What goes up must come down
Neokenshin: Well it has been insane for the past few weeks. And I'm still reeling that I got that nomination for the Naruto Fanfiction Awards.
Naruto: Yeah whatever. All that matters to me is that my Hina-chan is alive!!! She didn't die in the Manga. (of course he's right now squeezing the life out of her)
Hinata(gasping for air):Naru-chan...can't breathe!!!
Naruto: Oh uh sorry Hina-chan. But yeah the manga was awesome, considering that I'm finally standing face to face with Minato and he told me I'm his son! The readers are gonna flip in the upcoming chapters!
Neokenshin: Yeah yeah, well right now all is good in the Naruto Manga world. And speaking of which, I did find out who the person was that nominated this story. As I've stated, wonderful fan of this story is getting a permanent character in the story!
Hinata: And we'd all like to congratulate and thank SheldoOg21 for being an absolute wonderful reader and for the nomination! So later in the story you'll get to finally meet his character that will be joining the cast!
Neokenshin: I had a chance to meet this new character, he's not too bad.
Naruto: Is he a good guy or a bad guy?
Neokenshin: Actually he'll be joining up with Team Illumina. Due to his backstory, it gave me a TON of ideas as to what to do with him!
Hinata: But for now everyone enjoy the newest chapter! As always Naruto isn't owned by Neokenshin! And remember to vote for our story! We're in the running for Best Sequel! The link will be posted at the end of the chapter!!! Thanks again to all our wonderful fans and readers!!!
Chapter 17: What goes up must eventually come down
Things had been faring quite well for Konoha and its guardian Illumina Knights. With the recent arrival of Inuyasha, the Gobi, the Illumina Team has turned the tides in the Bijuu Wars, taking a heavy advantage of 5 Bijuu to 3. With the apparent return of the Snow Team and Makoto, the Rokubi, the Illumina Knights are looking to take charge and end this war once and for all. Unfortunately war is like a sound wave, it has its peaks and lows. Unfortunately for Team Illumina, things were about to start going downhill...big time!
Shikamaru was strolling through Konoha after finishing up at the Training Center. He had just spoken with Temari and learned that she and the other girls were in training at Makoto's temple and wouldn't be back for another 5 months. Of course he did say it was troublesome that he wouldn't get to see his fiancée for nearly half a year, but he was ok with it. Things were going well in this war and by the way the events had played out, it looked like it was going to be a great victory when it ended.
"Hard to believe we've come so far from the time we started all of this." he said to himself while he saw some kids playing at the park. "Who would have thought we'd be fighting for the fate of the entire world as we know it."
"That's the life of someone destined for great things." Shikamaru looked back to see his former sensei Asuma. "It's something not many people experience in life. But you have done quite well since I started training that lazy kid back then."
"You're only saying that because I gave you a challenge in shogi." Shikamaru replied. "Otherwise you would have gone mentally insane from dealing with Ino squealing at Sasuke and Chouji eating every second of his life."
"You got me there. Come on, let's walk. We haven't really had a chance to converse in a while." Asuma said as he and his student began to walk through town.
"Asuma, tell me something. Are we really doing the right thing? I mean we're placing so many people at risk with Akatsuki. Just leaving Itachi alone is dangerous enough as it is." Shikamaru questioned himself.
"You're asking me when you know the answer to that already?" Asuma took another puff of his cigarette. "Shikamaru, how do you think we've gotten so far? It's not because Chouji can level a mountain, or because Ino can talk to plants. A lot of it is because you have all come together to face these challenges and overcome them." He placed his hand on Shika's shoulder in confidence. "Don't tell me you already forgot about your first mission as a Chuunin squad leader."
"The only reason I got that mission is because Naruto wasn't thinking clearly, and Kasumi was worse off that he was." Shikamaru admitted. "They could have done the same thing as I could...well maybe Kasumi could have."
"Shikamaru, I think you're leaving something out. What did Kasumi tell you after that mission ended?" asked Asuma.
"What did she...hmm?" Shikamaru said, remembering the aftermath of that mission.
With the end of the Sasuke Retrieval Mission, all of the Konoha shinobi was finally enjoying some nice time to relax. After the debriefing that had Tsunade literally confused out of her mind, the kids were all on their way out, but Kasumi had something she needed to get off her chest.
"Shikamaru wait up." she called out the Nara.
"What is it Kasumi?" Shikamaru asked.
"Listen, I really want to thank you...for everything yesterday." Kasumi said in gratitude. "Honestly I don't even know if Sasuke would be here without you."
"Oh please, I didn't do that much. He's our friend and we went to help him. I'd do that for anyone here." Shikamaru said before he noticed Kasumi tearing up.
"That's not it. I was in such a wreck yesterday that I really thought I had lost him forever. Sasuke means the world to me and I don't know if I..." Kasumi cried before Shikamaru interrupted her.
"You aren't even my girlfriend and you're already troublesome, you know that Kasumi?" he said. "Listen, everyone here knows how much he means to you, and we were all ready to lay our lives on the line for him, all because we know that he would do the same for each of us, as would you. Family sticks together Kasumi. We may not be related by clan, by blood, by whatever, but we are all shinobi of the same village, and that is what bonds us together." He just looked away and sighed. "Plus did you really want Naruto leading the bunch of us when he was ready to snap himself??"
Kasumi did get what he meant. Even though Naruto was a Chuunin as well, his leadership skills were yet to be developed properly. "You're right about that." She then went up and hugged him from behind. "But thank you again. I'll always remember this."
"Ok ok! Geez, you're trying to get me on Temari's bad side, aren't you?" he gasped for air.
"Hey, she's my friend. I can do a lot worse if I wanted." Kasumi said with a slight chuckle.
"You girls really are troublesome." Shikamaru groaned in defeat.
"Shikamaru, have you ever noticed you're like a shogi piece? I would have to say you're a knight." Asuma commented, while Shikamaru was slightly confused. "You never move straight forward, but you're one of the most complex in terms of moves. And with a good move, you can easily turn the tide in a losing battle. And you're also one of the strongest pieces available to protect the king."
