Wanting some time and solitude to think, Kuramamaru was currently in Kuo, seated atop the cabin he and Hinata had dwelt in during their training in the sacred forest of Shobikou. From an outsider's perspective, you'd swear he was trying to meditate, but his mind was anything but calm. All he has been thinking in the past few hours was how to deal a major blow to Namikaze.
'We have a way to hurt Namikaze now. A very risky way but it's the best one we've got. But that alone isn't enough, we still need to get rid of Akatsuki. If only we had a clue as to where their base was, then we could strike them there.'
He took a deep breath to try and alleviate some stress. For a moment he opened his eyes, just looking straight into the forest taking in its beauty trying to regain some sense in this madness.
'Okay, Namikaze had to work with Akatsuki as one of them during the time we all thought he was dead. And he needed them to think he was no threat, just another criminal working for the leader. He never told the Sandaime about where they were, or at least they were both smart enough to not write it down in those records we stole years ago. But the Akatsuki were dangerous criminals and they'd turn against him too if they knew who he was. Namikaze must have told someone he could trust in case Akatsuki discovered his ruse and attacked him. Sure Namikaze is an egotist but these are people strong enough to kill clans and take down jinchuuriki. Even he'd feel better knowing that if things went sour someone would have his back. But who would he rely on?'
Kuramamaru tried to go over every supporter of Namikaze he could name. The Sandaime, Kakashi, Hiashi, Tsume, Shibi, Kurenai, Tsunade, Jiraiya. That last one made him recall the time he used the Ghost Path to steal Jiraiya's soul and memories in order to get rid of him, not a memory the whiskered Uzumaki was fond of. Not out of regret though, Kuramamaru just didn't like the idea of having the memories of such a selfish man in his head so he thought of them as little as possible. But this time, the thought of Jiraiya and Akatsuki in the same context seemed to be connecting some dots in his mind, making him curious.
'Could it really be that simple?' He thought, closing his eyes and going over it some more. He found some memories of Jiraiya conversing with his student, them making plans for keeping him hidden for a long time, and then later Namikaze meeting him outside of Ame, with them going over the way in and out of the rainy village.
Eyes open, Kuramamaru smiled, then he departed.
"WHAT?! WE LOST SOME OF MY REVIVED NINJA?!"
After coming back from bringing Han to his cell, Namikaze had expected his good mood to just continue. But when he got back to his army, he was greeted with bad news. The kind that he really didn't want to hear at all.
"There was a wave of lava Hokage-sama, it must have been another enemy attack. This lava killed several of our living members and strangely the resurrected ones caught in it perished too. I have no idea how." A jounin informed the blonde man.
"And you didn't think to find out?!" Namikaze all but roared in anger.
"With all due respect Hoka-" The jounin started, only for Namikaze to swiftly grab him by the throat then snap his neck with both hands. Staring at the dead jounin in his hands Namikaze drops him on the ground where he made a loud thump making the witnessing people jerk back in surprise and apprehension.
"Geez Minato what did you do that for?" Tsunade asked as the body fell unceremoniously to the ground.
"You all had a chance to catch the Uzumaki and you chose to run away like cowards! I'd kill you all too if I could!"
"What makes you think it was the Uzumaki that did that?" Jiraiya asked.
"Who else could it be?" Namikaze asked matter-of-factly.
"Regardless of who it was, they proved that they have the ability to defeat your secret weapon." Orochimaru mocked. A chance to do so was one he so rarely got anymore, but the snake sennin too wondered how this supposed unbeatable jutsu keeping them animated could be defeated. "So what are you going to do now big shot?"
Namikaze lashed out and severed the snake sannin's head. Sure it grew back but it felt good to do it. After taking a few calming breaths, he had his ninja gather all his remaining living ninja. "I want the Uzumaki dead now! No more excuses and no more waiting! Every time the sun sets and the Uzumaki aren't dead, I will personally kill one of you."
