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For those who are still confused about Naruto's character in the earlier chapters, I just wanted to clarify that the killing intent and Naruto going berserk was not under his control but was done by the Ōtsutsuki's main clan's curse which is extremely powerful to the point that it cannot be overcome by adult Naruto. Please understand that I did not change Naruto's character in anyway. Thanks.
Orochimaru and Jiraiya spent about an hour or two finding the supplies they needed to break in, from food pills to ropes and whatnot…
Everything had to be planned in detail, for if their target of rescue was stuck within the Hozuki castle as one of its prisoners, then one of them probably had to turn into a prisoner to get closer. Turning into a prisoner meant that either Jiraiya or Orochimaru would be sealed up with the warden's unique fire imprisonment technique that would flare up every time they had to activate their chakra. This also meant in turn that Orochimaru would have to wreck his brains to come up with a solution to undoing the nearly impossible seal.
Orochimaru looked at Dr.Hiro,
"What do you think of my proposition?" Orochimaru asked.
"…" Dr.Hiro was silent.
Orochimaru was one of the most dangerous and untrustworthy scientist in the small circle of scientists he was in contact with. However, seeing that Jiraiya was also helping out Orochimaru in the mission to bring back his material hunter made him feel indebted towards the duo.
"Orochimaru-san, the deal seems to limit my base to the Hidden Leaf itself," Dr.Hiro mentioned.
"Indeed, but it is better than living in some wastelands scavenging for materials and doing petty experiments, is it not?" Orochimaru asked.
"Dr.Hiro," Jiraiya called out as he approached the duo.
"?" Dr.Hiro's ears perked up.
"What do you want in return for your service?" Jiraiya asked.
"W-What do I want…" Dr.Hiro turned back to look at his underground lab full of cages and tables with tubes and whatnot.
He then thought back to everything that had happened before settling down in this underground facility, finally turning towards Jiraiya.
"All I want is to investigate every factor behind the causes and effects of everything in nature…"
"I want to create technology that far surpasses our times,"
"I want money, resources, freedom to do anything I want…" Dr.Hiro said slowly.
"If that were possible, the world would be full of chaos right now with people doing whatever they want," Jiraiya shook his head.
"Then what can you give me?" Dr.Hiro asked.
"All we can give is some resources and some freedom," Jiraiya said.
Dr.Hiro's eyes brightened.
"You and Orochimaru here can spend all the time cooped up in those labs of yours discovering and creating things together as long as they don't harm the interests of the village and don't cross some moral lines."
"As long as you do that, the village will try their best to fund your researches and provide you with resources," Jiraiya informed.
"…" Dr.Hiro was silent for a few moments.
Jiraiya looked at Orochimaru,
("This is the most I can do to help,") Jiraiya thought internally.
Dr.hiro then turned towards Orochimaru to see if he could ascertain anything from Orochimaru's expression, but what he saw was the usual sly smile that made it hard to read Orochimaru.
"Fair enough, I guess…" Dr.Hiro said with a slight-doubt in his decision.
"Trust me, you won't regret it," Jiraiya said as he turned away.
"Hehe…" Orochimaru followed behind Jiraiya leaving Dr.Hiro with a troubled expression, thinking again and again if his decision was right…
Outside the Hideout,
Orochimaru walked out of the entrance to see Jiraiya's back against him as he stared at the evening sun.
"Orochimaru, how many hideouts do we still have to clean up after this?" Jiraiya asked.
"Just a few more, but that will be a talk for later," Orochimaru walked towards Jiraiya as he said this.
"We have plenty of time don't we, after all, it will take two days to reach Hozuki Castle," Jiraiya turned towards his left to see Orochimaru.
"I suppose," Orochimaru grinned at the thought of infiltrating the heavily guarded prison.
Jiraiya was reminded of his days back in team Sarutobi where he and Orochimaru looked at each other as they discussed plans for missions.
"Let's go," Jiraiya said following which he raced across the field with Orochimaru by his side.
Hidden Sand Village…
Rasa and Gaara stared at the almost complete sand colosseum. Almost complete meaning the colosseum was just barebones at the moment made entirely out of sand that was solidified by Gaara's jutsu. Rasa also helped out in reinforcing the structures and making some changes here and there. The sand colosseum now stood about 100m tall with 1.5km diameter with 300m of that being sacrificed for the seating within while leaving about 1.2km diameter of barren ground at the center for the field where the event would take place.
Rasa stared at Gaara by his side who stared in awe at the structure the duo had just completed. Seeing Gaara reminded him of the time his wife hugged Gaara on her death bed. Seeing the memories before would have brought only hatred to Rasa, but with everything being slowly resolved one by one between the father and his son, the memories no longer seemed that painful. On the contrary, Rasa only felt sad that he had to force his wife into pre-mature labor to seal the wind spirit that went on a rampage in his village. Later on, as years passed by, his heart became colder and colder each day, seeing Gaara, as he saw the same monster for which he had to sacrifice his wife. Rasa couldn't force himself to love his son, the way Karura did at the time she gave birth. But now that Gaara had become stable, Rasa no longer saw him as a weapon/monster, but as a pitiful child, he hadn't paid any attention to since birth.
