The Maelstrom Beast of Konoha

Sigh.

He tried suppressing the sigh building up again in his lungs as he felt the weight of the scroll growing heavier each moment he took it out of the tower. Still, he grinned when he was able to take out of the tower. Shifting his head, he felt his lips curve upward at the capacious space available to him in the middle of the trees; a small shed that he didn't even know existed in the forest. Truly, he knew he was too good, no hidden ninjas stopping him as he trickled into the depths of this area.

Settling down on the curve roots of a towering tree, he gently opened the heavy scroll, his breath hitching with that feeling he got learning new ninja jutsu. He moved his hands away when the dark characters appeared; he tried stopping the twitches on his hand. He licked his bottom lip, his mind focusing back on the marvel presented to him.

The insignia on the bottom. He couldn't believe he was reading a scroll made by the First Hokage.

Whatever, he just showed that annoying smug Mizuki up, especially how easily he snatched the scroll with the Hokage's Tower with his eyes blindfold. A frequent visitor around the tower, he knew the moment the guards switched out and when Jiji read his books. He snickered when he used some underhanded tactics to get the scroll away from Jiji.

He would pass this test. He would make people notice him when he became a ninja when he became the Hokage.

His tongue dragged across his lips, wetting the deep creases when he felt the dryness. Thick with the lingering smell of ink, no smears or stains were made on the aging scroll; he wondered what one of the greatest ninjas was thinking when he wrote this scroll. It must have been dim with just small flickers of light coming from oil lamps, only the quietest of night creatures roaming in the sky, and the moon, with its splendor under the veil of darkness with the countless stars adoring, guiding wandering souls in the dead of night. He pictured the First Hokage relaxing after ensuring the village was safe, as he wrote this scroll from his office, overseeing the beauty of Konoha. He could imagine the mighty figure of the First Hokage, his stony figure from the mountain come to life, his eyes full of wisdom. His hands forged by the battles of making the village, hardened but tender towards the budding wisps of the grand village.

Those same hands wrote onto this scroll; the pits of his stomach hardened while he quick dried sweaty palms. He wanted to know the thoughts of the grand person, of what legacy left behind, or the endless admiration dwelling his being.

Naruto shook his head; he needed to focus on the mission. After all, his path to being a ninja was so close.

Breathing out more hot air, his eyes studied the words, their syllables tangible to the crisp of his lips. He would make the distance between those fluttering feelings in his stomach and faceless people shrink. Make those people turn to him and look at him for the first time, and he would say he was proud of this village, of being a ninja. Realizing that moment relied on mastering this technique.

"Won't become a genin." Those words entered his mind. "Your overall score counts with the average grade from your academic years. Your status of passing as a ninja has been revoked."

He wanted to question the reasoning as if the teacher that reminded him of a silver snake stole his headband out of his hands. "It can be easily mended. An extra exam. Steal a scroll from the Hokage's office, the one with the gold tie with the green leather binding. This is the most basic of missions. Fail and you truly don't deserve to call yourself a ninja."

The image of Iruka being happy passed through his mind.

Focus, Naruto, focus.

He erased the creeping shadows slowly seeping in; he continued concentrating on the scroll in front of him. He read the slight curves of the characters on the parchment, a uniformity, and rigidness of a tree, resilient to the changing words of time, he thought. Carefully matching the signs of the jutsu on the paper, he gathered the feeble amount of chakra he could control. One, two, three!

Feeling the burst of chakra fleeing, he shook his head as not enough of a scent of smoke gathered at the spot he focused on.

Folding his fingers again, he redirected his attention back to the technique.

Yet another failure, the tiny wisp of smoke vanished within seconds.

Time moved forward as he slowly secured his first clone, a shallow outline forming around the edges. Not enough details, Naruto thought; the clone looked more like a fox spirit inhibited his clone. Willing his clone to vanish, his left eye blinked, an image of him appeared in his mind. He shook his head before concentrating once again. A coarse tightness filled his fingers, each time he gathered the chakra, each time he made a clone appear and each time he forced the clones away.

He hissed out short breaths, using the back of his hand to wipe the sweat coming from him. He massaged the side of his head, the images increasing. Despite the lingering coolness of the forest, the space he was in felt smaller the more he used the technique. He thought about the mistakes he made; he knew the seals were right. Iruka personally taught him the seals until he remembered it by heart. One of the first lessons in his academic life; something no one had willingly given him that wasn't Jiji.

Once more, he intertwined his fingers, the slight redness as his skin rubbed each other. In a couple of seconds, the redness would vanish, like so many of his physical wounds in the past. He formed the sequence, ending with the final seal, a cross-like shape different from the regular handseals.

A new break!

Sitting with legs crossed over, he saw blue eyes like his own blinking while tilting his head around. Naruto tried talking except the clone cried with a yelp before a meow erupted from the mouth. Snapping his finger, he undid the technique. "Ah, man, harder than I thought. What did Iruka-sensei say about clones again? Yeah, think about your move!"

Intent and control. In order to use the basic clone technique, intent and control would be key. But would it work? He grinned, his eyes dancing on the surface of the scroll. Mustering a bit of focus, he weaved the chakra on his fingers out.

A clone appeared. "Wha'cha ya looking at, ugly," he said with his replicated mouth and eyes.

Oh shit.

He snapped his finger before another word came out of his clone. The pop like a water balloon bursting on impact resonated. He smacked himself before laughing. "Hell yeah. That's what I'm great at! The Great Naruto finished his technique." He continued laughing. "Can't wait to tell Iruka-sensei."

He didn't even mind the slight ache in his head.

Moments turned into minutes, the swelling in his chest grew when his eyes landed on the ten clones with some resemblance to his personality.

At the single window, he pushed out his head, not seeing Mizuki anywhere. His grin widened as an idea flashed through his head. "Jiji would so get me for this. But would be so worth it."

One of the clones said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking about?"

