Kumogakure was a sight for sore eyes to Yugito once she returned. Her village, her home, the only one she had ever known and the only one she ever wanted to know.
Yet this time, she couldn't help but feel a bit of unease as she approached the main gates. Try as she might, doubt kept creeping up in her mind. What did the people of this village really think of her? Did they really see her as a hero, or was she merely a collar around the Nibi's neck? Is she a prisoner of the village or a shinobi?
Yugito had always been granted the best training Kumo had to offer. The best jounin, the best weapons, save for the most crucial ones of course, and best of all close connections to the Raikage family despite the fact she was an orphan. For her being a jinchuuriki had always been a good thing, the ticket to a life she couldn't have had without it. If the requirement for keeping it all meant using Nibi once in a while to help Kumo then so be it.
"Nii Yugito, returning from a mission." She told the gatekeepers, who merely nodded. She admitted a bit of bother to their nonchalance. 'Weird, it's like they're unaware I'm late or missing the comrades I left with. Or maybe they're not concerned. No, don't overthink it. Those kids were not right.'
Watching the gate keepers just passes her some papers while not making any eye contact, Yugito raised an eyebrow but soon stopped, hearing someone calling her name.
The blonde jounin turned to the familiar voice and smiled. "Bee!" Her foster brother came up to her and the two bumped fists like they usually did when greeting each other. "Is something wrong?"
"Gone too long, Bro didn't like your no show."
Yugito had to hide her grin, since smiling would have sent the wrong message across. 'I knew it. Take THAT you know-it-alls.' "I've got news for A, is he available?"
"I'd wait a while, since he's in no mood to smile. But for you he might drop his file." Bee told her in his own way.
"Trust me, he wouldn't want to wait for this."
Unfortunately Yugito was forced to wait an hour anyway. When she was allowed to see the leader of her village, she had to confess to herself that she actually was a bit afraid he was cross with her and a sliver of doubt got stronger in her mind.
'Was he really spending all this time trying to find my replacement? Is that why he needed to make me wait? So he could cover his tracks?'
"Yugito, what happened out in the field? Your partners were able to come back but not you. This has never happened before. Please elaborate." A requested.
"We were fighting the rogue clan as ordered. Unfortunately there was some outside interference. A group of people intercepted the battle and managed to suppress my chakra, as it turns out they wanted an audience with me." She confessed.
"Someone managed to suppress your chakra?" A repeated. "All of it?"
Yugito nodded at the hidden question. "Yes, all of it. But fortunately they had no intention of killing me. They had more than enough opportunities to do so. Instead, all they wanted to do was warn me."
A didn't like the sound of that. "Warn you of what?"
Suddenly Yugito wasn't sure what to say. On the one hand she didn't want to lie to this man, not just because he was her superior officer but because he was like family to her. But on the other hand, the info she had did seem a bit on a need-to-know basis, so the question was did he need to know?
Yugito decided he did.
"They told me that someone who is strong enough to rival you, their words mind you, would pose a threat to you and Kumo and intended to take both myself and Bee into his own possession. The reasons for such are unclear, as is the name of this person."
"Clearly this is a ruse." A told her.
"Yes, my first thought was that this story is likely to be entirely false. But one thing about their actions that concerns me is why would they go to such effort over a mere lie? What do they have to gain?" Yugito asked.
"Obviously to make us fear a false threat to be unprepared for an upcoming real one. This could be a ploy by the Raisotsu to make us look for someone else."
"That is definitely possible." Yugito agreed. She was tempted then to point out that the trio claimed to once come from Konoha, but she held her tongue. 'If they are connected to the Raisotsu that is currently irrelevant and likely false information.' "Say A, do the Raisotsu have any allies that would want to help them break into Kumo?"
"None will admit it, but I suspect some do believe the Raisotsu were not wrong to desert the village. Like the Saiga clan."
The Saiga clan was the largest producer of swords within the village and were respected for their own kenjutsu fighting style. They got along well with the Raisotsu since their fighting styles were rather complementary. So when the Raisotsu left the village, the fact that the Saiga stayed behind made a lot of people in the village suspicious. It would be like if the Yamanaka and Akimichi left Konoha but the Nara stayed in it, a premonition if you will that things weren't as clear as they appeared to be. Because of this, all Saiga members were pulled from border patrol, lest they leak information to their ally outside the village.
"It doesn't matter. I've increased security around Kumo. There's no way the Raisotsu will be able to get into this village to get their reclaimed members back." A insisted.
Proving that some force of power in the universe had a sense of humor, a large explosion was heard and even seen in the distance from his office.
"What the heck?" A shouted, jumping from his seat and staring out the window. There was a lot of smoke obscuring the cause of the blast, but one thing he could see was lightning. Chakra-generated lightning to be specific, and coming from one of the walls around Kumo. 'Did the deserters actually manage to breach our defenses? But how?'
In no mood to stand around wondering, A burst out of his office via the windows and rushed to the scene. Yugito rolled her eyes at his impulsive way of leaving his own office, considering he had to pay for the damage each time he did it, but she followed him out in the same way. The windows were already broken after all.
Thanks to his speed, A showed up before any of his other ninja could. That didn't bother him one bit, the buffed-up raikage actually preferred fighting alone, fewer people to get in his way and make him slow down. Not to mention having allies around forced him to think before attacking in order to ensure that he didn't take down his own.
"What's going on here?" A shouted, his booming voice being one of his trademarks. Many people said that if you could hear A shout on the battlefield, you were as good as dead.
"We're getting justice Raikage-sama." One of the border patrolmen told the leader of Kumo as the smoke cleared. Once it did, A could see there was no fighting going on at all. There was just a large hole in the wall with Raisotsu and Kumo nin standing around, but no Saiga. And they looked like they had been waiting for him to arrive.
"What is the meaning of this? Why aren't you defending off these intruders?" A demanded, unclear why his border patrol wasn't patrolling the border.
