Author's Note: I am a simple man. I do now own the rights to Naruto, or anything fancy. All I own is a modest Black/White deck in Magic: The Gathering that I am moderately proud of for only just starting to play the game, even though I never bring it when I go meet with friends who I know play the game, even though they keep reminding me to bring it so we can play!

... I am a good friend, I promise. :(


"Obito, why?" Kakashi asked.

The Uchiha ignored the silver-haired man as he rushed over to him and attempted to punch him in the face. Kakashi blocked with his right arm before trying to swing his left fist. Obito blocked, forcing the two into a stalemate. Obito then tried to sweep Kakashi off his feet, but he jumped into the air just in time.

"Answer the question, Obito! Why?" Kakashi repeated, his eyes narrowing.

"I already said it's not the time for words!" Obito scowled in response as he brought his hands together in the 'tiger' seal: "Fire Style: Bomb Blast Dance!"

In response, Kakashi ran through hand signs before slamming his hands into the ground: "Earth Style: Mud Wall Jutsu!"

Obito took in a deep breath as he breathed out a massive burst of fire that approached Kakashi in a spiraling fashion. Just as the fire was about to reach him, a large wall of earth rose from the ground, blocking the blast. Instead of fully blocking the flames, however, the fire began to spiral further, going around the edges of the wall before converging directly at Kakashi.

An explosion sounded throughout the Kamui dimension as flames completely surrounded the earth wall before it fell to the ground, debris scattering. Obito's eyes narrowed for a moment before he turned towards the ground.

Just as he looked downward, Kakashi jumped out of a hole, lightning surrounding his fist. Obito managed to jump away just in time, avoiding the attack.

'You got away, but you still look burnt.' Obito noted, taking note of the heavy burn marks on Kakashi's clothes and on his visible skin.

"When was the right time then?" Kakashi shouted: "You never came back! I… I thought you were dead this whole time!"

"Unfortunately, I'm not." Obito shook his head, scowling: "We're the only ones alive, you know?" His scowl morphed into a twisted grin: "And we're the reasons why. You killed Rin, while I killed Minato-sensei."

Kakashi stiffened for a moment: "I… Rin… I didn't…" He then shook his head, his fists tightening: "Don't compare what you did to Minato-sensei to what happened to Rin! I-"

"Yeah, yeah. I know about everything that happened that day. I was there." Obito replied, gripping his hands tightly. Kakashi's eyes widened in response, but before he could reply, Obito started to laugh as he brought his right hand to his chest: "But it's okay! After all, I'm so close to bringing her back! Both her and Minato-sensei had to die in this twisted reality, but they'll both be alive and well when I create a brand new reality for the world!"

"Alive and well? New reality? What are you talking about?" Kakashi shook his head, as he made a hand sign. In an instant, a shadow clone joined him side-by-side: "Don't kid yourself, Obito. Such a feat is impossible for anyone."

"Is it, now?" Obito grinned in response as he brought his hands together into the 'ram' sign: "Well, it's not like you're going to live long enough to see it, but you too will be revived in my new world!"

'He sounds demented. Obito… what the hell happened to you?' Kakashi bit his lip under his mask before steeling himself.

Both Kakashi and his shadow clone jumped away from each other as they both began to channel lightning.

"Raiden!"

"Wood Style: Underground Roots Technique!"

Kakashi and his shadow clone charged forward at Obito, creating two separate Raikiri in their hands that proceeded to connect to one another, creating a large lightning cable that connected the two lightning blasts. As they moved forward, large tree roots started to grow from underneath the ground. Both Kakashi and his shadow clone proceeded to jump around, avoiding the roots and still maintaining their lightning connection.

"Wood Release…" Kakashi scowled behind his mask, his Sharingan eye briefly studying the roots as they rose from the ground. "How do you have this ability? Did you have Orochimaru experiment on you when he was a part of your organization?"

"And why the hell should I answer that?" Obito snarled in response. Obito's grin then widened as he clapped his hands together: "Are you jealous? That you only have a Sharingan – one that I gave you, mind you – where as I have both the precious kekkei genkai of the Uchiha and the fabled Wood Release of Senju Hashirama?"

"Jealous?" Kakashi repeated the word, shaking his head: "Why would I-"

"Don't lie to me, Kakashi. I know it must hurt to finally see me being stronger than you!" Obito laughed as he finished running through hand signs. "This time, I will be the one to defeat you!"

"Wood Style: Wood Dragon Jutsu!"

As Kakashi and his shadow clone were finally about to reach Obito, the wooden roots scattered around the battlefield began to change shape, forming into ten large wooden dragons. The first dragon flew directly in front of Obito, guarding him from Kakashi's Raiden. The lightning cable severed the neck of the wooden dragon, but the creature's body quickly regrew again. It then smacked itself into Kakashi's head, forcing him backwards and ending his connection to his shadow clone.

'Dammit.' Kakashi grit his teeth in response as a second wooden dragon quickly flew down into his shadow clone, dispelling it. He then jumped upwards, narrowly avoiding a third dragon. As he was in the air, he was quickly surrounded by the remaining seven wooden dragons. 'What a lethal combination… but perhaps there's a way to do something about this!'

With that thought in mind, Kakashi's body became surrounded in a spiraling vortex. Within seconds, Kakashi disappeared from the Kamui universe, returning to the real world just in time as the seven wooden dragons closed in on him. They collided with one another, triggering a massive explosion that sent shockwaves throughout the Kamui universe, which staggered even Obito.

'He retreated, hmm? Bet he joined the battle with the other jinchūriki.' Obito shook his head as his Mangekyō Sharingan began to activate: 'I can follow you out there too, you know-'

Before Obito could get away with his own Kamui, another portal opened up directly behind the Uchiha. He turned around just in time to see Kakashi rush forward from the opening, a Raikiri active in his hand.

The Uchiha attempted to jump away, but just as he was getting away, Kakashi extended his hand outward.

"Raikiri Senbon!"

A single, screeching bolt of lightning rushed from Kakashi's hand directly at Obito's body. The Uchiha shifted slightly to try and avoid, but the lightning strike managed to connect with his waist, piercing skin. Blood poured from the open wound as Obito screamed, matching the screeches of Kakashi's lightning.

"B-Bastard!" Obito snarled, his hand immediately going to his wound: "S-Since when can you throw your Raikiri?"

"It's a little weaker variant of it, but I was impressed with my student Sasuke's ingenuity when he learned the Chidori. So much so that I decided to incorporate his 'Chidori Senbon' technique and mix it with my Raikiri." Kakashi explained. His eyes narrowed on his former teammate: "Give up before it gets too late, Obito. I already struck you once with Raikiri in the chest, only missing vital organs because of what you sent to the Kamui universe at the time. Now I struck at you again. Pretty soon, you may die of blood loss."

"Me? Die of blood loss?" Obito shook his head, chuckling: "You have no idea of what I'm capable of anymore, nor of who I am! I won't die so easily, Kakashi!" Within a moment, he pulled himself together, as if open wound was no longer bothering him: "Come! I'll admit I have been enjoying this 'catching up' session we're doing, but I really got a mission I need to get back to! So die already, Kakashi!"

"Dammit, Obito." Kakashi grit his teeth behind his mask as he watched his former teammate charge at him once more: 'You're nothing but a shell of my former friend… the Obito I knew would want me to kill you. So, no, you're going to be the one who dies here!'

With that resolve in mind, Kakashi rushed forward towards Obito as well.


'Madara hasn't come back yet.' Pain noted.

The Akatsuki leader briefly turned his focus towards the piece of air that 'Tobi' had once occupied. The Uchiha often abused his Kamui ability in combat, so him disappearing periodically in a battle was to be expected. Him disappearing for longer than a few seconds, however, was unusual.

'He did appear injured earlier. Did something happen?' He wondered. The leader then turned his focused back towards the other jinchūriki: 'That concern can be addressed later. The mission needs to be the focus for now.'

'Alright, looks like Hatake-san was able to neutralize him.' Yugito smirked, coming to the same realization as Pain. 'Now, let's turn this up a notch then!' Her eyes then turned towards Yagura, who was still captured in a stalemate between Naruto's and Kabuto's Adamantine Sealing Chains: 'But that needs to be taken care of first.'

Han's eyes narrowed on Yugito, catching her thought. He nodded his head as he turned his head towards Kabuto. Steam started to flow form his chakra aura before he sent himself flying towards the Yakushi.

"Shinra Tensei!"

Just as fast as Han reached Kabuto's side to attack, a gravitational force crashed into his body, sending the Gobi jinchūriki flying backwards into the stadium bleachers as fast as he had launched himself. He crashed into the bleachers, creating a crater where he landed.

'I really need to figure out how that jutsu works.' Kabuto smirked as his eyes turned to focus on Han's distant figure: 'The limits of this 'Shinra Tensei' seem limitless. Powerful enough to stop even some like Yuge no Han's rampage-'

His words died on his lips as Killer Bee rushed forward towards him, channeling his chakra into a horn at the top of his head. He then crashed into Kabuto's body.

"Urk!" Kabuto grit his teeth as he took a step back slightly, his layer of iron and bone defenses both starting to crack. He glared at Bee for a moment, who was still trying to push the horn on his head into his body. "Fruitless efforts, Bee-san. The combined efforts of Iron Release and the Shikotsumyaku are too much for an attack like this!"

"Maybe so, but how about this? Cause up close like this, I sure as hell won't miss!" Bee grinned as he opened his mouth, channeling chakra into his lips into an orb.

Kabuto's eyes widened: 'SHIT! Mud Style: Mud Transfiguration Jutsu!'

"BIJŪDAMA!"