"Yeah. I'm going to need thirty more of ya guys." The ten clones brandished their smiles like opening the seal to some great treasure. After completing the required amount, he ordered the half of them to transform into the scroll. As the sky soon darkened with the last of the golden rays disappearing, his plan would work.

"Alright, guys. Gotta buy me more time. If learning one technique gets me to be a genin, what would I get if I learned more? Getting top mark won't be a problem. Sakura-chan would definitely go on a date with me. Iruka-sensei would be proud, don't ya think."

Hearing the thundering roar of the clones, he released them into the forest. His desire solidified his resolution; he would attack more of the hidden techniques when he relocated, to a place he held dear. "That stupid Mizuki probably won't mind."

Dashing to his personal lot, his heart beat against his chest. His secret garden grew wild, many of his plants bearing fruits and vegetables. Setting down under the leaves of some towering greenery, his eyes twitched as he read the next technique on the scroll. "Is there a code for this," he said, feeling the itching burn on the back of his head. He groaned puffing out air to move his blond hair away while his eyes scanned the tight characters. Some of the writing was a foreign concept; he was pretty sure he was reading the native language. But what did a howling bird stance, head of a ballet mantis, and flower power have to do with a jutsu?

He slumped, his body releasing the vigor from earlier.

"Look at what's hidden beneath. It's all an important concept of being a ninja, looking at secrets. They'll save your lives," said the crisp and sonorous voice of Iruka, in his head. He scratched the side of his head, his eyes narrowing at the writing from the First.

Pocketing a tiny book from his pouch he barely used, he said, "let's see if this works."

He thought hours flew by when he lifted his head from the depths of the scroll but looking at the titled sloop of the sun barely peeking out of the hill, only minutes past. His fingers laced into the strands of his hair, ready to pull; he growled when putting down the book, 'Basic Code' written on the front. "Thought it would have worked."

With the amateur manual on his hands, the hidden text of the second technique had translated into an absurd line of a sleeping dog, hidden under the wallowing oak ready to strike against viper hidden in the grass. "Must be Hokage, probably," he said, muttering those words while his eyes filled stretching fire; another goal tied to the position of Hokage.

Knowing the technique gave him a headache; he paused before scanning through the characters. As if the standing trees gave way to the flowing river, the style of the writing changed. A fluidity and elegance emerged from the person who penned a different section of the scroll. He immediately looked to the insignia at the bottom, and he felt his heart burst like exploding ramen cups in his oven.

The second Hokage wrote in the scroll as well.

He gawked, his eyes switching between the two personal seals of the two Hokage. "Oh shit. Why did Mizuki want this scroll! Lucky that it can't be stolen by enemy ninjas in the village," he said, his eyes focusing on the technique he could actually make sense of.

But as he continued glancing strokes of the characters, he felt the oncoming grin as he recognized the meaning of the words. His grin grew wider, the images and description getting clearer as he read on. "Too freaking cool! A great ninja gotta have a great weapon. Just another step closer to Jiji. Tsk," he said, clicking his tongue at the end. "Don't got these materials."

Snapping his fingers, he pulled out some ink and paper from his sack, handy tools for pranksters worldwide. Writing down the instructions step-by-step and as clearly as possible, his nose nearly touched the older parchment by the time he was done. Engraving the instructions, he whispered the last of the materials needed, "the body of a great ninja." His lips wet after saying those words.

His blood raced as his eyes looked onward at the next technique.

Except, his fun ran out as the same code rampaged through the writing. He clicked his tongue again. "Just when I could learn from the Second." Skimming through the scroll again, the section started morphing again from the elegance into something ordinary and familiar to him. "Jiji wrote on this too?" He stopped, his eyes bugling out at the scroll. Three out of four Hokages wrote on this. "A personal jutsu he made." His breathing hitched to a stop, his heartbeat sounding like drums.

He read about the prowess of Jiji, the so-called 'The Professor', for mastering more jutsu than any person in the village. Yet he never heard Jiji having his own personal jutsu and to put it above the millions of skills he knew. Naruto had to check it out, the blood of excitement coursing through his body.

As he read through the technique, he clicked his tongue against his teeth. "Jiji, ya been holding out, huh," Naruto said, his eyes glued to the technique. The skill manipulated the surrounding environment into a physical projectile, a technique used at any length as long as the caster had a clear idea where to shoot. Mostly used for attacking long-range targets or even assassination, which the description stated. Thinking about it, Naruto could combine this technique with the Shadow Clone doing some really heavy damage. If he mastered this technique, he would get the number one spot and he could show Jiji when he got it down.

But another idea popped into his head.

If three Hokage wrote on here than the Fourth might have scribbled something down here. The temptation of the Fourth increased as his eyes stared at the scroll. Copying down the intricate instructions and seals down, he skimmed over Jiji's section.

Why not?

The Fourth Hokage, the only man ever to defeat the Kyuubi, the monster of legends. Seriously the man, one man, the only man to manage to kill a tailed beast, the very same man might have written down a few techniques on this scroll.

If he could master a few techniques from that man, no doubt he could become the Hokage.

His hopes evaporated in an instant. Jiji's section ended in pure plain whiteness. No writing, a trace of ink, not even smears or wrinkles marked by a hand touched the next section. Almost as if the Fourth Hokage did not exist in this scroll.

"No way. Maybe the Fourth didn't write anything down," he said, his voice diminishing.

Touching the surface for one last time, he felt something unexpected. Spreading his hands out, he felt ridges on the blank sheet. As he continued rubbing the surface, small symbols of dried ink started appearing, laying in the center of the section. A swelling built up inside Naruto, as he recognized the symbols.

Jiji always told him the Fourth was someone who weaved written seals to the pinnacle as if he breathed in written seals, one of the hardest ninja skills to master. But he had no knowledge of seals, none of the symbols making any sense to him, the swelling deflating to a bare wisp of hope.