"To put it simply, Raikage-sama, the Saiga weren't the only people who felt the Raisotsu were right to leave. They were just the most obvious." A Kumo Anbu replied, grinning under his mask. "You spent so much time focusing on the obvious threat that you didn't consider alternatives."
'Betrayal, under my very nose.' A thought, fuming with outrage. "Feel proud of yourselves then traitors, for it's the last thing you'll ever feel." He started to cover himself with lightning, the standard of his preferred fighting style that combined ninjutsu and taijutsu.
"Why bother with them Captain Steroid, when we both know it's me you really want?" Rairo, head of the Raisotsu, announced as he stepped into view.
"Rairo!" A said, his tone the same as if he were saying 'There you are!'. At the same time his lightning started to die down due to his attention being diverted. "Come to try and take my throne from me again?" Rairo had once challenged A's right to be Raikage and the two dueled for it. A won, but after that Rairo left the village before A could be inaugurated and stop the clan from leaving
"Kages don't sit on thrones you imbecile. Daimyo's do and I don't see a daimyo here. Instead I see a man compensating for something he doesn't have between his legs by making everything else about him bigger."
Several laughed at the insult, but not A. "Damn you! You're just a sore loser!"
"The kage-hood is not meant to belong to just one family, no matter what your family would say." Rairo countered.
"Then why is it all Raikages have been part of my family?" A countered smugly.
"Because you won't give up the seat to someone else." Rairo replied. "Everyone who has power is afraid of losing it. Your clan is the embodiment of that principle. Your clan never even considers the possibility that someone else might be more qualified for the job. Nope, you've been hoarding the title since your ancestor got it."
"At least I have power. You have nothing. You're an insect compared to me!" A shouted as he re-covered himself with lightning, ready to fight the intruders all on his own, starting with Rairo. But also to prove to everyone that the Kage hat did belong to him.
All Raisotsu and Kumo Anbu took up stances, prepared to fight the raikage. "Even so, a lone giant can fall to an army of dwarves." Rairo replied, taking out his swords and coating them with dark blue lightning.
Fully charged, A rushed at his foes, figuring his reputed speed and strength would overwhelm them. His right arm was outstretched, intending to decapitate Rairo with a good hit. But with swords in both hands Rairo held them up to intercept the attack, intending to severe the raikage's arm. The one downside to A's great speed was that it made turning while in motion all but impossible, not to mention stopping was difficult thanks to the basic laws of motion.
But there was something A could do to save his arm from being severed. He simply lowered it to go under Rairo's swords and hit his stomach instead. Rairo bent in half from the impact but didn't break, and dropped his swords, but yet he smirked.
All of a sudden red chains burst out of Rairo's body, constraining both him and A then tightening rather effectively. Rairo then poofed into smoke and was replaced by Kushina, with a sneaky grin on her face before she substituted with a log to escape her bondage.
"What the heck?" A asked, feeling his chakra weakened somehow by the red chains. It was as if they were siphoning it off to reinforce themselves. 'That Rairo must have been a fake to deceive me. Dammit, they can't hold me for long.'
Luck seemed to be on his side as reinforcements arrived, led by Yugito.
"You!" Yugito said once she spotted Kushina, who simply smiled at the blonde jinchuuriki.
While A was busy with the Raisotsu, something else was going on, on the other side of Kumo. The thing about the Raisotsu invading Kumo was the fact that only a small percentage would allow them to breach the wall. Communication between the Raisotsu and the Saiga to let the outside clan know the best time and place to strike were greatly limited, mostly because Kumo recognized their summons and attacked on sight. But a fox summons was able to get past their security, and helped arrange a perfect opportunity for the Raisotsu to get inside.
Once the Raisotsu were in, it was predictable that security would have to thin out in other areas to handle the immediate problem. Which is what they were counting on. The clan and it's internal allies, both Saiga and not, were drawing Kumo's attention away from the real enacters of their plan.
"We're in, where do we go?" Naruto asked as he, Hinata, Raiden, and Yugara made it through one of the drainage pipes in Kumo and appeared in an empty street.
"I want to go to a bath, but that will have to wait." Yugara complained, trying to get some crud off her body.
"We need to go to the prison, that's where our captive clan members are being kept." Raiden ordered.
"What do you think is happening to them?" Hinata asked, using her byakugan to try and find the prison.
"Most likely reprogramming to make them think we never should have left Kumo. And no need to use your eyes, we know where to go." Raiden said then led the other three.
"Keep it up, there's obviously guards and traps to consider." Naruto whispered, to which she nodded. "Why did your clan leave Kumo anyway?" He asked Raiden. "And for that matter, how were you able to get away with it?"
Raiden was hesitant to answer, so Yugara beat her brother to it. "We've been in Kumo since the founding, and were once one of it's principle clans. Sort of like the Hyuuga in Konoha. But after a while, we started to have doubts about the leadership of the village. As you know, the kage role in any village is not a monarchy, it's not by it's nature supposed to be based from father to son or next best qualified relation within the family. It's not supposed to be like how the Daimyo's handle their progressions over the generations."
Raiden nodded. "But that's how it has been in Kumo since the founding."
"Even so, exactly how is this a bad thing?" Naruto asked. "Not to doubt you, but right now it sounds like your clan is just upset they've never been a raikage themselves."
"This isn't about power. Now be silent." Raiden said. "There are still ninja around, let's not warn them."
"It's okay, I cast a genjutsu before we even got out of the sewer. As long as we don't do something flashy or raise our voices above this volume we should be fine." Hinata told him.
"How is that even possible?" Yugara asked. "I understand invisibility, but how would that affect the noise we make too?"
"It's not invisibility. Not in the sense you're thinking. It's more of a insignificance kind of thing." Hinata answered.
"Insignificance?" Both Raiden and Yugara asked.
"Yes. True invisibility is useful, but can cause as many problems as it solves. Especially if you try applying it to more than one person. It's better to just make the enemy not notice you instead. Sometimes the people you're trying to hide from aren't even paying attention to you in the first place, too preoccupied in looking somewhere else for something else. Like right now Anbu are more focused on getting to the fight so they won't pay much attention to anyone in the streets. My genjutsu isn't making us invisible to them, just tricking their preoccupied minds into ignoring us as if we were invisible."
