A Foxes Tale

Chapter 28

AN: Hello all, welcome back. Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers. Anyway as always I want to thank everyone who reviewed the last chapter even if it was just to say you liked it or you had valid critiques or constructive criticism. I wanted to get this out on Saturday but it's been kicking my ass and I think this is my longest chapter to date but once I got started I couldn't stop. I don't really think it's action heavy as I couldn't get that to flow right. Even with that I tried my best and I'll hopefully get back to being able to write fight scenes like I used to. Anyway here is the new chapter.

Start Now:

Sixty-three hours and eleven minutes, nearly three whole days, that was how long Naruto's screams and the sound of explosions had come from the cave. The Kyubi had created a barrier that blocked both sound and the vibrations from the explosions after the first hour so as to not disturb the residents of the mountains even further. Despite this neither the fox, Jiraiya, Fukasaku or Gamabunta had moved from their places in the entire time that it happened. Jiraiya had shed silent tears at the torture his grandson had voluntarily put himself through but had otherwise been able to maintain his stoic visage. Finally there was a final explosion accompanied by a massive surge of power that was felt by everyone on the mountain, so powerful that even those that had been sleeping had been woken.

Following that the area had gone completely silent and still for several long minutes before the group of four were greeted to the sight of Naruto making his way towards them. His hair had broken from the ponytail he tended to keep it in and had reverted from the smooth look he'd cultivated to its natural spiky form that hung down his back. Jiraiya, Fukasaku and the Kyubi all stood to their feet at his appearance with Jiraiya about to move to his grandson only for the demon beside him to subtly shake his head before tilting his head slightly. Channeling a bit of chakra to his ears he had to stop himself from chuckling as he could hear Naruto cursing up a storm and monologuing about what he would do if his legs dared to stop working on him. Finally Naruto came to a stop he was covered in sweat and his outfit had been reduced to rags, but he was smirking.

"How are you feeling?" questioned Jiraiya.

"Piece of cake, it wasn't as hard as I thought." Said the blond before he passed out with Jiraiya quickly catching him before he even got close to hitting the ground

"So what now?" questioned Gamabunta.

"He needs to rest, let his body recover. He'll hibernate for some time and when he wakes he'll be incredibly hungry. He'll need real food, the ramen he brought along won't do much. Meat, rice the works." Said the fox.

"Right I'll take care of that. I was thinking about going to check in with Tsunade anyway." Said Jiraiya.

"Leave him here. The natural energy on the mountain will help him recover quicker." Said the demon

"What will you do now?" questioned Fukasaku

"Return to Demon World and inform Kushina of his accomplishment. Afterwards I'll return, he's inherited my power but has no clue how to use it." Said the demon.

"I still can't believe you just gave away your power like that." Said Gamabunta causing the humanoid fox to snort.

"I'm literally made of chakra, even if I did nothing normally I'd probably be fully recovered from this in 100 years. Thankfully we prepared in advance for this, before his mother was born we took a portion of my power and sealed it away. Once I retrieve that I'll be back to the level I was before I gave the brat what I had. It won't be my full power, but it will be enough to knock my siblings around if I have to." Revealed the demon.

"You said normally, you didn't get out of this freely.' Said Fukasaku eyes narrowed.

"True. As I told the kit I made a deal with Inari to set this all-in motion. What I didn't say is that Inari wasn't the only one working on this, the Shinigami was as well. In exchange for his aid I sacrificed a huge amount of my power and life force in exchange for Kushina's power to not be stripped from her during the sealing. While my power went into making his sword, my life force the Shinigami kept. At this point I'll probably only be around for another century if that." Revealed the fox


The Tailed Beasts were special, even amongst demons. Of course the biju weren't technically demons, not like the beings that descended from them. The biju were living embodiments of chakra and while separate with different powers for each individual beast they had at one point in time been a part of the same whole. It had been the Rikudo Sennin (Sage of Six Paths) that had split them apart and in essence created the nine entities now known as the biju. Because of their unique original they had abilities above and beyond any other demon and one of them was based solely on the connection that they still shared.

This connection allowed them to link their consciousness telepathically with the others. The connection linked them not just mind to mind in the physical world but they could also ascend to a mental plan accessible only to them and meet there. What they had not known until Uzumaki Kushina had become the Kyubi is that they would be able to tell if one of them died and another had taken their place. Already this phenomenon had occurred 7 times in just the last few months as jinchurriki were captured and biju were sealed away by the Akatsuki.

The captured biju were now occupying this astral plane in order to ignore the pain they were feeling in the mortal world. Though they hadn't spoken much to each other aside from the surprise Isobu, otherwise known as the Sanbi had offered up they all had shared knowing looks amongst themselves. Suddenly all of them perked up slightly as a now familiar feeling hit them causing them to share a smirk yet again.

'Eight' was the collective thought of the group.

Now all that remained was one last slot to be filled.


Within the confines of the inner world that was Naruto's soulscape Benihime could be seen sitting beneath a tree as Naruto's head rested in her lap. Even here Naruto was sleep as he was clearly exhausted mentally as well as physically otherwise he would be up and active. While she was proud that he had been able to accomplish his task she also knew that it was still too early as though he had succeeded in the end the trail had ravaged his mind as well as his body.

This could be seen in the damage to her current environment as the usually peaceful forest looked as if a huge battle had been fought there with massive craters and destroyed trees all over the place. Suddenly she froze as a presence made itself known to her senses which shouldn't be possible. Slowly she lifted Naruto's head from her lap and slid out from beneath him before resting his head gently on the grass. Standing to her feet, she moved about a foot away from the sleeping teen, her eyes narrowed as a copy of her released blade form materialized in her hand.

"There's no need for that."

The voice caused her to freeze in place before she whipped around only for her eyes to widen and the blade to abruptly vanish. Standing before her was a figure that though she had never met she knew exactly who they were. The figure was that of a man who stood at 5'8 with blue eyes and spiky, blond hair almost exactly like Naruto's with the exception of the jaw-length bangs framing both sides of his face. He wore grey hakama with a dark blue kimono top.

"Your..!"

"Namikaze Minato, Naruto's father, it's nice to meet you Benihime." Said the man calmly as he settled down on the ground beside Naruto.

"How are you here?" questioned the zanpakuto.

"Oh, I've been here since he removed the talisman on the foxes cage.

"But how? Spirits shouldn't be able to cross worlds like you did." Said Benihime.

"Most can't. I work for Lord Enma however so that gives me a bit more room to move." Said Minato surprising the zanpakuto

"Why have you come now?" questioned Benihime

"I drop by every so often. I'm the one who put his spirit back in his body when he died. As for this time, he needs to rest so I'm here to watch over you both until he's recovered."

Before she knew it she was sitting beside the man and leaned into his chest in a way she had never thought she would for anyone but Naruto.

"Rest now, both of you. I've got you." Said Minato softly.

