Chapter 23 Book Two Legacy Part 3
"You have chosen well, descendant. Your choice to take this task takes nerves of steel. That you have my respect."
Said the cub looking up the Hyuuga Heiress as she answered in resolute fashion,
"I am prepared of what it may entail."
"Then come, I shall show you were your trial shall take place."
Hinata had resolved herself as she saw the multiple wall paintings depicted on the walls of this hidden cave. She could see both the conflict ridden paintings of two factions spiralling into the void where a lone white woman standing taller than others were with her hands outstretched surrounded in a dark circle as if she was pulling everyone along.
But she also saw something odd, she saw both the sage of six paths and his brother going on their separate ways, with the sage surrounding himself of what she could tell as the tailed beasts while Hamura, taking some of the power of her mother, decided to cut off a small part of his horn, one tooth, a nail and a piece of his hair, scattering it to the wind while holding up a familiar hand sign.
"For years, the Iwagami has kept records of the time the of the establishment of ninshu towards every major conflict that has occurred around the world the last work that they did centered around the time of the third shinobi war."
Hinata took note of the tiger's message who had sensed her curiosity as he motioned for the girl to look at the final painting that shook Hinata to the core.
Countless upheavals, bloody massacres, genocide in the name of peace, from the destruction of Kannabi bridge to the single handed routing of Iwa Shinobi by the hands of the fearsome Fourth Hokage, the yellow flash as he had been titled beneath his caricature like image of a faceless blonde man and another title that would have made sense in the eyes of Iwa's citizens.
Hinata had never looked at it from the persepective of the opposing side's eyes. Indeed, it made sense for them to view the yellow flash as a monster who slaughtered countless Iwa Shinobi, whose lives were snuffed out during the war by a single man who had mastery over time and space.
Then she saw another image, an island in the middle of the sea, whose fires raged above the lush green leaves of its trees, a sea of red mixed with the water, heads floating on the sea dripping with blood three factions of shinobi from what she could tell that came from Iwa, Kiri and Kumo.
Underneath this portrait written neatly,
'The genocide of the Uzumaki'
Hinata froze for several seconds.
'Uzumaki… Naruto-kun's clan?'
"Are you shocked by this painting? I would have surmised that this would have been taught in Konoha of all places. The thousands of lives snuffed out in Uzushiogakure was a blight in modern history that it ought to have reminded the five nations of the treachery of its own flawed system."
"I don't understand, why were the Uzumaki clan destroyed by a three nation alliance? This doesn't make sense."
"The truth is almost always more complicated than what is out. The three countries governed by Iwa, Kumo and Kiri did have a hand on its destruction but the Uzumaki themselves attracted that destruction due to what they perceive is a growing hegemony of the five powers. It pains me to say, but even with the watchful eye of the Iwagami, The Uzumaki were able to hide why they were subjected to destruction and the only thing we have obtained was a name."
The white tiger gave a sigh as it continued,
"Minamoto no Banbutsu (Source of all Creation)"
Yaiba had walked ahead of Kiba and Akamaru who had followed him around in the prairie, the second child of the Inuzuka clan had been amusing during his stay in their territory. The leader of the Inugami had evaluated Kiba's contribution to the pack and he had fitted right in on the first day by obeying the hierarchy of their group. The boy was an Inuzuka through and through.
Much like his ancestors, the Inuzuka had lived in harmony with the Inugami, they had lived off the land that they surveyed. Kiba was no stranger to their hunting tactics. They hunted in packs much like wolves did and everyone did their best to coordinate their attacks effectively. Yaiba was impressed. This Kiba boy knew how to work with other people, an essential skill that all pack members must be accustomed to.
"Say, Yaiba-san, I've been meaning to ask this, but since you separated us from the pack, where exactly are you taking us?"
Yaiba answered him with an amused smile, "I'm taking you to the sacred grounds of the Inugami since you passed my test."
"Test?" Kiba asked, he didn't even remember he was being evaluated. He could have sworn that what he had been doing for the past several days have been the training he needed.
"Yes, boy, a test. I wanted to see how well you blend in with a pack."
Kiba scratched his head at this and answered as if it was the most basic thing he had been doing all his life, "Well, I've been pummelled with all kinds of lessons concerning pack etiquette and teamwork ever since I started my life as a shinobi. My mom has been hammering that lesson since Akamaru and I were pups. And Kurenai-sensei has been our team leader all this time, she's pretty much told us to always stick with our group."
Yaiba hummed in contemplation, he was glad that the humans had kept the tradition of working as a unit alive and well. The Inuzuka were indeed kindred of them in spirit.
"And that is a lesson you should never forget, pup. Alone, your senses can only tell you as much, your mind can only process as much. But a group accumulated is power in itself. The more you have, the more power you shall wield."
Kiba smirked, "Of course, I plan to be Hokage. I'd need all the help that I can get to be one."
An aspiring alpha? Yaiba could not find a better boon.
They had managed to stop just before a small hill at the top of the hill was a large tree, its roots to the bottom were visible as it latched on to the ground at the very bottom of the hill.
"Come, we will go around the tree and enter the lair. There you will see our gift, Chikuseki no Buso (Accumulation of armaments)"
Kiba was thrilled to hear such a bad ass sounding name. As they circled around the base of the tree, he noticed that the giant tree's roots had outgrown the curvature of the hill and almost a quarter of the hill was nowhere to be seen, only jagged cliffs and stone pathways littered this side of the hill. Down below, Kiba could only see a small creek.
When Yaiba had entered into the main part of the cave, Kiba followed suit and then noticed a purple glow slowly coming to life inside and he could hear something peculiar at the very end of the cave.
There at a jagged stone dais was placed a small silvery orb glowing iridescent blue chakra, with its rays touching the branches and glowing faintly giving off the purple color that escaped between the gaps of the roots.