Kabuto's body immediately turned to mud, falling into the ground just in time as Bee launched a bijūdama forward at him. While the bijūdama now flew forward hitting nothing, the resulting retreat Kabuto made canceled his chakra chains, allowing Naruto to pull Yagura back to their side.

"Woo! Finally!" Naruto grinned as the Yondaime Mizukage joined their side: "Glad to have you safe and sound, Yagura!"

Yagura smiled back, resisting the urge to wince: "I appreciate that, although I will say that tug-of-war hurt exponentially worse than I was expecting it to."

"We got Yagura out; now let's get back on the offense!" Yugito stated as she turned her head to face Naruto: "You ready to give our jutsu a go?"

"Ah!" Naruto grinned as he nodded his head in response: "Let's do it!"

"Allow me to help as well." Gaara spoke-up as he made a one-handed sign. "Wind Style: Flowing Current!"

A sharp gust of wind was released from Gaara's body. While not an overpowering burst of wind, the wind was now currently fixed blowing away from the jinchūriki and towards the Akatsuki.

Naruto ran through a few hand signs before he slapped his hands together. As he split his hands apart, a large pinkish-red fireball formed in his hands. Yugito then took in a deep breath, channeling her chakra into her mouth. Embers of blue flames began to slowly escape from her lips just as Naruto launched his fireball. Yugito then proceeded to spit out her fire, sending a massive stream of blue flames into Naruto's jutsu.

"Scorch and Fire Combination Style: Azure Conflagration!"

Upon impact, the fireball exploded, sending a wave of blue flames skyrocketing through the air towards the Akatsuki, with Gaara's recently-formed air current propelling the blue flames even further. Konan flew forward and grabbed Pain's Deva Path body. Kisame jumped to the side of Pain's Preta Path as the body created its barrier, shielding both it and Kisame from injury.

Pain's Animal, Asura, and Human Paths, however, were unable to get away from the blast. Upon impact, the Asura Path's body was broken apart into multiple pieces and was sent flying backwards, a sizzling sound effect coming from each. Both the Animal and Human Paths were encased in flames. While the two appeared as if they were trying to resist the fire, eventually their bodies were completely encased in flames that burnt away at their skin entirely until they, too, fell to the ground, unable to get up.

Upon the 'death' of the Animal Path once more, the large multi-headed dog was dissipated once more.

"Damn. I saw you all working on that in the Bijū Training Hall once, but I didn't realize it was going to be that destructive." Rōshi whistled in approval before grinning: "Nice job brats. You all took down three of those guys!"

As soon as Rōshi said it, the bodies of the Human and Animal Path – as well as the parts of the Asura Path – sank into the ground. The remaining jinchūriki stared intently at the remnants.

"Remember, though, that the last time we killed the Summoner one, it respawned." Yagura noted. "Expect to see them again, until we figure out how to combat this gimmick."

"Gimmick, hmm? Sounds so condescending when you say it like that, Yagura-san. Mud Style: Bottomless Mud Hole!"

The jinchūriki – save Fū, who was still in her wooden prison from Obito's jutsu – tensed-up as the ground underneath them opened up, turning into a large sinkhole of mud that quickly pulled them not the ground. Naruto tried to pull himself out of the mud, but found his feet were stuck to it.

"This mud… it contains the qualities of quicksand." Gaara noted, shaking his head as he tried to pull himself out.

"Well, let's not deal with this shit for any longer than we have to!" Rōshi stated as he turned to look towards Han: "Ready to melt this shit away?"

Han nodded his head. The two Iwagakure jinchūriki were about to channel their Lava and Boil Release techniques when Konan flew directly above the group, carrying the Deva Pain Path's body as it held out its hand.

"Shinra Tensei!"

Immediately, all the jinchūriki were forced into the ground by a massive gravitational force. All felt the rest of their bodies crash into the mud's surface. The mud, in that moment, was as hard as cement, creating massive bruises upon impact. Immediately after the impact, however, the mud returned to its quicksand-like composition, forcing the group into the mud once more.

'D-Dammit. We really need to figure out how to deal with that gravity technique of his.' Naruto noted, gritting his teeth. 'The amount of times Pain has been able to spam it-'

His words died on his lips as he noticed the presence of paper-like worms digging through the mud. He blinked for a second before noticing that they were explosive-tags, folded into the shape of worms through origami.

On cue, thousands of paper-worms flooded through the mud, quickly navigating the mud towards each jinchūriki.

"Shit!" Naruto tried his best to shake his head, but the mud was holding it in place.

"Leave this situation to me." Gaara said, as he closed his eyes.

Sand rushed from Gaara's chakra cloak towards his fellow jinchūriki, surrounding their bodies – and the wooden prison around Fū's body.

"Paper Burial!"

The paper worms detonated, creating massive explosion-after-explosion throughout the mud sinkhole. The resulting explosion sent enough force that the jinchūriki were pulled out of the mudhole, sending them flying into the air before they crashed into the stadium ground, creating more craters.

Upon landing on the ground, Gaara's sand dissipated. Yugito, Yagura, Rōshi, Han, Utakata, Bee, and Naruto all were breathing heavily with light burns on their bodies. Gaara, on the other hand, fell to his knees as his body was covered in burns, with a chunk of his chakra cloak having been blown off.

"D-Damn. That-" Gaara's words died out for a moment as he started to cough-out blood: "Urk!"

"G-Gaara!" Naruto called out, his eyes widening in horror.

'He spent more of his focus reinforcing the sand armor he gave to us rather than the one he made for himself. Dammit, Gaara.' Yugito grit her teeth for a moment before she turned her head upward towards Konan: 'That was her technique, right? When did she have time to prep all those explosive worms?'

"Were you trying to kill them, Konan?" Pain asked, the Deva Path turning its head to face his partner: "If not for the Kazekage's quick timing, I believe that blast could have killed all of them."

"It would have incapacitated them; not killed them." Konan shook her head: "It already appears that the technique is doing its job."

"Damn right it did, but thanks for the help!"

Both Pain's and Konan's attention turned towards the wooden block that Obito had created around Fū's body. After a loud growl, the wood was finally broken apart, shards scattering the battlefield as Fū pulled herself out. The Nanabi jinchūriki was breathing heavily as she flew back towards the other jinchūriki.

"You alright, Fū?" Utakata asked, a frown on his face.

"That sucked… but I'm fine." Fū said, shaking her head: "But never mind that. You all know there's another one of those weird orange-haired guys hiding inside the stadium, right?"

"Another?" Rōshi repeated before his eyes widened in clarity: "Ah yes. One of them did vanish early on in the battle."

"And it's hiding from direct combat." Yagura rubbed his chin in thought before his eyes widened: "And it disappeared roughly around the same time as the Animal Summoner body did prior to its revitalization. That must be it!" He then turned towards Fū: "That 'hidden' one is the priority! It must be the one reviving those Rinnegan wielders!"

'Sharp. As expected of the Yondaime Mizukage. And the Nanabi jinchūriki has impressive sensory abilities to notice.' Pain internally acknowledged as both the Deva Path's and Preta Path's eyes narrowed on the group: 'But little good will that knowledge aid all you if you can't reach the Naraka Path.'


Upon Ebisu's arrival, Aoi focused intently on the man. His eyes briefly flickered to the Team Nine genin before focusing intently on Ebisu. A few seconds passed by before Ebisu ran through seven hand signs. Aoi, in response, made one-handed signs before pointing his index finger towards the ground.

"Fire Style: Fire Dragon Bomb!"

"Water Style: Surface Slicer!"

Ebisu breathed out a stream of fire at the same time as Aoi launched a wave of water from the ground. The water rose, crashing into the fire and extinguishing it, creating steam that quickly surrounded the battlefield. Aoi's body quickly vanished inside the steam.

'Hmmm… I can't sense him. He's good at hiding his chakra signature it seems. Unfortunately, he's not against the right set of opponents.' Ebisu immediately turned to face Hanabi: "Hanabi-san, what direction is he coming from?"

Hanabi's eyes narrowed: "He's to the right. He's actually-"

"Earth Style: Mud Wall Jutsu!"

The three Team Nine genin's eyes widened as the ground around them rose, forming an earthen wall just in time to block a barrage of lightning bolts. Aoi emerged from the right, jumping directly on top of the earth wall and falling towards the ground towards the genin, gripping the Raijin no Ken tightly.

"Sword of the Thunder God: Falling Lightning!"

"Wind Style: Wind Release Stream!"

Aoi's body became encased in lightning as he fell closer towards the three genin. Before he could collide with them, however, Ebisu breathed out a stream of wind that connected with his body. The wind struck him with enough force that it changed Aoi's trajectory, causing him to barely miss Team Nine. The three genin proceeded to jump backwards, narrowly avoiding scattered lightning bolts that resulted from the collision.

'Damn! This guy's moving so much faster than he was before!' Katsumi noted, her eyes focusing on Aoi for a moment before moving to Ebisu: 'We'd be dead just then if it wasn't for Ebisu-sensei!'

"Use of Earth, Wind, and Fire Release, huh? Bet you got some Water and Lightning Release techniques up your ass, don't you?" Aoi said with a snort: "Of course, they're all basic level attacks. For a basic ass shinobi."

Ebisu let out a bitter chuckle: "Come now, Aoi, we were in the academy together. Do you really think I'm that easy to get a rise out of?"

"No, I'm just reminding myself exactly the type of shinobi I'm dealing with. I'm fighting the 'master of the basics' after all." Aoi replied, a grin developing on his face: "A real 'jack of all trades, master of none'. You just know a collection of things; you're no master of anything."

"I don't need to master anything. Having a variety of skillsets is what gives me balance as a shinobi." Ebisu noted. He adjusted his sunglasses as he stared at his former classmate: "I'd rather be this way than you, a man whose only skill is in kenjutsu."