In his sleep a smile came across Naruto's face while Benihime's eyes closed, and she was almost instantly sleep.

"I can't do much to influence the living world, but in here I'll do all I can." Said Minato softly

With that he closed his eyes before slowly power spread from him into their surroundings. Neither Naruto nor Benihime even stirred instead snuggling into him comforted by his power while Naruto's inner world slowly began to return to its former condition.


While Naruto slept and recovered the world kept moving and in this manner several days passed. By this point both teams Kurenai and Asuma had returned to the village and upon their arrivals both Ino and Hinata were informed of the new addition to their household and the particulars surrounding her. Though they were told at separate times they'd had very similar reactions in this case being sympathy and acceptance, as both young kunoichi still rather vividly remembered the invasion it was easy enough to imagine being put in a similar position. Ino had sympathized even more learning the girl had been taken for sex training, her training under Kushina had been embarrassing and thorough but she'd been told enough about Kimiko to know she would be worse.

For Tsunade that bit had been an amusing break from paperwork, but she had quickly put it out of her mind. Instead her mind had turned from her grandson's little harem and instead focused on how to integrate all of the new kunoichi both into the village and then into the shinobi forces. Housing hadn't been too much of an issue, Konoha had taken massive hits in its population during both the Third Shinobi War and especially the 'Kyubi Attack' almost 17 years previous.

While the village itself hadn't been hit during the war, plenty of its forces had lost their lives in the field, As far as the 'Kyubi Attack' was concerned Kushina had been summoned in her full demon form in the middle of the village, the appearance alone had caused catastrophic damage, that wasn't even mentioning those who died trying to fight. Then there had been the Uchiha Massacre which saw a culling of nearly half of the clan.

This meant of course there was plenty of space available to house people, even after the Uzumaki had been integrated into the village a few years earlier. Of course the Uzumaki were occupying old Senju district, most had forgotten that she herself had Uzumaki blood until she'd opened the district for them. The kunoichi of Nadeshiko however were a bit more difficult to place as they didn't have the built-in trust that the Uzumaki had with Konoha and Hi no Kuni as a whole. Housing had been simple to arrive as despite it being over 250 new people they'd had the places available, though had split them in the shinobi complexes between the Akimichi, Yamanaka and Hyuga run districts.

Instead the focus had been on how to integrate these new kunoichi into their forces which required a bunch of assessments to get see how they leveled amongst Konoha's ranks and then they'd need to get them some squads to work with. At least that had been the focus until Jiraiya arrived and informed them of what had been happening with Naruto, upon which point she'd hit him so hard he'd flown through the wall of her office and landed somewhere in the distance. In the end it took nearly 5 days for her to calm down and him to recover enough for her to speak with him again. Thankfully the people with her were those who could keep a secret, those being Nara Shikaku, Yamanaka Inoichi and the ANBU commander Ghost.

"Should we send a medic to help Naruto-sama recover?" questioned Ghost.

"There's no point, he was healing before I even got him settled in a bed. I'll bring him back after he wakes up and has time to get a hold of his power and he can be checked out then." Said Jiraiya.

"What the hell was that brat thinking?" questioned Tsunade frowning darkly.

"Mostly that they would be coming for him in earnest now. So far only Naruto and the Hachibi jinchurriki haven't been captured, even if we recovered Gaara, Shukaku was still extracted." Said Jiraiya.

"Akatsuki can't be that strong of a force now. Most of their members are dead." Said Inoichi.

"No, they still have the Rinnegan user, who we know is the strongest and the paper user who was also upper level. Most of the others were troubling because they had specific abilities that made them difficult to deal with. One guy had a demon supplying him with a type of immortality, another with five hearts, one who turned himself into a puppet with only a single vulnerability, one who had aerial supremacy, a master Sharingan user, the strongest of the last generation Seven Swordsmen and then there's the spymaster." Said Ghost shaking his head.

"I have no doubt without the information we had on them and their abilities our squads may have fared worse than they have. Asuma and his team may not have even survived the encounter with Hidan and Kakuzu without that specific knowledge." Said Shikaku.

"You also need to consider that Orochimaru was considered amongst the weaker members before he was forced to flee." Said Jiraiya.

"So Naruto may have felt he had no choice." Said Inoichi frowning.

"If we are to believe the words of this elder Kyubi then they shouldn't have taken this step for at least another 5-6 years at his level of growth." Said Ghost.

Anything else was stopped thanks to a series of urgent hard knocks on the doors of the Hokage's office, more like pounding really. Frowning Tsunade made a single half seal before the barrier on the room faded and the door was unlocked. Immediately it was pushed in revealing a panting chunin.

"Intruder alert, the outer perimeter has been breached and we've identified seven figures approaching wearing Akatsuki robes." Said the panting kunoichi.

In moments the group of shinobi were in motion leaping from their seats and rushing through the halls and down stairways until the reached the portion of the building reserved for the barrier squad. The barrier squad had changed significantly over the years and its abilities had improved drastically with the inclusion of several Uzumaki to the squad including the squads director Uzumaki Shikichi, the first of the Uzumaki to come to Konoha, though he'd done so with his children.

He was a big bear of a man who stood at 6'5 that put him just a bit taller than Jiraiya. He was a jounin and wore the standard uniform of a Konoha shinobi, though his hitae-ate was worn on his arm allowing his long red hair to hang down to his mid-back.

"What's our status?" questioned Tsunade upon getting close to the man.

"They're moving quickly; they should be on the hill that overlooks the village within the next five minutes at their pace." Said Shikichi.

"Release carrier 5." Said Tsunade quickly with one of the many shinobi in attendance sending the order to do just that.

Carrier 5 was a messenger bird. However this one was an eagle, one that was only released in a specific instance. Upon seeing this bird the shinobi knew they were to evacuate civilians and genin to the evacuation shelters.

"Who do we have in the village?" questioned Jiraiya.

"Kakashi and Asuma are both in the village. Gai is due back today." Said Shikaku after a few moments.

"I'll go stall them; besides I've been waiting for this." Said Jiraiya.

"Be careful and come back." Said Tsunade.

"Don't worry so much hime." Said Jiraiya lightly.

"No Jiraiya, no matter what remember Naruto is who is important. You can't support him if you die." Said Tsunade getting a nod from Jiraiya before he rushed from the room, stopping only long enough to summon a toad and give it instructions before he continued out of the room

"Someone message Kakashi and have him send one of his summons to Gai." Said Ghost.

"Kakashi and Asuma should be on standby, but close at hand to support Jiraiya." Said Shikaku.

"You heard them, get those messages out." Said Shikichi


The sight of the eagle circling the sky had gotten the shinobi into high gear. Though most didn't know what was happening they knew to get the civilians and the genin off of the streets and into evacuation centers. Of those who were rushing through the streets Kakashi was one of the few who got a full clue of the situation, even if he didn't have all of the details. Akatsuki was coming and apparently in a much larger force then they were used to, he'd quickly made use of his summoning technique and sent his ninkin out in search of Gai.

