Rippling Future @airheaded_dude
Legacy Part 1

Book Two Arc Two Part One: Legacy


He could feel it in his bones. His body was adjusting to the rigid and harsh training that Jiraiya had readily placed on him as soon as he was out of the village. Compared to focusing on one aspect of something Jiraiya wanted to teach him, Naruto now had a formal timetable concerning his training. Early in the morning he would meditate for at least an hour before he had a spar with Jiraiya for two straight hours without breaks usually with a condition or a handicap for him. Every day it would change depending on the challenges that Jiraiya had in mind. Taijutsu was a skill better learned with experience, as they say. And every single day of that training, he would find himself on the ground spread eagle looking worse for wear. But every day that they would spar, Jiraiya would be adjusting to his ever changing tactics and evolving attributes. He had guessed this was from Jiraiya's explanation, a normal attribute for a jinchuuriki, the body would always be at the top of physical fitness and exceeding those of normal human limitations if he would hone his physicality more often than just the two hours that Jiraiya described, then his body would be near superhuman levels of fitness.

That was why before he started his meditation and spars with Jiraiya, he would often set the pace for his exercises one hour before the old man started his lessons. The high intensity exercises he performed would often leave him exhausted for ten minutes, increasing either the repetitions or the resistance training as soon as he feels adapted enough for it. An advantage of being a jinchuuriki for this is that muscle pain wasn't as long as that of ordinary humans for him, they would take about ten minutes and the effects of muscle fatigue will be completely gone.

After that was elemental manipulation for the first hour and then adding wind nature to the Rasengan. The second part of this chakra training had to be the most frustrating part of the whole thing. For the first two months, it had terrible results. Not only was the chakra too difficult to maintain once he added wind nature, the shape of the rasengan would destabilize and would just disperse very quick.

Being that this was new grounds for them to work on, Naruto and Jiraiya had no idea where to go about their training until Naruto explained that doing it with just himself is too difficult. That seemed to be the hint that they needed to get things rolling again. Of course, it wasn't without Jiraiya and even Naruto facepalming themselves out of missing that little detail about the training.

When they started it though, Naruto's training went faster than expected. This new jutsu that Naruto created had the pinnacle of shape manipulation from his father and with Naruto's growing expertise in chakra nature manipulation, he had formed a small part of the technique in his hand.

He had thus added elemental nature to his Rasengan and it was now a jutsu of his own design, the Fuuton: Rasengan.

It was very much still like the Rasengan, what with the sphere and all, but the difference this time was the presence of four small wisps of wind that look like they were small shuriken blades. Jiraiya though, not wanting to test it on himself, decided that Naruto should test the technique on something else, preferably on a big rock and see the after effect for it. What he saw dropped his jaws to the floor once more.

The technique had a powerful recoil and Naruto who had jumped with his attack, was stupidly blown back by his own jutsu but not before the technique exploded and ate a chunk of this rock the size of the boy himself.

Yet, he knew that the chakra nature was still way too incomparable to the said to be pinnacle of shape manipulation jutsu. Jiraiya was frightened of how the completed jutsu would be like and he imagined what it would be once Naruto had learned sage mode.

Speaking of sage training, Jiraiya had to hand it to the boy, although he kept insulting and smacking the boy on the head for his meditation and stillness exercises, Naruto still persevered. He could tell his patience was wearing thin with the exercise but Naruto, unexpectedly of him, kept his complaints at a minimum and just quietly resumed his stance. That was some high level of restraint coming from the most hot-headed student he had ever met. He was showing signs of trust in his sensei.

To Naruto, Jiraiya's exercises didn't make sense but from his past experiences, Jiraiya usually has a reason why he does things the way they are now. With Jiraiya's help, he became a chuunin, he learned how not to take anything from Jiraiya's methods at face value.

And he should've done so earlier, the man that was his designated godfather ran a spy network all around the world. He should have known that Jiraiya also had to develop his duplicitous nature. Hence, his penchant of being a show-off and a self-proclaimed super pervert as part of his personality and people were none the wiser for it.

He wrote erotic novels for crying out loud!

When they were finished with another of Jiraiya's lessons in Fuinjutsu that Naruto had seemingly took in quite well despite his thoughts floating elsewhere, Naruto stood up and suddenly talked to his sensei.

"I have to be honest with you, ero-sennin."

Jiraiya turned to the boy, with an eyebrow raised and shoulders crossed, he was about to write something down as a report to Tsunade when Naruto spoke to him.

"What's on your mind?" He sincerely asked.

"Remember when I was in that dark place, when I was locked up with no ability to use my chakra?"

Jiraiya scowled, how could he not? He almost lost the suspected child of prophecy that day.

"There's something in me that changed and the cells of the First Hokage had something to do with it."

"You didn't develop the Mokuton, did you? Because that would be totally cliché and the politics behind that shit would be a fucking nightmare that Tsunade would kill us both."

Naruto had a bead of sweat on the back of his head, "No, nothing like that, ero-sennin. It's not that bad, I think."

The blonde then closed his arms and looked like he was thinking, "How do I say this?"

He hummed for a few more seconds and said, "Well, I guess you could say that I established a link to a transcendental being that was supposedly my former self in a past life. The cells of the first Hokage just strengthened that link because he said I was the reincarnation of the First Hokage. The chakra stored in the Shodaime's cells apparently mingled with my chakra creating a strong link with him for the first time."

If there was a time that Jiraiya had to drop his brush and being stunned, then this was the appropriate time to do it. What brought him out of his shock was the ink bottle spilling all over the ground after his ink brush fell on it.

"SHIT! WHAT?"

Jiraiya felt like hyperventilating. Naruto was the First Hokage's reincarnation? And this transcendental soul was communicating with him from beyond the afterlife because of the strong chakra that Naruto absorbed from the Shodaime's cells? What the hell is going on? Regaining his composure, Jiraiya looked around and tried to make sure they weren't being listened to. Jiraiya created a small barrier with his seals that sound couldn't escape from for several meters around them.

"And who, by the way, is this transcendental being that he can communicate with you and told you that you were the reincarnation of Senju Hashirama?" Jiraiya asked. He better not expect this to be the fabled Rikudo Sennin (Sage of Six Paths) or anything associated with him.

"The second son of the Rikudo Sennin and inheritor of ninshu, Ootsuki Asura."

Jiraiya felt like he wanted to go into a seizure now.

By the gods, this was destiny placing another job on him to nurture perhaps the real saviour of the world. Sure, Nagato may have had the eyes of the legendary sage himself, but Naruto now spoke of a lineage that traced back to the origins of ninjutsu and the core principles of the ancient teachings of ninshu itself!

Jiraiya had to stand up and he paced around their campsite. It was true that he was about to train Naruto in the ways of Senjutsu in a few weeks. But to hear from the boy that he had within him, the innate talent of mastering the difficult and noble art of Senjutsu just for being the reincarnation of the Shodaime who was said to have learned Senjutsu himself, then he had one thing to do. He had to ask Naruto or in this case, Asura where to go from there.

It was a crazy idea, but the look on Naruto's eyes was the seriousness of a boy who had meant everything he said. He had no reason to not believe Naruto out of the simple fact that he was too obvious when he told a lie and he wasn't insane from all the interactions they had been having since the start of this trip.

"Naruto, can I ask this person one thing? Why doesn't he train you? I would imagined that his methods would be far better than mine at this point."

Naruto gave a nod and closed his eyes. A few seconds later, he opened his eyes again and said, "He said that I need to learn the aspects of Senjutsu on my own and that you still have a job to do, and that is learning everything I can from you. After that is when he really instructs me. He said that he needs me to convince the nine tails to take my side."

"A tall order, even from you, Asura." Kurama commented. Asura merely shook his head.

"The boy is your jailor, but he is also me, and you are inside him. We must all learn to be part of a whole and not just a part. You must learn to accept Naruto, just as much as he has accepted you but he needs to accept you as not just a companion, Kurama. He must learn to let his hatred go and so should you."

"Hatred can be justified, Asura, your father has taught you that. I'm sure that Indra has taught you that as well. He may not show it, but the boy has hatred brewing from inside him. And it is the kind of hatred that can burn the world. I would not blame him. I admittedly am one of the seeds of his own hatred." Kurama answered. Being a massive creature amassed with hate didn't mean he wasn't empathic to the emotions of those who had legitimate senses of hatred. Naruto had that emotion stored in good amount and to Kurama, it was only a matter of time until Naruto exploded in pure rage. He wasn't exaggerating when he said that Naruto, if he so choose it, had that dark side in him for a while. All that bottled up emotion waiting to burst was something Kurama would not wish upon any person. For this kind of wrath was the kind that will emanate for generations to come.

If he were to be honest, Akatsuki wasn't going to be Naruto's biggest enemy, it would be himself.