"How can a knight do that, when the rook, bishop, or queen can move even more?" Shikamaru asked.
"It's not about how far you can move, but how strategic you can move." Asuma replied. "And the more strategic you are, the better you can protect the king."
"Ok I get that, but now who's the king? The Hokage?" Shikamaru questioned.
"That's a lesson for another day. Take care Shikamaru." Asuma said as he took his leave.
"Hmm, to protect the king...the king." Shikamaru thought to himself.
"Well Kurenai-sensei, it looks like you're doing just fine. No major health problems and the baby is coming along fine." Sakura said after she finished up a checkup on Kurenai. "I still can't believe you're pregnant! I just hope the other girls can make it back in time for the baby to be born!"
"I'm sure they will Sakura. And this baby will be in good hands with all of you girls around." Kurenai sat up from her sofa and adjusted her dress. "But it's going to feel so strange not being in active duty for another 6 months."
"What's so strange? Do you really think you can perform as a Jounin while carrying an extra mouth to feed?" questioned Sakura.
"Akane-sama did it before she became the Kyuubi, and she was hours away from having Naruto!" Kurenai replied jokingly. Sakura just looked at her in disgust at how crazy she sounded. "I'm kidding Sakura! I'll be staying on limited duty until they place me on official maternity status."
"Good! That's all we need is another case of Naruto Syndrome running around. It's like he's wearing off on everyone!" Sakura sighed. "I hope Hinata gets back fast so she can keep that nut job in check!"
"Oh he can't be that bad Sakura. Remember that little secret you told me when you were still a genin?" Kurenai said, probing into one of Sakura's inner secrets.
"Look that was just..." Kurenai kept staring at her. "I mean we all knew...ok! So I had a small crush on Naruto when I was 5 years old! But he's still a crazy nut job, and now his cousin is with him!"
"Oh I happen to like Kimiko. Especially since she keeps Kiba under control. Have you heard those two flirt the way they do?" Kurenai asked.
"Please don't remind me! But it's crazy, it seems like it wasn't too long ago that we all got out of the academy. I still remember how upset I was that I didn't get on a team with Sasuke or Ino." Sakura said in remembrance.
"And look what it got you?" Kurenai was already in her kitchen making tea. "You're the top apprentice to the legendary medic Sannin, you're an exceptional shinobi, and you actually got Rock Lee to drop the spandex!"
"Well it wasn't THAT hard." Sakura gave herself a small compliment.
"Sakura, we thought he was corrupted by Gai for eternity! You should be proud." Kurenai said with a smile.
"Yeah I know. But the real story is how you managed to finally snag that hunk Asuma-sensei!" Sakura asked as she began to sip her tea. "To think that he's gonna be the proud papa to your little baby!"
"Asuma's just...well...I don't know what you could call him. But he's loveable anyway." Kurenai chuckled.
It did seem that Konoha was doing quite well, thought deception always lies in the shadows and things were not boding quite well.
"Something's not right. It's been almost a month and we haven't noticed any activity from Akatsuki. With the exception of Makoto dealing with Kisame, it's been way too quiet." Akane said as she was in conference with her siblings. "What also puzzles me is Inuyasha's nemesis Naraku has the Shikon no Tama."
"You don't think he's planning on joining up with Madara, do you? That could really make things difficult if it turns out to be true." asked Mai. "I mean we still don't know the full capabilities he has with his Eternal Mangekyo Sharingan."
"There's also the problem that he still has Shinja, Tsukune, and Hiroshi held captive. Even though the kids have enough have enough power to most likely stop Akane, we still don't know if it will be enough. What if Madara's planning to break the seal on Ryukotsusei?" Yugito said in concern. "It took everything all of us had to seal him, and without the others, we'd stand no chance of stopping him. Not even with all the kids in full Overdrive would we have a chance."
"Yugito's right. For now we need to find out what may be in store." Akane said. "Kagome, I have a question? What would Naraku seek to gain with the Shikon no Tama?"
"Well the jewel itself has the ability to amplify the strength of any demon that uses it. Even a simple shard could increase a demon's power by nearly double. With the jewel itself, you're looking at an exponential power increase." Kagome explained. "However he would need a miko or someone that wields miko energy in order to release the power of the jewel. Even then it would need to be a high level of miko energy."
"You don't think that they may be trying to use the Shikon no Tama to amplify Bijuu Chakra, do you?" Mai brought the question forward since they could all be affected by the jewel.
"If that's the case then, just how much of a power boost would we be talking about?" Inuyasha said. "Would the kids even be able to handle that?"
"I'm afraid if Naraku were to use the full power of the jewel on one of the Bijuu, it could amplify their pure demonic energy and chakra tenfold." Kagome stated.
"Then there would be no way the kids would win without our help! It would take all 10 of them in Overdrive just to handle Yugito, Inuyasha, Shinja, or Tsukune." Akane said. "But if they were to use it on any of the rest of us..."
"We'd be in one hell of a fight." Inuyasha commented. "Speaking of their Overdrives, why hasn't Kasumi unlocked hers if Akane has been here the whole time?"
"She's not ready for it just yet. If she were to get her Overdrive now, the energy strain could kill her. That's why I can't unlock her Overdrive. For now she'll be ok with the Gem Fusion Overdrives." Akane replied.
"Akane, I don't think you're telling us the real reason. Even though Daisuke and I have half the power you have, it still put Sasuke and Hinata through a pretty rough strain, but they made it through." Mai said, after feeling a little suspicious. "You're hiding something and it's not good."
"Akane-chan, she's right. If Kasumi can handle the power of two gems at once, she should easily be able to handle her Overdrive." Yugito commented as well. "Do you just not have faith in your own daughter and her ability?"
"Shut it Yugito! I said she's not ready and I mean it!" Akane snapped back. "Don't forget that as the most powerful Bijuu in this room, I have majority rule as to what goes on here. Question me again and you'll be sorry, little sister!"
