Hours after the first battle on the coasts of the Land of Fire, Sakura and many other medical ninja were still tending to the wounded shinobi that took part in the battle. She wondered in the back of her mind how many shinobi she had healed in the past hour, let alone the second half of the day.
'I never imagined…so many people could be injured in a single day…' Sakura finished healing the wounds of a fellow kunoichi, who thanked her and limped away to continue her duties. Sakura looked over across the clearing and saw countless bodies being lined up, both from the enemy side and the Alliance's side.
"Curious as to what they're doing," a voice asked. Sakura gasped softly and whipped her head around quickly to see Choza Akimichi standing over her. The large man sat down next to Sakura and held out his arm, showing a serious wound he received to the shoulder. Sakura wasted no time and began using her medical ninjutsu to heal the wound and check to make sure he wasn't poisoned. "They're seeing which shinobi are worthy of being reincarnated with the Edo Tensei." Sakura gasped softly and looked at the head of the Akimichi Clan.
"But…they've already died in combat. They should be laid to rest right?"
"In the village meeting between the Konoha Council and the heads of all the Clans, Danzo claimed this would be the war to end all wars. He would spare no expense to ensure that the Alliance would come out victorious in this war." Choza sighed, ignoring the slight stinging sensation in his arm as it was being healed. "I was against the Edo Tensei's usage. I've fought alongside many friends and allies that should just as soon be left dead rather than be brought back to fight another war. And if we use enemy forces for our Edo Tensei…all I can imagine is how hard it would be for them to fight their former comrades, or children."
Sakura's eyes softened as she tried to fathom such a thought. She shook her head before giving Choza a wary look, "I can't even imagine how painful that would be…"
"A jutsu like this, no matter how valuable or how many lives it would save, shouldn't be used. There's no point in saving lives if we're just going to reuse them…" Choza rolled his shoulder as soon as Sakura finished healing it. He smiled with satisfaction before nodding his head to Sakura. "Thank you child. You did a fine job today."
"I don't feel like I did much honestly…"
"Don't sell yourself short. Each shinobi you keep alive today, is one fewer shinobi that'll have to be used in the Edo Tensei. If nothing else, you're something of a savior Miss Haruno." Sakura blushed a little at the comment and offered a nervous laugh.
"Thank you Choza-sama." The hefty man nodded with a kind smile on his face before rising up to his feet and walking towards the command center's tent.
Hanzo and Higure, as well as a few other high ranking shinobi stood around a central table in the main command tent, circled around a map of the shoreline they were on. "Crafty devils," Hanzo murmured. "The Union knew we'd be coming here, and they were waiting in advance to sneak attack us."
"It's nothing we couldn't handle, but Hiruko's Division took a lot of casualties…"
"And that stubborn fool in typical Suna fashion insists on getting the job done first at the risk of his own men," Hanzo replied, glancing over at his fellow commander. "You couldn't get him away from the shoreline?"
"I tried my best," Higure answered with a shrug. "He said finishing the preparations on the shoreline will help slow enemy advancements, and make sure we all sleep better at night." The commander shrugged again, "I dunno. Have you tried talking sense into a mule?" Hanzo rolled his eyes before looking back down at the map. Higure crossed his arms and took a step closer to Hanzo. "So…is it true that part of your Division is split up?"
"Where ever did you hear a rumor like that," Hanzo asked, his eyes not moving away from the map.
"I have my ways. Why are we warring with Kusa and Takigakure too?"
"We're doing what," one Jonin snapped.
"We're fighting another war," Hiashi questioned. Hanzo straightened his back and lifted a hand to calm the high ranking shinobi.
"Now, now, everyone calm down. Calling it a 'war' is a generous term. Think of it more as clean-up. Kusa and Taki, while weak and pitiful on their own, could provide dangerous and harmful intel to our enemies from behind our own lines. We decided that it was better to take care of this problem before it got out of hand."
"What proof did you have that Kusa and Taki were planning to ally with the Union," Higure questioned.
"Alliance intel has numerous spies and agents all around the world. Our decisions based on such information are not to be questioned." Higure lowered his head lightly and nodded. Despite holding the same rank as Hanzo, the Salamander's overall power both as a ninja and a leader far surpassed his. "Now, I'll come up with a proper plan of attack once Hiruko is done with his duties on the shoreline. Until then, the rest of you tend to your people. Dismissed."
The high ranking shinobi left the tent, but another ninja from Suna entered the tent, winded and panting lightly. "C-commanders Higure and Hanzo, w-we're receiving a message from command."
"Very well," Hanzo replied. Higure turned around as the lower ranking shinobi bowed his head and left. "I wonder what this is about…"
Hanzo placed his hand on a pedestal next to him and poured a little bit of chakra into it. A hologram of Danzo sat on the other side of the table with his arm placed on the arm of his chair.
"There's not much to report to be truthful Danzo-san," Hanzo replied. "We had a brief engagement with the enemy on the shoreline. All we can confirm is that the Land of Sky is active, and they've joined the Union. They also use advanced technology, much like the Land of Snow uses."
"If I could interject, the reports showed that the Land of Snow had nothing like this," Higure replied. "Plus the current Daimyo of that land isn't producing any weapons. If the Land of Sky got their technology from the Land of Snow, it would have been during Doto's reign."