His candle flickered, the light dimming against the growing darkness of the village evening. He reached into his back pockets, wanting to pull out more matches from there. He hissed when diddling in it, he scraped his finger against an unused kunai. He recoiled back, the wound drawing blood. He swung his hand around before he realized the blood flew out of his hand and into the surface of the seal.

As if eating the blood, the faded ink started turning red, glowing in a hue that gave him shivers. He closed his eyes when the world exploded into a bright light.

Uzumaki Naruto Clone Number 7

Meanwhile, ninjas, who become aware of the thief of the Third's possession, chased the evasive Naruto as he rampaged through the village. Every time they tried capturing him, he would manage to slip away by vanishing into a puff, only to reappear the next second in a further location. They did not know Naruto mastered the Shadow Clone skill. If they had known, they would have shown a tighter restriction on the boy.

One of Naruto's clones strode through the village; he wanted something different compared to what the original Naruto wanted. His scroll partner agreed with him, and they parted ways, his partner going to the academy.

He decided to explore one of Naruto's secret desires: gardening. For a person aiming to be Hokage, the original's hobbies did not seem efficient to his goal, but he concluded the original needed an outlet in place of the loneliness. Roaming around, he came onto a field of flowers, just past a fence from a huge clan estate. To most, the field wouldn't compare to the grand mansion built so majestic that it demanded attention from others, but the strip of lilies blooming made his heart swell.

The garden drew him closer like a wandering traveler in need of a tavern, weeks in the wilderness. The gentle colors of the flowers and stems calmed his nerves, a swinging greenery that expressed tranquility. As the summer sun started setting low on the horizon, a lone butterfly of gold and orange flew, swaying in the breeze as he walked closer.

There was a stark contrast between the garden and the manor. Even when the last glinting rays of sunset, he knew which one blossomed into perfection before his eyes. The manor formed and stylized grandly, from rich wooden floors and to imported white walls; the mansion set ablaze with the fading light. The white walls and pillars dyed with such crimson flames as if a great fire erupted from the depths, the paper screens burning while shadowy torches moved through the manor.

That burning greatness couldn't compare to the glory of the tiny garden.

The flower glowed under the light, a feast of colors and magic unfolding. Sunrays caught through the delicate flowers, shining and alive; the growing flowers ignited gentle sparks of life, bringing magic into the night. It was not the burning building, but a thriving wonderland, fields lit like dancers through the night. Beautiful, breathtaking. With the fragrances of the flora, he closed his eyes breathing in the scents of nature. Maybe, there was a reason why the original liked gardening.

He heard a melody.

A gentle voice sang, the soft hymns floating through the air. The voice didn't come from the dead and quiet manor, whose occupants lingered in the shadows. Shivers ran down his spine finally understanding the meaning of the song. A song of longing for happiness, yet the voice carried none of that hope. Singing from utter loneliness, the voice made his heart beat faster, a feeling he did not quite get. More so than any other person, a feeling welled up as he walked to the direction of the singer. Closer and closer, he narrowed his eyes when he thought he recognized the voice. He hid behind a tree, nesting near the field just as the singer turned around.

The singer seemed to be enjoying her time, working in the garden. Her hands covered in soil, her smile prominent. Her being looked connected with nature. With no one around, everyone heading to their homes for the night, just her with the flowers in the fleeing radiance of the sun, he gulped down the gathering water in his mouth.

She spun around. "I k-know y-you're there. C-come out," she said, her voice shuttering between the words.

His mouth dropped at the most mesmerizing sight in the short life of the clone. He saw a maiden in the dusk. The darken light complimented her fragile statue, her ivory skin, her moon-drop spheres and ebony hair framing her innocent face. Her eyes pinpointing at each of his tiny gestures, his body felt on fire, getting intensified against the early dusk. An unknown pressure built on the pits of the clone's stomach; a pressure that was foreign but pleasurable. He blushed knowing the beautiful girl knew he was there.

He moved from the tree, what else could he do? As he moved, seeing the maiden more, the pressure building up grew more pleasurable that he bit his lips. Her eyes hypnotized him as if he was seeing three moons on the darkening sky; the pressure reaching a height the clone didn't realize existed. He wanted to groan at the reaction he was having, but it would scare off the dusk doll maiden, he knew. He held it in just enough to hear her gasp. He knew it because once people recognized him; they act all differently.

"N-naruto-k-kun, w-why a-are y-y-you h-here?" questioned the dusk maiden.

"How do you know my name?" said Naruto, instantly regretting it. There was something familiar with this girl, but the time he got a sense where he saw her, his big mouth already asked her. "Sorry, but who are you?"

Her hands dropped to her sides. The slight quiver on her lips made him want to reach out his hand. She shook her head, while her eyes stared at the ground. "I get the feeling I've seen you somewhere before, but I don't know where. So tell me your name, I'm Naruto Uzumaki," he said, casually saying his name.

"H-Hin–" Her eyes widened. He could almost tell that a shade of darkness came into her moon-drop eyes. "W-who a-are you? You're not Naruto-kun," she said meekly, backing away from the invader. Her eyes searched throughout his body from his sun-kissed hair, the sharp birthmarks marring his face, to his deep ocean-blue eyes.

"Wait, don't run. Ya right. Ain't the original Naruto. Actually just his Shadow Clone. Well, one of his Shadow Clones," said the clone. He saw how more relaxed her body become as if knowing what kind of technique the original obtained. Considering he came from the scroll that came from the Hokage's office, the girl standing in front wasn't ordinary in the slightest.

"H-how did Naruto-kun learn the Shadow Clone? Naruto-kun w-would have said something if he learned it recently. He's the type of p-person that would." Her dark hair parted; the tiniest lights flickered between her curls.

"He just learned it an hour ago."

"Umm, if it this not too much to ask…But what are you, ummm Naruto, doing here?" A deep red shade came onto her face, the redness spreading to the tips of her ears.

"After learning the technique, he wanted a grand prank. I wanted something different from the original. Just wandered here, stumbling onto your garden really," he said. He scratched the back of his head.