"This is Chikuseki no Buso. An orb of collection of weapons from one of the Godai Sennin, Kinzoku no Sennin (Hermit of Metal). He gave birth to it as a way to train in every day. He emphasized that the strength of the body is also the strength of the mind. That in order to be one with nature, one must understand the circle that they belong to and must excel in all its forms. Thus, he has left this orb as his greatest creation to us of the Inugami."
"Great! So how do we do this?" Kiba asked, eagerly anticipating what was coming next.
Yaiba grinned, fangs showing as the patriarch then said to Kiba's partner, "Do not interfere, pup. For this will be a painful experience to your master."
And Yaiba pounced.
Since arriving at the border between Taki and Hi no Kuni, Shino had been briefed about the many nuance within the work with the outpost
Concerning his meeting with his seniors here, he found that there were many customs that he was not privy too concerning ninja of Takigakure.
Although they were allies, the Taki Ninja only wanted to deal at an arm's length all trades were done via the border, supervised by a Taki Shinobi along with a Konoha Shinobi.
All wares and trades are to be inspected before being resealed by said Taki Ninja and no Konoha Ninja should be able to cross more than two hundred meters past the border line.
It was a well-known fact that Taki liked to keep its secrets but he was surprised with the extent of how much they were willing to go at lengths to keep it that way.
Shino had looked up at the sun beneath a shade of trees today. The wind was blowing nicely, he surmised. It sure helped him relax after a long day of work and training. In his hand was a summoning contract kept by his father and passed down to him. He had never seen his father use a summoning before but it was probably for the best. After all, if it was necessitated, then it meant that the situation was dire.
Shino then performed hand seals together and then bit his finger before planting his bloodied hand on the ground
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!"
Then a large pillar of smoke wafted from the summoning circle that Shino had created it went to be about as high as a two story house and about as wide as well.
When the smoke dissipated, he was met with a small blue horned beetle the size of his palm.
Shino, although he didn't show it, inwardly was disappointed by how much plomp that the jutsu initially had.
'All bluster, no substance.'
"WHO DARES AWAKEN THE EMPEROR'S SPEAR WITHOUT WARNING?" Angrily shouted from the small horned beetle. The creature looked around and found a shaded boy on his knees holding a summoning contract in his left hand.
"WOW SO COOL!"
Another surprise, Shino noted, a Taki shinobi had managed to slip right through his senses and looking down at the small blue beetle Shino jumped back and although he did not show it, the Taki Ninja had left him a nervous wreck.
A ninja caught off guard was always a bad thing.
"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU, GIRL?"
As if casually not caring about the agitation of the blue beetle, the Teal haired girl replied with a wave and a spunky attitude that could beat even Naruto's, "The name's Fuu! I'm here to make a thousand friends!"
"Are you the one who summoned me?" The beetle testily asked and Fuu laughed it off saying, "I wish I had!"
This further irritated the creature, "I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT SUMMONING US IS A HALLOWED TRADITION OF A CERTAIN CLAN! SOME SIMPLETON LIKE YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER SUMMONED SOMEONE SUCH AS I!"
'She already said that she wasn't the summoner.'
Shino thought in exasperation, he had to stop this pointless conversation.
The boy raised his hand.
"It was me who summoned you…" Shino voiced out, his softspoken voice was heard amidst two loud individuals.
The obnoxious, tiny but loud creature looked out to the boy konoha chuunin and spoke with no indoor voice, "I SEE! VERY WELL THEN, I ASK THAT YOU STATE YOUR NAME AND YOUR HERITAGE!"
"Aburame Shino, current heir apparent to the Aburame clan in Konoha. I am of chuunin rank and currently the holder of the summoning scroll that you have entrusted to us."
The beetle was quick to react, "FOOL! I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT SUMMONING US IS A HALLOWED TRADITION OF A CERTAIN CLAN! STATE YOUR NAME AND HERITAGE!"
Inwardly, Shino wanted to pummel this creature out of his hair. He had done something quite troublesome.
The one on his side only laughed jovially while still trying to make a conversation with the beetle that only cared about hearing his own voice.
'Somebody… Somebody save me…'
A certain popping sound was heard right next to the eldest of the group just outside the warped temple of the Iwagami. Jiraiya looked down and saw a toad messenger that he recognized that came from Earth Country.
The toad began to enlarge its stomach and spewed out a scroll that Jiraiya noted to have come from one of his contacts. It had the character diamond emblazoned as the seal that kept the scroll shut and it was recognized by Jiraiya as one of his many codes he had given his agents in his international web.
'A correspondence from my agent in Iwa? But I just received one a few days ago. Did something happen?'
He picked up the scroll and noticed that Shima and Fukasaku were looking at his student intently as the boy stared at the warped space in front not even fidgeting or even moving from his spot eyes staring at the space a feeling of anxiety looming over him.
"I see you were preparing him for his lesson in Myobokuzan, Jiraiya-chan." Shima commented, Jiraiya gave a nod.
"He's slowly getting there, but he can be easily distracted, it's not in his nature to focus long in his training. He tends to jump from one lesson to another except when it comes to Fuinjutsu."
Fukasaku shook his head at this, "Jiraiya-chan. I don't know about you, but I think Naruto-chan is ready for actual Senjutsu training."
Jiraiya's eyes widened. He had not realized that Naruto was already at this stage in the beginning phases of senjutsu, has his student met the requirements?
Looking at the boy, Jiraiya noted that Naruto's usual restlessness was not present, he was as still as a rock as he watched the gate that his girlfriend had walked into. He barely moved, only breathing and blinking as he noticed his hands were clenched to fists and clutching the fabric of his outfit. He had noticed that already an hour flew by, and Naruto still did not even move a muscle.
Since when was his student able to maintain that perfect stillness?
