Konoha's Council Chambers.
The leaders of Konoha, Shinobi Clan and Civilian Councilors, along with Elders and Hokage, along with Naruto, Mito, Natsu and Narumi, were all present in the chambers, where before the ruling body of Kohohagakure stood the Uzumaki ambassadors. To say that Masamune and his comrades have made an impression upon Konoha's leadership and people would be the understatement of a century, since it's not every day the supposed strongest Shinobi Village can't handle 9 Uzumaki warriors, while they were able to inflict severe toll upon them.
There were no fatalities, fortunately, but 72 Konoha Shinobi had received injuries of various severity, with at least 15 of said Shinobi now being forced to resign due to inability to continue their carrier. The rest would be able to recover relatively quickly, but the fact that such a high number of their Shinobi had been beaten with such seeming ease… It went a long way in establishing just how mighty these Uzumaki were. Before meeting them, the majority of Konoha only had to deal with Kushina, and while she was capable and powerful, sitting close to Minato in terms of power, but even she couldn't do what those men did. And what was even a greater shock to all of Konoha was the fact that the man leading these Uzumaki warriors, Masamune Date, was also Kushina's father, and that he and other Uzumaki didn't acknowledge Kushina as one of their own, but even refused to see the "clan" she led as one of their own.
Since coming to Konoha years ago, Kushina hadn't shared details of her past with people around her, with only select few knowing who Kushina's parents were, with only Mito at the time knowing who her father and mother were, while Elders and Hiruzen knew who Kushina's father was. Not even Minato and her children knew who her parents were, and most simply assumed that she was an orphaned child of Uzumaki Clan. Back when Uzumaki Nation still existed, the name of Fujiwara was a very well-known and powerful one even outside of Uzu, and Masamune Fujiwara, as he was known back then, was one of the reasons why Fujiwara were regarded as Clan with fiercest warriors of Uzu in it.
The man had garnered himself a reputation as not just a ferocious warrior, but also as a master of combat, rivaling in power and might the likes of Hashirama Senju and Madara Uchiha. It was such fame that had made Hiruzen and Elders want Kushina to be Mito's successor, since as a daughter of such man, she would surely inherit both his talents and power. She didn't, unfortunately, as Masamune has clearly proven by near effortlessly blocking and taking down Kushina, without causing any serious or lasting injuries, aside from multiple shallow cuts and bruises. By the time Masamune and Naruto had acknowledged each other and hugged one another, Minato has finally deigned to arrive, along with 30 Anbu Shinobi and Hiruzen Sarutobi in his battle garments, all of them ready to fight.
Minato was enraged at what had transpired and believed that Masamune and his companions were trying to steal Naruto, and without even waiting for a second to think things through, he tried to charge and attack Masamune, who put himself between enraged Minato and Naruto, ready to defend his grandson. Only Tomoe's quick intervention and the appearance of Fugaku with his most elite men had managed to finally defuse the situation from escalating into an all-out battle, as Tomoe practically forced Minato to listen to what Masamune had to say. On his part, Masamune was quick and explained what had happened, along with pointing out that Kusa Shinobi were the ones to try and attack them first, with Konoha joining in.
By all the rights, the Uzumaki had defended themselves and did so, even being considerate enough not to kill anyone, which did give them a certain moral high ground in this dispute. Needless to say, that when the situation was cleared up, Minato and Hiruzen were seriously embarrassed and even ashamed, as Konoha had always boasted about being the most peaceful and tolerant of the Villages, and here they just tried to kill ambassadors from Clans that were willing to join them. It was decided that in order to fully clear up the air, the Council will be assembled, where Masamune and his comrades would present their case, along with offer explanation to the reason why leader of Fujiwara Clan had attacked Kusagakure. Apparently, this was still considered important enough for Konoha to know about, since Kusa's ambassador was demanding compensation and concessions for now colluding with Masamune Date.
It took nearly an hour to restore order in Konoha, as well as to get Council assembled on the emergency meeting, with Masamune, and by extension the Uzumaki warriors, spent time with Naruto and Tomoe, getting to know them a little better. Grandfather and grandson instantly found common ground and talked as if they had known each other for all their lives, while Tomoe was seen by Masamune and other Uzumaki as one of their own and a Minamoto Clan member. Tomoe was surprised a little at the fact that men like Dosetsu Tachibana and Ujiyasu Hojo were not just polite with her, but spoke with respect and sincerity with her. In their eyes, since Tomoe was raised by Mito Uzumaki and held to strongly to Uzumaki principals, she was one of their own. Add to that the fact of Tomoe being seen by Naruto as a mother, and the Uzumaki's approval and positive view of Tomoe was now permanent and complete.
As for Naruto himself, he was found possessing traits of Uzumaki and of both Clans from which he came from, Minamoto and Fujiwara, along with distinctions of other Clans as well, which pointed to his divine origin. Masamune and others did tell him that they knew of his divine parents and assured him that they weren't here to hurt him in any way, along with Masamune promising Naruto that he will get Mito out of Kushina's grasp. The dialogue between Medusa and Seiryu, Masamune's Shikigami and the hereditary symbol of Fujiwara Clan, revealed to both Naruto and Masamune all that they needed to know of one another, including what troubled the young grandson of One-Eyed Dragon. Masamune was now determined to see his granddaughter out of Namikaze family, as through Naruto's eyes, he saw just what a good and pure soul she was, as well as how much Naruto held her dear to him.
It was the scene of Naruto getting along so well with Masamune that had caused Kushina to bring along Natsu, Narumi and Mito, as now she wished to show off to her father the strength of her family, as well as how she upheld the values of Uzumaki. Masamune and others saw this as a pathetic attempt at gaining recognition and also presenting herself as a strong Uzumaki, with her eldest as true Uzumaki. One look at scowling Narumi and Natsu was enough for Masamune to judge and see that they weren't Uzumaki material, rather perversions of the ways of Uzumaki unity and not worthy of the names Uzumaki and Fujiwara. Mito, on the other hand, was clearly much different from her older siblings, and the way she looked at Naruto, a look of happiness, which changed into one of plea and desire to hug him, spoke volumes to Uzumaki warriors. The older generation of Uzumaki lords, all of whom had lived by the code of Uzumaki and their moral principles, were now motivated even more to help Masamune achieve his goals, for in their eyes, life a single Uzumaki was worth more than this entire village.
Tension was starting to slowly mount up, as the Uzumaki stood right before the council, with none deciding to speak up first. Though Naruto was still de-facto a member of Namikaze Clan, he was sitting near Amagi on the civilian side, and coincidentally, being situated the closest to the Uzumaki and Masamune. The Date Clan Head decided to finally start the talks, as he looked around and saw how everyone was on edge. His words were exactly what people had least expected to hear from him.
