"Dun dun! Dun dun dun dun!" whistle whistle...
Jared had the Mission Impossible theme running through his head as he crawled down a vertical air shaft barely bigger than he was. An interesting thing about the shinobi lifestyle was it conditioned one to accept the impossible as routine. Even if you'd never run across a certain impossible thing before, seeing it happen shook you less, since you have already accepted, done even, so many impossible things before.
The clan elders had been there inside an hour and checked him thoroughly, yet after another mind-walk found nothing more interesting than before. So what he'd done about preparing men to fake their deaths was viewed as just another weirdly-accepted normal. He'd acted enough like a baby before and after that now there was talk of maybe him being in contact with ancestor spirits or something, but that was all.
No, the first thing that occurred after being given a clean bill of mental health was his clan head assigning him a dangerous mission.
Hence the crawling down air ducts.
In fact, he could pretend he was hearing an Impossible Mission briefing now. The man would pull out a series of photographs, starting with a building, and the recording would say, "This building is the Konoha Archives, access is to Uchiha and clan heads only. Outside, there is nothing to distinguish it from dozens of other buildings throughout Konoha, but inside is a secret passage to an underground vault whose walls are five feet thick and made of a chakra-resistant material."
The recording would go on to say, "The archive was created as the excuse behind a grab for more power in the early days of Konoha, and continues as a tradition today. Claiming fear of thieves and infiltrators, the Uchiha enacted a ban on all written material within Konoha as a security concern, forcing their servant clans to store any documents within this vault, thus placing all technique scrolls where the Uchiha had access to them. It was their intention by so doing they would learn the hidden techniques of their servant clans. However those scrolls were all encoded as part of a holdover from the Warring Clans period, so that Uchiha plan was foiled.
"Today, any scrolls kept by the genin clans are few, well-hidden, and written from memory, and even so routine searches by their overlords have kept them from building up a library. Nowadays most training scrolls are written in plain language, created only as needed and destroyed after a single use, to prevent the knowledge within from falling into the hands of the Uchiha. However, since it would be impossible for anyone but a Nara to retain full knowledge of their clan histories and techniques across generations without reference material, and since the Uchiha tightly restrict access to the official archives, this has resulted in the loss of much of the clans' effective power, weakening them and leaving the Uchiha firmly in control."
"Since the clan heads are kept busy running errands for their masters, they have little time to read, much less catalog, their own clan scrolls in the archive. So they do not even know what techniques or knowledge have been lost.
"Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to penetrate that vault and get hold of those archives so the clans who wrote them can regain much of their power and hopefully throw off the yoke of the Uchiha forever."
The recording would then end on that strangely routine, yet dire, note (adapted for local conditions), "As always, should you or any member of your IM force be caught or killed, the clans will deny any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."
Once the overview was done and the message destroyed, the scene would then switch to where the man was briefing his team on what they'd actually be doing, and the problems they were facing.
Jared decided to narrate this part himself as he navigated through an S-curve in a pipe that was already barely bigger than he was. "The access building is disguised as a small armory, one of several spread around Konoha, and located just off the Uchiha main practice fields. The upper floors are filled with mostly practice weapons, just valuable enough that a couple of armed guards don't stand out. However, because of its location, they've ensured there is a large body of Uchiha nearby around the clock ready to react to any emergency. Now, because of those armed guards, the Sharingan they'll be using to check any visitors, and the large response force nearby, we won't be able to challenge the main doors."
One of the team members would then ask, "So, how will we gain entrance?"
And Jared spoke once again what he thought ought to be the team lead's lines, rewording the mission briefing his clan head had given him to fit. "One universal weak point common to all bunkers or bomb shelters is this: wherever humans are they've got to breathe. Now, this culture hasn't got the technology for air scrubbers or oxygen tanks, and those are temporary measures in either case, requiring constant supply to renew or replace. No, for humans to enter the vaults and use those archives they've got to breathe, so there will be ventilation. The trouble with that is using that as an access point is an old trick. They knew of that danger and took some countermeasures."