"Calm down Commander Haruno. Even if the Land of Snow was supplying our enemies with weapons, we can't afford to divide our attention anymore than it already is."
"Then why are you bothering to call us," Higure questioned.
"To get a casualty report. I want to size up our enemy's strength."
"Our casualties are…minimal, considering the surprise attack," Hanzo answered. "And our enemy's bodies are higher in number than our ally's bodies."
"I want any important or powerful shinobi who have died identified and sent to Orochimaru's base immediately."
"I doubt that our enemy would sent anything more than simple grunts to send us a message, but we will check regardless Danzo," the poison Salamander replied.
"Good. I may also have each regiment send a group of shinobi to reinforce our efforts against Taki and Kusa."
"Is it getting that bad," Hanzo questioned. "I left Kandachi in charge…I surely thought he'd be able to handle those worthless shinobi."
"They've all resigned themselves to death it seems. Shinobi from Taki and Kusa are sacrificing their lives before a battle can even begin. The casualty numbers have turned around, before one of ours could take out four or five of their enemies, and now one suicide shinobi from Taki can take out five or six of ours. Kandachi doesn't know exactly how to handle this, nor can he adapt evidently. He's still focused on taking out the encampments instead of the village, or thinking of new ways to counter the suicide shinobi."
"Kandachi has always been one to get things done quickly rather than efficiently…I'll try to put together a squad to help out Kandachi. We'll eliminate Kusa and Taki both quickly Danzo."
"That's what I like to hear Hanzo. Get results done. Finish up on the shoreline and contact me when you send out the squad back inland."
Danzo's hologram vanished. Hanzo turned to Higure and pointed at him, "Create a team to assist Kandachi, and I'll worry about the dead."
Higure tilted his head to the side, curious about Hanzo's words. "What do you mean...?"
"These shinobi need to be laid to rest, not reused to fight their comrades."
"You oppose the usage of the Edo Tensei too," Higure asked with a shocked tone.
"For terms of battle, no. It's possibly one of the most useful weapons in creation. Bodies that never grow old, never tire, and have limitless amounts of chakra, truly it's a powerful force to be reckoned with. For ethical purposes, I see the Edo Tensei as an abomination." Hanzo turned his head towards Higure and gave a slight shrug. "But in this war, I'm a commander first, and a politician second. I go with what Danzo says for now, but if I have control over who does or doesn't get used in the Edo Tensei, I'd just a soon bury the dead."
Higure and Hanzo remained silent for a few long seconds. The younger of the two stared at Hanzo in a new-found respect. Higure always believed that Hanzo of all people would side with Danzo, no matter the situation. Higure was glad to see that Hanzo still had some honor hiding somewhere.
"I'll go and start building a team to reinforce Kandachi." Higure bowed his head to the Regimental Commander before leaving the tent.
The sun was rising over the Land of Grass, where a squad of seven Akatsuki members traveled, heading into the Land of Waterfalls. The team had little success in finding any shinobi from Kusagakure or Takigakure to offer their aid in moving their civilians, despite Nagato's sensory abilities. The seven shinobi stood in a grassy, open field for awhile before Nagato turned to them.
"We're taking a little break for now, so rest up."
"What," Naruto exclaimed in outrage, "But we haven't even caught a trace of...well, anyone!"
"And if we encounter Alliance resistance first, we need to be at full strength. If Kusa or Taki decide that they don't want our help, we need to be ready to defend ourselves." Naruto huffed with annoyance at Nagato's logic. The others didn't seem to have a problem with the break however, as they all quickly sat on the ground, covered by the tall grass. Hidan, in usual fashion, started some ritual chant to his lord, Jashin.
Nagato also sat with his squad, feeling uneasy. He found it odd that he hadn't felt any chakra signatures nearby in the several miles they had covered. It was almost as if the country was completely dead and devoid of life. Also, something about the valley they were in didn't make Nagato any less tense. They were out in the open, despite being hidden in the grass.
'I don't like this...not one bit...'
The wind changed direction constantly, blowing one way before changing and blowing the opposite way. Nagato examined his surroundings carefully, watching and waiting for something amiss. He looked over to Izumi, who was talking with the boys, and encouraging Naruto to rest. Hidan was lost in prayer, leaving Nagato to be the only one waiting for a trap.
'Maybe I've been hanging around Yahiko too long? I seem to just be hoping for a trap of some sort...' The wind changed directions again, this time to the south. Nagato watched the grass, his eyes widening a little bit in shock. 'The wind changes direction...but the grass...doesn't...?'
Nagato suddenly felt a surge of chakra all around them, strong enough to where a novice could sense it too. The rest of the squad all turned their heads in all directions, unsure from where the charka was coming from. Hidan's eyes shot open as he stood up and swung his scythe at the grass that had suddenly shot towards the group. The priest sliced through all of the nearby grass, that had sharpened like razor blades moments before Hidan cut them down.
"It's a trap," Neji shouted as he activated his Byakugan.
"Great observation," Kiba snarled, going into his feral mode.
Nagato used his Rinnegan to scan the area, seeing several bodies of charka scattered throughout the valley. 'When the hell did they get here?!'
"They're shinobi of Kusa," Izumi stated as she readied a kunai next to Haku.
"Nobody attack," Nagato ordered to his troops. "We're here to help! Please listen to us!" Nothing but the wind blowing through the air was heard. The squad grew a bit nervous, anxiety built up.
