This chapter is brought to you by me, and my two wonderful betas. Daischy and aoe123. I did cut down this chapter by 3.5K but it gets too long LOL

Interlude: False Enlightenment

Satori was a double-edged blade without a hilt, as written in his grandfather's journal, it turned out to be a figurative parable. The Satori could be a peerlessly sharp weapon, but the only way to wield its might is to suffer under the same power one unleashes. It is impossible to cut without, consequently, getting cut. Naruto had tasted it first hand when he awakened the Satori, opening his mind to foreign thoughts was akin to forcibly consuming something that shouldn't be ingested - it was revolting. So naturally one's body would reject it.

Hence the headache and nausea.

Unlike most bloodlines with painful activations, the Satori, according to Muramasa would never be a natural thing. A human's mind just wasn't made to be constantly flooded with foreign thoughts. Muramasa did try to get his ability under control and he mostly succeeded, but in the end, the Satori was never more a blessing than a curse.

By tracking down his family tree using the Daimyou's connections, he had researched about how the Satori was developed and the origin of its name. By rights, it was a theory, but it made so much sense that Naruto was sure it wasn't just a figment of Muramasa's overactive imagination. That being said, Naruto was repulsed by the theory, because if it was true, his ancestors from his father's side were idiots.

Using their physical and spiritual energy as weapons, Indra and Asura were the first who showed humanity how to weaponize Ninshuu. Thus, not only starting the era of ninjutsu, but also the rivalry between the Senju and Uchiha, which became a full-blown family feud. Frontal confrontation was not enough to sate their anger, so they competed in creating new techniques to get one step ahead of their rival. As the eternal rivalry went on, the Senju's side started to realize a decline in their clan. The reason was simple, they inherited the 'body' of the Sage, so as Asura's blood thinned, so did their power.

The Uchiha didn't have this problem, or it just was not as obvious as the Senju's, the main reason being that they had inherited the spiritual energy of Indra rather than the body.

The Senjus, specifically those with especially thin blood, were getting desperate of their handicapped bodies. Since they couldn't compete with their fellow clansmen with thicker blood, they had to look for an alternative which eventually traced back to the root of Ninjutsu. This discovery led to their efforts in recreating a Ninshuu technique to 'connect' people's spiritual energies with one another in an offensive way.

Ninshuu was the Sage of Six Path's teaching, this meant that it was possible for them to inherit his ability. So through rigorous trial and error, Senju clansmen tried to recreate it, going as far as taking Shaman's blood to their family in order to nurture an aptitude in communicating through spiritual chakra. A few generations later, they finally succeeded. However, 'Satori', the newly developed bloodline, didn't turn out the way they thought it would.

At first, the ability to read minds gave the Senju clan an immense advantage against their enemy, however, just like the Mangekyou Sharingan, the Satori also had its downside. Unlike the Sharingan that caused their eyesight to decline, the Satori would grow uncontrollable, making the user more sensitive to foreign thoughts to the point where it was driving them towards insanity.

The Senju clan agonized over what to do with the bloodline and isolated members with the Satori bloodline, they couldn't let the Satori be integrated into the Senju clan for any longer. So, it was decided for members who were already beyond help to be killed out of mercy, while the children who inherited their blood, with even the slightest chance of awakening the Satori, were to be sent away from the Senju clan to a coastline village, far away from the battlefield.

That was the origin of the Namikaze's bloodline limit, the Satori. An enlightenment that his ancestors sought after so desperately. It was some sort of karma in Naruto's opinion, for their sin of corrupting Ninshuu.


21st Legacy: The play of Betrayal

"If an absolute truth exists in this world, that would be it.
That's why Shinobi exist… Because we love, we wish to protect,
and that's why we want power…"
Uzumaki Naruto

Betrayal was a funny thing in Naruto's opinion. He was pretty sure most Shinobi in Konoha would disagree, because betrayal was a crime and a dishonorable thing. Yes, Shinobis had honor, just not the same honor that Samurai held. However, he was not going to argue about betrayal with any Konoha Shinobi, not even Itachi and Shisui.

It was his personal opinion, that betrayal was a one-way road more often than not. Because people could feel betrayed without the person who betrayed them thinking the same.

He had been betrayed by a lot of people in his short life, and it started the day he was born. No, he was not being dramatic, his life was dramatic enough without imagining wild exaggerations. Sure, his sacrifice to be a jinchuuriki was for the sake of Konoha and many lives would be lost if he didn't become one. Sure, his father didn't have a lot of choices, and as a Hokage, he had to do the best thing for the village. In the end, it was still a betrayal to leave your son all alone in the world, and not just as an orphan, but as a village pariah.

He loved his parents very… very much, even though they only had him for a short time, he knew they loved him. But ultimately, a parent's duty is to take care of their child, and since they were dead and he was pretty miserable as a jinchuuriki… they did betray him.

Next were the caretakers in the orphanage, who, on paper, are paid to take care of him and other orphans. They didn't, despite it being their job. Naruto was sure that genuinely caring for him was not in their contract but neglecting him sure counts as not doing their job. There was a good reason why he was socially stunted by the age of six.

He had mixed feelings about Hokage-sama. Yes, Ho-ka-ge-sa-ma, not jiji anymore. He knew why the Sandaime lied to him and all the secrets the Hokage kept from him. What made him feel betrayed was… even though the Hokage treated him as his grandson, Sarutobi Hiruzen had depraved him from the one thing he craved more than anything.

That one time he asked about his parents, he wanted… he wished… Hokage-jiji would at least lie that his parents loved him. He wanted some assurance that he was not unwanted, just one simple little thing… and yet, he was not granted even that. He was not trusted, and keeping a secret proved to be more important than his happiness. It was a shock to him when a person he thought of as his family couldn't even understand his desperation, and at that time, he truly felt alone.

For real…

He couldn't recall exactly when he had fallen asleep on the floor, he just did. Then he woke up with a nagging feeling and a headache. He didn't figure it out until years later, that his latent Satori went haywire because of the stress he suffered after the cold rejection. And that he had passed out because the pain was too much for his young body to handle.

