Chapter Forty-six

Ever since the last war Iwa had been dreading the day that Konoha ever got the chance to have that kind of advantage over them again. Sure there were some who claimed that the Yellow Flash was a one time phenomenon, much like how Hashirama was the only recorded Senju to have the mokuton, but more were unwilling to take that chance. After all, Hashirama was the only recorded Senju with the mokuton, and anything that could happen once could happen twice if given enough time. So Iwa had to prepare themselves against the second coming of a hiraishin user, their only chance of advantage being more prepared before that second coming came.

Fighting fire with fire was the obvious choice but sadly not one that was available to them. In Iwa the art of fuinjutsu was essentially extinct, no one knew how to make anything more complicated than a storage scroll. They didn't use seals for security or containing prisoners, feeling that would only make their own guard ninja less resilient in their posts, nor did they use them to strengthen or reinforce their weapons. They preferred to fight the more natural way of the ninja, forcing them to be more resolved, resourceful, and steadfast. The only time they ever used fuinjutsu was in creating a new jinchuuriki, and even then they preferred to abduct a seal master from another village and force them to do the sealing under threat of agonizing death. So far it had worked and if it works why not continue it?

The only downside so far was that if any villager did take an interest in fuinjutsu, they had little to learn from and once revealed little privacy left. Iwa's overall policy seemed to be that they only really one seal master, so once one was found that person was essentially trapped in that role. That person would be expected to provide any and all seals that were needed, and in time be expected to be the creator of the next jinchuuriki should a spare seal master not be available. The jinchuuriki part they didn't take lightly, they've had a novice do it before and that led to disaster. Iwa learned from that mistake and weren't going to do it again.

So without seals, the only options left for Iwa to fight Konoha back that they were willing to use were battle strategy, improved armor, and new jutsu. If they couldn't beat Namikaze at his own game, they'd just have to endure what he threw at them and hit him harder than he could hit them. That should work, that was essentially the Will of Stone in a nutshell to many people. They did everything they could, reinforce the perimeter defense, make full body armor out of stronger metal much like they had in Snow Country, and experimenting with every dangerous jutsu they could imagine, from bombs to magma and even tar and iron. If Namikaze was going to come for them, he was going to have to earn his victory this time.

Then the day came, when one of their scouts managed to alert the tsuchikage of Namikaze on the move with an army in tow. This was it, the day they had prepared for, and the entire village went into high alert. Several retired shinobi actually came out of retirement for this battle. Students at the Iwa Academy asked to be included too, though this was the one time Oonoki put his foot down and refused. Platoons of ninja were stationed everywhere along the only roads in or out of the village, traps and alarms were set down the road to slow the enemy down and alert Iwa when triggered, and the flying shinobi patrolled everywhere as a final precaution. There was no way Namikaze was going to surprise them this time.

There was just one thing that Iwa hadn't been prepared for, Namikaze taking the direct approach from the south with an army of the undead. The scouts and patrollers that saw this first could not believe their eyes and tried to break a genjutsu they were certain was affecting them. That action made them vulnerable for several long ranged attacks by unseen puppet users from Suna, hitting them with poisoned kunai and senbon from afar. Several went down, not immediately dead, and those that weren't hit immediately tried a counterattack. They fired explosives at the ninja, but the Edo Tensei ninja took the brunt of the blast, and quickly put themselves back together afterwards. The scouts tried again with identical results, and from behind several Inuzuka including Tsume ripped into their bodies actually taking their organs out from the back.

At the second checkpoint the Iwa shinobi knew something had to be wrong if Namikaze's forces had made it through, so a couple flew off directly towards Iwa to have the village ready to counter while some remained. Those that did attacked with magma, practically flooding the only pass through the mountain that was usable in this area. The undead shinobi took this attack and to the horror of the Iwa nin they regenerated and pressed on. They put out more and more magma, certain that these undead couldn't regenerate forever. Sadly the Edo Tensei was practically a real life cheat code so the zombies could keep going on and on. With that not working the Iwa nin used different jutsu to cool down the magma and turn it into rock. If they couldn't eliminate the undead, maybe they could trap them.