"Naruto, there is only so much you can do. Don't worry yourself to death. All you can do now is have faith." Jiraiya had interrupted, the blonde was silent for a few seconds before he relented.
"I know… I know but this kind of thing just makes me worry even more."
Jiraiya noted Naruto's impulsive nature still existed. He had succeeded in curbing that part of him to a tolerable level befitting of a competent soldier, but that nature was something that will be difficult to get rid of for good. Not much was needed in order for his blonde student to act but now that he can't do so, it forces Naruto to watch as others are forced to act except him.
It was like a test, in a way.
"Naruto, come here for a moment." Jiraiya instructed his student. Naruto for a few seconds, did not move, intent on waiting for Hinata to go out of the warped space in front of him, but he ultimately decided to stand up and go towards his master.
"Your worry will only be a waste of time. I know you already know this, but have faith in her capabilities, kid. Don't tell me that all you said about her were only just to comfort her. Those are empty words, kid."
"No, I believe in Hinata, I do. It's just… Given the situation of life and death here, I also understand what Hinata's bodyguard is feeling." Naruto glanced at the Hyuuga trio for a few seconds before turning back to his master.
"I do too, kid. Believe me, I know that feeling. Sage knows how many times I must have worried over sending your father on his first solo mission as a chuunin and then a jounin." Jiraiya noted reminiscing his younger days as he fretted over his prized students that day when they were promoted. Especially Minato, even though he had a record of going on his own (rescuing Kushina), it still had him worried to death about their wellbeing and if ever he had taught them adequately enough to give them the highest chances of survival.
Jiraiya then smiled, as he remembered Minato ascending ever so closely to the title of Kage, marrying the love of his life and dying a death worthy of a shinobi.
"But that worrying was useless. As it turns out, I'm the best damn teacher in the village anybody could ask for!" He gloated and laughed as Naruto suddenly got annoyed at his master's antics.
Which he couldn't even refute. Jiraiya taught Naruto's father, who in turn taught Kakashi-sensei, and in turn, taught them. Both his father, who became Hokage, and his sensei, who was worthy candidate to be Hokage, carried legacies that Naruto was still in awe of even if he didn't admit it out loud to the perverted hermit.
"Yeah, yeah, you're the teacher of the Fourth Hokage, ero-sennin. You're the Kage maker." Naruto replied but he smiled at his master's antics all the same.
A silence ran between them as Naruto once more looked at the distorted temple.
"Naruto, one day, you'll be Hokage. And one day, you'll be facing this certain problem too. It's one of the reasons why I didn't think I was fit to become Hokage. You'll be faced with decisions like this. Most of the time, you will be forced to send someone to act on your behalf. You won't be able to manage everything all the time. No one is able to do that. Not even you, your guts and your shadow clones. You'll be stuck in your office, unable to do anything even after knowing the fact that you might have sent someone to their deaths. Because for the Hokage, the village must come first. The Hokage is important not because he's strong…"
Naruto had finished for him, "… It's because the Hokage always does what is best for the village."
Jiraiya stopped for a moment and then smiled. His current student may not be the best in his long life of being a mentor, but Naruto always had his heart in the right place. Jiraiya thought of this as he placed a hand on Naruto's head and ruffled it affectionately.
It was then that Naruto was approached by the two elder toads with Fukasaku speaking first, "Naruto-chan, you may have not noticed but you were able to remain in perfect stillness for an hour. Tell us, how long have you been able to do so?"
Naruto looked at the two old toads and replied, "I don't know. I just happen to do it just now. Though I've been trying to do that for at least a year now."
Fukasaku and Shima smiled, the female elder toad then spoke, "It seems Jiraiya-chan wasn't easy on you, huh? No matter, I suppose he has done a good job in preparing you."
Naruto raised an eyebrow at this, he had been doing that exercise as a preparation? For what?
Shima smiled at the blonde's expression and said, "That look on your face tells me that Jiraiya-chan hasn't told you the importance of standing still, correct?"
"He said it was to prepare me for what's to come, though." Naruto replied as he sat down to level with the toads as much as he could.
"What Jiraiya-chan was teaching you is the first exercise in learning Senjutsu." Fukasaku said this as the old toad raised its right foreleg and counting the necessary for his lecture.
"You see, Senjutsu is four parts, stillness, sensing, gathering and balance. By remaining still, you begin to feel natural energy around you. Though it is subtle at first, it takes immense focus to remain still and feel the natural energies around you as step two. That second step then allows you to perform the final step, gathering that Natural energy around you to attain balance."
Jiraiya gave a nod at this, "I'll tell you all the details once we actually begin. But safe to say that Sage Mode is the result of that ability. Since you're bad at jutsu seal memorization even though you're turning out fine now, I think this is the next step in your abilities, kid. That and it will be your ace in the hole in controlling your friend there."
"What does Sage Mode actually do, ero-sennin?" Naruto asked and Jiraiya grinned.
"Glad you asked, kid! Senjutsu is actually a pretty good way of powering up! It enhances all your physical skills, makes you faster, hit harder and take beatings like it was just a passing wind! It also enhances all your jutsu too! Best part is, this technique suits you because your chakra is not only more potent, but also large enough that you can't be overwhelmed with natural energy. The benefits outweigh the risks for your abilities, kid. With such massive reserves rivalling only a kage could, you're a natural fit to learn senjutsu."
Jiraiya said as he saw Naruto looking amazed from his claims. It was true that learning senjutsu did have its perks, but only select few people were qualified to learn them and learning them must be strictly supervised because of many of its treacherous drawbacks. But that was if only the person did not have a natural affinity for it in the first place and after learning much of what Naruto had been through and what he carries and what he was given, it seems like the perfect skill for Naruto's abilities.
