Finding out that I was Danzo's grandson filled me with a bunch of conflicting feelings. At least his creepy nighttime visits finally made sense. But, finally, understanding why he was so interested in me didn't make me feel any better. Knowing we were related only meant Danzo would have more access to enact his apparent plans for me.
I shivered just thinking about it. Danzo would probably try and force me into ROOT at some point. Thankfully, Grandma Nanako seemed utterly opposed to Danzo. Anytime he showed up, I could feel a burning hatred infesting her chakra. I wasn't sure why, but I had a feeling it had to do with my father.
Thinking about my deceased father always made complicated feelings welled up within me. I had heard the story of how he saved mom and me dozens of times. Mom would take me to a small room that held a small wooded shrine dedicated to him every few days. I think she wanted to make sure that I knew who my father was and what he did for us. I don't even think the thought that a normal one-year-old wouldn't understand even occurred to her.
A few more months went by, and I continued to mold my chakra in every spare moment. Eventually, I realized that my process of creating chakra had reached a semi-stable cycle of some sort. Although it slowed down, if I stopped meditating, the swirling whirlpool made up of spiritual and physical energy never entirely stopped moving.
Of course, there seemed to be a limit to the amount of chakra I could hold in my body. As for my chakra, the bulk of it seemed to rest in my lower torso. But, some of my chakra seemed to continually move throughout my body through my chakra coils. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember very much about chakra coils from the series, only that they were like a circulatory chakra system that ran throughout the body.
Once I learned how to read, I planned to learn everything about chakra. In the meantime, I started experimenting with my small chakra reserves. I wanted to learn how to move chakra through my chakra coils on command. I remember quite distinctly from the series that control was often more important than power.
Don't get me wrong, power was still vital, especially if you wanted to reach the Kage level. But, if you can't control all that power, then it's useless.
The best example of chakra control was probably Tsunade. Her skill in medical ninjutsu refined her chakra control and concentration, which let her store chakra into one's hands or feet and release it with a pinpoint surgical strike. The result was a monstrous explosion, letting her completely decimate the environment or kill with a single strike.
Not knowing where to begin, I found a comfortable position and looked inward. I could feel the bulk of my chakra passively rotating in my core. Stretching my senses, I could feel tiny amounts of chakra moving through my body, along what I assumed were my chakra coils.
My chakra coils were far more complicated than I anticipated. They twisted and coiled around my inner organs, feeding them chakra-making them stronger. Even with my strong sensing abilities, I couldn't trace all the paths the coils took in my torso. My chakra coils looped around in a complicated maze of hazy lines.
The coils running through my limbs were much easier to get a handle on. Three coil lines ran through my arms and legs, but when the coils reached my hands and feet, they split off into five coils that ran to the tips of each finger and toe.
While I was conducting my experiment, I came across something interesting. Eight points that oddly felt physical and spiritual at the same time. Two were located in my head, one was in my heart, and the other five were in a straight line down the inside of my spine. It took a few minutes to realize what they were. They were the Eight Gates.
The eight gates regulated everyone's chakra. They were like spiritual dams that made sure you couldn't overdraft your chakra and burn up your lifespan.
Only Might Guy and Rock Lee could open more than one gate in all of the Hidden Leaf. After giving one of the gates a mental push, I realized why they were considered geniuses for being able to open their gates at will. The gate I pushed on felt like I was trying to move a mountain. It felt immovable, like no force on earth that could get it to budge. I have no idea how they were able to open their gates.
Wait a minute. Was the power of youth a real thing?
I shook my head. Nope, not going there. Don't even think about it.
Deciding to ignore the gates, I turned my attention back to trying to move my chakra. Unfortunately, I learned quickly that moving my chakra through my coils wasn't as easy as I had imagined. Whenever I tried to guide my chakra through the maze of coils carefully, my chakra would get looped around, often ending up back in my core—leaving me both mentally exhausted and with nothing to show for it.
Refusing to be defeated by my own chakra, I kept at it, determined to make progress. As the months continued, I alternated chakra control exercises with molding my chakra and growing my reserves. In the beginning, my attempts made my mind feel wrung out, like a sponge that had all its water squeezed out.
Eventually, I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was being too controlling. It sounds backward, but that's why I kept losing control over my chakra. So, rather than try and dictate the path my chakra would take, I instead mentally directed my chakra to a specific point, and like water finding the easiest path to take, my chakra made its way to that point without any further guidance.
Knowing I was only scratching the surface, I kept practicing.
But, by the time my second birthday came around, I was pleased with my results. Not only had my chakra reserves grown over the last year, but my control was also constantly improving. But, what I was most pleased with were my chakra-sensing abilities.