Aoi's eyes narrowed: "'Only' skill?"

"It's apparent even through your actions." Ebisu smirked in response: "When you fled the village, it would have been more prudent and useful to try and run off with the Forbidden Scroll and try and master the vast ninjutsu in its contents. But instead, you went for the Nidaime Hokage's sword, because kenjutsu is all you're good at."

"… You're doing what you accused me; you're trying to get under my skin." Aoi said quietly as he gripped the Raijin no Ken tightly: "And unfortunately for you, it worked!"

"Sword of the Thunder God: After Image Lightning!"

Multiple bolts of lightning shot upward all-at-once from the Raijin no Ken. When the bolts entered the sky, hundreds of copies of Aoi appeared. He, alongside all of his copies, rushed forward at Ebisu.

'This technique… I can tell those copies of him aren't real clones, but I can't even tell which one is the real enemy!' Hanabi bit down on her lip hard: 'He's moving too fast to keep up with at all!'

Ebisu tensed-up as he pulled out a kunai, his eyes focusing on the oncoming strikes. He side-stepped just in time, avoiding one after image rushing towards him before he jumped to the right, avoiding a second one falling towards him. He then tried to jump again to avoid a third strike, but Aoi managed to land the attack, slicing into his right arm.

"Agk!" Ebisu hissed.

'Gotcha.' Aoi smirked, tightening his grip: 'Let's show you all I can do with 'only kenjutsu'!'

Within a second, Aoi's after images charged into Ebisu one-after-another, covering the man's body with cuts. With each cut from the thunder blade, Ebisu's body was becoming covered with both blood and burns from the lightning shocks. The Konoha jōnin tried to pull himself away, but no matter what he tried, Aoi's after images always managed to strike at him.

"Earth Style: Rising Rock Jutsu!"

The ground directly in front of Ebisu's body opened up as a large boulder rose. The boulder rose just in time as another after-image tried to slam into Ebisu. Upon it connecting its blade with the boulder instead of Ebisu, slicing it in half in the process, the remaining after images all faded away, leaving only the original Aoi.

'Nice timing, Katsumi.' Kanji nodded his head before he held out his hands: "Mind Destruction Jutsu!"

Aoi's body stiffened for a moment as he was forced to drop his sword, the lightning returning back into the hilt. A scowl developed on his face as he quickly channeled chakra throughout his body. Within seconds, Kanji was sent backwards as his jutsu was forced canceled.

"Fucking brats. You can't separate me from my sword that easily!" Aoi growled as he quickly grabbed the Raijin no Ken and rushed towards them, summoning his lightning blade once more: "Honestly, I need to kill you brats so you'll stop interrupting my little 'reunion' with Ebisu! So die already!"

"Stay back from them!" Ebisu shouted as he ran through three hand signs: "Lightning Style: Thunderclap Arrow!"

Ebisu generated three bolts of electricity in his hands that he sent flying towards Aoi. The former Konoha shinobi turned his head briefly back towards him before swinging the Raijin no Ken directly at the oncoming electricity.

The resulting strike redirected Ebisu's lightning style jutsu backwards towards him at a rapid pace. Ebisu side-stepped the redirected lightning before he pulled out a shuriken. He then threw it towards the green-haired man.

"Shuriken Shadow Clone Jutsu!"

The shuriken Ebisu threw quickly multiplied, creating a hundred copies of itself that flew directly at Aoi. The Amegakure shinobi gripped the Raijin no Ken tightly in his hands as he created a massive shockwave of lightning that rushed around his body. The resulting shock stopped the oncoming shuriken.

"That's not all you got, right Ebisu-" Aoi's eyes narrowed as he turned towards where Ebisu had been, only to find the jōnin had vanished with a flicker. He then turned to his right to see the man next to him, gripping a kunai: "Is that all you got, jackass?"

As Aoi's 'Sword of the Thunder God' collided with Ebisu's kunai, Aoi gained the upper-hand instantly and overpowered him. In response, Ebisu's body dissipated.

"What-"

"Earth Style: Earth Flow Spears!"

Ebisu reappeared a few feet behind Aoi, his hands locked in the 'bird' hand sign. Immediately, the ground underneath Aoi's feet rose, forming into stone spears that quickly impaled the man. Aoi did his best to maneuver out the way, but earthen spears dug their way into his legs and his side, locking him in place and causing blood to pour from wounds.

"AGH! You… b-bastard!" He growled out.

"Am I now?" Ebisu chuckled in response as he proceeded to run through more hand signs: "At least I'm not a traitorous bastard."

'Ebisu-sensei has got this.' Hanabi took in a deep breath for a moment before she made hand signs: 'Perhaps we can help finish this.'

Katsumi nodded her head in response as she, too, ran through hand signs. Kanji, having finally composed himself from Aoi overpowering his Mind Destruction Jutsu, reached for a kunai and threw the weapon.

Aoi grit his teeth in response as he tightened his grip on the Raijin no Ken. He had managed to keep his arms away from being impaled, giving him free reign to swing his sword. As his grip grew tighter, his sword became encased in lightning.

"Fire Style: Fire Dragon Bomb!"

"Ninja Art: Poison Darts Jutsu!"

"Earth Style: Earth Dragon!"

"Sword of the Thunder God: Rumble and Flash!"

Ebisu breathed out a large stream of fire just as both Hanabi spat out a barrage of poison darts from her mouth and Katsumi created a giant dragon head of dirt. As all three jutsus, and Kanji's kunai, flew towards Aoi, the green-haired shinobi proceeded to swing the Raijin no Ken rapidly in a slicing manner, aiming directly at Ebisu.

With each slash of his blade, more-and-more electricity began to surround his body. Within a few seconds, a makeshift barrier of lightning formed around his body, forming a blockade that blocked Hanabi's poison darts, Kanji's kunai, and crumbled Katsumi's earth dragon. The lightning also shattered the earth spears holding Aoi in place, freeing the man.

Ebisu's fire stream continued to fly towards him, but Aoi continued to slice at the air with the Raijin no Ken. Within seconds, bolts of lightning rushed forward from his blade, aiming directly at the man. The first bolts of lightning pierced the flames, hitting them with enough force that the flames dissipated. More-and-more bolts continued to fly forward at a rapid pace, however, flying directly at Ebisu.

The Konoha jōnin tried to jump away, but he was unable to move fast enough as the first bolt of lightning struck him in the neck. He choked out in response, coughing up blood, as more lightning bolts flew towards him, impaling him in his chest, stomach, and his arms. His body was zapped with so much electricity that his body began to become covered with burns, the force of the bolts singing his clothes and shattering his sunglasses. Within seconds, the man fell to the ground, blood starting to pour from his wounds.

"Ebisu-sensei!" Katsumi called out in horror.

"There… happy, bastard? You wanted to see why I chose to leave Konoha with the Raijin no Ken? Well, you got a taste of why!" Aoi snarled before turning his attention away from Ebisu's body to the Konoha genin: "Now, where were we brats?"

He continued his charge forward towards the Konoha genin, the Raijin no Ken crackling in his hands.


"Bijūdama!"

Hinata jumped to the side just as Kido unleashed a massive bijūdama, causing the orb to strike at one of the buildings. The blast created a massive explosion, scattering flames as the building was vaporized.

"Well, it appears my bijūdama is already stronger than it was in my last trial run against the Kyūbi and Nanabi jinchūriki." Kido noted, nodding his head. "Good. It's more evidence that my research is nearly perfect."

Hinata's Byakugan focused on the rubble from the explosion before a shiver went down her spine. 'That… I can't mess up. One hit from that jutsu and I'll be dead.'

She took in a deep breath before she clapped her hands. The aura around her body began to form into a cyan-colored chakra cloak, forming into what appeared to be chakra-snakes. Hinata clapped her hands, causing the newly-formed chakra snakes to rush forward from their body towards Kido.

The ROOT researcher smirked as he quickly side-stepped, avoiding the fist snake. He then continued to jump around as the snakes proceeded to try and follow him, slowly inching his way closer to Hinata. While her snakes kept rushing forward, Hinata pulled out her bow. Instead of reaching for an arrow, however, she channeled senjutsu chakra into the bow. As she pulled back on the bow, a cyan-colored arrow appeared.

"Sage Art: Natures' Arrows!"

Taking in a deep breath, Hinata released her arrow, causing it to fly through the air directly at Kido. Just as Kido side-stepped and avoided the attack, the arrow erupted, creating a burst of nature energy that connected with Kido's body. The man hissed, staggering slightly.

Immediately, the snakes of Hinata's chakra aura capitalized, biting down onto Kido's skin. The ROOT agent's hissing grew louder as each snake bit into his body, injecting him with poison. He proceeded to raise his tails, slamming them into the ground.

"Lightning Style: Tailed Beast Storm!"

Red-colored lightning shot from his tails outward, crashing into the oncoming snakes and dissipating them, turning them back into nature energy. The lightning continued towards Hinata, striking at her before she could jump away. She hissed in pain, dropping her bow in the process.

Kido's smirk returned as he rushed forward, closing the distance between the two of them. He swung his claw directly at Hinata, who dodged just in time. He then swung his other claw at her, this time forcing her to block with her arm.

"Beyond just comparing the skills of someone who stalemated Tanuki, you also provide a good secondary source to compare my skills to the Kyūbi jinchūriki." Kido noted as he attempted to stab Hinata with his other claw. She jumped backwards, avoiding in time: "You are his lover, right? Tell me, how does my fighting stack up to Uzumaki Naruto?"

"Don't you dare bring up Naruto-kun." Hinata hissed. "You have no right to even talk about him!"

"And why's that?" Kido's smirk was replaced with a quizzical stare as he disappeared.

