A Foxes Tale

Chapter 25

AN: Hello all and welcome back. Firstly Happy Holidays to everyone and hope you all are well. Secondary thank you to everyone who took the time to review the last chapter as even though I may not respond to every review or PM immediately I do appreciate the feedback.

Anyway this chapter is a bit late but between Spider-Man No Way Home (the only Tom Holland Spider-Man movie I think is any good and recommend), Deathloop and Halo Infinite time seemed to have been flying. Also I spend most of my time on the computer for work and by the time I get off I really don't feel like typing anymore. Also I needed to get this out today at the latest as I'm dedicating tomorrow to Witcher season 2.


I'm changing the Uchiha so they're not all powerful. The Sharingan will just grant more power and will not evolve into the Rinnegan as I thought that was BS. Also I'm debating the DBZ revival jutsu Nagato has, I never liked that either.

Enough rambling though, here is the new chapter.

Start Now:

There is a saying in the Shinobi World 'you're nobody until you kill somebody', Naruto had never really appreciated the saying until now. Orochimaru was said to be the greatest traitor Konoha had ever produced, the crimes that had been discovered when he'd first fled had been numerous and left a deep scar on the Lad of Fire as a whole. His founding of Otogakure, assassination of the Yondaime Kazekage and attack on Konoha had only made him a bigger criminal and greater threat in the eyes of many.

A member of the Legendary Sanin and student of the Sandaime Hokage, the Snake Sanin was an S-class shinobi that struck terror in many even experienced jounin with even the hint of his presence. Yet despite this he was killed by a 15-year-old rookie jonin by the name of Uzumaki Naruto alone and by himself, furthermore before killing him he'd immobilized the Sanin and created a seal on the spot that destroyed his connection to the cursed seals stopping him from body jumping or even possibly being revived at a later date and only then after that was done did he kill the Sanin.

Somehow this information had not only spread through the village but the whole of the elemental nations. On the plus side the war with Oto was over as with Orochimaru dead the commanders had felt no hesitation in crushing the rest of his bases and forces. It was soon discovered that the former Land of Rice Fields no longer had a Daimyo or any nobility at all and the land had thus been absorbed into the Land of Fire, the first land expansion since the close of the Second Shinobi War.

On the other hand this action had triggered the news that he'd defeated the Ichibi jinchurriki and current Kazekage during the invasion to come to light and caused people to once again start talking about the results of his fight with the Nanabi jinchurriki. This had put Naruto in the rather unfamiliar position of a village hero and idol. To use a comparison Uchiha Sasuke before his defection had been an idol at least as far as civilians and young girls were concerned which had garnered him a massive amount of attention.

Naruto for his actions had gotten the respect of the entire village shinobi and civilian alike and all of the attention and adulation Sasuke had received only it was from seemingly every female in the village. As someone who had grown up starved for attention Naruto had no idea how to handle the spotlight he was now under, thankfully his time in the Demon World had taught him how to think under pressure and he'd resolved to just do the opposite of what Sasuke had done. As such Naruto could often be seen talking or even taking pictures with random people as he moved through the village which had only increased the admiration he received.

Teuchi Ichiraku loved it as this had resulted in a massive increase in his business, so much so that they were able to afford an expansion in just a month. Ichiraku's was now going to become a full restaurant with a full menu though they would have ramen as a specialty item. Hinata however had been decidedly unimpressed with all of the attention while Ino had simply thought it was funny, at least until the first pair of panties were discovered in his mail which of course caused all of the amusement to die a very violent death.

Her irritation had only rose further with Guren's return who received a new maid outfit from Kushina that consisted of just a bra and a barely there skirt with a mini apron to cover her crotch. She however was still a slave and as such also received two collars, one plain leather collar around her neck at all times that rendered her unable to use her chakra and another with the same features that read 'cum dump'. This however only added to her sex appeal in Ino's mind, and her growing ire had only relaxed when she received a package from Kushina that contained a matching outfit with a collar that read 'fuck toy'. Hinata had also received a similar outfit only she never revealed what her collar said, and Naruto didn't even know she had it.

Tsunade was also incredibly pleased, though finding amusement with Naruto's newfound attraction from women she didn't really care about that. What pleased her was the huge boost in respect he received from the shinobi. She knew that there were pockets among the shinobi who wanted someone else to take the mantle of Hokage when she stepped down, if for no other reason than Naruto's age. There was also the fact that he was her grandson and some amongst that camp felt that she would hand it to him simply for that reason.

