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Disclaimer: own Naruto I do not
A/N: 1: Naruto will be godlike, but remember that at the moment he is still a human child. No matter how much training he does his body still has limits. All the physical training he does has the main advantage of increasing his chakra reserves, as demonstrated by him being able to create a Shadow Clone.
A/N: 2: Apparently I made a mistake in the last chapter when I said that Naruto has impeccable Kenjutsu form but doesn't have a sword. I'll have to reread the chapter, but what I meant was that he didn't have a real sword. As in a metal blade. He can still practice with a boken, or even a broom handle, hence the skill.
Arc 01: Childhood. Chapter 03: In The Absence Of A Body.
At the bottom of the Namikaze mansion grounds a pale blue light emerged from beneath a heavy looking boulder, glowing eerily in the moonless midnight darkness. With a hiss and a small emission of smoke the boulder shimmered and gained a more artificial appearance, before lifting up a couple of inches and sliding to one side. In a blur, a team of six shadowy figures slipped out of a hidden sewer mouth, hugging to the darkness as they made their way undetected towards the large house.
Reaching the front door, the lead figure pulled out a small slip of paper with lines and lines of kanji written on it. He carefully placed the slip in the centre of the door and applied a little chakra. Six pairs of Sharingan eyes spun wildly in anticipation and only calmed down when the door opened with an almost silent click.
The team dashed in, wordlessly splitting off to complete their separate mission objectives. Three went for the main bedroom to subdue the mother, she had been retired from active duty for over half a decade now but they knew better than to underestimate her. One headed for the daughter's bedroom, youki suppressing tags at the ready in case she tried to resist. Another went towards the son's bedroom with a kunai already drawn for the kill, he wasn't important enough to risk taking alive and from the way the rest of the family ignored him he didn't have much value as a hostage. He would then join the first group and help subdue the mother. The last made his way towards the Yondaime's study to try and steal the secrets to his techniques and maybe find a way to control the Kyuubi's youki.
Uchiha Yashiro quickly passed through the corridors, up the stairs and into circular waiting section outside the study, barely looking around as he stopped in front of the seal protected study door. He pulled out a pack of seal tags, lighting a small flare so that he could see the small numbers written in the bottom left hand corner of each one. With his Sharingan blazing so as not to make any mistakes he started applying each tag in the specific sequence he had been given during the mission briefing. The security seals on the door were of the highest quality, it was a major stroke of luck that they had even been able to procure these tags so he couldn't afford to mess up. Position, order and timing all had to be spot on or the whole thing would backfire.
Luckily he had ample time. The others would stay in position until he gave the signal that his part of the mission had been a success or their target noticed them. If they were noticed they would engage their target and take them down, which should still give him enough time to finish.
And if the shit really hit the fan… they all had a butt load of kunai with explosive tags.
He placed the first tag five inches up from the floor and twenty two and a half inches from the right hand border, funnelled chakra into it, and waited three seconds. He placed the second tag a quarter inch above the first, also activating it with chakra. A half second later he place the third tag thirty inches down from the top and four inches from the right hand border…
He stiffened at the childish sound and started to spin around only to remember that he couldn't stop until he had finished. He grabbed the fourth tag, hoping that he wasn't too late and cursing whichever one of his partners had let someone slip up behind him.
His hopes were dashed when several hundred thousand volts of Lightning Chakra fried him to a crisp.
Naruto crept silently through the hallway, his chakra signature suppressed to levels only a Sensor would be able to detect and his feet wrapped in soft socks so as to ensure the noiselessness of his footfalls. He knew the technique that would allow him to use chakra to create a small pad of silence, but keeping his chakra suppressed would make it harder and he didn't want to risk failing just because he tried to do too much at once. It had been three days since the birthday party, two since his father had left for Mount Myoboku, and Naruto fully intended to make the most of the opportunity.
Still dressed in his pyjamas, just in case he got caught, he had made a short trip to the kitchen, pretending to get a glass of water while he was actually checking that the coast was clear. And now he was quickly making his way towards his father's study.
Since he began his studies, Naruto had pilfered all the knowledge in the Namikaze Library, copying most and stealing some of the ones he didn't think would be missed. He had made copies of everything in his mother's rather meagre personal collection, easily bypassing the relatively low quality security seals that she protected it with. He had also copied roughly a fifth of the extensive Konoha Library which held both ninja and civilian knowledge, and he was slowly working his way through the rest.
