A Foxes Tale
AN: Hello all and welcome back. Firstly as always I want to thank everyone who reviewed the last chapter as well as those who have added the story to their alert and favorite stories lists. This chapter is actually a bit late but I've been on God of War time for a bit, I played the original trilogy again before Ragnarök dropped and then I played that. As we near the end of this story I've been debating on focusing solely on this story for the next month and change but haven't decided on that yet. As far as the sequel is concerned there will be no Boruto sequel but I still plan on doing the Bleach sequel. Anyway for those of you who haven't done so yet please check out my archive of stories on this site. My style has changed a bit over the years, especially the time I spent inactive but I'd still like your feedback. Anyway with that out of the way here is the new chapter.
War, a state of armed conflict between nations or groups. It was a simple statement, the idea of which as kids and academy students many had taken extremely lightly. Many had boasted about how cool it would have been to fight in a past war only to realize later they had been horribly naïve and misinformed. For the veterans of the Third Shinobi War the declaration of the Fourth had not been taken lightly, while many recognized war as an inevitability there was still the slim yet ever present hope they personally would miss it. For instance in Konoha there was no one who realized the gravity of the situation more than Hatake Kakashi, who as a boy had lost his father during the 2nd shinobi war and both of teammates during the 3rd. Since the death of his sensei after the 'Kyubi Attack' he'd led a pretty solitary existence, a consequence of joining the ANBU in the aftermath of the attack and had really only stepped out of his more solitary habits which he was assigned his genin team.
Kakashi however was just one of many who realized the gravity of the situation across the Five Nations. While it was true that heroes rose during war times what usually went unsaid is that many more died during the same period and those deaths have effects of their own. In Iwagakure for example an entire generation had grown up with horror stories and hatred for Namikaze Minato due to how he'd single handedly decimated 1,000 of their shinobi on his own in a single battle. Another example would be the Fourth Raikage who had fought during both the 2nd and 3rd shinobi wars, yet it had been the death of his father during the second that led him to placing movement restrictions on his brother in order to protect him. The second war also devastated many of the minor nations including Ame and as such planted the seeds that would grow to bring about the rise of Pein while it would be the 3rd war which would birth Pein.
The Fourth Shinobi War however would be unlike any that had come before it. Unlike the other wars this wasn't about borders or money or a missing Kage or anything that could usually be expected. This was instead about survival pure and simple. The Five Great nations were not fighting each other, instead they were allies against the criminal mercenary force known as Akatsuki who had captured 7 of the Tailed Beast, led by a man claiming to be Uchiha Madara. It was thoughts along this vein that ran through the mind of the Hachibi jinchurriki Killer B as he thought on the situation he was now in.
Currently he alongside the group of Konoha shinobi could be found on various parts of the moving island that was the back of the turtle giant Genbu. Of course his brother had told him about the purpose behind him coming to the island, but he'd under sold it not mentioning just how bad things actually were, that an actual war had been declared. It was Naruto however that had informed him of just how bad things were, information that had forced him to retreat so he could think. Honestly he didn't know what the hell A was thinking, he could have just told him what was going on, after all it's not like he'd have rushed directly onto the frontlines!
"That's exactly where you would have gone." Came the voice of the Hachibi causing his frown to deepen.
'That's cause that idiot would have never called us out! We're lucky the Hokage is in charge and not him. Besides Mr. Nine had the right idea too, we don't need to be there from the very beginning. It's better to be fresh when the real action starts." Retorted B
While B was having this conversation Naruto was seated in front of a waterfall known as the Falls of Truth. Killer B had brought him here and explained that getting through the trial the Falls imposed had been his first step to mastering his Tailed Beast Power. While Naruto himself had full access to the power B had stated getting through this might help him overcome whatever was blocking him from holding it for long.
However while he was sitting in front of the falls his mind had been drawn inward though the scene depicted matched what was on the outside world he'd long grown used to the feeling of being in his inner world. Instead of sitting however he was standing staring at a dark silhouette that could be seen behind the waterfall.
