Chapter 6: First Wave

The next four days went swimmingly. Like swimming hard against a rough, icy cold current. Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating, but Kakashi was pretty pissed at me for setting Gai on him.

Fortunately, he still had yet to notice that I was sending a clone to face him and my teammates, upgrading from an earth and shadow clone combo to rock and shadow, much more durable and possibly even tougher than the real thing. The next step in earth manipulation was adding iron to the clone, but I was months away from reaching that level of mastery in earth, unless I somehow acquired the steel release bloodline.

Not-sensei's irritation meant experiencing his choice of the most tedious, annoying and uncomfortable missions available, if only second hand - and forbidden to use clones "for training purposes". Yuh, right.

Adding Ino to our training regimen wasn't any complication, she simply went through physical and chakra training with a clone, polishing up the basics and improving her speed, stamina, chakra control and reserves, her whining about the torture disappearing after a single conversation and spar with Rock Lee, who frankly was the issue, if not quite a problem.

During most of the time we had allotted for training, I had Lee help Hinata, since he usually sparred with Neji and was thus very familiar with the classic Hyuuga tactics, encouraging the girl to use her jutsu to teach him how to deal with something new, while I played with Tenten. Hinata and I actually managed to help him find a way to deal with genjutsu. First, he had to realize the possibility that he'd been caught in one, and practice against Hinata was helpful in that. Then, he could use the least comfortable manner of dismissing it - pain. I showed him a pressure point that he could hit that would hurt a lot without momentarily paralyzing him, and Lee had no problems fighting past pain.

Training with the bun-haired girl was a lesson in humiliation for her, as I demonstrated what wind could do against weapons, how effective lightning was when your opponent held metal items, and generally how each of the elements had an almost perfect defense against her primary weapon, thrown sharpness - and with basic low-cost C and D-ranked jutsu, at that. A directional pulse for the D-rank and in all directions for the C-rank, other than Earth, which simply erected walls or used earth armor to provide for immunity against the small thrown stuff.

Even up close, I demonstrated how dangerous jutsu could be, and on the second day, Hinata showed her what even low-ranked genjutsu could do - the girl had worked extra hard and managed to get three useful ones going, only to be disappointed when I explained my defensive seal - in strict confidence.

Tenten was far from discouraged, however, as I showed her what she could do. She seemed almost gleeful at learning more fuuinjutsu, specifically explosive seals and their variants, and was also happy to discover that she was fire-natured. I piled her up with sealing books, elemental training and basic jutsu, adding earth to fire after explaining the requirement for jounin - and informing her that she desperately needed defensive jutsu, as she was hardly the only long-ranged fighter around. She was happy enough to work on things in her own time, sparring with everyone and helping us increase our proficiency with all of our weapons.

Tenten actually kissed me when I provided her, Hinata and Ino with gloves threaded with seals that held dozens of shuriken and kunai that required the smallest pulse of chakra to drop one into your hand, or a larger pulse to send one flying at respectable velocity in the direction your arm was pointing. Hinata almost sent her to the hospital after that, and I made sure they didn't spar for the next day to settle things down, and asked Hinata later in private if she could make time for me during the weekend, as I had something to show her and something to tell her, both important. It was almost painful, how happy she was a the prospect, and I realized we really were almost kindred souls - except that I was nowhere near as nice. Though she'd showed another aspect of her when she took Tenten apart… perhaps we were not that different when fighting for something we cared for.

It was the next morning, exercising in the training room in my home, that I was caught by surprise. The clone I'd sent that morning to waste time with Team Seven replaced me, and suddenly I appeared in one of the bathrooms in the Hokage tower, as memories slotted in smoothly. It appeared that the last four days had broken through Sasuke's mask, and he lost his patience when Kakashi requested another noisome D-rank, ranting about Uchiha honor, improving his skills and demanding a better mission. My clone couldn't really do anything other than support him, not without getting everyone deadly suspicious.

I shifted my clothes into the shinobi uniform my clone had worn, as I usually exercised in just boxers at home, and quickly joined the others in front of the Hokage.