"Be that as it may, Kurama. Those who knock on your heart are those willing to accept you, my brother. You have seen it from him back then, have you not? What makes you different? Do you see how he interacts with you and how he talks with others?"

"You can defend him all you want, Asura, but he still has to prove himself to me."

Outside, Jiraiya had asked Naruto, "Why would he want you to convince the nine tails to be your friend?"

"Because he said Kurama wasn't always that way."

"And you believe him?"

Naruto gave a nod, "No one is born in this world a bad guy, Ero-sennin. They are created. And the images that other people perceive and what these people do are the things make them turn bad. I saw it in many people, I saw it in Gaara, and I saw it in the villagers. I saw their hurt. Even Iruka-sensei, Kakashi-sensei and that bastard Sasuke has them. I saw pain and I knew then that we're no different from everyone else when it comes to pain. Only the choices that we make are the things that make us different. Everybody has had pain, but not everybody has made a choice to do the right thing despite of that pain."

Jiraiya sat down again, a sigh escaping his lips. The sagely wisdom that his student presented was out of character for him. But even then, the boy was right. He too believed in such a statement. The measure of good and evil couldn't really be quantified with just a yardstick of just one person's moral compass. A hero to one group may be a villain to others. The Yondaime Hokage was an example that came to mind. His student was hailed as a hero of the third shinobi world war in Konoha and its allies. He had single-handedly forced the retreat of an entire battalion and was notorious for his nickname that brought chills down his enemies' spines.

It was precisely why in Iwa, he is referred to as a butcher that decimated entire squads of their own people. The Yondaime wasn't just a hero. To Iwa's perception, he may have very well been the shinigami himself.

"The ninetails killed your parents, did you know that?"

"And how does my hatred bring them back even if it was his fault?" Naruto asked, showing his maturity to Jiraiya.

"I'm just saying that your anger at him could be justified."

Naruto looked down, his eyes closed as he said, "That's true. I have every right to hate the fox. He took away my parents just so that he could be free. But what good is lashing out at him when I'm fighting for my own survival against a mysterious group that wants the tailed beasts? If they take the Kyuubi away, I'll die. It's better to have him as an ally rather than an enemy."

"Can you even convince it?" Jiraiya asked out of curiosity. Having the Kyuubi on their side is certainly a big plus, but there have already been two generations for the fox to have bonded with the host and not even Uzumaki Mito, the wife of the great Sensu Hashirama was able to have full control of the Kyuubi.

Naruto merely gave a nervous laugh and said, "There's no certainty, but there's always that chance that I might be able to."

"You're taking up, Asura's offer?"

Naruto gave a single nod, his facial expression was serious. His eyes told them that he was not one to back down from this challenge. The fox grinned.

"I'll look forward to that day if ever it arrives, brat. I'll test your mettle, once and for all."

"Speaking about the Kyuubi, I'll need to warn you, brat." Jiraiya then pointed to the boy's stomach.

"Ever since your last use of the Kyuubi's chakra, the seal has weakened. Don't get me wrong, it's still good and I doubt that the tailed beast is going to get out anytime soon, but you've been warned. Don't try to use its chakra until you've reached your goal."

Naruto looked at Jiraiya with surprise. The old man gave a grin as he got back to writing the scroll in his hands. He knew Tsunade would want to hear about this current development. He cracked his knuckles as he grabbed another scroll. Jiraiya grabbed another bottle of ink and began to write in an old code that only very few in Konoha knew and that included Tsunade.

Jiraiya would need to believe in his student and for this predicament, he had no other choice. He just has to give everything he knew to Naruto.

After they were done here, they would head straight near an obscure village in Wave Country. He had received Tsunade's orders that they were to stay there for a few days for Naruto's training.

After that, they would be going to Myobokuzan and then a trip for six months towards Naruto's ancestral home, Uzu no Kuni.


Hokage's office:

Hyuuga Hinata was approaching the Hokage's office rather somberly. She had just heard that Team Eight would currently be on the inactive list due to Shino leaving for a few weeks. Kiba had asked for a leave during this time as he had explained that his clan had asked him to perform a long standing tradition that was passed down from generation to generation. For that he would be travelling west towards an old temple that his ancestors had visited when they came of age.

That wasn't her main problem though. After just reaching chuunin, she had felt like she had not grown at all. Her showing at the finals a few months back was something that she had tried to emulate ever since but could not find it within her to do so. The only thing that she gained from what she could remember was the Kaiten and an incomplete form of the Hakke Rokujyuuyonsho. She was able to reach thirty-two strikes and she would reach her limit. She did have one technique to her advantage that she was developing though, and her technique involved not just blocking her opponent's ability to use chakra, but also absorb them.

She was still in the process of training with it but she was close.

At least, for two straight weeks now, she was close to perfecting it. She had never been in a slump before and she was worried that she might have reached a wall. Neji had reassured her that it was natural. Even he had reached his and he told her that she will find what she was looking for in a matter of time.

She had hoped she would find it sooner because for weeks now, she had not improved.

To top it off, her father had decided to send her and Hanabi off somewhere near Nami no Kuni for reasons unexplained. She would have to ask her father later.

When she reached her destination, Hinata saw Tsunade who was pleasantly drinking her tea for once and not Sake. She had just received word from Jiraiya's messenger frogs that they were heading to an obscure village near Nami no Kuni and reported to her the progress Naruto had made. On to the final part of the letter, Jiraiya had added a special note that he would be sending a coded message later. From what she could read this would be one that was of utter importance.

She looked to her peripheral vision and saw a nervous looking Hyuuga Hinata with a scroll in her hands. Tsunade had a raised eyebrow and asked, "Are you asking for a leave too, Hinata? I had your entire team on hold. But I guess I can entertain your request for it."

"U-Ummm, Hokage-sama, m-my father sent you this letter requesting that I may take the time off to visit my mother's ancestral home."

Tsunade then smiled a little and received the letter from the well-mannered girl. Compared with the likes of Naruto, Hinata was a nice change of pace. She was a lady at heart and spoke with eloquence even though she was timid. She had heard the news about Naruto and Hinata admitting to themselves of their emotions even though they were still young. To Tsunade, she found it quite a cute story, as many of the women in Konoha that were gossip mongers too were enamoured with rumours like these.

Even many of the kunoichi found their relationship very intriguing because of their backgrounds and it was as if they were reading a romance novel that was unfolding.

Many women of all ages would kill for something like that.

When she read the letter, she had to contain her laughter. She had to keep up an image after all.

"I see, how goes your training, Hinata?"

Hinata looked particularly curious about Tsunade's question. The Hokage was interested in her training? But she had no particular aptitude in healing jutsu except for simple healing salves. She answered truthfully to the leader of her village.

"I-I'm not doing well, Hokage-sama, I am stuck in something. It has been several weeks now and I see no improvement. I think I might have hit a wall."

'Perfect…'

Tsunade then closed the scroll in her hands and said, "Well, your father requested for your leave, right? I'm sure you'll overcome it once you take a time off from missions."

"B-But… We're severely undermanned right now and I-I can't possibly take a request…"

Tsunade reassured her by a gentle tap on her shoulder as she stood up.

"Well, that's true, but shinobi are human too. Besides, there are other teams to pick up the slack. Your cousin's team is certainly sweeping missions left and right these days with Team Seven effectively in the same limbo as your team is currently. But Gai's team and Asuma's team are pretty much well off on their own. Besides, you're all chuunin now, assigning you solo missions would be part of the job now."

Tsunade smiled as she showed the door and opened it for her.

"Now go, and try to clear your head on this mission." She said with a grin.

Hesitantly, Hinata accepted Tsunade's order without much resistance. She didn't want to insist any further for fear of angering the Hokage. But she felt like she would lose her edge now if she took this leave. When she was finally a fair distance away, she could hear some raucous laughter coming from the office but she paid it no mind as thoughts of her responsibility would be gone for a moment.

Then she thought more about her late mother and she suddenly had a curious side in her.

'What was mother's family like?'

When she asked those words to herself, she felt like she wanted to know more. She had been so restless these past few months since Naruto's departure. She had trained and trained to her absolute limit and found that yes, she never had a chance to relax. Even Lee, the role model of hard work had his off days. And she had never gotten the chance to slow down or even think about other stuff aside from her training and missions.

When she finally got home, the first thing she did was to approach her father's office and knocked on the door. Thankfully, her father was still inside, reading another document concerning the clan.

"Otou-sama."

Hiashi stopped his reading and turned to her daughter.

"I would like to know why you have given me this leave." She said this as she bowed. Hiashi noted the lack of stutter in her voice.

