Author Note

Hi there and welcome to another chapter of Nidaime no Sairin.

Not much to comment on, except that this shall be this particular mission's last chapter. I'm still debating whether or not for the next chapter to be the last of the Naruto arc, before the Shippuden timeline. I am reserving the last chapter for one very important event, one that I'm still keeping under lock and key. I shall make this decision quite soon and it shall be revealed in the next chapter. It's quite the anxiety crisis on my part, to be honest, to get to this specific event sooner than I intended. I shall learn to control myself and get ahead of myself…though it's quite hard, I'll tell you.

Well, enough with that, let's continue with the chapter, which is rather long, but shall cover the entire mission and then some.


Nidaime no Sairin

Chapter 26 – The Real Monster

Beta: Scheffinator


The very next day, Mitarashi Anko and Uzumaki Naruto met with the client, representatives from Sea Country.

The conversation didn't last long and Naruto stepped out of the meeting house, while Anko ironed out the last details, concerning their next steps going forward.

The party from Sea Country would deliver the money to Water Country by this same time, tomorrow morning. However, they would only leave, provided that Naruto and Anko managed to stop this so-called Demon of the Ocean before they leave tomorrow. Another stipulation that Anko herself decided upon was that none of the boats would leave towards the rendezvous point with Water Country, without both Naruto and Anko present on the boat. Of course, the man named Hidote from Sea Country agreed wholeheartedly to her demand, but Anko knew from experience, not to trust too much that the client will keep his word.

Naruto, in the meantime, casually hung out outside, while observing the calm and smooth ocean waves and the seagulls in the blue sky above, hovering over the fishing boats, waiting for lunch.

They now had less than a day to somehow find out where this Demon of the Ocean is and take care of it, before the deadline. However, so far, they didn't know where to start. Best they could do right now is look around and ask some questions.

"There you are, I was looking for you." Naruto turned to see the mission leader approach. "It's time for some information gathering and a demon hunt." Naruto nodded and looked at the men from Sea Country walking away, before one of them climbed on top of a horse and galloped away.

"Let's get going, then…our time frame is rather short for my liking."


===With Isaribi===

Inside a more secluded household, located far away from the main Island, the girl diver known as Isaribi looked at her lunch being prepared with a dejected visage. Her life nowadays was much the same, ever since she came back from being spirited away. She would bring out the fish she caught in the morning and then try to sell it to the locals, expecting at least enough to make a half-assed meal for herself. However, it wasn't nearly enough. It never was. However, she learned to live with the notion that this was the most she would get, perhaps, for the rest of her life, her miserable life.

Noticing that lunch was ready, she served herself a bowl of soup and vegetables, before taking a seat to enjoy it.

A sudden rock crashing on her window alerted her to the noise, but then she came into terms with what happened.

Every day was the same, as she placed her bowl on the ground and left her house, only to see the local kids screaming and throwing rocks at her and at her house.

"Take that, you monster!"

"What will it take for you to leave us alone, huh! Get out of here, already!"

The rocks slammed into her window and a few of the projectiles even hit herself, bringing a lot of pain.

Despite it hurting immensely, what hurt her most wasn't the rocks, but the derogatory comments from the kids. She closed her eyes, hoping that they would be satisfied in time and leave. And after a few more rocks, that, much to her relief, the new batch of rocks weren't thrown too hard and barely scratched her skin. Still, the kids once more screamed obscenities to her, before leaving for the day.

They will come back tomorrow, for sure. It's their favorite pastime, she reasoned.

Getting up from the ground and nursing the wounds caused by the rocks, Isaribi then walked back to her trashed house to finish her lunch, when her ears caught the thundering noise of a horse galloping. Her trained eyes caught sight of the item strapped on the man's waist and realized that she had places to be right now. She vowed to at least have her lunch, before leaving towards where she was expected.


===With Naruto and Anko===

The two shinobi from Konoha went about the port towns, banging door by door, hoping to extract some information about the so-called Demon of the Ocean.

Most gave just what they had already known, but they had found a nice woman and her elder mother, who managed to supply some new information, concerning the history of this place. A legend among fishermen on Demon Island. It was said that the demon lived on Demon Island, so fishermen should steer clear of that Island at all times, despite the fact that Demon Island is known to have plenty of fish available to catch.

The woman then explained that anyone who dared come close would be spirited away, so no one ever bothered coming near that place. When Naruto asked about a girl that returned from being spirited away, the woman gave him her name.

However, aside from her name, nothing more was provided, so Anko and Naruto traveled once more, throughout the island's dense foliage, hoping to find some more information or at least find the Demon, if they are lucky. However, the sun was about to set and so far, they couldn't find anything, nor the location of this mysterious Isaribi, who was the only one that came back from being spirited away. She could, perhaps, know a thing or two about what she saw or just how she came back, for instance.