"So when can we get started?" Naruto asked and Jiraiya's grin disappeared, turning into a frown, "You're ready to learn it, kid. But I want you to know that we won't be exploring that path until you've learned you can sense that energy and the only way to familiarize your senses is to learn at specific sites of the world where there are hotspots of it. Natural energy may be free all around us, but there are unusual sites in the world where it is dense enough to be sensed by trainees. Don't worry, we'll be getting to that place soon enough, but not now. We still have one more place to go before we get to Myobokuzan."
"Where's that?" Naruto asked as the two elder toads looked at their former pupil and Jiraiya replying to the blonde, "To an old place where your mother used to live. We're going to Uzushiogakure."
Naruto's expression turned to a surprise at this, "Isn't that place in ruins?"
Jiraiya nodded his head but replied, "It's true, but I'm fulfilling a promise. A promise to your mother. That I take you there just as much as what Hiashi had done to his daughter. We have about a month before we start training for your senjutsu."
Jiraiya's grin was back in full force as he looked at the warping temple and said to the blonde, "Besides, don't you want to see your girlfriend coming out of that place, triumphant?"
Naruto, infected by his master's smile, smiled back too. Naruto had desperately wanted to see Hinata again after all this trouble. He looked back at the warped temple, he could see the ripples of time and space still active there.
He went back to where he was, under the shade of a large tree and sat down in front of the gate. Now more at peace with himself than he had before.
"Is nee-sama going to be safe?" A voice of a girl asked, Naruto's attention turned to the little girl who was now sitting beside him, a look of worry and anxiety laced her petite face. Naruto could only smile as he stared back into the gate.
"Let's believe in her, Hanabi. I'm sure she'll be fine. She's strong, in mind, spirit and body."
Hanabi seemed to have accepted that as she gave a small smile on her own and stared at the gate beside her sister's boyfriend.
Naruto was right, all she can do right now, was have faith in her sister.
She had realized then, that truly strong people had an inner will that lets them face uncertainty head on. And she knew her older sister had that in spades.
Inside the temple:
"This is the inner sanctum of the Iwagami."
The tiger cub turned to him and Hinata was amazed to see such a large dome almost perfect in shape inside this cave. She saw a small lake just beside this vast dome, it was as large as at least a fourth of Konoha in her mind and lush grass and vegetation seem to grow here despite a limited ray of sunlight.
Up above, she could see light shining from above, it must be the peak to one of the top of the mountain heads. She had surmised.
"So, the Iwagami descendant has finally come."
Hinata was surprised by another creature speaking to him, she had turned to the source of the voice and found that it was a small red bird perched on to one of the stone ledges. It was round and about the size of her lower legs, its small wings seemed unlikely to give it flight but Hinata noted that the bird had managed to perch on an otherwise almost impossible place to climb on without chakra.
"Ah, I can feel that distinct chakra."
Another creature, a small black tortoise surfaced from the lake, its tail stretching out with a snake head that curved upwards and now standing on its shell.
"Strange. This one is most strange indeed."
The snake said as the tortoise looked up to the snake, "I have never felt chakra like this before, as if something is awaiting to be awakened."
"I sense the Iwagami within her and a Hyuuga at that. It must mean that she is the heir of both clans."
Said a little blue lizard as it slithered around with its legs at the Hyuuga, sizing up Hinata before nodding.
"Byakko, do you not think this is more than a coincidence?"
The white tiger cub shook its head, "I believe not, Seiryuu. I have felt the chakra of the Iwagami outside and attracted her with our chakra, however, in came the Hyuuga before you. Interesting, isn't she?"
"That she is. I am assuming then that she will be undergoing the first trial?"
Hinata nodded, no ounce of hesitation or fear showed in her face, only determination. Byakko then smirked and then glowed with chakra, white wisps of smoke entering its body as it grew to a size much larger than that of a normal tiger and growing to about the size of a gigantic one that was comparable to those at the forest of death.
"Then we shall. Your first trial will be fighting me."
Hinata braced herself as she went into the Jyuuken stance, her Byakugan activating and suddenly seeing a gigantic mass of chakra in front of her. It was not as big as that of a tailed beast, but still big enough to almost frighten her to a degree. But still, she had to stand her ground.
'Naruto-kun… Much like you carry my hopes and my dreams, I will carry yours too… Here I come!'
The White Tiger then pounced at her, claws outstretched fangs bared. Hinata was quick to dodge, using the footwork she had come to know and performing a half-circle direction and striking her opponent to its side. The tiger immediately hopped to the side as Hinata was quick to capitalize move and sent an air shell to the tiger's side. It managed to land, but the tiger merely skidded back. Although small, the other creatures seemed to have been impressed with that much anticipation that the Iwagami spawn had in mind.
"Interesting, you managed to land a hit on me this early on."
The white tiger then smirked and growled, "I will not be making the same mistake!"
"Senkou (Battle Cry)!" The white tiger made a mighty roar, it caused the earth to shake slightly and the air to vibrate causing a blast in the shape of a tiger's head towards Hinata who had to quickly come up with a defense!
Hinata then focused chakra to her palms to a certain pinpoint sharp enough to pierce almost anything and began thrusting her palms upwards in rapid succession, the effect was immediate, it seemed as though Hinata was casting a net of chakra all around her.
"Shugo Hakke: Rokujuuyon Sho (Guardian of the Eight Trigrams: Sixty-Four Palms)!"
This jutsu was one Hinata created many months ago, it was a technique to compensate for the Kaiten which she hadn't learned yet it was simple enough to provide enough defence for her at that time. Although it was much simpler and lesser effective than the Kaiten, it certainly was more efficient and less taxing than performing the Kaiten, which required her to expel chakra to all her tenketsu and spinning around.
The ethereal tiger collided with her jutsu clashing with her barrier field and repelling it back with every thrust of her arms. It was not to be, as the blast effectively overwhelmed her defences and smashed into her body as Hinata was sent flying back.