Hiashi merely set his paper down and replied, "You know well of this clan's workings and life. I believe that it is time for you to understand your mother's and what she did before she settled down here. You are just like her Hinata, she was modest but within her she had a core of steel. But her most striking feature was her compassion. As her husband, I cannot let her memory fade. I cannot let her past be gone. As her daughter, you understand this, do you not?"

Hinata nodded. She didn't want the memory of her mother fade with time. She truly did want to know more about her. Her very brief memories of her mother did very little to quell her thirst about her need to understand her.

"I understand fully well, Otou-sama. For the longest time, I had wanted to know more about Okaa-sama. You may know her much more but you never told anything about her other than her behaviour and her way with everyone. Her background remains a mystery still. Even the elders are not speaking about her."

"Because her clan no longer exists, Hinata, your mother was the last one to get out of the isolationist policies of her clan. They had all died out. Her marriage to me was one without benefit in the end for the clan once she died. The elders wanted to know more about her heritage but she had refused as she honoured her clan's traditions. But they no longer exist. I want you to know about your mother, what was she like back then and how did she live? Answer those questions when you go there. But I must warn you that you must not let the elders know about what you are to do. Take Hanabi with you, she must learn all that she can about her mother because out of you two, I know that she wants to know about your mother the most."

Hinata bowed as she went out of the room, she then looked at her father one last time before she closed the door.

"Thank you, Otou-sama."

Hiashi merely gave a nod as she closed the door.

Hiashi then looked once more on the picture of his wife and he whispered to himself, "I leave Hinata and Hanabi in your guidance for the moment, Hikaru."

When morning struck, Hinata and a groggy Hanabi were at the southern gate of the village, patiently waiting for their bodyguards and attendants with them.

Hyuuga Ko and Hyuuga Natsu approached them with bags of their own. Hinata noted that each of them looked serious as they looked at the precious children of the clan head.

Hinata gently nudged her sister as she said, "Hanabi-chan, look alive, we're heading out now."

Hanabi merely yawned once more and said, "Why did it have to be so early?"

Hinata knew the answer to that, "So that we can reach that place before sunset. We can take a nice break there once we arrive and to keep prying eyes at a minimum."

Hinata was talking about the elders of their clan. They liked to put meaning behind everything and it made everything so much more difficult for them.

"Those old fogeys can stuff it, nee-chan. Hey, nee-chan, can I ride on your back along the way? I'm still too sleepy."

Natsu had heard this as she approached them and she answered for Hinata, "Hanabi-sama, it is unbecoming of a child of the Hyuuga to be causing some burden to your sister."

Hinata shook her head with a smile, "Natsu-san, I don't mind, really. I like it when Hanabi takes requests from me, it is a sign of our bond and I love spoiling her from time to time."

"Yay!" Hanabi said excitedly and jumped on her sister's back. She then looked at her nursemaid and said to her, "Natsu-san, you may not know it but Hinata-nee-san is pretty strong! She can carry me all day without many problems and we can go faster this way!"

Natsu looked at Ko who looked back at her as if she was expecting to say something, she never expected Ko to agree with Hanabi though.

"I see. That is a sound decision, we can make it to the village by midday and we can rest there. Maybe we can even locate Hikaru-sama's former home once we get there."

Natsu seemed to frown, "I would expect of Hinata-sama's bodyguard to be much stricter on these matters. But I must be mistaken."

"Natsu-san, you don't have to be so harsh." Ko replied with a small smile. He truly was a fish out of water in this company of all women. He then added, "For someone of Hanabi-sama's age, she thinks with more reason than any child I have met. She may not have Konohamaru-sama's realism of our world, but at least she thinks ahead. That is a good sign, is it not?"

Inwardly, Natsu wanted to answer no. it was a good sign for Hanabi, but a bad sign for Hinata.

She could see nothing but tragedy at the end of the road between these two siblings. These two siblings who had been raised purposely to take over the ministrations of the ancient Hyuuga Clan, they will be judged accordingly by the elders. Such is the fate of Hinata and Hanabi. For a while, Hiashi had been mum about their situation. She had not heard a clear answer from the clan head only that he will make a decision in due time. What she feared the most would be one of them would be branded just like she and Ko were and be used as pawns by the elders who saw it fit to abuse them.

She had hoped that their generation would end these traditions. She had hoped that Hiashi would be swayed by being a father to two daughters, as a reminder of his departed wife.

So far, at least she was seeing hope again. And she would continue to do so, until the day a decision had to be made.

Until then, she would see to it that Hinata and Hanabi be safe.

She sighed, "Very well, I am in no condition to argue. If we can be practical and reach the village today, then it is even better."


With Naruto and Jiraiya:

Jiraiya didn't lose composure very often. As a spymaster, he had to keep appearances, he knew that. But at the same time, it was very rare to encounter someone who claimed he was the reincarnation of the second son and knowingly communicates with his predecessor too.

You don't get that many opportunities to have a chat with Ootsuki Hagoromo's chosen heir or at least, the reincarnated version of him. Yet as he looks at the blonde who was tinkering with a sealing technique in storing inanimate objects in a scroll, he couldn't help but feel just how baffling it was to have been left with probable false flags in the great toad sage's prophecies. Back then, he was sure it was Minato. With his unparalleled genius and great deductive reasoning, he had the qualifications of being a great figure of his time. But then Nagato came along and displayed the fabled Rinnegan, an eye with the noble legacy of the Sage of Six Path's powers. Jiraiya had seen true power that day and it was in the hands of an anguished child who had lost his parents as a casualty of war. The stage had been prepared for Nagato to be the one to rise to the top and claim his rightful place as the child of prophecy as Jiraiya knew right then and there that Nagato was that child, but fate had other plans.

The last he had heard of his student, he died fighting Hanzo of the Salamander. To him that was just unreal, how could someone who had the noble eyes of the great sage himself die against Hanzo? Jiraiya knew Hanzo well, he and his former teammates did. They had seen the prowess of the great Hanzo. He spared their lives on a whim, after all. No doubt that Hanzo was a powerful and very skilled shinobi of his village. But Hanzo was nothing compared to the eyes of the Rinnegan. The Rinnegan was the eyes of a being immortalized as a god. For Hanzo to have claimed victory over the child, it would have been such a legendary feat.

And now appears Naruto before him, the son of his prized student, the boy who had been chosen to hold the most powerful bijuu in the elemental nations and the boy who was now his apprentice. The boy didn't have much back then, nothing could tell him apart from the regular shinobi aside from being the vessel of the Kyuubi and his hideously bright orange jumpsuit that practically hurt his eyes. He certainly wasn't as polite and tactful as Minato nor as timid and withdrawn as Nagato. In fact, he was quite the opposite of those two with some similarities with them as well. Aside from his looks that could clearly be traced back to Minato, Naruto was as perceptive as his father but unlike Minato, Naruto chooses to speak frankly, no holds barred and no exceptions. He was boisterous, loud and downright mischievous at times. He certainly got that trait from his mother. Like Minato, that perception brought forth a strange kind of wisdom that was rare in the world. Though unlike him, Naruto cannot completely be pragmatic on his decisions and do what needs to be done which is what Naruto and Nagato had in common.

Whereas Nagato and Naruto know and understand the suffering of the human condition, a very deep personality to Jiraiya, Nagato is content in giving support by being the calmest person there is. He remains silent and chooses his words carefully. Naruto doesn't, however, and chooses to speak from the get go and will come out swinging out of righteous fury or defiant to the core. Nagato was the supportive leader, Naruto would be the one who will gladly lead soldiers to battle and would fight alongside them to enter the frontlines and one who soldiers will gladly die for.

Such was his charisma and Naruto shows how through his struggles, through his hardships and the trials he would have to face, he was still above and beyond his own sense of self-pity. He didn't want to deal with that much angst in him, he simply didn't want to anymore. The fact that he is above normal human levels in terms of physique was probably symbolic to the toad sage.

When he saw that Naruto's level now was adequate in storage, the blonde was then told he was in a break. In a most surprising manner, Naruto readily grabbed a long piece of ironwood that was as thick as a plank and as wide as a paddle head. The blonde brought out his kunai and began chipping away at the wood. Normally, Naruto wouldn't find it easy to cut away such a very hard piece of wood but the mundane use of his wind element was certainly of great help to him.

"I never thought of you as someone who would take interest in wood carving, brat." Jiraiya remarked, Naruto who had his lip up and looking at the side of the wooden plank as if he was measuring its smoothness with one open, replied.

"I don't. I just thought of something really cool about Fuuton jutsu and Fuinjutsu two days ago."

Jiraiya raised an eyebrow at this, "A bit too early to design a sealing matrix, don't you think? I just taught you that a few minutes ago."