"Whoever this Demon of the Ocean is and wherever it is, our time is running out." Jumping from tree to tree, Anko landed on a tree up front and stopped, followed by Naruto. Anko looked around, some more, before turning to him.

"You said that this girl had a considerable chakra capacity, so you should be able to find her with your sensoring skills." Naruto breathed a little bit and crouched down to touch the tree they were standing on, while closing his eyes.

"Hmmm, spreading my sensoring through this entire island is quite taxing, but at least if she is the only one with high level chakra, I can pinpoint her location easily." Anko, then, witnessed as her crime partner hummed with his throat, while moving the two fingers he placed on the tree log they were on top of. A minute or so later, Naruto opened his eyes and stood up, looking forward. "There is indeed someone up ahead, a few miles from our position. Though, it could be one of those jerks who attacked us, yesterday." Anko smiled at that.

"Let's check it out, anyway. We don't have much time."

Naruto nodded, before they charged once more, before looking down to see a rather secluded looking beach and someone walking on the sands.

"At least we got lucky…there she is." Anko took a closer look and then turned to her subordinate.

"Let's follow her from a distance. Cover us in a cloaking Genjutsu, so we are not seen."

Naruto obeyed the order and went through a few hand seals, before activating the technique.

Through silent steps, the two shinobi crossed the small cave that led to the other side, before they took cover behind two human sized stones.

Isaribi soon stepped into the ocean waters and stopped once the water reached her ankles. She looked around, wondering if she had been followed. Naruto and Anko looked at one another and then at the person in question. The girl then looked towards the horizon, permitting herself some to gaze at the beautiful scenery of the sun setting on the horizon. Naruto perched at the sudden spike in chakra, as the girl's bandages all over her body ripped to shreds, making both shinobi gasp at the imagery that appeared. Whereas once appeared a timid and petite girl, now stood a sea creature with green scales and fins.

It rather made sense to Naruto and Anko. However, Anko, soon got another of her flashback memories, of herself as a teenager seeing the creature similar to this one inside a water tank with her sensei Orochimaru behind her and another man next to him. The pain on her shoulder surged once more and Naruto looked on in alarm at her, while the girl Isaribi left underwater to go somewhere else. Trapped between looking at their target and at Anko, Naruto had quickly summoned a Kage Bunshin to follow Isaribi, just as Anko grabbed her shoulder in pain.

'That girl….is she…? Grrrr! Not again!'

"Anko…hold on." Before Naruto could finish his sentence, however, the snake Jonin had passed out from the pain. "Damn it…not again. Wh…"

His eyes caught sight of the all too familiar cursed mark on her shoulder, glowing red and pulsing malevolent chakra throughout her system, just like it did with Sasuke. Naruto thought about doing the same thing he did to Sasuke, but he didn't want to risk screwing things up. With Sasuke, he was being watched by Kakashi-sensei and the Hokage, not to mention the hidden Jiraiya. They were on a mission right now and he was alone at the moment. The only thing he could do was to take care of his fellow kunoichi and hope that she doesn't take too long to wake up.

Meanwhile, his clone would follow Isaribi and see where she's going.


===At night===

Naruto, at this point, had already changed the wet cloth on Anko's forehand many times by now.

Despite not knowing much about first-aid treatment, his sensoring skills allowed him to understand more or less of what was going on with her. At first, the cursed seal's malevolent energy was attempting to corrupt her own chakra source, which was probably the cause of her pain. Then, the dangerous chakra rescinded and her forehead stopped burning. Now, despite being unconscious, at least, her chakra seemed in a constant and normal flow, indicating that she could wake up any moment now. In the meantime, going through the mission at hand, Naruto wondered what was going on with Isaribi. Since nothing happened with his clone, he presumed that it was still following her. Still, Anko needed to wake up soon or else they would miss the deadline provided by the client.

"Ah…Naruto…" He looked back to see Anko awakening and removing the cloth from her forehead.

"Are you okay? Is the cursed seal active?" Anko shivered at the mention, before looking at her mark and picturing the image of the girl inside the water tank and her sensei Orochimaru behind her once more. Naruto, for his part, sensed that he may have crossed some sort of line and apologized.

"Sorry, it's just that I saw the same mark on Sasuke's neck and saw what it did to him, before Kakashi-sensei and I sealed it, somewhat."

"You don't need to worry about it." Anko said, trying to at least ease the tension about the subject. "We need to find that girl." Naruto caught on to the dismissal, but didn't press on, focusing on the mission instead.