"Son of a bitch." Came the voice from the earpiece he was wearing.

"What happened?" questioned Kakashi.

"One of them is a summoner. They launched them into the air through the barrier and that one summoned the rest. They've scattered and started attacking civilians." Said the man.

'Fuck.' Thought Kakashi knowing the initial plan had just been killed and now he needed to go on the defensive.

"Give me the closest target." Said Kakashi

"The nearest one is sector 1-G."

"Roger that." Said the copy ninja before disappearing in a burst of speed.

When he reappeared it was just in time to block what was sure to be a death blow for Iruka his Sharingan eye already exposed as he set hard eyes on the attacker. Iruka himself was in a crouched position a quick glance telling Kakashi he'd been tending to an injured comrade when he was attacked. His attacker was a male with six piercings, a metal bar through each ear, three studs through the side of its upper nose, and one spike stud on each end of the bottom lip. He had spiky orange hair and his eyes were obviously a doujutsu of some sort as they were solid purple with black rings in a ripple pattern going outwards from the pupil.

"Thanks Kakashi." Said Iruka.

"It's fine. You should get that guy out of here; I'll handle this one." Said Kakashi

As Iruka leapt away the two combatants were already attacking with the Akatsuki member letting loose a kick which Kakashi ducked under only to create a mud wall with four dog heads behind him cutting of any route of escape. Surging upwards Kakashi's arm was already covered in lighting as he moved to plunge it into his opponent only for the man to simply move his head to the right causing him to miss and embed his hand in the wall.

"Copy Ninja Kakashi. Tell me, where is the Kyubi?" Said the man his voice monotone.

"That's a silly question."

As he spoke Kakashi's hand was already in motion only for him to suddenly be picked up and launched away from the man causing his eye to widen in surprise. Even still he managed to recover quickly enough to land on his feet even as he skid to a stop.

'The hell was that. He didn't even move, and I was flung away.' thought Kakashi his eyes narrowed in thought.

Elsewhere in the village other shinobi were having problems of their own. In one section a group of chunin and jounin could be seen surrounding a single Akatsuki member. This one was a man who stood at 6'2", stocky with orange hair tied back in a short ponytail. He has small, spiked piercings covering his entire bottom lip, two vertical spike studs on the front of his nose, one spike stud on each cheek, a spike going through each ear and a stud on each of his shoulders, close to his neck. Finally and most strikingly was the fact that he bore Rinnegan eyes. At the moment all of the Konoha shinobi were staring at him in shock as all of them had just witnessed their jutsu simply sputter out.

"N-no fucking way. T-this guy just absorbed all of our jutsu." Said one of the chunin the horrified words being transmitted over his earpiece and back into the command center.

"Then we'll just have to attack him directly!" exclaimed one of the jounin before the group launched themselves at him as one.

In yet another section of the village there was an Akatsuki that was capable of summoning multiple animals that was wreaking havoc on the village. For some reason the animals when summoned were covered in piercings and sported the Rinnegan just like the summoner. In what had quickly become a command center both Tsunade and Shikaku watched it all. One of the improvements for the barrier squad after the invasion was the ability to monitor every section of the village in real time visually. They'd used pieces of glass covered in sealing script which transferred the image within to a connection within the command center. It was because of this that Shikaku had noticed something peculiar about the attackers.

"Inoichi." Called Shikaku getting the man's attention

"What do you have?" questioned the Yamanaka recognizing both the tone and the look in his friends eyes

"Just a theory. I need sensors to verify what I'm thinking."

As Shikaku quietly filled him in Inoichi found his own eyes narrowing as he ran the information through his own mind and things fell into place. He and Shikaku both knew that the Nara Head was more than likely correct with his theory, but that validation is what he needed to come up with a plan. Unfortunately he wouldn't be any aid here and would need to go to his own headquarters to make this work.

"I'll update you when I know." Said Inoichi before swiftly leaving the room.

"Give me the evacuation status." Said Shikaku after a few moments.

Only sectors 2-D and 3-B remaining." Came the response.

"Good enough for me." Said Tsunade speaking up for the first time in a while.

"Deploy the ANBU priorities are that one and that one." Said Tsunade pointing out the chakra absorber and the one that was creating the most damage as it seemed more puppet than man

"Shikaku you're in command here." Said Tsunade before striding out of the room.


Jiraiya frowned as he landed in an area almost completely covered by sheets of paper. It had taken him a while to arrive, much longer than he had thought to be honest, but he'd been distracted along the way with all of the destruction happening in the village.

"You know I didn't know whether to be relieved or saddened when I found out you were alive. On the one hand I thought you were dead for years, then to learn you'd joined an organization like Akatsuki. You've broken this old man's heart Konan." Said Jiraiya to seemingly empty air.

There was stillness for a moment before the papers littering the area shot up and whirled coming together to create a person. The person was a woman with short, straight blue hair in a bun, grey eyes with lavender eye shadow, and a white labret piercing. She was garbed in the signature Akatsuki cloak and in her hair was a light blue paper flower connected to her bun.

"It seems I've inadvertently returned the action then. After all you broke our hearts when you left us Jiraiya-sensei." Said the woman her voice and face both neutral.

"Staying in Ame was your decision. Or was it not your dream to make Ame a place of piece?" retorted Jiraiya.

"We were kids, you didn't even offer to let us come with you." Said the woman.

"Of course not, I went back to the front lines, it was a time of war remember. But why join Akatsuki?"

"We didn't join, we started it." Said Konan stunning the man.

"Foolish child, do you have any idea of the path you've set us on?" questioned Jiraiya.

"This is path of peace. However in order for the world to know peace it must first know pain." Said Konan.

"No Konan you've been misled. This is the path of destruction, what you've done in capturing the biju like you have can lead to our extinction." Said Jiraiya causing her eyes to narrow


While Jiraiya was catching up and trying to talk sense into his old student, his current apprentice and grandson could be seen seated calmly on the grass of Mount Myoboku. Outwardly he didn't appear any different with the exception that there was now orange pigmentation surrounding his closed eyes which when opened appeared yellow and toad-like.

This was not a result of him taking in and absorbing the biju chakra, instead this was a result of him taking in natural chakra, thus this was in fact a completed form of Sage Mode. He'd slept for two days but when he'd woken he'd been starving and had eaten like an Akimichi in an all you can eat buffet. Following his feeding frenzy he had delved back into training where they had come across a problem.

Sage Mode while powerful didn't last forever and as such during battle had a major disadvantage. This being that as previously established you needed to be perfectly still in order to absorb natural chakra which meant during battle a user couldn't replenish it. The toads had come up with a workaround which allowed the toad sages to merge with the body of the summoner, on their shoulders. This allowed them to gather the natural chakra while the summoner handled the fighting. The problem Naruto had discovered was unlike Jiraiya his body had demon energy flowing through it, which would not allow the merger to happen.