Everyone just stared at Akane. To think they hit that bad of a nerve with her??? "Akane, calm down. I don't believe anyone was trying to provoke you. My guess is that it was a legitimate concern since by now Haku has already had Makoto unlock her Overdrive, leaving Kasumi and Itachi left." Daisuke said in hopes of calming his sister.
"I'm sorry. Right now I've just been having some very bad feelings about Kasumi and the others. It's like they have a dark cloud hanging over them." Akane said after sitting down to calm herself. "I'm just really worried about them, and if I were to give Kasumi her Overdrive, I feel like it could bring a lot of trouble right now."
"Actually I have foreseen these bad omens. I did a spiritual reading, and it was like the spirits were telling me that the team is going to be facing very dark times. What was even more disturbing was that they told me that at least one, possibly two members of Team Illumina will die in the future." Kagome said, causing a very disturbing reaction among the group.
"Kagome, you can't be serious! Our team is way too strong to fall like that." Mai replied.
"Mai, she's serious. As a High Priestess, her readings have never been wrong." Inuyasha said in defense. "There hasn't been one time that she's done a reading and it was wrong."
"Well, who is it that dies? You gotta know that, right?" asked the Shichibi.
"Unfortunately I don't know. But here's the worst part of that reading. The one that kills the two members...is a member of Team Illumina! Someone in the group is going to be the one to kill two of their friends!" Kagome said, making the air in the room completely worse.
"Ok now that I cannot believe! Why would any of them even consider turning traitor! They've all been best of friends since they were all little kids, and they're all practically family!" Yugito exclaimed in confusion. "I'm sorry, but refuse to believe that."
"I know it's bad, but that's what I was told." Kagome replied in defense. "I didn't want to believe it either!"
"For now just keep this between us. We can't let them lose focus when they're all working so hard to stop Akatsuki." Arashi added his comments. "Besides guys, remember how visions go with our team? Last I remember Sasuke had a crazy vision about killing Kasumi, but that didn't happen now, did it?"
"No, it ended up with Naruto being killed. As of right now Hinata's the only one that can use the Tenrai Serei Souki, so that would mean unless she's with one of the people that is killed or gets killed herself, then as the kids would put it…we're screwed!" Akane replied. "And what's worse if she's the one that goes traitor!"
"An Evil Hinata???" everyone else in the room all said in unison.
"Ok Akane, even we all know that will never happen. The only person I could see Hinata actually killing would be Naruto…or maybe Mikoto." Mai said, getting a downhearted look from the Uchiha head.
"I said I was sorry about all of that!!!" Mikoto whined.
"You've summoned me Madara-sama?" asked the Rinnegan wielder as he entered Madara's chamber.
"Pein, come, let us converse." Madara welcomed his subordinate. "I take it you know my friend Naraku?"
"We have spoken on occasion." Pein sent a look of respect to Naraku, while the demon nodded in acknowledgement. "I believe you have made a wise choice in allying him for the goals of Akatsuki."
"Excellent. Now, it seems that thanks to Kisame's failure with the Rokubi, Konoha is short 4 of their Illumina Knights. I think it may be a good time to do some special reconnaissance. I'll need you to send message to our contact there. I would send Konan, but I'm afraid this mission would be far too dangerous and we can't risk having her captured." Madara instructed. "Besides, it's time that foolish war hawk paid his dues."
"Any particular orders you wish for me to include in your message?" asked Pein.
"Yes, have him send any type of information he can on the Illumina Knights. Also see if there is a way he can find out the secret to unlocking the power of the Shikon no Tama." Madara stated. "It is time we set our plans in motion and turn the tides in this war."
"As you wish Madara-sama." Pein bowed and took his leave to prepare the message.
"Alright Danzo, as I have stated if you come through with this, you'll hold that pitiful title of Hokage, while I shall sit as Supreme Ruler of this world." Madara laughed.
Tsunade sat in her office, once again troubled by the grief of paperwork. Even after finally using the Kage Bunshin to speed things up, now she was getting annoyed by Koharu and Homura, Konoha's resident "elder advisors". In reality they were Konoha's old stewed prunes in Tsunade's eyes, just because they were the former teammates to her sensei Hiruzen Sarutobi. It seemed now that with things being fairly quiet due to the lack of Akatsuki activity, the two were trying to push Tsunade into reorganizing Team Illumina into a specifically trained attack force that worked with ROOT, a secret ANBU level corps that was led by Danzo, a crazed old war hawk that always felt military superiority was needed in any ninja village. With the power that Team Illumina controlled, if he could have the group under his command, he said that he could reform them into the ultimate strike force that could decimate any opposing enemy. But in reality it was all just a bunch of crap that he kept spewing all because he wasn't chosen for Hokage.
"Ugh, what is it now! I'm busy!" Tsunade grumbled as she saw Homura and Koharu enter her office.
"So, fast at work I see. And taking the easy way to work, aren't you Tsunade-hime?" Koharu said after seeing her Kage Bunshin fast at work.
"Actually it's called 'working smarter, not harder'. I took some advice from my successor. You know he does have some very good information since he is the future Rokudaime." Tsunade said, as she talked about what Naruto told her.
"That boy is still too unpredictable, even if he's a Chuunin." Homura said. "He still has far too much to learn before he would even be accepted as Hokage."
"Ok you really must be going senile. Not only is Naruto being groomed by one of the greatest Hokages we've had since the formation of the village, but he possesses a stronger Will of Fire than anyone. That boy would lay down his very life for this village in an instant! You have to be an idiot to think negatively of him." Tsunade said in Naruto's defense. "And if it came down to it that something happened to him, every single one of his friends would be at his side instantly."
"They've all become soft with their Illumina Power. Strip them of that and they're no better than academy graduates." Homura said. "They need to be trained under proper shinobi. Assign them to ROOT so that they may be trained and refined."
