AN: Here's the next chapter. I'm so sorry for the wait. I work in a hospital now and what with COVID my days have been so much more busy it's been hard to find the time to sit down and type. Not to mention I have other personal things going on in my life. Such as having moved recently amongst other things. Regardless, I was finally able to get this out so here it is!
Let's get this started.
Naruto dropped to his stomach. Jirobo's boulder flew over him as the large man blocked a swipe from Hijiri's Naginata with an earth encased arm. Flesh clapped against flesh. Jirobo bounced across the roof. He hadn't been able to avoid a dropkick from Lee. Before he could get to his feet fully, Naruto was upon him. Jirobo threw an off-balance punch that Naruto easily dodged before delivering a vicious open palmed strike to the boy's jaw. Jirobo's head snapped up only to see Lee again, his leg high above his head and prepared to deliver what was sure to be a brutal axe kick.
Cursing, Jirobo let his curse mark run free. It covered his body before Lee's kick came down on him. His skin turned a light shade of red as wart-like bumps rose on his arms, shoulders, and head. His hair lengthened and shifted color into a bright orange. With a yell, he took Lee's kick to the shoulder, but paid him back with a shot to the gut. The green-clad boy rag dolled away and Jirobo got to his feet. His back still ached, and his breathing was ragged, but his intense anger was numbing everything for him. He couldn't believe trash like them had managed to force him to activate his seal.
"I'm not just going to kill you anymore. If I don't maim you before I bring your skulls back to Orochimaru I won't be able to live with myself!" he lunged forward, faster than Naruto had been expecting. But not fast enough. All Jirobo's fist caught was a blur before a chain whipped into his cheek and sent him to the ground. He got up quickly, but Hijiri swept him off his feet again. With a frustrated growl he leapt up and batted Hijiri's Naginata aside with such strength that she was forced back a few feet as well.
Jirobo could only see red now.
"Raiton: Jibashi!" Blue arcs skipped across the rooftop, crumbling the concrete with its power. The jutsu caught Jirobo at the back of his heels before engulfing his body. A scream ripped its way out of his throat as he was brought to his knees.
"Rinpun Juujika!" The last thing Jirobo saw before blackness took him was a beautiful crisscrossing mass of sparkling, golden wind rushing towards him.
Naruto approached Jirobo's body warily and let one of his chains extend out of his arm. It poked the Oto-nin's arm, but he did not move. What did happen however, was relieving. Jirobo's skin returned to it original shade and the curse marks began to fade.
"He's dead," stated Hijiri. Ino grimaced and looked away as red began to seep from beneath the enemy shinobi. Naruto's and Hijiri's faces scrunched in disgusted as a stench reached their noses. Being closer to Jirobo's corpse than the others, they were the first to catch a whiff of his voided bowels.
"We couldn't get any information out of him first… troublesome."
"Sorry, Shikamaru. I saw an opportunity," apologized Fu.
"Hn. Nothing to be sorry for. He went down easier than I was expecting," grunted Sasuke as their group watched Naruto approach the corpse with less caution now. The Namikaze heir produced a scroll from one of the seals on his arms. He always had some stored there in case of emergency. He carefully laid it out next to Jirobo and used his chains to lift the dead shinobi onto the paper before sealing him away.
No one questioned the move, having understood enough of shinobi life by now to know that any information they could glean from their fallen foe could prove useful in the future. Only Sasuke wondered what the point was, vocally questioning if he was strong enough to warrant such treatment.
"He was a powerful foe, do not be fooled. The fight was brief, but had it not been three on one, I could see him prolonging that battle and we would not have won without injury. If he had not let his anger get the better of him, I do not think he would have died as he did," Hijiri replied. Lee and Naruto agreed with her. That would have been an entirely different battle if any of them had been alone.
Sasuke scowled but nodded. He supposed that they had ambushed him. But hey, they were shinobi. Why should they play fair? The results spoke for themselves. Jirobo was dead and no one on their side had fallen.
"Let's keep moving before someone else decides to tail us," said Temari. No one disagreed; they all felt the same. Moments later, the rooftop where one of the Sound Four had met his end was empty once more.
Sai cut down one of his own Root comrades without so much as batting an eye. There was no remorse. They had all been trained by Danzo to be above such feelings. His comrade knew that he would have to die for Sai to keep up his charade. Danzo was positive that his involvement in the invasion would be discovered eventually. He couldn't allow Sai to fall under suspicion.
Sai personally though this was all pointless. If Danzo and Orochimaru failed to take Konoha today, the Yondaime and his wife would doubtlessly comb through the entire village in search of spies. They would find him; he did not doubt that. What would he do then, he wondered? And what would Danzo do? He perished the thought, for he knew the answer. Danzo would kill him.
