And here we are! Chapter 3.

A lot of you actually really liked where I went last chapter, with Raphael being rather amazed by things like running water and the fridge and stuff. And I'm glad.

So, here we are! Raphael's first assassination target. Now I've been going over this in my head for a bit here, and I think I've got down what I want to go down. So hopefully, you'll all enjoy what I have planned.

As for those of you clamoring for Naruto, rest assured that either in this chapter, or the next one, Naruto will come into focus again. And afterwards, he'll remain one of the key focus's of this fanfic. I just wanted to help Raphael get settled in and established before I returned to Naruto. And this chapter definitely will have him settled in, for the most part.

So anyways, enough with all that. Time to get going!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Assassin's Creed. They are the property of Masashi Kishimoto and Ubisoft.


Chapter 3

A Blade in the Cloud

Konoha, two months later

Anko mused quietly to herself as she ate some dango at her favorite café. It had been an interesting couple of months for the young kunoichi. First she learned that the man who had rescued her was actually from some other reality or something like that. A place with no chakra and apparently without things such as indoor plumbing and electricity.

When Raphael had finished explaining to her where he was from, that first day she had gone to teach him, she had thought it was an elaborate joke or prank. However, after talking to the Hokage about it, she had learned that it was all true. Which led to her getting drunk to make sense of it all.

Eventually though, she had come to terms with what she had learned, and had found Raphael to be a rather eager student. It had been rather amusing and embarrassing to explain certain things like how a toilet worked, and what a refrigerator was. But when it had come to things like history, geography, and learning to read and write, she had found him to be very studious. He had grasped the basics of reading and writing kanji, and was now working on becoming fully versed in being able to read and write them.

She had also been present when the Hokage had done an assessment of Raphael's fighting skills. Raphael had been partnered against a chuunin, with the rules that the spar would only include taijutsu and weapons. No ninjutsu or genjutsu.

The chuunin had started off the fight, launching a punch at Raphael. Raphael's response had been to catch the fist with his left hand, deliver a stunning blow to the chuunin's stomach to drive the air out of him, then a vicious upper cut that knocked the chuunin flat on his back. In an instant Raphael was on him, hidden blade at his throat.

However, a second battle, this time against a jounin, showed that Raphael, while fast and skilled, couldn't match the sheer speed that a shinobi of jounin rank was capable of achieving. That's not to say the battle was one sided. Raphael had remained defensive initially, using blocks and counters to open up the jounin to attacks. As he told Sarutobi and Anko, that was the style of an Assassin forced into combat. If they could not escape or kill their enemy with the initial blow, they entered a defensive stance, maneuvering and waiting for the opportunity to strike.

After finishing the assessment, Sarutobi had asked Anko to also begin instructing Raphael in utilizing his chakra. Which Anko had gladly done, enjoying practical teaching over teaching academics. Every morning the two would head to a training ground, where they would work out, spar, and Anko would teach Raphael how to first access his chakra, and then how to control it. It had taken Raphael about a week to fully call upon his chakra, since he was unfamiliar with calling upon it. Afterwards, Anko had taught him the basic control exercise, the tree walking exercise. It took Raphael the rest of the month to master it, after which Anko started him on water walking.

Raphael had been extremely grateful for everything Anko had taught him so far. In return, he offered to teach her some skills that might help her as well. He had started teaching the stealth skills of an Assassin. How to blend with a crowd of people, to be able to move in the open without being seen. He also began teaching her free running and parkour skills. Most shinobi would scoff at the idea of learning these skills, when they could use chakra to climb the side of a building, or leap over obstacles and such. But Raphael pointed out a few problems. What's to stop an enemy from sensing the chakra being used to climb the side of a building? Or what if the shinobi's chakra was running low or was cut off from them for some reason. The ability to move quickly using only their muscles and endurance, and to be able to move fluidly through any environment, would be a huge boon in those situations.

She grinned, thinking how things had worked out well for both of them, as she reached for another skewer of dango. She stopped though, as she sensed a figure behind her. She turned her head slightly. "What are you doing here, Yuuhi-san?" She asked in a slightly annoyed voice.

Kurenai mentally sighed as she sat next to Anko. She had wanted to apologize to Anko much sooner than this, but sadly she had been assigned a border patrol only a couple days after her small disagreement with Anko. She had returned yesterday evening, and now had sought out her friend to try and mend things between them.

"I…wanted to apologize to you Anko. You were right. The Uzumaki kid shouldn't be punished for what he holds inside himself. It's not like he chose to be the container of the Kyuubi," she said softly. "And you were right about how you two are similar. I see now how you could take my words to mean that I was saying you should be attacked to by those who were hurt by Orochimaru. I never meant that, and I certainly don't think that. So…..I'm sorry," she said quietly.

