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Nothing Else Matters

Chapter Text

(In the outskirts of Konoha)

Running swiftly through the Forest of Hi no Kuni, Kushina cursed her luck. This wasn't how she imagined her little escapade would go. It seemed luck was not on her side today.

Everything had been going exactly as planned. The barrier around Konoha, a creation by Uzumaki Mito, had been infiltrated without much trouble. She continued her trip to the Hokage's residence and Senju compound and burgled them with ease.

The Hokage's residence was the one of the most important locations in the village. It was where the supreme leader of the village lived with his family and kept his most valued possessions. Yet it had been pathetically easy to break into. The Senju compound might have been a ghost town, but it was protected by so many seals that ANBU didn't even bother patrolling it. The seals were devised by Uzumaki Mito. Being an Uzumaki herself, Kushina found no trouble in entering and taking what she wanted from the abandoned compound.

Trouble began when she was in the hospital. She had assumed that it would have been the easiest place to access compared to the Hokage's residence and Senju compound.

She was very wrong.

Not because of increased security or anything, but because someone else was trying to take what she looking for. She ended up confronting the pale weirdo who was digging through frozen semen samples. After snatching the vial from his hands before he could react, he tried to attack her. In retaliation, she blew up half of the hospital with a Katon jutsu. She might have overreacted a bit.

Needless to say it didn't take long for her get swamped by ANBU, which lead to her current predicament, Running westwards through the forests of Hi no Kuni with most of the Konoha ANBU and Hunter-nin on her back. This was not a very pleasant situation at all.

At this rate, they would catch up to her in about ten minutes.

She had already sent multiple pulses of chakra to the seal temporarily etched on her right wrist, hoping to be saved by her clans mate. Nothing happened yet, so she assumed something happened to delay the reverse summoning. Honoka was a very punctual person. This was not like her at all.

She had to stall until that halfwit cousin of hers decided to be merciful and save her from this predicament. She could only use elemental Ninjutsu, chakra chains were off the table. If they knew her identity nothing in the elemental nations would stop them from hunting her down and ripping the Kyuubi out of her.

She was about to turn around and do some damage when she was forced to duck because of a kunai whizzing dangerously close to her head. Quickly turning around to look at her assailant, she was surprised to see four ANBU. They wore blank masks with the kanji for "Root" emblazoned on it.

Kushina landed on a branch and analyzed the children who landed on the ground below her. That's what they were, children. The oldest, a blonde, looked her age while the rest looked barely out of the academy. If she started a conflict with them she would give the ANBU time to catch up to her. She started to frantically channel chakra to the seal on her wrist and prayed to whatever god existed that Honoka had stopped twiddling her fingers and started the reverse summoning process.

"Be careful with that kunai, children your age shouldn't be playing around with sharp objects" she smirked and waited for the inevitable reply. All she got was silence.

'Konoha Shinobi are extremely prideful, why won't they talk back? And what's with their eyes? They look as dead as a doornail.' Remembering a talk she had with her embarrassment of a cousin gave her a clue

'Emotionless children being in places they shouldn't be, doing stuff they shouldn't be doing. These must be Danzo's pets.' She had heard of the Foundation from Tsunade after Mito-sama passed away. She had been warned that the old fool might make a move for the Kyuubi's power.

From what she heard, Danzo was a very cunning and pragmatic man, why would he order his men to follow her? Sure, she was running away with several priceless treasures that belong to Konoha, but surely he wouldn't waste resources trying to recapture her when The ANBU and the regular forces were already on the job.

Could he know her identity? From what she heard of the man he would give his genitals for the massive power the Kyuubi wields. But he had no way of knowing who she was. Her hair, her most defining feature, was behind her cloak and her face was behind a mask.

'I have to take care of them quickly, if those ANBU come catch up to me, I'm dead.' Hopefully, if Konoha saw her running towards Iwa with their possessions, it would increase the intensity of the war. In the months prior, it seemed that the second Shinobi war might be drawing to a close. This little stunt should reignite tensions and keep the fire burning for a few more months.

She couldn't use her signature sword because of the Uzumaki clan symbol on the sheath, the fact that she was an Uzumaki is something Konoha mustn't know. Summoning a Ninjato she nicked from the armory back home to her right hand, she prepared to jump headfirst into their group and start slicing. Clashing her sword with the one closest to her, channeling some of her notoriously potent chakra to her arms, she overpowered his sword and gave him a nasty slice from collarbone to hip, effectively taking him of the fight. Flipping backwards into the air when the blonde tried to blindside her, she was caught flatfooted when one of the remaining Root ANBU threw a fistful of kunai while her final enemy fired a Fuuton: Reppushou to increase the velocity of the thrown weapons.

Caught in mid-air with a dozen pointy things hurtling towards her, Kushina couldn't find leverage to dodge nor could she summon her chains to deflect them. Kushina hastily molded Katon chakra and brought two fingers up to her lips and transformed the Katon chakra into the shape of a roaring ball of fire that vaguely encompassed the Wind jutsu approaching her. The fire swallowed the wind, melted the kunai and burned one of the children, charring the ground below him, the other being saved by the apparent squad leader, who put him on the ground after rescuing him.

'He could have cut me in half before I touched the ground, but he decided to save his teammate, how very… emotional'

She smirked at the unexpected turn of events and taunted the weakling in front of her, hoping to rile him up and lead him to losing his cool. "And here I thought Danzo trained you well. It seems that chest of yours isn't so hollow after all."

Silence was all she got in return. Damn, these guys were no fun at all. The child started going through hand seals for a water jutsu while the blonde started channeling Raiton chakra into his kunai in what seemed to be coordinated attack between them.

She prepared for round 2 of their fun play session when she simultaneously detected chakra seeping into the reverse summoning seal and five chakra sources landing a small ways from her. It seems the Konoha ANBU were here, thankfully Honoka decided to get off her ass and reverse summon her to safety.

"You have no chance of escaping, If you come willingly you may not be executed."

Initially the Konoha ANBU were hostile to her and her two previous opponents, but upon seeing their masks they recognized that she was the only enemy present, though they still seemed wary of the child-soldiers.

She gave a mischievous smile and started waving goodbye to everyone present. "It's been fun Blondie-chan, I hope to never see you or your pitiful organization ever again." She barely finished the last syllable before she burst into smoke, signaling her exit.

(Below the ruins of Uzushiogakure no Sato)

Popping into a sealing matrix in the middle of a dingy room under the ruins of a long lost country, Kushina felt her blood boil when she saw her thrice-damned cousin with that damned emotionless face of hers, as if she didn't almost kill her. She started slowly walking towards Honoka, who was slightly rattled by seeing her cousin with a face that personified fury, and smacked her loudly atop the head.

"I could've been killed, you idiot! What took you so long?"

Kushina was so furious that her face was a shade of red that matched her hair and her lungs were empty of air.

Recovering from the debilitating strike to the head, Honoka retaliated with a chakra enhanced kick to the shin. Looking her dimwitted cousin's awestruck face, Honoka had to admit that she felt cursed to be living with such a person. She might be her only living family that she knew of, but Kami she was slow.

"I wouldn't have taken so long if you hadn't messed up the seal you idiot! Do you know how long it took me to fix your mess? And you hounding me with those chakra signals definitely didn't help. The receiver seal would have been destroyed had you channeled a bit more chakra."

Kushina was surprised if the look on her face was anything to go by. Honoka might have been the younger of the two, but she was definitely the expert in the field of Fuinjutsu. Kushina had begged her to use Kushina's design of a reverse summoning array, to show her how far she'd come in her studies of the art. Reluctantly, she agreed to it. She knew field testing a seal in the middle of an important mission was not very wise, but her cousin had a knack for convincing arguments, which mostly consisted of pestering people until they gave her whatever it is she wanted.

Everything had been going peachy, she had been reading a book on the origin of chakra that she had taken from the untouched library on the outskirts of the village she and Kushina found when they first arrived, when Kushina sent a signal into the dispatcher seal. Naturally Honoka rushed to rescue Kushina from the undoubtedly dangerous situation she was in, when she found that the damned reverse summoning was not functioning properly. She unraveled the seal to find out what the problem was when she found a whole slew of problems. The design of the seal was definitely creative, as expected of Kushina, she wasn't a conventional person by a long shot.

The trouble was in the application of the symbols and kanji. Midway through the seal it seemed almost as if Kushina got bored halfway through the process of rigorously drawing symbols and started drawing random squiggles and nonsensical phrases. Honoka was so baffled by this that she didn't even take her eyes off the monstrosity for about three minutes. She was able to fix all the "mistakes" her scatterbrained cousin made and summon her before she was a corpse.

Honoka didn't even deign to explain the whole situation to Kushina, she would just forget about it after three minutes and repeat the mistake at a later date. Whoever said "more chakra is good chakra" mustn't have known an Uzumaki Jinchuuriki. Having her chakra coils overflowing with chakra might be considered a blessing, but Honoka thanked the gods that she was born with an unnatural of Yin chakra, giving her increased cognitive functions and brain power, unlike Kushina whose chakra is abundant with the physical side of chakra, the Yang. Kushina might be able to best a full team of ANBU, but she had the attention span of goldfish. The only reason she learned Fuinjutsu was because of her clan heritage. Hell, half the time she doesn't even use the Fuinjutsu that requires writing and drawing symbols, she just uses the ones that can be formed using her chakra.

The younger redhead attempted to steer the conversation towards something beneficial before Kushina retaliated to her kick. "Did you get it?"

Kushina's mood did a complete one-eighty when the she was asked about her mission objective. She couldn't wait to flaunt her achievements in front of Honoka. She guessed Honoka wouldn't even react to the fact that she basically did the impossible by breaking into Konoha, burgling a bunch of their most valuable possessions killing a bunch of ANBU and basically spitting in the face of the retrieval force that came to return the items to their village. Of course, she would exaggerate the story a bit, adding a bit of extra details that made her more of a badass then she already was. Honoka wouldn't be impressed though. She wouldn't understand how difficult infiltration and "repossession" of priceless artifacts is. She spends most of her time reading books and drawing seals. She was grown enough to admit that the little tyke was better than her in that particular field, but Honoka wouldn't understand the more physical side of the Shinobi life.

Plastering a smug grin on her face, completely forgetting about the fact that Honoka kicked her, something would usually bring even more ruin to the island had it happened at any other time, this time was different, she came bearing gifts!

Before Kushina started her overdramatic retelling of the events, Honoka moved her way from the sealing array, dragging her to a chair in the corner of the sealing chamber and sat down next her and started the conversation.

"Well? Out with it, did you get the samples or not?"

Her grin widened a bit at that, she had done that and more. "I did get the samples and a bit more"

Gods she was such a child. She questioned who the elder one in this particular relationship was. You couldn't just ask for information from Kushina, no, you have to coerce it from her piece by piece while she had that victorious expression on her face.

"What do you mean by 'a bit more'? You couldn't have gotten that much, the trip Konoha takes three days and you were gone for exactly three days and eight hours? Breaking through the barrier around Konoha would have taken half that time."

"Oh, that barrier was absolutely pathetic. It wasn't even a physical barrier, just a detection barrier. It took me less than half an hour to infiltrate it. I could've completely wiped the seal in three hours if I wanted to."

Honoka quickly figured out the reason why the foremost expert on seals would produce such subpar work. "Mito-sama must have been forced to dumb her seals down so they could be modified and maintained by future Konoha Shinobi. The poor woman must have suffered living with the imbeciles for most of her life."

"Well, after I Infiltrated the village, I killed the two ANBU guarding the Hokage residence and stole the forbidden scroll right under the geezers nose"

Honoka was slightly impressed by her cousin's work, stealing from a kage while he was in his residence is no easy task to be sure. Still, she would take everything with a grain of salt, Kushina might be skilled but some of her claimed feats were just too ridiculous to believe and she wasn't averse to muddying a story to make it more dramatic. Still, that was Kushina. She had a penchant for the dramatic.

"Good, the scroll will be useful to our plans. What else?"

Slightly miffed by Honoka's dismissal of her wondrous achievements, Kushina huffed and continued, resisting the urge to slug her cousin in the head for bringing her mood down.

"I broke into the Senju compound and retrieved all the scrolls Mito-sama brought to Konoha with her, as well as the ones she penned in Konoha. I also took all of Hashirama's Mokuton scrolls, They'll help my children in mastering their Kekkei Genkai without any guesswork."

"What about our clan's mask shrine? Did you find what we needed there?"

Kushina frowned "Unfortunately, no, I took all the artifacts on the shrine grounds. At the time, my cover was blown and ANBU were looking for me, I didn't have time to find and access the seals to go to the levels below ground."

Honoka didn't seem to be too rattled by the news. "While that is a disappointment, at least they're hidden from those who seek our clan's power. Nobody but an Uzumaki with training in our clan's sealing style would be able to decipher those seals."

"That's good to hear, it would be disastrous if somebody got their hands on our sealing techniques." Even while saying that, Kushina wasn't too concerned, Uzumaki seals were beyond most Shinobi. Even Minato-chan's sensei, Jiraiya of the Sannin, who was hailed as Konoha's greatest seal-master, would have trouble understanding the most basic Uzumaki seals. Only ones with the blood of the sage can hope to have a basic knowledge of Uzumaki Fuinjutsu. Tobirama Senju was a good example of this, being a Senju gave him some of the Sages innate understanding of the intricate art, with that knowledge, he created the Hiraishin no Jutsu. Of course, most of the actual sealwork was done by his sister-in-law, Mito Uzumaki.

The Uzumaki were the true heirs of the sage. The Senju and Uchiha might have forgotten about their origins amidst their pointless conflict, but the Uzumaki never forgot about their birth from the son of the progenitor of chakra. While the Senju and Uchiha were gifted with the Rikudo's body and eyes respectively, the Uzumaki were blessed to receive a fraction of the sage's thick chakra, both Yin and Yang, and the sages incredible life-force. Most importantly, they inherited his ideals of peace and coexistence, which their cousin clans ignored completely. Hashirama might have been a seeker of peace, but the same couldn't be said about his clan. The conflict between the Uchiha and Senju had been going since the spread of Chakra, and the aggression was not as one-sided as history liked to portray.

The Uzumaki were completely different, they didn't seek conflict, the first Hokage Summit was held in Uzushiogakure no Sato for a reason. The newly appointed kages knew that the island inhabiting clan would give an arm and a leg for long-lasting peace. Fat load of good that did them, The Uzumaki were destroyed, preaching about peace while being slaughtered like dogs. No more. The new Uzumaki clan wouldn't have such foolish ideals.

No, Kushina would ensure her clan would only look out for themselves, fretting about the Senju and Uchiha had only gotten them killed. She didn't want to see her children die for an impossible dream just as the rest of her clan did, family came first to her, she did know best, after all, she knew how being alone felt. When her clan shipped her off to Konoha for 'peace', she learned that her life was pointless without the bonds she had shared with her family. When she heard her clan was slaughtered, she felt an emptiness she hadn't felt before. Sitting in that lonely apartment in Konoha taught her the meaning of true despair. It was then she decided that she wouldn't be alone again, only family could fill the hole in her heart.

"I have also acquired Hashirama's genetic material." Kushina said in an uncharacteristically serious manner, breaking the silence that had befallen the two.

"Good, the revival of our clan will benefit from his Mokuton. Now I just need to finish the blood purging seal so the children will be pure-blooded, unfortunately, it might take some time." Honoka replied in an equally serious tone.

Kushina went back to her normal self and gave a mischievous grin. "You should take your time, we have to wait for your body to mature before you're impregnated."

Honoka almost groaned when she was reminded of her 'role' in the resurrection of her clan, she knew why she was the more eligible of the two, but she still didn't like it. "Can you please change your mind on that? I don't think I'm suited for motherhood."

Kushina answered promptly, this had been the thousandth time they had this particular argument. "You know I can't do that Honoka-chan, I'm a Jinchuuriki after all, childbirth would weaken me greatly. Don't worry too much, I'm sure my children wouldn't give you that much trouble, they will take after their mother, after all"

Honoka almost let loose a few tears at that, hanging around Kushina was painful enough, having to carry two clones of her in her stomach for nine months would amount to torture. Thankfully, Kushina would take the role of their mother, she was just chosen as a surrogate mother to carry Kushina's fertilized eggs. Getting pregnant was akin to suicide for a Jinchuuriki. Kushina had told of her stories of Mito's pregnancy, how she almost died giving birth to her only child. Only the presence of Hashirama's Mokuton and Iryo Ninjustu kept her alive.

Kushina had inherited the stronger genes of her clan, her blood was purer than any Uzumaki alive, she also manifested the Kongo Fusa, a secret technique requiring extremely thick chakra and gargantuan reserves to handle the strain of physically manifesting chakra. Kushina was chosen as one who will bear children to revive their clan, unfortunately, there was the slight problem of her being a Jinchuuriki. They came up with the brilliant plan of performing a surgery that was described in one of the medical scrolls her clan produced, it involved the transfer of Kushina's fertilized eggs into Honoka, who would bear the grueling task of carrying twin Uzumaki. She couldn't help but shudder in despair at her cruel fate.

Another period of silence descended on the two, leaving each to ponder their thoughts about the future of their clan.

"Have you finished the book?"Kushina asked carefully

"No, but I think I have all the necessary information." Honoka replied without giving away anything

"How long?"

Honoka seemed to ponder on her question "I would estimate 20 years, give or take a few months"

Kushina got up from her chair, indicating the end of their conversation. "Three more years. That should give you plenty of time to complete the seal and and mature your body to handle the strain of childbirth. It will give us time to wander the nations and look for any of our kinsmen, we might find some of them, even with the Shinobi world embroiled in war. It would also mean that they would be sixteen by the time our plans come to fruition."

Honoka also got up from her chair, their conversation hadn't ended quickly enough for her, she wanted to finish reading all the books in the Uzumaki library before she was forced to leave and follow Kushina on her travels. Honestly, she was tempted to use Kage Bunshin to finish the damn thing. "I can't wait" Her voice was obviously dripping with sarcasm.

After Kushina left the room, undoubtedly to train in something or other, Honoka promptly returned to the book she dropped on the floor upon Kushina's arrival into the sealing chamber, picking it up carefully, she continued regaling herself in the tale of the Otsutsuki clan, the ones who gave chakra to the world and birthed the Shinobi system. The tailed beasts and the divine tree. A story so fantastical it was almost ridiculous to consider to be fact, but she, being an Uzumaki, knew the truth behind the origin of chakra. She knew that Hagoromo Otsutsuki foolishly entrusted the world with chakra hoping to end war, seeing his oldest and youngest, Indra and Ashura fighting over what he thought was trivial, he entrusted his middleborn, Kennyo, with the task of protecting his brother's descendants from extinction. Kennyo followed his father's words to a tee.

The Uzumaki saved the Uchiha and Senju from extinction several times, each time hoping that the pain of loss would overcome the need for revenge,but as soon as the clans recovered from whatever rut they found themselves in, they were at each others throats. Until eight years ago, when the Uzumaki were wiped out. The Senju have fallen from the most prosperous clan to having one member, Senju Tsunade, The Sannin, her little brother Nawaki dying on a mission less than a month ago.

The Uchiha would follow soon too, she heard that they weren't treated well in Konoha and it was only a matter of time for a prideful clan such as the Uchiha to lash out. With the extinction of the two cursed clans, the Uzumaki would remain the sole carriers of the sages blood, then they would be free to fulfill their ambition, her and Kushina would make sure of it.

Chapter Text

(Below the ruins of Uzushiogakure no Sato)

Kushina began to regret living below ground. She knew her heart needed to be close to her old home, but the tunnels beneath Uzu were just too depressing. It reminded her of the evacuation practice drills she did when she was a young student at the academy. She could only imagine the atmosphere and the feeling of utter despair that permeated these tunnels when the last of Uzu's defenses fell. This place was an emergency shelter, but it was also a mass suicide chamber. Ashina Uzumaki, not wanting his family to be captured, sold and bred like common animals, activated the Space-time Ninjutsu that covered the chamber and trapped all the non-combatants in a storage seal, which he later destroyed.

Humans can't be preserved in storage seal, so everyone who was in this chamber at the time, thousands of women and children were dead in a matter of seconds.

She didn't know who to blame for that, was it Kiri, Kumo and Iwa, for their nonsensical fear of the unknown? or Konoha, for their apparent abandonment of their closest allies? Ashina Uzumaki was at fault as well, the fool believed himself above conflict and war. The peace loving fool didn't even mobilize the ninja forces at the start of the second Shinobi war, believing that the ninja villages would leave his clan out of the conflict.

Alas, this was the Shinobi world, nobody was spared, the weak were killed and the naïve were rightly exploited. Only the greedy, deceptive and pragmatic thrive in this world. It was a clan of fools led by an even greater fool, a case of blind leading the blind. Kushina learned from her family's mistake. Everyone who wasn't an Uzumaki was an enemy. Giving someone your trust is akin to exposing your back to them, letting them plunge a kunai into it. Having faith in people to do the good thing is the stupidest thing a person can do in this world. The strong ate the weak and a friend was someone who hadn't betrayed you yet. The only truth was family and blood.

Her experiences and the pain of losing her clan gave her this pessimistic view of the world. She loved her clan dearly, memories of growing up in Uzu were remembered fondly. She still despised her clan for their naivety. How can a clan prosper in the shinobi world with such foolish ideals? Peace was an improbable dream, only a careful balance between unstoppable power and compassion can grant long lasting peace, but even that wasn't long lasting, humans were mortal beings after all. If the peacekeepers died, the world would be plunged into war once again, and the cycle of war would start anew. Only the divine were truly immortal.

Getting tired of her philosophical musings, Kushina got off her comfy bed and dressed herself in her travelling clothes, a short black skirt and a sleeveless shirt under a yellow Kimono top tied with a black Obi. Putting on her knee length socks and comfy black sandals completed her attire. She found that travelling dressed as civilian was much easier than her dark blue Uzu Jonin outfit, as fighting common bandits was easier than fighting Hunter-nin. Showing off her legs also got her past many checkpoints without much trouble. She finished her off her dressing up by putting on her hairpin. Today she and Honoka would start their journey around the elemental nations, they would travel for little more than two and a half years, returning to start the process of reviving her clan. Finished with her wardrobe, she walked towards the stairs leading to the surface. Her ambition, the ambition of the Uzumaki, wouldn't be achieved by lazing about.

She and her cousin didn't actually live in the ruins of the destroyed village, they lived in an old tunnel network which was used as a food storage facility and a shelter for emergencies. While it may seem more sensible to live in the village, the pain of living among the corpses of your clansmen was too much for them to bear. This place was also closer to the hidden library of the Uzumaki clan, the place where the accumulated knowledge of the Uzumaki clan was stored, so that made it much more convenient.