It was pretty pathetic that he didn't take betrayal well to the point of almost getting himself killed over it. Years later, he still couldn't take it well. He was getting better, but it still hurt. Even Aizen's betrayal hurt - he might have never trusted the man, but that didn't make it any less painful. Aizen might have been a traitor and a liar, but he was still a caring and a good teacher who never once ignored him, the first one. For all the crimes he had committed against Naruto, the Uzumaki couldn't deny that Aizen was one of the few who acknowledged him.

So, Naruto learned that betrayal was a one-way street and the pain it subjects you to felt less painful if you understand the reason behind that betrayal. If anything, it would be downgraded from betrayal to a conflict of interest. Make sense out of betrayal, not a spectacle, only then would it be fair and minimize pain for all the parties involved.

Which was why Naruto didn't bat an eyelash when he found out that both the Uchiha Clan and the Tower, had a paper-thin loyalty towards Konoha. Unlike betrayal, loyalty and trust were two-way streets, that's how it works. You couldn't expect a long-lasting relationship without trust from both sides, which was why the task to integrate the Uchiha Clan and the Tower into Konoha was such a difficult task.

Trust could not be built overnight, but distrust is a parasite that would take only a blink of an eye to latch on and take hold.

The same could be said about their mission in which they were investigating a suspected traitor. More often than not, investigating a traitor would take a shorter time than surveillance, to be sure that someone was loyal.

'Still…' Naruto mentally checked this covert mission's objective. The mission was infiltration, they were to spy on a potential alliance between Suna and Kiri. 'Why does it have to be a political nightmare inducing mission like this?'

'I told you that you and your Uchiha friends are like a match made in heaven, it's a karma.' The bijuu chortled.

'Kurama…'

'It's just how it works with you three… get in trouble together and said trouble will roll over the hill with you.' Kurama sounded gleeful about it. 'Now you're worried, remember just months ago you said… it works for you! Now eat your words! Sucker!'

Naruto rolled his eyes, 'You're not helping, Kura-.' His posture straightened, eyes narrowing as he picked up his pace. 'For a man hindered by a hangover, he sure moves pretty quickly.'

'You're not worried for your Uchiha friends anymore?'

Naruto shook his head, 'I am rightfully worried if my friends and teammates have to spy on an enemy nin with someone who reeks of alcohol and cigarettes! This is not going to end well, I swear!'

'Of course, it won't'

Back with Itachi and Shisui

'This is not going to end well for us.' Itachi and Shisui thought as they trailed a few steps behind Mukai.

If this was a normal mission, Shisui would call the mission off and personally have Mukai dragged off to the Hokage's desk to complain about going on a mission in his condition. He was not fit for duty, especially not for a mission that consists of spying on potentially hostile groups of Shinobi. Even without enhanced senses like Naruto's, Shisui and Itachi could tell Mukai stank of alcohol and smoke.

The man had showered but the smell was still there. This mission was already doomed at this point. Their real mission, however, was an entirely different matter, they had to get a feel of Mukai's strength so getting in trouble with enemy nin served their objective well. Not to mention… this man had forced them to travel with little rest, if Shisui didn't know better, he would suspect this man was purposely trying to make them tired.

"We're here." Mukai announced grumpily. "Now, let's wait for our mission objective to arrive."

The same mission objective that would not be there until noon, which was over half a day from now. At least now they could recover some of their stamina, not much, but some. At times like this, they really envied Naruto's tireless stamina.


Back with Naruto and Kurama

It was a long wait, and Naruto was worried for Itachi's and Shisui's stamina, he didn't know if it was just Itachi and Shisui, but it seemed in general, that stamina was not the Uchiha's strongest point. Naruto hoped their exhaustion was limited to Mukai being a difficult team leader, and not a convoluted plot to tire them out.

'Oi, Naruto… a lot of Shinobi are coming towards this direction.'

Naruto winced, 'They're faster than scheduled.' It was a good thing they rushed to this place as planned but he was unsure that if things were to get ugly, his team would get away unscathed. For now, he had to keep an eye on them. It was hard to gauge his distance to Mukai's team. He had to be close enough to give assistance if needed, but far enough so Mukai wouldn't be able to detect him.

Bad day or not, Naruto was not going to underestimate a Jounin who made it to his thirties.

'He is just trash.'

'Trash that has lived longer than any of us, excluding you, not to mention that he's a ninja with more experience than my entire team combined.' Naruto pointed out before he hushed Kurama. 'Shh! The Suna and Kiri team are here!'

"Why me?!"

Naruto ignored Kurama, as now he was torn, a little… a lot… 'Who should I pay attention to? Suna and Kiri or Mukai?!'

'Naruto… you do a lot of things at the same time in a daily basis, yet you're conflicted about this?' Kurama pointed out his idiocy.

Naruto blushed a deep shade of red at the reminder, 'Right! How could I forget?'

'Because you're an idiot.'

'Right, what will I do without you? Oh, the great Kyuubi no Youko!' Naruto deadpanned in his mind, Kurama snorted in return. 'Oh, it's a good chance to try that.' He closed his eyes, hands forming a clone seal. Slow and steady, he let his chakra flow, imagining his chakra constructing the clone at a much slower pace than usual. Like blowing a balloon slowly but steadily, instead of blowing it in one deep breath like usual.

He cracked one eye open to see a faint outline of his form. Like a ghost that slowly materialized until it became as solid as he was. 'Wai! I did it!' He did a mental happy dance. 'No popping sound! No chakra smoke! A perfect Kage Bunshin for espionage!' He had been practicing this for ages, and even then he could one clone, slowly. But now, he didn't have to worry about the noise or burst of chakra alerting the people of his presence.

It was pretty close to perfection, if he could say so himself.

'Congrats, idiotic vessel of mine… may I direct your attention back to your important mission?' Kurama asked in a polite tone that just screamed sarcasm.

Naruto and his clone looked sheepish as they split their attention to each group. Mukai, Itachi and Shisui were laying low on the top of a cliff, spying on the meeting beneath them. The Suna-Kiri meeting was still ongoing, it appeared they were exchanging some sort of code.

'Does this mean Suna is going rogue on your village?' Kurama sounded oddly curious.

Naruto shrugged, 'Not really, we're allied to Suna but we have no right to stop them from allying themselves to Kiri, unless this alliance is for turning on us.'