Orochimaru's death as sad as it made her about her former teammate had in effect blown away all doubt on Naruto's legitimacy as a successor. As things were short of a full out war starting and someone popping up out of that Naruto had no competition for the hat and she'd probably be allowed to drop it when he was 18. Though that was still young she didn't want to name anyone else as Hokage until Naruto was deemed 'old enough' by people, she didn't want them to be on their 7th Hokage while other villages were on their 4th or 5th Kage, it simply sent a bad message.

For Naruto while all the attention and admiration was nice, he'd moved past the point of his life where it would have mattered years ago, and it was really not much of an issue for him. Instead he'd stepped back into his training with a vengeance. The number of people outside of himself that knew what he was working on could be counted by hand with fingers to spare and consisted of Tsunade, Jiraiya, Kakashi and his old trainer Yamato. Jiraiya had simply warned him to be careful with his training before leaving on a mission of his own while Tsunade upon hearing what he wanted to do had assigned a training ground for his own personal usage.

Kakashi had helped him iron out the theory and Yamato had modified the training grounds to fit his needs, though they didn't help more than words the two jonin both stuck around in case he went overboard and needed aid. Both had thus been surprised when he'd created an army of clones to help him with the training to get things down and though neither voiced it both wondered what kind of monster he'd become using this type of training.

Though the atmosphere in Konoha was celebratory things in the shinobi world hardly ever slowed down and never stopped. This was proven true when the news that two figures were wandering the countryside garbed in black cloaks with red clouds and shoji hats that was the signature look of the Akatsuki and had already left the Fire Temple a bloody mess in their wake. Tsunade in response had assembled a special task force that she called the Niju Shotai and scattered them through the country in search of the rogue shinobi.

Unknowing of the ongoing mission and the nearby threat of Akatsuki, Naruto had delved back into his training. While defeating Orochimaru was definitely a milestone in terms of his level of ability, the Snake Sanin was for all intents and purposes a side mission as the focus of his training was Akatsuki. Though a heavyweight himself Orochimaru wasn't on Itachi's level and as such not on the level of Akatsuki's mysterious leader. As such both his mind and his body were occupied in the direction of further improvement. His main focus was on a pair of techniques that Jiraiya had forbidden him from even trying where anyone could see him until he got them to an acceptable level were he was capable of using them in the field, which meant the execution would need to be under three seconds.

At the moment the blond could be found sitting in a meditative position and while all around him chaos reigned from training clones none of it effected the original. Around his body a shroud of deep red chakra could be seen covering his body with four tails waving about. This was what he'd learned was a Version 1 form and the absolute peak of his controllable power. It was made entirely of demonic chakra and as such was the biju's however he'd been learning to channel it for the last few years, training that had only been increased after his clash with the Nanabi jinchurriki. Of course in that fight he'd only used two tails, but he'd also lost complete control as he'd been overwhelmed by the power.

Since then he had taken to meditating while channeling as much of the biju chakra as he could safely handle. By doing this he allowed his body to acclimate to it which allowed him to channel the power for longer durations or quantities with less damage to his body and less effect on his mind. The only caveat had been that he couldn't be in his own transformed state as it lessened the affect the pure demon power had on his body however as something of a side effect this had helped him with the control of his own power immensely as the biju chakra was far more potent than even his own chakra was. This had the added benefit of giving him the control needed to summon and use chakra chains like his mother, though his were not as powerful.

According to the fox he'd gotten to the point where they were pushing the edge of Version 1 and would be pushing into the Version 2 shroud before they even hit the 5th tail. According to the fox this was the long way to gain control as another way would be to fight and defeat the fox and claim the chakra for his own, though he'd need the key to the seal for that. Of course the end goal was to claim the chakra for his own anyway but at this point there was no need to rush and he, the fox and his mom all agreed that they should lay down solid foundations before anything else anyway. Finally he released his hold on the biju chakra allowing the shroud to dissipate which revealed his form covered in sweat. Flopping down on his back he took big gulping breaths of air while he allowed himself to relax as while he'd only held onto the power for about 15 minutes it felt much longer.

'Did you feel it?' came the deep voice of the fox in his mind

"The bloodlust, yeah I almost thought it was a demon." Said Naruto mentally.