"Aren't you going to offer us any seats?" Masamune suddenly asked of the Council, surprising them all.
"E-excuse me?" Minato asked, struggling to fully comprehend what was it that Masamune just asked of them.
"Seats, as in something sit. You know, chair, stool, sofa, something like that?" Masamune casually told him, with Naruto and Amagi suppressing their chuckles. "Usually, when such things happen, it is customary to offer a seat and refreshments to the guests."
"We don't have any spare chairs, and you didn't exactly come as guests." Hiashi Hyuga spoke in a cold and arrogant manner. "You've invaded our Village and decimated our forces. By all accounts, you should be put to death, not be heard by us, so be thankful that this Council is offering you this curtesy."
"And here I thought I was having trouble with memory, but you people seem to have it even worse than me." Dosetsu said without consideration, with Hiashi narrowing his eyes on the eldest Uzumaki. "We weren't the ones who attacked first, and we could've easily killed all those idiots if we wanted. Our goal was to come in here in a peaceful manner, but who was it that sent that plan down the tubes? Wasn't us, but your precious Kusagakure friends, who happened to have the loyalty of a prostitute, ready to spread her legs before the first…"
"Lord Tachibana, please, there are children in the room." Amagi spoke up in a placating manner. "I am certain that everyone has understood what you meant, and the Civilian Council appreciates your consideration during the incident in avoiding civilian casualties."
"Yet you still wounded and incapacitated a large number of our Shinobi, some of whom will not be able to return to service because of the injuries they've sustained." Shikaku Nara pointed out that detail. "You realize that this isn't a good first impression."
"We know. You people really need to step up training your Shinobi, because it was almost child's play to deal with them." Yoshihiro Shimazu noted as he examined one of his gauntlets, while Shinobi Council glared at the man. "And we weren't going to even start trouble to begin with. Need we remind you again who was it that started to mess things up? Don't shift the blame on us, when you and your friends are at fault here. Man up and admit your mistakes."
"Then how about you admit that you've invaded our ally's Village, killed over 50 Shinobi, kidnapped a poor girl and are now holding her hostage?" Inoichi Yamanaka reminded everyone about what Kusa Shinobi told them, with Tomoe deciding to speak up.
"Lord Yamanaka, would you mind telling us, where did you come up with such numbers of casualties? Because they don't really match with what I've heard from my sources." Tomoe looked at the man. "I think it goes without saying that relying on anything that Kusagakure tells us at this point is a foolish notion, especially after Uehara, where, need I remind you all, we lost a hundred and ten of our Shinobi. Not ten, not twenty, but a hundred and ten. Weren't your brother-in-law and sister among the dead, Lord Yamanaka?" Inoichi glared at Tomoe, before Minato decided to speak up.
"We can discuss this at length after we hear what Lord Masamune and his companions have to say to us. Lord Masamune, you may begin." Minato decided to shift the attention back onto the more pressing matter.
"Oh I can, but what about the seats?" Masamune reminded all about them.
"I'm afraid that the only seats here are reserved for Council Members and their aids." Minato told him.
"Then what about your children that are present here? Are they aids as well?" Yoshiaki asked of him, with Minato struggling to answer.
"Me and my sister are heroes of the Leaf! You should show us respect, old man!" Natsu shouted at him, before he was reprimanded by Kushina.
"My eldest are the Jinchuriki of Nine Tailed Beast, and they are Uzumaki, so I deemed it acceptable to make an exception in this case." Minato answered, though not so convincingly.
"Those two being Uzumaki still needs to be determined, but what about your youngest?" Yoshiaki asked of him, while Kushina and her eldest glared at him. "No offence, but little girls like your youngest here hardly belong in a place like this one. The way I see it, is that your wife has decided to bring them up here just to show off her family before us, to try and make an impression upon her father and the rest of us. I'll spare you and tell you that it already failed, considering that we are well aware of what is happening within your family." Kushina looked with surprise at her granduncle.
"Curious that you didn't mention Naruto, as if him being here isn't something out of the ordinary. Could it be that he has earned himself some form of special attention from you?" Hiruzen noted out. "And aren't you curious as to why he is all the way over there, sitting with a woman to whom he has no relations with, while his mother and family are here?"
"Like my uncle has said, we know all about how Naruto ended up in a coma, and who is responsible for it." Masamune made it clear to everyone, that he didn't like it. "And no, I'm not curious about it, because there is no need to be curious about something that you already know. Naruto told us all about how he and Amagi know each other, and about her being a Priestess of Inari. Plus, I think it is more appropriate that he sits on that side, rather than on your side."
"Why do you say that?" Hiruzen asked of him.
"Pardon me, but I think that we are getting carried away from the main topic of discussion." Amagi spoke up again, deciding to put an end to this farce, as she rose up from her seat and walked towards the doors of the chamber.
"Lady Amagi, where are you going?" Councilor Sagara asked of her, before Amagi opened up the door and went outside, only to return carrying a chair in each of her hand. "What are you doing, Lady Amagi?"
"I am solving the issue of us breaching the etiquette. Lord Masamune, Lord Dosetsu." Amagi offered them the chairs she brought.
"Oh, much obliged, though I do now feel slightly ashamed for having such a file lady like you fetch a seat for an old lecher like me." Dosetsu laughed, as he sat down in seat, while openly admiring the figure of Amagi. "And my, my, why do all Inari priestesses always look so damn fetching? Ah, I were at least twenty years younger, I would've shaved my head clean of hair, if it meant I would be able to get a peek at what's you are hiding under that kimono."
"Then it is a fortune for us both you are now a respectable elderly man, because I doubt I'd be able to keep my hands off of you, and you'd have quite a hard time keeping up with me." Amagi replied without missing the beat, with Dosetsu laughing from the implication, while most of Konoha's Council looked rather uncomfortable from that exchange.
"Lady Amagi, you are a respectable Priestess. It is unbecoming of you to entertain this man like that!" One of Civilian Councilors stated in an outraged manner. "And to also imply such things…"
"There is nothing wrong with a bit of laughter, and I never claimed to have been a pure innocent maiden when I came here. If anything, I was quite a Kitsune before I became a Priestess, and what's wrong with a woman to have a bit of fun before she settles down?" Amagi asked of the Councilor, before heading back towards the corridor to get more chairs. "This may take some time, but I believe there more than enough chairs for all of you, gentlemen."
