Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Naruto. I also do not own a copy of Fire Emblem: Engage, yet. Um... to anyone who does have a copy, how is the game? I was initially not planning on getting it, but I've heard a lot of good reviews for it, that I'm starting to get really curious... but uggghhh I don't have sixty dollars to shelve out on a new game at the moment... uggggggh. I'll be mulling about this for awhile... oh, but yeah, don't own Naruto. BUT I DO HAVE THE EXLCUSIVE RIGHTS TO THIS FANFIC, WHICH LEADS ME TO...
Author's Note: Hey, sorry to put an author's note up at the top, but I just wanted to address something real quick that's come to my attention!
I had two people, SIMPDESTROYER and atomjack11, point out that someone was posting my story on Webnovel and asked if I gave permission. I did not, as I was never asked. This is not the first time this has happened.
My story is ONLY on this website right now! I do make plans to also cross-post onto AO3 once I do some more updating to my earlier chapters, but that's not happened yet and I would update you all here when that does not happen. But.. to anyone reading.. can you all please not? Or at the very least ask? If you wanted to post it on Webnovel or Wattpad or a site that I don't plan on posting on, I may end up being okay with that, but please. Ask first. Otherwise I am not okay and do not consent and would strongly prefer you delete it. Okay?
... Anyway. Sorry to bother about that! Onward to the actual update :)
The shinobi of the Escort Team had been guided to a large building painted silver-and-gold and then brought to a large, open room with a beige-colored tatami-mat serving as the flooring of the room. The room was mostly bare, with the exception of swords being displayed alongside the wall. They were all ornate katanas that appeared more for ceremonial purposes, but each looked sharp enough that they could possibly used in combat.
Chiasa, Masayuki and the shinobi all got on their knees as they faced forward. Mifune reciprocated, getting on his knees to face them on equal level.
"It has been a very long time since I have seen you two." Mifune noted: "I am pleased by your company, but considering the escort you have brought with you, I presume this visit is not simply to reconnect."
"You are correct, Mifune." Chiasa said: "We-"
"It is an honor to meet you, Mifune-sama!" Risho shouted.
The shinobi all tensed in response to the Iwa jōnin's surprise-outburst. The Kurogane Clan member brought his hands together as he bowed.
"Words do not properly-"
Kankurō, who was next to the man, proceeded to whack his head. He winced in response.
"Now's not the time for this." He quietly hissed at him: "Save your fanboying for later."
Risho glared at Kankurō for a moment before he turned his attention back to Mifune. The Samurai was staring at him with a somewhat amused expression on his face. A blush of embarrassment developed on his face as he looked away.
"… As you were saying." Mifune stated, turning his attention back to the Namikazes.
"As you can see, we were accompanied by shinobi, representing all five of the Major Shinobi Villages." Chiasa noted: "They are here to ask for permission to enter Tetsu no Kuni's library to study."
"Study?" The Samurai Leader repeated: "For what purpose?"
"Mifune-sama, I am aware that your country keeps separate from the rest of the Elemental Nations, but are you aware of what is going on with the Akatsuki?" Han asked.
"I am aware, yes." Mifune stated: "It is hard not to be; news of the attacks on Takigakure and Kumogakure spread even to our country."
"Then are you aware that they have a shinobi capable of raising the dead?" Dosu asked.
"I have also heard of him." Mifune said, a frown forming on his face: "Yakushi Kabuto. I believe your most recent Date Book refers to him as 'The Gravedigging Madman'. Although I will confess that, in regards to the specifics of his revival jutsu, I know very little. Are there any known limitations with this jutsu?"
"A trace of DNA and a human sacrifice is necessary, but that's it." Han answered: "There's concern about the types of shinobi that are going to be revived, however. Kabuto has managed to revive three former Kages."
"There's a real concern that he might be able to get access to some of those who fought in the Warring States Period, and perhaps even before." Yugito stated. "After all, their DNA is not entirely gone forever. All it takes is the tiniest of samples."
"Ah." Mifune nodded his head in response: "I see why you all are present. You wish to have access to our library to learn more about potential shinobi and samurai that could be revived."
"Correct." Honoka answered: "We assumed that your village has kept records of all possible shinobi that could have been considered a threat to the country."
"That is correct. Us Samurai need to keep up with information on our most dangerous enemies in case they were to strike." Mifune noted. His eyes then moved to Chiasa: "And I assume that the shinobi got this idea to come here from you?"
"Yes." She nodded her head: "After all, the library here keeps better records than I have ever seen, even going centuries in the past."
"It has been a necessity for our country. After all, Shinobi and Samurai have often quarreled over time. The Warring States Period was especially difficult for us, as some clans tried to take land from us." Mifune noted, closing his eyes: "The Genshiryoku Clan. The Kaguya Clan. The Chinoike Clan. The Amagiri Clan. The Hyūga Clan. These are just a handful of the names I could list; our country had many direct enemies trying to take over the land."
"The Hyūga?" Hinata's eyes widened. "They… tried to take land from Tetsu no Kuni?"
Mifune's eyes narrowed on Hinata for a moment, focusing on her eyes. He then looked over towards Neji before he nodded his head once more.
"It appears some of you have some history you're going to have to face." He stated: "The Hyūga were some of the most ruthless of our aggressors. For a twenty-four year period, they took possession of the southern third of the country as part of their own territory. Many samurai lost their lives in the battles to reclaim our territory."
"He went about waging wars with rival clans and claiming more land at the cost of more-and-more lives."
Yoshikane's words echoed in both Hinata's and Neji's eyes. They both frowned in response and Hinata bowed her head.
"On behalf of the Hyūga, I apologize for our clan's past actions." She stated.
Mifune shook his head in response: "This was almost three centuries ago. No one is still alive from back then; there is no one alive who needs to apologize or be apologized to."
"Ahem." Chiasa coughed slightly, drawing attention back to her: "So, Mifune, would you grant them permission to study your country's library? It may prove vital for them to fight against the Akatsuki."
"… Normally, us Samurai like to keep separate from the shinobi. I feel my predecessor, for example, would have refused on principle." Mifune admitted, sighing. "However, the Akatsuki may become our problem if left alone… and I trust you both, Chiasa." His eyes briefly moved towards Masayuki: "And even though you left your status behind, I trust you would not have escorted shinobi to our village unless you could trust them."
Masayuki nodded his head: "Believe me, I trust them." His eyes moved towards Naruto and a smile formed on his face: "They all have his trust, after all."
Mifune's eyes moved towards Naruto. He took in his blond hair and facial features for a moment before he nodded his head.
"You are their grandson, I assume." The Samurai Leader noted.
"Uh… y-yeah." Naruto said: "Uzumaki Naruto, at your service."
"… I knew of your father, Minato, but I never got the chance to meet him before his passing. I never knew he had a child and that Masayuki's and Chiasa's line continued…"
For the first time since their arrival, Mifune smiled. He brought his hands together as he bowed his head.
"It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Uzumaki-san." He stated.
"O-O-Oh." Naruto rubbed the back of his head, blushing slightly: "I-I-It's nice to meet you too."
"Your name has a fine pedigree. I have not met many Uzumaki, but the few I was acquainted with were all respectable." Mifune stated before he cleared his throat: "Anyway, before we get off topic for too long, how long do you all intend on staying here?"
"Until we have completed satisfactory research." Neji spoke-up, his hands tightening at his words.
"I would imagine it would be no more than a week, but we would leave sooner if able to." Yugito spoke-up.