"It's a Jashinist. A human empowered by a demon called Jashin in exchange for immortality. They can't be killed by any means as long as the spiritual connection between them and Jashin exist." Explained the fox causing Naruto to frown.

"Didn't the Akatsuki intel mention something about an immortal duo?" questioned Naruto

"Yes, Kakuzu of Kusa and Hidan of Yuga." Came the voice of Benihime.

Sarutobi Asuma despite his rather laid-back demeanor was a rather well-known shinobi, while not as popular as 'Sharingan Kakashi' he was still a known, respected and feared individual in the shinobi world. The son of the late Sandaime Hokage, Asuma was an elite jonin, one of the top ninja of the Hidden Leaf Village as well as being a former member of the Shugonin Jūnishi (Twelve Guardian Ninja), the elite guard of the Fire Daimyo and one of the few survivors of the last generation members. With news of Akatsuki members in Hi no Kuni they had all been part of the task force she'd assembled to track them down.

They weren't necessarily supposed to engage just track down and identify them, considering Akatsuki consisted of S-class nuke-nin non-engagement made a lot of sense. For this mission his team consisted of Shikamaru, Hagane Kotetsu and Kamizuki Izumo unfortunately by the time his team arrived at the Fire Temple to warn them the Akatsuki members had clearly been arrived and left again as one could tell by the carnage and deaths they'd left in their wake. The only body to have not been found was that of his friend the monk Chiriku, who like Asuma was a former member of the Shugonin Jūnishi, one with a black-market bounty of 30 million ryo. From there they determined that the Akatsuki members would head to one of the five bounty offices in the country. After sending word to the other teams they had made haste to the nearest bounty office. It had taken nearly an hour but eventually they arrived at the bounty office and took up position in the hills overlooking the place.

They were met by another team which contained both a Hyuga and an Uzumaki. With a quick usage of the Byakugan the Hyuga, Eisen, was able to verify that two Akatsuki members were there, however it was the identities of the two members that gave them pause. On the one hand all of them were relieved that Uchiha Itachi and his partner Kisame were not present, on the other however the duo of Kakuzu and Hidan were also problematic. The task force had given them the nickname of the zombie duo due to the fact neither of them could be killed by conventional means.

According to the intel they had Kakuzu was normally the bigger threat as he tended to think more than his partner and had survived when he failed to assassinate the Shodai Hokage Senju Hashirama. Though not technically immortal he was in possession of five hearts and couldn't be killed unless all five were destroyed. The hearts themselves took the forms of four masks that adorned his body along with his natural one, the hearts also apparently gave him access to all five elemental affinities.

His partner Hidan was more wild and prone to losing himself and flying off the handle which meant he was more liable to make mistakes. Unfortunately he was basically immortal as he'd apparently tied his life force to a creature named Jashin for whom he performed ritual murders. The ritual involved using a sealing array that allowed any harm that befell him to be inflicted on anyone whose blood he consumed, even as small as a single drop. What made it worse was that he was a sadist who found pleasure in not just inflicting pain but in receive it and as such had no problem doing damage to himself to take out his opponents.

"Right then, Izumo send the message. Don't forget to identify the who we've found as well." Said Asuma.

At his word Izumo withdrew a scroll from his pouch which he unrolled revealing a list of names with boxes beside them. Placing it against a tree and channeling chakra to his index finger he placed it on two of the boxes each before each of which became filled with red. Following that he quickly marked their location with a pen before securing the scroll once more. Taking a knee he placed the scroll on the ground and withdrew another one which he placed on the ground before unrolling it which caused a small plume of smoke to erupt which cleared to show a messenger bird in a cage. Opening the cage he secured the first scroll to it before allowing it to fly off.

"Now all we can do is wait." Said Kotetsu with a sigh.

Of course what went unsaid was that waiting was always the hardest part in this type of situation.

Of all of the demonic clans that called the Northern Lands home the clans that had a biju as the head were the strongest. Unlike the biju themselves these demons were not just giant masses of chakra and instead boasted flesh and blood bodies. The eldest of them had been simple animals that had fed and gained power from the chakra of the biju which had evolved them from being simple animals to an entirely new species. Those that had made the original transition had discovered that they were incredibly long living so much so that they were functionally immortal though they could indeed be killed. Of these greater clans the Kitsune were the strongest having fed and grown from the power of the original Kyubi.

