The Pantheon of Nine

By: Finn Mertenz

A/N: This chapter is dedicated to the memory of UrBoiPedro12, taken too soon. While this death has shattered his community and family, it means nothing to his memory.

Because his memory will live on, inside the stories he wrote and the lives he touched. By reading his stories, we prove that his life had value, and we refuse to forget it.

From one author to another, you will not be forgotten, sleep well and rest in the beyond.


Chapter 148: In It, To Win It! When Nations Fall.

Sunday 12:58am, October 26th 58SSP.

Yoshino, Shikaku, Asuma, Hayate and Yamato, these were the gathered and named shinobi in attendance. As the former panted from exhaustion, the latter stood stalwart and firm in opposition.

"She truly earned the Jonin title..." Shikamaru's mom moaned.

Awash in debris and damaged foundations, the barren streets of Konoha weren't even recognizable. Risking much and losing everything to reach this point, clouds of smoke lingered.

Kurenai was the epicenter for this destruction and dismayed harmed, ordered to fight by mental command. With darkened sclerae and grey pupils, rippled Rinnegan pulsed through her mind.

Wincing beneath repeated glances from the fallen woman he loved, Hiruzen's firstborn son bulked. Draped by rustling and stretched sleeves from his partially charred crimson kimono.

"We have to put her to rest... Now!" Asuma charged.

Surging with sped feet that shuffled over ruined tile and broken planks, teeth bared in disgust. But not towards the woman he cared for, instead; the deprived being that brought her back to life.

Naruto was to blame for the budding hatred that now bloomed inside this aged heir of Sarutobi. Gifting purpose and honing ire as his fanged brass-knuckles were swiftly infused with chakra.

The only weapon he attained since battle began on a peaceful day, their edges rushed forward. Shredding flaked flesh enwrapped by linen as Kurenai caught each with barehanded palms.

Hayate himself also entered this embroiled battle between fallen lovers, swinging his katana. Unhindered by the consecutive echo of raspy coughs, he refused to back down or surrender.

Casually plummeting through what thin layers of wall remained, sharpened tips struck skin. Receiving not even a whisper in reply or reaction as all sensation of pain was denied from his foe.

Stretching to flank these battling ninja, a shadow spread from the corner of a far-off alleyway. Missing its mark by the length of severed hair as the kunoichi it sought to ensnare rolled fast.

Evading capture as Asuma's glowing blades pierced earth where she once stood, leaves floated. No longer orange or red, but brown and wrinkled from the decaying passage of time and season.

With rampant war that tore through every countryside, it coincided with nipping heels of fall. With winter on the horizon, dead leaves were all that filled the air, blown loose by bellowing chakra.

Sprouting fresh tree roots with the firm clasp of naked hands, Yamato bridged this decay with life. Riding a rising surf of oak, he lunged over four stories high with palms aloft in front.

Sliding with such friction that sparks ignited below, Kurenai's movement was that of a master ninja. Kicking these spheres she ignited, they scorched soil to ash as ravens watched from above.

Taking place during the highest hour of midnight, every orb sparkled like an artificial sun in the deep. Illuminating all that neared with the glow of light, quickly trailed by the heat of flames.

Dispersed as grown trees abruptly blocked their path, only cinders managed to make it through. Meeting the stern glare of Asuma, pupils of black twinkled with firelight in the midst of darkness.

Jumping into the fray, he twirled over rickety branches as his revived lover raised linen-wrapped palms. Slicing tips from fingers, inflicted wounds instantly healed as flaked skin fell.

Throwing shuriken from a far-off roof, Yoshino's hurled reach was promptly amplified by shadows. A Nara pureblood like the husband she loved, chakra-infused abyss stretched like strings.

Retaining grip on the hollow hole that defined all shinobi tools, their pointed tips spun fast. Impaling the destitute kunoichi they aimed towards, threaded darkness held each of them in place.

"Stop slacking! Slacker!" Yoshino snarled at her husband.

Running with a slouched back and murmured whispers, Shikaku dove hands into his strapped pouch. Yanking a necklace of kunai into sight, wired metal conjoined their explosive tagged hilts.

"I'm on it! I'm moving!" He muttered words of excuse.

Tossing the attached blades he carried like a lasso, shadows moved with parallel precision to Byakugan. Acting like ropes to contain and restrain their victim, crumbed flesh broke off.

"Sarutobi!" Hayate gave words of warning.