"Right, okay, before you passed out, I sent a clone to follow her. So far, he's still due to dispel himself to give me her location."

Anko smirked at that, giving a silent thumbs up for the future fellow Jonin by her side.

"No need to wait for your clone. Like the legend says, the Demon lives in the deserted island, Demon Island. There is where we shall find her and possibly the man behind this mess." Naruto saw Anko's hand squeezed shut and trembling, before she took some breathing to calm herself or else the cursed seal would pulse once more. "Naruto…" The blond paid quick attention as Anko looked down, before speaking her mind. "Before going forward, it's important for you to know that we could run into Orochimaru soon." That was alarming news, indeed.

"I see…that's…not good." Anko admitted to Naruto being more mature and experienced than his actual age, but anyone would behave just like he did at the moment at the possibility of encountering an S-ranked missing-nin in this mission.

"Indeed…we won't have time to call in backup, so let's proceed."

Quickly finding a small boat for the travel, which Naruto was responsible for its control of course, the two soon reached Demon Island and jumped on top of the rocks to reach the top of the island, where they found a cave entrance. As soon as they found the cave entrance, a tick surged inside Naruto's brain at the information he acquired from his clone, regarding the base location. Anko then turned to Naruto, who signaled her about the presence of chakra inside the cave. The two, then, vanished towards the cave and found the hidden base.

The two quietly walked throughout the hidden base, until they found a seemingly open door with light inside. They were hiding behind a corner, illuminated by candles on the wall.

"Naruto, what can you tell me about our opposition?" He closed his eyes for a while, scanning the whereabouts of the cave, in terms of chakra presences.

"I can't sense Orochimaru anywhere, which is a relief." Anko was surprised by that, first because Naruto knew about the Snake Sannin's presence, but then again, she forgot that Naruto was close by when the Sandaime and the bastard fought, so it made sense. Another reason she was surprised was that her former sensei wouldn't have wasted the opportunity to mess with her some more. He knew that she was nearby…mainly, because of the cursed seal acting up. "I can sense Isaribi nearby as well as the assholes that attacked us yesterday, however there's another person I can't identify." Anko looked at her partner in question, before her mind went back once more to the person that stood next to Orochimaru when Anko was a teenager. "His chakra is quite controlled and precise…quite akin to a medic-nin."

"Medic, you say…it must be him, then…Amachi."

"Amachi, who's that?" Anko snarled and felt the pain on her neck again, acting up.

'If Orochimaru isn't here, then why am I still having these pains?'

"He was the lead scientist in this place, employed by Orochimaru. He was the man behind the kidnappings and experimentation on the locals." Naruto snarled at the description…experimenting on the locals, basically ruining everyone's lives like that, without a second thought. "From what I can barely recall, Amachi was never much of a fighter, but don't underestimate what he can do, Naruto." The person in question nodded, before they started walking towards the barely open door. Naruto had quickly opened it, since he couldn't sense any presence nearby.

As soon as he did so, both were face to face with multiple water silos, containing all sorts of sea creature's parts in it.

Some were full bodied, others had only their upper bodies.

"So, this is where the locals were taken to experiment on, huh? Disgusting!"

Anko couldn't agree more, before both turned to see a door opening on the other side of the room, before the two goons appeared with smug looks on their faces.

"Well, well, it seems you finally found this place, huh? Too bad, you won't get to leave here." The one with the glasses said so, while holding what appeared to be a rope of some sort, linked to the ceiling. As soon as he pushed the rope, however, a new doorway opened up, revealing three gigantic lion-like creatures, snarling at the two Konoha-nins. Anko and Naruto then stood back to back…Anko facing the creatures, while Naruto faced the two shinobi that attacked them the day before. "It doesn't seem like the odds are in your favor, Konoha." This time, the one with clear glasses spoke.

"Anko, what's the plan here?"

Naruto had his sword in hand, while Anko wielded two kunai, one in each hand. Her smirk was predatorial and that pretty much gave him the answer.

"There's no plan needed, my dear friend. I shall handle these kittens, while you handle those smug imbeciles." Naruto snorted, before he saw Anko vanish to face the lion creatures. At pretty much the same time, both shinobi advanced on Naruto, hoping to catch him off guard. If memory serves him well, then these two were the ones from the Chuunin Exams….aside from knowledge in Suiton Ninjutsu and somewhat proficiency in Genjutsu, Naruto figured that these two were average at best.

His eyes caught sight of the black glasses man's hand glowing in chakra and he remembered that this guy had the ability to absorb chakra at a touch.

