Summary: As Naruto, Kakashi, and Jiraiya settle into their new roles as husbands, the massacre at Usuki on their wedding day by their respective mortal enemies, has cast a pall of sadness over what should have been a joyous day for them. Now a new Leaf village may suffer the same fate as Usuki. Only Naruto and the others stand in the way to prevent that. While a reunion long overdue, is about to take place between the two strongest shinobi of their generation. Our heroes will have to fight to protect not only their friends and loved ones, but for their very lives as well.
Naruto vs. Sasuke: The Aftermath
Chapter 78 "Naruto vs Sasuke: The Rematch Pt.1"
When Naruto and Sasuke's fists collided with one another, the sound that resonated from the impact was akin to a thunderclap. Both shinobi jumped back from one another after this initial strike, as they silently pondered the strength of each other.
'Damn it, how did the dobe get so strong?' Sasuke thought in disbelief to himself, as he grimaced in pain, while the regenerative powers of his cursed-seal one state began mending the broken bones in his hand from his punch. He also began rubbing his arm with his other hand, which had gone numb due to the force of the blow.
Meanwhile, Naruto to gave pause, as he shook his hand in front of him and he thought with surprise to himself.
'That was a stronger punch than I was expecting from the teme, this might be a fight after all.'
'It wouldn't be a fight at all if you would just listen to me you stubborn kit!' The Kyuubi no Youko within Naruto spat with irritation, as his demonic regenerative powers were already repairing the broken bones in Naruto's hand from the punch.
'We've been through this already Kurama. I need to defeat the teme on my own, using my own power and skills. I'm not going to go full blown Kyuubi on him just for the sake expediency. I'll only call upon your power during this fight if he starts calling upon his own demonic powers.'
'Foolish mortal idiot, he's already is using his demonic powers. If it wasn't for his demonic shield protecting that Uchiha scum from head to toe. Your punch would have torn his arm off, even if it was just one those puny chakra enhanced strength punches made famous by your grandmother. If you had punched him using my power to enhance its strength, it would have torn through his shield like paper.'
'Alright, you've made your point, but we're going to do things my way, at least at the start. Is my hand fixed?'
'Obstinate willful human! Yes, your hand is fixed. Go take some more needless blows from your enemy, before you finally wise up and call upon me to end this once and for all. However just so you know, if your stubbornness in this battle puts you in dire straights, I will step in with my power whether you like it or not. Remember our pact, I'll help you to take down Sasuke, and you'll help me to take down that bastard Uchiha who took control of me all those years ago.'
'I remember our pact.'
'Well try remembering that none of that can happen, if you let yourself get foolishly killed.'
'I understand Kurama.' Naruto answered in exasperation, before he turned his attention back to Sasuke and grinning remarked.
"Nice punch teme, you ready for round two?"
Naruto's grin infuriated Sasuke and just as was about to attack, his earbud radio buzzed to life and his NCO stated.
"Lord Sasuke, there's a strange situation involving our attack on the village, that I thought you should know about. It appears that the Konoha forces are not def..."
"Well you thought wrong! Do not bother me again, I'm busy!" Sasuke shouted in a rage, interrupting his NCO mid-sentence, before he ripped the earbud radio from his ear and crushed it in his hand.
Sasuke then looked back to Naruto who stood in a relaxed posture ignoring him, as he absently examined the fingernails on one of his hands.
Naruto's disinterested attitude enraged Sasuke even further and he rushed forward at astonishing speed. Still grinning Naruto quickly ducked to the ground before Sasuke could hit him with a left hook and rolled several feet to his right. Flipping up off the ground and landing on his feet Naruto attempted a spinning back-fist and swiveled 360 degrees adding extra momentum to the attack. Sasuke brought his right arm up to block the punch, but was unable to dodge when Naruto had spun around the other direction and threw a quick and explosive straight jab at his face, breaking Sasuke's nose and causing blood to spurt out like a fountain.
Refusing to give Sasuke a chance to recover, Naruto lashed out with a powerful front kick, as Sasuke leapt to the side to avoid it. However, Naruto used the momentum from his kick to pivot on his feet and spun around to snap off a roundhouse kick directed at Sasuke's ribs. The Uchiha was barely able to raise his right leg up in time to block the kick. Sasuke grunted pain, as his leg nearly went numb from the block and he was positive had it not been for his demonic shield Naruto's kick would have snapped his leg in half.
Naruto continued to press his attack and unleashed a barrage of punches and kicks with such amazing speed that if it wasn't for the Sharingan helping Sasuke to dodge, weave, and block all of the blows this taijutsu fight would have been over long ago. When Naruto paused a moment, Sasuke quickly shushin'd across the field to put some distance between himself and his blonde ex-teammate to try and regroup.
Sasuke wiped away the blood on his lips from his broken nose, which was already being mended and spat at the ground in livid frustration. He couldn't understand how Naruto was matching his speed and daresay exceeding it. The Uchiha remembered back when they were at the academy and he always defeated Naruto in their taijutsu spars. And though he loathe to admit it, back then Naruto had been a tough opponent for him. It was only because he was a bit faster than Naruto and then later on when he gained his Sharingan that always allowed him to win.
"How did you get so fast and strong dobe?" Sasuke shouted in furious aggravation at Naruto.
"I've spent over the last five years training under the best Sannin of the Leaf village, that's how!"
"Pfft, that degenerate Toad-Sage isn't the best, Lord Orochimaru is!" Sasuke scoffed with derision.
"Well, unlike you, maybe it's because the Sannin who trained me didn't require that I warm his cock with my butt-cheeks on a daily basis. Maybe if you had done less of that and more training, you might have become as strong and as fast as me!" Naruto answered with a smirk, as he once more grinned at his former teammate.
"I'll kill you dobe!" Sasuke screamed in a rage, before he decided to kick this fight up a notch.
Sasuke rushed forward and quickly activated the first stage of his cursed seal, as a darkened purple almost blackened color of demonic chakra erupted from his body, while a raging black-flame like pattern began to spread from his seal over his entire body. Sasuke quickly counter-attacked with his increased strength and speed by letting loose a volley of rapid punches and kicks of his own forcing Naruto to initiate a series of back-flips causing Sasuke to miss every attack, as he rushed forward chasing after his foe. So furious and intent was the Uchiha in landing a blow, he allowed his momentum to carry him too far forward and Naruto suddenly reversed direction and rolling forward manged to pop up and deliver a brutal punch to Sasuke's gut causing him to cough up some blood. However, before Naruto could follow up on that blow, he suddenly found himself launched airborne courtesy of a vicious backhand punch from Sasuke, as he landed with a sickening thud on his back several yards away.
'Well that fucking hurt.' Naruto thought to himself, while carefully rubbing his jaw.
'The Uchiha bastard has activated his cursed-seal one stage. He's now faster and stronger than you. I suggest you now take some of my chakra and increase your own strength and speed. Unless you enjoy him beating upon you like a little bitch.' Kurama snidely suggested to his host.
Naruto ignored Kurama's scornful remark, but did realize that the Nine-tailed demon was correct in his assessment. Flipping to his feet, Naruto let out a roar, as a a dense shroud of chakra erupted around the blonde Jinchuuriki. This shroud of chakra or as Jiraiya called it Naruto's "Demon Fox Cloak" is translucent red with bubbles of chakra (reminiscent of boiling liquid) forming all along his body. Besides giving Naruto a boost in speed and strength, it also provides a degree of physical protection similar to the demonic shield that had protected Sasuke in his battles.
Sasuke could only look on in awe, at the transformation happening to his former teammate upon activating this cloak. Naruto had chosen to bypass going into the one-tailed mode of the cloak and decided to go straight into his two-tailed form instead. The red chakra surrounding Naruto began take on the shape of a fox with long ears and two tails sprouting forth. However, it wasn't just the changes happening to the chakra that surrounded Naruto, but also the physical ones as well.
As Naruto entered into the two-tail state, he became beast-like in appearance. His eyes grew larger and along with his lips became outlined in a rough black color. However, what Sasuke noticed most of all, were Naruto's incisor teeth that began to grow larger. In all Naruto's physical transformation reminded Sasuke of the four-legged technique Kiba had used in their fight. But Sasuke knew that what he was seeing was on a whole new level in terms of speed, strength, and chakra, than what he had faced in that fight. It was Naruto's voice, which had suddenly gotten deeper and more menacing, which broke Sasuke out of his contemplation.
"Good punch, I see you've decided to use Orochi-teme's love hickey to boost your speed and power, but as you can see, I can upgrade myself in those skills as well. Care to try that again?"
"I'll do more than just hit you again dobe, I'm going to kill you now!" Sasuke snarled in reply.
"Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, didn't I tell you to give it a rest already, you're threats are worthless and do nothing but bore me." Naruto declared, as he brought his hand up to his mouth to stifle a yawn.
Naruto's dismissive attitude towards him, infuriated Sasuke and letting loose a demonic scream, he leapt at his former friend and teammate once more.
The speed Naruto and Sasuke were now using was utterly astonishing. Both foes were moving so quickly that anyone watching the battle with normal eyes would be unable to see them except in the briefest of flashes. In fact, even if a person were to enhance their vision using chakra, most of the time all you would see was an orange and black colored blur colliding with one another in the air and on the ground. The impact of these collisions were so powerful, one could actually hear the booming, yet recognizable sounds of their punches and kicks being blocked and landed between the two young men.
As Kabuto observed both Sasuke and Naruto pause after their initial punches into each others fist, he was suitably impressed by the power displayed by of both of them. This was going to be a very interesting battle and one in which he would examine quite closely. For he remembered the orders Orochimaru had given him long ago that if the opportunity presented itself to watch a battle between Sasuke and Naruto he wanted a full report about the fight. And though the Snake Sannin had never given a specific reason why he wanted this done, Kabuto suspected he knew the answer, as he mused to himself.
'Apparently Lord Orochimaru wishes to know who the better sensei is to a student, he to Sasuke or Jiraiya to Naruto? And in his mind, the only way to answer that question is which one would prevail in a fight between them. Well, Lord Orochimaru is going to get his wish today, but I have my suspicions he's not going to like the answer to that question.'
"C-Commander Kabuto, There...there's something strange going on about the attack on the village sir." Sasuke's NCO stammered, interrupting Kabuto's thoughts.
"So why are you bothering me about it? Commander Uchiha is your commanding officer, not me, inform him of the matter!"
"I...I...tried to sir, but Lord Sasuke interrupted me and told me that he was busy and not to bother him again. I...I tried to reach him again, but the only response we get from his radio is static now."
It was then that Kabuto remembered seeing earlier Sasuke reach up to his ear and pull something out before crushing it in his hand. And realizing what that item must have been, he thought to himself with utter contempt for Sasuke.