"It's pathetic isn't it, how quickly those fools went from hatred to praise." Came a voice exactly like his own from behind the waterfall.
The waterfall soon parted as another version of himself stepped from behind it, only this version had long red hair and solid gold eyes while the sclera was pitch black. Atop his head were a pair of fox ears the same red as his hair while a solitary tail could be seen behind him. He stood calmly hands in his pockets, yet Naruto knew he was clearly ready for a fight.
"Hello Kurama." Said Naruto calmly.
"Naruto, so glad to finally meet you. Especially as you've been trying to steal what's mine." Said Kurama getting Naruto to raise an eyebrow.
"Surely you didn't think I'd allow you to have the Biju power did you?" questioned Kurama causing Naruto's eyes to narrow and causing Kurama to chuckle and shake his head.
"You really are stupid, and here I was thinking you'd gotten smarter over the years." Said the demonic version.
"Obviously I missed something, explain it for me please." Said Naruto.
"It's simple really, Uzumaki Naruto is human remember, Namikaze Kurama is a demon. I'm the smart one, the calm one, the more violent one remember. I'm the one that holds the rage and hatred from our youth! Everything you were afraid of, everything you couldn't allow yourself to show and embrace, that's ME!"
Naruto said nothing for a long moment before sighing and snapping his fingers causing a pair of chairs to appear on the water as if it was a solid surface. The chairs themselves were identical wooden thrones marked with the Uzumaki and Senju clan crests. Moving over Naruto took a seat and was not surprised when Kurama did likewise though his eyes were narrow and as he sat and placed his arms on the armrest Naruto saw that his opposites hands were clawed.
"You are correct, you are everything I was afraid of or could not show. Because of that, because of you I was able to survive our childhood despite the absolute hell we went through. We tricked them into thinking I was completely broken, when in truth everything I saw or heard you learned." Said Naruto.
"And have I not reciprocated? You're far smarter than you were, nor are you as hyperactive." Said Kurama.
"True but it seems you've spent too long in the dark."
"There's no reason to hide anymore. Konoha is secure so it is finally safe to rest there." Said Naruto
"Your naivety is astounding. They made a sport of torturing us to the point we tried killing ourselves multiple times. You think just because you saved their asses a couple of times that makes the place safe, or them hate you less?" questioned Kurama.
"No, but that's why we had Danzo killed remember. He was the one behind everything we went through without him and that stolen Sharingan of his, the place is a lot more manageable." Said Naruto.
"True, we didn't even have to do anything to get rid of Koharu and Homura either." Said Kurama thoughtfully.
"Exactly. Aside from outside threats what is there to worry about?" questioned Naruto.
"Complacency. It's a shinobi village, they could be trying to sucker you into a false sense of security."
"Won't work, I can sense negative emotions?"
"Can you, then why is Kisame still hanging around?" questioned Kurama.
"Honestly I thought B would notice by now." Said Naruto.
"The man's an idiot, strong but still an idiot." Said Kurama scoffing.
"People thought the same thing about me once."
"It was true then too." Said Kurama before sighing.
"As fun as this has been what is it you want?" questioned Kurama.
"Like I said you've been in the dark too long." Said Naruto before extending his arm out fist forward and turned down.
"You can't be serious." Said Kurama eyes narrowed.
The symbolism of the gesture was not lost on him. He knew everything his counterpart did, experienced everything he did and also retained knowledge that Naruto did not. The gesture was one from simpler, though harder times and one they had used before they'd split. Looking into his eyes he found only acceptance and even understanding and chuckled as he realized that this time he was the one who was mistaken. Extending his own arm their fists met and for a moment everything was still before Kurama was engulfed in dark orange chakra for several long seconds before there was a blinding flash of light. When the light cleared only Naruto could be seen, eyes closed with what looked to be steam rising from his body for several seconds before his eyes opened still blue though with slit pupils before they rounded out once more.