Hinata immediately turned around: "Protection of the Eight Triangles: Sixty-four Palms!"

The Hyūga released chakra streams from her hand just as Kido appeared behind her, attempting to slice at her again. Upon impact with his bijū-enhanced claws, the chakra streams exploded, sending both Hinata and Kido backwards.

'I suppose bijū chakra-enhanced attacks might be too much for my Protection of the Eight Trigrams, even if they're pseudo-jinchūriki… damn.' Hinata bit down on her lip. She immediately tensed up as she noticed Kido disappear once again.

She jumped backwards just as Kido jumped out of the ground, channeling chakra into his mouth. Within seconds, he released another bijūdama that Hinata dodged barely, forcing the orb to strike at another building and vaporize it once more.

"You still haven't answered my question." Kido reminded, a frown forming on his face: "Why exactly am I not allowed to mention to Uzumaki Naruto?" He shook his head: "It's not something frivolous like 'You're not a real jinchūriki, so don't even think about comparing yourself to Naruto-kun', is it?"

Hinata's eyes narrowed in response at his impression: "No, it's because of 'how' you have that chakra. Naruto-kun and Fū-san mentioned how you experimented on his mother."

"Ah. So, it's something even more 'frivolous'." Kido sighed, shaking his head once more: "I fail to see what the issue is. Uzumaki Kushina's cadaver was not doing anything other than slowly decomposing. Are you insisting that it should just go to waste?"

Hinata scowled in response: "You… You're just like Kabuto. Almost too much so. It disgusts me."

"Yakushi Kabuto… Well, I suppose that's accurate. Despite his unfortunate hatred for Danzō-sama, I actually do identify with that man." Kido confessed, chuckling slightly: "A young boy who started out with nothing, with no talents, rose to great heights on the backbone of science alone, becoming a true force to be reckoned with as he grows older and gets more time for experimentation." A small, sad smile developed on Kido's face as he looked at his own palms: "His story mirrors mine in an uncomfortable way, to be honest."

Kido tightened his hand, forming a fist once more as he turned back to glare at Hinata: "Feels odd to be criticized by a former clan heiress, admittedly. Both Kabuto and I used our methods to grow stronger and get ahead and life and we're 'disgusting', but you and others like you are able to grow and benefit off the resources of your precious clan."

Hinata's scowl deepened: "What point are you trying to get at? That I'm from the Hyūga Clan, so I can't possibly understand or critique your experiments?"

Kido grit his teeth in response: "Nothing you or anyone in your 'precious Hyūga Clan' have done anything worthy of praise, so I'm not going to idly take your shit judgments about me, my research, and my accomplishments!"

With a defiant growl, Kido swung his fists outward: "Nine-Tails Twister!"

Immediately, a tornado was released from Kido's hands and flew directly at Hinata's body. The Hyūga heiress was unable to get away in time and was encased in the tornado. She hissed in pain as the winds started to tear into her skin, causing her to bleed.

'D-Dammit… How am I supposed to get out-' An idea entered Hinata's head. Her eyes widened as her Byakugan focused on the bow she dropped outside of the twister. She then began to channel from afar: 'This… This should work.'

Kido grinned as her swung his hands a second time, creating another twister that replaced the first before it could dispel. He prepared to swing his arms a third time before two chakra snakes appeared at Hinata's bow. The first notched itself in the strings while the second proceeded to pull back on the string.

"Sage Art: Poison Snake Arrow!"

Hinata's bow was launched, sending the chakra snake directly at Kido. The ROOT agent had not sensed it in time, causing the snake's body to connect with his head. Kido's eyes widened as he immediately fell to his knees and started to choke. Blood started to pour from his lips just as Hinata was released from the twister.

Upon stepping foot onto the ground, Hinata charged forward at the man. Kido, in response, immediately pulled his head upwards and channeled another bijūdama. Hinata jumped into the air, avoiding the orb for a third time. Immediately after, Kido started to cough more-and-more.

"That arrow you just hit me with… what an impressive amount of poison." He acknowledged, growling slightly: "Unfortunately for you, my former partner Magire was a poison-expert who I allowed to experiment on me." He steadied himself as he rubbed the blood off of his chin: "Natural immunities I've developed, combined with the healing factor of a bijū, are going to make me hard to 'poison' to death."

"I don't really care if I poison you to death or if you die some other way." Hinata replied, shaking her head: "All that matters is that you die."

"Heh." Kido snorted: "Good footwork, by the way. In regards to dodging my bijūdama. I hope you keep up with that, for your sake. After all, all it takes for me to hit you with one of those and you're dead."

Hinata's only response was to narrow her eyes as she planned her next stage of attack.


"NUE!"

The giant chimera roared loudly as it watched Gamabunta and Chōza charge towards it. Its volume grew louder, creating shockwaves that rocketed forwards them. Both Gamabunta and Chōza were momentarily stopped, the Boss Toad gritting his teeth in response while Chōza's ears started to bleed slightly, but the two persevered and continued to rush at the giant chimera.

Chōza attempted to swing his staff at Nue's body, but its snake-like tail rushed forward, catching the tail. Nue growled again as it was caught into a stalemate with the giant Akimichi.

"D-Damn, it's strong…" Chōza grit his teeth as he felt the chimera push back, starting to gain the upper-hand: "Hokage-sama!"

"Already ahead of you!" Jiraiya called out.

Gamabunta gripped his tantō tightly as it rushed at Nue, stabbing its body. The chimera screeched loudly before it stopped its hind legs into the ground. Immediately, sharp wooden logs rushed from the ground underneath. Chōza separated in time, jumping away from the logs, but Gamabunta was unable to jump away in time and the bottom of his feet were stabbed. The toad hissed from the pain.

"It has your Shodai's accursed Wood Release, huh? This monster is a lot more dangerous than I had initially assumed." Gamabunta noted.

"Unfortunately, yes." Jiraiya scowled.

Nue's eyes moved back-and-forth from Jiraiya and Gamabunta to Chōza for a moment as it quietly grit its teeth for a moment. After a while, its eyes steeled themselves and the creature opened its mouth.

"NUE!"

"Ninja Art: Negative Emotion Manipulation: Gluttony!"

Jiraiya's eyes narrowed: 'That voice… that was Shigaraki Tanuki's! What's going on-'

His thoughts were interrupted as in Nue's mouth, an orb of dark energy began to form.

Jiraiya, Gamabunta, nor Chōza could see where the energy was coming from, but they could see the few trees that were still in the area began to wilt. The clouds in the sky became smaller-and-smaller and some of them started to darken into a black-coloration. Furthermore, the air around became denser, almost becoming harder to breathe.

"That feeling…" Gamabunta, while unable to see fully what was happening, could sense it. His eyes narrowed on the creature: "It's literally ripping out natural energy from the environment!"

"Give the Toad Clan's Boss Summon a prize, will you Nue?"

Jiraiya's eyes narrowed on Nue: "Tanuki, where are you hiding?"

Nue opened its mouth, but instead of a monstrous growl, a human-like chuckle escaped its lips: "I'm not hiding anywhere. I am Nue's creator; it's only fitting I can speak through it."

"What a disgusting jutsu you developed." Gamabunta stated sharply: "Stealing natural energy like that… you're destroying the environment around you without a goddamn care!'

"Is that not what 'Sage Mode' is?" Tanuki asked, a hint of irritation developing in his voice as Nue turned its focus towards the Boss Toad: "A Sage converts the natural energy around into senjutsu chakra to manipulate. Is that any different than what I am doing?"

"You just gave away the difference." Gamabunta snorted in response: "A Sage converts nature energy around them carefully, so as neither to disturb the natural environment around nor to overwhelm their own body. It's a careful art built around a deep understanding and connection to the world around them. This… 'Gluttony' technique you're using, however, is literally stealing the energy around you! Look at the environment around you; you're literally suffocating nature itself!"

"I fail to see what the concern is." Tanuki nearly growled in response: "After all, when shinobi fight at this level, there is usually collateral damage."

"On a physical level." Chōza spoke-up, his eyes narrowing: "I understand what Gamabunta-san is saying. When a shinobi burns a forest, the forest may one day grow back. What you are doing, though, is stealing from the environment as a whole. The vegetation affected by your 'Gluttony' will never grow back. The clouds affected will never be the same." He shook his head: "We Akimichi have particular diets suited to our clan's abilities, but we would never partake in such a display of grotesque gluttony. What a sinful technique."

"Sinful? SINFUL?" Tanuki growled out. Nue growled out with his own monstrous voice, creating another massive shockwave. This resulting shockwave, however, sent both Gamabunta and Chōza backwards and forced them to their knees as they struggled to pull themselves up: "WE ARE GODDAMNED SHINOBI! HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE ME YOU SELF-RIGHTEOUS BASTARDS!"

'His voice…' Jiraiya's eyes narrowed on Nue. '… One of the big warnings with using Senjutsu and absorbing nature energy is to make sure you are careful to not let it overwhelm you. The way he's stealing energy… I doubt he'd turn into a toad like I would if I messed up, but I'm sure the way he is literally forcing it out of the environment is doing irreparable damage to his psyche.' He then tightened his hands: 'Maybe we can use that-'

"Sage Art: Negative Emotion Manipulation: Wrath!"

Nue opened its mouth as the black energy started to form once more. Within seconds, thousands-upon-thousands of black bullets were sent flying around the battlefield in various directions.

Gamabunta and Chōza quickly moved out of the way as the bullets went flying, crashing into the ground and buildings, creating craters and sending debris everywhere. Both Gamabunta and Chōza continued to keep moving, doing their best to avoid the onslaught of dark bullets, but Nue continued to release more-and-more.