Reaching the surface of the island-nation, she found Honoka sitting on top of a tree branch reading a book while her legs were swinging rhythmically. Looking at her cousin, she grinned when she remembered the sheer panic and distress that was on her face yesterday. Unlike Kushina, Honoka never left Uzu no Kuni since their arrival five years ago, so it wasn't that surprising to see Honoka frantically trying to seal about three thousand books to read on their journey. "I don't want to run out of reading material" she said.

"Honoka-chan," Kushina called with a voice that was a bit too loud "Are you ready to leave?"

Rubbing her ear from the shrill voice piercing her eardrums, Honoka sighed exasperatedly. Seriously, it was early morning. Where does Kushina get all her energy from? Closing her book and jumping down from her perch atop the tree branch, she addressed her overly energetic cousin. "I'm as ready as I can be I guess."

"C'mon Honoka-chan, where's your spirit, your enthusiasm? Aren't you just a little bit excited to go explore the world with your darling cousin?'

Honoka gave a slight smile "I am excited, I'm just really going to miss this place. We're going to be gone for a long time."

Kushina gave her an easygoing grin. "Don't worry, we'll be back before you know it. It'll be good for you to come out of your dark and dingy dungeon and see the outside world."

Honoka ignored the dig at her introverted tendencies and steered the conversation elsewhere. "What are we waiting for? I've already packed all my stuff in my storage seal." Civilians carrying large scrolls and travelling from country to country isn't a sight you normally see, hence why they both had an assortment of seals on both their hands that function as storage space.

"Let's go then" Honoka walked away from her home beside her cousin until they reached a ways from the tunnel entrance. Kushina started a 26 seal combination and bent down to touch the ground with her middle and index finger, kanji spread from the point she touched the ground and spread rapidly until it encompassed a circle with a radius of half a kilometer around the tunnel entrance. The symbols glowed before disappearing. "All done, I guess we'll return here in a couple years."

They took a couple of seconds to give a last glance to the place they lived for the last seven years, they took off towards the coastline.

(Two days later, Yugakure no Sato)

"Ah, this is the life" Kushina sighed in contentment, the hot springs of Yugakure lived up to their reputation. Sitting across from her was Honoka, Who had a frown marring her face.

Honoka was not so pleased. "How the hell is this place even considered a hidden village? There are literally road signs pointing towards its direction." Kushina gave a little chuckle at Honoka's statement.

It's true, even Kushina was surprised by the big sign they encountered that pointed towards the direction of the "hidden" village. After they left Uzu, they reached the mainland within a day of traveling by boat and walked to the nearest hidden village to begin their journey. A couple of bandits thought that a pair of teenage girls were easy pickings, other than that, the journey was fairly safe considering it was a time of war. Yugakure's security measures were pathetic as well, not even needing any form of identification to enter the village.

"Most people think that it'll transform into a tourist attraction by the end of the war, it's halfway there, most of the people entering the village look like rich merchants." Kushina said in a casual manner.

The frown on Honoka's face merely deepened "They'll only get slaughtered, demobilizing during a time of war is suicide, especially in Yugakure's case."

Kushina raised an eyebrow at Honoka's statement. It was true, Yugakure was located between Konoha and Kumo, the only thing protecting Yu no Kuni from turning into a giant battlefield was the presence of Yugakure's Shinobi. Demobilizing before the end of the war would guarantee that a most of the conflict between Konoha and Kumo would take place in their lands. But why did Honoka care? Usually she was the pessimistic one. "And why do you care? It's not as if Yugakure factors into our plan."

Honoka gave Kushina a glance out of the corner of her eye. "It reminds of," she paused for a second "Forget I said anything"

"Fine. So what do you want to talk about? We're going to stay here for a while before we continue our journey, so we might as well get comfortable."

Honoka was slightly surprised by the weird question "What do you expect us to talk about? Boys and fashion, Kushina? We're Shinobi, there's no need for needless chatter."

Kushina sighed, her cousin was such boring company. So what if she wanted to talk about trivial day to day stuff? It was a better than depressing Shinobi talk.

Honoka thought about it for a couple of seconds, Kushina might be a bit scatterbrained, but she had a one track mind when it came to her goals. Resting her hand on the stones outside of the hot spring, she applied a bit of chakra, symbols glowed from her hand and surrounded the hot spring in a silencing seal.

"Why don't we talk about how you escaped from Konoha? You might have been quite talented at the time, but how does the Jinchuuriki of the Kyuubi slip between Konoha's fingers?"

Kushina looked at her cousin for a couple of seconds before sighing "It was quite easy actually. I was kidnapped by a Kumo-nin. They wanted to use me to start an Uzumaki clan in Kumo, a pointless endeavor, the fools didn't do their research apparently. They put chakra suppressing on me, I was rescued by a classmate of mine, Minato Namikaze, he somehow beat up three Kumo Jonin and rescued me. After he gave me a sappy speech, he took off the chakra suppression seals my kidnappers placed on me. I had decided to escape my Konoha months before and it seemed a good opportunity to do just that, when he got close so he can carry me back to Konoha, I stabbed him through the stomach with a chakra chain and knocked him out with chop to the back of the neck and started travelling eastwards towards Uzu."

Honoka was looking at her cousin with slightly wide eyes after she finished her story. "I knew you can be cruel, but don't you think you were a bit too harsh?"

Kushina looked downwards, she had been wracked with guilt for several days after she escaped, she knew Minato didn't die, the injuries she inflicted on him would have allowed him to live for several days before he needed medical attention. Minato was a nice boy, if a bit girly and creepy with the way he was always following her. She knew she had to do it though, Minato was fiercely loyal to Konoha. He wouldn't have hesitated to drag unconscious body her back to the village if he knew of her intention to desert Konoha. No, what she did was for the best. The look of betrayal he gave her when she turned on him was still a bitter memory though.

"I did what I had to do, Minato was a Shinobi, he would understand." Great, leave it to Honoka to depress the most cheerful person in the world.

(Six months later)

Kushina and Honoka stayed in Yugakure longer than they had originally anticipated. The relaxed atmosphere of the village proved a comforting distraction from the hectic nature of the Shinobi world. The Second Shinobi war had just ended, Konoha having emerged victorious over Suna, Iwa and Kumo. There were no other major events, except the madman who slaughtered half of Yugakure's ninja force when it was officially announced as no longer being a hidden ninja village. Immortal bastard got away with it too. Too bad he got away as well, Honoka would have loved to learn the secret behind his unique abilities.

Honoka was currently sitting on on a chair in their apartment working on a seal that was sprawled out in front of her, a seal that would figuratively 'cleanse' someone's blood, cutting of their biological ties to one or both parents. The seal was to be used when the twins were born. She had easily created a rudimentary version of the seal but the hard part was isolating a specific Kekkei Genkai and retaining it after the process was finished. Kushina had wanted her children to be pure-blooded Uzumaki, while still having Mokuton. The seal would be applied a few months after birth, to give their chakra coils enough time to mature for the drastic change the seal would create.

Mokuton was vital for their plans, not to mention it would increase their affinity to nature, allowing them better control over nature chakra when they eventually master it.

Mokuton technically wasn't a Kekkei Genkai, it was a Kekkei Tota, a mix of three elements, Suiton, Doton and Yōton, the manipulation of Yang chakra. It was the Yang that 'breathed' life into the soil and created trees and other flora. It was classified as Kekkei Genkai because nobody really understood the inner workings of it. The only one who manifested it, Hashirama, had a body overflowing with so much Yang chakra that it was automatically infused in every Jutsu he released, thus unknowingly creating Mokuton when he tried to fuse Suiton and Doton. The Uzumaki instantly knew the nature behind Hashirama's Kekkei Genkai when they heard about his subjugation of the Bijuu. Mokuton had a calming effect on Bijuu and was able to suppress their chakra, just like the Uzumaki chakra chains, which were made purely of Yang chakra.

She still had a ways to go before she could say the thing was completed, it was quite frustrating to be so close yet so far. Kushina wasn't any help either, she couldn't even get her to look at the seal for more than five minutes.

While Honoka was working on the seal, Kushina was keeping her ear to the ground about any surviving Uzumaki. The best she got was a rumor about a red haired woman in Kusagakure who's blood could heal the most fatal of injures. She was being forced to work for shelter in the hidden grass, she heard. Nobody wanted to give Uzumaki refuge unless they can be used, no doubt she'll be thrown away like a worn tool when her use runs out. Although she was using her ability to heal the Shinobi of the village, she was still treated as an outsider, no doubt she wanted out of the life she's currently living, and Kushina wanted the hidden grass to burn for what they did to their cousin.

Her ability sounded like the Uzumaki Kekkei Genkai that Honoka gained a couple of years ago. The epitome of Medical Ninjutsu, without any training required. In simple terms, it was the opposite of the Kongo Fusa. Instead of the body having extreme amounts of Yang chakra which allows it to physically manifest, users of Shosaku Sen had an extraordinarily compressed amount of Yin chakra in their chakra network, which is the chakra used for all medical ninjutsu.

A drop of their blood, which is the most viable, non disgusting way of consuming someone's chakra, would heal the most grievous of injuries. Of course, people could just consume the blood directly from the skin via biting, that heal people much faster, but that is a huge drain on the user's life force, oftentimes being lethal. It was only a matter of time before the hidden grass took her abilities for granted and start overworking her to death. She had to rescue her before that eventuality occurs.

Entering the apartment they've been living in for the last six months, Kushina spotted Honoka face deep in yet another scroll. Kushina cleared her throat to knock Honoka out of her knowledge induced stupor. "Honoka-chan, pack all of your stuff, we're continuing our journey towards the hidden grass."

Honoka was initially sad about having to leave Yugakure, it was, in her mind, the best place to do research, nothing is better than a nice soak in the hot springs after ten hours of looking at a piece of paper in a dark room, but when she heard the name of their destination, she was more than a little confused. "Kusagakure no sato, I thought we weren't going to try to enter any hidden villages now that the war is over? You said that yourself."

"The situation has changed, there are rumors about an Uzumaki in Kusagakure, I have no doubt she's being exploited for her abilities."

By the time Kushina finished her sentence, Honoka was giving her her full attention, this was big, they've been looking for any of their lost kinsmen for years and have come up empty handed. The most they found were rumors about redheaded kids being sold off as Uzumaki. There was also that ridiculous thing that happened in the leaf a few years back, when half of Konoha's female population dyed their hair red after Kushina escaped to get Minato's attention.

This was different, if this person truly manifested their abilities, then there was no doubt about their lineage. "What abilities does she have?"

"Apparently, she has a good control over the Shosaku sen."

Honoka gained a slightly apprehensive look. "Have they..?" Honoka asked, hoping for the best.

"No, all of the rumors I heard were about her blood having the ability to heal wounds, nothing about direct biting of the skin, it seems she hasn't been disfigured yet, though it's only a matter of time before they discover that part of her ability." Kushina was rarely this serious about anything, but this time she was putting up a serious face to keep herself from going over to Kusagakure and slaughtering the bastards who dare use her kin as Yin chakra dispensary. This was the reality of the world, Uzumaki were forced to flee and hide, when they show themselves they would be exploited and taken advantage of because of their unique abilities, these were the fruits of Ashina Uzumaki's hypocrisy, damning his clan to this fate, all so he can claim to have the moral high ground.

Kusagakure would pay dearly for their actions, for what they've done, blood will repaid in blood, a nasty smirk plastered itself on Kushina's face, yes that would be a good way to pay the fools back for their arrogance.

"I'll start packing immediately." Honoka was slightly creeped out by the half smirk on her cousin's face, she knew the ill intentions were not directed at her, but that didn't make it any better.

(Three days later, Ta no Kuni)

"Kushina, you need to slow down! We'll be exhausted by the time we reach Kusagakure at this rate." Honoka almost screamed at the older redhead, sweat dripping down her face as she jumped off another branch, they've been travelling at a ridiculous pace for a couple of days, she even changed her traveling outfit for an Uzushiogakure Jonin outfit and geared up for a war, abandoning all semblance of stealth and subtlety. Since they've left Yugakure Kushina has been running like a woman possessed, they haven't taken a break in fourteen hours, Uzumaki or not, Honoka was on her last leg, a couple of miles and she would collapse.

Kushina grimaced, this was the third time in the last hour her cousin had asked for a break, she knew she was being a bit of a harsh taskmaster. She couldn't help it though, her kinsmen was most likely suffering in Kusagakure's hands, how could she take breaks let alone sleep when her blood was suffering? Nevertheless, the Shinobi part of her won the argument, it wouldn't to be good for them to be ambushed in their current situation.

Kushina stopped on branch and sighed, taking a break would be the most logical thing to do at this moment. They should set up camp and rest for the night, there was about eight hours until sunrise. That should be an adequate resting period. Ta no Kuni had no hidden village so the worst they can expect is a couple bandits, a few Kage Bunshin keeping watch with a perimeter seal and hidden explosive tags should suffice. "Take a break Honoka-chan, I'll set up everything."

Honoka sat down beneath a tree branch and laid her back on the tree behind her. Sighing at the comfort of not standing on her own weight. Honoka had never seen Kushina like this, she had known Kushina had a cold killer persona she wore on mission, but she never went with her on missions, opting to stay at Uzu and conduct research.

It took a couple of minutes for her to catch her breath and for the healing factor the Shosaku Sen provides her to begin mending all the torn and strained muscles in her body. Starting to breath normally, she got up and slowly walked where Kushina and a few Kage Bunshin were setting up camp. "Who's taking first watch?"

Kushina turned towards and raised an eyebrow "You're in no position to keep watch, you were about to collapse a few minutes ago. Sleep, my clones will stay up through the night and keep watch."

Honoka wanted to protest for the sake of her pride, but she knew how tired she was. Unsealing and setting up her ten in a hasty manner, she joined Kushina around the campfire she had her clones eat her dinner before she returned to her tent.

(5 hours later, Camp in Ta no Kuni)

Honoka wanted to slug Kushina in the face when she woke her from her beauty sleep, but the look on her face told her it wasn't the time.

"Wake up, there's someone out there." With that said, Kushina promptly left Honoka's tent to prepare for the eventual attack, she sensed more than a few people when they entered the range of her shadow clones' Kagura Shingan, they were more than a few, a lot more. Waling to the middle of the camp, in between the two tents and the extinguished campfire in front of her, Kushina closed her eyes, held her right hand in a ram seal and focused her sensing abilities.

Two, six, thirteen, twenty two, twenty two unknowns, their chakra was fairly weak so she wasn't too concerned about their strength. Two in particular had Jonin level reserves. These weren't common bandits, probably one of the clans inhabiting the countryside, if so, they weren't a threat at all. These clans barely had enough fortune to feed themselves, they must have turned to petty thievery when the times got too hard. She figured the Daimyo of ta no Kuni would rather pay Konoha or Kumo's services than sustain an entire clan.

Just when Honoka came out of her tent, five of her enemies dropped onto the clearing in front of them. She gave a mental order to her clones to take care of the enemies hiding in the trees surrounding them.

A giant of a man walked in front of the group, he was fairly tanned and had noticeable bags under his eyes, he was wearing a black shirt, blue baggy pants and a ridiculous looking cloak, he also carried a fairly large Zanbato on his back. All in all, he looked quite the intimidating figure, if Kushina hadn't sensed his chakra capacity earlier she would have been slightly worried.

"Alright girlie, this how this gonna go, you drop all your money and valuables on the ground and me and my clansmen don't rough you up too bad."

Kushina narrowed her eyes and responded to the muscle mountain "Clansmen? So you are a ninja clan. Being reduced to common thievery, pathetic. Do you whore your women out too? Leave before whatever patience I have runs out."

They were gritting their teeth and squeezing their tools to almost bend the metal. The leader of the group charged towards her and screamed "The Fūma have their pride, you asked for it bitch"

Wanting to test the capabilities of the unknown clan, she didn't want to to dispose of them too fast. As soon the buffoon got close to her, three of his followers charged, no doubt trying to capitalize on any mistake she makes in the initial exchange. Summoning her signature katana to her hand, she charged forward.

Dodging the reckless lunge, she swung to take the fool's head off. She was caught completely off guard when what looked like a pyramid made of chakra appeared in the trajectory of her swing and blocked her swing and disappeared. 'Jinton!' She thought in alarm. After a moment of panic, she figured it wasn't Jinton, Dust release disintegrates at a molecular level, this thing just deflects, most likely Kekkai Ninjutsu of some kind. She dodged the swing the brute aimed at her after the strange Ninjutsu dissipated and jumped back to analyze the technique she just witnessed. She only had to take care of these fools, the rest of their clan were being taken care of by her Kage Bunshin with a bit of help from Honoka.

Looking at each individual in their group, she saw that three were surrounding their leader while the fifth was a ways back with his hands in a seal. Figuring that he was the source of the defensive technique that deflected her attack, she made him her primary target.

She channeled Katon chakra to her katana and charged at the group of four. Dodging the kunai that one of the grunts threw at her she lunged for the closest ones' chest, surprisingly, no pyramid of any shape blocked her attack. She assumed that the Ninjutsu user only protects the leader of the group. Pulling her sword out of the dead mans chest, she charged at the leader, Hanzaki his men called him. Before she got close to him however, she was surrounded by the same chakra pyramid as before.

"We finally got you, bitch." Swinging her katana at the barrier, she hoped it would break. It didn't give. To make things worse, the damn pyramid was slowly getting smaller, constricting her body.

Getting tired of playing games with weaklings, she manifested four chakra chains and sent them to stab each of the four remaining Fuma clan members in the chest. The chains stabbed through the barrier like a knife through butter. An explosion ringed out, dissipating her chakra chains before they reached the last enemy, the one responsible for the three-dimensional chakra pyramids.

The man seemed completely and utterly shocked. "Impossible! My Jubaku Mandara can't be broken!"

Kushina looked at the pitiful man in disgust. "You overestimate yourself, trash. I could've broken through that barrier with my katana had I channeled chakra through it, I only used the Kongo Fusa to kill all four of your comrades simultaneously." One of her chakra chains impaled him through the chest before he could react.

Sealing her katana, Kushina sighed and ran a hand through her hair, those guys were much more troublesome than she anticipated. She would have welcomed the challenge any other time, but she needed to find the Uzumaki in Kusagakure as soon as possible.

Hearing footsteps and the crunching of grass behind her, she turned around to see a grinning Honoka who asked her "Did you have fun?"

Huffing, Kushina cheekily replied. "Can't say I did, they were all weak"

Honoka's grin widened "I had a lot of fun, turns out that the Interrogation seal I designed works, so does the pain inducing seal, though that one works a bit too well." Her grin faltered a bit at the end of her statement.

Nodding, Kushina dispelled her clones. "Get ready, we're continuing towards Kusagakure."

Honoka sighed in defeat, she missed Yugakure already, she would kill for a nice soak in the hot springs.

Chapter Text

(Outskirts of Kusagakure no Sato, Early sunrise)

Peeking through the trees at a small house in the middle of the woods, Kushina focused her attention on the redhead sitting on a chair in front of it. She had chin length red hair in a bob style, a noticeably inflated belly, a circular face and was wearing faded out civilian clothing that seemed to be worn out.

"She definitely is an Uzumaki, her chakra and hair is proof enough. I didn't expect her to be this fat though, she must've overindulged on ramen or something."

Honoka shook her head, anyone else would have questioned if her cousin had a mental deficiency, unfortunately, she was used to this. "She's not fat, she's pregnant you dolt."

Kushina grew a sheepish grin "Oh, that makes much more sense." Then, as if a light bulb suddenly lit in her head "Wait a minute, this only adds more question, who knocked her up?"

Honoka's patience was waning, it had been two days since the incident in Ta no Kuni, where they were attacked by some foolhardy clan that she couldn't even half remember the name of. Once they arrived in Kusa, it had been a piece of cake to find the Uzumaki's chakra signature. All the others paled in comparison, both in potency and capacity. Unluckily for her, Kushina had been content in sitting back and studying her fellow Uzumaki. Honoka was sure their estranged cousin sensed them peeking at her through the woods, Kushina was just sitting there and staring at her, not even bothering to suppress her enormous chakra signature. "I think we should go and talk to her, she probably sensed us already, her Kagura Shingan certainly gives her the ability to."

Akahana Uzumaki had been having such a nice day, she had the few weeks before she was due as vacation, the 'merciful' Jonin commander of Kusa, Takeo, had given it to her in hopes of gaining her gratitude. She was grateful, grateful that they didn't suck her blood dry. Hopefully her baby didn't come out weak or disabled, with the amount of blood they sucked out of her, she wouldn't be surprised. But what could she do? Konoha would stick a beast inside her and stick her in some tower never to be seen again, just like Mito-sama. Any of the other great villages would treat her much worse, if that was even possible. This village was at the bottom of the poo barrel, they would take everything they could get, including an Uzumaki with the ability to heal fatal injuries in seconds, she only feared her child might suffer he same fate as her.

She was sitting outside of the extremely humble home the village gave her in exchange for her services, enjoying the weather and knitting baby clothes. Her peaceful morning was interrupted by a pair of chakra signatures that dropped in the vicinity of her home. She might not have had any formal Shinobi field training, aside from the field treatment they taught at the hospital, but her Uzumaki heritage gave her a natural skill in sensing chakra. She wasn't very good at it, she remembered her friends back in Uzu being able to sense miles in every direction, and being able to distinguish peoples' chakra signatures, a skill she lacked. She could only sense presence, and those pair of signatures have been watching her for about an hour and a half. It was slightly creepy to be honest, she had initially though that Kusa had sent them to keep an eye on her, but that wasn't their style, they were more the 'guilt tripping you into loyalty' type.

Suddenly, a horrifying thought crossed her mind, what if they were after her child? An Uzumaki child that is prone to indoctrination is a very valuable commodity, well over her dead body, she was an Uzumaki after all, and Uzumaki never abandon their family, even unborn as her child was. She might be eight months pregnant, but she would fight to protect her child!

Before she could formulate a plan of attack, the two jumped into the courtyard in front of her house. She was surprised to see two women, red haired women.

Kushina seemed to lose all her confidence in the face of this encounter, she considered family to be the only thing worth protecting, so it's only reasonable that she would fear their rejection. It was very weird to see the terrifying Uzumaki Kushina staring at the ground like a child receiving punishment. Sighing, Honoka guessed that it was her prerogative to take the lead role in this discussion, seeing as her cousin lost the ability to speak. "Hello."

Kushina had been dreading this moment, would she attack them? Would she declare that was happy here, and ask that they leave? Would she welcome the chance to live with her fellow Uzumaki? She hoped she would pick the last one, Kushina would hate to have to break her legs and drag to Uzu a cripple. Oh, she would do it, she would drag her back forcefully if she had to, if only to spite Kusa in denying them her clan's powers. If push came to shove, she would kidnap her and kill her after she gave birth. These thoughts made her more and more depressed, she hoped the pregnant woman would make the right choice.