Before he managed to touch Naruto, however, all the man saw was an afterimage of the Chuunin, before Naruto appeared next to him and inside his safety zone. His sword did the rest by carving a nice slice on the first offender's stomach, drawing first blood. The other one extended his arms as if they were made of rubber, in order to entrap Naruto, but Naruto dodged and molded some chakra on his legs and limbs, before moving after the one with the extending arms at fast speeds. All the man saw was Naruto's afterimage, moving from side to side, before the real Naruto surged right next to the enemy, with his fists enveloped in wind chakra.

Fuuton: Senpuken (Wind Release: Whirlwind Fist)

This particular foe could bend his entire body like rubber, but the punch carried enough wind chakra that it shredded his body and sent him flying towards the nearby wall.

The man with black glasses tried catching Naruto from behind, hoping to suck his chakra off and heal the wound, but Naruto moved in advance, creating some distance and hurling a rain of projectiles on him, which was dodged completely. The man then slammed his hands on the ground, emitting a strong chakra pulse that stopped Naruto on his tracks, not enabling movement from the blond Chuunin. Naruto snarled at his body feeling quite heavy, while his eyes followed the enemy's movements. With a single ram seal, Naruto gathered enough water chakra inside his body and ejected all at once, forcing his body away from the chakra shield, surprising the enemy who was about to catch him from behind.

In mid-air, Naruto, then, went through hand seals for a new technique he learned at the beginning of his training with the Nidaime.

Suiton: Suidanha (Water Release: Water Severing Wave Technique)

From his mouth, Naruto spewed a strong and thin jet of water, capable of cleanly slicing the man's arms off, from a medium distance.

The enemy screamed in pain and took his attention away from Naruto, which cost him dearly when Naruto's sword pierced the man's chest and it got out from the back. Quickly removing the sword and confirming the kill, Naruto, then, witnessed as Anko used her fire Ninjutsu on the creatures, followed by a long rain of kunai and shuriken, turning them into crispy pincushions. He, then, saw her viciously lick the cutting side of the kunai that dripped off the lion's blood and shivered a little bit. Leave it to Anko to behave like that. Naruto didn't waste much time and landed the kill on the other unconscious guy, before sealing their bodies inside a scroll.

When he next looked at Anko's fight, the test tubes were all but destroyed and the lion creatures laid dead on the ground, while the woman perpetrator walked closely to him.

"Nicely done, now let's go." The two, then, followed the door that the goons opened up and ran through the corridor that would possibly lead them to either Amachi or Isaribi.

Anko, though, stopped soon as the cursed seal flared active once more and Naruto tried helping her stand.

"Don't worry about this now, Naruto." Some hesitation was evident on his face at her continuing this, but nodded.


===At the Hidden Base's main room===

When both opened the door to the main room, Anko was the first one to get inside and saw the shadow of a man sitting on a chair and another shadow, standing next to him.

The image alone brought too many resemblances to Orochimaru, but Naruto assured her that he wasn't there anymore, which means that this person must be Amachi, instead. He, then, stood up from his chair and walked, before his imagery became known. A middle-aged man with gray hair tied in a ponytail and wearing scientist clothing.

"Welcome, or should I say, haven't seen you in a while, little Anko and it seems you brought a friend with you, how quaint." Anko snarled at the man's presence and grotesque looking eyes of his.

"Amachi!" the man in question smirked.

"I can't believe you came back after what happened here." Anko narrowed her eyebrows, wondering what he was talking about. "Oh, you don't seem to remember…what a pity…" Amachi then saw as the cursed seal on her neck flared up, harder this time. "Oh, it seems the cursed seal responds even though the operator isn't around…interesting. Stuff like that happens, isn't it?" Anko this time held her neck tight, hoping to stop the pain from spreading through the rest of her body. "Well, it's not like he wasn't here, but it's been some time since he last stopped by…though, he did dismiss my findings, the bastard."

Naruto, meanwhile, observed the interaction and decided that enough was enough. This guy was clearly the villain in this mission, so he moved to strike him, before he could do anything.

However, as soon as he moved to strike, Isaribi made herself known in front of him and stopped his movement.

"Move away…I have no trouble with you." The girl, though, didn't move an inch from her position, which earned the snicker from Amachi behind him.

"Nicely done, Isaribi…pay attention, Konoha, for this girl is my masterpiece. This is what I dedicated my entire life to." Naruto kept on looking at the girl's eyes, while the medic behind her vomited everything. "She has the physical ability to adapt to water. She combines the ability to breathe underwater and the muscle strength to move freely and quickly. It's been a dream of mine for many years to form a ninja corps for underwater combat. This before you is the first step. With this strength by my reach, there is simply nothing to stop me from conquering this world."