Anko watched her, before sighing. "I'll forgive you. But don't expect me to be all chummy right off the bat. It really hurt hearing you say those things. And I've already had enough people I thought were close to me betray my trust," she said.

Kurenai nodded. "I understand Anko. And thank you."

Anko nodded, before grinning. "So, you remember that guy I told you about? Who rescued me? Well guess what? He's here in the village now," she said.

Kurenai blinked. "Oh? Is he a shinobi?"

Anko shook her head. "Not yet. It's really a complicated story, and you should ask Hokage-sama about it. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell or not. But I can say that I've been sorta training with him the past couple of months."

Kurenai smiled. "Sounds a lot more exciting than what I was doing. Boring border patrol," she said.

Anko grinned. "Oh it was. Maybe I can show you what he taught me," she said eagerly.

Kurenai grinned back teasingly. "Ohhh, does Anko-chan have a crush on the new guy?"

Anko's eyes widened and she shoved Kurenai. "It's not like that! He's just been helping me, and I've been helping him," she said, growling.

Kurenai just giggled. "I'll take that as a maybe," she said.

Anko just growled. "Oh shut up and buy me some more dango," she said, viciously tearing into her last stick of the sweet dumplings.

Kurenai just giggled more as she ordered another plate for Anko.

Meanwhile, Raphael was heading towards the Hokage Tower. Instead of his normal Assassin robes, he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants with zori sandals. Over this he was wearing a long coat. He had his hidden blade bracers on though, as he always walked with them, in case he needed them.

The reason for these clothes was for two reasons. One, they were far more comfortable for simply walking around, talking and relaxing then his Assassin Robes were. And two, it also made him less conspicuous. He may be skilled at blending into crowds of people walking down a street, but even then his robes would be a beacon to possible enemy spies in the village. So when he wasn't training or on a mission, he would wear more 'normal' clothing.

He soon reached the Tower and climbed the stairs to the Hokage's office. The secretary buzzed him in since she knew the Hokage was expecting him.

Inside, Sarutobi was talking to a man with black hair tied up in a ponytail, a goatee, and a couple scars on the right side of his face. He was wearing standard shinobi pants, and what looked like a mesh shirt covered by the standard vest worn by Konoha shinobi and a ragged vest coat made of deer skin. He also had arm guards as well.

Sarutobi looked up as Raphael entered. "Raphael-san, it is good to see you. Please, have a seat," he said. "This is Shikaku Nara, head jounin of Konoha." Shikaku nodded at Raphael, who bowed his head in return.

As Raphael sat down, Sarutobi held up a file that had been sitting on his desk. "I know this might seem a little early, but I have a mission for you," he said, as he handed the file to Raphael.

Raphael opened it, finding several reports clipped under a picture of a man probably in his thirties. "Kosui Atama (Cunning Mind). He's a Chuunin ranked shinobi of Kumogakure no Sato. Almost two years ago, he masterminded Kumo's attempt to infiltrate and kidnap the heiress of the Hyuuga clan under the guise of a treaty agreement. The Yondaime Raikage authorized the mission that this man came up with," he said. (1)

Raphael looked over the picture and the reports under it. "Is there a reason you want him dead?" He asked.

Shikaku spoke up at this point. "The attempt to kidnap the Hyuuga Heiress was foiled two years ago by Hiashi Hyuuga, head of the clan. However, the kidnapper was the ambassador sent by Kumo. They denied any involvement and demanded Hiashi in exchange for their 'unjustly' executed ninja. The Hyuuga instead sent Hiashi's twin brother Hizashi. The reason for this is Hizashi was part of the Branch Family of the Hyuuga clan. Every Branch Member of the clan bears a seal that protects the bloodline of the Hyuuga, the Byakugan."

Raphael blinked. "The what?" He asked, confused.

Sarutobi coughed a bit to gain Raphael's attention. "It is a special bloodline ability of the Hyuuga clan. They are able to use their eyes to see a person's chakra network, among other things. I'll have to make sure Anko teaches you about bloodlines and such after this mission."

Shikaku continued. "Since Hizashi had the seal, his bloodline would be sealed upon his death. Kumo wouldn't be able to study it or use it against the Hyuuga Clan or Konoha. Sadly, this has not deterred them, as a contact we have in Kumo has informed us that Kosui here is already in the process of beginning a second attempt to kidnap one of the unsealed Main Family members of the Hyuuga clan. So, we want to send you in to take care of him."

Raphael looked over the reports again. "How reliable is this contact?"

Sarutobi answered this time. "The contact has been fairly reliable. They've been sending us info for close to two years now, and each bit of info has been completely accurate and helpful. However, this time they have requested extraction and asylum within Konoha, making us believe that they are a Kumo shinobi or citizen. Do you accept the mission?" He asked.