"That sounds like something too strong for a genin to use." Raiden speculated.
"Let's just say I have a really good instructor." The former Hyuuga stated. 'One much better than the one they intended to give me back in Konoha.'
"So then, since we can speak, tell us what's really going on here." Naruto requested, feeling like he only knew half the story. Considering why he left Konoha, for him half the story was never enough.
"Well, like I said, we were an important clan in Kumo for generations." Yugara continued as they moved through the most discreet passages they could find. "Often trusted to serve the village with honor and efficiency. But since the time of the Nidaime Raikage, it started to feel like we weren't respected. Just used."
"What do you mean?" Naruto asked.
"We weren't alive at the time, so we can only say what we were told." Yugara reminded them. "Anyway, the Nidaime wasn't exactly the most friendly raikage. He never thanked any ninja for completing a mission nor gave bonuses for jobs done better than expected, and from what I heard he never even bothered to learn the names of those that served him nor even created meetings to discuss issues. Just sort of went with his own opinion and told the rest of the village to shut up if they didn't like it."
"I admit that councils can be problems but why keep them if you never use them?" Naruto asked.
"No idea. Anyway when he was replaced with the Sandaime we thought the problem was over, even though we were suspicious. The Nidaime was the son of the Shodai, and the Sandaime was a son of the Nidaime. It was like their family was trying to keep the rank all to themselves. We had concerns but the Sandaime ignored them, saying he had the rank fair and square and it wasn't our place to question the inheritance. And as if he were trying to reinforce this point, he started limiting the missions we got out of the village. Almost as if he were keeping us inside where he could see us."
'Reminds me a bit of what Konoha tried doing to the Uzumaki. Only not the same approach.' Naruto thought.
"That's not the worst part." Raiden added, having them hide for a bit to avoid a passing group. "Those of us that did get to take missions were often given ones with greater difficulty than they were qualified for. If they refused, they were 'asked' to think it over, but anyone who 'thought it over' ended up 'disappearing'. And by disappearing, I mean they were captured and got a seal placed on them meant to seal up emotions and turn them into human drones that only follow orders. Apparently that had been the plan since the Shodai but enacted by the Nidaime, with the Sandaime keeping it as a last resort."
Naruto and Hinata were speechless. Then Naruto got mad. "Dammit, aren't there any good kages out there?"
"No one gets to be a kage by being a saint." Raiden told him. Thinking of all the past Kages of Kumo he shook his head wondering who would win in a contest. "Kages are meant to be leaders, but they all start out as warriors. They kill just like any other ninja, the one difference being they just happen to be better at it but too good to do the job themselves so they make others do it for them."
"The thing is, we found it suspicious that three generations of one clan would have the role. Clearly they never intended to let someone else have a turn, which could mean many things in the long run. But what was really bad was when we found out something existed that should never exist. Something that proved beyond all doubt that the raikage family did not have unselfish intentions in their actions." Yugara added.
"What's that?" Naruto asked.
"We're here." Raiden said, referencing the prison. "Hyuuga, can you spot any traps for us?"
"Yes but don't call me Hyuuga. I'm an Uzumaki as far as I'm concerned." Hinata stated.
"You're siblings?" Yugara asked, surprised because even though Naruto and Hinata had red hair, they didn't look alike. Also Hinata had a byakugan so that ensured they weren't related.
"No. We're kindred spirits." Hinata answered, looking over the prison. The prison at first looked like a normal stone building, but she could see this was a front. The real prison was carved into the mountainside, effectively and completely underground except for some ventilation systems. "I'm seeing a lot of machinery in the walls. But nothing that really prevents us from entering."
"My guess is when it comes to prisons more people are concerned about break-outs than break-ins." Naruto mentioned. "Just to be safe..." He created some shadow clones. "That way if we can't get out they can help us from the outside."
"No, we go in and you stay here and watch for us if things get bad." Raiden told them.
"You don't have a reason to go down there. We do." Yugara added. "The ones you want aren't going to be here."
"Alright, we'll stay out here." Hinata told her, putting her hand on Naruto's wrist as a way to tell him she knew what she was doing.
"Thanks." The Raisotsu twins said before entering the prison.
"So why are we staying out here?" Naruto asked before dispelling his clones.
"We're not. We're just letting them think that." Hinata told him. "I know we're here for the jinchuuriki, but they need help too. Besides, I want to hear the rest of their story. Something about it just isn't right. A whole clan can't just get up and leave a village like that. There are serious repercussions. Everything in the village needs to change, starting from security down to civilians."
"What if they just all went rogue?" Naruto suggested.
"All of them?" Hinata asked back, not buying the idea. The thought of a whole clan going rogue made her shake her head "C'mon, let's follow them. Don't bother with clones this time."
The prison's true entrance turned out to be a descending staircase one couldn't see the bottom of with the provided life. Raiden and Yugara went down without fear or caution, though they did ensure their weapons were ready to be used in a second's notice.
"Now that we're here, I'm thinking we should have asked the girl for directions to the right room." Raiden commented.
"How would she know what to look for? She's never seen Ryuge before." Yugara asked.
"At least she could have narrowed the search down." Raiden added just before they reached the bottom. "Do you remember what the details regarding the layout here are?"
Yugara looked at him with wide eyes. "I thought you did."
The two siblings shared an 'oh crap' feeling right there, since neither one really knew what they were doing now.
"I'm not looking in each room one at a time to find him. Let's go get the Hyuuga girl." Raiden said.
"I told you, don't call me that." Hinata said from behind with Naruto, making them both jump and turn around.
"What are you doing here?" Raiden asked.
"If I have to explain it you two are even less prepared than you give yourselves credit for." Hinata told them. "I'd be happy to help you, but in return I'm going to insist you tell us everything about why your clan is doing this. And no 'Clan business only' crap, I've dealt with enough of that in my lifetime."
"Alright, but not here. After we find our little brother." Yugara told her.