Over time they had discovered they had inherited a host of abilities from their sire including enhanced senses and physiology, elemental manipulation, illusion manipulation, shape shifting and even dream manipulation. Another discovery was that a kitsune's power would increase through age, experience and training with the growth of a new tail symbolizing the power they had access to. In terms of physical growth a kitsune could grow up to nine tails and reach a full height of about 500 feet which would put them on par with a Boss from one of the summon clans. The biju however were massive creatures even to them with the original Kyubi's full size measured at nearly 1500 feet. His last measurement had put him at 500 feet which was incredible as he only had half of his chakra available to him.

Amongst the kitsune Uzumaki Kimiko was considered something of a prodigy. Despite being just over 80 years old she was already a five tailed kitsune and at her full height stood just over 200 feet. She was currently in her human form and stood at an even 6 feet with long luscious red hair and violet eyes. She had big breasts with a slim waist which flared out into wide hips with a warm ivory skin tone as opposed to her mother's pale skin. She was an incredible beauty despite the fact that she was currently sleeping with her mouth open and drool coming down her face. Shaking her head at the sight Kushina kicked the bed causing it to jolt and causing her daughters eyes to snap open.

"Good you're awake, come sit." Said Kushina causing her daughter to blink.

Groggily Kimiko climbed out of the bed revealing a thatch of red hair between her legs which Kushina ignored in favor of throwing her a robe. Placing it on and securing it around her waist the younger kitsune followed her mother into the sitting room and took a seat before picking up one of the cups of tea that were sitting on the table. Taking her own seat Kushina said nothing instead sipping at her own cup as she allowed the tea to bring her daughter to full wakefulness. For several minutes they were silent before Kimiko set her cup down and looked up at her mother now fully awake.

"How are you feeling?" questioned Kushina

"Tired, but not overly so."

"Good you've been asleep for the last month. I thought that would give you some energy." Said Kushina

"We have a lot of important work that needs to be done however there is a task awaiting you that is more important than others." Said Kushina causing her daughter to raise an eyebrow in curiosity.

"You need to write your brother and ask his forgiveness."

"What did I do?" questioned Kimiko eyes wide in surprise and her tone showing just a hint of fear.

"You tried to fuck him. He was able to break away but not before you shoved your tits in his face. As it is you're lucky he is blaming it on the fact that you were in heat." Said Kushina much to the mortification of her daughter judging by her blushing.

In the shinobi world it was a well-known secret that the stronger and higher ranked shinobi all had certain eccentricities, habits that most formed over time in order to maintain their hold on their sanity. In the Hidden Leaf for instance Maito Gai focused intently on his training almost to the exclusion of other pursuits, Hatake Kakashi was notorious for blatantly reading pornographic novels in public and the Sarutobi clan as a whole eventually developed into becoming chronic chain smokers. Strange habits were not exclusive to Konoha however and as such in an organization such as Akatsuki which boasted up to 9 S-class shinobi, nuke-nin or not it was no surprise that all of them had developed their own eccentric behaviors. The immortal duo of Hidan and Kakuzu was no different though their behaviors were very much opposites of each other's.

Hidan was a religious zealot as all he cared about was Jashin and who he could kill in the name and sacrifice of Jashin. Kakuzu however was much more materialistic, specifically he was addicted to money, whether it was getting it or just having it, money was all that he cared about. This behavior had to this point been a huge benefit to the Akatsuki and had resulted in earning him the nickname of 'The Treasurer'. He also made a point to count his money on the spot whenever he received a large payment and was notorious for this with the bounty offices. As such it was no surprise neither for Hidan or the bounty officer on duty would Kakuzu spend nearly two hours counting the money obtained from the bounty on the monk Chiriku, which at 30 million ryo was no small amount.

For the Konoha shinobi waiting in ambush position this time was a godsend as it allowed them to not only rest and regain their strength but to also bolster their numbers. The backup request that had been sent to Konoha had been responded to with incredible force as Tsunade had responded by sending in the big guns. In this instance those big guns consisted of Gai, Kakashi and Yamato who were assisted by the Hokage's Guard Platoon to send them there with the aid of the Hiraijin no Jutsu (Flying Thunder Formation Technique), a minor version of the Hiraishin no Jutsu that had been developed by the Yondaime Hokage that required all three people to use. In this instance it was a one-way trip as the guard platoon had not accompanied them, and they'd dropped them about 3 miles away from the bounty office. Regardless the arrival of the three jounin went a long way to reassuring Asuma on the probability of the survival of his team.