"But we can't-"
"I DON'T GIVE A SHIT!" Namikaze shouted, infuriated, slamming his fist against a tree shattering it while he glared at everyone. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF THEM FIGHTING BACK AND WINNING! I WANT THEM DEAD NOW! AND I WILL HOLD YOU ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS UNTIL IT'S OVER! IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, KILL THE UZUMAKI TODAY! I DON'T CARE HOW YOU FIND THEM, JUST FIND THEM!"
Shibi stepped forward. "You are not fit to lead if this is your attitude towards your own followers."
Seeing red, Namikaze lashed out at him with a rasengan to the chest. Shibi couldn't avoid it, but once the Yellow Flash was in close like that he unleashed the entirety of his swarm upon the man. Namikaze was quickly covered from head to toe in bugs, with dozens of them getting inside his orifices too. And they weren't just eating his chakra, they were causing physical damage too. Namikaze frantically batted them away, but it wasn't working. Jiraiya came and covered his pupil with oil in an attempt to drown the insects, but that wasn't enough.
"Sorry kid. Tsunade, get ready." Jiraiya warned before setting the oil on fire.
While this was going on, Shibi laid on the ground with a few others trying to patch him up. The damage was extensive, lethal, so Shibi focused his energy on raising his voice one final time.
"The Uzumaki were right! Namikaze Minato is afraid of them!"
He faded away as Jiraiya put out the fire and Tsunade began work on healing Namikaze.
Ame, the Hidden Rain Village, not one of the big five shinobi villages but no less aggressive. Due to its location it had been involved in virtually every shinobi war since the villages had been founded, that put a lot of pressure on them to not only survive but remain independent, and since the beginning they had succeeded. The environment was a big factor in this, they were surrounded by wetland which were notorious with sinkholes and the weather was infamously heavy with precipitation. While not never-ending, the reputation was not undeserved and most people could not put up with it for long, especially as it compromised most fighting styles. Ame nin had adapted to work with the rain and pushed themselves in many creative ways, including technological.
The people of Ame thought they were having another normal rainy day when they were suddenly hit by a tremor and heard a roar. The sentries on the southern walls had to adjust their eyes and make sure water hadn't leaked into them as they saw something heading their way across the submerged grounds. Something big. Something with nine tails.
Kyuubi charged towards the village in full fury, ready to do some damage. He knew the risk was high, but he also knew that Akatsuki was not prepared for an unsealed bijuu coming right to them. Ame forces would do the majority of the fighting back, at first, but if Kuramamaru was right and Akatsuki was really centralized here, then the criminal organization wouldn't be able to resist taking down the mightiest bijuu of all themselves if they could.
Ame nin readied their wall defenses, including cannons, catapults, electric barriers, and archers, and fired at the titanic vulpine. Kyuubi paused for a moment to spin and lash out with his tails, creating a shockwave that upended all the water in Ame's surrounding lake and sending it back at them like a typhoon. The wave engulfed all projectiles intended for the fox bijuu and rendered them useless, hitting the wall in the process. Kyuubi jumped in and lashed at the wall with his claws, tearing off a chunk and exposing the village within. Water from the lake flooded in, and then numerous smaller foxes came into the village.
The Ame nin were confused and surprised by this, but not worried. That is until humans came in with the foxes and began attacking.
"Don't hold back! Draw them out!" Kushina rallied her people as she dropped from atop Kyuubi, her and several others while the smaller foxes helped bring the Shobikou ninja into play. The Ame nin managed to raise an alert and get the attention of the rest of the village, hoping that soon reinforcements would come to deal with the sudden attack.
Kyuubi created a bijuudama and blasted the tower that once belonged to Hanzou the Salamander. Chouza and Chouji became giants and demolished as many buildings as they could. Shikaku and Shikamaru trapped as many Ame nin as they could. Inoichi and Ino tried to acquire intel, seeking any confirmation that Akatsuki was indeed there. Kushina and Haku attacked with chains and ice, Anko used some summoned snakes to add variety, and Yakumo's genjutsus kept the enemy disoriented and unfocused.
Everyone was working together, working to buy two people time to sneak in.