Kurama snorted, 'So tell me Naruto, which do you think is the key to peace, love or power? Which choice would provide your village with enough comfort to be at ease with their supposed 'allies' without having to spy for signs of betrayal?' [6] [7]

The blond didn't take his eyes off of his target as he answered, 'You're more talkative than usual, Kurama… but I don't dislike that.' Kurama was talking to him on the bijuu's own discretion. 'Are you repeating your father's words to Asura and Indra?'

'...Just answer the question.'

'Hm… I am nine, even if I am mentally older, I don't think I am arrogant enough to claim that I know better than Rikudou Sennin.' No matter what Kurama thought of humans in general. 'Itachi, Shisui and I wish for peace… we have seen war and so we long for unrealistic serenity. Even so… we're still walking blind down this path to peace with no way of knowing whether we're right or wrong.'

'...'

'Personally, however… I think Asura's and Indra's answer to his question, while not totally wrong, is very naive.' Naruto told Kurama bluntly, ignoring the bijuu's snicker that Naruto had the audacity to call the Sage's sons naive. 'Power gives you the authority to lead most of the time… and it's in human nature to follow a strong leader. However, power can only get you so far. It can't solve every problem, and in history, leaders with an iron fist had always fallen… either by assassination or during war they started themselves.'

There were always ways to get around power.

'And with just love… hatred will follow, no matter how strong it may be. And without power in this cruel world, you will achieve nothing. You can't protect anyone with mere feelings, but it's the strongest source of power there is... If an absolute truth exists in this world, that would be it. That's why Shinobi exist… Because we love, we wish to protect, and that's why we want power…'

Kurama snorted, 'When you say it like that, Indra and Asura really do sound naive…' In the end, love and power were just two parts of the same answer. Ninshuu was corrupted by humans for the very same reason, because they needed power to protect those they love.

'Right… and that's why those Shinobi are down there,' He replied.. 'They might be our enemies, but do I hate them? I don't… I can't hate them.' Like how his father never hated his enemies despite the fact that he slaughtered hundreds of them during the Third Shinobi War. 'If I do, it would be over something personal…' Like if they harmed his friends.

'Heh… I have to admit that blunt honesty of yours is why you're better than most humans in my opinion. You don't claim you have higher virtue than your kin…'

Naruto resisted his urge to tease Kurama for his rare honesty, and instead, focused on the exchange of scrolls between Kiri and Suna. In his mind, he already formulated a plan. Whatever the team found about this alliance from closer inspection, Konoha would most likely be interested in what Suna and Kiri were up to, so… they would have to ambush either team and take a peek at the scroll, make a copy, and allow both teams to go on their merry way.

There was a good reason why Itachi and Shisui were on this mission, enough for Mukai to not get suspicious.

'Naruto, they're busted.'

Naruto's eyes widened when he saw one of the Kiri nin, the Captain, started to look around before alerting his comrades of Team Mukai's presence. 'Damn it! How did they…'

'That Mukai guy reeks of alcohol and smoke. Of course, they would notice sooner or later.'

'Damn it! The Kiri and Suna teams split up!' Suna went after Mukai's team while the Kiri nin fled the scene. This was close to Kaze no Kuni's border so it was no wonder the one pursuing their spy was the Suna team, but was that the real reason? Naruto looked back and forth between Suna and Kiri, one headed East while the other North.

He made up his mind and activated Hikou no Fuuin to get ahead of the Suna nin and Mukai's team, while he left his clone to pursue the Kiri nin.


Konoha (Sealing Tower)

"And that's how you have come to this conclusion?" Hakurei exclaimed in disbelief.

Houshou nodded frantically, "The only one in a pinch over an unknown intruder waltzing in and out of Konoha is us and the Uchiha clan! Even the barrier team is off of the hook because they did detect the intruder, so it's our fault that the intruder had gotten in and the Uchiha's fault that the culprit wasn't caught." He pointed out.

In short, the Barrier Team did their job while the Uchiha and the Tower did not.

"Thank you for your input." Hakurei thanked his subordinates before dismissing the brown-haired Seal master. "Now, please go back to KMPF's HQ and inform the others that we're thinking of a solution so just act like nothing unusual."

"Roger, old man Hakurei." Takigawa Houshou saluted before he made his way out of Hakurei's office.

Hakurei glanced at Fugaku who was sitting across his seat -the last time Hakurei checked, the Uchiha didn't have that many wrinkles on his face- and said, "Both of us find ourselves and our subordinates in quite a predicament, don't you think so? Fugaku-kun?"

Fugaku didn't even bother to protest because, of course, he would forever be Fugaku-kun to Hakurei. "Indeed…" They agreed to have a meeting in the Tower simply because the sealing division had better security, thus keeping outsiders from spying on them. "It's one thing after another, and just after KMPF is slowly adapting to recruiting personnel from the sealing division…" How they could trust taking recruits from Konoha now, assuming that there would even be anyone interested in joining, should they have the opportunity.

Hakurei sighed, "Stop pinching the bridge of your nose, it's not going to help our headache."

Fugaku stopped, sighing. "What are we going to do now? I can already imagine the elders going on stride about that again."

"My side is in a slightly better condition, but we're dissatisfied with Konoha all the same… and Danzou will treat us all the same…" He made a scissoring move with his fingers. "That man will try to prune us or something… he would take Konoha's tree metaphor to new heights, I swear."

The Uchiha clan head snorted, "Indeed… and when Itachi, Shisui and Naruto are not in Konoha… I would like to spare them as much as I could from this stupidity over our pride. I may be a proud Uchiha, but I know our limits. It will bring us more harm than good if we prolong our isolation from Konoha… The only reason I would ever consider that is because between picking a fight with my own family and my village, I will choose the latter."

Hakurei gave the younger man a sympathetic look, "Well… you're right, family is everything… seriously… Why are the people we lead so blind? It's as if they refuse to see the bigger picture. I guess that's why we're the ones who lead our people, while I still wish they would take a hint. What we dream to be our ideal life is just a pipedream if we don't change ourselves. Uzushiogakure is no more… we can't go home to a ruin… our young master was born here and half of his legacy belongs here."

He was not going anywhere… and as much as they hated it here, they need Konoha's protection.