Sliding back to safety at the mention of his surname, Asuma watched as a dozen detonations rang. But instead of success or victory, he felt only loss, dread and distain for the sight he bore.

Enabling a steep crater to deform a once pristine street, bellowing clouds of smoke and debris were vivid. Breaking this resonant miasma in an instant, Kurenai's dark locks rustled.

As the linen she wore ignited into an inferno, fiery forearms swept and sliced through chakra-grown oak. Shredding the hulled girth of three trees before hardened bark halted her advance.

Clapping this summoned surface beneath shinobi shoes, Yamato's happuri was brought to a headbutt. Splintering but firm as a revived forehead maintained stout opposition to his blow.

Devolving into a close-handed exchange of Taijutsu combat, boned elbows were caught by brisk palms. Because the driving force inside his Yūhi foe were the Rinnegan eyes in her mind.

Shuffling down demolished streets, Asuma joined them with swept and sharpened brass-knuckles. Eventually aided by dancing shadows that zoomed, soared and whipped past.

"Watch out, idiot!" Yoshino shoved her husband aside.

Taking the brunt of a thrust kick intended for someone else, she rocketed back through piled stone. Promptly buried as Shikaku flinched to respond before enflamed hands forced him to duck.

Crossing twin forearms in defense, each suffered stout cinders and stiff jabs before catching aflame. Searing half of his flak jacket as skin scarred underneath, the smell of flesh followed.

Burnt and charred, Asuma dared not look, instead only catching the glowing knuckles of his foe. Offering rescue from retracted bouts of bone and retaliations of flung muscle designed for harm.

"Yamato! Use your Wood Style! Quickly!" Sarutobi spat with haste while shoving his Nara ally aside.

Nodding as prepressed palms already weaved through determined hand seals, roots sprouted below. Soon swelling to the size of an engorged forest with dense shrubbery and bushes.

Scrambling to keep the possessed women he loved in position, Asuma flailed against fiery hands. Giving pause and respite with each and every swung slice from his fanged brass-knuckles.

Reaching the mortal point of exhaustion as simple acts caused him to pant, his will remained firm. Broken only by a cataclysmic thrust of ember that dove and carved a gash through his chest.

Gripping a part of the wrist that impaled him, Hiruzen's son smiled as creaking branches approached. Taken from life not by force, but the serene embrace of nature, every oak joined into one tree.

This was the price of a successful victory against the undead ninja Naruto employed, so much loss. Even Yamato himself stuttered to comprehend it, taken aback by his own usage of jutsu.


With buildings dislodged, rumble reduced and rising pillars of charred smoke, Konoha was dying. That was the singular truth that resonated throughout Shibi's middle-aged mind.

Losing so many, the loss of infrastructure was too much to bare for his once great and powerful village. Robbed of his son and now forced to fight him, generations met on the battlefield.

With a wife who died during the hour of childbirth, a past family was now simplified to just one man. Because the sacrifices of the shinobi world couldn't be overstated or spoken of enough.

Even now, as lists of fallen and global ninja reached the thousands, not one felt the urge to surrender. Not because of blind ninja pride or ignorance, but for the memory of all those they lost.

This was the driving factor behind Shibi's Will of Fire, the realization that he carried so many thoughts. Scenario's of love and affection from the past, moments he cherished from a peaceful life.

And he wasn't alone, standing beside a steadfast Sai who hastily scribbled while crouched on both knees. Carrying a multitude of paint brushes instead of kunai or shuriken, he loved to draw.

Putting the final touches upon his kanji-covered depiction of a dragon, black lines boiled and bulged. Throwing the husk of a scroll that bore this summoning, its spread paper unrolled.

"Ninja Art: Dragon Beast Replica!" Sai cried aloud with a half tiger hand seal.

Splitting open its makeshift maw of black and white, droplets of ink spewed as razored teeth were bared. Stretching the slimed girth of two wings high, they flapped and fluttered wind.

Gobbling a myriad of poisonous spiders and the disheveled land they traversed, all were hastily swallowed. Gifting pace and volume to a ferocious roar that followed, a milky dragon rose.

Defined by the ornate curves of kanji that formed its outline, four claws broke soil as its rampage begun. Shredding and cleaving a straight goal towards it desired target, Shino.

Still dead and denied the peace of eternal rest, he raised six limbs to catch the oozed summoning in front. Impervious to the loosened sludge that resonated on impact, flaked skin sizzled.