Outside the village walls, Kuramamaru and Hinata took a different approach. Rather than go in through the broken wall, the two found a sewer pipe big enough to fit through and snuck in. It was one of the few times they regretted having an enhanced sense of smell, but they needed to sneak around the village, or rather under it, to find their target. The thing that gave Akatsuki such leverage over the jinchuuriki in the first place.
"Pein, we're under attack!" A blue-haired woman named Konan shouted as she entered the resting chamber of her childhood friend and group leader. "And it's the Kyuubi of all things!"
"The Kyuubi? Here in Ame?" Nagato, an emaciated man connected to an advanced life support machine, replied. His purple rippled eyes were shining with surprise and a bit of glee. "Are there other bijuu?"
"No, it's just the one. But people are fighting with it. As if they were partners in arms."
"We cannot pass this opportunity. Alert everyone. Take down the fox and bring it to the statue. Our luck is going to turn today."
Konan nodded and left the room while Nagato prepared his six paths.
"Zetsu, check the sewers. I want to be certain that no one is just using this as a distraction."
"Yes Pein-sama." A voice called out from the wall.
Pein just looks towards the area of the fighting hope this will be the day their luck turns around. That the shinobi world will know what true pain is once he has Kyuubi in the statue.
The Ame nin recovered from their shock by now and began fighting back in full force, and it was not ineffective. The water and lightning jutsu were extra effective thanks to the rain and virtually everyone brought out a weapon of sorts to fight back. But atop the rooftops the Ame jounin were prepping their best strategy, a widespread genjutsu to disorient anyone not wearing an Ame hitai-ate. Ame nin had a talent for genjutsu and liked to use it to keep the worst of most wars away from its home fields. With luck, the invaders would go around in circles trying to find whatever they came here for until they were exhausted, then the Ame nin would swoop in and finish them off.
The problem was Kyuubi's presence, they weren't sure that they could catch him in a genjutsu either so they had to focus on the humans and leave the bijuu for the village leader.
Up on the roofs they got ready and cast the genjutsu on those below them. When it took hold on the Shobikou nin, they acted unaware and kept fighting, though now their sense of direction was skewed. However, a couple stopped fighting and proceeded up to the rooftops, looking like they knew exactly what they were doing. Once atop, they began fighting the Ame genjutsu crew.
"Yakumo, can you counter the genjutsu?" Unkai asked as he and more of his fellow Kurama clan members fought the jounin. While Yakumo may have been the only one to possess the reality warping skill of her clan, the rest were not without merit. A good Kurama can always recognize the genjutsu of another, and they were going to put it out.
"I think so, give me a moment." Yakumo replied, gathering her chakra and coming up with a plan. She reached under her rain cloak and pulled out some papers, her sketches to use in place of actual paintings, and found one that would work here. It was a picture of someone sleeping. Once ready, she cast her genjutsu upon the rain, using the water droplets to magnify the illustration and make the whole of Ame see it.
All the Ame nin who saw the genjutsu in the rain fell prey and collapsed to the ground, unable to stop themselves from dozing off. The Shobikou nin were spared only because of the previous genjutsu on them, which now got cancelled out by Yakumo's genjutsu. Kyuubi wasn't effected because it was intended for humans.
Seeing the local forces down for the count, the Shobikou nin wondered what to do next. The Ame shinobi were down and the civilians were running to safety.
"Stay alert everyone, Akatsuki is bound to make their move any moment." Kushina warned. Seeing their forces down and the citizens of Ame quickly leaving the area no doubt their leader will be coming out.
"No need to wait, we're already here!"
From atop several buildings multiple people jumped down, each sporting a black cloak adorned with red clouds.
Down in the sewers Kuramamaru and Hinata found open air and room to move. The stench was as bad as expected but at least there were no patrols or enemies down there. but there was bound to be traps. Any hidden village worth their emblem wouldn't let a network of pipes underneath the entirety of the place be such a blind spot for enemies to exploit.
