Chapter 3: Konoha's Defensive Strategy

-Ichiraku Ramen Shop-

It has been a few days after Naruto and his team had reported to his father, Minato Namikaze who was also Konoha's fourth Hokage the blonde man decided to give his son and his team a few days of rest following their encounter with the four Iwa shinobi led by the Tsuchikage's granddaughter Kurotsuchi. Since they had at least one more day before their first patrol at the border Naruto was now seen at his favorite eatery with his teammate Kakashi Hatake.

''Seriously Naruto, don't ever stay behind to fight any Iwa ninja again.'' Kakashi said annoyed as he ate some ramen with his blonde best friend. How Kakashi ate with his mask on was beyond everyone he knew, even his dad, Sakumo Hatake, aka Konoha's 'White Fang' didn't know how he did it. Food just seemed to go through his mask.

While Kakashi was eating his ramen Naruto was just staring at the silver-haired young man with a deadpan expression.

''Okay seriously, does the ramen go through your freaking mask or what? Is it some kind of genjutsu that you permanently casted on your face?'' grumbled the blonde.

After finishing his bowl Kakashi sets it down and slowly turns his head to look at his friend. ''The world may never know Naruto.''

''Whatever ya know..'' Naruto then proceeded to eat his bowl when another figure walked into the shop.

''Hi guys.'' a cheerful Rin greeted as she took a seat next to Naruto. ''How's your late morning so far?''

''Eh, could be better, dad told me he wants to teach me how to summon ninken but was sent on his patrol shift near Kusa an hour ago so I decided to just spend the day with Naruto.'' Kakashi said.

''And dad told me to rest for a few days when we got back from Kusa, Konan-sensei is taking some personal time to herself until tomorrow too.'' added Naruto.

''Oh, I see. I was honestly looking forward to spending some girl time with sensei but at least I have you guys.'' Rin said as Teuchi, the ramen shop owner placed a large bowl of pork miso ramen in front of the girl.

''Here you go, Naruto paid for yours in advance Rin. Enjoy.'' The older man said before he went back to cooking.

Rin looked at Naruto with a face that basically said 'are you trying to get me fat?'

''Naruto you know I don't eat the large bowls. Are you trying to get me fat?'' The girl said pointing her finger at friend.

''N-no! Not at all Rin!" Naruto yelled in defense with his hands held in front of him while Kakashi grinned to himself under his mask.

Seeing her blonde friend like this Rin's faked anger subsided and she smiled sweetly at him. ''I'm just kidding Naruto, you know that.'' She then reached over and pinched him on the cheeks much to his annoyance before setting her sights on the miso ramen. ''Looks good as always.''

Rin then went to devour her pork miso ramen and the three teenagers began to converse about how their day was so far.

''So how has your morning been so far guys? Anything interesting happen?'' Rin asked with a mouthful of ramen.

''It would be fun if I was training with dad right now but Hokage-sama had given him a shift. Honestly I really wanted to learn how to summon ninja hounds.'' Kakashi said as he finished his third bowl.

''I see.'' Rin then turned to look at Naruto who was devouring bowl number sixty-nine. ''What about you Naruto? What did you do this morning?''

''Wake up, went to the kitchen to see mom making breakfast, ate breakfast, went to see dad for a bit before meeting up with Kakashi. Hung out for a bit, then came here for lunch.'' Answered the blonde.

Nodding, Rin continued to devour her bowl of ramen and compared to Kakashi or even Naruto for that matter in such a feral way that she made Naruto look like a tamed animal and in no time flat she had finished literally a hundred bowls much to Kakashi and Naruto's shock.

''Well damn Rin, I never knew you ate like that. That's something new.'' Naruto said shooting the girl a deadpan expression.

''Tell me about it, who else knows what your mouth is good f..''

Before Kakashi could finish his sentence Rin's fist struck him dead on his jaw sending the masked Chunin flying out of the ramen stand and ricocheting off several buildings before finally crashing through a fence. Focusing back on Rin, the girl's fists were smoking and her eyes were replaced with fire. ''PERVERT!''

Seeing the anger within Rin, Naruto stared at her with his mouth wide opened allowing the ramen already in his mouth to spill out onto the counter. After staring at the girl for several minutes Rin had finally calmed down. Sighing in relief she then sits back down and asks for another bowl of ramen.

''D-damn Rin, who knew you could be so scary. How come I only see you hit Kakashi like that but not me?'' Naruto murmured in shock.

Rin took a bite from her ramen before smiling at Naruto. ''It's real simple Naruto, Kakashi is always the kind of guy who would make perverted comments, but you, you're a gentleman. Also, how can I hit on Lady Kushina and Lord Hokage's son?'' the brown-haired girl said pinching his cheeks much to his chagrin.