Already eclipsed by land torn asunder, the environment was all that suffered from weighted collision. Already losing so much, what little remained left Konoha as a shadow of the past.

That's why Shibi lunged forth as the summoning Sai employed was swatted away with three back hands. Taking the place of this disrupted reptile, shoes smeared dirt against a mixture of ink.

Readied for combat as fingers twitched and eyes narrowed behind glasses, a reared shadow above spread. The same colossus of color that Sai scribbled, its density of muck found balance.

Swiping the slash of a horizontal paw that dripped, its honed tip cut several ripples through air on approach. Firmly halted and battered against the stout defense of five crossed arms.

Expecting to sweep and fling his opponent off feet, Sai's summoning did little more than fan the wind. Held back and at bay as Shino stood stalwart with straight posture and stern knees.

Using two palms to grip the painted and scaled claw that strove to strike him, he raised it with ease. Hurrying to toss this massive giant aside as ninja neared, he parried the knuckles of his dad.

Kicking away the man that nurtured him, this fallen heir of all Aburame studied his father with three eyes. Cut off only after Sai threw a barrage of pointed paint brushes, each laden with ink.

Blanketing a soiled street under black, the insectile torso they rushed towards promptly evaded harm. Lunging sideways before four hands gripped the earth for stabilization, dirt was shoveled.

Wincing with exhaustion as lens-covered eyes sporadically glanced at his son, Shibi's sleeves were tattered. Gnawed and littered with a dozen holes from the poisonous spit of past spiders.

Turning panicked as his revitalized child charged towards him, the intervention of an ink bomb cut them off. Obscuring eyesight within doused layers of black, Sai entered and retreated in haste.

"It's not enough! We can't do this by ourselves!" His young voice inhaled air.

Striving to escape as he aimed to land on a dilapidated mound of plaster, a stray web ensnared each ankle. Forcibly flung by these silky strands, him and the Jonin he rescued were tossed.

Plunged into pulverized dust, both twitched as the alarm of an advancing shadow harassed them. Having just enough time to roll, the ground they once rested upon became split by spiders.

Shooting a barrage of strings from six palms, Shino's rapid attack sought to entrap those in front. Instead met by shuriken in midair before their honed tips pinned each web against earth.

"I helped your mother deliver you, and this is how you repay me?!" Biwako snarled.

Crushing a loosened tile of orange beneath shinobi shoes, sections of plated armor scraped together. Dressed in a blacked bodysuit like her fallen husband, this widow of Sarutobi stood tall.

Never alone, Homura and Koharu trailed close behind, adorned in the same style of olden armor. Ninja for many decades, each had seen and experienced their own scenario's of conflict.

But all moments brought them here, to a crucial junction that held the fate of Konoha in balance. More than just these aged shinobi of old, others quickly coated the surrounding landscape.

Aoba Yamashiro, Hiashi Hyūga, Hana Inuzuka and the matriarchally head of her clan, Tsume Inuzuka. Gathered and pressed into formation at the height of invasion, Anbu also joined.

"I can't believe so much damage has been done to the village..." Inoki murmured.

The mother of Ino and the widow of Inochi, she knew not the devastating loss of her husbands life. Focused only on the devastation and destruction inflicted upon the home she loved.

"All because of the Nine Tailed Fox." Aoba sneered.

Speaking the words that everyone thought, the pain they suffered was quickly labeled upon one person. Not the revived ninja that invaded, but the whiskered boy who summoned them.

"Complaining about the past won't fix the present." Biwako chastised.

"Right! So let's end this!" Hana's nose twitched as she spoke.

At the young age of 18, skin was fair with painted red fangs on each cheek and black pupils like obsidian. Paired and layered underneath a shoulder-length ponytail of brown with messy bangs.

Sniffing the familiar scent of her far-off brother, no time could be delayed or wasted to investigate. A course of action was all that could resolve the budding doom that threatened Konoha.

Invigorated by the desire for victory, she charged alongside the Three Haimaru Brothers, triplet Ninken. Ignoring shouts of protest and whining cries for caution, she dove into the fray.

Sidestepping growling snouts that surged out to snip, Shino shrugged away from razored teeth. Moving at a brisk pace as three canines strove to bite while their owner hurled tight fists.

Swiping the back of two Senjutsu-infused hands, they swung to meet their mark with an azure glow. However, their intended target became swapped as Tsume shoved herself between them.