Hinata activated her byakugan, checking for any traps that Jiraiya wouldn't have been informed about. Even Namikaze couldn't know everything about Ame after all. "There are several firing mechanisms and gas traps built into the walls, but I can't tell if they're manual or triggered by nearby presences."
"Let me find out." Kuramamaru offered, using the Animal Path to create something akin to a pig and something akin to a crow. The crow went first, flying slowly, but nothing happened. The pig followed, and after a bit senbon flew out of the walls skewering it. "No motion or heat sensors, there must be weight triggers in the ground."
"Maybe they're in the walls too, in case intruders try to walk up those instead." Hinata guessed, making Kuramamaru nod in agreement. "How do we get across without stepping on anything?"
"We don't." The whiskered redhead replied, confusing Hinata while he made more faux pigs and sent them out. "We just use up all the ammo."
In less than five minutes, the traps in the walls were depleted. Keeping her byakugan active, Hinata carefully guided them through the subterranean tunnels and alerted them of more traps to deplete. Kuramamaru provided more cannon fodder while keeping check on what Jiraiya's memories could tell him.
"Kuramamaru-kun, something's coming our way." Hinata warned, looking towards the wall. "It looks like a person moving through the earth. And I think they're trying to sneak up on us."
"Then let me surprise them first." He replied, putting his hands on the wall and activating his Preta Path. Right away he began absorbing the chakra in the walls, drawing this strange new source right to him despite the wishes of the source itself. This source tried fighting him off, unable to stop the theft of chakra, before ultimately forcing itself out of the wall. There Kuramamaru and Hinata saw a black and white man with a weird venus fly trap growth around its collar. And it was wearing an Akatsuki cloak.
"That's one of them." Kuramamaru informed his partner, aware of the attire thanks to Jiraiya's memories of Itachi. But he wonders who or what this person is and what does he he do Akatsuki.
Neither waited for this Akatsuki member to identify himself or make some kind of greeting. Kuramamaru used the Deva Path to make the plant man stuck to the wall while Hinata went in and attacked viciously with her clawed juuken. Even if this guy was the weakest member of the crime gang, he was still a member and therefore a significant threat they couldn't hold back on. In no time they were positive that he was completely immobile.
"Is the rest of your gang here in Ame?" Hinata asked when she finished.
Strangely, the plant man grinned. "We are unbeatable."
All of a sudden the black side of the Akatsuki member began to visibly melt off him, with tendrils lashing out and attacking the former Hyuuga heiress. She yelped and backed away but the tendrils grabbed hold of her and pulled the rest of the black mass onto her. Kuramamaru could see a sick melted face in the blackness, made of two yellow eyes and a thin white mouth.
"Oh no you don't!" He protested, getting back into the Preta Path and grabbing a hold of the black thing, absorbing chakra directly. He quickly noticed that something about this chakra was... different. Not quite human, much like his own. Why but also how is that possible?
"No! I won't let you!" The black thing objected, trying to get free. It struggled to break free from Kuramamaru's grasp but what he saw shocked him to the core.
"You possess the rinnegan?" The white plant man asked, looking at Kuramamaru while still stuck to the wall. "But only Pein-sama has those eyes. It's not possible, you can't have those eyes."
Curious, Kuramamaru switched to the Human Path and grabbed the face of the black thing, triggering a soul absorption jutsu to finish it off. The entity tried fighting him off but fighting was not it's expertise, so in the end Kuramamaru succeeded and the black blob went limb to the point of melting completely.
Once done Kuramamaru's mind went blank as he felt an attack from within his head. His vision faded until he saw nothing but himself and a white background, with a black puddle before him. This reminded him of the time he took Jiraiya's soul and the time he tried to take Namikaze's, but this time it felt different. This felt strange like something old, ancient but yet familiar at the same time.
Soon something started to happen in the white background. The black puddle bubbled and began to rise, taking on a human appearance. But it wasn't the plant man, it was a horned woman with three eyes, covered from head to toe in all black like a silhouette. And she did not look happy.
"You think you can defeat me boy? I am Zetsu, the will of the great goddess Kaguya! It is my sacred duty to bring her back to this world and help her reshape it in her image! No one, not even you, will stop me!"