Now that his father was away for an extended period o time he had a golden opportunity to… acquire… some of the scrolls and books that, until now, he had only been able to glimpse from afar. The rarest of the rare, the ones that even Kasumi couldn't swindle her way into seeing. Not that she tried overly hard, she was much more of a hands-on learner.
Naruto froze as he stepped into the small circular waiting room that lead to the study proper. There was already someone there! A dark clothed figure, fully equipped for a stealth infiltration mission, stood before the door to his father's study, using a small light to illuminate it's surface. From the way the seals on said door were pulsing it was fairly easy to guess that, whoever this was, they were trying to break their way in.
Having placed small surveillance seals at the entrances to his sister's room, his mother's room, and the guest room that Jiraiya was sleeping in, Naruto knew that they were all still inside their rooms and probably fast asleep. So, somehow, someone had made their way past the impressive protection seals that coated the walls and gates surrounding the Namikaze mansion and into the mansion itself.
All without being detected.
The sudden and utterly unexpected appearance of this uninvited individual caught the young Namikaze boy completely off guard. For all his training and mental preparation, this single kink in his carefully planned out heist left him wide eyed and panicked.
He reacted the same way any normal seven year old would in such a situation.
Naruto blinked, seemingly coming back to his senses. He ignored the distinct impression of a large sweat drop coming from his tenant in favour of slack jawed incredulity.
Disbelief coursed through his mind.
'Did I just… 'eep'?'
Kyuubi snickered. "Yep! You 'Eep-ed', with a capital 'E' I might add. Not your most manly of moments. In fact… it was a rather remarkable imitation of that little spineless little Hyuuga girl in your class."
Naruto scowled, unable to believe that he had Eep-ed. He was so lost in his thoughts that he failed to notice that the other thief had become aware of his presence.
Then there was a distinct smell of cooked meat, which quickly turned to a rather nasty smell of burnt meat, before finally stopping at the horribly charred odour of horribly charred human flesh. With a dull thump the dead Uchiha dropped to the floor.
Naruto blinked but Kyuubi asked the question. "What just happened?"
A quick glance was all Naruto needed. 'Um… I think he was trying to hack the security seals and messed up. And he must have really messed up because that array is designed to shock on the first and second attempts and only kills on the third.'
He frowned. 'For it to lash out like that the seal must have detected a high threat level to its integrity, and since the guy wasn't trying to enter through blunt force that means that he was doing a pretty damn good job of disarming the array.'
Kyuubi sighed. "Whatever. What does that mean for you? Will it make your job harder? You're going to have to adapt your plans."
Naruto looked at the smoking corpse with distaste and nodded. 'You're right. Even if I seal the body and get rid of the smell Minato will see that there was an attempted intrusion when he gets back and he'll probably change the seal. It's taken me long enough to get this opportunity as it is, that would just make my job harder. Maybe I can…'
He trailed off as a plan started to form.
He put his glass of water down to one side and stepped over the still smouldering corpse. After pulling off the remains of the three tags that the now dead ninja had been using, Naruto ran through the hand seals needed to unlock the door. Getting them hadn't been hard. All he had to do was sit nonchalantly in a corner of the room pretending to read a book while actually watching the sequence out of the corner of his eye. His father just didn't consider him enough of a risk to put any effort into hiding them.
Naruto pressed his hand to the door and let his chakra flow in, forming it into a precise key. This was the part that had required the most effort. He had needed to identify the seals that Minato had used because the hand seals alone were not enough. If he were to compare it to a normal key he would say that the hand seals defined the metal that it was made of, but the actual shape required understanding and knowledge of the array. If Minato were to change the combination, Naruto would have to start all over again.
With a tiny click the door opened.
His eyes widened when he sensed Jiraiya sneaking out of his room and he silently cursed himself for not adding more surveillance seals so that he could track his movements. Hoping to finish up before it was too late, Naruto dashed into the room and gathered every book, scroll, file, and random sheet of paper onto his father's desk. He then took two blank scrolls and painted a Generic Seal on each. He sealed everything into the first and pocketed it.
