Welcome to another addition to the Demon Dragon Rider. I'm glad so many of you have enjoyed the previous chapter. And that so many are eager to see what I come out with next.
Quick little ad here. My friend bunji the wolf is searching for a beta for his fanfics. If you're a beta in search of work, or know a beta, please contact him quickly, as he's decided to stop writing fanfics until he gets a beta.
Also, for those of you who have been keeping track of the actual Naruto manga, we finally learned Tobi's true identity. I won't spoil who it is (in this fanfic at least), but I will say it's not Madara, as we were led to believe. It's someone else. But I'm going to keep referring to Tobi as Madara in this fanfic. I started with Madara, and I'll end with Madara.
Now, without further ado, onto the chapter!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or The Inheritance Cycle. They are the property of Masashi Kishimoto and Christopher Paolini
Storm in the West
Konoha, 2 days later
Word had spread through Konoha quickly about the former Hyuuga Heiress dating the famed Demon Dragon Rider. At least, that was what the gossip said. It didn't matter that they had only gone on one date. To the common citizens, it was a major event, worthy of gossip.
Naruto and Hinata didn't care though. They had a wonderful time, and had continued to enjoy each other's company, whether it was training, dating, or just simply hanging out with each other.
When they had returned from their date, they had met with the happy and knowing smiles on Azuren and Onyxia's faces. The two dragons had simply huffed in happiness before retiring for the evening, happy to see their Riders together.
The two of them were currently in the backyard, meditating, feeling the life force of everything around them. Though both were a little distracted by each other and how close they were to each other.
Inside, Kushina was muttering and plotting. Her schemes to get grandchildren had been foiled, and now she needed a new one.
"I'll get grandchildren yet, I swear," she muttered, feverishly drawing and writing on paper, before tossing the paper aside and starting to work on another one.
Sadly, her plans were soon interrupted by a knocking on the door. She quickly went to open the door.
Naruto blushed lightly as he eyed Hinata from the corner of his eye. When she meditated, she tended to wear very light clothing. In this case, she was wearing a tank top and shorts, as it was a hot day. The clothing did little to hide her very curvaceous and mature body, her pale skin glistening with a light sheen of sweat. It was very distracting to him.
Hinata was in the same boat. Naruto had gone with a slightly tight sleeveless shirt, revealing his muscular chest and arms. She licked her lips, eyeing them, before trying to meditate again.
Both of them were disturbed when Kushina arrived, looking very serious. "Naruto, Hinata, Tsunade-sama has called for us. She just received disturbing news from Iwa."
They both blinked, standing up. "Right. We'll get ready," Naruto said, as they went inside.
Twenty minutes, the three of them had arrived at the Hokage Tower, and were quickly escorted to the War room, where the Hokage and their war advisors met to discuss strategy.
Tsunade was there with Shikaku, Ibiki, and several other ANBU and jounin. She looked up as the three of them entered. "Good, you've arrived. I'm afraid this war has taken a turn for the worse," she said.
Naruto, under the guise of Oni, crossed his arms. "What's happened, Hokage-sama?"
Shikaku answered. "Yesterday, Kurotsuchi of Iwa, under a banner of truce, signaled our ninja at the front line. She begged them to deliver a message to us. It seems Madara and Sasuke Uchiha have made their move. They attacked Iwa…..with an army of one hundred thousand clones of the Kusa missing ninja, Zetsu."
The entire room was silent as they heard this. Finally, Naruto spoke up. "Are we certain about this?" He asked.
Tsunade sighed. "This could be a trick. But Kurotsuchi willfully gave herself into the custody of our forces, to hasten this message reaching us. We've also received reports that the entirety of Iwa's forces that were stationed in the field have converged into a single camp, not too far from where Kurotsuchi turned herself in. By doing this, they've left their flanks open to us encircling and destroying them."
"So what's the plan then?" Kushina asked.
Tsunade slowly sat down in her chair. "There's only one thing to do, though it is a dangerous course. We're sending messages to Suna, Kumo, Kiri, and the smaller shinobi villages. We're going to gather together all our forces, and launch an attack on Iwa as quickly as possible."
"Even then, the battle will be hard fought. At best, we can muster and effective fighting force of in between thirty to forty thousand shinobi, against an army of one hundred thousand, and whatever Iwa ninjas Madara converts to his side. If we're to win this battle, we'll need a major advantage to tip things in our favor," Shikaku said.
Naruto looked at him. "You're referring to me, aren't you? You want me and Hinata-san there."
Tsunade nodded. "Indeed. We would like the both of you on the frontline, to bolster the morale of our troops, and provide aerial support."
He nodded. "If this involves Akatsuki, then I have every intention of being there. When do we move out?"
