A short note for you about the fight between Nina and Tsunade → In all her arrogance and overconfidence Tsunade jumped head first into a trap and severely underestimated her opponent. Nina on the other hand predicted Tsunade's actions perfectly and used her taunts to lure her into the range of one of her ultimate techniques. This was the only reason she was able to defeat Tsunade so quickly. While in overall strength she is definitely ahead of Tsunade, she isn't at a level where she can beat S-call nin with one move. She is S-class herself, but nowhere near the level of Madara Uchiha, or even Uzumaki Kushina.
Chapter 7: Reconciliation
Hi no Kuni
Naruto, his friends, and other members of Akatsuki were currently gathered up in a small clearing where they were setting up camps to stay the night. Naruto himself was perfectly aware of Nagato's impatience when it came to meeting his mother and sister, but his cousin still never failed to remind him of it.
He almost rolled his eyes when Nagato felt the need to mention it, again. "We can finally contact Kushina-san now, what are you waiting for? Now Naruto, you have no reason to delay it again, right? I have a special surprise for you depending on your answer."
If Naruto hadn't already known, the irritated smile on Nagato's face made it more than clear it wasn't a good kind of surprise. 'If the brat keeps delaying the meeting any more, there is going to be a second moon in the sky...'
"Hehe... of course not Nagato-san! I myself wonder how they are doing. It has been so long... a bit more than a year, right? I was merely doing what was necessary, I had no intention to delay this any more than what was unavoidable. I think you already know that."
Nagato nodded, it had been more than a year since they had met at the valley where Hanzō had confronted them, and they were betrayed. A year since he found out there were more of Uzumaki clan than just himself.
A year since he found out he had family left.
There was brief silence as they went into some personal flashbacks on what they did during the year. Then Naruto decided to see what his new summons had in store for him.
"See you soon." Going through the standard signs of summoning, he slammed his hand on the ground after biting to give blood sacrifice.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" [Summoning Technique]
There was no need for putting too much chakra, as he only needed a courier dragon. A moderate puff of smoke later, there was a horse sized dragon with blue scales in front of Naruto. Its body was lean and streamlined, more suited for speed than strength.
"Greetings Summoner, I am Irden, at your service. What is my task?" Her voice was smooth, but not musical, like the Dragon queen Aradace's. [Irden = Quest]
Naruto handed her the scroll in which he had written down a detailed description of the events that took place in his year long training, as well as a request for them to meet. "Please take this scroll to the Uzumaki compound in Konoha and give it to Kushina Uzumaki or Kasumi Uzumaki. You will know where it is as there is a giant red spiral marking the training ground with the clan symbol which should be easily visible from the sky."
The dragon named Irden gave her master a nod took the scroll in her mouth, and prepared to take flight. Just before going airborne, she turned her head towards Naruto. "Please summon Aradace-sama so that she can explain your duties and abilities as a dragon summoner." As soon as Naruto gave her a nod showing he got her message, the lean blue dragon took flight towards Konoha.
Irden seemed fairly fast, making Naruto wonder how fast the phoenix summons of his sister would be, if that speed was considered slow in their comparison. Deciding that he will see them later anyway, he moved on to his current task, summoning of the dragon queen. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu: Aradace no Ryū!" (Summoning Technique: Aradace of the Dragon Clan)
There was a giant puff of smoke, out of which came the familiar sight of the golden dragon queen. As she leaned forward, then the Ryūjin on Naruto's back started to glow. Naruto wondered what was happening, 'Probably checking if the sword is real...' he mused.
His musings were stopped when the world around him changed. "What!..."
He looked around, indeed, instead of the small forest clearing he was now in some mountain region with lots of caves and clouds.
"What the hell..."
Aradace chuckled when the little summoner looked around in panic and wonder. "Relax Naruto-chan, I just reverse summoned you here, and will send you back soon. The reason was I didn't want to reveal any of the our secrets to anyone but our summoner."
Naruto relaxed after hearing that. It made sense now that he thought about it. Nothing is invincible, even though Kaa-chan had told him that Dragon scales were nearly impossible to get through, he knew that nearly wasn't quite completely. And the rare cases where it can somehow fail was to be kept secret, or their battle prowess would take a huge hit.
In ninja world, a loud ninja that boasts about how awesome he is and points out his own techniques' workings is useless. Secrets are required for survival, the less people that know about what you do and how you do it, the better.
Aradace's melodic voice brought him back from his musings. She had changed to her human form, and was now sitting on the ground in front of him, long golden hair flowing in the winds.
"Now as you may have already known, the dragon clan is infamous for our scales. They are what makes people think we are invincible.
The reality is far from it though. I will admit it is extremely hard to get by dragon scales, but if you put enough effort in it, it can be done. This is going to take some time explaining, so please relax and sit down."
After Naruto did so, she continued.
"I have lived for around two thousand years, and my own scales have given up more than a dozen times till now. I will let you know what you must avoid getting hit by, so that our weakness remains a secret. Us dragons cannot reproduce, all of us are females. We are doomed to go extinct sooner or later, but we plan on prolonging survival of our clan as much as possible. Even losing a single one of our sisters is extremely painful for us.
When the Rikudō Sennin had fought the Jūbi, he summoned the entire Phoenix and Dragon populace, along with four other clans - namely the Hydra, the Night Wolves, the Arctic Bears and the Great Panthers. The Phoenix and Dragon Clans, being patriarchal clans at that time had left with only their entire male populace, while the other four took everyone they had.
The fight was vicious, and everyone who fought except a few Hydra and the Sage himself perished. Those Hydra too only survived because of their ability to divide and reform themselves, even if their body is broken into many pieces.