'What an idiot, destroying your only means of communication with the men you're supposed to be leading to conquer and destroy this village. It will serve you right if Naruto kick's your ass and you fail in taking and destroying this village for Lord Orochimaru!'
Kabuto swallowed his frustration, before he turned back to Sasuke's NCO and asked.
"Fine! What is it you wish to tell me about the attack on the village? Something strange about it I believe you said."
"Y-yes sir, I...I don't know why, but it appears that the Konoha forces are not defending the attack on the village. Our forces are entering into the village seemingly unopposed."
"What? That can't right, give me those field glasses!" Kabuto snarled at his Oto subordinate.
Raising the field glasses up, Kabuto could see that the NCO was correct. The Oto forces were entering through the destroyed main gate of Hiezu village completely unchallenged by the Leaf forces defending it. In fact, by his estimation nearly three quarters of their cursed soldiers had already entered. But why would the leaf not put up a defense to impede and try to take out as many of the soldiers as they could before they entered unless...
"It's a trap! Order our remaining forces who haven't entered the village to stop and return to base camp at once! Do it now!" Kabuto shouted in desperation.
Sasuke's NCO immediately rushed off to carryout Kabuto's orders, while the bespectacled first apprentice of Orochimaru stood shaking with rage. As he looked on towards Hiezu village and he spat with unmitigated loathing for Sasuke.
"Damn your soul to hell Sasuke. If you had addressed this situation a few minutes ago, instead of acting like a pampered child, we might have been able to save over half our forces attacking the village. Now, I think we'll be lucky if we can salvage 10% of them before the day is done!"
As Kakashi crouched down on the wall above what had once been the main gate of the village, he studied the flow of the curse-sealed monstrosities rushing into Hiezu. He noticed a particular large creature enter the village, but figured being of such immense size, his forces would quickly target and destroy it. The silver-haired Jounin was both surprised and impressed at how quickly and orderly the beasts were able to enter through the demolished gate. Which truth be told was beneficial for the trap he and Shikamaru had set. One of their biggest concerns about their plan had been the fear that the Oto mutant soldiers would get bogged down and bottle-necked of all 400 of them trying to enter at the same time.
However, this did not happen with the mindless beasts, which pleased Kakashi immensely. Because the quicker the entire Oto army could get inside, the better for their plan to succeed, before the enemy discovered that it was a trap all along. It still baffled Kakashi at how efficient they were entering the village, before he spied the reason why. Upon reaching the outskirts of the main gate. The curse-sealed army had broken apart into eight separate 50 man platoons. Each one being led by a single non curse-sealed human Oto commander. This explained the intelligence behind their organized entry into the village.
Which is why Kakashi grew puzzled when some of the commanders of the last few platoons to enter the village suddenly threw their hands up in the air and attempted to stop the beasts they commanded from entering Hiezu. Unfortunately for those commanders, the desire for battle and bloodlust to kill was too strong and the majority of the mutant soldiers ignored them and still surged forth to enter the village.
Surprisingly, some of the monstrosities did follow their human commanders order to stop. In the end, Kakashi counted 23 of the soldiers had halted their advance, before turning around and lumbering back to their Oto base camp. This was a curious development to the one-eyed Jounin, but he couldn't take long to ponder it. As the last of the curse-sealed army was entering Hiezu and it was now time for him to shut the door on them.
Kakashi immediately jumped down in front of the gate and slammed his palms onto the ground and called out.
"Doryuu Jouheki no Jutsu!" (Earth Style Rampart Technique)
An instant later an explosion of dirt and stone erupted from the ground and a 10ft thick slab rose from the earth to the top of the wall surrounding Hiezu village. Blocking the main entrance and effectively trapping everyone inside the killing box from escaping.
As Kakashi stood atop the earthen wall he had just conjured, he peered down at the four Oto human commanders. Apparently, they hadn't seen him erect the wall now blocking the main gate and keeping their curse-sealed soldiers from getting out, while simultaneously preventing them from going in. Now that they had noticed the wall, they all stared at it dumbfounded and began to talk amongst themselves about what they should do next?
Kakashi decided to eavesdrop on their conversation and enhanced his hearing with some chakra to listen in. When one of them suggested that perhaps they should go and help Lord Sasuke in his fight, Kakashi thought to himself.
'Naruto doesn't need these nuisances butting into his fight. Shikamaru can handle things for a couple more minutes, while I take care of these pests.'
The legendary Leaf shinobi jumped down, and as he was falling a chidori lightning blade erupted from each hand and his Sharingan was blazing, as he landed behind two of the Oto Commanders and announced in a whimsical, yet also deadly tone of voice.
"I'm sorry gentlemen, Naruto's dance card is full at the moment with Lord Sasuke, no cut in's allowed. However, my dance card is free, care to dance with me?"
The startled group of Oto shinobi didn't even have time to react to Kakashi's question, as he had already shoved his two chidori blades through the back and out the chests of the two men he had landed behind. The other two Oto Commanders merely gazed on in complete shock, before one of them exclaimed in abject terror.
"It's Sharingan no Kakashi of the Leaf!"
However, before any of the two could react to this information, Kakashi was already ripping his chidori blades out of his first two victims. And in less than twenty seconds, the silver-haired Jounin stood amongst a pile of severed body parts that had once been the remaining two Oto Commanders. It was then Kakashi heard a voice coming from an open channel of one the earbud radios the recently dispatched shinobi had been using. It was a voice Kakashi immediately recognized, as the killing intent began to rise within him.
"Crackle...static...crackle...Lt. Jun...Lt. Arata...Lt. Masaru...report! Damn it someone report!" The radio blared, as the voice on the other end angrily demanded a response.
Kakashi knelt down and removed the radio earbud from the severed head at his feet. He brought the device up and affixed it to his own ear and said in an icy and malice filled voice.
"Hello Kabuto, I'm afraid your officers can't come to the radio. They're all too busy being dead at the moment!"
"Ka-Kakashi!" Kabuto stammered in fear, not expecting the Copy-Nin to be here.
"That's right, I'm so glad you remember me. I just wanted to let you know that I got your message you left for me at Usuki village. If you would be so kind and meet me out here, there are some points of your message I'd like to discuss with you...in person."
The underlying menacing tone of Kakashi's voice filled Kabuto with a sense of dread, before he gathered up as much courage as he could and said.
"I'm...I'm pleased you received my message. I...I meant every word I said in it, but I don't have time to meet with you and discuss it today. When next we meet, it will be at a time and place of my choosing, not yours."
"Well then, if you're not willing to talk face to face, I have a message I would like to give to you."
Kabuto immediately cutoff his transmission with Kakashi, not wanting to hear his message at all, as he exhaled a nervous breath.
Meanwhile, Kakashi heard the static over the radio and thought to himself.
'Well that was rather rude of him, not willing to hear my message after I took the time to read his. However, I'm afraid I must insist that he receive my message today.'
Kakashi then bit his thumb to draw some blood onto his hand, before slamming his palm onto the ground and shouted.
"Kuchiyose no Jutsu!" (Summoning Technique)
As the smoke from Kakashi's summoning disappeared, standing before the one-eyed Jounin was the canine leader of his pack of eight Ninken (Ninja Hounds) Pakkun. The small, pug-like dog with brown fur and a dark brown snout and ears, lifted his head to gaze at Kakashi with his droopy eyes, before he raised one of his pink-colored paws into the air and said.
"What's up Kakashi?"
"Hello Pakkun, I have a very important message I need you to deliver to someone inside that forest of trees over there."
"What do I look like a mailman?" Pakkun groused in annoyance.
"You'll be well compensated for doing this, provided you are successful in delivering the message."
"A bag of those spare-rib dog treats!" Pakkun stated in hope, while beginning to salivate.
"Two bags, if you get the job done."
"Deal!" Now who do I have to deliver this message to?"
"His name is Kabuto, and he has onyx-colored eyes and ash-gray hair, which he normally keeps in a ponytail, but his most recognizable feature are his black rimmed circular glasses."
"Ok, got it. Now what's the message you want me to give him?" The brown pug asked.
Kakashi knelt down and began verbally dictating the exact message he wanted delivered to Kabuto. A minute later, Pakkun nodded his head in understanding, before he raced off across the field. As Kakashi watched his ninja-hound dash away, he so desperately wanted to stride across the field and give his message to Kabuto in person. However, the silver-haired Jounin knew he had a duty as Commander of the Leaf forces here and would not abandon the men he was leading into battle for personal reasons on this or any other day. Kakashi then exhaled a frustrated sigh, before he disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
When Shikamaru saw Kakashi jump down in front of the main gate and then rise back up standing atop an earthen and stone wall a few seconds later. He knew the last remnants of the Oto curse-sealed soldiers had entered the village. However, he was a bit perplexed, as by his estimation there should have been another 20-25 soldiers yet to flood into Hiezu. But if Kakashi had decided now was the time to close their trap, Shikamaru would trust in his commander.
The Nara genius did grow a bit concerned when he saw Kakashi suddenly leap off the wall back down in front of the village. Instead of returning to him, so the two of them could coordinate the battle together. He hoped that Kakashi wasn't jumping down to take on those missing curse-sealed soldiers on his own. But once again, Shikamaru trusted that for whatever reason his commanding officer had leapt away, it had to be a good one. Besides, Kakashi was in the top five of the the strongest and most skilled shinobi of the Leaf village. If anyone could take on 20-25 curse-sealed soldiers and survive, he was one of the few who could.
Turning his attention back the battle at hand, Shikamaru noticed a group of four human Sound shinobi among many of the Oto monstrosities. Though he couldn't hear their conversation, judging by the way they were pointing their arms around the village, he figured they were now beginning to sense a possible trap. As several of the creatures were running about in confusion, and seemed unsure about what to do, as no enemy was in sight for them to kill. When the Nara genius observed that a great many of them, including one very big one along with their four commanders were now congregated around the three buildings he had ordered to be filled with explosives and crude oil. He pulled from his hip a cylindrical tube and flipped off with his thumb the top of it. A second later a flare erupted from the tube and rocketed skyward, before exploding in a bright light above the village.
Upon seeing the flare, three Leaf shinobi quickly went through a string of hand seals, before bringing their hand up to their faces and simultaneously shouted.
"Karyuu Endan!" (Fire Dragon Flame Projectile)
Instantly, a large jet of fire blew from their mouths into each of the buildings, causing them to be engulfed in flames.
Although the battle plan Shikamaru had devised for the defense of Hiezu village on the surface appeared to be a bit simplistic. He was still confident it held the highest probability of success against the strategic disadvantages Konoha's forces faced and the limited time he'd been given to develop a plan. However, the future leader of the Nara clan allowed himself a brief smile, as he watched the three building blow up in fiery explosions of destruction. Taking out many of the curse-sealed soldiers and their commanders, before a torrent of death rained down upon those still living from above.
"How goes the trap Major Nara?" Kakashi asked, as he suddenly reappeared next to Shikamaru.