"That is acceptable." Mifune bowed his head in response: "Very well. However, in exchange, I will request that you shinobi share any information you have on the Akatsuki. I would like for us to be able to compare notes in order to better ascertain their strengths."
"We were planning on that already, Mifune-sama." Honoka stated.
"Good." Mifune stated as he pulled himself off the ground: "I'll have my subordinates set up residences for you all. In the meantime, allow me to escort you all to our library."
'Another escort by the Samurai Army's Leader?' Han's eyes widened: 'This man is surprisingly laid-back for someone of his position.'
"You just want to reminisce some more along the way, don't you?" Masayuki asked with a chuckle.
The Samurai nodded his head: "I will confess to that being my reason, yes."
As promised, Mifune led the shinobi through the Capital City of Tetsu no Kuni. As they made their way through the city, the group began to truly process how large the city was. They were led through different regions of the city, including multiple different residential, shopping, and artisan districts, amongst others. This was most likely the logical result of having both the country's political authority and military – the Daimyo and Samurai Army respectively – residing in the same city as opposed to the shinobi nations, which had their own Shinobi Villages separate from the Capital Cities of their Daimyo.
The streets of the city were crowded with plenty of people walking by in their day-to-day routines. They stopped in their tracks as the shinobi all walked by. Scattered whispers could be heard with each and every person they passed.
"What are shinobi doing here?"
They have no place in this village! They're supposed to keep out our business!"
"Isn't that Mifune-sama at the front of that group?"
"Is he going to execute them for entering the village?"
"He seems happy, though. Why would he be happy to be around shinobi?"
"They… really don't like shinobi, huh?" Naruto noted, shaking his head.
"No, but can you blame them?" Han noted, shaking his head: "Tetsu no Kuni has a history of fighting off shinobi for centuries."
"I've also heard of a general phobia of ninjutsu that runs rampant here." Yugito added with a shrug: "Not that I've ever confirmed it, but it does explain why samurai venerate those that can perform Iaidō."
"Iaidō?" Hinata mumbled: "What does that mean?"
"It's a type of Kenjutsu that's centered on quick, smooth slashes from the instant a samurai draws their blade: a quick-draw technique, essentially." Risho answered: "It's a difficult technique, and it requires a great blend of chakra into their kenjutsu, but supposedly, the strongest samurai are capable of performing it before a shinobi is able to perform any hand signs."
"That is correct." Mifune spoke-up from the front. The shinobi all turned their attention to the general, who was nodding his head in approval: "Iaidō is an essential ability for us samurai to master, should we ever enter the battlefield with a shinobi."
"My cousin has been able to replicate the Iaidō to a degree, but it's probably not comparable to how you samurai perform it…" Risho mumbled, biting his lip: "Would it be possible to ask if I can spar with someone here? Or, at the very least, witness the Iaidō?"
"No." Mifune shook his head: "I am making an allowance to you shinobi by permitting you access to our village and to our library, but that is based on the trust I have that Namikaze Chiasa and Masayuki are being serious in vouching for you and the threat of the Akatsuki. However, there is zero reason for us to allow you shinobi the chance to see and learn our techniques. I do not resent shinobi nor do I wish for trouble, but I do not trust you enough to share secrets."
"… Well, as opposed to a shinobi, would you trust a fellow swordsman?" Risho pressed.
Mifune's eyebrow raised slightly in response, his eyes briefly moving towards the two swords attached to the hilts on his waist. His eyes then moved upward towards his hands, noting the calluses present on them.
"My answer is still no." He stated: "However, talk to me later, boy. I think we may learn something from one another."
Risho's eyes lit-up slightly as he nodded his head in response. Chōjūrō looked downward in response, poking his index fingers.
'He's so brave… to ask that of a Samurai general? I could never ask something like that of him…' He noted.
Conversation died, other than various small talk between Mifune and Naruto's grandparents, as the group continued moving forward through the streets of the village. They continued their walk for another sixteen minutes before they arrived at their destination.
The building they stood in front of was a wooden building that was painted yellow and rested on top of wooden structures, elevating it. The building was seven storeys, each floor having their own roof with black tiles, and four charms were dangling from each corner of the roofs. Directly in front of the building was a statue of Kuebiko, the Shinto god of knowledge and agriculture.
A lone Samurai – dressed in the nation's standard armor – stood in front of the front door. As Mifune arrived with the shinobi, the Samurai bowed his head and stepped aside. Mifune nodded his head to his subordinate before he opened the door. He, the Namikazes, and the shinobi walked inside the building.
Despite the bright yellow-paint on the outside, the inside was painted a dark maroon color that had its paint starting to peel. The walls of the room were lined with book shelf after book shelf that were completely filled with books and scrolls. Between the book shelves were a few statues of various samurai, glass cases that contained various artifacts, and a few sitting areas. At the other end of the hallway was a flight of wooden stairs that led to the next floor.
Each floor had no ceiling; from the entrance, the shinobi could get a glimpse of the library. It added to the feeling that this building was seemingly endless in both size and research material.
"So many books…" Naruto mumbled, shaking his head: 'Yagura would have loved this place.'
"Wh-Where do we even b-begin…" Chōjūrō mumbled, his eyes lowering slightly.
"Wherever you want." Chiasa noted as she took in a deep breath. After exhaling, a large grin on her face developed as she looked from bookshelf to bookshelf: "Goodness, it's been so long since I've stepped foot in here."
"This is all public record?" Dosu asked. Mifune nodded his head, causing his eye to widen: "That's… rather generous."
"This is the Tetsu no Kuni Historical Library; everything here should be accessible to our citizens, to make sure they can understand our history better and learn whatever they wish whenever they wish." Mifune replied. "I trust I don't need to say this, but please do not damage the books, nor misplace them."
"We won't." Kankurō answered, his eyes focusing on the different floors above: "So… uh… any organizational system here we should be aware of?"
"The first floor details the events of the Third Shinobi World War to the present day." Mifune answered: "Second floor covers the events from the First to the Second Shinobi World Wars. Third and Fourth Floors focus on the Warring Clan Era - considering the period was a little over two centuries, the material needed to be split between floors. Fifth Floor is the few centuries before that – it is mostly centered on our nation's founding, but there is information of the other nations during that time. The Sixth Floor is centered on the earliest known figures in recorded history. And the Seventh Floor contains information on myths, legends, and historical figures of disputable origin. Tgere are accounts about the 'Rikudō Sennin' there, but keep in mind that everything there is only hypothetical or simply folk lore."
"Do you have anything on that floor about the Rinnegan?" Naruto asked.
"We do, but like I just said about the Rikudō Sennin, the information we have is mostly from the folk lore surrounding it." Mifune answered: "Still, if anything there is useful, please go ahead and look to your hearts' content."
'Maybe… Maybe the Tenseigan is mentioned there as well.' Hinata realized, her hands tightening: 'And Hyūga Shimon… his information has to be on the third or fourth floor.'
"Now, I am going to check on my subordinates and see if your accommodations have been finished, so I will leave you be. Just be aware that we do have samurai here present, so be courteous of the materials here and do not try anything they would find suspicious. While I do trust your characters based on Chiasa-san's and Masayuki-san words, I will also trust the word of my soldiers if they recognize any suspicious behavior." He stated before turning around: "I'll be back with confirmation about your rooms in a moment."
With those words, the Samurai Army's General left the building, leaving the Shinobi, Chiasa, and Masayuki alone in the Tetsu no Kuni Historical Library.
"It's a little overwhelming, to be honest." Han admitted: "Where do we even begin?"