Hinata skidded on the stone floor, her left long sleeve was torn away and a gash had formed on her arm, blood seeping down from it. The small injury did not deter the Hyuuga as she stood up and wordlessly went back into her stance again.
The four creatures were quick to notice.
"She might have taken that attack, but the brunt of Byakko's attack was mitigated by that barrier." Seiryuu commented as the Red Bird landed near it as it spoke.
"Don't you find it strange, though, Seiryuu? I recall of the Hyuuga having a technique with superior defence in mind. Does she not know of it?"
The black tortoise was the one to reply, "Certainly, the Kaiten would have proven to be more useful. But I cannot say that her method would have been ineffective as well, Suzaku."
"But it did not stop Byakko's attack entirely. She could have avoided being hurt if she used it." The snake countered, her defence would have indeed been more effective if she used Kaiten.
"So she must not know the jutsu. Or she does not see the tenketsu as the other Hyuuga." The red bird discerned
Hinata remained in her stance her eyes hidden by her bangs as she placed her bloodied arm forward while her right hand was at her side.
"I can still fight!"
And Byakko obliged running at the Hyuuga with the intent to kill. The tiger did not mince words, it had obliged the heiress. Byakko stretched out its paw as it got near, sharp nails appeared intent on rending her flesh apart. Hinata could see despite not moving her head as she leaned forward and closed her three fingers leaving only her index finger and middle finger straight.
Time seemed to slow down as Hinata ran straight and quickly raised her hands in successive motion and began to quickly thrust her fingers to the tiger's underbelly in rapid fire succession.
She slid on the ground and ended standing up just behind Byakko. Hinata looked back, her Byakugan still active, as Byakko fell on the ground with its tenketsu struck.
"Twelve Tenketsu." Hinata murmured as she went back to her stance and faced the tiger.
"So she does know!" Seiryuu commented as it stroked its long whiskers with its tiny forelegs.
Byakko staggered as it growled.
"You had me fooled, thinking that you cannot see the tenketsu. You are capable, girl."
Hinata shook her head and replied, "I had no intention of doing so, Byakko-sama, I just thought that I did not need to expend chakra for Kaiten. I misjudged that attack on my part."
"I see. I think I understand now." The black tortoise said as it the snake above its shell continued.
"It is not because she does not know it, but rather her Kaiten is a last resort for absolute defence. She can perform the technique, but it costs her chakra that she isn't comfortable with the amount."
The red bird, Suzaku, then replied, "Is she truly an Iwagami? That much chakra expelled should not be a problem for her. You can sense it, can you not, Genbu?"
"Steel hiding within silk, cunning within beauty. A proud lioness stands against our tiger." Seiryuu muttered and smiled as it saw Hinata going on the offensive against Byakko.
"Poetry in such a time, Seiryuu? You can tell, right? This human is hiding more than she lets." Suzaku pointed out this fact as the black tortoise answered for his fellow creature.
"It matters not, Suzaku. If the Iwagami child does not use all of her full potential, then she will not be recognized."
Hinata then avoided another paw swipe from Genbu and instead of attacking the underbelly like last time, Hinata decided to run past the tiger hand legs and turned around and jumped as she landed on the back of the tiger. Her right hand raised for a downward palm strike, she was suddenly interrupted when Byakko shouted
"A grave mistake! Byakko no Takashio (Storm Surge of the White Tiger)!"
Just then, the wind picked up around the tiger and with unimaginable speed, the tiger disappeared from Hinata's view she fell down and her Byakugan still active, she had no way of knowing where the tiger will appear so she did the most sensible thing she could do.
"Hakkeshou Kaiten (Eight Trigrams Whirl)!"
And just in time, as the white tiger smash its way to her absolute defense from above in such a force that the ground she was standing on caved in. The white tiger was surrounded by powerful gusts of wind!
Hinata did not give in, she continued her spin as much as she could as the white tiger kept pushing and pushing until it gave up and jumped back.
Hinata kneeled on one knee a small gash made its way into her forehead, she had never thought that she could expend so much chakra with so little time and that a moment later would have spelled her doom. Byakko's abilities were wind based, she had surmised. That last attack not only enhanced Byakko's speed but it also gave the white tiger a spherical barrier around itself that could cut anything that gets close to it. Her jacket was torn, only her gray blouse remained and the mesh armor beneath. She panted as she jumped up. She would not quit now. Not now, not ever.
"Oh? She managed to repel Byakko's attack like that. Though it seems like she's nearing her limit." Suzaku mentioned as Byakko smirked at this.
"It seems this trial is over. You cannot overhelm me with what you are now, girl."
Hinata despite her panting and the blood she was feeling right now, merely spoke at the white tiger, "I will win this, I will defeat you. I will save the Hyuuga, I will support Naruto-kun. I will help him carry all that he has to bear. Because that is my promise."
"Stubborn one, aren't you, girl? Let me warn you. If I strike you now with my attack, you will really die. Stop now, you can challenge me again once you've grown strong."
Hinata smiled at this, "I am prepared, Byakko-sama. But I will swear to you, I will win."
Byakko closed its eyes for a second, saying his prayers of forgiveness to the souls of the Iwagami who had died before. The tiger was going to comply with this brave girl's request.
"Then I will oblige you! Byakko no Takashio!" The white tiger suddenly disappeared once more and Hinata had already set up the Kaiten in advance. And then another strike from above, Byakko slammed to the Kaiten once more and this time, Hinata could feel the weight of the attack trying to pierce the very dome of chakra she had created as she continued to spin.
'It's stronger than before!' HInata thought as it slowly, inch by painful inch, her dome was slowly being beaten.