With all the males gone, only us female dragons were left. Same thing happened with the Phoenix clan. So that's how all phoenix and dragon summons are female and cannot reproduce."
Aradace bit back a grimace, no matter how long it might have been, recounting that event still brought sorrow. It wasn't a fact to be proud of that the males in her time didn't think of the females as fighters, but they weren't treated poorly and had the same rights ignoring the battlefield. Hence she didn't hold any grudge against those who perished on the battlefield that day, fighting alongside the Rikudō Sennin.
"That aside, our scales can be pierced by extremely powerful elemental attacks, soul attacks, demonic energy based attacks and divine attacks. An example of one such attack would be any elemental technique used by a Bijū or a Jinchūriki who is cloaked or in their tailed form. Or any technique far surpassing what is considered S-rank, even if no special chakra is used for it.
In your Ryū-sennin mode your entire body will be covered in extremely fine dragon scales, you must make sure not to get them pierced, ever. If they do then it takes a long time, I would say a week or more for them to completely form back. The more the damage, the longer the recovery period.
During that recovery period you can still access your scales, but it will still have the dents from your previous battle. Anyway I hope you can dodge all those attacks that pose a threat to us, any other will have no effect on you when your dragon armor is active."
She smiled at that, while it had a few weaknesses, it basically gave you more than five minutes of being near invincible in battles, which was more than enough to turn tides in even the most vicious battles.
Naruto took a moment to absorb all the information given to him. "So basically when I activate my Ryū-sennin mode, I become immune to any and all physical attacks, in addition to which most ninjutsu will have no effect on me, except the extremely powerful ones.
The Ryū-sennin mode is useless against demonic, soul based and divine attacks. Am I right so far?"
"Not really. The Ryū-sennin mode is not useless against those attacks, it is just weak. If the attacks are powerful enough, they can get to you. Otherwise you will be protected. At the very least it will give you additional resistance from the attack. If a demonic elemental attack manages to hit you, and is powerful enough to completely obliterate you, with our protection you will at least survive."
That was good, Naruto grinned.
Aradace decided to continue her explanation, as Naruto seemed to have gotten her point. "The next thing you need to know is that you must be within a hundred meters of Ryūjin to be able to go into Ryū-sennin mode. The sword is your link with the dragon realm, the moment you lose it - you won't be able to use any of our abilities except the basic summoning.
But that's not the only thing Ryūjin is capable of doing. There are a few special attacks and attributes that sword has. It actually had six special abilities when the Rikudō Sennin used it, but after the battle with Jūbi, the sword was weakened since we lost half our population. Its abilities are only half of what they used to be, both in number and power.
The Ryūjin is an indestructible weapon, but it can be further weakened if you're not careful. If it goes too low on souls, it starts 'starving', or if a soul is particularly powerful it may disrupt the blade's energy. Making the swords' abilities less powerful.
Just make sure that you have at least five souls in it at all times and you should be okay, and if you beat any kage-level or higher opponent make sure you go into your mind-scape and converse with the sword to check its status. It is not sentient, but there are certain predefined functions that it is set to perform. Including checking the worthiness of the wielder as well as informing them of the status of souls contained from time to time.
Other than that there isn't much I have to tell you right now. Ah, and you will be able to see how many souls you have in your sword through your dragon tattoo, the one I gave you with my bite.
And if you lose your sword you will be able to track it again with the help of the tattoo."
Naruto nodded, but still there was one thing bothering him. "What are these abilities that you keep mentioning?"
Aradace took a deep breath before answering his question. "I will explain every ability you gain from us dragons and Ryūjin one by one, listen carefully.
The first and foremost is the ability to cover yourself in dragon scales, when you do that you are considered to be in Ryū-sennin mode. To be able to enter it you must have Ryūjin within a hundred meters from your body, preferably in your contact. When you want to enter it, channel your chakra in this pattern... or do these hand-signs... "
Naruto quickly copied the procedure with his Yogengan, and nodded at her to continue.
"I will now tell you about the three abilities that the Ryūjin has been left with.
First is the "Soul Drain" – If the opponent is fatally wounded and is losing life force, then that life force can be sucked into the Ryūjin, effectively trapping his or her soul. This will increase Ryūjin's power, and also by extension the capabilities you have in your Ryū-Sennin mode. You can use Sennin mode for at least three minutes every day as of now.
For every soul you add to your sword, there is one more second you have each time you go into your Ryū-sennin mode. The souls aren't consumed in this process, hence your Ryū-sennin mode should become longer as time passes. Unless you consume the souls in the sword for other purposes."
Looking him in the eyes to see if he wasn't missing anything, Aradace continued. "Thus you can see that souls are very basic need your sword has, which you will need to meet.
The second ability of Ryūjin is the "Divine Edge" – This is a permanently active technique that allows your sword to cut through almost anything by covering it with a very thin layer of divine energy generated by the souls in the sword. It will cut through anything like a hot knife through butter. The only exceptions being a divine shield of any type or elemental demonic chakra and the likes of them - that is, the same weakness that the dragon scales have.
That means a Jinchūriki's standard demon chakra cloak won't protect them from the Ryūjin. But if they convert the demonic chakra into elemental one - then that elemental demonic chakra will be strong enough to resist your sword.
The third and final ability is the Dragon Strike also known as Soul Strike – This is one of the most feared techniques of the Ryūjin. You can use the souls in your sword to create a dragon made of soul energy which will charge in a straight line towards your opponent.
There is no defense against this attack, the only option is to dodge. If you pour enough souls into this attack, anything will die. With an attack powered by around one hundred souls even a Bijū will die. For normal people one soul is more than enough.
Of course, the energy build up will be great enough that your opponents will be wary of the attack, and will try to dodge. If they are stupid enough they will try to block, but the red-black soul dragon will go straight through any defense and rip the soul off from anyone in its path.