"Just… start somewhere, I guess." Honoka said with a shrug: "I mean, we were all talking about the Warring Clan Era. Guess that's a good place to start."
After Honoka's suggestion, the shinobi proceeded to scatter throughout the library.
While the escort job had seemingly finished, the true mission was now beginning.
In Konoha, as the sun began to set, Hyūga Yoshikane closed his eyes as he entered a meditative state.
Meditation was all the man could seemingly do in his prison cell; other than the one time his son and grandchildren stopped by for information, he received no visitors. The prison guards that would occasionally check-up on him to bring food and ensure that the chakra seals implanted on his skin were still working only stopped by a few times a day. It gave him plenty of time to think.
'The Tenseigan… the Kūsho Byakugan…'
He could not help himself; after his discussions with Hiashi, Neji, and Hinata, he could not stop thinking back to old stories he remembered hearing from his own father, who had learned from his own father, going-back centuries.
'A mam today possesses the Rinnegan. Perhaps it is fate… perhaps the Tenseigan will form in this day and age once more.' He noted: 'But… if it were to develop, it would have to be-' He scowled: 'Why them?'
Yoshikane began to grind his teeth as his mind recalled Neji and Hinata after their public duel with him and one of Danzō's associates in the Konohagakure Chūnin Exam Stadium.
'Centuries have passed. Finer Hyūga have been born. Finer Hyūga who have followed our clan's traditions perfectly. Finer Hyūga who led our clan through times of strife. Why do they, who have spat on our clan's traditions, consider themselves worthy of such blessings?' He hissed: "Why?"
As he tried to calm his own thoughts, an image entered his own mind – one that had frequently come to him.
In his mind, Yoshikane saw the ground opening-up. Figures-upon-figures would rise from the dead and moved together in unison, as organized as an army. He would routinely see this army rise and destroy village-after-village, with each passing land adding more 'undead' to their numbers.
He knew where this vision came from: from hearing stories of a shinobi in the Akatsuki's organization that had managed to use the Edo Tensei on former Kage. His mind was only taking it to the next logical conclusion upon realizing that a shinobi with this power was allied with a man with the Rinnegan.
"The end times are near…" He told himself: "… The Rinnegan is in the hands of an evil being. Surely the Tenseigan will do the same. One of them… one of them will obtain those eyes, and then they will doom us all."
"Could you elaborate? What do you mean by 'end times'?"
Yoshikane's eyes opened wide as he pulled himself out of his meditative stance.
Standing in front of his prison cell was a young man with white hair and pale white skin, his eyes closed shut and dressed in a traditional kimono.
"Who are you?" The Hyūga demanded: "I don't get visitors, and surely not from strangers!"
"Am I a stranger?" The man asked, shaking his head: "How sad. My father would have been hurt to hear a Hyūga call me a stranger."
Yoshikane's eyes narrowed in response: "Are you claiming Hyūga descent?" A snort escaped his lips: "I know all the clansmen alive today, even illegitimate bastards! Show your Byakugan if you claim a relation to me!"
"You wish to see my Byakugan? Well, you're a little late to ask that." He replied.
Before Yoshikane could respond to his response, the man opened his eyelids, revealing empty eye sockets. The Hyūga's eyes widened as he felt his stomach start so grow uneasy and nauseous at the sight.
"See, us Ōtsutsuki Branch Family members had a ritual that's done where we sacrifice our Byakugan." He explained.
"Ōtsutsuki?" Yoshikane repeated the name, his eyes widening: 'That's the name they asked about that night!'
"Yes. Ōtsutsuki Tōneri. Pleasure to make your acquaintance." He said, smiling slightly as he closed his eyelids: "Now, Hyūga Yoshikane – the Thirty-Eighth Clan Head of the Hyūga Clan – I have business with you."
With those words, Tōneri walked through the prison bars, entering Yoshikane's cell. The Hyūga's eyes widened as he inched backwards.
"JAILORS! I'm being attacked!" He shouted.
"No one can hear you. I've already made sure of that." Tōneri replied with a chuckle as he held out the palm of his left hand: "I'm not worried of what a few worthless humans could do to me, but I'd rather not be distracted."
Before Yoshikane could finish his sentence, a large green orb appeared in Tōneri's hands. His eyes focused on it intently as he felt himself drawn to it. It was mesmerizing; the orb was all he could concentrate on.
A second passed by before the sensation left him. His mind returned to reality and Tōneri was now directly against him, pressing him to a wall, his right reaching up towards his face.
"This may be your first time meeting me, but I have been watching. I know who you are, and I know exactly how you treated your precious granddaughter. You truly are a disgusting man, even compared to other humans." Tōneri stated. The pleasantry in his voice was gone completely and replaced with strong disgust: "However it may be, though, you somehow have Ōtsutsuki Hamura's blood in your veins. As such, your eyes will do, and surely she will not care of what happens to you."
"Eyes?" Yoshikane bit his lip in response: 'Th-The Seal will protect-'
The Former Hyūga Clan Head's thought could not be finished before pain rushed through his body as Tōneri reached for his eyes and tore them out of their eye sockets.
'Another dead end? Really?' Hinata grumbled as she placed another book down.
Neither Hinata nor Neji were sure exactly how long it has been since Mifune left them at the library; they had spent each second on the fourth floor looking for information on Hyūga Shimon, searching through pages-of-pages from a variety of books.
So far, based on the piles of books on the desk they were reading at, they were having zero luck.
"Still nothing?" Neji asked.
Hinata sighed in response, giving him her answer.
At the very, their speed-reading had already improved dramatically since they arrived at the library. And, at the pace things were going, it was set to improve even further over the course of this week.
Neji turned his attention back to the book in his hand while Hinata grabbed another that they had collected. A few more minutes passed by before it was Neji's turn to sigh.
"It should be expected considering the country we're in, but the most luck I am having is finding out about famous Samurai who managed to fight the Hyūga off." He noted as he turned a few more pages into his book.
He grew quiet once more until another minute passed by and his eyes narrowed: "… Although, I may be getting closer to finding something. There's a Samurai named Tanaka Musashi that's credited for taking back the land in southern Tetsu no Kuni from the Hyūga."
"Oh?" Hinata's eyes widened: "That… That could be a lead. What info is there about him?"
"He was one of the country's most famous samurai, and became the Lead General after reclaiming the south. His kenjutsu was top-notch, and he fought with two swords that had flash bombs attached to the hilt. He would routinely detonate the bombs, blinding his enemies while he effortlessly cut them down." Neji noted: "His moniker was 'The Samurai of False Light', after his use of Flash Bombs."
"Hmm… I wonder if Shikamaru-kun will one day be known as 'The Many Explosives Shinobi', after his fascination with Explosive Tags." Hinata wondered, giggling slightly.
Neji snorted, but continued to read uninterrupted: "He apparently was just a kenjutsu instructor initially in Tetsu no Kuni's army. He…" A frown developed on his face as he shook his head: "He apparently went to active duty when his three brothers all died in the fight against the Hyūga…" Neji's frown deepened: "Musashi is reported to have killed one hundred and thirty-eight Hyūga over the course of his whole career. These are recorded kills he alone managed to make. The book I'm reading celebrates him for that."
Hinata's eyes widened in horror at the statistic. She grew quiet for a moment as she and Neji stared at one another for a few seconds before she sighed.
"This man… he made a kenjutsu style to combat the Hyūga's Byakugan and went out of his way to fight us. And kill so many of us. And our clan had previously killed his family. We…" Hinata bit her lip: "Our clan is the villain in their history, huh?"