''Ugh, stop doing that Rin my birthmarks are sensitive.'' Naruto groaned.

''Oh, alright.'' Rin said letting her bestie go.

Then a shadow loomed over the two of them and sensing the presence Rin and Naruto looked over both their shoulders and saw a bruised Kakashi rubbing his sore jaw before cracking it back into place. ''Ugh, what happened guys? I was eating ramen and the next thing I know I get struck with a powerful punch dead on the jaw and was sent ricocheting across the village.'' The silver-haired teen said in obvious pain.

Grinning innocently Rin patted a seat next to her. ''Oh, nothing Kakashi. So why don't you join us for some early afternoon lunch hm?'' the girl said in a sickeningly sweet voice that was almost creepy.

The fist to his jaw had completely knocked the memory from the past few hours that he didn't remember what he was doing. Shrugging, Kakashi then joined his two teammates for lunch. Since Konan was off for today like them the three teens spent the day together just chatting and getting a few spars in.

-Conference room, Hokage's tower-

Minato was seen waiting in the Hokage tower's conference room, a large room with a large circular table with many chairs surrounding it and on the wall was a large projector screen. After several minutes of waiting the door to the room opens and in walks Mikoto Uchiha, clan head of the Uchiha, Shikaku Nara, head of the Nara clan, Tsume Inuzuka who was the head of the Inuzuka, Hizashi Hyuga of the Hyuga clan, Choza Akimichi, head of the Akimichi clan, Inoichi Yamanaka of course, was head of the Yamanaka and Shibi Aburame of the Aburame clan.

Seeing the clan heads, Minato smiles and motions for them to take their seats. ''I see you've all arrived. I'm sure you know why you are here this afternoon.''

''Of course Minato, we wouldn't have come if something as important as this wasn't being discussed today.'' Mikoto said.

''That's right, we're glad you called us all here to discuss our strategy.'' Shikaku said, laziness in his voice.

''The thought of having the clan heads function as generals gives us another purpose besides being just clan heads.'' Hizashi added.

The clan heads all take their seats and turn their attention to their Hokage. Nodding, Minato clears his throat before interlocking his hands.

''Now, you all know why you're here. Onoki has once again challenged our village to test their military might and wants to wipe our nation off the map so that Iwa can be the strongest of the five villages.'' Minato said earning chuckles from a few of the clan heads.

''And how does he expect to do that? They've lost the last two world wars against us so what makes that old man think third time's the charm?'' Choza quipped. The other clan heads nodded in agreement but it would be Tsume Inuzuka who would object to that.

''Hold up Choza, you know that the past decade the Stone has managed to recover well and their military now outnumbers ours at least 3 to 1. They have an advantage of numbers and though that may seem like the only thing they have numbers at times can matter.'' the Inuzuka woman interjected.

''That's true..'' Choza groaned.

Minato raised his hands prompting the clan heads to remain silent. ''As what Tsume said, Iwa has a lot more shinobi ready for war than our village. Now I could easily ask Pakura, Sunagakure's fourth Kazekage for assistance since we've been on very friendly terms with them but I don't want to drag another of the five great villages into this war, do you know why?''

Shibi, the Aburame clan head would be the one to respond. ''It could escalate into a third shinobi world war and that's something all of the great nations don't need right now. Kumo has made some good recovery and but Kiri is still damaged from the last one. Dragging them into this can have catastrophic consequences not just for us, but for them as well.'' said the Aburame clan head in his usual stoic voice.

''Precisely, since Iwa is known as the most aggressive nation out of the five I decided that we won't send forces to battle in Kusa and the only forces I will send out will be patrols near the border with Kusa as well as plan some possible infiltration missions against them.'' said the blonde Hokage.

Hearing Minato say that shocked the other clan heads, only Mikoto Uchiha however, would understand why.

''How come you're not sending forces out to the front lines? Kusa has allowed us to fight against Iwa on their soil for years against Iwa. Wouldn't it makes more sense to just confront them like we always did?'' Inoichi interjected.

''Stop for a second Inoichi and just listen to what Minato has to say.'' Mikoto said before looking at Minato with a warm smile.

Minato smiled at the Uchiha woman before continuing. Getting out of his chair he walks over to the projector in front of the screen and turns it on and on the screen appeared a map of the border shared by Konoha and Kusa as well as the southeastern portion of earth country. The Hokage picked up a yard stick and pointed at the screen.

''As you all remembered a few days ago my son Naruto and his team encountered several Iwa shinobi while they were sent on a mission into Kusa to investigate the reported presence of an Iwa division that is believed to be used for an invasion of our country. Now while team seven wasn't able to confirm that there really was a division in Kusa waiting to strike us I can't deny that there isn't one. So taking into consideration how Iwa has the advantage in manpower and that they are almost always the aggressor I have only one way to wage war without being on the offensive.'' explained the blonde Hokage.

