Thank you for the support.

Music Recommendation: Carry on On Wayward Son-Kansas-reimagined cover by Neoni (Supernatural)- Youtube, for first half.

EPIC HISTORY MUSIC: A Collection of Exciting Tracks (Youtube, highly recommended for second half of the chapter-especially the last theme from the video-Drums of War)

Chapter 45

Conquest


It couldn't be real...

And yet it was much to his shock and joy.

Tears fell freely from his eyes as he looked at the beautiful woman that had given him a reason to live, the one who had accepted him despite his burdens and had stood by him when he had lost everything and everyone in his life.

"Naruto..."

The disbelief in her familiar gaze was also marred in sadness when she looked at the state of the blonde Kage in front of her.

She barely had a moment before he stormed forward to wrap her in the most fiercest embrace of her life, her despair and alarm surged when she felt no pain from his crushing grip or the usual warmth of his body that she had become familiar with over the years.

She felt nothing.

He was sobbing openly while holding on to her fiercely, fearing if he let go then this priceless moment would fade and he would lose her again. It didn't matter when he felt no warmth in her body and the cold grip of her hands as she tried to console him. From the corner of his eyes, he saw her own turmoil but to her dismay no tears arrived in her lifeless eyes.

"I died, didn't I?" she whispered in a resigned voice,

It explained the lack of her own heartbeat, breathing, sensation or any emotion within her body.

Whatever this was...it was not natural.

It also explained her husband's horrible state and the cold entity that his chakra was slowly becoming.

She could barely feel faint traces of the man she had loved clinging to her.

"I'll make this right"

It was a mantra he kept repeating over and over as he clung to her, as if his very life depended on it and letting go would break him forever.

"I don't feel right, Naruto" she whispered hesitantly, making him finally stop crying and look at her a little calmly for the first time.

"I'll tell you everything...answer all your questions. But for now"

She nodded gently and allowed him to place a passionate kiss upon her lips. To her continued despair, she didn't feel any of the warmth or excitement that she always felt upon their union, even though she could see he was trying his very best to make it real and pour everything he felt for her.

It broke her heart to see him like this...and it was why she tried her best to comfort him with her cold and lifeless body, even if it was pointless in the end.

Ino was further saddened when she tried to hold him closer and felt him missing an entire arm. She had thought that she had imagined it, that this was all just a dream...but it was real much to her continued grief.

She wanted to cry out of joy and sadness but couldn't even produce tears which only made her even more miserable.

Finally, he broke the kiss and took a step back to look at her with his familiar bright smile present on his lips.

"I never thought I'd see you again" he whispered gratefully,

"I'm truly sorry for causing you so much pain, Naruto" she apologized sadly,

For the first time, she saw the pent up rage within his heart flare as his gaze hardened at her when she clutched her belly which was now devoid of any life.

"How could you do this me? To our child?" he asked angrily, his tone void of any warmth or mercy.

"Because we are shinobi. The future of our nation always comes first no matter the cost. You taught me that" she answered truthfully, yet the remorse in her voice was clearly present for him to hear.

"I was wrong"

Her eyes widened in shock upon hearing that confession and when she looked into his eyes, she was further alarmed when his unwavering gaze showed he stood behind that conviction.

"What happened to you, Naruto?" she asked worriedly, and she didn't just mean his missing arm- for this was not the man she knew, not the person whom she loved dearly.

"It's better if you see it for yourself"

His answer was short but she understood his suggestion and used her Mind Transfer technique as he allowed her full access to his memories.

And then she saw it all...

She was heartbroken upon witnessing his grief upon learning of her death once he returned from the Land of Lightning after assassinating its Daimyo. How he had nearly developed a vengeful heart towards Kirgakure and Konoha for taking her away until Tobirama Senju assured him that he had kept his promise of keeping her safe.

To think that he threatened a former Hokage who also happened to be his biological father for her sake.

That meant he was a descendant of the Senju clan as well, apart from being the last survivor of the Namikaze clan, nephew to the great Hashirama Senju himself. A near royalty within her own village...