"We know you're hiding here," Neji shouted, holding his Gentle Fist stance. "We're here to help you. We're enemies of the Alliance as well."
"Hold," a voice called. The Akatsuki squad turned to look off to the right where a young woman with long black hair stood up. The rest of the Kusa shinobi stood up as well, revealing that they greatly outnumbered the seven Akatsuki rogues. "Who are you all," the young woman asked. "I've never seen you before...and I heard of no reinforcements."
"We're shinobi from Akatsuki," Nagato stated. "We found a young boy from Taki, who was hurt in an Alliance ambush. He requested us to help evacuate your people, and to give Lord Shibuki a message."
"And what is this message," the young woman asked.
"A man named Suien has sided with the Alliance. The boy we found believes that Suien knows the location of Takigakure." The young Kusa woman huffed and placed her hand over her face with disbelief.
"So...it's as Shibuki feared then..." The young woman motioned to the rest of her squad to gather before she approached Nagato. "I'm Shiore. I'm one of Kusagakure's platoon leaders."
"You," Izumi whispered to herself, "But...you're so young..."
"Well, in times where most of our veteran shinobi are dead, our remaining leaders became a little more than desperate," the young woman said. Her voice was light, and raspy. Very eerie to the Akatsuki shinobi. "So, you want to help with the evacuation?"
"We don't have the numbers right now to help in any other way, but we'll help however we can."
"Good," Shiore snapped. "We're the ones who'll deal with the Alliance in our lands, not you rogues. We'll escort you to Takigakure to speak with Shibuki. Whether or not he agrees to accept your help remains to be seen."
"That seems fair," Nagato replied. "Lead the way."
Shiore nodded and then turned to a fellow Kusa kunoichi, "Karin, shield our chakra signatures while we move."
"Understood," the young girl with glasses replied before making a single hand sign. Nagato and Neji looked around, noting a light barrier of chakra surrounding them. Nagato took a moment before looking at Shiore as she began to walk.
"Will this really hide our chakra signatures?"
"As long as nobody uses any type of jutsu, yes. Karin is a very special individual amongst our people."
The blonde Jinchuriki amongst the party approached Karin and smiled, "Hiya, I'm Naruto Uzumaki!"
Karin gave a strange look towards the boy, "Um...h-hi." Karin was hesitant of the boy, one for being apart of Akatsuki, and two for being bold enough to approach her.
"How old are you Karin?"
"So am I! So are you a sensory type of shinobi then?" Karin looked increasingly nervous as the boy talked with her. Naruto noted the scared look on her face and smiled, a little embarrassed, "Sorry, it's just I'm guessing if you know how to hide chakra signatures, you know how to sense them to. Right?"
"Y-yeah, your right."
"Karin, focus," Shiore snapped. The redhead nodded and focused harder, hoping to block out the talkative boy.
"Naruto, don't bother Karin-san," Nagato ordered. The Jinchuriki chuckled nervously and put his hands behind his head.
"Sorry Nagato." Naruto walked slower so that Karin could get a few paces ahead of him. The blonde then stared up at the sky casually before he heard snickering behind him. Naruto turned his head and saw Kiba as the source of the snickering, while Neji had his eyes closed with a smirk on his face. "What're you laughin at puppy dog?"
"One woman isn't enough for ya, huh," Kiba teased, pointing at Karin. "You gotta hit on any girl you come across?"
Naruto's face became flushed before he glared daggers at Kiba, "I'M JUST BEING FRIENDLY!"
"WILL YOU ALL SHUT UP?!" The three boys, as well as a few of the adults all turned in shock at Karin. "I CAN ONLY SHIELD CHAKRA SIGNATURES, NOT SOUND!"
Silence fell over the grasslands as Karin's voice echoed off of the treeline, and birds flew off into the sky. Karin fumed, her face as red as her hair from embarrassment at her outburst before she went back to focusing on her shielding technique. The rest of the Kusa and Akatsuki shinobi continued onward, nobody daring to make a sound.
On the other side of the valley, four figures all sat in the trees and watched the small band of shinobi walk on. "Well, well, looks like we found some of our worms cowering in the dirt," a female voice spoke.
"You three shall follow them, I'll report back to command..."
"What right do you have to order us around," another man with a gruff voice snapped.
"Would you like to leave it to a test of skill," the man with a smooth, calm voice questioned. The gruff sounding man fell silent. "Good...wouldn't want to upset the order of things now would we?" The man stood up and vanished, leaving three other shinobi on their own.
"That greedy little...who does Aoi think he is," a masked man questioned.
"He's ambitious, there's no doubt of that," the woman replied. "He wants to be Hanzo-sama's right hand, not Kandachi, or Fu. I wouldn't be surprised if we were simply targets for him to distract the enemy..."
"Well, we'll show him when we wipe out that whole group at once," the gruff man murmured.
"We wait for the opportune moment Murasame," the woman replied. "We can't be too hasty now can we?" The three shinobi all then disappeared in a blur to pursue their enemy.
On a small island, miles away from the shores of the Land of Fire, Union soldiers were busy in the night setting up traps, building trenches, and setting up encampments along several smaller islands around the immediate area. Standing atop a hill, overlooking the busy working shinobi was Kisame Hoshigaki with the leader of the Land of Sky, Shinno.
"I must admit, your people work very efficiently," Kisame said to the country leader.