"It's troublesome, because it's too early to tell, but so far so good Commander." Shikamaru answered, before he then added.
"Those explosions managed to take down around 60 of those ugly bastards and four Sound shinobi who I'm guessing were the commanders of them, but that still leaves over 300 of the ugly bastards that we still have to deal with."
Kakashi nodded his head in understanding, as he surveyed the battle below him from the rooftop of the tallest building in the village. As he watched, he had to admit the battle strategy and trap Shikamaru had devised to defend the village and defeat the enemy was pure genius. If for no other reason than how quickly the young man had come up with the plan, when Kakashi had tasked him to do so upon their arrival. It had taken him about a minute, after he went into what Naruto and his other friends and comrades jokingly dubbed as the "Shika-Pose." Which entailed Shikamaru closing his eyes, while bringing his hands together thumbs up in front of him and touching the tips of his fingers and thumbs together.
Kakashi remembered Shikamaru standing next to him in that pose at the initial meeting he held upon their arrival of the nearly 100 Leaf shinobi he had brought with him to Hiezu. The silver-haired Jounin announced to his forces that his second in command Major Nara would now explain how they were going to fight these Oto monsters.
Upon opening his eyes, Shikamaru immediately nixed the suggestion by someone that they should meet the enemy in the open field to keep the battle away from the village. He stated without hesitation that the strength and numerical advantage the Oto forces held in an open field confrontation would result in a zero percent chance of victory and of saving Hiezu village. The only hope for Konoha's forces to achieve victory and protect the village was if they fought this as a siege battle.
After hearing this declaration, Kakashi saw the looks of doubt that spread across some of his shinobi's faces about achieving victory. They understood that putting up a siege battle defense could protect the village for awhile. However, none of them could see how they could achieve actual victory from such a plan. When one of the men posed that question of how they could win using that battle plan. Kakashi chuckled at the memory of their open-mouthed stunned faces when Shikamaru replied.
"By letting them into the village."
When their initial shock wore off, Shikamaru began to explain his battle plan in detail to the Leaf ninja assembled before him. The Nara genius wanted to create what he called a "Killing Box." By using their shinobi who specialized in Doton (Earth) style ninjutsu to erect a wall in a two block radius around the main gate of the village. He wanted the three interconnected walls to be at least 5 feet thick and 20 feet in height. Shikamaru also wanted the Doton shinobi to create 5 feet down from the top of the walls an 8 foot extension from the outer side of the wall creating a rampart in which our forces could stand upon and look down at those creatures who were trapped inside their box.
It was at this point most of the Konoha shinobi present now gleaned the strategy of the battle plan Shikamaru had developed. Under this plan, the Leaf shinobi would essentially hold the high ground and be able to launch every weapon and deadly jutsu they had onto the enemy below. Shikamaru went on to explain that they would lure the enemy into attacking through the main gate by fooling them into thinking that the gate was disabled and unable to close. And once the entire Oto force was inside the village and their killing box. A fourth wall would be erected in front of the main gate trapping all those inside and preventing any of them from escaping. Once that was done, they would then unleash a barrage of death from above and kill every single one of those mutant freaks once and for all!
A cheer erupted from the Leaf ninja after hearing that, buoyed by the strength and conviction by which Shikamaru had given that final declaration. He had now fired up and inspired their forces into believing this was a battle they could win.
"Well, we should go join the party." Kakashi openly stated.
"How troublesome, do we have to? I mean shouldn't someone stay behind to direct the battle from a safe vantage point." Shikamaru replied with a groan.
Kakashi merely smirked, as this was so typical of Shikamaru. When the Nara heir is faced with the potential for conflict or commitment, he responds first by saying, "How troublesome," and then by trying to find some way out of it, either by pretending to be indisposed or even outright saying that he doesn't want to do whatever it is. Kakashi flashed his trademark eye smile and replied with a tinge of sarcasm.
"I appreciate you thinking of me Major, and normally I would agree I should stay behind. But I didn't get to kill the person I really wanted to today. So I feel like working off my frustration by killing some of his mutant monstrosities. I also don't want to deprive you of gaining more combat experience. So you take the east end of the wall and I'll take the west and we'll meet up in the middle. Oh and by the way Major Nara, that's an order."
Kakashi then disappeared in a swirl of leaves, leaving behind his discouraged second in command who could only mutter.
"What a drag!" Before he to disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
As Naruto and Sasuke both delivered simultaneous punches to each others face. They jumped back from one another. Both of them panting for breath from the intense physical exertion they had been using in this fight. Sasuke glared at Naruto, as he thought to himself in growing resentment of his former teammate.
'How is Naruto able to keep up with me? My cursed-seal one stage augmented by Kabuto's rejuvenation pill should give me the advantage in speed and power over him, but it hasn't! On top of that, I've got my Sharingan activated and the dobe has still been able to hold his own against me. I can't even catch him in a genjutsu attack because the bastard refuses to look directly at me, but for a brief second at most! And his punches and kicks are so crisp and sharp they feel like electric jolts, even when they land on my arms.'
Sasuke was broken out of his train of thought, when 23 of his curse-sealed soldiers came lumbering by and heading back the Sound base camp. As before, the Oto monstrosities made sure to move around both Naruto and Sasuke, as they could still sense the massive killing intent radiating off both of them. Sasuke didn't understand why they were being called back and not attacking the village. As the Uchiha pondered this, it was Naruto who chuckled out loud and said.
"It appears your attack on Hiezu isn't going so well teme, if you've got part of your army running away from the battle."
"Bah, it doesn't matter, there were only a few who came back. I've got over 400 of Lord Orochimaru's curse-sealed soldiers at my disposal. They'll crush that insignificant speck of a village and kill everyone inside." Sasuke spat with arrogance.
"I don't think so, not with what Shikamaru has planned for them." Naruto replied with a smirk.
"The so called Nara genius. I already said his supposed high intelligence is overrated and nothing more than exaggerated bullshit from his lowly clan. The Uchiha are the strongest and most intelligent clan not only in the Leaf village, but in all of the Elemental nations."
"Yeah, the Uchiha clan is so smart they managed to let their coup attempt of the Leaf village be discovered and were wiped out because of it. That's some high level intelligence there." Naruto declared with sarcasm.
"We were betrayed by my brother and one day I'm going to make him pay!" Sasuke exploded in a hate-filled outburst.
"As usual, I think you underestimate just how strong and skilled your brother really is. Just like you underestimate how smart Shikamaru is to come up with a plan to defeat you."
"I highly doubt he could come up with anything to stop my forces."
A moment later, a flare soared into the air above the village, before exploding in a bright light. This was followed a few seconds later by three successive explosions within Hiezu. Both Naruto and Sasuke looked on as a huge billow of black smoke rose high into the air, as screams of agony and pain began to reach their ears. It was Naruto who held a hand up to his ear, cupping it for a moment, before he sarcastically stated in humor.
"Those don't sound like the cries of human beings. I'd say they sound more like screams from your mutant freak army. Wouldn't you agree teme?"
Letting loose a roar of anger at Naruto's mocking tone. Sasuke rushed forward and began throwing punches and kicks in a flurry. Gone was any pretense of a coordinated attack by the Uchiha, he just wanted more than anything to inflict some pain onto his former teammate.
Naruto grinned slightly, as he bobbed and weaved to avoid all of the punches and kicks being thrown at him. He was hoping for Sasuke to lose his temper, which is why he goaded him with insults about his clan's intelligence, as well as what Shikamaru was currently doing to his army. Naruto was looking for an opening to really hammer him, as he hated to admit it, Sasuke's taijutsu skills were the equal to his own. This fight the past several minutes had been nothing more than a punch-counter punch taijutsu battle. Each of them trading blows equally, but neither of them gaining the upper-hand.
Finally, Naruto saw the opening he had been waiting for, as Sasuke charged him with fists flailing, but he was ready. One fast straight punch to Sasuke's unprotected face and his head whipped back, as his body arched backward, all of his momentum snapping back on him like a broken rubber band. The Uchiha lifted right up off his toes, clearing the ground. For one long moment his body hung in the air, then Sasuke landed with a thud on the ground.
Not allowing him to scramble upright to his feet, Naruto quickly followed up his attack by throwing a vicious downward blow onto Sasuke's face once more. The blonde shinobi took great satisfaction, as he felt his knuckles connect with Sasuke's face, splitting the skin over his cheekbone with the force of the punch.
Sasuke screamed in pain and rose to his knees, before Naruto spun around and lashed out delivering a roundhouse kick to the side of Sasuke's head launching the Uchiha tumbling away for several yards.
Naruto watched Sasuke rise unsteadily to his feet and staggered away a bit, desperately fighting to get his air back. For a moment, it looked like he would puke, but he managed to straighten up. Pure unadulterated rage seethed from the Uchiha. Sasuke silently cursed at himself for allowing Naruto to goad him into making a mistake, which had allowed the dobe to gain the upperhand in this fight.
Taking a moment to calm himself down, Sasuke took an offensive stance and he glared murderously at Naruto. Who in turn dropped down into his own offensive battle stance, before he extended his right arm in front of him, palm up with fingers motioning for Sasuke to approach to him, as he declared.
"Come on teme, I want to make you bleed some more!"
Sasuke could only grit his teeth in fury, as his desire to kill Naruto had never been higher than at that very moment, before he leapt forward to attack his former teammate and friend once more.
Kabuto's nerves were still a bit...frazzled at Kakashi's unexpected appearance, as he turned his attention back to observing Sasuke's fight against Naruto. He saw both young men land simultaneous punches to each others face, before they jumped back from one another. There appeared to be a pause in their fight, as both men attempted to catch their breath.
Taking a deep breath of his own to try and calm his rattled nerves, Kabuto saw some of the cursed-seal soldiers returning and immediately ordered to have them form a defensive picket line in front of the makeshift Sound base camp. The Sound Jounin took note that the beasts who had followed orders to stop their attack on Hiezu and return to base camp had been the one's smaller in size to the majority of the rest of the curse-sealed soldiers. Kabuto found this a puzzling occurrence and one in which he would need to discuss with Orochimaru, as both men were responsible for the soldiers creation.
Kabuto's musings were interrupted when one of the Oto shinobi at base camp shouted out, while pointing towards Hiezu village.
"What is that?"
Kabuto looked towards Hiezu and saw a flare rise high above it, before exploding in a flash of light. A few seconds later, three booming explosions erupted from within the village. As the bespectacled protege of Orochimaru watched a huge plume of smoke begin to rise from inside Hiezu, he could only drop his head down and shake it in disgust. For he knew those explosions meant the trap the Leaf forces had set had now been sprung. And judging by the screams of pain and agony now reaching his ears from his curse-sealed soldiers caught inside the village. Whatever trap Kakashi and the Leaf had set was proving to be quite effective.