"Even though my generation and Shion's remember Uzushiogakure, our children don't. What they know of our former home is just…"

Just a memory, and he was afraid they would become delusional of their former home.

Fugaku nodded sadly, "What our clan thinks as ideal is not realistic either… we might be able to take the Sandaime down, but what about the rest of Konoha? What about our children?" Then the rest of Konoha's enemy that still sharpening their kunai out there?

"Right… which is why we have to focus on the present."

The Uchiha clan head inhaled deeply and said the one thing Hakurei knew was exactly what he thought too. "What are we going to do about this?"

"Capture the intruder, I suppose… but we've been trying exactly for that… for three days." Which was pretty long considering they detected the intruder entering a couple of times, but they couldn't even catch a glimpse of the perpetrator.

Not to mention they couldn't find anything wrong with the barrier.

"Not to mention just now… I was called to the Hokage Office, and Kakoi was there…" Suddenly Fugaku had a very bad feeling about where this conversation was heading to, especially if the leader of the Barrier Team was involved. "And he said… lately, in the several instances of an intruder bypassing the Konoha barrier system, they were around the Uchiha clan district."

Fugaku scowled, "Why don't they just point a bigger finger at us and be done with it?" He slammed his fist on the table in anger.

"I know, Fugaku-kun… I know, this is a hard time for all of us. Though the fact that I was informed means they still trust me at least." That was not so comforting, but it was still something. "Still… we have to calm down our people first, rushing ahead will just lead us into Danzou's trap."

"Danzou… Of course. What does that man wants from us anyways? He is so fixated on us… it's unnerving." Uchiha's pride or not, getting unnerved by Danzou was nothing to be ashamed of in Fugaku's book.

If he was not so desperate to get his son a place in Konoha's ranks, he would have kept Itachi and Shisui as far away as he could from Danzou. He hated how that man looked at his son and nephew. He hadn't been in the same room as the man with Naruto around, but Fugaku was sure Danzou wouldn't look any differently at his Uzumaki nephew.

Hakurei sighed, "Power… that's all he sees in us, the Uchiha's doujutsu and our seals... "

Fugaku contemplated for a moment, "Between us, I believe we have a pretty good chance of getting rid of him."

"Honestly, I alone stand a good chance myself… the problem with Danzou is not getting rid of him, it's the aftermath once he is out of the picture." Hakurei pointed out. "I don't think I can put it past Danzou to not bring his closet full of skeletons with him to his grave."

The Uchiha sighed, "Right… but Hakurei-san, let me tell you this. If by chance, we're all going down because of his scheme, promise me that one of us will live long enough to drag that bastard down to hell - consequences be damned."

"Deal." He agreed wholeheartedly, "So before we get off the topic… the question of the year - what are we going to do to get us out of this mess?"

"Good question."

Both of them hung their heads in despair.


Kawa no Kuni

The problem with a group of elite Shinobi on the run back to their home was that their alertness took a sharp dip. Just because they were the ones being pursued, they believed that they had chances to spring up a trap and ambush the opposite forces, not the other way around. It was simple math and Naruto had to say he couldn't fault them for believing that.

Because most Shinobi didn't have a way to leap and cover miles in an instant. He was still perfecting Hikou no Fuuin for real flight, but the weather wasn't windy today so for once luck was on his side.

The Kiri nin didn't have a Doujutsu to detect sealing formulas on the clearing they came across. Nor did they have the patience or well-needed time. Believing that they got a good head start from their pursuers, they didn't care to watch their steps closely.

"Gah!"

"My legs! I can't move them!"

"Damn it!"

Naruto's lips trembled, it never failed to amuse him how a trap as simple as the Gomen Jimen no Fuuin could catch even elite Shinobi if they were unaware of the trick behind the seal. High-ranked Shinobi had already trained their body to enhance speed and strength with chakra; it was almost as natural as breathing to them, so their confusion was a small wonder. They were confused as to how such a thing had been able to glue them to the ground. The truth was simple, really, the seal just forced the chakra they emitted to stick to a specific spot, thus restraining their movement along with their chakra.

A chakra chain shot from his sleeve and ripped the scroll holster from the Kiri captain's waist. The man roared for it. "The scroll!"

Summoning another batch of clones, he duplicated the scroll. Naruto ordered the clones to split up as a precaution. After his clones were far enough, the remaining Naruto contemplated on what he was going to do with these Kiri nin. He didn't want to kill them, if possible, and even if they were trapped now, going out there to kill them in person would be a bad idea. Any careless action would be risking the exposure of Konoha as the one who sabotaged their mission.

He was also skeptical of how long Gomen Jimen no Fuuin could hold them to their spots. Having decided, his hands clasped before forming three hand seals in succession.

Ox → Snake → Ram

It was a good thing there was a sun shower this morning. "Kirigakure no Jutsu." It was a simple technique with only three hand seals. While his mastery over the water element was barely decent, this technique didn't require much of it. Though he was sure the Kiri team was not going to appreciate the irony.

He called another batch of clones and distributed a particular elemental seal tag, quickly erecting a barrier before digging a foxhole to protect himself with a simple seal that soften the soil like Moyagakure no Jutsu.

"Kirigakure no Jutsu?!" an Indignant shout came from the general direction of the Kiri team.

"How dare-"

They were cut off by an electric current that ran through the thick mist, screaming in pain before they collapsed, one by one, onto the ground. Their chakra became very still and Naruto knew they were out cold. As he had learned from his former master Aizen and ROOT junior squad, Suiton plus Raiton was a bitch. Even for ninjas with high pain tolerance, staying conscious against it was hard, to say the least.

'Now that I've completely disabled them… what should I do next?' He wondered to himself. 'I am already low on chakra too…' Chasing them with Hikou no Fuuin and setting a large Gomen no Jimen Fuuin took a lot from him.

He frowned when he poked out his head to count, he didn't misread the chakra signatures. The Kiri team was short one three-man cell, 'I missed one team?' This is the shortest route back to Mizu no Kuni and the scroll was with them. If they wanted to split up to confuse their pursuer, they should split into smaller teams. With the Suna team going after the Konoha team, they were the larger team they wouldn't pull this kind of stunt[J8] . Instead, they would have fought him head on.