He had rather quickly come up with a work around in using clones to gather the energy in his place as once he dispelled them the energy would transfer to him as chakra normally did with a dispelled shadow clone. The drawback to this was that he couldn't create too many clones with this method as more clones would distract the ones gathering the natural energy. Thankfully his fighting style didn't require the usage of too many clones as that may have been a big problem otherwise.

As far as his own abilities after absorbing the biju chakra he could tell the changes were massive. He could immediately tell that all of his senses were magnitudes sharper and it had taken him a bit of time to dull them down. His chakra pool was now so massive it made what he previously possessed look like a small in comparison. It was as if he'd gone from a medium sized pool to the ocean both in size and depth. At the same time it was easier to control than ever before, which was apparently because he no longer had two different chakra's fighting for supremacy.

Even with that said he still had two chakra pools, human and demon, however the two were now working in sync with each other to the point that he could use them separately or even combine them. One thing he hadn't down however is take on his demon form, Kurama the old fox had returned before he even woke and immediately declared that a no go. Apparently he needed to let the power settle in his system before transforming or he could easily lose control of himself. They had determined that they would give it a few weeks and then begin working on his Bankai, much to Benihime's approval.

At the moment despite being in meditation he was actually sparring with Benihime in the inner world that was his soulscape. Kurama could be seen not far from them in his fox form, though only about the size of a horse. In the distance four large red torii gates within which was the mass of demon chakra. As Naruto's body still wasn't ready to handle all of the biju chakra he had created the gates to act as a filter between the chakra and the rest of his body.

This had been made possible by the seal that had already been on his body, though it had changed as a result now outwardly appearing in the shape of a magatama, along with a swirl design that resembled Uzushiogakure's symbol. As their blades clashed he and Benihime shared a smile of pure joy, Naruto had grown enough to admit that he enjoyed fighting and testing his strength against others and Benihime as a shared that enjoyment.

"Oi brat, you need to get back to the real world. They're calling you to eat." Said Kurama causing the duo to break apart.

Both frowned but neither Naruto or Benihime spoke out against it as they all knew that Naruto still wasn't fully recovered, and the food was needed. Silently the duo agreed to pick up later before Naruto vanished from the soulscape to go eat.

"You can come out now, Yondaime Hokage." Said Kurama surprising Benihime.

"How long have you known I was here?" questioned Minato materializing as if he'd been invisible.

"Long enough to know you are hiding for a reason." Said the fox getting the spirit to sigh.

"There is trouble. I'm just here in case Naruto loses it completely." Said the former Hokage.

"What kind of trouble?" questioned the fox eyes narrowed.

"You'll find out soon. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to report the troubles of the living world to the living. I'd be recalled immediately and unable to return." Said Minato


Jiraiya was one of the Legendary Sanin, unlike Tsunade he didn't come from a legendary ninja clan nor did he have the genius of Orochimaru. As such Jiraiya had to work harder than both of his teammate to catch up and then stand at a level with them. He was the only one to have taken multiple students on voluntarily and instill within them the same drive that he possessed. Minato was his most famous student, but it's hard to top the fame of a Kage, he had also taught Inuzuka Tsume and Hyuga Hizashi as genin. He had been offered Hiashi at first but had turned him down in favor of Hizashi. They had been his first team of students, but he'd taught another three, a group of orphans from Ame after that before he finally took Naruto under his wing a few decades later.

With all that under his belt Jiraiya had never lost sight of what drove him initially, and while he'd been plenty busy he had never allowed his skills to rust or even worse degrade. At the moment many people were seeing for the first time what separated Jiraiya from other shinobi, even newer legends like Kakashi. Whereas others had struggled facing off against one or maybe two of the Akatsuki Rinnegan bearers Jiraiya was shown able to keep up with multiple.

The first had been the summoner where thanks to the multiple giant creatures being summoned he'd been forced to go into Sage Mode. Unfortunately he'd never quite mastered it and as such it greatly changed his appearance. For starters his nose grew bigger and gained warts, his teeth sharpened, he grew a goatee, and acquires toad-like eyes along with adopting a more toad-like posture. Thankfully he had improved the ability some over the time he'd been on Myoboku and at least no longer had webbed feet. By being forced into Sage Mode however it meant that he'd summoned both Fukasaku and Shima who had merged onto his shoulders.

The fight had soon turned in their favor only for the jutsu absorber and another one to soon join him. Thankfully this section of the village was already evacuated allowing him to flee and forcing them to follow after him which soon allowed him to confirm that they all shared the same vision. He was able to immobilize two of them quickly enough and deal with the summoner one on one which he quickly dispatched. He had turned to leave, and it was only a shouted warning that had him leaping away and avoiding what could have been a devastating and even cost him an arm. Unfortunately from that point he was forced to face all six of them, one of which resembled one of his former students Yahiko which told him in no uncertain terms he was dead.

From there he was on the defensive for the longest time forced to use the buildings and hallways to help him keep ahead. He wasn't unscathed however as his left arm had been cut off near the elbow and he had a broken metal rod sticking out of one of his shoulders. Thankfully he had managed to give them all the slip and was currently hiding in one of the buildings panting heavily.

"Jiraiya-boy this is a lost battle." Said Shima having leapt from his shoulder to tend to his arm and stop the bleeding.

"She's right, we need to retreat, share what we've learned." Said Fukasaku.

Silently Jiraiya agreed, he was exhausted. He'd already released sage mode, so he knew he was close to chakra exhaustion and even with that knowledge he knew were this any other situation he'd refuse as there was still information to gain. Thankfully he was actually in the village so a retreat at this stage wasn't that bad. Withdrawing an earpiece from one of his pockets he slipped it in and double-tapped it to turn it on.

"Anybody there?" questioned the exhausted sage.

"Jiraiya-sama thank kami, we thought you might have died." Came the voice on the other end.

"Close a few times. What can you tell me about my surroundings?"

"Nothing, the mirrors in the area were broken in the fighting." Came the response causing him to grimace.

"Listen, I need a way out. One of my arms was cut off and I'm nearing chakra exhaustion." Said Jiraiya.

"We've got teams nearby and Hokage-sama is on the way."

"So I bought her enough time to heal everyone up. That's something at least. Is Shikaku still there?"

"I'm here." Came Shikaku's voice.

"Listen, those six with the Rinnegan, they share vision. Also they are all corpses, the real one isn't here and is controlling them somehow." Said Jiraiya.

"We figured out the shared vision, though that cost us. I'm sending in a few ANBU squads; they'll distract them while you get out." Said Shikaku

"Pa, go get Naruto." Said Jiraiya.

"You sure?" questioned the elder toad.