"Ah, sorry about that, he," I acted embarrassed, adjusting myself with attempted discretion. "A C-rank mission, right? So what did I miss, what's our mission? Are we protecting a lord, or a princess, ha?"

"We're protecting him, baka!" Sakura shouted, pointing at the old, bearded man with the backpack, who was openly clutching a bottle of the hard stuff.

"This is my protection? A bunch of brats? Especially that pink-haired one with the forehead, are you really a ninja?" he called out.

I bit my lip to avoid laughing out loud as Kakashi jumped in to keep Sakura from beating our client, especially once Sasuke tried to reassure him, telling him how lucky he was to be escorted by one of the all powerful Uchiha.

"I am the super expert bridge builder Tazuna," our annoying, half-drunken client announced. "I expect you to provide me with superior protection until I get back to my country and complete my bridge."

"And what is so funny?" Sasuke demanded, ignoring Tazuna's slightly slurred words.

"The Uchiha being a powerful clan, that was one of the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard," I couldn't help chortling.

"I suppose a clanless orphan wouldn't understand," Sasuke tried to deflect.

"Clanless? Oh no, the Uzumaki are the greatest clan in the history of the Shinobi world. In fact, we had the first of the Shinobi villages, Hashirama took example from us - his wife? Mito Uzumaki, she stood with him against the traitor Madara Uchiha and the Nine Tails. Tell me, Sasuke, if you think your Uchiha clan is so great, what have your kin accomplished? Anything positive? I've read many history books, and all I've learned of your clan are tales of treachery and betrayal of the foulest sort, and not even successful treachery. The only Uchiha known far and wide are Madara and Itachi, traitorous murderers. And I assure you, the Uchiha name is only loved in Konoha since your clan's massacre. After all, no one likes a thief, and the Uchiha are a clan of thieves, with nothing original to your name. Unless, can you come up with anything positive your clan has accomplished? Anything good or worthwhile?"

Red in the face, hand on a kunai's hilt, only the presence of the Hokage kept Sasuke from attacking me outright. "Oh, and what made the Uzumaki so great?" he demanded with a snarl.

"The Uzumaki are the masters of seals. Even today, Konoha's security and power relies on Uzumaki seals, from the village barrier to the security seals in the Hokage's chamber, electrical power and the strength of the great gate. Seals are the highest of the arts of the shinobi. They can bind gods and demons, they can remake and unmake with few limits beyond those of their creator. The Uzumaki were Konoha's greatest allies, and if my mother or Mito were alive, many here would die painfully, or be sealed away for an eternity of torture for the thousand, thousand ways Konoha has betrayed my clan, isn't that right old man?" I stared him in the eyes for a moment, so angry that I had to resist an urge to start killing, my chakra rising. I calmed almost immediately, startled, when a reflection showed my eyes to be glowing red. It was only much later that I realized how much killing intent I'd been leaking.

"As for how great we were, Uchiha - the only reason Konoha won the second shinobi war was because Iwa, Kiri and Kumo, together with half a dozen lesser village, spent more than half their strength against our small clan. Remind me again, how many did it take to exterminate your clan? How many fell in the doing of the deed?" I twisted the knife.

Kakashi had to grab his arm to keep Sasuke from attacking me outright, and the killing intent he was releasing had our client pale-faced and sweating.

"Two hours, at the gate," Kakashi signalled me to leave, and rather than flickering away before witnesses, I replaced myself with a short-lived chakra construct I created outside the window, making the hand-signs obvious and genin-slow.

Damn, I shouldn't have let my temper show, I remonstrated mentally with myself, flickering home the instant I passed out of sight, and started pumping out clones. So many targets, so much to do when I was beyond blame. This night would be long remembered, and I had no doubt that the deaths of most of the civilian council (other than the three members my blood clones controlled most tightly), many shinobi who'd acted against me (including almost all the academy instructors) and the end of Root signifying a new and better age for Konoha. Almost as important, the old man would probably forget my outburst in the distraction of paperwork.

Damn again! I popped off another couple of clones to pack for me, took out the mantis summoning scroll, and sent a small wave of clones to locate Hinata. It wasn't that long of an escort mission, I was certain, but there was almost no chance of us returning this week. Our date was spoiled. Damn that Uchiha.