Naruto, however, didn't pay the man any more attention than he deserved at this point and focused on Isaribi instead or rather the lifeless eyes that he became so familiar to, when looking at the mirror once.

"Please step aside." Isaribi, though, stood her ground.

"I won't!" Naruto tsked at this stubborn girl.

"Why do you still protect him? He just said what he had done to you." Her resolve was absolute, however.

"He did…but it can't be helped." This time, her eyes left Naruto's and looked down as her tone became frantic. "This is the only person who can return my body back to normal…" Naruto looked surprised at that, while Amachi smirked in triumph. "He…he promised me…look." Isaribi quickly removed the bandages, revealing the huge scar on her face, because of the experimentation on her part. "…People are judged solely based on their appearance…people don't dare come near me just from being covered in bandages…a monster with these scales would be out of the question….I want to return to my former body! I want to be human once more! For that reason, I decided that I would do anything! Anything to turn back to being human, again."

"I don't see a monster before me." His answer was almost by reflex that surprised Isaribi. It surprised himself, considering that he managed to control his impulses after training with the Nidaime, but not this time. "And I speak from experience."

"You lie…what do you know…huh!? You don't know what's like…to have those eyes look at you in fear…in hatred…blaming you and calling you names. You don't know!" Naruto felt for this girl, he truly did.

"I do know…for as I felt the same thing, growing up, Isaribi." The girl looked surprised as she then saw his own lifeless eyes, just like hers. Kindred souls recognizing one another. "Everyone looked at me in contempt…for something I never did…fear…indifference…hatred…I have felt that and much more, directed at me, just like you had."

"You lie! Stop talking…my head hurts!" Naruto looked down that he just couldn't reach out…

"Well, as touching as this scene is right now, I'm afraid we have places to be…see you." Neither Anko nor Naruto managed to stop the real monster in the room, Amachi, from molding chakra, before the exploding bombs all over the base exploded at the same time. Naruto noticed that Anko was still holding her neck and couldn't protect herself from the rocks and debris that threatened to pound her into the ground. Using extreme agility, Naruto then shunshined in front of her and formed a protective water wall around them.

Amachi only smirked at the scene, before ushering Isaribi to follow, to which the quiet girl obeyed, but not before looking at Naruto's direction for a while.

When the water from Naruto's technique rescinded, he saw that the base was falling apart and quickly grabbed Anko to take her out of there, before everything collapsed on their heads.


===Outside Demon Island===

When both managed to leave the base in safety, the sun was already up, which meant that their time frame was over.

"Naruto, we need to return fast…Amachi must be after the money needed to fund his research." He nodded and carried her towards the boat they used to come to Demon Island.

"But, you said that they wouldn't leave without us returning to accompany the boat?" Anko snarled at the notion. They may be samurai warriors, but all of them are easily fooled by shinobi trickery.

"For all we know, Amachi can fool them quite easily. Hurry up!" Naruto didn't need to be told twice and they quickly took off. "Now, I would kill for you to show a nice little trick for us to go faster, Naruto." He had to ponder out loud at that, while the sails did half the work for them. None of the water or wind techniques he knew would help at this point. The only technique that came to mind at this point could help, but then he would need to do it over and over again, stressing his coils to the limit. Releasing a deep sigh at the inevitability, he walked to the end of the boat and Anko only watched.

"Ah, can you keep the sail steady, Anko?" The snake Jonin took a couple of seconds to respond, with a curt nod, before she saw the Chuunin kneel behind the back of the boat and show the palm of his right hand.

Then, much to her surprise and glee, she saw raw blue chakra swirl on the palm of his hand, before the all too famous technique created by the Yondaime Hokage formed right before her eyes.

"Rasengan!"

As soon as the technique touched the water, their boat, which was traveling at a sedate pace, exploded onwards and Anko had to hold on to the sail and was balancing herself on the boat at the same time. Still, she couldn't help but show an amused smirk at the scenery of her partner's never ending bag of tricks showing before her.

"Nicely done. This shall shorten the distance…keep going, Naruto!" A sweat drop formed on his forehead as he complained, while focusing on the rather taxing technique.

"Do you see anything yet? Not that I mind using my chakra as a boat engine." Anko laughed as she did the rest of the job, controlling the boat and the sail.

"Oh quit it, with that fake excuse…you have a ginormous chakra capacity, own up to it. People would kill for that." Anko then observed the line of boats from Sea Country up ahead and thankfully they were still sailing. "One or two more of those and we can arrive and stop Amachi and the girl from attacking." Like Anko guessed, two rasengan later and they managed to reach the main boat where Hidote and his crew were in. Anko and Naruto, then, climbed on top of the ship, surprising the leader of the money mission.