It has a range limit though, after getting about five hundred meters away from Ryūjin you will lose authority over the souls, and thus your attack will dissipate. This will also set the souls free, letting them move on to their afterlife.
To counter this you can run behind your attack, and it will keep going as long as you are within range. A single soul attack has the same power as an A-rank ninjutsu. And once you release a soul you cannot recall it unless you drain it again using your sword, for which you will need to be fast in catching the soul before it escapes."
Naruto sat there and absorbed all the information. So he had to constantly collect souls, which meant he will need to increase his kill count. Oh well, it wasn't like he lacked enemies. Now at least they will be of some use. "No chakra needed for this?"
The dragon queen's grin was all the answer he needed. "Naruto-chan, do you have any more questions?"
"Hm.. well not really. Anything else I must know?"
Unexpectedly, the dragon queen giggled and pulled him into her lap and held him close. "Why so serious Naruto-chan? You're much too young to be so business-like."
He raised an eyebrow at her. "You didn't seem to think way when you gave him a task that could have got me killed. What changed?"
"Aww... don't think poor of me because of that. What changed is that you are my master now. While before you and I had no ties. Also, I wouldn't have given you the task if I didn't think you could accomplish it safely. And you seemed to have many powerful people there to protect you from any danger."
Naruto gave her an almost imperceptible nod. "True, but since you pulled me in here without letting me inform others about what's happening first, it would be best to finish this fast before they start to panic. So I'd prefer if you continue with the explanation please, Aradace-sama."
She felt only slightly offended when he indirectly accused of poor work ethic, but then giggled mentally at the fact that such a small child was able to rile her up. "You will go far Naruto-chan. I'm sure of it."
She ignored the uncomfortable look on the boy's face due to sitting on her lap 'Not comfortable around me yet? Hm... that's not it, he trusts me to an extent, but clearly not completely. It's a matter of time I suppose though, I will support him no matter what, so our bond will grow strong enough some day.'
"One last thing before you go Naruto-chan, the noble summon clans only take one summoner at a time, so if you ever want another to have dragon contract, you will need to give yours up first. So don't let anyone sign it unless you are willing to break ties with us. It will be a great insult to us by the way, if you break ties. I will be very very sad."
Her eyes made it perfectly clear that upsetting her won't have pleasant outcomes, Naruto simply gave her a nod. "I don't plan on doing anything like that Aradace-sama. I feel honored to have your clan as my personal summons, and I am not stupid enough to throw it all away."
Aradace smiled at the boy, he was pretty smart for an eight year old. "There is something else too I want you to know. Only you must know."
Naruto gave her a questioning glance, what more did he have to know?
She leaned forward their faces were less than an inch apart. If Naruto was intimidated, he didn't show it. But he removed his glasses revealing his dōjutsu. The central pupil was sharpened to observe the entity that was holding him.
Being so close, he noticed many fine details he wouldn't have been able to notice otherwise. Her breath was much warmer than a normal person's, almost hot. Her skin was covered in very fine scales, which were visible even to the naked eye if observed carefully. Her golden eyes seemed to burn with an internal fire as she stared at him. And lastly even her skin was hot to touch, not enough to burn, but as if she had been the intense heat of a desert for hours.
Her smooth melodic voice interrupted his observations. "There is a prophecy that describes the birth of a child who will be the bringer of darkness or peace to the world. Either way will not complete, but it will be great change. No matter which path he takes, it will be full of chaos, pain and death.
That dōjutsu probably marks you as the one. As the Queen of the noble clan of dragons I want you to know that we will back you up no matter your choice. If you deem it necessary to bring darkness upon the world for whatever reason - even if it is selfish and evil, we will still follow you, no matter what the others might think.
Now, good luck and never hesitate to summon! We get quite bored here..."
Naruto chuckled, and told her not to worry about it as he will be using their help whenever he needs it. He may not have shown it, but he was moved by the unshakable loyalty this entity was giving him... she was currently more powerful than him, of that he had no doubts. Then why?
He was left to ponder this on his own later, as with the discussion now concluded Aradace canceled the reverse summoning and Naruto reappeared in front of Akatsuki once more.
Back at the clearing
A puff of smoke indicated his arrival back in between the Akatsuki, along with Natsumi and Nina.
"So, how did it go, Naruto-kun?"
Naruto smiled at the blond haired girl, and gave them all a thumbs up. "It went great! Aradace-sama told me what I should do and my new abilities as the Ryū-sennin. I am much stronger than before now. But I need to train with Kenjutsu..."
Everyone in the group looked at each other. No one was really proficient in the ways of the sword in the little group.
Yahiko had Suiton ninjutsu and Taijutsu, Konan her Origami ninjutsu, Nina had Jūken Taijutsu, but no one had any experience with Kenjutsu.
He didn't bother hiding his disappointment. "Well I guess I will need to wait till I get back with kaa-chan."
"Seems so, unfortunately. What do we do now though?" Nagato questioned. His first priority right now, along with all of his friends, was to become stronger. Strong enough to take down Sanshōuo no Hanzō.
"Well, we wait till my kaa-chan and nee-chan get here. It shouldn't take too long considering we are not too far away from Konoha."
'I will know more about my mother once I meet her sister... I was so young when she died... Naruto's age?' Nagato thought.
The rest of them nodded, at ninja speeds they were at most a day away from Konoha's walls, so they set camp to wait for the arrival of their guests.
Konohagakure no Sato | Uzumaki Compound
Kasumi stood in the centre of the private training grounds of the Uzumaki compound with a fierce determination in her eyes. She had trained hard 'I am ready, I can do this. Today is the day I will face my phoenix summons test.'