"Lady Amagi, please return to your seat. Please bring chairs from the corridor for the Uzumaki." Minato finally decided to relent, and the chairs were brought immediately, while Amagi returned to her seat. "Does this meet your requirements?"
"It does, though refreshments would be nice too." Masamune smirked at Minato, who let out a tired sigh. "But I think we can skip that one now, since we do have far more important things to discuss."
"Pft, back in my day, we wouldn't even start the talks until the guests were offered seats, drinks and asked how was their trip and if the road wasn't too hard on them. Even if it were our worst enemy, there would be no accusations or smugness, we'd all be polite and adhere to the etiquette, and now… Youngsters these days, don't know the first thing about diplomacy…" Dosetsu complained out loud to no one in particular.
"And where did that all that diplomacy and etiquette lead the Uzumaki, I wonder?" Tsume smirked at the Uzumaki, only to be met with the glare from Dosetsu and made to shut and meekly lower her head.
"I'd keep that loud mouth of yours shut, if I were you, girl. You can bark all you want, but even at my old age, I can both bark and bite, and my fangs will do far more than just mess up your hide." Dosetsu's words were filled with assurance and cold confidence.
"Tachibana, that's enough." Masamune told him, with Dosetsu relenting, before he returned to the topic at hand. "I'll get straight to the point, Lord Hokage: there are 571 Uzumaki, including me and my companions here, divided between 9 Clans. Those Clans are waiting just outside of your territory, expecting for us to return with either good news or bad ones." Masamune began, with Council immediately picking up on the large number of Uzumaki that Masamune mentioned. "Now, given what had transpired earlier and how your people had attacked us without as much as a second thought, I was tempted to call upon the reinforcements, but I didn't, because that would eliminate all chances of achieving my goal."
"And what would that goal be, Lord Masamune?" Elder Koharu asked of Masamune.
"Several weeks ago, I've called in what Uzumaki Clans I could immediately reach on gathering, and on it I presented them with a simple truth and fact: for the betterment of Uzumaki people and survival of our nation, we need to align ourselves with a Hidden Village. Many resented the idea, but just as many have agreed with it and now they are here, in Land of Fire." Masamune told them. "We've come here, Lord Hokage, to join the Hidden Leaf Village."
The declaration of Masamune Date was nothing short of shock to all of Konoha's councilors and people that were in here, safe for those that knew of the reason why he was here and what his plan was, with Tomoe and Naruto being such people. Shinobi Clan Heads and Elders, along with Kushina and Minato, were trying to fully comprehend what would that mean for Konoha, to have so many Uzumaki Clans and people join and move into Konoha. These weren't any weak civilians or mediocre Shinobi Clans, but Uzumaki Clans, all of whom had to survive for almost two decades on the run after the destruction of Uzu, and then they've also managed to survive the greatest invasion in human history.
The attack on Uzu was brutal and merciless, and it was also one of the most unprecedented moments in history, when Shinobi and Samurai from other Countries have joined in achieving a singular goal. And even then, the invasion force was met with equally strong and unbending resistance from the Uzumaki warriors, who claimed at least ten lives until they gave one up. The sheer amount of Shinobi and Samurai that were killed in that conflict was so great that it caused the ongoing Second Shinobi Great War to stall and stop in its tracks, since Villages were simply out of manpower to continue offensives and had to negotiate peace. Konoha was the only Village to not participate in the slaughter and retain its military power, which led most people to declare Konoha as victors of the war.
Back to Uzumaki and the declaration of Masamune, the Council clearly understood that this was the opportunity that they couldn't just let slip, since right now they had a golden opportunity to not just gained powerful and obviously experienced warriors, but also an opportunity to also gain Uzumaki genes, Jutsu and all that came along with it. Masamune, along with Naruto with his abilities, could already see that the heads of Clans were already imagining and building up plans on how to gain all those Uzumaki powers. It was practically the same script which Hiruzen wished to use on Naruto, as the boy could clearly perceive it all, along with Minato's foolish hope that Kushina would get to lead those Clans, since she was Uzumaki Clan Head. It took some effort not to call the man out on it.
Masamune, along with Yoshiaki, Ujiyasu and other Uzumaki were also able to perceive all that was happening in the heads of Shinobi Clan Heads, and they didn't require telepathy for it. They expected this to happen from the very start and this was actually their game plan. Masamune already knew that Konoha, like all the other Hidden Villages, wished to have Uzumaki technologies, knowledge, blood and more all that had made their nation so powerful. Dragon of Fujiwara understood it, and knew that if he just told the truth to Minato and others, they would instantly agree, and they would clearly be ready to make concessions. After all, it would still mean in the end that Konoha has the biggest concentration of Uzumaki people in all of Elemental Nations, and Clan Heads would be able to manipulate them to their desire, given how they were gullible before them, as the Clan Heads judged these Uzumaki upon the example set by Kushina.
However, that was their greatest mistake, because these men were nothing like Kushina, and they were capable of perceiving and predicting nearly every political move that Konoha could make. While war had been something that all Uzumaki leaders have grown accustomed to, before that there was the world of politics, manipulations and cunning. Uzumaki Clans and their Leaders had centuries to perfect their art of political maneuvering and manipulating people for their own benefits, and the current leaders were no different. And they were even doing it right now with Konoha, practically giving to the Shinobi and Civilians what they wished to have the most, and only those that knew how Uzumaki really operated understood, that this was clearly a bait. Tomoe already informed Mikoto and Fugaku about it, and she also was quite certain that Amagi was aware of what was going on as well, but she was going to allow this to happen, for it meant security and prosperous future for Naruto and Mito.
It took some time for the Council to compose themselves, with Minato audibly coughing at the surprise, before speaking up.
"Well, this is certainly not something we had expected to hear from you, Lord Masamune, although this is clearly something that Konoha and I, Fourth Hokage, most certainly can accommodate." Minato tried to sound responsible and as if he was in command here. "While I can see benefits to having so many Uzumaki join in under leadership of my wife, I would still like for you to…"
"Lord Hokage, I fear you have misunderstood what I have just stated to you." Masamune Date interrupted him. "The Uzumaki Clans wish to join Konoha, but we do not recognize your wife's Uzumaki Clan as either our sovereign nor even as a Clan that has connections to Uzu. In other words, for us, she is an outsider and not someone we will not only follow, but not even acknowledge as one of us."
"Lord Masamune, but she is your daughter, from what we were led to believe, and I thought that Uzumaki people cherish their family above all else. There must be a pretty valid reason to such stance towards one of your own, who is also effectively your heiress." Hiruzen Sarutobi pointed out, with Kushina and her eldest children clearly hurt by the declaration of Masamune.