"Gaara," Rasa called out.
"…k-Kaz…" Gaara stuttered, thinking back to the time Rasa told him to call him dad.
"It's all right. I never did expect you to forgive me after all I have done…" Rasa said in a manner of self-mockery.
"..d-Dad," Gaara forced the words out of his mouth.
"huh?" Rasa's eyes widened with shock as he heard the words that he had never expected to hear.
A teardrop ran out from the side of one of his eyes as he stared dumbstruck.
Gaara was equally stunned having a feeling he had never felt before. Gaara had been slowly discovering human emotions one by one, yet this one was almost otherworldly.
Rasa immediately hugged Gaara and cried silently.
("I WAS A FOOL!!!") Rasa scolded himself.
The duo hugged silently, not noticing there were two figures at the entrance of the colosseum.
"k-Kankuro," Temari called out.
"Yeah…" Kankuro also had tears of happiness as he finally saw his younger brother entirely being accepted back into the family. This left the two of them elated.
"How many years…" Kankuro asked.
The same question played in Gaara's mind.
("How many years have I yearned for this,") Gaara asked himself.
His hatred at the world made him take his siblings love for granted; thus unconsciously he only sought the approval of his dad. Now that this had been realized, Gaara also felt the sudden urge to hug Kankuro and Temari.
("Huh?") Gaara suddenly sensed his two siblings at the entrance.
"Kankuro, Temari…" Gaara uttered their names.
"huh?" Rasa lifted his head to see his two other offsprings by the entrance of the colosseum.
"Kankuro, Temari, come here!" Rasa shouted.
"…" Without a word, the two ran towards them and hugged it out.
Gaara finally felt he was at peace. He didn't try to judge if what his dad did was right or wrong, or the fact that the wrong seemed to outweigh the right by countless times. All he knew that these years of yearning will overlook what his dad did, for what was more important to him now was family.
At this moment, another figure silently stared at the family union from the top of the colosseum.
It was Baki, Gaara's team leader.
("Gaara deserves to be happy,") Baki smiled, seeing that Gaara finally got what he yearned for with all his heart.
A sand ninja appeared beside Baki.
"?" Baki looked at the man, who walked up to him and uttered a few words.
("I'd hate to be a bother, but the man is the Kazekage after all…") Baki thought following which he quickly jumped his way over.
Baki coughed lightly. Rasa turned around to look at Baki.
Gaara left with Temari and Kankuro leaving Baki and Rasa behind.
"I thought he went back to the capital," Rasa spoke out in a displeased tone.
"I did too, Kazekage-sama. However, from what I have heard. He turned back immediately once he heard that you were building this place." Baki replied.
"Damn…" Rasa stared at the entrance silently.
A few minutes later, rows of people entered the colosseum followed by Palanquin bearers. They made their way to the center where Rasa stood and finally stopped in front of him.
The palanquin door opened to reveal none other than the newly stated daimyō of the wind nation.
"Good Evening," Rasa and Baki bowed towards the daimyō.
"Well, well, if it isn't the kazekage himself,"
"I didn't expect you to get down and put your back into working personally,"
"This is really interesting," The daimyō said as he took a look at the unfinished colosseum.
"It's a work in progress," Rasa replied.
"It's a work in progress?"
"Haha, this is a masterpiece,"
"The time light dome and this together…"
"I'm more than satisfied," The daimyō patted on Rasa's back.
"daimyō-sama, this couldn't be completed without the help of my son," Rasa replied.
"I shall reward you and your son then," the man smiled at Rasa.
"Thanks, milord," Rasa bowed.
"As I said, I give credits where credit is due," the daimyō spoke, causing sweet drops to form on Rasa's head.
"The colosseum will be complete in another two days with some final touches from me and installation of a few facilities," Rasa reported.
"Good to hear,"
"Now then, onto the next matter of business, I'd like to add some young ones from different parts of the nation for training,"
"As a matter of fact, I'd like them to participate in this tournament since it is just a sports festival after all," The daimyō said.
"Some young ones from different parts of the nation?" Rasa asked.
"You'll meet them later,"
"There are also some arrangements we have to discuss about the accommodations and tours for the Land of fire's daimyō"
Rasa now knew that it was now going to be another sleepless night at the daimyō's office.
Hidden Clouds Village…
"Let's go!" Ay gave the command as he got off his seat.
"Yes!" His peerage responded.
"hm?" Ay's eyes wandered around looking out for a voice he missed.
"Bee!" Ay called out.
"Yes, brother?" Ay was angered.
"Get off those Kimonos ya fool!"
Ay smashed a table beside him.
"At once, brother!" Bee rushed off to get his clothes.
"Raikage-sama!" a voice called out.
"What is it, Mabui?" Ay asked.
"New intel, it seems that the event is going to be held at the Hidden Sand!" Mabui reported.
"What?" Ay was stunned.
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