Then, her chakra flow abruptly stopped she could feel her body suddenly feeling heavy. Her chakra had depleted to near zero, she could not do Kaiten anymore. She could not move, she could not react in time as a large nail was about to make its way towards her head.
As if her life was flashing before her eyes, Hinata could see the faces of those she cherished deeply.
'If you're willing to bet your life on it, then I'm willing to bet mine too!'
'I'm sure you'll do great!'
'It's a small price to pay compared to what you have to go through.'
Hinata had suddenly remembered, Naruto's healing tag!
Suddenly, without ever touching the tag with her, it glowed a gentle green before turning yellow and then suddenly enveloping Hinata in a warm glow. The claw was millimetres away from her head, about to tear her down, when Hinata had acted upon instinct and her body MOVED.
In that mere second instance the golden glow had increased Hinata's reflexes to a degree she had not expected as if it was as fast as her older cousin's. She had deflected the claw away from her with a resounding arm block that parried the attack away and landing on the ground causing a crater and a small dust cloud. Hinata looked up, gathering chakra to her right arm and expelling it from her tenketsu on said arm, a form of a lion's head began forming with this magnificient chakra and it turned from yellow to blue, then to purple for a second before going back to blue
The four creatures were surprised! This was…
"Asura's chakra!? How on earth!?" Byakko shouted surprised that such a golden and potent force of chakra had suddenly made its way towards Hinata
"What is happening!? Why is Asura's chakra with her!?" The snake shouted surprised
The black tortoise then noticed a certain glow coming from Hinata, "A sealing tag? I see, I never thought it was possible to transfer chakra, especially HIS chakra into a seal."
"Isn't this a violation of our sacred ritual!?" The enraged Suzaku shouted, to him this was a sacrilege.
But the blue dragon seemed considerate, "We have not placed rules on the rituals we intended to give, Suzaku, so anything is allowed. If we had rules, then we wouldn't be having deaths with this sacred passage."
Hinata then cocked her right arm back as she jumped towards the chest of the white tiger
"Shishishougeki! (Lion Palm Strike)"
A huge cloud of smoke had escaped from the two combatants as the three spectators saw Byakko suddenly sent upwards and slamming to one part of the dome before falling back on the ground as they all stood in surprise.
Byakko grunted. With just one attack, the white tiger was brought to his knees. It had never expected the girl to have been given the blessing of the Sage's second son. It did not anticipate such a thing to occur. Asura did not have this ability or on any of the records archived by the Iwagami.
"Byakko-sama! Are you hurt?" Hinata approached the white tiger concern written on her face as she knelt down to the tiger. Byakko noticed that most of the girl's wounds were suddenly healed. It felt the girl's chakra and noticed that it was replenishing as well.
"I have been better… But tell me, how did you obtain the blessing of Asura, the younger son?"
Hinata suddenly looked embarrassed as she blushed and bowed her head, "Naruto-kun is, h-he's…"
The white tiger could tell from the Hyuuga's expression and gave a mirthful chuckle, "Nevermind, I have seen from your face what he is to you. If anything else, you have passed my trial. Receive me, dear summoner."
The white tiger then began to shrink as it turned back into that small tiger cub from before.
"I am Byakko! The guardian of the western side of Izumo, White Tiger of the West! I am the beast of the wind, born from the tooth of the great Otsutsuki Hamura, receive my power, I recgonize you!"
The sun was beginning to set, Hinata had not appeared since morning. Everyone outside was getting worried. That is, aside from Naruto and Hanabi who were trading stories to pass the time. Hanabi told Naruto all of the things that she and Hinata had done when they were much younger, like walking with her through the garden, spending time with her at Hanabi's room, reading books and even manga just for her, giving her sweets, everything that loving siblings tend to do. Meanwhile, Naruto remained fascinated to Hanabi's stories, he had always imagined Hinata to be such a great sister, but he never thought that Hanabi idolized her sister ever so dearly.
It was then that the portal suddenly pushed Hinata out, she looked a bit dirty and haggard, a few scratches on her hands and holding a small scroll with her. Her jacket was damaged beyond repair, a little dirt and grime caked on her face. But even then, Naruto found her beautiful still.
"NEE-SAMA!" Hanabi shouted as she dashed to her older sister. Hinata caught Hanabi as the little sister was relieved of her safety, a joyous reunion was then soon followed as Naruto walked towards her, a smile sporting his face.
"I guess you did it, huh?" Naruto said grinning from ear to ear and Hinata nodded.
"Ah, I see this is the new vessel of Asura Otsutsuki."
Naruto was surprised as he was suddenly surrounded by four small looking summons who were sizing him up.
"So you were the one who made that sealing tag. I did not expect someone to have made such a tag to be as young as you." The black tortoise noted as the snake that sprouted on its tail hissed a little and continued
"Unexpected but impressive all the same."
"Um… Thank you?" Naruto replied in confusion as he suddenly felt something crawling up towards him.
A long, blue and slender lizard then made its way to his shoulders as it played with its whiskers and eyeing Naruto up and down.
"Indeed, warrior-sage of love and courage, whose chakra burns as bright as the sun, beloved by nature, beloved by the heir."
"Okay, what?" Naruto asked, suddenly confused by what this creature was talking about.
"Do not mind Seiryuu's assessments, the dragon has a love of poetry." Naruto noticed a small white tiger cub that Hinata had told him earlier was now sitting in front of him as it waved at him.
"I see this is the man you consider your mate, Hinata-sama. I would say he is worthy."
"W-Wait don't say it like that! W-We aren't even married yet!" Hinata suddenly stuttered, noticing that the tiger cub had given her a thumbs up.
Naruto's jaw hit the ground at this, "WHAT'S THIS ABOUT MARRIAGE!?"
"Defiler of our ritual! How dare you lay your hands on our mistress! I will burn you alive and feed your burnt carcass to the fishes at sea!" Shouted the red bird as it began pecking on Naruto's head, ducking for his life as he ran around being chased by the red summon.