Amazingly, that actually worked. The Edo Tensei nin were trapped in solid stone, some up to their waist and some up to their chins but all immobile. Those with free hands tried long range jutsu, but the real game changer happened when the reanimated versions of Tsunade, Orochimaru, and Jiraiya showed up with summons. Jiraiya had to substitute Gamabunta with another toad but the results were the same. The Iwa nin didn't last a minute against the burning oil, acidic sprays, and serpent attacks, then Tsunade freed the trapped ninja by punching the cooled magma.

Iwa had more defenses but Konoha pushed past them all, inevitably reaching the hidden village itself. Iwa's homefield forces put up a defense and offense that would rival that of the Sandaime Raikage. They spared nothing, throwing anything and everything at the invading army. The Edo Tensei forces took all the hits and dared Iwa to keep it coming. From a distance the living nin, both Konoha and Suna, attacked with jutsu, weapons, and puppets, a few taking to the air and those able to use summons doing so. It was a hell of a battle at Iwa's front gates.

Oonoki was in the air, scouting over the field. While he was tempted to unleash his power on these invaders and remind the world yet again why he was still the tsuchikage, he had to conserve his power for one target above all else. He looked around for any flashing lights or streaks of yellow. Any sign that the single most important target was in the area.

What Oonoki didn't know was that Namikaze had already went ahead and flashed around the Iwa forces, unseen in their initial battle frenzy, climbed up the walls around the village, and jumped through the air occasionally summoning toads in midair to use as stepping stones before gravity could pull them down. Keeping the momentum up, Namikaze caught up to the tsuchikage from the one direction he wasn't looking, behind, and jabbed a trikunai into his head to kill him. He also jabbed another trikunai into his back just to be funny.

Oonoki's body plummeted to earth like a heavy stone right where many Iwa ninja could see it, while Namikaze used his hiraishin to land more stably on the ground. The toads had to reverse-summon themselves back home since Namikaze hadn't bothered to.

For a brief moment Iwa's forces were too stunned to keep the fight, giving Konoha and Suna an opportunity to turn the tide. The pause on Iwa's side faded as soon as it came, but the damage was done and Namikaze's forces were pushing them to be more defensive. Many in Iwa got hyper aggressive, bombers throwing explosions without any hint of regard to who got caught in it and magma users practically turning the battlefield into a literal hell on earth. Countless were dying on both sides, even the Edo Tensei forces were struggling to stay in the fight.

It was all out war and Iwa was ready to lose it all to stop Namikaze once and for all. Even if it meant reducing all the stone in Land of Earth into pebbles.

Namikaze snuck back into the village looking for something specific. He knew that as desperate as Iwa was they still had to have a few tricks in reserve. No way they were truly using everything they had from the very beginning. He rushed throughout the village looking for his target and slaughtering everyone who got in his way, be they shinobi, civilian, or even infant. Eventually he found his prize, Iwa's secret stashes of explosives to use in the event an invading force succeeded in breaking in and overpowering the village. If Iwa was going to fall, they were going to take their defeater down with them.

Namikaze however had other ideas in mind.

Moving quickly he took all the explosives, high grade shit that it was, and spread it as much throughout Iwa as he could. At the walls, gates, kage tower, Anbu barracks, academy, hospital, library, even multiple houses just to rub salt in the wound, and set up seal tags designed to remotely rely to each other. He actually didn't have to move around too much, since these were last resort bombs already in place to do serious damage to Iwa in the event of defeat. He left the bulk of the explosives right where they were and spread out most of the extra just for the fun of it.