Suddenly, a voice called out from behind the despondent Sound Jounin and asked.
"Hey four-eyes, are you the human they call Kabuto?"
Kabuto whirled around to stare in surprise at a small, pug-like dog with brown fur and a dark brown snout and ears. He knew instantly that this was a ninja hound of the Leaf, as the canine wore a blue vest and had Konoha forehead protector on top of his head. Curious of the small dog sitting on a log 15ft away, he continued gawk at it, before it spoke once more and asked.
"You going to answer my question or do you have a hairball stuck in your throat like a stinking cat? Are you Kabuto?"
"I'm Kabuto who or what the hell are you?"
"I am Pakkun, the fearsome leader of the most deadly ninken pack of the Village Hidden in the Leaves!" Pakkun announced with bravado and confidence.
"Hmm, fearsome and deadly huh, and your its leader, well you don't look like much. What are you going to do gnaw, at my ankles until I fall down?"
"Watch what you say human! I could tear your throat out in the blink of an eye, if my master so ordered it. But he did not, I'm only to deliver his message to you." Pakkun growled out menacingly.
"And who is your master runt?"
Kabuto's spine stiffened a bit upon hearing that name. He should have guessed immediately when he first saw this ninja hound that Kakashi had sent him. For it was a well known fact in the shinobi world that the Hatake clan possessed the Canine Summoning contract. Mustering up as much courage as he could, Kabuto cursed inwardly at himself, as he stammered in query.
"Wh...what is his message?"
"My master wanted me to tell you that you're going to die. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon you will be dead. When next you meet Kakashi, it will be by my masters hand that sends you to hell."
"Bah, the typical meaningless threat that I expected from him." Kabuto scoffed, while trying very hard to disregard the message.
"It's not a threat you fool, but a promise. I've known my master since he was a pup and never have I seen him more serious or determined in anything he has ever said. You made a huge mistake Kabuto, you never should have threatened my masters mate, by doing so you've signed your own death warrant." Pakkun professed with absolute certainty ringing in his voice, before scratching behind his ear.
Kabuto glared angrily at the small dog and inwardly seethed at what the canine had just proclaimed. The silver-haired apprentice of Orochimaru was already feeling apprehensive about Kakashi's unexpected appearance. Now to hear a lowly mongrel declare that he had made a mistake was just too much to take, as he spat with fury.
"Am I supposed to give your…..master a reply?"
"You know, he never said." Pakkun answered, with a quizzical look upon his face.
"Well I've got a reply for him. How about I send the head of his fearsome leader of his ninken pack back to him in a bag! How does that sound to you mutt!" Kabuto threatened, as he took a menacing step towards Pakkun.
"I think not...take that!"
Pakkun quickly jumped up and raised his hind leg, before he shot a jet-stream of piss directly into Kabuto's face. Causing the advancing Oto Commander to stop, as he sputtered and spit the vile liquid away as best he could. The small pug-like dog then growled out.
"Remember my masters message Kabuto. Death awaits you the next time you meet!"
Pakkun then disappeared in a plume of smoke. His final words still echoing in the ears of one agitated and concerned Yakushi Kabuto.
As Shikamaru ran along the rampart of his killing box, checking on the status of his shinobi he had positioned atop the walls. He was generally satisfied with the results of what he was seeing. The Leaf forces were raining down death from above at a constant rate using every deadly jutsu or weapons they had in their arsenals.
The Nara genius was also impressed with the help the Hiezu villagers who had volunteered to man the walls alongside his shinobi were providing to his men. Their bravery was inspiring, as they were not trained warriors who knew destructive jutsu's or had dangerous weapons at their disposal. They made do with simple farm tools such as pitchforks and scythes to attack any of the creatures who came close to cresting the walls.
However, he was most pleased to see that the volunteers had listened to his suggestion of using the one weapon the villagers had in abundance. The crude oil so recently discovered within Hiezu's borders. Shikamaru stopped at one position and watched with satisfaction , as two villagers worked in unison, one filling an empty bottle with oil and then stuffing an oil-soaked rag into the top of it. Before handing it off to his partner who lit the rag ablaze and then chucked the flaming bomb onto the mutant creatures below.
Nodding his head in approval towards the two villagers, Shikamaru raced off to the next battle position atop the wall. Here he found two of the volunteers utilizing the oil in a most deadly way. As they were heating the oil in a large vat to a boiling point, before dumping it onto the enemy below. When he watched the two villagers tip the vat over the side of the wall. Shikamaru actually winced when he heard the blood-curdling screams of agony from below. Taking a quick peek over the side, he almost puked at seeing the damage the scalding oil had done. As many of the cursed monsters were writhing on the ground. Some of them burned so horrifically one could see their very bones where the flesh had seemingly melted away.
Once more nodding his head in approval to the two Hiezu volunteers, Shikamaru turned and sprinted off to the next position. Overall, it appeared that his battle plan was working far better than he could have hoped. By his own estimation over half of the invading forces lay dead or dying below him. However, his plan was not perfect and some of the deficiencies of it he observed were starting to arise.
The first problem, which the Nara genius had known from the beginning was that these damn curse-sealed soldiers were so hard to kill. The regenerative abilities they possessed was just so strong. That the only way to overcome it was to inflict so much lethal damage onto a creature in a short amount of time, the regenerative powers could not keep up and the soldier would finally die. Unfortunately, because of this, it took much longer to kill these mutated freaks, than it would if the enemy were normal human beings.
The second major issue, also known by Shikamaru from the start was strictly a numbers issue. That number being the amount of men he had manning the walls. The forces defending Hiezu comprised of around 90 Leaf shinobi who were being augmented by 25 Hiezu volunteers. However, Shikamaru knew that number of men was not sufficient to cover a two block area effectively. Gaps in protection along the walls were starting to crop up, as he and Kakashi were being forced to pull men from their assigned battle positions to go reinforce another position that was under a heavier assault.
Truth be told, Shikamaru would have liked at a minimum to have had at least twice the amount of Leaf shinobi available to him to defend the village. Unfortunately, there simply hadn't been enough time to gather that many ninja from all of their outposts along the border with the Rice country. As they barely made it in time to defend Hiezu with the forces they had managed to assemble.
So, it was rare for Shikamaru to ever second guess himself, especially in regards to decisions he's made as a Leaf village shinobi. However, the Nara genius found himself doing just that, as he recalled a conversation he and Kakashi had, when he was going over his battle strategy right before the fight.
"You seemed troubled Major Nara. You're not worried about your battle plan are you?" Kakashi questioned to his second in command.
"About the overall plan, no I'm not worried. But there is an aspect of it that I'm wondering if I made a mistake."
"What error do you think you've made?"
"It's the two block radius of the trap. I'm concerned that it might be too big an area for the killing box. As the number of forces we have available to us isn't enough to defend the village, as effectively as I would like."
"Why did you choose a two block radius in the first place?"
"Well as you know, the main objective of my plan is to get all 400 of the Oto forces into the trap, before they discover that it is a trap. I guess I'm wondering if we had made the killing box smaller, say a one block radius would have been better. It would certainly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the men we have to defend a smaller area of the village."
Kakashi pondered this for a minute, before he spoke up and declared.
"I disagree Shikamaru. Because of the number of Oto forces were facing, I think a two block radius is the optimum area for the trap. I believe anything smaller would have been discovered, before we could get all of the curse-sealed soldiers into the trap. And while we may have been able to ensnare a portion of their forces into the killing box. That still would have left us militarily speaking in a precarious position from a strategic standpoint. Because then we would be fighting the enemy on at least two fronts if not more. We would have to battle the Oto army trapped within the box and then also be fighting those who were not outside the village walls.
Kakashi then took a deep breath, before he continued on.
"No, I agree with your original assessment. A two block radius should allow the majority of the Oto soldiers to enter the village and into your trap, before they find out it is a trap. Don't second guess yourself Major, the battle plan you came up with is perfect and allows us the best chance to save this village and to achieve victory."
'Far from a perfect plan, but it appears to be working.' Shikamaru thought to himself, as he rushed to the next location on the killing box wall.
Upon reaching the next battle position, Shikamaru saw the weariness in the faces of his men and knew the third problem facing his ninja was now starting to emerge...fatigue. The Leaf shinobi were still valiantly unleashing as many deadly jutsu's onto the enemy below them at a tremendous rate. However, because the curse-sealed soldiers were so difficult to kill. It was requiring more and more hits from the jutsu's, before the monstrosities went down. Which was depleting the chakra capacities and reserves of his ninja at a faster rate.
Shikamaru immediately ordered the ninja to take their stimulant tablets. He then sent out a general order through his radio to all of the Konoha shinobi to take their stim-packs at once. The Nara genius knew the stimulants would last maybe 30 minutes at the pace this battle was going. So, victory or defeat for the Leaf forces would happen in a scant half-hour.
The 30 minute time frame reminded Shikamaru of his friend and comrade Kiba. That was roughly the amount of time he had bought, perhaps at the very cost of his life, for Naruto, himself and the rest of the Konoha reinforcements to arrive. He dearly hoped that Sakura would be able to save him, as he didn't know if he could take losing another friend to that bastard Sasuke, like he did with Chouji.
Sakura's brow furrowed in deep concentration, as she searched inside Kiba's body for another fragment of the broken rib she was attempting to repair. Most of the ribs Sasuke had broken had been clean breaks and relatively easy to for the pink-haired medic to to fix. Unfortunately, this particular rib had not fractured cleanly, but instead had fragmented at the point of break. Now Sakura was searching for all the pieces to put the rib back together. In a morbid way, it was kind of like a jigsaw puzzle she needed to solve, before she could use her chakra to fuse the rib whole once more.
"Ryota, give me some suction in that area, I think I see the fragment I've been looking for." Sakura ordered to the Medic-nin assisting her.
"Ahh yes, there it is is, Moegi forceps."
Sakura's young student immediately placed the surgical instrument called for into her sensei's hand.
"Kazane, how are Kiba's vitals?"
The woman who had accompanied Sakura and Moegi and was acting as her nurse anesthetist was monitoring every important function of Kiba's body. As well as maintaining the correct amount anesthesia medicine to make sure Kiba was safe and comfortable answered.
"His numbers are constant, a little low, but not life threatening."
"Good." Sakura replied, as she began fusing the fragment she had found back into the broken rib.
Sakura had never felt nervous in performing a surgery before. She remembered when her mentor Tsunade began her surgical training the three resolute edicts the Slug Sannin had set forth from the beginning. A surgeon must have no hesitation during surgery, no doubt in your skills as a surgeon, and no fear about the possible outcome.
The pink-haired Jounin was having no problems with the first two edicts, while operating on Kiba, but the third one was causing a bit of anxiety within her. Probably because Sakura had promised Kiba he was going to be fine. That was a rule she had broken of Tsunade's of never make a promise to a patient that they are going to live. Because if the patient doesn't, the guilt you will carry will eat away at you for the rest of your life.