"… That's true." Neji nodded his head: "But history's written by the winners. I trust our clan, if we ended up taking over Tetsu no Kuni, would have regarded this man as a menace." His hand tightened on the book: "But here, he's a hero."
Hinata frowned, her eyes looking towards the desk for a moment. She tightened her hands into fists for a moment before she shook her head.
"I… I do worry to learn more about our clan during this time." She admitted.
"Agreed. I do detect obvious bias against shinobi and our clan in general, but this bias is rooted from actual historical actions. Our clan really has wronged this nation." Neji nodded his head: "However, beyond just learning about how to evolve our eyes, it's important for us to learn about these events that the Hyūga and Konohagakure have no record of. It's important to face our history and learn from it."
"… Yes. That's true." Hinata stated, looking back-up to Neji. "Neji-nii-san… when you finish that book, let me look at it. I'm going to try find more books that cover the decades prior to this Musashi's life."
"If you'd like to start looking, go ahead." Neji replied, closing the book and handing it towards Hinata.
She bowed her head slightly as she took the book and ran back to the bookshelves.
'Hyūga Shimon has to have been the one who took that land from Tetsu no Kuni in the first place. We have to be getting closer to finding out about him… I know we have to be!' She told herself.
'Heh, that'll do.' Naruto noted with a chuckle as he left the Seventh Floor.
The Seventh Floor was crawling with Naruto's shadow clones, who filled all available seating areas and were reading an extensive amount of books, with a few even taking notes for the original Naruto to have later.
"I'm surprised you're only using clones for one floor." Kurama's voice echoed in his head: "Would it not be more effective to have them cover the whole library?"
'I'd be worried of overloading my brain. When they dispel and pass the information to me, I'd like to actually retain the info and not get overwhelmed and stuff.' Naruto admitted with a chuckle: 'It's also why I have them all on the seventh floor first, if that one is really all folk lore and stuff. I can get a vibe from what they transfer over to me how overwhelming all the information will be when it's done, and I can kinda better decide how to do each of the other days we're here.'
"Makes sense." The Kyūbi replied: "Just don't waste this opportunity. Humans rarely take the chance to fully process their history; it'd be wise to take advantage of it."
'I will, don't worry.' The Uzumaki replied.
The fox grew quiet as Naruto continued to make his way down the stairs. On the fifth floor, he noticed Risho studying a few different books. On the fourth, both Hinata and Neji were working through another stack of books. The third floor was the most crowded, as Yugito, Han, Kankurō, and his grandparents were all there, looking through their own books.
As Naruto made it to the second floor, he noticed both Chōjūrō and Honoka sitting at a desk near the stairs. His cousin looked up, sensing his presence, and smiled as she pointed to one of her books.
"Naruto, you should see some of this stuff!"
The Uzumaki nodded his head as he walked over to the Kiri shinobis' desk
"What have you two been trying to look up so far?" He asked.
"I'm tr-trying to compile notes on all th-the previous generations of S-Seven Swordsmen." Chōjūrō answered: "It… I-I imagine th-they would be easy t-to obtain DNA samples f-for Kabuto."
"That makes sense." Naruto nodded his head: "Although, wouldn't Kiri already have access to that info?"
"F-For the m-more recent swordsmen, yes, but the f-first group, not as much." Chōjūrō shook his head before he pointed to one of the books he was reading: "Th-This one, for example. Kemuri Enenra w-was the f-first woman t-to be in the Seven Swordsman. Sh-She had a kekkei genkai th-that let her t-turn her body into smoke and was the first owner of the Sh-Shibuki Blast-Sword after Byakuren-sama. Sh-She…" He looked downward: "S-Sounds like she'll make a s-scary opponent."
"Huh." Naruto rubbed his chin in thought: "She sounds like someone who Anko would probably love to fight."
"Meanwhile, I'm looking up stuff on Uzushiogakure." Honoka noted, gesturing towards her books.
Naruto's eyes widened as he walked over towards her and began to look at the different stacks of books present by her. He picked the first one from her pile and looked at the title, his eyebrow raising slightly.
"'Uzushiogakure, The Unspoken Major Shinobi Village'?" He noted: "What's that title about?"
"Well, you know how Uzushiogakure had an 'Uzukage', right?" Honoka asked. Naruto nodded his head: "Well, the other minor villages never called their leaders 'Kage'. Since they weren't on the level of the Major Shinobi Villages. So, when Uzumaki Rei proclaimed to be the 'Shodai Uzukage'… that was a big deal. And was a soft claim that Uzushiogakure was actually on the same level of the Major Shinobi Villages."
"I… never realized that." Naruto admitted, rubbing the back of his head: "I know Old Man Masakado was the Sandaime Uzukage, but I never realized that that's what being the Uzukage implied."
"History knows how that ended up going, leading to Uzushiogakure getting invaded by three different nations." Honoka noted, frowning. "You can't blame the Sandaime and Nidaime for continuing tradition, but the Shodai, in hindsight, has all the blame. Uzumaki Rei should never have made such a claim. She made an arrogant claim, claiming to be equal to the other Major Villages, that damned us all. Maybe Uzushio would be around. Maybe if we were 'just another Minor Village', maybe the others would have ignored us. Maybe it would be thriving even..."
Memories returned to Naruto from when he, Tayuya, and Karin arrived at the ruins of Uzushiogakure. He recalled the sights of the ruined buildings, the last scrolls written by the Nidaime Uzukage during his final preparation for the upcoming invasion, and the sight of the 'mass burial grounds' Masakado had dug up on his own.
He tightened his hands into fists as he shook his head.
"Maybe it wasn't the best choice of her. Maybe the Shodai Uzukage was arrogant." Naruto stated: "But that's no excuse for what happened. Uzushio… nothing will ever chance the fact that what happened to the village was evil."
"Look, you're saying that to me. I know." Honoka replied, frowning. "My parents were as old as you and Hinata are right now and they barely got out of that invasion alive. And the trauma of what happened lived with them forever, causing my dad to commit suicide shortly after he knocked up my mom. Trust me, I know how fucked up what happened to Uzushio was."
"… Sorry." Naruto shook his head, frowning: "I wasn't trying to say that you didn't."
"... Nah, I'm sorry." She apologized, looking down as well: "Didn't mean to dump on you like that."
The table grew quiet for a moment.
"… Honoka-san, wh-why are you a shinobi of K-Kirigakure?" Chōjūrō broke the silence. The red-haired Uzumaki looked towards him, but he surprisingly managed to keep eye contact with her: "Kiri… was involved in th-that invasion. S-So why?"
"Well, the invasion was under the Sandaime Mizukage's orders, and we all know how much of a mad man he was. I'm not going to hold anything Kirigakure did at that time against the village now." She answered: "As for why I went to be a shinobi for the village? Well, my mother raised me in Mizu no Kuni… the way she talked about Uzushiogakure and the invasion reminded me of what I was seeing in the Civil War. I felt I had a duty for the country and for my history to fight back against Yagura, and what better way by joining the rebels and becoming a Kiri shinobi?"
Naruto's frown deepened at the words of his cousin about Yagura, but he said nothing in response.
"Y-You're strong, H-Honoka-san." Chōjūrō noted: "Th-The Seven Swordsmen is is lucky t-to have you."