No matter how much she tried convincing herself, she was a bit nervous. But she had to do it, or her Onii-chan will get too far ahead of her, and then she would be a burden to him. Kasumi was never going to tolerate being a burden. She wanted to help her brother and mother, and she would do anything she had to in order to accomplish that.
Going through the summoning seals, she slammed her hands on the ground. "Kuchiyose no jutsu!"
The world around her changed.
Summoning Realm | Phoenix Clan
Kasumi found herself staring at a fairly large phoenix sitting a few feet in front of her. The bird was made completely out of dazzling golden flames, and its red eyes seemed to bore into her soul. She waited for a minute to see if the magnificent bird talks to her, but when the phoenix didn't seem to mind just staring at her, she decided to take the lead instead. "Um.. hello? I am Kasumi Uzumaki, nice to meet you."
She was quite nervous, the summoning hadn't gone how she had expected, but she was ready for surprises anyway...
"You can call me Ragoth child. Do you know why I brought you here?" [Ragoth = Heaven]
"To test me?"
"Correct. Your test is to prove that you can sacrifice. Your task will be to kill your brother. On accomplishing that you will be granted the glory and power that only the phoenix can have. The power to burn anything, and last forever. You will be an unstoppable force that cannot be destroyed."
Kasumi didn't even wait to think before responding. "Absolutely not! No power is enough compared to my Onii-chan and Kaa-chan! My family is the reason I want power, there is no way that I am going to sacrifice them to get what, more power?
There are more ways to attain power, and I will find another if this way requires me to give up my family."
Ragoth narrowed her eyes at the little girl. "Hm... since it has been so long since we last had a summoner, I will give you another chance. Don't make a habit of denying me girl, I assure you it's not wise."
With that the phoenix let out a massive shriek, and within moments a smaller phoenix about four feet long and with a impressive wing span of twenty five feet appeared in front of them. "You called for me mistress?"
"Yes, Riylm. Child, your task is to beat her in combat, use any means necessary." [Riylm = Lost]
With that the larger phoenix summon took to the sky and exploded.
'A teleportation technique? I felt no trace of chakra or any hint of direction where she went...'
Riylm didn't waste a moment. She was a novice, but she would give it her all.
Kasumi watched the phoenix carefully, she didn't know what they were capable of, but she had prepared for anything they could hopefully throw at her.
"Phoenix Style: Fire Wave!"
A large golden and slightly unnatural looking fire erupted from from the phoenix's mouth. You could tell it was different from the normal fire, it was much... smoother and controlled, and its heat was much more intense than what one could expect.
Kasumi used her god-like water affinity to make a thick shield of water that intercepted the attack, and then dodged out of its range before her shield could be penetrated.
She didn't have to think much on how to counter attack. Fire was weak against water, and when it came to water, there were few who could compete with her despite her young age. "Suiton: Mizurappa!" [Water Release: Violent water wave]
Shooting a high pressure torrent of water at the small phoenix, Kasumi concentrated on her next technique. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!"
She created around seven hundred clones without hand seals, massive amount that intimidated the phoenix greatly. It was as if all of a sudden an entire army had surrounded her. After two years of using the technique daily she had mastered it to its peak, no longer requiring the hand seal to perform it.
The clones started running around the phoenix in a circular formation. Kasumi knew that flying things couldn't turn on their heels, as such, she had an advantage as long as she can use the bird's blind spots.
Riylm was getting desperate. She now had no idea which one was her real opponent, so she decided to use one of their more wide ranged techniques, hoping that the copies of her opponent weren't sturdy enough to survive, or she was doomed.
"Phoenix Style: Torrent of Fury!"
The small bird combusted like a bomb, and then closed in on the clones at alarming speeds.
Kasumi's eyes widened as the phoenix tore through the army of clones, while they kept throwing various water jutsu at the bird.
'The water is having almost no effect... There has to be some way to counter this fire...'
The phoenix continued tearing through her clones, and she decided to hide her real self and sort out through a plan.
'If I cannot put the flames out... then I will prevent them from burning in the first place!
Any kind of fire needs oxygen to burn, be it normal fire, Amaterasu, or maybe even phoenix fire. If I use my wind manipulation to move all the fresh oxygen away from the bird...'
With a new plan in place, Kasumi gave mental commands to her clones.
While majority kept distracting the phoenix with Water techniques, around twenty stayed behind and manipulated wind so that they can guide the oxygen away from the phoenix. Their numbers were dwindling fast, already about half of them had been destroyed.
Riylm slowly found her techniques using more and more power, much more than what they should, then it became harder to breath. Slowly but surely, the phoenix collapsed, with a few more water jutsu and more wind manipulation, it lost consciousness.
Kasumi dismissed her clones with a satisfied smile. She did it! It was clear to her now that phoenix fire did need oxygen to burn, albeit much less than normal fire. Additionally it was much hotter, and highly resistant against being put out. Before she could celebrate her victory, the first phoenix she had appeared before, who had introduced herself as Ragoth descended from the skies.
"Very well done child, I'm impressed. Now finish it."
"What do you mean, Ragoth-sama?" Kasumi asked suspiciously. 'She hasn't been behaving like what kaa-chan said boss summons usually do...'
"I mean exactly that, kill her to confirm your victory. Once you are done I will hand over the summoning rights to you."
Kasumi contemplated on her options. She could kill the phoenix, of course, but will it be worth it? And why? Why would the Phoenix Queen want her to kill one of their own? Additionally, killing a phoenix and then becoming the summoner won't put her on good terms with the rest, which will be a disadvantage for her.
Then she realized, the phoenix queen didn't want her to kill Riylm. This was a test. Kasumi smiled. "I understand what you mean Ragoth-sama. If I had accepted your offer to kill Riylm then I wouldn't have been worthy for the phoenix contract, am I right?"