After two years of constant chakra bombardment and countless blinding headaches, I had finally learned to push the information I was constantly flooded with to the back of my mind. Before, it was like I was submerged in a river, unable to do anything but be washed away. Now, it was like I had a boat I could retreat to, the river was still there, but I was no longer at its mercy.
Although I finally overcame my chakra sensitivity, I ran into a small problem. Since everyone had spent the last two years listening to my suffering whenever I was out of my sealed room, all of my caretakers were reluctant to let me out on my own.
"No. Okaa-san. Stay." I pleaded with wide-open eyes as my mum carried me back to my sealed room.
Mom paused, tilting her head to her side, where she held me on her hip.
Her green eyes widened in puzzlement upon hearing my request.
"What is it, little Taiyo? You want to stay outside?"
The surprise in my mother's voice didn't shock me. After all, it was the first time I had ever requested to stay outside my room.
Part of me wished I could explain more in detail and reveal the full extent of my mental facilities. But, the more rational part of my brain always deemed it to be too big a risk. This was a world where shinobi could read someone's mind and pour through their memories. So, while I couldn't remember the full extent of the Yamanaka Clan's mental abilities, what I do remember told me that I needed to stay off their radar.
So, I kept my intellect hidden and tried to keep all my words simple.
I opened my mouth wide and gave an innocent smile.
Mum put her hand on my forehead, "Does your head not hurt?"
I reached up and patted my chin as if the question forced me to ponder the meaning of the universe.
After a few pats, I carelessly answered, "No."
Then I nodded like I had just given her a thorough explanation and had no more to say on the matter.
Mom tried to get me to explain more, but I simply played dumb and ignored her. Finally, a little exasperated, she declared, "Let's go find your grandmother. Maybe she'll know what's going on."
I took a deep breath when I got my first taste of the outdoors. It was my first look at the Senju Compound. The whole compound was surrounded by a large wall twice the size of a man. Nestled beneath the trees were a row of smaller houses. On the far west side was a sandpit with a few old wooden targets that had fallen into disrepair.
A gust of wind shook me from my thoughts as leaves danced in the wind. Then, almost without thinking, I reached out and grabbed a green leaf.
The leaf sparked a memory of a chakra control expertise involving keeping a leaf attached to one's forehead. The goal of the exercise was to practice releasing a precise amount of chakra that would cause the leaf to stick. Too much or too little, and the leaf would fall.
I hid the lead away, planning to practice later. Although I hadn't figured out exactly how to release chakra from any of my chakra points, I knew it was only a matter of time before I figured it out.
Mom had crossed the compound and arrived at a small, unassuming building without me realizing it. Judging from the seals, I figured this was Grandma Nanako's workshop.
I couldn't help but lick my lips in anticipation. After two years of being stuck in a room covered in seals, my interest in the sealing arts had been stoked.
I also had so many questions about chakra, ninjutsu, and genjutsu, and I couldn't wait till the day I could have them answered.
I made a mental note to focus on learning how to read this year. Once I had mastered that, a whole new world of information would open up to me.
When we found Grandma Nanako, she wasn't alone. She was teaching two students.
My eyes widened to their fullest extent as I tried to capture every detail. One of her students had a long scroll out in front of him. There were swirling lines in the center of the long scroll surrounded by a complicated array of symbols and kanji I didn't recognize.
In front of the scroll was a small burning lantern.
Grandma Nanako stood behind her student, ready to swoop down and intervene should anything go wrong.
"Alright," Grandma said. "All you have to do now is carefully activate the seal and bind the flames."
Grandma Nanako's student's face formed beads of sweat as his eyes focused on the scroll. He pushed his sweaty brown hair off to the side and then made a sign with his hands.
The orange flame sputtered for a moment, trying to resist the sealing process.
"Careful," Grandma Nanako warned. "Use your chakra to control the fire as you seal it."
My jaw dropped when I saw the flames pulled from the burning lamp. The orange flames were covered by a thin film of light blue chakra floating through the air.
Everything appeared to be going well as the flames started rotating as they were sucked into the scroll. But, before the flames were completely sealed, the brown-haired student shot at his fellow blue-haired student.
His lips curled, and a mocking glint appeared in his dark eyes as he silently taunted her.
As for the blue-haired girl, she had a sullen expression as she glowered at the brown-haired student's apparent success. Blue veins stretched across her clenched hand, crumpling an old sealing tag.
I got the distinct impression that their rivalry was anything but friendly.
"Hiyasu," Grandma Nanako barked.
Almost jumping, Hiyasu jerked back to his seal, and his face whitened as he realized things were going awry.
The swirling flames were no longer being sealed. Instead, they had grown, appearing to merge with the chakra surrounding them.
Just when I thought they would explode and set the room on fire, a single thick chain pierced through the flame. Instantly, the chakra flames collapsed inward and dissipated.
My eyes were drawn to the source of the chain, which was Grandma Nanako's left palm.