"… Thanks." Honoka smiled at her fellow swordsman, who smiled back at her. She then gestured back to her books: "And hopefully I'll be able to keep helping Kiri with this research. After all, I bet Kabuto probably could get his hands on some of the Uzumaki remains." She closed her eyes: "Uzumaki Rei and Uzumaki Kanji, as the Shodai and Nidaime Uzukage, are probably safe guarantee summons of his. But I've been reading about a woman named Uzumaki Wakaba who might be a solid guess for an Edo Tensei."
"Wakaba?" Naruto repeated the name for a moment before his eyes widened: 'That's the name of Masakado-jī-san's wife!'
"Mhmm. She'd be a pretty ruthless opponent." Honoka stated: "Read the book in your hand if you want to see what she's capable of!"
Naruto immediately opened up the book as he began to skim, looking for information about his surrogate-grandfather's deceased wife.
"Sir, why are you attending to the shinobi yourself? No, better question, why are we attending to them at all?"
Mifune shook his head: "As I have clarified multiple times, Okisuke-san, they are here for important business that concerns the Akatsuki. I do not wish to impede their research if it could aid at all in the defeat of that organization."
"But the Akatsuki is a shinobi group targeting shinobi, and they have shown no signs of aggression with Tetsu no Kuni. We should leave them be and let the Major Shinobi Villages address them."
The Samurai General sighed in response. The moment he had left the company of the shinobi, he had been questioned by multiple of his subordinates about his permissions to the shinobi. He would give the same retorts to them, and would usually get them to back off, but a few – like Okisuke – would prod deeper. It was starting to tire the old general.
"Just because the Akatsuki have not involved us yet does not mean they won't. It is rare for S-Rank missing ninja of opposing nations to join forces; it's best to exercise caution." Mifune replied. "And it is perhaps in our best interest to not make an enemy of all the Major Shinobi Villages at once."
"But fraternizing with them yourself? As our leader?" Okisuke pressed, frowning behind his mask: "Surely one of your attendants could be trusted with the task; this is above your station! They are not worthy of you!"
"And risk them alienating the shinobi based on their prejudices; prejudices that you have been displaying as of right now?" Mifune replied.
His subordinate grew quiet for a moment, and Mifune could tell that he visibly winced underneath his armor. He sighed, shaking his head, as he turned his head forward.
He had finally arrived back at the library.
"I don't ask for you or anyone to care for the shinobi. I only ask that you show courtesy and tolerance and to represent the true values of a Tetsu no Kuni Samurai." Mifune stated.
"… Understood." Okisuke bowed his head.
The two Samurai grew quiet as they walked back into the library.
On the first floor of the building, Dosu was sitting at desk with two books at his side. He immediately turned his head to Mifune and closed the book he was looking at and stood up.
"A pleasure to see you again, Mifune-sama." He stated, bowing: "I trust you have more business with us?"
"Yes. I wish to show you all to your living accommodations while you are here. You can return to the library if you truly wish, but I would advise you all retire for the evening." Mifune noted. His eyes then focused on the Konoha shinobi: "I had assumed you would be studying potential enemies from the further past; I am surprised to see any of you here on the first floor studying the current era."
"I wanted to familiarize myself with a shinobi that I have heard plenty of but knew surprisingly little about. One that I am certain Kabuto will be summoning." He replied.
Mifune's eyebrow raised: "Who would that be?"
"The Sandaime Mizukage, Kofun Nintoku." Dosu answered.
"… Ah." Mifune nodded his head in understanding: "One of the most infamous men of our day-and-age."
That was a name Mifune was very familiar with, as was almost the entire Elemental Nations. Kofun Nintoku took over Kirigakure in the wake of the Nidaime Mizukage's passing and immediately began an aggressive campaign to expand his village and nation's influence. He rehauled Kirigakure's shinobi-training system, requiring for academy students to kill one another to graduate, and gave significant political authority towards shinobi who shared his views on Kirigakure supremacy and conquest. He then ushered a series of invasions against Hi no Kuni soil that evolved into the Third Shinobi World War.
In addition to his bloodthirsty and cruel image, Nintoku was also known for his mercilessness on the battlefield. He possessed a Summoning Contract with the Octopus Summoning Clan – one that he managed to obtain Sage Mode with – and fought with a staff that had a lantern attached to the end of it, with this lantern having a unique ability to seemingly absorb light. Nintoku was known for terraforming any battlefield he stepped foot into a dark abyss akin to the seafloor in which no opponent had a chance to survive.
Only one man has been noted in history to have defeated him: Karatachi Yagura, using the Sanbi's complete power.
"I've only read accounts of the war crimes committed by him and his army. I never actually read some of the finer details of the Sandaime's abilities." Dosu noted before he frowned: "Were you aware of the Dōjutsu he possessed?"
"I was." Mifune admitted: "The Uranaigan. An ability that did not easily aid one in battles, but…" A sigh escaped his lips as he shook his head: "That man should have never become a shinobi."
The Uranaigan – also known as the Divination Eyes – was a non-combat related Dōjutsu that gave its owners the ability to see and communicate with the dead. Wielding the Dōjutsu, the Kofun Clan took the mantle of monks who helped calm the souls of those who died who tragic in circumstances and often worked to help them find peace. They were a peaceful clan adored by all – the living and the dead – and their eyes were applauded in their day.
This image changed, however, after a young monk-in-training, Nintoku, discarded his robes and ran towards the newly formed Kirigakure to assist in its construction.
"History would have been better if the man had never become a shinobi." Dosu nodded his head in agreement.
"Correct, but that is not what I'm referring to when I say that." Mifune stated, crossing his arms: "You won't find this in the books you've most likely been reading, but the Uranaigan was meant to be a pacifistic bloodline, and it had no combat applications. Nintoku is the only Kofun throughout history to become a shinobi, a field where killing is inevitability. What do you think happens to someone who has the ability to see and communicate with the dead when they themselves become a 'killer'?"
Dosu's frown deepened as he looked downward: "I… I imagine he became haunted by the spirits of those he had killed."
"That man turned psychotic, most likely from the spirits of victims tormenting him each and every day. This, in turn, led to him becoming a mad man who helped cause the Third Shinobi World War." Mifune said, shaking his head: "If this man, with those eyes, tried to take up the blade and join our Samurai Army, he would have never been permitted to join our ranks. But Kirigakure most likely needed any numbers they could get, with the other villagers forming and vying for power…" He sighed: "And now the whole world has to live with the consequences of the Shinobi Nations system."
"… I feel like you're reaching when you make that claim; Kirigakure, nor the shinobi system, made that monster." Dosu replied, his eye narrowing slightly: "Forgive any discourtesy on my part, but you can make a claim that the Samurai Army would not have accepted him now while your country has been in times of peace, but would you be able to say the same if your nation was at war?" Dosu asked.
Mifune stiffened, his eyes narrowing on the boy in front of him.
"Oi!" Okisuke nearly growled, taking a step towards the two: "You have no right to speak with Mifune-sama like that! Show some-"
Mifune held his hand out, cutting his subordinate off. The elder man looked at Dosu intently before he shook his head, a small chuckle escaping his lips.
"I was just lecturing a subordinate of mine about not being prejudiced, yet here I am displaying my own." He stated, bowing his head slightly: "My apologies for the offense, Kinuta-san."
Dosu's eye widened in response. He stared at the man in front of him for a few seconds before it truly dawned on him what he had just done – that, no matter if he was in the right or wrong, he had spoken back against the head of a neutral nation's leader.
He quickly bowed his head: "N-No, I should be apologize for speaking out of turn, Mifune-sama-"
"Ah, so you're back, huh?"