The team lead would, at this point, have shown off a picture of the iron statue Jared had bypassed far above. "Having a pipe stick up out of the ground is too obvious. So they put up a statue of an old war hero, an Uchiha of course, as the entry point. Now it doesn't look like it, but the statue is hollow, and within the shadows of the tucks and folds of the armor and clothes are concealed dozens of little holes that allow for the passage of air, but not much else. Getting past that when the statue stands in full view of the training fields will be your first obstacle."
And it had been accomplished handily enough when an Akimichi had sat down, placing a bag full of lunch against that statue while using it as a backrest. The Uchiha couldn't react without giving away that this statue was special, so while the guards watched that guy eat a sandwich, Jared, inside that bag of lunch, had used his wind chakra to cut open an access panel in the side of the base of that statue, then crawled in.
The Akimichi had reached in his bag to close that panel behind him, then close the hole in his bag, and went on to finish his lunch.
Jared continued his muttered briefing as he squeezed around a narrow turn in the pipe. "The shaft below is your next obstacle. It is a thirty foot straight drop in a pipe too narrow to pass an adult's head. Only a baby could navigate it, but that baby would have to be able to use chakra to walk on walls or else he'd never survive the thirty foot drop."
Hence the reason why Jared got recruited for this mission.
That briefing would go on, "Now, there are several switchbacks and S-curves to follow, to stop any weapons or jutsu from getting in by preventing a straight line of effect." And Jared could attest they were narrow, as he'd barely passed them, small as he was. "Then finally you've got a set of metal bars blocking the vent as a means of preventing any nin-animals from gaining entrance."
A barrier solved once more with wind chakra used to cut those bars.
Jared breathed a lot more easily as he used magnetic chakra to slowly lower the severed metal bars to the floor, laying them to rest softly so their ringing out on impact didn't alert the guards above.
He'd have to replace those bars after he'd left, but for now he was rapidly crawling down the inside wall of the vault, feeling a touch of claustrophobia imposed by that very narrow approach retreat as he exited into the main room. "One thing working in our favor is the vault itself sees very little traffic. The reason most people learn to read and write is to record and pass on knowledge, or to pick up the wisdom and skills passed on by those who have gone before. But with an eye bloodline to do all of that for you, well, the Uchiha are not big readers. Once they failed to break the codes on the hidden technique scrolls, most of them lost all interest in going over those archives."
One thing even this imaginary briefing had not covered was that, in the absence of electric light, underground living was much more difficult. Even formed by earth chakra so the vault itself was structurally sound, it was as dark a pit as you'd ever behold down there. It made moonless nights seem positively shiny by comparison.
At least those had stars.
Reading by torchlight was never fun, and it drank down oxygen like nobody's business. Also the ventilation passage was so narrow that even with fans driving the air it would have been wholly inadequate, yet they did not possess that kind of fan on this world. Basically, once a week, if they felt like it, some Uchiha would use a wind jutsu to force some air flow to bring in some breathable air and make it slightly less stale down here. At least they had both an intake and an outtake ventilation passage, though both were much the same.
But luckily Jared was a child, and with his small body size did not need much air. He was also rather good at air chakra, so established a small, barely noticeable breeze from above to keep him supplied.
Light, on the other hand, he brought with him. The light bulbs he'd brought flared to life, showing more brightness to that chamber than it had seen since its construction.
He'd brought spares as he didn't want one to break.
Now, all kidding about an Impossible Mission briefing aside, his clan head had only sent Jared down here after a single technique off a single scroll, one Inoichi knew they needed, but it was complicated and he'd not had the time free to memorize it, nor had he ability to smuggle a copy out. They practically made the clan heads strip naked to come in here, then searched them rigorously on the way out, just to discourage visits.
That, and some of the Uchiha were gay, so they liked fondling man bits. Itachi's purple nailpolish hadn't come out of nowhere. There was a reason why it was left to Sasuke to replenish the clan in the mainline.
Too bad he turned out to be so much of a disappointment in that department.