"Yeah, If I know Tsunade she just used Katsuyu to heal everyone injured during the attack, shinobi or civilian. She'll be working at less than half efficiency, that's not enough for this." Said Jiraiya.

Fukasaku fixed him with a look before nodding and vanishing.

"They've engaged. Go." Said Shikaku.

Grimacing Jiraiya stood and Ma hopped back on his shoulder. Immediately he was off running through the halls in the opposite direction that he'd come and after passing through a balcony door he leapt away.


Tsunade frowned as the news of Jiraiya's injury was given to her over her earpiece as she ran through the village. As he stated she'd been busy healing everyone using her slug summons Katsuyu as a medium for her chakra allowing her to work on all of them simultaneously. Unfortunately she couldn't go back and heal him and would have to leave that to Sakura and Shizune. Instead she needed to deal with the Akatsuki now as while the ANBU were meant to be the elite, they were assassins for the most part, and far beneath the level of combat ability needed here. With this in mind she narrowed her eyes and began to pick up the pace quickly outpacing her ANBU guard and forcing them to go the max just to keep up.

Coming to the scene of the battle between the Akatsuki and her surviving ANBU the Godaime leapt from a room shooting high into the air to come down with a falling kick leading with her heel.

"Tsūtenkyaku (Heavenly Foot of Pain)"

Her target, the version of Pein with the mechanized limbs managed to dodge backwards just before the attack landed though was thrown off balance by the ground collapsing beneath him. The cloud of dust kicked up by the attack was enough to obscure his vision so much that he was unable to see the large boulder heading in his direction until it slammed right into his face launching him back and out of the cloud. When the cloud cleared Tsunade could be seen standing just in front of a crater that took up most of the street but miraculously stopped just short of the buildings on either side of her. Flanking her were a two full squad of ANBU while across from her stood two more versions of Pain, one being the jutsu absorber and the other one which had the attraction and repulsion techniques.

"Lady Tsunade, long time no see." Said the Pein on the right. This one she recognized not just from the screens but from a time long passed.

"Indeed it has. Long enough for your soul to turn rotten it seems. I'd offer condolences for your friend, but my sympathy has been exhausted by this senseless attack of yours and your ungratefulness." Said Tsunade

"You know him?" questioned one of the ANBU.

"Who is he?" questioned another.

"A God who restores order." Said Pein

"Great another nut-job." Said one of the ANBU in exasperation.

"Where is Uzumaki Naruto? Where is the Kyubi?" questioned the man.

"Who knows." Said Tsunade with a shrug

"We have nearly finished hunting the biju. The power balance between your shinobi villages maintained by the biju is no longer intact. It's meaningless to continue harboring the Kyubi, conflicts are going to break out, the kindling coals of war are already smoldering everywhere, and we shall control those wars. If you cooperate with us we would not be adverse to helping you, you should have a sense of our strength now." Said the man causing her to scoff.

"Such hubris. You're not dealing with some minor villages, you're talking about the 5 Great Villages, the 5 Kage. Indeed you've captured seven of the biju, congratulations you've not only caught our attention, but you've gone and pissed every single one of us off. In normal circumstances I'd just call you an idiot and wash my hands of the situation." Said Tsunade causing three pairs of Rinnegan eyes to narrow.

"These however are not normal times. You're stomping around in the maw of a great beast, the repercussions of which would be felt world-wide. The balance of power between the villages is nothing, your threatening the stability of the entire world." Said Tsunade.

"Jiraiya-sensei said much the same, it sounded equally fanciful coming from him." Said the man.

"The only thing fanciful said between us is your claim of godhood." Said Tsunade.

"This is your final chance, where is the Kyubi." Demanded the man.

"Well can't say I didn't try talking sense into you. I have nothing further to say then."

In the next instant she appeared crouched in front of him, her fist firmly imbedded in his stomach in a rising punch, much to his surprise before he was violently thrown off his feet and launched high into the air. Leaping after him Tsunade wasted no time grabbing hold of his cloak and launching him clear across the village, over the gates and deep into the forest. Touching down on the ground she barely settled before she was under attack by the remaining Pein. Dodging backwards she flicked her thumb which caused a bullet of pure force to be launched forward and slam into its chest sending it flying into the side of a building where it created a crater with its body.

Her danger senses flared forcing her to leap away just before the area behind her exploded. Looking back she found the first one with the detachable body parts was somehow back up and her ANBU had been caught up in the explosion. She remembered she'd cracked that things skull apart with that boulder, which meant one of the Pein's had the ability to restore the others. That thought caused her to grimace even as she launched herself forward towards it. As it launched it's fist at her she sidestepped and vanished once more reappearing in front of it her eyes glowing with her channeled power before she began pummeling it with a barrage of punches landing nine before hitting it a final time launching it through five buildings.

Panting the slug Sannin took in her surroundings noticing that the chakra absorber had slipped away while she was busy dealing with that one. Despite this she was not one to lower her guard even if her body was begging her to take a break. Without any motion on her part she manipulated her bodies chemistry sending a shot of adrenaline through her body and as such brushing off the fatigue.

'What is he planning?' thought the Godaime.


In the forest just outside of Konoha a pair of Pein's could be found running through the forest before they arrived at a clearing. Once there they found the body of the main pain a huge hole blown through its torso. Seeing this one of them stepped forward this one like every other version of Pein had orange hair and multiple piercings, though in this case it has a circular stud on the bridge of its nose, a diagonal row of studs on each of its cheeks, three spike piercings in each of its ears, and a stud on each of its shoulders near its neck. Holding its palm towards the body this version of Pain looked just beyond it as purple flames appeared, and a giant head emerged from the ground. It was solid white with the exception of purple markings around its Rinnegan eyes that trailed down its face with an open mouth full of sharp teeth. This was the King of Hell which was only able to be summoned by one bearing the Rinnegan and the usage of one of its abilities known as the Naraka Path.

Without any word or hesitation its tongue shot out of its mouth, wrapped around the body, and pulled it inside. It chewed for nearly a minute before its mouth opened, and the body emerged fully restored and walked out as if nothing had happened. With a glance at the other Pain the summoner nodded before running through a quick chain of seals before using its technique to summon all of the other versions of Pain and Konan.

"What's going on?" questioned Konan immediately.

"I'm going to use that jutsu." Said the main Pain even as the others collapsed as if their strings were cut.

Konan ignored this well used to the sight of such a thing, as Jiraiya had realized and apparently relayed to Konoha the bodies, known collectively as The Six Paths of Pain were corpses through which their operator enacted his will.

"Nagato you can't. It will shorten your lifespan." Said Konan showing the first bit of emotion she'd shown the entire day.

"The jinchurriki is not here. Furthermore staying any longer is inadvisable. Konoha has discovered the abilities of my Paths, Jiraiya's escape ensured that as proven by my confrontation with Tsunade." Said the operator speaking through his main body, known as the Deva Path.

"Are you sure there is no other way?" questioned Konan.