The news that Uchiha Sasuke had been acting as a spy in Oto had rocked the village. The identities of spies were usually never revealed even after the missions completion however Sasuke was different due to the fact that he was an Uchiha heir and word of his defection had been allowed to spread. It helped that he had never raised a hand against Konoha shinobi even when he initially left the village he'd run from the team sent to retrieve him rather than fight any of them. Granted they'd all seen their fair share of combat Neji, Kiba and Choji had also been heavily injured as well. It was only thanks to the fact that Tsunade had only found out the truth about Sasuke when the rest of the council had, years after the ill-fated mission that no one had looked to blame her for that mess.
For Yamanaka Inoichi none of that mattered, as head of the Intelligence Department everything concerning the Uchiha fell under his prevue and considering the beginning of a war had been announced he hadn't had much time to work with. As things stood they were lucky Naruto had sent them a note when he'd sent Sasuke and his team from the land of Iron. As such the first thing they'd done was ensure that the genjutsu he was under was broken, then they'd removed the cursed seal while he was still out. The debrief had taken the most time before he was released into the care of the medics.
Even with him moving the boy from ANBU holding and into the regular hospital that didn't mean he was free and clear. Deep cover ops had mandatory counselling as part of the post op checklist before any return to active duty could be approved. Unfortunately with the war set to kick off and with his own duties for that it meant that had needed to be rushed into ahead of schedule. Normally those were simply discussions, however because of the situation he'd had to mind delve the boy and in truth he didn't like what he saw.
"That bad?" questioned Mikoto who stood not far from them while Sasuke himself was lying in his hospital bed with his eyes covered from his recent surgery.
"Nearly. I'll be honest with you Sasuke, your lucky. What you've gone through over the last few years compounded with the trauma of the Massacre doesn't paint a good picture. Thankfully you're not the worst case I've seen, and it looks like Itachi did his best to do damage control the night of the massacre itself." Said Inoichi.
"What do you mean?" questioned Sasuke.
"To be frank, your experience that night was far worse than you remember. Itachi basically blocked those memories and overwrote them with that genjutsu of his. However it was never meant to last so now they've been repressed for years. We don't have time now, but after we get through this war I'm going to mandate that you get some serious therapy."
Shaking those thoughts from his head Inoichi internally scolded himself for allowing that distraction. As messed up as the Uchiha brat's head was he wasn't important at the moment and as such the man forced himself to concentrate on his work even if it was mind-numbingly boring it was important as they would soon be out on the front lines.
Elsewhere in a hidden location in Hi no Kuni, Shizune the first apprentice to the Slug Sannin sighed as she ceased the flow of her chakra and allowed herself to slump. Chakra surgery was a bitch as could be seen by the team of medics that had been providing her with chakra all of whom were currently slumped over. Her patient was none other than Uchiha Itachi, who after his battle with Sasuke had been stored in a scroll by Kakashi and then hidden elsewhere by Asuma. The procedure had taken nearly four hours and was the longest procedure she'd done to date using chakra, she'd been in longer surgeries but those were the rare non-chakra ones she did as a regular doctor.
Chakra surgeries were on a completely different level than the other ones however with greater effectiveness, shorter operation times and shorter recovery times. While she was initially not supposed to be the lead in this case the attack on the village, Kage Summit and then declaration of war meant that Tsunade had not been able to take the lead like she was supposed to. That meant she had taken over and she'd brought in Sakura to help with the surgery, and she'd definitely been needed. Not only had they had to deal with the primary problem, which was his heart, but his lungs had also been damaged. Thankfully his blood toxicity had already been seen too in the time since he'd been first brought to their location after his fight with Sasuke.