Once finished, Namikaze burned one of the tags and hiraishined the hell out of Iwa. Within seconds there was one explosion followed by a dozen more, each with the force of a quarter ton of dynamite at minimum. Hundreds of people died instantly, buildings collapsed and tore apart killing more. The battle continued and rather than be demoralized, Iwa's remaining forces went ballistic. They had lost, but like they say a cornered animal is at its most dangerous because it has nothing left to lose.

The battle went on but ended within an hour. Namikaze surprisingly stayed out of the majority of the rest of it, leaving the bulk of the fighting to his subordinates. The Edo Tensei shinobi were the primary factor in ending the battle since they just could not be stopped. Iwa put up a good fight, but in the end it suffered the same fate as Taki and was essentially wiped off the face of the earth.

Night came and the victors were cheering and celebrating. Respects were made to those that had fallen and praises were given to those that had lived. By all accounts Namikaze's forces had lost about a third of their living members, but they still considered this a triumphant to celebrate. After all, both Konoha and Suna had bad blood with Iwa and now that shared enemy was annihilated.

Namikaze's presence was requested by many to receive particular praise, but he went somewhere private with Jiraiya and Tsunade covering for him, ensuring no one would disturb him. His actions had been taxing on his chakra and he needed some time in Myoboku to recover. When he got there and saw the remaining toads, a few less than happy about him literally walking all over them not too long ago, he headed for the pit where he had Mikoto, Sasuke, and Sakura put so they'd think about their insubordination.

Saying he was unhappy to see they were gone was like saying Jiraiya was horny.

"Where did they go?!" He demanded out of the toads unlucky enough to be close by.

"The boy left saying he wanted to find the foxes, and the two girls went after him." The toad answered, shrugging his shoulders before he began to hop to his destination. But Namikaze grabbed him and lifted him up to face level.

"Why didn't you stop them?"

"I wasn't there. Someone else was when it happened."

Namikaze growled and released the toad before going off to the senjutsu training grounds. As much as he wanted to go after those three and put them in their place, he needed to recharge himself more. Though in his frustration, it took a long time before he could probably meditate and reimburse his chakra.

'Damn boy, what was he thinking going to the foxes? Probably thought he could command them to take him to the Uzumaki. Idiot, if it was that easy don't you think I would have already done it? I can only hope Mikoto was able to stop you from getting yourself killed, but then why haven't they returned? Oh well, right now I have to focus on my army. Today raised their morale and I've got to take advantage of that. I just got to decide who's next, Kumo or Akatsuki. Decisions, decisions.'

Kumo's army had crossed the boundary of Land of Lightning and made it into Frost Country. Since their ally Shimogakure was in this country, A figured they might as well offer them a chance to join them in the fight against Konoha. Since the jinchuuriki had disrespected and disobeyed him he was lacking the raw power he had been counted on and had to make up for it somehow.

Shimo didn't have a lot to offer but the leaders agreed to have all their available ninja join Kumo's army for this. A hadn't waited more than an hour after the deal before continuing all, so any Shimo nin not already with them had to catch up.

'Namikaze, you will fall before me and my might.' A told himself proudly. 'The Uzumaki have been helpful, but victory was always meant to be mine, not theirs.'

In the mountains of Land of Earth, Sasori was trekking through one of the passages, using his puppet tools and chakra threads to make it through the tougher areas. Having been once a Suna shinobi, mountainous terrain was not one he was normally accustomed to traversing.

"Hey Sasori, you up for some action?" Deidara asked, coming in for a landing after flying around scouting the terrain.

"Elaborate." Sasori demanded.

"Well, if we keep heading towards Iwa, within a day or so we should be able to intercept Konoha's and Suna's armies. And since you hate waiting, I'm not going to bother asking if you want us to get reinforcements or not. But just for the hell of it, would you prefer we get help or go for it ourselves?"

Sasori looked away and kept going where he was going before.

Deidara shrugged. "I'll take that as option number two." He then followed his partner.