"Hi..." She said slowly, not knowing how to react. These were Uzumaki! She knew it, if not by their appearance then by the way her blood called out to family. She thought all her family was dead. She was thankful that her and her husband, god rest his soul, were out on their first mission as Genin when the destruction of Uzu occurred. She waited for them to respond, not trusting her voice to convey her joy.

"We would like to invite to live amongst your family again, we know you're being abused for your abilities."

She would go with them, she had no doubt about it. It would be safer for both her and her unborn offspring. She wouldn't last a century if things continued as they were. Someone almost bit her to heal himself in the hospital last week, she shuddered to think what that bastard Takeo would do to her if he knew the full extent of her ability. Giving Takeo minimum details about the Shosaku Sen had no doubt saved her from having her life force sucked out of her bit by bit. They were already milking her blood as if she were a dairy cow, if they knew they could get better results from biting her, they wouldn't leave a part of her body untouched. There was a slight problem though.

"Kusa won't let me leave. Not after I gave my services to them for so long, their medical staff has gotten complacent and their best doctors have left the village."

Kushina demeanor did a complete one eighty, she wouldn't be committing parricide today! "Oh don't worry about trivial matters, we'll take care of those pests."

Honoka gave a slight smile at seeing her cousin back to her best, Kushina being happy made her happy, she was the only family she had, the only one that mattered. "Well, are you going to invite us in?"

Akahana gave a slight nod and ushered them in. This seemed too good to be true if she were honest, a minute ago she was devising a plan to kill them and now she was with family members. She truly thought that her child would be the only other Uzumaki she would ever see.

The house was truly pathetic. A one room house, she didn't even know such a thing existed, thankfully, it seems that it at least had a bathroom, that would go a long way in redeeming it.

Seeing the disgusted look in her relatives' faces, Akahana sighed and tried to explain the reasoning for Kusa housing her in here. "They want me to be grateful to them, as if housing me and allowing me live amongst them is some great honor that was bestowed on me."

Kushina gave her a cheerful grin "Don't stress yourself too much about it, everyone in this village will wish they're dead once we're done with them. I'm Kushina by the way, and this is my younger cousin Honoka"

Akahana gave a nod and a slight smile "My name is Akahana"

"It's nice to meet you, I'm sure we'll get along like a house on fire. Can you tell me who the leader of the village is? And where can I find them?"

Sitting on the one of the few rusted squeaky chairs that the village so generously donated to her, Akahana thought about the question a bit. "Well, there's no leader per say, the village is solely led by the Jonin commander during times of war, but during peace times, all matters are discussed between the Jonin commander and the two elders, with counsel from the Daimyo if the matter warrants such attention. The Jonin commander, Takeo, usually visits me every afternoon to ensure my loyalty to the village and to ensure I wasn't in talks with any spies."

"That's very good, whoever controls the Jonin commander controls the village. Honoka, be a dear and make a slave seal, a loyalty seal, a kill switch seal, a silencing seal and a remote communicator seal and combine them into one matrix."

Akahana was slightly baffled by the strange requests, she was definitely adept at Fuinjutsu, but Medical Ninjutsu tended to interest her more. Hearing Kushina list off seals she had almost never heard of and having this prepubescent child draw them was ridiculous. "What are you going to do?"

Kushina gave her a menacing grin. "The world is too peaceful right now, and I'm not above revenge, I'll use Kusa as the staging grounds for the third Shinobi war."

Akahana shed any suspicion she had on her new cousin, only an Uzumaki would be this mad, starting a Shinobi war and embroiling the world in conflict, all in a day's work. She forgot how absolutely insane Uzumaki can be.

Honoka began her task without complaint, in the grand scheme of things, Kushina dictates everything concerning their plan. If she thought that starting a Shinobi war was beneficial to them, then she would trust her judgment.

Kushina gave Akahana a side glance " I'll tell you about the full extent of our plans when we return to Uzu in a few years."

Akahana nodded, these two women seemed to be very determined, she only hoped their goal was worth fighting for.

"We'll apply the seal on the Jonin commander when he arrives this afternoon, after that we'll take a trip to Kumo to retrieve a certain item."

Honoka sighed again for the thousandth time this day, Kushina might make her life interesting, but she was as hyperactive as a child on a sugar rush. Jumping from Yugakure to Kusagakure to Kumogakure in the span of two weeks was insane. She had no doubt that whatever Kushina was planning on doing there was both mad and incredibly dangerous.

(Cave on the outskirts of Kumogakure no sato, Midnight)

"Kushina, this isn't up for debate, the last time I used a seal you created, I got a punch on the head as thanks."

Kushina pouted, but relented, she had been working hard as well, in order to perfect the reverse summoning seal, this new one didn't even need a chakra signal to activate, it sensed the emotion of the wearer and activated when the user wills it. Of course, Honoka already knew this particular seal, and had created numerous test copies of it before, but using Kushina's prototype would just be incredibly dangerous and stupid, just like the rest of this damned mission.

Breaking into Kumo undetected, breaking into the Raikage's administrative building undetected and stealing the Kohaku no Johei, a priceless artifact that once belonged to the Sage of the Six Paths, Hagoromo Otsutsuki and escaping, undetected. Truly, only an Uzumaki could conjure this up.

Kumo would be up in arms over this. Being the hidden village that housed the tools of the sage of the six paths brought them loads of prestige and clients, not to mention that the Kohaku no Johei was essential in the sealing process for the Hachibi, unlike the Nibi, the eight tailed bull can only be held by the sage's tool when not sealed in a jinchuuriki.

Akahana had been in the background for most of the happenings, her due date was approaching very rapidly, she watched as Kushina and Honoka bickered and worked as if they've been doing it for years, they probably did. They looked quite young, yet from the stories Kushina would tell, they've achieved a lot. Although she doubted Kushina was telling the truth about the time she one-handedly wrestled a dragon summon to submission. They seemed like good people, and they had a very homey and familial feel to them, she could get used to this. Unfortunately, she was useless unless somebody got injured. Honoka might have the same ability as her, but she was much more adept at it, in addition to knowing the Shosen Jutsu and having extensive knowledge of the human body, she was assigned the team medic.

Akahana definitely needed some time to get used to the feel of the group. They were very funny and friendly to her, but she still needed some time to integrate into the group and be comfortable with them.

Currently, they were in a cave a mile and a half from Kumo's gates. They already set up chakra suppression seals on the cavern walls so nobody would be able to sense them. Kushina would be the one to conduct the operation while Honoka would maintain the seal and Akahana would be on standby to heal any injuries. If all goes well, they'll hide out for a few weeks in this cave until the hunter-nin stop their search. After the coast is clear, they'll travel to Iwa to begin the second stage of their plan.

Honoka applied her reverse summoning seal on Kushina's palm, signifying the end of their preperations.

"I'll get going now, summon me in two hours, regardless if the receiver seal activates or not."

Honoka nodded with a serious look. "Be careful, Kushina. Don't bite more than you can chew, Kumo has some very dangerous Shinobi."

Kushina gave half a nod and disappeared in a Shunshin.

(Gates of Kumogakure no Sato)

"I'm telling you, they're definitely real, I asked her brother about it, he confirmed."

"Moroi, she's 12 and she has tits bigger than Tsunade of the Sannin, of course they're fake. I don't think that's even possible for a girl that young to have tits that big."

"If you think she's bigger than the slug princess, then you obviously haven't seen h- Oh, ID and Shinobi registration if you have one please."

Kushina gave them both a look, at least they weren't napping. Putting her hands in her pockets and rummaging about, she made a show of looking for her papers. In a matter of seconds, both of them were pierced in the brain by two chakra chains that came from the ground, originating from the soles of Kushina's feet.

Snagging one of their Hitai-ate's and sealing them both in a storage scroll, she entered the village in the dead of the night. 'Infiltration complete'

From a glance, Kumo seemed to be a true Shinobi village, all the buildings were suspended on mountains with bridges connecting them to each other. It didn't even have space for civilians and population growth. The economy depended on Shinobi missions and pay from the Daimyo. Most of the population growth resulted from immigration from populous civilian villages.

In spite of all that, it was easy to infiltrate. Apparently, wearing a Kumogakure Hitai-ate meant that you can walk around the village without trouble. She even got nods of approval from various cloud ninja she passed, all in all, it was a very weird experience. If she had to guess, Kumo's Shinobi must have gotten in complacent in the belief that war wouldn't come again for at least ten years, the last one having ended weeks prior, the atmosphere around the village seemed very relaxed.

Identifying her target wasn't very hard, it was the most distinguishing building in the village, being higher than the rest and painted a dazzling shade of blue, the Raikage's tower was seen from miles away.

Walking the streets towards the tower was a very uneventful experience, though security seemed to get tighter the closer she got to the tower, it was logical, she guessed.

Ducking into an alleyway close to the entrance of the tower and putting her hands into the ram seal, she concentrated her Kagura Shingan on the tower to see if it housed the artifact, from what she heard, the Kohaku no Johei had very distinguishable chakra, being made from the Rikudo's chakra using Onmyoton, Yin-Yang release.

Oh it was very distinguishable alright, it seemed to be sucking in nature chakra to sustain itself and the seals inside it. There were two chakra signatures in the tower itself, one was probably an ANBU and the other was definitely a civilian.

Kushina would usually seek out trouble to make the mission more exciting, but she knew if she wasn't careful, she might alert the Raikage, who would assuredly kill her without hesitation.

Entering with a Shunshin through a window, she suppressed her chakra signature and approached the ANBU who was standing guard outside the Raikage's tower from behind. Chopping him in the back of the neck with a chakra infused hand, she would return for his body after she got the sage's tool, she needed a live sacrifice anyway.

Walking down the hallway, she entered the room where she sensed the Kohaku no Johei. The Kohaku no Johei was held conveniently behind a glass display window. Performing a Kawarimi with the name plate and getting on the other side of the glass, she took the sealing tool and put a Kusagakure Hitai-ate in its place.

Returning to the knocked out ANBU with her target in hand, she sent some chakra to the Honoka's transmitter seal and put her hand on the ANBU's head. She disappeared in a puff of smoke.

(Cave on the outskirts of Kumogakure no sato, Dawn)

Appearing in a puff of smoke, Kushina dropped the knocked out Shinobi on the ground and stopped Akahana from checking on her, knowing she was alright.

Honoka saw the 'extra baggage' and was a bit confused about why she brought him back. "Kushina, what's the purpose of bringing him back, you could've just slit his throat and stored him in a scroll"

Kushina gave her a smirk "No, we'll need him when we get to Iwa."

Honoka sighed dejectedly "I'll never know what goes on in that brain of yours."

"I assume nothing went wrong by the lack of injuries?" Akahana half asked, half assumed.

"Yes, I'm still stunned by the level of ease it took to break in to Kumo and steal a priceless artifact. It is a bit understandable though, all their Shinobi were celebrating the announcement of peace between the four great nations."

Honoka brought their attention back to the unconscious body in the middle of their make-shift home when she kicked it lightly. "Out like a light. What do we do with him?"

"Put a stasis seal on him until we need him, we don't need to feed him, we're going to stay here for at least a week, until the hunter-nin stop their search for us."

Honoka gave a halfhearted nod and a sigh "I have to do everything around here."

Kushina chuckled "Well, we're not doing anything exciting for the next week and a bit, might as well lay back and enjoy the break."

(Three days later, same cavern)

"What is this? It's great." Kushina was feasting on a piece of meat cooked by the newest member if their group. They've been in this cave for a week, it tells a lot about how bored they are when Kushina is this excited about a meal. She was starting to get sick of caves, to be honest.

"That, Kushina-san, is smoked beef with a very special concoction of spices and herbs. It was passed down in my husband's family, he taught it to me." She started proudly but her face turned grim when she mentioned her husband.

"About that, we were giving you some space when you first joined us, but we need to know." Just when Akahana was about to reply, Kushina set the bait. "He isn't an Uchiha is he?"

"No, gods no. He was an Uzumaki like me. He was a medic too, he died defending me from Konoha Hunter-nin two weeks after my babies conception."

Seeing the pained look on her face, Kushina decided to drop the subject. To be honest, she was just curious if there were any Uchiha or Senju out there that could have impregnated her newly-found cousin. After all, people descended from the Rabbit Goddess can only mate with each other. This was thought to be the result of certain genetic mutations. After reading the ancient scrolls in the Uzumaki library, Kushina found out that Kaguya Otsutsuki wasn't from this world, she was an extraterrestrial, hence her inability to procreate with humans, her sons came as a result of her bonds with the Shinju. The method that the Sage of the Six Paths continued his lineage was astounding, he literally created his children with Banbutsu Sozo, it was also how he distributed his skills among his children, with each getting a fraction of his power. The same was true with the sage's brother, Hamura, the progenitor of the Hyuuga and Kaguya clans.

"Honoka are you done with him yet?" Kushina asked, sensing that Akahana didn't want to continue the conversation.

Honoka was interrogating a Kumo Chuunin they found skulking outside of their hideout. Thankfully, Kumo didn't know about their whereabots or their identities, the fool was just looking for a place to hide out while shirking his duties. She would have been trying to perfect the Jutsu that Kushina assigned to her, but it was very easy to master, considering its power. So now she was interrogation duty, well not anymore, the interrogation seals fried the Chuunin's brain it seems, how unfortunate. Still, she got what she wanted, that's all that matters.

Walking up to Kushina, Honoka recounted all the information she gathered from the Chuunin. "Surprisingly, they suspect Kusagakure did it, despite the fact that no sane Shinobi village would leave proof of their involvement in a high-risk mission such as this, their stupid kage places the blame on Kusa, he ordered border raids and harassment of their trade routes and supply lines. I heard that the new Raikage was a fool and had a temper problem, but this is ridiculous."

"Yes, Ay of Kumo, a giant of a man with a brain smaller than a pea. It's good to have such impulsive people in charge, he'll lead Kumo right to war with his brashness. Anything else worth noting?"

"Yes, I mastered that technique, we should be able to capture one with ease. Which one are we going after?"

"The four tailed ape, although the Gobi is technically stronger, the Yonbi will do more damage with his lava attacks before he's subdued."

Honoka nodded slowly, digesting the scope of the massacre they were about to commit.

Suddenly, the sound of liquid hitting the floor echoed through the small cavern. "I think my water just broke." Said Akahana with a grunt.

Honoka looked at Kushina, Kushina's eyes widened and she quickly shook her head "I'm not going to deliver it, you've probably read a book or two about that sort of stuff!"

Honoka sighed again, she truly had to do everything. "At least coach her through labor, you're charismatic I guess, you can do it."

(Three weeks later, Uzushiogakure no sato hideout)

"This is our base of operations, you can stay here until we return from our operation." Honoka told Akahana. Little Karin was being talked to cooed over by Kushina, who was showing her Uzu in a very excited fashion, Karin wasn't giving any sort of reaction to Kushina's excited chatter.

"What do I do about food? I just gave birth, I can't go out and hunt."

Honoka nodded. "We have enough food and supplies to last you a few years, they're all long lasting, grain, rice, smoked meats and dried fruits and vegetables. We should be back in less than a month. Kushina! Give Karin back to her mother, we need to leave before the situation escalates."

Kushina slowly walked next to the two and handed Karin back to her mother. "We already took too long with this detour, we'll cut our journey short, after this operation is done, we'll stay in Uzu until Honoka gives birth."

Honoka nodded while Akahana looked positively confused. Quickly turning on their heels, they headed in search of Roshi, the four tails Jinchuuriki.

(Three weeks and a half later, Mountains of Tsuchi no Kuni)

"That's him alright. He seems to be meditating. So how do you want do this?"

Finding the Yonbi Jinchuuriki had been a hassle. Apparently, in times of peace, Iwa's Jinchuuriki were temporarily excommunicated from their village. It made his capture far easier, but it also made finding him much more difficult.

They had scoured Tsuchi no Kuni, starting in Iwagakure no Sato and slowly travelling away, using their sensor abilities to pick up all clues on Roshi's whereabouts. It took them a bit less than two weeks to find him. Here he was, in a valley with a lake situated between two rocky mountains, meditating on top of the lake's water.

"Just like we discussed, let me rough him up for a bit and only use the jutsu when he transforms. I can hold him down with my chains for a few minutes, you have to be quick with it."

Honoka nodded "I won't disappoint."

Kushina gave her a smile. "I'm sure you won't. Let's do this."

Kushina unsealed her katana and rocketed from the top of the mountain to the middle of the lake in half a second, jumping straight into the fight, hoping to injure him and coax him into transforming.

Lunging sword first into the red headed hermit, Kushina wasn't surprised to see him dodge after she drew blood. Kushina stopped on the water and used her chakra to stay above the surface of the lake. He jumped back a couple of steps to get away from her.

"What the hell? You can't just attack people that! Go away before I'm forced to kill you lady"

Kushina gave a chuckle at his reaction. "How nice of you, I'm afraid I can't leave until I take that overgrown monkey out of you. Can't you just be a gentleman and fall on my sword?"

Son's Jinchuuriki seemed to take that the wrong way. "Yōton: Yōkai no Jutsu" He fired a thin but wide sheet of lava in Kushina's direction. "Suiton: Suijinheki" A wall of water came up and blocked stopped the lava. Kushina took the counter attack and continued ding hand seals just after she finished her last jutsu. "Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu" A dragon of made of highly condensed water came up from the lake's surface and lunged at Iwa's Jinuuriki.

Roshi was a bit impressed to be honest, This woman seemed very capable in Suiton jutsu and seemed to have a good grasp on Kenjutsu. Not a shabby set of skills, unfortunately, in his mind, that wasn't enough

Dodging the water dragon, he called forth more of Son's chakra and used another Yoton attack. "Yōton: Shakugaryūgan no Jutsu" He spat out multiple globs of hot red lava. Most of them headed towards Kushina, the others were blocking her avenues of escape.

Kushina, seeing no way out of the barrage of lava balls, summoned a dozen chains from her back and cocooned herself in them. After the danger was past, she slowly recalled them in her chakra system.

Roshi was working quite hard to keep the shock from his face, he was failing at it. They were all supposed to be dead! He was there himself that night. They didn't leave a single one alive, how did those demons come back from the grave? "Uzumaki! You're supposed to be dead!"

"Oh? And how do you presume that?"

"Don't mess with me, I fired enough Bijuudamas to turn that place into a wasteland, how did you get out alive?"

Kushina's eyed narrowed dangerously and she flared her klilling intent. " I was going to spare you pain, seeing as you were a fellow container and were shunned in your own village., but now I'm going to extract the Yonbi from you nice and slow."

"Katon: Karyu Endan" Kushina created a duo of clones that would engage him at close range while she peppered him with long range attacks.

Roshi barely wiped the shock from his face before he was forced to counter a fire jutsu headed straight for him. Firing out a glob of lava, he was even more surprised when he was assaulted from both sides with he assumed were clones. He dodged them for a few minutes, not getting a hit on either of them. In addition, he also had to dodge the odd Katon jutsu that had the potential to burn him to dust. Getting tired of the Uzumaki dictating the pace of the fight, he began his transformation into the legendary four tailed ape, Son Goku.

Kushina continued her relentless assault until she felt him channeling his Bijuu's chakra and saw bubbling red chakra cover his body like armor. She dispelled the two clones and materialized four golden chakra chains from her back to compliment her Kenjutsu style and give him more weapons to worry about. Charging headfirst into the red-haired man, Kushina infused her sword with fire chakra and began slicing at him. Her chakra chains, which rendered his Bijuu's chakra useless, deflected everything he came at her with, leaving him defenseless when she aimed a strike his hand, cutting it off at the elbow.

She could have killed him when he screamed in pain and held the stump that used to be his arm, but that wasn't the objective, Kushina wasn't surprised to see a large tower of red chakra emanating from his body after he screamed in pain. It stabilized into the form of a four tailed monkey. Kushina sent her chakra chains to hold the Bijuu down until Honoka can keep him down. "Honoka! Do it!"

As soon as Honoka saw the Bijuu come out in its full form, she began doing the hand signs for a summoning.

"Kuchiyose: Edo Tensei" A single coffin rose from the ground.

Chapter Text

(In the mountains of Tsuchi no Kuni)

"Hokage-Shiki Jijun Jutsu — Kakuan Nitten Suishu"

A seal with the Kanji for 'sit' glowed in Hashirama's hands as the Yonbi continued to struggle against the innumerable trees binding it and the wooden dragon coiling around it's torso and biting down it's neck.

The Yonbi gradually slowed down it's struggling against the wooden restraints until it eventually fell asleep.

Kushina turned to Hashirama and gave him a blinding smile. "That was very well done, pet. We'll be sure to interrupt your rest again when we find a use for you."

Hashirama Senju's face was completely devoid of emotion, he didn't even flinch when a coffin rose from the ground and swallowed his body before sinking back into the unknown. Kushina unsealed the Kohaku no Johei and directed it's chakra towards the Yonbi with a half ram hand sign. As promised, she was extracting it as slow as possible, delivering the largest amount of pain the process was capable of delivering.

After a solid twenty minutes, Roshi's screaming and pleading for mercy died down when the beast was fully sealed in the amber purifying pot. "Well, that was very satisfying."

Honoka appeared next to her cousin and shook her head. "Let's just leave, someone must've sensed all the chakra that was leaking from the both of you and the Bijuu. Iwa will send investigative squads soon enough."

Kushina nodded happily. "Yes, we got what we came for. Next stop, Konoha!" She said in a cheerful voice. Just after they started walking away, Kushina seemed to remember something and ran back to Roshi's corpse. Planting a Kusagakure headband on his chest, she was satisfied.

This mission went better than expected, the second Shinobi war might've just ended, but all the villages were still strong, it was a war where individual Shinobi with extraordinary skills dictated the direction of the war, unlike the first Shinobi war where most of the fighting was done between regular Shinobi, a war of attrition where the defeated would take centuries to rebuild their military power. Compared to that, the Second Shinobi war barely dented the great village's military power.

Konoha was still going strong with the Nidaime's students, Kagami Uchiha, the Sannin and Sakumo Hatake. Iwa's old fence sitter was still quite the fighter and his two sons were fearsome as well. In Kirigakure, the new generation of the Shinobigatana Shichinin Shu was being hailed as the strongest ever. The only hidden village that truly lost something was Kumo, losing their Kage was a terrible blow, though his son was already groomed for the position, despite his terrible leadership, Unruly Ay was an excellent combatant.

The bottomline was, the Shinobi world is too strong, stirring another world conflict was the only way to weaken it indirectly. The Raikage would invade Kusa soon enough, Ohnoki had the reason and excuse to justify an invasion, but he wouldn't want to risk the status quo, he wasn't known as the fencesitter for nothing. He will quickly change his mind when he hears of Kumo invading Kusa, he'll surely be scrambling to send his own forces to secure territory for Tsuchi no Kuni.