So that leaves one possibility. They went to assist the Suna team in catching the Konoha team. Or perhaps…

'I should return to the origi-' He stopped in his tracks as someone suddenly appeared and that chakra… where? He closed his eyes and loosened the seal on the Satori. Frowning at what he just sensed, 'Hm? Whose thoughts are-'

His eyes went wide in shock when all of a sudden, a gloved hand burst through his chest. Time seemed to slow to a stop, and with the last little bit of power he had left, he turned around and saw a masked face phasing through the tree he had been leaning on. 'A ghost?'

Poof!

The clone disappeared with a burst of chakra smoke, and the masked man sighed. "Yare, yare… I guessed wrong. The original is the one chasing after the Suna and Konoha team…" He glanced at the unconscious Kiri nin. "Still… for him to take down a group of Kiri elites so easily."

Granted the clone won not in a battle of skill, but in wits. It was still a very impressive feat for a sheltered jinchuuriki. "At this rate, perhaps…"

Allowing him to live was going to be a hindrance in the long run, to wait for the Kyuubi to reform might be a better plan. That was what he planned with Yagura, stir a civil war and get the Yondaime Mizukage naturally killed, and wait for the Sanbi to reform or he escaped from the seal and killed Yagura. He was not picky in which order his puppet died.

As for Uzumaki Naruto…

'No, don't! Shisui and Itachi are-'

'Shut up! He will die anyway, so what if those two-'

'Don't inflict the same pain to them! Please!'

'It doesn't matter! Once Tsuki no Me-'

'Spare them… as long as we could…'

'The world is not that kind to us… to Uchiha…'

'And that's why… be kind… be kind to them now… for now…'

He looked at the general direction where the Suna and Konoha teams went off to and sighed. He had been patient for years, he could afford letting his cousins keep the Yondaime's son for a little longer.

Yes…
let them be,
after all, the longer their bond lasts,
the greater the pain when they lose him.

Then Shisui and Itachi would understand the real pain, the curse of their clan.


Back with Itachi and Shisui(5 Minutes ago)

'I told you so' wouldn't be appropriate in this situation, but Shisui was tempted to say it. Because… no self-respecting ninja would ever drink alcohol and smoke before a stealth mission and fuck the mission over six ways to Tuesday, like Mukai Kohinata did. Shisui was also sure that the Hyuuga clan wouldn't want anything to do with the bastard, they would be ashamed of him.

Shisui had decided, traitor or not, Mukai Kohinata would pay dearly as soon as they were out of this mess.

"After this." Itachi grunted from his left, eyes straight at Mukai Kohinata who was running a few steps ahead of them.

Itachi agreed with him, wonderful! Though Naruto, who sometimes was even more of a sticker to rules than, Itachi might disagree. "Mukai-san, the Suna team is gaining on us. Shall we confront them?" He wanted to slap himself for abiding to seniority, but they had a cover to keep.

Mukai snorted, "I suppose we should… On paper, Suna is one of our allies, but they did pull this kind of shit. I imagine Hokage-sama would want to keep the alliance so-." He looked at their direction, inclining his head so they could see his left profile.

Their eyes widened when they saw the distinctive bulging blood vessels around Mukai's left eye, the all-seeing eye of the Hyuuga clan, Byakugan!

'This is not included in his profile.' Shisui sweated a little. While the Byakugan didn't mean the end of the world, he was not prepared to kill a grown-up Jounin with the Byakugan. Simply because now he was unsure whether Mukai was completely without ties to the Hyuuga.

'Depending on the situation, we should change plans from assassination to capture.' Itachi concluded, especially considering the situation they were in now, they needed more evidence to brand Mukai as a traitor - condemning evidence or it would get ugly with the Hyuuga later.

They didn't need their relationship with the Hyuugas to get any worse.

"Be my back-ups but don't interfere unless I ask for your help, I alone am enough."

Huh? Say what?!

With Naruto and Kurama

The blond frowned when he at last caught up with the Konoha and Suna teams, suppressing his chakra to avoid attention. Mukai Kohinata was charging head on by himself while Itachi and Shisui hung back. They still assisted Mukai from time to time, but it was obvious Mukai was taking the Suna team head on mostly by himself.

'He is winning though.' Mukai Kohinata was stronger than expected and the variation of Jyuuken he was notorious for was formidable as well.

Naruto was not familiar of the Hyuuga's katas. He knew how the Jyuuken works but in terms of the kata, he only knew the skin of it.

'He has the Byakugan, Hamura's eyes… don't you think you're too close?' Kurama pointed out.

'I suppose I am alright at this distance, Shisui and Itachi have experience with the Byakugan.' And the Hyuuga lost badly against them, 'That absolute 360º field of vision in Shisui's words… is a bluff. Even though their range is that wide, they can't concentrate on everything they see. He is in the middle of an intense fight, and the barrier I put up distorts his perception enough that, unless he concentrates on me, it's unlikely he can spot me.' So as long as Naruto keep his head down Mukai won't notice him.

Kurama snickered, 'As expected of my vessel, so sly… though we don't have much time to waste dawdling. So, are you going to kill this smelly bastard or not?'

Naruto narrowed his eyes, sensing three new chakra signatures. 'We will find out soon enough.' Hopefully as soon as possible, because he felt wary to stay in the open with that masked man nearby. 'Show your colors Mukai Kohinata… show us you're loyal, if not…'


Back with Uchiha cousins

He, at last, defeated twenty Suna Shinobi by himself, Shisui thought with no little amount of disbelief. It was quite a feat for someone who just recovered from a hangover. Mukai Kohinata was strong, there was no doubt he was. However, that power… does it belong to Konoha or…

Shisui and Itachi briefly exchanged glances, the older Uchiha stepping forward towards the presumed leader of the Suna nin who was on the ground, while the other were keeping an eye on Mukai. Shisui narrowed his eyes at the back pouch on his waist where the Jounin kept the scroll from Kiri, and reached out to take the scroll.

"Oi, Uchiha. What do you think you're doing?" Came Mukai's haughty voice.

Shisui trusted Itachi to keep an eye on Mukai while he had his back turned, taking the scroll he was after from the dead Shinobi. "Taking the scroll they had exchanged with Kiri. Hokage-sama would like to take a look at what Suna is up to I believe." It was foolish to turn your back on a potential enemy but Shisui was testing Mukai.