"Hey, Kurenai! Do you mind if I borrow Hinata for a few minutes?" I interrupted team eight's mission. "We had a date set for this weekend, and now I have an escort mission outside the village."

"Date?" her pale eyes went wide, her skin turned pasty white, and Hinata collapsed in a faint. I was there instantly, catching her and flickering away with a salute to the really gorgeous crimson-eyed sensei of team eight.

"Hinata," I looked down into her eyes, sitting cross-legged near her supine form. I'd put her down on the grass in a small cul-de-sac near a pond, a very pretty and isolated area. "Sorry about embarrassing you next to your team, you don't have to think of it as a date if you don't want to. Anyway, I wanted to share a little secret with you, and I might as well give you the time to think it over. You see, when the fourth Hokage…"

"The Kyuubi, yes, I know," she cut me off with a sharp-edged whisper. "I've seen its chakra within you sometime, you know, it's an unpleasant burning red. Yours is beautiful, a bright blue."

"Oh," I didn't know what to say. She knew, and she obviously didn't care. Hinata really was special, not to mention smart. Not having any words for the occasion, I jumped straight to the next secret, "Summoning Jutsu!"

The smoke faded to reveal a large and intimidating six-foot tall green-chitin covered mantis, forelimbs raised in preparation for combat.

"Hey Touroukari! Just brought you over to introduce you to your next summoner, if she's interested. So, Hinata, I found the mantis scroll, and thanks to you I've been working with them. If you want, you can sign the scroll," I brought it forth from where I had it sealed, unrolled it, and offered the stunned girl a kunai and a writing implement. "You have to sign in blood, for now it'll be just the two of us as summoners. You are interested, right?"

The slight movement to withdraw the proffered scroll brought her out of her daze.

"Yes!" she hurried, cutting a bit more deeply than necessary before signing.

"Anyway, Tourou, Hinata, I really have to go - so go ahead and learn about each other. Hinata, ask him anything you want to know, the mantis make for really great friends. They're much like you in combat, fast and deadly, and I'm sure there are at least a few who're good with water. Practicing with them can really sharpen your style. Oh, and I'd prefer if you can keep it secret from Konoha, but I don't mind if you let your family know, if you want you can tell them I own the scroll - after they promise not to tell anyone. This isn't an important secret, and it's a good way to learn if the can keep any. Ahem," I thought about it, "Come to think of it, this is something you can also test Ino and Tenten's discretion on. Not Lee, I don't think he can keep a secret, possibly not even to save his life, ha," I laughed a bit, waved a hand at her, gave a small bow of respect to the mantis, "I'll see you when I get back, we'll see how much stronger we can get!" I flickered away with a final "Farewell!"

Feeling vindictive on the way to the great gate, I memorized the faces of each and every person glaring at me or muttering about the 'demon' - or doing both, for that matter. The clones I was leaving behind, with plenty of chakra storage seals for a second or even third round of mayhem, would reward them properly. Having noticed the effectiveness of crotch-stomps against the Uchiha, I wondered what they'd do the women - and also decided to burgle their homes clean of everything while I was at it. It would certainly serve to confuse and divide the investigative efforts, and my clones were very good at not leaving a trace.

Traveling with a civilian felt like moving at a slug's pace, and almost drove me to distraction. The cold glares from my teammates and the disapproval wafting off Kakashi didn't help. I compensated by increasing the weights and resistance seals, and running circles around our little party, having replaced the Naruto they interacted with with a solid clone. It also gave me a lot of time to think, plot and strategize.

My sealing studies were going extremely well, my heritage serving me as it should or perhaps even better, given the Yondaime's accomplishments and skills, and that would always continue to be a subject of study. Sealing at the higher levels seemed more art than science, requiring a special touch, a tinted or skewed perception, perspective and understanding that were probably rare. That's what the books said, at any rate, and I was once again happy to be different.