Raphael thought about it for a few moments, before nodding. Sarutobi handed him a scroll. "The details of your mission. Your objective is to infiltrate the village of Kumogakure no Sato and make contact with our informant on the inside, code named Kage Neko. They will provide you with info necessary to get at your target. You will then target Kosui Atama and remove him. Recover any information inside his house, and then destroy any information you cannot retrieve. Lastly, extract yourself and Kage Neko from Kumo and return to Konoha."

Raphael nodded quietly, as Shikaku nodded. "You'll be heading out tomorrow morning, to a small outpost south of the border with Yu no Kuni, where you'll pick up documents that will let you enter Kumo. After that, make your way to Kumo."

Raphael stood. "I understand. How will I recognize Kage Neko?" He asked.

Sarutobi indicated the scroll he had handed him. "The code phrase will be in there. I would suggest going in civilian clothes till you reach Kumo."

Raphael nodded. "I understand," he said, before bowing and leaving, letting out a breath before he did. This would be his first assassination here in the Elemental Nations. And if there was one thing he had learned, it was not to underestimate the prowess or paranoia some of these shinobi had.

Gates of Kumo, two weeks later

Much like Konoha, Kumo was protected by a large defensive wall, which surrounded the village built into the base and side of a large mountain. The wall had only one opening, a massive gate with Kumo shinobi always on duty while it was open.

Towards this gate came a large convoy of wagons. A merchant convoy from Shimo no Kuni to the south, bearing goods to trade and sell within Kumo's walls.

As the convoy approached the gate, they were stopped by a squad of four Kumo shinobi, who approached the head merchant. "Gyosha-san (merchant), we'll need to examine the contents of your wagons for any smuggled weapons or black-market items," the leader of the squad said.

The merchant nodded. "Of course. Yohei-san (mercenary)! Please aid these men in examining the merchandise!"

A figure dressed in a dull brown cloak and hood with a battered looking katana at his side nodded as he approached the ninja at the back of the first wagon. "Shinobi-san," he said, as he began pulling back the protective covering so the shinobi began to examine the contents.

The shinobi began to inspect the contents of the wagon, followed by each wagon in turn. When they finished, the lead shinobi turned to them all. "Alright then. Remember, don't cause any trouble while within our village. We'll be watching all of you. Especially you Yohei-san. Keep that blade of yours sheathed at all times," he said.

With that, the wagons rolled into the village, heading towards the commercial part of the village. When they eventually arrived, the merchants began unloading the wagons as the head merchant approached the cloaked Yohei. "You did excellent work. Here is the money we owe you," the merchant said, handing over a couple stacks of ryo's.

Yohei nodded. "Thanks. I don't suppose you know where I can find a bar named The Drunken Thunder?"

The merchant chuckled. "It's two streets down to the right," he said, pointing.

Yohei nodded again in thanks, as he headed off towards the bar, passing through the busy streets of Kumo. Though no one noticed due to the shadow of the cloak hood, the man's eyes were subtly scanning the streets and rooftops as he walked.

He eventually reached the bar and entered. He headed over to the bartender and nodded. "Nice fall weather we're having, huh?" He asked.

The bartender blinked, before moving closer. "Yeah. Too bad the leaves are changing," he said back.

Yohei smiled. "Well there are some places where the leaves never change."

The bartender nodded. "I've got a friend who'd like to see that. They're in the backroom."

Yohei nodded, got a bottle of sake, and headed to the back room. The door was closed, but he knocked three times. After a few moments, the door slid open, and he entered.

Inside he found a cloaked figure wearing a black ANBU mask with a Neko design on it. When they spoke, their voice was distorted by either a jutsu or a device on the mask, hiding their gender and identity. "I take it you're the one sent from Konoha?" The figure asked, after Yohei closed the door.

Yohei lowered his hood, revealing he was really Raphael. "I am. You're Kage Neko?"

The figure nodded. "Kosui will be out drinking this Friday evening. He does so every Friday. His guard will be lowered once he's inside his apartment. That will be the ideal time to strike. This map shows you how to reach his house from here. It also has the scheduled patrol routes of the shinobi patrols within Kumo. Kosui has no defensive measures applied to his apartment, so it should be simple enough to break in. I would suggest making a preliminary assessment of the target's apartment before you attempt to take him down."

Raphael nodded as he studied the map. "What about getting out?" He asked.

The masked figure chuckled. "I have that covered as well. Once you've done the deed, return here, and I'll handle getting us out of the village. I just hope you're good enough to handle the job," Kage Neko said, as they stood up. "You can stay here until it's time. The back door here will lead you to an alleyway. Good luck."

Before they could leave, Raphael asked one final question. "Why are you doing this?" He asked, watching them stop.

Kage Neko stood there, before turning their head a bit, as if to look back at Raphael. "Why am I betraying my village you mean? Because a long time ago, this village betrayed me." With that they left.

Raphael sighed as he sat down quietly. Well that had been a cryptic response. He glanced around the room, before quietly slipping towards the back alley, raising his hood. Might as well get some scouting done while he was here.