Shikaku pulled out a report. "It will take us at least thirty six hours to establish a defense force for the village, and mobilize the shinobi here in Konoha who will be heading out. It will take at least another forty eights after that for all the other villages to do the same and meet us at the rendezvous point, which is where the Iwa forces in the field have camped out. We'll meet with Kurotsuchi there and get the full story."
Naruto looked to Hinata and Kushina. "And who will be in charge of the defense?"
Tsunade nodded to Kushina. "We were hoping you'd take the job. Other than myself and Kakashi, you are the most powerful ninja within Konoha's walls."
Kushina bit her lip, glancing at Naruto. He barely nodded, and she sighed. "Alright, I'll do it," she said.
Tsunade looked to them all. "Then let's start mobilizing our forces. We have to move quickly."
With a nod, they all dispersed.
The village of Iwa lay in partial ruin. The once mighty shinobi village was filled with partially destroyed buildings and the bodies of Iwa shinobi and civilians, as well as the white clone bodies of the Akatsuki tracker, Zetsu. Thousands of these clones now patrolled the streets, removing bodies for….. 'disposal', while others rooted out the last pockets of resistance.
In the Tsuchikage's office, Madara watched it all. The first part of his plan had been an almost complete success.
Madara's contingency plan was simple. Using the massive army of Zetsu clones he had been building ever since he had found the Kusa missing nin, he had snuck under Iwa, and had his army launch critical blows against the village at key points, before he and Sasuke had gone straight for the Tsuchikage. Oonoki had been a powerful opponent, but in the end, his power had proven useless against Madara's. The Sandaime Tsuchikage's body now lay in one of the piles of bodies belonging to Iwa citizens who hadn't survived the night. Those who did survive were currently corralled into detention areas, awaiting their fates.
The only hiccup in Madara's plan had been Kurotsuchi. She had escaped the attack on Iwa, and had rallied the Iwa shinobi in the field. Undoubtedly, she was rallying the other nations as well, to try and stop him. But in the end, it mattered little. All she was doing was accelerating his plan.
It had been inevitable that he would have to fight the other nations. That had been his goal. To draw out the few remaining jinchuuriki in battle and capture them, while killing the leaders and more powerful shinobi of each Hidden Village. While he had been hoping to pick them off one by one, he was confident that his army, soon to be bolstered by the Iwa shinobi he planned to brainwash into fighting for him, would be able to handle the combined might of the other Hidden Villages. Just as he was confident that he and Sasuke combined could handle Naruto, the infamous 'Demon Dragon Rider'.
He turned to Sasuke, who was standing nearby. "We have taken the first step, Sasuke. The first step in avenging our clan, and destroying the taint of Konoha and the other Shinobi Villages."
Sasuke just crossed his arms. "I don't care about the other villages, so long as Konoha falls," he said.
"Soon, my young apprentice. Soon. For now, let us begin the process of turning the Iwa shinobi to our side. It will help demoralize the Iwa shinobi we'll face, forcing them to fight their own comrades," he said, his Sharingan eye narrowing.
Sasuke just made a 'tch' sound as he exited the room, followed by Madara.
Alliance camp, 3 days later
In the entire history of the Elemental Nations, never before had a gathering like this been seen. Shinobi from all the shinobi villages, both large and small, had gathered together. Not to make war on each other, as they often had in the past. But to band together in a common cause, to fight an enemy they shared.
Naruto watched this from above, as he flew on Onyxia's back over the camp, with Hinata flying nearby on Azuren's back. From there, they could see the entire camp. Thousands of tents were set up, clumped around the banners that represented each village that had come. Konoha, Kumo, Kiri, Suna, and Iwa were the largest camp clusters, but shinobi from Taki, Hoshi, Kusa, and Shimo had also made their presence known.
Despite the camps being set up separate from each other, Naruto could see shinobi from different villages mingling, though some were doing it hesitantly. This was good, as it would foster unity, greatly increasing their effectiveness in the battle come.
In the center of the entire camp stood the command tent, where the kage and head shinobi from each village was meeting to discuss the battle plan. And it was near here that Naruto landed with Hinata not too far behind.
Both entered the tent, where all the leaders were gathered around a map of Iwa and the surrounding terrain. Besides Tsunade there were A the Yondaime Raikage, Mei the Godaime Mizukage, Gaara the Godaime Kazekage, and Kurotsuchi, representing the Iwa forces. Besides them were four other individuals, one of which Naruto recognized.
That person was a young man a few years older than Naruto, with long brown hair that partially covered his Taki headband. He was wearing a blue-green short sleeved shirt and grey pants. He had a pauldron on his left shoulder, and fingerless gloves over his hands. This was Shibuki, leader of Taki.