Dosu, Mifune, and Okisuke turned their heads to see Masayuki, Chiasa, and the shinobi all moving down the stairs.
"Your lodgings are complete." Mifune stated: "You can return if you wish, but I would like to show you all to where you will be staying."
The group nodded their heads in response. With no objections, the Samurai Leader escorted the group out of the library.
The inn that the shinobi would be staying at was not far from the library – only a fifteen-minute walk. Upon arrival, Mifune introduced them to the innkeeper, who seemed uneasy: both from being around shinobi and from being in the presence of his village's military commander. Nevertheless, the innkeeper kept his composure and handed over the keys to the rooms to each shinobi.
With a bow of their heads, the shinobi all began to walk towards their rooms. As Risho began to walk towards his own room, Mifune held out his hand, blocking his path.
"You wished to speak earlier, yes?" The Samurai asked.
Risho's eyes briefly widened before he nodded his head. Mifune turned around and walked out the door of the inn, with Risho following behind.
Across the street from the inn was a traditional tea shop and café. The building was closed, but there were a few tables outside of the establishment, a few piles of snow forming on the top of the table. Mifune walked over to one of the tables and sat down. Risho stared a little in confusion for a moment before nodding his head and taking a seat at the table opposite of the Samurai Leader.
"If you feel like we are intruding on someone's property, do not worry. I am acquainted with the owner and am a regular patron here." Mifune noted: "The tea here is divine, by the way, if you wish to stop by in the morning before a trip to the library."
"U-Understood." Risho bowed his head in response: "I'll stop by tomorrow!"
"Don't feel like that's an order or anything. I am not your leader." Mifune noted with a frown before he brought his hands together: "So, Kurogane-san, you appear to be interested in the kenjutsu of the Samurai Army."
Risho nodded his head: "I am. I… As I said earlier, I would really like to spar with one of your samurai."
"For what purpose?" Mifune asked: "While our nations are neutral parties to one another, samurai and shinobi are not allies."
"I'm aware." Risho said, before sighing "I… I just want a chance to compare my skills with a samurai. Swordsman to swordsman."
Mifune's eyes narrowed: "You feel your kenjutsu does not match up with your clan's so you wish to compare with ours, correct?"
"Wh-What?" Risho's eyes widened: "How…"
The Samurai leader was quiet for a moment, as if waiting for the Iwa shinobi to continue speaking. After a few seconds of silence, he shook his head.
"I know of your clan, Kurogane-san. I know of your clan's Kenjutsu and how important it is to your ranks. Your anxiousness gave your desires away." He answered. His eyes narrowed further, turning into more of a glare: "What good will a spar do for you? Even if you managed to be a match for a samurai, that would not cure your low self-esteem."
"That…" Risho bit his lip: "That's not it." Mifune's eyebrow raised, but before he could respond, Risho shook his head: "That's not fully it. I… I just want to be able to see a samurai fight and see what true kenjutsu is like."
"True kenjutsu?" Mifune repeated, his head tilting slightly: "What is 'true kenjutsu'?"
"The kenjutsu you Samurai practice." Risho replied.
"… That's a curious claim, coming from a shinobi." Mifune frowned in response: "Do you not consider your own kenjutsu 'true'? Do you see yourself as a child swinging around a fake sword?"
"That's not what I mean." Risho sighed: "I just… I see your kenjutsu as more 'pure'. I've read that you samurai view your katanas not as tools but, rather, as an extension of your body."
The Samurai nodded his head: "That is correct."
"I… I'm not sure how to properly put it in words. I just feel like there's so much I can gain. As a swordsman and as a person." Risho admitted, sighing: "And I would hope that it wouldn't be one-way. That your samurai could learn something from me."
Mifune grew quiet in response. Risho stared at the man, waiting for a response to come out, but the Samurai closed his eyes in thought.
After nearly a minute of waiting, Mifune's eyebrow raised.
"In your opinion, what do you think a samurai could learn from a shinobi?" He asked: "We do not use ninjutsu."
"Shinobi are more than just ninjutsu practitioners. We…" Risho bit his lip in response: "I think someone would learn what they need to learn, unique to them. After all, what I'd hope to learn from a spar would be personal to me." He sighed: "I think we'd learn a lot from each other."
Risho grew quiet, the bite on his lip intensifying. He drew a small bit of blood before he finally stopped: "I used to be a pretty hateful person. I thought of Iwa shinobi as being superior to all others, and even amongst other Iwa shinobi, I thought my clan made me special. I didn't properly learn the value of the others around me – those not from an 'elite' clan like my own – until I fought with a Konoha shinobi. That lesson… I learned a lot. From him. From someone I previously dismissed. I gained so much just from one fight..." With a deep breath, Risho's eyes finally made contact with Mifune's, narrowing slightly: "I don't know what, but I feel like shinobi and samurai could benefit from this."
Mifune became quiet once more. Another minute passed by before his expression began to soften and he began to laugh.
"You're rather insightful. I see your point, and think you may have ended up teaching me something." He chuckled before he brought his hands together: "Very well."
Risho's eyes widened: "Do you mean-"
"Two days from now, I'll arrange a few matches. For you and a few shinobi, if anyone else wishes to participate." Mifune answered.
All Risho could do was grin as he nodded his head, his hands tightening into fists.
After arriving in their room, Namikaze Chiasa and Masayuki promptly walked over to their bed and collapsed onto it, both groaning slightly.
"My back…" Masayuki grumbled.
"Mine as well…" Chiasa mumbled, shaking her head.
The days of travel had finally caught up to them as both elders took a few minutes to lay down and catch their breaths. Once he had somewhat recovered, Masayuki slowly pulled himself up to a sitting position on the bed. He then looked to his left towards the window, looking out to the streets of Tetsu no Kuni's Capital.
"It is nice being here." He admitted, chuckling: "It's been decades."
Chiasa turned her head towards her husband. A small smile developed on her face as she forced herself up as well.
"The snow is nice. I forgot how pretty it was here." She admitted before rubbing her hip, wincing slightly: "But I don't remember the cold hurting this badly. My poor joints..."
"It didn't; we just got old, Chia!" Masayuki noted with a chuckle.
"Complaining of back pain and moving so slowly. Gods, I became like my father." Chiasa admitted, shaking her head.
"At our age, you're more like your grandfather." Masayuki replied, still chuckling.
His wife elbowed him slightly: "Speak for yourself. I'm only seventy, Masa!"
"Only she says." The former Samurai noted.
He was about to make another joke, but he noticed his wife's eyes starting to lower as a frown developed on her face. He frowned as well as he turned to fully face her.
"Are you okay?" He asked.
"Being here makes me think of things…" She admitted, sighing.
His frown deepened: "Of what?"
"… Say, Masa, what if we had stayed here? All those years ago…" She mumbled, shaking her head: "If I didn't force you to come back with me to Hi no Kuni and stayed here with you instead, do you think Minato-kun would still be alive?"
"… I don't know." Masayuki admitted, frowning: "He wouldn't have become a shinobi, but I have no doubt he'd probably try to be a samurai. He'd still be doing work that would put him danger… who knows if something here would have ended his life even sooner."
Chiasa was quiet for a moment. Masayuki reached out to his wife, pulling her into a hug, which she quicky reciprocated.
"But please do remember, I left here of my own volition. I could have easily asked you to stay with me here. So don't go blaming yourself for what happened to Minato-kun." Her husband noted. A small smile developed on his face: "Instead… we should be focusing on our grandson."