She saw how he tried to remain hopeful for the future, to remain loyal to his country and allies in the hopes that they would keep her safe only to be betrayed in the end once again when their immediate priority of getting Tobirama back to Konoha was accomplished.

Watching Madara Uchiha reveal his existence was perhaps one of the most terrifying moments she had ever experienced, which was made worse when she saw just how long and hard he had tried to recruit her husband for his master plan.

How he preyed upon Naruto's gentle heart by offering to bring back everyone he had lost and avenge the wrongs he had faced.

She watched that man turn one of the greatest heroes she had ever known into his accomplice.

She saw the Kirigakure Civil War and was overwhelmed with joy when she watched him become Mizukage. However was also heartbroken when she felt his pain in that glorious moment due to her absence by his side.

A pang of jealously crept deep into her heart when she saw Mei Terumi approach him for a political marriage and the arrival of another female Spartan survivor in his life who also happened to be his first crush.

Both women circling around him with their own intentions now that she was no longer in the picture which made her angry and relieved at the same time, for she could clearly see how lonely and heartbroken he was after what happened to her and their unborn child.

She watched his campaign against Kumogakure, witnessed him achieve victory after victory even going as far as defeating the Raikage in single combat albeit at the cost of his arm.

Naruto-The Great.

She watched his successes on the battlefield repeatedly and saw his legend spread across the Land of Water and the rest of the world rapidly. A true conqueror: Young, Handsome, Charismatic, Powerful and terrifyingly skilled in the art of war. He had nearly conquered two of the five great nations of the world, abolished the feudal lordship in his conquered lands and was truly working for the upliftment of the common people and shinobi alike, never lost a single battle which made him a god especially in the eyes of his own army that was willing to march to hell with him.

But in those conquests, she also saw how he was changing even more as a person. Deep down, he was a decent human being but she could also clearly see Madara's influence on him.

It sickened her when she learned of their entire plan for the shinobi world and humanity. The Naruto she knew would have never agreed for such an atrocity, but the heartbroken and betrayed man she saw was trying to convince himself that this was the right path in order to get his loved ones back to life and create a lasting peace in this war-torn world.

To make it happen...He had made a deal with the devil!

When she had witnessed all the events until their meeting today, she looked directly into his eyes as soon as she released her technique.

"Madara's using you, Naruto! It's still not too late, please stop!" she begged him,

"Everyone uses others. Our nations used us and threw us aside for their benefit, we used other people as spies for our missions. It's why I want to break this cycle of lies!" he answered fiercely,

"By conquering the world? Your path will lead you to war with Uzushiogakure and Konoha! Your own father and family!" said Ino incredulously, just how far had he drowned in his grief?

"I won't resort to violence if they are willing to co-operate in building a new world order" he promised sincerely,

"Uzu will co-operate with Minato Namikaze, their trusted shinobi but not the person you are becoming and certainly not your real intentions! Same goes for Konoha, your father loves you. He'll do everything in his power to help you create a better future, but not if you threaten Lady Mito's life and hold a grudge against his nation. There is a better way than what Madara is leading you to believe!" she pleaded with him,

"It's too late for that" he whispered hesitantly,

"Not if you give up! You want justice for your Spartan comrades? Make the Uzukage accept responsibility for his actions when he ordered that suicidal mission, Lord Tobirama will help you in that after everything that has happened. They'll get the respect they deserve as will your adoptive father but only if you negotiate and not threaten war!" said Ino passionately,

"What about my brother? My comrades? My Family? You? How am I supposed to keep on living when there is no one left to enjoy my life with? Am I supposed to allow myself to be betrayed and broken again and again until my death? I have lost everything I ever loved and it's still not enough for them! I am sick and tired of always pandering to everyone else's wishes...this is mine!" he retorted bitterly,

"Believe me there is nothing more that I want than to be at your side. But not at the cost of making the entire world your enemy including your family! You're a hero of Uzu, Kiri and even Konoha...you're my hero" she whispered in a broken voice,

Naruto was left speechless but couldn't muster the strength to console her, for her plea went completely against his changed beliefs and mission.

"Ino, if I don't do this...I don't get you or my family back. My life will be empty and meaningless even if the world sees me as a hero like you do. I'll...be alone" he confessed sadly,

He was surprised when she came forward and hugged him fiercely and laid a kiss upon his cheek.