"Onee-sama, you're getting married!?" Hanabi suddenly exclaimed as she could see the sparkles in her eyes
"NO ONE IS GETTING MARRIED!" Hinata shouted as loud as she could. Naruto suddenly had a cold chill down his spine. If Hinata shouted that right now while Jiraiya was in earshot…
"NARUTO! DID YOU GET LAID!? SINCE WHEN YOU SNEAKY LITTLE HORNDOG!? YOU HAVE TO TELL ME, FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES!"
'Oh God no, not him…'
Later that evening, just as Hinata and Naruto began packing for their things, they had decided to meet one last time before going back home and much to the disapproval of Ko and Natsu, Hinata still went through with meeting Naruto for the night, now chaperoned by her four new guardians who were watching at a fair distance. They were now just watching just beside the lake, a full moon lighting up the night sky adorned with a multitude of stars.
"I'm glad they managed to clear that misunderstanding." Naruto said in relief as he sighed and sat down beside Hinata. He was currently wearing a simple orange long sleeve shirt with black sleeves and with no forehead protector. Meanwhile, Hinata was wearing a yukata, a white and silver one that seemed to have been purchased from the town as a recognition of being the heir of the Iwagami clan. Her purple obi wrapped around her waist as she sits daintily beside Naruto also looking up above to the heavens.
"Did you… Not want to be married, Naruto-kun?" Hinata asked, embarrassed but wanting to know the answer as well.
Naruto looked at Hinata in bewilderment and a blush on his face for a second and he answered as he looked up at the moon his eyes then closed, imagining his ideal future, "Someday… I want that. I want to have a family of my own, a beautiful house, filled with happiness."
He imagined, the laughter in that house, he could hear children, "I imagine that house so full of life, filled with kids laughing. Going home from work, seeing those kids, my children, smile at me as they run around the house and I get to play with them. I can feel all my worries going away."
"That sounds wonderful." Hinata commented as she too imagined it smiling as she closed her eyes. She could picture herself with that house, simple yet homely, children running around, their sounds of laughter filling the air. She could almost feel it.
Naruto laid down to the grass as he looked up, the gentle waves of the lake seemed to soothe him somewhat.
"Yeah. Really wonderful. A house where I could feel happy, a loving family I never knew about."
Hinata then managed to speak, "Hey, Naruto-kun?"
Naruto looked at Hinata who was blushing and looking at him intently, Naruto went back to sitting as Hinata grabbed his hand.
It was quick and unexpected. Naruto did not realize it yet but Hinata had kissed him again. This time, a little longer than the last. Naruto was about to react when Hinata, gaining a little more bravery, pulled Naruto's arm to her chest. Surprising the blonde so much that he accidentally squeezed and causing Hinata to moan a little.
"Remember this feeling, Naruto-kun. Remember me always in your journeys." She said as she blushed kissing him again before she let him go and rested her head on his shoulders.
Naruto meanwhile was blushing so much that his mouth was hanging open, unnoticed by Hinata.
'W-When did Hinata get big THERE!?'
"I'm going home tonight. We will be taking the long way home. I want to see somethings before I get back to Konoha. I heard Jiraiya-sama is taking you to Uzushiogakure."
Naruto only gave a nod and a grunt, answering Hinata only a speechless and horny teenager can.
"I'm always thinking about you and always praying for your safety."
"You're the best girlfriend ever."
"Silly, Naruto-kun, I'm your only girlfriend."
She then left after a few more minutes, Naruto was still standing there, mouth agape, still in shock. Jiraiya came in a few minutes later and the old man grinned.
"Never knew she had it in her."
Naruto silently looked his right hand intently and in reflex, squeezed it a little as Jiraiya looked at the boy and said, "She let you cop a feel, didn't she?"
"So this is Kannabi Bridge." Sasuke mentioned as the wind blew slightly towards them at one end of the bridge that connected them to two large cliff faces. Kakashi had told his team of Kannabi Bridge on the way towards their designated point.
It was here that one of his clansmen perished. A shinobi who gave his treasured eyes to his friend as a parting gift to keep them safe.
To an Uchiha, it may have been foolish. But having traditions now lay dead, he thought that it was the noblest sacrifice one could ever give.
"His name was Obito. His sharingan that I carry now is the pact I've gotten, in exchange for his life, to keep Rin safe." Kakashi mentioned as he finally closed his book and looked down as they crossed the reconstructed bridge.
"But even Rin died. She was a victim of the war that turned men and women into monsters. She was a kind soul that Obito loved, dearly. But I failed him with that too."
Kakashi mentioned as they finally made it to the end of the bridge.
Sakura nodded. She had an inkling that the mission they had right now brought back memories that Kakashi did not want to remember. She surmised that Kakashi had been carrying this pain for quite a while and his description of this event in detail brought forth a near detached narration of Kakashi's exploits here. She noticed that their sensei was also speaking in a deprecating mood, meaning the trauma had yet to heal. She had concluded that Kakashi's mantra of staying with your comrades must have started here and experienced a trauma so great that he hadn't been able to let go after years of keeping it within himself.
She looked at their new teammate, Sai, who was looking like he was seeing everything with a calculated look. The boy had noticed immediately and gave a smile that creeped her out.
It was not Naruto that was with them this time, yet Kakashi was telling them such a personal story.
"I'm telling you this because, although I have said that our comrades come first, this is also a lesson in what happens when you put your objectives first without thinking through. My decision cost me a friend and that line of trauma also never got away, it encroached me until Rin died as well."
"Kakashi-sensei…" Sakura was about to say something until Sasuke spoke to him, "I get it now. Why you you stopped me that time, because you had this Obito person with you. He loved our village much as he loved Rin."