Jared's instructions had been rigorous. So many steps forward, so many shelves high, and so many scrolls across he was to find a scroll of a certain description from which he was to copy a section from a certain header to another quite specific header - and Inoichi had made him recite back every part of these instructions three times right before heading out.
A small pack of paper, ink and brushes had been dragged behind him through that tunnel. They'd also given him a timer, in this case a candle, that he was to light the moment he got down inside, and when it had burned out he was to go up the route he had come in, taking his copied section of scroll along with him by the same 'pack trailing on a cord' trick.
Seeing as how no daylight penetrated this place, and there were no clocks or hourglasses inside, a timer was necessary, and he lit it immediately, just as instructed.
It was a twenty-four hour candle. As far as anyone knew Jared was illiterate, aside from a few lessons on how to copy kanji given just before this mission commenced. So he was supposed to do the medieval scribe trick of just copying the text without being able to understand the characters, and they'd given him plenty of time to help him get it right.
That, and it was difficult to visit a sensitive location too often without drawing suspicion. An Akimichi having lunch in the same spot two days in a row should manage to skate below the radar, but two visits in one day would be pushing it.
As it was, the mission was expected to be just at the limits of the little boy's endurance, as he would be going hungry that full 24 hours. And frankly, Jared judged that his clan head was desperate, as this mission was shaky enough on enough counts to be verging on a suicide mission or a forlorn hope, something like a last, desperate gamble, more than a mission with an honest chance for success.
If he hadn't been so honestly desperate to get that bit of scroll copied, the littlest superspy might have suspected his clan head of trying to get rid of him on a one-way trip. Instead, what he actually thought was Inoichi was desperately seeking hope and willing to gamble at long odds rather than meekly accepting a destruction that Jared couldn't see.
But whatever. Jared was in. He'd first find and copy that scroll bit, then it would be time to read.
Jared squirmed up the ventilation pipe as silently as he could, his head feeling stuffed to the point of bursting with information. Some would call it useless information, because all of the good stuff had been encoded, but to a good superspy there is no such thing as useless.
The archives contained scrolls from every clan that had ever willingly joined Konoha, so the Uchiha, Yamanaka, Nara, Akimichi, even dusty piles of old scrolls left over from extinct clans like the Inuzuka and Sarutobi. And there were probably more clans as yet undiscovered by his distinctly hasty search.
Twenty four hours was a small time to catalog so rich a library - especially when it seemed no one else had ever been inclined to.
All sorts of stuff had been there to read: clan histories of past events, family records of who married whom so you knew who was related and how, even seemingly useless stuff like children's stories meant to be told to the clan youth.
Although those childrens' stories had been interesting. From what admittedly little he'd read of them thus far they all seemed to be basic primers on when and how best to use the clan techniques, what opportunities were suited to them, and what not to do.
The actual mechanics of how to perform the techniques, the handseals and stuff that would teach you how to learn it, were carefully excluded from those childrens' tales. But there was a wealth of data on additional applications, clever tricks that had been worked out by clan members over the years, then converted to children's tales so new generations would grow up learning them, so their use of those techniques would be more flexible.
Come to think of it, those stories his mom had been reciting to him at bedtime now took on a whole new meaning. Who knew the Yamanaka had started out as infiltration specialists? From what he'd seen in the series, the only uses for Mind-Body Switch were all combat related. But now that it came up, sneaking into an enemy camp wearing the body of one of their actual members would be a devastating infiltration maneuver.
One such agent could work a vast amount of destruction by poisoning or sabotage, or even assassination. But potentially even more devastating was the information they could learn about their enemies, and they could leave without a trace just by canceling the technique!
Even if they got discovered, if the body they were in was killed, what did they care? Their spirit would be free, floating back to their own body just as though the jutsu had released.
No wonder his clan studied body language and mannerisms so much. They were training to be consummate actors! Wearing an authentic body would only help you so much to get past their gate guard if you didn't also move and act and speak like one of the people you were infiltrating.
Well, that was one mystery out of the way now.