The large phoenix began shrinking, and then transformed into a female with two golden wings on her back, burning with phoenix fire. The woman, in one word, looked majestic.
Ragoth smiled at the little girl. "Smart girl you are Kasumi-chan.
Your first test was loyalty which you proved by not betraying your family. Your second test was vitality, which you proved by defeating Riylm. Your third test was nobility, which you proved by sparing Riylm. And your final test was wisdom, which you have already shown by figuring out the true meaning behind this test.
Congratulations, I am proud to tell you that you are the new Phoenix summoner. You have passed all four of our tests and shown the qualities that a phoenix must have."
Then Ragoth reached in her dress, and took out a silver pendant. "This is the phoenix pendant. As long as you wear it, you will be able to use phoenix powers.
In fact, this will essentially make you a phoenix that remains in her human form. You will be able to cast phoenix fire in battles, convert yourself into phoenix fire, and make yourself invulnerable to most attacks. Of course you won't be able to use any ninjutsu when you turn yourself into phoenix fire, but it still is a handy ability.
The next stage will be the phoenix sennin mode. You will be able to convert yourself into a phoenix by summoning a large amount of phoenix fire around you, making a fire cloak that resembles a phoenix.
You will be as powerful as me in phoenix sennin mode, and you can fly. The downside is that it uses your chakra reserves, so overuse can exhaust you badly.
Whenever you want to use any phoenix ability, channel chakra into the pendant, it will glow golden and then do what you wish.
That's all I have to tell you."
Kasumi was ecstatic! This was great, she passed the test.
"Ah, also, here - take these swords. They are meant to be used with phoenix fire, but you can use them as regular swords as well. They don't have any special abilities per se, but they are almost indestructible and can channel phoenix fire.
If you are a kenjutsu user, they are most definitely better than any regular sword. Not like those legendaries like Ryūjin or Samehada and the like, but it's something. Good luck!"
As soon as Kasumi touched the swords, she found herself back the training fields in Uzumaki compound.
She sighed contentedly. Now all she had to do was wait for... Before she could finish her thoughts, she saw her mother enter the compound. She ran off to tell her mother about her recent progress. "KAA-CHAN!"
'Kaa-chan is going to be proud!'
A few minutes later
Both of them had been chatting for a while now. They hadn't received any word from Naruto, and they were both getting worried.
By now, surely Naruto would have completed the summons test, or will do that soon. They decided to wait for his letter, like he had promised he would send with a dragon.
Just as they were about to walk inside the compound building, a blue shimmer off in the distance caught their eyes.
"Kaa-chan, what is that?"
"It's a bird, obviously. Though it is really shiny for a bird, it is almost as if it has.."
"...scales, like dragon!" Kasumi finished, with excitement.
'Finally!' both of them thought.
A few moments later, a medium sized slender blue dragon descended in front of them.
"I would assume that you are Uzumaki Kushina-san and Kasumi-chan?" It said.
Both of them nodded furiously. They were both excited to finally get all kinds of interesting news from Naruto.
If only they knew how shocking the news really was...
"Naruto-kun has sent me here to give you this scroll... I will be waiting here till you write a response."
With that she handed the scroll she was given by Naruto and sat down for a quick nap.
Kasumi and Kushina eagerly opened the scroll, unconsciously fighting over who gets to opens it. After a short struggle Kushina snatched the scroll away and glared at Kasumi, who glared right back before they realized what they were doing and broke into giggles.
The dragon seemed to be mildly amused by their fight, but didn't comment on it. Then both started reading the scroll...
Hi Kaa-chan and Kasumi-chan!
Hope you're doing well? A lot has happened since I have been away from home, but I can't tell you everything or I will have to write a whole book, so I will tell you the basic stuff.
First of all, Uzumaki clan isn't as extinct as we thought it was. I found one of our male members, who also managed to activate the Rinnegan, in Rain country. But there is something very interesting you must know! He told me his mother's name was Uzumaki Shiki, that's the name of your sister, am I right Kaa-chan?
If I remember right, then that means he is not only from our clan he is our close relative too! He wants to meet you and Kasumi soon, but he can't come to Konoha. Please let us know when we can meet.
There was also this woman, Uzumaki Nina who helped us save another Uzumaki, Natsumi from Wave country and Orochimaru...
Before Kasumi could comprehend what had happened, Kushina fainted from shock.
Kasumi tried to wake Kushina up, but apparently she was out cold for at least a while.
Sighing she picked up the letter and continued to read.
'I wonder what caused her to faint... she is not someone who would simply faint if you tell her she has new clan members, or some old relatives are found? She would be happy, that I would expect... but what caused her to faint?'
We now have all of these people with me, but Nagato and his group need to return to Rain country to perform their duties as soon as possible. So please hurry.
We will discuss everything when you get here.
I hope you are both fine, and I love you both.
Safe Journey to here, my dragon summon will guide you to my location.
Kasumi rolled back the scroll. She was extremely excited and nervous at the same time.
'We are going to have a bigger family! But how will they react when they come to know about mine and Naruto's condition? I hope they react nicely, or I will make sure we have a smaller family...but Kaa-chan always told me Uzumaki's have always put family above all, so it probably won't be necessary.'
Just then Kushina started to regain consciousness, and as soon as she did, she jumped up grabbed the scroll from Kasumi's hands started to read it again. All over her face there were various expressions that Kasumi could read.
Shock, disbelief, hope and anger.
"Kaa-chan, are you okay? What's wrong?" Kasumi asked with worry evident in her voice.
"Kasumi-chan, I cannot tell as I don't want you to get your hopes too high and then shatter them. But I just hope this means what I think it does." Kushina was trying to sound calm but completely failing in hiding the apprehension in her voice.
