Of Snow and Whirlpools

Warning: Short Chapter. Don't hate me, I need this chapter short but next will be longer.

Chapter VIII

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.

Naruto looked at his kneeling opponent defensively. "What do you mean… Uzumaki-sama?" He asked as he gripped the zanbatō in his hand tightly. Ryuumaru looked up at the teen.

"You… you don't know? Didn't Zabuza explain it to you?" He asked.

"Zabuza… gave me this sword while he was dying." Naruto said. "With his last breath, he told me to use it to follow my dream."

"Your dream?"

"My dream has changed drastically since I left Konoha for good. Can you explain the 'prince' part though?"

"Ah, my apologies, Uzumaki-sama." Ryuumaru quickly apologized. "It all started years ago at the end of the Second Shinobi World War. Uzushiogakure was being sieged and the Nidaime Uzukage, Uzumaki Arashi, knew the hidden village would be destroyed." Haku, Youmaru and Kyuu appeared in swirls of ice, lava and purple fire just then.

"He decided to do something about it and a few people were chosen. Representatives of each clan in Uzushiogakure. He chose us to become Guardians of the Blades, Guardians of the Mind, Guardians of the Soul and Guardians of the Heart. Youmaru and I were only children when we were chosen and left to our clan's compound in Iwa through a space-time seal. Our clan had two branches and we were heirs to the Uzushio branch of the Gouhai clan."

"We are one of the Guardians of Mind." Youmaru continued. "Our responsibility is to protect one of Uzushio's hijutsu scrolls with our life and teach the heir to Uzushio if we find him. That is you, Naruto-sama." He said with a bow of his head.

Naruto's eyes widened and Kyuu asked the obvious question. "How would you know?" She asked.

"The previous heir was Uzumaki Kushina. Only an Uzumaki of the Ruling Family may hold the Kyuubi no Kitsune. Mito-sama and Kushina-sama did... and if our sources are correct, so do you, Naruto-sama."

"Y-yes..." he replied. "What do the other Guardians do?"

"The Guardians of Blade hold the Keys to Uzushio. One of them has already found you. And the Yuki has another." The two teens looked at each other. "There were originally nine. Kubikiribouchou, Nuibari, Shibuki, Samehada, Kiba, Hiramekarei, Kabutowari, Fuyu no Daikama and Kusanagi no Tsurugi. When used in conjunction one key opens the Whirlpool Barrier around the island, two will open the first level, two the second and so on. All nine are required to open the Kage tower, shinobi library and Uzumaki shrine of artifacts." Ryuumaru explained.

"The Guardians of Soul are tasked with protecting different artifacts of Uzushio and can only give them to the Uzushio heir." That was Youmaru.

"Lastly are the Guardians of Heart... they are an elite group of Uzumaki survivors who are hidden amongst the countries and protect other Uzumaki as well as perform high-level missions such as assassination and spying that keeps Uzushio's best interests at heart."

"So... you're Naruto's teachers now?" Kyuu asked.

"If Naruto-sama wishes it to be so." Ryuumaru said with a bow of his head.

Naruto looked at Haku who mentally agreed. "I agree. What scroll is it you hold though?"

Ryuumaru pulled our a blue scroll with the red Uzumaki spiral and handed it to Naruto. "The second part of Zabuza's Kubikiribouchou scroll." Naruto smiled.

Two Days Later

"Are you sure this will work?" Naruto asked nervously.

"Positive. Any of the Keys will do." Ryuumaru replied.

The group of five were currently atop the water looking at an island before them with whirlpools surrounding it on all sides. Naruto had his zanbatou out in both hands while Haku held her scythe and the other three stood just behind them.

"Here goes nothing..." Naruto said as he channeled chakra into one of the blade's seals and swung down as a complex array glowed blue. "Uzumaki Hijutsu: Uzumaki Ichibetsu!" (Whirlpool Secret Art: Whirlpool Parting)

An arc of blue chakra was created and hit the Whirlpool Barrier before it dissolved and the whirlpools completely stopped. Naruto's eyes widened. "It... worked."

"Of course it did. You thought we were lying?" Youmaru asked. The Uzumaki heir shook his head and began walking forward.

"No, but it is still hard to believe." Naruto was still a bit in shock of the whole situation. The two former Iwa nin had spent the last two days telling Naruto a little of his clan. They were famous for more than fuinjutsu and health, it seemed.

The bloodline of the Uzumaki was so much deeper than that. The nukenin didn't know all the specifics (as only a true Uzumaki would) but it had something to do with the changed biology of the Uzumaki being able to enhance other bloodlines.

The best example was in Terumi Mei, who was a Guardian of the Heart, apparently. She was half-Terumi and half-Uzumaki and when both mixed she gained the ability to use both Futton and Youton. Lava from the Terumi and her Uzumaki blood added a strong enough water affinity to allow her a second sub-element. Her red hair should've been a signal to everyone.

Regardless of that info (which is why the Gohai brothers were in Kiri to begin with), the five finally landed on the coast and found themselves on a sandy beach just as the Whirlpool Barrier slowly recreated itself. "Can you say perfect timing?" Kyuu asked. Her fox tails and ears were materialized as the brothers had shown no fear of the bijuu.

Unlike in most villages, Uzushiogakure actually recognzed the bijuu as more than just demons. While they were feared for what they could do, they were not a scapegoat of hatred. When Kyuu revealed her identity to them, they were surprised. The next reaction was respect for the demon queen and the two even asked her if they might learn from her. Foxes were known for amazing fire techniques, after all.

"Where to now?" Haku asked in curiosity as she looked around.

"If you will follow me, Uzumaki-sama." Ryuumaru said and began walking one direction as the rest followed. There was a feeling of... loneliness on the beach. They were the first to set foot on this island in over twenty years.

The sand soon gave way to concrete as they got onto a road. Behind them, it connected to a dock which meant this was meant for merchants going into Uzushiogakure. They walked along the concrete road and Naruto noticed different plants growing over it. He knew this was one part that needed to be repaired. Just one of countless places his clan's village would need repaired.

Then they came to a closed gate of steel with a steel wall extending on each side. All over both were many intricate seals that had stood the test of time. "Just place the blades to the door and it will swing open. Every night these would close when the sun was no longer visible and only open as it rose. Both times required two of the Keys to have physical contact with the door."

The two holders of Uzushio's Keys nodded and placed the tips of their blades to the door. One of the arrays glowed bright blue before the gates swung inward of their own accord and Ryuumaru nodded, glad they followed his instructions.

"So... this is it." Naruto said and the others nodded. "I guess it's my job to revive Uzushio... but it needs a new name. Uzushio can no longer be what it once was, we need to start anew."

"How about Uzuyukigakure?" Kyuu asked as she grinned at her kit and his vixen. The two looked at each other.

"Hidden Village..." Naruto began.

"Of Snow and Whirlpools." She finished and all five nodded. That would do.

It would do nicely.

Nothing near what you thought the title meant, eh? Just full of surprises, I am.

Orpheus out! Ja ne!