Our episode begins in the Hokage’s office, but Naruto wasn’t in the office today. He went on a trip for official business with Gaara. His advisor Diep was left with the never-ending pile of paperwork. Just as she was about to toss the papers in frustration, Yoki popped by the office. She came by for a visit and wondered if Diep ever got tired of doing paperwork. As a break, they went into the town and made rounds greeting those in Konoha.

Meanwhile, Riku wakes up in Naruto’s house still bumming around his place. Kushina prepared breakfast at Naruto’s house and calls for Himawari to get her brother for lunch. Kushina and Minato were watching over the kids while Naruto was away for official business and Hinata on a mission. Himawari runs throughout the house upstairs to find her brother but runs into Naruto’s room instead. To her surprise, she found Riku instead of her brother. Himawari told Riku lunch was ready and realizing she went into the wrong room, she went to her brother’s room and called for him to come downstairs for lunch. After a delicious lunch, Kushina had to head to the market to do some grocery shopping. She asked if her grandchildren wanted to come as well. Himawari gladly wanted to follow while Boruto decided to go out and hang with Shikadai and Inojin. Riku decides to tag along with Kushina to buy ingredients to finish his chocolates.

On Diep and Yoki’s way around town, they came across Yui training in the distance. At the same time, it seems that Atsuko was tailing Yoki for some reason.  Diep and Yoki were about to greet Yui, but at that moment Yoki became aware of Atsuko’s presence. Asking Diep if she thought something was off, they took their eyes off of Yui to discuss the follower, but deemed that they had no ill intentions so they left it be. Turning back, Yui disappeared. She realized Diep and Yoki were there and being a bit shy, she hid in the treetops hoping they would pass by.  At this point Yoki parted with Diep saying she would do a bit of training. Yoki ran into the forest trying to lure her pursuer to follow her. Diep shrugged and continued her rounds towards the market place. Tsuki appeared next to Yui asking why she was hiding. The two ended up training together once everyone left.

As Kushina, Himawari, and Riku walk down the streets of Konoha, they run into Diep on their way to the market. Friendly greetings were exchanged and it was made known that Riku was making chocolates again for a special someone. Who could it be?!  After some time, they went on their own way to finish shopping for ingredients. Diep started to head off towards the forest where she parted with Yoki to look for her.

Arriving at the forest edge, Atsuko is clawing at the ground frantically trying to escape something. She calls for Diep to help her and Yoki. Apparently, they ran into some trouble shortly after Yoki left Diep. They were stuck under a Shadow Sewing Technique. Diep ran to find the source of the ninjutsu, but before she could reach them, they vanished. Some suspicion arose, but Diep decided to not alarm the two. The three headed back towards town to shake off the event that just occurred.

On the way back, Diep proposes a friendly competition: those who lose will have to buy dinner for everyone at Ichiraku’s. Yoki and Atsuko agreed thinking this will be fun. As they pass through the town, they met Kushina, Himawari, and Riku again outside of Ichiraku’s. Diep explained the wager they had going and the three decided to join in the competition. Everyone drew sticks to pair up and determine the order of the battles.  Atsuko and Yoki were first, then Kushina and Riku. Diep and Himawari were going to sit and officiate the battles. The group headed on over to an open in to limit the destruction that most likely would occur.

An intense battle began as Atsuko and Yoki hashed it out. Many attacks were thrown and the battle ended with a slight draw. It was determined that Yoki won on the account that she was able to land more hits on her opponent. The next battle was between Riku and Kushina. Riku dragged his feet around, unenthusiastic to fight against Kushina. On the other hand, Kushina was fired up for a nice battle. Many cheers were encouraging for this battle to start. Yui and Tsuki arrived hearing all of the commotion we were making. They took a seat near everyone once they heard what was going on. Diep called out for the battle to begin. Faster than a blink, Kushina landed the first hit on Riku that threw and wedged him against a nearby tree. Dayumm. Everyone felt that attack. Riku was able to land a hit on Kushina, but in the end she won the battle.  Riku ended up having to go to the hospital to bandage up some scratches. It goes to show that shinobi should be serious when facing Kushina. At that moment Mieko was heading to Konoha back from a mission when she came upon our gathering near the forest. She stopped on by to greet everyone as well as inquire what we were doing. Diep explained the competition we were having and asked if she wanted to join in. Since they were no more original pairs to fight, Yui stepped in to battle against Mieko. After a few exchanges and blows, Mieko was the winner to land more hits than her opponent. Those who won cheered, and those who lost looked at their wallets with tears. Diep stepped in to announce the winners and that tonight’s dinner will be paid by the gracious and wealthy Hokage. Thus, everyone should order as much as they wanted! Cheers, whoops, and hollers could be heard as the group headed on over to Ichiraku’s for dinner.