'It's feeding off Negative Energy. I suppose theoretically, if Tanuki has enough hate in his heart, this jutsu could last indefinitely.' Jiraiya bit his lip hard: 'We need to end-'

"AGGHHHH!"

Jiraiya's attention moved towards the side of the battle. The various shinobi that had been dispersed earlier – that had been battling Nue before he got there – were impaled with the bullets. Many of them were screaming in pain as they continued to get assaulted until the screams finally stopped.

"Sh-Shit!" Shizune cursed as she was sent flying backwards away from a shinobi she was trying to heal by a bullet which impaled itself into her shoulder. Blood started to pour heavily from her wound.

'… Monster. This monster…' Jiraiya grit his teeth as he took in a deep breath: 'Jiraiya, act like the goddamn Kage you are. End this now!'

"Gamabunta-san, what's the best approach?" Chōza asked as one of the bullets hit his leg, staggering him. He grit in pain as bullet-after-bullet began to finally hit his large body: "W-We can't let this go on for too long!"

"I don't know-" Gamabunta's words died as Jiraiya jumped off his head: "Jiraiya, where are you going?"

"Ninja Art: Needle Jizō!"

As Jiraiya ran towards Nue, his hair started to elongate and surround his body before starting to form spikes, creating a makeshift barrier. Nue's dark bullets proceeded to pound into Jiraiya's body. While the needle shield around his body appeared to cushion the blows somewhat, Jiraiya winced, as each bullet felt akin to getting punched hard by Gai.

Despite the pain, Jiraiya persevered and continued running until he reached Nue's side. Upon getting in front of the beast, he ran through hand signs before slamming his palms into the ground: "Ninja Art: Toad Mouth Trap!"

A large toad esophagus formed around Nue's giant body, trapping the creature. Jiraiya took a deep breath as he heard bullet-after-bullet slam into the toad walls, unable to break through it.

'If it didn't break out immediately, then the raw destructive power of this creature isn't like Sarutobi-sensei's. Thank god for that.' Jiraiya sighed in relief before he jumped back: 'However, I know it's going to break out in a moment. I need to get ready!'

"Gamabunta! Chōza! Keep me safe for a moment." Jiraiya replied as he clapped his hands together and began to channel nature energy.

"Entering Sage Mode? About damn time." Gamabunta noted.

As Jiraiya turned his attention to focusing on channeling natural energy, a blackish-purple hole began to form in the sky.

"NUE!"

Within seconds, the giant chimera fell from the sky once more, creating another crater upon impact. The creature growled loudly before it rushed over towards Jiraiya's body.

As the chimera attempted to strike at him, Chōza jumped in the way, again blocking with his staff and getting into another stalemate.

"It's useless to try and trap Nue." Tanuki spoke through the beast, laughing loudly. The creature's eyes then focused on Jiraiya: "Trying to enter Sage Mode I see. A bit late for that. You're not going to get the opportunity!"

"You'll have to get through me first!" Chōza said sharply, pushing back against the beast.

"And me!" Gamabunta hissed as it rushed to Nue and stabbed the creature with his tantō again.

Nue, however, did not react to Gamabunta's attack, nor was it failing to push back on Chōza. From the creature's mouth, the sound of Tanuki's laughter grew louder-and-louder.

"Neither of you are hardly presenting a challenge for my masterpiece! Watch and observe as Nue rips you all to shreds-"

"Sage Art: Fire Style: Sea of Flames!"

Within seconds, a massive firestorm rushed through the air towards Nue's body. The creature finally shrieked loudly in pain as it was forced to jump backwards. Blue fire remained on the beast for a moment before blackish-purple energy formed on the creature's body and extinguished the flames.

As Nue finally recovered and began looking for its assailant, Mitarashi Anko jumped into the battle, landing directly next to Chōza and Gamabunta.

"Yo." She waved, her eyes focusing on the creature: "Don't mind me. Just here to help out."

"Anko…" Gamabunta pursed his lips for a moment before chuckling slightly: "Not used to seeing a Snake Clan summoner coming to my aid, but I suppose I can get used to it." His eyes then narrowed on the woman, noting the aura around her, as well as the minor snake-like changes to her appearance: "You are in Sage Mode?"

"Yup." She nodded her head.

"It appears like your attack worked well. It actually seems to have affected that beast." Chōza noted.

'Perhaps it's because of Sage Mode?' Gamabunta's eyes widened: 'Perhaps Senjutsu is the secret to defeating it!' A chuckle escaped his lips as he turned his attention back to Jiraiya: 'Alright Jiraiya, hurry the hell up with your Sage Mode."

"Mitarashi Anko…" Tanuki growled out from Nue's body: "Your presence is unwelcomed, but I suppose it gives me another chance to compare my research to the Sage Mode of a summoning clan."

With another defiant growl, Nue charged forward once more.


'Where is he?'

Hyūga Hiashi made his way throughout Kumogakure until he reached the business district, doing his best to avoid the crossfires of various battles. He tried to keep his focus on searching for a 'dark' chakra source similar to the presence of Nue in the distance.

'I would imagine that Tanuki must be somewhere nearby to it. I am sure his connection to his summon is better the closer he is.' Hiashi noted as his Byakugan studied the contents of every building he came across. A scowl developed on his face as he looked through each building: '… I feel like I should be able to see it from a distance, even if faint. That damn blinding light jutsu from Tsumiki Kido is still affecting me somewhat, I imagine.'

Hiashi continued to push forward, gritting his teeth as he focused on scanning the streets of the business district. As he made his way through the streets, he saw two large chakra sources nearby.

The first belonged to Hosshin, the Yotsuki Clan shinobi that he, Hinata, and Neji had met with not too long ago.

The second, however, belonged to an Edo Tensei: a tanned-skin man wearing the Kumogakure shinobi uniform. The man had a black goatee and had small trace of black hair poking out of the bandages her wore over his head. He also wore a Kumo forehead protector over his right eye.

'That man… it can't be…' Hiashi's eyes widened for a moment before he scowled: '… It seems the Akatsuki felt it right to bring forth all the filth possible in hopes of improving their chances with this invasion.'

The Hyūga Clan Head had intended on ignoring the skirmish, but with his Byakugan, he noticed the Edo Tensei's body stiffen momentarily before it turned to face his direction. It then started running towards him.

'… I must have stepped foot in range to be sensed. Damn.' Hiashi scowled as he turned his head in time. He then extended his right hand forward: "Eight Trigrams Mountain Crusher!"

Hiashi unleashed a massive burst of chakra just as the Edo Tensei jumped into the battlefield. The man proceeded to side-step the attack just in time before he clapped his hands together, running through six hand signs.

"Ninja Art: Neon Beacon!"

Within seconds, a blinding light made from a mixture of colors – red, blue, and green – filled the area.

'Another blinding jutsu? And this one's even worse than Kido's!' Hiashi cursed as he closed his eyes for a moment, deactivating his Byakugan.

When he opened his eyes, the neon lights around were still affecting him, but not to the same extent. Instead of being completely blind, he was able to see the figure of the Edo Tensei summon rushing towards him, a kunai gripped in his hand. Hiashi immediately side-stepped just in time before slamming his palm against the Edo Tensei's palm, forcing him to drop the kunai.

"Hyūga Hiashi, huh? This really is some twisted irony, running into you here like this." The Edo Tensei noted, shaking his head.

"Trust me, I had no desire to ever see you again, Yotsuki Kashikoi." Hiashi stated sharply, staring intently at the former 'Head Ninja' of Kumogakure – the man who had attempted to kidnap Hinata.

"You and me both. And you just happened to interrupt my reunion with my son." Kashikoi grumbled, his hands tightening: "Unfortunately for the both of us, the asshole who revived me has my body on auto-pilot to fight the strongest opponent in my general area. Guess in this moment that's you."

"I suppose your subconscious must register that fact rather vividly." Hiashi noted as he tightened his stance: "After all, I stopped you once before. I can do it again."

"Bah, I'm not so certain you'll be able to do it so easily this time." Kashikoi said, shaking his head: "I will confess you got the jump on me and killed me rather easily, but in a straight fight like this? Hiashi-san, you don't stand a ghost of a chance against me." He then ran through the same six hand signs as before: "Ninja Art: Neon Beacon!"

Once again, the area around Hiashi was colored with an even brighter mixture of colors as neon gas filled the air. The Hyūga Clan head hissed as he jumped backwards, Kashikoi once again becoming nothing more than a blur in his vision. As he tried to concentrate on the Edo Tensei, however, a voice screamed in his head.

"Hiashi, help me!"

"Hizashi?" Hiashi's eyes widened at the sound of his brother's voice, sounding panicked and afraid. He took in a deep breath as he tried to ignore the voice: 'Only a genjutsu, calm yourself-'

"Why couldn't you just restrain him? I'm being tortured here, brother! Please! Save me!"

Hizashi's scream grew louder in his mind, causing Hiashi's body to start to twitch. His breathing grew heavier, which only caused the screams of his brother to grow louder-and-louder.

He could see a figure rushing towards him once more, barely. Hiashi side-stepped and attempted to block the strike once more again with his palm, but his strike missed Kashikoi. The Edo Tensei then turned back and stabbed him, connecting to his chest.

"Urk!" Hiashi gasped in response, blood starting to pour from his wound as his hand reached forward with his right hand, grabbing onto the Edo Tensei's hand, preventing him from digging the kunai deeper into his wound. He then channeled chakra into his left hand as he held out it directly in front of himself: "Eight Trigrams Mountain Crusher!"

Hiashi blasted Kashikoi's Edo Tensei body with an enhanced blast of chakra head on, using his right hand to also hold Kashikoi's body still. The chakra blast connected with the body head-on, hitting it with enough force that Kashikoi's body imploded, scattering body parts.