Jared resolved if he had the chance to find out more of each clan's childrens' stories. For his own clan it could teach him the best uses for the stuff once he'd finally got it mastered, and for other clans, well, knowing what they could do would tell him what to expect from them.
Ahhh! Now he knew what was going on when his mom tried to encourage him to "Look at how daddy/mommy/that little girl are moving. Do you think you could move like them?" He'd blown her off, thinking the way he moved was just fine for him, but that wasn't what she was after at all! His mom wasn't criticizing the way *he* moved, she was trying to train him to observe and mimic other people as a way to get maximal use out of the clan jutsu!
Come to think of it, one of the Nara scrolls suggested their children play 'Shadow Tag' where the only way to win was to catch one another using their shadows. They didn't even have to know the technique, just getting another child in your shadow was enough, and if that didn't have obvious combat implications for them later in life he didn't know what did.
So the little superspy wriggled along the pipes quite content in the knowledge he had secured, just out of reading the unencoded stuff.
Only the most important part of any clan's archives were encoded. Written forms of Japanese were already hard enough large blocks of Japanese education on up through high school was devoted just to building up the students' numbers of symbols recognized.
That was something pointed out on an archeology show Jared had watched, where the presenter had explained something that anthropologists had known to be true since forever - that the Alphabet was actually one of the world's greatest inventions.
You see, in societies with symbol based languages using characters for words, like pictographs or kanji, although in his case the archeology presenter had used heiroglyphs as his example because he was in Egypt at the time, it takes so much time to learn how to read fluently (over a decade in most cases) because there are literally tens of thousands or even millions of symbols you've got to commit to memory. There's no logical structure or rules to make it easy, just 'this symbol means this word, except in these cases where it means that word'.
Rote memorization over a bare minimum of twenty to forty thousand individual characters just to get by - more than a hundred times that to be fully literate.
What this does is it puts reading solely into the hands of the upper crust, the aristocracy or priesthoods, because those are the only people who can afford to take that amount of time off working for a living to learn how to do it. And that means that maybe one percent of your people know how to read - if you are lucky!
And without reading, getting a meaningful education becomes very, very difficult.
But the reason the modern world BECAME the modern world was that society learned that culture as a whole reaps enormous benefits if education becomes more widespread. There are inventions made that nobody ever expected or planned for, developments in science, art and industry that an illiterate people just can't make.
The alphabet, with it's simple 'this symbol means this sound, now build your own words' approach was totally revolutionary. Now any common person could be taught how to read using a set of symbols that could be taught in a matter of minutes.
Suddenly everybody could have education.
That particular revolution had occurred a long time ago, so it seems normal to us, but still the alphabet was one of the key building blocks without which an intellectual Renaissance, and the industrial and productive revolutions to follow, could not have happened.
Japan and China could manage the costs of educating their youths today because they basically got dragged into the prosperity and largess of the modern world by those who had achieved it first. But the experts agree that those countries never could have achieved it on their own. China, for one, had a long list of potentially historically significant inventions that failed to change their culture or society in any meaningful way.
The education base just had not been there to spark off a Renaissance, nor could it be.
So, as one of those countries that languished without an alphabet, and without the industrial wealth of modern manufacturing to compensate, in the Elemental Countries reading was a rare skill, as rare as chakra control in its own way.
Not for ninjas, of course. The Yamanaka and Nara families had always had techniques they'd worked out together for absorbing and retaining large blocks of information easily, and when they'd joined Konoha they'd made as one of their contributions to the new village the lesser version of that technique. Then, when Konoha got invaded and overthrown, that technique got picked from the village's carcass, and was now general among ninja everywhere.
That made reading easy among ninja, as it vastly simplified memorizing tens of thousands of kanji. So, while not as good as the Nara specialty version of those memory techniques, once that got disseminated most ninja learned how to read, as they could do it a lot faster.
Still, most of those clan scrolls pre-dated the founding of Konoha, when you couldn't afford to encode everything you wrote down, just because a reading ninja was rare enough, and you couldn't count on the rare few who not only knew that, but also your codes, surviving.