"I've said it before Team Illumina will NOT be assigned under that old war hawk! Assigning them to ROOT would be like cancelling the alliances we've made with all the Bijuu villages!" Tsunade retorted. "And I trust you do not want to lose some very powerful allies like that...especially considering if you anger one, you are pretty much angering them all, including all the main clans of Konoha."
"If the clans are clouded by their bias then the council will have to override them." Koharu said stoically.
"Do you really think that you are going to have the council override the clans? Have you forgotten that with the exception of you two, Danzo, and the civilian council, every single seated member of the council has a member in Team Illumina! Do you really believe you'd be able to change the votes of those clans?" Tsunade asked.
"You must be mistaken. The Inuzuka, Akimichi, Nara, Aburame, Yamanaka, and Haruno clans have all been loyal to the prosperity and growth of this village. They all know that if there is a possible threat, they will band together to protect their home." Koharu said. "Even the Hyuuga would not stand if someone turned against them."
"Do you realize just what you are saying? Just how idiotic are you! Out of all those clans listed, let's see Kiba's the recon specialist, Chouji is the Earth Knight, Shikamaru is head of logistics and one of the teams commanders, Shino is a special diplomatic representative to Suna, who mind you the Kazekage is very good friends with Naruto, Ino is the Wood Knight, and Sakura is my personal apprentice and medical specialist for the team. Every single one of their parents and clans know of the work those kids are doing. Not a single one has expressed any signs of disappointment in them. Even Sarutobi-sensei's grandson has shown interest in learning the Rasengan which mind you was created by the Yondaime himself, AND he's also been named as one of the new members of Team Illumina's Support, namely to be trained by Naruto, the Wind Knight!!!" Tsunade replied. "He plans to surpass his grandfather, your teammate, and follow in Naruto's footsteps as Shichidaime!"
"Still if they had the training from ROOT..." Homura tried to interject, but Tsunade wouldn't let him.
"Still nothing! As far as I'm concerned, when Team Illumina is working as a unit on their own, they surpass even my best ANBU!" Tsunade had enough. She wasn't about to hear anymore of this. "Now either drop this subject or I will personally bring this before the council, and as the head and survivor of the Senju bloodline I will guarantee you that this matter will be shot down instantly with a unanimous vote from the council! Even your so-called civilian council would agree with me. Those kids have shown their loyalty to this village is iron-clad, and every single civilian knows it. They know just what those kids are doing and they know that if even one of them turned on the village, then something serious was wrong."
"Tsunade-hime, your blindness shows your immaturity and foolishness. That will lead this village to destruction." Koharu snapped back. "Fine then, do as you wish." With that, the two elders took their leave.
Tsunade rubbed her temples in frustration, "I swear those two relics will drive me insane! Not only that, but now Danzo has one of his ROOT agents join Team Illumina as well! What does he think this Sai kid is gonna accomplish? And if matters didn't get any worse, there are rumors of Akatsuki skulking around here in Fire Country." She looked over some documents showing an attack on a temple in the northern area. She did have a good idea who could investigate this matter however. "Get me Asuma, Shikamaru, Izumo, and Kotetsu," she ordered over her intercom.
Tsunade herself wasn't the only one having problems. Due to some kind of strings pulled, Danzo managed to have a specially trained ROOT shinobi by the name of Sai inducted as a member of Team Illumina. That really didn't bode quite well, especially with Naruto.
"Ok why the hell do we have this pale looking freak in our team? We've taken on the Bijuu themselves, and he thinks his ink jutsu or whatever is good enough to help us?" Naruto said in disappointment. "I don't care if he is ANBU rank!"
"Naruto, calm down. Just because he's higher ranked than all of us, it doesn't prove that he's better. Somehow this Danzo guy thinks he's a good asset to our team." Sasuke said in doubt.
"Good asset my ass! Kimiko's 10 times better than this guy! At least she knows purification abilities, and is a hanyou! All this guy has is a load of paintbrushes, some freaky midriff thing going on, and a pale disposition." Naruto replied back.
"And I find it hard to believe a dickless loser like you has a girlfriend." Sai said in a stoic voice. However it was followed up with a very fierce strike in the face from Naruto.
"WHAT WAS THAT YOU PIECE OF CRAP!!!" Naruto roared in rage. Sasuke was doing everything he could to restrain his brother, but a part of him wanted to let him go.
"Hmm, I would have though a girl like you could hit harder." Sai said. "Still doesn't matter anyway."
"Sasuke, I'm going to kill him. I'm going to rip him to shreds, then burn his remains to ashes, then scatter those ashes to the most remote parts of the world!" Naruto screamed.
"So I guess girls like you do have bad mood swings. Maybe you and your sister holding you back should get medical treatment." Sai said, causing a nerve to snap in Sasuke.
"Forget this Naruto, I'm gonna kill this sorry bastard!" Sasuke was about to make his move when Naruto held him back.
"Hold up Sasuke, don't go overboard now." Naruto tried his hardest to hold back the Uchiha.
"Still quite weak. Oh well." Sai simply melted into the ground in a pool of ink as he took his leave.
"If I find out who's lame idea it was to have that freak added to our team, I'll..." Naruto was fuming over having the ROOT agent in the team.
"Uh having a bad day Naruto?" asked Sakura as she met up with the boys.
"It could be better. Sasuke and I just met our new teammate. Apparently there's been all this talk about having us being trained by some secret ANBU squad called ROOT. Baa-chan said it was the dumbest idea ever, and I couldn't agree more." Naruto replied. "But for some reason this Danzo guy or whatever said it would be good if one of his ROOT members were a part of our team."
"Oh yeah, I remember hearing Tsunade-sensei talking about that. She wasn't very happy with all that." Sakura replied. "Even I don't understand it myself. I mean we just added Kimiko-chan to the roster, so why we need someone else, I don't really know."
"Sakura's right. At least Kimiko has a solid connection due to the fact that she's Uncle Inuyasha's daughter, but Sai is just...well...who knows!" Sasuke added. "But now that you think about it, this really doesn't feel right. Why is it that all of a sudden, someone thinks we need training by ANBU to be better shinobi?"