His eyes widened again when he heard sounds of fighting and realised that the thief wasn't alone.
Naruto's heart thumped loudly in his chest as the situation started to really get to him. He dashed back to the study door and closed it carefully, nodding in satisfaction when it sealed shut. He then rummaged through the dead ninja's pouches and found a number of generic Storage Scrolls and a butt load of kunai with explosive tags.
He grinned as his plan suddenly became a bit easier.
Naruto pulled out all the Storage Scrolls and sealed a single kunai into each so that analysis would show that they had been used. He then picked up one of the remaining kunai, briefly wondering why the guy had brought so many on what had to be a stealth mission, and slashed all the seals so that their contents were irretrievable.
He stashed the scrolls back into their respective places in the mans gear and stood up.
'I don't know where everyone is, so I can't risk going back to my room…'
His eyes travelled to the explosive kunai in his hand, then to the glass of water sitting by the corridor door, and finally to the dead guy.
'Fuck!… This is gonna hurt.'
Steeling his resolve Naruto ran into the corridor, not even thinking to check if anyone else was in sight, and painted an array that combined a basic Storage Seal with a Seal Masking Seal before sealing the stolen goods into it. The array worked to perfection, taking his spoils away in a puff of smoke before vanishing from sight. It wouldn't take much to find it if someone was actually looking, but otherwise it should go unnoticed. He picked up his glass of water and stood in the entranceway.
With a silent prayer he swung his arm up and threw the kunai into the waiting room. It landed with a clatter next to the dead ninja and fizzled for a few seconds before exploding. Naruto's world exploded in pain as he was slammed against the corridor wall, unconscious before he even hit the floor.
"…Burns from the expl…"
"…glass imbedded in his hand…"
"…fragment of pyjamas…"
Naruto blinked his eyes open and groaned barely noticing the fragmented conversation that reached his ears.
"Sweet Kami-sama what hit me?"
"An Explosive tag that's what! One the you threw! What kind of stupid plan was that?"
He blinked again. 'Kyuubi?'
He shivered at the anger he could feel rolling off of his tenant. "Who else would it be you idiot? Do you realise that you almost got us both killed? What the hell were you thinking?"
Naruto groaned at the volume of its voice and brought a hand up to rub his forehead. 'I didn't think the explosion would be that bad, I don't understand why… damn!'
Naruto winced. 'I forgot to take into account that we were indoors. The explosion was contained so the blast was concentrated on the only area it could leave.'
Kyuubi growled. "And that just happened to be the exact same place your idiotic self was standing!…"
Before the Demon could get a rant going Naruto's attention was captured by a familiar face popping into his line of sight.
He blinked a few times in surprise. "Jiraiya-san… what happened?"
Naruto mentally patted himself on the back as he expertly pulled off the confused child act.
Jiraiya frowned. "That's my question Brat, what happened?"
Naruto blinked. "I went for a glass of water…" He scrunched up his face as if he were struggling to remember. "Then I saw Otou-san… and then I woke up… Where am I?"
Jiraiya's frown grew more pronounced. "Your father's not here Brat, what do you mean you saw him?"
Naruto shrugged. "He was going to his study, but then I talked to him and… And then I woke up here."
Naruto held back a smirk when he saw the Sannin's eyes light up in realisation. He had done his best to make his description seem innocent and unsuspicious. He didn't know how much had survived the explosion but apparently there was enough for Jiraiya to come to some sort of conclusion.
"Alright Brat! You get some rest and you'll be able to leave in a few days.
Naruto walked down the street toward the Namikaze mansion with a deep frown on his face. All around him people were glaring and muttering under their breath.
"There he is!"
Naruto had long since learnt to not pay attention to the mutterings that followed him when he walked through the village streets. He would keep an eye out for the occasional thrown object, or the groups of rowdy teenagers that found sport in pestering him. Since he only really left the mansion to go to the Konoha Library or to the Academy, he didn't have to put up with it too much.
Now however, things seemed to have gotten a lot worse. As soon as he left the hospital, and even during his stay at the hospital, he had noticed that the mutterings and glares had become decidedly more… malicious.
From what he had gathered from snippets of overheard conversations, almost the entire Uchiha Clan had been massacred by their very own genius Shinobi, Uchiha Itachi. The now S-Rank missing ninja had apparently killed every man, woman and child in the Clan in one blood bathed night. Although, for some reason that Naruto couldn't phantom, he had spared his bratty little brother Sasuke.