So on the one hand, you had to encode some things because you could never ensure that an enemy wouldn't get a look at your scrolls and you needed to hide your secrets, the stuff your family lived and died on.
On the other hand, you could never be certain that a decapitating strike, or just plain old bad luck, wouldn't take out all of your clan elders - the old guys who knew all of the codes. So the ninja clans were faced with two equal and opposite problems, encode the clan secrets too much and you might lose them, or on the flip side encode them too little and everyone might get them. Both tragedies had occurred to various clans, in fact the Akimichi had lost an entire set of techniques they'd owned before the current multi-size stuff got invented when they lost the people who could read those scrolls in one unlucky battle, forcing the younger generations to develop the new set out of sheer desperation.
So both were real dangers, and every clan's answer on how to split the difference between those two dangers was different.
Codes of all sorts would be used, both good and bad, because nobody was expert at all things and some would be good at creating ciphers, and other clans not. But Jared didn't know any of them, and codebreaking was an exercise that took weeks at minimum, and he was not confident of success without all sorts of modern tools and programs he didn't have.
And some of the old Japanese codes left from way back during World War II had never been broken. So he'd just read unsecured scrolls.
Jared was wriggling up the last straight shaft of the tunnel feeling proud of himself and all he'd accomplished, only to reach the entry port of the statue, and stare out of a crack in shock at the sight of the Akimichi with his lunchbag being driven off by Uchiha using fireballs.
Jared wriggled back into the archives chamber feeling shaky and alone. He'd stayed up at the top for what felt like several eternities, but was probably only half an hour, watching through cracks and tiny, shadowed air holes, hoping for some kind of signal or message, some indication that his family were going to reschedule a pickup.
No such thing.
He was now officially on his own, surrounded by a camp of enemies.
Fighting down a rising panic, the boy took stock of himself. He was alone in an unlit, chakra-resistant vault. He had on him only his clothes, a pack of copied notes and some writing supplies, and a short length of cord he'd used to drag them behind him through a pipe. He hadn't eaten anything in a little over 24 hours now, although thankfully this vault had a bathroom (probably so too many people weren't seen too often going in or out), so he'd at least been able to get some drinks of water from the sink. His candle was expired, but he still had lightbulbs, still had air.
Only he no longer possessed any kind of route out.
~Ok,~ the little boy sat on his diaper clad bottom and forced down the rising panic. ~The clan needs my notes. Odds are Inoichi or one of the other heads will visit this place soon, with the purpose of reconnecting with me to arrange another way out.~
Only he realized with sinking dread that he could not count on that. What if the clan heads got accompanied by Uchiha guards into the vault? Or what if visits had to be scheduled a week in advance?
He didn't know, and couldn't chance that they didn't.
The boy sat, pondering hard on his situation. ~Ok, what do we know? Consider everything from the top, starting with our enemy.~
So what did he know of the Uchiha?
Answer: Not enough. Of what little he knew from the show, most would be common knowledge here, and he needed more detail than that. So he dove into the Uchiha scrolls to find out more.
It was hours pondering everything he knew, and pouring over the Uchiha family scrolls for even more information, before he lowered a scroll in wonder having suffered his bolt of inspiration out of this new flow of information.
After reading countless clan histories, their children's stories, their games and cautions that taught them how to use the gift of their own bloodline, he understood a conclusion he had never reached before.
The Uchiha were intellectually lazy! They did not have to think hard to learn things, they just had to look at someone doing a skill and their eyes did the rest for them. Similarly, they did not have to learn how to memorize, their eyes did all of that for them.
But mental effort was like physical effort, in a way, in that the more you did the more you learned how to do, as your capacity to do the stuff increased from the effort. Short-circuiting that effort, like having your physical trainer lift all of those heavy weights and run all of your laps for you, did you no favors.
So the result of having a 'glance at it, learn it' Sharingan was the Uchiha never really had to do much thinking. The whole, entire process of "study it out in your mind, ponder it, examine the problem from as many angles as you can, probing for a solution" got short-circuited by the Sharingan doing all of the work of capturing skills for them.
