With the Kyuubi's approval of the area, Naruto hopped the large fence and made his way inside training ground 44, also known as the forest of death. As he picked his way past the trees and bushes Naruto made conversation with the kyuubi. 'So… What're you gonna give me?' Naruto figured he might as well try to weasel some information out of the friend in his subconscious. "I suppose that now that we're here it's okay to tell you. As my gift to you, Naruto, I will train you so that you won't need to rely on my power. Which I might add, if I give you more of my chakra than you can handle at any given point there will be various repercussions that could happen. One of which is death, but that's really rare." Naruto gulped as he crawled through some bushes, 'D-d-death?' Kurama rolled his eyes, "Yes, death. But like I said it's a very small possibility. Also, the amount of chakra that I can give you without repercussions is dependent on your own chakra reserves. Ah, this looks like a good spot. We shall train here."

It was a pretty open clearing, it was next to a river and the tree line was far enough away to not hide any predators but close enough to hide in in case of an emergency. But that was what Kurama was thinking about, Naruto on the other hand was marveling at the natural beauty of the clearing, how the water sparkled as the fish swam past, the sounds of nature all around him, the tall trees filled with life, and best of all, no one to push him away, no one to treat him like garbage, no one to throw rocks at him just because he was passing by. Absently Naruto mumbled to himself, "Why didn't I come here before?" Kurama decided to leave the boy's question unanswered "Does that really matter?"

"I guess you're right, Kurama. Hey, when are we gonna get started training? I'm dying to know!"

"Hold your horses, Naruto, before we get started I'll need transfer my knowledge of survival in the forest to you. Wouldn't want you to die of starvation a week into your training." The young blond tilted his head "How are you gonna do th-" The boy's sentence was cut off by him falling to the ground, unconscious.


As Naruto returned to consciousness he tested each of his senses one at a time. He started by wiggling each of the digits on his hands and feet feeling something pokey pressing on his arms and back through his ripped shirt. He felt a bit cold, but not so much that he shivered. Breathing deeply through his nose Naruto picked up on a plethora of scents, many of which he couldn't identify. Some of the ones the boy could put a name to were wood, leaves, grass, water, and dirt. There were other things too, some that smelled sweet, some that smelled musky, and others that just smelled weird. From listening, Naruto heard flapping from far away as well as dead leaves crunching under something's feet. There was also the tiny trickle of flowing water and the buzzing of bugs attempting to survive, some being more successful than others.

Licking his lips, Naruto forced his eyes wide open and the first thing he saw was the sun in the middle of his view turning his retinas into charcoal. Naruto shut his eyes tight and massaged his eyelids with the palms of his hands and sat up before sitting up and slowly allowing for his eyes to adjust to the bright light. Silently he slinked to the stream nearby and used the cold water to wash the sleep from his eyes, next Naruto stalked into some bushes in search for some edible plants for breakfast. Finding all the plants in the immediate area to be poisonous in one way or another he turned to collecting bugs for breakfast.

When that thought crossed Naruto's mind he slapped himself. Hard. All birds in the vicinity had been startled into taking flight. "What am I doing? Why would I even want to eat bugs?" The boy then got on his hands and knees and yelled "What! Is! Wrong! With! Me!" He reinforced each word of his question by slamming his forehead on the ground. Luckily Kurama provided an explanation for the boy's previous actions "Calm down Naruto! It's just the survival information that I transferred to you while you were sleeping that was making you act like that. Because you need food to survive."

"Aren't there fish in this river? Why can't I just eat them?" The demon sealed inside of Naruto just sighed before relenting, "If you think you can catch yourself a scaled breakfast then be my guest." Naruto nodded as he slowly crept up to the edge of the river. At the edge of the river he stared into the water, silently watching the fish go by. As he got ready to pounce, Naruto caught his reflection and was startled to see himself with two blood red slighted eyes. "H-hey K-k-kurama, w-what's up with m-m-m-my eyes?" catching on to the boy's stutter the fox spoke to ease Naruto's conscience "There is no need to worry Kit, that's just a harmless side effect of having my chakra flowing through you." Naruto heaved a sigh of relief "It just startled me and I wanted to know what had happened."