Back outside the battle was getting harsher and bloodier. A was freed from his chains but his chakra wasn't responding well to him. That didn't stop him from fighting though once he found the real Rairo. The Raisotsu and their allies were fighting as many loyal Kumo nin as they could.
Yugito was focusing more on Kushina, partly because she was still upset about being caged, and partly to keep her away from A. But mostly she was upset that her group had tried to trick Yugito into betraying her village.
Yugito grew out her fingernails turning them into claws and tried to slash something vital on the Uzumaki matriarch's anatomy. However Kushina was an effective dodger so none of these connected with her. Strangely, Kushina wasn't fighting back, just dodging or blocking.
"Everything you said was wrong." Yugito said with a swipe that missed. "This village loves me."
"Maybe they do, but it doesn't change the fact that you're in danger and your raikage needs to hear this." Kushina calmly answered.
"Give me one good reason why we should take you seriously." Yugito threatened, aiming her claws for Kushina's eyes, only to get her wrist grabbed.
"If you must know, Namikaze Minato is still alive." Kushina confessed.
"What?" Yugito asked surprised, then changed to skeptical. "Yeah right."
"Kitsune Art: Memory Share Jutsu." Kushina said, taking the opportunity to put her hand on Yugito's forehead and let her see some memories while Yugito saw some of her own.
Meanwhile A and Rairo were in a heated showdown, both bleeding and bruised and refusing to back down. "There's no way you can win this you know." A taunted, pausing for a moment to catch his breath. Fortunately for him, Rairo had to do the same.
"Just give my clan members back and this doesn't have to end with one of us dying." Rairo stated.
"Sorry, I've got plans for them. The Raisotsu are the property of Kumo after all and cannot be allowed to be loose."
"Property?" Rairo repeated, outraged. "This is the problem with your family! Since the very beginning, you've had it in your heads that kage-hood equates ownership! Newsflash, you run the village but you don't own it! Least of all the people who live in it!"
"The people might not be owned, but the clan as a whole is." A clarified. "Kumo owns the very concept of a Raisotsu clan. The clan has no right to exist outside the village unless it exists inside it as well."
"Raikage-sama." An anbu said as he approached his winded leader. "Sorry to bother you, but are we killing the female intruders or taking them to be with the other breeders?"
"Take them. We need more genes anyway." A answered, not in the mood to deal with interferences.
"What?" Rairo asked as the Anbu departed. "Tell me I did not hear what I think I heard."
"And what if you did? I told you I'm not letting the Raisotsu escape Kumo. I need to get a portion of the clan established back where they belong somehow. Do you have a better idea on how to make that happen?"
Rairo tightened his hold on his swords to the point where his knuckles were turning white. It looked like sparks were shooting out of his eyes for a moment and the air around him was getting darker. "You... you kidnapped my clansmen. My son. My brothers and sisters. For that? Not just to continue your sick experiments to steal our power, but to... RAPE THEM?!"
At that accusation A lost a little bit of his resolve and recalled some advice from his father. 'Above all else, when dealing with a Raisotsu, one must never ever make them think you condone rape. To them that is the ultimate crime, and anyone guilty of it or guilty of enabling it will be in for the fight of their lives once a Raisotsu finds out. I myself came close to dying when one such person was infuriated their daughter got raped on a mission I forced her to take. Like with my fight against the Hachibi, luck and allies are the only reasons I survived.'
The sad thing is the Sandaime was many things, but no one ever accused him of exaggerating.
'It doesn't matter, he can't stop me. No one's ever stopped me, especially him when he tried to challenge my right to be the Yondaime Raikage. He didn't win then, he's not going to win now. Especially if he's too angry to focus.' A told himself, then grinned, thinking he had a winning strategy. "What's the matter? Can't stand the fact that some of your girls got touched or knocked up against their will? Or are you jealous that we beat you to it?"
If anyone had heard him say that last part, they would have hoped A had his will written up. If there was one thing worse than telling a Raisotsu one of their own had been raped, it was accusing them of wanting to do the act themselves. To this day, no one had done such a thing and lived. Would A be the first?
A large amount of lightning then burst from Rairo in a deafening crackling zap as the pressure from his chakra cracked the ground beneath his feet. A large amount of killing intent thickened the air as any nearby animals, like mice, rats, and street cats, shuddered in pure fear before hiding themselves away from fear of the source turning it's wrath on them. Small rocks started to float off of the ground as Rairo glared at A with lightning almost literally coming from his eyes as he roared. "AAAAAA! You're going to pay for this!"
Rather than strike first and ask no questions later, the reaction A was counting on, Rairo instead bit his thumb and did some hand signs. "Summoning Jutsu!" Around him appeared several of his clan summons, the Raijuu. Sentient creatures made of little more than lightning, and here he had three, one shaped like a weasel, another shaped like a wolf, and the last one shaped like a deer. No orders were given, he simply charged at the muscle-bound raikage with his summons.
'C'mon chakra, work with me here.' A told himself, trying to rid himself of the last bit of suppression he could feel lingering on his coils. Just before everyone got to him, his Lightning Armor came back, not full force but stronger than it had been earlier, thus deflecting their blows. Rairo however refused to stop and attempted to skewer A with his swords, but A grabbed them both and halted the attack, though his hands were bleeding a bit.
Rairo was starting to get covered in red, the effect making him look like a human version of his own summons, or in a more accurate way, a duplicate of A's Lightning Armor. "You think you can stop me with a jutsu you stole from my clan? Copycats can never surpass the original!"
"Oh I can, and I have!" A insisted, pushing back against the Raisotsu clan head.
The lightning coming off of Rairo increased in size to a proportion A didn't think the Raisotsu clan head was capable off, cracking the ground beneath them both further. The amount of killing intent in the air skyrocketed, causing the vermin and street cats to run as far away from the source as they could in sheer terror. The chakra pressure coming off of Rairo increased to the point where it gave off an actual wind pressure, pushing back anyone within the immediate radius of the chakra and lightning coming off of the leader of the Raisotsu.