Itachi didn't take his eyes off of Mukai as he subtly approached a kneeling Shisui.

Shisui was about to open the scroll when Mukai stopped him. "Hands off of that scroll kid, you don't have enough clearance to look at it."

The Shunshin expert beamed, "I am just curious. Besides, I believe Hokage-sama said nothing in our briefing about not looking." His finger still glued on the edge of the scroll.

"I warn you, Uchiha…" He hissed, "Hands off."

Shisui hummed, "By the way Mukai-san… I am curious about why you are being so brutal with these guys." He trailed off, pointedly ignoring the Jounin's scowl. "I believe in our briefing we were ordered to spy on this meeting, sabotage them and find out what they're planning." Shisui cupped his chin, "When they pursued us… the correct course of action according to our mission was to prepare a trap to subdue them, avoiding casualties while keeping our cover."

Mukai sneered, "Getting rid of them is easier."

"But if a large team like this just disappeared with no news, no matter how good we are at covering our tracks… Suna will send their Shinobi to investigate these guys' disappearance." He pointed out cheerfully, "Then we risk our alliance with Suna if they start to suspect Konoha, and… by law, Konoha have no right to interfere unless this alliance between Suna and Kiri is against Konoha." Itachi continued.

"An alliance that's not with us will be against us, brat."

Shisui snorted, "The fact remains that we will be the ones at fault and we can't claim innocence since we acted on unfounded suspicions." At last, he turned around, facing Mukai head on. "In the end Mukai-san, whatever there is inside this scroll… this mission has done more harm than good for Konoha."

Because Kawa no Kuni iss between Hi no Kuni and Kaze no Kuni, whether or not they suspect Konoha, Suna would ask questions.

"Bah… you're just theorizing, don't make a fuss over something so trivial."

"Oh, but we have to. After all, through the course of this mission, you Mukai-san, have been thoroughly sabotaging it. Care to explain?"

Mukai narrowed his eyes, "What is there to explain exactly? I am just doing my job."

"You're a Jounin." Shisui pointed out. "You don't get your rank by being a fool, and yet you have been playing a fool the whole time. I don't know if you're just an alcoholic, so you can't control yourself before an important mission but…"

Shisui smirked, "I never known anyone dumb enough to eliminate over twenty Shinobi who belong to an allied village when the investigation is still ongoing, and we have confirmed nothing that could justify this action. Not only that… we're both Chuunin and you go off on your own against twenty elite Shinobi of Suna, and not even once do you watch us out. Four jounin tried to sneak behind us with poison and you didn't even notice. If we were normal Chuunin, both of us would be dead by now."

Mukai snorted, "If you got killed, you would have no one but yourself to blame."

The Uchiha narrowed his eyes, "This is not the matter of competence. You're very close to deliberately endangering both your team and your village. Don't you think you will get away so easily, Mukai Kohinata-san."

The distant relative of Hyuuga scoffed, waving Shisui's warning dismissively. "Whatever you say, Uchiha… all high and mighty because you have a clan to protect you." He sneered, "You can complain once and you're safely inside Konoha's wall, but outside, I am your captain so hand over that scroll or-"

"Oh, I don't think so Mukai-san!" Shisui beamed in faked innocence, "Let me keep this, because after that stunt you pulled, I am not sure of its safety with you! Here, I'll give you some blackmail material on me so once we're safe and back in Konoha, you can complain all you want. Go ahead!"

Naruto would be so proud of him, he even handed Mukai a figurative olive branch. Itachi looked like he disagreed though, his face said Shisui was having too much fun with this mind game.

"Hand over that scroll, Uchiha! Or else..." Mukai growled.

Shisui pasted a look of mock horror, "Now you're threatening me?! Are you sure? Seriously?!"

Mukai had his Byakugan active and his face was red with anger. "It seems you're not a cooperative subordinate, well… I lost my patience due to your disrespect and it's time I can quell some."

Shisui hummed, neither he nor Itachi were surprised when three Shinobi wearing Kiri's ANBU mask appeared via Shushin. The black in the Uchihas eyes faded to red and three tomoe swum in a pool of red. "Well, well… what does this mean, Mukai-san? You have friends from Kiri?"

Itachi shunshin-ed to his side, Sharingan eyes narrowed at the team from Kiri. "Or perhaps… you have betrayed us for Kiri, Mukai-san?"

He sneered, "I betrayed no one, it's Konoha that betrayed me first so I took my loyalty to a worthier master."

"Betrayed you first?" Shisui echoed in an incredulous tone.

"I worked hard to get a spot in ANBU, I am strong enough to be an ANBU captain but… the higher ups favor Shinobi with pedigree like Hatake Kakashi and Hyuuga main family members! I am as strong as they are but I am not given the same privileges! I was even forced to turn in my mask!"

Itachi sighed inwardly, while thinking that Naruto was so right about betrayal being a one-way street. "Considering how far you have fallen, I can't say Hokage-sama's decision is wrong."

"If your loyalty is measured by promotion and rank, you're not a true Konoha Shinobi… after all, being a Shinobi is not a job but a way of life." Shisui added. "How disappointing Mukai-san…" He put the unopened scroll to his pouch. "I have hoped we could reason with you…"

"So Konoha knows I am a spy." He scoffed, "A shame, I like my job as a spy but if I go back to Kiri with your heads, a generous reward awaits me from Mizukage-sama."

Shisui smirked, eyes closed. "Truly a shame, Mukai-san."

FLASH!

A bright light erupted from above and Mukai, who had his Byakugan activated, was blinded in an instance, howling in pain, while the other Kiri nin, although blinded, were not in as much pain as Mukai. They sensed their enemy move and swung their blades in hopes to stall until they regain their sight. Seconds passed but they could feel that the chakra flare being emitted by the flash tag had yet to cease, which was an abnormal occurrence as usually flash bombs didn't last this long.

They were Jounin so they could detect incoming projectiles from sound and vibrations in the air. However, it took all their concentration to do so, and when they were focused on dodging kunai and shurikens, they didn't notice a chakra construct in the form of a chain sneak in, wrapping around them like a cobra and taking them captive.