"Not my daughter, you bastard!" Teeth were bared like a dog.

Sinking an array of fangs into the revived throat she confronted, flaked sections of flesh were torn. Dispersed like a weakened bundle of decaying flowers, sprinkled crumbs spread over feet.

Briefly staggered but swiftly recovered, this inflicted wound held almost no baring on the undead. Allowing Shino to swing five arms in deflection of every attacker that swarmed him.

Carving himself as an epicenter of columned dust, his sixth arm twitched as another foe rushed. It was Kuromaru, the famed Ninken partner of Kiba's mom, and a veteran canine of combat.

Missing his left ear with an eyepatch over the right portion of his face, drool dripped freely loose. Baring aged fangs into the reanimated wrist in front, claws swatted out as reinforcement.

Soon aided by the soaring barrage of sixteen shuriken, sharpened tips struck revitalized flesh. "This ends now!" Aoba clasped hands before weaving blurred seals on a speedy approach.

The truest trademark of his village, cheeks puffed as chakra-infused sparks erupted in his stomach. Molded and churned from inhaled air, Fire Style: Fireball Jutsu shot out like gunfire.

Both eclipsed by this fiery orb of enlarged cinders, Aburame and dog were consumed by its flames. Emerging seconds later with cocooned lines of fire that enwrapped them, each burned.

Shino alone was immune to this painful sensation that heralded death, because he was already dead. But Kuromaru didn't share this fortitude, whimpering with rage as skin was singed.

With a matted array of black and white fur, his underbelly resembled snow as the top looked like coal. Left partially charred and smoked as growls of aggression poured from an opened snout.

"Earth Style: Iron Prison Jutsu!" Biwako screeched.

With clapped hands that danced through the ram, dog, hare and rat seals, flat palms pressed earth. Displaying a degree of Ninjutsu upon the highest pinnacle of skill, an S-rank technique.

Forming a circular arena that swiftly rose high, sections of stone held the density and mass of iron. Reaching the height of a three story apartment, all became trapped as escape was denied.

"Fire Style: Flame Hurricane!" Homura weaved the monkey, bird, dog and ram seals.

Igniting visible embers from the fierce impact of clasping hands, columns of fire funneled in front. Swiftly propelled like a torrential pillar of horizontal fire, soil beneath turned to ash.

"Wind Style: Great Breech!" Koharu's own voice rang.

As spry hands danced through five unique seals, bustling surges of wind bellowed out like a tunnel. Encircling precast flames in front, both merged into a flickering tornado on advance.

Lit as this spiraling contortion scorched a clean path towards him, Shino's third eye narrowed to squint. Striving to ready four arms for defense, the shadow of Hiashi interrupted everything.

Utilizing chakra-coated palms of azure, he restrained every limb of his foe by locking muscle in place. Dealing no damage so all effort could be focused on the stabilization of his revived opponent.

And this task was successfully accomplished before this head of all Hyūga dove away in a split second. Leaving his victim to struggle before hesitantly breaking free as Rinnegan eyes drove him.

Taking advantage of this timely entrapment, Inoki's regal kimono rustled beneath a classy flak jacket. Each a faded shade of teal that resembled leaves, they contrasted her brown eyes.

Moving with the grace of a gazelle, the tightly constrained bun on her auburn hair bounced with friction. Inevitably stricken by eroding wind as she ran, twin hands were pressed together.

"Ninja Art: Mind Destruction Jutsu!" Her words echoed.

Forming unique seals to enable this highly secret Ninjutsu, vision allowed its girth to stretch and spread. Like rushing cavalry, this unseen technique enveloped the undead shinobi in front.

"Hurry! Quickly!" Biwako rallied.

Delaying no time as an inked brush was pressed against the unrolled scroll he brandished, Sai scribbled. Shouting "Sealing Jutsu: Crouched Tiger Bullet!" aloud, a boiling mass of white arose.

Forever defined by sprinkled arrays of black kanji, it zoomed forth on all fours like a rabid beast. Sinking a myriad of fangs and claws forward, they struck the restrained Aburame in front.

"Seal!" Hands clapped a naked scroll.

Recalling and retracting his previously cast jutsu, combat reached an end as Shino was sealed away. Dredged and buried into the kanji-depicted muck upon a scroll before snapping shut.


Singed and sizzled by an ethereal aura of crimson, those that watched were left in an awed stupor. With the Gate of Death unlocked, a perpetual glow of scarlet poisoned the nighttime air.