Kurama gave an unconvinced "Mmhmm." So Naruto decided to throw in a compliment "And besides, don't you think I look awesome with eyes like these?" In Naruto's mindscape the kitsune nodded, "While I appreciate the acknowledgement you should focus on obtaining your sustenance." This time it was Naruto's turn to nod, "You're right! The sooner I eat the sooner I can get stronger!"

"Be quiet! You'll scare all the fish away." Naruto smiled with his teeth and rubbed the back of his head saying "Sorry Kurama." And then he went back to watching and waiting. When a plump looking specimen was passing the bank Naruto thrusted his hands into the water just in front of where the fish was headed and scooped his hands under and flung the fish out of the water and over his head. As it came down Naruto grabbed at his breakfast as hard as his five year old hands could, sadly this just squeezed the fish out of his hands and back into the water.

Naruto hung his head in shame "I was so close…" It was good that Naruto had a friend to comfort him. "That was a good first try, though next time I suggest having something ready to skewer the fish on as it's falling. That way you won't have to deal with the slippery scales thwarting your efforts." With that small amount of encouragement the young boy perked up almost immediately "Hey, that's a good idea! I can use that kunai that Itachi gave me! Thanks Kurama!" And with that he went back at it with an enormous amount of gusto.


30 minutes later

Naruto leaned against a tree patting his stomach as he spoke to the friend inside him, "Wow Kurama, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have been able to catch those fish not to mention make them edible. You're a great friend." While that did bring a smile to Kurama's face he would have to reveal a more demanding side of himself for what was to come next "I do appreciate the compliment Naruto, but from here on out I will be training you in the shinobi arts so now you've got to call me sensei."

"Ooh! The training is starting? What's first Kuram- I mean sensei?" The boy was so excited he couldn't sit still, he was almost vibrating where he sat. "Do you see that tower in the distance?" Naruto nodded "Run to it without stopping or being killed."

"Ha! That's too easy! It doesn't even look that far away!" Naruto momentarily halted his boasting as a thought stuck him "Wait, what do you mean with-"

"DID I SAY TO STAND AND TALK? RUN!" Kurama roared out with enough force to give his holder a migraine "Agh! Okay! Okay! I'm running! I'm running!" With that Naruto took off at a sprint alongside the river toward the large tower in the center of the forest. Surprisingly the boy maintained the sprint for an extended period of time, though for him it felt like he only covered a short distance.

Then a giant centipede rose out of the ground with the intent to have Naruto for brunch. Luckily he tripped and fell just short of where it had struck, the small crater it left in the ground was more than enough incentive to get Naruto running again, even faster than before. And screaming.

No one actually heard the poor boy screaming for his life though because the dense forest insulated the sounds from within quite nicely. Sadly in his adrenalin rush Naruto didn't notice the tiger napping in his path, and as a result Naruto's foot collided with it's head while the rest of him toppled over into a roll on a slight decline with the now awake and angry big cat chasing after him.

Twisting his body, Naruto was able to use his momentum to quickly rise to his feet and give himself a chance to escape the awakened predator. So he bobbed and weaved and he weaved and bobbed. He slid through prickly bushes and squeezed through tangled tree roots. Finally when the cat was upon him he broke a solid piece of wood right on the striped creature's nose to get it to stop chasing him. As he came down from his adrenalin high and his jog began to resemble a shamble more than a run Naruto allowed himself a moment of respite.

That was when the leeches began to fall for they were attracted to heat and it just so happened that the young shambling blonde was radiating heat like nobody's business. The first one landed a few feet in front of him, the second bait closer to his left, the third just missed his face. This caused Naruto to look up just in time to see hundreds more falling right towards him in a large sheet.

With a cry of "Aw come on!" Naruto tucked and rolled out of the way and was back to booking it, ripping a solid portion of bark off a tree as he did so. Using the bark as a makeshift shield he did his best to deflect all the falling leeches, but hit was difficult because he had to watch both the canopy and where he was going to make sure that he could avoid things that were detrimental to his health. Things like centipedes that wanted to eat him, tigers that wanted to eat him, birds that wanted to eat him, plants that wanted to eat him, giant spiders that wanted to eat him, swarms of anything that wanted to eat him, sink holes that wanted to eat him, and trees for example.