"And your people are very skilled at killing people. I'm a little disheartened that our tactic didn't work too well."
"It's only the first day of war, Shinno-sama," Kisame stated with a toothy, devilish grin on his face. "We'll have plenty of time to worry about the enemy. Besides, we've confirmed one thing at least..." Shinno grinned and nodded before chuckling darkly.
"With three of the Alliance's regiments here, only two are left to fight the front for the Land of Lightning..."
"Just as Lord Yagura predicted...you've sent the reinforcements to aid our other regiments?"
"Of course. The two Alliance regiments won't know what hit them..."
"I'll report to the Mizukage then." Kisame bowed his head slightly to Shinno, then walked towards his personal tent. Inside, Kisame faced a masked, cloaked man. "Well, it's just as you thought...three to defend the sea, two to invade on land."
"Danzo is overconfident in his own people. He doesn't realize the true power of the Land of Lightning. On the other hand, he's smart to hold the Land of Water here. If he can prevent our troops from getting to the mainland, then he can eventually overpower the Land of Lightning. I don't believe he expected the air superiority of the Land of Sky though."
"It's almost like you can predict what the Alliance is planning Mizukage." Kisame chuckled and crossed his arms. "It's almost as if you're inside Danzo's head."
"Nothing of the sort," Tobi replied as he sat up off of the table he was leaning against. "Continue on as normal Kisame." The swordsmen nodded as his superior was sucked away into a vortex from his eye.
Kisame turned his head suddenly towards the side of his tent. He rushed outside and looked around but found only empty space. The swordsmen narrowed his eyes skeptically, feeling as though someone had been watching. Kisame growled softly to himself before marching off as he quickly shut down his suspicions. His objective was to focus on the war. Tobi could handle the rest of the situation.
Kisame went back to the hill and looked around, pondering where his fellow commander went. The shark swordsmen frowned and dismissed any paranoid thoughts before walking off again.
In his personal tent, Shinno stood with his back to the entrance, staring at a map of the eastern half of the mainland, namely including the Land of Lightning and Water. A figure stepped out of the shadows and bowed their head to the Land of Sky commander.
"It's as you expected," the person responded. "Kisame reported to someone else, and referred to him as the Mizukage." Shinno smiled and traced a path along his current location towards the Land of Lightning. The servant waited quietly as their master plotted to himself.
"Was the man in a mask," Shinno finally asked.
"Yes sir, and when they were done, he disappeared out of thin air." The leader of the Land of Sky sneered wickedly and nodded softly to himself.
"Thank you Amaru. Remember to try to stay hidden and continue to gather information that could help the Land of Sky come out on top after this war is over."
"As you command Lord Shinno." The young ninja then vanished in a blur from Shinno's tent.
Shinno chuckled to himself as he rolled up the map and stared at the blueprints of an advanced mechanical device. Behind those blueprints, Shinno pulled out the schematics of his flying fortress, along with some other objects, and an odd looking creature.
"You think you're the only one with vast knowledge and back up plans Madara...? You're terribly mistaken I'm afraid..."
Kandachi grew exasperated as he stared at a map of the local area. The was almost half over and there wasn't a single report of Kusa or Taki resistance. Kandachi, being around the ever paranoid Hanzo, wondered if the enemy was actually planning something big. Even worse still, if Suien turned out to be working for Takigakure still, or even Akatsuki.
The lieutenant shook his head, trying to get the paranoid thoughts out of his mind. There's no way Suien would be allowed to give away the lives of so many Takigakure shinobi if he was still loyal to them. But did that leave out the possibility of Akatsuki?
"Kandachi-san, sir." The voice snapped the man in charge out of his trance before he looked up, seeing a smiling man with green hair waltz into the room. "We've ran across a group of Kusa shinobi, along with an Akatsuki squad." Kandachi's eyes lit up a little with surprise. "The rest of Fu-sama's team is following them. I came back to report to you."
"You're joking...how did Akatsuki get past Alliance borders?!"
Aoi shrugged, maintaining his smile, "Maybe they had inside help?" Kandachi groaned as he placed his hand on his forehead. Were his paranoid thoughts right? "Perhaps we can't trust our little Taki friend...he's holding back information, all for fear out of a rumored, magical water?"
"He's the only one who knows where Takigakure is, as he's the only rogue known from that village," Kandachi stated firmly. The lieutenant placed his hand on the table and glared up at Aoi. "We need him. There are no other alternatives."
"There is...one alternative Kandachi-san." The lieutenant stared at Aoi for a moment while the green haired man smiled softly. After a few moments, Aoi crossed his arms and stepped forward. "Kakuzu the Immortal."
Kandachi's eyes widened with shock as he reeled back, and then angrily swiped his arm to the side, "Absolutely not! Kakuzu has been known to be working with our enemies, the Land of Water, just before this war started! For all we know he could act as a spy!"
"Oh come now, Kakuzu is a mercenary, plain and simple. His loyalty is decided by who can fill his bottomless pockets the best. Besides, he's an S-class shinobi, and you know he'll have no qualms about killing his own people."
"Command has said we can't trust Kakuzu, which is why he was ruled out," Kandachi stated angrily. "We're not bringing in Kakuzu, and that's final!"
"That's most unfortunate Kandachi...I'm not sure what I'm supposed to tell Lord Danzo when I send him a letter telling him you denied his direct order." Aoi pulled out a piece of paper and waved it around. Kandachi's eyes immediately became glued to the paper before he held out his hand.