Naruto shook his head, "Nah, I fully got it the first time you said it, Ero-sennin. The sealing matrix has to be the backbone of the sealing process to act as a network before I can apply the necessary core seals on it, right? Besides, there's no math in this so I'm pretty confident with myself with this thing."

For being bad at everything else, Naruto had a terrifying mind concerning Fuinjutsu. Was this a latent talent from the Uzumaki clan?

The level of Naruto's comprehension with the complexity of sealing jutsus was absolutely astounding and scary for Jiraiya.

"Do you even understand the pattern that you're supposed to write? The matrix of the seal needs to have specific characters in them that are strictly for one use, you could literally kill yourself before you even know it, brat!"

Naruto looked at Jiraiya with a curious stare and said, "Oh, about how I'm supposed to break down the kanji and write them in specific patterns to extend it? Yeah, I read that part just two days ago too."

"But that's complex theory for Fuinjutsu, Naruto! How the hell did you even comprehend that thing without even starting our lessons about cores?"

Naruto shrugged, "I don't know, I guess my head just operates that way."

Shrugging off prodigious talent was nothing to sneeze at according to Jiraiya.

"Is this an effect of Asura's power?"

Naruto paused for a moment and closed his eyes, and a few seconds later, Naruto opened his sapphire orbs and gave a grin, "Asura said it was my innate talent. It's all me, Ero-sennin. I'm probably just too awesome like that."

That was the third time that Jiraiya was caught flat footed by his student.

With another sigh, Jiraiya asked the boy, "So, what do you have in mind about the seal? What is going to be its function?"

Naruto replied as he even out the surface of the ironwood with his wind chakra checking it with his hands to see the smoothness of his cut.

"A sealing and releasing effect, some nature conversion seals and amplifiers would be nice."

Jiraiya gawked at that statement, "You want to create some sort of high output jutsu like an engine? That's very complicated stuff! Maybe we should just leave it for now until…"

"Nope, got the seal design already in my head, Ero-sennin, I just need your help to see if I'm doing any mistakes and no, not a wind tunnel, but more like a booster or something." Naruto replied as he nodded his head and went on another side.

"You mean something like a turbine? What do you want to do with it? Fly?"

Jiraiya noted Naruto's serious look at him and not said a single word.

"Oh no, we're not doing that in this trip, no way! Tsunade would kill me! Do you even know how you're supposed to do that?"

Naruto gave a reply with a nudge, "Oh come on, Ero-sennin! You get more gains than losses here. You guide me along with the seals and I'll bail you out of your research if things get snippy. Baa-chan wouldn't have to worry about accidents when we get back home. It's a win-win."

The offer was far too tempting not to pass up.

Ever since their trip, Jiraiya had little time to himself, between training the boy and updating his network, he sure wasn't as free to do his research and write his next edition of Icha Icha.

Having some alone time definitely would feel nice. Although it felt like the blonde had just played him like a damn fiddle.

"You sure know how to press my buttons, Naruto. But let's do your little pet project once we reach that small village because of the bodies of water surrounding it. That way, it will be much safer."

Naruto gave a nod, "Right. We're supposed to be moving out now, right?"

Jiraiya replied with a single nod, "That's right. We'll have to travel there for about twelve hours, so we'll be there by morning we won't be stopping by anything, we'll be making camp on the outskirts of the village. It's basically located at the foot of a mountain with an abandoned compound from an old clan and a lot of rivers and streams around it with the sea a few minutes off. We'll mostly be out of the way there but try to keep experiments relatively quiet, alright? Also, we'll have to outfit you with something a little bit bigger. The clothes are starting to get uncomfortable, right?"

Naruto nodded wordlessly. He had been noticing that his undershirt was getting a little tight now and his pants were shorter than they used to be.

Well, he had the perfect setting in how to test run the whole thing. If what Jiraiya said was true then he sure as hell wouldn't mind.

Naruto looked up to the sky and sighed.

To be able to soar through the clouds, the frontier and absolute sense of freedom, that was something that he wanted to experience. To him, the sky was as limitless as his own dream, to able to have that chance to grab on to the sky with his own hands was something he had always wanted to do.

He had read stories of shinobi having the means to do such things and he was envious of them. It was also a huge advantage to have in terms of combat even if you stood out as a possible singular target at times.

That disadvantage meant nothing if the jutsu can't even hit you.

He mulled over his own seal design on a small notebook, a hobby he picked up when Jiraiya told him to write things down whenever he thought of something really good and take note of it later. It also helped him with his penmanship as it served as a practice in writing down seals and applying theory to practice.

So far, he has had to write in three small ticklers and he was close to finishing this one as well. Often times, his own discoveries and writings in the small notebook were more misses than hits but it sure as helped him figure things out with what to do and not to do with sealing. It especially helped that his Kage Bunshin method of learning manages to cut the time of tedious work.

Twelve hours seem to come and go as they walked while Naruto became preoccupied with his work.

"Look alive, brat, we're here."

Naruto stopped his writing when he noticed the old man was pointing to a small village by the foot of the hill. The village was separated with multiple rivers and creeks that flowed westward towards the edge of the village which was a clear and beautiful beach littered with white sand. The seaport just at the end of the town was very small and harboured only equally small fishing boats. At the north of the said village was an ancient looking compound, or more precisely, a small castle. Behind it was a huge mountain range that walled the village off from the road to Konoha.

The small castle itself was made mostly of stone and sturdy wood. He could tell just by looking from the distance that the small village formerly housed someone prestigious at its time.

It seemed that he was so engrossed with his work that he had not noticed that they had already reached the place.

"This is Izumo, not to be confused with a certain chuunin, this is a pretty small village that holds a lot of history and legend because of that castle over there." Jiraiya pointed to the structure.

"One of the reasons why Konoha was established relatively near the place is because of that history. It usually take shinobi from Konoha half a day's worth of travel on foot to get here and the outpost that Konoha placed here has always been under the exclusive management of the Hyuuga clan due to certain reasons."

Naruto raised his eyebrow at that, "Really? What could that reason be?"

Jiraiya smirked, "Classified info, brat. The Hyuuga are the only ones who truly know why that is and whatever secret it was that Sarutobi-sensei knew about, he took it with his grave too. I would suggest to not letting it bother you much, Naruto. Whatever this is they're guarding, there must be something important within this village that they can't actually talk about. Maybe you should ask your girlfriend when you get back."

Jiraiya smirked wickedly when he saw Naruto blush a little and looked away.

"What, just a mere mention of your girlfriend made you blush? You must be way too innocent than I give you credit for! No matter, as your master, you will learn the ways of the pervert in no time!" Jiraiya declared loudly followed by a boastful laugh and then followed.

"Granted, your mother would probably skin me alive, brush chili peppers on my unprotected body and roast my carcass off slowly in a smoker if she was still among us, but beggars can't be choosers, I suppose!" Jiraiya proclaimed that with an upbeat roar of laughter that Naruto responded with a palm on his face.

"This is for training, if I have to bear his embarrassing quirks for three years then I've got to be more patient…"

Jiraiya looked back at his apprentice with a grin as he was palming his face out of embarrassment. It was a good thing that they were off the beaten path and there were relatively very little people that they encountered.


Hinata's group:

When they had arrived at mid-day, the first thing that they did was to check in at the outpost. Unlike any outpost created by Konoha, this one was particularly more comfortable than most. Leave it to the Hyuuga to provide a more spacious structure out of its own coffers.

Hanabi lay asleep on her back and she had gently placed her sister on the bed as Natsu watched with a nod of her head while Ko began talking to the Hyuuga members that were assigned to the post.

"There is nothing but empty spaces in that council, Ko. Hiashi-sama knows this, but to send her own daughter to learn about her mother's clan in vain is absurd. Hinata-sama will find nothing here."

Ko disagreed, "Hiashi-sama has placed trust in his daughter. You may think it is wasteful, but Hiashi-sama has never been one to make unsound decisions especially those regarding the clan."

The main shinobi in command of the outpost shook his head, "Not when it concerns his daughters. Hiashi-sama may act rational at times but his daughters are another thing altogether."

"Perhaps he is…" Hinata refuted, now within hearing range of the two shinobi and she continued, "But if my father says that I may learn something here, then I shall find it. If not, then I will train here and not waste any time."

The Hyuuga guard bowed and kneeled in front of her, "I apologize for my scepticism, but I have been stationed here for two years as a guide to other Hyuuga who will watch over this town, we have seen much of the house with our own eyes and nothing remains there. Not even a slip of paper."

Hinata gave a nod. If indeed there was nothing left in the castle, then it really was a waste of time and energy to be sent here and be rewarded with nothing at all. But still, she needed to have some results.

"I will be heading outside and looking around the village, I want to get used to this town and see the important buildings and where they are."

With that, Hinata left the outpost.