"On me, my fellow Kage! Let our youth herald an end to this conflict!" Guy's gums bled.

Dressed in the shredded remnants of his full-bodied green jumpsuit, a muscular torso was bared. Catching brief and fleeting glimpses of these wounds, A's own muscles were rigid.

Adorned with a singular piece of sleeve around his left arm, the rest of his Raikage robes were gone. Taken and tattered in the height of a day-long conflict, stretching from sunrise to fall.

"I like your style! This is art!" Deidara was marveled by might.

Like the legendary ninja he stood amongst, pristine Tsuchikage robes were reduced and damaged. Giving clear sight for the mesh-armor shirt he wore underneath, alongside matching pants.

"As long as I don't have to lie, I'm okay with this." Kisame grinned with shark teeth.

"Boys are so messy." Temari brushed filth from her attire.

The only pair of Kage still wearing their distinguished robes, each were dirtied beyond the extreme. Proudly brandishing the kanji for '5th' and '6th' upon their backs, water rippled below.

Crippling this aquatic environment beneath the flaming husk of heeled feet, the 5th Hokage lunged. Scorching the midnight horizon into an inferno that twirled and resonated like a vortex.

"Dynamic Entry!" Words cried out like a plummeting meteor.

Directing a stout leg towards Naruto, red eyebrows wavered beside scarlet locks of loosened hair. Flying towards the whiskered blond that tormented so many, Guy ignored all pain he felt.

Soon confronted by a sensation of gravity as unseen waves radiated from violet eyes, collision grew. Constricting light and sight as the oceans surface caved into a steep crater of depth.

Causing Rinnegan eyes to widen with shock as propelled might broke through, gravitation gave way. Allowing shinobi soles to strike a stout cloud of crimson upon a backdrop of black robes.

Immediately coughing blood as half his torso was torn and kicked, both victim and attacker suffered. Soaring over the sea, a clear path was cleaved by their weight of pressurized chakra.

Traversing a dozen miles in the span of a single kick, the 5th Hokage struck land as his foe forcibly plunged. Splitting a towered and natural cliffside into the thrashing ocean, devastation rang out.

Catching up with this beached battle, Kisame rode waves as Temari used her opened fan to fly high. Even Deidara clung to her spread page as A himself stood tall with bulked shoulders.

"To obtain such sudden power... But at the ultimate cost." The 4th Raikage murmured.

Obtaining the perfect view as Guy fell from a spiraling mushroom of soot and earth, rock followed. Covered by a blanket of red, he rode a plummeting boulder into the sea-side shoreline.

Now far-off from the demolished and submerged ruins of Uzushio, conflict moved further west. Reaching the remote and eastern coast to the Land of Fire, a barren beach accompanied forests.

Abruptly splintered and sheered by gravity, chunks of the cliffside broke off before rising upward. Enthralled and rocketed as Naruto echoed the words "Almighty Push!" from a center of stone.

Directing the gigantic mountain he raised like a doll, its excessive girth was brought to bare. Hurled like a toy as bloodied wounds leaked gore, fleeting pebbles sprinkled like an eclipsed shadow.

Shrouded by this spread silhouette, Temari, A and Deidara separated as Guy shouted with vigor. Punching his way through all harm that approached, the boulder in front spilt and crumbled.

Wincing as she snapped her fan shut, the 5th Kazekage dove under debris as Kisame reached the shore. "Now that was an explosion!" Deidara oozed with awe, glee and joyful wonderment.

Already chewing a handful of clay, its white plaster was swiftly molded and shaped with great grace. Leaping to act over tumbling terrain and dislodged stone as teeth chewed in haste.

Producing a pear-styled blob within the span of seconds, he clung to its mass as feet clapped sand. Traveling across an isolated and ingrained shoreline, fleeting rock fell all around him.

Ascending the vertical incline of a cliff with the aid of chakra-control, strands of vibrant blond rustled. Moving at the same moment as the 6th Mizukage weaved a half Seal of Confrontation.

"Water Style: A Thousand Feeding Sharks!" Words rang with a smile.

Already stationary on the beach, this bellowing build up of chakra enamored the sea over his shoulders. Swelling minor waves into a massive tsunami, its watery bulk quickly sped forward.

Soon diverged and defined by splitting passages, an army of sharks took form from chakra-infused liquid. Laughing as this swell of artificial teeth washed over him, Kisame rode atop all.