"These people are arrogant in their abilities and their so-called strength. I will teach them the error of their ways. They will know Pain so that one day we may have peace." Said Nagato before the Deva Path leapt into the sky and hovered so high over the village he could see all of it.

Unfortunately for Pein his words had not gone unheard in the command center. They had noticed the Akatsuki racing through the forest had immediately focused attention on them. The Uzumaki clan had not been stingy upon coming to the village and after what happened to Uzu no Kuni had no problem with increasing the strength of Konoha. One of the ways in which they had done this was to improve the protections around the village, not only had they added the outside perimeter but had placed monitor seals all over the forest that allowed them to see and hear anything that happened much like the mirrors in the village proper did. Uzumaki Shikichi had taken things a step forward and added to the barrier that was already in place.

"Activate the shield." Said the Uzumaki to a trio of Uzumaki that were currently maintaining the barrier.

Without a word and completely in sync the three Uzumaki flipped through a quick chain of three seals ending on ram and holding it. Immediately the invisible barrier that surrounded the village became visible and solidified looking for all the world like a giant version of the Hyuga clans famed Kaiten. This sight did not go unnoticed within the village and those who thought the Akatsuki had been run off were immediately wary especially those who did not rank high enough to know about the shield.

Hovering over the village Pein scoffed at the sight of the shield. Even it raised their measure slightly in his eyes they were still ants before a God, and it was time the ants met the boot.

"Now know pain"

"Shinra Tensei (Almighty Push)

Unlike his normal usage of the technique the hidden Nagato charged a huge amount of his chakra through his Deva Path and into a devastating blast of repulsive force energy. As the attack struck he was surprised to see the shield able to hold and not breaking on impact as he expected. Frowning darkly Nagato channeled even more chakra into a second attack shattering the barrier and creating an explosion that struck with such force it covered the entirety of the village.


As the earth stopped shaking and the smoke cleared those on the ground and even the Deva Path and through him Nagato were surprised to find no damage had been done to the village. The cause of this was a huge wall of blood red energy that covered the entire front half of the village and arch up and back covering the first half of village. As the smoke further cleared it revealed the forms of three summon boss sized toads in the center of which was Gamabunta.

Atop of the toad bosses head was his son Gamakichi, and while not as large as his father and uncles he was still much larger than he had once been. Standing atop of Gamakichi was Fukasaku just in front of Naruto, in his full outfit with the addition of an orange haori with black flames rising from the bottom, his long hair once again secured into its now signature ponytail and a large scroll secured horizontally to his back In his hand was the released form of Benihime from which the shield had emerged at least before he dismissed the shield with Benihime returning to its sealed form as he sheathed the blade.

"That was a close one Naruto-boy." Said Fukasaku.

"No kidding. Even a second later and that attack could have destroyed the whole village." Said Gamakichi.

"N-no way." Breathed out Kiba as he beheld the shield alongside his mother.

Similar reactions were echoed all over the village from downed shinobi, none more shocked then the members of Naruto's graduation class. From his position being tended to by Shizune, Jiraiya breathed a sigh of relief even knowing that things were now coming to a head. Naruto neither heard nor cared for the reactions to his arrival, as while he had been able to protect from the blast the aftermath would have definitely been felt by the village and as such only had eyes on Pein who landed down on the ground not far from the summoned toads

"So you've returned. At least now I don't have to hunt you down." Said Pein.

Naruto said nothing instead he vanished only to appear in front of Tsunade in a crouch so their eyes locked. As blue and brown locked on each other the rage in Tsunade's eyes slowly ebbed away and Naruto gently helped her to her feet. As she did Tsunade noticed the orange pigmentation around his eyes and toad-like pupils telling her this was his version of Sage Mode.

"I'll take care of them. There's no need for Konoha's Hokage to lower herself to dealt with this trash, especially when you have more important things to do." Said Naruto calmly.

In the next instant they had both vanished only to appear in front of a startled Sakura, Shizune and Jiraiya in the blink of an eye.

"H-how!" exclaimed Sakura as the appeared only to be ignored.

"Drink some tea and relax while I handle the trash. Also tell everyone to stay out of my way, I can't afford to worry about them right now." Said Naruto

"Fine. But take Katsuyu with you, she has intel you can use." Said Tsunade.

Before Naruto could speak Shima had left Jiraiya's side, grabbed hold of the small part of the slug summon and leapt onto the scroll he was carrying on his back. Once they were settled Naruto vanished once again.

He reappeared on the ground in front of the toads in the next instant surprising the Pein's with his sudden appearance. Fukasaku was quick to leap down and join his wife so each of them were on one side of the scroll

"No matter I don't have any use for her anyway. I'm here for you!" exclaimed the mechanized Pein as it launched itself towards him.

Naruto said nothing even as it attacked with it's extended arm slipping through him as if he was never there only for the blond to slam a Rasengan into its back and slam it into the ground causing the body to shatter to pieces.

'One down.' Thought Naruto as he stood to eye the other five.

The summoner wasted no time in summoning a large rhino and sending it after him. Sidestepping the charging creature Naruto withdrew Benihime quick as a flash causing it to stumble and roll to a stop with its head parted from its body. As two more creatures came at him one a giant ox and the other a giant multi-headed dog as they rushed towards him both Ma and Pa leapt from the scroll and attacked them with a sound attack that left them frozen in place. Vanishing two Naruto's appeared one beneath each one and sent them flying with a pair of giant Rasengans only for them to be attacked by Gamabunta, Gamahiro and Gamaken while still in the air.

As another of the Pein's rushed him Katsuyu let him know this was the chakra absorber and it would absorb his jutsu. Undeterred Naruto let it come throwing a punch of his own only for it to slip it's head to the side yet Naruto smirked when it was suddenly thrown away from him, spinning through the air and it's head twisted 180 degrees when it landed as if it had taken an attack to the face.

"Finish this." Came the voice of Kurama in his mind.

'Already planned on it.' Returned Naruto

With that in mind Naruto held his arm up with his palm open. Immediately a Rasengan came into existence yet he wasn't done as he pumped his wind chakra into it, as the technique formed the wind began to whistle around it until it solidified with four sweeping blades surrounding the Rasengan giving it the shape of a shuriken. All eyes narrowed at the sight of the attack as it was not one that anyone beside Naruto had ever seen before.

"So much chakra, when did you teach him that?" questioned Shima eyeing the attack.

"First time I'm seeing it to! He never once popped that thing out during training." Said Fukasaku

Their eyes along with anyone else capable of seeing it could only bug out as Naruto actually through the giant mass of chakra at the group of Pein's.

"Fuuton: Rasensuriken (Wind Release: Spiraling Shuriken)!" exclaimed the blond as he launched it.

The Pein's scattered with one of them grabbing hold of the summoner and launching him away. Naruto smirked before snapping his fingers causing the attack to expand catching that one in its grip and detonating causing it to be ripped apart in a vortex of wind blades.