Konoha was the next target. Kushina didn't want to reveal her trump card, Honoka's Edo Tensei, too soon. She certainly couldn't take on an entire village by herself. She needed a force of nature, hence extracting the Yonbi, it served two purposes, luring Iwa into war and providing a weapon to use against Konoha. She intended to have it attack Konoha in the middle of the day, to highlight its weakness, it'll be a huge stain on their reputation as the greatest of the big five ninja villages. This plan was hatched by Kushina when she reflected on the results of the second Shinobi war, She intended to delay it after the children were born. When she met Akahana though, it was brought to the top of the priorities list. Hopefully Kusagakure, the village that abused her cousin would be no more after this war. Being the arena for three giants of the Shinobi world to duke it out tends to turn you into dust, after all.

They would hit two birds with one stone, both weakening the Shinobi war by having the great villages participate in a pointless conflict and by destroying Kusa, just like she promised Akahana she would.

(A week later, Konohagakure no Sato)

They deserve to be destroyed in Honoka's mind, civilian cities had better security in her opinion. The old Hokage, Hiruzen, is probably the reason for the lack of security in Konoha. The fool was probably headed towards disarmament because the war just ended. How could a Shinobi live such a long life and still be so naïve? It was baffling, though he did receive training from Hashirama Senju, that man was so idealistic he would actually wanted to give his own life for a temporary peace between the Uchiha and Senju. Thinking that nobody would want to break the very fragile peace, what a joke of a leader. His people will die because of him. Their blood was on his hands.

She saw the people walking the street, talking excitedly about the latest news while children played in parks, not knowing what would soon befall them.

Honoka was currently eating some sweets and drinking green tea from a local store while Kushina goes to the top of the Hokage mountain and summons the Yonbi. Hopefully, the naive old man will stay Hokage even after this attack, it will only benefit them to have clueless men in charge of the Shinobi world.

The only way Konoha could fight a Bijuu was with pure force, they had no Sealing Masters to seal it while it's rampaging, they had no sharingan specialist to control it nor did they have anyone with Mokuton that can subdue it. They had pure force aplenty though, Konoha was home to many Shinobi who have Summoning contracts with various animal clans who can pose trouble for the four tails.

The only option they have is beating him into the ground to stop him from moving long enough for Jiraiya or the Hokage to seal him, which is perfect for her and Kushina. Since the four tails isn't being controlled, he'll eventually wizen up and try to run away from the village so he won't get sealed again, being attacked will make him retaliate which will in turn result in more loss of life in Konoha. She was still apprehensive about just turning a Bijuu over to Konoha, but the attack was necessary, hopefully some of Konoha's powerful Shinobi die in the conflict.

Ah, it seems the show's starting. Honoka got up and headed towards the gates of Konoha to make her exit from this pathetic village.

(An hour, later outskirts of Konoha)

"Come on, it took us thirty minutes to defeat the Jinchuuriki and extract it, how haven't they defeated it yet?"

Sitting on a branch and watching the fireworks, the Sannin and Sakumo Hatake fighting the four tailed ape, Kushina and Honoka were very amused. The damage to the village wasn't as extensive as they thought it would be, though a lot of districts were turned into smoldering piles of volcanic rocks.

"Well, it's probably the fact that they haven't fought an unsealed Bijuu before, standard procedure to deal with a Bijuu is to push it's power back into it's Jinchuuriki. With their plan A down the toilet, they're pretty much screwed."

"Did you leave any hints to frame Kusa?"

"Yeah, I left the bodies of Kusa Shinobi in several key places with their Hitai-ate on, that should be enough. It was enough for Kumo and Iwa, it should be enough for Konoha. After their loses here, they'll look for anything to place the blame on, especially because Konoha hasn't lost before. The old man will try to fight it, but war will come. Konoha's Shinobi will be baying for Kusa's blood by the end of the day."

Oh, there goes the monkey with his staff. They still don't understand that elemental jutsu does nothing to a Bijuu. How can a mass of coalesced chakra be burned with a fireball? The only thing they can do is have a skilled member of the Uchiha clan hypnotize it with his Sharingan and lead him away from the village. Fortunately, there were no Uchiha that were skilled enough to control the Kyuubi in Konoha.

Kushina, who was resting her chin on her palm and had half lidded eyes, finally spoke again "That does it, let's head back to Uzu before I die of boredom."

Nodding, Honoka dropped down from her branch following her cousin towards Uzu, Kushina was whistling a merry tune as Konoha burned, Konoha definitely manage to drive the beast back before the village was completely destroyed, not without losses though.

(Uzushiogakure, five months later)

"She's a bit of a pain, isn't she?"

Akahana looked at Honoka with an amused smile. "Are you talking about Kushina or Karin?"

"Both to be honest." They both watched as Kushina showed Karin several baby toys they bought from a port city in Hi no Kuni. Kushina was shoving all the toys in the confused toddler's face, hoping to coax her into playing with them. Honoka bit her lip, she was very nervous about this. Deciding to get it done with, she suddenly asked. "Does it hurt?"

Akahana nodded "It does, but it's worth it, there's nothing that brings me more joy than being with Karin."

That didn't do anything to lift Honoka's spirit. She was a seal mistress not a fighter, she wasn't used to pain and she had a very low pain tolerance. She would have to design a seal to limit the pain. "I'm going to go work on my sealwork"

Akahana gave her a curious look "What are you working on? Maybe I can help."

Honoka raised an eyebrow at her. "I didn't know you were proficient in Fuinjutsu."

"Of course I'm proficient, I'm an Uzumaki after all, even if it's not my field of expertise, I have a fairly decent knowledge of the art."

"Okay, you can come with if you want to help, Karin seems to have her hands full with Kushina giving her a tour of the island."

They both walked through the long tunnels of their hideout until they reached Honoka's study, the area she practised her Fuinjutsu pursuits. Going into the study, Akahana expected a to see paper strewn about everywhere inside the room, surprisingly, it was extremely clean and neat, with not a paper out of place.

They sat down at opposite ends of a table in the middle of two two rows of shelves stacked with books. The amount of books was fairly ridiculous, considering that the library was just across the hall from Honoka's study. Honoka picked up a scroll from one of the shelves and unraveled it on the table to reveal a whirlpool the size of pebble.

"This is the initial design of the seal, it's small and impossible to decipher now because I've hidden it behind a sealing matrix, which also binds all the parts of seal together into one comprehensive unit. The gist of it is to rewrite someone's DNA in a way that excludes all features inherited from a specific parent. This type of seal is already in existence and was sold by the Uzumaki to royals who didn't want a bastard tarnishing their family name. The problem is isolating a Kekkei Genkai and retaining it after the seal is applied. The original seal wipes all traces of a parent's DNA, I'm trying to modify it to give Kushina's children Mokuton and a part of the Senju's famous resilient body they inherited from the sage while wiping any traces of Hashirama being their father."

"That certainly poses a problem, I might have a solution to your problem though."

Honoka was extremely surprised, she knew Akahana was just trying to be useful, but she didn't really expect anything to come out of consulting her. "Oh, and what do you suggest?"

"Well, you can forget about modifying this seal, it's too rigid. Fuinjutsu has limits too. The problem is you're blurring the line between medical Ninjutsu and Fuinjutsu. This is a problem to be solved with medicine and science, not Fuinjutsu. You should try to isolate Mokuton from Hashirama's DNA and splice it into a sample of Kushina's DNA. That way you can inject it into them after you apply the blood purging seal. The Kekkei Genkai will also integrate without incident because they have had it since birth."

Honoka adopted a thinking pose. "Well, I admit to having very little theoretical knowledge of Iryo Ninjutsu, the only talents I have in the field are provided to me by my Shosaku Sen. Can I count on you to research the process of genetic splicing?"

Akahana nodded eagerly, she had been feeling like a freeloader living with her cousins without giving anything in return. This way will be useful to them. She wasn't worried about taking care of Karin, they were all fighting for play time with her, even Honoka was excited about the baby. Kushina was taking it as a sort of test run for her children's birth. She had been doting over her for the last five months, making Akahana question whether she wants to steal her daughter from her, when asked about it, Kushina said that she wasn't her mother, she was just her 'cool aunt'.

"I'd be happy to help, looking after Karin is fulfilling and all, but I want to be useful to you guys."

"I need you to perfect the process in less than a year, can you do it?"

"I'll do it, you don't happen to have a lab in this place do you?"

"Actually, there is a lab, neither I nor Kushina were ever used it so it's been collecting dust for years. I'll show it to you and help you clean it up"

(Two years and a half years later, Uzushiogakure no Sato)

"Kushina-obachan, Why is Honoka-obachan screaming? Is she hurt?"

Karin was waiting outside of the room her mother and her heavily pregnant aunt went in an hour ago. She was a bit confused as to why her younger aunt was screaming, so she decided to ask Kushina-obachan. Kushina always answered any questions she had and treated her well.

Kushina kneeled in front of Karin and placed her hand on the three year old's head. "No Karin-chan, we wanted to keep this a surprise for you, but you're going to get a new brother and sister."

Karin's eyes widened and then she slowly smiled "I've never seen a boy before, I wonder what he looks like?"

Kushina puffed up her chest. "Well he is my son, he'll definitely be the handsomest boy ever. Once they're done, we'll be going in to say hello to him."

Karin nodded. It was very boring being the only child here on this island. Her mother was always busy in her lab and Honoka-obachan was always busy reading. Although, Kushina-obachan always played with her and kept her company, she wasn't her age. She needed someone her age to play or she might go insane!

Kushina was looking at Karin's eyes from the moment they first started their conversation. She had grown attached to the girl the last few years, she was a sweet girl and she reminded her of herself in her youth, energetic and disrespectful, a typical Uzumaki child, though she has been very quiet since her aunt's water broke. Akahana was birthing the child, she wanted to go in and hold her cousin's hand through this ordeal, but Akahana didn't allow her, ordering her to stay with Karin so she wouldn't get worried.

Kushina had been delighted with Karin's reaction to the baby news. It had been radically different to Kushina's reaction when her parents announced that they were having another baby. She had cried herself to sleep thinking that the new baby will take all the attention away from her. Now she would kill to see her little sister again.

She couldn't fault Karin for her reaction though, she had been the only child on the island, hell, she hasn't even met anyone else her age. Everyone needed a few friends, god knows what she would do without Honoka and Akahana.

For the year and a half prior to Honoka's impregnation surgery, her two cousins had looking for a way to complete the blood purging seal. She was extremely surprised when they came to her with a hybrid between Fuinjutsu and Iryojutsu that would theoretically solve the problem. It would be applied four months after the birth to ensure that they could handle the strain of a complete rewrite of their DNA. She hadn't thought that Akahana would be this useful when she rescued her from Kusa. Apparently, she was an accomplished medic-nin who occasionally dabbled in the sciences.

Because they were so busy with their research, she was unofficially assigned Karin's caretaker. It had been a joy taking care of her cute little niece, to be honest, she always thought that kids were annoying, but her time with the cute redhead had been very enjoyable. The only time she left Uzushiogakure was to go to the coastal cities of Hi no Kuni and check up on the happenings around the world and the status of her 'gift' to the Shinobi world.

The third Shinobi war was still raging on, apparently people predict that it wouldn't draw to close for a couple of years. Akahana had been amused to hear that Kusagakure had been turned into a pile of rubble after the Jinchuuriki of the Hachibi let loose there. Most Kusagakure Shinobi were killed by the poor management of their Jonin commander, who Honoka controlled with the sealing matrix they place on him years ago. Kumo and Iwa have both claimed Kusa no Kuni as their own and have been battling for territory for a few years now, Konoha had been content in guarding and maintaining their borders, though she had heard that Danzo's root have been sabotaging both sides to prepare for their entrance into the conflict.

Sunagakure had been awfully silent for the last few years, probably because they didn't want to interfere in a war that didn't concern them. They were the weakest of the great Shinobi villages and couldn't afford to participate in a war they can't finish. Kirigakure was the most surprising one though, Kiri had a leading role in every war, known for their bloodlust and savagery, it had been a surprise when they abstained from the conflict. Apparently, the new Kage, Yagura, had been adamantly against the war, seeing it as a pointless conflict they wouldn't gain anything from, which was partially true.

She didn't feel that guilty about it, she had only quickened the inevitable. The third Shinobi war would have been waged if she had instigated it or not.

But now all her plans were coming to their climax. Her children are the key pieces for her ambition. She would give the sage's power to whoever has the most potential of the two.

The door opened and out came Akahana wiping her hands clean with a towel. "You can come in now, both babies are completely healthy, they should see their mother."

Kushina almost ran into the room, not even sparing a glance at the bedridden Honoka who was glaring daggers at her. Rushing to the baby crib, her heart almost stopped when she saw their faces, they were both wrapped in blankets. They were beautiful, both having vibrant red hair. It appears the girl, Kimiko, she decided to call her, had fallen asleep already, while Naruto, the boy, was testing out his new pair of lungs by screaming as loud as he can. Picking up her baby boy from his spot next his sister, she nuzzled him gently and affectionately to her chest calming him almost immediately. His crying turned into whimpers as she continued lightly bouncing on the soles of her feet.

Her little Naru-chan fell asleep in his mother's arms. She placed him in the crib next to his sister. She was taken out of her trance when she felt someone tug on her pants. Looking down, she saw Karin looking at her with her big crimson eyes. "Can I see them?"

"Of course you can sweetie." Kneeling down and putting her hand on each side of her waist, Kushina picked her up and balanced her on the crib's wooden edge to give her a good look at her newly born cousins.

Karin furrowed her eyebrows. "Why are they so small?"

Kushina seemed amused by her reaction. "That's because they were just born. They'll grow up eventually. Look, the one in the blue blanket is Naruto, the boy, and the one in the red blanket is Kimiko, the girl."

Karin nodded her head and continued to inspect the two babies. To be honest, they looked exactly the same, the same eyes, the same face and same red hair. Without the blankets, she wouldn't be able to tell who was who.

"Well Karin, since you're their older sister, you need to protect them right? They're your family and Uzumaki always protect their family."

Karin nodded without question. She had always been told to only trust her family. It's a mantra that she had heard repeated ever since she was born. It was firmly engraved in her mind.

Akahana seemed to chuckle in mirth. "Kushina, stop brainwashing my child, she'll learn with experience."

Kushina very maturely stuck out her tongue and blew a raspberry at her older cousin. "Why should she learn from her experience when all of have gone through the exact same thing? Learning from the mistakes of others is better than learning from your own."

"I guess you do have a point, come on Karin-chan let's leave your cousins to rest, they must be very tired."

Karin had a horrified look on her face. "But I want to see them grow up!"

Muffling her mouth with her hand to hide her laugh, Karin's mother answered her. "Karin-chan, dear, they're not going to grow up in a day. It'll take them years to grow up, so they need a lot of sleep. Let's go play with the animals in the forest, how do you like that idea?"

Karin's mood brightened and she nodded. Dropping from her perch on the edge of the babies' crib, she latched on to her mother's hand and started heading towards the door.

Honoka gave Kushina a look that meant business. Sighing, Kushina sat on a chair on the side of Honoka's bed and looked at her. "Aren't women supposed to be completely worn out after childbirth?"

Honoka snorted "It's nice to know you care. I may have just given birth, but I'm an Uzumaki, They don't call us the clan of longevity for nothing."

Kushina chuckled. "Of course I care, dear cousin."

Kushina gave Honoka a look and after a moment, got up and gave her a big hug. "Thank you Honoka, I know child birth was hard, so thank you for giving me my babies."

Honoka seemed overwhelmed by the emotion in Kushina's voice, being a natural introvert, she didn't know how to deal with this situation. Deciding to keep it simple, she gave a "you're welcome" and slowly pushed her cousin away.

Kushina edged away from her cousin's bed and sat back on her chair. "So, what do you want to talk about?"

"Who do you think is more qualified for holding the power of the sage?" She said while looking at the newly borns.

"Well, we don't know anything about their abilities for now, but Naruto should be more qualified, if only because men have bigger chakra reserves. The sage was also a man, maybe his true power only manifest in males."

Honoka nodded, seeing the logic in her cousin's thinking. "When will the next stage of our plans begin?"

"When the kids are old enough to start training, hopefully a good pair of eyes will emerge by then. That way we can leave Uzu to advance the plan while the children train and grow. The three pieces of the sage's must be reunited if we are to accomplish our goals. Until then, we can only train and improve on our skill sets and abilities for the challenges to come."

Honoka nodded. Looking at the crib, she decided to change the subject."I'm not going to feed them, they're you're children."

"I knew you would say that, that's why I developed a seal that releases hormones that force lactation. Akahana said it was that breastfeeding strengthens the bond between a mother and her child, I don't want to miss on that."

Honoka honestly wasn't surprised by how serious Kushina considered motherhood to be. She hadn't been old enough to remember her family when Uzu was destroyed, but Kushina remembered everything. Perhaps having children might bring her some measure of true joy, she seemed to radiate when she held her son a few minutes ago.

(Border between Kusagakure no Sato and Kumogakure no Sato)

It had been three weeks since Danzo-sama assigned him this mission, apparently, this operation signaled Konoha's entry in to the third great Shinobi war, they had been in several skirmishes with Kusa Shinobi, who strangely attacked, as if goading them into retaliating. Konoha hadn't really placed her military might into this was, until now that is.

The assassination of the Nibi Jinchuuriki, a 13 genin by the name of Nii Yugito would be a crippling blow to Kumo. Although she had very little control over her beast, Kuno had deployed her to the front lines, foolishly thinking that no one would know her identity. Root spies identified her within a couple of days.

He had trained hard over the years under his master's tutelage. Although he was a prodigy, his master seemed intent on curbing his potential, not wanting his subordinate to get too strong. His master hadn't been very successful in his effort, considering he had already surpassed him. His control over wind was unmatched, even in Suna, and his Fuinjutsu skills were only second to Jiraiya of the Sannin.

He was supposed to assassinate her and flee, leaving his squad mates as cover for his escape. He was apparently 'too valuable' for Danzo-sama to lose. He himself didn't think so. He was trash, no, he was lower than trash, that's why she left him.

Thoughts of the mission brought his heart with unimaginable pain. A female Jinchuuriki, that only filled his heart with pure pain. He remembered Kushina's betrayal of him, he even remembered the remorseful look on her eyes before she knocked him out. She had probably assumed that he wouldn't allow her defection and would attack her as a traitor, which he probably would have at the time. But now, he would give anything to see her again. Only when she left did he realize how empty his life was without her.

He tried to fill the hole in his heart, he really did, doing nothing but training and sleeping with a few of the girls who had affections for him, hoping to get is mind over the redhead, but unfortunately he still couldn't get over his beloved Kushi-chan. If asked now to choose between the village and Kushina, he wouldn't even think about it.

In his desperation to get away from the pain and heartache, he sold his soul to the devil, he offered his services to Danzo Shimura, the Shinobi no Yami, but even his harsh mental conditioning couldn't spare him of the dreams he would have of Kushina, her smiles and her beautiful red hair. He often imagined what could have been had Kushina not defected, or even if she had taken him with her.

He could just imagine it, him and his beautiful wife on a beach, playing with blonde haired kids, living far away from the Shinobi world and its misery. The only reason hadn't killed himself was the minuscule possibility of that dream coming true.

Engrossing himself in missions was the only thing he could do. Living life one day at a time and hoping someone would kill him and save him from his misery. His dream of becoming Hokage was worthless now that he had nobody to share it with.

Minato Namikaze was truly a lost man.

(Kumogakure military camp)

Minato signaled to his squad mates to hide in the woods and provide ranged support while he went in close and completed the mission. He was using his limited sensing skills to identify the chakra signature of the Bijuu among the hundreds in the camp. The Nibi's chakra signature was huge, he hadn't sensed the Kyuubi in Kushina but he was sure it was bigger than this. It was actually kind of frightening, just like Kushina was. Giving a sad smile, he headed towards his objective. She was in a remote part of the camp with another signature, perfect for picking her silently.

Arriving near the clearing, he saw his target and another genin, a boy, locking lips in a heated exchange. The girl was a blonde, like him, she seemed fairly tall for her age and a lithe body that had obviously seen its fair share of training. They were in their own world, which made him think this mission was strangely easy. He would have to dispose of her Connection to her Bijuu before he could kill her, so the beast's chakra wouldn't flare wildly while it exited her body. Cutting her connection with her Bijuu was fairly easy. Kumo outfitted their Bijuu with a Tekko Fuin, which was an odd numbered seal. Putting a Nigyo Fuin on top of it would disrupt her chakra flow.

Taking the strip of chakra paper out of his weapons pouch, he readied it while holding two kunai in his other hand. He prepared himself to quickly dispose of them both and escape without having to sacrifice his team. Kushina always believed in teamwork and team mates helping each other, she wouldn't approve of willingly sacrificing your team mates for the sake of the mission.

He quickly flicked a Kunai towards the boy's throat and lunged towards the girl, hoping to end it by applying the seal and slitting her throat. He simultaneously killed both and sealed off her chakra. Sighing at the ease in which the mission finished, he was flabbergasted by the two puffs of smoke that his enemies disappeared in. He jumped away and called his squad to stand next to him. This was bad, they had been baited masterfully. Putting his finger to the ground to check their surroundings, he was shocked to find an uncountable number of chakra signatures surrounding the woods around them.

He and his squad stood their ground for a couple of minutes waiting for the enemy to attack, though it seemed as if they were waiting for someone. After a few more minutes, he heard the sound of lightning approaching the clearing. He started to sweat, he might've been the best Root had to offer, but he couldn't take on Unruly Ay, the Yondaime Raikage. The sound kept getting closer until a mountain of a man jumped into the clearing, beside him were the two genin that had been making out earlier, the Jinchuuriki and the boy whose tongue she was sucking.

"Good job, Shee. Your sensory skills are very useful."

Well, that wasn't fair. How was he supposed to know Kumo had such skilled sensors? Nobody but the very best should be able to detect him and his squad, yet this genin had done so.

The blonde haired genin smirked. "You honor me, Raikage-sama."

The Raikage looked at Minato with contempt. "You're the one who's been hitting our supply lines for the last few months aren't you? To think that Ohnoki would be bold enough to attempt a direct assassination of our Jinchuuriki, I have to give him credit, without Shee, Yugito would have definitely died."

Minato didn't say anything in return, Root were taught to not give anything away. They were in an unenviable position, facing against a Kage who was surrounded by hundreds of his men. 'Fight to the very end', that's what Kushina would always say, that's would he would do. He signaled to his three squad mates to take care of the genin while he attempted to hold back the Raikage. Hopefully Killing the Jinchuuriki and the sensor would be worth their sacrifice.