When he saw this, A began to sweat and. 'Then again... maybe not...!'
Kushina ended the jutsu, allowing her to talk to Yugito again. The blonde blinked and shook her head, as if trying to clear her thoughts.
"Dammit are you crazy?" Yugito asked. "What the heck was that?"
"A memory of mine. Now do you see why we were pursuing you earlier?" Kushina asked.
"How can I know this is true?" Yugito asked, not sure what to think. The memory she had seen was the night of Naruto's birth.
"Nothing I do can convince you, so ask yourself or your tenant what do you feel is the truth?" Kushina asked.
"Kitten, I know this jutsu she used. It's a genuine kitsune jutsu that my brethren was fond of when he suspected someone was hiding something from him. The only way this woman here could know this jutsu is if she was connected to Kyuubi." The Nibi, Matatabi, told Yugito from within.
'You certain about this Tabby?' Yugito asked, using her nickname for her inner demon.
"Certain enough to bet my nine lives on it."
Yugito paled, the implications hitting her. Namikaze Minato, the only man A admitted to her he had been intimidated by, was alive, and after her. This woman, one of his victims, had come back from the dead to stop him from dominating the world. The notion was so farfetched it was insane, but yet since when did something only happen if it made sense? Little truly made sense in this world, least of all the human mind. Several times in history there had been people who sought out to recreate the world in their image, was it really that unlikely that the most powerful man the world had seen was one of them? Especially if people had put the idea in his head that a prophecy justified anything he did.
The kunoichi jinchuuriki turned to A, seeing him fend off a man glowing a dangerous orange. "I have to tell him now. He needs to know this." She left Kushina and went to her kage.
'This I gotta see.' Kushina thought before moving to join in, thinking about what she had learned from Yugito's memory.
While A most likely only got to be raikage because of his family's habit, he was showing the rank was not unjustified in his own right. Even with a clan head and three summons pressing down on him, he was holding his own rather well. Usually A represented the concept of the unstoppable force in battle, but here he was instead the immovable object.
Too bad like his father's spear and shield, one had to be stronger than the other. And like his father, A preferred his offense over his defense. He just couldn't enact it at the moment, not until Rairo finally let up or was forced away.
'Where's my reinforcements?' He asked himself, unable to see the others were in fights of their own or get close because of the raijuu.
Help finally arrived, in the form of his other jinchuuriki Bee. Who attacked Rairo from behind with a single sword slash. The attack did nothing, but it wasn't supposed to. It was supposed to get Rairo's attention, which it did, giving A the opportunity he wanted.
The pressure off, A smirked and did a surge in his Lightning Armor, forcing everyone around him to leave. The drawback was it forced him to drop the armor for a while, but he could deal with that if it gave him a chance to get the advantage back.
"Yo, Rairo! Back off my bro'! Instead face me the unstoppable Killer Bee, I'll make you work for yo' victory."
"GIVE ME MY SON BACK!" Rairo shouted, his voice sounding like thunder. From behind he felt something hit him in the back, in the exact spot where Bee had hit him earlier, causing the attack to get through his defense and cause an actual wound to his body.
"Face it Raisotsu, you've lost." A said victoriously, his fist all but skewering Rairo's body from behind. If it weren't for Rairo's hardened muscles he probably would be pierced, but a couple ribs and a shoulder blade were bound to be broken.
"A!" Yugito yelled, coming up to her foster brother. "I've got groundbreaking news for you!"
"Not now Yugito." A told her without looking.
"Trust me A, you want to hear this!" Yugito insisted.
"I said not now Yugito! So shut up and go kill an enemy already!"
"I'm sorry about this A, but you'll thank me later." The blonde woman said before engulfing her hands in blue-black flames and putting on his cheeks.
A screamed from the unexpected burns, which he couldn't defend himself against since his Lightning Armor was down. It stopped quickly, but before he could ask what was the meaning of this, Kushina rushed in and touched his forehead rapidly.
"Kitsune Art: Memory Share Jutsu."
Yugito then exhaled a stream of fire that formed a ring around her, A, Kushina, Rairo, and Bee, keeping anyone else from interfering since the raikage was essentially down for the count.
"What's going on?" Bee asked.
Yugito went up to him. "We're helping him, and us. Bee, what I'm going to say is hard to believe, but please listen to me."
While they chatted and Kushina did her work, Rairo took the opportunity to simply relax and try to regain his spent chakra, wincing from his injuries. 'I hope I still have a medic in the clan alive after this.'
"Damn, did they really have to include buzzsaws in the floors?" Naruto whined as the exited a corridor in the Kumo prison and went to a lower level.
"It's a prison in a ninja village, did you expect security to be minimal?" Raiden asked.
"Good news is we're getting close. I can see several chakra signatures similar to your own at the end of this hall, in two rooms." Hinata pointed out. "But the rooms they're in, I wouldn't go inside after opening the door. Just open and ask the prisoners to leave, not go in to get them."
Raiden and Yugara went to the end of the hall, encountering no more traps. At the end there were two doors opposite each other, which locks that looked like they were designed to lock from the inside instead of the outside. That way a person from the outside could easily open the door, but someone on the inside couldn't without a key. Sort of a way to taunt the prisoner, letting them know escape would be entirely possible if they just had one small thing they could never get their hands on.
Raiden went to one door and Yugara went to the other, nodding to each other before opening the door.
"Sis!" A little boy about Konohamaru's age shouted. He had spiked electric blue hair and electric blue eyes with a gold ring in them, as well as the standard lightning marks on his cheeks, but he was wearing a small prisoner uniform.
"Ryuge!" Yugara said before rushing in to comfort her little brother.
"No don't!" Naruto yelled, unable to stop the girl from entering. Once she went in the door closed, as did the one Raiden opened, and some alarms went off. Bars appeared out of the walls and secured across the doors, preventing them from being reopened.
"What's going on?" Raiden asked, still in the hall since he didn't enter the room.
"Trouble, that's what's going on." Naruto answered.