There were three things, for the moment, bothered Naruto.
First. The thief had been an Uchiha. He may have had gray hair, but Naruto had seen those unmistakable onyx eyes while he was searching him. He was willing to bet that the thief's companions had also been Uchiha, so the question was… was it a coincidence? Was it possible that the entire Uchiha Clan just happened to be massacred on the very night that a team of their clansmen managed to infiltrate the Fourth Hokage's mansion?
Not bloody likely.
Second. No one seemed to be aware that a team of Uchiha had infiltrated the mansion to try to steal the Hokage's secrets and whatever other nefarious plans they had intended to accomplish. Of course… everyone was aware that Naruto had somehow ended up in the hospital that very same night, and thus were more than happy to jump to the conclusion that it was all his fault. Konoha had become more than a little arrogant since their relatively easy 'defeat' of the most powerful Bijuu, so this nasty event served as an unwelcome reminder of their own vulnerability. The fact that the deed was done by one of their most praised Shinobi only made it an even harder blow to swallow.
They just wanted a scapegoat.
Third. Mikoto-neesan was dead. Killed by her own son. Killed by one of the three people that Naruto actually respected, thus effectively cutting the number down to two. Oh, he still respected Itachi. He was a Shinobi and thus was expected to be untrustworthy. No matter what the idealists said, Shinobi were supposed to be killers and that was that. Naruto came to the conclusion that Itachi had either cracked under the pressure of his profession, or he had been ordered to kill his Clan. Since the Hokage wasn't even in the village at the time, the second wasn't very likely. One way or the other Itachi had killed the only woman that had happily and openly shown Naruto true kindness and affection.
For that, respect or no respect, Itachi would die.
Naruto sighed as another stone narrowly missed him as it sailed past his head. Life in Konoha had just become even less pleasant.
A small smile curved his lips as he thought of all the forbidden knowledge and top secret files that were just waiting for him in that small hidden seal.
'At least I came out on top.'
In the dark confines of his third floor bedroom, seven and a half year old Namikaze Naruto was practicing the Uzumaki Basic Kenjutsu style with his ANBU issue Ninjato. As usual he was upside down, although it was more out of habit than need since his reserves were now too large for extended 'Tree Walking' to improve them. Sweat trickled up his bare torso and dripped down to the floor as his body flowed through the stances.
He had found the scroll detailing the Style in his mother's private collection. It was one of the few items that had survived the fall of the Uzumaki Clan so she guarded it quite preciously, it had taken a lot of effort for him to steal, copy, and then replace it without her knowing.
'It's amusing…' He reflected as he slashed down diagonally, spun the blade around and stabbed forwards. 'That we both deem that single scroll to be so valuable, when our ancestors probably saw it as one of the most common items in their inventory.'
And it was true. The movements described on the scroll were far from being secret techniques or forbidden knowledge. They were nothing more than simple but effective stances that served as a perfect base to expand upon when the Uzumaki finally formed their Tamachiiken. All the rarer scrolls and heirlooms had been lost. Although some may well have been salvaged and sold to rich collectors.
Naruto had hit a bit of a growth spurt and his chakra reserves were progressing much faster than before. He could now create three Shadow Clones and his previous training method was no longer effective enough for his tastes. Luckily, with his ever increasing knowledge of Fuuinjutsu, he had a whole selection of training seals to apply to himself.
On either side of his naval there was a gravity seal in the shape of a simple column of characters. They worked by constantly draining a portion of his chakra to increase the pull gravity had on him. He had also modified the seal so that it could be applied to the floor. In that case anyone in the room would be subjected to the increased gravity making it ideal for a group training room. He hadn't used the modified seal however, because he didn't want to risk being discovered if someone came to visit him.
However unlikely that was.
Across his chest were spread four chain like seals, these were resistance seals that created a resistance to any and all body movement. They were basically better versions of the bracelets he had been using before. They would drastically improve his muscles endurance and the explosiveness of his movements, both of which were important factors for his production of Physical Energy.
Naruto slid his right foot forwards, slashing horizontally to the left. He then brought his hands up and behind his head before slicing straight down. Despite the exertion and the sweat covering his skin his breathing was measured, controlled. It was an impressive sight.