Hidan having no patience for anything outside of his religion didn't last even a quarter of the time it would take inside of the facility. Instead he wandered outside to sit in the fresh air all the while complaining about how much of a shithole the place was. The Konoha shinobi let him sit for a while and relax, a risk to be sure but none knew of how long his partner would take. Eventually determining that Kakuzu would take a while longer they went on the attack.

Appearing behind Hidan in an instant Asuma found the man leaping away only for him to land and immediately be held by Shikamaru's shadow bind. Kotetsu and Izumo meanwhile came in from both of his side and ran him through with a pair of giant kunai. Already aware of his immortality none of them were surprised when Hidan didn't immediately die despite them hitting his vital organs. Shikamaru however was surprised when he felt someone appear behind him with his eyes widening in shock as Kakuzu appeared behind him aiming a punch towards his head. Releasing his hold on the shadow bind the Nara heir barely managed to dodge the blow as he darted to the side. As Kakuzu moved to give chase Kakashi and Asuma appeared in front of him stopping him in his tracks.

"Your jutsu wore off!" exclaimed Hidan giving Kotetsu and Izumo just enough warning to leap away.

Before he could capitalize however he was sent flying away curtesy of a kick from Gai who nailed him in the neck. Upon landing he immediately gave chase catching the recovering nuke-nin only to grab him by the face and launch him into the forest throwing him through a pair of trees in the process. Seeing their part in the plan was accomplished the three chunin returned to their starting position regrouping with the rest of the squad in case they were needed to move again.

"Right in the middle of things surprisingly more money appears before me." Said Kakuzu as he eyed the two jonin, not the least bit worried for his partner.

"Ready?" questioned Kakashi hitae-ate already lifted with his Sharingan exposed.

Asuma responded by smirking before the two jonin launched themselves forward. Closing the distance in seconds the two jonin attacked in unison with Kakuzu meeting them head on. In such a situation against two jounin of their caliber most shinobi would be overwhelmed however Kakuzu was S-class for a reason and proved it as he managed to keep up and hold his own with the two jonin dodging, blocking and parrying strikes while somehow managed to return attacks of his own as well.

Parrying an overhand from Kakashi he returned fire with a palm to the chin which managed to push the scarecrow back allowing him to turn his attention back to Asuma with the two exchanging a flurry of quick blows that were either dodged or parried. Aiming a knee strike to the face Asuma blocked it before grabbing hold of the leg and showed a hint of his strength by tossing him back towards Kakashi who met him with a spinning kick that had him flying and flying over the edge of the roof to land in a hard roll on the ground.

Following him to the ground Asuma wasted no time with nailing him with a kick to the back that only further added to the nuke-nin's pain. Rolling with the kick Kakuzu used one of his hands and a burst of chakra to push himself from the ground and into the air before landing on his feet. Seeing Kakashi landing lightly on the ground the nuke-nin grit his teeth and glared at the pair as a pair of bulges appeared on his back before his cloak ripped open as a pair of masked creatures emerged from his body and launched themselves at the two shinobi.

Not even bothering to dodge the two jonin with Asuma bringing forth one of his trench knives except he held it almost like a sword. As the creature pounced on him an aura of wind chakra engulfed the blade and lengthened it allowing him to cut the creature entirely in half mask first with very little effort. Kakashi meanwhile didn't bother with remaining in place as he leapt at the pouncing beast lighting emerging from his right hand allowing him to punch straight through the beast's head.

'Those two, they weren't even surprised.' Thought Kakuzu eyes narrowed only for his eyes to widen when he realized he couldn't move.

If he'd been able to see behind him he would find a pair of chakra blades identical to Asuma's trench knives embedded in the ground and pinning his shadow in place. Of course while he couldn't see it Kakashi and Asuma certainly could, and both were pleased at the sight.

"Status." Said Asuma after slipping an earpiece on.

"Green, he's down to three hearts. One in its proper place and two behind the remaining masks on his back. His partner is being kept well in hand and should be finished soon as well." Came the response from the Hyuga they had on recon.

"I'll leave the wrap up to you then." Said Kakashi slipping his hitae-ate back over his Sharingan and sagging just slightly.