Meanwhile, in the Raikage's Tower, built into the side of the mountain, Kosui was in a meeting with the Raikage. Kosui was in his mid-thirties or so, wearing the standard uniform for a Kumo shinobi with his headband covering his hair like a bandana. However, his flak vest had a small kanji on the collar that said 'Strategy', denoting him as part of the strategic branch of Kumo's shinobi forces. It was their job to regulate battle strategies for the village of Kumo in times of war, and to come up with covert ops missions and internal security strategies in times of peace. Kosui wasn't the head of the Strategy branch, but he was one of the most well-known and successful members of it.

Currently, the Raikage, A was pumping iron as he watched the strategist shinobi. "I want a status report on Project Blind Eye," he said.

"Of course Raikage-sama. Initial planning for Project Blind eye has been going well. I should have a finalized operation plan after the New Year. I would suggest readying teams for training sessions."

A looked up at him. "Excellent, excellent. And where are you keeping the information on your plan?"

"Due to the recent security leaks, I've been keeping the information at my home, in a safe. Once the plan is finalized, I'll make a copy to be held in your personal archive for safe keeping."

A nodded as he switched arms. Kosui began to speak again. "There have been some concerns, about….well about her, Raikage-sama," Kosui spoke quietly.

A froze, before he began pumping iron again, though his form was more rigid. "What concerns?" He asked.

Kosui sighed. "She has not been socializing well, Raikage-sama. After her training was complete and she was assigned to a team, it was noted she was rather standoffish towards her teammate. She is working hard with them, but she tends to keep largely to herself. It is not good for someone of her status to be so….anti-social."

A finally set the dumbbells down on a custom holding rack. Even with the reinforced design of the rack and the reinforcement seals, the rack creaked and trembled slightly. "I will speak to her about this. But given what she's gone through, can you blame her?" He asked.

"Raikage-sama, I understand you feel guilt over what we had to do, but it was necessary." Kosui argued.

A sighed quietly. "Was it? Was it really?" He asked, before waving Kosui away. "Unless we start seeing her behave in a negative way, she is free to spend her free time how she sees fit. Now go. You're dismissed," he said.

Kosui sighed and bowed, before leaving. A quietly sat there for a moment, before shaking his head, dispersing the memories of the past. He quietly set to work on his paperwork, hoping it would drive away the negative thoughts and memories sprouting up.

December 27th Two days later

It was night time in Kumo. The village was mostly quiet, save for those civilians and ninjas out partying late. It was also a cold night, which meant not many people wanted to be out on the streets. Of course they were nearing the end of December, so it was understandable that it was cold.

Since almost no one was out, no one saw the hooded figure sliding out of the back door of the Drunken Thunder. The figure headed down the alleyway and proceeded to head towards his destination. He remained in the shadows, leaving them only briefly to cross from one alley to the next, darting through the mostly devoid streets. On occasion he stopped and clung to the sides of whatever alley he was in, as a patrol of Kumo shinobi darted by overhead, or passed along a street ahead or behind him.

Eventually, Raphael stopped as he found himself facing a large apartment complex. The building was at least five stories high, with numerous windows indicating the numerous apartments that made up the building. His hooded head turned this way and that, scanning the area, before he slipped from the shadows and moved quickly to the apartment. Instead of heading in though, he slipped to the alley between the apartment and a store next door.

Once he was in the alley, the Assassin slowly looked up at the side of the building, his eyes darting over every feature of it. He took a few steps back before rushing towards it, and then actually ran a few steps up the side of the building before grabbing onto a window ledge. Slowly and stealthily, Raphael began to climb, doing his best to avoid the windows, as his hands and feet sought out each precious purchase on the stone wall of the apartment.

After about ten minutes of slow and stealthy climbing, Raphael found himself outside the third level of the apartment complex. Taking a deep breath, he channeled as little chakra as he could into his feet to hold himself in place, silently thanking Anko for that tree walking exercise.

He quietly counted windows, and when he found the one he wanted, he began to move over to that one, crawling up to the ledge of the window. He slowly peered inside, and found it completely dark. That wasn't surprising. If Kage Neko's information was accurate, Kosui wouldn't be back for at least another hour or two.

Raphael slowly moved up a bit, pulling out a small thin blade from a pouch on his belt. The windows were the type that the lower part slid upwards, and were locked in place by small rotating latches that locked into grooves attached to the upper part of the window. Sliding the small blade up into the narrow slit between the upper and lower parts of the window, he began to work at the latch, slowly rotating it until it was unlocked. Doing the same for the second latch, he soon had the window unlocked. He pulled out a larger blade this time from the same pouch, and managed to jimmy it under the bottom part of the window, prying it up far enough to then open the window with his hands. He quickly slid inside, closed the window, and locked it.