Genjutsu and medical were a pain in the ass, requiring extremely precise use of chakra even at the lower levels. To get anywhere with either or both, I was going to need to up my chakra control levels to somewhere between insane and oh-Kami-kill-me-now. Even with a hundred clones working day and night, I simply wasn't good enough for more than C-rank techniques, and even there I'd probably suck. Of course, given that a mere two months ago I was completely incapable of using any genjutsu or medical techniques, it was a massive improvement. It would simply require persistence, once I started working on it.

Unless, of course, I managed to improve my training methods. Shadow clones were the basis of it all, and they were not very efficient. If I could find a way to improve the memory transfer and weed out the useless parts, I could use ten times as many clones without risking brain damage and have each breakthrough, even the smallest positive step, instantly distributed to all the other clones - not to mention saving chakra by not having the clone dispel. The memory transfer effect was also vital for blood clones, which while loyal, were utterly independent. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to have any mental connection and was doing it wrong, but having their knowledge and being able to communicate with the blood clones was important.

Of course, having improved on the shadow clones once, and relatively easily, didn't necessarily mean that this alteration would come fast and simple. Considering that I would have to work on it myself for it to be done efficiently, I decided to dedicate half the coming weekends to that purpose, with the remainder half used for practicing with summons - both performed entirely without any chakra channeled to weight and resistance. It might be best to give my body some rest every now and then.

There was a lot of time to think, and I considered everything from the future of the Elemental Lands and how I wanted to shape it, to which doujutsu to pick. Originally, I was intent on acquiring the Hyuuga byakugan, the all seeing eye which in the head of a practiced expert could see ten miles away, read documents inside a storage seal and map the chakra network of the body. That was before I figured out that while the byakugan could be implanted and work perfectly, the same was not true of the copy wheel eye - figured out from trying to understand why Kakashi kept one eye covered. The only reason I could come up with was that some sort of conflict or interference with his genetic makeup meant that he could not turn it off, and the chakra drain could actually kill him if it was in constant use. Only someone for whom the Sharingan was compatible could use it safely, and I could have it in one eye, with another implanted with a byakugan. Since having the first meant that I was capable of transferring bloodlines, I didn't even need to steal the byakugan - I could pay for it with my own bloodlines, and the Kyuubi granted perfect regeneration would restore the eye donated to me. We weren't anywhere close to there yet, but if Hinata stuck with me, I could see it as possible. As for the Sharingan, I'd already acquired a lot of blood from my Uchiha teammate, and it was safely hidden in stasis in several highly discreet locations.

It was a pity that my prospects for medical studies were rather dismal, as the Sharingan might just be an even better training tool than my shadow clones, with perfect recall and jutsu stealing capabilities. Thinking about it made me wonder why the Uchiha achieved so little in their history, and understand why Konoha made such a big deal about it. It amazed me that the soft headed fools hadn't forced Sasuke to breed - and actually allowed him out of the village on possibly dangerous missions. It struck me as insanely careless, but I was long past attempting to understand what passed for logic in the eyes of my supposed superiors.

I considered much more than just my personal woes. Having read most of the history books available at the library, and having gotten a look at the truth behind the fanciful tales in the Root archives, I was intensely disappointed. My earliest wish and dream was to be a great ninja, but looking at shinobi and understanding what they actually were, how we functioned in human society, as little more than murderous mercenaries spending our best blood for the benefit of others… it felt like a vicious pain inside, that I'd actually looked up to previous Hokage as heroes.

Allowing Daimyos and feudal lords to control the real power in the lands while fighting each other for influence, prestige and the chance to receive more crumbs from weak and foolish nobles - all the while looking down on samurai, bandits and those very merchants and nobles that paid for their blood - ninja culture struck me as terribly twisted. Chakra was an incredible tool, and the main use it was put to was just incredibly wasteful.

I wasn't sure exactly how I was going to accomplish it, but I had every intention of destroying the ninja culture - not by killing them in droves, but by starving them economically. If merchants had guards that could handle bandits and ninja, if rulers had capable agents, well then no one would hire ninja from the hidden villages and scattered clans. Of course, many would turn to banditry, but I was sure that taking economic and political control of the Elemental Countries would allow me to remove the blemish ninja made upon the pages of history. The Sage of Six Paths did not intend for his children and students to become little more than brawling thugs, after enlightening them to the use and potential of chakra, of that much I was sure - however exaggerated the stories about him seemed. Created the moon, really!