And as a direct result of never having to mentally chew over any problems for themselves, they never really learned how to learn. Most people will avoid any effort they don't have to do, and mental effort was still effort. Besides, no one has infinite energy to spread around and most of the Uchiha had already quite committed their time to physical training, as one thing a Sharingan was simply unable to do was modify the bodies of those who used it.
You could stare at the fittest people in the world all day long with the highest level Sharingan and it could not make you the slightest bit faster or stronger or tougher. So if an Uchiha wanted strength, or speed, they had to train for it like anyone else. And train they did, out on the practice fields nearly every day. This made them rather the opposite of the Nara who were physically lazy but mentally willing to work quite hard.
Nor was that the only weakness. Their own clan histories and children's stories repeatedly cautioned their members that they could only copy what they could see. Something like someone's thought processes, or anything else invisible to the naked eye, were entirely safe from that bloodline. So you couldn't stare at someone to copy his thoughts. Not even the Sharingan could do that. And certain skills were virtually all in the head!
Codebreaking was one of those skills that a Sharingan was simply unable to do. Too much of the work involved thinking that they couldn't copy.
As did architectural design.
So the Uchiha had, in all probability, not designed this place themselves.
Jared began to look around his prison with new eyes, understanding at last that whatever the Uchiha's intentions with this facility, it had to have been built by someone else - some poor sod who was most likely lied to about it's purpose, then both the designer and work crew put to death to avoid sharing any of its secrets.
It was horribly cliche, but killing the work crew was sometimes done by bad people who either didn't want to pay them, or just didn't want them blabbing.
With this new understanding, the superspy looked all around him, at the scrolls and the shelves they stood on, the bathroom, and then, up above himself, at the fire sprinkler system that dangled from the ceiling.
Plumbing was something that was easy to get right even without modern industry or tools. Something like a toilet was easy to copy once you had the slightest inkling of fluid dynamics - which anyone with a water affinity could figure out with a touch of work. So he was no longer surprised by seeing nearly modern bathrooms (just lacking hot water) in a place that could otherwise have passed for the Shogunate era in many respects.
And most modern fire sprinkler systems at their heart were just a series of pipes set up connected to a water reservoir. The trigger was an easily melted plug in the sprinklers themselves. A flame breaks out, those pipes heat up, the plug melts and water flows out. Simple and very reliable. It doesn't require power or electronics of any kind.
Then Jared's eyes tracked down, because clan scrolls existed for a reason, and that reason was to pass on to future generations the clan secrets, the skills and techniques they would live or die by. But those could be destroyed as easily by water damage as they could be by fire - especially in a room that was most often lit by torches.
And there it was, a drain in the floor, covered by a simple grating not too different from the ones he had cut through on the air shaft to get in here.
A drain had to be there because no one wanted to store paper archives at the bottom of a swimming pool, which is what an underground basement vault like this one would be if ever that fire sprinkler system got activated.
And, in order to function, that drain has to go somewhere. Not only that, but it had to be able to evacuate water just as fast as the entire sprinkler system could dump it in, because if it could not keep up with that flow rate this whole room would be a swimming pool anyway.
So that drain hole had to be at least as big around as the air vents he'd crawled through to get in there, and it had to go to somewhere capable of accepting a massive inrush of water. Possibly a sewer, but anyplace outside of these chakra-resistant walls would be vulnerable to earth manipulation.
So, if the water could get out, so could he.
He cut open the grate on the drain and made the attempt.
After war had destroyed its first location, the Uchiha had moved Konoha to a section of dry and unlovely mountains chiefly chosen because no one else wanted to live there.
Well, as Jared was learning, those mountains were dry not from any lack of rain (they still grew rice in paddies up there) but because they were limestone, and limestone dissolves very easily - especially where water is involved. The natural fractures and joints inherent to limestone are thus slowly enlarged, forming drains and channels for that water to escape.
The result is that, rather than holding on to water like most kinds of stone, limestone springs leaks. This leads to mazes of dissolved passageways and very often, some quite impressive cave systems.