Having ransacked Iwa of everything they could use, Namikaze led his forces away. After they left, Namikaze triggered some remaining explosives to wipe off what was left of his hated rival village off the map completely. Stones, mountains and rocks all came crashing down on the village of Iwa that once stood tall. Now reduced to rumble. The only thing he didn't do was salt the earth or piss on the ashes.

"I feel really good right now. Perhaps I should go to Kumo after all, wipe out another village since I'm on a roll." Namikaze said amusing himself as he and his army marched on, heading to the border of Land of Earth.

While traveling, Namikaze and his forces were unaware that they were being watched. From another peak there were two cloaked beings watching. They could only see the army marching through the mountain passages, unable to make out that many specific details, but the two knew who these people were.

"I can't say I feel sorry for Iwa." Han muttered, standing and looking guarded, as if he expected someone in the army to sense them and head their way. The distance made that unlikely but not impossible.

"I don't mourn our former prison either, but this man is the one we've been warned of and trained to fight all these years my friend." Roshi commented, sitting and looking like he was mimicking meditation more than anything. In truth he was just thinking over what to expect next.

"I say we wait until nightfall and they sleep. We then move in and kill them all." Han recommended.

Roshi shook his head. "That will hurt them, but it will not end them. There is something... strange about this armada."

"You're just being paranoid because it's Konoha." Han remarked.

Roshi shook his head. "No, this is something I can feel in my gut. This enemy has an unnatural advantage."

Han rolled his eyes. Unlike his fellow jinchuuriki, he had never embraced the sagely arts. Roshi had spent the last few years of his freedom getting in touch with the Yonbi and reaching an understanding, even learning a form of monkey senjutsu. Son Goku did not permit his host to go to the monkey region of the summons realm and learn it directly, but he had given the lava user some instructions to get the next best thing. So Roshi was sort of like a monk and a shinobi combined with the ability to sense and decipher natural chakra even if he couldn't use it himself. And right now the natural chakra of the mountains was telling him that Namikaze's forces carried with them a 'disturbance in the force' so to speak.

Han on the other hand had sort of focused on testing his new freedom and what he could do with it. He had been alone at times and tried socializing at other times. Removing his armor and letting others see the man underneath had helped, and apparently he was quite popular with women and men without the armor. Curious and somewhat eager for human interaction, Han had experimented with both, pretty much living like an Icha Icha character without the limits of Jiraiya's personal preferences. One thing Han had not done was bond with Kokuo, mostly due to his own past. Like all jinchuuriki, Han had at one time or another been told he was the demon inside himself, not just the container, and sadly for a time Han had actually believed he was the Gobi trapped in a human's body. He knew better now, but in an effort to prove his own humanity and individuality, he chose not to connect to the bijuu inside himself.

"So then what do you intend to do about it?" Han tested.

Roshi took a deep breath to calm himself to give his fellow comrade a answer. "I have an idea, but it will require preparation. There's going to be a gorge up ahead that should slow them down. Can you keep them occupied and in that one area for about four minutes?"

Han smirked. "And I thought this was going to be a challenge."

In Shobikou, Kushina looked over a table covered with numerous seal examples. Standing beside here was Kuramamaru, Hinata, Shikaku, Shikamaru, Inoichi, Chouza, and Kyuubi, all looking over them with firm expressions of concentration.

"Here's the problem in its most base form. This jutsu that Namikaze is using to reanimate the dead, we don't fully know how it works or what to use against it. But what we do know is that some kind of fuinjutsu is needed to make it work. That's how Namikaze maintains a connection to his servants and can ensure they obey him. And he said that it will continue going even if he's dead. Now, the best tool to use against fuinjutsu is fuinjutsu itself. It's a case where fighting fire with fire is actually the best approach."

"But we don't know what the seal used here is, do we?" Kuramamaru asked.