'Screw it, I may have ignored shishou's rule about making such a promise, but Kami be damned, I am going to save Kiba-kun!' Sakura thought to herself in fierce and resolute determination, as she turned her attention back to the operation.
"Sakura-sama." The young Leaf shinobi called out through the surgical mask he held up to his face. As he poked his head through the cubical curtains surrounding Kiba's operation.
"What? I'm a little busy here!" Sakura snapped with angry irritation.
"I apologize Sakura-sama, but Commander Kakashi just radioed in. He's requesting if you can spare another medic-nin to man the walls. Some of the Oto creatures are starting to crest the walls and have inflicted injuries onto some of our shinobi, before being dealt with. And the medics we do have are starting to get overwhelmed, as the number of wounded is starting to increase."
Sakura grimaced a bit under her mask, as she quickly debated who she could send. In truth, she only had two choices available to her. Medic-nin Ryota or her young apprentice Moegi. It only took the pink-haired kunoichi a few seconds to consider the merits of both of them, before she made her decision and then ordered with authority.
"Moegi, go grab a medical bag and go help our shinobi out there."
"M-me?" The young girl openly stammered.
"Yes you, I've trained you, I know how skilled you've become. You can do this, and our forces need your abilities right now more than I do." Sakura declared with unwavering confidence in her protege.
"Right, I won't let you down shishou!" Moegi proclaimed with a nod of her head to her master.
"I know you won't, now go!"
As Sakura watched her student race through the cubical curtains filled with determination, which had been fueled by her sensei's belief in her. A brief smile spread across Sakura's face and she felt a sense of pride, before Ryota shouted in protest.
"No Sakura-sama, call her back! She's just an adolescent child, send me instead!"
Sakura whipped her head around to level a harsh glare at Ryota, as she was a bit peeved that he had referred to her apprentice as a child. Doing her best not to lose her infamous temper, Sakura asked the young medic in a stern voice.
"Medic Ryota, what is your shinobi grade?"
"My grade is Chunin level four ma'am."
"No, that's your medical grade. Let me rephrase my question, what is your shinobi military grade?"
The military or fighting grade, as most Leaf shinobi called it, is based on a 15 tier ranking system. With 15 being the lowest grade to #1 being the highest. This system was put in place to measure the fighting skills and abilities of Konoha's ninja for military purposes. As such, since the majority of Leaf shinobi served in a military capacity. They carried a single rank and grade, such as Chunin grade 7 or Jounin grade 3, etc, etc.
However, Konoha's medical-ninja actually carried two grade designations. One number which measured their medical skills and abilities and another number on their military or fighting prowess. Because of this dual grading for medic-nin's, Sakura knew a majority of them strived to improve their medical skills, while ignoring improving their fighting skills. So it was no surprise to Tsunade's apprentice when Ryota meekly answered.
"Chunin level 14 ma'am."
"So, slightly above any Genin graduating from the academy." Sakura caustically remarked.
Ryota couldn't speak and only nodded his head in embarrassment.
"That's why I'm sending that young woman instead of you. You might outrank Moegi slightly on your medical abilities, seeing as your a grade four and she's a six. But her fighting grade is currently Chunin level 4, and if I'm going to send a medic-nin into an ongoing battle. I want that shinobi to know how to kick some ass if they have to. Because a medic killed by the enemy is of no use to anyone."
"I understand." Ryota softly stated.
"Good, and one more thing Ryota, don't ever question one of my orders again!" Sakura declared in a icy tone of voice to the young medic.
"H-hai Sakura-sama." Ryota nervously stammered.
'This is most troublesome.' Shikamaru thought to himself, as he ran along the rampart of the wall to check on the next battle position.
Due to what Shikamaru perceived to be the three main flaws of his battle strategy. More and more of the remaining curse-sealed soldiers were starting to crest the walls of his killing box. Granted by the time those creatures had managed claw their way up the wall. They had suffered so many lethal injuries that the Leaf forces were able to knock them back down into the box. Unfortunately, some of those Oto monstrosities were still able to injure some of the Leaf shinobi defenders, before they were unceremoniously dumped back over the wall.
The Nara commander himself was forced to stop at several positions to help his shinobi and Hiezu volunteers to take down an Oto beast that had crested the wall. However, Shikamaru was starting to feel more confident about the outcome of this battle. By his estimation, over 300 of the curse-sealed soldiers now lay dead or dying below him. And those that remained alive had been dealt so many fatal wounds, that if the they could just hold on a little bit longer, the Leaf forces would emerge victorious on this day.
Something strange caught Shikamaru's attention inside the killing box at a far wall, as he raced to the next battle position, before coming to a halt. He watched with curiosity, as one of the smaller curse-sealed soldiers avoided the attacks from above by using some of the larger one's around him as a shield.
'That thing is exhibiting a survival instinct.' The Nara genius thought in astonishment.
He was even more surprised when he saw the creature drag one of his deceased brethren to a pile of corpses at the base of the wall and then threw the corpse on top of the pile increasing its height. Needless to say, Shikamaru was a bit bewildered, as he observed this one particular curse-sealed soldier grab another dead one to add to the pile he had obviously been building. Suddenly, as if struck by lightning the Nara clan heir deduced what the creature was doing and the ramifications of what he was seeing, as he thought with alarm.
'That monstrosity is building a ramp or stairway to shorten the distance between he and the top of the wall. It's demonstrating problem solving capabilities, which is a prime example of a rudimentary intelligence. This battle might have gone differently, if all the curse-sealed soldiers possessed this level of intellect.'
However, before the Nara genius could further ponder what he had just discovered. He heard the beast he had been studying let loose a mighty roar. Then the creature ran at a speed that shocked Shikamaru of something so large being able to move that fast, as it ran directly at the pile of corpses.
Before Shikamaru could react, the creature ran up the pile and almost using it as a springboard leapt high into the air and landed in the middle of one of the defending Leaf battle positions. He then watched in horror, as the monster immediately grabbed one of his shinobi and a Hiezu villager and tossed them into the killing box. The two men barely had time to scream, before they were ripped apart by the creatures cohorts below.
Shikamaru immediately took off running as fast as he could to get to that battle position. He knew that monstrosity could wreak havoc on several of the defensive locations if left unchecked and must be stopped immediately. The Nara commander cursed, when he saw the Oto mutated soldier knock another Hiezu villager over the wall. Fortunately, it was the outer side of the wall the man tumbled over. Which morbidly gave him a better chance to live, provided he could survive the twenty foot fall. However, the lone remaining Leaf shinobi was now forced to fight this creature on his own.
As Shikamaru ran by other battle positions atop the wall, he ordered some of the men manning them to follow him. Soon a group of five Leaf ninja were racing behind him. Suddenly, even through the din of battle, Shikamaru heard the shinobi battling the Oto monster cry out in pain, as he had been impaled deeply in the shoulder by one of the creatures claws. It was then the Nara genius realized when he saw the curse-sealed soldier raise its arm to deliver the killing blow onto his shinobi, he thought with sorrow gripping his heart.
'Damn it, I'm not going to make it in time!'
As the mutant Oto soldiers head was separated from its body courtesy of Kakashi's chidori lightening blade. A mist of blood sprayed through the air and the silver-haired Jounin watched with satisfaction, as both the head and body fell back into the killing box. Kakashi was starting to feel more and more confident of a Leaf victory in this battle with each passing minute. He had to give his second in command Shikamaru credit for coming up with his brilliant battle plan. The young Nara was proving to be every bit the strategist as his legendary father Shikaku. Casualties to the Leaf forces were practically nonexistent and they had decimated the enemy, judging by how few were still attacking the walls. All in all, the one-eyed Jounin didn't think this battle could have gone any better, as he thought with a bit of arrogance.
'It looks by my estimation, there's only about 50 or so of these monstrosities left and most of them are seriously wounded. We should have this fight wrapped up in the next 20 to 30 minutes no problem.'
As if Kami himself had heard Kakashi's boastful thought and wanted to punish the infamous Leaf Jounin for his hubris. The one word the Leaf forces commander had hoped never to hear during this battle blared out on his radio.
"Breach, breach, po-position thir-thirty four!"
Kakashi's lone visible eye grew wide upon hearing this and he immediately raced off to get to location #34. A couple minutes later, he arrived and was shocked at the devastation around him. Scattered about the rampart were six of his shinobi, four of whom were being tended to by four Hiezu volunteers. The other two Leaf ninja, which pained Kakashi greatly were obviously dead. And judging by the carnage, they had suffered very violent and bloody deaths. One of the Leaf shinobi had nothing but a grisly bloodstained pulpy mass of flesh, brain, and bone where his head used to be. Whereas his comrade had literally been torn in half at the torso with his blood-soaked entrails strewn everywhere the eye could see. It was a scene of horror Kakashi never could have imagined in his worst nightmare, as he immediately called out on his radio for any available medic-nins to report to position #34 at once.
One of the Hiezu villagers who was caring for one of the injured Leaf shinobi called out to Kakashi.
"Co-Commander, this man is asking for you!"
Kakashi quickly rushed over and knelt down by his shinobi who was leaning against the wall with both hands clutching a deep wound over his gut. The silver-haired Jounin recognized the man as Sgt. Souta, and carefully lifted the mans hands away so he could see the severity of the wound. Kakashi's heart sank when he saw how bad it was, but put on a brave face when he lifted his head and gave the obligatory lie most people do in this situation.
"Take it easy Sargent, you're going to be ok, the medics will be here soon."
"I, I appreciate you trying to make me feel better, but I already know I'm not going to make it. I, I need to tell you about the thing that has killed me. You must stop it Commander!"
"Go ahead, give me report, what did this to you."
"It, it was a big bastard, over 12ft in height and probably a half ton in weight. I, I don't understand it sir, I remember seeing that thing at the start of the battle. Kind of hard to miss being that size you know."
"I remember seeing it to." Kakashi replied, as he recalled seeing the beast when it entered the village.
"Well, I remember it was smack dab in the center of those three buildings Major Nara had blown up to start the battle. I thought that thing had been blown to hell and back, I guess it was just knocked out or something."
"I understand Sargent, go on."
"We saw it advancing onto our position, and seeing how large it was me and my men started targeting it immediately, but it wasn't having any effect."
"Why didn't you call for some reinforcements?" Kakashi questioned.
"I did sir, I contacted the closest defensive positions to us and a minute later four more of our shinobi showed up along with two more Hiezu volunteers."
"Go on, what happened next?"
"I don't understand it commander. We had six high level Chunin blasting away at this thing with every deadly jutsu and weapons we could get our hands on. Hell, we even had the four villagers who were with us pitching in, as they were tossing as many of those flaming bottle bombs as they could at it right along side of us, but it didn't matter." Souta stated in a sorrowful lament, as he choked back a sob.