Kakashi smiled beneath his mask, "Yes, in fact, Obito wanted to be Hokage. He, really loved everyone in it as much as he loved Rin, most of all."
"Yet he gave his life for the mission, did he not? I would say that his sacrifice brought forth safety for the village. I do not see why we should mourn for that." Sai had replied, emotionally detached, his smile brought forth something that would have come off as mockery to anyone, but Kakashi, being the captain, let it slide. It was true.
Sakura scowled at Sai and admonished him, "SAI!"
Sasuke did not react personally, but he looked at Sai with as much apathy as he could. Kakashi had warned them of this boy's affiliations, a subordinate of a dubious organization, one who did not answer to the Hokage but rather an independent unit. He did not know if such a unit would be advisable to have in Konoha, because he thought that having that much power certainly will not give the Hokage any favors. The Sandaime Hokage had to have some form of leash or else, this group could organize a coup big enough to cause civil unrest within the village or stage one at that.
"That he did. That's why I try not to make his death useless. Obito remains alive with me." Kakashi replied, also smiling. Obito died for them. Died happily and willingly, died as a shinobi worthy of being a hero. Obito was Konoha's hero.
"So you're the delegates that Konoha has sent for this investigation, huh?" One of the Kusa nin had spoken, the quartet immediately stopped as Kakashi nodded.
"The Daimyo of Grass Country had to outsource this mission because of manpower, most of us are stuck doing border duty as of late."
Kakashi then added, "Yes, our information network has noticed an increase in border activity near Rain Country. There are worrisome reports indicating of Ame sending ninjas near their borders all around and shinobi had been mobilizing out of reaction. Still, I hope nothing happens and no incident occurs."
One of the Kusa Nin nodded, "That's true. We'd never been this tense since the start of the Third War. I don't want to have to live through that again."
"Bunch of cowards, don't you think?" Sai quipped, the two shinobi in front of them scowled at the boy's remark but it went ignored by the boy as he continued, "Conflict is inevitable. War will happen to those who have no qualms in pursuing conflict. And as soldiers, we must not have that hesitation when it comes to war. After all, life is cheap especially ours, is it no…"
Sai was suddenly cut off when Sakura had decked him hard enough that he was sent skidding on the ground.
"DON'T YOU DARE TALK ABOUT OUR LIVES LIKE THAT AS IF IT'S MEANINGLESS, YOU ASSHOLE!"
It brought a sore spot on Team Seven when a topic like this was brought up. That moment in Wave was all they could remember. And that mission changed them completely.
Sasuke turned to Sakura and held her shoulder with his hand, his silent presence telling her to calm down.
"Calm down, Sakura."
Sasuke then turned to Sai and walked towards his direction.
"You have a sharp tongue and you have only resorted to insults all on the way here and you keep destroying team dynamics with your words throughout this whole trip."
Sasuke mentioned as he stopped just right before their new teammate.
"What's your actual goal?" Sasuke asked, his Sharingan blaring to life as he stared at Sai who avoided his gaze in immediate reflex.
If Sasuke was surprised, he didn't show it. Opting instead to let the agent do his own thing as the Uchiha observed him.
To have that much reflexes was a testatment to severe ANBU training probably longer than he had. This type of experience was unnatural even for his own age.
"I am merely occupying the empty spot for your teammate." Sai replied, his smile never wavered but it was obvious that he was not looking at Sasuke directly.
"Listen up." Sasuke then brandished his sword and pointed the tip towards Sai.
"Much like you, I have no intentions of getting close to you. Team Seven is made up of me, Sakura, Naruto and Kakashi as our captain. Being part of this team means that you have to adapt to how we do things. We do not have to adjust to yours. I do not trust you, not one bit. Especially if you don't even…"
"Sasuke. That's enough." Kakashi interrupted him. Sasuke turned to his teacher and grunted as he placed his sword to its saya quietly.
Kakashi turned to the two Kusa ninja as he said, "I deeply apologize for my subordinate, he's new and he has very poor social graces when it comes to things like this."
The two kusa nin looked at each other and nodded as one of them replied to Kakashi, "So long as you keep that putrid mouth of his shut, I've no intention of blowing this up. It's bad enough we're all on edge."
Besides, that girl with the pink hair already laid the smackdown on that pretty boy. Too bad she didn't intentionally break the man's jaw.
Book Two Legacy Part Three, end
Well I'm back. I got too busy, I apologize. Being a doctor is busy work. That and a lot of stuff kept me from going back to this work every time and my laptop gave up while which resulted in my files being deleted COMPLETELY. And I am in the process of rewriting the first arc of book two. So there will be that.
But I'm not out of it yet. I'm busy but hanging on. I know some of my readers have lost patience and I truly apologize for that.
That and I just had to do a lot of romance research just to get to this point, still, I apologize. Read and review folks!
Original Jutsu corner:
Senkou 戦吼 (War cry) B-rank- A technique that sends a shockwave in a form of a tiger head in an explosive blast. This is modelled after the Tales of Series' Beast attack and some form of Gai's Hirudora
Byakko no Takashio 白虎の高潮 (Storm Surge of The White Tiger)- A-Rank- A jutsu that enhances striking speed while being enveloped by an orb of wind. This technique can surge all around an area and a single strike is potent enough to deal lethal damage. The orb of wind protects the user from any damage due to suddenly performing very fast attacks and also guards opponents by cutting anyone who can get close, a mobile version of the Hakkesho Kaiten and also modelled from The Aestevalis barrier attacks in the Nadesico series.
Shishishougeki 獅子掌攻撃 (Lion Palm Strike) B-Rank- Hinata's own original jutsu, a technique that is only one half of the original Juho Soshiken, it does what Juho Soshiken can do only at half strength. She can still siphon chakra with this attack, but only on the arm where Hinata activated this jutsu.