Minato went through several hand seals before finishing his jutsu "Futon: Shinkugyoku" he blew several dozens of blasts of wind over a large area, hoping to separate the genin from their Kage. The Raikage flared his infamous Raiton no Yoroi and dodged the blasts, seeing his wind was stronger than lightning, those blasts would have surely hurt him.

Minato knew from the get go that Ninjutsu was his only option. He was better off sticking a kunai in his own throat then trying to challenge Ay in Taijutsu. He prepared another attack, hoping that his team would kill the assassination objective before he died. "Futon: Shinkuuha" He blew out two waves of cutting wind right after another. Surprisingly the Raikage just endured the damage and ran through Minato's jutsu, the jutsu cut him, but it didn't do any real damage. Seeing no other option but close combat, he brought out a kunai and amplified its cutting power with Futon: Shinkujin and ran forward, hoping to surprise his enemy and score a lucky hit. Just as Minato's blade was about to cut into the Raikage's lightning covered fist, the Raikage disappeared and appeared behind him. 'His speed! It's unreal' the Raikage gave him a bear hug from behind and dropped back, smashing Minato's head into the ground below, creating a giant crater. "Raiga Bomu" screamed the Raikage.

Minato had never felt this much pain before, he was pretty sure his spine snapped from his head's impact with the ground. His body was in the bottom of a crater with rocks falling down on his crushed body, the last thing he saw before he was completely buried beneath rocks was was his team mates having their throats slit by a smirking Ay.

Chapter Text

Nothing Else Matters

An Uzumaki-centric story

Chapter 5

"Making Friends and Getting an Eyeful"

(Six years later, Uzushiogakure no Sato)

"Kaa-chan, why can't I go play in that park?"

For the first time in his life, Naruto wasn't in that cramped tunnel system in Uzu, he was exploring the world. Well, he was just accompanying his mother to bring back medical herbs but that counted for something. He shivered with excitement when he saw the bright colors of the stalls on each side of the busy street. People were so lively here, not like home, where the only sound you could hear was the sound of wild animals and the splashing of water on seashore. The buildings were also colored brightly, giving the city a very cheerful and upbeat look. The park he was currently pointing at was a children's park in the middle of the sprawling metropolis, it was huge, with a wide array of swings, slides and sand pits. There had to be a hundred children milling about

"You already know that Naru-chan, we're only here to get some supplies and then we're going back home. Your sister must be worried sick, we shouldn't stay here for too long"

Naruto was a very bright and cheerful boy, he a bit short for his age. He had bright red hair and very fair skin. He was wearing a green shirt with tree designs and a black pair of shorts

Naruto pouted, he wanted to make friends! He finally convinced his mother to take him to the mainland for her bi-annual resupply trip and he didn't even get to do anything. He loved his sister and cousin, but he wanted more friends, two weren't a lot, you could count that on one hand!

Kushina seeing the sad look on Naruto's face decided to reason with him. "Naruto, you'll understand when you're older. You can't make friends, the only friends you need are family, other people will only use you."

Naruto resisted the urge to roll his eyes, he had heard this speech like a thousand times already! Looking around the port city of Hansako-gai, he saw a lot of friendly people, he didn't understand why his mom didn't trust them. He'll show her though, he'll make a lot of friends in the park!

"But Kaa-chan, why can't I? They're my age, nobody would try to hurt me. I promise I won't stay long, you get the food and I'll stay in the park."

Kushina shook her head and sighed, her son had developed some rather foolish ideals growing up, he seemed to inherit the ideal of her near extinct clan, only harsh reality would give him the slap necessary to wake him to the realities of the world. She didn't want her son to suffer though, her clan held those ideals and they were slaughtered like dogs. She wouldn't allow that, even if she had to play dirty.

If only he could be like his sister. Naruto had more potential as a Shinobi because of his enormous chakra reserves and his prodigious talents in the ninja arts.

Patting him on the head and ruffling his hair, she decided to indulge him. "Ok, Naru-chan, just try to look like a normal kid and don't use any jutsu."

Excited couldn't describe his state of mind, his Kaa-chan finally allowed him to make new friends, he would make sure to make lots. That way he could convince his Kaa-chan to come to the mainland a lot more.

Kushina nudged her son towards the park, he didn't hesitate and ran towards it at speeds that shouldn't be possible for a child his age.

Kushina looked at his retreating form and sighed, she had to rearrange his views regarding the Shinobi world, unfortunately, any experience that would change his view would be incredibly dangerous. Thankfully, with the use of shadow clones, she could craft a scenario where he will be forced to despise the Shinobi world. She wouldn't allow her child to carry on like this, he would only end up like her clan did, with the rest of the world pissing on his corpse.

Running at speeds that should be impossible for his age, Naruto disappeared into the playground. Kushina slowly walked to a nearby alley and created four clones. Sending one to gather the medical supplies while the rest accompanied her.

(With Naruto)

"Look at this loser, what kind of weirdo has red hair?"

"Hah, his face is going red. What, are you getting embarrassed, tomato?"

"He does look like a tomato, nobody wants to play with a rotten tomato like you"

The kids continued to make fun of him while he stood there fuming, what was wrong with these people? He only asked if they wanted to play with him, why were they being so mean? He has to do something cool, or else they wouldn't be his friends he knew his Kaa-chan would be mad, but he had to do this, he had to make friends and prove Kimiko-chan wrong.

"I bet none of you guys can make trees grow out of the ground."

The self appointed leader of the crowd of twenty-something kids that gathered for the prospect of bullying a newcomer replied "As if you could do that, only Shinobi can do magic and you're just a little boy."

Naruto grinned and put his hands in the snake seal, focusing his chakra like his sensei taught him, a huge tree grew out of the ground.

The children had their jaws on the floor, this guy just made a tree pop out of nowhere.

Naruto was going to brag before a kunai wizzed past his face and sliced a thin trail on his cheek. His audience scurried away from the park in a hurried panic. Right after the kunai cut his face, Naruto fell on his butt from shock. Looking towards in the direction the kunai came from, he saw three people wearing masks with lightning bolts on them.

"Echo, he has Mokuton, Raikage-sama will want him."

"Hai, this patrol mission turned out to be worthwhile after all. Brat, we're taking you to Kumo stay quiet and follow instructions and we may not beat the shit out of you on the way there."

Naruto grit his teeth from his position on the floor, he was so screwed. He shouldn't have shown off his Mokuton for those kids. Now he was in big trouble and his mom wasn't anywhere close to him. He had to stall till his Kaa-chan could reach him. He didn't know any jutsu yet, but he could definitely use pure elemental manipulation to wreak some havoc. Mokuton was a powerhouse of a Kekkei Genkai, even when not guided by jutsu, the power of wood release was immense.

Returning his hands to the snake seal, he created massive trees under the ninja. Tree roots burst from the ground and they were quickly followed by giant tree trunks. The Shinobi seemed amused by his attack if the they were laughing was an indication. They were casually gliding by any attack he sent at them, it seemed like his control over wood release wasn't good enough to take care of these douches.

They seemed to get tired of dodging and started throwing kunai and shuriken at him. He quickly grew a couple of trees to block them, that also blocked his line of vision, making him incapable of seeing the enemy. A kunai slipped between two of the trees he put up for cover and dug in to his stomach. Screaming from the pain of being stabbed in the stomach, Naruto fell on his knees clutching the kunai that was buried handle deep in him. Standing up shakily, he began to wobble towards the exit of the park, hoping to run away before the bastards caught him.

The trees stopped attacking them the moment the kunai stabbed Naruto. Jumping over the trees that lay between them and their target, they approached him undisturbed while he staggered from side to side. They approached him at blinding speeds to knock him unconscious before he could react. Naruto pulled the kunai out of his stomach and swung it haphazardly at the direction of his enemies, almost nicking the one who charged him in the shoulder, forcing him to jump back.

Naruto ran out of energy, using Mokuton for that long along with sustaining the injury on his stomach drained the energy out of him. He fell on his knees and started panting loudly. One his enemies charged at him with his katana positioned to pierce his shoulder, a non-vital area which would knock him out from blood loss. Naruto closed his eyes in fear of what was to come. He should've listened to his mother, now he'll never get to see his family again. His sister will be so sad that he's gone.

He waited but the pain never came. Naruto opened his eyes when he felt thick liquid splashing on his face. His eyes widened when he saw the katana poking out of his mother's chest. A feeling of numbness spread across his body, this was all his fault. His mother was going to die because of him. He was as frozen as a statue even when his mother wrapped her arms around him and hey disappeared in a flash of red.

After the two Uzumaki disappeared from the puddle of blood they were lying in, their three 'enemies' vanished in a puff of smoke.

(Uzushiogakure no Sato, moments later)

Naruto and Kushina appeared in the middle of the clearing outside the tunnel entrance, Naruto was still wide eyed, as if in a trance, not realizing what was going on around him.

Kushina shook her son lightly. "Naru-chan, go get your auntie so she could heal me." She coughed up blood shortly after finishing her sentence for the dramatic effect.

Naruto snapped out of his trance, shook his head and ran inside the tunnel ignoring his own injuries to get his aunt Akahana so she could heal his mother. If only, he had listened to his mother, none of this would have happened.

Running swiftly through the halls of their home, he seemed to have tunnel vision, focusing solely on his destination, his aunt Akahana's lab where she will most likely be.

Naruto almost broke the door handle with how hard he pushed it downwards. Flinging the door open, he ran into the room and saw a startled Akahana who has looking at him with a hint of surprise.

"Naruto-kun? I though t you weren't coming back for a couple of days?"

"Oba-chan, you have to help. Kaa-chan is hurt, she got stabbed by some bad guys." he said in a very quick manner of speech.

Akahana only understood the word 'kaa-chan' and 'hurt' so that gave her a rough outline of what happened. Looking at Naruto, she found his shirt bloodied and he had several injuries on him, including a deep stab wound on his stomach. Quickly running around the lab, she grabbed two vials of her blood and shoved the contents of one of the glass containers down Naruto's throat.

Naruto was forced to quickly drink the liquid his aunt gave him, as he consumed more and more, steam came out of his wounds and they closed up and healed rapidly. He got his breath under control after he finished the contents of the vial. He was dragged outside by his aunt's surprisingly strong hands. After a minute or two of walking, they exited the tunnel system and saw a very pale Kushina lying in a pool of her own blood. Naruto's blood ran cold as he saw his beautiful mother in such a sorry state. He stopped moving as his aunt went and filled Kushina's mouth to the brim with her healing blood. After gulping down a few drops, she seemed to gain a bit of her color back. Kushina seemed to regain her strength as she slowly leaned her elbows and sat upright. Whispering something into Akahana's ear, Akahana nodded a couple of times before giving Naruto a disapproving look. "Naruto, go to your room and only come out to receive your meals."

Natuto, even in his current distraught state, seemed to understand that. Moving robotically, he turned around slowly walked to his room.

As soon as Naruto left their line of sight, Akahana gave Kushina a questioning look. " are you sure this is a good idea? Chances are this will traumatize the poor boy, he might not want to be a shinobi at all after this ordeal. He's still too young to experience such things."

Kushina, who stood, completely healthily, responded. "I'd rather he experience such things under my watchful eye than out there in this merciless world. This will hopefully force him to change his view of the world, he might still be a child, but people are shaped by their childhood. Uzu's destruction is what made me the woman I am today, this event will make him loyal to his family and nothing else."

Akahana sighed, Kushina was too harsh on her children, way too harsh. But the fate that awaited their clan would break most weak-hearted individuals. This event may strengthen Naruto's will and temper his resolve, but it will also rob him of his innocence. He was only six for gods sake.

Kushina sighed and started walking towards the their home. Before she entered the tunnel entrance, she turned around and addressed her cousin one. "Trust me, it's for his own good, he'll only get hurt if he keeps up this foolish attitude of his. Get Karin to clean up all the blood before it dries out and take the medical supplies to your lab."

Walking through the tunnels towards her room, Kushina felt extremely guilty. Not only had she subjected her baby to such a distressing situation, she also worsened the situation by casting a genjutsu that will force the mind to internalize the trauma of the situation, prohibiting Naruto from ever forgetting about as most children do about traumatizing situations that befell them. This will either make or break Naruto. She loved her child dearly, but the sage's power should never fall on the hands of another idealistic fool. If he either stays true to his current concept of love and friendship over might and family or he comes out of this a broken shell of a boy who's afraid of his own shadow then she will be forced to groom her daughter for that right. That wasn't the preferred outcome, her daughter might be talented, but her son was her first born, he deserved his own place in her plans.

But she still hurt her baby and that fact brought an unimaginable amount of heartache with it. She hurt her son with her own hands in order to teach him a lesson. She always thought that she would be a very fun parent who would allow his child to do anything they wanted. It seems she was wrong, her heart had been growing darker and darker ever since she took this path. She knew he consequences of it though.

Entering her room and closing the door behind her, she allowed some emotions to show as she started silently crying into her pillow.

(Naruto's room, four hours later)

Time didn't really matter underground, Naruto didn't know how long he had been laying on his and contemplating the events of the day.

He messed up really bad, his Kaa-chan was hurt because of him. It was entirely his fault. If only he didn't nag his mother to go play with those kids. They didn't even want to be his friends until he showed them his skills. Is that what his mother kept always talked about? That people will only befriend him to use him and then discard him? It sounded ludicrous to him just a day ago, he had thought that all people had some semblance of good in them. Perhaps his mother was right all along? He doubted her once and she got hurt.

He had adamantly refused to believe that people were inherently evil and that the only people he could trust were those who related to him by blood. Naruto was a good boy who wanted a lot of friends, didn't other kids want friends too? They seemed to be very friendly with each other. Why was it that they only made fun of him? Is it because of his hair? Or was it something more sinister, perhaps his mother was right and every person was only looking out for himself.

Currently, he was very confused, he had never doubted his ideals before, even when his sister and mother chastised him for them. The only thing he knew to be true was his love for his family. He loved his sister and mother more than anything, he would die for his auntie Honoka and his cousin Karin and her mother. He could figure out everything else later, he'd put his quest for friends on hold and put his family to the top of the priorities list.

His train of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Who is it?" He really wasn't in the mood for a lecture from his mother.

"It's me, Naruto-nii." He slowly walked to his door and unlocked it, showing his sister in. His sister was the cutest person he had ever seen. She had cute puffy cheeks and bright red hair that reached her shoulders. She was wearing a black kimono top with red lining and a loose fitting red pants. She came two inches shy of Naruto's height.

Going inside Naruto's room, she Kimiko saw that it looked like a child's play pen. Toys scattered everywhere and very bright and childish wallpaper and bed sheets. She shook her head at her big brother's attitude. She had spoken to her mother about it, Naruto would never take Shinobi training seriously at this stage, hopefully what had happened hours earlier would get him to take life a bit more seriously. Her mother told her what happened, how Naruto showed of his Mokuton skills to some children hoping to gain their approval, only to get targeted by some Kumo-nin. She wished that Naruto would drop his stupid goal of establishing bonds outside of family. Weren't they enough? Her mother and her showered Naruto with love everyday yet he runs off to make friends with civilian trash. Hopefully this experience will make him realize that he doesn't need anyone else, her mother and her have plenty of love to give.

Walking straight to Naruto, she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "Okaa-san told me what happened, Naruto-nii."

Naruto was glad. The physical contact went a long way to calm his nerves. "I didn't mean to. Kaa-chan got really hurt." He said in a low voice.

"Don't feel so bad, you got hurt too. Okaa-san is all fine now. Naruto-nii, why did you use Mokuton when when mother told you not to?"

Naruto looked at the ground, to be honest, he hated being scolded by his sister more than his mother, while his mother would bonk him across the head, his sister would just get disappointed with him, which stung a lot more. He loved his sister, and her opinion mattered to him a lot.

"I wanted to make friends with the kids in the park, they were making fun of me. I showed them my Mokuton and the thought it was cool. Everything was fine before they showed up."

"Naruto-nii, I'm your friend, Okaa-san is your friend, Karin, Honoka-obachan and Akahana-obachan are your friends. Why do you need more? Isn't your family enough. Those people are 're beneath us, we don't befriend them, we crush them."

Naruto shuffled his feet in nervousness. This is what he meant by hating his sisters lectures, she would guilt him so bad.

"Naruto, to be someone's friend you have to protect them. Okaa-san got hurt today because of your mistake." Naruto squeezed his eyes shut at the mention of his mother's injury. Flashes of his mother lying on a pool of blood entered his mind. It was all his fault.

"You couldn't protect Okaa-san today. You should get stronger to protect your family, only your family deserves your protection. Other people will only mock you and try to take advantage of you, just like what happened today." Naruto was getting the same speech again, except this time he was actually listening. Naruto nodded slowly.

"When will Okaa-san start teaching us jutsu? I can't protect her with elemental manipulation."

Kimiko broke the hug and kissed him on the cheek. "Okaa-san will start our training in a few weeks, she has business in the mainland. I'll go get you something to eat in the mean time." Kimiko exited the room and closed the door behind her.

Naruto sighed and dropped back onto his bed, he suddenly felt disgusted with himself. He was weak, his Kaa-chan was hurt because of him and he was too weak to do anything about it. Kimiko was right, he should try to protect his family before trying to make friends. He needed to get strong fast so he can show his mother that he won't be a burden anymore.

(Near the Uchiha compound, Konohagure no Sato, two days later.)

Kushina was looking at the Root ANBU squad that was fighting the young Uchiha. He was a prodigious member of the clan and was actually a war veteran, despite his young age. She managed to catch a glimpse of his awakening of Indra's ascended eye when his lover died in his hands in the battlefield. She would have his eyes. They were necessary for the ambition of her clan. Konohagakure hadn't changed much, Sakumo Hatake had been assigned as Yondaime after the third Shinobi war which ended with nobody as victor, just three beat up Shinobi villages with a high death count a long with a graveyard in the form of Kusagakure.

The brat seemed to be holding his own against the ANBU, as ridiculous as that sounds. She would swoop in when the fighting ends and claim her prize. The squad of twelve had been reduced to four when he came. Danzo Shimura. This would be a good opportunity to dispose of him, he was the only one in Konoha with a good head on his shoulders, certainly smarter than the monkey and his successor. Just as Danzo reached for Shisui's left eye, a chakra chain pierced them both in the chest, destroying Danzo's heart and further injuring Shisui. Dropping to the ground opposite Shisui and making her presence known, she saw the ANBU clutching their tongues as they seemed to have he familiar burn of a seal being removed while Shisui widened his eyes at the presence of the unknown and flinched from the pain of getting his chest stabbed through.

"This is quite the fun party, mind if I join?"

The ANBU separated, two securing Danzo's body and fleeing while the remaining two went in opposite directions, charging at both her and Shisui. Kushina quickly ended the nuisance with a quick swing of her chains and ran at the remaining two, hoping the Uchiha wasn't desperate enough to try anything stupid, like stabbing out his own eyes.

The Uchiha's movements were extremely sloppy, if the way he was stumbling every other step was any indication. It was a huge contrast to the beginning of the fight where he was seamlessly teleporting around with the body flicker. She decided to not take any risks and quickly ended both their lives. Kushina sighed, this was all for her clan, for her family, for Naruto and Kimiko, her babies. Kneeling down near the corpse, she extracted some medical supplies she got from Akahana and quickly went to work extracting the eyes, being extra careful not to damage them just as her medic cousin instructed.

Just as she popped both eyes in a liquid filled jar and closed it shut, she felt another person approaching the site of the battle, perhaps another Uchiha. She got all that she came for, the only thing that belonged to her in Konoha was the Yonbi, who was currently sealed in a genin. She had gotten all her clans heirlooms when she unleashed the Yonbi. They were all safely stored back home.

She used Hiraishin to return to Uzu. She still hadn't master the damn thing, she probably never would. It was very frustrating, it was incredibly useful and used tiny amounts of chakra compared to the size carried, but it was also very hard to use during battle. The reflexes needed to teleport around a battlefield quickly dispatching opponents were staggering. The only one who could use it in combat was the Yondaime Raikage, because his Raiton no Yoroi stimulated the nerves system, improving reflexes. She needed a jutsu like that or she would never perfect it, oh well even she couldn't get it, she't trust her children will one day master it.

Chapter Text

Nothing Else Matters

An Uzumaki-centric story

Chapter 6

"Elaborate Plans and Bad Climates"

(Forests near Uzushiogakure no Sato)

Naruto was currently sitting on the ground next to his sister, their mother was sitting across from them staring at them both and Honoka was sitting on top a coffin off to the side.

Deciding to ask the question that's been plaguing him for the last few minutes, Naruto addressed his mother. "Kaa-chan, will you start our jutsu training now?"

"Yes, your Shinobi training will start as of today. All the theory and the boring stuff has already been taken care of, so I can start teaching you to master your chakra and start conditioning your body." Kushina said, in an uncharacteristically serious way.

Naruto nodded, the only thing he could do now was make trees grow and that was only because of his training with Hashirama-san. He desperately needed to get his mind away from his attempted kidnapping, training with Hashirama-san was always a good way. His mother had never trained him and his sister before, She spent all of her time playing with them and taking care of them, but she never trained them.

"Okaa-san, where did you go for the last couple of weeks?" Kimiko asked.

Kushina just gave her a small smile. "I just had some business in Konoha sweetie, nothing to worry about." Off to the side, Honoka snorted and flipped the page on her book.

Witnessing the slaughter of the Uchiha wasn't a trivial thing, Kushina had a front row seat to the entire event. She was thrilled by it, if the way she was excitedly recounting the events to Akahana and Honoka was any indication. It might seem a bit morbid from an outside perspective, but the greatest menace to their plan was gone.

The Fourth Hokage, Sakumo Hatake, had expended all possible diplomatic avenues to reach peace. Tensions boiled over when the idiots tried to extract the Yonbi from its host and direct its power at the Hokage. The seal managed to hold until Sakumo arrived with his ANBU and exterminated the schemers. Two of the Nidaime's students, Koharu Utatane and Homura Mitokado pushed for the complete extermination of the clan, children and women both. The Hokage initially rejected such a drastic action, but when Tsunade of the Sannin gave him proof that the Sharingan's influx of Yin Chakra eventually leads to madness, he caved.

Kushina might not be responsible for it, but she wasnmt complaining for this fortunate turn of events.

Honoka looked at her two nephews and sighed, it hurt her almost as much as it hurt Kushina to start their training so early. Naruto had changed drastically after the incident. He wasn't as cheerful and was much quieter, only talking when his opinion was worth listening to. He also seemed to be very eager for training, he had been hassling her to revive Hashirama so he can continue his Mokuton lessons. Kushina hasn't missed this change either, and she seemed intent on showing him as much love as possible, hence delaying their training for a week to get some time for familial activities.

