Naruto cast a sheepish glance towards Kakashi, Sasuke, and Itachi as they all glared at him.
"Hey it's not like I MEANT to leave you guys out there all night! I-I guess I um sort of...you know...forgot." He chuckled nervously as he rubbed the back of his head. Naruto felt like an idiot for leaving three of his best ninja tied to logs for the night. He could tell that they didn't appreciate being tied to the logs either. Naruto had awoken to an ANBU agent telling him that there was a possible intruder. When he asked if they were positive the ninja had told him about finding those three tied up. Naruto had been forced to explain that their "condition" was his fault. He was now facing the death stares of three powerful Sharingan users and all he could do was sit there laughing at his own stupidity.
"It's not funny Lord Hokage!" Sasuke spat out from clenched teeth. Naruto knew he was serious but couldn't take them seriously. He sat at his desk shaking from suppressed laughter. Finally he just broke down and began to laugh like a mad man. The three men clenched their fists before a flash of pink hair beat them to their target.
"Ow ow ow! What was that for?" Naruto whined. He sat nursing the new lump on his head as Sakura glared at him before she turned to the three men.
"I got this under control. Don't worry, he's gonna get what's coming." She glared at Naruto daring him to say something. He settled with mumbling under his breath, looking quite subdued. The three men glanced at each other before they sighed. Naruto was in a world of pain and they decided to leave him there. They quickly bowed to Sakura, shot another venomous glare at Naruto, and quickly took their leave. Naruto slowly turned to face his enraged wife when he heard a noise from her.
She was laughing. Hard.
Naruto stared at her for a moment, confusion written all over his face, before he shook his head.
"What's so funny?" He asked, still trying to put a little distance between them. She was acting weird and it made him nervous.
"Them...You...Left them!" She was finally able to choke out through her laughter.
Naruto stared for another second before something clicked with him.
"Hey why did I get hit for laughing?!" She just snorted in response, another bout of laughter overtaking her thanks to Naruto's reaction. She was about to comment when a puff of smoke interrupted them. Sakura immediately went on guard at the ANBU who appeared in front of them. She took one look at his appearance and knew something was wrong. Her suspicions were only confirmed when his mask began to fall to pieces. She gasped when Yamato's face was revealed from the mask and he fell to his knees.
"L-lord...Hokage..." He was suffering greatly and sleep was starting to overtake him. He finally choked out the last three words. "Akatsuki...dead...Trouble..." It was all he could do before he finally fell over. Naruto jumped across his desk and caught Yamato before he hit the ground while Sakura ran over and began to check his wounds. Naruto gently laid Yamato on the ground before he stood up and began to bark out orders to the two ANBU agents hidden in the shadows.
Soon they were both off to gather a team to pick up the investigation of the Akatsuki along with new orders to find out what happened to Yamato's team. Pictures of Gaara collapsing in front of him after Hinata was captured began to flash in front of him. He gave his head a quick shake to clear the images before he helped Sakura transport Yamato to the hospital. Among all of the thoughts swirling in his head, only one captured his attention.
'What happened to you Yamato?'
Hotaru slouched against a tree as he tried to catch his breath. Riku and Misaku had approached him earlier wondering if he would train with them. He had quickly accepted and was now panting as he hid from the Uchiha siblings. He tried to form a plan but he felt the tree beneath him begin to move.
'Fuck! How many god damn trees in this god forsaken forest are hers?!' It was the 15th tree he had tried to hide on. It was also the 15th tree that tried to capture him. As he ran through the forest a plan began to form in his mind. He grinned as he began to flash through hand signs before he turned around.
"Wind Style: Grinding Wind Tunnel!"
He shot forward one of his hands and a massive tunnel of wind shot out, cutting down the trees and the pursuing branches. Everything in its way was being sliced down and he grind before he made two quick one handed hand signs and breathed a small flame onto the wind tunnel, watching it ignite and start violently tearing and burning all in its path. He finally canceled the jutsu only to see two Susanoos in the middle of the tunnel of carnage.
"Damn Hotaru! You almost got us!" Riku shouted out, a grin was clearly visible even from where Hotaru was. Riku was wearing his usual outfit of a black shirt that had the Uchiha crest on either shoulder. His pants were black with a red trim. However, what turned the most heads was his black cloak/cape that he wore. It was red on the inside and black on the outside. The outside of it had two Sharingan eyes on it, one located over each shoulder. Most people considered it a hazard for a shinobi but Riku had successfully incorporated its' use into his taijutsu and was even able to use it for defense. His father's best friend Naruto was able to put a seal on the cape that allowed it to withstand anything short of being dipped into a river of acid. He wore the regular black ninja sandals and had wrappings that covered his wrist all the way up to the elbows. He also had a storage seal tattooed to his wrists just like Hotaru and Misaku. In the right seal was his father's sword along with all of his kunai. His left seal held all of his shuriken. He kept his black hair shorter so it didn't fall into his eyes but it resembled Kakashi's hairstyle due to the gravity defying ability it possessed.
Misaku held her hands in a hand sign and smirked at Hotaru, her blue eyes shining with mischief. She had blonde hair like her mother. Her blonde hair was styled exactly like her mom's when she was a teenager. Her style of clothing was also the same as her mom's in her teenage years except the color was different. Instead of purple she wore blue. She had always said that she wanted to look like her mom and it didn't take much convincing to get her mom on her side. Her dad, however, lived up to the stereo type of the "Overprotective father". It took considerably longer to convince him to allow her to wear the clothes. In the end he relented with a promise.