Looking over to her junior she could see the pinkette was clearly exhausted but was holding herself up well. She had really grown over the last few years; it seemed just like her teammates once she was motivated her growth had skyrocketed. This was proven as she'd become a certified doctor and medic-nin in just three years, something that was quite frankly unheard of. The girls memory was scary and combined with her superior chakra control had led her to the point where she was now despite the odds against such things. Even most medic-nin where not actual doctors and vice-versa at least before Tsunade had introduced her training program yet even still Sakura had surpassed those who were in the program rather quickly.
Her biggest flaw had been her physicality yet between Tsunade and Uchiha Mikoto that had been rather easily fixed. In fact Mikoto had done so much for the girl that it was rumored she'd been trying to recruit her into the Uchiha clan. With Sasuke back as part of the village Shizune would bet it wouldn't be too long before that actually happened as despite everything the girl had never given up on him unlike everyone else after he left the village. Shaking those thoughts away she gave a few orders and Itachi was soon being wheeled away to his recovery room while she led Sakura to the one they'd been given for their own recoveries. They would definitely need the rest since as soon as they were up they would be needing to leave as they needed to head to the war front soon.
Within the lands of Kaze no Kuni in the village of Suna the Godaime Kazekage could be seen in meditation. With the announcement of the Fourth Shinobi War the village had moved to a war footing and while they were nearing the time to leave Gaara was taking the time to get in a bit more training. While to most he appeared to simply be meditating he was doing anything but, instead he was cultivating his secret weapon having inherited the Magnet Release that both his father and the Sandaime Kazekage had utilized the new Ichibi had been working with the ability even before he'd been attacked by the Akatsuki. The extraction of Shukaku and his own revival as the Ichibi had given him a huge boost in power along with a few unique abilities.
His focus at the moment was Magnet Release, however unlike either of his predecessors he would not focus on either iron or gold as his medium. While both the Iron Sand and Gold Dust techniques found their roots in Shukaku's sand manipulation, the two Kage's had been a bit more creative especially the Third Kazekage. Iron for instance was twice as dense as silica, the main component of sand. Gold however was 3.7 times denser than magnetite which was the main component of iron.
During his training he had decided to take things even further and incorporate an even denser metal for his usage, something that was proving to be much easier now than it had been before. Even with that he would not be abandoning his regular sand to focus purely on the new stuff, instead the new element would be his trump card what he would draw on should he be pushed further than his regular attacks could take him.
Jiraiya had returned to Mt. Myoboku, this however had not been a voluntary trip, instead after his last fight the Toad Elders had demanded he come and complete his Sage training. After seeing what Naruto had been capable of with a completed version of Sage Mode, the elders had felt there was no choice but for Jiraiya to finally commit. Though a war was set to commence soon Jiraiya had done as they bid, informing leaving behind a summoning scroll for Tsunade to summon him after she left the village. Jiraiya knew that he would be one of the commanders of the combined shinobi forces which considering who he was and his stature in the shinobi world it was a foregone conclusion.
Thankfully for Jiraiya he had already done most of the training, however he had always had trouble with blending his own chakra with Natural chakra. With this in mind they had adopted Naruto's Shadow Clone training method to work for Jiraiya's training which to this point had been paying off tremendously. While still not fully mastered the Sage was doing better than he'd ever done before and currently several of the toad-like features he usually sported as a consequence to using the skill incorrectly had not come through, while a few others had.
For many of the residents of the mountain it was the first time they'd ever seen Jiraiya so serious, several of the older toads had seen him as a youth and even then he'd done plenty of goofing around. Others however had seen him this seriously plenty of times at which points the qualities that had made him a candidate for the Hokage position shone through, qualities that both Minato and Naruto had clearly inherited.
What most however couldn't know is that for the first time in decades Jiraiya was motivated. Like his grandson Jiraiya lacked the genius attributes of the Senju that Minato had inherited and cultivated, instead he was stubborn and had a level of determination that only an Uzumaki could surpass. A focused Jiraiya was scary in that whatever caused that focus would get 100% of his attention, it was a single-mindedness that only Naruto, Gai and Lee could properly understand in the whole of the Hidden Leaf Village.