Turning his gaze to Kakuzu the Sarutobi approached him calmly before stopping about a foot in front of him. He would admit if only in the confines of his own mind that he'd rather draw out the ending of the two men however he was rational enough to know that this plan had worked out well and had been his best bet of returning home with his entire team intact. Even with that however he would still be delivering a bit of karmic justice on the behalf of his friend. With that in mind he took a stance that had the captured nuke-nin's eyes widening in recognition as he stood with his left hand making a half-ram and then extending their right hand down with his palm parallel to the ground.

As he took the stance a golden figure made of energy appeared surrounding him sitting in a meditative position surrounded by arms. Channeling all of his frustration, grief and rage into the technique caused the figure to turn into a red demonic beast that proceeded to pummel Kakuzu in place with a thousand fist the size of a giant sized Akimichi Chouza before leaving the pulverized remains of Kakuzu within a crater that was nearly fifteen feet deep. Considering there wasn't a single piece of him that didn't look like it had come out of a meat grinder it was clear that the Akatsuki agent was dead.

Maito Gai was amongst the strongest shinobi in all of Konoha. Master of multiple taijutsu styles and holder of the turtle summons contract Gai was unknown to most on the shortlist of Hokage candidates. For one such as Hidan a close combat-oriented person such as Gai was normally a dream opponent. Unfortunately for Hidan there were multiple factors currently working against him, firstly was the terrain as Gai had somehow launched him into the middle of a forest which effectively rendered his scythe useless as it was far too large to wield within the amount of space available.

He also found himself incapable of producing his ritual circle as the number of trees surrounding them and their spacing made it impossible to produce as though he wasn't truly knowledgeable in fuinjutsu he knew the sealing circle needed a flat circle and couldn't be interrupted with even minor breaks or it would be inoperable. The most pressing matter however came down to the fact that Gai was stronger, faster and much more knowledgeable in the arts of closed quarters combat and though he had resorted to using portions of both of his collapsible spears he was still getting his ass kicked.

Grunting as his back slammed into the trunk of a tree Gai appeared in front of him in an instant his eyes shining with the light of an unholy fire as he began unloading a flurry of body blows to Hidan's midsection with his arms moving so fast even the blurs made it appear he had eight of them. The last punch however broke the tree and sent Hidan flying once again crashing through two more trees before he rolled to a stop inside of a small clearing. Unfortunately for him he was unable to take advantage of this as not only were several of his bones broken but he was almost immediately impaled by wooden spears which proceeded to lift him off the ground and hang him suspended in the air. His rage and frustration finally boiled over and the clearing was soon filled with the sound of his voice as he began swearing and ranting about what he would do once he was free. His voice was abruptly silenced as a figure appeared within the clearing just in front of him.

"The fuck are you" questioned Hidan only to be ignored

The figure was that of a kitsune with the bipedal appearance of a human yet the physical appearance of a kitsune that wore a pair of baggy purple pants and a white robe. Its neck was surrounded on each side and back by a high neck guards, its feet ended with three clawed toes similar to its hands while its face and probably the rest of it was covered in yellow fur the color of the sun.

"So you're the Jashinist, not that impressive are you. Though I suppose beggars can't be choosers. Now hold still I need to work." Mused the kitsune before Hidan found himself frozen in place unable to move more than his eyes.

As she said this she placed the fingers of her right hand on Hidan's face and began chanting. This was the scene that Gai and Yamato emerged onto and both would have probably charged if not for the knowledge that Naruto held a summon contract with kitsunes. Suddenly Hidan screamed as he was briefly engulfed with red chakra before slumping and hanging limply in place clearly unconscious. Breaking contact with Hidan the kitsune stepped away slumping slightly herself.

"Thank you for waiting shinobi-san's. I'd have needed to start all over if you had interrupted me." Said the kitsune as she turned to face them

"What did you do, and who are you for that matter." Questioned Yamato.

"My name is Akemi of the kitsune clan. As for him, Naruto-sama sensed the bloodlust of a Jashinist a few hours ago and asked me to sever the connection." Explained Akemi

"So we can kill him now?" questioned Yamato.

"In time yes. I severed the connection, but he still has energy from the beast. Unless you have a way to syphon off his energy you'd need to kill him repeatedly until he stayed dead. Unfortunately if he knows of the ritual prayer he may be able to reestablish the connection between himself and Jashin." Answered the kitsune.

"And this Jashin really is a god?" questioned Gai with a frown.