"It's alright Souta, take your time."
"I'm sorry sir, I was just remembering what that monster did to Akio, he's the one who is currently spread all over this damn rampart, and he was my friend. But I can't take my time, because I don't think I have much left."
"Anyway sir, once the beast made it to the base of the wall, it was some damn big, that all it had to do is raise it's arms to grip the top of the wall and pull himself up in one motion. And once he was on top of the rampart with us, it was over. I immediately ordered the four Hiezu villagers to retreat behind us, while we tried to fight this thing hand to hand, as we were in too close of quarters to use are jutsu's anymore."
"There were six of us Commander, but we could have been sixty and I don't think it would have made a difference. This bastard tore through us in seconds. Akio got too close and it tore him in half like a piece a paper. And Nobunaga had his head crushed in palm of this thing's hand like we would crush an egg. It then nailed me with a claw strike to the gut, before one sweep of its massive arm swept the others away like bowling pins. It spotted some people inside the village and then jumped down into Hiezu. That's why you've got to stop it sir, it will slaughter all the villagers hiding in the shelters if it finds them." Souta declared in a panic-stricken voice.
"We'll stop it Sargent, I promise. Can you tell me anything else about this creatures fighting capabilities?"
"I can't tell you much commander, but I'll try. As I already told you, the size and strength of this thing is incredible. He's also damn near invulnerable near as I can tell, because he seemed to possess a highly accelerated healing power that allowed him to heal and regenerate from any damage we managed to inflict upon him almost instantly. It's also got numerous sharp bony protrusions through his gray skin in razor-sharp spurs. These bony protrusions not only protected its head and face, but he also used them as weapons in the form of claws, fangs, and elbow and knee spurs. That's about all I can tell you sir, other than when the thing jumped down, it was heading southwest."
"Southwest!" Kakashi shouted, as he bolted up in trepidation, while he thought with alarm.
'The Command HQ and the Medical Triage center are southwest. I promised Sakura she wouldn't have to deal with any of these curse-sealed freaks, while she operated on Kiba. I can't afford pull any shinobi off the wall, but I doubt from what I just heard, if those five shinobi I assigned to reinforce Lt. Aburame and the few men he has under his command will be able to handle this monster. Still, I need to send them some help, at least of Jounin class, but who?'
The Jounin Commander considered deeply who he could send, before he came to a decision and said to himself.
"They're both Jounin, and they've worked together as teammates for years. So they know how to coordinate attacks and defense with each other. Those two are the best option I've got at the moment."
Kakashi then tapped his radio and called out.
"Lt. Lee, Lt. Hyuga, I'm ordering both of you to leave your defensive positions and rendezvous with Lt. Aburame at Command HQ and the Medical Triage centerat once. We have an inbound curse-sealed soldier of incredible strength heading that way. It must be stopped!"
"Hai Commannder." Neji radioed back in response.
"At once sir!" Lee followed in suit.
Kakashi then switched channels to the Command HQ frequency and called out.
"Lt. Aburame respond."
"Lt. Aburame reporting sir."
"Lt. I've got an Oto monstrosity heading your way, it's extremely big, strong and very dangerous."
"Yes sir, I know. One of my kikai insects I had scouting and patrolling the perimeter has already alerted me of its presence. It's about four blocks away and closing fast. My men and I are getting ready to move out to intercept it, before it reaches the Command HQ and Medical Triage center."
"Good, try to divert it away from there. Use long range attacks only, don't get near it if at all possible. I repeat do not get near it. Lt...Shino, if that thing gets a hold of a person, that person will die, do you understand?" Kakashi warned in a deliberate and serious tone of voice.
"I understand Commander, can you tell me anything about its capabilities?"
"Yes, it's not much, but we know the monster is damn near invulnerable because it's able heal and regenerate from any damage inflicted upon it almost instantly. It's also got numerous sharp bony protrusions in the form of razor-sharp spurs. Which not only protect its head and face, but he also uses them as weapons in the form of claws, fangs, and elbow and knee spurs. That's all I can tell you about it." Kakashi hastily explained, before he then added.
"I'm sending you as much help as I can at the moment. Lt. Hyuga and Lt. Lee should rendezvous with you shortly. I'm sorry I can't spare more assistance, but as soon as as I can, I will lead them to you myself."
"Understood sir, we'll handle the situation until then."
"Good luck Shino." Kakashi offered in sincerity, before signing off.
The legendary Leaf Jounin heaved a heavy sigh and silently prayed to Kami that those men could hold out until the battle at the walls was finished. And then he would personally lead the reinforcements to help them kill this monster once and for all. Kakashi then turned around and saw a young medic come around a corner of the wall and rush towards him, as he breathed a sigh of relief, and hoped they could still save Sargent Souta.
Of all the emotions Moegi could have imagined she might feel when thrust into her first military battle. This strange mix of excitement combined with fear was not what she expected. One or the other yes, but not both intertwined and fighting with one another for control of her emotional state of being. The young kunoichi however, was smart enough to recognize what the driving forces were behind each of these conflicting emotions.
The excitement she was feeling came from being able to use the medical skills taught to her by her teacher to help their fellow Konoha shinobi. Every Leaf ninja she healed was not just an affirmation of her own abilities as a medic-nin, it was also a testament to her sensei Sakura Haruno. A woman who Moegi greatly admired and looked up to reverently as a mentor. In fact in the mind of the young medic, she would rather lose a limb than to disappoint her teacher in any way.
It was also because Moegi held Sakura in such high regard that brought about the fear she felt in possibly disappointing her. Not so much in her medical skills, as she had demonstrated those abilities many times since Sakura had taken her as a student. No, the fear of disappointing her esteemed mentor centered on the fighting skills she had learned from her. As Moegi had never been in a combat situation and as such had never called upon those abilities before.
The young kunoichi silently prayed that she wouldn't have to face a combat situation in this battle, as she was unsure about how she might react. Would she fight? Would she freeze? Would she flee? Moegi just didn't know what she would do and hoped she wouldn't have to find out.
As she came around the corner of the killing box to check the next defensive battle position for any injured Leaf shinobi, she skidded to a stop. The scene that had greeted her at this battle location was horrific, but to Moegi's credit, she didn't hesitate to rush forward to help.
Neji saw his friend Rock Lee racing ahead of him on the street. The Hyuga prodigy was forced to pump even more chakra into his legs just to catch up to his teammate, as Lee was racing at full throttle to get to the Command HQ and Medical center. When Neji finally caught up, he was surprised when the normally talkative bushy-browed shinobi did not greet him in his usual enthusiastic manner, but only said in a determined voice.
"We must hurry Neji to stop this dastardly beast that threatens my cherry blossom!"
Neji was about to remind his friend that it wasn't just Sakura who was in danger, but also their comrade Kiba, injured Leaf shinobi, and medical personnel, who were in just as much peril as Lee's girlfriend. However, the Hyuga prodigy decided not to admonish his friend, as he realized that if it was Tenten who was in danger. More than likely, his focus would be fixated on protecting her over anything else as well. Suddenly the sounds of battle reached their ears from the next street over and both students of Might Gai changed direction and ran directly towards the fighting without hesitation.
When Neji and Lee arrived at the location of the battle taking place a mere one block away from the Command HQ and Medical center. They were aghast at what they saw, as the colossal size of the curse-sealed soldier was shocking to them. It was currently standing in the middle of the street flailing it's arms around and swiping at the multitude of bugs buzzing around and attacking its face. The newly arrived Jounin spotted their comrade Shino and watched as the Aburame heir raised his arms and another wave of his kikai insects shot forth from his sleeves to join those already attacking the Oto monstrosity.
The two Jounin hastily made their way over to Shino's location, while eight other Leaf shinobi positioned around the street were firing off a multitude of jutsu and weapon attacks onto the creature. The number of men attacking bothered Lee, as Shino should have had nine shinobi under his command. The four originally assigned to him to protect the Command HQ and Medical center and the five men from Lee's squad that Commander Kakashi had ordered to augment Shino's forces. As Lee began searching for the men he had assigned as reinforcements, he heard the Aburame Commander address them in his usual stoic tone of voice.
"Greetings Neji, Lee, I am pleased to see you and your help is greatly appreciated, although I fear it will make little difference in this battle."
"The fight is going that poorly?" Neji queried in surprise, that one Jounin and nine high level Chunin were having such difficulty with one opponent.
"It's not going well I'm afraid, as you can see the beast is quite formidable and we've barely slowed it down. We intercepted it two blocks from here and have been losing ground to it ever since. I've already sent word to Sakura to start evacuation procedures of the Medical Center. However, she is still performing surgery on Kiba and he cannot be evacuated. If we can't stop this creature here or divert it to go another direction, then Kiba will most assuredly die if it attacks them."
Neji heard the grave tone of Shino's last sentence and asked.
"How is he doing?"
"I, I don't know for sure. The last report I received said that so far the surgery was going well, but because of our current situation and Sakura's. Getting consistent updates is low on the priority list at the moment."
"Do not lose hope or have any doubts my friend. My Sakura-chan will keep Kiba's flames of youth burning brightly. Provided she isn't interrupted, which is why we shall not let this monster go any farther!" Lee openly declared with confidence and zeal, before he then asked.
"Shino, where have you positioned Chunin Hotaka? I do not see him on the battlefield with my other shinobi."
The Aburame Commander dropped his head a bit, before he pointed down the street behind the Oto curse-sealed soldier and answered in a somber voice.
"I'm sorry Lee, I know he was a student at your dojo, but he didn't make it."
The green-clad Jounin looked down the street to where Shino was pointing and gasped in horror, when his eyes beheld the mangled crushed body of Hotaka at the bottom of a blood spattered wall of a building. Even more heart-wrenching and horrifying to Lee was his student was missing his head, as he questioned in a pain-filled voice.
"Against my orders, he rushed off and attempted to fight the creature one on one and underestimated how strong and fast it is. Sadly Hotaka paid the price for that mistake, as it was able to get its hands on him and then crushed the life out of him."
"Where is his head?"
Shino paused a moment, before he quietly replied.
"The creature bit it off after it had crushed him."
Lee was unable to speak and could only nod his head in understanding, as he thought about his dead student. Hotaka had been a promising pupil and had excelled at the dojo, becoming one of its top students. And with more time and training, there was no doubt in Lee's mind that eventually he would have become one of the best taijutsu fighters in the Leaf village.
Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle that faced Hotaka in achieving this was his tendency to overestimate his skills and already believed that he was one of the best Konoha had to offer. Lee had hoped to break his student of this overconfident mindset in the future, but now regrettably would never get the chance. He was interrupted from his sorrowful musings when he heard Neji question Shino.
"What can you tell us about this curse-sealed soldier's fighting capacity or skills?"