"Give me that..." Aoi nodded and tossed the paper on the table towards the lieutenant. The scarred man unfolded the paper and began to read it, his eyes quickly traveling over the paper. 'The handwriting matches...and this is definitely how Danzo writes his orders...but, why has he suddenly changed his mind...?'
"Well," Aoi asked, snapping Kandachi out of his thoughts.
"Fine then." The Ame lieutenant looked up at Aoi with a furious gaze. "But I'm blaming you if this comes back to bite us!"
"As you command Kandachi-san," Aoi replied as he bowed curtly to his superior officer. "What do we do about the Akatsuki and Kusa shinobi?"
"Get Fu and assemble a team to follow them to track the remainder of your team. Try to see if you can find more encampments of Taki or Kusa resistance, and find out any information on Akatsuki. Information is your primary objective, and destruction your secondary. Understood?"
"Yes sir," Aoi bowed his head and then left the tent. He chuckled to himself once he was a fair bit away before pulling out a second copy of the exact note he handed to Kandachi out of his pouch. "The Sharingan truly is an amazing Dojutsu...soon the Hero Water is going to be mine..."
Not too far away, Suien stepped out from behind a tree, his eyes narrowed. 'Someone else is after the Hero Water eh...?' Suien turned his head and scowled. "Time to accelerate my little plan..."
Nagato walked with Izumi to his right and Hidan to his left, his rippled eyes scanning the surrounding forest carefully. "You sense it too then Nagato-sama," Izumi whispered.
"I see them rather you could say," Nagato answered. "You're not using jutsu are you?"
"No, just habits Lady Chiyo taught me. The sounds they make when they're moving, faint breathing. They're trying hard to stay hidden."
"Not the most skilled shinobi then are they," Hidan stated boastfully. Shiore turned her head to the three senior rogues.
"What's that now," the young Genin asked.
"We're being followed," Hidan replied, very loudly.
The three shinobi tailing the Akatsuki and Kusa shinobi froze in their tracks. The younger Akatsuki shinobi, minus Neji and Ranmaru were surprised, as were all of the Kusa shinobi.
"Where," Shiore demanded.
"Water style: giant water prison jutsu," three voices rang out in unison.
Shiore wasted no time and dashed away into hiding, along with two other Kusa shinobi. "Move," Nagato shouted as he used the Shinra Tensei to push Naruto and his friends back, with a bit of excess force.
The rest of the shinobi were imprisoned in a large dome of water, unable to move or use any type of jutsu. Nagato growled with frustration as his found his entire body paralyzed.
"Well that was close," a masked shinobi, Kirisame, sighed out with relief.
"I can't believe they knew where we were," the gruff man, Murasame growled. "But they're screwed now aren't they?"
"Most of them are," the only woman of the group, Hisame, added. "We still have to deal with the small-fry."
Naruto, Neji, Kiba, Haku, and Ranmaru stared down their three opponents, all of whom stared at them with sneers on their faces.
"Attack them," Shiore shouted as she and the other two Kusa shinobi attacked the three Ame shinobi. The three Ame shinobi turned around, simultaneously using a water-whip to snare two of the three Kusa ninjas.
Shiore scattered into thousands of blades of grass, much to Kirisame's shock. The young Kusa commander shot down from behind the three Ame shinobi. Hisame spun around and shot a second water-whip out from her free hand, towards Shiore. The young kunoichi quickly snapped her head back, arching backwards before flipping around and falling towards the ground.
"Well, she's a feisty one," Hisame stated with a grin.
"Distract them Kirisame," Murasame ordered as his water-whip reached up and used the pressure to snap the Kusa shinobi's neck.
"NO," Shiore shouted. Hisame and Kirisame both snickered as the latter performed a long series of hand signs.
"Multi-water clone jutsu!" Several masked shinobi appeared out of the puddles of water surrounding the young shinobi.
"You think that scares me," Naruto shouted as he crossed his fingers together, "Shadow clone jutsu!" Several clouds of smoke erupted, revealing five Naruto clones, plus the original.
"A kid that young knows the shadow clone jutsu," Murasame whispered in disbelief.
"It matters not," Hisame angrily growled as she also broke her captive's neck. "We'll finish them off quickly before Aoi shows back up with reinforcements!"
"Right," Kirisame exclaimed with glee and a sadistic look in his eyes as he made a hand sign. "Water cyclone jutsu!"
The water clones all reached their arms out and combined together, creating a circle perimeter around the young shinobi. The clones then started to spin faster and faster at incredible speeds. Kiba roared as he lunged forward and attempted to attack the water clones, but was quickly knocked back by the sheer force of their spinning. Kiba slammed onto his back and rolled over the ground before Neji sprung upward into the air. The clones all shot up, using the water to jet themselves after the young Hyuga.
"Eight trigrams," Neji cried out as he began to lose upward momentum and the clones caught up with him. The other Akatsuki shinobi plus Shiore looked up as they became encased in a tower of water.
"You can't escape,"Kirisame shouted, "My water cyclone jutsu traps all opponents and crushes you them while spinning with extreme momentum! You'll all be crushed and torn to shreds!"
