Saito travel where filled with excitement he met many people and he fought a lot of ninjas. But during his travels he learned two things. An Organization named Akatsuki was hunting the tailed beasts. They already managed to capture the host of the five tails. And the second thing he found out is from his clones on their travels they found some of Orochimaru's hide outs, after memorizing the documents and destroying the hideout they disappeared. Saito having received all their knowledge was shocked by the content it mostly talked about the cursed seal and how it works but from what he could understand the seal was instable and also the power showed by the seal could differ from one person to another but what really shocked him was that Orochimaru used the seal to keep a part of his own chakra inside the host making it easier for him to take over their bodies when necessary. But what really interested him was the information about natural energy and how the power provided by it could increase the user's abilities. The cursed seal should be Orochimaru's failed attempt to harness the Natural Chakra, Saito was quite interested by the information he gathered. His clones also managed to get their hands on some jutsus and although he only gained wind jutsus from the Land of wind he knew that it will come in handy later as for the Land of earth he got his hand on the Added-Weight Rock Technique and He couldn't be happier he could use this technique both for his training and to increase his attack power.
Saito kept on moving he didn't go to Konoha but passed by numerous smaller villages he managed to learn a great deal of things he sometimes disguised himself as a merchant sometimes a wanderer but he managed to see many people some were rich some poor, he also met a lot of people ranging from good to evil but he valued his own power.
Saito used the rock technique to increase his body's weight he could barely move for the first day but his adapting body coupled with his chakra mode's first phase his body started growing stronger and stronger and he was surprised that his chakra reserves started growing at an incredible pace and his muscular mass wasn't growing much but each muscles fiber became denser and stronger, Saito knew that he could use this ability coupled with his earth jutsu to increase his own strength beyond kage levels but the process is still painful and it will take a long time.
In a small village he heard that Konoha and Suna are preparing to start a second exam and what shocked him was that Gaara became Kazekage.
Saito decided to infiltrate the exam, in order to watch over it but he also wanted to meet the seven tails jinshuriki. Saito created a shadow clone and told it to move to the Land of lightning, looking for Orochimaru's hideouts and also to see the situation in the Land of lightning.
A week passed by and Saito finally managed to infiltrate as a hidden grass village shinobi. He didn't use Transformation jutsu but wore a full face mask decorated with plant like patterns.
The grass village didn't have a high security and he managed to infiltrate without any problems.
The exam was quite easy and he didn't feel any pressure, and unlike the first exam he was way stronger than any of the current candidates, but he heard an interesting info Hanzo the leader of the hidden Rain village sent a team but from what he knew Hanzo should be dead. He was killed by the leader of the rebels and the only reason he knew that is because he was present. He wasn't surprised that the info wasn't leaked, Hanzo was a strong ninja and many villages feared him so if the other villages learned about his demise they will join forces to take over, but he still will keep an eye on the team they sent just in case.
He also found the seven tails jishuriki Fu. Fu was a cheerful girl and for some odd reason was obsessed with making friends, Saito used his stealth ability to hide from other people even his teammates couldn't seem to find him. He only appeared in order for them not to fail.
He also saw Team Guy and a team formed by Chouji, Ino and Sakura. Saito kept moving on with the exam but tried to keep a close distance with Fu's team.
He saw many fights but he never interfered. In the end he abandoned his team and started moving all alone sending his shadow clones to gather intel on other teams his stealth was high enough for him to move undetected unless the other party has a Doujutsu like the Byakugan. The desert was dangerous but he moved unhindered.
Saito then received Intel from his clone that Gaara was attacked and that some crazy person wanted to steal the Biju from him. Fu was heading over to help him. Saito was angry because stealing extracting a bijuu from the host will kill the host and Fu will be targeted by that guy.
Saito activated his full power and stopped using his earth jutsu removing the added weight. Saito was so fast he disappeared and soon he reached the place of the attack just in time to see Fu trying to interfere. The person trying to extract the bijuu is using a complicated Fuinjutsu that used a musical instrument to control. Saito didn't need to think twice about it he directly appeared behind the bald guy and before his target could react he broke his neck. Both Gaara and Fu where shocked.
Saito then approached them in order to check if they were harmed.
Gaara was on guard.
Gaara: "Who are you?"
Saito: "A friend of Naruto."
Saito knew that Gaara and Naruto bonded after their battle and Gaara became more approachable.
Gaara: "Show your face."
Saito: "I will remove my mask because I trust you won't reveal my identity to others."
Saito removed the mask revealing his face, He did grow up and his face's features became more distinct but he still looked like his old self.
Gaara directly recognized him as the dead Chunin from the Sasuke retrieval mission. He was shocked.
Gaara: "You are fake that guy died two years ago."
Saito: "I almost died. When I was about to die my bloodline activated putting me in a death like state while it's healing my body."
Gaara: "Is that so?"
Saito then kept talking with Gaara and slowly managed to persuade him.
Saito: "I didn't return to the village because of the same problem. Nobody will believe me and they will most likely attack me on sight thinking that I'm Orochimaru. That bastard even after I killed him he is still troubling me."
Fu was standing by the side in silence. Observing the exchange between Saito and Gaara.
Saito: "Gaara, Fu. I have an information that should interest you. During my travels I heard rumors about a group of people hunting the bijuu hosts, and for the moment they already caught the five tails."
Fu was shocked.
Fu: "How did you know that I'm the jinshuriki of a bijuu?"
Saito: "I confirmed that you were a jinshuriki while keeping an eye on the contenders. Thank you for helping the Konoha ninjas."
Fu: "Its ok I love making friends."
Saito looked at Gaara.
Saito: "She really is like Naruto."
Gaara: "What will you do for now?"
Saito put back his mask.
Saito: "I believe the guy who attacked you isn't a part of the Akatsuki. But today's events revealed Fu to them so I will escort her back to here village. Gaara you should be ok I believe as a Kazekage you brought escort with you. AH! Congratulations on becoming a Kazekage."
Gaara: "Thank you."
Saito turned towards Fu.
Saito: "I hope you don't have a problem with me tagging along."
Fu: "That's great the more the merrier."
Saito: "Well as long as our opponent doesn't have power surpassing a Kage. We won't have a problem."
Fu and Gaara were surprised. They both saw how Saito killed his opponent before he could act even they couldn't follow his speed.
Saito: "Fu I will stay hidden for now. I will only appear when you need my help."
Saying that Saito sunk into the sand and soon they couldn't feel him.
Gaara and Fu headed back and soon the exam was stopped and it was decided that the kage will see if the candidate are worthy of the Chunin rank.
Saito headed back with Fu's team. But he stealthily left a shadow clone to follow Gaara.
Fu seems to forget that Saito wanted to stay hidden but as soon as they started moving she started talking to him. Her teammates asked her who she was talking to. Fu directly knew that she couldn't avoid to answer. Saito sighed and revealed himself. The two other where on guard but Fu stopped them and managed to convince them.
Saito: "You and Naruto are both knuckleheads."
Fu was depressed, but soon regained her cheerfulness and started asking Saito about his travels and the places he saw.