The horned woman thrust out her arm and a black spear flew out of nowhere at Kuramamaru, only for a blue shakujo to intercept and snap the spear, making it crumble into nonexistence.
"What?" She asked, seeing a blue figure come into being beside Kuramamaru, taking on the form of a man.
"Hello again, Kuramamaru." The blue figure smiled briefly, though that turned to a disgusted frown when he looked at the effigy of Kaguya before him.
"Hi Ashura, what brings you out this time?" Kuramamaru greeted back.
"This thing here, it's a chakra construct made by my grandmother, the real Kaguya. She must have left it behind before she got sealed in the moon, and it must be trying to break her out." Ashura sighed.
Looking at his grandmother's creation, Ashura had to wonder how much mayhem it had been causing in the world all this time. Did this part of her will poison his brother's mind too? Or had Indra already been far too gone with his power and this thing merely took advantage of the opportunity?
Kuramamaru frowned. "So this thing and Namikaze have the same idea then. But why would it be working with him if he wants to replace the goddess?"
"No one can replace my mother! Only she is worthy to lead this world!" Zetsu proclaimed, creating another black spear. "That man is a fool! A tool to be used for my plans to bring her back." Zetsu threw the spear but Ashura fended this one off too then went in close to fight directly. Kuramamaru followed and joined in.
"You've been trying for over a thousand years to free that woman and you still haven't done it." Kuramamaru thought out loud as he created a small bijuudama, thrusting it into her shoulder. Ashura jabbed her in the other with his shakujo, both wounds bleeding black with the flesh looking gooey. "You need someone like Namikaze to do it for you, don't you? You've never had the power yourself to get to her so you've been trying to find someone powerful enough to do it for you."
Hearing this, Ashura sighed loudly but also nodded sadly. "I think you're right. Kaguya must have made this construct in a hurry. It can act on her wishes to free her, but talking is all it can do in the real world. That's why it never took control over anyone nor forced anyone to do anything, it had to convince them to do what it wanted them to do. It had to make them want to break her seal, but it could never tell them what would really happen if they did."
"I have been manipulating mankind since the beginning! Waiting for the perfect opportunity!" The false Kaguya confessed, fighting back by lashing out more black tendrils and morphing her body to avoid further attacks as the two men fought her. Her whole body was like a living fluid trying to be solid and liquid at the same time. "I needed the reformation of the juubi and the might of one powerful enough to break her seal, and through generations of selective breeding and temptation I have the one who will release my mother! You two will not rob me of my achievement!"
Proclaiming his achievement, Kuramamaru's eye twitched before he charged forward while Ashura groaned wondering how messed up his family is.
Ashura tried some old-fashioned ninshu that mimicked the mokuton to hold Zetsu prisoner while Kuramamaru tried some foxfire to burn her. Both were getting results and it was clear that the false Kaguya was losing. Clearly she had not invested as much time over the millennia into fighting her own fights. Or coming up with a way to protect herself from an attack like this.
"So you convinced Namikaze that if he gathered the bijuu and combined them, he'd be on par with a moon goddess and be able to steal her power too, becoming a god greater than the one before it. Only you never intended for him to succeed in that part, you intended for him to die at her hands too, didn't you?" Kuramamaru remarked, seeing the black blob's plan in its entirety.
"A mere man cannot become a god." Zetsu snorted. "But he doesn't need to know that. Imagine his shock once she is revived, him thinking he is on par with Mother. She will destroy him and take away what he worked so hard to achieve. It's a perfect way to destroy him."
Zetsu began to laugh menacing. Kuramamaru stood there for a second picturing that event, a part of him wondering if that was the best way to eliminate his enemy since it was all but guaranteed to work. Would the best way to win this war be to let Namikaze get exactly what he wanted?
"You will not get what you desire!" Ashura declared, stabbing the false Kaguya in the chest with his shakujo. Seeing this snapped the whiskered redhead out of his thoughts.