"If you don't mind, would you want to talk?"

"For sure! Sorry but is your name," said the clone, his smile growing wider at the maiden.

She reflected the same action although a feeling ran throughout her body made her nervous with this Naruto and said, "M-my name is Hyuuga Hinata."

Traitors of Konoha

Mizuki smiled as he felt the annoyance resonating with the ninjas at the dodgy punk. Each time he saw one of the ninjas catch the brat; he heard a puff and the brat would be gone. Then he would appear in another district across town before repeating again. His feet started hurting after chasing the brat for hours; despite being adroit at killing, the Konoha ninjas couldn't even catch one measly genin brat.

These ninjas were nothing compared to Lord Orochimaru. His Greatness would remake the village to become great again. And he would stand next to Lord Orochimaru, as he would usher in a new era.

These ninjas were pathetic. Even more so because the annoying vassal forgot where they were supposed to meet, he turned his head around. He saw a blond head on the Academy grounds. He dragged his feet. "Naruto-kun, what are you doing here?" he said.

"Yo, Mizuki-sensei, I gotz a technique to show you," said Naruto. The brat was defenseless, practically bouncing towards him clueless about the manhunt. Good, he thought, finally this was the real brat. Just needed that boy to hand him the scroll and kill him before vanishing back to Lord Orochimaru.

"Good, I knew you could do it Naruto. Now just hand over the scroll and you'll be on your way to being a ninja of the village," he said, opening his fingers to receive the scroll.

"Wait, I thought we're supposed to go to Iruka-sensei first! I want to show him the technique I learned, he'll be proud. You know it." Naruto made no other movement to come closer. Naruto looked at him and said, "and don't you want to see what kind of technique I would show Iruka-sensei?"

This fucking brat, a vassal that knew nothing. Nothing but a foothold to the reawakening of Konoha in the history books.

"Naruto-kun, I'll hand the assessment to Iruka. Just need to check if you really have the scroll," Mizuki said, practically forcing down the bile he suffered being polite to this monster. If the boy would not come in the next moments, he would get the scroll himself. Discreetly moving his left arm to his back, he reached for his weapon, fingering the smooth edges of his kunai in his pouch. "Come here, Naruto-kun, so you can finally pass as a ninja."

"Wait, I think I see Iruka-sensei!"

Sure enough, Mizuki saw his freaking ass colleague with his fucking ass perfect timing, that fucking weakling. Outright useless as the Head Instructor. He slid his arms out into the open. He needed to time this right unless he wanted to be exposed even before he got out of the village.

"Naruto! You're in trouble!" yelled out Iruka. The brat had the cheek to smile while crossing his arms behind his head. The boy was truly stupid. Grinning like a fool when Iruka had streams coming out of his ears, even a blind person could see the wraith in that weakling's face.

He saw it.

That moment, he made his move.

He launched a small shuriken. Glaze the boy first, before killing the weakling and boy. He moved forward once his weapon left his hand. The tips of the blade coated with a special poison, only the true followers of his Greatness could obtain.

He grinned, the steps coming out faster, his strides hammering down on the paved ground. He opened his arms wide to catch the staggering boy, but his grinning stopped, the twitching in his nose came rapidly.

Smoke replaced the wavering Naruto.

Mizuki couldn't believe it. The brat just poofed! He was talking to a clone. He fucking thought he had the real brat, just what kind of jutsu did the brat learned that made his clones real?

He had it all figured out. He would harm the brat for a bit to prevent him from talking. With the distinction, he quickly picked up his weapon, sliding it down to his pockets. Mizuki quickly realized his plan was crumbling to an annoying monster. "I was just holding him," he said with a perfectly timed jaw drop when Iruka landed near him.

"Naruto must have learned a new jutsu," said Iruka, who was standing far too close to him. Glancing around, he did not see others, and he reached for his weapon again. His eyes saw red; those worrisome eyes irked his nerves. Mizuki needed to calm down and think of his next plan, especially how to get out of the village without anyone knowing.

He saw Iruka turn his back, his nerves shot through his body. Nothing to stop him from silencing a witness. But a yell distracted him. "Iruka! The scouts reported Naruto has gone to the forest," said another teacher from the academy. Like lighting, Iruka raced to the forest despite not asking which way.

The Scarred Teacher

The pits of his stomach grew heavier, his sweat rolling down his back increasing as each step he took, trying to find Naruto. Just not long ago the Hokage issued an emergency order to track down on Naruto. The Third ordered them to bring back Naruto using non-lethal means only.

However, the feeling in his guts did not stop from nearly exploding inside him.

He knew ninjas would act depending on the situation. He had to be the first one who found Naruto. Feeling the chakra in his feet, he moved through the building of the village, their lights illuminating the way to the forest. He jumped to the nearest tree he found and used the branch to propel him forward. He remembered what his teacher said, let the wind guide you. Use it to track, discern from the fantasies of reality. The forest of Konoha was not just merely still. Some trees were from the hands of the First Hokage, the trees were alive; let them become your guiding point.

As he banished the thought of his late teacher, he saw the sun-kissed hair of a boy resting against the trunk of a chopped tree. With no other ninjas at plain sight, a breeze started cooling down his sweat. "Naruto! You're in trouble!" He vaguely thought he heard himself say that before.

"Iruka-sensei! You would not believe what I learned today!" Naruto said, with too much depth, as if he didn't know he took one of the treasures of the Hokage's office. His blue eyes did not reflect any hostility towards him, just a grinning joy. "I'ma so become the Rookie of the Year when I let you see what I can do! I made ya proud Iruka!"

He stopped in his tracks, his eyes narrowing. "What are you talking about, Naruto?"

"Nah, it's cool, Iruka-sensei. You don't have to mess around anymore. Man, Iruka-sensei if I knew I was gonna have a practical exam before making it, I wouldn't need those studying times, ya know," said Naruto.