Upon the destruction of the body, the neon gas in the air started to fade away. Hiashi finally stopped hearing the screams of Hizashi, causing him to sign in relief. He activated his Byakugan as he began to assess his wound.

'Stopped him from stabbing any deeper and reaching my heart. Good timing on my part. As it is right now, it's actually superficial enough that I can safely remove it.' Hiashi noted, finally pulling the kunai out. He winced as he began to bleed more before his attention moved towards Kashikoi's body parts, which began to slowly come together. His eyes narrowed as he extended both his palms just as the body came together once-more.

"Eight Trigrams Vacuum Wall Palm!"

"Ninja Art: Neon Lasers!"

Hiashi unleashed a massive vacuum palm from his hands just as Kashikoi reformed. The Edo Tensei, in response, brought his hands together before creating a laser of greenish-blue light that collided with Hiashi's vacuum wave. The jutsu clashed against one another as both shinobi fell into a stalemate.

"Even that laser is blinding…" Hiashi's Byakugan twitched and watered as the Hyūga Clan head was forced to cancel his dōjutsu once more.

"Starting to see why in a straight-up match, I'd be a bad match for you?" Kashikoi asked: "These techniques are my invention after I tried to make a replacement of the lasers of Storm Release, using neon gas and liquid as the basis. Neon's a pretty bad counter to someone like you, who heavily uses your eyes."

"And in addition to the blinding element, your neon gas is also about to send someone into a genjutsu, yes?" Hiashi asked, gritting his teeth: "I'm surprised you even knew what happened to Hizashi to have done such a specific genjutsu."

"I told you I just ran into my son, yes? He mentioned the aftermath of my death on both our clans." Kashikoi answered.

The two shinobi grew quiet as they focused on their jutsu, trying to overpower one another. As Kashikoi's neon laser continued to collide with Hiashi's vacuum palm, the Hyūga Clan head was exposed to more-and-more blinding light. His eyes started to twitch rapidly. He closed his eyes just as they began starting to bleed, but he took in a deep breath as he remained focus on his own jutsu.

"For what it's worth, I am sorry about what happened to your brother." Kashikoi stated, frowning. He noticed Hiashi's hands tighten as his 'vacuum palm' grew stronger. The Edo Tensei bit his lip as he poured more chakra into his neon laser, making it stronger: "I'm sure that's the last thing you want to hear from me, but it is the truth. I may curse you for killing me, but I understand why you did. I would have done the same to anyone who would dare try to lay a hand on my Hosshin. I'm… surprised that Raikage-sama tried to use my death in such a way."

"Your 'Raikage-sama' ordered you to kidnap my daughter and you are surprised to hear how he tried to strongarm my clan and get me killed?" Hiashi snorted in response: "I know there's 'following orders' and blind faith in one's commanders, but you are a special kind of naïve, Yotsuki Kashikoi."

"… Maybe so." Kashikoi sighed in response: "Perhaps my willingness to take such a mission is an indictment of the Major Shinobi Village system as a whole-"

"I'm not here to debate philosophy and politics with a walking corpse." Hiashi stated sharply, shaking his head: "I'm here to fulfill a mission, and right now, you're in my way. So for the last time, get out my way!"

With a deep breath, Hiashi channeled more chakra into his vacuum palm, finally overpowering Kashikoi's neon lasers. The vacuum palm connected with his body, tearing it into it once more and splitting him apart once more. Once again, the neon in the air faded away, allowing Hiashi to open his eyes once again. His hands went to the blood, wiping it away as he started to move towards the man's severed body parts.

'I need to constrain it fast before the Edo Tensei reforms-'

Before the Hyūga could do anything, Yotsuki Hosshin rushed into the battlefield, holding a scroll. Just as Kashikoi's body began to reform once more, his son finished unraveling the scroll and surrounded the man's body with it.

"Hmm." Hiashi crossed his arms, staring at the Yotsuki: "You are proficient in fūinjutsu?"

"Proficient is the wrong word, but I was taught how to seal away Edo Tensei by your Hokage, along with other Kumo, Kiri, Iwa, and Suna shinobi." Hosshin answered before his eyes narrowed on his father. He took a deep breath before tears started to form: "Heh… I can't believe Hyūga Hiashi interrupted my reunion with you. Even to this day, he's still taking you away from me."

"Heh." Kashikoi snorted in response, before shaking his head: "Jokes aside, though, leave him alone, Hosshin. He's as much a victim of this circumstance as you are."

Hosshin was quiet in response to his father's words. He reached for the final sealing paper before turning his head to Hiashi.

"Thank you for handling my father like that, but I'll finish the sealing process by myself if you please. Whatever objective you had, please return to that." Hosshin said.

Hiashi nodded his head in response before turning back and continuing on his path to find Tanuki. As the Hyūga Clan began to leave, Kashikoi's eyes focused on the retreating figure.

'… This whole thing is a nightmare, but I suppose I should be somewhat grateful, all things considered. I was able to get some closure about that kidnapping incident…' He then turned his head to face Hosshin: '… And I was able to see the kind of man Hosshin has become.'

Kashikoi smiled as he watched his son choke through goodbyes before he was finally sealed away, able to return to the afterlife in peace.


"Damn… you…" One of Oyashiro's minions hissed as he fell to the ground.

Uchiha Sasuke looked down at his opponent, making sure he was dead. Once he confirmed that, he turned his attention to Kiba, Akamaru, and Sakura, his Mangekyō Sharingan staring intently at Kiba.

"You still haven't found Itachi?" He asked.

Both Kiba and Akamaru shook their heads in response, a whine escaping Akamaru's lips.

"I'm wondering if Edo Tensei summons have any particular scent. I've been trying to find a single one, but I haven't really noticed anything from them." Kiba admitted, frowning: "I mean, the Sandaime Raikage had the smell of no one in particular, and I got a good look at him back when we were up at the front!"

The former members of Team Seven had been on the lookout throughout Kumo, looking for any signs of Uchiha Itachi. While Sasuke would be the first to admit it was an emotional move, the decision did have logic behind on it; Itachi was one of the biggest threats Akatsuki could revive as an Edo Tensei, and it would be imperative to neutralize him.

The group had hoped that Kiba's and Akamaru's strong sense of smell would be able to identify Itachi amongst the enemies. Unfortunately, the Edo Tensei's did not have any identifying scent that distinguished them from living shinobi. As a result, the three shinobi proceeded to wander the village, fighting off any enemies they found while still looking for Itachi.

"I guess there's a chance they never brought him here." Sakura said, sighing. "We're wasting time. We need to focus on the actual objective."

"No, I know he's here. Akatsuki wouldn't waste a resource like him!" Sasuke said, biting his lip. Sakura frowned in response, which caused him to sigh: "… But you're right. Looking for him is a waste. We need to-"

Akamaru growled, interrupting Sasuke. Kiba shared a look with his dog for a moment before he took a step forward, sniffing in the same direction that Akamaru was staring in.

"Yeah, I recognize that scent, though." Kiba noted: "Those Iwa guys aren't too far from here."

"Iwa guys? You mean Kurogane Risho and his teammate…" Sakura closed her eyes in thought before a name came to her: "Yowamusi Roto? You mean those two?"

"Yeah. They're fighting someone. Someone's that doing a good job, cause their scents are mixed with blood." Kiba frowned. Akamaru barked in response, which caused Kiba's frown to turn into a smirk as he cracked his knuckles: "Well, guess I got to bail out some Iwa punks! Hope you guys don't mind me hurrying ahead, but these guys are going to need some help!"

With those words, Kiba hurried off ahead. Sasuke and Sakura stood still for a moment as their third teammate rushed off.

"Hmph. Kiba rushing off to help out the same Iwa shinobi that nearly killed him in the Chūnin Exams, not even waiting for us?" Sasuke noted with a chuckle: "Guess it's a sign he's grown."

"I'd hope so." Sakura giggled in response, before her face grew serious: "We should follow, though. In case if something happens."

Sasuke nodded his head: "Right-"

"Finally, there you are!"

Both Sasuke's and Sakura's eyes widened in response at the sound of the voice. Before they could move, two sets of snakes rushed forward towards each shinobi. Sasuke managed to jump away in time, but Sakura was grabbed around the waist by the other set of snakes, tying around her arms as well as they pulled her down to the ground. She grit her teeth in response as she tried to break free.

Sasuke's eyes narrowed, following the snakes all the way to the man they were connected to. His Mangekyō Sharingan flared upon seeing an Edo Tensei approaching them.

"That…" Sakura grit her teeth as she struggled to free herself: "That's the man who attacked us all those years ago in the Forest of Death. That's-"

"Orochimaru." Sasuke scowled.

"I can see that you've grown stronger, Sasuke-kun. Your Sharingan has evolved. I cannot wait to claim it as my own." Orochimaru stated. His eyes then moved from Sasuke's face to the sealed cursed mark on his neck: "However, there's something I'm after more!"

On cue with his words, Sasuke's body twitched in pain. His curse mark began to throb heavily, causing him to bring his right hand to his neck.

"Kehehehe, it's finally time. Today's the day I make my return to the land of the living!" Orochimaru: "Now, do me a favor, Sasuke-kun and stand still!"

With those words, Orochimaru charged forward at Sasuke and Sakura.


Katsumi, Kanji, and Hanabi all tensed-up as Aoi rushed them, the Raijin no Ken crackling. Kanji took in a deep breath as he made a hand sign, revealing signs on his and his teammates' bodies.

"Fūinjutsu: Protective Winds!"

The seals activated, releasing a flurry of winds that formed a protective barrier around their bodies.

"Is that it? Some shitty gusts of wind?" Aoi snorted, his grip on his sword growing tighter: "Allow me to show me how useless that such a technique really is!"