''And how do you plan on waging war against Iwa without an offensive strategy if I may ask?'' Shikaku questioned, wondering where Minato was going with this.

Minato merely smiled. ''That's easy, play defense. Normally an invasion makes sense when you have a large amount of ninja at your disposal so Onoki might try to invade fire country using numbers to his advantage to try and overwhelm us. However, what we lack in numbers we make up for with strategy so it's the classic brains versus brawn. I've decided to not only increase border patrols as well as village gate patrols, I'm thinking of using booby traps planted around the border with Kusa to slow them down. Think of this as our first line of defense.''

Mikoto raised an eyebrow at this. ''And by booby traps Minato, you mean...?''

''I mean, explosive tags, punji stake traps, every kind of lethal trap you can think of set. Should they manage to break through our defenses and penetrate into our country I will have Naruto place formulas in strategic locations to take them out and to do that we'll bait them into certain areas marked by him.'' Minato then takes his yard stick and points to a certain area on the screen, ''These areas are to be set with booby traps, use as much explosive tags and punji stake pits as possible. Also, do you all know the Kannabi bridge?'' All the clan heads nodded in response, ''That's a major route Iwa will definitely take to move more forces into Kusa and since we don't know what the date is for their invasion we will destroy the bridge as well to effectively cut off their supply lines. I know it doesn't seem much, but utilizing booby traps while also destroying a major transportation route like the bridge will slow their advance and maybe even deny them more ninja from home from participating the invasion. The only way they can try to move supplies and ninja is through Kusa's dense forests.''

''What will our role be in this Minato? We're ready to defend the village as much as you you know that.'' Tsume asked.

''You and the Inuzuka, the Aburame and the Hyuga will be using your tracking skills to keep an eye out for any Iwa shinobi that may have made it into fire country. Should any of said clan members detect Iwa shinobi either chase them down and take them out or let them succumb to our traps I will leave that to your discretion.'' Minato then turned to look at Mikoto. ''Mikoto, how has Shisui and Itachi been in regards to leading your police force?''

The Uchiha clan head sported a proud smirk. ''Shisui and Itachi have completed their leadership training and I decided to test that by having them lead the police force in this conflict. I presume you want us to be the ones who patrol the village gates?''

''Not just the gates Mikoto, I want the police force to patrol a perimeter around the village all the way to the border as an extra means of defense. Set up alarms as well because we're going to make it as secure as when Kushina gave birth. In addition to the perimeter send a few of your people in one mile increments from the village to the Kusa border as well and that includes members of the Inuzuka, Aburame and Hyuga clans.'' Minato said.

''That sounds fair enough, making it hard for those Stone ninja to even come to our village should they manage to get into our country.'' Mikoto said smirking.

Inoichi Yamanaka raised his hands, he had one question to ask his fellow blonde. ''Is there anything else you would you like me and my clan to do in this Minato?''

''With that mind-transfer jutsu your clan masters, I want you to use it on any Iwa shinobi we happen to capture and gather information. Maybe learn the layout of Iwagakure itself. Should we weaken them to the point they'll have to retreat back to Iwa we can lay siege to them if that happens. So any Iwa ninja we capture we'll have you do your thing with them facilitate any possible future attack on Iwagakure itself.''

''Hm, that works with me.'' the Yamanaka clan head said in approval.

''Wait, what about Naruto? Being the Kyuubi's Jinchuuriki that makes him a huge target with Iwa, what if he gets captured?'' Shikaku asked.

Minato only smirked. ''I appreciate your concern for my son Shikaku, but don't worry. Remember he has the Flying Thunder God at his disposal and I marked him when he was born so I can just go to him whenever I sense something is wrong or vice-versa.'' assured the Hokage.

The clan heads all nod since all of them were now clear on their respective assignments. They knew that this war could not be avoided but if the Tsuchikage wanted a war they'll gladly give him a war. If they wanted to maintain peace, they'll get that peace through necessary sacrifice. Though the war was started on part of Iwa's aggression it'll give a reason for Konoha to defend themselves while Iwa would make themselves look even more bad than they already did with their unnecessary aggression. In the past Kumo had been very aggressive with Suna and Konoha but have made amends with the two and the 4th Raikage made sure not to follow in his father, the 3rd Raikage's footsteps by promoting trade with the two. Should anything happen Konoha can easily ask Kumo and Suna to provide support and these were two villages that Iwa couldn't afford to mess with, especially Kumo. The Mizukage Mei Terumi is still focusing on recovering from the last war and repairing the damage done by Yagura but she has sent word to Konoha that they have her full support since she isn't too keen on Iwa either for betraying Kiri during the Tragedy of Yosuga Pass.