"Are you saying that there might be some trouble brewing, Sasuke-kun?" asked Sakura in question.
"Yeah. I can't put my finger on it, but for some reason I have a bad feeling about this. It's almost like something really big is gonna be happening." Sasuke said, causing Naruto and Sakura to feel a little suspicious.
"Well for now, let's just brush it off. We gotta get to training. We're supposed to be working more with Akemi and Konohamaru's teams today." Naruto said. "We need to go ahead and get over to the Training Facility."
"Good point Naruto. They all seem to be doing really well adjusting to the new Elemental Armor, and they're just Genin. But I do feel a little bad that Moegi still has to wait for Haku to come back. Everyone else is moving forward and she still doesn't have her Ice Elemental Armor." Sakura replied.
"She may not have that, but she is still working on her medical skills, so at least she has that. Plus there's news that Dr. Sakurano is working on a brand new upgrade to our transformers that will let us link with the Support Team in battle. It's supposedly called the Overdrive project or something." Sasuke explained. "I think it's going to boost the defensive abilities of your Elemental Armor when we go Overdrive or something."
"Hmm sounds interesting. Hey, speaking of Overdrive forms, have you guys ever noticed that Kasumi-chan still doesn't have her Overdrive, even though Akane-sama's been with us longer than any other Bijuu? Now that I think about it, shouldn't she have at least gotten hers the moment we explained what happened with Naruto?" Sakura asked, causing Naruto and Sasuke to wonder as well.
"You're right Sakura. Oka-san should have been able to unlock her Overdrive almost immediately. I'm gonna ask her about that later." Naruto said.
"You wanted to see us Tsunade-sama?" asked Shikamaru as he stood before the Hokage.
"Yes. I have a mission for you four." Tsunade handed the mission dossier to Asuma. "We've been getting rumors of Akatsuki here in Fire Country. Apparently there was a temple attacked and destroyed. The rumors say that there are two people causing this."
"Any idea as to who it could be?" asked Asuma.
"Well we know it wouldn't be Pein. Itachi said he normally handles the major jobs. Konan's out as well since that's Itachi's girlfriend. Deidara and Sasori are dead, and Kisame was seen in Water County. The only ones I can think of are Kakuzu, Hidan, Zetsu, and that new guy, Tobi or whatever his name is." Shikamaru said. "Do we know how the damage was done?"
"Not at this time. The only thing picture we have to go on is this." Tsunade said, handing a picture to Shikamaru.
"A circle of blood?" Shikamaru studied the picture and wasn't sure what it was. "This isn't much but maybe it's a key we can go by."
"Good, for now you four head out. I'm keeping Ino and Chouji on standby for you. Now move out immediately." Tsunade ordered.
"Can this get any more boring?" Akemi sat by one of the training posts as she watched her friends work on practicing with their Elemental Armor. Since she was the first one to use the new technology, she had more experience with it and had learned to use it quite well. Since the support team learned that their armor would become stronger similar to the way the Knights grew in their Illumina Power, Akemi had learned to use her own chakra to strengthen her Starburst Shield and Starburst Ray. But with Kasumi now training with Makoto, Akemi didn't have her Knight mentor so she was basically stumped. "Why couldn't I have gone with Kasumi-nee-chan?"
"Hey short stack, why so glum?" asked Kimiko as she sat down beside her cousin to watch the training.
"I'm bored! Everyone else is starting to train with their new armor, but I've already gotten used to mine so I don't have anything to do!" Akemi whined.
"Hmm, you know, maybe you can help me out Akemi." Kimiko said. "I just got my new gloves from Tenten and I'm itching to try them out."
"Oh wow, those look really cool!" Akemi said in awe as she saw Kimiko's new gloves. "What do they do?"
"Well, Tenten made them so that I can focus my Inu Chakra and my Light Chakra together. Watch this." Kimiko showed off her new gloves by forming a bright pink longbow. "Since I can use purification arrows, she also created a special seal that I can store my arrows in so I don't have to carry a quiver." She showed Akemi the small seal in the palm of her right glove.
"Sweet! What else can you do with it?" asked the kitsune genin.
"I can also use my chakra to change the bow into a staff for close range fighting, and it even allows me to focus my Light Chakra even more so my purification skills are stronger." Kimiko said. "Also she was able to integrate some kind of communicator like you guys have."
"So you can transform into an armor form also?" Akemi wondered in question.
"Nope. But that's cool anyway. I like watching you guys transform. Besides Tenten said it didn't matter since I've already been made part of Team Illumina anyway. Aunt Akane said I was a "purification specialist" or something like that." Kimiko replied. "I wonder, you said you have that Light Element Armor or something like that, right? Do you have some kind of shield you can use?"
"Yeah, mine's the Light element." Akemi answered. "And yeah I have my Starburst Shield."
"Good, then I wanna test out my new arrows on it and see just what it can do. Don't worry I won't aim for you, just for the shield." Kimiko said. "Come on, let's get training."
"Ok, it's official...I liked it better when my sister was training us!" Hanabi was breathing heavy after handling another intense attack from Sasuke. Since Hinata was away, she had been practicing her water attacks with Sasuke...though it proved a little intense since he and Naruto had been training the group in Bankai form. "Sasuke, you could at least give me a little bit of a chance? You know my Aqua Barrier and Aqua Wave can't hold up like Hina-chan's abilities!"
"Oh come on! I was going easy! I actually used my Fire Storm at half power." Sasuke chuckled. "At least Hoshiko was about to hold up a little more."
"That's because she's your matching support member! It's a little easier to use fire against fire you know!" Hanabi snapped back.
"It's ok Hanabi-chan. I like having him push me to my limit. This way I'm sure to get better with my skills." Hoshiko said as she was channeling a green chakra into her arm to nurse a burn. "So Sasuke-san, how am I doing?"