"Those that love you truly will want you to be happy. Your current path will make you undergo more pain and become a person we can't relate with, it has already started happening. You can still find happiness in this world, there are people like Kushina, Mei, Tobirama, Lady Mito, your niece-Tsunade, your nephew-Nawaki, your men from Kiri who can be your family" explained Ino gently,

"And you? What about us?" whispered Naruto, making her look straight into his eyes.

"I'll wait for you on the other side. But don't come there just yet" replied Ino with a warm smile,

For a fleeting moment, she was confident of having reached his heart and make him see reason until a bittersweet smile arrived upon his lips.

"The hero you knew is long gone, Ino. All that's left is a devil who wants to change this cursed world...I truly believe in my dream and won't stop until I achieve it" said Naruto seriously with determination in his eyes,

"Naruto..."

"I will always love you but I've had enough of the shinobi system. I fought two world wars and sacrificed everything in my life for this system, my nation and allies...only to be betrayed and broken again and again. For better or worse, this is the path I have chosen and I shall walk on it till the very end" he answered resolutely,

"Why?" she asked once again, despair evident in her voice.

"For my child didn't deserve to die a pointless death to protect your nation. I understand and respect your choice to sacrifice your life to protect your comrades and nation...but my child didn't sign up for any of that! This shinobi system that creates ninja like us, willing to sacrifice themselves, their families and even their children for the sake of corrupt governments is wrong. I believe in Madara's dream, to eliminate the boundaries of nations to bring mankind together. For humanity to unite together, it needs enlightenment which we shall bring so that men stop fighting against each other endlessly" explained Naruto seriously and without hesitation,

Ino looked away as she couldn't meet his gaze over the guilt of getting their child killed before it was even born...and unable to accept the person standing before her today.

"You're really set on this, Naruto?" she asked one last time,

"I am"

"You have truly changed...and I am really sorry for being a part of the pain that made you become like this" she replied somberly,

"Naruto-The Great. Many call me by that name now for my military victories...but if I was truly great then I wouldn't have lost everyone and everything dear to my heart. Perhaps my life is nothing but one great tragedy...even so I shall keep moving forward until I reach the very end. That's all there is left" he confessed calmly,

"The blame lies with me as well, if only I had taken Sakumo's advice and didn't risk my life...I wouldn't have broken your heart. I truly wanted us to retire and settle in Konoha, have a family and live the rest of our lives in peace" said Ino truthfully,

"I would have liked that..." he agreed with a sad smile,

She felt herself fading away and rushed forward to lay a parting kiss upon his lips and looked deep into his eyes.

"I know I can't persuade you from the path you have chosen and I feel myself fading, but I am truly sorry for all the pain I have caused you. Despite everything that has happened, I know you are fundamentally a good man. I want you to know there is always hope...always a better way no matter what anyone else says. I love you, Naruto...and if I could be allowed one wish then it would be for you to find the peace and happiness alongside a family that you deserve. Promise me that you will try to find that if nothing else!" asked Ino with a faint smile,

"I'll honor your memory and this wish until we meet again" promised Naruto,

He watched as she was summoned back into the coffin and gave him one last smile before being sealed away.

He fought back the pain he felt deep within his heart watching her go, but was grateful at the same time for having gotten a chance to speak to her.

Being a loyal shinobi of her motherland and someone who cared for him, she wanted him to avoid conflict with Konoha and the Land of Fire alongside his own homeland.

"Have you changed your mind?"

He turned back to address Madara who had stepped inside and had asked him that question straightforwardly.

"You wanted me to speak to her knowing I no longer agree with her blind devotion towards her nation, just like I had for mine in the past" said Naruto flatly, earning a smirk from the Uchiha.