"Uwaah!"

One by one, the Kiri nin were dragged to the ground, Mukai was no exception, as the man hit the ground face first.

Shisui opened his eyes, blinking because even though he had his eyes closed, the flash tag was brighter than normal so he was seeing a few spots. "You took your sweet time, Naruto."

Naruto glowered at Shisui from beneath his mask, "Excuse me if I didn't want to interrupt your one-man show."

Mukai opened his eyes, they were throbbing painfully but he ignored it because he had no plan to let himself be under their mercy. He knew what had befell his comrades so he kept his face down to avoid looking at the Sharingan. His Byakugan was still blurry but he was sure what chained him was a chakra construct.

'Fool! Anything made of chakra is powerless against-'

Much to his shock, the chakra chain didn't disperse even though he released a pulse of chakra from his whole body to disturb the construct. "Why won't this chain break?"

Itachi narrowed his eyes at Mukai, "A shame, really. You're not a Hyuuga and yet you're no less skilled than any Hyuuga clansmen in my eyes, Mukai-san." If Mukai had been a pureblooded Hyuuga, the clan would have hailed him as one of their best.

"And to answer your question…" Naruto trailed off, "Unfortunately the Kongō Fūsa is not a normal chakra construct. If a bijū can't break it, neither can you." Naruto stated coldly before one more chain wrapped around Mukai's head, forcing him to look up, thus exposing himself to two pairs of Sharingan eyes. He closed his eyes stubbornly, unwilling to succumb to the Sharingan. Then he felt cold metal on his neck, "Choose… it's either surrender quietly or we will slit your neck right here."

Mukai reluctantly opened his eyes and let himself fall to the Sharingan's mercy. "Damn it…" He cursed weakly before his eyes rolled back and he was out cold.

Naruto eyed the unconscious traitor with more trepidation than relief, the mission was to kill him but Mukai was more useful alive than dead, right? They will find out what's up with Kiri, even though he was sure Danzou already knows but… but the traitor would be a hindrance to bring back home and adding these three Kiri nin to boot.

BADUMP!

"Naruto? What's with that face?" Shisui asked, "I finished sealing the corpse and I have sent a clone to the Kiri team you left behind to clean up after you." In which Shisui's clone was going to put them under genjutsu and put a false memory before sending them off back to Mizu no Kuni.

A rush of memories from his clone hit him and his face paled, "Run!" He declared, "We have to get away, my clone was destroyed and-"

Itachi looked at him with worry, "Naruto, calm down… what hap-"

"Urk."

As one they looked down, just in time to see the chained head of Mukai Kohinata rolled off of his body. And the head stared back at them lifelessly, there was no emotion in his eyes as if he was still deep in Shisui's illusion.

"Huh?"

Naruto reacted as he, Itachi and Shisui dashed forward while their three hostages were killed swiftly with a slash on their jugulars. He was moving as fast as he could but Naruto could tell his left hand that was holding the chain connected to the three recently dead hostages was wet with blood. He could see Itachi and Shisui were just as shocked as he was, it was as plain as the day that they were almost killed but spared at the last moment.

Then a ghost appeared, seemingly emerged from the ground. He had shoulder length shaggy hair, and dressed in black from head to toe, leaving almost no skin exposed. On his right hand was a kamaitachi, with a chain connected to his left, the blade was soaked in blood. But what drew their attention the most was the ominous orange mask he wore, with a single eye hole that didn't hide his lone Sharingan eye from the world.

"You…"

The Uchiha from nine years ago, Uchiha Madara!


BONUS: Naruto, Kurama's favorite host. Maybe…

Uzumaki Mito was a self-righteous bitch who claimed his power was a source of calamity, so he had to be sealed within her. Kurama was blinded with rage back then, but now he wished he could call Mito out on her hypocrisy. Did she forget whose family feud Kurama was dragged into? As much as Kurama hated to call himself a victim, after all that he had been through, it was an apt label. After all, he wasn't helping Madara out of his own free will. He was forced out of his calm dwelling to aid their stupid fight!

Did he get the apology that he so desperately deserved? No, instead of an apology, he was imprisoned unjustly, and Mito and Hashirama had the gall to make it sound as if they had done the world a favor. Unlike that drunk Tanuki, he never attacked humans unprovoked. Not because he liked them, but after Indra and Asura, he and his siblings - the dumb tanuki aside - decided to stay away from humans as a whole to save themselves trouble.

Then Mito and Hashirama went out of their way to gather all the bijuu like they were some collectible merchandise. As if the wound to their pride was not deep enough, the bastard couple dared to claim it was for their father's dream.

PEACE!

His next host was only slightly less guilty than Mito because she was just inheriting the job as his vessel. But that didn't make Kurama hate Kushina any less, especially since she took Mito's advice to 'fill herself with love' to deal with his hatred. If there was anything he could agree with Kushina on, it was that neither of them got a good deal out of this accursed bond. That being said, it still got on his nerves how Kushina treated her jinchuuriki status as some sort of sacred duty.

Kurama was nice enough to give her and her husband a quick death before getting sealed into his next host.

He didn't have high hopes when he got stuck in Uzumaki Naruto either. However, after acquainting himself with the boy, Kurama could say at last he got a better deal. At least Naruto was not a self-righteous Uzumaki who thought Kurama deserved to get stuck in this hell hole like the previous two and felt guilty for his fate. Kurama didn't want sympathy of course – he was the mighty Kyuubi who didn't need pity - but it was considerably a step up, as his current host put some effort to make this accursed bond between bijuu and jinchuuriki more bearable.

Though sometimes… Kurama wished Naruto didn't work so hard to make their living arrangement better. Such as…

"Don't décor this place! Let this cell be dreary and wet for all I care, but don't paint the bar orange!"

"It's a very lively color, and to be honest I don't like this sewer either. There must be something wrong with my head and I'm fixing it."

"STOP!"

Seriously, he was happy enough that in this small cell he was free to move his limbs unlike when he was stuck inside Kushina and Mito. As for the dreary sewer… the less said about it, the better.

"Kurama, what do you think about this seal to improve your lighting?"

"Good morning, furball! The sun is very nice so I wonder if you feel it when I was sunbathing."