"Anko-san, what are you doing here?" The snake Jonin, though, was searching for something amiss, when she saw one of the samurai looking at her, seemingly knowing her.

"Hidote, I thought we had agreed that you would wait until we arrived to depart?" Hidote, for his part, turned to his partner and responded.

"Oh, I was, but we received a message from you, saying that you had dealt with the Demon of the Ocean."

Anko hummed at that, as Naruto approached next to her. Naruto, for his part, sensed the approach from Isaribi coming from below water and jumped down to the water. Anko, meanwhile, hurled a load of kunai straight at the disguised member of Hidote's crew, forcing him to reveal his disguise. The rest of the crew all drew their swords to attack him, but Anko beat them to it and stood in front of Amachi.

"So we meet again, weirdo!" The scientist cursed the woman in front of him.

Amachi then engaged in a heated battle of kunai versus scalpel.


===Naruto x Isaribi===

Isaribi, in monster mode, was heading towards the main boat sail, when she saw from the corner of her eye, someone heading straight towards her moving faster.

The strange person instantly grabbed her and manipulated the water chakra around him to propulsed him and her away from the boats. Isaribi could only know what happened to her, when she was thrown out of the water and landed roughly on a small chunk of land in the middle of the ocean. She then saw Naruto emerge from the water and land in front of her, looking down at her with those same eyes she saw back at the base. She snarled at him, once more, seeing as he was standing in her way to become human once more.

"Stand down, Isaribi. I don't want to hurt you." She snarled at him once more and got up to beat Naruto, however in terms of overall shinobi mode, she didn't have much going on in the Taijutsu department.

She tried punching him with her monstrous strength, but Naruto evaded it, grabbed her arm and threw her forcefully on the ground.

"You may be a threat under water, but not so much, on land. Please stop trying to resist." Isaribi snarled once more and opened her mouth to spit a strong jet of water at Naruto, who, for his part, extended his control over the water nature and made the amount of water swirl around him, before sending it back towards her, without much of the force, merely to show how powerless she was against him.

"Why can't you just leave me be, huh? I just want to be human again and you're ruining it."

"Is it so hard to believe that I am the same as you are?" Still, the girl wasn't buying it. She dismissed his words back at the base and was in denial even now.

So words wouldn't do him any good at this point. Isaribi then started choking for air once Naruto decided to talk with images instead of words. The red energy of the fox started seeping from his body and many different facial features changed. His whiskers became more pronounced, his canine teeth elongated and instead of his deep blue cerulean eyes, now scarlet red eyes looked at her. She truly became frightened at the amount of energy…a dark and oppressing energy that literally made her want to crawl up somewhere. She even closed her eyes and started trembling.

"See now what I mean when I say I'm just like you, Isaribi." She opened her eyes in surprise at the voice and looked straight into his. "When I was born, the Bijuu Kyuubi no Kitsune that attacked Konoha was sealed into me, making me into what we call a Jinchuuriki, a demon jailer." Naruto, then, released the energy of the fox, making her breathe a bit easier. "That's what I was saying from experience back then in the base. You are not a monster based on your looks alone, Isaribi. What defines a monster is the actions taken, not appearance." The girl looked down this time, in shame, at the words.

"Huh, you're indeed useless." Amachi's voice made both turn and Naruto looked towards the boat to see if something happened to Anko.

Somehow, this bastard gave her the slip, but he could feel her chakra. "How long will you take to handle this twerp?"

"Amachi-sama…I'm sorry…I…" Naruto stood in front of her, protectively, while removing his sword from its holster.

"It seems I have to do the heavy lifting around here." Amachi looked smug at Naruto, who merely observed him. "Huh, you plan to face me on your own, kid….well, unlike Isaribi here…I am quite different. Take a look." Naruto and Isaribi gasped in surprise when Amachi turned himself into a similar appearance of a Sea Monster. "Isaribi…get out of my way! You're an almost dead guinea pig that only served my purposes for dissection later on." Amachi then spit the same water jet straight at the hurt Isaribi, who couldn't dodge in time and received it all. However, his words did reach her and those words hurt her more than anything. "It was only out of pity, that I kept you alive this long. Now, it's your turn, kid…let's see how you handle me."

The same water jet was now focused on him, only this time, Naruto chose to dodge instead of manipulating the water to his favor. It was stronger this time than Isaribi's. Still, using agility and Yuugao-sensei's evasive maneuvers, Naruto managed to shorten the distance and strike with his sword, but Amachi only laughed and jumped on top of the water, his element of choice, forcing Naruto to follow him as well. Amachi, while running on top of water, saw the kid following him and smirked.