Getting lost inside of them was guaranteed.
The only things saving Jared were that he had light, as much as he needed, could both mark the path behind him, as well as open too-narrow passages by using earth chakra, find water to drink by feeling for it with chakra, and by drawing air to himself to breathe learned how to sense for the slightest breeze, and thus lead himself to a way out.
It was still two days before he stumbled out, was found by a patrol, thankfully decreed sick instead of starving by the trio of clansmen in that patrol so the Uchiha leading them didn't want anything to do with the kid, then taken to the false hospital where his precious cargo got delivered and the boy set to work with a will draining his source of milk dry.
Merry Christmas everybody! Well, day after anyway.
One of the greatest failings of the Naruto series, some say its greatest failing by far, was the author's unwillingness to give the Sharingan any kind of failure, weakness or limitation, and stick with that for even a single instance where it ought to apply after that flaw's introduction.
Examples are too numerous and disappointing to list. The first time we see a Sharingan in the show was when Kakashi revealed his in his first fight against Zabuza, and he puts himself out of commission for a week with chakra exhaustion - which is literally the last time chakra exhaustion has any effect on any Sharingan wielder due to that supposed cost. It gets retconned and retconned until it is out of existence. People keep it constantly active for decades after that without any trouble whatsoever. Kakashi himself suffers no sign of chakra exhaustion in his second fight against Zabuza, despite by my clock that second fight taking over a hundred times as long.
Which would not be so disappointing if it did not happen Every Single Time a decent limit tried to get connected to that bloodline. "Oh, it can't copy speed." and then it copies speed. "Oh, it can't see through things" then it sees through dirt, "Oh, it can't tell a Shadow Clone apart from the real one," then Sasuke is there doing it.
Whatever we are told it can't do, it winds up doing very soon thereafter.
So, since no author can reasonably accept any story element that doesn't have limits, even in a fan work, I'll simply be enforcing the rules Bakamoto introduced, then discarded.
Here, those limits will actually be put in place. Magnekyo Sharingan drives you blind? Well, it might be claimed Kishimoto forgot that one seconds after he wrote it seeing as how Obito has been using his for decades with no trouble at all. He never even bothered to make up the flimsiest handwaving excuse, just ignored it entirely. And Itachi was "going blind" for a full decade at least, without any noticeable drop in his combat capacity.
I'm sorry, reading in a room with inadequate lighting will drive you blind faster than that. And every time Bakamoto introduces a limit, it's the same thing. He tells us it is there, then he proves it wrong the second it is inconvenient to his beloved bloodline.
No. Just, no. Here, any limit it has ever had will be in full force.
So the Sharingan drains chakra at a terrifying pace, one percent of the user's total for every minute it is active. It's supposed to be rougher on transplanted eyes? Well ok, should anyone actually manage to achieve that in this world it will drain one percent of their total chakra for every second of activation - which is in keeping with Kakashi's fight with Zabuza, where he had it active for about a minute and a half, then dropped from exhaustion.
Magnekyo drives you blind? Ok, that's one percent loss of total vision per day until you are completely, one-hundred percent blind. Takes just a little over three months.
That's inconsistent with Kishimoto's work. Well, so what? Kishimoto can't be bothered to stay consistent with Kishimoto's work. So why should anyone else feel constrained to?
If it helps you any reconcile the show to this AU, tell yourself that in the mainline the Uchiha tricked Uzumaki into inventing a boatload of seals overcoming virtually all of a Sharingan's weaknesses, and then the Uchiha applied the whole raft of these in secret to all their children before they even started attending the ninja academy. So Sasuke has them, but being secret seals they are not easily found or read. No one left even knows they are there, and the tragedy for the future of his clan is he does not know how to apply them. No one lives who does, and Konoha has been destroyed enough times since then my personal interpretation of that particular belief is that those secrets are unrecoverable, so even should the Uchiha get revived their bloodline would be worth only a fraction what everyone has grown accustomed to, since all of its glaring weaknesses would be back in full force for any of Sasuke's children.
But, obviously, none of that happened here.