Kushina shook her head. "No, we don't. That's the problem. Throwing two random fuinjutsu at each other isn't the solution. What we're essentially attempting to do is pick a lock, but we don't know how the lock works or what type of key it uses. The best we can hope for is no result, because we're more likely to just make things worse. The only possible way the first random attempt could actually work would be by complete and total accident."

"So what are these then?" Shikaku asked. "Next best solutions?"

"Yes, if we can't pick the lock then perhaps we can break the safe." Kushina nodded. "What do we know about the Edo Tensei and those affected by it?"

"They still take physical damage, but they recover within moments. Like a healing factor at high speed, even faster than our own." Hinata commented.

"No, it's not so much healing. It's more like repairing. Corpses can't heal, but they can be put back together. What if this jutsu is more 'stitching' them back together after damage?" Kyuubi offered.

Shikaku put a hand on his chin. "This is a type of forbidden jutsu from Taki I know of that works very much like that. A sort of substitute for a healing factor that allows the user to repair their own body and customize it if they have the skill. It has its limits, but perhaps the Edo Tensei can surpass those limits and make more fine tune repairs. So from a basic view, the body of the Edo Tensei puppet looks like it's being healing, but on a smaller, perhaps microscopic level, small chakra threads are putting everything together and stitching it up."

"So in that case, these undead only look healed when in fact they're still damaged. You just can't see the cracks because they're too minute to see." Shikamaru added.

Kushina looked over the seal examples. "In that case, we should try a seal that can dampen chakra usage." Using a pen she put a check mark on each paper that fit that criteria. "Considering that these enemies can still use jutsu, we know they can still use chakra and have some control over how they use it, so even if this theory is wrong this kind of seal should still get results."

"Trapping seals should work too." Kuramamaru spoke up. "I heard from Haku that freezing them didn't kill them but it did keep them immobile. So something that would limit any form of movement would get results. It's not like they're ghosts after all."

Kushina nodded and added more checkmarks.

"What about their minds?" Inoichi asked. "Apparently these Edo Tensei people can still talk and think on their own, at least to some degree. Namikaze can't possibly be doing the thinking for them all, giving them every single command. They still retain some form of autonomy, at least enough to move and fight like they did in life. I'm not sure if their talking or expressing themselves is a natural part of the jutsu or a consequence of something Namikaze did, but it shows he doesn't have absolute control."

"Yeah, they've still got brains, are there seals that can work against them that way?" Chouza added.

"Not impossible, but I don't have any here. Other than the Hyuuga's seal, fuinjutsu designed specifically to cause brain damage or control thoughts are considered illegal." Kushina replied.

"And even if the Caged Bird Seal did work on them and we had someone who knew how to apply it, it takes time to get it on. It's not a quick application process, or at least those that knew how to apply it never did it quickly." Hinata confessed. "I'm pretty sure they drew it out just to add to the suffering. That was why the victim was always made immobile beforehand."

"What about destroying the head?" Kyuubi asked. "I assume that whatever seal is being used here is on the heads of these things. If you destroy it you would destroy the seal and hopefully the body would stay dead since the seal can't keep the jutsu going anymore."

"Possible, but we can't be dependent on that. Besides, that's a lot of specific attacks to make and the enemy will likely learn after we destroyed a few. We need more than one way to hurt them." Shikamaru countered.

Kuramamaru sighed. "It's a shame that we can't just kill Namikaze and get it over with that way."

Everyone nodded then sighed. No one spoke up, none of them having any other ideas to contribute.

Hinata was the first to break the silence. "Hold on, I think I just got an idea. Inoichi-san, can you alter thoughts?"

The Yamanaka head raised an eyebrow. "With time and the freedom to work, yes. But it wouldn't work here."

"Why not?"

"There's a reason I've never been able to use my jutsu to gain us more allies. If I could, years ago I could have gotten into some people's minds and had them turn against Namikaze. But that's not how the mind works. I can't plant an idea there and make it stick, the mind knows whether or not an idea is it's own. Any idea that it knows came from somewhere else it will eventually reject."