I nearly vibrated out of my mother's arms in excitement. The chain had to be the famous Uzumaki Adamantine Sealing Chains.
They were as cool as I had always imagined.
Before I knew it, I was literally drooling at the thought of having my own chains. The Adamantine Sealing Chains had the ability to seal all chakra, no matter the source or power.
Even as Naruto's mother Kushina was dying from having the Nine-Tails ripped from her body, she was able to seal the Fox's chakra and restrain its movements completely.
While I was daydreaming about having the Adamantine Sealing Chains, Grandma Nanako's apprentice had to deal with the fallout of her having to summon them.
Grandma Nanako's eyes blazed with fury, and she slapped the back of Hiyasu's head.
"Fool. Had I not been here, you could have killed someone. If you don't have the discipline to maintain focus while activating a simple seal, then perhaps you don't belong here."
Hiyasu hung his head low to miserable to say anything in his defense.
After a moment, most of the irritation in Grandma's eyes faded.
"Fuinjutsu requires total discipline." She explained. "A tiny mistake can have disastrous consequences. Perhaps it might be best for you to find another specialty."
Hiyasu shook his head in denial and swore, "Master, I swear it won't happen again."
Grandma Nanako sighed and relented, "Fine. But to make sure you remember today's failure, I want a thousand copies of the Flame Seal. And for every seal that doesn't meet my standards, you will do fifty more."
Hiyasu flinched when he heard the command. Nanako demanded absolute perfection when it came to seals. He would be at this for days.
Grandma Nanako turned and looked at her blue-haired apprentice, who failed to hide her glee at Hiyasu's failure.
"I don't know what you find so amusing, Mikahana. You have yet to activate a single seal. Perhaps if you spent more time practicing your skills rather than mooning over boys in the village."
Grandma pointed her thumb back at Hiyasu, "Hiyasu may be talentless, but at least he makes up for that with hard work."
Behind her, Hiyasu turned red at the backhanded compliment.
After a few more minutes of listing Mikihaha's many faults, Grandma Nanako dismissed her two apprentices. After her students fled the room, Grandma let out a deep breath and grumbled, "I keep asking for better students, but all I keep sending me are the dregs."
"What about the boy, Hiyasu?" Mum asked. "He seems better than the last two they sent you."
Grandma Nanako shrugged dismissively, "Maybe if I had gotten to him when he was younger, I could have turned him into something useful. As it is, I doubt he ever makes it past C-Rank Seals. I keep telling the Hokage and the council, if they wish to recreate the Uzamaki's success with Fuinjutsu, they need to start training kids in the sealing arts when they are young."
Mum furrowed her brow, and gloomy replied. "They're probably more worried about teaching kids the basics of ninjutsu. Especially with the war going on."
Grandma sighed, looking older than she had a moment before.
"This damn war," she cursed. "When will it end? It's gotten so bad genin kids are being deployed to the front lines. Did you hear about the Uchiha boy who just got killed? He was only thirteen years old."
Grandma's words snagged my attention. That had to be Obito she was talking about. If I remember right, he was on Kakashi's team with a girl named Rin.
For some reason, the name Obito stirred something in me. It felt like I was forgetting something about him. Something important. I searched my memories about everything I could remember about the Naruto series.
After a few minutes, it became clear that I had apparent gaps in my knowledge. I wasn't sure if it was from my time in the void or if I just couldn't remember because it had been so long, and I never was all that serious about the series.
My search down memory lane ended when I felt Grandma Nanako's hand on my forehead. I opened my eyes and found both my Mom and Grandma looking at me.
"So he said it doesn't hurt anymore," Grandma Nanako clarified.
Mom nodded, "Normally, I have to struggle to take him out of his sealed room. But, today, for the first time, he wanted to stay outside."
I met Grandma Nanako's eyes for a moment before focusing on a brush resting above her ear. Feeling the brush pulse with chakra, I reached for it without thinking.
The edges of Grandma Nanako's lips tugged upward in a pleased smile as she handed me the brush.
As I waved the brush around like a sword, imagining painting seals in the air, Grandma Nanako murmured. "Whatever the cause, it can only be a good thing. I guess by making sure he had daily exposure to chakra, it forced his body to find a coping mechanism."
"So Danzo was right," Mom murmured.
Grandma Nanako pursed her lips and wrinkled her nose but, in the end, didn't disagree with her.
While I played with the chakra brush that I had no intention of returning, both my Mom and Grandma stared at me in silence, each complicating my future.
So, it was pointed out to me in my discord that the Uzamaki Adamantine Sealing Chains were more likly a Hiden Technique similar to the Nara Clan. However, since this is a AU Fanfic, I've decicded to keep it as a Kekkia Genkia ability.
Hope you enjoyed the chapter.