"I can only confirm what Commander Kakashi had already informed me of. The greatest attribute of the creature is its ability to heal and regenerate from any damage inflicted upon it almost instantly. Because it has that capability, it makes the beast practically invulnerable. It also possesses numerous sharp bony protrusions from its skin in the form of razor-sharp spurs. These bony protrusions protect its head and face and other vital areas such as his biological joints. Besides protection, these protrusions are also utilized as weapons such as claws, fangs, and elbow and knee spurs. The only other thing I can add is do not underestimate its speed, it is surprisingly quick despite its enormous size."
"Has anything you have tried been effective against this vile monstrosity?" Lee earnestly inquired.
"What you are seeing has been the only thing that has actually caused the creature to halt its advance are my kikai insects. And all they are doing is annoying it, they are not inflicting any damage to it in any way."
"I find that almost impossible to believe, your clan's insects are legendary for their destructive capabilities, and you yourself I've seen have been masterful in adapting their use to fight against any type of enemy." Neji exclaimed in shock.
"I won't deny what you say is true, but perhaps now I'm facing an opponent so strong that my kikai are essentially useless against it. I'll be honest, I am out of ideas of how to defeat this monstrosity." Shino answered in a regrettable lament, before he added.
"When we first encountered this thing, we opened up with every deadly jutsu and weapon attacks we had. However, as I've said the speed of this creatures ability to heal and regenerate from any damage inflicted upon it is almost instantaneous. When I saw that are attacks were doing little to stop or even hinder its advance. I ordered our forces try to disable it and had them concentrate their attacks on one specific area like its knee joint. Unfortunately, those bony protrusions which protect all of the monsters biological joints appear to be as hard as diamonds. Our combined efforts failed to even scratch any of those bony spurs."
"It was then I decided that if physical direct attacks were useless against this monstrosity, perhaps my kikai insects would fare better. I sent them out in an attempt to poison it, but the skin of this thing is so thick and tough almost like leather, that the stingers of my kikai were unable to penetrate it. I then attempted to insert them inside the beast, to try and poison it and consume its chakra, but found it had the ability to physically close off its ear and nasal pathways. Even when I tried to blind it, a clear protective membrane like a secondary eyelid dropped into place to protect its eyes. Because of these failures, all my kikai can do is prove to be an annoyance to this creature, nothing more."
"There must be something we can do to stop this rampaging beast!" Lee shouted in frustration.
"If there is, I've been unable to think of it. How were you able to defeat the other curse-sealed soldiers at the walls? Shino questioned in curiosity.
"The curse-sealed soldiers we've faced albeit smaller than this beast also possess this regenerative ability. We found that the only way to overcome them was to inflict so much lethal damage onto a creature in a short amount of time, the regenerative powers could not keep up and the soldier would finally die." Neji answered.
"Why do we not employ that same strategy against this monster?" Lee questioned to his friend and teammate.
"Because, the regenerative powers of this beast is much quicker than the ones we have faced. I think would we need several hundred men attacking at once to inflict enough lethal damage in a short amount of time to generate the power we need to perhaps kill this thing."
"I regret to say I believe Neji is correct in his assessment." Shino stated in agreement.
"If it is a question of unleashing a devastating attack powerful enough to kill this vulgar monster, before its regenerative abilities can heal it. I think I have an idea of how to accomplish this." Lee offered up in response.
Both Shino and Neji looked at one another in puzzlement at what Lee could have thought of to defeat this curse-sealed soldier. They both turned in unison to their green-clad friend and comrade and nodded their heads for him to continue.
However, before the trio could discuss the battle strategy Lee had devised to take down this monstrous curse-sealed soldier. The beast let loose a ferocious roar that was so loud, it echoed throughout the village. Shino's kikai insects had indeed done their job of proving to be an irritant to the Oto creature. In fact, they had actually done their job too well. Unable to do anything to drive away these aggravating pests flying around its head. The curse-sealed soldier raised its massive fists above his head and then slammed them down onto the street in a frustrated rage.
The power of the double-fisted blow was so tremendous, it caved in the ground several yards in front of the Oto monstrosity. While also sending out a shock-wave so strong it knocked Neji, Shino, Lee, and the rest of the Konoha shinobi present off their feet and tumbling to the ground. Even the surrounding buildings shook violently from the unbelievable power generated by the strike, as the the shock-wave rumbled out in a concentric circle for several blocks in all directions.
As Neji, Shino, and Lee picked themselves off the ground, they saw that the powerful blow had also momentarily driven Shino's kikai away from the creature. And when the Oto curse-sealed soldier looked down the street, no longer blinded by the insects and spied the three Leaf Jounin. It almost seemed to grin, as it took a menacing step towards them. Both Neji and Shino gulped nervously and hoped that Lee could explain his battle plan quickly and more importantly they prayed that it could work. Because they realized they weren't going to another chance to come up with a new plan if it didn't.
Sakura exhaled a weary sigh, as the nurse who had taken over Moegi's role in Kiba's surgery reached up to wipe the pink-haired doctor's brow. Tsunade's second apprentice couldn't remember performing an operation in the past in which she had concentrated so hard or been so meticulous in what she was doing. It gave Sakura a much greater appreciation and understanding about her shishou's number one rule about performing surgery. Never operate on a friend of loved one unless you have no choice but to do so to save their life. Tsunade had been correct that the mental and emotional toll you paid in breaking that rule was exhaustive.
But Sakura recognized she hadn't broken that rule, as there was no one else available and skilled enough to perform this surgery to save Kiba's life. In other words, she had no choice but to do this herself. Fortunately, the operation was nearly finished, as Sakura had mended and or healed all of the internal injuries Kiba had suffered at the hands of Sasuke...all except for one.
Regrettably, that one was also the most serious of Kiba's wounds and the one most likely to kill him if not handled correctly. As Sakura peered down at the perforated liver to examine with scrutiny the broken piece of Kiba's third rib embedded in his liver. She nodded her head in understanding, as she realized Kiba had been very lucky. The rib had fractured cleanly and had pierced the liver smoothly not tearing into it. In doing so, the liver had formed a seal around the broken rib upon its entry, which kept Kiba from bleeding out. If the rib had impaled the liver at an angle and torn a gash, Sakura knew her friend would have died within minutes of receiving the wound and internally bled to death.
However, none of this meant that the Inuzuka heir was out of the proverbial woods just yet. Sakura knew the moment she extracted the broken rib, the liver would start bleeding profusely. The key to successfully doing this procedure was speed. As soon as the rib was removed, Sakura needed to get the liver wound closed and sutured as quickly as possible to mitigate the amount of blood Kiba would lose. As if he were reading her mind, medic Ryota spoke up and asked.
"Sakura-sama, I know this procedure requires you to extract the rib and then start suturing the open wound left behind as fast as you can. But it will take you several seconds to switch from the Ring forceps over to the Needle forceps and sutures. What if I extracted the rib, while you're prepped and ready to close the wound as soon as it's removed?"
"What is your current surgical rank?" Sakura questioned in a serious tone.
"I'm currently at level three of the five ma'am."
Sakura considered this plan and had to admit it had merit. Any time she could save even if it was just a few seconds would lessen the blood-loss Kiba would suffer. Also Ryota held a high enough surgical rank to do this. In fact, all he would have to do is pull the rib out without damaging or tearing the wound open any further.
"Alright Ryota, if you're sure you want to do this?"
"Hai, I'm ready."
"Ok, make sure you have the broken rib securely clamped in the Ring forceps, before you start pulling it out and don't pull it out too quickly and risk damaging the liver. But also don't pull it out too slowly either, as when you get it removed, the liver will start bleeding heavily and you need to start packing the wound with soaked gauze, while I'm suturing it closed. Kazane, keep a close eye on those vitals."
"Hai!" Both Ryota and Kazane answered in unison, acknowledging they understood Sakura.
When Sakura got prepped with the Needle forceps and sutures in her hands ready to go. She nodded to Ryota who leaned in and after a second or two was able to get the broken rib secured firmly in the Ring forceps. Then taking a deep breath, he began pulling the broken rib out of Kiba's liver and that's when it all went horribly wrong.
For at that moment, the shock-wave generated by the Oto curse-sealed soldier Shino and the others were fighting a block away hit the Command HQ and Medical Triage Center. Suddenly the entire building shook severely and the floor upon which everyone stood lurched in a violent manner. Disastrously, this caused Ryota's hand to slip before the broken rib had been fully extracted. It tore a gash in the side of the wound before exiting, which caused a geyser of black-colored blood to erupt spraying everyone around Kiba. It was then Kazane shouted in a panic.
"His vitals are dropping fast Sakura-sama, we're losing him!"
"NO!" Sakura cried out in heart-stopping dread!
Isamu knew he was about to die, as he clutched the severe shoulder wound he had just received from the curse-sealed soldier looming over him. He cussed bitterly that he was about to become victim #4 to this monster's tally. As the creature had already dispatched his Leaf shinobi comrade Koji and two of the Hiezu volunteers, sending all of them over the wall plummeting to their deaths. Leaving only him to fight this monstrosity hand to hand on his own. Which he failed rather quickly at, as he couldn't overcome the strength and relentless ferocity of its attacks.
However, it wasn't his impending demise that bothered Isamu the most at that moment. Being a 12 year veteran within Konoha's shinobi forces, he had come to terms and made peace with the possibility of being killed in the service of his village and country a long time ago. No, his final thoughts were of concern for his wife and kids back home in the Leaf village. Isamu gave a silent prayer to Kami to watch over and take car of his family. When he was done, he looked up and saw the Oto monster raise its fist high in the air and closing his eyes, he waited for it to deliver the final blow that would leave his wife a widow and his kids fatherless.
Suddenly, a battle cry pierced the air and Isamu's eyes snapped open to behold what he would tell people for years to come was the most incredible sight he had ever seen.
Isamu couldn't believe his eyes when this wisp of a girl with orange pigtails came flying towards him from seemingly out of nowhere with her fist cocked back ready to strike. The veteran Leaf shinobi's jaw dropped, when he saw this girl deliver a thunderous chakra enhanced punch directly into the curse-sealed soldiers chest, who had turned around upon hearing her war cry. The power of the punch was so tremendous the creature staggered back from the blow to the very edge of falling back into the killing box. It pinwheeled its arms trying to maintain its balance and footing on the rampart. But the young kunoichi would not allow the monster to do that, as she quickly followed up her punch with a devastating roundhouse kick to its chest once again. The force of the kick sent the Oto soldier flying over the wall and back into the killing box, roaring in anger as it fell.
Barely taking any time to compose herself, Isamu watched in amazement, as the girl ran over to pick up a bag. Before then turning around to rush over to the stunned Leaf shinobi. When she arrived by his side and knelt down. Isamu was in such a daze at what he had just witnessed, that he barely registered her vocal request and stammered in response.
"Wha-what did you say?"
"I said let me look at your wound."