"And to give you closure as well. If you look at it from her perspective then I am simply using you, considering your earlier doubts...I wanted to be absolutely certain that this path was a choice of your own instead of just a means to bring your loved ones back to life. That you believed in our mission and vision fully of your own volition" clarified Madara seriously,

"It may have started off with that motivation but now I truly believe a real change is necessary in this shinobi world. Konoha and Uzu are one of the oldest and powerful symbols of the decadent and twisted world order that gave rise to ninja like us. If mankind wants to continue its eternal war and current system, then it needs to prove its worth for that right by defeating me in battle" answered Naruto with a smirk,

Madara gave a genuine smile upon hearing that determination and walked towards his fellow accomplice.

"There is something which I haven't told you about this plan of ours. An important reason as to why I wanted you at my side" said Madara honestly,

"What is it?" asked Naruto carefully,

His eyes widened in shock as Madara told him something that he hadn't expected in his wildest dreams. A truth which changed his views towards the Uchiha before him.

"Madara, you..." whispered the blonde in disbelief,

"Now you understand why I chose you and why I wanted to be absolutely certain of your conviction. You may not have a positive opinion of yourself because of the tragedies of your life, but others including myself see you differently. For us, you are a symbol. There will come a time when my name shall fade from humanity's heart and its history, but yours must live on till the last human exists in this universe. Create a better world, a better system that embodies the best humanity has to offer instead of one suiting a few individuals like the current one" explained Madara seriously,

"Ino wants me to not fight with her nation as well as mine...but that war is inevitable. I have destroyed two feudal dynasties-one in the Land of Water and now in the Land of Lightning. I have altered the status quo where shinobi have taken leadership of entire nations. The remaining three feudal lords may hate each other's guts but I think they will rally together sooner or later to take me down. When that happens, Konoha will break our alliance even if Tobirama does not wish for it to be so" said Naruto wistfully,

"My armies are yours to command. They'll destroy any enemies that try to overthrow you, speaking of which my Zetsu's have discovered that the Seven Ninja swordsmen except for Mangetsu and Haku have grown suspicious of your true identity" revealed Madara frankly,

Naruto clenched his fist as he was told as to just how his trusted Generals were shaken by hearing his truth from an extremely fortunate Kumogakure officer who had survived the Battle of Rezang La but had perished at Hydara, but not before creating serious cracks in Kirigakure's top ranks.

"What are you going to do? They will confront you sooner or later on this" warned Madara,

"Tell them the truth"

Of all the things the Uchiha had expected, that was not an answer he had ever imagined the blonde deciding upon. His disbelief was clear for the young Kage to see as he smiled.

"I can't continue my conquest if my trusted generals will always suspect me. They are smart enough to know if I lie to them again and after everything that has happened in my life, I need to set a better example. I refuse to behave like the Uzukage or the Hokage, if my generals want the truth...then they shall hear it from me" said Naruto confidently,

"You're overly optimistic" cautioned Madara, earning a scoff from the blonde.

"I can be very convincing when I want to. You should know that by now" retorted Naruto, making Madara nod.

"True. But if they don't see reason and rebel?" he asked straightforwardly,

The chilling smile that arrived upon the Fourth Mizukage's lips would have made any shinobi freeze momentarily, and Madara was no exception.

"They won't"

He didn't doubt the absolute determination and darkness in the young man's promise, knowing for better or worse- he wouldn't allow such a thing to take place.

It would be upto the Seven Ninja Swordsmen to decide their own fate and legacy.

"Help me get a replacement arm that you had offered using Hashirama's DNA. I'll also be taking you up on the offer for more military forces. I have a possible Rebellion to face and the last standing Kumogakure army to crush" declared Naruto without hesitation,

"The Two, Three and Eight Tails?" questioned Madara seriously,

"You shall have them once my I have conquered the Land of Lightning completely...which shouldn't be long with your support in terms of bringing me back to my full potential and more men in the form of your Zetsu army" assured Naruto confidently,

A wide smiled arrived upon Madara's Uchiha's lips as he placed his hands upon the young Kage's shoulders.

"Very well then. I'll make you even more stronger than you were earlier and give you an army that shall help us achieve our mission at all costs!"


(Three Days Later)

"A's army is barely a day away from reaching here!"

Mangetsu voiced his absolute frustration in the highest possible pitch to Kushina and Haku in the privacy of their command tent protected by privacy seals that would prevent their army from hearing the growing concern among their top commanders.