Kimiko looked at her brother from the corner of her eye, Naruto had been worrying her for the past few weeks, thankfully he seemed to be getting out of his funk. He smiled several times this morning, a huge contrast to the air of depression and guilt that practically hovered around him wherever he went a couple of weeks ago. She tried to be as supportive as possible, her brother went through a terrible situation, no matter if he cause it or not.

"Ok, Naruto-chan, Kimiko-chan, why don't you two go twenty five laps around the ruins. That should be a good start." She said while keeping a caring face and a motherly smile. She would ease them into training, they had plenty of time to perfect their skills, after all, they wouldn't need their skills for several years.

Seeing her two little angels bolt off to complete their task, Kushina walked towards Honoka, who was swinging her sitting cross legged on top of a coffin of all things.

"Penny for your thoughts, Honoka?"

Honoka conflicted seemed for a bit before sighing and airing what was on her mind. "I'm just not sure if we should continue this road, the kids are happy and all of our family is together. Why do we need to put our lives in danger? Wouldn't it be better to just stay here and leave the Shinobi world to cannibalize itself?"

Kushina sighed and nodded. "I admit, That thought crossed my mind a few times. Seeing Naruto, Kimiko and Karin happy makes me hesitant about putting their lives in danger, but remembering the blood of our clan that was spilled by the greed of Shinobi, my will will never waver. They deserve to die for this, the blood of the innocent is spilled because of the naïvety of the strong. The cycle of hatred must be broken, it can only be broken by overwhelming and absolute power. That power isn't within my grasp, it's within the grasp of my children."

"Whatever you say, I'm with you if you choose to continue, I just hope you don't regret this in the end."

"Have you deciphered the scrolls on the Juubi?"

Honoka smirked and nodded. "Yeah, my assumption was correct. The ten tails wasn't a god or a demon, it was created as a result of a fusion between Kaguya Otsutsuki the rabbit goddess and the Shinju. According to Hamura's writings, Kaguya united with the Shinju to get back the chakra her children stole from her. We should make a seal that separates Kaguya from the Shinju so we can harness it's powers without disturbance."

"We can't know for sure until we inspect the Juubi's body. Don't assume that we can separate her from the statue just because we know of her existence. We should store the Bijuu in inanimate objects until we can remove Kaguya's presence from the Shinju, it wouldn't be a good idea to revive that women." Kushina shook her head. "All of this planning is futile if we can't get the Rinnegan. All we have on Hagoromo's eyes are half truths and assumptions. We won't be able to summon the Shinju's husk without those eyes."

"Don't worry Kushina, they may be assumptions, but they're well placed. Uniting Asura's body, Indra's ascended eye and Kennyo's chakra and life force will most certainly yield the sage's eyes. Think of it as a puzzle, we have all the pieces, only thing we need to do now is to wait for them to mature." She said while looking in Naruto's direction.

"We'll transplant the Uchiha's eyes into him when he turns ten. His change of attitude is exactly what he needed. I'll stay here for a few months before heading to the mainland again. I want you to start Karin's Fuinjutsu lessons, Akahana says that she's progressing well in medical ninjutsu, I want her to have a wider array of skills, I also want her to be useful in battle, try to help her find a fighting style."

Honoka nodded reluctantly, she never liked Karin. Their personalities were too similar for them to get along. Although Karin was only nine, she seemed to have a less than healthy interest in Fuinjutsu, Medicine and Science. She soaked up information at an astounding rate and practically lived in her mother's laboratory, shadowing her and asking about everything she does. She would still do it, teaching Karin was trivial compared to what Kushina gave for their cause, her son's innocence, for one.

(Four years later, Uzu no Kuni)

Naruto looked across the field at his sister, they had just finished their bout of taijutsu and were gearing up to bring out the big guns. They were sparring under their mother's watchful eye. Kushina was sitting on top of a tree to the side watching the spar and assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Naruto, ever the impatient one, started the fight.

"Suiton: Suidanha" Naruto released an extremely condensed stream of cutting water without the use of hand seals, his training with Hashirama-san granting him an impressive level of control over the elements of wind and earth and of course, wood.

"Mokuton: Mokujoheki" a dozen rows of wooden planks came from the ground and took the shape of a half dome, protecting Kimiko from the stream of water.

Kimiko weaved through a couple more seals and clapped her hands into the snake seal "Mokuton: Sashiki no Jutsu."

The planks creating the wood dome stretched out in the form of sharp sticks which looked dangerously pointy.

The sticks jutted out of the wall and launched at astounding speeds towards Naruto. Naruto used his control over earth to erect a wall. "Doton: Doryuheki"

Once again manipulating earth he launched his counterattack. "Doton: Doryudan no Jutsu" A dragon made of mud manifested from the wall and shot out several balls of highly condensed rock.

Off to the side, Kushina frowned. Naruto once again wasn't putting any real effort in his spars. He wasn't even using Mokuton. He was a damn monster when he used that element. She didn't really know if he was arrogant or just didn't want to hurt his sibling. She had no doubt that he would wipe the floor with Kimiko in minutes if he fought seriously. The girl couldn't be blamed, in raw power, nobody near Naruto's age could match him. A wonder of eugenics, the boy undoubtedly was.

He still needed experience though, hence why she would take them both to capture the Ichibi from Suna. The eye transplant would wait after that, it all depended on how Naruto handled his first kill. If he recognized the fact that such things were necessary to protect one's family, she would give him the Rinnegan, if not then the burden will be pushed to his sister. Genetic similarities, the Senju blood and the Uzumaki chakra he holds should render the Sharingan a useful tool for him until it evolves. Dojutsu transplants were rather rare, but everyone who had such an operation suffered from exhaustion after using the eyes. Naruto shouldn't have that problem.

Back with Naruto and Kimiko, the battle was heating a bit. Naruto finally decided to take things seriously and was riding atop a wood dragon that he summoned with his "Mokuton: Mokuryu no Jutsu"

His sister wasn't that fazed though, Naruto might have more raw power, but Kimiko had wit and cunning. Something that her beloved brother somewhat lacked. She also had a few surprises up her sleeve.

She dodged to the side of the wooden construct's maw when the dragon lunged at her. Seeing her target, Naruto riding atop his wood dragon. Under the cover of the dust the wood dragon's lunge created, she summoned two Kage Bunshin and hid underground with one of them while the third jumped on top of the dragon and charged at her brother.

Naruto smirked at seeing his sister charge at him, she should know that he was invincible atop when using his Mokuton, years of spars should have taught her better. He shaped the wood in front of his sister's feet into wood clones with "Mokuton: Moku Bunshin no Jutsu".

The wood clone was the perfect clone for battle, it had the exact same physical capabilities and carried as much chakra as it was given, it didn't have the mental recall ability the Kage Bunshin has, but that doesn't really matter in the middle of battle.

Seeing the wood clones popping out of the ground, Kimiko's clone opted to avoid them and jumped over them, continuing on her trajectory towards a crash with Naruto, who was still standing motionless with his hands in the snake seal to facilitate his abilities in controlling wood.

Just before Kimiko's clone reached Naruto, sharp wooden spikes jutted out from under her and the clone vanished with a puff of smoke. Naruto was looking around frantically for his sister's whereabouts. Turning around when he heard the crunching of dirt, he saw Kimiko and a clone of hers carrying a blue ball made entirely of chakra, the clone grabbed Kimiko and flung her at him. He was so surprised he didn't even move until the last second, haphazardly creating a wood wall to shield him from the spinny ball of death.

Breathing a sigh of relief, he was mortified to see the wood chipping and wood shavings falling on the ground. Looking up, he saw Kimiko had totally broken through the wood wall and was continuing her effort to bury the ball in his stomach. Thankfully, one of the wood clones he created earlier jumped in front of him and took the hit for him. Getting a good footing, he jumped back just as the technique in his sister's hand dissipated.

They both stopped when their mother jumped in between them. "Good job, you two. You've both advanced considerably. What was that technique, Kimiko-chan? It's the first time I've seen anything like it." She said with an extremely proud face.

Kimiko smirked at the praise. She had been working hard on that technique, getting praise for it was very fulfilling. "I created it from the water balloon chakra control exercise you had us do when we were six. I just made the chakra spin in several directions and condensed the chakra to give it a grinding quality. I call it the Rasengan"

Kushina seemed to glow with motherly pride and hugged her daughter. "You're such a little genius Kimiko-chan, I'm sure you'll surpass me in no time!"

Kimiko was a bit put off with the physical contact, thinking herself too old to be getting hugs from her mother. She tried to push her away, only getting her mother to hug her tighter. "Okaa-san, I'm ten, stop treating me like a child!"

Kushina smiled wider and released her from the hug. "Oh, look who's becoming a big girl. I'm sure you'll be running away with some boy in a few years."

Kimiko's face took an angry visage. "Okaa-san, don't even joke about that, you know how much I love my family. I would never leave you." Kushina's teasing didn't stop, even after her daughter's serious answer.

Naruto was watching from the side with a smile on his face, he loved seeing his family smiling and laughing, but if his mother was to be believed, then they couldn't live in isolation, the Shinobi world will seek them out even if they're just a handful of Uzumaki. The only way to live a happy life with his family was to crush the Shinobi world so utterly thoroughly, that the only thing remaining would be an ugly legacy of a time of war.

He still didn't know the specifics of his mother's plan, but he would trust her completely. He betrayed her once and that didn't end well. No, he would do anything for her.

"Naruto-kun? You were spacing out, are you okay?" His sister was inches away from his face, her eyebrows furrowed cutely.

Naruto grinned and gave her a peck on the nose. A bit stupefied by the random action, her brain was working overdrive to find a correct response for this situation. Seeing Naruto running away and laughing at her, her mind was instantly made up.

"Naruto-teme, get back here or I'll rip your head off."

Kushina laughed at the scene in front, she loved these moments. Her children were being children, running around a forest and chasing one another. She watched her play for a half hour before she spied Akahana coming in her direction through the trees. Her cousin took her position next to her.

"They look like they're having fun."

Kushina nodded "They should, the peace won't last for long." Kushina sighed.

"I've prepared the operation room, I can perform the transplant the eye when ever he's ready."

"Give me a month, I need to blood them first."

Akahana looked at Kushina with worried eyes, she didn't know why Honoka was so fanatically loyal to the woman. Her methods were too drastic and unnecessary. The fact that she wants to force a couple of ten year olds to kill is ridiculous, she couldn't imagine forcing her Karin-chan to do such a thing. She loved her like any Uzumaki loved family, but that same love compelled her to preserve her cute nephew and niece's innocence. "Kushina, they're just kids. Don't you think you're rushing things a bit? You should give them more time to enjoy their childhood."

"How many times have we discussed this Akahana? I understand your concerns, trust me, I do. I am their mother after all, but this must happen. I have to get them used to death before I let them loose on the Shinobi world."

Akahana reluctantly nodded, at least her Karin-chan wasn't interested in such gruesome things. She was much more interested in the sciences, just like her mother. She was a bit upset that Kushina had Honoka teach her daughter, especially the part where she would help her create a fighting. It was almost as if she wanted her to fight! Karin was a medic, her place wasn't on the battlefield

Still, she had no authority over her. She was the de facto "matriarch" of their family.

"Naruto! Kimiko! Let's go home, it's time for dinner." Naruto jumped in front of then and landed in front of his mother with a smirk on his face, suddenly he went flying by a haymaker to his left cheek courtesy of his sister. Rolling on the ground a couple of times, he groggily sat up and rubbed his swollen cheek. Seriously, were all women this crazy?

(Konohagakure no Sato)

Hatake Sakumo sighed as he stamped yet another piece of paper. He regretted taking this job, the stress was unbearable. Well, not truly. He loved this village and all it's inhabitants. Though he had to make some harsh decisions, he was still viewed as great leader for most Shinobi. How that is, he didn't know, maybe it was because he was often compared to his predecessor.

The end of Hiruzen's term as Hokage was disastrous. Truthfully, every Konoha Shinobi had breathed a sigh of relief when he retired. True, he was an extremely powerful Shinobi, you don't get the name "God of Shinobi" for nothing, after all. He was a terrible leader, the start of his term he was confident and decisive. Nearing the end, when the flood of disasters happened, he seemed to lose his will, turning into a spineless old man who couldn't herd sheep let alone lead a Shinobi village.

Hatake had gone through extreme measures to correct the mistakes of his predecessor, trying to re-instill the will of fire in the new generation of Shinobi was just that first step. He beefed up the security of the village and rooted out suspected spies. He cracked down on crime and enforced stricter laws and regulations. The village prospered in years he's been it's leader.

They still haven't recovered though. Fighting back to back wars was very tiring to all the great villages. Losing a Jinchuuriki, having a Bijuu pop up in the middle of the village and losing several artifacts definitely didn't help Konoha in it's recovery. One of the few things that kept him up at night was the possibility of someone abusing the scroll of seals for their own gain. In the hands of a sneaky enough person, that scroll could be used to conquer the world. The Edo Tensei on it's own was a frightening jutsu.

Hearing a knock on the door, he gave a quick "come in". Several Jonin walked in, one of them being his son, Kakashi. He hoped one of the younger Jonin would accept this task, he didn't like forcing people to work, it brought less efficient results.

"Hokage-sama" they all said in a respectful tone.

Hatake put down the stamp and looked at his soldiers critically, they were all young, his son being the youngest. "I've called you here today to discuss the issue of our Jinchuuriki."

"The monkey brat? What about him?"

Kurenai nudged Asuma in his stomach with her elbow. "Show some respect to Hokage-sama." She whispered.

"Yes, the monkey brat. I've already asked Sandaime-sama to train him in his affinity. Sandaime-sama is proficient in both Doton and Katon manipulation, the two elements that make up Yoton. He still needs a squad leader to show him the ropes. Do we have any volunteers?"

Genma hesitantly raised his arm. "As long as it gets me out of border patrol missions, I'm in."

"Good, we were too late in training him. Hopefully you'll be able to turn him into a proper Shinobi. For the next six months, Iruka Umino will be placed under your care."

(Small village in Kaze no Kuni, A week later.)

She hated this place, it was so hot and dry. It was as if the sun was two inches away from her face, that was the only way to explain the debilitating heat. She was sure that the piece of cloth over head was the only thing keeping her conscious. Wearing cloaks and hoods in the desert might seem counter productive considering the heat, but the sun's rays take their toll after a while in such a sunny climate.

Stepping into the village, Kimiko almost let out a whoop, she didn't though, that would break the whole cool persona she had. Her brother had no such reservations though, as soon as they entered the village her brother let out a loud cheer. Her mother giggled at her brother's actions. Their Okaa-san didn't look the slightest bit winded by the journey, though she could detect the slightest bit of fatigue in the way she walked. Her brother and her on the other hand, looked dead on their feet, the continuous two day walk through the desert took it's toll on them. They hadn't stopped once, even their mother's physical conditioning hadn't prepared them for this. Apparently the reason they didn't stop was because camping in the windy desert of Kaze no Kuni was suicide. Putting all these things in mind, it wasn't surprising that they were this excited about a place to stay for the night. Rest was something they sorely needed.

"Finally, civilization!" Naruto wheezed out with a breathless voice.

Giggling for a bit, Kushina gathered their attention "You're so over dramatic Naruto-kun."

Naruto turned to his mother and opened his mouth momentarily before closing it with a sigh "You know what, I don't even have the energy to argue with you."

They headed towards the only inn in the tiny remote village. After getting situated at the inn and getting a good night's sleep, they gathered once again at the breakfast table. After putting a silencing and perimeter seal on the table, they started their conversation.

"Do you know why we're going to Suna?" Kushina asked her children.

Naruto cocked an eyebrow. "You never told us we're going to Suna, I though we were on our way to assassinate a daimyo or something."

Kushina shook her head with a smile on her face. "No we're going to Suna because they have something that belongs to us. It's sealed inside a child, the Kazekage's child to be specific, so we have to be very careful with how we retrieve it."

"What does Suna have that belongs to us? Is it something they stole during Uzu's destruction?" Kimiko inquired.

Kushina gave a smile, her daughter always was a sharp one. "No, sweetie. They didn't steal it from us. It does belong to us though, it's a legacy from a long time ago entrusted to the Uzumaki's. I intend to get it back. Do you know about the Kyuubi?" They both nodded. "Well, you can think of this thing as it's younger sibling. There are nine of them, they're called the Bijuu. They're massive constructs of coalesced chakra. They were entrusted to the Uzumaki by the man who created them. The thing is, they're all a part of one whole, I intend to put them all under one roof and use their combined power to achieve our goals."

Naruto munched a piece of bread and thought about the implications of what he just heard. His mother had already told him of the Kyuubi, how she kept prisoner in her stomach. Apparently the seal on the beast was so tight that the thing can't even move. The already tight seal was strengthened by his mother's Kongo Fusa. There was also the man who created them, who could be powerful enough to create such powerful monsters. He had to be a god, or at least the closest thing possible.

Kimiko continued her inquiry. "How are we going to take this kid if he's the Kazekage's son? I'm not sure he'd come with us just because we asked nicely."

Kushina grinned a knowing grin. "Oh, you never know. He is considered a monster by most of his village and is hated by his own family. I'm sure he'll latch on to any form of affection. We only need a few minutes to convince him to come with us. Though it wouldn't be beneficial for our plans to be exposed at this stage, so we to do it discreetly."

Kimiko nodded, already formulating possible scenarios that could occur with the information she had.

Kushina wasn't worried at all, the worst thing that could happen is if they couldn't get the brat, should push come to shove, she would just use Hiraishin to teleport herself and her children back to Uzu. Things should go smoothly though, no one would do something this daring so Suna wouldn't be expecting someone to attempt anything like this.

"Well, eat up. I've decided that I'm bored of traveling, so we'll just teleport to a Hiraishin marker I placed near the village last time I was there."

Naruto and Kimiko and slowly turned to look at her with murderous looks in their eyes. Naruto was gritting his teeth so hard she thought they might break. "You mean to tell me that all this time we've been traveling we could've just teleported there instead? Why the hell didn't we just do that in the first place?"

Kushina smiled sheepishly. "Well, I kind of forgot about that. Sorry"

She didn't really forget about it, she had just been hoping to find a pair of bandits for her kids to kill to get that out of the way. Having a bandit as a first kill would ease the guilt of ending a life, unfortunately, none had been stupid enough to attack them.

Oh well, they'll kill in Suna anyway, no need to rush things.

Chapter Text

(Outskirts of Sunagakure no Sato)
Naruto looked at the two ANBU in front of him and his family. Those damned masks they were wearing made his blood boil. Just like the ones who hurt his mother.

The group of three was standing a few feet away from the ANBU, who had their hands on their weapons, signifying their hostility.

"Stop right there. How did you know the path to Sunagakure?"

Kushina put her hand on both her children's shoulders and gave them both a nod. They nodded back. Naruto ran forward with a kunai drawn while Kimiko stood her ground and put her hands in the snake seal to better her control over her wood style. Naruto created a clone mid stride so he wouldn't get overwhelmed by his enemies.

He understood what was going on, his mother wanted him and Kimiko to kill for the first time. While it was somewhat distasteful to put children in that situation, Naruto understood the the need to do it. He had been through far worse anyway, compared to seeing the person he loved the most, his mother, being stabbed through the chest in front of him, killing some Suna trash would be a walk in the park.

Naruto ran swiftly towards the one on the right. Because of his quick pace, he wasn't expecting his enemy to retaliate when he did. "Fuuton: Kaze no Yaiba" Naruto dodged to the right but still ended up getting a rather deep gash on his left forearm from the slicing wind. To make matters worse, his clone popped, which meant that he'd be fighting both ANBU. Kimiko would have to join the close range fight in that case. He was reluctant about letting her get close to the fighting, he didn't want her to get hurt.

"Suiton: Suidanha" Naruto released a concentrated laser-like beam of condensed water straight at the ANBU's chest. Because of the short distance between him and his enemy, Naruto's Jutsu hit with brutal effect, separating the man's right arm and hollowing out a small portion of the right side of his chest.

The ANBU looked down saw his arm lying on the ground, he seemed to blank out in disbelief before he narrowed his eyes. "You little bastard, I'll make you regret that." He spoke through gritted teeth.

Naruto channeled chakra to his feet and sprang away from his enemy. The ANBU would definitely be begging for a Taijutsu match, considering his inability to use jutsu due to his lost hand. Naruto doubted the man was skilled enough use one handed seal. Putting both hands on the floor, Naruto sent his numerous chains underground and had them converge around his enemy's position just as he began running towards Naruto.

Naruto's chains sprang out from underneath the surface and impaled the weakling in several places before he got close. Seeing his enemy was disposed of, Naruto hurried to his sister's position to rescue her from her enemy, she would be most likely have been overwhelmed the moment his clone was destroyed.

It seemed his worry was unneeded as his sister was sitting on top of her enemy corpse. the ANBU's throat was slit. She had quite the grin on her face. "I didn't expect you to take care of him so quickly. I'm impressed, Kimiko-chan."

"I wouldn't have been able to take him out if it wasn't for my new jutsu, I took him by surprise is all" She said in a pleased tone.

Kushina came from behind Naruto and put her hand on his shoulder. "You did well both of you. You're progressing very well Kimiko-chan. I'm surprised you were able to use that jutsu properly." She said in a somewhat serious tone.

Kimiko gave a smile at her mother's praise. Kushina continued in a more subdued tone. "Kids, do you want to talk about what you just did? Killing for the first time is a very hard experience, a lot of Shinobi never recover from it."

Naruto shook his head. "I'm fine, I've been through worse. How about you Kimiko-chan?" He looked at his sister expectantly. Kimiko wasn't with them when they were attacked by the Kumo ANBU, so this was her first real taste of psychological trauma.

Kimiko jumped to her feet and stretched her limbs "I'm fine, I've been preparing for this for a while. I have to admit it is a bit harder to cope with than I imagined, but I'll manage."
Kushina gave a cheery grin, she was happy they weren't too down. She couldn't stop crying for a week the first time she killed. They were handling it much better, courtesy of Naruto's earlier experiences and Kimiko's slightly cynical and nihilistic attitude. "Well, let's continue onwards. Suna doesn't really have any form of defense except for the sandstorms and the vast landmass surrounding it. Since we're already close to it, we should be able to infiltrate their wall easily. We'll sneak in through the cliff above the wall and look for our target."

Naruto and Kimiko nodded and started following their mother towards the village. Their fight with the ANBU patrol wasn't picked up on by the sentries on the wall, thankfully.

(Inside Sunagakure no sato, an hour later)

It was ugly, it looked like a child-made sandcastle. The houses were all made of clay, making the village look even more dull. How did people live in such hideous structures? The look of the place was extremely depressing. It couldn't compare to the sandy beaches and forests of Uzushio. The people looked like they were in rough shape as well. The economy must have taken a turn for the worst, Kimiko theorized.