So as Naruto broke through the tree line fending off leeches and ducking under predators it came as no surprise that he didn't notice the moat surrounding his destination. Needless to say the whiskered kid went for an unplanned dive into ice-cold water. It was a few moments before his head broke through the surface of the water with a gasp. Blinking the moat from his eyes the boy swam to the edge where he just laid there staring up into the blue sky, reveling in the fact that he was alive and still had all of his limbs. "I can't believe I actually survived that. I'm so awesome!"

"Don't celebrate yet, kit. That was only the warm up." At the sound of Kurama's revelation Naruto sat up in a flash and put a hand to his forehead "Eeh?!" The fox sealed inside the boy smiled inwardly at what he was going to tell the boy to do next "Now, go into this here tower and look for some clothes, by the looks of it you'll need them before the week is over." Naruto gave a cocky smile as he fist pumped, "Compared to that marathon of death this'll be easy!" Before Naruto could run off though, Kurama had to say one more thing "Did I mention you have to walk on your hands until you find new attire to wear?" Naruto bumped his forehead in self disappointment "I should'a known there was gonna be a catch."

And so the rest of Naruto's day was filled with getting on his hands and falling down around the tower in search of apparel to replace the scraps he was wearing. At the beginning he would get on his hands and knees and swing his legs over his head but he'd put too much force and he'd only get five 'steps' before toppling onto his back. By the time the sun was just kissing the horizon the young boy had become a master of walking on his hands. It was well into the night, when Naruto was ready to drop out of exhaustion, when he struck the metaphorical gold. It was a storage room filled to the brim with boxes of ninja equipment.

There were kunai, shuriken, sandals, chain mail vests, standard black ninja pants and shirts, paper bombs, sealing scrolls, metal plated gloves, cloth face masks, ninja wire, pouches, belts, smoke bombs, and bandages. While Naruto was searching through the boxes and grabbing everything that Kurama directed him to he came across a snow white mask with black eye holes, a red line in the shape of a wide smile, and some sort of kanji in the middle of it's forehead. Upon questioning Kurama told his container that it was the kanji fore death on the forehead. With a nod Naruto decided to keep the mask as well.

With the demon fox's help and instruction, Naruto sealed everything that he wouldn't be wearing into some of the sealing scrolls and kept some others blank for future use.

Too tired to cheer, Naruto happily trudged down to one of the many rooms that he'd searched. It was a painted a plain beige color and had only a nightstand and a bed without blankets. Closing the door behind himself, Naruto let out a sigh and flopped onto the bed. Rolling over to look at the barren ceiling a thought struck the young boy, "Hey, Kurama sensei?" The young blond's inner friend responded almost immediately "What is it, kit?" Naruto hesitated for a moment, not knowing if he was about to breach a delicate subject and instead of just saying it tried to stall to get his thoughts in order "Uh, I just wanted to ask you a question…" The Kyuubi, not known for being the most patient of the biju was not a fan of stalling "Then spit it out." Gulping, the boy nodded and voiced his question "Um, not that I'm ungrateful or anything but, I was wondering… How did you end up in my subcontinent?"

"Two things. One, it's subconscious. And two, I was sealed into you on the day you were born." Naruto rubbed his chin and 'Aah'ed in understanding "So, it's like how we put all that stuff in those tiny scrolls. But if you're sealed inside me, then does that mean you're inside me all the time?" Naruto felt the being nod mentally and continued "Then it must feel like you're trapped…" Upon catching Naruto's sad tone Kurama tried to make him feel better "It is not your fault that I am imprisoned within you, it is my own." With a sniff Naruto inquired about what his friend meant "I was sealed into you because I let my rage and anger consume and control me. So my being in you is a form of punishment, but by helping you I can try to fix my mistake." Naruto sniffed "So, you're in prison for getting to angry?"

"That is an extremely simplified way to put it, but yes that is correct." Naruto nodded again, this time with a frown "That sounds unfair, everybody gets really angry at some point or another. No one should have to go to jail for getting angry!" Kurama felt touched by the boy's words and was about to say something when Naruto continued "I'm gonna break you out of prison Kurama! I promise you!" The fox chuckled at the boy's antics and decided to humor him "If you want to brake the seal and let me out, you'll need to become one of the most powerful shinobi ever, which means you'll need to train ten times harder to even get a chance at it." As Naruto began to drift into the world of dreams he said "Don't worry Kurama, I always keep my promises…"

"I know, kit. I know."