"Hold on, what about genjutsu then?" Kuramamaru asked.

"Those are more a form of sensory deception and in some cases hypnosis. You can alter the mind by tricking it into sensing something not there, and you can persuade it to behave a certain way, but you cannot reprogram a mind this way. The trick to altering someone's thoughts is to convince them that they came up with the idea. For example, back when you were Naruto and trusted the Sandaime, he never actually told you to want to become hokage did he?"

Kuramamaru shook his head.

"He couldn't because you'd know that such a thing was his idea instead of yours, and thus someday you'd likely change your mind. But if he were to tell you about the benefits of the job and imply that such a goal would solve your problems..."

"Then I would decide for myself to go for it rather than be told to do it. I would believe that he suggested it but I was the one to actually want it." Kuramamaru admitted.

"That may be, but I'm talking more about altering a memory or thought process." Hinata continued. "Not change what he thinks, more rearrange the dots before he connects them."

Inoichi looked confused, and he wasn't the only one. "What are you getting at?"

Hinata grinned then explained her idea. Everyone listened and thought it over.

"I like it." Kuramamaru praised, putting his arm around her. "If this works, we can take away Namikaze's biggest advantage."

Within an hour Namikaze's forces had reached a gorge that he had to cross on his way to Iwa in the first place. There was a bridge, stone and artistically carved, that would allow his army to pass through, though it would take time as it would essential bottleneck their progress. Still it was faster than having them all walk down the walls of the crevice and walk up the other side.

He came to a stop and addressed his ninja. "All the Edo Tensei shinobi can go through first. This will give the rest of you a chance to rest and get off your feet for a time if you want it."

Several shinobi were relieved to have this chance and took it. The Edo Tensei ninja were no longer capable of being tired and so they marched endlessly until commanded otherwise, and so Namikaze tried to make the others keep pace. It was quite a lot like when he had them stay guard back at Wave awaiting the Uzumaki.

Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru were the first to go through the bridge followed by the others. Not for security reasons, but just because they were the most important of the undead ninja. They got to the other side and waited for the rest to follow, figuring it would do no good to continue without Namikaze.

From below at the base of the gorge, something rushed up the side of the ravine cloaked in rushing air, too blurry to see. Just under the bridge this projectile jumped from the wall and impacted the bridge's underside. This resulted in an explosion of masonry and hot air, sending rubble and people flying. People were caught off guard and tried to jump away, some luckier than others so only a few managed to get back onto solid ground while the others fell into the canyon. From what could be seen those that fell all got crushed by the rubble, but of course none died. More importantly though, none of them had actually made it to the same side that the sannin were on.

What caused the attack seemed to be a mere man, a large one covered in armor, that landed on the ravine with the majority of Namikaze's forces. Right away he began attacking them with taijutsu, looking like Might Guy out for blood. They fought back but it was proving futile. The man's armor was protecting him from direct attacks and weapons, and he was more coordinated then the undead were. Steam came out of vents rebelling some of the fighters, this steam was semi-corrosive and having an actual effect on them.

News of this reached Namikaze who was surprised to hear someone was assaulting his forces. But he wasn't worried after all, they had just decimated Iwa. One enemy wouldn't give them any trouble for more than a few moments. He just sat back and told everyone to let this continue, the enemy would fall soon enough.

Han fought with the fury of a bronco with hemorrhoids. Fists flew, legs lunged, steam surged, he was a whirlwind of offense trapped in a suit of armor. Several Hyuuga tried to disable him but the armor dampened their juuken, which shocked them beyond belief. Kenjutsu users tried to slash at his few exposed areas, which was namely just his eyes, but none of them could get a hit in. More steam came out and those caught in it felt their skin peel off. It regrew, but they were ultimately in a stalemate.

'He's putting up a good fight, but he will fall sooner or later.' Namikaze thought, not seeing who this newcomer was. He was getting curious though, wondering if this was an agent of the Uzumaki. It could even be Kushina. He went around and got closer, and when he got a glimpse he gasped.