His mind raced at what the boy was saying, his heart beating louder and louder. Naruto was already a genin, which was why the boy stealing the scroll was gutting him inside. A Konoha ninja stealing from the Hokage, what kind of punishment would be sentenced?

Nothing in their world was rainbow and sunshine.

"What extra exam? Naruto, you're holding a very dangerous scroll, and the Hokage assembled ninjas to search for you. You wearing the headband is already prove you're a ninja," said Iruka. He tried speaking as calmly as possible, his body open. A misunderstanding, everything was just a misunderstanding.

With the spaced look on Naruto's face, he didn't believe Naruto was acting on his own.

"Wait, ya telling me this is not a mock exam?" Confusion emerged from Naruto. The boy tightened his teeth, showing his prominent fangs. Rough dark lines grew the boy, his eyes searching with his own.

"Naruto, just calm down. We can work this out," he said.

The boy shook his head. "There's no time, Iruka-sensei. Go to the garden! He should be there." Without a second thought, the boy took out a kunai before slicing his arm.

"Na–"

The boy poofed. Only a cloud of white smoke remained.

He dashed to where the garden was located. The garden was something only he and Naruto knew about, somewhere on the edge of town and the forest that spawned around Konoha. A place Naruto rarely used unless to water the plants growing there. It was their secret place.

He ran, without paying attention towards his surroundings.

The Third Hokage

His eyes narrowed at the tiny crystal ball.

As he glanced up, he saw several members of his jounin. Most of their face indifferent, but their body language suggested most were mildly amused. It might have been a laughing matter for them, as they already knew what technique the boy acquired, his increasing familiarity with the Shadow Clone.

But he was still worried.

Despite his ironclad order, they would use any means to capture Naruto if enough time has passed. Hopefully, the boy didn't learn enough of the scroll's techniques.

"Hokage-sama, have you called us to help with the apprehending Uzumaki Naruto?" With her long evening curls flowing down her white-layered clothed dress with interlocked with red, her slender face graced with a honey seduction. With her crimson eyes, any man or woman would be forced to suck their breaths at that beauty. Her cherry lips parted those words with a bit of a mystifying allure. No wonder, his son had been quite taken with the woman until he married sweet Shinko.

He folded his fingers together. Mobilize some of his jounin, and escalate the situation with Naruto or get the ANBU and the newer chunin ninjas to handle the situation.

He shook his head. "No, it's quite alright, Kurenai. I believe our fellow ninjas can handle the situation. There's another matter that I need full discretion among you all. Yuuhi Kurenai, Hakate Kakashi, Nara Ensui, Hyuuga Hoheto, Hamaki Miura, Inuzuka Gaku, and Shirakumo Hayama."

Like the proper ninjas, they stood in a straight line, not wavering, even the lazy ninja Kakashi could be. "Maa, this about the matter of the Forbidden Scroll coming out of the personal vault? Where a genin could seemingly sneak out a priceless scroll from the Hokage Tower?"

He saw four of his ninjas spring up in their steps. Their eyes turned towards Kakashi. Hayama and Hamaki, their eyes still focused on him. Their only movement was the deepening of their frowns.

"Yes, Kakashi." He wanted to have another puff of smoke; his fingers itched as he stared at his pipe. "You seven will need to conduct an internal investigation into what happened tonight. I trust you understand what needs to be done?"

He saw their faces stiff. Kurenai stepped forward. "Hokage-sama, what about the new missions?"

"They will not be put on hold. This internal investigation while important will not supersede your initial duties towards the village. However, all future missions will be suspended."

With his white eyes emitting a composition his clan disciplined through its members, Hyuuga Hoheto said, "Who will be our leader?"

Nodding his head, he said, "Hayama will take lead. If he is indisposed, Hamaki will take the point, then Kakashi. Find out what you can. Properly investigate any leads and suspects before dealing with them. You have your orders. Dismiss."

Unlike any of the regular orders he issued during the day, these ninjas knew needed to be done without him saying much. The seven bodies disappeared into the deepening darkness, its depths wanting to invite him.

He stood up while starting to light his pipe. With narrowed steps, he walked towards the entrance of the Hokage vault. He sighed, inhaling the biting feel of the smoke. "They still haven't found it."

As the moon peeked out from the dense clouds, some of the light hit the crystal ball, placed on top of the pillow, just still on his wooden desk. Using his index finger, he touched the ball, and he saw the scene of a group of his ninjas stalking Naruto with the Hyuuga heiress.

His lips tightened into a firm line.

It should be fine.

Towa and Komachi would not purposely rattle up Naruto.

Still, he felt the wrinkles on his forehead doubling.

Shadowhawk of Konoha

"Komachi, identify those two," said the leader of the group, cursing his short sight. He turned to his partner, her long fair hair swaying in the air, the strands creating a sort of fairy dance while her yellow needles held them in place.

"One of them is Uzumaki Naruto. The other seems to be Hyuuga Hinata, the firstborn of the main family, Towa." Despite the muffled voice, he heard enough. He signaled his team to stop by crossing two fingers and pointing them up.

Making hand gestures, he needed to remind them their target was not to be harm nor cause any tensions with the Hyuuga clan especially since they were on the perimeter of those old farts. Touching a hair on the main family, especially the daughter of the clan leader, which was practically royalty within that clan, would cause their heads to roll. He liked his head fairly well since he enjoyed fighting.

"What should we do, Team Leader?" One of the newer recruits of ANBU said. Towa noticed the grown masculine voice coming from the hyena mask.

"I will lead with Komachi. The rest of you are on standby," said Towa. "Do not act without my expressed orders."

"Let's not waste any more time, Towa," said Komachi, her slender frame walking out of the trees. Wearing the same outfit with their dark coat eclipsing everything, they walked with matched pacing. Their steps synced their approach was something their ANBU taught, but something they truly mended as their own ever since they met three years ago.

However, even before they were within the reach most chunin could detect or sense, the Hyuuga heiress turned towards them. With a much gentler tone than he expected from a Hyuuga, she said, "good evening. Why has the ANBU come near the Hyuuga e-estate?" Despite the calm opening, she stumbled near the end, her posture suddenly becoming withdrawn.