This was Kimiko and Naruto's first time on a stealth mission, she was somewhat surprised by the ease in which they infiltrated the supposed great village. The wall only covered half the village, the other half was mountainous, all they had to do was climb the mountain and drop down in the middle of the village. Unlike the wall, there were no watch guards on the mountain.

They were currently walking through the village trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, their target wasn't going anywhere after all. Their bright red hair was covered by the sand colored turbans they wore on their head. After walking a fair bit away from the entry point towards the centre of the village, Kushina went to the side of the crowded road. "Alright, how about we have a little competition to judge your sensory abilities? Whoever can find the Jinchuuriki with their Kagura Shingan first gets to sit on the sidelines while the other does all the hard work."

Naruto bunched his eyebrows. "That isn't very good motivation, why would I want to sit and watch?"

Kimiko nodded at Naruto's words and smirked. "Naruto-nii is right, Okaa-san. Besides, he already knows I'm a better sensor so he probably won't bother trying."

Naruto's eyebrow twitched at the blatant and shameless taunt. Seeing the agitating smirk on his sister's face, he folded. "Fine, let's just get this over with."

Putting his hand in a half ram seal, Naruto concentrated his sensing abilities around him. He could feel the chakra of every creature in a the village, none were noteworthy except two, one was in the large sand tower with the word "Kaze" on it while the other was in an apparently empty road. The other chakra signature was a bit smaller than the first, but upon further inspection, it becomes apparent that there's another, massive chakra source within it. "I've found him. He's about four hundred meters north west of here." Naruto said

Kimiko started giggling. Muffling her giggles behind her hand, she spoke. "I wanted you to find him you dummy, now I get to fight him while you watch."

Naruto shot her a glare. "Whatever, It doesn't matter either way."

"No matter, let's go get him before Suna finds us skulking around." Kushina chuckled and put her hands on both their shoulders in order to lead through the streets to the Jinchuuriki's location.

Arriving at the location, a children's park, they found their target. He was sitting sideways on a swing, he had a very lonely and depressed feel about him. He had red hair and looked to be six or seven years old. Kimiko frowned when she saw him. "That's him? You want me to kill a kid?"

Kushina sighed. "You don't have to kill him Kimiko, you can just talk him into coming with us. I'll handle all the gory stuff."

Kimiko didn't move, her eyebrows were scrunched in thought. "I didn't expect him to be so little, he looks harmless. He can't be older than six."

Naruto, seeing the hesitant look on his sister's face, volunteered to go in her place. "I'll go. There's no need to burden yourself, Kimiko-chan."

Kimiko hesitantly nodded. Kushina was smiling seeing the interaction between Naruto and his sister, Naruto was the better choice after all. Kimiko backed down when the hard choice came, though she was surprised Kimiko handled killing as well as she did, she wasn't surprised to see her being apprehensive about killing the Jinchuuriki, especially with how much he resembled a young Naruto with his red hair.

Naruto looked at his mother. "Kaa-chan, how do I do this? I've never fought a Jinchuuriki before."

Kushina shook her head. "You won't be fighting anyone, you'll just disable him before he can use his beast's power. You can either disable him and take him or convince him to come with us, which is the trickier option. Just use a Shisho Fuin to suppress his link with the Ichibi and knock him out, it shouldn't be that hard." Kushina gave him a peck on the cheek before shoving him towards the boy.

Arriving at the foot of the tree the swing was hanging from, Naruto was surprised when the boy turned to look at him. He hadn't made a sound, so how did the boy know he was there? The Jinchuuriki had wide eyes and a slightly surprised expression on his face.

"How did you know where I was? I didn't make a sound." Naruto asked in a curious tone while walking in front of the boy.

The target seemed a bit surprised someone was talking to him. After taking a few seconds to comprehend what had been said to him, he shyly replied. "Th- The sand. I can feel when someone is walking on the sand around me." He said in a voice barely above a whisper.

Naruto looked at the ground below and saw that his left foot was in the sand while his right was further back in the grass, meaning that the Jinchuuriki had sensed him only when he set foot in the sand. A useful, if not specialized ability that was no doubt granted by the one tailed Tanuki, considering his relation to the desert.

Naruto wasn't too keen about conning a kid and killing him, but he had to do it. They needed the Ichibi for their plans, the kid was just an unfortunate sacrifice. Plastering his best fake grin, Naruto introduced himself. "I'm Naruto, want to be my friend?" Naruto said while offering his hand for a handshake.

Of course, he had already used his chakra to create a Shisho Fuin on his palm that he'll apply when the boy shakes his hand.

The red haired boy seemed shocked beyond words, if the way his eyes widened and his lips quivered was any indication. Reaching to shake Naruto's hand, he was momentarily surprised to see a wall of sand surge up to block Naruto's hand from to touching his. Remembering his 'condition', the boy looked down. "My name is Gaara. I'm sorry I can't shake your hand, I can't touch anything because of the sand."

Naruto didn't ease up his grin, even though he was internally shocked by the boy's ability. "That's ok Gaara-san, I'll still be your friend if you want."

Gaara had a surprised face for a few seconds before smiling slightly and nodding. "Do you want to play?" He asked Naruto.

Naruto thought about it, fighting and capturing him here would draw too much attention, especially considering his sand shield ability. The best bet would be to lead him away from the village, far enough that would see Naruto apply the suppression seal. That would take time, as he needed Gaara's trust to lead him outside the village. The biggest problem was his mother and sister were not very patient.

Considering his predicament, Naruto decided to throw caution to the wind. "Alright, let's go play Hunter-nin, missing-nin. I'll teach you the rules, I play it all the time with my sister. Though we need a big place to play, the village is too cramped."

Seeing as he couldn't take too long or his mother would be probably destroy half the village in her anger, Naruto decided to ask Gaara to leave the village walls right away. All that's left is to hope the boy was naïve enough to accept the offer.

Gaara seemed conflicted for a bit. "Well, we can go outside the village, but Yashamaru said it was really dangerous. Why don't we just play inside the village?"

Naruto shook his head, why couldn't he just fight him and be done with it? And why did his mother decide to sit put the most annoying task? Fate truly was cruel. "Come on Gaara, nobody will find out. We'll only be outside for an hour or two, what's the worst that could happen?"

Gaara bit his lip and slowly nodded. "Okay, but we can't stay out for too long."

Mentally cheering, Naruto started jogging in the direction of the cliffs he and his family snuck into the village from, that would be the exit point. "Try to keep up."

Gaara was stunned for a bit, before he regained his bearing and started to hurriedly ran after Naruto. "Hey! Wait up."

After a while they reached the cliffs, looking up, Naruto smiled. "Do you know the vertical surface walking exercise?"

Gaara scrunched his eyebrows "I don't know what that is."Tou-san taught it to me when I turned six."

Naruto nodded his head with a smile, he wouldn't have been able to carry him because of his sand shield. "Alright, let's race to the top of the cliff."

Before, he even finished his own sentence, Naruto ran off and left a once again stunned Gaara in the dust. Gaara quickly tried to catch up to Naruto.

A few minutes later, they were both on top of the cliff, Gaara was huffing tiredly while Naruto didn't even look slightly winded. "I beat you again Gaara-san. You should try to be a little quicker next time."

"You shouldn't have ran away so fast! I was plenty fast and would have beat you if we started at the same time."

Naruto chuckled. "Alright then, let's start going further out from the village so we can play." Naruto was sure his mother was this close to murdering him.

"Ok, but if we're going to race, try to tell me so it's fair." Gaara said.

They both walked side by side till they were a few kilometers away from the village. "Why are we going out so far? I can't even see the village anymore!"

Turning to Gaara with a serious face. Naruto put his hands in the snake seal. Multiple suddenly wooden branches popped out of the ground and constricted his lambs, the wood completely shredding his sand defense. Gaara was screaming at this point. Out of the wooden branches tying Gaara, wooden stocks emerged and impaled Gaara through the knees, making Gaara scream even louder.

Chakra exploded from around Gaara's body and started escalating at a rapid rate. "Come on out Shukaku." Naruto said as he broke the seal holding the Ichibi that was on Gaara's neck. Seconds later, sand converged on Gaara's body, completely covering it. Naruto jumped away from Gaara's location right before the sand took form and he was greeted with the giant form of Shukaku.

"Ahahaha. I'm out baby, now to crush some bugs." Seeing the beast, Naruto started the preparation to subdue him. "Mokuton: Mokuryu no Jutsu" a wood dragon popped out of the ground and started snaking towards Shukaku. It coiled around him completely at astounding speeds. Naruto jumped on top of the wood dragon's head which was a few yards away from Shukaku's face. "Get that wooden worm away from me you red haired baboon." The Tanuki yelled. Naruto pointed his palm which had the kanji for "sit" at his face. "Go to sleep now little doggy." The kanji glowed and Shukaku began feeling sleepier and sleepier. Before long, all that was left was Gaara's dead body and Humaku's unconscious one.

Hopping down near it and disintegrating his wood dragon, Naruto waited for his mother to show up, she was the one who had the equipment to seal the massive thing. After a few seconds, his mother showed up in a Shunshin with a pride look on her face. She hugged him, smothering him in her chest. "I'm such a proud mother, my son's ten and he's already defeating Bijuu!"

After a bit of clawing and pushing, Naruto managed to pull away from his mother's embrace and breath some much needed air. Huffing, he looked up to see that his sister had arrived as well.

"I'll go seal the Ichibi so we can leave this terrible place, I'm sure you kids don't want to stay here another second." With that said, Kushina jumped on top of the prone Ichibi's head and summoned a large scroll which would house the Ichibi. She started drawing symbols to start the process.

Kimiko gave at Naruto with a sympathetic look. "It must've been hard for you to do that, it looked like you really like the kid."

Naruto gave a shrug. "I did, but he doesn't matter in the end. Family is what's important, nothing else matters."

Although Kimiko looked slightly surprised by his answer, she nodded all the same. "Nothing else matters" she repeated.

Kushina landed in front of Naruto and Kimiko and the Ichibi was nowhere to be seen. "Let's go, there was a monstrous chakra spike when the Bijuu was released, the only reason Suna Shinobi aren't here by now is because they traps I set up on the way here."

"Freaking finally, I thought this trip would never end." Naruto said with a sigh.

"It wasn't that bad Naruto-nii. At least you got to fight a Bijuu." Kimiko retorted.

"You'll have plenty of time to argue when we get home. Come on, let's go home already." Kushina said as she touched both Naruto and Kimiko before they disappeared in a flash. Seconds later, spears made out of the Yondaime Kazekage's golden dust impaled the ground they stood on.

The Kazekage himself was sitting only a few yards away. 'Gaara, I'm sorry' he thought to himself when he saw that his son's corpse was the only thing left. He had lost both his son and his Jinchuuriki, failed as both a father and a Kage, not to mention a husband.

He looked up and glared at the spot his son's murderers disappeared from. He would find those red haired bastards and he would be sure to kill them.

(Uzushiogakure, outside of the tunnel entrance, seconds later)

A flash of red signaled the arrival of Kushina and her kids. As soon as they arrived, Kimiko on Naruto fell on the ground and sighed blissfully. Seeing how relaxed they were on the grass, Kushina decided to leave them and go inside to have a talk with Akahana. "Don't stay out too long or you might get a cold."

"Finally, a hospitable climate." Naruto sighed in a pleasure filled tone. Suna's hot weather was something he hoped to never experience again. Being back in Uzu just compounded the feeling.

"Kami, it's like a different world. I hope I never have to go back that hellhole." Kimiko said while rubbing her face on a patch of wet and cold grass.
"What the hell are you two brats doing?"

"Ugh, the last thing we need is to get into a stupid argument with you, Karin. Please leave." Kimiko said, her earlier joy completely forgotten.

"Don't be so hard on her Kimiko-chan. It's great to see you again Karin-chan, believe me. You won't believe all the horrible things we had to go through." Naruto said in a dramatic fashion.

Karin stuck her tongue out Kimiko and hugged Naruto close to her chest. "You're so cranky all the time, Kimiko-chan, that's why Naruto is my favourite cousin of all time."
"I'm really sad about losing that vaunted position." Kimiko said sarcastically. "What are you doing out here anyway? You rarely come out of the lab."

Karin gave Kimiko a dirty look. "I do too come out, how do you think I keep my skin fair and beautiful? Anyway, I came out because Okaa-san needed some anaesthetic. I'm out looking for some herbs."

That particular part caught Kimiko's attention. "What does Akahana oba-chan need the anaesthetic for?"

Karin thought about for a bit. "I honestly have no idea. We Uzumaki don't really need anaesthetic as our blood naturally heals us. Though thinking about it, it might have something to do with pair of eyeballs Okaa-san keeps in her lab, although they've been lying around there forever."

"A pair of eyeballs? What would she want with those?" Naruto asked, having huddled over to listen to their conversation.

"Don't you know Naruto-kun? Some eyes are special, they have special abilities called Dojutsu, like the Byakugan of the Hyuga and the Sharingan of the Uchiha. It might be that this pair of eyes has a special ability too. Plus the eyes are said to be the windows of the soul, they have great beauty and power in them." She said with a dreamy look.
Naruto shuddered a bit at her strange obsession with eyeballs, talk about weird.

(Uzushio tunnel system, Akahana's laboratory.)

"Are you sure this is safe? I don't want my son turning blind because you messed up an operation."

Akahana sighed. "As I've said a thousand times before, it'll be fine. I've already done this procedure about 50 times with other test subjects. I don't think there will be any problem concerning the operation itself."she said in a somewhat apprehensive tone.

Kushina narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean by that? You make sound like that there's a risk in something other than the procedure itself."

Akahana nodded. "This is just a theory, as I have no conclusive proof whatsoever, but I think the strain of unlocking the Rinnegan will put a lot of stress on Naruto's body. His body might be too young to endure it."

"And you tell me about this now? When we're five minutes away from doing the actual operation?" Kushina said in an angry manner.

"Nothing bad will happen. Hopefully. He is an Uzumaki after all, his body will most likely be capable of enduring it. We must do the operation now anyway, unless you have another pair of Mangekyou. We can't delay this operation any longer or the eyes might rot, you can only preserve the Sharingan for so long after all."

Kushina nodded begrudgingly. "Alright, I'm sorry, it's just that I can be a little worrisome when jt comes to my children's health. I trust your skills as a medic, Akahana." She clarified. "I'm going to get Naruto, you should get the operation room ready." She said as she turned and left the laboratory to explain the operation and the eye son and daughter.

(Five days later, Naruto's room)

Kushina, Naruko and Karin were sitting around Naruto's bed. He was suffering from a very high fever ever since his operation. They had all been worried sick for him. He was mostly hidden under a blanket, with only his head popping out. His eyes were bandaged and his forehead was topped with a wet cloth that was routinely changed.

Akahana assured Kushina that the fever wouldn't do any permanent damage, that was the only thing that was keeping Kushina's nerves in check. She had been standing by Naruto's bedside for the whole duration of his sickness. He had been progressively getting better, as the only thing he had done first two days was waking up, mumbling some incoherent sentences and going back to sleep. On the fourth day, he had stayed up for a few hours and had a long talk with his mother. Akahana cleared him to unlock his bandages on the fifth day.

Feeling something stirring around under her, Kushina lifted her head from Naruto's forearm and groggily sat back in her chair. "Kaa-chan, are you there?"
Putting her hand on his, she responded. "I'm right here Naruto-kun. How are you feeling?" She asked worriedly.

Naruto tried to squeeze his hands into a fist, only managing to form a very loose one. "Weak, I don't like feeling weak. Hopefully I'll be able to regain my strength when I get out of this damned bed." She squeezed his hand comfortingly, hoping to release some of the tension.

"It's a good thing we chose you to carry these eyes, Akahana doubts Kimiko would have survived this ordeal." Kushina said in a low voice. "Naruto-kun, Akahana said that you can take your blindfold off now." As soon as she said that, he reached up to rip the bandages off. His hands were stopped by her firm grip. "You'll damage your eyes if you rip the bandages like that. You'll have to take them off slowly in order to let them adjust to the light." Kushina admonished. Lifting her slender fingers, she slowly unstrapped the hem of the bandages and started slowly unraveling them.

Light slowly streamed in to Naruto's vision, he stopped his mother from removing his bandages briefly in order to get used to the light. Soon enough, his eyelids were the only thing covering his vision. Slowly opening them, his eyes were assaulted by the bright light of the light from the ceiling light seals. Closing his eyes and reopening them a couple of time, he finally adjusted to the light and saw his mother's beautiful face looking at him worryingly. Looking down, he saw that the two weights on his lower body were his cousin and sister, both resting on his shins.

"Is your vision okay, Naruto-kun? Does it look blurry?" Kushina pestered.

He silenced her with a shrug. "Everything is fine, Kaa-chan, I can see clearly. You don't need to worry so much. How long do I have to stay in this bed?"

"As long as it takes for you to get back to full health. I won't have you risk your health any more than necessary. You already gave us quite the scare with your illness, I don't think my psyche can handle another five days of lying next to your bed, not knowing if you'll wake up or not."

Naruto winced as he heard his mother talk. He didn't know she was that worried. He once again allowed his body to fall back on the bed and relaxed. "Alright, I'll stay in bed for a while."

"Before you go back to sleep, sochi. Can you channel some chakra to your eyes?"

Naruto nodded and channeled a minute amount of chakra to his eyes. They turned red with three tomoe spinning rapidly around the center. Kushina nodded. "More chakra, Naruto-kun." Channeling more chakra, his eyes changed once again. The tomoe were replaced with a black four sided shuriken that spun around the center. "One last time, Naruto-kun." Naruto sighed and channeled the last bit of his chakra, he didn't have a lot because of his current state. As soon as the chakra reached the tenketsu in the eyes, a purple pattern of ripples emerged from the pupil of the eye, expanding outwards till it covered the expanse of the eye.

Kushina stared at his eyes for a bit before she smiled. "Perfect, you're going to be very strong when you master those eyes, Sochi. Now go back to sleep, you need your rest." With that she gave him a kiss on the forehead and left the room, carrying the sleeping Kimiko and Karin with her.

Chapter Text

(Uzu no Kuni, a few kilometers away from the hideout.)

"Do you feel anything different, Naruto-kun?"

Naruto looked around with his enhanced sight, it was as if he was seeing for the first time. He was seeing things to the tiniest detail, from the smallest insect to the faraway mountains of Hi no Kuni with stunning clarity. He could see it clearly even though it was hundreds of kilometers way. He looked towards his mother and took his first glance at her with his new eyes activated. She seemed even more beautiful than before, her hair, which was a blinding shade of red, only served to accentuate her majestic facial features and her perfect figure. He shook his head to rid himself of his blush that was slowly invading his cheeks.

"It's amazing, Kaa-chan, I can see everything so clearly now."

"As I've said before, sharp vision is not the extent of this eyes' powers, Naruto-kun. How's the drain on your chakra, do you feel tired?"

"It drained a lot out of me when I used it when I was ill, but the chakra consumption is manageable now. I still need to expand my chakra reserves and improve my control though, I can only hold the highest level for a few hours without using techniques." Speaking of his Dojutsu's techniques, he knew none of them. As soon as he got the okay from Akahana, he had literally dragged his mother to start training him in his new abilities.

"The more you use it, the more your body will adapt to it, lowering the chakra cost and making it more efficient. We'll start by doing some chakra control exercises. According to Hagoromo's writings, the Rinnegan's abilities are mostly instinctual. After you're done with the chakra control exercises, we'll have a sparring session. Hopefully some of your Rinnegan's abilities will manifest instinctually as a result of the fighting."

Naruto nodded with a visible excitement. Kushina brought out a scroll from one of her pockets and laid it out on the floor, channeling chakra into it, a large slab of steel appeared. "This weighs five hundred kilograms, try to lift it with your chakra using the chakra sticking technique you learned in the tree climbing exercise."

Naruto moved towards the slab and put both his hands on top of it, he channeled chakra to his hand, making it stick to the slab firmly. He attempted to lift the slab without any physical support, but he failed, the chakra in his hand had dissipated because of the strain of trying to lift the giant ingot.

Kushina crossed her arms and watched her son struggle to complete his task, he had been improving greatly as of late. He would undoubtedly leave his sister in the dirt in terms of ability in no time, though knowing Kimiko. She would just find a way to be his equal in strength, even with the eyes of the sage at his disposal.

A couple of hours later, Naruto had managed to raise the slab a couple of inches of the ground before his chakra gave away, a marked improvement from the way he started the exercise. Kushina clapped her hands to stop him before he tried his hand at the exercise again. "Enough Naruto-kun, you've progressed well. Now we'll have a spar to wrap up."

Naruto wiped the sweat from his forehead and walked so he was directly in front of his mother. "Let's begin, Kaa-chan."

Kushina got into a fighting stance. "Stay sharp, Sochi, I won't take it easy on you."

(Two weeks later)

"This is so frustrating. How am I supposed to use the Rinnegan if I don't know what it does?" Naruto said while his mouth was stuffed with food.

"Naruto-nii, you shouldn't talk with food in your mouth, it's impolite." Kimiko said in a reprimanding way. Naruto rolled his eyes and chewed his food.

"Naruto-kun, you have to be patient. I'm sure you'll get it eventually." Akahana said with a gentle smile on her face.

Naruto smiled after hearing his aunt's encouraging words. She was always very supportive of him no matter what he did. It was a nice change. "Hai, thank you Hana-oba-chan."

In a few minutes, they had finished their meal. Kushina put her utensils down and wiped her mouth with a napkin. "I need you all to meet me in the training grounds below, the ceiling should be high enough to accommodate our needs. Honoka, bring the Ichibi with you, we'll start the sealing process."

Giving a barely noticeable nod, Honoka stood up and left the room, leaving the rest of the inhabitants, save Kushina, curious about what was happening. "Oka-san, what's happening? I thought the Ichibi was already sealed?"

"It was sealed, we just couldn't utilize it's power, as minuscule as it is. If we can seal the Ichibi successfully, we'll start going after the other Bijuu more actively." She said confidently. After her piece was said, Kushina stood up, the other occupants of the room following her towards their destination, the biggest training ground in their not so little base. It had an extremely high ceiling that would be able to house the Juubi, it least in it's current state. It was mightily impressive considering the damned thing was underground.

Arriving at the middle training ground, she turned to Naruto. "Naruto-kun, do you remember what we talked about? About the summoning jutsu I taught you?"

Naruto nodded firmly. "Hai, kaa-chan, I do."

"Good, now remember, the beast bends to the power of your eyes. If it starts going out of control, just subdue it with your eyes, neither your chakra chains nor your Mokuton will work on this one." She patted him on the head and jumped away from him,the other Uzumaki following her lead.

Naruto went though five hand seals and smacked his open palm on the ground. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu" in a puff of smoke a monstrosity emerged. It looked to be the colour of wood, and had two arms which were shackled together by what looked to be an iron chain. It's upper body was a mishmash of different strange body parts jutting out. All in all, it was quite the disgusting sight to see, not to mention the feeling of hollowness, hunger and want that emanated from the husk.