"Stop!" He commanded, and all the Edo Tensei ninja seized, though Han did not. Namikaze jumped in front of him and fought back right away. "Finally, some real luck. You're one of the jinchuuriki."

"And you're a genocidal madman, what's it to you?" Han remarked, spraying some steam directly at the blonde man who dodged.

"I may not be able to kill you, but I can easily stop you and take what's mine." Namikaze declared, using his implanted sharingan to keep up with the armored man's movements and match them. Han was using some bijuu chakra, just enough to make it where Namikaze couldn't copy any jutsu or moves, but not enough to nullify the analysis aspect.

"Whereas I have no such restrictions." Han countered, getting back then launching himself forward like a steam-powered locomotive. Namikaze dodged but Han barreled through several Edo Tensei ninja, turning them into human roadkill until they reformed. Namikaze rushed in from behind and opened up a Kamui up close. Han couldn't react in time and got sucked into the pocket dimension.

"There, problem solved." Namikaze proclaimed proudly, earning some praises from his subordinates. "Everyone, continue on to the other side. I must head somewhere right now."

Before anyone could protest, Namikaze vanished in a flash of light.

"What was the point of that? One person attacking us like that? Who was that anyway?" Kurenai asked, not seeing how Han could have hoped to accomplish anything with what he had done.

There was a low rumble in the ground that started to build up, coming from one of the mountain peaks behind the majority of the army. Everyone looked towards it, seeing some rocks tumble down the sides, then from near the top a wave of molten magma burst out the side and poured down, moving faster than normal lava. All of the living shinobi screamed and ran towards the ravine, with the undead remaining behind, ready to try and keep the lava from getting to them. The living got to the edge and jumped down, grasping at the earthen walls using chakra to ease their descent. Despite having casualties back at Iwa, there was still a large number of them.

The Edo Tensei forces started with some water jutsu to cool down the magma. Earth jutsu to reshape the land could work but they strongly suspected this was the work of a surviving Iwa nin who could reshape the land again and negate their efforts. Therefore the simplest way to deter the situation was to negate the lava itself. And even if that didn't work, they had already survived lava before so they were at no risk themselves.

With no ready water around them, the water jutsu they used were at minimal strength, so it wasn't really any surprise that these jutsu weren't having any effect. Kakashi and a few others decided to switch to earth jutsu and create a stone wall to barricade it. It worked but the lava didn't have anywhere to go so it built up behind the wall under it poured over it. A couple of Edo Tensei ninja got hit by the overflow and began to burn, but oddly they didn't stop.

'What's going on?' Kakashi asked himself, stepping away and missing the lava. He could see two ninja he couldn't identify get covered by the lava. Under normal circumstances their bodies would burn but regenerate until the magma cooled off. That's how it had been back at Iwa. But this time their bodies seemed to crumble and disintegrate, like the lava was overpowering their healing factor. Once these two realized it they tried to fight it off and get the magma off them, but it was too late and soon enough they were completely incinerated, no evidence of their existence left behind.

"Get away!" Kakashi warned the rest, though none heeded his warning. They tried what they could, unafraid to get close, but that meant more burned away thinking they wouldn't. Four more disappeared before the others started to get the hint, and then they ran off to escape as well. Like the others they went to the gorge and jumped to the base, with the lava following them. For a moment Kakashi suspected that it was actually following them.

As expected, the lava flowed on and began to go over the edge of the canyon down into it. The people below frantically tried to escape it faster. Tsume jumped over some people, using them as springboards to get forward faster while in the process slowing them down. Others started doing the same once they saw it was working for her, but someone doing this ended up knocking down Tetsuo, narrowly avoiding doing the same to Tenten who was next to him.