Kasumi was really confused by her mother's reaction to the good news. Even more when she saw a tear fall down her cheek.
'Why is Kaa-chan reacting this way? I don't understand...'
"Get ready Kasumi-chan, we are going to leave now."
Nodding, Kasumi set off to take all the essentials that might be needed, including various weapons and sealing equipment.
Since the time Naruto had been away, she had been concentrating on Fūinjutsu more and more, until it became her main area of expertise. She had been fascinated by all the possibilities it opens, and her desire to continue the legacy of her family as Fūinjutsu masters also helped.
Of course she was nowhere near her mother's level, but she could be called a fūinjutsu mistress if given some more time to study. She had developed her own modified version of tracking seals for instance. Her version allows multiple people who have the same seal to be able to tell where the others are located, and if close enough they will even be able to talk to each other.
Her motivation had been the ability it gave to be able to tell where Naruto was located, of course. Once she gets the seal on him, their communication problems will be reduced drastically. Once her packing was done, she exited the compound and joined up with her mother.
"Are you ready, kaa-chan?"
"It would be better if you follow us with your phoenix summon. I can fly with Naruto's summon, since mine can't fly."
Nodding, Kasumi summoned a medium sized phoenix and got on top of it. "Lead the way, Dragon-san."
With that, they took off to the sky.
Back with Naruto
Kushina and Kasumi and just arrived, and ever since her arrival Kushina had been staring wide-eyed at Natsumi.
No one really understood what was going on, until Kasumi spoke up. "She had been acting strangely ever since she read your message. Kaa-chan? Are you okay?"
When Kasumi poked her to get some attention, Kushina fainted.
"Is it really normal for her to behave like that Naruto-kun?" Nagato asked, slightly confused by her aunt's behaviour.
"No... This is actually the first time she actually passed out during a conversation. Of course I don't think we can call it a conversation as she did not really speak anything since she got here."
Naruto and Kasumi both wanted to know what was going on with their mother, but they would have to wait it seemed.
Finally Kushina woke up. Then as soon as her gaze fell on Natsumi, she went bug-eyed. "What is your name?" she asked, looking at Natsumi's direction.
From her tone, she almost seemed afraid of the answer.
Not seeing any reason not to respond, Natsumi confidently answered. "Natsumi Uzumaki."
As soon as the word 'Natsumi' had left her mouth though, she was crushed in a hug from a crying Kushina.
What they heard Kushina say in between her sobs surprised everyone present.
"I am so sorry my musume, I promise you will never be alone again. I should have looked more for you... I am so so sorry..."
Now it was Natsumi's turn to be surprised. This woman, was her mother?
She didn't know what to feel right now. She wouldn't have been too surprised if she had met some relative, really. As she was going to meet people from her clan, the probability was quite high.
But her mother?
Where has she been for the last ten years? Where was she when her daughter was sold because of a bloodline that had been inherited from her!
"Where have you been all my life? What do you expect me to do? Just accept you? If you really loved me why did you leave me alone in the first place?"
She was so angry! Natsumi pushed Kushina away from her. Kushina realized that if she really wanted her daughter back, she would have to be very careful with how she explains herself.
"I am sorry Natsumi-chan, but please don't say I left you. Let me explain first." Kushina pleaded.
Natsumi decided not to speak. She didn't want to lose the chance of finally having a family, but she couldn't find it in herself to just forget the loneliness and sorrow she had felt in the ten years of her miserable life.
I can't just blame her for everything though, maybe she had a good reason..'
So she looked at Kushina with expectant eyes. Kushina seeing Natsumi's expression change from rage to confusion and hope, decided to grab the opportunity.
'This is my only chance to get my daughter back!'
"Natsumi-chan, you are my first daughter. I gave you birth when I was sixteen, we were in wave country at the time - me and your biological father Namikaze Minato. But afterwards you just mysteriously disappeared from the maternity ward. We searched high and low for you for a long time, but we never found any trace of your presence.
For a whole year I stayed in Nami looking for you, I searched everywhere. I didn't eat anything for days in a row except chakra replenishing pills. I broke into people's homes and searched every corner. I really tried Natsumi-chan, even when Minato and others left after a month to Konoha, I stayed. After two years I found no trace of you, and with all the problems in Konoha, I... I-I...
I am sorry musume... I tried to convince Minato you were alive and out there, I really did. But everyone told me to move on. After a while.. I-I..."
Kushina took a deep, painful breath in. "... I gave up too. I hoped wherever you were you had a good life. But I wasn't so sure you I would be able to find you again.
Musume, please give me one more chance, I promise, I will do anything for you! You will never be alone again!"
By the end of the explanation, Kushina was openly crying and begging on her knees in front of Natsumi.
For all her convincing herself that she wouldn't just forgive Kushina for her ten years of absence, Natsumi couldn't find it in herself to keep up her grudge anymore. Here was her mother, who had kept her in the womb for nine months, given her life, and then spent two whole years just looking for her.
She knew Kushina had no chance of finding her in Nami, she had been in the Lightning country all her early life, until she had been taken to Gatō. Finally she gave up and hugged the crying woman in front of her.
"Don't cry... I... will forgive you if you make up for it."
Almost instantly Kushina was up, though she was still sobbing, and wrapped Natsumi up in a bone crushing hug and gave the most vibrant smile of her life.
Seeing that smile Naruto and Kasumi realized something. 'She never really smiled with all her heart. She was always sad on the inside, for losing her first daughter...'
The twins were both surprised by all that was revealed, "So, um.. Kaa-chan, I have a sister?" Kasumi asked nervously.
Kushina nodded enthusiastically. "Yes! And we are going to give her all the love she has been missing for her first ten years of her life and more."