"I have to say, I'm pleased with the way you're handling the Flare Shot attack. As for your Fire Wall trap defense, work on intensifying the fire so that it will make sure nothing penetrates it. Otherwise, you're doing really well." Sasuke said. "But I do think you guys need to step it up a notch. This time, we'll see how you handle Fire Storm at full power, and if you're lucky...you may just survive a Flare Explosion."
Hanabi and Hoshiko heard that and looked at Sasuke like he was a madman! "Yipe!" said the two kitsune Hyuuga in fear.
Now Naruto was a much different story. Since Neji was training Udon with his new Lightning Armor and Haku would handle Moegi's training when she returned, Konohamaru got the lucky chance to train with his hero and rival. But Naruto wasn't about to go easy on the Sarutobi heir. Instead...
"You think you call yourself my Support Knight with those lame attacks!" Naruto was airborne launching a volley of Air Blades at the Sarutobi. "Prove to me why you're worthy of being my rival! Show me how you command the power of the winds!"
"STORM TORNADO!" Konohamaru screamed as he summoned two swirling tornadoes around himself to shield him from Naruto's attack. "I'm not gonna back down from you Boss! It's gonna take more to beat me!"
"Unbelievable! He's just like I was a few years ago. And to think that he sees me as his rival and his hero. Well buddy boy, I'm gonna make sure you're worthy to follow in the footsteps of Naruto Uzumaki. Besides I gotta toughen you up so you don't get beat down when you end up doing something stupid in front of Akemi-chan." Naruto thought to himself as he saw Konohamaru continue to fight back. "Well guess I better up the ante a little and see how he does."
"Is that all you got Boss?" asked the young Sarutobi.
"Oh I've been going easy on you. See as far as I'm concerned you have yet to prove to me as to why you should be allowed to date Akemi-chan." Naruto said with an evil grin. "And right now, I hope you're ready to die, because the only way you're gonna be able to see her is in the afterlife! WIND OVERDRIVE!" Naruto exploded into his Overdrive form, causing the winds to become even more violent around Konohamaru. "Prepare yourself for death, boy!" With one swing, Naruto sent a glowing green blade of wind directly at Konohamaru.
"That blade's too powerful for my Wind Cutter attack. Even my Storm Tornado won't block it. Looks like I'm gonna have to do something else to stop the Boss." Konohamaru thought to himself as he jumped out of the way. "I may have to try it. Even though he has more power in that jutsu, I have no choice!"
"Running are you? Pathetic! I trained you better than that!" Naruto said, launching another wind blade.
"Oh yeah, why don't you come down here and say that! I'll show you just how much I've learned from you!" Konohamaru stated as he formed a cross seal to create a clone.
"Kage Bunshin...so he wants to challenge me to a Rasengan duel. Well I don't wanna upset Akemi-chan, so...I'll just use enough power to knock him senseless. That way she can pamper him." Naruto said to himself as he landed. "I gotta say, he's gonna be a fine shinobi as he gets older. I think I might even make him my replacement if I retire from being an Illumina Knight." He looked directly at the Sarutobi and saw a burning fire in his eyes and knew just how serious Konohamaru was. "Alright boy! It's time you bow to the master of Winds!"
"Bring it!" Konohamaru said as his clone was already forming the circular ball of chakra, trademark of the Uzumaki. Even though it was considered the trademark jutsu of the clan, a few others that were deemed worthy were taught the jutsu.
"Oh it shall be brought, boy!" Naruto said, forming his own Rasengan, glowing with green energy. Naruto knew the Rasenshuriken would do way too much damage, so he just used his wind chakra to change it green in color. Of course with all the energy he had released from his Overdrive, he did draw the attention of everyone else.
"Hey what's the deal with...oh no...he can't do that!" Akemi turned to notice that Konohamaru was standing down Naruto trying to use the Rasengan. It had only been 3 weeks since Naruto began training him, and she knew that Konohamaru was struggling enough as it is.
"What's he trying to do?" asked Kimiko.
"He's trying to take on my brother using the Rasengan! With the power that Naruto's using, he'd absolutely destroy Konohamaru!" Akemi cried out. "I gotta stop this!"
"Akemi, wait. Do you really believe Naruto would do that?" Kimiko asked calmly.
"That's just it! When Naruto's in Overdrive he can get crazy sometimes!" Akemi said in worry. "I know he likes to do the 'Big brother' thing with me, but I can't let him hurt my boyfriend!"
"Then it seems you may doubt him. From what I can tell, Naruto has already given the brotherly approval to your relationship. I think this is probably just a little...initiation of some sort." Kimiko said. "Have faith in both of them."
"I hope you're right." Akemi said, hoping that Konohamaru would be ok.
Konohamaru turned to see a worried Akemi looking at him. "She's worried about me. Well I'll make sure she knows that I'm strong enough to protect her even if I'm not a Kitsune. I'll even show you Boss that I'm worthy to be her boyfriend!" His eyes burned even more as he focused all of his chakra into the sphere. He was ready to give it his all to prove to Naruto his skill level. "Alright Boss! I'm taking you out!" he screamed as he charged towards his hero.
"We'll see about that Konohamaru!" Naruto said, rushing in as well. "I hope you're ready!"
"I'll show you ready! RASENGAN!" Konohamaru shot his arm out, thrusting the chakra sphere.
"WIND RASENGAN!" Naruto countered, causing the jutsu to clash. The two were locked as the winds began to swirl violently, Naruto was easily unmoved but Konohamaru was not going to back down. Naruto looked at his face and could see the determination in his eyes. "You are really amazing Konohamaru. I'm proud to see you like this. You're gonna be one hell of a Shichidaime Hokage." he thought to himself.
"You're...going..." Konohamaru struggled but Naruto wasn't gonna move.
"I think you mean, you're going down!" Naruto said, overpowering Konohamaru with the jutsu. He sent the Sarutobi spiraling back into one of the wooden posts, leaving him pretty battered. "You still got a long way to go kid."
After seeing Konohamaru go barreling into the post, Akemi ran full speed over to her boyfriend, hoping he was ok. "Maru-kun, are you ok?"