Unlike his grandson however Jiraiya couldn't summon an army of clones, however because he was only using them for this purpose he'd easily created twenty speeding up his training and still having enough chakra left over to operate himself. While Jiraiya was training however Fukasaku was going over a scroll, one that Tsunade had given to Jiraiya before his arrival. What the scroll contained had been incredibly surprising as it was a scroll written by the Shodai Hokage himself, Senju Hashirama concerning Senjutsu and how he'd used natural energy and not just in battle.
The things written within revealed much about the legendary shinobi and how he'd attained many of his feats. In fact he had already implicated several things from the scroll into Jiraiya's training, though the man himself didn't know that. Tsunade had smartly addressed the scroll to him and not Jiraiya, but it was obvious on why and he'd gone even further and had Shima deliver a copy of the scroll to Naruto, the boy would obviously be able to utilize even more of it than Jiraiya could. There was one technique within the scroll however which was his focus, as he'd soon be performing the technique, or rather teaching it to Jiraiya and as such he wanted to be sure he had understood everything before he went through that step.
The thing about time was that it was neutral, if one party has time to prepare for things so does another. For the masked figure formally known as Tobi he'd spent his time well. The surgery had been completed and as such he'd had one of the Rinnegan eyes implanted into himself. That however had only been the beginning, this plan of his had been in the works for decades and just because some things had not worked out as he'd hoped didn't mean he was unprepared for such things. There was also the fact that one of Orochimaru's minions had come to him with knowledge of the Edo Tensei, he'd been arrogant in his demands and rewriting his mind by way of the Sharingan had been absurdly easy.
While dealing with him however he did come across some rather useful information. Orochimaru had apparently only had a rather limited use for the teen one of which had been quite peculiar. Utilizing this had gifted him a good deal of information much of which had involved what Orochimaru had been up to in his final days. Because of this he had to go and procure what Orochimaru had hidden away, truthfully if the Snake Sannin hadn't gotten himself killed he may have raised his opinion on the man but there was no need to do that for the dead. Even with that he had no trouble with taking those now abandoned tools and applying them for his own usage.
Even with all that he'd prepared he was still not ready to make any moves as of yet. He was loathed to move without the locations of the last two biju being known to him and as such he was forced to wait until he received word from Kisame. He had backup plans in place in case something happened to Kisame as he'd learned never to rely on just one thing, but he would admit if only to himself those backups would not as well placed as Kisame was currently. Most wouldn't even consider it based on his appearance and personality, but the shark-man could be a capable stealth operative under the proper conditions considering his infiltration technique. The man was in truth of brute but if there was anyone capable of utilizing the man and his rather peculiar ability correctly than it was him.
Then there was Zetsu he'd sent him off on his own mission, mostly to keep him occupied and out of his way. That wasn't to say that the plant-man wasn't useful as that was far from the truth but there were some things that he didn't want anyone else to know. With Zetsu out of the way it allowed him to do some other things that would have been otherwise impossible to achieve unnoticed. That led him to now where he stood in another of his hidden bases, one that he had cultivated years ago that he'd ensured that no one else including Zetsu knew about.
"Is it that time already?" questioned a rather familiar voice which was no surprise as the speaker was a clone of himself.
"Are things prepared?" questioned Tobi ignoring the question.
"Of course, everything has gone as planned."
"And The Doctor?" questioned Tobi.
"He's been content as we provided everything he could ask for." Said the clone.
"Well let's get started, it's time to see his results."
With that the two of them walked into the darkened corridors of the base.
AN: That's it the chapter is done. While it's shorter than I initially intended and another filler chapter all things concerned I felt like it was needed as I felt that more of the preparation needed to be shown before the battles begin. TBH I'm nervous about the fighting as I haven't done a lot of action scenes in a really long time so I'm really hoping that part doesn't cause me another block. Anyway thanks for reading and please review. Till next time, LATER.