"Yeah, grandfather, Mom is your daughter, and we are your grandchildren! You should join those Clans into ours, the real Uzumaki Clan!" Natsu shouted at him, with Masamune silencing him with a single sharp look.
"You are way too young and far too big-headed to start giving me orders around, brat. I will not go into details about why Kushina isn't one of us, because that is unrelated to the topic at hand. The point that you all need to understand and one that I am trying emphasize is that Uzumaki Clans that came here will not, under any circumstances, join Kushina's Uzumaki Clan, because we do not see it as one of our brethren. In other words, the Clans will remain independent and autonomous on the same level as your clans, like Uchiha and Hyuuga." Masamune tried to explain in better terms what he meant, with the Council finally starting to understand what he means. "Now, that being said, and given the precarious situation that my own Clan, Fujiwara Clan, faces, I may have to put aside some of our more hardliner traditions."
"Care to elaborate on what are you talking about?" Homura asked of Masamune, before he whispered with Kojuro, seemingly asking for advice, before Masamune's right-hand man answered for him.
"Lord Masamune is currently the only living member of the main line of Fujiwara Clan, and he is currently without an officially recognized heir, which leaves Clan Fujiwara with a possibility of having no recognized leader in case of Lord Masamune's death." Kojuro explained. "Given the circumstances, it is acceptable within our Nation's customs to either adopt a boy or a girl from a different Clan, or to adopt a child of relative of the Lord, even if said relative is an outcast."
"Well, I don't see any problems. Just adopt either one of the twins or Mito, and you should be quite safe with your Clan." Asuma Sarutobi, who sat as his father's aid, spoke up.
"But what about Naruto?" Tomoe asked of Asuma, catching him off guard. "Interesting how you specifically didn't mention Naruto Minamoto, even though he should've the first one to spring up to mind, given his status as the third child of Kushina, and the fact that he renounced both of his parents effectively cut ties with them."
"Naruto is still my son, and you cannot prove what he said was said in sound mind! He was just out of coma and wasn't feeling well in the head…" Kushina tried to interject, but Shizune spoke up.
"I can provide medical evidence that at the time of your conversation happening, Naruto was already capable of cognitively high level decisions. In other words, that was a thought out action, and one made out of free will." Shizune answered on Kushina's glare with her own. "Like it or not, Lady Kushina, but after all that I have observed and evidence I've collected, I can compile enough reason to put a restraining order on you, your children and even Lord Hokage, because you being close to Naruto has a noticeably atrocious effect on his health."
"Lady Kato that is a topic of discussion for another time." Minato decided to stop this from escalating.
"Until I personally access what either of the candidates is made out of, I won't make my final decision. For that reason, I will be having a separate discussion with Kushina and her husband, as well as all her children, at a later date." Masamune decided to put an end to the discussions about it. "I won't make a choice simply based on what you people are trying to tell me, and also based on all those rumors that I heard. I will evaluate the kids myself and see what they are made out of, and if one catches my eye, then that kid will probably my chosen heir. And if neither catches my eye… Well, as it happens, current Head of one of the Clans that came with us, Oda Clan, has all the qualities I'm looking for in my heir. And if I were to adopt her, it would strengthen my own Clan and ensure the survival of both Clans for good."
"Father, you can't seriously be suggesting that!" Kushina shouted at him. "My children are your only option and…"
"I said I will evaluate them, Kushina, and only after that I will draw my conclusions. I don't give a damn if they are yours, I only do it because they have Fujiwara blood in them, only because of that I'll give them a chance. You can be thankful that I am that open to this idea, because from what I have heard, your eldest children aren't even worth being called human beings." Masamune shut Kushina up with what he told her, before turning to Minato. "Now, back to the topic at hand. Do you agree to have our Clans move into your village or not?" Masamune asked the question directly.
"Well, given the political situation between the Hidden Villages and the Will of Fire promoting helping those in need, I believe that we can agree to having your Clans join our Village." Minato replied. "Although, there are certain conditions that if you were to fulfill, would go a long way in establishing comfort of your living here."
"If this is about the girl that I rescued from Kusagakure, then the answer is no." Masamune and his friends already knew what this was about. "That girl is now my ward and is a member of main Minamoto line, not to mention only living Takeda Clan member. Not only that, but that girl had gone through hell in that thrice cursed village, being used as a chakra battery, from which their Shinobi literally sucked life from to heal themselves. I will not, under any circumstances, give that girl back to them, and that is final."
"Lord Masamune, you have to understand that certain sacrifices need to be made in order to accommodate your coming here, and to ensure that our Village doesn't suffer any lasting negative consequences." Minato tried to diplomatically make Masamune understand him. "Kusagakure is an ally of Konoha and if we were to take you in, after what you have done and given how they are angered by your actions, we risk losing them as allies and leaving ourselves vulnerable for an attack by Iwagakure."
"A single Uzumaki warrior is worth twenty Kusagakure Jonins, and that we all know that this isn't simple bragging. This is a confirmed fact, and you need not worry about Iwagakure, since they are facing trouble of their own with Third Tsuchikage facing a possible rebellion." Motoharu Kikkawa informed them all, surprising the people of Konoha with this information. "The old warmongering guard of Iwa is losing ground to their more peace-oriented opposition, led by Tsuchikage's own son, Terukatsu. I believe you know him under his nickname of "The Tiger of Iwa."
"How did you come across this sort of information?" Shikaku asked of Motoharu. "Terukatsu was one of Iwa's best commanders and one of few Shinobi to have survived a direct battle with Lord Fourth. He didn't show any signs of disloyalty towards his Village, so it doesn't seem possible that he would betray it like that. We did try to collude with him, but it ended up backfiring on us."
"He is loyal to Iwagakure, but his loyalty doesn't extend to include his father and his pro-war supporters. He clearly believes that further conflict of Iwa and other Hidden Villages will lead to needless deaths and further casualties, hence he is mounting a coup against his father." Motoharu added to what he said beforehand. "As for how did we come across that information, many Uzumaki Clans employ extensive networks of spies and informants, with Mori Clan, from which I hail, having the largest one of all. We make use of that information in order to defend Uzumaki Clans and prevent their destructions."
"Although I've gotta say that it's pretty strange that you don't already know about the trouble in Iwa. It would seem your Jiraiya is quite slacking on his job, even though over two thirds of his spies are also working on our Clans." Yoshihiro noted, surprising Minato. "It's pretty much common news at this point, what's happening in Iwa. With all the trouble that's going on in there, you can forget about Kusa exposing you to Iwa."