By now Kushina was kissing Natsumi all over her face. Now Natsumi finally understood what it felt like when your mother embarrassed you in front of everyone.
"Okaa-san, please stop doing that!"
Kushina immediately stopped, as if following an order, and embarrassedly replied with a sorry in a tone that clearly indicated that she was not sorry.
The twins decided to let Kushina have some reunion time with their new sister, they will get theirs later.
"Ahem, as much as I like seeing your family reunited again Kushina-san, I had a formal request for you."
Kushina looked curiously at the pale eyed redhead. Then her eyes widened.
"You are a Hyūga and an Uzumaki! I can't believe this..."
"Is there a problem with that, Kushina-san?" Nina asked, irritation evident in her tone.
"I didn't mean it like that but... I'ts just that there have been so many attempts by the Hyūga to get an Uzumaki girl in their clan that I can't even begin to count them. Even after whirlpool's annihilation they didn't stop.
Mostly it was because Hyuuga's seem to have almost perfect chakra control, and Uzumaki's have gigantic chakra reserves. As you can imagine a combination of these two will be devastating. Not to mention all the other benefits, the byakugan's range increases when you put more chakra in it, and with Uzumaki reserves I won't be surprised if you can view ten miles all around!"
Her eyes narrowed at the pale eyed girl then. "Did they... experiment on you?"
Nina just shook her head. "I can view ten miles all around. And my mother was a rape victim of the Hyūga, so please refrain from mentioning them in front of me again. That aside, no I wasn't experimented on.
As I was saying before, I have a formal request for you. I wish to join the Uzumaki clan again, or what is left of it."
Kushina thought about it only for a moment. 'Sure, what do I have to lose? And she is an Uzumaki and deserves a place in our clan, even if she has a dōjutsu that isn't ours.
The council or Sarutobi might try to get her though... that will be a problem. But I can handle that I think...'
"Of course, Nina-san, you will be welcome to the family. As is anyone else willing to join us. Nagato-kun? What do you say? If you come I will try fill my sister's role in your life, even if it's a bit late now."
Nagato bowed his head slightly as he addressed his aunt. "I must apologize Kushina-sama but I only wanted to meet you so that I can know more about my mother. I owe too much to Ame and my friends here to back out now.
I will continue towards my goals of bringing peace to Ame, and maybe later the world."
Kushina smiled at Nagato, he had such good goals. She wished she could take care of her sister's son, but she couldn't take away the boy's dreams. Oh well, she will do what she can anyway.
"Of course I will tell you all I know about Shiki-chan!"
After a healthy discussion between the group was over, Kushina and her family moved away from the main group so that they can have some private talk.
As soon as they were away, it was Kasumi who responded first.
She squealed and hugged Natsumi. "I can't believe my wish came true! I always wanted an older sister!"
'I knew that my wish was completely illogical, as you can get a new younger sister, not an older one, but damn! I GOT IT! I need to be careful what I wish for from now on...'
"Can't... breathe..." Natsumi managed to gasp out. If she didn't know better she could have sworn that the redhead was trying to crush her to death.
'I hope she loses some of her enthusiasm with time, or I am so dead...' thought Natsumi, almost on the verge of tears from the lack of oxygen.
Naruto was lost in thoughts of his own. 'I finally understand why I felt the strange need to help her, and like I knew her... Of course, how could I have not noticed before, she has blue eyes like mine, blond hair like mine and her facial features are like Kaa-chan's... damn I must be really dumb.'
'I never had any doubt about that, all you need is an orange jumpsuit and a retarded catchphrase along with an hyperactive personality. Hehe...'
'Shut up Kyū-chan...' he grumbled.
"Kasumi-chan, don't kill your sister please, we just got her back today." Kushina scolded. Though inwardly she was smiling. She was a bit worried over how Kasumi would feel, she would be happy of course, but at the same time she could have been jealous for taking away her mother's attention.
Kushina didn't even try to hide her the tears that kept flowing out of her eyes. 'It has been ten years since I lost you... I swear I will make it up to you no matter what.'
"Natsumi-nee-chan, could you tell us what your life has been like?" Kasumi asked her. She was quite worried and excited at the same time for what her response would be.
Natsumi frowned for a moment, as most of the memories were either bad or lies that she discovered when she was sold. 'But they deserve to know, if I am to be a real part of the family..'
So she began recounting everything she could remember or was told. "I had a.. caretaker... she told me she had adopted me when she found me abandoned in front of her house.
She never really got too emotionally attached to me, it was like I was a burden for her. But I still believed she loved me and just didn't show it. Most of my childhood was spent indoors, so I never really made any friends. The first time I left my house was at six, to get a blood test.
I was alone all the time, and the only person that ever came even close to me regularly was my... caretaker, who also taught me how to speak, write and the basics of being a ninja. When I was nine year old she revealed to me that she was actually an ex-Kumo-nin, and that I needed to know ninja basics to be able to properly defend myself. Although she never taught me anything more than how to increase channel my chakra.
I was ecstatic, as my mother as I liked to refer to as, was finally taking some interest in me, and showing me that she cared.
That all proved to be wrong when a few days ago, on my tenth birthday she told me that she actually stole me from my crib. That the only reason she didn't kill me was because I had the Uzumaki bloodline.
She told me my blood when infused with my chakra can heal almost anything, which was the only reason she had given me basic ninja training, to be able to control my chakra and increase its amount.
After that I found myself in Gatō's compound, and didn't know what was going to happen to me until Naruto-kun and Nina-san saved me from there."
By the time she was done Kushina was holding her and rubbing her back in a soothing fashion, all the while whispering sweet things into her ear to help her relax.
Kasumi and Naruto were both hugging them from either sides.