"OK Naruto that's enough I want to talk to you."
Naruto finished his sequence and let himself drop to the floor, landing silently on his feet. 'What is it Kyuubi-hime?'
A small shudder ran down his spine as he used a towel to wipe the sweat off of his brow. It had only been a week or so since the Demon had informed him that it was a she, and to say that he was still having a bit of trouble adjusting to the knowledge was an understatement. For a normal seven and a half year old it probably wouldn't be much of a problem. But for Naruto, who was well aware of the differences between a man and a woman, having a female mind cohabiting with his made him a little uncomfortable, especially since he had gained the habit of checking out the women he passed on his way to and from the library or the Academy.
The women of Konoha may despise him, and he was more than willing to return the sentiment, but that didn't stop him from noticing that most of them were hot.
Another thing that made it hard to accept the Kyuubi as being female was her rather deep and gravely Demonic voice.
"Alright Naruto. Tell me what you know about chakra! Most importantly where it comes from."
'Chakra is the combination of Spiritual Energy and Physical Energy.' He recited easily.
Kyuubi sent a mental nod. "For humans and other animals yes! But what about me? I don't, have a body so..."
She trailed off. Naruto blinked. 'So where does the Physical part of your youki come from?'
"Tell me what you know about Nature Chakra."
He frowned at the question. 'You mean Nature Energy?'
"Grr… Whatever! Who cares? Stop being a smartass and just tell me what you know about it!"
'Not much... Just what I overheard at the party. Although… there are a number of seals I've studied that draw off of ambient chakra to sustain their effect. I hadn't made the connection but I suppose that the ambient chakra in question could be Nature Energy. I know from observation that it isn't actual chakra.'
"Nature chakra, Energy, is in fact purely Physical based. It's created by trees, grass, flowers and most other plant-life because they don't have Spiritual Energy. It comes from lower life forms like bacteria, insects and smaller fish, but also from the higher life forms that can't use their own energy like the average cat, dog or even human. A civilian for example, has both Physical Energy and Spiritual Energy, but because they never learn to mould chakra their bodies never produce more than what's strictly needed for them to live. All the excess Physical Energy that their bodies produce just spills out and mixes in with the rest of Nature's Energy. Similarly, when something dies the energy given off by the decomposing cells becomes a part of this Energy. It spreads through the air, seeps into the earth, mixes into the rivers and oceans. It's, quite literally, everywhere.
"Now…My soul is different from yours because I don't have, or need, a body to exist. To physically interact with the world around me I create my own body from pure youki, and I recharge my youki reserves by gathering Nature Energy and combining it with my Spiritual Energy. I can't do that at the moment because this damned seal is stopping me from gathering it.
"Anyway, from now on I'm going try to teach you to gather Nature Energy. But you'll have to be careful because if you don't control the foreign energy in your body the effects can be... bad."
'Okaaaay... Why exactly am I doing this? I mean if what Jiraiya said was true you need extreme chakra levels to use it and, while mine are growing very fast and are already big for someone my age, I can't say that I'm in the extreme group.'
Kyuubi rolled her non-existent eyes. "That's where you're wrong! You would probably need extreme chakra levels if you were going to use Sage Chakra, I really don't know nor do I care. What I want is for you to use Nature Energy instead of your bodies Physical Energy. That way you should be able to mould youki rather than chakra. There is a limit of course, your soul isn't like mine since you do need a body to survive, as such you'll need to be careful not to gather too much Nature Energy or you could end up overloading your body and killing yourself."
Naruto nodded slowly at the idea. Youki was well known to be more potent than chakra, even if he could only produce enough to match his chakra capacity it should enable him to create a whole bunch of Shadow Clones. He doubted that it would be an easy thing to learn, but it could potentially boost his studying speed by more than enough to make it worth the effort.
'How exactly am I supposed to learn this? It could be useful but where do I even start? I suppose I could try and modify a seal to gather Nature Energy. If Nature energy and Ambient Chakra are the same thing then the best one I've seen so far is the strengthening seal used on the village walls. I could try and modify it so that it pulls Nature Energy directly into my coils but… for some reason I think that would just kill me…'
Kyuubi sighed as he went off on some technical tangent that she had no hope, or desire, to understand. She had a basic knowledge of Fuuinjutsu from her own very long existence, and she had inevitably picked up a whole lot more over the last few years, but even as bored as she was in her prison she didn't have the patience to study them like Naruto did.