"So, you're either too brave or too stupid." Amachi then used another of his water techniques to strike Naruto from a distance, but Naruto evaded by skidding on top of the water.

"I happen to enjoy fighting on this terrain, Amachi, so let's go." Naruto went through hand seals and Amachi prepared himself.

Suiton: Suiryuudan no Jutsu (Water Release: Water Dragon Technique)

Amachi saw the giant water dragon forming and released a powerful water jet straight at the dragon, meeting it straight on. Though the attack more or less annulled each other, Naruto appeared by Amachi's side and slammed his sword on Amachi's stomach. The sword met with resistance, though it managed to draw a little bit of blood. Amachi opened his mouth once more and spit a rain of water bubbles at him. Each one of those exploded on the water upon contact and Naruto used his agility to evade them. Still, this guy was strong and his body was altered to block sword strikes.

"So, what are you going to do next kid?" Naruto then released a rain of shuriken, before joining hands in a pray-like fashion.

Fuuton: Reppushou (Wind Release: Gale Palm)

The shuriken hurled at Amachi with even more force and Amachi had to use his arms to block it. Still, his body was more durable, but it didn't mean that he could receive damage like this. Naruto took the opportunity and skidded on top of the water while surging wind chakra through his sword for one more attempt. This time, he managed to draw even more blood. Keeping the attack constant, Amachi was feeling a lot of pain from the wind sword strikes. In one of those moves, though, he managed to stop Naruto's assault and landed a strong punch on his jawline. Naruto skidded back and removed the blood from his mouth at the strike. That really hurt like hell. Still, Naruto pushed forward, however before he could do something about it, both him and Amachi were surprised by Anko's sudden move behind him.

"Don't forget about me, asshole…" Anko screamed, while moving through hand seals.

Katon: Dai Endan (Fire Release: Grand Fireball Technique)

Amachi saw the huge ball of fire coming his way and smirked in condensation.

"Huh, how stupid, using a fire technique right in the middle of the ocean." Amachi was about to open his mouth and spit a powerful jet of water, when Naruto decided to aid his partner, going through hand seals of his own.

Fuuton: Daitoppa (Wind Release: Great Breakthrough)

Naruto's wind technique further enhanced Anko's, engulfing Amachi completely in a huge inferno on top of the water.

The man's transformation protected him from being killed, but without chakra, he was rendered useless and easily captured by Anko's snake rope. Naruto then approached the Jonin, before both signaled for Hidote to continue on his journey and complete his assignment. Anko carried the unconscious Amachi towards their boat, while Naruto went to the downed Isaribi. She was perfectly fine physically speaking, however after what Amachi said to her being a mere guinea pig, she truly didn't know what to do with her life anymore. She would be like this forever in the end. No one would help her…she was truly alone in this world.

"Are you okay?" Isaribi looked up in surprise to see the Konoha blond shinobi extending out a hand for her. "It occurred to me that I know your name, but I didn't give you mine. Uzumaki Naruto, pleased to meet you."

She could see him smiling at her, but this same person just plummeted her to the ground and was that much stronger than her, not to mention that he now would probably imprison her for her actions.

"You don't need to be nice to me, I know my fate." Naruto lifted his eyebrows in wonder.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You're going to lock me up just like Amachi, aren't you? For me to pay for my sins, in attacking the fishermen". Naruto, though, negated it and it surprised her.

"It's clear to us that you were being used, Isaribi. Amachi is the real monster here, not you. You're free to go about your life from here on out, if you wish." Isaribi looked conflicted at that, even though half of her mind was at ease, about not being locked up. "It comes to mind, now, that perhaps I could introduce you to someone who could help you with your situation." She looked at him in surprise and Naruto elaborated. "In Konoha, we have the Elemental Nations' top medic. She may be quite cranky and not all that open to helping others, but there is no one else better qualified to help you."

Her mouth opened, but truly no words managed to come out, except a grand and sudden surprise turn of events. Naruto, though, only showed a disarming smile.

"So, what say you? Want to come back and meet her? Konoha isn't near the sea, but there are some nice lakes and waterfalls there for you to explore, if you want." Isaribi smiled at the offer and nodded.

"Thank you, ah Naruto…I think I'll accept."

The two then reached to where Anko was safely placing a seal on Amachi that kept him from molding chakra, so as to safely bring him back to Konoha.

"Naruto, please do me a favor, will ya?" With a bare nod, Anko continued. "I have to make a quick stop in another island around here, so please arrange us our transportation back to Konoha and keep a look out for Amachi's body." It dawned on him that the cursed seal stopped pulsing inside of her and her shoulders appeared more eased now that this mess was over. Still, he knew best not to intrude on personal matters that she clearly wanted to resolve by herself.