Naruto grinned to himself behind his helmet as he saw Shibuki. He had met him as a genin, when Team 7 had been charged with escorting him back to Taki. At the time, the young chuunin Taki shinobi had been a bit of a coward, afraid of trying to fill his late father's shoes as leader of the village. But when rogue Taki shinobi invaded, trying to steal the Hero's water, Shibuki had stepped up and aided Naruto in defeating the invaders.
Next to Shibuki stood a girl with mint green hair, orange eyes, and slightly orange tinted skin. She wore a short white sleeveless top that stopped a little below her breasts, with a midriff baring mesh shirt underneath that. She also had a white short white skirt that had slits on both sides, revealing her mesh shorts underneath. She also had white sleeves that went from mid bicep to her wrist, with her Taki headband around her right arm. Completing her outfit was a red scroll on her back, white zori on her feet, and an orange hairclip in her short hair.
Off to one side stood Yugito and Kirabi, who were talking quietly to each other. They both stopped though when they saw Naruto enter along with Hinata. Of course, they didn't know it was Naruto. They recognized him as Oni, the man who single handedly attacked Kumo and brought its defenses to its knees.
Naruto just nodded to them as he approached the table. Tsunade looked up as he joined them. "Oni, glad you could join us. You're already familiar with most of those here. May I introduce Shibuki of Taki, and Fu, the Nanabi jinchuuriki."
Naruto nodded to them both. "Shibuki-san, Fu-san," he said. They both bowed back.
"And this is Atarashi (Nova), of Hoshi," Tsuande said, introducing the next man. He was tall, standing at about six feet with dark red hair, and vivid blue eyes. He wore the standard dull purple flak vest of Hoshi shinobi over a long sleeved grey shirt, and black pants. His headband was tied around his forehead. He nodded to Naruto.
"Next is Tsuru (Vine), of Kusa." This time it was a woman with long dark green hair and brown eyes, with a Kusa headband around her neck. She was wearing a forest green long-sleeved shirt that bared her shoulders and midriff, with forest pattern camo pants and boots. At her side was a kusarigama, made from a strange green metal that seemed to fit her outfit. She gave a small grin at Naruto, bowing to him.
"It's an honor to finally meet you. You helped Kusa out quite a bit, before joining up with Konoha," she said. Naruto just nodded.
"It was my honor to help your people," he responded.
"And last but not least is Futan (bear), of Shimo." This man fit his name perfectly. He was massive in size, wearing a sleeveless gray white shirt and pants, with a cape made from a bear skin, with the head of the bear resting on his head like a helmet. His headband was tied around one massive bicep, while a kanabo club that was almost as big as Naruto rested at his side. Ice cold blue eyes scanned the armored figure, before he gave a curt nod.
Tsunade turned back to the map. "Now that our forces have all been gathered, we must prepare a strategy for the coming battle. Thanks to the intel provided by Kurotsuchi-san, we have a good idea of what we're up against, as well as a great deal of knowledge about the terrain."
Kurotsuchi indicated the map, which was of the village of Iwa, as well as the surrounding area. "Iwa was created in what was once a series of small canyons at the base of a mountain. The first shinobi to call it home carved the canyons into streets and buildings. The village gradually expanded outward from there. Outside the wall, the ground is rocky, with almost no plant life. This gives approaching enemies almost no cover what so ever, allowing the wall top sentries to spot approaching enemies miles away. There are secret tunnels into the city, but considering how Madara was able to attack us from within the city, it's safe to assume they are compromised. The only way to attack the village with the element of surprise would be to attack from the mountains to the north of the village. But it's impossible to move large groups of shinobi through those mountain paths."
Tsunade nodded. "Our best strategists from each village have looked over the map and the data. They all say the same thing. Our best course of action is a frontal attack. Draw Madara's armies into the open….and use our one major advantage." She looked to Naruto and Hinata as she spoke. "Your dragons can really change the tide of battle for us, striking the enemy from the air with their fire."
Naruto nodded. "What about Madara himself? I doubt many here can handle him in combat."
A smirked. "That is where we come in. If Madara makes an appearance, we the leaders of the villages will attack him. You just worry about thinning the ranks of those clones."
"And what about the population inside Iwa? Madara may try to use them as hostages against us," Hinata added.
Kurotsuchi stiffened at that, before looking down. "If…..if that happens…..we'll have to do what we must…..the threat Madara poses is too great. We must stop him….even if it means sacrificing my people."
Tsunade shook her head. "We will do all we can to stop that from happening. But it is something we may have to accept in the end."
Naruto clenched his fists. 'Not if I can help it,' he thought quietly.
Tsunade sighed. "Unless anyone else has anything to add, that's all. See to your troops, and prepare to move out tomorrow morning. We'll probably reach Iwa tomorrow evening, and attack the following day."