Minato then turns to look at the map once more and marks out all locations where the booby traps will be set. After doing so he turns to the clan heads. ''Everyone, though this war will not be won without casualties on our side, I am restricting us to use a defensive strategy since I absolutely do not want to be aggressive like Iwa. BUT, should we fight back aggressively and conventionally then we will launch a counterattack if the opportunity provides itself. Lord Hiruzen would not have wanted that. Are there any questions any of you may have before we conclude this meeting?''

Mikoto would be the one to raise her hand. ''I do have one.''

''Go ahead Mikoto.''

''What if Iwa assembles their forces and move into Kusagakure but do not move forth with their invasion of fire country? What if they just stay in the village?'' asked the Uchiha woman.

''If that is their game then we will remain even more vigilant. I'm sure the other villages will observe this conflict so we can gain international support from Kiri, Kumo and Suna since we have been attacked by Iwa again. Iwa already has a bad standing with the other villages so if no large scale fighting occurs between us they still have bad publicity in international affairs that the other villages might pressure Iwa into surrendering.'' said Minato. Seeing the clan heads just look at him, Minato nods. ''If there aren't anymore questions then this meeting is adjourned. I want all of you to prepare for your respective assignments. Tsume, Hizashi, Shibi send one shinobi each from your clans out to the border within one hour to relieve Anko, Ebisu and Sakumo.''

''Understood, I'm sure Hinata, Kiba and Shino can handle their first mission in a military conflict.'' Tsume said looking at both Shibi and Hizashi who nod in agreement.

''Alright then, everyone is clear on their role so if there aren't anymore questions this meeting is done. Come back tomorrow at the same time so we can make further plans.'' Minato said and all the clan heads get up from their seats and headed out the door. Watching the others leave Minato sits in silence for a few minutes. ''Well, looks like I have to continue the damn paperwork.'' groaned the blonde Hokage as he got up and went back to his office on the top floor.

He didn't mention it earlier to the clan heads because he was sure they already knew. A few hours after Naruto's team encountered Kurotsuchi's there were several skirmishes between Iwa and Konoha forces at the border and the Hokage had in his hands the body count they had on both sides and he only shook his head in sadness. Whenever someone died in the field of battle he always had to write a personal letter to the dead ninja's family. This was his first war as Hokage and that was something he did not look forward to since he took the title during peace time.

''Iwa has 44 dead so far while we have 31.'' Minato thought with sadness in his eyes.

-Kusagakure no Sato, Iwa command center-

For the past few days since they arrived in Kusa the Hidden Grass Village had no choice but to allow the much more powerful Iwa to use it as a staging area for their division so they can invade fire country. So far the ninjas of Kusa have been cooperating with the Iwa forces and they were basically forced to keep it that way to keep their village and families safe. Should the Kusa shinobi show the smallest bit of aggression, resistance or try to ask Konoha to help kick them out of their small village there would be hell to pay and Iwa had no problem decimating a small village like they did with Amegakure during the second war for allying with Konoha.

In the largest building in Kusa, namely the government building that was transformed into a command center for Iwa forces in Kusa we see a familiar kunoichi by herself with what appeared to be a notebook on a desk. Following her supervision of the Iwa forces in Kusagakure, Kurotsuchi was seen sitting at the desk in her room making notes on how she planned on capturing Rin to seal Son Goku into her. If there was one thing she prayed Rin in having was a formula for the Flying Thunder God jutsu. So if in the event she was captured by her team and the stealth team it would be impossible since if that was the case Naruto can just teleport to her, retrieve her and head back to the safety of their village. If that failed then they had no choice but to wage conventional war against Konoha with all their might and hope for the best.

Out of boredom she takes out her village's bingo book and sift through to where they had listed the best of Konoha in a single page and read through it to see the faces of Konoha's strongest ninjas. Sakumo Hatake, Konan, Minato Namikaze, Kushina Uzumaki were among the strongest of the village but she knew she would get beaten by ninja of such high caliber. As much as she wanted to try to take on stronger opponents the best she could match was Naruto..if he didn't have the teleportation jutsu on hand. Nonetheless she had to focus on getting her hands on Rin so they can seal the beast into her and if all goes well they can use the kind-hearted medic against Konoha as a time bomb. She had to make sure this mission went smoothly because if it did Konoha would be dealt a severely damaging blow it would ensure Iwa gains the winning edge.

''That frilly little girl is gonna be Konoha's downfall if we do this right.'' Kurotsuchi thought to herself.

Sorry for having such a short chapter but I'm saving the longer ones for more intense scenes for later. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and don't forget to check out my other Naruto stories and to fave, follow and review! Any negativity or flames will be laughed at.