"Even still, Konoha isn't in a position where we can afford to lose our allies like that. Kusa is a crucial element to keeping Konoha safe from enemies, and therefore I have to ask for you reconsider your position the matter of that girl." Minato still wanted to get his way.
"You already know my answer, and no matter what you say, you will only end up with nothing." Masamune stated to him, before reaching for his coat and pulling out of there a scroll and tossing it to Minato. "I was planning on giving it after the Council, but given your stubbornness and foolish assurance in Kusa's loyalty, you might as well see this right now."
"What could this possibly be?" Minato opened up the scroll, before he was forced to widen his eyes and stammer. "I-is th-that…" Minato was in a state of shock at what he saw, with the Elders moving in to look at what was in his hands, with Hiruzen joining them.
"That's a map detailing all of our defensive measures, outposts and routes of travel for our Shinobi in the entire north-western part of Land of Fire." Danzo concluded, as he examined the map. "Number of our Shinobi stationed on the border between Lands of Fire and Kusa, locations of outposts, supply bases, even routes to evade our patrols… All of that in perfect detail. If this is actually true, then that would explain how did Iwagakure has managed to infiltrate our Land 7 times over the past 5 years."
"I've acquired it when I was in Kusagakure, having decided to take it with me in case I needed to move to Land of Fire. I can vouch for the validity of this map, since me and several of Clans that I brought with me had no trouble passing through the border into your Land." Masamune informed them with a smirk. "Looks like your "allies" have been using their diplomatic status to the maximum effect, so to speak. Still feeling as strongly about protecting your "ally's" interests now, Lord Fourth?"
"Anbu!" Fugaku shouted, with one of the masked Shinobi appearing before him. "Inform the Police Force to immediately arrest all Kusagakure Shinobi and put them into isolation cells. Surround the embassy's mansion and then storm, arrest everyone who is inside and place them in sells. Search that place inside and out, take all the documentation that is sound inside and have it delivered to Anbu Headquarters!"
"Yes, sir." The Anbu immediately disappeared in the puff of smock.
"We will need to completely change our defensive measures in that sector, not to mention we'll have to plug all our holes at the borders… Man what a drag. Lord Hokage, I hate to mention it to you, but I believe I did remark six years ago about how your decision to ally with Kusa again would come to haunt us." Shikaku remarked, seemingly humiliating Minato.
"They've had years of near limitless access into our Village. In that time, they could've made fully detailed maps of the Village itself, scouted the posts of our guards, and counted the number of Shinobi we can field, where our stores, warehouses, armories are… With even half of that information now sold to our enemies, Kusagakure has effectively opened up our gates for every eager invader!" Fugaku slammed his fist into the table scaring a few Councilors. "We must immediately reorganize our patrols, change locations of warehouses and stores, and also start investigations within the civilian and Shinobi population, so as to find out if Kusa hasn't imbedded any spies into our Village."
"Lord Fugaku, this is clearly going too far already. The Civilian population will not stand for an autocratic crackdown by Police Force." Councilor Sagara opposed him and his decision. "Besides, the Civilian Council and population as a whole has little to no access to the military information, regarding the Village's capabilities and Konoha's Shinobi."
"I wouldn't be saying that with such a certainty, Councilor, since a large chunk of our forces is made up of Shinobi who came from civilian population, who have relatives and families within Civilian half of Village. You would be surprised just how much information can be obtained by a capable spy from a simple casual talk." Fugaku argued back, before they all heard a loud enough cough, coming from Tomoe Uchiha
"Would you mind hearing out a proposition I have on this matter?" Tomoe Uchiha spoke up. "Given the nature of our predicament, I believe it might be best for us to ask an advice from the expert on the matter of securing safety of the people. As it happens, we currently have an undeniable master on the subject of population safety."
"And to whom do you refer to, Lady Uchiha?' Danzo Shimura asked of her.
"Hojo Ujiyasu, the Lion of Sagami and once Daimyo of Kanto Region. Your reputation precedes you, Lord Ujiyasu." Tomoe bowed in respect, with Ujiyasu answering to it with his own bow. "Your expertise in providing security and prosperity of cities and villages was undeniably second to none. We would be grateful to hear your opinion on the matter."
"What can this scarred mercenary say on such a complicated matter?" Hiashi Hyuuga instantly disliked the idea, simply because of how Ujiyasu looked.
"More than someone whose expertise fully revolves around how to give people a shiatsu massage." Dosetsu commented from his spot, with Hiashi already starting to fume. "Let Ujiyasu speak up. Better you get this over quickly, instead of wasting your time and running around this matter like a monkey whose ass was set on fire."
"Lord Ujiyasu, if you have some form of wisdom that can help us solve the matter of our internal security, we will be glad to hear about it." Minato spoke up.
"Arrest the Kusa Nins, interrogate through usage of Truth Revealing Seals, ask them about spies and if they have them here." Ujiyasu went straight to the point. "Most likely, they don't have dedicated spies in here, since they would be of little use. Like Commander of Police said, they had almost limitless access to the Village, so at this point, Kusa has already extracted all the needed information about defenses and geography of your Village. Verdict: focus your efforts on tightening your defense and security of the Village. That's all I can say."
"That's… But what if they do have spies and informants?" Minato asked.
"Tighten up your information control. For crying out loud, you are Lord Hokage, the guy who is supposed to run this place, yet you can't even grasp the simplest of things. Were you elected on your good looks and just because you had a good PR?" Dosetsu asked of Minato, who looked somewhat embarrassed. "The Uchiha girl over then can do a better job than you, and that's because she knows who is who in this very room, and what they can do. Back in my day, the likes of you would've been considered to be mentally impaired, for not understanding how these things work…" Dosetsu grumbled to himself.
"Should there be any additional leaks of information, Kikkawa Motoharu and his father, Mori Motonari, will be the first to know and will report their findings to the Council. After that, it will be easy to trace the source of information." Ujiyasu added on the subject, with Motoharu nodding to confirm it. "Now, does Lord Hokage has any demands of our Clans, regarding our settlement in your Village?"
"Demands? Well, given this new information, I believe that the matter regarding the girl can be forgotten about. All this Council can ask is that you abide by the laws of the Village, protect it, follow the decrees of this Council and contribute to Kohohagakure through whatever skills and prowess you have." Minato spoke up, with the Uzumaki warriors nodding to it. "Although, there is the matter of where to house your Clans and the people you bring with you. It may take at least five to seven months to settle you properly here. The Council will have to convene at a later date on the subject of providing suitable land on which you can build your mansions and…"
"The Uzumaki Clans can settle down on the lands of Senju Clan." Tomoe suddenly spoke up, surprising everyone, including the Uzumaki. "The area is large enough to house all of the Clans and multiple mansions, not to mention whatever shops and facilities you may require."