Everyone celebrated with a nice bowl of ramen, but once they got their food most of our shinobi parted their separate ways. Atsuko went to visit Riku to see how he was, but forgot to bring a bowl of ramen with for him. Yoki went back to her place to rest. Yui and Tsuki also went back to their place to hang out a bit longer. Diep, Mieko, Kushina, and Himawari had a nice meal together and decided to treat everyone who passed by Ichiraku’s. After all, the Hokage was paying for the meal so why not spread the joy to everyone in Konoha?

Yoki’s Place:

Yoki arrived home to an empty and lonely room. She found a picture she drew when she was little. The picture had a clear rip down the middle. She started to tear up as she thought of her childhood. The tears streamed down only when flashes of her mother came to mind. “Your name is Rin. I don’t have a daughter named Yoki.” Done with all of these emotions, she decided to head to bed early. In the mist of the night, Yoki was struck with nightmares. She tossed and turned murmuring heart breaking words. All of a sudden, Yoki’s body froze. Using the night as a mask, unknown shinobi infiltrated Yoki’s house and abducted her. The incense they burned  earlier worked well to put Yoki in this frozen state as they whisked her away to their hideout. Just before they left, they set her room on fire to get rid of the evidence.

At that moment, Riku was discharged from the hospital and decided to stalk Yoki. Atsuko wanted to head home to check on her brothers so she walked with Riku in the same direction. Riku noticed a crowd hurrying towards Yoki’s place and a bad gut feeling hit him. He ran with the crowd pushing everyone and saw Yoki’s place set ablaze. The fire was contained and Riku and Atsuko went into the room. There was no sign of Yoki. Relieved but also worried, Riku sent Atsuko to report to Diep about Yoki’s disappearance. Being impatient, Riku decided to go search for Yoki.

Diep was in the office late at night with Mieko sorting through paperwork that started to pile up. Who keeps giving us paperwork? Yui came in shortly after wondering why the office light was still on this late. They were joking around when all of a sudden, Atsuko burst through the door. Breathless, she explained the situation with Yoki and how Riku went to search blindly for her. Worried that this might have a connection with the mysterious shinobi earlier today, Diep sent out Mieko and Yui to gather intel on the group. Diep sent some jōnin shortly after the mishap this afternoon to track down the group and they just reported that they found their location. Mieko and Yui left with STRICT orders to NOT engage in battle with them but to gather information. They were to send a messenger bird back when they gather information and if they need help. Diep had Atsuko follow after Riku worried that he would be rash trying to find his cousin Yoki.

Kushina was back at home cleaning up the house after putting Boruto and Himawari to bed. Minato came in panicked. He tells Kushina that something has occurred that has place the village on alert. The ANBU were being mobilized by Diep. They went next door to ask their neighbors to look after the kids while they went to figure out the situation at hand. Kushina arrived at the Hokage’s office and saw Diep pacing back and forth. She asked Diep what the situation was and if she could help in any way. A messenger bird flew in just as Kushina finished her sentence. It seems that Yui strayed off when she was with Mieko. With a long sigh, Diep had Kushina meet up with Mieko to see if they can assist her. More problems piled up and not enough questions were being answered.