And they had a right to be worried since their Kage had disappeared few days ago with only an intermittent message sent back to them a few hours back that he would be coming back to them soon.

"A has five thousand battle hardened veterans among his ranks, the Kinkaku Blackops among them. We barely have three thousand men in our ranks, if the enemy links up with the reserves inside Kumogakure not only will we be pincered but be outnumbered 2 to 1. We must take the enemy village before the Raikage's son gets here" suggested Haku,

"A frontal assault will get you annihilated. They are well entrenched" refuted Kushina flatly,

"I have asked Zabuza to send reinforcements from the Capital, but I doubt they'll get here in time. I will try to storm Kumogakure using an aerial assault with the help of the 501st but we need to make their barrier collapse first. Even if we succeed in getting a foothold for the rest of the army to charge in by breaking it, we are looking at 70 percent casualties for our only airborne special forces in that task" warned Mangetsu,

"Then we must wait for Naruto to return or retreat-"

Before Mangetsu could react to Haku's suggestion, they were all shocked when they heard loud cheering erupt across their camp which made them all rush outside to find their shinobi rejoicing and with good reason...

The Fourth Mizukage had returned.

But the most shocking thing was that he was no longer missing his left arm and actually had a replacement wrapped in bandages alongside thousands upon thousands of feudal warriors at his back. Armed and ready to fight...

"So this is what he was upto..." whispered Mangetsu in disbelief,

"But how? It's impossible..." said Haku in a stunned whisper,

Kushina remained silent but was the only one who had an accurate guess as to what her old friend had been upto these past few days.

"This chakra, there is no mistake. It's Hashirama's, so Madara helped you get your lost arm fixed with a secret ace up his sleeve as well as giving you more reinforcements to complete this campaign. Even if these 5,000 warriors are looking as normal feudal warriors...I think I know what they are, their presence is familiar" thought Kushina secretly,

She watched Naruto march towards his three commanders and had a smirk upon his lips on seeing their gobsmacked expressions.

"Sorry to keep you waiting. It took longer than expected" said the blonde Mizukage with a grin,

"How, Lord Fourth?" asked Mangetsu simply, as he pointed at the Kage's new arm and the large army standing at attention.

"I am a Sage, Mangetsu. I can regrow lost limbs, organs or cells- I did the same for your nearly destroyed shoulder during our mission to assassinate the previous Daimyo of this nation. Considering the damage I suffered at Hydara was more severe, it took me longer to regenerate the lost arm. As for the reinforcements, I had to spare one of the lesser influential regional lords who still had his household guard and civilian militia in his territory. In return for my generosity, he was more than happy to offer his men's support to conquer Kumogakure...or are you not happy with it?" asked Naruto curiously, thankful that Madara had prepared the evidence to backup his story should it be verified.

Kushina stopped herself from rolling her eyes when Mangetsu and Haku profusely denied their disbelief and instead accepted Naruto's explanation in their desperation and fear. Or it had to be the fact that they trusted their Kage who had not let them down once so far...

The Mizukage gave the two swordsmen their respective orders and asked them to prepare their army for a final assault. A command the two of them quickly went off to execute leaving the two Spartans alone.

"I take it the meeting went well" she commented, as he took a position by her side and observed their army gearing up for their assault.

"Yes. We are ending this here and now" declared Naruto icily,

"I've waited a long time for this" replied Kushina with a satisfied smile,

"Haven't we all?" whispered the blonde Mizukage as he glanced at Kumogakure.


(Kumogakure)

Captain Darui stood upon one of the mountain tops inside his village with a grim expression upon his scarred face as he watched the reinforced enemy army take up battle positions.

"Get the men ready" he commanded dourly,

His second in command, Samui-a recently promoted chunin gave a firm nod as she relayed his orders to their two thousand strong force alongside their teenage female Jinchuuriki-Yugito Nii.

Darui turned towards his force and felt pride alongside regret in his heart when he saw his shinobi. Most of them were genin and chunin with only a handful dozen old veterans in the form of Jounin and Anbu's.

Majority of his troops were barely teens and had not even tasted alcohol yet...