"I...did I..." he said weakly as he tried to get to his feet.
"Give him a few minutes and he'll be ok." Naruto said as he powered down. "Gotta say he put up quite a fight."
"Naruto you idiot, why did you go overboard!" Akemi cried while she held her boyfriend. "You didn't have to hurt him like that."
"He...didn't hurt me. I had...to prove..." Konohamaru stuttered out.
"Akemi-chan, all he wanted to do was prove to me just how strong he is." Naruto said as he kneeled down beside the two. "As your older brother, I have high expectations for the man who will be protecting my sister. And right now in my eyes, Konohamaru has exceeded those expectations." Naruto explained, causing a change of reaction from his sister. "Not only does he bring you happiness, but I know that he will give his own life for you, just as I would for Hina-chan."
"So I...did good...Boss?" Konohamaru asked.
"You did awesome Konohamaru. I'm honored that you're the Wind Support Knight." Naruto said with a grin. Konohamaru looked at him and gave him another grin. "Besides you owe me anyway. I just set you up for a perfect healing make out session with my sister!"
"You what!" Akemi said in shock.
"Oh come on, Sasuke and I love getting those kinds of healing sessions from Hina-chan and Kasumi-chan! I think he deserves it." Naruto told his sister. "Go ahead, let him have it."
"Naruto...you dork!" she said after punching him in the arm.
"Well I'm done for the day. Hey Kimiko-chan, wanna head to Ichiraku's?" asked Naruto.
"Eh why not. Sasuke, Hanabi, Hoshiko, you guys coming?" Kimiko said. The Uchiha and Hyuuga girls both nodded in agreement.
"Alright. Hey Konohamaru, enjoy the spoilage man!" Naruto said with a wink as he and the others left Konohamaru and Akemi alone.
"So Akemi-chan...how did I do?" Konohamaru asked while Akemi ran her fingers through his hair.
"I think you planned this with my brother." she told him, causing him to wonder what she meant.
"But..." he replied, only to be cut off with a kiss...and for the first time on the lips.
"But even if you didn't, I still think you're the coolest Maru-kun." Akemi replied after releasing the kiss. "Kitsune or not, I know you're gonna be awesome."
"Then I really have proven myself, not only to the Boss, but to you as well Akemi-chan." Konohamaru thought to himself as he decided to just relax.
"This is such a drag. Of all times we had to worry about Akatsuki." Shikamaru thought to himself as he raced through the forest. "I don't know if it's me or not, but something seems very upsetting."
"Your thoughts on this situation Shikamaru?" asked Asuma, when he saw his student looking troubled.
"I just have a bad feeling. There are a lot of things that have been happening that just doesn't seem right." Shikamaru said. "I can't shake this feeling that there's going to be a lot of change and it's going to be for the worst."
"Your feelings can be one of your greatest strengths Shikamaru. Use those to guide you. That bad feeling you have may just be a warning that we should be on our guard." Asuma told him.
"Yeah I guess you're right." Shikamaru replied. In reality he was thinking, "What's bad though, is the bad feeling I'm having has me thinking someone is going to end up dead, and it's not someone from Akatsuki."
"Alright Haku, show me just what you've got!" Makoto said, standing ready.
"You got it Aunt Makoto! ICE OVERDRIVE!" Haku exploded into a crystal, sparkling aura as she ascended to her final form.
"Perfect, your ice control is astounding." Makoto stated while she nimbly dodged Haku's ice shards. Since she was now in Overdrive form, she could freeze the water vapor in the air into shards of ice, and even draw up moisture from the ground in spikes of ice. "Now show me the full power of your Ice Illumina!"
"Very well! Come forth, Fenrir!" Haku screamed as she summoned a large ice wolf. Her Overdrive and her connection to Makoto allowed her to call forth Fenrir, Makoto's personal pet. She quickly jumped onto the top of the wolf as she focused on her target. "Now strike!" With a large roar, Fenrir sent a massive wave of Ice spikes toward Makoto, ten times larger than Haku's White Ripple Dance. Haku quickly followed up by leaping off the wolf into the air and gathering a light blue ball of energy in her palms. "This ends now! AURORA WAVE!" She unleashed a humongous aurora colored beam of ice energy that merged with the frost wave from Fenrir, slamming into Makoto and encasing her in a massive iceberg. Of course, it did nothing to the Bijuu due to the fact that at least two Overdrive Knights would be needed to overpower her, and it was ice, her element.
"Absolutely perfect Haku. You've progressed nicely with your Overdrive." Makoto said as she simply passed through the ice seamlessly. "You've truly earned the right to be called the Ice Knight."
"Thanks...Aunt Makoto." Haku was absolutely drained, the unfortunate side effect of the Overdrive attack. "But this...exhaustion sucks!"
"What's worse? Using your Overdrive, or your Gen'ei Kyaku training?" Makoto asked with a smile.
"Ugh!" Haku said in grief as she plopped to the ground.
"Hey what's wrong with her?" Temari asked as she and the other girls came to the outside training area. She then looked to see Makoto smiling and Haku groaning. "Never mind, I think I know what it is."
"Come on; let's drag her back in so she doesn't get sick." Kasumi groaned.
"Actually girls, meet me in the Great Hall. There is something special planned for today." Makoto said as she headed back into the temple.
"Hmm, wonder what she's got planned?" Hinata asked.
"You got any ideas, Kasumi-hime?" Shiori questioned.
"Got me. Now let's drag this dork sister of mine back in." Kasumi said as she started dragging Haku inside.
About 10 minutes later...
"Master Makoto, he's returned." said Toshiro to his master.
"Excellent Toshiro, send him in." Makoto said as the gates of the temple opened. A cloaked figure entered in and entered, bowing in respect to Makoto. "So you've finally returned from your journey.
"That I have Master Makoto. I must say it is nice to finally be home." said the cloaked figure. He pulled his hood back to reveal himself as a boy of about 17 with spiky dark hair and dark skin.