Aoi rushed towards Kanji and swung the Raijin no Ken directly at him. The sword crossed with the protective wind barrier, facing brief resistance, before the lightning managed to pierce the barrier, causing the winds to scatter.

"Wha-" Kanji's words died as the lightning blade struck at his stomach deep: "ARRGHH!"

The Yamanaka was flown backwards, nearly crashing into the storm cloud around the Dengō Raigō Stadium. Aoi crouched downward, adjusting his grip on 'The Sword of the Thunder God' before he rushed him again.

"Get the hell away from him!" Hanabi hissed as both she and Hebihiro took in a deep breath: "Ninja Art: Poison Fog!"

Both the Hyūga and her snake companion breathed out a large purple cloud of poison from their mouths. The poison smoke connected with the wind barrier around them, propelling the clouds directly at Aoi's body faster than he could move. Within seconds, the green-haired shinobi was surrounded.

"The fu-" Aoi started to cough loudly. A scowl developed on his face as he held up his blade as lightning started to fly from the sword. Within seconds, the poison cloud was dispelled. "Bitch!"

The man disappeared in a flicker before reappearing directly above Hanabi. The Hyūga side-stepped just in time as he fell downward, his sword crashing into the ground. She then jumped backward as the resulting lightning from the crash scattered, narrowly missing her. Aoi scowled as his grip tightened on his blade before he pointed it directly at her.

"Sword of the Thunder God: Rumble and Flash!"

Aoi proceeded to swing the Raijin no Ken, slashing into the air. With each slash of his blade, lightning bolts shot forward from his blade at rapid speeds.

Hanabi tried to jump away in time, but the first lightning bolt struck her in her side. She hissed in pain as she fell to her knees before she was impaled by another bolt, this one piercing her right shoulder.

"Agh!" She began to choke in response.

Aoi grinned in response as he began to swing his sword harder, sending more-and-more bolts of lightning towards her.

"Earth Style: Rising Rock Jutsu!"

As the Hyūga braced herself for the oncoming attack, multiple boulders rose-up from the ground, getting in the way of Aoi's attacks. The lightning bolts shattered each boulder, sending debris flying away everywhere, but in the process, the boulders blocked every one of his attacks.

"Hmph." Aoi scowled as he noticed Katsumi rushing towards him: "You're years away from taking me on, kid!"

"And you're a whole lifetime away from deserving to wield that sword!" Katsumi growled in response as she ran through hand signs.

"Really? Why don't we-" Aoi's words were interrupted as he started to cough loudly. His grip loosened on the Raijin no Ken for a moment. 'What the…' He shook his head, steeling himself once more. "Die!"

Aoi swung the Raijin no Ken forward, creating another thunder bolt that flew forward at Katsumi. The genin, however, managed to side-step it barely. Aoi's eyes widened in response.

'Hanabi's and Hebihiro's poison must be starting to take effect. That one jutsu was slower than his other strikes have been.' Katsumi noted, as she ran through hand signs: 'Perfect. Time for payback then!'

"Earth Style: Stone Golem!"

Katsumi opened her mouth, creating a giant golem of stone from her mouth. The golem rushed forward from her body, attempting to punch at Aoi, but the green-haired shinobi managed to side-step just in time. He then swung his Raijin no Ken at the creature, slicing it to bits with his 'Sword of the Thunder God'.

"This thing again? I'll admit your boulders and shit are good at blocking my technique, but you can't honestly expect to me beat with your Earth Release jutsus, right? Not when I am holding the most powerful tool of Lightning Release in existence!" Aoi noted with a snort.

Katsumi's response was to bring her hands together in the 'Monkey' hand sign: "Earth Style: Boulder Wave!"

The stones of the Earth Golem that Aoi just cut to shreds started to rise-upwards, pelting him from various angles. The green-haired man was unable to jump away as he found himself caught-up in a whirlwind of stones impaling him. More bruises and cuts formed on his body.

"Bitch… fucking bitch!" He growled, tightening his grip on Raijin no Ken: "Don't mock me!"

Another shockwave of electricity rushed out from his body, crashing into each of the stones and causing them to fall apart into dust. He then turned his head towards Katsumi, who had opened her mouth once again, creating another stone golem.

"Make as many of those damn golem as you want!" Aoi grit his teeth: "Waste whatever chakra you got left as I tear them to pieces once again-"

"Mind Destruction Jutsu!"

Aoi's body froze for a moment as he dropped the Raijin no Ken once more . Kanji had pulled himself up, blood pouring from an open wound in his stomach. The Yamanaka was breathing heavily and appeared to be struggling to remain standing, but he kept his hands locked in place, looking directly at Aoi intently.

"Katsumi, I don't know how long I'll be able to hold him down! Finish him!" He shouted.

'Hanabi's poison slowing down his abilities to push back against Kanji's mind techniques like he used to…' Katsumi nodded her head in response as she clapped her hands together: "Right, let's finish this!"

"Give up!" Aoi growled out as he struggled against Kanji's control: "Th-This didn't work the last time! It won't work now!"

Kanji's breathing grew heavier: "Katsumi, hurry!"

"Earth Style: Stone Golem Technique: Stone Prayer!"

Katsumi released more stone from her mouth that combined with the stone golem, increasing its size. Within seconds, the golem was now standing over sixteen feet.

"No… I refuse!" Aoi's eyes widened as he began to pump chakra throughout his body: "I… I refuse! I'm an elite jōnin of Amegakure! I'm one of Pain-sama's elite! I REFUSE to die at the hands of pitiful Konoha genin!"

With a loud shout, Aoi sent a burst of chakra throughout his body that finally freed him from Kanji's control. The Yamanaka, in response, fell to the ground, exhaustion taking over his body.

Before Aoi could do anything with his newly found freedom, the stone golem brought its palms together, completely crushing his body. A few seconds passed by before the Stone Golem opened its palms, revealing the splattered remains of Rokushō Aoi.

Katsumi's attention remained solely on Aoi's body. She inched slowly, maintaining the stone golem's figure as she waited to confirm her thoughts. As seconds passed by and she got a close-up at the fully crushed corpse, she knew for certain that there was no trick; Aoi was dead. She took a deep breath, finally canceling her jutsu, causing the stone golem to crumble into dirt.

"We… We did it. Finally." She sighed as she reached downward, grabbing the Raijin no Ken next to Aoi's remains. The lightning receded, turning back into a hilt once more, but the sword appeared to be unscathed somehow: "Guess Nidaime-sama's sword would be pretty resilient, huh? We cam return this back to Konoha where it belongs."

"You… alright… Katsumi?" Kanji asked as he pulled himself up, walking slowly towards her.

A few seconds passed by before the Yamanaka fell to his knees. Before he could fully fall to the ground, however, Katsumi rushed to his side. He fell onto her back, causing her to wince slightly.

"I'm fine. Heavily injured and very chakra drained, but fine." Katsumi noted. "It's you, Hanabi, and Ebisu-sensei I'm-"

Both Katsumi's and Kanji's eyes widened in response to her words: "Ebisu-sensei!"

The two turned their attention towards Ebisu. Hanabi, having recovered from Aoi's final attack on her, had hurried over to Ebisu's body, dripping blood along the way. She was now lying on the ground, tending to his wounds with her medical ninjutsu. Katsumi rushed over to her side, carrying Kanji along the way.

"Is… Is he okay?" She asked.

"H-He's barely alive! But he won't be for long!" She exclaimed, her eyes moving back-and-forth: "I c-can stall his death though! K-Katsumi-san, please go and find any available medic! Any!"

Katsumi nodded her head: "R-Right-"

"Please… don't."

The three Konoha genin turned their attention towards Ebisu. The jōnin-sensei of Konohagakure Team Six smiled at them, a small trail of blood dripping from his lips.

"Ebisu-sensei, please don't speak! It's only making it worse!" Hanabi pleaded, shaking her head: "J-Just focus all of your energy on your own recovery! I… I c-can keep you alive until a better medic comes-"

"Hanabi-san… y-you can see my internal organs, right?" Ebisu asked, chuckling slightly. He proceeded to choke-up some blood in response, which caused Hanabi to press her chakra-covered hands on his chest tighter: "Y-You should know it's too late to do anything."

"No! It's not!" She shook her head, biting her lip. Tears started to fall from her eyes as she shook her head: "Just wait-"

"Please. Preserve your… chakra…" Ebisu choked more-and-more blood. His light brown eyes flickered back-and-forth from the three genin as a smile developed on your face: "Beating a jōnin… all on your own… what marvelous students Naruto-san was gifted with. I know… you three will be destined for great things."

"Ebisu-sensei, Hanabi's right!" Katsumi stated, shaking her head. "Please stop talking and focus-"

Katsumi's words died on her lips as she felt a squeeze on her shoulder. She adjusted her head to look at Kanji. The Yamanaka had a solemn look on his face as he shook his head.

The civilian-born shinobi immediately started to shake: "No… Don't…"

"If you may… please… do me a favor… tell Moegi, Udon, and Konohamaru I'm sorry… for dying like this. Tell Konohamaru… I'm sorry if I overstepped in our last talk… I'm sure he'll understand…" Ebisu's eyes slowly started to close: "And for one last favor… please… survive this hellish invasion…"

With those words, Ebisu finally closed his eyes. Hanabi finally stopped channeling her chakra and proceeded to loudly sob into his chest. Katsumi bent down to the ground next to her, bringing Kanji alongside her, tears in both their eyes.

The genin of Team Nine knew they could not afford to stay still for long in the middle of the invasion; they had an objective they still needed to accomplish. Nevertheless, they took a few seconds to mourn the life of one of Konoha's finest jōnin-sensei.