Someone could be heard approaching. All three got ready to fight. "It's just one person." Hinata quietly warned.
"This will be easy."
The one person showed up, sword in hand and bored expression on his face. "Big mistake coming here kids. I'm sorry, but you're never leaving."
Raiden immediately tensed. "No way."
"You know this guy?" Naruto asked.
"Not personally, but I was told about him enough to know him when I see him. This guy's Darui, enemy number two to my clan."
"Hey, not my fault you don't like me." Darui commented.
Raiden stepped forward and past the two redheads. "You work on the doors, I'll handle this guy." Naruto and Hinata nodded and went to do so, Darui did nothing as if he felt they had no chance.
Raiden took out one of his swords, having brought two instead of one this time, and covered it with blue lightning. Darui held his own and charged it with black lightning. "So, still using that bastardized rip-off of my clan's kekkei genkai." Raiden accused.
"It's mine now, so I'm allowed to use it." Darui said plainly.
Darui was famous for being able to use both the Storm Release and the unique skill Black Lightning, but what most people didn't know was that only the former was his naturally. The black lightning was actually an artificially created skill, one made from an attempt to engineer bloodlines as opposed to letting Nature handle the work. Using the blood of a Raisotsu, someone working for the Sandaime Raikage was able to create a way for others to replicate their lightning by giving the subject a blood-based tattoo. Sadly the tattoo only allowed them access to what was considered a cheap but effective imitation. Progress was being made on more effective means, which was the primary reason why several Raisotsu members along with ninja from outside Konoha were regularly kidnapped. Breeding was only part of the experiment.
You see, the Raisotsu bloodline was more than just an incredibly high affinity for lightning. They could actually control different "levels" of chakra-made lightning, tame natural lightning, and even supposedly summon lightning storms. Not only that, but the higher up the color of the chakra-made lightning was on their clan's color spectrum for their special lightning, the more powerful it was. They could use the normal electric-blue colored lightning available to all ninja. But the special "colors" of their unique chakra lightning started at a dark blue color, then red, then red-orange, then orange, yellow-orange, yellow, white, and, finally, a golden yellow that made the lightning look like it was made of gold itself.
But there was no black on that spectrum. Not until someone engineered it and gave it to Darui and the Sandaime Raikage. As far as the Raisotsu were concerned, that had been the final straw.
Raiden went right at Darui, who blocked sword with sword. This was expected, Raiden wanted to prove his natural talent was stronger than Darui's artificial strength anyway.
A sword snapped in half, but it wasn't Darui's, it was Raiden's.
"No." Raiden said in complete shock before the white-haired ninja kicked him away and smack into a wall. "This can't be. Your lightning isn't even real."
"Manufactured lightning still shocks people as much as the lightning Kami-sama creates." Darui calmly preached. "Not to mention the problem with spectrum-based powers is you naturally have no choice but to start at the bottom and build up as you use it. Too bad the bottom of my lightning's strength is higher than your own, even if the range is more limited. You placed too much emphasis on the origin of the lightning to pay attention to what it was doing."
All of a sudden a blast of blue energy came at Darui from the side and hit him in the jaw. He stumbled but kept his balance and felt his mouth. 'I can't feel it. My jaw is completely numb.' He thought before looking at the source of the attack. There he saw Yugara out of the room with her bow in hand and another electric arrow ready. Around her were Naruto, Hinata, and the other Raisotsu members, out of their rooms.
"Ah iiyu gauut?" Darui tried to ask, but his mouth flopped more than anything. Even his tongue played dead.
"If you're saying what I think you are, then answer is no comment." Naruto stated, not willing to reveal he had used the gravity skills of his rinnegan to open the locks. 'Thank Kami the most basic power of my doujutsu was the easiest to learn. Even if it took me a while to get it without proper training.'
'I'm at a disadvantage here. Best to cut my loses and get reinforcements before they figure out how to escape the prison. If they even can.' Darui thought then did some hand signs and held his hands out together. "Storm Style: Laser Circus Jutsu." A white ring formed around his hands and five white balls appeared before his joined palms. The balls practically exploded into lasers that shot out and struck the walls, breaking them and causing a lot of dust to form, giving him a perfect opportunity to escape.
"Grab hands and follow me!" Hinata ordered, the one person able to see through the dust. 'The walls are about to collapse, I've got to get everyone out of here.' People did as told, everyone formed a human chain, and Hinata pulled everyone she could to a safe distance. In her eyes she could see Darui causing a few extra attacks on the walls, preventing them from following him if the walls collapsed before they could get to him. 'He's trying to trap us if not kill us. Going for the front would be a bad idea. Only one option left then.'
"Naruto-kun, we need to go straight up."
"As you wish." He said, then pointed his arms straight up. "Shinra Tensei."
Darui went out into the open air and closed the door to the prison. "I hope no one makes me pay for the damages. But at least no one will escape. Even if they can get this far, approaching the door will activate the kill-switch seals placed on all the captives."
A blast was heard and he couldn't resist looking, only to see the ground explode like a new geyser just formed, only water didn't come out. People did, namely the people Darui was trying to slow down.
'Unless they don't use the door. Stupid, what prisoner tries to escape using the prison's front door?' The easily bored ninja berated.
Multiple lightning attacks came at Darui from the new hole in the ground, ranged from blue to orange, but Darui didn't get to be one of the Raikage's guards by being easy to be. He nimbly dodged them all and even used his sword to block or cut several attacks.
Darui was immediately pulled off his feet and dragged through the air by an unseen force. 'What the heck?' Unable to stop himself, he came right at a red-haired boy.
The force controlling him swiftly changed direction pushing him back now just as quickly as before, making him hit the prison wall hard before he collapsed. But he wasn't down, not yet.
"Naruto, Hinata, take Ryuge and others to safely. We'll deal with this guy." Yugara told them.
"By yourselves? No way!" Naruto objected.
"We got our targets. Time for you to find yours. Just get them somewhere safe." Raiden insisted, bringing out his unbroken sword.