"Agreed. I may not want Namikaze to win and I would love to see the look on his face after being double-crossed. But I'm sure as hell not going to let you win either. That three-eyed bitch is staying right where she is. The moon."
With that, Kuramamaru got in close and threw in another bijuudama, hitting her in the ribs.
"I WILL NOT-!" Zetsu shouted, only to be cut off as she was shredded into oblivion. Here in the mindscape, it couldn't reform, only fade away, with Kuramamaru's powers finishing off the soul absorption jutsu.
Back in the real world, Kuramamaru woke up and nodded to Hinata who nodded back. They both used foxfire to burn the white plant man, allowing his ashes along with the slimy remains of the black blob to mix into Ame's sewage, never to be seen again.
Wrapped in bandages and covered in soothing ointment, Namikaze was not happy. He had to use some of his stored chakra for healing to get the worst of his condition healed, and Tsunade patched up the rest but his body still needed to do the rest on his own. This was not pleasant, Jiraiya's fire had burned hotter than he had intended, likely due to the potency of Myoboku oil, but nonetheless the Aburame insects were gone. Worst part was Namikaze wasn't sure how much recovery chakra he had left.
Years ago Namikaze had attempted to mimic Tsunade's Creation Rebirth method and store chakra that he could use later to heal from damage. He had already used this before when dealing with Kushina on Uzushio a few years ago too, and tried to recover. The problem was due to the years he focused on recreating the hiraishin, he hadn't been as adamant about this feature and so only was down to a couple. Then when he used the Hero's Water from Taki, it took a toll on him and he needed senjutsu and more of his recovery tags to keep in check. It worked but slowed him down, and now thanks to Shibi he was out of the recovery tags entirely. Next time he got hurt, he was dependent on Tsunade and nature to get back in shape.
While he recovered, he had his ninja check the surrounding area. He was certain that whoever had just attacked them, which had to be an Uzumaki, was still in the area, ready to attack again. A few protested, claiming that leaving the area would be smarter, but of course Namikaze refused to believe any idea could be smart unless it came from him. He made them search high and low, but no one found anyone.
'Maybe I need to lure them out.' He thought, looking up into the sky. Before he could think more, he saw something fly over his camp, circle around like a buzzard and drop multiple things. Upon impact these things exploded and Namikaze quickly got away from the blast zone, though it didn't feel pleasant to do so.
'Dammit, that jackass had to show up now of all times.' He rued, his patience already nonexistent. His anger clouded him to the point where he was deaf to the sounds of those caught in the blasts, all he could think about was throwing a tri-kunai at his target and jamming the tri-kunai in his skull.
Deidara, atop a flying clay mount, barely registered being hit with a tri-kunai before Namikaze appeared in a yellow flash before him. He couldn't even finish gasping before the Yondaime Hokage jabbed another of his trademark weapons right into his skull, killing him instantly.
"You could not have come at a worse time jerk. Fortunately I can work without you." Namikaze hissed, departing to the ground after kicking the clay bird away so it and its maker would crash and explode away from him. The blast was pretty big, but not as bad as Deidara's intended suicide move would have been had he been allowed to use it.
Taking a deep breath, Namikaze looked around. "That means Sasori is nearby. I'm still in a very bad mood, I need more people to take it out on."
Thanks to the memories Kuramamaru now acquired from Zetsu, he had a much better idea of how to get into Akatsuki's headquarters. He had informed Hinata of what the black blob had been, and thanks to the other memories he now had a better idea of what to expect from the other Akatsuki members. With Jiraiya's memories, Kuramamaru only really had a list of names to go off of along with some tidbits, as if Namikaze hadn't really wanted his old sensei to know too much about the criminal gang. But now he had more details, such as strengths, weaknesses, and surprises. Zetsu had been quite keen to be informed on the full extent of the Akatsuki, probably in case any member compromised his intended goal. With this, Kuramamaru said they either needed to find what they were looking for then get to the battlefield, or go find Kushina and Kyuubi first to inform them of the criminals.