"Lady Uchiha you can't be in sound mind, to be making such offers." Hiruzen commented in a flabbergast manner. "That land belongs to Senju Clan and since Tsunade…"
"Had effectively left this Village for good and sold out that land years ago to cover her debts, she has no rights on it. I've bought all that land back, for the sake of memory of my parents and Lady Mito Minamoto, for they grew up there. Since then, the place has been doing nothing but collect weeds, and I am certain that Lords First, Second and Lady Mito Minamoto would want that area put to better use." Tomoe explained herself, before turning to the Uzumaki warriors. "The land is yours. You can settle on it without any reservations."
The Uzumaki warriors exchanged looks, seemingly speaking amongst each other without uttering words. After a few seconds though, it seemed like they were through with their dialogue, as they all rose up as one and walked to Tomoe, standing right in front of her. Minato and others were about to question them on what they were doing, but that was before they did something none had expected from them. Each one of the Uzumaki warriors, from Date Masamune to Tachibana Dosetsu, bowed deeply before Tomoe, surprising her and others, for this was the last people expected of them. All of them, proud and valiant men, had showed their utmost respect and admiration towards the young woman.
Uzumaki were notorious for their stubbornness and seeming lack of acknowledging people, or showing their respect. But to have Uzumaki men like these bow like this before Tomoe… That went a long way in establishing just how deeply she was now respected by them. This was something that Kushina wished she could've gotten, the respect of her people and their integration into her own Clan, one that she had started in the hopes of reviving the Uzumaki Nation. She always wanted to be seen as not just an Uzumaki, but as the leader of Uzumaki, even believing herself to be made practically destined to be the future ruler of Uzumaki, thanks to the unhealthy influence of Aiwa. Kushina didn't realize it, but due to what her mother had done and how she herself was acting and thinking, neither her father nor other Uzumaki will see her as one of their own.
It took more than just blood to be an Uzumaki, as it was not just genetic thing, but a mental and moral state, as well as a spiritual one. In the eyes of her people, Kushina will always remain as an outsider, while someone like Tomoe, who was raised with the Uzumaki principals in mind and heart, will be instantly seen as a member of their Nation. Already, Masamune and others saw her not as an Uchiha or Senju bastard, but as a true Uzumaki and a Minamoto to boot. Having been raised by Mito and being the daughter of Mito's adopted daughter, Tomoe by all rights, was a Minamoto from the Seiwa Genji line, the main line of Minamoto Clan. The heads of clans raised their heads before Tomoe with Masamune speaking up.
"The Clans and we personally thank you from the depths of our hearts for your gift, Tomoe Minamoto." Masamune spoke to her with the tone of absolute respect. "Should you find yourself in need of something, the Uzumaki Clans will gladly be at your disposal, in whatever form or manner."
"The best way you can repay me, Lord Masamune, is to ensure that the people you've brought with you have a roof above their heads and comfortable beds to sleep in." Tomoe told him and others. "As for the construction materials and other things necessary for buildings, I will provide you with everything you may require. Do not hesitate to ask for anything."
"We will keep in mind, and once more, you have our utmost gratitude for your magnanimous gift." Tsunashige stated to her, bowing a little once more.
"We will have our best designers, builders and architects head this massive project." Minato decided to chime in.
"That will be unnecessary. Lord Ujiyasu Hojo and his Hojo Clan are the very best when comes to construction matters. Now, how long will it take for you to complete the construction of the mansions and the district as a whole?" Masamune asked of Ujiyasu, who gave the answer right away.
"A month and a half, if the weather will remain comfortable. In case it worsens, which is a more likely event, it will take from two and a half to three months to complete the mansions, district, roads, sewer system and everything else." Ujiyasu stated with his usual confidence, surprising the Civilians and Shinobi alike.
"Impossible! No one will be able to complete something like that in just three months!" The Head Architect spoke up in an outraged tone. "The best you will get out from that time are ramshackle huts."
"Which are, in essence, the majority of buildings in this Village." Ujiyasu commented. "Your architecture lacks practicality and stability, and is something that only an utterly talentless and unprofessional buffoon would create."
"You dare to insult me?! Who do you think you…"
"Councilor Rifu, please sit down. If Lord Ujiyasu wishes to head the project himself, then I see no problem letting him do so." Minato decided to step into the matter before it gotten too heated. "If the project proves to be too much for the Uzumaki to handle, I am certain that they will ask for your assistance."
"We won't." Ujiyasu laconically added to it.
"Anyway, I believe that this concludes this session of the Council. If someone wishes to add something…"
"There is still the matter of Naruto Minamoto and Mito Uzumaki-Namikaze's case to be resolved." Mikoto Uchiha reminded everyone, with Kushina and Minato directing glares at her. "But given the fact of Kusagakure's betrayal of Konoha, I believe we can discuss it at a later date. Right now, it should be decided where Naruto Minamoto should be staying, until it gets sorted to which family he will go."
"My son will be staying in his house, where he grew up for all those past years." Kushina practically growled. "My family and I have been paying him near daily visits, my eldest son is sorry for what he did to his brother and the issue with what had happened is long in the past now."
"Yet Naruto had denounced you and Minato as his parents, effectively leaving your family. By all rights, he is now effectively an orphan." Tomoe reminded Kushina and Minato.
"May I propose something?" Amagi spoke up. "Until the matter of Naruto's future is resolved, why not allow him to stay at my Temple? He is well familiar with the grounds and I have only the most positive feelings towards Naruto, and I would not mind having an extra pair of hands to help me out in the temple, plus he is quite familiar with all the rights and rituals I perform, to the point helping me out in those. And I am certain that Naruto himself wouldn't mind staying for a few days in my temple, would you?" Amagi asked of Naruto, who simply nodded in agreeing to it.
"No! I will not have my son staying with the priestess of that damned Kyuubi, no I will…" Kushina rose up in fury, only to be stopped when she met with the glare of Masamune.
"Kushina, control yourself!" Masamune shut her up with but a single glare and shout. "To state that Goddess Inari and Kyuubi Biju are one and the same is not only the peak of ignorance and blasphemy, but also an utterly disgraceful thing and just shows how you are not even worthy of the name of Uzumaki, much less Fujiwara." Kushina widened her eyes in shock, after hearing her father say such things.