She broke into his musings before they went unnecessarily far. "Like I said Naruto I gather Natural Energy and then combine it with my Spiritual Energy, I can't explain it to you because it's not something I learnt, it's just something I do. I can no more explain it to you than a fish can teach you how to breath under water. On the other hand we're in a unique situation that will allow me to… share… Forget it! Here, this is what it feels like."
The proverbial light bulb lit up over Naruto's head as, not only knowledge, but experience flooded his mind. He suddenly knew what his tenant was talking about and how to do it, or rather… how she did it. He quickly realized that it wouldn't be the same for him because of the presence of his Physical Energy. He now knew how to draw on Nature Energy, but he still had to find a way to suppress his Physical Energy and get it out of the way so the he could mould youki.
He share his thoughts with the Demoness. 'I understand but I still have to find a way to stop moulding the physical part of my chakra for your idea to work.'
Kyuubi sent a mental shrug. "That's your problem not mine, you work it out."
A thought suddenly popped in Naruto's mind. 'Hang on a minute! If I get this right will I become like you? You know… a Demon.'
Kyuubi paused for a few seconds in thought.
"No... you'll be using Nature Energy so you'll have Demonic Energy, but that alone won't free you from needing your body to survive. You'll have to take periodic breaks, going back to moulding human chakra, every so often so as not to let your body die or fall to youki poisoning. To be like me you'd have to entirely stop using the energy from your body, and to do that, and survive, you would need to change your very soul."
"Exactly! But hey! If I anyone can do it it's you. The question is… Do you want to?"
Naruto sat reverently, hands on his knees and bum on his heels, with the small scroll that Old Man Sarutobi had given him for his birthday placed before him on a low reading table. It had been almost half a year since he received it, but he had felt the need to reach an acceptable level in the Uzumaki Kenjutsu Style before reading it. It was a silly and sentimental feeling, but he had bowed to it nonetheless.
Behind him two Clones were studying new seals while a third worked on a way to use Nature Energy.
He unrolled the scroll a few inches and smiled when he saw that it was written in elegant, well painted kanji using the traditional column form, top to bottom, right to left. He inhaled the pleasing scent of ink, one he had become familiar with due to his Fuuinjutsu studies.
Smoothing down the revealed section of the scroll he began to read.
Happy seventh birthday Naruto-kun. I know that you have a fondness for learning so I thought you might appreciate this gift. It is a collection of extracts from various journals, all pertaining to encounters or observations of the Uzumaki Clan, although there is also a good bit of general historical fact. Most of them are from the writings of my own ancestors from the Sarutobi Clan, but some are from other sources that I have obtained over the course of my rather long life.
As you may know events in the history of the Shinobi World are often blurred by the fires of war and as such are difficult to place with any manner of chronological precision. To make your reading easier I have done my best to write each entry in chronological order starting from the oldest.
At times, the entries may be a little hard to understand because of a lack of context. To remedy that I have placed a number of notes ( Like so. ), to aid your comprehension. I have also taken the liberty of translating the texts from their original dialects to the modern one.
Again, happy birthday.
Naruto smiled softly. He didn't know the Old Man all that well since they hadn't met all that often. But like the now deceased Mikoto-neesan, if to a lesser extent, his kindness had earned him a special place in Naruto's heart. It was nothing more than a fond acknowledgment, but that was quite a leap from the general simmering disgust with which he view most of Konoha.
"Thank you Old Man."
He began reading the first entry.
Since the defeat of the Beast the balance of power and influence has been slipping more and more. ( The Beast in question could be one of the Bijuu, but if that were the case my ancestor would probably have identified it by its number of tails. In most likelihood it was some other manner of Demon whose identity has been lost to the passing of time. ) The unlocking of our inner energies, which we have taken to calling chakra, has opened a new world of possibilities. The Way of the Ninja is changing faster than I would have ever dreamed possible. The subtle arts of poison and dagger, stealth and assassination, are rapidly giving way to gaudy feats of might and destruction. Of the Ninja Clans of old only my own is surviving the change, war has broken and already those who haven't adapted have been wiped out in a blaze of Elemental ruin. Not a day has gone by when I have not asked myself a simple question.