"Naruto-kun…" Chiasa mumbled as she nodded her head: "I'm… trying to do what I can. I'm going to help the shinobi organize the most complete database for any possible shinobi that the Akatsuki could use against them."
"Remember, though, that he's not just a shinobi we're trying to help, but also our grandson." Masayuki stated: "We… Obviously, right now, he'll be somewhat distracted with everything going on. But we should still take our time with him. We still have plenty to share with him and many things to do.'
"That… That's true." Chiasa continued to nod her head as she pulled away from her husband. Her eyes were slightly red as she forced out a small chuckle: "Sorry for being a little self-centered right now."
"There's nothing to be sorry, and it's not being 'self-centered' to think about 'what-ifs' like that." Masayuki admitted, sighing: "You know that I've just as many thoughts about what I could have done for Minato-kun and Kushina-chan…" Another sigh escaped his lips: "I suppose it's not just us, though… Jiraiya obviously has his own…"
"… He does." Chiasa agreed.
The Namikazes grew quiet as they turned their heads back to facing the window and watching the snow fall over the streets of Tetsu no Kuni.
"Hinata?" Naruto mumbled, eyes half-asleep.
The sound of something rustling had stirred him. As he began to wake-up better, he noticed his wife standing up from the bed in their room, getting fully dressed in her standard attire once more.
"Sorry for disturbing you." Hinata replied, a smile on her face as she gestured towards the bed: "Keep sleeping."
"Nah… if you're up, I'm up…" Naruto yawned: "What time is it?"
"Close to midnight, I imagine. I never went to sleep." Hinata admitted: "I plan on going to the library for a little longer."
"You don't want to wait until tomorrow?" Naruto asked.
She shook her head: "I'd rather not. I don't want to go sleep until I find at least find one solid hint."
The Uzumaki stretched slightly before he stared at his wife. He nodded his head as he pulled himself out of bed and began getting dressed himself.
"Then let me help." He said.
Hinata shook her head: "You really can sleep if you'd like-"
"Nah, already up!" Naruto replied as he finished getting ready: "Come on, let's go!"
Hinata smiled back at her husband before nodding her head. The two then hurried out of the hotel room and rushed to the library.
At their pace, they arrived at the library in five minutes. The Samurai at the door bowed his head as he let the two enter. The couple then began to walk up the stairs.
"You and Neji were looking all day on the fourth floor, right?" Naruto asked. Hinata nodded her head: "You should try the fifth."
"Huh?" Hinata blinked: "The Hyūga occupied territory in southern Tetsu no Kuni in the early Warring Clan Era; I think Shimon might have been the one responsible for conquering those lands, so I think he might be something from the Warring Clan Era."
"I mean, yeah, but my grandma said she didn't remember who he was, and that time period is her focus." Naruto said, shaking his head: "I think he might be earlier."
"Are you sure?" Hinata asked, frowning: "Because Shimon sounds like the kind of person who would try and take the land. I can't imagine the Hyūga after him would be the conquering type."
"Well, that's you saying it based on how the clan is now." Naruto replied, shaking his head: "But sometimes, beliefs can take generations to change, y'know? If the Hyūga were really warmongers and conquerors at the beginning of the Warring States Period, they probably got their start before that."
"… Ah. That makes sense." Hinata's frown deepened.
Naruto frowned back at his wife: "Hinata?"
She did not reply until the two arrived on the fifth floor. After arriving, she walked over to one of the nearby bookshelves and began looking at book titles before sighing and turning back to Naruto.
"I thought the Hyūga had honorable origins. The… Cursed Seal aside, our clan has always been viewed favorably in Konoha. I… All the things I've been learning here, though, paints our clan in such a negative light." She admitted, her hands tightening into fists: "And I hate that I'm learning about things here. It… It's shameful that our clan doesn't acknowledge our history!"
"That… That is true." Naruto admitted, shaking his head: "But at least you're learning about things now. That way, you can help record it back in Konoha and make sure things can never repeat."
"True." She nodded her head, her eyes focusing back on the books: "I intend on discovering all of the Hyūga Clan's secrets. And that especially includes the life and history of Hyūga Shimon!"
With those words, Hinata grew quiet as she began to scan the bookshelves for any books with relevant titles. Naruto did the same, creating four clones to assist. A few seconds passed by before Hinata, Naruto, and his clones all went to the tables and began reading.
Time began to pass quickly as they searched through the contents of each book, looking for any reference to Shimon. After nearly thirty minutes of looking, one of Naruto's clones groaned before it punched itself, dispelling it.
The original Naruto's eye twitched while Hinata, despite her frustration with her own research, could not help but giggle.
"I hate my clones sometimes…" Naruto groaned before he glared at the three remaining clones: "You two better not do that shit either, or else."
His clones began to sweat slightly as they nodded their heads before they frantically turned back to their research.
Another hour passed by. Hinata's frustration was starting to really show on her face as she went back to the bookshelves, returning her previous batch of books before grabbing a new set. The final book she grabbed, almost on a whim, was a personal account written by a former Samurai Commander of the time. When she set back down at the desk, she reached for that book and began to skim it.
The Samurai's account focused on shinobi he had either seen or battled on the battlefield. He detailed many instances he had nearly lost his life and gave detailed accounts of these potential dangerous opponents, as well as potential thoughts on how to fight these enemies, should any other samurai encounter them as well.
Hinata skimmed through page-after-page until she came across an illustration. Her eyes widened as she focused on the drawing.
The book's illustration appeared to be that of the Byakugan, including the head of a person and showing the veins that tended to become visible with the Byakugan. The veins, however, were drawn with more detail and seemed to be wider than she recalled ever seeing when looking at herself in the mirror with her Byakugan. More apparent, however, was at the center of the Byakugan, a hand drawn image of an ouroboros, almost resembling the sign for infinity, was seen present in the eyes.
"No… is… is this…"
Hinata's grip on the book began to tighten slightly as her body began to shake. Naruto and his clones immediately stopped their research and the blond walked over to his wife.
"Did you find something?" He asked.
Hinata nodded her head as she began to read aloud a passage on the page:
"The Hyūga had been seen approaching our southern border, an unusual sight considering they tended to keep their distance. When my squadron approached, we came face-to-face with a demon leading them. He possessed the Byakugan, as all Hyūga seemed to, but his was different. His eyes were glowing bright, almost as if illuminated by sunlight, and the veins on his head appeared to be close to bursting.
Approaching was a mistake; we came to ask why they were present and the man went onto the offensive. His Gentle Fist was stronger than any known Hyūga; his palm strikes were strong enough to shatter our katanas upon impact. I watched him palm strike a man in the chest and his heart burst out of his body. Most Hyūga fought with what seemed to be grace, but this man fought with the force of a raging bull.
We tried to flee. The man did not pursue on foot. However, as we continued to make our retreat, beams of visible, blue chakra flew through the air towards. They were not comparable to any elemental jutsu I had seen. These attacks continued no matter how far we retreated. The attacks only subsided after we reached Yoroi Village: ten kilometers from the initial battlefield. Only five of us managed to make it out alive.
Powers are unknown, but this man appears to be capable of a more enhanced Gentle Fist and seems capable of seeing and attacking the enemy with a range of up-to ten kilometers confirmed. Other abilities unknown, but surely exist.
Until our nation can come up with a way to handle this man, we must exercise caution of any known sight with Hyūga-clan shinobi present. We must avoid this man – the Beast of the Hyūga Clan.