Lost in his musings as he was, Sai failed to notice the very real threat of an Oto-nin approaching him with a sword from behind. He turned to his opponent too late; there was no time for him to brandish his kunai or paint one of his ink creatures. He cursed his carelessness and resolved to take the blow on his arm before killing him. Right before he would have taken the attack, the enemy shinobi froze up. Sai was confused to say the least until a blonde he recognized as the Yamanaka heir tackled the Oto-nin to the ground and thrusted her own kunai into his jugular. Hands slick with blood, she jumped away and left the man to bleed out. It wouldn't take long.
Sai noted she looked a little peaky but let his eyes roam away from her to her companions. Danzo would certainly be pleased if he could integrate himself with this group. Namikaze Naruto and Uchiha Sasuke was amongst them, after all.
"Are you okay?" Ino asked as she walked up to Sai. He felt he should be asking her that, but nodded nonetheless.
"Yes. Thank you for the help," he responded.
"Have you been fighting all alone?" Tenten asked. Sai merely nodded at first, but a quick thought had him opening his mouth to elaborate.
"My team was killed near the start of the invasion." He watched their faces become somber and almost marveled at how much they cared about something so insignificant. He was lying, of course. He had no team to speak of. Such a thing would have merely been a hinderance to his mission in his opinion. He didn't understand how anyone could care so much about other people, not anymore.
"We should bring him with us," said Ino as she looked to Naruto. They were on their way to his home, after all. Internally, Sai was pleased that his plan was working. This is exactly what he'd been hoping for.
"It's fine with me. Let's just get going," Naruto replied. At his words, the group of Genin were back on the move, none of them noticing the oddly colored bird flying off in the opposite direction. Sai smiled.
Orochimaru and Kidomaru landed next to a pool of blood on a rooftop. Orochimaru could admit that this was certainly not what he'd been expecting to find. He felt it the moment Jirobo died, and he had truly been surprised. To think those kids could defeat someone he'd trained. He would have scoffed at the idea if not for the crimson puddle at his feet. Not much time had passed since Kidomaru had come looking for him—fifteen minutes at best—and yet that was clearly enough time for his prey to defeat one of his tools. Orochimaru heaved an inward sigh. Replacing him could prove annoying, he thought.
He was more fascinated now, however. For some reason, he just knew Naruto and Sasuke had been involved in this somehow. As angry as he was over the fall of Jirobo, it made him want those two boys even more. A grin grew upon his pale face, first small but soon it reached from ear to ear. He was excited.
"We are close. Do not fall behind me, Kidomaru… and do not fail me when we arrive."
Orochimaru was gone a moment later, and a second after that so was Kidomaru.
They'd been running for another five minutes when Hijiri and Hinata tensed up. The rest of their group didn't react right away, but that all changed when Hinata inhaled sharply. The others glanced her way as they ran, no longer very far from Naruto's home. It was just their luck that they'd meet some sort of resistance now.
"That archer from earlier is gaining on us. And they're not alone," said Hijiri.
"The one with them… it's definitely Orochimaru," Hinata added. This bit of information left all the Genin properly terrified, but none more so than those of them who'd had the displeasure of actually doing battle with the rogue Sannin.
"We can't outrun him," said Naruto. No one doubted him.
"How close are we to your home?" Temari inquired anxiously as they all increased their pace despite the futility of it. None of them wanted to fight Orochimaru.
"Not close enough to beat him there," grimaced Ino.
"But we can try," Kiba replied. They could. They would. But how effective would their efforts be? They were about to find out. A little over a minute had passed when an arrow whizzed past Kanukro's face. Hijiri deflected it, saving Tenten from being impaled. As the arrow dug into the ground their group came to a halt. There was no point in running any longer.
All they could do now was fight.
Fully understanding what they were up against, Team Seven were the first to move. Naruto and Sasuke had finished the hand signs for their jutsu before Orochimaru even touched down behind them. They turned on him, releasing a Daitoppa bolstered Gokakyu no Jutsu. The fireball turned into a wall of fire that crashed into Orochimaru and his subordinate, washing over them like a burning wave.
A wall of earth came sliding out of the fire a second later, dissipating the flames and nearly flattening them if they hadn't moved out of the way in time. Orochimaru watched on, flickering embers at his feet.
"Kaiten!" Naruto's head whipped around as Hinata's technique went off. She spun the sphere of repulsive chakra into existence, twisting the air about her into a current around her body at the same time. Two arrows ground against the technique a moment later as a swarm of Shino's insects darted towards Orochimaru's arrow wielding subordinate. Another arrows tore through the swarm, killing some. The bugs continued on regardless as Lee brought a vicious axe kick down upon the archer, knocking him from the wall he'd been sticking to.
"Naruto!" yelled Hijiri at the same time his internal alarms went off. His head swiveled back to Orochimaru as he chastised himself for being distracted. The archer was not his fight and the Sannin's fist burrowing into his gut was the proof. Coughing as he cursed internally, Naruto was propelled away, luckily being saved from further injury by a bed of sand courtesy of Gaara.
"Thanks," he grunted as he got his feet under him, narrowing his blue eyes at the smirking Sannin who soon engaged in a bout of taijutsu with Sasuke and Hijiri. Orochimaru was evading or blocking them with ease right before jumping out of the way of a tendril of sand. Gaara made a disgruntled noise as Fu tore through the air, right in front of Orochimaru she dropped low, attempting to sweep him off his feet as Naruto jumped back into the fray.