Riku caught up with the shinobi that took Yoki. He fought against them screaming at Yoki to wake up. To no avail did his screaming work. Atsuko heard Riku’s screams and ran towards that general direction. She came to a clearing and found Riku fighting against the two masked shinobi. She threw herself into the battle as well, aiming for the one holding Yoki slung over his shoulder.  The fight progressively got tougher as the two sides fought. Yui wandered around and came upon this scene. The masked shinobi feeling outnumbered, opened a vortex. Everyone was transported to another dimension.

Kushina and members of ANBU arrived to see Mieko provoking the group of mysterious shinobi. Only two members were left to guard the camp while the rest went on to carry out their ultimate goal. Mieko explained that Yui suddenly disappeared and before Kushina could reply, she mischievously goes down and captures the lone shinobis. Another messenger bird was sent to Diep informing that Kushina and the team of ANBU met up with Mieko, but Kushina went on to find out where Yui went. Mieko decided to drag the two shinobi back to the village. After all, it’s easier to just beat out the answers you need rather than waiting around wasting time for them to spill the answers. Mieko kicked the two, now tied up, mysterious shinobi  into the Hokage’s office. Diep had a face-palm moment. Mieko playfully ignores Diep’s scolding by asking to try out for ANBU after this was over. Exasperated, Diep overlooked the matter of Mieko ignoring her orders and asked about the situation now. Diep summoned her white dragon familiar to aid Kushina in her search for Yui while telling the ANBU members to get answers from the tied up shinobis.

Kushina overheard a commotion coming from a clearing. She headed on over to check it out. At this point, Riku, Atsuko, and Yui were already sucked into another dimension. The vortex remained opened and she was debating what to do but before she knew it, she blacked out. She woke up in darkness and saw a younger version of herself in front of her. She started to feel a sense of sadness well up inside of her. Diep’s familiar found Kushina through the dimension and told her he was sent to assist her. He explained that this dimension is actually a genjutsu that feeds on the sad memories of those under it. It alters your sad memories to intensify the pain you feel when you see your memories. It was hard to believe because the memories are vivid and painfully close to the truth, but Kushina was able to break the genjutsu. Diep’s familiar was being called back. He left Kushina with words of advice to be careful until he comes back. She went on to find the others in the strange dimension.

Back at the office Diep was able to piece bits and pieces of the situation together. She called back her familiar to transport Mieko there as well. Before Mieko left, Diep handed her a talisman to help dispel any genjutsu thrown at her. Diep suspects that the castor has placed everyone under a high level genjutsu and needed help breaking it. Her familiar came back and took Mieko to where the others were. Mieko was able to find Kushina and explain that they needed to interfere with the  castor of the genjutsu. They found him beneath a large cherry blossom tree. The flowers were blood red as they fell and the castor had a sinister grin. Both Kushina and Mieko engaged in a battle against the mysterious shinobi.

All the while, Riku, Atsuko, Yui, and Yoki fell further into the genjutsu. They were bombarded with various painful memories of their past. So much that it hindered their ability to decipher reality and illusion. Riku was reminded of his old man who left him “wise words”, but Riku would rather die than hurt his comrades. Atsuko was shown painful heart-wreaking memories of her mother. Yui had a similar experience but with her own family. Yoki’s illusions included her mother, her older sister Rin that passed away, and her father who couldn’t be there for her when she needed him.

Mieko distracted the castor and Kushina landed a hit with her fists on the castor. That small moment was able to break the castor’s concentration and the genjutsu was dispelled. The castor escaped right before the landscape slowly dissolved. Our shinobis were left in a gray world. They saw their comrades  passed out in the distance and ran towards them. All were okay, breathing, and a little beaten up.  Diep’s familiar was able to transport them back safely to Konoha. Kushina and Mieko dropped off everyone at the hospital and headed towards the Hokage’s office to debrief Diep.

The day’s event has passed and Diep was glad everyone was retrieved safely, but what worried her was that the two shinobi that they captured were poisoned before any questions could be asked from them. What does the next episode hold in store for our shinobi? Yoki’s past is a sad one no doubt, but what of our other shinobis and their pasts? How are these mysterious masked shinobi connected to Yoki? Diep has a white dragon familiar? Will we every find out who Riku was making the chocolates for? Stay tuned for our next episode.

 

Summary written by [忍] Diep

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