"Excellent Sheldon, I take it the past 6 months of meditation have served you well with your training." Makoto replied. "Come, I wish for you to meet some new students of mine." She had the girls all come forward for introduction. "Girls this is Sheldon Himura. He's been studying at my temple for the past 3 years since he was 15. He happens to be quite skilled with the nunchaku and has already become quite proficient in Kyokugenryu. He also happens to be a Jounin level shinobi as well, specializing in Earth and Fire style jutsu."
"Hiya, nice to meet all of you." Sheldon replied with a bow.
"Sheldon, these are my nieces, Kasumi and Haku Uzumaki, Shiori Uchiha, Hinata Hyuuga, and their friend Temari Sabaku. Each one is studying one of the four principle styles of Kyokugenryu while they are here for the next five months." Makoto continued as all the girls bowed in return.
"Yeah all of us except for Shiori here. This girl is going all the way to the top of Aunt Makoto's fighting style." Temari said, causing Shiori to blush a little.
"You mean you're planning to attempt the test to learn Shikou Ken?" Sheldon asked, knowing that in his three years of training, no one has even come close to succeeding.
"Actually I have already committed to training her. She's progressing quite well. Her proficiency in Raioh is moving quickly and she's already started incorporating Ko'oh Ken. In the next month I plan to have her fully master those two styles and then begin on Zanretsu Ken and Gen'ei Kyaku in the month after that. Then she has three months to perfect Shikou Ken, and maybe....she'll learn the Mugen Kami Kyokuken. In actuality, Shiori is my official Heir to the Kyokugenryu Style." Makoto explained, causing Sheldon to immediately bow to Shiori.
"Uh why are you bowing to me?" Shiori asked, wondering what he was doing.
"To be in the presence of the new heir to the school, one must show respect even if they are a higher ranked student." Sheldon said respectfully.
"Sheldon-kun, it's ok. You don't have to do that. Just think of me as another student here." Shiori replied. "My main reason for wanting to learn Aunt Makoto's style is so I can make sure I'm strong enough to protect my fiancé."
"I see, then I take it he must be quite a strong fighter if you wish to be able to fight by his side." Sheldon said, getting a laugh out of all the girls. "Did I say something wrong?"
"Actually 'he's' standing right beside me." Shiori replied, causing Sheldon to wonder since all he saw was Kasumi. "Silly, Kasumi's my fiancé." That definitely shocked Sheldon.
"Wait so you're engaged to a girl?" he asked, hoping his eyes weren't deceiving him.
"Yep, a girl who also happens to be engaged to Shiori's former male side." Kasumi said, causing even more confusion.
"Ok…now I'm confused even more." Sheldon said, even confused more than before.
"Oh you'll be VERY confused after we get done." Haku said, getting a strange look.
"Sheldon, go ahead and unpack and then we will speak in my quarters. There's a lot you need to know about the future and I have already felt that you will play a valuable role." Makoto said as the other girls prepared to get back to training. "Take a little time to rest and meet with me in an hour."
"As you wish Master Makoto." He bowed in respect and took his leave.
"I gotta say this…if I wasn't dating Neji; I think he'd make a good boyfriend. He's cute." Haku said as she gave Sheldon one last look over.
"Come on Ice Princess, time to put you back in the cooler." Kasumi grabbed hold of the back of Haku's gi and dragged her back to the training field.
"Aunt Makoto, you said he would be playing a valuable role in the future. Does this mean he'll be helping us more as the Bijuu Wars go on?" asked Shiori.
"Yes Shiori. His skills are exceptional, and I believe he is going to make a fine ally to our team. I plan to have him travel with us when we return to Konoha." Makoto replied. "Also, to let you in on a little secret. You remember the large chunk of demonic ice I have on display?' Shiori nodded, remembering what she was told about the ice. "That was Sheldon who broke off that piece. He's the only one who seems to make any kind of process."
"Whoa…that is insane!" Shiori said in shock.
"You may say that now, but by the time we leave Shiori, you will be ready to learn the Mugen Kami Kyokuken, unless you somehow prove to me that you're ready much earlier." Makoto sent a small glance at Shiori, obviously hinting at something.
"Makoto-sensei, I promise you this…" Shiori unwrapped the bandages on her fists to show just how battered, bruised, and toughened they had become. They were no longer the fists of an ordinary girl; they were becoming the fists of a well trained fighter. "I will be the first to shatter 5 blocks of demonic ice, I swear this!" She then opened her palm and bit hard into it, sinking her kitsune fangs inside to draw blood. She then slammed her other fist into her bloodied palm with force and bowed in respect. "I will prove, not only to you and Kasumi-hime, but to myself that I am worthy of being your heir."
"Then I await your results, Shiori Uchiha." Makoto bowed herself.
"Thank you Makoto-sensei." Shiori replied, letting out a whimper of pain from what she just did.
"Now come here Shiori-chan and let's get those hands healed. Honestly, you have to rest them so you can keep training." Makoto shook her head, knowing Shiori couldn't use her kitsune healing. "I wonder about you sometimes. You're like a glutton for punishment or something."
"I think it was something leftover from Sasuke." Shiori slightly chuckled from the pain.
So Haku now has her Aurora Wave Overdrive, Danzo, Koharu and Homura are apparently teamed with Akatsuki, and have now gotten Sai into Team Illumina's ranks, and Shikamaru's team is headed on their way to confront Hidan and Kakuzu. Not only that, but what about Kagome's reading? Who's gonna end up turning against Team Illumina, and which Knights are going to lose their lives? It seems things are starting on a downhill course. There are dark times ahead and will Team Illumina be ready?
Also as you have seen, we now welcome the brand new cast member Sheldon Himura. He is the personal creation of SheldoOg21 and we are glad to have him aboard with the cast! Also make sure to vote for us at http:// teamdarkhope . synthasite . com / voting-for-fanfiction-awards . php! Even if this story doesn't win, every time someone votes lets me know that I have another person that loves my story. Till next time!