He found himself in the darkened living room of the apartment, the only illumination being the light of the moon and the street lights. Knowing that it was too dangerous to turn on the lights, he instead settled for pulling out a small candle like torch from another of his supply pouches, and lighting it. He quietly began to examine the apartment, looking for any information on operations and projects the man might be working on.

Initially, he found nothing simply sitting out, or hidden in any bookcases or drawers. But after forty minutes of careful and thorough searching, he found a safe located behind Kosui's clothes. He examined it over, but ended up finding no weakness or way in. So instead, he returned the closet to the way it had been when he found it, and decided to wait patiently for his target to arrive. Perhaps the man might check the safe upon his return?

Almost a half hour later, Raphael was rewarded with the sound of movement outside the apartment door. He heard the fumbling of keys in the lock, along with muffled cursing. Raphael quickly slid into a shadowy corner of the living room, where he remained perfectly still. Soon enough Kosui opened the front door.

Raphael held his breath, as he watched his target stumble a bit inside the living room of his apartment. The ninja moved into the kitchen, where Raphael heard the sink being run and then Kosui drinking the water he had poured himself, before the man stumbled towards his bedroom. Quietly, Raphael slid out of the corner and stealthily followed.

He stopped outside the bedroom door, which was mostly closed, and peeked inside. Kosui was at the closest, fumbling with the safe Raphael had investigated earlier. He heard the combination on the front being turned, and the safe opening, with Kosui making a satisfied grunt. It was then he made his move.

Kosui didn't even have time to react, as he felt one hand covering his mouth before a sharp pain ripped through his chest. He weakly struggled, even as he felt the life fade from him, before the world went dark.

Raphael slowly retracted the blade of his left bracer from Kosui's heart, as he slowly began to lower the man to the ground. "Descansa en la paz," he said, as he closed Kosui's eyes. He shook his head quietly as he turned to the safe, and began pulling the files and scrolls inside. Slowly he began to look over them, before nodding and stuffing them into his robe. He closed the safe and locked it, before turning off the lights in Kosui's apartment. He slipped out the window and closed it, and again jimmied the locks into place as best he could, before scaling down the side of the building. Raphael had completed his first assassination within the elementals nation. Little did he realize he had assassinated Kosui on the second year anniversary of Kumo's attempt to steal the Byakugan.

An hour later he was slipping into the back room of the Drunken Thunder, where Kage Neko was waiting for him. He nodded to them. "It's done," he said quietly.

Kage Neko just nodded. "I've set up a series of low level explosives to go off in exactly twenty minutes. They'll make a lot of smoke and noise, drawing a lot of attention into thinking they are explosions and fires. We'll use the chaos to flee the village."

Raphael nodded. "Then let's get moving," he said, nodding to the door.

The two of them slipped out into the shadows of the alleyway, and began heading towards the front gate, keeping to the shadows of the buildings and alleyways as they did so.

It took them the better part of their twenty minute limit to arrive near the gates of Kumo. Standing guard were four chuunin level shinobi, who were watching the road outside the village. Raphael glanced at Kage Neko, who checked a watch on their wrist, before looking up. She held up a hand for silence, as they waited.

Two minutes later, loud explosions erupted on the east side of the village, and smoke could be seen rising above the buildings. Numerous shouts could be heard arising through the village, before an alarm went up.

The chuunin immediately began reacting. The leader of the quartet ordered two of the others to start closing the gate using the seals that controlled the massive wooden constructs. Kage Neko nodded at this. "We'll need to get out of the gate and fast! The guards will probably tail us, so we'll have to be quick."

Raphael grinned. "Not necessarily," he said, grabbing two objects from his pouches. "I'll need to see about finding more of these back in Konoha. Go now!" He shouted.

The two made a break towards the gate, which was half closed. The two chuunin not sealing the gate saw them, and grabbed kunai. However, Raphael let loose with the two objects in hand. One landed at the feet of the two chuunin and exploded, enveloping them in a cloud of white smoke that instantly burned their nostrils and throats. The other one landed behind them, in the still closing gate. The two clouds of smoke obscured Kage Neko and Raphael as they rushed through the closing gate. Mere seconds afterwards the gates were close, cutting off pursuit.

Raphael grinned as they sprinted away from Kumo, now a massive hive of activity. "I never did give you my name, did I? Raphael Cortez, at your service."

Kage Neko looked at him, before removing the mask and hood they wore, revealing a young fifteen year old teenage girl with long blonde hair in a braid, and black eyes. "I'm Yugito. Yugito Nii," she said, as the two quickly left Kumo behind.

Kumo, Two Hours later

A was reading over the report delivered to him about the incident on the east side of the village, as well as the gate. "Can someone please explain to me how two dozen mock explosions were set up and triggered without anyone noticing? Not to mention how two people were able to escape out of Kumo without being identified at all?"