"For now, let's keep to what we came here for. We should trust that they will be able to handle themselves, like how they trust us to get this task done." Hinata said when he asked for her opinion.
He nodded and the two found their way to the Akatsuki lair. More specific, Hinata found a room with a single person inside, injured, and judging from his chakra he was a jinchuuriki. There were no sewer lids or any openings big enough for them to use, so Naruto had to use the Asura Path to break through the floor into the room.
"Who are you?" The prisoner hissed.
"If you're a jinchuuriki, we're here to help." Kuramamaru told him as he and Hinata emerged.
"Wait, are you one of the Iwa jinchuuriki?" Hinata asked, not recognizing this man so that was the most reasonable guess.
"Yes, my name is Han. The Yellow Flash caught me." He confessed, while Kuramamaru created saw blades to sever the chains holding the Gobi host in place. Once freed, he collapsed to his knees, with Kokuo now able to heal him rather than keep him stable.
"Is anyone else here?" Hinata added.
"I don't know. I'd love to stay and help, but I need to get away and recover."
"You do that. We'll handle it from here."
The two fox summoners left the room, with Han crawling into the sewer, feeling better little by little.
Kushina tensed and got into a defensive stance, gazing upon the gathered Akatsuki in the road before her and the others. A quick count showed nine bodies before her, and she was pretty certain that this wasn't the entirety of the organization. Kuramamaru had been able to tell her ahead of time the names that Jiraiya knew, and while Jiraiya knew of their reputation he couldn't confirm what their capabilities were. Even though the many times he boasted about being the best spy of all time. Other Shobikou nin who heard of these rogue nin added in what they knew, but nobody could say for certain what any of them were capable of.
The blue-skinned one with the big sword was clearly Hoshigaki Kisame, infamous missing-nin from Kiri and one of the strongest non-jinchuuriki to have ever lived. One man had a Taki hitai-ate, so he must have been Kakuzu, an old rival of Senju Hashirama who was still alive for reasons unclear. There was a man with a bare chest and a Yu hitai-ate and a three-bladed scythe, likely this was Hidan. The other six were unclear, all sporting Ame hitai-ate, excess black piercings, and orange hair, but Kushina got a bad feeling about that band of shinobi.
Akatsuki didn't just stand there letting themselves be admired, they rushed into battle immediately, not bothering to pick specific targets. Kushina in the end had been attacked by Hidan.
"Your death will be most welcomed by Jashin!" He proclaimed, swinging his scythe and missing her.
'Jashin, that's the god of that insane cult.' Kushina thought recalling some details that had gone around as rumors back during the times when she still felt loyalty to Konoha. 'They were people who killed for fun, claiming it all in the name of some deity that only they knew. Most rumors were overblown, but there was enough witness testimony to declare them a legit threat. But I can't recall what specifically made them a threat. Too many rumors back then.'
Another swing made Kushina backflip to avoid, keeping her eyes on Hidan who smiled and brandish his scythe. Her gut told her that such a swing would have been painful, but at the same time having three blades should have hindered the weapon rather than enhanced it. It's not like three blades would have made cutting someone easier, if anything it would have made it messier.
"Dodge all you want, I'll get your blood eventually." Hidan announced, charging at her.
'My blood? Why say it like that instead of 'my guts' or 'my head'?' Kushina asked herself, just barely dodging a thrust that would have cut her cheek. It did slice some hairs, but that did nothing. Either way she backed up, her instincts telling her to keep distance here.
Hidan looked amused at her narrowly successful dodge then tried to jab at her with the bottom end of his weapon which had a small needle on it. Nothing deadly, unless it hit somewhere specific or had venom in it, but Kushina wasn't going to take that chance and dodged again. She bent down and let chains spring from her back, which wrapped around the scythe and pulled it.
Caught by surprise, it was only a reflexive tighten that prevented Hidan from losing his precious unholy weapon. He pulled back, trying to wrestle it free, but physical strength was only average for him, not one of the skills he prioritized. Too bad for him that his hands were now full while Kushina's were not.