And in front of them stood a battle hardened veteran enemy army that had butchered their Raikage and majority of their strongest forces across their country. Even from his position, he could see and feel the presence of the Fourth Mizukage on the battlefield.

"We must hold until Lord A gets here...anything else and we are doomed" he announced honestly,

When the young children of his village roared in approval, he truly thought of surrendering if only to spare their lives but it went against everything their nation had taught them.

There was no room for weakness...they would fight until the very last genin had fallen!

"Expect no mercy...show no mercy! Today you fight and die for the glory and future of our great village!" he roared thunderously,

The last defenders of Kumogakure gave grim nods as their respective leaders started issuing orders and made them assume battle positions.

"Kirigakure seems overly confident, a full frontal assault? Has their recent victories gotten to their heads?" asked Samui seriously,

"Don't underestimate them" warned Darui,

"Their entire force is right in front of us, Darui. We have sealed off all other entrances completely with Fuinjutsu" reminded the busty blonde,

She was surprised when the dark skinned man pointed towards the sky where a barrier spanning across their entire village was protecting their heads.

"The Fourth Mizukage is a brilliant tactician and a fearless general. He defeated Lord Raikage alongside wiping out our strongest army completely while bearing acceptable losses. No matter what happens, we must not let the barrier over our heads to fall...the 501st is here and if they get in- we are finished" warned Darui,

Before Samui could reply, her eyes widened when she felt a massive chakra buildup as Fukai-their former Eight Tails Jinchuuriki was forcefully marched to the front by the enemy alongside their own human weapon-Mei Terumi.

"Here they come! Barrier team, reinforce the front now!" yelled Darui fiercely,

The lone Anbu platoon joined forces together making their village's traditional barrier glow brightly as the two Jinchuuriki unleashed their most devastating attack.

"Tailed Beast Bomb!"

Two balls of demonic chakra were hurled at their defenses and in a testament to the Anbu's skill-they managed to hold the devastating explosions from reaching their village or defensive lines by maintaining the barrier, even as the ground beneath their feet shook violently from the shockwave.

The relentless barrage continued for nearly half an hour with more and more tailed beast bombs launched by the enemy to obliterate the barrier.

The Kumogakure Anbu platoon held the barrier fiercely, but with every passing moment they were getting weaker, unable to bear the relentless attack from two of the strongest Jinchuuriki in the world.

Another hour passed but the enemy didn't stop and now the Anbu's were running out of chakra.

Darui commanded the few medics and support shinobi to share their chakra with the Anbu, but deep down he knew it was only a matter of time...as this was a battle of attrition he was not in a condition to continue for long.

The enemy on the other hand had thousands of battle hardened adult shinobi who were sharing their own chakra to the two Jinchuuriki, combine that with the power of their tailed beast...they were not going to stop anytime soon.

"Have Yugito launch her own tailed beast bomb during the interim between their next attack" commanded Darui, when he saw the morale of his force decreasing as they watched the Anbu getting weaker and weaker in a doomed effort to hold the barrier.

Samui nodded swiftly and the young blonde Jinchuuriki marched to the front to unleash her own attack which the Anbu allowed to pass through their barrier by creating an opening right after the enemy had finished their latest attack.

The female Kumogakure Jinchuuriki had been retreating back to the nearest friendly unit, when from the frontline the very tailed beast bomb she had sent at the enemy was teleported right back at her village.

The Anbu managed to seal the barrier before the blast could get in, but in doing so exerted majority of their power to the front weakening the barrier briefly...

Darui's eyes widened when he sensed numerous presence in the skies and was mortified when he saw small gaps in the barrier above their heads.

Not large enough for a human to pass through but more than enough for dozens of three pronged kunai to be air dropped by the 501st flying above their village.

"Shoot them down!" he yelled desperately,

As he launched dark lightning bolts towards the falling three pronged kunai, he felt dread swarm his heart when they multiplied into hundreds.


(The 501st)

Mangetsu and Haku watched the special kunai of their Mizukage being multiplied rapidly as they breached the cracks in the enemy's barrier.

A green flare was launched from the Kirigakure army's ranks.