Why do we still call ourselves Shinobi when Sorcerers, Magicians or Witches would be a better designation?
Today, me and mine have eradicated the Hanzo Clan. ( To the best of my knowledge the Hanzo Clan has no relation to the famous leader of Amegakure. ) Oh the look of disbelief and betrayal as my old friend died by my hand shall haunt me until my last breath, but it was necessary and the Sarutobi shall flourish for it. ( As I understand it the Sarutobi Clan and the Hanzo Clan were long time allies and Sasuke and Hattori, the Head of the Hanzo, were childhood friends. ) Who am I to stay my blade if the blood it spills brings food to my wife's table?
Therein lies the answer! Be it murder, theft, rape or betrayal. Be it for Belief, for Lord or for Family. We are utterly ruthless in what we do. That is why we are Ninja.
Of all those who have gained these new abilities only one that I know of has remained absolutely true to who she was. Ironically, she is one of those in whom the change was greatest, Uzumaki Tomoe. ( The 'Change' refers to the unlocking of chakra and the dawn of modern Ninjutsu. The 'Greatest Change' refers to those who started to develope Bloodline Limits. )
I have seen the female samurai all of five times over the course of my life, and each time I have been duly impressed by her presence. The first time was when my Clan was in the service of the Lord Hideo, she was but a young thing of barely fifteen years and she was already famous for both her skill and her beauty. No one knew of her true origins, as is often the case with ronin samurai, so it was assumed that she was of peasant stock. Nonetheless, she faced the pomp and show of the Lord's Court with a confidence and pride that easily outweighed any lack of social niceties. The Lord had required her presence to offer her a position as one of his officers, something unheard of for a female. He also hinted, masked behind all the political embellishments, at the possibility of a much closer relationship. I was obvious that he didn't intend to take her as his wife, but the Lord already had a large number of mistresses and I have no doubt that he would have taken great satisfaction in adding her to their number. I have witnessed more than just a few women and men succumb to his sugared words but Uzumaki was not even tempted, offering a swift and polite refusal and going so far as to say that she was a warrior and would only give herself to a warrior. She left the very same day. I have to admit that, despite being almost twice her age, I was sorely tempted to take her up on her claim.
The second time I saw her was on the field of battle a few months later. If I had thought she was beautiful after the first time, seeing her at work as she weaved her way through enemy troupes was breathtaking. She wielded a regular katana but with an elegance and precision that many can only dream of, slicing and slashing between the plates of her enemies' armour like water flows through the cracks of a rock. Have find no shame in admitting that she is a warrior I would not even consider facing head on.
The third time I only saw her in passing. The battle against the Beast called many to the front. Priests, Seal Masters, Samurai, Ninja, and many others that even I am not sure what to call. The fourth time was shortly after the Beast's defeat. Many have forgotten the horror that occurred in those last few hours, although it can also be said that few were there to witness it. The remaining energies of the Beast latched onto the corpses of the fallen and animated them into a twisted parody of life. While their skill was close to non-existent, their ferocity was rivalled only by their disregard for their own self-preservation. The battle was brutal, only blunt force trauma could stop the creatures as missing limbs or spilt guts only seemed to slow them down. An yet, as if to offer the inevitable exception to the law, Uzumaki Tomoe tore through them with her blade, decimating them with power comparable to the deepest water currents. The sight of a human body being turned into a liquefied slush of bone, flesh and blood with what appeared to be a single slash of her sword was both a terrifying and humbling thing. It only served to reaffirm my belief that she may well be one of the greatest sword mistresses in history.
The fifth and last time that I saw her was actually just a few days ago and, as I stated earlier, she had changed little from what she was when compared to many of we new ninja. Physically she is now in her prime, a long silky haired pale skinned beauty of twenty three years. The sword that she now wields is, from what I hear, the result of her Great Change. It is a pure black bladed Nodachi that constantly emits a dark blue glow. I witnessed her throwing the sword like a spear, impaling a foe from over fifty feet away, before somehow calling it straight back to her hand. The blade itself is so sharp that I saw it literally cut an armoured horse in half. Like the rest of us her strength has increased but her speed has reached levels that even I am hard pressed to follow. Her style however has stayed rigorously the same. She relies on her blade and her own physical prowess. She mat be as ruthless as a ninja, but even in battle she remains as honourable as a samurai. If she ever founds a Clan I have no doubt they will be formidable.