"Wind Style Crossbreeze Jutsu!" She finished by making a horizontal and vertical slash in the air, sending two blades of wind at her target in the shape of a plus sign.
The attack hit Hidan straight on, cutting him and making him bleed but nothing fell off or got severed. Normally that would be the result, but the former Yu nin did have a good amount of resilience. Despite the pain, he smiled deviously, licking his lips while staring at Kushina. A part of her gagged at the expression he was giving her.
"I love a sacrifice that makes me work for it." Hidan chuckled, with it soon growing into full blown laughter. "Jashin will feast on your blood! And I'll use it to lubricate myself tonight!"
'I think I'm going to be sick.' Kushina thought, pulling her chains to keep that mental image out of her head. Hidan pulled back, refusing to release his hold on the weapon like a dead's man grip. Kushina did a Crossbreeze Jutsu again and Hidan made some effort to dodge but again kept a hold of his weapon.
'He's not fighting back, he's determined to keep ahold of that sickle.' Kushina analyzed, raising an eyebrow. 'It must be vital to his fighting style, or his cult beliefs. Either way, he won't fight me without it. In that case...'
The redhead woman began to grin, confusing Hidan since he rarely saw one of his intended victims do that, then she released the scythe. This surprised Hidan and threw off his balance, making him right himself right away and naturally hold his weapon close, determined not to have it taken again. In that moment Kushina made her move, sending her chains out again to restrain him completely, binding him like a dominatrix and keeping his scythe and arms immobile. If he moved his head the wrong way he'd cut his own face on one of those three blades. After that, Kushina unsealed a katana and swung at her captive, cutting off his head.
'Weird, that was too easy.' Kushina thought, concerned. As a result, she didn't release her captive's body just yet. 'An Akatsuki member shouldn't be that easy to kill. Either this guy is the weakest member, or there's another trick up his sleeve. Like a dead man's switch or something.'
"I gotta admit it bitch, you've done better than most sacrifices I've slaughtered." Hidan complimented, letting out a small chuckle. "Jashin will surely praise me for sending you to him."
Kushina blinked and looked down at the severed head. She shook her head for a split second then gathered chakra to break a genjustu. Several attempts later, nothing changed and there was still a severed head claiming even more pain and death to her. "You're... still talking?"
Hidan laughed again, stopping when it appeared to hurt him a little. "I am a vassal for Jashin, I am as eternal as the carnage I bless him with you slut."
Kushina glanced to the chained body, which had gone slack and limp, collapsed on the ground but still captive. She blinked, staying on guard and glanced between the head and body. 'He's either playing possum, or his body isn't useful if the head isn't attached. That one should be the case, but the reverse should be true too and it's not.'
"Any minute now my buddy Kakuzu will come and put me back together. You've accomplished nothing you dumbass cow." Hidan gloated.
"So you can survive, but your healing is limited." The Uzumaki matriarch noted, trying to think fast. "No, if you were truly immortal then Orochimaru-sensei would have used your method too. There's a flaw to whatever you're using, one that could be exploited by an enemy, one big enough that he didn't want to use it himself."
Hidan laughed. "If snake-dick couldn't figure it out, what makes you think that a bimbo like you could?"
Kushina's eye twitched and she kicked Hidan's head so hard he was sent flying to a wall.
"GAH!" He groaned, wishing he could rub the back of his head now. Gravity took over and Hidan's head dropped to the ground face first in the puddles on the streets. "I will be reformed and then I will bath in your blood!"
Using his tongue and facial muscles he turned himself over to look back up. Over him Kushina stood, her eyes glowing and her hair forming her nine tail style. Rather than reply or give him a chance to do so, Kushina chose to stomp on Hidan's head with full force, reducing his head to bloody mush. She then tightened her chains until his body was ripped into chunks and his weapon snapped multiple times. After that, She used a wind jutsu to blow as much of his remains into the sewer drain, letting it be taken away by the excess water to wherever the pipes led to.
"If that doesn't kill you, at least the enemy doesn't have enough of you left to recover." She stated, folding her arms leaving the area to go find someone to help.