"Palms rotation!" Neji spun in the opposite direction he usually spins, going against the water cyclone. The two chakras ground and clashed against each other before a huge explosion errupted from the top of the water tower, destroying Kirisame's water cyclone jutsu.
"What," the masked shinobi shouted with disbelief.
Neji glared at the enemies, then noted the bulky one was gone. The young shinobi quickly activated his Byakugan and saw something moving in behind him. Neji jerked his head to the side as a narrow stream of water grazed a few of his hairs.
"Water style: water spear," Murasame shouted as he shot out a second spear of water from his mouth towards Neji.
The young Hyuga spun around and again narrowly avoided the attack. The bulky man growled and fired the jutsu again. This time though, the spear was torn through halfway on its course by Kiba's attack. The young Inuzuka landed on a large tree branch and launched himself towards Murasame.
"Water style: water hammer jutsu!" Murasame fired another blast of water from his mouth, the top holding extra water pressure to increase the damage. Kiba then began to spin quickly around and around.
"Tunneling fang," the young shinobi shouted as he pierced through the water torrent.
Murasame continued to keep up the torrent before Kiba got too close and then stopped. Before impact, Murasame stepped back, jumped up and spun around, unleashing another water hammer from his mouth before slamming another water hammer into Kiba's back. The force of the attack smashed Kiba through the thick tree branch and sent him plummeting towards the ground.
A flat mirror of ice appeared beneath Kiba, giving the boy a footing before he sprung away from his opponent.
"What," Murasame breathed in shock. The brief image of a black haired boy appeared in the mirror before he shot out of the ice and towards the bulkier shinobi. Murasame began to make a hand sign but realized he would have no time to perform a jutsu as Haku rocketed towards him.
Haku's eyes were deadset on Murasame, but everything started to become very white. Haku covered his face and gasped softly as he realized he was surrounded with snow. He landed in the area where Murasame was standing, only to see his target had vanished. A woman's laughter was all Haku heard before he was struck from behind, causing him to stumble forward.
'A snow related jutsu...?'
On the ground, Naruto, Kiba, and Neji scowled at the white blot up above that encased their friend. "Watch out," Ranmaru shouted. The three boys snapped their heads back towards the ground as they saw Kirisame rushing towards them.
Shiore moved between the three Akatsuki shinobi and Kirisame and made a unique hand sign before placing her hands on the ground, "Rising pain!" As Kirisame lunged forward, he was impaled by several razor sharp grass blades that were each several feet long that held him in place. The young kunoichi sighed with relief before Kirisame erupted in a cloud of smoke, revealing a log in his place, covered with paper bombs. "Damn it!" Shiore sprung backwards just as a massive explosion went off, throwing her backwards.
"Shiore," Neji shouted. "Damn it!"
Murasame and Kirisame both laughed as they stood over the younger shinobi, "This is a pitiful bunch, eh Murasame?"
"They are," the bulky man agreed. "Which ones do you want?"
"I'm going to take down that Hyuga clansmen...nobody breaks free from my water cyclone jutsu!"
"Kiba, go help Haku," Neji ordered as he readied himself for Kirisame's attack.
"Neither of you are getting away," the masked shinobi shrieked as he lunged forward.
"I guess that leaves me with the rest of those brats..." Murasame performed a series of hand signs, "Water style, water shark bomb jutsu!" The bulky man unleashed a blast of water from his mouth, which soon took the shape of a shark and shot towards the Akatsuki shinobi.
The young shinobi all scattered, Kiba and Neji both being confronted by a gleeful Kirisame. Naruto shielded Ranmaru while Shiore weakly avoided the attack. Murasame charged through the sprinkling water from his attack.
"Ranmaru, Haku is gonna need your eyes in that snow storm up there," Naruto stated. The purple haired boy nodded and quickly ran off. The blonde turned to the Kusa commander, "Are you able to fight?"
"I can handle myself," Shiore shouted.
"Not what I asked, but okay," Naruto murmured.
Murasame performed a series of hand signs, "Water style: water spear barrage!" The Ame shinobi fired a number of water spears from his mouth, towards Naruto and Shiore.
"Grass wall," Shiore shouted as she slammed her palms onto the ground. The grass in front of her grew incredibly fast and sturdy. The spears hit the wall of grass, causing the makeshift defense crumble and bend a little.
Naruto took the attack head on, but soon dispersed into a cloud of smoke. Murasame growled, realizing that Naruto was only a shadow clone before turning to the side, seeing two more copies of the boy coming at him.
"Water-whip jutsu," Murasame shouted as he lashed out two whips at the clones. Both of the Naruto copies erupted into smoke, much to Murasame's anger.
"Grass shuriken jutsu," Shiore shouted as she turned her former grass-wall into a series of projectiles, all as sharp as a sword.
Murasame swung his first whip outward, knocking the first wave of grass projectiles out of the way, and did the same with the second whip. Shiore scowled and performed more hand signs.
"No you don't," Murasame shouted as he lashed his first water-whip outward. Shiore scowled as she stepped backwards, narrowly avoiding the whip as she fell and rolled back. Murasame charged and reshaped his water-whips. "Water flails jutsu!"
At the tops of the whips, more water was added, and spikes came out from them, giving the former whips the image of flails. Murasame swung each of the flails about while Shiore dodged them at a distance. The young kunoichi then flipped out a kunai from her pouch and charged forward, ducking under Murasame's attack. The Ame shinobi was then put on the defensive as he stepped backwards, narrowly avoiding Shiore's swings with her kunai. The kunoichi spun around and pulled out another kunai and increased the speed of her attacks, putting the senior shinobi on the ropes.
