The ninja bandits have a meeting with their leader about the forbidden jutsu. Naruto and his teammates are assigned to escort Hotaru, En no Gyoja's granddaughter, to the Tsuchigumo Clan's village located in the mountains. But Hotaru's mind is still attached to Utakata, who left after Naruto's arrival. Team 7 tricks Hotaru into letting them stay as her bodyguards until they reach her village.
Elsewhere, Utakata reflects upon the time he spent with her. After reminiscing about the past, Utakata wakes up, only to come across the ninja bandits, and fights them until he is cornered by their barrier jutsu, which soon explodes with him inside. Team 7 finally reach Hotaru's village, however, the villagers don't seem so happy to see Hotaru. They leave her in the village's care, but Naruto senses something troubling and heads back to the village, suspicious of the villagers attitudes toward Hotaru.