When she arrived in town, she had not expected it to be moderately lively. The villagers had a perfectly simple yet bustling town. Small shops popped up from simple markets of fish, meat and vegetables, to small and humble restaurants that were more reminiscent of older times.

It was like time had frozen still in this small and quaint town.

Seeing a fairly approachable local, Hinata decided it was time to ask about the old castle.

"Excuse me, ma'am?" Hinata politely asked.

The lady turned to her, with her wrinkled eyes and gave a smile at the white eyed girl.

"Yes, young lady, what can I do for you?" She kindly asked, Hinata gave a respectful bow.

"Might I inquire about that castle at the edge of the village? It looks quite striking when approached from afar."

The lady seemed to accept Hinata's question well enough, "Ah, that's the castle of an ancient clan, the Iwagami. It is said that the clan was more or less historians even before the warring clans era. There's even a legend that said that they were present when the Rikudo Sennin's brother still resided in this world before he left for the moon. I'm sure a young one such as yourself would not be interested in much of the stories that revolved around the castle. Quite frankly, even I found them to be incredibly dull at times." The old woman laughed.

"The people seem to be accustomed to us going in and out of the village, are you not bothered by our eyes at all?" Hinata asked.

The old woman gave a smile and answered her, "Well I would imagine that they are used to your kind for quite some time, dear. The Hyuuga have made a pact with the Iwagami for more than a decade just before the Iwagami became extinct."

Hinata flinched at that, the words harmed her more than it should.

"May I ask why they disappeared?"

The old lady looked up to the skies with a reply and sighed, "Who knows? The Iwagami was a clan rich with history, legends and fables alike. The traditions of the clan were very steep and sometimes inconceivable to this time. I remember that one of their traditions were they used to practice marriage inside the clan."

Hinata took note of this as the Hyuuga pretty much did the same before during her father's youth. That was, until her father married her mother.

"Their clan just dwindled by the numbers and they had no idea why. They were never involved with the wars that occurred before and after the establishment of Konoha or the other nations. But there was a rumour that involved those that marry outside the clan were stripped of their rights and were sent to live in the village, amongst the people around here."

The old lady laughed at that, "Of course, they would be cast away here in secret and the knowledge of the clan effectively removed from them. Oh but those are old wives' tales, there are plenty of stories like that but none of them had been proven true. If it were, then the Iwagami were very thorough in keeping many of their traditions a secret."

Hinata then bit her lower lip as she asked one more question, "Is there any chance that I can learn about the Iwagami clan more thoroughly and not just stories passed around? I apologize for my rudeness."

The old lady gave a shrug, "That place hasn't been looted ever since the last of the Iwagami died. I would think that the outpost outside of the village has something to do with that, they certainly kept bandits out of this small village and we're thankful of them. I would like to think that the clan had them but no one has seen even a parcel of paper inside that castle. The only other place worthy of note aside from that empty structure is the shrine just around the small mountain behind the castle."

Hinata gave a nod of appreciation as the old lady also mentioned with a smile, "There are also some scenic places there, a small lake and a waterfall, maybe if you're troubled, you can clear your mind there to relax."

Hinata gave a smile, "I appreciate your recommendations, I will definitely see to it if I have some trouble."

With that, the Hyuuga went around the small village to keep asking about the empty castle and the answers she got were all the same.

With nothing to go for it, Hinata decided to search the castle herself. When she entered the gates, she could tell that the structure was showing its age. There had been no one to maintain the building and was slowly being run down. She could notice the age and some of the floorboards were also starting to splint. She activated her Byakugan just to be safe and noticed just about the same as what the guard at the outpost was talking about.

There was nothing.

Not a single trace of paper was ever seen, not a book or even anything that she could remotely tell that the house had been occupied. It seemed like the clan hauled everything in its possession and placed it somewhere else, it was oddly very empty to her liking and decided to abandon in exploring the castle altogether.

There was nothing worth looking for in the empty castle.

Coming up with nothing, Hinata decided to leave the slowly collapsing structure and tried to think of anything that could help her find a clue. She went to the place where the first lady had asked her to clear her mind and relax, towards the lake near the waterfall.


With Naruto and Jiraiya:

Naruto had arrived in town earlier in the morning and had been outfitted by the tailor just a few hours ago. Jiraiya had asked him to remain put into this small clearing in the river to let him do his little experiment while the old hermit tried to meet one of his contacts. Seeing as this was a relatively obscure little town with almost very little to offer but food and clothing, the blonde found it hard to see why an outpost from Konoha was placed here, and one coming from the Hyuuga at that. Already from the distance he noticed that the outpost here was much bigger than most that he had seen around the country and he was not surprised why the town was pleasantly quiet and slow paced.

Or old fashioned for that matter.

It would certainly be good for a vacationing destination, one of those 'to get away from it all' things but this town would drive him up the wall if he stayed here for more than a week or a month.

Being the rebel that he was, Naruto merely shrugged his stay at the town and decided to disobey Jiraiya again and began experimenting with his newest creation.

He honestly cared for Jiraiya's appraisal but the man couldn't be bothered for now if he was doing an important job for Konoha. So Naruto didn't waste any time in creating his sealing matrix and applying it to the board.

Thinking that he didn't want to get his new clothes wet, Naruto decided to strip down to his boxers and remove his sandals before he went to the board.

When he stepped on the board, he began to pump chakra into the seal with his right foot directly to the core of the seal. The writing around it glowed and Naruto grinned that the first phase was a success, his feet clung to the board with chakra by principle of the tree walking exercise and the board gave a low hum indicating that the jutsu was in effect. He slightly nudged his left leg forward and the board slowly crossed one side of the river to the other with relatively no problems. The blonde went back the same way and continued to perform the same manoeuvre several times before he went back to his side of the river and grew bored of it.

Deciding to pump a little more chakra to his new toy, Naruto suddenly felt a powerful pulling force that he leaned back from the sheer savagery of it all that it left a streak of water behind him and became a streak of yellow, green and black.

WOOOOOOSSSSSHHHHH!

"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!"

Was all Naruto could say before his now dangerous toy roared and screeched to life from the seal and sped up more leaving a large body of water rising of from both his sides before splashing back down to the shores of the river.

WOOOOOOSSSSSSSSHHHH!

Regaining his balance, Naruto leaned forward to try and see where he was headed and see if he could stop his movement just in time.

He shifted his weight on the board slightly and it made a sharp u-turn on the river before he could assess where he was and noticed that the river water was now flowing rapidly. Naruto's eyes turned to pin pricks as he was too late analyse his location properly before he looked back and heard the crashing of waters down below.

Naruto, now riding against the current, decided to pump more chakra on to his board but found it unresponsive.

"NOW YOU CHOSE THE TIME TO BE UNRESPONSIVE!?" Naruto yelled in his grief as he was suddenly swept away by the current and into the waterfall.

"Ah shit."

With Hinata:

The townspeople were right. This place was beautiful, as pristine as many of Konoha's clean rivers and lakes. The beauty of the scenery couldn't simply be put to words. There was simply a certain kind of peace that made her calm. When frustration had made its way to her once more, she felt her own shortcomings and was reminded of her inability to perfect her technique.

It seemed that the wall that she had been trying to overcome has been encroaching on her in a different aspect of her life.

'Father, what is it that you want me to know?'

She asked herself as she sat down, under the shade of a tree near the waterfall. Thoughts of her unanswered questions made its way as she sat down. Maybe she will never discover the scrolls at her mother's birthplace. There was simply nothing in that castle. She thought about just training near the outpost and visiting the shrine just behind her mother's former home to pray for the departed there, knowing that the blood of their clan still remains within her.

She gave a sigh as she looked up, the wind gently blowing as the leaves rustled with each other. The rays of the sun appearing and reappearing as gaps were filled and then opened from the canopy of leaves above.

Then, Hinata heard some shouting above the waterfall and she stood up, prepared to for just about anything and saw a figure plummeting to the waters below and making a big splash.

Silence followed as Hinata was just about to assess the person's vitals, then a head of blonde hair jumped from the depths of the lake's waters in all his naked glory with a big splash that Hinata would forever remember in her mind.

There was Naruto, now standing on water, with nothing but his boxers and his necklace and holding a board, looking up at the waterfall, completely drenched from head to toe.

Hinata's perception of time seemed to slow down as her eyes made sure to travel to Naruto's body from head to toe and memorized every inch of it. Her face soon lit up to a certain shade of red that her nose let out a small trickle of blood.

"N-N-N-Naruto-kun?" Finally, she voiced out. Naruto looked at her as if confused when he saw Hinata there.

Hinata's breathing turned heavy as she saw the rippling and developing muscle tone of her crush hardening to when he turned around to look at her and wet from the clear water of the lake. It was then that she had her nose freely bleeding and her vision began to feel woozy.