"Hey, I attuned the seal to my senses so you can taste the food I eat. Isn't ramen the best comfort food in the world?"

The synchronized senses were nice and all but Kurama could live with not tasting human food, and he'd rather not have Naruto talking his ears off. He almost missed being ignored by his last two vessels, almost.

"Kurama, I feel sorry you're cooped up in there."

Now what? He was almost tempted to sigh at his vessel. After years of living inside this boy, he learned to tolerate Naruto's antics so he'd always listen first and scream later. As bizarre as it sounds, he had raised this boy since Naruto was six. "What brought this up?"

"Eeh… you see, it's been raining all week in Konoha and Shisui says the cats kept by the Uchiha clan were going crazy because they weren't able take a walk outside."

"…" Should he keep listening or should he scream at this numbskull now?

"They're tearing curtains and tatami apart, meowing nonstop… Shisui looks sleep deprived because the granny next door is keeps like… a dozen of them."

"…"

"I am so sorry for not noticing sooner, so I'm thinking of a way to get your consciousness out from time to time from the seal." Naruto declared, a hint of guilt in his voice.

He would like to remind Naruto that he was not a cat or dog, but he couldn't deny getting stuck here wasn't frustrating either. Besides, if Naruto was really going to give him some freedom, Kurama supposed he could swallow his pride just this once. Let's indulge this boy for now, it was not like Kurama was expecting anything!

Or so Kurama thought-

"It's surprisingly simpler than I thought!" Naruto was grinning from ear to ear, "I just need to apply the same principles as the Kage Bunshin in this seal and bind it with our chakra, fooling my jinchuuriki seal since the majority of your chakra stays within me while transporting your consciousness and some chakra to this clone!"

Looking at Naruto's beaming face, he had an urge to claw the brat. "Clone, you said…" He was looking at the mirror, trembling with fury and embarrassment at his reflection.

Naruto and his teammates had the decency to look embarrassed, "Well… at first I thought that I could just lend you a clone of mine, but it's not a great idea to have one of me roaming with red eyes and claws around Konoha. So, the other idea is looking for another body… and with keeping your comfort in mind…"

"We think this body that looks as close to your original is the best!" Shisui beamed and since it's his first time speaking to Kurama face to face, he was doing his best to give a good impression and hopefully making amends on behalf of his clan. "We were torn between getting a monkey or a fox" It was a sad attempt at boot-paw licking Kurama on Shisui's part.

Monkey? How does he look like a monkey? True, his upper body was somewhat human or monkey like in anatomy but-

"Shisui… be quiet." Itachi was sure mentioning that they were looking for a monkey was not a good idea.

"Well, never mind!" Naruto hastily added, "We got a good deal from a hunter on our way back from the capital that he is going to sell this kit as a pet! Akari did his best to open and keep the chakra path in good condition, so how does it feel?"

Kurama snapped, "I feel GREAT in this stupid kit's body!" The body he currently occupied was that of a fennec fox, a smaller species with a cat like body and ears too big for its petite head. In short, it was a very cute and cuddly body unbefitting for the strongest bijuu to reside in.

"Ku-rama? Uhm… is anything wrong?"

"Everything?! Whose idea was it to get me this… fox body?! It looks retarded with its big ears and small jaw! I look like a Chihuahua!"

Shisui coughed and turned away, his face was red and his shoulders were shaking with mirth.

Naruto averted his eyes guiltily, "Erm… among the game hunt we saw on sale, this fennec fox looked the closest to your original form." Actually, it was because this body looked the cutest, but he would be suicidal to say it to Kurama's furry face. "But it works, right?"

"I am the size of a house cat! Can't you get me a bigger body?!" At least one as big as a wolf, in this size, he could be trampled by accident!

Naruto rubbed the back of his head sheepishly and clapped his hands together in an apologizing gesture. "Sorry Kurama! But bear with this for a while okay?" And faster than Kurama could react, Naruto clasped a classy looking necklace chain with a circle pendant, which was engraved with a seal on the back and the sealing tower's address on the front.

"I am not a pet!" Kurama pounced but was easily caught by Naruto who was holding his sides.

"It's just in case someone sees you! I also added a seal to hide your chakra signature so you can take a walk around the perimeter of the tower!"

Kurama stopped struggling, "I can't even walk out of the barrier surrounding this place?!"

"Well… Konoha citizens have developed a dislike for foxes since that night It would be fine if you avoid crowded places, but it's just safer around here!" Naruto explained as he put Kurama down gently before idly holding up a morsel to his mouth.

Kurama was about to protest but he couldn't resist eating the offered morsel and finished it in a gulp. "Na-ru-to… you- you-!"

"Well… it's a fox after all so ingrained instincts are kept. Even if you're in charge, you need to eat, drink and… well." He gestured towards the bowl of food and water by the door, then to a cat toilet full of sand.

He even had to take a dump like a mortal?!

"Cheer up Kurama! I will ask someone to install cat doors around the tower and the weather is great today for a walk! You can even hunt some game." Of course, Naruto refrained from pointing out that with his tiny body, Kurama could hunt rodents at best.

Kurama let his instinct took over and pounced at his insufferable host. The fresh air was good and all, but he was still holding onto Naruto's promised bigger and dignified body soon.

And no matter what, he refused to eat fried tofu! Ever!*


*If no one gets the joke, kitsune traditionally is a fan of fried tofu. Kurama thinks Naruto is turning him to a vegetarian.

Fried tofu and Kitsune aside, Tobi makes his entrance on the stage of Unsealing Legacy!
As shown by his monologue, he is not stable as there's part of his heart that still hesitate to follow Madara because of Itachi and Shisui. I am not sure with canon, but it says a lot if Tobi really hold his promise to Itachi until his death. So I shows this dilemma on the basis Itachi and Shisui exist, and protecting Naruto like his old team would Rin, their precious teammate. His dark side wants to subject the rest of his clan to the same pain but in the other hand he couldn't bear to do it to Itachi and Shisui.

There's a plot hole in canon why Obito dawdle so much with Moon Eye plan, so I make the reason that deep down he didn't want to do it and drag it on as long as he could like they need money *they pull zombie+Zetsu army, how did they need money?* and what else...
See you in next chapter, drop soul food for me *REVIEW* and... have a good day readers!