The ANBU who had handed in the report spoke up. "Raikage-sama, the items used to simulate the explosions was simple high yield smoke bombs attached to noise maker tags. They were easily hidden in numerous areas all over the east side of the village. As for the incident at the gate, they were caught off guard, and before they could get a clear look at the escapees, they were blinded by smoke bombs that not only blinded the chuunin, but severely irritated their breathing passageways, incapacitating them."

A growled in frustration. "But why? What was all this for? I want the entirety of the Strategic Shinobi Corp in here on the double!" He shouted.

The ANBU bowed his head and disappeared, as A sat back. What was the reason for all this? Was it spies, seeking information and making their escape? Was it a reconnaissance mission from one of the other villages? Was it a defection attempt by some of his shinobi? He had already sent out three squads of ANBU to try and bring the two mysterious figures in. Hopefully he'd have some answers and soon.

Within ten minutes, several members of the Strategy Corp had arrived in his office. A scowled as he noticed Kosui still hadn't arrived. "Damn that man. He's probably hung-over at his apartment," the Raikage snapped, only to blink as the ANBU appeared.

"Raikage-sama, Kosui was found dead in his apartment. Someone stabbed him through the heart from behind. However, we can find no sign of forced entry. We also found a safe in his closest, but upon forcing it open, we found no signs of any valuables or documents."

A's eyes widened in realization. "That's what it was," he said quietly. "It was an assassination. The distraction on the east side of the village….it was so whoever took out Kosui could escape, before Kosui was discovered and the village went on lockdown."

One of the Strategy Ninjas nodded. "It makes sense Raikage-sama. By why strike at Kosui? While he was one of the more brilliant minds of the Strategy Corp, he remained pretty anonymous. Why would they target him and not one of the higher up members?"

A turned to look out the window. "Because somehow…..someone knew what Kosui was working on. More than likely….someone found out about Project Blind Eye, and moved to put a stop to it, by taking out its creator."

"Konoha," one of the other shinobi snarled. "But how? How could they have known?"

A looked down slightly. "Because we either had, or still have a traitor in our midst. Someone from Konoha….or one of our own shinobi sent them the information. Begin an immediate sweep of the village! I want every shinobi accounted for!"

The shinobi dispersed to carry out his orders, as A looked out the windows of his office, in the direction of Konoha. "This round goes to you Konoha. The next one will not."

Konoha, five days later

Raphael sighed softly as they neared the gate. It was good to be back. It had been a tense five days escaping from the pursuing Kumo ninja. They had gone to a Konoha safe house within Kaminari no Kuni (Lightning Country), after Raphael had blindfolded Yugito for security reasons, where they had donned disguises and snuck out of town. They had done their best to avoid Kumo patrols, which had seemingly tripled by the next day, making Raphael suspicious. He had expected an increase in enemy patrols when they discovered the body of their assassinated shinobi, but not this number. There had been a few close calls, but they had finally slipped over the border, and were able to pick up the pace heading towards Hi no Kuni (Fire Country) and Konoha.

Thankfully, his travelling companion had made things less tedious. She had slowly opened up a bit during the trip there. While he didn't know her life story, she had revealed a few things about herself.. She had been curious about him, since she had never really seen anyone dress the way he had, or armed with some of the weapons he was armed with. He had explained a few things he was willing to trust her with, and had even offered to help her train a bit in Konoha after she had settled in.

Raphael shook these thoughts as he presented his identification papers to the chuunin gate cards. "I have business with Hokage-sama, as does this lady with me," he said. Yugito had discarded her headband, and currently had her hood up, though she was without her mask.

One of the chuunin, who had bandages covering the bridge of his nose, nodded. "Alright, you can pass," he said, waving them through. Raphael gathered his papers and they headed off.

As they walked through the streets, Yugito looked around, taking in the sites. "This village seems far more….like a civilian village," she commented to him.

Raphael had noticed that to, after his time spent in Kumo. While there were civilians within Kumo, the majority of the buildings and business centered on the civilian populace were located roughly in one section of the village, while the rest of the village contained many buildings centered more on shinobi. Konoha seemed more like a giant civilian village with some shinobi structures scattered here and there.

Raphael shrugged. "Difference in priorities I guess," he said. "Konoha seems far more interested in peaceful enterprise and diplomacy then it does war."

Yugito sighed. "That's not a good attitude for a shinobi village to have. It makes me wonder how they've remained such a dominant power for so long."

Raphael just gave another shrug as they arrived at the Hokage's Tower. He quickly escorted her up the Tower to Sarutobi's office, where they waited for the secretary to announce them. After a few minutes they were allowed in.

Sarutobi looked up at them. "Raphael-san. Our scouts along the border detected the increased activity of Kumo shinobi. I take it the mission was a success?" He asked.

Raphael nodded as he pulled out the files he had taken from Kosui's apartment. "Here is all the information the man had with him. He was working on a mission called Project Blind Eye. There are other reports as well."