Cackling aloud as he brandished the jagged and naked outline of Samehada aloft, it growled with hunger. Riding his aquatic bulwark like a surfboard, both sword and master fought as one.

Eroding every particle of lingering dust from Guy's past attack, beady eyes were brought to bare on Naruto. Exposing gored wounds that leaked bodily ichor and crimson splats of wet.

Standing tall with a wound that would've cripple any mortal, skin recovered while organs regrew in seconds. Now missing the entire left torso of his Akatsuki robe, steam poured loose.

Raising this nude limb to intercept the danger ahead, water struck a veiled shield of unseen gravity. Draining light and might from a swarm of attacking sharks as Rinnegan eyes glowed.

Reducing a thousand to nine-hundred, their numbers continuously shrunk as energy was pulled loose. Consumed and utilized by the rippled and sacred eyes Naruto possessed.

Leaping high while swinging Samehada with the hope to strike true as sharks below acted as distraction. All were instantly restrained by a gravitational push and probe that detonated abound.

And this wave of domination was successful until the 5th Hokage sundered everything with a blitz of speed. Delivering a fiery and knuckled fist against whiskered cheeks, their bearer was propelled back.

Snapping Naruto's neck into an disgusting angle as he skid and rolled over sand, it meant nothing to a demon. Able to recuperate with the unspoken aid of Kurama, this lethal wound was shrugged.

Cracking disjointed bones back into their original spots as he rose, blond locks jutted like spiked needles. Scorched, pummeled, bent, broken and crushed, nothing yielded any real result.

Because even the Five Great Kage struggled to subdue this far-gone rogue ninja from Konoha. No longer with innocent blue eyes, but the amethyst and violet glare of a monstrous demon.

Enraged by these pupils, hosting the same design that stole her brother, Temari's teeth sternly gritted. Shrieking "Wind Style: Sea Dragon!" she hurled her spread fan high into the sky.

Disappearing as midnight clouds swallowed it, the 5th Kazekage gave up her weapon before clapping hands. Instantly calling down the emerald tinted twirl of a chakra-infused tornado.

Spinning fast as it descended from the darkened skyline, layered wind forced lain whiskers to waver. Biting his thumb as these thrashing currents approached, droplets of blood freshly leaked.

"Summoning Jutsu." Words were cold.

Employing white smoke as palms quietly pressed, both calm and cloud were disrupted by a gigantic beak. Soaring with discolored feathers of grey, three distinct legs and crippled wings.

Flying straight into the eye of Temari's encroaching storm, flapped muscles swept against torrential wind. Enabling a fierce breakoff of winding might and vapor, thrashing currents spilled out.

Continuing its fluttered assault, a drill-shaped bill of yellow sporadically swatted about like a blade. Swung and swayed like a column of concrete until A halted its advance with coated azure.

Enshrined by arcing streams of Lightning Style Armor, thickened and golden vambraces were alight. Soon stained as a jagged beak repetitively scraped once prestigious sections of metal.

Wrestling in air for narrowly a moment, their muscled exchange reached a dusted ground of grains. Chucking the enlarged bird he fought, the 4th Raikage wasted no time to snap its neck.

"Your playthings can't delay the end of this battle!" A sneered with eyes that searched.

Catching her fan as it fell from the midnight horizon, the 5th Kazekage joined her estranged ally. "Don't forget about me!" Deidara snickered with a handheld clump of white plaster.

Previously caressing the engorged bomb he created, its clay mass was promptly pitched. Lobbed from the highest point of a surrounding cliffside, its girth was embellished by a smiling face.

Wincing to protect eyesight against detonation, its fused timer gave under a half Seal of Confrontation. Baking sand to ash and then glass as heated layers of fire blew, flames swallowed Naruto.

"Let's go!" Guy's eyebrows crackled like fire.

Running so fast that a trail of red was left in his wake, each step sundered a steep ravine underfoot. Leaving little room for anyone to follow, no deterrent held sway over Temari and Kisame.

Charging head first into the milky mist of smoke from Deidara's technique, pulsating scarlet parted all. Further dashing into the shape of a manmade circle, the 5th Hokage broke bones.

Evolving to such a sped pace that no eyes could follow, he ran in place around a single whiskered foe. Hot and heated like the center of a volcano, skin shared the same crimson tone as hair.