"Hey, Mom is right! That idiot should be grateful he can live with us, instead of running straight towards that whore of a priestess!" Narumi stated with pride, with Masamune looking down at the girl. "He is our younger brother, and not even her child. He is ours to do what want, no matter what he says. And we are your grandchildren and heirs, so you should…"
"If you really were my real grandchildren, then you wouldn't even think about speaking like that, much less acting like stuck up immoral miscreants. Be thankful that I do not see you as my grandchildren, and that I'm giving you a chance to prove me wrong." Masamune stated with cold tone to Narumi, before turning to Minato. "We will resolve the matter of Fujiwara succession after my Clan had properly settled in and the mansion is completed. Until then, there will be no more talk about this."
"Then perhaps we can post-pone the discussion regarding the status of Hokage's youngest children until the same time?" Amagi offered, with others agreeing to such a thing. "Well, with that being the case, I think that my presence here is no longer required. Come, Naruto, let us go. We have much to do and buy in order to settle you in the temple comfortably." Amagi rose up, with Naruto following her.
"If there are no more pressing matters, then the Council is adjourned. Commanders of Police, Anbu and regular Shinobi Forces, as well as Head of I&T and Intelligence departments are to remain for a closed briefing." Danzo Shimura announced, with the people starting to disperse and leave the chambers.
A few minutes later, after the majority of the crowd had left the building, Amagi and Naruto, who were also on their way to the exit, were forced to confront Hiruzen and Asuma Sarutobi, with Naruto already knowing what this was going to be about.
"Ah, Naruto, how wonderful that I was able to find you so soon." Hiruzen smiled to him. "Lady Amagi, if you do not mind, I would like to take Naruto off of your care for a few hours. Not to worry, I promise to return him to your care safe and sound."
"I am afraid that this is quite impossible, Lord Third. Naruto and I need to buy clothes and other things for him, given that he is now staying with me." Amagi told Hiruzen.
"Then why not let me handle such things, while you go to your Temple? You must be exhausted after the session." Hiruzen offered.
"To make myself perfectly clear, Lord Sarutobi. I shall be direct. I am will not leave you or your son alone with Naruto under any pretense or for any reason." Amagi stated with strength, surprising Hiruzen and Asuma. "I am well aware of the fact that every Shinobi Clan is practically salivating at the thought of having Naruto and his sister join them, and I know that you are one of the chief persons who wishes to gain Naruto. Therefore, I will not leave you with Naruto."
"Listen, priestess, don't go butting your head into the Shinobi business. Just go quietly to your temple and let us handle things. We'll be sure to pay quite a sizable donation, if you do as told." Asuma stated to her, with Amagi looking at him with a judging gaze. "Now, Naruto, let's go. I believe there is something you wished to tell my father."
"I can say it right here and now: the answer is no." Naruto simply stated, seemingly confusing Hiruzen and Asuma, while Amagi smiled to him. "That offer you've made some time ago, Lord Third. The answer is no, I am not going to join your Clan."
"Naruto, do you realize the implications of what you are saying?" Hiruzen asked of him, still hoping to get the answer he wanted out of Naruto. "Without me, you will not be able to be with your sister, and all that knowledge and training…"
"I have full confidence that Mito will be out of Namikaze family, and in a good care of more benevolent people, who will no doubt, take great care of her and me. And as for your training and knowledge, it is my understanding that learning from you will far more to my detriment, rather than progress, since… Well, your track record of students leave quite a negative impression." Naruto told Hiruzen with frankness that Sarutobi didn't expect from the boy. "Aside from that, I have far more faith in Tomoe and her teachings, as well as her parental skills."
"Naruto, my boy, Tomoe may appear to be normal, but in reality, all she is trying to do is just indulge her sick fantasies." Hiruzen decided to play that card. "Tomoe had lost her own son when he was little, and she now views you as that child, only grown up. Before it is too late, you have to make the right thing and step away from her."
"I know about Masamune, Sarutobi Hiruzen." Naruto told him with cold tone, against surprising Hiruzen. "And the only one I see indulging in his sick fantasies, is you. If you believe that I would trust the word of a man who effectively eradicated the Senju Clan just to see his own Clan rise up in power. I may be young, but I am far from stupid."
"Are you certain that you wish to go this way, Naruto? Because if you do, then you will leave me no choice but to use different means to get your cooperation." Hiruzen warned Naruto, dropping his grandfatherly façade and usual smile. "Your sister, for instance, will go to Sarutobi Clan, and I am certain that my grandson will take good care of her."
"Lord Third, if you are implying what I think…" Amagi tried to speak up, but Asuma suddenly smacked her across the face.
"Keep quiet, priestess, or else…" Asuma was about to raise his hand again, but then felt how someone had taken hold of it.
"Or else what? You will hit her again?" Date Masamune stepped in, followed by Yoshihiro Shimazu and Tsunashige Hojo. "Striking a priestess like that is not something a real man should do. In my land it was considered to be the highest form of offence, punishable by death."
"And what had happened to your land, Uzumaki?" Asuma arrogantly asked, before he screamed from pain as Masamune gripped a little tougher.
"Want me to show you what happened? I can do that." Masamune simply replied, as his grip on Asuma's arm was starting to become almost unbearable.
"Masamune, release my son this instant!" Hiruzen demanded of him, with Fujiwara Lord obliging the old man, letting Asuma go. "You have some nerve to dare attack a member of my family like that."
"And your son has no shame, if he dares to hit a woman like that, much less a priestess. Although, that's something he definitely learned from his schemer of a father." Hiruzen narrowed his eyes on Masamune, who wasn't intimidated by him one bit. "Years definitely weren't all that kind on you, monkey. If before you could pass off as a man, then now you look almost like a bald rat. Although I guess the nickname does suit your nature, bald rat."
"And your foul mouth and lack of manners has definitely not gone away, despite the loss of your own land and people." Hiruzen answered back, with Masamune not even caring at this point to respond. "Quite the performance you've managed to put on there, Masamune, but if you think that you can have your way then you are mistaken. Naruto and Mito do not belong to you, they are mine to have and Konoha's to exploit." Tsunashige and Yoshihiro were ready to kill the old man where he stood, while Amagi pulled Naruto behind herself.
Masamune seemingly didn't react to what the old fool had said, at least he didn't do so for a few seconds… until his right hand grabbed Hiruzen by his throat, chocking the man and lifting him above the ground. Masamune's single eye was directed at the old man's eyes, and once he was on the same level as Masamune, Fujiwara's Dragon spoke up in a near whisper to Hiruzen, making sure that only he got to hear it.