Hinata nodded. "Alright, good luck you two." She turned to the group. "Everyone follow me again." The Raisotsu took her lead and went away from the prison and village.
Raiden and Yugara stood next to each other, seeing Darui get back on his feet. His jaw was no longer numb so he could speak again. "And what exactly do you two intend to prove? That your clan was right about the raikage family? Did you ever stop to consider they're simply the best for the job?"
Yugara snorted. "How would you know? Who else has even had a chance to try?"
"So you're just upset that your clan has never had the seat of power." Darui accused.
"No. My twin and I are upset because the family that hoards the seat of power to itself misuses it and claims it's the whole point of having power. Abducting others, creating false treaties just to lower guards, telling it's followers to mindlessly obey or die needlessly and claim it's our own fault, and steal kekkei genkai so the kage and his personal favorites can have them? And you seriously wonder why we left this kami-forsaken village?" Raiden almost yelled, his lightning changing from blue to red.
Darui shrugged. "You're too young to understand." He then charged his sword and swung it. "Black Lightning Ouroboros." An arc of black lightning came off his sword with one end forming a snake's head, coming at them in an arc rather than direct attack. The attack seemed to loop in on itself and circled around them in an attempt to prevent them from leaving, lightning dancing all around it to make escape even more difficult then it already was.
"Trapping us with lightning? I'm insulted." Yugara said before holding her hand out, Raiden took it and their chakra charged together with lightning around both of them becoming red. "Collaboration Jutsu: Thunder Beast Roar!" Wind kicked up and formed a tornado between them and the black lightning, with red lightning dancing in the wind, making it darker, faster, and louder.
'An electric tornado?' Darui realized, feeling some panic. 'Oh crap, as twins they have a natural advantage at collaboration jutsu since their chakra is already in sync with each other. They can do jutsu like this with little problem.' He tried charging up his sword to the highest voltage he could manage. 'I gotta make this one count.'
The electric tornado ripped apart the black lightning snake around it and began shooting out red lightning bolts like a storm, striking randomly. Darui had to bob and weave to avoid it. 'At least they can't attack me themselves without leaving their wind shield. And with all the noise it's making they can't hear where I aim. Maybe I can hit them from out here.'
His sword charged, he swung it overhead at the center or the tornado. "Black Lightning Panther Pack!" A cluster of black panthers made of lightning shot out and went right at the tornado. Normally lightning wouldn't stand a chance against wind, but this wind had lightning in it so it couldn't resist the weaker element as much as it was supposed to. One panther was shredded but the rest went in.
"Did I get them?" Darui asked, hopeful, seeing the tornado die down and the red lightning slow down. "I think so."
With the noise of the tornado gone, Darui heard two twin cries behind him. "Lightning Style: Thunder Beast Slash!" He looked around to see two creatures made of chakra-made red-orange lightning, one a rabbit and the other a wolf, shooting straight towards him.
"What the he-?" He couldn't say any more before they hit him and knocked him on his ass.
"Is he down finally?" Yugara asked, ready to hit him between the eyes with a nerve-disrupting arrow attack if he wasn't.
"If he's not, he's going to wish he stayed down when he had the chance." Raiden warned.
Darui, with much effort, opened his eyes. "Beaten by two kids, what could be more humiliating?"
A camera was heard, taking his picture. "That will go good in the album."
'That's it!' Darui, a rare moment of rage for him at his humiliation being added to.
Kushina removed her hand and rubbed her temples. 'Damn, I guess using this jutsu in quick succession can cause headaches. I just hope this big ape finally listens to us. I may not like him one bit, but we have a common enemy. Let's hope the old saying about enemies holds true.'
A opened his eyes but blinked several times, with Kushina and Yugito waiting to see how he took the news about his old rival still being around. He looked right at the redhead. "What was that you just did to me?"
"I showed you a memory of mine. One you desperately needed to see." She told him, leaving out the part that she saw one of his. One that made her wonder something regarding him.
"Is that true? Is that man still alive?" A asked.
"If I'm lying may lightning strike me." Kushina declared, and given the environment that was entirely possible even without divine intervention.
No such thing happened.
"You have my attention." A said.
Rairo got back up, pretending he wasn't hurt. "You're still going to pay for what you've done."
"Rairo, you want to punish a rapist? Well if you can hold yourself for a moment, I think you're going to find a target you'd want dead even more than you want me dead." A told his one-time rival.
Rairo arched an eyebrow. "That's a bold claim. Why should I listen?"
"Listen to me if not him." Kushina said. "Can you two call a ceasefire? Even a temporary one?"
"Only if it's mutual. I can't believe I'm saying this, but just this once I'm more interested in hearing something than fighting someone." A said, trying to ignore his facial burns while giving Yugito a dirty look for making them. She giggled nervously, knowing she was going to pay for that.
Rairo was hesitant to speak right away. "Well, you helped me get this far. I suppose I'll listen, since you told me there was more that had to wait until after the fight."
Yugito dulled her flames and immediately the outside forces came to their leaders to check on them.
"Everyone, cease combat!" A roared. "A bigger threat has come up, and I demand no distractions until I hear everything!"
The Kumo nin nodded, knowing not to challenge him. Even the Raisotsu and their allies felt objecting would have been bad, especially since Rairo seemed okay with the idea.
"Thanks." Kushina said then cleared her throat, using an amplifying jutsu so all could hear her. "Everyone, Kumo and Raisotsu alike, I come with a grave and dire warning. Namikaze Minato is still alive, and he's coming for you. All of you. He intends to take both your jinchuuriki and decimate your entire village. He seeks out a world where he is the one and only kage alive anywhere, with ALL ninja forced to be his subjects. No one will be spared. No one."
Many were wide-eyed and many were skeptical, but all were listening.
"You must prepare yourselves against him. In any way you can. He will come first with henchmen, S-ranked missing nin, that will claim the jinchuuriki and kill any who get in their way. If he gets them, he will use the power of all nine bijuu to make himself into what he already sees himself as, a god in human form. He will destroy anyone and everyone, with the vast majority of Konoha supporting him under the guise of a prophecy telling them they will win."