Sarutobi took the file. "Excellent work. Thank you for your aid Raphael-san. You are dismissed."

As Raphael bowed and left, Sarutobi turned to her. "And you must be Kage Neko?" He asked.

Yugito stepped forward. "Hokage-sama, I am Yugito Nii, former chuunin of Kumogakure no Sato and jinchuuriki of the Nibi no Bakeneko (Two tailed Monster cat). I seek asylum within the walls of your village," she said.

Sarutobi's eyes went wide. "D-Did you say….jinchuuriki of the Nibi?" He asked quietly.

Yugito braced herself for the worst. "Yes, I did," she said. Her whole frame was tense, as if ready to run.

Sarutobi quietly cursed at this. It was one thing to give asylum to a genin, chuunin or even low level jounin shinobi. It was another matter entirely to give asylum to a jinchuuriki. This would cause major problems with Kumo, and possibly within the village itself. "I see…this is a rather serious problem. This could lead to war with Kumo, if they found out you were here," he said.

Yugito nodded. "I understand that Hokage-sama, but I think there is a way around that part of the problem. If you'll look through Kosui's files, you'll find he was also working on other operations to infiltrate Iwa, as well as plans to send teams into Kiri to liberate prisoners of the 'Bloodline Purge'. If you were to hold onto those reports, you could use them as leverage against Kumo."

Sarutobi blinked before quickly diving into the files. He soon came up with those plans. "So I see. Well that deals with Kumo. But there is still the matter of problems here," he said, as he quietly laced his fingers and looked over them at the pair. "I will need to inform the Council of who and what you are, and they will no doubt wish to exploit you."

Yugito growled softly. "Do they want to end their chances of gaining my power? I have a full partnership with my biju, one that I worked hard for, to earn her respect and even friendship. If they wish to try and turn me into a tool, I'll happily leave and lend my power to another village! Remind them of that little fact, Hokage-sama," she spat out.

Sarutobi smiled quietly. "You remind me of someone who was taken far too early from this village," he said. "If you are willing to serve a probationary period, and become a shinobi of Konoha, I will grant you asylum. I again warn you though that there are those who may try to exploit you whether through legal or illegal means. And others will not receive you well. Konoha is still suffering from the Kyuubi attack from five years ago."

Yugito bit her lip, as she thought about it. She didn't like the idea of people hating her for what she was. But she would at least have one person she could turn to, in the form of Raphael, yes? And Konoha had a jinchuuriki as well. Perhaps she could talk to them. She finally turned to the one being she trusted most. 'Matabi, what do you think?'

Inside her mind, she heard a deep female voice respond. "I think that if the Hokage remains true to his word, you should accept. He's offering you pretty much the chance to lead a mostly normal life, if you wanted to. I doubt many other villages would accept that."

Yugito mentally nodded. "I accept, Hokage-sama."

He smiled and nodded. "Excellent. I shall call for a Council Meeting as quickly as possible. Until then, I would like for you to remain at the ANBU headquarters, as it is probably the safest place for you. Until after I have finished informing the Council. Welcome to Konoha," he said, handing her a Konoha headband.

She took it and slowly tied it around her forehead. "Thank you, Hokage-sama," she said.

Meanwhile, Raphael was busy walking through one of Konoha's parks. After an assassination, he liked to take a walk and clear his head, to help deal with the fact that he had taken another person's life. Being an Assassin wasn't easy. A lot was demanded of those who followed the Creed.

He was pulled from his thoughts when he heard some yelling nearby. Curious, he headed towards it. What he found made his blood boil.

Three boys, probably ten or so years old, were laughing as one of them had shoved a small five year old girl into the ground. Said girl was wearing a kimono, and had short indigo blue hair. Her eyes were closed as tears fell from her face, while she was constantly whimpering the word 'sorry' over and over again.

"This'll teach you and your clan to think you're all better then everyone!" One of the boys shouted, as he shoved her face into the ground again. The girl let out a fresh batch of tears, as the boys laughed loudly.

Raphael growled, and prepared to step in when he was beaten to the punch. A small rock struck one of the boys in the back of the head. "Leave her alone!" shouted a small blur that smashed into one of the boys.

Raphael blinked as a blonde haired boy, probably no older then the girl being tormented, started pummeling the boy he had smashed into. The other two quickly let the girl go and rushed over, trying to grab the small blonde boy. They soon yanked him up, and the one who the blonde boy had been attacking stood up, nursing a bleeding lip.

"Well well. The little monster comes to the stuck up princess's defense," he said, growling.

The blonde boy just growled. "Leave her alone you jerks!"

The boy smirked before punching the younger boy in the gut, making him double over in pain. The boy smirked at that. "Not so tough now, huh?! Look at what's happening to the little hero!" He sneered as another punch took the blonde to his knees.