A flurry of chains, fists, blades, and sand was what Orochimaru was forced to deflect, dodge, and block. Did he mind? No, not at all. He felt this to be quite thrilling. Seeing all of these Genin fighting their hearts out futilely was heartwarming. He felt more and more of them were worth taking with him when Konoha fell. Oh, how he would enjoy that moment… a moment fast approaching.
The Snake Sannin jumped back from his adversaries, flying through hand signs as he inhaled deeply. He heard young Naruto shout something over the din of battle. Behind them, Kidomaru leapt into the air, knocking four arrows into his bow. Orochimaru took notice that he'd already fully activated his cursed seal and even then, he was missing an arm. These Genin were stronger than they seemed… and yet they were still no match for him.
"Katon: Goryuka no Jutsu!" Orochimaru breathed out three flaming dragon heads. Gaara brought his sand up to defend while simultaneously using his sand to move them to the side. Orochimaru foresaw such a tactic. One dragon head crashed into the sand while the other two came around the sides.
"Shit!" Naruto cursed, "Inton: Kusari Joheki!" a plethora of chains shot out of his back, stomach, and arms. They rose high into the air, shielding them from the oncoming blaze.
But it wasn't enough. Naruto tried to hold his jutsu for as long as he could, but he wasn't as practiced with this one as he'd like to be. The wall fell and they were all thrown to the ground from the force of the blast that caused it.
With a chuckle, Orochimaru strolled over to his fallen foes even as he saw young Hyuga girl land the finishing blow on Kidomaru. It was an unfortunate loss of resources, but with the spoils of war before him now? It mattered little.
"This is the end, children. You are all quite exceptional… I believe I will take you all."
"Like… hell," groaned Fu as she struggled to her feat, battered, bruised, and burnt. Naruto and Gaara were trying to stand as well, their biju doing all that they could to keep their hosts alive whether they liked them or not.
"You Jinchuriki have more merit to you than I originally thought… I wonder how useful you will be in my experiments," grinned Orochimaru as he drew closer. The other Genin in their group rushed towards them, but it was a futile effort. Orochimaru made two clones of himself and that was more than enough to deal with the others.
"You're not going to get away with this," growled Naruto. Orochimaru's raised brow answered him as he chuckled once more.
"And who will stop me, Naruto? You? We both know how that ends. No… there is no one left to impede me. This is the end. You are all mine now. I cannot wait," Orochimaru replied, his feet bringing him to a stop just in front of Fu. She rose her hands, prepared to fight to her last.
The sound Naruto heard next would haunt his dreams for years to come. It was wet and grinding. The horror of the sound only amplified by the sight. Hijiri's Naginata was speared right through Fu's stomach, blood coating its gleaming blade. Blood pooled in her mouth before she spat it out on Orochimaru's darkening shirt in a gagging cough. Naruto didn't care about the pained and surprised look on Orochimaru's face. He didn't care that the Sannin staggered back. He just couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Orochimaru, you have ruined my plans… it is a shame, really. No matter… there will be other ways to collect the Nanabi, but better that I make sure it is unavailable to you now, no?" Hijiri asked as she ripped her weapon out of her teammate. With a pitiful, gasping murmur, Fu dropped to her knees.
"Hiji…ri?" it was all the green haired girl could manage. Hijiri did not even acknowledge her. Instead, she lifted her Naginata and swung.
"Futon: Kazegiri." The singular blade of wind that escaped her weapon dwarfed anything Naruto had ever seen as it rushed towards Orochimaru, Missing Fu by mere inches. Orochimaru had no plans to be caught by such a technique and used a body flicker to escape and even then Sasuke took notice that one of his legs had not escaped with him. No one had much time to consider anything further, however. Because the shockwaves Hijiri's jutsu produced crashed into like a freight train. Karin and Sakura were flung into Naruto, the three of them slamming into the side of a building. It faired no better against the shockwave and despite his shock, Naruto hastily used his chains to cover the three of them from the falling rubble.
Something heavy cracked him solidly in the back of the head and darkness claimed him.
And that's the chapter. Did anyone see Hijiri's betrayal coming? Sure, we all knew someone was gonna kill Fu, but I had hoped I did a decent enough job not letting on that it was Hijiri. Anyway, with this chapter, we've officially caught up with where the "Konoha Crush" chapters began. I know this is short after such a long wait, but as stated in the AN at the beginning, life has been… well, a lot as of late. Hope to have the next chapter up much sooner. Ah, and to be clear, Hijiri's Kazegiri is not the same as Futon: Kazekiri. But that will be fully explained some other day. Bye for now guys.
Katon: Goryuka no Jutsu – Fire Release: Great Dragon Fire Technique
Inton: Kusari Joheki – Yin Release: Chain Castle Wall
Futon: Kazegiri – Wind Release: Wind Cutting