"We request the attendance of Uzumaki Naruto. He is a witness to an ongoing investigation," he said. He knew what the technique the young boy learned about. Interesting choice, it has utility but at a high usage of chakra, not suited for him especially since the technique didn't recreate weapons, but maybe for the blond boy. With the number of clones still running around, the boy's chakra reserves overshadowed his by tenfolds.

As he turned his eyes on the young boy, he saw the boy's expression like someone flickering on a switch on the boy's head. The blond boy's eyes ducked away, trying hard not to look towards them. Odd, he thought. While he was not in Naruto's ANBU detail, he heard from several of them, the boy was quite fearless not backing down from anyone. It clicked with him; the person in front of him was a clone.

He saw how Naruto looked over at the Hyuuga heiress, as her eyes went to the boy. He felt like the bad guy as if he forced to lovers to confess their adultery to their significant spouses. He really needed to stop reading badly written romance novels before sleeping; it started affecting his imagination during work.

"Naruto," said the Hyuuga heiress, "are you in trouble?"

Even without his training as an ANBU, the concern was thick like the stew Komachi made during their expeditions.

His good partner had the foresight. "Please, you do not need to worry, Hyuuga-sama. We just need him to come with us for a few questions, and it won't take much time." While his partner was humorless for the most part, she did have a knack for handling a situation without escalation.

Still, his eye twitched at the underlying command laced with her words. The Hyuuga heiress cowered while grabbing a hold of the clone's shirt. The Hyuuga nibbled on her lips, her eyes still staring straight at them despite the ongoing blush spreading throughout her face.

"Nah, don't worry Hinata-chan. It's all part of the plan," said the clone. He grabbed hold of the heiress's hands before tightening and releasing. He grinned, pulling his hands behind the back of his head. "Plus, these guys need something from me."

Good, he thought, despite the clone, or rather the original's personality; the boy had a good sense of understanding of his situation. Without making too much of a fuss, the boy took a few steps towards them.

Without saying another word, the clone opened his mouth. It disappeared without uttering a sound.

The Hyuuga heiress screamed.

Komachi pulled out her hairpins as she went behind the heiress. "Hyuuga-sama, please keep a lookout." Yet, the girl was reduced to a sobbing mess.

He had unsheathed his sword as he went to the clone's place. He saw a barrage of stiff leaves cast with chakra before withering. The chakra trail evaporated, like a slow ember at night.

"Damnit! Who the fuck threw that shit!" He yelled out as the people he ordered to standby came running. "Fuck, protect the Hyuuga heiress."

Still, the girl sobbed. His team scrambled about.

Komachi said, her voice losing some of that humorless tone. "Her personal guards are coming. What should we do?"

In the minute distance between their position and the estate, they couldn't escape.

"Hinata-sama," said a young man with a tar kimono, fitted to be comfortable but battle ready. With a well-defined and broad nose and short brown hair, his white eyes stood out. Behind the young man, three other men with burly figures followed close behind, their eyes like unnatural moons. It did always creep him out at the featureless eyes of Hyuuga when they didn't use their bloodline. "Are you hurt?"

He knew the young man was the personal protector of the heiress. He also knew that more guards would be coming their way in a couple of minutes. As the only daughter of the clan leader, the heiress's life was worth more than a squad of ANBU. He didn't want to be at the other end of Hiashi's glare. "What have you done to Hinata-sama," the young man said, his voice deepening into a stable tone. He pushed through the barrier of the ninjas to kneel down to the sobbing girl.

"Ko-san," she said, her eyes balling out with tears.

This was the reason why he only had Komachi accompanied him. Now it was a mess. Sure, he enjoyed fighting, but against foreign ninjas, not their own. They still needed to find the boy but leaving without explaining the situation would make tensions high between the clan and the ANBU, especially with the ANBU Hyuugas. Especially with the fuck up since the Hyuuga Affair, only a handful of Hyuuga joined the ANBU. He shook his head. "We meant no harm. We only wanted Uzumaki Naruto to come with us." He saw the growing frown and narrowing eyes coming from the young man. "One of my men misread the boy's intentions because the boy was going to side pockets."

The young man had mastered the disciplined of the Hyuuga. He wished some of the recruits would go under the clan's tutelage for a day or a week, maybe even a year.

"You have one immature ANBU to wield weapons within the compounds of the Hyuuga estate. Go now unless you also want to talk to Hyuuga-sama about what happened to his daughter."

"There is no need for that, Ko."

Before he could even snap his fingers, the leader of the Hyuuga clan descended down to their area. He felt hot and cold sweat running down his back as he took in presence of the leader of the top clan of Konoha. Few people ever saw the leader, and fewer people wanted to be in their presence. He was one of them.

"Hinata, cease your childish sobbing. Do not tarnish our name."

He saw the slight buckle on the squad's knees; even Komachi had shivered for a moment. The girl had folded her fingers together, as she tightened her eyes and mouth. A moment later, she lifted herself up and faced them. Despite the stains running down her kimono dress, she curtsied and said, "Please forgive the scene I have caused. And thank you for protecting me."

Her eyes, still slightly wet, faced each of their eyes.

"Now, Ko bring my daughter back into the estate. I shall have a talk with these ANBU and their reason why they dare use weapons in my domain."

The young Hyuuga man nodded before ushering the young girl with the help of the other guards to go back into the safety of their mansion.

He should have taken a day off when he stared at the featureless eyes of the Hyuuga leader.

The Maelstrom Beast of Konoha

It was a mistake!

Everything was a mistake!

It could not be true!

Those thoughts raced wild in his mind.

There was no way he was the son of the Fourth Hokage, and the worst part was he was a fucking jailor to the nine-fucking-tailed beast, the freaking Kyuubi of legends. He punched the ground as he spread his fingers out. He clutched his fingers, gathering up the soil into his hands. He threw the soil away as he eyed the plants swinging because of his movement. He wanted to rip the plants out of the ground, wanting to get rid of their laughing swing.