"What the hell is that?" Karin asked, looking at the thing with a mixture of disgust and apprehension. Kimiko nodded, wanting to know the answer as well.

"It's the Juubi's husk, it's currently powerless. Only housing a tiny sliver of it's complete power. We'll get it back to full strength and use it to it's full capacity soon enough." Kushina explained.

Naruto, who was standing on top of the thing, was struggling to keep his summon from devouring his family. It's impulse to consume chakra was very strong, he'd give it that. Channeling some chakra to his eyes, he was able to stop the Juubi's struggle against the chains that bound his hands. Naruto breathed a sigh of relief, it wasn't as hard as he thought it would be. Maybe it was because the Juubi was stripped of it's power that he was able to control it so easily.

"That has to be the most disturbing thing I've ever seen." Said Kimiko, her face scrunched in disgust and a slight bit of fear at the thing's face. The combination of the mouth being opened in a silent scream and the bandaged up eyes was utterly revolting, not to mention the thing just gave her a bad vibe. "Do you need us to seal the Ichibi? Is that why we're all here?" She asked her mother as Honoka entered the room with a scroll in her hand.

Kushina broke her eyes away from the creature and glanced at her daughter, flashing her a smile. "Yes, once Naruto's ocular powers improve, he should be able to seal the Bijuu instantly with the Gedo Kusari. Until then though, we have to do it the old fashioned way."

Honoka put the scroll on the ground, unrolled it a ways away from Kushina and chuckled. "I didn't know there was an 'old fashioned way' to seal a gigantic beast into the original container of chakra."

Kushina chuckled. "Let's just get this over with, the sealing will take a long time and I don't want to waste too much of it going back and forth with you." She looked away from Honoka to look at the rest of the room's inhabitants. "Each person should stand on one of the statue's fingers, I'll initiate and control the jutsu, you guys just focus on providing chakra." They followed her instructions, each standing on of the Juubi's fingers.

Honoka put her hands on the seal matrix. "Fuin: Kai"

Out of the smoke emerged the Ichibi's sleeping form. It was dwarfed by the Juubi, even though the Juubi was currently at a fraction of it's original power. Honoka jumped high and landed on the Juubi's right index finger. "Everyone, put your hand in the ram seal and let the Juubi drain your chakra." Kushina ordered.

"Fuinjutsu: Genryu Kyufujin". The Gedo Mazo's mouth opened ominously and out came nine ethereal dragons. Under Kushina's command, they opened their maws and bit the Ichibi from multiple angles. "Sit tight everyone, this'll take a while." Honoka said.

Karin, Naruto and Kimiko groaned in exasperation, they were Uzumaki for kami's sake, Uzumaki aren't very good at waiting. "This is a blessing in disguise, now we can have some long overdue family time." Said Akahana with a serene smile on her face.

(A day later)

"...This is so boring." Karin said, drawing her words out.

"Karin! Stop complaining, this is the third time you said that in the last five minutes" Honoka hissed through her teeth, speaking in a sharp tone to get her to shut her mouth.

"But Honoka-oba, nobody's talking. It's so boring, and we're only a day in. There are two more days to go." Karin said in an emotionally drained voice.

"Karin, shut your mouth before I come over there and staple it shut." Honoka said while gritting her teeth.

"Alright, that's enough. Stop acting like children, both of you." Akahana said.

"But she started it!"

"It doesn't matter who started it, Karin, I'm ending it. Now no more talking."

Silence reigned over the sealing chamber. The only sounds were the Ichibi's guttural groans of pain. The peace lasted for twenty more seconds

"But it's so boring." Karin said.

Everybody sighed exasperatedly at their motor mouth family member. "Fine Karin, what do you want to talk about?" Kushina asked.

"Summoning contracts! I read that the Senju clan has a contract with the medicinal slugs of Shikkotsurin, which summoning clan do the Uzumaki have a contract with?"

Kushina raised an eyebrow. "Good question Karin, I honestly thought you would ask a dumb question. This is good though, all three of you should be old enough to sign your own summoning contracts, except Naruto of course, he has the versatile and powerful summons the Rinnegan provides him with. We currently have the contract for the mountain lions who associated with the Uzumaki, I also managed to 'borrow' the salamander contract under the nose of that old fart Hanzo."

"Okaa-san, I thought you took all the belongings of the Senju from Konoha, why didn't you take the slug contract?"

"I couldn't find it then, it's most definitely with Tsunade, seeing as she's their current summoner."

Karin thought about her options before nodding determinedly. "I want the salamander summons, I already use poison as part of my arsenal, they'll only bolster my abilities."

"And I'll take mountain lions, Okaa-san can teach me how to utilize their abilities." Kimiko said.

"I only ever use the mountain lions as couriers, so they don't like me very much. I still know some combination jutsu you can do with them though. I'll be happy to help, Kimiko-chan." Kushina gave an easygoing smile to her daughter.

The Ichibi had shrunk in size once again, now being one third of it's original size.

"So, Naruto-kun?" Karin said in a bashful and shy tone.

Naruto turned his head towards his cousin in confusion, why was she talking like that? "Yes, Karin-chan?"

"Do you want to go on a date after this?" Karin asked somewhat bluntly and shyly. Karin looked to the side to see her proud mother giving her a thumbs up.

"What?" Of all the things to ask, that was the last thing Naruto expected.

"No, he won't go on a date with you." Kimiko said in a conclusive tone.

"He can talk on his own, Kimiko, there's no need to answer on his behalf." Karin said in an angry voice.

While Akahana had the proud face of a mother watching her daughter grow up, Kushina and Honoka just looked amused at the situation.

"Well, I'm sure he wouldn't want to go on a date with you anyway, right Naruto-kun?" Kimiko said in a confident tone, no way her dear brother would want to spend time with Karin when he could stay with his sister.

"What's a date?" Naruto asked. Unlike Karin and Kimiko, he learned by doing and observing, not by reading. Living on a remote island surrounded by a somewhat xenophobic family, dating was a foreign concept to him.

His mother sighed. "A date, Naruto-kun, is something a man offers the woman when he's courting her, it can range from a picnic to a walk on the beach or a home cooked dinner. Men do this to start a romantic relationship with a woman." Kushina explained as if Naruto was a five year old, he might be a great shinobi, but Naruto had almost no experience in social interactions outside of family members.

Naruto nodded, signaling his understanding. "I'd love to go on a date with you, Karin-chan, we can take a walk on the beach and then I can cook you dinner."

Karin squealed in happiness while Kimiko's jaw dropped. "What the hell Naruto? I was supposed to be your first date." She said angrily. Right before a chakra chain whipped her on the back of the head.

"Ouch!" Kimiko shouted.

"No cursing, young lady." Kushina said.

Naruto looked at his sister's furious and pain filled face with no small amount of confusion. "I never said you'd be my first date, I didn't know what a date was five minutes ago!"

"You're supposed to notice these things Naruto, don't you know how a woman's heart works?" Kimiko said angrily.

"How should I know? I'm only ten." Naruto grumbled lowly.

"He wants to go on a date with me, Kimiko, there's no need to be jealous about it." Karin said in a haughty and victorious tone. The shouting and hollering continued for hours.

"Oh kami, please kill me." Honoka said while wincing from all the high pitched shouting and screaming the little devils had been subjecting her poor eardrums to. She loved the little tykes but they were even more annoying than Kushina before she mellowed out.

(Three days later)

"Okaa-san, they're here. What did you want to talk to us about?" Kimiko said, standing triumphantly next her brother and cousin, her mother giving them a cheerful smile.

"Yeah, why did you have to interrupt our date?" Karin asked angrily.

"Oh nothing much, I just have a mission for you three, but I'm sure you guys would prefer to stay here doing nothing." Kushina said nonchalantly.

Naruto's eyes glinted with excitement as soon as the word mission was mentioned. "A mission? We'll take it, right Karin-chan, Kimiko-chan?" Getting a nod from both, he looked at his mother expectantly.

"You won't all be going together. Me and Kimiko will be going on our own and Naruto and Karin will accompany Honoka to fulfill the other task."

Karin got a big smile on her face. "Oh, just me and Naruto for weeks on end, this will make up for our date getting interrupted." She said dreamily. It was just so romantic, not even that stick in the mud Honoka could ruin this for her.

Kimiko glared at the ground between her feet. "This is not fair." She said through gritted teeth.

While the girls were responding to their choice of companions, Naruto was focused on an entirely different matter. "Kaa-chan, what's our mission? It has to be something dangerous if we have to do it right?" He asked with an excited smile. Maybe he can finally unlock some of his ocular powers when he gets into a real life or death situation. Having such a powerful tool at his disposal and not being able to use was utterly frustrating.

"You and Karin will be going to Nami no Kuni, Honoka will brief you on your mission." Kushina turned to her daughter "You and me, Kimiko-chan, will go to hunting cats in Rai no Kuni."

Chapter Text

(Nami no Kuni)

"You know what, this place isn't too bad. It definitely has a more hospitable climate than Kaze no Kuni." Naruto muttered the last part, apparently he still hadn't forgotten his terrible trip to Suna.

"I agree, I honestly didn't know a minor country could be this prosperous. They don't even have an army." Honoka remarked offhandedly while leading her two charges through the bustling streets of Nami.

Indeed, it wasn't a bad place. A somewhat prosperous island off the coast of Hi no Kuni. Judging by the dozens of merchant ships they had sighted coming to and from the island, trade was profitable and frequent. The architecture was somewhat reminiscent of Hi no Kuni, spacious wooden buildings were huddled together in large blocks. There was a variety of stands lining the busy high street, from apparel and cloth merchants to food and candy stands.

"Honoka, let's get something to eat, we've been running on empty for three days now." Karin suggested. "We can keep looking after we eat."

Glimpsing a tea shop among the smorgasbord of shop signs and crowds, Honoka lead her niece and nephew towards it.

After being led to their table, they all made their orders. "So what are we looking for anyway? You only told us to 'Keep an eye out', what should we keep an eye out for?" Naruto said before taking a sip of his green tea.

"We're looking for a shrine, the shrine of the sage of the six paths. The scrolls in Uzu gave very vague instructions as to its whereabouts. 'An island to the east' was what was written. Hopefully we find it here, otherwise we'll have to scour all of Mizu no Kuni, which would be a much more annoying task."

Naruto nodded and looked down to the teacup in his hand, he wondered what his sister and mother were doing right now. They were no doubt in immense danger, fighting the Nibi wasn't easy.

"Why are we looking for the shrine? Is there something specific we need?" Karin asked, getting Naruto's attention.

"There is, actually, we're looking for the jutsu the sage used to seal the rabbit goddess, so we can understand it's mechanics and isolate her chakra from the Shinju. Sealing Shukaku into the Juubi was a bit of a gamble, thankfully nothing dangerous happened. As soon as we rid the Shinju of Kaguya's influence, we should be cleared to seal the other Bijuu." Honoka said.

Naruto seemed to be deep in thought, biting his inner lip and squinting his eye. "Why are we doing this? All of this? I thought mother didn't care for this world." Naruto suddenly asked.

Honoka looked at Naruto for a brief time before sighing and taking a sip from her tea cup. "I don't know honestly. I know what she intends to do, but not why she wants to do it. Perhaps it's revenge for Uzu, or maybe it's just a want to end the cycle of war the Shinobi world has birthed. Either way, we should trust her, your mother has your best interests at heart, I'm sure of it." Honoka ended with a sincere tone.

Karin was a bit puzzled as to why her auntie would do this. Kushina was always an isolationist, so it was a bit puzzling to see her determined to change the outside world. Her mother, Akahana, always seemed a bit apprehensive of the de-facto matriarch of the Uzumaki clan, but she didn't see why. Perhaps it's because she grew up around family, and that gave familial bonds such a special place in her heart. To Akahana, Kushina was just someone she met in her twenties, but to Karin, she was a family member who was with her since day one.

Unlike Karin, Naruto wasn't thinking too hard about it anymore, Honoka's answer had pacified him. As long as his mother intended to do this, he would do anything necessary to help her achieve her goal.

Naruto finished his meal and put his teacup on the table with a slight 'bang'. "We've wasted enough time here, we should start searching for this shrine before the sun sets."

Nodding, Honoka put a stack of ryo on the table and left the establishment and the village with her two charges in tow. She addressed them once they were far enough from the village. "Alright, that should be far enough. Karin, you're the best sensor here. See if you can sense any irregular chakra signatures in the area. The numerous seals on the shrine should be emitting a chakra signature, but if my guess is right, then the signature would be muffled by chakra nullifying seals."

Karin put her hand in a half ram seal and extended her senses. Several blue flames popped up in her mind's eye. Scouring all the information her Kagura Shingan was providing her, she came up short. "There are no people with chakra higher than a civilians' other than us. I didn't notice any irregularities though."

Honoka nodded. This was good, no unknowns meant that they could search without having to watch their backs. "We'll walk along the coast and try again every few miles. This island isn't small, so it'll take a while to scout all of it. Naruto-kun, make a couple of Kage Bunshin and have them patrol the island." Honoka ordered.

8 Kage Bunshin popped beside Naruto and headed in different directions in order to inspect the island more closely while the three Uzumaki walked along the coastline to see if Karin could sense the chakra the shrine emits.

(Rai no Kuni)

Blood dripped from Kimiko's right hand as it dangled uselessly from her body. The skin on her right hand was ripped to shreds while her right forearm was burned to a crisp. She stared defiantly at the angry form of the Nibi no Nekomata. The Bijuu wasn't very happy judging by its' screeching and posturing. Her chakra chains weren't strong enough to hold the beast down yet. Her brother and mother could surely do it with their chains, but her chakra just wasn't thick and potent enough to subdue the hell cat in front of her. Her mother wanted to test her abilities in front of the Bijuu, which is absolute bullshit in her opinion. Who in kami's name sics a Bijuu on their kid just to test them? Either way, she wasn't having a very good time, not at all. The icing on top of the cake of misery that was her day was the Bijuudama that was hovering above the Nibi's open mouth.

She gave her mother a look, telling her not interrupt her fight. Biting her left wrist, she used her Shosaku Sen to heal some of the damage she'd sustained so far. Her right arm steamed as some of the mangled flesh stitched together and the black burned skin returned to its healthy colour. She squeezed her right into a fist to test its functionality before digging into her kunai pouch and bringing out one of her prepared kunai just as the Nibi released its destructive attack.

Disappointed and fearful, those were the perfect words to describe Kushina's current state of mind, disappointed with her daughter's progress and fearful for her life. Kimiko should have been able to deal with a Bijuu by now. Unfortunately, her Mokuton hadn't yet matured to Naruto's level and unlike him, she hadn't been taking extra lessons with the revived Shodaime to master her wood affinity. On top of that, it seems her chakra hadn't matured enough for her chains to completely hold the Nibi down. Perhaps she had been spoiled by Naruto's progress and the standard she measuring her daughter was too high?

Kushina smacked the Nibi's Jichuuriki, Yugito, until she released her Bijuu, at which time Kushina decided to step back and see her daughter in action.

Kushina decided to step in, this piece of filth was actually beating her daughter and was currently pointing a Bijuudama at her daughter. She couldn't let this farce continue on for much longer. A look from Kimiko made her pause. It seemed she still had some tricks up her sleeve, Interesting.

As soon as the ball started barreling towards her, kicking up dust and creating a trail of destruction on the ground below it, Kimiko jumped up and threw a wind enhanced kunai above the Bijuu while four chakra chains burst from her back and went to intercept the ball.

The four chains split off, each intercepting at a cardinal direction. The chains wrapped around the Bijuudama just as the kunai was directly above the Nibi. Kimiko disappeared in a flash, her chains were attached to her, still carrying the Bijuudama. Kimiko exerted her control over her chains and redirected the captured Tailed beast ball directly onto the Bijuu's unprotected back. She quickly flashed again using the Hiraishin and appeared next to her mother, waiting for the inevitable gigantic explosion.

"Good job." Kushina said as the purplish-black ball of chakra glowed brightly and menacingly. "I'll take care of the rest, I'm proud of you," She finished as the ball finally exploded, it's loud 'boom' overshadowing the screams and wails of the Nibi no Nekomata.

Kimiko gave a smile, her hard work had paid off. The Hiraishin wasn't easy to learn, but she'd be damned if it wasn't worth the effort. She had mastered it to a level even better than her mother and was able to use it to great effect during battle, unlike her mother who uses it as a glorified summoning jutsu. The beauty of the Jutsu was its efficiency, she just teleported an entire Bijuudama and was barely winded. The technique was a fascinating one and she had still yet to master it to its fullest extent, there were many of its mechanics she hadn't discovered yet.

Kimiko sighed and allowed herself some reprieve as she sat down on the ground and watched her mother "deal" with the situation.

Kushina didn't receive any pushback as she extracted the Nibi from the unconscious Jinchuuriki.

(Nami no Kuni)

They were, as they have been for the last two days, walking around the island looking for the vaunted shrine of the sage. So far it's been like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Almost robotically, Karin put her hands in a ram seal and extended her senses. It was faint, but she could a small signature on the edge of her sensing range. It felt ancient and untouched. She also felt something else, something black and sinister, creepy.

"I got something" Karin said with her eyes closed and both her hands in the ram seal.

Naruto looked to his aunt Honoka for instructions, they had finally found something, and he hoped it would be worth the trouble.

"Lead the way, Karin. The faster we finish this assignment, the faster we can return home." Honoka said.

They jumped into the trees and travelled at a moderate pace towards chakra signature. They took to the ground when they came to the shrine itself. When they arrived at the chakra signature's location, they found an empty clearing. "There's nothing here." Naruto said, intrigued.

He looked at his squad leaded and received a nod. He put his hands on the ground and pulsed his chakra. His chakra traveled as a visible, bright blue wave and spread across the clearing. It revealed a circular dome of Fuinjutsu that seemed to center around the clearing.

"Invisibility seals, Chakra nullifying seals, Chakra barrier seals, Nature Chakra absorption seals, whoever did this was quite good." Honoka said in an impressed tone while gazing at the ink 'structure' that was blocking their way.

"Can you get past it, Honoka?" Karin asked.

"Of course I can, who do you think I am? I am the foremost Fuinjutsu expert in the world, without par." Honoka said braggingly, she didn't care for much, except Fuinjutsu and Kushina. Having this little brat question her mastery over Fuinjutsu was insulting, even if she didn't mean it.

"I suggest just busting though it, I'm sure I can attack with enough strength to break through the barrier." Naruto while cracking his knuckles.

"Hold your horses there Naruto, we're going in this shrine the delicate way. We don't want to leave behind any ruins." Naruto seemed to deflate a bit, but nodded anyway.

Honoka walked in front of the dome of Fuinjutsu and stared into it with her charcoal eyes. Her eyes moved from word to word taking every detail in to mind.

Karin put her hand on Naruto's shoulder. "Let's go, If I know anything about Honoka, she'll be staring at that thing for five more hours, let's go back into town and relax for a bit."

Naruto seemed reluctant to abandon his mission without orders. On the other hand, Karin was probably right, he had seen what Fuinjutsu did to his aunt, it wasn't pretty. "Fine, I'll leave a clone here to inform us if Oba-san needs us." Naruto allowed himself to be dragged by Karin.

(Rai no Kuni)

"Shee! Where the hell is she?" The Raikage roared as he scanned the destroyed battlefield again.

Poor Shee was sweating from every pore in his body, having an outraged Raikage shouting at you five inches away from your face was a traumatic experience. "I can't sense her anywhere, Raikage-sama. I apologize."

The Raikage punched the ground creating crater. "Damn it, damn it all to hell! How could our Jinchuuriki get kidnapped in the middle of our territory? How did she get kidnapped period? Yugito is one of my most powerful subordinates."

"Obviously, whoever attacked her was prepared, they lured her from the village and away from our protection and struck when they were certain of success. We must increase the protection on Bee-sama, or else the same might happen to him." A rather lazy looking man by the name of Darui drawled out.

The Raikage squeezed his fists until the knuckles popped. "Shee! Call for a meeting of the five kage, I'll find out which one of those bastards did this and then I'll rip him to shreds."

Darui interrupted his kage before he could get carried away. "I don't think that's a wise decision, Raikage-sama. The other kage shouldn't be informed that we lost the Nibi, we should until the information gets out there before we act hastily. Depending on which nation the nation the rumors of the Nibi's capture start, we can guess which of the kage was behind this operation. We should also consider the idea of an independent organization or person being behind this attack."

The Raikage looked at Darui with mad eyes before he exhaled heavily. "My Jinchuuriki was kidnapped and you want to be quiet about it?"

Darui nodded. "You're a Kage, Ay-sama, being reckless wouldn't be beneficial right now. One of the kage is obviously playing the long game, we should proceed extremely carefully."

Ay sighed heavily and seemed to be struggling to calm down. "Fine, if this backfires, it's on your head, Darui. Shee, tell Samui and that stupid brother of hers to join Bee's protection detail. Let's go back, a kage can't leave his village for too long, and get someone to clean this mess."

(Nami no Kuni)

"This isn't what I imagined our mission would be like." Naruto said. It had been three days since they found the shrine. Honoka hadn't moved an inch, still staring at the Fuinjutsu surrounding the shrine. Naruto wasn't inclined to interrupt her given what happened the last time he interrupted her study of Fuinjutsu. It wasn't a pleasant experience to say the least.

He and Karin were currently sitting on a park bench drinking some juice they bought from a vendor.

"At least we're in a nice country, I really like Nami no Kuni. The shops are great." Karin said cheerfully.

That was another thing, it seemed his 'date' with Karin was just her using him as a mobile storage unit for all the clothes she bought around town. She bought so many clothes! How could she ever wear all of them? "Yeah, I guess all the shopping just isn't for me." Naruto said dryly.

Naruto reflexes flared as he dropped the cup of juice and slipped out a kunai from his backpocket and held it in his hand while facing the source of the disturbance with Karin behind him, protected.

"Quite jumpy aren't you, Sochi?" Kushina said, amused by her son's over the top reaction to her and her daughter's appearance.

Naruto's cautious face exploded into a smile when he saw his mother, he dropped his kunai and hugged her. "I was so worried about you. I was worried that you got hurt." Naruto said in a whisper.

"I'm fine, don't forget, I'm tough, way stronger than you." She said cheekily while hugging him back.

Naruto just laughed into her shoulder. Naruto reluctantly detached his body away from his mother's and looked towards his sister. "You look smug, what happened?"

Kimiko smirked "Oh nothing, I just beat the Nibi into the ground."

Naruto's jaw opened in shock, before he closed it with excitement. "That's awesome. I'm looking forward to sparring with you now." Kimiko smiled before shooting Karin a dirty glare.