The two swordsmen alongside every shinobi of the 501st felt the Hirashin mark of their Kage flare upon their right arm with his chakra and barely a moment later, they were teleported right inside the enemy's barrier alongside the falling signature kunai of their leader.

A few of their breatheren were instantly struck down by the enemy's ongoing attack to eliminate the rain of kunai, but it was not enough as the remaining members of the 501st aimed their kunai launchers in one specific direction.

The Kumogakure Anbu holding the barrier were vaporized in a series of explosions as hundreds of explosive kunai launched by the Kiri commandos obliterated them instantly.

With their deaths, the barrier protecting the village fell making the Kirigakure army roar!

Dozens upon dozens of Kirigakure shinobi forces started being teleported against random three pronged kunai that had scattered across the entire village even as their main army was now charging towards the village through the open front.

The enemy's cohesion was shattered as they battled the 501st raining hell from the skies, the Kiri Anbu teams that had been teleported in their midst and were now butchering everyone in their sight, and the thousands of murderous shinobi charging from the front...


Captain Darui could only watch in horror and absolute disbelief as their entire defense came crumbling down.

Before he could relay fresh orders in order to prepare whatever defense possible to counter the enemy's main army charging from the front, his breath stopped when the Fourth Mizukage himself teleported near his position thanks to a three pronged kunai nearby.

A redhead kunoichi was also by his side who wrapped Samui in chakra chains mercilessly when she tried to stop her. Yugito came charging bravely to save her fellow chunin but was pierced multiple times across her body by additional chains launched by the same redhead woman that stopped the Kumogakure Jinchuuriki from using her tailed beast chakra alongside inflicting grievous injuries. She fell to her knees screaming in agony alongside Samui...

I need to save them!

With a fearsome warcry, Captain Darui jumped towards the Mizukage sending black bolts of lightning from his left hand and to his horror, the blonde Kage simply absorbed his jutsu.

Darui brought his blade down upon the Mizukage's head and watched it break in half when the blonde unleashed Muramasa in his defense.

The very next moment, Darui felt the sheer malice and hatred inside the sword crawl through his very soul as the Mizukage stabbed him clean through the heart.

"This is for my parents!" whispered Naruto mercilessly,

The Kumogakure defenders watched in disbelief and despair when their Captain fell to his knees as the Mizukage yanked his cursed sword from the man's chest.

"This is for my comrades!"

Even though he was fading, Darui felt the pain when his arms were sliced off by the cursed sword and as he looked up at the blonde man with ice cold eyes...he saw not a shred of mercy in that vengeful gaze.

"This is for my brother!"

Darui's vision became a mess as he felt himself rolling across the ground and only a moment later did he see that the Mizukage had severed his head from his body which collapsed gracelessly.

The last thing Captain Darui saw was the charge of thousands of battle hardened and veteran Kirigakure shinobi who descended upon the outnumbered and terrified young defenders of Kumogakure.

A permanent horrified expression would became etched on the severed head of the Kumogakure Captain as his lifeless eyes saw the slaughter of every Jounin, Chunin, and even genin down to the last fighter.

His only solace being the fact that he didn't live long enough to watch...

Kumogakure fall.


Author's Notes: End of chapter.

Hope you guys liked it.

I guess we've got 15-20 chapters left or max 25 more updates before the end. It's hard to believe it's been nearly three years since I started writing this fic, I was hoping to finish it before the end of this year but I guess it will take a month or two longer than that depending upon my schedule.

Many of my readers accept or even like this direction...some may even hate it, I am aware of that as well.

How many of you honestly thought Ino would be able to convince him to change his path? Considering she was the final catalyst that unleashed him across the shinobi world and is at the core of his despair...

For a moment, I also wavered...but then realized and accepted that it would be a grave injustice. A cop out of sorts...when I remembered the hidden message in the second half of this chapter. I don't know how many will see it.

As Naruto himself said...I must keep moving forward until my enemies are destroyed!

This is the path he has chosen, at first out of grief and temptation but now he believes in his conviction. He believes he is right and I need to respect that. Whether it's right or wrong, moral or immoral, good or bad...only the end will say alongside the consequences.

What do you guys think?

Until Next Time,

Blackwolf501