"Hinata?"

Hinata had promptly fainted all the while, muttering with a smile on her face, "I'm not ready for this…"

"HINATA!"

When she woke up, she was in an unfamiliar scenery. Immediately, she was already on alert as she righted herself only to see the blonde putting on his green flak jacket over his orange shirt with long black sleeves.

"Ah, Hinata, sorry, I had to carry you all the way here when you were knocked out. I might have surprised you back there for a moment."

Yes, he certainly did.

Naruto scratched the back of his head in embarrassment, "Sorry about that, I almost went full frontal on you because I thought the whole place wouldn't be filled with people. So- sorry for the display, okay? I think that you'd feel pretty violated from seeing me there with only my underwear."

No, she most definitely didn't. The memory of Naruto's body certainly was more of a sight to see to her than anything else.

Her face turned to an interesting shade of red at that thought and vehemently shook her head as a blush escaped her cheeks.

"Well, this is awkward." Naruto looked down and laughed nervously, trying to diffuse the situation was always hard on him. He had never been much of a person aware of social cues.

Deciding to change the subject, Naruto asked Hinata, "I never expected you to be here, Hinata, do you have a mission here?"

Hinata gave a nod and answered, "I'm here to learn more about my mother. The locals said the Iwagami clan had been as old as the first records of ninjutsu had been. They said they were historians who chronicled the times even as far back as the Rikudo Sennin's brother."

"A fascinating story, I must say." Asura had commented inside Naruto as the blonde turned his attention to him.

"Your dad had a brother?" Naruto asked.

"Hamura was the older brother, but unlike my father, Hamura-jii-san possessed the Byakugan, an entirely separate dojutsu from what I have come to understand thus far. Even my father does not talk about his brother too much, but they were much more civil than I was with mine."

"Hagoromo and Hamura merely had a disagreement of ideas and not much else, that was their only fight as siblings and it involved no use of chakra. Whereas the old man taught about ninshu, Hamura opposed such a value and thought that humans would find ways to twist Hagoromo's teachings and use them for selfish reasons. He was mostly right."

"Naruto-kun?" Hinata had asked worriedly, it was because for a while that she had known Naruto, whenever he paused for a moment he was thinking deeply as if he was having conversations with himself.

Naruto immediately turned his attention to Hinata and smiled, "Don't worry, just thinking about what you said. So, have you found anything?"

Hinata looked down and shook her head.

"The castle is barren, there is nothing there of value. I've checked with my Byakugan, there are no seals to see nor are there hidden paths to be found. I had mostly used my eyes to search the place but it was dangerous as the castle is decrepit, there was no one to keep it in check and it could come crashing down at any moment."

Hinata then removed her sandals and soaked her feet in the river.

"I would have liked to find out more about mother, but the challenge is much harder than I would have thought. Not when even a single trace of the Iwagami clan can be found anywhere. This is all there is to it and that castle is all that remains as the proof of their existence."

Naruto remained silent for a second and went behind Hinata as he rested his hands on her shoulders.

"Hey, remember our nindo?"

Hinata gave a nod, "Never take our words back."

Naruto gave a smile, "Right. And you're like me. You never give up, Hinata. And for that, you're stronger than most people. You know your own strength better than others. It's why you can overcome this. I've had faith in you ever since I've known you."

Hinata then turned around to him and looked at him in the eyes, her confidence building up from Naruto's words. Words that she desperately needed to hear.

"I'm like you too. I'm trying to learn my mother's skills when she was alive. She was pretty good at Fuinjutsu which is why I'm training to learn it as a tribute to her and my dad. It's harder than most of anything I've learned yet I'm still trying. So keep trying, Hinata, I'm not about to give up on you now, so you shouldn't give up on yourself. I'll be here with you all the way."

"T-Then… Should we go to the shrine together for today?" Hinata asked. Naruto raised an eyebrow at her.

"Shrine?" He asked

"The one at the back of the castle, I was thinking about going there after I went to the castle we shouldn't be that far and away from there." Hinata replied and Naruto thought about it for a while before he gave a nod.

"Hold on, I better leave a note to Ero-sennin before he gets worried that I'm not in camp."

Naruto then followed Hinata as they both scaled a flight of stairs with multiple red gates that allowed them entry towards the temple in the summit.

By the time that they made it, it was near sundown and Naruto could just picture out the image of the shrine itself into his head. To his furthest front stood a small temple, its doors closed off from everyone. Inside, he could make out a small statue of four beasts looking up into the sky. It was made from jade and some more likely expensive mineral. But Naruto could tell the intricacy of the statue was still pretty high level.

Near him, there was a similar statue, placed on a stone dais. It looked like the four animals were looking up to the heavens with a jade moon at the center. To the right of the jade moon coiled a dragon ascending heavenward, its mighty claws and opened jaws seemed intimidating even for him. Just in front of it stood a phoenix, wings outstretched and seemingly caught in flames. The glistening stones made it look like the embers under the phoenix's wings were real. It was nearly awe inspiring to look at.

Opposite of the phoenix was a tortoise. Its head outstretched looking out from his shell. It stood the lowest of the four with its mouth open as that of the dragon, it decidedly looked proud as it looked up even more so than the regal animal to the left of the jade moon.

The tiger stood with its fearsome look, roaring above the rock that it stood on. Naruto could almost feel the tremble in the wind as if the tiger himself was alive and roaring loudly.

Peculiarly, he saw something by the side of the statue that made him look into.

A strange but expectantly habit that he picked up during his fuinjutsu studying was looking into intricacies of one object, particularly in designing a seal matrix.

He had been doing a whole lot of exercises on his own or with Jiraiya's help for nearly two years and he picked up many of the habits that Jiraiya had when examining seals.

"Hey Hinata?" Naruto called the attention of girlfriend who was looking at the architecture of the whole temple. To her, the humble temple felt like a serene and solemn place. The other half of her ancestors surely had made their mark here.

When she heard Naruto calling out to her, Hinata's musings were cut short when he asked her to look into something Naruto had found. She went to Naruto's place and looked into what he was looking at.

"There are some letters written at the base of the tortoise, Hinata. I think this might be a sealing matrix."

Naruto traced the peculiar lines with the tip of his fingertips and went further down. The one drawn on the dais and the statue were familiar writing techniques to him. It really was a sealing matrix.

Excitedly, Naruto reached down and traced the sealing matrix in its faded or eroded glory until it reached towards halfway to the main shrine itself where the other statue was, exactly in the middle of an intersecting pathway.

Naruto and Hinata raised an eyebrow at this.

"W-What do you think the seal is, Naruto-kun?"

Naruto replied, "It's just one part of the matrix, but from what I can gather, this seems like a seal meant to hide something or prevent someone from entering."

"Entering? From what?" Hinata asked as she activated her Byakugan. She widened her eyes as she finally saw the intricate sealing pattern placed all around the temple. The seal would have been discovered by a Hyuuga eventually, but she never thought about the seal being hidden in plain sight.

"This whole place is laden with Fuinjutsu seals. The writings may be wiped out, but the chakra remains. There's a lot of it here."

Naruto hummed as Hinata approached towards the intersecting stone pathways and the seal itself reacted and made visible to normal eyesight. Naruto traced every line and saw every core as they all interconnected directly to where Hinata was standing.

'What the… From what I can remember, these are seals made by the Uzumaki Clan…' Naruto thought as he felt saw many of the old sealing cores that the Uzumaki had created during ancient times. They were written in the scrolls from which Jiraiya had given him as examples of fine craftsmanship of the Uzumaki's sealing methods.

The complex writing laden around the temple finally stopped glowing, but the written seals on the ground remained as if they were revived with their black ink returned.

Naruto gave a serious look as he touched the seal matrix from the entrance of the shrine.

"Just what are you?"


Somewhere in Fire Country:

Kiba grumbled as he looked at his front. He had never expected that he would have company on his trip. By some horrible coincidence, he ended up on the road with Uchiha Sasuke heading in the same direction as him.

He and Sasuke might be civil to one another, but the Uchiha would be the last person that he would go with considering how antagonistic and a dick outright for most of the time that they crossed paths.

"Your grumbling is annoying, Kiba. Believe me, it annoys me too that we are apparently heading in the same direction and I would like nothing more than having nothing to do with you, but I need to go to one of my warehouses to see some notes about a certain topic."

Kiba raised an eyebrow at this, "And this isn't in a more secured place like Konoha, why exactly?"

Akamaru barked with agreement to his master's question. Kiba's dog now reaching just below his waist. The puppy that he once knew now stood majestically huge beside him.

Sasuke gave a small huff as he went ahead with an annoyed tone to his voice.

"Hideouts are meant to be like that, dog boy. Of course it's going to be completely fucking safe."