With the adjacent beach-head left as a war torn and demolished land, its occupant was unspoiled. Safe from flames as rippled Rinnegan pupils drained every ounce of chakra around him.

"Sekizo!" A dozen muscles tore on movement.

Pouncing forth with cocked and locked limbs, a sole punch released pressurized air in the mold of a pillar. Known as the 'First Step', the forbidden usage of its current collided with whiskers.

Strained to stand as flailing fabric violently wavered alongside a blond scalp, wind blew without end. Even the saucer-like widening of Rinnegan eyes failed to dispel this burst of thrust stress.

Vanishing as quickly as he appeared, Guy emerged in a brazen maneuver to flank and obliterate. Preforming the 'Second Step', his whole right arm shattered into shards of specked collagen.

Momentarily groaning in agony, all pain was pushed aside as his dazzling assault pressed forward. Enabling a weighted gale in combination to the first he launched, both were pumped by might.

Suddenly stuck between these pitched contortions of stress, the Jinchūriki for Kurama held no escape. And this compressed prison grew as the 5th Hokage sped fast to a new angle with haste.

"Third Step!" Instead of spit, blood spewed loose.

Propelled from above, this gushing breeze struck Naruto's spiked scalp with the burden of a mountain. Crushed by the continuous push of three separate currents, each bore a heavy load.

Mangled by greater weight as the Fourth and Five Steps were achieved, winded gales rigidly bellowed. Injuring both caster and victim as Guy's final assault led to an outstretched left foot.

Burrowing limb and ligament into the partially exposed gut of his opponent, both sunk below. Engraving a steep and circular crevasse with the depth of an ocean and the width of a cave.

Falling short in the midst of this fatal blow, the 5th Hokage faltered before allied hands rescued him. "At least try to be careful!" A chastised the newfound friend he earned at the height of war.

Gathering around the precipitous drop off in front, all Kage stood as one force in opposition to defeat. "Now this is art." Deidara hovered atop the plastered back of a giant white bird.

Dropping a shaped blob of clay down the unlit pit beneath, its fuse ignited as chakra was funneled. Roaring torrents loose as sparks narrowly squinted from sight, expelling torrents.

Blowing past earthen ledges that contained them, columns of flame shot high as wings fluttered. Allowing the 4th Tsuchikage to fly his foreign contraption of chakra and clay as fireballs streaked past.

"Boys are so messy!" Temari hid from thrashing currents of cinder.

Crouching behind the hole-littered paper of her spread fan, pebbles burnt to coal beside layered wind. Reaching rolling tides that battered the shoreline over shoulder, extinguishing embers.

"Don't be like that... Samehada couldn't be happier." Kisame grinned with bared fangs.

With the serrated silhouette of his sacred sword held in front, it fed upon all flames that reached it. Seeping the chakra that fed them, Deidara's tasty hint of flavor was treated as a snack.

"Settle down! We don't even know what's happened." A spat.

Wading into past pastures of fire with the gestured sway of twin backhands as darkened eyes peered. Seeking to visually pierce the clouds of black that poured from the stretched chasm below.

Interrupting each famed Kage in attendance as grains of sand quaked, a thousand legs broke earth. Replaced in an instant by abyssal sections of chitinous armor and orange mandibles.

Hissing as this summoned centipede sundered mounds of terrain, its length coiled and roped from the deep. With pincers left ajar as Rinnegan pupils acted as escort, purple pressed an aura.

A snake-tailed chameleon the size of a house also charged loose with green scales and violet eyes of old. Accompanied by the stampeding tread of a brown furred ox with stout horns.

Shifting from an onslaught of muscle to a weighted exchange of giants, each of these behemoths lumbered. Dredged and pulled from a far-off void before treading the environment in front.

Gripping the horned tips of two keratin outgrowths, the white and empty eyes of Guy closed to a slit. Heaving with heavy might to toss his attacker high, sweat dripped along drops of blood.

Kisame himself lunged with the bulked outline of Samehada swung loose as scales yearned for food. Parried and snaked by a colossal yet venomous tail attached to a twitching lizard.

Even Temari devolved into melee combat as her shuttered and metallic fan was utilized like a staff. Plunged and thrust against the insectile ligaments and chittering bodies of monstrous beasts.

Wrestling Rinnegan-eyed summoning's as clouds swirled overhead and waves crashed the shore behind. Everyone knew the drought of exhaustion neared, the time for a decisive victory was now.