"So, if there's a hidden Rinnegan wielder that's reviving the others, that one needs to be the priority. Otherwise, this battle will never end." Utakata noted, bringing his hand to his chin. "One of us needs to kill it before it can revive the three that Naruto and Yugito-san just managed to defeat."

"Fū, you said it's hiding in the stadium?" Han asked. Fū nodded her head, which caused the Gobi jinchūriki to stiffen: "Then, allow me to rush in and kill it-"

"Banshō Ten'in!"

Han's body stiffened immediately before it flew through the air directly towards the Deva Path Pain's body. Konan stood next to the Deva Path, holding out her hand as paper began to form and spiral around her head, forming a sharp disc.

"Paper Chakram!"

Konan launched the paper chakram directly at Han's floating body. The Gobi jinchūriki's surrounded itself in steam, forming a protective barrier around himself. The chakram then redirected itself, instead flying through the outer edges of the steam, cutting it to pieces.

'What? This jutsu is paper, isn't it? My steam should melt the paper!' Han's eyes widened as he watched the paper chakram slowly tear through the steam around him. He tried to move his body around, but Pain's 'Banshō Ten'in' technique was still preventing his body from moving: 'Dammit!'

Before he could do anything, the paper chakram had finally pierced his steam barrier, creating an opening to his body. Immediately, the weapon flew toward his body, digging into his chest like a saw. He choked up blood in response.

"Han-nii!" Naruto called out.

"Such a… lethal technique…" Han managed to choke-out as the paper chakram dug itself further his body. His eyes briefly focused on Konan: 'And this is with the bijū cloak activated, enhancing my steam. How strong is her paper?'

'Keep him immobile for a little longer.' Konan's eyes briefly flickered over to the Deva Path Pain before narrowing once again on Han: 'Just a little longer and I should be able to incapacitate-'

"WHEEEE!"

Using one of his octopus tentacle-like tails as a springboard, Killer Bee launched himself forward at Konan and Pain with rapid speeds, his body spiraling towards both of them.

"Fūinjutsu: Octopus Hold!"

Bee's tails released ink that flew towards Konan and the Deva Path. Both tried to move away in time, but Bee's jutsu connected faster than they could react and blotches of ink touched their skin.

Instantly, the ink began to travel up their bodies. Konan tried to move, but the ink was already starting to heavily affect her movements. The Deva Path also became similarly constricted, but seemingly had no reaction to the ink traveling up its body.

In response to the ink traveling Pain's body, Han was finally released from the Banshō Ten'in. The man proceeded to run off into the stadium bleachers, looking for the hidden Pain.

"Your main jutsus use paper, so hopefully you won't be a hater. But it's only natural mine stick around glue. Ink on paper is natural, it's only true." Bee noted, smirking.

'This technique functions like sealing.' Konan said, scowling: 'Even a single drop was enough to immobilize. What a careless mistake-'

"Shinra Tensei!"

A gravitational force rushed through the area, connecting with both the Deva Path's and Konan's body, sending the ink flying off of them. The ink splattered on the ground around them, no longer restricting them. Konan immediately flew into the air as Bee glared up at her.

"Okay, that ain't fair, ya fool! Relying on your partner's gravity is bull, ya fool!" He called out as he quickly turned his head towards the Deva Path and charged forward: "Getting real sick of your gravity, so let me leave you in agony!"

Bee charged at Pain, but the Deva Path jumped away in time. Bee's eyebrow raised slightly.

'There's got to be a reason he switches between using his grs avity jutsu and trying to dodge.' Bee wondered. 'At the rate he's been spamming his techniques, I doubt it's a chakra issue. It must be something else. Maybe a charge time?'

The Deva Path remained focused on Killer Bee before he abruptly turned around in time, blocking a cocoon-covered fist from Fū. The Nanabi jinchūriki's eyes narrowed.

"Think you've got good reflexes, huh? Let's see you dodge this!" Fū shouted as the cocoon-strings around her fist unraveled themselves into individual strings that connected to the Deva Path's body. They immediately stuck onto its body like puppet chakra strings.

The Preta Path began to rush over, and Konan flew down towards Fū, flapping her wings and creating a barrage of paper needles that flew directly at her. The Nanabi jinchūriki ignored both, however, as she focused on the string that connected to the Deva Path.

"Seven-Tailed String Blast!"

The strings detonated, creating an explosion that sent the Deva Path Pain backwards, burning off parts of its cloak around its stomach and chest. It continued to fly backwards until the Preta Path managed to jump and catch it in its arms.

Before Fū could continue to rush after the two Paths of Pain, the Paper Drizzle managed to connect with her body. The needles skewered her, piercing her armor and covering her body with major injuries. Blood started to drip from her body as she flew backwards, getting out of Konan's onslaught.

"Dammit!" She growled.

"No need to be upset, Fū. You covered a lot of ground for us already!" Rōshi called-out as he charged forward.

The Yonbi jinchūriki was followed alongside by Gaara, Yugito, Yagura, and Utakata. Rōshi's fist was covered in lava, Gaara gripped the Spear of Shukaku tightly in his hand, Yugito's claws sharpened, Yagura gripped his hook tightly, and Utakata brought his pipe to his lips. As the five jinchūriki rushed towards him, Pain held out his right hand.

"Shinra Tensei!"

A massive gravitational force rushed around Pain's body, propelling each jinchūriki backwards with enough force that all five crashed into different segments of the stadium wall's, bringing down some of the bleachers onto their bodies.

'And there it is again!' Killer Bee's eyes lit-up: 'That's it, that's it! There's gotta be a cooldown for that thing!'

"It hurts worse each time…" Yagura grit his teeth as he pulled himself off the ground.

"If you think that hurts, then just you wait to see what I got in store for you!"

The Sanbi jinchūriki steadied himself in time to see Kisame standing directly above him. Before he could react, the 'Seven Swordsman of the Mist' member kicked Yagura in the chest, sending him flying further inside the stadium, creating a hole as he crashed into an inner room.

"Hey Pain, Konan, if Tobi is really going to be out, then let me also take a moment to step away for a bit." Kisame said with a grin as he took a step forward into the hole: "I got a grudge match to win and a turtle to beat into unconsciousness!"

Neither Pain nor Konan responded as they watched Kisame hurry behind Yagura. They then turned their heads towards the remaining jinchūriki, who had managed to regroup together once more, just as the ground underneath their feet opened up. Within seconds, Kabuto rose from the ground.

"I got your other bodies to the Naraka Path in time and guarded it while it revived them." Kabuto told the Deva Path. "They'll be here in a moment-"

"I'm aware." Pain spoke, the Deva Path closing its eyes for a moment: "However-"

"Boil Style: Steam Cataclysm!"

"Summoning Jutsu!"

A massive explosive sounded throughout the stadium bleachers as steam rushed through the air. Smoke quickly appeared alongside the steam as the giant drill-beaked bird flew away from the bleachers, with the Animal Path, Asura Path, and Human Path flying on it. The bird flew above the remaining Pains, Konan, and Kabuto for a moment before the recently-revived Pains jumped down, joining their allies.

As the steam finally subsided, Han jumped from the bleachers, landing on the ground alongside the other jinchūriki. The Iwa jōnin gripped the body of the Naraka Path in his hand, which had a hole straight through its chest where its heart would have been, its body completely covered in burns.

"So, this thing was how you were bringing back the other Rinnegan users, hmm?" Han asked before he finally dropped the Naraka Path. It remained motionless for a moment before Han stepped forward, slamming his foot into its stomach. Steam began to rapidly release from his foot as the body began to slowly melt away: "Well Pain, I'd like to see how effective you are without your ability to keep coming back to life."

"I will confess, I did not want the Naraka Path to die, but that doesn't change anything." Pain spoke through his Deva Path: "You are all putting forth a marvelous effort, but it does not matter. In the end, you all will fall and we will be close to creating peace."

"Peace?" Naruto snorted in response: "Trying to hunt us down is 'peace'? Invading Taki and brainwashing Yagura to destroy Mizu no Kuni is 'peace'? This invasion right here in Kumo is 'peace'?" The Uzumaki cracked his knuckles: "You're delusional; just shut the hell up!"

Pain chuckled in response as the Preta Path began to speak: "Our methods may appear contradictory, but I assure you, our goal is to establish peace. Your deaths will serve as the catalyst for it."

"You're still so certain of all this? How?" Rōshi asked, his eyes narrowed: "In case you haven't noticed, you were dealt a major blow to your power!" He pointed to the Animal, Asura, and Human Paths: "We already killed those three before and your method of reviving them is now gone. We'll just kill them again. We clearly have the upper hand in this!"

"Do you, now?" Pain spoke as the Deva Path clapped its hands.

Konan's eyes widened: "Pain, are you certain of this?"

"The one thing the Yonbi jinchūriki is right about is that they have been matching us more than I would like. It's about time we turn the tables in this fight." Pain spoke through the Human Path.

'This chakra…' Kabuto's eyes widened: 'What jutsu are you planning, Pain? Have you really not shown the full extent of your capabilities yet?'

In response to Kabuto's internal question, the Deva Path pulled its hands apart, creating a black orb.

"Chibaku Tensei!"


Author's Note: Hey! Chapter 124 is here! :)

I really don't have the time for a long author's note; I wanted to get this chapter out before I had to go into work, cause I have been trying to get this chapter out now the past week since all I had to do was write one scene, but I never got a chance to finish it because of how busy life has been throughout the latter half of May.

... Sigh. But whatever. It's up now, thankfully. And I hope you all enjoyed the chapter! :) I promise 125 will be faster. Especially as we get closer and closer to the end of the invasion arc! I hope it's still living up to the hype. Thank you all so much for your time and I hope you all enjoyed! I'll see you when the next chapter is up and ready. Until then :)