"Can you prove this?" Someone shouted out.
"Contact the Tsuchikage if you need to hear this from another source, he has already been warned. Also the recent war in Kiri was his doing, an attempt to rid himself of a rival ahead of time and start claiming the jinchuuriki. He even tried to turn my son into his personal toy. But most of all, you shouldn't wait for prove to prepare yourselves. You're ninja, do you wait for proof or do you go find it if you need it bad enough?" Kushina asked.
When Kushina mentioned her son A frowned, recalling the part of her memory where it was revealed Namikaze had repeatedly raped her in order to get Kyuubi out of her and put it in the child. While A had made some women have children without consent, none by himself of course, to him they were entitled to a little more than basic comforts so they could handle the ordeals and keep the child healthy. Not to mention they were able to raise and interact with their own children in a manner befitting their choice as long as the child still got the necessary education. Women under his rule might not have had romance in their lives, but they were far from concubines kept in dirty holes like breeding farm animals. It wasn't the best set-up, but it wasn't the worst either.
But Namikaze, he raped plain and simple and ignored the woman entirely until she gave birth. He tried to kill the mother and he intended to kill the child too as soon as it was no longer useful to him. Dying on the job was expected in a shinobi life, but intending it from the beginning? Before they even were a shinobi? That was just plain evil. There was nothing about what Namikaze had done that A could support, and beforehand A could at least begrudgingly respect the Yellow Flash for his skills and strategy.
Not anymore. This was insanity, and no one respects insanity. Not even the insane.
"Dear lord. If this is true, what do we do? What can we do?" A kunoichi asked.
"Be ready as if you're in a war. Put aside this mini-war of Kumo vs Raisotsu and focus on the real threat. Give your jinchuuriki the best training you have available and if you can try to find a safe haven for them and others can't get to. If I can find one first I'll be sure to let you know." Kushina said.
Bee raised his hand. "Yo! If you're needing a place to be chilling, I know a spot that's got what you need to stay lost."
Kushina arched an eyebrow. "I'm assuming that means you have an idea. If so please tell me more later."
"What will you be doing?" A Saiga member asked, having joined the battler after it started.
"We can't make it clear we know what he's doing. Namikaze's dangerous but our advantage is he currently thinks no one uninvolved in his plan knows about it. For now, keep up that ruse, pretend I told you nothing but prepare for everything I said. My group and I will try to work against him directly, slow him down if not stop him and find more info for you to use to your own advantage. This means no matter what, you cannot act differently towards Konoha. Act to them like you always have, do not let them think you're planning something. Unless you want Namikaze to do to you what he did to Kiri."
"How do we know you're not working for Konoha?" Someone asked.
"I'm not. I hate Konoha and hope to see it burned to the ground for being involved in this. But doing that now will only set off the war before we can handle it. It's true Namikaze doesn't have all the bijuu yet, but we don't know what he does have. So until we can find out, it's best to keep acting like you're in the dark. Please, I know you have no reason to, but trust me on this. Think of your children, like how I've been thinking of mine."
"Dad!" A young voice yelled out, getting Rairo to perk. Everyone looked away and saw a group of Raisotsu coming to them, mostly women and children with some men. One of them was a young boy coming to the clan head.
"Ryuge!" Rairo said happily as he engulfed his youngest son in a hug. Others of his clan were doing the same. Even though these Raisotsu were technically prisoners, none of the Kumo nin could bring themselves to recapture them. The moment felt far too wrong for such a thing.
Kushina smiled. "Like I said, think of your children. And their children. This is a war that will affect the entire world, not just one clan or one village. Despite your differences and your arguments, I think we can all agree that we do not want that man to be in charge of this place. Am I right?"
Rather than speak out, several hands shot up in the air, showing their support. After a bit even A and Rairo did the same.
The conflict was far from resolved, but people were bonding, and that was the important thing.
The good mood was ruined by a blast in the distance.
"That came from where Raiden and Yugara still are." Hinata said, wondering if that was caused by them or against them.
Hearing this, Rairo released his son. "Ryuge, stay here." Before anyone could stop him he literally bolted towards the brewing dust cloud acting as his beacon.
"Dammit! Can't you just stay down?" Yugara yelled, firing multiple arrows at Darui in rapid succession. None of them could hit thanks to his use of a storm jutsu blocking them all while forcing them to dodge laser after laser.
"You're the ones who should stay down. You're only delaying the inevitable. You only got the advantage because you surprised me with that tornado of yours. But when you're captured, there's a chance you girl will be turned into a breeder like the others in your clan." Darui threatened in his natural bored tone.
Maybe he underestimated the so-called Berserker Rage of the Raisotsu, but claiming Yugara would be raped and saying it like one would talk about the weather was a rather foolish choice to say the least. The lightning around the two twins was orange bordering on yellow-orange, then shifted to yellow and in a surprise twist shifted to gold, the highest on their spectrum.
Now Darui was nervous. 'No way, they can't possibly be able to use their highest level. They're too young. Even syncing their chakra can't make this happen, can it?'
"Collaboration Jutsu: Thunder Beast Murder!" From the two lightning users came fort a wind-lightning combination taking on the form of a golden tiger, roaring like it laughed at the sound barrier for trying to stop it. Darui had no place to run and no time to hide before it hit him, shocking and shredding him like he was being consumed by a creature straight out of hell. Then the jutsu exploded on itself, sending him flying off to the horizon in an almost cliched sense.
Raiden and Yugara collapsed on the ground. "No way he's coming back from that one."
Above them Rairo stepped into view, shocking them but smiling. "Great work kids."
Before sunset Darui would be recovered and taken to the hospital. When asked how he survived, he said he used his strongest storm jutsu available combined with his strongest black lightning jutsu, putting everything he had into both just to slow himself down long enough to cushion the landing. It saved his life, but only sheer luck prevented him from dying of chakra exhaustion instead.
After that, people had a whole new respect for the Raisotsu and made sure no one got to become genin without knowing the risk of mentioning rape around one.