Sarutobi Sasuke. Journal 7; Entry 12.
( The Sarutobi Sasuke in question isn't my father, but my many times great-grandfather. )
Naruto rolled the scroll back up and put it away before sitting down on his bed to think.
His Clan, the Uzumaki, were descended from a samurai. Now that he thought about it, it really wasn't all that surprising. After all the Tamachiiken of the Uzumaki Bloodline Limit did revolve around swords. And even if some of them were far from being simple blades, Kushina's chains being a prime example, that was a good indication at their origins.
He sighed. He didn't know how his Clan had been destroyed, none of the books he found spoke of it in any detail, simply saying that they had been destroyed. He hadn't asked his mother about it, he wasn't even sure if she herself knew. Despite what the villagers of Konoha liked to think, Kushina hadn't been the Uzumaki Clan Head, or even the Clan Heiress, which was why she hadn't had access to the more precious scrolls and techniques.
Naruto felt a tear come to his eye. 'All that knowledge lost. Generations of accumulated techniques and secrets of swordplay gone forever.'
Kyuubi scoffed. "Would you stop whining brat, and get back to work."
'Tsk… My clones are doing just fine. I feel like taking a break.'He was slightly surprised when she didn't argue. 'So… Did you ever meet her?'
Naruto rolled his eyes. 'Uzumaki Tomoe, who else? I know you read that just the same as I did.'
Kyuubi sent a mental shrug. "Maybe, maybe not. Do you think I give a damn about any of the humans I've met? If she worked as a samurai rather than a ninja then I might have, but frankly I never pay much attention to humans."
He frowned. 'Why would her being a samurai make it more likely for you to have met her than being a ninja?'
There was a pause before she answered. "That's my business! Maybe I'll tell you some other time."
The young Uzumaki sighed tiredly and rubbed his eyes. 'What about this Beast he talks about? Was it a Bijuu?'
"I don't know. The Old Monkey's note said that it was around the time when ninja learnt to use chakra. That was before even I existed."
Naruto nodded slowly. 'So it wasn't a Bijuu then.'
The Demon sighed. "No it wasn't! I was the first Bijuu, but there were plenty of other Demons back then."
Naruto blinked in surprise. 'Really?'
"Mhmm. Yes… pathetic little things they were. In raw power they were barely higher than most Kage level ninja, but like the other Bijuu, they had almost no control over themselves so that power was wasted. They were ugly little shits too. Compared to me, of course, they were still bigger than humans."
'What happened to them?'
Another mental shrug. "Dead! All of them. Like I said they had no control over themselves, so a few Jounin could take one out easily enough. The only difficulty would be that it takes a lot, by human standards, to actually kill them."
Naruto laid back on his bed and sighed, they had gotten off track. He knew he couldn't take Sarutobi Sasuke's description of his ancestor too seriously, the guy seemed to have a bit of a crush on her so who knew what sort of bias there was, but he did like the picture that was painted. She was strong, although that could be said of a lot of people, what made her different was that she had attained her strength in her own way rather than following everyone else in their apparent Ninjutsu frenzy. Naruto liked that, he liked that a lot. She also apparently had deadly sword techniques even before she could use chakra.
He scowled angrily at the thought of all those lost secrets.
Kyuubi sweat dropped. "Naruto… you do realise that one of the jutsu in that scroll you stole allows you to bring back the dead right?"
Naruto's scowl deepened, he hadn't studied all of the Forbidden Scroll yet but he had looked through it to see what was in there. 'Yes, so?'
"For all your intelligence you're still a bit slow sometimes. Why don't you just bring back some of your ancestors and have them teach you directly?"
Naruto's eyes widened. 'Why didn't I think of that?'
Kyuubi snickered. "Because you're an idi…"
Naruto bolted up, interrupting his tenant's ribbing, when the clone that had been working on Nature Energy dispelled itself. Naruto smirked as the memory feedback let him see what the clone came up with.
A slow smirk spread over his face. "Now this I can work with!"