"Okay, we'll be here, waiting for you. Isaribi here agreed to go meet Tsunade-sama and see if she can heal her."

Anko nodded with a smile, before climbing on top of a small boat and sailing towards the place where the ANBU found her, after she was discarded by Orochimaru. The island she sailed to was called Jiro Island. It seemed abandoned just like some of the others. She walked towards an abandoned village and then into a house that had an open lock. She needed this peace of mind, after all, to know exactly what happened to her…was she truly discarded like trash by the man she trusted and worshiped?

As soon as she closed the doors, the cursed seal flared to life and the pain continued. Her mind then showed the missing peace of memory.

She was indeed in this house, when Orochimaru bit her and placed the cursed seal on her.

After placing the cursed seal, Orochimaru and Amachi left her to her own devices and she was in deep pain, while thrashing around. She suffered immeasurable pain for Kami knows how long. When it was finished, her eyes turned catatonic as she looked at the ceiling, without much inner strength left, but she didn't die. The water in her face was due to the tears that started falling freely, not only from the pain, but because of what the man she idolized did to her. She felt betrayed, discarded, abandoned…the adult Anko snarled, believing that indeed the bastard had abandoned her. When the door then opened and they returned, Amachi turned to Orochimaru and said that she was alive.

The snake couldn't even praise her will to live, not even after what he did to her. He even discarded Amachi's research and moved to leave this place and never to return.

Before leaving, though, Anko with the last strength, grabbed his ankle and screamed with all her might.

"Why!? How could you do this!? I respected you, I worshiped you…! Yet you…" Orochimaru, though, merely smirked and kneeled close to her face, while caressing her chin.

"You're lacking many things…desire for this power…tenacity…hatred…everything!" Orochimaru smirked and turned to evaluate. "However, you survived nonetheless, so you at least have some value." The kid Anko continued to snarl, but she couldn't say yes to this man…after everything. For him, the answer was given, nonetheless and he only got up and left, with the promise of finding another more gifted child in the future. The Adult Anko then took a long breath as the pain rescinded. Her memory is once more fully connected.

She just turned and walked away from the house and looked up to the sun shining up above. A relieved smile appeared on her features as she made peace with her past.

'So, I wasn't cast aside by the bastard...I, on my own, chose not to leave…'


===In Konoha===

Once the party of three arrived in Konoha, they went their separate ways.

A much more relieved and pain-free looking Anko went to the Hokage's Office to report on the mission's success, as well as her achievement in finding out what truly happened on that very day when Orochimaru placed the cursed seal on her. Hiruzen could only smile as he heard the report from Anko, instead of reading about it in a piece of paper. Plus, Anko always got this way when she returned from a mission with Naruto. The part when he heard that Orochimaru's research caused an entire nation to suffer the consequences, though, weighed heavily on his old bones.

Naruto, for his part, had taken Isaribi to consult with Tsunade, Shizune and their apprentice Sakura at the hospital.

At first, Tsunade wasn't that much enthused about assisting, but when she heard the girl's story and how Orochimaru was responsible for it, she just couldn't say no. After a blood sample and body tissue analysis, it was just a matter of isolating the cells that allowed her transformation to occur. The devised method consisted of a specific serum injection at least once a week, that would nullify the cells responsible for the transformation. The downsize, of course, being that she would lose the abilities gained by the transformation, but at least she had gained what she came for.

To appear human, once more.

She also wanted a fresh start, sort of speaking. She didn't want to go back where people mistreated her, despite the fact that she was cured now. So, she had applied for citizenship in Konoha.

Naruto, then, introduced her to Hinata and Yakumo. The two happened to be hanging out in Kurenai's house, when Naruto got inside and introduced Isaribi to them. The timid girl from abroad related immediately to Hinata and Yakumo, who both were also a bit reserved themselves. Yakumo had even offered Isaribi a place to stay until she got settled and found a place to work. After all, Konoha had plenty of restaurants to work with and unlike Sea Country, she would be properly paid for the fish she caught this time.


Author Note

And here it is for now. In canon, the episode stopped before we knew if Tsunade managed to heal Isaribi or not, so I wanted to write a few chapters about that.

Like I said before the beginning of the chapter, I'm debating whether or not to make one more filler arc, before the last and most exciting (in my head, at least) chapter of this part. And you guys can help me choose. Should I make another filler arc or move right ahead to the last chapter and start the Shippuden timeline. I know that's not fair, so I'll give you a hint about a possible last filler arc…it would involve a mission together with Yuugao and the mission would be related to Kenjutsu.

Please give me your thoughts and help me decide.

Next update: Avalon Bond