book, the former Anbu Captain's eyes widened in a silent rage as he continued to read.
Name: Itachi Uchiha
Classification: Rogue Ninja
Kekkei Genkai: Sharingan
Order: Kill on sight
Information: This man is wanted dead for single handedly wiping out the entire Uchiha clan in one night. Believed to be mentally unstable, approach with caution, but if given the chance do not hesitate to kill this man. A bounty of 10,000,000 yen has been offered to anyone who brings in this traitor in, dead or alive.
'Those bastards,' raged the normally calm and composed Uchiha, 'They're trying to pin the blame on me for what they did to my family? They will pay for this; I may not believe in revenge, but I do believe in justice being delivered to the corrupt.' Closing the book with a snap, the former Konoha shinobi sat in a meditative position in an attempt to calm himself and get a handle on his emotions again.
That plan went out the window as a deep voice spoke up from the window next to the head of his bed. "Anger is such a volatile emotion, isn't it, Itachi Uchiha?"
Startled at the sudden appearance of the person's chakra and presence, Itachi rolled away, drawing the wakizashi he had strapped across his waist. The man didn't even blink as he watched the young Uchiha with his lone eye. Neither shinobi spook for several minutes, one trying to discern the best way to handle the situation while the other just sat there, not at all concerned for his wellbeing. It was Itachi that brook the tense silence, his voice taking on its usual monotone, though if one listened close enough they would hear the underlying tone of suspicion, "Who are you and how did you get in here?"
"Who I am and how I got in is of no concern," said the man with his head resting on his left hand, "What is of concern is what I have to offer you."
"What do you have that could be of interest to me?" asked the former Anbu Captain, his Sharingan appearing in his eyes as he continued to stare down the mysterious man.
"Protection," Itachi's eyes widened slightly, before narrowing in suspicion. No one would willingly give such an offer without wanting something in return. "I know what you're thinking young Uchiha, and you have a right to be cautious. But all I ask in return for this protection is your loyalty and cooperation in an organization I am creating."
"What exactly do you have planned for this organization?" asked an even more suspicious Itachi.
The man's lone eye narrowly slightly as the teenager continued to try and get information out of him, 'Convincing him to join may be harder than I thought. It seems I may have to start preying on his weakness,' "I'm afraid I can't tell you the details of our plans, but our end goal is simple, we only seek to bring peace to this cursed world of ours."
Once again Itachi's eyes widened in surprise, before returning to their impassive nature. Though he in no way trusted the man before him, his pacifist nature could not help but be slightly curious about the man's claims. Though he considered himself a pacifist, he understood that certain things would not change simply because he protested against it. No, he understood that at times, a show of strength would be required to make people see what they needed to see. Despite his better judgment, Itachi decided to at least hear the man out on his offer, "I'm listening."
The man gave a slight nod before he began, "All that you would have to do for now is simply complete a few missions with a designated partner to help fund our organization. But when the time comes, you will be required to track down certain…acquaintances of ours that will be instrumental in bringing peace."
Though he didn't let his suspicions show, Itachi knew that the man had something unsavory planned these so called acquaintances. But he also understood that given his current situation, an offer of protection, no matter who it came from or for what reasons, was something he could not afford to pass up easily. Add on to the fact that this man had so easily caught him off guard, to the point where if he so wanted he could have killed him before he even knew what had happened, and Itachi was finding himself backed into a rather brilliantly planned corner. Should he refuse the man's offer and somehow manage to escape, not only would he have Konoha and almost every bounty hunter out their chasing him down, but he would also have to deal with this man and the no doubt powerful shinobi under his command. However, if he were to join this man's organization, he would not only get the protection that came with it, but he might also be able to persuade some of the other members to his side. His decision made, Itachi turned his Sharingan eyes back on to the man sitting casually on the windowsill, "Very well, I'll accept your offer."
Smirking behind his mask, the unknown man nodded slightly, "A wise decision young Uchiha. Now, if you truly are willing to join us, than wait at this location for your new partner to arrive. Oh, and you will want to put this on." With a casual flick of his wrist, the masked man threw a small scroll towards Itachi. Said Uchiha genius looked at the scroll for a second before looking back towards the masked man, only to discover he had vanished. 'Who the hell was that?' wondered the teenager before he read the location written on the scroll. A few minutes later and the room appeared as if no one had ever set foot in it. His trail sufficiently covered, Itachi jumped out of the window and began moving towards the location on the scroll, casting a genjutsu over himself as he went.
Like it? Didn't like it? Let me know. Now before anyone decides to go off on me involving my decision with Itachi, read through that scene again and you might find a hint to what I have planned for later on down the line. Any other questions or comments you might have just drop me a review and I'll do what I can to answer any questions in the next chapter.
'Til next time.