Kiba's left eyebrow twitched, "But you said your place was a warehouse."

"I did." Sasuke answered with a nod.

Another twitch, this time Kiba felt like grinding his teeth.

"You could have mentioned that particular detail about your fucking warehouse, dickhead!" Kiba replied pointed to Sasuke while Akamaru drooped his ears down due to Kiba's loud voice.

"Warehouses and hideouts aren't mutually exclusive, moron." Sasuke replied casually as they walked towards the east.

Being asked to do this right of passage ritual thing was something he didn't fully understand with his mother. But Kiba was much more concerned about his mother smacking him on the back of his head before tossing him over to the kennels to sleep for several nights, so he decided to just obey his mom as she had explained that it was part of their tradition. Now he had to endure half of his trip on the way there because he ended up with the asshole that had the sensitivity of a rock.

Talk about the absolute opposite of Naruto's extremely lucky disposition.

"Go fuck yourself, Sasuke."

"Likewise, kibble breath. At least the dobe is tolerable compared to your dog piss odor." Sasuke replied rather offhandedly that Kiba growled at that.

"I do not smell like dog piss!"

Kiba expected another comeback from Sasuke but he remained silent as if he did not believe one word of it coming from the Inuzuka.

"I really don't!"

If it could get any more frustrating, Kiba could swear he was going to flip out and just tell his mom he finished the damn ritual already.

Now that Kiba thought about it, he could've trained in some place and come back home after several days and just lie about the whole thing.

Sasuke stopped in front of him, forcing him to stop as well and look forward.

There, he saw an abandoned city way up front just beyond a cliff with a small tunnel entrance from a bunker just near them.

"You can stop following me now and head to whatever place you were going to, Kiba. If you haven't noticed, this is my clan's hideout." Sasuke said to his tag along as he pointed at the entrance of the hideout with his thumb and subtly telling him to take a hike.

Far ahead, Kiba noticed something that made his eyes narrow and decrease at the size of pin pricks.

Countless number of cats just standing by the branches of trees and above the bunker itself, all sitting down and looking at them with unblinking eyes.

"Cats? Really?" Kiba asked

Akamaru gave a bark as if he too was getting at the edge of his patience. The dog beside him now growled

Sasuke could only grin a little as he walked forward.

Deciding to try and heed Kiba's advice, he turned around and stopped when he saw the cats surrounded him and Akamaru and all of them were eerily staring at the duo down with their glowing eyes.

Akamaru chose the perfect time not to growl and instead looked a bit scared.

Without further ado, Kiba made the most sensible decision at the time and took a step back before he went after Sasuke with Akamaru following suit.

"Sasuke, wait up!"


Izumo:

Jiraiya was not much of a worry wart. He was careful, but he wasn't paranoid most of the time. A trait that was strange for someone who holds a large information network that spans the entire continent, surely. He had been doing this for more than a decade, even before his godson was born. He certainly didn't fit the bill of being a spy. He was magnanimous, a complete show-off, he had a penchant for the theatrics. His behaviour was really the opposite of what was an accepted and fairly understandable behaviour of spies.

But of course, Jiraiya wasn't just someone for show. He wasn't a member of the Sannin for nothing, having forced the great Sanshouo no Hanzo to a standstill along with his teammates. He had a track record that most shinobi could only dream of. Although said to be Hiruzen's most problematic student, Jiraiya himself was a late bloomer and really manifested his potential on the latter half of his adolescence alongside fellow geniuses like Orochimaru and Tsunade.

Perhaps he was even quicker to pick up lessons than his teammates.

He was not stupid, he could pick up quick when something was wrong and he got a distressing message as he made contact with one of his spies.

Apparently, Earth Country had been procuring services from Akatsuki. He picked it up through one of his informants stationed in Lightning Country. It seemed that Kumo couldn't be bothered with dealing with such dubious means as they were still in the midst of their military upgrades even though the trend seems to be slowly trickling down.

"Both of these nations don't know how pressing the matter is. They couldn't be asked to mobilize their units and hunt down a mercenary group until something happens. What complete short sighted fools. Especially when that old fogey, Ohnoki still has Iwa under his rule. It's a disgrace to his supposed wisdom."

Akatsuki now had Iwa for the most part even though Ohnoki still rules the country. If both of their jinchuuriki vanish, the rest of the villages will be smelling blood and Ohnoki would be in a desperate battle against the surrounding countries, hostile and even friendlies.

Kumo couldn't be arsed to do a damn thing unless it involved something really personal with the Raikage. And unless the younger brother isn't touched in any way, shape or form, Ay would not lift a finger.

Jiraiya massaged his temples at this as he made his way back to camp. He had not seen Naruto when he returned but he did left a note in the tent saying that he was off to the temple at the top of the hill to check something out. Seeing as the village was out of the way to any major establishments and relatively safe, Jiraiya had to let it go in favour of performing a summoning jutsu.

In a cloud of smoke, there appeared two elderly small toads wearing cloaks billowing in the wind. Jiraiya noted the familiar faces of his teachers, Fukasaku and Shima and both of them looked bewildered as Jiraiya had summoned them and noticed that he was not in battle.

"What brings you to summon us, Jiraiya-chan?" Asked the elderly lady toad, Shima.

"I finally found the child of prophecy." Jiraya answered shortly and in the best way he possibly can without spilling them with too much information.

Fukasaku seemed sceptical at this.

"How sure are you, my boy?" He asked. Jiraiya had told them twice about finding the so called child of prophecy. First it was an orphan from Ame who they had heard died an untimely death at the hands of the fearsome Hanzo and then, one of their former summoners, Minato who also died early in defence of the village against the Kyuubi. At this point, Fukasaku would have likened the title to a curse for Jiraiya.

"Hear me out and you can ask questions later, Fukasaku-sensei. What I'm about to say is something that is beyond our wildest dreams."

And so Jiraiya's tale began, how throughout the whole trip, Naruto had absorbed his lessons from simple jutsu mechanics in his wind element to advanced sealing theories in Fuinjutsu, the boy had an uncanny amount of intelligence from his supposed idiotic label. Jiraiya told them of the harrowing journey Naruto had when he was imprisoned in some underground facility supposedly built by Danzo and the revelation that Naruto is indeed, the reincarnation of Ootsuki Asura, the second son and inheritor of the will of the Sage of Six Paths.

Fukasaku and Shima had their jaws wide open upon hearing that. To have awakened the soul of the second son blessed with the sacred powers of Senjutsu itself, they were gobsmacked.

"Asura lives on in that boy, the one who has inherited his soul. Jiraiya-chan, we need Naruto-chan on Myobokuzan as soon as possible." Shima responded as she hopped towards Jiraiya.

"Indeed. It is imperative that he learns of Senjutsu as soon as possible. We are in the age of a great upheaval, if you want to see the end of this age into a new one, we must train him at once."

Jiraiya gave a nod, "I already am. Naruto has been gaining progress in the first stages of Senjutsu. He's learning quickly and he's making progress faster than I had anticipated. We will be going to Myobokuzan within a month as fulfilment to my requirements in his first year of training."

"Will a month be too long, lovely wife?" Fukasaku asked and Shima let a grunt escaped her lips while a blush escaped her cheeks.

"You flatter me so, dear husband. But a month will be enough. He needs his eyes to be open once he starts his training."

"How long are we going to train him?" Jiraiya asked and the two toads looked at each other then nodded before looking back at Jiraiya.

"As long as it takes…"

Jiraiya scratched the back of his head, "Well, a year of not being seen by the entire continent would be nice to be under the radar. But I'll need to update my network every month or so. Besides, you two are better suited for training Naruto."

"Train me for what?"

The familiar voice bought the trio out of their confusion as they saw Naruto walking towards them with Hinata beside him.

Jiraiya raised an amused eyebrow at this, "We were talking about taking your training on Myobokuzan for as long as it takes for your second year. The question remains on how long you'll be there. It'll definitely be hard on you seeing as Senjutsu is an art that so few people can learn unless they are made for it."

"Senjutsu? We?" Hinata asked, looking bewildered at Naruto and then to Jiraiya's company, that was apparently a pair of elderly toads.

"Yes, girl. Senjutsu is the art of gathering chakra in nature and enhancing yourself to the point that you become a being that is above human. It is a sacred art passed down to those who are worthy of it traced back to the time of the great sage himself and passed down to his youngest son."

Hinata looked at Naruto in wonder for a second and the blonde scratched the back of his head, "Can we discuss this later? I think I found something that might interest you, Ero-sennin."

The older man raised an eyebrow once more at his apprentice as the boy flipped through the pages of his small notebook and gave it to him.

It did interest him.