But they were innocent, and he would waste both Iruka-sensei's and his work by doing that. Stinging irritated his eyes, and he was feeling moisture gathering at the edge. No, he would not cry.

He would not accept that fate.

As he stared down the small garden, he wished these flowers something that he took care of talked to him. Help him to see that it was all a dream, that this was some freak gameshow that the silver snake put on. Another flash of images came into his head. He saw the weird classmate of his, the garden she was in, and the ANBU coming to get him. There were other flashes before, but they were not as prominent as the image just now. Everything in his head was confusing him, feeling the throb at the side of his head, and he was close to not trusting anything anymore. There was an even a flash that said his mission was nothing but fake.

Then, how was he supposed to become a real ninja? He just wanted all the shit that was happening to stop.

Finally stopping his trashing, he looked up at the veil evening sky, so bright with the stars illuminating deep space, the moon hanging much lower than any night. He tried relaxing, the method Iruka recommended he did when he was stressed. The crescent shape of the celestial body was almost similar to a smile; however, those thoughts came back, plaguing his mind without stopping.

No! He was Uzumaki Naruto, and he would not give up.

"Naruto! Naruto! Are you okay," said someone, his frame running to the garden area. Naruto felt a hand touching his shoulder. He had nearly shrugged it off, but the warmth coming from the hand, he sought it. "What happened?"

Iruka leaned towards him, his eyes showing a palatable concern, rolling off expression of relief. He forgot about a little bit of the message he saw. All he saw was Iruka's face, and how he would not be a ninja. He felt the corner of his mouth twitched. He said, "I'm sorry, Iruka-sensei. Sorry, sorry, sorry."

He saw Iruka taking a step back before he crunched down to his level. "N-naruto. Tell me what happened. Nothing will happen to you, I promise."

Reflected in Iruka's eyes was him. Blond, blue eyes yet what he saw wasn't his face. No, he saw the drawings he read about the tailed beasts. Massive weapons of chaos, nothing standing in their way. When will the seal break? How long does he have? He never suspected his life would have a timeline. A crippling timeline was never his plan. He had planned to live to protect the village. He bit the inner walls of his cheeks. He wrapped his arms around the scroll. This secret should not be let out. He needed to keep this secret with him, not even Iruka was safe from harm if he knew.

"Naruto, look at me," said Iruka, his hand reaching out and grabbing him. "This is all a misunderstanding. The Hokage will fix this. I'm sure."

Before he could respond to his longtime teacher, Iruka pushed him down. Feeling the weight of the male, they stumbled down to the ground. He felt drops of thick liquid hit his face. As he glanced up, his throat tightened as his heart sank under the gnawing of the darkness.

Blood ran down Iruka's mouth. The essence that kept humans alive escaped from Iruka.

He couldn't get a word out until Iruka heaved out more blood, like a mini river. As the grass hungrily absorbed Iruka's blood, he saw a giant shuriken entrenched deep into his back, one side almost completely in.

"Run, Naruto," said Iruka, his fingers doing hand seals.

His ears tensed. A cruel laugh voided of any emotions, like the cold winter winds when the heat sometimes was shut off. "You've always gotten in my way, Iruka," said that lying silver snake Mizuki, descending from the roof of one of the buildings.

His teacher sprawled to get up, rubbing his mouth, the last of his blood drying. "It was you. Why?" He saw the sickened disbelief in Iruka, his movements stiffening into a hallowing grunt.

He heard more laughing. "It's cause you're always getting what you never deserved. Getting on the list of teachers, becoming the supervising teacher, then here you helping the little monster. You're totally spoiling things for me."

A growl thrashed at the walls of his throat. He dug his fingers into the palms of his hands, letting the pain chill his mind.

"And you wanted to frame Naruto?"

"You really think that brat has the smarts to plan this all. But seriously even for a simple snatch-and-run that kid of yours messed it up. Now I have all cases of ninjas coming for the kid. I should have been long gone from here, this despicable place," said silver snake teacher. Mizuki started playing his weapons, nibbling them between his fingers.

His eyes burned as he saw that snake teacher still smiling with his deception, all his attention at Iruka. "Shut up, stupid Mizuki!"

"Oh, the little monster speaks. Too bad, he won't last long nor will you, Iruka. I'll make it look like the little monster did it and kill himself." Mizuki threw his weapons, their steel as colorless as the night.

He was not going to let Iruka die. Not his watch.

Forming seals for the Shadow Clones, he summoned several bodies. He ordered two clones to protect Iruka. "You're going to have to go through me if you want Iruka-sensei!"

"You really think that's going to stop me. Dream on your useless dream, little monster." Mizuki eliminated two clones before jumping away onto a tree branch. "You really want to know what everyone thinks of you." Mizuki's eyes widening and shining with the glee of the night.

"Don't! It's forbidden. Hokage-sama ordered it."

"Do you think I listened to that fool? He became weak. It's a wonder why this village hasn't been destroyed yet." Those crazed eyes turned towards him, his smile lifting like one of the menacing villains in a movie. "Everyone in this village knows you're the Kyuubi. You will always be the demon, little monster. It's the same for your teacher you adore. All of us were acting on the orders of that senile fool. Poor Iruka, caring for you when you killed his parents!

Mizuki snorted as he flung several more weapons towards him.

His clones deflected the projectiles, but he knew that Mizuki was playing around him with. It was okay. Mizuki seemed to be the type to play around with his preys; he just needed to last long enough for the ABNU to come.

He saw his teacher trying to get up. "Iruka-sensei, stand down." But his teacher was stubborn, as the older male stood up, the wound on his back darkening with the musk of blood filling the air. Hot churning, like boiling water, thrashed his heart. "You're going to bleed out."