He was raising his fist to punch the blonde again when it was caught in a bigger and stronger fist. "That is enough," Raphael growled angrily, holding the boys fist in place.

The three bullies stopped, seeing this tall intimidating figure. Who also had some intimidating weapons. The two quickly moved away from the downed blonde, as Raphael maneuvered the one he had caught away from him then lightly shoved him away. "I catch any of you bullying someone like that again, I won't be so nice!" He yelled at them, as they ran off. Sighing, he turned to the two children.

The girl had gotten up off the ground and was trying to help the blonde up. Now that her eyes weren't closed, Raphael could see they were lavender colored, and had no pupils. "A-Are you okay?" She stammered out, her voice worried.

The blonde nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay." He managed to say, holding his stomach in pain. "What about you?"

The girl blushed, poking her fingers together as she looked down. "I-I'm better. T-T-Thank you for saving me," she said.

The boy grinned. "Hey, it's no problem! I'm Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki!"

The girl was just about to open her mouth when a voice called out to her. "Hinata-sama! There you are!"

The two children and Raphael looked up as a man with short brown hair hidden under his headband, tied in a bandana style. He also had pure white eyes, similar to the now named Hinata.

Hinata gasped. "K-Ko-san!" she said.

Ko came over. "Hinata-sama, what happened to you?" He demanded, glaring at Raphael and Naruto. "Did they do this to you?"

Hinata quickly shook her head. "N-No Ko-san! They saved me!"

Ko blinked. "I see. Forgive me for jumping to conclusions," he said. "I am Ko Hyuuga of the Hyuuga Clan, and this is Hinata Hyuuga, the heiress."

Raphael raised an eyebrow, remembering Sarutobi and Shikaku mentioning the Hyuuga's when he was being briefed on his mission. "It's nice to meet you both. I am Raphael Cortez."

Ko nodded. "I thank you both for helping Hinata-sama. I must get her back to the Clan Compound though. Please come along Hinata-sama."

Hinata bit her lip and nodded, but not before turning to them both. "T-T-Thank you for saving me," she said, bowing.

Naruto just grinned. "No problem!" He said, while Raphael bowed in return. With that Ko began to lead Hinata away, though the young girl did look back at Naruto before they disappeared.

Raphael turned to the small boy, who was blinking up at him with vivid blue eyes. "You alright?" He asked, studying the strange whisker like birthmarks on the boy's cheeks.

"Yep! Those jerks were weak!" He said, grinning. He blinked. "Hey wait…you saved me! On my birthday!" He said.

Raphael raised an eyebrow, before both eyes widened. "You were that boy, who Anko-san was defending!"

Naruto nodded. "That was me! Can you teach me!?" He asked eagerly. "You beat those bad men, and it was cool! Teach me please!"

Raphael raised an eyebrow. "You want me to teach you? You mean how to fight and stuff?"

Naruto was practically bouncing up and down. "Yeah! I want to be super cool, like you and the old man! Then everyone will respect me!"

Raphael chuckled at his enthusiasm. "I like your spirit. Maybe I can teach you some stuff. With your parents' permission of course," he said.

Naruto's good mood vaporized and he looked down. "I….I don't have any parents. I'm….an orphan," he said.

Raphael's eyes widened. "You mean you have no one?" He asked.

Naruto shook his head. "No….the mean lady at the orphanage kicked me out, and the old man got me an apartment. No one wanted me." A couple tears were falling from his eyes as he said that.

Raphael lowered his head a bit, his hood completely shadowing his face. He found it rather ironic. Him, an orphan, had been rescued off the streets of Rome by Ezio. And now here he was, given the chance to, in a way, do the same. Slowly, he looked up at Naruto.

"I can teach you. If you promise to work hard, and listen to what I say," he said. "I won't teach you everything I know. What I do….what I know….it's only if you want to follow the same path as me. But there are some basic things I can teach you. Do you agree?" He asked.

Naruto nodded eagerly, as Raphael smiled. 'Then meet me back here tomorrow at eight in the morning. We've got work to do."


And scene! Seemed like a good place to stop. I hope you all enjoyed the first Assassin assassination within the Elemental Nations. Rest assured, It will definitely not be the last.

And now Naruto comes back as the main focus. No more pushing him off to the side.

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter a lot. Please let me know what you think, in either a positive or constructive manner. Purely negative, non constructive reviews AKA Flames will simply be acknowledge as another count towards my review total.

I'd also like to give a big shout out to my betas! Thank you Bill Alain and Kyuubi123! You guys are awesome!

1. From what I've found out, it's unknown if the Sandaime Raikage, or A the Yondaime Raikage ordered the attempt to kidnap Hinata. So I just went with the Yondaime since he seemed the more logical choice, given the fact that Kumo shinobi attempted to abduct Hinata again during the Suna/Oto invasion.

Please review!