"No. Jashin is a minor demon at best, an ogre. He feeds on the energy gathered by human followers that he makes contracts with and those that his acolytes kill using their sacrificial ritual." Explained Akemi.

"So that means we go with are initial plan then." Said Yamato.

"If you have a way to dispose of him I will be off." Before they could get a word in Akemi burst into smoke and disappeared

"As unyouthful as this has been I'd like to get it all over with." Said Gai after a few moments.

"Right, give me a few. I still need to do a bit of setup"

With that said Yamato ran through a short chain of seals before expelling a large amount of water from his mouth and into the ground which had been shattered with the emergence of his wood spears. Running through yet more seals he stopped on tiger before voicing the name of his technique.

"Mokuton: Jubaku Eisō (Wood Release: Tree Bind Eternal Burial)"

In response to his call the spears reformed transforming themselves into vines which bound Hidan securely in place thickening quickly and covering him until only his head was exposed. As if that was not enough the vines continued to grow and thicken lifting Hidan higher in the air as it took on the shape of a tree until finally Hidan's face was covered, and he was sealed inside of the newly grown tree.

A few hours later a group of figures could be seen within a darkened cavern, or at least their silhouettes could be seen. The figures however noticed that several of them were notably absent as what had once been nine members had been reduced to seven a few months previous with the deaths of Sasori and Deidara. The numbers had been boosted to eight with the addition of the masked member Tobi, however at present only six figures were visible.

"Kakuzu and Hidan are dead." Were the first words spoken as the group was gathered.

"Explain!" came the demand of the leader.

"It seems Kakuzu's greed finally caught up to him, the two of them attacked the Fire Temple and aid was requested from Konoha. They responded by sending out a task force which included Sharingan Kakashi, Maito Gai, Sarutobi Asuma, a Mokuton user and an Uzumaki. Kakuzu was beaten to death and was left as little more than paste. Hidan somehow had his immortality stripped from him by the Uzumaki and the Mokuton user used his life force to grow a fucking tree." Said the duel tones from the figure that was Zetsu.

"Idiots." Came the dry tone of the sole female member of the group.

"Kisame what's your status?' questioned the leader.

"Closing in on the Yonbi. I'm probably an hour away." Said Kisame.

"Itachi?" questioned the leader.

"Resting. The Gobi has been taken care of."

All of them ignored how tired Itachi sounded. By this point it was hardly a secret that there was something wrong with him and none of them really expected him to live much longer.

"I'll send Zetsu to collect it. Meanwhile Konan and I will handle the Rokubi. Dismissed"

Meanwhile Naruto both unknowing and equally uncaring of Akatsuki at the moment could be found inside of the Hokage's office alongside both of his grandparents and Shizune. He had been called from the home where he'd left Ino in a naked sweaty heap and absolutely out of it. Normally he would feel a bit guilty, but the tease had brought it upon herself and had still been begging for more before he filled her up and she passed out. While he still hadn't been as intimate with Hinata, he and Ino had started sleeping together only a few weeks after his return from his training trip.

"So brat how goes your training?" questioned Tsunade breaking him from his thoughts.

"Pretty good granny. I've successfully added my wind chakra to the Rasengan. I still have another step to figure out, but I'll get there. I've also had clones working on that technique and I've pretty much gotten that down to." Said Naruto ignoring her twitching eyebrow.

"Well then I think your in a good enough place where we can complete your training." Said Jiraiya causing Naruto's eyes to widen.

"Are you serious?" questioned the blond.

"Yeah. We leave in the morning I suggest you pack yourself enough food to last a month or so. You don't want any of Ma's cooking believe me." Said Jiraiya his face taking on a bit of a green hue.

"Get out of here brat, and good look." Said Tsunade.

Naruto grinned before walking out to the balcony and leaping away only to vanish into a burst of Shunpo. In the distance they could hear him let out a cheer of joy and none could really blame him. After all very few in the world were privileged enough to learn the Sage Arts and none had ever been as young as he was.

AN: That's it the chapter's done. I've been struggling with the fight scene for over a month, eventually I remembered that I had Itachi turn on Akatsuki a while back and give Tsunade intel about them. That said that meant that as much as I might have wanted a big fight scene I didn't really need it. I just needed to write it in a way it was clear that they had a plan in place based on their opponents strengths and weaknesses which they already knew! These guys are shinobi they're meant to be smart and sneaky so I leaned into that for this one. Anyway thanks for reading and please review. Till next time, LATER.