After finishing the quote, Hinata grew quiet as she continued to stare intently at the drawing of the unique-looking Byakugan.
"The Samurai… he seems to think this guy managed to keep attacking them from ten kilometers…" Naruto mumbled, shaking his head: "That's… that's possible?"
"He can attack from ten kilometers-" Hinata began to speak before she shook her head: "No, more alarming is he could see from ten kilometers! The best recorded distance any Hyūga has been capable of seeing was 1.8 kilometers! This… is unheard of for the Byakugan." Her grip on the book tightened: "This… this confirms it for me. This drawing isn't just some drawing this Samurai made-up. This 'Beast of the Hyūga Clan' was Hyūga Shimon. And these eyes are the Kūsho Byakugan!"
"I need… you…"
"Can… hear me?"
Neji's eyes widened as he found himself surrounded by a dark, empty void. The last thing he remembered was falling asleep in his bed in Tetsu no Kuni. He felt as if he was dreaming a moment ago, but could not recall exactly what he was dreaming.
"I'm… where am I?" He mumbled: "Am I still asleep?"
"Hyūga Neji, you are indeed dreaming. Please… can you hear me?"
Neji's eyes widened as he turned around and activated his Byakugan. He tried to scan the void around him for any traces of this mysterious voice, but he saw nothing.
"I'm not here. I'm using my chakra to communicate with you from a distance." The voice spoke once more.
The Hyūga deactivated his Byakugan. Thinking a little more clearly, the voice sounded masculine and had a sense of urgency in his words.
"Who are you?" Neji asked.
"I am a distant cousin, to you and Hinata." The voice replied: "My name is Ōtsutsuki Tōneri."
"Ōtsutsuki?" Neji's eyes widened: "That's-"
"I can't talk for long right now. This jutsu is taxing to use. I want to meet, though. I need to meet with you and Hinata." The man, Tōneri, spoke: "You are in Tetsu no Kuni, are you not?"
"Y-Yes." Neji mumbled in reply before his eyes narrowed: "How do you know that? Who are you? What do you want?" He waited for a few seconds for a response, but none came. A frown developed on his face: "Are you really an Ōtsutsuki?"
"I am." The voice again replied: "I'll be there in five days. There is a mountain range to the north of where you are at called 'Sanrō', also referred to the 'Three Wolves Mountains'. Please. You and Hinata need to come to the summit of the tallest mountain in five days."
"What?" Neji frown shifted to a scowl: "Stop speaking so vaguely and answer some of my questions! What do you want? Why are you, an Ōtsutsuki, reaching out to me? How do you know Hinata and myself?" His eyes began to dart once more around the void as he repeated his most pressing question: "What do you want from us?"
"All will be revealed in time." The voice replied: "I hope to see you and Hinata in five days, Neji."
Before Neji could reply, the void around him swallowed his body whole. The world completely vanished.
Neji woke-up from his sleep, his breathing erratic and his Byakugan active. Sweat was dripping from his forehead and he could feel his heart beating faster than normal.
"Wh-What… what the hell… was that dream?" He mumbled to himself.
Unfortunately for the future Hyūga Clan Head, he would not be receiving any more sleep for the rest of the night.
For the first time since his wife's death, Hiashi felt a sense of dread rush through his body.
An ANBU agent had stopped by the Hyūga Clan Compound to speak with him, waking him from his slumber. Immediately after, Hiashi got dressed and ran from his home in the Hyūga Clan Estate and rushed through the village towards Konoha's Central Prison.
Upon arriving, he was escorted inside and brought to a familiar prison cell. Jiraiya, Ibiki, and another man who Hiashi recognized as the warden of the prison, were inside the prison.
"You're not answering my question!" Jiraiya shook his head, a scowl on his face as he faced the warden: "How did this happen? How did no one notice the intruder?"
"I-I-I don't know!" The warden shook his head, inching away from the Hokage slightly: "Nothing like this has ever happened! Never!"
"This goes beyond just a simple intruder." Ibiki noted, shaking his head. His eyes narrowed on the warden as a wave of killing intent escaped the man's body: "It's how no one heard this attack? No one did anything stop it? How?"
"I JUST SAID I DON'T KNOW!" The warden shouted: "I… I have guards patrolling all the time! N-None of my guards are dead and none reported any suspicious sights or sounds! I don't know how this-"
"Ah. Hiashi-san." Jiraiya interrupted the warden, his eyes moving towards the Hyūga Clan head: "I see you got my message."
Hiashi nodded his head as he walked past the Hokage and the other shinobi, further into the prison cell. He then looked downward.
Against the wall was the dead body of his father, Hyūga Yoshikane, his eyes ripped from his body and the cursed seal on his head having been completely destroyed.
1: Oooh, get to finally reference one of the real big background lore moments in my story. I discussed it a little bit in this chapter, but I'd like to explain more in detail.
The Kofun Clan, as noted, were a clan of monks with a dōjutsu I named the Uranaigan. The Uranaigan's purpose is to just see and interact with spirits and be able to call upon them. The kekkei genkai, as Mifune mentioned, does not have combat abilities the way the Byakugan and Sharingan due (i.e. Gentle Fist, seeing chakra points, copying jutsus, all the Mangekyō bullshit, etc.). It's primary use was to simply commune with the dead, and the monks used it as a way to soothe spirits who died in distress or to help families come into contact with lost family members for a moment. I sorta designed the dōjutsu that way on purpose to show a dōjutsu that isn't some overpowered 'combat blessing' the way the Byakugan/Sharingan/Rinnegan are sorta presented. Also think it's nice to feature a kekkei genkai that really does benefit jobs outside of shinobi; I do imagine there's more that are definitely more useful for civilians!
The Sandaime Mizukage, in my story, comes from this clan. He was given no name, so I simply put him as a member of this clan. I've referenced multiple times in my story that the Sandaime Mizukage was a mad man who played a huge role in starting the Third Shinobi World War, and I think I gave pretty good justification for why he was the way he was; someone with his ability to communicate with the dead, working in a field where killing is an inevitability, is not a good combination for good, sane mental , Kofun Nintoku became more-and-more deranged and helped established Kirigakure's horrible reputation. And, after his death and Yagura's subsequent brainwashing, in my own universe's canon, the mind-possessed Yagura used anger about Nintoku's blood line as an excuse to rile up the people and divide Mizu no Kuni further. This, in turn, led to the Civil War and Bloodline Executions, etc.
I wanted to explain this in more detail, so here's a fun little note going into further detail on the world building of my Elemental Nations!
2: Samurai and Shinobi ... at the point the Samurai were introduced, Akatsuki was the 'in your face villain' that was declaring war literally at this exact moment, so of course Mifune and the samurai were super helpful and understanding and agreeable and shit. But, considering how Samurai and Shinobi have completely different lifestyles and that Tetsu no Kuni is the only canon Samurai-led nation in all of the Elemental Nations, I really wanted to highlight that more. I do think Mifune, in general, seems like an agreeable person and wouldn't require an extensive amount of time to become open-minded the way that the Raikage would, but I still just wanted to highlight that a little bit!
Author's Note: Hey! And there's chapter 138 for y'all :)
Hopefully a more research/library/lore chapter was nice! I do intend on having more of those scenes in the coming chapters of this arc, but they'll be integrated with some other types of scenes so hopefully everything will be very engaging!
I don't have a lot to really say about things at the moment, other than I'll be seeing you all on February 2nd again with the next chapter! Here's to hoping I can keep up this 'one chapter ahead' thing so that way I can keep this update schedule going. So... Until then :)