Murasame pulled his head back to avoid Shiore's kunai before smashing his forehead into Shiore's. The kunoichi cried out in pain, her eyes forced shut as she was thrown to the ground. Murasame grinned and started to perform the hand signs for the water spear jutsu.
"Rasengan!" Murasame snapped his head up just as a boy wearing black and red slammed a swirling blue chakra ball into his stomach. Murasame cried out as a great pressure crushed his insides and sent him flying backwards, spinning around and around at intense speeds before crashing into a nearby tree. Naruto turned to Shiore, who lied on the ground, her forehead protector lying next to her head and blood oozing out of a newly formed wound. "Damn it...are you okay?"
Murasame forceful pried himself out of the tree, splinters flying out as he got out, blood trickling down his body, arms, and legs as his shirt, now torn and shredded fell to the ground. "Th-that little...fucking brat!"
Neji used his rotation as a series of kunai flew at him, bouncing off of his chakra barrier. Kiba rushed one of Kirisame's water clones and began to tear through it before moving onto a second one. The real Kirisame, along with a few of his clones, began to form the same hand signs, preparing the same jutsu. Neji caught sight of the three masked ninjas preparing the same attack and quickly turned towards his partner.
"Kiba, watch out, two o' clock!" The young Inuzuka turned his head just as the three ninja finished their hand signs.
"Water style: tri-dragon missile!"
Three giant torrents of water came from their feet and fused into one huge wave of water which took the shape of a three headed dragon. Neji and Kiba both stared in awe, while Kirisame's eyes glinted with maliciousness. The water dragon flew downwards towards the two shinobi.
'That jutsu is too big to dodge, and too power to stop head-on,' Neji realized, trying to quickly think of an alternative. Before he could, Kiba charged forward, much to Neji's shock. "No Kiba, wait!"
"Wolf drilling fang!" Kiba's chakra exploded from around him as he spun around at even faster speeds than his normal drilling fang. Neji watched in awe as his friend's force alone tore through the three headed water dragon, and also threw a few scratches and marks in the ground and nearby trees.
Kiba's spinning stopped before he fell to the ground, landing on his hands and knees, panting heavily as sweat poured from his face. Kirisame growled as he clenched his fist in anger. The masked shinobi was also growing a bit weary, having used almost all of his chakra.
Kirisame turned to where Neji was, but the young Hyuga boy was instantly in front of him, already having taken a low crouched position. "Eight trigrams...two palms!" Neji struck his opponent twice with his fingertips. "Four palms! Eight palms! Sixteen palms! Thirty two palms," Neji shouted as he continued to strike his opponent with more and more lightning fast blows. "Eight trigrams, sixty four palms!" Neji connected the final blow to Kirisame's heart, instantly killing the masked shinobi after closing off all his chakra paths. The masked Ame shinobi's eyes rolled up into the back of his head before he simply crumbled onto the ground in front of Neji.
The victorious Hyuga turned and rushed towards Kiba, kneeling next to him and rolling him onto his back, "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Kiba groaned with a stubborn growl. "That jutsu just...takes a little too much outta me." Neji rolled his eyes and shook his head.
Haku stepped around and was struck on his side, letting out a pained cry. The boy scowled as he tried to see past the sheet of white all around him. 'This jutsu is almost as bad as Zabuza-sama's mist...'
"What's wrong little boy," Hisame's voice echoed. "Can't keep up with me?"
Haku scowled and tried to find where the voice was coming from. The boy didn't want to waste any chakra on a jutsu if he couldn't hit his target. Zabuza taught him better than that.
"It seems my partners are having some trouble. I guess I'll have to wrap this up quickly then, won't I?"
Haku inwardly smirked at the knowledge of his comrades beating the enemy. The ice boy readied himself for the oncoming attack, and tried to use his senses, though they were all but blocked out.
"Six o' clock Haku!" The ice boy's eyes widened with shock before he instinctively spun around and blocked an attack.
"Ranmaru," Haku murmured.
"What the?! Who was that?!"
Out of the sheet of white, a young boy with purple hair came into the clearing and stood next to Haku, "I came to help. Hope you don't mind."
Haku smiled gently, a soft look in his eyes, "Not at all. I'm glad to have you to be honest."
"Having that brat won't increase your chances of survival! Only delay your ultimate death!"
Ranmaru climbed onto Haku's back and activated his Kekkei Genkai. The boy's eyes scanned the area and tonelessly whispered, "Left." Haku snapped to the left and blocked another attack. "Above." Again, Haku followed the boy's instructions. Haku threw a kick towards his right, knowing that Hisame would land to his right judging from the strength of the last two attacks.
A rewarding cry and resistance against the kick was heard and felt before Haku lunged in that direction. All the snow quickly vanished, gathering into one area, in front of Hisame's hand.
"Water style: snow cannon!"
Haku quickly closed the distance and placed his hand on the snow and performed a series of hand signs that even Hisame could scarcely follow. "Ice style: one thousand needles of death!" The snow then reconstituted itself into water within the blink of an eye, and then started to create ice needles that shot towards and impaled Hisame into the base of the tree.