"Fine! But I swear to god if I see one of those boys ogle her I'll kill them"
So far he hadn't lived up to the promise but she figured that he would if things went to far. Hotaru was about to comment back to Riku when he felt the ground open up beneath him.
Before he fell too far, a massive tree formed around him and continued to grow until he was above ground again, the only part of him that could be seen was his face.
"Looks like we win!" Misaku laughed at Hotaru as his face scrunched up in concentration, no doubt trying to move.
"Fine," He said, finally giving up, "This one goes to you guys." The tree receded back into the ground finally releasing Hotaru. He looked down to make sure his clothes were fine. He wore a white undershirt with blue flames on the bottom along with an orange Uzumaki swirl on each shoulder and his back. His pants were black with orange trimmings running down the sides and around the bottoms. He also wore orange gloves with the Uzumaki swirl on the back of each glove. His jacket, which was currently ripped to shreds on several trees throughout the forest, was black that faded to orange flames along the bottom of the jacket and on the bottom half of each sleeve. Like his undershirt, he had an orange Uzumaki swirl on each shoulder and his back. His mom always told him that he inherited his father's "awful love of the color orange." His dad, however, defended the color with a simple "Orange is awesome!" His dad actually had his own Hokage robes made that were orange with black flames at the bottom along with the word "Seventh" on the back.
"So" Hotaru said with a sly smile, "This makes the score me: 15, you guys: 10. I thought you had been training?" He expertly dodged Misaku's punch as she fumed at the comment. He did a quick two finger salute before he disappeared in a flash of yellow and reappeared at home, startling his mom as she had just walked in the door. She jumped and dropped the milk, causing it to spill everywhere. He saw the vein appear on her forehead and gulped.
"H-hi mom. Bye mom!" He quickly flashed away to get his dad as a single shout echoed across the Leaf: "Hotaru!"
Neji slumped into the bar stool as he wearily looked around for Yamato. They had been ambushed by a group of Akatsuki mercenaries that claimed they were the survivors of "the massacre". They had attacked viscously and killed two members of the team before Yamato and himself could finally overpower and kill them. Yamato had said that he would meet him here after he cleaned up the area but the time he had told him had passed over 3 hours ago so he was worried about what happened to his comrade. He was shaken out of his thoughts when a man sat down next to him.
"So your a ninja huh?" The man said as he glanced over at Neji. Neji noticed that the man's right eye was black while his left eye was white.
"Yeah." His response was simple. He didn't have time to talk to a stranger. If Yamato didn't show up soon then Neji was going to head back to the location to find out what happened.
"Where are you from?" The man asked as he took a drink of his beer. "I was only wondering because I seen a Leaf ninja nearly get killed a few miles back. Had to wait for the fighters to leave before I could haul ass this way."
That got Neji's attention. He asked the man a few questions that were all answered. Finally he had one more question.
"What's your name?" Neji asked as he got up to leave.
"Shiro Azu." Neji came to a stop at the last name. When he turned to ask his last question the man was gone.
Shiro watched Neji leave the inn from the tree line. He had told Neji the truth about everthing except for the watching part. He had nearly killed the ANBU with ease but he had to keep him alive so he would bring his message back to Naruto. He dropped his henge after he left the bar, thankful that the Hyuuga hadn't noticed it. After Neji left he began to smile. The board was set and the pieces were moving. Now all he had to do was keep dropping bread crumbs so he could keep the trail warm.
He began to get giddy with the thought of killing Naruto. He took a deep breath to calm himself down. He didn't need to succumb to the bloodlust yet. Yet being the key word. He hadn't been lying when he told Neji he was from the Azu clan. The bloodlust was a testimony to the truth of that statement. Still he couldn't keep the smile off of his lips when a certain thought crossed his mind.
'Only a few more pawns left before I can finally attack the king.'
His smile grew even further before he began to walk down the road towards Neji's future location while whistling another tune.
Yamato's eyes shot open when he heard a crashing sound and he tried to sit up. A sharp pain in his side quickly stopped his movement. He looked around before he noticed two tangles of hair picking something up off the floor.
'Blonde and pink. That can only mean-'
"Naruto you have to be more careful! Now I need to get another glass!" The pinkette groaned at her "situation" of no water.
"Sorry Sakura." The Hokage replied sheepishly. He finished picking up the glass and stood up before he noticed Yamato was awake. "Yamato! Thank god your ok!" Naruto quickly threw away the glass before he pulled a chair up beside Yamato's bed.
"Naruto don't even think about questioning him now!" Sakura was about to go on a rant about his health and how he needed to recover but Yamato stopped that with a wave of his hand.
"It's fine Sakura. Thank you for your concern but I have some very important information that can not wait." He turned to Naruto before he began to tell him what happened. Naruto sat and listened the whole time, his facial expression growing grim when Yamato told him of the losses. Finally he reached the end of recalling his fight with the man, Shiro, when he took a deep breath. "Your not going to like this part Naruto."
Naruto's face grew even more grim at those words. "I may not like it but I need to know what were up against."
Yamato's face adopted a sad look at Naruto's answer but he continued anyways. "H-he has a power greater than that of the Sage of the Six Paths." Naruto's mouth dropped open but Yamato wasn't finished. "He had the Eternal Mangekyou Byaku-Rinnegan."
The sound of Sakura's clipboard hitting the floor was heard throughout the deathly silent room.
AN: BOOM didn't see that coming did you! Yup this new enemy has a combination of the Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan, the Byakugan, and the Rinnegan. How will Naruto and the others fight that? Well the only way to find out is simple: keep reading! Thank you for reading and please leave a review of your favorite part and/or any suggestions you have. Again: thank you for reading and as always enjoy!