'So that should be the one.' Thought Naruto his eyes flicking to the two Pein's that dodged focusing on one specifically.

"Sage energy is almost empty." Came the voice of Kurama in his mind.

'It's fine. I'm about to end this now'

Even as he had this thought his body flickered for an instant, so quick just about everyone missed it, allowing him to dodge the beak of the bird summon sent at him only for a blade of red energy to bisect it from a casual swing of Benihime.

"You should give up now." Said Naruto surprising the Pein's.

"You're already down three bodies and I'm barely trying." Said Naruto calmly causing three sets of eyes to narrow

"You've miscounted and overestimate your ability." Said the Deva Path as the chakra absorber stepped forward.

"Your revivor works fast true, but he's as good as dead as are the rest of them. Then I'll be coming to see you personally, Nagato-san." Said Naruto surprising all of the Pein's.

"Naruto-kun this is dangerous, they nearly killed Jiraiya even with his sage mode." Said Katsuyu.

"Last warning, Nagato." Said Naruto only for the Pein's to remain silent with narrowed eyes.

'Do it. Now' said Kurama.

"Hiraishin no Jutsu (Flying Thunder God Technique)" Muttered Naruto much to Katsuyu's surprise

In an instant they vanished only to reappear behind the revivor with Benihime already drawn in his released state bisecting the revivor twice both vertically and horizontally before he vanished again only to repeat the act with the summoner, then the chakra absorber, next was the main body with the arms going first followed by the bisection ending with a blast of red energy for good measure. As he came to a stop he stumbled, his Sage Mode faded and covered in sweat.

"Jeez, gaki. When the hell did you learn the Hiraishin no Jutsu?" questioned Gamabunta quietly though it was still heard by those in the village thanks to his size.

"I'll fill you in later. There's still the real one to take care of." Said Naruto before reaching down and grabbing hold of one of the piercings which was in all actuality a small black rod.

"Naruto-boy?" questioned Fukasaku.

"This is how he was controlling the bodies, which means he was broadcasting his chakra from nearby. I should be able to trace it back to him."

So saying Naruto closed his eyes and focused his senses on following the energy trail. It took him a bit but he finally found it and began to follow it, he lost the trail a time or two and had to double back but eventually he opened his eyes and smirked.

"Found him. Now let's finish this." Said Naruto opening his eyes.

"Not without me you won't gaki." Said Jiraiya as he landed by them.

"You sure you want to do this?" questioned Naruto eyeing his grandfather.

"He's my student. My responsibility." Said Jiraiya.

"Alright you guys stay here, watch over the village. We'll be back as soon as we can.


It took the two of them nearly fifteen minutes to reach their destination. Naruto could have made it quicker on his own, but Jiraiya was insistent. They had also run into a group of Konoha shinobi headed in the same direction led by Inoichi and Shikaku. It had been Jiraiya that had convinced them to return to Konoha as this was something they had to finish themselves. Their destination was a tree, huge and covered by thousands of paper sheets which had been hallowed out, inside of which they found Konan and the very emaciated form of Nagato.

"So you've come." Said Nagato

"I told you I was." Said Naruto

"Do you hate me? Have you come to exact revenge for the attack on your village?" questioned Nagato

"Such a human mentality, and you called yourself a God." Said Naruto shaking his head even as he effortlessly created a pair of wooden chairs for himself and Jiraiya to sit in, which the Sanin did gratefully.

"To answer your question however no, I don't hate you. Luckily in your case I don't take things in battle personally. No we came to talk, there were things I personally just wanted to check out." Said Naruto before he looked up and pinned Nagato with a glare his pupils slitted and the image of a massive fox hovering behind him salivating.

"Do stop with the mental attacks. You are inside of a tree; I can kill both of you at my leisure." Said Naruto causing their eyes to widen especially Nagato's as he broke out in a cold sweat.

"What is it you wished to know?" questioned Nagato

"Gramps told me about you while we were training. How is a guy who wanted peace, blessed with the eyes of the Sage of Six Paths himself could be so blind as to seal the biju together and in the one place they should never be."

"Even if I told you why I doubt very strongly that the knowledge would change anything at all. But you have come all this way so why not. My goal is to fulfill the dream even Jiraiya-sensei has been unable to achieve. What I want is to create peace and bring about justice." Naruto said nothing merely narrowing his eyes

"My village. They suffered the same fate as I visited upon this village at the hands of you Hidden Leaf ninja. How is it fair to let only you people preach about peace and justice? Once the land of fire and the Hidden Leaf had grown too big. To protect their national interests. They forced feudal clans to wage war against each other. And profited from it. Otherwise the people of the villages would have starved. As it happened. Our little nation and its villages became the battlefield where the great nations waged their war.

Each time they did. Our nation was ravaged and made to waste. After many such battles the great nation stabilized but our small nation suffered. And it barely recovered. You and I are both seeking the very same thing. We both want to achieve the peace that Jiraiya-sensei envisioned. You and I are the same. We are both motivated by our desire for peace and justice. A justice that I have delivered against the leaf village is no different from what you are trying to do to me. Everyone feels the same pain in losing something dear. You and I have both experienced that pain. You strive for your justice, and I strive for mine.

We're both just ordinary men who have been driven to seek vengeance in the name of justice. And if one comes to call vengeance Justice such justice will only breed further vengeance and trigger a vicious cycle of hatred. Right now we live in such a cycle. I know the past and can foretell our future. It is the same as our history. So we believe that human beings simply cannot understand each other, and they never will. The Shinobi World of ours is ruled by hatred and hatred alone. So Naruto. How would you confront this hatred in order to create peace?"

"True peace is a difficult concept in this world of ours, I realized that when I was twelve. Your words are well thought out to explain this quest but what is the reason behind it? Everyone faces the question of how to achieve peace, but you still haven't explained why you have taken this course." Said Naruto his arms crossed.

Finally Naruto got the answer he was looking for onto what drove Nagato onto this path. Failure, betrayal and vengeance, how very human. Then there was Danzo who once again played a role in making an enemy out of people who were once friendly, even in the grave his actions were haunting. Jiraiya meanwhile was simply stewing in anger, he'd chimed in a few times when they spoke on his past with the Ame orphans but when the tale reached the betrayal and Danzo's part it was clear his grandfather wished the old war-hawk was still alive if only so that he could kill him again personally.

"Now you know my past. What is your answer?" questioned Nagato.

"As I said true peace is difficult and in all honesty I don't think it can last, human nature just won't allow it for too long." Said Naruto thoughtfully catching the attention of all three.

"You have the Sages eyes but it's clear you don't know our history otherwise you would never have done something as foolish as summon that statue, much less sealed the biju inside of it." Said Naruto.

"What does the statue have to do with anything?" questioned Konan with narrowed eyes.