The Ame kunoichi hung limply from the tree, blood dripping from her wounds and sliding down the tree. Haku sighed with relief, his own wound causing him a bit of trouble. Regardless, Haku turned his head and smiled at Ranmaru, "Thank you for your help."
"It's no problem Haku." The ice user jumped down to a lower branch, and headed down to the ground.
Naruto turned his head as he heard a loud, angry cry. Murasame's chakra swirled around him as he prepared another jutsu. "I'll kill you both with this jutsu!"
Naruto created a shadow clone that stood next to him. The clone swung his arm outward, releasing several chakra chains that stuck into various nearby trees. Naruto compressed his hands together, bringing forth as much air chakra as he could.
"Water style: giant tsunami jutsu!" Murasame threw his arm to the side and released a giant vortex of water towards Naruto and Shiore.
Naruto threw his hands outward, releasing a powerful blast of wind from his palms which sent the clone flying. The clone pulled on his chains and then quickly dispersed them, launching himself like a slingshot towards Murasame. The clone prepared another Rasengan, but used his other hand to add a little bit of wind chakra to it. The Naruto clone threw his arm forward at the water vortex. The Rasengan hit, creating a small explosion that quickly tore through the vortex and sent him flying towards Murasame.
"I-Impossible," Murasame shouted in fear.
Naruto's clone cried out as he slammed the wind style Rasengan into Murasame's stomach. The Ame shinobi once again folded under the force of the jutsu and the impact with which it was delivered. He cried out in pain just before he was sent flying back through several thick trees with the force of the Rasengan and the rate at which the clone was flying through the air.
The man eventually was imbedded into a stone wall several dozen yards away, his eyes blank and lifeless as blood trailed down from his body and onto the ground.
Naruto's clone smirked before it dispersed. The real Naruto smiled in victory before turning towards Shiore. "You okay?" The young Kusa commander was surprised to say the least, and her face clearly showed it.
The giant water prison was released, along with Nagato, Hidan, Izumi, Karin, and the majority of the other Kusa shinobi. Akatsuki's redheaded leader smiled as he placed a hand on his hip, "Good work kids."
"I can't believe they just beat Fu's squad," one Kusa shinobi murmured. "Those three gave our people so much damn trouble..."
"Akatsuki really has some powerful ninjas in its ranks," a kunoichi murmured.
Shiore stood up and dusted herself off, still trying to register that three of the most powerful enemy shinobi were beaten by a group of kids younger than her. "We need to keep moving," Shiore replied. "Quickly at this point, no need to worry about subtlety until we put some distance between us and these corpses..."
"Understood," Nagato replied with a nod. "Lead the way Shiore-san." The young Kusa commander nodded and took point with the younger Akatsuki shinobi following behind her.
While it was a victory that three of Fu's four man squad was beaten, Shiore knew what that meant for her people's war: Fu and the others would become much more serious. Despite the grave future on the horizon for Kusa and its people, Shiore felt a swell of relief that they ran into Akatsuki when they did.
'Maybe they are worth joining...eh father?'
On the former battlefield, Aoi and his squad had just arrived on the scene, moments too late. "Oh dear..." The green haired man looked up to the treetops, seeing Hisame's corpse, and then to the ground to Kirisame's corpse, and then the far distance, through several knocked down trees and a lane of destruction, seeing Murasame's body embedded into a wall. "Well, this doesn't bode well for us..."
"No," a young voice replied. Aoi and the other Ame shinobi looked up, seeing Fu staring off into the distance with a grin on her face. "This just makes things more exciting..." The Jinchuriki looked down at her subordinates and nudged her head forward. "\Three of you bring the bodies back to command for an autopsy. The rest of you will continue on with me." Fu, Aoi, and all but three shinobi moved forward, after the Kusa and Akatsuki shinobi.
*peaks out from behind the couch* hehehe...uh...le hello all...um...well I finally updated...and uh...would you believe life's been crazy lately? I moved out of my parent's house into a new one, now I have six roommates, drama within my new house (which has been fixed), just started school recently, have been working fast food (Arby's to be exact) for the last four or five months, and well...recently I've been balancing classes, schoolwork, work work, family, social living, and relationship living all at once so...fuck it, I'm not making excuses. You all deserve an apology for having to wait so long for this chapter. I'm really sorry everyone that it took so damn long. I hope you enjoy it, and trust me, I'm gonna try to make a little extra time to write more. Just a few disclaimers about my story so far to let everyone know.
Naruto didn't use the Rasen-shuriken. He used that downgraded wind style Rasengan on Masusame. Um...that's about it for this chapter actually.
-SPOILERS! DO NOT READ PAST HERE UNLESS YOU'RE PAST CHAPTER 600!-
No, Tobi is not going to be Obito in my story. I personally think that's the dumbest plot twist EVER in the Naruto storyline. Obito is going to be Obito, and no, he hasn't unlocked the Mangekyo. Tobi is going to be his own unique character. Granted I probably won't have any cool reasoning for his dimensional abilities and crap, but oh well. Just so nobody asks in the review for this story and spoils it for any other readers of this story who maybe don't read the manga.
So, that's all. Again, I'm really sorry for taking forever to update. And hopefully I'll be more consistent with updates, and you'll get them sooner than every two or three months. I'm really sorry to all of you. And thank you for sticking with my story, if you stick with it at all even during my few month of hiatus. Love all of my fans, and I'll see you next chapter.