Other than reports from Konoha, the most fun part of the journey were the meals. I had literally hundreds of hot, delicious meals sealed away in scrolls, while the others had to rely on the trail rations they brought, or by the second day, what they could gather and hunt. It wasn't bad, but compared to the heavenly fare I was enjoying, the wafting smells rising from the dishes driving them to distraction, my companions on the journey were eating sawdust. Not that I showed my pleasure in their suffering, of course, I simply ate quickly so as not to allow Kakashi the opportunity he was clearly seeking to steal any of my food, and departed their company to 'keep watch on the surroundings', incidentally leaving the bowl and the scent of heaven behind. I'd dealt with fear, hate and spite all my life, by comparison envy and jealousy made me feel warm inside.

We were only a day away from the coast when a perimeter clone dispelled and I was informed that a pair of nuke-nin hiding in rather ill-conceived ambush had been taken care of. Really, hiding in a puddle in the middle of the road when no rain had fallen! Even without the seal that

automatically countered any genjutsu that intruded on me, I would have seen through something that silly. It amazed me that the demon brothers, renegades from Mist, were classified as chunin. They were remarkably pathetic, hell, even Sasuke was better.

A couple of hours later, another clone updated me. After they woke up, I didn't even need to make any effort to interrogate the two, they boasted about their master Zabuza, demon of the mist, and the mincemeat he'd make of me, even openly naming their employer Gato. Then they clammed up, but I decided that they weren't worth torturing, well not for information. Orochimaru, for all his genius, was clearly an idiot. Kidnapping Konoha civilians to experiment upon went against one of the most important rules for a criminal - or so I learned from yakuza fiction - don't shit where you eat. That evening I clandestinely received two sealing scrolls with future experimentation subjects. Really, how else was I supposed to practice my medical skills? What other value did those two murderous thugs hold? It was really the best use I could think of for them, and I determined to prepare more prisoner scrolls, as Gato probably had many common thugs in his employ, and I was quite certain I'd need a lot of practice to get my medical skills up to snuff.

The thought of warning Kakashi crossed my mind, then went out the other ear. The lazy bastard would probably just break off and cancel the mission rather than risk his precious Uchiha, whereas actually meeting Zabuza would touch upon his pride as the better shinobi.

A day later, I was more than ready for the confrontation, eager for it in fact - my first chance to see A-rank ninja in combat. I had plans upon plans for my first real chance at shinobi battle - Mizuki and the demon brothers, to my mind, did not count.

Oh, this was going to be an educational experience, I smiled inside as Tazuna's friend inched the boat ashore.

Comments Response:

Oh, and by the way, Will Wave arc be part of the story?

I believe you have an answer to that.

Infiltrating root just like that? You should put more emphasis on insect clones in that case. Still - too overpowered, too fast.

Insect clones were mentioned - detailing everything would put even me off the story. As for Root, I see them as having very good security, but it being rote security. With no emotions, they simply do what they are supposed to, never re-examining what they once deemed as good enough, and Danzo is also supremely arrogant. Only the Aburame are, in my opinion, immune to infiltration. Naruto has spent several years by now working on security seals and has extraordinary natural talent for it, besides acting with supreme caution, step by tiny step. One of the reasons it wasn't detailed, the clones moved with extreme slowness and caution. If you have a specific concern, I'll be happy to address it - and amend the story if I think you have a point.

From not knowing jutsus - to combining them..

Combining jutsus is the simplest thing in the world for Naruto - simply have a clone nearby use another jutsu. Hinata has the control to actually do it herself, after she trains at it.

Drawing resistant seals.. Too rushed.

Actually, those were simply copied - that's why he had to buy the vest. All you need for that is perfect calligraphy, which the clones worked hard for. I'm trying for consistency and internal logic - if you catch me at something I'll correct it. Probably… there is artistic license involved.

Where did he learn of him having a bloodline?

That actually isn't covered - it's prior to the story, merely mentioned. It makes sense to me that the fastest Shinobi in the Elemental Lands has the Swift Release, and bloodlines are generally inherited. If Minato can outspeed the Raikage...

rofl, ruptured testicles...