"Oh,...uhh...ok." Isamu replied, as he pulled his left hand away from his right shoulder, before he then asked.
"Who, who are you?"
"Konoha medic Moegi sir."
"A medic, you've got to be joking kid! I've seen a lot of medics over my career, but I've never seen one as young as you or who can fight like you just did."
"Well, it's not a joke and if you'll let me, this kid can heal your wound."
Isamu heard the pained tone from the young kunoichi medic who had not only just saved his life, but was now attending to his injured shoulder. The veteran shinobi realized he had inadvertently hurt and insulted her with his crass comment, before he expressed with true sincerity.
"I apologize medic Moegi, it wasn't my intention to doubt or insult you. I guess I'm just in awe that one so young has attained such amazing skills and abilities in both combat and in medicine. I fought that damn monster for about a minute, before it defeated me. You took it out in under ten seconds with one punch and one kick. And now you're here healing my wound. You're a remarkable young...woman and I am forever in your debt."
Moegi blushed a bit upon hearing Isamu's praise of her, before she replied in a shy and modest voice.
"There's no debt to be had sir, I was just doing my duty as a Konoha shinobi and medic. Now let's get this shoulder mended. It looks bad, but I don't think the damage is too..."
Suddenly, the curse-sealed soldier Isamu and Moegi had just been discussing landed a few feet away from them roaring in fury. At that moment, the veteran Leaf shinobi knew he had made a critical error. He knew from experience how difficult it was to kill one of these Oto monstrosities and should have realized that a 20 foot drop would not have ended its life. And now this young kunoichi was going to pay for his mistake with her life, as Moegi screamed and Isamu looked on in horror, while the beast's fist descended to crack her head open like a ripe melon.
All pretense of a skilled taijutsu fight had withered away during Naruto and Sasuke's battle at this point. Now both opponent's were standing toe-to-toe with one another trading blows with equal ferocity towards each other. This fight had degenerated into a bloody and barbaric affair, as each of them were releasing heavy savage slamming punches, heavy as the boom of canons, bombs to the body and to the head, punching until they could hardly breathe anymore.
Both Naruto and Sasuke tested each other with jabs and blocks, before Sasuke feinted and landed a good blow onto Naruto's ribs. However, the follow-up punch, a hook to the jaw, caught nothing but air, as Naruto astutely pulled his head back. A stupid mistake by the teme to get so close Naruto thought, until Sasuke stepped on his instep and punched low into Naruto's groin, before following up after the punch to purposely butt heads. Which opened up a nasty cut over the blonde jinchuuriki's left eye, that began trickling blood down his face.
Naruto was now doubled over from the low blow, the punch had caught him off guard and he cursed himself for falling for Sasuke's dirty tactics. Sasuke however was relentless in his attack, as he swung another punch towards Naruto's head. Instinctively, Naruto blocked the punch and countered with an uppercut to Sasuke's neck. He connected and watched as his former teammate staggered backwards violently coughing.
As Sasuke stumbled backwards clutching his throat, he was furious as he couldn't fathom how Naruto was able to fight a taijutsu battle against him and survive. The dobe had always lost every taijutsu spar against him throughout the academy and then later when they were teammates. It shouldn't be possible for him to battle on an equal basis with an Uchiha. Everybody knew the Uchiha clan style of taijutsu was the best in all the world. Not that Gentle-Fist crap the Hyuga profess or that vulgar boorish peasant style that bushy-browed freak had used against him. Even that useless garbage they taught at the academy was worthless against the Uchiha style.
In fact knowing all of this, infuriated Sasuke even more, as he couldn't even identify the taijutsu style Naruto was using against him. It almost appeared to be some bastardized style using traits of all three of those inferior styles. Unable to contain his anger and frustration any longer, in a choked and strangled voice he asked angrily.
"What is that taijutsu style you're using dobe?"
"My style, I guess you could call it the Namikaze style." Naruto replied with a grin.
"The Namikaze style, what the hell is that? There is no such a thing!"
"Well, maybe not before, but it's something I've developed over the past few years. Do you like it teme? Naruto asked in a mocking tone.
"Bah, it's an ineffective style created by a fool." Sasuke sneered in response.
"I don't know, it seems pretty effective against that chicken-shit low blow Uchiha style you're using!"
That was the final insult Sasuke was going to allow Naruto to make about his clan. Gritting his teeth in righteous fury, he spat out in total malevolence at his former teammate.
"I've decided I'm not going to beat you death!"
"Pretty easy decision considering you can't do it." Naruto replied in sarcasm.
"Whatever, you might have upgraded your taijutsu skills since we last fought, but that's the difference between you and me. All you did was improve in one facet of combat, while I improved my skills in many, including...weapons."
Sasuke smirked in confidence, as he pulled his Kusanagi blade from behind his back and then began to channel his lightning chakra into the blade with chakra flow. By doing this, Sasuke increased his blades sharpness greatly through high-frequency vibrations. This also had the effect of increasing its cutting range. Sasuke took a moment to hold the blade up and admire it, before he suddenly lunged forward and ran at Naruto, holding the blade high above his head while shouting and laughing maniacally.
"I know I promised at the start that I was going to reach down and pull your heart out of that insolent mouth of yours! But instead I think I'll just cut it out of your chest and show it to you before you die! See if your fancy Namikaze style can prevent that! Mwa, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Naruto seemed too stunned to move, as Sasuke rushed towards him anxious to deal the death stroke from his Kusanagi blade that would end Naruto's life.
Author Note: Wow, I hope you all enjoy cliffhangers because I'm pretty sure I've set a new record with the numerous ones I had in this chapter, lol. However, with so many, it should leave you guessing about which way my devious mind will take me with all of them. Such as, which if any of the Konoha 10 (Kiba, Sakura, Shino. Neji, Lee) will die? What about Moegi? What about Naruto? Well, I haven't killed off a good guy in awhile, maybe its time to do so again? Aside from that I can't begin to tell you how difficult it is to write a chapter focusing on one individual fight, one intense war battle, one major surgery, and so many characters involved in all of it. I literally exhaled a sigh of relief when I finally got to the ending of the chapter I wanted. Which in case your interested the total word count of the actual chapter was around 17,750. I would have liked to have gotten this chapter sooner to all my readers, but since I've been deemed "Essential" during this pandemic and my time is limited at best. Still, it was an interesting chapter to write albeit time-consuming, but overall I'm pleased with it.
Anyway, I hope everybody enjoyed the chapter and I'm anxious to see what your reviews will be for it. I had a really low turnout for reviews on the last chapter, so it was difficult to gauge if people liked it or not. Although I will say of the ones I did get most readers seemed to have enjoyed it. However, I still wish to thank everyone both old and new readers who did take the time to review my last chapter. I enjoy reading many of your reviews, so please leave lots of them, as they do help a writer get a sense of the thoughts and opinions of the fans of a story. They also can help lift the spirits of an author as well. Also, to any readers who are staff members to any C2 communities, please feel free to add my story to your community if you feel it is worthy of it. I won't mind, I swear. I'll even pinkie swear if I need to?
In this chapter, I did include a subtle homage to a infamous comic book villain. It should be pretty easy to not only spot, but also recognize who it is. So no clues this time, but if you guess it correctly. Have yourself a cyber slice of pizza and a mug of beer on me.
I recently got into a friendly debate with a friend of mine about the existence of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, whatever you want to call it. So we made a wager and your votes will decide the winner. And to keep it fair, I won't tell you which side of the argument I'm on. So if you would at the end of your review, please give me a "Hell Yeah!" if you believe the hairy skunk-ape exists or a "Hell No!" if you think he doesn't. Thanks! :)
Now, for a reader favorite for many of you, Kingkakashi's rants yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! My rants as stated last chapter will focus on the ten issue Gaiden, which came out after the end of the Naruto manga and is titled.
NARUTO GAIDEN: The Seventh Hokage And The Scarlet Shining Moon
Chapter Two: The Sharingan Boy
This chapter starts off with Sasuke walking through some woods somewhere on his never ending redemption tour he's taking to atone for all his sins of the past. I won't even get into what I think about this, but anyway. During his "Walkabout" to borrow from Crocodile Dundee, he's attacked by a small boy. Sasuke easily defeats him, but then notices that the kid is wearing the Uchiha clan crest on his back. And that the albino looking child also possesses the Sharingan. Before Sasuke can question the boy, he disappears in a swirl of leaves.
After this, we cut to a scene of his daughter Sarada moping around and acting all emo, like father like daughter I guess. Shizune comes by to visit and Sarada attempts to grill her for answers about her birth, but Shizune doesn't have the answers she's seeking. The next scene is a family dinner at a restaurant with what I still consider the most ridiculous pairing ever in the Naruto universe. Of course that would be the pairing of Chouji with Karui, the Kumogakure kunoichi. Those two together makes as much sense as ice-cream mixed with vinegar. Anyway, those two have a daughter named Chouchou.
Back to the scene, Chouchou is arguing with her parents about food, when Sarada comes in and interrupts her. Chouchou pulls Sarada to the side and confesses she doesn't believe that Chouji and Karui are her real parents. It's a ridiculous plot point of the story and I really can't see this being of any significance to the overall story-line. Orochimaru's kid Mitsuki that he grew in a lab, shows up and throws his opinion into the conversation and ends the scene.
The next scene is of the boy Sasuke fought apparently meeting his master and we learn the motivation of the attack on Sasuke is revenge for him killing his brother Itachi. It was a really short scene, as we cut back to Sarada and Chouchou who tells Sarada she wants to go on a journey to find her real parents and invites Sarada to go with her. This sets Sarada off with the idea of going out on a quest of her own to find Sasuke and or this girl in the picture she found (Karin) to learn the truth about her birth. So she goes running off to go talk to the Seventh Hokage (Naruto) about where she can find the both of them.
However, upon her arrival at the doorstep to the Hokage's office. Sasuke's falcon arrives and delivers the news about what he has discovered. After a brief conversation with the retired Kakashi, Naruto decides he needs to meet up with Sasuke in person to go over this matter. Sarada overhears all of this and makes the decision to follow Naruto to her father. In the forest as she is following Naruto, Sarada runs into Chouchou who mistakenly thinks she's there to help her find out who her real parents are. And the chapter ends right there.
Overall, the chapter is pretty boring. The only highlights of it are the introduction of Sasuke into the story and Naruto leaving the Leaf village to go meet him. The Sarada story-line, which is essentially the main plot of the tale advanced very little. And the Chouchou sub-story as I said seems pretty ridiculous and won't add anything to the main plot. I think it was just tacked on for humor purposes. I'll let you all know if I laugh at any point about it during the series. Let's hope chapter three is a lot better than this one.
Definition: Taking or showing extreme care about minute details; precise; thorough.
Etymology: New Latin 1525-1535a.d.
Part of Speech: Adjective