"Everything, let me explain. There is not much time, so I'll skip the story and simply tell you. The nine biju were once part of the same entity known as the Jubi. It ravaged the world and is the first true demon, one day a pair of brothers emerged and after a long trying battle that lasted days defeated the beast. They were unable to kill it so they did the next best thing, it's spirit and chakra were split from its body and sealed into the elder brother.

The younger brother took off and sealed it's body elsewhere and with the rest of their clan guarded over its body of millennia. When the elder brother grew old and near death he grew fearful of what may happen and using a technique of his creation and the power of his eyes, he split it's spirit from its chakra and again split the chakra this time into nine pieces. Those piece would go on to become known as the biju and that man The Sage of Six Paths. The statue that you summoned that is the desiccated body of the Jubi, I realized that when I rescued Gaara and saw it." Said Naruto

"Impossible, we'd have heard of such a thing by now." Said Nagato.

"No, it's something that every jinchurriki knew about. The story is even passed down in every clan related to the brothers whether it be the Uzumaki, the Senju, the Uchiha, hell even the Hyuga had stories about it. But I'm not surprised you don't know as whoever was pulling your strings didn't want you to. Just like you haven't realized those aren't your eyes." Said Naruto surprising all three with his last statement.

"What!" exclaimed all three.

"Yeah. I figured that out just while I was sitting here listening to your story. Your chakra is low, so low in fact I can sense the difference between the chakra in your body and your eyes. That's why you've never been able to deactivate them because they are a transplant. One you didn't even know about. That leads me to the conclusion that someone has been manipulating your life, ever since you received those eyes. While I can't say who for sure I have a guess considering what it takes to manifest the Rinnegan and you Nagato simply don't meet the qualifications." Said Naruto lightly, not caring one bit that he just shattered the man's worldview.

"As for the rest of my answer to bring peace. Like I said permanent peace simply isn't possible, human nature just won't allow it. That said peace can last for a long time, centuries even, once earned and if everyone is onboard with it. The problem is the curse of hatred."

"And how would you break it?" questioned Nagato

"Don't know. I still haven't figured that part out. I know how to bring the people together, even make them put aside their differences. That part however has eluded me for some time." Said Naruto with a shrug.

"You don't know, what do you expect us all to sit around and wait for you to bring peace?" questioned Nagato frowning.

"Nagato, peace isn't such an easy thing. You can't force it, even if you have the power to do so people will rebel if only because it's forced." Said Jiraiya finally speaking up.

"It's like a woman. Sometimes no matter how much you want to force an issue you simply have to wait for her to come around." Said Jiraiya ignoring Konan's twitching eyebrow.

"Hatred is an emotional response. Logic no matter how concrete just can't penetrate hyper focused emotions sometimes. Even with that said I'll break the curse. If there is such a thing as peace, I'll find it." Said Naruto causing two pairs of eyes to widen

"And how are you sure you won't change in the process?" questioned Nagato.

"I'm not. That's what the people around you are for. If they love you and truly want to help you they'll keep you walking the path, that's why we call them support groups. It's what I expect from my grandparents and my parents friends and my friends, to keep me honest and sane. I suspect that's why Konan has stuck by you even after you lost your way." Said Naruto.

"Well spoken, Uzumaki Naruto. You didn't strike me as an overly emotional person but I see now, you simply hide it well. You speak in logic but deep down you live in emotion, how curious. You remind me of myself when I was younger before I stopped believing in Jiraiya-sensei and even myself. Perhaps you'll be the one to find the answer where I failed." Said the man

"Nagato?" questioned Konan worriedly.

"He's dying." Said Naruto stunning her and Jiraiya.

"How'd you know?" questioned Nagato.

"I've died before. Since I came back I've been able to sense these things. I could tell as soon as I picked up that receiver." Said Naruto

"It's the statue. It's been draining my lifeforce. I only realized it when it was too late." Said Nagato stunning Konan.

"I'm not surprised. The Jubi is the origin of all chakra. It's been leeching off of you from the beginning most likely." Said Naruto softly

"I was mistaken and I led Konan down the wrong path. I cannot make up for all of it but I'll do what I can." Said Nagato.

"Don't, you dare." Said Konan.

"It's ok. Like he said I'm already dying. Just do me a favor, don't go back to Ame. Go somewhere far away, get married, have kids and tell us all about it when we meet again." Said Nagato before he flipped through a quick chain of seals.

"Gedō: Rinne Tensei no Jutsu" said Nagato channeling the remainder of his chakra into the technique.

Outside of the tree the King of Hell emerged from the ground growing almost 100 feet before opening it's mouth allowing souls to go free. Before all of them could get out however it's mouth closed and it simply faded away. Inside of the tree Naruto, Jiraiya and Konan looked on at the lifeless body of Nagato.

"That was a nice thing you did." Said Naruto surprising Konan who followed his gaze only to see empty air.

"He can see and speak with the spirits of the recently dead." Whispered Jiraiya so only she could hear.

"No, I can't tell you what happens next, I never made it to the other side. I just hovered over my body for a few minutes until I was revived. I can send you on, you don't have to wait." Said Naruto softly.

"Actually, I'll be taking him from here." Came a new voice causing Naruto's head to snap towards the trees entrance.

"Dad, you…" started Naruto in shock stunning Jiraiya.

"I was here, just in case you needed me." Said Minato stunning Naruto.

"I'm so proud of the man you've become." Said Minato

"There's so much I want to ask." Said Naruto.

"And one day you'll get a chance. Today unfortunately isn't that day. Just know that I love you and your mother and I am very proud of you both." Said Minato placing his hands on Naruto's head and kissing his forehead.

"Let Jiraiya-sensei and Tsunade know that I'm fine and I know the truth. I don't blame either of them but I don't want to see either of them on this side for a while yet ok." Said Minato getting a nod from his son who had tears silently streaming from his eyes.

"Also Kimiko loves you, more than you think a sister should. Just remember she's not human or even half human like you, she doesn't have the same value system that you grew up with. Even if you don't or can't bring yourself to feel the same about her, she's still your sister." Said Minato giving him a watery smile before he moved over to Nagato.

"Come cousin, you have an appointment with Lord Enma." Said Minato.

"Cousin?" questioned Nagato.

"You're an Uzumaki, your parents just never got to tell you." Said Minato grabbing Nagato by the shoulder before they both simply vanished.

AN: That's it, chapter's done (que face plant into pillow). If you want to know about the fight scenes between Jiraiya and Pein and Kakashi and Pein go read the manga since I didn't change it. I did however want to make sure to give Tsunade some shine, and not make her look like a weak damsel in need of saving like the manga did. For the most part I didn't change much from the manga in regards to the action except moving Jiraiya's fight to Konoha instead of Ame. Anyway this was a long chapter and I'm tired so I'll sign off here. Thanks for reading and please leave a review. Until next time, LATER.