"These are complex sealing arrays. Old ones too, the design is notable from one of the seals commonly used by the Uzumaki clan several hundred years ago. But you can tell there's a modification here and there, I noticed the familiarity near the core and it looks like one of the seals made more than a half a century ago. I can figure that the main sealing core is much more recent than the rest of the seal, but it requires a specific condition to be activated."

Naruto gave a nod, "It's a seal meant for those who have the blood of the clan that once lived here. The question remains on what it does."

Jiraiya gave an answer as he, Fukasaku and Shima looked at the notes together, "It's simple, really, and it is a gateway seal. It's like one of those things that keep people out in a certain place and might possibly contain all the family scrolls that this clan had concerning its secrets. You never encounter this often, seeing as time-space seals are rare and we haven't discussed much concerning the topic. Considering it reacted when your girlfriend stepped on the seal, it recognized immediately that she is a member of that clan."

"But why didn't it activate immediately?" Naruto asked and Jiraiya replied with a grin, "In the same manner as opening a lock, you need to turn the key to open it. Your girlfriend is the key, but she must know the sequence to activate it. It could be by handsigns or…"

"It could be with her blood." Fukasaku quipped.

"Preferably enough to cross the circle, I think." Shima added.

Jiraiya gave a nod and then said to the boy, "I would advise not to tamper with it so early on. We don't know what is in there to begin with. If you want to mess with it here, you will have to take me along to see the seal myself. That is, of course, if your girlfriend there will allow it."

Hinata blushed at the moment that she was labelled as Naruto's girlfriend before she answered, "I-I have to inform my guards and my sister first. This is something that needs to be seen by them."

Jiraiya gave a nod as he then looked at Naruto, "As for you, we'll be here for only a month. You need to finish any of your pet projects here before going there."

Seeing as it was slowly getting dark, Naruto had escorted Hinata back to the outpost without much problem and went back towards the campsite.

Hinata, for her part, asked for Hanabi, Ko and Natsu to come with her to the shrine the next day as the Legendary Sannin and his apprentice had stumbled upon a seal that many of them had overlooked.

Surprised by these turn of events, Hinata's group had readily agreed to witness what happens tomorrow. For now, they had to take a rest and conserve their energy tomorrow.

Hinata, for her part, had eagerly slipped into sleep after a tiring day. She knew tomorrow would be something different for her.


The next day:

Jiraiya and Naruto had arrived at the shrine first and began looking at the areas where Naruto remembered where the matrix ran through. Applying a bit of chakra, they could see a little of the matrix glowing again before fading as they remembered each line and letter that was engraved in the ground with chakra.

Its luminous and incandescent light was brief but it somehow etched in the mind of one Fuinjutsu master and his prodigious apprentice.

"Yeah, this is the real deal alright. Good thing your mother was thorough in her work in seals as much as your father was. I can definitely see her work here, forceful, overwhelming, yet precise and accurate."

Fuinjutsu was, of course, an art. Both of them understood that no sealing process could ever be identical for different people as methods differ for each of them. It was a paradox of the art, they learn of what is and isn't workable yet it was malleable enough to basically do anything that they want a seal to be.

Each seal made by a master had a specific style, a specific method and procedure done. That was not always the case as multiple sealing masters can come together and make elaborate seals for faster and more effective usage. But for a single master to do a complex seal, there were signatures that created certain distinctions.

"So mom actually made this?" Naruto asked, intrigued since the evening before about finding out that the seal was a work of his mother's.

Jiraiya shook his head, "More like she plastered one over another and restructured some of the old ones. I have to admit, your mother is a genius on these seals. This is the kind of mastery that even legends would be jealous of. To have the ability to link to a relatively old and ancient seal with her methods is nothing short of complete brilliance."

There were problems concerning such seals, and more often than not, older seals tend to be more rigid and non-compliant to newer designed ones. They always had problems of linking and it was why some seal masters chose to just rewrite the whole matrix rather than add one more and increasing their chances in failure, which was why to have linked such an ancient seal with a new one was an astonishing feat.

Naruto also knew this and every time he ran his hands through the letters, he felt like he was knowing a part of his mother and it made him grin from ear to ear at the thought.

His mom was totally kickass.

When Hinata and her group arrived, the duo had looked at them and told Hinata to once more get in the middle while Naruto and Jiraiya applied chakra to the matrix.

Instead of going to the more archaic lines of the matrix, Naruto positioned his hand to the more familiar letters and lines, knowing fully well that it was his mother who made them. The seals glowed a majestic blue as Jiraiya said to the eldest Hyuuga sibling, "Now, smear your blood on the circle's center and we'll see what happens."

Hinata complied, grabbing a kunai and cutting her hand lightly as she let some of her blood smear the ground while Hanabi and the two caretakers looked on in wonder as Jiraiya had instructed the blonde on what to do.

"Now, synch your handseals with mine, Naruto!"

Dog

Bird

Dragon

Boar

Tiger

Jiraiya had noted to the blonde that this was the standard sealing procedure in stabilizing seals of this magnitude. They would have performed this in order to make sure that the seal wouldn't backfire at any given moment.

It pays to help to be extra-careful, as Jiraiya said to Naruto.

A column of light escaped from the shrine behind Naruto as the eyes on all the statues of the four beasts shined in blue reflecting the color of the skies above and the shrine shimmered from its view.

"A way to the secrets of the Iwagami clan… And an Uzumaki has been one of the responsible people to have hidden it away from many people." Ko muttered under his breath and yet, his statement begs the question as to why it had to happen.

Then, a voice thundered from behind the shrine that served as the door to the other side. It was loud, echoic and reeked of a regal tone, proud and full of confidence.

"Oh descendant of the older brother who was born of the goddess, his chakra lives inside you. To have been awakened in this time is a time of great upheaval. If you wish to know of your legacy, then come and test your mettle. For nothing is greater than proving your worth as the carrier of the blood of Ootsuki."

To this, Naruto and Jiraiya had stopped when they heard the name of Ootsuki.

'Hamura-oji-sama's legacy…' Asura spoke from inside Naruto as he looked upwards and saw Kurama looking quite unsure of himself as well.

"I have not heard of this in the centuries I have been here, this is the first time I have heard of the elder brother's legacy in this world."

And then, Hinata, as if mesmerized by the call of the voice, reached out her hand and walked towards the shrine, shimmering and waning before she was swallowed whole.

"HINATA!"

"HINATA-ONEE-SAMA!"

To be continued…


So an update, it took me a while, but I was busy with work and school since November and a lot of travelling. You could say I was asked to have some form of it when I got home for a vacation. My parents needed to relax and it seemed appropriate that I help out with driving and all that. I apologize since I was too busy during the holidays and even more after January in prepping for exams.

Also, I've been reading on your reviews and I took them to heed (well, some of them.) I'll be posting a timeline after part 2 as there are still about 6/8 chapters still to go depending on how much I'll make and how I'll elaborate something and also I'll be posting a jutsu list of all original jutsu from each of the characters as well as the inspirations that I have taken from for this. Don't worry, Shino is close, followed by team 10. Kiba will make an appearance next time as well as Sasuke and Sakura.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. The Stone that Ripples Waters 13228 0 0 2. The Effect: The First Movement 8867 0 0 3. The Effect: The Second Movement 10598 0 0 4. The Effect: Result 7879 0 0 5. Resonating 9957 0 0 6. Full Bloom 10114 0 0 7. Soldier of Fortune 10872 0 0 8. Legacy Awakened 9583 0 0 9. Tranquility 9813 0 0 10. Waves from A Ripple 11051 0 0 11. Flickering Flames 11564 0 0 12. Wilting Flowers 11513 0 0 13. Phantom 10033 0 0 14. Reasoning 9751 0 0 15. This Winding Road Part One 11952 0 0 16. This Winding Road Part Two 17097 0 0 17. Epilogue Book 1 13428 0 0 18. Book 2: Metamorphosis Part 1 10083 0 0 19. Book 2: Metamorphosis Part 2 11223 0 0 20. Metamorphosis END 13460 0 0 21. Legacy Part 1 14797 0 0 22. Legacy Part 2 11298 0 0 23. Legacy Part 3 8616 0 0 24. Inheritors part 1 12113 0 0 25. Inheritors part 2 12138 0 0 26. Inheritors part 3 9565 0 0 27. Succession part 1 9726 0 0 28. Succession part 2 11069 0 0 29. Succession part 3 book 2 END 12168 0 0 30. Book Three Chapter 1: Rebirth 11842 0 0 31. Beginning 10413 0 0 32. Renown 10217 0 0 33. Assault 15002 0 0 34. Challenge 13082 0 0 35. Sublimation 15277 0 0 36. The First Encounter 12700 0 0 37. Three Dragons 10106 0 0 38. The Long Night 12167 0 0 39. The Enemy Within 11032 0 0 40. Chapter 40 9116 0 0