"Don't worry Natsumi-chan, I will be there for you from now on, musume. You will never have to be alone again." Kushina softly said.
Natsumi was actually quite happy by now, 'I have a real family!'
"Okaa-san, if it isn't too much to ask, where is my Otou-san?"
Kushina's eyes hardened at those words. By now she hated, no, loathed her husband.
'No, ex-husband' she mentally added.
He had caused both of the young twins to be hated by a village that he died protecting. Not only that, he had been pushing her to forget about her elder daughter when she was actually alive and lonely all the while.
As if that wasn't enough, he had chosen to abandon her, and her two kids for a village full of bigots and hypocrites. 'I refuse to call them our or his kids, they are mine. He was a sperm donor at best to me!'
If Kushina was honest with herself, she never really loved Minato. Of course she used to like him, but she never saw him as a life partner. When an Uzumaki mates with their life partner for the first time, their bloodline automatically improves, and the significant other gains the bloodline in the process. Making them an Uzumaki as well.
That of course requires that both parties love each other unconditionally. Which was not the case with Minato and Kushina. That was proven correct when Minato didn't gain the Uzumaki bloodline.
Despite what some people might think about the situation, Kushina was not really cheating by not loving Minato and still having kids with him. She had actually given up on finding a life-partner.
The moment Uzu was annihilated, she had lost hope. Somehow, she knew that only a born Uzumaki would ever be able to love her completely and receive it in return.
"Your father..." she said with as much hatred as she could, which took only Natsumi by surprise. "Is dead. I never loved him, and I hate him now musume. The only reason I am even remotely grateful to him is because he gave me you three. He condemned the life of Naruto and Kasumi to that of loneliness and hatred, failed to protect first child, and then told me she is probably dead and I should forget it!"
By now Kushina looked furious, if Minato was actually there he would have pissed himself because of the hatred Kushina was directing at him.
"It's okay Kaa-chan, we are all together, that's all that matters, right?" Kasumi tried to calm her mother down.
Kushina took a few deep breaths and then proceeded to rub Natsumi's back again. She smiled at her three kids. She was finally complete. The emptiness she had felt without Natsumi there was gone.
"Yes... that's all I care about Kasumi-chan. As long as I have you three with me, I'm happy."
Kasumi grinned at her mother, she was still ecstatic. "I still can't believe I have an elder sister! Think about all the stuff I am going to talk to you about nee-chan! I can't wait!"
Then she got a mischievous grin on her face and whispered in Natsumi's ear. "I saw how you looked at our brother there Onee-chan... what do think about him? Normally I won't share anything but you are my family, so you can have him too..."
By now Natsumi's eyes were wide from shock. 'She is going to be my sister for the rest of my life! Oh god, how will I put up with her?'
"And don't worry about him being our brother, we already got mom's okay on that." Kasumi finished whispering.
Kushina, thanks to her improved senses from years of training was able to hear all that Kasumi had whispered. So she decided to return the favor.
"Such a naughty girl you are Kasumi-chan, decided to take my advice to heart?" She whispered in Kasumi's ear with a smirk on her face.
Kasumi got a faint tint of pink on her cheeks, but otherwise didn't respond. She was being naughty so her mother was right.
Naruto, still lost in his thoughts, was completely oblivious to all this.
After the family reunion was done, they explained to Natsumi that Naruto was still going to be on a training trip for a while before he comes back to stay with the family.
Natsumi was disappointed with that, but having a mother and a sister from no family at all within a day was still a great improvement in her life. 'And I will get Naruto-kun back soon anyway, till then I can have my sister and mother...' she had thought.
Later on it was established that Nagato, Konan, Yahiko and the rest of the Akatsuki will be going back to Rain village to help better things there.
Nina had decided that she was going to stay with the Uzumaki family at Uzumaki compound, but had made it clear that she doesn't care about Konoha and won't put her life on line for it.
The only reason she was coming with the Uzumaki was because they were the closest thing she had to family and from what little she had seen, they were true Uzumaki, putting family above all.
Natsumi was going to go with Kushina and Kasumi to Uzumaki compound in Konoha. While Naruto wanted to spend some more time with his family, Kushina and Kasumi had left Konoha without Hokage's permission. Kushina being the clan head could have given Kasumi the permission to stay out, but a clan head by themselves couldn't leave the village while not on a mission without permission, so they had to get back before they were discovered to be missing.
After an emotional farewell, everyone set off in different directions.
Kasumi, Kushina, Natsumi and Nina towards Konoha while Nagato, Konan, Yahiko and Akatsuki towards the Hidden Rain village.
Naruto gave his family's retreating forms one last look before setting off in his own direction.
'Let's go Naruto, now I can really train you with everything I know. Well, the ones that you will be able to do without blowing yourself off anyway. You are not a bijū, such a shame.' Kyuubi told him through their mental link.
'Whats wrong?' she asked.
'Is this going to be worth it? I don't want to stay away from them. I am going to miss years of their lives.'
'Hm... When you are done with me, you will be much stronger than you could have been without my training. Whether or not it will be worth it is for you to decide. But one thing you should know is then you will be able to defend them and yourself from the enemies much better.
You know as well as me that sooner or later people are going to come after you, and who knows how long Konoha will be on your side. I am not saying that they are on your side to begin with by the way.
You also have the potential to make powerful allies if you are on a travel journey. Just look back at the year. You have made allies with another Rinnegan user and a powerful group of individuals, rescued your elder sister and got a very powerful clan member.
If you could get even one more such individual then these three and a half years will be well worth it.'
'I understand. I am going to give my all to this training, and be ready to face any obstacles...' Naruto responded.
'I am sure you will.' Kyuubi reassured him.
With that, they set off to find a suitable location to train.