Thanks for the correction, implemented - it just seemed like the sort of thing Naruto would do.

when is kakashi going to notice naruto skills?

Personally notice? Possibly never. Know something about them? Probably post-invasion time.

I noticed that you have Haku as a character tag...he is male in this Fic, right?

Nope, female actually.

1. A bunch of clone working on a single project is the same person doing the same thing and getting stuck on the same things since they all think the same. So even though 10 to 100 are training it should only count as 2 or 3 because most of the memories overlap and are repetitive.

Not quite - the clones, after all, are working together and aware of the issue - so they talk and each group pursues different ideas on how to do things - and communicate as soon as they make progress, either verbally or by dispelling. It's not effectively 100 on chakra training, but easily the equivalent of 15 - and once the memory sending technique is finished, the efficiency might well rise to 40%. It of course depends on what is being studied - pure academics is nearly 100% efficient, same for studying different seals.

2. Clone motivation. Naruto in canon is a bad student, he is hyperactive and has a short attention span and skips allot in the academy, so how are we to believe that his clones are going to knuckle down and really work. He will have to make clones to crack the whip on his other clones and many of them will probably escape or disperse themselves.

Naruto is extremely training-focused, and I'm not playing him as a genius, merely smart. Idiot Naruto is not something I find attractive, and this one is channeling all his energy into training. He has realized that academic knowledge matters, and his clones are just as focused on improving. Besides, some of the training is actually fun - trying new jutsu and seals, the "awareness training" games, setting traps and getting around them, fooling people and stealing from those who hate him. His reading speed has also much improved, however boring merely reading books can be for him.

3. Active resistance. People will work against Naruto, they will try and keep him out of the library and training grounds and may even go out of their way to seek out and kill his clones for fun and revenge. Also once it is known that he is using clones they may blame him for crimes that he did and didn't commit, since an alibi is now useless.

His clones are henged into many different shapes when visiting the library, and train deep in the woods - including the forest of death. Not a single clone ever wears his shape while training, as part of the stealth and infiltration workouts. The only time he publicly used many clones is against Mizuki and Kakashi in the test, in sparring he rarely calls up more than nine, three teams of three actually working as a team.

4. Endurance. Clones will run out of chakra and get tired because they don't have a Biju giving them energy and eating and resting shouldn't help them since they are just chakra constructs. So until they can absorb chakra in some manner they should run out of gas after only a couple hours each, unless overcharged when made.

Depends on which clones - those practicing jutsu, probably, the rest can last for ours, so he overcharges those who study jutsu. In any case, no group of ten ever lasts more than five hours, either they replace themselves, or he replaces them - to avoid mindburn. I'm trying to avoid focusing on clone training, beyond the initial detailing, I believe it should remain in the background, just the occasional mention of useful advancements, something specific to study and implement, or anything big (like working out Hiraishin). And yes, there are of course gaps of time when there are many fewer clones working, if he's busy and cannot hide and call up another horde.

5. Naruto doesn't know the basics. This hurts all his self training in canon. You have an AU Naruto using war-time academy books and hiding his real capabilities to get around this, learning tree climbing and water walking before out of the academy.

Exactly - remember, Kakashi, Gai and Itachi came out of the war-time academy, and got powerful very quickly. It even made sense that the store would sell him books that don't fit the classes he's taking.

One thing that I'd like to see someone do is a Naruto that realizes that with his clones he is a one man army and instead of training to fight as an individual like ninja do, train instead to fight as an army like Hoplites do. Maybe reading about the 300 Spartans and learning to do shield wall and spear formations, using Spatha type shortswords, bows, javelins, pikes, and polearms.

I did mention using bows as samurai do, but formation fighting is suicide against area of effect ninja techniques. Even just Tsunade shattering the earth - hell, it would make Sasuke's fireball attack deadly. I also mentioned his clones fighting in squads and training in groups.

might want to break up the paragraphs where Naruto is talking because they make it seem like his a damn chattabox (at least in my opinion)

Good of you to notice - Naruto is a chatterbox, and I was trying to convey that without describing that outright! :)