"Dad!" She yelled, stopping and reaching down to try and pull him up. Physical strength was not one of her special skills though and Tetsuo's back had taken a bad hit in the process since the one who jumped on him hadn't exactly cared about what happened to him when it happened. Tetsuo tried his hardest to move, but his body refused to move at the speed he desired now.

Tenten could see that the lava was coming their way and that no one getting caught in it was getting out, not even the undead. Using all her training from Guy, she tried to hoist her father on her back. She strained under the weight, not used to carrying a person like this, and what made it worse was she was starting to feel the approaching heat.

"I'm so sorry Dad. I love you." She said before setting him down and running off, dropping some tears from her eyes. Behind her she could heard his screams for help, followed by his screams of horrific death, but she kept going forward, refusing to turn around. 'I have nothing left now except my village and the defeat of the Uzumaki. Come hell or high water, I will see the Uzumaki fall and Hokage-sama achieve his rightful place in the world.'

"Where did this come from? There are no volcanoes in this area." Shibi asked as he and many scaled the other side of the gorge, getting to where Jiraiya, Tsunade, and Orochimaru were but couldn't do anything to help them.

Back at the mountain, Roshi looked down from above, seeing the result of his work. Han had done well keeping Namikaze's forces mostly in one spot before crossing the ravine, giving him time to prep his attack from behind. This lava jutsu was designed to be drawn towards heat, like body heat, though still limited in going downhill, but what really made it special was Son Goku. The Yonbi had agreed to help his container in this, and while Roshi could not use senjutsu the bijuu in him could compensate with his own chakra. The Yonbi's chakra mimicked natural chakra as best it could and infused itself in the lava.

The result? Lava that nullified the regeneration of the Edo Tensei.

Roshi couldn't tell that these ninja were undead, but their chakra was unnatural. So Son Goku's natural chakra essentially canceled out the unnatural chakra of the Edo Tensei, and the lava did the physical damage. Ultimately this victory was the result of luck and specific advantage, but it was a victory nonetheless.

The only downside was this jutsu took time for him to create in bulk even with Son Goku's help, hence why Han bought time. He felt confusion and concern for his fellow jinchuuriki, no idea how Namikaze got rid of him, but for now the Yellow Flash had lost a good portion of his army. Off the top of his head, Roshi estimated that at minimum a tenth had been reduced to ash.

'I should stick around. Namikaze will return, and that will be my chance to get Han back.'

Back in the Akatsuki lair, Namikaze quickly put on his Tobi attire in case anyone would spot him. Once in one of the empty rooms, he used the kamui to bring Han back into the normal world.

"Ah good, the last time I tried to hold a jinchuuriki in there he escaped. I was worried that you would do the same." Namikaze remarked, sweating a bit. The quick rush back to Ame had drained him more than he would have preferred. He would need a recharge before getting back to his army, or maybe he'd be better off taking his time.

Han reoriented himself and went immediately on the offense. But Namikaze chose this exact room for a reason. The walls were lined with seals that would eject hooks and chains from all sides and anchor into the others. Anyone caught in it would be skewered or practically skinned until they looked like the freshest victim of a cenobite. These seals were triggered by an elevated heartbeat, such as someone angered or eager to start a fight, like Han. Namikaze substituted himself with a log stashed in a safe corner ahead of time, and the seals were triggered.

'I had hoped to use this on an Uzumaki. What greater torture for someone like Kushina than to be trapped by chains?' Namikaze thought with a smile seeing his victim. Han's armor broke and ripped apart, with hooks and barbs digging into his exposed flesh. Considering that these chains were meant to hurt an Uzumaki, especially a jinchuuriki one or former jinchuuriki one, it was only natural that these chains could do damage to some armor.

"You won't die, I won't let the bijuu within you be lost to me so close to my victory." Namikaze stated, withdrawing some of the chains but keeping enough to keep his captive in place. "Stay here, as if you had a choice."

He laughed as he left the room. The other members of Akatsuki would be happy to learn they had acquired another jinchuuriki.