The commanders nodded and began to file out, one by one. Naruto turned and stiffly walked to Onyxia, Hinata right behind him. When they reached their dragons she stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "Naruto-kun, what's wrong?" She asked quietly.
Naruto turned to look at her. "I am not going to let innocent people die because one man is too cowardly to accept defeat. I won't allow it," he growled out.
Hinata gently took his armored hands, holding them. "I know you won't. We won't let it happen," she said.
Onyxia and Azuren both added their agreement, and Naruto slumped a bit, relieved. "Thank you," he told all three of them.
Hinata smiled. "C'mon. Let's get some food and rest. We've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow," she said.
Naruto just nodded quietly and followed her towards the Konoha section of the camp, with their dragons following behind.
That night, the warriors of the first ever Shinobi Alliance ate, drank, and prepared for the hardships and horrors that would soon be upon them.
The outskirts of Iwa, the next night
It was late in the afternoon, almost evening, as the Shinobi Alliance arrived on the outskirts of Iwa. In the distance they could see the wall of the city and some of the taller structures over it, framed against the mountains that backed it from the north.
They set up camp about twenty miles away, posting sentries and sensor ninjas to give warning of incoming ambush, while the other ninjas proceeded to set up camp.
In Iwa, Madara watched the camp being set up by his adversaries. He looked at Sasuke next to him. "I think we should be courteous enough to give them a chance to surrender. Before we show them the power of the Uchiha Clan. Don't you?"
Sasuke didn't answer, just staring out at the camp. Madara chuckled softly, as he signaled to a group of Zetsu clones.
In the Shinobi Alliance camp, or SA camp as some of the more military-minded called it, Tsunade was going over final preparations for the battle tomorrow with the other kages and head ninja, when a chuunin messenger came in. "Hokage-sama, the sentries have reported that a group of twenty individuals are approaching, bearing a white flag of truce!"
Tsunade looked towards Iwa through the open tent flap. "Madara wants to negotiate? Surprising," she said quietly, before looking towards the other leaders. "I'll go see what he wants. The rest of you should stay here. In case it's a trap. We don't want to lose all our leaders at once, do we?" She asked, as she headed out, taking a small force of ANBU with her.
Well outside the camp stood Madara with Sasuke and eighteen Zetsu clones. One of the clones was holding the white flag, as they watched Tsunade approach with ten of the most elite ANBU of Konoha.
When they were close enough, Tsunade stopped and crossed her arms. "What do you want, Madara?" She spat out.
Madara chuckled softly. "Temper, temper, Tsunade-san. This is a civilized negotiation, is it not?"
Tsundae just narrowed her eyes. "Speak your peace and be gone."
Madara eyed her. "I'm giving you this one chance Tsunade-san. Surrender the jinchuuriki to me now, as well as those responsible for the destruction of the Uchiha clan. If you do this, the rest of your forces will be spared. No one else needs to die."
Tsunade growled. "You really think any of us here are that stupid? If we hand over the jinchuuriki to you, you'll simply use them to complete your Moon eye plan, and we'll all be your slaves. Itachi told us your schemes."
Madara just looked at her. "Would that be so terrible? The world now is nothing but war and chaos. I will be creating a world where no one has to fear anymore. No more pain and bloodshed and hate. A perfect world."
"With you as the leader? It's only perfect in that deluded head of yours. People deserve to be free, to choose their own path. What you want is not a perfect world. It's slavery, with you the slave master. And I tell you this now. Not one of the shinobi behind me will surrender to you while they still draw breath."
Madara just glared with his one eye. "Then you condemn them all to death. I'll enjoy watching your forces die tomorrow," he spat out, as he turned to leave, before stopping. "And tell your Iwa shinobi that their comrades are looking forward to….'seeing' them again," he said, before leaving with his group.
Tsunade just clenched her fist before turning and returning to camp. As she did, she heard the rumble of thunder, as a storm approached, setting the tone of what was to follow.
And chapter. Yeah I know, it was really short and I bet you all really wanted some action. But I found that with what I have planned, it's better to end this chapter here. Rest assured, next chapter will be jammed pack full of action-y goodness, and the end of either the Shinobi Alliance, or the Akatsuki threat. One way or another.
As I said earlier, my friend bunji the wolf is in need of a beta, so please contact him if you're interested in betaing, or knows someone who would be interested in betaing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Japanese names for the villages, here's a translation for you.
There are several other shinobi villages that are active at the time, but these are the ones that I thought would actually give a damn about what is going on, because they are a major hidden shinobi village, or are near to/allied with a major shinobi village. Hence why they are the ones present.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter, and please review!