"Listen carefully, you old scheming rat. If you or any of your monkeys lay a finger on Naruto or Mito, I will come and do what the world tried to do to Uzumaki, only this time, I will be more thorough." Masamune saw how the choking man was hearing and understanding him. "I will start with your grandchildren, then move on to their parents and your progeny. I will erase every memory and mention of your name and clan. Only after the very last of your bloodline is feeding warms, when there is none remembering what your name was, I will give you the permission to die. But before that, you will see every moment of me destroying that precious legacy you've been building up, right before your very eyes, one monkey at the time." Once he was finished, Masamune tossed Hiruzen at the risen Asuma, with the Third Hokage coughing as he breathed.
"You won't get away with this! My father is the strongest Shinobi in this Village, and Lord Fourth…" Asuma tried sound intimidating, with Yoshihiro promptly laying his hand on the sword.
"But will they be fast enough to save you, brat? Will your mighty daddy be able to recover faster than I draw my blade and take that slapping hand of yours off your body?" Yoshihiro asked of him. "Run along, boy, and take that old sandbag with you, before I decided to make you pay for what you did." Asuma glared at the men, before scurrying away with his father who was still in a daze.
"Thank you, Lord Masamune, but there was no need to put yourself into such a position." Amagi assured him.
"A man who dares to slap a good woman like that has no right to have either his hands or what's between his legs. Besides, even if you could easily turn those two into charcoals, there was no need for a Tenko like you to revert to our baser methods." Masamune said to Amagi, revealing to her that he knew who she was, before nodding to her. "You have my thanks for taking care of my grandson. Had it not been for you and Tomoe, Naruto wouldn't have turned out as well as he did."
"I only did what was right, and I thank you for your consideration." Amagi nodded to him, while Naruto stepped from behind her. "Although, there is something that I would like to understand, if you do not mind answering my question."
"Certaintly." Masamune nodded to her.
"Why didn't you claim Naruto as your grandson back in the Chambers, and have put up this whole charade with Fujiwara inheritance? Naruto has the best rights to be your heir, and I am certain you know that." Amagi noted to him.
"I know about it, and this is no charade." Masamune answered to Amagi, before turning to Naruto. "While I do see Naruto as my grandson and blood, that doesn't mean that he is ready to be my heir. I want to see what he will do to gain that status, and if he's got what it takes to become a worthy Dragon of Fujiwara. You've got three months to get back into shape, Naruto, so make the most out of them. When the time comes, I want your fangs and claws to be able to cut through anything thrown your way."
"You've got it, grandfather." Naruto assured him with a smile, making Masamune smile as well. "But what about Mito and Tomoe?"
"Whatever the outcome will be, Mito will be in Fujiwara Clan and away from the clutches of Kushina, that's my promise to you. And do you see Tomoe as your mother?" Masamune asked of Naruto, with Naruto nodding to him. "Then she is your mother, and I will not deprive you of her. Once you pass the test, I'll not usurp you solely for myself. You still have Minamoto blood in you, and Tomoe has effectively adopted you as her own, so I will not ruin it in any way. If anything, I see Tomoe as someone I would want to be my daughter, instead of Kushina."
"Thanks for telling me that, grandfather." Naruto nodded to him, while Masamune turned to Amagi.
"You need not worry about Naruto or Mito. The One-Eyed Dragon of Fujiwara doesn't abandon his own kin to the wolves. I'll stop by the temple later, when the rest of the Uzumaki arrive, and you might want to expect a sudden influx of visitors. No need to worry, the Uzumaki, at least real ones, know how to behave themselves when in Shrines and temples." Masamune assured Amagi, who nodded to him. "Should you need anything, feel free to ask me or any other Uzumaki. They'll know who is who in this Village. Alright, let's see where we will be settling down, guys." Masamune and his friends went towards the place.
"I still don't get it, why didn't he just name Naruto as his heir, and now what he just said… If you ask me, I'd say that he is trying to play some kind of game here." Akagi spoke up, as she and Kaga appeared in their spiritual forms. "He will adopt Mito and make sure that Naruto were to grow up with Tomoe, but not announce him as his heir? What is he trying to pull off here?"
"It's pretty clear what's his goal is, Akagi. He practically told us what it is himself." Naruto spoke up, getting Kaga and Akagi's attention. "I have three months to get back into shape and improve, and he wants me to be ready to fight for my place at his side. He doesn't want an heir that believes that the place is his just because he has the same blood as he does. He wants an heir that can fight for it, who can prove with strength that he is worthy of being called the next Dragon of Fujiwara."
"And whom are you going to be fighting against then, Naruto?" Kaga asked of Naruto. "That Oda girl he mentioned? Or will he find someone else to test you out?"
"Oda Nobuna might be involved, but it's not her I will have to worry about." Naruto told them. "Grandfather said it himself: he is giving Natsu and Narumi a chance to prove him wrong. And as Tomoe had told me many times now, in battle one can judge the character of the men fighting." Naruto smiled with a near predatory smile, with Kaga, Akagi and Amagi realizing what this all meant.
Date Masamune was setting the stage not for a succession dispute, but for a fight, a fight between the siblings who were divided. This was going to be the showdown that Naruto had wanted for a long time now, his blood burning and demanding that he put his older siblings in their place, while his fighting spirit was further making him want this fight. For years he had lived in the shadows of Narumi and Natsu, always relegated to the sidelines and left behind their spotlight. Now Naruto was going to get his chance to show those two arrogant brats who the real Uzumaki was.
This won't just be a fight to determine the next Fujiwara heir, but this will definitely be the clash of wills and future, a battle of philosophies. Narumi and Natsu will definitely fight against him as one, with Naruto being forced to fight against two of them at the same time, and they will have definitely improved from the time he last saw them train. Him easily handling Natsu back in June would've spurred the two to train even harder, while Minato and Kushina would feel compelled to teach their twins even more. Naruto will need retrain his body to the top condition, recover lost instincts and tactics, and once he had done that, he will progress even further, not stopping at where he was before the incident, for if he did, he would be doing himself a disservice.
The coming January will be the time when either Naruto becomes the Dragon and soars to the skies, or falls into the shadow of his siblings. And Naruto planned to fly high, as high as the Dragon of Fujiwara could reach.
A significantly smaller chapter than the last two you've seen before, but still within parameters. Sorry for the waiting, but last two chapters have exhausted me and I needed to recuperate a little bit. But anyway, here you have it folks, the stage is set for what you've been waiting for, and after that is done, we will start to pick up the pace to get to the main story as quickly possible, but not to damage of quality.
Leave a review, suggestions about the story, and questions about it or something like that. I'll answer it all.
Next time: Namikaze-Uzumaki dine with Fujiwara and Oda; Kyuubi Twins vs. Naruto; Heiress of Oda makes her move.