"It's okay, Naruto. It's just another wound. If my teammate and teacher saw me right now, they would have already beaten me to death," said Iruka, breaking out a strained smile. "It's not true, you know that right? I no longer think of you as –"

"Can't you shut up, Iruka!" Mizuki unleashed several kunai towards the area. There were pops as the clones disappeared.

In the upcoming twilight, the white smoke almost created a veil of mist lingering in the area that reminded Naruto of a grave. As he spotted the paling face of Iruka, he ground his teeth as he released another horde of clones. Plans formed in his mind, ways to ensure Iruka survived this all. It didn't matter to him if he got punished. As long as Iruka lived, he needed a way to get that snake teacher out.

Iruka spat out a blob of blood, yet he saw his teacher's eyes ablaze, nothing he knew from the classroom, or the private sessions they had done together. Iruka said, "Naruto might be annoyingly persistent, giddily foolish, and contagiously cheerful, but he is not the Kyuubi or a demon. Naruto is a normal happy boy, and he's going to be a hell of a ninja."

He felt hotness on the tips of his ears, its warmth spreading down. "Yeah, you really think I didn't know. Being a jailer, that's old news. Here is something else for you to try on."

He summoned another horde of clones. He had probably two hundred clones, their bodies all over the area. As he saw the increasing frown on the snake teacher, he nearly grinned. He snapped his fingers, and his horde of clones rushed to the jerk.

Despite the numbers, Mizuki held on true to his status as a chunin as he flung weapons and some jutsu to ward off the onslaught.

It only took a moment.

His mouth hung as Iruka rushed towards Mizuki. Using a jutsu, Iruka seemed to moved along the direction of the mist, silent and unknowing to anyone else. Before Mizuki sprung another wave of weapons, Iruka popped out of the mist like a dolphin and rammed something into the chest of Mizuki.

"Naruto, attack him now," said Iruka, pulling their bodies to drop from the tree branch. He saw the two chunin struggling for dominance in their free fall. Up until they neared the ground, Iruka had the upper hold.

The command, his body moved as well as his clones towards the falling individuals. Several of the clones made a pyramid, a cushion as Iruka landed on them while his clones didn't attempt to help the traitor.

Mizuki groaned before some of his clones locked him and bound him up. Some of them even sat at the teacher, forcing his arms away from making any seals. Of course, some of them might have kicked him below the belt.

Once Mizuki blackened out, he rushed to his teacher, laying on his stomach. "Iruka, are you okay?" With a sleepy glance, Iruka tried moving his lips. He felt his sweat rolling down his forehead; his heart beating faster while his fingers tingled. He never saw Iruka with so many injuries, his teacher's face contouring with pain as more blood leaked on his clothes.

Iruka would have never been in his state if he just trusted his gut and went to Iruka when that silver snake called him out. Should have been a better ninja.

"Okay," said Iruka, sounding so faint that he had to strain his hearing. He swallowed bolts of saliva, as his lips dried as he saw Iruka's lips paling. "Don't believe Mizuki. You're not the Kyuubi."

"It's okay, Iruka. You don't need to say anything else."

"Listen." Iruka grabbed his hand, squeezing his wrist. "All you have to do is change their minds, you know. That headband isn't just a symbol of this village." Iruka coughed a wet wad that was made of something other than air. "It symbolizes… you."

A chill ran down his back. It was worsening. The labored breathing and the weakening grip Iruka had. He started rubbing Iruka's hand. "Iruka, don't breath too much. Focus on the heat, okay? Okay?"

Another wild fit of coughs came out.

He bit harder on his teeth. He tightened his hold on Iruka's hand.

Moisture gathered at the corners of his eyes.

He wanted to rip the heavens if Iruka went there, challenge whoever was seated on top.

Not his teacher. Not his friend. Not his family. Not Iruka. It shouldn't be Iruka, lying here, waiting for a slow death.

Iruka deserved to live; he would make sure of it.

"We're going to get help, Iruka-sensei. Just hang in there. What are you guys doing, get help! Iruka-sensei needs it!" He turned with a glower at his clones, settling with idleness. They scrambled, pushing and pulling to flee in all directions.

"Do not worry, Naruto-san," said a voice from above. He turned his head to a male ANBU. His mask had a red flame marking starting from the top left side extending towards his left ear, the shape resembling a hawk. With long silver hair, he stood with rigidness like the ANBU detail that followed him throughout his day. Towa, from the bits of his flashes, walked to him with his entourage coming down as well.

Behind the ANBU, he saw the white-uniformed ninjas; he knew they were emergency ninjas, trained in medic jutsu; one of the lessons Iruka gave him during the period before the graduation exam. As the emergency medics touched Iruka, he saw their hands glowing with an emerald glow.

He felt a touch on his shoulder. "The Hokage requests your presence, Uzumaki Naruto."

He shook his head. "Can't. I gotta be here. Iruka needs me."

The touch hardened. "Your teacher will be fine. He is in the safest of hands. This I promise as an ANBU."

He narrowed his eyes at Towa. "He better be," he said, nearly spitting out his words.

"Come now. The Hokage awaits."

A/N:

Elo, guys. Thanks for reading the first chapter. This will be a multi-POV, multi-chapter story. I should probably get this out of the way: most of the plot will be dealt inside "The Third Hokage" sections before the Allied Invasion vs. Konoha. Of course, other sections will be adding/misdirecting some plot points due to unreliable narrators, even the "The Third Hokage" sections. Another thing I wanna make sure is the main cast will be Naruto, Hinata, Sakura, Shino, Kakashi, and Kurenai (of course, since this is an AU, some of their histories have changed.) P.S, there are also secondary cast members that I do want to develop further besides the main cast.

In order for me to make this better, I'll need you guys' help. Review if you see odd grammar, odd wordings, odd verb tense, or what-not. Review whatever strikes your interest or make guesses, that energy keeps me going and writing. I'm currently solo on this project, no beta. So having you guys' help is a total boon.

V.2: Revised some sentences, added/omitted some words and lines. Revised some grammar.